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Title: The Abbeys of Great Britain
Author: Dixon, H. Claiborne
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                             THE ABBEYS OF
                             GREAT BRITAIN

                         By H. CLAIBORNE DIXON


                       LONDON: T. WERNER LAURIE



INTRODUCTION                                                 1




Lindisfarne                                                 17

Hexham                                                      19

Jarrow                                                      22

Finchale                                                    24


Furness                                                     28

Whalley                                                     31


St Mary’s, York                                             34

Byland                                                      40

Jervaulx                                                    44

Rievaulx                                                    47

Easby                                                       50

Whitby                                                      52

Selby                                                       55

Meaux                                                       61


Fountains                                                   63

Bolton                                                      68

Kirkstall                                                   72



Minster                                                     76

Faversham                                                   77

Battle                                                      79

Chertsey                                                    81

Reading                                                     82

Abingdon                                                    84


Malmesbury                                                  88

Lacock                                                      90

Netley                                                      91

Beaulieu                                                    93

Romsey                                                      94

Sherborne                                                   96

Cerne                                                       98

Tavistock                                                  100

Buckland                                                   103

Buckfastleigh                                              104



Croyland                                                   106

Thornton                                                   108

Swineshead                                                 109

Bury St Edmunds                                            112

Waltham                                                    117



Dore                                                       120

Glastonbury                                                122

Bath                                                       127

Tewkesbury                                                 130

Tintern                                                    133

Llanthony                                                  135



Dorchester                                                 139

Dale                                                       141

Newstead                                                   143

Evesham                                                    147


Westminster                                                151


St Albans                                                  161



Neath                                                      165

Valle Crucis                                               167

PART VII.--SCOTLAND (Northern Counties)


Deer                                                       169

Kinloss                                                    170

Fearn                                                      172

Inchaffray                                                 174

Cambuskenneth                                              175

PART VIII.--SCOTLAND (Southern Counties)


Holyrood                                                   177

Dryburgh                                                   181


Melrose                                                    185

Kelso                                                      188

Jedburgh                                                   190


Lincluden                                                  193

Sweetheart                                                 194

Paisley                                                    195

Dunfermline                                                196


WESTMINSTER                       _Frontispiece_

LINDISFARNE                  _To face page_  16

YORK                                  “      34

RIEVAULX                              “      46

FOUNTAINS                             “      62

BOLTON                                “      68

KIRSTALL                              “      72

MALMESBURY                            “      88

NETLEY                                “      92

GLASTONBURY                           “     122

TINTERN                               “     132

WESTMINSTER (St Stephen’s Crypt)      “     150

DRYBURGH                              “     180

MELROSE                               “     184

KELSO                                 “     188

JEDBURGH                              “     190






In the hope of making the following sketches of more general interest,
it will be as well to review as concisely as possible the progress of
Monasticism in connection with the Church from the earliest times, and
to renew our acquaintance with the history of the early British Church
during those years previous to the coming of St Augustine in 597--a
period veiled in the minds of many people in a mist of obscurity. That
such a Church did flourish we have the testimony of St Athanasius, St
Jerome, St Chrysostom, and of Gildas, a British ecclesiastic of the 6th
century, and the only historian up to that time. In the reign of
Claudius Cæsar, who, as is well known, expelled the Druids from Britain,
our Lord’s disciples were becoming known as “Christians.” To the
constant communication between the chief towns of Britain and the
imperial city of Rome, and to the intercourse between British prisoners
and Christian Romans both in Britain and Rome--(particularly in the case
of Caractacus the captive British King, who may possibly have met St
Paul in Cæsar’s household)--we ascribe the introduction of Christian
teaching in our land.

The earliest introduction into England of Monasticism--originally
founded in the East--has been attributed to Joseph of Arimathæa, who is
credited with the founding of the monastery at Glastonbury. If this
somewhat mythical statement cannot claim general acceptance on account
of its antiquity, it is at least an acknowledged fact that Glastonbury
was one of the earliest of monastic houses established in England. Bede
tells us also that from the time of King Lucius A.D. 170, until that of
the Emperor Diocletian, “the Britons kept the faith in quiet peace,
inviolate and entire.” At the end of the 3rd or the beginning of the 4th
century, Diocletian caused a general persecution of Christians, during
which St Alban, proto-martyr of Britain, attested the reality of his
faith; but happier days following in the reign of Constantine the Great,
the early Church again prospered. We read that British bishops were
present at such notable councils as those of Arles, A.D. 314, and Nicea
in A.D. 325, etc., and though in 410 the Romans left Britain never to
return, the good work, despite many rebuffs, still continued. An appeal
was made to the Gallican Church for help and resulted in the mission of
Germanus, Bishop of Auxerre, and Lupus, Bishop of Troyes, to Britain on
the decision of the Council of Troyes. Churches were built, others
restored, the numbers of bishops increased, and a greater religious
devotion promoted in the Celtic race which to this day has never wholly
died. St Germanus founded a Bishopric in the Isle of Man in A.D.
447--Glastonbury and St Albans received a particular share of attention
from him, and that religious fervour was inspired among the people which
later showed itself so strongly against the heathen invaders, and which
is so graphically portrayed in romantic song and story associated with
King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.

During the time between the departure of the Romans and the coming of
the Saxons, the conversion of Scotland and Ireland was begun by the
Celts. Ninian, son of a British chief, after having a foreign
education, established a community at Whithorn in Scotland; while a
youth named Patrick, stolen from the Clyde by the slave traders, after
being taught in the schools of Tours, Auxerre and Terins, was, in due
time, consecrated Bishop of the Irish. Accompanied by twelve friends, he
landed where Wicklow now stands, in 432, and, after meeting with much
encouragement, established the See of Armagh. All this missionary work
may thus be attributed to British initiative as it is obvious the See of
Rome had little, if any, share therein. Adverse times fell upon the
British Church with the arrival of the Jutes in 449, the Saxons in 477,
and finally the Angles in 547. The Britons were driven westward, fearful
destruction fell on the church, and Paganism reigned again in Britain.
But, though scattered abroad, the Celts continued their missionary
work--established cathedrals and monastic foundations in Wales, _i.e._
Llandaff, A.D. 500, Bangor and St David’s, 540, and St Asaph, 570, Sees
which have had a continuous succession of bishops to the present day. St
Finian of Clonard established communities in Ireland; St Columba landed
in Scotland in 565 and founded a monastic house at Iona; and in West
Wales (Cornwall and Devonshire), Christian teaching was promoted. A
recent writer--F. H. Homes Dudden in _Gregory the Great_--says--

     “The Welsh Church at this time was essentially a monastic church,
     its whole organisation being built up round the monasteries. Its
     bishops were members, usually abbots, of monastic establishments,
     and they seem to have been non-diocesan. Its clergy also were
     attached to the monasteries, built on monastic land, served by
     monastic clergy, and called after the saint by whom the monastery
     was founded.... Further, the constitution of this monastic church
     was essentially tribal.... Every great monastic establishment was a
     sort of spiritual clan, in which the abbot was chieftain, the
     officials represented the heads of the tribal families, and the
     monks were the tribesmen.... Thus, just as secular Wales consisted
     of groups of tribesmen clustering round powerful lay chieftains, so
     ecclesiastical Wales consisted of groups of tribesmen clustering
     round a few great monasteries founded by important saints.”

So we see that the Anglo-Saxon invasion did not destroy the life of the
British Church, but rather that the offshoots in Cornwall, Ireland and
Scotland were, in reality, one body, bound together by frequent
intercourse. At the end of the 6th century, the figure of St Augustine
compels our attention, for through his instrumentality the preaching of
the Western Church--at that time reconstructed by Gregory the
Great--reached Saxon England, and Benedictine influences were
introduced. Augustine converted Ethelbert, King of the Jutes in Kent,
and in course of time was made first Archbishop of Canterbury. But
though he endeavoured to preach the Gospel further afield, he, like
Paulinus, the missionary sent to Britain by Gregory, who subsequently
introduced Christianity to the Angles in Northumbria, did not live to
extend his work much beyond one province. Augustine met with much
opposition from the British bishops on such vexed questions as the
tonsure, the date on which to celebrate Easter Day and the manner of
Baptism, and Laurentius his successor failed also to ingratiate himself
in their favour. For half a century the two Churches--the British and
the Continental--worked independently of each other, and it was not
until the two collaborated that the conversion of Saxon England
progressed uninterruptedly. This came about when Felix, a Burgundian
monk, known as the “Apostle of East Anglia,” began to preach in England
with the help of a Scottish monk named Fursey, having previously
obtained official authority from Rome. After landing at Dunwich, Felix
began his mission, and, gaining the attention of the people, built many
churches and established schools. Fursey founded several monasteries,
into one of which he persuaded Sigberct, King of East Anglia, to retire
for the rest of his life--a precedent followed by various monarchs.
Oswald’s recovery of the province of Northumbria from Penda, King of the
Mercians, who had endeavoured to wipe out the good work of Paulinus in
that kingdom, led to the second introduction of Christianity there, and
this time by some monks of Iona. Aidan, one of the brethren at Iona, was
sent to Oswald in 635, and after being raised to episcopal dignity
founded the monastery at Lindisfarne, now called Holy Island, to the
influence and work of whose inmates much of the subsequent conversion of
England was due. The admittance of the provinces of Northumbria, Essex
and Mercia to the Christian faith was directly owing to the work of the
Lindisfarne monks. Meanwhile a monk, called Birinus, sent by Pope
Honorius, had landed on the south-west coast in 634, and labouring among
the people of Wessex had won favour in the sight of Cyengils, their
King, who installed him as Bishop of Dorchester in 636. Sussex was the
last kingdom to be influenced, its conversion being brought about by St
Wilfrid, who founded a cathedral at Selsey and established many
monasteries in the district.

At the end of the 7th century we find Christian teaching established
throughout the land, and that chiefly through Celtic influence. The
consolidation of the Church of England (now recognised as such) began,
and in the following years the names of men such as Wilfrid, Cuthbert,
Chad, Archibald, and especially that of Archbishop Theodore, come into
prominence owing to their work, by which the steady growth of the Church
was accomplished. Seventeen bishops took the place of a former nine--all
of whom were drawn from the Celtic, Canterbury and East Anglian schools,
and monasteries were founded in all parts of the country, such as
Hexham, Ripon, Jarrow, Whitby, etc., which houses received careful
regulation from Wilfrid, who, by bringing Roman order and culture into
the monastic life, helped to further ecclesiastical civilisation, and
promoted the love of architecture and art in the Church generally.

     “The monasteries,” says Mr Wakeman when writing on the subject of
     Saxon monasticism, “were not all of one type, nor did they owe
     their origin all to one ideal. Some, like those at Winchester,
     Dorchester and Selsey, were chiefly adjuncts to the cathedral, and
     maintained the cathedral services and institutions. Some, like St
     Hilda’s great foundation at Whitby and those of Coldingham, Ely,
     Barking, and Repton, were double foundations for men and women, who
     lived apart in separate buildings, but used the chapel in common
     and owed a common obedience to the same superior. Some, like the
     Benedictine houses of Wilfrid at Ripon and of Benedict Biscop at
     Wearmouth and Jarrow, were especially devoted to learning....
     Hardly second to them, in the veneration of Englishmen, came the
     foundation of Malmesbury among the Wilsætas, which trained the
     poet, the musician, and the preacher St Aldhelm to be the first
     Bishop of Sherborne and one of the first English men of letters.

     “In this use of monasteries as the nursery of Church life we see
     the practical spirit which is ever characteristic of Englishmen.
     They were not to be hermitages, nor the abode of recluses, but
     centres of active usefulness as well as of spiritual growth.”

The names, too, of other writers, namely, Caedmon and the Venerable
Bede, add their lustre at this period to those of Church dignitaries.
Daily growing more prosperous, the Anglo-Saxon Church reached its golden
age in the early part of the 8th century. But we read that--

     “Intemperance, impurity and greed of gold soon became rampant. The
     mixed company of worldly-minded and criminal persons, whose
     professed penitence gained them admission to those once pure homes
     of Christian life, defiled the monastic abodes which sheltered
     them. Many still more worthless men, with no knowledge nor care for
     the religious life, obtained grants of land from kings on the
     pretence of founding monasteries, so as to have the estate made
     over to them and their heirs for ever, gathering together in the
     buildings they erected all sorts of worthless persons; much scandal
     and vice resulting,”--_English Church History_ (Rev. C. A. LANE).

The Nemesis soon came in the shape of the Danish invasions which swept
away practically all the monasteries in the land--Lindisfarne, Whitby,
Wearmouth and Sheppey, in particular, suffering greatly from the
marauders. St Edmund endured martyrdom at their hands; Peterborough,
Ely, Winchester, London, Canterbury, Rochester, etc., all were pillaged,
and the inhabitants massacred; while the whole country became a scene of
desolation. Temporary peace was gained in the reign of Alfred the Great,
King of Wessex--the Danes being permitted to settle in Northumbria,
Mercia and East Anglia, and the process of reviving religious life went
hand in hand with the rebuilding of the monastic houses. Cardinal Newman
gives a wonderful description of this restoration of monastic life--

     “Silent men were observed about the country, or discovered in the
     forest, digging, cleaning and building; and other silent men, not
     seen, were sitting in the cold cloisters tiring their eyes and
     keeping their attention on the stretch, while they painfully
     deciphered, then copied and recopied the manuscripts which they had
     saved. There was no one that contended or cried out, or drew
     attention to what was going on; but by degrees the woody swamp
     became a hermitage, a religious house, a farm, an abbey, a village,
     a seminary, a school of learning and a city. Roads and villages
     connected it with the abbeys and cities which had similarly grown
     up. And then, when these patient, meditative men had in the course
     of many years gained their peaceful victories, perhaps invaders
     came, and with fire and sword undid their slow and persevering toil
     in an hour. Down in the dust lay the labour and civilisation of
     centuries--churches, colleges, cloisters and libraries--and nothing
     was left to them but to begin all over again; but this they did
     without grudging, so promptly, cheerfully and tranquilly as if it
     were by some law of nature that the restoration came; and they were
     like the flowers and shrubs and great trees, which they reared, and
     which, when ill-treated, do not take vengeance or remember evil,
     but give forth fresh branches, leaves and blossoms, perhaps in
     greater profusion or with richer quality, for the very same reason
     that the old were rudely broken off.”

Dunstan, the great Church reformer and statesman, built and restored as
many as forty monasteries; established several schools, and is supposed
to have exercised jurisdiction over at least 3000 parish churches. He
and Archbishop Odo reinstated the rules of St Benedict in the
monasteries which had previously become relaxed. Dunstan had many
dealings with the Danes. He allowed them to settle in the north but did
not compel them to accept English laws and customs. Had Ethelred the
Unready treated these northern people as judiciously, there had perhaps
been no such dreadful invasion as that which followed the massacre of
the Danes in 1002, and which, under the leadership of Sweyn, ravaged the
country for years. Sweyn, after being acknowledged King of England, died
in 1014, and after his death many were the battles fought between those
who upheld the right of Canute, Sweyn’s son, against that of Edmund
Ironside, son of Ethelred. Eventually, as is known, Canute became first
“sole King of the English” and in the course of time embraced the
Christian faith. He founded Bury St Edmunds Abbey and promoted much
missionary work in Norway and Denmark. At the close of the 10th and the
early part of the 11th century many churches were built by the converted
Danes. These pre-Norman structures had more massiveness, combined with
greater elegance, than those of the earlier Saxon and Romanesque
period--the latter buildings being chiefly built of wood--and were
copies of continental churches with which the Danes were familiar
through their intercourse with the Normans. At the English restoration,
the cause of Christianity gained a great supporter in that saintly king,
Edward the Confessor, who upheld and furthered all Christian works in
the land, and was persuaded by the monks to build and endow, at enormous
expense, the abbey of Westminster. Harold, his brother-in-law, advanced
the cause of the secular clergy by building Waltham as a collegiate
foundation, and was buried ultimately there after the battle of Senlac.
The Norman Conquest was the means of yet another abbey being
founded--that of Battle, built and endowed by William I.

The Conquest did much to promote church interests and introduced a
higher standard of religious thought throughout the country. Cathedrals
and abbey churches were rebuilt. Norman landowners founded and endowed
new monasteries, and monasticism, as a whole, was extended and reformed.
New orders sprung up at the latter end of the 11th century, including
the military orders, formed in response to the Crusaders and known as
the Knights Templar and Knights of St John; also regular orders
representing reforms of the Benedictine order. In 1077 the Cluniacs
came, but being entirely dependent on the Mother house at Clugny, were
regarded as foreigners and did not meet with much encouragement. On the
other hand, the Cistercians, or “white monks,” in spite of their rigid
rules and extreme austerity, found favour with the people and set up
their first English house at Waverly in Surrey in 1129. The rules of the
Carthusian monks were not popular--absolute silence, among other
severities, was observed by the brethren, and only nine houses of the
order were erected in this country. The Black Canons Regular of St
Augustine with their branches of the Præmonstratensian and Gilbertine
orders established many monasteries which flourished throughout the
land. This extension of monasticism, which reached its culminating point
in the middle of the 12th century, is thus vividly pictured by Mr

     “The monasteries sprang up all over England with a life of their
     own, concentrated and exclusive, but rich and vigorous, bringing
     into the stagnant waters of rural society a profusion of high
     thoughts and noble aspirations previously inconceivable. Art,
     worship, devotion, learning often in the highest form at that time
     attainable, were brought to man’s very doors. If he had in him
     anything which would correspond to their magnetic touch, and would
     submit himself to the chastening of discipline, the open portals of
     the nearest monastery set him upon the lowest rung of the ladder
     which would lead, did he choose it, to heaven.... There was hardly
     a district in England where monastic influence was unknown and its
     power unfelt.... For a century and a half after the Conquest all
     the best men in the English Church came from the monasteries.”

Deterioration in monastic life, however, set in at the opening of the
13th century.

     “From the end of the 12th century until the Reformation the
     monasteries remained magnificent hostelries; their churches were
     splendid chapels for noble patrons; their inhabitants were bachelor
     country gentlemen, more polished and charitable, but little more
     learned or pure in life than their lay neighbours, their estates
     were well managed.... But with a few noble exceptions there was
     nothing in the system that did spiritual service. Books were
     multiplied, but learning declined; prayers were offered unceasingly
     but the efficacious energy of real devotion was not found in the
     homes that it had reared.”--Bishop STUBBS.

But the coming of the Dominicans and of the Franciscans later in the
13th century brought new light into the Church. These orders differed
from the earlier orders in that they had at first no settled homes of
their own. The Dominicans inspired the desire of learning, and becoming
teachers at the Universities, trained up many of the future clergy of
the Church. The Franciscans, though at first professing to despise
learning and devoting themselves more to evangelistic work among the
poorer classes, soon followed the example set them by the Dominicans
and eventually became the most learned body of men in England, greatly
extending their influence over political matters. But unfortunately, as
time went on, the Friars succumbed to temptation in its various forms,
and degeneration set in amongst them as it had in the older orders. The
reforms of Wycliffe and his party, known as the Lollards, in the 15th
century, are too familiar to need description. In 1416 the alien
Priories--houses dependent on foreign monasteries, having sprung up as a
result of the Norman Conquest--were suppressed, and as it was deemed
politic in the following reign to use the property and money thus gained
for religious purposes, Henry VI. founded Eton College and King’s
College, Cambridge. University life grew and prospered in the 15th
century, and the introduction of printing into England greatly furthered
the advance of knowledge.

Public opinion being against monastic life in the 16th century Wolsey’s
proposals for the suppression of some of the smaller monasteries were
supported by the people. The Cardinal appealed to Henry VIII. saying
that there were many “exile and small monasteries wherein neither God is
served nor religion kept,” with the result that he was permitted to
suppress forty monasteries in various counties, and particularly those
of the Benedictine and early orders. The Dissolution of the Monasteries
in 1536-1540, on the cause and effect of which so much controversy has
arisen, and about which difficult subject it is consequently wise not to
expatiate, took place in two divisions. In 1536, 375 small houses were
dissolved, provision being made for the monks, either by pensioning them
or by removing them to other monasteries “where good religion is
observed as shall be limited by the King” (27 Henry VIII., c. 28).
Unlike Wolsey, who at least used the money gained by the first
suppression for the furtherance of Church work in other forms, it is not
evident that Henry did anything of the kind. The Pilgrimage of Grace, a
movement in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire in 1536-37 against Henry’s new
laws, led to the final suppression of the monasteries, and by the end of
1538 few religious houses flourished. Many abbots surrendered their
houses to the commissioners, and those who did not do so were accused of
many offences--the truth of which charges was not critically examined at
the time. Of the greater monasteries suppressed, 370 followed the
Benedictine, Cluniac and Augustinian rules, whilst 276 belonged to the
Cistercian, Carthusian and minor orders. It is said that the annual
income of the greater monasteries amounted to £131,607 in the money
value of that time, and the capital value of the buildings, etc., was
over £400,000--which sums should be multiplied by twelve to find the
modern value. Whatever the sins and faults of monastic establishments,
there is no doubt their loss was greatly felt by the people generally.
The distribution of the monastic estates took various forms. Henry VIII.
squandered much of the ready money on personal matters, and the bulk of
the real estate passed into the hands of temporal peers, among whom were
Lord Russell (the founder of the Earldom of Bedford), the Duke of
Norfolk, and Charles Brandon Duke of Suffolk. Sir John Byron, among men
of lesser note, received Newstead Abbey, and wealthy merchants, in
becoming possessed of monastic estates, formed a new landed gentry, many
of whose families have since been credited with misfortunes of every

    “They tell us that the Lord of Hosts will not avenge His own,
     They tell us that He careth not for temples overthrown;
     Go! look through England’s thousand vales and show me, he that may,
     The Abbey lands that have not wrought their owner’s swift decay.”

At the Parliament held in 1537, the Pope’s jurisdiction was terminated
for ever in England, but it must be remembered that the

     “Seven years’ Parliament did not pass a single statute, nor clause
     of a statute, which had for its object the annihilation of the old
     religious body of the land or the formation of a new religious
     body; and that all changes received the prior assent of the old
     national church, through its representative assembly of
     convocation.”--_English Church History_ (Rev. C. ARTHUR LANE).

The Dissolution brought about the creation of six new
Bishoprics--Westminster, Chester, Gloucester, Peterborough, Oxford and
Bristol--the old abbey churches of which became cathedrals. Other
monastic churches were made collegiate and some parochial--in the latter
case the parishioners frequently purchased the church from the King’s
Commissioners. There are many instances of the nave only being saved out
of the general wreck, and these, to this day, form the bodies of
churches so rescued from the wholesale destruction of monastic houses.
It must be remembered that though these perhaps salutary changes were
going on in the Church, none of the property taken from the monasteries
was given to the Bishop or parochial clergy; and “in no one instance
were the appropriated tithes restored to the parochial clergy”
(Hallam), but, passing into laymen’s hands, have been bought and sold,
willed and inherited, like other property, with the result that many
parochial rectorial tithes are now in the possession of lay
impropriators. During Mary’s reign a great effort was made to restore
monasticism--Westminster being placed again in the hands of Benedictine
monks, only to be crushed by Elizabeth, in whose reign the English
Reformation was finally established by the ratification of the
Thirty-Nine Articles, and the Scottish Reformation accomplished by John
Knox, the reformer, to whose influence the destruction of the northern
monasteries is due. Religious revival under Charles I. in like manner
was swept away by the Puritans, who, following the dire example of the
Tudor King, laid desecrating hands on cathedral and parish church,
extending their destruction to the Crown itself. But the desire for more
devotional life again asserted itself later in the 17th century and
steadily grew and developed as time went on. During this period the loss
of monastic life was keenly felt. In the present day a decided movement
is on foot to restore monasticism--many thinkers indeed regard it as the
saving and rebuilding of a Church, which, since its earliest times, has
been the object of many vicissitudes.

A revival of religious life for women took place in England in 1845,
when a few women banded themselves together under certain rules to
devote themselves to charitable works. In 1850 Dr Pusey laid the stone
of the first house for Anglican sisters since the Reformation, at St
Saviour’s, Osnaburg Street. Communities increased and the outcome of Dr
Pusey’s “large conceptions and constructive force of mind,” was the
subsequent Oxford Movement, which, as is known, resulted in men taking
once more the monastic vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience. Under
the leadership of the Rev. R. Meux Benson, societies were formed, and in
these days the Cowley Fathers, the Community of the Resurrection, and
the Benedictine House on the Isle of Caldey are familiar names to many.

The spirit of monasticism is the same to-day as in the days of
Augustine--the growing need of the Church that the few should sacrifice
themselves for the many, and, by their self-effacement, further the
spiritual and material work of Christ on earth. Undoubtedly the
civilisation of England from the earliest times is largely due to
monastic influence. The monks promoted the love of architecture and art
in every form; they achieved great things in literature, philanthropy,
and agriculture, and furthered the prosperity of the country by their
pioneer efforts in trading in wool. Wide-spread relief was extended to
the poor, their hospitality to visitors and strangers being well known.

In nearly every instance Dugdale’s _Monasticon_ is the authority used
for dates of foundation, monetary value of revenues, etc., and every
care has been taken to mention the names of the authors from whose
writings many valuable quotations have been drawn.

[Illustration: LINDISFARNE.]






LINDISFARNE (_Benedictine_)

     St Aidan, in the 7th century, builds a church and monastery on the
     island of Lindisfarne; land given to him for this purpose by
     Oswald, King of Northumbria; the rules of St Columba observed--875,
     Entirely destroyed by the Danes--1093, Priory church built on site
     of St Aidan’s church and monastery established by monks from
     Whitby--15--, Dissolved--1887, 3000 pilgrims visit the ruined
     abbey--1888, Excavations undertaken which result in revealing some
     of the foundations.

’Midst the wild breakers and the thundering sea, an oasis in the desert
of water, lies Holy Island, not far separated from the rude coast of
Northumberland; and in this island rise the remains of a once stately
edifice, the Abbey of Lindisfarne. It must not be supposed that the
remains now standing are those of the original Celtic monastery,
established by St Aidan, for, when the Danes, with irresistible force,
invaded our island in 875, almost without warning, the old Abbey of
Lindisfarne was utterly destroyed and the body of the saintly Cuthbert
borne across the narrow waters by the monks, mid the glare of
conflagration. Not one single stone of this monastery remains; the
present ruins are those of a Benedictine priory, founded in the 11th
century by a band of holy fathers from Whitby, who, eager to possess
themselves of the land made sacred by the names of St Aidan, St
Cuthbert, and those men who died at the hands of the Viking Invaders,
determined to raise yet another stately building, and to make it their

For three and a half centuries, since the last prior, Thomas Sparke, was
ejected at the bidding of Henry VIII., desolation has reigned supreme;
but Lindisfarne, though small, is well preserved. It was built of strong
red sandstone carried laboriously from the mainland. It was, moreover,
built especially to withstand the fury of the gale and the ferocity of
the invader. The insatiable greed, however, of much more modern vandals,
who despoiled it of the lead from the roofs, and the roofs from the
walls, until all stood bare and desolate, compassed its destruction.
This, coupled with years and years of neglect and petty stealing, has
brought the abbey to its present state. The mighty red walls have
crumbled and fallen away, the tower lies a heap of little more than
dust, the vaults have completely disappeared, but much yet remains to
bear witness to the self-sacrifice and devotion of these early
communities. As regards architecture, Lindisfarne is strongly in the
English-Norman style. There is none of the Saxon here, as Scott would
have us believe--“In Saxon strength that abbey frowned,” he says.
Lindisfarne, if we except the sanctuary--which belongs to the 15th
century--is perhaps the most perfect example of 11th century
architecture in England. The abbey does not receive the patronage it
deserves, for it is a spot with unrivalled historical and sacred
memories--a place full of melancholy splendour and barren grandeur.

HEXHAM (_Augustine Canons_)

     674, A religious institution founded in Hexham by St Wilfrid--821,
     Church destroyed by the Danes--1113, Church rebuilt and endowed by
     Thomas II. Archbishop of York, and dedicated to St Andrew;
     Augustine Canons placed there--1296, The nave burnt down--1297,
     Unsuccessful attempts made to restore the nave--1537, Monastery
     surrendered to Henry VIII.--1706, St Wilfrid’s crypt discovered
     under the nave of the choir--1907, The foundation stones of the new
     nave laid.

The town of Hexham, picturesquely situated on the southern bank of the
river Tyne, 19 miles north of Newcastle, was once the centre of Border
warfare and at one time a Roman station. To the west of the old
market-place, one of the most interesting in England, stands the ancient
abbey--a type of Early English architecture. Of the original Saxon
structure the crypt alone remains, under the nave of the choir,
consisting of a central and an ante-chamber, with two passages to the
west and south. The Roman stones of which it is built were probably
brought from the ancient Roman station of Corstopitum (3½ miles distant
from Hexham). Unfortunately very little remains of the 12th century
church--only, in fact, the greater part of the choir (with the exception
of the Early English chapel) and both transepts. Of the conventual
buildings we have still the refectory, some portions of the cloisters
and the precinct gate. The greater part of the old woodwork was
destroyed in the so-called restoration of the present church in 1858;
but an exquisitely carved rood screen, and, on the south side of the
altar, the Frith stool (supposed to have been St Wilfrid’s chair), may
still be seen. Among the many monuments in the present church of special
interest is a peculiar slab on which is depicted a Roman horseman,
discovered beneath the south entrance in 1881.

Until the time of Henry I. the Bishop of Durham exercised ecclesiastical
jurisdiction over this monastery, but in this reign it was included in
the See of York. The church was then rebuilt and Thomas II. of York
founded a priory of Augustine Canons. “It was found by inquisition taken
in the four and twentieth reign of Edward I. that Thomas the Second,
Archbishop of York, did found and endow this Priory--the lands by him
given, and by many other Benefactors, were all found and set forth in

In the following century the nave of the church was destroyed by the
Scots, and with the exception of some unsuccessful attempts at
restoration, was not rebuilt until last year (1907), when the foundation
stones of the new nave were laid on June 29th.

Hexham Abbey does not stand alone as a religious house owing its origin
to the self-sacrifice and piety of a woman. Queen Etheldreda, the wife
of Ecgfrid, King of Northumbria, gave land, which formed part of her
dower (including the parishes of Hexham, Allendale, and St John Lee), to
St Wilfrid. A monastery was founded in 674, and a church built, which,
according to Richard, prior of Hexham, must have been one of the largest
and most sumptuously equipped in England at that time. Hexham came,
after nearly a century and a half, under the jurisdiction of York, and
its church attained the dignity of a cathedral with right of sanctuary.
The sanctuary extended for a mile in all directions--one boundary being
in mid-stream. Discreditable stories are told of a certain Walter
Biwell, chaplain to Bernard de Baliol, who made attacks on people and
their property while crossing the river. Subsequently, and owing to
these depredations, the boundary was placed on the northern bank of the
stream. After the destruction of the cathedral by the Danes (about the
year 821) and until after the Norman Conquest, only a shattered fragment
of the building remained. Poverty was for years the lot of the canons
regular of St Augustine, or Black Canons as they were called. In time,
however, they acquired wealth, land, and many privileges, until at the
close of the 13th century, Hexham was among the most important of the
monastic houses in the Borderland.

The story of the surrender of Hexham to Henry VIII. is full of dramatic
and romantic happenings. An appeal from Archbishop Lee to Mr Secretary
Cromwell on the plea that the abbey served as a house of call and
entertainment for north-bound travellers proved of no avail. Four
commissioners were empowered to suppress the abbey, but before reaching
Hexham they received tidings of the determination of the canons to
garrison the abbey and to resist to the last. Two commissioners decided
to remain behind while the two more venturous rode on to find the town
full of people, many of them armed, the gates of the abbey shut, and the
canons in warlike array standing on the steeple and on the leads of the
church. From their point of vantage, the canons defied the commissioners
to the death, but were advised by them to take counsel together. After
consulting for some time in the abbey they once more refused to
surrender, upon which the commissioners returned to Corbridge. The
canons had a wily and unscrupulous adviser in John Heron, sometimes
called Little John, a Border robber, who persuaded them to maintain
their defiant position, hoping by this means to bring about a general
rising in the northern counties and to profit in the consequent plunder
and robbery. His infamous scheme was attended with success, and shortly
afterwards the prior of Hexham and six of the canons were hanged at
Tyburn, while the site of the abbey was granted to Sir Richard Carnaby,
a devoted royalist, who died without an heir in 1843.

As recently as March 1907 some interesting excavations have been made at
Hexham. The Reverend E. Sidney Savage, Rector of Hexham, writes to _The
Times_ giving particulars of discoveries of archæological interest made
on the site chosen for a nave in the Hexham abbey church.

     “Several lengths of enriched cornices have been found, with various
     ornaments of late Roman character, the forerunners and dictators of
     many of the ornamental details of a subsequent Saxon and Norman
     period. Two great arch stones are from a grand ornamental arch
     fully 20 Roman feet across, and can hardly have come from a lesser
     structure than the entrance gate was into the town from the main
     road, such as Watling Street. The upper part of a well-finished
     altar, a stone hypocaust pillar, and a number of smaller stones
     with various ornaments are amongst the architectural vestiges. A
     part of what was apparently a sculptured panel has a finely cut
     bust of a Roman Emperor, probably Severus; and a portion of a
     Legionary stone has the remains of two panels divided by pilasters
     with pediments. It is much shattered, but the sculpture is of the
     best class. The gem of the yield is another and important portion
     of the well-known and Imperial Inscription, built into the covering
     of the north passage of the crypt.”

JARROW (_Benedictine_)

     674, Ecgfrid King of Northumbria gives land to the Holy Abbot
     Benedict Biscop for the building of a religious House--679, Bede
     becomes a student of the Monastery--685, Benedict Biscop builds the
     first church--793, The Monastery burnt by the Danes--1069, After
     restoration again burnt down by William the Conqueror--1074,
     Monastery rebuilt--15--, Dissolved. Annual revenue, £25, 8s. 4d.

The history of Jarrow Abbey is intimately associated with the revered
name of Bede, for here this wonderful writer and thinker spent his days
and accomplished his life’s great work--a work for which his
fellow-countrymen have reason to be grateful to this day. Born in 672,
Bede was, at the youthful age of seven years, placed by Benedict Biscop
in the care of the monks at Jarrow Abbey, where, with the exception of
an occasional visit to Wearmouth, he spent all the days of his useful
life. His writings include commentaries on the Scriptures, translations,
biographies of his contemporaries, treatises on many learned subjects,
and also poetry, whilst in ecclesiastical matters he is the most
reliable authority of the time. One of his scholars has given the
following account of the characteristic ending of Bede’s strenuous and
devout life:--

     “It was the eve of Ascension Day 735 that Bede in his last hours
     was translating the Gospel of St John, and some scribes were
     writing from his dictation. They reached the words ‘What are these
     among so many’ when Bede felt his end approaching. ‘Write quickly,’
     he said, ‘I cannot tell how soon my Master may call me hence.’ All
     night he lay awake in thanksgiving, and when the festival dawned he
     repeated his request that they should accelerate their work.
     ‘Master, there remains one sentence.’ ‘Write quickly,’ said Bede.
     ‘It is finished, master,’ they soon replied. ‘Aye, it is finished,’
     he echoed. ‘Now lift me up and place me opposite my holy place
     where I have been accustomed to pray.’ He was placed upon the floor
     of his cell, bade farewell to his companions, to whom he had
     previously given mementoes of his affection, and, having sung the
     doxology, peacefully breathed his last.”

    “How beautiful your presence, how benign,
     Servants of God! who not a thought will share
     With the vain world; who, outwardly as bare
     As winter trees, yield no fallacious sign
     That the firm soul is clothed with fruit divine!
     Such priest, when service worthy of his care
     Has called him forth to breath the common air,
     Might seem a saintly image from its shrine
     Descended--happy are the eyes that meet
     The apparition, evil thoughts are stayed
     At his approach, and low-backed necks entreat
     A benediction from his voice or hand;
     Whence grace, through which the heart can understand;
     And vows, that bind the will in silence made.”
               _Primitive Saxon Clergy_ (WORDSWORTH).

Standing on a green hill near the river Slake, the grey walls of Jarrow
Abbey (now the Church of St Paul) contrast markedly with the general
sense of everyday work conveyed by the active life of Shields, not far
distant. Past and present, ancient and modern, are brought into close
proximity, suggesting to one that were it possible to infuse some of the
contemplative and quiescent frame of mind of Bede and his scholars into
the toilers of this progressive 20th century, less might be heard of
brain fag and other attendant evils of the high pressure of modern life.
Of the Abbey church, the tower and chancel alone remain and are now used
as the parish church. In the vestry is a chair said to have belonged to
the Venerable Bede. Many visitors (as visitors will) have chipped off
pieces of the old oak, the tradition being that a splinter, if placed
under a damsel’s pillow, would invoke pleasant dreams of the ever
prospective husband.

Of the domestic part of the establishment, which was situated on the
south side of the church, there still stand some walls and a gable end
which may possibly have formed part of the refectory.

FINCHALE (_Benedictine_)

     1100, Godricus de Finchale, a hermit, spends his old age in
     devotion in a cell in this place--1196, Hugh, Bishop of Durham,
     founds and endows the Abbey--1536, Dissolved. Annual revenue, £122,
     15s. 3d.

Engirt by trees and surrounded by wooded heights, this abbey on “Finches
Haigh” (“low flat ground”) still retains a few old grey walls on the
banks of the river Wear. Following the road from Durham, the “city on a
hill,” one obtains the first view of the ruins from the west--where the
long lane that leads from the high road dips towards the Priory. The
church is of the Early English period, and until 1665 it retained its
original stone spire. On each side of the nave are four piers,
alternately round and hexagonal, supporting the exquisitely moulded
arches which were built up during the 14th century--John of Tickhill
being prior at the time. At this period, too, the aisles of the church
were completely blocked up and Decorated windows were inserted--the
south aisle becoming the northern alley of the cloister. These
architectural alterations, which spoiled the beauty of a church
originally perfect in its proportions, were probably inspired by the
constant dread of Scottish invasion to which the Border counties were so
peculiarly liable. Two beautiful lancet-windows light the north transept
in which is an eastern chantry--while in the south transept may be seen
an altar to St Godricus the Hermit, erected in the year 1256. The east
wall of the choir has fallen, but the south-east turret still holds
itself aloft.

The site of Finchale Abbey has been identified by some with
Pincanhale--the meeting-place of the synods of the Saxon clergy in the
8th and 9th centuries. Tradition records that even further back this
spot was inhabited by men who were eventually forced to abandon the
place owing to the number of venomous snakes which abounded there. In
the time of Godricus, however, it was a forest, and to the finches,
which among other birds may have found their home there, some credit for
the name Finchale may possibly be given. The story of the peddler
Godricus, of his repeated pilgrimages to the Holy Land, his determined
and successful search for knowledge, and his sixty years of solitary
meditation at Finchale, was written by the monk Reginald, who after
constant attendance on the aged hermit during his last illness was
placed in charge of the hermitage. During the thirty or forty years
following the death of Godricus, his tomb at Finchale was much visited
by pilgrims, attracted thither by the fame of his virtues. The
hospitality and resources of the monks would have been sorely taxed
during these years had it not been for the benefactions of one Henry
Pudsey who granted all his belongings “To the Durham monks serving God
and the Blessed Mary, and St Godric, at Finchale,” directing that the
gifts should be applied, firstly, in hospitality and alms-giving and for
maintaining the service of God, etc., and secondly, for the spiritual
welfare of himself and of his kith and kin.

