Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Rambles in an Old City - comprising antiquarian, historical, biographical and political associations
Author: Madders, S. S.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Rambles in an Old City - comprising antiquarian, historical, biographical and political associations" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



Transcribed from the 1853 Thomas Cautley Newby edition by David Price,
email ccx074@pglaf.org

                     [Picture: Norwich street scene]



                         Rambles in an Old City;


                                COMPRISING

                         ANTIQUARIAN, HISTORICAL,

                 BIOGRAPHICAL AND POLITICAL ASSOCIATIONS

                            By S. S. Madders.

                                * * * * *

                                 LONDON:
                          Thomas Cautley Newby,
                  30, WELBECK STREET, CAVENDISH SQUARE.

                                MDCCCLIII.



PREFACE.


It has been very aptly remarked by a recent writer, that “to send forth a
work without a preface, is like thrusting a friend into the society of a
room full of strangers, without the benefit of an introduction;” a custom
that no _fashion_ can redeem from the charge of incivility.  A book,
however insignificant, grows beneath the author’s pen, to occupy a place
in his regard, not unworthy the title of friendship; and as that sacred
bond of social union is not dependent upon individual perfection, so the
companion of many a solitary hour is not to be cast out upon the “wide,
wide world,” without one word to secure it at least a gentle reception,
be its faults as manifold and manifest as they may, even to the most
partial eye.

The design of this little book of “Rambles,” has been to concentrate into
the form of a light and amusing volume, some few of the many subjects of
interest suggested by the leading features of an “Old City.”  It makes no
pretensions to any profound learning or deep research.  It is little more
than a _compilation_ of facts, interwoven with the history of one of the
oldest cathedral and manufacturing cities of our country; but inasmuch as
the general features are common to most other ancient cities, and many of
the subjects are national and universal in their character, the outlines
are by no means strictly local in their application or interest.

Whether the design has been carried out, in a way at all worthy of the
hale old city of Norwich, that has served as “the text of the discourse,”
remains to be proved; but the attempt to contribute to the light
literature of the day a few simple gleanings of fact, as gathered by a
stranger, during a ten years’ residence in a “strange land,” will, it is
to be hoped, secure a lenient judgment for the inexperience that has
attempted the task.

The sources of information from which the historical parts of the work
have been derived, are such as are open to every ordinary student; its
light character has precluded the introduction of notes of reference, but
it would amount to downright robbery to refrain from acknowledging the
copious extracts that have been made from the valuable papers of the
Norfolk Archæological Society.

For the kind assistance of the few individuals from whom information has
been sought, many thanks are due; and it is but just to state, that all
deficiences of matter or details, that may probably be felt by many, more
familiar than the writer herself with the persons, places, and things,
that make the sum and substance of her work, are referable alone to the
difficulty she has experienced in selecting suitable materials to carry
out her design, from the abundance placed at her disposal; a tithe of
which might have converted her “rambles” into a heavy, weary “march,”
along which few might have had patience to accompany her.

To these few observations must be subjoined an expression of earnest and
heartfelt thanks to the many liberal-minded individuals who have extended
encouragement to this feeble effort of a perfect stranger.  That some
portion or other of the contents of her little volume may be found worthy
their acceptance, is the fervent desire of

                                                            THE AUTHORESS.

NORWICH,
      January 1, 1853.



CONTENTS.

                          CHAP. I.
INTRODUCTION                                            PAGE
                                                           1
                         CHAP. II.
THE CATHEDRAL                                             14
                         CHAP. III.
THE CASTLE                                                62
                         CHAP. IV.
THE MARKET-PLACE                                         117
                          CHAP. V.
THE GUILDHALL                                            179
                         CHAP. VI.
PAGEANTRY                                                227
                         CHAP. VII.
SUPERSTITIONS                                            282
                        CHAP. VIII.
CONVENTUAL REMAINS AND BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES             311

ERRATA. {0}


Page 7, line 15, _for_ “these,” _read_ “those.”

„ 8, line 10, _for_ “querus,” _read_ “querns.”

„ 37, line 16, for “veriest,” _read_ “various.”

„ 59, lines 24 and 26, _for_ “Hoptin,” _read_ “Hopkin.”

„ 64, line 8, _for_ “spirit—powers,” _read_ “spirit-powers.”



                                CHAPTER I.
                              INTRODUCTION.


Who that has ever looked upon the strange conglomerations of architecture
that line the thoroughfares of an ancient city, bearing trace of a touch
from the hand of every age, from centuries far remote,—or watched the
busy scenes of modern every-day life, surrounded by solemnly majestic, or
quaintly grim old witnesses of our nation’s’ infancy,—but has felt the
Poetry of History that lies treasured up in the chronicles of an “Old
City?”

We may not all be archæologists, we may many of us feel little sympathy
with the love of accumulating time-worn, moth-eaten relics of ages passed
away, still less may we desire to see the resuscitation of dead forms,
customs or laws, which we believe to have been advances upon prior
existing institutions, living their term of natural life in the season
appointed for them, and yielding in their turn to progressions more
suited to the growing wants of a growing people; but there are few minds
wholly indifferent to the associations of time and place, or that are not
conscious of some reverence for the links connecting the present with the
past, to be found in the many noble and stupendous works of ancient art,
yet lingering amongst us, massive evidences of lofty thoughts and grand
conceptions, which found expression in the works of men’s hands, when few
other modes existed of embodying the imaginations of the mind.

It is not now my purpose to draw comparisons between the appeals thus
made through the outward senses to the spirituality of our nature, and
the varied other and more subtle means employed in later days, to awaken
our feelings of veneration and devotion, but it may be observed in
passing, that amid the floods of change that have swept across our
country’s history, it is scarcely possible but that some good should have
been lost among the débris of decayed and shattered institutions.  We
have now to take a sweeping glance at the general outline of the place
that has been chosen as the nucleus from which to spin our web, of light
and perhaps fanciful associations.  A desultory ramble through the
streets and bye-ways of an old city, that owns six-and-thirty parish
churches, the ghosts of about twenty more defunct, the remains of four
large friaries and a nunnery, some twenty or thirty temples of worship
flourishing under the divers names and forms of “dissent,” two Roman
branches of the Catholic Church, a Jewish synagogue, a hospital, museum,
libraries, and institutions of every possible name, and “refuges” for
blind, lame, halt, deaf, “incurable,” and diseased in mind, body, or
estate; that is sprinkled with factories, bounded by crumbling ruins of
old rampart walls, and studded with broken and mutilated bastion
towers,—brings into view a series of objects so heterogeneous in order
and character, that to arrange the ideas suggested by them to the mind or
memory, is a task of no slight difficulty.

The great “lions” of interest to one, may rank the very lowest in the
scale of another’s imagination or fancy.  The philosopher, the poet, the
philanthropist, the antiquarian, the utilitarian, the man of the world,
and the man of the day, each may choose his separate path, and each find
for himself food for busy thought and active investigation.

The archæologist may indulge his love of interpreting the chiselled
finger-writing of centuries gone by, upon many a richly decorated page of
sculpture, and, hand in hand with the historian and divine, may trace out
the pathway of art and religion, through the multiform records of genius,
devotional enthusiasm, taste, and beneficence, chronicled in writings of
stone, by its ecclesiastical remains; he may gratify himself to his
heart’s content with “vis-à-vis” encounters with grim old faces, grinning
from ponderous old doorways, or watching as sentinels over dark and
obscure passages, leading to depths impenetrable to outward vision, and
find elaborately carved spandrils and canopies, gracing the entrances of
abodes where poverty and labour have long since found shelter in the
cast-off habitations of ancient wealth and aristocracy.

He may venture to explore cavernous cellars with groined roofings and
piers that register their age; may make his way through moth-corrupted
storehouses of dust and lumber; to revel in the grandeur of some old
“hall,” boasting itself a relic of the domestic architecture of the days
of the last Henry, and there lose himself in admiration of old mullioned
windows, tie-beams, and antique staircases; may ferret out old cabinets
and quaint old buffets hard by, that once, perchance, found lodging in
the “Stranger’s Hall,” as it is wont, though erringly, to be designated;
he may wander thence through bye lanes and streets, stretching forth
their upper stories as if to meet their opposite neighbours half way with
the embrace of friendship; over the plain, memorable as the scene of
slaughter in famous Kett’s rebellion, to the “World’s End;” and see amid
the tottering ruins of half demolished pauper tenements, the richly
carved king-posts and beams of the banquet chamber of the famous knight,
Sir Thomas Erpingham, whose martial fame and religious “heresy” have
found a more lasting monument than the perishable frame-work of his
mansion-house, in the magnificent gateway known by his name, and raised
in commemoration of his sin of Lollardism.  He may accompany the
philanthropist in his visit to the “Old Man’s Hospital,” and mourn over
the misappropriation of the nave and chancel of fine old St. Helen’s,
where lies buried Kirkpatrick, a patriarch of the tribe of antiquaries;
he may visit the grammar school that has sent forth scholars, divines,
warriors, and lawyers; a Keye, a Clarke, an Earle, {5} a Nelson, and a
Rajah Brooke, to spread its fame in the wide world.  He may see in it a
record of the days when grammar was forbidden to be taught elsewhere; he
may peep through the oriels that look in upon the charnel-house of the
ancient dead beneath; may feast his eyes upon the beauties of the
Erpingham, and strange composite details of the Ethelbert gateways;
explore the mysteries of the Donjon, or Cow Tower; and following the
windings of the river past the low archway of the picturesque little
ferry, find himself at length stumbling upon some fragment of the old
“_Wall_.”  Thence he may trace the ancient frontier line of the Old City,
and the sites of its venerable gateways, that _were_, but _are not_; the
flintwork of the old rampart, now clinging to the precipitous sides of
“Butter Hills,” with an old tower at the summit, mounted, sentinel-like,
to keep watch over the ruins of the Carrow Abbey, and the alder cars,
that gave it its name in the valley below; now, following a broken
course, here and there left in solitude for wild creepers and the rare
indigenous carnation to take root upon; now bursting through
incrustations of modern bricks and mortar, and showing a bastion tower,
with its orifices ornamented by spread-eagle emblems of the stone-mason’s
craft in the precincts below; here, forming the back of slaughter-houses,
or the foundations of some miserable workshop, fashioned from the rubble
of its sides; thence wandering on through purlieus of wretchedness and
filth that might shake the nerves of any more vulnerable bodies than
“paving commissioners” or “boards of health;” its arched recesses, once
so carefully defined, its elevated walks, so studiously preserved for
recreation as well as for defence, all now rendered an indefinite
disfigured mass, with accretions of modern growth, that bear the stamp
upon every feature of their parentage, poverty and decay.  He may visit
barns and cottages with remnants of windows and doorways, that make it
easy to believe they once had been the shrine of a St. Mary Magdalen; may
trace out for himself, among hovels and cellars, and reeking court-yards,
grey patches of festering ruin, last lingering evidences of the age of
conventual grandeur; here, in the priory yard of a parish, that might be
said to shelter the offscum of poverty’s heavings up, he shall find a
little ecclesiastical remnant of monastic architecture, converted into a
modern meeting-house; the nursery walls that cradled the genius of a
Bale, the carmelite monk, and great chronicler of his age, now echoing
the doctrines of the “Reformed Religion,” as taught by the Anabaptist
preacher.  In another district, but still skirting on the river-side,
where those old monks ever loved to pitch their dwelling-places, down in
a dreary little nook, shut out from noisy thoroughfares, and bearing
about it all the hushed stillness that beseems the place, he may seek the
ghostly companionship of the old “friar of orders grey” in the lanes and
walks that once bounded the flourishing territory of the rich “mendicant”
followers of holy St. Francis, or “friars minors,” as they were wont to
call themselves.  Not far distant, the whereabouts of the old Austin
Friars may invite attention; and the locale of the “Carrow Nunnery,” or
ladies’ seminary of the mediæval times, claim a passing enquiry, and note
of admiration for the beauty of its site.

Sacred spots, consecrated by the holy waters of loving humanity and
gentle charity, in ages gone by, as the refuge of the diseased leper and
homeless poor, shall be pointed to as the mustard-seed from whence have
sprung those glorious monuments of our land, the hospitals for the sick
of these later generations.

Nor would he rest content without a glimpse of the Museum and its relics
of the dead, its hieroglyphical urns and querns, spurs, fibulæ, and
celts, its pyxes and beads, its lamps and coins, that lead imagination
back to pay domiciliary visits to the wooden huts, earthen
fortifications, and sepulchral hearths of our Icenic, Roman, or Saxon
forefathers, while gaping Egyptian mummies stand by, peering from their
wizened-up eye-balls at the industrious student of the “gallery of
antiquities,” looking wonder at the preference displayed for them, over
the more brilliant attractions offered to the lover of natural history,
and ornithology in particular, among the collections below.

Nor shall the antiquarian be alone in his enjoyment.  The botanist shall
delight to enrich his herbarium from the same hedgerows, fir-woods,
cornfields and rivulets, that have yielded flowers, mosses, hepatica, and
algæ to the researches of a Smith, a Hooker, and a Lindley, the children
of science nurtured on its soil.  The lover of music shall find fresh
beauties in the harmonies of its organs, quires, and choruses, from the
halo of associations cast around them by the memories of a Crotch, the
remembrance of the Gresham professorship, filled from the musical ranks
of the city, and may be, in time to come from a new lustre added by
another name, that has begun to be sounded forth by the trumpet of fame
in the musical world.

The scholar and literary man shall acknowledge the interest claimed by
the nursery in which has been reared a Bale, a Clarke, a Parker, a
Taylor, a Gurney, an Opie, and a Borrow, and we may add, a Barwell and a
Geldart, whose fruit and flowers, scattered on the way-side of the roads
of learning, have made many a rough path smooth to young and tender feet.

The philanthropist shall dwell upon the early lessons of Christian love
and humanity breathed into the heart of a Fry from its prison-houses, and
the silent teachings of the quiet meeting-house, where the brethren and
sisters, in simple garb of sober gray, are wont to assemble, and where
yet may still be seen the adopted sister Opie, resting in the autumn of
her days in the calm seclusion of the body of Friends, after a life spent
in scattering abroad in the world, germs of simple truth, pure morality,
and heart-religion, the fruits of the genius which has been her gift from
God.  He shall visit Earlham Hall, the birthplace of that great “sister
of charity,” Elizabeth Fry, and her brother, the philanthropist, Joseph
John Gurney, and beneath its avenues of chestnut, by the quiet waters of
its little lake, and the banks of bright anemones, that lay spread like a
rich carpet, in the early spring time, along its garden borders, inhale
sweet odours, and drink in refreshing draughts of pure unsullied poetry,
fresh from the fount of _nature_, and fragrant with the love that
breathes through all her teachings, the first child of the Great Parent
of good.

Hence he may trace his way back through the village hamlet, that gave a
home in his last years to the weary-hearted Hall, yielding a refuge and a
grave to the head bowed beneath the weight of a sorrow-burthened mitre;
and with hearts yet vibrating to the mournful cadences of woe, that swept
from his harp strings, forth upon the world from its saddened solitudes,
they may pass on to the garden of the Bishop’s Palace, and the monuments
yet lingering there; ivy-clad ruins, meet emblems of harsh realities,
over which the hand of time has thrown the sheltering mantle of
forgiveness.  And among the many chords touched by the hand of memory
here, where the shades of harsh bigotry and persecuting zeal vanish in
the gentle and softened light of Christian charity, breathed forth by the
spirits of later days, whose heart does not respond to the refined poetry
of the Charlotte Elizabeth, who has given such sweet paintings of this
familiar scene of her girlhood’s years?  Who can forget the song of the
Swedish Nightingale, as it thrilled through the evening air upon the
listening ears of the ravished, though untutored multitude? happy
associations of the enjoyments of working world life, and lay minstrels
of God’s creation, to be blended with the grander, but scarce more
solemn, memories of the great heads among the labourers in the harvest
field of souls.  Nor shall the poet forget to take a glimpse of the quiet
home, not far distant hence, of Sayer, the poet, philanthropist,
philosopher, and antiquarian, whose memory is still green in the hearts
of many of the great and good still living, and the remembrance of whose
friendship is esteemed by them among their choicest treasures.

The historian has a yet wider field for labour, and a busier work to do,
to connect into one chain the links that lie scattered far and wide,
among deserted thoroughfares, decaying mansion houses, desecrated
churches, and monastic ruins; to gather up the broken fragments of
political records, enshrined in many a mouldering parchment, crumbling
stone, or withered tree; and to weave into a whole the threads of
tradition and legendary lore, unravelled from the mystic fables of
antiquity.  It is his, to trace the identities of King Gurgunt and the
Danish Lothbroc; to establish the founder of the castle, and commemorate
the achievements of its feudal lords; upon him the duty of sifting
evidence, and searching out causes, of tracing the famous “Kett’s
rebellion,” to the deep-seated sense of wrong in the hearts of the
people, that found expression in the vague predictions and mystical
prophecies of the Merlin of the district.

It is for him to unfold the little germs of after-history, that he
treasured up in the kernels of such documents as he order addressed to
the county sheriff, to commit to prison those who refused to attend the
services of the established church; to trace the growth of the spirit
among the people, that opened the city gates to the army of the
“Parliament,” fortified its castle against royalist soldiers, and turned
its market-place into a place of execution for fellow-citizens, who dared
to espouse the cause of their king; to rescue from oblivion the gems that
were buried beneath the blows of the zealous puritan’s demolishing
hammer; to read in the nailed horseshoes, that surmount the doorways of
hundreds of its cottages, as a talisman against witchcraft, the legacy of
superstition bequeathed to their descendants by these earnest
“abolitionists;” to mark the _rise_ and _progress_ of the unfranchised
masses in this age of enlightened liberalism, and the deepening and
mellowed tone of the “voice of the people,” as it rises from the
chastened and self-disciplined homes of the educated and thriving
artisans.  Upon him too, it devolves, to mark the age and the man—to see
the monuments of the great-hearted and liberal-minded of the days gone
by, in the hospitals, charities, and endowments, their munificence has
showered down, from the heights of prosperity, upon the depths of
poverty—to trace the progress of the philanthropist of later times, in
his house to house visits, and read statistics of his labours in the
renovated homes and gladdened hearts of thousands, thus lifted out from
the swamps of misery and crime, by the single hand of Christian
benevolence, stretched forth in sympathy; to mark the efforts of
legislation to remove causes that evil results may cease, to note the
patriotism of honest hearts, that would seek to level, if at all, by
lifting up the poor to that standard of moral and physical comfort,
beneath which the manhood of human nature has neither liberty nor room to
grow; and finally, it is his to cast into the treasury of his nation’s
history his gleanings among the bye-ways of a single city, no mean or
despicable bundle of facts, with which to enrich its stores.

But we must tarry no longer to generalize with archæologist, poet or
historian; we have many storehouses to visit, where associations of
religion, poetry, and art, lie garnered up in rich abundance.



CHAPTER II.
THE CATHEDRAL.


THE CATHEDRAL.—_Forms_.—_Symbols_.—_Early history of the Christian
church_.—_Growth of superstition_.—_Influence of
Paganism_.—_Government_.—_Growth of the Papacy_.—_Monasticism_.—_St.
Macarius_.—_Benedict_.—_St. Augustine_.—_Hildebrand_.—_Celibacy of the
clergy_.—_Herbert of Losinga_, _founder of Norwich
Cathedral_.—_Crusades_, _their influence on Civilization_.—_Historical
memoranda_.—_Bishop Nix_.—_Bilney_.—_Bishop Hall_.—_Ancient religious
festivals_.—_Easter_.—_Whitsuntide_.—_Good Friday_.—“_Creeping to the
Cross_.”—_Paschal taper_.—_Legend of St. William_.—_Holy-rood
Day_.—_Carvings_.—_Origin of grotesque sculptures_.—_Old Painting_: _mode
of executing
it_.—_Speculatory_.—_Cloisters_.—_Anecdote_.—_Epitaph_.—_List of
Bishops_.—_Funeral of Bishop Stanley_.

“What is a city?”  “A city contains a cathedral, or Bishop’s see.”

Such being the definition given us in one of those valuable literary
productions that we were wont in olden time to call Pinnock’s
ninepennies, and which have since been followed by dozens upon dozens of
series upon series, written by a host of good souls that have followed in
his wake, devoting themselves to the task of retailing homeopathic doses
of concentrated geography, biography, philosophy, astronomy, geology, and
all the other phies, nies, onomies, and ologies, that ever perplexed or
enlightened the brains of the rising generation; we adopt the term, in
memory of those so-called happy days of childhood, when its vague
mysticism suggested to our country born and school-bred pates a wide
field of speculation for fancy to wander in; a Cathedral and a Bishop’s
see being to us, in their unexplained nomenclature, figures of speech as
hieroglyphical as any inscription that ever puzzled a Belzoni or a
Caviglia to decipher.

We have grown, however, to know something of the meaning of these terms;
and having lived to see a few specimens of real cathedrals and live
bishops, we are now quite ready to acknowledge the priority of their
claims upon our notice when rambling among the lions of an old city.

We say old, but where is the cathedral not old? save and except a few
just springing into existence, evidences we would hope of a reaction in
the devotional tendencies of our nature, rising up once more through the
confused assemblage of churches and chapels, and meeting houses, reared
in honour of man’s intellect, sectarian _isms_; human deity in fact, with
its standard _freedom of thought_, under which the myriad diverse forms
of hero worshippers have rallied themselves, each with their own atom of
the broken statue of truth, that they may vainly strive _of their own
power_ to re-unite again into a perfect and harmonious whole.  Setting
aside, however, these later efforts to regain something of the lofty
conceptions that can alone enter into the mind of a worshipper of God,
not man, we have to deal with the monuments of a past age yet left among
us, witnessing to the early life in the church, though not unmingled with
symptoms of disease, and marks of the progress of decay,—marks which are
indeed fearfully manifest in the relics existing in our country, that
bear almost equal traces of corruption and spiritual growth, each
struggling, as it were, for victory.  Is there any one who can walk
through the lofty nave of a cathedral, and not feel _lifted up_ to
something? may be he knows not _what_; but the spirit of worship, of
adoration, is breathed on him as it were from the structure around him.
And should it not be so? does not the blue vault of heaven, with its
unfathomed ocean of suns and worlds, each moving in its own orbit,
obeying one common law of order and perfect harmony, call up our
reverence for the God of _Nature_? and has it ever been forbidden that
the heart and understanding should be appealed to through the medium of
the outward senses, for the worship of the God of _Revelation_?  Is the
eye to be closed, the mouth dumb, the ear deaf, to all save the
intellectual teachings of a fellow man?  Is _music_ the gift of heaven,
_colour_ born in heaven’s light, _incense_ the fragrance of the garden,
planted by God’s hand, _form_ the clothing of soul and spirit, to be
banished from the temple dedicated to the service of that living God, who
created the music of the bird, the waterfall, and the thunder, who
painted the rainbow in the window of heaven, who scented the earth with
sweet flowers, and herbs and “spicy groves,” who gave to each tree, each
leaf, each bird and flower, each fibre, sinew, and muscle of the human
frame, each crystal, and each gem of earth, each shell of the ocean’s
depths, each moss and weed that creeps around the base of hidden rocks,
even to the noisome fungus and worm that owes its birth alike to death
and to decay a material body, full of beauty and adaptation in all its
parts; revealing thus to man, that all thought, all life, all spirit,
must dwell within an outer covering of _form_.  True, the spirit and life
may depart, the garment may cover rottenness and decay, the symbol may be
a dead letter, in the absence of the truth it should shadow forth, the
candle at the altar, be meaningless from the dimness of the light of the
spirit, that it should represent as ever living and present in the
church; the eagle of the reading-desk be a graven image, without place in
God’s temple, when the soaring voice of prophecy, rising above earth, and
fed from the living fire burning on heaven’s altar, that it should
symbolize, has ceased to be heard.  Incense may be a mystic mockery, when
the prayers of the children of God have ceased to ascend in unison as a
sweet smelling savour to the throne of their Father; the swelling chant
be monotonous jargon, when the beauty and harmony of _one common voice_
of praise, thanksgiving, and prayer, is not felt; the vestment be a mere
display of weak and empty vanity, when purity, activity, authority and
love, have ceased to be the realities expressed in the alb, the stole,
the crimson and purple, the gold and silver; the screen, a senseless mass
of carving, the long unbenched and empty nave, so much waste stone and
mortar, to those who see not in it the vast Gentile court, where the
voice of preaching and invitation was sent forth to sinners to enter the
temple and join in the _worship_ of _praise_ and _prayer_ of the _church
within_.

Why are all these too often as cold and empty outlines of a nothing to
our senses? is it not that their life is gone?  But should we therefore
cast away the fragments that remain? should we not rather desire that the
spirit may breathe upon the dry bones, that they may live again, and form
a new and living temple for the most High to dwell in; the outer edifice
of wood and stone, being the _model_ or _statue_ of that spiritual
church, of which every pillar, every window, every beam, and curtain,
should be formed of living members, with Christ for the foundation and
chief corner stone, to be built up and fashioned by the hand of God;
every sand or ash of truth that lies scattered over the surface of the
earthy being cemented together by bonds of love and charity, to form the
masonry of the one great Catholic Church.

Such thoughts may be misunderstood, and bring down upon us, in these days
of Papal Aggression, anathemas from many a zealous reformationist, or
member of the heterogeneous Protestant Alliance, nay, perhaps every shade
of Protestant dissenter, evangelical churchman, and Puseyite, may shake
his head at us in pity, and wonder what we mean; we would say to the
last, beware of the _shadow_ without the _substance_, the _symbol_
without the _truth_, the _emblem_ without the _reality_; and of the
others we would ask forbearance.  Popery does not necessarily lurk
beneath the advocacy of _forms_.

With such formidable prejudices as we may possibly have raised by these
suggestive hints, dare we hope to find companions in our visit to the
venerable pile of building, whose spire still rears itself from the
valley, where some eight hundred years ago, the foundations were laid of
one of those huge monastic institutions, combining secular with spiritual
power, once so common, and plentifully scattered over our country, and
even then grown into strange jumbling masses of error and truth, beauty
and deformity? the sole trace of whose grandeur is now to be found in the
church and cloister of a Protestant cathedral, and the palace of a
Protestant bishop.

We must not, however, lose sight of the fact, that this edifice, in
common with most others, among which we have to seek the past history of
the church either at home or abroad, did not spring into existence until
almost every truth possessed by the early Christians was so hidden by
cumbrous masses of superstition, the growth of centuries of darkness,
that it is difficult, nay, almost impossible, to trace any harmony of
purpose in their outline or filling up; hence the inconsistencies that
have sprung from the efforts to revive the ornaments and usages of a
period when, the life having departed from them in a great measure, their
meaning had been lost, and their practice perverted; hence, too, the
folly often displayed by zealous ecclesiastical symbolists, in regarding
every monkey, dog, mermaid, or imp that the carvers of wood and stone
fashioned from their own barbarous conceits, or copied from the
illuminations that some old monk’s overheated brain had devised for
embellishment to some fanciful legend, as embodied ideas, to be
interpreted into moral lessons or spiritual sermons.

Before, however, we enter into the detail of the remnants left us for
examination, we may take a glance over the page of the early history of
the church, and trace a little of the origin of those errors which had
grown around simple truths, converting them from beautiful realities into
monstrous absurdities.

A moment’s reflection may suffice to enable us to believe that the
church, as planted by its first head and master, was a _seed_ to be
watered and nurtured by the apostles, prophets, and ministers appointed
to the work, and intended to have an outward growth of form, as well as
inward growth of spirituality.  During the early period of its existence,
while suffering from the persecution of the Roman emperors, it was
impossible that the church could develop itself freely; consequently, we
are not surprised to find that “upper chambers,” and afterwards the tombs
and sepulchres of their “brethren in the faith,” perhaps, too, of their
risen Lord, were the places of meeting of its members.  Nor is it
difficult to trace from this origin the later superstitious worship at
the shrines of the saints.

As early, however, as the peaceful interval under Valerian and
Diocletian, when there was rest from persecution, houses were built and
exclusively devoted to worship; they were called _houses of prayer_, and
_houses of the congregation_.  And the idea that the Christian church
should only be a nobler copy of the Jewish temple was then clearly
recognized, the outline being as nearly as possible preserved, and the
inner part of the church, where the table of the Lord’s Supper stood,
ever having been inaccessible to the common people; an idea that has in a
certain sort of way survived all the reformations, dissolutions, and
dissensions of sixteen hundred years; for do we not even yet see the
minister and _deacons_ of the most ultra-dissenting meeting-houses
appropriating to themselves the _table pew_?  There has always seemed
something incongruous in the idea, that the minute instructions which God
himself thought it worthy to deliver unto Moses in the mount, for the
construction of a “tabernacle for the congregation,” and to contain the
ark of the covenant, which also formed a model for the gorgeous temple of
Solomon, should be doomed to entire annihilation at any period of the
world’s history.

As Jewish sacrifices, laws, and covenants, were types, pictures, of the
embodiments to be found in the Christian dispensation, when the anti-type
had appeared, surely it is possible that the tabernacle too was a type of
a real building of living stones, then to be formed and fitly framed
together, and which might have its outward symbol in the edifices of
worship in all ages.  We may not pause to dwell upon this idea, further
than it was recognized by the early Christians, of which clear proof
exists.

For the nearest approach to a perfect development of it, we must look to
a later date, when Christianity was first adopted by Constantine, and
just prior to its alliance with the state; and although, from the lack of
authority in church government, errors had already crept in, and mingled
with many of the practices, we believe the modern copyist might find a
far more pure and perfect model there, than in the meaningless
observances and ornaments of the middle ages.

Churches had then grown large and magnificent; they were divided into
three parts, the porch, the nave, and the sanctuary.  In the nave stood
the pulpit—preaching at that time being considered the invitation, or
preparation for the _church_, whose duty was _worship_.  It was divided
from the sanctuary by a _lattice work_, or screen, behind which was often
a veil before the holy table, which answered to the Holy of Holies of the
temple, and within it none but the priests entered.  The baptistery was
usually situated without the church doors, and contained a fount, and a
reservoir for washing the hands was always to be found in the outer court
that enclosed all the buildings.  Some writers have traced this to
heathen observances; if so, it without doubt _originated_ in the Jewish
practice.  The service within the church was conducted with all the means
at command for rendering it complete.  Music was cultivated—antiphonal
singing, or singing in responses, practised.  The clergy wore vestments
symbolical of their offices, each form and colour having its significant
meaning.  Candles were burning continually at the altar, as in the holy
place of the temple, symbolising God’s presence in the church.  Every
part of the building was designed to form a proportionate whole, and the
principle of dedicating to the house of God the best works of men’s hands
was admitted, the embellishment of His temple being then deemed of
superior importance to the decoration of individual dwelling-houses.

Transubstantiation had not polluted the table of the Lord by its
presence; the _mystery_ of the _spiritual_ presence of the Lord in the
Eucharist, appealing to _faith_, had not been replaced by the _miracle_,
directed to the carnal senses.  Images had no place in the house of God,
picture worship was unknown.  Confession of sins was practised, and
penances were imposed, as tests of the sincerity of repentance; at the
celebration of the Eucharist offerings were presented, in memory of the
dead who in their lives had offered gifts to God; fasting was observed,
but only from choice, and Sunday and the feast of Pentecost were the only
_festivals_ and holy-days observed.  Gradually, however, after the
alliance of the church with the state, and through the accession of
converts from the heathen world, grosser elements mingled themselves with
these observances; the superstition that the spirits of the saints
hovered around the mortal remains they had tenanted, led to the removal
of their bodies from their tombs, and placing them within the walls of
the church, and to the erection of shrines, where, first to offer up
worship _with_ them, afterwards _to_ them.

And who among us cannot feel the poetry and truth that gave birth to this
superstition?  Who that has ever watched in the chamber of death the
bursting of the earthly chrysalis, has not felt the soft touch of the
spirit’s wing, has not been conscious of the presence of the
spiritualized immortal, has not recognized the fragrance of the soul
passing from its earthly habitation, and filling the air with the essence
of its life, as the sweet scent of the flower when its perfect fruition
has been accomplished, lingers around the leaves of the falling petals?

Who that has ever witnessed the laying down of life in ripened age, by
some great and noble type of our humanity, in whose heart the lion and
the lamb, the eagle and the dove have dwelt together, but has seemed to
breathe an atmosphere laden with power and love, strength, beauty and
gentleness, as the spirit passed forth at the call of Him who gave it
birth?  And who has ever seen the portals of the spirit world open before
them, for one in whom all earthly trust, and confidence, and love were
centred, but has felt that an angel guardian lived for them in Heaven?
Is there no plea for saint worship?  But, alas! the poetry and the truth
of the superstition became clouded, and were lost in the dark mists of
ignorance and worldliness, and from their decay sprung up, like a fungus
plant, the noxious idea of the efficacy of reliques, with the monstrous
absurdities that accompanied their presence.  Confession and penance
merged into the sale of indulgences, purchased absolutions, and
interdicts; the sleep of the dead, into a belief in purgatorial fires,
voluntary seclusion from the gaieties and follies of the world, into
forced separation from its active duties; saint worship, image worship,
and picture worship gradually usurped the place of the worship of the one
God; the cross, from a symbol grew into an idol, and emblems, vestments,
and incense, losing their character, from the reality departing, whose
presence they should only shadow forth, grew into mere accumulations of
ceremonial, covering a decayed skeleton.  In this process it is easy to
trace the influence of Pagan superstition.  As the heathen world
gradually became converted to Christianity, objects in the new faith were
sought out, around which to cluster the observances and rites of the old
system.  Thus the worship offered to Cybele, the great mother of the
gods, who among the innumerable deities of ancient Rome was pre-eminent,
was readily transferred to the madonna, from a fancied resemblance, and
as Juno, Minerva, Vesta, Pan, and others, were the especial guardians of
women, olive trees, bakers, shepherds, &c. &c.  So Erasmus, Teodoro,
Genaro, and other saints received homage as the peculiar patrons of
individuals or classes.  The Genii, Lares, and Penates, occupying the
Larrarium of the ancient houses, were replaced, or oftener rebaptized
under the names of a madonna, saints or martyrs; the Emperor Alexander,
the son of Mammaea, actually placed the image of Christ in his Larrarium,
with his Lares and Penates.  The _Sacrarium_ took its origin hence.  The
Pagan had been accustomed to bring his _hostia_ as a _sacrifice_ to Jove;
the convert found opportunity to engraft the idea on the commemorative
service of the Eucharist.

Meantime church government had been going on in a floundering sort of
way, groping about in the dark for authority on which to act, but having
lost the apostleship and prophets, set in the church to rule and guide
it, and to aid in the work of perfecting the saints, the pastors or
bishops set about establishing a system to replace that given them from
above—thence began divisions, schisms, and heresies without number, and
as early as the commencement of the third century, we find the bishops
holding synods as a means towards obtaining Catholic form of doctrine;
gradually the bishops in whose provinces these synods were held, who were
called metropolitans, took precedence in rank to others, and thus those
of Rome, Antioch, and Alexandria, came to be recognised as the heads or
chiefs.  After the removal of the seat of empire by Constantine, this
principle extended itself in the western church at Rome, until the final
assumption of temporal and spiritual power over all Christendom by
Hildebrand, or Gregory VII., who, although not the first that bore the
title of Pope, was the first who thoroughly established the power of the
Papacy.

Another important feature of Christianity during these ages, was the
progress of monasticism, which had steadily increased from the time of
Anthony the Hermit, who fleeing from the corruptions and vanities of the
world, had sought to prove and improve his sanctity, by retirement to a
solitary cell, there to practise all manner of self tortures; in this
laudable attempt he was followed by a host of others, each vying with his
brother, as to which could attain the highest perfection in extravagant
folly.  Thus one lived on the top of a pillar, and was emulated by a
whole tribe of pillar saints; another punished himself for killing a
gnat, by taking up his abode in marshes where flies abounded, whose sting
was sufficient to pierce the hide of a boar, and whose operations upon
his person were such as to disfigure him so that his dearest friends
could not recognise him; another class, the ascetics, carried on their
rigid system of self-denial in the midst of society, others wandered
about as beggars, and were afterwards called mendicants, or wandering
friars; but the anchorets, or _pillar saints_, attained the ultimatum of
glory, in their elevation of sanctity on the top of their pillars.  In
progress of time these hermits began to associate themselves into
fraternities; and as far back as the middle of the second century, we
hear of a body of seventy, establishing themselves in the deserts of
Nitria, by the Nitron lakes.  It is told of St. Macarius, the head of
this body, that having received a bunch of grapes, he sent it to another,
who tasting one, passed it to another; he being like abstemious, sent it
again forward to another, until, having gone the circuit, it reached
Macarius again unfinished.

Basil the Great first founded a permanent monastic establishment to
convert people from the error of Arianism; and Benedict, a native of
Mursia in Umbria, A.D. 529, first established a regular order among the
scattered convents, by uniting them under a fixed circle of laws,
seclusion for life being the primary one.  These societies also were made
useful by him, in having allotted to them various occupations, such as
the education of the young, copying and preserving manuscripts, recording
the history of their own times in their chronicles, and also in the
manual labour of cultivating waste lands.  At first the monks had been
reckoned among the laity, the convents forming separate churches, of
which the abbot was usually presbyter, standing in the same relation to
the bishop as in other churches; but monastic life gradually came to be
considered the preparation for the clerical office, especially that of
bishop.  This led to the adoption of monastic discipline among the
clergy; and the law of celibacy which had been rejected at the council of
Nice, was then prescribed by Siricius, bishop of Rome.

The convents were the representatives of the Christian aristocracy or
monarchy, the mendicant orders, were the clergy of the poor.  And each in
their sphere exercised a great civilizing influence on the people; the
latter especially, because the former, by their studies and literary
labours, were more occupied in preparing the revival of letters, and the
diffusion of knowledge in their own circle.  Under the auspices of the
church, systems of Christian charity were established, schools for
children, hospitals and homes of refuge, were multiplied; all this was
beneficial, it was the warmth of Christian light shining in dark places,
although deep and painful wounds existed, whose fatal consequences soon
became manifest.

Such was the state of the church when St. Augustine laid claim to the
supremacy of this country, towards the end of the sixth century.

This zealous missionary, according to Neander, would seem to have been
especially wanting in the Christian grace of humility, which no doubt was
the cause of the disputes between the early British church and the Romish
Anglo-Saxon that ensued, which, however, were settled by Oswys, king and
afterwards saint of Northumberland, who decided upon acknowledging the
Romish supremacy, and from that time the doctrines, ritual, Gregorian
chaunt and Latin service of the Romish church were adopted, and an
admirable old man, Theodore of Cilicia, who brought sciences with him
from Greece, occupied the see of Canterbury, A.D. 668–690.  The thirst
for knowledge among the people at this time was ministered to by this
good old man, who, with his friend Abbot Hadrian, made a progress through
all England, seeking to gather scholars around him; and the instructions
thus communicated to the English church were soon after collected by
Bede, that simple and thoughtful, as well as inquiring and scientific
priest and monk, who says of himself, “I have used all diligence in the
study of the Holy Scriptures, and in the observance of conventual rules,
and the daily singing in the church; it was ever my joy either to learn,
or teach, or write something.”

The history of the western church becomes merged henceforth in the papal
power, and we pass on to the era of Hildebrand, or Gregory VII., its
great representative.  The struggles of this prelate to suppress simony,
and enforce the celibacy of the clergy, are among the most notorious
features of his reign; legates were despatched to all the provinces of
the west, over which he had already set up claim to supreme power,
stirring up the people against the married clergy; and in order at once
to strike at the root of simony, he forbade entirely the investiture of
ecclesiastics by civil authorities.  He excommunicated five councillors
of Henry IV. of Germany, threatened Philip of France with the same
punishment, and would doubtless have carried out his plans with equal
rigour in England, but for the potency of the monarch with whom he had to
deal.  William the Conqueror refused permission for the bishops to leave
the country when summoned to Rome, exercised his right of investiture,
and treated the demands of the Pope with cold indifference.  Yet Gregory
took no further steps against so vigorous an opponent.  After the death
of both, the contest on the right of investiture was revived, and in the
reign of Rufus was maintained against him by Anselm, Archbishop of
Canterbury.

We have dwelt perhaps tediously on this period of history, but its
connection with our subject will be apparent, when we come to the
foundation of the cathedral we are visiting; but we must not altogether
omit mention of the most conspicuous feature of political activity and
religious zeal combined, that characterized that age.  The Crusades will
eternally remain in history an example of the devotion and mighty efforts
of which men are capable, when united by a common faith and religious
ideas.  Gregory was the first who conceived the project, realized
afterwards by Urban II., through the instrumentality of that wonderful
man, Peter the Hermit, who went through all Europe fanning into a flame
the indignation that had been kindled by the reports of the ill treatment
of pilgrims to Palestine; and it was not long before a countless host,
urged on as much perhaps by love of adventure, a desire to escape from
feudal tyranny and hope of gain, as religious enthusiasm, gathered round
the banner raised in Christendom.  The object in view was not gained, but
the consequences were numerous and beneficial.  Nations learnt to know
each other, hostilities were softened by uniting in a common cause of
Christian faith; literature in the west received a stimulus from the
contact into which it was brought with the more enlightened eastern
nations, and the poetry and imagery of the sunnier climes threw their
mantle of refinement over the barbarisms of the colder countries.  Among
the writings that bear this date, is the celebrated controversy between
Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1089, with Berengen, Archdeacon of
Angers, on the doctrine of Transubstantiation, a doctrine first
promulgated by Paschasius Radbertus, and at that time supported by
Lanfranc, and opposed by Berengen.

A proof of the partial failure, at least in this country, of the
legislations of Gregory, is found in the history of the founder of the
Norwich Cathedral.  Gregory died A.D. 1085, and Herbert of Losinga, Abbot
of Ramshay, Bishop of Thetford, and afterwards Bishop of Norwich, to
which city he removed the see from Thetford, laid the first stone of the
present cathedral, A.D. 1096.  Much has been said and written as to the
birth-place of this prelate: it has usually been considered that he was a
Norman, brought over by William Rufus in 1087, but it is much more
probable that he was a native of Suffolk, and his return with Rufus is
readily accounted for by the custom existing at that time of sending
youths to France, especially Normandy, to complete their education.  That
he purchased the see of Thetford is undisputed, and also the abbey of
Winchester for his father, who, although a married man, filled a clerical
office.  Remorse for these simoniacal transactions is said to have
quickly followed, and we are told that the bishop hastened to Rome to
obtain absolution, and then and there had imposed on him the penance of
building a monastery, cathedral, and some half-dozen other large
churches.  This incredible legend is much more reasonably explained by
reference to the disturbed state of the affairs of the church before
referred to, which most probably rendered it difficult for Herbert to
obtain the spiritual rights of the see, although possessed of its
temporalities, therefore his visit to Rome; and as for the rest of the
churches attributed to him as works of penance, some other explanation of
their origin must be found.  The coffers of the wealthiest monarch in
Europe could not have furnished means to fulfil such a penance; and when
the purchase-money of the see, £1900, and £1000 for the Abbacy of
Winchester, the expenses of the journey to Rome, and the cost of his work
in the cathedral be considered, we may fairly doubt even the wealthy
Herbert’s resources proving sufficient to meet the further demands of
such splendid edifices.

There is little doubt that while at Rome arrangements were completed for
the transfer of the see, but most probably only in accordance with a
previous determination of the Council of London, A.D. 1075, when it had
been decreed that all bishoprics should be removed from villages to the
chief town of the county.  Historians have bestowed upon this bishop the
title of the “Kyndling Match of Simony,” but the sin was far too common
in that age for him to deserve so distinctive an appellation; and
chroniclers, quite as veritable and much more charitable, have given
sketches of his character, that prove him to have been an amiable,
accomplished, and pious man, of great refinement, and possessing a
remarkable love of the young, and a cheerfulness and playfulness of
manner in intercourse with them, that rarely is an attribute of any but a
benevolent mind.  We must not, however, linger upon the personal history
of the founder.  Associated with him in the ceremony of laying the
foundation, we find the name of the great feudal lord of the castle,
Roger Bigod, and most of the nobility and barons of the district, one of
whom, Herbert de Rye, was a devoté from the Holy Land.  The first stone
was laid by Herbert, the second by De Rye, the other barons placing their
several stones, and contributing in money to the work.  The church, as
left by Herbert, consisted of the whole choir, the lower part of which,
now remaining, is the original building, though much concealed by modern
screenwork; the roofs and upper part are of later date.  Eborard, the
successor of Herbert, built the nave, not then raised to the present
height, but terminating at the line distinctly traceable below the
clerestory windows.  The Catholic cathedral, or Catholic architecture, so
miscalled _Gothic_, is the pride and glory of the middle ages.  The
spirit of the times, of fervent aspiration towards heaven, speaks in it
more, perhaps, than in the purer models of more ancient works.
Architecture was then the language through which thoughts found
expression, speaking to the eye, the mind, the heart, and imagination.
Kings, clergy, nobility, people, all contributed towards these
structures.  Painting, sculpture, music, found a place in them, and
flourished under the auspices of religion.  “The Anglo-Norman cathedrals
were perhaps as much distinguished,” says Hallam, “above other works of
man, as the more splendid edifices of later date;” and they have their
peculiar effect, although perhaps not rivalling those of Westminster,
Wells, Lincoln, or York.

We shall not attempt to expound the details of the building; but even the
uninitiated may discern at a glance that it is a work to which many a
different age has lent its aid.  The simplicity of the Anglo-Norman style
is blended with various specimens of later date, not inharmoniously.  The
nave, with its beautifully grained and vaulted roof, and elaborately
sculptured bosses, like forest boughs, and pendant roots, with tales of
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and hosts of other old Scripture heroes carved
upon them, might almost seem one work with the sterner aisles, but modern
windows bespeak the hand of perpendicularism to have been busy in
after-years.  To Lyhart, bishop of the see in the reign of Henry VI.,
this roof is attributed, and to his successor Goldwell the continuation
of the design over the choir.  Lyhart lies under a stone beneath his own
roof; Goldwell moulders under a tomb reared in the choir, where he lies
in stone, robed in full canonicals, his feet resting upon a lion.

On the south side of the nave, between the pillars, is the tomb of
Chancellor Spencer.  Upon it the chapter formerly received their rents,
and the stone was completely worn by the frequent ringing of the money.
On the same side, further up, are two elaborately decorated arches in the
perpendicular style, looking strangely at variance with the simplicity
prevailing around.  These purport to be the chapel of Bishop Nix, who
lies buried beneath them, and an altar formerly stood at the foot of the
eastern pillar.  The iron-work on which hung the bell, is still visible
on the side of the western pillar.  The pulpit stood near here; a faint
trace of its site is discernible against the pillar, but that is all that
remains to speak of the original purpose of this spacious court.  Bishop
Nix it was who tried and condemned the martyr Bilney, whose trial, as all
others of the same nature, was conducted in the consistory court, or
Bishop Beauchamp’s chapel, in the south aisle of the choir.  In the north
aisle of the nave, between the sixth and seventh pillars, is a door-way,
now closed, and converted into a bench, through which the people formerly
adjourned after prayers in the choir to hear the sermon, which was
preached in the green yard, now the palace gardens, prior to the Great
Rebellion.  Galleries were raised against the walls of the palace, and
along the north wall of the cathedral, for the mayor, aldermen, their
wives and officers, dean, prebends, &c.; the rest of the audience either
stood or sat on forms, paying for their seats a penny, or half-penny
each.  The pulpit had a capacious covering of lead, with a cross upon it.
On the church being sequestered, and the service discontinued during the
Commonwealth, the pulpit was removed to the New Hall Yard, now the garden
of St. Andrew’s Hall, and the sermons were preached there.  The
devastations committed in and about the building at that period, formed
the subject of grievous lamentations from the pen of good bishop Hall,
then the Bishop of the see, whose sufferings from persecution have become
a part of our country’s history.  Hall spent the last melancholy years of
his life in the little village of Heigham, where the Dolphin Inn, with
its quaint flint-work frontage, mullioned windows, and curiously carved
chamber roof and door, yet remain to associate the spot with his memory:
his tomb is in the little village church close by.

In the centre of the roof of the nave is a circular hole, the purpose of
which for many years puzzled enquirers; but one of the industrious and
intellectual archæologians of the present day, to whom we are indebted
for many interesting discoveries connected with the cathedral, has
reasonably suggested that it was the spot from whence was suspended the
large censer swung lengthwise in the nave at the festivals of Easter and
Whitsuntide.  On the north side of the choir there still exists the small
oriel window, through which the sepulchre was watched from Good Friday to
Easter Morning.  This ceremony consisted of placing the host in a
sepulchre, erected to represent the holy sepulchre, covering it with
crape, and setting a person or persons to watch it until Easter Sunday,
as the soldiers watched the tomb of Christ.  During the time, no bells
sounded, no music was heard, and lights were extinguished.  In silence
and gloom these three days were passed.  In reference to the length of
time usually so denominated, that is from Friday to Sunday, a curious
solution, attributed to Christopher Wren, the son of the architect, has
recently been published; he seems to have puzzled himself over such like
problems, and says, “that the night in one hemisphere was day in the
other, and the two days in the other were nights in the opposite,” so
that in reality there were three nights and three days on _the earth_;
and as Christ died for the whole world, not only for the hemisphere in
which Judea was, he therefore truly remained in the grave that time.

It is difficult for us, accustomed to the sober undemonstrative, not to
say cold demeanour of modern Protestantism, to form a conception of the
effect of the seasons of festivity or humiliation, as observed even in
our own land in earlier times.  The setting apart the greater portion of
the day for weeks together, for religious ceremonies, and especially the
almost dramatic scenes of the Passion week, sound to our ears as tales of
mummery.  Whether we have gained much by the acquisition of the wisdom
that sees nothing in them but occasion for ridicule, or pity, may be a
question.  Certain it is that many of the practices were gross and
debasing; many, had beauty and truth in them.

Amongst those peculiar to the season of Easter, are the ceremony of
creeping to the cross on Good Friday, and the kindling of the fires and
lighting of the paschal on Easter Eve.  As these are distinctly mentioned
in ancient Norfolk wills, as practised in this cathedral, we may just
describe them in connection with our visit to it.  It was often customary
to leave lands chargeable with the payment of offerings at this season,
both at the creeping of the cross, and to furnish new paschals or tapers
for lighting at Easter.

The creeping to the cross is mentioned in a proclamation, black letter,
dated 26th February, 30th Henry VIII., in the first volume of a
collection of proclamations in the archives of the Society of
Antiquaries, where it is stated, “On Good Friday it shall be declared how
creeping to the cross sygnyfyeth an humblynge of oneself to Christ before
the cross, and the kyssynge of it a memory of our redemption made upon
the cross.”  In a letter from Henry to Cranmer, of later date, a command
is issued that the practice should be discontinued as idolatrous.  The
ceremony is described by Davies in his rites of the cathedral church of
Durham, where he relates, “that within that church, upon Good Friday,
there was a marvellously solemn service, in which service time, after the
passion was sung, two of the ancient monks took a goodly large crucifix,
all of gold, of the picture of our Saviour Christ nailed upon the cross,
laying it upon a cushion, bringing it betwixt them thereupon to the
lowest greese or step in the choir, and there did hold the said cross
betwixt them.  And then one of the monks did rise, and went a pretty
space from it, and setting himself upon his knees, with his shoes put off
very reverently, _he crept upon his knees_ unto the said cross, and after
him the other did likewise, and then they set down again on either side
of it.  Afterward, the prior came forth from his stall, and in like
manner did creep unto the said cross, and all the monks after him in the
said manner, in the meantime the whole quire singing a hymn.  The service
being ended, the two monks carried the cross and the sepulchre with great
reverence; kings, queens, and common people, all followed the same
custom; it was, however, usual to place a carpet for royal knees to creep
upon.”

