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Title: Stones of the Temple - Lessons from the Fabric and Furniture of the Church
Author: Field, Walter
Language: English
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  R I V I N G T O N S

  London                  _Waterloo Place_

  Oxford                  _High Street_

  Cambridge               _Trinity Street_



  Lessons from the fabric and furniture of the Church


  RIVINGTONS London, Oxford, and Cambridge 1871

"When it pleased  God to raise up  kings and emperors  favouring  sincerely
   the Christian truth, that which  the Church  before either could not or
     durst  not do,  was with all alacrity  performed.  Temples  were in
       all  places erected, no  cost  was  spared:  nothing judged too
         dear  which that way should  be spent.  The whole world did
           seem to exult, that it had occasion of pouring out gifts
             to so blessed a purpose. That cheerful devotion which
               David did this way exceedingly delight to behold,
                 and wish that  the same in the Jewish people
                   might be perpetual, was then in Christian
                     people  every  where  to   be   seen.
                       So far as  our Churches and their
                         Temple  have  one  end,  what
                           should let but that they
                             may lawfully have one


     _Chap._                                      _Page_

         I. THE LICH-GATE                             1

        II. LICH-STONES                              11

       III. GRAVE-STONES                             19

        IV. GRAVE-STONES                             31

         V. THE PORCH                                43

        VI. THE PORCH                                51

       VII. THE PAVEMENT                             63

      VIII. THE PAVEMENT                             73

        IX. THE PAVEMENT                             81

         X. THE PAVEMENT                             91

        XI. THE WALLS                               103

       XII. THE WALLS                               111

      XIII. THE WINDOWS                             123

       XIV. A LOOSE STONE IN THE BUILDING           145

        XV. THE FONT                                155

       XVI. THE PULPIT                              167

      XVII. THE PULPIT                              175

     XVIII. THE NAVE                                187

       XIX. THE NAVE                                197

        XX. THE AISLES                              209

       XXI. THE TRANSEPTS                           217

      XXII. THE CHANCEL-SCREEN                      225

     XXIII. THE CHANCEL                             235

      XXIV. THE ALTAR                               245

       XXV. THE ORGAN-CHAMBER                       255

      XXVI. THE VESTRY                              265

     XXVII. THE PILLARS                             275

    XXVIII. THE ROOF                                285

      XXIX. THE TOWER                               295

       XXX. THE HOUSE NOT MADE WITH HANDS           311



    St. Mildred's Church and Lich-Gate, Whippingham                     3

    Lich-Gate at Yealmton                                               5

    Lich-Gate at Birstal                                                7

    Heywood Church, Manchester                                         13

    Lich-Stone, Great Winnow, Cornwall                                 15

    Lich-Stone at Lustleigh                                            18

    Church of St. Nicholas, West Pennard                               21

    Grave-Stones in Streatham Churchyard                               23

    Grave-Stones in High-Week Churchyard                               24

    Easter Flowers                                                     28

    Stinchcombe Church                                                 33

    Grave-Stones                                               35, 39, 41

    Llanfechan Church                                                  42

    Godmersham Church                                                  45

    Porch of Lübeck Cathedral                                          53

    Porch and Parvise of St. Mary's Church, Finedon                    55

    Parvise, Westbury-on-Trim                                          60

    Church of SS. Philip and James, Oxford                             65

    Brass of John Bloxham and John Whytton in Merton College, Oxford   67

    Heywood Church                                                     75

    Brass of Henry Sever, at Merton College, Oxford                    77

    Chancel of Whippingham Church                                      83

    Brass of Sir Roger de Trumpington                                  85

    Church of St. John the Baptist, Kidmore End                        93

    Encaustic Tiles, Brooke Church                                 95, 97

    St. Andrew's Church, Halstead                                     105

    Ancient Wall Paintings in Kimpton Church                     108, 109

    St. Michael's Church, Gloucester                                  113

    Ancient Wall Painting in Bedford Church                           118

    Wall Painting                                                     121

    Church of St. John, Brandenburg                                   125

    Doorway, St. Stephen's Church, Tangermünde                        127

    Crowmarsh Church                                                  131

    Stained Glass Windows in Great Malvern Church           137, 139, 141

    Rose Window, Cremona Cathedral                                    143

    Amberley Church, in ruin, and restored                            147

    Ancient Font in West Rounton Church                               157

    Stone Pulpit in Dartmouth Church                                  169

    Church of St. Mary, Henley-on-Thames                              177

    Stone Pulpit in North Kilworth Church                             179

    St. Mary's Church, Sherborne                                      189

    All Saints' Church, Bradford                                      199

    Castle Cary Church                                                211

    Church of SS. Peter and Paul, Ringwood                            219

    Church of St. John, Walworth                                      227

    Sutton Benger Church                                              237

    Llanfaenor Church                                                 243

    St. Alban's Church, Holborn                                       247

    Icklesham Church                                                  257

    Harpsden Church                                                   267

    Church of St. John, Highbridge                                    277

    Keynsham Church                                                   287

    Clerestory Window                                                 294

    Meopham Church                                                    297

    Tower, Saragosa                                                   303

    Window, Church of St. Petronius, Bologna                          309

    "Who is able  to build  Him an house, seeing the  heaven and heaven of
     heavens  cannot  contain Him?  who am  I then,  that I  should build
       Him an house, save only to burn sacrifice before Him?
        "Send  me now  therefore a  man  cunning  to work  in gold, and
         in silver,  and in  brass,  and in iron,  and in  purple, and
           crimson,  and blue,  and that can skill to grave with the
            cunning men that are with me in Judah and in Jerusalem,
              whom   David   my   father   did   provide.    Send
                me also cedar-trees, fir-trees, and algum-trees,
                  out of Lebanon: for I know that thy servants
                   can   skill  to  cut  timber  in  Lebanon;
                     and,   behold,  my  servants  shall be
                       with thy servants, even to prepare
                         me    timber   in   abundance:
                          for     the    house  which
                            I  am  about  to  build
                              shall be  great and
                                  2 Chron. ii.


The following chapters are an attempt to explain in very simple language
the history and use of those parts of the Church's fabric with which
most persons are familiar.

They are not written with a view to assist the student of Ecclesiastical
Art and Architecture--for which purpose the works of many learned
writers are available--but simply to inform those who, from having paid
little attention to such pursuits, or from early prejudice, may have
misconceived the origin and design of much that is beautiful and
instructive in God's House.

The spiritual and the material fabric are placed side by side, and the
several offices and ceremonies of the Church as they are specially
connected with the different parts of the building are briefly noticed.

Some of the subjects referred to may appear trifling and unimportant;
those, however, among them which seem to be the most trivial have in
some parishes given rise to long and serious disputations.

The unpretending narrative, which serves to embody the several subjects
treated of, has the single merit of being composed of little incidents
taken from real life.

The first sixteen chapters were printed some years since in the _Church

The writer is greatly indebted to the Committee of the Incorporated
Church Building Society for the use of most of the woodcuts which
illustrate the volume.

                                                   W. F.

      _Michaelmas_, 1871.



"These words which I command thee; thou shalt write them on thy gates."

Deut. vi. 6, 9.

    "Who says the Widow's heart must break,
       The Childless Mother sink?--
     A kinder, truer Voice I hear,
     Which even beside that mournful bier
       Whence Parent's eyes would hopeless shrink,

    "Bids weep no more--O heart bereft,
       How strange, to thee, that sound!
     A Widow o'er her only Son,
     Feeling more bitterly alone
       For friends that press officious round.

    "Yet is the Voice of comfort heard,
       For Christ hath touch'd the bier--
     The bearers wait with wondering eye,
     The swelling bosom dares not sigh,
       But all is still, 'twixt hope and fear.

    "Even such an awful soothing calm
       We sometimes see alight
     On Christian mourners, while they wait
     In silence, by some Churchyard gate,
       Their summons to the holy rite."

                                         _Christian Year._

Illustration: St. Mildred's Church and Lich-Gate, Whippingham


Illustration: Lich-Gate at Yealmton

"Any port in a storm, Mr. Ambrose," said old Matthew
Hutchison, as with tired feet, and scant breath, he hastened to share
the shelter which Mr. Ambrose, the Vicar of the Parish, had found under
the ancient and time-worn Lich-gate of St. Catherine's Churchyard. For a
few big drops of rain that fell pattering on the leaves around, had
warned them both to seek protection from a coming shower. "Ah, yes, my
old friend," the Vicar replied, "and here we are pretty near the port to
which we must all come, when the storm of life itself is past."

"I've known this place,--man and boy,--Mr. Ambrose, for near eighty
years; and on yonder bit of a hill, under that broken thorn, I sit for
hours every day watching my sheep; but my eye often wanders across here,
and then the thought takes me just as you've said it, sir. Ah! it can't
be long before Old Matthew will need some younger limbs than these to
bring him through the churchyard gate;--that's what the old walls always
seem to say to me;--but God's will be done." And as the old Shepherd
reverently lifted his broad hat, his few white hairs, stirred by the
rising gale, seemed to confirm the truth of his words.

"Well, Matthew, I am glad you have learnt, what many are slow to learn,
that there are 'Sermons in stones,' as well as in books. Every stone in
God's House, and in God's Acre--as our Churchyards used to be
called,--may teach us some useful lesson, if we will but stop to read

"Please, sir, I should like to know why they call the gate at the new
churchyard over the hill, a _lich_-gate;--these new names puzzle a poor
man like me[1]."

"The name is better known in some parts of the country than it is here;
but it is no new name, I assure you, for in the time of the Saxons, more
than thirteen hundred years ago, it was in common use; but I will tell
you all about this, and some other matters connected with the place
where we now stand."

"I shall take it very kind if you will, sir, for you know we poor people
don't know much about these things."

"Very often quite as much as many who are richer, Matthew,--but here
comes our young squire, anxious like ourselves to keep a dry coat on his
back; so I shall now be telling my story to rich and poor together, and
I hope make it plain to both." After a few words of friendly greeting
between Mr. Acres and himself, the three sat down on the stone seats of
the Lich-Gate, and he at once proceeded to answer the old Shepherd's
question. "The word _Lich_[2]," he said, "means a _Corpse_, and so
_Lich-Gate_ means a Corpse-gate, or gate through which the dead body is
borne; and that path up which you came just now, Matthew, used formerly
to be called the _Lich-path_[3], because all the funerals came along
that way. In some parts of Scotland is still kept up the custom of
_Lyke-wake_ (_Lich-wake_), or watching beside the dead body before its
burial[4]. The pale sickly-looking moss, which lives best where all else
is dead or dying, we call _lichen_. Then you know the _Lich-owl_ is so
called because some people are silly enough to think that its screech
foretells death. And I must just say something about this word _lich_ in
the name of a certain city; it is _Lichfield_. Now _lich-field_ plainly
means the field of the dead: and where that city now stands is said to
have been the burial-place of many Christian Martyrs, who were slain
there about the year 290. You will remember, Mr. Acres, that the Arms of
the City exhibit this field of the dead, on which lie three slaughtered
men, each having on his head, as is supposed, a martyr's crown. Now,
Matthew, I think I have fully replied to your question; but I should
like to say something more about the use and the history of these

Illustration: Lich-Gate at Birstal

"Will you kindly tell us," said Mr. Acres, "how it is that there are so
few remaining, and that of these there are probably very few indeed so
much as four centuries old[5]."

"I think the reason is, that at first they were almost entirely made of
wood, and therefore were subject to early decay--certainly they must at
one time have been far more general than at present. The rubrical
direction at the beginning of the Burial Office in our Prayer Book seems
to imply some such provision at the churchyard entrance. It is there
said 'the Priest and Clerks' are to 'meet the Corpse _at the entrance of
the Churchyard_.' But in this old Prayer Book of mine, printed in the
year 1549, you see the Priest is directed to meet the corpse at the
'Church-stile,' or Lich-Gate. Now as in olden times the corpse was
always borne to its burial by the friends or neighbours of the deceased,
and they had often far to travel, their time of reaching the Churchyard
must have been very uncertain, and this uncertainty no doubt frequently
caused delay when they had arrived, therefore it was desirable both to
have a place of shelter on a rainy day, and of rest when the way was
long. Hence I suppose it is, that the older Lich-Gates are to be found,
for the most part, in widespread parishes and mountainous districts;
they are most common in the Counties of Devon and Cornwall, and in
Wales[6]. But even where the necessity of the case no longer exists, the
Lich-Gate, adorned, as it ever should be, with some holy text or pious
precept, is most appropriate as an ornament, and expressive as a symbol.
Its presence should always be associated in our minds with thoughts of
death, and life beyond it. It should remind us that though we must ere
long 'go to the gates of the grave,' yet that it is 'through the grave
and gate of death' that we must 'pass to our joyful resurrection.' It
is here the Comforter of Bethany so often speaks, through the voice of
His Church, to His sorrowing brethren in the world:--'I am the
resurrection and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead,
yet shall he live[7]."

"Ah! sir," said the shepherd, "many's the poor heart-bowed mourner
that's been comforted here with those words! They always remind me of
Jesus saying to the widow of Nain, 'Weep not,' when he stopped the bier
on which was her only son, and the bearers, and all the mourners, at the
gate of the city."

"Yes! and all this makes us look on the old Lich-Gate as no gloomy
object, but rather as a 'Beautiful Gate of the Temple' which is
eternal,--a glorious arch of hope and triumph, hung all round with
trophies of Christian victory. But I see the rain is over, and the sun
is shining! so good-bye, Mr. Acres, we two shepherds must not stay
longer from our respective flocks:--old Matthew's is spread over the
mountains, mine is folded in the village below." The old shepherd soon
took his accustomed seat under the weather-beaten thorn, the Vicar was
soon deep in the troubles of a poor parishioner, and the young Squire
went to the village by another way.



"Man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets."

Eccles. xii. 5.

    "Say, was it to my spirit's gain or loss,
    One bright and balmy morning, as I went
    From Liege's lovely environs to Ghent,
    If hard by the wayside I found a cross,
    That made me breathe a prayer upon the spot--
    While Nature of herself, as if to trace
    The emblem's use, had trail'd around its base
    The blue significant Forget-me-not?
    Methought, the claims of Charity to urge
    More forcibly, along with Faith and Hope,
    The pious choice had pitch'd upon the verge
      Of a delicious slope,
    Giving the eye much variegated scope;--
    'Look round,' it whisper'd, 'on that prospect rare,
    Those vales so verdant, and those hills so blue;
    Enjoy the sunny world, so fresh and fair,
    But'--(how the simple legend pierced me thro'!)
      'Priez pour les Malheureux.'"

                                                 _T. Hood._

Illustration: Heywood Church, Manchester


Illustration: Lich-Stone, Great Winnow, Cornwall

"Good morning, Mr. Acres, and a happy Easter-Tide to you. This is indeed
a bright Easter sun to shine on our beautiful Lich-Gate at its
re-opening. I little thought on what good errand you were bent when last
we parted at this spot. Hardly however had I reached my door when
William Hardy came with great glee to tell me you had engaged his
services for the work. May God reward you, sir, for the honour you have
shown for His Church."

"And an old man's blessing be upon you, sir, if you will let Old Matthew
say so; for the Church-gate is dearer to me than my own, seeing it has
closed upon my beloved partner, and the dear child God gave us, and my
own poor wicket shuts on no one else but me now."

"Thank you heartily, honest Matthew, and you too, sir," replied the
squire, giving to each the hand of friendship; "I am rejoiced that what
has been done pleases you so well. The restored Gate is in every respect
like the original one, even to the simple little cross on the top of
it. I have added nothing but the sentence from our Burial Office,
'Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord,' which you see over the
arch, and which I hope will bring comfort to some, and hope to all who
read it. But the work would never have been done by me, Mr. Vicar, had
you not so interested Matthew and myself in these Lich-Gates when last
we met. And so, as you see, your good words have not been altogether
lost, I hope you will kindly to-day continue the subject of our last

"Most gladly will I do so; and as I have already spoken of the general
purpose and utility of these Lich-Gates, I will now say a little about
their construction and arrangement.

"Their most common form, as you know, is a simple shed composed of a
roof with two gable ends, covered either with tiles or thatch, and
supported on strong timbers well braced together. But they are
frequently built of stone, and in the manner of their construction they
greatly vary. At Burnsall there is a curious arrangement for opening and
closing the gate. The stone pier on the north side has a well-hole, in
which the weight that closes the gate works up and down. An upright
swivel post or 'heart-tree,' (as the people there call it,) stands in
the centre, and through this pass the three rails of the gate; an iron
bent lever is fixed to the top of this post, which is connected by a
chain and guide-pulley to the weight, so that when any one passes
through, both ends of the gate open in opposite directions. The Gate at
Rostherne churchyard, in Cheshire, is on a similar plan. At
Berry-harbour is a Lich-Gate in the form of a cross. At only one place,
I believe,--Troutbeck, in Westmoreland,--are there to be found three
stone Lich-Gates in one churchyard. Some of these gates have chambers
over them, as at Bray[8], in Berkshire, and Barking[9], in Essex. At
Tawstock there is a small room on either side of the gate, having seats
on three sides and a table in the centre. It seems that in this, as in
some other cases, provision is made either for the distribution of
alms, or for the rest and refreshment of funeral attendants. It was
once a common custom at funerals in some parts, especially in
Scotland[10], to hold a feast at the Church-gate and these feasts
sometimes led to great excesses: happily they are now discontinued, but
the custom may help to point out the purpose for which these Lich-Gate
rooms were sometimes erected. In Cornwall it is not customary to bear
the corpse on the shoulders, but to carry the coffin, under-handed, by
white cloths passed beneath and through the handles[11] and this partly
explains the peculiar arrangement for resting the corpse at the entrance
to the churchyard, common, even now, in that county, and which is called
the _Lich-Stone_. The Lich-Stone is often found without any building
attached to it, and frequently without even a gate. The Stone is either
oblong with the ends of equal width, or it is the shape of the ancient
coffins, narrower at one end than the other, but without any bend at the
shoulder. It is placed in the centre, having stone seats on either side,
on which the bearers rest whilst the coffin remains on the Lich-Stone.
When there is no gate, the churchyard is protected from the intrusion of
cattle by this simple contrivance:--long pieces of moor-stone, or
granite, are laid across, with a space of about three inches between
each, and being rounded on the top any animal has the greatest
difficulty in walking over them, indeed a quadruped seldom attempts to
cross them.

"Lich-Stones are,--though very rarely,--to be found at a distance from
the churchyard; in this case, doubtless, they are intended as rests for
the coffin on its way to burial.

"At Lustleigh, in Devonshire, is an octagonal Lich-Stone called Bishop's
Stone, having engraved upon it the arms of Bishop Cotton[12]. It seems
not unlikely that the several beautiful crosses erected by King Edward
I. at the different stages where the corpse of his queen, Eleanor[13],
rested on its way from Herdeby in Lincolnshire to Westminster, were
built over the Lich-Stone on which her coffin was placed. And now, my
kind listeners, I think I have told you all I know about Lich-Stones."

Illustration: Lich-Stone at Lustleigh

"These simple memorials of Church architecture are very touching,"
replied Mr. Acres, as he rose to depart; "and the Lich-Stone deserves a
record before modern habits and improvements sweep them away. They have
a direct meaning, and surely might be more generally adopted in
connexion with the Lich-Gate, now gradually re-appearing in many of our
rural parishes, as the fitting entrance to the churchyard."



"When I am dead, then bury me in the sepulchre wherein the man of God is
buried; lay my bones beside his bones."

1 Kings xiii. 31.

                              "I've seen
    The labourer returning from his toil,
    Here stay his steps, and call the children round,
    And slowly spell the rudely sculptured rhymes,
    And in his rustic manner, moralize.
    We mark'd with what a silent awe he'd spoken,
    With head uncover'd, his respectful manner,
    And all the honours which he paid the grave."

                                   _H. Kirke White._

    "I like that ancient Saxon phrase, which calls
       The burial-ground God's acre! It is just;
     It consecrates each grave within its walls,
       And breathes a benison o'er the sleeping dust.

    "Into its furrows shall we all be cast,
       In the sure faith that we shall rise again
     At the great harvest, when the archangel's blast
       Shall winnow, like a fan, the chaff and grain.

    "With thy rude ploughshare, Death, turn up the sod,
       And spread the furrow for the seed we sow;
     This is the field and acre of our God:
       This is the place where human harvests grow."


Illustration: Church of St. Nicholas, West Pennard


Illustration: Grave-Stones in Streatham Churchyard

"And so, Matthew, the old sexton's little daughter is to
be buried to-day. What a calm peaceful day it is for her funeral! The
day itself seems to have put on the same quiet happy smile that Lizzie
Daniels always carried about with her, before she had that painful
lingering sickness, which she bore with a meekness and patience I hardly
ever saw equalled. And then it is Easter Day too, the very day one would
choose for the burial of a good Christian child. All our services to-day
will tell us that this little maid, and all those who lie around us here
so still beneath their green mounds, are not dead but sleeping, and as
our Saviour rose from the grave on Easter Day, so will they all awake
and rise up again when God shall call them. I see the little grave is
dug under the old yew-tree, near to that of your own dear ones. Lizzie
was a great favourite of yours, was she not, Matthew?"

"Ah, she was the brightest little star in my sky, I can tell you, sir;
and I shall miss her sadly. She brought me my dinner, every day for near
two years, up to the old thorn there, and then she would sit down on the
grass before me, and read from her Prayer Book some of the Psalms for
the day; and when she had done, and I had kissed and thanked her, she
used to go trotting home again, with, I believe, the brightest little
face and the lightest little heart in England. Well, sir, it's sorry
work, you know, for a man to dig the grave for his own child, and so I
asked John Daniels to let me dig Lizzie's grave: but it has been indeed
hard work for me, for I think I've shed more tears in that grave than I
ever shed out of it. But the grave is all ready now, and little Lizzie
will soon be there; and then, sir, I should like to put up a stone, for
I shall often come here to think about the dear child. Poor little
Lizzie! she seemed like a sort of good angel to me,--children do seem
like that sometimes, don't they, sir? Perhaps, Mr. Ambrose, you would be
so good as to tell Robert Atkinson what sort of stone you would like him
to put up."

"Certainly I will; and I think nothing would be so suitable as a simple
little stone cross, with Lizzie's name on the base of it. And as she is
to be buried on Easter Day, I should like to add the words, 'In Christ
shall all be made alive.'"

"Thank you, sir; that will do very nicely. I'm only thinking, may be,
that wicked boy of Mr. Dole's, at the shop, will come some night and
break the cross, as he did the one Mr. Hunter put up over his little
boy. But I think that was more the sin of the father than of the son,
for I'm told the old gentleman's very angry with you, sir, 'cause he
couldn't put what he call's a 'handsome monument' over his father's
grave; and he says, too, he's going to law about it."

Illustration: Grave-Stones in High-Week Churchyard

"Ah, he'll be wiser not to do that, Matthew. The churchyard is the
parson's freehold, and he has the power to prevent the erection of any
stone there of which he disapproves; and I, for one, don't mean to give
up this power. 'Tis true that every one of my parishioners has a right
to be buried in this churchyard, nor could I refuse this if I would; but
then, if I am to protect this right of my parishioners, as it is my duty
to do, and to preserve my churchyard from disfigurement and desecration,
I must take care that the ground is not occupied by such great ugly
monuments as Mr. Dole wishes to build[14]. Why I hear he bought that
large urn[15] which was taken down from Mr. Acres' park gates, to put on
the top of the tomb. And then I suppose he would like to have the sides
covered with skulls and crossbones, and shovels and mattocks, and fat
crying cherubs, besides the usual heathen devices, such as inverted
torches and spent hour-glasses; all which fitly enough mark an infidel's
burial-place, but not a Christian's. For you see, my friend, that _none
of these things represent any Christian truth_; the best are but emblems
of mortality; some are the symbols of oblivion and despair, and others
but mimic a heathen custom long gone by. The stones of the churchyard
ought themselves to tell the sanctity of the place, and that it is a
Christian's rest[16]. The letters we carve on them will hardly be read
by our children's children. The lines on that stone there tell no more
than is true of all the Epitaphs around us:

    'The record some fond hand hath traced,
     To mark thy burial spot,
     The lichen will have soon effaced,
     To write thy doom--Forgot.'

But even then, if the symbol of our redemption is there, 'the very
stones will cry out,' and though time-worn and moss-grown, will declare
that it is a _Christian's_ burial-place. If, then, as Christian men and
women 'we sorrow not as others without hope,' let us not cover our
monuments with every symbol of despair, or with heathen devices, but as
we are not ashamed of the doctrine, so neither let us be ashamed of the
symbol of the cross of Christ. Besides, if we wish to preserve our
graves from desecration, this form of stone is the most likely to do so;
for in spite of outrages like young Dole's, which have been sometimes
committed, we continually find that such memorials have been respected
and preserved when others have been removed and employed for common
uses. Why, Matthew, I've seen hundreds of grave-stones converted into
fire-hearths, door-steps, pavements, and such like, but I never saw a
monument on which was graven the Christian symbol so desecrated; and I
believe such a thing has hardly ever been seen by any one."

"Well, Mr. Ambrose, I should like there to be no doubt about little
Lizzie's being a Christian's grave. I was thinking, too, to have a neat
iron railing round the stone, sir."

"I would advise you not to have it, Matthew; for the grave will be
prettier without it. Besides, it gives an idea of separateness, which
one does not like in a place where all distinctions are done away with;
and, moreover, the iron would soon rust, and then the railing would
become very untidy."

"Yes, to be sure it would; I was forgetting that I shan't be here to
keep it nicely painted:--but see, sir, here come the children from the
village with their Easter flowers. I dare say little Mary Acres will
give me some for Lizzie's grave."

"Ah, I like that good old custom of placing flowers and wreaths on
Christian graves at Easter, and other special seasons[17]. It is the
simple way in which these little ones both show their respect for
departed friends, and express their belief in the resurrection of the
dead. I would say of it, as Wordsworth wrote of the Funeral Chant:--

              'Many precious rites
    And customs of our rural ancestry
    Are gone, or stealing from us; this, I hope,
    Will last for ever.'

But you remember the time, Matthew, when there were very different
scenes from this, at Easter, in St. Catherine's churchyard. If I mistake
not, you will recollect when the Easter fair used to be kept here."

Illustration: Easter Flowers

"That I do, sir, too well. There was always a Sunday fight in the
churchyard, and the people used to come from Walesborough and for miles
round to see it. It's just forty years ago to-day poor Bill Thirlsby was
killed in a fight, as it might be, just where I'm now standing[18].
But, thank God, that day's gone by."

"And, I trust, never to come back again. But have you heard, Matthew,
that some great enemies of the Church are trying to spoil the peace and
sacredness of our churchyards in another way? They want to bring in all
kinds of preachers to perform all sorts of funeral services in them; and
if they gain their ends, our long-hallowed churchyards, where as yet
there has only been heard the solemn beautiful Burial Service of our own
Church, may be desecrated by the clamour of ignorant fanaticism, the
continual janglings of religious discord, or perhaps, the open blasphemy
of godless men."

"What! then I suppose we should have first a service from Master Scoff,
the bill-sticker and Mormon preacher, and next from Master Scole, the
Baptist preacher, then from Father La Trappe, the Roman Catholic
minister, and then, perhaps, sir, it might be your turn. Why, sir,
'twould be almost like going back to the Easter fair."

"Well, my friend, in one respect it would be worse; for it would be
discord all the year round. But I trust God will frustrate these wicked
designs of our Church's foes. Long, long may it be ere the sanctity of
our churchyards is thus invaded."

"Amen, say I to that, sir, with all my heart."

"And, thanks be to God, Matthew, that Amen of yours is now re-echoing
loudly throughout the length and breadth of England."



"And he said, What title is that that I see? and the men of the city
told him, It is the sepulchre of the man of God."

2 Kings xiii. 17.

    "I never can see a Churchyard old,
       With its mossy stones and mounds,
     And green trees weeping the unforgot
       That rest in its hallow'd bounds;
     I never can see the old churchyard,
       But I breathe to God a prayer,
     That, sleep as I may in this fever'd life,
       I may rest, when I slumber, there.

    "Our Mother the Church hath never a child
       To honour before the rest,
     But she singeth the same for mighty kings,
       And the veriest babe on her breast;
     And the bishop goes down to his narrow bed
       As the ploughman's child is laid,
     And alike she blesseth the dark brow'd serf,
       And the chief in his robe array'd.

    "And ever the bells in the green churchyard
       Are tolling to tell you this:--
     Go pray in the church, while pray ye can,
       That so ye may sleep in bliss."

                          _Christian Ballads._

    "It is an awful thing to stand
     With either world on either hand,
     Upon the intermediate ground
     Which doth the sense and spirit bound.
     Woe worth the man who doth not fear
     When spirits of the dead are near."

                          _The Baptistery._

Illustration: Stinchcombe Church


A golden haze in the eastern sky told that the sun which had set in all
his glory an hour before was now giving a bright Easter Day to
Christians in other lands. The evening service was ended, and a joyful
peal had just rung out from the tower of St. Catherine's,--for such was
the custom there on all the great festivals of the Church,--the low hum
of voices which lately rose from a group of villagers gathered near the
churchyard gate was hushed; there was a pause of perfect stillness; and
then the old tenor began its deep, solemn tolling for the burial of a
little child. The Vicar and his friend Mr. Acres, who had been walking
slowly to and fro on the churchyard path, stopped suddenly on hearing
the first single beat of the burial knell, and at the same instant they
saw, far down the village lane, the flickering light of the two torches
borne by those who headed the little procession of Lizzie's funeral.
They, too, seemed to have caught the spell, and stood mutely
contemplating the scene before them. At length Mr. Acres broke silence
by saying, "I know of but few Parishes where, like our own, the funerals
of the poor take place by torch-light; it is, to say the least, a very
picturesque custom."

Illustration: Grave Stones

"It is, indeed," replied Mr. Ambrose, "I believe, however, the poor in
this place first adopted it from no such sentiment, but simply as being
more convenient both to themselves and to their employers. Their
employers often cannot spare them earlier in the day, and they
themselves can but ill afford to lose a day's wages. But these evening
funerals have other advantages. They enable many more of the friends of
the departed to show this last tribute of respect to their memory than
could otherwise do so; and were this practice more general, we should
have fewer of those melancholy funerals where the hired bearers are the
sole attendants. Then, if properly conducted, they save the poor much
expense at a time when they are little able to afford it. I find that
their poor neighbours will, at evening, give their services as bearers,
free of cost, which they cannot afford to do earlier in the day. The
family of the deceased, too, are freed from the necessity of taxing
their scanty means in order to supply a day's hospitality to their
visitors, who now do not assemble till after their day's labour, and
immediately after the funeral retire to their own homes, and to rest. I
am sorry to say, however, this was not always so. When I first came to
the Parish, the evening was too often followed by a night of
dissipation. But since I have induced the people to do away with hired
bearers, and enter into an engagement to do this service one for
another, free of charge, and simply as a _Christian duty_, those evils
have never recurred. I once preached a sermon to them from the text,
'Devout men carried Stephen to his burial' (Acts viii. 2), in which I
endeavoured to show them that none but men of good and honest report
should be selected for this solemn office; and I am thankful to say,
from that time all has been decent and orderly. When it is the funeral
of one of our own school-children, the coffin is always carried by some
of the school-teachers; I need hardly say this is simply an act of
Christian charity. Moreover, this custom greatly diminishes the number
of our Sunday burials, which are otherwise almost a necessity among the
poor[19]. The Sunday, as a great Christian Festival, is not appropriate
for a public ceremony of so mournful a character as that of the burial
of the dead; there is, too, this additional objection to Sunday burials:
that they create _Sunday labour_. But, considering the subject
generally, I confess a preference for these evening funerals. To me they
seem less gloomy, though more solemn, than those which take place in the
broad light of day. When the house has been closed, and the chamber of
death darkened for several days (to omit which simple acts would be like
an insult to the departed), it seems both consonant with this custom
which we have universally adopted, and following the course of our
natural feelings, to avoid--in performing the last solemn rite--the full
blaze of midday light. There is something in the noiseless going away of
daylight suggestive of the still departure of human life; and in the
gathering shades of evening, in harmony with one's thoughts of the grave
as the place of the _sleeping_, and not of the _dead_. The hour itself
invites serious thought. When a little boy, I once attended a midnight
funeral; and the event left an impression on my mind which I believe
will never be altogether effaced. I would not, however, recommend
midnight funerals, except on very special occasions; and I must freely
admit that under many circumstances evening funerals would not be

"I see," said Mr. Acres, "that the system here adopted obviates many
evils which exist in the prevailing mode of Christian burial, but it
hardly meets the case of large towns, especially when the burial must
take place in a distant cemetery. Don't you think we want reform there,
even more, perhaps, than in these rural parishes?"

"Yes, certainly, my friend, I do; and I regret to say I see, moreover,
many difficulties that beset our efforts to accomplish it. Still
something should be done. We all agree, it is much to be deplored that,
owing to the necessity for extramural burial, the connexion between the
parishioner and his parish church is, with very rare exceptions,
entirely severed in the last office which the Clergy and his friends can
render him, and the solemn Service of the Burial of the Dead is said in
a strange place, by a stranger's voice. Now this we can at least partly
remedy. I would always have the bodies of the departed brought to the
parish church previous to their removal to the cemetery; and the funeral
knell should be tolled, as formerly, to invite their friends and
neighbours to be present, and take part in so much of the service as
need not be said at the grave. It would then be no longer true, as now
it is, that in many of our churches this touching and beautiful Service
has never been said, and by many of the parishioners has never been
heard. Then let the bearers be men of good and sober character. How
revolting to one's sense of decency is the spectacle, so common in
London, of hired attendants, wearing funeral robes and hat-bands[20],
drinking at gin-palaces, whilst the hearse and mourning coaches are
drawn up outside! Then I would have the furniture of the funeral less
suggestive of _sorrow without hope_; and specially I would have the
coffin less gloomy,--I might in many cases say, less _hideous_: let it
be of plain wood, or, if covered, let its covering be of less gloomy
character, and without the trashy and unmeaning ornaments with which
undertakers are used to bestud it. As regards our cemeteries, I suppose
in most of them the Burial Service is said in all its integrity, but in
some it is sadly mutilated. 'No fittings, sir, and a third-class grave,'
said the attendant of a large cemetery the other day to a friend of
mine, who had gone there to bury a poor parishioner; which in simple
English was this:--'The man was too poor to have any other than a
_common grave_, so you must not read all the Service; and his friends
are too poor to give a hat-band, so you must not wear a hood and stole.'
My friend did not of course comply with the intimation."

Illustration: Grave-Stones

"Well, Mr. Vicar, I hope we may see the improvements you have suggested
carried out, and then such an abuse as that will not recur. Much indeed
has already been done in this direction, and for this we must be

"Yes, and side by side with that, I rejoice to see an increasing
improvement in the character of our tombstones and epitaphs."

"Ah, sir, there was need enough, I am sure, for that. How shocking are
many of the inscriptions we find on even modern tombstones! To 'lie like
an epitaph' has long been a proverb, and I fear a just one. What a host
of false witnesses we have even here around us in this burial-ground!
There lies John Wilk, who was--I suppose--as free from care and sickness
to his dying hour as any man that ever lived; yet his grave-stone tells
the old story:--

    'Afflictions sore long time I bore,
        Physicians was in vain.'

And beyond his stands the stone of that old scold Margery Torbeck, who,
you know, sir, was the terror of the whole village; and of her we are

    'A tender wife, a mother dear,
     A faithful friend, lies buried here.'

I often think, Mr. Ambrose, when walking through a churchyard, if people
were only half as good when living, as when dead they are said to have
been, what a happy world this would be; so full of 'the best of
husbands,' 'the most devoted of wives,' 'the most dutiful of sons,' and
'the most amiable of daughters.' One is often reminded of the little
child's inquiry--'Mamma, where are all the _wicked_ people buried?' But
did you ever notice that vain and foolish inscription under the north
wall to the 'perpetual' memory of 'Isaac Donman, Esq.'? Poor man! I
wonder whether his friends thought the 'Esq.' would _perpetuate_ his
memory. I wish it could be obliterated."

"I have told John Daniels to plant some ivy at the base of the stone,
and I hope the words will be hidden by it before the summer is over. I
find this the most convenient mode of concealing objectionable epitaphs.
But is it not an instance of strange perversity, that where all earthly
distinctions are swept away, and men of all degrees are brought to one
common level, people will delight to inscribe these boastful and
exaggerated praises of the departed, and so often claim for them virtues
which in reality they never possessed? What can be more out of place
here than pride? As regards the frail body on which is often bestowed so
much vain eulogy, what truer words are there than these?--

    'How loved, how valued once, avails thee not;
     To whom related, or by whom begot:
     A heap of dust alone remains of thee,
     'Tis all thou art, 'tis all the proud shall be.'

These kind of epitaphs, too, are so very unfair to the deceased. We who
knew old Mrs. Ainstie, who lies under that grand tombstone, knew her to
be a good, kind neighbour; but posterity will not believe that, when
posterity reads in her epitaph that 'she was a spotless woman.' It is
better to say too little than too much; since our Bibles tell us that,
even _when we have done all, we are unprofitable servants_. There are
other foolish epitaphs which are the result of ignorance, not of pride.
For instance, poor old Mrs. Beck, whose son is buried in yonder corner
(it is too dark now to see the stone), sent me these lines for her son's

    'Here lies John Beck, aged 19 years,
     Father and mother, wipe away your tears.'

