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The Anglo-Saxons knew that the prayers and good works 
of the living help the souls in Purgatory, 2. The " belt of 
Pater Nosters," 6. Bondsmen s freedom was given them 
over the corpse of their dead lord, 10. Mass immediately 
over the tomb of the dead, n. Churchyard and wayside 
crosses, 13. The witness of Heaven was yielded to the 
doctrine of Purgatory, 17. Soul-shot, 21. Doles, 26. The 
pious customs belonging to the bygone times in England, 33. 
Our old English tombs and grave-stones, 42. Collar of SS, 
51. Indulgences multiplied, 57. Lights set upon the grave, 
70. The Easter sepulchre upon the tomb, 76. The year s 
mind, anniversary, or obit, 80. The bell-man, 80. Chantries, 
85. The chantry-priest an ankret, 93. The low side or 
ankret s window, 96. A "certain," 103. Beadsmen, 107. 


The invocation of Saints and Angels among the Anglo- 
Saxons, 1 1 8. The merits of such Saints, 123. The interces 
sion of Saints, 128. The intercession of Angels, 133. The 
Anglo-Saxons invoked the Saints and Angels, 136. The 
Virgin Mary, the object of the Anglo-Saxons particular 
devotion, 143. The "Doom," 158. The weighing of the 
soul, 1 60. The merit of good works, 162. The souls of the 
Saints go to Heaven immediately after death, 166. To each 


one is given an Angel guardian, 170. The intercession of 
Saints, 175. The invocation of Saints and Angels, 181. 
The Litany, 183. The bending of a piece of money, 190. A 
wax-taper the measure of the person, 191. Catholic Eng 
land s devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, 197. Perpetual 
virginity, 198. The lily, 203. The warmth with which 
Catholic England invoked the Blessed Virgin Mary, 207. 
St. Mary Mass, 213. Our Lady of the crib, 220 of Pity, 
221. An evening hymn to the Virgin, 224. Other liturgi 
cal and religious practices in honour of the Blessed Virgin, 
228. Popular devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary, 241. 
The "Hail Mary," 258. Our Lady s Psalter, or the Rosary, 
262. The tolling of the " Ave " bell, 276. The Gabriel bell, 
279. The " worship " of the B. V. Mary, 285. 


The veneration paid to Saints relics, 287. Shrines, 292. 
Reliquaries, 295. The gang-days, 297. The frithstool, 302. 
The English feelings of respect for Saints relics, 306. The 
shape in which shrines were built, and the spot whereat they 
stood, 312. The coronation-chair, 333. Lights about shrines, 
340. The practice of watching, the whole night, at shrines, 
343. The cures wrought at the shrines of the Saints, 347. 
The Canterbury water, 348. Pilgrim s weeds, 356. Taking 
the cross, 367. Cross-legged effigies, 369. The Church 
blessed the pilgrim and his weeds, 376. Votive offerings at 
Saints shrines, 381. Music at shrines, 387. Relics hanging 
over the altar, or set to stand upon it, 388. The " beam " 
and the " perch," 388. The relics of the Saints carried in 
procession, 39 i. The translation of Saints relics, 398. Papal 
Supremacy, 399. The beatification and canonisation of Saints, 
407. The trial of relics by fire, 410. Other things esteemed 
as though they had been relics, 411. A mistake about relics 
rectified, 412. 


The plates marked with an asterisk (27) appear now for the first 
time in the book ; those marked with a dagger (2) were in the 
previous edition, but have been more accurately made for this 

*Beauchamp Chapel at Warwick . . . Frontispiece 

*Cross at Geddington . . . . . -37 

*01d English Funeral . . . 49 

From a French MS., but illustrative of the English Custom ; 
Brit. Mus. MS. Egerton, 2019, f. 142. 

*Tomb of the Black Prince at Canterbury Cathedral . 54 
*Brass of Roger Legh at Macclesfield . . . .60 

*Image of Pity (c. 1508) . . . . . .63 

Pasted into the Lincoln Chapter Library MS., A. 6, 15. 

fBeauchamp Monument at. Warwick . . . . 74 

* Easter Sepulchre at Heckingtoii .. .. . . 78 

*The Enclosing of an Ankret . . . . -95 
From the Clifford Pontitioal at Corpus Christi College, Cam 
bridge, reproduced in Alcuin Club Collections, vol. iv. 
pi. vi. fig. 18. 

*Othery Church . . . . . . . . 98 
From the Arch&ological Journal, iv. 316. 

*Cell of an Ankret at Walpole St. Andrew . . . i o i 

* Doom at St. Thomas s, Salisbury . , . .159 

Weighing the Soul . . . . . . .160 

From wall-paintings at Islip and Beckley, Oxon. 

* A Soul being borne by Angels . . . .. .174 

From Brit. Mus. MS., 2 B. vii. f. 301. 

Device of the Perpetual Virginity of B. V. M. . 202 




*The Annunciation ....... 203 

From the Archasological Journal, ii. 206. 

*B. V. M. and Child (St. Michael s, Oxford) . .218 
From Parker s Calendar of the Anglican Church and Calendar 
of the Prayer-Book illustrated. 

^"Frontispiece to " Hore Beatissime Virginia Marie " . 241 
From Regnault s octavo edition, A.D. 1526. 

*" Salve Regina " Roll . . . . . .256 
From Jesus College, Oxford, MS., cxxiv. 

"^Portrait of Geoffrey Chaucer . . . . .270 
From Caxton s folio edition of Canterbury Tales. 

** " Clerke of Oxenforde " and " Nonne " . . . 271 
From Caxton s folio edition of Canterbury Talcs. 

*The Berdewell Brass in West Harling Church . .281 
From Cotman, Sepulchral Brasses. 

*High Altar of St. Austin s, Canterbury . -316 

From Alcuin Club Collections, vol. i. pi. ix. 

Shrine of St. Edward the Confessor . . . -317 
*Shrine of St. Edward the Confessor (1902) . 318 

St. Edmund the Martyr s Shrine at Bury . . .321 
From Brit. Mus. MS. Harl. , 2278. 

^Shrine from La Estoire de Seint Aedward le Rei . . 340 
Cambridge Univ. Library MS., Ee. iii. 59, f. 36. 

f Illustration of Watching at Shrines .... 344 
From Cambridge Univ. Library MS., Ee. iii. 59, f. 33. 

An Ampul for the " Canterbury Water " . . . 353 

*Pilgrim at Ashby-de-la-Zouch . . . . .362 
From Carter, Specimens, pi. vi. 

*Shrine of St. Thomas Cantelupe in Hereford Cathe 
dral .".... -37 

*A Hospitalar . . . . 371 

From Magri, Hierolexicon (Rome, 1677), P- J 9 2 

"^Translation of the Relics of St. Alban . . . 406 

From Brit. Mus. MS. Nero, D. i, f. 22. 




TAUGHT as all our Catholic forefathers were out 
of God s own word, as every one must be who 
meekly hearkens to it, how efficacious, through 
the free gift of Heaven, good works are, and that 
in the next world the souls of those who go thither 
loathing their faults and calling for pardon, may be 
loosened from their bonds and have their cleansing 
torments shortened by the hallowed deeds and 
prayers of the living ; the Anglo-Saxons held that 
one among the several ways laid down in Holy 
Writ for soothing God s anger and hastening his 
forgiveness towards departed but sorrow-smitten 
sinners, was the pious labour of holy men in 
Christ s Church here on earth undertaken in be 
half of the dead. 1 Like their present Catholic 

1 In Sacris Scripturis legendum est quod Omnipotens Deus per 
xii. res hominibus dat remissionem peccatorum eorum. Octava- 
remissio est ut homo ex hac vita ad supplicium discedat, et deinde 
amici ejus qui in vivis sunt, eum redimere, et remissionem ei ser- 
vitio divino, et possessionibus mundanis suis apud Deum consequi 
possint. (Egbert Penitential, iv. 63, in Thorpe, Ancient Laws, iL 
223, 225.) The same teaching is embodied in the liturgy of the 


brethren, (2) not only in this land, but throughout 
the earth, 


therefore this sound belief of theirs made them not 
only build churches, 2 but led them into many a 
(3) hallowed and hallowing practice, almost each 
one of which was followed, with the same kindly 
earnestness, by their Norman and English suc 

Soul-shot was a name given to a small sum of 
money ordained by law to be paid into that church 

Anglo-Saxon Church : V. D . . . qui ieiunii obseruatione, et ele- 
mosinarum gratissima largitiorie, nos docuisti nostrorum consequi 
remedia peccatorum. Unde tuam imploramus clementiam, ut his 
observationibus, et ceteris bonorum operum exhibitionibus muniti, 
ea operemur, quibus ad seterna gaudia consequenda, et spes nobis 
suppetat et facultas. Per Christum. (Leofric Missal, 78.) What 
their prayers taught them, that the Anglo-Saxons reduced to 
works. In one of his deeds of gift, Cnut says : xvi. mansas Deo 
omnipotenti et sanctse Marise semper virgini, hilari vultu menteque 
prseclara (ego Cnut rex Anglorum), concede pro redemptione animse 
mese et criminum meorum absolutione, cum omnibus bonis ad 
mensam coenobialis vitae fratribus Deo servientibus largitus sum, 
quatinus illi famuli Dei apud altissirnum Deum semper fundant 
preces et cotidie flagitant Deum in psalmodiis et missarum cele- 
brationibus, pro facinoribus meis, ut post obitum meum per 
misericordiam Dei et per eorum sancta suffragia possim ad regna 
coelorum pervenire. Kemble, Cod. Dipl. Anglo-Sax., vi. 185. 

2 At Aldborough Church, Holderness, Yorkshire, may yet be 
seen, built into a wall, a round stone, with this Anglo-Saxon 
inscription : Ulf het araeran cyrice for hanum 7 for GunJ?ara saula. 
Ulf bade this church to be reared for his own and Gunthar s 
soul. [See Poulson, History of Holder ness, ii. 6.] 


whereat the body was buried and the service for 
the dead celebrated : under this same term, large 
bequests were often freely made to ecclesiastics 
and favourite churches, for the purpose of get 
ting them to pray for the soul of the deceased 
donor. 3 

Fasting in behalf of the dead was not forgotten : 
when a direful pestilence had been sweeping over 
many parts of this island (c. A.D. 68 1), the brother 
hood of Selsey minster kept a fast of three whole 
days, and humbly besought God to vouchsafe and 
stretch forth his mercy, freeing such as were 
threatened with the disease from present death. 
(4) and preserving those already hurried by it out 
of this world from never-ending damnation. 4 

Of the clergy, each one according to his degree 
prayed for the dead after such a way that every 
grade in orders was able, by supplications and the 
ritual observances of the Church, to afford ghostly 
comfort unto the smarting soul of a deceased friend 
or benefactor : it was begged of the priest to sing 
mass, of the deacon to read the gospel-history of 

3 The noble Anglo-Saxon lady Wynflaed bequeathed (A.D. 995) 
a mancus of gold to each of God s servants, as her soul-shot : Hio 
(Winflaed) becweS . . . hyre to saulsceatte aelcon Godes ]?eowe 
mancos goldes. Cod. Dipl., vi. 130. In the same deed, she charges 
one of her estates with the sum of half a pound in money, as a soul- 
shot for her to Wantage : and hio wile 8aet man finde aet Inggeries- 
hamme healfes pundes wyrtme saulsceat to Waneting for hy. 
Ibid., p. 131. 

4 Visum est fratribus triduanum jejunium agere et divinam 
suppliciter obsecrare clementiam ut . . . raptos e mundo a per- 
petua animse damnatione servaret. Beda, Hist. Ecc. } iv. 14. 


our Redeemer s passion, and of all lower clerks to 
go through the whole or part of the psalter, or to 
say so many " belts " of " Our Fathers" for such a 
merciful purpose. 5 To give doles to the aged, the 

5 aec ic bidde higon ttette hie 5as godcundan god gedon aet 
ftere tide fore hiora sawlum, Saet eghwilc messepriost gesinge fore 
osuulfes sawle twa messan twa fore beornSrySe sawle. 7 aeghwilc 
diacon arede twa passione fore his sawle twa fore hire ond eghwilc 
godes 5iow gesinge twa fiftig fore his sawle twa fore hire. Saette 
ge fore uueuorolde sien geblitsade mid t)em weoroldcundum 
godum 7 hiora saula mid Sem godcundum godum (Codex Dipl., i, 
293, circa A.D. 805). Concerning these passions, see note 65, p. 248,. 
in vol. ii. of the present work. At the end of the Sherborne 
chartulary (described in a note to Leland s Itinerary, ii. 57, Oxford, 
1744), and [now] possessed by Sir Thomas Phillips, Bart., may be 
seen a fair Passionale of the Anglo-Saxon period. Before the 
passion according to St. Mark, there is an illumination of that 
evangelist ; St. John is also figured before his, and most likely 
each passion began with a painting of its writer. 

It was a common thing for an ecclesiastic to know the whole 
Psalter off by heart ; hence the ease with which young clerks 
could readily fulfil the dying request of a benefactor, and say fifty 
or a hundred psalms for the good of the dead person s soul. In 
his youth and still a layman, St. Wilfrid knew the whole of the 
Psalter off by heart : omnem Psalmorum seriem memorialiter . . . 
didicit [Eddius, in R.S., Ixxi. i. 4]. The singing of the Psalter 
through once, if not twice, in the same day, was a devotion 
practised among the Anglo-Saxons, as we learn from St. Beda : 
Namque fratres ad aecclesiam principio noctis concurrentes,. 
psalterium ex ordine decantantes, ad octogesimum tune et 
secundum cantando pervenerant psalmum. [Hist. Quin. Abbat., 
14, ed. Plummer, i. 378.] Cotidie bis psalterium ex ordine 
decantare curauit (Ceolfridus) [ 22, ibid., 386]. In a fair Liber 
psalmorum or psalter, ten and a half inches high by seven inches 
broad, belonging to me, written out, as it would seem, somewhere 
within the province of York, and by an Anglo-Saxon hand, a little 
after St. Edward the Confessor s reign, there is the following 
prayer to be said before beginning the psalms : Suscipere dignare 
Domine Deus omnipotens hos psalmos consecrates quos ego indig- 
nus peccator decantare cupio in honore nominis tui et beate 
Marise semper virginis et omnium sanctorum pro me misero, seu 


(5) sick, or the needy, for the good of a friend s or 
benefactor s soul, was always a favourite religious 

(6) practice among the Anglo-Saxons. No sooner 
did Archbishop Wilfrid breathe his last at Hex- 
ham minster, which he had built, than its abbot 
began to bestow daily alms upon the poor for the 
special behoof and in the name of the departed 
founder of that house. 6 By an early canon of the 
Anglo-Saxon Church, it was enacted that at the 
death of a bishop, each one in the diocese should 
give to the poor a tithe of whatever he had, and 
the thrall who had fallen into bondage during 
that episcopacy, was to be let free, for the purpose 
of winning from God the forgiveness of the dead 
prelate s sins : every bishop and abbot throughout 
the land had to get the psalter said six hundred 
times, and one hundred and twenty masses sung, 
besides freeing three bondsmen, to each of whom 

pro cunctis consanguineis meis vel pro amicis meis necnon et pro 
illis qui in me habent fiduciam, et pro cunctis fidelibus vivis seu 
defunctis. Concede Domine Ihesu Christe ut isti psalmi omnibus 
proficiant ad salutem et ad remedium anime, atque ad veram 
penitentiam faciendam, necnon et ad vitam feliciter faciant nos 
pervenire eternam. Amen. This prayer would by itself show 
that among the reasons for saying the Psalter, one was to ease 
the souls of the dead. 

6 Nam omni die pro eo Missam singularem celebrare, et omni 
hebdomada quintam feriam, in qua obiit, quasi Dominicam, in 
epulis venerari ; et anniversaria die obitus sui universas decimarum 
partes de armentis et de gregibus pauperibus populi sui dividere 
omnibus diebus vitse suse ad gloriam Dei constituit, absque his 
eleemosynis, quas omni die pro se et pro anima Episcopi sui 
semper nominatim simul indigenis et Deo dabat. Eddius, Vita 
S. Wilfridi Ebor., Ixiv. [., Ixxi. i. 98]. 


were to (7) be given three shillings. 7 But this 
was not all : every servant of God was called 
upon to keep a fast, and all through the next 
thirty days, after the (8) canonical hours of the 
public service were over, seven " belts " of Our 
Fathers had to be sung for the deceased. 8 

7 In the council of Calchuth, or Chalkhyth (A.D. 816), there is a 
canon headed thus : 

Ut episcoporum fiant exequise. 

Jubetur . . . ut quandocunque aliquis ex numero episcoporum 
migraverit de seculo, tune pro anima illius prsecipimus ex sub- 
stantia uniuscuj usque decimam partem dividere, ac distribuere 
pauperibus in eleemosyriam, sive in pecoribus et armentis, seu de 
ovibus et porcis, vel etiam in cellariis ; necnon omnem hominem 
Anglicum liberare, qui in diebus suis sit servituti subject us, ut per 
illud sui proprii laboris fructum retributionis percipere mereatur, 
et indulgentiam peccatorum. . . . Prorsus orationes et eleemosy- 
nas quse inter nos specialiter condicta habemus ; id est, ut statim 
per singulas parochias in singulis quibusque ecclesiis,, pulsato 
signo, omnis famulorum Dei coetus ad basilicam conveniat, ibique 
pariter xxx psalmos pro defuncti anima decantent. Et postea 
unusquisque antistes et abbas DC psalteries et cxx missas celebrare 
faciat, et tres homines liberet, et eorum cuilibet tres solidos dis- 
tribuat, et singuli servorurn Dei diem jejunent, et xxx diebus 
canonicis horis expleto synaxeos et vn beltidum Pater noster pro 
eo cantetur ; et hoc expleto tricesima item die obitus sui tarn bene 
reficiantur sicut in cujuslibet apostolorum natali die refici soleant 
et per omnes ecclesias tarn fideliter pro eo agant, sicut moris 
habeant pro eorum domesticis fidei exorando facere. Ut communi 
intercessionis gratia, commune cum sanctis omnibus regnum per 
cipere mereantur seternum. Synodus Calchuthensis, x., in Wilkins, 
Concil., i. 171. 

8 See note 7, above. Though the reading, in the Cotton MS., of 
this canon be hopelessly incorrect, its meaning may be easily 
gathered. This belt of " Pater Nosters " spoken of by one of our 
Anglo-Saxon councils, held at the beginning of the ninth century, 
as a thing then in common use, is the earliest notice, at least in 
western Christendom, of that pious usage of employing a string of 
some kind or another, the knots, notches, or knobs upon which 
might serve to tell, as the fingers went on holding one of them 


(9) Sometimes these mortuary doles consisted of 
money, sometimes of food, occasionally of both 
together ; and were given not only at the burial, 
but very often at each year s mind-day of the 
dead : in not a few instances, they were meant to 
be distributed on one, if not every day of every 

the while a certain prayer was said, exactly when the due number 
of such supplications had been gone over. What may have been 
the shape of, what the mode used, in bearing about with them this 
prayer-belt among the Anglo-Saxons, we do not know : perhaps 
the girdle worn around the waist by religious persons was of 
leather, and studded with small metal button-like bosses, or else 
deeply notched all along that end which, after being fastened by a 
buckle, hung loose almost to the ground at the wearer s side, so 
that it could be easily used for telling the " Our Fathers " at 
prayer-time. What may have been the precise number of such 
petitions forming a belt of "Pater Nosters," we are unable to 
guess. During the latter Anglo-Saxon period, it would seem that 
beads strung together just like our present rosaries, carne to be 
employed for a similar purpose among lay folks, since we are told 
how the far-famed Godiva, wife to Count Leofric, bequeathed a 
circle of threaded jewels upon which her wont was to number 
her prayers as she said them, to be hung about the neck of the 
Blessed Virgin Mary s image in a church at Coventry : Cum 
thesauros vivens ibi (Coventreise) totos congessisset (Godiva), 
jamjamque moritura circulum gemmarum, quern filo insuerat, ut 
singularum contactu singulas orationes incipiens numerum non 
prsetermitteret, huric ergo gemmarum circulum collo imaginis 
sanctae Marise appendi jussit. Will. Malmesburiensis, l)e yestis 
Pontif. Anglor., iv., 175 [U.S., lii. 311]. 

Whilst, then, the above native documents are the earliest notices 
anywhere to be found of the beads as a method for counting the 
number of prayers to be said, these same documents show that 
the Anglo-Saxons were the first to bring into use such a devotional 
appliance, the very name of which leads us back to the times and 
country of its inventors : for the word " bead " is Anglo-Saxon, 
meaning " prayer " : beads at first signified, not a lady s adorn 
ments, but a string of globules for counting prayers. Some such 
a belt was needful, as by Anglo-Saxon devotion, prayers to a cer 
tain number were often said. Canons under K. Edgar, in Thorpe, 
Ancient Laws, ii. 285. 


week throughout the whole year round. 9 For the 
(10) fulfilment of their pious wishes upon this 
point, while bequeathing to friends and kinsfolks 
their land, the Anglo-Saxons charged it with the 
finding of so much bread, meat, and money, to 
be thus applied, for ever, to the poor. 10 Wishful 

9 In quo etiam scripto constituit (Wulfredus archiepiscopus 
Cantuariensis) elemosinam quam cotidie fieri prsecepit, in illis 
terris quas ipse adquisivit pro anima sua et pro animabus omnium 
illorum qui ecclesise aliquid auxilium impendissent. . . . Apud 
Hergam v. pauperes, apud Otteford v. apud Clive ii. apud 
Gravenea ii. apud Oesvalun vii. in civitate Dorobernise vi, uni- 
cuique detur cotidie ad manducandum quod convenienter sit satis, 
et per annum unicuique pauperi ad vestitum xxvi denarii. Cotidie 
quoque preecepit missam celeb rari pro animabus supramemoratorum. 
In anniversario suo prsecepit dari MCC. pauperibus ad manducan 
dum, cuique panem unum et caseum, aut lardum et denarium 
unum. (Circa A.D. 832.) Codex Dip., i. 298. 

10 This we find done in many Anglo-Saxon wills ; the holder of 
certain lands at Bourn, Kent, was bound to give twenty barley 
loaves every Sunday for Ealdred s soul and Ealhburga s : suelc 
mon se Set lond hebbe eghwylce sunnan dege. xx. gesuflra hlafa 
to Sare cirican for ealdredes saule 7 for ealhburge. (Circa A D. 
831.) Ibid., i. 297. But the following extracts from Osuulf s will, 
ratified by Archbishop Wulfred, afford an apt illustration of this 
religious practice : " I Osuulf, ealderman, with God s grace, and 
Beornthryth my wife, give to Christ s Church at Canterbury, the 
land at Stanhamstede, viz., xx carucates to God Almighty and the 
holy congregation, in the hope and for the reward of the eternal 
and future life, and for the health of our souls and our children s. 
. . I Wulfred then, with God s grace, archbishop, confirm these 
aforesaid words, and bid that these things be given after a twelve 
month, from Limene to which this aforesaid land belongs, from the 
same land at Stanhamstede, cxx wheaten loaves, and xxx clean (of 
fine flour) simnel cakes, and j sound ox, and iv sheep, and ij flitches, 
and v geese, and x hens, and x Ib. of cheese, if it be a fowl-day, but 
if it be a fast-day, let a wey of cheese be given, and of fish, butter, 
and eggs, what may be got, and xxx ambers of good Welsh ale, 
which is equivalent to xv mits, and a mit-ful of honey, and ij of 
wine, whichever is to be had : and of the common goods of the 
brethren at the minster, let there be given cxx barley loaves in 


that there (11) should be a religious solemnity 
shed around the very act of distributing these 
mortuary doles, the Church drew up a form of 
blessing to be spoken over the food before it was 
given away ; and from the words of this prayer, 
all around knew the alms were bestowed in the 
name and on behalf of that dead man s or 
woman s soul who had bequeathed such a kind 
of charitable help to the poor. 11 

(12) But deeds of a higher, because holier, 
species of goodwill towards the lowly and forlorn 
were, upon those sorrowful occasions of a burial, 
done by the living out of love for the dead : thral 
dom unhappily was in being among the Anglo- 
Saxons as well as every other people of Europe in 
their time ; but often at the behest of a weeping 
son, the while he bowed him down in prayer by his 
sire s bier at the foot of the altar, his 

alms for their souls, as is done at Christmas-tide ; and let all these 
aforesaid eatables be delivered to the ruleward, and let him distri 
bute them as may be most advisable to the brethren and best for 
their souls. Let the wax also be given to the Church, and do good 
to their souls for whom it is done. Also I bid my successors who 
shall have the land at Bourn, that after a twelvemonth, they 
always against that time get ready ten hundred loaves and as many 
barley loaves, and deal them out in alms at that time, for my soul, 
and Osuulf s, and Beornthryth s, at Christchurch, and let the rule- 
ward tell in the town when the time is," &c. Cod. Dipl.,\. 292, 293. 

11 This is shown by the following Anglo-Saxon rubric, and Latin 
prayer : C\ve5 this ofer <5one mete the man for deadne gedaeleS. 

Prsecamur te Domine clementissime pater, ut elemosina ista fiat 
in misericordia tua, ut accepta sit cibum istum pro anima famuli 
tui, ill., ut sit benedictio tua super omnia dona ista, per. Wanley, 
Librorum Vet. Catal, p. 83 [in Hickes, Thesaurus]. 



with a wish from his kind-hearted child that his 
father s soul might ever be prayed for by those 
who there became freemen only under the promise 
of fulfilling such an easy stipulation. 12 More fre 
quently, however, the pious father and mother 
left not such an act of humanity to be done for 
them by their offspring, nor did the wealthy 
churchman trust for its performance to the un 
bidden generosity of his friends and those among 
his kindred to whom he gave a portion of his 
lands, but thoughtful of it themselves, they made 
the freedom of all or some of their serfs a parti 
cular article marked down in their last will. 13 
Moreover, the saying of 

12 Her ky<5 on )?issere bee $ Waltere Wulfordes sune ureode 
A]?elune inna Sees Petres mynstre over his faderlic. his fader saule 
to aliseonisse, 7 his. MS. in Bib. Cath. Exoniensis, in Hickes, Thes., 
t. ii., Diss. Epist. p. 15. 

13 That this custom was old among the Anglo-Saxons of giving 
their freedom to bondsmen, for the good of a soul after death, is 
well shown by a letter to the abbess Eadburga from our St. 
Boniface. In writing to her the details which he had told him by 
a certain Anglo-Saxon religious man, of all that the same monk, 
whilst lying entranced, was given to behold in the other world, 
among other things, the archbishop says that their countryman 
spoke thus : Fratris cujusdam qui paulo ante defunctus est, 
animam tristem ibi videbam, cui antea ipse in infirmitate exitus 
sui ministravi, et exequias prsebui, qui mihi moriens pnecepit, ut 
fratri illius germano verbis illius testificans demandarem, ut an- 
cillam quandam quam in potestate communiter possederunt, pro 
anima ejus manumitteret. Sed germanus ejus, avaritia impedi- 




was, among our Saxon forefathers, another litur 
gical rite which grew out of their belief in a middle 

As the year, in creeping round, brought back the 
(14) anniversary 14 of a benefactor, or a friend, or 

ente, petitionem ejus non implevit (St. Boniface, Opp., ed. Giles, i. 
59). The whole of the archbishop s account of his countryman the 
Anglo-Saxon monk s vision, is highly curious. In her last will, 
after setting free many bondsmen and women on her lands, Wyn- 
flaed says, if there be any others brought by her into thraldom, 
she trusts her children will let them oft for her soul s sake : and 
gif 5aer hwylc witeSeowman sy butan Syson 5e hio geGeowede, hio 
gelyf 5 to hyre bearnon Gaet hi hine willon lyhtan for hyre saulle 
(Cud. J)ip. Anglo-Sax., vi. 132). Again: 7 ic wille f man frigse 
haelve mine men on elcu tune for mine sawlee. 7 *$ man dele seal 
healf ^ yrue j5 ic haebbe on selcu tune for mire sawle Ibid., iii. 
273, ^Elflaed s Will. And he wyle 5aet man freoge aefter his daege 
aelcne witefaestne man Se on his timan forgylt waere (Abp. 
^Elfric s Will, Ib., p. 352). Like bequests of freedom to bondsmen 
for the same object occur at pp. 360, 361. Wulf wished : xxx de 
mancipiis meis libertatem pro anima mea habeant. Ibid., iv. 289. 
14 Hard by where King Oswald set up a wooden cross, and kneel 
ing with all his army before it, begged of God to give him victory, 
just before he began the onset with the barbarians near the Roman 
wall, stood Hexham minster. For years afterwards, until assured 
by miracles that the holy warrior was a saint in heaven, did the 
brotherhood of that church go to the spot the evening before the 
day upon which Oswald was slain in another battle ; and having 
spent the night in keeping a wake, that is, in singing that part of 
the Church-service still called Vigiiise- Mortuorum, or " matins and 
lauds," they offered up in behalf of his soul the holy sacrifice of the 
mass during the morning : Fratres Hagustalderisis ecclesise, . . . 
advenientes omni anno pridie quam postea idem rex Oswald occisus 
est, vigilias pro salute animse ejus facere, plurimaque psalmorum 
laude celebrata, victimam pro eo mane sacrse oblationis offerre 


of their religious brethren, the Anglo-Saxon monks 
would (15) go to the churchyard wherein they lay 
buried, and pitching a tent there, on the very spot, 
sing psalms beneath its roof, and offer up, upon 
a temporary altar which overspread the grave 
itself, the holy sacrifice of the mass, during some 
days, for the souls of those, their friends more 
especially, whose bodies were crumbling into dust 
below. 15 Like feelings gave rise to 

(Beda, Hi*t. Ecc., iii. 2). The mass for such an occasion is pre 
served in a very valuable monument of the Anglo-Saxon times. 


Deus cujus miseratione animse fidelium requiescunt animabus 
famulorum famularumque tuarum, vel omnibus in hoc cimiterio 
quiescentibus, da propitius veniam peccatorum ut a cunctis reati- 
bus absolutes sine fine laetentur. per. 


Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, annue, qusesumus, precibus nostris 
ea que poscimus, et dona omnibus, quorum hie corpora requiescunt, 
refrigerii sedem, quietis beatitudinem, luminis claritatem ; ut qui 
peccatorum suorum pondere pregravantur, eos supplicatio com- 
mendet secclesie. per. 

Seer eta. 

Pro animabus famulorum famularumque tuarum et omnium hie 
dormientium, hostiam, Domine, suscipe benignus oblatam, ut hoc 
sacrificio singular! vinculis horrende mortis exute vitam mereantur 
seternam. per. 

Post Communionem. 

Deus, fidelium lumen animarum, adesto supplicationibus nostris, 
et da omnibus quorum corpora hie requiescunt refrigerii sedem, 
quietis beatitudinem, luminis claritatem. per. Egbert Pontifical, 56. 

15 In recording the burning of Croyland minster, then called 
Ancarig, and the slaughter of its monks by the Danes, Ingulph 
gives us a strong instance of Anglo-Saxon piety in praying for the 
dead : multo sudore omnia monachorum dicti monasterii corpora 
comportata, numero 84 in medio coemiterio dicti monasterii, con 
tra frontern ecclesise quondam orientalem, scilicet in uno latissimo 



In setting up at the south end of their burial 
grounds a tall stone rood, 16 graven with its many 
sculptures, but especially the figure of Christ our 
Lord outstretched upon it, one of the objects 
which the pious Anglo-Saxons had before their 
eyes while doing so, was that all who went into 
church might thus be put in mind to remember 
in their prayers the souls of those whose bodies 
were mouldering beneath the green sod of that 
hallowed ground. Not only within their church 
yards, but by the pathside, was it the practice 
among the Anglo-Saxons to raise beautifully 
wrought stone crosses; (17) and of those tokens 
of Christianity which are yet left standing, the 
greater part seem to have been erected to mark 
the spot whereon some distinguished individual 

tumulo ad hoc aptato . . . sepilivit, ponens supra corpus abbatis in 
medio filiorum suorum quiescentis petram piramidalem tres pedes in 
altitudine et tres in longitudine et unum in latitudine continen- 
tem, insculptasque imagines abbatis ac monachorum suorum cir- 
cumstantium gestantem . . . et omni anno quam diu vixit, semel 
visitans, supraque petram suum tentorium figens, pro animabus 
ibidem sepultorum Missas per biduum devotione continua cele- 
bravit (abbas Godricus), . . . et crucem lapideam similiter imagine 
Salvatoris insculptam . . . prsedictus abbas Godricus tune ibidem 
posuit . . . ut transeuntes viatores memores monasterii sanc- 
tissimi pro animabus fidelium in ipso coemiterio quiescentium 
preces Domino solverent. Ingulph, Hist. [ed. W. de Gray Birch, 
1883, pp. 40, 41]. 

16 Of such a cross put up by St. Cuthberht, see note 67 in vol. 
ii. of this work, p. 249. 


either had met with sudden death, been killed, 
or whereat the corpse was set down by its bearers 
while they halted a few hours for rest and prayer 
on the road to its burial-place, and thus ask 
each wayfarer to breathe, on going by, a short 
supplication to Christ for his forgiveness, and 
that everlasting happiness in heaven which he 
bought for us on the cross, unto the dead man s 
soul. 17 Nay, so strong were these (18) Anglo- 

17 The Runic legend upon the curious cross at Lancaster says, 
Pray for Cynibald son of Cuthert (Archaeological Journal, 
iii. 72), where the cross itself and its runes are figured. " The 
old cross " c5a ealdan rode is not unfrequently noticed in Anglo- 
Saxon deeds and grants of property, as one of the landmarks of 
a township. Kemble, Cod. Dip. Anglo-Sax., vi. 2, 177. 

The smarts of purgatory, and those various depths in its 
cleansing fires unto which, according to Anglo-Saxon belief, each 
soul, on falling into that burning pool, was made to sink, as the 
blots of sin were few or many upon it, are strongly set forth in 
Archbishop St. Boniface s description of an Anglo-Saxon monk s 
trance, wherein we are told how : Nee non et igneum piceumque 
flumen bullions et ardens mirse formidinis et teterrimse visionis 
cernebat, super quod lignum pontis vice positum erat, ad quod 
sanctse gloriosreque animse ab illo secedentes conventu, propera- 
bant desiderio alterius ripse, transire cupientes, et qusedam non 
titubantes constanter transibant : qusedam vero labefactse de ligno 
cadebant in tartareum flumen : et alise tingebantur quasi toto 
corpore mersse : alise autem ex parte quadam veluti ad genua 
media, qusedam vero usque ad ascellas : et tamen unaquseque 
cadentium multo clarior speciosiorque de flumine in alterant 
ascendebat ripam quam prius in piceum bulliens cecidisset flumen. 
Et unus ex beatis angelis, de illis cadentibus animabus dixit : Hse 
animse sunt quse post exitum mortalis vitae quibusdam levibus 
vitiis non omnino ad purum abolitis aliqua pia miserentis Dei 
castigatione indigebant ut Deo dignae ofterantur. St. Boniface, 
Opp., ed. Giles, i. 57. 

In his account of Ripon minster, Leland says : " One thing I 
much notid, that was 3 crossis standing in row at the est ende of 
the chapelle garth. They were thinges antiqnissiini operis, and 
monumentes of sum notable men buried there." He calls these 


Saxon cravings, that they must needs make 
themselves known through the smaller actions 
of (19) life, and on the slightest opportunity. 
Hence in bestowing a psalter, or a copy of the 
gospels, or any other liturgical codex upon his 
favourite church, the high-born Anglo-Saxon 
would ofttimes have written at the beginning of 
the volume a wish, set forth in prose or verse, 
asking of those who might take up and read its 
pages, to pour out a short prayer in behalf of the 
soul of him who gave the book. 18 In bidding, 

crosses " tokens of the old monasterie left after the depopulation 
of the Danes " (Itin., i. 90). At Heddenham was the base of a 
cross, now removed to Ely minster, commemorating Ovinus, 
Etheldreda s steward, native here, who died about 680. 

*J* Lucem . Tuam . Ovino . 
Da . Deus . Et . Requie . 
Amen . 

Camden, Britannia, ed. Gough, ii. 141*. 

An Anglo-Saxon bishop of Worcester has left us a very valuable 
notice of these burial crosses : " Ad locum ubi sacrum corpus 
ejus (S. Aldhelmi) jacebat, l ta ferme milibus ultra Meldunense 
monasterium situm deveni (ait S. Eguinus Wigorn. Epis.) ; et ad 
sepulturam adduxi et honorifice sepelivi, mandans ut, in quocun- 
que loco sacrum corpus in asportatione pausaverat, sacrse crucis 
erigerentur signacula." Manent omnes cruces, nee ulla earum 
vetustatis sensit injuriam ; vocanturque biscepstane, id est lapides 
episcopi (Will. Malmesb., Vita Aldlielini Epis. Scireburnensis, in Gesta 
Pontif., v. 230) [R.S., lii. 384]. From a passage a little before, 
it would seem that one of these stone crosses was set up at every 
seven miles on the road between Doulting, the place of the saint s 
death, and Malmesbury, where he was buried : Celebris ilia pompa 
funeris fuit, dum pro miraculorum frequentia figerentur semper 
lapidese cruces ad septem miliaria. Ibid., p. 383. 

18 Hunc codicem ^ESelstan rex devota mente Dorobernensi 
tribuit ecclesise beato Augustine dicatre. Et quisquis hoc legerit 
omnipotenti pro eo proque suis fundat preces (MS. Bib. Reg. i, A. 


just before death, a last (20) farewell to all their 
friends, or in stating what words they wished 
to be cut upon their own gravestone, the most 
learned and eminent of our Anglo-Saxon scholars, 
like Beda 19 and Alcuin, 20 earnestly (21) besought 
a remembrance in the prayers of all who lived 
after them. 

xviii., in the British Museum). In another codex may be read 
these line s : 

Qui legis inscriptos versus rogitare memento 
Xpin ac in requie semper die vivat Athelwerd 
Qui dedit hunc thomii Aedhelmo pro quo sibi Xps 
Munera larga ferat largitor crimina laxans. 

Corpus Christi Camb. MS., 23. 

Upon this as well as every other point of Catholic belief, our 
Anglo-Saxons kept up a strict communion with the rest of the 
Church on the Continent ; for at the death of his great friend 
Pope Hadrian I., the Emperor Charlemagne sent over to Offa, king 
of the Mercians, a baldric, a sword, and two silk mantles for him 
self, besides dalmatics and altar-palls to be distributed among the 
cathedral churches of this country, with a request that prayers 
should be said for the good of the dead pontiff s soul : cognoscat 
quoque dilectio vestra quod aliquam benignitatem de dalmaticis 
nostris vel palliis ad singulas sedes episcopales regni vestri vel 
Ethelfredi direximus in eleemosynam Domni Apostolici Hadriani 
deprecantes ut pro eo intercedi jubeatis . . . vestrse quoque dilec- 
tioni unum baltheum et unum gladium Huniscum et duo pallia 
serica. Epist. ad Offam Itegem Merciorum, in Baluze, Capit. Iteg. 
Fra.ic., i. 197, Venetiis 1772 [P./-., xcviii. 907]. 

19 See before in this work, ii. 241, note 57. 

20 Alchwin nomen erat sophiam mihi semper amanti, 

Pro quo f unde preces mente, legens titulum. 
Alcuini Epitaphium, in Mabillon, A A. SS. 0. ., v. 154. 

Of this epitaph, written for himself by Alcuin, it is said by the 
writer of his life who gathered his facts from the mouth of 
Alcuin s scholar and friend, Sigulf, of the church of York : super 
cujus tumulum positus est, sicut ipse jusserat titulus quern ipse 
vivens dictaverat, lamina scriptus in serea, parietique insertus. 
Ibid., p. 153. 


This knowledge that something more could be 
done than sighing forth idle bemoanings for the 
fondly beloved but death-stricken object of affec 
tion, was thought to hallow while it sweetened 
Christian friendship ; and it was held that, of two 
friends, he whom death carried off the first, ought 
to be looked upon as the happier, leaving behind 
him, as he did, one who, with a brother s love, 
would daily call upon heaven for its forgiveness to 
his deceased friend, the blemishes of whose early 
years he would strive and wash out with his own 
living tears. Nay, it was deemed that such a holy 
care for the departed soul, must avail alike the 
living who bestowed it and the dead on whom it 
was bestowed : the living would earn for himself 
the meet reward of such a work of true belief and 
love ; to the dead, his punishment would be light 
ened, or his happiness made greater. 21 But 


For had they wanted, which they did not, other 
arguments, besides the teaching of the Church, to 
(22) help their belief in this Catholic doctrine of a 

21 Si duo sunt amici, felicior est mors praecedentis quam subse- 
quentis ; habet enim qui fraterno amore pro se quotidie intercedat, 
et lacrymis lavat pristinse errores vitse. Nee dubites prodesse pise 
sollicitudinis curam, quam pro anima illius geris. Tibi proficit, et 
illi. Tibi itaque, quee in fide facis et dilectione : illi, ut vel pcena 
levigetur, vel beatitudo augeatur. Alcuin, Epist. cc. ad Edilthru- 
dam[P.L. 0.474,475]. 



middle state, the Anglo-Saxons might have easily 
found them in the records of many a miracle, as 
they looked through the writings or read the lives 
of those among their countrymen who have, from 
time to time, shed upon this and other lands the 
light of their learning, and filled them with the 
sweetness of their holiness. 22 

22 From the life of St. Lioba (who with some nuns was sent from 
Winborne over to St. Boniface in Germany), we learn that Tetta, 
the abbess of that minchery in Dorsetshire, beheld how the 
heaped-up grave of a nun there, who had died unforgiving the 
over-sternness of a superior, by its sinking down into a deep 
hollow, showed the soul of the dead was ill at rest, and therefore 
needed prayers ; and how, after fastings and supplications in its 
behalf to God, that spirit got set free from purgatory, which be 
came known to the sisterhood by the uprising of the grave and its 
little hillock to its first height : Defuncta est ergo in hac perti- 
nacia. et sepulturse tradita (monialis), tumulusque super sepul- 
chrum ejus congesto terrse aggere compositus est. Mater congre- 
gationis venerabilis Tetta . . . perrexit ad tumulum, et mirum in 
modum conspexit terram quee desuper congesta erat subsedisse^ et 
usque ad semipedis spatium infra summitatem sepulchri descen- 
disse. Quo viso vehementer expavit : iritellexit enim ex defectu 
teme,, pcenam sepultee; et severitatem justi judicii Dei perpendit 
ex detrimento sepulchri. . . . Pro defuncta sorore eas (moniales) 
obsecravit, ut quidquid ante mortem in quamlibet earum peccasse 
videbatur, ex animo remittentes, secum pariter orationi incum- 
berent, et pro absolutione illius divinam clementiam invocarent. 
C unique omnes unanimiterexhortationibusejus annuissent, indixit 
eis triduanum jejunium, monens unamquamque psalmodiis et 
vigiliis ac precibus sanctis pro ea studiosius insistere. Die autem 
tertia, expleto jejunio,cum omni congregatione virginum basilicam 
intravit, et illis litanias facientibus, et nomen Salvatoris invocan- 
tibus, ipsa cum lacrymis ante altare, pro anima defunctao sororis 
rogatura, prosternitur. Cumque in oratione persisteret, fossa 
sepulchri, quse prius pene vacua videbatur, humo excrescente, 
paullatim ccepit repleri : ita ut uno eodemque momento et ipsa ab 
oratione resurgeret, et terra sepulchrum complanaret. Qua de re 
manifeste ostenditur, quod cum monumentum visibiliter ad priorem 
statum rediit per orationes sanctse virginis, defunctre animam 


(23) Carrying out in practice the pious dictates 
of such a tenet, no wonder the Anglo-Saxon 
Church (24) decreed, as she did in her synods, 
that, at all the canonical hours of the public ser 
vice, the clergy should pray not only in behoof of 

virtus divina invisibiliter absolvit. Rudolf of Fulda, ssec. ix., Vita 
S. Liaise, in Mabillon, AA. SS. B. iv. 223, 224. 

The vision in which the Anglo-Saxon ankret St. Balther saw the 
soul of one who,, through shame, had once kept back a sin in con 
fession, writhing under its purgatorial torments,, and afterwards, 
its joyful flight up to heaven when he had poured forth to God 
long and earnest prayers in its behalf, is well pictured in the 
following lines, from the pen of an unknown monk of York, who 
was perhaps our Alcuin : 

Vir pius ille quidem quodam dum tempore solus 

Incubuit precibus meditans ccelestia tantum ; 

Horribilem subito strepitum simul atque fragorem 

Audivit, veluti vulgi erumpentis in hostes. 

Tune anima ex superis cujusdam nubibus ejus 

Ante pedes cecidit, nimio tremefacta timore 

Quam mox turba minax ingenti horrore secuta est, 

Cum variis miseram poenis torquere volentum. 

At Pater ille pius placidis amplexibus illam 

Arripuit gremio, statimque inquirit ab ilia 

Quse esset, cur f ugeret, faceret vel quse mala : cui tune 

Respondit : 

Et culpam erubui juvenis in carne fateri 
Nunc idcirco feri duris incursibus hostes 
Post triginta dies meme torquere sequuntur. 

Tune pius interventor humo prosternitur, atque 
Cum lacrymis Domino pro culpa supplicat ilia. 
Nee prius ille preces desistit f undere sacras, 
Quam propriis animam ferri vidisset ocellis 
Altius angelicas cceli super astra per ulnas. 

Frag. Hist, de Pontificibus et Sanctis Ecc. Eboracensis, Anon., circ. 
A.D. 785. Ed. Mabillon, AA. SS. 0. B. iv. 508 [P.L. ci. 839, 840]. 
How the shackles used to fall from the wrists of the living but 
captive warrior, every day, at the hour that mass was offered up 
by his brother for his soul, under the impression that he was 
among the slain, has been already noticed (ii. 243) in this work. 


the living but also of the dead, for the good of 
whose souls she likewise enjoined that the holy 
sacrifice of the Mass was to be often offered up. 23 
Lay folks, too, (25) were called upon to fulfil the 
same charitable office every day ; and as a help to 
them in its performance, those same councils 
pointed out the exact form of supplication for 
every one to say, either in Latin, the language of 
the liturgy, or in their own native Saxon, as best 
they might be able. 24 

The Anglo-Saxon s and the Norman s belief 
being the same upon this as on every other point 
of doctrine, Norman was like Anglo-Saxon practice 
in following it. 

23 Statuerunt ut deinceps per canonicas orationum horas non 
solum pro se ecclesiastic! sive monasteriales, sed etiam pro regibus 
ac ducibus totiusque populi christiani incolumitate, divinam 
incessanter exorarent clementiam . . . et ut pro viventibus 
divina precaretur dementia, et pro mortuis pise placationis 
celebratio ssepius pro illarum requie animarum, per plurimorum 
officia sacerdotum Christi ageretur, &c. Condi. Cloveshoviense (A.D. 
747), in Wilkins, Cone., i. 100. 

24 Sive dum pro se ut faciant in ilia sancta modulatione, Deum 
multiplici modo et laudant et orant ; sive etiam pro aliis, viventi 
bus seu mortuis, cum expleta quantalibet psalmodia, genu flectentes 
in orationem, et lingua Latina, vel qui earn non didicerunt, sua 
Saxonica dicunt : " Domine miserere illi et parce peccatis illius, 
et converte ilium, ut faciat voluntatem tuam : " sive id pro mor 
tuis : " Domine secundum magnam misericordiam tuam, da requiem 
animse illius, atque ei pro tua immensa pietate gaudia lucis seternse 
donare cum tuis sanctis dignare." Ibid., p. 99. 



under another though not so fit a name mor 
tuary 25 (26) continued to be paid; and while 

25 Sic dictum eo quod relinquitur ecclesise pro anima defuncti 
. . . et quia cum mortuo, tempore sepulture, consuevit ad ecclesiam 
deferri. Lyndwood [i. 3, p. 21, note o]. Archbishop Langton in 
one of the constitutions (A.D. 1209) for his province of Canterbury, 
while speaking about an older statute on the subject, lets us see 
what were the grounds upon which the Church founded her right 
to these mortuary gifts : Satagebat idem predecessor saluti con- 
sulere animarum, eo quod considerabat laicos utriusque sexus sub- 
ditos suos, quandoque per ignorantiam, nonnunquam vero per 
negligentiam et injustam decimarum et oblationum suarum deten- 
tionem graviter deliquisse. Et quia non dimittitur peccatum nisi 
restituatur ablatum, prudenter attendens, salubriter statuit, quod 
pro recompensatione decimarum taliter subtractarum . . . secun- 
dum melius animal defuncti, ecclesire damnum passe debuit 
applicari ... ad solutionem mortuarii de jure debiti contradict ores 
et rebelles volumus per locorum ordinaries censura ecclesiastica 
coarctari. Wilkins, Condi., i. 530. Such, too, are the reasons given 
by the Synod of Exeter (A.D. 1289), ibid., ii. 158. In old English 
wills, it is no uncommon thing to meet with a bequest to a 
church " in recompense of tithes and oblations forgotten and not 
paid," as in that of Elizabeth, Lady Latimer (A.D. 1480), Test. 
Vet., i. 359. The best animal the deceased died worth, went to 
his parish church as his mortuary, which for a knight was, in 
general, a war-horse trapped in all its military harness. Sir Wil 
liam Vavasour says (A.D. 1311): "Corpus meum ad sepelliendum 
in nova capella Sancti Leonardi de Heselwod: et pro mortuario 
meo meliorem equum meum cum armis ad militem pertinentibus." 
Wills, etc., of the Northern Counties, i. 13. This chapel is, and 
always has remained, in Catholic hands, and being extra-parochial, 
is one among the very few old buildings of Catholic worship in 
England which has never been desecrated by the performance 
within its walls of a heterodox service. In his will (dated A.D. 1345), 
Richard de la Pole, knight, leaves : Meliorem palefridum meum 
debito modo paratum eidem ecclesie nomine mortuarii mei. Test. 
Ebor., p. 7. But other objects of the same or higher value were 
often presented : the rich sacrificial garments, the costly orna 
ments, and the sacred vessels called his "chapel" were usually 
left, under this name of mortuary, by a bishop to his cathedral, 


those endowments which the Anglo-Saxon thane 
had made to gain for his soul the prayers, through 

as we learn from several curious inventories of such liturgical 
appliances (Wills, &c., i. i, 2, 3, &c.) ; while by both men and 
women in the middle ranks of life, their bettermost garments were 
thought to be no insufficient equivalent. Thus Thomas Harpham 
gives (A.D. 1341), meliorem supertunicam meam cum capucio ejus 
dem sectse fururatam nomine mortuarii. Test. Ebor., p. 2 ; and 
Helen de Bilburgh bequeaths pro mortuario meo unam super 
tunicam cum capucio (ibid., p. 3) ; Agnes Percehay leaves forty 
shillings in money pro mortuario meo xls. Ibid., p. 53. The 
more usual practice was that followed by William Bevill, who says 
in his will (A.D. 1487), "my best hors, in ye name of my mortuary, 
after the custom of the cuntre." Test. Vet., ii. 78 1 . The more solemn 
offering of a baron s and a sovereign s mortuary, has already been 
mentioned in this work, ii. 407, &c. ; but there was another 
kind which asks for our notice here. The living showed their 
esteem for a dead friend by sending one or more wide rich palls 
of golden cloth, to be strewed by their messenger, if they did not 
go themselves and with their own hands outspread them at offer 
ing-time, over the coffin as the body lay before the altar during 
Mass : such costly presents were kept by the church as a part of 
the mortuary gift, and vestments were made out of them : thus 
In die funeracionis (Richardi Kellowe episcopi Dunelmensis) 
Thomas Comes Lancastrise optulit super corpus ejusdem iij pannos 
rubeos cum armis ejusdem; de quibus facta sunt vestimenta ilia 
in quibus celebratur quando conventus est in albis. Rex vero 
Edwardus secundus post conquistum misit ab Eboraco elemosina- 
rium suum Dunelmum et de pannis auro textis corpus honoravit. 
Wills, &c., of the Northern Counties, i. 21. John de Warren, 
Earl of Surrey, in his will (A.D. 1347), says : leo voile que touz les 
draps d or et de seye qui serront offortz pour mon corps . . . 
demoergent a la dit esglise ou mon corps serra enterretz. Test. 
Eborac., p. 42. When Ralph, Lord Nevill, was buried (A.D. 1355), 
four costly palls, which afforded the materials for as many vest 
ments, were offered. At our royal obsequies, this rite used to 
be performed with more than common solemnity : in describing 
Richard II. s funeral, Hardyng tells us how : 

At Ponies his Masse was done and diryge, 
In hers royall semely to royalte, 
The Kyng & lordes clothes of golde there offerde, 
Some viii. some ix. upon his herse were proferde. 
Hardyng, Chronicle, ed. Ellis, p. 357. When Prince Arthur, 


future (27) ages, of the poor, by the distribution 
of alms among them, were in many instances 

Henry VII. s eldest son, was buried, " all the offerings of money 
done, the Lord Powys went to the queere doore, where two 
gentlemen ushers delivered him a rich palle of cloth of gould of 
tyssue which he offred to the corpse, where two officers of armes 
receaved it, and laid it along the corpse. The Lord Dudley in like 
manner oft red a palle, which the said officers laid over the corpse. 
The Lord Greye Ruthen oft red another ; and every each of the 
three Earles offred to the corpse three palles of the same cloth of 
gould: the lowest Earle began first. All the palles were layd 
crosse over the corpse. That done, the sermon beganne," &c. 
Leland, Colled., v. 380. After the offering of the mass-penny, at 
Henry VII. s burial in Westminster Abbey, " twoe herauds came 
againe unto the said Duke of Buck, and to the Earles, and con 
veyed them into the revestrie, where they did receive certen palles 
which everie of them did bringe solempnly betwene theire hands, 
and cominge in order one before another, as they were in degree, 
unto the said herse, they kissed theire said palles, and delivered 
them unto the said heraudes which laide them uppon the Kyngs 
corps, in this manner: the palle which was first offered by the 
Duke of Buck, was laid on length on the said corps, and the 
residewe were laid acrosse, as thick as they might lie. Which 
palles were offered in the manner aforesaid, in token of their 
homage which they of dutie ought to doe unto the Kinge." Ibid., 
iv. 308. In " The ordre of the ofteringe at the Masse of Requiem " 
at the burial of Queen Mary in the same church, we find thus 
described under an especial rubric, " The Offeringe of the Paules : " 
" Item, the Ladyes stode uppe within the hersse, and the Lady 
Northe came fourth to the ralle at the hedd, unto whome Garter 
delyvered twoo paules, whoo, with the officers of armes before her, 
went about the hersse, and at the feate of the said Lady (Queen 
Mary) offered the said paules, the which were reseved by the fore- 
said Garter, and laid on the feet of the corsse acrosse ; and when 
she had don she retorned to the hersse agayne. Item, all the 
Baronesses did offer ij paules a pece in lyke manner. Item, all 
Countesses did offer iiij paules a pece in like manner." Ibid., v. 322. 
Among the liturgical practices of old Catholic England, few are 
more fitting to be brought back into use than this custom of 
strewing the bier with such gifts as may be wrought up into 
sacred garments, or can otherwise help to ornament the house of 
God. While the living show their sorrow for the loss of their dead 
friend, or relative, in a way so lasting and becoming, they at the 


faithfully administered (28) for that purpose, up 
to the times of our eighth Henry, 26 the Anglo- 
Norman and the English (29) baron strove, each 
in his day. to outdo the pious munificence of his 
Saxon forerunners, whose design (30) and wishes, 
upon this religious subject, were exactly like his 
own. Of this, proof might be (31) gathered after 
proof. Within many of our larger churches in 
the olden time, often did straying pilgrims gaze 
with admiring wonderment upon the rich silver 
cross fashioned as a reliquary, and on the precious 
vessel wrought with beauteous skill for holding 
the adorable Eucharist, as hovering, dove-like, it 
hung down from the chancel s roof. On asking 
about them, those strangers learned, in many 
instances, that such ornaments perhaps, too, the 

same time aid in providing for the decent administration of the 
holy sacrifice ; and on each occasion they happen to behold the 
vestments, the frontals, or the curtains made out of their mortu 
ary offering, they will be reminded to pray for the soul of him or 
her in whose behalf that gift was presented. 

26 Among the alms given away to the poor by the monastery of 
Peterborough when its lands were seized by our old Harry, were : 
Elemosina data pauperibus orantibus pro animabus regis Piade, 
Ulferi, et Etheldredi fundatorum predicti monasterii (De Burgo S. 
Petri) tarn in festis principalibus quam in festis duplicibus ex 
antiqua fundacione cxvs. viijrf. Et in denariis annuatim solutis 
octo pauperibus hominibus existentibus in hospitali Sci Leonardi 
juxta burgum . . . ibidem cotidie orantibus pro animabus funda 
torum predictorum ex antiqua fundacione, &c. Valor. Eccl., iv. 
283. Again another religious house, the monastery of the B. V. 
Mary at Middleton, until the same period, kept up the custom of 
bestowing : Elemosina pro anima regis Athelstani f undatoris 
monasterii (Beate Marie Virginis de Myddelton). In elemosinis 
annuatim distributis xiij pauperibus ville de Myddelton, &c., xxxZ. 
vijs. xrf. Valor. EccL, i. 251. 


splendid signet of gold which they beheld glisten 
ing on the shrine, but which a weeping husband 
had drawn from off his widowered finger to 
bestow upon it had been all brought by him at 
offertory-time, in the Mass sung over the corpse 
of his beloved spouse, unto that altar, and left 
there not merely for a burial gift, but to be so 
many earnests by which he meant to bind himself 
before God and man that he would grant broad 
lands some rich manor and thus provide un 
ceasing prayers within those hallowed walls for 
his dead wife s, his friends , and when he himself 
should die, his own soul, for (32) evermore: 27 
many an ornament, meetly beautiful, so came to 
the Church. 28 

27 Willielmus de Albeneyo (temp. Henrici primi) . . . assistens 
ad exequias uxoris suae Matildis . . . gemens et plorans, et ad 
salutem ejusdem defunctae prospiciens pro spe retributionis 
aeternae, pro salute regis Henrici . . . pro anima regis Willielmi 
. . . contradidit ecclesiae sanctse Dei genetricis et perpetuae 
Virginia Marise de Wymundham. . . . manerium quod vocatur 
Hapesburg, in elemosinam sempiternam. . . . Hanc donationem 
confirmavit ipse W. de Albeneyo ipso die sepultures ejus (Matildis) 
per crucem argenteam in qua reconditae sunt reliquiae . . . et per 
annulum ejus aureum per cifum quoque argenteum in modum 
sphserae mira arte fabricatum et ad Eucharistiam proprie con- 
servandam. Quae omnia super altare posuit per manum episcopi, 
facta supplicatione et completa letania, jam missam celebraturi. 
Mon. AngL, iii. 330. 

28 Under these feelings, a master of Sherborne Hospital made 
the following bequest to the church of that house: Textum 
meum argenteum lego domui de Schyreburn, et rogo quatenus 
quotienscunque ad ornatum altaris deferatur singuli fratrum et 
sororum singulis diebus dicant pro anima mea orationem Domini- 
cam cum salutacione Beatae Virginis ; et hoc scribatur in marti- 
logio. Wills, &c., of the Northern Counties, p. 7. 


To help by alms-deeds the poor man s wants, 
on the condition that he pray for certain departed 
souls, is an act of brotherly love kind alike to 
wards the living and the dead, the performance 
of which ever has been, and still continues to be, 
strongly urged upon her children by the Church. 
On the (33) burial-day, therefore, were invariably 
distributed not only by the Anglo-Saxons, but by 
the people of this country till the last moment 
of England s Catholicism, doles of some sort or 
another, which, if not always, at least often, 
reached a high amount. 29 (34) Not only the feeble, 

29 y er y large doles either in money, in food, or in clothing, were 
bestowed upon the poor at burials : William le Vavasour says 
Die sepulturse mese in distributione pauperum, videlicet cuilibet 
j d . sexaginta sex libras tresdecim solidos et quatuor denarios et 
plus si necesse fuerit. Wills, d-c., of the Northern Counties, i. 14. 
Richard, Bishop of Durham (A.D. 1316), provides thus for his burial 
dole : Lego pauperibus die sepulturse mese centum marcas. Test. 
Ebor., p. i. Hugh of Tunsted makes the following bequest : Lego 
ad distribuendum pauperibus in die sepulturse mese decem quarteria 
frumenti in pane seu pecunia ad valorem tanti bladi, secundum 
discretionem executorum meorum. Ibid., p. 18. I will says Joan, 
Viscountess L Isle that my executors provide three hundred 
shirts and smocks for poor folk, the one half for men, the other for 
women. Test. Vet., ii. 466. The dinner given to the friends of 
the dead on the day of burial was in general costly, and the 
alms to the poor most plentiful : Do et lego says Ralph Neville, 
Lord of Raby and Earl of Westmorland (who died A.D. 1440) 
De bonis meis ad valorem ccc. marcarum, pro convivio et expensis 
funeralibus ; et xl/. ulterius ad distribuendum pauperibus in ele- 
mosina per duos dies tantum ; videlicet utroque die distribuendo 
xx/. Wills, &c. , of the Northern Counties, p. 72. Alan, master of 
Sherborne Hospital (A.D. 1411), says: Volo ut die exequiarum 
mearum xx marcse pauperibus distribuantur. . . . Item volo ut 
die obitus mei executores mei conveniant in prandio cum amicis 
meis per eos invitandis, sumptibus meis, et cibent L pauperes, et 
habeant secum fragmenta sua, &c. Ibid., 52. Ego W. Percehay, 


the bedridden, 30 and the old, but helpless child 
hood and the fatherless, were (35) thought for on 
such occasions ; and amongst all these, the poor 
maiden who, being without friends or help, might 
miss her chance of entering into holy wedlock, 

dominus de Ryton . . . lego in distribucione pauperum xl. libras 
argenti. Et volo quod executores obligentur periculo animae suse 
quod nullus pauper recedat sine denario vel pane equivalente 
denarii. Test, Ebor., p. 6. Ego Petrus del Hay ... do lego in 
distribucione pauperum quinque marcas arg . Et convocatione 
vicinorum meorum duas marcas. Ibid., 12. Lego in convocacione 
amicorum tres boves, quatuor vitulos, xvj oves, iiij porcos. 
Ibid., 327. See also the will of John Fairfax, rector of Prescote, 
ibid., 187. Other testamentary bequests are to a like purport : 
Also I will that on the day of my byrying that ilk a pur man that 
es at the kyrk door present have ane ob , when the Messe es done. 
Test. Ebor., p. 185. 

30 Lego ad distribuendum, die sepulturae mese, cecis, claudis, et 
pauperibus in lecto languentibus, x*-. Test. Ebor., p. 325. Eliza 
beth, Countess of Salisbury, bequeathed (A.D. 1414), "to fourscore 
poor men and women bedridden, xxvi/. xiii.s. ivd., viz. to each of 
them vis. viiid." Test. Vet., i. 184. Joane, Lady Bergavenny, de 
vised (A.D. 1434), "c/. ... to be given and dealt among bed-rid 
men and other poor people," &c. IUd., 226. Sir Thomas Bryan, 
Knight, says : " I bequeath ... in almes at my burying, five 
pounds by penny mete to bed-ridden folks. " Ibid.,ii. 552. In his will 
(dated 1419), Sir Thomas de Hengrave : Lego cuilibet pauperum 
vocatorum bedlawermen infra civitatem predictam (Norwich) iiij (7. 
ad orandum pro anima mea. MSS. at Hem/rave. To bestow an 
alms on poor bedridden folks was a favourite pious practice up 
to the change of religion in this country : Stow., in his description 
of Houndsditch, London, lets us know how it was followed even 
in his early years In my youth, I remember, devout people, as 
well men as women of this city, were accustomed oftentimes, 
especially on Fridays weekly, to walk that way purposely, and 
there to bestow their charitable alms, every poor man or woman 
lying in their bed within their window, which was towards the 
street open so low, that every man might see them ; a clean linen 
cloth lying in their window, and a pair of beads; to show that 
there lay a bedrid body, unable but to pray only. Survey of London, 
i. B. ii., p. 23, ed. Strype. 


was not forgotten, and ofttimes a portion of the 
funeral alms was especially allotted by will to be 
bestowed as the marriage dowry for destitute 
orphan girls. 31 

(36) Though our old English Church, at the 
last words of her touching burial-service, as set 
forth in the Salisbury and other national uses, 
bade the grave to shut up the lifeless lump of 
clay just lowered down within it, and to let 
that dust moulder all unseen beneath its dark 
some shroud, she did not tell those friends who 
stood around weeping, to snatch a farewell gaze 
of the coffin, then go home, lock up their alms- 
store, and take no further heed about him or 
her whom they left there, but think how best 
they might feast, or be feasted by, the living : 
quite otherwise ; she taught our forefathers never 
to forget the dead, but to let the stream of 
kindness flow for their sake, and thus soften the 
cleansing smarts felt by the undying souls of 
friends and kinsfolk in the other world, by daily, 

31 "I will," says Richard Towler (A.D. 1477), "that xl. be dis 
posed of at my burying among poor people, and that x. be given to 
the marriage of poor maidens not having father or mother." Test. 
Vet., i. 345. Thomas Spencer gave c marks to a c poor men s 
daughters to buy them kine at their marriage. Dugdale, War 
wickshire, i. 329. Dame Alice Wyche willed to poor husbands 
ploughmen in the country such as have wives and children, and 
poor widows, and other such poor diligent labourers in poor vil 
lages, cd. item to one hundred poor householders, to have every 
one of them a milch cow and xiiis. ivc/., and three ewes, price xvirf. 
a piece ; item, in marriage of poor maidens of good conversation 
in the country, and in mending the highways, cc^. Test. Vet.,\. 337. 


by weekly, monthly, or at least by yearly doles 
given in their name to Christ s poor here upon 
earth. 32 While England remained Catholic, many 
of its aged poor were wholly supported by these 
(37) means alone, 33 and a greater number owed 

32 The dead themselves are often made, in those quaint rhymes 
traced upon their grave-brasses, to warn the living of their death- 
day, and get ready for it ; at the same time they bid them now 
to spend their wealth in works of holiness, telling them that what 
is hoarded here is lost, and that kept which is given unto God 
and the wants of the poor : 

Quisquis ades vultumque vides, sta, perlege, plora, 
Juditii memor esto tui, tua nam venit hora. 
Sum quod eris, fueramque quod es, tua posteriora 
Commemorans miseris miserans pro me, precor, ora. 

Non homo leteris tibi copia si fluat eris 
Hie non semper eris, memor esto quod morieris 
Corpus putrebit, quod habes alter habebit 
Es evanebit, quod agis tecum remanebit. 

Weever, Ant. Fun. Monum., 223. 

Verses in English, speaking the same awful truths, may be found 
written over some graves, thus : 

Have yis (this) in mynd and memory 

Ye yat (that) liven lerneth to dy. 

And beholdyth here yowr destine, 

Such as ye erne, sometym weren we. 

Ye sail be dyght in yis (this) aray 

Be ye nere so stout and gay. 

Therfor frendys we yow prey 

Make you redy for to dey 

Yat (that) ye be not forr sinn atteynt 

At ye dey of judgment. 

Ibid., 198. 

As I was, so be ye, as I am, you shall be ; 
What I gave, that I have, what I spent, that I had : 
Thus I count all my cost, what I left, that I lost. 

Ibid., 207. 

33 Besides other alms, Cerne Abbey, Dorsetshire, was charged 
with the distribution of the following ones in behalf of its founder s 


the better part of their livelihood to those alms 
which (38) they every morning received at the 
chancel door, 84 or sometimes at the high altar s 
end itself 35 of their (39) parish church, after having 

soul : Et in elimosina inter pauperes annuatim et in perpetuum 
distributa xiiij mo die Decembris pro anima Aialmari quondam Ducis 
Cornubie fundatoris monasterii prsedicti, &c. xlvjs. viijrf. Et in 
victu, vestitu, lectis et aliis necessariis pro duobus pauperibus 
ibidem annuatim inveniendis pro anima fundatoris Ixvjs. viijd. Et 
in elemosina panis et servicie ebdomadatim distributa xiij pauperi 
bus vocatis freers, viz. cuilibet eorum ad valenciam iiijd. per septi- 
manam pro anima ejusdem fundatoris, &c. xj. vs. iiijrf. Valor. 
Eccles., i. 256. 

John Russell holds in the town of Papworth-Anneys, in the 
county of Cambridge, two hides and a half of land of the king 
(Edward I.) in capite by the serjeantry of feeding two poor persons, 
for the souls of his ancestors. Blounfs Tenures, ed. Beckwith, p. 
282. Ralph Blundus and others held of our lord the king (John) 
half a hide of land in alms, by the service of distributing and giving 
one cask of ale on the day of All Saints, for the soul of our lord 
the king and his ancestors. Ibid., 285. It was no uncommon 
thing to bestow ale on the poor for the sake of the dead : Volo, 
says Emma Stayngate, who seems to have once carried on a 
brewery at York (A.D. 1369) volo quod ipsa Agnes juret, tactis 
sacrosanctis Evangeliis, quod durante anno predicto, de qualibet 
pandoxacione sive bracione quam contingat ipsam braciare, pro 
anima mea animabusque omnium ndelium defunctorum, quatuor 
lagenas de meliori servisia pauperibus ad hostium ubi solebam 
trahere moram, fideliter donet. Test. Ebor., p. 87. 

34 Septem pauperibus dietim orantibus pro fundatore juxta 
ordinacionem suam, vjt. xiijs. iiijd. Valor. EccL, iii. 193. Ele 
mosina distributa annuatim singulis diebus, tribus pauperibus ad 
hostium chori tempore magne misse pro anima WrHi Nesfelde ex 
fundacione sua ad iijd. per diem imperpetuum, &c. Ibid., v. 6. 

35 Alice Digby gave land to the intent that " every day in the 
year, immediately after the sacring of the high Mass in the church 
of Colshill, and at the end of the same altar where the said Mass 
should so happen to be sung, to a child, m&. male or female whose 
parents are householders dwelling within the parish, and under 
the age of ix. years, that can and will, before the said sacring, 
kneel down at the said altar s end and say five Pater nosters, five 
Aves, and a Creede, for the soul of Simon Digby her late husband, 


come thither to pray and hear the Mass sung 
for their departed benefactor s soul, or got, on 
certain days of each week, at the gates of some 
religious house. 36 

(40) In almost all our country parish churches, 
a dole was given away every Sunday throughout the 
year : 3 there, as soon as the High Mass had been 
sung, the allotted number of loaves were carried to 
the tomb of him or her who had bequeathed these 
alms, and the poor of the place gathering round 
received their due portion of the bread, then knelt 
down by the grave of their founder, and put up, all 
together, a prayer to God for mercy on the soul of 
their departed benefactor. 38 The doles given away 

her s, her children s, and all Christen souls, a peny of silver ster 
ling, &c." Dugdale, Warwicks., ii. 1013. 

36 Quinque egenis . . . orantibus pro animabus Witti Peverell et 
Adeline uxoris ejus . . . per septimanam vs. ; et qualibet die 
Dominica jd. cuilibet eorum ... in die anniversarii predicti Witti 
Peverell et Adeline . . . pauperibus illic advenientibus liijs. iiijd 
Val. EccL, v. 149. So many of the poor in our larger cities were fed 
by these alms, that the crowds who flocked to get them, at the gates 
of the great monasteries, often choked up the public thorough 
fare, as we learn from the martyred Sir Thomas More, who says : 

I heare some saye that there is, and I see sometyme my selfe so 
mani poore folke at Westminster at the doles, of whom as farre as 
ever I heard the monkes use not to send away many unserved, that 
my selfe for the preace of them have ben fain to ryde another way. 
The Works of Sir Thomas More, p. 895. London, 1557. 

37 Et in elemosina distributa inter pauperes pro animabus f unda- 
torum, qualibet die Dominica vs. in toto per annum xiij7. Valor. 
Eccl, i. 280. 

38 At Tideswell Church (Derbyshire) bread is every Sunday given 
away to the poor on the tomb of Sampson Meurrell, who died A.D. 
1462. Beauties of England, <c., iii. 481 ; this is but one out of the 
many other traces of our old Catholic Sunday doles for the dead, 
which might be cited as still lingering in this country. 


but once in the year, were usually very large, and 
sometimes their distribution was not limited to the 
anniversary of the dead, but lasted through the 
next whole fortnight following. 89 One solemnity 
(41) of the year Maundy Thursday was particu 
larly chosen by our Catholic forefathers whereon to 
do this work of brothers fondness, for while they 
were then put in mind by the Church s services 
how Christ so loved us as to die for our sake, and 
to bequeath us his own self his very flesh and 

39 That his father may be prayed for, Thomas Trumpe, by his 
will (A.D. 1528), leaves xi shillings for a jewel to be bought for 
Wissingset church, " and lands to keep a yearly dole of one penny 
worth of bread, and one penny-worth of herring every Pulver 
Wednesday in Lent to every house-holder in the town." Blome- 
field, Norfolk, x. 86. In die anniversarij Gundolphi quondam epi 
Roflen in pane et alleci dat pauperibus annuatim in quadra- 
gesima xls. Valor. EccL, i. 102. Pauperibus in die obit us Radulphi 
Deynecourte et per quatuordecem dies sequentes pro anima dicti 
Radulphi et pro animabus antecessorum et heredum suorum et 
omnium fidelium defunctorum, &c. Ibid, v. 152. Upon the day 
when a dole was distributed, the bellman was sent about the town 
to excite the people to repair to church and pray for the soul of 
the donor. Dugdale, Warwickshire, i. 349. Upon a brass plate, 
fastened to the pillar nearest the grave of William Lamb, in old 
St. Paul s, Undercroft, were written, amid other verses, the fol 
lowing : 

I pray you all who receive bread and pence 
To say the Lord s prayer before ye go hence. 

Dugdale, Hist, of St. Paul s, p. 77. Sir William de Clinton 
directed that on his anniversary day " there should be a dole 
to a c. poor people, viz. Maxstoke, and other places, to each a 
loaf and every day at dinner time over and above the accustomed 
bread allowed to the poor, one white conventual loaf and a mess 
of meat out of the kitchen, together with a flagon of beer, assigned 
to one of the poorest people of Maxstock, or from some other 
place for the health of the said founder s soul, and the souls of 
the persons above named, and all the faithful deceased." Dug 
dale, Warwicks., ii. 998. 


blood, in the Eucharist which he instituted on that 
day, those same warm English hearts under the 

(42) feelings awakened at that holy season, strove 
to show a love for their fellow-man, by more 
abundant alms unto the poor living in this world, 
thereby to assuage the sorrows of the suffering 
dead in purgatory. 40 

The religion of Christ is not a cold and forget 
ful one ; nor does the gratitude of its children die 
with the death of their benefactors. Never was 
this so beautifully shown as in some of 


Whether it were citizen or baron, king or 
bishop, who wrought any good deed for the public, 
and bestowed a wished-for favour, the town and 

(43) locality so befriended, kept up a religious re- 

40 Et in denariis solutis pro elimosina distributa pauperibus 
quotidie et in die cene Domini pro animabus fundatorum 
nostrorum, &c. xvjZ. vj.s. viijri Valor. EccL, i. 150. Perpetua 
elimosina data pauperibus in cena Domini pro animabus Henrici 
Hussy militis et Henrici Gilford clerici annuatim distribuenda 
per annum xxv js. viijd Ibid., 321. Distributa (elimosina) pauper 
ibus in cena Domini juxta ordinaciones primi fundatoris, xls. 
Ibid., iii. 193; pro animabus fundatorum. Ibid., 254. In elemosina 
annuatim distributa inter pauperes in cena Domini videlicet DC 
pauperibus dante et liberante cuilibet eorum unum panem frumenti 
precij obuli in toto xxvs. ; ac cuilibet predictorum DC pauperum 
unum allecem vocatum a Heryng, &c. Ibid., iv. 301. Item, upon 
Sherethursday in almes to pray for the founders, &c. xxs. Ibid., 
366 ; for the meaning of Sherethursday, see note 53, p. 145, vol. i. 
of this work. 



membrance of the boon by praying for the soul of 
the giver, at the bidding of the beads every Sunday 
in the parish church, 41 or walking to his grave in 
solemn procession, once if not oftener during the 
year, to say over his ashes a Deprofundis, and other 
supplications for the dead. 42 When, too, the (44) 

41 King Eadgar gave very great frauncheses and privileges 
onto Bathe. In knowlege wherof they pray in al their 
ceremonies for the soule of king Eadgar. Leland, Itin., ii. 40. 
There is every Sunday prayers made in S. Hilarie chapelle (at 
Denbigh) for Lacey and Percy. Ibid., v. 58. 

42 Of such a pious custom, we have several interesting 
memorials : " The same day after dinner the new maior was 
wont to go from his house to the church of St. Thomas of Aeon, 
those of his livery going before him ; and the aldermen in like 
manner being there met together, they came to the church of 
St. Paul, whither when they were come, namely in the mid place 
of the body of the church, between two little doors, they were 
wont to pray for the soul of bishop William, who, as is said, 
obtained great liberties by his entreaties for the city (of London) 
from William the Conqueror, a priest saying that office De 
profundis. From thence they passed to the churchyard where 
lie the bodies of the parents of St. Thomas of Canterbury, and 
there they said also for all the faithful of God departed De pro 
fundis, &c., near the tomb of the aforesaid parents." Stow, 
Survey of London, t. ii. b. iv. p. 78. The procession must have 
been kept up some years after the change of religion, for Wharton, 
in his short notice of this same bishop of London, says: Quod 
quidem beneficium Londinenses adeo devinxit ; ut anniversaria 
processione senatores urbis sepulchrum illius in navi ecclesise 
versus occidentem positum circuire usque ad patrum nostrorum 
memoriam consueverint. Hist, cle Episcopis, &c., Londinen., 1695. 
Again, of another eminent benefactor of the city of London, we are 
told : " For the great zele and love which the fore sayd bysshop 
of London (Robert de Braybroke) ought unto the cytye, and 
that by his meanys theyr lybertyes were agayn restoryd, they 
therfore, of theyr owne goodly dysposycion, after his decease, 
accustomyd theym, and yet at this day done, to goo yerely 
upon theyse feest full dayes folowynge, that is to say, first, 
the morowe after Symonde and Jude, which day the mayer takyth 
his charge at Westmynster, to Pawlys, and there to saye in the 


heat of civil war had cooled down, such as had 
been killed in those unhappy broils, on either side, 
(45) were thought of to be prayed for ; and the 
wayside cross at the spot whereon some popular 
leader had been slain, 43 and the ankret s cell and 

west ende of the churche where he lyeth graven De profimdis, for 
his soule and all Crysten ; and in lyke maner uppon Alhalowen 
daye, Cristemasse day and ii. the next dayes folowyng, Newe 
yerys day, Twelfe day, and Candelmasse day, with also the morowe 
after Myghelmasse day, all which ix. dayes not all onely the 
mayer and his bretherne use this progresse and kepe this obsequy, 
but also all the craftys of the cytie in theyr lyvereys use the 
same yerely." Fabyan, Chron., ed. Ellis, p. 538. Other cities of 
England were not behind London in such a holy work : " There 
is a conduct in the market place (of Wells) derivid from the 
bisshopes conduct by the licens of Thomas Bekington bisshop 
sumtyme of Bath, for the which the burgeses ons a yere solemply 
visite his tumbe, and pray for hys sowle." Leland, Itin., ii. 41. 
The mayr of the town (of Canterbury) and the aldermen ons a yere 
cum solemply to the tumbe of archbishop Sudbury to pray for his 
sowle yn memory of his good deade (the building of the West Gate, 
&c.). Ibid., vii. 135. The corporation of Norwich used to keep an 
anniversary obit, for the souls of all the deceased benefactors to 
the city, whose names and gifts were all read out of a bead-roll 
kept for that purpose; it was held at the chapel of the college of 
St. Mary in the Fields, to which the court always went in proces 
sion, viz. the mayor, sheriffs, aldermen, common council, the 
twenty-four constables of the city, then thirteen poor people in 
one sort of clothing, who had 2.d. each to pray for them, then nine 
chaplains to perform the exequies or service, each of which had 
46?. ; at the same time 6d. was given in bread to the prisoners in 
the gild-hall, and the same to those in the castle, and 4<Y. to each 
house of lepers at the city gates, \2d. for ringing, and 4^. to the 
bell man, 4^. for lights, and i6d. for the herce. Blomefield, Norfolk, 
iii. 1 60. The bellman s duty, as distinguished from that of the 
ringers, at obits, is pointed out at note 88 further on [pp. 80-82]. 

43 Speaking of Wakefield, Leland says : There was a sore batell 
fought in the south feeldes by this bridge. And yn the flite of the 
Duke of Yorkes parte, other the Duke hymself, or his sun therle 
of Rutheland was slayne. ... At this place is set up a crosse 
in rei memoriam. Itin., i. 42. To show the spot at Pontefract 
whereon Thomas Earl of Lancaster had been beheaded (A.D. 1322), 


little (46) chapel catching the wayfarer s eye as he 
wandered over some wide lonely waste where 
once a hloody battle had been fought, asked him 
to tell his beads, as he went by, for the souls of 
those who fell and lay buried all about him there. 44 
But it is in those many proofs of individuals 
love towards departed friends and kindred, and 
gratitude towards departed benefactors, set forth 
in architectural monuments even now the most 
beautiful we have, or in pious and scholastic en 
dowments 45 still the wealthiest in the land, that 
we may yet behold how warmly the custom of 
prayer for the dead was whilom cherished in 
England. As they sorrowed over the loss of the 
dead, the English, like the Anglo-Saxons, threw 
open the door of his prison-house to the captive, 
and gave freedom to the bondsman, that the 
departed soul might be lightened in purgatory, 
by the grateful prayers of those who had been re 
leased on earth (47) for its sake. 46 Our weeping 

a wooden cross was set up : later one of stone took its place, as we 
gather from the will of William of Northfolk, who says : Lego ad 
oonstruendam imam crucem lapideam ponendam ubi crux ligneus 
stat versus montem Beati Thomae juxta viam ducentem versus 
Bongate xs.Test. Eborac., p. 281. 

44 There is a chapel or heremitage upon Towten Feld in token 
of praier and memory of men slayne there." Lelarid., Itin., vi. 15. 

45 In the statutes of every one of those colleges and halls built" 
at Oxford or Cambridge during the Catholic times of England, 
we see how the founder expressly directed that his and his friends 
and benefactors souls should be for ever prayed for by its fellows 
and scholars. 

40 Alienor regina, mater praedicti ducis, reginalem curiam cir- 
cumducens, de civitate in civitatem et de castello in castellum, 



Edward had the well-beloved of his heart, his 
Eleanor, not only borne to her grave with all the 
burial honours meet alike for England s queen 
and such a good and loving wife, but near unto 
every one of those several churches whereat 
the body halted for the night on its road from 
Lincolnshire to Westminster, he caused a hand 
some stone cross, fraught with the most elaborate 
carvings, to be built, that men for ever after on 
going by and seeing there the image of this 
princess, might be stirred to breathe a supplica 
tion to heaven in her soft, gentle, soul s behalf. 47 

sicut ei placuit, profecta est ; et missis legatis per universes 
comitatus Anglise prsecepit captives omnes a carceribus et capti- 
onibus liberos reddi pro anima Henrici domini sui, &c. Roger 
Hoveden, Annal. de Ricliardo Primo, p. 373 [R.S., li. iii. 4]. 

47 In omni loco et villa quibus corpus (Alienorse) pausaverat, 
jussit rex (Edwardus I.) crucem miro tabulatu erigi ad reginse 
memoriam, ut a transeuntibus pro ejus anima deprecetur, in qua 
cruce fecit imaginem reginte depingi. Walsingham, Hist. Ang. 
[JR.S., xxviii. i. 33]. These crosses were nine in number, viz. at 
Lincoln, Northampton, Stony Stratford, Woburn, Dunstable, St. 
Alban s, Waltham, Cheap, and Charing ; that at Geddington is not 
mentioned in the rolls. Richard of Stowe, John of Battle, Roger 
and Richard of Crundale, and Dymenge de Legeri or de Reyns, 
built the crosses. The statues, especially those of Eleanor, were 
carved by Alexander of Abingdon and William of Ireland, very 
likely from the models in wax, the work of William Torel (Manners 
and Household Expenses of England, printed for the Roxburghe 
Club, p. Ixxxiv.). With the exception of Dymenge de Legeri, 
all these workmen were English. Some who can see nothing 
beautiful but what is done by foreigners, wish to think Torel an 
Italian : for such an imagination there is not an atom of positive 
or presumptive evidence ; and the name William Torel upon 
which all the stress is laid, sounds anything but Italian ; on the 
contrary, very English, slightly varying from the Anglo-Saxon 

The ceremonial followed, in marking, as the corpse halted the 


The once poor lowly clerk, after he (48) reached 
the highest honours of the Church, did not forget 
nor disown the kindness of those who (49) had 
heartened him onwards in his steep rough path, 
and outstretched to him a helping hand when most 
wanted, as he clambered over cragged difficulties 
in this world s path. Such an one, often, like Abp. 
Kempe, 48 endowed a church on purpose that those 

while, the spot whereon these crosses were to be built, is set forth 
in the following words : Corpus ipsius (Elianorse reginse Anglise) 
per nos transiit, et una nocte quievit. Et dati sunt nobis duo 
panni pretiosi, scilicet baudekyns. De cera habuimus quater- 
viginti libras et amplius. . . . Et cum corpus dictse reginse 
transiret per Dunstaple, in medio fori subsistit feretrum donee 
cancellarius regis et magnates, qui tune aderant ibidem, locum 
congruum designassent, ubi postea, sumptibus regiis, crucem 
erigerent magnitudinis admirandse, priore nostro tune prsesente, 
et aquam benedictam aspergente. Chronicon, sive Annales Prioratus 
de Dunstaple, ed. Hearne, ii. 586 [R.S., xxxvi. iii. 362, 363]. 

Of such way-side crosses put up for lowlier people than those of 
royal blood, there are still a few, once they were very numerous in 
this country. At Edenham . . . was an octangular cross, nine 
inches diameter, four sides twice as broad as the other four. The 
inscription, Priez : pur : le alme : Ranle : fiz : Rob : On the other 
side, Priez : pur : almeis : des : tutz : (Camden, Britannia, ed. 
Gough, ii. 245). Going out of Doricaster on the York road are the 
fragments of another of these way-side crosses, the inscription on 
the foot of which runs thus : ^ ICEST : EST : LA : CRUICE : OTE : 
D : TILLI : A : Ki : Alme : DEU : EN : FAICE : MERCI : Am: 
This is the cross of Ote de Tilli, on whose soul God have mercy, 
Amen. Ibid., iii. 33. Near Cambridge there once stood a way-side 
cross asking the traveller to pray for one Evrard : 

Quisquis es Eurardi memor esto Bechensis, et ora 
Liber ut ad requiem transeat absque mora. 

Inscriptio in basi crucis sitae publ : via in Occident : parte de 
Bernewelle. Leland, Collectanea, ii. 438. 

48 Kempe . . . byshope of Rochester, afterward of Chichester 
and London, thens translatyd to Yorke . . . thens translatyd to 
Cantewerbyri and made cardinall . . . was a pore husband-man s 
sonne of Wye where upon for to pray for the sowles of them that 


friends of his early youth might ever be prayed 
for, at the same time that by his munificence 
towards his beloved university he sought to gain 
from all its future members a pious remembrance 
for his own soul. 49 Our seats of learning, (50) 
especially Oxford, once so looked up to by Chris 
tendom, 50 not only with readiness fulfilled these 

set hym to schole and them that otharwyse preferryd hym he 
made the paroche churche of Wye a college, &c. Ibid., p. 2. 

49 Quilibet doctor S. Theologise post lectionem suam ordinariam 
in novis scholis theologize dicat has preces " Anima Domini Johan- 
nis Kempe Cardinalis, et anima Domini Thomse Kempe London. 
Episcopi, et animee omnium benefactorum nostrorum per miseri- 
cordiam Dei in pace requiescant." Et quod quilibet Graduatus 
quandocunque prsedicaturus in his tribus locis, aut aliquo istorum, 
viz. infra Universitatis prsecinctum, ad Crucem Sancti Pauli, vel 
ad Hospitale Sanctse Marise extra Bishopsgate London, dictos 
reverendos patres . . . nominatim et expresse suis orationibus 
commendare teneatur (Statuta Universitatis Oxon. in Hearne, Antiq. 
of Glaston., p. 298). Dominus Henricus Fitzhugh, Baro, non im- 
merito inter primos et speciales benefactores computatur et in 
singulis sermonibus anima ejus recommendatur. The Syon-House 
Martyrolocjiuin MS., [formerly] in the possession of the Earl of 
Shrewsbury [now at the British Museum, Add. MS., 22,285]. 

60 By a Roman pontiff in the xiv. century, Oxford was called one 
of the Church s pillars ; and the way in which our own country 
men wrote of it, shows how high in the admiration of Christendom 
its learning once stood. Matt. Paris tells how it rivalled the 
French university, and that the youth of all countries came hither 
to study : Ibidem (Oxoniam) convocata scolarum universitate quce 
de diversis mundi partibus illic studuit congregata (Hut. AngL, p. 
574) [R.ti., Ivii. v. 353]. Confiteri cogebantur quod Oxonialis 
universitas semula Parisiensis censeri promeretur [ibid.]. Oxoni- 
ensis universitas . . . scola secunda ecclesise, immo ecclesise funda- 
mentum (ibid., 636) [jR.<S., 618]. Walsingham thus addresses her: 
Oxoniense studium . . . quod quondam inextricabilia atque dubia 
toti mundo declarare consuesti, &c. (Hist. AngL, 201) [R.ti., xxviii; 
i. 345] ; and in one of their synods, our old catholic bishops thus 
spoke of Oxford : Aliquando ejus fama et gloria ita percelebris 
apud omnes nationes et gentes Christianas fuit, quod non modo 
hujus inclyti regni, sed et totius pene orbis homines studendi atque 


(51) well-spoken wishes, but unbidden and of 
themselves, under true Catholic feelings, appointed 
the holy sacrifice to be offered up ofttimes during 
the year for all their dead as well as living bene 
factors. 61 

(52) Other works of piety, wrought either for the 
purpose of throwing greater solemnity around the 

discendi gratia ad earn confluxerunt (Uonvoc. Prael., A.D. 1438, in 
Wilkins, ConciL, iii. 528). What Christian nations hold communion 
with Oxford now ? None. Is she one within herself ? No. Alas, 
fallen Oxford ! 

51 Virtute statuti universitatis Oxford, sub poena perjuri habebit 
capellanus qui pro tempore fuerit, in missis suis singulis, et in 
memoria commendatos specifice speciali, quorum nomina sequuntur. 
. . . Insuper universitas statuit et decrevit, quod pro prospero 
statu omnium vivorum mortuorumque, qui ad librarian! illam, vel 
ad alios universitatis usus aliquid notabiliter contribuunt, quolibet 
anni quarterio de Spiritu Sancto missas tres, ac de Requiem ex vi 
statuti totidem cele^brabit. Una cum onere dictre Librarias teneatur 
etiam universitatis missas et exequias celebrare. 

Universitas statuit et decrevit quod capellanus idoneus in 
sacerdotio constitutus, in custodem Librarise communis in congre- 
gatione Regentium solenni eligatur, &c. Hearne, Hist, of Glaston., 
p. 295. 

Not only the universities, but all our old religious houses were 
most grateful to those who helped them in learning. 

From the Syon martyrology [Add. MS. 22,285] we nn ^ (fol. 7), 
that once every year a service for the dead benefactors to the 
libraries, most likely two, there was celebrated : De exequiis pro 
benefactoribus Librariarum. Semel in anno . . . net plenum 
servicium mortuorum cum ix. lectionibus secundum Ordinale Sarum 
. . . cum missa de Requiem in crastino ad privatum altare sine 
sono campanarum, tempore quo alie misse sine nota dici solent. 

A custom prevailed in some, most likely in all, religious estab 
lishments in this country, to pray, at grace after every meal, not 
only for benefactors, but for the souls of all the faithful departed : 
Post refectionem vero gratias Deo reddere, et pro salute vivorum 
et animabus f undatorum et benefactorum dicti collegii omniumque 
fidelium defunctorum, preces ad hoc ordinatas et confectas cotidie 
facere non ornittant. Statuta Ecc. collegiatse de Tonge, in Mori. 
Anglic., viii. 1408. 


Church s services, 52 or to benefit the commonweal, 
so that by mending the roads, or rebuilding a 
broken-down bridge, men might be thus helped 
to come, with more readiness and ease, to God s 
altar, on the Sunday and the festival, were often 
done in behalf of the dead. 53 Again, when our 
(53) sovereigns of the old English period wished 
to recompense the faithful servants of the crown, 
they often bestowed land upon them and their 
offspring, on the condition that each day and 
for ever, the holders of the property should say 
so many prayers for the welfare of the king 
of the time, and for the souls peace and rest 
of all the kings departed of this realm. 54 But 

52 Et de x s annuatim solutis pro olio et cera ad ardendum sem 
per coram crucifixo pro salute anime Margerie Gulburn. . . . Et de 
liij s , iiii 1 annuatim solutis pro olio et cera scilicet ad ardendum 
semper coram crucifixo pro salute anime domini Osberti, &c. 
Valor. Eccl, iv. 38. 

53 To the repair of the high-way called the causeway, in Stawyk 
marsh, which Walter Lord Hungerford, my father, first caused to 
be made, for the health of the soul of the Lady Katherine his 
wife (Test. Vet., i. 293). Johanne Beauchamp, Lady of Bergavenny, 
devised " to the marriage of poer may dens dwellyng withy n my 
lordships c. /., and to makying and emendyng of febull brugges and 
foul weyes, c. 1., and to the fynding and deliverans of poer prisoners 
that have been well condicioned, xl. /." Ibid., 2,2.6, and Dugdale, 
Warwickshire, ii. 1031. Religious feelings sweetened the homeli 
ness of every-day life : over the parlour chimney-piece in the 
vicarage-house at Besthorp, Norfolk, built by Sir Thomas Downyng, 
priest, are these lines : 

All you that sitt by thys fire warmyng 
Pray for the sowle of Sir Jhon Downyng. 

Blomefield, Norfolk, i. 492. 

54 Thomas Winchard held land in Coningston, in the county of 
Leicester, in capite, by the service of saying daily five Pater-nosters 
and five Ave-marias, for the souls of the king s progenitors, and 


nowhere do we behold our (54) forefathers creed 
on Purgatory told in a more feeling and truthful 
way than in 


Holding, as all our countrymen did, the true 
Catholic belief in the Eucharist, with a faith that 
was unhalting, those among them who could, often 
willed an altar to be built at the foot of their grave, 
and bequeathed an endowment for Mass to be said 
thereon through future ages. 55 Nigh the grave, 

the souls of all the faithful departed (Blount, Tenures, ed. Beck- 
with, p. 281). John Paternoster holds one yard-land, with the 
appertenances, in East-Hendred, Berks, by the serjeantry of saying, 
for the soul of our lord the king, one pater-noster daily. Ibid., 282. 
Alice Paternoster holds one yard-land in Pusey, Berks, by the 
service of saying every day five pater-nosters, for the souls of the 
king s ancestors. Ibid. 

55 Convenerunt executores cum priore et conventu quod . . . 
exhiberent inperpetuum unum monachum divini celebrantem ad 
altare quod idem venerabilis pater (W. Skirlawe ep. Dunelm.) 
ad tumbam suam in vita sua construxit (in eccl. Dunelm.), &c. 
(Wills, &c., of the Northern Counties, p. 44). This was done, for we 
read: Obiit A.D. 1406 (Walterus Scirlawe ep. Dunelmensis) sepul- 
tusque jacet in boreali plaga chori ecclesise Dunelmensis inter 
binas columnas, &c. Et circa utramque partem istius sepulchri 
in altum erigebatur ferreum clatrum curiose compositum, in quo 
missa quotidie pro illius anima dicebatur (W. de Chambre, Cont. 
Hist. Dunel. in Hist. Dunel. Scriptores Tres, p. 145). Elizabeth, 
Countess of Salisbury (A.D. 1414), makes, in her last will, provision 
to maintain " one canon priest, and one secular priest, perpetually 
at my altar and tomb, to be made on the south side of the quire 
of that church, opposite to the tomb of my lord and husband, to 
pray for my soul, and for the souls of such others as were named," 
&c. (Test. Vet., i. 184). Thomas, Earl of Salisbury, says: "I 
desire (my tomb) be made of marble ... as also a chapel of timber 
surrounding it, with an altar for masses to be daily celebrated 


(55) too, might sometimes be found, within a little 
ambry sunk into the wall, a "portoos" 56 lying on 
a small shelf, to which it was so fastened by a 
short chain, that it might be taken out easily and 
read, but not carried off; and an inscription asked 
all those who took up and used the book, to say a 
prayer out of it, for the soul of him who had put it 
there. 57 With this same object the Bible and other 

thereat for the health of my soul." Ibid., 217. We give says 
Henry VII. and bequeath to the altar within the grate of our 
tomb, our great piece of the Holy Cross. . . . Also to the same 
altar . . . one Mass-book, hand-written, &c. Ibid., p. 31. 

56 The service-book now called " breviarium " was named in Eng 
land " portiforium," whence the words "portfory," " portehors," 
" portous," " portoos," come. 

57 In St. George s Chapel, Windsor, towards the eastern ex 
tremity of the south aisle, is buried Richard Beauchamp, Bishop 
of Salisbury. Opposite to this prelate s tomb is a niche in which 
was anciently kept, no doubt secured to the wall by a chain, a 
breviary, or as it was then called, a " portoos," as may be gathered 
from the following inscription : " Who lyde this booke here ? The 
reverand fader in God Richard Beauchamp, bischop of this dyocesse 
of Sarysbury. And wherfor ? To this entent that priestes and 
ministers of Goddis Church may here have the occupation there 
of seyying thyr devyne servyse and for alle othir that lysten to 
sey therby ther devocyon. Askyth he any spiritual mede ; yee> 
as moche as oure Lord lyst to reward hym for his good entent ; 
praying every man wos dute or devocyon is eased by thys booke, 
they woll sey for hym this commune oryson. Due Ihu Xpe ; 
knelyng in the presence of thys holy Crosse, for the whyche the 
Reverand Fader in God aboveseyd hathe graunted of the tresure 
of the Churche to evy man x dayys of pardun." 

On the centre stone of the adjoyning arch, the cross referred 
to is rudely carved, together with the figures of Edward IV. and 
Bishop Beauchamp beside it, on their knees. Beauties of England, 
i. 251. The Swaffham bead-roll, read out every Whitsunday, asked 
prayers " for the soule of John Botewryth sumtym parson of this 
chirch which gaff . . . divers bokys cheyn d in the chawnsell and 
in our Lady s chapell." Blomefield, Norfolk, vi. 220. Henry de 
Briggesle, chaplain, desired a breviary to be put up for common 


(56) volumes were often chained to the wall, for 
the people s use, in different parts of a church. 58 

(57) These fine old English tombs and how 
many of them are beautiful even now ! over 
spread with every kind of artistic ornament, and 
showing forth the emblems of the evangelists, 
and images of patron saints within rich canopies, 

use nigh his own and his friend s grave : corpus meum ad sepelien- 
dum . . . juxta sepulchrum domini Walteri quondam vicariiejusdem 
capellse. Item do et lego unum portiforium ponendum in quodam 
loco pro libro propriato, juxta sepulchrum dicti domini Walteri, 
&c.Test. Ebor., 131. 

68 Our English clergy were fond of bequeathing the Bible and 
service-books to be chained in some part of a church, for common 
use, with the hope of getting a prayer from those who read them : 
thus (A.D. 1378) Thomas de Farnylawe, canon of York Cathedral, 
leaves a Bible and concordance to be put in the north aisle of St. 
Nicholas s, Newcastle Vellem quod concordancise domini mei una 
cum Biblia sua essent cathenatse in portion boriali ecclesige beati 
Nicholai Novi Castri ad usum communem pro anima mea. Test. 
Ebor., p. 103. Nicholas de Schirburn (A.D. 1392) gives a manual to 
an altar: Lego unum parvum manuale ad ligandum cum una 
chathena cuidam formulae vel cistss coram altari (Sanctse Annse). 
Ibid., 172. An inventory (taken A.D. 1385) of all the things 
then belonging to St. George s, Windsor, gives a long list of the 
books chained in different parts of that chapel Libri diversarum 
scientiarum cathenati in ecclesia : among them is a Bible with a 
Concordance. Mon. Arty., viii. 1362. "Mendyng a chayne to a 
boke in the quere, iid" is an expense to be found in Church 
wardens old Accompts. Illustrations, tfcc., p. 94. For a like pur 
pose books were often bequeathed to a library : Ordino quod 
omnes predicti libri tradantur et liberentur capellano ecclesise 
cathedralis (Ebor.) predicts, in eorum libraria pro perpetuo reman- 
suri pro salute animre mese et omnium fidelium defunctorum. 
Test. Ebor., p. 369. 