The religious community at Finchale varied in number. Early in the 15th
century the number was fixed at nine, four of whom with the prior were
to live there permanently and relays of four others to be sent from the
mother house at Durham. These visitors made a stay of three weeks,
spending every alternate day in liberty and recreation, the remaining
time being devoted to choir singing and other religious duties. The
office of prior was in much repute, and served in more than one instance
as a stepping-stone to promotion--Priors Strehall and de Insula
attaining the Bishopric of Durham. The last prior, William Bennet,
surrendered the priory in 1536, and his monks were cast adrift. He,
however, was made Prebendary of the fourth stall in Durham Cathedral,
and took to himself a wife “as soon as he was discharged from his vow.”




The precise date of the introduction of Christianity into Lancashire is
not known, but it is an established historical fact that the Christians
in Britain were persecuted at the beginning of the 4th century by the
Emperor Diocletian and that the death of the first recorded martyr, St
Alban, took place in 304 near the city which now bears his name. In 311
Constantine the Great was converted to Christianity and this illustrious
Emperor exercised a powerful influence over the spiritual affairs of
Lancashire. In 627, Edwin, King of Northumbria, became converted through
the agency of his wife Ethelburga. This conversion led to war between
Edwin and the King of Mercia, when the King of Northumbria was killed at
the battle of Hatfield. By the end of the 7th century, Northumbria had
become a Christian and powerful kingdom and the “literary centre of the
Christian world in Western Europe. The whole learning of the age seemed
to be summed up in a Northumbrian scholar--Baeda, the Venerable Bede
later time styled him.”--Green’s _History of the English People_.

Between the 7th and 9th centuries several monasteries are believed to
have been established in Lancashire. The invasion of the Danes during
the 8th and 9th centuries disturbed the existing order of things, and
for many years before and after the event the ecclesiastical history of
the kingdom is almost a blank. The new occupiers of Northumbria were
mostly from Denmark--a great point of difference between the conquered
and the conquerors being that, whilst the settlers in Britain had to a
great extent adopted the new religion and devoted themselves to peaceful
pursuits, the Danes continued to worship Odin and other kindred gods,
and were still a lawless set of pirates, distinguished for courage,
ferocity, and hatred of Christianity. Persecution followed as a natural
consequence, and the religious progress of the previous two centuries
was almost wholly annihilated. Between this period and the election of
Edward the Confessor, Christianity made some progress, a bishop of
Danish blood actually occupying the Episcopal chair of York, in which
diocese Lancashire was at that time included. The Doomsday book gives
positive evidence of at least a dozen churches in Lancashire.

FURNESS (_Cistercian_)

     1127, Founded by Stephen, Earl of Morton and Boulogne (afterwards
     King of England)--1240, The abbey receives benefactions from
     William de Lancaster--1539, Surrendered by Roger Pyke, last abbot.
     Annual revenue, £805, 16s. 5d.

To realise fully the important position Furness Abbey held, both in
things spiritual and temporal, it must be remembered that the abbot of
this monastery possessed not only the power of jurisdiction over the
monks, but governed also the wild and rugged region of Lancashire which
is divided by an arm of the Irish Sea from the rest of the country and
known as Furness. Many viceregal privileges were vested in his high
office, and to some extent even the military were under his orders. He
held a court of criminal jurisdiction in Dalton Castle, where also he
had a gaol; issued summonses by his own bailiffs; while the Sheriff with
his officers was prohibited from entering the territory of the abbey
under any pretext whatever. The diversity of his offices and
responsibilities entailed a keeping of a numerous retinue of servants
and armoured followers, a certain number of his vassals being at the
service of the Crown according to the feudal system. As in the case of
other monasteries, and as time went on, numerous benefactors arose. Many
of the wealthy bestowed lands and further privileges on the monks--not a
few in consideration of the favour of obtaining a last resting-place in
the abbey. They--

    “Loved the church so well and gave so largely to’t
     They thought it should have canopied their bones
     Till doomsday--but all things have their end.”

The evidence in a petition made in the Duchy Court in 25 Elizabeth
(1582) by the tenants of Walney disclosed a curious system of barter
carried on between the abbots and their tenants. In return for certain
“domestical” provisions, such as calves, sheep, wheat, barley, etc., the
tenants received from the abbey, “great relief, sustentation and
commodities for themselves and their children.” All the tenants had
weekly one ten-gallon barrel of ale, also a weekly allowance of coarse
wheat bread, iron for their husbandry, gear and timber for the repair of
their houses. In addition to these grants, all men who owned a plough
could send two men to dine at the monastery once a week--from Martinmas
to Pentecost. The children of tenants who had found the required
provision were educated free, and allowed every day a dinner or a
supper, so that as far back as the 6th or 7th centuries, the
responsibility for feeding and educating children was considered to go
hand in hand. The question at issue between the tenants and
Attorney-General in the petition referred to was that while he claimed
the “domestical” provisions, he refused the recompenses, alleging that
these were merely bounties given by the abbots out of their benevolence
and for the good of the neighbourhood. The result of the petition was in
favour of the tenants.

The ruins of this once important and richly endowed religious house
stand in a fertile district watered by an estuary of the sea, and are
surrounded by the romantic and wild country so characteristic of the
northern counties. In this Bekangs-Gill, or vale of deadly nightshade,
the extensive remains of Furness, built of red sandstone, now covered by
luxuriant foliage, occupy a very beautiful position. Gently rising in
the distance stand the hills of Low Furness, and, overlooking the Abbey
and all the surrounding district, is a commanding hill on which the
monks erected a watch-tower, enabling them, if surprised by an enemy, to
give warning to the neighbouring coast. The nave of the church is of
nine bays, divided from its aisles by eight massive columns. The roof,
as in many of these early churches, was composed of wood. A beautiful
Norman door in the north transept formed the entrance to the church.
This, as well as the great north window, has unfortunately been
crookedly set, producing an unsymmetrical and unpleasing effect. In this
same transept are three eastern chapels or chantries. The south transept
has an aisle of two bays, but the north-eastern chapel--of the three
corresponding with those in the north aisle--has been prolonged into a
sacristy. This adjoins the south wall of the choir and is of the same
length. Though the choir was begun in 1127 the church was not finished
for many years. Part of the work is excellent Norman. In the middle of
the 15th century the east end and the transepts were rebuilt, the whole
edifice strengthened in many ways, and the western tower erected over
the site of the original west front. The cloisters are on the south side
of the church, and, adjoining the south transept, stands the
chapter-house, a building of three compartments, above which was the
scriptorium, a staircase to which still remains in the south transept.
The refectory of thirteen bays is to the south of the chapter-house, the
dormitory being formerly above the monks’ dining hall. Over the alley
of the cloisters and joining the western angle of the cloister garth was
the guest house. Besides the great guest hall (130 feet by 50
feet--built at the beginning of the 14th century) some further
conventual buildings remain to the south of the refectory and fratry,
and are fortunate in still retaining some of their groining. These
buildings include a Decorated chapel which may perhaps have belonged to
the infirmary, standing as they do at a considerable distance from the

The suppression of Furness Abbey must have been severely felt by the
inhabitants of the district, not only on account of the hospitality
which emanated from it, but also because the natives looked to it for
the education of their children. Two years before its final surrender,
the total income equalled £5000 a year at the present monetary value.
Roger Pyke, the last abbot of Furness, elevated to that dignity in 1532,
surrendered the abbey to the King, April 9th, 1537.

WHALLEY (_Cistercian_)

     1172, Monastery founded at Stanlawe in Cheshire, by John, Constable
     of Chester--1296, Gregory, Abbot of Stanlawe, removed to
     Whalley--1539, Dissolution of the Abbey.

From Langho Station (a quarter of an hour beyond Blackburn), in the
picturesque and prosperous Lancashire uplands, a walk of two or three
miles brings us to Whalley, the locality of the earliest Christian
preaching in the North, for here in 627, Paulinus made his first efforts
to convert the Northumbrians. The venerable church is crowded with
antiquities, and will well repay a visit, even were there no Whalley
Abbey alongside.

Of this stately building comparatively little now remains. The
archæologist, conversant with monastic ruins, may be able to trace the
various portions, but for the ordinary visitor there are only two grand
old gateways, a few grey walls, some fragments of arches and broken
corridors. The abbey was approached through the two strong and stately
gateways still remaining. The central portion of the north-west gateway
is almost entire and belongs probably to the middle of the 14th century.
The north-east gateway is of much later date. The house itself stood on
the banks of the Calder, and appears to have consisted of three
quadrangles--the westernmost holding the cloisters and being enclosed
upon the north by the wall of the church. The predominating style is
that of the Transition from the Decorated to the Perpendicular. The
whole area of the close contains nearly 37 statute acres and is defined
by the remains of a deep trench which surrounds it. It is pleasant to
see the abundance of trees now growing within the ancient boundaries,
and the clumps of green fern in nooks of aisle and corridor.

The original monastery was founded at Stanlawe by John, Constable of
Chester, 1172, and after almost a century was removed to Whalley,
primarily owing to its unsuitable situation at Stanlawe, where not only
was the soil barren, but a considerable part of it was liable to
encroachments by the sea, which at spring-tide almost surrounded it--and
secondarily on account of the destruction by fire of Stanlawe Abbey in
1289. Whalley became the seat then of an establishment which for two
centuries and a half exercised lavish hospitality and charity, as well
as paternally governing the tenants of its ample domains. The full
complement of monks was 20--exclusive of the lord abbot and prior. In
addition there were 90 servants. These monks lived well and entertained
liberally, as may be inferred from the following table of animal food
consumed:--For the abbot’s table--75 oxen, 80 sheep, 40 calves, 20 lambs
and 4 pigs; for the refectory table--57 oxen, 40 sheep, 20 calves, and
10 lambs; whilst 150 quarterns of malt and 8 pipes of wine were annually

A tragic event accompanied the dissolution of Whalley Abbey. John
Paslow, the last abbot, having taken part in the Pilgrimage of Grace,
was executed in front of his own monastery together with one of his
monks, who was hung, drawn and quartered; whilst on the following day
another member of the community was hung on the gallows at Padiham.

At one time the ruins of Whalley Abbey were open to the public as freely
as the church, but they are now virtually closed, owing to their abuse
by a party of excursionists--the innocent, as so often the case,
suffering for the guilty.




     _East Riding._--SELBY: MEAUX

ST MARY’S, YORK (_Mitred Benedictine_)

     1078, Founded by Alan of Brittany, Earl of Richmond--1088, William
     II. enlarges Alan’s grant, and builds a large church and dedicates
     it to St Mary--1137, The church burnt down--1270, Abbey begun to be
     rebuilt by Abbot Simon of Warwick--1539, Abbot William Dent
     surrenders abbey to Henry VIII. when it becomes Crown property.
     Annual revenue, £1550, 7s.--1827, Yorkshire Philosophical Society
     buys the land on which the ruins stand.

So bound up is the history of this Benedictine abbey with that of York
that a brief historical survey of the famous ancient city seems almost
imperative. Legendary history attributes the founding of York to Eneas,
contemporary of David, King of Israel. If this be true, as the monks
certainly believed it to be, York may safely boast of an antiquity as
far reaching as any other city in the world. Certain it is that when the
Romans took possession of the city in 70 A.D. distinct traces of a
previous settlement of Brigantes were to be found. To the Celtic name of
Aberac the Romans added the Latin terminal _um_, calling the city
Eburacum. Alcuin, a native of York who lived in the 7th century,
ascribes the foundation of York to the Romans.

    “Hanc, Romanus manus muris et terribus altam.”
    “Fundavit primo.”
    “Ut fieret ducibus secura regni.”
    “Ut decus imperii terrorque hostilibus armis.”

[Illustration: YORK.]

Ptolemy, the Alexandrian geographer of the 2nd century, writes also of
Eburacum as a Roman station, making special mention of its prosperity in
trade. The old Brigantine town offered every facility for commerce, the
river Ouse affording easy navigation to the principal towns in the
north. The military position was practically impregnable in those days
of hand-to-hand warfare, so we read that a very short time after their
arrival the energetic Romans began to build fortifications, traces of
which can still be seen in the shape of towers and walls. Hadrian
visited York in 78 A.D. as did also Severus in 280. About this time the
name Eburacum was changed by Greek influence to Eboracum. Until the
withdrawal of Cæsar’s legions in the 5th century, York assumed all the
magnificence and beauty of a Roman city, and attained to the very height
of its prosperity. After the departure of the Romans comes an obscure
and misty period in the history of the city. It was taken possession of
by the English, and in 627, during the reign of Edwin, king of
Northumbria, the building of the Minster was begun.

York at this time was known as Eoferwic. Edwin was baptized into the
Christian faith through the influence of his wife Ethelburga, daughter
of the Christian king of Kent, and of Paulinus, who had accompanied
Ethelburga to the North.

    “But, to remote Northumbria’s royal hall,
     Where thoughtful Edwin, tutored in the school
     Of sorrow still maintains a heathen rule,
     Who comes with functions apostolical?
     Mark him, of shoulders curved, and stature tall,
     Black hair, and vivid eye, and meagre cheek,
     His prominent features like an eagle’s beak;
     A man whose aspect doth at once appal,
     And strike with reverence. The monarch leans
     Towards the truth this delegate propounds,
     Repeatedly his own deep mind he sounds
     With careful hesitation--then convenes
     A synod of his councillors;--give ear,
     And what a pensive sage doth utter hear!

    ‘Man’s life is like a sparrow, mighty king!
     That, stealing in while by the fire you sit
     Housed with rejoicing friends, is seen to flit
     Safe from the storm, in comfort tarrying.
     Here did it enter--there, on hasty wing
     Flies out, and passes on from cold to cold;
     But whence it came we know not, nor behold
     Whither it goes. Even such that transient thing,
     The human soul; not utterly unknown
     While in the body lodged her warm abode;
     But from what world she came, what woe or weal
     On her departure waits, no tongue hath shown;
     This mystery if the stranger can reveal
     His be a welcome cordially bestowed!’

     Prompt transformation works the novel lore;
     The council closed, the priest in full career
     Rides forth, an armoured man, and hurls a spear
     To desecrate the fane which heretofore
     He served in folly,--Woden falls and Thor
     Is overturned; the mace in battle heaved
     (So might they dream) till victory was achieved,
     Drops, and the God himself is seen no more.
     Temple and altars sink, to hide their shame
     Amid oblivious weeds? O ‘come to me,
     Ye heavy laden!’ such the inviting voice
     Heard near fresh streams,--and thousands, who rejoice
     In the new rite--a pledge of sanctity,
     Shall, by regenerate life, the promise claim.”

Edwin was dispossessed of his kingdom by Penda, King of the Mercians,
but the cause of Christianity was furthered by Penda’s successor, Oswy,
with whose sanction Albert, Archbishop of York, rebuilt the Minster in
the highest Saxon style (767-81). Between the times of the Angle and
Norman invasions, York was a scene more or less of bloodshed and
warfare. Immediately after the Norman invasion, the city was captured
by the Danes, who changed the name once more to Jorvik. William the
Conqueror, hearing of the invasion, swore terrible vengeance on the
North, and after buying off the Danes swept the country with ruin and
havoc--his soldiers leaving scarcely a house standing between York and
the Tees. In the Doomsday book the city is written Euerwic, from which
comes the modern name York.

During the reigns of King William II. and Henry I. St Leonard’s
Hospital, founded some centuries before, was granted many privileges and
endowments. This institution assumed greater proportions in the
following reign, eventually becoming an important religious house in the
North. At the time of the Dissolution it had an annual revenue of over

When the dread fiat went forth for the destruction of monastic houses,
there were in York alone 128 ecclesiastical establishments, including
forty-one parish churches and nine religious houses. York seemed
destined to be a centre of strife, for not only in the times of the
Plantagenets, Tudors, Lancastrians and Yorkists, but also in that of the
Stuarts, the city was doomed to suffer perpetual strivings within its
walls. A staunch Royalist stronghold during the Civil War, and though
captured by Fairfax and the parliamentary troops after the battle of
Marston Moor, York was able to join the national rejoicings when Charles
II. came to his own again. After the Stuarts the city enjoyed
comparative peace under William and Mary and the Hanoverians.

Thanks to the Yorkshire Philosophical Society, who in 1827 bought the
land in which the ruins of the Abbey stand, many precious fragments of
the beautiful building have been unearthed and collected from all parts
of York. Stones belonging to it have been found in every part of the
city, and of greater interest to many than classical remains are the
many valuable shards of the mediæval past preserved together with Roman
tombs and heathen altars in the hospitium--a building of peculiar
appearance supposed to have been occupied by casual visitors to the
abbey. Among many statues is that most exquisite fragment of Our Lady
and the Holy Child. There are also carved bosses, caps, Anglo-Norman
doors and lintels belonging to the ancient chapter-house, and many other
perfect specimens of a fully developed art. When we realise that in the
undercroft of the hospitium, amongst coal dust from the adjacent
railway, lie, piled up in hopeless chaos, types of the best English
architectural work, we are reminded again of the irretrievable loss to
the nation from the overwhelming destruction that came upon England, and
York in particular, in the ruin of the most beautiful church in the
county--one boasting the highest work accomplished by Christian workmen.
It has been noticed that many of the pieces of exquisite sculpture were
carefully laid by the spoilers’ hands in places where they would be
least likely to suffer from exposure. For this we must indeed be
grateful to those men who were compelled to obey the dread mandates of
Henry VIII., and who deserve all honour for their evident heartfelt
appreciation of the beauty that they were forced to destroy.

From the times of the Normans until the Dissolution of the monasteries,
York Abbey was held in high esteem both for its learning and its
munificence. The revenues were great, and its abbot had a seat in
Parliament. It is quite evident that whatever was planned and executed
for the erection of the sacred building was accomplished in the best
possible way. The Benedictine order was both the richest and the most
learned in the country, and no trouble seems to have been spared to make
the Abbey of Our Lady of York a monument of perfect beauty. The disaster
that fell upon it was absolute--

     “The whole vast property with the dream-like church and majestic
     monastery was retained by the Crown, and the fairy buildings
     themselves were doomed to destruction after they had been rifled of
     their splendid plate, their hoard of sumptuous embroidery and
     needlework, their stores of parchment and vellum folios and
     manuscripts. The vast conventual buildings, wonders of masterly
     architecture, were blown up and levelled with the ground; and over
     their site was erected a new palace for the King, the carved stones
     being roughly hewn down to serve as mere rubble for its walls. This
     palace, or rather the major part of it, was speedily destroyed
     after Henry died, and that which was left was joined to the abbot’s
     lodgings, which were largely rebuilt and made into a residence for
     the Lords President of the North. Under James I. changes were made,
     and again under Charles the Martyr. What remains has now become a
     school for the blind.”--CRAM.

After the Dissolution the church was left to the mercy of time and
chance. The inhabitants of the city were allowed to take away stones if
they required them to build or repair their dwellings; and finally, in
1701, York Castle needing reparation, the authorities levied on the
Abbey itself. Later, in 1705, St Olive’s Church followed this dire
example, and thus this once exquisite pile of English Gothic
architecture became a veritable stone quarry. George I. allowed the
Minster and St Mary’s, Beverley, to take stone as they required it for
their own repairs; and after this, early in the 19th century, a lime
kiln was set up near the church, and the carved stones of marvellous
English workmanship made commercially valuable in the form of limestone.

The history of York Abbey is heartbreaking to lovers of art--for from
every standpoint St Mary’s church stood as a perfect type of English
work. How few people realise that within a few hundred yards of the
world-famed minster are the remains of what was architecturally a far
more glorious structure, and which, though not so great in length,
possessed more beauty of workmanship than the venerable minster. English
Gothic was at the height of its perfection when, in 1270, Abbot Simon
of Warwick rebuilt the Abbey. Norman and French influences had entirely
vanished to be superseded by the light and graceful outlines of Early
English architectural work. The west front is less perfect than the rest
of the building, and is believed to be part of the earlier structure
previous to Abbot Simon’s rebuilding. There are still to be seen the
fast mouldering wall of the north nave aisle--a portion of the west end,
and one tower pillar, which, alas, has been cut off to about half of its
original height. The foundations of the east arm of the church are now
exposed--for which we must again thank the Yorkshire Philosophical
Society. There are also a few stones left of the chapter-house, and this
is all there is with which we can conjure up a faint idea of what this
abbey must have been in the noontide of its glory. We must be grateful
that it is now in the care of loving hands, and will henceforth stand as
a lasting memory of an ancient house of learning and hospitality, and
also of the most perfect and consummate architecture known to the
Christian world.

BYLAND (_Cistercian_)

     1134, Gerald, an abbot, leaves Furness Abbey, with twelve Brothers,
     for Calder--1137, Depredations of the Scots compel their return to
     the mother abbey, where they are refused admission--The brotherhood
     comes under the protection of Gundreda de Albini and Roger de
     Mowbray--1142, Gerald journeys to Savigny, where he renounces his
     allegiance to Furness--dies at York, and Robert, the Hermit of
     Hode, succeeds him--1143, The Brotherhood removes to
     Byland-on-the-Moor, and remains there five years--1148, During a
     thirty years’ sojourn at Stocking, a church and cloister
     built--1177, The community remove to the present site at
     Byland--1322, Byland sacked by the Scots under Bruce--1540, The
     Abbot of Byland surrenders to Henry VIII. Annual revenue, £238, 9s.

Byland Abbey is situated south of the Hambledon Hills, a mile and a half
distant from Coxwold--most picturesque of villages, with its wide
street, quaint cottages, ancient alms-houses, and overlooking all, its
noble church on the hilltop. A lonely road leads from Coxwold to the
abbey. After following its winding route a short distance, and
eventually gaining the summit of a hill, the ruins of the abbey are seen
in a hollow surrounded by cottages and a little stream--the Hambledon
Hills rising majestically behind. Before reaching the abbey, one notices
a cottage from the side of which springs a perfect Norman arch,
belonging evidently to the domestic buildings which were situated to the
south of the church.

Passing under the west front--an exquisite piece of Early English
architecture--one is able to take a cursory glance at the remains of
proud Byland. Exclusive of the west front and the end of the south
transept, nothing is to be seen except the outer walls of the northern
aisle of the nave--of the aisles of the north transept--of the east
aisle of the south transept--and of the aisles of the chancel.
Architecturally Byland Abbey was a type of light and graceful Transition
at the time when pure Early English was definitely succeeding the
Norman. It was the largest Cistercian church built in accordance with
one design. But, by the length of the nave, the transverse arch at the
east of the choir, and the very rarely seen west aisle of the transept,
it differs somewhat from the other churches of the order. Mr J. R.
Walbran, in an excellent description of the abbey, gives the following

  Length of Nave       200 feet.
  Width      “          70  “    including aisles.
  Length of Chancel     72  “    2 inches.
  Width        “        70  “    including aisles.
  Length of Transept   135  “
  Width        “        74  “    including aisles.

Total length, according to measurement on plan, 328 feet 6 inches,
practically the same length as Beverley Minster (334 feet).

Close inspection ought to be given to the west front (Early English). In
the lowest part of the middle portion is a trefoil-headed doorway; above
this are three lancet-windows, which again are crowned by the lower half
of a circular window. Mr Walbran tells us that the diameter of this
window measures 26 feet and that “probably it is as large as any coeval
specimen of its kind that is known.” Of the conventual buildings little
remains to be seen. The great cloister is said to have exceeded in size
any other belonging to houses of the Cistercian order.

Byland, in common with most of the other religious houses was founded
under chequered and romantic circumstances. An abbot, Gerald by name,
and twelve brothers, all protestants against monastic laxity, fled from
Furness Abbey to Calder, from whence they were driven away by the
depredations of the Scots. On returning to the mother abbey they found
the doors shut against them, but with unabated fervour they set out for
York, taking with them only their vestments, some books, and a waggon
drawn by eight oxen. Philip, third abbot of Byland, gives two different
accounts as to subsequent events, one story being that in their plight
they bethought themselves to seek advice from Thurstan, Archbishop of
York, and were sent by him to Roger de Mowbray, near Thirsk, who in turn
referred them to Robertus de Alneto, a hermit living at Hode, and
formerly an abbot of Whitby. The other story runs, that after much
suffering and disappointment the monks found themselves, footsore and
nearly naked, in the streets of Thirsk, and that here they accidentally
gained the goodwill of Gundreda de Albini, mother of Roger de Mowbray,
who supplied their necessities in generous fashion and sent them to the
benevolent hermit of Hode. The stories differ only, it will be seen, in
respect as to the manner in which the goodwill of the Mowbrays was
gained and consequently the interest of Robert de Alneto. For four years
the little community lived at Gundreda’s expense at Hode near Scawton,
and during these years determined to renounce formal allegiance to
Furness. Finding at the expiration of four years that the accommodation
of Hode was insufficient for their steadily increasing numbers, and that
the site was not a suitable one on which to build a permanent abbey, the
monks appealed to Gundreda and Mowbray for other lands. A church and
some lands at Old Byland, or Byland-on-the-Moor, were then given them by
their noble patron. The new site proved, however, to be uncomfortably
near Rievaulx, the monks of Rievaulx complaining that “it be unseemly
that the bells of one house be heard at the other.” The monks then
removed to Stocking, and during their thirty years’ sojourn there built
a church and cloister. At the expiration of this time, fresh land was
given them near Coxwold by Roger de Mowbray, and after some doubt and
uncertainty, the erection of church and cloister was proceeded with on
the land where the ruins of Byland Abbey now stand.

The Cistercians of Byland flourished greatly. Success and many gifts of
houses and land came to them. Roger de Mowbray, their generous
benefactor, after two journeys to Jerusalem, and after fighting and
distinguishing himself in the Crusades, retreated in his old age to
Byland and was buried “next his mother under a great stone.” His remains
lay undisturbed till 1819, when they were disinterred and removed in a
somewhat unceremonious fashion, be it said, in a box under the seat of
Mr Martin Stapleton’s carriage to the church where they now rest.

Byland Abbey was sacked in 1322, during the disastrous fighting which
followed Edward II.’s attempt to retrieve his losses at Bannockburn. The
king found himself obliged to recross the border, the Scots declining
further open warfare in their own country. The Scots followed quickly
and the opposing armies met very near to Byland, a little higher up the
dingle and nearer Oldstead, where the English were utterly routed. In
1540 John Leeds and his twenty-four monks surrendered the vast
possessions which they held in trust, and six years later, Byland was
granted to Sir William Pickering, from whom it passed to Stapleton of
Wighill, and later to Myton of Swale. The ruins are neglected and
uncared for, and served for years as a common stone quarry from which
almost every cottage in the village contains some fragments.

JERVAULX (_Cistercian_)

     1144, Akarius FitzBardolph, Lord of Ravensworth, grants land to
     Peter de Quiniacus for the purpose of establishing a religious
     house--1145, Alan, Earl of Richmond confirms the foundation.
     1146--The community, not prospering, seeks counsel from the mother
     house of Savigny--1156, Building of abbey begun--1537, The last
     abbot, Adam Sedbergh, hung at Tyburn--1538, Abbey handed over to
     the King’s Commissioners and despoiled. Annual revenue, £234, 18s.
     5d.--1544, Site granted to Matthew, Earl of Lennox, and afterwards
     to the Earls of Ailesbury--1807, Foundations revealed during
     excavations undertaken by the owner.

The ruins of St Mary’s Abbey, which lie on a tract of level meadow land
on the southern bank of the river Ure, are still surrounded by the
peaceful quiet so beloved by the monks of the Cistercian order. Indeed a
kind of solitude immediately strikes the beholder as being the keynote
of this most harmoniously beautiful spot in Jorevalle. The sombre
setting of its grey walls, more ruinous than most of those of other
Yorkshire abbeys, is relieved by the deep mounting of green and by the
profusion of ivy with which the walls themselves are covered.

    “There stood a lone and ruined fane
     Midst wood and rock a deep recess
     Of still and shadowy loneliness;
     Long grass its pavement had o’ergrown,
     Wild flower waved o’er altar stone,
     The night wind rocked the tottering pile
     As it swept along the roofless aisle;
     For the forest boughs and the stormy sky
     Were all that Minster’s canopy.”

Though of the Abbey church only the foundations are left, some portions
of the other monastic buildings still remain. Thanks to the care and
skill shown during the excavations undertaken by the Earl of Ailesbury
in 1807, a good idea may easily be gained of the plan of a Cistercian
house by any intelligent visitor to the ruins, there being, in the
opinion of some, no monastic ruin presenting so complete a ground plan
as Jervaulx.

The church is cruciform, measures 270 feet in length and consists of a
nave of ten bays with aisles, a choir of four bays, transepts with
eastern aisles of two bays, and a Lady chapel. What remains of the bases
of the piers in the nave indicates that the style of this was Early
English. It contains many memorials, chiefly slabs, and all in a more or
less mutilated condition. A beautiful round-headed doorway at the west
end of the south aisle is also an example of this period. A perfect
altar, raised by three steps, still remains in the north-east angle of
the north transept, on the broken slab of which are the original
consecration crosses. Possibly this altar contained a sepulchrum for the
reception of relics, as a stone is evidently removed from the face of it
for this purpose. In the corresponding position in the south transept,
which, like the north transept, is Early English work, only the base of
a former raised altar remains. In front of the platform or raised part
in the chancel (on which doubtless the high altar formerly stood) is a
much mutilated effigy. As the shield of this memorial bears a faint
indication of the FitzHugh chevron, it is supposed to commemorate a
member of this ancient family, and a descendant of FitzBardolph, the
founder of the abbey. The Early English chapter-house is on the south
side of the sacred edifice, and is connected with the south transept by
a vestry, forming nearly the remainder of the eastern side of the
cloisters. It is divided from east to west by two arcades and in it are
many memorial slabs. On the opposite, or west side of the cloister, is
the frater or refectory of the Conversi (Lay brothers) and to the south
is the frater of the monks. On the south side of the chapter-house are
other domestic offices, including the undercroft of the monks’ dorter,
the kitchen, furnished with three enormous fireplaces about 9 feet wide,
and lastly, and most interesting of all, to the south of the culinary
department, is a little Early English chapel, in which is the base of a
former altar raised on two steps.

Jervaulx Abbey had its beginning towards the second half of the twelfth
century, when it was represented to Peter de Quiniacus, a monk of
Savigny, that the people of north-west Yorkshire enjoyed none of the
privileges of religious instruction. Peter met with the usual
opposition, discouragement, and difficulty--opposition and disfavour,
from his superiors; difficulty, in persuading the landowners of the
district to grant land suitable for a site on which to build. Eventually
he persuaded Akarius FitzBardolph (said to be the illegitimate brother
of Alan, Earl of Richmond) to make him and twelve other monks, a grant
of land at Fors--near Askrigg. Here they built some rude, insufficient
shelters for themselves, to have them before long ruthlessly torn down
by the country folk, who even in those early days objected to compulsory
religious education--their resistance being, however, anything but
passive. Peter appealed to the mother house, receiving in reply a rebuke
for his foolhardiness and perversity. After a short retreat at Byland
and nothing daunted, Peter persuaded twelve monks to return with him to
Fors. Eventually, John of Kingston was elected abbot and was sent to

[Illustration: RIEVAULX.]

from Byland with nine monks, the general Chapter of the order having
decided to give the monastery of Fors to Byland on condition that a
regular religious house should be founded there. In 1156 Conan, Earl of
Richmond, removed the monks to the present site of the Abbey near the
river Ure. From that time onward the monks prospered. In 1537 their last
abbot was hanged for participation in the Pilgrimage of Grace.

RIEVAULX (_Cistercian_)

     1132, Founded by Walter Espec, Lord Helmsley--Bernard, Abbot of
     Clairvaux, sends over some monks of the Cistercian order to form
     the new community--1539, Dissolved. Annual revenue, £278, 10s. 2d.

Though not so extensive as Fountains, nor in such a rugged mountainous
district as Bolton, this ruin on the banks of the Rye can claim far more
beauty and quiet loveliness than either of these popular abbeys.
Sheltered on all sides by wooded hills and standing amid pastoral
fields, this wreck of ancient glory is so completely in unison with its
surroundings that the whole presents a perfect picture of past and
present beauty. On the west the land slopes down rapidly towards the
river, forming a terrace-like hill, and beyond this again are
suggestions of moorland not far away. With the exception perhaps of
Whitby and Tintern, Rievaulx may be considered to rank before any other
ruined abbey for actual beauty both in itself and in its romantic
situation. Dorothy Wordsworth, writing of Rievaulx in 1801, says, “I
went down to look at the ruins.... Thrushes were singing, cattle feeding
among green-grown hillocks about the ruins. The hillocks were scattered
over with grovelets of wild roses and other shrubs and covered with wild
flowers. I could have stayed in this solemn quiet spot till evening
without a thought of moving.”

Owing to the aforementioned sudden dip in the land, the church has the
singularity of being built north and south, instead of the usual east
and west, but, to avoid confusion in the general description of the
building, it will be best to consider that the church is in the usual
position of east to west. The church in former times consisted of a nave
of nine bays, a choir of seven bays (both with aisles), and north and
south transepts with eastern aisles. The nave of the church has
completely disappeared and the only ruins left are those of the chancel
and transepts. These are chiefly of Early English work; the portions of
an earlier building of the Norman period can plainly be seen in the
lower part of the north and west wall in the north transept, and in the
west wall of the south transept. The junction of these two styles is not
difficult to discern, for apart from the dissimilarity in style, the
whiteness of the stone used in the Early English period offers a great
contrast to that used in the earlier era. Both transepts have eastern
aisles, triforium and clerestory. The windows are Early English. The
chancel (of seven bays) has a particularly beautiful triforium and the
east window consists of a double tier of triple lancets, of the upper
three the middle light is higher than the other two. This abbey can
boast of having had some of the earliest glass introduced into the north
of England inserted into its walls in 1140, also a bell bearing the date
1167, which is now at Leek. Of the other monastic buildings, the
refectory on the south of the cloisters can still be inspected with
delight by those who appreciate the beautiful work of their forefathers.
This Early English dining hall was lighted with lancet-windows and had
the usual lectorium in the west wall, where now a recess shows its
former position. There is a good deal of Norman work in the monastic
offices to the east of the refectory. The cloisters were to the south of
the nave, the usual position, though in the case of this abbey they
would not get the warmth generally obtained from a southern exposure.
To the north of the village are the almonry and infirmary.

In tracing the early history of Rievaulx we find ourselves again in the
regions of romance and tragedy. Dugdale in his _Monasticon_ gives full
credence to the story of Walter Espec, the brave soldier, who led his
men at the battle of the Standard, and of whom Aeldred, Abbot of
Rievaulx, third in the line of thirty-three incumbents, gives the
following graphic description:--“An old man and full of days,
quick-witted, prudent in council, moderate in peace, circumspect in war,
a true friend, and a loyal subject. His stature was passing tall ... his
hair was still black, his beard long and flowing, his forehead wide and
noble, his eyes large and bright, his face broad, and well featured, his
voice like the sound of a trumpet setting off his natural eloquence of
speech with a certain majesty of sound.” “The aforesaid Walter,” so we
read in the _Monasticon_, “had a son, called also Walter, who having
unfortunately broken his neck, by a fall from his horse, his father
resolved to make Christ Heir of part of his lands, and accordingly
founded three monasteries.” Rievaulx was the third of these religious
houses (Kirkham and Wardon being the other two), and its establishment
was entrusted to certain monks from Clairvaux sent over by St Bernard
himself. The house always retained the singular distinction accruing to
it, owing to the friendship of its founders with the great saint.

EASBY (_Præmonstratensian_)

     1152, Founded by Roaldus, Constable of Richmond--1379-99, Richard
     le Scrope of Bolton endows and enlarges the original monastery--The
     fabric dedicated to St Agatha--1424, Abbey consecrated by the
     Bishop of Dromore, acting as commissary to the Archbishop of
     York--1535, Dissolved--The screens and wooden stalls removed to
     Richmond Church. Annual revenue, £111, 17s. 11d.

The ruins of St Agatha’s Monastery can best be approached, after leaving
Richmond, by following the northern bank of the Swale. A little to the
south of this town of striking views, and at the end of a wonderful
riverside walk, stand the remnants of the former extensive
Præmonstratensian abbey of Easby. They are situated on the immediate
brink of the river at the foot of a richly wooded eminence; and, clothed
with masses of tangled ivy, present probably a far more pleasing picture
than when in former days the irregularly built monastic structure still
held its reverend walls entire and unspoiled from the hands of ruthless
destroyers and the ravages of time. It is evident that the fabric was
exceedingly badly planned, many unaccountable irregularities being
easily observable. The north aisle of the choir, itself of extraordinary
length, is far exceeded in this respect by its fellow, the south aisle;
the cloisters vary in length from 100 to 63 feet; the angles in the
refectory are in every case more or less than a right angle, and
finally, the infirmary, instead of being, as was usual, on the sunny,
sheltered side of the church, is placed beyond the north transept. This
last instance seems indeed a violation of ordinary commonsense. The
infirmary “discloses to us one of the most complete establishments of
the kind, despite its comparatively small size, which has yet been
scientifically examined.” To the south of the church is the irregular
cloister garth in which stands the beautiful Early English chapter-house
with its large Perpendicular window. The upper storey was rebuilt in
the 15th century and was used for a library and sacristy. Quite an
imposing range of buildings, of which the upper part was the refectory,
stands on the south side of the cloisters. The east window and crypt are
both of the time of Henry III. The guest house and other domestic
offices occupy the west side of the contorted quadrangle, while a
remarkable Norman arch, having exquisite dog-tooth moulding, still
remains to indicate the foot of the former staircase which led to the
canons’ sleeping apartments. Of the Abbey church only a few fragments of
the chancel and north and south transepts testify to its previous
existence. These are of Transitional and Early English work. The sacred
building consisted formerly of a nave with aisles; north and south
transepts, having eastern aisles; and a choir without aisles. The old
gate house, built in the reign of Edward III., is in a perfect state of
preservation, and guards the enclosure in which the Abbey and Parish
Church of St Mary’s stand. Probably the lower part is Transitional and
the upper Decorated work.

The history of Easby Abbey, from the reign of Edward III. until the
Dissolution, is intimately associated with that of the famous family of
Scrope. Richard, son of Henry Scrope, Chancellor to Richard II., made a
grant to the canons of Easby of an annual rent of £150, in return for
which the house was to maintain ten canons, to provide masses for
certain people, and to support twenty-two poor men at the abbey for
ever. In 1535 the net revenue of Easby was given as £188, 16s. 2d. (the
abbey coming consequently under the order for suppression of monasteries
whose income was below £200), but owing to many deductions its value was
little over £111. These deductions included some quaint provisions for
furthering the spiritual as well as the material welfare of the
beneficiaries. Once a week, according to Grange, there was distributed
to four poor and indigent people as much meat and drink as came to the
annual value of £2, 15s. 11d., this being for the benefit of the soul
of John Romaine, Archdeacon of Richmond. One pauper also received every
day, from the feast of All Souls to the feast of the Circumcision, a
flagon of ale and one loaf of bread (the paysloffe or loaf of peace),
the idea being doubtless to help some of the poor over the worst part of
the winter. For this purpose the sum of £1, 6s. 8d. was disbursed
yearly; £4 on the feast of St Agatha for providing the poor with corn
and fish, and a similar sum in providing alms for the poor at the supper
of the Lord. These charities must have been missed by the poor in the
neighbourhood after the dissolution of the abbey in 1535, at which time
the house and lands were leased by the Crown to Lord Scrope for an
annual rent of £283, 13s. 1d. The direct male line of the Scropes came
to an end with the death of Immanuel, eleventh Lord Bolton and first
Earl of Sunderland, when the property passed through the marriage of a
daughter to its present possessors, the Powletts.