I persuaded her instead to have this sentence from the Creed:--'I
believe in the communion of Saints.' When I explained to her the meaning
of the words, she was grateful that I had suggested them.

Illustration: Grave-Stones

The two things specially to be avoided in these memorials are flattery
and falsehood; and, moreover, we should always remember that neither
grave-stone nor epitaph can benefit the _dead_, but that both may
benefit the _living_. Therefore a short sentence from the Bible or
Prayer Book, expressive of hope beyond the grave, is always appropriate;
such as:--'I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the
world to come;' or words which either may represent the dying prayer of
the deceased, or express a suitable petition for ourselves when thus
reminded of our own approaching departure, such as: 'Jesus, mercy,' or
'God be merciful to me a sinner,' or 'In the hour of death, good Lord,
deliver us.' How much better is some simple sentence like these than a
fulsome epitaph! But the funeral is nearly at the gate; so I must hasten
to meet it."

"And I will say good evening," said Mr. Acres, "as I may not see you
after the service; and I thank you for drawing my attention to a subject
on which I had before thought too little."

Mr. Ambrose met the funeral at the lich-gate. First came the two
torch-bearers, then the coffin, borne by six school-teachers; then John
and Mary Daniels, followed by their two surviving children; then came
old Matthew, and after him several of little Lizzie's old friends and
neighbours. Each attendant carried a small sprig of evergreen[21], or
some spring flowers, and, as the coffin was being lowered, placed them
on it. Many tears of sadness fell down into that narrow grave, but none
told deeper love than those of the old Shepherd, who lingered
sorrowfully behind to close in the grave of his little friend.

Illustration: Llanfechan Church



"Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God."

Eccles. v. 1.

    "When once thy foot enters the church, be bare.
     God is more there than thou: for thou art there
     Only by His permission. Then beware
     And make thyself all reverence and fear.
     Kneeling ne'er spoilt silk stockings: quit thy state,
     All equal are within the Church's gate.

    "Let vain or busy thoughts have there no part:
     Bring not thy plough, thy plots, thy pleasures thither.
     Christ purged His temple; so must thou thy heart.
     All worldly thoughts are but thieves met together
     To cozen thee. Look to thy actions well;
     For churches either are our heaven or hell."

                                       _George Herbert._

    "One place there is--beneath the burial sod,
       Where all mankind are equalized by death:
     Another place there is--the Fane of God,
       Where all are equal who draw living breath."

                                          _Thomas Hood._

Illustration: Godmersham Church


Mr. Ambrose only remained in the churchyard a few moments after little
Lizzie's funeral, just to say some kind words to the bereaved parents
and the attendant mourners, and then hastened to comply with the urgent
request of a messenger, that he would without delay accompany him to the
house of a parishioner living in a distant part of the Parish.

It was more than an hour ere the Vicar began to retrace his steps. His
nearest way to the village lay through the churchyard, along the path he
had lately traversed in earnest conversation with Mr. Acres. He paused a
moment at the gate, to listen for the sound of Matthew's spade; but the
old man had completed his task, and all was still. He then entered, and
turned aside to look at the quiet little grave. A grassy mound now
marked the spot, and it was evident that no little care had been
bestowed to make it so neat and tidy.

Mr. Ambrose was slowly walking on, musing on the patient sufferings of
his little friend, now gone to her rest, when just as he approached the
beautiful old porch of the church his train of thought was suddenly
disturbed by hearing what seemed to him the low, deep sobbing of
excessive grief. The night was not so dark but that he could see
distinctly within the porch, and he anxiously endeavoured to discover
whether the sound had proceeded from any one who had taken shelter there
for the night; but the place was evidently tenant less. "It must have
been only the hum of a passing breeze, which my fancy has converted into
a human voice," thought he, "for assuredly no such restless sobs as
those ever escape from the deep sleepers around me here." And so the
idea was soon banished and forgotten. But as he stood there, his gaze
became, almost unconsciously, fixed upon the old church porch. The dim
light resting upon it threw the rich carvings of its graceful arches,
and deep-groined roof, with its massive bosses of sculptured stone, into
all sorts of fantastic forms, and a strange mystery seemed to hang about
the solemn pile, which completely riveted his attention to it, and led
him into the following reverie:--"Ah, thou art indeed a 'beautiful gate
of the temple'! Well and piously did our ancestors in bestowing so much
wealth and labour to make thy walls so fair and lovely. And well ever
have they done in crowding these noble porches with the sacred emblems
of our holy faith. Rightly have they deemed that the very highest
efforts of human art could not be misapplied in adorning the threshold
of God's House, so that, ere men entered therein, their minds might be
attuned to the solemnity of the place[22]. All praise, too, to those
honest craftsmen who cemented these old stones so well together that
they have stood the storms of centuries, and still remain the unlettered
though faithful memorials of ages long gone by. Ah, how many scenes my
imagination calls up as I look on this old porch! Hundreds of years ago
most of the sacred offices of our Church were there in part performed.
Now, I think I see the gay bridal party standing in that dusky
portal[23]; there comes the Priest to join the hands of the young and
happy pair; he pronounces over them the Church's blessing; and the
bridegroom endows with her bridal portion her whom he has sworn to love
till one shall die. A thousand brides and bridegrooms, full of bright
hopes of happy years, have been married in that porch. Centuries ago
they grew old and died, and were buried in this churchyard, but the old
porch still remains in all its beauty and all its strength. There,
kneeling upon that well-worn pavement, I see the mother pour forth her
thankfulness to God for her deliverance from sickness, and for the babe
she bears[24]. And now, still beneath that porch, she gives her tender
infant into the arms of God's priest, that he may present it to Him in
holy Baptism. In yon dark corner I seem to see standing the notorious
breaker of God's commands; his head is bent down with shame, and he is
clothed in the robe of penance[25]. Now the scene is changed: the old
walls resound with the voices of noisy disputants--it is a parish
meeting[26], and passions long since hushed find there a clamorous
expression; but there stands the stately form of the peace-maker, and
the noisy tongue of the village orator is heard no more. Yes, rise up,
Sir Knight, who, with thy hands close clasped as if in ceaseless prayer,
hast lain upon that stony couch for five long centuries, and let thy
manly step be heard beneath that aged roof once more; for, though a
warrior, thou wast a good and peace-loving man, and a devout worshipper
in this temple, or, I trust, thy burial-place would never have been in
this old porch[27]."

The eyes of the Vicar were fixed upon the recumbent effigy of an old
knight lying beneath its stone canopy on the western side of the porch
(of which, however, only a dim outline was visible), when the same sound
that had before startled him was repeated, followed by what seemed the
deep utterance of earnest prayer, but so far off as to be but faintly
heard. He stood in motionless attention for a short time, and then the
voice ceased. He then saw a flickering light on one of the farthest
windows of the chancel; slowly it passed from window to window, till it
reached that nearest to the spot where he was standing. Then there was a
narrow line of light in the centre of the doorway; gradually it widened,
and there stood before him the venerable form of the old shepherd.



"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with

Ps. c. 4.

    "Why should we grudge the hour and house of prayer
         To Christ's own blind and lame,
         Who come to meet Him there?
       Better, be sure, His altar-flame
       Should glow in one dim wavering spark,
     Than quite lie down, and leave His Temple drear and dark.

    "What if the world our two or three despise
         They in His name are here,
         To whom in suppliant guise
       Of old the blind and lame drew near,
       Beside His royal courts they wait,
     And ask His healing Hand: we dare not close the gate."

                                             _Lyra Innocentium._

Illustration: Porch of Lübeck Cathedral


Illustration: Porch and Parvise of St. Mary's Church, Finedon

"The Vicar's first impulse, on recovering from his
surprise at so unexpectedly meeting with the old Shepherd in such a
place, at such an hour, was, if possible, to escape unnoticed, and to
leave the churchyard without suffering him to know what he had heard and
seen; but at that instant the light fell full upon him, and concealment
was impossible.

"You'll be surprised, Mr. Ambrose," said the old man, "at finding me in
the church at this late time. But it has, I assure you, been a great
comfort for me to be here."

"My good friend," replied the Vicar, "I know you have been making good
use of God's House, and I only wish there were more disposed to do the
like. I rejoice to hear you have found consolation, for to-day has been
one of heavy sorrow to you, and you needed that _peace which the world
cannot give_. How often it is that _we cannot understand these trials
until we go into the House of the Lord_, and then God makes it all plain
to us."

"I've learnt that to-night, sir, as I never learnt it before. When I
had put the last bit of turf on the little grave, and knew that all
my work was over, there was such a desolate, lonely-like feeling
came over me, that I thought my old heart must break; and then, all
of a sudden, it got into my head that I would come into the church.
But it was more dull and lonesome there than ever. It was so awful
and quiet, I became quite fearful and cowed, quite like a child, you
know, sir. When I stood still, I hardly dared look round for fear I
should see _something_ in the darkness under the old grey arches,
and when I moved, the very noise of my footsteps, which seemed to
sound in every corner, frightened me. However, I took courage, and
went on. Then I opened this Prayer Book, and the first words I saw
were these in the Baptismal Service:--'_Whosoever shall not receive
the Kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein._'
So I knelt down at the altar rails and prayed, as I think I never
prayed before, that I might in my old age become as good as the
little maid I had just buried, and be as fit to die as I really
believe she was. Then I said those prayers you see marked in the
book, sir (she put the marks), and at last I came to those beautiful
words in the Communion Service (there is a cross put to them, and I
felt sure she meant me particularly to notice them):--'_We bless and
praise Thy holy Name for all Thy servants departed this life in Thy
faith and fear._' I stood up, and said that over and over again; and
as I did so, somehow all my fear and lonesomeness went away, and I
was quite happy. It was _this_ that made me so happy: I felt sure,
sir, quite sure, that my poor dear wife and our child and little
Lizzie were close to me. I could not see nor hear them, but for all
that I was somehow quite certain that they were there rejoicing with
me, and praising God for all the good people He had taken to
Himself. Oh! I shall never forget this night, sir; the thought of it
will always make me happy. You will never see me again so cast down
as I have been lately."

"Well, Matthew, you cannot at least be wrong in allowing what you have
felt and believed to fix more firmly in your faith the Church's glorious
doctrine of the _communion of saints_."

For some time each stood following out in his own mind the train of
thought which these words suggested. Matthew was the first to break
silence, by begging the Vicar kindly to go with him into the room above
where they were standing, as he wished there to ask a favour of him.

Matthew returned into the church to find the key of the chamber, and Mr.
Ambrose at once recognized the volume which he had left on the stone
seat of the porch, as that from which Lizzie was used to read when she
sat beside the old Shepherd on the neighbouring hill. He took it up,
and, opening it at the Burial Office, he found there a little curl of
lovely fair hair marking the place. The page was still wet--it was the
dew of evening, gentle tears of love and sorrow shed by one whose night
was calmly and peacefully coming on.

The old man soon returned with the key, and, bearing the lantern, led
the way up a narrow, winding stone staircase, formed in the masonry of a
large buttress, to the little chamber. As soon as they had reached it,
he said, "Before I beg my favour, Mr. Ambrose, I should much like you to
tell me something about this old room. Ever since I was a boy it has
been a sort of lumber-room, but I suppose it was not built for that?"

"Well, Matthew, there is not much here to throw light upon the history
of this particular chamber; but I will tell you what I can about such
places generally. The room is most commonly, but not correctly, called
the _parvise_[28]. The word _parvise_, or _paradise_, properly only
applies to an open court adjoining a church, and surrounded by
cloisters; but in olden times a room in a private house was sometimes
called a paradise[29], and hence, I suppose, the name came to be used
for the porch-room of the church. It was also called the _priest's
chamber_[30]; and such, I think, was the room in which we now are. You
see it is provided with a nice little fire-place[31], and it is a
comfortable little place to live in. Sometimes it was called the
_treasury_[32], or record-room, because the parish records and church
books were kept in it; or the _library_[33], from its being appropriated
for the reception of a church or parochial library. There are many of
these chambers furnished with valuable libraries which have been
bequeathed from time to time for this purpose. It is also evident, from
the remains of an altar and furniture connected with it, that not
infrequently it was built for a _chapel_[34]. Occasionally it has been
used as the _parish school_[35]; and I have heard that in some of the
eastern counties poor people have occasionally, in cases of extreme
distress, claimed sanctuary or refuge, both in the porch and parvise,
and lived there undisturbed for some weeks together. But latterly, in
many places, the parish clerk or sexton has been located in the parvise,
that he may watch the churchyard and protect the church[36]; and I am
inclined to think this is a much more sensible thing to do, than to
give up the room to the owls and bats, as is very often the case now,
but even that is better than to use it as it has sometimes been used--as
a common prison[37]."

"I am glad to hear you say that, sir, for it makes the way for me to ask
my favour. John Daniels wants to give up the place of sexton; and as I
am getting too old now to walk far, and to take care of the sheep as I
used to do, I'm going to make so bold as to ask you to let me be sexton
in his stead, and to live in this little room, if you please, sir. I
could then keep the key of the church, and it would be always at hand
when wanted: I should be near to ring the bell for morning and evening
prayer; I could watch the churchyard, and see that no one breaks the
cross on Lizzie's grave--I shall be able to see it from this window. And
then, sir, if you will have this little window opened again into the
church[38], why I can keep guard over the church too; and that's rather
necessary just now, for several churches about us have been robbed
lately. Besides all this, the room is much more warm and comfortable
than mine in the village, and I shall enjoy the quiet of it so much."

"Most glad, Matthew, shall I be to see the office of sexton in such good
hands. You will not yourself be equal to all the work, but you will
always be able to find a younger hand when you need one. And then, with
regard to your living here, it's just the thing I should like, for,
apart from other reasons, it would enable me to have the church doors
always open to those who would resort thither for prayer or meditation.
It is a sad thing for people to be deprived of such religious
retirement. I almost wish that the church porch could be made without a
church door altogether, as it used to be[39], and then the church would
be always open. But, my friend, have you considered how gloomy, and
lonely, and unprotected this place will be?"

Illustration: Parvise, Westbury-on-Trim

"You mus'n't say _gloomy_, if you please, sir; I trust and believe my
gloomy days are past; and lonely I shall not be: you remember my poor
daughter's little boy that was taken out to Australia by his father
(ah! his name almost _does_ make me gloomy--but, God forgive him!)--he
is coming home next week to live with me. He is now seven years old; I
hear he is a quiet, old-fashioned boy. He will be a nice companion for
me, and I hope you will let him help in the church; but we can speak of
that again. Then for protection, sir, you must let my fond old dog be
with me at nights; the faithful fellow would die of grief were we
altogether parted. Come, sir, it's an old man's wish, I hope you'll
grant it." This last sentence was said as they were returning down the
little winding staircase back to the porch.

"It shall be as you wish; next week the room shall be ready for you. And
as I have granted all the requests you have made, you must grant me one
in return. You must let me furnish the room for you. No, I shall not
listen to any objections; this time _I_ must have _my_ way. Good



"The place whereon thou standest is holy ground."

Exod. iii. 5.

    "Mark you the floor? that square and speckled stone,
            Which looks so firm and strong,
                                    Is _Patience_;

    "And the other black and grave, wherein each one
            Is checker'd all along,

    "The gentle rising, which on either hand
            Leads to the quire above,
                                    Is _Confidence_;

    "But the sweet cement, which in one sure band
            Ties the whole frame, is _Love_
                                    And _Charity_."

                                        GEORGE HERBERT.

Illustration: Church of SS. Philip and James, Oxford


Illustration: Brass of John Bloxham and John Whytton in Merton College,

"Why, my dear Constance," said Mr. Acres, as one morning
he found the eldest of his three children sitting gloomy and solitary at
the breakfast-room window, "you look as though all the cares of the
nation were pressing upon you! Come, tell me a few of them; unless,"
added he, laughingly, "my little queen thinks there is danger to the
State in communicating matters of such weighty import."

"Oh, don't make fun of me, dear Papa! I have only one trouble just now,
and you will think that a very little one; but you know you often say
little troubles seem great to little people."

"Then we must have the bright little face back again at once, if, after
all, it is only one small care that troubles it," said he, kissing her
affectionately. "But now, my darling, let me know all about it."

"Well, Papa, I think it's too bad of Mary to go up to the church again
to-day to help Ernest to take more rubbing's of those dull, stupid old
brasses. I don't care any thing about them, and I think it's nonsense
spending so much time over them as they do. I wish Mr. Ambrose would not
let them go into the church any more, and then Mary would not leave me
alone like this."

"That's not a very kind wish, Constance, as they both seem so much
interested in their work; but I dare say this is the last day they will
give to it. Suppose we go this afternoon to look after them: we can then
ask Ernest to bring home all the copies he has taken, and when Mr.
Ambrose comes in by-and-by, perhaps he will tell us something about
them; and who knows but your unconsciously offending enemies may turn
out to be neither dull nor stupid, after all?"

The proposal was gladly accepted, and at four o'clock they were enjoying
their pleasant walk up to St. Catherine's Church.

As they entered the church Mr. Acres heard, to his surprise, the clear
ring of Mary's happy laugh. She was standing in the south aisle, beside
the paper on which she had been vainly attempting to copy a monumental
brass. Seeing her father approach with a serious and somewhat reproving
countenance, she at once guessed the cause, and anticipated the
reprimand he was about to utter. "You must not be angry with me, Papa,"
she said, in a very subdued tone, "for indeed I could not help laughing,
though I know it is very wrong to laugh in church; but, you know, I had
just finished my rubbing of the brass here, and thought I had done it so
well, when all of a sudden the paper slipped, and the consequence was
that my poor knight had two faces instead of one; and he looked so queer
that I could not help laughing at him very much."

"No doubt, my dear child," said her father, "there was something in your
misfortune to provoke a laugh, but I think you must have forgotten for a
moment the sacredness of this place, when you gave vent to the merry
shout I heard just now. You should always remember that in God's house
you are standing on _holy ground_, and though it may be permissible for
us to go there for the purpose of copying those works of art, which in
their richest beauty are rightly dedicated to God and His service, and
these curious monuments which you and Ernest have been tracing, yet we
should ever bear with us a deep sense of the sanctity of the building as
the 'place where His honour dwelleth,' and avoid whatever may give
occasion to levity; or should the feeling force itself upon us, we
ought, by a strong effort, to resist it."

Although the words were spoken in a kind and gentle voice, many tears
had already fallen upon Mary's spoilt tracing, so her father said no
more on the subject; but, taking her hand, led her quietly away to a
chapel at the north-east corner of the church, round which was placed a
beautifully carved open screen. It was the burial-place of the family
that formerly tenanted the Hall, and there were many brass figures and
inscriptions laid in the floor to their memory. Here, attentively
watched by old Matthew the sexton, Ernest was busily engaged tracing the
figure of a knight in armour, represented as standing under a handsome
canopy. He had already completed his copy of the canopy, and of the
inscription round the stone, and was now engaged at the figure. Two
sheets of paper were spread over the stone, and he had guarded against
Mary's accident by placing on the paper several large kneeling hassocks,
which were used by the old people. He was himself half reclining on a
long cushion laid on the pavement, and having before marked out with his
finger on the paper the outlines of the brass underneath it, was now
rubbing away vigorously with his heel-ball[40], and at every stroke a
little bit more of the knight came out upon the paper, till, like a
large black drawing, the complete figure appeared before them. They had
all watched Ernest's labours with the greatest interest, and, this being
the last, they assisted in rolling up the papers, that they might be
taken home for more careful examination in the evening.

"I wish Master Ernest could take a picture of good old Sir John, as we
call him, Mr. Acres," said Matthew; "I mean him as lies in the chancel,
right in front of the altar; but he's cut out in the flat stone, and not
in the metal, so I suppose Master Ernest can't do it. I remember the
time, sir, when people as were sick and diseased used to come for miles
round to lie upon that stone, and they believed it made them much
better[41]; and if they believed it, I dare say it did, sir. And 'tisn't
but a very few years back when it would have been thought very unlucky
indeed if a corpse had not rested over good Sir John all night before
its burial. We still place the coffins just in the same place at the
funerals, but of course nobody any longer believes that good Sir John
can do good or ill to those inside them."

"I must bring some stronger paper than that I use for the brasses, to
copy the stone figure, Matthew," said Ernest; "so that must be done
another day."

All said good-bye to the old sexton, and as he wended his way up the
narrow stone stairs to his little chamber, Mr. Acres and his family
returned to Oakfield Hall.

The dining-room was soon decorated with the trophies of Ernest's four
days' labour, and other rubbing's which he had before taken; and when
Mr. Ambrose arrived he was met by several eager petitioners, praying him
to give some explanation of the strange-looking black and white figures
that hung upon the walls.

"It would take me a whole day to tell you all that might be said about
them," said he; "but I shall be very glad to give you a short
description of each, and I will follow the course which Ernest has
evidently intended me to adopt, for I see he has arranged all the
bishops and priests together, and the knights, the civilians, and the
ladies, each class by itself. But first I must tell you something of the
general history of these brass memorials. There are an immense number of
them in this country--it is supposed about 4000--and they are chiefly to
be found in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, and Kent; but indeed there are
comparatively few old churches in England in which you cannot find upon
the pavement some traces of these interesting memorials. Though,
however, so many remain, probably not less than 20,000 have been either
stolen or lost. You will see on the pavement at St. Catherine's, marks
of the force which has been used in tearing many from the stones in
which they had been firmly fixed."

"But who could have been so fearless and wicked as to take them away?"
exclaimed Constance, who already had begun to feel a real interest in
the subject.

"Alas! Constance, that question is easily answered. There was indeed a
time, long ago, when people would not have _dared_ to commit these acts
of sacrilege. You know among the ancient Romans there was a belief that
the manes or spirits of the departed protected their tombs, and so
persons were afraid to rob them; but people since then have been
deterred by no such fear, indeed by no fear at all. Within the period
between 1536 and 1540 somewhere about 900 religious houses were
destroyed, and their chapels were dismantled and robbed of their tombs,
on which were a great number of brasses. And this spirit of sacrilege
extended beyond the monasteries, for at this time, and afterwards, very
many of our parish churches were also despoiled of their monumental
brasses; indeed the evil spread so much that Queen Elizabeth issued a
special proclamation for putting a stop to it. The greatest destruction
of brasses, however, took place a hundred years after this, when
thousands were removed from the cathedrals and churches to satisfy the
rapacity or the fanaticism of the Puritan Dissenters, who were then in
power[42]. In later times, I am sorry to say, large numbers have been
sold by churchwardens, for the just value of the metal, and many have
been removed during the restoration of churches and have not been
restored; of course, those whose special duty it was to protect them
have been greatly to blame for this. Then not a few have become loose,
and been lost through mere carelessness. Some of the most beautiful
brasses in our church I discovered a few years since under a heap of
rubbish in the wood-house of Daniels, the former sexton[43]. So you see
it is no wonder we find so many of those curiously-indented slabs in the
pavement of our churches, which mark the places where brasses have
formerly been.

A few of these memorials are to be found in Wales, Ireland, and
Scotland. Some also exist in France, Germany, Russia, Prussia, Poland,
Switzerland, Holland, Denmark, and Sweden. In these countries, however,
they have never been numerous.

But now I must say a few words about their origin. The oldest memorials
of the dead to be found in our churches are the stone coffin-lids, with
plain or floriated crosses carved upon them. The stone coffins were
buried just below the level of the pavement, so their lids were even
with the floor of the church. Afterwards, similar crosses were graven on
slabs of stone above the coffin; then the faces of the deceased were
represented; and at length whole figures, and many other devices, were
carved on the stone, and around the stone was sometimes an inscription
consisting of letters of _brass_ separately inlaid. Then the figures and
inscriptions were either altogether made of brass, or were partly graven
in stone and partly in brass; specimens of both, I see, Ernest has
provided for us. The earliest of these incised slabs are probably of the
ninth century, but the faces of the deceased were not carved on them
till about 1050. The earliest brass of which we have any account is that
of Simon de Beauchamp, 1208; and the most ancient brass figure now
remaining is that of Sir John Daubernoun, 1277.

"The form of the brass has evidently been often suggested by the stone
and marble effigies we see on altar-tombs. For we find that not only the
costume and position of the figures are closely copied, but also the
canopies above them, the cushions or helmets on which their heads rest,
and the lions, dogs, or other animals on which the feet are placed. I
have something more to say on the subject generally, before I come to
speak particularly about Ernest's copies; so after the general interval
of ten minutes I will resume the subject.



"They bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement,
and worshipped, and praised the Lord, saying, For He is good, for His
mercy endureth for ever."

2 Chron. vii. 3.

    "This is the abode where God doth dwell,
       This is the gate of Heaven,
     The shrine of the Invisible,
       The Priest, the Victim given.

    "O holy seat, O holy fane,
       Where dwells the Omnipotent!
     Whom the broad world cannot contain,
       Nor Heaven's high firmament.

    "Here, where the unearthly Guest descends
       To hearts of Innocence,
     And sacred love her wing extends
       Of holiest influence;

    "Let no unhallow'd thought be here,
       Within that sacred door;
     Let nought polluted dare draw near,
       Nor tread the awful floor;
     Or, lo! the Avenger is at hand,
     And at the door doth stand."

                     _The Child's Christian Year._

Illustration: Heywood Church


Illustration: Brass of Henry Sever, at Merton College, Oxford

As soon as the short pause was over, all ears were open
to learn something more on a subject which had been hitherto entirely
without interest to most of the Vicar's little audience.

"We find sometimes upon the pavement of our churches," said Mr. Ambrose,
"memorials just like those I have spoken to you about, except that they
are made of _iron_ or _lead_ instead of brass, but they are
comparatively very rare, and, except in the metal of which they are
composed, differ nothing from the _brasses_.

"Sepulchral brasses must have been a great ornament to our churches
before they were despoiled of their beauty by the hand of Time, and the
still less sparing hand of man. The vivid colours of the enamel with
which they were inlaid, and the silvery brightness of the yet
untarnished lead which was employed to represent the ermine and other
parts of official costume, must have added greatly to the splendour of
these monuments. At first they were no doubt very costly, for there
appear to have been but few places where they were made in this
country, and, in addition to the cost of the brasses themselves, the
expense of their carriage in those times must have been considerable. A
great many of these monuments, however, are of foreign manufacture, and
were chiefly imported from Flanders. It is easy to distinguish between
the English and the Flemish brasses, for whereas the former are composed
of separate pieces of metal laid in different parts of the stone, and
giving the distinct outline of the figure, canopy, inscription, &c., the
latter are composed of several plates of brass placed closely together
and engraved all over with figures, canopies, and other designs. The
later English brasses are, however, very similar to the Flemish. You see
that little copy of a brass about three feet long by one foot deep which
Ernest has somehow obtained from the church at Walton-on-Thames? Now
that is a square piece of metal just like those they made in Flanders,
but it was evidently engraved in England. It is dated 1587, and is in
memory of John Selwyn, keeper of Queen Elizabeth's park at Oatlands,
near Walton. It represents, as you see, a stag hunt, and is said to
refer to this incident:--'The old keeper, in the heat of the chase,
suddenly leaped from his horse upon the back of the stag (both running
at that time with their utmost speed), and not only kept his seat
gracefully, in spite of every effort of the affrighted beast, but,
drawing his sword, with it guided him to wards the Queen, and coming
near her presence, plunged it in his throat, so that the animal fell
dead at her feet[44].'"

"But, my friend," said Mr. Acres, "it seems to me that the record of
such an event, even if it ever happened--which I must take the liberty
to doubt--is quite as objectionable as any of those epitaphs in our
churchyard which you once so strongly and justly condemned."

"I quite agree with you. But this was made at a time when sepulchral
monuments were frequently of a very debased character. At this period
the brasses underwent a great change. They began to rise from their
humble position on the pavement, and the figures were occasionally made
without their devotional posture, which up to this date had been almost
universal. They were then placed on the church walls, on tablets, or on
the top and at the back of altar-tombs, and this led the way for the
erection of a large number of monuments in stone of similar design, but
more cumbrous and inconvenient. Inferior workmen also were evidently
employed at this time to engrave the brasses, and they became more and
more debased, till they reached the lowest point of all, a hundred years
ago, and soon after their manufacture altogether ceased. It was near the
time when this brass was put up to the old park-keeper, that that ugly
monument in memory of Sir John York, with its four heathen obelisks, and
its four disconsolate Cupids, was put up in our chancel, covering so
much of the floor as to deprive at least twenty persons of their right
to a place in God's House. About this time, too, that uncomfortable
looking effigy of Lady Lancaster was put upon its massive altar-tomb. To
judge from the position of her Ladyship, and hundreds of other similar
monuments, represented as reclining and resting the face upon the hand,
we might imagine that a large proportion of the population in those days
died of the toothache. However, the attitude of prayer was that most
commonly adopted, as well in stone as brass effigies, till long after
this period.

"If any thing more than the figure, canopy, inscription, and shield is
represented on a brass, it is commonly a sacred symbol, a trade mark, or
some badge of rank or profession. To this there are but a few
exceptions, besides the brass of John Selwyn. At Lynn, in Norfolk, on
one brass is a hunting scene, on another a harvest-home, such as it was
in the year 1349, and on another a peacock feast, the date of which is
1364. Founders of churches frequently hold in their hands the model of a
church. The emblem of undying love we find in the heart, either alone or
held by both hands of the effigy. A long epitaph was often avoided by
the simple representation of a chalice, a sword, an ink-horn, a
wool-sack, a barrel, shears, or some such trade or professional emblem.
Some--comparatively few--of the inscriptions on brasses are, however,
profusely long, and sometimes, but very rarely, ridiculous.

In very early times the epitaphs were always written in Latin or Norman
French; and if that practice had continued, it would not much matter to
persons generally even if they were absurd, as few could read them: but
about the year 1400 they began to be written in English, and then of
course these foolish inscriptions must have been distracting to the
thoughts of those who attended the church. But it very often happened
that persons had their brasses put down some time before their decease,
as is evident from the circumstance that in many cases the dates have
never been filled in. This custom would much tend to prevent foolish and
flattering inscriptions.

"I have noticed that there is in nearly all brasses a solemn or serious
expression in the countenance suitable to their presence in God's House.
They were frequently _portraits_ of the persons commemorated[45]. This
was no doubt the case in later brasses, and I think in the earlier also.
Latterly the faces were sometimes coloured, no doubt to represent the
originals more exactly. It seldom happens that the age of the person is
otherwise than pretty faithfully portrayed.

"I must next tell you something of the dresses of the clergy, the
soldiers, and the civilians, as we see them engraved upon the pavements
of our churches."



"It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it."

John xi. 38.

                       "On the floor beneath
    Sepulchral stones appear'd, with emblems graven
    And footworn epitaphs, and some with small
    And shining effigies of brass inlaid."

                           Wordsworth's _Excursion_.

    "The warrior from his armed tent,
       The seaman from the tide--
     Far as the Sabbath chimes are sent,
       In Christian nations wide,--
     Thousands and tens of thousands bring
       Their sorrows to His shrine,
     And taste the never-failing spring
       Of Jesus' love Divine.

    "If at the earthly chime, the tread
       Of million million feet
     Approach whene'er the Gospel's read
       In God's own temple-seat;
     How blest the sight, from death's dark sleep
       To see God's saints arise,
     And countless hosts of angels keep
       The Sabbath of the skies!"

                                   _Lyra Sacra._

Illustration: Chancel of Whippingham Church


Illustration: Brass of Sir Roger de Trumpington

"That costumes are pretty accurately represented on
brasses," continued Mr. Ambrose, "we are sure, from the fact that many
different artists have made the dresses of each particular period so
much alike; and this circumstance adds much interest and importance to
these monuments. I will now describe some of these dresses, and you must
try to find out, as I go on, the several parts of the dress I am
describing on Ernest's rubbing's which hang upon the wall. But I shall
only be able to say a little about each. First there come the persons
holding sacred office in the Church. The priests are usually, you see,
dressed in the robes worn at Holy Communion, and they commonly hold the
chalice and wafer in their hands. The robe which is most conspicuous is
the _chasuble_. It is usually richly embroidered in gold and silk. This
robe is one of the ornaments of the minister referred to in the rubric
at the commencement of the Prayer Book. At the top of it you see the
_amice_. This too is worked in various colours and patterns. The
academic _hood_, some suppose, now represents this part of the priest's
dress. You must remember we are looking at the dresses worn five hundred
years ago, and which had been in use long before that time, and we
cannot be surprised if some of them, as now worn, are a little changed
in shape and appearance. The narrow band which hangs from the shoulders
nearly to the feet, embroidered at the ends, is called the _stole_.
This, you know, is still worn by us just as it was then. It is one of
the most ancient vestments of the Church, and is intended to represent
the _yoke of Christ_. The small embroidered strip hanging on the left
arm is the _maniple_. It is used for cleaning the sacred vessels.
Beneath the chasuble is the _albe_, a white robe which--changed somewhat
in form--we still wear. It is derived from the linen ephod of the Jews.
Sometimes on brasses, as on that beautiful one to the memory of Henry
Sever[46], the _cope_ is represented. This is a very rich and costly
robe, and is still always worn at the coronations of our Kings and
Queens; it is also ordered to be worn on other occasions. Then the
bishops wore, you see, other robes besides those I have mentioned:--the
_mitre_, like the albe, handed down from the time of the Jews to our own
period; the _tunic_, a close-fitting linen vestment; the _dalmatic_, so
called because it was once the regal dress of Dalmatia; the gloves,
often jewelled. They hold the _crozier_, or _cross staff_, or else the
_crooked_, or _pastoral staff_, in their hand. As bishops and priests
were then, as now, very often buried in their ecclesiastical vestments,
the brass probably in such cases represented, as near as could be, the
robed body of the person beneath. The earliest brasses of ecclesiastics
are at Oulton, Suffolk, and Merton College, Oxford. The date of both is
about 1310.

"We must next come to the monumental brasses of _knights_ and warriors;
and that curious brass to Sir Peter Legh, which is taken from Winwick
Church, will do well for a connecting link between the clergy and the
warriors. He is, you see, in armour, but over the upper part of it is a
chasuble, on the front of which is his shield of arms. And this tells
his history. He was formerly a soldier, but at the decease of his wife
he relinquished his former occupation, and became a priest of the
Church. You see before you soldiers in all kinds of armour, and you can
easily trace the gradual change from the _chain mail_ to the _plated
armour_, till you find the former almost entirely abandoned, and the
latter adopted, in the early part of the fifteenth century. Now I should
soon tire you if I were to describe all the curious sorts of armour
these soldiers wear, so I must just take one of them, and that will go
far to wards explaining others. There hangs Sir Roger de
Trumpington[47], of Trumpington, Cambridgeshire; his date is 1289. You
see he is cross-legged, and so you would put him down for a Knight
Templar, and a warrior in the Holy Land. And so he was; but nevertheless
you must remember all cross-legged figures are not necessarily Knights
Templar. He rests his head upon a _bascinet_ (A), or helmet. His head
and neck are protected by chain mail (B), to which is attached his
_hauberk_ (D), or shirt of mail. On his shoulders are placed _ailettes_
(C), or little wings, and these are ornamented with the same arms as
those borne on his shield. They were worn both for defence and ornament,
as soldiers' epaulettes are now. The defence for the knees (G) was made
of leather, and sometimes much ornamented. At a later time it was made
of plated metal. The legs and feet are covered with chain mail, called
the _chausse_ (F), and he wears _goads_, or 'pryck spurs,' on his heels
(H). Over the hauberk he has a _surcoat_ (E) probably of wool or linen.
Here you see it is quite plain; but it is frequently decorated with
heraldic devices; and such devices on the surcoat or armour are often
the only clue left to the name and history of the wearer.

"On the brasses of _civilians_ we find nothing like the present
ungraceful and unsightly mode of dress; indeed we can scarcely imagine
any thing more ridiculous than the representation of the modern
fashionable dress on a monumental brass. But on these memorials, you
see, the robes are, with rare exceptions, flowing and graceful. In the
sixteenth century there was but slight difference between the male and
female attire of persons in private life. Of course the dresses of
professional men have always been characteristic. Civilians were, with
hardly an exception, always represented on brasses _bare-headed_.
Happily for the good people in those times they did not know the hideous
and inconvenient _hat_ which continues to torture those who live in
towns, but from which we in the country have presumed to free ourselves.

"The dresses _actually worn_ by the deceased are probably sometimes
represented on the brasses of _ladies_. You have before you every
variety of costume, from the simple robe of the time of Edward II. and
III., down to the extravagant dresses of Elizabeth's reign. On the early
brasses the _wimple_ under the chin marked the rank of the wearer. Till
about the year 1550 ladies are not infrequently represented with
heraldic devices covering their kirtles and mantles; but I should think
such ornamentation was never really worn by them. The different fashions
of wearing the hair here represented are most fantastic. St. Paul tells
us that 'if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her;' but these
English matrons too often forgot that _simplicity_ which gives to this
beauty of nature its chief charm. See, here is the _butterfly
head-dress_, of the fifteenth century, extending two feet at the back of
the head; and there is the _horn head-dress_, spreading a foot on either
side of the head. The fashions among women then appear to have been as
grotesque as they have been in our own day.

