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A CHIEF design entertained by the founders of the Royal 
Historical Society to procure materials for history from un- 
explored or recondite sources, is in a great measure realised 
in the Papers which constitute the present volume. It is the 
constant aim of the Council to secure such contributions as 
may promote discussion at the Monthly Meetings and at 
the same time prove useful in the permanent record of the 
Society's Transactions. Since the publication of vol. iii. 
the number of Fellows has increased from 383 to 466. A 
Library, supplied by the contributions of Members, has been 
opened at the Society's Rooms. 




December 1875. 



PREFACE, ......... ii 

LIST OF FELLOWS, ....... v 



No. I. Bulla Gregorii Papse Priori de Bello Loco Ordinis Vallis- 

caulium Rossensis Diocoesis. Ex Autographo [1231], . 13 

,, II. Carta Willielmi Byseth de Ecclesia de Aberterth Facta 
Fratribus de Bello Loco Ordinis Valliscaulium. Ex Au- 
tographo [1231], . . . . .32 

,, III. Carta Andrese Moraviensis Episcopi de Decimis Garbarum 

et Salmonum Parochiae de Abertarff, ... 36 

,, IV. Carta Laurentii Militis, Filij Patricij Janitoris de Innernes 

Priori de Bello Loco. Ex Autographo [1255], . . 46 

,, V. Carta Magistri Henrici de Tottyngham Priori de Bello Loco. 

Ex Autographo 1274, . . . . . 53 

,, VI. Carta David de Innerlunan de Terra de Auchterwaddalle 
seu Onachterwadale ex Dono Gillechrist Macgilleduffi 
Fratribus de Bello Loco. Ex Autographo [c. 1275], . ' 56 


TAVUS GEORGE ZERFFI, Esq., Ph.D., F.R.S.L., F.R.H.S., . 75 


Esq., F.R.H.S., ....... 97 

I. The Aborigines, ...... 103 

II. The Romans, ....... 105 

III. The Scandinavians, ...... 108 

IV. The Normans, . . . . . . . 117 

V. The Plantagenets, . . . . . .132 

vi. The Tudors, . ... . v . .144 

vn. The Stuarts, . . . . . . .163 

vili. The House of Hanover, . . . . .169 




Captain CHARLES WARREN, R.E., F.R.H.S., . . .188 


WATKINS OLD, Esq., F.R.H.S., ..... 231 

CHARLES ROGERS, LL.D., F.R.H.S., F. S.A.Scot., . . 260 

Memoir of George Wishart, . . . . 261 

The Confession of Faith of the Churches of Switzerland, . . 318 

Genealogical History of the House of Wishart, . . . 329 


WORLD. By GEORGE HARRIS, LL.D., F.S.A., F.R.H.S., . 364 


F.R.H.S., . . . . . . .416 


F.R.H.S., ........ 424 


By the Rev. A. H. WRATISLAW, F.R.H.S., . . -439 


Rev. James Swift Abbott. 

Right Honourable Lord Aberdare. 

B. St John Ackers, Esq. 

G. Brindley Acworth, Esq., F.S.A. 

Lieut. -Colonel Edward Akroyd, M.P., 


William E. Akroyd, Esq. 
Arthur Albright, Esq. 
Colonel W. R. Alexander. 
Major-General A. Stewart Allan, F.S.A. 


A. Allen, Esq. 
Charles J. Allen, Esq. 
Dr Altschul, F.R.G.S., M.Philol. Soc., 


J. R. W. Anderson, Esq. 
Frank Andrew, Esq. 
William Andrews, Esq. 
William Annand, Esq. 
Professor Charles E. Anthon, Honorary. 
Thomas Ashton, Esq. 
Thomas Aspden, Esq. 
Alfred Aspland, Esq. 
Colonel Thomas Atchison. 
Josiah Atwool, Esq. 
Henry M 'Lauchlan Backler, Esq. 
Rev. G. R. Badenoch, LL.D. 
John E. Bailey, Esq. 
J. W. Baines, Esq. 
C. W. Barkley, Esq. 
H. C. Barlow, Esq., M.D. 
John Barnard, Esq. 
J. Barnes, Esq. 
T. Squire Barrett, Esq. 
Miss Isabel Bateman. 
Rev. Joseph Chad wick Bates, M.A., 


Rev. W. H. Bathurst. 
W. J. Beach, Esq. 
Thomas Belk, Esq. 
J. Carter Bell, Esq., F.C.S., etc. 
C. Bennett, Esq. 
Captain H. A. Bennett. 
Mrs Angell Bezzi. 
Lewis Biden, Esq. 
William Thomas Black, Esq. 
William Harnett Blanch, Esq. 
Right Honourable Lord de Blaquiere. 
A. Wynter-Blyth, Esq. 
F. C. Bodenham, Esq. 
John J. Bond, Esq. 
T. J. C. L. Bordman, Esq. 
Right Honourable Lord Borthwick. 
Lady Bowring. 
Rev. J. Boyes. 

Edmund Montagu Boyle, Esq. 
William Bragge, Esq., F.S.A. 

lev. George Weare Braikenridge, A.M., 

F.S.A. Scot, 
saac Braithwaite, Esq. 
Edward Herbert Bramley, Esq. 
Thomas Bramley, Esq. 
". Bramley-Moore, Esq., D.L. 
7 . J. Bramwell, Esq. 
William Hutton Brayshay, Esq. 
"ohn A. Bremner, Esq. 
Richard Brewer, Esq. 
rion. and Rev. J. R. O. Bridgeman. 

harles Bridges, Esq. 
[ohn Potter Briscoe, Esq. 
H. Brittain, Esq. 
T. C. Brooke, Esq. 
Barnard P. Broomhead, Esq. 
Cornelius Brown, Esq. 
[. Foster Brown, Esq. 
R. Weir Brown, Esq. 
Edward Browne, Esq. 
George Browning, Esq. 

. H. W. Buck, Esq. 
Joseph Burrell, Esq. 
H. Burton, Esq. 

John Hill Burton, Esq., LL.D., Hon. 
William Samuel Burton, Esq. 
Rev. William Cadman, Prebendary of 

St Paul's. 
N. A. Calvo, Esq. 
The Marquis de Campobianco. 
W. Cann, Esq. 
John B. Cardale, Esq. 
Thomas Cardwell, Esq. 
George F. Carnell, Esq. 
George Causton, Esq. 
Thomas Cave, Esq., M.P. 
John Chappell, Esq. 
The Lord Bishop of Chester. 
David Chinery, Esq., F.R.G.S., etc. 
H. B. K. Chorley, Esq. 
Thomas Chorlton, Esq. 
George Clifton, Esq. 
William Clode, Esq. 
Thomas Close, Esq., F.S.A. 
James C. Clough, Esq. 
James Edwin Cole, Esq. 
Everard Home Coleman, Esq. , F. R. A. S ., 


Jesse Ceilings, Esq. 
William Job Collins, Esq. 
Henry Collinson, Esq. 
J. Monsey Collyer, Esq. 
John Colston, Esq. 
Rev. John Compston. 
Congress Library, Washington, U.S. 
Eugene A. Conwell, Esq. 
Faithful Cookson, Esq. 



John Corbett, Esq. 

Samuel E. Cottam, Esq. 

George Courtauld, Esq. 

Rev. Samuel Cowdy, LL.D. 

J. M. Cowper, Esq. 

George R. Cox, Esq. 

J. Charles Cox, Esq. 

Henry W. E. Crofton, Esq. 

James Croston, Esq., F. S.A. 

George Cruikshank, Esq. 

Alfred Crutwell, Esq., F.G.S. 

Rev. Alfred Hayman Cummings. 

J. E. Cussans, Esq. 

General the Hon. Sir Edward Cust, 

K.C.H., D.C.L. 
John A. Dalziel, Esq. 
J. W. Dangar, Esq. 
Rev. T. W. Davids. 
William James Davidson, Esq. 
Robert Davies, Esq. 
C. R. Davy, Esq. 
Thomas Dawson, Esq. 
Robert Richardson Dees, Esq. 
Rev. B. Dickson, D.D. 
G. Wingfield Digby, Esq. 
John Gartside Dimelow, Esq. 
James Dixon, Esq. 
R. W. Dixon, Esq., D.L. 
Edward C. Doggett, Esq. 
Rev. John S. Doxey, M.A. 
Joseph Drew, Esq., LL.D., F.R.A.S., 


James D. Edgar, Esq., Canada. 
William Emslie, Esq. 
Royle Entwisle, Esq. 
William Erskine, Esq. 
E. Bickerton Evans, Esq. 
H. Russell Evans, Esq. 
W. Evans, Esq. 

William Fair, Esq., M.D., F.R.S. 
C. Duffell Faulkner, Esq. 
Charles R. Federer, Esq. 
Robert Ferguson, Esq., M.P. 
Hamilton Field, Esq. 
Joseph Fisher, Esq. 
Lieut. -Colonel H. Fishwick. 
Edwin F. Fitch, Esq.- 
John Rawlinson Ford, Esq. 
Colonel Lane Fox. 
J. A. Froude, Esq., LL.D. 
Colonel J. G. R. Furlong, F.R.S.E., etc. 
Clement S. Best Gardner, Esq. 
John Ribton Garstin, Esq., M.A., 

F.S.A., M.R.I.A. 
Alfred Scott Gatty, Esq. 
Henri Gausseron, Esq., B.A. 
G. Lawrence Gomme, Esq. 
H. G. Gotch, Esq. 
Frederick Gould, Esq. 
The Right Hon. Lord Ronald Gower. 
J. Graham, Esq. 
William Grain, Esq. 

H. Sydney Grazehook, Esq. 

Richard C. Griffith, Esq., F.R.G.S., etc. 

Dr Charles F. Grindrod. 

R. B. Grindrod, Esq., M.D., LL.D., etc. 

Henry Guest, Esq., Jun. 

R. Sandon Gutteridge, Esq., M.D. 

John Haddock, Esq. 

Alderman S. C. Hadley. 

R. G. Haliburton, Esq. 

Rev. Dunbar Stuart Halkett, M.A. 

Hugh F. Hall, Esq. 

H. L. Hammack, Esq. 

Stephen Harlowe Harlowe, Esq., F.G.S. 

Joseph Hartley, Esq. 

George Harris, Esq., LL.D., F.S.A. 

J. Harris Heal, Esq. 

Edward Charles Healey, Esq. 

Henry Healey, Esq. 

Thomas Heath, Esq. 

John Deakin Heaton, Esq., M.D., 


Henry Heginbotham, Esq. 
J. G. Hepburn, Esq. 
William C. Hepburn, Esq. 
William Herbage, Esq., Treasurer. 
James Heywood, Esq., F.R.S. 
James Higgin, Esq. 
James Higson, Esq. 
George W. Hill, Esq. 
J. W. Hill, Esq., M. A., Trin. Coll., Cam. 
William Hinmers, Esq. 
Professor Edward Hitchcock. 
A. S. Hobson, Esq. 
Thomas Hodgkin, Esq. 
J. Satchell Hopkins, Esq. 
Charles Hood, Esq., F.R.S., F.R.A.S., 


George N. Hooper, Esq. 
Frederick Hovenden, Esq. 
Robert Hovenden, Esq. 
Fretwell M. Hoyle, Esq. 
Edward Hudson, Esq. 
William Hughes, Esq. 
William Hunt, Esq. 
tienry Hunter, Esq. 
[onathan Hutchinson, Esq. 
Robert Hopwood Hutchison, Esq. 
jeorge Hurst, Esq. 
[ohn Hyde, Esq. 
Edwin Buckley Ingham, Esq. 
rlenry B. Jackson, Esq. 
1. R. Jacson, Esq. 
3.alph N. James, Esq. 
*ev. T. James, F.S.A. 
Walter Knight James, Esq. 
'. M. Jeffcott, Esq. 
Frederick J. Jeffrey, Esq., F.G.H.S. 
3. G. Jenkins, Esq. 

ienry Irwin Jenkinson, Esq., F.R.G.S. 
Jewellyn Jewett, Esq. 
ibenezer Septimus Jobson, Esq. 
abez Johnson, Esq. 



David Jones, Esq. 

Henry Watson Jones, Esq. 

James Judd, Esq., F.S.A. 

William Kelly, Esq. 

H. A. B. Kendrick, Esq., F.C.A.S. 

Frederick Kent, Esq. 

C. B. Ker, Esq. 

Abraham Kidd, Esq., M.D., M.R.I. A. 

Rev. Edward King. 

Henry S. King, Esq. 

Kelburne King, Esq. 

J. A. Langford, Esq., LL.D. 

William Lawton, Esq. 

John Walter Lea, Esq., F.G.S. 

John Dunkin Lee, Esq. 

William Lees, Esq. 

Joseph Hyam Levy, Esq. 

Right Rev. the Bishop of Limerick, 


Lieut. -Colonel Edward Lloyd. 
Rev. George Lloyd, F.S.A. 
The Most Hon. the Marquess of Lome. 
Henry Lonsdale, Esq. 
John D. Loverdo, Esq., F.R.S.L. 
Sir John Lubbock, Bart., M.P. 
Augustus W. H. Ludemann, Esq. 
Henry Lupton, Esq. 
W. C. Lucy, Esq. 
W. C. Lucy, Esq., Jun., B.A., Trin. 

Coll., Oxon. 
Thomas Lyle, Esq. 
G. E. Lyon, Esq. 
H. C. Maxwell Lyte, Esq. 
W. Macandrew, Esq. 
J. W. M'Cardie, Esq. of Newpark. 
Justin M'Carthy, Esq. 
Laurence T. M'Ewen, Esq. 
Patrick Comyn Macgregor, Esq. 
Henry Ramsay Mackay, Esq. 
J. M. Mackay, Esq. 
Thomas R. Mackay, Esq. 
Alexander Mackie, Esq. 
C. S. Mackintosh, Esq. 
William Maclean, Esq., F.G.S. 
C. M'Niven, Esq. 
J. A. Macpherson, Esq. 
Edward Makeson, Esq. 
Robert Malcomson, Esq., M.A. 
J. Manuel, Esq. 

Rev. Canon Marsden, B.D., M.R.S.L. 
James Maw, Esq. 
John Thomas Maybank, Esq. 
John Mayhall, Esq. 
Henry Maynard, Esq. 
Barr C. J. Meadows, Esq., M.D., 

Sir James Meek. 
Ludwig Messel, Esq. 
H. E. Michelson, Esq. 
Mrs Everett Millais. 
Joseph Milligan, Esq. 
Henry F. Mills, Esq. 

Rev. Canon Milman, M.A. 

M. Moggridge, Esq. 

William Molyneux, Esq., F.G.S. 

George Moore, Esq. 

Major Richard William Moore. 

Benjamin Moran, Esq., Secretary of 

American Legation, Honorary, 
Thomas Morgan, Esq. 
R. J. Morrison, Esq. 
George Moseley, Esq., F.G.S. 
John James Moss, Esq. 
John L. Motley, Esq., Honorary. 
James Murton, Esq. 
George W. Napier, Esq. 
William Magson Nelson, Esq. 
E. Oakley Newman, Esq. 
George W. Nichols, Esq. 
J. F. Nicholls, Esq. 
John Spenser Noldritt, Esq. 
G. M. Norris, Esq. 
James Nowell, Esq., M.R.C.Lond. 
William O'Donnaven, Esq., LL.D. 
Robert Parr Oglesby, Esq. 
William Watkins Old, Esq. 
Brian O'Looney, Esq., M.R.I. A. 
B. B. Orridge, Esq., F.G.S. 
Rev. J. Douglas Page, A.M. 
P. S. Page, Esq. 
William D. Paine, Esq. 
W. M. Parker, Esq. 
Eugene de la Penha, Esq. 
John Samuel Phene, Esq., LL.D., 

F.R.G.S., F.G.S. 
J. Pickering, Esq., F.R.G.S. 
William J. D. Pink, Esq. 
Mrs A. D. Pollard. 
Frank Pooley, Esq. 
Edward Power, Esq. 
John Prankerd, Esq. 
John P. Prendergast, Esq. 
William Nicholson Price, Esq. 
Robert Taylor Pritchett, Esq. 
John Rae, Esq., LL.D., F.S.A. 
James Ramsbotham, Esq. 
General J6hn Meredith Read, LL.B., 


Arthur G. Rich, Esq. 
William Rider, Esq. 
B. W. Richardson, Esq., M.D., F.R.S. 
Charles Richardson, Esq. 
George Gibson Richardson, Esq. 
John George Frederick Richardson, 

Esq., Ph.D., F.C.S. 
John Wigham Richardson, Esq. 
James Robb, Esq. 
Joseph B. Robinson, Esq. 
William Robinson, Esq. 
Sydney Robjohns, Esq. 
Charles Roger, Esq. 
Rev. C. Rogers, LL.D., F.S.A. Scot. 
Rev. Edward Rogers, M.A. 
Rev. William H. Rogers, D.D. 



J. Anderson Rose, Esq. 

Right Honourable the Earl of Rosebery. 

W. H. Burch Rosher, Esq. 

Lewis Buttle Ross, Esq. 

Charles Rowley, Esq. 

Professor Ruskin, LL.D., F.R.S.E. 

Right Honourable Earl Russell, K.G. 

P. Austin Ryan, Esq. 

Charles Ryder, Esq. 

T. D. Ryder, Esq. 

J. P. Rylands, Esq. 

Samuel Lee Rymer, Esq. 

John Burham Safford, Esq., F.G. S. 

William Salmon, Esq. 

Thomas Sampson, Esq. 

Rev. S. J. W. Sanders, M.A., F.G.S. 

W. W. Sanderson, Esq. 

Philip Sayle, Esq., Jun., F.S.G. 

Robert Sayle, Esq. 

Peter Schonfeld, Esq. 

Helmuth Schwartze, Esq. 

Simon T. Scrope, Esq. 

Right Honourable Lord Selbome. 

Isaac Seligman, Esq. 

Ernest Seyd, Esq. 

J. Fox Sharp, Esq. 

Colonel J. D. Shakespear, F.G.S. 

Rev. Leonard Edmund Shelford. 

F. R. F. Shenton, Esq. 

J. Wainhouse Simpson, Esq. 

Henry Duncan Skrine, Esq. 

Edward Solly, Esq. 

Thomas Sopwith, Esq., F.R.S., F.G.S. 

Rev. Joseph Sorrell. 

Don Carlos E. Soto. 

Lieut. -Colonel Thomas Sowler. 

Hubert Smith, Esq. 

Thomas William Toone Smith, Esq. 

T. Cozens Smith, Esq., F.G.S. 

W. Bickford Smith, Esq. 

Professor Walter Smith. 

J. King Spark, Esq. 

James Frederick Spurr, Esq. 

Very Rev. Dean Stanley, D.D. 

Joseph Steele, Esq. 

Alderman David H. Stone. 