The studious industry of the secular clergy during Catholic 
times in England, is exemplified in " John de Exeter, clerk, who 
bequeathed to the collegiate church of Ottery St. Mary (A.D. 1445) 
books to the number of 136" (see Lacy, Register, vol. iii. fol. 513) 
" and stated that he had written the books with his own hand, 
for the most part." Oliver, Mon. Dioc. Exon., p. 261 n. 


and rows of shields blazoned with heraldry, and 
written scrolls telling the name of, and begging 
a prayer for, the soul of him or her whose bones 
lie mouldering beneath them, were not so adorned 
without a deep and solemn meaning, and a high 
and holy purpose. The monument itself, with 
its little chantry altar, its figures of saintly men 
and women now gone to (58) Christ above, and 
its bright colours and rich gilding, stands forth 
as the creed cut in stone of its tenant ; and speaks 
what was his belief while here, what were his 
hopes for a hereafter. That same monument tells 
how its owner knew that in the " communion of 
saints," God s Church, whether in heaven, upon 
earth, or in the middle state, is and will be till 
time be done, linked together by one bond of love : 
it tells how, whilst he was living, he had asked 
the saints above to pray for him ; and now when 
dead, how he cries out to the just in heaven and 
the good on earth to help, by their prayers, his 
suffering soul in purgatory : it says how he had 
been made to understand that all such supplica 
tions could be no otherwise available than through 
the merits of Christ his only Saviour, on whom 
alone he trusted and still trusts for his release 
from the cleansing torments of the middle state, 
and for a call unto heavenly happiness. 59 (59) 

59 In the wills and inscriptions of our old Catholic England, the 
broadest distinction is strongly made between Christ s media 
tion of redemption, and his saints mediation of intercession. 


These and other such-like splendours of the grave 
were not however meant to foster an earth-born 

Christ is always called upon as our only Saviour, our mediator of 
redemption ; the saints are begged to pray unto him in man s 
behalf : of the Godhead forgiveness as coming at once from itself, 
is besought ; but of the B. V. Mary, and all other saints, nothing 
more is asked than the help, as friends, of their prayers suppli 
cating Heaven for that forgiveness. In her last testament, 
Johanne Beauchamp, Lady of Bergavenny, says : I bequethe 
my soule to the mercy of my blessed Saviour and Maker Jhesu 
Chryst, through the besechyng of his blessed Moder Mary, and 
alle holy companye in hevene, and my symple and wreched 
body to be buried, &c. Dugdale, WarwicJcs., ii. 1031. On an old 
coffin-lid, preserved in the church porch, at St. Pierre, near Chep- 
stow, Monmouths., may be read the following rhyming inscrip 
tion : 


Arch&oloyical Journal, v. 165. 

A grave-brass gives us these lines : 

Sancta Trinitas unus Deus miserere nobis 
Et ancillis tuis sperantibus in te. 
O mater Dei memento mei. 
lesu mercy, Lady help. 

Weever, Ant. Fun. Monum., 180. On another: 

Mary moder mayden clere 

Prey for me William Goldwyre ; 

And for me Isabel his wyf, 

Lady, for thy joyes fyf. 

Hav mercy on Christian his second wyf, 

Swete Jesu, for thy wowndys fyf. 

Ibid., 376. About " thy wowndys fyf," we have several notices 
scattered through our old national monuments ; another inscrip 
tion says : 

Vulnera quinque Dei sint medicina mei 

Pia mors et passio Christi. 

Ibid., 396. Henry Pisford wills that as soon as may be after his 
decease, there be said for him five trentals, in the worship of the five 


(60) vanity, or to feed its cravings after this world s 
idle pomp. If our kings, our bishops, our high- 

(61) born ladies, our stalworth warriors the 
mighty ones of this earth asked to have, or had 
a burial in all things befitting the position which 
they held whilst here, it was that, by such funeral 
solemnity, the lowliest beholder, as well as near 
and cherished friends, might be thus the sooner 
stirred to pray for the soul as the corpse was 

wounds of our blessed Lord, and they to be said in five days ; 
and the priest that says Mass, to remember the first day the 
wounds of the right hand, the second day the wounds of his left 
hand, the third day the wounds of his most precious and blessed 
heart, the fourth and the fifth days the wounds of his two feet, 
and to have him (Henry Pisford) in remembrance, and pray to 
the blessed Lord of Heaven, for the blood that He shed out 
of those five wounds, to have mercy on him, and to take him to 
his grace ; and in worship of the said five wounds, he willed that 
his executor should cause to be made five lights, and set them 
before the picture of our Lord in the Greyfriars Church, &c. 
Dugdale, Warwicks., i. 185. On one of the brasses, copied by 
Weever, are written these lines : 

Who that passyth by this way, 

For mercy of God, behold, and pray 

For all souls christen, and for us 

On (one) Pater noster and an Ave. 

To the blessyd saynts and owr blessyd Lady 

Saynt Mary to pray for us. 

Ant. Fun. Monum., 444. Nothing is more common than the 
prayer " Jesu mercy, Lady help ; " or thus : 

X. (Christ) me spede. Dere Lady help at nede. 
All Saints Church, Stamford. And again: 

Robert Were preest und this stoii lyth 
That Itiu m cy and Lady help cryeth 
Prayeth for my soole for charyte now, 
As ye wolde other dede for yow. 

Wilbrooke, Beds. 


carried by. 60 Whilst (62) they begged to be laid 
after death in an ornamented tomb, or wished to 

00 I will that my body ... be carried unto the place of my 
burying . . . with all the worship that ought to be done unto a 
woman of mine estate, which, God knoweth well, proceedeth not 
of no pomp or vain glory that I am set in for my body, but for a 
memorial and remembrance of my soul to my kin, friends, servants, 
and all other. Will of Joanne Lady Bergavenny (A.D. 1434), in Test. 
Vet., i. 225. As we noticed before (vol. ii. 395), it was a custom in 
this country to set a waxen figure of the dead over the corpse : 
among the charges for the burial of Thomas abbot of St. Austin s 
Canterbury, there is one pro corpore ficto cum hersia. Chron. W. 
Thorn, ed. Twysden, ii. 2152. More than one of such effigies were 
sometimes made for the same personage, as we learn from the 
funeral expenses of Queen Eleanor : In cccc. et di. et i. quarterio et 
iij. lib. cerse emptis pro imaginibus supra viscera Reginse (Eleanorse) 
apud Lincolniam et apud fratres Prsedicatores Londonise, ix. Ii. 
xviijs. ix(i Manners, &c., of Entjlund, ci-c., 122. Her bowels were 
buried at Lincoln ; her heart in the church of the friars preachers, 
London ; her body at Westminster. That such figures were 
wrought by the best artists of the day and coloured, appears from 
other entries in the same document : Magistro Willielmo Torel in 
partem solutionis pro factura imaginis supra viscera reginae apud 
Lincolniam xls. Ibid.) p. 125. Magistro Alexandro imaginatori, 
in perpacationem, pro factura cerse pro iij. par vis imaginibus apud 
fratres Prsedicatores Londonise et Lincolnise, pro regina, vi. marc, 
et di. Ibid., 129. The object for such a custom is well set forth 
in the following description of our Henry V. s funeral : Super- 
posita namque fuerat cistse, in qua corpus ejus (Regis Henrici V.) 
habebatur, qusedam imago staturse et faciei Regis mortui simillima, 
chlamyde purpurea satis longa et larga, cum furrura de ermyn 
induta, sceptrum in una manu, et pila rotunda aurea, cum cruce 
infixa in altera ; corona aurea in capite, super capellum regni, et 
sandalis regiis in pedibus, impositis. Et taliter elevatur in curru ut 
a singulis videri potuisset, ut per hoc moeror et dolor accresceret, et 
ejus amici et subditi pro ejus anima Dominum tenerius exorarent 
(Walsingham, Hist. Anyl, ed. Camden, 407) [R.S., xxviii. ii. 345, 
346]. Others, in great lowliness of heart, wished to be buried 
without even a coffin, but merely in a winding sheet wrapped about 
them : bodies so shrouded are sometimes figured on old grave- 
brasses. Hence was it that Dame Maud de Say (A.D. 1369), in her 
last will ordered : immediately after iny decease my corpse shall 
be carried to burial, covered only with a linen cloth having a red 



have their armorial (63) bearings fixed about the 
holy buildings, often did the dignified churchmen 


cross thereon, &c. (Testamenta Vetusta, ed. Nicolas, i. 83). In that 
truly splendid, and for English art, most valuable manuscript, 
the Sherbourne Missal, now belonging to the Duke of Northum 
berland, written out by John Whas, a monk of that house, about 
the end of Edward HI. s reign, there may be seen, at folio 686, 
over the Missa pro omnibus defunctis, an illumination, wherein the 
dead bodies are wrapped in white, and have their heads marked 
with red crosses, seemingly three in number, upon each figure, 


and the nobles of this land declare that their wish 
in doing so, was to awaken thereby, through ages 
to come, a kind remembrance of themselves in 
each beholder s thoughts, and thus win a short 
prayer for their souls from him, the while he 
stopped and gazed upon their sepulchre, or looked 
at their escutcheon. 01 Well, too, does the monu- 

though two only of these crosses are shown. Thomas de Boynton, 
Knight (A.D. 1402), says in his will: Volo quod quandocumque 
anima mea exierit de corpore, volutus fuero in eodem linthiamine 
in quo morior, et in tumulo absque mora ponar (Testam. Ebor., 287). 
John de Burton, rector of St. Helen s, York (A.D. 1407), speaks of 
his burial thus: Pnecipiens et inhibens executoribus meis ne 
corpori ineo cistam ligneam vel alia indumenta pneparent, nisi tan- 
tummodo unum lintheamen pro corpore meo involvendo (ibid., 349). 
The usual custom was for priests to be buried in their sacred 
vestments ; hence Peter de Bolton, the rector of another church, 
says (A.D. 1414) : Quod parochiani dictse ecclesise de Scrayngham 
concedant michi unam veterem casulam in qua intendo sepiliri 
(ibid., 371). Among the vestments at Salisbury Cathedral (A.D. 
1222), there was Ad sepeliendum magistrum Th. Thesaurarium, 
casula una. Wordsworth, Salisbury Cercm., 175. 

61 Upon the arch overspreading the tomb of Prior Bozoun, in 
Norwich Cathedral, are written these lines : 

O tu qui transis, vir, aut mulier, puer an sis, 
Respice picturas, apices lege, cerne figuras, 
Et memor esto tui, sic bene disce mori. 

Blomefield, Norfolk, iii. 605. Round a grave-brass in Gillingham 
Church, Kent, runs the inscription following : 

Es testis, Christe, quod non jacet hie lapis iste, 
Corpus ut ornetur, sed spiritus ut memoretur ; 
Hinc tu qui transis medius, magnus puer an sis, 
Pro me funde preces, quia sic michi venie spes. 

Thorpe, Eegistrum Roffense, p. 822. In St. Stephen s, Norwich, 
under the two effigies on the grave-brass of Robert Brassyer, is 
this legend : 

O vos oinnes picturas istas intuentes, devotas ad Deum fundite 
preces pro animabus Roberti Brassyer . . . et Christiane uxoris 
ejus, quibus requiem eternam donet Deus, Amen (Blomefield 


ment itself bespeak those longings : (64) the 
prelate arrayed in his pontificals, the king in his 
garments of royalty, the priest in his (65) sacrificial 
vestments, the soldier armour-clad, and with the 
white or red flower blazoned about him to tell 
which side he took in the wars between the rival 
houses, with his collar round his neck showing 
us by its suns and roses that he had been for 
York, or by its SS that he had gone with Lan 
caster 62 and all the decorations of knighthood 

Norfolk, iv. 155). On a grave-stone in Beeston Church in the same 
county, it is declared : 

Not for an ornament of the body this ston was laid here, 
But only the soul to be prayed for, as charite requere. 

Ibid., viii. 89. Another grave-inscription in St. Foster s, Lon 
don, says : 

Now ye that are liuing, and see this picture 
Prey for me here whyle ye have time and spase 
That God of his goodness would me assure 
In his euerlasting mansion to haue a plase. 
Weever, Ant. Munum., 178. 

Quisquis ades vultumque vides, sta, perlege, plora 
Judicii memor esto tui, tua nam venit hora, &c. 

Ibid., 223. Thomas Earl of Derby says in his will (A.D. 1504): 
Having provided a tomb to be there placed with the personages 
of myself and both my wives for a perpetual remembrance to be 
prayed for (Test. Vet., ii. 458). Joan Viscountess L Isle makes 
the following insertion in her last testament : I will that my 
executors cause to be made and set up on the high rood-loft in 
the church of St. Michael upon Corn-hill, two escotcheons, the one 
of them with the arms of my right noble lord and husband the 
Viscount L Isle and my own arms jointly, and the other of the 
arms of my right worshipful husband Robert Drope and my own 
jointly, to the intent that our souls by reason thereof may the 
rather be remembered and prayed for. Ibid., ii. 466. 

02 The Lancastrian red rose and the Yorkist white were symbols 
of our country s strife but too well known to all who have read 


on, (66) and having at his side his noble dame 
in the robes of her estate, the franklin in his 

English history. York s white rose and the sun, the token of 
that bloody fight at Mortimer s Cross, and victory gained there 
by Edward IV. over the Lancastrians, were strung together into 
a collar, with the white lion of the house of March hanging from 
it, and given by that king to his party. As early, however, as the 
first year of Henry IV. s reign, the followers of this king might 
always be known by the collar which they wore of his house of 
Lancaster. When the Earl of Kent arose against him detraxit 
(comes Cantii) signa Regis (Henrici quarti), scilicet collaria, de 
collis quorundam quos vidit ibi habentes signa talia, cum despectu, 
dicens non esse gestandum de csetero tale signum (Walsingham, 
Hist. Any., ed. Camden, 363) [R.S., xxviii. ii. 244]. The ornaments 
composing this Lancastrian emblem were nothing more than the 
letter S, multiplied many times, and linked one to the other. 

This celebrated collar of esses or SS has hitherto been an 
archaeological puzzle. What these esses mean, and wherefore they 
have been employed, has often been asked : the following solution 
is offered. In his very interesting will, John of Gaunt made this, 
amongst other bequests, to his very dear son Henry Duke of 
Hertford, who afterwards became Henry IV. : Je ly devise un 
fermail d or del veil manere et escript les nouns de Dieu en 
chescun part de icel fermail, la quel ma treshonore dame et miere 
la roigne que Dieux assoile me donna en me commandant que je 
la gardasse ovecque la benison et vueille q il la garde ovecque la 
beneson de Dieu et la mien (Test. Ebor., 231). This chain of gold, 
after the old manner with God s name written on each part of it, 
seems to have been a kind of heirloom in the house of Lancaster : 
John of Gaunt s mother had had and left it to him, along with her 
blessing, and wishes that he should keep it : in his turn John of 
Gaunt handed it down, with the same wishes, to his son Henry. 
That the letter S, especially when woven into a collar, became a 
well-known cognizance and a part of the livery (as the word was 
then understood) belonging to John of Gaunt and his house, 
seems certain ; for in an indenture of plate, &c., once belonging to 
Edward III. and Richard II., we find mention made of un paire 
de basynys d argent ennorrez . . . ove (un) coler gravez ove Ires 
de <& del live de Mons r de Lancastr t le covekii ove une corone 
desuis gravez ove Ires de j$. entoure ; ? les armes de Mons r de 
Lancast? dedeins. Ant. Kalendars and Inventories of the Exchequer, 
iii. 322. The name of God was written on every piece composing 
this collar. What was that name? [The liturgy will tell us: 


burgher dress (67) each lies before us out 
stretched on his tomb, with hands meekly clasped 
upon his breast and uplifted towards heaven, 
beseeching its forgiveness towards his sins, and 
asking, by an inscription, in which he (68) often 
calls the lowliest clown his kinsman, 63 every one 
here to pray for him. At Canterbury Cathedral, 

it was SANCTUS contracted into simple S. According to the 
Salisbury use, when the crucifix on Good Friday was about to be 
uncovered, there were sung these words several times : " Sanctus 
Deus, sanctus fortis, sanctus et immortalis, miserere nobis," as we 
find in the Sarum Processional, in Die Paras., fol. lx., A.D. 1528, and 
fol. Ixvii., A.D. 1555 [ed. Henderson, 1882, p. 69]. Moreover, in the 
" Preces " at the hour of Prime, the Salisbury portoos or breviary 
recites the same words. Every day at mass, not only was said 
the hymn, Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, &c., but whilst the priest 
was going through it, a bell, called from that circumstance 
the " Sancte-bell," was solemnly rung. Furthermore, in the 
" Te Deum " comes the verse, " Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, 
Dominus Deus Sabaoth." Now, as the people, during the 
Catholic times of this country, more particularly the higher 
class, thoroughly knew the prayers of the church-services, it is 
not to be wondered at that words so striking should have left 
a deep impression on their minds, and that a princely house like 
that of Lancaster should, in assuming an emblem of God s name, 
take the SS of the SANCTUS repeated, and weave them into a 

0:5 O vos omnes qui hie transitis, pro me orate ; 
Precibus vestris, qui fratres estis, meque iuvate. 

in Erith Church, Kent (Weever, Ant. Fun. Monum., 129). 

John, sixth abbot of St. Alban s, had the following lines written 
beneath some stained glass windows which he put up : 

Propicii patres, compassive quoque matres 
Orat, ut oretis, sua quod sit pausa quietis 
Vester acloptatus hie filius intumulatus. 

IUd., 328. 

Thou art my brother or my sister, 
Pray for me a Pater Noster. 
On a grave-brass, Morley, Derbyshire. 


above the Black Prince s grave, may yet be seen 
the velvet surcoat embroidered with the arms 
of England and France, the helm, the gauntlets, 
the short dagger, and the shield, all of which 
that warrior once wore ; but they were set up 
there less to tell of the hardihood and hundred 
battles of him the boy who won his spurs at 
Cressy the man who fought and gained, against 
such fearful odds, the fight at Poitiers than to 
bid us call upon Christ for mercy on the soul of 
Edward Plantagenet, 64 sometime Prince of Wales. 
The helmet, (69) and the breast-plate, and the 
gloves of steel, which we yet find rusting on the 
walls of many of our village churches, and that 
once had drooping over them banner and pennon 

64 How meek, how touching, how truly catholic, is the in 
scription on the grave of one so high, and who made such a noise 
here : Cy gist le noble prince Monss. Edward, &c. Lalme de qi 
Dieu eit mercy. Amen. 

Tu qi passez ove bouche close 
Par la ou ce corps repose, &c. 

Pour Dieu priez au celestien roy 
Qe mercy ait de 1 alme de moy. 
Tous ceulx qi pur moy prieront 
Ou a Dieu macorderont 
Dieu les rnette en son paradis 
Ou mil ne poet estre chetiffs. 

Dart, Cathedral Church of Canterbury, 80. 

The inscription on the tomb of another flower of English knight 
hood, begins thus : 

Preith devoutly for the sowel whom God assoille of one of the 
most worshippful knyghtes in his dayes of monhode and conning, 
Richard Beauchamp, late Eorl of Warrewik, &c. As may be seen 
in the beautiful Beauchamp Chapel, Warwick. 


Page 54 


and blazoned tabard now all in tatters, or dropped 
clean away, were hung up there by Catholic hands, 
above the grave of some Catholic knight, while 
England was yet Catholic, for the same Catholic 
purpose of beseeching the prayers of the people 
for his soul. 00 With like (70) cravings was it that 
the wealthy yeoman, or flourishing trader, who 
bestowed anything, for the splendour or becom 
ing performance of the liturgy, upon his parish 
church, besought to have his name written on 
his gift. 66 

The memorials of the dead, whether goodly 
little buildings in themselves, richly dight in 
gilding and colour, or unadorned, simple grave 
stones, were thought of and provided, for no other 
object and rightly so than, by the cross marked 

65 Under this feeling was it that Thomas Maners says : my 
bodie to be buryd in the quere . . . w* soulle messe and derege 
the day of my buriall for my soule and all Christen soules, and 
my coat armoure to be sett upon my gravye for remembrans, &c. 
(Wills of the Northern Counties, 122). Sometimes, as it would seem, 
a knight s armour, after his death, was set up in the church where 
he lay buried, upon a wooden figure of St. George. John Arden 
says, in his will : I bequethe my white harneis complete to the 
church of Aston, for a George to wear it, and to stand on my pewe, 
a place made for it : provided always that if the said George be not 
made within a year after my decease, that then I will that mine 
executors do sell it, and hire a priest to sing in the chapell of 
Orton so long as the money will extend. Dugdale, Warwickshire, 
ii. 928. 

66 Have mercy good Lord on the soul of Thomas Holden, 
That hit may rest with God good neyghbors say Amen. 
He gave the new organs, whereon hys name is set : 
For bycause only yee shold not hym forget 
In yowr good preyers, &c. 
Weever, Ant. Fun. Montfm., p. 382. 


upon them, 67 (71) to utter, in behalf of those 
beneath, a belief in Christ and his Church, and 
a hope for happiness in heaven through his 
merits, 68 at the same time that they begged, 

07 Describing an old grave-brass in St. Alban s abbey-church, 
Weever says : " Upon the same marble, under the picture of the 
cross, these words are engraven, which the aforesaid Smith seems 
to speak : 

By this tokyn of the holy cross 
Good Lord sav our sowls from loss. 

Elizabeth his wife these : 

Cryst who dyed for us on the rood tree 
Sav the sowl of my hosbond, owr chyldren, and mee." 
Ibid., 333. 

68 This is strongly set before our eyes in almost every old 
tomb ; a few examples will be enough : 

" But in this passage, the best song that we say can 
Is Requiem eternam, now Jesu grant hit mee, 
When we have endyd all our adversitee 
Grant us in paradise to have a mansion 
That shed his blood for our redemption. 
Therefore we tenderlye requier yee 
For the souls of John Benson 
And Anne hys wyff, of your charitie 
To say a Pater noster and an Ave." 
Weever, Ant. Fun. Monum., 175. 

Lord, of thy infinit grase and pitee 
Haue mercy on me, &c. 
Ibid,, 178. 

Wherfor Jesu that of Mary sproung 
Set theyr soulys thy saynts amoung 
Though it be undeservyd on their syde 
Yet, good Lord, let them evermore thy mercy abyde. 
And of your cheritie 

For their souls say a Pater noster and an Ave. 
Ibid., 1 80. The following verses are not uncommon : 
Qu A D T D P 

os nguis irus risti ulcedine avit 
H Sa M Ch M L 

Ibid., 207. 


for his love s and for charity s sake, (72) to be 
recommended to his mercies in the prayers of 
the living. 69 

To quicken the faithful in the discharge of 
such a brotherly kindness, our old English 
bishops often granted a ghostly reward an 
indulgence, or, as it was then better called, a 
" pardon " of so many days unto all those who 
with the fitting dispositions should answer this 
call made to them from the grave, and pray 
especially for him or her who lay buried there. 70 

Ecce sub hoc tumulo coniux uxorque iacemus 

Eternam pacem donet utroque Deus. 
Nil unquam abstulimus, si quod benefecimus ulli, 

Est qui pro meritis preniia digna dabit 
Est tamen una salus Christi miseratio, quam qui 

Transis, ambobus sepe precare Deum. 
Ibid., 349. 

Jesu noster saueor de la grande pite 
De lor almes eit mercie. Amen. 
Ibid., 1 10. 

Haue mercy on my sowl yat bowght hit with yi (thy) bloodde. 
Ibid., 76. 

Jhu for thy marcy their sowlys now save. 
Dugdale, Warwickshire, ii. 1079. 

69 In his last testament, Edmund Hampden (A.D. 1419), writes 
thus : I will that a white stone be placed over me and Joane my 
wife, with this writing 

Ye yat this see Pray ye for charite 

For Edmund s soul and Jane s, a paternoster and an ave. 
Test. Vet., i. 200. 

For the love of Jesu pray for me, 
I may not pray now, pray ye 
That my peynes lessyd may be 
With on (one) Pater Noster and on (one) Ave, &c. 
Weever, Ant. Fun. Monurn., 83. 

70 Often would the bishop of the diocese grant an indulgence of 
forty days to all those who should stop and say a prayer over the 


(73) If some of these old funeral monuments 
be beautiful, all of them are most precious as 

grave in behalf of the buried person s soul ; and not unfrequently 
such a privilege is mentioned in the inscription on the tomb-stone, 
thus : 

Dame Jone de Cobeham gist ici, 

Dieu de sa alme eit merci. 
Kire pur le alme priera 

Quarante jours de pardoun avera. 
Thorpe, Regisirum Roffense, p. 764. 

The friends of the dead strove and got as many prelates as they 
could, to exercise their canonical right of bestowing a like favour ; 
and in some instances, such as that of a high personage, the roll 
of episcopal names was a long one : two sheets of parchment were 
needed for writing down the list of bishops, each of whom gave 
an indulgence on behalf of Eleanor, Edward I. s queen : Pro 
duabus cedulis continentibus indulgentias dierum pro anima 
reginse (Eleanorse) per diversos prselatos concessas, scribendis et 
perficiendis (Manners and Expenses of England, &c., printed for the 
Roxburghe Club, p. 137). That no bishop should ever, except at 
a church s dedication, grant an indulgence of more than xl. days, was 
decreed by the General Council of Lateran (A.D. 1215): Decernimus, 
ut cum dedicatur basilica, non extendatur indulgentia ultra an 
num, sive ab uno solo, sive a pluribus episcopis dedicetur : ac 
deinde in anniversario dedicationis tempore quadraginta dies 
de injunctis pocnitentiis indulta remissio non excedat : hunc 
quoque dierum numerum indulgentiarum litteras prsecipimus 
moderari, quse pro quibuslibet causis aliquoties conceduntur, cum 
Romanus Pontifex, qui plenitudinem obtinet potestatis, hoc in 
talibus moderamen consueverit observare. Condi. Later., iv. cap. 
Ixii., Harduin, Cone., vii. 66. 

Very soon afterwards, this wholesome discipline for checking 
the overgrowth of Indulgences became a part of the canon law 
in this country. Archbishop Peckham, in his Statutes (published 
A.D. 1280), observes: Cum salubriter sit statutum, ut prselati in 
indulgentiis conferendis xl dierum numerum non excedant, ne 
claves ecclesise contemnantur . . . caveant alii quicunque, ne per 
multiplicatas indulgentias a prselatorum gratia qusesitas dedecus 
faciant prselatis ecclesiae, &c. Wilkins, Condi., ii. 48. Our Eng 
lish bishops did not always grant a xl. days indulgence ; but 
sometimes those days amounted but to xx., sometimes to xxx., as 
well as xl. See the Priory of Finchale, p. 179. 

Amongst some it was imagined that an Indulgence became widened 


witnessing (74) to the creed and the religious 
usage of our forefathers. These tombs speak to us 

by as many xl. days as there were bishops who had agreed to 
give it ; hence we at times find mention of longer periods, which, 
though not always, are usually some multiple of xl., thus : 

Johan La Gous . . . gist issi 
Prie pur I alme de lui 
Ky pur I alme de lui priere 
Cent jours de pardoun avere. 

(once in St. Neot s, Beds., but now gone, though preserved in 
Gough s engraving) ; and in the inscription on the tomb of Wil 
liam de Basynge, Prior of Winchester : Hie jacet Willelmus de 
Basynge quondam prior istius Ecce, cujus anime propicietur Deus : 
et qui pro a ia ejus oraverit in annos c et XLV dies indulgencie 
percipiet. This latter monument shows us how the indulgence 
of xl. days must have been multiplied by 31, the number, no 
doubt, of bishops who had concurred in granting it, to make the 
time amount to as much as three years, one hundred and forty- 
five days : 3 j r ears being equal to 1095 days, which, along with 
145 days, make 1240, which, divided by 40, give 31. 

Such a system for the enlargement of indulgences granted to 
encourage any work of holiness, was, however, quite against the 
Church s meaning, as we gather from the Lateran decree above 
quoted ; and our own canons forbade it under the name of " in- 
dulgencise multiplicatse," to use the words of Archbishop Peckham, 
just cited. Was there any good then in getting more than one 
bishop to concede his indulgence ? Certainly ; and L} ndwood 
tells us wherefore. This old English canonist lays it down for a 
rule that as no bishop has spiritual power over other than his own 
spiritual subjects, so no person can gain any indulgence but the 
one accorded by his own diocesan : Plures episcopi sub ana litera 
apponentes sigilla sua, vel simul existentes, prout saepius con- 
tingit, ad crucem Sancti Pauli concedunt, et quilibet eorum con- 
cedit xl. dies indulgentiee. In quo casu indulgentia non excedit 
in toto numerum xl. dierum, sicut legitur eo. li. c. fi. li. 6, qd 
capitulum, ut ibi dicit Card, fuit editum contra tales fraudes. 
Uncle tantum dat unus sicut omnes. . . . Ratio potest esse, quia 
indulgentia unius episcopi non prodest nisi subditis suis propriis, 
&c. (Provinciale, v. 16, p. 336, note s). According then to this, 
were any one from Durham, for instance, to have gone, let us say, 
into Westminster Abbey, and prayed at Queen Eleanor s grave 
for her soul, that person could not have gained the indulgence 



Catholic England s (75) belief in the all-atoning 
merits of our only Redeemer Christ her belief in 

of xl. days held out to all those who should do so, if at no time 
a bishop of Durham had consented to the granting of it : the man 
or woman, however, from any see in the world whose bishop had 


been one among those who allowed the indulgence^ by fulfilling 
its conditions, would have earned it. Lyndwood makes one 
exception ; and it is in favour of an archbishop whose indulgence 
of xl. days is to be reckoned over and above the xl. days of any 
of his suffragans ; so that, under such a circumstance, an indul 
gence of Ixxx. days could be gained : Verurn tamen est, qd quoad 


the unfitness of (76) man s soul to go to heaven 
until cleansed from every smallest speck of sin by 

indulgentias concessas per archiepiscopum, singuli de provincia sunt 
sui subditi. Unde si archiepiscopus et episcopus simul existentes 
concedant, et uterque eorum concedat xl. dies indulgentias ; ille qui 
est subditus episcopi habebit Ixxx. dies, xl. scilicet ab archiepiscopo, 
et xl. a suo episcopo. Alius vero provincialis non subditus dicti 
episcopi solum habebit xl. dies, &c. (ibid.). The only authentic in 
dulgence of a specified time longer than this, was one of a hundred 
days, for the bestowing of which Walter Raynold (Archbishop of 
Canterbury, A.D. 1313), had an especial privilege from Pope Clement 
V. : Clemens, c., fratri W. in archiepiscopum Cantuar. electo 
. . . prsesentium tibi auctoritate concedimus, ut cum te Missarum 
solennia celebrare contigerit, seu proponere verbum Dei, possis 
omnibus vere poenitentibus et confessis, qui hujus modi celebra- 
tioni seu propositioni devote intererint, centum dies de injunctis 
sibi pcenitentiis misericorditer relaxare. Wilkins, Condi., ii. 435. 

With these documents before us, we can have no kind of doubt 
but those startling indulgences of so many thousand years, some 
few stray traces of which may yet be found among our old national 
monuments, were spurious and imaginary. On his grave-brass 
in Macclesfield Church, Roger Legh is figured kneeling, with this 
sentence coming out of his mouth " a dampnacione perpetua 
libera nos diie "on one side, but above him is a "St. Gregory s 
Pity " (a subject of which we have spoken before, vol. i. p. 45), but 
in this representation of it, the pontiff alone is shown, and be 
neath is written, " The pdon for saying of v. pater nost. and v 
aves and a cred is xxvi thousand yeres and xxvi dayes of pardon." 
Roger Legh died, A.D. 1 506. On rebuilding the church of Quatford, 
Shropshire, were found a number of figures painted on the walls, 
representing the day of judgment, and on a piece of vellum nailed 
to an oak board the figure of Christ rising from the sepulchre, 
and these lines under him : 

Saynt Gregory and other popes 
and byschops grantes sex and 
twenty thousand zere of pardon t 
thritti dayes to alle that saies devou- 
telye knelyng afor y is ymage fife 
paternosters, fyfe aves and a cred. 

Camden, Britannia, ed. Gough, ii. 409. Other indulgences, or 
pardons, as they were called, may be seen in the " Hours of the 
B.V. Mary," according to Salisbury use [Hoskins, Horse, passim]. 


the sacred blood (77) which Jesus shed for all man 
kind upon the cross her belief in the existence 

If while blaming certain indulgences of a very much shorter 
length, the General Council of Lateran, in the thirteenth century, 
branded them as " indiscretse et superfluse " (Harduin, Cone., vii. 66) ; 
if, too, our own provincial synods forbade them, and, two hundred 
years afterwards, writers in this country, like the jurist Lyndwood, 
leaning on the words of a Roman cardinal, call them frauds (see 
above), we must believe those later and before-mentioned ex 
aggerated indulgences to have been put forth not by ecclesiastic 
and lawful authority, but by private individuals with more piety 
than learning, and whose zeal was not unto knowledge. Though, 
from this, it follows that such indulgences were far short of the 
worth set down to them, it will not be amiss to seek out their 

As was said just now,, some there were who supposed that 
every bishop s xl. days enlarged by so much an indulgence for 
whatever work of holiness it happened to be granted; thus we 
are told of Ralph, Bishop of Wells, who died A.D. 1363; Plures 
indulgentiae sunt concessse omnibus locum ejus sepultures visit- 
antibus et devote pro anima ipsius Radulphi orantibus. Angl. 
Sacr., i. 569. Upon this principle, our monastic writers, while 
recording the events of their particular house,, were not only 
careful to note down the name of each bishop who had ever 
granted his indulgence to the pious visitors of the minster, but 
sometimes, after casting up the whole number of days into one 
sum, proclaimed that the indulgence to be gained there amounted 
to so many years : for instance, while giving us the " Nomina 
episcoporum qui nobis aliqua contulerunt," one of the monks of 
St. Alban s says : Summa dierum indulgentise quas isti episcopi 
et alii summi sacerdotes huic ecclesise contulerunt se extendit ad 
novem annos octies viginti decemque dies. Mon. Anglic., ii. 219; 
and more nicely still the historian of Glastonbury speaks of his 
own church : Cartse pontificum de indulgenciis concessis Glas- 
toniensi ecclesise sive fabricse ecclesiae. 

Nicholaus Tusculanensis episcopus et legatus Anglise xxx. dies 

indulgencise concessit. 
Idem dedit xx. dies. 
J. legatus Anglise xx. dies. 
Hubertus Carituariensis arch. xx. dies. 
Richardus Cantuariensis arch. xv. dies. 
Item Richardus Cantuariensis xxx. dies et confirmavit ii paria. 


of a place beyond the (78) grave, a purgatory, 
wherein the truly sorrowing sinner s soul must 

Stephanus Eboracensis arch. xiii. dies. 
Bernardus Ragusine arch. Ix. dies. 
Jocelinus Ardacadensis episcopus xv. dies. 
Gervasius Menevensis episcopus xl. dies et ii. paria. 
Robertus Lammensis episcopus xx. dies ad fabricam et x. ad 


Radulfus Kildarensis episcopus xiii. dies. 
E. Landavensis episcopus xx. dies. 
Et multi alii. 

Summa DCCCC. ix. dies. 
Johannes Glaston., p. 385. 

For stirring up his flock to think upon Christ s bitter pangs 
upon the cross, and thereby awaken within their hearts a true 
sorrow for sin, a bishop (as we may readily suppose) granted an 


have all its stains washed away (79) in that blood, 
amid sharp but temporary pangs her belief in 
the assurance that one of those means (80) 
through which Christ s blood comes to be so 
applied, is the "communion of saints," or that 
help afforded to those souls in purgatory by the 
faithful upon earth, in the prayers, the fastings, 
the alms-deeds which they offer unto God for the 

indulgence, or, as it was better called, a " pardon " of xl. days 
out of that time which ought, according to the canons, to be spent 
in working out the penance due to the individual s sins, under the 
condition that certain prayers should be said, and the better to 
help their pious thoughts, before a figure of our Lord showing his 
blood-stained wounds. Seeing how much good had been thus 
wrought, many other bishops throughout the Church did the 
same thing, and the supreme pontiff, the Pope himself, to show 
how he liked and wished to behold the spreading of such a 
religious exercise, bestowed his indulgence of xl. days to all who 
should worthily perform it. As soon, then, as this particular 
devotion began to grow into favour with the people, to forward 
it still more those zealous but indiscreet magnifiers of indulgences 
bethought themselves first, of all the xl. days of pardon ever 
granted by any bishop to the exercise of that devotion in one 
particular church ; then, in all the churches of one particular 
country ; then, in every place over all Christendom ; and, at last, 
taking the Pope s indulgence or pardon to be a ratification of each 
and all the others, they added up the whole, and let the sum 
come to what it might whether to two, or twenty-six, or thirty 
thousand years and some odd days, it mattered not they un 
hesitatingly gave out that such was the length of the indulgence 
to be gained by every one, and in every place, each time the 
devotion itself was duly performed. Such, to my thinking, was 
the way in which those extraordinary indulgences sprang up: 
they were put forth, not by lawful, but private authority; and 
thus being frauds, the Church has always blamed and forbidden 
them. The dispositions and conditions required for gaining any 
of these " pardons " have been slightly noticed before in this work, 
while speaking of the indulgenced mazer-bowl (see vol. ii. 276, 277). 


(81) It is not every Englishman who, in these 
our days, while he stops to spell the words half- 
eaten away by time on the old Christian Briton s 
cross in Wales or Cornwall, or looks for the spot 
where our British Arthur was buried at Glaston- 
bury and our Anglo-Saxon Alfred near Win 
chester, or stoops him down to read the legend 
running round the flat Anglo-Norman grave-stone, 
and bends over the high tomb of the English 
period, will do what those monuments ask of him 
say a prayer for the dead beneath them, and 
thus hold communion in faith with all those who 
have ever lived in this island since the time that 
Christianity was brought hither, till the sad epoch 
of the lustful Henry s reign. Only he who still 
clings fast to the ancient creed, only the Catholic 
can comply with such a behest. When this 
country forsook its old for a newly-born belief, 
it threw off its old pious usages : in wedding itself 
unto a new religion, it brought up new religious 
customs ; a new bride is always arrayed in new 
fresh garments. Nowhere does the Protestant 
Establishment of England show a wider departure 
from those devotional practices followed by this 
land during ages gone by, than in what belongs 
to the burial of the dead. 

Nine-tenths of the funeral monuments erected 
by Protestantism in this country, are highly blam- 
able for several reasons : they show a heathenish 
rather than a Christian feeling in their words, 



their ornaments, and symbolism : their " Sacred 
to the (82) memory" of no matter who, however 
black and well-known a sinner, startles those who 
think that nothing can be sacred to man, but only 
to God and God s worship ; their fulsomeness and 
utter want of truth while praising the departed, 
outdo anything of that kind in the pagan world 
itself, so that to "lie like an epitaph," 71 has grown 
into a saying ; nay, downright pagan instead of 
Christian (83) sentences may be sometimes found 
inscribed upon them. 72 

71 The object of the old Catholic epitaphs, which were almost 
always very short, was not to tell boasting untruths of the dead, 
but to stir the reader to pray for them : Respicias lector nostrum 
epitaphium ut ores pro nobis Deum, says an inscription in Seven- 
oaks church, Kent. Weever, 1 18. 

Neptune, Hercules, Victory winged, and wingless,, Britannia, 
and little fat boys for genii, may be met with some or all of them 
on almost every tomb put up during the last half century, in St. 
Paul s, London : Westminster, too, can show no small band of 
pagan deities. As far as the inscriptions beneath these heathen 
isms speak, it would be hard to find out whether the brave men 
to whom these monuments are built, were Gentiles or Jews, 
Infidels or Christians. The heathenish ideas of some funeral 
tablets are quite offensive : take, for instance, the verses in Speld- 
hurst church, Kent : 

Ide prayse thy valour, but Mars gins to frowne ; 
He feares when Sols aloft that Mars must downe : 
Ide prayse thy forme, but Venus cryes amayne, 
Sir Water Waller will my Adon stayne : 
Ide prayse thy learning, but Minerva cryes, &c. 

Thorpe, Begistrum Rojfense, 808. 

72 Over the grave of a youthful couple, one of them his own 
child, a Protestant rector sets up the following Gentile inscription, 
in his church : 

Quern Dii amant, adolescens moritur. 

Blomefield, Norfolk, i. 21 1. In the church at Waterloo, over the 
grave of one of those brave men who fell in that great fight, may 


What a broad, sad difference from what used 
to be the custom here while this land continued 
Catholic ! Then the stones upon our fellow- 
countrymen s graves, though various in shape, in 
decoration, and in the words written on them, told 
that beneath lay those who, however distinct in 
blood and language, whether Britons, Saxons, 
Normans, or English, were yet all of the one 
same hope, the one same belief, the one same 
Church. Whilst meekly acknowledging them 
selves, in sentences out of holy writ and the 
liturgy, to be wretched (84) sinners, 73 those men 

be read, not some sweet soothing words taken out of Holy Writ, 
but this scrap from Cicero : 

Dulce et decorum est, pro patria mori. 

How widely different was it in our old Catholic times ! Then the 
grave-stone inscription told of the Christian belief and wishes of 
the dead beneath, at the same while it asked all those whose eyes 
might fall upon it, to pray for the soul of the person buried there, 
either in those words : Orate pro anima . . . cujus animse pro- 
picietur Deus ; or, in the English form : Of your charity pray 

for the soul of , on whose soul and all Christian souls may 

Jesus have mercy. 

73 In describing an old grave-brass, Weever says : Within the 
circumference of the heart this word " Credidi " : from the heart 
these lines : 

Redemptor meus vivit. 

In novissimo die super terrain stabit : 

In carne mea videbo Deum Salvatorem. 

Ant. Fun. Monum., p. 499. On another tomb are graven these 
invocations from the litany : 

Pater de celis Deus miserere nobis : 

Fili redemptor mundi Deus miserere nobis : 

Sancta Trinitas unus Deus miserere nobis. 

Ibid., 378. The following are not unfrequent : 


say to us how they look to Christ the Saviour 
for their forgiveness ; and to hasten it, beseech 
the living to put up a prayer for them to Him, 
and not for them alone, but, in a spirit of true 
brotherly kindness, for all Christian souls going 
through the woes of purgatory. 74 Ah, (85) too, 
many a dear old Catholic tomb seems to have, 

Qui me plasmasti miserere mei. 

Qui me pretioso tuo sanguine redimisti miserere mei. 

Qui me ad christianitatem vocasti miserere mei. 

Ibid., 394. Often may be seen on old brasses a scroll coming 
out of the dead person s mouth, and having written on it these 
words of the fiftieth psalm : Miserere mei Deus secundum mag- 
nam misericordiam tuam. Sometimes the same sentiments are 
spoken in verse, thus : 

Miserere, Miserator, quia vere sum peccator, 
Unde precor licet reus, miserere mei Deus, 

Flamstead, Herts. Ibid-., 348. 

74 Our old English grave-inscriptions were thoroughly Catholic 
Catholic in the belief they uttered, Catholic in those kindly 
wishes which they showed towards all Christian brethren. One 
of the commonest forms to be met with is : " Of your charity, 
pray for ... on whose soul, and all Christian souls, may Jesu 
have mercy" (Weever, 120, and puasim), or " Orate pro anima . . . 
cujus anime propicietur Deus." Ibid. [cf. n. 72]. 

Often, too, the living are earnestly asked to pray for all the 
dead man s friends, kinsfolks, and all the faithful departed, thus : 
Orate pro animabus . . . Johannis, Julianse et Alicise ux. ejus . . . 
patris et matris . . . fratrum, sororum suorum et filiorum eorum 
. . . et pro animabus omnium benefactorum nostrorum et omnium 
fidelium defunctorurn, quorum animabus propitietur Deus. Amen 
(ibid., 123). Sancte Deus, sancte fortis, sancte misericors salvator, 
miserere animabus. . . . Nee non orate pro animabus omnium 
defunctorum hie et ubique in Christo quiescencium. Ibid., 406. 

Da requiem cunctis Deus et ubicumque sepultis. 

Ibid., 530. 

Prey for the saulygs of Henry Denne, and Joan his wyf, theyr 
fadyrs, theyr modyrs, bredyrs and good frendys, and of al Christian 
saulygs Jesu haue mercy. Amen. Ibid., 201. 


even now, hovering all about it, a little atmosphere 
quite its own, made up, as it were, of holy breath 
ings from out the mild, warm, God-loving heart 
of him or her who lies within. What, though 
that heart is now cold, beatless, shrivelled up, 
dwindled into dust, its last sighings died not 
away as they came wafted from off those dying 
lips that gave them utterance ; but still live, still 
are floating around, and make themselves heard 
in low soft (86) whisperings to our ear, as we 
pause and read upon the stone " Sweet Jesus of 
Nazareth" "Jesus Mary s son" have mercy 
grant everlasting life to the soul 75 thus showing 
how, in the truest sense, "love is strong in 
death." 76 

75 Among the ruins of Kirklees Priory, Yorkshire, was found 
a grave-stone marked with a cross, and bearing this inscription 
round it : 



Leland, Itin., ii. 97 : about the foot of a cross at Braithwell, 
near Doncaster, may be read the invocation following : 


Camden, Britannia, ed. Gough, iii., plate 2. 

WHOS SOWL SWKTK JESU PARDON ends the inscription on the 
grave of Aleys Walleys, in Codham church, Kent (Weever, Ant. 
Fun. Hon., 124); and SWETE JESU, GRANT TO THEM AND us 
EUERLASTYNG LIFE, may be read on a tomb in Stone church. 
Ibid., 127. 

70 The heart s own feelings, good in their kind, but found to 
kindle of themselves as warm a glow within the heathen as the 
Christian bosom, are, by the Church s belief about Purgatory, 
uplifted from the common level of human to the loftiness of 
religious love, and become holy and hallowing. Who but a 


(87) Besides writing on the stones beneath 
which they were buried, such longing wishes to 
be prayed for by the living, our forefathers be 
thought themselves, in their strong Catholic 
belief, of another way, of a symbol as fitting 
as it was beautiful that of 


to remind all who should behold it, to say, as 
they went by, a prayer asking of God that the 
soul of him or her whose ashes lay there, might 
be soon brought out of darksome woe to the 
happiness, and everlasting brightness, of heaven. 
Friendless indeed, during those ages of faith, 
must that man have been, and small the love 
his kinsfolks bore him, upon whose tomb, if 
buried within the church, no wax-taper was 
kept burning for at least the first month, 77 if 
not throughout the whole year after his death. 
Examples there are, and not a few, of endowments 
that were made for providing a certain quantity 
of wax-tapers and lamps to burn, both day and 

Catholic husband could have said as William Herbert, Lord 
Pembroke, did to his wife, in his will (dated A.D. 1469): Wife, 
pray for me and take the said order (of wydowhood) that ye 
promised me as ye had in my lyfe, my hert and love. God have 
mercy on me and save you and our children, and our Lady and all 
the Saints in Hevyn help me to salvation. Test. Vet., i. 304. 

77 In the roll of expenses for the funeral (A.D. 1466), of John 
Paston, are mentioned the torches and wax made at Bromholm 
for to brenne upon the grave, iij marks, for light kept on the 
grave, x 8 . Blomefield, Norfolk, vi. 485. 


night throughout the year, and for ever, upon the 
grave of some royal and high-born individuals, 
in this country. 78 Other less (88) distinguished 

78 Quene Elyanore the kynges wyfe was buryed at Westmynster, 
in the chapell of Seynt Edwarde, at y e fete of Henry the thirde 
where she hathe .ii. wexe tapers brennynge vpon her tumbe both 
daye and nyght (Fabyan, Chronicles, ed. Ellis, p. 393). He (King 
Henry IV.) prouyded that .iiii. tapers shulde brenne daye and 
nyght about his (Richard II. s) graue whyle the worlde endureth 
(ibid., p. 577). William Mareschall, Earl of Pembroke, made a 
grant of xxs. yearly rent to St. Paul s Cathedral, London, for the 
health of the soul of his wife Alice, one part thereof to be spent 
upon a lamp continually burning over her tomb (Dugdale, Hist. 
of St. Paul s, p. 1 8). The keeper of the lamps about the tomb 
of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, in the same church, is 
especially mentioned by the provisions made for keeping the 
anniversary of that prince (ibid., p. 27). The expense of keeping 
up the lights around Queen " Elyanore s " and King Henry V. s 
tombs in Westminster Abbey, is thus noticed : Pro factura cere- 
orum quadrantium et rotundorum imperpetuum circa tumbam 
dicte regine cremendorum, &c. Et pro tortis et cereis rotundis 
emptis stantibus circa tumbit regis Henrici quinti, &c. (Valor. 
EccL, \. 423): square candles are not now in liturgical use in 
the western parts of the Church ; an old square wax candle, 
ornamented with figures of saints in low relief, which was shown 
me not long ago by a friend, I think is of ancient Russian work 
manship. These square candles seem to have been much employed 
at one time: Robert, Earl of Suffolk (who died A.D. 1369), says : 
" I will that five square tapers and four mortars, besides torches, 
shall burn about my corpse at my funeral" (Test. Vet., i. 74). 
Again, Sir John Montacute directs (A.D. 1388), "Upon my burial 
day I will that there be five tapers, each weighing twenty pounds, 
placed about my hearse, and four morters, each of ten pounds 
weight" (ibid., 124). "I will," says Thomas, Earl of Warwick 
(A.D. 1400), "for my funeral that there be three hundred pounds 
weight of wax in six tapers and seven morters also that sixty- 
four men, in gowns made of white cloth, carry each of them a 
torch," &c. (ibid., 154). Richard, Earl of Arundel (A.D. 1375) desires 
" That no men at arms, horses, hearse, or other pomp be used at 
my funeral, but only five torches with their morters " (ibid., 94). 
Eleanor, Duchess of Gloucester (A.D. 1399) directs thus : My 
body to be covered with a black cloth, with a white cross and an 
escutcheon of my arms in the middle of the said cross, with four 


personages ordained that such lights should be 
kept up for them, on all Sundays and (89) 
festivals ; 79 while people of small wealth be- 

tapers round it, and four full mortars being at the four corners 
(ibid., 147). A " mortar " was a wide bowl of iron or metal; it 
rested upon a stand or branch, and was filled either with fine oil 
or wax, which was kept burning by means of a broad wick. 
Mortars of a small size, holding a perfumed wax, are put all 
around the shrine or " confessional " of SS. Peter and Paul at 
Rome, on the festival of those apostles, the 29th of June. 

Knoll, and many other lands, were given by Edward I. to West 
minster, on condition that upon the eve of St. Andrew, Queen 
Eleanor s anniversary, there should be sung a Placebo and Dirige 
with nine lessons, c. wax candles weighing xii Ib. a piece being 
then burning about her tomb, and every year new ones made for 
that purpose. And of the waxen tapers before specified, xxx to 
remain all the year long about the said queen s tomb, till the 
renewing of them on the day of her anniversary ; all which to be 
lighted upon the great festival days, and upon the coming of any 
nobleman thither, and as often else as they should see fit ; and 
moreover, that the abbot, prior, and convent, and their successors, 
should find two waxen lights, each of them weighing two pounds 
of wax, to burn continually at the tomb of the said queen (Dug- 
dale, Warwicks., ii. 959). Henry IV. gave land to the dean and 
chapter of St. Paul s, London, for the keeping of his father s and 
mother s anniversaries ; and " to find eight great tapers to burn 
about that tomb on the day of the said anniversaries, at the 
exequies, and Mass on the morrow, and likewise at the processions, 
Masses, and vespers on every great festival, and upon Sundays at 
the procession, Mass, and second vespers." Dugdale, Hist, of St. 
Paul s, ed. Ellis, p. 27. 

79 In not a few of our country churches may be seen a low 
browed, shallow, but somewhat wide, blind arch, sunk into the 
wall, much oftener on the north than the south side of the 
chancel. Beneath, and but little raised above the pavement, lies 
either a grave-stone showing a floriated cross, or a cumbent effigy : 
almost always some distinguished benefactor to that church is 
buried there. Sometimes, from out the face of the arched wall, 
juts forth a little bracket, the use of which was to uphold a lamp ; 
at others, the key-stone of the arch is carved in the shape of a 
human head, having drilled into it at top, a hole deep and big 
enough to bear a wax taper : this lamp, or candle, as it might be, 
was, no doubt, lighted and kept burning all through the Sundays 


queathed enough to have this, among other 
rites, observed (90) for them once every year at 
each returning mind-day or anniversary of their 
death. 80 

(91) To give strong meaning and more solemnity 
to this liturgical usage for hindering the dead from 
being forgotten by the living in their prayers, the 
custom was to overspread the grave with a rich 
pall. For this purpose a wagon-headed frame, 
like (92) the one here shown, 81 made of wood or 

and festivals of the year, but in a more especial manner on the 
anniversary of that benefactor, to bid the people think of and pray 
for his or her soul. In his last testament, Rob. Cok (A.D. 1492) 
says: Item, I will that a laumpe be founde brennyng on my 
grave every Sonday and fest-full in the yere at all divine service, 
and also that it be light dayly at vij of the belle before mydday, 
and brenne from vij of the belle dayly till high Mase be endid in 
the said -church of St. Sepulchre (Blomefield, Norfolk, iv. 139). 
Simon Blake appoints a lamp to burn by his grave on all holidays 
and Lordsdays, from matins to complin, and the bell-man of the 
town of Swaffham to take care of it. Ibid., vi. 203. 

On the eve of his year-day or anniversary, as soon as service was 
done, a pall was thrown over the founder s tomb, and a wax taper 
lighted up at the head, and another at the foot, to burn there the 
remainder of that day and all through the night ; on the following 
morning, four other wax tapers were lighted and kept burning 
until the high Mass had been chanted for his soul and his kindred s 
souls ; then the four tapers were put out, and other two were 
placed there till after complin. Consuetudines ecclesise, Norwicenris, 
&c. [Corpus Christi Coll. Camb. MS., 465]. 

80 Robert Fabyan directed that his " obite " should be kept for 
nine years, and that yearly " there be ordeyned .ij. tapers of .ij. lb 
every tapir, and .ij. candilstyks of the wax chaundeler, and they to 
be sett at my grave, and to brenne the tyme of the hole obsequy " 
(Fabyan, Chron., ed. Ellis, p. viii.). Hugh Thurlow says : I will 
that my obit be kept with solemn " dirige " and Mass, with lights 
upon the hearse for ten years. Test. Vet., ii. 557. 

81 Taken from the Beauchamp monument, in the old contract 
for the making of which, we find this item: Also they shall make 



iron, and so large as to cover the whole length of 
the tomb and high enough to enclose the figure, if 


one lay there, was sometimes placed upon it ; 82 
and (93) over this hearse, (for thus like the larger 

in like wise, and like latten, an hearse to be dressed and set upon 
the said stone, over the image,, to bear a covering, to be ordeyned, 
&c. (A Covenant., &c., xiii. Junii, 32 H. VI., Dugdale, Warwick^., i. 
445). Dugdale himself caused a new velvet pall to be got " to lie 
over the hearse of Earl Richard." Descrip. of the Beauchamp Chapel, 
by Nichols, p. 36. 

s - When the grave was slightly raised above the pavement, or 
merely marked by one of its large flat stones, this hearse had much 
effect. When, too, upon the sepulchral monument was put this 
dead person s figure, cut, as large as life, in stone, this frame or 


erection it was called, 83 ) fell the pall or hearse- 
cloth in ample folds, and the lights in tall candle 
sticks were set around. 84 

smaller kind of hearse seemed almost requisite for giving a seemly 
look to the pall spread over it. From often being cut out after 
this shape, so as to fit such a sort of frame, 
the pall itself got to be named the hearse- 
cloth ; and of these old Catholic embroid 
eries, the London city companies even yet 

possess some magnificent specimens, among | | 

which the Fishmongers and the Saddlers 

are the handsomest. Whether, however, the tomb arose much or 
little above the pavement, or the grave-stone was quite flat and level 
with the ground of the church or cloister which it helped to flag, 
it would seem that the funeral pall cast over a low small hearse, 
always mantled the sepulchral effigy, as well as the plain flag-stone, 
during the anniversary services for him or her who lay buried 
beneath ; for in the Syon Martyrology, we read this regulation : 
Determinatum est quod . . . orriacio f eretri seu pavimenti, accensio 
luminum, &c., cum ceteris observanciis tarn in exequiis quam in 
missis per omnia observabuntur ut prius (fol. 5). 

83 See before ii. 399, 403, 416, of this work. 

84 Ad abbathiam monialium de Godestowe pervenit (Hugo Lin- 
colniensis episcopus) ubi ecclesiam intrans cum ante magnum altare 
prolixius orasset, vidit ibi quoddam sepulcrum ante altare panno 
serico coopertum et cereos circumastantes cum lampadibus ardenti- 
bus, &c. (Chron. Jolian. Bromton, ed. Twysden, i. 1235). Among the 
things given to Durham Cathedral at the death of Bishop Bury, 
there was a green pall, shot with gold, for covering that prelate s 
tomb : j pannum aureum viridis coloris pro tumba ejusdem. 

Wills, rf.v., of the Northern Counties, p. 25. Of Vitalis, abbot of 
Westminster, and who was buried in the south cloister of that abbey, 
Sporley, a monk of that house, tells us : Quolibet anno die anni- 
versarii ipsius ponatur unum tapetum cum panno serico auro texto, 
et duo cerei pond, ii li. quos sacrista providebit ab hora vesperarum 
usque in crastinum. Finita Missa de Requiem ibidem jugiter 
ardebunt (Cotton MS., Claud. A. viii. fol. 39). " My body," says 
William Norreys (A.D. 1486), " to be buried in the chancel of our 
Lady, in the parish of Asshe, at the south end of the altar there. 
I will that my red cloth of baudkyn be laid upon my body in the 
said church, and so there to remain for a perpetual remembrance, 
and especially to be provided for therewith an hearse and a black 
cloth, with two tapers thereupon set, to be light and burning in 


(94) In the wish to be buried in one particular 
spot on the chancel s northern side, and in those 
(95) injunctions for the architectural adornments 
of the grave to be fashioned so that there always 
might be set 


we meet another proof of that eagerness in by 
gone times, to be prayed for when dead, felt by 
him who could have his will fulfilled in such 

the time of saying divine service there, to be had and ordained 
over my tomb for a special remembrance of prayer," &c. (Test. Vet., 
i. 385). In his will (dated A.D. 1 501), John Blome gave all his lands 
to the keeping of his anniversary for ever, placing one herse over 
his sepulchre and finding two lights on it, of one pound of wax, to 
burn in time of exequise and Mass performing on the day of the 
commemoration of his death, four torches to burn before his 
sepulchre ... in the time of divine service, and one penny offer 
ing at the Mass, &c. (Blomefield, Norfolk, vi. 182). Among the 
funeral expenses of John Sayer, Knight (A.D. 1530), are the follow 
ing : For wax upon his hearse to burne ev y messe tyme v 
searghs viii s . For v yeards of blakk cloth to his hearse ijs JVills, 
&c., of the Northern Counties, p. no. 

Poor Queen Catharine of Arragon was buried in the church of 
Peterborough, betwixt two pillars on the north side of the choir, 
near to v the great altar; her hearse being covered with a black 
velvet pall, crossed with white cloth of silver : this pall was after 
wards changed for one of meaner value, which had her Spanish 
escutcheons affixed to it ; but even that was taken away in 1643 
(Mon. Any I., i. 364). The latter fact we learn from Gunton, who, 
in speaking of the Puritans, tells us of those men who " rob and 
rifle the tombs, and violate the monuments of the dead. They 
demolish Queen Katherine s tomb, Hen. the eighth his repudiated 
wife : they brake down the rails that enclosed the place, and take 
away the black velvet pall which covered the herse ; overthrow the 
herse itself, displace the gravestone that lay over her body," &c. 
Hist, of the Church of Peterborough , p. 335. 


things. While doing this, the owner of the soil, 
or the lord of the manor, only sought to avail 
himself best of those opportunities for getting his 
soul remembered, afforded him by those highest 
and therefore rare but impressive solemnities of 
the ritual, which once in every year were sure to 
bring all the people in crowds to the parish- 
church, as they mingled in its heart - stirring 

During holy week our Catholic countrymen 
went, as Catholics still go, to church on Maundy 
Thursday, to partake of, or at least to adore the 
Blessed Eucharist, the day that pledge of love 
was instituted on Good Friday, to weep over 
their sins and crave forgiveness of Christ crucified 
for them, as they crept to and kissed on bended 
knees the cross, the emblem of redemption, 
bought for the world that day on Holy Saturday 
and Easter Sunday, (96) to rejoice at the uprising 
of our Lord and Saviour from the grave, and to 
hope through Him for a joyful resurrection. This 
then is the season of love towards God of love 
towards man of asking from Heaven forgiveness 
not only for one s own but others sins of praying 
for all, the living and the dead. From the early 
part of Maundy Thursday till Easter morning, the 
Blessed Eucharist was kept in what was called 
the " sepulchre " ; and night and day crowds 
thronged to watch and worship there. But the 
people of the parish knowing who it was that 


had made their " sepulchre " to be so beautiful, 
and had endowed the church with the means of 



lighting it up so splendidly, 85 were taught to 
pray for the soul, while they remembered that 
there lay hard by the remains of him who be 
sought as a precious boon that the marble table 
of his monument might " bear the body of our 
Lord at Easter." [See the picture opposite and 
a similar picture in vol. iv.] 

(97) It was, however, as each year brought back 
the day on which a person died, that his soul used 
to be, and still is, commended unto God s mercies, 
in a service especially set forth by the Church for 

85 Thomas Lord Dae re says (A.D. 1531): My body to be buried 
in the parish church of Hurst Monceaux, on the north side of the 
high altar. I will that a tomb be there made for placing the 
sepulchre of our Lord, with all fitting furniture thereto in honour 
of the most blessed sacrament ; also, I will that cl. be employed 
towards the lights about the said sepulchre, in wax-tapers of ten 
pounds weight each, to burn about it. Test. Vet., ii. 653. 

86 Half Verney, knight, directs (A.D. 1478) his body to be buried 
in the tomb standing under the sepulture between the choir and 
our Lady s chapel, &c. (Test. Vet., i. 350). Thomas Wyndesor, 
esquire (A.D. 1479), speaks thus in his will: My body to be buried 
in the north side of the quire . . . before the image of our Lady, 
where the sepulture of our Lord standeth, whereupon I will that 
there be made a plain tomb of marble of a competent height, to 
the intent that it may bear the blessed body of our Lord and the 
sepulture at the time of Easter to stand upon the same, &c. 
(ibid., 352). In her will (A.D. 1499), Eleanor, wife of Judge Townsend, 
orders her body to be buried by the high altar, before our Blessed 
Lady in the chancel . . . and a new tomb to be made for her 
husband s and her bones, upon which tomb to be cunningly graven 
a sepulchre for Easter-day. Bloinefield, Norfolk, vii. 132. 

The liturgical student will not fail to observe how these extracts 
show that our Blessed Lady s image, which was ever to be found 
in our old parish churches, always stood upon its bracket on the 
north side of the east-end wall in the chancel : the image of the 
patron-saint under whose name the church had been dedicated, 
was on the south. 


such a brotherly purpose, and called by one or 
other of these names, 


Upon its eve, the bell-man of the town (and every 
(98) town of yore made its own bell-man do this 
duty), went all about that neighbourhood, ringing 
his hand-bell at the head of every street and lane : 
in a country parish, this was done by the sexton, 
before the cross at the village end, upon the green, 
and at those quarters of the hamlet where the cot 
tages stood closer thronged. Whilst giving out, 
in a slow sort of mournful chaunt, the deceased 
individual s name, this lowly official asked all who 
were listening, to say a short prayer to God, be 
seeching mercy on the soul of him or her whose 
year s mind he was then proclaiming, and for 
whom Placebo or even-song, and Dirige or matins 
and lauds for the dead, would be sung that after 
noon at church, with a Mass of Requiem on the 
morrow, to be followed by a dole to the poor. 88 

87 To the parish church of Thaxted " Rychard the younger gawe 
a meide callyd Abel Meide, for a perpetual mynd yerly to be kept 
for ther (his kinsfolks ) soulys and al christen soulys." Weever, 
Ant. Fun. Monuments, p. 385. 

88 Lego portatori campanse orantis circa villam de Tykhull vjd. 
die exequiarum pro anima mea (Test. Ebor., p. 141). Sir Adam 
Outlaw, priest, bequeaths a tenement to the West Lynn town 
bellman, on condition that on the vigil of Sir Adam s "yere day" 
this bellman " pray for the souls of Thomas of Acre and Muriel 
his wife, his (Sir Adam s) soul,, and the souls of his benefactors, 
with his bell going about the town," &c. (Blomefield, Norfolk, 
viii. 536). Simon de Stalham leaves to the bellman at Great 
Yarmouth vj<i. a year to keep our anniversary, viz. of me and 


(99) All that evening, and from earliest dawn next 
day, the church bells tolled a knell : 89 the grave, 

Christiana my wife, annually at a certain term for ever (Swinden, 
Hist, of Great Yarmouth, p. 818); and about the same time (A.D. 
1349) William Motte says in his will: I give to the bellmen and 
their successors vjd. of an annual rent out of my capital messuage 
for ever, to keep my anniversary for ever, and pray for my soul, 
and the souls of Margaret my wife, and Margaret Child my wife, 
and the souls of John Motte, and my children, about the town 
of Great Yarmouth, as the manner and custom is, &c. (ibid., p. 820). 
Isabel, wife of Jeffery de Fordele (A.D. 1349), left "to the two 
bellmen of the town, and their successors for the time being, for 
ever, v]d. of annual rent, on condition that they celebrate the 
anniversary of her and Thomas Sydher, and ring for our souls, "&c. 
(ibid., p. 824). In the Statutes for St. Mary Magdalen College, 
of his founding at Oxford, Bp. Wayneflete, while providing for the 
keeping of his own anniversary, says : " Every year on the day 
of the said burial service, four pence for his trouble shall be paid 
to the common bellman who is accustomed to make public pro 
clamation, after the Oxford practice, for Master John Bowyke, 
and myself as benefactors" (Statutes of Magdalen Coll., Oxford. 
ed. Ward, p. 152). These bellmen were often employed in other 
services about the church, for in the accompts of St. Nicholas s 
church, Great Yarmouth, we find (A.D. 1511) money was paid to 
the bell-man for covering the images in Lent (Swinden, Hist., 
p. 812); and it is to be presumed that the bells carried about by 
them were ecclesiastical property, since among the things belong 
ing (A.D. 1 504) to the above-named fine old church, its different 
sorts of bells are thus fortunately noticed the saints bell the 
housil bell three hand bells and a bell to go with the Sacrament 
(ibid.) ; the " three hand bells " must have been for the bellmen s 
use to carry with them about the town as they went to ring and 
bid the people to pray for the dead. This same custom, as once, 
and maybe still in some places, followed on the opposite shores of 
France, is thus noticed : 

" Twas about this time the sexton old, and in his hand a bell, 
Was going all the country round chiming the funeral knell, 
Pray for the soul of him that was a gallant cavalier 

And to-morrow about the sunset there in his state he lies 
We shall bear him then to the White Church for his holy 
obsequies. " 

A Summer among the Bocages, dec., by L. S. Costello. 


(100) meanwhile, was shrouded with a funeral 
pall or hearse-cloth ; 90 and wax tapers, more or 
less in number, (101) were set lighted all about 
it. 01 The kinsfolks and the friends of the person, 
always, and often the (102) civic functionaries of 

In some of the wards within the city of London, a bellman went 
about every evening for the purpose, amongst others, of asking 
people to pray for the souls of the dead : 

The xiij day of January (A.D. 1557) in alderman Draper ward, 
called Chordwenerstrett ward, a belle-man went about with a 
belle at ever lane end and at the ward end, to gyff warnyng of 
tfyre and candyll lyght, and to help the powre, and pray for the 
ded. Machyn, Diary (C. S.), p. 123. 

S9 Having provided for a priest to pray for his soul the second 
Sunday in Lent, Sir Adam Outlaw, priest, also bequeaths (A.D. 
1501) to the parish clerk for the time being, three acres of land, 
so that he do ring in pele on the vigil of the aforesaid yereday 
(Blomefield, Xcrfolk, viii. 536). Among other charges to be paid 
by the priory of Uske, one was : " Item, to pray for Doctor Adam 
and rynging of his mynd every ye re vj (1 ." ( Valor. Eccl., iv. 366). The 
solemn knell rung on the eve of an anniversary, is spoken of in 
most old documents : thus Sporley tells us of Abbot Walter : 
Obiit in festo Cosmse et Damiani (A.D. 1191) sepultusque est in 
australi parte claustri (Westmonasteriensis) sub piano pavimento 
ante primum scamnum a cimbalo. . . . Quolibet anno in vigilia 
predict orum sanctorum, prior et conventus ejusdem loci Placebo, 
et Dirige cum tribus lectionibus ut in aliis anniversfriis princi- 
palibus fieri solet cum campanarum pulsacione solemniter decanta- 
bunt, duobus cereis ad tumbam ipsius continue ardentibus a 
vigilia predicta usque ad finem Missse de Requiem crastino die 
quam cantabit prior vel alius custos ordinis loco ipsius. MS. 
Cotton, Claudius A. viii. ff. 44, b. 45. 

90 The covering of the grave on the anniversary day with a pall 
or hearse-cloth, is mentioned on pp. 75, 76, note 82 and note 84. 

91 The great number of hearse-lights at an anniversary, and the 
expenses of making and putting them up, are shown in many old 
documents : Magistro Willielmo Le Chaundeler, pro CC.XLV. lib. 
cerse, emptis ad anniversarium Reginc^e (Eleanore) vjli. viijs. vjd. ; 

Item, eidem Magistro W., pro meeremio ad pegones cereorum, 
carpentariis et portitoribtis cereorum . . . arkon et filo ad cereos 
ligandos Iviijs. iiijrf., 


the borough, 92 went to both these religious services ; 
and all of them made their offering of money at 
the Mass, for the good of the departed soul whose 
anniversary they had come to celebrate. After 
the Holy Sacrifice was over, a dole of money or 
of food, oftentimes of both, was distributed among 
the poor; 93 and to a banquet (103) which usually 

Item, pro factura istius cerse, circa aniversarium Reginse, pro 
eodem, c.xijs. vjd. 

Item, Magistro Roberto de Colebroke, pro meremio ad hercias 
Dominse Reginae apud Westmonasterium et apud fratres Prsedica- 
tores, et pro aliis necessariis circa dictas hercias, die aniversarii 
Reginse, Ixxvs. ijcL (Manners and Household Expenses of England, &c., 
101, printed for the Roxburghe Club). The blaze of wax tapers 
around the tomb of Gundred, Countess of Norfolk, in Bungay 
church, must have, on her anniversary, been very great, since the 
cost of those lights came to x s . iiij d ., no mean sum in her times : 
In cera ardente circa tumbam dictse Gundredse annuatim per 
fundacionem pnedictre, x s . iiij d . Valor. Eccles., iii. 430. 

92 The mayer of Faversham with ij of his brethern for the time 
beyng hath and shall receyve yerely for ever before the mas of the 
said obit xxiij 1 , that is to say the same mayer shall receive . . . 
xiiij 1 and shall offer at the same masse j (1 and either of the said 
mayers brethern shall receyve v (1 and either of theym shall offer 
in lyke manner j (1 . (Valor. Ecc., i. 84). John of Gaunt directed a 
certain sum of money to be given to the Lord mayor and Sheriffs 
of London each time they came to his anniversary, in St. Paul s. 
Dugdale, Hist, of St. Paul s, p. 27. 

93 Edward I., in bestowing certain lands, for the good of his 
queen Eleanor s soul, on Westminster Abbey, required among other 
things, that on the queen s anniversary, the prior and convent 
should distribute unto every poor body repairing to that mon 
astery, one penny sterling, or money to that value ; staying till 
three of the clock, expecting their coming, before they should begin 
the dole, which was to be unto seven score poor people (Dugdale, 
Warwicks.) ii. 959). Not only our kings and queens, but all our 
countrymen, no matter of how lowly a degree, left, when they 
could afford it, moneys to be given yearly, for ever, to the poor on 
each anniversary of their death. Not a chantry was ever rounded 
in Catholic England, but there may be found, among its several 
provisions, one somewhat like the following : In denariis annuatim 


consisted of the nicest dishes then known, and 
never lacked of plentifulness, not only the friends 
of the deceased, but all strangers who had chosen 
to come and attend these obsequies, were bidden ; 94 
and if, in some instances, we be struck with the 
splendid hospitality provided for these guests, we 
are still more approvingly (104) surprised at those 
abundant alms bestowed upon those crowds of 
the indigent who flocked from all sides to these 
anniversaries. 95 

So strong in the hearts of our Catholic country 
men was the wish to have the Holy Sacrifice 
offered up for their souls after death, and not 
merely once during each year, but every day, that 
so many of them as could, founded what was 

distributis pauperibus in anniversario Thome More fundatoris 
ejusdem cantarie ad orandum pro anima dicti Thome et parent urn 
suorum. Valor. EccL, i. 63. 

94 Walter, Abbot of Westminster (dying A.D. 1194), bequeathed 
the manor of Paddington to that church for the keeping of his 
anniversary. The ordinary guests, who dined that day in the 
refectory, had two dishes of meat, with bread, wine, and ale ; but 
for persons of distinction, the same provision was made as for the 
monks, who on that obit were feasted with more abundance than 
usual. To all comers whosoever, from the hour that the table 
concerning the anniversary was read out in the chapter-house, 
until complin the day following, were given meat and drink, a& 
well as hay, oats, and everything they should want ; so that every 
one, whether he came on horse-back or on foot, might find free 
admittance. Of three hundred poor men, each one had a loaf 
of bread of the convent weight, together with a pottle of ale. 
Besides all this, mead was given to all the monks "ad potum 
charitatis." Sporley, in MS. Cotton, Claudius A. viii. f. 44. 

96 See last two notes, 93, 94, as well as the following, 97. 



This was a pious endowment, most often in 
land, sometimes in money, enough for the sup 
port of one priest at the least, but more frequently 
of several, and to meet all those little expenses 
of daily Mass, as well as to buy new vestments 
and altar furniture when wanted, to keep in be 
coming repair the small chapel within which this 
service was celebrated, to bestow a weekly dole 
upon the poor, 97 and to solemnise the founder s 
anniversary. 98 

90 As not only among the Anglo-Saxons (vol. i. p. 121, note 27), 
but till the latest times, " singing " was the usual word to signify 
the saying of Mass (see note 99, p. 86 here), and the host to be 
consecrated at the Holy Sacrifice came to be called " singing bread " 
(see note 32. vol. i. p. 124) ; the endowment for a Mass was termed 
a "chantry." 

97 A weekly dole to the poor was usually provided for by most 
founders of chantries, amongst their other regulations. From the 
" certificat of Sir Xpofer Clarke chauntre prest " of Hedcron, Kent, 
we learn there was " distributed yerly by the foundacion of the 
same chantre " 

First weekly every weeke vij d . to vij poure people of the parishe 
of Hedcron xxx 8 . iiij 1 . 

Item, an obit for my founder yerly xx s . 

Item, to the lights of the crucifyx and sepulchre of our Lord 
God yerly iij 8 . iiij d . Valor. Eccl., i. 63. 

98 The usual items of an anniversary may be here seen: In die 
anniversarii Johannis Lotte et Margarete uxoris ejus, pro animabus 
eormn parentum et benefactorum, &c. x s . 

Vicario ecclesie Sci. Egidii eodem die ij s . 

Tribus presbiteris, eodem die celebrantibus missam xij d . 

Duobus clericis ecclesie predicte et sex pueris ibidem minis- 
trantibus xviij 1 . 

xij cem pauperibus torchias ferentibus xij (l . 

Et in panibusdistributisetdistribuendis pauperibus eodem die xx 8 . 
Valor. Eccl., iv. 315. Sir W. Denham left by will to the Iron- 


(105) Chantries were of two kinds: one when 
the endowment was to last for a limited period, 
for two, four, ten, or twenty years after the 
founder s death, (106) during which time Mass 
was to be offered up, and certain specified 
prayers said every day by the priest who under 
took this duty; 99 the other, when (107) the 

mongers Company in the city of London, thirteen messuages, on 
condition that the Company should for ever have a dirge sung 
by note, within the chapel of our Lady of Barking, for the soul 
of the founder, his wife, his parents, his children, and benefactors. 
To this Mass the master and wardens were to bring their best 
cloth for the hearse, and distribute x/. sterling. To the vicar, 
is. 4(7. ; to seven priests, 48. Scl: three clerks, 2s. for wax, 2s. ; 
for the bells, 4*. 8(7. ; for bread and cheese, is. 4</. ; for ale, 3$. 4(7. ; 
to 100 poor persons, 3/. 6s. 8(7. ; to 45 poor, 30.3. ; and to 25 poor, 
4is. 8(7. Herbert, Livery Companies, ii. 605. 

99 Also I (John Sherwode) will that syr Leonarde Hall shall 
synge for my sowll one holl yere. Wills, &c., of the Northern 
Counties, p. in. I (Jhon Trollop) bequeth to Sir Tho s . Cornay 
iij 1 . to synge for me for two yeres if the same Sir Tho s . so long 
lefe. And if he die afore the said two yeres so ended, then I wylle 
that myne executors cause another preest to synge oute the same 
two yeres s vyce for my soule (ibid., 105). Also I (John Hedworth) 
wyll that on (one) prest singe messe iij yers for the well of my 
sowll and all Christen sowlls and to haue messe and diridge songe 
at Chester fo r well of my sowll yeirlie fo 1 euer more, &c. (ibid., 1 12). 
Item do et lego (Thomas de Walkyngton rector ecc. de Houghton) 
capellanis meis (tres erant) ad celebrandum pro anima mea et 
animabus omnium ndelium defunctorum per tres annos proxirne 
post obit um meum sequentes, xlviij 1 . . . . ita quod transeant scolis 
Oxonise sive Cantabrigise utrum voluerint (ibid., 50). Item cuidam 
capellano idoneo celebranti pro anima mea per sex annos in ecclesia 
de Seggefeld xx libras (ibid., 20). Volo eciam quod duo honesti 
et idonei capellani per xij annos ibidem pro anima mea et Johannse 
uxoris mese, ac omnium parentum et benefactorum nostrorum, et 
pro animabus quibus teneor, celebraturi inveniantur, horas can- 
onicas cum placebo et dirige singulis diebus a canone licitis 
prsemissa dicturi, &c. (ibid., 47). Item volo quod ordinetur ut unus 
capellanus celebret in ecclesia Ebor. ad altare Sancti Johannis 
Evangelists pro anima Thomre fratris mei et animabus parentum 


foundation and the religious services which it 
sought to get, were meant by the testator to abide 
for ever, and therefore called a perpetual chantry. 1 

meorum et omnium eorum quibus tenentur, et anima mea, per xx 
annos proximo sequentes mortem meam, &c. (ibid-., 52). Ego 
Richardus Feryby . . . volo quod tota pecunia pro predictis duabus 
bovatis terrse sic venditis solvatur capellanis secularibus, aut uni 
capellano seculari, ad celebranda divina officia pro anima mea, 
quamdiu dicta pecunia extendere valeat. Test. Ebor., p. 120. 

Sometimes these temporary chantries were served by as many 
as ten priests all the time ; William Lord Roos says : Lego cccc 1 . 
ad stipend ium decem honestorum capellanorum pro anima mea, 
animabus patris et matris, fratrum, sororum, amicorum, et bene- 
factorum meorum, et specialiter pro anima Thomse fratris mei, per 
octo annos in capella infra castrum de Belvero celebraturorum ; 
ita quod singulis diebus Missam cum nota, ad disposicionem unius 
eorum qui ut decanus inter eos habebitur, celebrent, &c. Ibid., 


1 William de la Zouche, archbishop of York, in making provision 
for a perpetual chantry (A.D. 1349), says: Do et lego pro una 
perpetua cantaria duorum capellanorum . . . pro anima mea sub 
certis modo et forma imperpetuum celebraturorum in honore Dei, 
&c. ccc. marc, sterling (Test. Ebor., 55). Marmaduke Constable 
leaves (A.D. 1376), unum vestimentum de viridi vellewet cantarise 
... in ecclesia de Flaynburgh. Item capellano occupanti dictam 
cantariam meam perpetuam xl s . (ibid., 98). Lord Latimer wills 
thus (A.D. 1381) : Nous volloms que . . . deux chapelyns co- 
venables soient perpetuelement estables celebrer especialment pour 
Palme nostre seigneur le roi Edward que Dieu assoile, et pour 
nostre alme, en la esglise de Appelton entre quartre chapeleyns, &c. 
(ibid., 1 1 6). Ego Johannes de Clyfford (A.D. 1393) volo quod mis- 
sale meum notatum et portiforium . . . cum duobus vestimentis 
et calice meo meliori et melior cista mea qute est in thesaurario 
Ebor. pro hujusmodi ornamentis asservandis, perpetue remaneant 
cantarioe de Bramham, et ligetur cum duabus cathenis ad murum 
boriale capellae ubi dicta cantaria debet ordinari (ibid., 171). In 
his highly curious will, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, makes 
provision for a perpetual chantry, thus : Je ordenne et devise 
que de mes biens et chateulx, mes executeurs facent ordenner et 
establir en 1 avant dit esglise de Seint Poul un chanterie de deux 
chapellains a celebrer devine service eri ycell a toutz jours pour 
m alme et 1 alme de ma dite nadgairs compaigne Blanche. Ibid., 227. 

These chantries had each its own sacred ornaments and 


(108) The first care of those who wished to 
establish one of the latter, was to get leave and 
have in that (109) church at which they meant 
to be buried, their foundation attached to some 
altar, 2 or to obtain the (110) use of any small 

appliances furnished to them by their founders : At the altar in 
the chapel of St. Laurence, the two perpetual chaplains of canon 
Roger de Waltham celebrate mass for the souls of the forefathers 
and friends of the said Roger, and for the health of this Roger 
whilst he shall live, and for his soul and the souls of the above- 
mentioned after death, with which chaplains in the said chapel, 
there are the following ornaments which were blessed by the said 
Sir Roger, and assigned for ever to the said chantry ; namely, 
two pair of complete vestments, one for daily use, consisting of a 
chasuble of gold cloth upon canvas, with a cloth of a similar kind 
to hang in front of the altar, with linen sown to it. Towels to 
cover the altar, and for the vestments to be folded up in, with 
alb, amice, stole, maniple, &c., with a thread girdle and two altar- 
towels, one of which has a frontal of plain gold bordering. The 
other principal vestment has a chasuble of gold cloth upon silk, 
one missal, price xx s . A chalice and paten, the greater part gilt, 
weighing xx s . and worth xxx s . A brasier (chausepoyn ?), value iii s . 
Two blessed corporals in a case. Two new hand-towels. A box 
for altar beads. Two new pewter cruets, and a small suspended 
bell. A good key to the chapel-door. For all which the aforesaid 
chaplains and their successors are for ever to answer, according 
to the oath which they take on their admission to the chantry 
(Dugdale, St. Paul s, p. 335). The bell hanging in this chantry- 
chapel served, as it does frequently at altars in the churches of 
Italy at the present time, to tell the people in the further parts 
of the church when the Mass was about to begin, and to give 
warning of those more solemn parts of the holy Sacrifice, especially 
the consecration or sackering. If " brasier " be indicated by the 
word " chausepoyn," it will be evident that in those beautiful 
chantries they kept a small charcoal fire burning, during winter 
time, at the celebration of the Mass early in the morning, and at 
the recital of other prayers later in the day, for the soul of the 
founder. The chantry was kept locked, and the key was in the 
custody of the chantry priest, who was rendered responsible by 
the oath which he took on being presented to the benefice, of 
guarding with care the vestments and appurtenances of his 


chapel so placed that the grave might be hard by. 
The cross-aisles of many of our old churches lent 
themselves admirably to such an object ; but 
when this was not so, the founder had to build 
his own chantry-chapel, which in general he 
made abutting on the southern side of the sacred 
edifice. In our cathedrals and larger collegiate 
churches, where there was room enough, these 
chapels arose more commonly between the pillars 
of the nave and aisles, like so many distinct 
erections, guarding from the sullying fingers of 
the thoughtless and mischievous the effigy of the 
founder, stretched out on its high tomb, and the 
little altar (111) at the eastern end all illuminated, 
with minute care, in gold and brilliant colours, at 

2 Lego says H. Snayth, clerk altari S. Jacob! in ecclesia de 
Snayth ad quod altare perpetua cantaria mea fundata existit, duo 
paria vestimentorum (Test. Ebor., p. 11 1); John Fayrfax, rector of 
Prescote (A.D. 1393) Lego cuidam altari in corpore dictre ecclesise, 
ex parte boreali, in honore Sancti Johannis Evangelistre facto, ubi 
propono ordinare cantariam perpetuam, unum missale usus Ebor., 
unum vestimentum, &c. (ibid., 187) ; and John de la Pole, clerk (A.D. 
1414) Do et lego residuum omnium bonorum meorum . . . can- 
tarire sen collegio de Wyngfeld ad amortizandum certas terras pro 
sustentacione unius capellani ad altare Sanctse Trinitatis in ecclesia 
predicta, pro anima mea, necnon parentum meorum, et omnium 
ndelium defunctorum (ibid., 373). Roger de la Leye founded a 
chantry, for one priest to celebrate divine service for his soul at 
the altar before which he should be buried (Dugdale, Hist, of St. 
PauFt, p. 19). Raphe de Baldok settled lands on the dean and 
chapter of St. Paul s, for the maintenance of two priests per 
petually celebrating for his soul at the altar of St. Erkenwald, 
and for all the faithful deceased, giving a muniticent legacy to all 
the officers of the church for the solemnising his yearly obit on 
the eve of St. James the Apostle, with an ample allowance thereat 
for the poor. Ibid., p. 20. 


the same time that its open tracery allowed those 
who knelt outside to behold the beauties, and 
to hear the divine service celebrated within its 
elaborately ornamented inclosure. 3 Sometimes a 
narrow stair, winding inside a turret, at one of 
the corners of its western end, leads up to a tiny 
chapel, raised one story above the floor of the 
tomb, and where, instead of being below, the 
altar stood, against the eastern wall, with its little 
sculptured reredos and over - arching canopy. 
Not a few of these exquisitely ornamented monu 
mental chantry - chapels are still left us. Their 
slight open screen-work looks but a frame for the 
deeply undercut thin foliage roving everywhere 
about it ; and the crispy crocketing that creeps 
up those tall airy pinnacles, and those leaf-like 
bunchy finials that crown them, seem all too soft 
and light to be of stone. When they had their 
rich gilding and their many-tinted colouring (112) 
bright and fresh upon them, and they twinkled 
with the waxen tapers that were often kept there 
burning night and day, 4 these chantries must 

3 Roger de Waltham founded an oratory on the south side of 
the quire in St. Paul s, London, to the honour of God, our Lady, 
St. Laurence, and all Saints ; and adorned it with images of our 
blessed Saviour, St. John the Baptist, &c. ; so likewise with the 
pictures of the celestial hierarchy, the joys of the blessed Virgin, 
and others, both in the roof about the altar, and other places 
within and without. In this oratory, the chantry which he had 
endowed was placed, and his anniversary was kept. Dugdale, 
Hist, of St. Paul s, p. 21. 

4 How any of these erections could have been mistaken for a 
saint s shrine, is hard to imagine ; and yet* such has happened in 


have looked most beauteous indeed, and fittingly 
expressive of that gladsomeness and everlasting 
light in God s church above in heaven wished, 
through Christ s throes upon the rood, to the 
souls of those whose ashes lay buried there. The 
sounds of prayer that were daily heard from 
within, beseeching God on behalf of the founder, 
his kindred, and (113) all the truly believing 
dead, came like whisperings from out the grave, 
telling how the soul can never die, and how man 
must overcome sin and the devil in this life, if 
he wish to rlee from hell and win heaven and 
God s happiness hereafter. 

If he who had this world s wealth, thought first 
for himself, as he lawfully might, and then of his 
kindred, when he founded a perpetual chantry, 
he did not forget the poor and friendless among 

the instance of a late (though valuable) existing example in Christ 
Church, Oxford. On the north side of the northern aisle to the 
choir of that cathedral, there stands what is commonly (though 
most erroneously) called St. Frideswide s shrine, which, however, 
is nothing more than one of these chantries with its chapel raised 
a story above its high tomb, the brasses inlaid upon which, but 
long since wrenched away, once showed the knight and his lady 
who lay interred there. Of them or their name, nothing is now 
known ; but a family burial-place and chantry it undoubtedly was, 
and no sort of shrine whatever, and had its altar in a little oratory 
above, which is even now reached by a short, narrow, well-worn 
night of stairs. The shrine of a patron saint always stood near 
the high altar of the church ; and nobody, even king or queen, 
was ever allowed to be buried within it. As great a mistake is 
the supposition that the upper part of this Oxford chantry-chapel 
was the sleeping-room of the warden of St. Frideswide s shrine, 
which was not only far away, but could not have been seen from 
out of it. 


Christ s people, but had them also remembered, 
as he bade, that together with himself and his, all 
the faithful departed should be prayed for. This 
was every wise meetly done : however soon he 
hoped his own and his friends souls might be 
washed from every sullying speck by the blood of 
his only Saviour Jesus, poured out upon them in 
(114) purgatory at the beseeching of godly men 
upon earth ; he wished, with sound Catholic 
feelings of communion, that the work of ghostly 
help which he had provided for himself, should, 
even after by God s kindness he had ceased to 
want it, still be carried on, for the need of others, 
everlastingly. 6 Not unoften was 

5 Octo choristis ecclesie Lichfeldensis pro eodem obitu misse 
Jhesu et antiphona Jhesu cantantibus pro anima Magistri Thome 
Heywod, &c. (Valor. Eccl., iii. 137.) Pro missa nominis Jhesu 
quotidie in ecclesia Southwell celebranda pro anima Wi&mi Bothe, 
quondam Ebor. archiepiscopi, &c. (ibid., v. 195). For "Jesus 
Mass " as it was called, our forefathers had a warm devotion, and 
through it besought God for health to the living and forgiveness 
towards the dead. It is, I presume, the Missa de quinque vulneri- 
bus D.N.J.C. found at the end of the Salisbury missal among 
the votive Masses, and one of the three set down for Friday. In 
some of our churches, it would seem this Mass was said every day 
during the week, and he who did this duty, used to be named 
" the Jesus-mass priest," an appellation not unoften to be met 
with among our old documents. By Salisbury use, the feast of 
the Name of Jesus was kept on the 7th of August, in the mass of 
which there is a long sequence in honour of that sacred name : so 
there is in the Mass of the five wounds. 

6 In all endowments for chantries, whether of a limited or 
perpetual duration, it is invariably noticed that not merely the 
founder s soul, but the souls of all the faithful departed, shall be 
prayed for : the same truly Catholic and brotherly feeling is made 
to show itself in each inscription on a grave, and in every 
liturgical formula of the Church. 



whose footsteps never went beyond the threshold 
of that building within which he had vowed to 
live and die : there he dwelt, either in a room 
above the vestry, or in some little cell com 
municating with and near to the chantry -chapel 
itself. 8 Thus, (115) whilst he watched over the 
safety of the church night and day, 9 and fulfilled 

7 Lego capellre cantarise de Kexby vestimentum meum rubeum. 
. . . Item lego eidem capellse magnum missale et magnum porti- 
forium quse emi de domino Thoma Coke presbitero ac anachorita 
in eadem capella, &c. (Test. Ebor., p. 244.) An ankret lived in St. 
Cuthberht s church, Thetford, and performed divine service 
therein. Blomefield, Norfolk, ii. 75. 

8 For becoming an ankret, or, as Richard Fraunces is called," inter 
quatuor parietes pro Christo inclusus " (Peter Langtof t, Chron., ed. 
Hearne, ii. 625 in glossary), the bishop s written leave was requisite, 
and one such licence is preserved by Hearne (Annales J. de Trokeloiv, 
p. 264, in addenda). Often his days were spent in studious occupa 
tions besides prayer ; " Rycharde Rolle hermyte of Hampull " (who 
died A.D. 1349), " Symon anker of London Wall," and several others, 
became celebrated for their devotional writings, and some of them 
copied out and illuminated church service books. 

About many of our parish churches, there are indications in 
rooms over the porch and vestry, or well-marked traces of 
buildings that once were, which show how those places must 
have, at one time, been used as dwellings. Not always, however, 
did the ankret live beneath the church s roof ; his ankrage or 
house, in which he was solemnly shut up, often stood quite apart 
by itself, either at the further end of the churchyard, on a bridge, 
by the wayside, or in a lonely wood, and always had its little 

9 These little chantry chapels were sometimes chosen as the 
safest place for keeping things of value : Omnia ista divisa says 
Sir Thomas Ughtred volo quod includantur optima cista mea 
et ponantur in custodia duorum presbiterorum meorum in capella 
cantarise de Kexby quousque dictus Thomas Ughtred et Margareta 
pervenerint ad plenitudinem etatis. Test. Ebor., p. 244. 


his founder s wishes, and at early morn offered up 
the holy sacrifice, and at noon and even-tide 
said the canonical hours of his portoos or breviary 
at the dead man s grave, this recluse was ever 
ready to guide, by his (116) instructions and 
warnings, those among the living who chose to 
come, and, amid the stillness and loneliness of 
the churchyard, speak of their trials, their sorrows, 
and their weaknesses to him, through his grated 
window, which was usually built low down in the 
wall at the south-western corner of the chancel. 10 

10 That some one usually slept in almost every church, is told 
us by many passages in ecclesiastical documents. The Durham 
sacristan who left a lighted taper among the vestments, and at 
the head of whose bed there was a shelf, upon which omnium 
cortinarum, dorsalium, ac cseterorum ornamentorum ecclesise tota 
collecta superposita conquievit (Reginaldus Dunelm., De adm. S. 
Cuthberti, etc., 80), must have slept in a room over the vestry and 
looking on the inside of that cathedral, as the same writer tells 
us : Clericus ecclesise prsedictse diaconus, cum collegis suis ad 
aquilonalem ecclesise plagam dormiturus sompno indulserat, &c. 
(ibid., 117). That at one period there was an ankret living in 
Durham Cathedral is certain, for " at the east end of the north 
alley of the quire . . . was the grandest porch, called the 
anchorage, having in it a very elegant rood . . . with an altar 
for a monk to say daily Mass, being in ancient times inhabited by 
an anchorite," &c. Antiquities of Durham, p. 21. Besides written, 
we have architectural, evidence, that even in not a few of our 
smallest parish churches, the custom was, at one time or 
another, for a person to sleep, since we often find that all doors, 
whether for the people into the nave, or for the clergy into the 
chancel, of the sacred building, could no otherwise be securely 
fastened than by a strong thick spar of wood, which had to be 
drawn out of a long narrow hole made for that purpose in the 
wall, and into which it could be slid back again only by some one 
inside the church : he therefore who so shut up the door or un 
loosened it, must of necessity have stayed all night within the 
edifice. This " staking " of the church-door, as it was called, is 
sometimes spoken of by our native writers. Bromton tells of 



(117) The same pious individual who, whilst 
thinking of the hereafter, endowed a chantry, to 

the "hostium ecclesire inmani obice clausum " (ed. Twysden, i. 941). 
Of these men who slept in the churches both of this and other 
countries, the greater number were of that kind of religious order 
called Inclusi, or ankrets : speaking of an inroad made by the first 
Norman William into France, Ralph Coggeshale tells us how that 
king : Oppidum quod Mantua dicitur cum ecclesiis combussit, ubi 


et duo reclusi combusti sunt (Chron. Anglic., ed. Martene, Vet. 
Script, Collect, v. 803) [R.X., Ixvi., 2]. The ritual service for 
blessing and shutting up ankrets and ankresses is given both 
in the Manual and Pontifical after Salisbury Use. The ankress, 
or female recluse, had her cell, or small house, generally in the 
churchyard ; and was allowed to have a woman servant to live 
along with and wait upon her. 

The men "inclusi," or ankrets, were very often in priest s 
orders, and therefore said Mass. Knighton mentions a priest- 


have every (118) day throughout all ages the 
prayers of the Church for his own, his friends , 

ankret who was shut up in one of the churches of Leicester : 
Erat quoque illis diebus apud Leycestriam quidam sacerdos 
Willelmus de Swyndurby quern Willelmum heremitam vulgus 
vocabant, eo quod heremiticam vitam aliquamdiu ibidem colebat 
... in quadam camera infra ecclesiam ipsum receperunt propter 
sanctitatem quam sperabant in eo,, et ei ex more aliorum sacer- 
dotum procuraverunt victum cum pensione. Henry Knighton, 
Chron. [R.S., xcii. ii. 189, 190]. 