"_Children_ on these tombs are represented either behind or beneath
their parents; sometimes they wear the _tabard_, a short coat, with
heraldic figures upon it--as on this brass to John Ansty; you see there
are twelve sons below the father, and four daughters below the
mother--sometimes they wear a dress which marks their occupation; and in
a few instances the name of each child is placed below it. _Skeletons_
and emaciated figures, sometimes in shrouds, were represented on brasses
after the fifteenth century. _Crosses_, with or without figures of the
deceased, are very frequently to be met with, and their form is often
exceedingly elegant[48]. You will not fail to notice the _canopies_ of
many of these brasses; the beauty of some of these designs it would be
impossible to surpass. But I fear you must be tired of my long lecture,
so I must hasten to bring it to a close. These memorials I like better
than any others for churches; for, first, they are by far the most
_durable_ of all; then they are the most _convenient_, for they take up
little space, and are a great ornament to the _pavement of the church_;
moreover they teach their own _moral_, they occupy a _lowly_ place in
God's House, and are all on one _common level_. I am, therefore, very
glad to see them introduced again into many of our cathedrals and parish
churches. And, my dear Constance, I must end with a word to you. I fancy
by this time you have learnt that _monumental brasses_ are not dull and
stupid. To the student of antiquity, history, genealogy, heraldry, and
architecture, these _pavement monuments_ are, I assure you, of the
greatest interest and value. They help to fix dates to ancient
documents, to illustrate various periods of ecclesiastical architecture,
and throw much light on the manners and customs of other times. They
are, too, a constant protest against that excess in 'wearing of gold and
putting on of apparel,' against which St. Paul wrote, and which is one
of the great sins of our day; for though we find elaborate and costly
robes represented on the brasses of the great and the wealthy, you
always see the figures of the humbler classes clothed in neat and simple
attire. If people would only follow the good advice of old Polonius to
his son,

    'Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
     But not express'd in fancy[49],'

there would be less sin, and less want, and less misery in the world."



"Behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours."

Isa. liv. 11.

    "How all things glow with life and thought,
       Where'er our faithful fathers trod!
     The very ground with speech is fraught,
       The air is eloquent of God.
     In vain would doubt or mockery hide
       The buried echoes of the past;
     A voice of strength--a voice of pride--
       Here dwells amid the stones and blast!

    "Still points the tower, and pleads the bell,
       The solemn arches breathe in stone,
     Window and wall have lips to tell
       The mighty faith of days unknown;--
     Yea! flood, and breeze, and battle shock
       Shall beat upon this Church in vain,
     She stands a daughter of the rock--
       The changeless God's eternal fane!"

                         R. S. HAWKER.

Illustration: Church of St. John the Baptist, Kidmore End


Illustration: Encaustic Tile, Brooke Church

Mr. Acres and his family attended Morning Prayer at St.
Catherine's the day following the Vicar's lecture; and after service
they examined with greater interest than ever they had done before the
floor of the church--indeed Mr. Acres confessed that till that morning
he had never had the curiosity to walk up either of the aisles of the
church with the view of finding any object of interest on the pavement.
In the course of their search they now discovered a large flat stone,
hitherto unknown even to the Vicar; the stone, when cleansed from the
dust which had accumulated upon it (for it was placed in a remote corner
of the church), was very white; it was engraved with the figure of a
priest, and the incised lines were filled with a black resinous
substance, so that it almost looked like a large engraving on paper, or
still more like one of the copies of brasses which Ernest had exhibited
the night before[50]. But what most attracted their attention was the
curious old _pavement tiles_, of various patterns, which they found in
different parts of the floor of the church. Their admiration of these
ancient works of art was soon so deeply engaged, and their desire to
know more about them so excited, that Ernest was speedily despatched to
the vestry to request the Vicar to come and satisfy their inquiries.

"I rejoice to see you, Mr. Vicar," said the Squire, as Mr. Ambrose
approached; "pray come and save me from any further confessions of
ignorance: the children have been persecuting me with a hundred
questions about these ancient tiles, and I really am not able to answer
one of them. We must again be dependent upon your kindness for some
information on the subject."

"Then, if you please, we will walk and talk, as I must go this morning
to see old Wood, at the Warren Lodge; the poor man is very ill."

"Oh, we shall enjoy that," exclaimed Constance, "and do, Mr. Ambrose,
give us a nice lecture like you did last night."

"Well, my dear, if it is to be a real lecture, we will suppose this
gravel path to be my platform, and your father and yourselves to be my
highly respectable and most intelligent audience; and so, making my bow
to the company, I will begin.--There is considerable uncertainty as to
the origin of these tiles. Most people suppose that the old Roman
tessellated pavement suggested the idea of representing figures on
tiles. But we may imagine them to be merely the result of successive
improvements. First, there was the rude tile or brick; then, in very
early times, the makers impressed their own particular marks upon them;
and from this simple practice we can easily imagine the gradual
introduction of the elaborate patterns you were looking at in the

"If you please, Mr. Ambrose," said Constance, "will you tell us what was
the Roman tessellated pavement?"

"It was composed of a number of square pieces of hard-burnt clay, like
dice, of different colours; these were arranged to form a pattern, and
then firmly fixed in very strong cement. They were exceedingly durable,
and often of most elegant design. When found in the ruins of Roman
villas, which they frequently are, they generally appear almost as fresh
as when they were put down. Tessellated or mosaic pavements are to be
found in a few old churches; the most beautiful now existing in England,
are in Westminster Abbey, and in Canterbury Cathedral, near the tomb of
Thomas à Becket."

"But don't you think it probable," inquired Mr. Acres, "if these tiles
date pretty nearly back to the time when the mosaic pavement was used,
that the pavement suggested the tiles? there seems to be some similarity
of pattern, and I noticed that in one part of the church there are
_plain_ tiles of different colours arranged so as to form a pattern[51],
which seems, on a larger scale, a close imitation of the mosaic

"It may be so; and this view seems confirmed by the circumstance that in
some foreign churches the tiles are mixed in the same pavement with
mosaic work. It certainly seems a natural transition from the one to the

Illustration: Encaustic Tile, Brooke Church

Encaustic tiles exist in abundance and great beauty in Normandy; and
though, as I have said, we cannot fix a precise date to their
introduction, it seems not improbable that we are indebted to that
country for the first idea of using them in the pavement of our
churches, since in some instances they appear to be coeval with the
erection of the Norman churches in which they are found. Some have upon
them the _semi-circular headed arch_, which is characteristic of Norman
times; and as no doubt the later tiles frequently indicate by their
patterns the period of ecclesiastical architecture to which they may be
referred, most likely these may be equally relied upon as marking the
Norman period. In Ireland, tiles of this date are more common than in
this country. Their _general_ use, however, has prevailed among us from
about A.D. 1250 to A.D. 1550, and the finest and most interesting
specimens we have remaining are at Gloucester and Malvern.

There are several different kinds of ornamental pavement of which
specimens remain. In the ruins of Fountains Abbey are specimens having
the pattern pierced through the entire tile, and afterwards filled in
with clay of another colour. At Canterbury there are circles of stone
pavement with patterns cut in relief, the spaces being filled in with
dark cement. In the early stages of the art the pattern of the tiles was
sometimes left in relief, the tile being of one colour only, but the
uneven surface was found to be very inconvenient for walking upon.
Encaustic tiles--so called because the patterns are _burnt into_
them--are by far the most common sort of tile pavement in our English
churches, especially in the southern and western counties."

"I suppose, Mr. Ambrose," said Constance, "that the tiles in our church
are of that sort?"

"Yes, all of them, both the new and old, except the few of a different
kind which Mr. Acres spoke of just now."

"And will you be so kind as to tell us how they contrived to make those
pretty patterns on them?"

"Oh, yes; it was a very simple process: very much in the same way as
Bridget makes those pretty pats of butter we admire so much; quite the
same, if Bridget would only fill in the spaces between the patterns with
butter of another colour. They first made the tile of clay, and then
impressed it with a wooden stamp; then it was dried or burnt, then some
thin clay or cement of another colour (usually white) was poured into
the pattern, then it was glazed over and burnt, the glazing material
making the white a rich yellow, and deepening the colour of the tile.
The pattern is sometimes perfect in a single tile, sometimes four,
eight, or a large number are required to perfect the design. Several
ancient kilns for their manufacture have been discovered[52]. Some of
these manufactories, it is evident, were very popular; for we find that
the same kiln sometimes supplied a great number of churches. Most of our
old churches have at some time been paved with these encaustic tiles;
but in all cases they have in great measure been destroyed or removed
when other beauties of God's house have been defaced, but often too
where the hand of man has spared, the hand of Time has obliterated.

"We find every variety of pattern upon these tiles. At Malvern and
elsewhere are many letters on single tiles: sometimes they are
alphabetically arranged, sometimes they read backwards, and sometimes
to a centre. Frequently the tiles have upon them texts of Scripture or
other inscriptions, such as 'The time is short,' 'Wait for the knell.'
At Malvern is a very remarkable tile; it contains the following curious
direction to executors, and was probably intended to be placed over a

    'Thenke . mon . þi . liffe
     maij . not . cũ . endure.
     þat . þow . dost . þi . self
     Of . þat . þow . art . sure.
     but . þat . þow . kepist
     un . to . þi . sectur . care.
     and . eũ . hit . auaile . þe
     hit . is . but . aventure[53].'

Sacred emblems are very common on encaustic tiles, and especially
symbols of the Passion; within a single shield is sometimes to be found
the cross, crown of thorns, the nails, hammer, scourge, spear, ladder,
dice, vessel for vinegar, sponge on a rod of hyssop, and rarely, a sort
of bill, perhaps representing an instrument used in removing the Body
from the cross. The cross alone, floriated, is frequently composed of
many tiles; but it enters too into the great majority of those
geometrical and floriated patterns which form so large a portion of the
encaustic pavements of most churches. Armorial bearings and mottoes of
benefactors, founders, and others are frequently met with. At Great
Bedwyn, and in the ruins of Chertsey Abbey, have been found knights in
armour and other most interesting figures, throwing considerable light
on the history of the armour and costumes of the period. At Westminster
are figures of a king, queen, and abbot, which are supposed to represent
King Henry III., his Queen, and the Abbot of Westminster. Then I have
often seen the cock, the emblem of vigilance; the fox, the emblem of
subtlety; the pelican, of piety."

"Why," quietly inquired Ernest, "is the pelican an emblem of piety?"

"There is an old legend which tells us that the young of a pelican were
once saved from death by starvation by the parent bird tearing open her
breast and feeding them with her own blood. This has from very early
times been considered a very beautiful emblem of that Sacrifice which
has been offered by Jesus Christ to save us from eternal death. Other
emblems are--the circle, of eternity; the _fleur de lis_, of the Blessed
Virgin; the triangle, of the Trinity; the fish, of the Second Person of
the Trinity."

"Now do tell me what that means, please, Mr. Ambrose," said Constance;
"I cannot see why the fish should be so sacred an emblem."

"As you don't understand Greek, my dear, it is not a matter of surprise
that you have not understood this oft-recurring emblem. You must know
that the Greek word for fish is ἱχθὑς [ichthys], and the letters
in this word form the first letters of each word of a Greek sentence, of
which this is the English translation:--'Jesus Christ, the Son of God,
the Saviour;' hence the employment of this sacred symbol. Other devices
are stags, hounds, antelopes, and other animals; swans, and other birds;
emblems of trades, &c. Some appear ludicrous to us, though no doubt many
of them were originally intended to teach some useful lesson. At Little
Marlow is a fool's head, or cock's comb; at Godmersham, on several tiles
is a bending old man, with a staff in his hand, and on his head a fool's
cap, representing age and folly. It would seem, however, that some of
these grotesque figures were manufactured for no very useful purpose, as
is evidenced by the penance once inflicted on a monk of Normandy for
making tiles of this description[54]. Encaustic tiles have sometimes
been used for memorials of the departed[55]. In the ruins of Evesham
Abbey, _under_ a stone coffin, was found a pavement of tiles, on which
were initials and a cross. _Above_ a stone coffin, in the ruins of
Kirkstall Abbey, was found, in 1713, a pavement of similar tiles; in
Gloucester Cathedral is a tile to the memory of John Hertford; and at
Monmouth one to Thomas Coke and Alice his wife. These works of art are
not only to be admired as the most suitable decorations for the floors
of God's house; they are also interesting as specimens of art at various
periods; frequently they throw light on the history of churches and
religious foundations, and occasionally also of private families. I
rejoice to see them again claiming the attention of modern artists and
manufacturers, and finding a place once more in the churches, which on
all sides are happily being restored to their former beauty and
appropriateness.--But here we are at Wood's cottage."



"Peace be within thy walls."

Ps. cxxii. 7.

    "Now view the walls: the church is compass'd round,
      As much for safety, as for ornament:
     'Tis an enclosure, and no common ground;
       'Tis God's freehold, and but our tenement.
         Tenants at will, and yet in tail, we be:
         Our children have the same right to't as we.

    "Remember there must be no gaps left ope,
      Where God hath fenced, for fear of false illusions.
     God will have all or none: allows no scope
      For sin's encroachments, or men's own intrusions.
        Close binding locks His Laws together fast:
        He that plucks out the first, pulls down the last."

                                                GEORGE HERBERT.

Illustration: St. Andrew's Church, Halstead


The Warren Lodge was one of those pretty little cottages which are often
to be found nestling in bright, peaceful corners, about the parks and
estates of such wealthy squires as Mr. Acres; men whose kindliness of
heart and whose refinement of taste induce them to combine the
picturesque with the comfortable, in the houses they provide for their
tenants and retainers. It was built very near to the Warren Gate of the
park, and old Wood had been placed here because, being a spot little
frequented, it was a quiet resting-place for him in his old age.
Opposite the cottage was a lovely glen, where yew-trees and laurels,
mingling with oaks and beeches, hung in many beautiful and fantastic
forms over a greensward which all the year round never lost its verdure
or its softness. Seldom did old Master Wood and his wife wander farther
from their cottage than the end of this quiet glen; but that was their
daily walk, and Mr. Acres had put up two rustic seats for them to rest
upon, so that the old couple might accomplish their daily journey
without any great fatigue. But the old man was now too weak for this.

"I think you and the children had better go in, and leave me outside,"
said Mr. Acres, "as possibly poor Wood may feel more at his ease if I am
not present."

So Mr. Ambrose and the three children entered the cottage. It was, as
always, the picture of neatness and cleanliness; there were a few
well-tended geraniums in the windows, and some nice pictures on the
walls--not the gaudy, vulgar prints which are so commonly found in the
cottages of the poor, but really good and well-coloured engravings of
sacred subjects--a supply of which Mr. Ambrose always kept on sale at a
very low price[56]. There was enough of neat furniture in the rooms; and
on a nice bed, with snow-white drapery, lay the poor old man. After a
short conversation Mr. Ambrose read the twelfth chapter of St. Paul's
Epistle to the Romans, and then, when he had given a short explanation
of the chapter, all knelt down whilst he said some collects from the
Office of the Visitation of the Sick, and a prayer applicable to the
special circumstances of these humble cottagers.

Illustration: Ancient Wall Painting in Kimpton Church

The prayers ended, the old man rose up in his bed, and said, "Ah, sir, I
have often thought of that chapter you read just now, when I was able to
go to our dear old church. Just opposite my seat, you know, was the
picture on the wall of the man giving a poor thirsting creature a cup of
water, and of another giving a loaf of bread to somebody that looked
very hungry. When Mr. Greekhurst was at our church, years ago, you know,
sir, he used to preach very learned sermons, and we poor people couldn't
understand much about them, but there was my text and sermon too,
straight before me, and I always remembered the picture if I didn't
remember the sermon. I really think that looking on the old picture made
me somehow more kindly disposed to some of my neighbours. I suppose it
has been there a great many years, sir?"

Illustration: Ancient Wall Painting in Kimpton Church

"Yes, my friend; I should think about five hundred years."

"So long as that! Well then, I hope it has taught a good lesson to many
before me."

"No doubt it has; and though it is now almost worn away from the wall,
you will be glad to know that we have the same subject in the new
painted window close by, so the old sermon will not be lost."

"'Tis strange, sir, how well one remembers pictures of this sort, and
how they make one think about things which, but for them, we certainly
might not care to inquire much about. Now when I was a young man I never
thought a great deal of that beautiful chapter where St. Paul says so
much about charity. I had often heard the chapter read, and sometimes
read it myself, but still it never came to my mind how necessary a
thing charity was for us to have, till one day I went to Sunday-morning
service at an old church near our home. I got to the church some time
before service, so I walked about the churchyard, and looked round the
church, and there were pictures all round the outside of the walls of
the church[57], explaining that chapter. There was one man bringing all
his riches, and every thing he had, to give to the poor, and there was
another poor man being burnt to death, and so on; and then at the last
it said that, without love to God and man, all this was good for
nothing. Now, sir, I don't recollect a single word of hundreds of
sermons I have heard, but I shall never forget those pictures."

"Very likely, for most of us remember better what we _see_ than what we
_hear_, and it is a great mistake not to teach people through the _eye_
as well as the ear. But we must say good-bye, as Mr. Acres is waiting
for us in the park. God bless you, and, if it is His will, I hope you
may yet be strong enough to enjoy many of your old walks."

On their return home they followed a path which led them again through
the churchyard of St. Catherine's, and were soon joined by the Squire,
whose patience had been somewhat exhausted by the long stay of the
little party at old Wood's cottage.



"Thou shalt call thy walls salvation, and thy gates praise."

Isa. lx. 18.

    "Behold in heaven yon glorious bow,
     Which spans the gleaming world below!
     The hues distinct in order glow,
     Yet each in each doth melt unseen,
     That none can mark the bound between:
     Lo, such is Faith's mysterious scroll,
     A multiform harmonious whole,
     Together gather'd for our aid,
     And in the darken'd heights display'd:
     The Church shall ne'er that emblem want
     Of her eternal covenant."

                               _The Cathedral._

Illustration: St. Michael's Church, Gloucester


Mr. Dole, the proprietor of the village emporium, where all sorts of
inferior wares were to be had at the highest obtainable prices, was one
of those persons who seem sent into the world for the special purpose of
preventing others from being too happy in it. There are persons, no
doubt, who go through life always frowning upon their fellow-creatures,
ever throwing a dark shadow along the path before them; people who
persistently turn their backs upon the sunny side of human life; who
seem to think it wicked to take a bright and cheerful view of any thing
or any body on all God's earth; whose whole countenances would be
utterly revolutionized by the faintest approach to an honest, friendly
smile. Such persons, we must believe, are often very sincere, and are
endeavouring to do good in their own way; nor must we say that they
always fail in their endeavour; nevertheless they are not the sort of
persons we care to have as our frequent companions. It is true, there is
enough about the lives of most of us to make us often sorrowful; but no
less true is it, that the man who, leading a Christian life and doing
God's work in the world, preserves "a conscience void of offence to
wards God and to wards men" will take care that his outward demeanour
does not make his religion unlovely and repulsive in the sight of
others. Mr. Dole being of the class we have described, it was no wonder
that the village lads had honoured his name with an affix, and that he
was generally known among them as old Doleful; nor shall we be surprised
that his appearance in the churchyard just as Mr. Acres and the Vicar
entered it was not welcomed by them with any excessive pleasure.

"Good evening, Mr. Dole," said both gentlemen, as they approached him.
But there was no responsive "Good evening" from Mr. Dole. Now it is
always a bad sign when a man will not return such a simple salutation
as that: I never knew but one who made me no answer when I wished him
"Good evening;" I was at once impressed with the idea that there was
little good in him, and my impression was correct, for in a few moments
after the fellow had put a light to the thatched house of a poor
neighbour who had offended him, and very soon the poor man's house and
goods were crackling in a mass of flame. But, it must be confessed, Mr.
Dole withheld his salutation from no such motive as influenced this man.
There was something far too pleasant and cheerful about a kindly "Good
evening" to harmonize in any way with the tone of Mr. Dole's voice or
manner; but beyond this, he never said "Good morning" or "Good evening"
to any one _on principle_. The fact is, Mr. Dole belonged to a portion
of the sect of Anabaptists called "Calvinist Baptists," and the extreme
Calvinistic feature of his Creed had become with him quite a monomania.
The idea of _predestination_ haunted him every where and in every thing;
it ran through his whole life of thought, word, and action; with it he
justified all his own shortcomings, and it made him insensible to the
right motives and doings of others. He had become so accustomed to look
on the dark side of men and things, that he had gained for himself a
settled character of gloominess and suspicion, and had quite lost sight
of the Apostolic precept--"Be courteous." Thus he did not believe that
these two gentlemen meant what they said, and _really wished_ him to
have a "Good evening;" and, as regarded himself, he would have
considered the words as a flying in the face of Providence, a direful
offence against the phantom idol of inevitable Predestination which he
had set up in his own heart. To him it seemed only a mockery to use
those words of common courtesy, when--as he said to himself--it was
already ordained whether these persons should have a good or a bad
evening, and no words of his could affect or alter their destiny. And so
he simply said, "How do you do, gentlemen?" But it was spoken in a deep,
sepulchral voice, as though he reserved to himself a mental protest
against even this small conformity to the world's civility.

"People are talking about the painting you have been doing in the
church, Mr. Ambrose, and I have just come up to look at it; not that I
like that sort of thing, and I don't think the parish money should be
spent in that way."

"You need not be at all anxious on that score, Mr. Dole, as my friend
here has defrayed the whole cost of the work; but let us go into the
church together."

Now the line of thought which this man had so long adopted, and the _one
idea_ he had cherished, had so dulled his heart and mind to all sense of
the beautiful that he could never appreciate, like other people, what
was pure and lovely, either in nature or in art. No wonder then that he
failed to admire the beautiful decoration with which the Squire had
adorned St. Catherine's Church.

First of all, Mr. Ambrose pointed out to him some old wall-paintings of
great interest, which had been recently discovered. From these Mr. Acres
had had the successive coats of whitewash carefully removed, and, though
they were several centuries old, the colours were but little faded.
Among the most curious were a series of paintings which quite covered
the north wall of the chancel.

Illustration: Ancient Wall Painting in Bedford Church

"You will see, Mr. Dole, that these all represent events in the life of
our Blessed Lord. Here is the beginning of the series; it is the Tree of
Jesse, showing the descent of our Lord in the line of David,--next is
the Nativity,--next the Adoration of the Magi,--then, the Massacre of
the Holy Innocents,--then, the Presentation in the temple; and there, on
the upper part of the wall, are--the Betrayal, our Lord before Pilate,
being Mocked, being Scourged, bearing His Cross, His Crucifixion, and
there, below the Crucifixion, His descent from the Cross, and His
Entombment[58]. These, you see, Mr. Dole, are not only valuable as
showing one way in which our Church five hundred years ago set before
the eyes and minds of the people the human life of our Lord; but they
are still well suited for the sacred place they adorn, inasmuch as they
still serve to remind the worshipper in this House of Prayer of the
great truths they represent. I must, however, confess that we brought
to light some paintings on the walls of a different character; some of
these were very grotesque, others were from some cause or other
objectionable. These were copied, as possessing antiquarian interest,
and were then obliterated. It was long before we could bring our minds
to destroy these curious relics of old days[59], and had they occupied
less conspicuous places in the church, I think we should have been
tempted to preserve them, but the House of God has a higher use than to
be a mere preserver of curiosities, and to this higher use its
decorations and all within it should contribute."

Mr. Ambrose then explained the new wall-decorations which had been
painted by Mr. Acres. These consisted of groups illustrating sacred
subjects, texts of Holy Scripture mixed with foliage and tracery; and,
by clever introduction of foliage and holy texts among the old work, he
had made the old and the new to harmonize very well. The colours were
well arranged, and all was done with a due reference to the
architectural features of the church. Before this time the only attempt
at ornament for the walls of the church consisted of some square boards,
put up about fifty years ago, on which were painted some ill-selected
sentences, whilst beneath each sentence was painted a human head of
inhuman ugliness.

Not one word had as yet been spoken to the Vicar by his seemingly
attentive listener. At length he said, in his usual dismal tone, "I
don't see any use in it, sir. To my mind, our little Rehoboth down in
the village is more like the simplicity of the Gospel. Besides, I call
all this a breaking of the second commandment."

"I leave you to judge whether the mean little meeting-house you call
Rehoboth, or this beautiful church, is most in accordance with the only
patterns we have in God's Word of houses dedicated to His worship, or
most fitting as types of the Heavenly Temple whose magnificence is
described in such glowing language by St. John; but as regards these
paintings, the pictures and toys you sell in your shop are just as much
a breaking of the second commandment; for these are no more made to
worship than are those."

"But nobody will kneel down before my toys and pictures; if they kneel
at all, however, in your church, they must kneel before these pictures.
I call them idolatrous images, and I say they are worshipped."

"And, by the same mode of reasoning, I say, Mr. Dole, that the people at
your meeting-house break the second commandment; for they fall down to
whitewash, and worship it."

"What do you mean, sir?"

"Why, only this: that turn whichever way they will to worship, they must
turn to one of your four whitewashed walls. But let us be quite fair to
each other. The truth is, you don't worship whitewash, nor do we worship
images; but whilst we think it most in accordance with reason and
religion to decorate our walls with sacred subjects, such as are likely
to suggest solemn and holy thoughts, and to make our churches as
beautiful as possible, you, on the contrary, seem to regard it as a
religious duty to make your meeting-houses as ugly as possible. And now
I must say good-bye, Mr. Dole."

"Sir, I should like to meet you here again some day."

"I only wish we could at least meet here every Sunday. Good-bye."

"I almost think," said Mr. Acres, as they left the church, "the outside
of our church walls are as interesting as their interior. The north wall
is evidently the earliest part of the church. It contains some Roman
bricks, placed herring-bone fashion, among the old Norman rubble. This,
doubtless, was erected immediately after the destruction of the little
Saxon church with its wooden walls[60] which once stood on this very
site; then come the Early English walls of the chancel, then the very
interesting specimens of brick-work of the sixteenth century in the
tower and western walls. But you have given Mr. Dole and us all such a
long and useful lecture on the _inside_ of the walls, that we must not
stop to say any more about their outside."

"I must just say this, my friend, respecting the outside walls, that I
can forgive a builder for any fault more easily than for want of
_reality_ in the exterior of a church. For the sake of decoration and
neatness it may be desirable that the internal walls should be covered
with cement or plaster, but there is no excuse for so covering the
church externally. If mean materials are used, let the mean materials
appear; but it is unpardonable to use the mean and spread over it a
false pretence of the costly. Brick walls are often very beautiful, and
not inferior to flint or stone; but if they are of brick, let the brick
be seen, and let it not pretend to be _stone_."

Illustration: Wall Painting



"I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all
thy borders of pleasant stones."

Isa. liv. 12.

    " ... Sometimes thoughts proud and wild
        Have risen, till I saw the sunbeams steal
     Through painted glass at evensong, and weave
     Their threefold tints upon the marble near,
     Faith, Prayer, and Love, the spirit of a child!"


Illustration: Church of St. John, Brandenburg

Illustration: Doorway, St. Stephen's Church, Tangermünde


Mr. Acres and his family had now learnt, from their many conversations
with the Vicar on the subject, to take a deep interest in church
architecture, and were ever seeking and finding some new beauties either
in the solid building or the ornaments of their own ancient church,
which now they looked upon with quite a new feeling of pride and
admiration. When, therefore, Mr. Ambrose was a visitor at the Hall, he
was not unfrequently called upon to deliver a short drawing-room lecture
on some portion of the church or its furniture. "Now, Mr. Ambrose," said
the Squire, on one of these occasions, "as we are only a family party
this evening, will you kindly give us some more information on our
favourite topic of conversation lately? I see the same request is on the
lips of all these little people, but they are not so impudent, I
suppose, as I am. You will, I hope, find us more profitable pupils than
Mr. Dole, to whom you specially addressed your lecture in the church the
other day."

"I am not so sure of that; for what I said to him, if it did no more, at
least set him _thinking_; and that is a great point, you know. You see,
those kind of people, as a rule, never read and never hear any thing
really worth reading or hearing about matters of this sort. They are
simply taught to believe that all outward form and ceremony in the
Services, and all outward _meaning_ and _beauty_ in the fabric of the
church, are idolatrous and superstitious, and they care to inquire no
further than that. Their prejudice is fostered by ignorance, and to lead
them to _inquire_ is the first step to wards inducing conviction. Then,
how very little our own people generally know about these things, and
how seldom comparatively they are prepared with a ready answer with
which to meet the objections of persons who are even more ignorant than
themselves! This surely ought not to be. If we place beautiful and
costly ornaments and furniture in our churches, the poorest person in
the parish should be taught the meaning of them; and if the Stones of
the Temple have each a lesson to teach, the poorest person in the parish
ought to know what they say. But I am wandering from my point: our last
subject was the _walls_ of the church; what shall we talk about to-day,

"Oh, I think the _windows_ should come next, Mr. Ambrose; but there are
so many different kinds of windows, that, of course, you cannot tell us
all that might be said about them."

"No, indeed, my dear; I can only tell you a very small part of their
history, but still enough, perhaps, to increase the interest you already
feel on the subject. First, then, I shall say something about the
_stone-work_ of the windows; and what I say about windows applies very
much also to the _doors_ of a church, only the doors are generally much
more richly ornamented. Now there are some very simple rules by which we
may commonly know from the windows pretty nearly at what period that
particular part of the church was built. You cannot, of course, always
tell from any thing still existing at what time the church was _first_
built, because often no part whatever of the first church is remaining.
The font, from its sheltered position, is the most frequently preserved
relic of the original church; sometimes one doorway alone remains, and
sometimes but a single window to mark the earliest date of the church.

"As I must not puzzle your brains with the hard words employed by
persons learned in church building, I do not profess to give you the
nice distinctions by which they arrive almost at exact dates. Ours must
be a very rapid glance at the whole subject. The two great distinct
characters, then, in church windows, as also in other parts of the
building, are the _semi-circular arch_ and the _pointed arch_. The
former is to be found in churches erected before the year 1150, and the
latter since that year; but of course there are exceptions. The earliest
round-headed windows (that the few buildings in which they are found
were originally intended as Christian temples, I do not of course
affirm) are the _Roman_, and these are easily known, for they are nearly
always partly composed of red bricks[61]. Then come the _Saxon_; these
are built of stone, but are quite plain, and generally as rude and rough
as the Roman. You know the Romans held possession of our country from
the year 50 before Christ till A.D. 450; and then the Saxons held the
country till A.D. 1066; but it is impossible accurately to fix the dates
of most of the churches they built. Next follow the _Norman_; these are
more ornamental, and not so roughly executed; and after the Norman
Conquest, when many clever builders and masons came over from Normandy,
they were often most beautifully decorated. The figures of persons and
animals, indeed, that are sometimes to be found (but more especially
above the doorways) at this time seem very quaint and curious to us now,
and often quite unintelligible, but no doubt they once all had an useful
meaning and were specimens of the highest art of the time; very many of
them are Scripture subjects. Sometimes triangular windows are to be met
with of the Saxon and Norman periods, but very rarely. As I said before,
some of their stone carvings appear to us to be very quaint and
grotesque, and so too the arrangement of their windows was sometimes
fanciful; they seem to have attempted occasionally[62], to represent the
features of the face, the doorway representing the mouth, and the
windows the eyes and nose.

Illustration: Crowmarsh Church

"The reason why the windows were in some instances so small, we may
imagine was because they were sometimes not glazed, and it was
desirable that, to keep out the wind and rain and the winter's cold,
they should be only just large enough to admit the necessary light. I
have lately seen an old Norman window which had been long bricked up, in
which there had evidently never been any glass[63]. We need not be
surprised at this, for even so lately as in the reign of Queen
Elizabeth, it was no uncommon thing for the windows in private houses to
have no glass in them.

Illustration: Diagram of arches

"Now we come to the pointed-headed arches. From about A.D. 1150 to A.D.
1200, which is called the _Transition_ period the two styles were a good
deal mixed. People have different, opinions as to the origin of these
pointed arches. A learned friend of mine has an idea of his own about
it, which he calls _the finger theory_. He supposes that all church
arches and tracery may be derived from different positions in which the
fingers may be placed when the hands are clasped as in prayer, and that
from these, first the round, and then the pointed arch was suggested as
a fit design to be adopted for a House of Prayer. It is at least an
ingenious and a pleasing conception. Some have imagined that the meeting
of branches in a grove of trees first gave the idea of the pointed arch.
Often, as I have looked down the avenue by old Wood's cottage, has the
opening at the opposite end reminded me of the eastern window of some
splendid cathedral, whilst the long intervening rows of trees, with
their branches uniting overhead, has suggested to my mind the pillars
and groined roof of the building. Our old heathen forefathers knew well
the grand effect of these magnificent temples of nature's building, when
they selected them as the places best adapted for their awful
sacrifices, and the worship of their 'Unknown God[64].' But it seems
most probable that one style of architecture naturally introduced
another, and that the pointed followed naturally from the semi-circular
arch. When the builders saw what a beautiful arch was produced by a
number of their old semi-circular arches intersecting each other, they
gradually introduced the newly-discovered pointed arch, and at length,
finding that it admitted of such a far greater variety of beautiful
tracery in the window, they abandoned the old style altogether.

"The first pure style of pointed windows is called the _Early
English_[65], which prevailed from about A.D. 1200 to A.D. 1300. It is
often very simple, the plain lancet-shaped window being the most common;
it frequently has the same ornaments as the Norman, but its peculiar
ornament is a flower, almost round, called the _ball-flower_. This was
followed, up to about A.D. 1400, by a more graceful flowing style,
called the _Decorated_ or _Florid_, and it is chiefly to be
distinguished by the waving flame-like character of the stone-work in
the upper part of the window. Then next we have quite a different style,
which is called the _Perpendicular_, so named from its upright or
perpendicular lines, some of which run up uninterruptedly from the
bottom to the top of the window. This style is peculiar to England, and
windows of this character are very rarely to be found elsewhere. In the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the arch of the window gradually
becomes depressed, first sinking to the _Tudor_ arch, and then losing
its pointed character altogether and becoming quite flat; and this
introduced what, from its comparative want of beauty, is called the
_Debased_ style. The windows of this period were usually square-headed,
and possessed, like the other parts of the building, little ornament. It
prevailed till the middle of the seventeenth century, and may be
considered the second childhood of Church Architecture; and it was
certainly far inferior to the first. Succeeding to this period came all
those hideous semi-classical erections, most of which, I believe, were
built in the reign of Queen Anne, though some were before and some
after; and those still more unsightly parodies on Gothic architecture
which were erected at the close of the last and commencement of the
present century. In our own day we have far _advanced_ by a complete
_retrogression_, and churches are mostly copies of one or other of the
styles I have mentioned. If, however, our present age may boast of a
church architecture of its own, it will undoubtedly be that of those
most beautiful _brick_ churches which have been but lately erected, such
as All Saints' and St. Alban's, London, and St. James', Oxford."

"You have not told us any thing about the _round_ windows, Mr. Ambrose,"
said Constance; "you know we have a very pretty one in our church."

"Yes, I ought to have told you that these circular windows are to be
found in all styles of architecture, usually at the west end of the
church. They are called rose windows and marigold windows, from their
supposed likeness to those flowers; and St. Catherine's windows, from
their resemblance to the wheel on which she suffered martyrdom. It is
likely that this window was placed in our church because it is dedicated
to St. Catherine."

"That leads me to ask," said Mr. Acres, "what _symbolism_ there may be
in the windows of a church; for in your sermon last Sunday you said that
there was a lesson to be learnt from all the speechless stones of the

"Yes; and every window in the church should remind us of certain
Christian truths. The _light_ which they admit should make us think of
Him who is the 'Light of the world,' 'a Light to lighten the Gentiles,'
'the Day-spring from on high,' 'the Sun of Righteousness,' 'that
lighteth every man that cometh into the world.' The window with its
double compartments reminds us of the two natures of Christ; the triple
window, and the many triple forms in it, of the Trinity[66]. But it is
of course most chiefly in its storied panes that the church window
becomes our teacher."

"Certainly; I see that: and, by-the-by, as I am as ignorant as my
children about the history of stained glass, please tell us something
about that before we part."

"I will, gladly. As far as we know, stained glass was never used before
about the year 850; but when it once came into general use, it would
appear that no church was considered complete unless every window was
furnished with it. At first, it probably consisted of rude imitations of
old mosaic patterns[67]. Then figures were introduced, which depended
for their general effect upon broad black lines either produced by lead
or colour. The old stained glass may always be known by the deep
richness of its colours, especially of the blue and ruby. Probably
Canterbury Cathedral possesses the earliest and best specimens
remaining, the date of some of which is about A.D. 1120[68]. In the
glass of this time you find small medallions containing several figures,
the surrounding parts being filled with tracery. Next come small single
figures, or groups of figures, with or without canopies, with border
tracery and foliage; sometimes there are the shields of founders and
benefactors. About A.D. 1350 larger figures of saints were painted, each
occupying a whole compartment of the window, with larger and more
elaborate canopies. Now, too, windows began to be _mortuary_, and
contained figures of deceased persons, with their shields and banners.
In the following century single subjects often extended over several
compartments, or even the whole of the window. Sentences in old English
letters were frequently painted, issuing from the mouths of figures
(just as we find them on monumental brasses of the same date), and also
in various other parts of the window. One colour only, commonly yellow,
with black lines to mark the features and dresses, was now, and also
before this time, frequently used.

"At this period glass painters fell into a great error by studying more
to paint pictures, correct in all the lesser and unimportant parts of
the drawing, than to produce a pleasing and solemn distant effect; they
often lost the effect of a grand accessory to the beauty and harmony of
a Gothic temple, in order to gain that of a piece of painted calico.
From about A.D.1600 this art gradually declined, and, with some
exceptions, the glass painting and architecture of our churches fell
together, the inferior artist of the former being often employed in
depicting the debased style of the latter. Immense quantities of stained
glass were destroyed by the sacrilegious hands of the Puritans in the
seventeenth century[69], and of course much, from its brittle nature,
has otherwise perished; enough, however, remains to show how splendidly
our churches were formerly decorated with it, and to afford invaluable
aid to those who are now engaged in promoting the happy revival of this
noble art.