WHITBY (_Benedictine_)

     657, Founded by Oswy, King of Northumbria, as a religious house for
     nuns--664, Great Council meets to discuss the date of Easter, and
     the question of the tonsure--787, Destroyed by the Danes--1067,
     Re-founded by William de Percy, who elects Reinfrid (a former monk
     of Evesham) abbot, and endows the monastery--Benedictine monks
     colonise here--1250-1316, The church, from being but a humble
     structure, grows during these years into the noble edifice which
     belongs to this settlement--1540, Dissolved. Annual revenue, £437,
     2s.--1763, During a violent storm the south side of the nave blown
     down--1830, The tower falls.

The river Esk on its way to the sea divides the town of Whitby in
two,--the west cliff covered with modern houses with foreground of
sands, the east cliff, crowned by its ruined abbey, which overlooks the
town from a height of 250 feet. The view seawards is magnificent, and
the surrounding country is varied with dark hills, sometimes wooded,
but oftener purple with heather. Looking north, the ruins face the broad
expanse of the German Ocean, and are flanked by the heather-clad moors
of Cleveland. On the east side of the river and below the abbey, the red
old-fashioned houses rise tier upon tier up the cliff, making indeed the
“haven under the hill.” The old Latin saying, “Bernard loved the valley,
and Benedict the hill,” is well exemplified by the position of this
Abbey of Streanaeshalch or “precipitous cliff.” The ruins are reached by
a climb of 199 steps from the bustling quay below, and though somewhat
scanty are of exceeding beauty and consist chiefly of Early English
work. The chancel, which is of this period, has seven bays and a
remarkably beautiful triforium. The east end consists of three stages of
lancets, the centre group of which is the tallest and most elaborate.
The north aisle of the choir is practically complete, and even retains
some of its vaulting, but all the south aisle has disappeared. The north
transept is of three bays and is architecturally the most perfect part
of the church. It has an eastern aisle, and is of the same design as the
chancel, having in the north wall the same grouping of lancets, but with
the addition of a rose window above. Only a single column of the south
transept remains. A portion of the west front (14th century) stands,
showing a central doorway and a window, evidently inserted, of
Perpendicular work, but of the nave only five bays of the north aisle
wall and a single column of the north arcade still remain--the south
side now consisting only of piles of dislodged masonry. It is possible
to trace the foundations of the cloisters and chapter-house, the former
of which occupied the whole length of the nave. In the Abbey House (to
the south of the ruins) there is said to be a portion of the former
domestic buildings--now known as the Prior’s Kitchen.

It is a matter of great regret that such a priceless example of English
architectural workmanship as this Abbey of St Hilda should be allowed
to fall away before the nation’s eyes. Being in such an exposed
position, on the very brink of a high cliff, the ruins will rapidly
decay, and we have forebodings that before the end of this 20th century
there may be very little of importance left of this building--so
exceptionally invested with national, religious and legendary interest.

In fulfilment of the vow made before the battle of Winwidfield (655) by
Oswy, King of Northumbria--that if victorious he would dedicate his
daughter, Ethelfleda, to perpetual virginity, and would give twelve of
his manor houses to be converted into monasteries--a religious house was
founded at Streanaeshalch and placed under the charge of Hilda, Abbess
of Hartlepool, to whom also was intrusted the child Ethelfleda. Under
Hilda’s rule the famous Synod was held, to settle such vexed questions
as the canonical date of Easter, and of the tonsure. Both the abbey and
the town of Whitby were ruthlessly destroyed by the Danes in 787, and
lay in ruins until 1067, when the restoration of the building was begun
by a humble monk from Evesham, named Reinfrid. Formerly a soldier in the
army of William the Conqueror, Reinfrid had been known as such by
William de Percy, Lord of Whitby, who willingly granted to him and to
his fraternity the site of the abbey. The history of the abbey in its
early days tells of the usual vicissitudes, although early in the 12th
century the community there prospered greatly under the government of
Abbot William de Percy, nephew of the founder. Henry I. granted Whitby
the same ecclesiastical privileges as those attached to the minsters of
Ripon and Beverley. When in 1540 the last abbot, Henry Davell,
surrendered to the king’s commissioners, there were eighteen monks in

Turning from the historical to the legendary interest one finds a
perfect wealth of story. “The Hermit of Eskdale,” “St Hilda’s Worms,”
“Whitby Abbey Bells,” etc. These and other legends are still common
talk among the fisher-folk of the town, to some of whom it is given,
they tell us, to see at times the wraith of St Hilda at one of the
highest windows of the ruins arrayed in a shroud, and to hear the abbey
bells rung by invisible hands under the water, where they remain since
they sank with the ship which was to take them to London after the
dismantling of the abbey. The poetical and beautiful story of the divine
vision and inspiration of Caedmon is one known to all lovers of English
literature. Sir Walter Scott in the familiar stanzas of _Marmion_
beginning, “Then Whitby’s nuns exulting told,” speaks of one of the many
miracles by which St Hilda’s sanctity attested itself. Sea fowl in full
flight are said to have paused and drooped when they reached the abbey,
and to have fallen to the ground in attempting to fly over it; while the
snakes, which invested the rocks, and spoken of in legend as St Hilda’s
worms, were, in answer to the prayers of the holy abbess, turned to
stones, supposed to be the ammonites so frequently found embedded in the

SELBY (_Mitred Benedictine_)

     1069, Founded and endowed by William the Conqueror “in honour of
     our Lord Jesus Christ and His Blessed Mother the Virgin Mary and St
     Germain, the Bishop”--Guido de Raincourt gives the town of
     Stamford, Northants, to the new monastery at Selby--Other
     benefactors include Thomas, Archbishop of York; Gilbert Tison,
     chief standard-bearer of England; and Henry de Lacy, Earl of
     Lincoln--1189, Richard I. confirms all previous grants--1328,
     Edward III. ratifies the various liberties and exemptions--1540,
     Dissolved. Annual revenue, £729, 12s. 10d.--1618, The church made
     parochial--1690, The tower falls and destroys the south transept
     and the roof of the south-west aisle--1702, The tower
     rebuilt--1889-91, The choir restored--1902, The tower rebuilt under
     the superintendence of the Rev. A. G. Tweedie, Vicar of
     Selby--1906, Partially destroyed by fire.

The destruction of Selby Abbey by fire in October 1906 is a loss to the
nation as well as to the county of York. The late Sir Gilbert Scott,
speaking of the abbey, said the building was “of a kind which is more
the property of the nation than of a single parish, and one which is of
the highest value to the study of ecclesiastical architecture and to the
history of art in this country.” It was the most perfectly preserved
specimen of a monastic church in England, and attracted archæologists
from all parts of the world. The church possessed numerous tombs and
monuments of exceptional historic interest and in it could be seen every
variety of Gothic church architecture. The collapse of the central tower
in 1690, destroying the south transept in its fall, was the first of a
series of accidents that culminated in the recent terrible fire. This
conflagration, which caused such deplorable injury, broke out in the
Latham chapel, in which the new organ had been erected. Though most
damage was done in the vicinity of the instrument--not a vestige of
which remained--the fire left its mark on every part of the building,
having spread from the Latham chapel to the north transept and choir,
and from thence to the nave and tower. The choir, built in the 14th
century, and one of the noblest examples of Decorated work, suffered
much injury, but fortunately the east window--one of the finest
specimens in England of a Jesse and Doom window--escaped destruction.
The firemen were told to concentrate their efforts on this lovely
feature of the building, with the result that the tracery and mullions
survived in a more or less perfect condition. The window, happily, had
been fully insured after the restoration carried out during the
vicariate of the Rev. A. G. Tweedie, who collected £8000 for the
purpose, and who also rebuilt other portions of the building. The aisles
of the choir were left practically intact, but the north transept lost
its roof, seats, and the greater portion of its handsome window. The
nave, the last part to be attacked by the relentless flames, retained
its pillars and beautiful arches and in many ways has suffered less
severely than the rest of the building, though the roof fell and by its
fall destroyed the oak benches. The central tower (which ever since its
first foundation has been a cause of anxiety on account of its
insecurity) lost its roof and floors. It is a matter for congratulation
that the west front only suffered comparatively little damage, for its
towers were but partially burnt and the glass in the window cracked. The
renovation of this ancient Benedictine church, founded by William the
Conqueror, was put into the hands of Messrs J. Oldrid Scott & Son,
architects, of London, who estimated that £50,000 was necessary for
complete restoration. It is indeed to be hoped that this national
monument, which until last year was the only monastic building in use as
a parish church from Trent to Tweed, may be completely restored, and
that the inhabitants of Selby may once more worship in their glorious
old abbey church. The nave has already been re-roofed, and was opened on
the 19th of October 1907. Of the history of the abbey very little is
known, but no account of it would be complete without some reference to
its connection with St Germanus. The following interesting extract is
taken from Baring Gould’s _Lives of the Saints_:--

     “About the middle of the 11th century, there was a monk of Auxerre,
     who had a special devotion for St Germanus, and an overwhelming
     desire to possess for himself a relic of this patron. One night he
     stole away to the sacred body, and bit off or cut off the middle
     finger of the right hand. No sooner had he done this, than he was
     seized with a horror and trembling, and began to smite his breast,
     with tears and lamentations, beseeching St Germanus to have mercy
     on him. Then, compelled by a certain necessity, he placed the
     finger on the altar. The horror-stricken brethren after this
     secured the body by walls and iron doors, and prepared an ivory
     case for the finger, in which it was kept over the altar instead of
     the body, which appears to have been there before.”

     “About that time there was a brother named Benedict, to whom St
     Germanus appeared three times in the visions of the night, and said
     to him, ‘Go from thy land and from thy kindred, and from this thy
     father’s house, and come into a land which I shall show thee. There
     is a place in England, and it is called Selby, provided for my
     honour, predestined for the rendering of my praise, to be famous
     for the titles and glory of my name, situated on the bank of the
     river Ouse, not far distant from the city of York. There I have
     provided and chosen a founder for my name, and thou shalt found for
     thyself a cell upon the royal land, which pertains to the right of
     the king. And fear not to undertake alone so great and such a
     peregrination; for, believe me, thou shalt be comforted by my
     companionship, strengthened by my counsel, defended by my
     protection. My finger which is over the altar, thou shalt carry
     with thee in memory of me, and that thou mayest be able to do this
     securely and without fear of losing it, thou shalt with a knife
     make an opening in thy arm between the elbow and the shoulder, and
     therein place the finger. Nor do thou tremble to do this, for thou
     shalt neither shed blood nor suffer pain.’ Benedict disregarded the
     vision the first and second time, but the third time the saint
     reproved him so severely for his negligence, that he set off at
     once, commending himself to God and St Germanus, and carrying off
     the finger without saying a word to anyone. Great was the
     consternation, loud the lamentations, long and diligent the search,
     when it was found the finger had disappeared. Then it occurred to
     them to pursue Benedict, and at last they overtook him and
     questioned him. He altogether denied having been guilty of any
     sacrilege; but nevertheless they searched his clothes. And not
     being able to find the relic, they returned in confusion to
     Auxerre, while he made a prosperous journey to England with his
     precious treasure. But the result of his inquiries on the road was
     his finding himself at Salisbury instead of Selby. Here he was most
     honourably entertained by a citizen named Edward, who loaded him
     with many precious gifts, the chief of which was a gold reliquary
     of wonderful workmanship, in which the finger was to be kept, and
     where it was kept at Selby when the account was written. When,
     however, he began to ask where York was, and which was the river
     Ouse, he discovered that he had not yet reached the place of which
     he had been told in the vision. And being sorely troubled thereat,
     he was comforted by another vision of St Germanus appearing to him
     with a smiling countenance, and saying, ‘I said not unto thee
     Salisbury, but that thou shouldest ask for Selby.’ And then, says
     the chronicler, ‘whether in the body or whether out of the body I
     cannot tell; God knoweth,’ Benedict was transported to Selby, where
     the Saint said to him, ‘Here shall be my rest for ever, here will I
     dwell, for I have a delight therein.’ However, in the morning
     Benedict was still at Salisbury. A few days after, he was shown the
     way to Lymington by a priest named Theobald, and there he found a
     ship bound for York, in which he sailed. They had a prosperous
     voyage, and no sooner did they approach Selby than Benedict at once
     recognised it as the place he had seen in the vision. ‘Here,’ he
     said, ‘is the place which the Lord hath chosen; here let me land.’
     And no sooner had he set his foot on the bank, than he set up the
     Cross under a great oak, called by the natives Strihac, about A.D.
     1069, the fourth year of William the Conqueror, Here the chronicler
     expatiates on the beauties of the situation, the sweetness of the
     waters, the abundance of fish, the commodity of water transport.
     The very best of stone can easily be brought for building, and
     everything that goes to York from foreign parts, or from any port
     in England, has to go by Selby. And first Benedict built a little
     cell, where he offered continually praises to the most sacred
     finger, which had since his arrival made a dumb man speak. One day,
     a nobleman, named Hugh, passing that way, asked him what the cross
     meant. This led to a firm friendship between them, and they built
     an oratory in honour of St Germanus. Then Hugh took Benedict and
     introduced him to King William, who received him most kindly, and
     gave him one carucate of land at Selby, the wood Flaxey, the ville
     Rawcliffe, half a carucate in Braydon, and the fishery of Whitgift.
     Benedict now returned, set up workshops about his chapel, and many
     left their worldly employments to help in the construction of
     greater buildings. At this time there was in the neighbouring woods
     a gang of robbers, led by one Sevam, the son of Sigge. Sevam tried
     to break into Benedict’s cell at night; but his hand stuck to the
     wall, and there he remained trembling till morning, when he was
     only set at liberty on making a vow that he would never offend the
     blessed Germanus again. A nobleman’s son was cured of epilepsy by a
     touch of the holy finger. In the ninth year of Henry I. there was a
     great flood in the river Ouse, after a sudden thaw. It came on so
     rapidly that when the bell rang for matins there was nothing of it
     to be seen; but before the office was over, the cloisters were
     flooded. The chapel being nearer the river was in great danger of
     being washed away, for water continued to rise for fifteen days.
     But within the chapel it never prevailed further than the altar
     step, though it had been two cubits higher outside than in. In the
     time of the Abbot Helias (_circ._ 1150), one who sacrilegiously
     tried to break into the church, died of a torturing sickness in
     three days. A similar chastisement overtook a soldier named Foliot,
     who stole a horse from the churchyard. Another soldier who
     kidnapped a captive from the church, was afflicted with contracted
     limbs, and in fact no one who presumed in any way to offend St
     Germanus escaped his scourge. In an attack upon the ‘castle’ it was
     set fire to, and the chapel of the saint only saved with the
     greatest difficulty. All captives who had faith in St Germanus soon
     escaped by his help. A furrier of Pontefract found his fetters drop
     off, so also a little boy detained as a hostage, and a cleric in
     bonds for his father, and others. In the time of the Abbot Germanus
     (_circ._ 1160), one Martin, who was nearly tortured to death, was
     made quite well in three days. A pack-horse crossing the bridge
     with some of the brethren who were going out on a preaching tour,
     slipped into the river, and when with great labour they had pulled
     him out, the vestments, relics, etc., in the chests on his back
     were found to have been miraculously preserved from wetting.
     Another time they were carrying the feretory on a waggon, which ran
     over a child of two years old and killed it on the spot. The Lord
     Prior exclaimed, ‘Holy Germanus, what hast thou done? We preach
     that thou dost raise the dead; but now, on the contrary thou
     killest the living.’ They fell to prayers, the child was placed on
     the ground under the feretory, and was very soon as well as if
     nothing had happened. While on this journey they passed the night
     in a certain church where a recluse dwelt in a cell in the wall. To
     her the saint appeared in her sleep, and described his home at
     Selby, especially the churchyard planted with nut-trees, all which
     she was able to relate in the morning to one of the Selby brethren
     named Ralph, and by this token to prove a commission she had from
     St Germanus to rebuke him for dissoluteness and levity. To a
     hostess who entertained them, the saint appeared and rebuked her
     for not treating his servants with sufficient consideration. And a
     certain canon who had nearly died of a quartan ague was cured by
     drinking water in which the relics had been washed.”

MEAUX (_Cistercian_)

     1136, Founded by William de Gross, Earl of Albemarle and Lord of
     Holderness--1150, Colonised by monks from Fountains under Abbot
     Adam and dedicated to St Mary--1317, Richard de Otringham gives
     land and money to the monastery--1349, The community visited by
     plague and earthquake, and its numbers greatly reduced--1360, Many
     valuable tracts of land belonging to the monastery are lost through
     the inundations of the Humber and encroachments of the sea--15--,
     Dissolved. Annual revenue, £299, 6s. 4d.

Meaux, three miles north of Beverley, in the East Riding of Yorkshire,
was called after a town of the same name in Normandy by those Normans,
who, coming over with the all-victorious Conqueror, settled in this part
of the country. William de Gross, founder of the abbey, was practically
the lord of all Yorkshire. Having been prevented, owing to his many
years, from fulfilling a vow made in his youth to journey to Jerusalem,
he built and endowed this abbey of which only a fragment of a wall
remains, although traces of the foundation of the church are
discernible. Some interesting relics have been discovered on the site,
including tomb slabs and tessellated pavements which are now preserved
in an adjacent house.

Meaux Abbey is fortunate in having a faithful and authentic record of
its history from its establishment to the reign of Henry VI. This folio
volume, written in Latin at the end of the 15th century, is preserved
in the British Museum and records many marvellous events. Superstition
or faith--who shall say which?--must have inspired narrations such as
the following:--“About the first hour there appeared in the sky three
circles and two suns; and a dragon of immense size was seen in St Osyth
(Osey Island, Essex) sailing the air so close to the earth, that divers
houses were burnt by the heat which proceeded from him.” This alarming
manifestation is said to have occurred “in the tenth year of Henry II.,”
while previously, in the reign of Stephen, “a certain soldier, by name
Oswey, chanced to have obtained admission into St Patrick’s Purgatory;
and upon his return he gave an account of the joys and pains which he
had witnessed there.”

The community at Meaux Abbey was severely stricken by the plague in
1349--only ten of the thirty-two monks being left. The same year, a
great earthquake “threw the monks so violently from their stalls that
they all laid prostrate on the ground.” About the year 1360 the
monastery lost large tracts of land, owing to the encroachments of the
sea. It would seem as if Meaux escaped the depredations and attacks of
marauders and enemies only to fall prey to every possible form of the
ravages of nature.

[Illustration: FOUNTAINS.]




FOUNTAINS (_Cistercian_)

     1132, Thirteen monks leave the Abbey of St Mary’s, York, and found
     a monastery of the Cistercian Order in Skeldale--1134, Hugh, Dean
     of York, bequeaths his wealth to the Brotherhood--1137, Serlo and
     Tosti, Canons of York, become benefactors to the abbey. In the
     following years kings and popes endow it with various
     privileges--1140, The house consumed by fire--1204, Restorations
     are commenced and the foundations of the church laid--1247, The
     church completed by Abbot John of Kent--In the 13th and 14th
     centuries members of the House of Percy become patrons of, and
     benefactors to, the abbey--1540, Abbot Bradley surrenders the abbey
     and receives a pension of £100 per annum. Annual revenue, £998, 6s.
     8d.--After being sold by Henry VIII. to Sir Richard Gresham and
     passing through the hands of various families, the Abbey purchased
     by William Aislabie, Esq., of Studley Royal, who annexes the ruins
     to his own estate, both being now in the possession of the Marquis
     of Ripon.

    “‘Here man more purely lives, less oft doth fall,
      More promptly rises, walks with nicer heed,
      More safely rests, dies happier, is freed
      Earlier from cleansing fires, and gains with-all
      A brighter crown.’[1] On yon Cistercian wall
      That confident assurance may be read;
      And, to like shelter from the world have fled
      Increasing multitudes. The potent call
      Doubtless shall cheat full oft the heart’s desires;
      Yet, while the rugged age on pliant knee
      Vows to rapt fancy humble fealty,
      A gentle life spreads round the holy spires;
      Where’er they rise, the sylvan waste retires,
      And aëry harvests crown the fertile lea.
           _Cistercian Monastery_ (WORDSWORTH).

Fountains Abbey is one of the earliest and most important of the houses
belonging to the Cistercian order, an order which was under the
immediate control of the Bishop of Rome, and which was introduced into
England in the year 1129. After that time very few, if any, houses of
the Benedictine order were founded in this country. The rules of the
Benedictine and Cluniac orders having apparently become somewhat
relaxed, it was found necessary to form new orders in which stricter
observance should be paid to the original purpose of such religious
houses--to personal self-denial for the good of others--to the
fulfilment of the monastic vows of poverty, chastity and
obedience--while less attention should be given to the attainment of
worldly prosperity. These new orders--the Cistercian and
Carthusian--settled in thinly populated districts, whereas the
Benedictine and Cluniac orders built their houses as a rule in the
vicinity of some town or trading centre. Robert de Molême is supposed to
have founded at Citeaux the chief monastery of the Cistercian Order,
although its popularity dates from the 12th century when St Bernard
joined the community. The wave of sanctity which led Robert de Molême to
Citeaux spread till it reached York and the Abbey of St Mary--then under
the rule of St Benedict. Seven monks, wearied of the relaxed rules of
the house, banded themselves together to observe stricter rules,
eventually taking council with their prior, Richard, whom they found to
be in sympathy with their aims. Violent discussions followed between the
abbot and the prior and his associates, till in 1132 Prior Richard
appealed to Thurstan, Archbishop of York. Thurstan was refused
admittance to the abbey, while the monks prepared to drag Richard and
his companions to the monastery cells. The archbishop came to their
rescue, and with his help the thirteen brethren freed themselves for
ever from their self-indulgent home. They were given land in the valley
of the Skell--then a wilderness of rocks and trees--and could only
depend upon chance means of subsistence. Their sole shelter was seven
yew trees--some of which still remain--but after a while they began to
build a hut under an elm tree, which had at one time furnished not only
their shelter but their food. Far away from any inhabited place, and
dependent on the bounty of the archbishop, they began to suffer great
privations. A famine spread over England and the monks had to live
chiefly on herbs and elm leaves, reserving any better food for the
workmen who were finishing the building of their house. During the
absence of Richard at Clairvaux--whence he had gone to ask St Bernard
for work and shelter for his monks--Hugh, Dean of York, fell sick and
ordered himself to be taken to Fountains, carrying with him money,
valuables, and many books. When the abbot returned from France, he and
his monks resolved to remain in Skeldale, where they were joined in
course of time by Serlo and Tosti, Canons of York, whose wealth greatly
enriched the abbey. Within three years of their arrival beside the
Skell, the monks of Fountains had acquired land and riches.

Though the Cistercian abbeys do not contain so much rich moulding, nor
in any way approach the intricate workmanship of the great Benedictine
abbeys, the austere dignity and simple grandeur make the Cistercians’
work every whit as imposing and beautiful as that of the earlier orders.
What ruins of a Benedictine house can compare with the grace of those of
Tintern, Whitby, Newstead, and Fountains Abbeys, built by the Cistercian
or “White monks”?

The cultivated surroundings of Fountains Abbey help in great measure to
place it in the foremost rank of the many beautiful ruins in England.
Surrounded by thickly-wooded trees, from which many delightful and
unexpected glimpses of the ruins may be descried, the Abbey of St Mary’s
stands in grounds of which words fail to describe the enchantment and
many beauties. A level piece of land, watered by the river Skell,
extends immediately beyond the ruins, but in all directions, green
slopes, and gentle, leafy eminences meet the eye, while in the far
distance the Yorkshire wolds form a dark and effective background to the
grey stone of the picturesque ruins. The skeleton of the lofty northern
tower gives a sense of completeness to the ruins, and helps to create
the illusion, when viewing the abbey from a distance, that the edifice
has suffered but little from the ravages of time. On closer inspection
it will be seen that sufficient is yet in good preservation to show the
spaciousness and loftiness of the various apartments, and the admirable
proportions of the abbey church. This imposing edifice measures 385 feet
by 67 feet, and is composed of a nave of eleven bays, divided from its
aisles by massive columns of Norman Transitional work. Above is a
clerestory formed of round-headed lights resting on the string course. A
Galilee of the same period stood at the west end of the nave, and in it
were interred, as at Canterbury, the bodies of the primates. The
transepts had each two chapels, and adjoining the north wing, a tower of
four stages was built in the 15th and 16th centuries by Abbot Marmaduke
Huby. John of York built the aisleless choir in the 15th century. Beyond
it is the magnificent Lady chapel, 150 feet in length, in which Abbot
John of Kent placed nine altars as in Durham Cathedral. The great east
window, now a blank, is of Perpendicular work. In addition to the church
are many most interesting buildings. Foremost among these are the
celebrated cloisters on the western side of the cloister garth. The
vaulting here is still intact, and covers a nave of two aisles, divided
by a range of columns. The almost subterranean gloom is lighted by
several lancet-windows, themselves enveloped in thick foliage. The
cloister garth is 126 feet square, the church being on the north side,
the chapter-house on the east, the refectory, the frater house, kitchen,
and other offices opening on to the south side, while the cloisters,
which span the river here, are on the west side. Three tiers of seats
still remain in the chapter-house, which was built in rectangular form
by Abbot Fastolph in 1153, and formerly divided into aisles by ten
marble columns. The Early English refectory is an apartment of noble
dimensions, consisting of a nave and two aisles. On the northern side,
the reading gallery from which the Scriptures were read to the monks
during their meals can still be seen. To the east of this is the vaulted
frater house (Transitional Norman), and beyond again is the staircase
which led to the “Hall of Pleas.” The 13th century bridge which spans
the Skell, leads to a fragment of the gate-house--whilst portions of the
infirmary, guest-hall and other buildings also remain. When complete,
the abbey covered twelve acres of ground, its possessions reaching from
Pennicent to St Wilfrid’s lands at Ripon--a distance of thirty miles. In
Craven as much as 60,000 acres belonged to the abbey. Though now
deprived of its possessions and shorn of its former glory, Fountains
Abbey is unrivalled in the extent of its domain and is the object of
every care on the part of its present owner. The small fee exacted from
all who visit the ruins keeps the beautiful grounds in a condition
worthy of the treasured relic which they surround.

BOLTON (_Augustine Canons_)

     1120, Monastery founded and endowed at Embsay by William de
     Meschines and his wife Cecile, and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin
     and St Cuthbert--1151, Canons remove to Bolton, where Alice de
     Romillé exchanges land with them, for the purpose of erecting a
     priory to the memory of her son--1308, Edward II. confirms the
     grants conferred upon the abbey by various benefactors--1540,
     Dissolved. Annual revenue, £212, 3s. 4d.

Of this magnificent priory (incorrectly called abbey) very little is
left standing. The ruins possess, however, an attraction and a charm
peculiarly their own, and of the many abbeys for which Yorkshire is
famous, not one holds so high place in popular favour as Bolton.
History, tradition, and sentiment alike have contributed to this
estimation. Picturesquely situated in Wharfedale, the ruins of the abbey
stand on a slightly elevated meadowland, past which the river Wharfe
flows in a bend, after raging through its rock-bound bed higher up in
the valley, and leaping over precipitous cliffs. Some stepping-stones,
placed there no doubt by the monks, afford an easy means of crossing the
river below the abbey. Surrounding hills protect this ancient house of
prayer--enclosing it on three sides by Simon’s Seat, Barden Fell, and
the thickly wooded hills of Bolton Park.

Part of the original nave of Bolton Priory has been converted into the
present parish church--the choir and transepts are, however, in a
ruinous state. The remains of the Perpendicular east window (overlooking
the Wharfe) and of the Perpendicular tower at the west end are of later
date than the rest of the ruin. The tower was in course of erection by
the last abbot, Richard Moon, when, in the 16th century, the dread order
for dissolution fell upon the abbey. The superstructure has fallen, but
in the lower portion a large Perpendicular window of five lights in two
tiers, placed within panelled buttresses, still remains. Over the
entrance to the tower may be seen the arms of

[Illustration: BOLTON.]

the house of Clifford, a family always friendly to the monks. It is
evident that the refectory was to the south of the sacred structure, the
dormitory and store cellar toward the west, and other offices on the
east side. On the south side of the nave, signs of conventual buildings
are to be seen. This side of the church is of more ancient date than
that of the north, and boasts six beautiful lancet-windows in the
clerestory. At the east end of the north aisle is a chantry to the
Mauleverer family, whose bodies were, it is said, buried standing--

    “There face to face and hand by hand
     The Claphams and Mauleverers stand.”

An engraving of Landseer’s famous picture “Bolton Abbey in the Olden
Times,” was at one time on the walls of every middle-class dwelling, and
to-day it is one of the select few dear to the cottager’s heart. This
throws a side-light on the affection which the toilers of the West
Riding have for Bolton. Taking their history from the picture, they
doubtless look upon Bolton as a place where abundant good cheer was the
daily rule. Some colour is lent to this by the Compotus, or household
book of Bolton Priory still in the possession of the Duke of Devonshire,
a list of the members of the household and its expenses during the years
1290-1325. Such items as 636 quarterns of malted oats used in one year’s
brewing, and 1800 gallons of wine, bought for a similar period,
naturally suggest a generous course of life, especially when it is
remembered that the ecclesiastics (réligieux) did not exceed two dozen
in number. But Bolton was nevertheless a large establishment. The prior
was attended by twenty gentleman-retainers, each with his body servant.
Scores of other servants had various duties on the priory estates, and
these were daily supplied by the priory. The prior in short was a great
feudal dignitary, who kept state in accordance with that position. No
small part of his expenses must have been incurred in entertainment,
the monastery being ever open to all and sundry, and the Compotus tells
us that the visit of a single hunting party was responsible for the
consumption of twenty-two quarters of wheat. We do not find that much
money went on books, the purchase of but three being recorded in the
thirty-five years covered by the Compotus. On the other hand Bolton did
its share in the preparation of illuminated manuscripts, the same
faithful authority telling of various purchases of gold, colours, and

Historical criticism, so fatal to popular story, has not left Bolton
unvisited. Wordsworth has consecrated the time-worn tradition of the Boy
of Egremont, drowned by the straining of his dog in the leash whilst
attempting to jump the Strid. Some such incident doubtless occurred, for
minute detail is not wanting, as for example that young Romillé had
gained the other side but was pulled into the swift stream by the
resisting hound--a not improbable story when the scene is before us.
Sentiment is still aroused by the story of the forester who bore the
dread news to the mother and began, “What is good for a bootless bene?”
receiving the prophetic reply, “Endless sorrow” in answer to that
ominous opening. The first madness of grief passed, the Lady Alice de
Romillé, after the fashion of those days, transferred the religious
foundation of her father, William de Meschines and her mother, the
heiress Cecile de Romillé, from Embsay to Bolton, housing the good monks
in sumptuous quarters in memory of him who had been heir to the vast de
Romillé possessions. But whatever substratum of truth there may be in
the whole romantic legend, it is established by historical documents
that her only son William de Romillé (and in the legend the Boy of
Egremont is the younger of the two) was a consenting party to the
transfer of estates whereby in 1151 the monks of Embsay entered into
possession of Bolton. What of romantic tradition is further associated
with Bolton lingers round the name of the Shepherd Lord, though this
legend has strictly speaking no connection, save in popular fancy, with
the priory itself. Most visitors to Bolton, however, naturally walk the
four miles of exquisite river scenery between the abbey and Barden
Tower--an old possession of the Cliffords. These fierce supporters of
the Lancastrian cause came, for the moment, to grief with the triumph of
the Yorkist party at Tewkesbury. The youthful heir was smuggled away
into the wilds of Cumberland, and then hid and cherished by some
faithful retainer. With the settlement of Henry VII., young Clifford,
rough and untutored, was revealed as the heir and received the family
estates. Quiet and contemplative by nature, he spent much time at
Barden, and being devoted to astronomy received the reputation among the
simple folk of the district of being an astrologer and magician, though
his constant association with the canons of Bolton should have saved him
from the imputation.

Bolton was included in the Act of 1539, and early in the next year
Richard Moon surrendered his possessions into the hands of the Crown.
How far Bolton was open to the grave charges levelled at monastic
institutions as a whole we do not know. What is certain, is, that the
number of canons in residence had declined, and with them the revenues
likewise. The estates were sold in 1542 to Henry Clifford, Earl of
Cumberland, and held by his successors till 1635, when they passed by
marriage to the Earls of Burlington, and by marriage again in 1748 to
their present owners, the ducal house of Devonshire. There are monuments
near the priory to the memory of a distinguished member of this family,
the unfortunate Lord Frederick Cavendish, assassinated in the Phœnix
Park, Dublin, 1882.

KIRKSTALL (_Cistercian_)

     1147, Founded by Henry de Lacy--1540, Surrendered by John Ripley,
     last abbot, to the Commissioners of Henry VIII. Annual revenue,
     £329, 2s. 11d.--1889, Colonel North buys the abbey from the Earl of
     Cardigan, and presents it to the Corporation of Leeds.

Perhaps no abbey has a more uninteresting history or less result to show
of labour undertaken, than this monastic house of St Mary’s in Airedale.
Certainly the populous city of Leeds has the advantage of possessing a
very necessary lung for her toilers in the cool retreat and quiet shade
of the abbey grounds. The site of the abbey would at its foundation, and
for many centuries afterwards, be a very beautiful one; for then the
river flowed between gently rising hills in a well-wooded part of
Airedale, where now a forest has sprung up in every direction, not of
stately trees, alas! but of multitudinous chimneys, houses, etc.; and
though these only extend a part of the way between the heart of Leeds
and Kirkstall, they are well in sight when the ruins are reached, while
these again are surrounded by numbers of the jerry-built monstrosities
so beloved by the modern master builder. How different the aspect must
have been even in 1770 when Gray thus describes his visit.

     “It was a delicious quiet valley: there are a variety of chapels
     and remnants of the Abbey, shattered by the encroachments of the
     ivy, and surrounded by many a sturdy tree, whose twisted roots
     break through the fret of the vaulting and hang streaming from the
     vaults. The gloom of these ancient cells, the shade and verdure of
     the landscape, the glittering and murmur of the stream, the lofty
     towers and long perspectives of the church in the midst of a clear
     bright day detained me for many hours.”

The abbey lies on a level piece of land on the right bank of the river
if approached from Leeds; and

[Illustration: KIRKSTALL.]

though its dark and reverend walls form the centre of a pleasure ground,
not a whit of its dignity is dispelled, nor is its solemnity intruded
upon by the sight of the usual seats, refreshment stalls,
penny-in-the-slot machines and placards imploring visitors not to walk
on the grass, common in such places. No ancient building could more
easily be restored than Kirkstall, but when, if ever, this most
desirable necessity will be accomplished it is impossible to guess.

The ruins, now stripped of the clinging ivy have an area of 340 feet
north to south, by 445 feet east to west, and are an example of
Transitional Norman work. They include a quadrangle or cloister of
considerable size, on the west of which was an ambulatory with a
dormitory above; also a chapter-house--a fine apartment in a fairly good
state of preservation; portions of the refectory, the kitchen and

Of the church not very much remains, but quite sufficient to show the
visitor that in its maturity it must have been of noble and imposing
dimensions characterised by the dignified simplicity of all the churches
of the Cistercian order. The nave, divided from its aisles by massive
columns, is long and lofty, and in times past must have been but dimly
lighted by its small round-headed windows of single lights in the
clerestory. In each end of the transepts are two stages of triple
lights. The choir is aisleless, and of a central tower, unskilfully
restored in the reign of Henry VII., only a portion remains--the rest
having fallen in 1779. The west front has a deeply recessed Norman door
of five orders, and two aisle windows also of the same period. The
stately gate-house, north-west of the abbey, part of which is Abbot
Alexander’s work, is now converted into a farm-house.

There is much to interest the student of architecture at Kirkstall--and
possibly some among the masses of people who resort there at holiday
time may appreciate these sermons in stones. The principal historical
interest of the abbey is associated with its foundation. It was never
distinguished for its benefactions, nor for its learning, and its
historical records do not enlighten one as to whether it served any
useful purpose whatever. Legend tells the following story of the
occupation of its site by Saleth the hermit. In obedience to a voice
which bade him “Arise, go into the province called York, and there
search diligently until thou findest a valley called Airedale, and a
place therein called Kirkstall, where thou shalt provide a place for the
future habitation of brethren to serve Jesus of Nazareth, the Saviour of
the world,” Saleth, with a few others, founded a hermitage. This retreat
was discovered by Alexander, former prior of Fountains, to whom had been
granted by Henry de Lacy, Baron of Pontefract, land at Barnoldswick as a
thank-offering for recovery from illness. The community (which he had
settled at Barnoldswick) was harassed in so many ways that Alexander,
its abbot, determined to seek fresh pastures--and so pleased was he with
the combination of wood and stream in this particular spot of Airedale,
that he begged his patron Henry to sanction the removal of the house
from Barnoldswick to Kirkstall. Henry agreed readily, and after laying
the foundation of the building with his own hands, continued his favours
and endowments, providing subsequently for a lamp to be kept burning day
and night before the high altar. After the death of de Lacy and
Alexander, the monks of Kirkstall had many anxious experiences. By 1284
the community was over £4000 in debt--this sum, however, was reduced in
the course of less than twenty years to £160 by the exertions of Abbot
Hugh Grimstone.

After the abbey was surrendered in 1540, the site and demesnes passed
through various hands--among others the Saviles of Howley, the ducal
house of Montague, and the Earls of Cardigan, a member of which noble
family sold them to the “Nitrate King,” Colonel North, on whose
suggestion, and at whose cost, they are now the property and, we trust,
the proud possession of the citizens of Leeds.





MINSTER (_Benedictine_)

     710, Founded by Queen Sexburga, widow of Ercombert, King of Kent,
     on land given to her by her son Edward--Benedictine nuns
     established here--885, Danes burn the Abbey Church and disperse the
     nuns--1130, William de Corbeuil, Archbishop of Canterbury, restores
     the monastery and church--15--, Dissolved. Annual revenue, £129,
     7s. 10d.--1881, Restored.

These ruins, containing the remains of what is probably the most ancient
abbey church in England, stand on the north coast of the isle of Sheppey
near Kent. In former times the monastery, dedicated to St Mary and St
Sexburga, was situated about the centre of the island, but is now, owing
to the rapid encroachments of the sea, not so far inland. Sheppey, or
“isle of sheep,” a barren, treeless island, is eleven miles long, and is
bounded by the ocean to the north and east, the Thames and Medway to the
west, and the Swale to the south. Very little of the conventual church
exists in the present somewhat peculiarly constructed building, which
consists of two aisles, a south porch, and an unfinished tower at the
west end. The middle wall of the church, with its Saxon windows, was
formerly the south wall of the original Saxon building, this being
pierced in 1130 to allow of the addition of St Katherine’s aisle. Many
alterations took place in the 15th century, when also the erection of
the present tower was begun. At this time the nuns used the north side
of the church, whilst the south side was appropriated by the parish
folk. Nowadays one aisle forms both chancel and nave.

Among the many interesting memorials in this church may be mentioned a
Decorated tomb in the south wall, on which lies a cross-legged effigy,
supposed to be Sir Robert de Shurland, knight banneret in the time of
Edward I.; an effigy in Purbeck marble of a knight who holds in his hand
a symbol representing a soul in prayer; and also, in the chancel, a
monumental brass of the 14th century. The latter commemorates Sir John
de Northwode and Joan his wife. De Northwode was knighted by Edward I.
at the siege of Caerlaserock in 1300. The knight’s shield hangs on his
left hip, instead of on his arm, from which fact we may infer the brass
to be of French origin, the French knights of that day having adopted
the custom known as “Ecu eu Cauteil.” Sir John’s lady wears a fur-lined
mantle, and the stiff wimple covering her neck and throat, which was
then the mark of widowhood, indicates that she survived her husband. In
the 13th century the legs of the knight having entirely disappeared they
were replaced by modern ones with very incongruous effect, and in
addition to this ill-judged restoration, a strip was cut out of the
middle of the effigy in order to make the knight’s figure correspond in
size to his lady’s.