J. B. Stone, Esq. 

Edwin Story, Esq., M.A., F.L.S. 

Right Honourable Sir John Stuart, 


Lieut. -Colonel W. Stuart. 
Sir Edward Sullivan, Bart. 
John Charles Swallow, Esq. 
Right Honourable Lord Talbot de 

Malahide, M.R.I. A. 
Thomas Tapling, Esq. 
William M. Tartt, Esq., F.S.S. 
William R. Tate, Esq. 
George Taylor, Esq. 
James Taylor, Esq. 

Colonel Meadows Taylor, M.R.I. A. 

Rev. Richard Vi Taylor, B.A. 

Seymour Teulon, Esq. 

Rev. Edmund Tew, M.A. 

Christopher J. Thomas, Esq. 

James Thompson, Esq. 

Archibald Travers, Esq. 

Stephen Tucker, Esq., Rouge Croix. 

Thomas Tully, Esq. , Jun. 

Thomas Kellet Tully, Esq. 

George M. Tweddell, Esq., F.S.A. 


Philip Twells, Esq., M.P. 
Lieut. -General George Twemlow, R.A. 
John Symonds Udal, Esq. 
R. G. Underdown, Esq. 
Mrs Van Hagen. 
M. Ventura, Esq. 
G. V. Vernon, Esq., F.R.A.S. 
J. A. Vincent, Esq. 
Henry Wadling, Esq. 
Cornelius Walford, Esq., F.S.A. 
John Wallis, Esq. 
Fountaine Walker, Esq. of Foyers. 
Rev. James Walker. 
Richard Corker Walker, Esq. 
Thomas F. W. Walker, Esq., M.A., 


Elijah Walton, Esq. 
John Pilkington Ward, Esq. 
Captain C. Warren, R.E. 
Robert Spence Watson, Esq., F.R.G.S. 
Wm. H. Weldon, Esq. , Rouge Dragon. 
John Westwood, Esq. 
Alfred White, Esq. 

Rev. F. Le Grix White, M.A., F.G.S. 
George White, Esq. 
William H. Whitmore, Esq. 
Rev. J. D. Williams, M.A. 
Sparks Henderson Williams, Esq. 
Edward Wilson, Esq. 
Oswald Wilson, Esq. 
John Wimbridge, Esq. 
W. Winters, Esq. 

Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, LL.D., Hon. 
William Young Winthrop, Esq. 
T. A. Wise, Esq., M.D., F.S.A.Scot. 
John Wiseman, Esq. 
William Wood, Esq. 
Rev. Adolphus Frederick Alexander 

Woodford, M.A. 
Samuel Woodhouse, Esq. 
Ashbel Woodward, Esq., M.D. 
Richard Woof, Esq., F.S.A. 
Rev. Albert H. Wratislaw, M.A. 
M. M. Bryce Wright, Esq., Jun. 
Rev. W. H. Wylie. 
Rev. Charles J. Wynne, M.A., Oxon. 
Richard Yates, Esq., F.S.A. 
Dr G. G. Zerffi. 





IT is difficult now to conceive of the rapid transmission of 
opinions and usages, which existed at the time when there 
was but one Church in Western Christendom. As in the age 
of the Antonines, a fashion at Rome was soon taken up in 
distant provinces, so during the pontificate of Innocent III., 
a novelty in religious practice quickly spread throughout 
Europe. The imperial roads and post-houses did not more 
securely send on the orders of the reigning Caesar to Alex- 
andria or York, than the lines of convents and parsonages 
passed the fiat of the occupant of St Peter's Chair to the 
extremity of Scotland or Spain. This is strongly exemplified 
in the origin of the Priory of Beauly, the religious House 
whose records are now for the first time collected. 

He who would judge best of the rigour of the rules of St 
Bruno, should climb the mountain of the Grande Chartreuse, 
where the Saint established his Reformed order with vows of 
unusual austerity, under the protection of the Virgin Mary, 
and also of John Baptist, whose severity of life was the 


pattern. " Ora et labora " was the ruling maxim of the 
Charterhouse, and the wild and desolate region in which it 
is built, compelled as well as nerved the toil of the brethren. 

But very soon was introduced a distinction between the 
inmates of even Carthusian houses ; and in these monasteries 
as well as others, the brethren were divided into two classes, 
the brethren of the choir, and the lay brethren (conversi). 
The first alone received holy orders, and performed the func- 
tions of the priesthood. These offices, and study and con- 
templation, occupied their time ; while the bodily labour, both 
domestic and agricultural, prescribed by the rules, was the 
duty only of the lay brethren. 

Viard, a lay brother of the Charterhouse of Louvigny, in 
the diocese of Langres, in Burgundy, believing himself called 
to a life of more severity and greater freedom from temporal 
cares than his position of lay brother allowed, obtained per- 
mission from the superior to retire as a hermit to a cavern in 
a wood, a few miles off, and there practised the most extra- 
ordinary austerities. He was discovered by the inhabitants 
of the neighbourhood, and his strict observances soon gained 
him a just reputation. The Duke of Burgundy came often 
to visit him, and at last vowed that if success should attend 
the ducal arms in a military expedition then projected, a 
monastery would be founded on the spot which Viard had 
made holy, and Viard should be its head. 

Viard, like other hermits, and not forgetful of the maxims 
of St Bruno, worked in his own garden, and supplied his 
" vegetable store " by his own labours. In this way, probably, 
the valley in which his cavern was situated acquired the name 
of Vallis Caulium, or Vallis Olerum, the Valley of Herbs. 
The duke returning victorious from his expedition, built 
the promised monastery in the Holy Vale ; and Viard, as the 
first prior, completed the foundation, and, according to an 
ancient inscription over the church, took up his abode there 
on the 2d November 1193. Viard framed a set of rules for 
the governance of the new society, and in the Register of the 
Bishopric of Moray, we have these regulations set out and 


approved by Innocent III., in a Bull of protection, dated the 
loth of February 1205. 

No house of this order was ever established in England, 
but within twenty-five years from the confirmation of the new 
rules by Pope Innocent, three houses of the order were 
founded in Scotland, and that too in the extremities of that 

This was brought about by William Malvoisin, Bishop of 
St Andrews. The history of the Alexanders, and of William 
the Lion, has yet to be written, and when this is done, full 
justice will be rendered to the character of Malvoisin. Among 
the band of prelates who surrounded the throne of William 
the Lion, none stands higher than Bishop Malvoisin, appointed 
before 1 1 80 one of the Clerici Regis, or King's secretaries. 
It is impossible to doubt that even before his elevation to 
the chancellorship, he exercised considerable influence over 
the king. As the first instance of William insisting on the 
election of his own nominee as bishop takes place just about 
the time that Malvoisin first appears as the king's official, 
it was probably by his encouragement that the king intro- 
duced the rule ; for it was a principle established by Charle- 
magne, and strictly adhered to by the Norman kings of 
England, that the cathedral chapters, if permitted to elect, 
should choose the nominees of the Crown as their bishops ; 
and Malvoisin was a Norman, and doubtless taught this lesson 
of Norman tyranny, as Giraldus Cambrensis calls it,* to the 
Scottish king. 

It is probable that the young councillor supported the king 
in his resistance to the Pope, who ordered the elect of the 
chapter of St Andrews to be consecrated bishop in opposition 
to the king's nominee. The king banished the bishop from 
the kingdom, and the Pope laid Scotland under an interdict, 
and excommunicated the king. But in the end the Crown 
prevailed. And even in the days of Victoria, the queen's 
irresistible recommendation to a bishopric betokens its Nor- 

* Giraldus Camb., De Instruct. Princ. ; Robertson's Preface to Stat. Cone. Ecc. 
Scot., xxxiv., n. 2. 


man origin by assuming the form of a cong6 d'elire, with 
a letter-missive containing the name of the person to be 

In September 1199 Malvoisin was appointed Chancellor of 
Scotland. When made Chancellor he was only in deacon's 
orders, and not till his election to the bishopric of Glasgow 
was he advanced to the dignity of the priesthood. On Satur- 
day the 24th September 1200, he was ordained priest at Lyons 
by the archbishop of that city ; and on Sunday the 25th he 
was consecrated bishop by the same prelate under the man- 
date of Pope Innocent III. There is extant a letter ad- 
dressed by this archbishop to Malvoisin, which shows how 
anxious the latter was to obtain the fullest information and 
the best advice as to the duties of the episcopal office he had 
just undertaken.-}- The archbishop suggests to Malvoisin that 
on his proposed stay at Paris he would be able to consult 
those skilled in canon (divine) and civil (human) law. It is 
probable that Malvoisin was educated at Paris, and he seems 
to have kept up his connection with the learned there. 

In 1 20 1, Malvoisin was translated from Glasgow to St 
Andrews, the see which, though not yet an archbishopric, 
constituted its possessor the Primus, or first in dignity of the 
Scottish bishops. 

Sent as ambassador^ by his young king to John, sulking 
in the Isle of Wight after his mortification at Runnymede, 
Malvoisin proceeded from England to attend the Fourth 
Lateran Council at Rome in November 1215. This was the 
best attended Council of the Latin Church. It consisted 
of nearly five hundred archbishops and bishops, beside a 
great multitude of abbots and priors and ambassadors from 

* The Queen v. the Archbishop of Canterbury, 1 1 Queen's Bench Reports, 483. 
t The letter is printed in Appendix to Preface to Stat. Cone. Ecc. Scot., 


Malvoisin went to visit his parents in Normandy in 1212, and probably 
attended the Council at Paris that year. On his return he presided over a Synod 
of the Scottish clergy at Perth ; on William the Lion's death, 4th December 1214, 
he enthroned the young king, with more than usual ceremony. He was appointed 
ambassador to England gth July 1215. 


most of the Christian courts in the West and East Next to 
the recovery of the Holy Land, the reformation of the Church 
in faith and discipline formed a subject of consultation, and 
great complaints were made respecting monastic corruption. 
It was urged that new orders of religious men were too 
common, and the Council enacted that their foundation 
should be discouraged, but this enactment could not apply 
to the orders already sanctioned by Pope Innocent, such as 
those of St Dominic and the Valliscaulians. 

Malvoisin saw the fitness of these two orders for Scot- 
land. The Dominicans, intrepid preachers, to be placed in 
the towns and cities of the kingdom ; and the Valliscaulians, 
men of austere lives, whose little communities might attract 
attention and secure respect, in the wildest and most remote 
districts. Both orders were in startling contrast to the de- 
cayed and effete Culdees of Mucross who still remained at 
St Andrews, at the very gates of the Primus' own cathedral ; 
a small priestly caste who had lost all voice in the election of 
a bishop ; and though clinging to their hereditary possessions, 
had given up their cure of souls and their charge of the hos- 
pital for the sick and the poor, the pilgrim and the stranger.* 

In 1225 the Scottish clergy were, by an unusual exercise 
of the grace and prerogative of the papal see, empowered 
to meet in council without the summons or presence of a 
papal legate. Malvoisin secured the precedence of his see in 
the council : beginning with the Bishop of St Andrews 
the Bishop of the Scots, as Malvoisin proudly styled himself 
each bishop was in turn to preach at the opening of the 
council. The Chancellor was upon such friendly terms with 
the king, whom he had baptised and invested with the ensigns 

* Yet these clerics, whose name had already become a bye-word, had rights 
which Malvoisin defended against the dignified Augustinian canons of St Andrews. 
The hereditary property of the Culdees was possibly attacked, or their right to 
mutter divine service after their manner in a corner of the cathedral ; at all events, 
in February 1221, the papal legate at Perth heard a litigation commenced by the 
prior and canons of St Andrews against their bishop and certain clerics of St An- 
drews, commonly called Culdees " et quosdam clericos de S. Andrea, qui Keledei 
vulgariter appellantur " (Theiner, Mon. Vet. Hib. et Scot., p. 16). 


of royalty, that he must have readily attested the writ which 
sent two doctors of civil law to attend the council as Com- 
missioners on behalf of the Crown. 

And now the monarch and Primus were to testify their 
sense of the Pope's benefits by establishing the new orders in 
Scotland. At the end of the year 1229 peace was established 
throughout Scotland ; for some years before, the towns and 
the southern part of the kingdom had been freed from war, 
and had increased in wealth by trade and commerce. The 
marriage of the young King of Scotland, in 1221, to the 
sister of the King of England, and of two princesses of 
Scotland, sisters of Alexander, to Hugh de Burgh and Roger 
Bigod, two of the most powerful English nobles, put a stop 
to all hostilities between the two nations, and introduced a 
friendly intercourse between their ruling families. 

The insurrection of Somerled, Lord of the Isles, in 1221, 
which led to the expulsion of his family from Argyle by 
Alexander in 1222, freed the vassals of Somerled from their 
fealty to him, and they were made vassals of the Crown. 
North Argyle or Wester Ross was given to the Earl of Ross. 
Lorn was granted to be held of the king in capite by the sons 
of Dougal. In 1228 the last effort was made by the Gaelic 
population to place upon the throne the heir of Malcolm 
Canmore, according to the Celtic laws of descent. Gillespie 
M'Farlane broke out in open rebellion against the king, killed 
Thomas of Thirlstane, to whom Malcolm IV. had given 
the district of Abertarff, and set fire to the town of Inverness. 
The king went himself against Gillespie, who was overcome 
and slain ; the insurrection was completely extinguished ; and 
the kingdom enjoyed peace. 

In the year 1230 four monasteries of the Dominicans and 
three of the Valliscaulians were founded. The Dominicans, 
the Preaching Friars, were placed, two by the king himself in 
Edinburgh and Berwick-upon-Tweed, one at Ayr by the king 
and William Malvoisin, and one by Allan Durward (pstiarius) 
in Montrose. The Valliscaulians, almost hermits, were placed, 
one by the king at Pluscardine in Moray, another by Duncan 


Macdougal of Lorn at Ardchattan on Loch Etive, in Argyle ; 
and the third by John Byset at Beauly, at the head of the 
Beauly Firth, in Ross. 

This House of Beauly is the foundation whose few charters 
are printed in the sequel. It was planted in a situation 
admirably fitted for the object of its institution. Amidst 
a tract of rich alluvial soil brought down by the river and 
stretched between the hills and sea-shore, on the great 
highroad from Inverness to the North, the baron of English 
descent, who had recently acquired the large possessions of 
the Aird, built the new monastery. Just where the noble river, 
after wasting the speed acquired by its rush over the rocks 
of Kilmorack, in the windings below the founder's new castle 
of Beaufort, spreads out into the Beauly Firth, and oppo- 
site the wooded hills of Balblair, open to the sunny south, 
surrounded by level land productive of the finest wheat and 
the most luxuriant grasses, John Byset reared his priory and its 
church, whose walls six centuries and a half have not been able 
to pull down. He or his proteges, the monks, gave the spot a 
new name, Bellus Locus, the Beautiful Place, a name which 
the queen's father had given some twenty-six years before to 
the noble monastery he had erected on the shores of the Solent ; 
and looking at the surrounding scenery, we cannot wonder 
it should be said that when Queen Mary slept at the Priory 
of Beauly she, on hearing its name adopted from the language 
of her beloved France, exclaimed, " C'est un beau lieu."* 

The Dominicans were bound to be instant in preaching the 
Gospel. Their founder was distinguished by a fervid and per- 
suasive eloquence, and feeling the power of this faculty, he 

* This is the probable version of the story of the parish minister of Kilmorack. 
He says : "In the house of the priests who officiated in this priory, Queen Mary, it 
is said, was entertained for a night ; and upon seeing in the morning the beautiful 
view from its windows, she exclaimed : ' C'est un beau lieu,' and hence the name 
Beauly was given to the village and river " (Stat. Acct. Inverness-shire, 1842, 
p. 366). As this minister supposes the name of his parish, Kilmorack, the church 
of Mary, to be derived from a lady, a descendant of one of the lairds of Chisholm, 
we must not give him implicit credence. See the amusing criticism on this, 
Quart. Rev., vol. Ixxxii., p. 360. 


established a fraternity devoted to its exercise a society of 
itinerant preachers. Accordingly their houses were centres 
in which the brethren were trained to their profession, and 
from which they went forth into the streets of towns and the 
lanes of villages to preach to the poor tidings of salvation. 

Far different was the rule of the Valliscaulians ; their own 
salvation, and not the rescue of others, was the object of their 
retreat from the world. They lived in very small cells, that at 
the times of prayer, of study, and of meditation, they might be 
withdrawn from other objects, and alone with God. They 
kept no oxen, sheep, or any lands cultivated by their 
own labour, surrendering all possessions which might divert 
their attention from spiritual exercises by the care which such 
property required to make it valuable. They had marked 
bounds outside the inclosure of their priories, beyond which 
none were permitted to wander, save the prior and those he 
took with him to visit dependent houses. Personally they 
worked only in their gardens, and never went even to these 
but at hours allowed for bodily labour. They were content 
with such incomes as they could receive without giving them- 
selves much anxiety such incomes as provided them with 
the necessaries of life, and relieved them from the obligation 
of quitting the precinct to obtain the means of living. They 
received into the house no more brethren than its revenues 
could maintain. They wore the dress of the Cistercians. 

Such is the account given by Helyot,* on the authority of 
Cardinal Jacques de Vitri, whom he styles a contemporary 
writer. We find a more elaborate and authentic statement of 
the rules of the founder in the Bull of Pope Innocent III., 
to which we have referred. It is recorded in the Register of 
Moray probably as the Rule of the House of Pluscardine, in 
that diocese: 

" Innocent the Bishop, servant of the servants of God, to his beloved 
sons, the Prior and the Brothers of the Valley of Herbs, sends health 
and the apostolic blessing. The apostolic see is wont to assent to 

* Histoire des Ordres Monastiques, vol. vi., p. 178. 


pious wishes, and to extend to the honourable prayers of those seek- 
ing it- a willing favour. We received from the letters of our very 
venerable brother G. elect of Rheims, that on his passage through 
the diocese of Langres, he found that you had in the Valley of 
Herbs taken upon yourselves the new institution of an order : inquir- 
ing diligently as to its merits, he found nothing in it but what was 
religious and honourable. He found, indeed, as his same letters 
express, that among you one monk, whom you, my sons the monks, 
elect, is by right prior, to whom all the monks, of course, and also 
the lay brothers, the company of whom may not exceed the number 
twenty, as to their spiritual father, are to take care to show reverence 
and obedience. 

" None of you are to possess any separate property. 

" In assembling every day, the mass and the canonical hours* shall 
be sung. Private masses, whoever wish, may also celebrate. 

" You shall hold a chapter every day, making twelve readings at 
the appointed times. 

" You shall work together, and you shall eat together in the refec- 
tory, not using flesh or fat (sagimitie). The prior shall eat with you 
in the same refectory t contented with the like food and clothing as 
the rest. From the feast of the Lord's Resurrection down to the 
exaltation of the Holy Cross (i4th September), you shall eat twice in 
the day, passing the rest of the time under the abstinence of fasts, 
being content on Fridays with bread and water and one relishj to it. 
On the day of the Lord's Nativity you shall not fast, nor on Friday 
in summer when a feast shall happen to fall of twelve readings. 