Illustration: Stained Glass Window in Great Malvern Church

Illustration: Stained Glass Window in Great Malvern Church

Illustration: Stained Glass Window in Great Malvern Church

"There is just one other point to which I must briefly allude--the value
of stained glass windows as _historical records_. There can be no
objection to windows in some parts of the church (specially those placed
over the arches of the nave which are called _clerestory_ windows) being
thus employed, though the presence of these subjects in some parts would
be most objectionable. There are some most interesting windows of this
character still remaining. I have only time to notice some of those in
Great Malvern Church. I have brought you some drawings of these windows;
they represent some events in the life of St. Werstan, who was martyred
in a small chapel near to the spot where these windows are. This glass
preserves the only ancient record we have of this saint. In the first
pane you see there is a representation of Werstan himself; the hills at
the back, with the flowers and ferns upon them, probably represent the
Malvern hills; and the painting above, the plot of ground on which his
church was built. The key has reference either to the material fabric or
the spiritual efficacy of its sacred services, and the four
corner-stones, held by four angels, each with three fingers raised in
the attitude of blessing in the name of the Trinity, are doubtless
intended to indicate the favour of Heaven on his pious work. In the next
pane the figure and hills are repeated, and above is a representation of
the different ceremonies attending the consecration of the completed
church. In the third pane you see the hills, with their flowers and
ferns, covering the whole background; in the lower part, the now regular
services of St. Werstan's little church appear to be represented by
three choristers; and standing near them are two persons who are
probably their instructors. The upper part represents the martyrdom of
the saint in his own chapel. The stained glass in Great Malvern Church
contains other historical records, but we have not time to notice them."

Illustration: Rose Window, Cremona Cathedral




"Let the priests repair the breaches of the house, wheresoever any
breach shall be found."

2 Kings xii. 5.

    "Men, who have ceased to reverence, soon defy
     Their forefathers; lo! sects are form'd, and split
     With morbid restlessness;--the ecstatic fit
     Spreads wide; though special mysteries multiply,
     _The saints must govern_, is their common cry;
     And so they labour, deeming Holy Writ
     Disgraced by aught that seems content to sit
     Beneath the roof of settled modesty."


Illustration: Amberley Church, in ruin, and restored



Since the last conversation which we recorded between the Vicar and Mr.
Dole, the character of the latter had become much softened. On various
occasions they had been brought into each other's company, and the
consequence was that each had begun to think more favourably of the
other, and to find some unsuspected good qualities which promised well
to establish between them that cordial good feeling and mutual respect
which ought always to exist between a Pastor and each member of his

The following close of a long conversation might explain the loss of
esteem and influence which many a parish priest, besides the Vicar of
St. Catherine's, has had to deplore:--

"Well, Mr. Ambrose, had we known each other more, we should have
understood each other better; my lips, at least, would have been saved
the guilt of many hard words; perhaps, too, sir, you would have thought
of me a little more charitably."

"There may be truth in that, Mr. Dole," said the Vicar; "but then you
must own that you have always shown such sternness and severity to wards
me as to forbid any friendly approach on my part. I have, indeed, put it
down, in a great measure, to that harsh judgment of the conduct and
opinions of others which I considered your form of dissent tended to
foster--but this has not relieved me of my difficulty."

"I suppose I must confess that those who hold very strictly to the
doctrines in which I have been brought up, have generally a severe and
sour bearing to wards others who do not believe as they do, and,
indeed, very often to wards members of their own body also. Then, you
see, sir, at their prayer meetings, and their Sabbath services, they get
much more excited and animated than people do at church, and so,
perhaps, it's natural for them to be a little more subdued and less
lively when they are out of 'meeting.'"

"Yes, that's natural; and no doubt what you say accounts for some
differences in the opinions we form of each other's characters. At
'meeting' I am aware persons are commonly wrought up, by exciting
appeals, loud words, and wild gestures, to a state of _high pressure_,
of which we at church know little; and so they consider the calm,
dignified solemnity of our services as cold and lifeless. Out of
'meeting' a reaction takes place, and they become comparatively
depressed and undemonstrative, and we consider them morose and
ill-tempered; _we_ have no such reaction to undergo, and to us the world
seems brighter than to them, and so they think us frivolous and worldly.
But for my part, Mr. Dole, I can't possibly see what is the use of a
man's speaking ten times louder than is necessary in order to make
himself heard, just that he may produce a fever-heat in the pulses of
his congregation. If continued for any length of time, it leads to
something very like temporary madness; if not, it is likely to subside
into a dull, sullen apathy. Moreover, I have yet to learn that it is
wrong, provided we do not abuse them, to enjoy the good things God gives
us, with a _cheerful countenance_--aye, and with a merry heart, too.

"On that point I have for some time been inclining to your opinion, sir;
though, I fear, you will think I have not given much outward proof of
it. But, nevertheless, you have in this matter as yet partly mistaken
me--indeed we have partly mistaken each other. Perhaps my religion may,
in some degree, account for my seeming gloominess and indifference; but
these have arisen quite as much from home sorrows and disappointments,
and the coldness and cruelty I have experienced from others. I will not,
however, trouble you with these matters now, more than to say, that if
you could have overlooked the ungracious words I may sometimes have said
to and of you, and have looked in upon me, and for my evil have
returned good, by speaking some kind and friendly words to me, you would
have done much to brighten a life that has known but little sunshine;
for I have longed more than I can tell you for a friend to whom I could
fearlessly tell the sorrows of my heart. I know I have been to blame,
for I always used to think you too _proud_ to take much interest in my
cares and troubles; may be, sir--I am sure you will forgive my plain
speaking--may be we have been both a little to blame.

"Now, Mr. Ambrose," continued his parishioner, in a far more cheerful
voice than was usual with him, "you know that since your friendly
conversation with me that day in the church, I have followed the advice
you then gave me, and have never failed to be one of your congregation
at least once on the Sunday. I trust I have profited by what you have
taught me: will you not be offended if I for a moment turn the tables,
and preach a few words to you? I don't mean to _you_ yourself
personally, sir, but I mean to you as one of the ministers of the

"I am sure you will not say any thing that will give me just cause for
offence, my friend, and so I promise not to be offended."

"Well then, sir, you know I have always lived amongst Dissenters, so I
know pretty well who and what they are. You will agree with me, that
there are many excellent people among them, and there are some learned
people among them; but generally they have but little learning. Very
often their attention has been almost solely directed to _a single point
of doctrine_ which itself forms the ground of their dissent from the
Church--just as with me; though I do not think the Church is quite right
on some other matters, yet I should not separate from it could I be
persuaded that the Church was right about _Baptism_. That has always
been _my one_ great stumbling-block. But I think, sir, speaking with all
respect for yourself, that there is _one great cause_ in the Church
ministers themselves which has kept the Dissenters from coming back to
the Church. I know that this has more to do with the _past_ than the
_present_; I know too that it could not of itself justify any one in
separating from the Church. But, sir, look at the class of people
Dissenters are of, in this country; their whole strength lies in the
middle and the small-trade class. There are among them comparatively
very few rich and educated, very few poor. You will say the love of the
power and position which those people obtain for themselves in the
meeting-house, but which they could not possess, in the same way, in the
Church, naturally draws them to the Dissenters. That is no doubt partly
true; giving them also credit--as I am sure you do, sir--for higher
motives. But I see another reason; and that is, the wide difference
between the Church ministers and the people."

"I see what you mean," said the Vicar: "the difference in their social
position. I admit that the social position of the dissenting preacher is
more on a level with that class of which, as you say, Dissenters are
chiefly composed than is that of the Clergy. But then, Mr. Dole, the
Church does not only retain its hold on the upper and the educated
classes, but also on the poor (of course I speak generally; for there
are, alas! a large number of these which are beyond the reach of any
religious ministrations whatever)."

"Ah, yes, sir, that's the very point. I think in times past the Church
ministers have stood too much on their social and worldly dignity: they
have made too much of the _man_, and too little of the _office_. It's
different now almost every where. But you see, sir, this just separated
them from the tradespeople, but it didn't separate them from the poor.
They didn't feel their pride wounded when they took the horny hand of
the labourer; but it was a greater trial of humility to shake hands with
the tradesman over the counter, and to go and sit down in the parlour
behind the shop, in the same friendly way in which they visited the poor
cottagers. Then, you know, sir, there were many other ways in which this
class was neglected: _we_ think it was lest too great attention should
lead to too great familiarity. The wealth and education of a tradesman
perhaps sometimes made his social position border too closely on that of
the Church minister, and perhaps the minister felt it his duty carefully
to guard the narrow barrier; but, oh, dear me, sir, what is all that
compared with the work God has given him to do! I don't think that one
who has the salvation of his people at heart will stop to consider
whether a friendly, faithful pastoral visit may or may not result in a
more familiar nod from his parishioners for the future. Do you know,
sir, I think this is one of the loose stones in your spiritual House."

"I agree with much that you have said, as regards _past years_: but you
must not put all down to _pride_; you must make more allowances for
men's peculiar habits, and circumstances, and manners. Only just now you
excused a kindred fault in yourself on the ground of private cares and
anxieties. However, our views on this matter are not far apart. I
consider, with you, that a clergyman's _office_ overrides all social
distinctions; and that he should be equally at home at the squire's
mansion, the tradesman's parlour, and the meanest cottage in his parish;
none should be too high for his familiarity, none too low for his
friendship: as Chaucer says, 'the beggar is his brother.' His _social_
position is certainly as nothing compared with his _official_, and
should always be made subservient to it. I cannot understand how any
clergyman, who rightly estimates the high dignity of his sacred office
as a priest, can take a different view from this. However--God be
praised!--times are altered in this respect: the Clergy have thrown away
almost every where that reserve which no doubt lost to the Church many
of the class which the Dissenters have gained. And we see now the good
results; for in thousands of parishes the sons and daughters of these
very people are working hand-in-hand with their Pastor, and are among
the most zealous and faithful children of the Church, bringing again
within the walls of her Temples multitudes of those who have been
fellow-wanderers with themselves, and so helping to repair, one by one,
the many breaches which have, alas! been made in the House of the



"Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not; for of
such is the kingdom of heaven."

Luke xviii. 16.

    "There is a Font within whose burnish'd face
     The o'erarching pile itself reflected sleeps,
     Columns, arch, roof, and all the hallow'd place,
     Beauteously mirror'd in its marble deeps;
     And holy Church within her vigil keeps:
     Thus round our Font on storied walls arise
     Scenes that encompass Sion's holy steeps,
     Rivers of God and sweet societies,
     The mountain of our rest, and Kingdom of the skies."

                                          _The Baptistery._

Illustration: Ancient Font in West Rounton Church


A few weeks after the interview mentioned in the last chapter, the Vicar
preached three sermons from the same text, St. John iii. 5: "Except a
man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom
of God." The first sermon was on the _necessity of Baptism_; the second,
on _its benefits_; and the third, on _its mode of administration_,
specially in the case of infants. Mr. Ambrose could not help noticing
that Mr. Dole was on each occasion deeply affected, for he saw tears on
his face, which evidently manifested deep emotion within. He was,
therefore, hardly surprised, when, after his third sermon, a knock at
the vestry-door announced a visit from his parishioner.

"I have listened very attentively to your last three sermons, Mr.
Ambrose," said he, "and the subjects of them have also, as you know, for
a long time past been seriously and prayerfully considered by me; I am
now come to ask you to receive me into the Church by Baptism."

"Have you never yet been baptized, my friend?" inquired the Vicar,
taking his hand in a kind and friendly way.

"No, I have not; when I was an infant, my parents objected to my being
baptized, and since I became a man, I must confess with shame, that I
have never had the _courage_ to go through the service at our _meeting_.
That service, you know, sir, is such as to deter far more courageous
men--and specially women--than I am, and I have always, too, had my
doubts about its propriety."

"I am not surprised at that. I once, when a boy, attended a baptism at
one of your _meetings_, and I shall never forget it; for a more unseemly
spectacle I never witnessed. There were several young men and women
immersed by the preacher, in a large tank of water, in the middle of the
meeting-house. Each was clothed in a flannel garment fitting almost
closely to the body, and the appearance of the first of them was the
signal for a general rush to the best places for seeing; men and boys
climbed noisily over the pews, and some took their places on the backs
of the seats, so as to get a good view; and the whole scene was most
disorderly and irreverent.

"I have explained to you that our own Church also admits of baptism by
_immersion_[70], but it does not _require_ it, nor even recommend it.
Nevertheless occasionally persons desire it; and there are a few
churches, chiefly in Wales, where a large tank of water, as well as a
smaller font, is provided for such special cases. But this mode of
baptizing is not encouraged by the Church, for these among other
reasons:--It is _not necessary_--for 1, the word _Baptism_, in the
original, does not necessarily mean entire immersion; 2, in the absence
of proof to the contrary, we may fairly conclude, from the peculiar
circumstances[71] of the cases, that many of whose baptism we read in
the New Testament were not so immersed; 3, the Church from the earliest
period has not considered immersion as necessary to the validity of
Baptism. It is also _inconvenient_--for 1, in some cases it would be
most difficult to obtain sufficient water for the purpose; 2, in many
cases there would be much risk and danger attending its practice; 3, in
all cases there would be difficulty in securing that solemnity,
propriety, and order so desirable in the administration of this holy
sacrament. But the Baptism of adults, even according to the Church's
ordinary rules, is no small test of courage, as well as sincerity. You
are aware, no doubt, that your own Baptism and reception into the Church
must be _in the face of the congregation_. The law of the Church is very
plain on this point; it distinctly forbids Baptism to be administered
_privately_, either at home or in the Church, 'unless upon a great and
reasonable cause;' and it is much to be regretted that this rule has
ever been departed from."

"Yes, sir, I have well considered that point."

The Vicar remained long that afternoon in the vestry in serious
conversation and earnest prayer with his parishioner. He again went over
the subject of the last three sermons; showing, 1st, how the text could
refer to nothing else than holy Baptism, and that, if it did refer to
it, then no doubt, where it can be had, Baptism must be necessary for
us, in order that we may "enter into the kingdom of God;" 2ndly, that
the _promise_ is as sure as the _warning_; and, 3rdly, that the terms of
the text are _unexceptional_, that they refer to _all mankind_ without
any exception whatever, men, women, and children. In speaking of these
different subjects, of course he had to meet the various objections
which Dissenters are used to adduce; but on all these points it was not
very difficult to satisfy the mind of one who had already freed himself
from the trammels of prejudice, and was earnestly seeking for the

On the following Sunday afternoon therefore, after the second lesson,
Mr. Dole presented himself, with his chosen witnesses, at the Font of
St. Catherine's. The service was a very solemn one, and all the
congregation evidently took the greatest interest in it. Mr. Dole made
the responses in a firm manly voice, its very tone seemed to say, "This
is the result of my deep and honest conviction; I have been wrong, and I
am not ashamed to say so before all those who are here present, from
whom I have so long been separated, but who are henceforth my brethren
in Christ." And then for the first time, he quietly and calmly took his
place on a bench at the west end of the building--a sincere member of
the Christian Church.

It was natural that the Squire and Vicar should have some conversation
after service on an event of so much importance in the village as was
this. They both foretold, and rightly, the downfall of the little
village "Bethel" as soon as its chief supporter had left it.

Its former attendants came back to the Church one by one, till at length
the owner of the building, finding no prospect of receiving his rent,
closed the "Meeting," and appropriated it to another purpose.

The Vicar and Squire were standing near the Font, and the conversation
took its rise from the object before them.

"How often, Mr. Vicar, we find these old Norman Fonts preserved, when
there is hardly another bit of masonry remaining in the church of the
same date."

"Yes; and it is remarkable it should be so, considering the exposed part
of the church in which they are placed, and the perishable stone of
which they are not unfrequently composed; besides which, the carvings
upon them are often of so mysterious and grotesque a character as
naturally to excite the wrath of the Puritan fanatics who so
relentlessly destroyed the beauty of our Houses of God, and 'brake down
all the carved work thereof with axes and hammers.'

"It is very interesting to watch the progress of architectural changes
as delineated on Fonts. Each period of ecclesiastical architecture, as
well in its general features as in its details, is abundantly
illustrated by the carvings and mouldings to be found on Fonts. The
early Fonts were with few exceptions made of stone. Marble was seldom
used till in comparatively recent times. Some of the early Fonts had a
solid leaden bowl, placed on a stone base[72]; I have never seen but one
ancient wooden Font[73]; that was placed on a stone base of the Norman
period, but was itself no doubt much later. The sculpture on very
ancient Fonts, as well as other church carving of the time, sometimes
borrowed its symbolism from the heathen mythology which preceded

Constance Acres, who had been hitherto a quiet listener, here asked Mr.
Ambrose why the Font was always placed near the door of the church.

"It's a natural inquiry, my dear, for one of your age," said the Vicar,
"but the reason is evident. Its position there, at the entrance of the
material fabric, fitly represents _Baptism_ as the outward form of
admission into the Christian Church. The Font, too, thus placed, should
ever remind us, as we enter the church, of the vows and promises made in
our name when first we were brought in our helpless infancy to be
presented to God, and to be made members of Christ through the grace of
our second birth. If people would only accustom themselves to associate
such thoughts with the baptismal Font, then just a glance at it as they
come into the church would be enough to solemnize their minds, and help
to fit them for the sacred services in which they are about to take a
part. It was once the custom, Constance, to place what were called
_stoups_, at the entrances to our churches, and there are still remains
of them at the doors of many old churches. These were small basins, made
of stone, for the purpose of holding water, which--like the water in the
Font--was consecrated by the priest. When persons came into the church,
they dipped a finger in the basin, and crossed their forehead with the
water, just as the priest now crosses the brow of the person who has
been baptized. The _forehead_, you know, is always regarded as the seat
of _shame_ or _courage_[75]; and so the person, when baptized, is signed
with 'the sign of the _Cross_, in token that hereafter he shall _not be
ashamed_ to confess the faith of _Christ crucified_.' The old custom of
frequent crossing with holy water has now for a long time been
discontinued by us, the practice was regarded by many as superstitious,
nor does there appear to be authority for it in the Primitive Church.
The same motive which prompted the use of the _stoup_, however, still
induces some persons to use the sign of the Cross on entering a church:
I do not myself do so; not that I see any harm in the practice in
itself, as it is intended to remind persons of the Sacred Presence to
which they are about to enter, and to drive away worldly thoughts by
this memento of the crucifixion of their Lord; but I think it is
better, in my own case, as some would be offended by it, to try to
accomplish this right object by other means."

"People's minds have very much changed in late years respecting the use
of the Cross," said Mr. Acres. "A few years ago not only was the sign of
the Cross in baptism considered superstitious, but it was considered
even wrong to use it in church architecture, or as an ornament within
the church, or as a part of a memorial in the churchyard; there are few
now, I suppose, who regard such use of the sacred symbol as
superstitious. I was in a bookseller's shop the other day when a
'Baptist' preacher came in to purchase a Prayer Book to present to a
friend; the bookseller said to him, 'Of course that will not suit you,
sir, as it has a Cross upon it.' 'I like the book very much,' was his
reply; 'and as for the Cross, why the Puritans may object to that if
they like, I don't.' But I am of opinion that people are going a little
in the opposite extreme, and, at least as a personal _ornament_, the
Cross is become too common."

"Why _do_ you fall into the popular error, my good friend," said the
Vicar, reprovingly, "of calling these Anabaptist preachers, _Baptists_?
Surely they ought to be called any thing rather than _Baptists_, for
they make more light of Baptism than any other people who can properly
be said to believe in Baptism at all. Do let us call things by their
proper names;--why, to call them _Baptists_, is almost as bad as to call
Roman Catholics, _Catholics_, and so to ignore our own claim to be
members of the Christian Church, because we allow them a name which
would imply that _they_ are the _only_ Church in the world. I need not
tell you that the word ANA_baptist_[76] exactly expresses what they are,
namely, they who _baptize a second time_ those who have already been
baptized in infancy. The term 'Baptist' is far more applicable to Church
people than to them."

"I see, I deserve your rebuke: mine is a mistake too often made.
By-the-bye, Mr. Vicar, I was very pleased to hear your reply to Mr.
Dole, when he inquired what was the _fee_ to be paid for his baptism. I
heard you tell him that the sacraments of the Church were always

"Yes, certainly I did; and I confess I cannot understand how any one can
dare, in these days, to demand a fee for Baptism; the claim is as
_illegal_ as it is _unchristian_, and I believe goes far to make the
poor take a low view of this holy rite. I wish, too, I could make the
poor understand that _Baptism_ has nothing to do with _Registration_;
many of the most ignorant of them really regard them as the same thing.
Some of them, too, will persist in thinking that to be _privately
baptized_, is to be '_half baptized_.' Of course _they must be
altogether baptized, or not baptized at all_; but they do not readily
see that the _baptism_ is complete, though the _reception into the
Church_ is not perfected till the service is concluded in the face of
the congregation."



"He commanded us to preach unto the people."

_Acts_ x. 42

    "The pulpit, therefore (and I name it, fill'd
     With solemn awe, that bids me well beware
     With what intent I touch that Holy thing),
     I say the pulpit (in sober awe
     Of its legitimate peculiar powers)
     Must stand acknowledged, while the world shall stand,
     The most important and effectual guard,
     Support and ornament of virtue's cause.
     There stands the messenger of truth: there stands
     The legate of the skies! His theme divine,
     His office sacred, his credentials clear.
     By him the violated law speaks out
     Its thunders; and by him, in strains as sweet
     As angels are, the Gospel whispers peace."


Illustration: Stone Pulpit in Dartmouth Church


"I suppose we must not expect you to conform to all our usages at first,
Mr. Dole," said Mr. Acres, as they walked out of the churchyard one
Sunday, after the Afternoon Service; "but no doubt you will soon see the
fitness of our several forms and ceremonies, and then you will do as we
do. Of course these things are--compared with others--of no great
importance; but still it is better, even in small matters, to avoid
differences in our mode of worship."

"Yes, that is so, sir; but you must give me time, and I shall be glad if
you will tell me what you have specially noticed in my manner different
from others? I don't wish to seem particular."

"Well, to be candid then, Mr. Dole, it seems strange to us to see a man
when he comes into church _stand up_ and say his prayers in his _hat_,
instead of reverently _kneeling down_."

"I never thought of that before, but I dare say it does; but then you
know, sir, that is our way at the _meeting_. I see, however, that it is
much more proper in God's house to obey the precept of His Holy Word,
and 'fall low on our knees before His footstool.'"

"Then for the same reason you will, I am sure, see that, instead of
_sitting_ during the other prayers, as I notice you do, it is proper to
_kneel_ at those times too. You will find that all in our church, from
the oldest to the youngest, except poor Old Reynolds and Tom Barham (who
are too infirm to kneel), do so. Then again, when the _Creed_ is said, I
see you do sometimes stand up, but not always; and I notice you don't
turn to the _East_, as all the rest of the congregation do."

"No, I confess I don't do that. I like the idea of repeating our
Confession of Faith whenever we meet at church: I suppose the want of
this practice is one reason why the different leading sects of
Dissenters are constantly being broken up into fresh divisions. Yes,
there is certainly something very supporting to a Christian in so
declaring with the Church every where, his belief in the great doctrines
of their common Faith; but the fact is, I have some scruples about
turning to the East at that time. Even old Mrs. Tubbs, who, you know, is
a Church-woman, says she thinks it is superstitious."

"All I can say, then, is, that Mrs. Tubbs doesn't know the meaning of
the word she uses; and in this she is like a great many more people who
think themselves very wise about these matters. Now, my good friend,
when you next come to church, stand up with the rest, and turn to the
East as the others do, and first say to yourself some such words as
these:--'We all _stand_, to signify that we are _not ashamed_ of our
Belief, and that, if need be, we will manfully defend it. We all _turn
in one direction_, to signify that we all hold _one and the same faith_.
We all turn to the _East_, because there in the east of our churches
every thing reminds us of the presence of Him in whom we profess our
belief; because there, in remembrance of Him, we celebrate the highest
and most sacred mysteries of our Faith; and because the East specially
reminds us of the holy life, the Divine teaching, the miracles, the
suffering, the death of our Blessed Lord--"the _Sun_ of Righteousness,"
"the _Day-spring_ from on high"--_in the East_[77].' Do this, Mr. Dole,
and you will never again be disposed to regard this custom as
superstitious. Why, some people even think it is superstitious to bend
the head reverently at the name of Jesus, when it is mentioned in the
Creeds and the other parts of the Service."

"I don't think so, though once I did. Since I have considered more about
it, it has seemed to me that some outward show of reverence at the
mention of the Sacred Name is quite Scriptural[78]. But as I am yet only
a learner about these outward forms, will you kindly tell me, sir,
whether there is any rule of the Church about this custom?"

"The Vicar will be able to answer that better than I can."

"I could not help overhearing our friend's question," said Mr. Ambrose,
"as I was close behind you, and I will answer it at once. The rule of
our Church is very plain on this point; it is this: 'All manner of
persons present shall reverently kneel upon their knees, when the
general Confession, Litany, and other prayers are read; and shall stand
up at the saying of the Belief, according to the rules in that behalf
prescribed in the Book of Common Prayer; and likewise, when in time of
Divine Service the Lord Jesus shall be mentioned, due and lowly
reverence shall be done by all persons present, as it hath been
accustomed: testifying, by these outward ceremonies and gestures, their
inward humility, Christian resolution, and due acknowledgment that the
Lord Jesus Christ, the true eternal Son of God, is the only Saviour of
the world[79].'"

"Thank you, Mr. Ambrose, nothing could be plainer, or more reasonable
than that direction; but, you see, I have for so many years _sat under_
Mr. Scole, who never taught us any thing of this sort, that you will
forgive me if I seem a little more ignorant than those who have been all
the time _sitting under_ you."

"What do you mean by 'sitting under,' my friend?" said the Vicar, very

"I mean _hearing you preach_," was Mr. Dole's reply. "It's a curious
expression, now I come to think about it."

"It certainly is so, and the meaning of it is not very clear. But in our
Church we don't talk about _sitting under_, or _hearing_ this or that
preacher. We simply say we attend this or that church, as the case may
be. And the reason is, that--although very important in its proper
place--we consider preaching of little moment (and the preacher of far
less), when compared with the other objects of Christian
worship,--_Prayer_ and _Praise_. We look upon God's House as
pre-eminently 'a House of Prayer.'"

"Well, I do think we used to make too much of the sermon at the meeting;
and I remember all our conversation afterwards was about the sermon or
the preacher. One Sunday we had a young gent. from London, Mr. Sweetly,
to preach, and our people never ceased to talk about him. I believe,
however, none of them recollected a word he said; but they could
remember well enough 'his lovely voice,' and 'how nice he looked in his
beautiful black silk gown' (you know, sir, our people always preach in
black gowns), 'and those charming lavender gloves! and then the sweetest
embroidered white lawn pocket-handkerchief imaginable!' It had just been
presented to him, he told me, by a young lady--Miss Angelina
Gushing--who sat under him at his London meeting-house. I never was a
preacher-worshipper myself, sir."

"Save me from the man with the _lavender gloves and the white
embroidered pocket-handkerchief_, I say," said Mr. Acres. "If there is
one thing in nature I shrink from more than another, it is a _fop_, and
a _fop_ in the pulpit is beyond endurance."

"A most offensive person, indeed," said the Vicar, "and one that brings
great discredit upon the ministry; but it can be no matter of surprise
that men sometimes a little over-estimate themselves in some of our
fashionable towns, where the people (specially the ladies) flock to
_hear_ 'dear' Mr. Somebody, and so abundantly supply him with those
articles of personal furniture which are usually the reward of a popular
preacher. It is not so very long ago that in our own church every thing
was made to give way to the sermon. You remember, Mr. Acres, when many
of the people in St. Catherine's used to sit and sleep through the
prayers[80], and just wake up for the sermon. Then the pulpit was every
thing, and little else could be seen by the people; the galleries were
built so that the people might sit and see the preacher, and the pews
were likewise built up only with a view to sitting comfortable during
the sermon. It is all different now, I am thankful to say, and the
pulpit takes once more its old and appropriate position. But we must
take care not to esteem too lightly the office of the preacher, in our
contempt for one who preaches merely to _please the people_. To 'preach
the Word' is one of the solemn duties laid upon us at our ordination;
and woe be to us if we neglect to do so earnestly and faithfully!"



"Because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge;
yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs."

Eccles. xii. 9.

      "Unskilful he to fawn, or seek for power,
       By doctrines fashion'd to the varying hour;
       Far other aims his heart had learn'd to prize,
       More bent to raise the wretched than to rise.

           *       *       *       *       *

       At church, with meek and unaffected grace,
       His looks adorn'd the venerable place;
       Truth from his lips prevail'd with double sway,
       And fools, who came to scoff, remain'd to pray."

                             GOLDSMITH'S _Country Parson_.

      "Resort to sermons, but to prayers most:
       Praying's the end of preaching."

                                        GEORGE HERBERT.

Illustration: Church of St. Mary, Henley-on-Thames


Illustration: Stone Pulpit in North Kilworth Church

"It's curious to note," continued the Vicar, "how the
Pulpit and the Gallery have kept company in rising higher and higher. At
first the pulpit was placed at a moderate height above the congregation,
and then the church improvers (?) were usually contented with erecting a
small low gallery at the west end of the church[81]. It is true, that
was bad enough; for in order to construct it, it was nearly always
thought necessary to fill in the tower arch and to hide the western
window--often the most beautiful features in the church; and then the
organ was taken up into this gallery, and the singers followed it; and
nothing, you know, could be more inconvenient than that those who help
to _lead_ the services of the Church should be _behind_ those they
profess to lead. But when people had once tasted the luxury of sitting
in a church gallery, the demand for it rapidly increased, and my Lady
Pride, who had very comfortable crimson-cushioned seats in her box at
the theatre, could not be content without an equally comfortable and
elegant _box_ in the gallery at her church, where she could see all the
people quite as well as in her box at the theatre, and had such a good
view of the pulpit and its occupant, that, with a good opera-glass, she
could even read the manuscript from which the clergyman was preaching.
As the taste spread, of course galleries multiplied, and not only
extended in a lateral direction over all available parts of the church,
but sometimes mounted up one above another (as witness many of our
London churches) till they almost touched the very roof. Indeed, to
build a new gallery was one of the most popular things a local magnate
could do; and even Members of Parliament, who desired to make sure of
their next election, could hardly adopt better means for recommending
themselves to their constituents than by disfiguring their church with
one of these hideous structures, and recording the same on some
conspicuous part of the church[82]. But worse still; these galleries
were sometimes even still more nearly connected with the political
parties of the day. I know one church[83]--and that is not the only
instance--in which are galleries, having complete opera-boxes, furnished
with luxurious chairs, stoves, &c., and every box is a two-pound
freehold, and the boxes are, from time to time, advertised for sale,
with the inviting recommendation that each one _gives a vote for the
county_. One great piece of presumptuous vanity connected with these
galleries, is the numberless instances in which the names of
churchwardens, that otherwise would have been unknown to fame, have been
emblazoned upon them."

"You remember, no doubt," said Mr. Acres, "the inscription, in large
gilt letters, that covered the front of our old gallery--'This gallery
was erected A.D. 1716, Thomas Grubb and Matthew Stokes, Churchwardens;
enlarged, and newly painted and ornamented, A.D. 1760, Peter Jenks and
Samuel Styles, Churchwardens.' I believe I have read that inscription
thousands of times, and those names used even to haunt me in my dreams.
Had those churchwardens been four of the greatest saints in the
calendar, it would have been gross impiety to emblazon their names so
conspicuously as thus to force them upon one's notice during the whole
service. If, however, tradition does not speak falsely of them, those
men were by no means too correct either in their private life or in
their parish accounts. But let them be never so good, people who go to
church for Christian worship, don't wish to have the names and exploits
of these worthy or unworthy men staring them in the face every moment
they are there. But I beg your pardon, Mr. Vicar, I interrupted you when
you were speaking of the pulpit."

"Well, you know, when the gallery had reached the ceiling, it could go
no higher; but then its upper tenants could no longer see the preacher.
So the pulpit rose too, and, to enable all to see it, sometimes took its
place just in front of the altar, so as completely to hide that from
most of the congregation; nay, I have seen it even over the altar
itself[84]. Then the prayer-desk came climbing up after the pulpit; and
then the clerk's desk came creeping up below them, till that, too,
became one of the most conspicuous and important objects of the church.
Thus the three together grew into that clumsy, unsightly mass which has
been not inaptly called the _Three Decker_!"

"Ah, I shall never forget poor old Mowforth's perplexity," said Mr.
Acres, "when he looked about for his peculiar box in our restored
church. First he looked doubtingly at your prayer-desk; then he examined
the lectern from which you read the lessons; then he looked with some
faint hope at the pulpit; at last he came to me, and said, 'Please, sir,
which of these is to be my place?' and his look of dismay was
indescribable when I told him that, as you intended that henceforth the
choir should lead the responses, he would be absorbed in the
congregation, and would in future be able to take his place with the
rest of his family. But the man is a sensible fellow, and he confessed
to me the other day that he considers the new arrangement a great
improvement, and wonders that the people could have so long endured the
duet service in which only the voices of the parson and himself could be
heard. But we have again wandered a little from our subject. Let us go
back to the pulpit; it must have a history of its own, like every other
part of the church. Will you kindly enlighten me and our friend here on
the subject? for it must be one of much interest to us both."

"Well--to begin at the beginning--I suppose we must look for the origin
of our pulpits in the 'brazen scaffold' which Solomon set 'in the midst
of the Temple[85],' and the 'pulpit of wood[86]' from which Ezra read
the Book of the Law.

"There are in this country many very beautiful examples of ancient
pulpits; these are, with but very few exceptions, constructed of
_stone_, and very generally of the same date as the church itself.
Sometimes they were erected outside the church[87], but usually in the
place where we are still accustomed to see them. Sometimes stone pulpits
were quite separate buildings, erected in some much frequented place,
usually near a cathedral or other church[88]. 'In the ancient rites of
Durham there is mention of a "fine _iron_ pulpit, with iron rails to
support the monks in going up, of whom one did preach every holiday and
Sunday at one o'clock in the afternoon." This was situated in the
Galilee, or western division of the church, which was open to the public
even when the entrance to the rest of the church was interdicted[89].'
Although the most beautiful pulpits, both ancient and modern, are of
stone--many of them being richly carved and inlaid with costly
marbles--yet the greater number of the more modern pulpits are made of
wood[90]. By an injunction of Queen Elizabeth in 1559, pulpits were
ordered to be erected in all churches[91], and by a canon of 1663 it was
ordered that pulpits should be placed in all the churches of the country
not already provided with them. The pulpits then erected were in almost
every case made of wood, and their pattern has since then been
generally, though by no means universally, followed.

"A curious appendage to the pulpit sometimes found is the horologium, or
hour-glass. Whether this was placed there for the information of the
congregation as to the progress of the hour, or to teach them its own
solemn moral, or as a guide to the preacher respecting the length of his
discourse[92], I cannot say. Another adjunct to the pulpit is the
sounding-board, or, as it should rather be called, the _lid_ or _cover_
of the pulpit; and a thing more useless, and usually more ugly, one
cannot conceive[93]. It certainly always seems to me rather to impede
the sound of my voice than to assist it; and then it has, to say the
least, a most uncomfortable appearance; and though I never heard of the
accident really happening, yet it always appears to me to be on the
point of falling and crushing the poor preacher below it. It is not,
however, difficult to trace the origin of these covers to the pulpit;
they were really necessary where the pulpits were _separate
buildings_--as at St. Paul's Cross--in order to protect the preacher
when the weather was inclement. At St. Paul's Cross, and at the Cross
Pulpit at Norwich, and probably elsewhere, not only the preacher, but
also the audience, were provided with such a shelter[94]."

"Will you kindly tell us," said Mr. Dole, "why you discarded the large
handsome velvet cushion that was once on your pulpit, and have, instead,
adopted the embroidered piece of velvet which now hangs in front of the

"Well, as a matter of taste, I think you will agree with me that the
present beautiful frontal, with its richly-embroidered cross, is an
improvement upon the old cushion. But I discarded the old big
_pillow_--for such, indeed, it was--not only because it was unsightly,
but also because it was useless, for my head is not so much more tender
than that of other persons, that I, any more than they, should require a
pillow to rest it on during my private devotions; and as I am not
accustomed to perform the part of a mountebank in the pulpit, or, as
some say, to use much _action_ when preaching, I need no such protection
in order to preserve my limbs safe and sound. But, besides this, there
is a manifest objection to these huge cushions; undoubtedly they tend to
impede the sound of the preacher's voice[95]; so I was very glad to get
rid of your handsome cushion, and adopt our more convenient and more
beautiful pulpit frontal."