Among those several uses for the low side window, with its 
bars and shutter, to be found in so many of our old parish 
churches, generally at the south-western end of the chancel, one 
assuredly was, that the recluse or ankret dwelling therein might 
speak and be spoken with through its iron gratings, after public 
service-time, and when the doors of the church were shut. Roger 
of Wendover s short sketch of St. Wilfric s life throws no small light 
upon this subject. Of this holy man, who was a priest as well as 
ankret, the monk of St. Alban s tells us : Beatus vir Wlfricus ex 
mediocri Anglorum gente oriundus, in Contona, villa a Bristollo 
octo milliaribus distante, natus, nutritus est et conversatus ; ibi 
etiam per annos aliquot sacerdotis omcium exercuit ... ad aliam 
directus est villam, nomine Haselbergam . . . ubi, in cellula 
ecclesire contigua Christo se consepeliens, multo labore multaque 
carnis ac spiritus amictione Christi sibi gratiam comparavit. . . . 
Humilis erat cunctis in eloquio et jucundus, cujus sermones 
cselestem quandam harmoniam audientibus redolebant, licet 
hominibus semper clausa fenestra loqueretur (Flores Hist., ii. 274, 
&c., ed. Coxe) [ti.S., Ixxxiv. i. 4-6], A distinguishing part of 
ankret rule seems ever to have been the use, for all communi 
cation with layfolks, of a barred small window. Thomas Becon, 
one of that unholy set who warred against God s Church in this 
land during the xvi century, and whose bad cause led him, as 
always happens, into scoffing for lack of argument, says : For 
who knoweth not that our recluses have grates of yron in their 
spelunckes and dennes, out of the which they looke, as owles out of 
an yvye todde, when they will vouchsafe to speake with any man, 
at whose hand they hope for advantage ? So read we in Vitis Patrum 
that John the heremite so enclosed himself in his heremitage, 
that no man came unto him. To them that came to visit him, he 
spake thorow a window onely. Our anckers and anckresses pro- 
fesse nothinge but a solitary life, led in contemplation all the 
dayes of their life in their hallowed house, wherein they are 


and all true believers (119) souls departed, some 
times was no less careful to make a like boon for 

enclosed. ... At midnighte they are bound to saye certaine 
prayers . . . they maye by no meanes bee suffered to come oute 
of their houses excepte it bee to take a streighter and an harder 
life uppon them, which is to bee a bishop (The Keliqnes of Rome, 
by Thomas Becon, 1563. ^F Imprinted at London, by J. Day, &c., 
fol. 53). Becon s sorry flout becomes so far useful as it helps us 
to understand one of our old English canons, a synodal statute 
sent forth (A.D. 1246) by Richard de la Wich, bishop of Chichester, 
commanding these well-secured small windows for ankrets use : 
Inclusis etiam prsecipimus, ne quam personam in domibus suis 
recipiant vel habeant de qua sinistra suspicio oriatur. Fenestras 
quoque arctas habeant et honestas : eisdem etiam cum his tantum- 
modo personis secretum tractatum habere permittimus, quarum 
gravitas et honestas suspicionem non admittit (Wilkins, ConciL, i. 
693). By looking narrowly at these low side windows, we shall 
see that, if not now, once at least every one of them had its iron 
grating let into it. For the protection of the parish church and 
its treasures, it was good to have some one dwelling therein by 
night as well as by day : for the order of divine service, it was 
even more convenient when that individual happened to be a 
priest who could act as sacristan. But where did the ankret 
dress his food, eat it, and sleep ? Not, surely, in the very church 
itself. Being almost needless to the wants of Protestant worship, 
our old parish-church vestries, which always stood on the northern 
side of the chancel, have, in very many instances, been pulled 
down within the last three hundred years : several, however, yet 
stand, and of these a few have a room over them with a fire-place, 
a closet, and all other requirements, as far as building went, for a 
man like an ankret, whose profession forbade him to stir beyond 
his dwelling s walls ; here, then, was it that he lived. People 
were fond of asking the ghostly advice of the ankret. For this 
purpose something like a window, and that, too, somewhat low 
down in the wall, became a necessity. Had this window been in 
the sacristy walls, or anywhere about the north of the church, it 
would have stood on the lonely unfrequented side, and therefore, 
in most cases, beyond the public eye : hence, those fond of evil 
speaking might have whispered that it was the haunt of loose 
idle people. To hinder, then, the shadow of a suspicion from 
falling on him, the ankret s window was made to be on the south, 
or well-frequented, part of the churchyard, unhidden in any way 
by the buildings, and standing in sight of the whole parish, so 


the beseeching of Heaven to (120) give health of 
body, but, in an especial manner, ghostly strength 


that all who went thither must have been seen. Though small 
low side-windows be at times met with at the north-west end of 
a chancel, none of these have, that I am aware of, been ever as yet 
found having iron gratings, or the wooden shutter : should any 
such become known, it will be, I think, in some church where the 
houses of the town lie to its north, and where, in consequence, a 


all through life to his aftercomers : (121) this 
work of brotherly kindness he sought to do by a 

northern instead of a southern porch is the common, perhaps the 
only, entrance for the people. A very striking characteristic in 
all of these windows is, that when the lower glazing, or the wooden 
shutter whichever happened to keep the weather out at the bottom 
part was thrown open, the person within could be easily seen and 
heard by not merely one, but a little crowd of listeners, as they 
stood near, in the churchyard. For this purpose, doubtless, must 
have been cut the hole which we behold was driven through the 
buttress itself, because it came far out before such a window, at 
Othery church, near Bridgewater, Somersetshire ; at Elsfield, Oxon, 
a seat and small stone reading-desk are contrived, inside, on the 
window-sill (both examples are figured in the A rchseologiccd Journal, 
iv. 316, 322), so that the ankret might give his instructions and 
exhortations sitting, and have lying open before him his codex of 
Holy Writ, out of which he quoted, as he preached to those who 
nocked about his opened window to hear his words of admonition. 
Those ambries within, and that curious triple arch, outside the 
south transept of St. Cross s (figured in the Proceedings of the 
ArcJteeological Institute at Winchester}, are, to my thinking, the re 
mains of an ankret s lodgings there, and show traces of a low side 
window. When these ankrets were in priest s orders, they usually 
had permission from the bishop to hear confessions : before going 
to meet Wat Tyler in Smithfield, Richard II. went to Westminster 
Abbey, " then to the church, and so to the high altar, where hee 
deuoutly prayed and offered. After which he spake with the 
Anchore, to whom hee confessed himselfe " (Stow, C/iron., p. 459). 
Once made, however, it was found that instead of merely one, this 
window might be so fitted as to answer several very useful ritual 
purposes. During the Middle Ages, those tainted with leprosy were 
looked upon with dread, and thrown from society as outcasts: 
Leprosi cum expelluntur a communi cohabitatione ; multo fortius ab 
ordinibus (Johannes de Burgo, Pupilla Oculi, fol. xcvii. b.) : this 
J. de Burgh was an Englishman, and wrote c. A.D. 1385. Gervase, 
the Canterbury monk, in reciting the canons of the Lateran Council 
(A.D. 1179), tells of the lazars hardships thus: Quidam quse sua 
sunt iion quse Jesu Christi quserentes, leprosis qui sanis coha- 
bitare non possunt vel ad ecclesiam cum aliis convenire, ecclesias 
vel cimiteria non permittunt habere, &c. (Ghron., ed. Twysden, ii. 
1450) [R.S., Ixxiii. i. 283]. Through the low side-window, then, 
the leper, who was forbidden to go within the church s walls, 
might strive to hear as best he could his Mass on Sundays and 


twin foundation, meant, as its sister establish 
ment, (122) to last unto the end of the world, for 
that especial purpose. 11 

Holy-days, although unable, on account of the half -closed shutter, 
to behold the ceremony. In the chancel of Bibury church, 
Gloucester, there is a narrow low window, called to this day " the 
lepers window" (Notes and Queries, ii. in). Martene instances a 
window through which the Holy Communion used to be given to 
a leprous nun : Devenue lepreuse, elle (sainte Aleide) f ut separee 
selon la coutume, et on voit encore la fenetre par laquelle elle 
venoit recevoir la communion (Voy. Litt. de Deux Benedic., i. pt. 2, 
p. 205). Through this same window, too, the parish priest might 
hear the leper s confession, and give him the Holy Eucharist ; one 
of the old paintings lately uncovered in Eton College chapel, 
showing a bishop administering the Blessed Sacrament through 
a low window to some one on the other side, seems to warrant 
this ; through this same window, too, might the notorious sinner 
be obliged to hear Mass, as one part of his penance, all Lent, from 
the time he was publicly driven out of the church, on Ash Wed 
nesday, until he was again publicly restored, on Maundy Thursday, 
the ceremonies for which may be seen in the Salisbury, the Roman, 
and other rituals. Some examples there are of these windows 
running down very near the ground ; for this the reason was, in 
all likelihood, to save the trouble of lifting up what was heavy, 
and so make it easier to pass through their iron gratings the food 
and fuel needed by the ankret, as well as to let him with more con 
venience give poor people the victuals which, on his side, he daily 
bestowed upon all who sought his window for that object, as well 
as sometimes to dispense the doles bequeathed to be distributed 
on funerals and anniversaries. 

Belonging as they did by right to the parson (persona, see vol. ii. 
49, n. 91) of the church, the keys of all its doors were naturally 
kept by him and his officials. To have allowed the ankret who 
had chosen that spot as the place of his inclosure, to use the little 
door leading into its chancel, or the greater one under its southern 
porch, or any other door of that holy pile, for his communications 
with those who came either to speak to or bring him food, would 
not only have seemed a wide breach in his especial rule of life, but 
might have laid him under those very suspicions, the slightest 
taint of which the canons of our synods strove so warily to hinder 
from reaching the character of his profession. That the public 
eye might be a watch upon his commerce with the world, the 
ankret s window was made at the south side of the sacred build- 



(123) The duties to be fulfilled by him who held 
the benefice of a chantry, were not everywhere the 
(124) same, but varied, more or less, according to 

ing, wherever the people came into church from that quarter of 
town: and though the little low -browed chancel -door stood 
already there close in its neighbourhood, he never used this door, 


lest it might be said that he went out himself or allowed folks to 
come in thither unto him during the hours of darkness. This low 
side-window, then, was built ; and its opening, though so narrow, 
was barred up with iron gratings, quite after ankern rule : surely, 
therefore, are we well warranted in calling it "the ankret s 


the ordinances set down in his will by the origina 
tor. Such obligations, however, usually consisted 
in saying Mass 12 and the canonical hours, every 
day, (125) besides the whole service of the dead, 
once each week, throughout the year, within the 
chantry-chapel itself, for the founder s soul : be 
sides this, the priest had to be in the choir of the 
church wherein his chantry stood, all Sundays and 
holy-days, singing and helping at the parochial 
service, and to walk in public processions. 13 

11 Nigel, bishop of London (A.D. 1189), having built two altars 
in his cathedral of St. Paul s, assigned eight marks yearly rent for 
the maintenance of two priests every day celebrating thereat ; 
viz. one for the good estate of the king of England and bishop 
of London for the time being ; as also for all the congregation of 
that church, and the faithful parishioners belonging thereto ; and the 
other for the souls of the kings of England, and bishops of London, 
and all the faithful deceased. Dugdale, Hist, of St. Paul s, p. 18. 

12 Very often these Masses were not what were then called 
" soul-masses," that is, of Requiem, and said in black vestments, 
but of the saint, or festival of the day : sometimes, however, the 
testator willed that at every Mass, one collect should be added 
for his soul especially ; another for the souls of all the faithful 
departed : Assigno quadraginta marcas decem capellanis cele- 
brantibus decem annualia, et " Placebo " et " Dirige " singulis 
diebus cum ix lectionibus et commendacione : et celebrent de 
quocunque Sancto, secundum disposicionem executorum meorum. 
Ita tamen quod in singulis Missis dicant specialem collectam pro 
anima mea et generalem pro omnibus defunctis. Test. Magistri 
Hospitalis de Sherborn. Wills, &c., of the Northern Counties, p. 6. 

13 Prtedicti (duo) capellani et successores sui cantarise praedictse 
in capella pnedicta cotidie, quantum commode poterint, insimul 
dicant vesperas et matutinas cum ceteris horis canonicis de die 
secundum usum Sarum, vel prout usus dictse eccleshe cathedralis 
(S. Pauli Londin.) ibidem observatur. Et quod dicti nunc capel 
lani et successores sui cantariae prsedictse in dicta capella insimul 
dicant septimanatim singulis annis imperpetuum "Placebo" et 
" Dirige," cum novem leccionibus et suis antiphonis versiculis et 
responsoriis, omni feria quinta, et commendationem in crastino 


(126) Besides both these kinds of chantries, 
there was another sort of endowment for having 
prayers said by the Church in behalf of the dead, 
and it was called 


which, as it would seem to us at this distance of 
time, and athwart the indistinctness of what docu- 

ante missam de requiem, et quod eadem missa de Requiem per 
unum ipsorum duorum capellanorum in eodem crastino infra 
capellam prsedictam celebretur. Aliis vero diebus insiinul aut 
divisim, infra vel extra capellam prsedictam commemoracionem 
de defunctis dicant secundum usum Sarum, specialiter pro 
animabus prsedictis, &c. (Statuta Cantarise de Sherington, in 
Hearne, Hist, of Glaston., p. 181). These two chantry-priests 
were the keepers of the library founded by Sherington, A.D. 
1457. Item ordinamus et statuimus, quod dicti nunc capel- 
lani praedictse cantarise et eorum successores, vesperis, com- 
pletoriis, altis missis, et processionibus quse fient in dicta 
ecclesia cathedrali, in festis principalibus ac duplicibus, et diebus 
dominicis necnon in processionibus, quse per decanum et canonicos, 
et ceteros ministros ejusdem ecclesise cathedralis infra eandem 
ecclesiam, ac in diebus Rogacionum ac in generalibus processioni 
bus per civitatem Londonise . . . et omnino secum in eorundem 
capellanorum habitibus habitui aliorum capellanorum aliarum can- 
tariarum . . . conformibus, ex eorum propriis sumptibus et ex- 
pensis perquirendis intersint, procedant, &c. nisi per proposicionem 
verbi Dei, seu sermonizacionem . . . faciendam, aut aliqua alia 
causa racionabili occupati aut prsepediti fuerint. Ibid., 183. 

The form of letter from a patron presenting a priest to a 
chantry, is given in A BoJce of Presydentes, d-c., fol. ix., imprinted 
at London in Fide strete, by T. Marshe, Anno 1555. 

As there were gilds and chantries in almost every parish church 
throughout the land, we may now understand how divine service 
was so often repeated every Sunday and festival, that a small 
church could well answer the wants of a numerous population, 
and that chancels which now seem very large in comparison 
with the rest of the building, were not too roomy for the number 
of priests and lower clerks assembled there at high mass and 
even-song. See also note 59, ii. 329 of this work. 


ments (127) we have on the subject, consisted of 
saying, for certain persons, every day, at or after 
Mass, those same prayers which, by the use of 
Sarum, each parish priest was enjoined to put 
up to God, on Sundays, for all souls departed. 14 
As the fulfilment of its requirements asked but 
little time and small labour, to procure for them 
selves the keeping of a " certain," came within the 
reach of many who would never have been able to 
found a chantry : indeed so easy was the work, 
that the wish to realise it was not cut off from 
the lowlier class of individuals. 15 

14 These prayers may be seen in another part of this work, 
ii. 293. 

15 Thomas Cowper (A.D. 1512), buried in Diss church, provides 
in his last will for " the certen and the yerday for the soulys of 
S. Cowper and Margery his wife, T. Cowper and Agnes his wife, 
and all our children, for whom a priest shall be found to sing 
Ix yers," &c. (Blomefield, Norfolk, i. 27). Ric. Fuller (A.D. 1522) 
made provision to have his anniversary kept ; " when they were 
to pay vd. to the rector for a dirige, ivd. to the clerk to ring a 
soul-peal, to four poor people id. each, and ivs. for a certeyn for 
his own soul and the souls of Tho. and Alice Fuller, his father and 
mother" (ibid., iv. 259). Alice Carre (A.D. 1523) gave land " for a 
certeyn to be kept annually (or rather all through the year) for 
her and her friends, for which the curate was to have yearly 
ivs. ivd. ; and an obit once a year, and ijs. ivd. then to be divided 
to such priests and clerks as the vicar or his deputy should order 
to be present at the Placebo, Dirige, and mass of Requiem" &c. (ibid., 
154). In the funeral expenses of John Pastori, who died A.D. 
1466, we find: "For to kepe the yere day at Bromholm the 
first yere after his dethe, viijl. ijs. iiijd. to the parson of Hun- 
gate, vis. viijd for a certeyn unto mighelmesse next after the said 
yere day viijs. viijd" (ibid., vi. 485). Simon Lister, of Hengham, 
bequeathed (A.D. 1483) lands "to the entent to fynd and kepe a 
certain in the said church for ever, for the sowles of John Lister 
my father, Margery my mother, Will. Lister, and Katherine his 
wife, &c., and the sowles of me and my wyffe ; and also to kepe an 


(128) To hinder the founder s wishes from being 
overlooked, or himself forgotten, his name was 
sometimes written in fair large characters upon a 
parchment scroll which hung at the altar, 16 some 
times (129) cut upon a brass plate, or painted on 
a board, and nailed to the wall south of the 
reredos, so as to catch the eye of the celebrant 
while he washed and wiped his fingers after the 
offertory, 17 at that part of the Mass called the 

anniversary day for me the said Symond, and the sowles yerly in 
perpetimm," &c. (ibid., ii. 426). In the curious and beautifully 
situated church of Morley, six miles to the north of Derby, there 
is yet to be seen nailed to the chancel s east end wall, so as to 
have caught the priest s eye as he stood at the epistle or southern 
side of the altar, a small brass plate written with the following 
notice of what must have been a " certain " : Ffor the sowles of 
Rave Godyth, Thomas, Elizabeth Cecill, and John, and of theyr 
suxcessores, and for all cristen sowles De profundis etc., Ave 
Maria : et ne nos : requiem eternam etc. Domine exaudi ora- 
cionem with this orison Inclina Domine etc. John Sstathum 
ordeynd yis to be said and more writen in other diverse bokis. 

Trade-gilds sometimes did not keep a priest of their own, but 
paid so much to a church to have a daily remembrance or 
" certain " made at Mass, for all their members living and dead ; 
hence we find such notices as the following : the certent of iij 
gylds. Valor. EccL, vi. p. iv. 

10 Habeant iidem duo capellani et successores sui cantarise 
memoratre semper coram se super altare ejusdem cantarise in 
capella prsedicta unam tabulam bene scriptam de nominibus 
eorum, tarn vivorum quam defunctorum, pro quibus dicti capellani 
et successores sui specialiter tenentur orare ... ad ipsorum 
capellanorum et successorum suorum celeriorem memoriam in ea 
parte habendam (Statuta Cantarise Sherington, in Hearne, Hist, of 
Glaston., p. 181). Among the books written out by John of 
Bruges, a monk of Coventry, for the use of the church of that 
city, is mentioned : Kalendarium mortuorum super magnum 
altare. Hearne, Hist, of Glastonbury, p. 291. 

17 The names of the founders of chantries were placed on a 
tablet over the altar, to be remembered in the Masses and prayers 
(Dugdale, Hut. of St. Paul s, p. 93). The brass plate still to be 


" Lavabo." 18 More generally at this, though 
sometimes at another portion of the Holy Sacrifice 
the Pater noster the custom was for the 
chantry-priest to turn towards the people, and 
telling them, in English, the names of (130) those 
for whom he was saying that Mass, beg of all 
present to pray in a more especial manner for those 
departed souls, and answer him in the psalm 
" De profundis," and the collects, which he forth 
with began aloud in Latin. 19 Sometimes these 

seen on the south side of the wall against which the high altar 
once stood, in Morley church, Derbyshire, and mentioned just now 
(note 15, p. 105), shows how and where these tablets used to be 

18 Because the priest, as he then washes and dries his fingers, 
says to himself that part of the xxv Psalm (Protestant version 
xxvi) beginning from the vi verse : Lavabo inter innocentes manus 
meas, &c. 

1!) Thomas, Earl of Derby (A.D. 1504), says : "One of the canons 
... to say Mass in the said chapel for my soul, &c. ; and I will 
that at every Mass before the lavatorie, they shall audibly say 
for the souls I have appointed by name, and all other in general, 
De profundis clamavi, and such orisons and collects as are used to 
be said therewith/ &c. (Test. Vet., ii. 459). In his last testament 
(dated A.D. 1511), the well-known Chronicler Robert Fabyan 
says : u And I will that myn executrice cause at the least to be vi 
preests present at myn burying, whereof I will the highe 
Mass of oon be of Requiem, and the other .v. to be desyred to 
sing, oon a Masse of the v wounds, the ij (le a Masse of thassump- 
cion of o r Lady, the iij (le a Masse of all Martirs, w fc a speciall 
memory of seynt Christofter, the iiij th a Masse of all Confessours, 
w fc a speciall memory of seynt Nicholas, and the v th a Mass of all 
Vyrgyns, w l a speciall memory of seynt Dorothy ; to the either of 
which preests I bequeth, and everyche of them v 1 ., w fc condicion 
that at the tyme of the Lavatory everyche of theym turne theym 
to the people and exorte theym to pray for y e soules following, 
and all Xpen soules," &c. (Fabyan, Chron., Preface, p. iv. ed. Ellis). 
In her last testament, Eleanor, Duchess of Gloucester, says : " I will 
that Masses be said for my soul and for the soul of Thomas, some 


same (131) prayers were said, not during the 
liturgy, but immediately afterwards, 20 and at the 
founder s grave. 21 His 


if he had any, took no small share in such a cere 
monial. In some of those chantries set up by 
men of rank and wealth, an endowment was almost 
always made for the support and clothing of a 
limited number of poor men, usually thirteen, 
who, because their chief daily occupation con 
sisted in going to church morning and afternoon, 
and (132) praying there for their benefactor s soul, 
were called " beadsmen." Clad in a long full cloth 

time Duke of Gloucester, and that at each of the said Masses, 
before the priest commences Et ne nos, he pronounce with a 
loud voice, turning toward the people, for the soul of Thomas, 
sometime Duke of Gloucester, and Allanore his wife, and all 
Christian souls, for charity paternoster. " Test. Vet., i. 147. 

20 Sir W. Calthorp, Knt. (A.D. 1494), directs friar Thomas 
Waterpepe to sing three years for his own, friends , and wife s 
souls and after the gospel, to say openly at the end of every 
Mass, " De profundis," &c. (Blomefield, Norfolk, iv. 417). The 
same thing is ordained in the foundation deed of the Strange- 
waye s chantery at Abbotsbury Et immediate post quamlibet 
hujusmodi missam celebratam, idem sacerdos pro tune celebrans 
dicere tenebitur psalmum " De profundis," cum oratione " Inclina 
Domine," pro animabus sequentibus, &c. Mon. AngL, iii. 59. 

21 Thomas, Earl of Salisbury (who died A.D. 1428), ordained thus : 
The two canons . . . immediately after the Mass of the Blessed 
Virgin be ended before my tomb, shall forever say the psalm of 
De profundis, with the Lord s prayer, the angelical salutation, and 
this prayer, Deus cui proprium est, &c., with these prayers also, 
Inclina, and Fidelium Deus, pro animabus parentum et progeni- 
torum nostrorum inibi sepultorum, &c. Ibid., i. 216. 


gown, generally of a dark colour, and having its 
left sleeve embroidered with the armorial bearings 
or cognisance of their founder, these beadsmen 
all knelt about his tomb, and, along with the 
chantry-priest, uplifted their voices in begging of 
God to have mercy on the dead whose ashes lay 
below. 22 

22 Thomas Burgh, Knight (A.D. 1495), wills that in his new 
chapel in the parish church at Gainsborough . . . there shall be 
founded a perpetual chantry of one priest . . . and that there be 
founded at Gaynesburgh an hospital for five poor bedemen, for 
evermore, every one of whom to receive for his support j d . a day, 
and to have every other year a gown of iij 8 . iv d . price . . . and 
that the said five bedemen be daily present at the Mass of my 
chauntry-priest, to help him to say De profundis in audience, and 
such of them as be learned, their paternoster, ave, and creed, at 
the least (Test. Vet., i. 428). In his last will (A.D. 1556), Edward, 
Lord Hastings, directs thus : " My executors shall cause to be 
built at Stoke five convenient chambers, with chimneys in 
each of them, for one chauntry-priest, and four poor bedesmen ; 
and I bequeath my manor of Bosworth ... to maintain a priest 
at Stoke ... to sing and say Mass, &c. for the souls of my father 
and mother, my own and my ancestors souls in the same chapel, 
&c. ; to the four poor men ... a blue gown of broad cloth, of four 
yards, and a bull s head on the sleeve, once in two years, which 
poor men ... to repair daily to the same church, to hear God s 
service, and to pray for the souls aforesaid and all Christian souls " 
(ibid., ii. 741). These armorial bearings worn on the beadsmen s 
gowns, are mentioned in other documents : xvj cognisionibus 
vocatis skowchyns factis in broiderioru prec cujuslibet eoru xx (1 . 
( Valor. EccL, i. 420). The master of the hospital founded A.D. 
1474 by Walter, Lord Mount joy, had, every third year, to give 
unto each of those seven poor men a gown and a hood of white or 
russet of one suit, one time white and another time russet, the 
gown to be marked with a tayewe cross of red. The master shall 
wear neither red nor green, but upon his gowne of other colour a 
tayewe cross of blue upon his left side (Test. 1 r et., i. 335). For the 
beadsmen of Durham Cathedral, it was ordained thus : Pauperes 
vero in togarum suarum sinistro humero rosam ex serico rubro 
factam, semper gerant, et quoties vel in templo, vel alio in 


(133) Like the chantries, very many of our 
parochial churches also had belonging to them 

publico loco processerint, dictis togis suis induti ubique incedant. 
Statuta et Ordinations Ecclesix Cathedralis Christi et Emtse, Marias 
Virginis Dunelmensis, p. 79. [This manuscript was in the possession 
of F. H. Dickinson, Esq.] 

That these poor beadsmen should kneel around his tomb, and 
say their prayers over his body, is often enjoined by a founder : I 
will (orders Henry, Lord Marney, A.D. 1523) that every of the said 
five poor men shall be such as shall say at the least their pater 
noster, ave, and creed in Latin, and ... at their uprising they 
shall say, for the souls of Sir Robert Marney, Knight, and his 
wife, Sir John Marney my father, and Jane his wife, also for the 
souls of Thomasine and Elizabeth my wives, of Thomas my son, 
and for the souls of all my children, five paternosters, five aves, 
and one creed, and every day go to the church of Leyr-Marney, 
and there hear Mass in the new chapel ; moreover I will, that at 
their first coming into the church, every of them shall kneel down 
before the Sacrament, and say a paternoster and an ave, and then 
go to my tomb, and there kneeling down, say for my soul, and for 
the other souls above named, three paternosters, three aves, and 
one creed, in worship of the Trinity, and then go down into the 
church, and there, in the time of Mass or Masses, or else before 
their departure from the said church, say for the above-named 
souls Our Lady s Psalter, and at night before their going to bed, 
every one of them to say, kneeling on their knees, five pater 
nosters, five aves, and the creed, for the souls aforesaid ; also I 
will that such of them as can say De profundis, shall say it in lieu 
of the said five paternosters, five aves, and one creed ; also that 
every Wednesday and Friday they go into the church, at after 
noon, and there kneeling about my tomb, say for my soul and the 
souls aforesaid, Our Lady s Psalter, and if any of them can say 
Dirige, I will that they say it in lieu of Our Lady s Psalter (Test. 
Vet., ii. 610, 611). "Our Lady s Psalter" was that devotion still 
used among Catholics, and known as the "Rosary." The far- 
famed London merchant Whyttington, besides a college of priests, 
founded and endowed an alms-house for thirteen poor people or 
beadsmen, who were to obey this among other regulations : Every 
day, first when they rise from their bedds, kneeling upon their 
knees, sey a "Paternoster" and an "Ave Maria," with special and 
herty recommendacion-making of the foresaid Richard Whytting 
ton and Alice, to God and our Blessed Lady Maidyn Mary. And 
other times of the day, whan he may best and most commody 


poor men who (134) were kept by the alms and 
testamentary bequests of the middle classes, to 
live and do as beads-folks (135) should, in behalf 
of their charitable benefactors. 23 Besides praying 

have leisure thereto, for the staat of al the soules abovesaid, say 
three or two sauters of our Lady at the least : that is to say, 
threis (thrice) seaven "Ave Marias," with xv "Pater Nosters" 
and three Credes one (once) in the day at the least, in case it 
may be, that is to say, after the Messe or whan Complyn is don, 
they come togidder within the college, about the tomb of the 
aforesaid Rich. Whyttington and Alice, and they that can sey, 
shal sey for the soules of the seid Richard and Alice, and for the 
soules of al christen people, this psalm, " De profundis," with the 
versicles and oriosons that longeth thereto. And they that can 
shal sey three "Pater Nosters," three "Ave Marias," and oon 
Crede ; and after this doon the tutour or oon of the eldest men of 
theym shal sey openly in English,, "God have mercy on our 
Founders souls and al Christen " ; and they that stond about shal 
aunswer and sey " Amen." Stow, London, iii. 4. 

Young children were sometimes chosen to do the office of bead- 
men at funerals, over the grave. Robert Fabyan leaves the fol 
lowing directions in his last testament : " I will that the wardeyns 
doo purvey for xii children, not passing the age of xii years, the 
which to be sett aboute my grave by ii tymes . . . and to say 
De profundis, for my soule and all X : pen soules . . . and if so many 
may not be had of that age that can say De profundis, then I will 
that so many as lake, may be such as can say their Paternoster." 
Test. Vet, ii. 508. 

23 William Oky (c. A.D. 1349) bequeathed "to the beadmen of 
the church of St. Nicholas ijs. of silver, annually to be received for 
ever, &c., and that the said beadmen shall be chargeable to keep 
the anniversary of me, Juliana my late wife, Margaret my wife, 
William my brother, arid Robert my father, and Maud my 
mother, and for the faithful deceased, and for them pray annually 
for ever, at every head of a row in the town of Great Yarmouth " 
(Swinden, Hist, of Great Yarmouth, 823). In some places it was 
the especial office of the beadman to go about and announce the 
obits and funeral services of a church : by the foundation deed of 
the Strangewaye s Chantry at Abbotsbury, it was thus ordained : 
Eodem die anniversario idem abbas et successores sui . . . deli- 
berari faciet annuatim in perpetuum, et clericis in eodem anni 
versario pulsantibus quatuor denarios, et bedmanno qui obitum 


daily in the church itself, often (136) was it that 
these parish beadsmen went abroad and prayed 
in public and aloud at various quarters of the 
neighbourhood, for the soul of him or her whom 
death had but just then carried off, or whose 
anniversary the rolling year would bring round 
on the morrow : every one in fine who partook, 
after any sort, of the public s benevolence, was 
taught in olden times to make known his grati 
tude, by prayers for his benefactors, dead or living, 
and thus to be a beadsman. 24 This Catholic 

et anniversarium hujusmodi denunciabit annuatim quatuor 
denarios. -Mon. AngL, iii. 59. 

24 In all our old English foundations for the sick, the old, and 
destitute, the beads that is to say, prayers for benefactors living 
and dead were said every day by the inmates, who were hence 
also called beadsmen. The brothers and sisters of St. Bar 
tholomew, Sandwich, on being admitted into that house, took 
an oath, by which, among other things, they bound themselves 
to " be obedient w* hooly deuocion prayyng for the flounder of 
this place in all man deuocyons : and in especiall I shall be at the 
bedys in the churche, and at matynys, and atte messe, and even 
song and complyne, as the custome of maner is and usage ... so 
help me God, and all holy dome, and all seints of heven " (Boys, 
Hist, [of Sandwich, p. 574). There were beadsmen belonging to 
almost every institution established for pious purposes throughout 
the kingdom, during Catholic times : All those that give any of 
their goods to the said hospital they be partakers of the prayers of 
iij priests, a xiibeeds and an ankress by side sike folk (Antiquarian 
Repertory, ii. 93). Again : Et in elemosinis perpetuis annuatim 
.solutis pro sustentacione xij pauperum domus elimozinarie vocate 
lez Maudelyn in Shaston orantium pro animabus fundatorum dicti 
monasterii (Valor. Eccl., i. 280). Elemosina data xiiij pauperibus 
laicis vocatis Bedmen existencis et remanentibus infra dictum 
hospitalem (deWell)et diatim orantibus pro animabus fundatorum, 
&c. (Valor. Ecd., v. 244). Denarium solutum pro custodia et 
supportacione xiij oratorum vocatorum Bedemen in dicto hospitali 
(de Greteham) in locis eisdem assignatis ad orandum pro animabus 
fundatorum dicti hospitalis imperpetuum, &c. xxxiiij 1 . xiij 8 . iiij 1 . 


feeling showed (137) itself even in the ways of 
everyday life, and people of all ranks called each 
other beadsman. 25 

(138) What riches allowed the wealthy to do 
for themselves get prayers said for their souls 
after death, the Church of our ancestors in this 
land, like a loving mother, took care should be 
done for each one without exception for the 
lowest the poorest of her children. Thus was it 
that, at her bidding, the priest, in saying Mass at 
any time, prayed for all the faithful departed ; 
and with the same supplication each part, or, 
as it used to be and is called, "hour," of the 
public service contained in the portoos or breviary, 
was made to finish. 26 (139) Furthermore, one of the 

(ibid., 309). Sometimes a beadsman was made sacristan of a church 
or chapel. John Trollop, "squyer" (A.D. 1522), says in his will : 
I bequeth to my bedesman, Roger Rede, of Eden chapell, vj s . viij (1 . 
Also I will that the same Roger be bedesman at Eden chapell his 
lyf tyme, and he to have the gate of two kye and a horse in somer 
and sufficient hay for thaym in wynter, with the garthynges and 
orchard perteyning thereto, &c. And he to pray for me and myne 
awncestres and successors, and all the heires of Eden, with all 
Christen soulls. JVills, etc., of the Northern Comities, i. 106. 

25 Of yore, the writer of a letter asking any favour from a 
superior, signed him self " your poor beadsman " : thus he meant to 
say to his befriending patron, that he would pray for his body s 
health whilst he lived, and for his soul s forgiveness whenever he 
might die. 

26 Besides the prayer for all the dead, in the canon of the Mass, 
and the usual ending to the " hours," of et fidelium animal, &c., the 
following (out of the Salisbury Missal and the Salisbury Breviary), 
show the particular care of our old services to pray for the souls 
of all the faithful departed. Oratio yeneralis, &c. Animabus 
qusesumus domine omnium fidelium defunctorum oratio proficiat 
supplicantum : ut eas et a peccatis omnibus exuas : et tue redemp- 
tionis facias esse participes. Viyiliee. Mortuorum, in Manuale ad 


Salisbury rubrics enacted that every day, after the 
last Mass, all the dead should be prayed for in a 
formal and particular manner. 27 Our Church s 
thoughtfulness did not (140) end here ; she bade 
not the clergy alone, but the whole of her people, 
to join the ministers of the altar in such a loving 
work of kindness. To help them in their devo 
tions, she set forth in her prayer-books, drawn up 
for the people s use, several forms of supplication, 

Usum Saram, fol. cxxii., imp. a M. Morin. [See York Manual, 
Surt. Soc., Ixiii. p. 76*.] 

Fidelium Deus omnium conditor et redemptor animabus omnium 
ndelium defunctorum remissionem cunctorum tribue peccatorum, 
&c. Ibid., Missapro defunct-is, fol. cxxviii. b. [Ibid., p. 76*.] 

27 It is a curious fact, that the only observance peculiar to our 
venerable Salisbury rite to be found in use at the present day, is 
the praiseworthy custom of saying out aloud, after Mass, a parti 
cular prayer for the souls of all the faithful departed, which is still 
kept up by many among the Irish priesthood. In one of the 
Sarum rubrics, such a pious act is thus enjoined : Omni die per 
annum, excepta Parasceves, post missam, in ultimo recessu ante 
prandiuw, in statione puerorum, dicitur Ps. De profundis pro 
omnibus fidelibus defunctis, sine nota et sine Gloria Patri, cum Kyrie 
eleyson. Christe eleyson. Kyrie eleyson. Pater noster. Et ne 
nos inducas in tentationem. Sed libera nos a malo. Requiem 
eternam. A porta inferi. Credo videre. Non dicitur Requiescant 
in pace, ante Orationem pro mortuis secundum usum Sarum, sed post 
orationem loco, Benedicamus Domino, dicitur Dominus vobiscum. 
Et cum spiritu tuo. Oremus. Absolve, qusesumus, Domine, 
animas famulorum tuorum pontificum, sacerdotum, parentum, 
benefactorum nostrorum, et omnium fidelium defunctorum, ab 
omni vinculo delictorum ; ut in resurrectionis gloria inter sanctos 
et electos tuos resuscitati respirent. Per Christum Dominum 
nostrum. Amen. Requiescant in pace, Amen. (Sarum 
Breviary, ed. Procter and Wordsworth, 1882, i. pp. xlii., xliii.) 
The " static puerorum " means that part of the floor in the choir 
or chancel at which the singing boys stand when they chant : it was 
close to the steps between the choir and presbytery in cathedrals, 
and those leading up to the altar in the chancels of smaller 



teaching them, by one, how they should never go 
through a churchyard without beseeching heaven s 
forgiveness on those who were buried there ; ~ 8 
feelingly telling them, by another, how earnestly 
they ought to call upon God in behalf of those 
who had no friends left in this world to pray for 
them. 29 

(141) From the foregoing notices, taken out of 
our national records, we behold how the Anglo- 
Saxon, the Norman, and the Englishman all 
in fine who at any time lived in this land before 
it unhappily fell away from Christ s truth in the 

28 Prayers to be said while going through a churchyard, in 
behalf of all the dead buried there : 

Avete omnes anime fideles quarum corpora hie et ubique re- 
quiescunt in pulvere : Dominus noster Jesus Christus qui vos et 
nos redemit suo preciosissimo sanguine dignetur vos a penis 
liberare et inter chores sanctorum angelorum collocare: ibique 
nostri memores suppliciter exorare ut vobis associemur et vobiscum 
in celis coronemur, &c. 

Domine Jesu Christe salus et liberatio fidelium animarum, qui 
non venisti animas perdere, sed salvare et dare animam tuam in 
redemptionem pro multis ; immensam clementiam ac ineftabilem 
misericordiam tuam humiliter imploramus, ut animas omnium 
fidelium defunctorum in penis purgatorii cruciatas, misericorditer 
respicere digneris, et que iuste pro peccatis affliguntur tua benig- 
nissima pietate liberentur, &c. Hore Beatissime Virginis Marie ad 
legitimum Sarisburiensis Ecclesie ritum, d-c., imp. a F. Regnault, A.D. 
1526, fol. cxliiii. 

- 9 IF A praier to God for them that be departed, having none 
to praie for them. 

Have mercie, we beseche thee, Lord God, through the precious 
passion of thy onely begotten sonne our Lorde Jesue Christe, 
have mercie on those souls that have no intercessors to thee to 
have them in remembrance, &c. ; deliver them from the tormentes 
of their paines, and bring them into the company of the celestial 
citezins, through thy exceedinge great mercies, &c. The Primer 
in English, and Latin, after Salisburip use, <c. R. Caly, 1556. 


sixteenth century held steadfastly to the doc 
trines of a middle state and the good of praying 
for the dead. Each of these people carried out 
into practice, with lasting warmth and untiring 
earnestness, that strong belief of theirs upon 
these articles of faith ; and bade Masses to be 
said, and bondsmen to be freed, and alms to be 
given, and works of kindness to be wrought, that 
the souls of the dead might be helped, through 
such holy appointed means. Before dying, too, 
they themselves provided and besought that 
what they had done for others, might be like 
wise done for their own souls when they should 
(142) pass away from this world. Such was 
the creed of all in this country for ages dur 
ing times gone by ; such is still the creed of 
many, in these our times the faithful and worthy 
remnant of the imperishable Church of our fathers. 
The Catholic Englishman now believes and prays 
as prayed and believed his sires a thousand years, 
nay, fourteen centuries ago ; he yet says at the 
holy Mass, as they used to say during that same 
awful Sacrifice, " Be mindful, O Lord, of thy 
servants who are gone before us with the sign 
of faith : " his lips help to keep up the echo of 
the Church s wailing for the dead, and make her 
sighs to be heard even yet throughout this land, 
and her mother-cries to heaven for its pardon 
on her children s suffering spirits to be what 
they have been since Christianity began, and what 


they will be till time be done one unbroken, 
one never-ceasing, one endless supplication, as, 
at the close of public and private worship, he 
repeats her loving words, "May the souls of 
the faithful, through the mercy of God, rest in 


THE men who, for those among their dead brethren 
whose souls they deemed might perhaps be stand 
ing in need of help in a middle state, were so 
thoughtful as to put up daily earnest prayer and 
bestow such plentiful alms, did not the less re 
member their own ghostly wants on earth. While 
thus befriending the less perfect amongst the de 
parted, they were aware how they themselves had 
brothers and sisters above, who would, in their 
turn, not forget their ghostly wants and struggles 
upon earth. Through the divinely-inspired writ 
ings of St. John, they had been taught to catch a 
glimpse of heaven as it is thrown open to man 
by the death and uprising of Jesus the Redeemer. 
With the beloved disciple they beheld the throne 
amid the rainbow, 30 (144) and the four-and-twenty 

30 In giving the meaning of these words, St. Beda says : Iris 
qui fit sole nubes irradiante, et post diluvium primo propitiationis 
indicio factus est, intercessu sanctorum quos Dominus illustrat, 
ecclesiam muniri designat. Qui bene smaragdo lapidi nimiae viri- 
ditatis comparantur : quo enim hsereditatem immarcessibilem fide 
perfection expectant, eo potentius etiam coateros orando prote- 
gunt (In ApocaL, cap. iv.) [P.L., xciii. 143]. On another passage 
in the same book, this Anglo-Saxon holy father observes : Ut 
nos scilicet non reprobos, sed in fide stabiles venturus in- 
veniat, peccatis nostris sanctorum intercessu et Dei miseratione 
contectis. Ibid. [149]. 


elders lying down and worshipping Him who sat 
thereon, every one of them having harps and 
golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers 
of the Saints. Under the altar they saw the souls 
of those that were slain for the Word of God ; 
and they heard those same souls crying with a 
loud voice upon the Lord. 31 They knew full well 
and duly prized that hallowing call which had 
been sent them : in belonging unto Christ s one, 
only, Catholic unfailing Church, they were aware 
they had " come to the city of the living God, the 
heavenly Jerusalem, and to the company of many 
thousands of angels . . . and to the spirits of the 
just made perfect." 32 They strove their best to 
share the benefits here below of such a fellowship 
with the celestial hosts, and with those happy 
beings who are already gone to bliss on high 
in presence of their Maker. 


was, in very truth, an article of belief strongly 
upheld and warmly followed 


Sound in every article of their Catholic creed, the 
Anglo-Saxons unmistakably held what the Church 
now teaches, as she has always taught, that the 

31 ApocaL, iv., v., vi. 32 Hebrews, xii. 22, 23. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 119 

faithful soul, on being called by death from this 
(145) world, is carried to instantaneous judgment, 83 
and if found not only laden with good works but 
spotless from every stain of sin, is, that moment, 
given to behold its Maker in all His glory, and 
to take its place of happiness, along with the 
angels, and its fellow- saints, in His never-ending 
kingdom. 34 All through their liturgy such a 
cheering truth was taught them ; and whether at 
the altar s foot the priest uplifted his hands in 
supplication for his people, or the choir burst 
forth in gladsome strains, and sang its festive 
anthems, or the preacher spoke the tidings of 
salvation to his hearers collect, 35 and chaunt, 36 

3a See note 54, in vol. ii. of this work, pp. 237, 238. 

34 Of the holy ^Edilburga, Beda says: Cujus talem fuisse con- 
stat vitam, ut nemo qui earn noverit, dubitare debeat quin ei 
exeunti de hac vita coelestis patrire patuerit ingressus (Hint. EccL, 
iv. 9) : and of Oswald [see note 50, p. 128]. What this learned saint 
declares of these individuals, he asserts of all holy people, a little 
further on in this same work : Nam quicumque in omni verbo et 
opere et cogitatione perfecti sunt, mox de corpore egressi ad 
regnum cceleste perveniunt, &c. Ibid., v. 12. 

:!:> Deus qui anime famuli tui Gregorii ajterne beatitudinis 
premia contulisti, concede propitius, ut qui peccatorum nostrorum 
pondere premimur, ejus aput (MC) te precibus sublevemur. 
Rituale Ecc. Dunelmensis, p. 51. 

30 Awakened by unseen fingers, as it hung against the wall, St. 
Dunstan s harp once rang forth those strains with which the 
Anglo-Saxon church used to sing the anthem, " Now are glad 
in heaven the souls of the saints," &c. Sumpsit (Dunstanus) 
secum ex more citharam suam quam lingua paterna hearpam 
vocamus . . . contigit, ut htec eadem beati tironis cithara, pendens 
in cubilis pariete, audientibus cunctis sponte sua sine tactu cujus- 
quam, jubilationis modulum alta voce personaret. Hujus enim 
antiphonse melodiam concinendo personuit . . . "Gauderit in 
ccelis animre Sanctorum," &c. AA. SS. Maji, iv. 350. 


and sermon 37 all said but the selfsame (146) 
thing, that the souls of the Saints were even now 
above along with Christ : to call in question the 
enjoyment, by the good, of heaven s full bliss 
immediately after this life, was declared an error 

37 " The holy church celebrates the birth-tide of three persons : 
of Jesus, who is God and man, and of John his messenger, and of 
the blessed Mary his mother. Of other chosen persons, who, 
through martyrdom, or through other holy merits, have gone to 
the kingdom of God, we celebrate as their birth-tide their last 
day, which, after the fulfilment of all their labours, brought them 
forth victorious to eternal life ; and the day on which they were 
born to this present life we let pass unheeded, because they came 
hither to hardships, and temptations, and divers perils. The day 
is memorable to the servants of God which sends his saints, after 
victory won, to eternal joy, from all afflictions, and which is their 
true birth ; not tearful as the first, but exulting in eternal life." 
jElfric s Homilies, ed. Thorpe, i. 353, &c. 

In every illuminated manuscript of the Anglo-Saxon period, 
each figure of a saint we behold with a circle of glory round the 
head. For such a disk of golden brightness, " nimbus " is the 
modern, "corona" the olden, name. John the Deacon, who wrote 
(j. A.D. 875) the life of St. Gregory the Great, while speaking of a 
portrait then at Rome of that holy pope, tells us, that as a token 
of its having been painted in the pontiff s lifetime, it had about 
the head a square instead of the circular " corona " : Circa 
verticem vero tabulae similitudinem, quod viventis insigne est, 
prseferens, non coronam. Ex quo manifestissime declaratur, quia 
Gregorius dum adviveret, suam similitudinem depingi salubriter 
voluit, &c. (Vita S. Gregorii Papse, iv. 84) [P.L., Ixxv. 231]. Of 
the latter symbol, Honorius of Autun (A.D. 1130) says : Lumina, 
quse circa capita sanctorum in Ecclesia in modum circuli depin- 
guntur, designant quod lumine seterni splendoris coronati fruuntur. 
Idcirco vero secundum formam rotundi scuti pinguntur quia divina 
protectione ut scuto nunc muniuntur. (Jemnia Animze, i. 133 
[P.L., clxxii. 386]. By putting, then, this kind of crown, which 
is now called " nimbus," about the head of any figure, the Anglo- 
Saxon limner meant to speak the belief of his countrymen, and to 
say that the soul of him or her there set before our eyes, is now 
in the everlasting bliss of heaven, betokened to us by the circle s 
bordering line, which runs round and round without ending. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 121 

of no (147) small magnitude against true faith. 38 
Moreover, while they asserted that the kindness 
of God allots (148) to every one an especial angel- 
keeper, to walk with and shield that individual 
from ghostly harm, as well as to be a witness 
to his deeds and thoughts and speech all along 
this world s pilgrimage, 39 the (149) Anglo-Saxons 

38 Talking of the "antiquus serpens de dumis Hispanici ruris," 
our Alcuin says : Est quoque in quibusdam clancula dubitatio : 
an animae sanctorum apostolorum et martyrum, aliorumque per- 
fectorum ante diem judicii in cceleste recipiantur regnum. His 
et hujusmodi spiculis, de pharetris, ut sestimo, exemptis perfidiae, 
unitatem sanctae et catholicae ecclesias, et veritatem universalis fidei 
aliqui vulnerare nitentes, etiam et spurcissimis errorum faecibus 
limpidissima ecclesiasticae fidei pocula inficiunt (Alcuin, Epist. ad 
Paulinum Patriarcham. Opp. i. 147) [P.L., c. 342, 343]. The 
Anglo-Saxon church had, in the person of Alcuin as well as by 
St. Boniface (see ii. 237, 238, note 54) already by anticipation 
condemned the errors which Burnet was not bold enough to 
broach in his own lifetime, but left (in his posthumous work, De 
Statu Mortuorum) to taint by its heterodoxy some, and startle and 
horrify others among his Protestant countrymen, of whom many 
cherished this Catholic truth, as we may gather from almost any 
place of Protestant worship. In St. Paul s, London, one of its 
tombstones says : 

- though body lye in tombe 

His sowle immortal lives in Heaven, by Godde s eternal dome." 
Hist, of St. Paul s, p. 79. Again, on others there : 

" Illi autem humanis exempti rebus, Olympum 

Nunc habitant, ubi pax et sine fine quies." Ibid., 82. 

" God hath been pleased to take her from the miseries of this 
vaine world, and to receive her soule, with his Saints in Heaven." 
Ibid., p. 82. 

39 Quod unusquisque nostrum habeat angelum, et in libro 
Pastoris, et in multis sanctae scripturae locis invenitur (St. Beda, 
In Act. Apost, xii.) [P.L., xcii. 973]. The Anglo-Saxon homilist tells 
us : " It is manifested that over every believing man an angel is 
set as a guardian, who shields him against the devil s machinations, 
and supports him in holy virtues, &c. It is a great honour for 
Christian men, that every one has from his birth an angel assigned 
to him in fellowship." ^Elfric s Homilies, ed. Thorpe, i. 517. 


maintained that amid all the angelic throng, unto 
Michael alone belonged the office of leading each 
soul from earth to the judgment-seat of Christ, 40 
who, to show His love towards the more holy of 
his followers here below, did ofttimes send down, 
along with this archangel, crowds of the celestial 
hierarchy singing strains which angel-spirits alone 
can waken, and with gleams of light that only 
angels wings may shed upon the skies, to fetch 
their souls to His tribunal and immediate glory. 41 

40 Shortly before he died, St. Wilfrid spoke thus of St. Michael s 
coming to fetch away his soul from earth : Ideo namque haec 
statuta dico, ut me Michael archangelus visitans paraturn iriveniat : 
signa enim obitus mei multa frequentant. Eddius, Vita S. 
Wilfridi, Ixii. [R.S., Ixxi. i. 95]. 

41 Speaking of St. Wilfrid s death, his friend and follower Eddi 
says : Supra domum, quasi residentium avium cum sonitu iterum 
audierunt, et statim iterum avolantium in coelum cum suavi 
modulamine pennarum. Sapientes autem, qui illic aderant, 
dixerunt, certe se scire angelorum chores cum Michaele venisse, 
et animam sancti pontificis (Wilfridi) in paradisum deducere. 
Ibid.., Ixv. [R.S., Ixxi. i. 99]. 

The choir of angels awaiting to go along with the good soul on 
its flight to heaven, is often glanced at in Anglo-Saxon writings ; 
thus one of their poets sang : 

Veniunt cum luce ministri 
E cselo superi, portantque ad sidera sanctas 
Inde animas. 

Ethelwolf, Carmen de Abb. Lindisf. (circa A.D. 802) [P.L., xcvi. 
1333]. In the Anglo-Saxon legend of St. Guthlac, we read : 

Then was Guthlac s of beams the brightest, 

spirit led all that beacon was, 

on upward way ; around the holy house, 

angels bare him the heavenly ray 

to the lasting joy ; up from earth 

the corpse grew cold like a fiery tower, 

remaining under air. rightly reared 

Then there shone of lights, unto heaven s roof, 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 123 

In books written by holy, learned, and truthful 
persons of their own and other countries, did 
those old and believing forefathers of ours read, 
how the souls of the good, when set free from 
the flesh, had often been seen surrounded with a 
dazzling (150) brightness, and wafted by angels 
upwards to the never-ending happiness of God. 42 

(151) What, by the grounds of Anglo-Saxon 
teaching, made our heavenly Father doom some 
children of His thus to the immediate bliss of 
His unclouded presence? 


for thus our Saxon forerunners chose to call both 
the wrestlings in which the evil one was over 

seen beneath the sky, a song of triumph sang, 

than the sun brighter, music was in the air 

the aspect of the noble stars. heard under heaven, 

Hosts of angels the melody of saints. 

Codex Exoniensis ; a Collection of Anglo-Saxon Poetry, ed. Thorpe, 
pp. 180, 181. See also Vita S. Guthlaci a Felice coaevo (c. A.D. 714), 
in A A. SS. Aprilis, ii. 48. 

4 - Describing the death of the abbess Earcongota, St. Beda 
says : Multi ... jam manifesto se concentus angelorum psallen- 
tium audisse referebant, sed et sonitum quasi plurimae multi- 
tudinis monasterium ingredientis ; unde mox egressi dignoscere 
quid esset, viderunt lucem coelitus emissam fuisse permaximam, 
quse sanctam illam animam carnis vinculis absolutam ad aeterna 
patrije coelestis gaudia ducebat (Hist. Ecc., iii. 8). Of bishop Ceadda 
our historian tells us : Postquam obitum suum Dominici corporis 
et sanguinis perceptione munivit, soluta ab ergastulo corporis 
anirna sancta, ducentibus, ut credi fas est, angelis comitibus, 
feterna gaudia petivit (ibid., iv. 3). To a nun it was given to see 
how the abbess Hilda s soul was carried by angels to heaven : 
Vidit animam prrefatae Dei famulte in ipsa luce, comitantibus ac 
ducentibus angelis, ad coelum ferri. Ibid., iv. 23. 


come, and every good deed 43 which those holy 
men and (152) women wrought on earth, not by 
their own, but that ghostly strength which God 
had bestowed upon their souls, without any right 
or title to it on their side, of His free gift, each 
while they readily bent their own free will to His 
high and hallowing behests. 44 As he stood before 
the altar, ministering at the sacred liturgy, and 
put up prayers to Heaven s mercy-seat beseeching 
divine help for the living, and forgiveness on the 
departed members of Christ s one fold, the Anglo- 

13 Good works done in this life were the golden ropes by which 
the soul was drawn up at death into heaven : Vidit manifesto 
quasi corpus hominis quod esset sole clarius sindone involutum in 
sublime ferri elatum. Oumque diligentius intueretur quo trahente 
levaretur sursum hsec, quam contemplabatur, species corporis 
gloriosi, vidit quod quasi funibus auro clarioribus in superna tolle- 
retur, donee coelis patentibus introducta amplius ab ilia videri non 
potuit. Nee dubium remansit cogitanti de visione, quin aliquis de 
ilia congregatione citius esset moriturus cujus anima per bona 
quse fecisset opera, quasi per funes aureos, levanda esset ad coelos, 
&c. (Beda, Hist. Eccl., iv. 9). By good works, sins might be bought 
off : Verum, inquit, dicis, quia et tibi et multis opus est peccata 
sua bonis operibus redimere (ibul. } 25). "Good works" are ex 
pressly named in some parts of the liturgy in use among the 
Anglo-Saxons, thus : Deus . . . praesta ... ut ... hoc bonis 
operibus exequamur, which is thus glossed in Anglo-Saxon : God 
. . . gionn . . . ]>te . . . 5isv godv poercu pe gifylga (Rituale Ecc. 
Dunelmensis, p. 14). In these words, too, was it that the Anglo- 
Saxon bishop spoke his blessing over the people on Easter eve : Ut 
cum bonorum operum lampadibus, ad hujus sponsi thalamum 
cujus resurrectionem celebratis, cum prudentibus virginibus intrare 
possitis. Amen. Egbert Pontifical, 64. 

44 Deus qui sanctis tuis Abdo et Senni ad hanc gloriam veniendi 
copiosum munus gratiee contulisti, da famulis tuis suorum veniam 
peccatorum, ut sanctorum tuorum intercedentibus meritis, ab 
omnibus mereamur adversitatibus liberari, per D . Rituale Ecc. 
Dunelmensis, p. 63. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 125 

Saxon priest asked such boons from above, through 
(among other things) "the merits of the Saints." 45 
When the (153) Anglo-Saxon poet sang the 
praises of the righteous dead ; 4G or wrote out 
verses to be set about an altar raised (154) to the 
Godhead under the invocation of a particular 
saint ; 4T or warned the world of that an gel- trumpet 

45 Deus qui ex omni coaptione sanctorum seternum tibi condis 
habitaculum, da sedificationi tuse incrementa ccelestia, ut quorum 
hie reliquias pro amore conplectimur, eorum semper meritis 
adjuvemur, per Dominum. Egbert Pontifical, 46. 

Intercedentibus pro nobis Christ! apostolorum meritis, succurrat 
nobis omuipotens Dominus. 

Intercedentibus pro nobis Christi martyrum meritis miseriatur 
nostri omnipotens Dominus ; Amen. 

Intercedentibus pro nobis Christi confessorum meritis exaudiat 
omnipotens Dominus ; Amen. 

Omnium sanctorum suorum meritis eruat nos, Dominus. 

A malis cunctis pro nobis Christi intercedentibus sanctis, Salva- 
tor mundi misereatur nostri ; Amen. 

Sanctis intercedentibus, Christe, tuorum electis, succurre nobis 
omnipotens Dominus. Rituale Ecc. Dunelmensis, p. 128. 

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui in meritis sancti tui Cuth- 
berhti sacerdotis semper es et ubique mirabilis, qusesumus . . . 
ad consequendam misericordiam tuam ejus nos precibus adjuvari, 
per. Ibid., p. 185. 

Sanctse dei genitricis marise, ac beatarum celestium uirtutum, 
sanctorum quoque patriarcharum, prophetarum, apostolorum, mar 
tyrum, confessorum, uirginum, omniumque simul sanctorum, 
quesumus, omnipotens deus, meritis ac precibus placatus tribue 
nobis misericordiam, &c. Leofric Missal, 251 [Missa deomni celesti 

46 Inde petit superas meritis splendentibus arces 
Angelicis turmis ad coeli culmina ductus 
Coelicolis junctus Iseta . . . sorte superna. 

Carmen ad Templum Buggte, inter Opp. Alcuini [P.L., ci. 1310]. 

47 Hoc altare suis meritis, defendat ab hoste 
Andreas Christi famulus. 

Alcuin, Carmen ad S. Andream [P.L., ci. 757]. 


blast which will crack the rock-hewn sepulchre, 
rive and shake the deepest graves, and quicken 
the buried flesh and dust of all mankind, and 
bid it come forth for the second last judgment, 
the holy doings of the good are called their 
"merits." 48 

But these merits, these "earnings" of the 
Saints, the Anglo-Saxon knew, are laid up 
above, where their sterling worth is acknow 
ledged. He was aware that, through a " com 
munion " which links all true members of Christ s 
church together, as children born within the one 
same household of the one same faith, the living 
are warranted in the trust they have of sharing in 
their brethren s good works, and being helped by 
them, for the sake of those ties of their ghostly 
kindred. 49 Those happy beings have (155) now 
reached the wished-for home, and are tasting all 
its sweets ; they are dwelling in their celestial 
Father s company. Does their love, because they 

48 Vos in pace Dei chari requiescite fratres, 
Donee ab setheria clamet plus angelus arce : 
Surgite nunc prompt! teme de pulvere, fratres : 
Vos vocat adveniens judex de culmine coeli : 
Cum meritis animas propriis assumite vestras. 
Alcuin, Carmen in cymiterio [P.Z., ci. 758]. 

49 Deus qui nos beati Georgii martyris tui meritis et inter- 
cessione Isetilicas, &c. (Kituale Ec<: Dunebnenris, p. 52). St. George 
seems to have been a favourite saint with the Anglo-Saxons ; and 
it was before this martyr s altar that St. Dunstan, in a moment of 
ghostly trial, threw himself down : Dum in orationis opere ante 
altare martyris Christi Georgii vigilando desudaret. A A. SS. 
Maji, iv. 352. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 127 

themselves have won heaven, grow cold ? Must 
they therefore forget, or become heedless about, 
the brothers and the sisters whom they left 
struggling below on earth ? No, surely. 

Like the fiery cherubim, the saints who are 
now in heaven " those spirits of the just made 
perfect " burn warmer with divine love the nearer 
and the more they gaze upon it. That charity 
which never (156) " falleth away" glows even 
stronger than before in them ; and loving, with still 
loftier and holier a love, us their brethren, whom 
they now behold from on high with yearning; they 
ever plead in our behalf unto Christ ; they mingle 
their own with our prayers, and, like the four- 
and-twenty elders, offer them in golden vials to 
our divine Redeemer : hence, as with us in the 
present day, so among the Anglo-Saxons was 
taught and practised 

Deus . . . concede ut amborum (Petri et Pauli) meritis reterni- 
tatis gloriam consequamur. Rit. Ecc. Dun-elm., p. 61. 

Deus qui nos beati Johannis baptiste concedis natalicia perfrui, 
ejus nos tribue meritis adjuvari. Ibid., p. 56. 

Concede propitius ut omnes qui martyrii ejus (S. Stephani) 
merita veneremur, intercessionibus ejus ab aeternis gehenme 
incendiis liberemur, per. Ibid., p. 64. In these and all other 
passages wherein it comes, the word merita" is translated by 
the Anglo-Saxon gloss,, "earnunge" earnings. 

Vel saltern meritis Sancti mea crimina Christus 
Solvere dignetur, &c. 
Ethelwolf, Carmen de Abb. Lindisf. [P.//., xcvi. 1334.] 



They said, and said well, that as Peter, while 
here on earth, and in the sight of men, did heal 
the sick by his shadow, so now, though above and 
all unseen, the apostle still affords strength to 
the faithful against their ghostly weaknesses, in 
overshadowing them with his intercession. 50 To 
win its forgiveness for his misdeeds, the sorrow 
ing (157) sinner was taught to call not only himself 
upon heaven, but to beg of the saints to help him 
by their supplications. 51 Examples the Anglo- 

60 Tune Petrus umbra sui corporis visibiliter allevabat infirmos, 
qui etiam nunc invisibili suse intercessions umbraculo fidelium 
infirma roborare non cessat. St. Beda, In Ada Apost., vi. [P.L., xcii. 
955.] This same holy Anglo-Saxon writer tells us how God s 
wrath had been stayed by the intercession of a saint in heaven, 
St. Oswald : Quod divina vobis misericordia per intercessionem 
religiosi ac Deo dilecti regis Osualdi qui, quondam genti Nordan- 
hymbrorum . . . devotione sublimiter prsefuit, conferre dignata 
est. Hac etenim die idem rex ab infidelibus in bello corporaliter 
extinctus, mox ad sempiterna animarum gaudia assumtus in 
coelum et electorum est sociatus agminibus (Hist., Ecc., iv. 14). 
Of St. Oswald, Beda adds : Nee mirandum preces regis illius jam 
cum Domino regnantis multum valere apud eum, qui temporalis 
regni quondam gubernacula tenens magis pro seterno regno semper 
laborare ac depreeari solebat (ibid., iii. 12). Another Anglo-Saxon 
writer of about the same period says : Et ecce B. Bartholomseus 
fidus auxiliator, in matutinis vigiliis sese coram obtutibus illico 
obtulit : nee sopor illudebat, sed palam splendentis coelicolse 
agnovit vultum. . . . Exin S. Bartholomseus coram se persistens 
ilium prseceptis spiritalibus confortare ccepit pollicens ei in omni 
bus tribulationibus adjutorem sui venturum esse. Vita S. Guthlaci 
a Felice cosevo (c. A.D. 714), in A A. SS. Aprilis, ii. 41. 

51 St. Beda not only bids the sinner to ask the Saints for their 
intercession, but he tells him how they will beseech God s forgive 
ness in his behoof : Ideoque necesse est, ut cum reatum suum 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 129 

Saxons could bring of holy men who had gained 
the object of their pious wishes through the 
apostles pleadings with Christ, 52 and unto whom, 
in this (158) life, angels themselves came down to 
tell how saints above, how the Virgin-Mother of 
Christ, had made successful intercession in their 
behalf. 53 Among Anglo-Saxon writers, some of 
the most learned were wont to beseech the youth 
ful clerks who officiated in the church of some 
great saint, to be good and holy if they sought 
to win for themselves the intercession above 
of their hallowed patron. 54 Volumes, no less 
beautiful than costly, used to be offered at the 

cognoverit, mox ad preces lacrymasque confugiat, sanctorum 
crebris intercessionibus auxilia quserat, qui pro ejus salute rogantes 
Domino dicant : " precamur, Domine, miserator et misericors . . . 
dimitte earn quia clamat post nos ; dimitte reatum et dona gra- 
tiam ; nostrum intimo affectu queerit pronus suffragium." Beda, 
Homil., i. 19 [P.L., xciv. 104]. 

52 Servus igitur Dei Wilfrithus ... a nnibus terrse audire 
sapientiam prsesulum mundi, Romam venit ; et in oratorio Sancto 
Andrese Apostolo dedicate, ante altare . . . humiliter genuflectens, 
adjuravit in nomine Domini Dei, Apostolum, pro Quo passus est, 
ut pro sua intercession Dominus ei legendi ingenium et docendi 
in gentibus eloquentiam Evangeliorum concedisset ; et sic factum 
est. Eddius, Vita S. Wilfridi Ebor., v. [R.S., Ixxi. i. 7, 8]. 

63 Ecce Angelus Domini in veste Candida sancto pontifici nostro 
(Wilfrido) apparuit, dicens : Ego sum Michael, summi Dei nuntius, 
Qui misit me ad te indicare, quod tibi adduntur anni vitee pro 
intercessione Sanctae Marise, genitricis Dei semperque virginis 
&c. Eddius, Vita S. Wilfridi Ebor., Ivi. [R.S., Ixxi. i. 84]. A little 
later it is added : Sanctus presbyter prsefatus (Acca) acuti ingenii 
intellexit, gratias agens Domino, eo modo pontifici nostro pro 
intercessione Sanctse Marise [virginis] matris Domini, et pro sub- 
ditorum suorum precibus annos vitse additos. Ibid. [p. 85]. 

54 Discant officiates esse boni in domo Dei, ut benedictionem et 
gratiam, per intercessionem Sancti Bonifacii Patris sui, a Deo 
Christo recipere mereantur. Alcuin, Ep. ad Frat. Fuld. [P. L.. 0.384]. 


altar ; 55 palls, too, of no mean price were often 
(159) sent, for mantling the favourite shrine, on 
purpose to draw down this same blessing from 
him or her (whose relics lay within) on the giver, 56 
unto whom as well as every other person wending 
his way through this world s pilgrimage, such 
kind protection from the saints in heaven was, 
during those ages, deemed quite needful. The 
liturgy then in use put forth this same truth ; 
and while its collects and episcopal blessings pro 
claimed the joy with which our Anglo-Saxon 
church delighted to honour the festivals of the 
saints, 57 those prayers called trustingly on God to 
grant unto His people (160) the help and the 
protection of those His good and faithful servants, 
through their intercession with Himself in behalf 

55 Among the Cotton MSS. once existed one marked Otho B. 9, 
a fine codex of the four Gospels in Latin ; before St. Matthew s 
Gospel, there was figured St. Cuthberht, with this superscription 
[now unfortunately burnt] : 

r I h 




At fol. i. we learned who had the Saint painted: Benedictus 
Evernenficus pingere feci in honore Sancti Cudbrechti Episcubi. 
Wanley, Librorum Vet., Catalogue, p. 238. 

56 Direxi unum pallium storacium ad corpus sancti Bonifacii 
Patris nostri, de cujus sancta intercessione pro peccatis meis 
magnam habeo fiduciam. Alcuin, Epist. ad Frat. Fuld. [/ .., c. 384]. 

67 Deus qui nos annua beate Agnetis martyris tue solemnitate 
laetificas, da, quesumus, ut quam veneramur officio, &c. Rituale 
Ecc. Dunelmensis, p. 50. 

Omnipotens, sempiterne Deus, qui nos omnium sanctorum 
merita sub una tribuisti celebritate venerari, quesumus, &c. 
Ibid., p. 73- 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 131 

of mankind here below. 58 With (161) one of the 
olden glories of our land with our own far- 
famed Alcuin was it a work of love to draw up 
certain masses, so that, as he stood at the altar 
sacrificing to God, the priest might on one day 
of the week beg of heaven for the intercession of 
its Saints, on another, that of its Angels. 59 What 
our countrymen did for a portion was adopted by 
the whole of the Church ; and to this hour, the 

58 Adesto, quesumus., Domine, supplicationibus nostris, ut qui, 
ex iniquitate nostra reos nos esse cognoscimus, beati Vincent ii 
martyris tui intercessione liberemur. Rituale Ecc. Dunelmensis 
p. 50. Fac nos, Domine, quesumus, sanctorum tuorum Primi et 
Feliciani semper festa sectari quorum suffragiis protectionis tuse 
dona sentiamus (ibid., p. 54). A cunctis malis inminentibus eorum 
intercessione liberemur (ibid.}. Da, quesumus, (Deus) ut familia 
tua hujus (beati Johannis baptistse) intercessione preconis et a 
peccatis omnibus exuatur, et ad eum quern prophetavit pervenire 
mereatur (ibid., p. 56). Intercessionibus ejus (S. Stephani epis. 
et marty.) ab seternis gehennre incendiis liberemur. Ibid., p. 64. 

Deus . . . concede propitius ut contra adversa omnia Doctoris 
Gentium protectione muniamur. Rituale Ecc. Dunelmensis, p. 7. 

Esto, Domine, plebi tuse sanctificator et custos, ut apostoli tui 
Jacobi munita prsesidiis, &c. Ibid., p. 63. 

Sit, Domine, beatus Marcus, martyr et evangelista nostrse 
fragilitatis adjutor, ut pro nobis tibi supplicans copiosius audiatur. 
Ibid., p. 52. 

Prsesta, qusesumus, omnipotens Deus, ut continua sanctorum 
martyrum oratio et nobis prebeat incitamenta virtutum, et multi- 
plici nos ubique suffragia consoletur, per D . Ibid., 74. 

Benedicat vos Deus . . . quatinus Petrus clave, Paulus ser- 
mone, utrique intercessione, ad illam vos certent patriarn intro- 
ducere, ad quam illi, alter cruce, alter gladio, hodierna die 
pervenire. Egbert Pontifical, 87. 

69 Missas quoque aliquas de nostro tuli Missale ad quotidiana 
et ecclesiasticse consuetudinis officia. Primo in honore summse 
Trinitatis, deinde ad Sanctorum intercessiones deprecandas, etiam 
et angelorum sutfragia postulanda, quse multum necessaria sunt 
in hac peregrinatione laborantibus. Alcuin, Epist. ad Monach. 
Vedast. [P.L., c. 215]. 


Catholic priest in Newfoundland, or in Australia, 
in England, Italy, or in China, will find in his 
missal, and may say, those votive masses as they 
were first arranged, and allotted each one to its 
own day of the week, by our Anglo-Saxon brother 

But, like other people of Christendom, our 
Anglo-Saxons had their favourites in heaven 
among those happy friends of God : being this 
land s first martyr, St. Alban at an early period 
became the nation s patron-saint : 60 the thought, 
too, of what had been (162) done for them by the 
great and good Gregory the Pope, and by the 
meek and kind monk Austin, never died in the 
grateful hearts of our Saxon forefathers ; so that 
while, with the rest of the Church, they put those 
holy men in their calendar of Saints, they took 

60 Licet per totum ubique mundum beatorum martyrum qui 
suum pro Christo sanguinem fuderunt, merita divinse laudis 
exultatione celebranda sint, eorumque Dei auxilio exempla 
gloriosa sequenda ; prsecipue nobis tamen beatissimi Albani, qui 
sub hac Britannise insula gloriosus martyrio effulsit, memoria, 
pia semper intentione et sedula sollicitudine observanda est. 
Unde ego Offa gratia Dei rex Merciorum cum filio meo Ecgfrido, 
pro amore omnipotentis Dei et huius sancti intercessione, terram 
xxx manentium . . . Domino meo Jhesu Christo ad ecclesiam 
sancti Albani, ubi ipse tyro primus in passione victima eftectus 
est, juro perpetuo perdonabo. Kemble, Cod. Dip. Anglo-Sax, ,i. 195. 
Quamvis ubique per universum mundum merita beatorum marty 
rum divinis celebranda sint pneconiis, eorumque suffragia qui pro 
Christi nomine sanguinem suum fuderunt totis nisibus amplec- 
tanda, Anglorum tamen populis intra ambitum Britannise con- 
stitutis specialiter est honoranda beati martyris Albani gloriosa 
victoria. So speaks King ^Etheldred s charter, A.D. 1007. Ibid., 
vi. 157. 

PART 1. CHAP. IX. 133 

care to reverence them as the apostles of this 
country, by writing their names for invocation 
in the public litanies, and honouring the memory 
of each with his own especial holyday. 61 As well 
as that of the Saints, 


was an article in the Anglo-Saxon s creed. In 
(163) singing the praises of their everlasting God, 
they declared that among His other blessings He 
had ordained and constituted the service of angels 
and men in a wonderful order ; and that as His 
holy angels always do Him service in heaven, so 
by His appointment, they succour and defend us 
on earth. 02 This, like every other Christian truth, 
they knew it was not enough to utter : besides 
believing, they must also bring it into practice. 
Their teachers were therefore earnest in making 
the people understand that God s angels stood at 

61 Constitutum est prsecepto, ut dies natalitius beati papas 
Gregorii et dies quoque depositions sancti Augustini archiepiscopi 
atque confessoris qui genti Anglorum missus a prsefato papa et 
patre nostro Gregorio, scientiam fidei, baptismi sacramentum et 
cselestis patrire notitiam primus attulit, ab omnibus, sicut decet, 
honorifice venerentur. Ita ut uterque dies ab ecclesiastic-is et 
monasterialibus feriatus habeatur, nomenque beati patris et 
doctoris nostri Augustini in litanite decantatione, post sancti 
Gregorii invocationem semper dicatur. Condi. Cloveshoriensis (c. 
A.D. 747), cap. xvii., in Wilkins, Cone., i. 97. 

62 Deus, qui miro ordine angelorum ministeria hominumque 
dispensas, concede propitius, ut, quibus tibi ministrantibus in 
ccelo semper adsistitur, ab his in terra, nostra vita muniamur. 
Rituale Ecc. Dunelmensis, p. 7 1 . 


all times by the sides of men ; and that those 
unseen spirits more especially went along with 
them into church, to behold how they listened 
unto God s holy word, chanted the psalms, and 
behaved themselves at the solemnization of Mass. 63 
To have the angels of (164) the Lord to be his 
especial protectors, and to watch over and shield 
him from all kinds of harm, both (165) night 
and day, was the hallowed wish of every Anglo- 
Saxon. 64 But of all the angelic host, St. Michael 

03 St. Beda says that the angels are more especially along with 
us during the time of prayer : Maxime tamen angelici nobis 
spiritus adesse credendi sunt, cum divinis specialiter mancipamur 
obsequiis, id est cum ecclesiam ingressi vel lectionibus sacris 
aurem accommodamus, vel psalmodiae operam damus, vel ora- 
tioni incumbimus vel etiam missarum solemnia celebramus. Unde 
monet Apostolus mulieres in ecclesia velamen habere super caput 
propter angelos (Beda, Horn., ii. 4) [P.L., xciv. 151]. The admoni 
tion of St. Beda should be still kept in view ; and Catholic ladies 
living in country houses belonging to which are chapels, ought to 
be instructed never to go into them bare-headed, though under 
the same roof : a covering to veil the head, of some kind, is 
indispensable. Females, in hot countries, where the custom is 
for them to walk abroad without any head-dress, never presume 
to enter a place of prayer without first hooding themselves with 
a kerchief : in Spain, the mantilla seems to have been expressly 
made for females to wear at church; the black silk faldetta of 
Maltese ladies, the long white muslin veil of Genoa, and the 
white muslin hoods worn by females in other parts of Italy, 
&c., will recur to every traveller. " But those angels," says the 
Anglo-Saxon homilist, " whom God has set as guardians over his 
chosen, never depart from his presence; for God is everywhere, 
and whithersoever the angels fly, they are ever in his presence, 
and partake of his glory. They announce our works and prayers 
to the Almighty, though to Him nothing is hidden, as the arch 
angel Raphael said to the man of God, Tobias : When ye prayed, 
I offered your prayers before God. " Attfric s flomilieSjed. Thorpe, 
i. 519. 

64 Angeli tui, Domine, me custodiarit tarn per diem, quam per 
noctem. Alcuin, In Lib. dePsal. usu, i. 6 [P.L.,ci. 478]. Angelum 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 135 

was most looked up to : 65 him before all others 
had the Almighty appointed to be His imme 
diate messenger, to call away from earth and 
bring men s souls to judgment. 66 Hence, then, 
for every moment while on the road through 
this life, but more particularly for the death- 
struggle, did each Anglo-Saxon beg of heaven 
that he might have the succour and defence of 
its mighty archangel of its Michael, 67 who fought 
with and overcame " that (166) great dragon, that 
old serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, 
who seduceth the whole world." ( 

In honouring his friends and servants, they 
knew they were doing honour to Christ the 
master, and therefore 

tuum sanctum nobis hie et ubique largire custodem, et def ensorem. 
Of those words : Etfactum est prselium magnum in cwlo. Michael 
et angeli ejus pr&liabantur cum dracone St. Beda says : Coelum 
Ecclesiam significat in qua Michaelem cum angelis suis contra 
diabolum dicit pugnare, quia secundum Dei voluntatem pro pere- 
grinante Ecclesia orando et adjutoriaministrando confligit. Beda, 
In Apocal., ii. 12 [P.L., xciii. 167]. 

<i:> It is now credible that the archangel Michael has care of 
Christian men, who was prince of the Hebrew folk, while they 
believed in God. It is done by God s dispensation, that the great 
heavenly angel is the constant supporter of Christian men on 
earth, and their intercessor in heaven with Almighty God. 
sElfric s Homilies, i. 519. 

06 See note 33, p. 119, and note 70, further on, p. 137. 

67 Beati archangeli tui Michaelis intercessione suifulti, supplices 
te, Domine, deprecamur, ut quos honore prosequimur, contingamus 
et mente. 

Da nobis, omnipotens Deus, beati archangeli Michaelis eo tenus 
honore proficere, ut cujus gloriam prsedicamus in terris, ejus pre- 
cibus adjuvemur in celis. Ritnale Ecc. Dunelmensis, p. 71. 

68 Rev. xii. 7, &c. 



just as the English used to do, after their times, 
and the Church everywhere still does. For his 
angel-guardian the Anglo-Saxon had an especial 
form of prayer, which he often said to that good 
spirit, asking it to succour and defend him. 69 
How warm were those holy breathings from the 
Anglo-Saxon heart ! Bent lowly down in sup 
plication, he besought his Christ, his only Saviour, 
not to scorn him ; he called up the holy, the most 
blessed Mary, his mother so he loved to name 
her ; he begged the four-and-twenty elders ; he 
besought all God s holy angels ; entreated all the 
holy patriarchs, and prophets ; he addressed all 
the apostles, and martyrs, and confessors, and 
virgins ; he cried out unto (167) all the saints, 
and chosen ones of the Lord, to come to his 
help. "O holy archangel," did he say, "in that 
fearful hour when my soul shall be about to go 
out from the flesh, thee to whom is intrusted the 
power of leading forth souls, do I beseech, that 
thou wouldst take mine when it shall leave my 
body, and keep it free from the thrall of the foe, 
so that I may pass by hell s gates, and get beyond 
the ways of darkness. Thee, too, do I call upon, 

09 Oratio ad Angelum custodem (Cotton MS., Titus D. xxvii., 
f. 74). This is an Anglo-Saxon codex of the tenth century. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 137 

O holy Peter, prince of the apostles, that thou 
wouldst vouchsafe to throw wide open for me the 
doors of paradise." 70 In words burning no less 
with eloquence than with love, did he often 
speak his petition to those of the saints on high, 
whom his own fatherland had begotten to the 
Church, as he bade them not to forget, but ever 
to befriend, by their (168) prayers in heaven, 
their countrymen whom they had left behind 
on earth ; 71 more earnestly still did the Anglo- 
Saxon warrior breathe such petitions, as he went 

70 Ne me despicias Christe. Rogo sanctam et beatissimam 
matrem nostram Mariam, rogo viginti quatuor seniores, omnes 
sanctos angelos tuos deprecor,, omnibus sanctis patriarchis ac 
prophetis supplico, omnes apostolos et martyres et confessores 
tuos, atque virgines rogo : similiter omnes sanctos tuos et electos 
Dei invoco in auxilium meum. Et in ilia tremenda hora, qua 
anima mea egressura erit de corpore meo, sancte archangele, 
deprecor, qui animarum accipiendarum accepisti potestatem, ut 
animam meam suscipere digneris, quando de corpore meo erit 
egressura : et libera earn de potestate inimici, ut pertransire 
possim portas inferorum, et vias tenebrarum. . . . Te deprecor, 
sancte Petre, princeps apostolorum qui tenes claves regni ccelo- 
rum . . . ut portam paradisi mihi aperire digneris. Alcuin, Lib. 
de usu Psal., i. 6 [P.L., ci. 477]. 

71 O beatissime Christi sacerdos, ne nos derelinquas laborantes 
in terris, sed precibus tuis de ccelis adjuvare non cesses. Vita tua 
apud homines semper probata fuit pro Deo : sint preces ture apud 
Deum semper intentse pro hominibus. . . . Sicut cedrus Libani 
multiplicasti filios tuos, qui ad te tota mentis intentione clamant : 
tu illos pia intercessione adjuvare digneris. . . . O felix anima, 
quae sseculi labores dereliquisti, et ccelestem cum multiplicis sudoris 
tui fructu requiem intrasti. ... In pauca fidelis fuisti in terris, 
super multa constitutus gloriaris in ccelis. Gaudia Domini Dei 
tui, quse semper optasti, semper habere ccepisti. Te continuis, 
o Pater, prosequimur laudibus, tu nobis assiduis auxiliare pre 
cibus. Credimus te in prsesentia Domini Dei tui omnia posse 
impetrare, quaa poscis. Alcuin, Homilia de Nat. S. Willibrordi, 
3 [P..,ci. 712]. 


hurrying to battle, 72 or, grasping his sword, he 
made him ready for the death- strife. 73 

(169) Before all other themes, our Anglo-Saxon 
poets loved best to choose for the subject of their 
lays the lofty truths of our divine belief, as well 
as the lives of the saints. While, however, they 
sang the holy doings and the hallowed death of 
some faithful servant of God, they begged their 
fellow-man s intercession on high with their 
common Maker. 74 Unto their heaven-dwelling 

72 Veniens deinde ad Sancti (Johannis Beverlacensis) tumulum 
rex illustrissimus (Edelstanus), post excubias more patrio cele- 
bratas, post orationes corde supplici fusas, cum pavimentum 
devotissimis lacrimis perfudisset, protractum e vagina cultellum 
sacris imposuit altaribus, " Ecce," inquiens, " beatissime Johannes, 
sponsionis mese vadimonium, ut cum auxilio tuo subactis hostibus 
cum prosperitate rediero, digno illud precio redimam, et quoad 
vixero, tibi gratus et devotus existam." . . . Et jam tempus 
advenerat prseliandi cum prsecedenti nocte rex oppressus somno, 
sanctum Johannem sibi aspicit assistentem, et ut secure con- 
grederetur hortantem : " Devotionem/ inquiens, " tuam quam 
circa sepulchrum meum exhibuisti, gratanter amplectens, oravi 
pro te Deum meum, et exaudivit vocem meam," &c. (Ethelredus 
abbas Rievallis, Geneal. Reg. Angl., ed. Twysden, i. 357) [P.L., cxcv. 
724, 725]: this abbot of Rievaulx is better known as Aelred. 

73 While arming himself, during Anlaf s night attack upon his 
camp, that brave Anglo-Saxon king ^Ethelstan called upon God 
and St. Aldhelm : Inclarnato Deo et sancto Aldelmo, reductaque 
ad vaginam manu invenit (Ethelstanus rex) ensem, &c. William 
of Malmesb., Gesta Reg. Angl., ii. 131 [R.8., cclvii. i. 144]. 

74 After saying of the holy virgin and martyr St. Juliana how : 

Then was her soul 
from the body led 
to the lasting joy 
through stroke of sword : 

and how was brought : 

with songs of praise 
the holy maiden s corse 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 139 

patron they often called by name ; 75 at the same 
time they besought all (170) Christ s happy fol 
lowers now along with Him, to help and befriend 
them, poor weak beings here below, by prayer at 
the foot of the Almighty s throne above. 76 

with a great power 
to its mould-grave ; 

the Anglo-Saxon poet tells us : 

To me it is much needful therefore I mercy need 
that the saint me that for me the saint 

help afford with the highest 

King should intercede, &c. 

Legend of St. Juliana in Codex Exoniensis, ed. Thorpe, pp. 282, 
283, 285. 

75 Claviger setherius^ portam qui pandis in sethra, 
Candida coelorum recludens regna Tonantis, 
Exaudi clemens populcrum vota precantum, 
Marcida qui riguis humectant imbribus ora : 
Suscipe singultus commissa piacla gementum, 
Qui prece fragrariti torrent peccamina vitse. 
St. Aldhelm, Versus in honor. Apost., in Opp. ed. Giles., p. 128. 

thou Mary in this vale of death 

of this mid-world error obey 

the purest but that he us convey 

woman upon earth into his Father s kingdom, 

where we sorrowless 
intercede for us now may after 

with bold words dwell in glory 

that he let us not with the God of hosts. 

any longer 
Codex Exoniensis, ed. Thorpe, pp. 17, 21, 22. 

O Martine Sancte meritis prseclare juva me miserum meritis 
modicum, &c., in Wanley, Librorum Vet. CataL, 189. 

76 Jam tempus cogit currentes claudere versus, 
Rustica magnificis condentem carmina sanctis. 

Hos igitur pauper supplex obsecro patronos, 
Virgineis proprium comentes actibus sevum 
Et famulas Domini precibus pulsabo misellus, 


(171) Besides the poet with his glowing thoughts, 
the stayed cool statesman, while drawing out a deed 
of the gift which his kingly lord had bestowed 
upon the Church, would begin it by calling upon 
the saint after whom the minster thus endowed 
was named : in the earliest known legal document 
belonging to the Anglo-Saxon age, its first words 
are an invocation to St. Andrew. 77 That such re 
ligious practices should have found their way into 
the literature and the muniments of a Christian 
(172) people, ought not to awaken our surprise, 
when we think that the teaching upon which they 
were grounded did not spring out of the poet s 
heated fancy, or the cloistered writer s overwrought 
earnestness : through their liturgy, the invocation 
of saints was taught the Anglo-Saxons, as it has 
ever been taught to all true believers in Christ by 
his one unerring Church. This we find not only 

Integritate sua qu?e Christ! regna merentur, 
Limpida stelligeri scandentes culmina cceli, 
Ut Dominum pulsent clamosa voce Tonantem, 
Qui solet indignis ultro miserescere verms, 
Conversisque reis noxarum solvere vincla, 
Quatenus ante diem, qui vitse lumina claudit, 
Necnon ante diem qui mortis limina pandit, 
Cuncta piaclorum solvantur gesta meorum. 

Sic mihi dignetur Sanctorum summa potestas, 
Presidium misero devote ferre vicissim. 
St. Aldhelm, I)e Vitiis, ed. Giles, p. 213. 

77 Ideoque tibi, Sancte Andrea, tuaeque ecclesise . . . trado ali- 
quantulum telluris mei. Ghurta Anglo-Saxunica dSthUberhti (A.D. 
604), in Kemble, Cod. Dipl. Anglo-Sax., i. i. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 141 

in the litany, 78 but all through the ritual in use 
among our early countrymen, who by both were 
told to cry aloud unto the choirs of the angels, and 
the saints, of the apostles, martyrs, confessors, and 
virgins in heaven, begging those happy beings 
to pray for them their brethren on earth. At a 
church s (173) dedication, while he put the sacred 
building under the pious keeping of Mary, the 
holy virgin mother of God, and afterwards, of that 
one among the blessed above whose name it was 
to have, the Anglo-Saxon bishop called thus upon 
its patron saint : " To thee do we entrust the 
care of this temple, which we have hallowed unto 
the Lord our God, that herein thou mayst dwell 
an intercessor, that thou mayst bear the offerers 
vows to the Lord God, and be the ever-wakeful 
watch, and abiding door-keeper of this house of 
the Lord. Stretch out the shield of thy hindrance 
against the wiles of mankind s foe, lest he here 

78 In the Litany given in Ecgberht s Pontifical, the following 
saints are, among others, called upon to pray for us : St. Cuthberht, 
St. Guthlac, St. Eufemia, St. Brigida, St. Columba. In the shorter 
Litany, we have : Omnis chorus angelorum,, ora pro nobis ; Omnis 
chorus apostolorum, ora pro nobis ; Omnis chorus martyrum, ora 
pro nobis ; Omnis chorus confessorum, ora pro nobis ; Omnis chorus 
virginum, ora pro nobis, &c. [pp. 29, 32, 33]. Another liturgical 
codex, once in use among the northern Anglo-Saxons, has this 
anthem : Sancte Paule apostoli (sic) predicator veritatis et doctor 
gentium, intercede pro nobis ad Dominum, &c. ttituale Ecc. Dunel- 
mensis, p. 153. There is not a codex in being of the Hymnarium 
used by the Anglo-Saxons in the liturgy, but what is full of invo 
cations to the saints : the two among the Cotton MSS. (Julius A. 6, 
and Vespasianus D. 1 2) are enough to show this to the reader. [See 
Surtees Soc., vol. xxiii.] 


become the crafty tainter of the holy prayers and 
vows of the faithful. Having all the saints inter 
ceding for them, and more especially thee to whom 
we commend the care of this church, and under 
the buckler of the divine safeguard, may every one 
praying here be heard by the Lord. An angel s 
help going along with thee, carry up, in a golden 
vial, to the throne of the Father, the sweetly- 
smelling prayers of Christ s people, and beseech 
that the Lord our God, by his ever looking down 
upon them, may vouchsafe to watch over and lead 
those who come in hither and pray." 79 

(174) When he went to cleanse his soul in the 
sacrament of Penance, before he began his shrift 
the Anglo-Saxon said that he confessed his sins to 
Almighty God, to Saint Mary the holy mother of 
our Lord, and to all God s saints : having gone 
through his confession, he besought, as Catholics 
still beseech, the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Michael, 

79 Tibi Sancta Dei genetrix virgo Maria, vel tibi Sancte Johannes 
Baptista Domini, vel apostoli Dei, vel martyres Christi, vel confes- 
sores, vel virgines Domini, commendamus hanc curam templi hums 
quod consecravimus Domino Deo nostro, ut hie intercessor existas, 
preces et vota offerentium hie Domino Deo conferas, custosque per- 
vigil, et ianitor insegregabilis hums domus Domini perseveres. 
Tnimici humani generis tentamentis scutum interpellations tuse 
opponas, ne precum sanctarum et votorum hie fidelium malitiosus 
infector emciatur, sed omnibus sanctis intervenientibus teque 
prsecipue cui hanc curam commendamus, interveniente clipeo 
divini tutaminis omnes hie orantes a Domino exaudiantur. Odo- 
ramenta orationum plebis Christianas in libatorio vasis aurei, 
angelico comitatus juvamine ad Patris thronum conferas, pre- 
cerisque quatinus jugi Dominus Deus noster intuitu hie ingre- 
dientes et orantes tueri et gubernare dignetur. Aid Pontifical, 
Ordo ad dedicandam Basilicam, in Archseologia, xxv. 39. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 143 

St. Peter and the apostles, St. Stephen and all the 
martyrs, and all Christ s confessors, and all holy 
women, to pray unto God to forgive him his sins. 80 
(175) To hearten him forwards in the path of holy 
living, and to let him see how youthful or aged flesh 
and blood, like unto his own, and dwelling amid 
the self-same world, could fight and had overcome 
each ghostly foe, the lives of the saints, as the year 
brought round their festivals, were read up aloud 
in the church. 81 

Amid, however, those choirs of angels and arch 
angels amid that dazzling crowd of saints and 
white-robed army of martyrs, far above them all, 
to Anglo-Saxon eyes, shone 


80 Quando aliquis voluerit confessionem facere peccatorum suorum 
. . . prosternat se humiliter in conspectu Dei super terrain, adora- 
tione, et lacrimas fundens ; rogat beatam Mariam, cum sanctis 
angelis, et sanctis apostolis, et martyribus et confessoribus, et vir- 
ginibus, et omnibus electis Dei, ut ipsi intercedant pro se ad 
Dominum. Canons under K. Edyar, in Thorpe, Anc. Laws, ii. 260. 
Ic andette J>e Drihten selmihtig God, and sea Marian ]>inne haligan 
modor. j eallum haligum and J>e bisceop ealle mine sj r nna . . . 
for]>am ic bydde J>e scam Mariam ures Drihtnes modor, and sciii 
Michaelem pone heah-engel. j sciu Petrum mid eallum apostolum. 
j scm Stephanum mid eallum martirum. j ealle Cristes andetras. 
7 ealle halige. 7 gecorene fsemnan. 7 pe b. paet ge gebiddan for me 
pam unpurpestan synfullan, to j>am selmihtigan Gode, J>aet he us 
for urum synnum gemiltsige. \Vanley, Librorum Vet. Catal., pp. 

Ill, 112. 

81 Sanctarum virginum Anatholise et Victorise prseconia . . . 
dum scedarum apicibus quando rotante anni circulo natalitia 
earundem Catholici celebrant, in pulpito ecclesiae recitantur. 
St. Aldhelm, Lib. de Virginibns, in Opp. ed. Giles, p. 68. 


(176) Christ s ever-virgin mother they deemed 
the holiest, the highest, the very first of all God s 
creatures. Her they looked up to as the one most 
worthy of their fondest love, their warmest child 
like reverence, their unbounded trust. They called 
her "the mother of God"; the most endearing 
words, the most beautiful appellations out of Holy 
Writ, became epithets for her ; she was " the 
garden enclosed," " the fountain sealed lip," the 
"rod of the root of Jesse bearing flower," "the 
one dove amid the threescore queens." 83 They 

82 The name of the B. V. Mary stood before that of any angel 
or saint, in the Anglo-Saxon litanies : 

Sea Maria or See Petre or See Stephane or 

See Michel or See Paule or See Line or 

See Gabriel or See Andrea or See Clete or 

Omnis chorus angelorum Omnis chorus Omnis chorus 

ora pro nobis Apostolorum ora Martyrum or pro 

pro nobis nobis, &c. 

Egbert Pontifical, 32, 33. Other old forms of Anglo-Saxon 
litanies have been printed by Mabillon and Mai from ancient 
MSS. In Mabillon s codex our Blessed Lady s name comes im 
mediately after our Lord s, and is invoked three times thus : 

Christe audi nos 

Sancta Maria or. 

Sancta Maria or. 

Sancta Maria or. 
De Angelis 

Sancte Michael or., &c. Vet. Analecta, p. 168. The Vatican 
codex quoted by Mai, Script. Vet. Nova Collectio, v. 68, once be 
longed to St. Edmund s Minster, Suffolk. 

83 Beata Maria, virgo perpetua, hortus conclusus, fons signatus, 
virgula radicis : gerula floris, aurora solis, nurus patris, genetrix 
et germana filii simulque sponsa ac fcelix vernacula, sanctarum 
socrus animarum,, supernorum regina civium, columba inter LX 
reginas et bis quadragenas pellices, propter perenne puritatis 
privilegium, &c. . . . Verum mihi de Marire perpetua virginitate, 
quee ante sacri sermonis receptaculum virgo favorabilis extitit, et 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 145 

hailed (177) her as their " sea-star" 84 through this 
life s tempests ; they greeted her as " our Lady " ; 85 
in her they beheld fulfilled what was symbolized to 
them in the maiden bee that brings forth its young 
in unsoiled virginity ; 86 each one of their churches 
was dedicated (178) to God partly in her hon 
our, 87 while in most of them a chapel at the eastern 

post ccelestis puerperii prreconium virgo favorabilior permansit, 
sollicite scribqjiti repente ad memoriam rediit. St. Aldhelm, 
Lib. de Laudibus Viryiuitatis, in Opp. ed. Giles, p. 54. 

84 The Latin hymnarium with an Anglo-Saxon interlinear trans 
lation, among the Cotton MSS., has the beautiful hymn to the 
B. V. Mary, " Ave maris stella." Cotton MS., Julius A. 6 [Surtees 
Soc., vol. xxiii., p. 76]. 

as "Non patiatur domina mea, sancta Mater Domini mei Jesu 
Christi Maria, ut ille mihi vel quid in regia dignitate deficiat." Et 
hsec dicens (^Ethelfleda nobilissima et religiosissima matrona) anti- 
quam Dei genitricis Marise ecclesiam quantocius intravit, seseque 
ibi rogatura prostravit. Vita S. Dunstani, a cosevo, in A A. SS. 
Maji, iv. 350 [R.S., Ixiii. 187]. 

86 Apes ceteris q(use) subjecta sunt homini animantibus ante- 
cellit. Quum sit minima corporis paruitate, ingentes animos an- 
gusto uersat in pectore, uiribus imbecillis, sed fortis ingenio. O 
uere beata et mirabilis apes ! cuius nee sexum masculi uiolant, 
fetus non quassant, nee filii destruunt castitatem ! Sicut sancta 
concepit uirgo maria, uirgo peperit et uirgo permansit (Leofric 
Missal, 97 ; Benedict Cerei in Sabl/ato S co). St. Aldhelm held the 
same opinion about the natural history of the bee, for he says 
of it, in one of his ASnigmata : 

Mirificis formata modis, sine semine creta. 

Opp. ed. Giles, p. 252. 

87 In the service for the dedication of churches, to be found 
in Abp. Ecgberht s Pontifical, we have the prayer following: 
Tabernaculum hoc ingredere, qusesumus Omnipotens sempiterne 
Deus, et famulos famulasque tuos congregates ad honorem et 
laudem tuam, Beatse Marise sacrse Virginis, et 111 ., &c. (32). 
How strong the beseechings of the Blessed Virgin Mary are with 
God, is told us in another codex of the Anglo-Saxon liturgy, 
which has this prayer : Magna est, Domine, apud clementiam tuam 
Dei genetricis oratio, quam idcirco de presenti seculo transtulisti, 



end bore her name; 88 (179) to do her homage, 
endowments were bestowed upon those sacred 
buildings ; 89 mothers and fathers brought their 
children thither to dwell within their walls, and 
serve God under the holy keeping of the Virgin ; 90 
and some of the great and striking solemnities 
of the Christian year told, in their prayers, what 
those Saxons believed of the spotless mother of 
our Lord, or, as they called her, " tt^ queen of 
the whole world." 91 * 

nt pro peccatis nostris apud te fiducialiter intercedat. Rituale Ecc. 
Dunelmensis, p. 66. 

^ s Huic (S. Dunstano) igitur dum in propria preesulatus sui 
civitate commanebat, sanctse consuetudinis inter csetera sublimi- 
tatum studia fuit, ut in secretis noctium temporibus sancta loca . . . 
.sancta semper psalmodia decantando lustraret. Et venit hac lege 
religionis innexus ad almi patris Augustini sediculam . . . et dum 
se sacris inibi suppleret orationibus, processit ad orientalem Dei 
puerperse ecclesiam, tantumdem precaturus. Cumque ad hanc 
propinquando psallendoque venisset, forte . . . audierat insolitas 
sonoritarum voces subtili modulamine in hac eadem basilica con- 
crepantes. At ille continue per quendam patuli foraminis hiatum 
inspiciens, &c. Vita S. Dunstani,& cosevo, in A A. Sti. Maji, iv. 358 
[R.S., Ixiii. 48]. 

89 Monasterium quod situm est in Abbendonia, says Coenwulf, 
in his deed of gift (A.D. 821), quodque dedicatum est in honore 
sanctse Marise semper virginis et Dei genitricis, dominse nostrse, 
<fec. (Kemble, Cod. Dip. Anglo-Sax., i. 270). King ^Ethelred says 
(A.D. 983), In veneratione sanctse Dei genitricis semperque virginis 
Mariee (ibid., iii. 199); and ^Ethelwulf of Wessex (A.D. 844), In 
honore . . . sanctse Marise reginse gloriosse Dei genitricis, &c. 
Ibid., v. 94. 

9J When but a boy, St. Dunstan was sent by his father and 
mother to Glastonbury, that in that far-famed minster he might 
give himself up to the service of God, and of Mary God s mother : 
Quatenus ibidem die noctuque Deo Deique Genitrici deserviret 
Marise. Vitu S. Uunstani, a cosevo, in A A. &S. Maji, iv. 348 
[R.S., Ixiii. 10]. 

91 Such is the title given to the B. V. Mary by the Anglo-Saxon 
JEJ/h c s Homilies, ed. Thorpe, i. 439. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 147 

More than one day the Anglo-Saxons hallowed, 
during the year, to the honour of the Virgin : for 
bringing to their remembrance her Purification, 
candles were blessed at the altar, and borne 
lighted (180) about the highways, with singing, 
in procession ; 92 but upon the memory of her 
having been carried up body and soul into heaven 
after death, and crowned by her divine Son with 
glory or her Assumption they looked as her 
highest festival, and as such kept it with a solemn 
service. In his sermon on the Assumption of the 
Blessed Mary, the Anglo-Saxon homilist says : 
"We read here and there in books, that very 
often angels came at the departure of good 
men, and with ghostly hymns led their souls to 
heaven, and what is yet more certain, men at 
their departure have heard the song of men and 
women, with a great light and sweet odour : by 
which it is known, that those holy men who 
through good deserts come to God s kingdom, 
at the departure of other men receive their souls, 
and with great joy lead them to rest. Now, if 
Jesus has often showed such honour at the death 
of his saints, and has commanded their souls to 
be conducted to him with heavenly hymn, how 
much rather thinkest thou he would now to-day 
send the heavenly host to meet his own mother, 
that they, with light immense and unutterable 

92 dSlfric s Homilies, i. 151. 


hymns, might lead her to the throne which was 
prepared for her from the beginning of the world. 

" This festival excels incomparably all other 
saints mass-days, as much as this holy maiden, 
the mother of God, is incomparable with all 
other maidens. (181) This feast-day to us is 
yearly, but to heaven s inmates perpetual. At 
the ascension of this heavenly queen, the Holy 
Ghost in hymns uttered his wonder, thus inquir 
ing, What is this that here ascends like the 
rising dew of morn, as beauteous as the moon, 
as choice as the sun, and as terrible as a martial 
band ? " 9S 

" What more shall we say to you of this feast- 
day, but that Mary, the mother of Christ, was on 
this day, from this world of toil, taken up to the 
kingdom of heaven to her dear Son, whom she 
had borne in life, with whom she rejoices in 
eternal mirth to all eternity. Let us now fervently 
pray the blessed Mary, who was to-day raised and 
exalted above the host of angels, that she inter 
cede for us to the Almighty God, &c." 

Not merely by the title under which it had 
been set apart to the Almighty s worship, but in 
the most comely and dazzling ornaments beneath 
its roof, many an Anglo-Saxon minster showed 

93 ^Elfric s Homilies, i. 441. 

94 Ibid., ii. 445. While giving his blessing to the people on this 
day, the bishop thus prayed for them. : Ej usque (Beatse Marise) 
semper et ubique patrocinia sentiatis, &c. Gage, Benedictionale 

p. 106. 


those who trod its aisles, how warm must have 
been the love borne towards Mary by the men 
who built and beautified that church : there 
might be seen the likeness of the mother of God 
painted on the wall; 95 (182) or, perhaps wrought 
all of gold, the image of herself, with her divine 
Son nestled in her arms, sitting on a silver 
throne ; % perhaps, too, hung around the neck of 
such an image, might be found glistening the 
string of jewels which some high-born Anglo- 
Saxon dame had bequeathed in honour of our 
blessed Lady. 97 

The perpetual virginity of Christ s ever blessed 
mother was, at all times, loudly maintained by 
our Anglo-Saxon writers ; 9S and any denial, how- 

95 See vol. i. p. 245, n. 2, of the present work. 

90 See vol. i. p. 248, n. 6, of this work. The respect which the 
Anglo-Saxons paid to the B. V. Mary is still further shown by 
the fact that among the carvings upon a wooden coffin of the 
seventh century lately discovered at Durham Cathedral, our 
blessed Lady, with her divine Son in her arms, may be seen 
(Raine, St. Cuthhert, p. 191). Upon the silver super-altar found 
(A.D. 1040) lying on the breast of Acca, bishop of Hexham (A.D. 705), 
there was this inscription : Alme Trinitati . Agie Sophie . Sancte 
Marie (see vol. i. p. 197, of this work). Many of those beautiful 
Anglo-Saxon ornaments were stripped of their gold and silver by 
the first William and his robbing Normans : Abbas (Eliensis) 
Brithnodus (c. A.D. 970) fecit beatarum virginum imagines easque 
auro et argento gemmisque pretiosissime texuit, et juxta altare 
duas a dextris et duas a sinistris statuit, qua3 et in dedicatione 
\Villielmi regis excrustatre et qureque miliora ecclesise ornamenta 
ablata sola nuda ligna hactenus valent intueri. Thomas of Ely 
(c. A.D. 1163), Ada S. Etheldredee, in AA. SS. Junii, iv. 527. 