" You shall live on your revenues (redditibiis), 

11 You shall observe silence. Women shall not enter the inner 
bounds, nor shall you pass the outer bounds, except the prior on the 

* The canonical hours of prayers were seven, after Ps. cxix. 164 : (l.) at 2 A.M. 
the monks went to bed at 8 P.M.; (2.) Matins, at 6 A.M. ; (3.) 9 A.M.; (4.) at high 
noon; (5.) 3 P.M.; (6.) Vespers, 6 P.M.; (7.) at 7 P.M. See Concord iae Regul arum 
by St Benedict, in Fuller's Church History, book vi., 3. 

t In abbeys, the abbot only on great solemnities graced the monks with his 
presence in the dining-hall or refectory. 

t Pulmentum. The ancient Romans lived on the simplest fare, chiefly on 
pottage (puls)> or bread and pot-herbs, hence everything eaten with bread, or 
besides bread, was afterwards named Pulmentum or Pulmentarium (d^uviov, opso- 
nium, called in Scotland, Kitchen). Hor. Sat. ii., 2, 20; Ep. i., 18, 48. Adam's 
Roman Antiquities, p. 401. 


business of the order. The prior, however, if he shall be occupied 
or sick, and urgent necessity or evident utility shall require it, 
shall be able to select any other monk, who may pass the outer 

" You shall wear hair-shirts next your skin : those, however, who 
cannot endure these are not to be compelled to do so. You \re 
on no account to put on linen or hempen garments, but to clothe 
yourselves in white dresses of coarse wool and leather. You shall 
all lie down in your tunics, with your girdles on, and shoes on. And 
besides this, you, my sons the monks, with your cowls on, nowhere 
and never resting upon mattresses. 

" Your novices shall be in probation for a year. 

" And you, my sons the monks, from matins to the hour of labour, 
and from vespers to sunset, shall devote yourselves to reading, prayer, 
and contemplation, except those whom, at the discretion of the prior, 
he, for some certain and necessary cause, shall consider ought to be 
withdrawn from this. 

" We, therefore, assenting to your just entreaties, take under the 
protection of the blessed Peter and ourselves, your persons and the 
place in which you shall give yourselves up to divine service, with all 
things that you reasonably possess at present, or which by the grant 
of pontiffs, the bounty of kings or princes, or the oblations of the 
faithful, or by any other just means, God favouring you, you shall 
be able to acquire. 

" Specially, however, we, by the apostolic authority, confirm the 
order itself, constituted by careful deliberation, with the assent 
of the diocesan, and we fortify it by the defence of this present 

" It is altogether prohibited, therefore, to any man to violate this 
page of our protection and confirmation, or to oppose it by any rash 
doing. If this, however, any one shall presume to attempt, let him 
know that he will incur the indignation of Almighty God, and of the 
blessed Apostles Peter and Paul. Dated at Rome, at St Peter's, the 
i205th year from the Lord's incarnation, the 4th day before the Ides 
of February, in the seventh year of our pontificate." 

The monks wore a white cassock with a narrow scapulary, 
and over that a black gown, when they went abroad, and a 
white one when they went to church. 


They were daily employed in dressing the gardens of fruits 
and herbs, which were within the bounds of the monastery, 
and improved for the use of it.* 

Such regulations were excellently adapted for a religious 
establishment to be placed in the remote districts of the 
Highlands of Scotland, and the selection shows the sagacity 
of the Primus. 

I shall now, with a view to throwing as much light as I can 
on the documents that are printed, illustrate each of them 
in chronological order by reference to the circumstances 
under which they were originally produced, and I shall 
endeavour to give an account of the personages who appear 
either as parties to the documents, or as witnesses to their 
execution. Such an account of the history of the Priory 
of Beauly as is necessary to connect the documents together, 
I have also thought would not be unacceptable ; and that 
everything which contributes to the history of the sister 
priories of Pluscardine and Ardchattan would be properly 

The documents are printed from the transcripts of Mac- 
farlane of Macfarlane in the Advocates Library. An excellent 
account of him is given in the Chartulary of Cambus- 
kenneth/f The transcripts are in the second volume of the 
MSS. called "Diplomatum Collectio," twenty-three in number, 
and are the only documents extant of the charters of the 

There is no date to the transcripts, but from their juxta- 
position to the Chartulary of Cambuskenneth, transcribed 
in 1738, it is probable that they were transcribed shortly 
before that time. In whose possession the documents were 
at the time of their being transcribed is not stated. Two of 
them one, No. XVII., dated the nth February 1500, and the 
other, No. XL, dated June 1340 correspond with the titles of 
two of the documents inventoried in the list of Lovat charters, 
which now belongs to Captain Dunbar Dunbar, and has been 

* Orem's History of Aberdeen. Bibliotheca Top. Brit., 1790, p. 73. 

t Preface to the Chartulary of Cambuskenneth, printed for the Grampian Club. 


kindly lent by him. This list contains the titles of those 
writs belonging to the Lovat family, which Alexander, Master 
of Lovat, and tutor to Hugh, Lord Lovat, gave to Mr Alex- 
ander Abernethie, writer in Edinburgh, in 1651, before he set 
out to fight with King Charles II., at the fatal battle of 
Worcester, and which were restored to him on the 6th 
November 1652. The Lovat estates passed on quietly from 
Hugh, Lord Lovat, to his son of the same name, who died in 
1696, leaving issue daughters only; the eldest, Amelia, 
married, in 1702, Alexander Mackenzie, styled, of Fraserdale. 

Although Simon, Lord Lovat, soon raised his father's and 
his own claims to the succession, yet he did not get the 
papers of the family. On the loth May 1716, he writes to 
Duncan Forbes, afterwards Lord President, then advocate in 
Edinburgh : " My service to Mr Macfarlan and his lady. I 
would wish he would search Fraserdale's right to the estate ; 
and what we can do to find the old papers of the family." 
The papers would naturally be with Hugh, the eldest son 
of Amelia Fraser ; Hugh certainly acted as owner of the 
estate of Lovat and the superiorities belonging to it. One of 
the transcribed writs, No. XXII., confirmed on the 26th 
April 1532, is produced by Hugh, titular Lord Lovat, on 22d 
July 1729,* in the pleadings of the cause relating to the 
right to the peerage between him and Simon, Lord Lovat. 

John Spottiswoode, advocate, wrote notes on " Hope's Minor 
Practicks," and an account of religious houses in Scotland. 
In his account of Beauly, he refers to four of the writs which 
are transcribed, Nos. I., III., XV., XXIII. He died in 1728, 
though the account was not published by his son till 1734. "f" 
He married the mother of Walter Macfarlane, at whose 
expense the transcripts were made, and there seems every 
reason to believe that at the time they were seen by Spot- 
tiswoode, they were in the possession of Hugh, the titular 

There was a submission to arbitration between Hugh, Lord 

* Printed Memoir for Hugh, Lord Lovat, 22d July 1 729, p. 22. 
t Hope's Minor Practicks. Edin. 1734. 


Lovat, and Simon, Lord Lovat, in March 1733, which was 
completed by a decreet-arbitral not long before 1738, on the 
26th July of which year Simon made up titles to the whole 
lands of Lovat. At this time it may be supposed that all the 
writs of 1652 were given up to Simon, Lord Lovat; whether 
he destroyed any of them is not known. Those which are 
grants of the Beauly Priory lands after the Reformation 
such as Nos. XVIII. and XIX. in the Inventory of 1652, 
being title deeds of the Lovat estate, are now, it seems from 
Dr Stuart's " Book of Kinloss," in the possession of the present 
Lord Lovat. 

But what, on the forfeiture of Simon, Lord Lovat, became 
of the transcribed writs which concerned the previous history 
of the Priory, does not appear. No reference is made to them 
in the publication of the Hon. Archibald Fraser of Lovat, 
entitled "Annals of the Frasers," so that it seems doubtful 
whether they ever came into his possession. We can only 
hope that by calling public attention to the matter, the origi- 
nal documents may be discovered.* 

No. I. 


Ex AUTOGRAPHO [1231]. 

" Gregorius episcopus Servus Servorum Dei dilectis Filiis priori 
Fratribus Monasterii de Bello loco ordinis Vallis Caulium Rossensis 
Diocoesis Salutem et Apostolicam Benedictionem. Cum a nobis 
petitur quod justum est et honestum, tarn vigor sequitatis quam ordo 
exigit rationis, ut id per solicitudinem officii nostri ad debitum per- 
ducatur effectum. Ea propter, dilecti in Domino filii, vestris justis 
postulationibus grato concurrentes assensu, personas vestras et Mo- 
nasterium de Bello loco, in quo divino vacatis obsequio, cum omni- 

* There are only three places where they can be, if they were in the custody of 
Hugh, titular Lord Lovat, in 1729: (i.) In the custody of his personal represen- 
tatives, or their law agents ; (2. ) In the custody of the Crown ; (3. ) In the cus- 
tody of Mr Fraser of Abertarff. There appears no probability of their being in 
Lord Lovat's possession. 


bus bonis, quae imprsesentiarum rationabiliter possidet, aut in futurum 
justis modis possidere vel adipisci poterit praestante Domino, sub 
Beati Petri et nostri protectione suscipimus ; Specialiter autem de 
Sitheney et de Karcurri possessiones, et de forne piscaria, quas 
nobilis vir Johannes Biseth ad ipsum spectantes vobis contulit, in- 
tuitu pietatis, sicut in litteris inde confectis plenius dicitur contineri, 
nee non terras, possessiones, et alia bona vestra, sicut ea omnia juste 
et pacifice possidetis, vobis et eidem Monasterio per vos auctoritate 
Apostolica confirmamus, et prsesentis Scripti patrocinio communimus. 
Nulli ergo omnino hominum liceat hanc paginam nostrae protectionis 
et confirmationis, vel ei ausu temerario contraire. Si qiiis autem hoc 
attemptare praesumpserit, indignationem omnipotentis Dei, et Bea- 
torum Petri et Pauli Apostolorum, ejus, si noverit incursurum. 
Datum Laterani. . . . Nonas. . . , Pontificatus nostri 
Anno D. . . ." 

" Not. The tag yellow silk : no seal." 

This document is a Bull of Pope Gregory addressed to the 
prior and brethren of Beauly. It takes their persons and 
monastery of Beauly (de Bella Loco) under the protection of 
the blessed Peter and of himself, particularly the possessions of 
which a noble man, JOHN BYSET, had given them. 

Gregory IX. was Pope from 1227 to 1241. The reference to 
John Byset shows that the Bull was granted by Gregory IX. 

The transcript has only these words of the final part, 
"... Nonas. . . . Pontificatus nostri Anno D. . . ;" 
but as Spottiswoode, who must have seen the originals from 
which these transcripts are made, speaking of John Byset's 
foundation, says his charter is confirmed by Pope Gregory, 
" 3tio : Non. Julii, pontificatus anno 4to," we may fairly 
assume that the lacuna after "anno" should be filled up by 
" quarto," and that the Bull was dated the fourth year of Pope 
Gregory IX., or 1231. 

We here first meet with the name of the House, Bellus 
Locus, Beau Lieu, the Beautiful Place. This was a not in- 
frequent title for monasteries in France and England. There 
was in France a monastery of Beaulieu at Langres ; while 


King John distinguished his splendid abbey of Beaulieu in 
the New Forest by styling it Bellus Locus Regis, or King's 

A writer who is anxious to vindicate the high claims of the 
Gaelic language says, the low country etymologists, because 
they are ignorant of Gaelic, seek in French the derivation of 
a native name, and grace the Celtic " Beula " with the trans- 
migration of the French " Beau-lieu." He proceeds : " The 
name, however, is simple Gaelic. ' Bdul-alh,' the motith, of 
the ford, from ' Bdul,' a mouth, or deboucheur, and ' alh,' 
pronounced ' a,' a ford. Like all other native designations, it is 
expressive of a local distinction ; for the Priory and the town 
are situated upon the mouth of the river, and opposite to the 
most important ford upon the lower Glass, and which in old 
times was the principal passage into Ross."t 

A little historical inquiry would have led to a different con- 
clusion, and if the name had a Celtic origin we should expect 
it to be used now by the Celtic population, but it is not so. 
" Beauly is not the Celtic name of the place, but ' Manachain ;' 
you never hear a Highlander asking in Gaelic ' C'ait am bheil 
Beauly ? ' If he is not acquainted with English he does not 
know what the term refers to. He will ask you in his own 
language, ' C'ait am bheil a Manachain ? ' this is the Gaelic 
for ' Where is Beauly? ' 'Manach ' is the Gaelic for monk, and 
' manachain ' is the Gaelic for priory or monastery." \ 

Of course it is possible that the special name of the place 
may, though Celtic in origin, have been lost in the more 
generic title taken from the peculiar purpose to which it was 
dedicated, and, after all, the Bull of Pope Gregory is the best 

* Beaulieu, in Hampshire, is pronounced as Beauly in Inverness-shire is the 
Beau like the same syllable in Beauty, and the lieu, "ly." Macaulay's trumpet- 
stirring lines in the Armada (1832): 

" O'er Longleat's towers, o'er Cranbourne's oaks, the fiery herald flew : 
He roused the shepherds of Stonehenge, the rangers of Beaulieu," 

prove that he had then learned more by reading than by hearing. 

t Provincial Geography, Lays of the Deer Forest, vol. xi., p. 503. Edin. 1848. 

J Transactions of Gaelic Society of Inverness, vol. i., Mr A. Mackenzie on 
Local Topography. 


proof that the Priory was on its foundation called in French 
the Priory of Beaulieu. 

Before examining the contents of this Bull, the earliest of 
the Beauly charters now printed, let us examine the account 
of the earliest charters given by the Wardlaw MS., which we 
shall afterwards more particularly describe. This account is 
as follows : 

(i.) John Bisset by vow and promise erecting a priory of 
monks in Beauly, and granting a donation and mortification 
by charter and confirmation of the lands of Strathalvy and 
Achinbady or Beauly, to the monks Ordinis Vallis Caulium 
there. The limits of their possessions about the precinct, 
specified to be Onach-Tarridel to the east, and Rivulum de 
Breckach, westward. This charter is by the said Dom. Joan. 
Bisset, apud Cellam de St Durstan, die 9 mensis Julii anno 
Xti. 1223.* 

(2.) Donation and charter of confirmation of the Half 
Davoch Lands of Tarridale to the monks Ordinis Vallis 
Caulium by Gillichrist a Rosse, granted and subscribed in 
burgo de Inverness, in mense Martis anno Domini 1235.! 

(3.) Donation and charter of mortification of the multures 
of several lands within the parochin of Wardlaw and Kiltarlity, 
by Joannes Bisset to the monks of Beauly, such as : Loveth, 
Lusfinan, Finasses, Monchitech ex utraque parte rivuli, Foch- 
ines et dimidiae davach de Beaufort et Duary, Davatus de 
Muy et de Bruchach et de Kenniath, etc.J 

(4.) Confirmation of all these donations by King Alexander 
II. to the monks of Beauly, A.D. 123 ; as they are set down 
at large by themselves. 

Among the Lovat writs of 1652 we have this entry : 

"Confirmation by King Alexander of the miln mutors of the 

* Hutton MS., Add. MSS., B. M., 8144, p. 166; Extracts from Wardlaw MS., 
by the late Lewis M. Mackenzie of Findon. 

t Findon Extracts, Wardlaw MS., 1225. 

J Loveth is Lovat ; Finasses, Fingask ; Monchitech, Moniack Easter and 
Wester ; Fochines, Phoineas ; Beaufort et Duary, Beaufort and Downie ; Muy, 
Moy ; Bruchach, Bruiach. 

Findon Extracts, 1231. 


Half Davach Lands of Louich and Milne of Dovvatrie, dated 2oth 
Dec r and lyth year of his reign." 

The seventeenth year of Alexander II. is 1231. 

Possibly among " the eight and forty pieces of parchment in 
old character," mentioned in the Dunbar D unbar MS. as not 
of any importance in the eyes of Mr Alexander Abernethie, 
there may have been these charters from John Byset and 
Gillechrist a Rosse. 

But to return to the Bull of Gregory IX. It introduces us 
to the founder of the House of Beauly, John Byset* The 
first person of the name recorded in contemporary docu- 
ments in Scotland is Henry Byset, who is a witness to a 
charter of William the Lion before iiQS.-f- 

John Byset first appears as the Lord of the Aird in the 
deeds of arrangement between him and Bricius, Bishop of 
Moray, who died in 1221, and which are confirmed by King 
Alexander II. in 1221. Byset must have been the first of 
the family who acquired the lands of the Aird, for the king's 
confirmation expressly mentions that the lands had been 
granted to John Byset personally. When, in 1226, giving the 
church of Kiltarlity to the leper house of Rathven, he 
does so, among other objects, for the soul of William, King 
of Scotland ; so that the grant referred*to by King Alex- 
ander II. had probably been made to Byset by King William 
the Lion. 

The Scalacronica states that William the Lion, in 1174, on 
his return from captivity at Falaise and in England, brought 
back young Englishmen of family to seek their fortunes at 
the Scottish court. Among these are named the Bysets 
[Biseys].| At this time Henry Byset may have come into 

From 1179 to 1187 William the Lion was engaged in put- 

* The spelling is various, and was afterwards corrupted into Bisset; but we 
shall adopt this form of Byset, as having been used by the founder of the Priory of 
Beauly, and by writers of contemporary charters. 

t Chart. Melrose, vol. i., p. 123. 

J Scalacronica, Maitland Club, Edinb. 1836, p. 41. 



ting down the rebellion of Donald Bane,* who, after the 
Boy of Egremont's defeat, claimed to be the Celtic heir of 
Malcolm Canmore. William completed with the people of 
Moray and Ross what his brother Malcolm had begun with 
the people of Moray, expelling great numbers of the Celtic 
inhabitants, putting the land under the feudal system, and 
granting it out in baronies, to be held of the Crown. Among 
these, in the province of Moray, the barony of the Aird was 
probably granted to John Byset, to secure his victory over 
Donald Bane ; and about 1 187 William the Lion founded two 
castles in Ross, one of which was called Ethirdover. This, 
by the combined light thrown on it by the lease of Kilcoy/f 
afterwards referred to, and the grant of Andrew de Boscho 
(Beauly Diplomata, No. VII.), is settled to be the castle of 
Edirdor, or Redcastle, on the Beauly Firth. In the latter part 
of his reign, the king probably appointed John Byset here- 
ditary constable of this castle, and attached to it the lands 
of Edirdor, and at the same time gave him the barony of the 
Aird and the lands of Kilravoch, for we find all these the 
castle and lands of Edirdor, the barony of the Aird, and the 
lands of Kilravoch were the hereditary possessions of the 
granddaughters of John Byset. 