"I often think," said Mr. Acres, "if the old pulpits could speak, what a
strange account they would give of the various preachers that have
occupied them. Take our own old stone pulpit, for instance. In early
times, of course, there were only sermons at long intervals, perhaps
often dependent upon the occasional visits of some old preaching friar.
At length there came the quaint old Homilies of the Church; then there
came an interruption to all true religion and order, and the old pulpit
poured forth the mad ravings of the fanatical Puritans who got
possession of it. Now and then came a noisy soldier to hold forth, and
there was--as our old registers show--the _Reverend_ Ebenezer Bradshaw,
the Presbyterian, who left his snuff and tobacco shop to enlighten our
poor benighted people; next came the _Reverend_ Obadiah Brent, late of
the 'Green Dragon,' the Independent preacher; and then the _Reverend_
Jabez Zanchy, the baker of Starchcombe, the Anabaptist preacher[96];
then there was a century of long learned essays freely interspersed with
Greek and Latin, so that, if the prayers were said in a language
'understanded of the people,' the sermon certainly was not. Following
upon this came what we may call the _muscular_ style of
preaching--usually extempore--requiring the pillows of which you have
been speaking to save the knuckles of the preacher from entire
demolition. Thank God, amid these many changes, there have always been
some good men to be found in our pulpits; but, for my part, I like the
quiet, sober, persuasive style, which--saving your presence, Mr.
Vicar--I am thankful to say, characterizes the sermons at St.
Catherine's. I think sermons cannot be too _practical_; and, whilst they
should be addressed both to the heart and the intellect, they should
most of all be designed to touch the _heart_."



"My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of
Glory, with respect of persons."

S. James ii. 1.

    "At length a generation more refined
     Improved the simple plan....
     And o'er the seat, with plenteous wadding stuff'd,
     Induced a splendid cover, green and blue,
     Yellow and red, of tapestry richly wrought,
     And woven close, or needlework sublime."


Illustration: St. Mary's Church, Sherborne


"Ah, Mr. Beeland, I'm so glad to see you!" said the Vicar, as, on
leaving the church, he met his neighbour the newly-appointed Vicar of
Droneworth. "I have been much grieved to hear of the sad opposition you
have had to encounter in restoring your fine old church; but this was
sure to be the case in a parish like yours, which has been so long
neglected; indeed it must be so, more or less, in every parish, so long
as there are people who honour themselves much more than they honour
God; and such, I suppose, there will be till the end of the world. You
may be sure, my friend, the woe of universal commendation[97] never yet
fell upon any _church restorer_."

"Never, certainly. But what makes our position often so difficult and so
painful is the fact that, whilst we are fully sensible of the rectitude
of our own course, we cannot help, to some extent, sympathizing in the
feelings of those who blame us. For instance, in almost every case of
church restoration it is necessary to disturb a large number of human
bones, and yet we can but sympathize in that feeling of respect for the
departed, which sometimes expresses itself in the most strenuous
opposition to any work involving this painful necessity. Then, you see,
there is the rooting up of long-cherished associations. We have a case
in point close at hand. There's the grand old church of Rainsborough
will be left in its miserable condition so long as the present Vicar
lives, and for no other reason than this:--ten years since he lost a
favourite daughter, and she had always been accustomed to sit in one
particular corner of their large pew." Now the Vicar fears (and no doubt
justly) that should the church be altered, the old pew with its fond
associations would be swept away--and so the church will never be
improved as long as he lives[98]. We must respect the old man's tender
love for the spot sacred to the memory of his dear child, yet we plainly
see it is all wrong that for the sake of the private feelings (however
praiseworthy) of any one person, God's house should remain in a state of
neglect, and the poor should be uncared for therein. This, however, is
an oft-told tale. But most of all, we have to contend against _wounded
pride_ in its most cherished strong-hold--alas!--the Church of God; and
the enemy is all the more fierce because it is prostrate.

"My two great opponents, Sir John Adamley and Mr. Parvener, are to meet
me this evening, and I am come to ask you and Mr. Acres to walk back
with me to Droneworth, so that I may have the benefit of your support.
You see these two gentlemen had pews in the nave of our church, lined,
cushioned, and carpeted in dazzling crimson; each pew was as large as a
good-sized room, and the two occupied nearly half the nave. Mr. Parvener
was generally at church once on a Sunday, and then he sat not only in
luxurious ease, but also in solitary dignity. Sir John never came to
church, as there was some old feud respecting the right owner of his
pew; but the door was always locked, and a canvas cover was stretched
over the top. These precautions, however, failed to keep out an
occasional intruder, and at last the door was securely _nailed up_[99].
The worst of it was, that all this time there was not a seat in the
church which a poor man could occupy with any chance of either seeing or
hearing the ministering Priest. Now people talk about _proper_
distinctions in church between the high and the low, and we sometimes
hear much about old ancestral pews. Believe me, it's all nonsense, my
dear sir; the distinction is _solely between riches and poverty_. If a
man has plenty of money, he may (or rather, till lately he might)
secure the biggest pew in England; and if he has not money, though he
be entitled to quarter the royal arms on his escutcheon, he will get no
pew at all. Mr. Parvener is an exact instance of this. But a few years
since he was working for half-a-crown a day. No sooner did he become
wealthy than he obtained a large pew at our church, whilst its former
owner, whose fall had been as complete and rapid as was the rise of his
successor, was driven to a remote corner of the church allotted to
degraded poverty."

The walk to Droneworth was soon accomplished, but the Rector with his
two friends only reached the Parsonage a few moments before the arrival
of the two aggrieved parishioners. It was evident from the first
greeting that they had come in no friendly spirit. But few words passed
before Sir John came direct to the object of the interview.

"The purpose of our visit," said Sir John, "you are aware, is to protest
against the removal of our pews at church, and to declare our
determination to have them replaced if it is possible."

"But, gentlemen, you are aware that we have provided good accommodation
for you in the restored church," replied the Vicar.

"Good accommodation, sir!" exclaimed Sir John. "Why, you have given us
nothing but low wooden benches to sit upon; and, to add to the insult,
sir, there is not the semblance of a _door_; so that our devotions may
at any time be interrupted by the presence of an inferior. Why, sir, the
very labourers, who earn their half-crown a day, have seats in the
church just as good as ours!"

The last sentence made poor Mr. Parvener writhe a little; and that
indeed was its real intention, for the two neighbours had, in truth,
little love for each other. The words, however, accomplished another and
a better purpose; they broke up at once any thing like united action on
the part of the opposition.

"Let me ask you, gentlemen, a very simple question," said the Vicar.
"_Why should not_ the labourer have as good a place in God's house as

"You might as well ask," said the Baronet, "why they should not have as
good houses as we have."

"The cases are in no way similar. You live in better houses than the
poor, simply because your worldly means enable you to do so; but I have
yet to be taught that in the Church wealth is to be exalted and poverty
degraded. No, Sir John, be sure this distinction is out of place
_there_. We go to church to _worship_ and to _learn_, and if favour is
shown to any class, no doubt it should be to the ignorant and the poor;
but this is a matter on which we are not left to our own judgment. There
are not many instructions in our Bibles as to the manner of arranging
our churches, but here the direction is plain and unmistakable."

"Indeed, sir! I had no idea that any thing about church seats was to be
found in the Bible."

"Oh, but indeed there is. The passage to which I refer is in St. James'
Epistle; and it is this: '_My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord
Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory, with respect of persons. For if there
come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and
there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; and ye have respect to
him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a
good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my
footstool: are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges
of evil thoughts[100]?_'"

"If those words are in the Bible, I must confess the Bible is against
me; but I had no idea that they were there."

"I assure you they are the exact words of Holy Scripture."

"It's clear enough to me," interposed Mr. Parvener, "that the labourer
ought to have as good a place at church as the lord. I don't think the
church is the place to show off aristocratic pride. Why, for that
matter, there's many a man that doesn't know who was his grandfather
doing more for the glory of God and the good of his fellow-creatures
than your grandest aristocrats." This was intended as a counter-thrust,
and it created a wider breach in the enemy's camp. "But," continued he,
"I don't see why, if all have good places in the church, we should not
make our own seats as comfortable as we can."

"Ah, but there comes in just what St. James tells us we ought to keep
out: the distinction between _riches and poverty_, distinctions which
among our fellow-men have their advantages, but not before God in His
house. Just hear what St. James says again: 'Hearken, my beloved
brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and
heirs of the kingdom which He hath promised to them that love Him? But
ye have despised the poor[101].' I was much struck with a sermon I heard
the other day on this subject. The preacher said, 'If our Lord Jesus
Christ were to enter some of our churches just as He went to the temple
at Jerusalem, do you think He would take His seat in the luxuriously
furnished pew of the rich, or in the open bench of the poor[102]?' Now,
let me ask you too, Mr. Parvener (for this is, after all, the sum and
substance of the matter), do you think that He 'who was rich, yet for
our sakes became poor[103],' and whose life was a perfect pattern of
_humility_, would sanction the distinctions which either pride of
station, or pride of riches, would create in the House of Prayer?"

"Well, sir, I must say that's a solemn question, and it sets one
a-thinking more than I have thought before about this."

"But, Mr. Beeland," said Sir John, interrupting, for he saw the ground
of his arguments was slipping from under him, "you will acknowledge that
these open benches in church are a _novelty_, and you often talk to us
about keeping to the _old paths_. Now, here you are teaching us to
strike out a new way altogether. I wish I knew something more than I do
about the history of these pews."

"I anticipated some such remark from you, and knowing that my friend Mr.
Ambrose is more learned than I am in all these subjects, I induced him
to join us this evening, and if he will kindly give us the benefit of
his information, he will, I am sure, convince you that _pews, and not
benches, are the modern innovation_."

"If you can have patience to listen to me," said the Vicar of St.
Catherine's, "I will gladly give you the history of pews, as far I know



"Take theses things hence; make not My Father's house a house of

John ii. 16.

      "Not raised in nice proportions was the pile,
       But large and massy; for duration built;
       With pillars crowded, and the roof upheld
       By naked rafters intricately cross'd,
       Like leafless underboughs, 'mid some thick grove,
       All wither'd by the depth of shade above,
                            ... The floor
       Of nave and aisle, in unpretending guise,
       Was occupied by oaken benches ranged
       In seemly rows."


Illustration: All Saints' Church, Bradford


"In order to trace the history of pews[104] to their first source, I
must, as Mr. Beeland has hinted, go back to a time when pews, as we now
see them, had never been thought of. It is pretty certain that the first
seats in churches were stone benches placed round the north, south, and
west walls, portions of which are still remaining in many old
churches[105]. In some ancient churches in Ireland the stone bench has
also been found adjoining the _eastern_ wall, the altar being placed a
little distance before it. In those early times people were far less
self-indulgent than at present in God's House, and the usual custom was
to stand or kneel during the whole service. The first wooden seats were
small stools, each intended to seat one person, and placed in the nave
as suited the convenience of each occupier. Then came plain benches, and
next, benches with backs to them. The priest's _reading-pew_ was
probably the origin of all pews. They seem to have been unknown in any
form till the end of the thirteenth century, but the earliest record we
have of a pew is 1602[106]. Next to the 'reading-pew' came the 'bride's
pew[107],' the 'churching-pew,' and the 'churchwarden's pew.' In the
nave of Little Berningham Church, Norfolk, is a pew erected by a
shepherd; a skeleton carved in wood is fixed at the south-west corner of
it, and these lines are carved on the pew:--

    'For couples join'd in wedlock; and my friend
     That stranger is: this seat I did intend,
     But at the coste and charge of Stephen Crosbee.
         All you that do this place pass by,
         As you are now, even so was I--
         Remember death, for you must dye,
         And as I am, soe shall you be.

             'Anno Domini, 1640[108].'

The general adoption of pews began with Puritanism, and with its
increase they too grew in width and stature. First of all, people were
satisfied with the uniform arrangement and space of the old oak benches,
only erecting on the top of them an ugly and useless panelling of deal.
This was bad enough, but worse soon followed; and, to make the seats
more luxurious, first one bench was taken away, and the _two benches_
made _one pew_; then two were removed, then three, till at last it
required the removal of _six benches_, which formerly would accommodate
thirty persons, to make _one pew_ to accommodate two or three. Now,
either men are giants in these days and were pigmies in those days, or
else the pride and luxury of man claim a prominence now in God's House,
which was quite unknown then. I will ask either of you, gentlemen, to
decide which is the true explanation."

"I fear it must be against ourselves," said Mr. Parvener.

"I fear so, indeed[109]. But now let me explain to you more fully what
are the real evils of this wretched pew system. And first, as to the
_private pew_--for, besides sharing in the evils of _all_ the rest, _it_
has some peculiarly its own. Of these, the _pride_ it fosters, and the
'_respect of persons_,' so severely condemned by St. James, are the
worst. My dear sir, I assure you it has often made my blood boil to see
some poor old man with his venerable bare head exposed to the cold
draught of a neglected part of the church, whilst a young, pampered son
of fortune has been cushioned up under the stately canopy of his own
pew[110]. Oh, sir, I'm sure you must agree with me that this is
altogether against the spirit of Christianity! I'm no leveller _out of
church_; the social distinctions must be there kept up; but _in God's
House_ these should have no place at all. Then, surely, the _luxury_ of
many of these private pews is altogether inconsistent with the object of
our meeting in the House of Prayer. It is--as it shows the progress of
luxury, and its concomitant, effeminacy--a curious circumstance, that
when the custom of having pews in our churches began to spread, they
were, by our hardy ancestors, considered as _too great indulgences_, and
as temptations to repose. Their curtains and bed-furniture, their
_cushions_ and _sleep_, have, by a long association of ideas, become
intimately connected. The Puritans thought _pews_ the devil's _baby_, or
_booby hutches_[111]. I have heard that in America they go even beyond
us in the luxury of pews, and that in Boston some of them are actually
lined with _velvet_[112]. I believe that both there and here the private
pew system has done very much, not only to force the poor from the
Church, but to drive many of all classes over to dissent."

"I can't see how that can be," said the Baronet.

Why, "naturally enough, sir, for they find all this the very opposite to
what the Church professes to be and to teach. They see the rich exalted,
and the poor debased; they find a house of pride, instead of a house of

"The _exclusiveness_ of this system is one of the most curious as well
as absurd features in its history. True, the change in our social habits
has created a change for the better here; but much of the old temper
survives. You would hardly believe, perhaps, that years ago it was not
only considered an impropriety for the squire and the dame to sit in the
same pew with any of their inferior fellow-worshippers, but the presence
of their own children[113] was even considered an indecent intrusion.
This was, indeed, ridiculous; but, in truth, the whole system would be
monstrously grotesque, were it not so very wicked.

"There is a curious inscription on an old seat in a church at Whalley,
which seems to throw some light on the early history of private pews; it
is this:--'My man Shuttleworth, of Hacking, made this form, and here
will I sit when I come, and my Cousin Nowell may make one behind me if
he please, and my sonne Sherburne shall make one on the other side, and
Mr. Catterall another behind him; and for the residue, the use shall be
first come first speed, and that will make the proud wives of Whalley
rise betimes to come to church[114].'

"The first seat thus appropriated was, no doubt, a rude wooden bench;
but certain it is, that no sooner were even these claimed as private
property than _quarrelling_ began[115]; and the quarrel has, alas! been
kept up to our own day. The right to these _faculty pews_, as they are
called, is, however, in most cases very questionable, and often leads to
costly law processes[116]. Many sensible men and earnest Churchmen are
giving up their supposed right to them, and are contented to take their
place in church like _ordinary mortals_. I sincerely trust, gentlemen,
this may be your case.

"Now, let me notice a few of the evils which are common to _all pews_.
They tend to destroy the _unity_ and _uniformity_ of common worship,
which forms so grand a feature in our church system. 'They are very
inconvenient to _kneel_ down in, necessarily oblige some to sit with
their backs to the speaker, and when they rise up, present a scene of
confusion, as if they were running their heads against one another[117].
As God's House is a House of Praise and Prayer, so before all things the
arrangement there should have reference to the proper _posture_[118] of
praise and prayer. Then see how these pews shelter and encourage
_levity_ in God's House. As long ago as the year 1662, a bishop of
Norwich wrote this satire upon pews: 'There wants nothing but beds to
hear the Word of God on. We have casements, locks and keys, and
cushions--I had almost said bolsters and pillows--and for those we love
the church. I will not guess what is done within them: who sits, stands,
or lies asleep at prayers, communion, &c.; but this, I dare say, _they
are either to hide some vice or to proclaim one_[119].' I will only
mention one more objection to pews: they harbour dust and dirt[120], and
otherwise disfigure the beauty of our churches."

"Well, Mr. Ambrose, I must confess myself brought to the same opinion as
yourself," said Sir John, "and the reformation of the evil may commence
at Droneworth to-morrow without any obstacle whatever from me."

"Nor yet from me," rejoined Mr. Parvener: "I certainly never heard the
case fairly stated before, and now I have, I own I'm convinced."

"Heartily glad, I'm sure, my friend here must be to part with the old
_half empty packing-cases_, and to see proper benches in their place.
And as you have been kind enough to listen to me so far, I will just say
a few more words to explain the two desks which the Vicar has placed in
the nave of your church, and of which I heard you had disapproved. One
is the _Litany-desk_, or _faldstool_[121],--as it is called in the
Coronation Service. The Litany is a very solemn, penitential service,
and from very early times it has been said from the appropriate place
where the Vicar has placed the Litany-desk in your church--namely, just
at the entrance to the chancel. Its position there has reference to that
Litany of God's own appointing, of which we read in the Book of
Joel[122], where, in a general assembly, the priests were to weep
_between the porch and the altar_, and to say, '_Spare Thy people, O
Lord_.' In allusion to this, our Litany--retaining also the same words
of supplication--is enjoined, by the royal injunctions[123], still in
force, 'to be said or sung in the midst of the church, at a low desk
before the chancel-door[124].' The other desk is called the _lectern_,
or _lettern_, and sometimes the _eagle-desk_; and, as you are aware, is
the desk from which the lessons are read. They were first made of wood,
and often richly carved; afterwards they were commonly made of brass or
copper. They were first used about the end of the thirteenth century,
and although most of our country churches have been despoiled of them,
yet they have never ceased to be used in our cathedrals, as well as many
other churches[125]. The desk is often supported by a pelican feeding
its young with its own blood, the emblem of our Saviour's love; more
frequently it is supported by an eagle, the symbolic representation of
the Evangelist St. John. It is true that both the faldstool and the
lectern have long been unknown at Droneworth, yet I feel sure you will
not, on second thoughts, consider the restoration of such convenient and
appropriate furniture as objectionable."

The two late dissentients agreed that as they had overcome the greater
difficulty, they should withdraw all opposition in the matter; and, it
being now late, the party broke up, each one feeling glad that a good
thing had been done on a good day.



"Praise ye the name of the Lord; praise Him, O ye servants of the Lord.
Ye that stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of
our God."

Ps. cxxxv. 1, 2.

    "Three solemn parts together twine
    In harmony's mysterious line
    Three solemn aisles approach the shrine,
            Yet all are one."


Illustration: Castle Cary Church


Mr. Beeland accompanied his two friends some distance on their way home.

"I remember noticing," said Mr. Acres, "that the pews of your two
parishioners very much blocked up the _centre aisle_ of the church;
their removal will much widen the aisle, which will be a great

"Forgive me for correcting you," said Mr. Ambrose, "there can be no such
thing as a _centre aisle_. You are speaking of the centre _alley_ or
_passage_. The word _aisle_[126] can only refer to the wing of a
building, and it always denotes that portion of a church which runs
laterally north or south of the nave or chancel. I see, Mr. Beeland, you
have some work to do in that aisle of yours before your church will be
in good order."

"Yes, that is my greatest remaining difficulty. I have observed that
those of the congregation who occupy that aisle are far less attentive
and devotional than the rest; and the reasons are obvious. They are cut
off from the main portion of the church, not only by the high backs of
the existing pews, and by the hat and cloak rails which run from pillar
to pillar, but also by needless masses of modern masonry. Moreover, they
can see nothing of that part of the church which is sacred to the most
solemn offices of our worship. Then, again, what the people _do see_ is
enough to divert all devotional thought and feeling from any but the
_most_ seriously and religiously disposed."

"You mean the hideous heathen monument which occupies the east end of
the aisle. If I remember rightly, it is a sort of monstrous Roman altar,
with four huge bull's heads at each corner."

"Yes; it is in the centre of a mortuary chapel, once belonging to a
family named Bullock, and their frightful crest, in gigantic
proportions, is the one object on which the eyes of at least a third of
our congregation must rest, if they open their eyes at all. I can hardly
conceive any thing more calculated to deaden the fervour of Christian
worship than an object like this placed before the gaze of the
worshipper. Much as I object to the bare walls of Dissenting
meeting-houses, and the many-altared aisles of Roman Catholic churches,
I believe neither are so distracting to the minds of the congregation
generally as are the mortuary chapels, with their uncouth _adornments_,
which occupy so large a space in the aisles of many of our own churches.
Unfortunately, this chapel now belongs to a young man who has recently
seceded to the Church of Rome, and he will neither allow me to
appropriate for the use of the parishioners any of the space we so much
need, nor will he consent to have the unsightly monument removed to a
less conspicuous place."

"The bitter hostility to wards the Church of their baptism, and the
utter absence of Christian sympathy in good works of this nature, which
characterize so many of those who have fallen away from our Communion,
is indeed most deplorable. But even if your unreasonable and
narrow-hearted parishioner will oppose all improvement in that part of
the aisle which--stolen from God and His people--he claims as his own
private property, there is much you can do, when you set about your work
of restoration, to make that part of the church less isolated than at
present. At least, you can remove much of the useless wood and masonry
which now separate the aisle from the nave."

"I propose also to re-open the ancient hagioscope in the south wall of
the chancel, by which means the people in the aisle will once more gain
a view of the altar, and be enabled to see and hear the priest when
officiating there."

"Will you kindly tell me, Mr. Beeland," said Mr. Acres, "what are
_hagioscopes_[127]? I never remember having heard the word before."

"You probably have heard them called by their more common name of
_squints_. They are openings in the north or south walls of the chancel,
or perhaps more commonly in the walls supporting the chancel arch, and
are intended to give a view of the altar to those who are worshipping in
the aisles. They are to be found in most old churches, but they have
commonly, as in our case, been bricked up. It is manifestly very
desirable that in all cases they should be restored, not only on account
of their architectural beauty, but also for their practical utility in
the services of the Church."

The party then separated, and the Vicar of Droneworth took back to his
parish a lighter heart than he had known for many a day.



"Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary."

Ps. xcvi. 6.

    "Pace we the ground! our footsteps tread
      A cross--the builder's holiest form--
    That awful couch where once was shed
      The blood with man's forgiveness warm,
    And here, just where His mighty breast
      Throbb'd the last agony away,
    They bade the voice of worship rest,
      And white-robed Levites pause and pray."


Illustration: Church of SS. Peter and Paul, Ringwood


"Much of the objection which you have expressed to the prevailing
arrangement of the aisles," said Mr. Acres, continuing the conversation
with his Vicar, "seems to me to apply also to that of the transepts--I
believe that is the proper name for those portions of a church which
extend in a _transverse_ direction north and south?"

"Yes," replied the Vicar; "and the remedies for the evil are in both
cases nearly the same. Great inconvenience often arises from the
exclusive character of the parclose. I would have the solid part of this
made lower, and the upper part more light and open."

"Pardon me, my friend, but I am ignorant as to what you mean by the word

"I refer now to the screen which encloses the chancel on the north and
south sides; but I believe the word may apply to any screen in the
church. By means of these screens, however, the persons in the transepts
are needlessly excluded from a view of the altar."

"Yes; but the change in them which you suggest would not fully meet the
difficulty, even if a squint or hagioscope should also be provided."

"I see that," said the Vicar; "and for that reason I would, as a rule,
only have those portions of the transepts nearest the chancel fitted
with permanent seats. On special occasions chairs could be placed in the
back parts; or, perhaps, the whole of the transepts might be given up to
the children of the parochial schools, the elder children, who could
best understand the nature of the services, being placed in the front."

"A very proper arrangement, indeed, I should think, for all of them
would be able at least to _hear_, and they would be conveniently placed
for assisting in the musical parts of the service. It has often struck
me as the refinement of cruelty to place these children in the remote
damp corners of country churches, where too often they are to be found;
or, worse still, in the topmost galleries of city churches, where the
air they breathe is heated and impure. In both cases there is a manifest
unconcern as well for the temporal as for the spiritual welfare of these
little ones of Christ's flock."

"To whatever use, however, they may be applied, or even if they are
entirely unappropriated, so far as regards affording accommodation for
the congregation, I would, by all means, wherever practicable, retain
the transeptal arrangement of our churches, not only as being the most
ornamental form of structure, but as preserving in the entire building
the distinct form of the _Cross_; and as symbolizing in the gathering
together of each congregation of Christ's Church--which is _His Body_,
that Body itself. Thus the nave represents the body, the transepts the
outstretched arms, and the chancel--being the most excellent part of the
church--the head[128] of our Lord. Some perhaps might think it fanciful,
but to me there is something very solemn and beautiful in the idea, not
only of the church's whole fabric assuming these symbolic forms, but
also of the united prayers and praises of the congregation making, as it
were, in their very sound _the sign of the Cross_."

"I think so too. And to my mind it has always seemed that the grand
symbolism which looks through, as it were, the _whole_ fabric of the
church, and the _whole_ congregation therein assembled, was formerly
much marred in our churches, when there were _many_ altars, dedicated to
_many_ saints, instead of the _one_ altar, which we now only retain,
dedicated to the _one Head_ of the Christian Church."

"Yes; and your remark, of course, applies specially to the _transepts_
about which we were speaking, since even in our country churches every
transept had its separate altar, the _piscina_ attached to which is
still to be found in almost every old church."

"I suppose," said Mr. Acres, "that beautiful Gothic niche in our south
transept which you recently restored is a _piscina_?"

"Yes, it is. The piscina was always placed on the south side of the
altar, and it was used chiefly as the receptacle for the water used in
cleansing the sacred vessels, or for that used by the priest in washing
his hands[129]. It is to be found in our earliest Norman churches, and
evidently dates from the time of their erection. There is often a
_shelf_ placed over the basin of the piscina, which was used as a

"We heard much about the credence-table some time since," interrupted
the Squire, "when there was a suit in law about this and some other
matters; but I confess I am still ignorant as to the purpose of the

"It is usually a small table, or, when forming part of the piscina, a
shelf, on which the elements intended for use at the Eucharist are
placed before their consecration. Just before the prayer for the _church
militant_ in the Communion Service there is this direction: 'The priest
shall _then_ place upon the table (i.e. the altar) so much bread and
wine as he shall think sufficient.' Now, you see, it would be very
inconvenient, and a sad interruption of that part of the service, to
bring these from a distant part of the church. The ancient custom,
therefore, of placing the elements on the credence-table at the
commencement of the service is most convenient for the proper observance
of this rubric. And so, although the credence has only been preserved as
an interesting relic, or ornament in other parts of the church, in the
chancel it has been preserved or restored[131], as being still a most
useful and important part of the furniture of the church."

Having now arrived at the vicarage-gate, the two friends bade each other



"The vail shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most

Exod. xxvi. 33.

    "I love the Church,--the holy Church,
       The Saviour's spotless bride:
     And, oh, I love her palaces
       Through all the land so wide!
     The cross-topp'd spire amid the trees,
       The holy bell of prayer;
     The music of our mother's voice,
       Our mother's home is there.

    "I love the Church,--the holy Church,
       That o'er our life presides;
     The birth, the bridal, and the grave,
       And many an hour besides!
     Be mine, through life, to live in her,
       And when the Lord shall call,
     To die in her--the spouse of Christ,
       The mother of us all."

                           _Christian Ballads._

Illustration: Church of St. John, Walworth


Perhaps, gentle reader (all readers are supposed to be "gentle,"--they
_ought_ to be), if you live in a retired village, you will find that in
the course of many years, your village annals present little or nothing
worthy of record, as matter of general interest or importance; you will,
therefore, understand how that the past six years at the little village
of St. Catherine's have been so uneventful as to be noticed only by a
blank in our narrative. But now, on this twenty-sixth day of June, in
the year 1866, an event of no common interest in a country parish is
about to take place.

Since their first meeting, four years ago, at the vicarage of
Droneworth, a close intimacy had grown up between the families of Mr.
Acres and his neighbour Sir John Adamley; the upright integrity and
manly candour which marked both their characters soon begat a deep
mutual respect, which, in course of time, ripened into a warm
friendship, now about to be sealed in the marriage of the Baronet's
eldest son Egbert with Mr. Acres' eldest daughter Constance.

The place is all astir betimes. Early in the morning a merry peal is
sounding from the old church tower, and many hands are busy in
decorating with flowers and evergreens arches placed at intervals
between the church and the Hall. It is by no order of the Squire or his
steward that these arches--erected at no slight cost of money and
labour--are put up; they are the spontaneous expression of the interest
which the villagers themselves take in the day's rejoicing. There are
William Hardy, Robert Atkinson, Mr. Dole, even old Matthew and his
grandson, and indeed half the village, as busy as bees in and out of the
church, vying with each other in their endeavour to make every thing
look bright and joyful. Every one has put on something gay and
cheerful, purchased specially for the occasion; there is the light of
honest gladness on every face; and now that the children with their
baskets of fresh flowers stand ranged on either side of the pathway that
leads from the main road to the lich-gate, the scene is one of the most
picturesque that can be imagined....

"Does Mr. Ambrose particularly wish that the first part of the service
should take place near the _chancel screen_?" inquires Sir John.

"Yes," answers the Squire; "it is always the custom here, and I think
you will afterwards acknowledge that this arrangement is very fitting
and appropriate; and, indeed, adds not a little to the impressiveness of
the ceremony."

"I can quite imagine that; but what authority has the Vicar for the

"Oh, that is very plain. If you just look at your Prayer Book, you will
see this rubric at the commencement of the Marriage Service: 'At the
time appointed for the solemnization of matrimony, the persons to be
married shall come into the _body of the church_ with their friends and
neighbours, and _there_ standing, the priest shall say'--then follows
the address to the congregation assembled, and the rest of the service,
till the priest pronounces the first blessing; and after that, the
priests and clerks, 'going to the Lord's Table,' are directed to say or
sing one of the Psalms, and it is evidently intended that the
newly-married persons should accompany them, for when the Psalm is ended
they are mentioned as 'kneeling before the Lord's Table.' This
procession to the altar of course loses much of its meaning and
impressiveness when there is no celebration of Holy Communion. But,
then, this ought not to be omitted, except in very extreme cases."

"I quite see now that Mr. Ambrose is following the rule of the Church. I
certainly never read the directions in the Service before. I suppose,
however, there is no particular part of the body of the church named?"

"No; I believe it is only ancient custom which decides upon the chancel
screen; it is, too, the most convenient part of the church for this
purpose." ...

Why is it that all those young eyes are so bright with love, as from
each ready hand falls the gay flowers at the feet of the happy pair? Why
is each knee bent during _every_ prayer in that solemn service? And,
now, when the hands of Mr. Ambrose rest on the heads of Constance and
her husband, as he pronounces over them the last blessing of the Church,
why does the deep _Amen_ sound from _every_ lip? Why is there that
breathless silence as those happy ones kneel before the altar to bind
themselves yet more closely together, and to God, in Holy Communion? And
now, as they come forth from God's House, how is it that there is no
faltering voice in all that assembly as the glad shout of Christian joy
rings up through the air to heaven? I'll tell you. It is because the
priest and the Squire have ever recognized their joint duties in that
parish; because Constance has been a sister of charity and mercy among
the poor; because they have striven with all their might to do the work
God gave them to do; and now they have their reward in the hearty
affection and respect of all their neighbours.

There were but two exceptions to this general manifestation of good
feeling among the villagers, and they were the last evil growth of the
old Anabaptist schism in the parish. At the same time that Egbert and
Constance were breathing their mutual vows beneath the old chancel
screen of St Catherine's, William Strike and Sally Sowerby were being
"married" by Mr. Gallio at the new register-office at Townend....

"There is something very touching," said the Squire to Mr. Ambrose, as
they walked back together to the Hall, "in that old custom preserved in
our village of hanging a white glove on the chancel screen[132]. That
was the very glove my dear Mary wore when she promised to be the wife of
Edward Markland, and poor Edward himself placed it there. I saw
Constance's eyes fill with tears to-day as she ventured to give one look
at the sad memento."

"The custom is fast dying out, and only survives in a few rural
parishes. Indeed, the very screens themselves have, you know, in most
churches been swept away[133]. The finer carving is often to be found
worked up into pews, and the large timbers have been used in building
galleries. Where these screens were made of stone[134], they have
generally been preserved unharmed. In some cases, alas! people have not
been contented with demolishing the screen, but have actually in their
place built a gallery[135] for a family pew, extending all across the
front of the chancel, but I am thankful to say such instances are very

"Will you kindly tell me the origin of the chancel screen?"

"It was formerly called the rood screen, or rood gallery, and where the
rood has been restored, it is still properly so called. The Gospel used
to be read from this gallery, and sometimes the psalms were sung there
by the priests and choristers. The custom of reading the Gospel from
this position was evidently intended to express a special respect for
this portion of God's Word; and so, for the same reason, now the Gospel
is read from the _north_ side of the chancel, whilst the Epistle is read
from the south. The _rood_[136], which consisted of a crucifix with the
figure of the Blessed Virgin on one side, and of St. John on the other,
was placed at the top of the screen. Over this, and between the chancel
arch and the roof, the wall was painted, the subject usually being the
Doom, or representation of the Last Judgment. To replace this, it would
seem that, at the Reformation, the Commandments were ordered to be
painted at the east end of the church."

"You think, then," said the Squire, "that the order in the canons does
not refer to the east end of the _chancel_?"

"It is a disputed point, but _I_ think not. Had the chancel been
intended, I think it would have been so stated. Besides, it was ordered
that they should be so placed that the 'people could best see and read
the same,' and certainly they could not do the latter if they were
painted at the east end of the chancel. Indeed, I regard that as the
least convenient and appropriate place in the whole church for them. If
we have them any where, the east end of the nave or aisles is the best
place for them; but, really, the need to have them at all is now passed
away, as those who can read, can read the Commandments in their Bibles
and Prayer Books; and for those who cannot, it is useless placing them
on the walls of the church[137]. However, it is far better to have the
Commandments over the chancel arch than the _royal arms_. It is
wonderful how silly people become when they have a superstitious dread
of superstition. For instance, I know a church where the congregation
were offended by an old painting in the church, the subject of which was
at least calculated to inspire solemn thoughts, yet could be contented
that the most conspicuous object in the church should be a hideous
representation of the royal arms, with this sentence below it in large
characters: 'Mrs. Jemima Diggs, widow, gave this painting of the Queen's
arms, A.D. 1710[138].' I should like to know what there is in that to
remind us that we are in the House of God?"



"In this place is One greater than the temple."

S. Matt. xii. 6.

   "Our life lies eastward: every day
    Some little of that mystic way
      By trembling feet is trod:
    In thoughtful fast, and quiet feast,
    Our thoughts go travelling to the East
      To our incarnate God.
    Fresh from the Font, our childhood's prime,
    To life's most oriental time,--

   "Still doth it eastward turn in prayer,
    And rear its saving altar there:
    Still doth it eastward turn in creed,
    While faith in awe each gracious deed
    Of her dear Saviour's love doth plead;
    Still doth it turn at every line
    To the fair East--in sweet mute sign
    That through our weary strife and pain,
    We crave our Eden back again."


Illustration: Sutton Benger Church


"I hope you and my friend Mr. Beeland here are now working harmoniously
together at Droneworth," said Mr. Ambrose to Sir John Adamley, as with
Mr. Acres and the Vicar of Droneworth they were enjoying a pleasant
afternoon stroll in the gardens of the Hall.

"Well, I think we must say yes and no to that, for though we have never
had any difference of opinion respecting the restoration of our church
since the evening when I first had the pleasure of meeting you--and,
indeed, I am proud, and we are all proud, of our renovated and beautiful
church--yet there is one point on which we cannot quite agree. You see I
am Lay Rector, and though I have long ago given up my old selfish idea
about pews, and only claim the space in the church which I really want
to occupy, yet I do consider that, as the chancel belongs to me, I have
a right to a place _there_ for my family and servants, as well as for
myself. But, unfortunately, Mr. Beeland thinks otherwise."

"The chancel is furnished with handsome oak stalls for the choristers, I
believe; as every chancel ought to be. You propose, if I understand you,
to remove the choristers, and to occupy the stalls for yourselves and

"I think I have a right to do so."

"The right is very doubtful. The position of a lay rector is altogether
an anomalous one; but the duty and the privilege connected with it are,
to my mind, definite and plain enough. The duty is to keep out the wind
and water from the chancel, the privilege is to receive the great tithes
of the parish. Now, of course, this privilege and duty were originally
never intended to be associated with other than a spiritual office. The
tithes were for the support of the parish priest, and in return for
them, there was laid upon him not only the spiritual supervision of the
parish, but also the duty of keeping the _shell_ of that portion of the
church which was occupied by him and the assisting clerks sound and
entire. Now, of course, the rector, being a priest, had a right to his
proper place in the chancel; and I by no means deny that the lay rector
succeeds to the same right; but my belief is that the right (if any)
extends _no farther than himself_. He represents the clerical rector,
who certainly could only claim a right to a seat for _himself_, and it
is my opinion the layman can claim no more. But, my dear sir, this is
surely a case where higher considerations than mere legal rights should
have influence. Even if you have the right, ought you not to waive it?
For you cannot doubt that the chancel was never built to supply seats
for the Squire's family, but for the priest and those whose office it is
specially to assist him in _leading_ the prayers and praises of the
congregation. No church is properly ordered where the chancel stalls are
not occupied by the choir; and you can only rightly occupy a place there
as one of them. So I venture to advise you to follow the example of our
friend Mr. Acres, and next Sunday put on a surplice, and take your place
as a member of the choir, for you have a good bass voice, which would be
of great assistance there."