FAVERSHAM (_Cluniac_)

     1148, Founded by Stephen and Maud--Dedicated to St Saviour--153--,
     Dissolved--The site given to Sir Thomas Cheney, Lord Warden of the
     Cinque Ports--The greater part of the monastical buildings pulled
     down. Annual revenue, £286, 12s. 6d.

The town of Faversham, formerly a Saxon centre of some importance, and
situated on the river Swale, south of the Isle of Thanet, contains some
scanty ruins of an abbey, in the precincts of which were buried its
founder, King Stephen, as also his Queen and son. Faversham was known
in Saxon times as “Favresfield,” and there, in 930, King Athelstan held
a Wittenagemot, or council of wise men. The town sheltered a succession
of royal and distinguished visitors in the 16th and 17th
centuries--amongst others, Mary, Queen of France, King Henry VIII., with
Catherine of Aragon, Cardinal Wolsey and Warham, Archbishop of
Canterbury. Queen Elizabeth “lay two nights” there. Nor was the place
less favoured by the succeeding house of Stuart, for Charles II. dined
with the Mayor of Faversham in 1660 at an expense to the town of £56,
0s. 6d. In the year 1688 James II. was arrested at Faversham whilst
making his first attempt to leave England after the landing of the
Prince of Orange.

At the time of the Dissolution of the monasteries, the site of this
Cluniac monastic house and its adjoining lands came into the possession
of Sir Thomas Cheney, Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, and by him they
were afterwards alienated to Thomas Ardern, the hero of probably the
most notable domestic tragedy ever dramatised in this country. There are
three old editions of the drama, and at least one popular ballad on the
subject. Thomas Ardern came from the neighbourhood of Canterbury to
Faversham at the age of 56, with a wife 30 years his junior--who became
so blindly infatuated with one Mosbie that “with callous depravity and
cruelty she engaged hirelings to despatch her husband during the fair of
St Valentine.” It says little for the morality of Faversham and its
neighbourhood that no less than ten persons of decent social position
were found ready to lend themselves to the murderous undertaking. Eight
of these were in the long run actually executed. “Ardern of Faversham”
(1592) is a drama of very slight pretension to literary art, and the
republication of 1887 adds further errors to those of the original
carelessly printed drama.

BATTLE (_Benedictine_)

     1067, Built and endowed by William the Conqueror--Rebuilt in the
     time of the Plantagenets in the form of a large quadrangle, one
     side of which was, after the Dissolution, converted into a private
     house by Sir Anthony Browne. Annual revenue £880, 14s. 7d.--1857,
     Sir Harry Fane restores the abbey and converts it into a mansion.

Battle Abbey was founded in 1067 by William I. in gratitude to God for
the victory vouchsafed to the Norman arms at Hastings “that perpetual
praise and thanks might be given to God for the said victory and prayers
made for the souls of those who were slain” (Dugdale’s _Monasticon_). Of
the few remaining portions of the abbey buildings, the grand entrance
gate, consisting of a three-storeyed tower, embattled with octagonal
turrets of the late Decorated period, is still in a good state of
preservation. Adjoining it are the monastic offices, with square windows
and an embattled parapet. A short drive from the abbey gate brings one
to the Abbot’s Lodge--of picturesque and mediæval aspect, although
hardly any of the ancient features are intact. The Abbot’s Lodge is now
the residence of the Duchess of Cleveland, in whose absence only, the
interior is open to visitors. The great hall is remarkable in its
proportions--being as high as it is long--but all its details show signs
of modern restoration. A few ruins lying a little to the south of the
house are known as the old refectory. These are the remains of a fine
Early English building, of which the roof has unfortunately disappeared,
and beneath it are some vaulted crypts--also of the same period. During
the excavations in 1817 the foundations of the eastern part of the abbey
church were exposed, disclosing a triple apse and several bases of a
crypt. Of the abbey church hardly one stone remains, its former site
being now a flower garden.

William the Conqueror had planned the erection of the abbey on a vast
scale, intending to endow it with sufficient land to maintain seven
score monks. Several Benedictine monks were transported from Marmontier
in Normandy, and one of their number, Gausbertus, elected abbot. Many
privileges were granted to the abbey by its royal founder, including
sanctuary; freedom from the Bishop’s jurisdiction, treasure trove, and
to the abbot, the right to forgive any condemned thief he might meet
going to execution. According to some accounts William was present at
the consecration of the abbey--while other historians write of that
ceremony as taking place in 1094, seven years after the king’s death.
The Roll of Battle Abbey was supposed to be a list of the barons, and
other eminent persons, who accompanied the Conqueror to England, and to
have been compiled by the monks of Battle and hung up in their
monastery. An English version of some verses referring to the Roll was
inscribed on a tablet in the parish church of Battle and ran thus:--

    “This place of war is Battle called because in battle here,
     Quite conquered and overthrown the English nation were;
     This slaughter happened to them upon St Cecilia’s day,
     The year thereof (1066) this number doth array.”

A considerable amount of historical research has been undertaken at
different times with a view to establishing the authenticity of this
list of names (notably by the Rev. Joseph Hunter, F.S.A.), and not a few
of our English aristocracy, whose ancestors came over with the
Conqueror, trace their pedigree from some forefather whose name they
claim to have been inscribed on the Roll of Battle Abbey. The site of
the abbey at the Dissolution was granted to one Gilmer and passed
through the hands of many families of distinction. In 1857 the estate
was bought by Sir Harry Fane. Public admission to the historical field
of Senlac is given only once a week. It is to be hoped that the site of
one of the most memorable events in English history may some day become
national property and that the many tourists attracted to Battle Abbey
may help towards safeguarding its interests as a sacred possession of
the people.

CHERTSEY (_Mitred Benedictine_)

     666, Founded by Frithwaldus, governor of the province of Surrey
     under Wulfar, King of Mercia--Church and conventual building burnt
     by the Danes in the 9th century--964, Refounded by King Edgar for
     Benedictine monks--1110, The abbey rebuilt--15--, Dissolved. Annual
     revenue, £659, 15s. 8d.

It is indeed a national loss that of this noble and extensive
foundation, consisting formerly of a monastic church, a hospitium, two
mills, a bridge and a few buildings beyond the Thames, practically
nothing should remain save two walls and an arched gateway.

     “So total a dissolution I scarcely ever saw,” says Dr Stukeley,
     “human bones of the abbots, monks, and great personages who were
     buried in great numbers in the church and cloisters were spread
     thick all over the garden so that we may pick up handfuls of bits
     of bones at a time everywhere among the garden stuff.”

Excavations undertaken by the Surrey Archæological Society have brought
to light some of the foundations of the abbey, carved stones, stone
coffins, and several monumental tiles illustrating the Arthurian
legends. A piece of the chapter-house flooring and part of a stone chair
have also been discovered. This ancient monastic foundation in Chertsey
attained to great magnificence, its head becoming one of the mitred
abbots, and consequently enjoying all the privileges of a seat in
Parliament. The abbots of Chertsey suffered little, if at all, from
molestations from without, or from rebellion and schism within. They
cultivated vineyards, hunted hares and foxes, and retained peaceful and
uninterrupted possession of the manor for close on 500 years. Though at
the time of the Dissolution Henry VIII. appeared to relent his drastic
measures with regard to this foundation, yet one year only elapsed
between the placing of the Chertsey monks in the refounded priory of
Bisham in Berkshire and the compulsory surrender to the Crown of the
newly formed religious establishment.

The irregularly built market town of Chertsey in Surrey is situated on
the banks of the Thames, and is connected with Middlesex by the
seven-arched stone bridge which spans the river. Here lived and died
Abraham Cowley, a poet of great celebrity in his day, who, after being
ejected from Cambridge as a Royalist in 1643, engaged actively in the
royal cause and obtained at the Restoration the lease of a farm at
Chertsey which he held under the Queen. In the old church of Chertsey
the curfew is regularly tolled upon a bell which was used for
generations in the abbey.

READING (_Mitred Benedictine_)

     1126, Built and endowed by Henry I.--Dedicated to the Virgin Mary
     and St John the Baptist--1121-1467, Parliaments held here--15--,
     Dissolved. Henry Farringdon, last abbot of Reading, executed at

     “Hugh, Abbot of Reading, and his convent, reciting by their deed
     that King Henry I. had erected that abbey for the maintenance of
     monks then devoutly and religiously serving God, for the receipt of
     Strangers and Travellers, but chiefly Christ’s poor people, they
     therefore did erect an Hospital without the gate of the abbey there
     to maintain 26 poor people; and to the maintenance of Strangers
     passing that way they gave the profits of their mill at Leominstre.
     Also Aucherius, Abbot of Reading, built near this abbey a house for
     lepers that was called St Mary Magdelene’s, allotting for their
     sustenance sufficient of all things as well in diet as other

The foregoing extract from Dugdale’s _Monasticon_ indicates the pious
and generous motives which inspired the endowment of the once important
mitred abbey of Reading. The abbots of Reading ranked next to those of
Glastonbury and St Albans, their influence extending far beyond the
precincts of the monastery.

Built upon the site of an ancient nunnery, the abbey ruins are
beautifully situated on an eminence overlooking the river Kennet to the
south and the Thames to the north. From the remaining portions it can be
seen that the abbey church consisted of a nave and choir, both with
aisles, transepts with eastern chapels, and also a Lady chapel--the
entire length being 420 feet. The chapter-house on the east side of the
cloister adjoins the south transept and possessed an apse in which were
five large windows. On the south side of this cloister garth stood the
Norman refectory. The stone facings of the buildings have been removed,
leaving only flintstone, but fortunately the abbey mill still stands
intact. Henry I. and his two queens, Matilda and Adeliza, were buried in
Reading Abbey, though by some strange fancy of disseveration the king’s
bowels, brains, heart, eyes and tongue were buried at Rouen. Many real
or fancied relics of saints were presented to the abbey. Among other
singular objects of the time was one assumed to be the head of the
Apostle James--later the hand of this Apostle was brought from Germany
by the Empress Maud--carefully enclosed in a case of gold, of which it
was afterwards stripped by Richard I. It seems like some curious pioneer
movement of foreign missions when one reads that the “maintenance of two
Jewish female converts” was imposed on this house by King Henry III.

ABINGDON (_Mitred Benedictine_).

     675, Built and endowed by Heane, Viceroy of Wiltshire--955, Monks
     reinstalled by Edred, King of all England, after the ravages of the
     Danes--_c._ 955, Abbot Ethelwold builds the church, dedicates it to
     St Mary and institutes the rule of St Benedict--1071, Egclwya,
     Bishop of Durham, dies after imprisonment in the dungeons of the
     abbey--1084, William the Conqueror keeps the Easter festival at
     Abingdon--1146, Pope Eugenius III. grants many privileges to the
     Abbey--15--, Dissolved. Annual revenue, £1876, 10s. 9d.

One Aben, having escaped the cruel treatment Hengist perpetrated on the
Barons and great men of the land, hid himself in the south of
Oxfordshire for a great while, and the people of the place, pitying him,
built him a house and chapel. This then was the beginning of the
monastical institution in “Abendun,” so called, after the fugitive. The
town of Abingdon, with its narrow winding streets and quaintly gabled
houses, has grown up round the mitred monastery of many centuries ago.
So closely are the ruins surrounded by houses that there is some
difficulty in defining the original site of the abbey. The approach to
the ruins is through a gateway of Perpendicular work, built probably
about the end of the 14th century. The parapet is battlemented, and over
the centre arch may be seen a canopied niche containing the figure of
the Blessed Virgin, the patronal saint of the abbey. A few yards further
on after turning slightly to the right one reaches the rest of the
monastical remains, which consist only of the guest house, with its
adjoining abbot’s or prior’s house.

The guest house presents at first sight a somewhat barn-like appearance;
it is worthy however of closer inspection. It has two storeys--the
ground floor forming the day room and the upper the dormitory. The
prior’s house, built in the 14th century, is also a two-storeyed
building. A flight of wooden steps, put up for the convenience of the
visitor, leads through a pointed doorway into the upper apartments. In
a direct line with the entrance is a wall dividing the storey into two
rooms, of which the one to the right contains some imposing remains of a
columned fireplace, a blocked-up pointed window and stairway door; and
the other to the left, a blocked-up window. There are open windows on
either side of the entrance, each lighting up one of the apartments. The
kitchen or crypt forms the ground floor of the prior’s house, from the
one single octagonal column of which spring the ribs that support the
groined roof. The fireplace is to the right and facing the entrance is a
doorway which formerly communicated with the abbey brook, now known as
the mill stream. After being used as a malt house for several years the
buildings have been restored by the Abingdon Corporation, by whom the
room over the gateway is used as council chamber. To the left on passing
through the gateway is the site of the former magnificent abbey church,
enclosed in the private grounds of the Bishop of Reading. The whole of
the foundations are unfortunately covered by greensward; but it is still
possible to gain some idea of the immense size and bold outline of the
structure. William of Worcester gives the following dimensions--

    Nave, 180 feet.
    Two Towers west end, 100 feet high.
    Large central tower, 36 feet square.
    Choir, with chapel at east end, 162 feet.
    Central transepts, 174 feet broad.
    Other transepts, 138 feet broad.

At the upper end of the guest house a half circle of stone marks the
site of Ethelwold’s church, built on the site of an earlier church
erected by Heane in the 7th century. This was peculiar in form, having a
circular east end. The fine carved roof of the Lady chapel in St Helen’s
church is said to have been removed from the abbey. Along its shields
are slight indications of these words

    “In the worship of our Lady
     Pray for Nicholas Gold and Amy.”

The Chronicle of Abingdon, written by the monks at a time when they were
sure of the confidence of the people, is a faithful record of the
monastic life-work. A quotation from Mr Stevenson’s review on the
translation of the Abingdon Chronicle may be of some interest, as it
portrays not only the daily customs of the monks at Abingdon, but of
many other monastic establishments.

     “Most persons who have bestowed any attention to our early annals
     will admit, however strong may be their Protestant prejudices, that
     the best features of our modern civilisation are due to the social
     organisation introduced by the monks. Agriculture, for example, the
     parent of all other arts, was despised and neglected by the pagan
     tribes of German origin, whereas the rule of St Benedict, which was
     of primary authority with every monastic establishment, proclaimed
     the ‘nobility of labour’ as a religious duty, inferior in its
     responsibility only to prayer and study.

     “Benedict thought it good that men should be daily reminded that in
     the sweat of their face they should eat bread, and day by day they
     toiled in the field as well as prayed in the church. After having
     been present at the service of Prime, the monks assembled in the
     chapter-house, each individual received his allotted share of work,
     a brief prayer was offered up, tools were served out, and the
     brethren marched two and two, and in silence, to their task in the
     field. From Easter until the beginning of October they were thus
     occupied from six o’clock in the morning until ten, sometimes until
     noon. The more widely the system was diffused the more extensive
     were its benefits. Besides the monks lay brethren and servants were
     engaged, who received payment in coin, and as by degrees more land
     was brought into tillage than the monastery needed, the surplus was
     leased out to lay occupiers. Thus, each monastery became a centre
     of civilisation, and while the rude chieftain, intent on war or the
     chase, cared little for the comfort either of himself or his
     retainers, the monks became the source, not only of intellectual
     and spiritual light, but of physical warmth and comfort, and
     household blessings.”




MALMESBURY (_Mitred Benedictine_)

   --, Founded by Maydulphus--635, King Berthwald gives land at
     Summerford on Thames to the monastery--680, The monastery receives
     the town of Malmesbury from Lutherius, Bishop of Winchester--1248,
     Pope Innocent confirms the various grants and ordains that the
     rules of St Benedict “should always be observed here”--1539,
     Dissolved. Annual revenue, £803, 17s. 7d.

As in the case of Abingdon, the ruins of “the right magnificent abbey”
of Malmesbury have been ruthlessly encroached upon--squalid streets and
shabby houses crowd about its walls, and only a small stretch of land
remains undisturbed in the immediate precincts of the abbey. One
indignity upon another has been heaped upon this monastery (with which
the name of St Aldhelm is inseparably connected), which formerly stood
second alone to Durham for beauty of situation and majesty of aspect. At
the Dissolution, one William Stumpe, clothier, bought the monastery with
the adjoining land for the extraordinarily large sum of £1117, 15s.
11d., selling the nave of the abbey soon afterwards for use as a parish
church. The conventual buildings he converted into a mill for the
weaving of cloth--whilst small houses were built and streets laid out
over the gardens and orchards. Later on, the conventual buildings were
turned into a stone quarry, and to-day nothing remains of them except

[Illustration: MALMESBURY.]

the abbot’s house which has been rebuilt, serving now as a picturesque
and beautiful private house.

Of the ruins there still stand the nave of seven bays with its massive
Norman pillars, the aisles, and a wall belonging to the south transept.
The south porch--a beautiful piece of Norman work--is said to be the
finest of its kind in England, in execution as well as design. The west
front--also Norman work--is ornamented with the signs of the Zodiac. In
the north wall may be seen a door which led into the cloisters. These,
and also the tower at the west end of the church were destroyed during
the furious bombardment of Malmesbury by Oliver Cromwell, and on
Restoration Day when the abbey was reduced to its present mutilated
condition. Nothing remains of the great central tower save two arches.
Work of the 12th and 14th centuries are evident in the vaulting of the
nave and aisles. The Decorated clerestory was added during the reign of
Edward III. The monument to the devout King Athelstan is also on the
south side.

St Aldhelm, master of oratory, master of music and master of Greek,
Latin, and Saxon letters, was buried in the precincts of Malmesbury.
Fuller writes that, “the English monks were bookish themselves and much
inclined to bound up monuments of learning.” This can be applied to
Malmesbury more perhaps than any other monastic house. For 400 years the
monks worked not only at translating the Greek and Latin Classics,
compiling and writing theological books and books on law, but also in
illuminating these books, and in binding them in gilded and jewelled
covers. This huge library was destroyed to the last folio, while the
manuscripts were used for such purposes as stopping the bungholes of
barrels of special ale, and for lighting the bakery ovens. The splendid
traditions as well as the location of Malmesbury might have led one to
expect its inclusion among the abbeys destined after the Dissolution
for preservation as cathedrals. Malmesbury was surrendered on December
15th, 1539, by Robert Frampton, who accepted a pension amounting in the
money of our time to about £2000 a year.

LACOCK (_Augustine Nuns_)

     1232, Founded by Ella, widow of William Longespee, Earl of
     Salisbury, for nuns--1246, The foundress elected abbess--1539,
     Dissolved. Annual revenue, £168, 9s. 2d.

The ruined walls of Lacock, or “waterlea,” stand in an open meadow on
the banks of the river Avon, sheltered by many stately trees. Though the
church was totally destroyed at the time of the Dissolution, many of the
conventual parts remained unchanged, and are decidedly the best
preserved of any nunnery in the kingdom. The cloisters were built in the
reign of Henry IV.; the chapter-house and sacristy--both of two aisles
divided by four pillars--are on the east side; the great hall on the
north; and the ambulatory--above which is the dormitory--on the west.
The remains of a former bathroom can be discerned near the sacristy. The
historical and legendary associations of Lacock Abbey are of exceptional
interest, and are fully dealt with in the Rev. Canon Bowles’ _History of
Lacock_. The abbey was founded in 1232 by Ella, Countess of Salisbury,
in pious remembrance of her husband William Longespee, brother of
Richard Cœur de Lion. The Earl, who was in close attendance on King
John, assisted in founding Salisbury Cathedral, and died by poisoning in
1226. A few years afterwards Ella, directed by visions, founded the
monastery and became abbess of her own establishment. This office she
retained until five years before her death, when she retired from
monastic life. She was buried in the church, but though at the
Dissolution the bones of the foundress and her family were scattered,
her epitaph and stone were preserved with the cloisters and cells of the

NETLEY (_Cistercian_)

     1237, Founded by Henry III. Dedicated to SS. Mary and
     Edward--Inhabited by Monks from Beaulieu--1239, Receives its
     charter from Henry III.--1539, Suppressed. Annual revenue, £100,
     12s. 8d.--Granted to Sir William Paulet who adapts part of it to
     the purpose of a dwelling--1572, Comes into possession of the Earl
     of Hertford, and late in the 17th century into the possession of
     the Earl of Huntingdon.

At first sight, the abbey is not impressive. There are no majestic
towers nor light and graceful spires--nothing but dense luxuriant
foliage. The cloisters have vanished entirely, but where they stood is a
deep turfed court, thick with trees and bounded with ivy-covered walls.
“Behind this court is the site of the refectory, entirely destroyed
except for its cloister walls; to the left the quarters of the lay
brothers; to the right the wonderful triple arch of the chapter-house;
and in front, seen only dimly through the trees, the windowed wall of
the south aisle of the church.” All the buildings to the south of the
cloister have been destroyed. The abbey church is fortunately in a
fairly good state of preservation, for with the exception of the north
transept the rest of the ruin is intact. It is of course roofless, but
the elegant east window still conveys an idea of the elevation of this
exquisite building. The nave was of eight bays with chapels, the choir
of five bays with aisles, the transepts (with eastern chapels) measured
120 feet, and there was also a presbytery and central tower. The whole
building appears to have been about 200 feet in length by 60 in breadth.
Compared with Beaulieu, when both the abbeys were standing, Netley was
far the smaller of the two. The little abbey’s almost perfect
proportions are very apt to deceive one as to its real size, and its
dimensions are very much smaller than one would ever imagine. Its length
was 220 feet, while its height inside the church was only 43 feet. Of
the classical reserved 13th century style, Netley, along with the
abbeys of York and Rievaulx, attain more than any other the finality of
pure Gothic architecture.

In 1700 the entire church was sold by Sir Berkeley Lucy on condition
that the buildings be wholly removed, to a certain Walter Taylor, a
builder of Southampton. Taylor was a Nonconformist and friend of the
father of the eminent Dr Watts, by whom he had been advised to have
nothing whatever to do with the impending sacrilege. Still persisting,
however, in his communications with Sir Berkeley, he became tormented in
dreams, in which it was revealed to him that his death would follow
should he take any part in the ruin of the abbey. The unhappy man,
however, signed the agreement with Lucy. He removed the roof, destroying
the vaulting of the choir, nave, and north transept, together with the
centre tower, selling them as so much building stone. While at work on
the west end the tracery of the great window fell upon him suddenly,
inflicting dreadful injuries to which he soon succumbed. In 1861 steps
were taken to preserve what was left of the abbey by the next owner, Mr
Chamberlay. The treatment which was given it was quite judicious, and it
has not been furbished up into smug neatness like Kirkstall or Tintern,
nor has it been abandoned to decay like Rievaulx. As the result of this
careful handling, Netley is now left to rest a faultless and perfect
ruin--a thing of almost indescribable beauty. The present-day value of
Netley really lies in the infinite picturesqueness of its ruins. In the
words of Sir Horace Walpole: “They are not the ruins of Netley but of
Paradise. Oh! the purple Abbots! what a spot they had chosen to slumber

[Illustration: NETLEY.]

BEAULIEU (_Mitred Cistercian_)

     1204, Founded by King John--1539, Dissolved. Annual revenue, £326,
     13s. 2d.

The spiritual brothers of every monastic order had in common, it would
seem, the gift of discerning for their foundations sites as perfect in
natural charms and resources as in their adaptability for lives of study
and meditation, and in their security against encroachments from
without. Beaulieu and Netley had each in a measure these advantages. At
the time of the Dissolution remoteness and inaccessibility proved the
salvation of Netley Abbey. The vast mother-abbey of Beaulieu however lay
along tide-water, and its stones were materially available for the
king’s purposes. Very little remains therefore of this seat of a mitred
abbot except a few of the domestic buildings, including the refectory,
now used as the parish church of Beaulieu (Early English), some remnants
of the cloisters, and also the fratry and kitchen. On the east side of
the cloister area three arches of the chapter-house still stand. The
ruins of the abbey may be reached through a stone gateway adjoining the
abbot’s house--now a modern mansion, in the Decorated hall of which is a
particularly fine vaulted roof. Surrounding the house is a moat
constructed by an Earl of Montague as a defence against the attacks of
French privateers.

The site of the abbey church was fully disclosed during excavations
undertaken at the instigation of members of the ducal house of
Buccleuch, and we may trace the location of every wall and pier of what
must once have been a noble church with its great nave of nine bays and
complete double-aisled choir with a circular termination. The body of
Isabella, wife of Richard, Earl of Cornwall, known as King of the
Romans, has been found in front of the high altar. The loss of Beaulieu
is irreparable in the history of English architecture. One can but be
thankful that the little that remains is in the hands of so thoughtful
and reverent a custodian, and that the exquisite natural charms are
left, not only undisturbed, but are tended with such appreciation and
discrimination that “Bellus locus” justifies its name as fully as ever
it did. Close to the New Forest, surrounded by majestic trees, the
beauty of the scene is greatly enhanced by the sheet of water which
spreads itself in sight of the foliage--whilst glimpses of a tidal river
can be seen winding between banks edged with trees towards the not far
distant ocean.

    “Now sunk, deserted and with weeds o’ergrown
     Yon prostrate walls their awful fate bewail;
     Low on the ground their topmost spires are thrown,
     Once friendly marks to guide the wandering sail.
     The ivy now with rude luxuriance bends
     Its tangled foliage through the cloistered space
     O’er the green windows ’mouldering height ascends
     And fondly clasps it with a last embrace.”

ROMSEY (_Benedictine_).

     907, Founded by Edward the Elder--Greatly enlarged and rebuilt in
     the reign of Edgar, grandson of Edward the Elder, by Ethelwold,
     Archbishop of Winchester--Benedictine nuns placed there--974,
     Opened by the King on Christmas day--Almost destroyed by the Danes
     early in 11th century--Subsequently restored, enjoying many
     privileges and high repute under the Norman and Plantagenet
     rule--1129-69, Nave built by Bishop Henry de Blois--15--,
     Dissolved. Annual revenue, £393, 10s.

The village of Romsey has grown round the venerable abbey church of SS.
Mary and Elfleda, where in former days devout women lived their secluded
and consecrated lives. There is considerable difference of opinion as to
the origin of the name Romsey, for while some authorities see in it a
survival of the Roman “Romana insula,” others trace its present form to
the Saxon “Rumes-eye”--“the broad island.” Romsey may formerly have been
a Roman city, its position making it practically equidistant from other
well-known Roman stations, whilst the island site of the town,
surrounded by the tributary stream, the Test, affords some support to
the theory of the Saxon origin of the name. The abbey minster has been
wisely treated at its various restorations, and although definite types
of Early English and Decorated work are represented, the dominating
Norman characteristics have not been interfered with. Eastern apsidal
chapels, peculiar to Norman work, are in both transepts. The nave of
eight bays was built by Henry de Blois, Bishop of Winchester in the 12th
century, whilst two examples of Norman piscinæ may be seen--one in the
south choir aisle and the other on the south side of the choir. The west
window is Early English, the central of the three lights being 40 feet
high. The doors at the west of the north and south aisles, and the
graceful arch which spans the west front of the nave are all beautiful
work of this period. There is a bas-relief of the Crucifixion on the
outer wall of the south transept. The apsidal chapel of the north
transept is now used as a school.

There are many peculiarities in the interior of the church--amongst
others, the elevation of the flooring of the aisles above that of the
nave, where the nuns had their stalls. Many of these nuns were of royal
blood, and in Saxon times the nunnery enjoyed high patronage. Under the
rule of the Abbess Marivanna the monastery was blessed with peace, and
Marivanna is said to have miraculously warned her successor Elwina of
the approach of Sweyn and his band of Danish marauders. Matilda, wife of
Henry I. and niece of the Abbess Christina, was educated here; and
subsequently Mary, Countess of Boulogne, daughter of King Stephen, was
elected abbess. This royal abbess openly defied the Pope and, in spite
of her monastic vows, married the son of the Count of Flanders, without
obtaining the necessary dispensation from the Vatican. After ten years
of married life, the rash lovers were compelled to separate, the power
of the Church proving too strong for them. In the reign of Henry III.
power to condemn and to hang criminals was restored to the abbess of
Romsey--this peculiar privilege having become obsolete. The rules of the
monastery were strict and the discipline well maintained, earning for
Romsey a reputation for high moral tone, as well as for liberality and
learning. A marvellously beautiful piece of the nuns’ handiwork can
still be seen in an altar cloth of the present church. It is of green
brocaded velvet embroidered with golden stars and with lilies
exquisitely worked into the material. This work belongs to the 12th or
13th century and was formerly intended for a cope.

SHERBORNE (_Benedictine_)

     705, Ina, King of the West Saxons, makes Sherborne the seat of a
     Bishopric--998, Bishop Wulfsiu builds a priory--1075, Bishop Herman
     transfers the See to Sarum--1122, Sherborne and Horton made one
     house--1139, Roger, Bishop of Salisbury, changes the priory of
     Sherborne into an abbey, that of Horton being
     destroyed--Benedictine monks placed within it--1436, The abbey
     suffers from fire, and is changed in restoration from Norman to
     Perpendicular style--1539, The monastery surrenders to Henry VIII.
     Annual revenue, £682, 1s.--Sold to Sir John Horsey for £200--The
     parishioners of Sherborne buy the church from him for
     £230--1848-58, Restored at a cost of over £32,000.

The old-fashioned town of Sherborne, or “clear brook,” lies on a gentle
slope above the river Yeo, in the vale of Blackmore. The first view of
Sherborne is delightful. The narrow, winding, roughly-paved streets make
a picturesque setting for the solid and stone-built houses, and there is
a general impression of peaceful comfort and prosperity about the
place. The surrounding country is rich and fertile; the air clear and
invigorating. In monastic days the hillsides were covered with vines, so
sheltered was Sherborne from extreme severity of weather. It is only
from the south that a good view of the parish church--originally the
abbey church of the monastery--can be obtained. From the other sides it
is much built in.

This abbey of St Mary’s has undergone many vicissitudes, having been
built and rebuilt in remote Saxon times; burnt by the dreaded Sweyn when
passing through the town on his march from Exeter to Sarum; nearly razed
to the ground and again rebuilt in the 15th century; dissolved in the
16th century, at which time the church was made parochial and purchased
by the inhabitants of the town; and finally restored at an enormous cost
in the 19th century, with the result that no church of such antiquity
was ever in a better state of preservation. Considering the chequered
history of the building, its many examples of different architectural
periods is not to be wondered at. Perpendicular work is most largely
represented--the abbey having been restored in the reign of Henry VI.
(when this style was in vogue) after a fire, which devastated
particularly the east end of the structure. The Norman period found
expression in a peculiar south porch and part of the transepts, while
the Lady chapel affords a good example of Early English architecture.
The church is cruciform, with transepts, choir, and presbytery. The
nave, with its two aisles--the one to the north boasting some Decorated
windows--has a beautiful vaulted roof and clerestory. From the central
tower there is an extensive view over the undulating country for many
miles round Sherborne. In the bell chamber below hang ten bells--a
sanctus bell, a peal of eight, and a fire bell. Cardinal Wolsey is said
to have given the tenor bell--the largest tenor bell in England ever
rung in a peal--to the abbey. It was imported from Tournay, and
although recast still bears this distich--

    “By Wolsey’s gift I measure time for all;
     To mirth, to griefe, to church, I serve to call.”

Attached to the church are some ancient chapels, including the Wickham
Chantry, where lies Sir John Horsey, also Bishop Roger’s Chantry, with
its beautiful Early English window. Sir Thomas Wyatt, the poet, Bishop
Asser, tutor to Alfred the Great, more than one of the Saxon kings, and
Abbot Clement (1163) (of whose tomb but a fragment remains in the north
choir aisle) are interred in the cathedral church. The cloisters were on
the north side of the church--the former dormitory is now used as a
schoolroom. A portion of the refectory still remains, also the abbey
barn and the abbey house--the latter being rebuilt after the

CERNE (_Benedictine_)

     987, Founded by Egelwaldus or Ethelwerdus--Dedicated to St
     Peter--Endowed by Ethelmer, Earl of Cornwall--15--, Dissolved.
     Annual revenue, £515 17s. 10.

     “St Augustine, the monk, after he had converted Kent, travelled
     with his companions over the rest of King Ethelbert’s dominions,
     which extended as far as the Northumbers, preaching the Gospel of
     Christ. And being in Dorsetshire, a great company of people offered
     themselves for baptism in a place where water was wanting,
     whereupon by miracle a fountain of water burst out of the ground,
     which was in the succeeding times called St Augustine’s Fountain.
     Here Edwaldus, brother of St Edmund the King and martyr, led a
     hermit’s life and died with a reputation of great
     sanctity”--(Dugdale’s _Monasticon_).

These circumstances, according to Dugdale, led to the founding of the
abbey of Cerne in 987. Other writers, however, hold the opinion that
credit is due to the great Apostle of the Anglo-Saxons for an even
earlier foundation.

Only the gateway of this once magnificent abbey remains, and near it the
well dedicated to St Augustine. The gateway--a large embattled
structure--is in a good state of preservation, and even yet possesses
some of its former dignity. When excavating on the site of the abbey
church, a stone effigy of peculiar interest was found. It is 15th
century work, representing a lady, of royal birth possibly, who once
held the position of abbess in this monastic house. She carries a staff
in her right hand and in her left she holds a book. Fragments of a
leaden chalice and paten and encaustic tiles, chiefly of Perpendicular
work, have also been found. The present abbey house has been built from
the remains of the abbey.

Near the town of Cerne on the southern slope of Trendle Hill there may
be seen the outline of a remarkable figure of a man, 180 feet high and
with outlines about 2 feet broad. Various traditions are held concerning
the origin of this figure; one being that it represents a Saxon deity
Heil (Hercules), and another that it serves as a memorial to Cendric,
king of the West Saxons; while the most popular legend speaks of the
figure as that of a giant, who, after eating some sheep, indulged in a
post-prandial nap and was pinioned by the inhabitants of the town, who
in this way judged his dimensions. _Chacun à son gout!_--for there is
doubtless a grain of truth in all three stories, and failing opportunity
and inclination for authentic research, imagination and prejudice may be
allowed to have free play.

TAVISTOCK (_Mitred Benedictine_)

     961, Founded by Ordgarus, Earl of Devonshire and father of the
     infamous Elfrida, Queen of Wessex--981, Building completed by
     Ordulph--King Ethelred endows it with land and liberties--997,
     Burnt and despoiled by the Danes--11--, Henry I. becomes a
     benefactor to this house which is re-established--1513, Tavistock
     becomes a mitred abbey--1539, Dissolved. Annual revenue, £902, 5s.
     7d.--The estate given to the first Lord Russell by whom it has
     descended to the family of Bedford.

Tavistock, like Buckland, is on the Tavy, and here, amidst beautiful
country in a trough of hills, stands the skeleton of a formerly
magnificent structure, once inhabited by Benedictine monks. Typical
Devonshire scenery, both stern and gentle, with its bleak moorland and
well-wooded, peaceful valleys, is nowhere more strongly exemplified than
in the surroundings of this abbey, for though sheltered in a fertile
valley, the dreary Dartmoor lies very close, and stretches away in the
far distance, adding a grim and sombre tone to the aspect.

Two gateways, the fratry, and a porch are the principal portions
remaining of the abbey. The frater, which has a fine portico, is now
used as a Unitarian chapel. This Benedictine house of Tavistock was
fortunate in gaining (among other benefactions) the goodwill and support
of King Ethelred, Leving, Bishop of Worcester, and of Henry I. A school
for the study of Saxon was founded in connection with the abbey soon
after its re-establishment, and later, after the introduction of
printing into England, a press was set up there and many books,
including a Saxon grammar, were published. History and legend combine
with exceptional interest in connection with the foundation of
Tavistock--attributed to Ordgarus, whose good work was carried on by his
son Ordulph, father and brother respectively of Queen Elfrida, who so
treacherously and cruelly connived at the murder of her stepson.
Ordulph is said to have been of such gigantic stature as to be able to
break the bars of gates and to stride a river 10 feet wide. Huge bones,
said to be his, may still be seen in Tavistock church. Ordulph endowed
the abbey with many lands, which bounties, added to the benefactions of
King Ethelred, were the cause of the institution becoming both wealthy
and flourishing. After total destruction by the Danes, the abbey was
rebuilt only to become more prosperous than ever.

There are still evidences of its former grandeur and of the sumptuous
manner in which the dignitaries lived. Risdon relates the following
curious circumstance, from which we can gather the unexpectedness of
some of the many sources from which wealth accrued to the abbey.

     “It is lefte us by tradition,” says he, “that one Childe, of
     Plimstocke, a man of faire possessions, havinge noe issue,
     ordained, that wherever he shoulde happen to be buried, to that
     churche his land should belong. It so fortuned that he, ridinge to
     hunt in the forest of Dartmoor, casually lost his companye, and his
     waye; likewise the season beinge so colde and he so benumbed
     therewithe, that he was enforced to kill his horse, and havinge so
     killed him, to creepe into his bellye to gett heat; which not
     beinge able to preserve him, he was there frozen to deathe; and so
     founde was carried by Tavystokemen to be buried in the churche of
     the Abbeye; which was not so secretlye done, but the inhabitants
     got knowledge thereof, which to prevent, they resorted to hinder
     the carryinge of the corpse on the bridge where they concluded
     necessitye compelled them to passe. But they were deceived by a
     guile, for the Tavystokemen forthwith builded a slyghte bridge and
     passed at another place without resistance, buried the bodye, and
     enjoyed the lands. In memory whereof, the bridge beareth the name
     of Gylebridge to this daye.”

John Penryn, elected Abbot of Tavistock in 1522, began his rule in peace
and quietness, little thinking that he was to be last abbot of
Tavistock. In 1526 this dignitary, according to Oliver’s _Monasticon_,
was ordered to supply a servant of the king with a corrody, consisting
of “One white loaf, another loaf called Trequarter, a dish called
General, another dish of flesh or fish called Pitance, and three
pottels, or three halfpence daily; also a furred robe at Christmas
yearly, of the same kind as that of our esquires, or the sum of 20
shillings.” Pensions were paid to one John Elyote and William Tyler,
M.A., of Oxminster; in the first instance for doing the duties of
organist and choirmaster, and in the second for teaching grammar to the
boys of the house and for expounding Scripture in the refectory. One
wonders why this work had ceased to be done by the monks themselves. The
literature of the time shows plainly that monks and friars were losing
hold on popular regard--although some of the best houses were still
doing earnest work in study and in relieving distress. Cromwell had a
large share of public opinion on his side when he suppressed nearly four
hundred of the smaller houses. John Penryn, among other wise abbots,
expecting the blow, had been putting his house in order, and making
arrangements for its future good management. He called his twenty
brethren together a month or so before the Act of Parliament for the
Suppression was passed, and surrendered his monastery--with its manors,
churches, lands, down to books and parchments, into the hands of the
king. In doing so he secured fairly good terms for himself and his
monks, for the abbot’s pension was equivalent to more than £100 a year
in our present money, and the monks, with the exception of one, received
pecuniary compensation in proportion.

BUCKLAND (_Cistercian_)

     1278, Founded and endowed by Amicia, Countess of
     Devonshire--Dedicated to St Mary and St Benedict and colonised by
     Cistercian monks from Quarr Abbey--1541, After the Dissolution the
     site and demesne sold by Henry VIII. to Sir Richard
     Grenville--1571, The new owner converts the abbey church into a
     private residence and afterwards sells it to Sir Francis Drake.

The history of this Cistercian house is of twofold interest, for in
addition to its foundation as a religious establishment in the 13th
century, it became eventually, after its reconstruction as a manor
house, the home and favourite residence of one of England’s greatest
naval heroes, Sir Francis Drake. Buckland Abbey, one of the most notable
ancient halls of England, is still in the possession of the Drake
family, and many relics of the famous explorer are to be seen within its
walls, including a Bible which had been his constant companion on all
his journeys. The building consists chiefly of stones of the original
structure, although totally different in construction.