The paschal, or taper as it was called, was lighted from fire struck from
a flint on Easter Eve, all previous fires being extinguished.  The
paschal was often of great size: that of Westminster Abbey, in 1557,
weighed three hundred pounds.  Many curious records of church
disbursements for these and such like things are recorded; in those of
St. Mary-at-Hill, in London, stands, “For a quarter of coles for the
hallowed fire of Easter Eve, 6_d._; also for two men to watch the
sepulchre, from Good Friday to Easter Eve, 14_d._; for a piece of timber
to the new paschal, 2_s._; paid for a dish of pewter for the paschal,
8_d_.”

The church on Easter morning presented another scene.  The sepulchre
removed, tapers were lighted, fires kindled, incense burned, music pealed
from the bells, Te Deums from organs, flowers fresh gathered lent their
fragrance to the hour, birds set loose from the crowd, all joined to
celebrate the joyful festival of the resurrection, and altars glittered
with the whole wealth of silver and gold, that munificence or penitence
had enriched them with.  We have left off all these things—but we sing
the Easter hymn.

On the north side of the entrance from the nave into the anti-choir was
placed the chapel, dedicated to the Lady of Pity; and above the spot
where Herbert laid the foundation stone, was placed the altar, dedicated
to St. William.  As this sounds rather an unsaintly name, we must explain
that St. William was a little boy, aged nine years, who, in the time of
Rufus, when the Jews were powerful in our land, fell a martyr to their
hatred of the Christians.  The tale runs that, in 1137, the Jews, then
the leading merchants, doctors, and scholars of the day, stole a little
boy, crucified him, and buried him in Thorpe wood.  They were discovered
on their road to the burial, but escaped punishment by some clever
monetary arrangement with the authorities.  Little William was buried in
the wood, and a chapel raised above his grave, the outline of which is
yet discernible by the fineness of the grass, that distinguishes it from
the heath around, the wood having long since narrowed its limits; the
shepherds say weeds will not grow on the spot, for it is “hallowed
ground.”  The bones of the unfortunate boy were afterwards brought to the
cathedral, where another shrine was erected, and dedicated to the little
saint; and Thomas, a monk of Monmouth, is said to have written _seven_
books of the miracles wrought by these bones.  It was essential, before a
saint could be canonized, that three miracles should be proved to have
been wrought by him in life, or after death; hence, no doubt, the efforts
of the monk to prove their potency, as the youth of the martyr would
render it doubly essential to establish his claims to the honour
indubitably.  The body of a saint, by act of canonization, was placed in
a sarcophagus, an altar raised over it, where mass was said continually,
to secure his or her mediation.

Above the anti-choir was the rood loft, in which were kept the reliques,
and on which was erected the principal rood or cross, with the figure of
the Saviour carved on it.  The rood loft was always placed between the
nave and choir, signifying that those who would go from the church
militant, which the nave then represented, into the church triumphant,
must go under the cross, and suffer affliction.  The festival of the
cross was and is called Holy Rood Day, and was instituted first on
account of the recovery of a large piece of the cross by the Emperor
Heraclius, after it had been taken away, on the plundering of Jerusalem
by Chosroes, king of Persia, A.D. 615.  Rood and cross are synonymous.
The rood, when perfectly made, had not only the figure of Christ on it,
but those of the Virgin and St. John, one on each side, in allusion to
their presence at the Crucifixion.

Besides the rood, this loft also once contained a representation of the
Trinity, superbly gilt; the Father blasphemously figured as an old man,
with the Saviour Christ on the cross, between his knees, and the Holy
Spirit, in the form of a dove, on his breast.  This image was ornamented
with a gold chain, weighing nearly eight ounces, a large jewel, with a
red rose enamelled in gold, hanging on it, and four smaller jewels.  A
silver collar was also presented to it in 1443, that had been bestowed
upon some knight as a mark of honour.  Among the relics was a portion of
the blood of the Virgin, to which numbers came in pilgrimage, and made
offerings.  Whether or no it liquefied at stated seasons, like that of
St. Genaro, is not recorded.

It is not pleasant to watch the growth of such gross materialisms over
the sacred truths and symbols of Christian worship; nor can we wonder at
the re-actionary enthusiasm that came and swept them all away, however
much good taste may deplore the loss of many beauties and solid
treasures, that disappeared amid the tumult of the “dissolution.”

Passing beneath the rood loft, now the gallery for one of the finest
organs and choirs our country can boast, we enter the choir, which, as it
extends westward considerably beyond the tower, is of unusual length, and
imposing in its effect; the lantern, or lower part of the tower, rising
in the centre, supported by four noble arches, that bear the weight of
the whole tower and spire, is impressively beautiful, albeit modern
decorators have been at work to spoil the harmony that should prevail, by
medallions and wreaths that should have no place there, however pretty in
themselves.

The connoisseur may here find an abundant field to exercise his
architectural knowledge, in deciding the various dates of the several
portions of this beautiful part of the building.  The long row of stalls,
with their high-backed and projecting canopies, crowned with multitudes
of crocketted pinnacles, the richly decorated screen-work, that shuts out
the plainer Norman aisles, the mysterious-looking triforium running round
the curious apsidal termination, the light clerestory, with its tier of
windows, divided by feathered and canopied niches, whence spring the main
ribs of the vaulted roof,—form a whole, that it needs no skill in art or
science to be enabled to appreciate and enjoy.  Of painted glass, perhaps
the less said the better—we may be wanting in taste or judgment; certain
it is, it forms no very prominent feature of beauty, and a kaliedoscope
of mediocre arrangement, and a rather indifferent illumination
transparency, may, we fancy, each find a counterpart among the specimens
of colour that do exist.  Something is in progress—perhaps on an improved
scale.

But we must not omit to glance at a few of the quaint old carvings, that
remain almost as sole relics of the ancient furniture of the church.
Entering any stall, we observe the seat turns up on hinges, and beneath
is a narrow ledge, which it has been presumed was a contrivance to
relieve the old monks from the fatigue of standing, during the parts of
the service where that position is prescribed by the rubric; they were
supposed to lean upon these ledges in a half-sitting posture; but a much
more reasonable conjecture is, that they were intended as rests for the
elbows and missal when kneeling in prayer; a glance at them when turned
up instantly suggests the idea of a _prie dieu_, which they closely
resemble.  The lower parts of these _misereres_, as they were called, are
decorated in a most elaborate manner with carving, and supported by
bosses, sometimes of one or more figures, often foliage, fruit, and
flowers, or shields.  Among them may be found the figures of a lion and
dragon biting each other; owls and little birds fighting; Sampson in
armour (?) slaying the lion; monkeys fighting, one holding a rod, another
in a wheelbarrow; the prodigal son feeding swine; a monk tearing a dog’s
hind legs; another flogging a little boy, amid a group of other urchins;
and numerous other equally inexplicable designs.  If, indeed, such
objects did occupy the place under the eyes of the monks at their
devotions, they must have served admirably to train the risible muscles
to self-command.

It is among these carvings that the presumed satires are to be found,
that are attributed to the dissensions existing between the secular and
regular clergy, about the period of the building of the Cathedral; they
would have us interpret them as something akin to liberty of the press,
with all its caprices, sarcasms, and ironical sneers; but as the
self-same subjects have been found to range over the works of the carvers
from the thirteenth century down to the Reformation, and on the Continent
as well as in this country, it is much more probable that they were
copies from the illustrations of books, at that time popular, or from the
illuminations of fanciful legends, upon which the monks were continually
engaged, and which were always at hand to serve as patterns for the
workmen.  The Bestiaria, a work very celebrated, has been suggested as
the source of many of the figures; among its pages figured mermaids,
unicorns, dragons, &c.; and the calendars also, in which the agricultural
pursuits of each month were depicted on the top of the page, might form
another copy to be modelled from.  Such is the most probable way of
accounting for the presence of such objects, although it is possible that
in an age when the church offered scope for every talent to display
itself, so, obscure recesses were found for the offspring of these
original, though not very refined, creations of fancy, often, however,
executed by the hands of skilful craftsmen.

One look at the antique specimen of the reading desk—a pelican supporting
it with the clot of blood on its breast, symbolizing, we are told, the
shedding of the blood of Christ, as that bird sheds its blood for its
young.  It may, or may not be so—but if it be, it is indeed a gross
substitute for the eagle, a symbol that has at least poetry and
spirituality to recommend it.

Beyond this, and behind the high altar, in the recess of the apse, once
stood the bishop’s throne, a plain stone chair, in the days when the
priests did occupy their places in the church.  The seat may still be
seen in the aisle, at the back of this spot, by any one adventurous
enough to climb a ladder, and peep into a niche they will find high up in
the wall.

We let pulpits and thrones of the present day speak for themselves, and
leaving the choir, take a brief look at the fine old chapels of St. Luke
and Jesus, on the north and south side of the apse.  The former still
remains in good preservation, and is used as the parish church of St.
Mary in the Marsh, destroyed by Herbert, the founder of both these
chapels, as well as the Cathedral.  The only font within the precincts is
here; it is an ancient affair, brought hither from the demolished church,
and is decorated with carvings, representing the seven sacraments, the
four evangelists, and divers figures of popes, saints, confessors, &c.
Over this chapel is the treasury of the dean and chapter, from amongst
whose stores, hid up where moth and rust do corrupt, a beautiful and
curious painting of scenes in the life of Christ, has been of late years
rescued, and promoted to the honour of a place in the vestry room (the
ancient prison of the monastery), where it has been placed under a glass
case.  It appears to have served originally as some part of the
decoration of an altar, and was set in a frame, the mouldings of which
are richly diapered and ornamented with gilding, with impressed work and
fragments of coloured glass inserted at intervals, a mode of enrichment
of which specimens are very rare in this country.  The corners of the
frame had been removed to adapt it to the purpose of a table, at the
period of the great “dissolution,” where it had remained with its back
serving for the top of the required table, until accident revealed it to
the eyes of archæological research.

The painting is divided into five compartments, each on a separate panel,
the subjects being the Flagellation of Christ, Christ bearing the Cross,
the Crucifixion, and the Ascension.  The entire back-grounds of the
paintings are gilded and diapered in curious patterns, and the ornaments,
such as the bosses of the harness on the horses of the soldiers, the
goldsmith’s work on the cingulum or belt, are in slight relief.  This
mode of painting is described as being executed upon a thin coating of
composition, made of whiting and white of egg, laid on the oaken panel;
upon this the outline of the design was traced with a red line, and the
spaces designed to receive gilding were then marked out with fresh
whitening and egg; the stems marked with a modelling tool, and leaves
added by filling moulds with the paste, and fixing them by pressure on
the surface of the picture; the puncture work and little toolings were
then produced, and the modelling finished.  The gilded portions were next
covered with gold leaf, and the artist proceeded with his pictures, using
transparent colours liquefied by white of egg.

At the extreme end of the Cathedral once stood another chapel, dedicated
to St. Mary the Great, of considerable note in early times—the offerings
at the high altar amounting to immense sums—daily mass was said here for
the founder’s soul in particular, his friends, relations, benefactors,
&c.  The chapel was about seventy feet long and thirty broad, and had a
handsome entrance from the church; it has long since disappeared.  The
Jesus chapel on the opposite side is rather a melancholy looking place at
present, one high tomb of some pretensions in the centre alone
distinguishing it from a lumber room; near this chapel, in the north
aisle, is the speculatory before alluded to, as the opening through which
the sepulchre was watched at Easter; it has, until recently, been called
the ancient “confessional,” a somewhat extraordinary position for such a
priestly office to be exercised in, as were it so, the penitent must of
necessity have stood in the aisle on tiptoe to reach the ear of his
confessor in the choir, who must equally of necessity have lain upon the
ground to receive the confession.

And now we must pass on to the cloisters, where one almost involuntarily
cries out for “the monks of old,” to come and give life to the walks
among the tombs, no other earthly figure or garb, save a cowled monk,
seeming to have place in such a scene.  The long lines of beautiful
windows, on the one side of pure early English tracery, on another of the
decorated period, and another line still more elaborate in its turnings
and twistings, while the last bespeaks the perpendicularism that prevails
among so many of the windows of the church—each and all are beautiful.
The splendidly carved doorway entering into the church, that has puzzled
learned and simple alike to interpret truly, is a gem, and the perfectly
preserved lavatories at the opposite corner have their own features of
interest.  The roof, groined and vaulted with sculptured bosses, is
covered with fanciful and legendary carvings—the martyrdoms of saints,
St. Anthony roasting on his gridiron, &c., St. John the Baptist and
Herodias with his head in a charger; the mutilated body of another
headless saint has received from some kind charitable hand the blessing
of a new head, while the old one is under his arm; the date of this
addition or growth is uncertain—it looks very white, rather new; above
the door leading into the ancient refectory is a carving of the
Temptation, Adam and Eve and the serpent as usual; about this said
carving hangs a tale, another than the story of the Fall of man, and too
good to be omitted.  The great historian of this comity, and all the
little historians that have condensed, contracted, extracted, and
dove-tailed little bits of his history together, have all with wonderful
precision agreed that above this arch was carved the _espousals_ or
Sacrament of Marriage; and upon that foundation, or perhaps rather
_under_ that head we should say, entered into elaborate details of how
this spot was the chosen site for the celebration of the sacrament of
marriage, which every one knows was performed in the _porch_ of the
church, and not in the church itself as now, but as this spot is a very
considerable number of yards distant from either church or porch, some of
those troublesome people who will be continually saying Why? and seeking
for a Because, began to look for these _espousals_, and found only a
_Temptation_.  One of these individuals, of a peculiarly persevering
nature, earnestly desirous of reconciling these strange discrepancies
between the assertion of a respectable old historian, and his own
eye-sight, set to work, and the following was the result.  He found that
much of this good historian’s description of the cloister was a tolerably
free translation of an old Latin work by William of Worcester, the
original manuscript of which exists in the library of Corpus Christi, at
Cambridge.  It was printed and edited, many years ago, by one Nasmith,
and an extract is to be found in the last edition of the Monasticon,
where the work of a bishop who built one side of the cloister is
described as extending to the arches, “in quibus maritagia dependent,”
which must be translated “in which the espousals or marriages hang.”  Now
it seemed to this inquisitive individual that a very trivial error of the
transcriber might have entirely altered the sense of the passage; that if
the word “maritagia” should turn out to be “manut’gia” for “manutergia,”
all the mystery would be explained.  Upon inquiry, and inspection of the
original manuscript, this proved a correct surmise on the part of the
ingenious as well as inquisitive individual, and the arches in which the
(manutergia) _towels_ hang, _close by the lavatories_, turn out to be the
substitute for the arches in which the _espousals hang_.  Overlooking the
single stroke of a pen, produced these queer misconceptions _for above a
century_.

The following is an epitaph composed for Jacob Freeman, who was buried in
the cloister yard, where he used often to lie upon a hill and sleep, with
his head upon a stone.  The old man was very hardly used by the
_committee_ for so doing, and for frequenting church porches, and
repeating the _common_ prayer to the people, in spite of ill treatment,
he being often sent to Bridewell, whipped and reproved for it.

                                   EPITAPH.

    “Here, in this homely cabinet,
    Resteth a poor old anchoret;
    Upon the ground he laid all weathers,
    Not as most men, goose-like, on feathers,
    For so indeed it came to pass,
    The Lord of lords his landlord was;
    He lived, instead of wainscot rooms,
    Like the possessed, among the tombs.
    As by some spirit thither led,
    To be acquainted with the dead:
    Each morning, from his bed so hallowed,
    He rose, took up his cross, and followed;
    To every porch he did repair,
    To vent himself in common prayer,
    Wherein he was alone devout,
    When _preaching_, _jostled_, _praying out_,
    In sad procession through the city,
    Maugre the devil or committee,
    He daily went, for which he fell
    Not into _Jacob’s_, but _Bridewell_,
    Where you might see his loyal back
    Red-lettered, like an almanack;
    Or I may rather else aver,
    Dominickt, like a calendar;
    And him triumphing at that harm,
    Having nought else to keep him warm.
    With Paul he always prayed, no wonder
    The lash did keep his flesh still under;
    Yet whip-cord seemed to lose its sting,
    When for the church, or for the king,
    High loyalty in such a death
    Could battle torments with mean earth;
    And though such sufferings he did pass,
    In spite of bonds, still _Freeman_ was.
    ’Tis well his pate was weather-proof;
    The palace like it had no roof;
    The hair was off, and ’twas the fashion,
    The _crown_ being _under sequestration_.
    Tho’ bald as time and mendicant,
    No fryer yet, but Protestant—
    His head each morning and each even
    Was watered with the dews of heaven.
    He lodged alike, dead and alive,
    As one that did his grave survive,
    For he is now, though he be dead,
    But in a manner put to bed,
    His cabin being above ground yet,
    Under a thin turf coverlet.
    Pity he in no porch did lay,
    Who did in porches so much pray;
    Yet let him have this Epitaph:
    Here sleeps poor Jacob, stone and staff.”

We must not close our chapter on cathedrals and bishops without some
little further notice of the more important branch of the subject,
although we venture not upon biographies of the many whose names shine
forth from among the list of “spiritual fathers,” well meriting more
detailed sketching than would be here in place.  Hall, Nix, Lyhart, and
Goldwell, have had their share of passing comment, but there are other
names that must not be looked over in silence.  Among the earliest stands
Pandulph, the notorious legate from the Pope, during the troubled reign
of John, when disputes about the appointment of Stephen Langton to the
archbishopric of Canterbury had had our country under the interdict of
his papal majesty; and for six years all Christian rites were suppressed,
save baptism and confirmation, in consequence of jealousies between these
rival powers upon the vexed question of the right of investiture.  It was
mainly through the agency of Pandulph that the king was at last inclined
to submit, in return for which the bishopric of this diocese was
conferred on the successful diplomatist.  Walter de Suffield, another
name of at least great local repute, was the founder of the Old Man’s
Hospital, an institution at this day in the receipt of £10,000 a year,
out of which some _two hundred_ old men and women are maintained in
clothes, food, and a shilling a day, and _lodged_ in a beautiful _old
church_, founded by Lyhart at a later period, the trustees of such a fund
thinking this arrangement preferable to restoring the church to its
original use, and providing more suitable buildings for the accommodation
of the recipients of the charity.  The tomb of Suffield, in his own
chapel, at the east end of the cathedral, became a shrine for worship, to
which pilgrimages were frequent, and miracles in abundance were said to
be wrought.

Percy, brother of the famous Earl of Northumberland, was another who wore
the mitre of the see; he lies buried before the roodloft door.  Henry de
Spencer, the warrior bishop, is another, who raised and headed an army of
three thousand men, and conducted it in person to Flanders, where he
figured prominently in the wars between Richard and the French king, as
well as in the struggles of Urban and Clement for the papacy.  His
military fame was rivalled by his notorious zeal in the cause of his
church, evidenced by unmitigated persecution of the Lollards, whose
adherence to the doctrines of Wickliffe was rewarded by every variety of
penance or punishment that could be devised to exterminate the heresy.  A
splendid monument of this spirit of the man and age is left us in the
magnificent gateway opposite the West entrance to the cathedral, erected
by Sir Thomas Erpingham, at the bidding of De Spencer, as a penance for
his sympathy with these heretical doctrines.  Above the doorway is an
effigy of himself in armour, kneeling and asking pardon for his offence.
Rugg—an instrument of Henry’s, in obtaining the divorce of Catherine of
Arragon; Hopkin—a notorious persecutor of the Protestants in Mary’s
reign; Parkhurst—a literary celebrity; Wren—the victim of Puritanism,
which placed him a prisoner in the tower for eighteen years without a
trial; Butts—a friend of Cranmer; Horne, whose letters on infidelity have
given him a fame; and Bathurst, respected in the memory of many yet
living; are names conspicuous in the catalogue; not yet complete without
two others, Stanley and Hinde.  Of Hinde we can but say his work is yet
in hand, he is earning his place in history, for some future pen to
chronicle; but may be, no fitter subject could be offered for a closing
scene to this chapter on the bishops and cathedral of this see, than
memory can recal of that day, when beneath the lofty nave of the one, a
grave was opened to receive the mortal remains of the loved and honoured
Stanley.  Who, among the thousands that then gathered themselves
together, wearing not alone the outer symbols of mourning and grief, but
carrying in their hearts deep sorrow, and in their eyes _unbidden_
tears—who will forget the solemn stillness of the thronged multitude as
the simple pall was borne, unmocked by plumes or other idle trappings of
fictitious woe, through the avenues of unhired mutes, whose heads were
bowed in heartfelt reverence, and lines of infant mourners, clad in the
livery of their benefactor’s bounty, and watering the pathway to his tomb
with honest tears of childhood’s love—the attitudes of grief and saddened
faces that filled the crowded aisles, and no less crowded walks above—the
hushed breathing that left the air free to echo the tones of the wailing
dirge, as it rose upon the voices of the surpliced choir, who mourned a
child of harmony, and wafted their strains of lamentation through all the
heights of the vaulted roof, while beneath its centre the grave was
receiving the earthly tabernacle of the good, the noble-hearted, and the
great in deeds of love and charity?  Who does not remember the measured
tread of the dispersing thousands, as each took his last look of the
simple coffin in its last resting-place, and as the dead march sent forth
its full low notes from the organ’s peal, and the rich closing bursts of
harmony proclaimed like a rush of mighty wind the soul’s release and
triumph? and who has not often since lingered around the simple marble
slab that marks the spot, and felt that it had been consecrated as a
shrine, by a baptism of tears from the fountain of loving hearts on that
memorable day?



CHAPTER III.
THE CASTLE.


_The Castle_.—_Present aspect_.—_Grave of the Murderer_.—_Historical
Associations_.—_View from the Battlements_.—_Thorpe_.—_Kett’s
Castle_.—_Lollard’s Pit_.—_Mousehold_.—_Plan of Military Structure of
Feudal Times_.—_Marriage of Ralph Guader_.—_Roger Bigod_.—_Feudal
Ranks_.—_Social Life_.—_Field Sports_.—_Hawking_.—_Legend of
Lothbroc_.—_Laws of Chivalry_.—_Tournaments_.—_Feminine
Occupations_.—_Tapestry_.

In the centre of the Old City rises one of those huge mounds, heaped up
by our ancient warrior forefathers, which here and there, over the
surface of our island, yet stand out in bold relief against the blue
back-ground of the sky, like giant models for some modern monster
twelfth-cake, only, however, occasionally crowned by the original
structures, of which they were the ground-works, and in no other case,
perhaps by one whose outward coating of modern date more thoroughly might
carry out the suggested idea of a frosted moulding, designed to grace the
summit of a supper-table fortification.

How involuntary is the longing to peel off the pasty composition and find
the substance hidden beneath, be it as crumbly and mottled as the most
luscious monument ever reared in honour of the feast of the Epiphany,
from the era of the Magi downwards.  But so it may not be; the flinty
roughnesses of the past are hidden from our eyes by the soft covering of
refined stucco, and we must be content with the attempt of ingenious
modern masonry to give us an impress of what the castle called
Blanchflower was, in lieu of beholding it unspoiled save by the hand of
time.  It is, however, something to know that there really does exist
beneath that outer casing, a bonâ fide mass of flint and stone, some
portions of which at least have stood, even from the days of the sea-king
Canute; by him raised on the site of the royal residence of East Anglian
princes, and yet earlier dwelling place of Gurguntus and other British
kings, and by him suffered to retain the name of “Blanchflower,” first
given, so legends say, by one of its royal owners in honour of his
mother, Blanche, a kinswoman of the mighty Cæsar.  There it yet stands,
its very roots planted high above the topmost stories of all meaner
habitations, its battlements towering to the sky, as though climbing from
their earthen base through the turrets and towers, reared as a stronghold
for human pride and ambition, to heights that would rival the lofty spire
in the valley beneath, that blends itself with the heaven to which it
points in the solemn attitude of silent devotion, as if to ask, “Which
can do the greatest works, man serving man, or man serving God?”

With the monuments of two such spirits side by-side, fancy might wander
into perfect labyrinths of mystic and speculative thought, not void of
beauty, tracing the unseen workings of the spirit-powers there sought to
be embodied, each lingering about and shedding itself around the temple
consecrated as its shrine—devotion, yet meetly expressed in the tapering
spire—human Despotism and human frailty, finding in every age a fitting
representative within the lordly castles of the robber chiefs, from the
day when its walls formed the boundary of life to feudal wives and
slaves, and its dungeons, the tombs of vanquished foes, through every age
of its isolated grandeur, down to the picture of aggregated solitudes and
woes, that it presents in the character now assigned to it, of a
prison-home for criminals.

But for some such sense of the invisible links that make the present
purposes to which its limits are devoted, one with the past, there might
seem to be much difficulty in connecting the picture of the felon-town
now enclosed within its walls, with any associations of history; or the
accumulations of red brick, slate-roofed ranges of well-lighted,
well-ventilated and comfortable chambers, made dark or miserable _only_
by the spirits that tenant them, with the ideas or expectations a
castle-prison could suggest.  That such should be the only _cells_ to be
found or seen, is to the eye and ear of mere curiosity an absolute
disappointment.  One feels half angry at the sudden annihilation of the
vague and undefined fillings up that fancy had given to the outline of
the feudal relic.  The learned may know it all before-hand, but the
uninitiated cannot fail to receive an unwelcome surprise, in finding the
substantial and important looking keep, withal its crust of stucco,
little more than a shell, whose kernel is made up of modern habitations,
as fresh-looking as though they had but yesterday sprung up as pimples on
the face of nature, a title not inappropriate to most red brick
emanations of architectural skill.  But our visit to the Castle must not
be spent in such vague lamentations over what is _not_; neither would we
in our regrets desire to be classed among the morbid cravers after
horrors, that can find pleasure in condemned cells, gibbets, chains
associated with murderers, or any such like appurtenances of a county
gaol; thankfully we claim exemption from any such mental disease, nor
even as the chroniclers of facts would we dwell one moment on the points
of detail that would pander to such a taste in our fellow beings.

A prison must ever teem with painful associations, one scarcely more so
than another, nor does the fact of an apartment, in no way differing from
those around it, having been tenanted by a Rush, whom some would call the
mighty among murderers, make it an object to our ideas more worthy either
a visit or description.  The simple initials in the wall of the
prison-yard, above the dishonoured grave where he lies, with the few
others who have met a like miserable fate, speak to the heart—and we turn
from them with an inward whispering, there—who was _his_ murderer?—was it
justice, human or Divine?  Did the child speak with folly, or childhood’s
own wisdom, when it asked if Rush died for breaking God’s commandment,
“Thou shalt not kill,” _did_ not those who killed him also break it?
Such is not fiction—its simple baby logic answers for it—but we say as to
the child’s query, We cannot answer you.  Many a great and noble heart
recognises the minister of justice, as God’s own delegate, to claim the
yielding up of his Creature’s life, a satisfaction to the broken laws of
God and man.  Many as great and noble, and we would think as mindful of
the great ends of justice and design of punishment, would say, Leave the
gift of God, the breath of life, at His disposal, who has said,
“Vengeance is mine;”—trust to _His justice_ as to _His mercy_, to which
alone you appeal, when sending the soul into his presence, reeking with
guilt and sin.  As spoke the child, on that sad, solemn day of
darkness,—when the spirit of sin seemed to breathe over the debased city,
and spread its contaminations through every channel where its subtle
essence could find an inlet, till the moral vision of the very purest
seemed to be obscured, and the atmosphere tainted for a while, by the
sickening familiarity with the face of crime;—the last day of the
wretched victim of unrestrained passions in life and in death,—whose
struggles of vanity and egotism, with the quailings of the flesh,
evidenced by the whitening hair, the trembling hand, and vapid
mutterings, through a trial prolonged to an unheard-of length, had drawn
around him a host of witnesses, almost without a parallel in history; and
not alone of the mass of unlearned and ignorant, whom we are wont to
charge with insensibility and coarseness, nor of the stern philosopher,
nor even sickly religionists, who find some concealed duty in witnessing
elaborations of torture, but of the gentle hearts that move within the
mothers and daughters of England; and white-gloved and richly-dressed
ladies thronged to use the tickets that gained them privileged entrance
to a gallery that overlooked this spectacle of human agony—(oh! is there
one among that assembled galaxy of England’s fair ones that can recal
that scene, without a shudder and a blush for the very refinements that
cast their cloak around the horrors of the reality?)—that day,—when the
festivities of concert and party over, when the merriment of the
bustling, noisy fair outside the court of trial had died away, and room
was left for the last act of the drama—as then, the child lifted up its
saddened voice, with its question so quaintly simple—so was it echoed
back to us from the grave of that poor criminal, and a torrent of
memories, linked with that fearful time, came flooding back upon us, as
the fruit of the tree of crime, whose seed was then sown before our eyes,
seemed to lie scattered at our feet, in the later-made grave, and
sin-filled cells around us.  But enough of this—the darkest tragedy of
later days associated with our castle prison—how many more silent, but
not less sad, have been enacted within its limits, in chambers now
inaccessible to human tread, we may not know! how many death sighs have
been breathed out from its hidden dungeons, how many spirits violently
sundered from their earthly tabernacles, and sent wandering through
eternity before a home had been prepared for their rest, the record books
of earth yield no account, but they are registered above; shall it avail
to plead, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” when the great final day of
reckoning shall come, and the judges and rulers of the earth shall be
summoned to give an account of their stewardship?  But these are _not_
the thoughts awakened upon crossing the threshold of this portal, for,
strange to say, the first greeting offered us, is the smiling welcome of
gay, liberty-loving flowers, blooming as sweetly and merrily in that
atmosphere of sin and sorrow, as ever they could have done on mountain
heath or valley’s dell.  Who knows what messages of hope and love these
simple tenants of the miniature conservatory have breathed to weary,
sin-laden hearts, bowed down in penitence for guilt!  There was kindness
in the heart that placed them there, and justice is blessed in owning
servitors that do her bidding with such gentle mien.  Modern prisons,
their advantages and defects, have formed subjects for the pens of many
writers; no need, therefore, that we longer dwell on this aspect of our
city stronghold.  Colonies of zebra-clad prisoners tenant the wards, and
thread the intricate passages leading through tiers and radiating wings
of cells, so cunningly arranged that, amid all the appearance of
congregations, separation and solitude is ensured, even upon the giant
wheel itself, and still further, even in the place for worship, where
boardings, shelvings, and all manner of strangely devised contrivances,
prevent communion between the several classes of the unfortunate, that
suspected and condemned may not mingle, the felony and the misdemeanour
may not be in juxtaposition; these are the features that meet the eye,
and it would not be right to leave such judicious arrangements
unnoticed,—albeit our visit to the castle walls may have more to do with
its past than present history.

Tradition assigns the foundation of this castle to Gurguntus, the son of
Belinus, the twenty-fourth king of Britain from Brutus, who, having
observed in the east part of Britain a place well fitted by nature for
the building a fortress on, founded a certain castle of a square form,
and of white stone, on the top of a high hill near a river, which castle
was completed by his successor, Guthulinus, who “encompassed it with a
wall, bank, and double ditches, and made within it subterraneous vaults
of a long and blind or intricate extent.”  Another early writer ascribes
to Julius Cæsar the honour of being its founder, and explains the origin
of certain rents and fissures, perceptible in its sides before its recent
restoration, to the earthquake that shook the earth “when the vail of the
temple was rent in twain;”—he adds, that afterwards Thenatius, Lud’s son
by marriage with Blanche, kinswoman of Julius, gave it the name of
“Blancheflower.”  Others attribute this title to the whiteness of its
walk, and assign to the Normans its appropriation to the edifice they
found existing here.

Without doubt, as the metropolis of the Iceni, it was an important place
prior to the advent of the Saxons, who made it the royal seat of the
kings of East Anglia, and afterwards the residence of governors, called
aldermen, dukes, or earls.  During the Danish wars, the castle was often
lost and won again, until Alfred the Great wholly subdued the Danes, and
he is said to have greatly improved its fortifications.  The original
structure, however, is said to have fallen a sacrifice to the ravages of
the Danes under Sweyn, and the present edifice is attributed to Canute,
his son, upon his return after his flight upon the accession of Ethelred.
The supposition of its being the work of the Normans after the Conquest
is totally refuted by the events recorded as having transpired within its
precincts, while in the custody of Ralph Guader, who took possession of
it in the seventh year of William’s reign.  The elevation upon which the
castle and its fortifications were founded, some writers have conjectured
to be originally the work of heathen worshippers, who raised such like
giant temples to the sun; others have suggested the possibility of its
forming a portion of the famous Icknild Way.

This, in common with other military structures of the same period, which
were mostly built upon one plan, their chief strength consisting in their
height and inaccessibility, originally included within its boundaries a
considerable space of ground; the outer ballium (bailey or court) having
an elevation of about one hundred feet above the level of the river; and
the inner, upon which stands the keep, raised by art about twenty feet
higher, with the soil of the inner ditch—still remain entire; originally
three ditches surrounded the castle, from their circular form betokening
great antiquity; the second and third have been long filled up and built
over, but are distinctly traceable to the eye of persevering enquiry.

The original entrance to the outer court was from Burgh Street, at the
end of which was the barbican, or passage leading to the first
draw-bridge and gate; the second was opposite, and intermediate between
it and the present bridge; a draw-bridge formerly occupied the site of
the present road-way across, at the end of which stood the gateway for
raising it with a strong tower above it, only removed within the last
century.

Two round towers at the upper end of the draw-bridge, whose foundations
still remain, constituted additional defences of the upper ballium.
Connected with the tower on the west side, were dungeons or vaults, until
recently in use for prisoners before their committal.

The keep, which occupies but a small portion of the original plan, is
about seventy feet high, and ninety-two feet long, by ninety-six broad.

The walls are composed of flint rubble, faced with Caen stone, intermixed
with a stone found in the neighbourhood.

The keep bore the same relation to the castle as the citadel to a
fortified town; it was the last retreat of the garrison, and contained
the apartments of the baron or commandant.  Little of these is, however,
left us to explore; the outer wall with its ornamental arches being, as
we before hinted, nothing more than a shell surrounding an open yard, now
filled by detached modern buildings, occupying the site of the spacious
and magnificent chambers that once filled the interior.

Upon the surface of these walls, within are distinctly traceable the
original openings to the various compartments, now filled up by masonry;
but within the memory of some yet living, the dungeons and storehouses of
the basement story were standing, and were accessible by stair-cases in
the north-east and south-west angles.

The entrance to the first floor is on the east side, by a flight of steps
leading to a platform projecting outside fourteen feet from the wall.  It
is now covered in, and forms a spacious vestibule, having three open
arches towards the east, one on the north, and one on the south, in which
is the entrance.  It is usually called Bigod’s tower, its erection being
by some attributed to Roger Bigod, in the reign of William Rufus, and by
others to Hugh Bigod, during the twelfth century; the whole of it has
undergone restoration.  The doorway from the vestibule is through an
archway of Saxon character, supported by five columns with ornamented
capitals; two columns only remain; upon the capital of the first, on the
left, is a bearded huntsman in the act of blowing a horn, with a sword by
his side, and holding with his left hand a dog in slips, which appears to
be attacking an ox; on the second capital is another huntsman, spearing a
wild boar of an unusual size.

The fable of the wolf and lamb, the wolf and crane, a monstrous head and
arms, attached to the bodies of two lions, are amongst the other
ornamental carvings, traceable on the other portions of the capitals and
arches, but greatly mutilated.

Prior to the restoration of the tower, this archway had been totally
concealed by masonry; it is only surprising, therefore, that so much of
it should still be in so good a state of preservation.

A corridor led from this entrance to the chapel, which was on this floor
in the south-east angle, with an oratory or sanctum in the corner,
separated from it by an archway supported by two columns, the capitals of
which are ornamented, and at the angles are figures of pelicans.  The
columns are decidedly Norman, the costumes and helmets bearing close
resemblance to those on the Bayeux tapestry.  On the east side of the
oratory is a curious altar-piece in five compartments, representing the
Trinity, St. Catherine, St. Christopher, St. Michael and the Dragon, and
another figure too much mutilated to be recognized.

We confess ourselves indebted for these details, to more erudite and
heroic adventurers in the voyage of discovery among these ruins than
ourselves, the inaccessible looking archway of the oratory high upon the
wall, to be attained only by crossing a plank from a tier of cells
opposite, offering little temptation to us to ascertain for ourselves the
accuracy of statements made by learned authorities, whose researches we
presume neither to question nor emulate.  We do not venture to trespass
on paths so much more ably trodden; what pleases or strikes the eye of
the simple observer, we may note, perhaps often deriving sensations of
pleasure from objects that may offend the cultivated taste of the
connoisseur, but as we plead ignorance, we trust to meet with indulgence.
Associations, rather than details of outline, cluster round our minds in
visiting these scenes, and on them we dwell.

The kitchens and dormitories were also on this floor, the former
accessible by a long narrow passage in the north wall, from the spiral
stairs in the north-east angle.

The next floor was occupied by the state apartments; and on the exterior
of the west side are four large windows with central columns, opposite to
corresponding openings in the inner wall for the admission of light into
the interior.  The gallery on this side contains three little recesses,
or chambers, as they would have us call them, benched on either side, and
probably intended as waiting-rooms for the attendants.  It communicated
with the south-west flight of stairs, but although these yet remain, they
are not safe to be explored.

The gallery on the north side has similar windows, and is reached by the
north-east staircase, with which the kitchen gallery communicates; the
passage is vaulted, and the tracings of large archways, in the inner
wall, filled in by masonry, have led to the idea that a large banqueting
chamber traversed this side of the building, the entrance to which would
be immediately connected with the grand entrance from the tower.  Another
gallery, somewhat similar, runs along the south wall, not now accessible.
These three galleries are all that remain entire of the original
apartments, the various archways and outlines in the walls, rather
suggesting than deciding questions concerning the arrangement of the
interior filling up.

Having finished our explorings among these hollow portions of the walls,
the winding stairs lead on to the giddy heights of the ramparts, where a
scene awaits the adventurer’s eye, that may well repay a steady effort to
conquer the propensity to walk over the unprotected side towards the
court within.  And here we pause to take a survey of the picture as it
lies out before us; houses, slated, tiled, thatched and leaded, with
their forests of chimneypots, the growth and accumulations of centuries;
high pinnacles of brick, sending forth their volumes of smoke from huge
factories, telling their tales of human skill and genius triumphing over
the powers of earth, air, and water, bringing into subjection the sinews
of rock and veins of ore, and training them, by the aid of invisible and
subtle fluids, to yield obedience to the will of man, and minister to the
wants and luxuries of his being; windmills spreading out their giant arms
to stay the very winds of heaven in their path till they have done their
work; waters checked in their onward course till their rebellious force
has been turned to profit; all speak of matter visible and invisible,
made subject to spirit power, and ministering to the will and wants of
man.  Tales, too, of human toil and suffering, of wasting labour, spent
in the service of luxury and indolence, burthen the air breathed forth
from groaning engine-houses, and rising up from hidden nests of poverty
that lie sheltered beneath the eaves of rich men’s habitations, whose
fair frontings to modern streets or road-ways, too often form but outer
coatings of decency to masses of corruption hidden away in close yards,
courts, and alleys, at their back—church towers, and spires, and turrets
in manifold variety and abundance; and prominent among the host, stands
out in all the glory of hale old age, fine old St Peter’s, looking down
from his proud eminence in solemn dignity, and smiling at all the feeble
efforts of the mushrooms clinging to his very base to hide his fair
proportions; far and wide may we look to find his peer, even among such
gems of beauty as the patron saints so lavishly have scattered among the
lanes and thoroughfares of this very garden of churches.  Such are the
city features of the panoramic see; turning to another point of view,
away, beyond the foreground of the sheep and cattle pens that bespeak the
conversion of the ancient inner ballium into a modern market-place for
live stock, and across the deep running channel laden with crafts not yet
wholly superseded in their labours by steam—that infant Hercules, whose
leading-strings are compassing the surface of the globe—we catch a glance
of the hanging woods of the fairest village our Norfolk scenery may
boast, whose Richmond-like gardens skirting the pathway of the winding
river, and meadow lands beyond, dotted here and there by the alder cars
that once gave a name to the Benedictine convent close by, form a
landscape of mingled animation and quiet rural beauty, not often to be
equalled in the suburbs of a manufacturing city.  No marvel why gala
spots for pleasure-loving citizens should be found interspersed among the
more refined parterres of the wealthy upon the shores; no marvel that a
summer’s evening should witness crowds of holiday-seeking folks,
thronging to taste the sweets of fresh air, and rest from labour, in the
midst of so fair a scene.

No marvel that a water frolic becomes dignified into a regatta there,
that for once, within the circuit of the year, the great and small, the
proud and humble, rich and poor, can mingle, to look together upon a
common object of amusement—that fashion and poverty can meet in the field
of pleasure—St. Giles and St. James acknowledge the existence, nor frown
at the presence of each other.  And who does not rejoice in the
festivity, almost the sole remnant of national sport left us in this
iron-working age?  Who that can spare an hour from the counter or the
loom, or desk—from scribbling six-and-eight-penny opinions, or scratching
hieroglyphical prescriptions for _aqua pura_ draughts, does not contrive
to find some mode of transit by earth, air, or water to the scene of
mirth.  Even a soaking shower is unavailing to damp the ardour of the
multitude, and not unseldom lends fresh stimulus to fun and laughter
among the merry-hearted denizens of smoke-dried city streets and lanes.
But we must not linger in their midst—the gay pleasure-boats, with their
shining sails, tacking and bending to the breeze, the swift skullers in
the gay uniforms, the eager faces that line the course, the signal guns
and flags of victory, the music, and the mirth—all tell that the spirit
of enjoyment is not yet quite gone out from among us.  We must now pass
to other, and far different objects, and from the present, travel back to
the past, whose page of history unfolds itself in the nearer object that
meets our eye, the whitened sides of the “Lollard’s pit,” where martyrs
of old poured forth their dying prayers; and yielded up their bodies to
be burned as witness of their faith—where Bilney listened to the words of
his murderers, beseeching him to release them before the people from all
blame, that they might not suffer loss of popularity or alms—and where he
turned and said: “I pray you, good people, be never worse to these men
for my sake, as though they should be the authors of my death.  It is not
they;”—then was bound to the stake and slowly burned, in the presence of
the multitudes that clothed the natural amphitheatre around.  The heights
above are crowned by the ruins of the old priory of St. Leonards, on the
one side, and on the other by a few fragments of St. Michael’s chapel,
whose vestiges, under a name assigned to them through their later
notoriety, as the stronghold of the rebel Kett, yet linger as landmarks
on the early pathway of national progress and reform.

There sat the “King of Norfolk,” as he was styled, and held his councils
of state under the old oak, which bore thenceforth the title of the “oak
of the Reformation;”—there morning and evening service were daily read to
the rebel forces, and the Litany and Te Deum were listened to with solemn
earnestness.  There Parker, the future archbishop of Canterbury, ventured
into the midst of the rebel camp, and, under the shade of the oak, sent
forth the voice of exhortation to the discontented, but to little effect.
Enclosed lands, commons stolen from the public, and other grievances
suffered by the poor from the hands of the rich, lay at the hearts of the
people, and the prelate’s errand of peace had well nigh terminated ill,
but for the power of music—the solemn Te Deum burst forth from the voice
of the rebel’s chaplain, and swelled by many “singing voices” into a loud
strain of sweet harmony, fell upon the ear of the multitude, like oil
upon the raging waters, and by its sweetness shed peace for the time on
all around.  In this rebellion fell the gallant Earl of Sheffield, in his
zeal to aid the efforts of the Earl of Warwick to quell the outburst of
the people’s will; while beside him figured Dudley, the hero of
Kenilworth, and cruel husband of the hapless Amy Robsart.  The popular
prophecy—

    The country gnoffes, Hob, Dick, and Hick,
    With clubs and clouted shoon,
    Shall fill the vale of Duffendale
    With slaughtered bodies soon—

was fulfilled, and besiegers and besieged were among the victims.  That
there is no war like civil war was verified; the wounded plucked the
arrows from their wounds, that they might be sent back dripping with
their blood to the hearts of their kinsmen and foes.  The watchword,
“Gentlemen ruled aforetime, a number will rule now another while,”
testified to the turning of the worm when trodden on—evidencing the
ripening germ of the same spirit that had in earlier times wrung from the
tyrant monarch a “Magna Charta,” and will yet, by agencies far other than
arrow, spear, or sword, obtain for an independent people, who can
reverence the laws of order and of right, every charter that shall be
needed to gain them their due place in the pillar of the state, where
neither capitol nor column can bear its own weight, without a base of
solid and fair proportions, to give harmony, strength, and beauty to the
whole.

Among the aggravating causes that led to this insurrection, so famous in
our country’s annals, the desecration of church furniture and vestments,
that had followed the footsteps of the Reformation, stood prominently
forth; the people’s hearts rebelled against the havoc made amongst the
objects they had been taught to look upon as holy—and as these deeds of
licence had been simultaneous with encroachments upon their temporal
rights of pasture and common land, a double feeling was engendered—a
longing for social and political freedom, and a desire to reform a
Reformation that was marked by such atrocious want of reverence for all
that had been sacred.  Conservatism and ultra-radicalism were blended,
even as in many minds to this hour they grow together.  Connected with
this event of history, are two memorials that mark it as of national
interest—the Homily on Rebellion which was written against the
insurgents, and the institution of lord lieutenants of counties, as
safeguards against such another sudden and formidable outbreak in any
part of the kingdom.

Stretching away far as the eye may reach, is the broad moor, laid bare of
forest trees by these same rebel forces, now clothed with yellow furze
and purple heather, intertwined with clovewort and ranunculus, and hiding
beneath, the crimson-tipped lichen, whose sanguine clubs and cups would
seem to have drank from the soil the blood of the slain, and rendered it
immortal.  Bowl-shaped excavations dotted over its surface, testify of
Celtic habitations hollowed out in remote ages, beneath the forest
shades, roofed by its boughs, and lying hidden among the leaves like
lower birds’ nests,—now in barren desolation, serving well the vagrant
purposes of gypsy life, and lending a feature to the scene that Lavengro
has painted with a master-hand.

And now the eye reposes from its survey—and thought flies back to the day
when the distant sea swept around the base of the castle of Blanchflower,
and filled the valley below—to the era of the brave Iceni, and the
sorrows of the warrior queen, Boadicea—to the advent of the mighty
Cæsar,—the appropriating Saxons,—and the savage Danes and Norsemen, with
their pirate hordes, storming the outposts of the military camp from
their uncouth naval fleets,—and thence to the era of the Norman hero
planting his foot upon our soil, when barons multiplied in the land; and
one scene of history enacted within the castle walls, bearing this date,
tells much of feudal laws and feudal power.

The earldom of the city, castle, and meadow lands, being then possessed
by a Breton, named Ralph de Gael, or Guader, partly by gift from the
Conqueror, partly perhaps by force of arms, this local sovereign designed
to wed the daughter of one Fitz-Osborn, a relation of William.

This matrimonial scheme not pleasing his lord the king, without ceremony
it was prohibited; but in that day of might _versus_ might, earls and
barons would sometimes have a will of their own, and the fair affianced
was made a bride within the chapel walls, whose doorway in an angle,
marks the site of the act of disobedience; the banquetting room then
received the bridal guests, and the sumptuous feast, with its attendant
libations, witnessed a yet more decided scene of rebellion; the
bridegroom and the bride’s own brother, the Earl of Hereford, already
committed by carrying the forbidden marriage into effect, became eloquent
and bold in their language and designs, until a chorus of excited voices
joined them in oaths that sealed them as conspirators against their
absent sovereign.  Treachery revealed the plot, and the church lent its
aid to the crown to crush the rebels.  Lanfranc, the primate and
archbishop, sent out troops, headed by bishops and justiciaries, the
highest dignitaries of church and law, to oppose and besiege them; the
bridegroom fled for succour to his native Brittany, leaving his bride for
three months to defend the garrison with her followers, at the end of
which time the brave Emma was compelled to capitulate, but upon mild
terms, obtaining leave for herself and followers to flee to Brittany; her
husband thenceforth became an outlaw—her brother was slain, and scarcely
one guest present at that ill-fated marriage feast escaped an untimely
end.  Each prisoner lost a right foot, many their eyes, and all their
worldly goods.  A sorrowful romance of real life, to mark the early
history of our castle halls.

Nor did the city go unscathed, the devastation carried into its midst by
the siege was heavy; many houses were burnt, many deserted by those who
had joined the earl, and it is curious to read in the valuation of land
and property that was taken soon after this event, how many houses are
recorded as “_void_” both in the burgh or that part of the city under the
jurisdiction of the king and earl, as well as in other portions subject
to other lords, for it would seem that the landlords of the soil on which
stood the city were three, the king or earl of the castle, the bishop,
and the Harold family, relatives of him who fell at Hastings.  Clusters
of huts then congregated round the base of the hill and constituted the
feudal village; its inhabitants consisting of villains, of which there
were two classes, the husbandmen or peasants annexed to the manor or
land, and a lower rank described in English law as villains-in-gross, in
simple terms, absolute slaves, transferable by deed from one owner to
another, whose lives, save for the ameliorations of individual
indulgences, were a continued helpless state of toil, degradation and
suffering; the socmen or tenants holding land by some _service_, (not
knightly) and bordars or boors, who occupied a position somewhat above
the serfs or villains, and held small portions of land with cottages or
_bords_ on them, on condition they should supply the lord with poultry,
eggs, and other small provisions for his board and entertainment.

Freemen seem to have included all ranks of society holding in military
tenure; they lived under the protection of great men, but in their
persons were free; the rural labourers were divided into ploughmen,
shepherds, neat-herds, cow-herds, swine-herds, and bee-keepers.  The
“haiae” belonging to the manor houses were enclosed places, hedged or
paled round, into which beasts were driven to be caught.  At the time of
the survey in William’s reign the estimate of the tenants and fiefs of
the earl and king is taken as one thousand five hundred and sixty-five
burgesses, Englishmen paying custom to the king, one hundred and ninety
mansions void, and four hundred and eighty _bordars_; the bishop’s
territory contained thirty-seven burgesses, and seven mansions void; and
on the property of the deceased Harold, there were fifteen burgesses and
seven mansions void.

After the banishment of Earl Ralph, the castle was given to Ralph Bigod,
who was styled the Constable, as was usual when any castle was committed
to a baron or earl, and he exercised royal power within the jurisdiction
of the castle.  To him succeeded Roger Bigod, a great favourite and
friend of Henry I., and one of the witnesses to the laws made by him
during his reign.  William, the son of Roger, succeeded his father, and
by King Henry was made steward of his household.  This William was
drowned at sea, and his brother Hugh became possessed of his estate and
honours.  To him is referred the finishing and beautifying of the tower
of the castle; but he was supplanted in the office of constable by
William de Blois, Earl of Moreton, son of King Stephen.  He in his turn
was dispossessed of it by Henry II.  Hugh Bigod joined with the son of
Henry, afterwards Henry III., in his revolt against his father, for which
adherence he was reinstated in the Castle of Blancheflower, but was
obliged again to surrender when the son repented of his rebellion, and
submitted to his father.