"So you really think my claims as a lay rector should come down to

"Nay, I think they should come _up_ to this, for your highest, as well
as most fitting office as a lay rector, is to assist in his duties the
Vicar of your parish."

"Well, I will think about that. You have studied these matters much more
deeply than I have, and you always have the best of the argument. But I
have something more to say. I should like to have your opinion as to the
proper arrangement and furniture of the whole of the chancel[139], for
ours has not yet been completed, and I have undertaken to finish it."

"I will gladly give you my opinion on the subject. Of course, the altar
should be the central and principal object in the church. For this
reason, the east of the chancel should be the highest part, but for
evident reasons the whole of the chancel should be higher than the
nave[140]. There should be a marked difference between the chancel--or
choir, and the sanctuary--or space immediately surrounding the altar; a
difference which had its type in the 'Holy Place' and the 'Holy of
Holies' of the Jewish temple. The _lectern_--or desk, from which the
lessons are read, and the _faldstool_--or Litany desk, may be either
just without or within the chancel screen. The _sedilia_[141]--a stone
recess for the seats of the officiating clergy, with the
_piscina_[142]--should be on the south side, and the _credence[143]
table_ may be on the north or south side of the altar. The
_reredos_[144], at the east end of the chancel, should be the most
costly and elaborate part of the church, as it is connected with the
most dignified portion of the building. Its most prominent feature
should be the symbol of our salvation, and whatever adornment is
employed, it should have distinct reference to the 'sacrifice of the
death of Christ.' _Empty niches_ should here and every where be
carefully avoided; for they have little beauty and no meaning. Without
their tenants, they are ridiculous forms of ornamentation, for the
corbel--or bracket, has no meaning unless it is intended to support a
figure, nor its canopy, unless intended to shelter and protect one. I
have seen slabs containing epitaphs and the armorial bearings of private
persons, as well as the royal shield, substituted for a proper reredos,
but this is a sad profanation[145]. There is one thing worse; and that
is engraving armorial bearings on the sacred vessels. The _prayer
desk_[146] should form part of the choir stalls, and look in the same
direction; this desk should not face the congregation, as the priest
does not preach the prayers _to_ the congregation, but says the prayers
_with_ them. When the Absolution is said, the case is different, and the
propriety of the change of posture and position is evident. This is
directly addressed _to_ the congregation, and to be 'pronounced by the
priest _standing_.' So in the Communion Office the Priest is directed to
_stand up, and, turning himself to the people, pronounce the

"I quite acknowledge the justness of what you say on these points, and
shall gladly avail myself of your further counsel; specially I shall be
grateful for your advice respecting the construction of the _altar_, and
providing its proper furniture: but I have now already trespassed so
long on your time, that I must only ask you to explain one thing more,
and that is the meaning of the two little hollow square places in the
north wall of our chancel."

"They formerly were closets, and had doors, no doubt, of carved oak.
They are commonly called _almeries_, and are to be found in all old
churches, their use in the chancel being to hold the sacred vessels
used at the altar; even where they can no longer be utilized, they ought
to be preserved as objects of interest[147]."

Illustration: Llanfaenor Church



"We have an altar."

Heb. xiii. 10.

   "Whene'er I seek the holy altar's rail,
      And kneel to take the grace there offer'd me,
    It is no time to task my reason frail,
      To try Christ's words, and search how they may be.
    Enough, I eat His flesh, and drink His blood;
    More is not told--to ask it is not good.

   "I will not say with these, that bread and wine
      Have vanish'd at the consecration prayer;
    Far less, with those, deny that aught Divine,
      And of immortal seed, is hidden there.
    Hence, disputants! The din which ye admire
    Keeps but ill measure with the church's choir."

                                    _Lyra Apostolica._

Illustration: St. Alban's Church, Holborn


It was late in the evening before the other guests had left the Hall,
and our four friends sat down together in the library, without fear of
interruption, to continue the conversation of the afternoon.

"I should like you to tell me, Mr. Ambrose," said Sir John, "whether you
consider that the word _altar_ is properly applied to a table made of

"Oh, most certainly it is. The term is equally applicable, whether the
altar be made of wood or stone. No doubt stone was the material first
used[148], yet at so early a period as the building of the tabernacle,
we read that God commanded Moses to make an altar of _wood_[149]. In the
earliest days of the Christian Church the altars were, probably without
exception, made of wood; but afterwards it became the practice to erect
them of stone, and from the sixth[150] to the sixteenth century this
rule was all but universal."

"How is the change to be accounted for?"

"During the persecutions of the early Christians under the heathen
Emperors of Rome, they resorted, as you are aware, to the subterranean
catacombs there, as the only places where they could, in comparative
safety, hold their religious services. Here the stone altar-tombs of
those who had suffered martyrdom offered the most convenient and fitting
altars for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. In after times, when
the Church was prosperous and at peace, the remembrance of these
altar-tombs not only suggested the material for the Christian altar, but
also the custom of erecting it over the relics of saints and martyrs.
This custom of building the altar over the bones of martyrs (which is
still continued in the Roman Church, but which has for many years ceased
to be the practice in our own), is, moreover, supposed to have reference
to that mysterious vision in the Revelation of St. John, which you will
remember he thus describes: 'When the Lamb had opened the fifth seal, I
saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the Word of
God, and for the testimony which they held[151].'

"The use of stone instead of wood was, no doubt, adopted also for other
reasons than the one I have stated. Stone altars were less liable to
desecration; they possess, too, a symbolism of their own, representing
both the _incarnation_ and _entombment_ of our Blessed Lord[152]. The
scriptural symbol of a Rock[153], as representing our Lord, might appear
to be more evidently connected with the stone than the wooden altar, but
this symbol must always be associated with the idea of altar, of
whatever material it is made. The wooden altar, on the other hand, may
seem to refer more directly to the _institution_ of the _Lord's Supper_;
and the altar candlesticks have, of course, a peculiar and very manifest
appropriateness when the altar is so considered."

"But surely, my friend, the word _table_ seems to be here exactly

"Yes, so it is; but you must not try to separate things which are
inseparable. Every altar is a table, though every table is not an altar.
Both terms are correct, but the one must not be supposed to exclude the
other; and it would be strange indeed if, having a _priest_ and an
_oblation_[154], the church should be without an _altar_. The top slab
of the altar is the table[155], whether it is made of wood or stone.
Where this slab is of stone, it has from early times been considered to
represent the stone rolled to the mouth of the sepulchre of our Lord. In
the Greek Church the _seal_ that was set on the stone[156] is
represented by the consecrated wafer; in the Roman Church this seal is
represented by the small square stone let into the centre of the altar
table[157]. In the primitive Church there was but one altar in each
church, but afterwards it became a custom to erect many others,
dedicated to as many saints and martyrs. This was the custom in our own
Church--just as it is still in the Roman Church--before Queen Elizabeth
ordered all altars to be removed in every church, except the _high
altar_, which is the only one we now retain; and, for my part, I
certainly wish for no other. But at the same time _all stone altars_
were ordered to be removed, and then altars of wood were once more
placed in almost every church. I am sorry to say the old stone altars
were broken up and desecrated. Some few, however, of them escaped[158],
and many more have since that time been erected. There are probably
hundreds of stone altars to be found in our cathedrals, college chapels,
and parish churches, and I don't suppose (though some seem to do so)
that people attach more superstitious meaning to them than to the most
modern oaken Communion table. But, as I said before, to my mind it is
indifferent whether the altar be of wood or stone."

"I should like your opinion about the proper furniture for the altar."

"First, with regard to its _covering_: the canon directs that the altar
shall be covered with 'a carpet of silk, or other decent stuff' on
ordinary occasions, and with 'a fair linen cloth' at the time of the
celebration of Holy Communion. This order allows considerable liberty as
to colour and pattern; but it appears to imply that it should be as rich
as the circumstances of each case will allow[159]. Where cloths of more
than one colour are used, these five--in accordance with very ancient
practice--are commonly employed as specially adapted to the different
seasons of the Christian year: _white_, at Christmas and certain other
festivals, as emblematical of purity; _red_, as representing the blood
of martyrs, and at Pentecost, as emblematic of the fiery tongues;
_green_, for general use, as the prevailing colour of nature, and a sort
of middle colour between the rest in use; _violet_ and _black_ as
colours of mourning."

"But, surely, this variety is _unnecessary_?"

"Most assuredly. Nevertheless, where they can conveniently be had, they
are _appropriate_, and teach their own lesson. It was not _necessary_ to
put a cloth of black on the altar at Droneworth when your father died
two years since; and I am doubtful whether Mr. Beeland was quite right
in doing so. But surely if you thought it was right for him to do this
at the funeral of a mere mortal man, you cannot say that it is wrong to
use a black altar-cloth on _Good Friday_; and, of course, the same
argument applies to all the rest. With regard to the custom in some
places of covering half the church with black for a month, because some
rich man has died in the parish--I say plainly that I regard that as
next to impiety and profanation."

"I see the justness of your words. What do you say to _cushions_ on the

"Say! _they ought never to be there_. I can imagine nothing more out of
place. I have often wondered for what purpose they could originally have
been put there. They are certainly not required, nor yet convenient as a
rest for the Altar Service Book. It is too shocking to suppose they were
intended to enable the priest to rest his arms and head softly on God's
altar! I have sometimes fancied I see their origin in an old custom
observed in the Roman Church of placing the two lambs, whose wool was
used for making the palls[160] with which the Bishop of Rome invests his
archbishops with their archiepiscopal authority, on _two richly
embroidered cushions, one of which was placed on the north, the other on
the south side of the altar_; but I know not. A _desk_ of brass or oak
is convenient to support the office-book, and _two candles_ are ordered
to be placed on the altar."

"But, my dear sir, I am told that is a very _Romish_ custom."

"Well, Sir John, and so it is a very Romish custom to say the Lord's
Prayer, and it is a very Hindoo custom for a wife to love her husband
with a special devotion; but we shall not, for either reason, be
disposed to blame either custom. The thing with us, like every thing
else, is either right or wrong _in itself_, independent of the use of
any other Church. But it so happens that this is the very reverse to a
Romish custom, for these two candles were ordered to be placed on the
altar in direct opposition to the custom of the Roman Catholic
Church[161]. Nothing can be more expressive, and utterly
unobjectionable, than the symbolism of these _two_ candles (of course,
it is not _necessary_ that they should be _lighted_ in order to preserve
their emblematic meaning), and I should be very sorry to see this simple
symbolism broken into by the introduction of more than two lights upon
the altar[162]. I have not by any means mentioned all that is required
for the service of the altar; I have only spoken of its ordinary
furniture. That which is specially required for the Eucharistic services
is, doubtless, already provided in your church."

"Before we say good-night," said Mr. Acres, "let me ask you one question
indirectly connected with this subject. I notice that many of my
neighbours receive the consecrated bread _on the palm of the hand_, some
holding both hands in the form of a cross. I suppose this is in
accordance with your instruction: I should like to know the reason for
it. Where there are high altar-rails--which I much object to, and which,
of course, are altogether unnecessary when the chancel screen is
properly arranged, as with us--this custom would be very inconvenient."

"The short rail, north and south, for the use of the aged and infirm, is
certainly all that is required. As regards the manner of receiving the
sacred element, to which you refer, I certainly have recommended it, and
for these reasons: it is much more convenient both for the priest and
the communicant; it avoids all danger of any portion of the bread
falling on the floor; and it is most in accordance with the rubric,
which directs that the minister shall deliver the communion _into_ the
hands of the recipients."

"Thank you. I consider your reasons as amply sufficient, and I see no
possible objection to the custom."



"Samuel ministered before the Lord, being a child, girded with a linen

1 Sam. ii. 18.

   "But let my due feet never fail
    To walk the studious cloisters pale,
    And love the high embowèd roof,
    With antique pillars, massy proof,
    And storied windows, richly dight,
    Casting a dim religious light.
    There let the pealing organ blow,
    To the full-voiced quire below,
    In service high, and anthems clear,
    As may with sweetness, through mine ear,
    Dissolve me into ecstasies,
    And bring all Heaven before mine eyes."

                             _Il Penseroso._

Illustration: Icklesham Church


"And so, Harry, my boy, you have really made up your mind to be a
chorister?" said Mr. Ambrose to old Matthew's grandson, one Sunday

"Yes, if you please, sir," was his reply. "Grandfather says he should
like me to be one."

"And you wish it yourself, do you?"

"Yes, sir."

"Very well. You are a well-conducted boy, and God has given you a good
musical voice, so we shall be very pleased to have you amongst us. But
you must never forget that there is not only a high honour, but also a
very solemn responsibility connected with the office of a chorister.
Always remember, then, that you are in a very especial way _God's
servant_, that His eye is upon you, and that He will expect you to do
your duty in the _very best way you possibly can_. You must _sing and
give praise with the best member that you have_[163]--that is, you must
devote to God's praise and glory the very best service you can render.
You are a little boy to talk to about setting a good example to a
congregation, composed for the most part of persons so much older than
yourself, but yet that is one of your chief duties. When you are in the
choir, the eyes of all the congregation are upon you, and they should
not only _hear_ you singing as well as you can, and so be led themselves
to join heartily in the musical parts of the service, but also _at all
other times_ they should _see_ you reverent and devout in your conduct;
and be sure, my boy, this good and serious behaviour of yours will have
its influence upon others, though perhaps they may be hardly conscious
of it. Now there is enough in this to make you very serious, but yet the
thought that God permits you in your young years thus to help in
promoting His glory, and to be such a blessing to your fellow-creatures,
should make you very happy and very thankful to Him." ...

Before the commencement of the Morning Prayers little Harry was solemnly
admitted a member of the choir. The ceremony was a very simple, but yet
a very solemn one. On this occasion the usual order of entering the
church was reversed. Mr. Ambrose came first, then the eight senior
members of the choir, then the seven boy choristers, and last came
Harry. All wore their surplices except Harry, and he carried his new
little surplice on his arm. During the procession solemn music was
played on the organ. As soon as it ceased, all knelt down to say their
private prayers, Harry kneeling on a cushion prepared for him at the
entrance to the chancel. It was the custom at St. Catherine's for all
the congregation to stand up when the priest and choir entered; which
custom, besides being a mark of respect for His presence to whom they
were about to dedicate their worship and service, had this
advantage--that it induced all to say their private prayers at the same
time, and thus avoided much confusion; it tended also to prepare the
mind _at once_ to enter into the spirit of the _public_ service.

After a short pause, Mr. Ambrose read a portion of the third chapter of
the first book of Samuel. He then addressed Harry in these words:--

"Henry, before I proceed to admit you a member of the choir of this
church, you must promise, before God and this congregation, that in the
solemn office on which you are about to enter, you will always strive
above all things to promote His glory. Do you so promise?"

Little Harry, in a timid, trembling voice, answered, "I do so promise."

The Vicar and choir then sang, alternately, the following sentences:--

  _Priest._--"Our help is in the name of the Lord;"

  _Choir._--"Who made heaven and earth."

  _P._--"O Lord, bless and keep this Thy servant;"

  _C._--"Who putteth his trust in Thee."

  _P._--"Accept his service in this Thy House;"

  _C._--"And make the voice of Thy praise to be glorious."

  _P._--"Lord, hear our prayer;"

  _C._--"And let our crying come unto Thee."

Mr. Ambrose then read these verses:--

"And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy
place--also the Levites, which were the singers, all of them of Asaph,
of Heman, of Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, being arrayed
in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps, stood at the
east end of the altar, and with them an hundred and twenty priests
sounding with trumpets:--it came even to pass as the trumpeters and
singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and
thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets
and cymbals, and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying, For
He is good; for His mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was
filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord; so that the priests
could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the
Lord had filled the house of God[164]."

The choir then sang, "Glory be to Thee, O God," during which time the
senior choir boy led little Harry into the middle of the choir, where he
knelt down on a cushion prepared for him.

Mr. Ambrose then said this prayer: "O most merciful Father, before whom
'Samuel ministered, being a child, girded with a linen ephod,' give, we
pray Thee, to this Thy youthful servant such gifts as shall enable him
to sing Thy praise, and promote Thy glory in this Thy Temple, and grace
to worship Thee acceptably in the beauty of holiness, and to adorn the
doctrine of Christ his Saviour in all things. Amen."

Harry then stood up, and as Mr. Ambrose placed on him his little
surplice, he said,--

"Henry, I robe you in this surplice in token that you are now set apart
to be a chorister, and, together with those around you, to assist in the
high and glorious work of leading the praises of God in this church: let
the whiteness of this robe always remind you of that purity which should
mark the service you here offer up to God. I pray you never, either
here or elsewhere, to disgrace this robe of your solemn office. What
you sing with your lips believe in your heart, and what you believe in
your heart fulfil in your life; and may God so bless and protect you,
that when this life is ended, you may join that angel choir who in robes
of white sing before the Throne, 'Glory to God and to the Lamb for ever
and ever.' Amen."

The new chorister then took his place in the choir, whilst the organ
almost thundered the following chorus, in which all joined:--

"O Great and Mighty God, with angels and archangels we laud and magnify
Thy glorious name. Amen."

The usual morning service then proceeded. Many eyes were fixed on the
earnest, thoughtful little face that appeared for the first time in the
choir; and with not a little pardonable pride did old Matthew watch the
hearty efforts of his grandson to fulfil the promise he had just made.

It had long been a custom for the Vicar and Mr. Mendles, the organist,
to partake of a late meal at the Hall when their Sunday duties were
ended; and on this Sunday evening the Squire accompanied them home from

"Our little friend," said he, "will be quite an acquisition to the
choir; he has a very sweet voice."

"Yes, he has," replied the Vicar; "and what is of no less importance, he
is sure to conduct himself well. But, for that matter, I have no reason
to complain of any one of our choir; for, thanks to Mr. Mendles, and to
their own sense of propriety, I don't believe there is a better
conducted choir in any parish than ours."

"That is very much owing to your allowing no men to be there who are not

"That's a good rule, no doubt, and accounts, perhaps, more than any
thing for their reverent behaviour. You well know, Mr. Mendles, there
was little reverence enough once."

"The great difficulty," said Mr. Mendles, "is to persuade the choir that
they should sing to God, _with_ the congregation, not _to_ the
congregation. I strive both to learn myself, and to teach them, that our
singing should be _worship_, not the mere exhibition of _talent_, and
that we ought to rejoice when the congregation _join in_, not when they
only _listen to_ our hymns and chants. I believe we have now learnt the
lesson, and are the happier for it."

"And we all feel the benefit of that lesson too," said the Vicar, "for
whereas formerly nothing but flashy tunes which enabled them to show off
their own talent would please the choir, we have now, thank God, a
solemn and devotional character in the music of our liturgical services,
and a joyful gladness in the music of our hymns--equally far removed
from levity and from mournfulness--which, with our praises and our
prayers, seem to float up our very souls to heaven."

"I think we must attribute the success of our musical services in some
measure to the new position of the organ, must we not, Mr. Mendles?"
said the Squire.

"Most certainly. There can be no doubt that the most convenient position
for the organ-chamber is either on the north or south side of the
chancel; or, if the organ is divided, on both sides. It is a misfortune
that, as organs were but little known when most of our old churches were
erected[165], we find no fitting place provided for them in the original
structure. There is, however, no excuse for our modern architects who
are guilty of such an omission; and it is a matter of surprise to me
that they do not make the organ-chamber a feature of more prominence and
greater beauty, both externally and internally, than they are accustomed
to do."

"True," said the Squire; "specially as in our days the organ is regarded
as all but a necessity in every church. Certainly, there is no musical
instrument so suitable for congregational worship, for whilst it
represents all kinds of music, it exactly realizes the description given
in the account of the dedication of the temple which Mr. Ambrose read
this morning, and brings together the cymbals and the psalteries and the
harps, and the trumpeters and the singers '_as one_.'

"It is a curious fact--is it not, sir?--that whereas the presence of
organs in our churches used to be the source of great offence to
Dissenters in this country, and has recently been the subject of much
dispute among Presbyterian Dissenters, yet you can now hardly find a
Dissenting meeting-house of any size but can boast of its organ, and
often a very good one too. Let us hope, Mr. Vicar, that ere long they,
may become reconciled also to other things in our Church which now they
may regard with the same horror with which they once looked upon the
church organ."



"Let all things be done decently and in order."

1 Cor. xiv. 40.

    "Avoid profaneness! Come not here.
     Nothing but holy, pure, and clear,
     Or that which groaneth to be so,
     May at his peril farther go."

                         GEORGE HERBERT.

Illustration: Harpsden Church


To the close friendship which existed between the Squire and the Vicar,
constantly cemented by such meetings as we have just described, was
owing, in a considerable degree, the general harmony and goodwill which
made St. Catherine's one of the most peaceful villages in England. When,
many years ago, Mr. Ambrose first became Vicar there, he felt it his
duty to make many changes in a parish which had been long neglected, and
in a church which was almost a ruin. His labours were then regarded with
much suspicion and disfavour; but he had now been long enough resident
in the parish to live down all that hostile feeling. Nevertheless, it
was not all peace at St. Catherine's. From time to time there would be
an importation of cross-grained malcontents, who usually succeeded in
stirring up some parochial strife.

Such had for some time past been the laudable occupation of William
Strike and his too faithful companion, whom, by kind permission of Mr.
Gallio, the registrar, he was allowed to call his wife. He had never
promised to love her, and she had never promised to obey him, and on
these little points each scrupulously maintained a right to act in
perfect independence of the other: nevertheless, they heartily united in
a common effort to instil into the minds of their neighbours a feeling
of hostility to wards the church; and some discord in the parish was the
natural consequence. An opportunity offered on the morning of Easter
Monday for Strike to find a full vent for all his spleen.

It is a sad, sad thought, that at this season of the Christian year,
when all should be peace, the bitterness of party strife should break up
the harmony of so many parishes. But so it is; and so it was at St.
Catherine's; and this one man was at the bottom of all the mischief.

"I am sorry to see you are going to the vestry this morning, William,"
said Mr. Dole, as they met in the village street.

"I've as much right there as you have, I suppose," he replied; "you're
going to support the Vicar, and I'm going to oppose him thick and thin."

"Peace is better than war, William."

"Well, _you_ used to be on our side once, and I should like to know
what's made you turn round?"

"It would take too long to answer that question fully, William. It will
be enough if I tell you that where I thought I knew most, I found myself
all wrong; and the more I thought and inquired, the more convinced I was
that there could be only one true Church committed by Christ to His
Apostles and their successors, and that to separate from that, and cause
division and schism, must be a sin. After long and prayerful
consideration, and many conversations with Mr. Ambrose on the subject, I
was convinced that the sect to which I belonged--and you do still--was
not the one true Church; and so I left it."

"Well, I don't mean to leave it; and I don't mean that the parson shall
have it all his own way in this parish."

Mr. Dole had in vain tried to bring his companion to a better mind when
they reached the vestry[166]. It was a small chamber on the opposite
side of the chancel to the organ[167], and there was a sombreness about
it that harmonized with the solemn use for which it was intended. On the
eastern side were two small windows filled with stained glass, and over
them, in large letters, was the sentence, "Let thy priests be clothed
with righteousness, and let thy saints sing with joyfulness." Between
these two windows stood an oaken table, on which was a small desk or
lectern; and on this, written in beautifully illuminated characters,
were the prayers used by Mr. Ambrose and the choir before and after the
Church services. Before the table was a small embroidered kneeling
cushion for the priest at these times. The parish chest[168], and two
ancient chairs, all of oak and richly carved, completed the furniture of
the vestry; whilst on its walls were hung the surplices of the choir and
the vestments of the priest[169].

The meeting was called together for the double purpose of electing
churchwardens and making a church-rate, and it was soon evident to the
Vicar that Strike and his friends had come determined on a stormy
meeting. But few angry words, however, had been spoken, when Mr. Ambrose
rose and said, "My friends, I had hoped that this meeting would have
been conducted in that spirit of Christian charity and peacefulness
which has been our custom; but as I find this is not to be the case, I
will not allow any part of God's House to be desecrated by the
exhibition of party animosity and angry strife[170]. This vestry is
known to those of you who are associated with me in conducting our
religious services, as the place of holy meditation and solemn prayer;
nor are its associations less sacred to those among you who have come
here, with unquiet consciences or troubled minds, to seek my counsel and
advice. All around us here, my friends, reminds us of the service of a
God of love; so if the Demon of Discord must come into our little
parish, let this place, at least, not be the scene of his unhallowed

It was then proposed to adjourn the meeting to the house of Mr. Walton;
and he, having both a good heart under his waistcoat, and a large room
in his house, readily agreed to the proposal. He was, moreover, one of
the churchwardens, and, though the village blacksmith, was a man in good
circumstances, and exercised considerable influence for good in the

Nothing can be less profitable than to read the "foolish talking" which
commonly characterizes a discordant vestry meeting; we will, therefore,
pass that over. The churchwardens were re-elected, and the church-rate
was carried. The Vicar then endeavoured to pour oil upon the troubled
waters by delivering a kind and friendly address, which he ended in
these words: "Mr. Strike tells you that he will always oppose the Church
so long as it is in any way supported by the State. But let me remind
him that the Church did not receive from the State the possessions with
which she is endowed for the maintenance of true religion in this land.
Those were, for the most part, given to our Church by pious men and
women, many hundreds of years ago; and the State, in securing these to
us, is only acting with common honesty, and doing no more for the Church
than it does for every other society--indeed, for every person--in the
country. But Mr. Strike tells you, too, he will not give a penny for
keeping up the fabric of the Church, because he is a Dissenter. Now, my
friends, to take the _very lowest_ view of the Church, and regarding her
temples only as places in which a high standard of _morality_ is set up,
it is surely for the advantage of the _State_, and for the _community_,
that they should be maintained; and, therefore, _all_ should help to
maintain them. 'Yes,' you say, 'but we teach morality, too, in our
little Salem Chapel at Droneworth: why should not our meeting-house be
supported as much as your Church?' My answer is, that your Salem Chapel
may any day share the fate of the Little Bethel Meeting-House that used
to be in our parish. Besides, on your own principles, you cannot accept
State aid to keep it up. Of course I have myself higher reasons for
considering it the duty of the State to secure the proper reparation of
the fabric of our churches; but I have only taken the lowest ground; I
think, however, that even that is firm enough to bear the weight of the
whole argument. But now, my friends, let us part in peace, and let all
angry feeling die away."

"The church-rates will soon be done away with altogether, depend upon
it, sir," shouted Mr. Strike, in a tone which was an evident
protestation against that spirit of peace which Mr. Ambrose was so
anxious should pervade his parish.

"It may be so," said the Vicar; "and if so, I believe and pray that God
will overrule even that for the benefit of His Church."

And so the St. Catherine's vestry ended.

"I am heartily glad," said Mr. Acres to the Vicar, "that we did not have
all that row in the church to-day. Sorry as I am to make Mr. Walton's
house the scene of such discord, yet I am sure he would far rather have
it here than in the church vestry."

"Any where's better than the church," said Mr. Walton, "for such
quarrels as these."

"By the bye," said Mr. Acres, as they both rose to depart, "do you
remember the time when the churchwardens used to retire to the vestry
before the conclusion of the service to count up the alms? We could, you
know, hear the jingling of the money during all the later prayers of the
service, and a most indecent interruption it was. How far more seemly is
your custom of reverently presenting the alms at the altar, where it
remains till the close of the service. And I am so grateful to you for
abandoning that objectionable and most ridiculous custom of holding the
_plates_ at the church door. The custom seemed so completely to do away
with the idea of almsgiving as an _act of worship_. How many a wickedly
grotesque scene has occurred at the door of our own church, plainly
showing that many who contributed their alms simply gave them to Mr.
Walton or Mr. Acres, and least of all thought of giving them _to God_.
Nay, so anxious was dear old Lady Angelina Hilltower and her daughter to
confer upon _us_ equal honour, and to avoid any just cause of jealousy
between us, that they used to create quite a pantomime at the door
whenever there was a collection, by crossing over to put half-a-crown in
each plate, making at the same time a profound obeisance to each of us."

"Yes," said Mr. Acres, "I certainly am glad all that's done away with;
but I'm more glad that at last we have been able to get rid altogether
of the plates for collecting the offertory, and to substitute _Bags_.
There has been some opposition, as you are aware; some pleaded long
custom as a reason for retaining the plates, and some, who were rather
proud of their stereotyped shilling, did not wish their benevolence to
be hidden. In fact all those who _did their alms before men, to be seen
of them_, were of course hostile to the change."

"I know," said the Squire, "that some were at first offended, but none
knew why. I never heard the faintest approach to a reasonable objection
to this plainly scriptural manner of _secret_ almsgiving; nor did I ever
hear an argument of any weight in favour of the plate system, except
that it sometimes forces money from unwilling contributors, and that
argument is too contemptible to notice.



"The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."

1 Tim. iii. 15.

    "See, the Church her head once more hath lifted;
       Seemly order dwells within her gate;
     God-sent art adorns her holy precincts,
       And no more she lieth desolate.

    "What is it that she is saying, brothers?
       All the subtle skill of graver's hand,
     All the heavenward shafts, and bended arches,
       Utter speech to those that understand.

    "You can hear them telling some things loudly,
       Telling of ungrudging love and care;
     But I catch an inner voice that pleadeth
       Soft and sweet, like music in the air.

    "And it saith,--from every wreathèd column,
       Every leafy carving, breathing low,--
    'Take our message, O ye _living_ temples,
       Fold it in your breasts, before ye go.

    "'Purge the shrine of your own souls within you
       From all stain of pride and sloth and sin,
     Grace it with all saintly decoration:
       Then your God shall come and dwell within.'"

                                                  W. W. H.

Illustration: Church of St. John, Highbridge


It was the day before the Festival of the Ascension, and Ascension Day
being not only one of the greatest festivals of the Christian year, but
being, moreover, the day on which the people of St. Catherine's were
used to commemorate with great rejoicing the restoration of their now
beautiful temple, old Matthew and the Vicar were busily engaged
assisting those of the parishioners, old and young, who had the time to
spare and were sufficiently skilful, in decorating the church with
flowers and evergreens.

"I remember, sir, when I was a boy, we used to call those twelve pillars
that the ladies are putting the flowers on, the _twelve Apostles_," said
old Matthew.

"It's a common number in large churches," replied the Vicar, "and the
name for them which you remember is not an unusual one. I remember one
church where there are eleven pillars, and the old sexton told me they
stood for eleven of the Apostles, and that there would have been twelve,
but Judas was omitted. The pillars of the church, as the chief supports
of the fabric, are said to represent the Apostles, Prophets, and
Martyrs[171]. As I have often told you, there is hardly a part of the
church without its special meaning: 'even the smallest details should
have a meaning, or serve a purpose[172],' and whatever has a meaning
serves a purpose, and whatever serves a purpose, has a meaning, and a
very important one too. The four main walls of the building have a
similar meaning to the pillars. They are supposed to represent the four
Evangelists[173]. The stones of which they are composed represent
Christians--the living stones of the spiritual building[174]; the
cement which joins them together is charity, 'the bond of
perfectness[175]' which binds together the members of the Christian
Church. The door[176] represents the means of entrance to the invisible
kingdom; the windows remind us of that sacred presence which keeps out
the storm of angry and sinful life, and admits the light of Christ and
His Word. You see, Matthew, the old church builders were themselves
_Churchmen_; sometimes even bishops were famous architects, like
Gundulph, Bishop of Rochester, and William of Wykeham, Bishop of
Winchester; and then they made themselves felt in all their works--I
mean, they gave a religious character and meaning to all parts of the
structure they reared. And so there were always a hundred preachers in
the Church, though not a tongue uttered a single word."

"I understand what you mean, sir--the stones were the preachers."

"Just so, Matthew; and then the churches were always open, and people
used to go and meditate and pray there at all hours; for in church they
found themselves surrounded by so much that reminded them of Heaven and
God's presence, and sacred things, and so little to remind them of the
world and of sin, that they could think and pray there better than any
where else. But in after times the old churches became neglected and
dilapidated, and the new churches were so mean and cold and bare, that
there was every thing to chill and nothing to warm devotion, and so
people gave up the good old custom of going to hear the stones preach,
and to say their daily prayers to God in His sanctuary. But the time is
coming back again, I am thankful to say, and church builders are again
good Churchmen, and regard the building of churches as a sacred art and
a religious work; and the people are less contented to be ignorant about
these things; and the churches are no longer closed from Sunday night to
the next Sunday morning, as they used to be."

"I haven't read my Bible right, Mr. Ambrose, if it isn't a very wicked
thing to allow God's House to go to decay. In our old church people
seemed to have forgotten all about the '_beauty_ of holiness,' both in
their manner of worship and in the house where they worshipped. They had
their own houses 'ceiled with cedar and painted with vermilion,' and
this house was 'laid waste[177].' I have been told how grand Queen
Victoria's Palace is, and how beautiful the Parliament House is, and I
have often thought that surely, sir, the house of the great King of
kings, and the great Ruler of all our rulers should be grand and
beautiful too. But our churchwardens not only didn't try to make the old
church beautiful, sir, but hid as much as possible of whatever beauty
they found."

"Too true, my friend," said the Vicar: "these old pillars had become so
coated over with whitewash that their rich carved work could hardly be
seen at all. Whitewash was the cheapest thing they could use to hide the
green damp and the plaster patches, and for that reason I suppose they
used it."

The work of decoration went on rapidly; the many busy hands soon
effected a wonderful change in the appearance of the church, which gave
it a very festive character. The choicest flowers were placed at the
back of the altar, others were used in various ecclesiastical designs,
or woven into wreaths of evergreens. The texts of Holy Scripture painted
above the arches from pillar to pillar were neatly framed in borders of
evergreens, and wreaths of the same were already twined around many of
the columns[178].

The capitals of all the pillars were carved in imitation of the many
wild flowers and ferns which grew in the neighbourhood[179]. Although
these had been carved not less than five hundred years ago, the same
wild flowers were still to be found in the parish; and every year on
Ascension Day it was the custom at St. Catherine's to decorate each of
these pillars with the same natural flowers that had been imitated in
stone. It was a pretty custom, for as the natural leaves and flowers
faded or were removed, their more enduring likenesses were disclosed,
and remained throughout the year the faithful representatives of their
bright and gay originals.

"Well, my dear," said the Vicar, addressing Ellen Walton, his
churchwarden's little daughter, "you have really shown great taste in
arranging those ferns; they look beautiful indeed."

"I deserve but little credit, sir, for any taste of my own," she
replied, "for I have but copied the stone carving as near as I could."

"Yes, but you _do_ deserve great credit, as every body does who copies
exactly that which is worth copying. The workman who so cleverly
imitated in stone these beautiful works of God, in order to adorn God's
House throughout the year with memorials of His goodness in making our
summer fields so lovely, deserved much praise; and now, though yours is
a lighter task, that you have given life, as it were, to his work, by
your nice arrangement of leaf to leaf, and flower to flower, I must give
you some praise too. But I see you are anxious to ask me a question."

"Yes, sir. I was talking to Sally Strike this morning about the
decorations, and she says they are all nonsense and unmeaning; she says,
too, it's very wicked to put flowers about the church, for it's nothing
but a heathen and idolatrous custom. Of course, I don't much notice what
she says about it, but I don't very well know what to answer her, and I
was going to ask you, sir, to be kind enough to tell me."

"Sally Strike doesn't often say any thing very wise, my dear, and this
is no exception to the rule. You had better answer her out of her own
mouth. Ask her, when she gathered all the flowers her own garden could
produce to decorate the little 'Rehoboth'--as they call that
meeting-house on Wanderer's Heath--when they held their last 'love
feast,' and had tea and cake in their chapel, did she put the flowers
there to make the place look gloomy, or to make it look festive and gay?
Or, why did she do the same thing a little while ago, when they gave a
children's treat in their meeting-house? Was it because it was a time of
sadness or of rejoicing? No doubt, she will tell you it was the latter.
Well, we decorate our churches for a similar reason. We regard all the
Christian festivals as seasons for great gladness and rejoicing, and
whilst at other times we are obliged, for the most part, to content
ourselves with such ornamentation of God's House as our own poor
imitations of the forms and colours of Nature can supply, on these high
days we press into the service of the temple the lovely originals of all
those forms and colours, fresh and pure as when they first left the hand
of their Divine Maker.

"'Tis true that the heathen used flowers in decorating their temples and
altars, and also their victims prepared for sacrifice[180]. But they
used them just as Sally Strike uses them at her meeting-house, for the
_sole_ purpose of _decoration_. Now, though we use flowers to give a
festive appearance to our churches, our use of them has, too, always a
meaning beyond that: how they remind us of the _love of God_ in arraying
this earth with so much beauty for our enjoyment; how they remind us of
the pure and lovely delights of the Paradise that is lost; and of our
future resurrection[181] to a Paradise of yet greater beauty. And it is
from our Bibles that we learn to give, too, an _emblematic_ meaning to
particular flowers, so that, whether carved by man, or moulded by the
hand of Nature, each one teaches its own useful lesson. There we find
the lily mentioned as the emblem of God's providence; the rose as the
type of youthful beauty; the cedar, of manly strength. Nay, my dear
Ellen, we may even find in Holy Scripture itself our authority for
decorating our churches with these pure and unsinning works of God. You
remember, no doubt, the verse to which I allude: 'The glory of Lebanon
shall come unto thee: the fir-tree, the pine-tree, and the box together,
to beautify the place of My sanctuary[182]'."