97 Page 7, note 8, of this volume. 

18 In primis gloriosse semper virginis Marine memoriam primum 
sacerdos facit, quia per earn salus nobis omnibus advenit. Semper 
virginis dicit, quia Maria virgo ante partum et virgo in partu, 


ever (183) faint, of such a truth, would have been 
looked upon, among them, as a heinousness to 
be loathed like blasphemy itself : their preachers 
were accustomed to hold forth to their people in 
words which warned their hearers strongly against 
falling into so great an error as gainsaying this 
title of the ever maiden Mary ; " and their national 
synods uttered a formal condemnation against 
those who might possibly do so. 1 

(184) To this virgin-mother, to this queen of 
the skies, were our Anglo-Saxons accustomed to 

et post partum virgo incorrupta permansit. Genetricis Dei et 
Domini nostri Ih u Xfi : in horum duorum vocabile nom . . . 
(nomen ?) in Dominum et Deum ostendit beatam Mariam Dominum 
et Deum genuisse et hominem. De Ordine Missx, MS. Biblioth. 
Bodl., Hatton, 93, fol. 22 V , 23. 

99 Fuere hseretici qui propter hoc quod dictum est, non cog- 
noscebat earn donee peperit Filium, crederent Mariam post natum 
Dominum cognitam esse a Joseph, et inde ortos eos quos fratres 
Domini Scriptura appellat, assumentes et hoc in adjutorium sui 
erroris, quod primogenitus nuncupatur Dominus. Avertat Deus 
hanc blasphemiam a fide omnium nostrum,, donetque nobis Catholica 
pietate intelligere parentes nostri Salvatoris intemerata semper 
fuisse virginitate prseclaros. St. Beda, Horn., i. 5 [P.L., xciv. 33]. 
Sed nos, fratres carissimi, absque ullius scrupulo qusestionis scire 
et confiteri oportet non tantum beatam Dei genitricem,, sed et 
beatissimum castitatis ejustestem atque custodem Joseph abomni 
prorsus actione conjugali mansisse immunem. Ibid., Horn., i. 22 
[P.L.,ibid.,p. 115]. 

1 The Anglo-Saxon Church received at the council of Hatfield 
(held A.D. 680) the decrees of the council of Lateran (A.D. 649) ; 
among them is the following : Si quis secundum sanctos patres 
non confitetur proprie et secundum veritatern Dei genitricem 
sanctam semperque virginem et immaculatam Mariam, utpote 
ipsum Deum verbum specialiter et veraciter, qui a Deo Patre ante 
omnia secula natus est, in ultimis seculorum absque semine con- 
cepisse ex Spiritu Sancto, et incorruptibiliter earn genuisse indis- 
solubiliter permanente et post partum ejusdem virginitate, con- 
demnatus sit. Wilkins, ConciL, i. 53. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 151 

breathe forth their wants and holy wishes trust 
fully in prayer, knowing that she would be the 
bearer and advocatess of their supplications before 
the throne of her divine Lord and Son. 2 Amid 
the thunder-crashings of the fiery storm, or when 
some scowling evil threatened to overwhelm them, 
the weak (185) became strong, the faint-hearted 
suddenly grew bold, at the thought that holy Mary 
would listen to and pray above for them : ofttimes 
had they reason to remember with gratitude her 
wonder-working intercession. 3 

2 Foemina prsepollens, et sacra puerpera virgo 
Audi clementer populorum vota precantum. 

St. Aldhelm, Poema de aris B. Marias, <c., in Opp. ed. Giles, p. 1 18. 
Another father of the Anglo-Saxon Church thus sang of this queen, 
of the world, as he asked the help of her prayers : 

Auxiliare tuis precibus, pia Virgo Maria, 
JEterni Regis famulos, Regina polorum. 
Nomine namque tuo quoniam hsec est ara dicata, 
Tristia depellens, nobis et prospera donans. 

Alcuin, Carmen ad aram B. V. Marise, [P.L., ci. 757!. 

Virgo Dei Genitrix, nostrse regina salutis 

Hie precibus famulis auxiliare tuis. 
Hoc altare tuis quoniam est venerabile votis, 
Virginibus sacris laus, decus, atque salus. 

-Ibid. [77I-] 

3 Interea ssevit tempestas : . . . Turn populus omnis tanti ter- 
roris immanitatem non ferens, ad altare cucurrit, et beatam 
virginem (Lioba) ab oratione excitat periculis opponendam, 
primaque Tecla consanguinea ejus his verbis adorsa est : " O 
dilecta, dilecta, in te spes populi hujus, in te votorum summa 
consistit. Surge ergo, et pro nobis Dominam tuam sanctam Dei 
Genitricem invoca, ut ejus intercessione, ab hujus tempestatis 
discrimine liberemur." Ad hanc vocem ilia ab oratione surrexit, 
et quasi ad colluctationem vocaretur, cappam, qua erat induta, 
abjiciens, fores ecclesise confidenter aperuit : atque in limine con- 
sistens, sigrio sanctse crucis edito, furenti tempestati nomen 


(186) One of the ways which the Anglo-Saxons 
took for showing how warm a love they bore, and 
what high honour they yielded, to the Blessed 
Virgin Mary, was by calling upon her so strongly 
in their public services, as well as at their private 
devotions, to aid them by her prayers. Sweet 
St. Mary s name stood foremost, and above that 
of archangel, apostle, and martyr, supplicated by 
the Anglo-Saxons in their public litanies ; 4 and as 
he fed his sheep, on Sundays and festivals, with 
the food of life out of God s Word, in the pulpit, 
the Anglo-Saxon shepherd loved to tell them of 
the holiness, the while he bade them ever seek the 
intercession, of that glorious Virgin : " Mary," 
says the Anglo-Saxon homilist, " Mary is more 
beauteous than the moon, for she shines without 
decrease of her brightness. She is choice as the 
sun with beams of holy virtues, for the Lord, who 
is the sun of righteousness, chose her for his 
mother. Her course is compared to a martial 

summse majestatis opposuit ; extensisque manibus in coelum, terno 
clamore Christ! clementiam invocavit, et per intercessionem ac 
merita sanctse Marise Virginis, propitium eum populo suo velociter 
adesse precabatur. Confestim igitur adest Divinitas, tonitrua 
conquiescunt, &c. Rudolf of Fulda (ninth century), VitaS. Liobse, 
in Mabillon, AA. SS. 0. B., iv. 230. Lioba and Tecla, or Tetta, 
were Anglo-Saxon mynchens who had gone, by St. Boniface s wish, 
to Germany, from their monastery at Wimborne. 

4 In the Leofric missal, she is invoked thrice by name in the 
very short litany which follows the blessing of the palms on Palm 
Sunday: Christe audi nos, Sancta maria, Sancta maria, Sancta 
maria, Sancte gabriel, Sancte raphael, Sancte michael, Sancte 
iacobe, Sancte iohannes, &c. Leofric Missal, 205 : so, too, in 
another Anglo-Saxon litany (see note 82, p. 144.) 


band, for she was surrounded with heavenly 
powers and with companies of angels. 

" Of this heavenly queen, it is yet said by the 
same Spirit of God : I saw the beauteous one as 
(187) a dove mounting above the rills, and an 
ineffable fragrance exhaled from her garments ; 
and, so as in the spring-tide, blossoms of roses 
and lilies encircled her. The blossoms of roses 
betoken, by their redness, martyrdom : and the 
lilies, by their whiteness, betoken the shining 
purity of inviolate maidenhood. Other martyrs 
suffered martyrdom in their bodies for Christ s 
faith ; but the blessed Mary was not bodily 
martyred, but her soul was sorely afflicted with 
great suffering, when she stood sad before Christ s 
rood, and saw her dear child fastened with iron 
nails on the hard tree. Therefore is she more 
than a martyr, for she suffered that martyrdom 
in her soul which other martyrs suffered in their 
bodies." 5 " Let us call with constant prayers to the 
holy mother of God, that she may intercede for 
us in our necessities with her Son. It is very 
credible that he will grant much to her, who 
vouchsafed through her to be born a human 
being, for the redemption of the world." 

It ought to be no small source of holy joy for 
Englishmen, that from out of this island sprang 
one of those devotional practices so likely to en- 

5 ^Elfric s Homilies, i. 445. 6 Ibid., 453. 


kindle a warm and unwaning love for the mother 
of God, which the Church has always sought to 
light up towards her, in the hearts of all her chil 
dren. Our own Alcuin it was who first drew up 
the votive mass in honour of the Blessed Virgin 
(188) Mary, and assigned Saturday for its celebra 
tion. This very mass we still have, and to this 
moment the whole Latin Church orders it to be 
said, every week, on a Saturday, unless the rubric 
commands another service on that day. 7 

But, although the Anglo-Saxon besought the 
saints and angels to pray to God for him al 
though, as we have seen, he looked unto the 
Blessed Virgin Mary with such glowing affection, 
he was too well taught 8 not to know that to yield 

7 Postea sanctse Dei genitricis semperque virginis Marise missam 
superaddidimus per dies aliquot, si cui placuerit, decantandam. 
Alcuin, Epist. ad Monach. Vedast. [P.I/., c. 215]. Misi chartulam 
Missalem vobis, O sanctissimi presbyteri, ut habeatis singulis 
diebus, quibus pieces Deo dirigere cuilibet placeat ; quando in 
honorem sanctse Trinitatis . . . vel quando specialiter beatse Marise 
genitricis Dei virginis perpetuse deprecari velit intercessiones. 
Epist. ad Fuldenses [P.L., c. 385]. In his distribution of masses 
throughout the week, Alcuin has assigned Saturday as our Lady s 
mass-day. Lib. Sacram., 7 [P.I/., ci. 453] ; a place which it 
continues to hold now. 

8 Also it is to be made known to Christian laymen, that every 
one pray at least twice in the day . . . and these (prayers) being 
thus done, and his Creator only worshipped, let him call on God s 
saints, and pray that they intercede for him with God, first on 
Saint Mary, and afterwards on all God s saints. Thorpe, Ancient 
Laws, ii. 42 1 . Ye (mass-priests) shall also admonish your parishioners 
that they sufficiently cultivate prayer . . . then let him pray first 
to Saint Mary, and the holy apostles and the holy martyrs, and all 
God s saints, that they intercede for him to God ; and then let him 
arm his head in front with the sign of the holy rood, that is, let 
him sign himself, &c. Ibid., p. 427. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 155 

even to her, the (189) queen of saints, any 
portion, however small, of that honour and that 
worship which belong to God alone, would have 
been a most heinous sin robbing the Almighty 
of His glory, and giving to the creature what be- 
longeth to the Creator ; in fact idolatry. 

Such chosen and faithful followers of Christ, 
now dwelling with their Lord in heaven, did the 
Anglo-Saxon ask to befriend him with their 
prayers ; for he was taught there were two distinct 
kinds of veneration, one for God, the other for the 
saints. The Trinity alone should we adore ; but 
we ought to seek the saints as intercessors for our 
sins. The distinction between these two venera 
tions, he was told to observe, is well set forth in 
the Litany ; for, in the first place, it is said, 
" Christ, hear us " ; and then, " Holy Mary, pray 
for us " ; it is not said, " Christ, pray for us," 
and " Holy Mary," or, " Holy Peter, hear us" ; but, 
" Christ, hear us," " Son of God, we beseech 
Thee, hear us." 9 

9 Alia veneratio est in Deo, alia in Sanctis : solum namque 
aeternum Deum, Patrem scilicet, et Filium, et Spiritum Sanctum, 
adorare debemus, eique soli sacrificium et preces vel vota per- 
solvere : unde scriptum est : " Dominum Deum tuum adorabis, et 
illi soli servies." Forte aliquis quserit, quomodo conveniat quod 
hie prsecipitur, Domino soli serviendum, Apostoli verbo, qui dicit : 
" Servite per caritatem invicem ? " Sed huic facile linguee Grecee, 
ex qua Scriptura translata est, origo satisfacit, in qua servitus 
duobus modis ac diversa significatione solet appellari ; dicitur 
latria, dicitur et dulia ; sed dulia intelligitur servitus communis, 
sive Deo, sive homini, sive cuilibet rerum naturae exhibita; a 
qua etiam servus, id est, dulos, nomen accepit. Latria autem 
vocatur servitus ilia, quse soli Divinitatis cultui debita est, neque 


(190) In truth, the earliest known document of 
the Anglo-Saxons as a Christian people, calls upon 
an (191) apostle ; 10 and the writings of their native 
teachers abound in beautiful addresses to the 
angels and the (192) saints in heaven, whose 
intercession they warmly beg of God himself to let 
them have, 11 and to whose brotherly love they 
often intrusted their petitions to heaven, when 
they had anything particular to ask from the 
Divine goodness. For those Anglo-Saxon scholars, 
who were the light, at their time, not only of this 

ulli est participancla creaturse ; unde et idolatrse nuncupantur hi, 
qui vota, preces, et sacrificia., quse uni Deo debuerant, inpendunt 
creaturee. Jubemur ergo per caritatem servire invicem, quod est 
Grece AYAYQN (1. AOYAEYEIN) : jubemur uni Deo servire quod 
est Greece AA0PYON (1. AATPEYEIN) ; unde dicitur : " Et illi soli 
servies," quod Grece AA6PHYCYC (1. AATPEY2EI2). Et iterum : 
" Nos enim simus circumcisione Spiritui Dei servientes," quod est 
in Greco latreuontes. Itaque, ut prsedixiinus, alia veneratio est in 
Deo, alia in Sanctis. Solam Trinitatem adorare debemus, Sanctos 
vero intercessores pro peccatis nostris quserere. Unde et ad dis- 
tingueiidas has duas venerationes, optime in Lcetania scribitur, in 
primis namque dicitur, " Christe, audi nos " ; ac deinde, " Sancta 
Maria, ora pro nobis " : neque dicitur, Christe ora pro nobis, et 
Sancta Maria, vel Sancte Petre, audi nos, sed, " Christe, audi nos " ; 
et, " Fili Dei, te rogamus, audi nos." Theodore, Liber Pmniten- 
tialis, cap. xlviii^ in Thorpe, Ancient Laws, ii. 56. 

10 See note 77, p. 140. 

11 Sancti confessoris tui . . . nos quesumus, Domine, tuere 
prpesidiis, ut ejus semper intercessionibus adjuvemur. 

Sancti, Domine, confessoris tui ... tribue nos supplicationibus 
foveri, ut cujus depositionem annuo celebramus obsequio, ejus 
apud te intercessionibus et meritis commendemur. 

Adjuva nos, Domine, deprecatione sanctorum tuorum et beati 
confessoris tui intercessione, Domine, quesumus, ab omni adver- 
sitate protegas, cujus hodie debitum sollemnitatis diem curn Isetitia 
spiritali veneramur, ut, quorum festa gerimus, sentiamus auxilium. 
Kit. Ecc. Dunelm., p. 98. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 157 

island, but of Christendom, most stedfastly be 
lieved that the Almighty was often stirred to 
shower down His blessings and graces upon man 
through the prayers of the angels, and the saints 
departed ; and they relied with the greatest 
trust that the Father would more readily vouch 
safe to blot out their sins, if those happy spirits 
above joined them, as they were asking here 
below forgiveness through the blood of His Son 
Christ crucified. 

Such being the teaching of our Bedas, our Ecg- 
berhts, our Alcuins, and our ^Elfrics, in the earlier, 
let us now hear what, during the latter ages of 
God s Catholic Church in England, was taught 
(193) about the saints by our Aelreds, our Pul- 
leynes, our Williams of Malmesbury, our Wal- 
singhams, and our Bromyards. 

Holding the self-same belief as the Anglo- 
Saxons had ever held respecting God s hallows 
the saints now in heaven the Normans taught 
it with as warm an earnestness, and followed the 
self-same devotional and liturgical practices while 
giving utterance to this Catholic doctrine. Our 
English, like our Anglo-Saxon forefathers, were 
told that, instantaneously after death, each one s 
soul was carried to God s tribunal, to be tried for 
its deeds, good and bad, wrought in this world, 
and to hear its sentence. 12 One, among other 

s . 

12 Verum quidem est quia secundum prsesentis vitse actum 
quisque moriens portat Dei judicium. Hugo Archiep. Rotomag., 


ways, of bringing (194) such a wholesome truth 
more quickly to the people s thoughts, was having 
the day of judgment, or, as it used to be then 


either painted on the spandrels at the west side 
of the chancel arch, or stained on the glass of the 
great window at the western end of the nave, in 
almost every parish church. 13 According to the 

Dlalogi [P.L., cxcii. 1213]. Hugh was abbot of Reading, c. A.D. 
1123. While telling us of a conversation between St. Anselm, 
archbishop of Canterbury, and another Hugh, the sainted abbot 
of Cluny, Roger of Wendover says : Ubi cum de rege Willelmo 
(Rufo) inter eos sermo haberetur abbas ille venerabilis archi- 
episcopo respondens sub testimonio intulit veritatis, Proxima 
nocte prseterita vidi regem ilium ante thronum Dei adductum et 
accusatum et a justo judice damnationis in ilium sententiam pro- 
mulgatam, &c. (Roger of Wendover, Flores Hist., ed. Coxe, ii. 159) 
[not given in jK.]. In the glimpse which he was given to have of 
the other world, during a trance, a yeoman, who lived at Tunsted 
in Essex, and was called Turchill, said he beheld a place : Ut ibidem 
omnes animse in Christo renatse, mox ut a corpore exierint, absque 
ulladsemonum invasione conveniant et judicium secundum opera sua 
recipiant (ibid., Hi. 192) [R.S., Ixxxiv. ii. 18]. John Bromyard says: 
Divinum judicium est duplex, unum particulare quod singulariter 
de quocunque fit quando moritur . . . aliud generale quod in fine 
erit omnibus simul congregatis. Summa Pr&dicantium, p. 430. 
The ankress of Norwich speaks thus : Then said I to them that 
were about me, " It is to-day, dooms-day with me." And this I 
said, for I thought to have died : for that day that a man dieth, 
he is judged as shall be without end, as to mine understanding. 
Revelations of Divine Love made to Mother Juliana, &c., p. 19, ed. 
Warrack, 1901. 

13 Henry III. (A.D. 1250) issued an order to Edward of West 
minster^ for painting the figures of the apostles around the walls 
of St. Stephen s Chapel, Westminster, and at is western end the 
day of judgment (Rot. Glaus., 34 Hen. III., n. 7). The "Dome/ or 
Last Judgment, is shown in late but beautiful Flemish stained 


page 159 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 159 

(195) well-understood symbolism of those ages, the 
western sky, the place of sunset, the grave, as it 
were, of sinking day, that, though it seem dead 
to us, goes down to live and shine in other and 
unseen lands, became an emblem to mean the 
end of this world s time, the death of all created 
things. To tell therefore each one that his life 
here, though as lengthy and as lingering as the 
day at summer-tide, must come to its setting 
hour, when the undying soul would have to 
speed forth unto another world, and undergo a 
sifting trial, there was figured this awe-awakening 
" doom " ; and in such a situation, that, while 
going into or coming out of the church, the eye 
must needs look upon the picture, and read its 
fearful warnings. 

For a like holy purpose might often be seen 
figured, as in our wood-cut, [see over-leaf] 

glass at Fairford, and outside on the great western door at 
Bloxham : it is painted in secco, over the western side of the great 
arch, between the nave and chancel, in St. Michael s, Coventry, 
and the church dedicated to the same archangel at Mitcheldean ; 
also in St. Thomas s, Salisbury. This "day of doom" was figured 
either on the western face of the chancel arch, or in the great 
west-end window, of most, if not all, of our old churches ; and if 
we do not see it there still, speaking to us its awful truths, the 
reason is, the painting was either scraped oft , or white-washed, at 
the change of religion : among the manuscripts at Corpus Christi 
College, Cambridge, there is a " Letter to the churchwardens of a 
parish, to take down their roode-loft and superstitious (?) dome," 
A.D. 1572. Nasmith, Catal., p. 237. 




immediately after death. St. Michael the arch 
angel (196) holds the sanctuary s golden balance, 
in one scale of which is shown the quaking soul, 

From two wall-paintings, both done in the fourteenth century, one in Islip 
church, the other in the neighbouring church of Beckley, Oxon. 

14 In Turchill s recital of the vision he had of the next world, 
especial notice is taken of this weighing of the good and bad 
deeds done while the soul was in the flesh ; and the chapter 
headed " De ponderatione bonorum et malorum " gives the follow 
ing description of it : Qusedam vero libra, sequa lance dependens, 
affixa erat super murum inter apostolum et diabolum cujus pars 
media dependebat ante conspectum diaboli exterius ; habebat 
itaque apostolus duo pondera, majus et minus, omnino nitida et 
quasi aurea. . . . Accesserunt ergo animse ex toto nigrse cum 
magno timore et trepidatione, una post alteram, singulse pondera- 
tionem operum suorum ibidem visurse bonorum et malorum ; nam 
pondera prsedicta ponderabant singularum opera animarum, se- 
cundum quod fecerant bonum sive malum. Cum ergo statera s 
versus apostolum inclinaret per suorum librationem ponderum, 
tollebat apostolus animam illam et introduxit earn per portam 
orientalem, quae conjuncta erat basilicse, in ignem purgatorium,. 
ut illic crimina expiaret ; cum vero pars staterse ad diabolum se 

PAET I. CHAP. IX. 161 

with its few good (197) deeds; within the other 
are all its sins, which the devil, under the shape of 
a horned hairy beast, (198) strives to make heavier, 
as he pulls at the beam, to make it lean towards 
his side. At the other end we behold the 
Blessed Virgin Mary, befriending, by her prayers 
to heaven, the poor forlorn sinner under trial, 
and in whose behalf she triumphs, as she with 
stands the wicked one ; for, by casting her rosary 
upon the balance, she turns it, and so wins a soul 
from Satan and for heaven. While by her rosary 

inclinaret et prseponderaret, mox ille cum satellitibus suis animam 
miseram nimis ejulantem . . . rapientes cum multo cachinno prse- 
cipitabant in foveam profundam et flammivoram, quse secus pedes 
diaboli librantis erat. De hujusmodi libratione bonorum et malo- 
rum in sanctorum patrum scriptis ssepius reperitur (Roger of 
Wendover, Flores Hist., ed. Coxe, iii. 196) [R.S., Ixxxiv. ii. 22, 23]. 
The weighing of the soul is often spoken of in our old national 
literature: H There was a man y e whiche was rauysshed in 
Jugement tofore God, for he had moche synned. And the devyll 
was there and sayd, ye have no thynge on this soule but it ought 
for to be myn, for 1 have therof an instrumente publycke, and 
by the ryght of this instrument publyke he oughte to be juged 
to me. And thenne our Lorde sayd, late the man speke, 
but the man spake not. And the devyl sayd yet agayne, the 
soule is myne, for yf he hathe done ony good dedes y e wycked 
dedes passeth the good withoute comparyson. . . . And our 
Lord sayd, brynge forthe the balaunce, and late all the good and 
evyl be weyed, and than veryte and ryghtwysnes sayd to the 
synner, renne with all thy thoughte to the Lady of mercye whiche 
sytteth by the Juge, and studye to call her to thy helpe, and 
whan he had so done, the blessyd vyrgyne Marye came to his 
helpe, and layde her hande upon the balaunce on y e syde where as 
were but few good dedes, and the devyl enforced hym to draw 
on y e other syde, but the moder of mercy wanne and obteyned, 
and delyvered the synner. And thenne he came agayne to hym- 
self and amended his lyfe. Y e Golden Legend, imprinted by 
Wynkyn de Worde, 1527, fol. ccxx. 



that well-known string of beads 15 this queen 
of saints, Mary, the virgin, the holy, the spotless 
Mary, reminds her Lord, her Saviour, and her 
Son Christ of His birth, His death, His rising from 
the grave, His going up to heaven, she beseeches 
Him through all and each of those mysterious 
doings of His love towards His creature man, to 
forgive that poor soul its sins, and wash its stains 
away in His own all-cleansing blood. Only 
through this same precious pardoning grace- 
bestowing blood of our Divine Redeemer can the 
faithful in this world earn for themselves, to be 
enjoyed in the next, 


As there have been, so till time itself be done 
there ever will be, in Christ s one holy Church 
on earth, some saints, some happy beings, for 
whom the grave is but a gate that leads im 
mediately to heaven. Not trusting to their own 
strength, they (199) willingly arm themselves with 
all those graces so freely bestowed upon us from 
above. Emboldened by such helps, they wrestle 
with and worst deadly sin in all its shapes. If, 
while walking through this world s slippery wind 
ing paths, it happen with them, in some watchless 
moment, that they stumble ; like children crying 

1S The "beads," or rosary, and its kind of prayer, will be ex 
plained a little further on. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 163 

to their father, they call upon God to lift them 
up again, and as they get once more on their 
feet, they bid the heart to weep its tears of 
sorrow, and make them flow upon the stain with 
which their fall may have blotted their bap 
tismal garment, and thus bring back to that 
robe its first unspotted whiteness. Aware, more 
over, that the tree can be known only by the 
fruit it yields, those who are striving to be Saints, 
now think as Saints have always thought it not 
enough to keep themselves guiltless of sin, but 
they try, with God s help, to bring forth good 
works : they do their best to hallow their Divine 
Master s name by fastings, and prayers, and other 
deeds of holiness ; and they show their love, by 
proving their kindness toward their fellow-man, 
through the alms, the endowments, and the many 
kinds of things wrought by them for his ghostly, 
no less than bodily wants. By means like these, 
the Saints of every age have ever laid, and those 
living still lay up to themselves treasures in 
heaven. 16 The trial of such bright souls is sure 

16 Peirs Plouhman lays a heavy stress upon the doing of all 
kinds of good works in order to win the kingdom of heaven, while 
he says : 

Ac vnder his secre seel-treuthe sente [hem] a lettere 
And bad [hem] bygge baldly -what [hem] best lykede 
And sitthen sellen hit a-5eyn-and saue ]>e wynnynges 
Amenden meson-dieux j>er with -and myseyse men fynde 
And wikkede weyes-with here good amende, 
And brygges to-broke -by J>e heye weyes 
Amende in som manere wise -and may denes helpen ; 
Poure puple bedreden-and prisones in stockes 


to (200) be followed by that gladsome call to the 
fellowship of angels, and the beatific presence of 

Fynde hem for Godes loue-and fauntekynes to scole ; 
Releue religion -and renten hem bettere ; &c. 

Visio William de Peirs Plouhman, Passns x. 26-36 [ed. Skeat r 
1873, p. 159]. What the poet sang, the preacher said in stronger 
words : " Ryght he (God) wyll that men be uncertayne of theyr 
frendis whan they bene deade, in what state that they bene, for 
that they shoulde alwaye be besye to helpe theyr sowles with 
masses syngynge, almes doinge, with beades byddyng, and other 
good dedes, not onely for helpe of hym, but of other that haue 
lyttell helpe or none. Also for encreacyng of their owne mede. 
For who soo that trauayleth well for an other trauaylethe best for 
hym selfe." Dives and Pauper, the Fyrste Command, cap. xl., London, 
Berthelet, 1536. I2mo. While reasoning upon good and evil, the 
writer of the above valuable " Dialogue " says with great truth : 
" For there is no man worthy to be punyshed for a synne that he 
may not flee, ne worthy to be rewarded for a good dede that h& 
may not leaue. But for that man dothe well, whan he myght 
do amysse, he is worthy to be rewarded. And for that he dothe 
euyll, whan he myghte do well, and leaue his mysdede "t wyl not, 
he is worthy moche peyne." Ibid., xxv. fol. 39. " Medeful " is a. 
word which he often applies to good works. 

In no one corner of Christendom was what religion taught about 
good works, so beautifully shown, or the doings which followed 
from that doctrine carried out with so much splendour and muni 
ficence as in England. By far the greater number of those fine 
rich colleges and halls in Oxford and Cambridge, all our old cathe 
dral, collegiate, and most part of our parish churches were begun, 
built, and endowed with their broad acres, by our Catholic fore 
runners, and all through the Catholic teaching of good works. 
Under the same religious feelings they founded hospitals, collected 
books into libraries, threw causeways over swamps, spanned 
streams with bridges, and with the widest love for their fellow- 
men bestowed upon this country some of its best, because most 
useful, public works. Noticing at Plympton, the " grete causey of 
stone, having an archid bridge at eche ende of it : " running across 
the low salt marsh there, Leland tells us how a " merchaunt of 
London caullid Stawford chauncid to be at Berstaple to by cloth,, 
and saw a woman ryding to com over ; and the tyde cam so sore 
yn, that she could not passe ; and crying for help, no man durst 
cum to her, and so she was drownid. Then Stawford toke th& 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 165 

God " Well (201) done, good and faithful servant, 
enter thou into the joy of thy Lord : " for 

prior of Berstaple a certen summe of money to begyn this causey 
chekid on eche side and the bridgges, and after payid for the per 
forming of it " (Itin., ii. 75). The bridge at Bedeford upon Turege 
is a very notable worke, and hathe xxiiij. arches of stone, &c. A 
poore preste began thys bridge ; and, as it is saide, he was ani- 
matid so to do by a vision. Then al the cuntery about sette their 
handes onto the performing of it ; and sins landes hath be gyven 
to the maintenaunce of it. Ther standith a fair chapelle of our 
Lady trans pontem at the very ende of it, and there is a f raternite 
in the toun for preservation of this bridge : and one waitith con 
tinually to kepe the bridge clene from al ordure. Ibid., 76. 

One Lovebone, vicar of Wadebridge, movid with pitie, began 
the bridge, and with great paine and studie, good people putting 
their help therto, finished it with xvij fair and great uniforme 
arches of stone. Ibid., 82. 

One Cloptun, a great rich marchant and mayr of London, having 
never wife nor childern, convertid a great peace of his substance 
in good workes in Stratford, first making a sumptuus new bridge 
and large of stone, wher in the midle be a vi. great arches for the 
maine streame of Avon, and at eche ende certen smaul arches 
to bere the causey, and so to passe commodiusly. The same 
Cloptun made in the midle of the towne a right fair and large 
chapelle, enduing it with 50 li. lande, by the yere, wher as v 
prestes doth syng. And to this chapel longgith a solemne frater- 
nite. And at such tyme as needeth the goodes of this fraternite 
helpith the commune charges of the towne in tyme of necessite 
(ibid., iv. 27) Johannes Rous, capellanus cantuarise de Guy-cliffe 
qui super porticum australem librarian! construxit, et libris orna- 
vit (ibid., 61). There is a grammer-schoole on the south syde 
of this chappell (of the Trinity), of the foundation of one Jolepe, 
borne in Stratford, whereabout he had some patrimony, and that 
he gave to this schoole. There is alsoe an almes-house of 10 
poore folkes at the south syde of the chappell of the Trinitye, 
maintained by a fraternity of the Holy Crosse (ibid.., 67). Abbot 
William made the east ende of the church (of Winchecombe). 
The parishoners had gathered a ^200, and began the body of the 
church ; but that summe not being able to performe soe costly 
a worke, Rofe Boteler Lord Sudeley helped them and finished the 
worke (ibid., 72). On the southe syde of the chaunsell of S 
James s church in Brakeley is a faire chapell or isle., and there 
be in the wyndow sydes in stone imagis beringe woll sakks in 



(202) So were our forefathers taught ; so did they 
believe ; 17 and holding, as they did, the one same 

theyr hands, in token that it was of the stapelers makyng (ibid., 
vii. 5). A cardinale and archebisshope of Cantorbyri gave a 1000 
markes or li. to the erectynge of London bridge (ibid., 11). A 
mason beinge master of the bridge house, buildyd the chapell 
on London bridge, a fundamentis propriis impensis (ibid.}. Syr 
Thomas Countre, parsone of Ingestre, and Sir Randol, a chauntre 
preste of Stafford, made S. Cedde steple, a fair square tour, and 
the belles of Stafford toun (ibid., 24). John of St. Helen s was 
the first beginner of Burford bridge, to the maintenance of which, 
and of the hospital of St. Helen s that he had founded, he left 
an estate in land of 50 pounds a year. Geffry Barbour was the 
principal founder of Culham bridge, toward which, and to the 
finishing of Burford bridge, and to the making of the fine causey 
between both bridges, he gave 1000 marks (ibid., 71). 

The seven works of mercy corporal are figured in one of the 
stained-glass windows, Geystwick (Blomefield, Norfolk, viii. 219). 
The stripling head of the Protestant Establishment, Edward VI., 
could not help acknowledging the merits of good works "Know 
ing that to relieve the poor is a true worshipping of God, required 
earnestly upon pain of everlasting damnation : and that also, 
whatsoever is given for their comfort, is given to Christ himself, 
and so is accepted of him, that he will mercifully reward the same 
with everlasting life." Injunctions, in Wilkins, Cone., iv. 7. 

17 That the souls of the good are carried to heaven instantly 
after death, is a truth expressed repeatedly in our old literature : 
Decebat nimirum Beatum Cuthbertum aliquid spirit ualiter agere 
cujus spirit um cum Deo in coelestibus hereditarie pacis eternse 
gloriam novimus possidere. Reginald of Durham, Ik Admirand. B. 
Cuthberti Virtut., p. 41. Of Matilda, St. Margaret s daughter, and 
Henry I. s wife, or, as our countrymen a long while loved to call 
her, "Molde the good Quene " (Thomas Rudborne, Hid. Minor., in 
Wharton, Anglia Sac., i. 276), Roger of Wendover says : Obiit 
Matildis regina Anglorum, cujus corpus apud Westmonasterium 
quietem sepulturse accepit, et anima ejus se coelum possidere evi- 
dentibus signis et miraculis crebris ostendit (Flores Hist., ii. 194) 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 167 

(203) faith that the ancient Fathers held, our 
countrymen drew for this, as they could draw for 
any other (204) article of their creed, many an 
exposition from the writings of those venerable 
witnesses of the olden times. 

" 1F It is to be knovven, as saynt Austyn sayeth, 
that al they that departe out of this worlde, or 
(205) they ben ryght good or ryght euyll or 
bytwene both. . . . And they y* ben ryght good : 
been they that anone flee to heuen, and ben quyte 
of the fyre of purgatorye, 1 of helle also. And 
ther ben thre maner of people, y* been chyldren 
baptysed, martyres T; parfyght men. Thyse ben 
they that parfyghtely mayntenyd the loue of God, 
the loue of his neyghbour and good werkys. And 
thoughte neuer to plese the worlde. But to God 
only, 1 yf they hadde done ony venyall synne, it 
was put anone aweye by y e loue of charyte, lyke 
a drope of water in a fornays, and therfore they 
bere no thynge with theym that oughte to be 
brent. And who y* prayeth for ony of thyse thre 
maner people, or doth ony suffrages for theym, he 
dothe to them wronge. 

" IF And to thyse maner people is the heven 
anone open whan they departe. Ne they fele no 
fyre of purgatorye, T: this is sygnefyed to us by 

[not in JR.S.]. While sorrowing over the death of Simon de Mont- 
fort, killed at the battle of Evesham, the minstrel tells us how : 

Sire Simoun, ly prodhom, e sa compagnie, 
En joie vont en ciel amount, en pardurable vie. 
Political Songs of England, ed. Wright, p. 127. 


the thre to whome y e heven was opened. It was 
fyrst opened to Jhesu Cryst whan he was baptysed 
and prayenge, by whiche is sygnefyed that the 
heven is open to them that ben baptysed, bothe 
yonge or aged yf they deye : anone they flee in to 
heuen, for baptysme is clensyinge of all orygenall 
synne and mortall by the vertue of y e passyon of 
Jhesu Cryste. 

" ^ Secondly, it was opened to Saynt Stephen 
whan he was stoned, wherof it is sayed in thactes 
of thappostles, I see the heuens open ; and in this 
is sygnefyed y* it is open to al martirs. And they 
fle anone to heuen as soone as they departe. 

" 1" Thyrdely, it is opened to saynte Johan the 
(206) euangelist, whiche was ryght perfyte, wherof 
it is sayd in thapocalypse, I behelde, and lo the 
dore was open in heuen ; by whiche it appereth 
that it is opened unto parfyte men, that haue all 
accoplysed theyr penaunce, and haue in theym no 
venyal synne, or yf ony happen to be commysed, 
anone it is consumed, and extyncte by y e ardoure 
and charyte. And thus heuen is open to these 
thre manere of people which entre lyghtly in for 
to regne perpetuelly." 

Besides being laid down so clearly in books of 
religious teaching, this same truth is put forward 
in all the lighter writings of our early literature : 
that all those who had been listening to his 

18 Y e Golden Legend, fol. cccix. London, Wynkyn de Worde, A.D. 


PART I. CHAP. IX. 169 

strains might, at death, be carried straight up to 
heaven by angels, was the wish with which an old 
English minstrel would often end his song. 19 

To win this cloudless happiness, it was needful to 
live a life harmless of evil, and fruitful of good works. 
Left by himself, man can do neither ; strength 
and help must be sent down to him from (207) 
above. Of those several means which a bountiful 
God has vouchsafed to employ for upholding them, 
one is to lend His children spirits from the skies. 
All this our forefathers were well taught to under 
stand ; and the English, like the Anglo-Saxons, 
believed that, besides the whole of Christ s 
Church on earth being overseen especially by 
St. Michael, 20 

19 The following, or such like verses, are the last words in many 
of our metrical tales : 

All that hath herde this talkyng, 
Lytill, moche, old, and yyng, 

Y blyssyd mote they be : 
God yeue hem grace whan they shal ende 
To heuyn blys here sowles wend 

With angelys bryght of ble. 
Syr Gowghter, in Early Pop. Poetry, ed. Utterson, i. 190. 

20 He (St. Michael) was prynce of the Synagoge of the Jewes, 
but now he is establyssed of our Lorde prynce of the chyrche of 
Ihesu Christe (Y e Golden Legend, fol. cclxviii). Long before the 
Golden Legend was written, our countryman Robert Pulleyne 
had put forth the same opinion in his " Sentences " : Nam in 
Daniele legimus Michaelem principem populi, scilicet Judseorum 
. . . sed et post et per crucem Domini, dux populo Dei suo cum 
exercitu de non gente ad gentem Dei, de perfidia Judseorum ad 
conversionem gentium migrasse creditur. Robert Pulleyne, Sen- 
tent., p. 194 [P.L., clxxxvi. 881]. 



to be his guide, his defender, his friend to wake, 
and think, and pray for him to carry his suppli 
cations unto God to walk with him in all his 
ways to overshadow him with the wings of 
heaven s protection, both day and night to be 
a witness of his thoughts, his speech, his deeds, 
gladdened by what is holy, made sad at what is 
evil in them. 21 

21 Certa res est, dum animse peregrinantur in corpore, singulas 
singulis angelis deputatas . . . qui dum commissos sibi custodiunt, 
ipsos et a malis defendant, et in bonis adjuvant (ibid.). Sicut 
autem omnis anima, ita et omnia regna custodiis angelorum man- 
cipata creduntur (ibid.). Another of our native writers, John 
Bromyard, says : Tertius (ordo) est angelorum qui deputantur 
ad custodiam singularis persons ad modum custodis unius loci. 
De istis Hieronymus super Matthreum lib. 3. Magna (inquit) est 
dignitas animarum ut unaquseque habeat ab ortu nativitatis in 
custodiam sui angelum deputatum, &c. (Summa Prsedicantium, 
Part. Prim., xxii. 60). The same doctrine was spoken to the 
people from the pulpit : a preacher, at the beginning of the xiii 
century, told his hearers that "We radeS on boc jJ elch man 
haveS to fere on engel of hevene on his riht half, J5 him wisseS 7 
muneget) evre to don god," &c. (Reliquiae, Ant., i. 131). Of the 
archangel, Pulleyne says : Ipsum Michaelem) quoque cum suis, 
ac prsecipue proprium cuj usque angelum proprias cuj usque preces 
puto perferre ante tribunal judicis; nonquod absque eorum minis- 
terio sanctorum desideria ignoraret, verum quod obsequi gaudent 
auctori, prodesse homini, dum preces nostras coelicolis annunciant, 
ac pro nobis apud Deum interpellant. Robert Pulleyne, Sentent., 
pp. 195, 196 [P.L., clxxxvi. 883]. 

In his answer to the question of Dives, "why ben aungelles 
paynted in lykenes of yonge men, sythe they be spirites and haue 
no bodies ? " Pauper, among other things, says : " Also somtyme 
they be painted armed with speare, swerde, and shielde, in token 
that they ben redye to defende us fro the fendes that bene besye 
nyghte and daye to lese us. For but if holy aungels holpen us 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 171 

(208) If all through life, still more so at the 
awful hour of death, did our fathers hope that 
Christ would (209) have their souls in His holy 
keeping, by His angels aid. Wholly trusting in, 
they besought His kindness to send down, Michael 
and his fellow-angels to bear their fleeting souls 
from earth to heaven. 22 The advice of one of our 
old Catholic writers is that "We oughte for to 
gyve honoure to the holy companye of aungelles, 
and to praye theym for to kepe us in this wretched 
lyfe from our enemyes the devyll, the worlde, and 
the flesshe, that after whan we shall departe they 
presente our soules unto Almighty God in heven, 
there to dwelle and abyde sempyternally wyth 
them." 1 These, and other such hallowed senti 
ments, naturally flowed from the Church s teaching 
in her public service, 24 and spread (210) them- 

and defende us, t kept us lettyng the fendes malyce, we myght 
not withstond ne be saued. And therfore right as euery man t 
woman hath a wycked angell assigned to hym by the fende to 
tempt him : so hath he a good aungell assigned to hym of God, to 
saue hym, yf he wyll folowe his rule." Dives and Pauper, The 
Fyrste Command., cap. viii. fol. 19. 

22 Ipsi (Michaeli) enim data est potestas super animas sanctorum, 
ut eas perducat in paradisum exsultationis (Robert Pulleyne, 
Sentent., p. 195) [P.L., clxxxvi. 883]. Talking of angels minis 
trations towards men, Bromyard says : Tertius actus est pern- 
cere, quod fit dupliciter. Primo orationes nostras et opera bona 
Deo prsesentando, sicut advocatus causam coram judice (Tab., 12). 
" Quando orabas cum lacrymis et sepeliebas mortuos, . . . ego 
obtuli orationem tuam Domino." Secundo animas in fine in 
ccelum deportando sicut servus invitatos ad nuptias deducendo. 
Summa Pr&dicantium, Parte prima, p. 61. 

23 Y e Golden Legend, fol. cclxxii v . 

24 The belief that God s angels, more particularly St. Michael, 
came down to fetch the soul of every good Christian at the time 


selves, as they should, over the thoughts, amid 
the writings, and through the daily speech of our 
countrymen. Whether, therefore, an individual 
strung his words together in rhyme during the 
sunniness and mid-day of life, 25 or at its evening 
tide sat down, sick and sad, to make his dying 
will, he spoke of his hopes that God s angels 
would come for his soul at its forth-going. 26 At 
the death of (211) some among the most beloved, 
because most loving, of His children, the Almighty 
is said to have allowed His Ministers presence to 
become known upon earth. At times, though 

of death, is set forth in more than one passage of the Sarum 
liturgy : the Missal, at the mass for the dead, has these words in 
the offertory : Signifer sanctus Michael repnesentet eas (animas 
defunctorum) in lucem sanctam, &c. [ed. Dickinson, ii. 867*] : and 
by the Manual, the priest, while ministering to the dying, had to 
pray thus : Domine sancte . . . clementiam tuani deposcimus, ut 
animam famuli tui N. ad te revertentem cum pietate suscipias ; 
assit ei angelus testamenti tui Michael, et per manus sanctorum 
angelorum tuorum in sinu Abrahse patriarche tui earn collocare 
digneris, &c. [See York Manual (Surt. Soc.), p. 55.] 

25 The writer of Peirs Plouhman makes Truth say to the man 
who has spent his life in good works, that at his death : 

"And ich shal sende 50 w my-selue-Seynt Michel myn Angel 
That 110 deuel shal 50 w dere-ne despeir in 5oure deyinge 
And sende ^oure soules-}>er ich my-self dwelle 
And ]>ere a-byde body and soule-in blisse for euere." 

Visio William de Peirs Plouhman, Passus x. 37-40 [ed. Skeat^ 
p. 1 60]. 

26 In his will (dated A.D. 1428), John Pigot speaks thus: In 
primis lego mediantibus B. Petro et Sancto Wilfrido, ac omnibus 
Sanctis, animam meam, in conductu beatissimre matris Jesu 
Christi, et in custodia sanctorum Michaelis et angeli custodis 
michi misericorditer deputati, presentari disposicioni, pietati, ac 
immense bonitati Conditoris ac Redemptoris mel, &c. Test. Ebor., 
: p. 416. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 173: 

few and far between, unto living eyes has it been 
given to behold a band of angels lighting up the 
skies, as they flew and wafted heavenward the 
good man s soul, glistening like a ball of clearest 
crystal, 27 or veiled within that cloud of brightness- 
which the beams from their own wings threw 
about it : 2S living ears have heard those (212) glad 
some strains of the angelic choir, and were spoiled 
for this world s music after drinking in the sweet 
ness of that celestial song. 29 Our forefathers 

27 Thus is it that St. Godric,, the hermit of Finchale, describes 
the form of a happy soul which he saw take its flight heavenward : 
Animam, inquit, istius de qua perquiris, in similitudinem cujusdam 
venti arentis vidi et fervidi, quasi undique in rotuiido schemate in 
spherica corporis similitudine regirantis. Species vero quse sub 
tali forma comparuit instar vitri lucidissimi splendidissima tota 
refulsit, quam candor nimius inexplicabili albore coruscus undique 
totam obduxerat. Reginald of Durham, De Vita et Mirac. S. 
Godrici, p. 5 1 . 

28 Speaking of the holy people who had lately died, one at 
Durham, the other at Hastings, St. Godric says : Quorum spiritus 
utrique a ministris angelicis suscepti, istis videntibus oculis, ad 
gaudia ccelestia sunt translati. Nempe ssepius evenit ut qui paris 
meriti fuerant coram Domino, licet de diversis regionibus asciti,. 
eadem pariter hora, pari sorte perpetuandi corona, transferantur 
ex hoc mundo. Nam angelis in tale ministerium missis, spatia 
locorum nihil obstando prsepediunt ; quia in momento et ictu 
oculi in diversis regionibus hora eadem Dei prsecepta perficiunt. 
Et nunc utrique spiritus illorum cum choris angelicis perpetua 
felicitate Isetantur, ubi, donati mercede seterna, cum Domino in 
coelestibus gloriantur. Reginald of Durham, De Vita et Mirac. S. 
Godrici,p. 174. In his description of the death of Edward III. s 
queen, Philippa, Froissart says : Soon after the good lady made 
the sign of the cross on her breast, and gave up her spirit, which 
I firmly believe was caught by the holy angels and carried to the 
glory of Heaven, for she had never done anything, by thought or 
deed, that could endanger her losing it. Chronicles, translated by 
Johnes, i. 428. 

29 Eadem etiam hora qua spiritus viri Dei (Godrici) ad ccelestia 
conscendit, puella qusedam parvula de vicina villula Neutune- 



(213) belief upon this point is set forth in many a 
beautiful work which, notwithstanding the smash 
ing hammer and the daubing brushes of ruthless 
fanatics, the arts of the Middle Ages have happily 
bequeathed to us. Sculpture strove with painting 
which should speak it best, and both of them 
have left examples wherein we may behold angels 


winging their flight from earth to heaven, and 
bearing along with them the soul just breathed 
from out the body. 30 

vocata, dum ad pascua nemorum cum ovibus prodiit, cantilenas 
vocum multarum dulcimodas in aera dulciflue resonantes audivit ; 
quas avidius aure interiori prosequens, paulatim comperit ad 
superiora conscendere, ac de Finchale prodeuntes minutim vocum 
claritudinem, sonoritudinem ac dulcedinem subtrahendo per 
supera diminuere. Erant nimirum supernorum voces civium, qui 
animam viri Dei ad coelestia perducebant, et in tympano et choro 
et organorum modulo mellifluo, illius transitum et exitum circum- 
vallantes, usque ad sedem gloriae perlustrabant. De Vita et Mime. 
S. Godrici, p. 331. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 175 

(214) That the Saints whose souls are now in 
heaven, do not and never will forget their fellow- 
men on earth, but while thinking of, will pray 
for them to God, was a part of our national 
belief: in fact, 


had ever been looked upon as one among the 
articles of her Christian faith by England, from 

30 In all these representations the soul is always shadowed 
forth to our eyes under the likeness of a little child quite naked, 
standing upright with raised hands, and from the waist downwards 
muffled in a sheet so white and thin it seems a cloud the folds 
of which two angels are holding in their hands, as they carry their 
ghostly burden heavenward. Most illuminated books of " Hours " 
have this subject figured at the beginning of the prayers called 
the " Commendationes Animarum " : in one manuscript written 
and limned by an English hand, sometime about the end of the 
fourteenth century, and now in my possession a soul is thus being 
borne by two angels, one clothed in green, the other in scarlet 
long-flowing garments, from this world, represented by the grass- 
covered earth, upwards to the blue-studded heavens, in the midst 
of which is the Almighty, holding a globe in the left, and bestow 
ing his blessing with his outstretched right hand. 

During the ages of faith, angels, being the ministers of God, 
were represented in the paintings and carvings of our churches 
and the illuminations of our manuscripts, as clothed in the alb and 
stole of the sacred liturgy, besides being winged. The symbolism 
of this is explained to us by the author of Dives and Pauper, who 
says : " Also they (aungelles) ben paynted with stoles about their 
neckes, in token that they be alway redy to serue Godde and 
manne at Goddes byddynge. And therfore they ben called 
Administrator ii spiritus. That is to say, spirites of seruice (Heb. i). 
For they serue God, in rulyng of mankynde and gouernaunce of 
this worlde. They ben paynted fethered and with wynges, in 
token of lyghtnes and deliuerenes in her werkes. For in a 
twinclynge of an eye, they maye be in heuen and in erthe, here 
and at Rome, and at Jerusalem" (fol. i8 v ). At the present time, 
when art partakes so much of paganism, God s holy angels are 
figured as naked fat boys or heathenish cupids. 


the day she cast aside her heathenism till that 
unhappy hour, in the sixteenth century, when 
she cut herself off from God s one Church by 
changing her religion. 

As much after as before the coming of the 
Normans, this country showed, by her various 
pious practices, and the religious usages of her 
people, 31 by her (215) devotional exercises, her 
pious foundations, and all her rubrical arrange 
ments, how sure she felt that the saints above 
were making intercession for her and hers, and 
how highly she esteemed such a pledge of their 
abiding love. In all our old service-books be 
they churchmen s missals, breviaries, or proces 
sionals, or " hours " and primers for layfolks 
whether after Salisbury, York, or any other 
English use, we find the Intercession of Saints 
and Angels put forward in a conspicuous way. 
This, too, is discernible in the foundation-deeds 

31 The following extract will show us the way in which the 
people were warned of that reverential feeling and awe they ought 
to take with them for God s house whenever they went thither ; 
how heart and voice should be uplifted to Him while they stayed 
beneath His Church s roof ; and how its titulary saint was to be 
invoked there by them : At tu a modo procurato, ut more ordi- 
nario, Christianis omnibus institute, quotiens ecclesiam ingressurus 
ad hostium veneris, fixis in terram genibus, devotissime prius 
limina, et postea et hostia deosculeris, et deinde digitis ita tribus 
dexterse protensis, semper sacrosanctse crucis vexillo introitum 
tuum prsemunire memineris. . . . Et quam diu infra septa ecclesiarum 
fueris, semper jugi meditatione, ore et voce, ad Dominnm intendas, 
et Sanctum ilium, in cujus nomine locus ille sacratus fuerit, 
interpellare rion desinas ; omniaque meditationum incestarum 
inquinamenta penitus a corde tuo removeas. Reginald, De S. 
Cuthberti Virtutibus, p. 258. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 177 

of our old colleges and hospitals, as well as in 
those bequests at any time made to churches and 
pious institutions. It is to be seen in those 
public documents written to the faithful by the 
bishops, as they called upon (216) them to do 
works of holiness and repentance. 32 Our kings, 

32 In the preamble to an indulgence of forty days, which 
Richard de Bury, bishop of Durham, granted (A.D. 1334) to all 
those who, truly contrite and having confessed their sins, should 
visit Durham Cathedral, we perceive the sound way in which the 
doctrine of the Church regarding the Intercession of Saints is 
noticed : Cum ad promerenda sempiterna gaudia, Sanctorum sint 
nobis suffragia plurimum opportuna, loca Sanctorum omnium pia 
sunt devotione fidelium veneranda, ut dum Dei veneramur amicos 
ipsi nos amicabiles Deo reddant, et illorum quodammodo vindi- 
cando patrocinium apud Deum quod merita nostra non obtinent 
eorum mereamur intercessionibus obtinere (Raine, St. Cuthbert, 
p. 104). Many long years before the birth in this land of Pro 
testantism, its objections were by anticipation answered by abbot 
Hugh, thus : 

INT. Quid dicis ? Numquid invocantibus nobis per tarn diversa 
terrarum spatia disjunctis sub eodem momento prsesentes (Sancti) 
sunt ? Quomodo hoc possunt qui ubique non sunt ? 

RESP. Verum est plane, quia Deus solus essentialiter est ubique. 
Sancti vero, qui in summa pace in ipso vivunt, et nobis caritate 
non desunt, sua quidem essentia ubique non sunt ; sed hoc constat 
manifestum quia eorum beneficia sub eodem tempore per diversa 
terrarum spatia fidelibus adsunt. . . . Johannes quidem dicit : Similes 
Deo erimus, quoniam videbimus eu>n sicuti est (i Johan. iii. 2). 
Videntes itaque Videntem omnia quid non videbunt ? Scientes 
Scientem omnia quid ignorabunt ? . . . Merito ergo ecclesia ubique 
terrarum diffusa ad eos suis in necessitatibus clamat, cum se 
ubique ab eis audiri cognoscat, et eos sibi adesse patrocinando 
sentiat : quos dum veneratur et amat, in sanctis Sanctum qui 
sanctos fecit honorat et colit et pnedicat, &c. Dialogi [P.L., cxcii. 
1222]. Hugh was the first abbot of Reading, A.D. 1123. How 
wayward is error : often among those who stray from the 
Church s fold, some like to follow the Church s teachings after 
their own fashion. Deeming so very well of herself as to think 
she would go after death straight to heaven, and find her husband 
there, Lady Jane Grey, all Protestant as she was, told her father, 

VOL. in. M 


a Richard, whose hand was as strong (217) to 
strike as his heart was unquailing when he met 
his foeman, our Edwards and Henries ; our 
warriors, whose names are synonymous with 
hardihood, trusted, after God, on the Saints 
intercession with Him in their behalf, to come 
out of the perils of the fight unharmed and 
conquerors. 33 When the fields (218) were gaping 
after months of drought, and the crops had 
everywhere been scorched up by cloudless sun 
shine, our churchmen would walk in procession 
with their people, singing the litanies, and carry 
on their shoulders the enshrined relics of their 
patron saint, whose intercession, they trusted, 
might bend God to listen to their united sup 
plications. Often, very often, was the strength 
of such entreaties shown : a little tiny speck that, 

in a note written by her own hand in her prayer-book, now among 
the manuscripts at the British Museum (Harl. 2342), that she 
would, in the other world, pray that is, intercede for him : 
And I, for my parte, as I haue honoured youre Grace in this life, 
wyll praye for you in another life. Your Gracys humble daughter 
Jane Duddeley. 

33 While speaking of those feelings of reverence towards re 
ligion so deeply rooted in the breast of Richard 1., Wendover 
says : Haec et his sirnilia virtutum opera regem nostrum Richardum 
coram summo Deo reddiderant gloriosum, unde nunc merito, cum 
venisset tempus miserendi Dei, de locis, ut credimus, poenalibus 
translatus est ad regna sine fine man sura, ubi militi reposita est 
a rege Christo, cui fideliter servivit, corona justitise, quam repro- 
misit Deus diligentibus se. Gaudent de ejus societate sancti illi, 
quorum sanctas redemit reliquias a Salaadino in terra promissionis 
pro quinquaginta duobus bizantiorum millibus, pacto interposito 
cum eisdem sanctis, ut apud Deum in suprema necessitate sua suis 
eum intercessionibus adjuvarent. Roger of Wendover, Flares Hist., 
iv. 239, 240 [R.S., Ixxxiv. iii. 26, 27]. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 179 

just after the solemn array had gone forth, was 
seen to dot the hard, sunny sky, spread itself out 
to a wide black watery cloud, that spilt its 
shower upon the praying throng, and drenched 
it before it could hurry back to the church, and 
take shelter from the welcome rain. 34 (219) If 
the English soldier chose St. George, the Welsh 
man took St. Margaret for his befriending saint 
in the battle-storm ; 85 and the English Cistercian 
monk sought and got, from the competent autho 
rities, leave to show how deeply he valued the 

34 Quodam namque tempore, intemperati soils ardor tantus 
terree superficiem torrebat tantaque siccitas atiris imminebat ut 
fructuum segetumque species omnes pene frustrarentur ; quidam 
viri religiosi Eboracensis ecclesise canonici, communi fratrum 
devotione ad impetranda B. Joannis ssepius probata suffragia 
Beverlacum venerunt, ut illius meritis perurgente propulsa 
calamitate, luctuosa cunctorum querimonia commune verteretur 
in gaudium. Et quoniarn sancti pontificis dies solennis instabat 
affectu supplici rogant et rogando benigne collaudant ut beati viri 
corpus circa ecclesiam, licet tali die non consuevissent, honore 
debito deferretur. . . . Praeparatis igitur omnibus prout diei dig- 
nitas exigebat, beati corporis sarcinam piis subeuntes humeris, 
clerus Isetabunda voce, plebs summa cum devotione, utrique cum 
non minima cordis contritione progrediuntur. . . . Jam modicum 
processerant cum subito parvula nubes imbriferis concita ventis 
visa est. . . . Cum jam partes ecclesise orientales transissent, 
mirabile dictu, tanta facta est pluvise inundatio ut antequam 
regrederetur, ornamenta quibus festive clerus decorabatur, et 
cunctorum commeantium vestes largifluis destillarent imbribus, 
&c. William Kecell of Beverley (c. A.D. 1060), Mirac. S. Joannis 
Beverlacensis, in A A. SS. Maji, ii. 175. 

35 Petitio abbatis de Nept in Wallio qui petit fieri festum 
beatae Margaretse in domo sua tantum qme frequenter guerrarum 
multiplicitate turbatur, ut facilius retineat guerrarum persecu- 
tores, qui quodam modo in maxima devotione et reverentia dictam 
virginem habent, in cujus honore habent capellam dedicatam, 
exauditur. S^ahtta anni 1 247, Cap. General. Ordinis Cisterciensix, in 
Martene, Thes. Anecd., iv. 1388. 


intercession of his country s illustrious martyr, 
St. Thomas of Canterbury, by saying not merely 
one, but two Masses, on the festival of that 
defender of the Church s liberties. 36 Of even 
those periodical (220) amusements which, tak 
ing their colour from the creed of our people, 
showed that, in the olden times, this land was 
so thoroughly Catholic, some brought this Inter 
cession of the Saints by another, but no less 
striking way, to men s thoughts. The pageant 
of the boy-bishop vested as St. Nicholas, the 
little meek-eyed girl arrayed as St. Catharine, 
walking in procession, with a crowd of lights 
about her, the bands of rosy children guised as 
Holy Innocents, crowned with flowers, and skip 
ping and singing as they went from door to door 
through the town at Childermas-tide, were shows 
that gladdened, while they taught, all classes in 
the commonwealth to think of God and heaven. 37 

36 In festivitate S. Thomse martyris, Anglis ab olim concessse 
sunt duse missse, ceteris una. Statuta auni 1185, Ordinis Cister- 
ciensis, in Martene, Thes. Aneccl, iv. 1258. 

37 The xii daye of July (A.D. 1541) there was a proclamacio . . . 
neither y e children should be decked, ne goo about upon S. Nyco- 
las, S. Katherin, S. Clement, the holy Innocens, and suche like 
dayes (Fabyan, Chronicle, ed. Ellis, p. 702). What used to be 

done on those feasts, we partly learn from the Decree itself for 
bidding them, which says: Upon Sainte Nicolas, sainte Cathe- 
ryne, sainte Clement, the holy Innocentes, and such like, children 
be strangelye decked and apparelid to counterfaite priestes,. 
bysshopps, and women ; and so ledde with songes and daunces 
from house to house, bleassing the people, and gatherynge of 
monye, &c. (Wilkins, ConciL, iii. 860). That the sour grimness 
of those men who began at the end of Henry VIII. s reign to- 
overset religion, was not liked by our countrymen, is shown by 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 181 

By such harmless (2 21) representations the Church 
said to every one, " young men and maidens, let 
the old with the younger praise the name of the 
Lord ... a hymn to all his saints." 38 

From the Intercession, our next step naturally 
leads us to 


as practised by our English forefathers. 

For a thousand years and more, this island s 
cathedrals, and minsters, and parish churches, 
used to ring with the notes of that sublime and 
heart-awakening litany which we English Catho 
lics, and our brothers in the true belief of all 
tribes, and tongues, and nations, from pole to 
pole, from the rising to the setting sun a world 
wide people (222) still sing so often in our 
services. During the Rogation, or, as they were 
then better called, the gang-days, 39 and whenever 

the fact that when these same harmless usages were brought up 
again in Mary s reign, the good citizens of London rejoiced at 
seeing them once more, for Machyn tells us : " The v day of 
Desember was Sant Necolas evyn, and Sant Necolas whentt 
a-brod in most partt in London syngyng after the old fassyon, 
and was reseyved with mony good pepulle in-to ther howses, and 
had myche good chere as ever they had, in mony plasses " (Machyn, 
Diary, 121). The xxiv day of November, being the eve of saint 
Katharine, at six of the clock at night, sant Katheryn s lyght 
went about the battlements of Saint Paul s with singing, and 
sant Katheryn gohying a prossessyon (ibid., 1 79). Of St. George s 
day and its procession^ notice has already been taken in this 
work (vol. ii. p. 343). 

38 Psal. cxlviii. 12, 14. 

39 Beginning from the earliest periods of Anglo-Saxon Church 
history, we find that the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday in 


any swart evil had betided this land, our clergy 
and people went in procession through the streets 
of the town, and about the fields of the country 
parishes, with Christ s holy rood and banners, 
wrought with the figures of His saints, borne 
before them ; as St. Austin did, when he landed 
in Kent, and began to preach the faith. 40 While 
going thus along, Saxons and Normans each 
in their times made the city s walls, and the 
hills and valleys of each rural district, to send 
back the name of every one of those saints upon 
whom they were then calling to help them by his 
or her prayers in heaven, as they themselves, 
wretched sinful men, were beseeching on earth 
their one common Lord and Father above to 
hear their cry for grace, and to forgive them 
their misdeeds. 41 (223) The meaning of this 

Ascension week, were called gang-days, through the custom of 
ganging or walking in religious procession ; now they are known 
as the Rogation days. A writer in Mary s reign, tells us how 
" in gaune wyke callyd Rogasyon weke they whent a prosessyon 
with baners in dy vers plases . . . and they had good- chere after." 
Machyn, Diary, p. 236. 

40 Beda, Hist. Eccl, i. 25. 

41 In the "Ordo quomodo secclesia debeat dedicari," in the 
Egbert Pontifical, pp. 27-30, one of the forms of this litany, as 
used among the Anglo-Saxons, may be seen ; though shorter, it 
differs but slightly from the form now employed throughout the 
world, and given in the " Missale Romanum, in Sabbato Sancto," 
and at the end of the " Breviarium Romanum." In the printed 
Sarum " Processionale," wherein it is to be found at the end of 
the "Ordo processionis in secunda feria in rogationibus," and in 
both parts of the Portous, wherein it comes after the seven 
penitential psalms, the English saints names are not so many 
as they are in several MSS. A fine psalter, owned by myself, 
hand-written, and of this country, besides those among our native 
saints enumerated in the printed Salisbury sei vice-books, invokes, 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 183 

rite itself, and the nature of the doctrine bound 
up along with it, were carefully (224) unfolded to 
the people in those books which they loved so 
well to read : one of such works says : " After in 
this processyon syngulerly we calle the suffrages 
of all sayntes. And why we call to the sayntes, 

in the litany, St. Oswald, St. Eadmund, St. Grimbald, St. Athel- 
wold, St. Dunstan, St. Egwin, St. Columban, St. Etheldritha; 
and in that other splendid psalter which John Grandison, bishop 
of Exeter, called in his will "psalterium pulchrius," as he be 
queathed it to Isabel, Edward III. s daughter, and I am glad to 
say now in my possession are enumerated St. Alban, St. Edward, 
St. Richard,, St. Guthlac, St. Columba. The litany comes likewise 
in the English and Latin Primer (A.D. 1556). According to Salis 
bury use, the clergy walked within the church in procession, 
singing the litanies, each Wednesday and Friday during Lent. 
Processionale in Dominica prima Quadrag. [ed. Henderson, 1882, 
pp. 32-41]. 

The litany of the saints used to be sung, as it would seem, in 
parts of England every Sunday at the procession before high 
Mass. For a short period the olden liturgy was brought back 
again, and followed, among other places, at Durham, when the 
people of the north arose in arms to fight for the use of their 
fathers and the nation s venerable and primitive religion. When 
tried for what he had done at the cathedral during that time, 
William Smith, one of its minor canons, acknowledged that he 
" helpt to singe mattens and evensonge, and went after the cross 
in procession, with Ora pro nobis, and havinge a Processioner dely- 
vered to him by Th. Mathew, the chanter," &c. Depositions, &c. 
from the Courts of Durham, p. 138. 

Having maimed our beautiful old Catholic litany, and shrivelling 
up our equally fine old English bidding prayer, the men of new 
doctrines who drew up the "Book of Common Prayer" com 
pounded out of both what is now called the " Litany " in the 
service of the Establishment. The Sunday procession, in which 
the old litany used to be sung, was put down by Edward VI. 
(Wilkins, Cone., iv. 6) ; yet even after this, the Litany is called 
by Protestants the " Procession," for Cranmer, in his mandatum 
ordering a public thanksgiving to be made for a victory over the 
Scots (A.D. 1547), directs the dean and chapter of St. Paul s, 
London, to cause the procession in Englishe, and "Te Deum" 
to be openely and devoutelie songe. Ibid., 18. 


dyuers reasons ben assygned heretofore. But yet 
there ben of y e generall wherfore we praye the 
sayntes. Fyrst for our pouerte, 1 for glorye of 
sayntes, and for reuerence of God. For the 
sayntes may well knowe the vowes T: the prayers 
of the suplyautes. For in the mirrour perpetuall, 
that is (225) Jhesu cryst, they understonde how 
moche it apperteyneth to theyr joye and to oure 
profyte. The fyrst reason is for our pouerte "i for 
our myserye, or for our defaute we haue some 
meryte, to the ende that where our merytes ben 
not suffycyent, the suffrages of sayntes may auayle 
us. Or for defaute that we haue in contem- 
placyon of God, 1 that we may se perfytly the 
lyght souerayne that we se t beholde in his 
sayntes. Or for defaute that we haue in louynge 
God. For we se that some shewe more greter 
affeccyon to a saynt than they do to God, T: suche 
people ben imperfyte. The seconde reason is for 
the glory of sayntes ; for God wyll that we calle 
the sayntes. By cause that by theyr suffrages 
that we requyre, we gloryfye them, T: the more 
gretely we prayse them. The thyrde reason is 
for the reuerence of God, to the ende that the 
synners that haue offended God, that which dare 
not approche to God in theyr persones, they 
approche hym by the frendes of God, in de- 
maudynge theyr suffrages." 

42 Ye Golden Legtnd, fol. xxvi. Imprinted by Wynkyn de Worde, 
A.D. 1527. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 185 

It was not only as clad in weeds of peace or the 
livery of their gilds, our countrymen wended, in 
long-drawn processional array, amid the shady 
lanes and the green meadows of the still hamlet, 43 
or along (226) the city s streets, all hung with 
silks and tapestry ; but also when girt in iron and 
sword in hand, with death glaring upon them on 
the battle-field, that they cried unto the saints in 
heaven, and besought their prayers with God. 
It was when England s kings dashed into the 
hottest thickness of the fight, bidding all to fol 
low, that they called aloud upon St. Edward and 
St. George. 44 It was as he put his spear in rest, 
and pricked his steed forward to the charge, that 
England s knight asked his Saviour s forgiveness, 
and begged St. Mary and all Hallows to pray for 
him. It was when the storm of battle raved the 

43 Several notices of these gang-day processions about the fields, 
with their flags and banners, may be found in our old writers. 
Odd mistakes sometimes happened from them : Die Lunse Ascen- 
sionem Dominicam praecedente, rapta est Comitissa Lancastrise. 
. . . Dumque sic foemina duceretur, ecce in itinerando inter sepes 
et nemora, inter Haulton et Farnaham existentia, ductores vident 
eminus vela et vexilla ; aderant enim sacerdotes cum populo, 
facientes processiones more solito circa campos. Walsingham, 
Hist. AngL, p. 108 [R.S., xxviii. i. 148]. 

44 Rex Edwardus proinde frendens apri more, et ab ira et dolore 
turbatus, evaginato gladio, Sanctum Edwardum, et Sanctum 
Georgium invocavit, dicens : Ha Sant Edward, Ha . . . George ; 
quibus auditis et visis, confestim Anglici confluebant ad regem 
suum, &c. Jbid., p. 168 [R.S., xxviii. i. 274]. Philippa, Edward 
III. s queen, after having ridden among the troops, before the 
onset at the battle of Neville s Cross, took her leave, and re 
commended them to the protection of God and St. George. 
Froissart, Chron., i. 174. 


wildest, and stout English hearts, stouter because 
they beat beneath St. George s broad red cross 
that shone upon their breasts, went rushing (227) 
on the foe, that they shouted their well-known 
war-cry "St. George for England." When at 
last, the hardest push, the death-struggle, was to 
be made for victory, the words from an Edward s or 
a Henry s burning tongue that bade it, were, " in 
God s name and St. George s! banners, forwards!" 
yes, and that soul-stirring thunder- like Amen, 
which burst forth in shouts, rending the clouds, 
from fiery thousands, was " St. George for Eng 
land ! " 45 Cressy, and Poitiers, and Agincourt, 
were fought and won by Englishmen, whose on 
slaught was loudly pealed out in a cry from bold, 
not craven lips, to God, and God s happy saints in 
heaven. But when the hazards of the fight were 
over, when the fear of defeat had been turned 
into gladness for a well- won field, and every heart 
beat merrily, did Englishmen s thoughts (228) of 

45 They (the English) gave a shout of " St. George for Guienne ! " 
and Sir John Chandos said to the (Black) prince : " Sir, Sir, now 
push forward, for the day is ours : God will this day put it in your 
hand/ &c. The prince replied ; " John,, get forward ; you shall 
not see me turn my back this day, but I will always be among the 
foremost." He then said to Sir Walter Woodland, his banner- 
bearer, "Banner, advance in the name of God and St. George !" 
(Froissart, Chronicles, ed. Johnes, i. chap, clxi., Battle of Poitiers, 
p. 219). Our Black Prince went into battle at Navarretta with the 
same words (ibid., p. 371). The Golden Legend tells us that "this 
blyssed and holy martyr saynt George is patrone of this reame of 
Englond, and y e crye of men of warre." Wynkyn de Worde s 
edition, fol. cxix. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 187 

God and of his Hallows fade away ? No, they 
glowed the warmer ; and as an everlasting thanks 
giving to Heaven for its kindness, that saint s 
festival upon which a victory such as that of 
Agincourt had been gained, was, at the beseech 
ing of king, lords, warriors of all degrees, and 
the whole country, written down by the Church 
in her calendar as a high-day, and ordered to be 
so kept for ever after throughout this land. 46 

(229) The people, who knew that in giving this 
secondary, this lower honour to God s well-beloved 

40 Anglicanse ecclesise_, cujus laudes et prseconia in Dei et sanc 
torum suorum devota veneratione prse cseterarum regionum et 
provinciarum ecclesiis orbis attollit universus., sacra promeretur 
auctoritas, ut ipsorum laudibus eadem ecclesia magis exuberet, 
&c. . . . novissimis hiis diebus almifici confessoris et pontificis 
sui beatissimi Johannis de Beverlaco, ut veraciter confidimus, 
suffragio speciali ecclesiam prsedictam, una cum prcefatis regni 
proceribus, incolis et membris universis miraculosius dignatus est, 
et evidenter specialius consolari. Ea nempe consolatio ineffabilis 
. . . ac semper memorise revocanda christianissimi videlicet prin- 
cipis Henrici regis Anglise quinti et sui exercitus in bello de 
Agincourt nuper in partibus Picardise commisso, gratiosa victoria 
qure in festo translations dicti sancti ad laudem divini nominis et 
regni Anglise honorem, ex immensa Dei misericordia Anglicis est 
concessa ... ad dicti christianissimi principis nostri instantiam 
specialem, memorati confessoris sanctissimi memoriam ubique per 
nostram provinciam praedictam votivis et devotis aftectibus duxi- 
mus exaltandam . . . statuentes . . . quod festum depositionis 
dicti sancti Johannis . . . cum regimine chori secundum usum 
Sarum ecclesise, per provinciam nostram futuris temporibus per- 
petuo celebretur. Cseterum, quia in festo translations ejusdem, 
de sanctis Crispino et Crispiniano consuevit quasi per omnes 
ecclesias provincise nostne celebrari, statuimus, quod de csetero 
singulis annis dictus dies vicesimus quintus mensis Octobris, ob 
tarn notabilis rei memoriam ubique per provinciam nostram, 
Celebris habeatur. Statutum H. Chicheley, in Wilkins, Cone., 
iii. 379. 


friends and servants because they were such, they 
thereby worshipped God himself, knew too, that 
for a like reason they might, while asking the self 
same kind of aid, render the self-same sort of 
homage to the angelic spirits ; and so they did. 
Of all that heavenly host their guardian angel 
as he should be was the first unto whom our 
forefathers were wont to call, and him did they 
invoke at their morning and evening prayers. 47 
Such an Anglo-Saxon, such a Norman, such an 
old (230) English devotion 48 is not as yet worn 
out even among the Protestants of England ; and 
our rural population the last to forget, and 
always most loth to give up an olden religious 
practice, still teach their children to kneel down 
before they go to sleep, and say those rough 

47 Credo quod sis angelus sanctus a Deo omnipotente ad custodiam 
mei deputatus ; propterea peto et per ilium qui te ad hoc ordinavit 
humiliter imploro, ut me miseram, fragilem atque indignam semper 
et ubique in hac vita custodias, protegas a malis omnibus atque 
defendas, et cum Dominus hanc animam meam migrare jusserit, 
nullam in earn potestatem demonibus habere permittas, sed tu 
earn leniter a corpore suscipias, et in sinu Habrase suaviter usque 
perducas, jubente ac juvante creatore et salvatore Domino nostro, 
qui est benedictus in secula seculorum. Amen Cotton MS., 
Titus D. xxvii. fol. 74, of about the time of the Normans, and 
written in this country. 

48 Very likely this strong English feeling of reverence for God s 
angels, was the reason why a large gilt figure of a cherub had been 
set, as we learn from an old writer, on the top of Canterbury 
cathedral s spire : Sed cum jam prope civitatem (Cantuariam) 
f uisset, mox ut pinnam ecclesise et cherubin aureum vidit, quasi 
coelestis cherubin virtute repulsus ultra progredi non potuit. 
Osbern, Mirac. S. Dunstani, in Mabillon, A A. SH. 0. B. vii. 68 1 
[R.S., Ixiii. 1 54]. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 189. 

rhymes which their sires, for hundreds of years, 
have said as they begged God s saints and angels 
to watch around the bed whereon they were about 
to slumber. 49 

(231) Catholic England, as every other believing 
country does, and always has done, took care to 
make her inward faith known through her out 
ward actions through devotional usages which 
could not be mistaken or applied amiss, except 
wilfully, because all might learn, for all were 
taught their true end and meaning. Among those 
various ceremonies hence thought of, one was 

49 Those well-known rhymes which, in our lonely villages and 
hamlets all over England, the country-people yet teach the first 
lispings of their young children to say as a short prayer at night 
before they go to sleep, embody an invocation of saints, and are- 
founded on a belief in the guardianship of angels : 

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, 

Watch the bed I lie upon : 

Four corners to my bed, 

Four angels there lie spread, 

One at head, and one at feet, 

And two to guard me to Heaven s gate. 

One to sing and two to pray, 

And one to carry my soul away. 

If I should sleep and never wake, 
Pray to God my soule to take, 

Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

From a feeling akin to this self-same belief were our old sepulchral 
monuments designed : very many of our venerable Catholic Eng 
lish grave-brasses have the symbols of the four Evangelists 
figured, one at each corner of them ; and as often may be seen 
two angels kneeling by the head of the sculptured effigy that lies 
stretched out, with hands clasped and uplifted in prayer, upon the; 
beautifully wrought high tomb. 



Stretched upon the bed of sickness, or when over 
taken by mishaps or sorrow, the individual called 
not only upon God, but begged some saint to pray 
for him and along with him to their common Lord 
and master. With his own hands, the suppliant, 
or, if too weak, some friend, bent for him a gold 
or silver coin, with a promise that should he be 
(232) restored again to health, or freed from his 
unhappiness, he himself would go and carry that 
piece to the church of the saint whose intercession 
he had asked. 50 A vow was thus in a manner 

60 Fuit in Cicestrensi dioecesi, quidam Simon nomine et uxor illi 
nomine Catharina, Deum timentes. Prsedicta igitur mulier. in una 
mamillarum suarum graviter coepit infirmari. Vocato itaque viro 
suo, ambo pariter B. Richardi (Cicestrensis) auxilium invocantes, 
facto voto, denarium ad ejus tumbam offerendum complicant, &c. 
(Vita et Mirac. ti. Richardi Cicextrensis, in A A. 8S. Aprilis, i. 309). 
Mensuratus ad comitem (Simonem de Montfort) et denario compli 
cate, statim surrexit et convaluit (puer qui per medium diem 
jacuit extinctus). Rishanger, Chron., ed. Halliwell (C. S.), p. 74. 
This expression often occurs in the " Miracula " : Denario plicato 
et deaurato (ibid., 84). Et mirum contigit de denario plicato 
perdito et qusesito, et tertia nocte in lecto suo mirabiliter invento 
(ibid., 88). Cum audisset (W. de Uffenham) a quibusdam vicinis de 
miraculis quse Deus operatus est apud Evesham per merita comitis 
Symonis, plicavit unum denarium Deo solvendum pro sanitate 
recuperanda (ibid., 92). Compare : Forte S. Godrici memoria animo 
languentis occurrit, et mox denario curvato, se illius sepulchrum 
invisuram devovit (matrona), si ipsius meritis mortem jam ei 
imminentem posset evadere, . . . mox antequam domi rediret ad 
ejus sepulchrum advenit, et denarium curvatumofferens, nobis hsec 
omnia revelavit (Libellus de Vita et Mirac. S. Godrici, p. 443). 
Cubicularius suus locutus est ei (Magistro Gilberto de S. Leofardo) 
" Domine dicitur quod multa miracula fiunt pro Symone de 
Monteforti et sociis suis ; bonum esset vovere vos sibi, ut videtur." 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 191 

spoken, and (233) the bent-up silver coin, at the 
same time it was an earnest for the fulfilment of 
the sacred promise, became an abiding token of 
its having been plighted. 

Another and not less expressive way of giving 
utterance to those same feelings of holy trust in 
God, was for the sick man to make a vow of 
carrying unto a particular saint s church or shrine, 
as soon as recovered health would let him, 


that is, as long as he was tall in stature, or as 
much in length and thickness as happened to be 
the crippled or ailing member of his body. Often, 
too, a small waxen likeness of himself, or at least 
of the limb which had been cured of its smarts, 
was promised and duly brought by the healed 
person, on the day of his thanksgiving. 51 In 

Cui respondit languidus, " Placet michi quod sic fiat ; plica sibi e 
sociis denarium, qui apud Evesham secum requiescunt, et si con- 
tingat me hujus passionis amaritudine expirare, deferas illuc 
denarium vitae meae. Si vero possum evadere, ipsos personaliter 
visitabo." Et ecce hoc facto, stimulus cruciatus tanti subito 
mollescit. . . . Et die Dominica . . . cum vicinis suis ecclesiam 
corporaliter visitavit, et in signum suse convalescenciae quandam 
ymaginem cerse apud Evesham destinavit. Rishanger, Chron., 
p. 104. 

Perhaps the " broken silver " and the " broken money " (fracta 
pecunia) of which the keepers of St. Cuthberht s shire at Durham 
made mention in their accompts (Raine, Si. Cuthbert, pp. 140, 149, 
1 50), may have been so many pieces of this so bent money. 

51 Of this once very favourite but now quite disused custom, 
there lie scattered through our national ecclesiastical documents 
many and curious notices, a few of which are here brought before 


all this there was (234) an acknowledgment of 
Heaven s almightiness and kindness ; and the 

the reader : Johanni de Langele misso per preceptum Reg , usque 
Cicestr cum oblationibus ejusdem Reg , pro eisdem ad feretrum 
Sancti Richard! ibidem nomine suo offerend , pro expensis suis et 
stipendiis unius haken easdem oblationes portantis, videit. unum 
pannum ad aurum et mensuras ipsius R. in cera, Manfredo de 
Pa via misso per preceptum Regis usque Wygorn cum consimiP 
oblationibus, pro eisdem ad feretrum Sancti Wolstani nomine suo 
offerend , &c. Lib. Quotid. or Wardrobe Account of Edward /.,p. 97. 
Contigit in familia nobilis dominse comitissse de Arundel quse in 
castro de Lewes moram fecit tune temporis, quemdam puerum 
illius quondam nobilis viri Hugonis de Bigod fratris pnedictse 
comitissse et justitiarii Angliae, gravi morbo infirmitatis detineri; 
quern B. Richardus aliquando de sacro fonte levarat . . . qusedam 
puella genere nobilis, tarn flentium lacrymis quam pueri morientis 
afflictione commota, petito licinii filo, puerum coepit mensurare 
sub his verbis B. Richardum invocans et ingenti fidei devotione 
dicere : "OS. Richarde multa miracula tuis sanctis meritis fieri 
prsedicantur in terris : unde peto suppliciter, ut si vera sunt quse 
dicuntur, in puero isto, tuis sanctis manibus sacri baptismatis 
unda perfuso, nunc digneris ostendere et beatam Virginem 
Mariam, quam in terris specialiter dilexisti, interpella, ut, ipsa 
juvante ac Filium suum interpellante, puer iste, in mortis articulo 
constitutus, tuis precibus pristinae restituatur sanitati, et quern 
nominis tui vocabulo decorasti, in tui quoque nominis invocatione, 
Christo prsestante, reddatur incolumis." Vix autem puerum 
mensurando verba compleverat, et ecce puer . . . statim ad 
plenum integrse redditus est sospitati, &c. Vita et Mirac. S. 
Richard* ep. Cicest., in A A. SS. Aprilis, i. 309. 

Alia matrona de Herterpul filium suum desperate aegrotantem 
Sancto Godrico devovit, quern postmodum secum illo perduxit. 
A fratribus igitur ibi commorantibus candelam ad pueri corpus 
languidi dimetiendum, et sic cum lumine ofFerendum petiit, emit, 
et accepit ; cujus candelse longitude vel mensura adeo adsequata 
corpori infantis existit, quod mirum in modum in nulla parte ejus 
mensuram vel longitudinem excessit (Libdlus de Vita et Mirac. 
S. Godrici, p. 411). Desperata igitur omnibus Sancto Godrico 
filiam suam jam seminecem devovit, et corpus illius cum capite 
candela mensuratum circumcinxit (ibid., p. 427). Sancto Dei 
Godrico se devovit (clericus), et laneis solummodo indutus et 
nudis pedibus ad ejus sepulchrum progressus cum candela qua 
se prius mensuraverat, accensa, ibi noctem insomnem transigere 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 193 

end looked at, while making (235) these several 
sorts of vows, was that the very act of fulfilling 

decrevit (ibid., 455). Puer quidam de partibus Lincolniae . . . 
pervenit ad mortem. . . . Mater, cujus fides inter lachrymas cum 
filio extincta non fuerat, cum multa fiducia ad corpus accessit, 
acceptoque filo candelis faciendis idoneo, puerum in omni dimen- 
sione mensurare coepit, &c. Roger of Wendover, Flores Histor., ed. 
Coxe, iii. 164 [R.S., Ixxxiv. i. 310]. 

Richardus de Hertforde carpentarius, dum esset in reparatione 
stagni cujusdam molendini, qusedam strues lignorum cecidit super 
pedes ejus et eos ita contrivit quod se movere non potuit . . . 
pedes suos fecit mensurari ad comitem Simonem. Et hoc facto 
dolor apparuit levigatus, &c. Rishanger, Ckron. Mirac. Simonis de 
Montfort, p. 79. Alicia soror W. rectoris ecclesise de Werinton 
. . . inflaturam sustinens per quam dubitabatur earn morte 
subitanea extingui, haec autem de consilio quorumdam eidem 
assistencium ad comitem Symonem mensurata, convaluit. Hujus 
rei testimonium perhibuit dictus Willelmus qui candelam men- 
suratam apud Evesham detulit (ibid., p. 80). Galfridus de Say, 
miles de Essex . . . mensuratus ad comitem Symonem, sine mora 
convaluit (et), Johannes de Hyke candelam suam apud Evesham 
detulit (ibid., p. 83). Prior Sancte Crucis de Waltham, gravi 
infirmitate detentus . . . fratres circumstantes fleverunt et dixe- 
runt " Bonum est ut sis mensuratus ad comitem Symonem " ; at 
ille negavit, dicens, "Absit aliquo religiose facere votum, sine 
preecepto prselati," &c. (ibid., 83). Nobilis puer de Essex, habens 
intirmitatem ab infancia . . . mensuratus ad comitem Symonem, 
convaluit. Unde, in signum sanitatis, detulit capud cerae apud 
Evesham, et candelam suse longitudinis et latitudinis. Ibid., 86. 

Quidam clericus Robertus nomine de Vindriaco castello in 
Anglia sito ... a morbo qui cancer dicitur in inguine percussus 
est ... necessitate constrictus auxilium S. Gibriani . . . invocare 
compulsus est. Ait enim intra se dicens : O mi Pater . . . pre- 
cibus et invocationibus semper prsesto es . . . precor ut miserearis. 
His dictis filum accepit, et in gyrum coxam suam mensuratus est 
votumque vovit, et ait : ad mensuram istius fili, si me respexeris, 
candelam faciam, et ecclesiam tuam cum omni devotione requiram 
(A A. SS. Maji, vii. 647). On this passage, the editors of the above 
volume of that invaluable work observe : Nihil usitatius Anglis, eo 
tempore, Sanctum aliquem invocantibus fuisse, quam hujusmodi 
votivas mensurationes, docebant miracula S. Thomse Herefor- 
diensis, &c. (ibid., 648). During the siege of Limoges, by the 
English (A.D. 1183) mulieres intra muros castrum stupse filo 


them should help to hallow God s name (236) 
amongst men. As the bearer went and left that 
candle, or image, or silver coin the witness of 
his (237) words upon the altar, or before a 
shrine, he thereby meant to speak his loudest 
thanks in hearing of his (238) own and after 
times, and to say that while unto God alone was 
he indebted for the health and strength sent back 

cinxerunt ex quo candelas multas fecerunt, quas S. Martiali aliisque 
ecclesiis diviserunt (ibid-., 539 ; et Jnnii, v. 571). This shows that 
the practice was followed by the French as well as English. This 
wick, of such a length as to reach all about the camp, was perhaps 
made into very thin tapers by those good women, in fulfilment of 
their vow. Our English custom was, that sometimes the bed on 
which the sick man lay should be measured all round, after the 
above-noticed fashion, with a wick to be wrought up for the same 
purpose. In some of these instances it is likely that these long 
strings of wax taper were not very thick, and instead of being cut 
into sizes short enough for use at the altar and about the church, 
were left in their one entire length, coiled up, however, into folds, 
so as to form what we are to understand by " trindles," or rolls of 
wax, which the " In junctions " of Edward VI., at the change of 
religion, forbade, in these words : They shall take away, utterly 
extinct, and destroy all shrines, covering of shrines, all tables, 
candlesticks, trindles, or rolls of wax, pictures, paintings, and 
all other monuments of feigned (!) miracles, pilgrimages, &c. 
Wilkins, Cone., iv. 7. Ite lychinum facite de eodem grabatum 
in quo jacet (homo Leminer nomine qui in villa quse dicitur 
Berningeham segritudine gravi detinetur) in circuitu cingite, 
.scilicet a capite per dextram partem usque ad pedes, deinde a 
pedibus per Isevam usque ad caput, et postea lychino ceram 
superponentes, candelam facite : ipse vero si tantum convaluerit 
eamdem candelam in insulam Ely ad ecclesiam virginis Etheldredse 
deferat, aut per aliquem nuntium fidelem mittat quatenus per 
orationes ejus ab hac innrmitate convalescat. Thomas of Ely, 
(c. A.D. 1163), Ada S. Etheldredse, in A A. SS. Junii, iv. 551. Facta 
candela recepta omnium membrorum sanitate, de lecto surrexit, 
et ad ecclesiam sanctse Virginis candelam secum portans laetus 
et hilaris perrexit. Quo cum pervenisset, super altare candelam 
posuit, &c. Ibid., 552. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 195 

to him, he believed that through the " communion 
of saints "-saints prayers in heaven help in 
winning such a happiness had been afforded him. 
For a memorial then of God s never-tiring love 
towards men, and for a mark that their fellow- 
servants about their common master s throne 
above had not forgotten those on earth, the 
grateful receiver of Heaven s goodness had 
brought his piece of silver money, his huge 
taper, or his waxen effigy, and hung it up there, 
to be, as his plighted offering, another amid a 
thousand tokens which instance how good God 
is, and how strong with Him are the prayers of 
the saints making intercession in our behalf. 52 

(239) Glowing with warmest gratitude, our 
countrymen used to vow themselves to become 
the servants 53 as it were unto that particular saint 

52 A minister of the Protestant Establishment, Mr. Raine, 
says "It is some gratification, however, to find that even in the 
darkest period miracles were believed to be wrought, not by the 
virtue of the Saints, but by the power of God. Even Reginald, 
one of the most credulous of hagiologic writers, says: Omnia 
quidem (Sanctorum) opera digna pneconio sunt, quia singula 
ipsorum in Dei potentia et ipsius nominis gloria facta sunt." 
De Adm. S. Cutliberti, ed. Raine, Preface, p. x. 

53 Uxor etenim militis cujusdam de Sussessia, cui oculorum 
csecitatem vehementia diuturni languoris intulerat, audiens hoc 
modo occubuisse dominum Cantuariensem, divinitus inspirata in 
has ilico voces erupit : " Sancte martyr Christi Thoma, tibi me 
devoveo ; si mihi subveneris in hoc periculo, cum devota oblatione 
locum tuse requiestionis adibo." Vix verba complevit, et optato 
diu lumine eadem hora potita in brevi de residue morbo perfecte 
convaluit (Edward Grim, Vita S. Tlwmse, Cantuar. et Martyris, 85) 
[K.S. 9 Ixvii. ii. 440]. Mater autem nimium consolatione repleta, 
ipsius S. Willielmi servitio filiam devovit, et ad propiia, post 
publicationem tanti beneficii per S. Willielmi sutfragia a Deo 


through the aid of whose intercession they had 
more immediately received from God the blessing 
which they so much wished for ; and to give a 
fresh pledge of their strong attachment, they 
would sometimes change their own baptismal 
name for that of their holy and befriending 
patron. 54 The blind, the lame, the (240) aged, 
who lived by begging about the churches, often 
began their petition for an alms by asking it 
for the sake of that saint before whose shrine 
the person solicited was kneeling. 55 When the 
year brought round the festival of some distin 
guished servant of Christ, the priest of the parish 
thought such a solemnisation not kept with due 
honour unless he fed the hungry, clothed the naked, 
mended the wants of the needy, and made befitting 
cheer for those among the clergy and lay-folks of 
the upper walks of life who chose to come and 
hallow the day by joining in its services. 56 Our 

percepta, curn puero remeavit. Acta S. Willielmi archiep. Eborac.^ 
in AA. SS. Junii, ii. 145. Recepta omnium membrorum sanitate, 
de lecto surrexit (vir) et ad ecclesiam sanctse virginis (^Ethel- 
dredse) perrexit . . . factaque oratione non modica . . . servum se 
beatse virginis ^Etheldredse ex corde puro devovit, &c. Miracula 
S. jEtlieldredee, in A A. SS. Junii, iv. 552. 

54 Hunc Sancto Godrico toto corpore candela mensuratum 
devovit ; sed puer eadem nocte convaluit, &c. Quse filium suum 
illuc sanum cum candela sua detulit, et de Radulfo Godricum 
nominari fecit ; quatenus ejus adepto nomine sanus in posterum 
viveret, &c. Libellus de Vita et Mirac. S. Godrici, p. 435. 

55 Unde ad orantem mox accessit (pauper), et pro Beati Cuth- 
berti amore, alicujus beneficii alimoniam ab eo expetivit. 
Reginald, De Adm. S. Cutliberti Virt., p. 161. 

56 Hoc enim ei (sacerdoti qui matrici ecclesiae quse in Ardene sita 
. . . deservivit) semper erat consuetudinis, pauperes videlicet in 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 197 

poets, too, (241) were not slow in awakening 
their lays, and many a beautifully illuminated 
codex, written and painted by an English hand, 
is filled with the metrical lives of saints. 57 

Amid, however, all those star-like souls glowing 
round the throne of God, the brightest to our 
forefathers eyes was Mary, the sweet, the holy 
virgin the mother of Christ, the mild, the spot 
less Mary : her that one created being hallowed 
by her Maker and Redeemer with a light of glory 
outshining the dazzling fire gushing from the 
choirs of burning cherubim, did they look upon 
and love before every other saint ; unto her did 
they as children cry; her as their fond mother 
did they beseech to become the bearer of their 
sighs, and promises, and prayers, to her Divine 
Son. Nothing could be warmer than 



(242) But why ? Was it for her mere self for 
any unbestowed holiness dreamed of as abiding 

die sollempnitatis beati Cuthberti alimento reficere, inopum angus- 
tias subveniendo relevare, nudis operimentum pro viribus adminis- 
trare, miserosque, quantum possibilitas permittebat, in fovendo 
relevare ; honestiores vero personas, tarn cleri quam populi, hospitio 
suscipere, et onine eis humanitatis obsequium sollicitus exhibere. 
Ibid., p. 127. 

57 In the British Museum, among the Cotton and Harleian 
MSS. ; at Oxford, in the Bodleian and Ashmolean libraries ; at 
Cambridge, in Corpus Christi College library, without naming 
many other smaller collections, may be found several codices of 
the Saints lives versified. Perhaps the most valuable MS. of the 


in her of her own ? No ; even to have thought 
that she had anything which she did not get from 
God s free gift, would have been looked upon 
as wrong a sin. Our forefathers loved her so, 
because Christ had loved her ; had filled her with 
grace ; had made her the highest, holiest of all 
created beings ; had taken His flesh of her womb ; 
had wished, as He (243) still wishes, all His fol 
lowers to love her for His sake. 58 How did this 
country s feelings show themselves on such a 
subject? Let us begin with her 

The belief that Mary, the mother of God, lived 

kind, is that one in the Bodleian known as Bodl. 779 a bulky folio 
volume, well written, and with this inscription at the commence 
ment : Here begynnen the tytles of the book that is cald in Latyn 
tonge Salus Anime, and in Englysh tonge Sowlehele. 

68 In one of the " Revelations of love that Jesu Christ our 
endless blisse made in xvi shewings " to Mother Juliana (c. A.D. 
1373), this holy ankress of Norwich says : "And with this same 
cheer of mirth and joy, our good Lord looked down on the right 
side, and brought to my mind where our Lady stood in the time 
of His Passion, and said, Wilt thou see her ? And in this sweet 
word, [it was] as if He had said, I wot well that thou wouldst 
see my blessed Mother : for, after myself, she is the highest joy 
that I might shew thee, and most pleasance and worship to me ; 
and most she is desired to be seen of all my blessed creatures. 
And for the high, marvellous, singular love that He hath to 
this sweet Maiden, His blessed Mother . . . as if He said, Wilt 
thou see how I love her, that thou mightest joy with me in the 
love that I have in her, and she in me ? And also (unto 
more understanding this sweet word) our Lord speaketh to all 
mankind that shall be saved, as it were all to one person ; as if 
He said, Wilt thou see in her how thou art loved ? for thy love 
I made her so high, so noble, and so worthy ; and this pleaseth 
me ; and so will I that it doeth thee. " Revelations of Divine Love 
made to Mother Juliana, <L-c. [pp. 52, 53, ed. Warrack, 1901]. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 199 

and died ever a virgin, was always strongly brought 
before the people s mind in Catholic England, not 
only by ecclesiastical symbolism, but even in the 
national literature. Our poets sang of her : 

Hail beo yow Marie, moodur and may (maid) 
Mylde, and meke, and merciable ; 

Heil sterre, that never stunteth liht, 

Heil bush, brennyng that never was brent, 

Heyl modur, heyl mayden, heyl hevene quene, 

Heyl gatus of paradys, 

Heyl sterre of the se that ever is sene, 

Heyl riche, royall, and ryhtwys, 

Heyl burde, iblessed mote yowe bene ! 

Heyl perle of al perey the pris ; 

Yowe preye to us to thi sone so fre ! Ave. 59 

Taking up the same strain, Chaucer says : 

moder mayde ! mayde moder free, 
bush unbrent, &c. ; 60 

(244) while "Dan Lydgate, monke of Burye," 
chimes in thus : 

Mary moder wel thou bee, 
Mary moder thenke on me, 
Mayden and moder was never none 
Togeder lady saf thou allone. 61 

Not a lonely village church could be entered, nor 

59 Warton, Hist, of English Poetry, ii. 108, 109. London, 1840. 

60 Chaucer, Prologue of the Prioress s Tale [Skeat s Student s 
Chaucer, p. 498]. 

61 "Lyfe of our Lady," MS. Harl. 2382, fol. 86. These lines are 
to be found in the works of other poets of the period. 


an illuminated book of " Hours" opened, but the 
eye was caught by an emblem of her maidenhood 
in the flowering white lily, or some other device as 
easily understood, because so often expounded in 
the popular teaching of those days. Pauper tells 
Dives, that " the image of our lady is paynted with 
a childe in the left arme, in token that she is 
mother of God, and with a lyly or els with a rose 
in her right bond, in token that she is mayden 
without ende, and floure of all women." 62 " There 
be some people," says another old English writer, 
"that asketh a questyon why there stondeth a 
wyne potte wyth lylyes bytwene our Lady and 
Gabriel the angell att her salutacyon. Thys is the 
cause for our Lady at her salutacion conceyved 
by the fey the. 

(245) "! Narratio. 

"IF It byfelle thus upon a cristmasse daye that 
a crysten man and a Jew sat togyder and spake 
of the concepcyon of our Lady ; and as they were 
there, stode a wynne potte tofore them with a 
lylye there in. Thene sayde the cristen man, we 
byleve that our Lady conceyved lyke as thise lylye 
conceyveth the colour of grene. And after 
bringeth forthe a wythe flour wythouth craft of 
man or ony perynge to the stalke, right so our 

62 Dives and Pauper: a Compendiouse Treatyse or Dialogue of 
Dives and Pauper, that is to say, the Ryche and the Poore, upon the 
Tenne Commaundements, 121110. Imprynted by T. Berthelet, 1536, 
cap. vi. fol. 1 6, b. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 201 

Lady conceyved of the holy ghoste, and after 
brought her sone oure Lorde Jesu criste withoute 
ony wemme of her body that is flour and chefe of 
al wymmen. Thene sayd the Jewe, whan I see 
a lyly spryng out of the dede stalke that stondeth 
in this pot, thenne wyll I byleve that thou sayste 
to be true. And anone ther with sprang a white 
lyly out of the dede stoke that stode in the same 
wyne pot. And whan the Jew saw that, anone 
he felle downe to the grounde up on his knees, 
and sayd thus, Lady now I see well that thou 
conceyved with the holy ghoost our Lord Jesu 
crist Goddis sone of heven, and thou were clene 
mayd bothe before the byrth and also after the 
byrth. And soo anone he was cristened. And 
this is the cause wherfore that the potte with the 
lyly is set bitwene oure Lady and the angell." 
This was not all : " sithen ymagerie (246) is but 
a token and a boke of the lewde people," 64 as this 
country has always been taught since Beda s 
time ; 65 even the smallest parts of this symbolism 
were so chosen and put together as to tell its 
meanings not in a general but particularising 
manner. Our knowing craftsmen, therefore, 
showed neither more nor less than three flowers 
as blooming on the top of the one green lily-stalk, 

63 The Festyvall, printed at Rouen, by Martin Morin (A.D. 1499), 
fols. xcix., c. 

64 Dives and Pauper, &c., cap. vi. fol. 16, b. 

65 Beda, Hist. Abb., i. 6 [Plummer, i. 369, 370]. See vol. i. p. 
245, of this work. 



to say that before the birth, in the very birth itself, 
and after the birth of her son Christ, Mary was 
still a spotless maiden the selfsame white un 
sullied flower of 
womankind under 
each of those three 
circumstances. To 
utter, but through 
another sort of 
form, this same 
truth, devices like 
the one 66 here set 
before the reader 
were adopted, and 
our Lady was declared, even after her becoming 
a mother and a widow, still to have ever been a 
Virgin. 67 

66 This scutcheon is in that very curious stained-glass window 
at the west end of Cirencester church. 

67 Upon all kinds of art-work wrought in this country during 
the Middle Ages, is often to be seen the letter M crowned, as the 
monogram of the Blessed Virgin of Mary the Queen of Heaven : 
Una casula de rubeo welweto brodato cum M coronatis, is noted 
down in an inventory (A.D. 1446) of Durham Priory (Wills, &c., of 
the Northern Counties, p. 91); and that beautiful piece of gold 
smith s work, kept along with the founder s jewels at New 
College, Oxford, has the Annunciation well managed within a 
crowned M studded with pearls and gems, and is given in the 
Archaeological Journal, ii. 206. [See opposite.] 