The name of John Byset first occurs in contemporary docu- 
ments in 1204 in the Register of the Abbey of Newbattle, and 
as a witness to a charter of Henry de Graham. | As we find 
that the papal Bull for translating the parish church of Kirk- 
hill was obtained in 1210, just about the time that the insur- 
rection of the son of Donald Bane broke out in Ross-shire, 
and as John Byset's confirmation of this translation seems to 

* It is said that Edmund, a son of Malcolm Canmore and St Margaret, joined 
in the conspiracy of Donald Bane against the succession of King Edgar, and when 
that king succeeded, Edmund seems to have adopted a course which saved his own 
life and preserved the honour of his family. He assumed the cowl at Montacute, 
the Cluniac priory, in Somersetshire. I note the fact as an illustration of the 
intimate connection then subsisting between England and Scotland, which is like- 
wise shown in the history of the founder of Beauly. 

t Preface to Orig. Par. Scot., p. xxi. - r Book of Kilravock, p. 109. 

t Reg. Newbattle. 


imply his having promoted it, we may not err in assuming 
that this grant was made by King William on the quelling of 
the rebellion in 1211. 

John Byset's mother was alive in 1221, as in the deeds of 
arrangement he grants a glebe to the parish church of Kirk- 
hill for the soul of his father, who was therefore dead, but 
not for the soul of his mother, who was therefore living. From 
the time of these deeds to 1232, we find John Byset witnessing 
the charters of King Alexander II. with William his brother, 
and with Walter Byset, who was the lord of Aboyne, in Aber- 

The Bysets in England were a family of baronial rank ; 
they had the types and insignia of nobility ; they held high 
office about the person of the Plantagenets; they witnessed the 
confirmation of Magna Charta, endowed abbeys and priories, 
and left that indubitable mark of their importance by the 
additional name which some English parishes have derived 
from them. Preston-Byset tells the country folks of Bucking- 
hamshire now, as Combe-Byset informs the men of Wilts, of 
the days long ago, when a Byset was the lord of Preston and 
of Combe.* In particular, Manassar Byset, Sewer of the 
Household to King Henry II., founded a house of lepers at 
Maiden Bradley, in Wiltshire, and the successive members of 
his family confirmed and added to the endowment. The 
pious maid of honour, Margaret Byset, who, passing the 
night in watching and prayer, saved the life of Henry III. in 
1238 at Woodstock from the hands of an assassin, had some 
time before added to the possessions of Maiden Bradley. 

The English Bysets were a united family, each member 
assisting the other ; and we find Manassar Byset giving the 
manor of East Bridgeford, Nottinghamshire, to his brother 
William, and this William Byset obtaining the consent of his 

* There is no more certain mark of the early importance of a family than the affix 
of its name to that of an English parish. It is more to be relied on than the family 
having the same name as the parish ; in the origin of surnames many families other 
than the owners of a village took their names from it ; but no village ever took its 
second name from any family but that of its lords. 


son William, his brother Manassar, and his nephew Ernulph, 
to his grant to the priory of Thurgarton for the souls of his 
father and mother and wife, and of his brothers Henry and 
Ausold, and his nephew Henry. It seems probable that 
Henry Byset of 1198, the courtier of King William the Lion, 
was a member of the family of East Bridgeford. 

We may not proceed further without referring to the MSS. 
which are mentioned by writers on Beauly Priory, while it is 
impossible to avoid saying that these MSS. are entitled to no 
real credit. One is a history of the family of Fraser of Lovat, 
intended for publication, 1749; and the other "a short chrono- 
logy and genealogy of the Bissets and Erasers of Lovat,"* 
which, although said to be written by Mr James Fraser, 
minister of Wardlaw, purports only to be a transcript of the 
Wardlaw MS. by Robert Fraser, 1725. These two MSS. 
appear to have been written in the interest of Simon, Lord 
Lovat, who wished the history of his family coloured to suit 
his claims against Amelia Fraser, who, in 1702, pretending 
to be heiress of line of the Byset, obtained a decree of the 
Court of Session, for the peerage of Fraser of Lovat. 

The Wardlaw MS., to which we before referred, was written 
by James Fraser, minister of Wardlaw from 1661 to 1709. It 
is probable that he had access to the Lovat Writs of 1652, 
and so far as he professes to copy actual charters, he may be 
trusted. We have not seen the MS., but have obtained ex- 
tracts from it among General Hutton's MSS. in the British 
Museum, and also extracts made by the late Lewis M. Mac- 
kenzie, Esq. of Findon, whose loss northern archaeologists 
have to regret. When the Wardlaw MS. passes from tran- 
scribing charters or recording the events which passed before 
the eyes of the writer, it is hardly to be relied on more than 
the MSS. of 1725 and 1749 ; but as the compiler died before 
Simon, Lord Lovat's contention arose, his story is not twisted 
to suit the claims of rival parties. 

As a specimen of the inventive powers or credulity of the 
writer of the Wardlaw MS., he states that John Byset, the 

* MSS., Advocates Library, Genealogical Collection, 38, 4, 8, 409-417. 


founder of Beauly Priory, was the son of Byset, a courtier of 
William the Lion, which Byset married Agnes, daughter of 
the king. This marriage is a stupid invention of the seven- 
teenth century. The daughters of William the Lion, legiti- 
mate and illegitimate,* are perfectly well known, and duly 
inquired into on the claims to the crown of Scotland in 

John Byset of Lovat, the founder, makes the arrangement 
we have alluded to with Bricius, Bishop of Moray, respecting 
the glebe of the parish of Kirkhill, which cannot be later than 
1221. The arrangement is confirmed by King Alexander II., 
by a deed dated at Elgin on the i$th October I22i,-f- just at 
the time when the king had succeeded in repressing the rising 
of Somerled in South Argyle and North Argyle or Wester 
Ross. The arrangement relates to the advowsons of the 
churches of Conveth (Conway) and Dunballoch (Dulbalach). 
Shaw, in his " Province of Moray," under the head of Kirk- 
hill, writes :{ "This church stood formerly at Dunbalach a 
mile up the river, and was dedicated to St Maurice. I have 
seen in the hands of Mr Fraser of Dunbalach, a papal Bull, 
dated anno 1210, for translating the church of Mauritius from 
Dunbalach to Wardlaw." 

The charters, of which there are two copies in the Register 
of Moray, in the first place mention the lands of John Byset 
as having been granted to him, and as having before that 
grant been part of the parishes of Dunballoch and Conway. 
John Byset releases to Bricius, Bishop of Moray, and his 
successors, the advowson of the church of Dunballoch, and 
the bishop releases to John Byset the advowson of the 

* William the Lion had three legitimate daughters: (i.) Margaret, who married 
Hubert de Burgh, chief minister to Henry III., and left an only daughter, Magota ; 
(2.) Isabella, married Roger Bigod, Earl of Norfolk, ob. s. p.; (3.) Marjory, married 
Gilbert the Marshal, Earl of Pembroke ; she survived her husband, and died at 
London, 1244, s. p. He had four illegitimate daughters : (i.) Isabella, married 
in 1183 to Robert de Bruce, and in 1191, to Robert de Ross; (2.) Ada, married 
in 1184 to Patrick, Earl of Dunbar; (3.) Margaret, married in 1192 to Eustace 
de Vesci ; (4. ) Aufrida, married to William de Say. 

t Reg. Moray. % Shaw's Moray, p. 361. 


church of Conway. The bishop agrees to have the charter 
confirmed by the chapter of the church of Spynie; and 
John Byset agrees to have it confirmed by the Crown. 
Byset also agrees to give seven acres of ground to the church 
of Dunballoch, in a competent place, and near to the parish 
church of Dunballoch, when it shall have been translated to 
Fingask, to the place which is called Wardelaue (Wardlaw). 
It appears that the translation, which had been provisionally 
sanctioned by the papal Bull, had not yet been effected. It 
was afterwards carried out, and the site of the old church of 
Wardlaw is now occupied by the ruins of that church and its 
bury ing-ground. 

In passing, we may remark the distinction observed in 
the deed between the Saxon-Scottish and the Gaelic-Scot- 
tish languages; the Gaelic is called Scots: this was the 
rule down to the time of the Reformation. The place 
was called Wardlaw by the Saxons because it was the 
law or hill ' from which ward or watch was kept, probably 
against a possible incursion from the Gaelic inhabitants, who 
called it Balblair, or the town of or overlooking the plain. 
Shaw states* that the parish was called Wardlaw, because the 
garrison of Lovat kept ward or watch on this law or hill : 
we find no mention of Lovat till John Byset acquired it ; but 
being a castle or fort on the plain below, defended by water, 
it would be convenient for it to have a look-out above, and 
Byset may have established the watch-tower on the hill to 
communicate with the fort. As he also had the Red Castle, 
his positions were strong on the Firth. 

Byset had, it appears by the deed, the lands of the two 
parishes of Dunballoch (now Kirkhill) and Conveth (now 
united with Kiltarlity). There were nine davochs in Kirkhill : 
Fyngask (Fingask), Morevayn, Lusnacorn, Monychoc and 
another Monychok (Easter and Wester Moniack), and three 
davochs of Ferge or Fere (Fearn, Fearnua). There were 
eleven davochs in Conveth : Gulsackyn (Guisachan), Buntach 
(Buntait), Herkele (Erchless), Comber (Comerkirktown), Cone- 
* Shaw's Moray, p. 144. 


way, two davochs (Easter and Wester Conveth), Bruiach 
Muy and another Muy, Dunyn (Downie), and Fotheness 
(Foyness, Phoineas). 

The lands of Dunballoch and Conveth had been granted 
by the Crown to John Byset at a yearly rent of 10. The 
bishop of the diocese claimed for the churches of Dunballoch 
and Conveth a tenth of this rent, under the grant of William 
the Lion, to the church of Moray, that is, claimed it against 
the Crown. Byset had retained the tenth out of the Crown 
rent, but had not paid it to the churches. 

John Byset next founded the church of Kiltarlity, and gave 
it a parish out of the parish of Conveth, which before included 
all that ever belonged to Kiltarlity. The new parish of Kil- 
tarlity included Erchless, a davoch in the earldom of Ross. 
A davoch was as much arable land as would employ four 
ploughs, and this in so hilly a country as Strathglass would 
carry with it probably a large district of pasture. Erchless 
was an important part of the new parish, and for this reason 
the parish may have come within the jurisdiction of the Bishop 
of Ross, which was co-extensive with the earldom of Ross. 

John Byset, intending to make use of the church of Kiltarlity, 
first secured the patronage by deed from the Bishop of Ross 
early in 1226* The Bishop of Ross, Robert, with the consent 
of the chapter of Rosemarkie and his other clergy, quit-claims 
to John Byset and his heirs, for their homage, his right of 
patronage of the church of Kiltarlity ; and John Byset and 
his heirs quit-claimed to the bishop whatever right they had 
to the kirkland of the said church ; and Byset, beside, for 
the purpose of settling the controversy, and as an atonement 
for his own sins, contributed 15 merks of silver to the fabric 
of the church of St Peter of Rosemarkie, and a stone of 
wax yearly from himself and his heirs to the light upon the 
altar of that church ; and the bishop and canons gave John 
and his heirs an interest in the orisons which should be pre- 
sented in praise of God in the church. A merk was equal 
to thirteen pence and one-third of a penny sterling. Farquhar, 

* Reg. Moray. 


Earl of Ross, Peter Byset, Anselm Byset, and William 
Byset, are witnesses. John Byset and Peter Byset are 
witnesses to a charter by Thomas de Galloway, Earl of 

John Byset having divided the parish of Conveth into two 
parishes, those of Kiltarlity and Conveth, next proceeds to 
appropriate the church of Kiltarlity to the House of Lepers 
at Rathven, Banffshire.-f- The parish church of Rathven was 
appropriated to the Bishop of Moray. He and David de 
Strathbolgy agreed that the minister serving in the church 
should have a glebe and manse ; and Bishop Bricius, between 
1203 and 1216, adding eight canons to the chapter, endowed 
the eighth canon as a prebend, with the churches of Rathven 
and Dipple on the Spey, and the canon had the tithes of the 
parish of Rathven. Notwithstanding this, the church of 
Rathven seems to have had a sufficiently independent exist- 
ence to enable John Byset to establish a leper house in con- 
nection with it. | Byset, first by one deed grants for the soul 
of William, King of Scotland, and for the salvation of his 
lord, Alexander, the noble king, and for the salvation of the 
souls of his predecessors and successors, the right of patronage 
of the church of Kiltarlity to the church of St Peter of Rath- 
ven, for the maintenance of the lepers serving God there. 
Besides he had given to the house so much of his means that 
the members had promised, and by a solemn instrument 
obliged themselves, to keep a chaplain there, ministering in 
sacred things, and seven lepers, and one male domestic 
serving them ; and it was provided that if any of the lepers 
should die or depart from the house, another should be 
presented by him or his heirs until the number was 
complete. Among the witnesses is " W., my brother." 

* Reg. Dunfermline, p. 86. 

t Provisions for the victims of that terrible disease are among the most frequent, 
as well as the most useful, institutions of that age. 

t See lease of these tithes, by the parson of Dipple, in 15 74, Shaw's Moray, App. xlv. 

A similar provision for two almsmen in the hospital of St Leonard is provided 
by Robert Byset of Upsetlington in his grant to the monastery of Kelso, 1240. 
Walter Byset and William Byset are witnesses to this deed (Chart. Kalchow, 240). 


This charter seems to have been insufficient to appropriate 
the church of Kiltarlity to the House of Lepers, and on 
the I Qth of June 1226* John Byset grants to the church 
of St Peter and the House of Lepers of Rathven, and the 
brethren serving there, the church of Kiltarlity with its perti- 
nents. Andrew, Bishop of Moray, at the instance of John 
Byset, and on his presentation, had canonically admitted 
William, prior of the house, in the name of his brethren, 
to the church, and had confirmed the said church to the 
House of Lepers and the brethren there, to be held for their 
proper use, with all appurtenances in lands, tithes, and obla- 

This benevolent foundation of John Byset survives, not 
indeed for lepers, but for bedesmen. The Bedehouse is still 
standing at the village of Rathven, and was lately repaired. 
Two of the six bedesmen, who are maintained in the establish- 
ment, live in the house. The appointment of the bedesmen 
belongs to the Earl of Fife.^f* 

No vicarage of Kiltarlity is mentioned in the Moray Tax- 
atio the church itself being taxed at 1 1 1 merks. j It is 
joined with Wardlaw in being liable to a procuration fee of 
403., and paid 2s. for synodals. How the religious services 
of the church were provided for does not appear, but in 1563 
the church of Rathven preserved its property in the parish of 
Kiltarlity. which is entered thus : 

" Item, the kirk of Kintallartie sett for xxiii. lib." 

The Bishops of Moray did not neglect making the best use 
of the release of Dunballoch parish. They divided it into 
the parishes of Wardlaw and Fearnway ; and in 1239,)! An- 
drew, Bishop of Moray, grants, with other churches, the church 
of Fearnway, with all its pertinents, to the common use of 
the canons of Elgin. The bishops constituted a vicar in Dun- 

* Reg. Moray. t New Statistical Account, Banff, p. 268. 

J Reg. Moray, pp. 362, 364, 365. 

Antiquities of Aberdeen and Banff, vol. ii., p. 144. Spalding Club. 
II Reg. Moray, 35. 


balloch, who appears in 1224, 1226, and 1227,* and after the 
division, a vicar in Wardlaw/f* 

Not only does William Byset, in his grant of Abertaff to 
Beauly (No. II.), mention "John, my brother," but to a charter 
of King Alexander II.,! J orm Byset is a witness, "and William, 
his brother ; " so that we may assume that the " W., my 
brother," is William Byset. 

The Bishop of Ross having acquired, by the arrangement 
with John Byset, the right to the stone of wax from the noted 
bees of Strathglass, proceeds to settle, in February 1227, a 
dispute between him and the Bishop of Moray. The Bishop 
of Ross had surrendered the patronage of Kiltarlity to John 
Byset, and the Bishop of Moray had assented to its appro- 
priation to the church and leper house of Rathven ; so that 
there was not left any episcopal interest in the church of 
Kiltarlity, but it was enough to enable the Bishop of Ross, 
by giving it up, to retain without question his anomalous 
rights over the church of Ardersier, in the province of Moray. 

The controversy had arisen between Andrew, Bishop of 
Moray, on one side, and Robert, Bishop of Ross, and his 
chapter, on the other the former asserting in the presence 
of the Pope's delegates, namely, the Abbot of Deer and the 
Dean and Archdeacon of Aberdeen, the right of diocesan 
over the churches of Kiltarlity and Ardersier, and having 
been put in actual possession of the churches a year before 
causa rei servandce. The controversy was settled by the advice 
of the delegates, and with consent of the chapters and clergy 
of both dioceses, in the following manner : That the Bishops 
of Moray should possess the church of Kiltarlity as in diocesan 
right, and the Bishops of Ross should have the church of 
Ardersier, as to all ecclesiastical matters, as their predecessors 
formerly held it. Moreover, the Bishop of Moray, for himself 
and his successors, and with the consent of his chapter, re- 

* Reg. Moray, 76, 77, 78, 82, 333. 

t The Vicar of Wardlaw is charged 95. 4d. in 1274 and 1275 (Theiner, Mon. 
Vet. Hib. et Scot, pp. in, 116). 
J Reg. Glasgow, p. 116. Reg. Moray. 


nounced all right, if any, which he had, or might have, in the 
church of Ardersier, and all action and demand, solemnly 
promising that neither he nor his successors should afterwards 
claim any right in that church, or in aught belonging to it ; 
the Bishop of Ross, for himself and his successors, and with 
the consent of his chapter and clergy, making a similar re- 
nunciation and promise as to the church of Kiltarlity. The 
Bishop of Ross, with same consent, gave to the cathedral 
church of Elgin, a stone of wax, to be held for confraternity 
and the orisons and other benefits there to be rendered ; 
which stone of wax John Byset and his heirs will give to the 
cathedral church of Ross, as is testified by his charter there- 
upon executed. It was further settled that if either of the 
said churches should attempt to contravene the agreement, it 
should pay ^"100 sterling to the other, and the agreement 
should, notwithstanding, remain valid. The deed is dated at 
Kenedor, near Elgin, the vigil of the Purification (ist Febru- 
ary), 1227. The place of date indicates that the house built 
by Bishop Archibald of Moray at Kenedor in 1280 was a re- 
storation of the episcopal residence there. 

In accordance with the papal Bull of 1224, the church of 
the Holy Trinity at Elgin was appointed the cathedral church 
of Moray. Andrew, the bishop, commenced the building of 
a cathedral, in substitution for the church of the Holy 
Trinity. The continuance of this great work for the next 
eighteen years provided a resort for architects, and hence 
within that period the churches of the priories of Beauly and 
Pluscardine were begun. 