To Hugh succeeded another Roger Bigod, his son, who received from the
hands of Richard I. the earldom of Norfolk and stewardship of the king’s
household, and most probably was constable of the castle also.  During
the troubled reign of John, it passed into the hands of Lewis, son of the
French king, who made William de Bellomont, his marshal, constable, and
placed him with a garrison within its walls.  To him succeeded Roger
Bigod, who figured amongst the revolting barons in the reign of Henry
III.  At the memorable interview between the confederated nobles and the
king, at the parliament in Westminster, he took a leading part in the
proceedings.  All the barons having assembled in complete armour, as the
king entered, there is described to have been a rattling of swords; his
eye gleaming along the mailed ranks he asked, “What means this?  Am I a
prisoner?”  “Not so,” replied Roger Bigod, “but your foreign favourites
and your own extravagance have involved this realm in great wretchedness,
whereof we demand that the powers of government be made over to a
committee of bishops and barons, that the same may root up abuses and
enact good laws.”  The committee when formed numbered in its list both
Roger of Norfolk earl marshal, and Hugh Bigod.  In this reign it is
mentioned that the castle became a gaol for the county, and state
prisoners were confined here.  Many a dark tragedy was doubtless
witnessed by its dungeon walls during those troubled times, when civil
wars were hourly peopling them with political offenders.  In Edward II.’s
reign the castle was partly re-fortified, but in the following reign,
falling completely out of repair, it came to be regarded simply as a
county jail, and its jurisdiction vested in the hands of the sheriff of
the county.

Among the historical facts of later date, connected with the castle, and
bearing date of the same year as that in which Queen Elizabeth visited
the city, is an order issued from Whitehall, to the sheriff of Norfolk,
to imprison within the castle walls certain persons who refused to attend
the service of the church; the letter is preserved among Cole’s
manuscripts in the British Museum; the copy of it which is published by
the Archæological Society, runs thus:

      To our loving Friend Mr. Gawdry, Sherif of the Countie of Norfolk.

    After our hearty Commendations: whereas We have given order to the
    Sheref of the Countie of Suffolke to deliver certain Prisoners into
    your hands, who were by our order commytted for their obstinacy in
    refusing to come to the Church in time of Sermons sad Common Prayers:
    Thes shal be to require you to receive them into your chardge and
    forthwith to commytt them to such of her Majesty’s gaoles within that
    Countie as shall seeme good unto the Lord Bishop of Norwiche, by
    whose direction they shall be delivered unto you, ther to remayne in
    Cloase Prison untill such tyme as you shalbe otherwise directed from
    us.  And so we bid you heartely farewell.

                            From Whitehall, the xxiijrd of February, 1878.

    Your loving Freands

                    W. Burghley.  E. Lyncoln.  T. Sussex.

                          F. Knollys.  E. Leycester.

                 Chr. Hatton.  Fra. Walsingham.  Tho. Wilson.

In 1643 an order was sent to fortify the castle, at the request of the
deputy lieutenant of the county; the order is signed by seven staunch and
influential opponents of the royal party, viz. Tho. Wodehouse, John
Palgrave, Tho. Hoggan, Miles Hobart, J. Spelman, Tho. Sotherton, Gre.
Gawsett.

Information concerning it from this period is scanty, probably little of
interest is connected with its later history, beyond the calendar of
prisoners who have been lodged within its precincts, of which we have no
record, and were it otherwise, we should be reluctant to consult its
pages for materials to enhance the attractions of our “Rambles.”

It is to the history of the period prior to its appropriation as a
prison, that we must look for a picture of the life once animating its
halls and banquet chambers, and from the general outlines of feudal
society and government, a tolerably faithful portrait of it may be drawn.

The age of feudalism has been extolled with enthusiasm only equal to that
which has deprecated it beyond measure; it has even been proposed as a
model for future ages by the cotemporary voice to that which has
pronounced it as exclusively a time of immorality, despotism, and
superstition; between the two extremes, a wide field of truth lies open
to be explored.

“It was a time,” as Guizot says, “when religion was the principle and end
of all institutions, while military functions were the forms and means of
action.”

All social movements partook of this twofold character, as questions of
commerce and industry were decidedly subordinate.

The land was divided between the military barons possessed of regal
authority and governing as kings in their petty kingdoms—the church, also
proprietors of large estates, and the cities, then only beginning to rise
from their abject nullity into an importance that has gone on increasing
until commerce has become the sovereign of the world—Mammon its god.  The
individualism of barbarism was sunk in the centralisation to which this
system gave birth; and from the social arrangements connected with it,
sprung up that spirit of chivalry that was so marked a characteristic of
the times, than which nothing more fully exemplified the singular
combination of military and religious fervour.  Isolated from all
communion with general society, a castle was at once a city and a family
in itself, youths were apprenticed, as it were, to learn the usages of
knighthood, and in the capacity of pages, from earliest boyhood, were
initiated into the forms and courtesies of chivalrous and military
exercises.  In this task women bore their part, the youths being ever
treated as sons of the lord or knight under whose tutelage they had been
placed; from this they became promoted to the rank of esquires, and
perfected in the arts of tilting, riding, hunting, and hawking,
frequently of music, and in case of war were qualified to follow the
banner of their instructors.  The rank or military renown of a baron
helped to swell the list of esquires and pages in his retinue; hence many
castles were complete colleges of chivalry.  The close association of
years in such familiar relationship cut off from all other social
communion, engendered strong attachments, and fraternities, superseding
often the ties of common relationship, sprung up.

The imposing ceremony that accompanied the distinction of knighthood was
the finishing touch to this education.  The candidate, after several
lonely nights of prayer and watching in some church or chapel, during
which period he received the sacraments of religion, was finally arrayed
in full splendour, conducted in grand procession to a church with the
sword of knighthood suspended by a scarf; the weapon was blessed by an
officiating priest, and the oaths administered which bound him to defend
the church and clergy, be the champion of virtuous women, especially the
widow or orphan, and to be gentle ever to the weak.  Warriors then of
high degree, or ladies, then buckled on the spurs, clothed him in suits
of armour, and the prince or noble from whom he received the knighthood,
finally advanced, and giving the accolade, which consisted of three
gentle strokes with the flat of the sword, exclaimed, “In the name of
God, St. Michael, and St. George, I make thee a knight; be hardy, brave,
and royal.”  From this date he might aspire to the highest offices and
distinctions.

The domestic comforts that graced the private life within these castle
halls, formed striking contrasts to the magnificence of the knightly and
military displays, although the walls often were hung with gorgeous
tapestries, and the banqueting table groaned beneath the weight of gold
and silver, the refinements essential to modern ideas of comfort were
unknown.  The fingers of the eater supplied the place of forks, and when
withdrawn from rich dishes, were often employed in tearing the morsels of
food asunder.  Straw and rushes were the substitutes for carpets, and
clumsy wooden benches and tables supported the guests and viands at these
entertainments; those who were unfortunate enough not to obtain a seat at
the board were compelled to make use of the floor.  Several English
estates were held upon condition of furnishing straw for royal beds, and
litter for the apartment floors of a palace; and the office of rush
strewer remained in the list of the royal household to a very late
period.  Doubtless these deficiences were of slight importance to an
active out-door people, whose happiness consisted in large retinues, rich
armours, and splendid tournaments; even the ladies, with hunting,
hawking, and the occasional amusement of displaying their skill in
archery from the loop-holes or ramparts of their castles, when acting as
viceroys for their sovereign lords, no doubt could well dispense with the
minor occupations of refined civilization.

The bill of fare of a feudal banquet would possibly astonish and puzzle
the gastronomic powers and digestive organs of the nineteenth century,
although cookery was esteemed as a noble science even then, in the days
when Soyer was not.  The boar’s head, the peacock, occasionally served up
in his feathers, the crane or young herons, might not have been
altogether bad substitutes for turkeys and geese, but whether larded,
roasted, and eaten with ginger, and often served in their feathers, they
might have been suited to our modern tastes is problematical; porpoises
and seals that often appeared in the list of “goodly provisions” for
special occasions, may scarcely be deemed more of dainties; and the
compounds that figure in some of the recipes extant, of the more mystical
entrées, present to the eye such medleys, that we feel certain of a
preference for the plain “roast” or “boil,” in feudal times, at least, if
not at all others.  Force-meats, compounded of pork, figs, cheese, and
ale, seasoned with pepper, saffron, and salt, baked in a crust, and
garnished with powderings of sugar and comforts, may be quoted as a
sample of their made dishes, while beef-tea, enriched with pork fat,
beaten up with cream and sweetened with honey, as directed by their form,
possibly was classed among the delicate soups, or ranged under the head
of “_sick cookery_.”

The bread that formed the substitute for our best and “second
households,” was of various kinds, the finest being a sort of spice-cake
of superior quality; simnel and wastel cakes were the ordinary food for
the aristocracy, while commoners were content with a coarse brown
material manufactured from rye, oats, or barley, that would at this day
cause a revolution in prisons, or pauper workhouses, were it to be found
in the dietary table of either, much less on the dinner-table.  The
special wines, hippocras, pigment, morat, and mead, were the temptations
to inebriety among the rich; cider, perry, and ale, the form of alcoholic
drinks common to the less affluent.

The record of Peter de Blois, in one of his letters from the Court of
Henry II., may be estimated perhaps as a faithful, if not attractive,
description of the ordinary fare on which many unfortunate knights and
retainers were sometimes compelled to subsist.  He tells us that a priest
or soldier had bread put before him, “not kneaded, not leavened, made of
the dregs of beer, like lead, full of bran, and unbaked, wine spoiled by
being sour or mouldy, thick, greasy, rancied, tasting of pitch, and
vapid, sometimes so full of dregs, that they were compelled rather to
filter than drink it, with eyes shut and teeth closed; meat stale as
often as fresh; fish often four days old.”  The picture is heightened by
sundry details of a pungent character, all tending to prove the truth of
his assertion, that powerful exercise was an essential assistant to
overcome the evils of such diet.  Early hours possibly contributed to
lessen its injurious effects; and these of course, at any rate as far as
regarded the “early to bed,” were enforced by the curfew, which has so
mistakenly been attributed to the Norman Conqueror’s despotism, whereas
it had long prevailed as a custom here, as on the continent, prior to his
era, and was, in fact, a necessary precaution against the dangers of
fire, when the dwelling-houses that formed a town or city were little
more than bundles of faggots, well dried and bound up ready for burning.

Among the social amusements of that time, gambling seems to have
prevailed to a great extent.  The curious prohibitions that were enacted
in the reign of Richard, would indicate that it had then grown into a
formidable vice; kings were permitted to play with each other, and
command their followers, but the nobles were restricted to losing twenty
shillings in one night; priests and knights might, with permission, play
to the same amount, but were to forfeit four times twenty shillings if
they exceeded it; servants might also play to a limited extent, at the
_command_ of their master, but if they ventured without such permission,
they subjected themselves to the penalty of being whipped three
successive days; and mariners at sea, for a like transgression, were
sentenced to be ducked three times for the offence.  Chess, that infinite
and insoluble intellectual problem, whose origin is lost in oriental
obscurity, was introduced by the Crusaders on their return from their
expeditions to the Holy Land, if, indeed, as some believe, it was not
known in this country prior to that date; but if we may judge by
inference, we may presume it to have been no favourite recreation in
those spirit-stirring times, when crusades, tournaments, and military
prowess were the end and aim of men’s lives.  The amusements and sports
naturally partook of the character of the age, and hunting, hawking,
tilting, and tournaments were at once the schools for gaining strength
and dexterity, as well as safety-valves for the overflowing mobility
engendered by the spirit of the times.  These pursuits were elevated to
the rank of perfect sciences, and the education of a youth was incomplete
that did not embrace regular tuition in all of them.  Nor were they, as
we know, confined to the “lords of the creation.”  In hunting, ladies not
only often joined in the sport, but frequently formed parties by
themselves, winding the horn, rousing the game, and pursuing it without
assistance, the female Nimrods manifesting especial partiality to
greyhounds—or hare-hounds, as they were then called.  The objects of
these hunts were somewhat more numerous and varied then than now, and
were divided into three classes; first, the beasts for hunting, viz. the
hare, the hart, the wolf, and the wild boar; secondly, the beasts of the
chase, the buck and doe, the fox, the martin, and the roe; and a minor
class, which were said to afford great disport in the pursuit, the
_grey_, or badger, the wild cat, and the otter.

The poor little hare and a fox or two, alone are left us of all these
original tenants of the soil; and game laws were, even in those days of
plentiful supply, found needful to preserve the aborigines of the woods
as their especial property, by the great ones of the land, and when
manslaughter was to be atoned for by a fine of money, the death of a head
of deer was punishable by the forfeiture of the offender’s eyes, and a
second instance by death.  Who will dispute the aristocratic lineage of
the game laws, with such facts of history before them?  Hunting had its
proper seasons; the wolf and fox might be hunted from Christmas-day to
the Annunciation, the roebuck from Easter to Michaelmas, the roe from
Michaelmas to Candlemas, the hare from Michaelmas to Midsummer, the boar
from the Nativity to the day of the “Presentation in the Temple.”

The clergy were not behind-hand in partaking of the privileges of the
chase within their own demesnes, and they took care generally to have
good receptacles for game in their parks and enclosures.  At the time of
the Reformation, the see of Norwich had no less than thirteen parks well
stocked with deer; and the name of one of the city churches, St. Peter’s,
Hungate, is derived from the _Hound’s_-gate, where the bishop’s hounds
were stabled.

Hawking was a sport, until the magna charta, exclusively confined to the
nobility; lords and ladies alike indulged themselves in the exercise,
which from its gentleness, in comparison with others then in vogue, was
deemed somewhat an effeminate pastime, probably because, in the delicate
dexterity it required, the ladies bore off the palm of victory.

A hawk’s eyrie was returned in doomsday-book as one of the most valuable
articles of property; and the estimation in which the bird was held, may
be judged of by the enormous prices given for them, and the heavy
penalties attached to stealing either them or their eggs; for destroying
one of which the offender was liable to imprisonment for a twelvemonth
and a day.  Perhaps, however, this is no very safe criterion of their
intrinsic value, or those sentences that sometimes figure in our modern
assize reports—where seven years’ transportation for stealing two ducks
from an open pond, stands side by side with twelve months’ imprisonment
for murdering a wife, a friend, or a child, in a fit of temporary
insanity, alias intoxication—might lead to rather curious inferences.

But to return to our hawks; a thousand pounds for a cast of these birds,
and a hundred marks for a single one, are recorded prices.  In hawking,
the bird was carried on the wrist, which was protected by a thick glove,
the head of the bird covered with a hood, and its feet secured to the
wrist by straps of leather, called jesses, and to its legs were fastened
small bells, toned according to the musical scale.

Among the chronicles of old monkish writers prior to the Conquest, is a
story accounting for the first advent of the Danes upon our shores, as
connected with the amusement of hawking: “A Danish chieftain of high
rank, named Lothbroc, amusing himself with hawking near the sea, upon the
western shores of Denmark, the bird in pursuit of her game fell into the
water; Lothbroc, anxious for her safety, got into a little boat that was
near at hand, and rowed from the shore to take her up; but before he
could return to land, a sudden storm arose, and he was driven out to sea.
After suffering great hardships, during a voyage of infinite peril, he
reached the coast of Norfolk, and landed at a port called Reedham, (now a
small village on the railway line from London to Yarmouth,) where he was
immediately seized by the inhabitants, and sent to the court of Edmund,
King of the East Angles, who received him favourably, and soon became
strongly attached to him for his skill in training and flying hawks.  The
partiality shown to the foreigner excited the jealousy of Beoric, the
king’s falconer, who took an opportunity of murdering the Dane whilst he
was exercising his birds in a small wood, where he secreted the body.
The vigilance of a favourite spaniel discovered the deed.  Beoric was
apprehended and convicted of the murder, and condemned to be put in an
open boat, without sails, oars, or rudder, and abandoned to the mercy of
the winds and wares.  It so chanced that the boat was wafted to the very
point of land that Lothbroc came from; and Beoric was apprehended by the
Danes, and taken before their two chieftains, Hinguer and Hubba, the sons
of Lothbroc, to whom the crafty falconer made a statement as ingenious as
false, wherein he affirmed that their father had been murdered by Edmund,
and himself sent adrift for opposing the deed.  Irritated by the
falsehood, the Danes invaded the kingdom of the East Angles, pillaged
their country, took their king prisoner, tied him to a stake, and shot
him to death with arrows.”   Lidgate, a monk of St. Edmund’s at Bury, has
given this legend a place in his poetical life of the tutelary saint of
his monastery, but it bears upon it every mark of a legendary tale, and
the fact is well known that Danish pirates had infested the shores long
prior to the date assigned to the events narrated in it.

The office of “queen’s falconer” yet exists, and it is written in a
certain little black book, that the duties attached to it, however
imaginary, receive substantial acknowledgement from the public purse in
the form of an annual stipend of no mean amount.  Another recreation
peculiarly associated with the memory of knights and dames once tenanting
the feudal castle is the tournament, the site of whose gorgeous
pageantries yet bears the title of the “Gilden croft,” though the lustre
of the name is the only ray of splendour bequeathed to it as an
inheritance of glory.  Centuries have witnessed the mutations of the
properties of the great ones of the land, as they have gradually passed
down through the various gradations of society like cast-off garments,
until the once brilliant lists of the gay tournament have changed to long
tiers of poverty tenanted “_right ups_;” the music of the herald’s
trumpet has been replaced by the rattle of the shuttle and the loom; and
the steel-clad knights and esquires, with their tiltings and joustings,
amid the smiles and favours of youth and beauty, have given place to the
struggles of the weaver and the winder in their weary battle of life, for
the guerdon of daily bread.  Where, Edward and Phillippa held their
Easter tournament, and their gallant son, the brave Black Prince,
displayed his knightly prowess amid splendours that might rival the
“field of the cloth of gold,” poverty, hard labour, and penury now rear
their gaunt limbs; and the tale of the “Paramatta weaver” is breathed
forth to the listening ear of humanity from its precincts.

But the tournament demands attention, inwrought as it is with every
conception we may form of the days of chivalry; and, thanks to the
patient researches of many chroniclers, we have not much difficulty in
learning all we may desire to know concerning these glories of an age
gone by.  Fiction has given life and vigour to these features of past
history.  Ivanhoe lives and breathes before us at the mention of a
tournament, and plain prose facts may not vie with the glowing pictures,
painted with imagination’s rainbow hues.  The tournament was not
altogether the play-ground of full-grown knights and esquires, as romance
would sometimes tend to show it;—it was the theatre on which many an
important drama of life was played; it was a grand field for introduction
into military life, then the only life deemed worthy the ambition of a
gentleman; and the laws and regulations to which all who presented
themselves as candidates for honours became subject, bespeak the
importance attached to the favours it conferred.

The mode of conducting a tournament was established by law.  It was
preceded always by a proclamation; one worded thus, is given by Strutt:
“Be it known unto you, lords, knights, and esquires, ladies and
gentlewomen,” (they did not in those days of chivalry commence ladies, my
lords and gentlemen) “you are hereby acquainted, that a superb
achievement in arms, and a grand and noble tournament, will be held in
the parade of Clarencieux king at arms, on the part of the most noble
baron, lord of I. C. B., and on the part of the most noble baron the lord
of C. B. D., in the parade of Norreys king at arms.”  The regulations
that follow are these: “The two barons on whose part the tournament is
undertaken shall be at their pavilions two days before the commencement
of the sports, when each of them shall cause his arms to be attached to
his pavilion, and set up his banner in front of his parade; and all those
who wish to be combatants on either side, must in like manner set up
their banner on either side before the parade allotted to them.  Upon the
evening of the same day, they shall shew themselves in their stations,
and expose their helmets to view at the windows of their pavilions.  On
the morrow the champions shall be at their parades by the hour of ten in
the morning, to await the commands of the lord of the parade, and the
governor, who are the speakers of the tournament; at this meeting the
prizes of honour are determined.”  In the document from which this is
taken, a rich sword was to be the reward of the most successful on the
part of Clarencieux, and a helmet for the best on the side of Norreys.
It goes on to say, “On the morning of the day appointed for the
tournament, the arms, banners and helmets of all the combatants shall be
exposed at their stations, and the speakers present at the place of
combat by ten of the clock, where they shall examine the arms and approve
or reject them at pleasure; the examination being finished and the arms
returned to the owners, the baron who is the challenger shall then cause
his banner to be placed at the beginning of the parade, and the blazon of
his arms to be nailed to the roof of his pavilion; his example is to be
followed by the baron on the opposite side, and all the knights of either
party who are not in their stations before the nailing up of the arms,
shall forfeit their privileges and not be permitted to tournay.

“The king at arms and the heralds are then commanded by the speakers to
go from pavilion to pavilion crying aloud, ‘_To Achievement_, _knights
and esquires_, _to Achievement_,’ being the notice for them to arm
themselves; and soon after the company of heralds shall repeat the former
ceremony, having the same authority, saying, ‘_Come forth_, _knights and
esquires_, _come forth_;’ and when the two barons have taken their places
in the lists, each of them facing his own parade, the champions on both
parts shall arrange themselves, every one by the side of his banner; and
then two cords shall be stretched between them, and remain in that
position, until it shall please the speakers to command the commencement
of the sports.  The combatants shall each of them be armed with a
pointless sword, having the edges rebated, and with a truncheon hanging
from their saddles, and they may use either the one or the other, so long
as the speakers shall give them permission, by repeating the sentence,
‘_Let them go on_.’  After they have sufficiently performed their
exercise, the speakers are to call to the heralds, and order them to
‘_Fold up the banners_,’ which is the signal for the conclusion of the
tournament.  The banners being rolled up, the knights and esquires are
permitted to return to their dwellings.”

Every knight or esquire performing in the tournament, was permitted to
have one page within the lists, (but without a truncheon or any other
defensive weapon,) to wait upon him, give him his sword, or truncheon, as
occasion might require; and also in case of any accident happening to the
armour, to repair it.

The laws of the tournament permitted any knight to unhelm himself at
pleasure, if he was incommoded by the heat; none being suffered to
assault him in any way, until he had replaced his helmet at the command
of the speakers.

The king-at-arms and the heralds who proclaimed the tournament, had the
privilege of wearing the blazon of arms of those by whom the sport was
instituted; besides which, they were entitled to six ells of scarlet
cloth as their fee, and had all their expenses defrayed during the
continuance of the tournament; by the law of arms they had a right to the
helmet of every knight when he made his first essay at a tournament; they
also claimed six crowns as nail money, for affixing the blazon of arms to
the pavilion.  The king at arms held the banners of the two chief barons
on the day of the tournament, and the other heralds the banners of their
confederates according to their rank.

The lists for the tournaments and those appointed for ordeal combats,
were appointed in the same manner; the king found the field to fight in,
and the lists were made and devised by a constable; they were to be sixty
paces long and forty broad, set up in good order, the ground within hard
and level, without any great stones or other impediments, the entrances
to them to be by two doors east and west, strongly barred with bars seven
feet high, that a horse may not leap them.

After the conclusion of the tournament, the combatants retired to their
homes, but usually met again in the evening at some entertainment; where
they were joined by all the nobility, including the ladies, and dancing,
feasting and singing concluded the day.  After supper the speakers of the
tournament called together the heralds appointed on both sides, and
demanded from them alternately the names of those who had best performed
on the opposite sides; the double list was then presented to the ladies
who had been present at the pastime, and the decision was referred to
them as to the award of the prizes; they selected one name from each
party, and the successful heroes received their prizes from the hands of
two young maidens of rank.  If a knight transgressed the rules he was
excluded from the lists with a sound beating, from which alone the
intercession of ladies could save him; so the influence of the fair sex
had opportunities of being practically felt, as well as theoretically
talked of, even then.

The juste or lance game differed from the tournament and was often
included in it, when it took place at its conclusion, but it was quite
consistent with the rules of chivalry for justs to be held separately;
the sword was the weapon used at the tournament, the lance at the juste.
The juste received the title of the “Round table game,” in the reign of
Henry III., from a fraternity of knights who frequently justed together,
and accustomed themselves to associate and eat together in one apartment
at a round table, where every place was equally honourable (even in
feudal times a taint of democracy would creep in).  Historians attribute
this round table game to Arthur, the son of Uter Pendragon, that famous
British hero, whose achievements are so disguised with legendary wonders
that his very existence has been questioned.

At both tilts and tournaments the lists were superbly decorated,
surrounded by the pavilions of the champions, and ornamented with their
coats and banners.  The scaffolds for the accommodation of the spectators
were hung with tapestry, and embroidered with gold and silver; all
attended in their most sumptuous apparel, and the display of costly
grandeur glittering over the whole surface of the field, might well earn
for the memorable scene so designated, its title of the Gilden Croft.
Wealth, beauty, and grandeur were concentrated into one focus, whence
they blazed forth to the eye as from a burning lens.

The dress of the combatants varied according to the rank of the
individual.  Above the under-dress of cloth, fitting close, and common to
all, was worn the _chausses_, or mail coverings for the feet and legs,
somewhat resembling metal stockings; upon the body the gambeson, a sort
of close jacket made of cloth or leather doubled and stuffed, and in
itself oftentimes a most efficient case of defensive armour; this
garment, without sleeves, and universally worn by all classes of men, was
also occasionally introduced into the catalogue of ladies’ attire, and no
doubt was the primitive model for the stays of later generations.  Above
the gambeson was worn the _gorget_ or throat piece, beneath the _hauberk_
or coat of mail, by which it was concealed; this was the garment that
peculiarly designated the rank of the wearer.  Esquires might not wear
sleeves of mail, and none might claim to wear the complete suit that were
not possessed of certain estates.  Above the armour was usually worn some
outer dress, a surcoat or mantle of rich material.  The sword belt was a
necessary part of the warrior’s dress, and was often very elaborately
embellished with precious stones, but more commonly made simply of plain
leather.  Another belt was also worn over the left shoulder, to support
the shield.

The helmet comprised the whole armour for the head and face, and usually
consisted of two parts, one moving over the other, by which means the
face could be uncovered or perfectly inclosed at pleasure.  These
portions of the dress, however, varied to an almost infinite degree at
various times, and at a later period were exchanged for the Bacinet,
Cervaliere, Coif de fer, &c. &c.

Gloves of mail were attached to the sleeves of the hauberk, and were
sometimes divided at the extremities for the accommodation of the fingers
and thumb, but not often.  Such was the military costume of the knight in
armour, and the dress of the spectators, both gentlemen and ladies, must
not altogether be left unnoticed.  The tunic and rich surcoat above,
sometimes varied with a hooded mantle, and the robe a long garment of the
tunic kind, were the leading characteristics of male attire; shoes with
long points, cloth sandals, ornamented with embroidery, girdles enriched
with precious stones, gloves and spurs completed the suit.

The ladies wore gowns, or upper tunics, or robes, with surcoats varying
much in length, sometimes being shorter than the tunic, at others
trailing on the ground, with long loose sleeves, open beneath to the
elbow, and falling thence almost to the feet.  Their mantles were made of
the richest materials, and copiously embellished with gold, silver, and
rich embroideries, sometimes decorated with fringes of gold, varying in
size almost as much as material.  The wimple was a head-dress, worn with
or without an additional veil, usually linen, but occasionally of silk,
embroidered with gold.  It was a species of veil, covering the head but
not the face, and fastened underneath the chin, or at the top of the
head, by a circlet of gold.  The hair was worn loose and flowing, often
without any covering, but frequently bound by a chaplet of goldsmith’s
work and flowers, or of the latter only.  Boots and gloves were in the
inventory of necessaries, but, alas for comfort, stockings were rare,
white, black, or blue.  With this faint sketch of an Anglo-Norman
wardrobe, as it furnished materials to add splendour to the glittering
field of sport, we bid farewell to the lists, not, however, without one
more word as to the honourable position awarded to the gentler sex in the
jousts, which were usually made in their especial honour, and over which
they presided as judges paramount; so that it behoved every true knight
to have a favourite fair one, who was not only esteemed by him as the
paragon of beauty and virtue, but supplied to him often the place of a
tutelary saint, to whom he paid his vows in the day of peril; for it was
then an established doctrine that “love made valour perfect, and incited
heroes to great enterprizes.”  Alas! for the good old times of chivalry,
when women were content to make _great warriors_; but as she did her
mission in that day, so may she, in this sober life of mental tiltings,
lend her meed of influence to people the world with _great men_.  And so
farewell to tournaments; verily they are of the past, and their glitter
dazzles our senses, in this generation of moral _versus_ physical force,
when among the number of the people’s favourite heroes is the champion of
Universal Peace Societies.

But we must not leave our sketch of the life in a feudal castle, without
one glance at the feminine employments that served to relieve the
monotonous existence of the isolated dames condemned to comparative
solitude within its walls; nor are we able to discover much, if any,
variety in their occupations.  The embroidery frame, and an occasional
spindle and distaff, before the improvements in arts and science had
substituted factories and looms, were almost the only resources allowed
them; but these were inexhaustible, and the many elaborate specimens of
their skill that have survived the casualties of a hundred generations,
bear witness to the indefatigable perseverance with which they were
employed.  The garments of the clergy at this period were richly
embroidered, so much so, as to excite the admiration of the pope, and
induce him to issue a bull to the English priests, enjoining them to
procure him vestments equally gorgeous.  Many of these were the free-will
offerings of the rich, and the fruits of highborn ladies’ industry.
Fringe-making of gold and silver, worked upon lace without the aid of the
needle, was another species of occupation afforded them, and constituted
the Phrygian work often spoken of by old historians.  Cyprian work was a
variety of embroidery, inasmuch as it was a thin, transparent texture
like gauze, named _cyprus_, worked with gold.  Cyprus was a term applied
also to black crape, then appropriated exclusively to widows’ mourning;
possibly this might have been the origin of “wearing the cypress.”
Embroidery was not alone confined to ornaments of dress, or even clerical
vestments; hangings for the chambers, and pictures on almost every
possible subject, were produced from the needle.

The tapestry at Bayeux, in Normandy, attributed to Matilda, the queen of
the Conqueror, represents the history of Harold, king of England, and
William of Normandy, from the embassy of the former to Duke William, at
the command of Edward the Confessor, to his final overthrow at Hastings.
The ground of this work is a white linen cloth or canvas, one foot eleven
inches in depth, and two hundred and twelve in length.  The figures are
all in their proper colours, of a style not unlike those of japan ware,
having no pretence to symmetry or proportion.  It is preserved with great
care in the cathedral dedicated to Thomas à Becket, in Normandy, and is
annually exhibited for eight days, commencing on St. John’s day, and is
called _Duke William’s toilette_.

It is, however, extremely questionable whether it was the work of the
royal lady,—many figures in it would indicate that its manufacture was of
more recent date—be it as it may, it is a wondrous specimen of patient
industry, and valuable for the representation of manners and customs of
the times traced upon it.

Here we bid farewell to castle halls, to the ghosts of belted knights and
hooded dames, to spinning wheels and tapestries, falcons, jennets,
tournaments, and banquets, to the border’s bord upon the skirting of his
lord’s domain, the serf’s log hut, the cowherd’s shed, and the prisoner’s
dungeon,—the moat, once deep and flowing, now dried up, and teeming with
cultivated trees and shrubs, and ornamental flowers, and sculptured
figures,—we say adieu to the past history, written on the flints and
mortar of the ramparts, that have braved the “battle and the breeze,” for
near a thousand years,—and leave the soaring heights, whence we may look
down upon the little city world below as on a stage, whose scenes and
slips are all laid bare beneath us in their skeleton machinery—dark lanes
and lumbering alleys crowded round, and shut in out of sight, by facial
frontings of glass, and brick, and plaster.  Churches and heaped-up
churchyards, bursting their walls with the accumulated corruption of
centuries of generations,—distant villages and village spires,—and spots
made sacred by the blood of hero-martyrs,—the winding river, once the
stormy sea-passage for Norsemen and Saxon fleets—and take one final leave
of the giant mound,—whose origin, whether first reared in Celtic ages far
remote, a temple to the Sun, or a portion of the far-famed Icknild Way,
that crosses our island like a belt from south-west to north-east,
whether the architecture of Danes, Saxons, or Normans, is alike full of
history and of poetry, and the well garnered store-house of many a rich
and precious truth,—a monument of the past, ever present to our eye, as a
landmark by which to measure the progress of our nation in religion,
freedom, and social happiness.



CHAPTER IV.
THE MARKET-PLACE.


_Market-place_.—_Present aspect_.—_Visit to its stalls_.—_Norfolk
Marketwomen_.—_Christmas Market_.—_Early History_.—_Extracts from old
records_.—_Domestic scene of 13th century_.—_Early
Crafts_.—_Guilds_.—_Medley of Historical Facts_.—_Extract from Diary of
Dr. Edward Browne_.—_The City in Charles the Second’s reign_.—_Duke’s
Palace
Gardens_.—_Manufactures_.—_Wool_.—_Worsted_.—_Printing_.—_Caxton_.—
_Specimens of Ancient Newspapers_.—_Blomefield_.

The old city, so rich in antiquarian remains, can boast but slow progress
in modern architectural developments; nor may it vie with many a younger
town in its contrivances for the comfort and conveniences of those most
useful members of society—the market-folks.  No Grainger has arisen, to
rear a monument to his own fame, and of his city’s prosperity, in the
form of a shelter for this important class of the town and country
populace.  May be, the picturesque beauty of the Flemish scene, with its
changeful canopy of “ethereal blue,” or neutral tint, toned down at
whiles to hues of sombre gloom, beneath the heavy shade of passing storms
of hail and thunder, or more steady-falling rain and snow, has made the
philanthropists of these reforming times conservatives all, on this one
point, while model cottages, baths and washhouses, almshouses for
freemen, and almost every other scheme ingenuity may devise to testify
the care and thought bestowed upon the public weal, are rising up around.
Let the cry of “_Protection_” once again be raised, not for the
“distressed agriculturist” salesman, in his handsome corn exchange, but
in favour of the “unprotected females” that sit unsheltered from the sun
or storm, to vend the produce of the poultry-yards, the dairy-house, and
market-garden.

But though no Temple to Commerce of the larder has been erected—a fact to
be deplored in a utilitarian sense—it can never be denied that the good
old seat of thriving trade can boast as fine a specimen of a genuine old
market-place as may well be found in this day of competition and rivalry.
Its motley assemblage of buildings, ranged round the open square, of all
styles and all ages, jostling against one another, or here and there
huddled together into all sorts of inconceivable groups of varied and
fantastic outline; the young ones of to-day starting up with bold and
saucy front, and verily squeezing out from among them their quaint,
old-fashioned, gable-ended kinsfolk of older date, or sometimes creeping
out, as it were, from beneath them, content with shewing a modern face in
some lower window, decked with all the new-fangled conceits of the latest
fashions, and allowing their ancestors quiet resting-place aloft, where
to moulder away into decay, are a chronology of history in themselves.
Now and then, the fretted ironwork of some miniature parade, hanging
midway in the air, and clinging to the perpendicular of masonry above
some new plate-glassed and glittering front, suggests thoughts of marine
villas, moonlight and sea views, and all those pretty poetical fancies
associated with a lodging at some fashionable watering-place, and one
wonders how they ever came to be transported thither, and for why?  They
that own them tell us that they have their use, in the city, where the
love of pageantry is an heir-loom from generations long since passed away
whose birthright was to minister to the gorgeous magnificence of
fraternities and guilds, banquettings and processions, that read like
fairy tales in this sober nineteenth century; and we would believe in
their utility, were it no other than to afford a bird’s eye view of the
busy scenes of homely traffic going on upon a market day, amongst the
accumulated heaps of provisions for the daily wants of life.

_The wants of life_!  Who amongst us knows the meaning of the words, the
_reality_ they hide?  Who that has numbered among the wants of life, the
gold to purchase luxury or ornament, place or power, the ways and means
to shine and glitter in the world, where men are prized by what they
_seem_, rather than what they are; the wherewith to pay the idly
accumulated debts, incurred through mean attempts to cover the rags of
poverty, or decent homely garments of honesty, with tinsel mockeries of
wealth’s trappings?  Who amongst these knows aught of the meaning of the
_wants of life_?  Ask him who has known _Hunger_, has been face to face
with want and starvation, has shared with loved and loving ones, weak
babes, and sick and helpless mothers, the task of driving these unbidden
guests away, has felt the gnawing pangs of their demon power, while
gazing upon plenty, upon the wealth of food and sustenance displayed
before his eyes!  Is it not more marvellous and strange, that such piles
as a market displays should ever be permitted to lie safe within the
arrow-shot of gaunt and wasting poverty, than that the annals of our
police reports should now and then record how poverty and crime sometimes
go hand in hand?

But to look more in detail at the picture offered on a summer market-day.
There to the left sit congregated together the vendors of the far-famed
staple produce of the country farm-yards, sheltered from the heat by the
artificial grove of variegated umbrellas, serving, or attempting to
serve, the double purpose of protection from the sun in summer, and the
rain in winter and summer.  The poultry “pads” and butter-stalls are one.
Turkeys, and geese, and fowls, and sausages, and little round white
cheeses, share the baskets and benches with eggs and _pints_ of butter,
in the land where that commodity is sold by _liquid_ measure, whose
equivalent is somewhere near about 1lb. 3 oz.

There is a legend that one who sits here is the heroine of an old tale,
which goes to the effect that “once upon a time,” when the inspector came
his round to test the weights of all the measured pints, the old lady was
observed slily to slip a half crown into the end of a certain pint, and
hand it forward to bear the scrutiny; a bystander, who watched the trick,
a moment after laid his finger on the identical pint and begged to
purchase it, resisting all evasion on the part of the discomfited
saleswoman, who, compelled to submit, turned out eventually the “biter
bit.”

Thronging around this neighbourhood, and proffering their services with
most assiduous perseverance, are a host of most amiable-looking porter
women, liveried in white aprons and sleeves, with a pair of huge peck
baskets dangling on their arms.  Tumbling, and bumping, and jostling
among them, drowning their pleadings in a deafening chorus of discordant
cries, come the itinerant venders of small wares—“lucifers three boxes a
penny,” “cabbage-nets only a penny,” “reels of cotton two for a penny,”
little dangling bunches of skewers, ranged in progressive order on queer
and mysteriously twisted holders, that seem designed to puzzle any
mechanical skill to get them off again, “only a penny;” laces, and
saucepans, and stationery, and kettles, thrust into notice as though
haberdashers, and tinmen, and stationers were simultaneously rushing off
to the gold diggings, and disposing of their goods piecemeal by auction.
Ere the next range of stalls may be explored, the pathway is obstructed
by some “literate” specimen of the blind, with an attendant concourse of
listeners eagerly drinking in the titles of his sheet of hundred songs
for a penny.  “There’s a good time coming,” “All’s lost now,” “My bark is
on the shore,” and “I’m on the Sea,” &c. &c.; or should any great tragedy
or judicial murder have occurred recently, to furnish him with a still
more profitable stock in trade, such as a “last dying speech and
confession,” or “full, true, and particular account” of some “shocking
and brutal outrage,” somewhat may be seen and heard of how the minds and
tastes of the ignorant are vitiated, and the morbid cravings of diseased
imaginations fed; and the hawker of this food for the million, forms
living evidence that the eye is not the only member through whose aid
vice may gain entrance to the soul.  But there is little time or
opportunity to philosophize amid the din of importunity that is ringing
upon the ears, “What d’ye luke for? fine guse? butifull fowill?”  And
there stands one who claims especial notice—the merry bacon woman, amid
her throng of earnest customers.  There she stands, or rather moves;
stillness is a state to which she must be a total stranger, we could
fancy.  “Good day, ma’am.”  “What’s for you, sir?”  “Nice pork, _dear_?
black meat?  I’ll wait _of ye_ this minute, sir.”  “Yes, ma’am, beautiful
ham; did you please to want any?  Oh, thank you; very well, another day I
shall be _proud_ to wait _of ye_.”  “No harm in asking,” she adds,
turning apologetically to her more profitable customers.  And so she goes
on, ever moving, ever talking, ever cheerful, civil, and attentive, one
never-ending strain of courtesy and kindness pouring from her lips, while
her hands are ever busy cutting and weighing, and folding up in fine
white linen cloths, her sausages and bacon, and black meat, and still
nicer white juvenile-looking pork, just fresh from the pickle.  Probably
she has a home somewhere, but her sphere of usefulness and theatre of
glory must be at the market-stall; she must have been born and bred a
market-woman.  Further on, there sits a melancholy and original old lady,
proprietress of a heterogeneous kind of heap, composed of small
quantities of the choicest produce of various sources of supply—stray
joints of pork, trifling displays of butter, a few eggs, and an
occasional specimen of poultry; but her fame is built upon her unrivalled
“tatoes,” hidden up in pads, and carefully concealed from the eyes of
chance passengers; their discovery is a mine of wealth to the privileged
few, especially in bad seasons.  Dealing forth sparingly, like a miser
counting out his treasures, the queen of murphies compensates for the
reserve that would seem to imply her belief that her purchasers were
begging favours of her, by the involuntary boon she confers upon the
lover of idioms, in her quaint displays of her county’s dialect.  The
ordinary greeting of “How d’ye do?” will be met by the assurance that she
“don’t _fare to feel_ no matters,” or she “_fares to_ feel _right
muddled_,” or “_no how_,” or that she is scarce fit to be “abroad.”  Her
“tatoes” she will recommend as eating like balls of flour, if cooked
_enow_ (a word indiscriminately used to express quantity and degree).
She will occasionally detail particulars of her market-horse’s
“_trickiness_” when he “_imitated_” to kick on the road, and how she
“_gots_” him on as well as she could.  Her breakfast jug she will
designate a _gotch_, and many other like specimens will she afford of the
contents of the vocabulary of East Anglia.  A traveller may with little
difficulty fancy he is listening to some native of the distant county
Devon; and, strange to say, the _guse_, _fule_, and _enow_, and other
striking similarities of brogue and dialect, are not the only features of
resemblance these two counties bear to each other.  The ancient rood
screens of the Norfolk churches have many of them been found exactly to
correspond with those found in Devonshire, and only there.  In the
celebrated rebellions of Edward the Sixth’s reign, many remarkable
features of resemblance were observed in the character of the outbreaks
at these distant points,—so much so, as to suggest the idea of secret
communication being kept up between them.  Whether both alike owe their
peculiarities to the common parentage of the Iceni, a tribe of whom have
been said to have settled in Devonshire as well as Pembrokeshire, or they
are referable to any less remote link of connection, antiquarians may
perhaps at some future day make clear.  Certain it is, the “southron” is
apt to be easily beguiled into the belief that he has met a
fellow-countryman or woman among the folks who deem themselves another
race than the people of the “_sheeres_.”

But we have here wandered far aside in our market trip; next come in due
order the butcher-stalls, taking a higher rank in the social scale of
market society than the humbler _pads_, though their wares may not
compete with their neighbours for a world-wide fame—south-down mutton,
prime little scot, and short-horn beef, with the usual attendant displays
of calves’ white heads with staring eyes, and mangled feet hanging to
dismembered legs and shoulders by little strings of sinew, looking as
though they were carelessly left on by accident, _not_ to affect the
weight, and other mysterious manifestations of the internal anatomy of
oxen and sheep, and queer-looking conglomerations of odds and ends,
transmogrified by some cooking process into very greasy imitations of
brawn, and selling by the name of pork cheeses,—these make up the
attractions of the butcher department, not over-inviting to look upon,
even to those who are far from objecting to well-disguised appeals to
their carnivorous propensities in the form of savoury dishes.

The lover of beauty will soon permit his eye to wander on and rest upon
the treasures of the market-garden, where it may revel in a perfect sea
of “Bremer” lusciousness; asparagus—seakale—peas, marafats and
blues—beans, kidneys dwarfs, and windsor—salads and cresses—radishes in
radiating bunches and globular bunches—cabbages and cauliflowers, that
may perplex cooks and boilers by their magnitude—cucumbers and melons,
and all the pumpkin tribe.  Fruit—shining heaps of cherries—trays of
bright glistening currants, with their little seeds peeping through as
“natural” as the gems in the great Russian cabinet—strawberries and
raspberries on their wooden trays, with the little skimmer-like spades to
shovel them up, and the choice ones packed up in their little pints,
sheltered from the sun by the fresh green leaf tied over—and sundry and
divers wares from foreign parts lending new features to the home
department, since the tariff of the “people’s friend” came into
operation.  But the crowning glory of the picture is the sovereign of the
stall, the sturdy market-gardener, full of strength and sinew, the
evidence of honest healthful labour meeting its due reward,—a fitting
representative of the great base upon whose soundness rests the column of
wealth, and capitol of rank, that with it form the pillar of our nation’s
social prosperity.  He knows not what it is to seek for work, but rather
needs to pluralise himself to satisfy the demands upon his skill, and
time, and taste; and fairly has he earned his reputation both in horti
and floriculture.  His rustic little home, with its thatched roof, and
ivy and clematis twined verandah, lies in the very midst of a city of
gardens almost of his own creation, watched and tended by him with a care
that has rendered them the fairest line of beauty art ever devised to
grace a road-side pathway through the suburbs of a city; and who ever saw
or tasted wares that could rival the produce of his own little profitable
domain?  But the good-humoured smile of conscious superiority in his
profession, that plays upon his features, is the market-gardener’s
peculiar fascination.  Talk to him of chemical manures or rich guano, how
he will smile! and what a tale will he unfold of roses all burnt up,
geraniums run to leaf, polyanthuses converted into cabbages, without the
advantage of being edible; auriculas dying, &c.  “May do _somewheres_,
but not for flower or market-gardens.”  Beyond him, lies spread out a
rich carpet of flowers, grouped by the hands of younger and humbler ones,
whom one might almost call the lay floricultural professors.  Geraniums,
and fuchsias, and bright blue salvias, verbenas of every hue, from deep
maroon, through crimson, up to white; sweet-scented heliotrope, and
richly shaded primroses, that make the tenants of the woods look pale
with envy.  A pity it seems to disturb the harmony of colour, so perfect
a parterre does it form, with the back-ground of shrubs that stand in
such rich clusters behind them, all waiting to be transplanted to new
homes.  In the very midst of them rises a mysterious-looking little ark
of canvass, resting from its weekly labour of perambulating the streets
and suburbs through which it has been borne, sedan fashion, by the pair
of unclassical-looking hobbledehoys that own the gay treasures it is
formed to shelter, and whose lips can manage to send forth a string of
nomenclature that may fairly shake the nerves of any modest purchaser.
Sweet simple-looking little floral gems, they will recommend to notice as
Gilea rosea adorata, Clarkia fimbricata, Coreopsis nigra, speciosa,
Colinsea rubra, all hardy annuals; and with the utmost nonchalance
describe some trembling little creeper as Tropœlum Campatica Fuchsia
Carolinæ, Campanula Campatica, and Lobelia ramosa, all safely meant, we
presume, to conceal the relationship of the owners to the familiar
tenants of the cottage border.  A novice must seize in desperation upon
some one that, shorn of its _ishii_ or _osum_, may chance to be
remembered, lest his fate should resemble that of the fair lady, who once
professed to own in her garden the “aurora borealis” and “delirium
tremens.”

Among the scientific nurseries that clothe almost every outskirt of the
city, may perhaps be found grander exotics, or more luxuriant varieties
of floral beauty; but these fragments of botanic skill and lore are fair
specimens of the inheritance bequeathed to the sons of the soil by those
great master-minds whose gardens once drew Evelyn from the metropolis
upon a visit to this then pre-eminent seat of wealth and magnificence.
“My Lord’s Gardens,” that skirted the water-side, whose quadrangle
contained a bowling-green, a wilderness, and garden, with walks of forty
feet in breadth surrounding them, have passed away, a fragment of the
wilderness alone remains to mark the site of the glorious displays of
wealth and fashion once paraded among them; but the name, associated with
the memory of the times, is a star of the first magnitude, in the galaxy
of the city’s firmament of great men.

Sir Thomas Browne, the philosopher, the physician, the naturalist, the
antiquarian, and the botanist, the associate and friend of the most
eminent men that graced the age in which he lived, and the historian
whose works have enriched the literature of the world, stands first in
the long list of names that are linked with the beauties of the vegetable
kingdom; a city that has sent forth a Lindley, a Hooker, and a Smith, to
be professors in the great world of science, as his followers, has cause,
indeed to honour the memory of him who sowed the first seeds in the
garden, that has reared such giants from its soil.

But there is yet another picture to be viewed of homely traffic; the
Christmas market-day, when the old place and people seem to be in the
zenith of their glory.  Each poultry-stall overflowing with the turkeys,
geese, and fowls, that have not found an exit through the myriad avenues
opened for their flight to every province, town, and city in the land.
There they lie in state, sharing the sovereignty of the season, with
bright-gemmed holly boughs and pearly mistletoe, that deck and garnish
every pad, and stall, and bench, and lie heaped up in shining stacks of
magnitude that may well suggest to the young novice a question as to how
the slow-growing holly and rare parasite could have been found year after
year in such profusion.  Country walks, holly-skirted lanes, and park
enclosures, may tell something of the one; and alas! for the poetry of
the Druids and the oaks, the apple orchards now claim almost the sole
honour of giving shelter to the other—the ancient deity of the woods;
they will scarce allow the king of the forest a partial share in the
tribute offerings to merry Christmas.

The bustling eve, when midnight surprises the scrambling teems of “Trotty
Vecks,” gathering up the fragments left from rich folk’s caterings, that
they too may have a savour of something more than the compliments of the
season; when the remnants of the bountiful display that has been hoarded
up for the highest bidders through the busy day, are auctioned off at the
buyer’s own price, and fall thus perchance within the compass of the
weaver’s earnings, then is the hour to see the spirit of peace and
good-will towards men stalking abroad, and lifting from men’s hearts and
faces the load of weariness and veil of care, transmuting by his magic
touch the poor man’s copper into gold, and giving to his little stores a
widow’s cruise-like power to cheer and comfort happy living hearts.  No
one who dwells in the old city should deem it fruitless toil to wend
their way through the old market-place on Christmas Eve, and take a
poet’s lesson from the scene!

But there are other pictures still to be seen within the quaint old
Elizabethan frame-work of the city’s market-place than scenes of
merchandise, in these days of monster meetings.  Who can forget the human
gatherings that have many a time and oft, within the limits of even
childhood’s memory, been witnessed here, when gable roofs, and parapets,
windows, and balconies, church towers, and Guildhall leads, have swarmed
with living thousands; gay dressed “totties” and dames, aye, and
sober-minded lords of the creation too! all eager and intent to watch
from safe quarters some common object of attraction that has drawn
together a mighty multitude of the people, with their proverbial love of
sight-seeing, an inheritance bequeathed to them by their ancestral
pageantries.  Slight stimulus is needed to send the heart’s blood of the
city through every vein and artery to this centre, where it pulsates in
deep and heavy throbs of joy, or hope, or anger, as the case may be;
true, in these modern days the common wants and common blessings that
have bound the sympathies of the million into one, cause the spectacle of
tumultuous hate and bitterness, knocking together of heads, &c, to be a
rare manifestation of popular enthusiasm; more frequently one desire, one
feeling animates the body aggregate, be it to see the mammoth train of a
Hughes or Van Amburgh, the _entrée_ of a royal duke, the failure of a
promised fountain bid to play by a new water company, the more successful
display of fireworks at the same behest, the popping of some threescore
pensioners in honour of some royal birthday, or the advent of some
political election.  On each and all of such occasions, and many more,
the filling up of the frame-work is a picture of life, of concentrated
human power, will, and passion, full of effect; may be, it needs an
adequate cause to give it full strength, but everywhere it is full of
interest, and the good old city’s market-place would not be fairly
chronicled were its monster meetings of sight-seers deemed unworthy a
passing comment.  Pageantry has been numbered among the chartered rights
of the citizens, from the days of “mysteries,” when the itinerant stage,
with its sacred drama provided by the church, was the only theatre known,
through the age of tournaments, the season of royal visits, Elizabethan
processions, and triumphal arches, of guilds, of Georges and dragons,
down to the last relic of the spirit of olden times—the chairing of its
members; and not even the scant nourishment offered in this nineteenth
century, has yet sufficed to starve and wither the seeds thus sown and
fostered in the very nature of the people.