From the following extract, we immediately see why, in so 
many of the older paintings of the Annunciation, the lily-stem is 
figured bearing, at top, three of its white flowers open and in full 
bloom. Small as this incident may look to those who know 
nothing of mediaeval symbolism, it is, however, fraught with 
beautiful meaning. It tells us that our Lady was a spotless maid 
before she brought forth, while she brought forth, and ever after 



(247) If, like the Anglo-Saxon, the Normans and 
the English called upon all God s Hallows all 

she brought forth, her Divine Son Christ our Lord. Erat quidam 

magnus magister de ordine Prsedicatorum, qui per multos annos 

passus est dubitationem maximam de virginitate matris Christi. 

. . . Audiens autem quod sanctus JEgidius erat multum illumi- 

natus, accessit ad eum : 

sanctus autem frater 

^Egidius adventum et 

propositum et pugnam 


illi obviavit ; et ante- 

quam pervenisset ad 

eum, cum baculo quern 

habebat in manu, per- 

cutiens terram, dixit : 

O frater Prsedicator, 

Virgo ante partum. Et 

statim ubi percussit 

cum baculo, est ortum 

uiium lilium pulcherri- 

mum. Et secundo per- 

cutiens dixit: frater 

Prsedicator, Virgo in 

partu, et ortum est 

aliud lilium. Et tertio 


percutiens dixit : O 
frater Prsedicator, Virgo 
post partum, et conf estim 
ortum est tertium lilium. Mayni Specidi Exemplorum, ii. 86. 

Of flowers the rose, but in particular the white lily, have been 
for ages acknowledged as the emblems of our Blessed Lady. This 
country s writers, all along its Catholic epoch, have loved to associate 
these fairest of flowers with the holiest, the sweetest of God s 
works with the maiden mother of His Son. The lily, the emblem 
of maidenhood in general, with our countrymen became the 
especial emblem of that "fayre mayde that was flowre of all 
maydens, for righte as the lylye is whyte "t fayr amonge bryers "t 
other flowres ; ryght soo was our lady among other maidens," &c. 
(Liber Festivalis, De Nativit. B. Marie, fol. cxlvi.). If the rose was 
the common symbol of the blood which martyrs shed for Christ s 
sake, much more fittingly did it become the symbol of her whose 
bosom had ever been filled with thoughts the sweetest, love the 


the (248) saints above for their prayers, like the 
Anglo-Saxon too did they, while doing so, more 

warmest, the holiest, wishes the most hallowed, and whose heart 
the sword of sorrow ran through and through, and was made to 
feel more than the martyr s pang while she beheld her Son hang 
ing nailed upon the rood. This old and beautiful tradition of 
English ecclesiastical symbolism we however find was overlooked 
in the decorations that have been lately applied to several of our 
churches in which the walls of the chapel dedicated to the B. V. 
Mary, and the stained-glass windows put up in her honour, are 
.seen profusely sprinkled with the yellow or golden fleur-de-lis of 
France, instead of her old recognised symbol, her own white silver 
lily. The fleur-de-lis belongs to the Iris family, and therefore is 
quite a distinct flower from the Lilium candidum, or lily. A field 
azure, powdered with fleurs-de-lis or, is, in heraldry, the armorial 
bearing of the royal blood of France. As such, it is found on 
.some few walls and windows in churches of royal foundation in 
England, but with no other than an heraldic meaning in it, and 
only after A.D. 1340, the year when our Edward III. set up a claim 
to the French crown. On whatever else the fleur-de-lis is dis- 
covered, it can always be shown that the article bearing it was 
either made for, or given away by some one of the blood-royal of 
France, and therefore blazoned with the arms of that kingdom. 
The only old, and that not very old, example I know, of the blue 
walls of a chapel being powdered with gold fleurs-de-lis, is at Malta, 
in the church of St. John, in which each nation having knights 
belonging to that order, possessed a small chapel of its own^ 
dedicated to its patron saint, and adorned with its appropriate 
armorial bearings. The chapel belonging to the French knights 
of Malta is dedicated to St. Louis, and has its walls painted in 
azure and sprinkled with fleurs-de-lis in gold : but this is national 
and heraldic, and has nothing to do with our Blessed Lady. 

Not only the forsaking of an old traditional symbol, but the 
choice in its stead of a new one so easily mistakable for an 
heraldic device, is to be sorely regretted. Strangers may be so 
far led astray hereafter, as to lay it down for an undeniable fact, 
on beholding the heraldic bearings of France emblazoned in the 
windows and on the walls of our churches and chapels, that they 
owed their erection to French, not to English, zeal and piety; 
for mistakes of such a kind have actually been made. The learned 
Benedictine Dom. Menard wished to believe that some king of 
France once ruled over England,, because he happened to find in 
.a copy of the service for the coronation of the French kings, 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 205. 

especially (249) single out, from amid that happy 
crowd in heaven, the spotless mother of our 

mention made of the " regnum Albionis totius " (Menard, notes to- 
St. Gregory, Lib. Sacram., p. 586) [P.L., Ixxviii. 571], not remember 
ing that from the context of the manuscript under his eyes, the most 
logical inference would have been that some Anglo-Saxon monarch,, 
after the breaking up of the heptarchy, had been chosen and 
anointed king over the French. But neither is the fact : the 
truth seems to be that some old French scribe, transcribing from 
an Anglo-Saxon manuscript the form of the coronation service,, 
forgot to adapt it for France, by riot leaving out what belonged 
exclusively to England. 

The rose and the lily, emblems of martyrdom and virginity 
belonging to the B. V. Mary, are thus noticed by St. Beda : 

Atque inter roseis splendentia castra triumphis 
Candida virgineo simul inter et agmina flore 
Qme trahit alma Dei genitrix, pia virgo Maria. 

Beda, Hymnus de die judicii [P.L., xciv. 637] ; but at later times- 
these appropriate floral symbols have been attributed to other 
saints by our native poets. Thus Chaucer sang of St. Cecily : 

Thou with thy gerland, wroght of rose and lilie, 
Thee mene I, mayde and martir, saint Cecilie. 

First wolde I yow the name of seint Cecilie 
Expoune, as men may in hir storie see : 
It is to seaye in English, hevenes lilie, 
For pure chastnesse of virginitee ; 
Or, for she whytnesse hadde of honestee, 
And grene of conscience, and of good fame 
The sote savour, lilie was her name. 

The Second Nonnes Tale [Skeat, Student s Chaucer t 649, 650].. 
Writing towards the end of Henry VII. s reign, Bradshaw says ; 

Vyrgyns them folowed, crowned with the lyly, 
Among whome our Lady chefe president was ; 
Some crowned with rooses for their great vyctory ; 
Saynt Katheryne, Saynt Margerette, Saynt Agathas, &c. 

Life of St. Werburgh, in Warton, Hist, of English Poetry, ii. 377. 
But the white lily so sweet-smelling, and holding within its 

silvery cup a bundle of filaments, from each of which there is 
hanging a large well-pollened yellow anther, belongs, as a church- 


Redeemer, to help them (250) by her intercession. 
Deeming her the best, the highest of all created 
beings, those forefathers of (251) ours yielded 
unto Mary the maiden, sweet untainted Mary full 
of grace, that lofty preference. Because (252) 
with children s love towards a mother they loved 
her, for Christ s sake, before and beyond every 
other saint, they hoped that with a mother s yearn 
ings she would look down upon and love them as 
her children, while in child-like trustfulness they 
leaned upon the strength of her entreaties with her 
Divine Son and Lord in their behalf. In so many 
ways, then, and with such untiring earnestness, 
was utterance given to these feelings, as to show 

symbol, more especially, for another strong reason, to the B. V. 
Mary. She it is of whom Christ took flesh and blood quickened 
with a soul his humanity to which he hypostatically joined his 
divinity : hence she is the QCOTOKOS of the Greek, the Deipara, the 
Dei genitrix of the Latin fathers. But the lily breathing round 
it such a delightful scent, with its unspotted shining white petals, 
and its golden stamens within, symbolises the glory of Christ s 
resurrection ; for the sparkling whiteness of the flower betokens 
the outward brightness of his body now never more to die again, 
which he showed forth to his disciples, while he gave them to 
understand that there lives within it a soul shining with the 
golden light of the Godhead. Such were the beautiful thoughts 
of our own Beda : Lilium vero quod comitante odoris jucundissimi 
gratia candidum foris colorem, intus ostendit aurosum, apte 
gloriam Resurrectionis ejus insinuat, qui et corporis immortali- 
tatem foris ostendit discipulis, et animam divina luce coruscam, 
simul sibi inesse perdocuit. Beda, De Tempi. Salomon^ xix. [P.L., 
xci. 789]. Because she is the mother of Christ, not the fleur-de- 
lis, but the white garden lily, is one of the Blessed Virgin Mary s 
symbols ; and because of her spotless maidenhood not only before, 
but also in, and after bringing forth her Divine Son, three of those 
lilies full blown ought to be figured at top of one upright green- 
leafed stalk. 

PAET I. CHAP. IX. 207 


Breathings of love for blessed Mary arose, like 
fragrant clouds of incense, unto heaven from all 
this land ; and while showing how the hearts of 
those who sent forth such sighs must have been 
(253) enkindled with a hallowed fire, they cast 
the cheering light and glow of holiness, and shed 
the sweetest odour upon everything around them ; 
the liturgy and its prayers and ceremonies ; cathe 
dral as well as parish church with its storied 
windows, its paintings, its sculptured ornaments, 
the embroidered hangings for its walls and altars ; 
popular devotions ; personal adornments ; house 
hold furniture ; poetry, in its hymns, its minstrel- 
tales, its roundelays : all told of Mary ; all set 
forth her praises ; all taught that Christ s mother 
should be honoured above and invoked before 
every other saint. 

Spread everywhere about those old service-books 
put forth for public worship in England scattered 
through Missal, 68 and Portous, 69 and Manual, 70 and 

68 Of the sequences or rhymes sung between the chanting of 
the epistle and gospel on the higher feast-days, those dedicated to 
the memory of the Blessed Virgin Mary are full of invocations 
for her prayers. The sequence for the Annunciation, on the 25th 
of March, beginning with : 

Ave mundi spes, Maria ; 
Ave mitis, ave pia, 
Ave plena gratia, 


(254) Processional, 71 to say nothing of the " Hours " 
in honour of the B. V. Mary, will be met with (255) 

ends in this supplication : 

O castitatis lilium, 
Tuum precare Filium, 

Qui salus est humilium, 
Nee nos pro nostro vitio 
In flebili judicio, 

Subjiciat supplicio ; 
Sed nos tua sancta prece 
Mundans a peccati fsece, 
Collocet in lucis domo : 
Amen dicat omnis homo. 

Missale Sarum, in Annunc. B. Mariae [ed. Dickinson, ii. 728]. 
In our Lady s Mass for Advent, we have the sequence : 

Verbum bonum et suave 
personemus illud ave, 
per quod Christi fit conclave 

Virgo mater filia. 
Ave mater Verbi summi, 

maris portus, signum dumi, 
aromatum virga fumi, 

angelorum domina : 
Supplicamus, nos emunda, 
emendates nos commenda 
tuo Nato, ad habenda 
sempiterna gaudia. 

Ibid., Officium beatae MarisR [ed. Dickinson, ii. 765,* 766*]. 

69 The Sunday matins in the office of the Blessed Virgin Mary 
from Christmas to Candlemas have for their second lesson the 
invocation following: Sancta Maria piarum piissima, intercede 
pro nobis sanctarum sanctissima ; ut per te, virgo, nostra sumat 
precamina qui pro nobis ex te natus regnat super ethera, ut sua 
charitate nostra deleantur peccamina [Sarum Breviary, ed. 
Procter and Wordsworth, ii. 292]. Each festival of our Lady 
her Conception, the eighth of December the Purification, the 
second of February the Annunciation, the twenty-fifth of March 
the Assumption, the fifteenth of August will furnish other 
instances from the Salisbury Portous of her invocation. 

70 In the litanies at the " Commendatio animarum," as well as 
in the different Masses " De Sancta Maria " in the Manuale, may 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 209 

manifold beautiful invocations addressed to the 
mother of our Lord. 72 

be seen invocations of the Blessed Virgin Mary. [See Surt. Soc. 
York Manual, pp. 52*, 194, 195, 196,, &c.] 

71 Besides the anthems to the Blessed Virgin Mary, sung at 
the procession, on Saturday and Sunday throughout the year, we 
have several others in the Salisbury Processional. The anthem 
for the Annunciation may be taken as a sample of the rest, for 
that earnest way in which the mother of God was called upon to 
pray for us, and is as follows : 

Christi virgo dilectissima, virtutum operatrix, opem fer miseris ; 
subveni, Domina, clamantibus ad te jugiter; (Tempore paschali) 
Alleluia. V. Quoniam peccatorum mole premimur, et non est qui 
adjuvet. Subveni, &c. Processionale, A.D. 1555, sig. v. iii. [ed. 
Henderson, 1882, pp. 144, 145]. That most celebrated of all those 
canticles sung to the Virgin, the Salve Regina, had, according to 
Sarum use, woven into it, at the end, several beautiful versicles, 
which are not to be found in the anthem as now set forth in the 
Roman breviary. It began : " Salve Regina (leaving out mater ) 
misericordise " ; and after "post hoc exsilium ostende," it added, 
" Virgo, mater ecclesise, ^Eterna porta glorise, Esto nobis refugium 
Apud Patrem et Filium. clemens. Virgo clemens, virgo pia, 
Virgo dulcis, O Maria : Exaudi preces omnium Ad te pie clamantium. 
O pia. Funde preces tuo nato Crucifixo, vulnerato, Et pro nobis 
flagellate, Spinis puncto, felle potato. O mitis. Gloriosa Dei 
mater, Cujus natus extat pater, Ora pro nobis omnibus Qui tui 
memoriam agimus. pulchra. Dele culpas miserorum, Terge 
sordes peccatorum, Dona nobis beatorum Vitam tuis precibus. O 
dulcis Maria." Ibid., sig. A. vi. b, at the end of the book [ed. 
Henderson, 1882, pp. 170, 171]. In the Salisbury "Hours," this 
other strophe is found : Ut nos sol vet a peccatis Pro amore sue 
matris ; Et ad regnum claritatis Nos ducat rex pietatis. O clemens. 
O pia. O dulcis. O mitis. Maria salve. Hore, &c., impresse per 
Regnault (A.D. 1526), fol. xxxiiii. b. 

72 Besides those hymns in honour of or to the B. V. Mary, 
which the printed Sarum service-books give us, many other such 
compositions, some the works of our poetical countrymen, may be 
found in codices written out by an English hand as well as for use 
in England. A psalter in my possession, and noticed before (p. 4), 
affords the following : 

Omni die die Marie mea laudes anima, 
Ejus festa ejus gesta cole splendidissima. 


(256) Like the rest of Christendom, Catholic 
England, besides singing the praises of Mary, kept, 

Contemplare et mirare ejus celsitudinem, 
Die felicem genitricem, die beatam virginem. 
Ipsam cole ut de mole criminum te liberet. 
Hanc appella ne procella vitiorum superet. 
Hec persona nobis bona contulit celestia, 
Hec regina nos divina illustravit gratia. 
Lingua mea die trophea virginis puerpere, 
Que inflictum maledictum miro mutat munere. 
Sine fine die regine mundi laudum cantica, 
Ejus bona semper sona semper illam predica. 
Omnes mei sensus ei personate gloriam, 
Frequentate tarn beate virginis memoriam. 
Nullus certe tarn diserte extat eloquentie, 
Qui condignos promat ymnos ejus excellentie. 
Omnes laudent unde gaudent matrem Dei virginem. 
Nullus fingat quod attingat hujus celsitudinem. 
Nemo dicet quantum licet laudans ejus merita. 
Ejus cuncta sint creata dicioni subdita. 
Sed necesse quod prodesse piis constat mentibus, 
Ut intendam et impendam me ipsius laudibus. 
Quamvis sciam quod Mariam nemo digne predicet, 
Tamen vanus vel insanus est qui illam reticet. 
Cujus vita erudita disciplina celica 
Argumenta et figmenta destruxit heretica. 
Cujus mores tamquam flores exornant ecclesiam, 
Actiones et sermones miram dant fragrantiam. 
Hec amanda et laudanda nobis specialiter, 
Venerari et precari decet illam jugiter. 
Ipsam posco quam cognosce posse prorsus omnia, 
Ut evellat et repellat sunt quecumque noxia. 
Ipsa donet ut quod monet natus ejus faciam, 
Ut finita carnis vita letus hunc aspiciam. 
Eve crirnen nobis limen paradysi clauserat, 
Hec dum credit et obedit celi claustrum reserat. 
O cunctarum feminarum decus atque gloria, 
Quam electam et provectam scimus super omnia. 
Clemens audi tue laudi quos instantes conspicis. 


O regina hue inclina pie mentis lumina 
Et excusa prece fusa servulorum crimina. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 211 

as the (257) Anglo-Saxons used, several days of 
the year holy in her remembrance : it did more, 

Nam sublimis facta nimis manes juxta filium, 
Celsa sede intercede pro salute omnium. 
Nos conforta et reporta munus indulgence, 
Ut reformes nos enormes ad statum justitie. 
Meis caris largiaris jam defunctis veniam, 
Et cunctorum comodorum his qui vivunt copiam. 
Illis mecum dona precum tuarum suffragia, 
Ut moderna et eterna fruamur letitia. 
Sustentare me dignare benedicta domina 
Ne dimissum in abyssum gravis trahat sarcina. 
Da medelam et tutelam cunctis te laudantibus ; 
Pacem bonam et coronam cum supernis civibus. 
Pater Deus, Fili Deus, Deus alme Spiritus, 
Per eterna nos guberna Deus unus secula. 


O felicem genitricem cujus sacra viscera 

Meruere continere continentem ethera. 

Felix pectus in quo tectus rex virtutum latuit. 

Felix venter quo clementer carnem Deus induit. 

Felix sinus quo divinus requievit Spiritus. 

Felix alvus quo fit salvus homo fraude perditus. 

Felix thorus et decorus istius puerpere, 

Quam maritus ut est ritus non presumpsit tangere. 

O sacrate et beate manus atque brachia, 

Que paverunt et vexerunt per quern vigunt omnia. 

O mamilla cujus stilla fuit ejus pabulum. 

Qui dans terre fructus ferre pascit omne seculum. 

Hac in domo Deus homo fieri disposuit. 

Hie absconsus pulcher sponsus vestem suam induit. 

Hie natura vinci jura novo stupet ordine 

Rerum usus est exclusus pariente virgine. 

John Garland, who (it is likely) was a Londoner, and wrote 
towards the middle of the thirteenth century, sings, in what he 
meant to be a sequence for Mass, the Virgin s praises thus : 

Gloriosse Virginis Marine cujus prseconia Missas ad sollempnes 
ipsius hac prosa vel consimili viri religiosi decantant quse proprie- 
tates aulse continet ; et exaltatur cantus et humiliatur secundum 
partes aulae et secundum proprietates et significationes vocabu- 


for while in (258) almost every cathedral, and large 
collegiate establishment, or minster, 

Aula vernat virginalis, 
Cujus pars est integralis, 
Tectum, pes, et paries. 

Jungit hsec in unum tria, 
Trinus unus in Maria 
Juncti pollet series. 

Christus, petra, fundamentum, 
Tenax tecti tegumentum, 
Obumbrator Spirit us. 

Parietem posse pacis 
Stipat ut procellis acris 
Obviet oppositus. 

Parit tectum architectum, 
Aula regem cujus legem 
Sua curat curia. 

Rubent rosse speciosse, 
Fundamento pavimento, 
Munda candent lilia. 

In se formas angelorum, 
Fert berillus, et decorum 
Parietem circuit. 

Cum saphiro stat piropus, 
Virginale signat, opus 
Caritatem innuit. 

In cortina copulatur 
Cocco bissus, et arcatur 
Cum iacincto purpura. 

Sol stat focus in hoc coelo, 
Sol in stella stellse velo, 
Vincit maris murmura. 

Purpuratur dum sacratur 
Virgo bissus humilis 
In doctrina stat divina 
Est iacincto similis. 

Designatur quod amatur 
Et quod amat firmiter 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 213 


or Mass offered up to God in honour of the B. 
(259) Virgin, was every morning sung at earliest 
dawn with all ritual solemnity, accompanied by 
the (260) organ and choristers chanting the sweetest 
and most learned music of those times, known 
under (261) the name of discant, or pricksong ; 73 

Cocco tincto qui iacincto 
Connubit perenniter. 

Domus aromatica 
Nardo, thure^ calamo, 
Myrra, cedro, mistica 
Cinnamomo, balsamo. 

Funda nos in Filio, 

In Pat re suffulcias, 
In Sancti suffragio 

Spiritus, operias. Amen. 

John de Garlandia, Commentarius Liber, fol. 207. MS. marked 
385, in the library of C. C. C. C., and noticed before in this work. 
[See vol. i. p. 304.] 

73 All over our ecclesiastical documents lie scattered proofs of 
the Mary-Mass, and of them a few have been brought together 

Pro annuali et perpetua pensione soluta iiij or clericis cum 
choristis ad cantandam quotidie Missam Beate Marie Virginis in 
capella de Salve infra ecclesiam. Cathedralem juxta ordinacionem 
et fundacionem Richardi Pore quondam episcopi Sarum (Valor. 
Ecdesiant., ii. 85). Of St. Alban s we learn : Hie etiam felicis memorise 
Abbas Willelmus (c. A.D. 1214), videns quod in omnibus nobilibus 
ecclesiis Anglise Missa de Beata Virgine ad notam solemniter 
cotidiana decantatur . . . constituit^ etiam ex consensu et bene- 
placito totius conventus, in perpetuis temporibus sancivit perdura- 
turum ut cotidie Missa de beata Virgine solemniter ad notam 
celebretur (Matt. Paris, Vit. Abb. S. Albani, p. 80) [R.S., xxviii. i. 
284, 285]. Campanam quoque sonorissimam ipsi officio specialiter 
assignatam, ab Episcopo Johanne consecratam et nomine Sanctse 
Marine intitulatam, constituit cotidie vice triplicata pulsari tempes- 


many a little parish church, too, had supplied it, 
by the devotion (262) of the people, its own Mary- 

tive ad convocandum ministros ad hoc assignatos, videlicet monachos 
sex . . . et alios Christi fideles et beatse Marise pronos ac devotos ipsi 
ministraturos et pro prosperitate ecclesise ac propria supplicaturos 
(ibid., p. 8 1 ). [Z2.&, 286.] One of those four beautiful palls given by 
Henry III. (A.D. 1256) to St. Alban s was to be hung up at our 
Lady s altar, where Mass was daily sung : Optulit ecclesife quatuor 
pallas . . . aliani quoque altari sanctse Marise, videlicet ad penden- 
dum ubi canitur cotidie (Matt. Paris, Hist., p. 626) [It!./S., Ivii. v. 574]. 
John de Pontys, bishop of Winchester, in the foundation deed of his 
college of St. Elizabeth (c. A.D. 1300), in that city, ordained that : 
Singulis siquidem cliebus ad tardius in aurora diei mane surgant 
(capellani et clerici) et capellam ipsam ingressi, matutinas beatse 
Virginis submissa voce aperte et distincte simul dicant, et postea 
matutinas de die cum nota. Post primam matutinarum diei, 
celebrent missam gloriosse Virginis cum nota et solempnitate 
decenti, secundum usum et consuetudinem Saresburiensis ecclesise 
(Mon. Angl., viii. 1340). One of the abbots of Glastonbury 
assignavit (A.D. 1322) officio sacristariae singulis annis viginti 
marcas pro sustentacione quatuor sacerdotum bene cantancium, 
qui cum duobus de Galilsea antiquitus ordinatis, et aliis duobus 
per sacristam et elemosinarium exhibendis, in capella beatse 
virginis, superpelliciis et almiciis induti, cotidie de melodico cantu 
deservient, et venient in forma prredicta ad missas chori solempnes 
(Johannes Glaston., p. 268). The founder of the collegiate church of 
Tonge says : Item volumus et ordinamus quod omni die per 
annum, exceptis tribus diebus proximis ante Pascha, dicatur Missa 
de S. Maria in capella ex parte boreali dictse ecclesise (de Tonge) 
cum nota vel sine nota, per dispositionem custodis, &c. Statuta et 
Ordin. Ecclesise, collegiate de Tonge, in Mon. AngL, viii. 1408. John 
Baret of Bury (A.D. 1463) ordained thus : I will y fc on the day of 
my intirment be songge a messe of prikked song at Seynt Marie 
auter in wurshippe of oure Lady at vii of y e clokke, &c. Wills of 
Bury St. Edmund s (C. S.), p. 17. The singers were accompanied 
with the organ ; for the same good Christian says : I wille y t eche 
man y fc synggit prykked songe on y e daye of my enterment at oure 
Ladye s messe haue ijd. and y e pleyors at y e orgenys ijc?. and eche 
child jd. Ibid., 18. We enact, ordain, and will, that every day 
for ever, saving on Good Friday, certain Masses be devoutly cele 
brated in the chapel. The second Mass shall be that of St. Mary, 
after the practice of the church of Sarum (Statutes of Magdalen 
College, Oxford, p. 1 19). While Cardinal Wolsey s ordinances for all 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 215 

Mass priest who offered up daily the holy sacrifice 
for this same purpose. 74 (263) Hence, however 
small the holy pile, it had its altar in honour of 
the Virgin. In our cathedrals and (264) larger 
minsters, this warm love for the mother of our 
Lord gave rise to an architectural feature in the 
building, as beautiful as it was beseemly, and 
almost peculiar to England. At the furthest east 

the houses of canons regular throughout England forbade the use, 
in their choir-service, of figured music, or as it was then called,. 
Prick-song, they allowed it at Masses of our Blessed Lady sung in 
her chapel : Nos igitur districtius inhibemus, ne cantus fractus 
vel divisus, " Prick-song " vulgariter et Anglice dictus, in choris 
canonicorum amodo decantetur, aut decantari permittatur. Per- 
mittimus tamen quod Missas de Beata Virgine, de nomine Jesu, et 
consimiles, quse extra cherum conventualem quasi in omnibus hujus 
regni monasteriis solenniter cani solent per viros seculares etiam 
laicos ac pueros, cum cantu fracto sen diviso, et organis decantari 
facere valeant (Wilkins, Condi., iii. 686). "Mary Mass " " St. 
Mary Mass " are expressions of commonest occurrence in Sir 
Thomas More s works. 

74 John Notyngham of Bury ordains thus in his will : Lego 
capellano parochiali dictse ecclesise Beatse Marise iijs. iiijrf. Item 
lego capellano qui dicitur Seyntemary priest in eadem ecclesia 
iijs. iiijd. (Wills, &c., of Bury St. Edmund s, p. 6). The gilds in the 
parish often helped to keep up the Mary-Mass, as we learn from 
that valuable work, Illustrations of the manners and expenses of 
ancient times in England, &c., from the Accompts of Churchwardens : 
Paid (A.D. 1520) to the Pyshe (parish) for Lady Mess, 6s. &d. 
(p. 309): for a candyll of i Ib. for Laydy Mase, 6d. (ibid., 312). In 
all the great families of England there was a Mary-Mass priest ; 
thus among " my Lordis chaplains ande preists in houshold," we 
find " a preist for singing of our Ladies Mass in the chappell 
daily" (The Northumberland Household Book, p. 323). Bishop 
Grandison (A.D. 1339), in his "Ordinatio fundationis ecclesiae 
collegiatse S. Marine de Otery," makes the following distinction 
between the parish priest, the morrow-mass priest, and the Mary- 
Mass priest : Unusque alius presbyter parochialis, et alius matu- 
tinalis, et unus qui capellanus beate Marie nuncupetur. Oliver, 
Monasticon Dicecesis Exoniensis, p. 265. 


end, behind both choir and high altar, stood, and 
yet stands, what to this day is called the "Lady 
chapel," in most instances a lightsome and comely 
work meet symbol of her, the morning-star of our 
redemption. 75 

(265) Thus in England time was when notes of 
praise arose from earth to heaven at the first streak 
of dawn, not only from wood and wold, poured 
forth by soulless birds of the air ; but there went 
up strains too of worshipping and thankful song 
from out the thronged city, and the busy town 
(wherein church-steeples were then taller, and 
more beautiful, and more numerous than work 
shop chimneys), and from out the smallest village : 
time was when the chiming of St. Mary s bells at 

75 I cannot but think that the Lady chapel, for so the one 
named after the B. V. Mary was and still is called, may have been 
built at the east end of the choir and behind the high altar, for 
the purpose of symbolizing her as the morning star which har- 
bingered day in a ghostly meaning. In the hymns and prayers 
written in her honour, and to ask her intercession, our Blessed 
Lady is hailed as the morning star, which can be said of her only 
in as much as her birth was the dawn of Christ s coming into the 
world as man. The old Italian painters give her a star upon the 
right shoulder over her blue mantle. In one of those beautiful 
books written for our forefathers, we read : The thyrde interpre- 
tacyon of this holy name Maria, is illuminatrix, that is to saye, an 
illumyner or a gyver of lyght. And lyke as the mornynge cometh 
before the sonne rysynge, and divideth the nyght from the day ; 
so the Virgyn Mary rose, as the mornynge before the sonne of 
iustyce, and divided the state of grace from the state of synne, 
the chylder of God, from the chylder of clerknes. Wherupon the 
chirche syngeth to her prayse that her gloryous lyfe gave lyght 
to the worlde and illumyned all the chirche, and congregacyons of 
faythfull people. Pilgrymage of Perfection, fol. clxxx. Imprynted 
by Wynkyn de Worde, A.D. MCCCCCXXXI. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 217 

waking day awakened men and bade them come 
to the house (266) of God and sing His praises; 
and, like the cherubim and seraphim, cry out to 
one another, " Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of 
Sabaoth," and ask the intercession of the mother 
who once bore that son of David in her womb. 
Oft as it wandered by, the breeze that wafted the 
sound of those morning bells to the sick one s 
sleepless bed, dropped health from its wings upon 
the poor wearied soul : often has the dying sinner 
often has the stern iron-hearted man, like our 
first William, been bent and softened, and made 
to feel and weep, by those same bells, which, to 
his seeming, rang with thousand-tongues, and 
every tongue had its own quick saying unto his 
ears ; and if they spoke of saints and heaven, if 
they gave out mutterings about sin and hell, softly 
too did they \vhisper of saints love and heaven s 
forgiveness, and hearten him, while yet time was, 
to crave mercy of Jesus, and help from Mary. 76 

Those forefathers of ours who loved to behold 
beauty all over God s house, particularly loved to 
(267) see beauty shining about St. Mary s chapel, 

76 Rex (Guillelmus) sonum maioris signi audivit in metropolitana 
basilica. Percunctante eo quid sonaret, responderunt ministri : 
"Domine, hora prima jam pulsatur in ecclesia Sanctse Marise." 
Tune rex cum summa devotione oculos ad coelum erexit, et sursum 
manibus extensis dixit : " Dominre mese, sanctse Dei genitrici, 
Marise me commendo, ut ipsa suis sanctis precibus me reconciliet 
carissimo filio suo, Domino nostro, Jesu Christo." Et his dictis, 
protinus expiravit. Ordericus Vitalis, Ecc. Hist., vii. 12 [P.L., 
clxxxviii. 551, 552]. 



so that whether it was a building by itself, as in 
our cathedrals, or only a little side nook, as in 

our parish churches, 
the one wish quick 
ened them to make 
it beautiful. While 
then, rich stained 
glass, 77 wall - paint 
ing, embroidered 
hangings for the 
altar and the space 
around, 78 and illumi 
nated images (268) 
were all brought to 
adorn it, instances 
could have been met 
where even a little 
chime of bells was 
B. v. M. AND CHILD hung up nigh St. 

77 Of the chapel of the B. V. Mary in Buxton church, Blomefield 
(Norfolk, vi. 447) tells us that there is in the middle pane of the 
east window the Assumption of the Virgin, with many praying to 
her, saying : Virgo singularis inter omnes mitis, nos culpis solutos, 
mites fac et castos ; an angel holds this on a label, Ave Maria gratia 
plena Dominus tecum ; another with Sancta Itegina celorum. The 
gracefulness and dignified simplicity of those figures of the B. V. 
Mary and her Divine Son which once looked down upon the be 
holder, in so many of our churches, may be fancied, on looking at 
the few which have been spared, especially the one in the east 
window of St. Michael s, Oxford, and engraved as the frontispiece 
to " The Calendar of the Anglican Church." [See picture above.] 

78 The hangings for the altar, and wrought with subjects of the 
B. V. Mary s death and assumption, given to Durham Cathedral 
by Bp. Bury, have already been noticed (i. 186). At Aix-en- 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 219 

Mary s altar, and made to play, not outside, but 
within the holy pile, at the sackering at Mass. 79 
Although in the chancel of every church, how 
ever small, throughout England, a fair statue 
of the B. V. Mary stood upon its own bracket 80 
on the northern side of the high altar, 81 
(269) still it was in the chapel bearing her name 
that her finest and most embellished image might 
be found. Here was she shown to the devout 

Provence there still exist the fine arrases which Prior Goldston 
(c. A.I). 1495) had done, with the B. Virgin s life figured on them, 
to hang up about the choir in Canterbury Cathedral, on great 
festivals : Tres enim pannos pulcherrimos opere de Arysse sub- 
tiliter intextos, ortum Virginis cum vita et obitu ejusdem clare et 
splendicle configurantes, in parte chori australi certis temporibus 
anni fecit (Thomas Goldston) appendi. Hist. Priorum Ecc. Cant., 
in Wharton, Anylia Sac., i. 148. 

79 I wille y fc John Elys serche sewrly and owyr se the chymes at 
Seynt Marie aw t, and the chymes in y e stepyl, therto make a 
newe barell, &c. . . . And I wil that the berere of the paxbrede 
longyng to Seynt Marie awp haue yeerly viijrf. so he take hede to 
kepe my grave clene, the chymes, and Seynt Marie awter, to 
wynde vp the plomme of led as ofte as nedith and to do the chymes 
goo at y e sacry of the Messe of Ihu, at the sacry of Seynt Marie 
messe on the Sunday, and in lik wyse at the sacry of oure ladyes 
messe y fc Seynt Marie preest seye or do seye for me and for my 
fadir and modir o day in the weke. J^ills, etc., of Bury St. 
Edmund s, pp. 19, 29. 

80 Among several other liturgical appliances which the Council 
of Exeter (A.D. 1287), required to be found in every church, were : 
Imago Beatse Marise Virginis, et Sancti loci ejusdem. AVilkins, 
Condi, ii. 139. 

81 The right hand of the rood is always stretched out to the 
north, and as it is piously believed that our Blessed Lady stood 
beneath the right hand of her Son whilst he hung upon the cross, 
her image is always placed on the north. In one of her ft Revela 
tions," the ankress of Norwich, Juliana (A.D. 1373), says: "Our 
good Lord looked down on the right side, and brought to my mind 
where our Lady stood in the time of His Passion, and said," &c. 
Revelations of Divine Love, d-c. [pp. 52, 53, ed. Warrack, 1901]. 


crowd under one or other of the circumstances of 
her life. In this place, Mary might be seen kneel 
ing as she heard from Gabriel, " Hail, full of grace, 
the Lord is with thee ; " in another, the beholder 
saw the girl-like maiden-mother bowed down before 
the crib, worshipping her child cradled there whom 
she had just brought forth, when left all alone 
amid the dark stillness of the stable, while Joseph, 
now come back, had gone forth seeking about 
Bethlehem for a light and food. 82 Often was she 
(270) represented enthroned 83 as the mild happy 
mother smiling on as she held her sweet babe, the 
man-God, in her arms, that fondled Him with more 
than this earth s love. Whether figured standing 

S2 In many of our larger churches often might be found a chapel 
called after our Lady of the crib ; for so we must understand, I 
think, the word " de Gesina " " lying in," or " being brought to 
bed" in the Salisbury Cathedral Accompts, the manuscript of 
which is now in Jesus College Library, Oxford. Of the " Statutes 
and Ordenances " made by Henry V. for his army when he invaded 
France, one entitled " For women that lie in Gesem " commands 
" that no maner of man be so hardy to goe into no chamber or 
lodging wher that any woman lieth in gesem, her to robbe, &c. ne 
for to make non affray wher through she and her childe myght be 
in any disease or dispare." (Nicolas, Battle of A<jincourt, Append., 
p. 38.) Altars named "La Madonna del presepio " are of frequent 
occurrence throughout Italy. Among the smashings of old church- 
ornaments in Suffolk, by William Dowsing, were, at Benacre, " one 
crucifix and the Virgin Mary twice, with Christ in her arms, and 
Christ lying in the manger, and the three kings coming to Christ 
with their presents." Journal of William Dowsing, p. 26, given at 
the end of The Rich Mans Duty, Oxford, 1840. 

83 A great image of our Lady sitting in a chair, silver and gilt, 
having upon her head a crown, silver and gilt, set with stones and 
pearls, and her child sitting upon her knee with one crown upon 
his head with a diadem set with pearls and stones, &c. Inventory 
of Lincoln Cathedral (A.D. 1536), in Mon. AngL, viii. 1279. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 221 

or seated, almost always did she wear a royal crown 
made of gold or silver gilt, sparkling with jewels : 84 
(271) Mary has ever been deemed by Christendom 
to be the queen of saints and angels. For the 
greater adornment of the image, our high-born 
dames would send and have hung about its neck 
those strings of precious stones upon which their 
wont had been to pray that prayer to the Virgin 
called " Our Lady s psalter," or the " rosary," while 
the lowlier citizens wives bequeathed their coral 
beads for this same purpose. 85 Not unfrequently, 
however, was the B. V. Mary presented to the 
people s eyes crownless, ungemmed, sorrowful, 
forlorn, as our "Lady of Pity" the mother 

84 Item tres coronae argenteee deauratae, cum diversis lapidibus 
preciosis ornatse, viz., una pro beata Maria et alia pro Filio, et 
tertia pro sancto Edwardo ; viz. in corona beatre Marise deficiunt 
quinque lapides, et in corona Filii deficit unus flos delicatus, &c. 
(Hegistrum Ornam. Capellse, Regiae, de Wyndesore, A.D. 1385, in Mon. 
Angl., viii. 1367). Isabel, Countess of Warwick, says : To our Lady 
of Caversham I bequeath a crown of gold made of my chain, and 
other broken gold in my cabinet (Test. Vet., i. 240). Among " the 
Jewells that longith (A.D. 1473) unto oure Lady chirche withyn 
the town of Sandewiche," there was " a crown of sylver and gylt 
for our Lady yn the hygh autre " (Boys, Sandwich, 374). Simnel, 
the pretended Earl of Warwick, was crowned king by the bishop of 
Meath, with a diadem taken from a statue of the B. V. Mary, in a 
church in Ireland. 

85 For Godiva s bequest to Coventry, see before, p. 7. Beatrix 
Krikemer bequeathed her best beads to hang about our Lady s 
neck in St. Stephen s church on good (gaude) days (Blomefield, 
Norfolk, iv. 153). For the same purpose Alice Carre left her coral 
beads to the beautifying the image of our Lady in the festefull 
days. Ibid., 154, 163. 

86 Ric d . Coo leaves 5 Ibs of wax to our " Lady of Pite s " light 
in Ashill church (Blomefield, Norfolk, ii. 349). There was a St. 
Mary of Pity in Hingham (ibid., 423) ; a St. Mary de la Pity at 


weeping over that same Divine Child, that Son of 
hers full-grown but dead, just unnailed from the 
cross, stretched, (272) blood-stained and naked, 
on the ground at her feet, with His wounded head 
upon her lap, bedewed by the tears trickling down 
her own wan cheeks. 87 

To symbolise the light of glory in which she now 
lives in heaven, as well as to tell the joy felt by 
men here below at her happiness above, and the 
honour which they wished to pay to her memory, 
lamps 88 and waxen tapers were kept burning 

Fakenham (ibid., vii. 96). Among the royal jewels in the treasury in 
Henry VIII. s reign was : A tabernacle of golde w t our Lady of 
Pyty w fc her sonne in her lappe w* ii angells behynde, &c. Kalen- 
dars and Invent, of the Exchequer, ii. 274. 

87 As before observed (vol. ii. p. 175), whether of wood or stone, all 
images set up in our old English churches were painted and gilt. 
To help such a work was what our forefathers loved. John Baret 
of Bury (A.D. 1463) says: I yeve and be qwethe x. marks to the 
peynting rerdoos and table at Seynt Marie avter of the story of 
Magnificat. ... It. I wil that the ymage of oure lady that Robert 
Pygot peynted be set vp ageyn the peleer next y e pcloos of Seynt 
Marie awter, &c. Wills, &c., of Bury St. Edmund* s,\cj. Nic. Callough 
gave a legacy to paint the Virgin s image, &c. Blomefield, Norfolk, 
iv. 153. Sir R. Throckmorton, by his will (A.D. 1518), devised that 
the image of our Lady should be set on the north side at the end 
of the altar in the south isle, and the image of the angel Gabriel on 
the same side of the isle, at the pillar between the isle and the 
chancel (at Coughton), with a roll in his hand of greeting, looking 
towards our Lady which images to be richly painted and gilded 
(Dugdale, Warwickshire, ii. 751). After telling us that "the 
ymage of the patron of the churche must stand on the ryght hande 
of the auter," Herman says : The ymage shulde be wel peynted 
that it shulde make men fayne to loke apon it: and styere to 
devocion. Vulgaria, fol. xvi., London, Pynson. 

88 Noverit universitas vestra me ... concessisse, dedisse . . . 
altari beatse Mariae Virginia ubi missa in honore ipsius quotidie 
solemniter celebratur, annuum redditum sex solidorum ... ad 
unam lampadem ardentem ibidem jugiter die ac nocte invenien- 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 223 

(273) day and night before the B. V. Mary s 
image wherever it might be in the church. 89 Of 
Evesham (274) we learn from one of its monks, 
" Sothely there were in this same church iii or 
iiii images of our blessed Saint Mary, having in 
her lap the image of our Saviour Jesus Christ, in 
form of a little babe, and they were set at every 
altar, right well painted, and fair arrayed with 
gold and divers other colors ; the which shewed 
to the people that beheld hem great devotion. 
And before every image hung a lamp ; the which, 
after the custom of that same church, were wont 

dam : et annuum redditum duodecim denariorum ad inveniendum 
luminare ad prsesepe ante dictum altare nocte Natalis Domini, et 
omnibus festis principalibus (Cart a W. prioris de Wymundham, etc., 
in Mon. Angl., iii. 335). In some places the custom was to burn a 
cresset by night, a lamp by day, before the Blessed Virgin Mary s 
altar (ibid., ii. 40). Endowments were often made to keep up these 
lights : Pro sustent cujusd lampad ardent coram imagine beate 
Marie in dicta eccF (Cathedrali Wellensi). Valor. Eccles., i. 139. 

89 Pensionem quinquaginta solidorum ad sustentacionem unius 
cerei jugiter ardentis ante imaginem Sanctte Marise virginis, in 
vetusta ecclesia Glastonise assignavit Henricus abbas (A.D. 1126). 
John Glaston., Hist, de Rebus Glaston., p. 166. The pious John 
Baret of Bury (A.D. 1463) says: It I wil that the ymage of oure 
Lady that Robert Pygot peynted be set vp ageyn the peleer next 
y e pcloos of Seynt Marie awter with the baas redy therto and a 
hovel with pleyn sydes comyng down to the baas, and in the 
myddes of the baas my candylstykke of laten with a pyke to be 
set afore a tapir I have assygned unto y e v. taperes longgyng to 
the natyvite gylde wiche stant alofte before the aungelys, with 
chymes to be sette abowte our Lady at the peler ( Wills, ci-c., of 
Bury St. Edmund s, 19). In his will (A.D. 1467) Baldwin Coksedge 
says : Lego una vacca sufficient j? ijbs cereis ardent cora jmagine 
b e M e in cancella sci Petri eccle de Felsh a m (ibid., p. 44). On 
the higher festivals of the year, two wax tapers were kept burn 
ing during service-time before the Blessed Virgin Mary s image 
at Salisbury Cathedral. Use of Sarum, i. 4, 6. 


to be lighted at every principal feast through all 
the year, both by night and by day, enduring from 
the first even-song unto the second even-song 
aforesaid, the foresaid images of our Blessed Lady 
Saint Mary." In some places the custom was 
to wreath these tapers with flowers. 91 

(275) But if day-dawn began, so twilight ended 
by prayer put up to Christ in reverence of His 
beloved mother ; for our people loved to flock and 
hear sung, in sweet music, 


at her altar, in her chapel, or beside her image, 92 
(276) that at such times usually had burning 

00 Revelations of a Monk of Evesham, cap. xlvii., in Ames, Typo- 
graph. Antiq., ed. Dibdin, ii. 25. 

91 Unam elegantissimam Mariolam quam magister Walterus de 
Colecestria opere sculpsit studiosissimo, ecclesise nostrse (de S. 
Albano) prsesentavit (abbas Gulielmus, c. A.D. 1214), quam quidem 
fecit ab episcopo consecrari. Cereum quoque, quern floribus con- 
suevimus redimire, constituit accendi ante nobilem Mariolam, 
diebus ac noctibus festorum prsecipuorum et in processione quse 
fit in commemoratione ejusdem. Matt. Paris, Vit. Abb. S. Albani, 
p. 8 1 [R.S., xxviii., i. 286]. 

92 John Barnet, bishop of Bath and Wells, bestowed lands upon 
St. Paul s Cathedral, London (A.D. 1365), on condition "that after 
mattens celebrated in the quire every day, and those present 
thereat gone out, an anthem of our Lady, scil. Nesciens mater, 
or some other solemn one, suitable to the time, should be sung 
before the image " (of the Blessed Virgin), &c.Hist. of St. PauVs, 
p. 14. Sir John Pulteney, knight, left the yearly sum of x 8 . for 
the choristers of the same church, on condition that they should, 
every day, after complin ended in the choir, go into the chapel of 
his building there, and sing an anthem of the Blessed Virgin, 
before her image there, solemnly with note, &c. (ibid., p. 22). By 
the statutes for the collegiate church of Whitington College, 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 225 

before it five tapers, indicative of her five joys. 93 
In our (2 7 7) universities this same heart-softening 

London, it is ordained that : Diebus etiam ferialibus per annum 
in sero, circa vel post solis occasum, quando pauperes artifices et 
vicini circa ecclesiam commorantes a laboribus et officiis suis 
cessaverunt, et impedimentum rationabile non occurrat, capellani, 
clerici, et choristse collegii domi existentes, post tintinnationem 
unius parvse campanse ad hoc ordinatse, conveniant in capella S. 
Marise matris Salvatoris, infra dictam ecclesiam, et ibidem cantent 
solempniter et devote in honorem ejusdem Salvatoris et matris 
suse unam antiphonam cum versiculis et collecta competentibus, 
&c. Mon. AngL, vii. 741. Not only our old Catholic country 
men s strong love for this religious service, but those feelings 
to which through it they sought to give vent, are well set forth 
by Chaucer, while making the little boy ask his older school 
fellow thus about another such church hymn, the "Alma Re- 
demptoris " : 

Noght wiste he what this Latin was to seye, 
For he so yong and tendre was of age ; 
But on a day his felaw gan he preye 
T expounden him this song in his langage, 
Or telle him why this song was in usage : 

His felaw, which that elder was than he, 
Answerde him thus : " this song, I have herd seye, 
Was maked of our blisful lady free, 
Hir to salue, and eek hir for to preye 
To been our help, and socour whan we deye." 

"And is this song maked in reverence 
Of Criste s moder ? " seyde this innocent ; 
" Now certes, I wol do my diligence 
To conne it al, eor Cristemasse is went 

I wol it conne, our ladie for to honoure." 

The Prioresses Tale [Skeat, Student s Chaucer, 499]. 

To have the hymn to our Blessed Lady, the Salve Regina, sung 
every evening throughout the year a few nights in holy week 
excepted and to find the wax tapers which were lighted during 
this short service, gilds used to be established, and priests and 
choristers kept in most of our large churches. See vol. ii., p. 356, 
of this work. 



devotion was as fondly cherished, but followed in 
another though not less striking manner. Often 
the inmates of a college there, were, by its 
founder s statutes, required to meet together in 
their common hall every Saturday evening, and 
upon the eve of every feast of the Blessed Virgin, 
and chant the anthem of that season, in her 
honour. 94 So liked indeed (278) throughout the 

93 In his foundation-deed for the chantry of St. Thomas the 
Martyr at Sandwich, Thomas Elys ordained (A.D. 1392) that its 
three chaplains should find five wax tapers of five pounds weight 
for the altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to be lighted during the 
singing of the Salve Regina : Item volumus et ordinamus, quod 
predicti capellani manutenebunt quinque cereos cere super beate 
Marie virginis altare dicte ecclesie Sancti Petri, ad ardendum 
tantummodo dum antiphona que dicitur Salve regina cantabitur, 
ponderantes v li. (Boys, Hist, of Sandwich, 192). Item. I gif half 
an acr of lond ... to find yerely evermore, v. gawdyes brennyng 
before our Lady, in the chancel of St. John Baptist, at every 
antiphon of our Lady, and at every feste of our Lady, at maesse 
of the same feste, evermore : howbeit I will that whosoever shall 
hold my place and londes, shall have the occupation of the said 
lond and the keepyng of the said v. gawdyes, and they onys to be 
renewed in every yere (W. Keye s will, in Blomefield, Norfolk, i. 
273). Hence we find that the tapers themselves, from being 
meant to commemorate the Virgin s five joys, were called 
" gawdyes " from the Latin word " gaude," which begins the 
hymn in memory of these five joys (see note, further on). 
William Berdewell, in his will (which he begins with "Jesu 
mercye " " Mary helpe "), says : " I besette to the lytys on the 
candlestekys afore the hey awtyr xs. & to the fey we joys afore 
our Lady odyr xs." Blomefield, Norfolk, i. 303. 

94 In the Statutes which he drew up for St. Mary Magdalen 
College, of his building and endowing at Oxford, Bp. Wayneflete 
says: Our pleasure is, that on every Saturday throughout the 
year, and on all the eves of the feasts of the Blessed Virgin 
Mary, after complin, all and each of the said fellows, and scholars, 
and ministers of our chapel, do devoutly perform among them 
selves in the common hall, by note, an antiphone in honour of the 
said glorious Virgin. Statutes of Magdalen College, dec., ed. Ward, 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 227 

land was this religious practice, that among those 
things taught the poorest children at every village 
school (and there have always been village-schools 
in England 95 ), one was to learn by heart the words 

p. 97). The same ordinance is to be found among Bp. Fox s 
Statutes for his college of Corpus Christi at Oxford, p. 93. 

95 During the Anglo-Saxon period there must have been chil 
dren s schools all over the country, kept by the priesthood, and 
free to every one. This we know from the Ecclesiastical In 
stitutes, which say : Mass-priests ought always to have at their 
houses a school of disciples, and if any good man desire to commit 
his little ones to them for instruction, they ought very gladly to 
receive them and kindly teach them. . . . They ought not, how 
ever, for that instruction, to desire anything from their relations, 
except what they shall be willing to do for them of their own 
accord (Thorpe, Ancient Laws, ii. 415). If not before, at least 
after the coming hither of the Normans, the custom was to keep 
the village school in the parish church. This we gather from a 
little tale, told so prettily (as is his wont) by Reginald the Durham 
monk, of the young urchin who, to get off his lessons and over a 
dreaded flogging, threw into the river Tweed the key of Northam 
church in which he went to school : Est igitur in villa prsedicta 
(Northam) ecclesia Sancti Cuthberti nominis honore ab antique 
fundata, in qua, de more nunc satis solito et cognito, pueri quon 
dam vacabant studiis. . . . Unde timoris aculeo quidam puerorum 
terebratus, Haldene nomine, ccepit anxius secum et secretius, 
timore coactus puerili, cogitare qualiter hujusmodi plagas et 
verberum poenas posset declinando evadere. Tandem igitur 
animo concepit quod clavem ecclesise Beati Cuthberti stulta teme- 
ritate corriperet, et sub celeritate in Thueodum flumen, nullo 
hominum avertente, projiceret. . . . Sacerdos denique, vespertini 
temporis hora instante clavem ecclesise a puero requirere, &c. 
De Admir. ti. Cuthberti, pp. 149, 150. From another valuable 
work of Reginald s we find that in these schools the boys 
learned church-song : Postea ad ecclesiam Sanctse Marise, quse 
infra urbis moenia sita est, transmigravit (S. Godricus) ; quia ibi 
pueris litterarum prima elementa discentibus interesse delegit. 
Ubi ea quse prius didicit, arctius memoriae infixit, et quaedarn quae 
antea non cognoverat, ibi audiendo, legendo, atque psallendo 
apprehendit ; nam ea quse pueris ssepius eadem repetentibus 
audivit, tenacius memorise infigere curavit. ... In brevi igitur 
tantisper perfecerat, quod in psalmis, hymnis, et orationibus non- 


of the " Alma Redemptoris mater," and the " Salve 
Regina," and to sing the music of those beauti 
ful hymns, as well as much (279) of the other 
chanted parts of the public service. There were, 

which Catholic England followed 


Ever since the Saxon Alcuin s times to the present 
(280) moment, the Church has looked upon the 
last day of the week as meetest for more particular 

nullis, quantum sibi sufficere credebat, firmus et certus exstiterat, 
Libellus de Vita et Miracalis S. Godrici, pp. 59, 60. 

The following, we may be sure, is a truthful picture of what all 
English village schools were at the time when Chaucer, who drew 
it, lived : 

A litel scole of Cristen folk ther stood 
Doun at the ferther ende, in which ther were 
Children an heep, y-comen of Cristen blood, 
That lerned in that scole yeer by yere 
Swich maner doctrine as men used there, 
That is to seyn, to singen and to rede, 
As smale children doon in hir chilhede. 

This litel child, his litel book lerninge, 

As he sat in the scole at his prymer, 

He Alma redemptoris herde singe, 

As children lerned hir antiphoner ; 

And, as he dorste, he drough him ner and ner, 

And herkned ay the wordes and the note, 

Til he the firste vers coude al by rote. 

The Prioresses Tale [Skeat, Student s Chaucer, 499]. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 229 

devotion towards St. Mary. 96 The holy sacrifice was 
offered (281) up to heaven in her honour ; the even 
ing hymn in some of our colleges was sung for this 
same object. 87 At St. Alban s Abbey a solemn pro 
cession was made all about that minster in com 
memoration of this queen of heaven, and to her 
altar, every Saturday. 95 Under like feelings there 
arose a custom, amid all ranks, of vowing to 
keep for a certain length of time a rigid fast 
each Saturday. 99 

Among those who had wealth enough, it became 
no unusual thing to bestow upon some church, as 
an offering unto Christ, the image in gold or silver 
of His beloved mother ; 1 and in some places, York 
Cathedral for instance, the rubric was for the canon 
(282) who sang high Mass, to carry every day with 
his own hands, as he went in procession from the 

96 See vol. i., pp. 63, 64, of this work. 

97 See the foregoing note 94, p. 226. 

98 Hie (Kadulphus abbas S. Albani, c. A.D. 1146) etiam proces- 
sionem in Commemoratione Beatee Marine, quse singulis hebdo- 
madibus in albis celebratur, ad altare ejusdem Virginis fieri 
statuit. Matt. Paris, Vit. Abb. S. Albani,p. 41 [R.S., xxviii. i. 107]. 

99 "Lady, to py leue sone-lowte for me nouthe, 

That he haue pyte on me putour-of his pure grace and mercy, 
With pat ich shal" quath pat shrewe- "saterdayes, for ]>y loue, 
Drynke bote with J>e douke-and dyne bote ones." 

Peirs Plouhman, Passus vii. 171-175 [ed. Skeat, p. 104]. 

1 By his will (A.D. 1435), Richard, Earl of Warwick, gave " to the 
collegiate church of Warwick an image of our Lady of pure gold, 
there to remain for ever, in the name of a heriot." Test. Vet.,\. 231. 
Abp. Bourchier s bequest of a silver-gilt image to Worcester 
Cathedral is mentioned further on, note 32. 


vestry, a silver-gilt figure of the Virgin and Child, 
which he placed upon the altar. 2 

For their chief patroness, our largest cities chose 
Mary; 3 and upon the crown itself employed at 
the coronation of England s kings might once have 
been seen not only, as now, the cross of Christ, 
but the virgin-form too of her from whom He took 
His flesh. 4 

Whilst this country s belief was one, its symbols 
of religion, instead of being locked up in our 
churches, were spread abroad on the hill-top, 
beneath the green-wood shade, nigh the field-path, 
by the high-way, towards the hamlet s end, upon 
the bridge, at the street s corner, in the middle of 
(283) the market-place everywhere not broken, 
not dishonoured, but adorned and reverenced. 
Among such outward tokens of this land s olden 
Christian faith, those representing Mary were 
neither the fewest nor the least beloved. Shrouded 
within its little tabernacle might often be met 

2 Ymagines B. Marise, quarum una argentea deaurata seclet in 
cathedra, ponderis 19!!; altera argentea deaurata portans puerum, 
cum lapide saphyro in manu sua, quam ebdomadarius portat cotidie 
ad Missam ad summum altare, ponderans 5 libras, n uncias. Man. 
Angl., viii. 1204. 

3 The Blessed Virgin was looked upon as patroness of Lincoln, 
as we learn from Hoveden : Gives igitur Lincolnienses victoriosi, 
summo gaudio repleti, Virgini virginum protectrici eorum laudes 
et gratias insigniter exsolverunt. Roger of Hoveden, Ann. (Pars 
prior), ed. Savile, fol. 280 b. [R.S., li. i. 209]. 

4 On the royal crown of England, at the beginning of Henry 
VIII. s reign, among other ornaments, there was : A flower de 
luce sett w fc an image of our Lady 1 her childe, &c, Kalendars 
and Invent, of the Treasury of the Exchequer, ed. Palgrave, ii. 260. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 231 

with, on the roadside, the image of the Virgin ; 
and many a wayfarer, ere going by, would halt 
for a moment to think of heaven and worship 
God, as he bade his beads, or said a " Salve" or 
an Alma" kneeling before the likeness of 
Christ s sweet maiden-mother. 5 This love of our 
Blessed Lady softened (284) the hardness of men s 
hearts, by teaching them to have a holy love for 
one another, and to help a fellow-creature in his 
wants. Many an alms was given for her sake ; 
and the food so set aside in almost every house 

5 Chaucer puts this old English custom very prettily before hi& 
readers : 

And eek also, wher-as he saugh th image 

Of Cristes moder, hadde he in usage 

As him was taught, to knele adoun, and seye 

His Ave Maria, as he goth by the weye. 

Thus hath this widwe hir litel sone y-taught 

Our blisful lady, Cristes moder dere, 

To worshipe ay, and he forgat it naught. 

The Prioresses Tale [Skeat, Student s Chaucer, 499]. The new 
religion brought in new tastes in the arts ; and the same English 
men who pulled down St. Mary s images, set up those of Diana in 
their stead. Speaking of the once beautiful cross which used to 
stand in West Cheap, old Stow says : In the year 1584, the 2ist 
of June, in the night, the lowest images round about the same 
cross (being of Christ his resurrection, of the Virgin Mary, king 
Edward the confessor, and such like) were broken and defaced. 
The image of the blessed Virgin, at that time robbed of her Son, 
and her arms broken by which she staid him on her knees ; her 
whole body also was haled with ropes, and left ready to fall. . . . 
On the east side, under the image of Christ s resurrection, was 
then set up a curious wrought tabernacle of grey marble, and in 
the same, an alabaster image of Diana, a woman (for the most part 
naked) and water prilling from her naked breasts, c. Survey of 
London, ed. Strype, I. iii. p. 35. 


to be bestowed upon the poor, went by the name 
of "Ladymeat." 6 

6 The victuals given to the poor in honour of the Blessed 
Virgin were often known by the above name : in the Valor Eccle- 
siasticus (v. 93) we find them so called, as well as "Lady met 8 " 
(ibid., 271), and "St. Mary s loaf": Singulis diebus dominicis in 
uno pane voc Saynte Mary loffe. Ibid., 294. Upon every table 
there stood an alms-dish, which, in great houses, was of silver, 
and made like a ship. Among Edward I. s plate, are set down 
" unam ollam elemos et unam cum tribus pedibus argenti," &c. 
Lib. Quot. or Wardrobe Account, p. 332. Those belonging to 
Henry VI. must have been very handsome, for they are noticed 
as : Magnus discus (elemosinarius) vocatus gret ship de argento 
deaurato, &c. Antient Kalendars and Invent., ed. Palgrave, ii. 114 : 
j graunde almesdich pee d argent (pcelles) ennorrez ovecq^ les armes 
de S r de Lovell en le somite achatez dez executours (del) PErchevesq^ 
de Cauirtbury pois xxh Ib iii unc Ibid., 128. Unii discu elemosinar 
de auro ad modu unius navis voc le Tygre situat sup und ursum 
ponder xxii Ib. j unce ^ d ^ caret uno baleis j grosso pie ^ duobus 
pvis pies, &c.Ibid., 138. In " The Inventorye of Sir John Fastolfe " 


is found "j almsse Disshe weiyng vij. xj. vnces." Archseologia, 

xxi. 244. Of the use of this aim-dish we gather a few, though 
interesting, notices out of an old poem, written in the fourteenth 
century, The Boke of Gurtasyse, which, in speaking of dinner-time 
and its ceremonies, tells us how 

The aumenere by this hathe sayde grace 
And tho almes dysshe base sett in place ; 
Therein the kerver a lofe schalle sette, 
To serve God fyrst withouten lette ; 

The aumenere a rod schalle have in honde 
As office fqr almes, y undurstonde. 
Alle the broken met he kepys y wate 
To dele to pore men at the gate 

Selver he deles rydand by way ; 

And his almys-dysshe, as I you say, 

To the porest man that he can fynde, &c. 

Printed for the Percy Society, p. 30. 

During the reign of John was it that this alms-platter found 
its place upon the board of the wealthy, through the preaching of 
Eustace, abbot of Flay, a religious house in Normandy, as Roger 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 233 

(285) Held as Christ s mother then was by all 
the people in such hallowed respect, throughout 
the (286) land there arose bearing her name cer 
tain churches, which became places of more espe 
cial resort, not only unto such as dwelt in their 
more immediate neighbourhood, but for those who 
lived far off : they were visited by pilgrims from 
the furthermost ends of the kingdom. 7 Among 
those sanctuaries none stood higher in public 
estimation than our Lady s of Walsingham. So 
strong indeed became the liking for this Norfolk 
shrine, that by one of those beautiful and poetic, 
though wild imaginings of the time, the Milky 
Way was said to streak the heavens with its 
starry length, on purpose to tell the wanderer 
where lay that spot so sacred to the Virgin, and 

Hoveden tells us : Et impetravit (Eustacius) prsedicatione sua 
quod multi ex civibus (Londoniis) et ex aliis viris sapientibus, 
habent quotidie in mensa sua discum eleemosynarium, in quo 
condunt aliquam partem cibariorum suorum ad opus indigent ium. 
Roger of Hoveden, Annal. (Pars posterior) [R.S., li. iv. 124]. 

While a love for Mary taught men to be kind towards the poor, 
it also mellowed their speech to one another, and " God s blyssyng 
and our Lady s have ye," as the wealthy London tradesman says 
to the door-keeper of a spittle (The Hye JVay to the Spyttel Hous, 
in Typograph. Antiq., iii. 124) was the holy wish that once used to 
drop often every day from thousands of lips in England. 

7 About half a mile or I cam to Liskard, I passid in a wood by 
a chapel of owr Lady, caullid our Lady in the park, wher was wont 
to be gret pilgrimage. Leland, I tin., iii. 27. On the lift hand of 
this creke, by west a litle from the shore, stondith a chapelle of 
our Lady of Grace, sum time hauntid with pilgrimes. Ibid., 94. 
About a dim. fro the castel is a village cawlled Burgham, and ther 
is a great pilgremage to our Lady. Ibid., vii. 49. 


show him his path thitherward. 8 (287) Not the 
lower classes merely, but the noblest, the bravest, 
the best of the land, went to or helped in up 
holding these places of pilgrimage in honour of 
Christ s holy mother. 

But all about, not merely here and there, (288) 
were thickly sprinkled other lightsome though less 
sparkling proofs of our forefathers love of sweet 
St. Mary ; and he who loiters along any part of 
England will find them even now. Let the tra 
veller of such a mood only linger a while upon his 
road, now and then, to look about him, and he 
will see that everywhere his path is strewed with 

8 The commonalty believed the Galaxias, or (what is called in 
the sky) Milky Way, was appointed by Providence to point out 
the particular place and residence of the Virgin, beyond all other 
places, and was, on that account, generally in that age, called 
WaUinaham Way ; and I have heard old people of this country 
so to call and distinguish it some years past. Blomefield, Norfolk, 
ix. 280. 

9 In the accompts of Elizabeth of York (Henry VII. s Queen), 
we find that there were " delivered to S r William Barton, preest, 
for thofierings of the Queen, to oure lady and Saint George at 
Wyndesoure, and to the Holy Crosse there, ijs. vjd. ; to oure lady 
of Eton, xxrf. ; to oure lady of Caversham, ijs. vjd. ; to oure lady 
of Cokthorp, xxrf. ; to oure lady of Worcestre, vs. ; to oure lady of 
Grace (at Northampton), vs. ; to oure lady of Walsingham, vs. viijd. ; 
to oure lady of Sudbury, ijs. vjd. ; to oure lady of Wolpitte, xxc?. ; 
to oure lady of Ippeswiche, iijs. iiijd. ; and to oure lady of Stoke- 
clare, xxJ." Privy Purse of Elizabeth of York, ed. Nicolas, p. 3. 
Among many other such gifts, we observe that the Earl of Nor 
thumberland (A.D. 1512) used "yerly to send afor Michaelmas 
for his Lordschips Offerynge to our Lady of Walsyngeham, iiiif?."- 
The Northumberland Household Book, ed. Percy, p. 337. Item . . . 
yerely for the upholdynge of the Light of Wax which his Lord- 
schip fyndith birnynge yerly befor our Lady of Walsyngham, 
vjs. viijd. Ibid., p. 338. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 235 

abiding tokens of our fellow-countrymen s old 
affection for the Virgin. If every large town has 
yet its St. Mary s church ; if every, however small, 
parish once had its St. Mary s altar, almost every 
district had and has its " Lady-grove," its " Mary- 
field," its "Mary s well," its " Lady-mead," besides 
patches of ground by wood, and stream, with other 
such like denominations. 10 Nay, the hind also 
knew how to tell the feelings of his heart; and 
though he owned no mead, nor field, nor grove, 
upon which to bestow the name of her he loved, 
he could and did choose the flowers that grew 
there for his symbols, calling one our " Lady s 
mantle," 11 another "Mary gold," 1 2 this "Virgin s 
(289) bower," 13 that " Mary s fan," 14 culling them 
to grace his cottage walls, with a hope that he 
and his would be shielded from ills and harms, 
by the kindness of God won for him through the 
prayers of her under whose protection he had thus 
openly put himself, in hanging this emblem of hers 
about his homestead. 15 

10 Orate pro anima Ricardi Poure, quondam Sarum episcopi, qui 
ecclesiam hanc inchoari fecit in quodam fundo ubi mine fundata 
est, ex antiquo nomine Maryf elde in honorem B. Virg. Marise. Ex 
tabella in sacello S. Marise. Leland, Itin., iii. 77. The plotte . . . 
is namyid S. Maryf eld by the church of S. Mary stonding hard 
by it. Ibid., 90. 

11 Alchemilla vulgaris, called in Sweden " Maria Kapa." 

12 Calendula arvensis. 13 Clematis. 

u Among the mosses and plants found about Whitsand Bay, 
Cornwall, there is one called St. Mary s fan, from its faint resem 
blance of a fan. Camden, Britannia, ed. Gough, i. 12. 

15 The Catholic feeling upon this point still lives among the 
peasantry in several counties. " In some parts of Cornwall, small 


Our people s most favourite devotions, while 
bringing before them the awful truths and myste 
ries of their divine belief, often spoke for they 
could not but speak of Mary full of grace. Amid 
such spiritual exercises, one there was which con 
sisted in commemorating some of those mysterious 
events wrought by heaven for man s redemption, 
and constituted what were then, as they yet are, 
called " the B. V. Mary s five joys," speaking of 
which an old writer tells us : " Thene ye that wyll 
faste (290) the fyve evens of our Lady, in worship 
of her v. joyes that she had of her sone. 

" IF The fyrste whan she conceyved of the holy 
ghoost, and knew that she was moder to Goddis 
sone of heven. 

" IF The ii was on cristmasse daye, whan she 
was delyvered of her sone without ony peyne of 
her body, for as she conceyved withoute lust of her 
body, also she was delyvered withoute peyne of 
her body. IF The iii joye was on ester day, whan 
her sone rose from dethe to lyfe, and come to her 
and kyssed her, and made her morejoyefull of his 
uprysynge, than she was sory of his deth. IF The 
iiii joye whan he styed up to heven, on holy turs- 
daye in the same flesshe and blode y* he toke on 
her body. IF The fyfthe joye was in her assump- 

branches of sea-weed, dried and fastened in turned wooden stands, 
are set up as ornaments on the chimney-piece, &c. The poor 
people suppose that they preserve the house from fire, and they are 
known by the name of Lady s trees, in honour, I presume, of the 
Virgin Mary." Notes and Queries, iii. 206. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 237 

tion, whan she saw her sone come with grete mul- 
tytude of angellis 1 sayntis to fette her to heven, 
and to crowne her quene of heven, and emperes of 
helle, and lady of the worlde, and soo alle that ben 
in heven shall do her reverence 1 worship, 1 al that 
ben in earth shal do her service. This ben the fyve 
joyes that oure lady had of her sonne," L6 &c. 

These five joys were commemorated in several 
ways by that number of tapers lighted every 
morning at the Ladymass, 17 or while the "Salve" 
was (291) sung at eve, 18 or ranged about the corpse 
at funerals, 19 or put over graves at certain times 
of service, 20 as well as by so many pieces of money 

16 Liber Festivalis, the Annunciation, fol. c. Rouen, 1499. 

17 Belonging to Melsa Abbey, Yorkshire, there was a founda 
tion, ad perpetuam sustentationem duorum sacerdotum . . . 
cum duobus clericis, unius videlicet sacerdotis qui cantet Missam 
in honore beatae Marise Virginis cum nota et horis ; et alterius 
qui celebret pro defunctis cotidie, &c., . . . et ad sustentationem 
quinque cereorum ad supradictam Missam de sancta Maria speci- 
aliter assignatorum. Mon. AvgL, v. 395. 

18 See the foregoing note 93, p. 226. 

19 In his will, John of. Gaunt says : Jeo devise a 1 autier principal 
desFreres Cannes en Londres mon viel vestiment blank de drap d or 
. . . et a cella xv marcs d argent, en 1 onur des xv joies de Nostre 
Dame. Test. Eborctc., p. 228. Item Je devise a chescun maison des 
noneignes deinz Londres . . . v marcs, en 1 oneur des v joies de 
Nostre Dame. Ibid., 229. Walter, Bishop of Durham, leaves 
(A.D. 1406) to that cathedral: Pro magno altari, meliorem pannum 
broudatum operatum in campo de rubeo de quinque gaudiis Beatse 
Virginis, pretii xl marcarum. Ibid., 308. In his highly curious 
and interesting will, given to the public through the Camden 
Society, John Baret, of Bury, says (A.D. 1463) : Item I wille haue 
at myn interment at my diryge and messe v. men clade in blak in 
wurshippe of J hus v. woundys, and v. women clad in whith in wur- 
shippe of oure Ladye s fyve joyes, eche of them holdyng a torche 
of clene vexe, &c. Wills., &c., of Bury St. Edmunds, p. 17. 

20 John Gosselyn says : " I wyl and bequethe to the fyndyng of 


(292) offered in church on some feast-days of our 
Lady. 21 But we see that the people were ever 
taught to look through this devotion, whatever 
might be the shape it took, at Christ, and to 
behold in Him the one, the only well-spring of 
grace. 22 

Of these joys of Mary, one there was, having 

(293) that about it which said how meet it seemed 
the world should be warned somewhile before ere 
the yearly celebration of it came round. If there 
fore Advent, or the month before Christmas, was a 

v lights ... to brenne in the honour of the v wounds of our 
Lord God and the v joies of our Lady St. Mary, to brenne upon 
my grave every holyday in tyme of dyvyne service," &c. Blome- 
field, Norfolk, v. 446. 

21 My Lordis offerynge accustomede upon Candilmas-day yerely 
to be sett in his Lordschippis candill to offer at the High Mas 
when his Lordschipp is at home v groits for the v joyes of our 
Lady. The Northumberland Household Book, ed. Percy, p. 333. 

22 Lady for thy Joyes fyve 
Gete me grace in thys lyve 
To knowe and kepe over all thyng 
Cristen feith and Goddes byddyng 
And trewly wynne all that I nede 
To me and myn clothe and fede 

Swete Lady for me thou pray to heveii king 
That he graunt me housel shrift and gode endynge 
Jhesu for his swete grace 
In the blisse of hevene also a place 

Lady as 1 trust in the 
This prayer that thou graunt me 
And I schalle lady here be lyfe 
Grete the with Aves fyfe 
Swete lady full of wynne 
Full of grace and god withynne. 

Speculum Christiani, in Ames, Typograph. Antiq., ed. Dibdin, 
ii. 14. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 239 

season of fasting, so, after a kind, was it of glad 
ness too. Alleluia, 23 that word of ghostly joy, was 
sung forth at Mass ; at matins, the invitatory 
chanted contained this exhortation : "Ecce venit 
Rex ; occurramus obviam Salvatori nostro Behold 
the King is coming ; let us run forth to meet our 
Saviour." 24 Then, as now, high personages, 
especially the sovereign, on nearing the town to 
be honoured by their presence, were greeted with 
a festive peal from the church bells. Knowing 
that after a spiritual way the King of Kings was 
then about to come in the flesh to see and save 
sinners, our fathers thought it well to do out of 
reverence for Him not less than they did towards 
princes of the world. Hence upon most evenings 
for those four weeks, this land (294) used to be all 
astir, not with sad, but joyful sounds ; and the 
bells in every church steeple swung forth their 
peals of gladsomeness for hours through the damp 
cold darkness of the night, with the tidings that 
the celebration of Christ s first visit to us in the 
flesh was drawing near. 25 In many a place 

23 But the first coming of Christ into this world brought joy and 
bliss with him, therefore holy church used songs of mirth, as 
alleluia and other. And for the second coming of Christ shall be 
cruel that no tongue may tell, therefore holy church layith down 
songs of melody, as " Te Deum laudamus," " Gloria in excelsis," 
and weddings. Liber Festivalis, in Dominica prima Adventus, fol. i. 

24 Such is the invitatory in the Salisbury portous : though 
different in words, the one in the Roman breviary Regem ventu- 
rum Dominum, venite adoremus has the same meaning. 

25 In Italy the ( pifferari ? go about from earliest dawn till 
evening, playing the same kind of air on a sort of rough hautboy 


throughout England the Advent bells are yet 
rung, but the meaning of the custom is forgotten. 
To do yet further honour unto her whom God 
so loved, and His archangel had so reverenced, as 
well as to lead the world, on beholding how she 
had been uplifted above all mankind, to ask her 
intercession, those glowing illuminations with 
which the limner had brightened the leaves of 
many a book of " Hours " that was hand-written, 
no less than the woodcuts of such volumes as 
came to them later from the press, set before 
men s eyes the Virgin s holiness all through life, 
and the proofs said to have been given by heaven 
of it at her death and burial. 26 But a love for 
Christ was shown by many other 

and bag-pipes the zampogna before the pictures of the 
Madonna, hung up at the corners of streets arid in shops, all 
through Advent-time, till Christmas-eve. 

26 To the octavo edition, printed by Regnault (A.D. 1526), of the 
Salisbury " Hore Beatissime Virginis Marie," there is a frontis 
piece which shows, in its upper part, the assumption below, the 
burial of our Lady : four of the apostles are carrying the bier with 
her coffin overspread with a pall ; and two hands, seemingly but 
just cut off from the wrists of a man standing close by and 
screaming with pain, lie upon it. The meaning of this we find in 
a discourse on the life and death of B. V. Mary, by Metaphrastes 
(c. A.D. 904) who tells us : Cum hoc sacrum et impollutum corpus 
(Virginis Marise) in Gethsemane efferretur, ubi sepulchro tradi 
Deipara ipsa prseceperat, Judseis, qui semper fuerunt repleti 
invidia, ne in hoc quidem succurrit tacere, sed ad ejus, quod fiebat, 
splendorem claudere oculos, et ad eis innatum motum animi erum- 
pere. Qui ergo erat aliis insanior et imprudentior, is cum 
venerandum portaretur grabatum, in id irruit plenus inconsiderato 
impetu et furore. Ejus autem scopus erat, hunc sacrum lectum in 
terram allidere, et tali afficere injuria, ut qui esset vir insigni 
audacia. Non neglexit autem divina justitia; sed manus quse 
grabatum apprsehenderant, ex ulnis protinus fuerunt abscissae. 




(295) England s churchmen and lay folks strove 
who should yield our Lady the greatest homage. 

Cumque qui passus fuerat esset quidem improbus non tamen 
omnino ejus improbitas videretur insanabilis . . . petiit pceni- 


Of (296) our archbishops of Canterbury, those who 
were more distinguished for their holiness, always 

tentiam. Et quoniam carebat manibus, nee eas poterat ad pieces 
extendere, emittit lachrymas ex oculis et sic petit curationem. . . . 
Statim enim ii quidem qui lectum ferebant, constiterunt, accedit 
vero is qui passus fuerat sectionem, et quse amputates fuerant, 
partibus ulnis applicatis, hoc autem jusserat Petrus, statim con- 
secuta est manuum curatio. De Vita et Dormit. S. Marine, in 
Surius, Vit., iv. 665. The "Golden Legend" speaks somewhat 
differently of this miracle, for it tells us : " And in the saynge so 
he layde his hondes on the bere, wyllynge to turne it and over- 
throwe it to the grounde. Then sodeynly bothe his hondes wexed 
drye and cleved to the bere, so that he henge by the hondes on the 
bere and was sore tourmented and wepte and brayed. . . . And the 
prynce of prestes sayd, Saynt Peter, despyse not me in this trybu- 
lacyon, and I praye the to praye for me to our Lorde. . . . And 
anone his hondes were losed fro the bere. But yet the dryenesse 
and the payne ceased not in hym. And than saynt Peter sayd to 
him, Kysse the bere and saye, I byleve in God Jhesu Cryst that 
this woman bare in her bely and remayned vyrgyn after the 
chyldynge. And whan he so had sayd, he was anone all hole 
perfyghtly." Wyrikyn de JVorde s edition; fol. cxvii v . 

In all ages and in all countries men have shown their feelings of 
love and hatred towards individuals through the honour or dis 
honour they manifested to their effigies. While then the faithful 
in this country revered the saints, but especially the Virgin Mary, 
by illuminating their prayer-books with paintings of her and them, 
those heretics called Lollards displayed their contempt of both by 
rubbing out their heads in illuminations, and scratching away 
their names from the litany, as we are told by one of our country 
men who lived and wrote in those days : Reperti fuerunt libri in 
Anglicis scripti litteris, et nonnulli libri quondam nobiliter et 
imaginibus Sanctorum diversorum decorati; quarum imaginum 
capita juxta formam falsse doctrinse suse, nebulones (Lolardi) 
abraserant, et in Letaniis omnium Sanctorum nomina, una cum 
nominibus Beatse Virginis, aboleverant. . . . Inventa sunt insuper 
illic quaedam scripta plena blasphemise in Beatam Mariam, &c. 
Walsingham, Hist. Anglic., ed. Cam den, p. 399 [R.S., xxviii. ii. 
326]. Some of the Lollard leaders died bitterly weeping their 
fall into that sin : one of them, Sir Thomas Latimer, in his last 
will, after calling himself " a false knight to God," prays " to Him 
meekly of His grace, that He will take so poor a present as his 
wretched soul is into His mercy, through the beseeching of His 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 243 

had a (297) warm affection towards her. St. 
Anselm wrote many beautiful prayers beseeching 
her help. 27 From his cradle was St. Thomas 
taught to love the Virgin, by his own mother, 
who used, in her hallowed playfulness of heart, 
to put her boy, whilst he was yet a child, into a 
scale, and bestow his weight in food, clothing, 
and money, on the poor, that she might thereby 
win for her darling the prayers and the protec 
tion of this blessed Mary. 28 St. Edmund (298) 
kept a figure of our Lady in his reading-room, 
and for token of a vow he had made, while still 
a youth, that he would ever lead a chaste un 
married life, hung a ring upon the finger of her 
statue, thereby wedding himself unto the Virgin. 29 

blessed mother, and His holy saints." Test. Vet.,i. 159. Another, 
Sir Lewis Clifford, denounces himself as " false and traitor to my 
Lord God and to all the blessed company of heaven," &c. Ibid., 

27 Opp. ed. Gerberon, pp. 276-285 [P.I/., clviii. 942-966]. 

28 Consueverat autem ipsa ejus (S. Thomae Martyris) mater 
venerabilis eertis temporibus filium suum ponderare, appositis ei 
panibus et carnibus et vestimentis, iiummis etiam et aliis speciebus 
quse usibus essent pauperum necessaria, et ea omnia egenis distri- 
buere, per hsec eum divinse pietati et beatre semper virgini[s] 
Marine protectione attentius satagens commendare. Nam et ipsa, 
inter opera pietatis quse et diligenter et indesinenter exercebat, 
prsecipuam devotionem circa beatse virginis memoriam semper 
habebat, docebatque sollicite filium suum, sicut ipse referre solitus 
erat, timorem Domini, et ut beatam semper virginem Mariam 
speciali devotioni amplecti et venerari satageret, eamque tanquam 
vitse et actuum suorum gubernatricem atque patronam incessanter 
invocaret, eique post Christum spem suam committeret. [Roger 
of Pontigny], Vita S. Thomee, Gantuar. Martyris, ab auctore anonymo, 
ed. Giles, i. 97 [/?.&, Ixvii. iv. 7, 8J. 

29 In studio suo coram se imaginem beate Marie habebat ebur- 
neam, et in circuitu misterium nostre redemptionis habebat de- 


Archbishop Winchelsey revered Christ s mother 
above all the saints, 30 and for her praise used to 
give in alms unto one hundred and fifty poor 
folks a penny each, upon the eve as well as the 
day itself of all her principal festivals through the 
year. 81 Archbishop (299) Bourchier bequeathed 
to Worcester Cathedral an image wrought of silver 
and gilt, of the B. V. Mary. 32 Cardinal Morton 
chose for his grave a spot of ground in the under 
croft of Canterbury, at the feet of an image there 
of the Virgin, to make known for future ages that 
deeply-rooted love towards her which had grown 
upon him so strongly all his life. 33 Throughout 
the whole body of our churchmen ran this same 
feeling : the poet-clerk who could write verses, 

pictum. Capgrave, Nova Legenda Anylie [ed. Horstman, i. 318]. 
De consilio namque cuiusdam sacerdotis perpetuam virginitatem 
iuvenis vovit atque in signum irrefragabilis federis annulo suo 
beate Marie imaginem subarravit, et novo more annulo digitum 
ipsius insignivit ubi erat scriptum illud Ave angelicum. Ibid. 


so Virginem Mariam amore spirit ualissimo prsedilexit ; et ipsam 
post Deum prse sanctis omnibus honorabat. Anglia Sac., i. 13. 

31 In quatuor festis solempnioribus Beatse Marise CL denarios 
totidem pauperibus ad laudem S. Virginis erogari fecit, et in festo 
conceptionis ejusdem, et in quatuor vigiliis antedictis, &c. Ibid. 
The number of the poor, no doubt, was representative of the CL 
" aves " said in the rosary, a devotion of which the saintly arch 
bishop was very fond, as will be noticed later. 

32 Ecclesise Wigorn. imaginem B. Maries de argento deaurato 
f abricatam valoris Ixix. librarum (legavit Thomas Bourchier archiep. 
Cant.) Ibid., p. 795. 

33 Subterraneoque loco in criptis nuncupate, lapide duntaxat 
coopertus marmoreo, coram imagine Beatissimse Virginis Marice 
quam ex intimo diligebat sepultures locum elegit (Johannes Morton, 
Cardinalis et archiep. Cantuariensis). Ibid., i. 64. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 245 

gladly sang and rejoiced that he was able to teach 
others how to sing St. Mary s praises ; 34 while his 
more learned (300) brother, who drew up or had 
translated any book for the ghostly welfare of 
mankind, begged, as the guerdon hankered after 
most for the toils bestowed upon his work, that 
the reader, as often as he took it into his hands, 
would greet the Blessed Virgin with an " ave." : 
Very many of our old parish churches bore, as 
they yet bear, the name of the Blessed Virgin ; 
in the order, however, of Sempringham, which 
had its rise in this country, the rule was that, 
where it could be done, not some, but all those 
churches belonging to it, should be set aside to 
God in memory of the queen of heaven. 36 Over 
taken upon his road by night, or thunderstorm, 

34 In the British Museum there are the following poems in praise 
of the B. V. Mary, written by John de Hoveden : Quindecim 
gaudia Virginis gloriose, a Joh. de Hoveden clerico Alionorse 
reginse matris regis Edwardi. Ejusdem L salutationes B. Virginis. 
Ejusdem Laus de B. Virgine qu;fc "Viola" vocatur. Ejusdem 
" Lyra" extolljns B. Virginem. Cotton MS., Nero c. ix. Besides a 
great many more, may be mentioned the poems in Nero A. xiv., 
and Hail., 2253. Lydgate s " Lyfe of our Lady " was printed by 

35 At the end of his work, the English translator of " Institu- 
tiones Monialium " says : Ase ofte as ge haven red oht o |>is boc, 
gretes ure Lavedi wi5 an ave for him J5 swanc her abuten. Cotton 
MS., Titus D. xviii., num. 5. 

36 Our countryman St. Gilbert of Sempringham, in the rule 
which he drew up for the houses of his order, says : Decernimus 
ut omnes ecclesise nostrse et successorum nostrorum, in memoria 
ejusdem coeli et terrse regime sanctse Marire, et aliorum sanctorum 
fundentur atque dedicentur nisi aliqua necessitas aliter fieri com- 
pellat. Mon. AngL, vii. p. 1.* in medio tomi. 


the wayfaring clerk would uplift his heart to 
heaven in prayer as he sang a hymn (301) asking 
Mary s help ; and it has happened that she showed 
herself, what he besought her to be a mother- 
by bringing him scathless through the tempest. 37 
On the festival of her Assumption, the canons and 
clerks of Ottery St. Mary s were required by a 
statute of their founder, John Grandison, bishop 
of Exeter, not only to dine all together in their 
chapter-house, but to be arrayed for that festive 
meal each in his surplice, as a token of the spot 
less whiteness that shone in her who is the dear 
dove of Paradise. 38 His college at Winchester, 
as well as the larger one at Oxford, William of 
Wykeham put under the protection of the Blessed 
Virgin ; and upon the walls of both these fine 
buildings may be seen niches tenanted, to this 
day, by beautiful statues of our Lady, at whose 
feet kneels that great good bishop, with hands 
outstretched and eyes upturned towards her, as if 
asking St. Mary to be a mother to him and to 
those schools of his endowing. 

The lay folks of England did not hang behind 
their ecclesiastical teachers, but hurried forwards 

37 Quidam clerici itinerantes tempestate fulguris in nocturno 
discutiente cecinerunt ympnum, Ave maris stella, &c. Et cum 
pervenerunt ad hunc versum, Monstra te esse matrem, beata virgo 
quoddam velum super eos expandit, sub cujus umbra securi donee 
transiret tempestas permanserunt. Henry Knighton, Canon. 
Leycest., Gliron. [R.S., xcii. i. 103]. 

38 See vol. ii. pp. 12, 13, of this work. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 247 

(302) and brought the tribute of their warm-hearted 
devotion to Christ s mother. In doing this the 
highest were, as they should be, the first to lead 
the way. The sword with which Richard I. was 
girt for his dukedom of Normandy, had been first 
carried to and hallowed upon St. Mary s altar, 
before which that ceremony took place. 39 When 
our kings overcame their enemies in war, as a 
solemn act of thanksgiving to heaven, they went 
in pilgrimage to some church called after our 
Lady : 40 soul-smitten for the woe they had brought 
upon other countries through their pride of heart, 
or lust for wider dominion, plighting a vow to 
Christ as they looked towards and bowed to the 
far-off spires of some cathedral or minster hallowed 
to Him in honour of that maid who bore Him, 
they vowed they would give peace to the land 
they were then wasting and worrying by fire and 
sword. This did our third Edward in France. 41 

39 Per ministerium archiepiscopi (Rothomagensis) de altari beatse 
virginis Marise ducatus Normannise gladium suscepit (Richardus). 
Roger of Wendover, Flores Hist., ed. Coxe, iii. 2 [R.S., Ixxxiv. 
i. 161]. 

40 On beholding from his ship the French fleet lying off Sluys, 
Edward III. said, " I have for a long time wished to meet with 
them, and now, please God and St. George, we will fight with 
them." After gaining the victory, the king landed, and attended 
by a crowd of knights, set out on foot on a pilgrimage to our 
Lady of Ardembourg, where he heard mass and dined. Froissart, 
Chron., i. 72, 73. 

41 During his wars in France, Edward III., overtaken by a 
fearful thunderstorm, turned himself towards the church of our 
Lady at Charters, and religiously vowed to the Virgin that he 
would accept terms of peace. Ibid., i. 283. 


Our Lady was reckoned as (303) one among the 
guardian saints of England, and its patron St. 
George was called her knight by our Henry V., 
who, after drawing up his men for battle on the 
field of Agincourt, thus besought our Saviour, 
and asked Mary and other hallows to pray, in 
behalf of himself and his small array : 

" Criste," he sayd, "that schepe bothe see and sond, 
And arte a kyng of myzt, 
This daye holde on us thy holy hond, 
And sped me welle in all my ryzt. 
Helpe, Sent Jorge, oure Lady knyzt, 
Sent Edward, that ys to fre, 
Owre Lady, Godys moder bryzt, 
And Sent Thomas of Canterbury." 42 

Arising from the ground, upon which he and his 
troops had been kneeling a short moment in 
silent supplications to heaven, 43 Henry shouted 

42 Lydgate, Battle of Agincourt, ed. Nicolas, p. 320. One of 
Henry s chaplains, who was at Agincourt with him and saw the 
battle, on horseback in the rear, tells us how the king, invoking 
the name of Jesus, to whom bows every knee, &c., and also of 
the glorious Virgin and St. George, moved towards the enemy. 
Ibid., p. 259. 

43 Lydgate says : 

The kynge knelyd doun in that stounde 
And Englysshmen on every syde 
And thries there kyssed the grounde, 
And on there feet gon glyde. 

Ibid., p. 321. In the black-letter print of the "Batayll of 
Egyngecourte," a copy of which is in the Bodleian, it is said : 

Than kneled oure Kyng downe in that stounde, 
And all his men on euery syde, 
Eury man made a crosse and kyssed the grounde, 
And on theyr fete faste ganne abyde. 

Ibid., Appendix, p. 75. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 249 

that (304) well-known word of onslaught, "Banners 
forwards." But of those five flags carried into 
battle by our countrymen, the two which our 
brave king chose to have borne flying over his 
own head, as on foot he rushed to the fray, one 
was blazoned with the royal arms of England, 
the other shone with the figure of the Blessed 
Virgin : 

" Avaunt baner without lettyng 
Sant Joyrg before eny of myne, 
The banere of the Trenyte, that is Heaven Kyng, 
And Sente Edward his baner at thys tyd. 
Our Lady, he sayd, * that is Haven Quene, 
Myn oune baner with her schall abyde. " 44 

For our Lady s love was it that this same Henry 
V. (305) granted a truce to besieged and starving 
Rouen ; and when at last our king took that city, 
both he and all his followers showed how they 
honoured the saints, but especially the Virgin. 45 
Pouring onwards through its different gates, 
knights and men shouted the well-known cry, 

44 Lydgate, Ibid., p. 322. The conqueror at Agincourt one of 
the bravest kings England ever gave birth to had a most par 
ticular devotion towards the mother of our Lord. Many proofs 
he showed of this; and one not the least "The Lyfe of our 
Lady " (made by Dan John Lydgate, monk of Bury), was compiled 
" at the excitation and stirring of the noble and victorious prince 
King Harry the Fifth; in honour, glory, and reverence of the 
birth of our most blessed Lady, maid, wife, and mother of our 
Lord Jesus Christ." Typoy. Antiq., ed. Dibdin, i. 336. 

45 But at the reverence of God Allmygte 
And off hys moder Mayden bryghte 
Of trewys nowe I grawnte yowe space. 

Siege of Rouen, in Archxologia, xxi. 77. 


" St. George ! St. George ! " 4G not now for a blood- 
stirring call to the fight, but as the grateful song 
of triumph, sung so cheerily when they beheld 
their own red-cross banner flaunting high over 
the conquered walls. Henry himself rode between 
long glittering rows of clergy who had come pro- 
cessionally forth to bring him into Eouen by its 
principal gate, over which waved no other flag 
than " a baner of the quene of heven." 47 To (306) 
fields whereon she gathered many of her brightest 
everlasting laurels, England carried proudly up 
lifted side by side with her St. George s red cross, 
and her three gold lions, the banner of the Blessed 

& as thay entrid thay gaf a schowte 

W fc her voyce that was fulle stowte 

" Seint George ! Seint George ! " thay criden on heigt, 

& seide "welcome oure kynges righte." 

Ibid., xxii. 380. 

47 In telling us of the preparations made by the Duke of Exeter 
for the triumphant entry of Henry V. into Rouen, after its fall to 
the beleaguering English, the poet says : 

& riche baneris he up sette. 

Vpon the porte seint Hillare 

A Baner of the Trynyte. 

& at the port Kaux he sette evene 

A Baner of the quene of heven. 

& at port martvile he uppygt 

Of seint George a baner brygt. 

He sette upon the Castelle to stonde 

The armys of Fraunce and Englond. 

And on the Friday in the mornynge 

Into that Cite come oure kynge 

& alle the Bisshoppis in her aray, 

& vij. abbottis w* Crucchis gay ; 

xlij. crossis ther were of Religioune 

& seculere, and alle thay went a processioun, 

Agens that prince withoute the toune, 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 251 

Virgin. 48 What England did by land, she did by 
(307) sea, to ask and have Mary s intercession for 
her fleets : Mary s name was bestowed not merely 
on one but on several ships at the same time in 
the English navy ; and Mary s flag was looked 
up to with eyes sparkling in thankful gladness, 
as much by old England s hardy sailors as by her 
bold-hearted bowmen ; for both had often fought 
and won as it waved over them. 49 England s 
most stalworth knights were the most devoted 
to the Virgin, and our stoutest warriors would 
sometimes ride to the battle-field, not with their 
own heraldic bearings emblazoned, but instead, 
the figure of Christ s maiden-mother wrought in 

& euery Cros as thay stode 
He blessid hem w fc milde mode, 
& holy water with her hande 
Thay gaf the prince of oure lande. 
& at the porte Kaux so wide 
He in passid withoute pride. 

Ibid., xxii. 382. 

48 It is a curious fact that among the incidents belonging to all 
our great battles of old, we ever find a something which shows 
how strong must have been the devotion towards the B. V. Mary 
felt by those Englishmen who won them. The battle of Cressy 
was fought on a Saturday, on which account (see before, p. 229) 
our army went into action fasting, out of love to Christ s mother, 
and calling earnestly upon her to help them by her prayers : 
Anglici Christi matrem invocantes, quum ilium diem sabbati cum 
jejuniis sacrificaverunt (sanctificaverunt ?) Geof. Baker de Swin- 
broke, CJiron., p. 166. 

49 During Henry V. s reign all the ships in the royal navy were, 
with two or three exceptions, called after one or other person of 
the Holy Trinity, or some saint ; but out of those xxvn vessels, 
iv bore the name of " Marie." See a list of these ships in Nicolas, 
Battle of Agincourt, Appendix, p. 22. 


beautiful needlework on their surcoats. 50 At 
death, as well as in life, stretched beneath the 
cold tombstone, as well as (308) dashing hot and 
headlong to the charge, or mounted on the pranc 
ing steed in the hour of triumph, was it that 
king, and lord, and knight, while yet England 
was Catholic, showed so strong a love for sweet, 
kind St. Mary, asking, as each did, that the 
banner figured with her likeness, which had 
fluttered above their heads in this world s perils 
and victories, might be borne with them to the 
grave and left there to droop over their dust, with 
a hope that she would not forget their undying 
souls. 51 But when that hour did come for those 
men to fight their last awful fight to wrestle 
with this world and its wishes and its yearnings 
to meet grim death and fear him not, after 
weeping heart-tears over their sins, and crying to 

Sir John Chandos, a brave old warrior, and one amongst 
those who formed the first batch of knights of the Garter, bore as 
his device, wrought in embroidery upon his surcoat, the figure of 
the B. V. Mary, clothed in blue., and encircled by the rays of the 
sun: dressed in this manner, the English soldier fought at the 
battle of Poitiers. Froissart, Chronicles, ed. Johnes, i. 216. 

51 Of the four banners called " avowries," and spoken of before 
in this work (vol. ii. p. 394), borne at royal funerals, one was figured 
with the Trinity, a second with our Blessed Lady, a third with St. 
George (see vol. ii. p. 402). Knights too at their burials were 
allowed them : they seem indeed to have been looked upon as the 
religious badges of this country. Wishing to be buried " after the 
degree of a baronet," Sir David Owen, knight, says in his will 
(A.D. 1529), there are to be, besides helmet, sword, &c., "a banner 
of the Holy Trinity, one of Our Lady, and another of St. George, 
borne after the order of a man of my degree, and the same to be 
set over my tomb, &c." Test. Vet., ii. 700. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 253 

Christ for His forgiveness after arming them 
selves with the strength of His grace had through 
the sacraments, they called (309) upon all God s 
saints in heaven, in particular they besought holy 
Mary to become their friend by her prayers at 
that moment in their behoof. 52 

Not without a strong meaning about them were 
(310) those cravings, which, as we see by their 
last wills, our churchmen and our gentry so often 
showed, to have (when they died) a grave, either 
nigh the chapel 53 or before the altar of the B. V. 

52 " Set/ says a book held in high esteem once in England, 
" set in the sight of the sick a crucifix, and also an image of our 
Lady, if ye can have it either in picture or in carved work, and 
oftentimes biddeth them remember the Passion of our Saviour, 
whereby they shall have remission of sin, and special defence from 
their ghostly enemy; and bid them heartily beseke oftentimes 
that blessed Mother of mercy to pray for them, and that she will 
be with them at the hour of death. . . . And when ye see that he 
gived up the spirit, cry, and bid those which are about you cry, 
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, help your servant : 
lesu, lesu, lesu, by the virtue of thy passion, help thy servant : 
Blessed Virgin Mary and mother of mercy, help thy servant : lesu 
have mercy of thy soul : all the court of heaven, we beseke you, in 
the charity of our Lord, pray for his soul : the grace of the Holy 
Ghost, and the merits of Christ s Passion, be with thee. " Doc- 
irynal of Dethe, emprynted by Wynkyn de Worde, sig. A vj. Of 
the death-bed scene of that holy man, St. Richard, bishop of 
Chichester, we have the following sketch handed down to us : 
Illam autem psalrnistse vocem qua dicit " In manus tuas, Domine, 
commendo spiritum meum," frequentius iterans, et ad gloriosam 
Virginem vicissim corde simul et ore se convertens, ait, " Maria 
mater gratise, mater misericordiae, tu nos ab hoste protege, et hora 
mortis suscipe ; " et prsecepit capellanis suis quod ilia verba in 
auribus dicere non cessarent. Vita S. Richardi Ep. Cicestrensis, 
in A A. Sti. Aprilis, i. 307. 