The three subjects given by John Byset to the monks are 
specified to be the possessions of Sitheney, of Karcurry, and 
the fishings of Forne. 

Sitheney. This word, probably distorted by the papal 
scribe, it is difficult to recognise. If it were more like Strath- 
alvy it might be taken for that, for in the MS. of 1728,* we 
read: "Anno dom. 1245. By Bull from Pope Innocent IV. 
the Priory of Beauly was erected for the Benedictine monks, 
* Adv. Lib. MSS., Genealog. Coll., 35, 4, 8, p. 411. 


Ordinis Vallis Caulium, and King Alexander II. mortified 
and confirmed to the monks all the lands of Strathalvy, 
the monastery to be erected in Insula de Achinbady in 
Strathalvy, where stood a chappel of St Michael, and 
John Bisset entrusted with the erection, and to take care 
of the edifice, which he did accordingly carry on. The 
Prior Pater Jacomo with six monks came to Lovat then, and 
the country provided for them, and the monks called that 
place which was formerly termed in the French Boulu, a fair, 
good place." 

In the Inventory of the Lovat writs, 1652,* we get : 

" Confirmation be K. Alexr. of ye lands of Sethink, daitit 2oth 
August and i5th year of his Reign" [1230]. 

It may be a name for the island of Achinbady. The final 
ey of Sitheney may mean Island. 

Karcurry. We find this in Craigscorrie (Hawkhill), a part 
of the barony of Beauly. The fishings of Forne or Farrar, 
now Beauly, were a notable possession of the monks, and of 
extreme value to them, as by the rules of their order they 
were to abstain very much from flesh ; and were neither to 
breed cattle or sheep, or to cultivate arable land. 

The foundation charter of the Priory of Beauly, to which 
both Rose, in his " History of the Family of Kilravock," and 
Spottiswoode, in his " Religious Houses of Scotland," refer, is 
probably a forgery. Spottiswoode writes,-f- " The Priory of 
Beauly or Ross was founded in the year 1231 by James 
Bisset, a gentleman of a considerable estate in that shire." 
After mistaking the name and position of the Byset 
estates, which, except Erchless and its pertinents, lay 
in Moray, we cannot expect accuracy. He proceeds : 
" The terms of its foundation were, Ut pro ipso, dum vi- 
verent orarent monachi : post mortem funus corpusque ex- 
ciperent, atque animam de corpore abeuntem per continua 
sacrificia et opera pietatis prosequerentur. His charter is con- 

* Dunbar Dunbar MS. 

t Spottiswoode's Relig. Houses, Minor Practicks, Edin. 1734. 


firmed by Pope Gregory 3tio: Non. Julii, pontificatus anno 
4to." Rose has the following :* " I have heard it reported of 
the Right Honourable Sir George Mackenzie of Tarbat, now 
Lord Register, that in the foundation of the Priorie of Bewlie 
there is insert as witnesses Urquhart of Cromartie and Rose 
of Geddes ; which, if so, Kilravock's predecessors have been 
near a whole centurie of years in this countrie before their 
getting of Kilravock ; for, by search of historic and records, I 
conceive that priorie was built by Bisset of Lovat, either in 
the latter end of the reigne of King William or the beginning 
of Alexander Second betwixt the years 1200 and 1220. And 
if he were witnes under that title and designation at that time 
(though it be more than ordinarie antiquitatis], yet he might 
have so much older standing in the countrie." In connection 
with Agnes Urquhart, Lady Kilravock, Rose remarks \-\ "As 
to the familie of Cromartie, whereof she was descended, it was 
verie ancient : Sir George Mackenzie of Tarbat, now Lord 
Register, reporting that Urquhart of Cromartie and Rose of 
Geddes were witnesses in the foundation of the Priorie of 
Bewlie, which behooved to be betwixt the year 1200 and 
1 220, as farr as I can gather." 

Now anything more certainly a forgery than to put an 
Urquhart of Cromarty as witness to a charter of 1230, cannot 
be conceived. William de Montealto was sheriff of Cromarty 
in 1263. In 1315 King Robert the Bruce granted the sheriff- 
dom and burgh of Cromarty to Hugh, son and heir of William, 
Earl of Ross; and before 1349 King David II. granted, on 
the resignation of William, Earl of Ross, son of this Hugh 
(Hugh having fallen at Halidon Hill, St Margaret's Day, 
22d July 1333), the sheriffdom of Cromarty to Adam Ur- 
quhart. This was the first grant of Cromarty made to the 

It is perfectly clear that the foundation deed of Beauly seen 
by Sir George Mackenzie, first Earl of Cromarty, must have 
been a forgery ; just such a fabrication as the grant of Kintail 

* Hist. Fam. Kilravock, Spalding Club, p. 26. t /#, p. 70. 

J Orig. Par. Scot., vol. ii., "Cromarty." 


to Colin the Irishman by King Alexander III., the earliest 
copy of which is said to be in the handwriting of the same 
Earl of Cromarty.* What was the document seen by 
Spottiswoode is not so clear, but it is worth while to bestow 
a little investigation on a matter so interesting as the foun- 
dation charter of the priory which it is our object to illus- 

Walter Macfarlane of Macfarlane, to whose zeal for the 
preservation of ancient charters we owe the transcripts of the 
Beauly writs, was son of John Macfarlane of Macfarlane by 
his wife Helen, daughter of Robert, third Viscount Arbuthnot. 
After the death of John Macfarlane, Helen, his widow, Walter's 
mother, married in 1710 John Spottiswoode, advocate, who, 
having published a valuable work on law and taught a 
Scottish law class, was likely to have access to the same 
sources of information as the Lord Justice General, the Earl 
of Cromarty. John Spottiswoode died in 1728, and his 
edition of Hope's "Minor Practicks," printed in 1734 by his 
son, had appended to it his account of the Religious Houses 
in Scotland. It is probable, we have seen, that the Beauly 
charters were transcribed between 1734 and 1738, from their 
position among the Macfarlane transcripts. Now it is remark- 
able that John Spottiswoode, in his account of Beauly, men- 
tions no document, except this foundation deed, other than 
those transcribed by his step-son, Macfarlane ; and it seems 
most likely that Macfarlane had access to the so-called deed 
of foundation, but that he rejected it as a forgery, and would 
not allow his transcriber to copy it.-f- 

Another forgery in connection with the foundation deed 
requires only a simple statement to secure its detection. 
The MS. historian of the Fraser family, in the Advocates 
Library, t whom we have already quoted as to the date of 

* Orig. Par. Scot., vol. ii., p. 391. 

t For the care which Walter Macfarlane took in revising and authenticating his 
transcripts, see instances in Robertson's Introduction to the Register of Paisley, 
published by the Maitland Club, p. viii., note. 

J Adv. Lib. MSS., Genealog. Coll., 35, 4, 8, p. 411. 


foundation, adds : " I saw the originall charter given to John 
Bisset by Macdonald, which begins in these terms : ' Ego 
Donaldus Insularum Rex, &c., Dono et concesso amico nostro 
charissimo Johanni Bizet D de Lovat totum et integras 
terras de Achterloss Idem Montessen, Eq. ;' and the charter 
closes thus : ' Datum apud castrum nostrum de Dingwall anno 
a partu Virginis M.CC.XLIII v. Idis Julii anno II. Innocentii iiii. 
S. D. N. Pontificis optimi maximi coram consanguineis et 
Consiliariis nostris M'Lean de Lews et M'Leod de Harris.' " 
Except to show the extent of the possessions of John Byset, 
what object the historian of the Erasers could have in putting 
forward this charter, it is difficult to perceive ; but Dempster, 
in his " Apparatus," connects Byset and Auchterless and 
Beauly thus:* " Bewlin in Rossia ; ordinis Vallis Caulium 
qui ingressus Scotiam fertur anno 1230" (Scotichronicon, 
lib. ix., cap. xlvii.). " Hunc prioratum vero fundavit Joannes 
Biset, a quo nos Dempsteri habuimus Achterlos, praecipuam 
familiae nostrse hac tempestate patrimoniam." The whole 
of the forged charter quoted in the MS. is printed in the 
annals of the Erasers :*f " Ego Donaldus Insularum Rex tenore 
presentium, do dono et concede amico nostro . dignissimo 
Domino Johanni Bisset. D. de J. totas et integras terras de 
Achterlos et Mancester, cum omnibus ad eas pertinentibus 
tarn infra quam supra terram hacce in provincia Barniae 
jacentes idque sibi et suis successoribus in perpetuum char- 
tamque hanc firmam et stabilem iis teneamur, quam nostro 
sigillo et chirographo confirmamus et attestamus, apud cas- 
trum nostrum de Dingwall coram consanguineis et consili- 
ariis nostris charissimis M'Leod de Lewis et M'Leod de 
Harise ; die decimo nono Idus Jan anno a Christo nato 
MCCXXV anno pontificatus. S. D. N. Gregorii ix. P. O. N. 
primo Pontificis optimi maximi. S. M. P." 

The nineteenth day before the Ides! But we have dwelt too 
long on this rubbish. 

* Dempster's App. De Religione, cap. 19, Ixxx. In fact, the name of Dempster 
does not appear on record till 1296. 
t Annals of the Frasers, 1795, P- 2 4- 


NO. II. 




Ex AUTOGRAPHO [1231]. 

" Omnibus hoc scriptum visuris vel audituris Willielmus Byseth 
Salutem. Sciant prsesentes et futuri me dedisse, et concessisse, et 
hac Carta mea confirmasse pro salute animae meae, et animarum 
patris et matris meae, et omnium antecessorum et successorum 
meorum Ecclesiam de Aberterth Deo et Beatae Marias, et B Johanni 
Baptistae et Domui de Bello loco et Fratribus Vallis caulium in eadem 
Deo servientibus et servituris in liberam puram et perpetuam Elee- 
mosynam, cum omnibus ad eandem Ecclesiam juste pertinentibus, 
in terns, decimis, oblationibus, obventionibus et omnimodis Ecclesi- 
asticis rectitudinibus. Testibus Andrea Moraviensi Episcopo, Dun- 
cano Decano, Ranulfo Archidiacono Moraviensi, Radulpho Capel- 
lano Episcopi praedicti, Johanne Bridin Capellanis, Domino Johanne 
fratre meo, Bartholomaeo Flandrensi, Hugone Corbet, Gillandes 
Macysac, Hugone Augustini, Godefrido Arbalaster, Henrico Cuch, 
Yone Venatore et pluribus alijs." 

" Not. The seal white wax, on a shield plain a bend ; no crown, 
the circumference not legible." 

The preceding charter is a grant by William Byset, his 
brother John and the officials of the church of Moray being 
witnesses, of the church of Abertarf (Aberterth) to God, and 
the blessed Mary, . and the blessed John Baptist, and the 
House of Beauly, and the Valliscaulian brethren there serving 
God, in pure and perpetual frankalmoigne, with all the perti- 
nents of the same church, in lands, tithes, oblations, obven- 
tions, and all kind of ecclesiastical rights. Among the wit- 
nesses are Bartholomew the Fleming, who witnesses a charter 
of King Alexander II. in 1235, and the Bishop, Dean, and 
Archdeacon of Moray ; notwithstanding which we get sub- 
sequently a confirmation of the grant by the bishop. 


The seal has the arms of Byset, "on a shield plain; a bend." 
The transcriber adds, " no crown ; " the opinion then prevail- 
ing that the crowns quartered in the Fraser of Lovat coat 
were the arms of Byset : whereas they are the arms of Grant. 
This simple ordinary shows the antiquity of the Byset achieve- 
ment. The same coat is given by Sir David Lyndsay, in 
1542, with the tinctures, the field azure, and the bend argent, 
as the arms of 

" Lord Bissart of Bewfort of auld." 

These coats are identical, the tinctures are not blazoned in 
engraving till a much later date, and this coat is the arms of 
the founder of Beauly Priory.* 

The parish of Abertarff is first mentioned in the foundation 
deed of the College of Canons, by Bricius, Bishop of Moray, 
between 1203 and 1216; to this Gillebred Persona de Aber- 
tarff is a witness.-f- The next time it is mentioned is in an 
agreement between Thomas de Thyrlestan and Andreas, 
Bishop of Moray, in 12254 This agreement mentions the 
tithes of the royal Can, which tithes were wont to be paid 
before the infeftment of Thomas, out of the land of Abertarff. 
This reference to the tithes payable out of what was coming 
to the Crown, is the same we have before observed in the 
agreements of John Byset with relation to Kirkhill ; and it 
shows that William the Lion had granted to the church a 
tenth of the rent in kind, which was paid to the Crown by 
the owners of land in Moray, as well as a tenth of the money 
rent which was so payable. 

Thomas de Thyrlstan was the proprietor of Thirlstane, in 
Berwickshire ; and it is said, as we have before mentioned, || 
that Gillespie in 1228 raised an insurrection in Moray, burnt 

* Sir David Lyndsay's Heraldry, Edin. 1822. f Reg. Moray. 

J Reg. Moray. 

King William, by a precept in the Register of Moray (p 2), 1171-84, directs 
his bailiffs of Moray to pay to the church of Moray and the bishop there the tithes 
of all his rents in Moray and of his rents in kind, which had not been granted to 
other churches by himself or his ancestors. 

|| Bower's Interpolation to Fordun. 



some wooden castles, and surprised and slew a baron called 
Thomas de Thirl stan, to whom Malcolm IV. had given the 
district of Abertarff. This must be the same Thomas de 
Thirlstan. He was succeeded at Thirlstan by Richard Mait- 
land, who is said to have married his daughter, and about 
1260 gives lands in the territory of Thirlstane to the monks 
of Dryburgh, excepting the third part to the Lady Agnes, 
formerly the wife of Thomas de Thirlstan, for her life.* 

This charter of William Byset, from a witness being Dun- 
can, the dean of Moray, is probably of the date 1231, as in 
1232 Symon became dean of Moray, and continued dean until 
he succeeded to the bishopric in 1242 ; and in 1228 Freskin 
was dean of Moray. 

We find among the suggestive and ill-understood list of 
the charters in the Treasury at Edinburgh, made up in 1282,-f 
the following items relating to this subject, although others 
intervene : 

" Item. Carta de Abirtarf. . . . 

" It. Carta Thome de Thirliston. 

" It. Littera quiete clamationis Ricardi Mauteland de tra 
de Abyrtharf. 

" It. Carta Walteri Byset de Stratharkik. 

" It. Carta de Obeyn." 

Walter Byset, Lord of Obeyn (Aboyne), according to the 
Chronicle of Melrose, was uncle of John Byset, and there- 
fore of William Byset, John's- brother; and the charter of 
Walter Byset of Stratherrick means, according to the usual 
form of entries in these early lists, not a charter from Walter 
Byset of the lands of Stratherrick, but a charter belonging 
to Walter Byset by which he holds the lands of Stratherrick. 
Whether Stratherrick then included Abertarff or not is uncer- 
tain ; afterwards Stratherrick was styled a pertinent of the 
barony of Abertarff ;| but the present charter and these 

* Thomas de Thirlstan had, by charter without date, granted the tithes of his 
mill of Thirlstane to the canons of Dryburgh (Reg. de Driburg, p. 87). 
+ Act. Parl. Scot., vol. i. N Robertson's Index, preface, p. xxiv. 
J Memoir for Hugh, Lord Lovat, p. 22. 


entries prove that Walter Byset was about this time the 
proprietor of Stratherrick, and William Byset patron jof the 
church of Abertarff. 

In the grant of the church of Kiltarlity to the Leper House 
at Rathven, at the end of the list of witnesses, appears * " W. 
Byset gyntallarty ;" ( and it is suggested William Byset was 
parson of Kiltarlity, the parish created by his brother John, 
and the grant of which to Rathven he witnesses. 

This is not probable, nor is there any occasion on which his 
name appears as an ecclesiastic. It was an unusual circum- 
stance then for a churchman to be himself the patron in his 
lay right of a parish and also the incumbent ; and the form 
of grant of Abertarff clearly shows William Byset to have 
been the patron. The Bishop of Moray, in confirming his 
grant, styles him " nobilis vir." He with his brother John is 
a witness to a charter of King Alexander II. in 1225, while 
Abertarff was the property of Thomas de Thirlstan, and he 
and Walter Byset are witnesses in 1225 to another charter of 
King Alexander II. William is a witness to several royal 
charters ; and the last occasion on which he appears is together 
with Walter Byset as witness to the grant by Robert Byset, 
Lord of Upsetlington, with the assent of Christiana, wife of 
Robert (whose consent implies that Upsetlington was her 
property) of the Hospital of St Leonard of Upsetlington to 
the monastery of Kelso.J This Robert is expressly called by 
Walter Byset of Aboyne, in Walter's obligation, to respect 
the rights of " Robert my cousin." 

We have thus the family of Byset in the year 1240 pos- 
sessing the estates following : Walter is lord of Aboyne, 
and resided at Aboyne Castle, Aberdeenshire ; his nephew, 
John, is lord of the Aird, and resided at either Lovat or 
Beaufort, Inverness-shire ; another nephew, William, is patron 
of the church, and probable owner of the estate of Aber- 
tarff, in the same county ; and Robert Byset, cousin of Walter 
Byset, is the lord of Upsetlington, in Berwickshire. 

* O. S. P., vol. ii., p. 509. t Reg. Moray, 72. 

t Reg. de Kelso, p. 195. Ib., p. 191. 


In the witnessing part of the charter John Byset our founder 
is called " Domino Johanne fratre meo ;" but it does not ap- 
pear from any record that he was one of the barons of the 
kingdom. Before the Act 1427 no general rule can be laid 
down for distinguishing between one holder of a property 
directly from the Crown and another, and the expressions 
" nobilis vir" and " dominus," in the charters of subjects, at 
all events go for nothing in establishing any parliamentary 
dignity; the premier baron of Scotland claims no higher 
creation than 1436. 

No. III. 