In a work that professes not to follow out the thread of history through
all its variable windings, or note consecutively all the beads of truth
that have been carved by the hand of time, and strung upon its surface,
but only here and there to pause, as some gem more glittering than its
fellows meets the eye, or some quaint rude relic of a day gone by lays
claim to a passing curiosity, wonder, or pity, we feel at liberty to make
a kaleidoscope sort of _pattern_ of our gleanings and notes on the old
market-place.  Interwoven with its progress, and associated with its
memories, must be almost every historical reminiscence, peculiarly
belonging to an important municipality, and thriving mart of commerce and
manufactures; from the first simple gatherings in the outer court of the
castle, to the days when trades and crafts, brought over by Norman
intruders, and flourishing under the skilful tutelage of Flemish
refugees, clustered together in groups around the old croft, the
saddlers, the hosiers, the tanners, the mercers, the parmenters, the
goldsmiths, the cutlers, each with their own _row_, to the time when
staples were fixed, or right of wholesale dealing granted—when cloth
halls witnessed the measuring and sealing by government inspectors of
every manufactured piece of cloth, to ensure fairness of dealing between
buyer and seller—when sumptuary laws regulated quantity, quality, and
pattern of the dresses of all dutiful and loyal subjects—down through
ages of fluctuating vicissitudes of prosperity and adversity—tremulous
shakings—and reviving struggles against the tide of competition that has
sunk the first and greatest manufacturing city our country once could
boast, beneath the level of many a nurseling of yesterday, a mere
mushroom in growth and age—from the era of ultra-carnivorous diet, when
boars, peacocks, venison, and porpoise, were scattered in plentiful
profusion on the boards of butchers’ stalls, and in the regions of
“_Puleteria_,”—when the potato, brocoli, turnip, onion, and radish, were
unknown—the tansy, the rampion, cow cabbage, and salsify, their only
substitutes in the days when vegetarians were not;—when quinces, medlars,
rude grapes, and mulberries, wild raspberries and strawberries, supplied
the place of a modern dessert, with the valuable addenda of hazel, and
walnuts, whose beautiful wood even then was prized as an article of
manufacture for cups and bowls, under the name of _masere_—down to the
scene of the present day, as it has been pictured already.

Manifold have been the fleeting shadows that have peopled its disc, now
bright, now dark, its area now traversed by triumphal arches and gorgeous
processions, now serving as a platform for a gallows, whereon a Roberts
and a Barber suffered for their loyalty to his majesty, Charles the
First; in one age witnessing the rise of an oratory in its very midst,
and a chaplain to minister to spiritual cravings, in the heart of
material abundance; the next echoing to the ruthless hammers of
destructive zealots, sweeping from their path every stone or carving that
bore trace of the finger of the “scarlet lady.”

But although a consecutive detail of its rise and progress may not be
within the province of our pen, we may endeavour to trace a few of the
leading features of its history since the era of its first rise into
existence as a fishing hamlet, when the sea washed its shores, and the
huts of a few fishermen, perhaps, were the only habitations scattered
over its surface.  Here they dwelt, no doubt, in peaceful security, when
the huge mound, topped with its towering castle, rose up in their midst,
and their sovereigns fixed their dwelling-place within its strongholds,
to be succeeded, after the departure of the Romans, by the feudal lords
or earls of Danish and Saxon conquerors, in whose time the market-place
was the magna crofta or great croft of the castle.  At the gates of the
ancient castles the markets were continually set, following the precedent
of the assemblage of booths that gathered round the gates of the Roman
camps.  These, from being at first moveable stalls or shelters for goods,
grew in after-years into towns, boroughs, and cities, many of them taking
their names from the castles or camps, and were called _chesters_.  The
country people were not allowed to carry provisions into Roman camps; at
each gate was a strong guard, that suffered none to enter the camp
without licence from the commanding officer: this guard consisted of one
_cohort_, and one troop at least, from which sprung the modern term of
_court_, or _cohort_, of guard.  The commanding officer of the guard at
the gate had oversight of the market, punished such as sold by false
weights and measures, brought bad provisions, or were guilty of any other
offence in the market, and arbitrated in all cases of dispute.  The
Saxons, those exterminating conquerors, who so liberally parcelled out
their neighbours’ territory into the famous divisions of the Heptarchy,
next figured upon the scene, and the _castellans_ succeeded the officer
of the guard in the duties of his office, in later times to be fulfilled
by pie-powder courts and clerks of the market.  At this period, markets
at the castle gates grew so important as to be composed of durable
houses, as durable at least as wooden shambles were likely to be; and of
such like constructions were the first outlines of the market-place
composed, the fishmongers’ and butchers’ shops of the present day being
the nearest similitudes that can be found to illustrate their features.

From this time the history of the market-place becomes identified with
the progress of the borough, its struggles for growth being somewhat
impeded, we fancy, by the tithes and taxes extorted by barons and
bishops, between whom we may fancy the poor fisherfolks began to “fare
rather sadly,” scarcely knowing what was their own, or if, indeed, they
had any own at all.  To sum up their miseries, old chroniclers record
that about this time the sea began to withdraw its arm, which to them had
been a great support, and the fishermen, who were bound to pay an annual
tithe of herrings to the bishops of the _see_, found themselves in much
the same plight as the Israelites of old, when doomed to make bricks
without straw—in their case to supply herrings without a fishery—and were
therefore reduced to the unpleasant necessity of thenceforth purchasing
the wherewith to pay the lasting imposition.  Notwithstanding all these
impediments the progress of the borough was rapid; houses and churches
sprung up thick and fast; so that at the time of the survey, in the reign
of the “Confessor,” we find record of twenty-five parish churches, and
one thousand three hundred burgesses; of sheep-walks, mills, and hides of
land, (a hide being as much as one plough could till in a year,) of
taxes, of honey, and bear dogs.

Churches were owned indiscriminately by bishops, earls, and burgesses;
the materials of which they were constructed, chiefly wood, though
occasionally rough flints and stones cemented by a durable mortar were
substituted; the towers were circular, bricks were employed for
pavements, and bells were used.  The ancients conceived the sound of
metal to be an antidote against evil spirits; and the adoption of bells
into the Christian church, and their consecration, was but a variation of
the practices of the pagans, who at the feasts of Vulcan and Minerva,
consecrated trumpets for religious uses.

Such was the condition of the town and market-place, when the Norman
Conqueror, whose coming produced such mighty changes in the land, brought
over from the continent a host of foreigners, who settled themselves down
in almost every part of the kingdom, and introduced trades and crafts of
every variety, giving birth to the great manufacturing spirit that has
grown to be so distinguishing a feature of our national greatness.  Among
the foreigners who established themselves in this district, we find the
name of _Wimer_, a name yet prefixed to one of the great wards or
districts of the city—the Wimer ward.  At this period, perhaps the most
prominent characteristic of the secular history of the times, especially
in connection with trade, is the important position held by the Jews.

The Norman duke had brought with him a great number of this race of
people, and although their religion was despised and bitterly hated, they
monopolized almost every branch of trade, and so much of the learning of
the day, that they took a high place both in commercial and civil
transactions.  In this city they successively had two extensive
synagogues and colleges, where medicine and rabbinical divinity were
taught together.

Pharmacy, education, and all monetary transactions of any importance,
seem to have come within their province, their utility and wealth
preserving them, for the time at least, from anything more than petty
persecution.  The history, however, of little St. William, given
elsewhere, and other similar records that have been handed down, betray
the jealousy and ill-will that existed between them and the Christians,
even during the season of their prosperity, when royalty, as in the time
of Rufus, patronized them.

Meantime the city had become a bishopric; a monastery, three friaries,
and a nunnery sprung up in quick succession, betraying the growth of
ecclesiastical power, and the presence of a great rival to the secular
authority claimed by the ministers of civil justice; itinerant judges had
been established for trying great crimes, such as murder or theft, and
coroners had been instituted to hold inquests upon any persons dying
suddenly, or found dead; either to acquit them of self murder, or seize
their goods; the citizens were also exempted from the judgment of the law
by single combat by Richard I.  Among the events of interest bearing very
early date is the royal visit of the first Henry, in the day when the
king was his own tax-gatherer, and when, failing to receive his dues in
lawful coin of the realm, he was wont to take them in kind, and to tarry
until himself and suite had eaten up the hogs and sheep, and cows and
geese, whose addition to his retinue would have been otherwise very
burdensome.  So liberal was the entertainment afforded the royal visitor
here, that his majesty was pleased to confer upon the citizens many
privileges as a mark of gratitude, among which exemption from such like
visitations in future was included.

The next visit of royalty is attributed to Edward the First, whose
generosity was evidenced by the command issued speedily after his return
thither, that the Jews throughout the kingdom should be charged with
unlawfully clipping and adulterating the coin of the realm, as an excuse
for their persecution, imprisonment, and final extermination.  The
religious antipathies of the zealous crusader would not suffice to
explain these atrocities; but the ambition of the warlike monarch seeking
to replenish his exhausted treasury, that he might prosecute expensive
foreign enterprises, gives a more satisfactory clue to the origin of
cruelties, that led to such important confiscations being made to the
crown.  In obedience to the royal will, the beautiful college of the Jews
in this city was plundered and burnt, its coffers emptied into the royal
exchequer, and its tenants banished or imprisoned.  An inn, called
“Abraham’s Hall,” was soon after raised in the immediate neighbourhood,
to memorialize the event; but an old ricketty gable or two, hidden away
behind fair modern frontings of brickwork and stucco, is all that remains
of this monument.  St. George in combat with the Dragon, now figures on
the sign board affixed to the inn that occupies one portion of its site.

It is some credit to the ministers of justice in the city, that we find
upon their records, traces of the efforts made to bring to punishment
some of the actual perpetrators of the outrages in Jewry, albeit they
could perhaps only be deemed instruments in the hands of higher powers.
Extracts from the “Coroners’ Rolls,” containing accounts of robberies and
street frays in this reign and the preceding, prove this fact, and afford
in addition curious evidence of the state of society at that period.  For
the quaint and amusing details they give, we must render thanks to the
learned and skilled in antiquarian lore, obsolete orthography, black
letter type, &c., but, for whose assistance in rescuing them from
obscurity, and interpreting their meaning, they must to us have remained
veiled in an impenetrable incognita.

Amongst them is the record of an “inquisition made of the fire raised in
Jewry,” and a “precept given to apprehend all the felons concerned.”
Another is so graphic, that we feel able to see the whole picture it
gives at a glance—the widow sitting beside the bier of her husband, the
sanctity of her sorrow invaded by brute violence, the house pillaged, and
the corpse plundered and burnt in the agonised wife’s presence.  The
words of the roll say, “Katharina, the wife of Stephen Justice, accused
Ralph, son of Robert Andrew, the gaoler, William Kirby Gaunter, William
Crede, Walter de Hereham, John, servant of Nicholas de Ingham, and
Nicholas sometime servant of Nicholas de Sopham, and Nicholas de Gayver,
that when she was at peace with God and the king, in the house of Stephen
Justice her husband, and the Thursday night after the feast of King
Edmund, in the forty-eighth year of the reign of King Henry, the son of
King John (1263), they came in the town of Norwich, in Fybriggate, St.
Clement’s, and broke the oaken gates, and the hooks and the hinges of
iron, with hatchets, bars, wedges, swords, knives, and maces, and flung
them down into the court, and feloniously entered; that they then broke
the pine wood doors of the hall, and the hinges and iron work of them,
and the chains, bolts, and oaken boards of the windows.  Afterwards they
entered the door of the hall chamber towards the south, and robbed that
chamber of two swords, value 3_s._ 6_d._, one ivory handled anlace, value
12_d._, one iron head piece, value 10_d._, an iron staff, value 4_d._;
one cow leather quirre (cuirass) with iron plates, value half a mark; and
one wambeis (a body garment stuffed with cotton, wool, or tow), and
coming thence into the hall, they burnt the body of her husband, as it
there lay upon a bier, together with a blanket of ‘reins,’ value 3_s._;
and took away with them a linen cloth, value 18_d._  The said Katharina
immediately raised hue and cry, from street to street, from parish to
parish, and from house to house, until she came into the presence of the
bailiffs and coroners.  They also stole a lined cloth of the value of
5_s._, and one hood of _Pers_ (Persian) with squirrel’s fur, value
10_s._”

A writer in the Archæological Journal describes the houses of this period
as possessing only a ground floor, of which the principal apartment was
the aire, aitre, or hall, into which the principal door opened, and which
was the room for cooking, eating, receiving visitors, and the other
ordinary uses of domestic life.  Adjacent to this, was the chamber which
was by day the private apartment and resort of the female portion of the
household, and by night the bed room.  Strangers and visitors generally
slept in the hall, beds being made for them on the floor.  A stable was
frequently adjacent to the hall, probably on the side opposite to the
chamber or bed-room.

Another memorandum on the rolls, records the deaths of Henry Turnecurt
and Stephen de Walsham, who “were killed in the parish of St. George,
before the gate of the Holy Trinity, St. Philip and James’ day, in the
same year.  The coroners and bailiffs went and made inquisition.
Inquisition then made was set forth in a certain schedule.  Afterwards
came master Marc de Bunhale, clerk, and Ralph Knict, with many others,
threatening the coroners to cut them to pieces, unless the schedule was
given up, and then they took Roger the coroner, and by force led him to
his own house, with swords and axes, until the said Roger took the
schedule from his chest; and then they took him with the schedule to St.
Peter of Mancroft church, and there the aforesaid Ralph tore away the
schedule from the hands of Roger, and bore it away, and before his
companions, in the manner of fools, cut it into small pieces; and with
much ado, Roger the coroner escaped from their hands in great fear and
tremor.  The coroners say they cannot make inquisition, by reason of the
imminence of the war.”  The disturbances alluded to were the dissensions
going on between the king and barons.

Another describes an attack of four men, one of them a priest, upon one
man in his shop in the market, where he was killed.  Among many other
similar accounts of these troubled times, stands the description of
various felons, who sheltered themselves within the walls of the
sanctuary, a privilege permitted from the time of Alfred, whose laws
granted protection for three days and nights to any within the walls of a
church; William the Conqueror confirmed and extended the privilege.  In
the times of feudal tyranny, this refuge was oftentimes of considerable
advantage to innocent persons falsely accused, but as frequently was the
shelter of crime.

In a case quoted from this authority, the felon professes to have sought
refuge from punishment awaiting robberies, of which he acknowledges
himself guilty.  Upon the church of St. Gregory there yet remains a
curious escutcheon, a part of the knocker, always then placed upon the
door of a church, for the purpose of aiding those who sought refuge in
sanctuary.  A curious account of the ceremony of abjuration of the realm
by one who had taken refuge in Durham Cathedral, is given in the York
volume of the Archæological Institute.

    “A man from Wolsingham is committed to prison for theft.  He escapes,
    and seeks refuge in the Cathedral.  He takes his stand before the
    shrine of St. Cuthbert, and begs for a coroner.  John Rachet, the
    coroner of Chester ward, goes to him, and hears his confession.  The
    culprit, in the presence of the sacrist, sheriff, under-sheriff, and
    others, by a solemn oath renounces the kingdom.  He then strips
    himself to his shirt, and gives up his clothing to the sacrist as his
    fee.  The sacrist restores the clothing—a white cross of wood is put
    into his hand, and he is consigned to the under-sheriff, who commits
    him to the care of the nearest constable, who hands him over to the
    next, and he to the next, in the direction of the coast.  The last
    constable puts him into a ship, and he bids an eternal farewell to
    his country.”

There were usually chambers over the porches of churches, in which two
men slept, for the purpose of being ready at all hours to admit
applicants.  In proof of the expense attending the maintaining of persons
in the sanctuary, it is said that “in 1491, the burgesses in parliament
acquainted the assembly that they had been at great expense in getting an
ordinance of parliament to authorize them in a quiet way to take one John
Estgate out of sanctuary, the said John having entered the churchyard of
St. Simon and St. Jude, and there remained for a long time past, during
which time, the city being compelled to keep watch on him day and night,
lest he should escape, was at great charge and trouble.  The ordinance
being passed, John Pynchamour, one of the burgessess, went to the
sanctuary and asked John Estgate whether he would come out and submit to
the law, or no; and upon his answering he ‘would not,’ he in a quiet
manner went to him, led him to the Guildhall, and committed him to
prison.”

Another entry of an event that transpired during the troubled reign of
Henry III., bears reference to the memorable disputes between the
citizens and the monks of the priory, of which the Ethelbert gateway,
leading into the Cathedral Close, is a monument; the citizens having had
the penance of erecting it, imposed upon them for their destructive
attacks upon the monastery, a great portion of which, including parts of
the cathedral, they pillaged and burnt.  The record states that “one John
Casmus was found slain on the Tuesday next after the feast of St.
Laurence, by William de Brunham, prior of Norwich, at the gates of St.
Trinity, on the eastern side; the said prior having struck him with a
certain ‘fanchone’ on the head, from which blow he instantly died.  The
coroners are afraid to make inquisition, for fear of a felonious assault;
a result rendered very probable by the known temper of the prior, who, by
his violent conduct, is said to have contributed materially to the
unhappy disturbances.”

Long-cherished bitterness and jealousies respecting their several limits
of jurisdiction, had found occasion for outbreak the preceding week to
that mentioned in the record, at the annual fair, held on Trinity Sunday,
before the gates of the cathedral, on the ground known as Tombland, from
having anciently been a burial place.  The servants of the monastery, and
the citizens, had come into collision at some games that were going on
upon the Tuesday, and a violent conflict ensued, which lasted for a
considerable time.  The writers of the time are divided as to the
blameable parties; the monks being accused of aiding and abetting their
servants in doing wrong, and _vexing_ the people; the citizens, in their
turn, being condemned for transgressing the recognized laws which existed
concerning the boundaries of the prior’s jurisdiction.

The animosities never fairly could be said to have ceased until the
general destruction of all monastic power at the period of the
Reformation.

One more curious extract we will make from these coroner’s rolls,
remarkable as being one of the very few authentic accounts to be met with
of a person being restored to life after execution.

    “Walter Eye was condemned in the court of Norwich, and hung, and
    appeared dead, but was afterwards discovered to be alive by William,
    the son of Thomas Stannard; and the said Walter was carried in a
    coffin to the church of St. George’s, before the gate of St. Trinity,
    where he recovered in fifteen days, and then fled from that church to
    the church of the Holy Trinity, and there was, until the king upon
    his suit pardoned him.”

It was formerly a prevalent idea that felons could only be suspended for
a certain time, but this was not really the case; so far from it, Hale’s
“Pleas of the Crown” asserts, “that, in case a man condemned to die, come
to life after he is hanged, as the judgment is not executed till he is
_dead_, he ought to be hung up again.”

Another anecdote, extracted from the books of the corporation, bearing a
more recent date, possesses a double interest, from being connected with
a memorable disturbance, dignified in local history by the title of
Gladman’s Insurrection, and also from the name and rank of the lady
concerned, who was grand-daughter to Chaucer, the poet, and wife of
William de la Pole, who succeeded to the earldom of Suffolk upon the
death of his brother Michael, A.D. 1415, the second year of the reign of
King Henry V.

The only liberty we shall take with the original account is to slightly
abridge it, and render it in modern orthography.

Item.  It was so, that Alice, Duchess, that time Countess of Suffolk,
lately in person came to this city, disguised like a country house-wife.
Sir Thomas Tuddenham, and two other persons, went with her, also
disguised; and they, to take their disports, went out of the city one
evening, near night, so disguised, towards a hovel called Lakenham Wood,
to take the air, and disport themselves, beholding the said city.  One
Thomas Ailmer, of Norwich, esteeming in his conceit that the said duchess
and Sir Thomas had been other persons, met them, and opposed their going
out in that wise, and fell at variance with the said Sir Thomas, so that
they fought; whereby the said duchess was sore afraid; by cause whereof
the said duchess and Sir Thomas took a displeasure against the city,
notwithstanding that the mayor of the city at that time being, arrested
Thomas Ailmer, and held him in prison more than thirty weeks without
bail; to the intent thereby both to chastise Ailmer, and to appease the
displeasure of the said duchess and Sir Thomas; and also the said mayor
arrested and imprisoned all other persons which the said duchess and Sir
Thomas could understand had in any way given favour or comfort to the
said Ailmer, in making the affray.  Notwithstanding which punishment, the
displeasure of the duchess and Sir Thomas was not appeased.  And it is
so, moreover, that one John Haydon, late was recorder of the city, taking
of the mayor and citizens a reasonable fee, as the recorder is
accustomed; he, being so recorded, had interlaced himself with the prior
of Norwich, at that time being _in travers_ with the said mayor and
commonality, and discovered the privity of the evidence of the said city
to the said prior, because whereof the mayor and commons of the said city
discharged the said Haydon of the condition of recorder; for which Haydon
took a displeasure against the said city.

By malice of these displeasures of the said duchess, Sir Thomas
Tuddenham, and John Haydon, the Duke of Suffolk, then earl, in his
person, upon many suggestions by the said Tuddenham and Haydon to him
made, that the mayor, aldermen, and commonality aforesaid, should have
misgoverned the city, laboured and made to be taken out of the chancery a
commission of over determiner.  And thereupon, at a sessions holden at
Thetford, the Thursday next after the feast of St. Matthew the Apostle,
the said Sir Thomas and John Haydon, finding in their conceit no manner
or matter of truth whereof they might cause the said mayor and
commonality there to be indicted, imagined thus as ensueth: first, they
_sperde an inquest_, _then taken_ in a chamber, at one Spilmer’s house;
in which chamber the said T. _lodged_, _and so kept them sperde_.

    “And it was so, that one John Gladman, of Norwich, which was then,
    and at this hour, is a man of ‘sad’ dispositions, and true and
    faithful to God and to the king, of disport, as is and hath been
    accustomed in any city or borough through all this realm, on fasting
    Tuesday made a disport with his neighbours, having his horse trapped
    with tinsel, and otherwise disguising things, crowned as King of
    Christmas, in token that all mirth should end with the twelve months
    of the year; afore him went each month, disguised after the season
    thereof; and Lent clad in white, with red-herring’s skins, and his
    horse trapped with oyster shells after him, in token that sadness and
    abstinence of mirth should follow, and an holy time; and so rode in
    divers streets of the city, with other people with him disguised,
    making mirth, and disport, and plays.

    “The said Sir Thomas and John Haydon, among many other full strange
    and untrue presentments, made by perjury at the said inquest, caused
    the said mayor and commonality, and the said John Gladman, to be
    indicted of that, that they should have imagined to have made a
    common rising, and have crowned the said John Gladman as king, with
    crown, sceptre and diadem, (when they never meant it), nor such a
    thing imagined, as in the said presentiment it showeth more plain,
    and by that presentiment, with many other horrible articles therein
    comprised, so made by perjury, thay caused the franchise of the said
    city to be seized into the king’s hands, to the harm and cost of the
    said mayor and commonality.”

And now we take a long stride from the reign of Henry V. to that of
Charles II., omitting the intermediate century that was marked by the
royal visit of the maiden queen, chronicled at length among the
“pageantries;” and passing over the troubled era of the Commonwealth, the
Reformation, and “Kett’s rebellion,” all of which have found a place for
notice elsewhere, we find ourselves once more in the smooth waters of
peace, with the tide of prosperity at the full within the walls of the
old city; and we ask no pardon for making copious extracts from the
journal that furnished Macaulay with materials to serve up the rich
banquet that lies condensed in the few lines devoted to this period of
the city’s history, in his unrivalled work.  The diary of Dr. Edward
Browne gives a picture of the society and habits of the citizens in his
time, perhaps not to be met with elsewhere.  His father, Sir Thomas
Browne, then tenanted the house now known by the title of the “Star,” and
in the winter of 1663–4 was visited by his son Edward, who, during his
stay, made the entries in his journal which we have extracted.  At that
time, Henry, afterwards Lord Howard, of Castle Rising, subsequently Earl
of Norwich, and Marshal of England, resided in the city, at the palace of
his brother, Thomas, Duke of Norfolk, who was an invalid, on the
continent, suffering from disease of the brain.

    “Jan. 1st. (1663–4.)  I was at Mr. Howard’s, brother to the Duke of
    Norfolk, who kept his Christmas this year at the Duke’s palace in
    Norwich, so magnificently that the like hath scarce been seen.  They
    had dancing every night, and gave entertainments to all that would
    come; _hee_ built up a room on purpose to dance in, very large, and
    hung with the bravest hangings I ever saw; his candlesticks,
    snuffers, _tongues_, fire-shovel, and and-irons, were silver; a
    banquet was given every night after dancing; and three coaches were
    employed every afternoon to fetch ladies, the greatest of which would
    holde fourteen persons, and coste five hundred pounde, without the
    harnesse, which cost six score more; I have seen of his pictures,
    which are admirable; he hath prints and draughts, done by most of the
    great masters’ own hands.  Stones and jewels, as onyxes, sardonyxes,
    jacinths, jaspers, amethysts, &c. more and better than any prince in
    Europe.  Ringes and seales, all manner of stones, and limnings beyond
    compare.  These things were most of them collected by the old Earl of
    Arundel (the Duke’s grandfather).

    “This Mr. Howard hath lately bought a piece of ground of Mr. Mingay,
    in Norwich, by the waterside in Cunisford, which hee intends for a
    place of walking and recreation, having made already walkes round and
    across it, forty feet in breadth; if the quadrangle left be spacious
    enough, he intends the first of them for a bowling-green, the third
    for a wildernesse, and the fourth for a garden.  These and the like
    noble things he performeth, and yet hath paid 100,000 pounds of his
    ancestors’ debts.

    “Jan. 6th.  I dined at my Aunt Bendish’s, and made an end of
    Christmas at the Duke’s palace, with dancing at night and a great
    banquet.  His gates were opened, and such a number flocked in, that
    all the beer they could set out in the streets could not divert the
    stream of the multitude.

    “Jan. 7th.  I opened a dog.

    “Jan. 9th.  Mr. Osborne sent my father a calf, whereof I observed the
    knee joint, and the neat articulation of the put-bone, which was here
    very perfect.

    “This day Monsieur Buttet, who plays most admirably on the flageolet,
    bagpipe, and sea-trumpet, a long three-square instrument, having but
    one string, came to see me.

    “Jan. 11th.  This day, being Mr. Henry Howard’s birthday, we danced
    at Mr. Howard’s, till 2 of the clock in the morning.

    “Jan. 12th.  Cutting up a turkey’s heart.  A monkey hath 36 teeth: 23
    molares, 4 canini, and 8 incisores.

    “Jan. 13th.  This day I met Mr. Howard at my Uncle Bendish’s, where
    he taught me to play at _l’hombre_, a Spanish game at cards.

    “Jan. 21st.  I shewed Dr. De Veau about the town; I supped with him
    at the Duke’s palace, where he shewed a powder against agues, which
    was to be given in white wine, to the quantity of three grains.  He
    related to me many things of the Duke of Norfolk, that lives at
    Padua, _non compos mentis_, and of his travailes in France and Italy.

    “Jan. 23rd.  Don Francisco de Melo came from London, with Mr. Philip
    Howard (third grandson of the Earl of Arundel), to visit his honour,
    Mr. Henry Howard.  I met them at Mr. Deyes the next day, in Madam
    Windham’s chamber.

    “I boyled the right fore-foot of a monkey, and took out all the
    bones, which I keep by me.  In a put-bone, the unfortunate casts are
    outward, the fortunate inward.

    “Jan. 26th.  I saw a little child in an ague, upon which Dr. De Veau
    was to try his febrifuge powder; but the ague being but moderate, and
    in the declension, it was thought too mean a disease to try the
    efficacy of his extolled powder.

    “Feb. 2nd.  I saw cock-fighting at the White Horse, in St. Stephen’s.

    “Feb. 5th.  I went to see a _serpent_, that a woman, living in St.
    Gregory’s church-yard, vomited up, but she had burnt it before I
    came.

    “Feb. 16th.  I went to visit Mr. Edward Ward, an old man in a fever,
    where Mrs. Anne Ward gave me my first fee, 10_s._

    “Feb. 22nd.  I set forward for my journey to London.”

This quaint admixture of scientific research, pleasure-seeking, and
superstitious credulity, blended with intellectual enquiry, affords a
curious picture of the domestic and professional habits of a physician of
the seventeenth century.  The father of the writer, the eminent Dr.
Thomas Browne, received the order of knighthood from his majesty, King
Charles II., on the occasion of his visiting the city in 1671, when he
dined in state at the New Hall (St. Andrew’s); the same honour was
pressed upon the acceptance of the mayor, who, however, ventured to
decline the proffered dignity.  In the reign of James II., we find record
of Henry, then Duke of Norfolk, riding into the market-place at the head
of 300 knights, to declare a free parliament, the mayor and sheriffs
meeting him there, and consenting to the act.  But the glory of the
palace, once the scene of such regal splendour and magnificence, was not
of long duration.  A dispute between the grandson of the Duke Henry and
the mayor of the city, concerning the entrance of some comedians into the
city, playing their trumpets, &c. on the way to the palace, caused its
owner, Thomas, then Duke, to destroy the greater portion of it, and leave
the remainder untenanted; and among divers transmutations of property
that characterized the era of Queen Anne, we find the appropriation of
its vestiges to the purpose of a workhouse, when those institutions first
sprang into existence—a fate shared at the same period by the cloisters
of the old Black Friars monastery.

The river, that once reflected the gorgeous displays of wealth that
glittered upon the margin of its waters, in the palace of the Dukes, now
flows darkly and silently on, through crowded thoroughfares and gloomy
wharfs, and staiths; corn and coal depots, red brick factories, with
their tiers of low window-ranges and tall chimneys, have usurped the
place of banquetting halls and palace gardens; a toll bridge adds silence
to the gloom, by its prohibitory tax on passers-by, a stillness,
oppressive by its sudden contrast to the activity of neighbouring
thoroughfares, pervades the whole region round about; and the spot that
once was the nucleus of wealth, riches, and grandeur, now seems the very
seat and throne of melancholy.

Coeval with the rise of workhouses, in the reign of Anne, is another
event of local history—the introduction of street-lighting.  An act of
parliament of William III., confirmed in the 10th of Anne, enacted “that
every householder charged with 2_d._ a week to the poor, whose
dwelling-house adjoined any streets, market-places, public lanes, or
passages in the city, should every night, yearly, from Michaelmas to
Lady-day, as it should grow dark, hang out, on the outside of their
houses, _a candle_, _or visible and convenient lights_, and continue the
same until eleven o’clock at night, for enlightening the streets, and
convenience of passengers, under penalty of 2_s._ for every neglect.”
Lamps, at the cost of the community in general, were soon afterwards
substituted, but their shape, and distance from each other, would seem to
have rendered them but indifferent substitutes for the illuminations that
preceded them; and if memory is faithful to us, in recalling the
progenitors of the gas-lights of the present day, we may form some slight
conception of the pigmy race of ancestors from which they sprung.

Meantime, during these years of progress and prosperity, while Time was
tracing its finger-marks upon the walls of men’s houses, and writing its
lessons on their hearts and minds, there stood, in the centre of the old
market-place, a little silent symbol of the religious feeling of the
passing ages,—the market-cross, and oratory within the little octagonal
structure, whose external corners bore upon all of them the emblem of
hope and salvation—the crucifix.  In its earliest days, its oratory was
tenanted by a priest, supported by the alms of the busy market-folks, who
could find means, in the midst of all their worldly callings, to pay some
tribute in time and money to religion.  And was it such a very foolish
practice of our ignorant old forefathers, thus to bring the sanctuary
into the very midst of the business of life?—was it a great proof of
childish simplicity, to seek to sanctify the scenes of merchandize by the
presence and teaching of Christianity?  Is it indeed needful that the
elements of our nature, spirit, soul, and body, should be rent asunder,
and fed and nurtured in distinct and separate schools, until each one of
us becomes almost conscious of two separate existences—the Sabbath-day
life, within the church or meeting walls, and the week-day business life
abroad in the world?  Or shall the union be pronounced more beautiful and
consonant with the laws of harmony, that carries the world into the
sanctuary, and desecrates the house of God by the presence of sordid
passions, crusted round the heart by daily exercise in the great marts of
commerce, or in the intercourse of political or even social life, that
not the one day’s rest in seven, spent in listening to some favourite
theologian’s intellectual teachings of doctrinal truths, or controversial
dogmas, can suffice to rub off, to purify, or make clean?  A market-cross
and priest may not be the remedies for this disease of later times, but
they were outer symbols of the reality needed—Christianity, to be carried
out into the every-day actions of the world, mingling with the dealings
of man with man, master and workman, capitalist and consumer,—that there
may no longer exist those monstrous anomalies that are to be met with in
almost every phase of society in this Christian land, among a people
professing to be guided by the light of “Truth,” to walk according to the
law of “Charity,” and to obey the precept, “Love thy neighbour as
thyself.”

But the busy hands of zealous reformers long since began their work upon
this little outward expression of “superstition;” the priest disappeared,
the crucifixes fell beneath the murmurs of “_true Protestants_,” and the
oratory was transferred to the “masters, and searchers, and sellers of
leather;” but, in process of time, falling to decay, the little monument
was pulled down, and all traces of its existence obliterated from the
scene of its former dominion.

And now a word upon manufactures.  The great parent of English looms, and
English weavers of wool, claims it; the city, that has for centuries
robed the priesthood of Christendom in its camlets; that has invented
crapes, and bombazines, and paramattas, to clothe one-half of the world
in the sable “livery of woe;” that has draped the fair daughters of every
clime in the graceful folds of its far-famed “filover;” that has in later
years shod the feet of no small proportion of the nation’s population;
whose every court and alley echoes the throw of the shuttle and rattle of
the loom; whose every cellar and hovel has its winding frame for
childhood and old age to earn their mite upon; whose garrets pour forth
their pale sickly wool-combers, with faces blanched by the fumes of
charcoal; that has its districts of “cord-wainers,” and colonies of
“binders;” its hidden timber-yards, where thousands of square feet are
rapidly being transformed into “vestas” and “lucifers,” and “silent
lights;” and its tall factories, whose heaped-up stories send down their
streams of human working bees, from the cells of their monster queen, the
steam-engine, and the task of making produce to supply the rich man’s
wants—has, we say, a claim upon us in her character of a manufacturing
place.  The venerable city, once the summit of the pyramid of our
nation’s commercial glory, stands no longer in isolated grandeur, the
mistress of trade, but for long has had to look up at a vast mass of
capital and labour, accumulated above her head by the energies and
activities of younger rivals.  India has gorged with its raw material the
markets once fed with the wool of home-grown sheep, and cotton towns have
risen up and outgrown the old woollen mart of the country.  Fashion and
its fluctuations, machinery and its progressions, iron and coal in their
partial distribution, have each and all helped to lay the head of the
mighty low; but there is strong vitality left within her—powerful talents
and great resources; she is even now rising from the lethargy that had
crept over her.  Would our space permit, how fain would we trace the
workings yet going on in her midst: the progress of the shearer’s wool
from the wool-sack to the rich brocaded cashmere; through its “combing”
with irons heated over charcoal furnaces, that poison the atmosphere
around, and shorten the lives of the operatives engaged in it, forsooth,
because the foreman of the manufactory has a perquisite of selling
charcoal,—thence to the huge factory with giant engines, and labyrinths
of spinning-wheels; away, again, to the spider-looking winding-frame,
that children and old women may turn to help to fill the shuttles of the
abler workers at the loom; thence to the dyers, and then to the loom
itself, where manhood, youth, and woman’s feebler strength alike find
exercise and room for labour.  How many histories have been woven into
the fabric—what tears or smiles have cast their light or shade upon the
tints,—what notes of harmony or love, or wailings of sorrow and sickness
have echoed the shuttle’s throw,—how many tales of stern heart griefs,
pining wants, wasting penury, or disease, are wrapped in the luxurious
folds that minister to the comfort and enjoyment of the unconscious
wearer.

But we dare not tarry amid these scenes, richly fraught as they may be
with subject for graphic sketching; we may not pause to visit the great
gatherings in factory chambers, or linger amongst the home labours of the
industrious artisan; can barely hint at traits of heroism, lives of
gentle loving duty going on amid the rattling noise of looms that trench
upon the narrow limits of the sick bed; deeds of good Samaritanism that
grace the weary weaver’s home, or dwell upon the Christian lessons they
have power to teach.  If the anatomy of a manufacturing city does revolt
the senses and sensibilities in the pictures of suffering and poverty it
seldom fails to abound with, there is yet much beauty in the deep,
earnest, truthful poetry to be read in the page it lays open.  Mary
Barton is no fiction; scarce a district in a manufacturing province that
could not furnish a heroine like her; nor need we, perhaps, look to the
other side of the Atlantic, to find the prototype of “Uncle Tom.”

There is little doubt that woollen manufactures of some kind existed in
this neighbourhood from a very early period.  Sheep were here in great
abundance, and as soon as there were ships to send them in, were exported
to other countries from these parts.  Doomsday Book mentions numerous
“sheep-walks,” covering many acres of ground; whether these “walks”
comprised such lands as we now term “meadows or pastures,” is not
explained, but most probably such is the interpretation to be put upon
the term, and _not_, as at first sight might seem to be implied, that the
sheep had narrow strips of “esplanade,” or promenade, all to themselves,
upon which they marched up and down in regimental order.  About these
same sheep it has been said, in these our times, that there exists strong
presumptive evidence that the fine Spanish “merino” is a lineal
descendant of the family, and that the wool now imported as of foreign
extraction, is literally and truly the growth of the offspring of
respectable English forefathers, some members of whose domestic circle
were honoured by being made presents of to Spanish princes by the
sovereign of England, in the days when the office and title of shepherd
was coveted by nobles in that country.  The hypothesis we pretend not to
establish, so “revenons _à nos_ moutons.”

The preparing of wool was a favourite occupation of the British ladies of
rank; and soon after the settlement of the Romans, it is recorded by
Dionysius Alexandrinus, that “the wool of Britain was often spun so fine,
that it was in a manner comparable to a spider’s thread.”  The mother of
Alfred is described as being skilled in the spinning of wool, and busied
in training her daughters to similar occupations.  The advent of the
various workmen who followed in the train of the conqueror from Normandy,
caused fresh energy to be infused into this, as all other branches of
manufactures; but the main stimulus was given by a colony of Dutch, who,
driven from their own country by inundations in the reign of Henry the
First, crossed the channel, and selecting the convenient promontory of
Norfolk, settled themselves down at a little village called _Worsted_,
about thirteen miles from Norwich, whence the name of the wool first spun
there by them.

In the reign of Stephen the woollen manufactures were so flourishing in
many large towns, that the merchants petitioned for power to form
themselves into distinct guilds or corporations,—the earliest development
of the principle of joint stock companies, borrowed by the Normans from
the free cities of Italy, where trade and manufactures had long
flourished, and where this combination of mercantile influence had been
employed by the Roman monarchs as a check upon the feudal power of the
barons.  The inconvenience, however, that attended the monopolies that
sprung from this source were soon manifest; and disturbances were
continually arising, until free trade was in a measure restored.  The
sumptuary laws of Edward the Third, and the inducements held out by him
to foreigners to settle in his dominions,—the fixing of the _staples_,
that obliged all merchants to bring their wool and woollen cloths for
sale to Norwich, forbidding any to offer such articles in any other part
of Norfolk or Suffolk,—tended materially to the commercial prosperity of
the city; but in the reign of Richard the Second, discontent spread
itself throughout the working population of the kingdom, and the
insurrection of Wat Tyler was followed by an open rebellion in Suffolk,
when 80,000 men marched upon Norwich, and committed divers acts of
devastation and plunder, headed by John Litester, a dyer.  This, united
to the jealousies that existed between the native and foreign artisans,
caused a decline in the local manufactures for some time.  In Elizabeth’s
reign they revived, through the invitation given to the Dutch and
Walloons, then fleeing from the persecutions of the Duke of Alva.  By the
advice of the Duke of Norfolk, thirty of these, all experienced workmen,
were invited to attend in Norwich, each bringing with him ten servants,
to be maintained at the expense of the duke.  These speedily multiplied,
until their number exceeded five thousand.  No matter of surprise,
therefore, is it that the Old City retains so many quaint traces of
Flemish taste and Flemish architecture, or that strangers, one and all,
should be struck with the peculiarly foreign outline of its quaint old
market-place.  Soon after the settlement of these strangers in the
neighbourhood, new articles of manufacture were introduced; in addition
to the “worsteds,” “saies,” and “stamins,” hitherto the sole articles of
commerce, and the admixture of mohair and silk with the wool, produced a
total change in the quality of the goods.  Bombazine, that staple
“mourning garb,” was the first result of the experiments made in silk and
wool combined.  The ladies of Spain were thenceforth supplied with the
material for that indispensable article of their costume, the mantilla.
Camlets, too, were woven for the religious orders of priests and monks,
as also calimancoes, tabinets, brocaded satins, florettes, and damasks,
of which the legends of our grandmothers, and occasionally their
wardrobes, bear trace; crape, the celebrated Norwich crape, now almost a
forgotten fabric, was of later invention; but its fame is chronicled in
Ministerial mandates during Walpole’s administration, 1721, when court
mourning was ordered to consist of nothing but that pre-eminent material.
Long since, the paramatta cloth has superseded both bombazine and Norwich
crape; nor must we be unmindful that this superfine invention owes its
origin to the skill and ingenuity of a manufacturer of the same city.
Shawls of every variety have held a prominent place among the
manufactures; indeed, may be considered as nominally the staple produce
of the Norwich looms, though in reality such is not the fact, an infinite
variety of materials, bearing as many new and fashionable titles, being
in truth the result of the labour of its artisans, silk—satins, brocades,
alpaccas, barèges, and many more; and of late years the shoe manufactory
has so vastly increased, that it may fairly take a place henceforth among
the constituents of the “fame” of the capital of Norfolk.  It may not be
out of place here also to give some little sketch of the rise and
progress of that most important of all inventions and arts, printing, in
these particular parts,—more especially as William Caxton, the first
English printer, was one of the agents, and a principal one, in opening
the commerce between this country and Flanders in 1464, when that port
was appointed a staple for English goods as well as Calais, a measure
fraught with immense advantages to the manufacturing districts of the
country, and of course pre-eminently to this city.  When he, the mercer’s
apprentice, first stamped the “merchants’ mark” upon his master’s bales,
he little thought that by this same process of stamping, carried forward
by the ingenuity of many men into a new art, the whole aspect of the
world’s history would be changed.  The origin of these distinctive
“marks,” still to be seen engraved on brasses, painted in church windows,
and here and there carved on the doors and panels of old houses, is about
as obscure as most of the other customs of those ages.  They were
undoubtedly used to distinguish the property of one merchant from
another; and if their owners gave money towards the building or
restoration of churches, their marks were placed in the windows, in
honour of their liberality.  Similar marks are to this day used by some
of the merchants of Oporto and Lisbon, stamped upon their pipes of wine.
Their forms seemed to depend on fancy, but a certain geometrical
precision pervaded all; sometimes they were composed of a circle with a
cross, or a shield with crosses laid over each other, of angles of every
possible direction grouped into a figure, now and then the figure of a
bird or animal added, but each differing essentially from every other,
that it may retain its distinctive characteristics.  Printing, however,
though introduced into this country by Caxton, was for some centuries
seldom, if ever, practised, save in London and the two universities.  To
the Dutch and Walloons, who came over at the invitation of Elizabeth, is
ascribed its first introduction in this city.  In 1568, a Dutch metrical
version of the Psalms was issued from the press.  No great progress,
however, would seem to have been made during the next century, but in
1736 was printed anonymously the “Records of Norwich,” containing the
monuments of the cathedral, the bishops, the plagues, friars, martyrs,
hospitals, &c., in two parts, price three halfpence each; and in 1738, an
“Authentic History of the Ancient City of Norwich, from its Foundation to
its Present State, &c. (the like not extant), by Thomas Eldridge, T.C.N.,
printed for the author in St. Gregory’s ch. yd., where may be had neat
Jamaica rum, fine brandy, Geneva and cordial waters, all sorts of
superfine snuffs and tobaccos at the lowest price!!!”  This work, the
author presumes, from its bulk (thirty-two pages), to be the “_completest
work ever yet published_.”  Alas for the literature of the day!  From
this period, however, Norwich kept pace with other places; a newspaper
had been established even earlier, a quarto foolscap, at a penny a
number.  Among the advertisements from this “_Gazette_” bearing date July
16, 1709, are these—

    “This is to give notice to all persons in the city, that right over
    against the three Feathers in St. Peter’s of Hungate, there is one
    lately come from London, who teacheth all sorts of Pastry and
    Cookery, all sorts of jellies, creams, and pickles, also all sorts of
    Collering and Potting, and to make rich cakes of all sorts, and
    everything of that nature.  She teaches for a crown down, and a crown
    when they are fully learned, that her teaching so cheap may encourage
    very many to learn.”

                                                             June 5, 1708.

    “Mr. Augustine de Clere, of Norwich Thorpe, have now very good malt
    for retail as he formerly had; if any of his customers have a mind to
    take of him again, they shall be kindly used with good malt, and as
    cheap as any body sell.—You may leave your orders with Mr. John de
    Clere, Hot-presser, living right over the Ducking stool, in St.
    Martin’s of the palace of Norwich.”

Among the Queries from Correspondents occur the following—

                                           Norwich Gazette, April 9, 1709.

    “Mr. Crossgrove,

    You are desired to give an answer to this question, ‘Did the soul
    pre-exist in a separate state, before it came into the body, as many
    learned men have thought it did; and as that question in the ninth
    chapter of St. John’s gospel seems to insinuate.  Your answer to this
    query will very much oblige your constant customer, T. R.”

This query is replied to at some length satisfactorily by Mr. Crossgrove.

This department of the paper is headed “The Accurate Intelligencer,” and
in its columns are sundry other rather peculiar interrogatories, such as—

    “Mr. Crossgrove,

    Pray tell me where Moses was buried, and you will very much oblige
    your constant customer, B. S.”

Answer.

    “Mr. B. S.

    _He tells you himself_ that no man knew it, even when he could not
    have been long buried; as you may see in the last chapter of
    Deuteronomy; from whence, Sir, you may infer, that if it was a secret
    so early, ’tis certainly so still.  Your humble servant, H. C.”

Another rich specimen runs—

                                                       Lynn, May 18, 1709.

    “Mr. Crossgrove,

    Did the Apostles use notes when they preached?  I have sent this
    Query twice before, and if I do not find it answered in your next
    paper, I shall conclude you either cannot or durst not answer it.

                                                       Yours unknown, &c.”

Answer

    “Sir,

    I have a bushel of letters by me that came all to the same tune with
    this of yours, viz. _You cannot or durst not answer it_; but
    sometimes they see I dare do it, tho’ I neglect other letters more
    pertinent through want of room: I have a dozen letters come in a
    week, all post haste for an answer, and seldom room to insert more
    than one at a time, so that many must of necessity lye by.  But now
    for your dreadful puzzling question, Did the Apostles use notes? and
    to this I answer positively _No_, nor Bibles neither to hide their
    notes in; take notice of that; nor had they pulpits to stand in as
    ever I heard of, and we may observe from their sermons they took no
    texts: and what then?  What would you infer from all this?  The
    Apostles also never studied their sermons, for they had an
    extraordinary gift of preaching, as well as of speaking.  But I shall
    say no more to your designing question than this—That those divines
    who read their sermons know how to improve their time much better
    than in getting them like schoolboys by heart; and that a good polite
    discourse well read, is more worthy than a Bundle of what comes
    uppermost tumbled out Head and Heels.

                                                             Yours, H. C.”

Well done, Mr. Crossgrove! say we.

In 1714, a “Courant” was established, small folio size: at the end of one
occurs this notice—

    “Note.  An Accident happening, the reader is desired to pardon all
    _literal_ errors, as it is not corrected.”

Papers of somewhat later date afford samples almost as
quaint:—Advertisement.  “James Hardy acquaints his friends, that he has
lately had a large quantity of preserves.  I shall be very happy to
supply any gentleman with coals.”  “Notice is hereby given that on
Thursday and Friday next, being sixth and seventh of June, 1734, a coach
and horses will set out for London, from Mr. Thomas Bateman’s, St. Giles,
and perform the same in three days.  Note, the coach will go either by
Newmarket or Ipswich, as the passengers shall agree.”  They certainly had
_one_ advantage over railway travellers of the present day—that they
could choose their own route.

Another specimen runs—“Whereas Mrs. Cooke at the pastry shop near the
three steps has charged Mrs. Havers with embezzling to the quantity of
two yards of padashway, out of her suit of clothes turned upside down two
years since, and made at first for a much less person; the clothes having
been viewed by several mantua makers, the same appears to be a most
malicious slander,” &c.

Specimens might be multiplied, but these may suffice to place beside the
elaborate and ornate productions of this present year 1853, to see what a
century has done in orthography, etymology, syntax, and prosody.

It must have been rather more than twenty years after the first
establishment of a local newspaper, that the Rev. Francis Blomefield, the
great historian of the county, first commenced printing his elaborate
“Topographical Essay,” a work of five volumes folio, the materials for
which he is said to have begun to collect when only fifteen years of age.
Many beyond the limits of the locality more especially intended to profit
by this laborious undertaking, may feel interested in the facts connected
with its progress, contributing so much as they do to give a correct idea
of the difficulties attending the path of an author little more than a
century ago.

Blomefield was rector of the parish of Fersfield, in which also he was
born; in the summer months he was in the habit of making excursions in
search of materials for his work, and to test the accuracy of information
he had gained, by a method he had adopted, in furtherance of his object,
of distributing “queries,” to be filled up with answers concerning any
historical or antiquarian subjects that may be known to the parties
applied to.  In reference to this plan, he says himself, in a letter to a
friend, “It is impossible to tell you what great helps have come in by my
queries: sometimes having twenty or thirty sheets, besides books,
letters, records and papers for a single hundred;” (alluding to the
divisions of the county into hundreds).

It was after one of his collating rambles that he finally determined to
issue proposals for printing his work; and meeting with much
encouragement, he speedily looked about for a suitable printing
establishment.  In a letter to Mr. Chase, a printer who lived next door
to “John o’ all sorts,” Cockey Lane, Norwich, on the 1st of July, 1733,
he says, “I have endeavoured to procure a set of Saxon types, but cannot
do it; and upon looking over my book find a good number of Greek
inscriptions, some Hebrew words, and some Gothic.  So that I must print
it in London; it being impossible to have those types any where in the
country (!).  I wish heartily I could have done it with you; for I like
your terms, and could have been glad to have corrected the press myself,
which I then could easily have done.”

Eventually he decided upon printing the work upon his own premises, and
engaged a good workman, at a salary of £40 a year, bought a press for £7,
and fitted up a printing office with all the requisite materials.  The
account in the papers of the “Archæological Society,” goes on to say, “At
that time, distance and difficulties of intercourse made any want of
punctuality most annoying, and the plan of printing at home involved the
necessity of a great variety of type and other materials.  Meanwhile type
founders, stationers, and engravers, were but too much given to weary him
with delay, or to disgust him with fraud.  Beginning a correspondence
with frankness and civility, he often had to continue it, urging and
reiterating entreaties of attention—alternately coaxing compliance with
‘half a piece’ to drink his health and success to his work, or with
‘promise of making amends,’ or a ‘fowl at Christmas,’ or rebuking with
reluctant severity, resulting more from devotedness to his object, than
anger or bitterness.  A facetious engraver, who was introduced to him,
and invited to his house to assist him, after remaining there three
weeks, agreed for a large portion of the work, and cut several of the
things, all which he ran away with.  Other vexations sprang out of the
patronage and assistance he most valued; but, after many interruptions,
the first edition of a part of the book was brought out in 1736.”