"Thank you, sir, I quite understand your explanation. But Sally Strike
said she didn't object to the way the church used to be decorated thirty
years ago, when plain twigs of evergreen were put at the corners of the
pews, and some large branches fixed here and there on the walls; but she
does not like the triangles and circles and crosses, and the other
designs we now use."

"And yet nothing could be more silly than the dislike, though I fear it
is one in which many--for mere want of thought--share. Surely, the
twigs themselves must be at least as harmless when bound together as
when used singly; and certainly it is better that they should be formed
into beautiful and religiously _suggestive_ designs, than scattered
unmeaningly about the church. The cross, often repeated, reminds us, you
know, of the one grand pervading truth of our religion; the circle, of
eternity; the triangle, of the Holy Trinity. We almost even forget the
beauty of the design itself in the beauty of its symbol."



"Thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, the roof thereof."

Exod. xxx. 3.

    "Give all thou canst; high heaven rejects the lore
     Of nicely calculated less or more:
     So deem'd the man who fashion'd for the sense
     These lofty pillars,--spread that branching roof,
     Self-poised, and scoped into ten thousand cells,
     Where light and shade repose, where music dwells
     Ling'ring and wand'ring on, as loth to die,
     Like thoughts whose very sweetness yieldeth proof
     That they were born for immortality."


Illustration: Keynsham Church


"I'm glad to see you both among the helpers to-day," said the Vicar, as
he shook hands with William Hardy and Richard Atkinson, "though I know
this must cost you at least the value of a day's work."

The village carpenter and mason were always accustomed on these
occasions to give their services gratuitously.

"Very glad indeed to come and do the best we can, sir," replied William
Hardy, "though we couldn't quite agree about it at home, my wife and me,
till we'd talked it over a bit."

Now Hardy's wife, though not generally unamiable, was like many other
wives in this respect; namely, she had acquired a habit of always
questioning the wisdom or sincerity of her husband's actions, which she
could now no more shake off than she could her own identity.

"I'm sorry to hear that," said the Vicar; "but how was it?"

"Well, you see, sir, my wife says to me, 'William, you might turn your
time to better account than going up to the church with Richard Atkinson
to-day. You'd be able to earn five shillings, and that would just pay
for the new ribbon for my bonnet, which indeed I do want very much.' 'I
really believe you do, my dear,' says I, 'and so I must just alter my
plans a little. I thought I wanted a new Sunday hat very much indeed,
and I was just going to buy one at Master Dole's the other day, when
thinks I to myself--no, I mustn't buy it, because I shall lose a day's
earnings at church next week, so I'll give the new hat to the church,
and have one for myself six months hence. But that's no reason why you
should lose your ribbons, so I'll over-work for a few days, and earn the
ribbons that way.' You see, Mr. Ambrose, I was thinking of that text,
'God forbid that I should offer to the Lord my God of that which doth
cost me nothing.' Well, sir, them words softened her a good deal; but
then she says to me, 'William, what's the _use_ of all them ornaments at
the church? I really do call it waste of time and money.' 'My dear,'
says I, 'there's something better than _use_, I mean as you and I talk
of use, there is such a thing as doing things out of love and reverence
for God, and for nothing else, and that's what I should like to do if I
can. There wasn't no more _use_ in the precious ointment which the good
woman poured on our Saviour's head, than in these ornaments we put up in
His church. And you know who it was that called that a _waste_, and you
know who it was too that praised her for what she did[183].' 'I think
you're right,' says she; and so I came away."

"And so you were, my friend. But it's hard to persuade people that there
is such a thing as _a worship of adoration_, prompted simply by a sense
of love, gratitude, veneration, entirely apart from all idea of benefit,
advantage, or use to ourselves in _any way_. As you rightly say,
however, _there is_.--But I see the children have finished the frames
for the clerestory[184] windows, so you had better put them up."

"You mean the windows just under the roof, sir?"

"Yes; it is not safe for them to climb so high."

"I suppose you won't attempt to carry your decorations higher than that,
Mr. Vicar?" said the Squire, as he approached to see how the work was
going on.

"No, that must satisfy us. Indeed, this roof is so rich in colour and
carving that we could hardly make it look more festive than it does."

"It is, indeed, a grand old roof; but I rather prefer the high-pitched
roof of the chancel to this flatter one of the nave, though certainly
nothing can be more beautiful than its carving. The figures of angels on
the corbels[185] supporting the principal timbers are exceedingly well
done. What do you imagine to be the dates of these two roofs?"

"I should say that that in the chancel was built about A.D. 1350, and
this in the nave about A.D. 1500. These flatter roofs of our
perpendicular period do not any of them date much farther back than A.D.

"I quite agree with you in preferring the older high-pitch for our
timber roofs. By-the-bye, it is a curious conception that this
particular kind of roof has a likeness to the inverted keel of the
ark[187]--itself an emblem of the Christian Church. But I prefer to
regard it, as I do the windows, and doors, and arches of _pointed_
architecture, as an emblem of the _incompleteness_ of our worship here.
As I look up through the intricate multitude of timbers, and my gaze
becomes lost amid the dark top beams of the roof, my thoughts are
insensibly led higher still[188]. There is something in these lofty open
roofs that always seems to invite one's thoughts _above them_--so
different from the flat ceilings of most dissenting meeting-houses, and
some of our churches built a hundred years ago. To me these flat
ceilings are very depressing."

"Yes; and not a little irritating too, when you consider what splendid
timber roofs in old churches, they often conceal. Ugly, however, and
objectionable as they are, they have the one merit of being
_unpretending_; and give me any thing rather than a _sham_--a
lath-and-plaster roof with papier-maché or stucco bosses, and all sorts
of painting and shading in perspective, in imitation of wood or stone,
making the poor roof guilty of a perpetual _lie_. I do own that tries my
temper immensely!"

"There can be no doubt, too, that the high-pitch better suits our
variable climate than any other. I fear, however, that many of those
which were built but a few years since are not very enduring. Young, or
badly-seasoned wood, thin, poor timbers, which cannot last long, have
too often been put into the roof. Sometimes this has been the dishonest
act of the builder; but we have been too much in the habit of building
for _ourselves only_--not like our forefathers, who put up those big
masses of timber over our heads. They built for themselves and for
_posterity too_.

    "'They dreamt not of a perishable home,
      Who thus could build[189].'"

"Ah, yes! and that is, of course, especially true of those who erected
the noble _stone_ roofs of our cathedrals, and many parish churches too.
Nothing, of course, can equal the stone roof with its beautiful carvings
and mouldings, richly gilt and coloured. Nothing like stone for colour!
How very beautiful is the deep blue, with its golden stars, over the
altar in our own cathedral! They look well in our own church, but the
colours are richer there, not so much faded. That representation of
Heaven's canopy mantling over the most holy part of our church always
seems to me so very appropriate and suggestive."

"It is a matter of surprise to me," said the Squire, "that more care has
not generally been taken to beautify the _external_ part of our church
roofs. What relief is given to the long line of a nave roof by a good
patterned row of ridge tiles, or by some ornamental ironwork on the
ridge! The gable cross considerably relieves the chancel roof. And
where the roof is of stone, why don't we have richly-carved _external_,
as well as internal, stone-work? That, to my mind, is the perfection of
a stone roof[190]."

At this point, the attention of both was directed to little Harry, old
Matthew's grandson, who, with a fixed expression of deep thoughtfulness,
was looking up to wards the roof of the church.

"Why so very serious just now, my dear boy? What may your thoughts be
about, Harry?" said the Vicar.

"Please, sir, I was wondering what they used to do with the
roof-gallery, where we've been putting the evergreens?"

"What does he mean by the roof-gallery?" said Mr. Acres.

"Oh, he means the triforium[191]."

"I must confess that is still more unintelligible to me. Please explain
it to me, as well as to Harry, for we are evidently equally ignorant
about it."

"The triforium is the gallery you see just above the arches of the
nave--between them and the clerestory. It is not commonly found in
parish churches, but I believe all cathedrals have it. It generally
extends nearly all round the building. There are different opinions as
to its original purpose. Some suppose that it was reserved for the use
of women. On the Continent, it has been set apart for young men, or for
strangers. It is the opinion of some that it was merely built for
affording ready access to the various parts of the roof. As an
architectural feature, it is very effective, and occupies a space which
would otherwise be a blank wall. In this country, however, we know that
it was often used for a similar purpose to that for which we have now
been using it--the ornamentation of the church on special festivals,
when banners and tapestry and other ornaments were suspended from the
several arches[192]."

"I have often, like little Harry, looked up at those arches and wondered
what they were built for; and, not knowing, I came to the conclusion
that the passage must have been used for religious processions."

"It is not at all improbable that occasionally they were so used. And I
can hardly imagine any thing more solemn than a torch-light procession
of chanting choristers threading their way round the sacred building,
the sound of their voices undulating in solemn cadence as they would
pass the arches of the triforium, and then dying away amid the groined
or timber roof above them."

Illustration:  Clerestory Window



"The house that is to be builded for the Lord must be exceeding

1 Chron. xxii. 5.

    "Lift it gently to the steeple,
       Let our bell be set on high;
     There fulfil its daily mission,
       Midway 'twixt the earth and sky.

    "As the birds sing early matins
       To the God of nature's praise,
     This its nobler daily music
       To the God of grace shall raise.

    "And when evening shadows soften
       Chancel-cross, and tower, and aisle,
     It shall blend its vesper summons
       With the day's departing smile.

    "Year by year the steeple-music
       O'er the tended graves shall pour
     Where the dust of saints is garner'd,
       Till the Master comes once more."

                                J. M. NEALE.

Illustration: Meopham Church


When the Vicar and the Squire met on their way to church the following
day, the conversation of the previous evening was thus resumed:--

"You will, I am sure, agree with me," said Mr. Ambrose, "in regarding
the church spire as ever teaching _outside_ the building the same lesson
that the open timber roof, as you so truly said yesterday, is teaching
_inside_. It is always pointing the thoughts of thoughtful men up above
the earthly temple."

"Quite so; and, as is the case with many other great teachers, the
earthly fabric has, I believe, in both these cases, a very humble
origin; for as the grandest cathedral roof is but a development of the
simple _tent_ which formed the early habitation of the once rude
inhabitants of this and other countries, so has its lofty and elegant
spire gradually raised itself from the low and unpretending roof which
covered in the towers of our earliest parish churches.

"I am inclined myself to think that, as a matter of taste and beauty, no
church tower is complete without a spire in some form[193], and it is a
question whether, in every case, the tower was not at first built with a
view to such an ornament. The termination with a flat or only embattled
cornice does not harmonize well with pointed architecture; the spiral
form seems to me the only appropriate termination; and, as you say, the
symbolic teaching of this part of the building depends upon it. And yet,
though it may almost seem a contradiction to what I have said, the spire
always needs some object for the eye to rest upon at its summit. The
time-honoured _weather-cock_ which every body knows to be the emblem of
_watchfulness_, seems by far the most convenient and suitable, though I
am aware that other forms--such as a dragon, and a boat--are fixed to
the summits of some spires."

"We do not generally succeed well," said Mr. Ambrose, "in our imitations
of the Norman style of architecture. Its extreme massiveness, on which
so much of its beauty depends, renders it very costly; and if this is
abandoned, as it often is, for the sake of saving expense, and only the
details of the style are copied, whilst the walls are thin and
unsubstantial, the building has always a mean and cardboard appearance.
But where the style is faithfully carried out, it is a matter of
surprise to me that the _round_ tower is not more often adopted. It
harmonizes so well with the semi-circular arches and the apsidal
termination of the chancel. We have, you know, many splendid examples of
such towers[194]. It is true, indeed, that the architects may in some
cases have adopted this form, in places where there was difficulty in
obtaining the stone required for the corners of a square tower, as being
the most convenient for a building composed of flint only; but that they
did not always choose this form as a mere matter of convenience, and not
for its own peculiar beauty, is evident from the fact that in the
construction of some round towers not only flint, but also stone, is
largely employed. The objection to these towers, founded on the
supposition that they are not adapted for the use of bells, may, I
think, be easily met by a little constructional arrangement of the
interior of the belfry."

"The erection of towers _detached_ from the church has not, I am glad to
say, gained much favour in this country[195]. They certainly lose much
of their beauty when separated from the main building. The custom,
however, greatly prevails in Italy. The appropriation of a portion of
the tower as a priest's chamber is, I believe, far more common with us
than it is abroad[196]."

At this moment the bells of St. Catherine's commenced a cheerful peal.

"After all," said the Vicar, "_that sound_ indicates the real purpose of
the tower."

"True enough," answered Mr. Acres; "no doubt our towers were built to
hold the _bells_[197]; and so, if the tower is good and sound, and the
bells are there, we must not complain if the spire is wanting."

"Yes; but I wish the bells were under better control than they commonly

"Ah, so indeed do I. There's no part of the church so much desecrated as
the tower. Now, I grieve for this; for to my mind there's no music so
delightful as that of the church bells, provided there is nothing in the
occasion of their being rung which grates upon one's feelings. I often
think of the story of a savage people who had never seen a church bell
before, when for the first time they heard it ringing, they believed
that it was _talking_ to them[198]. There is certainly no music that
_speaks_ to us like that of the church bells. What call is there more
eloquent than the chimes 'going for church'? What voice more reproachful
than theirs to one who disobeys their summons? What sound so solemn as
the deep-toned knell? What so happy as the marriage peal? Ah, my dear
friend, you and I know full well what joys and sorrows, what hopes and
fears, the dear old church bells can tell of. How the old memories of
half-forgotten home-scenes come back to us when we listen to their merry
Christmas ringing! Nothing like them to fill the arm-chairs that have so
long stood empty, to tenant the old places with the once familiar forms
which have long gone from us! Nothing like them to bring back the dear
old voices and the dear old faces; nothing like them to put back the old
furniture in its old places again; nothing like them to revive the
bright and happy hours that are past! Then, somehow, the bells always
seem to adapt their voices to each particular season. What joyful hope
there was in their music at Easter! a still gladder song they sing
to-day. They seem to me to have their own peculiar utterance for Sunday
and for saints' day, for fast and for festival. What a joyful song of
thanksgiving they sang at our harvest festival last year! I shall never
forget what the bells said to me on that day.

"You must forgive me, my dear Vicar, for intruding this long rhapsody
into our conversation, my fondness for the music of church bells is so
intense, that I fear you will consider the expression of my admiration
to be quite childish. I don't mean to say they always make me feel
cheerful and happy. Oh, no, they don't do that; but most commonly they
induce a sort of pleasant melancholy--harmless, and even good in
moderation, but morbid in excess. These simple lines exactly express
what I often feel when the bells are ringing:--

    "When twilight steals along the ground,
     And all the bells are ringing round,
       One, two, three, four, and five;
     I at my study window sit,
     And, wrapt in many a musing fit,
       To bliss am all alive.

    "But though impressions calm and sweet
     Thrill round my heart a holy heat,
       And I am inly glad,
     A tear-drop stands in either eye,
     And yet, I cannot tell thee why,
       _I'm pleased, and yet I'm sad_[199]."

Illustration: Tower, Saragosa

"I know the feeling well," said Mr. Ambrose; "we love the _silent
eloquence_ of each feature of the church's fabric as we love the vivid
expression of each feature of a dear friend, and we love--as we love his
familiar voice--the well-known _uttered language_ of the old church

"Yes; and not more discordant would be the merry voice of a friend, with
a heart bowed down with sorrow, than seems to me a merry peal of the
church bells, with the penitential seasons of the Christian year. I
greatly admire your custom of only ringing three bells during Lent and
Advent, and tolling a single bell on Good Friday. The contrast to the
usual joyful chimes cannot fail to strike every one."

"I am most thankful that in our parish we have a set of bellringers who
really feel a proper interest in the work, and regard theirs as a
_religious_ office. I have only allowed men of well-known steady habits
and good moral character to be among them. From the time I came here, as
you know, I have been their president, and have always attended their
annual dinners. Then their _rules_[200] are good. No drinking is allowed
in the belfry, no one is allowed to wear his hat there, and no loud and
boisterous language is permitted: any one using offensive words or
swearing is at once expelled. In fact, I think we do all that can be
done to teach the ringers that they are engaged in a religious duty, in
a part of _God's house_. I am fully sensible that much of our success is
due to your influence among them, and I very much wish that more Church
laymen in your position would follow your example, and take part in the
_actual ringing_ of the church bells[201]. On one occasion, long ago, I
had some difficulty with our ringers. You remember old Sir Perrygal
Biber? a greater profligate or drunkard perhaps never lived. He had wit
enough, however, to secure his election for the county, and money enough
to reward those who voted for him. I am sorry to say that in many
parishes the church bells, which had once been solemnly dedicated to
God's service, were impressed to do honour to that man, whose immorality
was patent to the whole county. Our ringers naturally thought that what
was not wrong elsewhere would not be wrong here, and so begged
permission to follow the example of their neighbours. However, they were
good fellows, and open to reason. I explained to them first that our
church bells had nothing whatever to do with mere secular matters, such
as the election of a member of Parliament; and then I showed them that
their neighbours were specially wrong in this instance, because they
were employing what was intended for God's service in doing honour to an
impious man. I believe they were all of them, at heart, glad to get out
of it; and, in fact, would never have thought of ringing at all had not
William Strike put it into their heads. Since then they have not caused
me a moment's trouble.

"The church bells have, alas! often been sadly ill-used; sometimes
broken up and employed for secular purposes[202]; sometimes sold to pay
the cost of repairing the building: but this, to my mind, is not half so
bad as their desecration when rung on improper occasions."

"No doubt, Mr. Vicar, you have often read with interest the very quaint
legends which are to be found on many church bells. I very much like the
terse Latin sentences, and the oft-repeated '_Jesu, miserere mei_,' we
meet with on the oldest of them. Not a few, too, of the more modern
bells have simple pious inscriptions[203]. But there are some, both
ancient and modern, that have foolish or otherwise objectionable
sentences upon them[204]. In some cases they are merely laudatory of
the donor; in others of the founder, or of the churchwardens of the
parish. I should think, however, that there is scarcely a peal of bells
in the country, except, perhaps, a few very recently cast, but possesses
some both interesting and instructive inscriptions. Of course, many
volumes would be filled with them, could they be all collected. I once
copied one of these legends which much pleased me, but I cannot now call
to mind where I found it. Let me repeat it to you.

    'Men's death I tell by doleful knell,
     Lightning and thunder I break asunder,
     On Sabbath all to church I call,
     The sleepy head I raise from bed,
     The winds so fierce I do disperse,
     Men's cruel rage I do assuage.'"

"It was a curious conceit, which I suppose every body once accepted,
that the ringing of the church bells cleared the air of all evil and
discordant spirits, and caused the storm and the tempest to cease. But
the Church had another and a better reason for ordering the bells to be
rung at such times; and that was, 'that the faithful might be admonished
to be urgent in prayer for the instant danger[205].' I like the idea of
the Church bell inviting to _private prayer_ as well as public worship,
but we have almost lost it. The _passing bell_ used to ask the private
prayers of the faithful in behalf of the spirit passing from earth. This
was truly a Christian custom; nevertheless, I see difficulties in the
way of its general revival."

"_You_ have not, however, lost sight, my dear friend, of the invitation
to _private_ devotion as associated with church bells; for it is in this
light I regard the ringing of the little sancte bell just before the
consecration of the elements at the celebration of Holy Communion. I
was very glad when you restored the old bell to its little turret over
the chancel arch; and I know that when it is rung, many who cannot come
to church bend their knees and join heartily with us in our prayers and

"Yes, that is a good old practice of the early Church, and I am very
glad to know that its revival has been a blessing and a comfort to many
by awakening solemn thought and earnest prayer."

Illustration: Window, Church of St. Petronius, Bologna



"Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house."

1 Pet. ii. 5.

      "One sweetly solemn thought
        Comes to me o'er and o'er,--
       I'm nearer home to-day
        Than I have been before;

      "Nearer my Father's House,
        Where the many mansions be,
       Nearer the great white Throne,
        Nearer the jasper sea;

      "Nearer the bound of life,
        Where we lay our burdens down,
       Nearer leaving the Cross,
        Nearer gaining the Crown."



"I must just go up for a minute to see poor Matthew. I hear he is not
quite so well," said the Vicar, as he parted from his companion, and
entered the little door that led up to the old sexton's chamber.

"My dear friend," said the Vicar, taking the old man's trembling hand,
"I see you are still very weak; but I trust you are not suffering much?"

"Weak, very, sir; but, thank God, no pain. I feel, however, that the end
can't be very far off. You must look out for another sexton, sir, for
old Matthew's work is nearly over."

"_His_ will be done," said the Vicar; and the old man breathed a solemn
"Amen," which seemed spoken for no earthly ears.

"I've been thinking," at length said Matthew, "that it's ten years since
you and I, sir, and Mr. Acres, met at the old lych gate in that terrible
storm. I remember I said then that it wouldn't be long before some
younger ones would have to carry me through the gate, but God has spared
me these ten years more, and now I shall need none to bear me through
the gate; for here I am--thanks to your kindness, sir--already within
the gate, and even within the House of God itself."

"Yes; and so when God calls you to Himself, He will but take you from
one temple to another--from the courts of His House here, to live for
ever in His heavenly mansions. 'Those that be planted in the House of
the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God[206].'"

"If you please, sir, I should like to be buried beside little Lizzie
Daniels. 'Tis long ago now since I made that little grave, and I fear
the flower-bed is a good deal overgrown with grass, for I have been too
poorly to look after it as I used to; but I think you'll know it, sir.
She helped in her own quiet, simple way to teach an old man the way to
Heaven; and I have never forgotten her lessons. How often she used to
talk about this day--Ascension Day! She once said to me, sir, that you
had told her we ought to remember this day throughout the year, and to
try and lead an _Ascension_ life, and let our thoughts and desires dwell
as much as possible where our Saviour has gone before. I have tried to
do so--God forgive me, for I have often failed!"

He then drew the Vicar nearer to him, and whispered in his ear, "Be good
to dear little Harry, sir, when I'm gone. He loves me so, I fear 'twill
break his heart."

The "parson's bell," as it was called, was now ringing, so the Vicar,
having promised that his wishes should be fully carried out, was
compelled to hasten into the church. He first laid his hand on the noble
brow of the good old man, and pronounced the blessing of Heaven upon
him, and then bade him farewell, adding, "I hope, my dear friend, we may
be permitted to meet again in this earthly house of God; but if not, my
heart-deep hope and prayer is, that we may meet in His house not made
with hands, eternal in the heavens[207]."

The little window that looked into the church from the sexton's chamber
was opened, and none listened more earnestly to the festive service, and
to the Vicar's sermon, on that Ascension Day than did old Matthew

Although it was a common practice with the Vicar on festivals not to
preach from any particular passage of Holy Scripture, but simply to make
the festival itself the subject of his discourse, yet on this occasion
he selected these words as his text: "The patterns of things in the
heavens[208]." He showed how that all this world of ours, in which so
much that is beautiful and lovely has survived the fall, is full of
patterns, or symbols, or types of things in that Heaven to which Christ
has ascended; how that the whole Bible abounds with the most vivid
symbolism and the most graphic imagery representative of the glories of
that Heavenly kingdom; and then, looking round the beautiful church, now
so richly adorned with its festive decorations, he explained how the
earthly building, in its several parts, possessed a thousand patterns of
those heavenly things which make up the spiritual fabric of the Church
of Christ. "When we regard the material fabric of the Christian Church,"
he said, "as a type of the spiritual house, ever rising higher and
higher in honour of its Divine Founder, of which the saints on earth and
the saints in Heaven are the living stones, we are arraying the noblest
work of man with its grandest and most exalted dignity. 'Ye are built
upon the _foundations_ of the Apostles and Prophets,' writes St. Paul to
the Church of Ephesus, 'Jesus Christ Himself being the chief _corner
stone_; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an
holy _temple_ in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an
habitation of God through the Spirit[209].' Here, in the symbol of the
_foundation stones_ of the material structure, we have represented to
us, as it were, at one view, all those heavenly graces and blessings
which from the day of Pentecost down to this time have flowed to God's
people through the visible ministry and appointed ordinances of the
Christian Church. Then, under the figure of the _corner stone_--the key
stone of the edifice--we have gathered up all those old prophecies and
types which pointed on forward, through the sufferings and death of the
Saviour, up to the time when, having established His Church in the
world, He should be Himself the heavenly life of its living members.
Long had it been 'contained in the Scriptures: Behold, I lay in Zion a
chief _corner stone_, elect, precious; and he that believeth on Him
shall not be confounded[210],' and in the fulness of time 'the stone
which the builders refused became the _head stone of the corner_[211].'

"And next see, my friends, how the figure is carried out by the two
Apostles, St. Paul and St. Peter, so as to embrace all the faithful
members of Christ's Church. They are represented by St. Paul as 'the
whole _building fitly framed together_[212],' and by St. Peter, as the
living stones which compose this living temple--'Ye also as _lively
stones_ are built up a _spiritual house_[213].' And this figure of a
living temple is thus constantly employed by the sacred writers: 'Know
ye not that your bodies are the _Temple of God_?' writes St. Paul to the
Corinthian Church; and, again, 'Ye are the _Temple of the living
God_[214].' St. Jude is following out the same idea when he exhorts
Christians to _build up themselves in their most holy faith_."

The Vicar ended his sermon with an earnest, practical application of the
subject. "Let me entreat you, my dear friends, often to suffer the
solemn thoughts which this sacred symbol suggests to dwell on your
minds: '_The temple of the Lord_ is holy, which temple _ye are_.' Holy
Prophets and Holy Apostles, and confessors, and martyrs, are the
foundation of the sacred building; the Holy Jesus is the corner stone,
in whom ye--the living stones--must be _fitly framed together_. Mark, my
friends, there must be _no schism, no division, no rent or fissure_,
that ye may be a spiritual house perfect in all its parts, and pure in
all its adornments. Oh, then, cherish that heavenly life within you,
which alone can keep the building compact and firm! Be fruitful in good
works. Remember faith without works is not living, but _dead_[215]. 'Put
on charity, which is the _bond of perfectness_[216],' and will be the
best evidence to God and man, and to your own souls, that you possess a
living faith; that you are, indeed, _living stones in a living temple_.
Be sure the cement that must unite the living stones of the spiritual
house is brotherly love and fervent charity. Without these, the house
will be divided against itself; its walls will be 'daubed with
untempered mortar[217],' and, instead of living stones, there will be
but the dead, outlying blocks of a ruined house. 'Except the Lord build
the house, their labour is but lost that build it[218].'

"Be it yours, then, 'by patient continuance in _well doing_, to seek for
glory and immortality[219]' in that 'house eternal in the heavens, whose
Builder and Maker is God.' Learn to see in the whole earth, and air, and
sky--with their countless beauties and wondrous harmonies--reflections
of the glories of Heaven, and promises of the coming bliss of eternity.
Learn to read lessons of wisdom and religion from the many instructive
patterns, and symbols, and emblems in nature, and in art, with which you
are ever surrounded. Thus go on, day by day, advancing nearer to your
mansion in Heaven. Thus, in these earthly temples of Jehovah, be ever
purifying your hearts, and attuning your voices to share in that
glorious song of the Lamb when the sweet music of angels' harps shall
vibrate on this regenerate earth, when her ten thousand choirs shall
join with theirs in joyful harmony--and melt their united praises in one
never-ending rapture, singing, 'Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty,
which was, and is, and is to come;' 'Blessing and honour, and glory and
power be unto Him that sitteth upon the Throne, and unto the Lamb for
ever and ever[220].'"

In the prayer for the Church militant, which followed the sermon, the
Vicar paused longer than usual when he prayed God to _succour and
comfort those who were in sickness_. All knew that he was inviting a
special prayer for the old man whom all the village loved; and had they
been offered for the proudest potentate, the most learned philosopher,
or even the greatest philanthropist that ever lived, the prayers that
went up to Heaven amid that solemn silence for him "for whom the prayers
of the Church were desired," could not have been more fervid and
sincere. When Mr. Ambrose proceeded with the prayer, a slight stir in
the porch chamber was heard by those near at hand, but it was little

At the conclusion of the service Mr. Acres met the Vicar in the vestry.

"I should like," said he, "to go with you to see our poor old friend
once more."

"It will probably be the last time," replied the Vicar, "for he was
evidently sinking when I saw him before service. I told little Harry to
go up to him as soon as we had sung the last hymn."

Both went up together. The Vicar was not mistaken. Calm and peaceful,
without a line of care or pain, there lay the placid face, and the eyes
were closed in the last, long sleep. One hand lay motionless upon the
bed, grasped by his little grandson, who was kneeling beside him, still
robed in the snow-white surplice with which he had recently left the

"Poor little fellow!" said the Vicar; "I will keep my promise to the old
man. He shall not be left without a friend, though his best is gone."

But Mr. Acres saw that the little hands were white as the aged hand they

"He's with a better Friend now, my dear Vicar," said he, "than this
earth can give him. We shall hear his sweet voice no more in our choir
here; he has gone to join the choir of angels in a nobler temple than

Old Matthew's words were true; the loving little heart was broken. The
old oak had fallen, and crushed the tender sapling as it fell[221]. On
the morning of Trinity Sunday, there stood under the old yew-tree of St.
Catherine's churchyard, three little stone crosses side-by-side, where
but one had been before.




1: In some parts of Devonshire and Cornwall, Lich-Gates are called
"Trim-Trams." The origin of this word is not easy to determine; it is
probably only a nickname.

2: Anglo-Saxon, _lic_,--a dead body. In Germany the word _leiche_ has
doubtless the same original; it is still used to signify a corpse or
funeral. The German _leichengang_ has precisely the same meaning as our

3: It is stated in _Britton's Antiquities_ that there was formerly a
Lych-Gate in a lane called Lych-lane in Gloucester, where the body of
Edward II. rested on its way to burial in the Cathedral.

4: A Lyke-wake dirge:--

    "This ae nighte, this ae nighte,
       Every nighte and alle;
     Fire and sleete, and candle lighte,
       And Christe receive theye saule."

            (Scott's "_Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border_.")

5: On the Lich-Gate at Bray, Berks, is the date 1448; but there are very
few examples so early.

6: The following are among the most interesting of the ancient
Lich-Gates still remaining:-- Beckenham, Lincolnshire; Berry-Harbor,
Devonshire; Birstal, York; Bromsgrove, Worcestershire; Burnside,
Westmoreland; Compton, Berkshire; Garsington, Oxon; Tawstock,
Devonshire; West Wickham, Kent; and Worth, Sussex. The construction of
the gate at Burnside is very curious, and Tawstock Lich-Gate possesses
peculiar features of interest, which are noticed in the next Chapter.
One of the finest Lich-Gates was at Arundel, in Surrey, but it has been
removed, and is now the Church Porch.

7: St. John xi. 25. The first words of the Burial Office, said by the
Priest at the entrance to the Churchyard.

8: A very interesting paper on Lich-Gates, in the "Clerical Journal,"
affords much information on this subject. Over the gate at Bray are "two
chambers, connected with an ancient charitable bequest."

9: This chamber was formerly called the Chapel of the Holy Rood.

10: The custom of distributing "cakes and ale" at the churchyard on the
occasion of funerals in Scotland, has been but very recently given up.
Dean Ramsey, in his interesting "anecdotes," has informed us that at the
burial of the Chief of a clan, many thousands would sometimes assemble,
and not unfrequently the funeral would end in a disgraceful riot.

11: In Cornwall the now common practice of placing a wreath of white
flowers on the coffin is a very ancient and still prevailing usage.

12: Consecrated Bishop of Exeter A.D. 1598.

13: These crosses were erected at the following places:--Lincoln,
Northampton, Dunstable, St. Alban's, Waltham, Stratford, Cheapside,
Blackfriars, and Charing; those at Waltham and Northampton alone remain.
The statue of King Charles now stands where the Charing ("Chère Reine")
Cross formerly stood.

14: In a churchyard in Oxfordshire, a large altar-tomb, surrounded by
iron railings, occupying a space of ground in which at least thirty
persons might be buried, covers the grave of an infant of three months.

The erection of these masses of stone without restraint would make our
churchyards only the burial-places of the rich, and would soon entirely
exclude the poor from a place in them; whereas the poor have an equal
claim with the rich to be buried there, and when buried, the same title
to respect and protection.

15: The urns which are placed upon so many tombs in our cemeteries and
churchyards, unless they have reference to the heathen custom of burning
the dead, and placing the ashes in funeral urns, can have no meaning at
all. We moreover not unfrequently see a gilded flame issuing from these
urns, and here of course the reference is most clearly marked. The
Christian custom of burying the dead, which we practise in imitation of
the entombment of Christ, dates from the earliest history of man; and as
well from the Old as the New Testament we learn that it has ever been
followed by those who professed to obey the Divine will. The first grave
of which we have any account was the grave of Sarah, Abraham's wife
(Gen. xxiii. 19), and the first grave-stone was that over the
burial-place of Rachel, Jacob's wife (Gen. xlix. 31).

16: There are comparatively but few churchyard grave-stones more
than 250 years old, and probably there are very few of an earlier
date but have engraved upon them the sign of the Cross. There are
two very ancient grave-stones of this character, having also heads
carved upon them, in the churchyard of Silchester. It is likely that
the old churchyard crosses were often mortuary memorials. Probably
there is hardly an old churchyard but has, at some time, been
adorned with its churchyard cross; in most cases, some remains of
this most appropriate and beautiful ornament still exist, and
doubtless is often older than the churchyard as a place of Christian
burial. In many places this cross has been lately restored to its
proper place, near to the Lich-Gate. "Let a handsome churchyard
cross be erected in every churchyard."--Institutions of the Bishop
of Winchester, A.D. 1229.

17: The interesting custom of placing natural flowers and wreaths upon
graves, is in every respect preferable to that which we see practised in
Continental burial-grounds, where the graves are often covered with
immortelles, vases of gaudy artificial flowers, images, &c. We have seen
as many as fifty wreaths of artificial flowers and tinselled paper, in
every stage of decomposition, over one grave in the cemetery of Père la
Chaise, in Paris. In Wales it is a more general practice than in
England, to adorn the graves with fresh flowers on Easter Day.

18: This story is true of a parish in Monmouthshire.

19: It is comparatively seldom that any other than the funerals of the
_poor_ take place on Sunday, and the reason commonly assigned is--that
it is the only day on which their friends can attend. In one, at least,
of the large metropolitan cemeteries, exclusively used as a burial-place
for the _rich_, no funerals _ever_ take place on a Sunday.

20: Let us hope that the time is near when this objectionable and
unsightly appendage will be banished from our funeral processions. The
late Mr. Charles Dickens, in his will, forbad the wearing of hat-bands
at his funeral.

21: "In several parts of the north of England, when a funeral takes
place, a basin full of sprigs of boxwood is placed at the door of the
house from which the coffin is taken up, and each person who attends the
funeral ordinarily takes a sprig of the boxwood and throws it into the
grave of the deceased."--_Wordsworth_ (_Notes, Excursion_, p. 87).

22: Great care was taken by the medieval architects to make the porches
of their churches as beautiful as possible. During some periods,
especially the Norman, they seem to have bestowed more labour upon them
than upon any other portion of the building. Both externally and
internally they were richly decorated, and often abounded in emblematic

23: "The custom formerly was for the couple, who were to enter upon this
holy state, to be placed at the _church door_, where the priest was used
to join their hands, and perform the greater part of the matrimonial
office. It was here the husband endowed his wife with the dowry before
contracted for."--_Wheatley._ In a few church porches there are, or have
been, galleries, which seem to have been intended to accommodate a choir
for these and other festive occasions.

24: "The porch of the church was anciently used for the performance of
several religious ceremonies appertaining to Baptism, Matrimony, and the
solemn commemoration of Christ's Passion in Holy Week," &c.--_Brandon's
Gothic Architecture._ The Office for the Churching of Women also used to
be said at the church porch.

25: As our Commination Service declares, persons who stood convicted of
notorious sins were formerly put to open penance. The punishment
frequently inflicted was--that they should stand at the church door,
clothed in a white sheet, and holding a candle in each hand, during the
assembling and departure of the congregation on a Sunday morning. The
old parish clerk of Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, remembers, when a boy,
seeing a Jew perform this penance in Walton church.

26: "Formerly persons used to assemble in the church porch for civil

27: "At a very early period, persons of rank or of eminent piety were
allowed to be buried in the porch. Subsequently, interments were
permitted within the church, but by the Canons of King Edgar it was
ordered that this privilege should be granted to none but good and
religious men."--_Parker's Glossary._

28: The parvise is to be found over church porches in all parts of
England. It is more common in early English than in Norman architecture,
and very frequently to be found in churches of the Decorated and
Perpendicular periods. Probably the largest parvise in England is at
Bishop's-Cleeve, near Cheltenham. There are interesting specimens at
Bridport, Bishop's Auckland, Ampthill, Finedon, Cirencester, Grantham,
Martley, Fotheringay, Sherborne, St. Mary Redcliffe, Bristol, Stanwick,
Outwell, and St. Peter's-in-the-East, Oxford. In a few instances there
are two parvises, one over the north and one over the south porch, as at
Wellingborough. In some cases, as at Martley, Worcestershire, the upper
moulding of the original Norman doorway has been concealed by the
parvise of later architecture.