53 Thomas de la Mare, canon of York, says in his will : Com 
mendo animam meam Deo, beatre Marise, &c., et corpus meum ad 
sepeliendum . . . ante osteum capellse beatse Marise, &c. Test. 


Mary, 54 but more especially at the foot of her 
image, 55 which always stood on the north-east 
side of all our chancels. 56 In such wishes we 
easily read that (311) warm love which those men 
bore, while they lived, to the Virgin ; and how 
they hoped, when they should be dead, that she 
would still have a love for them, and let them 
feel it through her prayers to her Divine Son in 
behalf of their souls in purgatory, whose bodies 
lay as it were in her keeping, buried within these 
bounds hallowed to God under her name. 

For our poets ever had it been a gladsome task 
to sing Mary s praises : when therefore, with 
becoming feelings towards their country, they 
told of its mighty doings, they would sometimes 
begin their lays by asking heaven to keep their 

Ebor., p. 68. The wish of Robert Swylyngton, knight, is : Corpus 
meum ad sepeliendum ... in capella beatse Mariae ante altare, &c. 
Ibid., p. 107. 

54 "Lego animam meam," says the will of Herbert St. Quintin, 
" Deo, beatse Marine Virgini, et omnibus sanctis, et corpus meum 
ad sepeliendum in ecclesia de Staunton . . . coram altare Sanctae 
Mariae." Test. Ebor., p. 41. William, Lord Latimer desires: Mon 
corps d estre enterre en 1 esglise de Porioralte de Gisburn, devant 
le haut auter nostre Dame, &c. Ibid., 114. 

55 John Begod, knight, speaks thus of his burial : Sepeliendum 
in ecclesia mea parochiali de Seteryngton, videlicet in choro dictse 
ecclesiee, coram ymagine B. M. Virginis. Test. Ebor., p. 411. The 
same place for his grave is thus pointed out by Hugh de Tunstede, 
rector of Catton : Corpus meum ad sepeliendum in choro ecclesiae 
juxta magnum altare ad latus aquilonare. Ibid., p. 18. John de 
Harpham, vicar of Outthorne, was to be buried : In capella beatse 
Marise Virginis in predicta ecclesia coram ymagine beatse Marias. 
Ibid., p. 49. 

56 See before, pp. 219, and 222, note 87. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 255 

dear England from harm, out of love for Mary. 
The .first lines on the battle of Agincourt are : 

" God, that all this worlde dyde make, 
And dyed for us upon a tree, 
Saue England for Mary thy mother s sake, 
As thou are stedfast God in trynyte." 57 

The living minstrel, while he thought of and 
prayed for his dead brother-minstrel s soul, would, 
as he called upon Mary to lend the help of her 
intercession for the departed, remind her of that 
strong claim which his once tuneful but now dumb 
buried friend had upon her kindness, because he 
loved when alive to sing her praise. Thus was it 
Occleve (312) besought the mother of Christ that 
she would beg her Son s forgiveness on Chaucer : 

" As thou wel knowest, O blissid virgyne, 
With lovyng hert and hye devocion, 
In thyne honour he wroot ful many a lyne ; 
now thine helpe and thi promocion, 
To God thi sone make amocion 
How he thi servaunt was, mayden Marie, 
And lat his love floure and fructifie." 58 

To yield their homage to the Virgin our writers 
put forth all their inventive faculties ; new canticles 
in her praise, to be sung at church, were composed 
and arranged to music of the newest modes and 
sweetest measure, while the older hymns begging 
her prayers were not forgotten, but made the 

67 The poem is given at full by Nicolas, Battle of Agincourt, 
Appendix, p. 69. 

58 Occleve s Works, MS. Harl, 4866, fol. 91. 

2 5 6 


ground whereon to set some graceful variations, 
not of sentiment, but in the wording. The " Salve 
Regina" thus came not only to be expanded, but 
the very way in which its enlarged and additional 
verses were set out upon the vellum roll had a 
meaning easily to be understood. Its strophes ran 

up like so many radii from a circumference to one 
centre, whereat was figured our Blessed Lady with 
her arms enfolding the sacred child. 59 The circle 

59 To Jesus College, Oxford, now belongs one of such " Salve 
Regina " rolls. Our Blessed Lady, holding our Lord as a child in 
her arms, is made the centre of a circle, the rim of which is formed 
by words designating the state and condition of those who form 
the church, as " populus, clerus, pusillanimes, miseri, &c." From 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 257 

(313) out of which these metrical radii sprang 
towards the common centre Jesus held by Mary- 
was made out of words that told what class among 
the people spoke those lines, and what their wants 
and woes. Thus, by a happy thought, as beautiful 
as true, we are given to know that the wretched, 
the down-hearted, the sorrowful lay-folks, clergy, 
women, all mankind the whole Church may 
look to Mary, for help through the prayers (314) 
which in behalf of such as ask her, she puts up to 
her Divine Son. 60 Parts of these hymns and suppli- 

this rim run up to the centre seven spoke-like lines of words, 
written in burnished gold, and speaking as it were the feelings of 
the people the "clerus," &c., thus : "0 clemens, O pia, O dulcis 
Maria, Salve " ; and the initial letter of each spoke is contrived to 
be the initial of that body of the people written on the rim, and 
from whom it is meant to arise ; for instance, " O clemens, &c., r 
springs from the " clerus." Between each pair of spokes we find 
eight Leonine verses, of which the following strophe is a specimen : 

Salve Regina, mater miseris medicina, 
Lux matutina, rosa, flos, et stella marina, 
Clavis es ut credo celestis apertio vale (valve ?), 
Vite dulcedo, spes nostra piissima, salve. 
Celi, virgo, decor, assumpta suis benedicis, 
Sancta Maria, precor, miseris succurre relictis, 
Nobis succurre, riobis miseris miserere, 
Pacis et in turre tecum da Virgo manere. 

The reader will have no doubt observed that there are double 
rhymes in these verses in the middle as well as at the endings ;. 
thus " credo " with " dulcedo " " decor " with " precor " " suc 
curre " with " turre." 

60 Corresponding with the seven spokes, and running round as 
a rim to the circle in the manuscript mentioned in last note, are 
these seven words Miseri, Pusillanimes, Fflebiles, Populus, 
Clerus, Femine to tell, as it were, that the praises and petitions- 
to Mary in the strophes under which they lie, are sent up to her 
from that particular class among God s Church which they de 



cations were traced in characters of burnished gold ; 
the limner s hand, too, shed a many-tinted beauty 
on the scroll ; and thus, in honour of our Lady, 
was often wrought, by the poet s pen and the illu 
minator s pencil, a work which royalty itself felt 
glad to have. 61 In fulfilment, as it were, of what by 
the Holy Ghost s bidding Mary had foretold of her 
self, that all generations should call her blessed, 62 
Englishmen loved to greet her in the greeting 
words of the archangel Gabriel and St. Elizabeth, 63 
and say to her : " Hail Mary, full of grace, the 
Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women, 
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus." Had 

61 The manuscript in Jesus College, Oxford, of which we have 
just spoken, must have been written out expressly for, and un 
doubtedly once belonged to, Margaret of Anjou, queen to Henry VI., 
as her portrait and shield of arms are figured below the circle. 

62 St. Luke, i. 48. 

63 Ibid., i. 28, 42. 

64 Sir William de Clinton, in his bequests to the priory of Max- 
stock (which he founded A.D. 1336), directs, "after mattens of the 
Blessed Virgin finished in the quire, and the Mass of the same, 
and at the end of every houre, the priest celebrating the Mass, 
and the performer of the office, with the same voice that he con- 
cludeth it ; to use the angelique salutation of our Lady, and 
recommendation of her mother, in this manner : Ave Maria gratia 
plena, Dominus tecum ; benedicta tu inter mulieres, et benedict us 
fructus ventris tui, Jesus. Amen. Et benedicta sit venerabilis 
mater tua Anna, ex qua tua caro virginea et immaculata pro- 
cessit ; whereunto the quire shall answer, Amen. " Dugdale, 

Warwicks., ii. 998. 

Barely, however, three hundred years old is that beautiful 
prayer to our Blessed Lady, as we now have it: "Hail, Mary, full 
of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women, 
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother 
of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death. 
Amen." As every one knows, the " Hail Mary " consists of three 
parts ; but few perhaps are aware that the last part, beginning 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 259 

(315) we been living three hundred years ago, we 
might have strengthened the remark made by one 

with " Holy Mary," &c., was unknown to, and therefore never said 
by, our countrymen while England was Catholic. The first part 
is made up of those words with which the archangel greeted Mary, 
when he said, " Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee," &c. (St. 
Luke, i. 28). The second contains those uttered by St. Elizabeth, 
as, filled with the Holy Ghost, she cried out at meeting with our 
Lady, "Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit 
of thy womb" (ibid., 42). The first time these greetings were 
employed by the Church in her public service, was at the end of 
the sixth century, when the Roman pontiff, St. Gregory the 
Great, put them as an offertory for the fourth Sunday in Advent, 
in his new arrangement of the Roman Missal, wherein they are 
still to be found. For ages this was the only time during the year 
these words were used either in public or in private prayer. 
Among the Anglo-Saxons there is not the slightest trace of the 
" Hail Mary." In his letter to Archbishop Ecgberht, Beda speaks 
only of the "Our Father," and the "Belief," as those prayers 
which all lay-folks were to be taught to say morning and evening, 
and which that saint tells us he had himself lately turned into 
Anglo-Saxon for the use of the unlearned : In prsedicatione populis 
exhibenda, hoc prse ceteris omni instantia procurandum arbitror, 
ut fidem catholicam, quse apostolorum symbolo continetur, et 
Dominicam orationem quam sancti Evangelii nos scriptura edocet, 
omnium qui ad tuum regimen pertinent, memorise radicitus in- 
figere cures. . . . Propter quod et ipse multis ssepe sacerdotibus 
idiotis hsec utraque, et Symbolum videlicet, et Dominican! 
orationem, in linguam Anglorum translatam obtuli. Epistola ad 
Ecgberctum [P.L., xciv. 659]. That Beda s words were heeded by 
his friend, we know from the fact, that among the instructions 
sent out to his clergy by Ecgberht one was : Ut unusquisque 
sacerdos orationem Dominican! et symbolum populo sibi commisso 
curiose insinuet. Excerpt. Ecgberti, vi., in Thorpe, Ancient Laws, 
ii. 98. The Council of Clovesho (A.D. 747) speaks of the Lord s 
Prayer and the Belief as those prayers, the meaning of which 
each priest must be able to make his people understand (Wilkins, 
Condi., i. 96). By the canons enacted in King Edgar s reign, 
every father was to teach his children the Pater Noster and 
Creed ; and every man was to " learn so that he know the Pater 
Noster and Creed, if he wish to be in a hallowed grave, or be 
worthy of housel," &c. Thorpe, Ancient Laws, ii. 249. "The 
mass-priest," says the twenty-third of ^Ifric s canons, " shall, on 


of our (316) old writers, how " some use when 
they here the fende named in play or in wrath, 

Sundays and mass-days, tell to the people the sense of the gospel 
in English, and concerning the Pater Noster and the Creed also." 
Ibid., 351. 

We get now to the time of the Anglo-Normans ; yet still there 
is no mention of the " Hail Mary." Had such a form of prayer 
been known, either in England or elsewhere, up to A.D. 1172, 
St. Godric who died in that year in his hermitage at Finchale, 
Durham, and whose heart had ever glowed with such a very warm 
love for 

Seinte Marie, Christes bour, 

Meidenes clenhed, moderes flour, 

(Wendover, Flores Hist., ed. Coxe, ii. 349) [R.S., Ixxxiv. i. 73] 
would have assuredly been but too glad to have said it along with 
the "Our Father" and the "Belief," which it was his wont, while 
yet a youth in the world, to repeat often to himself as he went 
along the road : Nam et Orationem Dominican! cum symbolo, 
quse ab ipsis cunabulis ante didicerat, ssepe etiam solus per vias 
longiores gradiens frequentius ruminabat. Libellus de Vita et 
Mirac. S. Godrici, &c., ed. Stevenson, p. 28. Up to the year 1212 
the "Our Father," but no "Hail Mary," was said before each of 
the canonical hours, according to Lincoln use : Dum oratio dicitur 
dominicalis, quse quamlibet horam prsecedere debet, stare clebent 
ad altare conversi. Wilkins, Concil., i. 535. Among the con 
stitutions set forth A.D. 1229 by William de Bleys, the viii th 
enjoins: Ut in poenitentia laico injungenda specialiter injungatur 
ei, ut septies in die dicat orationem dominicarn cum symbolo 
apostolorurn, &c. Ibid., 624. 

In the year 1237 we light on the first formal mention of the 
" Hail Mary " in England ; and it was made by Alexander de 
Stavenby, bishop of Coventry, who lays it down : Quod quilibet 
Christianus et quselibet Christiana dicat omni die septies suurn 
" Pater noster," quia septies in die debet laudare Dominum, 
juxta prophetam, &c. Similiter septem "Ave Maria" et bis 
suum " Credo," &c. Ibid., p. 642. At that time, however, besides 
the name " Mary," this salutation had in it no other words but 
those uttered by Gabriel and St. Elizabeth, till Pope Urban IV., 
(between A.D. 1261 and 1264), added at the end, "Jesus Christ, 
Amen." Mabillon, A A. SS. B. vii., Preface, p. Ixiii. This addition 
is mentioned and required by Ralph, bishop of Bath and Wells 
(A.D. 1347) (see note 88, further on), and in this form, neither 


to say Ave Maria; (317) that lyke as he joyeth 
of the vycyous namynge of hys owne name, so 
is he rebuked by namynge of (318) thys holy 
name Maria." 65 But among all our country 
men s religious exercises in reverence of the 

longer nor shorter, was it always said in England while the 
country remained Catholic. In the Salisbury " Hore beatissime 
Virginis," printed by Regnault (A.D. 1526), we find it given at 
length (fol. xlviii.) thus : Ave Maria gracia plena, Dominus tecum : 
benedicta tu in mulieribus : et benedictus fructus ventris tui 
Jesus. Amen. It is to be found at Coggeshall, Essex, graven on a 
grave-brass, of about the same period (Weever. Funeral Monuments, 
p. 376). It is so worded, with the holy name " Jesus " left out, in 
" The Primer in English and Latin, after Salisburie Use," printed 
by Caly (A.D. 1556); and in the " Shepheard s Kalender." That 
precious, and (to liturgical students) most valuable Boke callyd the 
Myrroure of Oure Lady, of which I have a quite perfect copy, gives 
us the like form, with the holy name at the end ; but tells us : 
Some saye at the begynnyng of this salutacyon, Ave benigne Jesu, 
and some saye after Maria, mater Dei, wyth other addycyons at 
the end also. And suche thynges maye be sayde when folke saye 
theyr Aves of theyr owne deuocyon. But in the seruyce of the 
chyrche, I trowe yt to be moste sewer, and moste medefull to 
obey to the comon use of saynge, as the chyrche hathe set without 
all suche addiciones (fol. xl.) [ed. Blunt, E.E.T.S. (1873), P- 79J- 
The folio edition of the Sarum Breviary, printed at Paris (A.D. 
1531), is the only Salisbury book which I know that gives the 
"Ave Maria" as we now say it. In one of the last books of 
prayers printed in Catholic England, the "Ave Maria" is as 
follows : 

Hail Mary, ful of grace, our Ave Maria gratia plena, Domi- 
Lorde is with thee : Blessed art nus tecum, benedicta tu in 
thou among women, t blessed mulieribus : et benedictus fruc- 
is the fruyte of thy wombe. tus ventris tui. Amen. 

The Primer in English and Latin, after Salisburie use, &c. (A.D. 
1556), in redibus Roberti Caly (Sig. A. vii.). Cherishing, as 
they did, such a strong love and devotion for our Blessed Lady, 
the Anglo-Saxons, and those who immediately came after them, 
would have been as glad as we are to say, had it then been known, 
the beautiful prayer, the " Hail Mary," as we now have it. 
65 Myrroure of Oure Lady, fol. xl. [pp. 78, 79, ed. Blunt]. 


(319) B. V. Mary, the commonest, the most liked 
and generally followed in later times, was the 
repetition of this same salutation or "Hail Mary," 
wrought (320) up into a particular devotion, which 
for a length of time continued to be called 

but is now better known as 


This form of prayer, once in daily use among 
Englishmen from the highest to the lowest, was 
meant, and is well fitted, to set before the faithful 
some of those points which stand out foremost in 
the Christian s belief. However much it may 
seem to bid us invoke the mother, the end of the 
Eosary is, in truth, to make us think of, love, and 
worship the Son. 

This is a form of devotion which consists of 
one hundred and fifty "Hail Marys" and fifteen 
" Our Fathers," so distributed that after every 
tenth "Hail Mary" comes an "Our Father." 
The commonest, though not the only appliance, 
for reckoning these prayers was, and still is, a 
string of beads so put together that every set of 
ten smaller ones for the " Hail Marys," is parted 
by a larger bead, to tell when the " Our Father" 
must be recited. 

Though neither the Saxons nor the Anglo- 


Normans knew what we now mean by the Rosary, 
for it was after their times that it came into use, 
still its roots, so to say, reach back to their days> 
since the prayer itself grew up from a devotional 
usage much thought of and followed among both 
(321) those people. With the Anglo-Saxons it 
was a favourite custom to say, in some instances 
daily, the whole Book of Psalms, or as it was and 
is called, the Psalter, for the welfare of their living 
friends and in behoof of the souls of those who 
were dead. To such as could not learn by heart 
all these one hundred and fifty psalms, or were 
unable to read them, so many " Our Fathers" were 
enjoined instead. This kind of substitution of 
prayers for psalms, which in time got the name of 
psalter," by bringing lay -folks men and women 
to do, after their way, what the clergy did, linked 
both parts of the Church together, was much 
liked by the people, and long outlived the Saxon 
period. After many years had flown by under 
Norman rule in England, a still shorter sort of 
devotion so many " Hail Marys" took place of 
the " Lord s Prayer." Thus not only grown-up 
men and women, amid the stir and business of 
life, but youth, children even, by repeating their 
CL soon-said " Aves " for the same number of the 
psalms of David, could, while abroad in the field 
as well as in the house at home, join themselves 
with their clergy beneath the church s roof, in 
worshipping their Maker. Though this form of 


prayer, so short and easy that any one could learn 
it, took up but little of their time, they were 
deemed thereby to have gone through their 
psalter ; and this, as it now came to be made 
-up of " Hail Marys," or greetings of the (322) 
Blessed Virgin, got the name of " the psalter of 
our Lady." 66 

We cannot speak of Mary, but we must think 
of Jesus : while we dwell on the joys, and sorrows, 
and the gladsome emotions of the Virgin mother, 
we are reading the life, the death, the uprising of 
her Divine Son. Thoroughly knowing and feeling 
this, our Catholic forefathers wrought out of it 
much ghostly good to themselves, by the way in 
which they gave, as they went through the Rosary, 
a meaning to each part into which they divided 
and subdivided this devotion. 67 The whole of its 

6(5 See before, p. 109, in the note, and the passage further on, 
referred to at note 84. Talking of the " modus orandi, postremo 
inventus, per calculos," Polydore Vergil says : Id divse Mariae 
virginis Psalterium nuncupant. De Rerum Invent., 1. v., c. ix. 337. 

6r How the saying of the beads, or rosary, was meant to bring 
to mind the life and death of Christ, may be seen in the method 
laid down for this devotion in any of our old prayer-books. The 
Salisbury "Hours of the B. V. Mary" gives the following form, 
and tells us that it is a compendium of the life of Jesus : 

Suscipe rosarium, Virgo, deauratum : 

Jesu per compendium vita decoratum. 
Ave Maria gratia plena, Dominus 
tecum ; benedicta tu in mulieribus ; et 
benedictus fructus ventris tui Jesus. Amen. 

Quern Virgo carens vicio de flamine concepisti : 

Dum Gabrieli nuncio humilime consensisti, 
Ave Maria. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 265 

(323) CL " Aves" they distributed into three equal 
portions, so that each of them may bring to mind 
a (324) period of time remarkable for some five of 
the more prominent events in our Redeemer s 
history. The first portion contains those which are 
called "the joys of Mary," or the "joyful mysteries," 
and are the Annunciation the Visitation the 

Quo impregnata citius cognatam visitasti : 
Johannemque celerius in ventre sanctificasti, 

Ave Maria. 

Quern civitate Bethleem letando genuisti : 
Neque dolorem aliquem gignendo pertulisti, 

Ave Maria. 

Quern regis David genere mox natum adorasti : 
Ac vagientem ubere virgineo lactasti : 

Ave Maria. 

Quern in panni fasciis constrict um reclinasti : 
Et suis obsequiis te totam mancipasti, 

Ave Maria. 

Quern magno cum tripudio angeli laudaverunt : 
Pacemque cum gaudio in terra cecinerunt, 

Ave Maria. 

Quern pastorem omnium pastores cognoverunt : 
Dum presepe Dominum jacentem invenerunt, 

Ave Maria. 

Qui juxta ritum hominis passus circumcisionem : 
Dulcis Jesu nominis cepit impositionem, 

Ave Maria. 

Qui a tribus regibus ferventer adoratur : 
Magnisque muneribus decenter veneratur, 

Pf. Ave Maria. 

In the same style as these ten, are written the other forty salu 
tations contained in the first part of the rosary. Hore Beatissime 
Virginis Marie, &c., fol. xlviii., &c., Regnault, 1526. The way for 
saying the rosary after this manner, was often explained to the 
people in the works put forth during those times, as we may see, 
among other examples, by a book entitled, The Rosary, with the 
articles of the lyfe T: deth of Jesu (Jhryst and peticius directe to 
our lady. Imprynted at London in Fauster-lane by John Skot, 
A.D. 1537. Typographical Autiq., ed. Dibdin, iii. 76. 


Birth of Christ His being carried as a baby to 
the temple the finding of Him there, when a boy, 
among the teachers. The second portion bids us 
think of our Lord and His bloody sweat in the 
garden His being scourged at the pillar His 
crowning with thorns His walking to Calvary with 
His cross upon His shoulders His being nailed 
and uplifted on that rood ; and these are known 
as " Mary s sorrows," or the " sorrowful myste 
ries." The third portion brings to mind Christ s 
uprising from the grave His going up to heaven 
the coming down of the Holy Ghost on the 
apostles the Assumption of the B. V. Mary her 
receiving amid the saints above the diadem of 
glory ; and these we call the " glorious mysteries." 
At the end of each portion of these passages in 
the history of Jesus and the Virgin, was said the 
" Creed," to tell the world, as well as strengthen 
within himself, the reciter s belief in all Christ s 

This devotion, either in its whole or its parts, 
(325) was a form of prayer which the founders of 
our colleges and other pious establishments fre 
quently enjoined upon all those who might at 
any time hereafter be allowed to partake of their 
benefits. 68 Henry VI. wished that the scholars of 

68 Among other devout works to be done by his beadsmen, for 
his soul, after his death, Henry, Lord Marney, wishes them to say 
our Lady s Psalter (see before, p. 109). Anne Buckenham wills 
" to a poore bodie, by the space of an whole yeare, that wolde saye 
y e psalter of oure Ladye everie Saturdaye ob." Wills, &c., of Bury 
St. Edmund s, p. 138. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 267 

Eton should every day repeat the whole psalter of 
our blessed Lady ; m and that great good man, who 
built and so munificently endowed St. Mary Mag 
dalen College, Oxford, required each of its mem 
bers to recite one third part of this psalter, on 
their knees. 70 From (326) these and other evi 
dences, it would appear there was a difference 
between what, truly speaking, used then to be 
looked upon as the psalter and the rosary of the 
Blessed Virgin ; the psalter consisted of as many 
" Hail Marys " as there were psalms, that is, of a 
hundred and fifty, separated into tens by fifteen 
" Our Fathers " ; the rosary was any one of the 
three parts, or fifty " Hail Marys," with five 
"Our Fathers." 71 

6!) Post quse similiter dicant ante terapus altse Missse in ecclesia, 
vel cimiterio, aut claustro ejusdem, in remissionem eorum quse de- 
liquerunt per abusum quinque sensuum, quinquies orationem prse- 
dictam (dominicam) adjungentes post singulas orationes prsedictas 
denas salutationes angelicas cum uno symbolo in fide pro confirma- 
tione fidei Christianse ; sic quod in tempore quo dicentur matutinre 
ac alise horse aut omnino ante altam Missam, dicant completuni 
Psalterium Beatpe Virginis computando semper in hujusmodi 
psalterio quindecies orationem dominicam et centum quinquaginta 
" Ave Maria" ac insuper unum "Credo." Statutes of Eton College, 
cap. Ivi. 

TO w e win> ,, ordains Bishop Wayneflete, " that the president 
and each of the fellows of the said college do say in honour and 
remembrance of the most Blessed Virgin, the mother of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, with all possible devoutness, on their bended knees, 
fifty times over, the angelical salutation, together with the Lord s 
prayer, after every ten rehearsals of the salutation aforesaid." 
Statutes of Magdalen College, p. 98. 

71 A rare and richly-illustrated work on the rosary (printed at 
Venice, A.D. 1559), makes the distinction: Tutti li quindeci Pater 
Nostri e cento e cinquanta Ave Marie si dimanda il Psalterio, & 
una delle tre parti ; cioe cinque pater nostri e cinquanta Ave Marie, 


When any kind of supplication is to be repeated 
over for a prescribed number of times, an appliance, 
fashioned after some sort or another for reckoning 
them, must needs be used. Our Anglo-Saxons 
had their " belts " of Pater nosters, 72 and that noble 
Anglo-Saxon lady, Godiva, told her prayers on gems 
threaded together for that purpose ; 73 and the 
(327) ankret of Finchale, St. Godric, used little 
stones. 74 For saying the rosary, beads were in Eng 
land employed very generally, though not to the 
exclusion of other modes, for numbering its " Hail 
Marys" and "Our Fathers." 75 These strings of 
beads were (328) mostly of two lengths, 76 one of 

si dimanda il Rosario della beatissima vergine Maria iiosario deila 
gloriosa Vergine Maria, fol. 2O V . 

72 See pp. 6 and 7 of this volume. 7:5 Ibid., p. 7. 

74 Et quia orationum multitudine consueta plurimurn oneratus 
exstiterat, ne forte aliquas, ignorantia duce, intermittat, lapides 
calculares habuit, quibus earum numerus computabat. Libel, de 
Vita . . . S. Ofodrici, 225. 

75 The beads for saying the rosary went by several names, " a 
pair of beads " ; u a pair of Pater nosters " ; " ave beads " ; but never 
were they called "a rosary." Thus Sir Thos. Ughtred, knight, 
says in his will (A.D. 1398) : Lego . . . j par de paters nosters de 
auro, cum j annulo et uno ouche de auro. Test. Eborac., p. 243. 
Sir Thos. More tells us how the old folks of his days walked " pit 
pat upon a paire of patens wyth the staffe in the tone hande and 
the Pater noste in the tother hande." JVorks, London, 1557, p. 593. 
Speaking of these beads, and their use, Polydore Vergil says : Est 
modus orandi postremo inventus, per calculos, ut ita dicam, ligneos: 
quos vulgus modo preculas, modo paternostros appellat. De 
Rerum Invent., V. ix. 3^7. 

70 Not often do we find beads in one set for the whole psalter 
(one hundred and fifty " Aves ") mentioned, though of such notices 
do now and then occur. Sometimes, in old deeds, we are told of a 
set of beads amounting to more than one hundred and fifty ; but 
the superfluous number seems to have been added merely by way 
of ornament : thus, for instance, Anne Barett leaves to her " god- 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 269 

fifty the other of no more than ten " Aves." This 
shorter one was carried in the hand, fastened to 
the little finger by a ring, from which it fell in a 
straight line ; 7T the longer one used to be worn 
slung, as it was circular, about the arm, or hanging 
somewhere upon the person, 78 and not unfrequently 

dought 1 a payr bedys of corall of thryse sexty." Wills of Bury St. 
Edmund s, p. 98. We may, however, see how the additional ten 
were put there, not for use, but to set off the Pater Nosters, or 
larger ones ; for, in another will, there is bequeathed " a peyre of 
bedys with pater liris of gold, and on eche syde of the paT:nris a 
bede of coral, and the Ave Maryes of colour aftir marbil with a 
knoppe, othir wyse callyd a tuft t, of blak sylke, and ther in a litil 
nowche of gold, with smal perle and stoonys." Ibid., 36. At the 
present day strings of beads are to be met with of seventy " Aves," 
and they are for saying the rosary of the seven dolours of the 
B. V. Mary. 

77 John Baret (A.D. 1463) leaves, by his will, "to my Lady Wai- 
grave, a litil peyre of bedys of silvir of x. and with a knoppe of 
gold with pie, a rowund ryng of the kynge silvir," and to John 
Clopton " a peyre bedys of sylvir w* x. avees and ij. pa^nris of 
sylvir and gilt." Wills of Bury St. Edmund s, pp. 35, 42. Isabella 
Salvayn (A.D. 1499) says: Lego Alicise sorori mese j par de pre- 
cibus. Item . . . unum annulum aureum pendentem per predictas 
preces. Test. Eborac., p. 419. And Sir R. Towgall, priest (A.D. 1 541), 
amongst his bequests enumerates : A dovsen aum beids with a 
gyemis ring . . . and a pair of avmer beyds gardit with siluer 
gardis. Wills, dec., of the Northern Counties, p. 117. 

78 Almost everybody, during Catholic times, carried about a set 
of beads ; and in bringing before us his Canterbury pilgrims, 
Chaucer does not forget to tell us of the nun, how 

Ful fetis was hir cloke, as I was war. 

Of smal coral aboute hire arm she bar 

A peire of bedes, gauded al with grene ; 

And ther-on heng a broche of gold ful shene, &c. 

Chaucer, Prologue, 157-160 [Skeat, Student s Chaucer, 421]. This 
description, although of one bound to a religious life, might have 
been, however, applied to most people of those days ; for Chaucer s 
self, in the only original portrait which has come down to us of 
him, is shown as holding in his left hand a short rosary the ten 
" aves " of which are black, and the string that threads them red 



were they (329) as precious as art, 79 or as costly 
as the richest materials could make them. 80 In- 

(MS. Harl., 4866, fol. 91). [See below.] Among the woodcuts in 
Caxton s folio edition of the Canterbury Tales, " the clerke of Oxen- 
forde " wears his beads, of fifty " aves," slung belt-like over his 
shoulder as he rides ; and " the Nonne " carries hers upon her left 
arm. [See opposite page.] When Burghley wanted Queen Mary 


to employ him in her government, one of the hypocritical means 
by which he tried to cheat her into the belief of his friendly 
feelings towards the old faith, was to walk about Stamford with a 
rosary in his hands. Truly did the future unprincipled minister of 
Elizabeth exemplify the remark of Polydore Vergil, who, in speak 
ing of the beads, said : Hodie tantus honor ejusmodi calculis 
accessit ut sint . . . et hypocritis prsecipui fucosse bonitatis 
instrument!. De Rerum Invent. , V. ix. 337. 




stead of beads, finger-rings (330) of gold or silver, 
having ten low knobs for the " Aves," and a higher 
and broader one showing the crucifix wrought on 
it for the " Pater noster," were occasionally worn ; 81 
and some persons (331) there were, who, like 
Archbishop Winchelsey, said our Lady s psalter, 
not by telling their beads, but their fingers. 82 

79 The Duke of Devonshire possesses a rosary in wood, which 
once belonged to Henry VIII. On its large beads are figured all 
the mysteries in our Saviour s life, compared with the principal 
events of the Old Testament. It is a specimen of most elegant 
carving, and its workmanship shows the patience as well as the 
light hand of him who wrought it. 

80 Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford, bequeaths (A.D. 1361) 
to his nephew, " a pair of gold paternosters of fifty pieces, with 
ornaments, together with a cross of gold, in which is a piece of 
the true cross." Test. Vet., i. 67. To the Archbishop of Canter 
bury, William of Wykeham leaves by will, "a pair of beads of 
gold, appended from a bracelet of gold, having these words en 
graved on them : . |$. 5. cst amor incus." Ibid., ii. 767. Mr. 
Howard, of Corby, possesses the rosary which poor Mary, Queen 
of Scots, had with her when she was beheaded : the beads are large 
and all of gold ; once they were enamelled, arid some slight traces 
of colour yet streak them. The late Mrs. Howard s maid took it 
into her head that the rosary ought to be cleaned, and, without 
saying a word to any one, boiled it some time in water : when 
taken out, the enamel was found to have dropped off. If the giddy 
maid was startled, the good mistress was deeply hurt, as I heard 
from her own lips, at this most sad mishap. Mr. Howard s father 
got this rosary as a bequest from Charles, Duke of Norfolk. 

81 Such rings may be met with in private collections of old 
jewellery : I have seen more than one myself so preserved. " My 
ring with the five roses," which the Countess of Oxford leaves 
(A.D. 1537) to her niece (Test. Vet., ii. 674), was, it seems to me, a 
rosary ring of some kind. The " Aves " could have been easily told 
on the fingers of one hand, and the " Pater nosters " on this ring 
worn upon a finger of the other. 

82 Of Robert of Winchelsey (Archbishop of Canterbury, A. D. 1295), 
we are told : Virginem Mariam amore spiritualissimo prsedilexit ; 
et ipsam post Deum prse sanctis omnibus honorabat. Unde Saluta- 
tionem Angelicam finitis occupationibus necessariis per numerum 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 273 

Why this devotion was called the rosary, we do 
not know; the term, however, is a happy one. 
Perhaps it may have been a beautiful thought, 
which, like so many others of the kind, was called 
forth by ecclesiastical symbolism. The prayers 
forming the circle of the beads were likened to 
sweet flowers, fit to make a wreath wherewith 
to crown our Lady, or to be worn as their garland 
by those who love her. That at least such 
hallowing imaginings shed their sunshine and 
their wholesome warmth upon (332) our forefathers 
hearts whilom in England, seems doubtless, from 
the following passage out of an old writer : 

" There was a lordisman y* had gadered moche 
god of his lordis, for he was his rente gaderer ; and 
went to here yt to his lord. Thenne was ther 
theves that sette for him to robbe by the waye in 
the wood, ther as he must nedys goo thorug. So 
whan he come in to the wood, he betoughte hym 
that he had not sayde our Lady saulter, as he was 
wonte to doo ; and he kneeled downe and began 
to saye : thene come our Lady like a fayr mayde, 
and sette a garlande on his hede ; and atte eche 
ave she set a rose in the garlonde, that was so 

digitorum suorum, quocunque se diverteret, semper dixit : . . . Unde 
post ejus obit urn accidit admirandum, quod qui Domini sui de- 
voti stantes juxta funus ejus, dum dictam Virginis Salutationem 
more ipsius dixissent, occulata fide dixerant se vidisse pollicem 
manus dicti def uncti discurrere per articulos digitorum prout ipse, 
dum vixit, consuevit facere cum devotione corporis et cordis. 
Stephen Birchington, Vita Roberti de Winchelsee Arch. Cantuar., 
in Wharton, Anglia Sacra, i. 13. 



bryghte that al the wood shone thereof : and 
whan he had done he kyssed the erth : 83 and wente 
his waye. Thene come the theves and toke him, 
and ladde hym to her mayster, the whyche had 
seen all thise doynges, thenne sayd he to him : 
what woman was that, that set the gaiionde on 
thy ede ? and hy sayd : syre, forsothe I see noo 
woman ne garlonde. Thenne sayd the mayster 
thefe, I wote welle thou arte a lordisman, and hast 
moche good with the ; but I wolde faine wytte 
what woman that it was that (333) come to the, 
and why thou knelest downe. And he sayde : 
whan I see you I was aferde, and also I bethought 
me that I had not sayde our Lady saulter : and 
I kneled downe to say it, prayng our Ladi to helpe 
me atte my nede. Thenne sayd he : for her love 
goo thy way, and pray to her for us : and so he 
went his waie saaf and sounde, by helpe and 
socour of our dere Ladi." 84 

To beads, as to every other Catholic practice, 
the English people of themselves were strongly 
attached ; and for several years after the introduc 
tion of Protestantism, their use was kept up in 
many parts of the kingdom. 1 


83 To kiss the ground upon which they had been kneeling at 
prayer, before rising up, seems to have been a common usage with 
our forefathers : just as they were about to begin the onset at 
Agincourt, the English knelt and prayed and kissed the ground 
(see before, p. 248). 

84 The Festival, ed. Morin, Rouen, 1499, fol. xlvi v . 

86 In one of his injunctions, put forth A.D. 1571 (that is, in the 
:xmth year of Elizabeth s reign), Grindall thought it necessary to 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 275 

(334) This was not the only method after which 
the " Hail Mary " was said to honour the B. Vir 
gin. In some of those houses built and endowed 
for the secular clergy, that they might live to 
gether near the church which they served, the 
statutes required all their inmates to join and sing 
in a solemn manner at the end of every meal, a 
hymn, and say an " Ave," as a greeting to Christ s 
well-beloved mother. 86 To chant Mary s praises 
by way of evening prayer, seems to have been a 

forbid this old Catholic devotion, thus : " No persons to wear 
beads, or pray either in Latin or English upon beads or knots, 
or any other like superstitious (!) thing." Wilkins, Condi., iv. 
269. The heads of the Protestant establishment had strong proof 
of the people s attachment to this way of prayer. Among the 
evidences taken about the stir made in the north of England 
(A.D. 1 569) for bringing back the old worship, Elizabeth Watson s 
acknowledgment is that " she used hir beads." Depositions, &c., 
from the Courts of Durham, p. 160. And Alice Wilkinson said " that 
she occupied her gaudes as many thowsand dyd." Ibid., p. 164. 
Full twenty years later (A.D. 1589), the use of beads was kept 
up in Wales, as we learn from a Protestant writer, who tells us : 
"Also the people do carye Beades openlye, and make suche 
clappings with them in the church, as that a man can hardely here 
the minister read for the noice thereof, alledginge that they can 
read upon their beades, as well as others upon books." Leland, 
Collect., ii. 649. 

86 Statuimus quod iidem sacerdotes ac successores sui pro 
dominis E. R. (Edwardo III.), ac magistro Waltero de Hulle . . . 
singulis diebus inperpetuum, prandio, et ccena sua seu collatione 
finitis, ad honorem beatse Marise virginis totam hanc sequentiam 
* Benedicta es, ccelorum regina, et mundi totius domina "... 
decantent solemniter in communi prsefatusque minister vel unus 
de consodalibus suis subsequent, hunc versiculum, " Ave Maria, 
gratia plena, Dominus tecum," &c., et hanc orationem, "Deus qui 
beatam Mariam virginem in conceptu et in partu, servata virgi- 
nitate divino gaudio laetificasti "... dicat et devotius prosequatur. 
Constitutiones R. de Salopia, episc. Bath et Well., in Wilkins, 
-Condi. t ii. 737. 


devotional exercise followed by many in those 
days. Chaucer hints at it when, in sketching 
the " poure scoler" and his room at " Oxenforde," 
he tells us how 

His Almageste and bokes grete and smale 

On shelves couched at his beddes heed, 
His presse y-covered with a falding reed. 
(335) And al above ther lay a gay sautrye. 

On which he made a nightes melodye, 
So swetely, that al the chambre rong ; 
And Angelus ad virginem he song. 87 

The first half of the xiv century witnessed the 
beginning of that pious practice, 

every morning and evening, 


Like several other religious observances now 
very widely spread, the beautiful devotion con 
nected with this custom took its rise from 
private piety, and slowly grew into a part of 
the Church s rite. 

In England as elsewhere lived men who, be 
cause their hearts were as warm as their heads 
were strong, thought that no day should go by 
without a homage made to Christ through the 

87 The Milleres Tale [Skeat, Student s Chaucer, p. 459]. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 277 

honour rendered to Mary ; who deemed that one 
way of showing their love for their neighbours, 
was to pray to heaven for them when dead ; and, 
that such entreaties might be sooner answered, 
to beg the mother of that flesh and blood through 
which the Son of God paid to His Father our 
ransom from sin and hell, that she would help 
us in this work of (336) charity by adding her 
supplications unto ours. Under these feelings, 
old at the time, was it that in his Constitutions, 
drawn up A.D. 1347, by Ralph de Salopia, bishop 
of Bath and Wells, for those among the cathedral 
clergy who lived together in a collegiate body, 
that prelate required them, and all their successors 
for ever, to say, the first thing in the morning, 
five " Aves," and the last at night, as many more, 
in honour of the B. V. Mary, and for their living 
benefactors weal, and the souls good of such as 
were dead. 88 

A form of devotion which many persons had 
long used in private, John XXII. , who sat upon 
St. Peter s chair from A.D. 1316 till 1334, raised 
to the distinction of a public rite, which, as we 

- 8 Statuimus quod iidem sacerdotes et successores sui singulis 
diebus cum de lectis suis surrexerint, et singulis noctibus cum cuba- 
verint, pro dominis E. R. (Edwardo III.) et pro magistris Walt, et 
Johanne supradictis agentibus in humanis et pro eorum salubri 
statu quandiu vixerint et pro animabus suis cum ab hac luce sub- 
tracti fuerint, necnon pro animabus Isaac, Matildas . . . quinquies 
salutationem angelicam cum hac adjectione^ "Jesus, Amen," ad 
honorem beatse Mariae virginis genitricis Dei, dicant perpetuis 
f uturis temporibus humiliter et devote. Wilkins, Condi. t u. 736, 737. 


learn from the pontiff s words, then consisted of 
three " aves " said every evening at curfew- time. 89 
For (337) a great number of years before John 
XXII. s pontificate, not only throughout France, 
where he was living at Avignon, but all over 
England, there was rung, every evening the year 
round, in each cathedral as well as little parish 
church, the "ignitegium" or curfew-bell. This 
was done, however, at first for a civil, not an 
ecclesiastical purpose. If this curfew did not 
give pious individuals the earliest thought of 
saying the " Ave " at night-fall, the ringing of 
this bell was in itself so seasonable, that it was 
looked upon and employed as a happy incident 
for calling upon the people, whether in town or 
country throughout the land in fact to say 
their greetings to the Virgin at sun-down. This 
public evening devotion to St. Mary soon spread 
itself over Christendom, and was quick in reach 
ing England. But it grew as it went on ; and, 
very shortly, an enactment came forth from the 
archbishop of Canterbury, at the earnest wish of 
our Henry IV., that what was done at night 
should also be performed in the morning too, so 
that on awaking at the beginning, as well as 

89 Item auctoritate dicti concilii prseeipimus quod observetur 
inviolabiliter ordinatio facta per sanctse memoriae Joannem papam 
vicesimum secundum, de dicendo ter Ave Maria tempore seu hora 
ignitegii, in qua ordinatione conceditur certa indulgentia dicenti- 
bus ter Ave Maria dictis tempore et hora. Condi., Paris (A.D. 
1346), can. xiii., Condi. Gener., ed. Coleti, xv. 613. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 279 

before going to sleep at the end of day, this 
land might think of, and yield its homage to, 
Christ s blessed mother. 90 (338) So stood this 
form of public prayer, consisting of one " Our 
Father" and five 91 Hail Marys" in England, 
till England cast away her first, her olden faith. 
In many and many of those grey church-towers 
which we so often see peeping at us over the 
trees as we wander by, there yet hangs the very 


so our fathers called it 92 which the sexton 
had (339) to ring at morn and evening every 

90 Thomas permissione divina Cantuarien. archiepiscopus . . . 
venerabili fratri nostro domino Roberto Dei gratia Londonien. 
episcopo salutem ... ad ipsius domini nostri regis (Henrici 
IV.) specialem rogatum fraternitati vestrse firmiter injungendo 
mandamus quatenus vestrarum civitatis et dioeces. . . . subditos 
dominam nostram Dei genitricem Mariam, nostramque patronam 
et semper protectricem in adversis causis consimili orationis et 
precis instinctu, ac consuetse pulsationis forma, quibus ad ignitegii 
pulsationem devotio Christi fidelium venerari consuevit, eandem 
quee ante diem in aurora pulsatur, procuretis pari orationis et 
pulsationis modo ... in monasteriis, ac ecclesiis collegiatis 
et parochialibus . . . omnibus Christi fidelibus per nostras 
civitatem, dioec. et provinciam Cantuarien. ubilibet constitutis, 
de peccatis suis vere poenitentibus et confessis qui orationem 
dominicam, et quinquies salutationes angelicas in pulsatione 
matutinali dixerint mente pia, totiens quotiens, quadraginta 
dies indulgentise concedimus. Wilkins, Cone., iii. 246, 247. This 
mandate was sent forth by Abp. Arundel, A.D. 1399. 

91 This number " five "for the times they then said the " Hail 
Mary" was in all likelihood meant and understood to be sym 
bolical of the B. Virgin s five joys, which our forefathers so much 
loved to celebrate. See before, pp. 226, 236, 237, &c. 

92 The Gabriel bell is often spoken of in old church-books, 
and in some places it is known by that name or some corrup 
tion of it. 


day 93 as a bidding to the people to the sick in 
bed, 94 and to the healthy, to those at home, to those 
abroad 95 that they should greet our Lady with 
their five " Hail Marys " ; and all about its rim 
can still be read the quaint verse speaking of 
the archangel and St. Mary. 96 

The mid-day bell was never rung in England ; 
and the " Angelus," as it is now said in all 
Catholic (340) countries, did not come into use 
before the beginning of the xvi century, and 
seems to have commenced in France, 9 

93 Among the churchwardens accompts for Walberswick come 
the entries following, for A.D. 1490: To the sexteyne for his 
re war for ryngyng the day-belle. To the sexteyne for ryngyng 
of the kerfow-belle. Illustrations, &c., p. 185. 

94 On one of the bells once belonging to St. Giles s church, 
Norwich, ran this inscription : 

Celi regina, languentibus sit rnedicina. 

Blomefield, Norfolk, iv. 246. 

95 On another bell in Norfolk are inscribed these two lines : 

Hac non vade via, nisi dicas Ave Maria. 
Sit semper sine Ve, qui michi dicat Ave. 

Ibid., i. 223. 

96 A very common inscription on Gabriel-bells is this linej: 

Hac in conclave, Gabriel nunc pange suave. 
Sometimes may be found : 

Missus vero pie Gabriel fert leta Marie. 
Again : 

Missus de celis, habeo nomen Gabrielis 

upon one bell ; and upon another : 

Virgo coronata, due nos ad regna beata. 

Ibid, i. 335. It is likely, I think, that in some places, for ringing 
the morning and evening "Ave," not one, but two, bells were 

97 Mabillon, AA. SS. 0. B., vii. Prxf. lx., n. 122. 


In all these warm outpourings from the English 
heart in all these gladsome hymns, and sighs for 
help, and loving greetings (whether the burst of 
feeling comes from king or churchman, from min 
strel or from knight, or lowly hind), the B. Virgin 
is never besought to forgive sin of herself, but to 
beg its forgiveness from their and her Redeemer : 
never is she asked to bestow grace, but to sue her 
and their Maker to give it them. Unto Jesus did 
they cry for mercy ; Mary they begged to pray for 
them. 98 The " handmaid of the Lord " was looked 
(341) upon as one among the appointed bearers of 
our errands unto heaven," and this very help we 

98 This proper distinction was always made ; and instances of it 
may be everywhere found in our church-monuments and old 
literature. On his grave-brass in West Harling church [see 
previous page], Will m . Berdewell is figured with a scroll bearing 
this invocation to Christ : 


While his wife says : 


Blomefield, Norfolk, i. 304. " Jesu, mercy; Lady, help," is an 
invocation of perpetual occurrence amid all kinds of ecclesiastical 
art-work. Our poets often marked this same distinction : 

Than syr Degrevvaunt syght, 
And byheld the hevene up-an hyght, 
" J hesus, save me in my ryght 
And Mare me spede ! " 

Sir Degrevant, in Tliornton Romances, ed. Halliwell, p. 1 86. What 
has been said before, in note 59, p. 45, of this volume, will still 
more illustrate this point. 

99 Ure lafdi S. M., alse wisliche alse hie ]>is dai was hoven into 
hevene, bere ure arende to ure loverd Jhesu Crist, j* he gife us 
eche blisse in hevene. English Sermons (xm century) MS. Trin. Coll. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 283 

have from her was deemed a kindness afforded us 
by the Almighty one of those many ways He 
takes to show us His fatherly love by allowing us 
to have, as our friend and mother, the mother of 
His Son. 1 (342) Ever wishful as she is that men 

Cambridge, printed in Reliquiae, Antiq.,i. 130. Peirs Plouhman is 
made to say : 

For-thi ich counsaile alle cristine to crye god mercy, 
And marye bus moder be oure mene to hym, 
]?at god 5eue ous grace here er we go hennes, 
Suche workes to worche whil we "ben here, 
That after oure dej>-day dowel reherce 
At ]>e day of dome -we dude as he tauhte. Amen. 
Passus 346-35 1 [ed. Skeat, p. 176]. 

1 " And we pray Him (God) for [the sake of] His sweet Mother s 
love that Him bare ; and all the help we have of her is of His 
goodness. . . . And on the same wise, all the help that we have 
of special saints, and all the blessed Company of Heaven, the dear- 
worthy love and endless friendship that we have of them, it is 
of His Goodness. For God of His goodness hath ordained 
means for to help us, full fair and many." Revelations of Divine 
Love shewed to Mother Juliana [p. 13, ed. Warrack, 1901]. The writer 
of this beautiful little book was an ankress at Norwich, A.D. 1373. 

" Let us praye than humbly unto the gloryous virgyn Marye 
whiche is comforte to them that forsake theyr synnes that she 
wyl make our peas to her blessyd sone, and impetre and gete 
of hym remyssyon of all our synnes. And after this lyfe to come 
to the glorye T; joye of heven. To the whiche brynge us the fader, 
the sonne, and the holy ghost." The Golden Legend, imprinted by 
Wynkyn de Worde, fol. ciij v . The poet s strains were but echoes 
of the same words put into rhyme, for one of them sings thus : 

Of on that is so fayr and brigt, 

velut maris stella, 
Brigter than the day is ligt, 

parens et puella. 
Ic crie to the, thou se to me, 
Levedy, preye thi sone for me, 

tarn pia, 
That Ic mote come to the 



should know and come unto their and her only 
Saviour, they believed (343) that Mary prays for 
us, before we ask her to pray, that we may have 
the light that will lead us unto Him. 2 

Gemming, as our fathers did, the Virgin s name 
(344) with every brightest epithet looking upon 
her as higher than the highest saints, as more 

Levedi, flour of alle thing 

rosa sine spina, 
Thu bere Jhesu hevene king 

gratia divina, 
Of alle thu berst the pris, 
Levedi quene of parays 

Mayde milde moder es 

Of kare conseil thu ert best 

felix fsecundata, 
Of alle wery thu ert rest 

mater honor ata. 
Bisek him wiz milde mod 
That for ous allesad is blod 

in cruce, 
That we moten komen til him 

in luce. 
Wei he wot he is thi sone 

venire quern portasti, 
He wyl nout werne the thi bone 

parvum quern lactasti, 
So hende and so god he is, 
He havet brout ous to blis 

super ni, &c. 

British Museum, MS. Egerton 613, and printed in Reliquix 
Antiq., i. 89. 

2 For som-tyme, lady, er men praye to thee, 
Thou goost biforn of thy benignitee, 
And getest us the light, thurgh thy preyere, 
To gyden us un-to thy sone so dere. 
Chaucer, The Prioresses Tale [Skeat, Student s Chaucer, p. 499]. 

PART I. CHAP. IX. 285 

beautiful and lightsome than the fairest angels 
and most dazzling seraphim, still they knew her 
to be, like them, a creature, though God s most 
favoured creature. They worshipped her, yet 
with none of that worship which belongs to God, 
but with another kind of infinitely lower worship, 
which man may yield nay, ought to yield to his 
holier fellow-man. 3 All (345) this they felt, all 

3 Not knowing, or rather wilfully forgetful, of their mother- 
tongue, some Protestants are apt, very unhandsomely, to upbraid 
us Catholics with giving to the Saints, and to the B. V. Mary in 
particular, that reverence and those honours which belong to God 
alone, because they happen to find in old books the expression of 
" worship " applied to Christ s servants, and to Christ s mother now 
in heaven with Him. The word " worship " is a good old Saxon 
English one, meaning an acknowledgment of the "worth," dignity, 
honour, &c., possessed by any being whatsoever. In this sense, 
by the Marriage Service in the "Book of Common Prayer," the 
man tells his bride, " with my body I thee worship " : in this sense, 
too, are mayors of towns called "worshipful," and magistrates, 
while sitting on the bench, are addressed " your worships." As 
the Protestant husband does not mean, by the word " worship," 
divine adoration to his wife, nor any one divine honour to the civil 
functionary to whom he may speak in such language ; so the 
Catholic does not intend to express by the same term anything 
like divine reverence, either to the Saints or to St. Mary. To all 
the Saints above we Catholics yield that lower kind of worship 
known as Dulia (see before, pp. 155,156); to the B. Virgin a stronger 
worship, but still of the self-same lower kind, and called Hyper- 
dulia : but neither to the Saints, nor to the Virgin, would we 
on any account give the smallest particle of Latria, or the higher 
sort of worship which belongs exclusively to God. On this, as 
upon every other point of belief, the Catholics of England at this 
day hold what England while Catholic held : for the Saxon times 
Abp. Theodore will speak (see before, pp. 155, 1 56) ; for the English of 
a much later period, the writer of a very valuable book of instruction 
bears full testimony. Pauper tells Dives : As clerkes say, there 
is two maner of service and of worshyppe. One that longeth onely 
to God and to no creature, and is called Latria in Latyn, that is to 
say, divine service and divine worshippe, for it longeth onely to 


this they did for Mary, because God had made her 
what she is ; because His Son s body had been 
born of her ; and because, in so honouring one 
whom God had thus uplifted, God (346) Himself 
truly is, as He is meant to be, honoured in the 
honour paid to so much of His own grace show 
ered down upon His loved and chosen creature 

Having thus put side by side the proofs which 
we have gathered from the Saxon, the Norman, and 
the English epochs in our country s annals, about 
the religious teaching and usages of each period, 
we behold how, upon the Invocation and Interces 
sion of Saints and Angels, but of the B. V. Mary 
in particular, there runs throughout the whole of 
those times an unbroken oneness of belief. 

God. Annother is a service and a worshyppe common to God and to 
creatures resonable and understandynge, that is to saye, to man, 
woman, and aungell, and is called Dulia in Laten. The fyrst ser 
vice and worshyp that is called Latria, divine service, longeth onely 
to God. And therfore who so doth any divine service that is 
called Latria to any creature, to any image ... he dothe idolatrie. 
Dives and Pauper, &c., upon the tenne commaundementes, fol. 2i v . I2mo. 
Berthelet, 1536. Further on, Pauper says: And proprely to 
speake, Dulia is a worshyp that longeth onely to God and to 
resonable creatures. And principally and excellently to our Lady 
saynt Mary, and to the manhode of Christ, which worshyp is called 
Hyperdulia, proprely sayde. Ibid., fo. 24 V . 

(347) CHAPTER X 

THE next step we take on the ground we are 
now treading, brings us to 


Those men who with so much earnestness 
called upon the saints whose souls are now in 
heaven, to help them by their prayers unto God, 
did not forget to show a due honour to whatever 
relics they had of theirs upon earth. For the 
smallest fragment of those bones, for a tiny speck 
of the dust which once had formed a part of that 
house of clay within which dwelt the soul of a 
holy one now with God, our Catholic countrymen 
manifested a deep reverence. Because these 
"members" had not been yielded "as instru 
ments of iniquity unto sin," but had been used 
"as instruments of justice unto God," 4 they were 
members of a body that once had been " the 
temple of the Holy Ghost." 5 Though " sown in 
corruption, it shall rise in incorruption ; " though 
" sown in dishonour, it shall rise in glory. It is 
sown in weakness, it shall rise in power. It is 

4 Rom. vi. 13. s r (7 or v j jg 


sown a natural body, it shall rise a spiritual 
body." 6 

(348) Knowing how those bones, that dust, 
would, at the day of doom, be again quickened 
by the happy soul, and carried with triumph into 
heaven, there to glisten everlastingly in the flood 
of light streaming on them from the Almighty s 
throne, our forefathers gave them an honourable 
resting-place here in this world, and set them 
high, as they ought to be, above less worthy 
men s graves, within shrines built of silver and 
beautified with precious stones in God s especial 
dwelling-place on earth His Church, and beneath, 
or hard by His throne among His creatures here 
His altars. 


had been taught them by those from whom they 
first heard of Christianity, and had learned to 
believe in it ; and besides sacred garments, and 
hallowed chalices, and copies of the liturgy, their 
apostle Pope Gregory did not forget to send them 
saints relics as one among those things needful 
to be had by the priesthood before the holy 
eucharistic sacrifice of the mass might be duly 
offered up. 7 Whenever, therefore, a new church 

6 i Cor. xv. 42, 43, 44. 

Idem Papa Gregorius Augustine episcopo misit uni versa quse 
ad cultum erant ac ministerium ecclesise necessaria, vasa, videlicet, 
sacra, et vestimenta altarium, ornamenta quoque ecclesiarum, et 

PART I. CHAP. X. 289 

had been (349) built, the evening before it was 
hallowed, they brought thither saints relics ; 
watched over them the whole night through, sing 
ing hymns and keeping a blaze of lighted tapers 
around them. On the morrow those relics were 
laid with all due honours in their proper places. 8 

By the Anglo-Saxon ritual, without saints 
relics, if they were to be had, no church was duly 
consecrated ; nor might the adorable sacrifice of 
the mass be offered up, unless upon an altar 
beneath the stone of which relics had been put 
at its hallowing by the bishop. 9 So straightly 
was the meaning of this rubric followed, that 
even those small thin altars made for being easily 
carried about, had within them saints relics. 10 

sacerdotalia vel clericalia indumenta, sanctorum etiam Aposto- 
lorum ac Martyrum reliquias, nee non et codices plurimos Beda,. 
Hist. Eccl., i. 29. 

8 Inde vero pridie quam consecratur secclesia,, previdendse sunt 
reliquiae ab episcopo, et ponendae in tali loco, ut tota nocte cum 
hymnis et laudibus atque luminaribus sint usque quo exinde 
levandsa, et ad locum ubi condendse sunt deducantur. Eybert 
Pontifical^ 26. 

9 Ibid., 44-46. After the relics were put into the altar, this 
anthem was sung : Sub altare Domini sedes accepistis, et inter- 
cedite pro nobis per quern meruistis (ibid., 46). See also vol. i. 
pp. 36, 37, of this work. 

10 The Anglo-Saxon portable altar of which we spoke (vol. i. 
pp. 198, 199) has these two inscriptions on it : 

Hoc sacrum reliquiarum reconditorium Egbertus archiepiscopus 
fieri iussit, et in eo pignora sancta servari constituit : clavum 
videlicet Domini, dentem S. Petri, de barba ipsius et de catena, 
sandalium S. Andrese apostoli, aliasque sanctorum reliquias : quse 
si quis ab hac ecclesia abstulerit, anathema sit. 

Hoc altare consecratum est in honorem S. Andrese apostoli. 
Brower, Annal. Trerir., i. 485. 



(350) Whenever a wish for knowledge, or to 
see the world, took the Anglo-Saxons beyond the 
shores of their own island, and in their wander 
ings abroad they reached the home of their 
religious faith, to kneel at and kiss the threshold 
of the apostles tomb, 11 and they trod the ground 
that had been trodden by St. Peter and St. Paul 
been reddened with the blood and now held 
the shrines of them and of the early martyrs, and 
they stood in Rome among those things which 
they so longingly sought after there, and so 
eagerly wished to bring back with them, were the 
relics of the saints. 12 These remains of holy men, 
they thought, would draw down God s blessing 
upon their country. 13 Very (351) soon, however, 
Saxon England brought forth its own harvests 
from the seed of God s word ; His behests were 
done ; prayers, like sweet-smelling incense, arose 
day and night to heaven from every hill and dale ; 
and crowds of men and women died as they had 
lived, in holiness. Instead of hurrying elsewhere 

11 Romam venire ad videnda atque adoranda Beatorum Apos- 
tolorum ac martyrum Christ! limina cogitavit (Ecgberct). Beda, 
Hist. Eccl., v. 9. 

12 Abbas Benedictus Romam ire disposing ut librorum copiam 
sanctorum, reliquiarum beatorum martyrum memoriam dulcem, 
historiarum canonicarum picturam merito venerandam . . . referret. 
Hist. Alb. Gyrv., auct. anon., in Beda, Opp. Hist. Minora, ed. 
Stevenson, p. 321. These lives were written before St. Beda s 
work on the same subject. 

13 Reliquiarum beatorum apostolorum martirumque Christi 
habundantem gratiam multis Anglorum ecclesiis profuturam 
;aduexit. Beda, Hist. Abbat., 6 [Plummer, i. 369]. 

PART I. CHAP. X. 291 

to beg the bodies of the saints, her own children 
yielded them to her plentifully. The whole land, 
in truth, sparkled with the shrines of its home 
grown saints, whose burial-places were looked 
upon as so many spots of light which the poet 
loved to sing of, and the clerical writers of those 
times to reckon up. 14 This bright catalogue of 
God s hallows went on lengthening, and the 
Norman stranger, as he afterwards wandered over 
this country, could not go by a village of any 
size without hearing some Anglo-Saxon saint s 
name, which to him had been heretofore 
thoroughly unknown. 15 

(352) As often as Almighty God vouchsafed to 
tell the world of the holiness, while they were 
alive, of His faithful servants, by the miracles He 
was pleased to work at their graves, the Anglo 
-Saxons took up their bones and carried them, 
with much ritual splendour, from the common 
burial-ground into the church : there they laid 
them within 

14 Lists in Anglo-Saxon, of those burial-places of the more cele 
brated among our native saints, are given, from old MSS., by 
Hickes in his Thesaurus, ii. Dissert. Epist., p. 115. Other partial 
enumerations of saints bodies are not a few : of those which were 
at Durham, we have a note drawn up in verse Anglico sermone 
compositum carmen as Simeon of Durham tells us (p. 162, ed. 
Rudd), which may be seen in the Scriptores Decem, ed. Twysden, 
i. 76, but better still after the glossary at the end of his vol. ii. 

15 Nonne tota insula tantis reliquiis indigenarum fulgurat, ut 
vix aliquem vicum insignem prsetereas ubi novi sancti nomen non 
audias ? quam multorum etiam periit memoria, pro scriptorum 
inopia ! William of Malmesbury, Gesta Reg. Angl., iii. 245 [li.S. 
xc. ii. 304]. 



These tombs of the saints always stood high 
above the pavement of the holy pile which held 
them: 16 (353) often were they fashioned in the 
shape of wide lofty chests, made of stone ; lr but, 
if of wood, sheathed with plates of silver, nay, 
of gold set with gems : 18 sometimes they arose as 

16 Divina dispensatio . . . immisit in ammo fratrum, ut tol- 
lerent ossa illius (S. Cuthberti) atque in levi area recondita, in 
eodem quidem loco, sed supra pavimentum dignse venerationis 
gratia locarent. S. Beda, Vita S. Cuthberti, 42 [P.L., xciv. 783, 784]. 
Involution novo amictu corpus levique in theca reconditum, super 
pavimentum sanctuarii composuerunt [ibid., 785]. The solemn 
translation of St. Elphege s body from London to Canterbury is 
taken especial notice of in the Saxon Chronicle under the year 
1023. The uncanonical harshness, and that dislike which Abp. 
Lanfranc showed to the Anglo-Saxon bishops and abbots, and to 
everything Anglo-Saxon, except when it told on his side, have 
thrown a deep tarnish on his character. Had it not been for 
St. Anselm s opposition, Lanfranc would have taken this holy 
martyr St. Elphege s name out of the catalogue of Saints, as we 
find in Eadmer s life of St. Anselm, A A. SIS. Aprilis, ii. 876. 

17 Aperientes sepulchrum, invenerunt corpus totum integrum 
quasi adhuc viveret . . . sed et sarcophagum non humo teme 
condidit (Pega), immo etiam in memoriale quoddam posuit quod 
nunc ab Ethelbaldo rege miris ornamentorum structures in 
honorem divinse potentise sedificatum conspicimus : ubi trium- 
phale corpus tanti viri (Guthlaci) usque in hodierni temporis 
cursum feliciter pausat, per cujus intercessionem miserationis 
divime indulgentiam quisquis integra fide pulsaverit impetrabit. 
Felix (A.D. 714), Vita S. Guthlaci, in Mabillon, AA. SS. 0. B., iii. 273. 

18 Queen ^Elfgyfer (A.D. 1012) bequeathed two hundred mancusses 
of gold to a minster for the shrine there : Two hund mandcussa 
goldses to 6am mynstaer, and hire serin mid hirse haligdomse (Cod. 
Dip. Anglo-Sax., iii. 360). Elsinus (abbas Eliensis) reliquias S. 
virginis Wendredse a vico de Merche intulit in Ely et in scrinio ex 
auro et lapidibus decenter aptato imposuit. Thomas of Ely, Acta 
S. Ethddredse, in AA. SS. Junii, iv. 528. Amid the booty carried 

PART I. CHAP. X. 293 

tiny minster - like buildings, overshadowing the 
silver or the stone case which had the saints 
relics, and allowing, through a hole or window in 
the side, those who (354) might like, to stretch 
forth their hands and gather the dust which lay 
upon the coffin lid. 19 

In some instances, just over the shrine itself, 
was cast a large rich pall of silk, beautifully 
embroidered with gold and starred with jewels, 
the gift perhaps, too, the finger-work of some 
queen or hi^h-born lady. 20 

off from Peterborough minster by the Danish king Sweyn, were 
two gilt shrines, and nine others of silver. See Saxon Ghron., A.D. 
1070 [R.S., xxiii. ii., 177]. 

19 Obiit autem Oeadda ; . . . constructa ibidem ecclesia beatissimi 
apostolorum principis Petri, in eandem sunt ejus ossa translata. 
In quo utroque loco, ad indicium virtutis illius solent crebra 
sanitatum miracula operari. . . . Est autem locus idem sepulcri 
tumba lignea in modum clomunculi facta coopertus, habente 
foramen in pariete, per quod solent hi, qui causa devotionis illo 
adveniunt, manum suam immittere, ac partem pulveris inde 
adsumere, &c. Beda, Hist. EccL, iv. 3. 

20 Insignem quoque purpuram, aurifriso undique cinctam fecit 
(.ZElgiva, alio nomine Emma, regis Canuti conjux) ; et per partes 
auro et gemmis pretiosis mirifico opere velut tabulatis adornavit ; 
ita ut vix aliud alibi talis operis et pretii inveniatur : opus 
quippe illius materiam prsecellere videtur. Atque ceteris Sanctis 
nostris pannum sericum unicuique, licet minoris pretii, auro et 
gemmis intextum obtulit, quse penes nos hactenus reperiuntur. 
Thomas of Ely, Ada S. Etheldredse, in A A. tiS. Junii, iv. 529. The 
use of this splendid pall is described by the same writer, who, in 
speaking of it again, says : Pallam eximia? paraturse auri et gem- 
marum, quam Emma regina in velamentum sepulchri Sanctse 
Virginis (Etheldredre) obtulerat, accepit (ibid., p. 578). Like the 
Anglo-Saxons, the Franks overspread the tombs of Saints with 
rich palls : an unknown writer of the ninth century tells us that a 
thief once tried to steal from a tomb in the church of St. Denis, 
near Paris ; holosericam pallam, auro, gemmis atque margaritis 
decoratam, quse sanctum tegebat sepulchrun. Vita S. Dionysii 
Ep. Paris, ab anonymo (ibid., p. 311). 


(355) At the same time that a heavy stress was 
laid upon the duty of showing all becoming 
veneration to the relics of the saints, the way to 
do so was pointed out by those who had been 
set as bishops over the Anglo - Saxon people. 
One among other methods was the use of lights ; 
and the episcopal enactments of those times said 
how there must be, if the church in which it 
stood could afford the cost, a lamp or wax taper 
kept burning day and night before its shrine. 21 
King Alfred s practice in his own private orator v, 
is an apt exemplification of the Anglo-Saxon 
custom. By the command of that greatest prince 
which England ever had, six candles burned, 
without the slightest intermission, all through 
the four-and-twenty hours of the day and night, 
before the many holy relics which (356) he in 
variably took along with him whenever he went 
upon a journey. 22 Not regular large shrines, each 
with the whole body of a saint in it, but perhaps 
a very small one, besides many little cases called 

21 Reliquiae tamen Sanctorum venerandse sunt, et, si potest 
fieri, in ecclesia ubi reliquiae Sanctorum sunt, candela ardeat 
per singulas noctes (Theodore, Lib. Pcenit., xlviii., in Thorpe, Ancient 
Laws, ii. 57). In other manuscripts we have this reading : Gradus 
non debemus f acere ante altare, ubi reliquiae Sanctorum venerandae 
sunt (ibid.). Ut unusquisque sacerdos ecclesiam suam cum omni 
diligentia aedificet ; et reliquias Sanctorum cum summo studio 
vigiliarum noctis, et divinis ofnciis conservet. Ecgbert Excerp. i. 
(ibid., ii. 97). 

22 Sex illae candelse per viginti quatuor horas die nocteque sine 
defectu coram sanctis multorum electorum Dei reliquiis quae 
semper eum ubique comitabantur, ardentes lucescebant. Asser, 
De Rebus Gestis ^Elfredi, ed. Wise, p. 68. 

PART I. CHAP. X. 295 


holding mere fragments only of those treasures, 
was what Alfred carried about with him in his 
moving court and camp. Such reliquaries were of 
various shapes and sizes, and made out of one 
or other of the precious metals. Of silver, was 
that containing St. Oswald s undecayed hand 
and arm, which Beda, himself a saint, and the 
men of his times, looked upon and revered with 
such deep respect. 23 The reliquary which Queen 
Errnenburga stole from St. Wilfrid, that holy 
bishop of York used to wear about his neck. 24 
Sometimes, too, (357) the hollow of our Saviour s 
image, wrought in high relief upon the cross, was 
contrived for a reliquary and filled full of relics. 25 

23 Nam cum interfecto illo (Osualdo rege) in pugna, maims cum 
brachio a cetero essent corpore resectse, contigit ut hactenus in- 
corruptse perdurent. Denique in urbe regia . . . loculo inclusse 
argenteo in ecclesia sancti Petri servantur, ac digno a cunctis 
honore venerantur. Beda, Hist. Eccl., iii. 6. 

24 Regina vero ejus olim suprafata, chrismarium hominis Dei 
sanctis reliquiis repletum . . . de se abstractum in thalamo suo 
manens, aut curru pergens, juxta se pependit. Eddius, Vita S. 
Wilfridi Ebor., xxxiv. [R.S., Ixxi. i. 50], St. Wilfrid wore this 
reliquary round his neck ; for we learn that, Sanctas reliquias 
quas regina de collo spoliati (nempe Wilfridi) abstraxit. Ibid., 
xxxix. [R.S., 55]. 

25 Fecit (Leo monachus Eliensis, c. A.D. 978) crucem argenteam, 
quse crux Leonis prsepositi nominatur, in qua forma corporis 
Christi, ingenio artificis cavata, Sanctorum reliquias Vedasti et 
Amandi continebat quam Nigellus episcopus de ecclesia (Eliensi) 
asportavit. Thomas of Ely, Ada S. Etheldredge, in A A. SS. Junii, 
iv. 528. 

Lists of relics belonging to certain churches in this country are 
often to be met with in Anglo-Saxon manuscripts. The Bodleian 


One of the shapes according to which the 
Anglo-Saxons fashioned their reliquaries, was 
that of a round plate of gold or silver, upon 
both sides of which was enchased many a holy 
relic, with most likely a precious stone set as a 
seal over each. (358) Having one, if not two 
or three chains fastened on its rim, this circular 
ilat reliquary could be easily hung, during the 
great holydays, in various ways about the altar. 
The Norman William found many such kept 
with much care amid the royal treasures, which, 
with the crown of England, fell to him. 2o 
Admired as in their own days our Anglo-Saxon 
goldsmiths handcraft was all through Europe, 

codex, marked Auci. D. Sup., art. 120, iii., at fol. 8, tells us of all 
those which King JEthelstan bestowed upon St. Peter s minster at 
Exeter ; and among them we find many that were of Anglo-Saxon 
saints : several were those which that prince had brought to him 
from France. A note of the relics in St. Peter s, Bath, is written 
on a parchment leaf torn out of some codex, but now in Corpus 
Christi College, Cambridge, and mentioned in Nasmith s catalogue 
of that fine library, No. cxi., p. 119. 

26 These Anglo-Saxon reliquaries were bequeathed by William 
to his monastery of Battle, Sussex, as we read in the chronicle of 
that abbey : Trecenta numero philacteria decenter auro argentoque 
f abricata, quorum plura catenis aureis vel argenteis appendebantur, 
innumerabilium sanctorum reliquias continentia, cum feretro in 
modum altaris formato quo multse erant reliquise super quod in 
expeditione missa celebrari consueverat, quse inter alia multiformia 
ex prsedecessorum suorum regum cum regno adquisitione obtinu- 
erat, et quse in regio hactenus reposita thesaurario conservaban- 
tur, eidem loco (ecclesise suse de Bello), ex suo munere conferri 
prsecepit. Hist. Fund. Mon. de Bello, p. 37. London: 1846. Could 
the shrine spoken of here, containing many relics, and made to 
serve as an altar upon which Mass used to be offered up during 
expeditions, be the one which the brave and holy Alfred carried 
about with him, and left in the royal treasury ? 

PART I. CHAP. X. 297 

those beautiful shrines and reliquaries which they 
wrought particularly called forth the praises of 
foreigners ; and while Italy gazed upon such 
productions with applauding wonderment, gladly 
did she draw Saxon-English workmen to sheathe 
her altars with frontals of silver, and throw fresh 
beauty round her churches. 27 

(359) That not a few of our Anglo-Saxon shrines 
must have been comparatively small, light, and 
moveable, we may gather from the liturgical 
practices of those times. By more than one 
authority we know there were certain appointed 
occasions when the relics of the saints had to be 
taken out of church and carried along with the 
solemn procession which the clergy and the 
people made all about the streets of a town, and 
the fields of a country parish, on each of the 
three gang-days. 


27 See vol. i. p. 233, note, for some remarks on the works of Anglo- 
Saxon goldsmiths in Italy. The richness and the beauty of our 
Anglo-Saxon shrines may be inferred from the one of gold belong 
ing to Edmund the martyr, and described further on, at note 39. 

28 Cuthberht, writing how his teacher the holy Beda died, tells 
us that : Cum venisset autem tertia feria ante Ascensionem 
Domini, coepit vehementius regrotari in anhelitu. . . . Et mane 
illucescente, id est, quarta feria ... a tertia autem hora ambu- 
lavimus cum reliquiis sanctorum, ut consuetudo illius diei poscebat 
(Epist. Catliberhti de Bedse morte) [P.I/., xcv. 16]. Those three 
days Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before the Ascension or 
Holy Thursday were then, and continued till a late period, as we 
said before (p. 181), to be called "gang-days." As late as the 
thirteenth year of Elizabeth s reign (A.D. 1571), one of the heads 
of the Protestant Establishment found it necessary to say : 
Perambulations to be used by the people, for viewing the bounds 
of their parishes, in the days of the Rogation, commonly called 


(360) The presence in their churches of the relics 
of the saints helped to smooth away many a rough 
sorrow from the Anglo-Saxons brows, and to give 
them heart during the season of their trials to 
bear up against all ills. Throwing themselves 
down at full length upon the ground before some 
shrine, the afflicted and the wretched besought 
that holy man, whose dust was treasured there, to 
cry along with them unto their common Father 
that He would take pity and ease them of their 
woes, or lighten the weight of them. So prayed 
the wise, the learned, and the bold among the 
Anglo-Saxons ; and often did the twilight at its 
awaking see Alfred as he thus lay busied with his 
prayers in the house of God. 29 

When they sought to be healed of their sadness 

Cross week, or Gang-days . . . without wearing any surplice, 
carrying of banners or handbells, or staying at crosses, or such-like 
popish ceremonies (GrindalVs Instructions, in Wilkins, Condi., iv. 
270). The Anglo-Saxon homilist warns all his hearers how " we 
also in these days (the gang-days) should offer up our prayers and 
follow our relics out and in, and with fervour praise Almighty 
God." Homilies of ^Elfric, ed. Thorpe, i. 247. 

- 9 Saepissime galli cantu et matutinis horis clam consurgens, 
ecclesias et reliquias sanctorum orandi causa visitabat ; ibique diu 
prostratus orabat. Asser, De Rebus Gestis ^Elfredi, ed. Wise, p. 41. 
Telling how King Edward was slain at even-tide at Corfe-gate, 
the Saxon Chronicle (A.D. 979) says : 

They who would not erewhile 
He was in life to his living 

an earthly king, body bow down, 

he is now after death they now humbly 

a heavenly saint on knees bend 

to his dead bones. 

[R.S., xxiii. ii. 100]. 

PART I. CHAP. X. 299 

and sickness, and mishaps of the flesh, by the 
(361) Almighty, their wont was to hasten to some 
shrine and beg of its saint to try and win back 
for them by prayer the eyesight which they had 
lost, or the health and strength which they once 
enjoyed. 30 Often did Christ answer these en 
treaties of His holy servants now along with Him, 
by yielding, through their intercession, to the 
blind, the weak, and the ailing, what they had 
asked for. Hardly, at times, had the reliquary been 
brought and laid upon the sick man s pillow, 31 or 
he had tasted of the water into which the relic 
itself was on some occasions dipped, than he found 
himself healed ; and, arising out of bed, ran to the 
church to thank God, and praise Him for having 
glorified Himself through His saints : 82 the merit 
and the honour of (362) all miracles were given, 
not to Christ s servants, but exclusively to Christ 
Himself. 33 

30 Repente venit in mentem quia si ad monasterium delata 
virginum sanctimonialium ad reliquias sanctorum peteret, perditam 
posset recipere lucem. Beda, Hist. Ecc., iv. 10. 

31 vEger enim quidam Patris dum cingitur almi 
Relliquiis, penitus peste est sanatus ab ilia. 

Frag. Hist. Ecc. Eboracensis, Anon, (circa A.D. 785), in Mabillon, 
A A. SS. 0. !?., iv. 508 [P.L., ci. 839]. 

32 Puer vero, degustata aqua benedicta, a garrula voce ilia 
desinit, crastinoque die cum patre suo gratias agens Domino, ad 
reliquias Sanctorum, pro quorum amore sanatum se a Deo credidit 
in conspectu families nostrse oravit, et glorificans Dominum in 
sanctis suis ad domum unde venerat sanatus re versus est.- Vita S. 
Cuthberti, inter Opera Minora V. Bedse, ed. Stevenson, p. 282. The 
unknown writer of this life lived before the time of S. Beda. 

33 N OW a i so i n our time, everywhere where holy men rest, at 


When they went to confession, the Anglo- 
Saxons, going nigh the altar and near the shrine, 
knelt at the priest s feet. But ere beginning their 
shrift, they declared it was before God and the 
saints, and the saints relics there, that they un 
bosomed their sins. 34 In presence of the relics 
too, and calling (363) upon them, did they swear 
their oaths of steadfastness to their lords, 35 and 
truth to one another ; and the man who broke 
the word that he had thus plighted on those relics, 
was doomed to undergo years of penance. 86 

their dead bones, God works many miracles, because he will with 
those miracles confirm people s faith." Thorpe, Homilies of ASlfric, 
i. 293. Speaking of St. Fursey, the same homilist says : " And 
his body was buried with great veneration, and after about four 
years, sound, without corruptible decay, was buried in another 
place ; where his merits are shown by miracles, to the praise of the 
Almighty," &c. Ibid., ii. 349. 

34 Confiteor coram Deo omnipotent! . . . et coram hoc altari 
sancto, et sanctis reliquiis, qure in hoc loco sancto sunt, &c. 
Consecrata Dei ministeria, et sanctas reliquias, et sanctos codices, 
et sancta vasa indignus et pollutus tetigi. Alcuin, Confessio 
Peccatorum in Lib. de Psal. usu, ii. 9 [P.L., ci. 498, 499]. I 
to-day confess all my crimes before the Lord Saviour Christ . . . 
and before this holy altar, and these relics, and before my con 
fessor and the Lord s mass-priest. Canons under Edgar, Thorpe, 
Ancient Laws, ii. 265, n. 10. 

35 Thus shall a man swear fealty Oaths. 

By the Lord, before whom this relic is holy, I will be to N. 
faithful and true, &c. (Ibid., i. 179. See vol. ii., p. 320, note 38, of 
this work). The word " holidome " for " haligdom " continued to 
be used, during many centuries after the Saxon ages, in the oaths 
that were taken on public occasions. See before, vol. ii., p. 325. 

36 Qui perjuraverit in ecclesia, vel in Evangelic vel in reliquiis 
sanctis, iii annos jejunet. Confession ale Ecgbr.rti, 34, in Thorpe, ii. 

Non oportet mulieres ingredi ad altare . . . neque crucem, vel 
reliquias- Sanctorum bajulent. Theodore, Lib. Pcettit., c. xlvi., in 
Thorpe, ii. 56. 

PART I. CHAP. X. 301 

While being borne along to the grave, among 
those costly gifts which the Anglo-Saxon king 
meant to be given as his soul-shot to that church 
wherein he had wished to be buried, and were 
carried before his dead body, might at times be 
seen a long array of beautiful reliquaries, filled 
with relics, to seek for which had been, all through 
life, his thought, and the finding them his happi 
ness. 37 

(364) At the same time the Anglo-Saxons be 
lieved that to Michael among all the angelic hosts 
had been given the charge of fetching each man s 
soul at death to God s tribunal for immediate 
judgment, 38 him likewise did they deem to have 
been set to watch and keep from harm all those 
bodies which the souls of the just now in heaven 
had dwelt in whilst on earth : this archangel had 
the guardianship over all the relics here of the 
saints. 39 

37 Ethelstanus Gloecestrae diem clausit. Exuvise triumphales 
Malmesbiriam delatse, et sub altari tumulatse. Portata ante 
corpus multa in argento et auro donaria, simul et sanctorum 
reliquiae de transmarina Britannia emptse. William of Malmes- 
bury, Gesta Reg. AngL, ii. 140 [R.S., cclvii. i. 157]. 

38 See pp. 135, 136, of this volume. 

39 In his description of the finding of St. Edmund the Martyr s 
body in his shrine (A.D. 1198), Ealph Coggeshall says: Circa, 
pectus erat quoddam foramen in illo locello lamina opertum aurea, 
in qua cujusdam angeli figura decenter erat exsculpta, atque hie 
versus exaratus : 

" Martyris ecce soma Michaelis servat agalma." 

In foramine reperta est qusedam schedula quandam continens 
Anglicam orationem, quam sanctus dudum (ut credimus) frequen- 
tare consueverat, &c. Ralph Coggeshall, Chron. Anglic., in Martene,. 
Vet. Scrip. Amp. Coll., v. 850 [R.S., Ixvi. 86]. 


Of those several ways by which our Anglo- 
Saxons strove to show their reverence towards 
God s departed saints, one was to bestow upon 
the churches wherein the relics of some among 
the more celebrated of them lay, the right of 
sanctuary or refuge (365) for criminals. 40 Such a 
privilege was given by allowing what was called 


to be set up in some part of the hallowed build 
ing. 41 This " stool of peace," for such is the 

40 For the Jews, " Moses set aside three cities beyond the Jor 
dan, that any one might flee to them who should kill his neighbour 
unwillingly, and that he might escape to some one of these cities " 
(Deut. iv. 41, 42). By the Anglo-Saxons, such an example was 
followed very soon after they became Christians ; and their 
lawgivers, both ecclesiastical and civil, upheld the practice. Per 
haps the earliest notice we have of the custom is to be found in 
the dying wish of St. Cuthberht to be buried on the lonely island 
of Fame, lest, if his body were carried to Lindisfarne, his grave 
might become a place of refuge for runaways : Et mese, inquit, 
voluntatis erat hie requiescere corpore, ubi quant ulumcunque pro 
Domino certamen certavi. . . . Sed et vobis quoque commodius 
esse arbitror, ut hie requiescam, propter incursionem profugorum 
vel noxiorum quorumlibet ; qui cum ad corpus meum forte con- 
fugerint, quia qualiscunque sum, fama tamen exiit de me quia 
famulus Christi sim, necesse habetis scepius pro talibus apud 
potentes seculi intercedere, atque ideo de praesentia corporis mei 
multum tolerare laborem. Beda, Vita S. Cuthbercti, ed. Stevenson, 
p. 121 [P.L., xciv. 779], 

41 King ^Ethelred, in his "dooms" or judgments, not only 
speaks of the Frithstool, but in such words as to make us think 
it a kind of sanctuary which had been already bestowed upon 
many places in this country : And gif forporht man fri5-stol 
gesece, &c. Thorpe, Ancient Laws, i. 332. Between the privilege 
of sanctuary, in the common meaning of the word, and the frith- 
stool privilege, there was a wide distinction. To every church 

PART I. CHAP. X. 303 

meaning (366) of the word, was a low-backed 
arm-chair, made of stone. 42 Its standing-place was 
either near the high altar, or by the side of the 
patron saint s shrine. From this spot, as from 
a centre, the frithstool spread its privilege of 
sanctuary over land and water all about the 
minster which held it, to the distance of at least 
a mile. Tall crosses, made sometimes of wood, 
but oftener of stone, told the boundaries of this 
asylum. 43 As he hurried onwards (367) other 
crosses showed the fugitive his road, and how 
much further he had to go before he could reach 

and churchyard belonged the rights of sanctuary, but the fugitive 
could enjoy them only for a short prescribed time, and if guilty 
of particular crimes, might be followed to, and carried off from, 
the very altar itself: their protection, too, did not stretch one 
foot beyond the burial-ground around the church or minster. Not 
so the frithstool rights : they overshadowed, for a mile before he 
came to touch the chair itself, the fugitive who approached from 
any side ; allowed of their being sought and used by any criminal ; 
and guarded him, however long he chose to stay within the bounds 
of their protection. 

42 That York, Croyland, Hexham, and Beverley, enjoyed this 
privilege, we know from authentic documents; and stone chairs 
may yet be seen in the two last-mentioned churches. Upon the 

Beverley frithstool once might be read this inscription: Hsec 

sedes lapidea Freedstoll dicitur. i. pacis cathedra, ad quam reus 
fugiendo perveniens, omnimodam habet securitatem. Spelman, 
Gloss., in voce. The inscription is now rubbed out. 

43 Telling up the crosses which marked the fugitives bounds in 
Croyland marsh, Ingulph says : Ad orientem . . . crux lignea stat 
vetusta et distat ab ipsa aqua per decem pedes ... ad Austrum 
. . . posita est crux lapidea ... in Weland ubi stans fracta crux 
lapidea distat ab ipsa aqua de Asendick. ... Si extra istas quin- 
que aquas et metas prsenominatas fugitivus inventus fuerit tan- 
quam Semei extra Jerusalem publicis legibus subjiciendus pcenam 
quam meruit patietur. Ingulph, Hist. Croyland [ed. Birch., 
1883, p. 15]. 


the sought-for chair. When won, however, and 
having seated himself within this frithstool, he 
became entitled to all the widest privileges be 
longing by charter to that sanctuary. 44 If those 

44 Such were the rights which the frithstool always brought 
along with it : of Beverley s, we learn : Deinde cum magno tri- 
pudio in Angliam remeans (yEthelstanus rex), non immemor bene- 
ficii coelitus sibi collati e vestigio Beverlacum adiit, et in prsesentia 
reliquiarum humiliter se prostravit, gratias agens Deo sanctoque 
Joanni patrono suo, cujus meritis tanta beneficia ei prsestita 
fuerunt. Et oflferens arma sua aliaque donaria, instituit pacem 
S. Joannis ab omnibus teneridam quam infringere nulla ratione 
nullo tempore cuiquam dignitati vel personee liceat ; fecitque 
milliarium assignari ad hanc pacem tenendam, metamque constituit 
ad spinam pnegrandem quse ultra Melescrost sita, in via quse 
tendit Eboracum : quo loco nunc crux lapidea posita cernitur., ut 
qui hanc pacem in aliquo vel erga aliquem violare prsesumpserit, 
octo libras argeiiti ecclesise dicti confessoris pro emendatione per- 
solveret : qui vero infra tres cruces lapideas mirifice sculptas et ad 
introitum Beverlaci tune ab eodem rege erectas, hanc pacem vio- 
laverit, viginti quatuor libras exsolveret : et qui infra coemeterium 
ecclesise ipsius infregerit pacem, septuaginta duas libras pro satis- 
factione dare compelleretur : qui autem infra corpus ecclesise 
posterioris temerario ausu pacem violare prsesumpserit, triplicatas 
libras argenti prsedictas pro emendatione persolvere judicaretur: 
et qui infra arcus supra introitum cancelli positos maligno ausu 
sanctissimi confessoris pacem violaverit, absque emendatione 
terrense possessionis vel pecunise esset judicatus (ut qui tale nefas 
tamque profanum in prsesentia reliquiarum tarn venerandi con 
fessoris ausus sit committere) soliusque Dei miserationi atque 
judicio committendus, sit judicandus sicut enormis languor im- 
mensa curatione iridiget (Mirac. S. Joannis Beverlacensis, in A A. 
SS. Maji, ii. 181). These same privileges were enjoyed by Hex- 
ham : Ab illo igitur tempore (Northanhymbrorum regis Ecfridi) 
et sanctse Romance ecclesise auctoritate et archiepiscoporum et 
episcoporum donatione et attestatione, et regum et consulum, 
ac principum liberalitate atque confirmatione inter csetera prseroga- 
tivarum suarum insignia quibuslibet reis ad ejus defensionem 
confugientibus firmam pacem conferre et conservare cognoscitur. 
Sunt etenim ab orientali et australi, ab occideritali et aquilonari 
parte ipsius ecclesise, qusedam loca, et quidam termini evidentes 
antiquitus instituti, et ab incolis bene cogniti, infra quos pacem 

PART I. CHAP. X. 305 

who (368) were running after him overtook and 
dragged away the fleeing man after he had trodden 
but one footstep (369) on the ground within the 
limits of the first cross, they were punished by a 
certain fine ; if they brought him from the next 
inner cross, the fine was quadrupled ; and the 
nearer to the saints relics happened the sacri 
legious seizure, the higher became the amount of 
fine. But if they so far followed, and had the 
hardihood to snatch him out of (370) the " chair 
of peace" itself, no money might redeem the 
heinousness of such a deed. 45 

As strong as the Anglo-Saxon, were 

adeuntes, et de pace redeuntes, vel eos, vel quicquam de substantia 
eorum nulli licet infestare sive temerario ausu contingere. 

Si quis igitur quemlibet cujuscunque facinoris aut flagitii reum 
et convictum infra quatuor cruces que sunt extra ipsam villam de 
Hestaldasham capit et retinet, universal! judicio ij hundredh emen- 
dabit. Si vero infra villam iiij hundredh. Si vero infra muros 
atrii ecclesise, vj hundredh. Si autem infra ecclesiam, xij hundredh. 
Si vero infra valvas chori, xviij hundredh, pcenitentia quoque de 
smgulis sicut de sacrilegiis injuncta. In hundredh viij librae con- 
tinentur. Quod si aliquis vesano spiritu agitatus diabolico ausu 
quemquam capere prsesumpserit in cathedra lapidea juxta altare 
quam Angli vocant Fridstol, id est cathedram quietudinis vel pacis, 
vel etiam ad feretrum sanctarum reliquiarum quod est post altare 
hujus tarn flagitiosi sacrilegii emendatio sub nullo judicio erit, 
sub nullo pecunise numero claudetur, sed apud Anglos botolos, id 
est, sine emendatione vocatur (Richard of Hexham, De Statu, <c., 
Ecc. Haguttaldenriif ed. Twysden, i. 308). All through the Anglo- 
Saxon period the same rights were conferred whenever the Frith- 
stool was set up ; thus at York : Sub Edwardo rege et Aldredo 
archiepiscopo, fuit ecclesise S. Petri (Eboracensis) consuetudo 
egregise libertatis. Si quis enim, &c., as above ; but we have here 
bottles, instead of botolos. Carta Regis Henrici /., de Libertatibus 
EccL S. Petri Ebor., in Mon. AngL, viii. 1 180. 

45 See last note. 

VOL. iir. u 



The same liturgical practices were followed as 
of old ; and whenever a new church had to be 
hallowed, those earthly remains of God s true and 
now happy children, were sought after to put 
underneath its altars. Not far from the walls of 
the building to be blessed, a wide tent was 
pitched, and thither were brought, the evening 
before, those relics over which, amid the gleam 
from a hundred tapers, a solemn watch or wake 46 

46 When a church had been thus solemnly dedicated,, the anni 
versary of the ceremonial was ever afterwards kept (as it yet 
ought to be), by the parish as a festival. In doing so, not only 
the Anglo-Saxons, but our forefathers of later times, every year 
went through this very service of praying all night by the relics 
in the altar, and such a custom gave its name to the whole cele 
bration of the annual feast attached unto which the designation 
of " wake " remained, though the practice of night-watching had 
been dropped. Of these church wakes, the xxviii th of the canons 
enacted under Edgar speaks (Ancient Laws, c&c., ii. 251). That 
they were solemnised fully a hundred years after the coming of 
the Normans, we gather from Reginald, the Durham monk, who, 
in telling of a miracle wrought within a roofless little chapel, says : 
Quodam igitur tempore, propter diem Beati Cuthberti, illo con- 
venientibus multis in unum, multi infra capellse parietes accensis 
luminaribus secum pro devotione allatis, orationibus vacabant ; 
junior vero tetas cum aliis pluribus forinsecus, sinuamini mem- 
brorum vel choreis ducendis, sicut mos est juverituti, operam 
dabant. . . . Intra capellam denique positi, totam illam noctem 
sancto confessori Cuthberto sollempnem in vigiliis et orationibus 
ducebant. De B. Cnthberti Virtut., pp. 284, 285. 

Charles I., while reproving those who would forbid " the feasts 
of the dedication of the churches, commonly called wakes," says : 
" Our expresse will and pleasure is that these feasts with others 
.shall bee observed, and that our justices of the peace . . . shall 

PART I. CHAP. X. 307 

was kept the (371) whole night through by the 
clergy, who spent that time in singing psalms and 
canticles. On the morrow, the bishop, pontifically 
arrayed, and waited on by a crowd of ministers, 
each clad in the vestment of his office, with a 
throng of youthful clerks bearing candlesticks, 
and lights, and tall crosses, and flags figured with 
the saints, and thuribles filled with fire, and 
headed by coped and surpliced choristers, walked 
in procession to this tent. After a short prayer 
said at its door, the shrine was (372) hoisted upon 
the shoulders of those to whom had been allotted 
that high distinction, wished for by so many, of 
carrying it. Thence, amid a blaze of torches and 
fragrant clouds of incense, with the chant of 
anthems and canticles to God s praise, swelled on 
the way by the commingling voices of the people, 
those relics were borne along into the church, and 
laid beneath its high altar- stone, with all the 
honours of the ritual. 47 

looke to it ... and that all neighbourhood and freedome, with 
manlike and lawfull exercises be used" (Sports to be used, pp. 15, 16). 
A faint shadow of one of our old Catholic religious usages still 
lives in those yearly village festivities called throughout the mid 
land and northern counties " the wakes," and " the feast," in other 
parts of the kingdom. 

47 Quando reliquie ponende sunt in altari accedat episcopus cum 
clero ad locum in quo reliquie nocte precedente deportate fuerint, 
et dicat in introitu oracionem, Aufer a nobis, d-c. Post ingressum 
ante tentorium clerus cantet antiphonam, quam gloriomm est 
regnum, in quo cum Christo yaudent omnes sancti : amicti stolis albis, 
stquuntur agnum quocumque ierit. Dicta antiphona sequatur oratio, 
Fac nos Domine sanctorum tuorum specialiter dicata membra contingere 
quorum cupimus patrocinia incessanter habtre. Per Dominum. Tune 


Though our Plantagenet kings may not have 
(373) outstripped, they at least came up to, our 
Alfreds and others of the Anglo-Saxon stock, in 
the love which they showed before all the world 
towards the earthly remains of God s saints. Like 
^Ethelstan, Richard of the lion-heart sought for 
relics, and gladly gave his gold to buy them ; 4S 
and when a church had been rebuilt, or its old 
shrine taken down and beautified, an English 
king more than once challenged for himself the 
honour of bearing the relics to their new abode ; 
and England s proudest earls and boldest knights 
asked for and obtained the privilege of helping 
their prince to carry such a venerated burden. 
London saw Henry III. bear upon his shoulders 
the relics of Edward the Confessor along the 
aisles of Westminster Abbey, amid an admiring 

leventur reliquie cum honore et laudibus, cum cruce et thuribulis 
et luminaribus et exeant omnes, canendo donee perveniant ad 
ostium ecclesie illam antiphonam, Cum jucunditate, &c. (Liber 
Pontificalis, ed. Barnes, p. 32). This Pontifical was Bishop Lacy s, 
who bequeathed it to his cathedral of Exeter, where it still is. 

When relics could not be had, the altar-stone was merely 
anointed : Si reliquie non habentur, omittendum est officium 
illorum . . . et dum psalmus (Exuryat Deus) dicitur, frons altaris 
oleo sancto crismate mixto in tribus saltern locis perungatur 
(ibid., p. 34). Instead of relics, a particle of the holy Eucharist 
was sometimes put beneath the altar-stone ; see vol. i. pp. 35, 36, of 
this work. 

In the service for reconciling a church that has been desecrated, 
the Bangor Pontifical gives this rubric Primo ante, omnia, nocte 
prsecedente reconciliationem ecclesise vel altaris, asportentur reli 
quiae cum caeteris sacris ab ecclesia profanata, et serventur in 
tentorio tota nocte cum vigiliis et excubiis dignis. Maskell, 
Monumenta Ritualia Ecc. AngL, iii. 308 [i. 254]. 

48 See pp. 178, 301, of this volume. 

PART I. CHAP. X. 309 

throng made up of the highest in the land ; 49 and 
York beheld how our first Edward (374) did the 
same, all about the crowded choir of her minster, 
with those of her archbishop St. William. 50 

49 Dominus rex Anglorum Henricus (III.) pise devotionis 
instinctu, non patiens ulterius venerabiles reliquias beatissimi 
regis Edwardi confessoris, quern prse cseteris sanctis special! 
quadam veneratione dilexit, locello quodam humili recubare . . . 
convocatis universis Anglise prselatis et magnatibus necnon cunct- 
arum regni sui civitatum pariter et burgorum potentioribus, ut 
translationis solemnia celebrius illustrarent ; confluente pariter 
plebeise multitudinis turba non modica, venerandas illas reliqnias 
de veteri scrinio transferens in sublime, in conspectu tantte multi 
tudinis suis et serenissimi fratris sui Romanorum regis humeris 
supportandas apposuit, nobilibus filiis suis domino Edwardo, 
domino Edmundo, domino comite Waremise, domino Philippe 
Basset, et pluribus aliis regni proceribus, quotquot manus 
apponere poterant ad onus tarn nobile supportandum in adju- 
toriuin advocatis, et in auri scrinio preciosissimis lapidibus ador- 
nato, in loco supereminente cum ea qua decuit reverentia collocavit. 
Wikes, Chron., ed. Gale, ii. 88. 