Of the monastical parts of this foundation, practically only a barn, 180
feet long, and a belfry are still preserved. The fragments in the
Vicarage garden are supposed to be all that is left of the last abbot’s
house. Still, even in these days, it is quite possible to picture the
happy situation and consequent beauty of the monastic demesne. The river
Tavy flows past the abbey, which is surrounded on all sides by
delightful gardens, including an orchard said to have been the first
planted in Devonshire. To the industry and discernment of the monks is
greatly due the fame of Devonshire for the excellence of its cider--the
greatest care having been taken in those early days to secure the very
best grafts from Normandy. Nothing particular is recorded of the
fortunes of this religious house. Disgrace fell upon it at one time--the
monks having presumed to perform certain ceremonies without the
necessary permission of Walter de Bronescombe, Bishop of Exeter, and
being consequently excommunicated. From this suspension they were
happily relieved by the interposition of Queen Helena.

Buckland Abbey, as in the case of all religious foundations, succumbed
to the demands of the insatiable Henry VIII., but was fortunate in
eventually passing into the hands of Richard Grenville, who did not
utterly remove all vestiges of the original structure when building the
present noble house called Buckland Abbey. The connection of the great
Drake with the manor house was not limited to his ownership of the old
abbey, for here he spent the earliest, and not a few of the later years
of his life; while many of his triumphs were won on the waters which
washed this lovely county of Devon. It is sad that at the close of a
life so full of successful effort, a life almost unparalleled in its
daring initiative of action, Sir Francis Drake should not have found a
resting place in his beloved home. Failure attended his expedition to
the West Indies, where he had hoped to strike a blow at the gigantic
power of Spain. By the capture of the Spaniards of one of Drake’s
smaller vessels, the plans of the English admiral became known to his
enemies and all his schemes were more or less defeated. Bent down and
disheartened by failure, Drake succumbed after twenty days’ illness to
disease which had broken out among his men, receiving a sailor’s funeral
off the shores of Puerto Bello, December 1595.

BUCKFASTLEIGH (_Cistercian_)

     Founded and endowed for Cistercian monks by Richard Bauzan in the
     12th century on the site of a Saxon Benedictine house--15--,
     Dissolved. Annual revenue, £466, 11s. 2d.--Used as a stone
     quarry--1882, French Benedictine monks buy the Gothic mansion built
     in this century on part of the original site--1886, The abbey
     partially rebuilt by the monks and the restored portion opened on
     April 26th.

In an opening of the forest near the river Dart a small band of
Cistercian monks built an abbey for their order in the 12th century,
hoping in the seclusion of the spot to be free from the prevalent
disturbances of those early times. The name Buckfastleigh implies a spot
where deer may safely venture to drink, “buckfast”--the fastness of the
deer--and “leigh”--a lea or pasture,--and is probably symbolical also of
the peace and quiet so essential to the retired lives led by the holy
men of old. The actual beginning of this religious house reaches back
into antiquity, and in the course of its long history it has twice
changed its order of rule. In the Saxon time it was subjected to
Benedictine sway, after the Conquest it was refounded for Cistercian
monks, and lastly, some years ago, a mansion was built on a portion of
the site which has since been inhabited by Benedictine brothers from
France who have partially rebuilt the old abbey.

The remains of the 12th century building are somewhat insignificant.
They are situated on the north side of the village on the right bank of
the river, and consist of a tower covered with ivy, and a large tithe
barn, together with a Saxon crypt. A woollen factory now occupies part
of the abbey site, and in connection with this fact it is interesting to
note that trading in wool was an important source of revenue in the days
of the Cistercians. Still further back the woollen fabrics of Rome had
obtained special excellence, and in time, the Roman manufactures were
carried to the countries in which Roman colonies had been established.
In England the making of woollen cloths was introduced by the Romans,
but it was in the hands of a few only. The Cistercians at Buckfastleigh
were all wool-traders, and to this day there is a road called “Abbot’s
Way”--said to be the former post road by which the wool of the community
was conveyed to Plymouth for export.





CROYLAND (_Mitred Benedictine_)

     716, Founded in the isle of Croyland by Ethelbald, King of Mercia,
     in memory of St Guthlac--870, Church and monastery destroyed by the
     Danes--948, The abbey rebuilt and re-endowed by King Edred--1060, A
     new church begun by Abbot Ultcyter--1091, New church destroyed by
     fire--1113, Restored by Abbot Geoffrey, subsequently becoming a
     mitred abbey of great magnificence--15--, Dissolved. Annual
     revenue, £1082, 15s. 10d.

The ruins of Croyland Abbey are of exceptional interest and show many
styles of architecture. The west arch of the central tower with its
zig-zag moulding is Norman work, and is undoubtedly the most ancient
part of the ruin. The west front consists of two styles--Early English
in the lower part and Perpendicular in the upper. The north-west tower
was erected in 1427; its buttresses and spire, and also the adjoining
west porch are, however, 16th century work. The remainder of the ruins
are mostly Perpendicular--the nave, aisle, transepts and Lady chapel
having been built in the 15th century. The north aisle of the abbey
church has been used as the parish church since 1688 when the roof of
the abbey fell in. Croyland in its prosperity was one of the most
wealthy and magnificent monastic foundations in England.

Founded in Saxon times, it was re-established after the Norman invasion
and subsequently became a mitred abbey. The original church and
monastery suffered greatly at the hands of the Danes in the 9th century,
the “Abbot being slain at the altar where he was celebrating the Holy
Communion and many of the monks being tortured and killed in the most
cruel manner.” Shrines and monuments were specially singled out by the
Danes for destruction, the sacred contents being irreverently scattered
in all directions, and the costly memorials rifled. But for the
influence of monasticism, Croyland (derived from the Latin _Crudam
terram_--muddy land) might still be a small and insignificant island.
Owing to the religious enterprise and enthusiasm of King Ethelbald, the
abbey was built on the tract of land with which he endowed it. At his
instigation oak and alders were driven in as piles, and hard earth
brought in boats from the upland. An excellent system of drainage, too,
was carried out, converting marsh into rich pasture land, watered by the
Welland alone instead of the four streams by which it was originally

A curious triangular bridge, the most ancient of all non-Roman bridges
in Europe, stands high and dry in the centre of the village. From its
steep ascent it is not used by carriages--the ascents having been made
into steps paved with small stones. In connection with the history of
Croyland and its abbey one may learn another of the means by which so
many rich and sumptuous religious houses were built in the kingdom.
Joffrida or Geoffrey, Abbot of Croyland, obtained indulgence from the
Archbishop for the third part of the penance enjoined for any particular
sin and to everyone who helped in any way towards the building of the
monastery. Monks were sent out to collect money and before long a
foundation stone was laid with great ceremony. The abbot laid the first
cornerstone, every nobleman according to his rank laying his stone,
accompanied in every case by substantial gifts in kind. The poorer
people offered one day’s work a month, small gifts of money--certain
numbers of them holding themselves responsible for whole pillars,
pedestals, etc. The abbot in return made every helper a member of the
fraternity, to which in later years Henry VI., King of England, was also
admitted. In the time of the Civil wars, Croyland became a garrison for
one or other of the contending sides, and the abbey was taken by
Cromwell in 1642.

THORNTON (_Mitred Augustine Canons_)

     1139, Founded by William de Gross, Earl of Albemarle--Canons
     regular introduced from Kirkham--1148, Richard, their prior,
     elected abbot by Pope Eugenius III.--Richard I. “confirmed all the
     possessions given to the abbey of St Mary of Thornton and the
     canons there, with the grant of large Liberties and Immunities”
     (Dugdale’s _Monasticon_)--1517, The abbey mitred--15--, Dissolved.
     Annual revenue, £594, 17s. 10d.

The ruins of this Augustine house are at a distance of a little over a
mile from the village of Thornton Curtis, and about five miles from
Barton-on-Humber, in the county of Lincoln. In former days the abbey
demesne extended to 100 acres, and was surrounded by a moat and wall.
The beautiful early Perpendicular gate-house, undoubtedly one of the
finest of the period existing in this country; a fragment of the south
transept of the church (Decorated); the abbot’s house, now converted
into a farm; and a small portion of the chapter-house still remain--the
latter dating from between 1282-1308. Several slabs and stone coffins
lie about in the area of the nave of the abbey church. It is evident
that the choir was built in the 14th century, the presbytery, however,
was probably work of a later period.

Old associations ensure reverent treatment for the scanty remains, and
although the rude hand of Time cannot be stayed, still such wanton
destruction as was meted out to the sacred establishment by some of the
former possessors is not likely to be repeated in the present healthy
state of popular opinion in such matters. The mode of capital
punishment, not uncommon in monasteries, and described with such
thrilling and awful detail in the second Canto of _Marmion_, had
evidently been exercised within the walls of Thornton, for in taking
down a wall in the ruins, a skeleton, supposed to have been the remains
of the 14th abbot, was found with a table, book and candlestick. Mingled
feelings must have moved the obsequious monks, when a few years before
the impending storm of the Dissolution, Henry VIII. with his gentle
consort, Jane Seymour, visited the abbey in solemn state. Sumptuous
hospitality and flattering attentions were showered upon the royal
guests, and not without effect, for, though Thornton shared in the
general suppression of monastic houses, its coffers were left
unplundered, and the money used towards the endowment of a college which
was established there. This institution in turn was suppressed--liberal
provision being made for several of its members. Thornton was part of
the estate of Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, and afterwards
belonged to Henry, son of Hotspur, who distinguished himself in the
Civil War of York and Lancaster.

SWINESHEAD (_Cistercian_)

     1134, Founded and endowed by Robert Greslei--Dedicated to the
     Virgin Mary--Henry II. confirms all the grants given to the abbey
     and the monks--1216, King John shelters here for one night--15--,
     Dissolved. Annual revenue, £167, 15s. 3d.--1551, Site granted to
     Edward, Lord Clinton--c. 1610, Entire building demolished by Sir
     John Stockton. The materials of the abbey used to build the present
     mansion known as Swineshead abbey.

Many interesting records are extant of religious life in the county of
Lincoln. In the 13th and 14th centuries hundreds of pilgrims made their
way from Lincolnshire to Rome and to the Holy Land, inspired doubtless,
in great measure, by the spiritual influence emanating from the abbeys
of Swineshead, Thornton, and Croyland. The monastic chronicles, with
their references to larger incidents of history beyond monastic bounds,
were introduced into England by the Normans. The writers in such
chronicles were usually monks, drawn from the lower or middle classes,
who spoke chiefly of events as they touched the religious and
substantial welfare of the people. We read therefore that the gild of
the Resurrection at Lincoln (founded in 1374) had among its rules, “If
any brother or sister wishes to make a pilgrimage to Rome, St James of
Galicia, or the Holy Land, he shall forewarn the gild; and all the
brethren and sistern shall go with him to the city gate, and each shall
give him a halfpenny at least.” The same rule is found in the Gild of
Fullers of Lincoln, founded in 1297; the pilgrim going to Rome was
accompanied, as far as the Queen’s Cross outside the town if he left on
a Sunday or Feast; and if he could let them know of his return, and it
were not a working day, all went to meet him at the same place and
accompanied him to the monastery. Again, the tailors also gave a
halfpenny to him among them who is going to Rome or St James, and a
penny to him who goes to the Holy Land. The activities of these Gilds
were probably directed to some extent from the Abbey of Swineshead or
Swinestead, seven miles from Boston in Lincolnshire.

Founded in 1134, the abbey was at first of small importance. One of the
early abbots, Gilbert de Holland--particular friend and biographer of St
Bernard--worked strenuously to promote the welfare of the new order of
Cistercian or “white monks.” Little is known of the work of this
religious establishment, but history has familiarised the name of
Swineshead to many readers, for it was here that King John sought refuge
after the misfortune which befell him on the banks of the Wash. Greatly
annoyed at the loss of his treasures and baggage carriages, which were
suddenly swept away by the return of the tide, the king and his men
proceeded to Swineshead Abbey. On the night of their arrival the king
was seized with a violent fever which, after a few days’ illness, proved
fatal. One authority attributes his sudden death to a surfeit of fruit
and new cider. Shakespeare evidently ignores both versions of the king’s
sudden demise, for in _King John_, Act V. Scene VI., in a conversation
near Swineshead Abbey, Hubert de Burgh speaking to Philip Falconbridge

                  “The King, I fear, is poisoned by a monk;
                   I left him almost speechless....

    _Philip._ How did he take it? Who did taste to him?

    _Hubert._ A monk, I tell you; a resolved villain.”

There are very few adherents to this theory, for, such an act on the
part of a monk, unless inspired by the King’s enemy, would have been
motiveless and contrary to the prevailing spirit in the hospitable
monasteries. Among other ancient customs still prevalent in Swineshead
are the daily curfew at 8 p.m. and the cutting of a large cross in the
turf on the spot where death by violence has befallen any one. An
interesting Danish encampment near the town, and known as Manwarings, is
60 yards in diameter and surrounded by a double fosse.

BURY ST EDMUNDS (_Mitred Benedictine_)

     _c._ 637, Monastery founded in Beodericsworth by Sigberct, King of
     the East Angles--903, King Edmund the Martyr buried in the
     church--925, Church receives benefactions from King Athelstan, King
     Edmund, son of Edward the Elder, and King Edwy--1020, Benedictine
     monks introduced in place of secular priests by Canute--1021, A new
     church built by Aldwius, Bishop of East Anglia--1032, Consecrated
     in honour of Christ, the Blessed Mary and St Edwin--1065, Edward
     the Confessor visits the abbey in the guise of a pilgrim, greatly
     enriches the house, and grants to the abbot and monks the right of
     coining within the monastery--1071, Pope Alexander II. grants to
     the abbot and his successors episcopal jurisdiction--1081, The
     church and town of Bury declared to be exempt from the Bishop’s
     jurisdiction--_c._ 1097, The newly erected church pulled down by
     Abbot Baldwin, who builds another of hewn stone. 11--, Henry I.
     visits the abbey and offers his crown before St Edmund’s
     shrine--1214, King John receives hospitality from the monks--1327,
     The burgesses of Bury gain forcible possession of the monastery and
     for several months harass the community; the king’s judges put an
     end to these disgraceful riots in December; a claim of £140,000
     lodged against the townspeople by the monastery, which is defrayed
     by Edward III.--1447, Henry VI. and Queen Margaret visit the
     abbey--Humphrey Duke of Gloucester arrested and foully murdered by
     Suffolk during the Royal visitation--1465, Abbey suffers great
     destruction from fire--15--, Dissolved. Annual revenue, £1659, 13s.

The history of the abbey of Bury St Edmunds, although veiled in much
legendary and mythical lore, tells nevertheless in its actual history of
the progress of civilisation and of the enlightenment of the human mind.
Sigberct, King of the East Angles, is said to have founded the first
monastery at Beodericsworth (a town known to the Romans, ancient
Britons, Saxons and Danes), and to have subsequently laid aside his
royal dignity by joining the brotherhood which he had established.
Following his example of religious devotion, Edmund, last King of the
East Angles, sacrificed not only his crown but his life in defence of
the Christian faith, for he was beheaded by the Danes at Eglesdene in

    “Off this language Hyngwar wex[2] nyh wood,[3]
     Made the Kyng strongly to be bonde,[4]
     And commanded afform him as he stood,
     Ffirst to be bete with shorte battis ronde.[5]
     His body brused with many mortal wounde,
     As ever the martyr among his peynes alle,
     Meekly to Jhu for helpe began to calle.

     The cheef refuge and supportacion
     In his sufferance was humble pacience,
     Loved to his herte gaff consolation,
     With ghostly feer quickid the fervence.
     Ffor charite feeleth no violence,
     Ffor wher charite afforceth a corage
     Ther is of peyne fonde non outrage.

     The cursed Danys of new cruelte,
     This martyr took, most gracious and benign,
     Of hasty rancour bound him to a tree,
     As for their mark to sheete[6] at and ther signe
     And in this wise ageyne him ther maline
     Made hym with arwis[7] of ther malis most wikked
     Rassemble an yrchon[8] fulfilled with spryngs[9] thkke.”

His head was cast into a forest and, as the story goes, was miraculously
discovered and found to be guarded by a wolf. It was then buried with
the body at the village of Hoxne where it remained until 903. In this
year, “the precious, undefiled, uncorrupted body of the glorious king
and martyr” was translated to the care of the secular priests at
Beodericsworth, since when the town has been called St Edmundsbury in
memory of the sainted monarch. Other wonderful traditions are associated
with the shrine of St Edmund. Sweyn, the violent Danish king, coming in
hot pursuit of a woman who had claimed sanctuary, was miraculously
killed by an imaginary spear which came out of the shrine when he was
about to seize the woman who was clinging to its side. Bishop
Herfastus, too, was struck blind, when on a visit to the abbot, in the
attempt to establish his new See in the monastical demesne, and
afterwards miraculously healed. For centuries the highest in the land
brought gifts and laid them before the venerated shrine.

Canute was the actual founder of the monastery proper, for in the 11th
century he brought over Benedictine monks from Hulm, granting them a
charter and many benefactions. The monastery yearly became more
prosperous, and, with the exception of Glastonbury, exceeded in
magnificence and privileges all other ecclesiastical establishments in
the country. In the height of its glory it must have been a most
beautiful and dignified structure. Leland writes:--

     “A monastery more noble, whether one considers the endowments,
     largeness, or unparalleled magnificence, the sun never saw. One
     might think the monastery alone a city: it has three grand gates
     for entrances, some whereof are brass, many towers, high walls and
     a church than which nothing can be more magnificent.”

The immense minster with its lofty western and central towers rose above
the monastic buildings which were enclosed by a wall. To the north was a
great cloister with the various conventual offices, to the south-west
lay the cemetery and church of St Mary, while immediately before the
west front of the church stood the Norman tower leading to St James’

Sufficient is left of the reverend walls to convey some idea of the
former vastness of the abbey and its attendant buildings. Of the minster
itself little remains--some arches of the west front, now converted into
private houses, and the bases of the piers which supported the central
tower. The site of St Edmund’s chapel--the part of the building which
contained the famous and much visited shrine--is at the east end of the
church. Besides these relics of the minster, there still exists the
Norman tower--built during the time of Abbot Anselm and formerly known
as the principal entrance to the cemetery of St Edmund, and latterly as
the “Churchgate” and bell tower of St James’ church;--the abbot’s bridge
(Decorated) of three arches; portions of the walls; and the abbey
gateway. The latter was restored in 1327 after one of the many quarrels
between the monks and townspeople and is of rich Decorated work. Within
the extensive abbey demesne lie the churches of St James--another piece
of Anselm’s work--and St Mary. The latter was built by the parish folk.
A small portion of its west end protrudes beyond the abbey precincts and
was built thus with the intention of distinguishing it as the work of
the town and not of monastical enterprise. It is a beautiful and
imposing edifice in the Perpendicular style, and among its many beauties
is the unique waggon-roof of the chancel. The remains of Mary Tudor,
Queen of France, and afterwards those of Charles Brandon, Duke of
Suffolk, were brought from the abbey and reinterred there.

First among the abbots of Bury stands the name of Samson, “the wolf who
raged among the monks.” Many of the brothers had become entangled with
Jewish moneylenders in the 12th century, and Abbot Samson, while
protecting the Jews at the time of the massacre, discharged all the
debts of his house, established many new rules, and set a godly and
strenuous example to his followers. Later, in 1205, the chief barons met
at Bury in opposition to King John and swore at the second meeting, four
years later, in the presence of the King and Archbishop Langton, to
stand by their cause till the King should be induced to sign the Great
Charter, and to establish those liberties which we still enjoy.

    “Where the rude buttress totters to its fall,
     And ivy mantles o’er the crumbling wall;
     Where e’en the skilful eye can scarcely trace
     The once high altar’s lowly resting-place--
     Let patriotic fancy muse awhile
     Amid the ruins of this ancient pile--
     Six weary centuries have passed away;
     Palace and abbey moulder in decay--
     Cold Death enshrouds the learnèd and the brave--
     Langton--Fitzwalter--slumber in the grave.
     But still we read in deathless records how
     The high-soul’d priest confirmed the Barons’ vow
     And Freedom, unforgetful, still recites
     This second birthplace of our Native Rights.”
               J. W. DONALDSON and J. MUSKETT.

On the roll of illustrious visitors to the abbey are the names of Edward
the Confessor, who always dismounted and approached the gates on foot;
Richard I.; Henry I.; Henry II.; King John; Henry III.; Edward II.;
Edward III.; and Richard II. The visit of Henry VI., with his Queen,
took place during the rule of Abbot Curteys, at which time the poet
Lidgate was a member of the fraternity. The foul murder of Humphrey,
Duke of Gloucester, by the Duke of Suffolk (described by Shakespeare in
_Henry VI._) is supposed to have taken place in St Saviour’s Hospital,
which formed part of the abbey buildings. The writer, who had the
pleasure of viewing the pageant presented at Bury St Edmunds in 1907, on
a site near St Edmund’s chapel, was impressed by the historical fitness
of the environment as the procession of black-robed monks filed slowly
by, chanting an old Gregorian mode as they walked. Less realistic, if
more diverting, was the spectacle of tonsured figures darting in and out
of 20th century hostelries, and of Argyll cars filled with Roman and
Elizabethan ladies and driven possibly by an Edwardian knight. These
pageants, despite their incongruities, have much to commend them,
reminding the English people, as they cannot fail to do, of the sources
of their greatness, and illustrating to them so graphically the customs
of the so frequently regretted “good old times.”

WALTHAM (_Augustine Canons_)

     1017-35, Village and church founded by Tovi--1060, Rebuilt and
     endowed by Earl Harold--1117, Regular Canons appointed in place of
     secular Canons by Henry II.--1216-70, A favourite residence of
     Henry III.--1444, Campanile of the church struck by
     lightning--1539-40, Surrendered to Henry VIII. by Abbot Robert
     Fuller. Annual revenue, £170, 4s. 9d--The site granted to Sir
     Anthony Denny, eventually passing to the family of Sir William
     Wake, Bart., D.C.L.--1847-63, Church restored--1875, North aisle

Waltham, or Wealdham, from the Saxon “a dwelling near the forest,” an
ancient and quaint market town, lies on the great North road. Tovi,
standard-bearer to Canute, after building a few houses, set up a church
here in the 11th century in which the Holy Rood, accredited with
miraculous power, was guarded by priests. Dugdale in his _Monasticon_
states that Harold, when visiting Waltham, was healed of the palsy, and,
being overcome with gratitude, granted lands and endowments to the
priests, increased their number, rebuilt the church, and set up an
establishment for the furtherance of learning. Harold is supposed to
have been buried in Waltham Abbey after the battle of Senlac, “in
confirmation of which it is stated that in the reign of Elizabeth a rich
grey marble tomb was discovered, and from the pillarets which support
the cross fleury upon it, little doubt exists that it covered the
remains of the ill-fated Harold and his brothers” (Cassell’s
_Gazetteer_). This was situated at the end of the church near the altar,
and two inscriptions are ascribed to it, one of which is half a dozen
lines of Latin, the other, more simple and consequently impressive,
consists of two words, “Harold infelix.” The tomb was destroyed in 1540.

The venerable church was founded by a king of England; deprived of many
of its valuables by the Norman Conqueror; firmly established by the
Plantagenets--receiving both from Henry II. and Henry III. peculiar
marks of favour--and finally was overwhelmed by Henry VIII. It is said
that this monarch once visited the abbey in disguise, and after faring
well on the sirloin of beef set before him by the abbot, the latter
observed that he would give the king £100 if he too could enjoy his
food, and lamented the state of his digestion which even prevented him
from enjoying the breast of a chicken. Shortly after this the abbot was
forcibly taken to London and lodged in the Tower, where he for some time
enjoyed only bread and water for sustenance. At length a sirloin of beef
was brought, upon which he fed in a most hearty manner. At this point
King Henry strode into his cell and demanded £100, to which request the
unfortunate abbot very reluctantly was obliged to concede.

Apart from its old associations, the town of the present day is of no
special interest. Its streets are crooked and narrow and there is no
particularly attractive feature about either the town or the exterior of
the abbey church--one mile distant from the station. The present edifice
of Norman origin, and dedicated to St Mary and St Lawrence, has been
restored at various times since the Dissolution.

Of the early building practically only the nave remains--a very fine
specimen of Norman architecture. Of seven bays--the two easternmost of
which form the present chancel--and having massive circular columns with
chevron or spiral channels, it is somewhat akin to the nave of Durham
Cathedral. Other interesting features include the Lady chapel (now used
as a schoolroom), beneath which is a crypt--“the fairest,” says Fuller,
“that I ever saw,”--a chantry on the south-east side of the nave, of the
time of Henry VII., and the western tower, erected in 1556 after the
fall of the original tower. During the restoration of 1847 some fine
fresco paintings, composed of life-sized figures, were discovered on
the walls, and in 1875 the north aisle was added. There are several
monumental brasses in the church, and in the south aisle is a large tomb
to Sir E. Denny, Knight, and Margaret his wife, with recumbent effigies.
The site of the abbey passed into the possession of this family after
the Dissolution, then to the celebrated James Hay, Earl of Carlisle, and
lastly to the family of Sir W. Wake, Bart., D.C.L. A few walls, a small
bridge, and a gateway are all that remain of the monastery.





DORE (_Cistercian_)

     Founded and endowed by Robert, Earl of Ferrars, in the 12th
     century--1216, Certain lands given to the monastery by King
     John--1233, These endowments confirmed by Henry III. and the abbey
     church completed in his reign--15--, Dissolved. Annual revenue,
     £101, 5s. 2d.

This religious house, like many others of the Cistercian order, was
built in a secluded and beautiful spot. Though the architecture of the
Cistercian monasteries is not so ornamental or elaborate as those of the
Benedictines from whom they sprang, still their churches have a grandeur
and simplicity which immediately impress the visitor. Abbey Dore, on the
river Dore in Herefordshire, may indeed be included among the most
interesting and beautifully situated in England. To quote from _Our Own

     “It lies wholly in what may be called the sub-Alpine district of
     the Welsh border, where the undulations as yet rarely rise into
     prominent and well-defined hills. The scenery ... is worthy ... of
     the name it bears (‘golden valley’). The sky-line is usually rather
     level, the valley being excavated out of a plateau; the bounding
     hills, especially on the left bank, are commonly capped with woods.
     The slopes are often rather rapid, richly cultivated, varied by
     abundant hedgerow, timber and scattered copses, and as there is
     more arable than grass land, there are many changes in the dominant
     tints of the scenery, from the warm red of the bare soil in the
     winter to the rich gold of the ripened corn in the late summer. On
     the right bank many glimpses are caught of the long terrace-like
     line of the Black Mountains, whose dark bare sides contrast
     markedly with the cheerful richness of the nearer valley. Glancing
     backward the scene is more varied; the ridges of Graig and Garway
     hills and the undulating Saddlebow bound the view.”

Very little remains of the domestic buildings of the monastery--only a
portion of a passage abutting on the transept wall and indicating a
former “slype.” There are marks of two roofs high up on the same
transept wall, showing that the monks’ dormitory was probably there. The
nave of the original church is nothing but a ruin and the present church
consists only of the former choir, transepts and Lady chapel. John, Lord
Scudamore, preserved this portion in the year 1634, re-roofed it, and
after generously endowing it, restored it for the purposes of public
worship. The original vaulting fortunately still remains over the
chapels at the east end of the church. The pews, the oak screen, and
western gallery are of the 17th century. The most remarkable part of
this interesting abbey church is undoubtedly the east end, which is
square. Three lancet-windows, containing old stained glass, light the
upper part, under which are three pointed arches leading into an eastern
ambulatory. Beyond this are five chapels, three in the centre and two
others corresponding with the side aisles. The tower is peculiarly
situated at the eastern angle of the south transept. With the exception
of the east end, the whole structure is somewhat massive and
heavy--Norman work decidedly dominating over the Early English style.

There are some monuments still remaining in the church, including a
peculiar slab on which is the small figure of a bishop. Tradition says
that it commemorates a boy bishop, but on good authority it is stated
that it shows the “burial place of the heart of Bishop John Breton” of
the 13th century. The altar possesses great interest to the antiquarian.
It is a large slab supported by massive columns which are really
capitals of columns, probably discovered in the ruins and put to their
present use when the altar slab was recovered from the adjoining
farm-house where it is said to have been used for dairy purposes. When
Robert, Earl of Ferrars, founded the monastery, he endowed it with lands
“to hold free and quit of all secular service, by the rent of three
shillings yearly to be paid at the Feast of St. Peter and _ad vincula_;
and this was exprest to be given not only for the Health of the Souls of
his Ancestors and Heirs but also for the Peace and Stability of all
England and Wales.”--Dugdale’s _Monasticon_.

GLASTONBURY (_Mitred Benedictine_)

     31 A.D. St Joseph of Arimathæa, with other disciples of St Philip,
     lands on the south-west coast of England, preaches Christianity to
     the people, and builds a church on land given him by King
     Arviragus--433-472, St Patrick becomes first abbot and in a great
     measure founds the abbey--_c._ 520, Glastonbury saved from
     destruction by King Arthur, who resists the Saxons at Mount
     Badon--_c._ 530, A chapel built at the east end of the old church
     by St David, for use as a chancel--_c._ 597, Augustine, Archbishop
     of Canterbury, introduces the Benedictine order into England; its
     rules observed in Glastonbury--630, Paulinus of York encases in
     boards of lead the wattled basilica of St Joseph’s chapel--719, The
     great church, dedicated to St Peter and St Paul, built by King
     Ina--946, The abbey practically refounded by Dunstan after being
     despoiled by the Danes--106--, Abbey partially despoiled by war and
     Thurstan appointed abbot--1102-20, A Norman church built by Abbot
     Herlwin and Abbot Henry de Blois, nephew of Henry I.--1184, The new
     structure consumed by a disastrous fire, and another building begun
     by Henry II. and completed in 1303--1539, Dissolved--Richard
     Whiting, last abbot, hung on the Tor by order of Henry VIII. Annual
     revenue, £3311, 7s. 4d.

Though, once surrounded by fenland, the abbey of Glastonbury--a
veritable treasure-house of legendary

[Illustration: GLASTONBURY.]

lore--stands now amid orchards and level pasture lands engirt by the
river Bure. The majestic Tor overshadows this spot, where, undoubtedly,
the first British Christian settlement was established. The name of the
builder of the first early church can never be ascertained, so that in
want of more substantial evidence, the old legend of St Joseph of
Arimathæa must be accepted, however slight its claims to historical
authority. Certain it is that Christianity was introduced into this land
on the island of Yniswytryn, or “Isle of Glass” (so called on account of
its crystal streams), in the very early centuries. According to the
Arthurian legends, St Philip, Lazarus, Martha, Mary and Joseph of
Arimathæa, having been banished by their countrymen, journeyed to
Marseilles, from whence Joseph, with twelve companions and holy women,
was sent by St Philip to Britain. They landed on the south-west coast
and made their way to Glastonbury, then Avalon (and so named in allusion
to its apple orchards), and by means of preaching and many miraculous
deeds persuaded the people to adopt Christianity. Gaining the goodwill
of King Arviragus, they built a church of wattle and twigs on the ground
given to them by their royal patron. The Benedictine, with its later
developments in Norman times of Augustine and Cluniac orders, was the
first religious order introduced into this country. It was instituted in
Italy early in the 6th century by St Benedict of Nursia. Many
monasteries established before the Conquest came under its sway and
were, centuries later, after the Dissolution, converted into Cathedral

A sharp distinction should be drawn between the monasteries established
previous to the Conquest and those subsequently founded by the
Cistercian and other orders. The former were national houses--in every
way belonging to the English people and untouched by Papal influence;
while the latter, which were under the immediate control of the Bishop
of Rome, were essentially of foreign foundation.

     “It cannot be a mere coincidence that the monastery churches still
     in use are almost invariably of pre-Norman origin and generally of
     the Benedictine order--the only exceptions being the public portion
     of churches belonging to ‘foreign’ monasteries which had supplanted
     a pre-Norman parish church.... National and anti-national
     foundations alike were overwhelmed in the general dissolution; but
     while the ‘foreign’ monasteries were all destroyed absolutely ...
     many of the old Norman minsters continue to be used for the
     services of the Church of England”--_English Church History_ (Rev.

Glastonbury, “first ground of the saints, the rise and foundation of all
religion in the land,” is the earliest and most important Benedictine
centre in England; and though, owing to the depredations of men and the
wear and tear of time, services are not held now within its ruined
walls, it still holds first place among the ecclesiastical monuments in
this country. Coel, King of the Britons; Caradercus, Duke of Cornwall;
King Arthur and Guinevere his Queen; Kings Kintevymus, Edmund, Edgar,
and Edmund Ironside were buried here, as well as other great personages
of Church and State.

     “In so great reverence was the church and churchyard held where
     these were interred that our forefathers did not dare to use any
     idle discourse or to spit therein without great necessity. Enemies
     and naughty men were not suffered to be buried therein, neither did
     any bring any Hawk, Dog or Horse upon the ground, for if they did,
     it was observed that they immediately died thereupon.”--Dugdale’s

King Ina, persuaded by St Aldhelm, rebuilt and re-endowed the abbey in
the 8th century, renounced his royal state, and lived as an ordinary
civilian, being induced to do so by extraordinary devices on the part
of his wife Ethelburh. On one occasion, after King Ina had given a great
feast to his barons, he and his queen left the castle and proceeded to
another of the royal residences. Before leaving, Ethelburh had commanded
the servants to strip the castle of all its valuables, furniture, etc.,
and to fill it with rubbish and to put a litter of pigs in the king’s
bed. A short distance on their journey, Ethelburh persuaded the king to
return, and showing him over the desecrated palace, exhorted him to
consider the utter worthlessness of all earthly splendour and the
advisability of joining her on a pilgrimage to Rome. Impressed by her
words, Ina acted as she advised, and later endowed a school in Rome in
which Anglo-Saxon children might become acquainted with the customs of
foreign countries. Ina and Ethelburh spent the remainder of their days
in privacy in the Holy City.

The famous Dunstan, one of the greatest of ecclesiastical statesmen, was
born in Glastonbury, and after proving his many marvellous capabilities
and aptitude for learning, was made abbot of the Benedictine house in
his native town in the reign of Edmund the Magnificent. Many strange
stories are told of him--the most fantastic perhaps being that of his
interview with the natural enemy of man, the Devil himself, during which
the reverend man became either so irritated or terrified that he was
provoked to seize the nose of his ghostly visitor with a pair of red-hot
pincers. Dunstan staunchly supported all the reforms introduced by Odo,
Archbishop of Canterbury, and in particular the enforcing of more rigid
rules upon the clergy or “seculars” in the matter of marriage. The monks
or “regulars,” sworn to a life of celibacy, considered that the
“seculars” should be subject to similar restrictions. In this matter,
Odo’s motives were deeper and more pecuniary than were at first
apparent. After the quarrel between the two parties had raged for many
years, the “regulars” gained the victory, and much ecclesiastical
property changed hands consequent on a large number of the clergy being
compelled to enter the monasteries. William the Conqueror despoiled the
abbey of much of its property at the beginning of his reign, but later
he relented somewhat. Thurstan, a Norman, was appointed abbot, and the
monks declining to conform to new musical rules which he enforced in
tyrannical fashion, Thurstan summoned soldiers into the sacred building
and ruthlessly killed many of the monks.

Though the ruins of Glastonbury are somewhat scanty, they possess an
attraction unrivalled for the antiquarian. Of the abbey church only the
east piers of the central tower, a single east bay of both transepts
with triforium and clerestory, the south wall of the choir, part of the
south nave aisle, and the chapel of St Mary remain. The latter is
situated in the north transept. The church was originally cruciform,
consisting of nave with aisles; north and south transepts with north
aisles (containing eastern chapels) and an apsidal east end. The abbot’s
stone kitchen, octangular in shape with a pyramidical roof, and built in
the 14th century by John de Chinnock, contains four huge fireplaces and
is the most perfect portion left of the former magnificent monastery.
The chapel of St Joseph of Arimathæa, beneath which is a large crypt,
stands to the west of the church.

The fame belonging to this noble foundation exceeded that of any other
great building in England. An old writer tells us, “Kings and queens,
not only of the west Saxons, but of other kingdoms; several archbishops
and bishops; many dukes; and the nobility of both sexes thought
themselves happy in increasing the revenues of this venerable house, to
ensure themselves a place of burial therein.” The story of the burial of
St Joseph of Arimathæa at Glastonbury, to us a mere shadowy legend, was
accepted as a fact in the early English ages, and that it figured in the
mind of these worthies as endowing Glastonbury with extraordinary
sanctity, is beyond doubt.

At the time of the Dissolution no corruption whatever was revealed at
Glastonbury, nor any blame recorded against its management. It was still
doing splendid work, having daily services and extending its educational
influence for miles around. There was but scanty comfort for its
inmates, who rested on a straw mattress and bolster on their narrow
bedstead in a bare cell, and whose food, duties and discipline were
marked by an austere simplicity. Nor were they idle, these monks of
Glastonbury,--some taught in the abbey school, others toiled in the
orchards, and the beauty of the stained glass, designed within the abbey
walls, found fame far and wide. Richard Whiting was Abbot of Glastonbury
when in 1539 Henry VIII. ordered inquiries to be made into the condition
and property of the abbey. Although he recognised the monarch as supreme
head of the church, he respected the Glastonbury traditions and met the
“visitors” in a spirit of passive resistance. With the object of
preserving them from desecration, the abbot had concealed some of the
communion vessels, and for this offence the venerable man was tried, and
condemned to death. His head, white with the touch of eighty years, was
fixed upon the abbey gate, and the rest of his body quartered and sent
to Bath, Wells, Bridgwater and Ilchester. The abbey building--one of the
most perfect examples of architecture in the land--served as a stone
quarry, much of the material being used to make a road over the fenland
from Glastonbury to Wells. The revenue at the time of the Dissolution
was over £3000, a big income in those days.

BATH (_Benedictine_)

The history of Bath Abbey is tersely and comprehensively put on a brass
tablet on the lower part of the screen which admits to the south aisle
of the chancel. It may serve in lieu of the ordinary table of notable
events concerning the abbey, for it runs as follows:--

     “In 775 the first Cathedral was built by King Offa.

     In 973 King Edgar was crowned therein.

     About 1010 the church was destroyed by Sweyne the Dane,

     And rebuilt by John de Villula, 1018-1122.

     In 1137 partly destroyed by fire, it was subsequently restored by
     Bishop Robert, 1136-1166.

     In 1499, then in a ruinous state, was taken down, and Bishop King
     and Prior Bird began to build the present structure, which was not
     completed for public worship until 1616.

     In 1834 the Corporation of Bath carried out extensive repairs and
     removed adjoining buildings which for many years disfigured the

     In 1864 the Reverend Charles Venable, aided by public
     subscriptions, began the work of restoration under the direction of
     Sir Gilbert Scott, R.A.”

No English county is richer in Roman remains than Somersetshire, and
with only a few exceptions they are all to be found in Bath. In the
early days of their occupation the Romans discovered the value of the
hot springs and cleared the rough and primitive British dwellings to
erect in their place a splendid city. The Roman baths, which have been
unearthed quite recently, bear distinct witness to the early celebrity
of the city. These remains cover but a small part of the original site,
because it has been calculated the baths alone must have covered an area
of seven acres, and in addition there would be the lounges, pleasure
grounds, and the villas of the Roman residents. The earliest name of the
city of which there is any record is Aquæ Solis--“the waters of the
sun.” A temple to a British deity, Sul (thought by the Romans to be the
same as their own Sol) has been found near the hot springs. When,
therefore, the conquerors built their temple at Aquæ Solis they linked
the name of their Goddess Minerva with the British Sul, and on the site
of this temple to Sul-Minerva was erected the church of St Peter and St
Paul. The nave is the only portion left of the original abbey church.