" Universis Sanctae Matris Ecclesiae filijs hoc scrrptum visuris vel 
audituris, Andreas divina permissione Moraviensis Episcopus aeternam 
in Domino Salutem. Noveritis universi, nos de consensu Capituli 
nostri dedisse, concessisse, et hac carta nostra confirmasse Deo et 
Beatae Marias, et Beato Johanni Baptistae, et Domui Belli loci juxta 
Beaufort, et fratribus ordinis Vallis Caulium ibidem Deo servientibus 
et servituris in perpetuum, omnes Decimas Garbarum provenientium 
infra Parochiam Ecclesiae de Abertarf cum terra pertinente ad eandem 
Ecclesiam, et cum Decima Salmonum de omnibus piscarijs in prae- 
dictse Ecclesias parochia existentibus, nomine simplicis Beneficii. 
Quam Ecclesiam nobilis vir Willielmus Byseth eisdem fratribus et 
sibi successuris dedit, et concessit, et carta sua confirmavit, in puram 
et perpetuam Eleemosynam. Quare volumus et concedimus, quod 
praedicta domus de Bello loco, et fratres praedicti dictas decimas 
omnes Garbarum infra parochiam praefatae Ecclesiae provenientes, 
cum tota terra ad eandem Ecclesiam pertinente, et cum Decima Sal- 
monum de praedictis Piscarijs omnibus, in ipsa Parochia existentibus, 
habeant et possideant nomine simplicis beneficij, in puram et per- 
petuam Eleemosynam ad sustentationem eorum adeo libere, quiete, 
plenarie, et honorifice, sicut aliquod simplex beneficium in Diocoesi 


nostra, ab aliquo liberius, quietius, plenarius, et honorificentius habe- 
tur, tenetur, et possidetur. In hujus autem rei firmum et indubitabile 
testimonium huic Scripto appensum est Sigillum nostrum et Sigillum 
capituli nostri Subscriptionibus Canonicorum. Testibus Symone De- 
cano Majore Magistro Ricardo Praecentore, Magistro Henrico Cancel- 
lario, Roberto Thesaurario, Magistris Willielmo et Andrea Canonicis 
Ecclesiae Moraviensis Radulpho et Symone Capellanis Moraviensibus 
et alijs multis. 

>J Ego, ANDREAS, Episcopus Moraviensis, Com. de Fotherum, 


*%* Ego, ARCHEBALDUS, Canonicus de Crom., Subscribo. 
t^t Ego, RAN., Archidiaconus Moraviensis, Subscribo. 
t%t Ego, PETRUS, Canonicus Moraviensis, Subscribo. 
>%* Ego, RAD. HAY, Canonicus de . . . Subscribo. 
>%* Ego, WILLIELMUS, Canonicus de Pett, Subscribo. 
frj* Ego, SYMON, Decanus Moraviensis Ecclesiae, Subscribo. 
*f< Ego, RICARD., Prsecento Ecclesiae Moraviensis, Subscribo. 
| Ego, HENRICUS, Cancellarius Moraviensis, Subscribo. 
>%* Ego, ROBERTUS, Thesaurarius Moraviensis, Subscribo. 
J Ego, ROBERTUS, Canonicus de Duppel, Subscribo. 
*%* Ego, ANDREAS, Canonicus de Simm., Subscribo. 
>%< Ego, WILLIELMUS, Canonicus de Dunbanne, Subscribo. 
t%* Ego, LAMBERTUS, Moraviensis Ecclesias Subcentor, Subscribo. 
*%* Ego, EDWARDUS, Canonicus de Muy, Subscribo." 

This instrument is the confirmation in 1242 by Andrew, 
Bishop of Moray (within whose diocese or province the parish 
of Abertarff lay), of the grant of it by William Byset. 

This confirmation had the effect of wholly appropriating 
the church of Abertarff and its possessions to the use of the 
priory ; making the convent the perpetual rector, and not 
merely the patron, as if the grant of the church had been to 
a layman ; such a grant required the confirmation of the 
Ordinary, the Crown, and the Pope, though in these early 
times the confirmation of the Ordinary assumed or inferred 
the other two. 

The expressions by which the appropriation is effected are 
not the usual ones, that the convent should hold the church 


" ad proprios usus," but " ad sustentationem eorum." The 
same expression occurs in other charters of the period ;* the 
bishop grants the church to be held " as a simple benefice," 
that is, free from the cure of souls and under no obligation 
beyond that expressed in the grant.-f* 

In this charter we have the first mention of Beaufort, and it 
is probable that John Byset, after he endowed the parish of 
Kiltarlity and introduced the foreign appellation of Beaulieu 
as the name of the priory which he founded, built the castle of 
Beaufort, and gave it a foreign name. Sir David Lyndsay 
speaks of the Bissarts of Beaufort, and we may assume that 
John Byset made this a place of residence instead of Lovat, 
while it evidently became of great consequence when it was 
inhabited by his descendants the Fentons of Beaufort. It 
must not, however, be thought that the castles of the time 
of Alexander II. in Scotland, or Henry III. in England, 
were anything in size, strength, or importance, like the Ed- 
wardian castles of Henry's son. In Henry III.'s time, in 
England there were 1153 castles, | and many of these had 
nothing but the great hall built of stone; all the other 
buildings were of wood, surrounded by a wall, which would 
be quite a sufficient defence against all attacks except by a 
military force. 

The confirmation expressly includes the tithes of grain 
(Garbarum, sheaves) grown in the parish of Abertarff, showing 
that the principle of tithes belonging to the parish priest was 
completely established ; and also the tithes of salmon in all 
the fishings within the parish, showing that salmon were then 
frequent in the waters of Abertarff parish ; that must have 
been, as Abertarff is at the upper end of Loch Ness, mostly 

* Chart. Dunfermline, fol. 23. 

\ " The canonists divided benefices into simple and mixed. The first sort lays 
no obligation but to read prayers, sing, etc. ; such kind of beneficiaries are canons, 
chaplains, chanters. The second is charged with the cure of souls, the guidance 
and direction of consciences, etc., such as rectories, vicarages, etc." (Hook's Church 
Dictionary, art. "Benefices"). 

J Coke, Second Institute, cap. 17. 

? Hudson Turner, Domestic Architecture of England, vol. i., p. 59. 


in Loch Ness itself. The Statistical Account of 1842 says 
that some years before salmon was plentiful in Loch Ness, but 
that since the Caledonian Canal has been opened, they have 
very much decreased. 

The practice seems not yet to have got into use of giving 
the tithe of fish to the vicar, or if this tithe was usually assigned 
to the vicar, the priory seems to have determined to reserve the 
tithe of salmon to themselves, as they get the bishop to specify 
this as well as the great tithe or tithes of corn. When the 
vicar of Abertarff was first established is not clear ; the pro- 
vision for a toft and croft, secured by the bishop in 1225 from 
Thomas de Thirlstane,* was for the rector. 

This act of confirmation by the bishop of the diocese was a 
very important step, as it deprived the minister of the parish 
of the tithes of the parish, and was derogatory of the rights of 
the parishioners; and the solemnities which accompany it are 
remarkable, and show that the bishop acted with the consent 
of his proper council, the chapter of the cathedral, although 
no property or rights of the cathedral were affected. Neither 
bishop nor chapter had any rights of property in the tithes 
and lands then belonging to the church of Abertarff. The 
confirmation is first said to be made with the consent of the 
chapter, and the seal of the chapter, as well as of the bishop, 
is annexed to it, with the signatures of the canons. 

The chapter had been fully organised by Bishop Bricius. 
It had its five dignitaries : the dean, who in the bishop's 
absence presided over the chapter, and was the general 
president of the whole institution ; the archdeacon, who was 
the alter Episcopi oculus, visited the diocese, and examined 
and presented to the bishop for approval the candidates for 
orders ; the precentor, who had control of the cathedral ser- 
vices, and especially of those choral services which make up 
the full pomp and swell of the liturgies of a cathedral church ; 
the chancellor, who probably acted as the chancellor of the 
diocese, the proper judge of the bishop's court, but was, as 
a member of the chapter, chancellor of the cathedral, whose 

* Reg. Moray. 


office was to instruct the younger canons, and who was the 
secretary of the chapter, and the keeper of the chapter seal ; 
and the treasurer, who had the special charge of the orna- 
ments of the church. These dignitaries all consent. The 
bishop himself consents in his double capacity as canon of 
Fotheross, which, although assigned by Bricius to the chan- 
cellor, the bishop now held. The sub -chanter also joins, 
whose office it was to fill the important place of the precentor 
in his absence, so that the daily service of the choir might not 
be neglected. Besides the dignitaries, eight of the ordinary 
canons sign, some with the special addition of the parish, 
which had been appropriated as the prebend of their canonry, 
and some with the mere addition of canon of Moray. 

Many of the instruments of Bishop Andrew, in the Register 
of Moray, are subscribed by the members of the chapter, and 
from a careful examination I am inclined to fix the date of 
this deed as 1242. Two chaplains of Moray (" Capellani Mora- 
vienses ") are witnesses, but they do not subscribe as members 
of the chapter, and answer, I suspect, to the position of minor 
canons in our English cathedrals. 

He who wishes to understand the constitution of the chapter 
of Elgin has only to pass from the ruins of its cathedral, 
with its ancient register in hand, to the cathedral city of 
Wells, to find the institutions of a chapter organised at the 
same time as that of Elgin, still kept up, with the exception 
that in the diocese of Wells, as afterwards in the province of 
Moray, the bishop has emancipated himself from the whole- 
some control of his capitular council.* 

Symon, dean of the cathedral church, styles himself " De- 
canus Major," the greater dean, to distinguish himself from 
the deans of the four deaneries into which the diocese was 
divided, being the deanery of Elgin, the deanery of Inverness, 
the deanery of Strathbogy, and the deanery of Strathspey. 
These deans were called "Decani Christianitatis," or Deans 
Christian, and ecclesiastical courts were commonly called, and 
indeed are now in England called, Courts Christian. These 
* Freeman's Lectures on Wells, and Proceedings of Somerset Archseolog. Soc. 1873. 


Deans Christian were so called, says Bishop Kennet,* " be- 
cause their chapters were courts of Christianity or ecclesiastical 
judicature, wherein they censured their offending brethren, 
and maintained the discipline of the Church within their 
own precincts." They afterwards were called rural deans,f 
but it is likely that at first the dean of the cathedral of Elgin 
was also the dean of the rural deanery of Elgin. 

Before the date of our next charter, an important event 
occurred, which has strangely coloured the history of the 
family of Byset. It is the banishment of John Byset, the 
founder of Beauly Priory, with his uncle Walter, Lord of 
Aboyne. In 1242, Patrick, Earl of Athol, son of Thomas de 
Galloway, and nephew of Walter Byset's wife, was burnt after 
a tournament at Haddington. 

Matthew Paris, writing about 1250, states that in 1242 
Walter Byset at the tournament was worsted by the young 
Earl of Athol, and that Walter Byset contrived to burn the 
house in which the earl slept, and the earl with it. When 
this came, he adds, to the knowledge of Earl Patrick and 
other nobles, they attacked Walter, who fled for protection to 
the king. The king promised the nobles that Walter should 
be disinherited, and should abjure Scotland. Walter swore 
to proceed to the Holy Land, but went instead to the King 
of England, and, complaining that he had been unjustly 
deprived of his inheritance, urged that the King of Scotland, 
being the liege vassal of the King of England, could not, 
without his consent, disinherit or banish a nobleman from his 
country for ever, especially if he was not convicted of a crime. 
The King of England was incensed, but reserved his anger 
till a more suitable opportunity. 

The Chronicle of Melrose, written not later than 1270, 
states that in 1242, John Byset, with Walter J Byset and other 

* Kennel's Parochial Antiquities, 234. 

f " Decanus ruralis " is the title of Adam Gobinot in the Inquisition touching 
the chapel of Kilravock, A.D. 1343 (Family of Kilravock, p. 117). 

J Mr Stevenson, in his edition of the Chronicle for the Bannatyne Club, inserts 
dicti Willielmi ; but I have been informed since writing the text, that in the MS. 
from which the Bannatyne edition is printed it is " W.," that is, Walteri. 


accomplices, was outlawed, because report asserted that the 
said John, with the advice of the said Walter, had delivered 
Patrick of Athol to death. It also records that in 1244, the 
most wicked traitor,* Walter Byset, with his accomplices, de- 
sisted not from pouring the poison of discord into the ears 
of Henry, King of England, until he advanced to Newcastle 
with an army against the King of Scotland, when the treaty 
of Ponteland was made, 24th August 1244. 

Now, upon this subject, Fordun is often quoted, but For- 
dun's Scotichronicon contains nothing about it. Fordun men- 
tions the treaty made at Ponteland, and the account that is 
quoted as Fordun's is that of his commentator, Bovver, who 
did not write till 1441. About that time Wynton compiled 
his Chronicle. He states that William Byset was Lord of 
Aboyne, and that John Byset and Walter Byset were his 
brothers ; whereas William Byset does not appear in con- 
temporary documents after 1240, and we know that Walter 
Byset was the Lord of Aboyne. 

Matthew Paris, in his English History, which is a repetition 
of the Chronicle in which this story of Walter Byset appears, 
does not repeat it ; but still there it is, apparently in his 
original manuscript, written within six or seven years of the 

The histories of Bower and Wynton allege that the estates 
of the Bysets were all forfeited, and the whole family banished 
the kingdom, and this has been improved upon by later 
Scottish historians, till Mr Burton disposes of the matter thus : 
" A strong feeling set against the Bysets. Their estates had 
to be forfeited, and the head of the house escaped alive with 
great difficulty. The family afterwards pushed their fortunes, 
with the other Norman houses in Ireland, and their Highland 

* This expression, " nefandissimus proditor," is used by John of Peterborough, 
and the use of it serves to show that John wrote after the Chronicle of Melrose 
was compiled, and clears up the question as to whether this John was John de 
Caleto, who was abbot 1250-62, or John Deeping, who was abbot in 1410-39 
"a mystery," Sir Thomas Hardy writes, " I am not able to solve" (Catalogue 
of MSS. for Early English History, vol. iii., p. 216); "for the Chronicle was not 
closed till 1270, when John de Caleto was dead." 


estates went to the Frizelles or Frasers, who founded an 
influence which became troublesome to the Government five 
hundred years afterwards."* Seeing that the Frasers did not 
get possession of any portion of the Bysets' Highland estates 
till 125 years after 1242, and then only of a third of those 
estates, two-thirds of which were acquired by the Fentons and 
the Chisholms, the former by the peaceful act of marrying a 
Byset lady, this is strongly expressed. The only fact certain 
in relation to this matter is that Patrick, Earl of Athol, was 
burnt in 1242, and that King Alexander II. assisted Walter 
and John Byset in leaving Scotland, where a strong party 
accused them of the murder. 

Matthew Paris mentions among the anti-Byset party Patrick, 
Earl of Dunbar ; and Bower names David de Hastings, who 
became Earl of Athol in right of his wife on the death of 
Patrick of Athol. 

It is difficult to see any motive for the commission by 
Walter Byset of so horrible a crime. His wife was aunt of 
the young earl, but he was not in any way in the line of 
succession, while the young earl had two sisters married ; 
nor does it appear that Walter Byset had any children by 
his wife : his nephew, we shall see was his heir. But it is 
not improbable that Walter was likely to make himself dis- 
agreeable to David de Hastings on his succession to the 

Bower says that after the Provincial Council held at Perth 
in 1242, the king, retiring with his barons, and separating 
himself and them from the clergy, all the earls complained to 
him of the burning of the Earl of Athol.-f* 

We get more light on the exile of John and Walter Byset 
from the English records. Henry III. became King of 
England in 1216, when he was nine years of age. His sister 
Joan married Alexander II. in 1221. He, in January 1236, 
married the daughter of the Count of Provence, and mixed 
himself much in French affairs. Claiming the recovery of 

* Burton's History of Scotland, vol. ii., p. 89. 

t Ford. Scotichron., ed. Goodall, lib. ix., cap. 59. 


Normandy, he declared war against Louis IX. in 1242, and 
that year went to France and passed the winter at Bordeaux. 
There, in December 1242, he was in want of soldiers, and 
must have heard with pleasure of the banishment from Scot- 
land of John and Walter Byset. With his queen was Margaret 
Byset, now advanced in years, and who had lost this year her 
cousin, John Byset of Wiltshire, Chief Forester of England. 
In 1224 and 1226, after the connection between the Scottish 
and English courts was established, and while Hubert de 
Burgh, brother-in-law of Alexander II., was still the supreme 
minister of Henry, the Close Rolls tell us that gifts were 
made from the Royal Treasury to Walter Byset, so that 
Walter was well known to the English king. 

John Byset went, in 1242, from Scotland to Ireland, 
and there met with Sir James de Savill, a knight in the 
service of the Justiciary of Ireland, who suggested to John 
that he should serve the King of England in his wars in 
Guienne, upon the terms that he should obtain the grant of a 
knight's fee in Ireland. To this Byset agreed, and the king, 
on i/th December 1242, at Bordeaux, confirmed it by direct- 
ing a writ* to the Justiciary of Ireland, ordering him to give 
a knight's fee to Byset if he would go to parts beyond the sea 
in the royal service. 

This was done, and we have the extent of the knight's fee, 
shown by a verdict of a jury in the following reign. It in- 
cluded the island of Rachrin or Rathlin, on the coast of 
Antrim, destined afterwards to become famous as the retreat 
of Robert the Bruce, and from being illustrated by the poetry 
of Scott. I suppose John went to Bordeaux, where Margaret 
Byset died that winter, and where the king remained. 

In August 1243/f- King Henry granted to Walter Byset 
the manor of Lowdham, in Nottinghamshire, adjoining the 
manor of East Bridgeford, the property of the English Bysets. 
The object of the grant was to maintain Walter in the service 
of the king as long as the king pleased. In the following 
year, Henry, having returned from France, declared war 

* Pat. and Chart., 27 Hen. III., p. 739. t /, In. 4. 


against Scotland, and advanced in the summer with an army 
to Newcastle. The Chronicle of Melrose informs us this was 
at the instigation of Walter Byset, who, probably, as well as 
John, accompanied the king. 

The leading families of the two nations were so connected 
by marriage and blood, that it was not difficult for those 
who loved peace to arrange the treaty which was made at 
Ponteland in 1244; and not only was it confirmed by the 
King of Scotland's charter (which is printed in Rymer), but 
also by the Pope's Bull, obtained on a letter from the earls 
and barons of Scotland.* This letter is given by Matthew 
Paris (1244) ; it has, after the great earls of Scotland, the 
names of Duncan of Argyle, the founder of Ardchattan, and 
of John Byset the younger. 

It would seem, therefore, that John Byset, founder of Beauly 
Priory, on his being compelled to foreign exile, made over 
his barony of the Aird, with his other estates adjoining, to his 
son, John Byset the younger ; and the John Byset whom we 
shall find acting as Lord of Lovat in 1258 was this John 
Byset the younger. John Byset the elder, with Walter, 
returned to Ireland, and came from Ireland in October 1244, 
to the king in Wales ; and afterwards Walter Byset received 
two of the king's shields from Windsor Castle armoury, to 
go into the king's service in Ireland. 

It is said by Bower/J- that Alan, illegitimate son of Thomas 
of Galloway, and the natural half-brother of Patrick, the earl 
who was burnt, landed and burnt a certain small house 
belonging to John Byset, called Viteris, to revenge his brother's 
death. It is certain that in 1252, this Alan obtained pardon 
from King Henry of his offence in having killed a follower of 
John Byset in Ireland, in a conflict which took place between 
him and John BysetJ 

Walter Byset obtained, in December 1246, a grant from 
Henry III. of Lowdham,to himself and his heirs, until Walter 
or his heirs should recover his lands in Scotland. The adjoin- 

* Fcedera, vol. i. t Bower, Continuation of Fordun, b. ix., c. 62. 