50 Convenientibus ad ecclesiam pnelatis qui ad solennitatem 
venerant, prsesentibus etiam rege (Edwardo I.) et regina, et 
maxima comitiva comitum et baronum . . . rex ipse una cum 
episcopis qui aderant, sanctse reliquiae capsam, in qua erant sanctse 
reliquiae, cum summa devotione et reverentia, in humeris suis 
circa partem unam chori, ad locum ubi nunc corpus Sancti 
(Willielmi archiep. Eboracensis) requiescit, non sine magna 
pressura solenniter bajulabant: non euim valebant in corpus 
ecclesise cum sanctis reliquiis pr?e multitudine hominum de- 
sceridere, &c. Ada S. Willielmi archiep. Eboracensis, in A A. SS. 
Junii, ii. 1 44. No sooner did Sir Hugh, bishop of Lincoln, breathe 
his last, than every one looked upon him as in heaven. His 
corpse was therefore borne to the grave with the same respect 
which the Church shows to the relics of a saint : King John and 
his barons carried that holy man s dead body on their shoulders 
unto the western door of the minster ; there it was met by three 
archbishops and thirteen bishops, who took it likewise on their 
shoulders into the choir, for the burial service : Corpus Hugonis 
Lincolniensis episcopi delatum est Lincolniam, ibidem intumu- 
landum. Cui occurrentes Johannes rex Anglise, et (supradicti) tres 
archiepiscopi, et (praefati) tredecim episcopi, et comites et barones, 


(375) But not only amid the stir and glitter of 
a public ceremonial, with the eyes of thousand 
gazers upon them, was it that our kings showed 
how deeply seated was their religious reverence : 
before meeting, or after having gone through, trials 
and dangers, did they seek the shrines of the 
saints. No sooner had Richard I. set foot on 
English ground, after having been freed from his 
German dungeon, than he sped him to Canter 
bury, where, kneeling down at the shrine of St. 
Thomas, he made his thanksgiving to God. 51 
Before he sailed for France, (376) the Black 
Prince, along with the king his father, went 
about the country to its great sanctuaries, and 
besought, as the best help he could take with 
him from England, the prayers of those saints 
whose relics stood enshrined there: 52 the young 

receperunt corpus illud ; et rex ipse, una cum comitibus et baroni- 
bus, portavit in collo suo corpus illud. Deinde comites et barones 
portaverunt illud in humeris suis usque in atrium matricis ecclesise, 
gaudentes obsequium se praestare Deo, et beato prresuli illi. Ad 
ostium vero ecclesise receperunt corpus illud prsefati archiepiscopi 
et episcopi, et sic in humeris preelatorum delatum est usque in 
chorum et ibi pernoctatum est. Cumque circa eum agerentur 
exsequiee defunctorum, qusedam mulier, quse per septem annos ex 
uno oculo caeca fuerat, recepit visum. Roger de Hoveden, Annal., 
ed. Savile, 461 b. [R.S., li. iv. 142, 143]. 

51 Rex Ricardus ... in die Dominica post festum Sancti Gre- 
gorii in Angliam cum magno gaudio ad portum Sandwicensem 
applicuit . . . illico Cantuariam profectus beatum Thomam 
devotus expetiit . . . Rege vero vix per unurn diem apud 
Westmonasterium commorante, apud S. Edmundum oraturus 
progreditur. Ralph Coggeshall, Chron. Angl., in Martene, Vet. 
Script, amp. Collect., v. 835, 836 [fi., Ixvi. 62, 63]. 

62 Qui (Princeps Wallise Edwardus) mox, una cum patre suo 
imploraturus auxilium, in Anglia loca Sanctorum visitans, diversis 

PART I. CHAP. X. 311 

Edward fought and won the battle of Poitiers 
soon afterwards. This island s sanctuaries were 
neither few nor without a name : like lamps set 
upon a seven-branched candlestick casting rays 
of holy light around, she pointed to, among many 
others, those seven undecayed bodies of the saints 
which it was her happiness to own St. Elphege s 
at Canterbury, the Confessor s in London, St. 
Edmund s at Bury, St. Etheldreda s and St. With- 
burga s at Ely, at Durham St. Cuthberht s, and 
St. Waltheof s at Melrose. 53 

(377) That the best of what this world could 
yield was freely bestowed upon the tombs of 

diversa munera condonavit. Quo tempore, Rex pater apud West- 
monasterium caput sanctissimi obtulit Benedict!. Walsingham, 
Hid. AngL, 170 [R.S., xxviii. i. 279]. 

53 Gaudeat nunc Anglia, se septimum Sanctum corporaliter 
incorruptum divino munere adeptam, totumque regnum sep- 
templici candelabro irradiatum. Lsetetur Cantuaria metropolis 
Anglise super incorrupto corpore sancti martyris et archiprsesulis 
Elphegi et Lundonia caput regni de corpore instar viventis in- 
vento sanctissimi regis et confessoris Edwardi ; exultet Betergis- 
vurgia, quse nunc Edundisbiria vocatur, in sorte sua sibi pervenisse 
corpus soporanti simile sancti Ethmundi regis et martyris, similiter 
et Elisnensis ecclesia illius vicina ex gemmis pretiosissimis Ethel- 
drise videlicet et Wiburgse virginum corporibus integerrimis ; 
glorietur, ut dignum est, Dunelmensis ecclesia cum tota dioecesi 
et vicina sua super corpore omni corruptione carente sanctissimi 
confessoris atque pontificis Cucberti ; sic et Melrosensis abbatia 
ex incorrupta gleba sancti abbatis Walteni, &c. Joscelin of 
Furness, Vita S. Waltheni, in A A. SS. Auyusti, i. 276. Proper 
names have been sadly mangled here by Joscelin s transcriber. 

Among the favourite pilgrimages in this island, was St. David s 
in Wales (Will. Malmes., Gesta Reg. AngL, v., 435) [5. /S., cclvii. ii. 
507, 508]; and in A.D. 1286 our Edward I. and his queen Eleanor 
went thither: Rex Edwardus venit causa peregrinationis apud 
Sanctum David una cum Domina regina Anglioe nomine Elionora. 
Annal. Eccl. Menev., in Wharton, Angl. Sac., ii. 651. 


these and all other holy men and women ; and 
that our workmen strove to show the utmost of 
their skill in fashioning those monuments into 
samples of beautiful handicraft, we can easily 
believe. But 


in our old churches, are questions which have a 
(378) liturgical as well as architectural interest 
about them. 

In many instances a saint s tomb, being the 
first grave in which he was buried, arose but a 
few feet, if any, above the pavement of the church, 
or of the undercroft wherein it oftener stood. 54 
When, however, the Almighty had vouchsafed to 
afford proofs of His servant s holiness by miracles 
wrought at his burial-place, over it was soon built 
a slight but ornamented casing of stone, in the 
sides of which were left window-like holes for 
any one to thrust his head through and kiss the 

54 St. Erkenwald s tomb in the undercroft of St. Paul s, London, 
is well described by the following extract from that saint s life : 
Eo tempore quo ipsius sancti presulis (Erkenwaldi) prefati corpus 
adhuc in cripta in sarcophago servabatur, testudo ejusdem cripte 
pingenda fuit. Interea revoluto anni circulo, solempnitas ipsius 
sancti patris Erkenwaldi illuxit. Nullus ibi Missam ilia die cele- 
bravit; altare discoopertum fuit, propter instrumenta erecta, 
pictoris officio idonea. Innumerabilis multitude utriusque sexus 
convenit ad oratorium orare volentes et oblationes ac luminaria 
ferentes ; sed introitus eis non paruit. Pictor enim januam 
serravit, ut ipsam arcuatam testudinem coloribus vernicularet. 
Capgrave, Nova Legenda Anylie [Horstman, i. 398]. 

PART I. CHAP. X. 313 

slab beneath which lay the body : 55 often were 
these gaps in the wall so (379) wide, and the 
hollow within so roomy, that the halt and the 
lame might crawl inside and stretch themselves 
full length upon the grave, as unto God they 
cried for their healing, unto the saint for his 
prayers in that behalf. 56 

Often the rebuilding of the whole or a part of 
the church oftener still the wish to do honour 
to the holy dead, " God bearing them witness in 
signs and wonders and divers miracles " led to 
a translation of the saints bodies. Then was 
the new tomb constructed after another and 
more majestic pattern, and set up in one of the 
most conspicuous situations in the hallowed 
pile. Eastward of the (380) choir, and peering 
above (but behind) the hi^h altar s reredos, 58 

55 Erectus est autem circa sarcophagum marmoreum paries de 
lapidibus magnis sectis, csemento et ferro et plumbo firmissime 
consolidates, duas in utroque laterum habens fenestras, quibus 
advenientes capitibus immissis ad osculum sarcophagi pervenire 
valerent, &c. (De Mime. S. Thorny p. 93). Such kind of openings 
are shown in our picture, p. 344. 

56 Our old English illuminations furnish examples of such a 
practice ; and it is well shown in one of our pictures, p. 317. 

57 They buryed this holy body (of St. Edward kinge and martyr) 
in y e chirche yerde at the este ende of the chirche (of Warham). 
But now ouer y e graue is bylded a fayre chapell of our Lady ; t in 
y e place where he was fyrste buryed is nowe a fayre welle, whiche 
is nowe called saynt Edwardes welle, where our Lorde sheweth 
many miracles for his holy martyr say t Edwarde, &c. ( Y e Golden 
Legend, fol. cxliij). Who sholde tell all the myracles that our 
blessyd Lorde hath shewed for this holy martyr (St. Thomas of 
Canterbury), it sholde ouermoche endure. Ibid., fol. clxxiiij. 

58 Such was, at one time, the position of the great shrine at St. 
Alban s abbey, that there was neither reredos nor space between 


stood the principal shrine, though (381) sometimes 
it served by itself instead of a reredos, for more 

it and the high altar, but the shrine s west end formed the altar s 
reredos : Iste pise memorise Abbas Simon ex eo tempore coepit 
provide ac sapienter thesaurum non modicum auri et argenti et 
gemmarum pretiosarum, diligentissime coadunare, et thecam ex- 
teriorem, quam nos " feretrum " appellamus (qua ipso tempore 
nullam vidimus nobiliorem,) coapit per manum prsecellentissimi 
artificis, Magistri Johannis aurifabri, fabricari ; et tarn laboriosum, 
sumptuosum, et artificiosum opus infra paucos annos feliciter 
consummavit ; et loco suo eminentiori, scilicet, supra majus altare, 
contra frontem celebrantis collocavit, ut in facie et in corde 
habeat quilibet celebrans Missam super idem altare Martyris 
memoriam. Et idcirco in obiectu visus celebrantis, Martyrium 
eiusdem, scilicet decollatio, figuratur. In circuitu autem feretri, 
videlicet duobus lateribus, fecit vitae Beati Martyris seriem, quse 
fuit arrha et prseparatio passionis suse, eminentibus imaginibus de 
argento et auro, opere propulsato, (quod vulgariter " levatura " 
dicitur,) evidenter effigiari. In capite vero quod respicit Orientem, 
imaginem Crucifixi, cum Mariaa et Johannis iconibus, cum diver- 
sarum gemmarum ordine decentissimo, veneranter collocavit. In 
fronte vero Occidentem respiciente, imaginem Beatse Virginis, 
puerum suum tenentis in gremio, eminenti opere inter gemmas 
et pretiosa monilia aurea, in throno sedentem incathedravit. Et 
sic ordine martyrum in tecto utrobique disposito, theca in crispam 
et artificiosam cristam consurgit ; in quatuor angulis, turribus 
fenestratis, tholis chrystallinis cum suis mirabilibus quadratur 
venusta. In ipsa igitur, quse mirse magnitudinis est, ipsius 
Martyris theca, (quse quasi eius conclave est, et in qua ipsius 
secreta ossa recondi dinoscuntur) ab Abbate Gaufrido fabricata, 
convenienter reconditur. Matt. Paris, Vitse, Abb., p. 60 [U.S., 
xxviii. i. 189]. From Joscelin de Brakelond s account of a fire 
which well-nigh burned down the shrine of St. Edmund, we learn 
several particulars relative to the position both of the high altar 
and the shrine itself, as well as their respective adornments : 
Erat quidam ligneus tabulatus inter feretrum et magnum altare 
super quern duo cerei quos solebant custodes feretri reclutare et 
cereum cereo superponere, et indecenter conjungere. Erant sub 
tabulate illo multa reposita indecenter, linum, et filum, et cera, 
et utensilia varia, immo quicquid veniebat in manus custodum, 
ibi reponebatur hostio et parietibus ferreis existentibus. Cum 
ergo dormirent custodes nocte . . . cecidit, ut credimus, pars 
cerei reclutati jam conbusti super predictum tabulatum pannis 

PART I. CHAP. X. 315 

generally there were several, in each of our 
cathedrals and minsters. 59 Stretching out into 
(382) an oblong square of much more length than 
breadth, it rose up into two stories, of which the 
first was of stone or marble, the second of wood 
sheathed in gold or silver. As it lay lengthwise, 
its foot pointed towards the east, its head to the 
west, at which end there was almost always a 
small altar, whereon at the saint s festival, and 
a few other solemnities during the year, if not 
oftener mass used to be said. 00 How such a little 

opertum et cepit omnia proxima que supra et subtus erant accen- 
dere, ita quod parietes ferrei omnino candescerent (Cliron., p. 78). 
Magnum altare quod prius concavum erat, ubi sepius quedam in- 
decenter reponebantur, et spatium illud quod erat inter feretrum 
et altare, solidari fecit (abbas) lapide et cemento, ne aliquid ignis 
periculum fieri possit per neggligenciam custodum. Ibid., p. 85. 

69 St. Erkenwald s shrine stood just behind the high altar in 
St. Paul s Cathedral, London (Dugdale, St. Paul s, p. 15). St. 
Hugh s shrine of pure gold occupied the same position in Lincoln 
Cathedral (Mon. AngL, viii. 1286). Such, too, was the place for the 
shrine at Durham. At York, St. William s shrine,, at the trans 
lation of his relics, was set up in the choir : S. Willielmi corpus 
cum gaudio et solennitate qua decuit, ab imo in altum, a communi 
loco in chorum . . . translatum. A A. SS. Junii, ii. 144. In Win 
chester Cathedral there stood " behind the high altar St. Swithin s 
shrine, being of plate silver, and gilt, and garnished with stones." 
" Item one and twenty shrines, some all silver and gilt, arid some 
part silver and gilt, and part copper and gilt, and some part silver 
and part ivory,, and some copper and gilt, and some set with 
garnished stones." Mon. AngL, i. 202. 

60 "At the west end of this shrine of saint Cuthbert was a little 
altar adjoyned to it for masse to be gaid on, onely uppon the great 
and holy feast of Saint Cuthbert s day in Lent, &c." (Ancient 
Monuments, Rites, dec., of Durham, p. 3). Among the engravings at 
the end of Dugdale s Mon. AngL, i. (new edition), there is one which 
shows, from an illuminated manuscript belonging to Trinity Hall, 
Cambridge, the high altar with its "beam," and with several 
shrines standing on the ground behind it, in St. Austin s Canter- 

3 i6 


altar once stood leaning against the wall just 
under the diapering, and between those two twisted 

ainm agmfonafi fi mota i crffe (retnanm 
^ ,acwt 

- "^ V V A 


shafts, with its raised foot-board reaching out to 

bury. Of these shrines, three at least have each a small altar at 
its west end. 

PART I. CHAP. X. 317 

the ornamented floor, may be well seen in this 
woodcut, which shows, as it now is, the marble 

basement or lower story upon which rested, till 
Henry VIII. s days, (383) the gorgeous shrine 


in Westminster Abbey of St. Edward the Con 
fessor. 61 

01 The spot whereon the uprooted altar with its narrow steps 
once stood,, is shown by those mean red square tiles, surrounded 
by the once beautiful and costly mosaic pavement overspreading 
the whole floor of this chapel. Now is standing there an old 
wooden table perhaps the one from off which the regalia, so called 
of St. Edward the Confessor, have been taken at the crowning of 
many of our sovereigns since the change in the nation s religion, 
thus becoming another proof, furnished unwittingly by Protestants 
themselves, of the former existence of the saint s altar, the saint s 
relics, the saint s invocation, in Westminster Abbey. The transla 
tion of this saint s relics is still marked in the calendar to the 
"Book of Common Prayer," as a saint s day, on the I3th of 

Besides other claims to the antiquary s attention, this monu 
ment is curious from being the larger and more important of the 
only two pieces of Italian Gothic architecture in this country. Its 
twisted and furrowed shafts will be new to the untra veiled English 
man, who would find the whole erection still more unlike what his 
eye has been accustomed to look upon, could he now see it as it 
once was, overlaid shafts and all with a sort of showy mosaic, 
made of small square and triangular pieces of porphyry, coloured 
marble, and a gilt glass-like composition. The twisted pillar, after 
the kind beheld in this instance, got into use at Rome, towards 
the thirteenth century. Running about a splay in the upper 
moulding were at first written if Dart, in his Westminster Abbey 
(ii. 25), speaks truly these verses : 

Anno milleno Domini cum septuageno 
Et bis centeno cum complete quasi dexo (deno ?) 
Hoc opus est factum quod Petrus duxit in actum 
Romanus civis, &c. 

which, in the reign of Richard II., gave place to others. At what 
period the present almost faded inscription was written, is not 
known. To judge, however, by the few golden letters of the 
ordinary Roman shape, and the shabby stencilled diapering on 
several parts of the sides of this construction, to hide the patches 
where the mosaic had been picked off, it would seem that both the 
inscription and the painting were executed about the reign of 
James II., probably to make the Confessor s tomb look somewhat 
decent at that king s coronation. The frightful wooden top, with 
its two tiny elevations, one of Ionic, the other of Corinthian 


page 318 

PART I. CHAP. X. 319 

(384) Besides being overspread with architec 
tural adornments, this stone basement or lower story 
whereon (385) the shrine itself rested, was turned 
to an useful purpose. Upon the steps 62 all around 

pilasters, is a piece of tame classicism perpetrated towards the 
end of the seventeenth century. 

On this stone work of Peter the Roman was set up, as our 
diagram in outline shows, the gorgeous and beautiful golden 
jewelled shrine wrought by the two London goldsmiths, Fitz Otho 
and his son Edward, who executed all those figures of angels and 
saints and kings enumerated in note 70 further on ; and the ex 
penses for which, or, as they are called, " ad operationes pheretri 
beati Edmundi," are set down at various times in the Close Rolls 
for the latter half of Henry III. s reign. These London Fitz Othos 
came of a thoroughly English stock : their forefathers in Anglo- 
Saxon times were moneyers, and, as such, held from the crown, 
lands in Essex. Ellis, Introduction to Domesday Book, i. 462. 

The then abbot of Westminster, Richard de Ware, who went to 
Rome on business (A.D. 1267), deeply smitten, as it would seem, 
by his first sight of the incrustation-style of ornament, brought 
over to England the Roman citizen Peter, less as an architect 
than an able workman in a mode of decoration quite unknown 
to this land. Abbot Ware, in his taste for Roman Gothic and 
incrustation, found happily no followers here ; and the two monu 
ments in Westminster Abbey, the underpart of the Confessor s 
shrine, and the masonry of Henry III. s tomb hard by and both 
of Ware s putting up are the only, though mutilated, specimens 
of it in England : in comparison with the beautiful English monu 
ments at their side, these Italian ones are bald, mean, and tasteless. 

62 These steps at the foot of the lower or marble story of the 
shrine are clearly pointed out to us in the following words of the 
Durham monk : Ad pedes Sancti pontificis (Cuthberti) in fine 
sepulchri, luminare illud super lapidem posuit (quidam devotus), 
et oratione completa recessit. ... In brevi articulo temporis, 
multiplices candelse plicaturas accenderat . . . flamma . . . mirum 
itaque in modum flamma ilia pannos qui sepulchrum ambierant, 
omnes infuderat, et argento auro et gemmis. ac ligneo interius 
locello quibus diutissime insederat, nichil omnino Isesionis intulisse 
prsesumpserat . . . Videres igitur ceras liquentes supra lapidem 
hac et iliac excurrendo diffluere ; ac etiam, perfusis undique gradi- 
bus, ad inferiora pavimenti latius descendisse (Reginald, De S. 
Cuthberti Virt., p. 92). In the picture (p. 321), King Henry VI. is 
kneeling at the step of St. Edmund s shrine. 


at its foot the (386) pilgrim found an easy kneeling- 
place, as he told his beads ; while the cripple, the 
bed-ridden, the sick (387) might be carried by their 
friends when of themselves they could not creep 
inside, if it were hollow, and lie down in the space 
left for that purpose ; or else, as they made their 
prayer to God, and asked their patron s inter 
cession, seated within its deeply-sunk niches, lean 
their aching limbs against the wall, with the saint s 
relics immediately over them. 63 (388) The guilt 
less, too, fleeing in their weakness from before 
those mighty ones who laughed the civil laws to 
scorn, as well as the guilty who ran from the 
wrath of outraged justice, found within this same 
lower part of some great saint s shrine, a hallowed 
sanctuary not to be broken through by any man. 64 

63 St. Cuthbert s feretory in Durham Cathedral was "ad joy ninge 
to the quire and the high altar on the west end, and reachinge 
towards the nine altars on the east . . . this sacred shrine was 
exalted with most curious workmanshipp, of line and costly green 
marble, all limned and gilt with gold, having foure seats or places 
convenient under the shrine, for the pilgrims or lame or sick men, 
sittinge on their knees to leane and rest on, in time of theire 
devout offeringes and fervent prayers to God and holy St. Cuth- 
bert." Rites of Durham, p. 5. This lower part was the pious work 
of John de Nevil : Dominus Johannes de Nevill, dicto sancto 
(Cuthberto) devotissimus, et fidelis ejus films, fecit . . . novum 
opus marmoreum et alabastrinum sub feretro sancti Cuthberti, 
pro quo solvit plusquam cc libras argenti. Et fecit Londonise in 
cistulis includi et per mare usque ad Novum Castrum transferri, 
&c. Hist. Dunelm. Scriptores Tres, p. 135. The lower part of 
St. Edward the Confessor s shrine in Westminster Abbey, had 
niches, and was solid ; but other shrines were hollow below, as 
may be seen in the picture (p. 344) from the Cambridge MS. 

64 By the text and pictures we may now easily perceive how the 
frightened monk could make for himself, under St. Edmund s shrine, 



(389) On this house-like little building, which 
was sometimes called the " tomb," 65 rested the 

ST. EDMUND THE MARTYR S SHRINE, AT BURY : an illumination in Lydgate s 
life of the saint. MS. Harl. 2278. 

a hiding place from his angered abbot : Veniens ergo domum, 
feretro Sancti ^Edmundi latenter me supposui, timens ne dominus 
abbas me caperet, et incarceraret, qui nichil mali merueram ; nee 
erat monachus qui mecum audebat loqui, nee laicus qui mihi 
auderet victum ministrare, nisi aliquis furtive. Joscelin of Brake- 
lond, Chron., p. 36. St. Cuthberht s shrine, as a place of refuge, is 
mentioned by Reginald, who lets us see how the fugitive crept 
inside its lower or first story : Sub ipso denique Sancti Cuthberti 
sepulcro ei cubiculare quietis extiterat, et prre anxietate spiritus, 
perstans altius secus sacrum corpus incorruptum, compressis 
digitorum articulis utpote cum pugno thecam ipsius sic srepius 
contundendo dicebat, " Sancte et pie Cuthberte, subveni, auxiliare 
et protege, &c." Reginald, l)e Admir. S. Cuthberti Virtid., p. 119. 


shrine itself, which held the coffin or chest having 
within it the saint s relics. This case was of wood, 
overlaid with plates of gold or silver-gilt, 66 studded 
with gems, and in its dimensions every wise smaller 
than the marble structure out of which it arose as 
an uppermost narrower story. 

(390) To this chest the goldsmith, whose work it 
always was, gave an architectural form : it had its 
flying buttresses, its windows filled in with tracery, 
its pinnacles ribbed with crockets as light and thin 
and crispy as leaves upon a bough, and its tall crest 
purfled with knobs of sparkling jewels to run along 
the ridge of its steeply-pitched roof. 67 Upon the 

To understand our mediaeval writers thoroughly, we must know 
something of church mediaeval antiquities. But of those several 
questions connected with our olden ritual, there are few upon 
which the most learned among our Protestant archaeologists 
betray a want of knowledge so much as on the subject of shrines : 
an instance of this we gave at pp. 90, 91, note 4. 

65 Cumque uno die in processione solenni sancti confessoris 
corpus portaretur, contigit ut cum processio cum sanctis reliquiis 
in ecclesiam esset reversa, clum adhuc staret processio inter 
tumbam et ostium cantica laudis solito more decantans, &c. Ada 
S. Willielmi archiep. Eboracensis, in A A. SS. Junii, ii. 145. This 
shrine of St. William at York Cathedral was a movable one. 

60 Quidam argentarius nomine Eustachius cum limina domus in 
qua Sancti Erkenwaldi feretrum fabricaretur sepius attrivisset, ubi 
erat sepulchrum ligneum argento et auro tegendum in quo Sancti 
Erkenwaldi membra condereritur, &c. Capgrave, Nova Le<i<-nda 
Anglie [Horstman, i. 399]. 

67 From those of our old writers who have spoken on the subject, 
we learn that the jewelled richness of its crest was thought the 
crowning glory of a shrine. To get as many and as splendid gems 
as possible for the crest formed the cost, as it was the search of 
several years. Thus the abbot of Bury : Ad cristam faciendam 
pretiosissimam super feretrum gloriosi martiris ^Edmundi studium 
suum convertit (abbas). Joscelin of Brakelond, Ghron., p. 71. The 

PART I. CHAP. X. 323 

(391) foliaged corbels which sprouted out all about 
it stood figures of silver, of ivory, and of gold ; 6S 

work was carried on by the same dignitary, so that, Jam crista 
usque ad medietatem facta fuit, et lapides marmorei ad elevandum 
et sustinendum feretrum, ex parte magna, parati et politi f uerunt. 
Ibid., p. 80. Of the shrine which Geoffrey, who was chosen abbot 
of St. Alban s (A.D. 1119), built for holding our proto-martyr s 
relics, by the workmanship of Anketil (one of the monks in that 
minster), Matthew Paris tells us : Collecta igitur pecunia, pro- 
positum suum, in opere feretrali, diligentius et efficacius exeque- 
batur. Et factum est, ut, fabricante domino Anketillo, hujus 
ecclesise monacho, adeo prosperatum est opus, et expeditum, ut 
intuentibus admirationem generaret. Fecit autem illud opere 
ductili, et elevato et educto, imagines impulit elevari, et concavas 
csemento solidavit, et elegantiam totius corporis feretralis, in 
brevius culmen ascendendo coartavit. . . . Cristam tune temporis 
minime perfecit, expectans ad hoc tempora commodiora, quibus 
ad hoc auro et argento, ac gemmis, uberius abundaret. . . . 
Proposuerat tamen illam cristam adeo nobilem et sumptuosam 
proculdubio facere, ut ex ea totius operis series veriustatem 
sortiretur, et pluris foret quam totius feretri coopertura re 
sidua. Et cum omnia quam decenter fabricabantur in feretro, 
cuncta fecit copiose deaurari, ita ut potius aurea quam argentea 
viderentur, et apparerent. Et cum de antique hujus ecclesise 
thesauro prolatse fuissent gemmse ad opus feretri decorandum, 
allati sunt quidam ampli lapides, quos " sardios oniclios " appel- 
lamus, et vulgariter " cadmeos " nuncupamus. Matt. Paris, Vitse, 
Abb., p. 38 [U.S., xxviii., i. 83, 84]. 

68 Speaking of St. Edward s shrine, Dart tells us that " here 
stood an image of the Virgin Mary, wrought in silver, which 
Eleanor, queen to Henry III., gave . . . also another image of the 
blessed Virgin, wrought in ivory ; a piece very curious, and much 
esteemed by Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, who 
offered it to the shrine." Westminster, i. 55. King Edward II. 
offered, at his coronation, a pound of gold, made like a king holding 
a ring in his hand ; and a mark of gold, which is eight ounces, made 
like a pilgrim putting forth his hand to receive the ring. Ibid., 
p. 51. Richard, Earl of Warwick, in his will (A.D. 1435), says: I 
desire my executors to cause four images of gold, each weighing 
twenty pounds, to be made like unto myself, in my coat of arms, 
holding an anker betwixt my hands, and so to be offered and de 
livered in my name as follows : one to the shrine of St. Alban, to 
the honour of God, our Lady, and St. Alban ; another to the 


and (392) the deep quatrefoils let into its diapered 
sides were storied with scenes from the saint s life, 
done in bas-relief. 69 Lay-folks as well as church 
men (393) brought everything that could be found 
most precious in art or costly in material to adorn 
it ; 70 the (394) artificer strove his best to work up 

shrine of St. Thomas of Canterbury ; the third at Bridlington, in 
Yorkshire ; and the fourth at the shrine of the church of St. Wini- 
frid at Shrewsbury. Test. Vet., i. 231. 

69 In illuminations, such for instance as are to be found in that 
beautifully limned life of St. Edward the Confessor, among the 
manuscripts in the Public Library, Cambridge, and marked Ee. iii. 
59, we see the storied quatrefoils well shown. The bas-reliefs or 
levatura work on the great shrine at St. Alban s, wrought by 
Master John, are particularly noticed by Matt. Paris in note 58, 
p. 314. The saint s statue usually stood within a niche at the 
east end of the shrine : Qui ut erat destitutus visu, et cseteris 
membris omnibus invalidus, palpando gressus suos dirigens ad 
orientalem partern scrinii, in quo Sanctus requiescit, pervenit ; et 
pedes ymaginis sancti regis clevotius amplexus, deosculari et de- 
super lacrimari non desistit, &c. Vita Oswini, p. 33. Of the 
beauty of our old English shrines as works of high art, as well as 
of their shape, and the costly materials bestowed upon them, some 
idea may be gathered from those foreign ones figured in the 
A A. SS. Julii, iii. 663 ; Augusti, ii. 666. 

70 Both foreign and native evidence tell of the splendour be 
stowed by this country on the shrines of its favourite saints. 
How rich must have been St. Edward s in Westminster Abbey, we 
may yet see from the list of those adornments which Henry III. 
spent years in gathering for it. The original Patent Roll, still 
kept in the Tower of London, shows us that amid the " aurum et 
lapides preciosas et jocalia deputata casse sive feretro in quo corpus 
beatissimi Edwardi Regis disposuimus collocari," there were : In 
primis unum firmaculum cum saphiro in medio rubettis et perlis 
in circumferencia . . . unum firmaculum cum camauto in medio 
. . . j firmaculum cum camauto in medio . . . j firmaculum cum parva 
chamahuto in medio . . . j firmaculum cum garnata in medio . . . 
unum firmaculum cum saphiro in medio . . . j firmaculum cum 
prasinis balesiis turpibus. . . . Tres anuli cum smaragdinibus 
videlicet cum pulchro smaragdine . . . alius anulus precii xl. 
solidorum, tercius anulus precii unius marcse, unus anulus cum 

PART I. CHAP. X. 325 

those bright gifts after such a fashion as to make 
pearls and (395) rubies and gold 71 to be thought 

rubettis . . . unus anulus cum rubettis . . . unus anulus cum 
balesiis. . . . Item unus anulus cum balesiis . . . unus anulus cum 
balesiis (besides six others of the same kind). Item j anulus cum 
rubettis . . . unus anulus cum turpi rubetto . . . j anulus cum 
pulchro saphiro . . . j anulus cum saphiro (besides nine others, 
two of which were " cum saphiro inciso ") . . . j anulus cum garnata 
et smaragdine in circumferentia. . . . Duo baculi continentes xx 
et ij anulos cum diversis lapidibus . . . j balesius sine auro (besides 
three others) . . . j saphirus sine auro . . . j baculus continens 
vij anulos cum chamahutis parvis . . . j pulchrum chamahutum 
cum imaginibus nliorurn Jacobi in capsa aurea cum rubettis et 
smaragdinibus in circumferentia . . . j camahutum cum tribus 
imaginibus in capsa aurea . . . j camah cum imaginibus Moysis 
et serpentis in capsa auri . . . j camah cum magno capite in 
capsa auri . . . j chamah cum capite elevato in capsa auri . . . 
j chamah cum curru et equitibus in capsa auri . . . j chamah cum 
imagine in medio in capsa aurea . . . j chamah cum imagine regis 
in capsa aurea . . . j chamah optimum cum ij albis imaginibus in 
capsa aurea . . . j chamah cum imagine leonis in capsa aurea . . . 
j chamah cum duabus imaginibus et arbore una in capsa aurea . . . 
j chamah cum capite elevato in capsa aurea . . . j chamah cum ij 
capitibus in capsa aurea . . . j charnah cum imagine beate Marie 
in capsa aurea . . . j chamah cum capite elevato in capsa aurea 
. . . (another) . . . j chamah cum capite duplicato in capsa aurea 
. . . j magna perla ad modum chamah in capsa aurea . . . j 
chamah cum aquila in capsa aurea . . . j chamah cum ij angelis 
in capsa aurea . . . j chamah cum ymagine alba in capsa aurea 
. . . j chamah cum capite albo in capsa aurea . . . j chamah cum 
capite bene crinato in capsa aurea . . . j chamah album cum im 
agine mulieris cum puero et dracone in capsa aurea . . . j chamah 
cum imagine et urina in capsa aurea . . . j chamah cum capite 
dupplicato in capsa aurea . . . j chamah cum capite albo in capsa 
aurea . . . j chamah cum capite elevato in capsa aurea . . . j 
chamah cum equo in capsa aurea . . . j chamah capite albo in 
capsa aurea . . . j chamah cum capite et leone opposite in capsa 
aurea ad modum crucis . . . j chamah cum capite albo barbate . . . 
j chamah in capsa aurea ad modum crucis cum bove . . . j chamah 
parvum cum capite albo in capsa aurea . . . j chamah cum imagine 
alba cum magestate ex parte alia in capsa aurea . . . j chamah in 
capsa aurea ad modum targie . . . j chamah cum magestate in capsa 
aurea . . . j chamah cum capite in capsa aurea . . . j chamah cum capite 


less of in the beholder s estimation than his 
own beautiful handicraft, (396) by which he had 

albo in capsa aurea ad modum crucis . . . j chamah cum ij capitibus 
albis in capsa aurea . . . j chamah cum laticibus et curru in capsa 
aurea . . . j chamah parvum cum imaginibus parvis in capsa aurea . . . 
j chamah cum cane in capsa aurea . . . j chamah cum capite bar- 
bato in capsa aurea . . . j chamah cum capite . . . (another) . . . 
j chamah cum magestate in capsa aurea . . . j chamah cristal- 
linum cum capite in capsa aurea . . . j chamah cum capite ruffo in 
capsa argentea . . . j chamah cum capite bipertito crinato in capsa 
argentea . . . j chamah parvum cum capite in capsa aurea . . . 
unum chamah cum parvo capite albo in capsa aurea . . . j chamah 
cum capite ruffo in capsa argenti . . . j chamah parvum in capsa 
aurea . . . j parvum chamah cum capite in capsa aurea . . . j chamah 
cum leone in capsa aurea . . . j chamah cum capite albo in capsa 
aurea . . . (another) . . . j chamah in uno anulo pontifical! . . . j 
onicleus in capsa argenti . . . (another) . . . j saphirus citrinus in 
capsa aurea . . . j amatista in capsa argenti . . . j prasina in 
capsa aurea . . . j amatista in capsa aurea . . . j amatista cum 
apparatu argenti ad modum crucis . . . j capsa aurea ad modum 
crucis cum saphiro in medio . . . una parva capsa ad modum 
crucis cum saphiro in medio . . . j parva capsa aurea cum rubettis 
. . . j capsa aurea cum una perla in medio grossa et sex smarag- 
dinibus . . . una capsa aurea cum lapide precioso in medio . . . 
j capsa aurea cum lapide impregnate . . . j magnum capud cum 
corona aurea . . . Tria capita oniclea nuda sine capsa . . . magni 
saphiri citrini nudi . . . quatuor saphiri et duo citrini . . . onicleus 
unus et ij panchii caucidonii . . . Quinque chamah sine capsa . . . 
j canis onicleus . . . j phola oniclea et alia cristallina . . . aurum 
in diversis pechiis cum quibusdam lapidibus. ... In una chincia 
minuti saphiri et garnate. . . . Item minuti balesii in una chincia 
. . . minute prasine in una chincia . . . albe perle in una chincia 
. . . perle in una chincia . . . lapides diversi in una chincia. . . . 
Decem cokille et unum album capud . . . una amatista magna sine 
capsa. . . j saphirus in capsa aurea cum cruce supposita. . . . 

Una ymago beati Edrnuridi Regis cum corona et ij grossis 
saphiris et j balesio sito in corona et ij prasinis et aliis minutis 
lapidibus . . . j Imago aurea unius regis cum balesio in pectore 
et aliis lapidibus minutis . . . una imago unius Regis tenentis in 
manu dextra florem cum saphiris smaragdinibus in medio corone 
et magna granata in pectore perlis et aliis minutis lapidibus tarn 
in corona quam in corpore . . . j imago unius Regis cum granata 
in pectore aurea cum smaragdinibus granatis et aliis minutis 

PART I. CHAP. X. 327 

wrought the costly metal and more costly stones 
into a marvel of workmanship. 72 (397) England s 

lapidibus . . . j imago Regis aurea cum saphiris in pectore et 
smaragdinibus et balesiis in medio corone et saphiris et granatis 
in corona et cetero corpore. . . . Quinque angeli aurei . . . j imago 
beate Marie cum filio coronata per circuit um tarn in coronis quam 
in aliis membris cum rubettis, smaragdinibus, saphiris et granatis 
. . . una imago unius Regis aurea tenentis feretrum in manu sua 
per circuitum balesiis saphiris pulchris et in corona cum rubettis 
et esmaf. . . . Item imago unius Regis tenentis chamach cum ij 
capitibus in una manu, in alia septrum cum balesiis, prasinis, et 
perlis per circuitum . . . una imago Sci Petri tenentis in una 
manu ecclesiam, in alia claves et calcantis Neronem cum saphiro 
grosso in pectore et in circuitu cum prasinis, perlis, et saphiris 
. . . una magestas aurea in capsa lignea cum pulchernma smarag- 
dine in pectore per circuitum cum smaragdinibus et perlis in corona 
cum chamah , prasinis et saphiris per circuitum . . . aurum in licis 
cum chamah . . . unus saphirus pulcherrimus. . . . Item alius saphi- 
rus . . . (two others). . . . Item viij chamah in capsis aureis cum 
smaragdinibus per circuitum . . . unum par bacinorum auri . . . 
una cuppa clara . . . due cuppe veteres . . . unum magnum chamah 
in capsa aurea cum cathena aurea. . . . Item unum chamah cum 
capite sine capsa, &c. Patent Roll, 5 1 Henry III., Memb. 20 d. 

Most, if not all, of these eighty-five cameos, being very likely 
graven by heathenish hands, were wrought, in many instances 
(if we may judge from those still to be seen on the magnificent 
shrine at Cologne Cathedral), with subjects borrowed from pagan 
mythology ; though Master Thomas of Wymundham, Nicholas of 
Leukenor, and Peter of Winchester, who drew up the above list, 
thought that they beheld in some of them personages of Holy 
Writ figured. By the Anglo-Saxons, as well as English, were 
cameos sought for, and set upon the shrines of the saints : of 
Leofric, the tenth abbot of St. Alban s, we are told, that during 
a dearth, he sold, to feed the poor, all the gold and silver vessels 
and ornaments of his church : Retentis tantummodo quibusdam 
gemmis pretiosis, ad quas non invenit emptores, et quibusdam 
nobilibus lapidibus insculptis quas " camreos " vulgariter appel- 
lamus. Quorum magna pars ad feretrum decorandum, cum fabri- 
caretur, est reservata (Matt. Paris, Vitas. Abb. p. 26) [R.S., xxviii. 
i. 29]. Because, however, they were rare and precious, these 
cameos were looked upon as fitting gifts to the Church for the 
adornment of her appliances ; and to this cause is owing the pre 
servation of many such artistic productions, as we have elsewhere 


shrines were among the artistic wonders of olden 
Christendom; and far-off countries (398) sought 
for and got Englishmen to go and gem the churches 
there with like examples of their (399) exquisite 

shown. Hierurgia, chapter on " the Diptychs," iv, v. [ii. 278, 

71 Erasmus, who saw the shrine of St. Thomas of Canterbury a 
short time before it was plundered and destroyed, described it 
thus : Auream thecam theca contegit lignea, ea f unibus sublata 
opes nudat insestimabiles. . . . Vilissima pars erat aurum : gemmis 
raris ac pnegrandibus collucebant, nitebant ac fulgurabant omnia. 
Qusedam superabant ovi anserini magnitudinem. . . . Prior Can 
dida virga demonstrabat contactu singulas gemmas, addens nomen 
Gallicum, pretium et auctorem doni. Nam prsecipuas monarchy 
dono miserant. Peregrinatio Religionis ergo. Of it, Stow says : It 
was built about a man s height all of stone, then upward of timber, 
plain, within the which was a chest of iron containing the bones 
of Thomas Becket. . . . The timber work of this shrine, on the 
other side, was covered with plates of gold, damasked and em 
bossed with wires of gold, garnished with brooches, images, angels, 
chains, precious stones, and great orient pearls, the spoil of which 
shrine in gold and jewels of an inestimable value filled two great 
chests, one of which six or eight strong men could do no more 
than convey out of the church : all which was taken to the king s 
use, &c. Annals, Henry VIII. To adorn a shrine, gatherings 
were made throughout the kingdom : De subsidio procurando ad 
feretrum Sancti Thomre Herefordens per totum regnum, anno 
xiv. Edwardi II. Caletidarium Rotol. Patentium, p. 88. 

72 A.D. 1241, dominus rex Henricus III. unum feretrum ex auro 
purissimo et gemmis preciosis fecit ab electis aurifabris apud 
Londiniam, ut in ipso reliquiae beati Edwardi reponerentur, ex 
sumptibus propriis artificiose fabricari. In qua fabrica, licet ma- 
teria fuisset preciosissima, tamen secundum illud poeticum : 

" Materiam superabat opus." 

Matt. Paris, Hist. Aug., p. 387 [R.S., Ivii. iv. 156, 157]. That this 
monk of St. Alban s was more quickly stirred to admiration by the 
workmanship than the material splendours of a shrine, is shown us 
through those glowing words in which he tells us : Abbas Gauf ridus, 
Beato Albano Patrono nostro, unam thecam gloriosam inchoavit, 
opere mirifico. Vitse Abb., p. 37 [R.S., xxviii. i. 80]. 

PART I. CHAP. X. 329 

skill. 73 Ages after an artist had done his work, 
and done it well, our people would not let (400) 

3 Of an Anglo-Saxon shrine that was looked upon in Italy as a 
wonder in art, and of the skill shown by Anglo-Saxon workmen in 
that country, we have already spoken (see vol. i. pp. 232, 233). That 
England s skill in the fine arts, and the beauty of her works, were, 
for a long while, acknowledged by foreign countries, is incontest 
able. When our Henry I. wanted to send gold and silver, to a large 
amount, over to France, for the adornment of St. Julian s relics, 
kept at the cathedral of Le Mans, Hildebert, the bishop of that see, 
besought our king to have the shrine made in England, as our 
workmen were so far beyond the French : Obtulit (rex Henricus) 
pontifici (Hildeberto) maximum pondus auri et argenti, unde 
sepulchrum beati Juliani honoriiice . . . fieri potuisset . . . 
Hildebertus prudenter respuens dixit : Nos caremus in partibus 
nostris artificibus, qui tantum opus congrue noverint operari ; 
exhinc regies congruit disposition! tarn diligens opera et im- 
pensa, in cujus regno et mirabiles refulgent artifices, et mira- 
bilem operantur crelaturam (Gesta Hildtberti Cenomanensis, in 
Mabillon, Vet. Analect., p. 314) \_P.L. , clxxi. 92]. For such, among 
other artistic purposes, was it that the King of Denmark ear 
nestly besought and got sent over to him from St. Alban s the 
monk Anketil, who had wrought the beautiful shrine in that 
minster : Memoratus autem Anketillus, monachus et aurifaber 
quandoque in Daciam venerat ad Regis Dacorum mandatum et 
supplicationem ad quippiam operis eidem faciendum. Ubi per 
septennium moram continuans, regiis prseerat operibus aurifab- 
rilibus, monetse custos, et summus trapezita (Matt. Paris, Vitx 
Abb., p. 38) [R.S., xxviii. i. 84]. Of AnketiFs love for his art, as 
well as skill in it, Matthew Paris tells us in the same place : 
Dominus Anketillus, Ecclesise Sancti Albani monachus, et auri 
faber incomparabilis, qui fabricam feretri manu propria, (auxiliante 
quodam juvene sseculari, discipulo suo, Salomone de Ely) et incepit 
et consummavit, diligenter in suo opere aurifabrili et animo studuit, 
et manu laboravit. Ibid., col. 2, sub fine [E.S., 87], 

Some of our antiquaries like to think that what we have of the 
most beautiful in mediseval art was wrought in this country by 
foreign hands, or came to us from abroad. The editor of Manners 
and Expenses in England in the Thirteenth and Fifteenth Centuries 
assumes that the William Torel, after whose models in wax those 
graceful statues in the Eleanor crosses, and perhaps that queen s 
admirable cumbent figure on her tomb in Westminster Abbey (see 
before, p. 37), must have been an Italian ; but for no weightier a 
reason than a fancy that the name Torel is the short of Torelli. 


themselves believe that an end had come to their 
task of love, but they went on striving to shed 

(401) around their patron s tomb fresh splendours. 
Of those who could afford the means, few in this 

(402) country were they who did not, at one time 
or another, bestow a jewel or a golden trinket 
upon their favourite saint s shrine ; 74 hardly a 

Long before the death of Edward I. s Eleanor, Torel was a name 
to be found in more counties than one in England. Benedict, 
abbot of Peterborough (from A.D. 1177 till 1194), in a highly 
valuable work of his, lately printed, De Miraculis S. Thomee Can- 
tuariensis, mentions " Walterium Torel, virum Warwicensem de 
villa quse Adulvestre Anglice nuncupatur." Ibid., p. 179. In the 
5ist of Henry III., a William Torel at his death was seized of 
Turrocke, Westturrocke, and Turrocke Parva in Essex. Galend. 
Inquis. post mortem, p. 30, num. 29. And another William Torel, 
very likely the former s son, died in the i8th of Edward I., leaving 
the same lands. Ibid., p. 101, num. 23. This name, then, being 
English, there are no grounds for supposing that an artist must 
have been an Italian because he called himself William Torel. 

Concerning our grave-brasses, some of our writers would fain 
believe that among those valuable sepulchral monuments yet 
remaining to us, the best-wrought ones were done not in England 
but Flanders ; and the only argument upon which they build this 
conjecture, is that at Bruges one or two are to be found very like 
them in certain peculiarities. If however we look at facts, we 
shall see the more logical conclusion is that these brasses at 
Bruges were made in England. Flanders possesses very few 
grave-brasses of any kind : in England we count them not by 
hundreds but thousands ; and they are to be met with everywhere 
not merely on the eastern coast which looks towards Flanders, 
but in the depths of Wales in the poorest and furthest inland 
country churches. The use of these brasses being a striking 
feature in our old English ecclesiastical customs, this kingdom 
must have had at home, amid her crowd of native workmen, 
several who stood as high in their craft as did Anketil in his ; so 
that, instead of asking Flanders for the more exquisite productions 
of the graving tool, England could have sent some of her own to 
Bruges and to Ghent. 

74 Itm I yeve and be qwethe to Seynt Edmond and his schryne 
my hevy peys noble, wich weyeth xxs. and my best herte of gold 

PART I. CHAP. X. 33 r 

year that did not see its crest and sides sparkling- 
with another enchased adornment. Men as well 
as women, and from all ranks in life, sent thither 
the bravest of their finery ; finger-rings, brooches,, 
and necklaces, (403) knights military collars and 
girdles, ladies jewel-studded chains, prayer-beads 
of precious stones, either fastened by silver hook& 
to the cloth which fell down over parts of the 
shrine s base, or strung on those thin gilt iron 
rods which ran all around it, hung drooping there 
in glistening clusters. 75 Besides the beautiful and 

with aungellys and a ruby with iiij. labellys of white ennamyl, the 
seid noble and the seid broche herte of gold to be hange, naylyd, 
and festynd vpon the shryne on my coste by the avys of my 
executours wher they and the ffertrerys thynke and finde a place 
moost convenient, to the wourshippe of God and Seynt Edmud. 
Wills, &c., of Bury St. Edmund s, p. 35. 

75 Among many other rich ornaments about St. William s shrine 
in York Cathedral, were : Quatuor zonre le harnyshed, duo paria 
(precularum) de la corall cum le gaudeys argenti deaurata, quatuor 
cochliaria argenti deaurata, zona argentea deaurata, quatuor le 
owchez cum lapidibus, quinque annuli cum lapidibus, a broche of 
gold enamylet. Mon. AngL, viii. 1206. Una cathena aurea cum 
le essez ... ex dono domini Nicholai Bowet militis, ad feretrum 
Richardi Scrope. Ibid., 1210. The rods upon which such gifts 
were hung about the saints tombs, are thus noticed : Super virga 
signata cum litera D. duse zonre, una viridis ornata cum ramis et 
volucribus ; alia rubea cum lapidibus pretiosis in le buckle, &c. 
Ibid., 1206. The cloths, of which there seem to have been three, 
the fourth or west end of the shrine being no doubt occupied by a 
small altar, are also mentioned along with their ornaments : 
Imagines argenti in primo panno xiij, item xv pieces of gold, item 
a ring of gold without a stone ; affixa secundo panno, xviii ankers 
and hooks . . . iv boukylls and penands ... a boukle of gold . . . 
one payre of beads of silver with rich gaudeys . . . ii belts gar- 
nishyd with silver . . . xi rings of gold, ij arrow heads of gold, 
viij pieces of gold ; affixa tertio panno . . . ij pieces harneys for 
horse heads . . . j hart of gold ynameled with white and green . . . 
two old nobles ... a girdyll throu garnishit with knots of silver 


rich in art, what (404) was deemed the wondrous 
in nature might be found there too ; and the so- 
called griffon s egg and the unicorn s horn were 
not the least conspicuous among all those offer 
ings, 76 which, if too heavy, or unfitting to be 
placed upon the shrine itself, were put somewhere 
about its immediate neighbourhood. Hither, like 
wise, were brought, (405) and left to hang up in 
thanksgiving to heaven for victory, those flags, 
and no small share of that spoil, which the 
country had won from her foes. Many of our 
churches could once, some can even yet, furnish 
forth evidence, in the guardianship of such trophies, 
of how the kings, the nobility, the commoners, of 
this land believed that God often bestowed to 

and gilt. Ibid. Sometimes between the upper part of the stone 
basement and the shrine itself there were steps or shelves, upon 
which smaller relics or fragments of relics were set out in three 
rows, as we find was the practice at Durham. Raine, St. Cnthbert, 
p. 121. 

76 In the treasury of Salisbury Cathedral (A.D. 1222), there were 
" cornua eburnea. iiii, item ova Gripina. iiii " (Wordsworth, Salis 
bury Ceremonies, 177); and among the ornaments about St. Cuth- 
berht s shrine, Durham (A.D. 1372), might have been seen "duo 
ungues griffonis" (Beda, Opera, Appendix) [P. L., xcv. 356, 357]; 
" unum ovum grimnum ornatum et divisum " (ibid., 360). At York 
Cathedral there was " unum cornu unicorni stans fixum in magno 
lapide" (Mon. Angl, viii. 1205). These eggs were no doubt ostrich 
eggs, which to this day are sought after and hung up by the 
Abyssinians about their churches, and particularly at their altars, 
as Johnson, one of our latest travellers, observed (Southern Abys 
sinia, ii. 285). The rarity as well as value of horns for offerings, 
may be seen in note 53, on p. 379. One of these horns is figured 
hanging from the "beam " in old St. Peter s Church, Rome, in the 
fresco of Constantine s pretended donation, painted in the Vatican 
palace. See Pistolesi, Vatican o Descritto, vii., plate 57. 

PART I. CHAP. X. 333 

His saints intercession in men s behoof the object 
of men s prayers. In Durham Cathedral " the 
king of Scots ancient and his banner, with the 
Lord Nevil s banner, and divers other noblemen s 
ancients, were all brought to St. Cuthbert s fere 
tory ; and there the said Lord Nevil did make his 
petition to God and that holy man St. Cuthbert ; 
and did offer jewels and banners to the shrine of 
that holy and blessed man St. Cuthbert, within the 
feretory ; and there the said banners and ancients 
stood and hung till the suppression of the house. 
The Lord Nevil s banner- staff was all wry then 
about with iron, from the midst upward, and did 
stand and was bound to the irons on the north end 
of the feretory ; and the king of Scots banner was 
bound to the midst of the said irons, and did hang 
over the midst of the alley of the nine altars, and 
was fastened with a cord to a loop of iron, being 
in a pillar under St. Catharine s window, in the 
east end of the church." 77 Scotland s far-famed 
coronation-stone, which Edward I. carried (40 6) off 
with him from Scone, this renowned English 
prince brought home to Westminster, and framing 
it within a wooden chair, gave it to be used in that 
abbey as the liturgical seat of the priest who might 
sing mass at the altar of the Confessor s shrine. 78 

77 Rites of Durham, p. 5. 

78 Transivit (rex Edwardus I.) per abbathiam de Scone; ubi 
sublato lapide quo Reges Scotorum tempore coronationis solebant 
uti pro throno, usque Westmonasterium transtulit ilium, jubens 
inde fieri celebrantium cathedram sacerdotum. Walsingham, Hist. 


(407) To this day that same chair, with the royal 
stone of Scotland in it, is still there, standing 
almost at that very spot whereon our first Edward 
had it placed ; thus bearing loud witness, up to 
these our times, of the ritual no less than the 
belief followed ages ago here in England. The 
shrine of a saint was, on occasions, made the 
depository of the pledge by which a public deed 
had been publicly ratified ; and the curiously 
wrought horn, the ivory-hafted dagger, or the 
jewelled ring, might sometimes be found left there 
as an abiding everlasting witness to the lawful 
bestowal of lands upon that church wherein those 

Angl., p. 68 [R.S., xxviii. i. 60]. In connection with this little 
altar, once standing at the west end of St. Edward s shrine, an old 
record speaks of a historical monument the chair made by 
Edward I. to hold beneath it the " stone of Scotland " which yet 
stands on the spot assigned to it by that king : Magistro Waltero 
Pictori, pro custubus et expensis per ipsum factis circa unum 
gradum faciendum ad pedem nove cathedre in qua petra Scocie 
reponitur juxta altare ante feretrum Sancti Edward in ecclesia 
abbatie Westmonasteriensis juxta ordinationem Regis, &c. Liber 
Quotid. Guarderobse, anno xxviii., Edward I., p. 60. Our English 
Edward felt and showed warm devotion to his namesake the Con 
fessor, and taking him as one of his avowries (see vol. ii. p. 394 for 
the meaning of the word), always had the banner of that last of 
our Anglo-Saxon princes carried, along with others, before him to 
the fight : Pro quinque lanceis emptis pro quinque vexillis regis 
portandis in guerra Scocie anno presenti, videlicet duobus vexillis 
de armis Anglie, tercio vexillo de armis Sancti Jeorgii, quarto de 
armis Sancti Edmundi, et quinque de armis Sancti Edwardii, &c. 
Ibid., p. 64. That this banner could have been no mean thing, 
either in the materials or the handicraft bestowed on the making 
of it, appears from the following : Magistro Roberto aur (auri- 
fabro) et socio suo, ad fabricandum bannerii S. Edwardi . . . per 
xlviij dies operabiles cap. pro se et socio suo, per singulos dies xij. 
d. . . . xlviij. s. Rotulus de Emptionibus ad opera Capellx Regis 
apud Westminst. 

PART I. CHAP. X. 335 

holy relics stood. 79 Whenever some sudden in 
road was threatened to their town, without for 
getting those means of warfare lent them by the 
world, Englishmen were wont to ply ghostly 
weapons too. After they had manned the walls, 
and locked their city s gates, often did the people s 
(408) leaders hasten to the church, and laying down 
the keys upon the shrine of its patron saint, thus 
solemnly put themselves and all their fellow-towns- 
folks under his brotherly keeping, with the hope 
that, whilst they fought, he would pray ; so that, 
by his intercession, God would vouchsafe to screen 
their children, their wives, themselves, from hurt, 
and their homesteads and hearths from harm. 80 

In our cathedrals and minsters, besides the 
patron saint s shrine, very often were there other 
shrines, smaller in size, and not so ornamented, 
though still beautiful and splendid, but occupying 
a less conspicuous site within the hallowed pile. 81 

7t) Rex (Willielmus II.) per cultellum eburneum quod in manu 
tenuit et abbati (de Tavistoc) porrexit hoc donum (manerium de 
Wlurirituna) peregit apud curiam . . . Qui quidem cultellus jacet 
in feretro sancti Rumoni. In cujus manubrio inseritur talis scrip- 
tura. + Ego Willielmus rex dedi Deo et Sanctse Marine de Tavistoc 
terram Wlerintun. Mon. AngL. ii. 497. 

8u Opidani vero claves ad loculum beati Cuthberti ponentes, ei, 
tanquam summo defensori, omnem resignabant curam, cui ipsi 
permitteret deinceps optinendam. Hist. Dunelm. Scriptores Tres, 
p. 15. 

81 There were at that time (32 Henry VIII.), two shrines in that 
cathedral church (Lincoln) ; the one of pure gold, called St. Hugh s 
shrine, standing on the back side of the high altar . . . the place 
is easily known by the irons yet fastened in the pavement 
stones there. The other, called St. John of Dalderby his shrine, 
was of pure silver, standing in the south end of the great cross 


Even, too, the country parish church could some 
times boast of its shrine : 82 there, however, the 
(409) saint s elevated tomb arose up not, as in the 
cathedral, behind the high altar, but stood inside 
a little chapel of its own at the eastern end of one 
or other of the aisles, which for that reason came 
to be called the feretory aisle. 83 

High above very many of our English shrines, 
whether large or small, outspread itself a particular 
kind of wooden cover. Made at first immovable, 
it rested upon four tall thin pillars, so that while 
overshadowing, it could not hide the shrine below, 
which was always to be seen from every side be 
neath it. 84 Upon this "repa" or hovel, our fathers 

aisle. Mon. Angt., viii., 1286. Leland says that S. Hughe liethe 
in the body of the est part of the chirche above the highe altare."- 
Itin.j viii., 3. 

82 In his last testament (proved A.D. 1477), Richard Fouler says : 
I will that the aisle of St. Romwold s church (Bucks) where I am 
to be buried, and where my friends are buried, be finished at my 
cost, and that a new tomb or shrine for the said saint, where the 
old one is now standing, be made curiously with marble, in length 
and breadth as shall be thought convenient . . . consideration 
being had to the room ; and upon the same I will that there be 
set a coffin or a chest, curiously wrought and gilt, as it apper- 
taineth for to lay the bones of the said saint in, &c. Test. 
Vd., i., 345. 

83 This we learn from, among other sources, the churchwardens 
accompts of St. Margaret s, Westminster ; in them is inserted this 
item : For my Lady Jakis for her grave in the feretre isle, vii. s. 
iivj. d. Illustrations of Ancient Manners, cf-c., p. 3. 

84 Celebratis ergo rite ab episcopo in tantis prseconiis Missarum 
solenniis, venerandum corpus in monumento novo abeo consecrate, 
tanti confessoris (S. Guthlaci) reposition! digno, ad orientalem 
altaris plagam feliciter collocarunt . . . Lapidem autem signantes, 
retinaculis, et institis ferreis tantum thesaurum munierunt. . . . 
Super lapidem vero decurio quidam Robertus de Guardineto, 

PART I. CHAP. X. 337 

(410) bestowed almost as much richness and orna 
ment as on the great reliquary itself which it 
canopied. Later, a change took place, not so 
much in the shape, as in the appliance, of this 
covering ; and it became fashioned, so as to be 
easily raised up, or let fall, by means of ropes and 
pulleys. When lowered quite down, it shut in 
the upper story or real portion of the shrine itself. 
At Durham Cathedral, on St. Cuthberht s feast, 
"and certain other festivall dayes, in the time of 
devine service, they were accustomed to drawe up 
the cover of St. Cuthbert s shrine, beinge of waine- 
scott, whereunto was fastened unto every corner of 
the said cover to a loope of iron, a very stronge cord, 
which cords were all fest together over the midst 
of the cover, and a strong rope was fest unto the 
loopes or bindinge of the said cordes ; which runn 
upp and downe in a (411) pully under the vault 
which was above over St. Cuthbert s feretorie, for 
the drawinge upp of the cover of the said shrine ; 
and the said rope was fastned to a loope of iron, in 
the north piller of the feretory, haveing six silver 
bells fastned to the said rope, soe as when the 

mirfe gravitatis veteranus, omnium religiosorum amator, conductis 
aurifabrorum et gemmariorum primoribus elimatPB amplitudinis 
artificiosa sculptura repam in sublime suspensam construxit : 
quam ex diversorum metallorum lignorumque generibus con- 
pactam, auri argentique laminis vestitam crystallis variisque gemmis 
adornatam, ditavit sicut usque in hodiernum humanis visibus 
apparet (Translatio S. Guthlaci, in A A. SS. Aprilis, ii. 56). For a 
figure of this " hovel " or immoveable covering over the shrine, and 
called the " repa," look into A A. SS. Junii, iv. 429. The blessing 
of the new shrine will be noticed, further on. 



cover of the same was drawinge upp, the belles did 
make such a good sound, that itt did stir all the 
people s harts that was within the church to 
repaire unto itt, and to make ther praiers to God, 
and that holy saint Cuthbert ; and that the be 
houlders might see the glourious ornaments 
thereof. Also the cover had, att every corner, 
two ringes made fast, which did runn upp and 
downe on fower round staves of iron when itt 
was in drawinge upp, which staves were made 
fast to every corner of the marble that St. 
Cuthbert s coffin did lye upon ; which cover 
was all gilded over, and of eyther syde was 
painted fower lively images curious to the be 
holders ; and on the east end was painted the 
picture of our Saviour sitting on a rainbowe to 
geive judgment, very lively to the behoulders ; 
and on the west end of itt was the picture of our 
Lady, and our Saviour on her knee. And on the 
top of the cover from end to end was most fine 
brattishing of carved worke cutt out with dragons, 
and other beasts, most artificially wrought, and 
the inside was vernished with a fyne sanguine 
colour that itt might be more perspicuous to the 
behoulders ; and att every corner of the cover was 
a locke to keep itt close, but att such tymes as was 
(412) fitt to shew itt," 85 In the same church 
stood another gorgeous shrine, St. Beda s, which 
also had one of these moveable lids hung over it. 86 

85 Rites of Durham, p. 4. 86 Ibid., 38. 

PART I. CHAP. X. 339 

Such a contrivance for drawing up and down these 
coverings, was the thought of later ages, since the 
immoveable hovel or " repa," which very likely had 
existed among the Anglo-Saxons, remained still in 
universal use during the thirteenth century, and 
may be till some time afterwards ; for the custom 
was then, as it had been many ages before in this 
land, to spread, as our Anglo-Saxon brethren did, 87 
a wide pall of some precious stuff beautifully em 
broidered over the shrine, and thus keep its gems 
and its gilding from dust and tarnish. 88 All about 
(413) the lower part or stone substruction, other 
palls or cloths of costly texture were hung ; 89 and 

w See p. 293 of this volume. 

* 8 Pannus sericus exterior, aliusque lineus interior, quorum 
operimento sepulchrum (S. Cuthberti) contegi consuevit (Reginald, 
Ik Vita S. Cuthberti, 134). Dum autem inibi (in ecclesia Sanctse 
Dei genitricis Marine de Tynemudtha) diutius oraret, elevatis 
sursum oculis, Sancti (Oswini) scrinium a priori fronte in parte 
vidit esse detectum pallamque qua tegebatur indecenter et incon- 
posite hinc inde nuctuantem. Indignatus super his quum altario 
Sancti specialius ministrabat, collectis in se viribus se totum 
erexit, et annisu quo potuit, scabello impositus, in altare Sancti 
vix reptando conscendit. Cum autem in altare consisteret . . . 
utraque manu pallam Sancti Martyris arripuit, manibusque com- 
binatis fortius elevavit, attraxit, ut Sancti scrinium decentius 
operiret. Vita Oswini, in Miscel. Biogr., Surtees Soc., p. 52. 
The little altar at one end of the saint s shrine is well marked in 
the above extract. 

89 Quern pater . . . secum ad tumbam reverendi patris Cuthberti 
perduxit ; cujus manum languidam, dum in panno qui circa 
fe ret rum ejus ibi habetur propter pulveris susceptionem pendulus 
involvisset, contigit, &c. Reginald, De S. Cuthberti Virt., p. 279. 
The palls hung about the lower parts of shrines are often shown 
in illuminated manuscripts : in the beautiful codex belonging to 
the Public Library, Cambridge (Ee. 3, 59), the pall hanging below 
the golden shrine, and falling down so as to cover the stone work, 
is embroidered with lions, fol. 69. [See picture over leaf.] 


sometimes, by means of iron rods, silken curtains 
were drawn quite round the shrine, so as entirely 
to muffle it, or, tent-like, hedge in a narrow space 
about the spot whereon it stood. 90 


might always be found in greater or less quantity, 
burning day and night. For holding them were 
used sometimes broad silver basins, glistening 

90 In the Durham shrine-keeper s accompts there is an item 
"for rings for the curtains (riddyls) ijd." Raine, St. Cuthbert, 
p. 161. Such a curtained enclosure is shown in the illumination 
from which our picture, p. 321, is taken. 

PART I. CHAP. X. 341 

with crystal ornaments, and hanging down in a 
row from a small thin gilt iron perch or rod ; 91 
at other times, (414) tall candlesticks standing on 
the ground ; or sockets fastened one at each of 
the shrine s four corners. In number, these lights 
always varied according to the more solemn parts 
of the daily service, 92 and the higher or lower 
rank of each occurring festival. To find them, 
money, land, or a certain yearly weight (415) of 
wax, was often bequeathed by pious individuals. 93 
But another and peculiar kind of light, unknown 

91 Fecit (Hugo episcopus Dunelmensis) etiam in ecclesia coram 
altari tria ex argento baccilia, cum unciis suis argenteis, cristallis 
mixtim insertis, dependi, in quibus lumina die noctuque perpetuo 
ardentia, ob venerationem sancti patris Cuthberti et reliquiarum, 
lucerent. Hist. Dunelm. Scriptores Tres, ed. Raine, p. n. 

it2 Among the conditions under which the monks of Durham 
were allowed by Henry VI. to have the church of Hemminburgh, 
Yorkshire, one was to provide : Sex cereos ardentes omni die 
dominica et in singulis festis Apostolorum et aliis festis principali- 
bus quamdiu Missse ad summum altare, ac matutinae et alise horse 
canonicse in eadem ecclesia Dunelmensi celebrarentur. De quibus 
quidem cereis, duo magni ponderis cujuslibet viginti librarum, et 
duo minores cerei competentis formse et ponderis forent, qui juxta 
magnum altare ante feretrum confessoris pnedicti (S. Cuthberti) ; 
residuique duo cerei congrui et decentis ponderis, ante vexillum 
ejusdem confessoris in eadem ecclesia decenter ponerentur, in- 
venirent imperpetuum. Mon. Angl., viii. 1375. Of the several 
yearly expenses with which the monastery of Bury was charged, 
one was: iiij tapers burning about St. Edmund s shrine. Valor. 
Ecclcs., iii. 462. These four tapers are shown burning, one at each 
corner of the shrine, in our illustration, p. 321. 

93 The churches of Rounton and Dinsdale were given to the 
monks of Durham by one of the lords of Dinsdale, to maintain 
lamps burning around the body of St. Cuthbert. Wimark Papedi 
gave the rent of two houses in Norham ; Eustace de Fenwick 
gave a yearly pound of wax ; and Robert Fitz Roger, baron of 
Warkworth, gave xxs. per annum, from his mills, for the same 
purpose. Raine, >SY. Guthbert, p. 95. 


for such an use in these days, was often to be 
seen burning there. The sick, or the sorrowful, 
who knelt asking the saint, that along with 
themselves, he, as a friend, would beseech of 
God to hear their prayers for health or happi 
ness ; as well as those who dwelling far away 
had been healed or lightened of their sadness, 
and whose first steps from bed and home were 
bent thither to make their thanksgiving, almost 
always brought with them, if they could afford 
no other offering, at least a tiny wax taper. 94 
The tradesman, too, when he made a mercantile 
venture on sea, before the ship laden with his 
goods might set sail, went to the shrine of his 
hallowed patron, and, as he offered at it his 
lighted candle, begged that saint to look down 
from above upon his vessel, and have both sea 
men and the freight in his holy keeping. 95 This 
kind of (416) taper was called a "trindle." By 
such a name we are to understand a roll or 
string of thin wax taper, several yards in length, 
and wound up into a flat coil of many rounds. 

94 The candle which a poor old man is told to offer at St. Godric s 
tomb in Finchale church, is "in modum virgulse facta." Vita S. 
Godrici, ed. Stevenson, p. 402. 

05 Institor quidam Novi Castelli mimiceps . . . beatum regem 
et martyrem Oswinum aftectuose diligebat. In omnibus agendis 
de gloriosi martyris adjutorio presume ns erat prospere agens. 
Hie navem aliquando, variis mercibus onustam, ad Anglos Australes 
dirigere disponens, prius more solito Sanctum martyrem adiit ; 
et ejus prsesidio se suaque commendans, candelam non modicam 
orbiculatim involutam sacris altaribus accensam optulit. Vita 
Oswini, in Miscel. Biogr., p. 42. 

PART I. CHAP. X. 343 

This they lighted, and put either at the shrine s 
foot, or on the little altar at its western end, 
while they stayed praying there ; and afterwards 
left it, together with their other offerings to the 
saint. 96 

But if very often for devotion s sake, sometimes 
at least out of need, were these and other kinds 
of tapers taken to the house of God, since there 


(417) With a strong hope that the Almighty 
would vouchsafe to show forth His kindness to 
men below, by healing them at the intercession 
of His saints who dwell along with Him above, 
as well as to quicken their own and their ac 
companying friends earnestness in crying unto 
Heaven, the sick often had themselves carried 
to church, and laid immediately beneath, or at 
least hard by, the shrine of a saint. There, 
if too weak to pray a length of time together, 

96 While we learn from Reginald of Durham, how such coiled-up 
wax-taper used to be brought for burning before the shrine of St, 
Cuthberht, the same monk tells us that it was "candela multo 
ssepius plicamine involuta " : on one occasion it was found " sexa- 
ginta sex plicaturas obvolubiles in uno corpore habuisse." De 
Admir. <S. Cuthberti Virtut., p. 134. Of the trindle we have already 
spoken in this volume, p. 194 ; and the manner of its employment, 
as well as the shape it took from being coiled, may be seen in our 
next picture. 



they slumbered the while their kinsfolks and 
neighbours, who had come with them, spent 
the hours, from sunset till dawn, sleepless and 
kneeling at prayer in their behalf. To honour 
those relics, and to cheer the gloomy darkness, 
they brought a goodly number of wax candles, 

which, though not always, yet generally, were 
made as long as the sick one s height of stature, 
and twisted in the trindle-form : 97 all this is well 
illustrated by our picture. 

(418) Besides, however, the old, the crippled, 

07 Delata est ad sancti regis (Edwardi Confessoris) sepulchrum 
mulier infelix, accensoque ad ejus mensuram cereo, domina ejus 
vigiliis et orationibus insistebat (Aelred, De Vita et Mirac. Edwardi 
Conf., ed. Twysden, i. 410) [P.L., cxcv. 784]. The form of the 
trindle may be seen in the picture above. For the accommoda 
tion of the sick and others who might come and pray at the 
shrine, matting used to be spread all about it: describing St. 
Wulstan s tomb in Worcester Cathedral, William of Malmesbury 
thus tells us of the mat that was there : Natta qua orantes 
accubitari solebant ante mausoleum. De Gestis Pontif. Anglorum, 
lib. iv., 149 [R.S., lii. 289]. 

PART I. CHAP. X. 345 

and the ailing, there were among the youthful, 
the healthy, (419) and the strong, those who, on 
occasions, kept such night-watch. The bold 
young warrior, before he went to throw down to 
his foeman the wager of battle in the lists, would 
sometimes walk all the way from home barefoot, 
though it were the depth of winter, unto his 
patron s shrine ; and staying there from eve till 
morning in supplication, ask that saint to befriend 
him with his prayers to God for the happy issue 
of the coming fight. 98 All our young nobles, from 
the king s son downwards, went on the eve of their 
being dubbed, and held their wake in church, 
often at the foot of some shrine, praying there 
until peep of day, and watching that (420) sword 
that armour with which, after a blessing upon it 
at the solemn high mass on the morrow, these 
youths were to be girt, as from their prince they 
received the belt of knighthood." The men whose 

98 Facta est contentio valida inter iiobiliores natu de possessione 
ditissima quam utrique alterutrim calumniabantur ad sui juris 
spectare territoria ; cujus queremonise lite contestata definitum est 
ab judicibus se mediatim interponentibus, ut duellione facta^ hujus 
discriminis investigaretur injuria. Quorum alter Deo devotus in 
regione quse dicitur Cliveland conversatus, juvenis quidam nobilis 
et militaris, sed devoto corde, religiosse fidei amicus confamiliaris, 
relicta domo propria cum familia, nudis pedibus hiemalibus tem- 
poribus profectus est invisurus beati Cuthberti limina sacratiora, 
ubi ad tanti patris tumbam totam noctem duxit insomnem, ora- 
tionum tamen instantia ac suavitate solennem. Reginald, De 

Vita et Mirac. S. Godrici, p. 346. Quidam alius . . . qui apud 
Novum Castellum dimicaturus erat . . . nocte sequenti cum in 
ecclesia de more vigilaret, tali visione est commonitus. Soporatus 
enim modicum, vidit se in loco certaminis positum,c. Ibid., p. 348. 

99 Ipsa quoque nocte in Templo prsedicti tirones . . . suas vigilias 


(421) names to English ears mean bravery those 
lion-hearts who fought and won at Cressy, and 
Poitiers, and Agincourt, did so. Other people 
again and they were not a few without any of 
this world s stirring haps before them, would often 
spend the night at their favourite saint s shrine 
out of pure love and devotion towards him. 1 

As it still does, and ever will do, the prayer of 

faciebant. Sed princepsWallise, prsecepto regis [patris sui] (Edwardi 
I.) cum prsecelsis tironibus fecit vigilias suas in ecclesia West- 
monasteriensi. Ibi autem tantus clangor tubarum et tubicinum, 
et exaltatio vocum prse gaudio [extiterat] clamantium, quod con- 
ventus de choro ad chorum non audiretur jubilatio. Die autem 
crastina cinxit rex filium suum baltheo militari in palatio suo. . . . 
Princeps igitur factus miles perrexit in ecclesiam Westmonasterii, 
ut consocios suos militari gloria pariter venustaret. Porro tanta 
erat ibi pressura gentium ante magnum altare quod duo milites 
morerentur (Matt. Westmon , p. 454) [R.S., xcv. iii. 131, 132]. Of 
this rite, as it was followed by the Anglo-Saxon as well as our old 
English chivalry, we have spoken before (vol. i. p. 159). Besides 
others who have told us its symbolical meaning, Chaucer makes the 
parson say : Certes, the swerd, that men yeven first to a knight 
whan he is newe dubbed, signifyeth, that he sholde deffenden holy 
chirche, and nat robben it ne pilen it : and who so dooth, is traitour 
to Crist (The Persones Tale, 67) [Skeat, Student s Chaucer, p. 703]. 
The Salisbury Manual gives the form of blessing the new knight s 
sword ; and from this service we learn that whilst the priest was 
saying the last prayer over the weapon, a rubric told him to gird 
it on the young soldier with these words : Deus . . . hunc ensem, 
quern invocatione tui sanctissimi nominis benedicimus : bene >J< 
dicere dignare, ut famulus tuus ... sic eo utatur (Hie succingat 
Sacerdos militem cum ense) quatinus et hostes ecclesie insidiantes 
reprimat, &c. Benedictio ensis novi militis, &c. Manuale Sarum, 
Morin, fol. lxi v . [See York Manual (Surt. Soc.), p. 28*.] 

1 Erat eidam Sancto devotus vir quidam, qui cum accensa can- 
dela pernox ad Beati Cuthberti sepulcrum evigilaverat. Mane 
vero facto, domum rediturus, secus latus sacri sepulcri quod 
candelse superfuit collocavit. Reginald, J)e Admir. S. Cuthberti 
Virt., p. 134. 

PART I. CHAP. X. 347 

faith often saved the sick man, and the Lord raised 
him up again. Many and wonderful were 



by the goodness of Heaven. A healing virtue went 
out, at Christ s behest, from the hem of His own 
garment from Peter s shadow, as that apostle 
walked the streets of Jerusalem from the hand 
kerchiefs and aprons which had touched the living 
body of St. Paul : by the will of the same Almighty 
Being, the dust swept from off the tomb of a St. 
Erkenwald, and of God s other holy servants in 
this land, afforded health to the sick, as they took 
it (422) mingled in their drink. 2 Often, too, has 
the fond mother had her wailings turned to a song 
of gladness : running to church with the dead 
body of the darling child that water, or fire, or 
some sad mishap, had just snatched out of this 
life, she stretched its little corpse before the shrine, 
weeping and praying over it. Along with her, and 
for her, prayed that saint to God ; and God heard 
and granted their united supplication. The mother 
beheld her offspring born once more to her, as she 
heard it breathe and speak, and saw it arise and 

2 Multa miracula claruerunt . . . pulveris de ligno in quo 
sanctus (Erkenwaldus) jacuerat aspersura. Quidam vero Deo 
devotus collectum pulverem statim ut cum aqua infirmo tradidit, 
ipse infirmitate omnino evasit. Capgrave, Nova Legenda Angiie 
[Horstman, i. 397]. 


walk, and live again, at the intercession of a St. 
William of York, or some of the other saints of 
England. 3 Among those relics, however, which 
God deigned (423) to employ for the magnifying 
of His own name, few, if any, seem to have been 
so wonderful, for the time, as what was called 


Hardly had western Christendom uttered her 
first loud shriek of loathing at the wickedness of 
those whose hands had smitten to the death St. 
Thomas a Becket, when her sorrowings at the loss 
of such a great good man and truly patriotic bishop 4 
were soothed, and her heart became gladdened by 
certain tidings which spread themselves on all sides. 
Far and wide in this and other lands, the lips of 
thousands told of astounding and daily miracles 

3 Quserunt coronatorem ut officium suum sicut moris est circa 
submerses in aqua, circa puellam mortuam exerceret. Unus autem 
assistentium ab aliis excitatus, ad honorem S. Willielmi unum 
denarium super corpus puellse plicare coepit ut S. Willielmus sacris 
suis precibus matris mcestitise mederetur. Mater etiam ipsa, ex 
hoc concepta spe de adjutorio S. Willielmi, accepta filia sua inter 
brachia, ipsam ad feretrum S. Willielmi coepit celeriter deportare. 
Et factum est, Domini adjuvante dementia . . . coepit puella se 
movere et viva veraciter apparere, &c. Acta S. Willielmi Arcliiep. 
Eboracensi*, in A A. SS. Junii, ii. 145. 

4 Our St. Thomas was the first Englishman of Anglo-Saxon 
blood who sat on the primatial chair of Canterbury after the com 
ing hither of the Normans. Whilst he withstood, as he ought, the 
inroads of the crown upon the Church s rights, he was the first 
bishop to come forwards and be, as it were, the English people s 
spokesman against the feudal overbearings and the mill-stone 
oppression of the Anglo-Norman dynasty. 

PART I. CHAP. X. 349 

wrought by Heaven at the grave of the new martyr, 
and through the martyr s intercession. Even to the 
smallest trace, every speck of the blood which had 
oozed from the holy archbishop s wounds upon the 
stones at the spot where he fell, was wiped off with 
the utmost care by the clergy of the cathedral, and 
kept there as a relic. Only a week or two had fled 
(424) when it became an earnest wish with some 
sick folks to have but the merest drop of this blood 
to swallow, by way of medicine. To satisfy these 
cravings, so as to hinder an uneasy feeling at the 
thought of tasting human blood, a tiny drop was 
mingled with a chalice-full of water, and in this 
manner given to those who begged a sip. 5 This 
was the far-famed " Canterbury water." Never had 
such a thing as drinking a martyr s blood been done 
before ; never has it been done since. 6 Crowds 

5 Veniens (Etheldritha) ergo ad monachum mausolei (St. Thomas) 
custodem martyris cruore se potari poposcit. Miscuit ei monachus, 
ut cseteris solebat, ne sapor aut color sanguineus bibenti horrorem 
incuteret. Exhausto itaque quod erat in calice, redit mulieri color 
uativus, vigor pristinus reparatur. Benedict of Peterborough, 
De Mime. S. Thomae, i. 22 [U.S., Ixvii. ii. 54]. This mixture of the 
martyr s blood with water, the people called " St. Thomas s water," 
and " Canterbury water " : Sic enim earn circumf usre regionis 
populus appellat, videlicet aquam " sancti Thomre" vel " aquam 
Cantuariensem." Ibid., ii. 18 [R.S., p. 68]. Quippe in brevi multi- 
plicata sunt valde miracula martyris fama longe lateque vulgata, 

et aqua ilia cum sanguine per omnes Anglise regiones deportata. 

Ibid.,ui. 1 8 [R.S., p. 130]. 

6 Venit (Willelmus presbyter Londinensis) itaque Cantuariam, 
et ad tumbam sancti martyris (Thomse), impetrata licentia, 
pernox in oratione vigilavit. Datur ei sanguinis gutta, quam 
postulat ; insuper et potus aquse stilla simili sanctificatte impendi- 
tur : quod proculdubio voluntate divina receptum est et usque in 
preesentem diem frequentatum ; qui enim dixit ; " Perfectus autem 


(425) hurried off from the ends of the kingdom 
to Canterbury, at the hearing of the miracles 
wrought on those who had partaken of this 
drink. All eagerly besought to have some of 
it given them for carrying home as a relic and 
a medicine. The vessels which the people at 
first brought for this purpose, were of wood ; 
but the water almost always split them in two, 
after an extraordinary way, and many were those 
fragments hung up about the martyr s tomb in 
token of this wonder. 7 At last a young man 
bethought himself of making a mould and cast 
ing (426) ampuls or small bottles, of lead and 
pewter. 8 Within these little cruses it was soon 

omnis erit, si sit sicut magister ejus/ sicut beatum Thoniam in 
vita et passione perfectissimum sui fecit imitatorem, ita ei et post 
mortem sui similitudinem admiranda perfectione concedere voluit, 
ut quemadmodum Christi sanguis cum aqua transit ad vegeta- 
tionem animarum, ita et servi sui sanguis cum aqua bibitus tran- 
seat in sanitatem corporum. Nee credimus aliquem hactenus 
extitisse, cui Deus hanc similitudiriis praerogativam concesserit ; 
solius enim sancti hujus cruor et Domini in universo mundohauriri 
legitur. Quod tamen non absque magno timore inceptum est ; 
verum viso quia proveniret infirmis inde profectus, cedente timore 
paulatim accessit securitas. Ibid:, i. 12 [R.S., pp. 42, 43]. 

7 Aquae Cantuariensis virtus longe lateque innotuit, et ad 
aquam jam tota confluebat provincia. Ibid., i. 19 [&, p. 
69]. Hauriebant autem omnes in gaudio aquas de fonte nostro 
salutari, domumque secum in vasis ligneis lictilibusve reporta- 
bant. Ibid., iii. 19 [K.S., p. 131]. Erant jam ex aquae contactu 
vasa multa valde confracta, et in pariete in signum suspensa. 
Ibid., iii. 21 [R.S., p. 133]. 

8 Incidit in cor juvenis ut faceret ampullas plumbeas et stag- 
neas opere f usoris, et cessavit confractionis miraculum ; et cogno- 
vimus fuisse in voluntate Divina, ut portarentur Cantuariensis 
medici ampullae per totum orbem terrarum, et signum ejus in 
peregrinis suis et in curatis suis mundus universus cognosceret. 

PART I. CHAP. X. 351 

found that "the water" might be carried without 
bursting them. Thus was the hallowed liquor 
borne all over England, as well as unto the 
farthest bounds of Christendom ; and God, who 
made His apostle s shadow give health to the 
bed-ridden and the sick on whom it fell, also 
let His martyred Thomas s blood lend a healing 
strength to the water along with which it was 
mixed. The name of Christ was magnified 
among the nations of the earth, through the 
wonders He wrought by the relics of a faithful 
servant. Then was it that the Canterbury pil 
grimage began. Those who went thither were 
wishful to take away with them some, however 
small the quantity, of this water, both for the 
healing of the sick at home, (427) and to enrich 
their parish church with such a precious relic. 
The little wooden pyxes into which the " Can 
terbury water " was at first poured, these pilgrims 
used to carry hidden beneath the folds of their 
dress. 9 With the small leaden flasks they did 

Priora enim vasa sub vestimentis suis ferebant abscondita, am- 
pullas autem in propatulo a collo suspensas. Il>id. } iii. 22 [R.S., 
pp. 134, 135]. Those numerous shrine-like little boxes beauti 
fully enamelled, and figured sometimes very inaccurately with 
St. Thomas s martyrdom, were, no doubt, made to hold either 
one of the ampuls of the Canterbury water, or some of the dust 
swept from off the saint s shrine. 

9 Sed et mortui plures per Angliam sunt resuscitati, infusa 
in eorum ora aqua beati Thomse sanguine mixta, quam in fialis 
stanneis ad peregrinationis suse signum, et infirmorum suorum 
remedium, fideles Christi ad pectora sua dependentem inde re- 
portant, et in ecclesiis suis pro reliquiis sanctis suspendunt, nutu 
quodam divino, ut ubique gentium beati Thomse martyris gloria 


otherwise : these they hung by a thong about 
their necks, in such a way that all the world 
might behold the ampul resting outside, by 
way of public thanksgiving unto Christ, and of 
honour towards St. Thomas, upon the breast- 
part of their garments. Almost at the moment 
of being brought into use this little ampul won 
for itself no common celebrity. By the whole 
country s will, uttered as it were among all men 
at the self-same moment, without any foregoing 
understanding as to its adoption, this small leaden 
flask or ampul hanging upon the breast by a 
string from around the wearer s neck, became 
a new sort of pilgrim s badge, and was set 
apart as the especial token that such as bore 
it had been to Canterbury, and were bringing 
hence some of the water hallowed by the blood 
of our glorious (428) English primate. 10 Some 
of these curious badges have been found lately, 
but hitherto their purpose has been a puzzle to 

inferatur, &c. Will. Fitz-Stephen, Vita S. Thomse, ed. Giles, i. 312 
[/2./Si., Ixvii. iii. 152]. 

10 Hoc profecto vas est quod absque omni concione celebrata, 
non congregatione coadunata, nee etiam conventiculo, nullo pro 
mulgate edicto, nee ullo etiam arctatus prsecepto, sed solo, nee 
dubium Spiritus Sancti instinctu, mundus sicut unanimiter et 
communiter ad martyris gloriam et in peregrinationis suse signum 
quasi se insignivit. Hoc videlicet est vas illud plumbeum gesta- 
torium quo specialiter beati martyris peregrini se signant. In 
quo aqua continetur et sanguis, aqua videlicet ex tactu sanguinis 
sanctificata per sanguinem. Herbert of Boseham, Liber Melorum, 
ii. [P.X., cxc. 1326]. Non unus sed simul omnes, omnibus subito 
ab universe ecclesiarum orbe in peregrinationis suae signum hoc 
consimile bajulantibus. Ibid. [1337]. 



our antiquaries. The shape of these ampuls was 
flat, thin, and purse-like, with mouth and lips 
which might have easily been, by a mere squeeze 
from finger and thumb, shut up so tight as not 
to let any of the water run out. At top it had 

Size of the original, which is of lead, and now in the Museum of Antiquities, York. 

two loops for hanging it round the neck by a 
ribbon. Both sides were wrought with raised 
work : on one was shown the shrine ; on the 
other, which we give in our woodcut, the figure 
of the saint himself arrayed in his pontificals. 
The gift (429) of leech-craft which the Almighty 

had bestowed upon His martyr, the ampul itself 
VOL. in. z 


recorded in those quaint leonine rhymes written 
round its rim : 

" Optimus egrorum 
Medicus fit Thoma bonorum." 

Though, from being mingled with a martyr s 
blood, it was unique in its kind both here and 
elsewhere throughout the Church in all ages, 
still, the "Canterbury water" was not the only 
relic-water known to England. At every trans 
lation of a saint s relics, the bones, or, if found 
entire, the whole body, was washed, and although 
the water might have been, on some occasions, 
poured down the sacrarium or piscina, oftener 
was it kept as a relic, and employed at need 
as a healing remedy. (430) Moreover, when any 
wide-spreading disease befell this land, and took 
off men, or the beasts of the field, our bishops 
would send forth orders that the relics in every 
church should be steeped in holy water, which 
was afterwards to be sprinkled upon the sick, 
or given to them to be drank as a medicine. 11 
Hence it happened that there was also the 
" Durham water," so named because in it had 
been washed St. Cuthberht s body. Like that 
from Kent, this northern water used to be put 

11 Cum pestis magna in Anglia invalesceret, et strages maxima 
populi per loca fieret, habito communi consilio provisum est ut 
quilibet episcopus reliquias sue deferret ecclesie in aqua bene- 
dicta balneandas ut aspersione aque sive potatione plebi divina 
gratia subveniret. Capgrave, Nov. Legend. Anglie [Horstman, 
i. 262]. 

PART I. CHAP. X. 355 

into and carried about in ampuls wrought on 
purpose for holding this liquid. 12 Whenever 
any one fell ill, the neighbour who had a relic 
would always lend it for the sick one s cure. 
Were it but a shred from (431) the raiment of 
some illustrious saint, or the little drinking-cup 
which had belonged to some holy man or woman, 
neither the one nor the other of such precious 
treasures was forgotten in this instance. The 
water held in a bowl that once was St. Edith s, 
in which a scrap of cloth worn for a while by 
St. Cuthberht had been soaked, brought back 
health and strength to the dying clerk who 
drank it. 13 

12 St. Cuthbert s water used to be carried about in these little 
vessels called ampuls, as we learn from Reginald the Durham 
monk, who tells us of a cure wrought by this water : Aquam in 
qua ecclesiae ipsius (Dunelmensis) sanctorum membra lota fueraiit 
ei in ampulla tradidit, et beato Cuthberto eas (?) commendans in 
ore insanientis infundere jussit. Mox ergo, ut domum subiturus 
intravit . . . energuminus clamare coepit . . . Eia ! hreccine de 
Dunelmo aquas Cuthberti detulisti ? Reginald, De, A dmirand. B. 
Cuthberti Virtutibus, 35. 

13 Pannum de indumentis Sancti Cuthberti sub dicione sua, 
cum cseteris sacrorum reliquiis, possidens, minutissimam portionis 
particulam de panno ipso prsecidit, et sororibus suis sanctimoni- 
alibus . . . portionem ipsam pro multa devotione transmisit. 
Quse cum maximse devotionis reverentia tantse sanctitatis pignora 
susceperunt, et cum cseteris quas habuere reliquiis honorificen- 
tissime condiderunt. . . . Contigit ut quidam Rodbertus clericus 
gravissima segritudine languorem sortiret. . . . Sumpta igitur 
modica ilia portionis particula de Beati Cuthberti reliquiis, dilutis 
aquarum fluentis, ei antidotum praeparare destinaverant poci- 
onis. Cyphum itaque Sanctse ^Edithse quondam reginre attulerunt, 
et aquis in cypho immissis, nudatam panni Sancti Cuthberti par 
ticulam in ipsis laticibus dimergendo diluere decreverunt. . . . 
Quse aquas ipsas prsedicto juveni propinando porrigunt . . . nee 


Like Canterbury, known far and wide by its 
(432) ampul, several other distinguished places 
of pilgrimage had each its own peculiar badge, 
which was worn along with the rest of the 


During the Middle Ages, the wayfarer of the 
yeoman and the under classes of society, whether 
he wandered forth for business, pleasure, or devo 
tion, any length from home, usually arrayed 
himself in a loose frock a hood with a cape 
a low-crowned wide-brimmed hat, to which 
were fastened two long strings for tying it, in 
wet or windy weather, under the chin, or when 
not worn on the head, to cast it hanging behind 
between the shoulders. 14 (433) In his hand he 

mora ; se melius habuisse prsesenserat, et infra tempus triduanum 
se sanitate pristina reparatum veridica attestatione pandebat 
(Reginald, De S. Cuthberti Virt., 212, 213, &c.). Other like in 
stances are given of the " aqua reliquiarum," by Reginald, as at 
pp. 218, 220, of the same most valuable and highly curious work. 

14 Such a sort of hat is seen upon several figures in the illumi 
nations of a psalter once John de Grandison s, but now mine. 
The strings end each with a large tassel, and they run through as 
large a button which could be slipped up or down as needed. In 
the Flight into Egypt, St. Joseph is figured wearing his hat, which 
is of this kind, upon his head ; the beggar-man or pilgrim to Whom 
King Edward the Confessor is giving his ring, has a hat slung 
behind between the shoulders. A remembrance of this mediaeval 
hat, with its tasseled strings, is still kept up in the hat worn by 
ecclesiastics on some occasions, particularly during those functions 
which require them to ride on horseback. For all churchmen 
whomsoever, the shape of this hat is the same ; but its colour, and 
the number of tassels upon its two strings, vary with the rank of 

PART I. CHAP. X. 357 

carried a staff, which, during a period, consisted 
not of one but two sticks swathed tightly together 
by a withy band; 15 slung by a (434) narrow belt 
across his breast, he bore on one side his scrip or 
little wallet. 16 

A pilgrimage then, as it is yet, was looked at as 
a work of prayer and humiliation. Sometimes the 

the wearer. A cardinal s is scarlet, with five rows of tasseled 
knots upon each string ; a bishop s is green, with four such rows ; 
a prothoriotary s or a prelate s, purple, with but three rows of these 
tassels. This distinction of the rows of tassels seems to be the 
invention of the last two centuries, as it is not to be found on 
monuments of an earlier date. 

15 In the above-named illuminated codex, the beggar-man, as well 
as a wayfarer, at the head of the psalm Dixi, custodiam vias meas, 
&c., are both figured as walking with such a staff or " bourdon," 
which seems to be noticed, in the verses given further on in the 
text, as borne by all pilgrims. When the grave, in Hereford 
Cathedral, of Bishop Mayew (who died A.D. 1516) was opened a few 
years ago, there was found lying at the bishop s side, a common 
rough hazel wand, between four and five feet long, and about as 
thick as one s finger. With this lay a mussel and a few oyster 
shells. Besides the above-named instance, four others had been 
previously brought to light in the same church, of such hardly 
trimmed and smoothened hazel sticks having been buried along 
side ecclesiastics. That members of the Hereford chapter some 
times went on pilgrimage abroad is shown by the allowance given 
them, as appears from the chapter documents, while away. The 
likelihood is that every one, whether lay or clerical, who went, in 
his lifetime, as a pilgrim to one or other of the celebrated shrines 
beyond sea, had, when he died, the badges of such far pilgrimage 
laid beside him on his bier when carried to church for the burial 
service ; and these badges were left upon him in the grave. 

16 Such a scrip or wallet was a part of the attire of all travellers : 
in my psalter, the two men, as well as our Lord breaking bread 
before them at Emmaus, are all three, though sitting down to 
table, figured each with his scrip slung about the neck. In 
changing dress with the palmer, from him 

" Horn toe bordoun and scrippe." 
The Geste of Kyng Horn, in Bitson, Metrical Romances, ii. 135. 


Church laid it upon the sinner as a penance ; 17 
sometimes it was self-chosen by people, amid sor 
rows and mishap, as the means of stopping the 
further wrath of God. In either of the last two 
cases, those who undertook it, left their hair and 
beard unshorn, wore no linen, 18 walked barefoot, 
and begged their bread upon the road. Our old 
(435) poets often hint at this : after a knight had 
been told how all was lost to him but his wife 
and children, and that 

" Brent byn all thy bowres bolde, 
Many of thy men be slayne," 

then calling to his yokefellow, 

" Madame, he sayde, do my rede, 

Seke we where Christe was quicke and dead, 
On the mount of Caluary ; 

17 The canons enacted under King Edgar say : " It is a deep 
penitence, that a layman lay aside his weapons and travel far 
barefoot, and nowhere pass a second night, and fast and watch 
much, and pray fervently, by day and by night, and willingly 
undergo fatigue, and be so squalid that iron come not on hair, nor 
on nail." Thorpe, Ancient Laws of England, ii. 281. What the 
Anglo-Saxons did, was followed later by the English : John cle 
Burg (A.D. 1385), in his chapter "De penitentia iniungenda," says: 
Contra acidiam opera laboriosa bona, tit sunt peregrinationes ad 
loca sancta, &c. Pupilla Oculi, fol. liiij. 

18 Telling the lady what he is ready to do for her sake, the 
knight, among other things, says : 

I wyll forsake both lande and lede, 
And become an hermyte in uncouth stede ; 
In many a lande to begge my bread, 
To seke where Christ was quicke and dead ; 
A staffe I wyll make me of my spere, 
Lynen cloth I shall none were. 
Ever in travayle I shall wende 
Tyll I come to the worldes end. 
The Squyr of Lowe Degre, in Ritson, Metrical Romances, iii. 151. 

PART I. CHAP. X. 359 

Who so that hym serue that dyed on rode, 
Eche daye of his lyues fode 

Fast and sure shall he be. 
With a sharpe knyfe he share 
A crosse vpon his shoulder bare 

In story as we saye." 

This knight and his family begin their journey to 
the Holy Land, and 

(436) " They bare with them no maner of thynge 
That was worth a farthynge, 

Cattell, golde, ne fe ; 
But mekely they asked theyre meate 
Where that they myght it gette 

For saynct charytie ! " 19 

The franklin s door stood wide open, arid the 
updrawn bridge of the lordly stronghold was let 
down, at the call of the pilgrim, who found in the 
lower end of every hall a place among the poor, 
who, like himself, came thither to be fed at dinner 
time : thus Horn, after changing " wede " with the 
" palmere," that, under such clothes, he might win 
his way into the castle, 

* the wyket puste 

That hit open fluste. 

Horn to halle rakede, 

And sette him doun wel lowe 

In the beggeres rowe, &c." 20 

To wash the weary pilgrim s feet, and to wait upon 
him as he eat his evening s meal, was one among 

19 Syr Isenbras, in Utterson, Early Popular Poetry, i. 83. 

20 The Geste of Kyny Horn, in Ritson, Metrical Romances, ii. 136. 


those works of mercy which the highest in the 
land often exercised. 

Though well-born or wealthy, those who went a 
(437) pilgrimage usually clad themselves as pil 
grims, and therefore wore the poor man s rather 
than the rich man s garb. 21 Hence happened it 
that a dress almost the same in its shape and 
texture as the old-fashioned travelling apparel, 
came to be adopted as the recognised array of all 
who went on a pilgrimage, according to strict 
rule. But upon the person of every returning 
pilgrim might be seen a token which said whither 
he had been. Two leaflets from the palm-branch, 
set cross-wise, marked him for a palmer, or one 
who had trodden the Holy Land, and had wended 
as far as Jerusalem, while Sinai was indicated by 
the St. Catherine s wheel, as the virgin martyr 
was said to have been buried on that hill-top ; a 
medal stamped with the figures of (438) St. Peter 
and St. Paul, or the cross keys, 22 or with the 

21 The pilgrim-dress given by Knighton to the palmer Guy of 
Warwick, who, on his way home from the Holy Land, happening 
to go through Winchester, there fought and overthrew Colibrond, 
the huge Dane, in ^Ethelstan s days, was most likely the garb, 
if we except the wreath of white roses, worn by pilgrims when 
the Canon of Leicester wrote, c. A.D. 1395. Our Anglo-Saxon 
warrior and palmer-pilgrim is set before our eyes as being Virum 
statura grandem in habitu peregrini indutus nudum pedibus ince- 
dentem, capite discoperto, et super caput ejus unum sertum de 
albis rosis . . . de una selauma alba vestitum . . . fustemque 
grandem in manu ferentem . . . barbamque prolixam habuit 
(Henry Knighton, ed. Twysden, ii. 2322) [R. S., xcii. i. 22, 23]. 
Guy is often called " palmarius " or palmer, by our historian. 

PART I. CHAP. X. 361 

" vernicle, 23 showed he had visited Rome ; the 
scollop-shell, that he had prayed at the shrine of 
(439) St. James at Compostella; 24 a leaden ampul, 
at its first introduction (afterwards it lost such a 
meaning) told that he had paid his devotions to 

22 In a letter to the " Archpriest and canons of St. Peter s," at 
Rome, Innocent III. says : Dilecti in Domino filii, tarn redditum, 
quern de signis plumbeis sive stagneis apostolorum Petri et Pauli 
imaginem pneferentibus, quibus eorum limina visitantes in aug- 
.mentum proprise devotionis et testimonium itineris consummati 
seipsos insigniunt, prsedecessores nostri et nos ipsi percipere con- 
suevimus, quam auctoritatem fundendi ea, vel quibus volueritis 
fusoribus concedendi, qui vobis tantum de ipsis respondeant, 
vobis et per vos canonicse vestrse prsesentium auctoritate con- 
cedimus. Innocent III., Epist., i. 536 [P.L., ccxiv. 491]. A friend 
of mine has one of these Roman pilgrim-badges : it was dug up 
at Launde Abbey, Leicestershire, not long ago ; one side bears the 
two keys crossed, the other side is plain : it is of copper, and in 
shape a quatrefoil, ^measuring in diameter one inch and three- 

23 Osteridit (Celestinus papa) regi Francise et suis capita aposto 
lorum Petri et Pauli, et veronicam, id est pannum quemdam lineum 
quern Ihesus Christus vultui suo impressit, in quo pressura ilia 
ita manifesto usque in hodiernum diem apparet, acsi vultus Ihesu 
Christi ibi esset. Joh. Bromton, Chron., ed. Twysden, i. 1221. 
From " veronica " we draw our word " varnicle " or " vernicle : " 
Chaucer does not forget to tell us how the " Pardonere " 

That streightVas comen fro the court of Rome 
A vernicle hadde he sowed on his cappe. 