The present church is a very striking example of the late Perpendicular
period--a period of straight lines and huge windows. The building, as it
stands, dates from as near as possible 1500, when it was commenced by
Bishop Oliver King. It was completed by Bishop Montague in 1616, and a
restoration was effected by Sir Gilbert Scott in 1864. The west front,
which pictures in sculpture the dream of Bishop Oliver King, is not only
one of the grandest, but one of the most singular pieces of architecture
in existence. The vision commemorated was one of the Holy Trinity with
angels going up and down a ladder, a crown and an olive
tree--interpreted by the bishop as a message to him to rebuild the

In the churchyard is a pump room, a classical building upwards of a
century old, and bearing on its pediment a Greek inscription, the
translation of which is “Best on the one hand is water.” The room was
built at the suggestion of Beau Nash, the famous organiser of pleasure
and the character most intimately associated with the “renaissance” of
Bath. He became the uncrowned king of the city and his plans were
accepted as law. When it was proposed to place a full length portrait of
this “Bathoniæ elegantiæ arbiter,” as he is styled, on his monument,
between small busts of Sir Isaac Newton and the poet Pope, Lord
Chesterfield made fun of Nash in the oft-repeated epigram:

    “Immortal Newton never spoke
     More truth than here you’ll find:
     Nor Pope himself ere penned a joke
     Severer on mankind.
     This picture placed these busts between
     Gives satire all its strength;
     Wisdom and wit are little seen
     But Folly at full length.”

Among the many pithy epitaphs to be seen on the tablets and slabs inside
the abbey church, one, almost hidden in the north aisle of the chancel,
and written by Garrick on Quin the actor, is characteristic of the
punning tendency of the time:

    “That tongue which set the table in a roar
     And charmed the public ear is heard no more;
     Closed are those eyes, the harbingers of wit,
     Which spake before the tongue what Shakespeare writ;
     Cold is that hand which living was stretched forth
     At friendship’s call to succour modest worth.
     Here lies James Quin: deign reader to be taught
     Whate’er thy strength of body, force of thought,
     In nature’s happiest mould however cast,
     To this complexion thou must come at last.”
             Ob. MDCCLXVI Etates LXXV.

TEWKESBURY (_Mitred Benedictine_)

     715, Monastery founded by two brothers, Oddo and Doddo, Dukes of
     Mercia, on the site of the cell inhabited by Theocus, a
     hermit--1102, Refounded and endowed by Robert Fitz-Hamon as a
     Benedictine abbey--Church and monastery built--1123, Church
     consecrated--1539, Dissolved. Annual revenue, £1598 1s.
     3d.--Conventual buildings destroyed but church purchased by the
     parishioners--John Wakeman, last abbot, retires on a pension and
     becomes first Bishop of Gloucester--1875, Church restored by Sir
     Gilbert Scott.

The ruins of this abbey church of a former Benedictine monastery stand
overshadowed by the glorious Malvern hills in a beautiful valley in
Gloucestershire, through which flow the Avon and Severn with two
tributaries. The rich colouring of the country side and the ever varying
tints of the surrounding hills make the environment of Tewkesbury one
of singular beauty--a perfect setting for the abbey with its imposing
Norman tower, one of the most perfect of the kind in England.

The whole building is essentially Norman in spite of the addition of
Early English, Decorated, and Perpendicular work. The nave of eight bays
is of exceptional length, being divided from its aisles by seven massive
columns and having both triforium and clerestory. The groined vaulting
dates from the 14th century. There are also north and south transepts,
the latter having an eastern apsidal chapel; a choir of two bays, while
the ambulatory is surrounded by four polygonal chapels. The massive and
lofty tower was erected in 1130. Immediately beneath it is inserted a
brass to Edward, son of Henry VI., who was foully murdered after the
battle of Tewkesbury in 1471. This battle, so fatal to the cause of the
Red Rose, was fought in a field within half a mile of Tewkesbury, long
after known as the Bloody Meadow. Many of the wounded sought refuge in
the abbey, only to be dragged forth, after a few days, to their
execution in the market place.

Among the many structural beauties which abound in Tewkesbury, none
reflect more credit on the design and workmanship of mediæval times than
the seven beautiful pointed windows of the choir. The ancient stained
glass which fills in these windows is of priceless value--the purity of
its colouring excelling the very best modern work. Much of the original
glazing has disappeared--that which remains has occupied its place for
over four and a half centuries and is a highly prized possession. The
window on the north exhibits Fitz-Hamon, the Norman knight who liberally
endowed the abbey at the time of its rebuilding in 1102 and was mortally
wounded at the siege of Falaise.

Probably the most interesting part of the abbey church to ordinary
visitors are the chapels and monuments, which suffered serious injury in
the 16th and 17th centuries, but were repaired in the later centuries.
Many lords of Tewkesbury, including members of the family of Clare,
Despenser, and Beauchamp, are interred in the church, while on the south
side of the choir are the remains of what were at one time probably the
memorials of every abbot of Tewkesbury from Giraldus to John Wakeman.
The Clarence vault is supposed to contain the remains of George, Duke of
Clarence, who was mysteriously put to death in the Tower of London by
his brother Edward IV. It is said that having been allowed to choose the
manner of his death, the Duke elected to be drowned in a butt of Malmsey
wine. Adjoining the church is the abbey house--formerly the infirmary of
the monastery; and west of this again is the embattled gate-house, built
in the 14th and 15th centuries by Abbot Parker. Tewkesbury was the last
of the religious houses of Gloucestershire to surrender to the
commissioners of Henry VIII. Its annual revenue at the time amounted to
a sum equivalent to about £40,000 of the present day--a third of which
was allotted as pensions to the abbot and monks. The present beautiful
church, deemed to be superfluous and consequently ordered to be
destroyed, was bought from the king by the people of Tewkesbury. It has
undergone frequent restorations, no less than £25,000 having been
expended on it between the years 1875 and 1892, while at the present
time an effort is being made to restore the grand west front--one of the
most beautiful examples of ancient church architecture in England.

[Illustration: TINTERN.]

TINTERN (_Cistercian_)

     1131, Founded by Richard de Bienfaite--Colonised by monks from
     L’Anmone--In the reign of Henry III., William, Marshal of England
     and Earl of Pembroke, “Confirmed to God and the Blessed Mary of
     Tyntern and to the abbot and monks there all the lands and revenues
     given to them by his ancestors” (Dugdale’s _Monasticon_)--1287, The
     building of the abbey church begun--153--, Dissolved. Annual
     revenue, £193, 1s. 4d. Site given to present owners, the Earls of

More than one great artist has immortalised the secluded vale, where, on
a bend of the Wye and surrounded by wooded hills, the ruins of Tintern
Abbey stand. The sombre-looking heights, which close in to the east and
west, create the atmosphere of loneliness and separation from the world
so sought after by the Cistercian monks, who doubtless found inspiration
in the grandeur of the surrounding mountains and in the peacefulness of
the sweet valley below. Though the church of the Early English abbey is
roofless and the central tower gone, the noble structure, with its many
graceful arches, seems to attest to the spirit of religious fervour and
devotion so intimately associated with the history of its grey and
lichen-covered walls.

The finest part of the ruins is undoubtedly the church, which, with the
exception of the roof and the north piers of the nave, still stands
complete. It has a nave of six bays with aisles, a choir of four bays
with aisles, the transepts with eastern aisles having two chapels. A
transverse Galilee stood formerly beyond the western entrance. In the
north transept are remains of the dormitory stairs, and on this side the
cloisters too were situated. The aumbry, parlour, sacristy,
chapter-house, slype to the infirmary, day-stairs to dormitory and
undercroft were on the east side of the cloisters; the postern and river
gate, over which was the abbot’s lodge on the north side, and also the
buttery, refectory and kitchen. The delicacy of design and execution to
be seen in the ruins is unrivalled in the kingdom--the tracery of the
windows being particularly fine. The ruined church possesses the grace
and lightness of architecture peculiar to the 12th century, and is, even
in its decay, of truly sublime and grand proportions. Time has been
unable to obliterate the skilful work of our forefathers, for the Early
English transition arches, the delicate moulding, and the exquisite
stone tracery in the windows still delight the eye.

The history of Tintern is almost a hidden page in the chronicles of
time. On the surrender of Raglan Castle to the Cromwellian troops by the
Marquis of Worcester, the Castle was razed to the ground, and with it
were lost the abbey records, which had been taken from Tintern when the
abbey was granted to the Marquis’ ancestor by Henry VIII. It is known,
however, that the first foundation on the site was in the hands of a
cousin of William the Conqueror, Richard de Bienfaite by name. He
founded the abbey in 1131, and was succeeded by his nephew, Gilbert
“Strongbow.” His granddaughter Isabel married the then Earl of Pembroke,
and her daughter, marrying Hugh Bigod, brought the estates to the ducal
house of Norfolk.

LLANTHONY (_Augustine Canons_)

     1103, William, a retainer and kinsman of Hugh de Lacy, retires to
     the small chapel once inhabited by St David on this spot; leads the
     life of a hermit, and is joined by Ernisius, Chaplain to Queen
     Maud--1108, A small church erected and dedicated to St John the
     Baptist by the Bishop of the Diocese, the Bishop of Hereford--After
     some time a brotherhood formed of black Augustine Canons brought
     from the monasteries at Mereton, Trinity Priory in London and
     Colchester--Ernisius is made prior--1136, The monks driven from the
     monastery owing to the hostility of the Welsh and given new ground
     near Gloucester by Milo, Earl of Hereford, on which they erect a
     new church--1150, The present edifice at Llanthony built by Prior
     William of Wycombe--1482-83, Edward IV. gives the priory of
     Llanthony and all the lands appertaining to it to the prior of the
     house at Gloucester--1539, Both houses dissolved. Annual revenue
     £648, 19s. 11d.--1807, The priory at Llanthony purchased by Walter
     Landon, the eminent writer--1870, Father Ignatius builds a
     monastery for monks and nuns near Llanthony Abbey.

    “’Mongst Hatterill’s lofty hills that with the clouds are crowned
     The valley Ewias lies immersed so deep and round
     As they below that see the mountains rise so high
     Might think the straggling herds were grazing in the sky.
     Where in an aged cell with moss and ivy grown,
     In which not to this day the sun hath ever shone,
     The reverend British saint, in zealous ages past
     To contemplation lived and did so truly fast
     As he did drink what crystal Hodney yields
     And fed upon the leeks he gathered in the fields,
     In memory of whom, in the revolving year
     The Welchman on his day that sacred herb do wear.”
               DRAYTON’S _Polyolbion_.

St David, patron saint of Wales, the British saint alluded to in these
lines, is supposed to have been an uncle of the renowned King Arthur.
With the consent of his royal nephew, St David removed the bishop’s seat
from Cærlon to Menevia, founded many monasteries, and helped to further
the rebuilding of Glastonbury Abbey. Although it cannot be claimed that
he actually founded Llanthony Abbey still the site of his ruined cell
there may have helped to influence the young Norman knight, who, passing
through the lovely valley of Ewyas, was so deeply impressed and inspired
by the beauty of the district that he resolved to lay aside his arms, to
retire to this already consecrated spot and to devote the remainder of
his days to prayer and meditation. The stillness of the ancient
battlefield, the awful grandeur of the surrounding hills, and all the
religious and historical associations of the place must have had at
least the attraction of novelty to William de Lacy--a man of the world,
accustomed to the gaiety and excitement of the court of Henry I. Not
long elapsed before another courtier, Ernisius, chaplain to Queen Maud,
became wearied of his many social duties, and journeying to William’s
retreat, implored the hermit-knight to allow him to join in his monastic
life. William and Ernisius erected a small church and enjoyed the
patronage of Hugh de Lacy.

A pretty story is told in connection with the early days of the
monastery. Roger, Bishop of Sarum, so vividly described to Henry I. the
picturesque situation of the abbey, the devoted work performed by its
inmates and the grand proportions of its church, that, shortly after,
the King and Queen visited the new foundation. Pretending to finger
William’s coarse robe, the kindly Queen placed some money within its
folds, but shrank back hastily when coming into contact with the rough
hair cloth and iron belt worn by the holy recluse round his body. In
course of time the number of monks increased considerably, the rules of
St Augustine were observed, and Ernisius made prior. Robert de Betun,
successor to Ernisius, and later Bishop of Hereford, entered the
monastery under the following romantic conditions:--Caught in a severe
snowstorm on the perilous mountains, he, a young Fleming, had given up
any hope of his life and was just about to succumb to the resistless
longing to lie down and sleep, when, hearing the bells of Llanthony, he
felt encouraged to rouse himself, and, after a terrible struggle,
succeeded in reaching the abbey gate. The honour of promotion was lost
sight of by Prior Robert in his heartbreaking grief at leaving his
beloved monastery. Looking back on its sacred walls from the Hatterill
Hills, he burst into tears at the thought of leaving all he loved best
on earth. The brotherhood at Llanthony included amongst others Walter de
Gloucester, Earl of Hereford and Constable of England, who laid aside
all worldly honours and assuming the cowl, spent the rest of his life in
the monastery. His son Milo, hearing that the monks were being attacked
by the Welsh, gave them a tract of land near Gloucester in the 12th
century, where the monastery was re-established and a new church built,
still known however by the name of Llanthony. The monks speedily
transferred their affection to their new habitation, and, according to
Dugdale, despoiled their original house in Monmouthshire. “They also
became very licentious in their way of living. During this, William, the
prior, falling into troubles and vexation as well with the canons of his
house as Roger, Earl of Hereford, the patron, was forced to resign his
office, to whom succeeded Clement, the sub-prior. This man reformed the
abuses that were in the monastery, especially as to the church service.”
King John and Edward II. confirmed to the Canons of Llanthony the
several lands and revenues given them by their benefactors, and Edward
IV. merged the two foundations into one and enforced certain conditions.

Of the original abbey church only the Early English west front (flanked
by two massive towers), the north side of nave, detached portions of the
north transept, the complete south transept, and parts of central tower,
remain. Eight pointed arches span the north side of the nave, but only
two remain at the extreme ends of the opposite side. Both aisles have
disappeared. The proportions of the entire foundation are noble in the
extreme, especially those of the church. Here the monks adjusted the
roofs so that an echo might be obtained of the singing, and throughout
the building, with its spacious design and perfection of detail, every
care and the greatest skill is manifested. Adjoining the south transept
is the Early English chapter-house; the ruins of the refectory and guest
house are now used as a garden.





DORCHESTER (_Augustine Canons_)

     635, St Birinus, sent to Britain by Pope Honorius, converts
     Cynegils, King of the west Saxons; is consecrated Bishop of
     Dorchester, and builds many churches in the district--After the
     Conquest, William the Conqueror gives the Bishopric of Dorchester
     to Remigus, a monk of Feschamp in Normandy--1140, Monastery founded
     by Alexander, third Bishop of Lincoln, for Augustine Canons--1205,
     King John visits the abbey-1300, South choir aisle added--The monks
     extend the chancel--1330, South aisle of nave added and used as the
     parish church--_c._ 1400, East end added--15--, Dissolved--East end
     of the church purchased by a relation of the last abbot for £140,
     to prevent its being pulled down and used for building purposes.
     Annual revenue, £677, 1s. 2d.

The illustrious pile of Dorchester Church stands on the northern bank of
the gently flowing river Frome. From the east end of the building the
land slants rapidly down to the river side, whilst on either side of the
body of the church is pleasant meadow land--the former site, probably,
of the conventual buildings. All that remains of these is the guest
house to the west of the church. The old Saxon cathedral, used now as
the parish church of a country town, is an irregular building, and
consists of a nave (Norman) with a south aisle--once used by the monks
as their parish church, and containing an altar raised upon three deep
steps above which is a blocked-up window--choir (Decorated), having a
perfect east window with a protruding central shaft, and also a “Jesse”
window on the north side; south choir aisle, in which are two chapels,
recently repaired by Sir Gilbert Scott; north choir aisle (part of which
is probably Norman work, having a walled-up door to the west--formerly
the entrance to the cloisters); a western tower, low and massive in
structure and partly Norman work; and lastly, a Perpendicular porch on
the south-west angle of the building. Undoubtedly the east end of the
church is the most strikingly beautiful part of the edifice.

Exquisite stained glass, and perfect carving of the stone-work in the
windows, graceful daintiness of the architecture, costly embroideries
and delicate laces on the altars, are among the many beauties of this
old abbey church. The “Jesse” window mentioned above is unique. It is of
four lights and has intersecting tracery above.

     “The centre mullion represents a trunk of a tree with branches
     ornamented with foliage crossing over the other mullions to the
     outside jambs. At the foot of the tree is the recumbent figure of
     Jesse, and at each intersection is a sculptured figure, while
     others are painted on the glass between; the whole forming a
     complete genealogical tree of the House of David. The effigy of the
     King is at the bottom right hand corner, but those representing our
     Lord and the Virgin Mary have both disappeared. The figures are
     very quaint and of various sizes; some of those painted in the
     window still have their names beneath, while most of the others in
     stone-work have scrolls on which the name was once painted.”--HENRY
     W. TAUNT, Esq.

The canopied sedilia and double piscina on the south wall of the chancel
are both beautiful specimens of early work--the stained glass in the
former being the oldest in the building. Many interesting monuments
remain, including several stone effigies of knights; a judge of great
note; and of Æschwine, Bishop of Dorchester, 979-1002. Monumental
brasses too were formerly very plentiful, but, with a few exceptions,
have been either ruthlessly destroyed or stolen for money-making
purposes at various times. That of Sir Richard Bewfforest, Abbot of
Dorchester (1510), dressed as an Augustine canon, lies near the chancel
rails on the north side. He was one of the last abbots of the monastery.
There is also part of a once magnificent brass to Sir John Drayton,
1417, a portion of another to “William Tanner, Richard Bewfforest and
their wife Margaret” (1513), and one of a female figure belonging to
“Robert Bedford and Alice his wife” (1491). Only a few shields of other
brasses remain, but to the antiquarian the casements of these beautiful
memorials contain much that is interesting, showing as they do the
diverse and unique character these lost monuments once possessed. Six of
the Dorchester bells bear many signs of great antiquity and two more
have recently been added. The tradition connected with the former is,

    “Within the sound of the great bell
     No snake nor adder e’er shall dwell,”

and is attributed to the belief that Birinus was “stung to death with

DALE (_Augustine and Præmonstratensian Canons_)

     1160, Founded by Augustine Canons--Dedicated to the Virgin
     Mary--Twice refounded for monks of the Præmonstratensian
     order--1539, Dissolved.

As so little is standing of this religious establishment, a few words
will describe its chief features. The ruins consist only of the arch of
the great east window of the chapel, some foundations, bases of pillars
and various other relics. The chapel, consisting of nave and chancel, is
supposed to have been built, together with the house--now a farm-house
peculiarly situated under the same roof as the chapel--by Ralph, the
son of Geremund, for a poor hermit whom he found living in a forest
cave (the cell can still be seen) close by. Subsequently Serle de
Grendon invited canons from Kalke, who came then to Deepdale and
established the monastery. Many privileges and immunities were granted
to them by the church authorities in Rome, and the abbey was visited at
different times by persons of all ranks, some of whom became benefactors
to the house.

Howitt, in his _Forest Minstrel_, sketches the history of Dale and the
conduct of its inmates thus--

    “The devil one night as he chanced to sail
     In a wintry wind by the abbey of Dale
     Suddenly stopped and looked with surprise
     That a structure so fair in that valley should rise.
     When last he was there it was lonely and still
     And the hermitage scooped in the side of a hill
     With its wretched old inmate his beads a-telling
     Were all he found of life, dweller, or dwelling.
     The hermit was seen in the rock no more;
     The nettle and dock had sprung up at the door;
     And each window the fern and the harts’ tongue hung o’er,
     Within ’twas dampness and nakedness all;
     The Virgin, as fair and holy a block
     As ever yet stood in the niche of a rock,
     Had fallen to the earth, and was broke in the fall.
     The holy cell’s ceiling, in idle hour
     When haymakers sought it to ’scape from the shower
     Was scored by their forks in a thousand scars--
     Wheels and crackers, ovals and stars.
     But by the brook in the valley below
     St Mary of Dale! what a lordly show!
     The abbey’s proud arches and windows bright
     Glittered and gleamed in the full moonlight.”

But that later corruption set in among these Augustine monks is evident,
for Howitt continues that the monks

              “Forsook missal and mass
    To chant o’er a bottle or shrive a lass;
    No matins bell called them up in the morn,
    But the yell of the hounds and the sound of the horn;
    No penance the monk in his cell could stay
    But a broken leg or a rainy day.”

They were then expelled from Deepdale and Præmonstratensian monks soon
filled their place. John Staunton, last abbot, with 16 monks surrendered
the abbey in 1539. A full account of the history of this monastic house
was written by one of the monks, and through these manuscripts more
particulars can be learned of this abbey than of any other in Derby.

NEWSTEAD (_Augustine Canons_)

     1170, Founded by Henry II.--1540, Dissolved. Annual revenue, £167,
     16s. 11d.--Demesne granted to Sir John Byron, Lieut. of Sherwood
     Forest, by Henry VIII.--1818, Sold to Colonel Wildman, who enlarges
     and restores the abbey.--Again restored.

Just as Buckland Abbey possesses more than an ordinary interest in that
it became the home of Sir Francis Drake after the Dissolution, so
Newstead Abbey boasts a dual attraction. For besides being imbued with
the romance and legendary lore inseparable from monastic houses, it
came, after the Dissolution of the monasteries, into the possession of
the Byron family, and, passing into the hands of the first Lord Byron
(1643), then to the “wicked” Lord Byron (1722-98), it eventually became
the home of Lord Byron the poet. Most picturesquely placed on the
borders of Sherwood Forest, the Newstead Abbey of to-day takes more the
form of a private residence than of a monastic ruin. Its undulating and
beautifully wooded grounds, containing two sheets of water, extend over
many acres. Very little is known of the early history of the abbey
beyond the fact that Henry II. built and endowed it in expiation of the
murder of Thomas à Becket, and that King John extended his patronage to
the house. The modern attraction that Newstead possesses dates from its
coming into the hands of the Byrons. The first owner, Sir John Byron,
known as “Little John with the great beard,” adapted a portion of the
monastic buildings to a private residence, and in the reign of Charles
I. the south aisle of the church was converted into a library and
reception room.

With the exception of the exceedingly beautiful west front of Early
English workmanship, the rest of the church has been allowed to fall
into decay. The house itself, so greatly enriched by the poet Byron, is
made up of the various monastic offices. The present grand dining-room
was once the refectory of the monks, while the original guest chamber,
with its grand vaulting, is now converted into the servants’
dining-hall, and the old dormitory into a drawing-room. No alteration
has been made in Byron’s arrangements of the abbot’s apartments. Several
rooms are still named after the English monarchs who have at various
times slept in them. The chapter-house--a building of remarkable beauty
to the east of the cloisters--is now used as a chapel for the
convenience of the household and tenantry. Within can be seen some
richly stained glass and other features of interest. Newstead passed at
Byron’s death into the possession of his friend and colleague Colonel
Wildman, who greatly restored it. Sir Richard Phillips, in his _Personal
Tour_, relates that--

     “Colonel Wildman was a schoolfellow in the same form as Lord Byron
     at Harrow School. In adolescence they were separated at college,
     and in manhood by their pursuits; but they lived in friendship. If
     Lord Byron was constrained by circumstances to allow Newstead to be
     sold, the fittest person living to become its proprietor was his
     friend Colonel Wildman. He was not a cold and formal possessor of
     Newstead, but, animated even with the feelings of Byron, he took
     possession of it as a place consecrated by many circumstances of
     times and persons, and above all, by the attachment of his friend
     Byron. The high spirited poet, however, ill brooked the necessity
     of selling an estate entailed in his family since the Reformation
     (but lost to him and the family by the improvidence of a
     predecessor), and retiring into Tuscany, there indulged in those
     splenetic feelings which mark his later writings.”

No more vivid picture of Newstead has been penned than that of Byron’s
in the 13th canto of _Don Juan_--

    “To Norman Abbey whirl’d the noble pair,
     An old, old monastery once, and now
     Still older mansion,--of a rich and rare
     Mix’d Gothic, such as artists all allow
     Few specimens yet left us can compare
     Withal; it lies perhaps a little low,
     Because the monks preferred a hill behind,
     To shelter their devotion from the wind.

    “It stood embosom’d in a happy valley,
     Crown’d by high woodlands, where the Druid oak
     Stood like Caractacus in act to rally
     His host, with broad arms ’gainst the thunder-stroke;
     And from beneath his boughs were seen to sally
     The dappled foresters; as day awoke,
     The branching stag swept down with all his herd
     To quaff a brook which murmur’d like a bird.

    “Before the mansion lay a lucid lake,
     Broad as transparent, deep, and freshly fed
     By a river, which its soften’d way did take
     In currents through the calmer water spread
     Around: the wild fowl nestled in the brake
     And sedges, brooding in their liquid bed;
     The woods sloped downwards to its brink, and stood
     With their green faces fix’d upon the flood.

    “Its outlet dash’d into a deep cascade,
     Sparkling with foam, until again subsiding
     Its shriller echoes--like an infant made
     Quiet--sank into softer ripples, gliding
     Into a rivulet; and thus allay’d,
     Pursued its course, now gleaming, and now hiding
     Its windings through the woods; now clear, now blue,
     According as the skies their shadows threw.

    “A glorious remnant of the Gothic pile
     (While yet the church was Rome’s) stood half apart
     In a grand arch, which once screen’d many an aisle;
     These last had disappear’d--a loss to art;
     The first yet frown’d superbly o’er the soil,
     And kindled feelings in the roughest heart,
     Which mourn’d the power of time’s or tempest’s march,
     In gazing on that venerable arch.

    “Within a niche, nigh to its pinnacle,
     Twelve saints had once stood sanctified in stone;
     But these had fallen, not when the friars fell,
     But in the war which struck Charles from his throne,
     When each house was a fortalice--as tell
     The annals of full many a line undone--
     The gallant cavaliers who fought in vain
     For those who knew not to resign or reign.

    “But in a higher niche, alone, but crown’d,
     The Virgin-Mother of the God-born child,
     With her son in her blessed arms, look’d round;
     Spared by some chance when all beside was spoil’d;
     She made the earth below seem holy ground,
     This may be superstition, weak or wild,
     But even the faintest relics of a shrine
     Of any worship wake some thoughts divine.

    “A mighty window, hollow in the centre,
     Shorn of its glass of thousand colourings,
     Through which the deepen’d glories once could enter,
     Streaming from off the sun like seraph’s wings,
     Now yawns all desolate: now loud, now fainter,
     The gale sweeps through its fretwork, and oft sings
     The owl his anthem, where the silenced quire
     Lie with their hallelujah quench’d like fire.

    “Amidst the court, a Gothic fountain play’d
     Symmetrical, but decked with carvings quaint--
     Strange faces like to men in masquerade,
     And here perhaps a monster, there a saint;
     The spring rushed through grim mouths of granite made,
     And sparkled into basins, where it spent
     Its little torrent in a thousand bubbles,
     Like man’s vain glory, and his vainer troubles.

    “The mansion’s self was vast and venerable,
     With more of the monastic than has been
     Elsewhere preserved: the cloisters still were stable,
     The cells too, and refectory, I ween:
     An exquisite small chapel had been able,
     Still unimpair’d to decorate the scene;
     The rest had been reform’d, replaced, or sunk,
     And spoke more of the baron than the monk.

    “Huge halls, long galleries, spacious chambers, join’d
     By no quite lawful marriage of the arts,
     Might shock a connoisseur: but when combined,
     Form’d a whole, which, irregular in parts,
     Yet left a grand impression on the mind,
     At least of those whose eyes are in their hearts:
     We gaze upon a giant for his stature,
     Not judge at first if all be true to nature.”

EVESHAM (_Mitred Benedictine_)

     692, Founded by Egwin, Bishop of the Hwicci and dedicated to the
     Virgin--Egwin subsequently first abbot--709, Kenredus, King of
     Mercia, and Offa, Governor of the East Angles, endows it with many
     possessions--941, Secular canons replace the monks--960, Monks
     again restored--977, Monks expelled once more, and estate given to
     Godwin--1014, King Ethelred elects Aifwardus, a former monk of
     Ramsey, abbot of Evesham--1066-87, Walter of Cérisy appointed abbot
     by William the Conqueror--He rebuilds the church--1163, The abbot
     receives the mitre--1265, Battle of Evesham, and interment of Earl
     Simon de Montfort in the Abbey--1539, Tower completed--Abbey
     dismantled and given to Sir Philip Hoby, who uses the buildings as
     a quarry. Annual revenue, £1183, 12s. 9d.

In a certain beautiful spot in Worcestershire known as the vale of
Evesham, the river Avon, by a curious bend in its course, encloses a
piece of meadow land near the borders of Warwick and Gloucestershire. On
this peninsula--as it might be called--three most remarkable ancient
buildings still stand erect, as if immune from the ravages of time. The
tall, graceful bell-tower, with the exception of a ruined archway, is
all that can be said to remain of the former abbey. Built at the
entrance of the abbey cemetery by the Abbot Lichfield, it is of pure
Perpendicular work. Though very massive, yet it has the grace peculiar
to English Gothic towers. It is built in three storeys, all parallel,
and the whole square structure is crowned by an embattled parapet and
delicate pinnacles, the height, roughly speaking, being 110 feet by 20
feet square. In the cemetery, close to the tower and forming with it a
most striking group, are the churches of St Lawrence and All Saints.
These churches were built in the 13th century by the monks for the
convenience of the inhabitants of Evesham and with the intention of
reserving the abbey church for the exclusive use of the monks. The
church of St Lawrence is of more ancient date than that of All Saints.
Of the former, only the tower and the greatly mutilated spire of the
original church remain. Both churches, however, boast some exquisite
work by Abbot Clement Lichfield, the last abbot, who built a beautiful
chapel or chantry in St Lawrence church, desiring that daily masses
might be performed there for the repose of his soul. The chantry in All
Saints he directed to be his burial place. These chantries have
particularly beautiful roofs in the shape of four fans richly
ornamented. St Lawrence and All Saints have both been restored and are
in use at the present time, under the care of the Vicar of Evesham.

In his _Spiritual Quixote_ Graves writes with great delight of the
beautiful vale of Evesham bounded by the Malvern Hills. The town lies on
a hill on a well-cultivated plain, and its name, derived (some say) from
Eovesham, conveys the impression of its picturesque situation, “the
dwelling on the level by the river side.” Another tradition derives the
name from Eoves, a shepherd who, having seen in a vision a beautiful
woman, attended by two other women, hastened to Bishop Egwin and related
his marvellous tale. Egwin, accompanied by his servant, proceeded to the
spot where he too was permitted to see and to hold converse with the
radiant being. Fully convinced that the Blessed Virgin had personally
revealed herself to him, Egwin determined to build a monastery on the
spot. Ethelred, King of Mercia, granted land for the purpose, and thus
the abbey was founded, Egwin becoming first abbot. According to one
writer, Ethelred accused Egwin of tyranny and many bitter things. The
matter was referred to the Holy Father at Rome, who commanded Egwin to
appear before him and answer the charges. “So to Rome he went, but
before starting, to show how lowly he accounted himself, he ordered a
pair of iron horse-fetters, and having put his feet into them, caused
them to be locked and the key tossed into the Avon. Thus shackled, he
went forward to Dover, took ship and came to the Holy City; when, lo, a
miracle! his attendants had gone down to the Tiber to catch fish for
supper, and scarcely was the line cast when a fine salmon took it and
leapt ashore without a struggle to escape. They hurried home with their
prize, opened him, and found inside the key of the bishop’s fetters. It
is needless to say that the Pope after this made short work of the
charges against Egwin. He was sent back to King Ethelred loaded with
honours, who lost no time in restoring him to his See and appointing him
tutor to his sons.”

Eighteen abbots ruled in succession, when, as was the fate of many other
abbeys, Evesham became a source of strife between the secular canons and
the monks. It was alternately under control of these two bodies until
finally it became a Benedictine settlement. In the reign of William I.,
Abbot Walter of Cérisy began to rebuild on a scale of grandeur and great
magnificence. The church, built in the form of a Latin cross, possessed
cylindrical piers of immense size, similar to those of Gloucester.
Everything appertaining to the service of the church was solemn and
impressive. The vestments were elaborate and costly, and the sacred
vessels wrought with solid silver--many of them being enriched with
various gems. The tomb of St Egwin was made of gold and studded with
sparkling precious stones, while Simon de Montfort’s tomb was credited
with miraculous powers by many ailing and weakly pilgrims. These sacred
tombs were demolished by the rapacious Henry VIII. in 1539, during his
wanton desecration of one of England’s most noble abbeys--the shelter of
kings, and the home of religious and God-fearing men.




WESTMINSTER (_Mitred Benedictine_)

     _c._ 184, Lucius, King of Britain, consecrates Westminster (then
     Thorny Island) to God, and builds the first church there--At the
     time of Diocletian’s persecution, the church converted into a
     heathen temple and dedicated to Apollo--604, Sebert, King of the
     East Saxons, converted and baptized into the Christian faith by
     Mellitus--He destroys the temple and builds a church in honour of
     St Peter--This suffers greatly from the ravages of the Danes--785,
     Offa, King of Mercia, grants the manor of Aldenham to the monastery
     and restores the church--1050, Edward the Confessor, the actual
     founder of the present abbey, builds the church--1065, The church
     completed and consecrated a few days previously to the royal
     founder’s death--1066, Edward buried with great ceremonial--King
     Harold crowned--William the Conqueror offers a thanksgiving for his
     victory at Hastings before the Confessor’s tomb, and is crowned in
     the abbey on Christmas day--1160, Becomes a mitred abbey--1250,
     Henry III. pulls down the choir and transepts of Edward’s Norman
     church and begins the present structure--1253, The chapter house
     completed--1269, The choir opened--1272-1500, The nave begun,
     gradually attaining its present length--During these years Richard
     I. builds the north porch, and Henry V. his beautiful
     chantry--1503, Henry VII. builds the chapel which bears his
     name--153--, Dissolution of the monastery. Annual revenue, £3471,
     0s. 2d.--1540, The church converted into a cathedral church and a
     new bishopric created--1550, Bishopric suppressed--1643, The
     Westminster Assembly meets--1663, The See of Rochester joined to
     the Deanery of Westminster--1673, Treaty of Westminster
     signed--1720, Some restorations performed by Wren on north
     transept, front and west towers--1740, Hawkesmoor completes the
     towers--1802, Separation of Rochester bishopric from Deanery of
     Westminster--1866, Sir G. Scott restores the north transept front
     and chapter house.

How utterly incapable the most experienced writer must feel when called
upon to describe worthily the abbey of Westminster! Apart from all the
legendary matter connected with the noble pile, and the glamour which
surrounds the ancient Benedictine church, the abbey stands out as the
receptacle of all that is best and grandest in the history of England.
The tombs of the kings and queens, the monuments erected since the
Reformation in memory of notable men and women in literature, music, and
all other arts, make history a nearer and more living thing. To pass
beneath the noble west front into the sacred building, teaming with
memories of the past, is to enter another world, so different is the
peaceful and mysterious atmosphere within the abbey from the bustle and
hum of London without. Looking eastwards from the west door, the aspect
is truly inspiring and beautiful. From the graceful pointed arches,
dividing the nave from the aisles, and surmounted by the triforium and
clerestory, the eye falls on the choir, with its magnificent stone
screen, and beyond this again to the dim and apsidal east end. The
loftiness of the building, the fine triforium, the harmony of work in
the nave (which took over 200 years to build), will deeply impress the

Though the plan of the church is French, the whole actual structure is
an example of English Gothic work, of which the nation has every right
to be proud. The abbey possesses side aisles to the nave, transepts, and
choir. This is a very rare formation. Leaving the nave, filled with
memorials of the illustrious dead, and passing up the south choir aisle,
the south transept comes in view. The magnificent rose window is one of
the largest, if not the largest, in England. On the south wall are some
worn stone steps. These, no doubt, led to the domestic apartments of the
monks, which were situated on the south side of the church. In this
transept is the well-known “Poets’ Corner,” which contains memorials
inscribed with the magic names of Shakespeare, Dickens, Tennyson,
Goldsmith, Burns, Sir Walter Scott, Longfellow, Browning, Milton, and
many others. Beyond this is the small chapel dedicated to St Faith.
Passing on into the south ambulatory the many interesting chapels can be
inspected. Here indeed the visitor treads on holy ground, for he
approaches the tombs of England’s divinely-appointed rulers, and of the
last resting-place of the greatest of her sons. Leaving the chapels of
St Benedict, St Edmund and St Nicholas, so full of historical memory,
the visitor may pass into the chantry built by the illustrious Henry V.
for the repose of his soul. This chantry lies in a direct line eastwards
from the high altar and beyond Edward the Confessor’s chapel, which is
immediately behind the altar. The figure of the warrior King reposes on
the top of his tomb. It was carved from the heart of an oak, and once
possessed a head and regalia of silver. These, however, have
unfortunately been removed, probably by the rapacious Oliver Cromwell.
The chantry itself is in the form of a screen or small room, which is
reached by a stairway enclosed in a turret, and left by another on the
opposite side. The screen is covered with images of saints, and also
incidents of Henry’s coronation, besides many heraldic emblems. On
either side are two octagonal towers, rich in sculpture. It is indeed
one of the most beautiful monuments in the building. Below are iron
gates and the tomb of Henry V., and above are displayed a saddle tree
stripped of its elaborate housings, a small shield, and a helmet upon
which can be seen the prodigious dent caused by D’Alençon’s battle axe.
These remains of Henry’s armour, worn at the battle of Agincourt, were
offered by the King in thanksgiving for his great victory. It is quite
fitting that the burial place of this royal hero should be near the
remains of the saintly ruler and founder of the abbey, Edward the

St Edward’s chapel is perhaps the most interesting part of the noble
structure, for though comparatively small, events of the highest
historical importance in our history have been enacted therein. The
shrine has been visited by thousands of pilgrims, including many crowned
heads, and has also been the scene of many miracles. Vigils were spent
beside it by knights before setting out for the borders, or starting
upon the crusades. Spoils of war were brought and laid before the tomb,
and thanksgivings offered by victorious kings and warriors. Edward I.,
all stained as he was by the blood of the battlefield, offered the
regalia of Scotland before the royal tomb, and many other mighty men
came to seek consolation and encouragement in those days of dreadful
warfare. Henry III. erected the present magnificent shrine in 1269. This
now, alas, is shorn of the many and costly jewels that once enriched it,
and which it is said amounted in value to £2500. The present oak canopy
was added in the 16th century. The floor of the chapel is of tesselated
blue marble and was laid by Henry III. The site of the Confessor’s altar
is marked by a square of red tiles. The old coronation chair stands to
the west of the chapel, near the enormous sword and shield of Edward
III., and beneath it is the stone credited with being Jacob’s pillow,
and which, after going through many vicissitudes in its long career, was
at last brought from Scone to Edward the Confessor’s shrine by Edward I.
The chair was first used at the coronation of Edward I., and lastly at
that of our beloved King Edward VII. Every English monarch has been
crowned at the abbey with the exception of Edward V. On all sides of the
chapel are royal tombs, including those of Edward III., Henry III., and
Edward I. The latter is of enormous length, and bears the inscription,
“Scotorum malleus” and “Serva pactum.” This monarch--nicknamed
“Longshanks”--was over 6 feet when alive. After many years, his body for
some reason was disinterred for a short space, and it was found to be in
an excellent state of preservation. That noble lady, Anne of Bohemia,
who gained notoriety by the introduction of the side saddle, also lies
buried near here.