29: "The name was formerly given to a favourite apartment, as at
Leckingfield, Yorkshire. 'A little studying chamber, caullid paradise.'
(Leland's Itinerary.)"--_Glossary of Architecture._

30: The room may have been the residence of one or more of the ordinary
priests of the church, or perhaps only a _study_ for them (see previous
note), or it may have been occupied by an anchorite or hermit, or by a
chantry priest. Rooms for these several purposes are also not
unfrequently to be found over the vestry, as at Cropredy, near Banbury,
and at Staindrop, Durham.

31: Fire-places are of frequent occurrence in these chambers; many of
them are coeval with the porch, but others appear to have been erected
at a later date.

32: At Hawkhurst, Kent, the porch-chamber is called _the treasury_. At
St. Mary Redcliffe, Bristol, the room over the grand north porch, in
which are the remains of the chests in which Chatterton professed to
find the manuscripts attributed to Rowley, was at one time known as the
_treasury house_.

33: "The chamber over the porch was generally used for the keeping of
books and records belonging to the church. Such an appendage was added
to many churches in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries; and some of
these old libraries still remain with their books fastened to shelves or
desks by small chains."--_Brandon's Gothic Architecture._

Over the porch at Finedon (of which we give an engraving) is a parvise
in which is contained a valuable library of about 1000 volumes, placed
there by Sir John English Dolben, Bart., A.D. 1788. At St.
Peter's-in-the-East, Oxford, and many other places, are similar

34: These were probably small chantries. It is comparatively seldom that
any vestige of the altar remains; but the credence and piscina--certain
proofs of the previous existence of the altar--are very commonly found.

35: "The custom of teaching children in the porch is of very early
origin; it is distinctly mentioned by Matthew Paris in the time of Henry
III."--_Glossary of Architecture._

After the reigns of Henry VIII. and Edward VI., in which reigns all
chantries were suppressed, the children were promoted from the porch to
the parvise.

36: "Above the groining of the porch is a parvise, accessible by a
turret-stair, having two Norman window-openings, unglazed, and a
straight-gabled niche between them on the outside. In former days this
chamber was constantly inhabited by one of the sextons, who acted as a
watchman, but since the restoration of the church it has been
disused."--_Harston's Handbook of Sherborne Abbey_.

In the church accounts of St. Peter's-in-the-East, Oxford, A.D. 1488,
there is a charge for a "key to clerk's chamber." This no doubt referred
to the parvise.

37: As, a few years ago, at Headcorn in Kent.

38: There was frequently, but not always, a window or opening from the
room into the church; and it would seem that it was so placed to enable
the occupant of the room to keep a watchful eye over the interior of the
church, and not for any devotional exercise connected with the altar, as
we never find this window directed obliquely to wards the altar, as is
commonly the case with windows opening from the vestry, or chamber above
the vestry, into the church.

39: Many porches seem originally not to have had doors, but marks exist
which indicate that barriers to keep out cattle were used.

40: It is composed of lamp-black, bees'-wax, and tallow, and is commonly
used by shoemakers to give a black polish to the heels of boots.

41: These superstitions existed a few years since in connexion with an
old incised slab in the chancel of Christ Church, Caerleon.

42: "In the year 1657, the adherents of a Preacher of the name of Cam
obtained the grant of the chancel of the Holy Trinity Church, Hull, from
the council of state under the Protectorate, and whilst the mob without
were burning the surplice and the Prayer Book, those within were tearing
the brasses from the grave-stones."--_History of Kingston-upon-Hull._

                                                           s. d.

 "1644, April 8th, paid to Master Dowson, that came with
 the troopers to our church, about the taking down of
 images and brasses off stones                              6 0

 "1644, paid, that day, to others, for taking up the
 brasses of grave-stones before the Officer Dowson came     1 0

--_Churchwarden's accounts_; _Walberswich, Suffolk._

"This William Dowing (Dowson), it appears, kept a journal of his
ecclesiastical exploits. With reference to the Church of St. Edward's,
Cambridge, he says,--

"'1643, Jan. 1, Edward's Parish, we digged up the steps, and broke down
40 pictures, and took off ten superstitious inscriptions.'

"Mr. Cole, in his MSS., observes,--

"'From this last entry we may clearly see to whom we are obliged for the
dismantling of almost all the grave-stones that had brasses on them,
both in town and country; a sacrilegious, sanctified rascal, that was
afraid, or too proud, to call it _St._ Edward's Church, but not ashamed
to rob the dead of their honours, and the church of its ornaments.--W.
C.'"--_Burn's Parish Registers_.

43: The very interesting brasses in Chartham Church, Kent, were found a
few years since as here described, by the present rector, and replaced
by him on the chancel pavement.

44: "Manual of Monumental Brasses," vol. i. p. 34.

45: "If any one will lay the portrait of Lord Bristol (in Mr. Gage
Rokewode's _Thingoe Hundred_) by the side of the sepulchral brass of the
Abbess of Elstow (from whom he is collaterally descended) figured in
Fisher's _Bedfordshire Antiquities_, he cannot but be struck by the
strong likeness between the two faces. This is valuable evidence on the
disputed point whether portraits were attempted in sepulchral
brasses."--_Notes and Queries_.

46: See page 77.

47: See page 85. [The engravings of sepulchral brasses and of stained
glass windows are kindly supplied by the Editor of the _Penny Post_.]

48: See page 67.

49: _Hamlet_, Act i. Sc. 3.

50: Monumental slabs of this description are most common on the pavement
of churches in the midland counties.

51: This is the case in Ely Cathedral.

52: At Bawsey, Lynn; Droitwich; Great Malvern; and recently near
Smithfield, London, when excavating for the subterranean railway.

53: Thus translated in the _Gentleman's Magazine_ for October, 1833:--

    "Think, man, thy life       |     But that thou keepest
     May not ever endure,       |     Unto thy executor's care,
     That thou dost thyself     |     If ever it avail thee
     Of that thou art sure;     |     It is but chance."

54: "Anno 1210. Let the Abbot of Beaubec (in Normandy), who has for a
long time allowed his monk to construct, for persons who do not belong
to the order, pavements, which exhibit levity and curiosity, be in
slight penance for three days, the last of them on bread and water; and
let the monk be recalled before the feast of All Saints, and never again
be lent, excepting to persons of our order, with whom let him not
presume to construct pavements which do not extend the dignity of the
order."--Martini's _Thesaurus Anecdotorum_.--Extracted from Oldham's
"Irish Pavement Tiles."

55: Specially in Normandy, where they are occasionally found under
trefoil canopies, resembling our sepulchral brasses.

56: Some excellent coloured engravings for cottage walls, of a large
size, have been published by Messrs. Remington, under the direction of
the Rev. J. W. Burgon, of Oriel College, Oxford. Others, both large and
small, suitable for this purpose, are published by the Society for
Promoting Christian Knowledge, and also by several other publishers.

57: These wall paintings exist (or did till recently) on the outside of
a church at High Wycombe. They are curious, and very grotesque; no
doubt, however, in their day they have served a good and useful purpose.

58: These mural paintings still remain, as here described, on the north
wall of the chancel of Chalgrove Church, Oxon. There are also on the
east and south walls of the chancel of the same church, many other
paintings possessing great interest.

59: A very interesting mural painting, of which the above is a copy, has
been lately discovered in a recess in the north wall of the nave of
Bedfont Church. The colour is exceedingly rich and well preserved. The
painting measures 4 ft. 6 in. by 4 ft., and is supposed to be of the
thirteenth century. It represents the Last Judgment. Our Lord is sitting
on His Throne, showing the five wounds. On the right hand is an angel
showing the Cross, on the left an angel with a spear. Four nails are
represented near the head of our Lord. In the lower part of the painting
are two angels holding trumpets, and below them three persons rising out
of the tomb.

It is probable that the interior of almost every old church in the
country has at some time been decorated with wall-paintings--very many
of them have been brought to light in recent works of church
restoration. The favourite subjects were representations of Heaven and
Hell, and of the Day of Judgment. In many cathedrals and some parish
churches the _Dance of Death_ was painted on the walls. This was one of
the most popular religious plays about four centuries ago.

60: No doubt the earliest church walls were made of wood. Greenstead
Church, in Essex, affords a most interesting example of these old wooden

61: Roman bricks are generally easy to be distinguished from others by
their colour and shape. They were not all made in moulds of the same
size, as we now make bricks, and on this account we find them to vary
much in size and form.

62: As at Crowmarsh, Oxfordshire, of which an engraving is given.

63: At Godmersham, Kent.

64: It is certain that many of the splendid yew-trees in our old
churchyards are far older than the churches themselves. And it is more
than probable that in many instances they mark the places where heathen
rites were once celebrated. It was natural for our Christian forefathers
to select these spots as places of worship, since, being held sacred by
the heathen people around them, they would be regarded by them with
reverence and respect, and thus the cross which they reared, and the
dead which they buried beneath the wide-spreading branches of these old
trees would be preserved from desecration.

65: These styles are now frequently called _first_, _second_, and _third

66: "The glass windows in a church are Holy Scriptures, which expel the
wind and the rain, that is, all things hurtful, but transmit the light
of the True Sun, that is, God, into the hearts of the faithful. These
are wider within than without, because the mystical sense is the more
ample, and precedeth the literal meaning. Also, by the windows the
senses of the body are signified: which ought to be shut to the vanities
of this world, and open to receive with all freedom spiritual gifts. By
the lattice-work of the windows, we understand the Prophets or other
obscure teachers of the Church Militant: in which windows there are
often two shafts, signifying the two precepts of charity, or because the
Apostles were sent out to preach two and two."--_Durandus on Symbolism_.

67: Stained glass is said to have been first used in churches in the
twelfth century. Windows were at first filled with thin slices of talc
or alabaster, or sometimes vellum. As the monks spent much time in
illuminating their vellum MSS., it has been thought likely that they
also painted on the vellum used in the windows of their monasteries, and
that afterwards, on the introduction of glass, their vellum
illuminations suggested their glass painting.

68: At Brabourne, Kent, is a Norman window filled with stained glass of
the period, which is still quite perfect.

69: "One who calls himself John Dowsing, and, by virtue of a pretended
commission, goes about ye country like a Bedlam, breaking glasse
windows, having battered and beaten downe all our painted glasse, not
only in our Chappels, but (contrary to order) in our Publique Schools,
Colledge Halls, Libraries, and Chambers."--Berwick's _Querela

70: The rubric in the Service for the Public Baptism of Infants directs
the priest, _if the godfathers and godmothers shall certify that the
child may well endure it_, to _dip it in the water_. In the first Prayer
Book of Edward VI. the priest is directed to "_dyppe it in the water

71: Acts xvi. 15, 33. 1 Cor. i. 16.

72: As at Dorchester and Warborough in Oxfordshire, and Brookland in
Kent; each of these have very elaborate mouldings upon them.

73: At Llanvair Discoed, Monmouthshire.

74: The Font at West Rounton, of which we have given an engraving, is
one of many examples of this. The _Centaur_, the arrow from whose bow is
just about to pierce the monster, probably represents the Deity
conquering Satan, or perhaps the continual conflict of the baptized
Christian against sin and Satan. The other figure may represent the
Divine and human natures united in our Lord. This exceedingly curious
Font was discovered during the recent restoration of the little Norman
Church of West Rounton, Yorkshire. It was found under the pulpit, of
which it formed the base, having been turned over so that the bowl
rested on the floor, and so carefully plastered that there was no
external indication of its original form. It has now been restored to
its former position near the south-west door of the church.

75: Ezek. iii. 7, 8; ix. 4. Rev. vii. 3; ix. 4; xiii. 16; xiv. 1, 9;
xxii. 4.

76: βαπτἱζω [baptizô], to baptize, ἁνἁ [ana], again.

77: "God planted a garden eastward;" man went westward when he left it;
he turns eastward to remind him of his return. Almost every church in
England is built _east and west_, with the altar at the east.

78: Phil. ii. 10.

79: Canon XVIII. 1603.

80: "Many monuments are covered with seates, or pewes, made high and
easie for parishioners to sit or sleepe in, a fashion of no long
continuance, and worthy of reformation."--Weaver's _Funeral Monuments_.
Temp. James I.

81: It is likely that the idea of a gallery at the west end of the nave,
was first suggested by the gallery of the Rood Screen at the eastern

82: At H.... church, Kent, for instance.

83: Chertsey, Surrey.

84: One of the churches in Edinburgh, for instance.

85: 2 Chron. vi. 13.

86: Nehem. viii. 4.

87: As at Magdalene College, Oxford. "Formerly, when the annual sermon
was preached on the feast of the nativity of St. John the Baptist, from
the stone pulpit before the chapel of Magdalene College, Oxford, the
whole area before it was covered with rushes and grass, to represent, it
is said, the wilderness: and doubtless also for the accommodation of the
hearers; the seats being set for the University authorities."--_History
of Pues._

88: Such an one formerly existed near the cathedral of Exeter.

89: Parker's "Glossary of Architecture," part i. p. 171. At the west end
of Boxley Church, Kent, is a Galilee. There are very few--if any--other
churches in which the ancient _Galilee_ is to be found.

90: Many of the wooden pulpits have dates upon them. The earliest of
these is A.D. 1590, on a pulpit at Ruthin, Denbighshire.

91: "The Churchwardens, at the common charge of the Parishioners in
every parish, shall provide a comely and honest pulpit, to be set in a
convenient place within the Churche, and to be there seemly kept, for
the preaching of God's worde."--_Injunctions given by the Queen's
Majestie_, 1559.

92: It seems most probable that the last of these was the real object.
In some old discourses the following phrase is met with:--"Let us now
take another _glass_," meaning another period of time to be measured by
the hour-glass: and the preacher reversed the glass at this point.
Ancient hour-glasses remain in the church of St. Alban's, Wood Street,
City; and at Cowden, Kent. The iron frames of hour-glasses still remain
in the churches of Stoke Dabernoun, Surrey; Odell, Bedfordshire; St.
John's, Bristol; Cliff, Kent; and Erdingthorpe, Norfolk, and doubtless
others are to be found elsewhere. The Queen has lately presented an
hour-glass of the measure of eighteen minutes for the pulpit of the
chapel royal in the Savoy, to replace the old one, which was destroyed
in the recent fire.

93: Some few of these sounding-boards are, however, very handsome. At
Newcastle there is, or lately was, a sounding-board which was a
representation of the spire of the church.

94: _Gentleman's Magazine_, vol. 1. p. 364. Preaching-Crosses are also
at Hereford, near the Friary of the Dominican (or Preaching) Friars; and
in the churchyards of Iron Acton, Gloucestershire, and Rampisham,

95: See a curious letter on this subject in the _Gentleman's Magazine_,
vol. 1. p. 527.

96: See Walker's "Sufferings of the Clergy," p. 310.

97: S. Luke vi. 26.

98: The Vicar of the church here referred to has lately deceased, and
his successor has commenced the much needed improvements. The Vicar's
good daughter, who was quite a _sister of mercy_ in the parish, is not
likely to be forgotten, though the old pew has gone. A beautiful window
of stained glass has been erected to her memory by the parishioners.

99: This phase of the pew system is not over coloured. A few years
since, a pew in the nave of Old Swinford Church was so nailed up; but
other instances of this might be mentioned.

100: James ii. 1-4.

101: James ii. 5, 6.

102: Sermon by the Rev. E. Stuart, preached at the Church of St. Mary
Magdalene, Munster Square, London.

103: 2 Cor. viii. 9.

104: Much information on this subject can be obtained from "The History
of Pues: a Paper read before the Cambridge Camden Society, November 22,

105: Stone seats were often placed round the bases of the columns of the
nave; examples are at St. Margaret-at-Cliffe, and Challock, in Kent.

106: _British Critic_; see _History of Pues_.

107: "'1612, 27 May.--Ye Ch. Wardens meeting together for seekeing
                       for workmen to mak a fitt seete in a convennent
                       place for brydgrumes, bryds, and
                       sike wyves to sit in                     ijs.

--_Extract from Parochial Books of Chester-le-Street, Durham_.

"It is plain that at this period the privilege of a separate pew was
confined to persons of the first rank; the rest sat promiscuously on
forms in the body of the church, and the privilege is here extended only
to sick wives and brides, who sat to hear the preacher deliver 'The
Bride's Bush,' or 'The Wedding Garment beautified.'"--Surtees' _Hist. of

108: Blomfield's _Norfolk_, vi. 317.

109: "Several congregations find themselves already very much
straitened; and if the mode increases, I wish it may not drive many
ordinary women into meetings and conventicles. Should our sex at the
same time take it into their heads to wear trunk breeches, a man and his
wife would fill a whole pew."--_Satire on Female Costume. Spectator_,
No. 127.

            "At church in silks and satins new,
               And hoop of monstrous size;
             She never slumber'd in her pew
               But when she shut her eyes."--_Goldsmith._

110:    "He found him mounted in his pew,
        With books and money placed for shew."

                         _The Lawyer's Pew_, Butler's _Hudibras_.

           "A bedstead of the antique mode,
            Compact of timber many a load,
            Such as our ancestors did use,
            Was metamorphosed into pews;
            Which still their ancient nature keep
            By lodging folks disposed to sleep."

                                Swift's _Baucis and Philemon_.

111: _European Magazine_, 1813.

112: _History of Pues_, p. 77.

113: "1617. Barnham _contra_ Hayward Puellam.--Presentatur--for that she
being but a young maid sat in ye pew with her mother, to ye great
offence of many reverent women: howbeit that after I Peter Lewis the
Vicar had in the church privately admonished her to sit at her mother's
pew-door, she obeyed; but now she sits with her mother again."--_God's
Acre_, by Mrs. Stone.

114: Whittaker's _Whalley_, p. 228.

115: "We have also heard that the parishioners of divers places do
oftentimes wrangle about their seats in church, two or more claiming the
same seat, whence arises great scandal to the Church, and the divine
officers are sore set and hindered; wherefore we decree that none shall
henceforth call any seat in the church his own, save noblemen and
patrons: but he who shall first enter shall take his place where he
will."--Quivil, Bishop of Exeter, A.D. 1287.

116: In the vestry of the church of East Moulsey is suspended a map of
considerable size, showing the land that has been left to the parish for
the sustentation of the church. The land ought to produce 120_l._ but
some years since the parishioners engaged in a law-suit respecting a pew
in the church, and lost the suit, and the income from the charity land
was year by year absorbed in the payment of the debt then incurred. One
evidence brought forward to prove the faculty was the following
inscription, which is still (or was till lately) _over the altar_,
painted at the foot of a _daub_, having the Ten Commandments surrounded
by drapery, &c.:--

"In lieu of the Commandments formerly written on the wall (when by
     consent of the parish he made his pew) these tables were placed here
     by--Mr. Benson, MDCCXII."

117: _Gentleman's Magazine_, A.D. 1780, p. 364.

118: We are so used to speak of the _seats_ in church, that we commonly
forget the more proper appellation of _kneeling_. This, however, was not
always so. An old metal plate formerly on a pew in a church in the
diocese of Oxford, has this inscription:--

"No 83. Vicar and Churchwardens, two kneelings. Trustees of Poor House
three kneelings."

119: See _History of Pues_, p. 37.

120: "Item. Paid to good wyfe Wells for salt to destroy the fleas _d._
in the _Churchwardens' Pew_                                       vi.

                _St. Margaret's Accounts._ _Dublin Review_, xiii.

121: So called, as some suppose, because it could be _folded_ and
removed when necessary.

122: Joel ii. 17.

123: Injunctions of Edward VI. and Queen Elizabeth.

124: See _Wheatly on the Common Prayer_, p. 161.

125: "The earliest examples remaining are of wood, many of them
beautifully carved, as at Bury and Ramsay, Huntingdonshire;
Swancombe, Debtling, and Lenham, Kent; Newport, Essex; Hawstead,
Suffolk."--Parker's _Glossary_.

There are beautiful examples of brass lecterns at Magdalene and Merton
Colleges, Oxford, in most of our cathedrals, and many parish churches.

126: Derived from the French _aile_, a wing. It is no uncommon thing to
hear persons who ought to know better talk about _side_ aisles, as if
there were any other than side aisles.

127: Derived from the Greek, ἁγιος [hagios], holy, and σκοπἑω
[skopeô], to view. There are very good specimens at St. Clement's,
Sandwich, and at St. Mary's, Gloucester. The latter has three

128: In some few churches--as at Rottingdean, Sussex--the chancel, by
the deviation of its north or south wall from the line of the nave,
represent the inclined head of our Lord upon the cross.

129: The German word for piscina is Wasserhälter, _water-holder_.

130: Derived from the Italian _credenzare_, to test by tasting
beforehand; which refers to an ancient custom for the governor of a
feast to taste the wines before presenting them to his guests. The
application of the word to this piece of Church furniture is supposed to
have its origin in an attempt once made to mix poison with the
eucharistic elements.

131: The rubric at the commencement of the Prayer Book concerning "the
Ornaments of the Church, and of the ministers thereof," still directs a
credence-table to be placed in every church.

132: In Flamborough Church, Yorkshire, a few years since, a white glove
was hanging over the centre arch of the very beautiful chancel
screen,--perhaps is hanging there still. Sometimes a bridal wreath was
hung up with the glove.

133: When the rood screens were pulled down by the Puritans and the
chancels were alienated from their proper use, it became necessary, in
order to protect the immediate precinct of the altar from general
intrusion, to erect around it some barrier; hence the origin of
altar-rails, which were first ordered to be put up by Archbishop Laud.
There are a few instances of ancient screens of considerable height
immediately surrounding the altar.

134: As in Bottisham Church, Cambridge; Westwell, Kent; and most of our

135: Such galleries existed in the parish churches of Whitby, Yorkshire,
and of Sandon, Staffordshire, a few years ago, but these have probably
been since removed.

136: Rood is analogous to our common word _rod_. It is a Saxon word, and
means a cross.

137: It is a question whether the order in the canons for placing the
Commandments in churches was intended to be other than temporary. At the
time few comparatively had Bibles or Prayer Books, so there was then a
reason for the order, which no longer exists. One of many churches in
which the Commandments were painted at an early date over the chancel
arch, is Fordwich, Kent; the date is 1688. At Dimchurch, in Kent, there
is an old painting of the Commandments over the chancel arch, and a
modern one over the altar.

138: As at C.... Church, Kent.

139: "_Cancellæ_ are lattice-work, by which the chancels being formerly
parted from the body of the church they took their names from thence.
Hence, too, the Court of _Chancery_ and the Lord _Chancellor_ borrowed
their names, that court being enclosed with open-work of that kind. And
so to _cancel_ a writing is to cross it out with the pen, which
naturally makes something like the figure of a lattice."--Pegge's

140: Some of our chancels, however, were originally made considerably
_lower_ than the nave. When the church has been built on a slope it has
sometimes followed the fall of the ground from west to east.

141: So called from the Latin word _sedes_, a seat. This position, on
the south side of the altar, is in all respects the most convenient for
the clergy when not officiating. To sit _facing_ the people is a most
painful position for the priest, as the eyes of all the congregation
naturally rest upon him; it has, too, the _appearance_ of irreverence.

142: See p. 223.

143: See p. 223.

144: This word is tautological, derived from our common word _rere_,
back, and the French _dos_, back, from its position at the back of the
altar. Many of these altar-screens have in recent years been restored at
immense cost, as at Ely Cathedral.

145: In Braburn Church, Kent, an altar-tomb, with armorial bearings
around and above it, occupies the very place of the altar itself. In the
church of Prendergast, South Wales, large marble slabs with elaborate
epitaphs occupy the _entire_ east end of the chancel. The most prominent
of these--immediately over the altar--records that the departed "had
learned by heart the whole Book of Psalms, and all the Collects of the
Book of Common Prayer, with twenty-four chapters of the Old and New
Testaments, before she was thirteen years old, and several more after"
However praiseworthy and marvellous these accomplishments, this is
surely no fitting place for proclaiming them!

146: It is probable that the prayers and the sermon were formerly read
from the same lectern. The first authoritative document of which we have
record in which mention is made of the _prayer desk_, is the Visitation
Articles of the Bishop of Norwich (Parker), in A.D. 1569.

In the parish accounts of St. Mary's, Shrewsbury, is an item in 1577 for
"colouring the Curate's desk." But prayer desks were used at a much
earlier time.

147: So called from the Latin word _almarium_, a closet or locker. The
almery had many uses, and is to be found in all parts of the church, but
chiefly in the chancel. Sometimes it was used to hold the priest's
vestments; and in conventual churches, to hold the gold and silver
vessels belonging to the monastery.

148: Gen. viii. 20; xii 7; xxxv. 1.

149: Exod. xxvii. 1.

150: The Council of Epaone in France (A.D. 509) ordered that none but
_altars of stone_ should be _consecrated with chrism_. The custom of
consecrating the altar with chrism is supposed to symbolize the
anointing of our Lord's Body for the burial.--See _The Stone Altar_, by
Rev. J. Blackburn, p. 46.

151: Rev. vi. 9-11.

152: "A type both of the womb and of the tomb."--_The Stone Altar_, p.

153: 1 Cor. x. 4.

154: See "Prayer for the Church Militant."

155: Queen Elizabeth's _Advertisements_, A.D. 1564, require "that the
Parish provide a decent TABLE, _standing on a frame_, for the Communion
Table." Hence it appears that by the word _table_ at the era of the
English Reformation, the _slab_ only was meant.--Parker's _Glossary_.

156: Matt xxvii. 66.

157: "The seal of the altar--that is, the little stone by which the
sepulchre or cavity in which the relics be deposited, is closed or
sealed."--_Durandus_, p. 128.

158: As at St. Mary's Hospital, Ripon. These ancient stone altars may
always be known by the _five crosses_ on the table, emblematic of the
five wounds of Jesus. Not infrequently, alas! this slab is to be found
as part of the church flooring. The altar table of Norwich Cathedral is
(or was lately) to be seen in the floor of the nave.

159: "Have you a Communion Table with a handsome carpet or covering of
silk stuff, or such like?"--_Visitation Articles_, Bishop Bridges, 1634.

"Have you a carpet of silk, satin, damask, or some more than ordinary
stuff to cover the Table with at all times?"--_Visitation Articles_,
Bishop Montague, 1639.

160: The pall is an archiepiscopal vestment, forming at the back a
figure like the letter Y, as seen on the armorial bearings of our

161: "All Deans, Archdeacons, Parsons, Vicars, and other Ecclesiastical
persons shall suffer from henceforth no torches nor candles, tapers, or
images of wax to be set before any image or picture. But only two lights
upon the high altar (the only altar now retained in our Church) before
the Sacrament, which, for the signification that Christ is the true
Light of the World, they shall suffer to remain still."--_Injunctions of
King Edward VI._

"And here it is to be noted, that such ornaments of the Church and of
the ministers thereof, at all times of their ministration, shall be
retained and be in use, as were in this Church of England by the
authority of Parliament in the second year of the reign of _King Edward
the Sixth_."--_Rubric before morning Prayer._

162: Durandus, who wrote about A.D. 1290, says, "At the horns of the
altar _two_ candlesticks are placed to signify the joy of Jews and
Gentiles at the Nativity of Christ."

In the Sassetti Chapel at Florence is a beautiful fresco painting, by
Ghirlandaio (A.D. 1485), representing the death of St. Francis. The
painting, which has been copied by the Arundel Society, has all the
character of a really historical work, and is particularly interesting
as representing an altar with the _two_ candlesticks upon it.

163: Ps. cviii, 1.

164: 2 Chron. v. 11-14.

165: Organs appear to have been used at a very early period, and some
have thought that allusions to them are to be found in the Psalms of
David; but till the commencement of the last century they were probably
used in very few country churches. In cathedrals the organ was sometimes
placed in the clerestory; its position over the choir screen is in every
respect most objectionable.

166: _Vestry_, so called because it is the place where the vestments of
the priests and their assistants are kept. It is also called the
_sacristy_, because the _sacred_ vessels and other furniture for use at
the altar are kept there. The keeper of the vestry is properly called
the _sacristan_. This word has now degenerated to _sexton_.

167: Some of the subterranean and other small chambers in churches,
supposed to be chantries or mortuary chapels, have probably been used as
vestries. The following is extracted from Neal and Webb's edition of
_Durandus_:--"On eache side of this chancelle peradventure (for so
fitteth it beste) should stand a turret; as it were for two ears, and in
these the belles to be hanged, to calle the people to service, by daie
and by night. Undre one of these turrets is there commonly a vaulte,
whose doore openeth into the quiere, and in this are laid up the
hallowed vesselles, and ornamentes, and other utensils of the churche.
We call it a vestrie."--_Fardle of Facions_. Printed 1555.

168: Early examples of these chests for containing the parish records
may be found in most old churches. Frequently they are of very rude
design, and the box is formed of a single block of wood strongly bound
with iron hoops. Sometimes, however, they are richly carved, as in the
churches of Clymping, Sussex; Luton, Bedfordshire; and Faversham, Kent.
The proper place for the parish chest is the vestry, but it is not
unfrequently to be found in some other part of the church. We often meet
with several large chests of common deal in various parts of the church
containing useless papers and other rubbish. The sooner these are swept
away the better.

169: See pages 85 and 86 for a description of some of these vestments.

170: It is _always lawful_, and almost always desirable, to hold
"vestry" meetings in some hall or room in the parish, and _not in the
church vestry_.

171: Eph. ii. 20.

172: Pugin's _True Principles of Architecture_.

173: _Durandus._

174: 1 Pet. ii. 5.

175: Col. iii. 14.

176: John x. 9.

177: Jer. xxii. 18.

178: Most persons know--at least from engravings--the famous "Apprentice
Column" in Roslin Chapel. That was perhaps the first church pillar that
ever was wreathed with flowers, and those stone flowers are as fresh and
beautiful now as when they were carved five hundred years ago.

179: This old custom of copying in stone or marble the surrounding
objects of nature has been imitated on the capitals of pillars in the
church of St. Mary, Devon, which has recently been so beautifully
restored in memory of the late Bishop of Exeter.

180: Acts xiv. 13. Virgil, _Æneid_, i. 417; ii. 249.

181: 1 Cor. xv. 42.

182: Isa. lx. 13.

183: Mark xiv. 4.

184: This word, formerly spelt _clear story_, plainly expresses its own
meaning--a clear or separate story or flight of windows. They are placed
between the roof and the nave arches of a church.

185: The word corbel, French _corbeille_, means literally a large flat
basket. It is curious to note how the word obtains its present use in
architecture. After the destruction of the city of Caryæ in Arcadia by
the Greeks, Praxiteles, and other Athenian artists, employed female
figures, instead of columns, in architecture, to commemorate the
disgrace of the Caryatides, or women of Caryæ (see Dr. Smith's Dict. of
Greek and Roman Antiquities, _Caryatis_). These figures were always
represented with corbels or baskets on their heads. The basket, being
thus placed between the head of the figure and the roof, was that which
_immediately_ supported the roof. Hence those projecting pieces of stone
or wood which support the roofs of our churches, as well as other
buildings, have received the name of corbels. _Caryatides_ may be seen
on the north and south sides of New St. Pancras Church, London--a church
which externally possesses all the appearances of a heathen temple, and
few of a Christian church.

186: Although the carved roofs of this period cannot compare in point of
elegance and beauty with those of an earlier date, yet, for the
abundance of rich and elaborate detail in wood-carving (oak and walnut),
no period equalled this. The bench-ends, screens, rood-screens, tombs of
wood at this time were exquisitely beautiful. The roofs, however, were
too flat, and externally they were concealed altogether by parapets.

187: In some chancels the idea of the keel of a ship is fully carried
out, the walls widening as they ascend.

188: The flat roofs well suited the heathen worship of ancient Greece
and Rome, where the object of worship was shut up within the walls of
the temple itself. It is far different with us, who worship a Deity who,
though specially present there, is "not _confined_ to temples made with

189: Wordsworth.

190: See the _Builder_, Jan. 29, 1865, "The Roof and the Spire."

191: So called from the _triple form_ of the arches it most commonly

192: See Parker's _Glossary_, "Triforium;" and Hook's _Church

193: It is probable that all Norman towers originally had low-pointed
roofs covered with tiles (as at Sompting, Essex); tower roofs of this
period with gable-ends are also sometimes to be found.

194: Chiefly in Norfolk and Suffolk. Of these the round towers of Little
Saxham and Brixham are perhaps the most interesting.

195: There are several instances, however, in England of bell-towers
standing detached from the church, as the beautiful tower at Evesham,
Worcestershire, and the curious belfry at Brookland in Kent.

196: Evidences of these priests' chambers exist throughout England:
there are instances at Challock, Sheldwich, and Brook in Kent. In the
last mentioned are the remains of an altar, with a portion of the
original rude painting above it still remaining.

197: Bells are said to have been introduced into the Christian Church by
Paulinus; Bishop of Nola, at the end of the fourth century. The first
peal of bells in England was put up in Croyland Abbey, about A.D. 870.

198: "When they heard the bell of the chapel of Isabella sounding through
the forests as it rung for mass, and beheld the Spaniards hastening
to wards the chapel, they imagined that it _talked_."--Irving's
_Life of Columbus_, ch. iv.

The office of the church bell in summoning the people to prayer and holy
worship was regarded in olden times with such respect that the bell was
very solemnly set apart by a special religious service for this sacred

In the churchwarden's accounts of St. Lawrence, Reading, is the
following curious entry:--

"1449. It payed for halowing of the bell named Harry, vj_s_. viij_d_.,
and over that, Sir William Symys, Richard Cleck, and Maistres Smyth,
being Godfaders and Godmoder at the consecraycyon of the same bell, and
beryng all oth' costs to the suffrygan."

199: Kirke White.

200: In the last century it was a favourite custom with village
bellringers to set forth their rules in verse. They were generally
painted on a board and fixed in the belfry. In all cases the rhyme
appears to be the production of native talent. The rules are themselves
unexceptionable. The following are examples:--

In the belfry, Charlwood,--

    "Ye men of action, strength, and skill,
     Observe these rules which I do will:
     First,--Let none presume to swear,
     Nor e'er profane the house of Prayer.
     Next,--He that doth a bell o'erthrow
     A groat shall forfeit where'er he go;
     And if he do refuse to pay,
     Be scorn'd, and simply go his way,
     Like one who will for ever wrangle
     As touching of a rope to jangle."

In the belfry, Bredgar,--

    "My friendly ringers, I do declare
     You must pay one penny each oath you do swear.
     To turn a bell over
     It is the same fare;
     To ring with your hats on you must not dare.

In the belfry, All Saints', Hastings,--

    "This is a belfry that is free
     For all those that civil be;
     And if you please to chime or ring,
     It is a very pleasant thing.
     There is no music play'd or sung
     Like unto bells when they're well rung;
     Then ring your bells well if you can;
     Silence is best for every man.
     But if you ring in spur or hat
     Sixpence you pay, be sure of that;
     And if a bell you overthrow
     Pray pay a groat before you go.

201: In the preface to the Prayer Book the curate is directed to "cause
a bell to be tolled" for morning and evening prayer; but Durandus says
that this ringing of the bell was itself once part of the minister's own

202: At Cairnwent, in Wales, the parish clerk "used often to knock a bit
or two from one of the bells when any one wanted a bit of metal." In a
neighbouring church two bells were taken down and sold to pay for the
_ceiling of the roof_. Many church bells in England have, alas! met with
as sad a fate. The same parsimony which has sacrificed the bells has, in
many cases, not spared the belfry. It seems hardly credible--but it is
true--that some years ago, at St. Bride's, Monmouthshire, there being no
ladder in the village long enough to reach the top of the tower, _the
tower was lowered to meet the length of the ladder_.

203: The following are a few examples taken from village church bells in
Wales. At Nevern,--

    "I to the church the living call,
     And to the grav do summon al.--1763."

At Llandyssil,--

          "Come at my call,
           Serve God, all.--1777."
    "Fear God, honour the king.--1777."

At Llangattock,--

    "Be peaceful and good neighbours."

204: Such as:--on six bells at Northfield Church,--

    1st. "We now are six, tho' once but five,"
    2nd. "But against our casting some did strive;"
    3rd. "But when a day for meeting they did fix,"
    4th. "There appear'd but nine against twenty-six:"
    5th. "Thomas Kettle and William Jervis did contrive"
    6th. "To make us six that were but five."

At Tamworth,--

    "Be it known to all that doth me see,
     That Newcombe, of Leicester, made mee.--1607."

At Nevern,--

    'Thomas Rudall
     Cast us all.--1763.'

205: Durandus, "Of Bells."

206: Ps. xcii. 13.

207: 2 Cor. v. 1.

208: Heb. ix. 23.

209: Eph. ii. 20-22.

210: Isa. xxviii. 16. 1 Pet. ii. 6.

211: Ps. cxviii. 22. Matt. xxi. 42.

212: Eph. ii. 21.

213: 1 Pet. ii. 5.

214: 2 Cor. vi. 16.

215: S. James ii. 17.

216: Col. iii. 14.

217: Ezek. xiii. 10.

218: Ps. cxxvii. 1.

219: Rom. ii. 7.

220: Rev. iv. 8; v. 13.

221: In the parish registry of Dymock, in Gloucestershire, is the
following entry:--"Buried: John Murrel, aged 89 years. Thomas Bannister,
aged 13 years." To which is appended the following note: "John Murrel
and Thomas Bannister died nearly at the same moment, though the latter
was in apparent good health. He had always attended upon Murrel, who was
much given to prayer, and being by his bed at the time, Murrel, in his
last struggle, extended his hand to him, when both instantly expired."

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Stones of the Temple - Lessons from the Fabric and Furniture of the Church" ***

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