$ Patent Rolls, 36 Hen. III., m. 12. Chart. 31 Hen. III., m.S^ 


ing manor of East Bridgeford seems at this time to have been 
held by William de Grant, who had married Alfreda Byset, 
one of the heiresses of Henry Byset.* Walter Byset returned 
to Scotland, and witnesses a grant of King Alexander II. in 
I248,f and a deed by Gregory de Melville in 1251;! in 1252 
he died in the island of Arran, leaving Thomas, his nephew, 
his heir,|| who was, in 1256, a knight,1F and may have been 
the son of William Byset. 

We shall see that practically no forfeiture of any of the 
Byset estates took place Aboyne was restored, of the Aird 
and Upsetlington they had never been deprived, and though the 
remarkable family group of Bysets which surrounded Alexan- 
der II. does not seem to have reappeared, yet we shall see that 
the truth lies with Mr Chalmers, in his " Caledonia,"** who says 
that, notwithstanding the check occasioned by the accusation 
against John and Walter, the Bysets still continued a family 
of importance. 

No. IV. 


Ex AUTOGRAPHO [1255]. 

" Omnibus has litteras visuris vel audituris Laurentius miles filius 
Patricij Janitoris de Innernes, salutem. Noveritis me quietum clam- 
asse de me et heretibus meis in perpetuum pro salute animae mese et 
antecessorum meorum totvm jus quod habui vel habere potui in Bromi- 
halu, et in Insula, Deo et Beatae Maria? et Sancto Johanni Baptista? de 
Bello loco, et Priori et Monachis ibidem Deo servientibus et servituris. 

* Thoroton's Nottinghamshire. 

t Chart. Dunfermline, p. 44. J /., p. 93. 

The Inquisition says Arran in Scotland, but, in fact, until 1266, Arran 
belonged to the King of Norway, and was held under him, in 1250, by Reginald, 
son of Somerled, which Reginald then called himself King of the Isles. 

|| Coll. Genealog. Inq. post mort, 36 Hen. III. 

IT Reg. Arb., p. 228. ** Vol. ii. 


Ita quod de csetero nee ego nee haeredes mei aliquod jus vel clamium 
in dictis terris vindicare possimus. In cujus rei testimonium huic 
scripto Sigillum meum apposui his testibus, Magistro R. de Eginton 
Praecentore Rossensi, Domino R. Cancellario Rossensi, Domino 
Johanne Vicario de Innernis, Domino Willielmo Roher, David de 
Giulan, Gilberto Senescallo, et alijs. Datum apud Rosmari die Jovis 
proxima post festum Exaltationis Sanctas Crucis Anno Gratiae mille- 
simo ducentesimo quinquagesimo quinto." 

By this charter, Laurentius, knight, son of Patrick, the 
Porter of Inverness, in the year 1255, releases all right he had 
in Bromihalu and the island to God and the Blessed Mary, 
and the Blessed John Baptist of Beauly, and to the prior and 
monks serving and to serve God there. 

Inverness was at this time a king's castle, and the Porter of 
the Castle, the Portman or Durward, was one of its most im- 
portant officials. He had attached to his office, lands and 
privileges ; and it was, in the case of a royal castle, an heredi- 
tary office, which might be possessed by females. The porter- 
ship of the castle of Montrose was hereditary. 

To the charter of John Byset to the Bishop of Ross, 1225, 
Patrick the porter is a witness. 

What Bromihalu means I am unable to say ; but the 
suggestion of the editor of the " Origines Parochiales Scotiae," 
that " Insula " means the island of Aigas, in Strathglass, is 
inadmissible. Strathglass and Skye were given to Hugh, 
son and heir of William, Earl of Ross, by King Robert Bruce.* 
Hugh de Ross had married Mauld, the king's sister, between 
1308 and 1309, and succeeded his father, William, Earl of 
Ross, in 1323; William dying at Delny that year. This 
Hugh, Earl of Ross, was killed at Halidon Hill on St Mag- 
dalene's Day, 1333, having apparently that same year granted 
to his second son, Hugh Ross, the lands of Philorth, in Aber- 
deenshire, and the lands of Balnagoun, in Kilmuir, Ross- 
shire.f Between 1362 and 1372, Hugh, Lord of Philorth and 
Balnagoun, acquired, by exchange for lands in Buchan with 

* Rob. Index, p. 2, Nos. 56, 60 ; p. 16, No. 7. Reg. Moray, p. 342. 
t O. S. P. Ross, vol. ii., p. 461. 


his brother William, Earl of Ross, the lands of Ergyle, which 
means of North Argyle or Wester Ross and Strathglass, with 
the castle of Ellandonan.* This Hugh of Ross died without 
issue, and William, Earl of Ross, his brother, reacquired his 
lands ; on William's death, Philorth and Strathglass went 
with his second daughter, Johanna, to a Eraser, who became 
Lord of Philorth. When, in 1423, William Forbes of Kinaldie 
married Agnes, daughter of Eraser of Philorth, the barony of 
Pitsligo was granted to Agnes and her heirs, and with this 
was granted Strathglass. In 1455 the barony of Pitsligo 
included Strathglass ; of Strathglass Isobell Wemyss, Lady 
of Pitsligo, released her terce to her son, John Forbes of 
Pitsligo, in 1524; and he, in 1536, sold the lands of Easter and 
Wester Aigas, with the island of Aigas, to Hugh Eraser, 
Lord Lovat, so that Aigas was never a part of the possessions 
of the Priory of Beauly. 

The Island is doubtless that island of Achinbady, spoken 
of by the writer in the MS. of 1728, which we have already 
quoted as stating that the monastery was erected in the 
island of Achinbady. There is not now, and there does not 
seem ever to have been, an island, in the modern sense of the 
term, at Beauly. But the word island is often in early times 
used to denote what we now call a peninsula a tract of land 
almost surrounded by water ; thus the Isle of Ely and Isle of 
Thanet, in the east of England, are not, and never were, 
islands ; nor is the Black Isle in Ross-shire they are all pen- 
insulas. The fourth side of these islands, which fourth side is 
now firm land, may have been in early times a marsh, thus 
giving the peninsula in effect the character of an island. 

At the time of building Beauly Priory, the land on which it 
stands had the river on its south side, two small streams on 
the east and west, and land which was probably bog or marsh 
on the north. It may be traced by a careful examination 
of the environs of the Priory; the surrounding water made 
the island a place capable of being easily strengthened against 
a raid of the neighbours. The castle of Lovat was built in 
* O. S. P. Ross, p. 391. 


a low situation, where a moat could easily be made ; and 
in selecting this island-spot for his priory, John Byset and 
his advisers followed the example of earlier founders of 
monasteries. Westminster Abbey the most glorious founda- 
tion in England was placed by Edward the Confessor on 
Thorney Island, a peninsula formed by small streams flowing 
into the Thames and marshes communicating with that 

The charter of Laurence the Knight is dated at Rosemarkie, 
and is witnessed, first, by the precentor of Ross, and next by 
the chancellor of Ross. In 1255 the Pope* confirmed the 
arrangement of the Bishop of Ross, by which all the tithes of 
corn of the parishes of Kennettes and Suddy were given to 
the precentor or chancellor of Ross ; but at the dissolution -J- 
we find these two churches belonging to the chancellor, and 
not the precentor of Ross. No gift of any church to the 
chancellor is contained in the same Bull. At the dissolution 
the churches of Kilchrist or Tarradale and of Kilmorack be- 
longed to the precentor of Ross ; and I suspect that before 
1255, the year of this charter and Bull, the church of Kilmo- 
rack, within which parish the Priory of Beauly stands, had 
been appropriated to the chancellor, and was exchanged by 
him with the precentor of Ross. 

The vicar of Inverness is also a witness to the charter of 
Laurence. The vicarage had been ordained only seven years 
before. William the Lion, making Inverness a royal burgh, 
assumed to be entitled to the proprietorship of the church ; 
and about 1189 granted it,, with its chapels, lands, and tithes 
to the monastery of St Thomas & Becket, at Arbroath. 
Ratified by two bishops and the chapter of Moray and the 
Pope,J the liberty given to Arbroath to appoint chaplains for 
Inverness seems not to have been exercised so as fully to 
provide for the town; and in I248 a vicar was appointed, 

* Theiner. Mon. Hib. et Scot, p. 69. 

t House of Lords Appeal Cases, vol. x., p. 637 (1814). 

t Registrum de Aberbrothock, pp. 24, 140, 141. 

Ib., p. 190. 



who was to have a house near the church where he might 
fitly entertain the bishop and the abbot of Arbroath when 
they should visit Inverness, and this vicar was to cause the 
church of Inverness and its chapels to be properly served. 
The endowment was small for so considerable a charge, but 
the altarages and other fees received at the chapels for the 
many offices of the pre-Reformation Church rendered a small 
endowment sufficient for the chaplains. 

Before passing to the next charter, we had better refer 
to a transaction in 1258 of John Byset, son of the founder 
John Byset the younger of 1244. He appears to have been 
remiss in providing that stone of wax for the cathedral of 
Elgin which his father had originally agreed to give the 
cathedral of Ross, and which had been handed over, somewhat 
without reference to the giver, by the Bishop of Ross to the 
Bishop of Moray. The bishop also appears to have claimed 
not only the tithe of the can of the lands of the Aird held by 
John Byset the tithe of the can of all the king's lands in 
Moray having been granted by William the Lion to the 
church of the bishop in 1171-84 but also the can itself.* 
The bishop also claimed a davoch of the church land of 
Conveth, and a davoch in Ross, called Erchless, which John 
Byset claimed as belonging to his fee of the Aird by hereditary 
right. The controversy was settled by the bishop surrender- 
ing his claims, which seem after the transactions that had 
taken place to have been unfounded, except the claim to the 
stone of wax ; and taking in lieu of them a rent charge of 
60 shillings, or three pounds' weight of silver, payable out of 
the lands of Wester Moniack. 

It would seem from no mention being made of the connec- 
tion of the church of Conveth with the Priory of Beauly that 
it had not yet been appropriated to the priory. We shall see 
hereafter that it was part of their possessions, and it is pro- 
bable that the deed of arrangement of 1258 was made to 
enable John Byset the younger to give it to the priory. By 
1275 it must have been appropriated, as it then had a vicar,t 

* Reg. Moray, pp. 133, 134. t Theiner. Mon. Hib. et Scot., p. in. 


the tenth of whose stipend was 93. 46., so that between these 
intervals the rectory was granted to some religious body, and 
probably to Beauly Priory, whose possession it afterwards was. 
John Byset is in this instrument of 1258 no longer called 
the younger as in 1244, and holds his property by descent and 
not, as John Byset the founder did, by grant from the Crown. 
John, founder of Beauly, had died in Ireland, leaving Agatha, 
his widow, by whom he seems to have had a second family, 
who formed the clan Eoin, or Bysets of the Glens of Antrim. 

Among the witnesses to the instrument are Dominus Lau- 
rentius et Robertus dicti Grant ; and looking at the fact that 
William le Grant not long before had the Byset manor of 
East Bridgeford by marriage with the heiress, and that this is 
the first mention of the name, we may suppose that the 
Grants were brought to Scotland from England by John and 
Walter Byset on their return from the exile of 1242. Another 
witness is Robert Byset, probably the lord of Upsetlington. 

The time of the death of John Byset the son, is accurately 
fixed by the inquisition of a jury in Ireland in 6 Edward I. 
(1278), who find that he died nineteen years before that date, 
or in 1259, and that he had before his death given dower to 
the Lady Agatha, his stepmother, and left three daughters 
his co-heiresses, Cecilia, the wife of William de Fenton ; 
Elizabeth, the wife of Andrew de Boscho ; and Muriel, the 
wife of David de Graham. They must have been all married 
before 1268. Being heiresses, they probably married young. 
Their history is detailed in the charters. 

In the Chamberlain Accounts, vol. i., p. 31, which range 
from 1263 to 1266, the Chamberlain accounts for four merks 
as the tenth of the Bishop of Moray of the fine imposed on 
the wife of John Byset. She was probably widow of John 
Byset the younger. 

Among the records of Scotland delivered by King Edward I. 
to John Baliol in 1292 was a letter of William de Fenton, 
Andrew de Bosco, and David de Graham, acknowledging that 
they had received from William Wyscard, Archdeacon of 
St Andrews, chancellor of the king, those charters which 


the late John Byset [filius* h . . militis junioris] had 
deposited in the Abbey of Jedburgh. As William Wyscard 
or Wishart ceased to be Archdeacon of St Andrews in 1268/f 
this transaction must have taken place before that year. The 
blank here preceding the words " militis junioris," when taken 
in connection with the epithet John Byset the younger, in the 
letter of confirmation of the Treaty of Ponteland in 1244, 
must be filled by the words " John Byset ;" and the entry 
seems to establish that the deeds were deposited by John 
Byset, a son of John Byset the younger ; that on his death 
in 1259 John Byset the younger must have left a son and 
three daughters, and that the son died without issue, leaving 
the daughters co-heiresses of his father and himself ; so that 
there were three John Bysets. 

If Forsyth'sj account of the earliest writ to the family of 
Grant is correct, the third John Byset was witness to this writ, 
which was a grant to Robert le Grant about 1268 from John 
Prat, knight. If Chalmers is correct, that Gregory le Grant 
married Mary, daughter of Byset of Lovat, she must have 
been the daughter of the first John Byset, founder of Beauly 

Gregory le Grant was sheriff of Inverness in 1263,]! and the 
Grants certainly appear about 1345 to be in possession of 
Stratherrick, when they succeeded the Bysets ; and looking 
at the circumstances of their introduction into the North, it is 
probable they obtained the lands of Stratherrick in marriage 
with a Byset. 

* Act. Parl. Scot., vol. i., App. 18, pref., p. 17. There is no h now in the ori- 
ginal which is zincographed by H. M. Treasury. 

t Crawford's Officers of State, p. 15. J Forsyth's Moray, p. 20. 

Caledonia, vol. I, p. 596. || Chamberlain Accounts, vol. i., p. 21. 


No. V. 



Magister Henricus de Tottyngham erat Rector Eccksia de Taruodal. 

" Sciant praesentes et futuri hoc scriptum visuri vel audituri, quod 
cum mota esset controversia inter Priorem et Conventum Monasterii 
de Bello loco ex una parte, et Magistrum Henricum de Tottyngham 
Rectorem Ecclesiae de Taruedal ex altera, sub omnibus querelis, 
petitionibus, controversijs, injurijs, et dampnis inter eos datis et 
habitis; tandem de consensu partium concorditer compromiserunt 
in venerabilem virum Archibaldum Archidiaconum Moraviensem 
Dei gratia tune electum Kattanensem et Magistrum Radulphum 
dictum Reny Subdecanum Moraviensem, et Magistrum Thomam de 
Boch Canonicum ejusdem Ecclesiae et fideliter consenserunt in eosdem 
fide data, in manibus praedicti Domini tune electi, quod dictorum 
compromissariorum arbitrio starent de praemissis omnibus et singulis 
sub poena centum Marcarum solvendarum parti nolenti a praedictorum 
arbitrio resilire. Ad quam poenam si fuerint, quod absit, commissa, 
solvendam obligaverunt seipsos hinc inde, et omnia bona sua, mun- 
dana et Ecclesiastica, mobilia et immobilia, subjicientes se jurisdic- 
tion! Domini Archibald! Archidiaconi Moraviensis Dei gratia tune 
electi Kattanensis, quo de piano et sine strepitu judiciali per senten- 
tiam excommunicationis posset partem volentem resilire a praedicto 
arbitrio, compellere, sicut praedictum est, ad paenam supradictam 
solvendam. Renunciaverunt in super hinc inde litibus, processibus 
habitis et habendis, appellationibus interpositis et interponendis, 
coram quibuscunque Judicibus, nee non et litteris impetratis et im- 
petrandis, super praemissis omnibus et singulis ab ordinario, seu 
delegatis Judicibus, seu ad ordinaries vel delegates Judices. Renun- 
ciaverunt et privilegio cruce signatorum, et regiae prohibitioni et con- 
stitutioni de duabus dietis, et omni Juris remedio tarn Civilis quam 
Canonici. Tandem partibus praesentibus die Jovis infra octav. 
Epiphaniae anno gratise Millesimo ducentesimo septuagesimo quarto 


in Ecclesia Cathedral! de Elgyn, habito prudentium virorum consilio, 
quorum nomina inferius sunt expressa, dicti Arbitri in hunc modum 
sunt Arbitrati, viz., quod partes prsenominatae, omnibus querelis, 
petitionibus, contraversiis, injurijs et dampnis omnibus et singulis 
renunciaverunt et dicti Prior et Conventus haberent libere omnes 
decimas totius terrae suse pertinentes ad ecclesiam de Taruedal, usque 
ad terminum octo annorum plenarie completorum : termino incipient! 
ad Pentecosten anno gratise milesimo ducentesimo septuagesimo 
quinto : Et quod dicti Prior et Conventus recipiant annuatim suis 
proprijs costis et expensis infra dictos octo annos, in quolibet anno, 
per dimidium annum dictum Magistrum Henricum cum duobus equis 
et duobus garcionibus, et quod dictus Magister Henricus fidele 
patrocinium cum expensis eorundem prsestaret et similiter serviet 
fitleliter eisdem Priori et conventui quotiescunque servitio ipsius 
indiguerint, usque ad terminum octo annorum plenarie completorum. 
In cujus rei firmum testimonium huic scripto sigilla dic.torum arbitro- 
rum sunt apposita hijs testibus Domino Willielmo Decano Mora- 
viensi, Domino Waltero Sureys Officiali Moraviensi, Domino Roberto 
vicario de Duffhus, Domino Willielmo Priore de Pluscardyn, et 
Domino Roberto de Bosyll commonacho suo et multis alijs." 

Not. There are three Tags appended to the charter ; to the 
middle one only is affixed a seal. 

This charter explains and illustrates the note already printed 
from the transcript of the Wardlaw MS. 

The MS. stated that in 1235 Gillichrist a Rosse gave and 
confirmed the Half Davoch Lands of Tarradale to the monks 
of Beauly. The monks retained the lands of Tarradale, at 
least that portion which is now called Kilchrist, to the dis- 
solution ; this was in the parish of Tarradale, of which there 
seems to have been a chaplain rector in 1240.* 

It appears that a controversy had arisen between the Prior 
of Beauly and Master Henry of Tottingham or Nottingham, 
rector of the church of Tarradale, respecting the lands of the 
priory in Tarradale, which, by the judgment of Archibald, 
Archdeacon of Moray, and then bishop elect of Caithness, and 
others, was settled in the cathedral church of Elgin on Thurs- 

* Reg. Moray, p. 275. 


day within the octave of the Feast of the Epiphany 1274, as 
follows : that the prior and convent should have free of rent 
the tithes which belonged to the church of Tarradale, and 
which arose from their lands, and this for eight years from 
Whitsunday 1275 ; that during that time the prior would 
entertain at his own cost the said Master Henry, with two 
horses and two grooms, for the half of each year ; and that 
during the same period Master Henry should protect and 
faithfully serve the prior and convent as often as required. 