In the midst of his labours, however, he was cut off by that virulent
enemy, the small pox, on the 15th January, 1751, at the age of forty-six.
His work was continued by the Rev. Charles Parkens, of whom a curious
anecdote is related;—its accuracy we do not pretend to vouch; the tale
runs that Mr. Parkens had a tame magpie, which had access to her master’s
study, and seeing him busily employed in folding and unfolding the
packets that lay before him on his desk, she thought it no harm to be
busy too, until from time to time she flew away _with the __whole borough
of Yarmouth_.  Many of the parcels, it is added, were recovered, but
others irrecoverably lost.

    “I know not how the truth may be,
    But tell the tale as ’twas told to me.”

With this cursory glance at the work of the great historian of the
district, we close our chapter on the subjects suggested by the “Old
Market-place.”  The sketches have been necessarily superficial, but they
afford proof that its chronicles include a variety of matter and incident
that may interest almost every class of mind.



CHAPTER V.
GUILDHALL.


THE GUILDHALL.—_Visit to its dungeons_.—_Bilney_.—_St. Barbara’s
chapel_.—_Legend of St. Barbara_.—_Assize court_.—_Old document_.—_Trial
by Jury_.—_Council chamber_.—_Old record room_.—_Guilds_.—_St. George’s
company_.—_History of St. George_.—_Legend of St. Margaret_.

Our rambles have now brought us to the threshold of that quaint, but
beautiful old “studwork” chamber, the guildhall; the seat of civic
honour, power, and glory, with its many appendages of courts and cells,
the witnesses of those multiplied alternations of tragedy, comedy, and
melodrama, that may be looked for to have been enacted during centuries,
beneath a roof covering a council chamber, an assize court, and a prison.
Once again, we avow that we aim not to be complete topographers, or
guides to all the strange old carvings, and grotesque remains of ancient
sculpture, that may be found in such rich abundance around the pathways
of a venerable city, neither do we profess to furnish all the historic
details that may be gleaned concerning these relics of antiquity; are
they not chronicled elsewhere, in many mighty tomes, readable and
unreadable, in “guides,” and “tours,” and manifold “directories?”  We
look and think, and odd associations weave our thinkings sometimes,
perhaps, into a queer mottled garb, though we would solemnly aver the
woof through which the shuttle of our fancy plays is every fibre of it
truth.

Such a preface is needed to our sketch of this fine old ornament of the
city’s market-place, lest disappointment should attend the hopes of the
inquisitive investigator of sights and relics.

The guildhall, once like the municipal body it represents, was but a tiny
little thing compared with what it since has grown, and when bailiffs and
burgesses were the only distinctive titles and offices, a simple chamber
thatched, and commonly used to collect the market dues, sufficed for the
seat of civic government; but when, in the reign of the third Henry, the
citizens received from him a charter for a mayor and sheriffs, they took
off the thatched roof of their little toll-booth, and built upon it, and
round about it, spacious rooms and courts, to accommodate and do honour
to their newly acquired municipal dignitaries; for which purpose a
warrant was obtained, to press all carpenters, builders, and bricklayers,
into active service, from eight o’clock in the morning until eight
o’clock at night, as long as occasion might require; and by such
compulsory process, the design was completed some fifty years from the
date of its commencement.  The tower, wherein was the treasury, fell down
in Bluff King Harry’s reign, whose matrimonial exploits have given him
notoriety, in addition to the grand event of history, the Reformation,
with which they bore so intimate a connection.  Decay, renovation,
change, and reformation, have been so busy with this seat of government,
from the era of its infancy until the present time, that no small degree
of ingenuity must be needed to unravel the twistings and turnings, and
comprehend the inharmonious groupings that have sprung up about it, the
divers offsprings of various ages, that mark the progress and growth of
the municipal constitution.

Without doubt, the first claim to antiquity is justly assigned to the
lower dungeons and cells, some of which still serve as _lock ups_ for
offenders awaiting magisterial examination; and a remarkably unpleasant
situation must the individual find himself in, who is there for ever so
brief a space in “durance vile;” the convicted transgressor certainly
makes an exchange for the better, when he reaches his ultimate
destination, the city prison cell; dark, damp, underground coal-cellars,
may be deemed _fair_ illustrations of the accommodation there offered to
those whom the “_law deems innocent_”, as it professes to do all
unconvicted persons.  One degree darker, and more horrible, are the
_dungeons_, which receive no light whatever, save from a jet of gas
without the gratings of the doors; into these refractory guests are
stowed, that their rebellious sounds may not disturb the ears of any
passers-by above ground.

“Deeper, and deeper still,” down beneath the very foundations of the
building, at the foot of a dark narrow winding stair, fast crumbling to
decay, is yet another dungeon, long since closed for any practical
purposes; the eye of curiosity alone happily is permitted to penetrate
its depths.  Dark and damp, however, as it is, it would seem preferable
to the dismal “_lock ups_,” a light, of modern introduction, from the
street above, giving it a less intensely black look.  Here it was that
poor old Bilney spent his last hours of life; and the groined and vaulted
roof, constructed upon the plan of so many of the cellars of that period
of civil and domestic architecture, gives to the place a strangely
ecclesiastical look in these days, and imagination has little difficulty
in calling up the priest of the subterranean temple, who has been
pictured to our eyes as there testing the powers of his endurance, by
holding his finger in the lighted flame of the candle, to satisfy his
friends that he should not shrink from the bodily pangs that were on the
morrow to earn for him the crown of martyrdom.  Solemn and sad are the
memories clustered around these dreary tombs of liberty, nor is their
atmosphere tempting to linger in, even upon a visit of curiosity.

The winding stair from _the dungeon_ leads into what is now a porch-way,
but which must once have been the site of the old chapel, built for the
use of the prisoners.  This chapel was dedicated to St. Barbara, the
prisoner’s saint, who, according to the legend of the Romish church, “was
imprisoned by her father, in a high strong tower, to the end that no man
should behold her,” and therefore St. Barbara is always represented with
a tower.  She is commemorated on the fourth of December, as St. Barbara,
the Virgin and Martyr.  Here, were formerly kept all the goods and
chattels appertaining to the mayorality and civic feasts, in addition to
the services belonging to the chapel itself; but about the era of the
Reformation the chapel was pulled down, to make way for secular offices.
How busy those good reformers were in abolishing every place dedicated to
worship, that their judgment deemed supernumerary!  When the treasury
tower fell in, it crushed a prison, known by the name of “_Little Ease_;”
the full details of whose attractions we are left in ignorance of.  Upon
the first floor, near the site of the chapel, was once the large chamber,
where the sealing of the cloths manufactured in the city was carried on,
since converted into an assize court, where the notorious lawmongers of
this city, with their brother dignitaries of the bar, join forces to
promote the ends of justice, their clients, and their own.  There is a
queer old document extant, wherein the number of learned gentlemen
permitted to follow the profession of the law in this city was limited,
“because,” as the preamble states, “when there were no more than six or
eight attorneys at the most coming to the king’s courts, great
tranquillity reigned in the city and county, and little trouble or
vexation was made by untrue and foreign suits; and now, so it is, that in
the said city and county there be fourscore attornies, or more, the more
part having nothing to live upon but only his gain by the practice of
attorneyship, and also the more part of them not being of sufficient
knowledge to be an attorney, &c. &c., whereby proceed many suits more of
evil will and malice than of the truth of the thing, to the manifold
vexations, and no little damage of the inhabitants of the said city and
county.”  Wherefore it was enacted, that there should be but six
attorneys in the county, and two in the city, for the future.  When this
admirable statute was repealed, we know not, but conceive it must have
been long, long ago, for so many brass-plate signs to have sprung up in
evidence of a numerous progeny taking place of the solitary two.  Whether
the repeal was a _reform_ calculated to benefit the city, experience best
can prove; but if the character of the “common folk” in these parts is
faithfully given by the author of “English Worthies,” we may presume them
to have been considerably inconvenienced by the scarcity of tools with
which to play their favourite game.  He says, “that the common folks of
Norfolk are possessed of such skill in the law, that they are said to
study the law at the plough’s tail, and some would persuade us that they
will enter an action for their neighbour’s horse only looking over the
fence.”

In later times, evidences of the law mania exist in manifold forms; and
the fact of individuals consulting a lawyer before calling in a doctor,
in physical ailments, is by no means an uncommon occurrence among a
certain class.  Some men think and judge with their lawyer’s heads, who,
in return, of course, in justice live upon their purses.

Some few amusing facts connected with the boasted English privilege of
“Trial by Jury,” may serve to illustrate the growth of “purity” in our
courts of law.  The jurisdiction exercised over jurors by the
“Star-chamber” is a notorious matter of history; but the curious and
graphic description of the nature and constitution of a jury in the
thirteenth century, as given by Sir Francis Palgrave, in his “Tale of the
Merchant and Friar,” may not be quite so familiar, and is far too good to
be omitted.

    “A trial was about to commence.  ‘Sheriff, is your inquest in court?’
    said the Mayor.  ‘Yes, my lord,’ replied the sheriff, ‘and, I am
    proud to say, it will be an excellent jury for the crown.  I myself
    have picked and chosen every man upon the panel.  I have spoken to
    them all; and there is not one whom I have not examined carefully,
    not only as to his knowledge of the offences of which the prisoner
    stands charged, but of all the circumstances from which his guilt can
    be collected, suspected, or inferred.  All the jurors were acquainted
    with him; eight out of the twelve have often been heard to declare
    upon their oath, that they were sure one day he would come to the
    gallows; and the remainder are fully of opinion that he deserves the
    halter.  My lord, I should ill have performed my duty, if I should
    have allowed my bailiffs to summon the jury at hap-hazard, and
    without previously ascertaining the extent of their testimony.  Some
    perhaps know more, and some less; but the least informed of them have
    taken great pains to go up and down every corner of Westminster, they
    and their wives, and to know all that they could hear concerning his
    past and present life and conversation.  Never had any culprit a
    chance of a fairer trial.’”

An extract from the archives of the Record room, gives another specimen
of the mode of dealing with jurymen, if they proved refractory or
obstinate.  It bears the date of the 8th year of King Henry VIII., and is
to the purport that the jury that “acquitted Walter, James, and John Doo,
Benet Bullok, and Edmund Stuttlie, notwithstanding that they had good and
substantial evidence given against the said felons, at the last gaol
delivery of Norwich; as the chief Justice of the King’s Bench, the Lord
Edmund Howard, and William Ellis, one of the justices of the peace there,
openly declared before the lords, in the presence of the said jury; for
the which perjury so by them committed, it is by the lords’ most
honourable council adjudged and decreed, that the said jury shall do the
penance following, that is to say, they shall be committed to the Fleet,
there to remain till to-morrow, and that then, at six of the clock, they
shall be brought by the warden of the Fleet into Westminster Hall, with
papers on their heads, whereon shall be written in great letters, ‘these
men be wilfully perjured;’ and with the same papers on their heads they
shall be led thrice about the hall of Westminster aforesaid, and then to
be led by the warden of the Fleet to the Fleet again, there to remain
till Monday; and on Monday, in the morning, to be had into Cheapside, and
there shall go about the cross in Chepe thrice, and then they shall
return to the Fleet, and there to remain till Tuesday, and then to be
brought again before the lords, to be bound by recognizances to do the
same penance at home, in their county at Norwich; and that a precept
shall be directed to the mayor and sheriffs of the city of Norwich
aforesaid, to see the said parties do the said penance in the said city,
upon Saturday, the 22d day of this present month of November, openly in
the market-place there, with papers on their heads, whereupon shall be
written the same words above written.”

The old mode of trial by ordeal, consisting as it did of an appeal to
Heaven for judgment, either directly by miraculous interference, as in
the ordeals of fire and water, or indirectly, in the ordeals of single
combat, might well have had their charms in the memory of culprit and
jurors both, when such a substitute alone was offered by the courts of
justice that had superseded them.  There are, however, two extremes that
may be gone to about every thing; and we believe a little wholesome
penance might, even in the nineteenth century, not come amiss to stir up
the wits of many a sleepy juror.  Certes, they often richly merit it.

From the assize court we bend our steps upward, to the region where we
may feel at no loss in our search for objects of genuine antiquity, and
find ourselves in the _Council Chamber_; and here we arrive at the very
pinnacle of magisterial dignity—the zenith of municipal glory—the seat of
mayoralty and aldmermanship and common councilship, once broadly separate
and distinct in their grades of rank and power, in very truth an upper
and a lower house, a peerage and a commons—assembling themselves in
chambers becomingly graduated in their degrees of splendour—but now,
alas! in these degenerate days of reformation and democratic sovereignty,
as some might please to call them, all merged into one conglomerated body
corporate—shall we add, of _order Gothic composite_?

The old chamber looks as if it had seen better days; two or three
patched-up windows of variegated colours, still retaining many quaint and
curious devices, bear witness of the taste and liberality of our
forefathers; and imagination, by the aid of history’s pen, can fill up
the unsophisticated plain glass lights at the side, with the old subjects
that once occupied their space, but which have fallen a sacrifice to the
despoiler’s barbarous hand;—one of the unjust judge, who, being flayed
alive, was succeeded in office by his son, and the picture, so they tell
us, was elucidated by some very characteristic specimens of antique
poetry—to wit, the first two lines of general advice, addressed to all
who may ever be in a position to profit by it,—

    “Let alle men se, stedfast you be,
    Justice do ye, or else like you fle;”

and an additional verse to the unfortunate son who succeeded him in
office:—

    “You that sittyst now in place,
    See hange before thy face
    Thyn own Fader’s skyn,
    For falsehood; this ded he wyn.”

Another equally original specimen of the judgment of Solomon is thus
explained:—

    “The trewe and counterfeit to trye,
    She had rather lose her Ryght—
    Saying, the Soulders ware redy
    To clyve, with all their myght.”

These, as I said, have disappeared; but we were unwilling in our sketch
to lose sight altogether of such very interesting reliques of our
ancestor’s skill, in conveying moral lessons by the light of their
window-panes, as were to be found here a century or two ago.  Those good
old folks did not seem to be wanting in a certain kind of wit; here, as
in many other parts of the city, we have traces of their love of a fair
rebus—without a slight knowledge of which propensity, we might look long
ere we could understand the hieroglyphical appearance of a barrel set on
end, with N. E. C. written above—history, however, elucidates the
mystery, by explaining it as the rebus of one THOS. NECTON, who aided by
his wealth the filling in of one of the little gothic windows with
stained glass.  The curiously carved old desk in the centre was once the
reading-desk in fair St. Barbara’s chapel down below,—could it speak, we
wonder whether it would glory in its _elevation_.  But now we really can
resist no longer a good hearty laugh at those comical little
unmakeoutable animals, seated so demurely all round the room, on the tops
of the high-backed benches, with their queer little faces struggling to
keep down a grin.  Whatever were they put there for?  Was it to chronicle
up in their little wooden pates the doings and undoings, the sayings and
unsayings, that they have been looking at, and listening to, so patiently
and wonderingly, for these four centuries past?  What would we give to
hear them tell the tale of all they have seen and heard go on, since
first the royal charter granted to our citizens the long-sought privilege
of a real _bona fide_ mayor! how, at first this dignitary used to sit in
solemn majesty upon his throne of state, surrounded by his aristocracy of
chosen peers, deliberating gravely on the affairs of their little state;
how, reverently and orderly the subordinate commons used to come into
their presence at their bidding, and do as they were told by the supreme
authorities; and how, as time and years passed, the heads of these same
commons began to lift themselves a little and a little higher, till they
really seemed as much _real men_ as those who occupied the chairs of
state; how, when at last their struggles had gained the great municipal
reform, some sixteen years ago, they took their seats in the very midst
of the aldermanic autocrats, with all the coolness of precocious
intellect, usurping dignities reserved for high-sounding names or
well-lined purses.  Could they not tell a few more tales of how the
ethereal blue and whites,—remembering the day when their opponents, clad
in purple, numbered nine out of twelve of the industrious nominees who
were to choose their fellow-workers in the field of city usefulness, had
traded with their talents till they had gained nine and thirty more
purples to sit by their side, and smile at the twelve blue-looking
occupants of the opposition benches,—did, in later times, effectually
turn the tables on the oppressors’ heads, and sit above them in triumph,
looking down on fallen greatness; how this revolution had scarce become
familiar to their little sapiencies, when from the very centre of the
rival factions sprang another party; and the dogs, and dragons, and
what-nots, felt ready to jump from their seats, when their ears heard a
city youth avow himself an independent man, neither a _blue_ nor
_purple_—a man of _principle_—didn’t they wonder what it meant, and
whether he really had enough of it to buy up both the other bidders in
this marketable borough, or whether it would pay the interest of all the
sums that they had severally spent in the good city’s cause, and how they
longed to laugh outright when he avowed that honesty and truth were all
the _principal_ he traded with, and how they began by-and-bye to think
there might be something in it, and to comprehend a little of the theory,
but somehow the working of it seemed to puzzle and perplex them, it
seemed to be so complicated by the interference of expediency.  But it
will not do to tarry longer, conjecturing what might be the confessions
of the little carved images; who does not, or has not read the brilliant
comedies that have been, and are yet being, enacted perpetually within
this chamber?

But there are more objects of interest to be examined within its walls;
and among them pre-eminently stands forth the sword of Admiral Don Xavier
Francisco Winthuysen, transmitted by Horatio Nelson to the mayor of the
city, from the Irresistible, off Lisbon, Feb. 26th, A.D. 1797.  The
sword, with its white vellum sheath ornamented with silver, is enclosed
in a glass case, with the original letter from Admiral Nelson, relating
the particulars of its capture.  In these days of railways and universal
travelling, the trophy might prudently, we conceive, hold less
conspicuous place.  No great stretch of the bounds of probability might
suggest the chance of some relative or descendant of Don Xavier Francisco
standing face to face with the uncomfortable memento of past misfortunes.
Leading from this chamber is a door-way, that opens out upon leads, where
in olden times the ladies and friends of the aldermen were wont to enjoy
the various spectacles offered by the processions and pageants then so
frequently displayed.

The other principal chamber, formerly used by the common-councilmen, and
now appropriated to sundry legal purposes, is adorned with the various
quaint and significant emblems that once figured in the guild
processions, in attendance upon his majesty, Snap, who, from the dignity
of his elevation upon the landing-place without, looks down with proud
and silent scorn upon all the modern innovations and reformations that
have swept away the glories that surrounded his throne;—but of him more
by-and-bye.

Beyond the council-chamber is the way of access to the old Record room,
whence, now and then, some “Old Mortality” may be seen emerging, laden
with treasures rescued from the mouldering heaps of antiquarian lore,
there lying buried beneath the accumulated dust and cobwebs of centuries.
All praise and thanks be given, as due, to these patient and industrious
workers, the fruits of whose labours so liberally are placed at the
command of all less learned and recondite scribblers, who scruple not to
gather of the crumbs that fall from the rich intellectual banquets they
have spread before the lovers of history, antiquity, or science.

An armoury room, where weapons of divers sorts and multiform invention
are stored, all bearing evidence of long disuse by rust and decay, and a
treasury of gold and silver, maces and sceptres, in their various
departments, claim notice; but as such things possess neither very great
intrinsic worth, or any peculiarly interesting historical interest, save
the little sceptre of Queen Elizabeth, a passing word may be enough to
devote to them; it is time to turn attention to the subject more
intimately associated with the very name of the building itself.  A
Guildhall instantly suggests the question of guilds, their origin,
character, and the features of history connected with those whose
existence are memorialized by this particular edifice and its appendages.

Guilds were societies of persons confederated together for the common
cause of trade, charity, and religion.  They were very numerous; in this
county alone 907 were enumerated by Taylor in his Index Monasticus, as
existing at the time of the Reformation.

The Parochial guilds were often too poor to afford to hire a room for
their meetings, but assembled at each other’s houses; but when such was
not the case, they usually hired a house near the church, which was
called a Guildhall, or church house; the situation being chosen as
convenient, their business being to pray as well as to eat.  The Guild
consisted of an alderman, brethren and sisters, the parson of the parish
and the principal persons of the neighbourhood being members.  They held
lands, received legacies, and frequently met; but their grand assembly
was on the day of their patron saint, when they went to church and
offered up prayers at his altar for all the members of the society,
living and dead.  From their saint they took their distinctive titles, as
St. George’s, St. Luke’s Guild, &c.  They bestowed alms annually upon the
poor, received travelling strangers, and did other acts of charity, as
far as their revenues allowed.

Their meetings were usually crowned by a dinner, and terminated often in
a manner not altogether consistent with their commencement.  Some of the
guilds in large towns were wealthy and influential.  The bill for giving
their possessions to the king, when sent to the lower house in 1547, was
much opposed by the burgesses, who represented that the boroughs could no
longer maintain their churches and other public works, if the rents
belonging to the guilds were transferred to the king.  The act passed,
upon a pledge that the lands should be restored.  It was the last act of
Henry the Eighth’s reign, and was put in execution by his successor; but
the promise was ill performed, many of the revenues being seized, upon
the plea of their being free chapel or chantry endowments.

This brief sketch of the nature and origin of guilds, may suffice to
introduce more particularly the history of the great Guild of St. George,
the most important of all the fraternities that existed in this city, and
from being connected with the municipal body from an early date,
intimately associated with the history of the Guildhall.  The following
copious account of the company, with the copy of one of the charters
granted to them, is extracted from the papers of the Norfolk and Norwich
Archæological Society.

                               COPY OF CHARTER.

    “Henry, by the grace of God, (King) of England, France, and lord of
    Ireland, &c., to whom these present letters shall come greeting:

    “Know ye that, whereas we have understood a certain Fraternity, and
    Gild of the glorious martyr St. George, in our city of Norwich, for
    thirty years past, and more, continually have been, and are, still
    honestly governed, and the brethren and sisters of the Gylde
    aforesaid, for the same time have found a chaplain duly celebrating
    divine service in the Cathedral church of the said city, and diverse
    and great cost for the worship of God, and the same glorious martyr,
    have made and do purpose to do more, if we should vouchsafe to assist
    them in the behalf.  Wee, in consideration of the premises, and for
    the augmentation of the same of our people, to the said glorious
    martyr, do, for us, our heirs (as much as in us lye), accept, ratify,
    and confirm the said Fraternity and Gylde, and we have granted that
    the said Fraternity and Gylde be perpetually a community in time
    succession for ever.  And that the Fraternity and Gylde aforesaid
    have the name of the Gylde of Saint George in Norwich, for ever.  And
    that the brethren and sisters aforesaid, and their successors yearly
    by themselves, at their will choose and create one alderman and two
    masters successively, and make honest and reasonable ordinances and
    constitutions to the better government of the said Fraternity and
    Gylde.

    “Also cloath themselves with one suit of cloaths, and yearly make a
    feast for eating and drinking, in a convenient place within the said
    city, to be by them assigned.

    “And also the aldermen and masters, brethren and sisters of the
    Fraternity and Gylde aforesaid, and their successors, be able and
    capable persons to purchase land, tenements, rents and services, to
    have, receive, and hold to them and their successors for ever, to the
    aldermen, masters, brothers and sisters of the Gyld of St. George in
    Norwich; and may in all courts and places for ever sue and be sued,
    answer and be answered, and gain and lose, and have a common seal for
    the business of the Fraternity and Gylde aforesaid to be transacted.

    “And further of our special favour we have granted and given license
    for us and our heirs, (as much as in us lyes), to the aforesaid
    alderman, masters, brethren and sisters, that they and their
    successors may purchase and hold to them and their successors lands
    and tenements, rents and services, within the said city aforesaid, up
    to the value of ten pounds, which are held of us in burgage, as well
    for the support of one chaplain to celebrate divine service dayly in
    the church aforesaid, to pray for us and the said brethren and
    sisters, their healthful state while we shall live, and for our
    souls, and the souls of the said brethren and sisters when we shall
    die.  And also for the sowlles of our renowned ancestors, and of all
    the faithful deceased, as for the support of the Fraternity and Gylde
    aforesaid.  And other works and charges of piety made thereof,
    according to the ordinances of the same alderman, brethren and
    sisters for ever; the statute made against giving lands or tenements
    in mortmain, or any other statute or ordinance made to the contrary,
    or for that the then lands and tenements aforesaid are held of us in
    burgage notwithstanding.

    “And moreover, to the setting aside the maintenance, confederacy, and
    conspiracy which by means of the Fraternity and Gylde aforesaid we
    have granted to the prior of the church aforesaid and to the mayor
    and to the sheriffs of the said city; also to the alderman and
    Fraternity of the Gylde aforesaid, which shall be for the time being,
    sufficient power and authority of expelling, discarding and removing
    according to their discretion, all brethren and sisters of the
    Fraternity and Gylde, aforesaid, from the Fraternity and Gylde, and
    from all the benefits and franchises thereof for ever, who shall be
    the cause of supporting or upholding such like maintenance,
    confederacy, or conspiracy aforesaid.

    “In testimony whereof, we have caused these letters to be made
    patent.  Witness myself at Reading, the ninth day of May, in the
    fifth year of our reign, by the King himself, and for £40 paid into
    the hamper, 1417.

                                                                “WYNDHAM.”
                             (Here was affixed the great seal of England.)

Another charter of much greater length is still extant; but we pass on to
the next important feature in the history of the society,—its union with
the corporate body of the city,—set forth in a voluminous indenture,
known as Judge Yelverton’s mediation, which we transcribe, adapting the
orthography to suit the general readers of the nineteenth century.

    “The Mayor, Sheriffs, and Commonality of the City first united to the
    Fraternity of the Gylde of St. George, by the mediation of

                               JUDGE YELVERTON.

    “This writing indented, made the 27th day of March, the year of the
    reign of King Henry VI. the 30th, betwixt the mayor, sheriffs, and
    commonality of the city of Norwich, on the one part, and the alderman
    and brethren of the gylde of the glorious martyr, St. George, of the
    said city, of the other part, by the mediation and diligency of
    William Yelverton, Justice of our Lord the King, of his own place.
    Witnesseth that, as well the said mayor, sheriffs, and commonality,
    as the aforesaid aldermen and brethren of the said gylde, both
    according of all matters had or moved betwixt them, before this in
    manner and form, as in the articles hereafter shewing:—

    “First, for to begin to the worship of God, our Lady, and of the
    glorious martyr, St. George, forasmuch as the Cathedral church of the
    Holy Trinity, of Norwich, is the most worshipful and convenient
    place, that the glorious martys, St. George, be worshipped by the
    aldermen and brethren of the said guild, that therefore in the said
    place, after the forms and effect of the old use had afore this time,
    the said alderman and brethren be there on the feast of St. George,
    or some other day in the manner accustomed, there to hear the first
    even-song, and on the morrow following, to go in procession and hear
    mass, and offer there in the worship of God and the said martyr; and
    also there for to hear the second even-song and placebo, and dirige,
    for the brethren and sisters’ souls of the said guild; and on the day
    next following be at the mass of requiem, and offer there for the
    souls of all the brethren and sisters of the said guild and all
    Christians; and that a priest be continued there in the form
    accustomed, for to sing and pray for the prosperity, welfare, and
    honourable estate of the most Christian prince, King Henry VI., our
    sovereign lord, and also for the welfare of William Yelverton,
    Justice, by whose mediation and diligence the said accord and
    appointments have been advised and engrossed.

    “And then, for the welfare of all the brethren and sisters of the
    said guild and fraternity living, and also for the souls of King
    Henry V., first founder of the said guild, and for all other souls of
    all the brethren and sisters of the said guild, that be passed out of
    the world, and all Christian souls; and if ever afterwards the
    possessions of the said guild will stretch to sustain and find
    another priest, that then such priest shall be found for to pray in
    like form, and that poor men and women of the said guild be found and
    relieved by the said guild, as hath been accustomed, as the goods
    will stretch to save other charges and necessary expenses, to the
    worship of God and of the said martyr, and to the good conservation
    and continuance of the said brethren.

    “Also, on the morning next after the solemnity of the said guild,
    kept in the worship of the glorious martyr, Saint George, the
    brethren of the said guild, and their successors, shall yearly choose
    the mayor of the said city, and that time being a brother of the said
    guild, for to be alderman of the said guild for all the next year
    following, after his discharge of his office of mayoralty, then
    forthwith to take the charge and occupation of the said office of
    aldermanship of the said fraternity and guild; and so every person
    chosen to be mayor yearly, after he hath occupied mayoralty for an
    whole year, to occupy the said aldermanship of the said guild; and in
    case he refuse to occupy the said aldermanship after his mayoralty,
    to pay unto the said fraternity 100_s._ to the use of the said guild,
    and that the old alderman stand still alderman, unto the time another
    be chosen unto the said office of alderman to the said guild; and if
    the alderman of the said guild happen to die within the year, that
    then the mayor for the time being, occupy that office of alderman for
    his time, and so forth the next year following, according to this
    act.

    “And that all the aldermen of the said city, that now are, and shall
    be in time coming, shall be made brethren of the said guild, without
    charge of the feast.

    “Also, that every man that is, or shall be chosen to be, of the
    common council of the said city, be admitted also to be a brother of
    the said guild if he like; and that by great diligence and
    deliberation had, as well for the worship of the said city as the
    said guild, that no man be chosen to the said common council, but
    such as are and seem for to be able and sufficient of discretion and
    good disposition, and that every man that shall be received a brother
    into the said guild, shall be sworn, and receive his oath in form
    that followeth:—

    “‘This hear, ye alderman and brethren of this fraternity and guild of
    the glorious martyr, St. George, in this city of Norwich, that from
    this day forward, the honour, prosperity, worships, profits, welfare,
    and surety of the fraternity and guild, after my power, I shall
    sustain, lawfully maintain and defend, and all lawful ordinances made
    or to be made, with all the circumstances and dependancies thereto
    belonging, truly and duly pay my dues after the said ordinances,
    without trouble or grievance of the said brethren and sisters, or of
    any officer of them, and Buxum to you aldermen and all your
    successors in all lawful commandments, to my power and cunning, so
    that this oath stretch not to any thing against the laws of God, nor
    against the laws of the land, nor against the liberties or
    franchises, the welfare, good peace, and rest of this city, nor
    against any panel of the oath that I have made afore to the king, and
    to the said city.’

    “Also, the said aldermen and common council of the guild, shall
    choose when they list, from henceforward, other men and women of the
    said city, beside the said alderman and common council, such as they
    may think convenient by their discretion, and able thereto for to be
    brethren and sisters of the said guild.

    “Also, that there be no man chosen nor received from henceforth into
    the said guild, dwelling out of the said city, but if he be a knight
    or a squire, or else notably known for a gentleman of birth, or else
    that he be a person of great worship by his virtue, and by his truth
    and great cunning, or be some great notable means and cause of great
    worship, and yet that all manner of thing that shall appertain to the
    governance of the said guild, or to any possessions or goods thereof,
    or choosing of any brother into the said guild, or correction of any
    default done to any brother, or by any brother thereof, and all other
    things that appertaineth to the rules of the said guild, or by the
    more part of them dwelling within the said city.

    “Also, that all the possessions and moveable goods, that now or
    hereafter shall appertain to the said guild, be all only employed and
    applied to the worship of God and our Lady, and of the glorious
    martyr, St. George, and to the worship of the brethren of the said
    guild, and for the health of the souls of all those that have been
    brethren and sisters of the said guild, are and shall be in time
    coming, and in none otherwise; and hereto every man be sworn at his
    coming in specially, that henceforward shall be any other brother in
    the said guild, that he shall here do all that is in his power, and
    in no wise give his assent nor his favour to the contrary.

    “Also, that every year be chosen surveyors, and such convenient
    officers as shall be thought necessary by the discretion of the
    aldermen and brethren of the said guild; and that every year the said
    alderman and four brethren of the said guild, whereof two be aldermen
    of the said city, be chosen for to see a reckoning, and to know the
    disposition and governance of all the possessions, moveables, and
    goods appertaining to the said guild, and to make a writing of the
    estate thereof, and shew that to the brethren of the said guild
    yearly, or else to a certain number of brethren, resident in the said
    city thereto named.

    “Also, that every four years, once be given hoods or liveries of suit
    to each of the brethren of the said guild, and them honestly to be
    kept and worn to the worship of the glorious martyr, St. George, and
    of the brotherhood, if it seemeth to the said alderman and common
    council convenient.

    “Also, although the aldermen of the city, and every person of common
    council of the same city, be brethren of the same guild, yet if it
    happen that any of them, or any other citizen or brother of the said
    guild, be discharged of his aldermanship, or put out of the said
    common council, or _discomynyd_ against his will, for a great and
    notable cause against his worship, that then forthwith he be
    discharged of the said guild; or else, whosoever be once a brother of
    the said guild, that he be a brother still, paying his duties, till
    he will wilfully serve his own discharge, or else for notable causes
    be reasonably discharged.

    “Also it is ordained that the alderman and twenty of the brethren,
    aforesaid, be for the assembly, and the common council of the said
    guild, and that it needeth not to have no greater number thereto; and
    that the alderman name thereof six, by his oath, that he choose no
    person by no manner persuaded, nor private means, nor for favour nor
    friendship of no person, nor of no parties, but such as to his
    conscience are most indifferent and best disposed, and best willed to
    the worship and welfare, rest, peace, and profit of all the city, and
    the said guild; and in like form, the six so chosen shall, by their
    taking the same oath, choose six of such persons of the said guild,
    according to their said oath; then the alderman, by his said oath,
    such other two which be aldermen of the said guild, of which two of
    the aldermen, and the more part of them, shall be and make the common
    council, and the assembly of the said guild; and if any of them
    should be warned to come to the said common council, if he then be
    resident in the said city, and come not, but if he hath reasonable
    excusation, that he pay 20_d._ for every day.

    “And that all the old rules and ordinances of the said guild shall be
    seen by the aldermen, and the said common council of the said guild,
    and all those that be good, reasonable, and convenient to the worship
    of God, our Lady, and the glorious martyr St. George, and to the weal
    and peace within the said city, shall be kept, with reasonable
    additions put thereto, if it need; and if any ambiguity or doubt
    hereafterwards fall for the understanding or execution of the said
    article, in case that the said alderman, and more part of the said
    common council cannot accord therein, that then it be reformed and
    determined by the advice of the said William Yelverton.

    “And if any brother now being, or in time coming shall be, do
    conspire or labour to attempt to do in any thing the contrary of any
    of these appointments, or any other in time coming, by the aldermen
    or more part of the common council to be made, and that reasonably
    proved upon him before the said alderman, and the more part of the
    said common council, that then he be forthwith discharged of the said
    guild, and that notified by the said alderman to the mayor, in the
    common council of the said city, that then, it done, he be discharged
    of his liberties and franchises of the said city, and unable ever to
    be citizen of the said city, or brother of the said guild, and taken
    and had as a forsworn man shamed and reproved, and _reune_ in the
    pain of infamy.

    “Also, that all these articles abovesaid, be every year, once, or
    oftener if it be needed, be openly read before the said alderman, and
    all the brethren, or the most part of them.  In witness of these
    premises to the one part of this indenture remaining towards the said
    mayor and commonality, the alderman and brethren of the said
    fraternity and guild have set their common seal; and to the other
    part of the said indenture, abiding toward the said alderman and
    brethren of the said guild, the mayor and commonality of the said
    city have set their common seal.  Given and done at Norwich, the day
    and year aforesaid, in the time of the mayoralty of Ralph Segrim,
    when William Baily and John Gilbert were sheriffs, Thomas Allen,
    alderman of the aforesaid guild, according to the tenour of this
    agreement.

    “From thenceforth, the court of mayorality, justices, alderman,
    sheriffs, and common councilmen, were admitted and united to the
    fraternity of the glorious martyr St. George.  The rank and
    importance of the members of the society may be inferred from the
    fact, of their admitting from the country none beneath the rank of
    _notable gentlemen_.  The union of the two bodies took place fourteen
    years after the substitution of mayor and sheriffs for bailiffs.”

Among the entries in their book occur the following:

    “At George’s Inn, Fybriggate, at an asssembly there, holden the
    Monday next before the feast of All Saints, in the ninth year of King
    Henry IV., A.D. 1408; it was agreed to furnish priests with copes,
    “and the George shall go in procession and make a conflict with the
    dragon, and keep his estate both days.”

    “Item.  It is ordained that two new jackets of fustian and red
    buckram be bought for the henchmen (servitors upon George).

    “A.D. 1408, auditors were chosen to survey the accounts of the
    company, a bellman to the company to have 2_s._ a year salary; a
    beadle 1_s._ 3_d._, and for all those that are admitted and sworn,
    2_d._ for each entry; and the minstrel waytes of the city 5_s._, the
    beadle for warning the brethren at any ‘obite,’ 6_d._; and twelve
    poor men to be fed at a table by themselves every year, on St.
    George’s day.

    “Item.  It is ordained by the common assent, that forasmuch as before
    this time, the dirige, and mass of requiem, have been so rudely and
    dishonestly kept, and sung by aggregate persons, and children
    standing in temporal clothing, for remedy whereof to the honour of
    God, and spiritual conservation of the souls departed to God, that
    henceforth yearly shall be provided ten secular priests, that be not
    brethren of this fraternity, to be there at dirige and mass of
    requiem; each of them to have, when mass is done, 4_d._ of the obite
    money.

    “A.D. 1469, ordained that an inventory of all the goods and jewels
    appertaining to the said fraternity be taken.”

                                  INVENTORY.

    “Imprimis.  A precious relic; viz., an angel, silver-gilt, bearing
    the arms of St. George, given by Sir John Fastolf.

    “One chalice, silver-gilt.

    “A manual, with two silver clasps.

    “A cheseble, of white diaper, powered with stars of gold.

    “A pax bread of timber.

    “A little chest, with charter of King Henry V.

    “A seal of silver, belonging to the fraternity, with an image of St.
    George.”

Another charter of King Henry VI:—

    “Two cloaths, of the martyrdom of St. George.

    “One gown of scarlet serge, for St. George.

    “A coat armour, beaten with silver, for St. George.

    “Four banners, with the arms of St. George, for the trumpeters.

    “One banner, with the image of St. George.

    “Two shafts for the banners, and one for the pennon.

    “A chaplet, for the George.

    “Two white gowns for the henchmen.

    “Three peyntrells, three croopers, three reins, three head-stalls of
    red cloth, fringed and lined, with buckles, gilt, with the arms of
    St. George thereon.

    “Eight torches, _a dragon_, a pair of gloves, of plate.

    “A sword, with a scabbard covered with velvet, the bosses gilt.

    “One russet gown, flowered and powdered with velvet spots.

    “A black cheseble, with an alb, with the arms of the Lord Bardolph,
    by him given.

    “Lastly, one mass book, price twelve marks.

    “Also it is ordained, that the procession be done in copes, and all
    the brethren to have hoods of sanguine, and a reed or wand in his
    hand; and persons chosen to be aldermen, that every other of them
    have a red cope, and every one a white cope; the next year shall be
    clad in scarlet gowns, and parti-coloured hoods, scarlet and white
    damask, on the forfeiture of the payment of 13_s._ 4_d._; and every
    commoner to be clad in a long gown, red and white, on the forfeiture
    of 6_s._ 8_d._; and every commoner to ride to the Wood (St. William’s
    shrine) on St. George’s day, by the rules accustomed.

    “Also that a priest be paid a salary, amounting to eleven pounds ten
    shillings.

    “Persons appointed to provide hoods for the aldermen and commoners,
    to wear with their liveries at every entertainment hereafter.”

The manner of choosing persons to be members of the society, was thus, in
the thirty-fifth year of the reign of King Henry VIII.:—

    “The mayor chose three persons for the common council; the alderman
    chose three other persons for the same; these six chose other six for
    the same; and these twelve persons, with the advice of the four
    feast-makers, chose two feast-makers for the next year.”

In the thirty-sixth year of the reign of King Henry VIII., A.D. 1545, at
the general dissolution of the abbeys, monasteries, convents, friaries,
&c., the large and beautiful nave of the church of the Black Friars was
converted into a common hall for the mayors, sheriffs, citizens, and
commonality, with all their guilds and fraternities, to meet and hold
their annual feasts in; but principally the guild of St. George, who
expended two hundred and ten pounds upon its improvement at that time.

    “Upon inviting persons to the feast, which was to be done by the
    surveyors at the Whitsun holidays, all that promised to dine at the
    feast paid their money down to the feast-maker beforehand.

    “In the first year of the reign of King Henry VI., all fraternities,
    guilds, processions, &c., being thought useless, and tending to
    promote superstition, were set aside, and by virtue of the act
    passed, judged and deemed in the actual possession of the sovereign.

    “In the third year of the reign of King Edward VI., it was further
    enacted, and agreed, that the twenty persons, hitherto known as the
    St. George’s assembly, should be henceforth called the assembly of
    the feast of the mayor, sheriffs, citizens, and common council of the
    city; and twenty persons were appointed to manage the guild feast,
    now called the feast of the mayor, sheriffs, &c. &c.  The
    feast-makers to provide a supper also on the guild-day evening, and
    the ordering of the charge to be referred to the mayor, sheriffs, &c.
    &c.  In the fourth year of this reign, the goods of the company were
    appraised, and valued at £7 11_s._ 8_d._

    “In the first year of the reign of Queen Mary, 1552, it was agreed,
    that there should be neither George nor Margaret on the next feast
    day in the procession; but the dragon to come and show himself as in
    other years.

    “April 22d, second of Queen Mary, the laws since Henry VIII.
    repealed, and the guild to be kept as before.

    “A.D. 1561; cordwainers admitted to office.”

Innumerable other entries betray the various changes of arrangement and
regulation; but we pass on to

                THE MANNER OF THE PROCESSION ON THE GUILD-DAY.

    “About eight o’clock in the morning, the whole body of the court, St.
    George’s company, and the livery, met at the new elect’s, where they
    were entertained with sugar rolls and sack; from whence they all
    proceeded with the newly elected mayor to the old mayor’s, in this
    order; the court first, St. George’s company next, and the livery
    last.  At the mayor’s they had a breakfast provided for them, of
    pasties and roast beef, and boiled legs of mutton; from whence, in
    inverted order, (livery, St. George’s company, and court), they
    proceeded to the Cathedral Church, where a sermon was preached,
    always by the minister of the parish in which the mayor resided; and
    he was the chaplain during the mayoralty.

    “When the sermon was ended, the court had their horses taken, finely
    caparisoned, which they mounted; and at the entrance into the Royal
    Free School, which was curiously adorned with greens and flowers, in
    a bower, stood one of the lads thereto belonging, who was ready
    against the new mayor should come up, to address himself to him in an
    oration of Latin, as did several others, in different places, on
    horseback.  As the court proceeded with their robes of justice, the
    alderman in their scarlet, and the sheriffs in their violet gowns,
    with each a white wand in his hand, with trumpet sounding, the city
    music playing along the streets, with the standard of England carried
    before them.  Then followed St. George’s standard and company,
    supported by very tall stout men, who had dresses suitable and proper
    for them; in this manner they proceeded, though but slowly,
    occasioned by their stopping several times in different places, to
    hear the speeches which were then spoken by the free-school boys, as
    before mentioned.

    “Being arrived at the guildhall, in the market, the new-elected mayor
    had his robe of justice put on him, the gold chain placed about his
    neck, the key of the gates delivered to him according to custom: he
    was then sworn; after which he generally made a speech to the
    citizens.  The whole body then remounted their horses, and proceeded
    to the New Hall (or St. Andrew’s Hall) to the dinner.  As soon as the
    court and their ladies, with the rest of the company, were seated,
    the dinner was served up first to the mayor’s table, next at St.
    George’s, and then, as fast as they could, all the rest of the tables
    were plentifully filled with great variety of all kinds of good
    eatables, but little or no butcher’s meat, but as to pasties, tarts,
    pickles, lobsters, salmon, sturgeon, hams, chickens, turkeys, ducks,
    and pigeons, in great plenty, even to profusion; and these all served
    up in order, and besides what beer every one chose to drink, either
    small or strong, they had what quantity they pleased, besides a
    bottle of wine, which every man had delivered to him to drink after
    dinner.

As soon as dinner was over, St George’s company looked into their book to
see for the names of such as were eligible to be chosen as feast-makers;
and when they had selected four persons, they walked round the hall to
look for them; and no sooner was one of them espied, than he had a
garland of roses and greens thrown over his head, and was congratulated
upon being chosen as feast-maker for the next year.  If any of the four
were absent, it sufficed to send the garland to them at their own houses,
to make the appointment sure.  A pecuniary fine attended a refusal to
serve.

After the choice of feast-makers was over, the “banquets” were given to
the ladies, and it growing towards evening the whole body rose from their
seats and waited upon the new mayor home, where all were again
entertained with sugar rolls and sack; and then concluded the day by
seeing the old mayor to his home, where they remained and drank as long
as it was proper.

The great guns were discharged many times during the day.

The whole street, sometimes the whole parish, in which the mayor resided
was decorated in the handsomest manner; the streets were all strewn with
rushes and planted with trees, variety of “garlands, ship, antients, and
streamers in abundance.”  The outside of the houses were hung with
tapestry and pictures.

    “The dragon (carried by a man in the body) gave great diversion to
    the common people; they always seemed to fear it much when it was
    near them, but looked upon it with pleasure when at a little
    distance; it was so contrived as to spread its wings and move its
    head.  As there was always a multitude of people to see the
    procession, it was necessary to have several persons to keep them
    from coming too near, or breaking the ranks; for this purpose there
    were six men called Whifflers, somewhat like the Roman gladiators,
    who were neatly dressed, and who had the art of brandishing their
    very sharp swords in the greatest crowds with such dexterity as to
    harm no one, and of a sudden, to toss them high in the air and catch
    them again by the hilts: to this purpose also a man or two in painted
    canvas coats and vermilion red and yellow cloth caps, adorned with
    cats’ tails and small bells, went up and down to clear the way; their
    weapons were only small wands.  These were called or known by the
    name of Dick Fools; even they had their admirers, but it was among
    the children and mobility.”

The above curious and quaint description of the St. George’s Company and
the procession, is an extract from Mackerell’s “History of Norwich,”
published by the Archæological Society.  From the same source the further
particulars added are collected.

It would appear that the company, enjoying so many powers and privileges,
grew insolent and overbearing, and were wont to insult with impunity, and
tyrannize unmercifully over the pockets, purses, and freedom of their
fellow-citizens, until at length an individual named Clarke, an alderman,
to whom they had shown much discourtesy and injustice, by considerable
effort succeeded in bringing their career as a body to an end.  Their
charter, books, regalia, and all that belonged to them were given up to
the Corporation, and arrangements made at the same time for the mayor’s
procession and rejoicings upon a new footing.  The dragon, the fools, and
whifflers, were continued and paid by the Corporation, but instead of the
St. George’s company, the sixty common councilmen attended upon the newly
elected mayor on horseback in their gowns.  The mayor was to make a guild
feast at his own charge, £150 being given him towards the expenses of his
mayoralty.

    “Thus (using the words of the writer) fell this honourable tyrannical
    company, who had lorded it over the rest of the citizens, by laws of
    their own making, for an hundred and fourscore years; had made all
    ranks of men submit to them; neither had they any regard to the
    meanness of persons’ circumstances, by which they had been the ruin
    of many families, and had occasioned much rancour and uneasiness
    every annual election of common-councilmen, when the conquerors
    always put the vanquished on to the livery; thereby delivering them
    over to the mercy of St. George, who was sure to have a pluck at them
    as they assembled and met together; until this gentleman alderman
    Clarke had the courage to oppose and withstand them; and having taken
    a great deal of pains and time, at last effected this great work, and
    brought this insolent company to a final period; for which good deed
    he ought to have his name transmitted to the latest posterity.”

And now it behoves us to inquire who was St. George?  Shall we be content
to hear of his mighty prowess, his renowned sanctity, and his eminent
exaltation as patron saint of our country, and the most famous guilds or
fraternities that have ever flourished in Christendom, and know nothing
of his origin, history, or reality?  Shall we subscribe to the heretical
belief that St. George was neither more nor less than a soldier in the
army of Diocletian, who rewarded his great military exploits by cutting
off his head for advocating the cause of the Christians, and that
therefore he was elevated into the calendar of saints and martyrs in the
early church?  Shall we deny that he ever went to war with an insatiable
dragon, who, having eaten up all the sheep and cattle in the
neighbourhood, was fed upon fair youths and maidens “from a city of
Libya, called Silene, and that he did mortally wound the said dragon and
led him through the streets of the city,” as if it had been a meek beast
and debonnaire? or shall we give ear to the suggestion that St. George is
but another name for St Michael, who is always represented in combat with
the dragon?  To whatever belief we may incline, the fact of the antiquity
of his claims upon Christendom for universal reverence cannot be
disputed.  Long before he became the patron saint of England, many
eastern nations had adopted him in the same capacity; and to his personal
and miraculous interference in protecting Richard Cœur de Lion in his
conflict with Saladin, are we to attribute his elevation to that dignity
in this country?  Many orders of knighthood besides that of England have
been distinguished by his name in Austria, Bavaria, Burgundy, Montesa,
Ravenna, Genoa, and Rome.  The most authentic accounts that have come
down to us of the individual history and mortal career of this
semi-fabulous personage, resolve themselves into a few leading facts.  He
was a saint of high repute in the eastern church at a very early date, a
Cappadocian of good family, and a commander of note in the army of
Diocletian, and that he suffered martyrdom at Raniel, on the 23d of
April, the day on which his festival was kept.  He is mentioned in old
Saxon homilies as an ealder-man (or earl) of Cappadocia, and is mentioned
in a MS. Martyrologicum Saxonicum, in the library of Corpus Christi
College, Cambridge, as Georius Nobilis Martyr.  The Greeks called him the
“Great Martyr.”  The Coptic Arabic MSS. mention him as of Cappadocia;
Constantine instituted a religious order of knighthood, under the title
of St. George, on which was borne a red cross; he is also said to have
erected a church near his tomb in Palestine, and others in his honour at
Constantinople.  The red cross, usually attributed to St. George for an
armorial bearing, was possibly adopted from Constantine’s order of
knighthood.  The figure of the saint armed and on horseback, expresses
his martial character; and the dragon by many is conceived to be a symbol
of Paganism; the figure of the young lady sometimes introduced also is
regarded as a type of some city or province imploring aid, or may
possibly have been intended to memorialize the rescue of the damsel, whom
he is reported so gallantly to have saved from destruction.  There is a
separate legend of a St. Margaret and a dragon related by Mrs. Jameson,
which says that the governor of Antioch, captivated by the beauty of the
fair Margaret, who inclined not to his highness, shut her up in a
dungeon, and subjected her to all kinds of torments, and that during her
imprisonment the devil, in the form of a dragon, appeared ready to devour
her, but she held up the cross and he fled.  Many old prints represent
the dragon lying peaceably down, and Margaret with the cross standing by
unharmed.  An old church at Canterbury is dedicated to this Saint
Margaret.  Whether or not there exists any connection between her and the
heroine who usually is associated with St. George, we know not.