Leaving this chapel and progressing eastwards, the visitor will pass
under St Mary’s beautiful porch into the wonderful chapel built by Henry
VII. This is one of the best examples of Early Tudor or debased Gothic
style, and, consisting as it does of a nave with two aisles, is indeed a
masterpiece of the builder’s art. On either side of the nave are the
stalls of the Knights of the Garter, above which hang their respective
banners. The tomb of Henry VII., the first monarch of the royal house of
Tudor, is the work of Torregiano. The ornamental vaulting of the chapel
is among the finest in the country--its massive pendants being 7 feet
long. Little of the original glass is left, but what remains is in the
windows at the west end. The Duke of Cumberland, known as the Butcher of
Culloden, and George II. and his wife lie in the nave. George III.
discontinued the practice begun by Henry VII. of using this chapel as a
royal mausoleum, having a preference for Windsor. Those two antagonistic
sisters, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth lie in the north aisle, side by
side under a magnificent stone canopy, while at the extreme east end of
the aisle, appropriately called “Innocents’ Corner,” are buried the
remains of the young princes so foully murdered in the Tower. The tomb
of Mary, Queen of Scots, is in the south aisle, together with that of
Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII. Many other interesting monuments
can be seen, including that of Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, Dean of
Westminster, in the south-east chapel, and those belonging to the houses
of Richmond, Suffolk and Lennox. Cromwell was buried in the east chapel,
but his remains were disinterred and dragged to Tyburn gallows.

Retracing his steps the visitor will pass along the north
ambulatory--the chapel of St Edward being now on the left and those of
St Paul, St John the Baptist, and the Islip being on the right. In the
latter, which is the chantry of Abbot Islip, waxen figures of some of
the royal line are shown. These, though of somewhat gruesome nature, are
intensely interesting, being the actual waxen casts taken after death.
It was the custom to carry the figure of the deceased at the funeral and
then to leave it at the abbey after interment. Many have decayed--the
oldest one now on view being that of Queen Elizabeth. The figures are
dressed in the clothes of the Sovereigns they personate. The lace on the
neck of Charles II. is of great value. Passing into the north transept
or Statesmen’s Aisle, many stone memorials again confront the beholder,
and include those of Beaconsfield, Gladstone, and William Pitt. Warren
Hastings, Richard Cobden and Vice-admiral Watson--the gallant man who
rescued the survivors of the “Black hole of Calcutta”--are buried among
many other notable men in the west aisle. The three eastern chapels of
this transept contain many interesting monuments too--that of Lady
Elizabeth Nightingale, in the chapel of St Michael, is perhaps the most
popular. It represents her husband trying to shield her from the
relentless form of Death, which takes the shape of a shrouded skeleton
issuing out of a door below with a raised sword in his hand.

Progressing again towards the centre of the building, the ritual choir
of three bays and the sacrarium claim the attention. The tombs here of
Aveline of Lancaster, her husband Edmund Crouchbank and Aymer de
Valence--all of the 13th century--are among the finest in the abbey.
Near the insignificant tomb of Anne of Cleves lies Anne, wife of Richard
III., and some of the abbots of Westminster. Busby and South are buried
close to the altar. The mosaic pavement consists of porphyry, lapis
lazuli, jasper, touchstone, alabaster, and Lydian and serpentine
marbles. These were brought by Abbot Ware from Italy and arranged in the
reign of Henry III. by Roderick.

An excellent view can be gained by looking west from the altar rails.
The absolute sympathy of all the parts of this lovely building, the
graceful arches, the diaper work in the spandrils of the choir arches,
the loftiness and mysterious atmosphere of the ancient structure will
appeal to all the highest aspirations of the individual. It is the
temple of God, and also the shelter of those either of noble or lowly
birth who have, according to their capabilities, furthered civilisation
and promoted the common good; who, in fact, have done God’s work in this
present world and endeavoured to make their fellow-men more worthy of
the world to come. No one can enter this abbey and not be impressed by
the dignity and solemnity of the surroundings. To look at the small,
insignificant pulpit in the nave is nothing; but to learn that Latimer
preached from it is everything. All is in keeping--nothing jars upon the
artistic sense--with perhaps the exception of the numerous monuments.
Still, these too have their place in showing that the mother-abbey takes
into her arms all those who have worthily fulfilled the mission of their
lives. The cloisters on the south side of the abbey are of great
interest and contain many monuments, and the windows, too, in the south
alley are remarkably beautiful. On this side are remains of the north
wall of the former refectory. The chapter-house is one of the largest in
England and was for many years used as a House of Commons. Earl Simon de
Montfort assembled his first representative parliament here in the 13th
century. The dormitory of the monastery is now used by the boys of
Westminster School, founded by Queen Elizabeth, 1560.

The remote history of Westminster Abbey is enveloped in mystery, its
earliest foundation being firstly ascribed to Lucius, King of Britain in
the 2nd century, and secondly to Sebert, King of the East Saxons, who,
in the 7th century, was converted into the Christian faith by Mellitus,
an emissary of Augustine. Be this as it may, the first certain knowledge
concerning the abbey is that Offa, King of Mercia, gave some lands to
the monastery at Westminster in the 8th century. Nearly three hundred
years had elapsed when Edward the Confessor, persuaded by the monks, was
induced to build an entirely new building at an enormous cost. This, the
founder determined, should be the “place of the King’s constitution and
consecration for ever.” Among other gifts, the bounteous King gave rich
vestments, an embroidered pall, a dalmatic, some spurs, a golden crown,
a sceptre, and also confirmed all the previous endowments. The new abbey
was dedicated on Holy Innocents’ day, 1065. Unfortunately the King was
too ill to attend this ceremonial. He died eight days after, and was
buried in front of the high altar. In the time of William the Conqueror
a great synod was held in the church. Archbishop Lanfranc presided over
the meeting at which the conduct and capability of the English clergy
were closely examined, “yet with covert design of making room for the
new-come Normans.” The Conqueror in many ways endeavoured to ingratiate
himself with the newly conquered people. For this reason he was crowned
in the abbey by the side of its founder’s tomb. The Feast of Edward the
Confessor was observed annually with much pomp in the sacred building.

In the 13th century Henry III. began to rebuild the abbey--the choir,
transepts and chapels of the present structure being entirely his work.
Little remains of the Confessor’s Norman building (the first of this
style built in England) except some parts of the cloisters and the
Chapel of the Pyx. The trial of the Pyx took place in the former
apartment until the recent removal of standard coins to the mint. The
Jerusalem Chamber is also an important relic of the Benedictine
monastery. It was built in 1363 by Littlington, who also rebuilt the
abbot’s house. Henry IV. died within its walls. Henry V. gave the
trappings of his coursers to the abbey--to be converted into vestments.
In this reign the building of the nave was pushed forward and the Te
Deum sung after the battle of Agincourt. Caxton set up his printing
press in the almonry at Westminster during the reign of Edward IV. Henry
VII. added greatly to the beauty of the building by annexing his chapel
to the east end. During his reign, Skelton, the first poet laureate,
sought sanctuary in Westminster, which is the last instance on record of
a person claiming this right. Sir Thomas More was imprisoned in the
abbot’s house in 1534--a few years before the Dissolution of the
monasteries. The usual fate overtook the religious establishment at
Westminster, but as in the cases of Chester, Gloucester, Peterborough,
Oxford and Bristol, the monastic church was converted into a
cathedral--and a new bishopric formed. Thirlby became the first Bishop
of Westminster in 1540--but was translated to Norwich ten years later
and the bishopric suppressed. In this transaction the abbey lost some
property which came into the possession of St Paul’s Cathedral, a
circumstance to which the origin of the well-known saying, “Robbing
Peter to pay Paul” may be adduced. The shrine of the Confessor was
re-established in 1557, the old constitution having been restored two
years previously. In the reign of Elizabeth this was again annulled.

In Henry VII.’s chapel the Westminster Assembly met in the 17th century,
and through their misguided energy Presbyterianism was established as
the national religion for a certain time. It is impossible to say what
dire effects this Assembly might have wrought upon the welfare of the

     “By its advice the public use of the Prayer Book was forbidden
     under penalties the very day that the Primate was executed, and a
     directory for public worship substituted for it. By the directory
     it was made an offence to kneel at the reception of Holy
     Communion, or to use any kind of symbolism in sacred things, such
     as the ring in marriage, and when any person departed this life,
     the dead body was to be interred without any kind of religious
     ceremony, nor even the friends allowed to sing or read or pray or
     kneel at the grave; although secular display in funeral processions
     of persons of rank was not restricted. Then the holy and beautiful
     petitions of our Liturgy, though sanctified by the devotions of
     Christians in every clime and by every tongue for 1500 years and
     more, gave place to long and tedious harangues from illiterate
     fanatics of two or three hours’ duration, and the observance of
     great church festivals, together with all anniversaries, was
     strictly forbidden. On December 19th, 1644, a solemn ordinance of
     parliament was passed by the advice of the Westminster Assembly
     commanding that the hitherto joyous anniversary of our Lord’s
     Nativity should be observed as a day of national fasting and
     humiliation.”--_English Church History_ (Rev. C. A. LANE).

The Parliamentarians under Cromwell fortunately soon put a stop to those
irksome restrictions.

The Bishopric of Rochester was united with the Deanery of Westminster in
1663 and, after a partnership of over a hundred years, parted at the
beginning of the 19th century. The treaty of Westminster was signed in
1673. Samuel Wilberforce became the Dean in 1845. Many well-known men
followed him and during the time of office of Dean Bradley, 1881-1902,
Queen Victoria held her Jubilee Celebration and Edward VII. was crowned
in the Abbey.



ST ALBANS (_Mitred Benedictine_)

     303, A church built to the memory of Alban, proto-martyr of Britain
     and Roman soldier--793, Destroyed by the Saxon invaders--King Offa
     founds a monastery and builds a second church in honour of St
     Alban--1077, Paul de Caen, first abbot, begins to rebuild the
     church--During his life the eastern part of the nave, the transepts
     and the central tower completed--1115, The church consecrated by
     the Bishop of Lincoln in the presence of Henry I. and Queen
     Maud--1154, Nicholas, Bishop of St Albans, chosen Pope (Adrian
     IV.). He “granted to the abbot of this abbey that as St Alban was
     the first martyr of England, so this abbot should be the first of
     all the abbots of England in order and dignity” (Dugdale’s
     _Monasticon_)--1218, Pope Honorious “confirms all lands and
     privileges”--1349, Thomas de la Mare becomes abbot--The captive
     King John of France entrusted to his care--1381, The monastery
     plays a prominent part in the Peasant Rising--1464, The abbey
     stripped of its valuables by the victorious Queen Margaret after
     the second battle of St Albans--1521, Wolsey becomes abbot--1539,
     The abbey surrendered by Richard Boreham, last abbot, to the
     commissioners of Henry VIII.--1553, Granted to the Mayor and
     burgesses for a parish church and grammar school--1688, The scheme
     for the restoration of the building supported by public
     subscription--1878, The diocese of St Albans founded--Thomas Leigh
     Claughton becomes first bishop--1879, West front built by Lord
     Grimthorpe--1885, Restoration of nave completed.

The quiet little town of St Albans in Hertfordshire has sprung up on the
site of the Roman city Verulamium, the ruined walls of which are still
to be seen. Here, according to the legend, Alban, the proto-martyr of
Britain, was born. Converted to Christianity by the priest
Amphibalus--to whom he had given shelter--he refused to renounce his
faith, and was beheaded. The martyrdom took place outside the walls of
the town, on the exact site on which now stands the cathedral--formerly
the abbey--of St Albans. A small church was erected on the hill a few
years after St Alban’s death, and later a second church was planned in
expiation of a still greater crime. Ethelbert of East Anglia had been
treacherously murdered by his father-in-law, Offa, King of Mercia, who
now sought to salve his conscience by building a monastery in honour of
St Alban. Of this second church (the first was only a temporary shelter
for the relics of the saint, which were supposed to have been
miraculously discovered by King Offa) there are now but few traces. The
town of St Albans lies on a high hill, while the Ver, a stream supposed
to have burst forth miraculously to assuage the thirst of Alban the
martyr, flows along the peaceful valley below.

The view of the massive structure of the abbey church is from all points
impressive. The great length of the nave with its magnificent western
front, the pinnacled transepts, the choir and Lady chapel, all crowned
by the lofty castellated tower, make up a truly marvellous whole. The
greater part of the church was built after the Norman Conquest by the
Abbot Paul, whose uncle, Lanfranc, was first appointed abbot of St
Stephen’s at Caen by William I. and afterwards made Archbishop of
Canterbury. Founded on the spot where Alban was cruelly put to death,
this immense monastery extended over the hill side as far as the river.
With the exception of the monastery gateway, the entire conventual part
was swept away at the Dissolution. Fortunately the abbey church was
spared, and became, as in many other cases, the parish church of the
district. Every style of architecture is shown in the building, from the
time of the Normans to the reign of Edward IV. The nave is of thirteen
bays with aisles; the two transepts have no aisles, and, as in the case
of Westminster Abbey, the choir is west of the crossing. The presbytery
and Lady chapel extend beyond the choir. The pillars of the triforium
and south transept are of Saxon work and are all that remains of the 8th
century church built by King Offa. The most ancient parts of the edifice
are those most central, the east and west ends being of a different
style of architecture and of a later period. The eastern part of the
nave, the transepts and central tower, are all the work of Abbot Paul.
Admirable in its proportions, the heavy Norman arches--relieved
occasionally by those of Early English work--the beautiful moulding, the
grand spaciousness of the whole building combine to make a grand and
effective whole, while simplicity is undoubtedly the key-note of the
entire structure. Although all the abbots of St Alban’s are buried here,
very few of their tombs and monuments remain.

Shrines have been erected to the memory of St Alban and St Amphibalus,
and in the Lady chapel lie many historical personages, including Henry
Percy, Duke of Northumberland, son of Hotspur; and Lord Clifford (killed
in the first battle of St Albans). Great interest attaches to the high
altar screen, erected by Abbot William Wallingford in the 15th century,
the chantry of Abbot Ramyge, the Holy Rood screen, the watching chamber
in the south wing of the transept, and also to the window in the south
aisle representing the martyrdom of St Alban, below which is the
following inscription--


    “This image of our frailty, painted glass,
     Shows when the life and death of Alban was,
     A knight beheads the Martyr, but so soon
     His eyes dropt out to see what he had done.
     And leaving their own head, seemed with a tear
     To wail the other head laid mangled there
     Because, before, his eyes no tear had shed
     His eyes themselves like tears fall from his head.
     Ah! bloody fact that whilst St Alban dies
     The murderer himself weeps out his eyes.

     In zeal to heaven where holy Alban’s bones
     Were buried, Offa raised this heap of stones;
     Which after by devouring time abused,
     Into the dying parts infused[10]
     By James the first of England to become
     The glory of Alban’s proto-martyrdom.”





NEATH (_Cistercian_)

     Founded and endowed in the 12th century by Richard de
     Grainvilla--Dedicated to the Holy Trinity and occupied successively
     by Franciscan and Cistercian monks--1208, All previous grants
     confirmed and many privileges and immunities bestowed by King
     John--15--, Dissolved. Annual revenue, £132, 7s. 7d.--1544, Granted
     to Sir Richard Williams--1650, The abbey house comes into the
     possession of the Hobby family.

Neath, a flourishing seaport in Glamorganshire, possesses some
interesting features. Claiming to be built on the site of a Roman
station and having some scattered remains of an ancient castle--burnt
down in the 13th century--it also boasts extensive ruins of an abbey,
which, if we believe Lewis Morganwg, the famous Welsh bard, must have
been enriched in days past with many beauties--

     “Like the sky of the vale of Ebron is the covering of this
     monastery; weighty is the lead that roofs this abode--the dark blue
     canopy of the dwellings of the Godly. Every colour is seen in the
     crystal windows, every fair and high-wrought form beams forth
     through them like the rays of the sun. Portals of radiant
     guardians! Pure and empyreal, here is every dignified language and
     every well-skilled preceptor. Here are seen the graceful robes of
     prelates, here may be found gold and jewels, the tribute of the
     wealthy. Here also is the gold-adorned choir, the nave, the gilded
     tabernacle-work, the pinnacles, worthy of the Three Fountains.
     Distinctly may be seen on glass, imperial arms; a ceiling
     resplendent with kingly bearings, and on the surrounding border,
     the shields of princes; the arms of Neath, of a hundred ages; there
     is the white freestone and the arms of the best men under the crown
     of Harry, and the church walls of grey marble. The vast and lofty
     roof is like the sparkling heavens on high, above are seen
     archangels’ forms; the floor beneath is for the people of earth,
     all the tribe of Babel, for them it is wrought of variegated stone.
     The bells, the benedictions, and the peaceful songs of praise,
     proclaim the frequent thanksgiving of the White Monks.”

Standing on the left bank of the river Neath, the ruins, now, alas,
begrimed with smoke, are situated at the opening of one of the most
beautiful of the Welsh valleys. There are but few monastic foundations
in the Principality--the most interesting being Valle Crucis in the
north and Neath in the south. Founded by Richard de Grainvilla, or
Granville (a connection of the FitzHamons)--who also enlarged Neath
Castle--it possessed the right of sanctuary and consequently found
favour from Edward II. After undergoing many enlargements and
alterations between the time of its foundation and that of the
Dissolution--when it was inhabited by only eight monks,--the demesne was
granted to Sir Richard Williams by Henry VIII., and in the 17th century
the abbey house became the home of the Hobby family. Of this primarily
Franciscan and latterly Cistercian monastery the priory house is the
best preserved fragment. There is also a lengthy apartment, considered
to be the remains of the chapter-house and containing a remarkable
double-vaulted ceiling; but of the abbey church nothing remains except
disconsolate heaps of fallen masonry.

VALLE CRUCIS (_Cistercian_)

     1200, Founded by Madoc ap Griffith Madoc, Lord of Bromfield, and
     dedicated to the Virgin Mary--1535, Suppressed. Annual revenue,
     £180, 8s.

The ruins of this Cistercian house are situated in a secluded part of
Denbighshire and are both beautiful and somewhat extensive. The river
Dee flows close at hand and high wooded hills shelter the crumbling
walls. Fine ash trees bend gracefully over the ruined arches and with
the encroaching ivy, add greatly to the picturesque beauty of the abbey.
The name “Valle Crucis” (Valley of the Cross) is derived from and
ancient cross, known as the “Pillar of Eliseg,” built on a tumulus just
above Llangollen in the 8th century. This cross was erected by Concenn
in memory of his great-grandfather Eliseg. The limestone rocks which
surround it are called the Eliseg Mountains, and it is supposed by some
authorities that they are named from a church which stood in a meadow
below, still known as “the meadow of the church.” Five hundred years
after the erection of the cross, Madoc, Lord of the Castle of Dinas
Bran, established a church and monastery in this peaceful district and
filled it with Cistercian monks.

The church, of which considerable portions remain, consisted of a nave
of five bays with aisles, choir, and north and south transepts--each of
which had an aisle and two chapels. The west front and portions of the
transepts are still standing, the Early English windows in the former
being of double lights and crowned in the gable above by a circular or
marigold window. An inscription can be seen above the lancets recording
that Abbot Adams “fecit hoc opus” Besides these fragments, some portions
of the outer walls of the nave and some of the piers remain, while part
of the vaulting is still intact in the east aisle of the south transept.
The former chapter-house was at one time used as a farm house, but has
now happily been restored to itself. It adjoins the sacristy and lies
to the south of the church. Architecturally Valle Crucis is an excellent
example of the Welsh type of Transition or Early English work. That
there was formerly a tower can be learnt from the lines of the poet

    “An Abbey near the mountayne towre there is,
     Whose walls yet stand, and steeple too, likewise.”

Though now practically a waste, this abbey was once a rich foundation,
owning, besides a number of livings, three hundred acres of “plough
land.” Much care has been taken of the ruined buildings, but the
relentless hand of Time has laid so heavy a hold upon them that they are
now but a shadow of their former beauty.





DEER (_Cistercian_)

     _c._ 580, Founded by St Columba and his nephew Drostan--1219,
     Refounded by William Comyn, Earl of Buchan.

Amidst the low lying hills of the vicinity, the ruins of Deer abbey
still lift their shattered walls towards the sky. Founded by St Columba
and his nephew, and dedicated to St Drostan, they are situated in the
older portion of the parish of Deer, where the incidents related in “Sir
John of the Rose” are supposed to have been laid. Of the fine building,
which was formerly erected “to the glory of God,” only very little
remains; but although the ruins are so scanty that they afford but
little pleasure to the archæologist or the tourist, they are treasured
and reverenced on account of the immense service they have rendered
literature in keeping safely hidden from the ravages of time documents
of great antiquity, and consequently of great value as recording the
customs and mode of living of our ancestors. The manuscripts, written in
Latin, were discovered in the 18th century, but little attention was
directed to them until these precious fragments of monastic literature
found their way to Cambridge, and in 1860 the attention of students was
drawn to them by the learned librarian, Mr Bradshaw. It was then found
that the small octavo of 86 pages contained St John’s Gospel, portions
of the other three Gospels, the Apostle’s Creed, a fragment of an office
for the visitation of the sick, and lastly, a Gælic Rubric. Some notes
on the various endowments to the monastery were written on the blank
sheets--evidently penmanship of the 12th century. These are of the
greatest interest as being the earliest examples of Scottish Gælic
known. The Gospels mentioned above were chiefly in the Vulgate version
of St Jerome.

The old family of Comyn, a member of whom re-founded the abbey in the
13th century, was defeated in battle at Deer by the followers of Edward

KINLOSS (_Cistercian_)

     1150, Founded by David I.--1303, Edward I. makes the abbey his
     headquarters--After the Reformation the abbey demesne passes into
     the Bruce family.

Situated near the Moray Firth, these few ruins, often, doubtless, the
scene of warfare, owe their origin, as is so often the case, to
supernatural agency. King David--a hardy and brave man, though at times
relentless and cruel towards his victims--is supposed on one occasion to
have lost his way while hunting in the forest, and, like many poor
mortals when threatened with personal danger, to have invoked his
Maker’s aid to extricate him out of his dilemma. In answer to his prayer
a dove appeared and led him to the site on which subsequently he built
the abbey of Kinloss, and which was in due time inhabited by Cistercian
monks. About a century and a half later, Edward I., King of England,
having won a decisive victory over the Scots at Falkirk, had reason
again to assemble a large force--the Scots not being entirely
subjugated, having gained several successes in the meantime. In 1303 he
led his army over the frontier, and making the abbey his headquarters,
“marched victorious from one end of the kingdom to the other.” Wallace,
through the treachery of a friend, fell into Edward’s hands, but though
deprived of her heroic leader, Scotland was not to be entirely overcome.
Edward I., secure of success, invaded the northern country four years
later, and was, as we know, attacked by a fatal illness at Berwick. His
son then succeeded to the throne, but having neither the wish nor the
capability to follow in his father’s footsteps, the battle of
Bannockburn eventually gave Scotland her longed-for independence in
1314. Edward III. also paid a visit to this abbey in the year 1336. The
abbey demesne passed after the Reformation into the possession of the
Bruce family, whose ancestor, Robert, so bravely led his men to victory
at Bannockburn; and, though they in turn sold it, they acquired, as
Earls of Elgin, the title of baron through it.

Only the foundations of the abbey church are visible, and not a remnant
of the walls remains. For this, Cromwell is to be held partially
responsible. His soldiers carried away the stones of the sacred building
for the purpose of erecting the Pretender’s Castle at Inverness. But
that unfortunate man, on whom there is perhaps more malice and spite
vented than on any other of England’s celebrities, was not altogether
responsible for the present dilapidated state of the abbey, as for
years, nay centuries, in common with so many other religious edifices,
the building served as a quarry for all the houses and walks in the
neighbourhood. Of the domestic buildings some remnants still remain,
consisting of a cloister wall, two arches, a prior’s house and part of a

FEARN (_Præmonstratensian Canons_)

     _c._ 1230, Founded by the Earl of Ross in the reign of Alexander
     III.--1607, Annexed to the bishopric of Ross by James VI.--1742,
     Some slates and part of the roof fall during service, killing
     forty-four people.

As is so often the case in regard to various abbeys, the mutilated
remains of this conventual church, once belonging to the
Præmonstratensian monastery, founded at Fearn in the 13th century, are
now appropriated for the religious worship of the inhabitants of the
town--the nave, chancel, and two side chapels (all of the Early English
period), being converted into the parish church of the district. The
abbey, curiously enough, was originally founded at Edderton, twelve
miles to the north-west, but was subsequently placed in its present
position, owing, it is thought, to the fertility of the soil. It was
built by Farquhar, first Earl of Ross. Patrick Hamilton, the noted
Scotch reformer of the 16th century, was abbot there. He and George
Wishart--both ardent followers of John Knox--were burnt at the stake for
heresy during the primacies of Archbishop Beatoun, and his successor.

It may be of interest to follow the various stages of Scottish religion
from early Celtic times until the Reformation.

     “From the days of St Columba up to the 12th century, the old Celtic
     Church of Scotland preserved its independence; but it had to bow
     before the onward march of papal usurpation just as the Church of
     England had done. Their wild nature and their tribal feuds made the
     Scots a ready prey to the diplomacy of papal embassies when the
     sister kingdom sought for aid against Norman conquerors, and the
     Scots allowed the Pope to claim feudal lordship over them that he
     might help them to keep the English south of the border. The
     ecclesiastical supremacy obtained by Anselm over the Scottish
     Church was only temporary, for Pope Clement III. was induced (A.D.
     1190) to declare the Scotch Church independent of any authority
     outside his own. After that the Scotch clergy fell into the worldly
     minded habits of mediæval Christianity, and many scandalous
     proceedings were recorded ... until the cry went up in Scotland as
     elsewhere that the church should be purified. But the Scottish
     Reformation came like a deluge, sweeping away the good and the bad
     together, until nothing was left of the apostolic constitution
     which has descended from the old Celtic Christianity. John Knox ...
     was the leader of the Scotch Reformers; and the example of England,
     with which his position as chaplain to Edward VI. had made him
     familiar, was speedily followed in the destruction of the Scottish
     monasteries.”--_English Church History_ (Rev. C. ARTHUR LANE).

In consequence of all this disturbance, many beautiful churches in
Scotland were destroyed. To take a solitary case--that of the Carthusian
monastery at Perth, which succumbed to the violent attacks of the
Reformers in 1559. In this year John Knox returned to Scotland, and
urging on his men, who were on the point of defending Perth by force of
arms, prevailed upon them to destroy the ornaments, stained glass and
statuary of every church in the place, and finally to demolish the
monastery. Scott writes: “The example of the reformers in Perth was
followed in St Andrews and other places; and we have to regret that many
beautiful buildings fell a sacrifice to the fury of the lower orders,
and were either totally destroyed or reduced to piles of shapeless
ruins.” After the disastrous fall of the roof in 1742 when forty-four
persons were killed, the abbey was repaired without the slightest regard
to architectural propriety, with unusually unfortunate results. The
style is mixed, the doors being round and the windows pointed. Both on
the north and south are small chapels which at first sight bear the
appearance of transepts. In the south chapel, now the Shandwick burial
ground, is a recumbent figure, under a handsomely carved canopy, long
supposed to be that of an abbot, but afterwards ascertained to represent
a lady of the clan MacKenzie, with a veil over her face. A most
peculiar feature of this abbey is the fact that these monastic ruins
are simply the result of the fanatic rule of John Knox.

INCHAFFRAY (_Augustine Canons_)

     1200, Founded by Gilbert, Earl of Strathern and his
     Countess--Favoured by many grants from Alexander III.--1314, The
     abbot accompanies Robert Bruce at the battle of Bannockburn--1513,
     The abbot slain at Flodden Field.

The low ground on which this abbey stands was once surrounded by water
and known as _Insula Missarum_, or the “island of the masses.” Now,
however, it is connected with the mainland and is the property of the
noble house of Kinnoul. The records show that many brave men held the
office of abbot in this Augustine establishment, in fact that their
spirit in some instances was of a very warlike nature. Maurice, the
abbot of the period, fought with Bruce at Bannockburn with the arm of St
Fillan in a silver casket, a relic to which tremendous importance was
attached in those days. It is recorded that many of the dour
superstitious Highlanders ascribed their sweeping victory to the
presence among them of this precious relic. To the enlightenment and
progress of the 19th century the final destruction of this abbey--so
nearly total in its effects--is to be attributed; for when the
authorities of the district deemed it advisable in 1816 to make a new
road in the vicinity of the abbey, the ruined, sacred walls were
ruthlessly overthrown, hardly a vestige being left beyond an arched
apartment, a gable at the west end of the church, and several other

CAMBUSKENNETH (_Augustine Canons_)

     1147, Founded by David I.--1326, The meeting-place of the first
     Scots Parliament to which representatives from burghs were
     summoned--Pillaged during the wars of the Succession--_c._ 1559,
     Sacked and destroyed at the Reformation--The land given to the Earl
     of Mar by James VI.--1709, Purchased by the town council of

About two and a half miles from Stirling, and on the north side of the
river Forth, lying in one of the many creeks formed by that winding
river, is the abbey of Cambuskenneth. All that can be seen now in the
green fields, with cows quietly grazing by the river sides, is a
sheltered tower of grey stone, the sole remains of what was once a large
ecclesiastical house. In 1864, great and important excavations were
made, disclosing the foundations of the chancel, nave, transept and
chapter-house, showing them to have been of a very considerable size. A
few feet from the only remaining part of the abbey is the tomb of James
III. and his queen, the Princess Margaret of Denmark. The tomb is railed
in and bears this inscription:--

     “The restoration of the tomb of her ancestors was erected by Her
     Majesty Queen Victoria A.D. 1865.

     “In this place near the high altar of the abbey of Cambuskenneth
     were the remains of James III., King of the Scots, who died on June
     11th, 1488, and of his Queen (the Princess Margaret of Denmark).”

Cambuskenneth at its zenith was an abbey of some importance in
Scotland--a great many events of interest and national significance
taking place there. As far as politics were concerned, the abbey was by
far the most important in Scotland; indeed, so much was it used as a
house of government that a new apartment had to be built called
“Parliament Hall.” It was here that the first Scottish representative
Parliament ever called together met by the order of Robert Bruce in
1324. The abbey was of the order of St Augustine, dedicated to the
Virgin, and was founded by David I. in 1147 as St Mary’s of Stirling.
This same king, the founder of Melrose Abbey, endowed the abbey with
land and extensive property. In 1201 its name was changed to St Mary’s
of Cambuskenneth, a battle having been fought on its site by King
Kenneth against the Picts. In 1304, at the Feast of St Barnabas, the
secret agreement took place between Robert Bruce and William Lamberton,
Bishop of St Andrews, which decided the former to rise in rebellion
against English power in Scotland. When the abbey was pillaged and set
fire to by Richard II. in 1385, the revenues of the church would not
admit of the extensive repairs necessary to restore it to its former
state. About the year 1559, at the Reformation, the abbey was demolished
and plundered again. The land and See of Cambuskenneth were handed over
by Queen Mary to the Erskine family in the year 1562. One of the family
of the Earl of Mar took stone from the abbey with which to build his
house in Broad Street, thereby leaving the demolished church stripped of
anything that could signify to its former pomp and influence.

A few fragments of walls, a gateway and a noble and substantial tower
are all that is left of the grand old building. From the summit of the
tower, which is approached by a well-preserved staircase, the imposing
rock and castle of Stirling may be seen, which, in olden days,
safeguarded the lives of the valley dwellers, as did the abbey of
Cambuskenneth their religious interests.





HOLYROOD (_Augustine Canons_)

     1128, Founded by David I. and dedicated to the Holy Rood--1322,
     Plundered by the English under Edward II.--1326, Robert Bruce holds
     a Parliament in the abbey--1333-4, A Parliament held, at which
     Edward Baliol renders homage to Edward III. as superior Lord of
     Scotland--1385, Burnt by the followers of Richard II.--_c._ 1460,
     Abbot Crawfurd restores the church--1469, James III. marries
     Margaret of Denmark in the abbey church--During the abbacy of
     Robert de Bellenden, successor of Abbot Crawfurd, the Papal Legate
     of Pope Julius II. presents James IV. with a crown and sword of
     state at Holyrood--1543, The Earl of Hertford’s army burn “the
     abbey called Holyrood House”--1547, During the English invasion,
     Sir William Bonham and Edward Chamberlayne assault the abbey and
     destroy the choir transept--This rebuilt soon afterwards and
     repaired--1565, Mary, Queen of Scots, marries Lord Darnley--1617,
     James VI. restores the church of Holyrood (which since 1559, after
     partial restoration, had been used as a place of worship of the
     Reformed Church)--1630, Charles I. crowned September 29th, Charles
     erected Edinburgh to a Bishopric--1636, Scottish Liturgy
     announced--1687-8, The chapel royal re-decorated and fitted up for
     Roman Catholic Ritual by James II.--1688, The church plundered by a
     Presbyterian mob and utterly desecrated--1758, A builder, employed
     by the Barons of the Exchequer, restores the roof of the nave
     badly, which consequently fell two years later--1816-57, The church

The imposing group of buildings which constitute Holyrood Palace lie on
a piece of meadow land at the foot of an eminence known as Arthur’s
Seat, on the outskirts of Scotland’s metropolis. Though the greater
portion of it was the former home and dwelling-place of kings, and its
walls connected with many domestic associations, there is a smaller and
comparatively insignificant part, which not only has been the scene of
several royal coronations and marriages, but before these ever took
place was the abode of Augustine canons in the 12th century. This, the
only remaining fragment of the monastery founded by David I., is now
known as the chapel royal, the ruined shell of which it is pitiful to

The abbey was founded by David I. Such a prince required no special
intimation from heaven to prompt him to found a religious house under
the shadow of a fortress where he himself resided. A miraculous
interposition, however, on behalf of the king himself, when prostrate
under the antlers of a “wild hart,” has been assigned as the immediate
cause of the foundation of the abbey. Bellenden, the translator of Bone,
relates that the event happened in the “vail that lyes to the Eist fra
the said castell, quhare now lyes the Cannogait,” and which at that time
was part of “Ane gred forest full of hartis, hyndis, toddis, and siclike
manner of beistis.” As David was pursuing the hunt with ardour, a hart
rushed at him, dashing both him and his horse to the ground with great
violence. David threw both hands between the antlers of the stag to save
himself from the blow when “the holy croce slaid incontinant in (into)
his hands.” The wild deer fled in dismay at the sight of the sacred
emblem to which it seemed about to do violence; and the king, being
afterwards admonished in a dream, resolved to dedicate a house to the
“Holy Rude,” the Virgin and All Saints on the very spot where “he gat
the croce.” A far more likely reason for the founding of the abbey is
that David built it as a repository for the fragment of the true cross
brought by his mother, St Margaret, from Waltham Abbey. As in the case
of many another foundation, kings and princes frequently claimed
hospitality from their religious brothers; and though the monastic
cellars and larders may not have boasted the delicacy and sumptuousness
of a royal kitchen, their illustrious visitors would doubtless be quite
content with the homely fare and good cheer offered them. This was
repeatedly the case at the monastery at Holyrood, and the custom being
that each visitor should present an oblation to the patron saint of the
house, the monks had always the wherewithal to compensate themselves for
the necessary outlay.

In the abbey church there were several chapels and altars dedicated to
various saints. The Lady chapel was, as usual, in the choir at the back
of the high altar, and we read of another called “the abbot’s chapel.”
There were two altars, one dedicated to the Holy Cross, and another
called the “Parish altar.” In the southern chapel adjoining the high
altar, were those of St Andrew and St Catherine, founded by George
Creichton, Bishop of Dunkeld; while there were altars dedicated to St
Stephen, St Anne, St Crispin and St Crispinian. Royal patronage and
favour continued to be shown, and in course of time the town became the
acknowledged capital, while during the reign of James IV. the palace was
begun. On its completion it became the favourite home of the Scottish
royal house until James II. of England was driven from his throne at the
time of the Revolution. Within the walls of the conventual church,
renovated as the chapel royal by James VI., many high ceremonials took
place. Several monarchs with their queens were crowned there, and it was
also the place of interment of various royal and notable persons. Among
these were David II., James II., James V., and the foolish Darnley, to
whom Mary, Queen of Scots, plighted her troth, at the east end of the
present church.

It is necessary to remember that the ruins only consist of the original
nave, and though not of large proportions, they are well worthy of
careful reverential inspection, for the decaying walls show workmanship
of a very high architectural order, chiefly of the period of transition
between the passing Romanesque and the coming Gothic Early English. The
north wall of the north aisle, with two shattered piers, and the south
aisle with all its columns still remain standing. The eastern ends of
the two aisles--where they formerly communicated with the transepts--are
filled up with windows, each resting on a wall. This is also the case
with the east end of the wrecked building, for the present east window
is modern, having taken the place of one which was blown in in the year
1816, and which had previously filled the arch of the great central
tower, destroyed with the transepts and choir in the 16th century. Some
considerable evidences are visible of earlier work at the east end of
the south aisle beyond the mass of masonry which marks the royal vault.
Here a walled-in doorway, which once communicated with the cloister, is
of Norman work of not later than 1160, having a round headed arch with
zig-zag and billet moulding. The masonry adjoining it is evidently of
the same period. Again a more developed Early English style is shown in
the exterior of the noble west façade which consists of a deeply
recessed portal, having eight shafts on either side with elaborate
mouldings and two peculiar windows above, in character somewhat allied
to the Perpendicular. Over the doorway is the following inscription
bearing the date of Charles I:--

                       He shall build ane house
                        for my name, and I will
                          stablish the throne
                            of his Kingdom
                               for ever.

                          BASILICAM HANC SEMI
                           RUTAM CAROLUS REX
                          OPTIMUS INSTAURAVIT
                               ANNO DONI
                           CIↃ I^{Ↄ}XXXIII.

[Illustration: DRYBURGH ABBEY]

The seven buttresses which support the south wall from the outside were
built by Abbot Crawfurd in the 15th century. Of the entire range of
conventual buildings devoted to the domestic uses of the canons, not a
vestige has been left. It is concluded, however, that the wall of the
south aisle of the nave of the church, and the west wall of the
adjoining transept formed, as was not uncommon in monastic edifices, two
sides of the great cloister, leaving the others to the chapter house,
refectory, and other principal apartments of the establishment. Doorways
led into the cloister from the eastern and western extremities of the
south aisle, one of these entrances being still in excellent
preservation. The existing royal palace undoubtedly covers to a great
extent the site of the domestic buildings of the abbey; but a large
portion of these extended further towards the east than any part of the
present great quadrangle. The choir and transepts of the abbey church
have, as we have already seen, also disappeared, and the nave as it now
stands, ruined and roofless, is itself almost the sole record of that
which is gone--that sacred edifice which, when entire, was an august and
magnificent building.

DRYBURGH (_Præmonstratensian Canons_)

     _c._ 1150, Founded by David I., and granted many liberties and
     immunities--Colonised by monks from Alnwick--_c._ 1322, Burnt by
     the soldiers of Edward II.’s retreating army but rebuilt shortly
     after--Set on fire by Richard II. during one of his forays--1545,
     Burnt by Sir G. Bowes and Sir B. Layton; the church only
     saved--1832, Sir Walter Scott buried here.