Works [Skeat, Student s Chaucer, p. 427], 

24 In the verses descriptive of a pilgrim s dress, quoted on p. 364 
from Piers Ploughman, notice is taken of the " shilles of gatys, 
Compostella being in the province of Gallicia. In the church of 
Ashby-de-la-Zouch there lies a figure clad as a pilgrim, upon whose 
large broad-brimmed hat, which hangs slung behind his shoulders, 
the scollop-shell is marked, and the scrip is well indicated. This 
effigy must have been made for some personage of the Lancastrian 
party, as it wears the celebrated collar of esses, an article in the 
livery which that great house bestowed upon its friends. 

3 62 


St. Thomas s relics at Canterbury. 25 Though now 
and then an individual may have been seen who 
carried a short palm-branch bound to his staff, 
a such however was not the palmer s 
* usual badge; but instead, a small 
cross formed by two short slips of 
a leaflet from the palm-tree : this 
cross he sewed either to his hat 
or upon his cape. 26 After the same 
fashion were worn those other 
pilgrim-tokens, with the exception 
of (440) the Canterbury ampul, 
which always hung from about the 
neck upon the breast. 27 

(441) For holding our far-sought 
"Canterbury water" the pilgrimage 
ampul was first thought of: hence 


DE-LA-ZOUCH arose the use ot several other ampuls 
for a like purpose. The very dust from about a 
favourite saint s shrine was by some pilgrims 

25 See note 10, p. 352. 

26 Not every palmer had been to the Holy Land ; for sometimes 
the Pope, in freeing pilgrims who had got as far as Rome, from 
their vow of going onwards to Jerusalem, allowed them to wear 
the palm as if they had visited Palestine : Cum autem rex Franciae 
Romam venisset, Celestinus papa ipsum et suos cum summo honore 
et reverentia recepit . . . et pro amore Dei et suo novum fecit 
remedium peregrinis in hoc quod ilium et omnes qui cum eo 
venerunt a voto et itinere peregrinationis lerosolomitanae absolvit 
. . . et palmas et cruces eis dedit. Joh. Bromton, Chron., ed. 
Twysden, i. 1221. 

27 Those few among our antiquaries who have ever spoken about 
these ampuls, commit, one and all, the same mistake of thinking 
that such little vessels were worn sewed to the pilgrim s hat. This 

PART I. CHAP. X. 363 

looked upon in lack of anything else, and sought 
after, as a relic : this dust they swept carefully 
up ; and to carry it home, they got ampuls made, 
the very shape and ornaments of which should 
tell, at a glance, the shrine whence their contents 
had been brought. But all these several ampuls, 
like that of Canterbury, were ever borne, not 
upon the hat or the cape, but strung about the 
neck. That dress with which William Langlande 
clothes the sham pilgrim whom he brings before 
us, is, no doubt, a truthful sketch after the common 

erroneous opinion, set forth last by a praiseworthy collector and 
untiring preserver of everything belonging to our national anti 
quities, Mr. Roach Smith (Collectanea Antiq., ii. 47), would seem 
to be wholly adopted by a learned writer in the Archaeological 
Journal, vii. 400. Not merely, however, from the shape itself of 
these ampuls, but from the words of those who lived and wrote 
when the use of these small phials was first brought up, we know 
that they were worn, not stitched to the hat, but hanging about 
the neck by a string of some sort (see notes 8, 9, 10, before). What 
gave rise to this mistake is the faulty punctuation of a passage 
quoted below from The Vision of Piers Ploughman [Pass. viii. 164- 
166, ed. Skeat, p. 130], wherein a comma is thrice set in its 
wrong place; into such an oversight has been betrayed the last 
editor of Langland s Poem, Mr. Thomas Wright, notwithstanding 
that his predecessor in such a task (Dr. Whitaker) had avoided the 
inaccuracy. The lines, as pointed by Mr. Wright (i. 109), read 
thus : 

A bolle and a bagge 

He bar by his syde, 

And hundred of ampulles 

On his hat seten, 

Signes of Synay, &c. 

Dr. Whitaker, however (p. 1 19) points the same passage thus : 

he bar by hus syde 

And an hondred hanypeles, on hus hatte seten 
Signs of Syse and shilles, &c. 


English model during the fourteenth century, in 
which our poet lived. This " paynym" was 

A-paraild as a paynym- 
In pylgrymes wise. 
He bar a bordon ybounde- 
Witb a brod lyste, 
In a weyth-wynde wyse- 
Ywrype al aboute ; 
A bolle and a bagge- 
(442) He bar by bus syde, 

And an hondred hanypeles- 

On bus batte seten 

Signes of syse 

And sbilles of galys, 

And meny crouche on bus cloke 

And keyes of rome, 

And pe fernycle by-fore- 

For men sholde knowe, 

[And se] by bus sygnes- 

Wham he souht hadde. 28 

Langlande tells us, in the same place, of the 
" palmere s pyk and scrippe." 

Besides its badge, each pilgrimage had too its 
own gathering cry, which the pilgrims shouted out 
as, at the grey of morn, they slowly crept through 
the town or hamlet where they had slept that night. 
By calling aloud upon God for help, and begging 
the intercession above of that saint to whose shrine 
they were wending, they bade all their fellow- 
pilgrims to come forth upon their road and begin 
another day s march. 29 After having said their 

28 Vision of Piers Ploughman, Pass. viii. 161-169 [ e d- Skeat, P- 130]. 

29 Vidi in itinere Sancti Jacob! quemdam suspension qui ante- 
quam suspenderetur, peregrinantes ad pergendum ante auroram 

PART I. CHAP. X. 365 

prayers and told their beads, occasionally did they 
(443) strive and shorten the weary length of the 
way by song and music. As often as a crowd of 
pilgrims started together from one place, they 
seem always to have hired a few singers and one 
or two musicians to go with them. Just before 
reaching any town, they drew themselves up into 
a line, and thus walked through its streets in pro 
cession singing and ringing little hand-bells, with 
a player on the bag-pipes at their head. 30 Not a 

in capite cujuslibet villre provocare assuetus erat. Clamabat 
namque modo peregrinali, excelsa voce, Dens adjuva, Sancte Jacobe- 
Calixtus Papa II., Sermones [P.L., clxiii. 1390]. 

30 By the dreary self-willed Lollards, whatever seemed cheerful 
in the religious practices of their days whether it happened to be 
an organ in church, or a musical instrument at a procession was 
blamed ; and as other heretics have always done, such usages as 
those " leud losells " misliked, they misrepresented. Hence the 
snarling tone in which one W. Thorpe tells Abp. Arundel how 
" some other pilgrimes will have with them bagge pipes ; so that 
everie towne that they come through, what with the noise of their 
singing, and with the sound of their piping, and with the jangling 
of their Canterburie bels, and with the barking out of dogges after 
them, that they make more noice, then if the king came there 
away with all his clarions and many other minstrels." Foxe, Acts 
and Monuments [London 1837, iii. 268]. 

Amongst our old household words and sayings amongst our 
terms for some seasons of the year and its principal festivals, but 
especially among the names bestowed ages ago upon our native 
flowers, not a few do we find the meaning of which is bound up 
with the religious faith and practices followed by Englishmen 
while England was all Catholic. One of the greatest beauties 
amid our English wild flowers, the Campanula latifolia (not the 
medium, as some mistake) to be found shooting up its stalk of blue 
bells by the side of many a hedgerow, is an example. Its name 
of Canterbury bells, which it had given it in remembrance of those 
bells rung by the pilgrims to Canterbury as they went along, 
keeps on telling us of the belief and pious customs of our Catholic 


few, however, (444) undertook a pilgrimage by 
way of penance : these went barefoot, and begged 
their bread all along their road. A pilgrim of this 
sort almost always travelled alone, and his little 
hand-bell stood him in good stead the while he 
wandered asking alms about the lanes and alleys 
of every town upon his path. To awaken atten 
tion, and draw folks forth to their doors and 
windows, he first tinkled his bell, and then cried 
out in a kind of chaunt his call upon their kind 
ness to help him onwards for the love of God, of 
our Lady St. Mary, of St. Thomas, and other 
saints. Long years after the overthrow in this 
land of the true faith, our people, clinging to 
their olden rites, loved to go on pilgrimages. 31 

(445) With the Anglo-Saxons a pilgrimage to 
Jerusalem, though undertaken but by few, had 
ever been a well-beloved act of piety. 82 After 
their days, besides the devotion itself of such a 
work, there was born to Christendom another 
feeling kindred to it a wish to fight for Christ 

31 A minister of the Establishment, David Powel, writing A.D. 
1583, tells us this, after his own Protestant and vituperative 
fashion : Loca qusedam peregrinationibus assueta in hac evangelii 
luce usque in hodiernum diem, ingenti peregrinantium multitudine 
singulis annis superstitiose frequententur : ut fons divse Vene- 
f redse sacer : fons Dyfnoci in strata cluydensi : fanum ^Ense regis 
in arvonia : fanum Davidis in Demetia. Giraldus Camb., Itinc.r. 
Cambriae, ed. Pouelo, p. 85. The same thing concerning St. 
Beuno s church is attested by a writer whose notes are printed in 
Leland, Collect., ii. 648. 

32 The very short book describing the journey of St. Willibald 
the Anglo-Saxon pilgrim to the Holy Land, is among the earliest 
works of European travel to the east. 

PART I. CHAP. X. 367 

and win the holy places from the paynym which 
quickened the footsteps of thousands towards 
Palestine. Hence began the crusades ; and this 
sort of military pilgrimage, or, as it was called, 


found quite as much favour here among our Eng 
lish as it did with the other countries in Europe. 
Many were the times when in this land a stirring 
call from the preacher was answered by a crowd 
of knights and gentlemen who, hurrying up to the 
altar s foot, asked that the cross might be given 
them on the spot. 33 This was done by stitching a 
(446) little cross, made with two shreds of silk 
or cloth, upon the shoulder of the new votary s 
garment. 34 If other pilgrims had their peculiar 

33 At one journey taken by Archbishop Baldwin through Wales 
and the English marches, for preaching the crusade (A.D. 1188) 
no fewer than three thousand persons took the cross: In hujus 
itaque legationis longo laudabilique labore, circiter tria virorum 
millia crucis signaculo sunt insignita, &c. Giraldus Camb., Itiner. 
Cambrise, ed. Pouelo, p. 226. Every morning, after the archbishop 
had said mass, crowds nocked about the altar and had the cross 
given to them by his hands : Mane vero post missam populo con- 
vocato, plurimisque ad crucem allectis, &c. Ibid., 128. To bishops 
and priests, the cross was given at the right-hand side of the altar : 
In crastino vero missa in principali altari ab archiprcesule cele- 
brata, sedis ejusdein (Banchor) antistes ... a dextris altaris . . . 
ad crucis susceptionem est compulsus. Ibid., 191. At other parts 
of the day they stopped at different towns upon the road, where a 
sermon was preached, after which the cross was taken by those 
who wished : Sermone igitur apud Abergevenni facto plurimisque 
ad crucem conversis, &c. Ibid., 101. 

34 Crucem suscepit, uxore favente, ipsa quoque signum sponte 
propriis manibus armo virili inserente vel insuente. Itiner. Cam- 


marks, so too had the crusader. For a token of 
that vow which he had plighted, he always wore a 
cross sewed to his dress, until he went to, and all 
the while he stayed in, the Holy Land. 35 If he lived 
to come (447) back and die at home, his burial 

brite, ed. Pouelo, p. 175. Uno de familia ipsius (Meredythi) cruce 
signato juvene pervalido eique familiarissimo, quoniam pallium 
cui crux assui debuerat tenue nimis et vile videbatur, cum uber- 
rimo lachrimarum fonte, suum ei Meredythus pallium projecit. 
Ibid., 189. 

33 For the crusade preached through western Christendom 
(A.D. 1 1 88) it was ordained that the English should wear a white 
cross ; the French, a red ; the Flemish, a green one : Provisum 
est etiam inter eos, ut omnes de regno Francorum cruces rubeas, 
de terris regis Anglorum albas, de terra vero comitis Flandrensis 
cruces virides bajularent. Matt. Paris, Hist. AngL, p. 102 [R.S., 
xliv., i. 446]. 

When any one had put off, or was hindered from fulfilling his 
vow, very often did he in his last illness beg of some friend to take 
his cross for him (that is, go in his stead) to Jerusalem, to fight 
against the Saracens, or to pray at our Lord s sepulchre, as it 
might be : such was Henry II. s eldest son s request, just before 
he died, to one of his followers: Tradidit Willielmo Marescallo 
familiari suo crucem suam Jerosolimam deferendam (Hoveden, 
Annal., p. 354, ed. Savile) [R.S., li. ii. 279]. As a recompense to 
the man who took this journey, lands were not unoften bequeathed 
to him ; thus : Gaufridus Foliot dedit Briano de Buterle terram 
de Buterle, pro cruce sua ferenda Jerosolimam (Placitorum Abb re r. 
temp. Joh.). One of the heraldic bearings of the house of Douglas 
is, to this day, a crowned heart, in remembrance of the dying re 
quest of Robert Bruce to have his heart, after he had breathed his 
last, carried by Sir James Douglas to the Holy Land, whither he 
himself had wished, but was never able to go (Froissart, Citron., 
ed. Johnes, i. 27). The Scotch knight got no further than the 
south of Spain, where he fell fighting against the Moors of Granada. 
The casket holding the Bruce s heart Douglas carried with him to 
the battlefield, and there did his men afterwards find it. By them 
it was taken back again to Scotland and buried at Melrose. British 
heraldry is full of Catholicism : as a bearing, the cross is used in 
many forms ; the scollop-shell, found on many a shield, tells of 
pilgrimage to St. James of Gallicia, or perhaps of fighting in Spain 
against the Saracens. 

PART I. CHAP. X. 369 

and the knightly effigy over his grave both told of 
his having been a warrior for Christ. When his 
dead body, mail-clad and girt with sword, was 
stretched upon an open (448) bier to be so carried 
to the tomb by his own followers in the holy wars, a 
weeping squire s hands perhaps those same hands 
which had often borne that knight s pennon up 
lifted above his head, as singing Non nobis, Domine, 
non nobis, sed nomini Tuo da gloriam they 
and those with them dashed among the Saracens 
set its legs cross-wise, the right one over the 
left, 37 and brought down the (449) right arm 

36 As the Templars rule was the mirror in which each Christian 
knight loved, while in the Holy Land, to glass himself, it is likely 
that he as well as they sang this verse of the Psalmist, in rushing 
upon the Saracens. That the Templars did, we know : Cum autem 
bellare judicaverit (Templariorum magister) et jussum prsecipi- 
entis buccina insonuerit, Davidicum illud communiter concinnunt 
et devote : "Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed nomini Tuo da 
gloriam." Ferentes lanceas in hostes irruunt, &c. Jacobus de 
Vitriaco, Hist. Orient., lib. iii., ed. Martene, Tlies. Anecd., iii. 277. 

37 By an old and well-known Christian symbolism, the " right " 
means the good, the holy, the faithful ; the " left," the wicked, the 
sinful, the unbelieving. Innocent III. says : Per dexteram enim 
justi, per sinistram peccatores figurantur. Propter quod Dominus 
in judicio statuet quidem oves a dextris, hoedos autem a sinistris. 
De Sacro Altaris Myst., ii. 35 [P.L., ccxvii. 820. The reference is to 
St. Matt. xxv 7 .]. Such a rule applied to the feet as well as hands ; 
and in accordance with this received principle, was it, no doubt, 
that the movement of the gigantic figure s feet was understood by 
St. Nicolas the Studite, the while he gazed in vision upon it, to 
signify the triumph of the Christians over the heathen, or the 
overthrow of the former by the latter, as he beheld the giant s 
right foot over the left, or the left over the right : Vide, inquit 
(gigantea statura albis indutus senex) ad me, nihil metuens. Porro 
autem dum illi ad vindicandam quisque suam aciem, arma vi- 
brantes instruerentur, dextrum hie pedem elevans sinistro super- 
ponit : turn video nostram aciem multa vi adversariorum aciem 

VOL. III. 2 A 


athwart the breast, so that its hand might seem 
to clinch the not quite scabbarded sword by its 
side. 38 Borne thus into church to within a few 

Provincial Grand Master of the Templars, at Hereford Cathedral 

invadentem, eamque totam perrumpentem. Cumque Scythse peni- 
tus interirent essentque necantibus versuri terga ; en rursus ille 
pedem sinistrum elevans supra dextrum deinceps ponit ; tumque 
exurgentes barbari miserabiliter nostros interficiendo urgebant. 
AA. SS. Februarii, \. 546. If not a few of our cross-legged effigies 
have the left leg thrown over the right, such a violation of the 
before-named canon is to be ascribed either to the designer s 
ignorance, or to some mistake in the execution, by a careless 
workman, of the original drawing: accidents of this kind making 
people use the left instead of the right hand happen even now 
every day in engravings. 

38 To think that because an effigy has the legs crossed, and the 
right hand grasping a sword, it must therefore be that of a knight 
Templar, is a very great mistake. Of that military order, only 
the grand-master, or some distinguished individual, received the 
honour of a sepulchral monument. Even in these instances, the 

PART I. CHAP. X. 371 

(450) feet from the high altar, the corpse was put 
down there beneath a hearse of lights ; 39 and 

figure was not fashioned like a worldly knight clad in mail, after the 
usage of the times, but dressed in the habit itself of that religious 
brotherhood. Whether there be an example now anywhere exist 
ing of a real Templar s tomb, I am not aware. Of the Hospitalars 
there are specimens ; one is given by Dionigi, Sacrar. Vatic. Basil. 
Crypt. Monument., p. 132 ; the other by Magri, Hierolexicon, v. 
Crocea [above]. The habit worn by the Templars was, in shape, like 
that of the Hospitalars, and distinguishable from it by its colours 
only: Templum bonos milites habet clamydes albas cum rubea 


even-song that afternoon, and at early day on the 
morrow, matins and lauds, and the commenda 
tions, and mass, were all sung for his soul, and 
doles were given to the poor. This way of laying 
out the crusader-knight s dead body was to tell 
what the knight himself had done in the living 
flesh, and whither his footsteps had taken him, 
out of love for God : it betokened how that, true 
to his plighted word, he had gone to Palestine, 
where he had drawn his sword and fought, and 
sheathed it only after he had fulfilled his vow. 
Unto the tomb, on which the effigy shows us a 
true likeness of the corpse in its (451) posture and 
raiment the while it lay at church for the burial 
service, there was added a lion s figure, so put 
crouched beneath the knight s feet as if they were 
treading it to the dust. This emblem symbolised 
that fearlessness with which, as Christ s soldier 
and by Christ s help, the warrior had fought 
.against the unbeliever and the wicked : it re 
minded the world of that mystic triumph pro 
mised to the just man, unto whom the Holy Ghost 
has said : " Thou shalt trample under foot the 
lion and the dragon." 

cruce simplice . . . ferentes . . . Hospitalarii vero albam crucem 
portant in clamyde. Jacobus de Vitriaco, Hist. Orient., ed. Martene, 
Thes. Anecdot., iii. 276, 277. Hence we may see from Magri s rough 
engraving that, did we possess a Templar s effigy, we should find 
it clad in a long sleeved gown girt with a narrow belt, and over 
this garment, a large wide cloak having a hood, altogether in form 
like the canon s mantle shown in our woodcut (vol. ii. p. 41), but 
ornamented with a cross wrought upon the left shoulder. 
39 See vol. ii. p. 399, of this work. 

PART I. CHAP. X. 373 

(452) But when the Syrian crusades were 
given up, and our barons and our knights went 
to Jerusalem, not for fighting, but praying there, 
and to lay their swords upon the altar at Christ s 
tomb, 41 the sepulchral effigies of such among 

40 Psalm xc. [xci.j 13. As the lion is an emblem of that bodily 
strife which the wicked and the unbelieving wage against Christ 
and His Church, but is to be withstood by bodily prowess and the 
arm of the flesh, it is usually assigned, on tombs, to knights and lay 
men ; but the dragon or serpent, being the symbol of our ghostly 
foe the devil, who must be overthrown by ghostly weapons the 
sword of the spirit the word of God this snaky type of the 
foul fiend is more generally put under the feet of Churchmen, who, 
if they be bishops, are thrusting, spear-like, the sharp end of a 
pastoral staff into its hissing jaws and against its brandished 
tongue, to signify that truth will vanquish falsehood, and the 
Church of God cast down the synagogue of Satan. The soldier s 
feet trampling a lion is an emblem of military valour ; the 
Churchman s tread on the writhing dragon symbolises a Church 
man s zeal against sin and untruth. The first of these types may 
perhaps have been brought into wider use by the Templars rules, 
of which, while one forbids the killing of wild animals (CJt nullus 
feram arcu vel balista percutiat), another immediately following it, 
enjoins the slaying of the lion everywhere (Ut leo semper feria- 
tur) ; and for these typical reasons : Nam est certum, quod vobis 
specialiter creditum est et debitum, pro fratribus vestris animas 
ponere, atque incredulos, qui semper Virginis Filio minitantur, de 
terra delere. De leone enim hoc legimus " quia ipse circuit 
quserens quern devoret " ; et " manus ejus contra omnes omniumque 
manus contra eum." Regula Templar ior urn, xlviii., Holsten, Codex 
Regularum, ed. Brockie, ii. 438. 

41 Of the lady s behests to her wooing knight before he may win 
and wed her, one is that he go to Jerusalem 

To seke where Christe were dead and quycke ; 
There must you drawe your swerde of were, 
To the sepulchre ye must it bere, 
And laye it on the stone, 
Amonge the lordes everychone ; 
And offre there florences fyve, 
Whyles that ye are man on lyve ; 
And offre there florences thre, 
In tokenyng of the trynyte, &c. 
The Squyr of Lowe Degre, in Ritson, Metrical Romances, iii. 155. 


them as had been to the Holy Land were made 
to tell of their performance of such a vow. For 
this end were adopted, in part, the olden military 
signs of that pilgrimage : instead of one hand 
grasping the sword, both of (453) those hands 
are clasped as if for prayer ; but the legs are 
still crossed, to say how those feet, like the 
warriors of old, had trodden the ground whereon 
once walked He who, for mankind s sake, died 
upon the cross. 

Those same religious feelings which hurried 
the knight from home as a military pilgrim to 
the Holy Land, guided him to war upon the foes 
of Christ in other countries besides Palestine. 
To go to Spain and fight there against the Moor, 
at an early period of the crusades, men took the 
cross ; 42 and, till a very recent time, they kept 
on doing so to fight anywhere against the Turks. 
Those who vowed themselves to this latter kind 
of warfaring pilgrimage, went to church, and 
kneeling down at the foot of its patron saint s 
shrine, besought to have the cross given them. 
With the leave especially obtained from his 
ecclesiastical superior, the proper official yielded 
to their wishes, and the ceremony was thus per- 

42 In the Council held at Rome A.D. 1123, it was decreed: Eos 
autem qui vel pro lerosolimitano vel pro Hispanico itinere cruces 
sibi in vestibus posuisse noscuntur et postea dimisisse, cruces 
iterate assumere et viam instanti Pascha usque ad proximum 
sequens Pascha perficere apostolica auctoritate prsecipimus. 
Simeon of Durham., Hist, de Gest. Reg. Anglor., ed. Twysden, i. 249 
., Ixxv. ii. 271 

PART I. CHAP. X. 375 

formed : each postulant bared his right breast, 
and there into the naked flesh the priest burned, 
with a red-hot iron, the sign of the cross. 43 (454) 
Sometimes was it that the knight, by his own 
hand, gave himself this token in private, as 

With a sharpe knyfe he share 
A crosse vpon his shoulder bare. 44 

If at the foot of God s altars, or before the relics 
(455) of God s holy servants it was that religion 

43 Cum dilecti nobis in Christo Johannes Oterik de Gretham et 
Thomas Jonson de eadem, Dunelmensis dioceseos, conjugati viri 
utique bonse famse et opinionis illesse, mero motu maturaque 
deliberacione votum, ut asserunt, emiserunt speciale, se et per- 
sonas suas adversus Turchos cseterosque hostes et inimicos crucis 
Jesu Ohristi pro defensione fidei Christianas exponere unanimiter, 
et pro viribus expugnare, prout coram nobis per eosdem plenaria 
extitit facta fides, &c. . . . nos igitur ipsorum votis et desideriis, 
tamquam just is licitis et honest is, benigne annuentes, ipsos 
Johannem et Thomam in ecclesia cathedrali prsedicta, vicesimo 
quarto die mensis Januarii anno Domini millesimo cccc mo LXin mo 
personaliter constitutes, et juxta feretrum sanctissimi confessoris 
sancti Cuthberti patroni nostri hujusmodi crucis signum eorum 
pectoribus imprimi debitis cum instanciis ac flexis genibus 
devocius postulantes, per prsedilectum confratrem nostrum domi- 
nuni W. Bryden elemosinarium domus nostrse signo crucis 
utriusque eorum pectori in dextera saltern parte ejusdem suc 
cessive signari fecimus et aduri, in omnibus ut est mos (Litera 
Peregrinationis concessa Johanni Oterik, cOc., in Hist. Dunelm. 
Scriptores Trts, Append., p. cccxlix.). For such a practice, one 
pilgrim gives this reason : Unde et humero meo dextro candenti 
ferro signum crucis precor inuri, quod mihi, licet vestes auferan- 
tur, auferre nemo prsevaleat. Benedict, T)e Mirac. S. Thomse, iv. 2 
[R.S., Ixvii. ii. 175]. In the armoury at Alton Towers, there is a 
suit of armour of a rather late and foreign make. Upon the right 
side of the breastplate is engraved the crucifixion. Perhaps 
abroad the custom was for those who, like our countrymen, had 
had their flesh itself blazoned with the cross, to bear the same 
kind of token marked outwardly upon their armour. 

44 Syr Isenbras, in Utterson, Early Popular Poetry, i. 83. 


stretched forth her blessing hand upon the pil 
grim warrior, and marked him with the emblem 
of her Lord, she did not withhold the ritual s 
countenance from lowlier men, while they also 
bound themselves to pilgrimages of a more quiet 
and far less dazzling sort. After an especial way 


in which she arrayed him for his journey, begging 
the while God s speed upon his path. Having 
shrived himself of all his sins, the pilgrim came 
before the altar, where he lay outstretched upon 
the ground while the priest prayed over him. 45 
He then arose upon his knees ; a scrip was 
blessed and slung about his neck, a staff put 
into his hands. 46 (456) If he wished Jerusalem 
to be his bourn, he brought along with him to 
the ceremony a gown upon which had been 
sewed a cross ; and this, like scrip and staff, 

45 Imprimis confiteantur Peregrini de omnibus peccatis suis ; 
deinde dicantur super eos coram Altari prostrates Psalmi et 
preces sequentes. Ordo ad servitium peregrinorum faciendum in 
Manuale Sarum. [See York Manual (Surt. Soc.), Ixiii. 26*.] 

46 Hie surgant peregrini a prostratione, et benedicat Sacerdos 
peras et baculos eorum, dicens . . . " Domine Jesu Christe . . . 
benedicere digneris hanc peram et hunc baculum, ut quicumque 
earn in tui nominis amore ad instar humilis armaturse lateri suo 
applicare atque collo suo suspendere, sive in manibus suis gestare, 
&c." Hie aspergat aquam benedictam super peras et baculos, et 
ponat singulis peregrinis peram ad collum . . . deinde tradat 
singulis eorum baculum, &c. Ibid. [p. 27 *]. 

PART I. CHAP. X. 377 

was hallowed by the celebrant. 47 The holy 
sacrifice of the mass was then offered up : 48 this 
over, 49 and being "houseled" (that is, having 
received his Saviour in the blessed Eucharist), 
the (457) pilgrim, with the Church s benediction 
lighting on his head, and amid the best wishes 
of his friends and tovvnsfolks, started on his 
road. 50 As by her ritual the Church speeded 
the pilgrim s forthgoing, so did she welcome 
his homeward footsteps : with solemn procession 
she went to meet him at her threshold, and 
bring him back to that same altar from which 
he began his journey ; and there she mingled 
her thanksgivings with his own for a safe re- 

47 Si vero aliqui eorum profecturi sint Hierusalem, tune 
habeant ipsi vestes cum cruce signatas ; et benedicantur cruces 
hoc modo, &c. Ibid Whilst yet a youth, and before taking 
the hermit s habit, St. Godric had the cross given him by his 
priest, and went to the Holy Land : Quare et sanctse signaculum 
crucis, tradente saeerdote, suscepit, et cum Domino suo tollere 
crucem suam non refugit, &c. Libel, de Vita et Mirac. ti. Godrici, 

P- 33- 

48 His finitis dicatur Missa pro iter agentibus. Manuale Sarum 
[ut. *., p. 28 *]. 

49 Post Missam dicat Sacerdos has Orationes sequentes super 
peregrines coram Altari prostratos, sive profecturi sint Hieru- 
salem, sive ad Sanctum Jacobum sive ad aliam peregrinationem 
(ibid.). Many of our countrymen who went a pilgrimage to the 
Holy Land, took St. James s of Compostella on their way home ; 
thus of St. Godric, we read : Igitur Dominicse vexillum crucis in 
humeris deferens, primo lerosolimam profectus est, atque in 
regrediendo Beati Jacobi Apostoli limina adiit ; exinde vero 
maternum solum adiens, ad villulam paternam repediavit. Libel, 
de Vita et Mirac. S. Godrici, p. 34. 

: Deinde communicentur, et ita recedant in nomine Domini. 
Manuale Sarum [ut. s., p. 28 *]. 


turn there did she sing her canticle of joy, the 
Te Deum. 51 

The purpose of many a pilgrimage to churches 
at home as well as those abroad was, either to beg 
from God an especial favour ; or, when the wish 
had been answered, to speak loud thanks to Him, 
at the shrine of that saint who, by praying in be 
half (458) of and along with the craver, had helped 
in winning from above the sought-for blessing. 
On these occasions an offering in money, however 
small the sum, was invariably made ; and the 
coins were cast down on the ground before the 
shrine, 52 or set upon the little altar at its western 
end. To look after these moneys, and to receive 
more important gifts, 53 as well as to keep watch 

51 Igitur cum comes Willielmus post votum peregrinationis 
sure jam reditum vice prima ad nos dignatus est, processione 
ordinata, albis et capis induti ei occurrimus, cantantibus omnibus, 
ore simvil et corde dicentibus " Benedictus qui venit in nomine 
Domini." Venienti quoque cum omni Iretitia ad majus usque 
altare, et prostrato dedit prior benedictionem. Qua percepta, 
surgens et genua flectens obtulit reliquias in pixide eburnea 
preciosissimas quas in terra Hierosolimitana acquisierat. . . . 
Eo autem surgente et coram altari astante, voce excelsa incipit 
prior himnum cseteris subsequentibus, "Te Deum laudarnus."- 
Mon. Anyl., iv. 144. 

52 The pieces of money offered by King Henry VI. at St. 
Edmund s shrine are lying on the floor, in our picture, p. 321. 

53 When any man of honour or worshippe weere disposed to 
make there praiers to God and to Sancte Cuthbert, or to offer 
any thinge to his sacred shrine, yf they requested to have yt 
drawen, and to se yt, then streight waie the clarke of the fereture 
did give intellegence to his maister the kepper of the fereture. 
And then the said maister dyde bring the keys of the shrine with 
him, geving them to the clarke to open the locks of the shrine. 

. . . And when they had maid there praiers, and dyd offer any 
thing to yt, yf yt weare either gould, sylver, or Jewells, streighte- 

PART I. CHAP. X. 379 

over the jewels and other costly gifts suspended 
all about the shrine, and to see that from those 
many wax-tapers burning everywhere around, no 
mishap befell the precious palls (459) of gold and 
silver cloth and other hangings ; the shrine-keeper, 
or one of his clerks, always sat there ; and he spent 
his hours in prayer and reading, in writing out 
and illuminating manuscripts. 54 His seat was, in 
some places, an open chair with a desk before 
it ; 55 in others, the stool was inclosed within a 
shallow nook or box : 56 in both instances there 
lay upon his reading desk and chained to it, a 
psalter, perhaps other devotional books. 67 For the 
pilgrims and other frequenters of the relics, there 
hung, fastened by little chains to the lower story 

way it was honnge on the shrine. And if yt weyre any other 
thing, as unicorne home, eliphant tooth, or such like thinge, then 
yt was howng within the fereture, at the end of the shrine. And 
when they had maid there praiers, the clarke did let downe the 
cover therof, and did locke yt at every corner, &c. Rites of 
Durham, p. 79. 

54 Of one of these under-keepers of St.Cuthberht s shrine, Reginald 
of Durham tells us : Ad opus deinde soliti studii jam resederat, 
et de altari aliquantulum remotius propter luminis usum jam 
Becesserat, eo quod scribendi stadium frequentabat. De Admir. 
B. Cuthberti Virt., p. 200. 

55 As shown in our picture, p. 344. 

56 In the shrine-keeper s accompts at Durham, there are various 
items from which we gather that in that cathedral, this officer s 
Beat was inclosed (as it is called in English) in a " pentys " or pent 
house, and in Latin a camera." Raine, St. Cuthbert, pp. 142, 147. 

57 The monk at the shrine of St. Edward the Confessor, in our 
picture, p. 344, is sitting before an open book, most likely a psalter : 
among the things belonging (A.D. 1417) to St. Cuthberht s shrine 
at Durham, were : One psalter fixed to a desk near the shrine, 
and one psalter within the chamber at the shrine, &c. Raine, 
St. Cuthbert, p. 142. 


of the shrine, small framed tablets, on which were 
(460) written, amid beautiful illuminations, prayers 
to God, and supplications to the saint for his 
brotherly intercession. 58 

Our forefathers were Christians in the true 
meaning of that word. Children of Christ s one 
only Church, Christ was their God, and they were 
not ashamed of Him. Believing that the Almighty 
made the earth out of nothing and men out of the 
earth at His mere will, they believed too that, 
while He could, He did as often as it liked Him, 
heal men of the sorest sicknesses help them 
in their ghostly trials lead them scathless 
through the sea storm, and amidst the bloody 
fight by land snatch them from death in its 
many shapes. Whenever, therefore, themselves, 
or any one dear to them, had been blessed by 
Heaven with one or other of these marks of its 
love, that God s name might be magnified among 
His creatures, those fathers of ours not only went 
on a pilgrimage to some church, but left there 
an abiding token of God s mercy, and their own 
thankful acknowledgment of it. For both (461) 

58 For writing prayers around the shrine with tablets . xvk?. 

For parchment and illuminating a tablet . . . ixd. 

Paid to Sir John Palman, for writing four tablets 
with prayers concerning St. Cuthbert, and for 
illuminating the same ...... xc/. 

Ibid., pp. 144, 151, 158. Such tablets, but printed on plain 
paper, and unadorned with illuminations, are to be seen hanging 
all about the low railings around the " confession " in St. Peter s 
at Rome. 

PART I. CHAP. X. 381 

these ends, then, the custom was in England, as in 
other countries of Christendom, to hang up 


This custom, which took its rise in the first ages 
of faith, was, along with the rest of Christ s people, 
followed by our believing forefathers. While, 
therefore, we read the description of it from one 
of our countrymen s pen in the sixteenth century, 
as it then was and had been always observed in 
England, we might easily mistake and think that, 
instead of Harpsfield the last Catholic archdeacon 
of Canterbury, it must be the Syrian-Greek Theo- 
doret the bishop of Cyrus (A.D. 423), who is 
speaking. Both of them tell us in what way the 
faithful of their respective times and places acted 
when, by God s mercy, they had been brought out 
of bodily ailment. In order not only to show 
how the saints above had befriended, by their 
prayers, a sick or maimed brother on earth, but 
that others suffering as he had suffered might take 
heart and pray from his example, the healed per 
son went to church, and hung up there a likeness 
in gold, silver, or wax, of the eye, the hand, the 
foot, or that part of the body which had been 
cured. 59 

59 Speaking to the heathen of his time, Theodoret, in his eighth 
sermon, irepl TTJS r&v /uLaprvpuv Tifj.r)$, tells them of the practice of the 
Christian Church at that period, thus : on 5e Tiryxdj ov<ri &virep 
cu roCcric oi Trio-rutf tTrayyt\\oi>Tes ava.<f>a.v$bv ^aprvpet TO. TOVTUV 


(462) Scattered all through our national records 
of the Catholic period, may be found highly in 
teresting instances of this practice. The lump 
of bone-like hardness thrown up from the throat 
of the invalid whom it had well-nigh stifled, was 
set in silver, and (463) left to hang upon the 
shrine of that saint at whose asking, as it was 
piously thought, God had vouchsafed to work the 
miracle. There, too, might be seen the spear-top, 
from the deadly wound of which a knight, while 
at the wars, had been marvellously healed ; and 
many a glistening brooch or ring told of other 
mercies from Heaven. 60 The poor captive who, 

TTJV laTpeiav S^XoOira. oi /j.ei> yap 6(f>da\/j.(i)i>, oi 5e Troduiv, &\\OL Se 
irpoff(pepov<riv e/cruTrw/iara /cat oi [tev e/c xpfcroO, ot 5 e v\r)s, dpyvpov 
ireTTOLrjfjLfva. 5e%ercu yap 6 TOVTUV AecnroT-rjs Kal TCL afjuitpd re /cat eu wva, rrj 
TOU irpofffiepovTOS 5vvdfj,L TO dupov /jLeTpdof. drj\o2 Se ravra irpoKei/j.ei>a T&V 
Tra.d~rifjt.dTUV TT)V \vcnv fy dveTedrj /j.vrj/ji.ta irapd T&V dpTiuv yeyevrj/j.evui . 
[P.(r., Ixxxiii. 1032.] Though it be more than likely that our 
English archdeacon never read this passage from the Syro-Greek 
bishop s works, Theodoret would almost seem to be paraphrased 
by Harpsfield, who, while describing the religious usages of Eng 
land in the sixteenth century, writes in these words : Multi mali 
sui liberationisque suse formam et rationem, in cera ad vivum 
impressam, aut secum detulere Windesoriam, aut per suos trans- 
misere. Alii itaque oculorum, alii pedum, alii manuum, alii aliarum 
partium et rerum simulachra ad grati animi et liberationis suse 
testimonium (cujusmodi et in antiqua, ante mille annos ecclesia 
factitatum lego) alii ipsos baculos, quibus ante liberationem claudi 
et debiles innitebantur, imo nonnulli eos ipsos, quibus innixi vix 
tandem eo perreptarunt, apud sepulchrum beati viri sanitatem 
repente adepti, alii laqueos a suspendio sancti regis (Henrici VI.) 
beneficio liberati, in rei memoriam atque monumentum, in templo 
Windesoriano suspenderunt. N. Harpsfield, Hist. Anylicana Eccle- 
siastica, p. 595. Such votive offerings are figured hanging at a 
shrine, in A A. SS. Junii, v. 637. 

00 Massam congelatam, tradidit (vir quidain de villa de Weston) 
F. Willielmo deprecans eum assidue, ut sumptibus suis faceret 

PART I. CHAP. X. 383 

just after prayer to Christ for freedom, had on a 
sudden not only felt his shackles fall loosened 
from his wrists, but beholding his dungeon door 
set open by unseen hands, hurried out and flew 
to the altar of his befriending saint, and left there 
his fetters as a triumphant gift. 61 (464) The high 
born dame, whom a wearisome illness had dragged 

argento illam includi, et ad feretrum S. Etheldredse, ad perpetuam 
hujus miraculi memoriam depend!. Acta S. Etheldredae, in A A. SS. 
Junii, iv. 580. Assumens itaque caput lancere predicts (qua 
confossus est) detulit illud secum in Angliam, et cum venisset ad 
Elyensem insulam ipse cum fratre suo Radulpho de Hynton ad 
istam pervenit ecclesiam, et ad feretrum B. Etheldredre illud obtulit 
cum summa devotione, ac super paxillum ferreum ibidem ad mira 
culi hujus memoriam infixit. Ibid. Annul um saphyro nobili 
ornatum . . . obtulit B. Etheldredre maxima mentis devotione, 
ubi feretrum ipsius virginis ostenditur populo veniente, ad 
honorem Dei et hujus miraculi ostensionem. Ibid., 581. 

01 Erant apud Novum Castellum rei quidam vinculis irretiti. . . . 
Pcenituit facti miseros superosque precantur. ... Deus ! o 
fortis ! o vitre panis et auctor ! erue, solve, leva corpora, vincla, 
famem. . . . Sequent! enim nocte subito quorumdam vincula solve- 
bantur . . . et abeuntes se ad usque Tynemudtham cum festina- 
tione, &c. Cum ergo fratres ibidem matutinos agerent, hi omnes 
ecclesiam ingressi sunt ; et rem pandentes per ordinem, Deum 
glorificaverunt, et Martyrem (Oswinum) adorantes, ei sua vincula 
loco murieris optulerunt ; quse appensa sunt in ejus prresentia ad 
continuandam ejus memoriam; ut sciant omnes qui convenerint 
quod haric virtutem et fortitudinem dedit Sancto suo Oswino 
benedictus Deus, &c. Vita Osirini, pp. 55, 56. Monstratumque 
est omni populo et clero de perpetrate miraculo, qui omnes in 
laudem Dei proruperunt et hymnum psallebant Domino qui facit 
mirabilia magna per servum suum Joannem (Beverlac.) ssepe 
clariricatum miraculis. Continue clericus qui captivus fuerat, 
jam per beatum confessorem liberatus, obtulit annulos ferreos 
ad altare ; qui suspensi sunt ibi, et multi circuli ferrei, nee non 
et compedes suspenduntur, scilicet ab utroque latere sepulchri viri 
Dei Joannis. Miracula S. Joannis Beverlacensis, in A A. SS. Maji, 
ii. 183. Suspensa sunt ejus vincula cum reliquiis captivorum 
vinculis et compedibus, qui multoties liberati ad Sancti pnesentis 
confugere pacem. Hid. 


almost to the grave, when she got well, cut off 
that flowing head of hair in which she had taken 
so much pride, and carried it, with other offer 
ings, to her saint s shrine. 62 All about this (465) 
same spot might be seen many an effigy in wax : 
one fashioned as a priest, in alb and chasuble ; 63 
another, like a knight ; a third, some little babe 
still-born, but afterwards quickened with life by 
the Almighty at the wailing entreaties of its father 
and mother, who had besought that it might 
be given to breathe, at least long enough to be 
baptized. 64 (466) Waxen lances, too, and swords, 
along with the representations of those limbs and 
other parts of the human body pierced by the real 
iron weapons, stood there as testimonials of a 

02 In devotionis et humilitatis signum et receptae sanitatis testi- 
monium, comam capitis abscissam martyri (S. Thomae) offerre non 
distulit (Iselda filia militis de Burch Henrici de Longa- villa). 
Benedict, De Mirac. S. Thomas, iii. 36 [R.S., Ixvii. ii. 143]. 

03 Dominus W. de London ... in signum suse sanitatis des- 
tinavit Eveshani ymaginem cerse indutam alba et casula ad modum 
sacerdotis. Rishanger, Citron., p. 106. 

64 Mater filium recenter enixa ... ait :" Domine Deus onini- 
potens, per merita B. Richardi, redde spiritum vitee huic abortive, 
ut saltern sacri baptismatis unda perfusus, in numero filiorum 
adoptionis tuse possit aggregari." Pater vero non minor fiducia 
eadem replicans, adjunxit votum dicens : "OB. Richarde, si puero 
isti vitalem spiritum tuis meritis infunderis, nt in Christo renatus 
baptismum consequatur, puerum cereum ejus imaginem represen- 
tantem, ad Dei laudem et tui memoriam extollendam, ad tuum 
sepulchrum una cum puero deportabo." Plicatoque ad voti con- 
firmationem et sancti honorem super puerum denario, ac pueri 
fronte cruce signata, statim puer os pariter et oculos operiens . . . 
vivum et incolumem se, mirantibus et Deum in sancto suo Richardo 
benedicentibus, patenter ostendit. Vita et Mirac. S. IHchardi Ep. 
Cicestrensis, in A A. SS. Aprilis, i. 309. Bending the money was 
done to know it afterwards as that piece on which the vow had 

PART I. CHAP. X. 385 

miraculous cure. 65 Gold (467) and silver were 
often employed : the hands and feet, and hearts 
made of those precious metals, told their own 
tale ; as did the little ship brought thither by the 
seaman who, amid the bowlings of a storm, had 
vowed this silver or golden gift to God if he 
might bring his vessel safely into haven, or him- 

been plighted, and therefore to be given to the church as an 
offering : Extracto igitur de loculis suis denario, ilium Beato 
Cuthberto in insulam Farneam secum deferendum devovit, et ipso 
recurvato, ut eum dinoscere possit, tali indicio consignavit. Lib. 
de Vita S. Cuthberti, 231. Domina Christiana Germaule de Essex, 
habens puerum setate quinque annorum ; puer iste habuit infir- 
mitatem durissimam usque ad mortem per duas septimanas. 
Mensuratus ad comitem convaluit. In signum sanitatis fecit 
deferri puerulum de cera. Rishanger, Ghron. Mirac. Simonis de 
Montfort, 75, 79. In signum sanitatis deferri fecit (Dominus W. 
de Troy) gambam cum pede de cera apud Evesham per Johannem 
de Reans armigerum suum. Ibid., 76: manus de cera. Ibid., 101. 

65 "Et si de morte imminent! tuis sacris precibus (pie Cuth- 
berte) ereptus fuero (dixit miles quidam) effigiem lancese de cera 
consimilem qua vulneratus existo, ad corpus tuum sanctissimum 
in honore sancti tui nominis tibi deportabo." . . . Qui contra 
omnium amicorum suorum spem, ita meritis Sancti Cuthberti 
convaluit ; et sic vitam pro morte de manu pii confessoris pro- 
cedere experimento cognovit. Unde cera instar lancese illius 
efligiata, cum quibusdam militibus tarn consanguineis quam al-iis 
Dunelmum veniens, multis infusus lacrimis, formam illam in 
humeris gerens, ad sepulchrum venerandi confessoris obtulit. 
Reginald, De Adm. S. Cuthberti Virtut., 274. Quidam religiosus 
de Ordine militire Templi habens tibiam unam virtute sensibili 
ac vitali a multo tempore destitutam . . . devotionem suam ad 
Sanctum (Willielmum Eborac.) dirigens, de sanitate per ipsum ob- 
tinenda spem firmam concepit. Coepit igitur innrmorum more 
membra sua languida mensurare, atque ad honorem Sancti lumi- 
nare praeparare, prout fieri assolet ex ipsa mensura, &c. Ipse vero 
se salvatum sentiens ... ad honorem et laudem S. Willielmi, et 
in testimoniuin miraculi, tibiam ceream et pedem sub sigillo suo, 
ad feretrum S. Willielmi transmisit. Ada S. Willielmi Archiep. 
Eboracensis, in A A. SS. Junii ii. 145. 

VOL. III. 2 B 


self reach the shore alive from the wreck when 

cast away. 66 

(468) These and all other such votive offerings 
were in truth so many declarations of the country s 
belief in the almightiness of God so many pro 
fessions that everything in this world hangs upon 
His will that as He is able, so does He vouchsafe 
of His free kindness to work wonders for us, the 
people of His second covenant, like as He wrought 
for the Israelites. Because our fathers felt they 
were living in Christendom, where men could not 
misunderstand them, they did not halt in making 
this their belief public. If at the shrines of saints 
were hung up these outward tokens of an inward 
faith, it was to say that God working through His 
saints, and not the saints themselves, had wrought 
those miracles. The teachers of a new, and till 
then unheard of, belief did away in England with 

06 Circa feretrum Sancti Willielmi portabile. Quinque ymagines 
argenti deaurati . . . duo corda argentea deaurata . . . una ma- 
milla argenti deaurata . . . una manus argenti deaurata, cum uno 
sceptro. Pertinentia tumbde, Domini Richardi le Scrope. Una virga 
signata cum litera A, super quam sunt duse ymagines viri de 
argento . . . caput viri, cor viri. Duse ymagines bovis. Decem 
naves de argento . . . magnum cor hominis cum cathena deau 
rata, aliud cor minus, et decem naves argenti cum una anchora 
argenti . . . caput presbyteri . . . una navis magna cum quinque 
minoribus . . . xxvij remi pro nautis cum una sagitta de argento 
. . . unus arcus argenti . . . vij legs and foots argenti . . . iv 
teeth and iv hearts argenti . . . viij eyn and ij hands argenti 
. . . ij arrow heads of gold . . . viij images and heads . . . St. 
George on horsback of silver ... a horse of silver . . . j pap and 
j gun . . . ij pieces of harneys for horse heads . . . j heart of 
gold ynameled with white and green, &c. Invent. Jocalium Ecc. 
Cathed. Eboracemis, in Mon. AnyL, viii., 1206. 

PART I. CHAP. X. 387 

whatever they thought could bear witness to our 
olden faith ; and the beardless boy Edward VI., 
saying that he knew better than antiquity fifteen 
hundred years of age, commanded the clergy 
" that they shall take away, utterly extinct and 
destroy all shrines, coverings of shrines, all tables, 
candlesticks, trindles or rolls of wax, pictures, 
paintings, and all other monuments of feigned 
miracles, pilgrimages," &c. 


(469) Music AT SHRINES 

was no uncommon thing. Minstrels used to fre 
quent our larger churches, especially if the tomb 
of some far-famed saint stood within the hallowed 
walls. When people came thither to pay their 
devotions to God, or to bring a gift in thankful 
acknowledgment of a kindness bestowed from 
above upon themselves or kinsfolks, these glee- 

67 Wilkins, Condi., iv. 7. The " idolatry and superstition " of 
these observances are most unfounded accusations ; but like 
Satan, when he wrought the fall in Paradise of our first parents, 
evil-minded men are never at a loss to give some excuse, though 
it be of the lamest, as they try and wean the world from the 
Church s teaching. By headstrong scorners the Church of God 
from the beginning has been laughed at for its readiness to 
acknowledge miracles ; and through Horace s heathenish gibe, 

- credat Judseus Apella 
Non ego : - 

at such a willingness of belief among the then people of Heaven 
the Jews that same spirit breathes which speaks at this day 
the Protestants sneer on a like score against Catholics. The 
words, however, in which our countrymen choose to announce 
their unbelief, are rougher and harsher than those uttered by the 
.gentile Roman poet. 


men awoke the notes of gladness ; and not only 
played on harp and sytol, rote, sawtry, and ribible, 
but sang hymns to heaven in praise of the saint 
whose remains lay enshrined before them. 68 
(470) Another practice was to have 


In the twelfth century, perhaps earlier, might 
always have been found, stretching across from 
the south to the northern wall of the chancel, a 
thick four-faced rafter of wood, some three feet or 
so, in small buildings, higher in large ones, above 
but just behind the eastern side of the high altar. 
This spar was known as the " beam/" 59 and had 

C8 T O Walter Luvel, the harper of Chichester, whom the king 
(Edward I.) found playing the harp before the tomb of St. Richard 
in the cathedral of Chichester, 6s. 8d. ( Wardrobe A ccounts of Edward /.> 
quoted by Brayley, Graphic Illustrator, p. 89). For these minstrels 
another favourite haunt were the altars dedicated in honour of 
the B. V. Mary ; and in some of our cathedrals, the noise no less 
than the importunities of these musicians became such that at 
last it was found expedient to keep them out altogether. See 
Sparrow Simpson, Registrum, p. 72. 

09 The liturgical student should be warned against the mistake, 
made by many, of confounding this " beam " with quite another 
piece of church furniture called the "perch." The "beam "was 
a heavy rafter let at both its ends into the chancel walls ; and 
serving as it did to uphold the rood, so that the priest all the 
while he said mass could look up to it, stood to the east of the 
altar. This beam led in time to the formation of the reredos, 
which was formed by merely filling up. with stonework or wooden 
panel, the space between the ground and the beam. The " perch " 
was a thin metal rod, or a broad lath of wood, let down by a rope 
from the roof, so as to fall to about twelve feet of the floor, and 

PART I. CHAP. X. 389 

given to (471) it as much ornament as carving, 
gilding, and colours could lend. Upon it, in the 
middle, arose the crucifix, with our blessed Lady 
the Virgin at the right, and St. John at the left 
hand of our Lord. In the same row with these 
images stood reliquaries made of gold, silver, 
rock-crystal, or ivory, 70 as well as holy books 
which once belonged to, or had been written 
out by, some saint. 71 From fastenings (472) 
driven into the under face of the beam, hung 
down by little chains other reliquaries ; among 
which might sometimes be seen horns much 
prized either for their rarity or beautiful carvings, 

far away bat before the altar, that is, to the west of it, and not to 
its east side, behind it, like the beam. When the reredos became 
general, that piece of timber going between the jambs of the 
great arch parting the chancel from the nave, and upon which the 
rood-loft stood, was often called the " rood-beam," sometimes the 
" candle-beam," from the tapers being stuck there upon their laton 
branches to burn at the foot of the crucifix or rood. 

70 Contigit tune temporis magnam trabem que solebat esse ultra 
altare, sublatam esse, ut nova sculptura repararetur. Contigit et 
crucem et Mariolam et Johannem, et loculum cum camisia sancti 
^Edmundi, et philateria cum reliquiis que ab eadem trabe pendere 
solebant, et alia sanctuaria que super trabem steterant, omnia 
prius sublata esse ; alioquin omnia conbusta essent, ut credimus, 
sicut pannus depictus conbustus fuit qui in loco trabis pendebat. 
Joscelin de Brakelond, Chron., p. 79. 

71 Inter quae (reliquiarum sanctuaria sanctiora ecclesise Dunel- 
mensis) Beati Cuthberti libellus prsecipui honoris exstitit . . . 
solempni quodam tempore festivitatis, accidit ut secretarius, 
cujus id erat officii, thecam, in qua prsescriptus libellus repositus 
erat, foris exponeret, et Beati Cuthberti altare et sepulchrum 
sacratioribus reliquiarum sanctuariis perornaret. Inter alia etiam 
thecam illam decenti venerationis loco composuit, et tarn preciosi 
libelli solamine, ecclesiae facies honoravit. Reginald, De Adm. 
B. Cuthberti Virt., p. 198. See also vol. i., pp. 235, 236, of this work, 
as well as the note following. 


and holding within them small fragments of 
relics. 72 At each great festival of the year, in 
several of our churches the custom was not only 
to set out upon this beam" every precious vessel 
and jewelled gospel-book, 73 (47 3) but to overspread 
the high altar, as soon as the Holy Sacrifice was 
done, with a splendid pall, and crowd thereon all 
the richest reliquaries 74 which at other times lay 
hidden in strong heavy chests, 75 or could be but 
hardly seen upon their dark shelves athwart the iron 
gratings of the treasury built for holding them. 76 

"- In major! cornu eburneo pendente sub trabe ultra magnum 
altare continentur, Os de Sancto Blasio, item os de sancto 
Bartholomeo, &c. [Legg and Hope, Christ Church Inventories, p. 93]. 

7 * Tempore nuper elapso, Hugone episcopante, sollempnitate 
Paschali etiam instante, ecclesia Beati Cuthberti quam multi 
decoris ornamentis fuerat expolita, et circum sepulcrum Beati 
Patris et circuitum altaris, multa sanctarum reliquiarum exposita 
erant philacteria. Pauper igitur quidam, dum tarn varise supel- 
lectilis deaurata vel argento contexta ornamenta vidit exposita, 
coepit exuri sestu desiderii, et furandi concupiscentia. . . . Thecam 
itaque eburneam superius in tabula cum sanctorum scriniis positam, 
sed seorsum et aliquantulum inferius locatam super omnia prce- 
elegit ; sed prorsus ad ejus altitudinem brachio deficiente pertingere 
omnino non potuit. In cathedram itaque episcopalem secus altare 
positam ascendit, et thecam, sicut destinaverat, sibi in sinu com- 
posuit. Reginald, De S. Cuthberti Virt.,p. 165. 

74 Obtulit (A.D. 1245) illico (ecclesise de Waverly) pannum satis 
pretiosum quern assignavit ad superponendum altari, diebus quibus 
reliquiae ibidem ponuntur. Annales JVaverleiensus, ed. Gale, ii. 206 
[R.S., xxxvi. ii. 336]. 

75 Transcurrentes ad ecclesiam Menevensem, inter reliquias 
sanctorum in quadam cista, cujus clavem idem episcopus por- 
tabat, fracta eadem cista invenerunt (ministri regis) ibidem 
duceritas marcas, &c. Anglia Sac., ii. 653. 

7(5 That most precious little bit of early English architecture 
in the northern transept of Gloucester seems to me to have been 
built on purpose as the minster s treasury for relics. 

PART I. CHAP. X. 391 

The Salisbury, like the Anglo - Saxon rite, 
directed that in the public service upon certain 
days of the year, as well as for some casual 
occurrences, there should be 


How that truly learned man, St. Beda, died, a 
little after undern-time or tierce-song hour, on the 
last gang-day, while the brethren of his minster 
were walking about their fields, as the wont 
of that tide was, with saints relics, we have 
already said. 77 (474) By itself, such a slight 
glance at this event speaks fully enough on the 
ritual of that period. For later or English usage, 
we find how carefully St. Osmund wrote down 
each festival when and after what manner the 
relics were to be carried in the procession of the 
day : 7S what that holy bishop sought to teach by 
such a rubric, was spoken louder yet, through the 
ceremonies resorted to by this land on particular 

In all their woes and dreads, our Catholic 
countrymen used to call upon God, and cry, as 
affrighted children to their father, for help. As 
they showed by all their doings what had been 
taught them, the belief in a communion of saints 

77 See back in this volume, p. 297, note 28. 

78 See Use of Sarum, i. 307. 


led our forefathers to the following, among other 
pious practices. When dearth and starving 
hunger were foreboded by floods or by a rain 
less spring and scorching summer sky when 
the threatenings of God s wrath unto men were 
muttered through the bleatings and lowings of 
-dying flocks and herds, then did our people, at 
the clergy s bidding, gather themselves together, 
and going forth from their churches, barefoot and 
fasting, in solemn procession, take along with 
them, as they sang psalms and the litanies, all 
about the country the shrines of the saints. 79 In 
thus striving, (475) by their own supplications 
unto Heaven, to ward off or stay its wrath, at 
the same time that they besought each one of 
the saints above to help them by brotherly re 
membrance and prayer to Christ, those forefathers 
of ours asked and hoped to have the more earnest 
and especial intercession in their behalf of those 
hallows whose relics they were then carrying for 
such a purpose, around their fields and towns : 

79 Abbas et conventus Sancti Albani, perpendentes de inunda- 
tione pluviarum immoderata (A.D. 1257), tarn fcenis quam segeti- 
bus suffocationem generalem imminere, prout consuevit in tali 
fieri periculo, constituerunt in capitulo lit indicto jejunio per 
archidiaconum, tarn in populo quam conventu, cum processione 
solenni feretrum Sancti Albani ad Sanctse Mariae ecclesiam, quse 
de Pratis dicitur, deportaretur, conventu et populo nudis pedibus 
subsequentibus cum oratione devotissima. Quo facto, eadem die 
meritis beati martiris cessavit inundatio tarn dampnosa (Matt. 
Paris, Chron. Majora, p. 642) [R.S., Ivii. v. 644, 645]. For another 
instance of a like custom, see p. 179, note 34. 

PART I. CHAP. X. 393 

with the same intention, they carried a shrine on 
each of their gang-day processions. 80 

(476) Again, too, in their border warfares did 
they act after the same way. When an inroad 
from the foe was feared, the bishop would send 
out his pastoral word unto each nook and corner 
throughout the diocese, summoning all to hurry 
to their chieftain s pennons. Readily was such a 
call answered, and headed by their priests and 
clergy, with Christ s cross and the banners of 
their heaven-dwelling patrons uplifted, and those 
saints relics solemnly borne along with them, did 
all those who were young and strong enough in 
every parish go forth to drive back the daring 
freebooter, and keep him far away from the 
beautiful hallowed churches, the homesteads, 
and firesides of merry England. 81 During this 
country s internal broils, our own yeomen would 
send off to the nearest town which held a shrine 

80 In processione ammali rogationum vel letaniarum solet 
efferri scrinio aureo beati Lethardi corpus opiferum in bene- 
dictionem et proventuum agrorum ac plebium. Capgrave, Nova 
Leyenda Anylie [Horstman, ii. 148]. The costliness, the orna 
ments, and the beautiful silk hangings, which fell from both 
sides of these portable shrines, may be guessed at from the above 
and following description of them : Unum feretrum ligneum 
pro rogationibus cum cluabus costis de serico et platis argen- 
teis et aymellatis et deauratis cum armis diversorum. Mon. 
Anfjl.j viii. 1366. 

81 Sed et Turstinus archiepiscopus per totam diocesim suam 
edictum episcopate proposuit, ut de singulis parochiis, presby- 
teris cum cruce et vexillis reliquiisque sanctorum pmeeuntibus, 
omnes qui possent ad bella procedere, ad proceres properassent, 
Ecclesiam Christi contra barbaros clefensuri. ^Elred, Jf-ixt. de 
Bello Standardi, ed. Twysden, i. 377 [P.L., cxcv. 703]. 


their stores of food and whatever else they had, 
that, while any danger lasted, their little all might 
thus lie under the keeping of the saint. There, 
too, as the last help against armed soldiers and 
their unholy might, the shrine was borne out of 
the church to stop the marauders, and so became 
(477) the only often, however, the strong un- 
passed wall between them and the wealth of 
that defenceless town which they had come to 
pillage. 82 

If at all times our native workmen tried to give 
to these reliquaries however various their shape 
a graceful form, not tmoften did they task their 
best wits and bestow upon these church appliances 
the highest beauty of their craft, as they fashioned 
one or other of them to the whole length likeness 
of some favourite saint. Within such an image, 
the custom was to shut up the very small relics be 
longing to a cathedral or minster, and these little 
fragments may have perhaps occasionally amounted 

!2 Locus quippe ille (circa Novum Castellum) et circumjacens 
regio diebus illis, quia raro colebatur habitatore, ciborum copiam 
minime habebat ; et parum quod habebat, in prsesidio Sancti 
Regis et Martyris Oswini apud Tynemudham depositum, propter 
exercitus regii vitaiidos incursus latebat. . . . Deficientibus itaque 
qme emi possent vitse necessariis, ingruente inedia, invitus (Nigel- 
lus) permisit suos Tynemudham descendere ut vitalia perquirerent. 
Quibus illo pervenientibus, servi Dei inibi habitantes, cum corpore 
Sancti Martyris (Oswini) occurrerunt, in portse ipsius angustia, 
obsecrantes humilius, ut ob Sancti reverentiam parcerent Sancti 
deposito. . . . Videns (Nigellus) Sancti corpus adesse, Sancto 
deferens, ut erat militaribus instructus, animum praedandi de- 
posuit, et equum in quo sedebat ab introitu portse reflexit. 
Vita Oswini, p. 22. 

PART I. CHAP. X. 395 

to a hundred, and of as many saints. The wooden 
(478) figure was sheathed in thin plates of silver 
gilt, or very gold itself, studded with gems, and 
coloured with gay enamelling. Thus to relics 
however tiny, was fitting respect shown, at the 
same time that they were kept from being lost 
or scattered ; and the image which held them, 
became an ornament to that church where it 
stood within its own curtained tabernacle, and 
added splendour to those processions in which 
it happened to be carried. 83 

(479) If, then, besides the small but elegant re 
liquary, the large chest-like gabled coffin that held 
all its saint s bones was carried in procession at 
certain festivals, it is clear that while most of the 
shrines in England were so heavy they could not 
be stirred, and became still further tightly fastened 

83 Est in monasterio Glastoniensi imago queedam in sanctre Dei 
genitricis veneracionem decenter fabricata. . . . Hanc processu 
temporis ymaginem Dominus Johannes Chynnok abbas argento 
et auro lapidibusque preciosis adornans decenter vestivit, multas 
reliquias infra eandem condens quee eciam in solempnioribus aniii 
festis, in sacris processionibus cum ceteris reliquiis venerabiliter 
circumfertur. John Glaston., Hist, de Keb. Glaston., ed. Hearne, p. 
46. " Myself/ says Sir Thomas More, " at the abbay of Barking 
besydes London, to my remembraunce about xxx yeres past, in 
the setting an old ymage in a new tabernacle, the back of the 
image being al painted over, and of long tyme before laid with 
beaten gold, happened to erase in one place, and out there fell a 
prety littel dore, at which fell out also many reliques that had 
lien unknowen in that ymage God wote how long. And as longe 
had been likely to lie agayne, if God by that chaunce had not 
brought them to light. The bishop of London came then thyther 
to se there were no deceite therin. And I amonge other was 
present there while he loked theron and examined the matter." 
Works, London, 1557, p. 192. 


by those strong iron cramps which bound them to 
the stone-work upon which they stood, some of 
them at least must have been made so light and 
left moveable on purpose that they should be lifted 
up and borne about on the shoulders of the clergy ; 
and what is more, held so high at the church 
door, thai all, in coming back thither with the 
procession, could, by slightly stooping, walk under 
them. 84 From the fact that such a ceremony was 
set forth in the Sarum ritual, 85 each of our larger 
churches must, to follow out the rubric, have had 
belonging to it a portable shrine. We know that 
at Durham Cathedral (480) " there was, on the 
south syde, betwixt two pillers, a goodly monu 
ment, all of blew marble, the hight of a yeard from 
the ground, supported with v pillers, in every corner 
one ; and under the mydest one, and above the 
said throwghe of marble pillers, did stand a second 
shrine to Saint Cuthbert, wherin the bones of the 
holie man Saint Beede was inshrined, being ac 
customed to be taiken downe every festival daie, 
when there was any solempne Procession, and 

84 Sanctae Ascensionis Domini dies solennis imminebat, quae ab 
incolis festivius feriabatur ; quoniam eo die reliquiae sancti (Joannis 
Beverlacensis), post peractum tantae solennitatis consonum proces- 
sionis officium, ad mtroitum ecclesise sustentari honorifice solebant, 
donee clerus et populus humili devotione transisset. . . . Praefatus 
seger se sub feretro in vehiculo jussit deferri ut ultimus transiret : 
quern ut umbra capselli in quo sanctum corpus ferebatur, obum- 
bravit, coepit paulatim convalescere, &c. Miracula S. Joannis 
Beverlacen. in A A. SS. Maji, ii. 177. 

8; See the rubric for the ceremonies on Palm Sunday, Use of 
Sarum, i. 59 ; and for the Ascension, ibid., p. 175. 

PART I. CHAP. X. 397 

caried with iiij Monnckes in tyme of Procession 
and devine service, which being ended they did 
convey it into the Gallely, and sett it upon the 
said tumbe againe with great reverence, havinge a 
faire rich cover of wainscott verie curiously gilted 
and appointed to drawe up and downe over the 
shrine, as they list to showe the sumptuousness 
therof." 86 

Whenever a cathedral or a minster needed being- 
rebuilt, or wanted repairing, to go about the diocese 
and gather the alms of the faithful for such a 
(481) worthy purpose, the bishop picked out, from 
among his clergy, a few preachers, and along with 
them he sent a saint s shrine, to be carried, from 
place to place, by young clerks in procession 
throughout the country. On reaching a town, 
these relics were forthwith taken to the church, 
and left upon one of its altars during the stay 
there : the preachers, in turn, spoke to the crowds 
who flocked thither ; and those of the people who 
could afford to give, threw their offerings upon 
the altar whereon stood the shrine, or cast them 
down on the ground just before it. 57 Both whilst 

86 liites of Durham, p. 38. Hugh Pudsey caused this rich shrine 
to be made : " Feretrum quoque ex auro et argento, in quo ossa 
Venerabilis Bedae presbyteri et doctoris ferre decrevit (Hugo ep. 
Dunelmensis) ex studio artificum tanta diligentia compositum, lit 
quid magis in eo praestet, opus an decor attrectantibus merito 
veniat in dubium." Hist. Dunelm. Scriptores Tres, p. 11. St. Wil 
liam s shrine, in York Cathedral, was portable. Mon. Augl., viii. 

87 Hugo Dunelmensis episcopus . . . ecclesise ipsius terminos 
dilatare longius inchoaverat. Unde fratrem quendam ecclesire, 


the mission went abroad (482) and came home 
again in grand processional array with the shrine, 
the cathedral s bells, as did those in every steeple 
of that city, rang out their fullest most solemn 
peal. 88 

But of all such-like processions, the most formal, 
as well as impressive and magnificent, was the one 
made at 


Whensoever the Almighty deigns to do now as 
He did of old, and work wonders by the copes and 
chasubles once belonging to holy priests and bishops 

Alanum nomine, cum clericis in prsedicatione direxerat, et non 
modicam de Beati Cuthberti panno particulam eis cum cseteris 
veliquiarum portionibus dari prseceperat (Reginald, De S. Cuthberti 
Virt., p. 215). Modernis diebus, dum episcopus Dunelmensis 
ecclesise Beati Cuthberti fines studuit dilatando protendere, coepit, 
pro elemosinis fidelium colligendis, quosdam pnedicatores cum prse- 
electissima sanctarum reliquiarum portione in diocesi sua circum- 
quaque dirigere. Quodam vero tempore, dum dies sollempnis 
confluente illuc populo extitit, custos illarum una cum clero huic 
ministerio secum deserviente ad ecclesiam matricem in Dunelmo 
convenit. Collocata igitur theca eburnea cum sacris reliquiis super 
altare deforis in fiiiibus aquilonis, custodes prsecipui ipsarum re- 
fectionis tempore domum pransuri redibant. Erat tune temporis 
in theca ipsa B. Cuthberti casula, per undenos annos cum corpore 
illius incorrupto in sepulcro posita, &c. Hora tune forte eadem, 
quidam advenerat qui ad sacras illas reliquias pro munere devo- 
tionis denarium illic obtulerat. Ibid., p. 77. The offerings in 
money thrown at the foot of a shrine, are shown in our picture, 
p. 321. 

88 Si contingat quod feretrum debeat per aliquas partes remotas 
dioecesis ad elemosinas colligendas deportari, solempnis debet fieri 
pulsatio, quando feretrum aftertur et quando refertur, &c. Statuta 
et Ordin. Ecc. Cathedr. Liclifeldensis, in Mon. Anyl, viii. 1257. 

PART I. CHAP. X. 399 

of the New Law, as He wrought during the time 
of the synagogue through the prophet s mantle ; ^ 
whensoever to the bones of His departed servants 
under the Second Dispensation, He lends a power 
not their own of healing the sick and quickening 
the dead, as it pleased Him to do under the First 
Covenant, by the lifeless, buried bones of Eliseus, 90 
(483) then His spouse the Church shows, as she 
has always shown, how she cares for the remains 
of those her children, whom their and our Lord has 
so strikingly honoured. As soon, therefore, as 
the holiness, whilst in the flesh, of one of God s 
dead servants, had been juridically proved before 
the Roman pontiff, and that head of Christ s 
church on earth had, in the exercise of a ghostly 
supremacy, not only of honour, but authority and 
jurisdiction, 91 by divine (484) right belonging to 

89 4 (2) Kings, ii. 14. 9 Ibid., xiii. 21. 

91 That such a spiritual supremacy, canonically exercised, has 
ever been admitted by God s Church in these islands, from its very 
beginning among our forefathers, may be easily shown. Of the 
Britons times, we hope, ere long, to bring forward the proofs in 
another work ; of Ireland, we have already told her affirmative 
teaching on this point, in our answer to the question, Did the 
Early Church in Ireland acknowledge the Pope s Supremacy ? Con 
cerning the Anglo-Saxon period, there can be no manner of doubt 
but that such a Catholic doctrine was truly held and practised all 
through it. Pope St. Gregory was looked upon and honoured as 
their apostle by the Anglo-Saxons, who kept his festival as a high 
holy day, put his name into the public litanies (Condi. Cloreshor. 
can. xvii., De festivitate colend. SS. Gregorii et Augustini, in 
Wilkins, Condi., i. 97), and sang hymns in his praise during the 
Church services, after this sort : 

Alma Gregori meritis precipue 
Pater Anglorum doctor et apostole 


his chair, canonised that happy individual, the 
first thing done preparatory to the (485) trans- 

Nos semper tuis acljuva suft ragiis 
Ut tecum vite perfruamur bravio. 

The Latin Hymns of the Anglo-Saxon Church (Surtees Soc., vol. 
xxiii. 129). Without any the least understanding or consultation 
on the matter with the civil authorities, all the several kingdoms 
of Anglo-Saxondom were distributed into two ecclesiastical pro 
vinces by the same holy pontiff (Beda, Hist. Eccl., i. 29), who thus 
also set up bishops sees everywhere about the country. ^Elfrics 
Homilies, ii. 133. This great pope s successors not only exercised 
of themselves, but were often asked by the Anglo-Saxons to exer 
cise, a like supreme authority. By the pope was every archbishop 
as well as bishop either appointed or confirmed. To Rome did 
each archbishop go in person (A A. SS. Maji, iv. 355), or when un 
able, send an especial messenger for his pall (Anglo- Saxon Chronicle, 
A.D. 735, 736> 764, 780, &c.). To Rome were carried, as to the last 
and highest tribunal, all disputes about faith, morals, or discipline, 
as was exemplified in the instances of St. Wilfrid, abp. of York 
(Eddius, Vita S. Wilfridi, xxix.-xxxii. [R.S., Ixxi. i. 40-47] ; Tatwin, 
abp. of Canterbury Alb. Chron. R. de Diceto, ed. Twysden, i. 443 ; 
St. Egwin ; A A. SS. Januarii, i. 708) ; and St. Neot (ibid. Julii, vii. 
323). As soon as Rome ratified any synodical decrees, they were 
received and promulgated by Anglo-Saxon councils. Whenever 
the pope sent hither a legate to inquire about ghostly things, 
willingly was that official received A. S. Chron., A.D. 785 [-R.&, xxiii. 
i. 97], and as readily listened to ; and if a council happened 
to be held, or he himself called one, while he was in England, he 
sat in it as its head. But besides all this, the formal recognition 
of the papal supremacy by church and state not only by the 
bishops, but also by the king, was made in the council of Calcuith 
(A.D. 787) ; for not only one of its decrees entitled " Ut privilegia 
a Pontifice Romano concessa observantur " enacts " ut privilegia 
antiqua a sancta Romano sede delata, ecclesiis omnibus con- 
serventur" (Wilkins, Condi. , i. 147), but the papal legate, in the 
copy of those decrees meant to be sent to Rome, tells the pope 
" tarn rex (Offa) quam principes sui, archiepiscopus cum sociis suis 
in maim nostra in vice Domini (" Dominii " Spelman reads) vestri 
signum sanctse crucis firmaverunt et rursum prsesentem chartulam 
sacro signo roboraverunt." Ibid. 151. In accordance with such a 
belief, the pope was always prayed for in the Anglo-Saxon liturgy, 
as we have already instanced (vol. ii. p. 289), and may be seen in 

PART I. CHAP. X. 401 

lation of his or her relics, was to get ready a 
sumptuous shrine. But the search after gems 

the following : Pietate tua, quesumus, domine, nostrorum solue 
uincula peccatorum, et intercedente beata maria cum omnibus 
sanctis tuis, papam nostrum, regemque nostrum et reginam nos- 
tram, et episcopos nostros uel abbates nostros, una cum omnibus 
congregationibus et famulis sibi commissis in omni sanctitate 
custodi, &c. Leofric Missal, 251. Why the Roman pontiffs name 
is put first in all these forms of prayer, is thus accounted for by 
the Anglo-Saxon who wrote his short work on the Mass, and in 
commenting on those words of the canon, " una cum famulo tuo 
papa nostro," says : Quia ipse vice apostolica capud (sic) est 
ecclesise, ideo primus nominator. De Ordine Missse., MS. Bodl. 
Hatton 93, fol. 2o v . 

The exercise of such a spiritual supremacy which the Anglo- 
Saxons acknowledged in the Roman pontiff over themselves, 
stretched its authority, they maintained, to the uttermost bounds 
of the earth : in him they beheld that vessel of election, that 
chosen head, which God had set over the whole Church. In his 
letter to the pope, whom he calls " Domino in Domino dominorum 
dilectissimo terque beatissimoPapse Gregorio/ Huertberchtsays : 
Gratias agere non cesso Dispensationi superni examinis . . . quod 
te nostris temporibus tarn glorificum electionis vas regimini totius 
ecclesise prseficere dignata est (Hist. Abb. Gyrv. auct. anon., in Ven. 
Beda Opp. Hist. Minora, ed. Stevenson, 30, p. 329). The writer of 
these lives is earlier than Beda. The following extract, if not 
from the pen of St. Beda himself, is from that of a monk of Wear- 
mouth, almost that saint s contemporary : Ad beatorum Aposto- 
loruin limina [Romam] peregrinaturus advolavit (Benedictus 
Biscopus) ut quia rudis adhuc in gente Anglorum fides et ecclesi- 
arum institutio florebat, ibi potius perfectam vivencli formam 
sumeret, ubi per summos Christi Apostolos totius Ecclesise caput 
eminet eximium. tiermo in Natale S. Benedicti, ibid., p. 336 [P.L., 
xciv. 226]. This headship of the bishop of Rome over all the 
churches of the world, was not only believed by the Anglo-Saxons 
at home, but zealously taught by them whenever they went abroad 
to preach to the heathen and bring them within the pale of 
Christendom. This is strongly instanced in the teaching of our 
illustrious and sainted countryman St. Boniface, who, in writing 
to Cuthberht, archbishop of Canterbury, concerning a council he 
had just held, tells him : Deere vimus autem in nostro synodali 
conventu, et confessi sunius fidem Catholicam, et unitatem et 
subjectionem Romanic ecclesise, fine tenus vitse nostrse velle 
VOL. ILL 2 0* 


and (486) precious stones for studding the golden 
sides of such a costly reliquary, as well as the 

servare: sancto Petro, et vicario ejus velle subjici . . . metro- 
politanos pallia ab ilia sede quserere ; et per omnia, prsecepta 
Sancti Petri canonice sequi desiderare. ... Sic enim, ni fallor, 
onines episcopi debent metropolitan, et ipse Romano pontifici, 
si quid de corrigendis populis apud eos impossibile est, notum 
facere (Epist. S. Bonifacii ad Cuthbertum Archiep. Cantuariensem, in 
Opp. ed. Giles, i. 140). Correlative with this tenet of the papal 
supremacy there is another Catholic doctrine the oneness of 
belief so akin to it, that, like twins in one body, they must live 
and be together : cut off either from the other, and both die. 
This oneness of belief, stretching itself throughout the world, no 
writer has laid down in stronger words than our own Anglo-Saxon 
Beda, in several of his works. Commenting on the Canticle of 
Canticles, that father says : Cella vinaria ecclesia debet intelligi, 
in cujus unitate soluinmodo Spiritus Sanctus dari solet, et accipi. 
Introduxit ergo dilectus amicam suam in cellam vinariam, quia 
Dominus ecclesiam de toto orbe collectam, in unam sibi domum 
fabricavit, quam sui Spiritus charismate consecravit (Expos, in Can. 
Cantic.) ii. \P.L., xci. 1104]. Again, in the same place, making the 
words of St. Gregory the Great his own by adopting them, Beda 
cries out : Quid per mala punica, nisi fidelium unitas designator ? 
Nam sicut in malo punico, uno exterius cortice, multa interius grana 
muniuntur ; sic innumeros sanctse ecclesise populos unitas fidei 
contegit, quos intus diversitas meritorum tenet. Ibid., vii. [1232]. 
Had Beda lived in these our days, thoroughly shocked would have 
been that learned saint at finding, in this land, men w^hose novel 
rule of faith is drawn up not after the old word of God, but to 
coincide with a system of geography men who think, or strive to 
think, that the Church, the kingdom of Christ which is not of this 
world, is to be parcelled out into separate and different divisions 
and sects, each the length of its own earthly king s sceptre, so 
that a ridge of hills, a river, or a frith, should not only form the 
boundaries of an empire s sway, but also the limits within which 
certain articles of faith are to be believed, and beyond which 
those same articles may and ought to be denied men who hold 
that the papal supremacy must be unfalteringly acknowledged by 
all those born and living in Italy, France, Spain, Flanders, and 
other parts of Christendom, but forsooth ought to be spurned and 
gainsaid by their own selves because they are Englishmen, and 
happen to have had their birthplace in an island separated from 
the before-named countries by a few miles of sea in the Straits of 

PART I. CHAP. X. 403 

nice workmanship (487) bestowed upon its ex 
quisitely wrought crest, its high and low reliefs, 
and its rows of little statues. (488) often took up 
many years. 92 When, however, a day, though 
still far off, had been fixed on, the (489) king, 
the archbishops, bishops, abbots, together with 
all the highest nobles of the land, were bidden 
to the ceremony ; and of them, every one who 
could, came and brought along with him a long 
and glittering train of followers. Crowds also of 
dignified clergymen and other clerks, as well as 
thousands of lay-folks, hied thither : on some re 
markable instances such as the translation of St. 
Thomas of Canterbury s relics from their first 
grave in the undercroft of that cathedral not only 
men but women flocked over to our shores from 
different parts of Christendom in such large num 
bers as to awaken the astonishment of Englishmen, 

Dover. To men so bewildered, who seem to liken Christ s Church 
to Joseph s patched coat of many colours, rather than Christ s 
own seamless garment, we would address those words which our 
illustrious Anglo-Saxon countryman, the same Beda, puts into the 
mouth of our Lord, whom he makes to speak thus unto His spouse, 
His Church : Tota quidem forma tui corporis, quo per mundum 
longe lateque dilataris, O ecclesia catholica, pulchra mihi et imma- 
culata appares ; sed hoc est quod me prse cseteris ad te amandam 
rnirifice accendit, quia unitatem ejusdem fidei ac dilectionis et in 
prseclaris fidelibus, ac in subjectis habere probaris. Hoc est quod 
me ad excipiendum pro tua vita vulnus mortis adduxit. Quia te 
in omnibus membris tuis, et in majoribus scilicet, et in minoribus, 
et fortioribus, et mediocribus unitati studere desiderabam, ut 
uno in omnibus, atque indissimili sensu ad illam tenderes vitam, 
in qua unitas verse pacis regnat et glorise. Expos, in Can. Cantic., iv. 
[P.L., xci. 1139, 1140]. 
<J2 See p. 322, note 67. 


who, till then, had never beheld so many people 
gathered together at one spot in this island. 93 On 
the eve of (490) the function, a rite used to be 
performed, to which only a favoured few were 
admitted : the new shrine was solemnly blessed 
and anointed on the inside at its four corners by 
the bishop ; 94 this done, by the same bishop s 
hands were the saint s bones reverently washed in 
water, and each of them wrapped up in its own 
towel of the whitest finest linen ; and then about 
the whole were folded silken palls of the most 

93 Hoc anno (1220), nonis Julii, translation est corpus gloriosi 
martyris Thomre Cantuariensis archiepiscopi a venerabili viro 
S[tephano] . . . de crypta eeclesire, ubi jacuerat fere per 1. annos. 
ad emineiitiorem locum, videlicet retro majus altare ecclesise, et 
reconditum in loculo ex auro et argento miro opere constructo, 
gemmisque pretiosis mirifice insignito. Ad cujus translationem 
tarn grandis conventus utriusque sexus de diversis mundi partibus 
convenerat, ut nunquam retroactis temporibus, ut dicitur, tarn 
magna multitudo hominum ad unum locum in Aiiglia coadunata 
fuerat. Annales Waverleienses, ed. Gale, ii. 185 [P.S., xxxvi. 
ii. 293]. 

94 In benedictione Scrinii vel arche reliquiarum, vel sanctorum. 
Induatur episcopus sicut in consecracione altaris, &c. Tune ab 
episcopo fiat benedictio salis et aque, prout dicitur in dominicis 
diebus, et cum ipsa aqua aspergat scrinium, &c. Tune lavetur 
scrinium aqua benedicta et abstergatur lintheo, canendo anti- 
phonam, Qui habitat in adjutorio AUistimi, in protections Dei cell 
commorabitur. Oratio. Domine Deus omnipotens . . . benedic, nobis 
obsecrantibus, hoc scrinium vel hanc capsam quod vel quam in tuo 
sancto nomine consecramus, ad tuorum sanctorum sancta continenda, 
et, te benedicente, ad plenum sit sanctificatum, quatenus cunctorum Uic 
precamina fundentium preces exaudiantur, et a te piissimo remunera- 
tore omnium peccatorum purgari squaloribus et in perpetuum tueri 
mereantur. Tune lavet scrinium vel capsam intrinsecus in qiiatuor 
locis cum oleo sancto crismate mixto, &c. Liber Pontificalix, 
ed. Barnes, p. 23 1 . Postea retro dantur reliquie in scrinio cantando 
antiphonam Corpora sanctorum in pace sepulta sunt t et vivent nomina 
eorum in eternum, cfcc. Ibid., p. 233. 

PART I. CHAP. X. 405 

costly kind. 95 The early morning of (491) the 
morrow looked down upon a church already 
crammed to the furthest corner upon a church 
yard and streets and lanes and fields around 
trodden by feet that had walked from afar, and 
been restless all night. But lo ! the bells send 
forth their most gladsome peal ; a stir is seen 
among the crowd ; and amid all that sea of heads, 
there is not one but is bared and unhooded in a 
moment, for reared high aloft is now beheld 
coming quite a little host of tall gold and silver 
crosses ; after these a long, long line of monks in 
their habits, of priests, deacons, and subdeacons, 
clothed in their respective vestments, and holding 
lighted tapers in their (492) hands, is threading 
its slow way amid the throng ; then follow a mul 
titude of abbots, bishops, and archbishops, with 
blazing wax torches, and arrayed in richly em 
broidered copes and jewelled mitres. Behind 

95 At the finding (A.D. 1065) of the body of St. Oswin, King of 
Northumberland and martyr, it was first washed and then en 
shrined ; and of the water used on the occasion, we are told : 
Lavatur autem a prsesule corpus sacri sanguinis effusione Deo 
dicatum, et lotum primo mundissimis involvitur lintheis, deinde 
palliis preciosis, et in mausoleo cum magno honore reconditum in 
eminentiori ecclesire loco collocatur. Lavacrum igitur quo ablutum 
est corpus sanctissimum, in angulo oratorii ad aquilonem episcopo 
ex industria prsecipiente transfusum est. Quod multis postea 
profuit, non solum hominibus sed etiam animalibus variis mor- 
borum generibus laborantibus. Nam quotiens sontico vel inter 
polate morbo gravabatur vel hominum vel animalium natura pulvis 
sacro lavachro conspersus, modico aqure injectus, et a languente 
aqua mediante haustus, citissimam conferebat sanitatem et collatam 
protractius conservabat. Vita Oswini, p. 14. 


comes floating widely all around, like a thick, 
silvery, sweet-smelling mist, the up-curling smoke 
of incense breathed forth from scores of golden 
thuribles, swung to and fro by a circle of youths, 


who encompass a chosen band. Ever and anon, 
athwart this deep white cloud of fragrance, the 
twinklings from precious stones are seen, and a 
glimpse is caught of the golden panels on the 
shrine. 96 But who are the bearers of that precious 

96 Abbatum, sacerdotum, monachorum adunato ccetu, cum iniiu- 
mera utriusque sexus plebe, illam pretiosissimam corporis glebam, 
palam cunctis revelatam, in eminentiorem monasterii locum trans- 
tulerunt, prsemissis variis cereorum facibus, et sanctse crucis 
vexillis, cum thuribulis thymiamata vaporantibus magnse sestima- 
tionis, monachus prseibat caput viri (S. Guthlaci) Dei intra 
pyxidem crystallis et margaritis distinctam bajulans. Universi 
sequentes canticorum divine-rum laudes dulci modulatione canerites 
et diversis linguarum choris clamorem consonum reddentes, 
sonantibus organis hymnorum qui ad laudem Regis yeterni decan- 
tantur, summo favore omnes plaudebarit. Translatio S. Guthlaci, 
in A A. SS. Aprilis, ii. 56. 

PART I. CHAP. X. 407 

load? The king himself is one, his nearest of 
kin, his proudest barons are with him, and upon 
their shoulders 97 do they carry the bones of that 
holy (493) man who in life was perhaps the 
lowliest individual in the kingdom. Hymns are 
chaunted to the sound of a hundred harps and 
psalteries : the crowd takes up the song ; English 
men and foreigners speak the overflowing gladness 
of their hearts, each in his own tongue, but all 
the thousands there uplift their voices, which 
mingle into one loud swelling chorus of praise 
and thanksgiving to God for His goodness to His 
creatures. Of 


a word or two here may not be beside our present 

From the earliest ages, each bishop, by virtue 
of his episcopal authority, could (and did) inquire 
into the life and deeds of such as died with the 
reputation of extraordinary holiness, in his diocese 
into the miracles said to have been wrought by 
their intercession, whilst they lived, or at the 
graves wherein their bodies lay buried. If found 
to have been children after God s own heart, and 
high examples of Christian perfection worthy of 

97 See notes 49, 50, on pp. 309, 310. 


being followed, by holding them up as such to the 
people immediately under his pastoral care, the 
bishop proclaimed those departed servants of 
Christ to be happy in heaven, saints ; and as 
such, to be honoured and invoked. But, like his 
jurisdiction, a bishop s authoritative sentence of 
beatification reached no further than the limits of 
his own diocese. As, however, the love for a 
good man s (494) memory often spreads as wide 
as the fame of his virtues, the devotion towards 
provincial models of good life crept by little and 
little throughout the land. Hence happened it 
that this kind of local canonisation, or the enroll 
ing of a holy person among the saints, by one 
individual bishop for the edification of his own 
flock, from being adopted by the rest of the 
bishops one after the other, for their respective 
people, in any kingdom, became, as it were, an 
act of national canonisation, and got to be more 
so still by the decrees of provincial synods, which 
commanded the keeping of the saint s festival, 
and by the consequent insertion of the saint s 
name in the public litanies, and by giving him a 
place in the missals and portouses of the national 

What was done by one bishop for his diocese, 
and by all the bishops of a kingdom for the 
observance of their own country, the Pope, in 
virtue of his headship over the whole Church, did, 
that it might be fulfilled by every part of Christen- 

PART I. CHAP. X. 409 

dom ; and those saints whom he canonised thus 
came to be held up to the devotion and example 
not merely of some, but all the faithful. Upon 
such a part, which they had always discharged, of 
their high office, the Roman pontiffs began, in 
the twelfth century, to bestow more particular 
watchfulness ; as is shown by Alexander III. 
(i 159-1 181), who canonised, with much solemnity, 
our St. Edward the Confessor and St. Thomas of 
Canterbury. For many years, however, after this 
pontiff s time, the (495) right of beatifying that 
is, declaring a holy person a saint, and decreeing 
that due honour might be paid him, within a par 
ticular diocese continued to be exercised in Eng 
land and everywhere else by the bishops of the 
church, as our countryman Friar Thomas Walden 
tells us, among other things, in his sound and 
learned overthrow of WyclifFs arguments. 98 

18 Ideo sine trepidatione confidit ecclesia quod episcopus petit 
etjudicat circa mortuos . . . quid impediet episcopum ne canonice 
inquirat de vita diutina talis sancti ut pleniorem trahat notitiam ; 
et si earn invenerit sanctorum cultu dignam, auctoritate episco- 
pali confklenter exprimere sanctum Dei plebibus venerandum. Et 
si omnis episcopus hoc habet juris, quid maxime facere poterit epis- 
coporum episcopus P De Sanctis Canoniz., tit. xiv. cap. cxxiii., in 
Opp. vi. 263. Now, the usage everywhere is to carry all ques 
tions about the beatification as well as canonisation of saints 
to Rome ; and the reader wishful of knowing each step taken 
throughout both processes, should look into Benedict XIV. s 
grand work, "De Serv. Dei Beatif. et Beat. Canonizatione." 
The ceremonial for the occasion may be seen in the C&remoniale 



was no uncommon usage in England ; never prac 
tised however but on fragments, and those of 
small size. The shred from a saint s coarse gar 
ments, or a lock of his hair, our forefathers would 
fearlessly throw amid the flames : when brought 
(496) out unsinged, undimmed, it had gone 
through an ordeal which answered a twofold 
purpose, for while such a victorious proof did 
away with doubts, had any arisen, about the 
relic s genuineness, to the thought of those who 
possessed or who beheld the holy treasure, at 
the same time this test helped to awaken greater 
love towards the saint of whom it was the relic, 
and afforded new assurance of the strength of 
his intercession with God in behalf of all those 
who asked him to pray for and along with them." 

9U Contigit autem ut comitissa . . . Judith nomine, pontifici 
(^Egelwino Dunelmensi episcopo) ad ecclesiam (beatse genetricis 
Sanctae Virginis Marine de Tynemudtha) jam properanti secreto 
mandaret, quatinus si, donante Deo, corpus Sancti martyris 
(Oswini) eum invenire contingeret quant ulamcunque portionem 
inde pro benedictione reservaret. . . . Pnedicta mulier capillos 
Sancti nullo loco conclusit, sed ignis purgatione prius probare 
disposuit, non ut in aliquo de ipsis dubitaret. . . . Accensus est 
itaque copiosus ignis in atrio, et impositis ignito lateri capillis, 
ab omnibus unanimiter ad Deum devote funditur oratio. Mira 
res. Nil quippe citius pilo ignis odore consumitur, et tamen 
immissus a fervente undique incendio pilus non laeditur. Vita 
Oswini, p. 19. Reginald the Durham monk relates two other 
such miracles, one with the hair, the other with a shred cut 
from the clothes of St. Cuthberht. De Admirand. S. Cuthberti 
Virt, pp. 57, 97. 

PART I. CHAP. X. 411 

But besides their bones, and the ashes from 
their graves besides the clothes which they had 
once worn, the books they had written or prayed 
from, (497) the chalices they had handled, and 
sacerdotal garments which they had at any time 
worn, while offering up the great unbloody sacrifice 
of the new law, 


but slenderly connected with the saints, were 
often gazed upon with reverent eye, held in a 
certain respect, and 


The very ground trodden on by St. Thomas of 
Canterbury, where he alighted from his horse at 
several little villages on the road, to give on foot, 
and not on horseback, like other bishops at those 
times did when travelling the sacrament of Con 
firmation unto those crowds of children whom 
their mothers brought out to him for the pur 
pose, as he rode to London at his return from 
exile. On the village green of Newton, a wooden 
cross, put up by some unknown hand, and wooden 
crosses in two other hamlets, showed, for many 
years afterwards, the very spot itself at each of 
these places whereon the saint had stood the 
while he administered the holy rite ; and those 


same spots did the people behold with religious 
respect, and God was pleased to hallow them by 
miracles. 1 The rings and necklaces (498) which 
had been let touch the dead body of St. Richard 
of Chichester were looked upon as thereby sancti 
fied, and ever after kept as relics. 2 

Many were the scoffs which the sneerer spoke 
against Christ s miracles and unto Christ Himself : 
the scorner s tongue has been busy ever since with 
its gibes against Christ s saints and their relics. 
One of the slanders by which some have tried 
to laugh down the respect which Christ s Church 
has from the beginning shown to these remains, 
is, that two bodies, two heads, four arms, and a 
multitude (499) of other limbs, have been, in 
different countries, passed off upon the world as 
the true very relics of one and the same holy 

1 In inedio villse (Niwentona, latine Nova-villa) a primis mira- 
culorttm diebus crux est e recta, sed cujus minister! o, adhuc igno- 
ratur. Locus ille, in quo crux stat, terra sancta est, gratiis plenus, 
et miraculorum gloria celeberrimus. Cum enim sanctus (Thomas) 
ab exsilio revocatus adiret Londonias, apud Niwentonam de equo 
descenderat, et dum pueris maims imponeret, et chrismate con- 
firmatis gratise plenitudinem adesse invocaret, eodem in loco 
constiterat. Non enim erat ei, ut plerisque immo ut fere 
omnibus episcopis moris est, ministerium confirmation^ equo 
insidendo peragere ; sed ob sacramenti reverentiam equo desilire, 
et stando pueris manus imponere. Sed et in aliis duobus locis, 
eadem de causa descendens, occurrentis populi votis devote satis- 
fecit ; in quorum singulis, propter miraculorum frequentiam et 
ipsius martyris in somnis admonitionem, singulae cruces lignese 
sunt erectse. Benedict, De Mirac. S. Thomte. iii. 64 [R.S., Ixvii., 
ii. 164, 165]. 

- Annulos sive monilia que sanctum corpus (B. Richardi) teti- 
gerunt, sanctificata reputabant et pro reliquiis conservabant. 
Capgrave, Nova Legenda Anglie [Horstman, ii. 336]. 

PART I. CHAP. X. 413 

personage. If any such mistakes were made, 
they could have been committed but by very 
few ; and they arose from such men forgetting 
that the town wherein they dwelt had but half 
the body, half the head, half of the arm, of their 
beloved patron saint, while the other half was 
kept with like honour, and enshrined at a church 
a long way off, in quite a different part of 
Christendom : either country so far only as the 
unlearned yet over-zealous of its inhabitants are 
to be understood by the term thinking itself 
gifted with the treasure of the whole body of 
the saint, both of them loudly boasted of their 
presumed possession. Out of this, grew the 
foolish tale of two heads, or two bodies, of the 
same saint. Though the men of the "new 
learning," in England, knew all this full well ; 
yet the gibe, so wittingly untrue, and founded 
upon such popular mistakes, furnished too much 
help towards their unhallowed work, to be left 
idle : the makers of the new religion threw it 
therefore, often and with all their might, into 
the Church s face. Of her sons however there 
were not wanting those, whom the world loved 
for their truthfulness and holy life as it honoured 
them for their learning and lofty station, to come 
forth and clear their mother from the slur of 
being a cheat : amongst the foremost of such 
champions stood Sir Thomas More, who says : 
"For where as ye (500) woulde take the rever- 



ence from all relyques because that some be 
doutefull, in that some sayntes hed is as ye 
say, and of some the hole bodie shewed at two 
sondrye places, it mai fortune for al thys that 
of one hedde there may be sondry partes, and 
either parte in the comen spech of people called 
the hed. For at Amias is saint Johans hed the 
baptest, as men call it in talking, even they that 
have ben there and sene it. But then if they bee 
asked further questyon therof, thei tel that the 
nether iawe lacketh. This may wel happen also, 
and so doth it happe in dede, by some saynt of 
whome in two divers countries be dyvers shrines. 
And there be rekened and reported that in either 
of theim be layd the hole body, and the pilgrims 
at neither places do loke into the cofyn of the 
shrine to se whether it be al or parte. " ; 

In bringing this chapter to a close, we cannot 
do better than speak to our Catholic readers those 
words uttered ages ago by one of our old English 
fellow Catholics : " Brethren, let us honour the 
relics of the saints in such a manner as to wor 
ship Him whose servants those saints were ; let 
us so honour the saints, that the honour begun 
upon them may reach and end with that Lord 
of theirs who is glorified in his saints, and who 
says of them he that receiveth you receiveth 

me. " 4 

3 Works, p. 192. 

PART I. CHAP. X. 415 

(501) We have now gone over most at least, if 
not all, of the articles in that belief which was 
held in this country, for a thousand unbroken 
years, as the national faith. During those ten 
long centuries, not merely great but organic 
changes were brought about here in every corner 
of our social life. Strangers came hither and 
fought and overthrew the Saxon : the old race 
of kings was tumbled from a throne, upon which 
the Norman seated himself; laws, language, 
customs, dress, everything of this world s fashion 
ing, was altered. But throughout all these throes 
at each birth of a new state of society, it mattered 
not what dynasty wielded the sceptre, what hand 
grasped the sword ; the Church never varied one 
smallest tittle in her teaching : it mattered not 
what region bred the men, who sat either in our 
primatial or our episcopal sees all, and every 
one of our pastors, from the sainted Austin down 
to the forsworn Cranmer, themselves believed and 
taught others to believe the one same faith ; all 
our princes, from ^Ethelberht to the eighth Henry, 
believed and upheld its tenets. Whether the 
Italian Austin, Theodore the Greek, Dunstan the 
Anglo-Saxon, Wilfrid of (502) Northumbria, the 
Irish Aidan, Cuthberht of Lindisfarne, Lanfranc 

4 Honoremus ergo, Fratres, sanctorum reliquias, ut eum cujus 
facti servi, adoremus ; honoremus sanctos, ut honor servoruni 
redundet ad Dominum de quibus ipse ait: Qui vos suscipit, me 
suscipit : qui est in sanctis suis gloriosus, &c. Translatio S. Gitth- 
laci, in A A. SS. Aprilu, ii. 57. 


and Anselm the Lombards, Osmund the Norman, 
or Thomas the martyr and stout-hearted English 
man, sat at Canterbury, or York, or Sarum, or 
elsewhere each and every one of them spoke, 
and wrote, and taught the self-same doctrines. 
What those Catholics believed in their times and 
places, neither more nor less do we Catholics 
believe in ours ; and our Church now is, as it 
has ever been, the very same with " THE CHURCH 


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