We conclude this speculative inquiry with a curious extract from a work
by Dr. Sayer, a translation of a fragment annexed to the Vatican MS. of
Olfrid’s Gospels, some say written in the fourth century:—

    George went to judgement
    With much honour
    From the market-place,
    And a great multitude following him,
    He proceeded to the Rhine {223}
    To perform the sacred duty,
    Which then was highly celebrated,
    And most acceptable to God.
    He quitted the kingdoms of the earth,
    And he obtained the kingdom of heaven.
    Thus did he do,
    The illustrious Count George,
    Then hastened all
    The kings who wished
    To see this man entering,
    (But) who did not wish to hear him.
    The spirit of George was there honoured,
    I speak truly from the report of these men,
    (For) he obtained
    What he sought from God.
    Thus did he,
    The Holy George.
    Then they suddenly adjudged him
    To prison;
    Into which with him entered
    Two beautiful angels
    * * * * *
    Then he became glad
    When that sign was made (to him),
    George then prayed;
    My God granted every thing
    To the words of George;
    He made the dumb to speak,
    The deaf to hear,
    The blind to see,
    The lame to walk.
    * * * * *
    Then began the powerful man
    To be exceedingly enraged.
    Tatian wished
    To ridicule these miracles.
    He said that George
    Was an impostor;
    He commanded George to come forth;
    He ordered him to be unclothed;
    He ordered him to be violently beaten
    With a sword excessively sharp.
    All this I know to be altogether true;
    George then arose and recovered himself;
    He wished to preach to those present,
    And the Gentiles
    Placed George in a conspicuous situation,
    (Then) began that powerful man
    To be exceedingly enraged.
    He then ordered George to be bound
    To a wheel, and to be whirled round.
    I tell you what is fact;
    The wheels were broken to pieces,
    This I know to be altogether true;
    George then arose and recovered himself,
    He then wished (to preach); the Gentiles
    Placed George in a conspicuous place,
    Then he ordered George to be seized
    And commanded him to be violently scourged;
    Many desired that he should be beaten to pieces,
    Or be burnt to a powder;
    They at length thrust him into a well.
    There was this son of beatitude,
    Vast heaps of stones above him,
    Pressed him down;
    They took his acknowledgment;
    They ordered George to rise;
    He wrought many miracles,
    As in fact he always does.
    George rose and recovered himself.
    He wished to preach to those Gentiles,
    The Gentiles
    Placed George in a conspicuous place.
    * * * * *
    They ordered him to rise,
    They ordered him to proceed,
    They ordered him instantly to preach.
    Then he said,
    I am assisted by faith.
    (Then he said) when
    Ye renounce the devil
    Every moment * * *
    * * * * *
    This is what St. George himself may teach us.
    Then he was permitted to go into the chamber
    To the Queen;
    He began to teach her,
    She began to listen to him.

The fragment ends here; the queen alluded to is deemed to be the wife of
Diocletian Alexandra, who has been canonized by the Romish Church.  She
is said to have been converted to Christianity, and suffered martyrdom
with her teacher.

We now beg to take leave of St. George and St. Margaret; Mr. Snap or the
Dragon in his coat of green and gold, at this present surmounted by an
outer coat of considerable thickness of dust, must permit us to make our
obeisance—trusting that the gleanings we have made of all these little
facts of history that contributed to his importance in the day of his
sovereignty and splendour, may have gained for us a parting good will.

His days of pomp and majesty are ended—with the banishment of fun and
frolic, and folly, with the reformation of councils and committees, of
manners and municipalities—his glory has departed, and but for the
chronicles of the past, his presence slumbering in oblivion, or in
drooping despondency, hanging his head in attitude of grief, might be a
mystery insoluble, as also might be the annual exhibition of the shabby
counterfeit presentment of his person in the shape of a cumbrous
imitation of himself, that is paraded once a year through street and
suburb, to keep alive the shadow of the memory of “good old times,” in
the hearts of the populace of a pleasure-loving city—but a sorrowful and
piteous spectacle is this walking ghost of the _Snap_ of the glorious
guild of St. George.



CHAPTER VI.
PAGEANTRY.


_Pageantries_.—_Ancient_ “_Mysteries_.”—_Origin of the religious
drama_.—_Moralities_.—_Oratorios_.—_Allegorical plays of Queen
Elizabeth’s time_.—_The Pageants got up to do honour to her visit_.—_Will
Kempe_, _Morris dancer_, _his_ “_nine days
wonder_.”—“_Hobby-horses_.”—_Festivals_.—_St. Nicholas or Boy
Bishop_.—_Bishop Blaize_.—_Woolcombers’ jubilee_.—_Southland fair_.—_St.
Valentine_.—_Mode of celebrating the festival_.—“_Chairing the
members_.”—_Origin of the custom_.

Among the many quaint specimens of the ways and doings of the ancient
respectable denizens of this present sober-minded city, that have been
rescued from the dim and dusty obscurity of the municipal record chamber,
has been found a curious minute of the proceedings of a solemn court held
on the Sabbath day of the feast of St. Matthew the Apostle, in the
nineteenth year of King Henry VIII., when a petition was presented to the
mayor, sheriffs and common council of the city of Norwich, by the
aldermen and brethren of the guild of St. Luke, praying to be relieved
from the burthen of being sole purveyors of plays and pageants for the
people on Whitsun Monday and Tuesday; and it may safely serve as a text
for a few rambling sketches of the entertainments that were wont to
gratify the taste of the lovers of the drama, in the age before the
stream of imperishable philosophy had been poured forth from the waters
of Avon, or its banks had resounded to the harmony that was destined to
sweep over the length and breadth of the earth, vibrating through the
chords of every living heart that felt its breath.

Deep in the human mind lies the yearning for amusement, great have been
those who, laying hold of this inherent principle of our nature, could
make it a means for enlightening and ennobling it; nor must we judge of
the sincerity of the attempts that were made in this work, by their
impotency or failure.  In dark and barbarous times, what may seem gross
buffoonery to our refined senses, may have had power to convey a moral
lesson or excite a worthy impulse; and we may scarcely with any justice
withhold our meed of praise and admiration of the philosophy of those old
monks, who, seeing the immorality that characterized the exhibitions
provided by strolling players, jugglers, tumblers, dancers, and jesters,
journeying from town to town, and castle to castle, and filling the large
square court-yards provided for their express accommodation by every
house of any pretensions to rank, set their inventive powers to work, to
find a substitute for these recreations of dubious tendency, and
endeavoured to supersede the secular by the religious drama.
Appolonarius, and Gregory, Archbishop of Constantinople, had done
likewise, and dramatised scenes both from the Old and New Testament, as
substitutes for Euripides and Sophocles, when the study of Greek
philosophy was deemed heresy, and to have read Virgil required from St.
Augustine penitence and prayer for pardon.  Hence priests turned
playwrights and actors, and instead of profane mummeries presented
scriptural stories, or legendary tales, which they at least deemed
improving and instructive.  Most old cities present traces, more or less
distinct, of these specimens of clerical ingenuity.

The Coventry and Chester mysteries have been preserved almost entire;
royalty honoured them with its presence, both in the person of Richard
III. and Henry VII. and his queen; York and London have contributed their
store of relics, and the performances of the company of Clerks that gave
the name to far-famed Clerkenwell, and the fraternity of the Holy
Trinity, St. Botolph’s Aldersgate, have become matters of history.

We have to borrow light from these richer stores, to comprehend the full
meaning of the few traces left among our chronicles, that bear evidence
of similar practices in the other localities; and here we return to the
petition of the St. Luke’s guild or fraternity.  Each branch of trade had
then its company, or guild, and was governed by laws of its own, under
general supervision of the municipal authorities.  The St. Luke’s guild
was composed of pewterers, braziers, bell-founders, plumbers, glaziers,
stainers, and other trades, and upon them it would seem that the whole
expense of the Whitsunside dramatic entertainments had fallen; wherefore
they besought their “discreet wisdoms” to enact, and ordain, and
establish, that every occupation within the city, should yearly, at the
procession on Monday in Pentecost week, set forth one pageant, by their
“discreet wisdoms” to be assigned and appointed of their costs and
charges, which should be “to the worship of the city, profit of the
citizens and inhabitants, and to the great sustentation, comfort and
relief as well of the said guild and brethren of the same;” which
favourable aid should bind them and their successors “daily to pray to
God for the prosperities long to endure of their discreet wisdoms.”

Which petition being heard and understood, it was agreed and enacted that
thenceforth every occupation in the said city should find and set forth
in the said procession one such pageant as should be appointed by master
mayor and his brethren aldermen.  In the same hand-writing as the minute
to this effect is a list of pageants, probably arranged in consequence of
it.

                              PAGEANTS.
1.  Mercers, Drapers,               Creation of the World.
Haberdashers.
2.  Glasiers, Steyners,             Helle carte.
Screveners, Pchemyters,
Carpenters, Gravers, Caryers,
Colermakers Whelewrights.
3.  Grocers, Raffemen,              Paradyse.
(Chandlers).
4.  Shermen, Fullers,               Abell and Cain.
Thikwollenweavers,
Covlightmakers, Masons,
Lymebrenrs.
5.  Bakers, Bruers, Inkepers,       Noyse Shipp.
Cooks, Millers, Vynteners,
Coupers.
6.  Taillors, Broderers, Reders,    Abraham and Isaak.
and Tylers.
7.  Tanners, Coryors,               Moises and Aaron with the
Cordwainers.                        children of Irael, and Pharo with
                                    his Knyghts.
8.  Smythes.                        Conflict of David and Golias.
9.  Dyers, Calaunderers,            The birth of Christ, with
Goldsmythes, Goldbeters,            Shepherds and three Kyngs of
Saddlers, Pewterers and Brasyers.   Colen.
10.  Barbors, Wexchandlers,         The Baptysme of Criste.
Surgeons, Fisitians,
Hardewaremen, Hatters, Cappers,
Skynners, Glovers, Pynnmakers,
Poyntemakers, Girdelers, Pursers,
Bagmakers, “Scepps,” Wyredrawers,
Cardmakers.
11.  Bochers,                       The Resurrection.
Fismongers,Watermen.
12.  Worsted Wevers.                The Holy Ghost.

    “These plays were performed on moveable stages constructed for the
    purpose, described by Dugdale as ‘theatres very large and high,
    placed on wheels;’ and Archdeacon Rogers, who died in 1595, and saw
    the Whitsun plays performed at Chester, gives a very minute
    description of the mode in which they were exhibited: ‘They were
    divided there into twenty-four pageants, according to the companies
    of the city; every company brought forth its _pageant_, which was the
    carriage or stage in which they played; these were wheeled about from
    street to street, exchanging with each other, and repeating their
    several plays in the different places appointed.  The pageants, or
    carriages, were high places made like two rooms, one above the other,
    open at the top; the lower room was used as a dressing-room, the
    higher room was the performing place.”

The first of the Norwich pageants, the Creation of the World, is similar
to one described by Hone, as performed at Bamberg, in Germany, so late as
1783; and its details so precisely accord with the stage directions still
extant of similar representations in this country, that it has been
adopted as a fair specimen of the play alluded to in the list.

The description of the German representation is thus given in the words
of an eye-witness:—“The end of a barn being taken away, a dark hole
appeared, hung with tapestry the wrong side outwards; a curtain running
along, and dividing the middle.  On this stage the Creation was
performed.  A stupid-looking Capuchin personated the Creator.  He entered
in a large full-bottomed wig, with a false beard, wearing over the rusty
dress of his order a brocade morning-gown, the lining of light blue silk
being rendered visible occasionally by the pride the wearer took in
showing it; and he eyed his slippers with the same satisfaction.  He
first came on, making his way through the tapestry, groping about; and
purposely running his head against posts, exclaiming, with a sort of
peevish authority, ‘Let there be light,’ at the same time pushing the
tapestry right and left, and disclosing a glimmer through linen clothes
from candles placed behind them.  The creation of the sea was represented
by the pouring of water along the stage; and the making of dry land by
the throwing of mould.  Angels were personated by girls and young
priests, habited in dresses (hired from a masquerade shop), to which the
wings of geese were clumsily attached, near the shoulders.  The angels
actively assisted the character in the flowered dressing-gown, in
producing the stars, moon, and sun.  To represent winged fowl, a number
of cocks and hens were fluttered about; and for other living creatures,
some cattle were driven on the stage, with a well-shod horse, and two
pigs with rings in their noses.  Soon after, Adam appeared.  He was a
clumsy fellow, in a strangely-shaped wig; and being closely clad with a
sort of coarse stocking, looked quite as grotesque as in the worst of the
old woodcuts, and something like Orson, but not so decent.  He stalked
about, wondering at every thing, and was followed from among the beasts
by a large ugly mastiff, with a brass collar on.  When he reclined to
sleep, preparatory to the introduction of Eve, the mastiff lay down by
him.  This occasioned some strife between the old man in brocade, Adam,
and the dog, who refused to quit his post; nor would he move when the
angels tried to whistle him off.  The performance proceeded to the
supposed extraction of the rib from the dog’s master; which being brought
forward and shewn to the audience, was carried back to be succeeded by
Eve, who, in order to seem rising from Adam’s side, was dragged up from
behind his back, through an ill-concealed and equally ill-contrived
trap-door, by the performer in brocade.  As he lifted her over, the dog,
being trod upon, frightened her by a sudden snap, so that she tumbled
upon Adam.  This obtained a hearty kick from a clumsy angel to the dog,
who consoled himself by discovering the rib produced before, which, being
a beef bone, he tried his teeth upon.”

The second pageant was “Paradise,” provided by the Grocers and Raffemen.
In the Grocers’ books, now lost, were the items of expenditure about this
pageant, among others, for painting clothes for Adam and Eve, &c.  In the
French collections, a legendary incident is introduced in this play: When
Adam attempts to swallow the apple, it will not stir; and, according to
the legend, this was the cause of the lump in the man’s throat, which has
been preserved ever since.

The third pageant, “Hell Carte,” was brought forth by the Glaziers, &c.
One of a series of illuminated drawings of the eleventh century,
illustrative of the Old and New Testaments, part of the Cottonian Library
in the British Museum, gives an idea of the manner in which this subject
was represented.  By no very complex machinery, the huge painted mouth
was made to open and shut, and demons are represented dragging into it a
variety of classes of dishonest people; thereby conveying a moral and
satirical admonition against some of the crying sins of the day, most
practised among, and most offensive to, the lower and middle classes of
society.  One of these offenders was the ale-wife, who gave short
measure.  In a _miserere_ in Ludlow church, there is set forth a demon
carrying an ale-wife, with her false measure and gay head-dress, to the
mouth, while two other demons play on the bagpipes, and read from a
scroll the catalogue of her sins.

The fourth pageant, “Abel and Cain,” was furnished by the Sheremen, &c.
Disputes between Cain and his man were comic scenes introduced into it,
and formed its chief attraction.

The fifth, “Noyse Ship,” was brought forth by the Bakers.  A fragment of
a Newcastle play of the same name affords a specimen of its probable
character.  The _dramatis persona_ are Noah, his wife, and Diabolus; and
a considerable portion of the play consists of disputes between Noah and
his wife, about entering the ark, as:—

                                    NOAH.

    Good wife, doe now, as I thee bidd.

                                 NOAH’S WIFE.

       Not I, ere I see more need,
    Though thou stande all day and stare.

                                    NOAH.

       . . . that women ben crabbed be,
    And not are meek, I dare well say.
    That is well seen by me to-day,
    In witness of yet, eiehone.
    Good wife, let be all this beare,
    That thou mak’st in this place here,
    For all they wene thou art master,
    And soe thou art by St. John.

Further rebellion on the part of the spouse compels Noah to carry out the
threat,

    Bot as I have blys,
    I shall chastyse this.

To which she replies:—

    “Yet may ye mys
    Nicholle Nedy.”

He stops beating her, for the reason,

    “That my bak is nere in two.”

To which she adds:—

    “And I am bet so blo—”

The sixth pageant was Abraham and Isaac.  Of the details of this, and the
seventh and eighth, no records have been found.

The ninth—the birth of Christ, with shepherds, and the three kings of
Colen,—was a very common subject.  The scenes were, usually:—1st, Mary,
Joseph, the child, an ox and an ass, and angels speaking to
shepherds.—2nd, The shepherds speaking by turns, the star, an angel
giving joy to the shepherds.—3rd, The three kings coming from the East,
Herod asking about the child, with the son of Herod, two counsellors, and
a messenger.—4th, Mary, with the child and star above, and the kings
offering gifts.

In the Townley and Coventry Mysteries, the play commences with a ranting
speech of King Herod, one of those which gave rise to Shakespeare’s
saying of “out-heroding Herod.”  In the fifth volume of the Paston
Letters, J. Wheatley writes to Sir J. Paston, “and as for Haylesdon, my
lord of Suffolk was there on Wednesday; at his being there that day,
there was never no man that played _Herod_ in Corpus Christi better, and
more agreeable to his pageant, than he.”

Most of these pageants were founded upon scripture narrative; while of
those of Coventry several are founded on legendary history.

The tenth pageant, having for its object the “Baptism of Christ,” was
exhibited by the Barbers, &c.

The eleventh pageant was the “Resurrection,” brought forward by the
Butchers, &c.

The twelfth and last pageant was the “Holy Ghost,” and exhibited the
descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles.

In the well-known mystery, entitled _Corpus Christi_, or the Coventry
play, the prologue is delivered by three persons, who speak alternately,
and are called _vexillators_; it contains the arguments of the several
_pageants_ or _acts_ that constitute the piece, and they amount to no
less than forty, every one of which consists of a detached subject from
scripture, beginning with the Creation of the Universe, and concluding
with the “Last Judgment.”  In the first pageant or act, the Deity is
represented seated on a throne by himself; after a speech of some length,
the angels enter, singing from the church service portions of the Te
Deum.  Lucifer then appears, and desires to know if the hymn was in
honour of God or himself, when a difference arises among the angels, and
the evil ones are with Lucifer expelled by force.

The Reformation had not the effect of annihilating these observances in
many places; the Corpus Christi procession was kept up for years after,
as in Norwich; and it was not until the beginning of the reign of James
I. that they were finally suppressed in all the towns of the kingdom.

John Bale, of the Carmelite Monastery, of Whitefriars, Norwich,
afterwards a convert to Protestantism, and made successively Bishop of
Ossory, Archbishop of Dublin, also a prebend of Canterbury, was a great
writer of mysteries; one of his compositions was entitled “The Chief
Promises of God to Man,” its principal characters being God, Adam, Noah,
Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah, and John Baptist.

Moralities were of later date than mysteries, and differed from them, as
consisting of dramatic allegories, in which the vices and virtues were
personified; the province of exciting laughter descended from the devil
in the _mystery_, to _vice_ or _iniquity_ in the _morality_, and was
personified by _pride_ or _gluttony_, or any other evil propensity; and
even when regular tragedies and comedies came upon the stage, we may
trace the descendants of this line in the clowns and fools who undertook
this portion of the entertainment, to the no small detriment of the more
serious parts of the best tragedies.  In Hamlet’s direction to the
players, allusion is made distinctly to this.  The secular plays which
existed before mysteries were invented, differed very materially from
either them or moralities, and were far inferior to them in refinement
and delicacy; they retained their popularity, however, notwithstanding
their clerical rivals, and the efforts that were diligently made to do
away with them.

_Interludes_ were a variety of these secular plays, and probably gave
birth to the _farce_ of later times; they were facetious or satirical
dialogues, calculated to promote mirth.  A representation of this
character before Henry the Eighth, at Greenwich, is thus related by
Hall:—“Two persons played a dialogue, the effect whereof was to declare
whether riches were better than love; and when they could not agree upon
a conclusion, each knight called in three knights well armed; three of
them would have entered the gate of the arch in the middle of the
chamber, and the other three resisted; and suddenly between the six
knights, out of the arch fell down a bar all gilt, for the which bar the
six knights did battle, and then they departed; then came in an old man
with a silver beard, and he concluded that love and riches both be
necessary for princes; that is to say, by love to be obeyed and served,
and with riches to reward his lovers and friends.”

Another is described by the same author as performed at Windsor, when
“the Emperor Maximilian and King Henry, being present, there was a
disguising or play; the effect of it was, that there was a proud horse,
which would not be tamed or bridled; but _Amity_ sent _Prudence_ and
_Policy_, which tamed him, and _Force_ and _Puissance_ bridled him.  The
horse was the French king, Amity the king of England, and the emperor and
other persons were their counsel and power.”

When regular plays became established, these motley exhibitions lost
their charm for all, save the vulgar; the law set its face against them,
performers were stigmatised as rogues and vagabonds, and it is highly
probable that necessity suggested to the _tragitour_ or juggler, who was
reduced to one solitary companion, the jester or jackpudding, to make up
his “company,” the idea of substituting puppets to supply the place of
other living characters.  The drama was in much the same state of
progress throughout the civilized portions of Europe; and to the Italians
and Spaniards the ingenuity of “Punchinello” has been attributed.  In
England these wooden performers were called _motions_; and Mr. Punch took
among them the rank of _mirth-maker_.  If there yet lives a being who has
not at some moment of his life felt a thrill of delight at the prospect
of a half-hour’s exhibition of this gentleman’s performance in his
miniature theatre, we pity him most heartily.

The oratorio is a mystery or morality in music.  The Oratorio commenced
with the priests of the Oratory, a brotherhood founded at Rome, 1540, by
St. Philip Neri, who, in order to attract the youthful and
pleasure-loving to church, had hymns, psalms, or spiritual songs, or
cantatas sung either in chorus or by a single favourite voice.  These
pieces were divided into two parts, one sung before the other, after the
sermon.  Sacred stories or events from Scripture, written in verse, and,
by way of dialogue, were set to music, and the first part being
performed, the sermon succeeded, which people were inclined to remain to
hear, that they might also hear the conclusion of the musical
performance.  This ingenious device precluded the necessity, we presume,
of locking the doors to prevent the egress of the congregation after
prayers, and before the sermon, that has in some places since been
resorted to.

The institutions of the Oratory required that corporal punishments should
be mingled with their religious harmony; and the custom would seem to
have been, that at certain seasons, of frequent occurrence, the brethren
went through severe castigation from their own hands, upon their own
bodies, with whips of small cords, delivered to them by officers
appointed for the purpose.  This ceremony was performed in the dark,
while a priest recited the Miserere and De Profundis with several
prayers; after which, in silence and gloom, they were permitted to resume
their attire, and refrain from their self-inflictions.

Mysteries and moralities ceased altogether about the year 1758 in this
country; a comedy by Lupton, bearing that date, being about the last
trace of the old school of dramatic writing.  The same year is memorable
in this city for the gorgeous pageantries that marked the progress of
England’s famous queen through its streets, on the occasion of her visit
to this then thriving metropolis of wealth and commerce; and a sketch of
the amusements provided for her entertainment, and the talents put into
requisition to do honour to her august presence, may not be out of place
here, containing, as they do, perhaps some of the latest specimens of the
allegorical dramatic writing that exist.  They bear strong evidence of
the encouragement given to literature by Elizabeth, which had created the
fashion for classical allusion upon every possible occasion; and her
admiration of the compliment so conveyed, caused the mythology of ancient
learning to be introduced into the various shows and spectacles set forth
in her honour, until almost every pageant became a pantheon.

But now for the royal visit, whose glorious memory has shed a halo over
worsted weaving, and bombazines, and stocking manufactures, and is now
enshrined in the magisterial closet of the Guildhall where the little
silver sceptre then bequeathed to the honoured city lingers as a memento
of the great event.

It was in the year 1578, that her Most Gracious Majesty, by the grace of
God, Queen of England, France, and Ireland, was pleased to honour the
city by her royal presence for the space of six days and nights, during
which period the gaiety and magnificence of the doings would appear to
have surpassed all previous or subsequent experience.  The civic
functionaries held preliminary meetings to ‘determine the order of the
procession that should welcome her Majesty, and to decree what
preparations should be made for the event.  Great excitement prevailed
throughout the city; streets were cleaned, dirt heaps removed, boats
converted into state barges, velvets and satins, and gold and silver
laces bought up to an immense extent, and, what we would appreciate more
highly still, a decree was passed, banishing for the time being from the
city streets all candle makers and scoutherers, who used unodoriferous
washes that might offend the olfactory nerves of royalty.  This delicate
attention we do esteem most creditable to the good sense of the august
body whose care it was to provide for the comfort of the fair maiden
queen.  Another generous resolution was passed by these same gentlemen,
that none of the attendants that might form the retinue of their
sovereign should be unfeasted, or unbidden to dinner and supper during
the whole period of the six days.  A devisor, a sort of lord of misrule,
we presume, was chosen to devote himself exclusively to the gettings up
of pageants for the amusement of the visitors and public; and to his wit
and ingenuity we fancy her majesty was mainly indebted for the
enlivenment of her visit.

The auspicious day arrived, and a gay procession started forth to meet
the royal party.  First came in rank, two by two, three score comely
youths of the school of bachelors, arrayed in doublets of black satin,
black hose, black taffeta hats with yellow bands, and then, as livery, a
mandelin of purple taffeta, trimmed with silver lace.  These were
followed by a figure fancifully attired with armour, and velvet hat and
plume, intended to represent King Gurgunt, the reputed founder of the
castle.  This personage was attended by three henchmen, bearing his
helmet, staff, and target, and gaily decked out in livery of white and
green, all richly mounted.  Next followed the noble company of gentlemen
and wealthy citizens, in velvet coats and other costly apparel.  Then
came the officers of the city, every one in his place; then the
sword-bearer, with the sword and cap of maintenance, next the mayor in
full scarlet robes, lined and trimmed with fur, the aldermen in their
scarlet gowns, and those of them that had been mayors in cloaks also;
next came those who had been sheriffs, in violet gowns and satin tippets;
and lastly, the notorious whifflers, poising and throwing up their
weapons with dexterity, just sufficient to impart fear and maintain order
without doing mischief.  Thus they proceeded some two miles forward on
the road to meet her majesty, King Gurgunt only excepted, who remained
behind, to welcome her majesty at her first view of his redoubted castle.
Then followed all the shouting and rejoicing usual on such occasions; and
when the royal train arrived, the exchanging of compliments in flowers of
speech, and more substantial coins of gold.  The mayor presented a vase
of silver gilt, containing one hundred pounds of money, as a tribute of
loyalty to his sovereign liege, upon which her majesty exclaimed to her
footman, “Look to it! there is one hundred pounds;” and in return, the
city was presented with a mace or sceptre richly gemmed, so that on this
occasion, if history tells us true, her majesty made some return for
value received, as was not always her custom to do.  Then followed the
speechifyings; first the mayor’s and its answer, and afterwards King
Gurgunt’s that _was to have been_, but fortunately we must think for her
majesty this forty-two lined specimen of poetry was deferred, in
consequence of an April shower.  Triumphal arches welcomed her to the
city walls, and pageants met her eye at every turn.  The first pageant
was upon a stage forty feet long and eight broad, with a wall at the
back, upon which was written divers sentences, viz. “The causes of the
Commonwealth are God truly preached;” “Justice truly executed;” “The
People obedient;” “Idleness expelled;” “Labour cherished;” “and universal
Concord preserved.”  In the front below, it was painted with
representations of various looms, with weavers working at them,—over each
the name of the loom, Worsted, Russels, Darnix, Mochado, Lace, Caffa,
Fringe.  Another painting of a matron and several children, over whom was
written, “Good nurture changeth qualities.”  Upon the stage, at one end,
stood six little girls spinning worsted yarn, at the other end the same
number knitting worsted hose; in the centre stood a little boy, gaily
dressed, who represented the “COMMONWEALTH of the city,” who made a
lengthened speech, commencing—

    “Most gracious prince, undoubted sovereign queen,
       Our only joy next God and chief defence;
    In this small shew our whole estate is seen,
       The wealth we have we find proceed from thence;
    The idle hand hath here no place to feed,
    The painsful wight hath still to serve his need;
    Again our seat denies our traffick here,
       The sea too near divides us from the rest.
    So weak we were within this dozen year,
       As care did quench the courage of the best;
    But good advice hath taught these little hands
    To rend in twain the force of pining bands.
       From combed wool we draw the slender thread,
    From thence the looms have dealing with the same,
       And thence again in order do proceed,
    These several works which skilful art doth frame,
       And all to drive dame _Need_ into her cave
       Our heads and hands together laboured have.
    We bought before the things that now we sell.
    These slender imps, their works do pass the waves,
    Of every mouth the hands the charges saves,
    Thus through thy help, and aid of power divine,
    Doth Norwich live, whose hearts and goods are thine.’”

This device gave her majesty much pleasure.

Another very magnificent affair, with gates of jasper and marble, was
placed across the market-place, five female figures on the stage above
representing the _City_, _Deborah_, _Judith_, _Hester_, and _Martia_ (a
queen); whose chief, the _City_, was spokeswoman first, and was succeeded
by the others each in turn.  All that they said we dare not tarry to
repeat; the City expressed herself in some hundred lines of poetry, the
rest rather more briefly.  “Whom fame resounds with thundering trump;”
“Flower of Grace, Prince of God’s Elect;” “Mighty Queen, finger of the
Lord,” and such like hyperbole, made up the substance of their flattery.
We know the good Queen Bess was somewhat fond of such food, but we think
even her taste must have been somewhat palled with the specimens offered
on this occasion.  Others of a similar character were scattered along her
pathway to the cathedral.  After service she retired to her quarters at
the palace of the bishop.  On the Monday the deviser planned a scheme by
which her majesty was enticed abroad by the invitation of Mercury, who
was sent in a coach covered with birds and little angels in the air and
clouds, a tower in the middle, decked with gold and jewels, topped by a
plume of feathers, spangled and trimmed most gorgeously; Mercury himself
in blue satin, lined with cloth of gold, with garments cut and slashed
according to the most approved fashion of the day, a peaked hat, made to
“_cut the wind_,” a pair of wings on his head and his _heels_; in his
hand a golden rod with another pair of wings.  The horses of his coach
were painted and furnished each with wings, and made to “drive with speed
that might resemble flying;” and in this guise did Mercury present
himself before the window at the palace, and tripping from his throne,
made his most humble obeisance and lengthy speech, all which most
graciously was received by her majesty.  Thus ended this day’s sport.

On Tuesday, as her majesty proceeded to Cossey Park, for the purpose of
enjoying a day’s hunt, another pageant was got up by the industrious
devisor, the subject of which was, Cupid in Search of a Home—not,
however, much worth detailing.  Wednesday her majesty dined at Surrey
House with Lord Surrey, at which banquet the French ambassadors are said
to have been present; and a pageant was prepared for the occasion, but
the rooms seem to have been rather too small to admit the company of
performers, so it was of necessity deferred.  On her road home, the
master of the grammar-school stayed the procession to deliver a
lengthened speech before the gates of the hospital for old men, to which
the queen graciously replied in flattering terms, presenting her hand to
be kissed.  Thursday was marked by divers pageantries, prepared by order
of the Lord Chamberlain, by the devisor.  The morning display, which was
to enliven her majesty’s riding excursion, was made up of nymphs playing
in water, the space occupied for the same being a square of sixty feet,
with a deep hole four feet square in some part of it, to answer for a
cave.  The ground was covered with canvas, painted like grass, with
running cords through the rings attached to its sides, which obeyed
another small cord in the centre, by which machinery, with two holes on
the ground, the earth was made to appear to open and shut.  In the cave,
in the centre, was music, and the twelve water-nymphs, dressed in white
silk with green sedges, so cunningly stitched on them, that nothing else
could be seen.  Each carried in her hand a bundle of bulrushes, and on
her head a garland of ivy and a crop of moss, from whence streamed their
long golden tresses over their shoulders.  Four nymphs were to come forth
successively and salute her majesty with a speech, then all twelve were
to issue forth and dance with timbrels.

The show of _Manhood and Desert_, designed for the entertainment at Lord
Surrey’s, was also placed close by.  _Manhood_, _Favour_, _Desert_,
striving for a boy called _Beauty_, who, however, was to fall to the
share of _Good fortune_.  A battle should have followed, between six
gentlemen on either side, in which _Fortune_ was to be victorious;
_during the combat_, _legs and arms of men_ “_well and lively wrought_”,
_were to be let __fall in numbers on the ground_ “_as bloody as might
be_.”  _Fortune_ marcheth off a conqueror, and a song for the death of
_Manhood_, _Favour_, and _Desert_, concluded the programme.  But, alas!
all this preparation was rendered of no avail, by reason of a drenching
thunder-shower, which so “dashed and washed performers and spectators,
that the pastime was reduced to the display of a dripping multitude,
looking like half-drowned rats; and velvets, silks, tinsels, and cloth of
gold, to no end of an amount, fell a sacrifice to this caprice of the
weather.”

The evening entertainment at the guildhall was more successful, the
casualties of rain and wind having no power there, to disturb the
arrangements got up with so much labour and cost.  After a magnificent
banquet in the common council chamber, above the assize court, a princely
masque of gods and goddesses, richly apparelled, was presented before her
majesty.

_Mercury_ entered first, followed by two torch-bearers, in purple taffeta
mandillions, laid with silver lace; then the musicians, dressed in long
vestures of white silk girded about them, and garlands on their heads;
next came _Jupiter and Juno_, _Mars and Venus_, _Apollo and Pallas_,
_Neptune and Diana_, and lastly _Cupid_, between each couple two
torch-bearers.  Thus they marched round the chamber, and Mercury
delivered his message to the queen.

    “The good-meaning mayor and all his brethren, with the rest, have not
    rested from praying to the gods, to prosper thy coming hither; and
    the gods themselves, moved by their unfeigned prayers, are ready in
    person to bid thee welcome; and I, Mercury, the god of merchants and
    merchandise, and therefore a favourer of the citizens, being thought
    meetest am chosen fittest to signify the same.  Gods there be, also,
    which cannot come, being tied by the time of the year, as Ceres in
    harvest, Bacchus in wines, Pomona in orchards.  Only Hymeneus denieth
    his good-will either in presence or in person; notwithstanding Diana
    hast so counter-checked him, therefore, as he shall hereafter be at
    your commandment.  For my part, as I am a rejoicer at your coming, so
    am I furtherer of your welcome hither, and for this time I bid you
    farewell.”

All then marched about again, at the close of each circuit, stopping for
the gods to present each a gift to her majesty; Jupiter, a riding wand of
whalebone, curiously wrought; Mars, a _fair pair of knives_; Venus, a
white dove; Apollo, a musical instrument, called a bandonet; Pallas, a
book of _wisdom_; Neptune, a fish; Diana, a bow and arrows, of silver;
Cupid, an arrow of gold, with these lines on the shaft—

    “My colour _joy_, my substance _pure_,
    My _virtue_ such as shall endure.”

The queen received the gifts with gracious condescension, listening the
while to the verses recited by the gods as accompaniments.

On Friday, being the day fixed for her majesty’s departure, the devisor
prepared one last grand spectacle, water spirits, to the sound of whose
timbrels was spoken “her majesty’s farewell to Norwich;” and thus
terminated this season of rejoicing, but not with it the results of the
royal visitation.

The train of gay carriages that had formed the retinue of the fair queen,
were said to have left behind them the infection of the plague; and
scarcely had the last echoes of merriment and joy faded upon the ear,
when the deep thrilling notes of wailing and lamentation broke forth from
crushed hearts.  Death held his reign of terror, threw his black mantle
of gloom over the stricken city, and wrapped its folds around each hearth
and home, and banquet chamber—sunshine was followed by clouds and storm,
and thunders of wrath—feast-makers, devisors, and players—Gurgunt,
Mercury, Cupid, and Apollo, laid down their trappings, and in their
stricken houses died alone.  The finger-writing upon the door-posts
marked each smitten home with the touching prayer, “The Lord have mercy
upon us!”  The insignia of the white wand borne by the infected ones, who
issued forth into the streets from their tainted atmospheres, warned off
communion with their fellow men, and sorrow filled all hearts;—a year of
sadness and gloom followed—men’s hearts failing them for fear.  Scarcely
had the plague lifted its hand from oppressing the people, ere the
benumbed faculties of the woe-begone mourners were roused to fresh
terror, by the grumbling murmurs of an earthquake;—storms, lightnings,
hailstones, and tempests spread desolation in their course through all
parts of the country in quick succession—a very age of trouble.

But turning from dark scenes of history once more to the sports and
pastimes that gladdened the hearts and eyes of the good old citizens of
yore, we must not fail to chronicle the famous visit of Will Kempe, the
morris dancer, whose “nine days’ wonder,” or dance from London to Norwich
in nine days, has been recorded by himself in a merry little pamphlet
bearing internal evidence of a lightness of heart rivalling the lightness
of toe that gained for him his Terpsichorean fame.  His name receives a
fresh halo of interest from its association with that of one of the great
ones of the earth, Will Shakespeare, in whose company of players at the
Globe, Blackfriars, he was a comedian; and his signature and that of the
dramatist’s stand together at the foot of a counter petition presented at
the same time with one got up by the inhabitants of the neighbourhood
against the continuance of plays in that house.  Kempe played Peter and
Dogberry in “Romeo and Juliet,” and “Much Ado about Nothing;” also,
Launce, Touchstone, Gravedigger, Justice Shallow, and Launcelot.  One
feels that the morris dancer has a fresh claim upon our interest by such
associations, and we look into the merry book dedicated to Mistress Anne
Fitton, maid of honour to England’s maiden queen, prepared to relish
heartily the frolicsome account of how he tript it merrily to the music
of Thomas Slye, his taberer, gaining every where the admiration of the
wondering townsfolk and villagers upon his road, receiving, and
occasionally of necessity refusing, their profusely proffered
hospitalities, and now and then accepting their offers to tread a measure
with him at his pace, a feat that one brave and buxom lass alone was
found equal to perform—one can appreciate the quiet fun in which he
permits himself to indulge at the discomfiture of the followers who track
his flying steps, when their running accompaniment is interrupted by the
mud and mire of the unmacadamized mediæval substitutes for turnpike
roads, where occasionally he dances on, leaving the volunteer corps up to
their necks in some slough of despond.  Such a picture of the highways in
the good old times, is consolatory to the unfortunate generation of the
nineteenth century, who, among their many burdens and oppressions, can at
least congratulate themselves that in respect to locomotion, the lines
have fallen to them in pleasanter places.

The morris dance in its original glory was most frequently joined to
processions and pageants, especially to those appropriated to the
celebration of the May games.  The chief dancer was more superbly dressed
than his comrades, and on these occasions was presumed to personate Robin
Hood; the maid Marian, and others supposed to have been the outlaw’s
companions, were the characters supported by the rest; and the
hobby-horse, or a dragon, sometimes both, made a part of the display.

It was by some supposed to have been imported from the Moors, and was
probably a kind of Pyrrhic or military dance, usually performed with
staves and bells attached to the feet, each of which had its several tone
and name; the men who danced it, when in full character, were accompanied
by a boy dressed as a girl, and styled the maid _Marion_ (or Morian,
possibly from the Italian Moriane, a head piece, because his head was
generally gaily decked out).

The hobby-horse was originally a necessary accompaniment of the morris
dance, but the Puritans had banished it before the time of the hero
Kempe,—why, or wherefore, it is difficult to imagine, as his presence,
with a ladle attached to his mouth to collect the douceurs of the
spectators, must have been as harmless, one would fancy, as that of the
_fool_ who succeeded him in the office.

In Edward the Fourth’s reign, we find mention made of _hoblers_, or
persons who were obliged by tenure to send a light swift horse to carry
tidings of invasion from the sea-side—light horsemen from this came to be
called hoblers—and doubtless from this origin sprang the term
hobby-horse—hence the allusion to men riding their hobby.

Kempe’s dance is alluded to by Ben Jonson, in his “Every Man out of his
Humour.”  In his own narrative he alludes to some other similar exploit
he had it in his mind to perform; but as no record exists of its
accomplishment, we are left to infer that the entrance made of the death
of one Will Kempe, at the time of the plague, November 1603, in the
parish books of one of the metropolitan churches, refers to the merry
comedian, and that his career was suddenly terminated by that unsightly
foe.

In 1609, a tract with an account of a morris dance performed by twelve
individuals who had attained the age of a hundred, was published, “to
which,” it was added, “Kempe’s morris dance was no more than a galliord
on a common stage at the end of an old dead comedy, is to a caranto
danced on the ropes.”

Not long subsequent to these events, theatres became settled down into
stationary objects of attraction and amusement; and in most large cities,
companies were formed to conduct the business of the performances.  Among
the epitaphs in the principal churchyard of the city, St. Peter’s
Mancroft, are several to the memory of different individuals who had
belonged to the company.  Among them, one

                                 IN MEMORY OF
                           WILLIAM WEST, COMEDIAN,
                     LATE MEMBER OF THE NORWICH COMPANY.

                        OBIIT 17 JUNE, 1733.  AGED 32.

    To me ’twas given to die, to thee ’tis given
    To live; alas! one moment sets us even—
    Mark how impartial is the will of Heaven.

Another:—

                                 IN MEMORY OF
                                ANNE ROBERTS.
                               1743.  AGED 30.

    The world’s a stage—at birth one play’s begun,
    And all find exits when their parts are done.

                               HENRIETTA BRAY.
                               1737.  AGED 60.
                                 A COMEDIAN.

    Here, reader, you may plainly see
    That Wit nor Humour e’er could be
    A proof against Mortality.

The subject of Pageantry may not be fitly closed without notice of the
costly displays of magnificence that characterize the various processions
and ceremonies that have become classed under the same title, although
distinct altogether from the original dramatic representations to which
the name belonged.  Some of these, in honour of saints and martyrs, long
since dead even to the memory of enlightened Protestantism, partake more
of the character of religious festivals than any thing else; and among
them the annual commemoration of St. Nicholas day, by the election of the
Boy Bishop, peculiarly deserves to be classed.  In olden times, on the
6th of December, it was an invariable custom for the boys of every
cathedral choir to make choice of one of their number to maintain the
state and authority of a bishop, from that time until the 28th, or
Innocent’s day, during which period he was habited in rich episcopal
robes, wore a mitre on his head, and carried a crosier in his hand; his
companions assumed the dress and character of priests, yielding to their
head all canonical obedience, and between them performing all the
services of the church excepting mass.  On the eve of Innocent’s day, the
Boy Bishop, and his youthful clergy in their caps, and with lighted
tapers in their hand, went in solemn procession, chaunting and singing
versicles, as they walked into the choir by the west door; the dean and
canons of the Cathedral went first, the chaplains followed, and the Boy
Bishop with his priests in the last and highest place.  The Boy Bishop
then took his seat, and the rest of the juveniles dispersed themselves on
each side the choir on the uppermost ascent.  The resident canons bearing
the incense and book, the minor canons the tapers, he afterwards
proceeded to the altar of the Trinity, which he censed, and then the
image of the Trinity, his priests all the while singing.  They all then
joined in chaunting a service with prayers and responses, and in
conclusion the Boy Bishop gave his benediction to the people.  After he
received the crosier, other ceremonies were performed, and he chaunted
the complyn, and turning towards the choir delivered an exhortation.  If
any prebends fell vacant during his episcopal power, he had the power of
disposing of them; and if he died during the month he was buried in his
robes, his funeral was celebrated with great pomp, and a monument was
erected to his memory with his effigy.

The discovery of a monument of this character, some hundred and seventy
years since, in Salisbury Cathedral, caused much amazement to the many
then unread in antiquarian lore, who marvelled much at the anomalous
affair, wondering however a bishop could have been so small, or a child
so rich in ecclesiastical garments.

From this custom originated the but lately discontinued honours, annually
awarded to the head boy in most grammar schools, who had a place in grand
civic processions, and for a season at least was magnified into a great
personage.

The origin of this festival, on St Nicholas day, is involved like most
others in much obscurity, and buried in heaps of legendary mysticism.
The tale upon which it is said to have been founded is, that in the
fourth century St. Nicholas was bishop of Myra, when two young gentlemen
arrived at that city on their road to Athens, whither they were going to
complete their education.  By their father’s desire they were to seek the
benediction of the bishop on their way, but as it was late at night when
they reached Myra, they deferred doing so till the next morning; but in
the meantime the host of the inn at which they were lodging, stimulated
by avarice to possess himself of their property, killed the young
gentlemen, cut them in pieces, salted them, and purposed to sell them for
pickled pork.

St. Nicholas, the bishop, being favoured with a sight of these
proceedings in a vision, (or, as we should now-a-days express it, by
_clairvoyance_) went to the inn, reproached the cruel landlord for his
crime, who, confessing it, entreated the saint to pray to heaven for his
pardon.  The bishop, moved by his entreaties, besought pardon for him,
and restoration of life to the children.  He had scarcely finished, when
the pickled pieces re-united, and the animated youths threw themselves
from the brine-tub at the bishop’s feet; he raised them up, exhorted them
to ascribe the praise to God alone, and sent them forward on their
journey, with much good counsel.

Such is the miracle handed down as the cause of the adoption of Saint
Nicholas as the patron saint of children.  The Eton Montem is considered
to be a corruption of the ceremony of electing a boy-bishop, probably
changed at the time of the suppression of the religious festivals at the
Reformation.

One other pageant, more especially connected with the history of a
manufacturing city, is the procession of Bishop Blaize, or St. Blazius,
the great patron saint of wool-combers; in which usually figured Jason,
the hero of the “golden fleece,” and forty Argonauts on horseback, the
emblems of the expedition, preceded by Hercules, Peace, Plenty, and
Britannia.  These were followed by the bishop, dressed in episcopal
costume, crowned with a mitre of wool, drawn in an open chariot by six
horses, and attended by vergers, bands of music, the city standard, a
chaplain, and orators delivering, at intervals, grandiloquent speeches.
Seven companies of wool-combers on foot, and five on horseback, brought
up the rear; shepherds, shepherdesses, tastefully attired in fancy
costumes, added to the brilliancy of the display.  Bishop Blazius, the
principal personage in the festivity, was Bishop of Sebesta, in Armenia,
and the reputed inventor of the art of combing wool.  The Romish church
canonized the saint, and attributed to his miraculous interposition many
wondrous miracles.  Divers charms, also, for extracting thorns from the
body, or a bone from the throat, were prescribed to be uttered in his
name.

Among the festivals that lay claim to antiquity, of which some faint
traces, at least, are left in the observances of the nineteenth century,
are some few that belong as much to the history of the present as the
past, and must not be omitted in sketches of the characteristic features
of an old city.  The Fair—the great annual gatherings of wooden houses
and wooden horses, tin trumpets, and spice nuts, Diss bread, and
gingerbread—menageries of wild natural history, and caravans of tame
_unnatural_ collections, giants, dwarfs, albinos, and _lusus naturæ_ of
every conceivable deformity—of things above the earth and under the
earth, in the sea and out of the sea—of panoramas, dioramas—wax-works,
with severable heads and moving countenances—of Egyptian tents, with
glass factories in miniature concealed within their mystic folds, under
the guidance of the glass-wigged alchemist, the presiding
genius—performing canaries, doing the Mr. and Mrs. Caudle, and firing off
pistols—pert hares playing on the tambourine, and targets and guns to be
played with for prizes of nuts, and whirligigs and rocking-boats—the
avenues of sailcloth, with their linings of confectionary, toys,
basket-work, and ornamental stationery—the gong and the drum, and the
torrents of Cheap-Jack eloquence, mingling with the music of the
leopard-clad minstrels of the zoological departments;—dear is the holiday
to the hearts, and memories, and anticipations, of many an _enlightened_
infant of this highly developed age;—as dear, and welcome, and thrilling,
in its confusion of noise, and bewilderment of colour, as ever of old, to
the children of larger growth, who, in the infancy of civilization, were
wont to find in them their primers of learning, arts, and sciences.

When trade was principally carried on by means of fairs, and they lasted
many days, the merchants who frequented them for business purposes, used
every art and means to draw people together, and were therefore
accompanied, we are told, by jugglers, minstrels, and buffoons; and as
then few public amusements or spectacles were established, either in
cities or towns, the fair-time was almost the only season of diversion.
The clergy, finding that the entertainments of dancing, music, mimicry,
&c. exhibited at them, drew people from their religious duties, in the
days of their power proscribed them—but to no purpose; and failing in
their efforts, with the ingenuity that characterized their age and
profession, changed their tastes, and took the recreations into their own
hands, turned actors and play-writers themselves, and substituted the
Religious Mysteries for the profane punchinellos and juggleries that have
since, in later times, resumed their sway, undisputed by any
ecclesiastical rivals for popular applause in the dramatic line.

Among other sports that formed the attractions to the Fair in olden
times, was the Quintain, a game of contest, memorable in the annals of
the city, as having on one occasion, in the reign of Edward I., been made
the opportunity of commencing hostilities of a far more formidable nature
and protracted extent than the occasion itself could warrant, or be
presumed to cause.

The Quintain was a post fixed strongly in the ground, with a piece of
wood, about six feet long, laid across it on the top, placed so as to
turn round; on one end of this cross-piece was hung a bag, containing a
hundred-weight of sand, which was called the _Quintal_; at the other end
was fixed a board about a foot square, at which the player, who was
mounted on horseback, with a truncheon, pole, or sort of tilting-spear,
ran direct with force; if he was skilful, the board gave way, and he
passed on before the bag reached him, in which feat lay success; but if
he hit the board, but was not expert enough to escape, the bag swung
round, and striking him, often dismounted him; to miss the board
altogether was, however, the greatest disgrace.  The quarrel alluded to,
arose ostensibly about the truncheons, but it was supposed really to have
been at the instigation of other persons, both on the part of the
monastery and city.

Tombland Fair stands not quite alone as a memorial of ancient festivals
held in honour of patron saints—one other day in the year stands forth in
the calendar of juvenile and mature enjoyments, unrivalled in its claim
upon our notice and our love.  St. Valentine, that “man of most admirable
parts, so famous for his love and charity that the custom of choosing
valentines upon his festival took its rise from thence,” as Wheatley
tells us,—is yet, even to this hour, held in high honour, and most
gloriously commemorated in this good old city, and in so unique a
fashion, that a few words may not suffice to give a true delineation of
it.  The approach of the happy day is heralded, in these days of
steam-presses and local journals, by monster-typed advertisements,
gigantically headed “_Valentines_,” or huge labels, bearing the same
mystic letters, carefully arranged in the midst of gorgeously-decked
windows, towards which young eyes turn in glistening hope and admiration;
and at sight of which little hearts beat high with eager expectation.
Not of Cupids, and hearts, and darts, and such like merry conceits on
fairy-mottoed note paper, doth the offerings of St. Valentine consist in
this good old mart of commerce;—far more real and substantial are the
samples of taste, ornament, and use, that rank themselves in the category
of his gifts.  The jeweller’s front, radiant with gold and precious gems,
and frosted silver, and ruby-eyed oxydized owls, Russian malachite
fashioned into every conceivable fantasy of invention, brooches,
bracelets, crosses, studs masculine and feminine, chatelaines ditto, and
not a few of _epicene_ characteristics, betokening the signs of the
times,—all claim to rank under the title.  The Drapers—especially the
“French depots,” with their large assortments on shew, in remote
_bazaars_ appropriated exclusively to the business of the festive season,
where labyrinths of dressing-cases, desks, work-boxes, inkstands, and
_portfeuilles_, usurp the place of lawful mercery, and haberdashery for
the time being yields place to stationery, perfumery, _bijouterie_, and
cutlery, proclaim the triumphs of his reign in their midst.  But supreme
above all, are the glories that the toy-shops display, from the gay
balcony-fronted repository for all the choicest inventions science,
skill, or wit can devise, at once to please the fancy, help the brain,
tax the ingenuity of childhood, or dazzle the eye of babyhood, downwards
through the less _recherché_, but scarcely less thronged marts, a grade
below in price and quality, to the very huckster’s stall or apple booth,
that shall for the time being add its quota of penny whips, tin trumpets,
and long-legged, brittle-jointed, high-combed Dutch ladies, whose
proportions exhibit any thing but the contour usually described as a
“Dutch build.”  Nor these alone—the shoemaker’s, with its newly-acquired
treasures of gutta percha knick-knacks, flower-pots, card-trays,
inkstands, picture-frames, boxes, caddies, medallions, and what-not that
is useful and ornamental, in addition to shoe-soles with a propensity to
adhere to hot iron, and betray by deeply indented gutters the impress of
any new bright-topped fender on which they have chanced to trespass—all,
all, are offerings at the shrine of good St. Valentine; how, when, and
where, we have yet to see.