In a sunny little glade, fringed around by great oaks, clothed in
verdure and luxuriant foliage, and reposing midst an almost unnatural
calm, all that is left of this Præmonstratensian abbey basks in the sun.
Trees not only shade it from without but also from within,--actually
growing out of the walls themselves. Dryburgh, signifying “oak growth,”
is a town in Berwickshire delightfully situated amidst varied scenery, a
few miles only from Kelso and Melrose. A convent was founded here in the
6th century, and, on its site, St Mary’s Abbey for White canons was
built in the 12th century. The ruins are beautiful both in situation and
construction. Flowing past them, the Tweed takes a crescent-like course
and engirts the woods in which the red walls of the abbey stand. A
suspension bridge spans the river and a sloping wooded lawn stretches
away in front of the ruins.

Despite its terrible treatment in the 16th century by Bowes, Layton and
the Earl of Hertford, the conventual church survived. The chapter-house
is even yet practically entire, and the principal portions of the
buildings can be traced. The plan of the church was cruciform, having a
presbytery instead of a Lady chapel, a fragment of which is yet
standing. There were aisles to nave and choir, while the transepts,
which extended only one bay beyond the line of the nave, had each an
eastern aisle. Early English work is evident in the choir and transepts,
and that of the Early Decorated period in the nave. Connecting the south
transept to the chapter-house, is the chapel of St Modanus--so called
after an abbot of that name who lived in the 6th century--which still
preserves its altar and sedilia, and is lighted by two round-headed
windows. A double circle marks the founder’s grave in the chapter-house,
above which is a large room. Other parts of the domestic buildings are
still in existence--such as the kitchen, refectory and dormitories--all
of the Norman Transitional period--besides remnants of the porter’s
lodge, dungeon cells and cloisters.

With regard to the founding of this abbey, it is thought that the early
work is probably a part of the original construction provided for by
Hugo de Morville, Lord Lauderdale, and his wife, Beatrix de Beauchamp,
in 1150. The new church is particularly interesting inasmuch as it shows
how the Scots still held to the round arch long after the remainder of
their architecture had become thoroughly Gothic in character, for not
only is the 13th century door of the monks built with a round arch,
though with purely Gothic mouldings and capitals, but the 14th century
west door, built after the burning of the abbey by Richard II., is the

Dryburgh has been associated with many men eminent in their own walk of
life: Abbot Oliver, Royal ambassador to England; Canon Patrick, poet and
man of letters; Ralph of Strode, Chaucer’s friend and Wycliffe’s
antagonist; Chaucer himself, and then a line of commendators, the last
of whom was James Strail, who tried in vain to stem the tide of simony,
sacrilege, and depredation that was engulfing the Scottish Church. In
1545 the great blow fell. Henry VIII. gave to Sir Ralph Eure, Sir George
Bowes, and Sir Brian Layton a feudal grant of the land they had the year
before devastated and laid waste. Thereupon these chivalrous and noble
gentlemen, Eure and Layton, forthwith journeyed into Scotland at the
head of a formidable host eager to seize on their “lawful lands.” They
swept the south of Scotland with fire, burning anew Melrose, Kelso,
Dryburgh and four other abbeys, sixteen castles, five great towers and
243 villages. Retribution awaited them, however, for on Ancrum Moor they
were attacked by a brave body of patriotic Scotchmen under the Earl of
Angus, Norman Lesly, and Sir Walter Scott of Buccleuch, all eager to
avenge their wrongs. The battle ended in a complete victory for the
Scots, the entire English force being utterly routed. Eight hundred were
killed, more than a thousand captured, and the villains Eure and Layton
left dead on the field of battle. Dryburgh Abbey was indeed lost, but
its despoilers were vanquished, and to-day the remnants of this once
stately pile tower rise towards the sky in mute protest against the
frenzied outrage of the favourites of a dishonoured royal house.

[Illustration: MELROSE ABBEY]




MELROSE (_Cistercian_)

     635, Monastery founded--839, Destroyed by Kenneth MacAlpine--1136,
     Re-founded by David I.--1322, Stormed by 300 men sent by Edward
     II.--The prior slain--Part of the building set on fire by Richard
     II.--1322-1505, The abbey slowly rebuilt--1544, Sir B. Layton, Sir
     R. Eure, and the Earl of Hertford injure this religious
     house--1545, The abbey again sacked and burnt by these men--1618,
     Nave rudely vaulted afresh--1649, Attacked by a Presbyterian
     mob--1822, Restored by Duke of Buccleuch.

By moonlight or starless dark, by dusk or full daylight, Melrose Abbey
is a thing of beauty and romance. Built on the site of an ancient
Columban monastery, the abbey, colonised by monks from Lindisfarne,
flourished until the Reformers, instigated by John Knox, demolished it
with many other religious houses.

The remains of this most beautiful structure of the Scottish Middle Ages
are considerable, and demonstrate the former architectural beauties of
the abbey. They consist of parts of the church and cloister. Of the
former three bays of the nave, eight small chapels, with elegant
traceried windows to the south of the south aisle, a portion of the
central tower, and the transepts of the choir remain. Many architectural
styles are shown, and a curious mingling of the old with later Decorated
work is a noticeable feature. The arches which divide the nave from its
aisles are remarkably beautiful and many excellent windows light the
church. Those in the nave are Perpendicular, while the trefoiled
four-light windows in the choir and presbytery are Decorated or Early
Perpendicular. Some of the vaulting still remains in the south aisle and
also above the site of the high altar. This edifice was originally 215
feet long by 116 across the transepts. Joanna, wife of Alexander II.;
the “wondrous Michael Scott”; and Sir David Brewster are buried here,
and the heart of the hero, Robert Bruce, is interred beneath the site of
the high altar. The cloister, containing some wonderfully rich carving
of exquisite workmanship, was placed on the north side of the nave, and
beyond, the garden extended to the river bank, a quarter of a mile

Of the Anglo Saxon monastery founded in Melrose in 635, comparatively
little is known. St Cuthbert, then a dreamy shepherd boy, imagined he
saw a vision of angels carrying a soul to heaven, and hearing
subsequently that Aidan, Bishop of Lindisfarne, had died that same
night, was convinced that he had been privileged to see his saintly
soul. Wishing to join a religious community St Cuthbert went to the
monastic settlement at Melrose, then consisting only of a few log huts,
joined the brotherhood there (A.D. 651), and in course of time became
its prior. Bede says--

     “Cuthbert’s skill in speaking was so great, his power of persuasion
     so vast, and the light of his countenance so angelic that no one in
     his presence concealed from him the secrets of his soul: all
     confessed their misdeeds, because they thought that what they had
     done could not escape his prescience, and atoned for them by such
     penance as he enjoined.”

When the mother abbey of Lindisfarne required a new prior, Cuthbert was
appointed, and after fulfilling his religious duties here for twelve
years retired to an island to live the life of a recluse. After eight
years had elapsed he became Bishop of Lindisfarne, where at the end of
three years’ work he was buried. His shroud was made by the abbess of
Tynemouth, and his tomb visited for many years by hundreds of pilgrims.
When in 875 Lindisfarne was attacked by the Danes the monks fled for
safety, carrying with them the relics of St Cuthbert, and, after
visiting many places, in the hope of escaping the enemy, placed them
finally in the woods of Durham. The humble church, which in course of
time was built there to guard the sacred remains, preceded the present
magnificent cathedral of Durham “half church of God, half citadel,
‘gainst the Scots.” In the meantime the settlement of Melrose had
prospered, but in 839 was burnt down by Kenneth MacAlpine and remained a
desolate ruin for nearly two centuries. Good King David I. “that sair
saunt for the crown,” then founded the abbey, in which for several
centuries the Cistercian monks laboured--cultivating the land and
instituting law and order amongst the country folk of the district.

Dire as was the fate of the English abbeys, that of the Scottish
religious houses was immeasurably more bitter. Robbed, ruined, sacked
and burned, the once mighty edifices have fallen the prey to thrifty
citizens, who, careful of their own future, assigned to themselves
various portions of the land and buildings, with the result that in
close proximity to many of these buildings, modern and inartistic huts,
workshops and inns may be seen. Melrose is particularly unfortunate in
these vandalisms. Incredible as it may seem, the Abbey Hotel actually
encroaches upon the hallowed nave, and a great amount of the space
occupied by the former grounds and buildings is now disfigured by cheap
dwellings and crowded gardens. The local presbytery of 1618 deserve even
more contumely for their hideous disfigurement of the three bays of the
nave that still remained, which were rebuilt, and walled in in most
ruthless fashion.

The wonderful charm of Melrose Abbey as a building is not its only
feature. The remains lie here of King Alexander II. and his spouse;
Douglases without number; and many other men and women who have loomed
largely in the history of our island. A few of the numerous statues that
adorned the walls still remain, although many were destroyed by the
Presbyterians. A certain zealot climbed in 1649 to the buttress pinnacle
to shatter the statue of our Lady with the Holy Child, upon which the
first fragment split off, struck, and broke his arm. Since then the
image has been left in peace. Strangely prophetic words are uttered in
the inscriptions written in abbreviated Latin words on scrolls borne by
monks in the south transept, “He suffered because He Himself willed it”
and “When comes Jesus the Mediator, darkness will cease.”

KELSO (_Benedictine_)

     1126, Founded by David I., and colonised by Benedictine monks from
     Selkirk (a Tironensian abbey founded by David I. seven years
     previously)--The church suffers by fire during the wars between
     Bruce and Baliol--1523, The Lady chapel, the abbot’s house, and the
     dormitory demolished by Lord Dacre--1545, Stormed by the English
     under Lord Hertford, Sir G. Bowes, etc.--1547, Attacked by
     Protector Somerset--1560, Monks expelled by a body of fanatical
     Presbyterians--1649, The transept roofed in--1771, No longer used
     as place of worship.

    “Bosomed in woods where mighty rivers run,
     Kelso’s fair vale expands before the sun;
     Its rising downs in vernal beauty swell
     And fringed with hazel woods, with flowery dell,
     Green spangled plains to dimpling lawns succeed,
     And Tempe rises on the banks of Tweed:
     Blue o’er the river Kelso’s shadow lies
     And copse-clad aisles amid the waters rise.”

Standing on the bridge of five arches which spans the Tweed at Kelso, a
magnificent view can be gained of this picturesque town on the northern
bank, with

[Illustration: KELSO.]

the ruins of its abbey beautifully situated in a well-wooded valley;
also of the fast decaying walls of Roxburgh castle on the south bank,
once the stronghold of that old town and demolished in 1460; of Fleurs
Palace; the heights of Eildon and Mellerstain, and the confluence of the
Tweed and Teviot. Kelso has risen in importance since the destruction of
its neighbouring town, and has frequently suffered from pillage and fire
during the English invasions. In 1715, the Pretender was proclaimed as
King James VIII. by the forces assembled here.

The ruined abbey church, a somewhat heavy, massive-looking structure,
indicative of strength and of almost baronial character, still holds
part of its great central tower aloft, and is an excellent example of
Norman work, both Early and Transitional. The church alone survives the
many violent attacks made upon the abbey in the 16th century, and was
originally cruciform, having a nave of only two bays, north and south
transepts of two bays, a choir of three bays with aisles, and a
magnificent central tower of two stories. Of this characteristic Norman
building only a shattered western front, one bay of the nave, two bays
of the choir, the west and south sides of the tower, and both transepts
remain. The faces of the latter resemble the west front, which was
flanked by pilaster buttresses, and crowned with octagonal turrets.
Though chiefly of unadorned simplicity, the church contains in some
places rich mouldings, including some of foliage design, and possesses a
lightness of character in parts, showing the coming influence of Early
English architectural art.

The siege and capture of the abbey in 1545 by the Earl of Hertford is a
fine rousing story of Border warfare. After repulsing attack after
attack, the defenders made a final stand in the church itself, but were
finally overpowered by weight of numbers, and slaughtered, with the
exception of two or three monks, who retreated to the topmost platform
of the tower, which they kept all night. These doughty “men of peace”
somehow or other managed to escape next day. This of course settled
finally the fate of the abbey, and from that day to this, it has been
put almost exclusively to a series of degrading purposes--from a
barracks to a stable. Nevertheless, Kelso is unique and priceless as an
example of a castellated Border church as it was in the 12th century.

JEDBURGH (_Augustine Canons_)

     1118-47, Founded by David I.--1286, The marriage of Alexander III.
     celebrated in the abbey--1296, Church fired and unroofed by Sir R.
     Hastings, and Edward I. disperses the monks among the northern
     English monasteries--They subsequently return to Jedburgh--1524-44,
     Attacked by Lord Surrey and Lord Eure--1559, A battle takes place
     between the French allies of the Scotch and the Spanish mercenaries
     of England which reduces the buildings to a ruinous state.

Jedburgh, one of the most noted of old Border towns, is now the chief
town of Roxburghshire. It lies on the banks of Jed Water and enjoys a
sheltered situation amidst the wooded hills and rocky eminences which
enclose this vale, the Scottish Arcadia, on every side. After the union
of the two kingdoms, Jedburgh became the centre of an extensive
contraband trade, which was however eventually checked by the English
excise. The picturesque market town once possessed a stately castle and
abbey, but though the former building (of which nothing remains) has
been replaced by a massive gaol, known as the Castle of Jedburgh, only
the church is left of the latter most beautiful fabric. This building is
fortunately complete, with the exception of the south transept and the
greater portion of the choir.

Of grand proportions, yet of severe simplicity, the church displays some
fine decoration in its flowered capitals and beautiful mouldings.
Portions of the

[Illustration: JEDBURGH.]

choir and tower are evidently Early Norman work, while later styles are
seen in the great nave of nine bays, composed of a combination of
Transitional Norman and English Gothic, and again in the unspoiled north
transept of Decorated character. The nave is 130 feet in length, having
above the triforium a clerestory consisting of a magnificent arcade of
lancets. Two doorways to the west and south are excellent examples of
Norman work, but the former, with its deep carvings of the most delicate
workmanship, is the better specimen. The arches of the tower (86 feet
high) are richly clustered and chevroned at the edges; indeed, so
exquisitely wrought and beautiful are some of the decorative mouldings
of the church, that the work is attributed by many to an Italian artist.
The north transept is aisleless, and possesses a large window of four
lights filled with geometrical tracery.

Jedburgh was another of the many holy institutions founded by David I.
of Scotland, although, technically speaking, it owed its existence to
Lord Lauderdale, then Constable of Scotland. King David, however, was
doubtless the moving spirit in the project. Jedburgh was a priory at
first, but in 1147 it was raised to the dignity of an abbey with Osbert
as first abbot. From this date henceforth the abbots of Jedburgh held
high places in the kingdom. Unfortunately for the abbey, and still more
so for the town, Jedburgh lay right in the track of every army crossing
the Border from the other side, and was therefore sacked and burnt again
and again by the English. In 1296, Sir Richard Hastings was the ravager;
in 1464, the Earl of Warwick; in 1524, the Earl of Surrey; and last of
all, Lord Eure in 1544, who, acting for the Earl of Hertford, did his
disgraceful work all too well. The commendator at the time, one John
Hume, restored the burned abbey to a certain extent, but during the
reign of the Presbyterians the building fell steadily into decay. The
story of the abbey in the last century is one of bickerings and
lawsuits, until in 1875 the Marquis of Lothian, sickened at the sight of
the degradation of this great relic, built a new church, since when the
abbey church has not been used for public worship. Jedburgh Abbey has
fallen on gentle days, and the ruins stand now dignified, solemn,
self-respecting and secure, safe in the honourable custody of the
Marquises of Lothian.




LINCLUDEN (_Benedictine Nuns_)

     Founded in the 12th century by Uchtred, son of Fergus, Lord of
     Galloway, for Benedictine nuns--Converted about two centuries later
     into a collegiate church for canons by Archibald, Earl of Douglas.

Another abbey, situated quite near Sweetheart, is Lincluden, at one time
a favourite haunt of Burns, and beautifully described by him in his
lines, “An evening view of the ruins of Lincluden.” The ruins,
consisting of the provost’s house, the chancel and part of the south
wall of the church, afford indications only of the former splendour of
the pile. Originally a nunnery, Archibald of Douglas changed the
establishment into a college for a provost and twelve canons. Archibald
married the daughter of Robert III. This lady’s grave may be seen in the
chancel, and though mutilated, still bears evidence of considerable
elegance. It is in the form of an arch beautifully sculptured, with the
heart of Douglas guarded by three chalices crosswise and a star near
each in the centre.

In the choir also are several sedilia with pointed foliated arches, and
over the sacristry door on the south side a colossal foliated trefoil.
Though these features may be somewhat out of proportion to the size of
the choir, they suggest larger dimensions, and if they had had more
elevation and space around would have been seen to greater advantage.
Besides the south transept only a tower and some scanty portions of the
nave remain of this minster that once measured 216 feet long by 16½ feet

As in the case of Sweetheart Abbey, there is little of historical or
legendary interest associated with Lincluden--its popularity with the
public being due to its beautiful and sheltered situation and to its
associations with Robert Burns.

SWEETHEART (_Cistercian_)

1275, Founded by Lady Devergoil.

Sweetheart Abbey, a beautiful structure, stands a little westward of the
mouth of the Nith in a lovely and sheltered nook at the base of Criffel,
the most southerly mountain in Scotland. Only the church, a fine
cruciform building with a central saddleback tower of 92 feet, and part
of the chapter-house are now left. In the aisle of the south transept
(the only part of the abbey that is roofed) is a groined wall with
shields for bosses, on one of which are the abbey arms. A beautiful rose
window at the east end of the church is by far the most interesting
remaining feature of the abbey. The church, as it was after its
foundation, does not seem to have been of much importance either
ecclesiastically or politically and has therefore scarcely any history
attached to its name. The abbey was founded in 1275 by Lady Devergoil,
wife of John Baliol and mother of the Scottish king of that name, who
also built the bridge and monastery at Dumfries. It was called at first
New Abbey in contradistinction to the old abbey at Dundrennan. Its name,
however, was changed later to Sweetheart because of a story told about
its foundress and her husband. The Lady Devergoil was supposed to have
had her husband’s heart embalmed and enclosed in an ivory box, and at
the lady’s death this box was placed inside her tomb. Over the tomb may
be seen this epitaph in Latin--

    “In Dever-gill a sibil sage doth lie as
     Mary contemplative, as Martha pious,
     To her, O deign High King! best to impart
     Whom this stone covers with her husband’s heart.”

The ruins of the abbey were repaired in 1852 by means of a subscription
raised among the gentry of the district, and augmented by a grant from

PAISLEY (_Mitred Cluniac_)

     1164, Founded as a Priory by Walter Fitzalan--Dedicated to SS.
     James, Mirin and Milburga--1219, raised to the rank of an
     Abbey--1307, Burned by the English--1561, Pillaged at the

The largest and most important of Scottish abbeys is to be found near
the greatest manufacturing centre of the country. Of Paisley Abbey, a
house of great historical interest and very large and beautiful in its
proportions, the only remains now standing are the nave and transept of
the church and the adjoining Lady chapel. The transept is an interesting
ruin, but the nave is entire and is still used as the church of the
abbey parish, after having been restored at great price. The interior is
of magnificent altitude, exhibiting three tiers of arches, partly
pointed and partly semicircular, with cinque foiled arches formed within
them. Many quaint images and inscriptions are to be seen on its walls,
one of which, relating to George Schaw, the abbot, who in 1485 built a
large wall to enclose the buildings and the land belonging to them--

    “Then call it ye Abbot Georg of Schawe,
     Ablone yio abbaye qart mak yis way,
     A thousand four hundred yheyr
     Auchty and fyve the date but veir
     (Pray for his salvation)
     That made yis noble foundacion.”

The line in brackets is not quite intelligible but it is supposed to be
“Pray for his salvation.”

The great western door, which is pointed and deeply recessed, with rich
mouldings, is surmounted by three windows with superb tracery. The Lady
chapel to the south is interesting on account of its echoes, which,
owing to recent alterations, are not so pronounced as formerly. In this
part of the chapel, generally called the sounding aisle, is the tomb of
Margory Bruce, wife of Robert Bruce, and mother of the founder of the
abbey. The cloisters, 68 feet square, were also on the south side of the
abbey, but the domestic buildings have almost disappeared. The abbey,
founded by Walter, the first of the Stuarts, in 1164, was tenanted by a
colony of Cluniac monks from Shropshire. At that time the area of the
abbey grounds was about one mile, the space unoccupied by the church and
other buildings being used as orchard and park land.

DUNFERMLINE (_Mitred Benedictine_)

     1072, Founded by Malcolm Canmore on site of a former Culdee
     monastery--1124, Remodelled as a Benedictine house and monks of
     that order placed there by David I.--1250, The choir, central
     tower, transept and Lady chapel added to the nave--Restored in the
     14th century after partial destruction by Edward I.--1560,
     Plundered by Presbyterian mob; the nave only escapes
     destruction--1818-21, Present church built.

In the case of Dunfermline, the Westminster Abbey of Scotland, the most
ancient, and consequently the most interesting part of the building has
survived the onward tread of many centuries, and though now only in the
form of a vestibule to the modern church, was once the nave of the
minster founded here in the 11th century. Its architectural features
somewhat resemble those of Durham and Lindisfarne with their stern
Norman characteristics. It is of eight bays with massive pillars (20
feet high by 13 feet 6 inches in circumference), some of which are
spirally channelled, while two have chevron mouldings, it has also a
very rich Norman north door, some Early English windows in the aisles,
and a triforium and clerestory composed of round headed arches. The nave
was the first piece of Norman work in Scotland, and from the 16th to the
19th century was used as the parish church of the district. The sound of
an organ was heard for the first time in Scotland within its walls. The
west front (Decorated) has a fine recessed portal with a four light
window with Geometrical tracery above. The western towers and north west
porch are also of the Decorated period, while the presbytery is entirely
Early English work. An interesting feature of the newly erected modern
Gothic church is the balustrade on the tower which covers the site of
Bruce’s grave (discovered during the recent rebuilding of the church),
and has terminals in shape of letters reading “King Robert the Bruce,”
“a modern apotheosis of the murderer of Comyn by men who cannot tolerate
the Cross, the symbol of salvation.” Of the other buildings, only the
south wall and west gable of the refectory, the gate-way with the
“pended” tower, and some portions of the abbot’s lodge remain. Beneath
the refectory are twenty-six cells.

The ancient mitred abbey measured 276 feet by 66 feet, was cruciform and
of mixed architectural periods. For many centuries Dunfermline was the
frequent residence of Scottish monarchs, and for more than two centuries
the kings were buried within its walls; notably the royal Founder, King
Edgar, Alexander I., Alexander III., David I. and Malcolm IV. The monks
had great influence in the neighbourhood and the monastery was richly

Dunfermline, the “City of Fife,” stands on a long swelling ridge above
the Forth, and, viewed from the south with its background of Cleish
hills, presents a most striking aspect.


Aben, a fugitive, 84

Aberac, Celtic name of York, 34

Adam, abbot of Meaux, 61

Adams, abbot of Valle Crucis, 167

Adeliza, Queen, 83

Adrian IV., Pope, 161

Ældred, abbot of Rievaulx, 49

Agatha, St, 50, 52

Aidan, St, 5, 17, 18, 187

Aifwardus, abbot of Evesham, 147

Ailesbury, Earls of, 44, 45

Aislabie, William, 63

Alban, St, British martyr, 2, 27, 161, 162, 163, 164

Albert, archbishop of York, 36

Albini, Gundreda de, 42, 43

Alcuin, schoolman of York, 34

Aldhelm, St, 7, 88, 89, 124

Aldwius, bishop of East Anglia, 112

Alexander, abbot of Kirkstall, 74

Alexander II., Pope, 112

Alneto, Robertus, hermit of Hode, 42

Amphibalus, St, 161, 163

Anselm, abbot of Bury St Edmunds, 115

Aragon, Catherine of, 78

Archibald, St, 6

Ardern, Thomas, 78

Arimathea, St Joseph of, 1, 122

Arthur, King, 2, 122, 123, 124, 135

Arviragas, King, 122, 123

Aschewine, bishop of Dorchester, 140

Asser, Bishop, 98

Athanasius, St, 1

Athelstan, King of Wessex, 37, 78, 89

Aucherius, abbot of Reading, 82

Augustine, St, 1, 4, 98, 99, 122, 151

Auxerre, city of, 3, 57, 58

Baldwin, abbot, 112

Baliol, Robert, 189

Baliol, Edward, 178

Baliol, John, 195

Baliol, Bernard de, 20

Bauzan, Richard, 104

Beatoun, archbishop, 172

Beauchamp, Beatrice de, 184

Bede, the Venerable, 7, 22, 23, 24

Bedford, Robert, (tomb), 141

Bellenden, Robert de, 178

Benedict, St, 58

Bennet, William, prior of Finchale, 26

Bernard, St of Clairvaux, 49, 64

Berthwald, King, 88

Betun, Roger de, bishop of Hereford, 136

Bewfforest, Sir Richard, abbot of Dorchester (tomb), 141

Bewfforest, Richard (tomb), 141

Bienfaite, Richard de, 133, 134

Bigod, Hugh, 134

Bigod, Roger, 134

Birinus, St, 5, 139, 141

Bird, prior of Bath, 128

Biscop, Benedict, 6, 22, 23

Biwell, Walter, chaplain to Bernard de Baliol, 20

Blois, Henry de, 94, 95, 122

Bohemia, Anne of, 155

Bonham, Sir William, 178

Boreham, Richard, abbot of St Albans, 161

Bowes, Sir G., 182, 183, 184, 189

Bradley, abbot of Fountains, 63

Bradley, Dean, 160

Brandon, Charles, Duke of Suffolk, 13, 115

Breton, Bishop J., 122

Brewster, Sir David, 187

Brittany, Alan of, Earl of Richmond, 34

Bronescombe, Walter de, bishop of Exeter, 104

Browne, Sir Anthony, 79

Bruce, Robert, 174, 176, 187, 189, 198

Bruce, Edward, 170

Burgh, Hubert de, 111

Byron, Sir J., 13, 143, 144

Cædmon, Anglican poet, 7

Cæsar, Claudius, 1

Cæn, Paul de, abbot of St Albans, 161

Canmore, Malcolm, 197

Canute, King, 9, 114

Caradercus, Duke of Cornwall, 124

Caractacus, 1, 124

Carnaby, Sir R., 21

Cavendish, Lord Frederick, 71

Caxton, William, 159

Cérisy, Walter of, 147, 149

Chad, St, 6

Chamberlayne, Edward, 178

Chantry, Bishop Rogers, 98

Chaucer, Geoffrey, 184

Cheney, Sir T., 77, 78

Chinnock, John de, 126

Christina, abbess of Romsey, 95

Chrysostom, St, 1

Claughton, Thomas Leigh, bishop of St Albans, 161

Clement, Abbot, 98

Clifford, Henry, Earl of Cumberland, 71

Clinton, Lord Edward, 109

Coel, king of Britain, 124

Columba, St, 17, 169

Comyn, William, Earl of Buchan, 169

Constantine the Great, 27

Corbeuil, William de, archbishop of Canterbury, 76

Cowley, Abraham, 82

Crawfurd, Abbot, 178, 182

Cromwell, Oliver, 89, 108

Cromwell, Secretary, 21

Curteys, abbot of Bury St Edmunds, 116

Cuthbert, St, 6, 17, 18, 187, 188

Cynegils, king of Wessex, 5, 139

Dacre, Lord, 189

Darnley, Lord, 180

David, St, 135

Davell, Henry, abbot of Whitby, 54

Denmark, Margaret, princess of, 175, 178

Denny, Sir A., 117, 119

Dent, William, abbot of St Mary’s, York, 34

Devergoil, Lady, 195, 196

Devonshire, Amicia, Countess of, 103

Diocletian, Emperor of Rome, 2, 27

Douglas, Archibald, Earl of, 194

Douglas, Margaret, Countess of, 195

Drake, Sir Francis, 103, 104, 143

Drayton, Sir J. (tomb), 141

Dromore, bishop of, 50

Drostan, St, 169

Dunstan, archbishop of Canterbury, 8, 125

Ecgfrid, king of Northumbria, 20, 22

Edmund, St, king and martyr, 7, 112, 124

Edmund, Ironsides, 9, 124

Edgar, king of Wessex, 8, 124, 128

Edred, son of Edward the Elder, 84, 106

Edward, the Elder, 94, 112

Edward, the Confessor, 9, 112

Edwaldus, brother of St Edmund, king and martyr, 98

Edwin, king of Northumbria, 27, 35, 36

Egremont, boy of, 70

Egclwya, bishop of Durham, 84

Egwine, St., 147, 149

Elfrida, queen of Wessex, 100

Elwina, abbess of Romsey, 95

Eneas, 34

Elyote, John, 102

Eoves, a shepherd, 149

Ercombert, king of Kent, 76

Ethelmer, Earl of Cornwall, 98

Erinsuis, chaplain to Queen Maud, 135, 136

Espec, Walter, 49

Ethelbald, king of Mercia, 106

Ethelburga, queen of Northumbria, 27, 35

Ethelbert, king of Kent, 4

Ethelbert of East Anglia, 162

Ethelburh, queen of Wessex, 124, 125

Ethelfleda, daughter of Oswy, king of Northumbria, 54

Ethelmer, Earl of Cornwall, 98

Etheldreda, queen of Northumbria, 20

Ethelred, king of Mercia, 149

Ethelred the Unready, 9, 100, 101, 147

Ethelwerdus, or Egelwaldus, 98

Ethelwold, abbot of Abingdon, 84, 85

Ethelwold, archbishop of Winchester, 94

Eugenius II, 84, 108

Eure, Sir Ralph, 184, 191, 193

Fairfax, 37

Fane, Sir H., 79

Farringdon, Henry, abbot of Reading, 82

Fastolph, abbot of Fountains, 67

Felix, St, the “Apostle of East Anglia,” 5

Ferrars, Robert, Earl of, 120, 122

Fillan, St, 174

Finchale, Godricus de, 24, 25, 26

Finian, St, of Clonard, 3

Fitz-Alan, Walter, 196

FitzBardolph, Akarius, 44, 46

Fitz-Hamon, Robert, 130

Frampton, Sir Robert, 90

France, King John of, 161

Frithwaldus, governor of the Province of Surrey, 81

Fuller, Robert, abbot of Waltham, 117

Fursey, a Scottish monk, 5

Galloway, Fergus, Lord of, 194

Gausbertus, abbot of Battle, 80

Geoffrey, abbot of Croyland, 106, 107

Gerald, abbot of Furness, 40, 42

Germanus, bishop of Auxerre, 2

Germanus, St, monk of Auxerre, 57

Gildas, British historian, 1

Gilmer, 80

Giraldus, abbot of Tewkesbury, 132

Gloucester, Humphrey, Duke of, 112

Gloucester, Walter de, 137

Godwin, 147

Grainvilla, Richard de, 165

Gregory, Pope, 4, 151

Gregory, abbot of Stanlawe, 31

Grendon, Serle de, 142

Gresham, Sir Richard, 63

Greslei, Robert, 109

Grenville, Sir R., 103

Grimstone, Hugh, abbot of Kirkstall, 74

Grimthorpe, Lord, 161

Gross, William de, Earl of Albemarle, 61, 108

Guthlac, St, 106

Guinevere, Queen, 124

Hadrian, 35

Hamilton, Patrick, abbot of Fearn, 172

Harold, Earl 19, 117

Hastings, Sir R., 191, 193

Hay, James, Earl of Carlisle, 119

Hearn, Viceroy of Wiltshire, 84, 85

Helias, abbot of Selby, 60

Hengist, 84

Herfastus, Bishop, 114

Herlwin, Abbot, 122

Herman, Bishop, 96

Heron, John, a Border robber, 21

Hertford, Earl of, 183, 186, 189, 193

Hereford, Earl of Milo, 135

Hilda, abbess of Hartlepool, 54

Hoby, Sir Philip, 147

Holland, Gilbert de, 110

Honorius, Pope, 5, 139, 161

Horsey, Sir J., 96

Huby, Marmaduke, abbot of Fountains, 66

Hugh, bishop of Durham, 24

Hugh, abbot of Reading, 82

Hugh, dean of York, 65

Hume, John, 193

Ignatius, Father, 135

Ina, king of the West Saxons, 96, 122, 124, 125

Innocent, Pope, 88

Insula, de, prior of Finchale, 26

Islip, abbot of Westminster, 156

Jerome, St, 1

Joanna, wife of Alexander II, 187

Kenredus, king of Mercia, 147

Kent, John of, 63, 66

King, Bishop, 128, 129

Kingston, John of, 46

Kintevymus, King, 124

Knox, John, 15, 172, 186

Lacy, William de, 136

Lacy, Hugh de, 135, 136

Lacy, Henry de, 55, 72, 74

Lamberton, William, bishop of St Andrews, 176

Lancaster, William de, 28

Lancaster, Aveline de, 156

Landon, Walter, 135

Lanfranc, archbishop of Canterbury, 158, 162

Langton, Archbishop, 115

Layton, Sir B., 182, 183, 184, 185

Lee, Archbishop, 21

Leeds, John, 44

Leving, bishop of Worcester, 100

Lennox, Matthew, Earl of, 44

Lesly, Norman, 184

Lichfield, Clement, Earl of Evesham, 148

Lidgate, poet, 116

Littlington, 159

Longespee, William, Earl of Salisbury, 90

Longespee, Ella, Countess of Salisbury, 90

Lothian, Marquis of, 193

Lucius, king of Britain, 2, 151, 158

Lucy, Sir B., 92

Lutherius, bishop of Winchester, 88

Lupus, bishop of Troyes, 2

MacAlpine, Kenneth, 186, 188

Madoc ap Griffith Madoc, 167

Mare, Thomas de la, abbot of St Albans, 161

Marivanna, abbess of Romsey, 94

Maurice, abbot of Inchaffray, 174

Maydulphus, 88

Mellitus, Italian missionary, 151, 158

Meschines, William de, 68, 70

Meschines, Cecile de, 68, 70

Modanus, St, 183

Molême, Robert de, 64

Montague, Earl of, 63

Montague, Bishop, 129

Montfort, Earl Simon de, 147, 150, 157

Moon, Richard, abbot of Bolton, 68, 71

Morganwg, Lewis, 165

More, Sir Thos., 159

Morton, Stephen, Earl of, 28

Morville, Hugo de, Lord Lauderdale, 184, 193

Mowbray, Roger de, 42, 43

Nash, Beau, 129

Northwode, John de (brass), 77

Northwode, Joan de ( “ ), 77

North, Colonel, 72

Oddo & Doddo, Dukes of Mercia, 130

Odo, archbishop of Canterbury, 8, 125

Offa, king of Mercia, 128, 147, 151, 158, 161, 162, 163

Oliver, Abbot, Royal Ambassador of England, 184

Ordgarus, Earl of Devonshire, 100

Ordulf, son of Ordgarus, Earl of Devonshire, 100, 101

Osbert, abbot of Jedburgh, 193

Oswald, king of Northumbria, 5, 17

Oswy, king of Northumbria, 36, 54

Otringham, Richard de, 61

Parker, abbot of Tewkesbury, 132

Paslow, John, abbot of Whalley, 33

Patrick, Canon, poet, 184

Patrick, St, 122

Paulet, Sir William, 91

Paulinus, St, 5, 31, 35, 122

Pembroke, William, Earl of, 133

Penda, king of Mercia, 5, 36

Penryn, John, abbot of Tavistock, 101, 102

Percy, Henry, 109, 163

Percy, William de, Lord of Whitby, 54

Philip, abbot of Byland, 42

Pickering, Sir William, 44

Ptolemy, Alexandrian geographer, 35

Pudsey, Henry, 26

Pyke, Roger, abbot of Furness, 28, 31

Quiniacus, Peter de, A monk of Savigny, 44, 46

Raincourt, Guido de, 55

Ramyge, abbot of St Albans, 163

Remigius, bishop of Dorchester, 139

Reinfrid, abbot of Whitby, 54

Richmond, Alan, Earl of, 44, 46

Richmond, Conan, Earl of, 47

Ripley, John, abbot of Kirkstall, 72

Risdon, 101

Robert, Bishop, 128

Roger, bishop of Sarum, 136

Roger, bishop of Salisbury, 96

Roaldus, Constable of England, 50

Romaine, John, archdeacon of Richmond, 52

Romille, Alice de, 68, 70

Russell, Lord, 13, 100

Saleth, hermit, 74

Samson, Abbot of Bury St Edmunds, 115

Scudamore, John, Lord, 121

Scott, Michael, 187

Scott, Walter, Sir, of Buccleuch, 184

Scrope, Richard, 51

Sebert, king of the East Saxons, 158

Sedbergh, Adam, abbot of Jervaulx, 44

Serlo, dean of York, 63, 65

Sevam, robber, 59

Severus, 35

Sexburga, Queen, 76

Shaw, George, 196

Sigberct, king of East Anglia, 5, 112

Sigge, a robber, 59

Shurland, Robert de (tomb), 77

Skelton, first Poet Laureate, 159

Somerset, Protector, 189

Sparke, Thomas, prior of Lindisfarne, 18

Staunton, John, abbot of Dale, 143

Stockton, Sir John, 109

Strail, James, 184

Stratherne, Gilbert, Earl of, 174

Strehall, prior of Finchale, 26

Strode, Ralphe de, 184

Stumpe, William, clothier, 88

Surrey, Lord, 191, 193

Sweyn, 9, 95, 113, 128

Tanner, William, 141

Taylor, Walter, 92

Theocus, hermit, 130

Theodore, archbishop of Canterbury, 6

Thirlby, bishop of Westminster, 159

Thomas, archbishop of York, 19, 20

Thurstan, archbishop of York, 42, 64

Thurstan, abbot of Glastonbury, 122, 126

Tison, Gilbert, standard-bearer of England, 55

Tickhill, John of, 25

Tosti, dean of York, 63, 65

Tovi, standard-bearer to Canute, 117

Tudor, Mary, queen of France, 115

Tyler, William, M.A., 102

Uchtred, 194

Ultcyter, abbot of Croyland, 106

Valence, Aymer de (tomb), 156

Villula, John de, 128

Wakeman, John, abbot of Tewkesbury, 130

Wake, Sir William, Bart., D.C.L., 117

Wallace, William, 171

Wallingford, William, abbot of St Albans, 163

Ware, abbot of Westminster, 157

Warham, archbishop of Canterbury, 78

Warwick, abbot Simon of, 34, 40

Watts, Dr, 92

Whiting, Richard, abbot of Glastonbury, 122, 127

Wilberforce, Samuel, dean of Westminster, 160

Wilfrid, St, 5, 19

William, prior of Wycombe, 135

Williams, Sir Richard, 166

Wishart, George, 172

Wolsey, Cardinal, 12, 13, 78, 97

Wulfar, king of Mercia, 81

Wulfsiu, Bishop, 96

Wyatt, Sir Thomas, 98

York, John of, 66



 [1] “This saying of St Bernard is usually inscribed,” says Dr.
 Whitaker, “on some conspicuous part of the Cistercian Houses.”

 [2] Waxed nigh.

 [3] Wild.

 [4] Bound.

 [5] Round.

 [6] Shoot.

 [7] Arrows.

 [8] Hedgehog.

 [9] Spikes.

 [10] This last verse is a piece of gross flattery to the Scottish
 monarch, for in his reign the church underwent but few repairs.

Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:

Kirstall=>Kirkstall {pg xi}

“In 1775 the first Cathedral was built by King Offa.=> “In 775 the first
Cathedral was built by King Offa. {pg 128}

ST ALBAN’S (_Mitred Benedictine_)=> ST ALBANS (_Mitred Benedictine_) {pg

Euginius III., Pope, 84, 108=> Eugenius III., Pope, 84, 108 {pg 201}

Sedburgh, Adam, abbot of Jervaulx, 44=> Sedbergh, Adam, abbot of
Jervaulx, 44 {pg 203}


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