One peep behind these plate-glassed drop scenes—one visit to the
toy-shop—it is an event—a circumstance to be chronicled—even the quiet,
mild, and self-possessed proprietress of all the wealth of fun and
fashion, use and ornament, and zoology, from the rocking-horse down to
the Chinese spider, and Noah’s ark to lady-birds, for once looks heated
and tired; and one feels impelled to cheer the kind-hearted, gentle
matron, by reminding her, that her toil will be repaid tenfold, by
pleasant thoughts of the myriad shouts of welcome and heartfelt glee
that, ere long, will have been hymned forth in praise of the perfection
of her taste.

Her labours and toils would seem scarcely to surpass those of her
purchasers.  The perplexity and labyrinth of doubt and difficulty they
find themselves in is truly pitiable; the annual return of a festival
when every body, from grandpapa and grandmamma to baby bo, is expected to
receive and give some offering commemorative of the season, causes, in
time, a considerable difficulty in the choice of gifts, and added to the
mystifications of memory as to who has what? and what hasn’t who?
produces a perfect bewilderment.  The fluctuations between dominoes, bats
and traps, dolls, la gràce, draughts, chess, rocks of Scilly, German
tactics, fox and geese, printing machines, panoramas, puzzles,
farmy-ards, battledores, doll’s houses, compasses, knitting cases, and a
myriad others, seem interminable—but an end must come, and the purchaser
and seller find rest.

But all this toil is but the prelude to the grand act of the drama;
Valentine’s eve arrived, the play begins in earnest.  The streets swarm
with carriers, and baskets laden with treasures—bang, bang, bang go the
knockers, and away rushes the banger, depositing first upon the door-step
some package from the basket of stores—again and again at intervals, at
every door to which a missive is addressed, is the same repeated till the
baskets are empty.  Anonymously St. Valentine presents his gifts,
labelled only with “St. Valentine’s” love, and “Good morrow, Valentine.”

Then within the houses of destination—the screams, the shouts, the
rushings to catch the bang bangs—the flushed faces, sparkling eyes,
rushing feet to pick up the fairy gifts—inscriptions to be interpreted,
mysteries to be unravelled, hoaxes to be found out—great hampers, heavy,
and ticketed “With care, this side upwards,” to be unpacked, out of which
jump live little boys with St. Valentine’s love to the little ladies
fair—the sham bang bangs, that bring nothing but noise and fun—the mock
parcels that vanish from the door step by invisible strings when the door
opens—monster parcels that dwindle to thread-papers denuded of their
multiplied envelopes, with pithy mottoes, all tending to the final
consummation of good counsel, “Happy is he who expects nothing, and he
will not be disappointed!”  It is a glorious night, marvel not that we
would perpetuate so joyous a festivity.  We love its mirth, the memory of
its smiles and mysteries of loving kindness, its tender reverential
tributes to old age, and time-tried friendship, amid the throng of
sprightlier festal offerings, that mark the season in our hearths and
homes, as sacred to a love so pure, so true, and holy, that good St.
Valentine himself may feel justly proud of such commemoration.

How and when this peculiar mode of celebrating the festival arose it
would be difficult perhaps to discover.  In olden times, as we find by
the diary of Dr. Browne, the more prevalent custom of drawing valentines
on the eve before Valentine day was in vogue; but Forby’s “Vocabulary of
East Anglia” makes mention of a practice which doubtless has become
developed in the course of time into the elaborate and costly celebration
of the present day.  He says, “In Norfolk it is the custom for children
to ‘catch’ each other for valentines; and if there are elderly persons in
the family who are likely to be liberal, great care is taken to catch
them.  The mode of catching is by saying ‘Good morrow, Valentine,’ and if
they can repeat this before they are spoken to, they are rewarded with a
small present.  It must be done, however, before sunrise; otherwise
instead of a reward, they are told they are _sunburnt_.”  He adds a
query—Does this illustrate the phrase _sunburned_, in “Much Ado about
Nothing”?

The universal respect in which the anniversary of St. Valentine is held,
may perhaps be most justly estimated by the statistical facts that relate
to the post-office transactions for that day, in comparison with the
average amount of the daily transmissions; and each district has probably
some peculiar mode of celebrating it,—but nowhere, we imagine, does its
annual return leave behind it such pleasing and substantial memorials as
in our “Old City.”  Douce, in his “Illustrations of Shakespeare,” would
have us believe that the observances of St. Valentine’s day had their
origin in the festivals of ancient Rome during the month of February,
when they celebrated the “Lupercalia,” or feasts in honour of Pan and
Juno, sometimes called Februalis, on which occasion, amidst a variety of
other ceremonies, the names of young men and maidens were put into a box,
and drawn as chance directed.  The pastors of the early church, in their
endeavours to eradicate the vestiges of popular superstitions,
substituted the names of _saints_ for those of the young maidens, and as
the Lupercalia commenced in February, affixed the observance to the feast
of St. Valentine in that month, thus preserving the outline of the
ancient ceremony, to which the people were attached, modified by an
adaptation to the Christian system.

Time, however, would seem to have restored the maidens to their original
position.  Brande has given many curious details of the various modes of
celebrating the anniversary, in addition to the universal interchange of
illuminated letters and notes.  In Oxfordshire the children go about
collecting pence, singing,

    “Good morrow, Valentine,
    First ’tis yours, then ’tis mine,
    So please give me a Valentine.”

In some other counties the poorer classes of children dress themselves
fantastically, and visit the houses of the great, singing,

    “Good morning to you, Valentine,
    Curl your locks as I do mine,
    Two before and three behind—
    Good morrow to you, Valentine.”

In other parts the first member of the opposite sex that is seen by any
individual is said to be his or her “Valentine.”  This is the case in
Berkshire and some other of the neighbouring counties.  Pepys, in his
“Diary,” says, “St. Valentine’s day, 1667.  This morning came up to my
wife’s bedside, I being up dressing myself, little Will Mercer, to be her
Valentine, and brought her name written upon blue paper in gold letters
done by himself very pretty; and we were both well pleased with it.  But
I am also this year my wife’s Valentine, which will cost me £5—but that I
must have laid out if we had not been Valentines.”  He afterwards adds,
“I find that Mrs. Pierce’s little girl is my Valentine, she having drawn
me, which I was not sorry for, it easing me of something more I must have
given to others.  But here I do first observe the fashion of drawing of
mottoes as well as names; so that Pierce who drew my wife, did also draw
a mottoe, and this girl drew another for me.  What mine was I forget; but
my wife’s was, ‘Most courteous and most fair.’  One wonder I observed
to-day, that there was no music in the morning to call up our new-married
people, which is very mean methinks.”  The custom of presenting gifts
seems then to have been practised.

In the “British Apollo,” 1708, a sort of “Notes and Queries” of the day,
we read,

    “Why Valentine’s a day to choose
    A mistress, and our freedom lose?
    May I my reason interpose,
    The question with an answer close;
    To imitate we have a mind,
    And couple like the winged kind.”

In the same work, “1709, Query.—In choosing Valentines (according to
custom), is not the party choosing (be it man or woman) to make a present
to the party chosen?  Answer.—We think it more proper to say drawing of
Valentines, since the most customary way is for each to take his or her
lot, and chance cannot be termed choice.  According to this method the
obligations are equal, and, therefore, it was formerly the custom
mutually to present, but now it is customary only for the gentlemen.”  In
Scotland presents are reciprocally made on the day.

Gay has given a poetical description of some rural ceremonies used in the
morning:

    “Last Valentine, the day when birds of kind
    Their paramours with mutual chirpings find,
    I early rose, just at the break of day,
    Before the sun had chased the stars away;
    A-field I went amid the morning dew,
    To milk my kine (for so should house-wives do).
    The first I spied, and the first swain we see,
    In spite of Fortune shall our true love be.”

The following curious practice on Valentine’s day or eve is mentioned in
the “Connoisseur.”  “Last Friday was Valentine’s day, and the night
before I got five bay leaves, and pinned four of them to the corners of
my pillow, and the fifth in the middle; and then if I dreamt of my
sweetheart, Betty said we should be married before the year was out.  But
to make it more sure, I boiled an egg hard, and took out the yolk and
filled it with salt; and when I went to bed, eat it shell and all,
without speaking or drinking after it.  We also wrote the names of our
lovers upon bits of paper, and rolled them up in clay and put them into
water, and the first that rose up was to be our Valentine.”

The popular tradition, that the birds select mates on this day, is the
last subject to be mentioned.  Shakespeare alludes to it in the
“Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

          “St. Valentine is past;
    Begin these wood birds but to couple now.”

Cowper’s “Fable,” who cannot call to mind? and its moral may close our
notice of St. Valentine’s day.

    “Misses, the tale that I relate,
    This lesson seems to carry—
    Choose not alone a proper mate,
    But proper time to marry?”

The list of pageantries and festivals must now close, with an attempt to
chronicle the glories of a modern “chairing day;” and the more imperative
does it seem to find a place in history for this last stray sunbeam of
mediæval splendour, that it bids fair, amidst the growth of sobriety in
this utilitarian age, to share all, too soon, the fate of its ancestors,
who found their grave in the first “dissolution” and after-flood of
Puritanism.  There may be who would liken this relic of pageantry to a
lingering mote of feudalism, that the penetrating broom of reform had
done well to sweep from the pathway of a “free and enlightened people;”
who would hint that the old custom is more honoured in the breach than
the observance; and towards their opinion seems to incline that of the
chief performers in the modern “_mystery_”—the M.P. himself, whose
nerves, proprieties, and objections have unitedly rebelled against
submission to these antiquated practices of this antiquated place.  It is
therefore scarcely what _is_, but what _has been_, that we have to
commemorate in our detail.

When the onerous duty of selecting a representative of the people’s
voice, wishes, and will in the councils of the nation has been completed
by the calm, deliberate, dispassionate, and disinterested decision of the
enfranchised tithe of the city’s populace, the successful candidates are,
or _were_, wont to receive installation from the hands of their
constituents by a “toss up,” not, we would inform our countrymen of the
“_sheeres_,” (meaning all other counties save Norfolk, Suffolk, and
Kent)—not that they engage in any little gambling speculation, such as is
usually known under a similar name, but that they are required to submit
to be made shuttlecocks for some few hours, for the amusement of the
admiring multitude; and seeing that the fun and frolic thus afforded is,
or _was_, the sole share of nine-tenths of the population in the
transaction of electing the “unruly member” that is to speak the hopes,
wants, dissatisfactions, and grumblings of a large city, it may seem
somewhat hard to them that they should be deprived of it.  The order of
carrying out this provincial mode of installation, consists in forming a
grand procession, as it is called, made up of as many carriages and
horsemen as the stables of the city and neighbourhood, private and
public, may contrive to turn out, the _colour_ and popularity of the
candidate of course exercising its influence upon _quantity_ and
_quality_.  The days of velvet doublets and liveries of silver and gold
being passed, the candidate makes no pretensions to display in the
toilettes of the gentlemen—plain, sober black predominates throughout the
mass; no shadow of a variation, save and except in the “dramatis
personæ,” who take their stand upon the battledores provided for them,
arrayed in full court costume or regimentals, as the case may be.  To
particularize more closely, it should be stated, that the battledores, as
we have chosen to designate them, are wooden platforms, borne upon the
shoulders of some two or three dozen men; the platform supports a chair
elaborately ornamented, blue and silver, or purple and orange, as the
successful candidates may be _blues_ or _purples_—Whigs or Tories.
Besides the chair, the platform supports the fortunate M.P. himself,
standing, aided in balancing himself in the elevated pinnacle of glory to
which he has attained, by the back or elbows of the chair, which piece of
luxury, we presume, must be intended solely as a symbol of the easy berth
in prospect, since throughout the long sunny scorching perambulations of
city streets and market-place, it may seldom, if ever, be ventured to be
indulged in as a resting place.  Meantime, every window, balcony,
house-top, church-tower, and parapet-wall, has been lined with anxious
and eager lookers-on—every space and avenue leading to or adjoining the
line of march has been thronged; flags, banners, &c. &c., have been
marshalled into the procession, whose pathway is cleared and protected by
a locomotive body-guard of _posse men_, bearing horizontally in their
hands long poles, which are presumed to act as barriers to the
encroachments of the multitude without the pale.  The line of procession
once formed, in due order they make their triumphal progress, bowing,
smiling, and trembling on their elevations, as they draw near to the
thronging frontage of any loyal constituent, whose colours are a signal
for the game to commence.  Up, then, goes the M.P. high in the air,—once,
twice, thrice, again and again, fortunate and clever if he comes down
perpendicularly.  Perfection and elegance in the peculiar _pas de seal_
requires much practice and many experiments; but as the _move_ is
repeated very frequently, at very short intervals, during the progress
round the city, possibly one experience may suffice in a life-time.  The
exhibition is occasionally closed by the bearers of the two candidates
making a match with each other as to who can toss longest and highest,
which done, the victimized shuttlecocks and the delighted spectators are
permitted to retire.  The origin of this very singular act of homage is
not very clear; but as one or two recent outbursts of popular enthusiasm
have manifested themselves in a similar form—to wit, laying violent hands
upon a popular favourite and tossing him in the air, with neither
platform or chair to lend grace to the proceeding—we must suppose that
some traditionary virtue is attached to the act; and this supposition is
somewhat confirmed by the fact that a superstitious practice of “lifting”
or “heaving,” very similar in its mode of operation, is still observed on
Easter Monday and Tuesday in some other English counties.  The men and
women on these days alternately exercise the privilege of seizing and
“lifting” any member of the opposite sex that they may chance to meet,
and claim a fee for the honour.  In the records of the Tower of London,
may be found a document purporting to set forth how such payment was made
to certain ladies and maids of honour for “taking” (or “lifting”) King
Edward I. at Easter, a custom then prevalent throughout the kingdom.
Brande gives an amusing account of an occurrence in Shrewsbury, extracted
from a letter from Mr. Thomas Loggan, of Basinghall Street.  He says, “I
was sitting alone last Easter Tuesday at breakfast, at the Talbot, in
Shrewsbury, when I was surprised by the entrance of all the female
servants of the house handing in an arm-chair, lined with white, and
decorated with ribbons and favours of all kinds.  I asked them what they
wanted; they said they came to ‘heave’ me; it was the custom of their
place, and they hoped I would take a seat in the chair.  It was
impossible not to comply with a request so modestly made by a set of
nymphs in their best apparel, and several of them under twenty.  I wished
to see all the ceremony, and seated myself accordingly; the group then
lifted me from the ground, turned the chair about, and I had the felicity
of a salute from each.  I told them I supposed there was a fee due, and
was answered in the affirmative; and having satisfied the damsels in this
respect, they retired to ‘heave’ others.”

The usage is said to be a vulgar commemoration of the event which the
festival of Easter celebrates.  Lancashire, Staffordshire, and
Warwickshire still retain the Easter custom.

Whether or not the notable Norfolk “chairing” takes its origin from the
same is open to question; _possibility_ there is without doubt that it
does so.  Be it as it may, it must, we fear, be numbered among the
departed joys of the poor folks.



CHAPTER VII.
SUPERSTITIONS.


_Superstitions_.—_Witchcraft_.—_Heard’s Ghost_.—_Wise Men and
Women_.—_Sayings by Mrs. Lubbock_.—_Prophecies_.—_Treasure
Trove_.—_Confessions of Sir William Stapleton and Sir Edward
Neville_.—_Cardinal Wolsey supposed to have been conversant with
Magic_.—_Effect of Superstition on the Great and Noble in Early Times_.

Forby, in his “Vocabulary of East Anglia,” has described the whole of
this district of the country as barren of superstitions or legendary
lore.  Its characteristics are adverse to the growth of that natural
poetry in the minds of the people which gives birth to nymphs,
water-sprites, elves, or demons.  It has neither woods, mountains, rocks,
caverns, nor waterfalls, to be the nurseries of such genii; its plains
are cultivated, its rivers navigable, its hills and valleys furrowed by
the plough, even to the very basement of any lingering ruin of tower or
steeple that may be scattered amongst them.  How much more, therefore,
may we expect to find a dearth of such literature in the heart of the
great city, where the struggles of working-day life among looms and
factories, leave little time or room for aught else than the stern
_realities_ of existence to be known or felt?

But every where there exist some fragments of superstition, poetical or
uncouth; and we may not feel surprise that among such a people as the
lower orders of society, in an East Anglian manufacturing city, they
should bear little trace of the refinement which beautiful and romantic
scenery and occupation are wont in other scenes to throw over them.
Rarely do we hear of a haunted house, or a walking ghost; but not
unseldom do we see the horse-shoe nailed over the door-way of the
cottage, as an antidote to the power of witchcraft,—nor is it uncommon to
hear among the poor, of charms to cure diseases, of divinations by _wise
men_ and _wise women_, who by mystic rites pretend to discover lost or
stolen property,—nor even of animals bewitched, exercising direful
influence over the lives and health of human beings.  Within the limits
of this age of enlightenment and civilization, many are the recorded
facts of this nature, and many more of continual recurrence might be
added, in illustration of the truth, that the lowest and grossest forms
of vulgar superstition yet lurk about in the purlieus and by-ways of the
old city.

Not long since, a woman, holding quite a respectable rank among the
working classes, and in her way a perfect “_character_” avowed herself
determined “to _drown’d_ the cat,” as soon as ever her baby, which was
lying ill, should die; for which determination the only explanation she
could offer was, that the cat jumped upon the nurse’s lap, as the baby
lay there, soon after it was born, from which time it ailed, and ever
since that time, the cat had regularly gone under its bed once a day and
coughed twice.  These mysterious actions of poor “Tabby,” were assigned
as the cause of the baby wasting, and its fate was to be sealed as soon
as that of the poor infant was decided.  That the baby happened to be the
twenty-fourth child of his mother, who had succeeded in rearing four only
of the two dozen, was a fact that seemed to possess no weight whatever in
her estimation.  The same strong-minded individual, for in many respects
she _is_ wonderfully strong-minded, scruples not to avow greater faith in
the magical properties of red wool, tied round a finger or an arm, in
curing certain ailments of the frame, than in many a remedy prescribed by
“doctor’s” skill; nor has the theoretical belief been altogether
unsupported by practice; on more than one occasion, she will aver, her
own life has thus been saved.

As for divinations and charms, to doubt their faith in them would be to
discredit the evidence of our senses.  A poor washerwoman, but a few
years since, who possessed more honesty than wisdom, happened to lose
some linen belonging to one of her employers.  _Suspecting_ it to have
been stolen, she repaired to a _wise man_, who, of course, succeeded in
convincing her, upon the payment of half-a-crown, that her surmise was
correct; but as it helped her no further towards its recovery, it only
added to the expense her honesty prompted her to go to, to replace it,
which she secretly contrived to do, and offered it to her employer, with
a statement of the facts.

These are but faint specimens of the “vulgar errors” that are every day
to be met with among the citizens, oftentimes attested more by deeds than
words; for many will in secret consult the _wise_ people, and pay them
well, who would still shrink from openly acknowledging faith in their
revelations or predictions.

Though haunted houses are rare, there still are some known to exist;—one
respectable, elderly maiden, yet amongst us, has veritable tales of
refractory spirits, that took twelve clergymen to read them down, and of
one who haunted some particular closet, where at last he submitted to
priestly authority, a cable and a hook being firmly fixed in the floor of
the closet to bind him.  We rather fancy some of the other legends that
we have heard from the same authority, are but variations of the story of
Heard’s spirit, that haunted the Alder Carr Fen Broad, which assumed the
appearance of a Jack-o’-Lantern, and refused to be “laid!” the gentlemen
who attempted it failing, because he always kept a verse ahead of them,
until a boy brought a couple of pigeons, and laid down before the
Will-o’-the-wisp, who, looking at them, lost his verse, and then they
succeeded in binding his spirit.

_This_, and many other tales, have been collected by the rector of the
parish of Irstead, from an old woman living there; and they contain so
much that is amusing, that we cannot forbear repeating them for the
benefit of those who have not had the opportunity of seeing the papers of
the Archæological Society.  Mrs. Lubbock is an old washerwoman, who, left
a widow with several children, has maintained herself “independently” up
to her eightieth year, without applying even for out-door parish relief,
until the cold winter of 1846 made her, as she expresses it, _sick_ for
crumbs like the birds.  Education she has had none, that is, of book
learning, but she seems to have had a father, given to anecdote, from
whom she professes to have heard most of the “saws” and tales of which
she has such a profusion.  She mentions the practice, among her
acquaintance, of watching the church porch on St. Mark’s eve, when, at
midnight, the watcher may see all his acquaintance enter the church:
those who were to die remained, those who were to marry went in couples
and came out again.  This, one Staff had seen; but he would not tell the
names of those who were to die or be married.

On Christmas-eve, she says, at midnight the cows and cattle rise and turn
to the east; and the horses in the stable, as far as their halters
permit.  She says that a farmer once observing the reverent demeanour of
the horse, who will leisurely stay some time upon his knees moving his
head about and blowing over the manger, remarked, “Ah, they have more wit
than we;” which brings to mind an anecdote, related by an ear witness, of
a controversy that took place in this city among some cattle-drovers,
when an Irishman and Roman Catholic supported the claims of his religion
by commenting upon the invariable practice amongst those of his own
class, of saying their prayers before retiring to rest; whereas, added
he, “among you Protestants the _horse_ is the only real Christian that I
ever met with, who kneels before he goes to sleep and when he gets up.”
That there is too much ground for the satire no one can doubt.

The Rosemary is said to flower on old Christmas-day, and Mrs. Lubbock
says that she recollects, on one occasion, a great argument about which
was the real Christmas-day, and to settle the point three men agreed to
decide by watching that plant.  They gathered a bunch at eleven o’clock
at night of the old Christmas-day; it was then in bud.  They threw it
upon the table, and did not look at it until after midnight, when they
went in, and found the bloom just dropping off.

Concerning the weather, she says, when a sundog (or two black spots to be
seen by the naked eye) comes on the south side of the sun, there will be
fair weather; when on the north, there will be foul.  “The sun then fares
to be right muddled and crammed down by the dog.”

Of the moon, she says—

   “Saturdays new and Sundays full
   Never was good, and never _wull_.

“If you see the old moon with the new, there will be stormy weather.

   “If it rains on a Sunday before mass,
   It rains all the week, more or less.

“If it rains on a Sunday before the church doors are open, it will rain
all the week, more or less; or else we shall have three rainy Sundays.

“If it rains the first Thursday after the moon comes in, it will rain,
more or less, all the while the moon lasts, especially on Thursdays.

“If there be bad weather, and the sun does not shine all the week, it
will always show forth some time on the Saturday.

“It will not be a hard winter when acorns abound, and there are no hips
nor haws:

   “If _Noah’s Ark shows_ many days together,
   There will be foul weather.

“On three nights in the year it never lightens (_i.e._ clears up)
anywhere; and if a man knew those nights, he would not turn a dog out.

“We shall have a severe winter when the swallows and martins take great
pains to teach their young ones to fly; they are going a long journey, to
get away from the cold that is coming.  It is singular they should know
this, but they do.

“The weather will be fine when the rooks play pitch-halfpenny—_i.e._
when, flying in flocks, some of them stoop down and pick up worms,
imitating the action of a boy playing pitch-halfpenny.

“There will be severe winter and deep snow when snow-banks (_i.e._ white
fleecy clouds) hang about the sky.”

In 1845, she knew there would be a failure of some crop, “because the
evening star _rode so low_.  The leading star (_i.e._ the last star in
the Bear’s Tail) was above it all the summer the potato blight occurred.”
She feared the failure would have been in the wheat, till she saw the
_man’s face_ in it, and then she was comfortable, and did not think of
any other crop.  Her opinion was, that the potato blight was caused by
the lightning, because the turf burnt so _sulphurously_.  “The
lightning,” she says, “carries a burr round the moon, and makes the
_roke_ (fog) rise in the marshes, and smell strong.”

A failure in the “Ash Keys,” she pronounces a sign of a change in the
government.

    “If the hen moult before the cock,
    We get a winter as hard as a rock;
    If the cock moult before the hen,
    We get a winter like a spring.

“She put plenty of salt in the water while washing clothes, to keep the
thunder out, and to keep away foul spirits.”

Of Good Friday, she says,

“If work be done on that day, it will be so unlucky, that it will have to
be done over again.”

The story of Heard’s Ghost she accompanies by an anecdote of one Finch,
of Neatishead, who was walking along the road after dark, and saw a dog
which he thought was Dick Allard’s, that had snapped and snarled at him
at different times.  Thinks he, “you have _upset_ me two or three times;
I will upset you now.  You will not turn out of the road for me; and I
will not turn out of the road for you.”  Along came the dog, straight in
the middle of the road, and Finch kicked at him, and his foot went
through him, as through a sheet of paper—he could compare it to nothing
else; he was quite astounded, and nearly fell backwards from the force of
the kick.

She says that she has heard that the spirits of the dead haunt the places
where treasures were hid by them when living, and that those of the Roman
Catholics still frequent the spots where their remains were disturbed,
and their graves and monuments destroyed.  Alas! what a ghost-besieged
city must poor Norwich be in such a case!

Of the cuckoo, she says, “When evil is coming, he sings low among the
bushes, and can scarcely get his “cuckoo” out.  In the last week before
he leaves, he always tells all that will happen in the course of the year
till he comes again—all the shipwrecks, storms, accidents, and
everything.  If any one is about to die suddenly, or to lose a relation,
he will light upon touchwood, or a rotten bough, and “cuckoo.”

“He is always here three months to a day, and sings all the while.  The
first of April is the proper day for him to come, and when he does so,
there is sure to be a good and early harvest.  If he does not come till
May, then the harvest is into October.  If he sings long after midsummer,
there will be a Michaelmas harvest.  If any one hears the cuckoo first
when in bed, there is sure to be illness or death to him or one of his
family.”

Among her saws are—

   “Them that ever mind the world to win,
   Must have a black cat, a howling dog, and a crowing hen.

   “If youth could know what age do crave,
   _Sights_ of pennies youth would save.

   “They that wive
   Between sickle and scythe,
   Shall never thrive.”

With reference to howling dogs, she says, “Pull off your left shoe and
turn it, and it will quiet him.  I always used to do so when I was in
service.  I hated to hear the dogs howl.  There was no tax then, and the
farmers kept a _heap_ of them.  They won’t howl three times after the
turning the shoe; if you are in bed, turn the shoe upside down by the
bedside.”

Among the historical prophecies of Mother Shipton and Mother Bunch, her
sister, as remembered by her, are—

That Mrs. Shipton foretold that the time should come when ships should go
without sails, and carriages without horses, and the sun should shine
upon hills that never _see_ the sun before; all which are fulfilled, Mrs.
Lubbock thinks, by steamers, railways, and cuttings through hills, which
let in upon them the light of the sun.

Mrs. Shipton also foretold that we should know the summer from the winter
only by the green leaves, it should be so cold.  “That the Roman
Catholics shall have this country again, and make England a nice place
once more.  But as for these folks, they scarce know how to build a
church, nor yet a steeple.

“That England shall be won and lost three times in one day; and that,
principally, through an embargo to be laid upon vessels.

“That there is to come a man who shall have three thumbs on one hand, who
is to hold the king’s horse in battle; he is to be born in London, and be
a miller by business.  The battle is to be fought at Rackheath-stone
Hill, on the Norwich road.  Ravens shall carry the blood away, it will be
so clotted.

“That the men are to be killed, so that one man shall be left to seven
women; and the daughters shall come home, and say to their mothers,
“Lawk, mother, I have seen a man!”  The women shall have to finish the
harvest.

“That the town of Yarmouth shall become a nettle-bush; that the bridges
shall be pulled up, and small vessels sail to Irstead and Barton Broads.

“That blessed are they that live near Potter Heigham, and double-blessed
them that live in it.”  (That parish seems destined to be the scene of
some great and glorious events.)  May the blessing prove true!

We here close our extracts from Mrs. Lubbock’s Norfolk sayings, and now
go back to superstitions of earlier date, that are so connected with
Kett’s rebellion as to make them peculiarly interesting as matters of
history.  During the wars of the Roses, predictions of wars and
rebellions, not unfrequently proclaiming hostility towards the privileged
classes, were very common.  Both persons and places were often designated
by strange hieroglyphical symbols, frequently taken from heraldic badges
and bearings, or analogies extremely puzzling to explain.  They are
alluded to in Shakespeare’s “Henry the Fourth,” among the incitements
that urged Hotspur to anger, and Owen Glendower to rebellion, and
recorded by Hall, who says in his Chrouicle, “that a certain writer
writeth that the Earl of March, the Lord Percy, and Owen Glendower, were
made believe, by a Welsh prophecier, that King Henry was the _moldewarpe_
(mole) _cursed of God’s own mouth_, and that they three were the dragon,
the lion, and the wolf which should divide the realm between them.”  This
prophecy was doubtless identical with that published in 1652, under the
title of “Strange Prophecies of Merlin,” where it is said, “Then shall
the proudest prince in all Christendom go through Shropham Dale to Lopham
Ward, where the White Lion shall meet with him, and fight in a field
under Ives Minster, at South Lopham, where the prince aforesaid shall be
slain under the minster wall, _to the great grief of the priests all_;
then there shall come out of Denmark a Duke, and he shall bring with him
the King of Denmark and sixteen great lords in his company, by whose
consent he shall be crowned king in a town of Northumberland, and he
shall reign three months and odd days.  They shall land at _Waborne
Stone_; they shall be met by the Red Deere, the Heath Cock, the Hound,
and the Harrow: between _Waborne_ and _Branksbrim_, a forest and a church
gate, there shall be fought so mortal a battle, that from Branksbrim to
Cromer Bridge it shall run blood; then shall the King of Denmark be
slain, and all the perilous fishes in his company.  Then shall the duke
come forth manfully to Clare Hall, where the _bare_ and the _headlesse
men_ shall meet him and slay all his lords, and take him prisoner, and
send him to _Blanchflower_, and chase his men to the sea, where twenty
thousand of them shall be drowned without dint of the sword.  Then shall
come in the French king, and he shall land at Waborne Hope, eighteen
miles from Norwich: there he shall be let in by a false mayor, and that
shall he keep for his lodging for awhile; then at his return shall he be
met at a place called Redbanke, thirty miles from Westchester, where at
the first affray shall be slain nine thousand Welchmen and the double
number of enemies.”

These sort of predictions, often accompanied by symbolical illustrations,
continued to gain popularity, and were made use of at various periods to
serve the purposes of the people.  Sir Walter Scott’s “Essays on the
Prophecies of Thomas the Rhymer,” shew the application made of them in
the time of the Stuarts.  In the reign of Henry VIII., they excited so
much alarm, as to cause an act to be passed, which declared, “that if any
person should print, write, speak, sing, or declare to any other person,
of the king or any other person, any such false prophecies upon occasion
of any arms, fields, beasts, fowls, or such like things, they shall be
deemed guilty of felony, without benefit of the clergy.”

The confession of Richard Byshop, of Bungay, when arraigned before the
Privy Council a few years prior to the date of the above act, shews upon
what grounds the fear it expresses was founded.

                 THE CONFESSION OF RICHARD BYSHOP, OF BUNGAY.

    “Memorandum: that the said Richard Byshop saith, that he met with one
    Robert Seyman, at Tyndale Wood, the 11th day of May, about nine of
    the clock, in the twenty-ninth year of the reign of our sovereign
    lord King Henry the Eighth, and after such salutation as they had
    then, the said Richard Byshop said to the said Robert, ‘What tythings
    hear you?  Have you any musters about you?’  And the said Robert said
    ‘No.’  Then the said Richard said, ‘This is a hard world for poor
    men.’  And the said Robert said, ‘Truly it is so.’  Then the said
    Richard said, ‘Ye seem to be an honest man, and such a one as a man
    may open his mind unto.’  And the said Robert said, ‘I am a plain
    man; ye may say to me what ye woll.’  And then the said Richard said,
    ‘We are so used now-a-days at Bungay as was never seen afore this;
    for if two or three good fellows be walking together, the constables
    come to them, and woll know what communication they have had, or else
    they shall be stocked.  And as I have heard lately at Walsingham, the
    people had risen if one person had not been.  And as I hear say, some
    of them now be in Norwich Castle, and others be sent to London.’  And
    further, the said Richard said, ‘If two men were gathered together,
    one might say to another what he would as long as the third man was
    not there; _and if three men were together_, _if two of them were
    absent_, the third might say what he would in surety enough.’  And he
    said he knew there was a certain prophecy, which if the said Robert
    would come to Bungay, he should hear it read; and that one man had
    taken pains to watch in the night to write the copy of the same.  And
    if so be, as the prophecy saith, there shall be a rising of the
    people this year or never.  And that the prophecy saith the king’s
    grace was signified by a mowle, and that the mowle should be subduyt
    and put down.  And that the said Richard did hear that the Earl of
    Derby was up with many; and that he should be proclaimed traitor in
    those parts where he dwelleth.  And also he heard, as he saith, that
    a great company was fled out of the land.  And that the Duke of
    Norfolk’s grace was in the north parts, and was so to be set about,
    as he heard say, that he might not come away when he would.  I pray
    God that it be not so.  Also he said that the prophecy saith that
    three kings shall meet on Mousehold Heath, and the proudest prince in
    Christendom be their subject.  And that the White Lion should stay
    all that business at length, and should obtain.  And said, ‘Farewell,
    my friend, and know me another day if ye can, and God send us a quiet
    world.’”

The same prophecies here alluded to were revived and repeated, together
with many doggrel rhymes, at the time of the famous Kett’s rebellion.
The historian of the event says that they were rung in the ears of the
people every hour, such as

    “The county Gnoffes, Hob, Dick, and Hick,
    With clubbs and clowted shoon,
       Shall fill the vale
       Of Duffin’s dale
    With slaughtered bodies soon.”

And also

    “The headless men within the dale,
    Shall there be slain both great and small.”

So positively were these sort of prophecies applied to the circumstances
of the time, that the rebels who had possession of a favourable position
on the heights of the common, forsook it in expectation of realizing the
prediction by coming into the valley, “believing themselves,” as the
historian has it, “to be the _upholsterers_ that were to make Duffin’s
Dale a large soft pillow for death to rest on, whereas they proved only
the _stuffing to fill the same_.”

The common phrase, “A cock and bull story,” took its origin from these
symbolical prophecies, in which the figures of animals were so often
introduced.

Among the records of other mediæval superstitions, are many curious
details of the “invocation of spirits” to aid the searchers after
“Treasure Trove,” as it was called.  In the days when “banking” was
unknown, wealth oftentimes accumulated in the hands of its owners, to a
degree that rendered its safe keeping a perilous task; and in very early
ages it would seem to have been a common practice to commit it to the
bosom of mother earth, until such time as its owner might have need of
it.  The changes wrought upon the land by the several conquests that
succeeded the departure of the Romans, the reputed depositors of these
hidden treasures, caused the ownership to be forgotten and obscure, and
by degrees all such property became the right of the crown; and to
conceal any discovery of it was made an act of felony, at first
punishable by death, but afterwards subjecting the perpetrator only to a
pecuniary fine.

It seems, however, that in the sixteenth century, it was customary to
grant licenses to individuals, to engage in the search after these hidden
stores of precious stones, metal, or coins; also permission to invoke the
aid of spirits in their pursuit.  Among many other quaint stories upon
the subject, two especially connected with the localities in this
neighbourhood claim attention here: the first is the confession of
William Stapleton, a monk in the abbey of St. Bennet in the Holm,
addressed to Cardinal Wolsey, and many very curious illustrations it
gives of the superstitious feeling of the time; the other is that of Sir
Edward Neville, who was arraigned, tried, and executed for high treason,
as an accomplice of Cardinal Pole, in the thirtieth year of Henry the
Eighth.  The extracts are taken from the papers of the Norfolk
Archæological Society.

Stapleton seems to have been an idle monk, often punished “for not rising
to matins, and doing his duty in the church, which led to his desire to
purchase a dispensation.”  Being too poor to do so at once, he obtained
six months’ license to obtain the means, and set about searching for
“Treasure Trove,” by the help of some books on Necromancy, which had been
previously lent to him.  After some rambles about the county, he says, “I
went to Norwich, and there remained by the space of a month, and thence
to a town called Felmingham, and one Godfrey and his boy with me, which
Godfrey had a “_shower_,” called Anthony Fular, and his said boy did
“scry” unto him (which said spirit I had after myself); but
notwithstanding as we could find nothing, we departed to Norwich again,
where we met one unbeknown to us, and he brought us to a man’s house in
Norwich, where he supposed we should have found treasure, whereupon we
called the spirit of the treasure to appear—but he did not, for I suppose
of a truth there was none there.”

Stapleton goes on to say that, failing in his efforts, he borrowed money
to buy his dispensation of “his Grace” to be a hermit, and then went to
the “diggings” again.  He was then informed that one Leech had a book to
which the parson of Lesingham had bound a spirit, called Andrew Malchus;
“whereupon,” he says, “I went to Leech concerning the same, and upon our
communication he let me have all his instruments to the said book, and
shewed me that if I could get the book that the said instruments were
made by, he would bring me to him that should speed my business shortly.
And then he shewed me that the parson of Lesingham and Sir John of
Leiston, with other to me unknown, had called up of late Andrew Malchus,
Oberion, and Inchubus.  And when they were all raised, Oberion would not
speak.  And the then parson of Lesingham did demand of Andrew Malchus why
it was.  And Andrew Malchus made answer, it was because he was bound to
the Lord Cardinal.  And they did entreat the parson of Lesingham to let
them depart at that time, and whensoever it should please them to call
them up again, they would gladly do them any service they could.

“And when I had all the said instruments, I went to Norwich, where I had
remained but a season, when there came to me a glazier, which, as he
said, came from the Lord Leonard Marquess, for to search for one that was
expert in such business.  And thereupon one Richard Tynny came and
instanced me to go to Walsingham with him, where we met with the said
Lord Leonard, the which Lord Leonard had communicated with me concerning
the said art of digging, and thereupon promised me that if I would take
pains in the exercising the same art, that he would sue out a
dispensation for me that I should be a secular priest, and so would make
me his chaplain.  And, for a trial to know what I could do in the same
art, he caused his servant to go hide a certain money in the garden, and
I showed for the same.  And one Jackson ‘scryed’ unto me, but we could
not accomplish our purpose.

“Sir John Shepe, Sir Robert Porter, and I, departed to a place beside
Creke Abbey, where we supposed treasure should be found.  And the said
Sir John Shepe called the spirit of the treasure, and I showed to him;
but all came to no purpose.

“And then there came one Cook of Calkett Hall, and showed me that there
was much money about his place, and in especial in the Bell Hill, and
desired me to come thither; and then I went to Richard Tynny, and showed
him what the said Cook had said, whereupon Tynny brought me to one
William Rapkyn, took me the book that the Duke’s Grace of Norfolk of late
took away from me; which Rapkyn said to me that forasmuch as I had all
the instruments that were made for the said book, and if I could get Sir
John of Leiston unto me, that then we should soon speed our purpose, for
the said Sir John of Leiston was with the parson of Lesingham when the
spirits appeared to the said book; and so I went to Colkett Hall, and
took the said book and instruments with me; but he” (Sir John) “came not;
wherefore, when I had tarried three or four days, I and the parish priest
of Gorleston went about the said business, but of truth we could bring
nothing to effect.”

His lengthened confession then goes into details of other expeditions
aided by Lord Leonard, which ended in his imprisonment for deserting Lord
Leonard, but he was afterwards pardoned and set at liberty.  He then goes
on to say in his letter, “and whereas your noble Grace here of late was
informed of certain things by the Duke’s Grace of Norfolk, as touching to
your Grace and him, I faithfully ascertain that the truth thereof is as
herein followeth, that is to say, one Wright, servant to the said Duke,
at a certain season showed me that the Duke’s Grace, his master, was sore
vexed with a spirit by the enchantment of your Grace; to the which I made
answer that his communication might be left, for it was too high a
subject to meddle with.  Whereupon Wright went into the Duke’s presence
and showed things to me unknown, which caused the Duke’s Grace to send
for me; and at such time as I was before his Grace I required his grace
to show me what his pleasure was, and he said I knew well myself, and I
answered ‘Nay.’  Then he demanded of Wright whether he had showed me
anything or nay, and he answered he durst not, for because his Grace gave
so strait commandment unto the contrary.  And so then was I directed to
the said Wright unto the next day, that he should show me the intention
of the Duke’s Grace.”

Wright seems then to have suggested to Stapleton that he should pretend
power to rid the Duke of the troublesome spirit; and being strongly
tempted by hopes of reward, he consented, “and feigned to him,” when he
sent for him again, that he had forged an image of wax of his similitude,
and sanctified it—but whether it did any good for his sickness he could
not tell.

“Whereupon the said Duke desired me that I should go about to know
whether the Lord Cardinal’s Grace had a spirit, and I showed him that I
could not skill thereof.  And the Duke then said if I would take pains
therein, he would appoint me to a cunning man, Dr. Wilson.  And so the
said Dr. Wilson was sent for, and they examined me, and the Duke’s Grace
commanded me to write all these things, and so I did.  Whereupon,
considering the great folly which hath rested in me, I humbly beseech
your Grace to be a good and gracious lord unto me, and to take me to your
mercy.”

The case of Sir Edward Neville, quoted from the same authority, commences
by a statement of the treasonable words laid to his charge, which were,
“The King is a beast, and worse than a beast; and I trust knaves shall be
put down, and lords reign one day, and that the world will amend one
day.”  He was found guilty, hanged, drawn and quartered.

He is suspected to have been connected with Stapleton the monk, who has
already appeared as a necromancer.  At all events, his confession shows
again how much Wolsey was supposed to be conversant with magic; and
indeed the ‘ring’ by which the Cardinal was thought to have won the fatal
favour of the king, was noticed in the accusations against him when he
fell.

In seeking for treasure, Sir Edward fully acknowledges being led to it by
“foolish fellows of the country.”

In his account of his own dealings with spirits and magic, there is much
curious mixture of half-doubting marvel and self deceit, probably not
unconnected with influences baffling the human intellect, so apparent in
the kindred delusions of Mesmerism, that strange development of the age
of civilization, in no respect differing from the superstitions usually
considered as the peculiar characteristics of the Middle ages.  He was
also a practitioner of alchemy.  He would jeopard his life to make the
philosopher’s stone if the king pleased, aye, and was willing to be kept
in prison till he had: in a year he would make silver, and in a year and
a half, gold, which would be better to the king than a thousand men.  But
Henry was too shrewd thus to be allured into mercy; and Neville perished
in the prolonged agonies which his sentence involved.  He appears, from
other documents, to have been of a light-hearted and merry temper; not
very wise, but wholly innocent of any crime, except a few idle words.

                    THE CONFESSION OF SIR EDWARD NEVILLE.

    “Honourable Lords, I take God to record, that I did never commit nor
    reconcile treason sith I was born, nor imagined the destruction of no
    man or woman, as God shall save my soul; He knows my heart, for it is
    He that ‘scrutator cordium,’ and in Him is all trust.  I will not
    danger my soul for fear of worldly punishment; the joy of Heaven is
    eternal, and incomparable to the joy of this wretched world:
    therefore, good lords, do by me as God shall put in your minds; for
    another day ye shall suffer the judgment of God, when ye cannot start
    from it, no more than I can start from yours at this time.  Now to
    certify all that I can:—William Neville did send for me to Oxford,
    that I should come and speak with him at ‘Weke,’ and to him I went;
    it was the first time I ever saw him; I would I had been buried that
    day.

    “When I came, he took me to a _littell_ room, and went to his garden,
    and there demanded of me many questions, and among all others, asked
    if it were not possible to have a ring made that should bring a man
    in favour with his Prince; seeing my Lord Cardinal had such a ring,
    that whatsoever he asked of the King’s Grace, that he had; and Master
    Cromwell, when he and I were servants in my Lord Cardinal’s house,
    did haunt to the company of one that was seen in your faculty; and
    shortly after, no man so great with my Lord Cardinal as Master
    Cromwell was; and I have spoke with all them that has any name in
    this realm; and all they showed me that I should be great with my
    Prince; and this is the cause that I did send for you, to know
    whether your saying be agreeable to theirs, or no.  And I, at the
    hearty desire of him, shewed him that I had read many books, and
    specially the works of Solomon, and how his ring should be made, and
    of what metal; and what virtues they have after the canon of Solomon.
    And then he desired me instantly to take the pains to make him one of
    them; and I told him that I could make them, but I made never none of
    them, nor I cannot tell that they have such virtues or no, but by
    hearing say.  Also he asked what other works had I read.  And I told
    him that I had read the magical works of Hermes, which many men doth
    prize; and thus departed at that time.  And one fortnight after,
    William Neville came to Oxford, and said that he had one Wayd at
    home, at his house, that did shew him more than I did shew him; for
    the said Wayd did shew him that he should be a great lord, nigh to
    the partes that he dwelt in.  And in that lordship should be a fair
    castle; and he could not imagine what it should be, except it were
    the castle of Warwick.”

    “And I answered and said to him, that I dreamed that an angel took
    him and me by the hands, and led us to a high tower, and there
    delivered him a shield, with sundry arms, which I cannot rehearse,
    and this is all I ever shewed him, save at his desire, I went thither
    with him; and as concerning any other man, save at the desire of Sir
    Gr. Done, Knt. I made the moulds that ye have, to the intent he
    should have had Mistress Elizabeth’s gear.  If any man or woman can
    say and prove by me, otherwise than I have writed, except that I
    have, at the desire of some of my friends, ‘_cauled to stone_,’ for
    things stolen, let me die for it.  And touching Master William
    Neville, all the country knows more of his matters than I do, save
    that I wrote a foolish letter or two, according to his foolish
    desire, to make pastime to laugh at.”

    “Also concerning treasure trove, I was oft-times desired unto it, by
    foolish fellows of the country, but I never meddled with it at all;
    but to make the philosopher’s stone, I will jeopard my life, so to do
    it, if it please the king’s good grace to command me to do it, or any
    other nobleman under the king’s good grace; and, of surety to do it,
    to be kept in prison till I have done it.  And I desire no longer
    space, but twelve months upon silver, and twelve and a half upon
    gold, which is better to the king’s good grace than a thousand men;
    for it is better able to maintain a thousand men for evermore,
    putting the king’s good grace, nor the realm, to no cost nor charge.”

    “Also, concerning our sovereign lord the king’s going over, this I
    said, ‘If I had been worthy to be his grace’s council, I would
    counsel his grace not to have gone over at that time of year.’”

One mode of consulting spirits was by the Beryl, by means of a speculator
or seer.  Having repeated the necessary charms and adjurations, with the
invocation peculiar to the spirit or angel he wished to call (for each
had his peculiar form of invocation), the seer looked into a crystal or
beryl, to see his answer, represented generally by some type or figure;
sometimes, though rarely, the angels were heard to speak articulately.

Different kinds of stone were also employed, and occasionally a piece of
coal.  In Stapleton’s confession, he mentions the _plate_ he used being
left in the possession of Sir Thomas Moore.

Other records of similar proceedings, that have been extracted from the
archives of the Record-chamber, make frequent mention of the magic
crystals or stones.

The great names mixed up with the curious transactions described in these
two documents, give additional interest to them as matters of history,
and specimens of the enlightenment prevalent among the very highest
circles of society, in the period that so immediately preceded the
Elizabethan age.  A runaway monk, turning necromancer, was received into
communion with some of the noblest of the land; and an educated
gentleman, as Sir Edward Neville may be presumed to have been, hoped to
win favour by promises to discover the philosopher’s stone.

Three centuries have passed, and the only traces that may be found of
these high-born credulities, lurk in the darkest corners of the darkest
alleys of poverty and ignorance.



CHAPTER VIII.
CONVENTUAL REMAINS.


_Conventual Remains_.—_St. Andrew’s Hall_.—_The Festival_.—_Music_: _Dr.
Hook_, _Dr. Crotch_.—_Churches_.—_Biographical Sketches_: _Archbishop
Parker_, _Sir J. E. Smith_, _Taylor_, _Hooker_, _Lindley_, _Joseph John
Gurney_.

The sketch of the Cathedral has embraced so much of the early history of
the various religious “orders,” as to render but little necessary
respecting the origin of the “frères,” or friars, whose settlements, in
the city and neighbourhood, once occupied such important place in its
limits and history.

The Black Friars, or Preachers, White Friars, or Carmelites, Grey Friars,
or Minors, and the Austin Friars, all had at one period, from the
thirteenth century to the era of the Reformation, large establishments
within its precincts; besides which, there was a nunnery, and divers
hospitals, as they were called, such as the Chapel of the Lady in the
Fields, Norman’s Spital, and Hildebrand’s Hospital; and hermitages
without number lurked about the corners of its churchyards, or perched
themselves above the gateways of its walls.  The greater portion of these
have left but a name, or a few scattered fragments, behind to mark their
site; but one magnificent relic of the Black Friars monastery, comprising
the whole of the nave and chancel of their beautiful church, yet stands
in an almost perfect state of preservation,—a noble witness of the wealth
and taste of the poor “mendicant” followers of Friar Dominick,—which was
rescued from destruction at the period of the general “dissolution,” by
the zeal and practical expediency of municipal authorities.  Of the two
friaries that have ceased to exist even in outline, it may suffice to
record, that the Carmelites numbered among them the eminent writer, “John
Bale, the antiquary,” as he is wont to be called; the Austin Friars seem
to have possessed few particular claims for notice, save their less
rigorous injunctions for fasting, but the Friars Minors were the great
rivals of the Preachers, and both together, the sore troublers of the
peace of the “Regulars,” who looked upon the growing power of this
“_secular_” priesthood with a jealousy and hatred to be conceived only by
those who appreciate duly the “loaves and fishes.”  As a sample of the
feeling existing, the account of Matthew Paris, the monk of St. Albans,
may fairly be cited.  He says, “The ‘friars preachers’ having obtained
privileges from Pope Gregory IX. and Innocent IV. being rejoiced and
magnified, they talked malapertly to the prelates of churches, bishops
and archdeacons, presiding in their synods; and where many persons of
note were assembled, showed openly the privileges indulged to them,
proudly requiring that the same may be recited, and that they may be
received with veneration by the churches; and intruding themselves
oft-times impertinently, they asked many persons, even the religious,
‘Are you confessed?’  And if they were answered ‘Yes,’ ‘By whom?’  ‘By my
priest.’  ‘And what idiot is he?  He never learned divinity, never
studied the devices, never learned to resolve one question; they are
blind leaders of the blind; come to us, who know how to distinguish one
leprosy from another, to whom the secrets of God are manifest.’  Many
therefore, especially nobles, despising their own priests, confessed to
these men, whereby the dignity of the ordinaries was not a little
debased.”

Another says: “Now they have created two new fraternities, to which they
have so generally received people of both sexes, that scarce one of
either remains, whose name is not written in one of them, who, therefore,
all assembling in their churches, we cannot have our own parishioners,
especially on solemn days, to be present at divine service, &c.; whence
it is come to pass that we, being deprived of the due tithes and
oblations, cannot live unless we should turn to some manual labour.  What
else remaineth therefore? except that we should demolish our churches, in
which nothing else remaineth for service or ornament but a bell and an
old image, covered with soot.’  But these preachers and minors, who begun
from cells and cottages, have erected royal houses and palaces, supported
on high pillars, and distinguished into various offices, the expenses
whereof ought to have been bestowed upon the poor; these, while they have
nothing, possess all things; but we, who are said to have something, are
beggars.”  Alas! how many a poor curate of this nineteenth century, upon
£30 a-year, might subscribe to a like pitiful complaint.

Another accusation against these mendicant friars, in their days of
maturity, was that they used to steal children under fourteen years of
age, or receive them without the consent of their friends, and refuse to
restore them, embezzling or conveying them away to “other cloisters,”
where they could not be found.  A statute of Henry IV. subjected these
friars to punishment for this offence; and the provincials of the four
orders were sworn before the parliament, for themselves and successors,
to be obedient to this statute.

Kirkpatrick, from whom the above is quoted, says elsewhere, that in 1242,
a great controversy arose between the friars minors and preachers, about
the greatest worthiness, most decent habit, the strictest, humblest, and
holiest life; for the preachers challenged pre-eminence in these—the
minors contradicted, and great scandal arose.  And because they were
learned men, it was the more dangerous to the church.

“These are they,” says he, “who in sumptuous edifices, and lofty walls,
expose to view inestimable treasures, impudently transgressing the limits
of poverty, and the fundamentals of their profession; who diligently
apply themselves to lords and rich persons, that they may gape after
wealth; extorting confessions and clandestine wills, commending
themselves and their order only, and extolling them above all others.  So
that no Christian now believes he can be saved, unless he be governed by
the councils of the preachers and minors.  In obtaining privileges, they
are solicitors; in the courts of kings and potentates, they are
councillors, gentlemen of the chamber, treasurers, match-makers,
matrimony-brokers; executioners of papal extortions; in their sermons,
either flatterers or stinging backbiters, discoverers of confession, or
impudent rebukers.”

Making all due allowance for the party feeling of the historian, thus
commemorating the factions of the “Mother Church,” enough may be seen of
the truth, to form a general idea of the condition of the brotherhoods,
one of whose “palaces, supported by high pillars,” is now left us as a
subject for our investigation.

The order of Black Friars owe their origin to the famous Dominick,
notorious for his zeal in the persecution of the Albigenses.  He figures
also in the “Golden Legend,” as a miraculously endowed infant; his
god-mother perceiving on his forehead a star, which made the whole world
light.  The common seal of the Black Friars, still preserved,
commemorates another miracle concerning him: “Being grown to man’s
estate, he became a great preacher against heretics; and once upon a
time, he put his authorities against them in writing, and gave the
schedule into the hands of a heretic, that he might ponder over its
contents.  The same night, a party being met at a fire, the man produced
the schedule, upon which he was persuaded to cast it into the flames, to
test its truth; which doing, the schedule sprung back again, after a few
minutes, unburnt; the experiment was repeated thrice, with the same
results; but the heretics refused to be convinced, and pledged themselves
not to reveal the matter;—but one of them, it seems, afterwards did so.”

Many other marvellous tales are extant of holy St. Dominick, but we
hasten on to take a look at the church of his followers.  The present
building bears date of the fifteenth century, and would seem to have been
materially enriched by the famous Sir Thomas Erpingham, who takes such
prominent place in the city, and church walls, and gateways, his arms
figuring here in the stone-work between every two of the upper story of
windows.  In its primitive condition the church boasted of three chapels,
one of them subterranean, three altars, two lights, and an image of St.
Peter of Malayn; the choir was decorated with panel paintings, which
found their way at the Reformation to the parlour of some private
dwelling-house close by, whose walls they yet adorn.  Two guilds were
held there, the guild of St. William and the Holy Rood.  In 1538, when
the axes and hammers of King Henry were busy over the face of the land,
and bonfires of libraries were being made in the precincts of every
monastery, the house and church of the Black Friars was saved.
Deputations to his majesty from the corporation of the city, successfully
negotiated the transfer of the building to its possession, on
consideration of the sum of eighty-one pounds being paid into the Royal
Treasury.  Mention is made in old records of a handsome library belonging
to this as well as the Carmelite Monastery; their fate perhaps may be
conjectured by that of many others of the time.  Bale mentions the fact
of a merchant buying the contents of two noble libraries for forty
shillings, to be used as waste paper, and ten years were occupied in thus
consuming them.  The chancel of the church has retained its character as
a place of worship almost unvaryingly until the present day, at one time
being leased to the Dutch, and in later times used as a chapel by the
inmates of the workhouse; occasionally, however, it has served the
purpose of a playhouse; as we find on record, injuries sustained by the
breaking down of partitions at the performance of “interludes” in it upon
Sundays, in the thirty-eighth of Henry the Eighth.  The king’s players we
also find similarly occupying the nave or hall in Edward the Sixth’s
reign, during Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday before Christmas.  The
cloisters and other portions of the monastery were in the reign of Anne,
upon the first establishment of workhouses for the poor, appropriated to
that purpose, the groined roofings to this day forming the ceilings of
pauper kitchens and outhouses.  The sole trace of ecclesiastical
furniture lingering in the nave is a stone altar in one corner, much more
noted as the place of gathering in after-times for the brethren of the
St. George’s Guild than for any religious associations in the minds of
the people.  A gallery, now hidden by the gigantic orchestra built over
it, savours also strongly of the primitive dedication of the building,
else it has retained little more than its architectural beauties of
outline to testify its original consecration.  And now to trace its
history, since, wrested from the mendicants, and deprived of its rights
as a cemetery for the wealthy and beneficent dead, it first became the
banquet chamber for municipal feasts, its walls shone gorgeously with
tapestry hangings, and its tables groaned beneath the weight of luscious
dainties.  The kitchens and monster chimneys, with their long rows of
spit-hooks and fire-places, that now stand gaping in silent desolation at
the empty larders and boiling-houses in out-of-the-way corners of the
premises, look like giant ghosts of ancient civic gastronomy, lurking
about in dark places, mocking the shadowy forms of latter-day epicurism,
that may be satisfied with the achievements to be performed by modern
“ranges,” on ever so improved a scale.  But the glories of the St.
George’s feast are likewise departed from it; the corn-merchants, to whom
its limits were awhile devoted, have built unto themselves an exchange;
the assizes, once held in it, have been transferred to the little
castellated encrustation that has grown out of one side of the real
castle mound, and reft of all regular employment, the Hall now stands at
the mercy of the city mayor, by him to be lent to whom he wills, for any
or every purpose his judgment may deem consistent with propriety; hence
the same walls echo one day the eloquent pleadings of a league advocate,
the next to the cries of the distressed agriculturist; now to the
advantages of temperance or peace societies, and the musical streams of
eloquence that an Elihu Burritt can send forth, or witness the fires of
enthusiasm a Father Matthew can elicit.  Another week shall see it
thronged with eager listeners to the reports of missionary societies,
Church, London, or Baptist; the next with ready auditors to the claims of
the Jews and the heathen calls for Bibles; interspersed among them shall
be lectures on every branch of art and science, and every fashionable or
unfashionable doctrine under the sun that can find advocates, down to
Mormonism or Bloomerism itself.  But prior to all in its claims upon the
services of the magnificent old structure stands _music_—why else are its
proportions hid by the unsightly tiers of benches that, empty, make one
long for magic power to waft them all away, but which, once tenanted by
their legitimate occupants, banish every murmur from one’s heart and
mind?

Thanks to the enterprise and spirit of the lovers of harmony, this is not
seldom; concerts for the rich and concerts for the poor, for the hundreds
and the “millions,” have risen up to meet the calls of humanity for
heart-culture by other inspirations than may be got from alphabets and
primers, or intellectual disquisitions.  And, triennially, arrive the
great epochs of the city’s glory, when she asserts her claims upon the
world of music, to be classed high among the nursing mother of genius,
and foster-parents of art.  Then is the hour of triumph for the Black
Friars’ solemn and grand old nave, when its roofs and pillars tremble at
the thunders of the Messiah’s “Hallelujah,” and resound to the
electrifying crash, uttering “Wonderful;” or when they echo the sweet
melodies of Haydn, Mozart, and Spohr; the refined harmonies of a
Mendellsohn’s “Elijah,” the magic strains of his “Loreley,” or reflect
the wondrous landscape painting of the mystic Beethoven.  Nor was the day
a small one when its orchestra gave utterance to the outpourings of a
genius cradled and nurtured in its bosom, whose work is acknowledged to
be great and good, _albeit_ “a prophet” is not without honour save in his
own country.  And all praise be given as due to the generous help yielded
to the son of the stranger as to the son of the soil.  The world may yet
live to be grateful to the city that in one year brought before it two
such conceptions and creations as “Israel Restored” and “Jerusalem.”  And
so would we take our farewell of the old “Hall,” while our eyes are yet
dazzled with the bright glitter of its thronged benches, galleries, and
aisles, and our ears and hearts vibrating to the mighty “concert of sweet
sounds” and peals of harmony poured forth from the almost matchless
orchestra and benches of choristers, that lend their powers to complete
the glories of the great “Festival.”

The festival suggests thoughts on music, its history and progress, and of
the minds that have fostered and directed its growth in this particular
region, so successfully as to have gained for the “Old City” its present
high position in the musical world.

Music and devotion have gone hand-in-hand from the era of the earliest
singing men and singing women of Israel, and the timbrel of Miriam; the
Jewish temple echoed the lofty strains of “David’s harp” and the songs of
the “Chief Musician;” from the pagan worship of the Greeks sprung the
Ambrosian chant, and the Christian Church has been the birthplace and
nursery of the grandest conceptions that have flowed from the pen of
inspired genius in every later age.  The _antiphonal_ singing of the
earliest choirs, where a phrase of melody, after being sung by one
portion of the choristers, was echoed by others at certain distances, at
a higher or lower pitch, gave rise to the modern fugue.  The Pope from
his throne lent his aid to improve the ecclesiastical chant, and gave it
his name.

The oratorio was the Phœnix that arose from the ashes of the “mystery,”
the masses of Palestrina, Handel, Haydn, and Mozart, and Hummel were
responses to the calls of the church.  The Reformation made no effort to
sever music from the services of religion; Luther was an enthusiastic
lover of harmony, and himself a composer of psalmody.  The annihilations
of the works of art, that banished painting and defaced sculpture, could
not blot out music from the worship of the church.  The “Te Deum” and
“Jubilate” outlived the persecution of bishops and clergy, and the nasal
whine of the Puritan conventicle was in itself a recognition of the true
power and place of that noblest of nature’s gifts and sciences.

The quiet “Friends” nominally banish it from their form of worship; can
any that have heard the flowing melodies that clothe their exhortations
and prayers, say that it is so?  Can any one that ever heard the voice of
Elizabeth Fry doubt that poetry and music are innate gifts, that, once
possessed, no human laws can sever from the utterances of a devotional
spirit?  No marvel is it, therefore, that a Cathedral city at all times
is more or less the cradle of musical genius, or that scarce a record of
a great master-spirit of harmony exists, but the office of
“Kapellmeister,” or “Organist,” is attached to his name.

The Organ, that almost inseparable associate of ecclesiastical music,
seems to have been an instrument of great antiquity; that one of the
Constantines presented one to King Pepin in 757, appears to be an
established fact, and that during the tenth century the use of the organ
became general in Germany, Italy, and England.  In Mason’s “Essay on
Church Music” is a homely translation of some lines written by Wolstan, a
monk of that period, descriptive of the instrument then known under that
name.

    “Twelve pair of bellows ranged in stately row
    Are joined above, and fourteen more below;
    These the full force of seventy men require,
    Who ceaseless toil, and plenteously perspire:
    Each aiding each, till all the winds be prest
    In the close confines of the incumbent chest,
    On which four hundred pipes in order rise,
    To bellow forth the blast that chest supplies.”

It is presumed that the seventy men did not continue to blow throughout
the performance on this monster engine, but laid in a stock of wind,
which was gradually expended as the organist played; the keys were five
or six inches broad, and must have been played upon by blows of the fist;
the compass did not then exceed more than two octaves; half notes were
not introduced until the beginning of the twelfth century, stops, not
until the sixteenth; from which we may infer, that a real genuine organ,
deserving the name, could not have been manufactured many years prior to
the Reformation; but from the date of its first introduction may be
ascribed the first attempts at the invention of harmony.

It is curious, however, in these days of penny concerts and music for the
million, to look back to that time when the only probable entertainments
of a secular character in which music bore a part, were such as could be
furnished by the _hautboys_, sackbuts, and _recorders_ of half-a-dozen
“waytes,” as we find to have been the case in this city in the sixteenth
century, when permission was first granted these performers to play
comedies, interludes, plays and tragedies.  Will Kempe mentions these
same _waytes_ with great praise, and their renown may be inferred from
the fact of their being solicited by Sir Francis Drake “to accompany him
on his intended voyage” in 1589, upon which occasion the city provided
them with new instruments, new cloaks, and a waggon to convey their
chattels.  The inventory of musical instruments in the possession of the
city in 1622, forms a rather striking contrast to a “band” of the
nineteenth century, consisting as it did of only four “sackbuts,” four
“hautboys” (one broken), two tenor cornets, one tenor “recorder,” two
counter tenor “recorders,” five “chaynes,” and five “flagges.”

In the seventeenth century, when the country was deluged with civil war,
and overrun with Royalist and Puritan soldiers, music declined, and we
read little concerning it, here or elsewhere, until that age of strife
and commotion had passed away.

In 1709, one of the city “waytes” advertised himself as teacher of the
violin and hautboy, and in 1734 there appeared another advertisement of a
concert to be given, tickets 2_s._ 6_d._, country dancing to be given
gratis after the concert, doors to be open at four o’clock, the
performance to commence at six, “_by reason of the country dancing_.”

In the course of the sixteenth century, the psalmody of the Protestant
Church was brought nearly to its present state, and towards the end of
that and commencement of the next century, shone that constellation of
English musicians, whose inimitable madrigals are still the delight of
every lover of vocal harmony.  A madrigal differs from a glee, inasmuch
as each of its parts should be sung by several voices; its name
originated in Italy, and was applied to compositions in four, five, or
six vocal parts, adapted to words of a tender character; neither madrigal
nor glee should be accompanied by instruments.

In the Elizabethan age to sing in parts was an accomplishment held to be
indispensable in a well-educated lady or gentleman; and at a social
meeting, when the madrigal books were laid on the table, every body was
expected to take part in the harmony; any person declining from
inability, was regarded with contempt, as rude and ill-bred.

The rapid improvement of music in all its branches during the last
century has been promoted mainly by the various societies, clubs, and
other associations that have sprung up in the metropolis and many large
cities, among which Norwich stands prominently; these have formed a bond
of union between professional musicians and amateurs, mutually
advantageous, by establishing among them a combination of talent and
taste, that tends materially to cultivate the art to which they are
attached.  Norwich has produced many great minds, that have done much
towards this work.  In the last century the musical world were astonished
by the wonderful precocity of the two young children, Hook and Crotch;
the name of the former as notorious perhaps as much through the literary
fame of his son Theodore, as for his own musical attainments.

It is said that young Hook was able to play pieces at four years of age,
and at six to perform a concerto at a concert, and to have composed the
music for an opera with thirty-six airs, before he was eight years old.
In the course of his life he is said to have written two thousand four
hundred songs, one hundred and forty complete works or operas, one
oratorio, and many odes and anthems.  He died in 1813, leaving two sons,
Dr. James Hook, the Dean of Worcester, who died 1828, and Theodore Edward
Hook, the author.

William Crotch, whose name has attained a wider celebrity, was also a
native of the city, the son of a carpenter.  His early displays of
musical talent exceed in wonder even those of his fellow-citizen and
co-temporary, Hook; and many curious anecdotes are related of its
manifestation during his infancy.  His father seems to have been a
self-taught musician, who without any scientific knowledge had built
himself an organ, upon which he had learned to play a few common tunes,
such as “God save the King,” and “Let Ambition fire the mind.”  About
Christmas 1776, his child William, then only a year and a half old, was
observed frequently to leave his food or play, to listen to his father,
and would even then touch the key note of the tunes he wished to be
played.  Not long afterwards, a musical lady came to try the organ, and
after her visit he seems to have made his first attempt to play a
tune—her playing excited him to a painful degree, his mother describing
him as so peevish that she could “do nothing with him.”  Music had
charms, however, to soothe his baby breast, and he consoled himself by
picking out the air of “God save the King,” which in addition to being
his father’s most frequent performance, had been also frequently sung as
a lullaby by his maternal nurse.  At this time he was _two years and
three weeks old_, truly an infant prodigy!  The report of his precocity
gained little credence, until accident confirmed what had previously been
deemed the exaggerations of parental fondness.

His father’s employer, passing the house at a time when the elder Crotch
was absent from work on the plea of indisposition, heard the organ, and
fancied that his workman was idle instead of ill; to convince himself, he
went in, and found little Master William performing, and his brother
blowing the bellows.  The marvel spread, and attracted such crowds of
auditors, that from that time the hours of his performance were obliged
to be limited.  As he grew older his musical attainments rapidly
increased, while at the same time he discovered symptoms of a genius for
drawing, almost equal to that which he had already displayed for music.

When he was twelve years old he did the duty of organist at several
chapels in Cambridge, whence he removed to Oxford, with a view to
entering the church; but he afterwards resumed the musical profession,
and was appointed organist of Christ Church, in 1790.  In 1797, he became
professor of music in that university; and in 1799, obtained the degree
of doctor of music.  On the establishment of the Royal Academy, in 1823,
he was nominated Principal of that institution, but retired from the
office before his death.  Dr. Crotch’s great work is the oratorio of
“Palestine,” the poetry of which is the prize poem of Bishop Heber.  He
was also the author of several anthems, and other pieces of sacred music.

His death occurred suddenly, at the dinner-table, on the 29th of
September, 1847, in the seventy-third year of his age, at the residence
of his son, the Rev. W. R. Crotch, Master of the Grammar School at
Taunton, where he had spent the later years of his life.

There are two points worthy of notice connected with the name and works
of this great man.  The country has raised no monument in any of its
cathedrals or churches to his memory, and his greatest work, “Palestine,”
is an oratorio almost entirely neglected.  May it not be possible for the
“Old City” that gave him birth to set an example to the rest of the
musical world, by attention to these facts?

Most of the leading minds whose zeal and energy directed the earlier
movements of the various musical societies in this district, are yet
among the living, and the natural dictates of refinement cause us to
shrink from any attempts at their biographies; it is, therefore, with the
deference due to real genius, which needs no praise, that we pass in
silence over the names of the most earnest promoters of the growth and
cultivation of music, especially as developed in the workings of the
Festival Committee, and its important adjunct, the Choral Society.  The
names and fame of Sir George Smart and Mr. Edward Taylor, professor of
music at Gresham College, are already too much the property of the world
at large to be reckoned among those whose privacy might be invaded by
comment in these pages; but there are many more, who with them, may from
the centre of that magnificent hall, and the midst of the greatest
triumphs of music that have ever been achieved by its almost unrivalled
choruses and orchestra, feel that “for their monument we must look
around.”

And now it might seem but just and right that among the lions of the “Old
City” we should find a place for the manifold ecclesiastical structures
still surviving the downfall of “superstition,” and retaining their
legitimate right, as houses of worship.  To do justice to the antiquities
or beauties that abound among them is a task beyond our powers, or the
limit of such a work as this; their traceries, their curiously cut flint
work, old carvings, rood lofts, chambers of sanctuary within, and
heaped-up grave-yards without, verily burying the pathways of the
streets, they line in such close succession—their monuments and epitaphs,
quaint, grim, chaste, and uncouth; their steeples, spires, and towers,
round, square, buttressed and bare—their bells musical and grand, cracked
and jangling—their roofs slated, tiled, leaded, patched, perfect, or
crumbling—their names and saintships a labyrinth of mystery in
themselves—would it not fill a volume alone to chronicle even their
leading features, to say nought of the changes they have undergone, the
barter among goods and chattels, the chopping and changing, and massacres
in the painted glass departments,—part of an Abraham and his ass left in
a St. Andrews, the other portions transported to the windows of St.
Stephens; of the ghostly outlines left of old brasses torn up and melted
down by Puritan soldiers and coppersmiths—or the legends that hang about
their shrines and mutilated images?  We dare not venture upon the
well-beaten track of archæologians, topographers, and tourists; our
glance must be cursory and superficial, content to ascertain by its
sweeping survey that treasures of knowledge and stores of information
await the patient and diligent investigations of more learned and
scientific enquirers.

A visit to St. Stephens rewards the archæologist by a sight of a few old
stalls and a font of early date, while the historian associates with it
the memory of the celebrated Parker, second Archbishop of Canterbury, who
was a native of Norwich, and some say of this parish, but at any rate was
singing pupil of the priest and clerk of this church.  Parker’s life
occupies an important position in history.  The son of “a calenderer of
stuffs,” in this city, he was at a very early age left fatherless, and
dependent upon a mother’s guidance and direction for his education.  Her
superintending care provided him with a variety of masters for the
several branches of learning—reading, writing, singing, and grammar—each
being acquired under a separate teacher.  He afterwards entered Corpus
Christi College, Cambridge, whence he was invited to the magnificent
foundation of Cardinal Wolsey’s (now Christ Church) College, Oxford, but
preferring to remain at Cambridge, he declined.  In 1553, he was made
chaplain to Queen Anne Boleyn, and received from her a special commission
to superintend the education of her daughter Elizabeth.  He was made
chaplain to King Henry VIII., after the death of Anne Boleyn, and
continued the same office in his successor’s reign; added to which, he
was Rector of Stoke in Essex, Prebend of Ely Cathedral, and successively
Rector of Ashen in Essex, and Birlingham All Saints, in Norfolk.  He was
chosen Master of Corpus Christi College in 1544, and Vice-Chancellor of
the University.  Happening to be in Norfolk during the celebrated “Kett’s
rebellion,” he had the courage to go to the rebels’ camp and preach to
them out of the oak of Reformation, exhorting them to moderation,
temperance, and submission, which expedition, as we have seen elsewhere,
had well nigh terminated fatally.

In 1550–1, he was put in the commission for correcting and punishing the
new sect of Anabaptists, then sprung up.  In Mary’s reign he was deprived
of most of his dignities, upon the plea of his being married, and retired
into Norfolk amongst his friends; but upon the succession of his old
pupil, Elizabeth, he was exalted to the dignity of Archbishop of
Canterbury.  Her Majesty made several visits to his house at Canterbury.
His efforts to suppress the vague prophecies that were continually being
set up in the various dioceses, and exciting the minds of the people,
made him many enemies among the Puritans, but he still enjoyed the favour
of the Queen.  He died in 1576, leaving, amongst numerous charitable
bequests, a legacy to be applied to keeping his parents’ monument, in St.
Clement’s church-yard, in repair.

St. Peter’s Mancroft, the brightest star in the constellation of churches
that illumine the “Old City,” has beauties and curiosities of almost
every variety and character to offer for investigation; but perhaps none
so loudly appeal to the senses of the citizens at large as the eloquent
“changes” rung upon its magnificent set of bells, whenever occasion
offers for a display of the fulness and richness of their tone; and,
possibly, their melody is never more appreciated than when it comes forth
in the softened echo of the beautiful muffled peal.

Touching the presence of bells in the church, we have noticed elsewhere
that they were introduced among the incrustations of Pagan worship that
grew up around the early Christian forms, and owed their origin to the
superstition that the sound of metal preserved the soul from the danger
of evil spirits; but there are other curious facts connected with their
history.  The Roman Catholic baptised the bell, using holy water, incense
and prayers in the ceremony and according to the missal of Salisbury,
there were godfathers and godmothers, who gave them names.

A strange allegorical signification of bells after their baptism was
written by Durandus, the great Catholic authority, for the mysterious
services of the church.  “The bell,” he says, “denotes the preacher’s
mouth, the hardness of the metal implies the fortitude of his mind; the
clapper striking both sides, his tongue publishing both testaments, and
that the preacher should on one side correct the vice in himself, and on
the other reprove it in his hearers; the band that ties the clapper
denotes the moderation of the tongue; the wood on which the bell hangs
signifies the wood of the cross; the iron that ties it to the wood
denotes the charity of the preacher; the bell-rope denotes the humility
of the preacher’s life,” &c. &c.  The description goes on yet further
into detail; but the analogies between the subjects and their allegorical
representations are so undiscernible, as to make it a somewhat tedious
task to follow it throughout.

But St. Peter’s has manifold attractions beyond its bells.  It has
brasses and effigies, and monuments of every variety, commemorating the
pious deeds of clergy and laity, warriors and comedians.  Its vestry has
pictures and tapestry and quaint alabaster carvings; little chapels
jutting out from the nave like transepts, perpetuate the memory of old
benefactors; and beneath its pavement lie the remains of the great
philosopher Sir Thomas Browne, whose words of rebuke to the sepulchral
ambition of the nameless tenants of monuments that make no record of
those that lie beneath, involuntarily arise to the mind while
contemplating the spot chosen for his last resting place.  “Had they made
so good a provision for their names as they have done for their relics,
they had not so grossly erred in the act of perpetuation; but to subsist
in bones, to be but pyramidically extant, is a fallacy of duration.”  And
again, “to live indeed is to be again ourselves, which being not only our
hope, but an evidence in noble believers; ’tis all one to lie in St.
Innocent’s church-yard or the sands of Egypt.  Ready to be anything in
the ecstacy of being ever, as content with six foot as the moles of
Adrianus.”

Happy philosophy, that could permit him calmly to contemplate the
vicissitudes to which his bones might be subjected, even to the
legitimate possibility of the sanctuary chosen for their resting-place
being actually invaded by the blows of the workmen’s pickaxe, as
veritably did occur some few years since, when the curious of the present
generation were thus accidentally afforded an opportunity of cultivating
a personal acquaintance with the anatomical outlines and phrenological
developments of one whose intellectual offspring had been canonized, and
enshrined among the household gods of the learned and the great for more
than a century.

The very slight sketches of eminent characters that are suitable for so
light and general a book as this, may perhaps be legitimately introduced
in the course of a tour among the churches, their _parochial headships_
affording the best facilities for arrangement; but it seems almost
sacrilege to hash up into abridgements or synopses, biographies so
fraught with national and European interest, as are many of those whose
birth-place has been the Old City of Norwich, yet more is impossible
within the compass of the _Rambler’s_ pen; and to adopt the alternative
of omitting all mention of such names, would be to blot out some of the
brightest pages from the annals of its history.

Among them, and perhaps the highest upon the pinnacle of fame, is that of
Sir James Edward Smith, the Linnæus of our country, the concentration of
whose “life and Correspondence” into two bulky volumes, evinces wondrous
powers of discriminating selection, and condensation, in the biographer
who has undertaken the important and onerous task.  What, then, can be
effected in the hasty notices of a mere rambler’s gleanings?  Little
more, if so much, as a bare outline of the leading features in the life
of this brilliant ornament of our city and country, but enough, we trust,
to lead any who have not already acquired a more intimate knowledge of
his personal history, to feel earnest to repair the omission.  He was a
native of the parish of St. Peter’s Mancroft; and of his education, it is
worthy of note, that he never left the parental roof to enter either a
public or private boarding-school: he is one of the many favourable
testimonies to the advantages of a strictly domestic education, conducted
by aid of the most efficient masters, under the immediate superintendence
of parental care.  About the age of eighteen, he devoted himself to the
study of botany as a science, and says himself, “the only book he could
then procure was ‘Berkenhout,’ Hudson’s ‘Flora’ having become extremely
scarce.”  He received “Berkenhout” on the 9th of January, 1778, and on
the 11th began to examine the _Ule curopæus_ (common furze), and then
first comprehended the nature of systematic arrangement, little aware
that, at _that instant_, the world was losing the great genius who was to
be to him so important a future guide, and whose vacant place in the
world of science he was destined so ably to fill.  Linnæus died that
night, January 11th, 1778.

In 1780 Mr. Smith went to Edinburgh, and from thence to London, with a
view to study for the medical profession.  During his stay there, he
became intimate with Sir Joseph Banks, an eminent patron of natural
science, through whom he heard that the library and museum of Linnæus
were for sale, and immediately he entered into negotiations with Dr.
Acrel, of Upsal, concerning it, which ended in his becoming the purchaser
of the whole collection at the price of nine hundred guineas.  From
London he went to Leyden, and graduated as a physician at the university
there.  From thence he proceeded on a tour, visiting most of the
classical spots and celebrated places in Italy and France, and upon his
return to London devoted himself almost exclusively to pursuits connected
with his favourite science, botany.  By the assistance of his personal
friend, the Bishop of Carlisle, one among the many great minds with whom
he held constant communion, he set about establishing the Linnæan
Society.  Its first meeting was held in April, 1788, when an introductory
address, “On the Rise and Progress of Natural History,” was read by Sir
James, then Dr. Smith, which paper formed the first article in the
“Transactions of the Linnæan Society,” a work which has since extended
itself to twenty quarto volumes.  In 1792 Dr. Smith was invited to give
instructions in botany to the queen and princesses at Frogmore; and in
1814, received the honour of knighthood from the Prince Regent.

Ill health caused Sir James to return to his native county to recruit his
strength, and there he continued to pursue his literary avocations in
comparative privacy.  His “English Botany” is a work consisting of
thirty-six octavo volumes, and contains 2592 figures of British plants.
It is a curious and melancholy coincidence, that the fourth volume of his
“English Flora” reached him on the very last day he ever entered his
library; and he thus had the gratification of seeing the completion of a
work which, in his own estimation, was calculated, beyond all the other
labours of his pen, to establish his reputation as a botanist, and
confirm his erudition as an author.

St. Giles, the next in order of the saintships, in addition to its
architectural beauties, with which we pretend not to “meddle,” presents a
few legendary claims to our notice.  The effigy of St. Christopher, of a
monstrous size, with his staff sprouting by his side, was originally
painted over the north door, as the patron saint of children presented
for baptism, who generally were brought in at that door.  In most
churches where a north door existed, this image or painting of St.
Christopher was wont to appear, depicted on as large a scale as the wall
would permit, in conformity with the legend that he was a saint of noble
and large stature.  In the aisle once stood a chapel, altar, and image of
St. Catherine, with a light burning before it, and against one of the
pillars stood a famous rood, called the Brown Rood.

St. Benedict, the patron of monks, has his monument in the form of a
little ancient church with a little tower, round at the bottom and
octagonal at the top, where three little jingling bells give notice of
the hours of prayer.

St. Swithin, that famous prophet of wet weather, has his memorial, too,
not far distant.  More have heard the old adage, “If it rain on St.
Swithin’s day, there will be rain more or less for forty succeeding
days,” than may have cared to trace its origin, which seems involved in
some mystery.  One authority tells us that St. Swithin was Bishop of
Winchester, to which rank he was raised by Ethelwulf, the Dane; and when
he died in 865, he was canonized by the pope.  He had expressed a desire
to be buried in the open church-yard, and not, as was usual with bishops,
within the walls of the church: his request was complied with; but upon
his being canonized, the monks took it into their heads that it was
disgraceful for a saint to lie in the open church-yard, and resolved to
remove his body into the choir, which was to be done in solemn procession
on the 15th of July.  It rained, however, so violently on that day, and
for forty days succeeding, as “had hardly ever been seen,” which made
them set aside their design as heretical and blasphemous; and instead,
they erected a chapel over his grave, at which many miracles are said to
have been wrought.

Another writer tells us that “St. Swithin, a holy bishop of Winchester,
about the year 860, was called the weeping St. Swithin, for that, about
his feast, Præsepe and Aselli, rainy constellations, arise _cosmically_,
and commonly cause rain.”  The legend attached to its name is perhaps
almost the only particular attraction of this little church.

The church of the holy St. Lawrence stands upon the spot of ground that
in ancient days, when Norwich was a fishing town, was the quay or
landing-place for all the herrings brought hither, the tithe of which was
so considerable when it belonged to the bishops of the East Angles, that
when Alfric, the bishop, granted the key staithe, with the adjoining
mansion, to Bury Abbey, about 1038, the abbey, upon building the church,
had a last of herrings reserved to it, to be paid them yearly.  This last
of herrings was compounded for by the celerer of the convent, about the
time of Henry the Third, for a pension of forty shillings, which was
annually paid until the time of Henry the Seventh, and then done away
with, on account of the meanness of its profits.

On the sides of the arch of the door in the west are two carvings, one
representing the martyrdom of St. Lawrence, the other that of St. Edmund,
who is seen in a rather mutilated condition, (in more senses than one)
his head lying at some distance in a parcel of bushes, while the Danes
are shooting arrows into his body, alluding to that portion of the legend
which says that when they could not kill him with arrows, Hunguar the
Danish leader ordered them to smite off his head, and carry and throw it
among the thickest thorns of the adjacent wood, which they did; but a
wolf finding it, instead of devouring it, kept it from all beasts and
birds of prey, till it was found by the Christians and buried with his
body, and that in a surprising manner.

In the fifteenth century, three “Sisters of Charity,” called the Sisters
of St. Lawrence, dwelt in a tenement by the churchyard.  In 1593, the
copes were turned into pall cloths, and in 1643 the painted glass of the
windows was smashed, and other considerable damage done to the ornamental
fittings up of the building.

Near to the church is the well of St. Lawrence, the water of which is now
conveyed to a pump; bearing this inscription upon it:—

    This water here caught
    In sort, as you see,
    From a spring is brought
    Three score foot and three.

    Gybson hath it sought
    From St. Lawrence’s well,
    And his charge this wrought
    Who _now_ here doth dwell.

    Thy ease was his cost, not small—
    Vouchsafed well of those
    Which thankful be, his work to see,
    And thereto be no foes.

From St. Lawrence’s belfry, the curfew is rung at eight each evening.

St. Gregory’s contains an altar tomb, with a long Latin inscription to
the memory of Sir Francis Bacon, a judge in the court of King’s bench, in
the time of Charles II.

On the communion table is an inscription to Francis Watson, a pedlar, who
painted and marbled all the pillars of the altar, adorned it, and railed
the front.

St. John’s _Madder Market_ owes its distinctive name to the market
formerly held on its north side, for the sale of _madder_, an article
used in dying.  Margaret, Duchess of Norfolk, the widow of Thomas Duke of
Norfolk, beheaded by the command of Queen Elizabeth, lies buried in the
choir of the church.

St. Andrews, the second church in point of architectural beauty, stands
upon the site of one founded prior to the Conquest.  Its eastern window
bears traces of sad havoc having gone on in the midst of the scriptural
scenes it was intended to depict.

At the east end of the two aisles are doors entering from the porches,
and over them verses.

Over the south aisle door—

    This church was builded of Timber, Stone and Bricks,
    In the year of our Lord XV hundred and six,
    And lately translated from extreme Idolatry
    A thousand five hundred and seven and forty.
    And in the first year of our noble King Edward
    The Gospel in parliament was mightily set forward.
       Thanks be to God.  Anno Dom. 1547, December.

Over the north aisle door—

    As the good king Josiah, being tender of age,
    Purged the realm from all idolatry,
    Even so our noble Queen, and counsel sage,
    Set up the Gospel and banished Popery.
    At twenty-four years she began her reign,
    And about forty four did it maintain.
          Glory be given to God.

There were formerly brass effigies of John Gilbert and his wife, with
_seventeen_ of their children.

St. Peter’s Hungate, or Hounds’ Gate, owes its name to the fact of the
hounds belonging to the bishop being formerly kept close by.  The old
church was demolished in 1458, and the new one, commenced the same year,
was finished in 1460, as appears by the date in a stone on the buttress
of the north door, where there is an old trunk of an oak, represented
without any leaves, to signify the decayed church; and from the root
springs a fresh branch with acorns on it, to denote the new one raised
where the old one stood.

St. Michael at Plea takes its name from the Archdeacon of Norwich holding
his pleas or courts in the parish; it has some curious panel paintings of
the Crucifixion, Resurrection, the Lady of Pity, Judas, John and the
Virgin, St. Margaret and the Dragon, St. Benedict and St. Austin.

In the church of St. Simon and St. Jude, is a curious monument of a
knight in armour, with a number of other figures grouped around the altar
on which he lies.  In this parish is the bridge where the “cucking stool”
was wont to be kept, an instrument of punishment for “scolding and
unquiet women,” of as ancient origin as the time of the Anglo Saxons; the
offender was seated in a kind of chair, fixed at the end of a plank, and
then _ducked_ in the water; a cheating brewer or baker subjected himself
to a similar degradation.

St. George’s Tombland, so called from the burial ground upon which it
stood, has also some curious monuments; near it is a house, commonly
called Sampson and Hercules Court, from two figures that formerly
supported the portico, but which now stand in the court.  The house was
formerly owned by Sir John Fastolf, afterwards by the Countess of
Lincoln, and in the time of Henry VII., by the Duchess of Suffolk.

“St. Martin’s at the Plain” stands close by the scene of the memorable
battle between the rebels under Kett, where Lord Sheffield fell, and many
other gentlemen and soldiers: the conflict lasted from nine o’clock on
Lammas morning until noon.  The World’s End lane leads hence to the
dwelling of Sir Thomas Erpingham, long since transformed from a sumptuous
mansion into the abode of poverty, its chambers subdivided and parcelled
out, defaced and disguised by whitewash and plaster, and yet more by the
accumulations of dirt and decay; until it needs the microscopic vision of
an archæologist to trace even its outline, among such a mass of confusion
and rubbish.

“St. Helen’s,” which belonged to the monks, is now cut up into three
parts, the choir being turned into lodgings for poor women, part of the
nave and aisles into the same for poor men, while the intermediate
portion is used for divine services.  A charity that owns an annual
income of £10,000, might, we think, find some better arrangements
possible to be made.  Kirkpatrick, the celebrated antiquarian, lies
buried here.  Over the south entrance to the church are these lines—

             The house of God
    King Henry the Eight of noble Fame
    Bequeathed the City this commodious place,
    With lands and rents he did endow the same,
    To help decrepit age in woful case,
    Edward the Sixth, that prince of royal stem,
    Performed his father’s generous bequest.
    Good Queen _Eliza_, imitating them,
    Ample endowments added to the rest;
    Their pious deeds we gratefully record,
    While Heaven them crowns with glorious reward.

St. Giles’ Hospital, to which the church of St. Helen has been united by
the appropriation of its nave and chancel, is a relic of great
antiquity—a memorial of the liberality of Bishop Suffield, who in 1249
founded it, appointing four chaplains to celebrate service there for his
soul, and all poor and decrepit chaplains in the diocese, endowing it
with means to support the same number perpetually, and to lodge thirteen
poor people with one meal a day.  There were also appointed afterwards
four sisters, above fifty years of age, to take care of the clothing, &c.
&c.  The master and chaplains were to eat, drink and sleep, in one room,
and daily, after grace at dinner before any one drank, the bell was to
ring and the chaplains to go into the choir and sing _Miserere mei Deus_.
There was also an _Archa Domini_, or Lords’ Box, from which the poor that
passed by, were daily to be relieved as far as the funds permitted.  From
Lady day to the Assumption, at a certain hour the bell was to ring and a
quantity of bread, “enough to repel hunger,” to be given to the poor then
present; and “because the house should be properly ‘Domus Dei,’ or the
house of God, and of the Bishops of Norwich,” it was ordained that “as
often as any bishop of the see should pass by, he should go in and give
his blessing to the sick.”  Edward VI. dissolved the Hospital and gave it
to the city as a house for the poor.  A school was also established,
which was afterwards transferred to the Free School.  The cloisters of
the old hospital still remain almost entire, and serve as walks for the
pensioners.

St. Edmund, St. James, St. Paul, St. Margaret, all the Saints, _St.
Saviour_, St. Clements the Martyr, _St. Peter Southgate_, and per
_Mountergate_, St. Julian, St. Michael at Plea, at _Thorn_, and
_Coslany_, St. Ethelred, St. John’s Sepulchre, and St. John’s Timberhill,
St. George, and St. Augustine, fill up the register of ecclesiastical
edifices; each possesses some particular claim to notice, down to the
legend of the Lady in the Oak, that gave a distinctive title to the
church of St. Martin at Oak, where her image once figured in an oak tree
in the churchyard, and wrought wondrous miracles, which caused so much
adoration to be paid to the graven image, that the purgers of idolatry in
good young King Edward’s reign, found it needful to displace it from its
high position, and cut down the tree in which it stood.

Among the biographies associated with the various districts over which
these patron saints may be said to hold their reign, are those of the
eminent divine, Dr. Samuel Clarke, of the seventeenth century; Kay, or
Caius, the founder of Caius College, Cambridge; Professors Hooker and
Lindley, the great botanists; William Taylor, Sayer, Sedgwick, Gurney,
Opie, and Borrow, among the literary celebrities of the age; Professor
Taylor and Dr. Bexfield, names known well in the musical world, and many
others, whose lives and works entitle them to be ranked among the leading
characters of their time; while in the medical profession, the names and
fame of Martineau and Crosse have become European.  Few of these can we
pause to sketch—many of them are among the number of those whose work is
not yet done; and of others it may be said that their memory is too fresh
in the hearts of those bound to them by chords of affection and
friendship, for a “stranger to intermeddle” therewith.

William Taylor was the friend and correspondent of Southey.  It is said,
in his “Life,” that he once jocosely remarked, “If ever I write my own
life, I shall commence it in the following grandiloquent manner; ‘Like
Plato, like Sir Isaac Newton, like Frederick Leopold, Count Stolberg, I
was born on the 7th of November, and, like Mrs. Opie and Sir James Edward
Smith, I was baptized by the Rev. Samuel Bourn, then the Presbyterian
minister of the Octagon chapel.’”  His attainments as a German scholar
were notorious, and his metaphysical writings earned for him a
widely-extended fame.  His translations of German theological works, may
be regarded as the first introduction of that school of literature, that
is at this moment deluging our country with the copious streams of
philosophy, whose deep and subtle waters, whether invigorating or
noxious, are spreading themselves through every channel of society in our
land.

William Jackson Hooker, the son of a manufacturer of Norwich, rose to the
rank of Regius Professor of Botany, in the University of Glasgow.  In
early life he was spoken of by Sir James Smith as the first cryptogamic
botanist of the time, and his after-works proved the accuracy of the
opinion.  His “Muscologia Brittannica,” and “Monograph on the Genus
Jungermannia,” are unrivalled as guides to the scientific enquirer, and,
with his other works, may be classed among the gems of English
literature.  In the course of his rambles in the neighbourhood of his
native city, he discovered, in a fir-wood near Sprowston, that quaint,
curious, one-sided looking little moss, called _Buxbaumia aphylla_,
which, destitute of any visible foliage, rears its little club-like
seed-vessels upon its foot-stalks in the most eccentric possible manner.
The muscologist may search long and often ere a specimen may meet his
eye, even within the precincts of the grove where Dr. Hooker first
discovered it; but many another rare and beautiful contribution to a moss
herbarium shall reward him for his pains, especially the elegant
_Bartramia_, with its exquisitely soft velvet foliage, and globular
seed-vessels, to be met with in such rich abundance in few other soils.

Lindley, the Professor of Botany in the London University, is another
genius raised from the nursery grounds of the Old City; his father having
followed the profession of horticulture at Catton, one of the suburbs of
Norwich.

One more biographical notice must close our list, and with it we make an
end of our chronicles and “Rambles in an Old City.”

To those who were among the privileged number of friends, acquaintances,
or even fellow-citizens of Joseph John Gurney, it will be easy to imagine
why so beautiful a subject has been chosen for the closing sketch of our
“pencillings by the way;” and the world at large will see in the name of
the great philanthropist, whose memory sheds a sacred halo over every
spot familiar with the deeds of gentle loving-kindness, tender mercy, and
active benevolence, that marked his earthly career—a meet theme from
which to borrow a ray of glory to brighten the scene of our “Ramblings,”
as the landscape borrows a golden tint from the lingering beams of the
sun that has set beneath the horizon.

As the brother of Elizabeth Fry, her fellow-worker in the field of
usefulness, and her companion in her memorable visits to the prisons of
England, Ireland, Scotland, and the Continent, his history could not have
failed to possess a deep interest, even apart from the individual
characteristics of his bright and beautiful home-life, and the lustre
shed upon his name by its familiar association with those of Clarkson,
Wilberforce, and Buxton, in the cause of slave emancipation.

The third son of John and Catherine Gurney, and sister of Priscilla
Wakefield, he was born at Earlham Hall, August 2d, 1788.  It is a
singular fact connected with the name, that one of his ancestors, in
1653, was sent a prisoner to the Norwich gaol, for refusing to take the
oath, and that Waller Bacon, of Earlham, who committed him, resided at
the time in the very Hall which the descendants of the prisoner
afterwards occupied.  When Joseph was only four years of age, the family
of eleven children lost the superintending care of their mother, and his
home education mainly devolved upon his three elder sisters, among whom
was Mrs. Fry.  Their home was the scene of rich hospitality, dealt out by
their liberal-minded father; and the literary tastes, intellectual
pursuits, and elegant accomplishments, in which every member of the
social group delighted, drew around them a brilliant circle of the
choicest society, to which the late Duke of Gloucester was a frequent and
welcome addition.

The scholastic instruction of Joseph John was at first superintended by a
clergyman, and afterwards matured at Oxford, where he attended the
professor’s lectures, and enjoyed many of the advantages of the
university, without becoming a member or subscribing to the thirty-nine
articles.

Such an education naturally tended to create some doubts as to the system
of Quakerism; but after much examination and consideration, his
preference became settled in favour of the views and profession of his
old “Friends;” and consistently with them he lived and died, by no means
finding in them any barrier to the fullest and freest association with
any other body of Christians, or to a personal friendship with the
ecclesiastical bishops of the diocese, with one of whom, Bishop Bathurst,
he was a frequent and esteemed guest; while to Bishop Stanley was left
the melancholy opportunity of bearing a testimony to his public and
private character, in the memorable form of a funeral sermon from the
cathedral pulpit, a tribute of respect unexampled since the days of
George Fox.  His life spent in doing good, in preaching as the minister
of the society to which he belonged, in England, Ireland, upon the
Continent, and in America, was full of interest.  In the legislative
hall, at Washington, before the assembled members of Congress, his voice
was heard.  Louis Philippe, Guizot, and De Stael, were among his auditors
in France; the King of Holland abandoned, through his counsel, the
importation of slave soldiers from the Gold Coast; Vinet at Lausanne,
D’Aubigne in Geneva, and the King of Wirtemberg, held council with him.
To attempt to chronicle his deeds of pecuniary munificence, public and
private, would be an herculean task.  The great sums lavished upon public
societies, the world of necessity was made acquainted with, but they
formed but a moiety of the aids furnished from his abundance to the wants
of the needy.  He was truly one whose left hand was not suffered to know
the deeds of its fellow.  The sick and the poor, at home and abroad, the
industrious and the struggling, the aged and the young—each and all
shared his bounty and loving help, for he was one who _gave_, and did not
_fling_ his charities down from the proud heights of opulence, so that
poverty might blush to pick them up.  But the record of his life was
inscribed upon the page of history in characters indelible by the tears
that watered his pathway to the tomb.  We have made a faint effort to
paint the last solemn scene that marked the close of the lamented Bishop
Stanley’s career, and were almost tempted to place side by side with it
the shade of grief that hung over the city when the great “_Friend_” was
suddenly called home from his labours of usefulness and love upon earth.
Few will ever be able to forget the scene of mourning and sorrow that
followed the unlooked-for event, or the almost unparalleled silence of
woe that was written upon every heart and countenance among the thronging
thousands that attended to pay the last tributes of respect at the grave
of the beloved and honoured philanthropist; when Magistrates and
Artizans, Clergymen and Dissenting Ministers, Churchmen, Independents,
Baptists, Methodists, and Friends, representatives of every grade of
society and shade of religious opinion that the Old City could send
forth, gathered around that lowly spot of earth to drop a tear, and seek
inspiration from the spirit of love that seemed to breathe around the
silent tomb.  And who will forget the thrilling prayer offered up from
the lips of the widowed mourner, who fulfilled, in the midst of that
heart-stricken multitude, her measure of obedience to the will of Heaven
and the duty of self-government, by public prayer and thanksgiving.  Who
does not rank among the noblest of the many noble sermons of the good
Bishop Stanley, the far-sounding appeal that was sent forth from the
pulpit of his cathedral, “Watchman, what of the night?”—the commemorating
words that have been inseparably linked with the name and memory of
Joseph John Gurney from that hour.

Years have passed since these events occurred, but the remembrance of
them is vivid; the rich legacy bequeathed to the Old City by the holy
life, walk, and conversation of such a man is not soon expended; but
treasured in the sanctuary of many loving hearts, it is nurtured, and
brings forth fruit, fifty, seventy, and a hundred-fold, to the honour and
glory of God, and to immortalize the memory of a faithful servant in the
vineyard of souls.

                                * * * * *

                                 THE END.

                                * * * * *

                   J. BILLING, PRINTER, WOKING, SURREY.



Footnotes


{0}  These corrections have been applied in this Doctrine Publishing Corporation
eText.—DP.

{5}  Erasmus Earle, a celebrated lawyer.

{223}  A place of judgment.



                                NEW WORKS
                               PUBLISHED BY
                                MR. NEWBY,
                  30, WELBECK STREET, CAVENDISH SQUARE.


                                * * * * *

                     In One Vol. 5s.  Second Edition.
                            THE ROCK OF ROME.
                                    BY
                        AUTHOR OF “VIRGINIUS,” &c.

“Mr. Knowles appears to be only a believer in his Bible, as he comes
forward in this work with an earnestness which all true-hearted men will
appreciate.”—_Examiner_.

“It is a vivid and eloquent exposure of the lofty pretensions of the
Church of Rome.”—_Morning Herald_.

“It should be in the libraries of all Protestants.”—_Morning Post_.

                                * * * * *

                        In Two Vols. £1 1s. cloth.
                    THE LIFE OF PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY.
                                    BY
                             Captain Medwin,
                AUTHOR OF “CONVERSATIONS WITH LORD BYRON.”

“This book must be read by every one interested in literature.”—_Morning
Post_.

“A complete life of Shelley was a desideratum in literature, and there
was no man so competent as Captain Medwin to supply it.”—_Inquirer_.

“This book is sure of exciting much discussion.”—_Literary Gazette_.

                                * * * * *

                  In Two Vols. demy 8vo. £1 10s. cloth.
                         _With numerous plates_.
                    THE SHRINES AND SEPULCHRES OF THE
                            OLD AND NEW WORLD.
                                    BY
                          R. R. Madden, M.R.J.A.

“Mr. Madden’s work displays both extensive reading and extensive travel.
He has been a pilgrim in many lands, and seems to have made use of his
eyes and _ears_.”—_Athenæum_.

“To the antiquarian and moralist, the archæologist and student of the
sacred volume, these volumes must prove a treasury of most recondite
erudition.”—_Telegraph_.

“Dr. Madden evinces the research of a true _helluo librorum_.”—_Freeman’s
Journal_.

“These are erudite, curious, and most agreeable volumes.”—_Warder_.

“The historical student will find it of rare interest.”—_The Nation_.

                                * * * * *

                 In One Vol. 4to. £1 1s.  Second Edition.
     _Illustrated with fifty-four subjects by George Scharf_, _Junr._
                      THE MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF THE
                                 GREEKS.
                                    BY
                       Theodore Panofka of Berlin.

_The Times_ says: “This new publication may be added to a series of works
which honourably characterize the present age, infusing a knowledge of
things into a branch of learning which too often consisted of a knowledge
of mere words, and furnishing the general student with information which
was once exclusively confined to the professed archæologist.  As a last
commendation to this elegant book, let us add that it touches on no point
that can exclude it from the hands of youth.”

“It will excellently prepare the student for the uses of the vases in the
British Museum.”—_Spectator_.

“Great pains, fine taste, and large expense are evident.  It does
infinite credit to the enterprising publisher.”—_Literary Gazette_.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Rambles in an Old City - comprising antiquarian, historical, biographical and political associations" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home