I suspect the name was Nottingham, and that this Henry 
was the Henry de Nottingham who was a canon of Caith- 
ness in 1272.* If so, he was bound to reside at Dornoch for 
three months in the year at least by the constitution of that 
cathedral ;f he was also, by the ordinary law, obliged to reside 
six months in his parish. Probably there was no house of 
residence at Tarradale, so that his six months' residence on 
his living was arranged by his residing within the limits of the 
priory, by this time a commodious edifice. 

The charter is witnessed by Dominus William, Dean of 
Moray ; Dominus Walter Sureys, the official of Moray; Dom- 
inus Robert, vicar of Duffus; Dominus William, Prior of Plus- 
cardine ; and Robert of Bosyll, fellow monk. 

Magister [Master] signifies that the ecclesiastic who bore 
this prefix was a Master of Arts of a university ; Dominus 
was used to signify an ecclesiastic who was either not a 
graduate, or only a Bachelor of Arts, and it was afterwards 
commonly translated into Sir. J Sir Hugh Evans, in Shake- 
speare's " Merry Wives of Windsor," was a priest. The host 
says, " Shall I lose my parson my priest my Sir Hugh ? " 

The release entered into is from all claims, suits, actions, and 
appeals ; and renounces for each party, among other things, 
the privilege of crusaders " cruce signatorum" who were 
allowed special exemptions from prosecutions and suits. 

* Liber Eccles. de Scon., p. 85. + O. S. P. Dornoch, p. 602. 

J Fuller's Church History; Nash, Worcestershire, vol. ii., p. 23 (N.); Kennett's 
Parochial Antiquities, p. 684. 

See Robertson's History of Charles V., note xiii. 


The rector of Tarradale was entitled to tithes from the 
Priory lands, for there is no privilege of exemption from 
tithes mentioned in the Bull of the Pope to Beauly. Even if 
the Valliscaulian order were entitled to the privileges of the 
Cistercian order as to tithes, without the exemption being 
mentioned in the Pope's Bull, the Priory of Beauly would not 
be free. The Cistercian order was exempted from paying 
tithes of lands which were cultivated by the hands of the 
monks, or at their expense.* But by the Lateran Council, at 
which William Malvoisin assisted, in 1215, it was provided 
the exemption should extend only to the lands then in pos- 
session of the order. Of course, as the Beauly lands were 
acquired, and the priory founded, after 1215, the ordinary 
exemption could not apply. It would not, however, be neces- 
sary to mention an exemption for lands called novalia, those 
which should, after they had been acquired by the monks, be 
brought into cultivation by the monks, and cultivated by 
them, and at their expense. 

No. VI. 


Ex AUTOGRAPHO [c. 1275]. 

" Omnibus hoc scriptum visuris vel audituris David de Innerlunan 
aeternam in Domino Salutem. Sciant prsesentes et futuri me ex con- 
sensu et voluntate Gillicrist Macgilliduffi concessisse et quietum 
clamasse Deo et Beatae Marias et B. Johanni Baptistse et Fratribus 
Belli loci ordinis Vallis Caulium ibidem Deo servientibus et in 
perpetuum servituris, totam terram meam de Ouchterwaddale quae 
est dimidia Davata terrae, quam scilicet terram habui et tenui ad 
Feodifirmam de praedicto Gillicrist. Tenendam et habendam dictis 

* Connell on Tithes, vol. ii., p. 333. 


fratribus et eorum successoribus cum omnibus pertinentijs et aysia- 
mentis ad dictam terram spectantibus. Quare volo et concede et 
quietum clamo dictam terram de Onachterwaddale de me et haere- 
dibus meis dictis fratribus et eorum successoribus ut ipsi dictam 
terram habeant teneant et pacifice possideant adeo libere quiete, 
plenarie et honorifice sicut illam terram habent ex dono prsedicti 
Gillicrist, prout Carta ejusdem eis inde confecta plenius testatur. 
Volo insuper et concedo, quod si aliqua Scripta vel instrumenta de 
prsedicta terra de Onachteruedalle confecta a me, vel quocunque 
haeredum meorum sive assignatorum aliquo tempore fuerint reperta, 
quse prsedictae quietse Clamationi mese in aliquo poterint eludere, vel 
praedictis fratribus in praedicta terra in aliquo nocere, irrita sint et 
quassata, mihi et hseredibus meis sive assignatis nullo tempore 
valitura: Et ut haec mea Concessio et quieta clamatio rata sit et 
stabilis, praesenti scripto, una cum sigillo meo non satis cognito, 
appensum est sigillum nobilis viri Domini Walteri de Moravia, 
Testibus Domino Andrea de Moravia, Willielmo Comite Sutirland, 
Alano fratre dicti Domini Andreas, Isaac Macgillendres, Johanne 
filio Cristini, Duncano DufF, Bochly Beg, et alijs." 

It is not improbable that the good offices of Henry de 
Nottingham procured for the monks this charter. It is by 
David de Innerlunan, who, because his seal is not sufficiently 
known, uses the seal of Walter de Moray. Andrew de Moray, 
William, Earl of Sutherland, and Alan, the brother of the said 
Andrew de Moray, are witnesses. 

William, Earl of Sutherland, in 1275, by the advice of cer- 
tain prelates and noblemen, grants * to Archibald, Bishop of 
Caithness (the bishop-elect of the last charter), the Castle of 
Skibo ; and to this grant the seals of the earl, William de 
Monte Alto, Sir Andrew of Moray, Sir Alexander of Moray, 
and Sir David of Innerlunan, were appended. Innerlunan 
was a barony in the sheriffdom of Forfar. The witnesses 
seem to fix the date of the one charter of David de Inner- 
lunan at the same period as this charter of William, Earl of 
Sutherland, William de Monte Alto, Andrew de Moray, and 
David de Innerlunan, being parties to both deeds. David 

* Bannatyne Miscellany, vol. iii., p. 24. 


de Innerlunan, by this charter, declares that by the consent 
and will of Gillicrist Macgilliduffi, he granted and confirmed 
to God and the Blessed Mary and the Blessed John Baptist, 
and the brethren of Beauly of the Valliscaulian order, then 
serving and for ever to serve God there, all his land of 
Ouchter-Tarradale, which is a half davoch of land which he 
holds at fee-farm of the said Gillicrist, and which they are 
to hold, as they have that land from the gift of the said 
Gillicrist, as by Gillicrist's charter made to them thereon is 
more fully testified ; and David declares that if any charter 
should be found by him or his heirs contrary to this quit- 
claim, it should be void and of none effect. 

Who was this Gillicrist ? Although the grant is said to be 
by his consent, this expression is explained afterwards, I think, 
by reference to the charter of Gillicrist. That charter may 
be the one referred to by the Wardlaw MS., as granted of 
the Half Davoch Lands of Tarradale by Gillicrist a Rosse in 
1235 ; but whether the name or date is accurate as given by 
the Wardlaw MS. is doubtful. 

David de Innerlunan was, as we have said, of Lunan or 
Innerlunan in Forfar, and held his barony there of the earl- 
dom of Angus. Gilchrist, the son of Gillibride, was Earl of 
Angus in 1207.* This small outlying portion of land in 
Tarradale, on the break up of the old holders of Ross-shire 
lands by William the Lion, may have been granted to the 
Earls of Angus, and feued out by them with the lands of 
Innerlunan, to David de Innerlunan ; and the Gilchrist Mac- 
gilliduffi of this charter belonged perhaps to the Angus family. 
William, the Prior of Pluscardine, is a witness to Henry of 
Nottingham's charter of 1274. 

As everything is of interest to the history of Beauly Priory 
which bears upon the histories of the sister Priories of Plus- 
cardine and Ardchattan priories of the same order, and 
founded in the same year as Beauly I shall ask my readers 
to go back and trace the story of the House of Pluscardine 
from its foundation down to an instrumentf executed by 

* Lib. de Aberbrothock, p. 33. t Family of Kilravock, p. 171. 


Robert, the prior, and Adam Forman, of Pluscardine, the 
subprior, who are witnesses to the monition of the Bishop of 
Moray in favour of the Prior of Beauly, dated the 1 1 th Feb- 
ruary 1501. 

There are few monastic remains in Scotland which those 
interested in the history of the past can visit with so much 
satisfaction as Pluscardine Priory. There are none where 
more care is taken to protect the buildings from sordid rapa- 
city or wanton injury to allow nature to hide the progress of 
" calm decay" by the veil of evergreen climbers she so boun- 
tifully spreads over aged ruins and to prevent the biting rain 
and shivering frost from throwing down the stately walls, 
which still attest the pious liberality of the young pupil of 
Malvoisin, Alexander II. 

In the secluded vale of Pluscardine, in the parish, but at 
some distance from the city of Elgin, the king placed his 
foundation for the Valliscaulian brethren in 1230. Elgin was 
often visited and much favoured by the sovereign ; and after 
the final defeat of the rebel Moraymen in 1229, and the estab- 
lishment of the new sheriffdoms of Elgin and Nairn, all that 
was wanted to secure the civilisation of the district was the 
encouragement of agricultural improvement, and this the king 
effected by planting there abbeys and priories, those bodies of 
devoted men, who drained the morass, planted the hill, and 
cultivated the valley. 

It is said that the king not only founded this priory in the 
parish of Elgin in 1230, but also founded that monastery of 
Dominicans or Preaching Friars there, in 1233, whose prior is 
also a witness to the bishop's monition. A House of Grey 
Friars, or Franciscans, at Elgin, is said to have been endowed 
by him in the same year. 

The king named the Pluscardine Priory after St Andrew, 
the tutelar saint of Scotland, and called the Vale of Pluscar- 
dine the Vale of St Andrew ; the whole valley, about three 
miles long, of extreme fertility, he granted to them, and also 
bestowed on them the corn milns of Elgin. 

The first extant charter of the king is dated /th April 1236. 


A facsimile has been photo-zincographed by the Treasury as 
one of the national MSS. of Scotland.* 

As there is not among the Beauly transcripts any copy of 
the charter of confirmation of John Byset's grant by King 
Alexander II., it will be useful to give the translation of this 
charter to Pluscardine, the work in which it is found being 
expensive, and seldom seen in private libraries. 

" Alexander, by the grace of God King of the Scots, to all the men 
of all his land, clergy, and laity, greeting. Let those present and to 
come know that we, for the love of God, and for the weal of our soul 
and of the souls of our ancestors and successors, have given and 
granted, and by this our charter have confirmed, to God and the 
Blessed Mary, and to the Blessed Apostle Andrew, and to the 
Brethren of the Order of Valliscaulium serving and to serve God in 
the house that we have founded in our forest of Elgin, in the place 
to wit that is called the Vale of Saint Andrew at Pluscardin, in ex- 
change for the forest of Lanach, which we formerly gave to the same 
brethren, twenty nets upon Inverspe in free, pure, and perpetual 

" Moreover, we give and grant, and by this our charter confirm, to 
the same brethren, our mill of Elgin, with all the other mills belong- 
ing to that mill, and our mills formerly belonging to our castle of 
Foreys,t and our mill of Dulpothin, in the bailliary of Foreys, so that 

* Facsimiles of National MSS. of Scotland, part i., No. xlviii. 

t It appears from Stevenson's Documents relating to Scotland, published under 
the direction of the Master of the Rolls, that in 1291-92, notwithstanding all the 
traditions about castles in the north, the only castles into which garrisons were 
placed by Edward I. north of the Spey, were the castles of Elgin, Forres, 
Nairn or Invernairn, Inverness, Dingwall, and Cromarty. These were the only 
strong places of sufficient importance for Edward to keep in his own hands. 
Under the protection of each of these castles, there were, by the time of Alexander 
III., the following municipalities: The Provost and Burgesses of Dingwall, 
the Burgesses of Inverness, the Burgesses of Elgin, the Burgesses of Forres, the 
Burgesses of Cromarty, and the Burgesses of Invernairn. The first charter extant 
to any of these is that of William the Lion to Inverness. % The next is the charter 
of Alexander II. to Dingwall, dated 6th February 1227. This gives to Dingwall 
" omnes libertates et liberas consuetudines quas burgenses nostri de Inverness et 

J This and three other charters of the same king are set out in a charter of King 
James III., dated l6th August 1467, and printed in Bell's Treatise on Scotch 
Election Law, Edin. 1812, A pp. xxxv. 


the aforesaid brethren may have and hold and possess all the afore- 
said mills in free, pure, and perpetual alms, with all the multure pay- 
able from all the lands from which at the time of this grant we drew 
multure, or ought to have drawn it if it had been tilled, with their 
waters and stanks. We will moreover and grant that the aforesaid 
brethren and their millers take earth, stones, and timber for making 
the stanks of the aforesaid mill, and for repairing and preserving 
them without any contradiction or hindrance, in neighbouring con- 
venient and suitable places. We give also and grant, and by this 
our charter confirm, to the aforesaid brethren, in exchange for twenty- 
four nets that the monks and the said brethren had by our gift on the 
water of Findorin for twenty-four pounds, these lands underwritten 
by the eight marches, and with their just appurtenances, to wit, Fer- 
navan, Thulidoui, Kep, Meikle Kyntessoch, to be held and had by 
them in free, pure, and perpetual alms ; in wood and plain, in 
meadows and pastures, in moors and marshes, in ponds, mills, waters, 
and fishings belonging to the said lands, free and quit from every 
exaction, and service, and demand, and custom, with all suits and 
pleas in all the foresaid possessions chancing in their court, which 
we give to them to be litigated and determined, excepting those that 
specially belong to our crown. 

"We will, moreover, and grant that they, in respect of all their proper 
chattels, be free and quit over all our kingdom from all toll and 
custom. And all the aforesaid things that they have at present, and 
that they may in future times acquire by just means in our kingdom, 
we will and grant that they have, hold, and possess in free, pure, and 
perpetual alms, according to the tenor and form of the gifts made 
to them or to be made, as freely, quietly, fully, and honourably as 
any alms in our kingdom are most freely, quietly, fully, and honour- 
in eo manentes habent."* The earliest extant charter in favour of Elgin recog- 
nises the existing burgh, which is mentioned as a burgh in King David's charter to 
Urquhart in 1125, and gives to the burgesses a merchant guild. It is dated at 
Elgin 28th November 1234, and has William Byset among the witnesses, t The 
earliest mention I have found of the burghs of Torres, Cromarty, and Invernairn 
is the insertion among the letters addressed to the King and Queen of Scotland 
probably King Alexander III. and Queen Margaret, by Scottish municipalities, 
of letters from the burgesses of Forres, Cromarty, and Invernairn. J 

* Stat. Acct. Ross-shire, Dingwall, 1837, p. 219. 

t Printed Shaw's History of Moray, Edin. 1775, p. 193. 

J National MSS. of Scotland, part i., Ixxiv. 


ably had, held, and possessed by any religious men. And we have 
taken the aforesaid brethren and their house, all their men, and all 
the possessions and goods of them and their men into our firm peace 
and protection; and we firmly forbid that any one inflict any injury, 
trouble, or grievance upon them, or upon any one of them unjustly, 
upon pain of our full forfeiture ; and that any one presume to take 
poind of them or of their men for any debt unless for their proper 
debt that they or their men may owe, upon pain of our full forfeiture. 
But if any one shall have rashly presumed to go against what is 
aforesaid in anything, let the diocesan in whose diocese this has 
been done, justly compel, by ecclesiastical censure, him who has 
done the injury to give satisfaction to the aforesaid monks ; and if, 
on account of his contumacy, he has been tied with the sentence of 
excommunication, and obstinately resisting has scorned to obey the 
mandates of the Church, and has remained during forty days under 
sentence of excommunication, let the bailie of us and of our heirs, in 
whose bailliary that excommunicated person may be, seize him and 
thrust him into our prison ; which, if that bailie shall have neglected 
to do after being required three times, the sentence of excommunica- 
tion shall be enforced by the course of justice. We will, moreover, 
and grant that as often as injury has been done to the aforesaid 
brethren or to their men in respect of their lands, mills, or the marches 
of their lands, their possessions or other things, the bailies of us and 
of our heirs, when required by them, without waiting for a special 
royal mandate, do them full and swift justice according to the assize 
and customs of our kingdom. We charge, moreover, that no one 
presume to detain unjustly their serfs and those of their lands if found 
outwith our domains, upon pain of our full forfeiture. Witnesses 
William, Bishop of Glasgow our Chancellor; Andrew, Bishop of Moray; 
William, Abbot of Dunfermline ; Herbert, Abbot of Kelchoch ; Ralf, 
Abbot of Aberbrothock ; Gilbert, Abbot of Holy Rood; Patrick, 
Earl of Dunbar; Malcolm, Earl of Fife; Walter Cumin, Earl of 
Menteith ; Roger of Quinci, our Constable ; Walter, the son of Alan, 
our Steward, and Justiciar of Scotland ; Walter Olifand, Justiciar of 
Lothian; Ingram of Balliol ; Roger Avenel; Walter Biseth; Thomas, 
the son of Ranulf; Archibald of Dufglas; David, the Marischal. 
At Edinburgh, on the 7th day of April, in the 22d year of trie reign 
of our Lord the King." 

The king had been careful, in his grant to the Valliscaulians, 


to remember their rules, and to give them incomes without 
labour ; as at Beauly, so at Pluscardine, much of the revenues 
are derived from mills and salmon-fishings. " One grant," 
says Mr Innes, " of twenty nets fishing at Inverspey may have 
comprehended the whole fishing of the great river from the 
ancient bridge downwards."* The maintenance of the ancient 
bridge, we may remark, was secured by the wise king in 
1228 granting property for the purpose of keeping it in repair. 
The bishop's charter confirming this in 1237 releases the 
tithes of the same land to the monks. We print the charter 
from the Treasury translation : 

" To all the sons of Holy Mother Church that shall see or hear 
these letters, Andrew, by divine permission Bishop of Moray, ever- 
lasting health in the Lord, Be it known unto you all that when our 
Lord Alexander, the illustrious King of the Scots, had bestowed, in 
pure and perpetual alms, for the support of the House of the Vale of 
St Andrew, of the order of Valliscaulium, which he founded in Plus- 
cardin, and for the support of the brothers there serving, and for 
ever to serve God, the mill of Elgin, with all the mills and other 
things belonging to it; also the mills of Foreys and of Dulpotin, 
with all the mills and other things belonging to these mills, from 
which the churches of Elgin, and of Foreys, and of Dye [Dyke] were 
wont to draw tithes ;t at the instance of our same Lord the King we 
quit-claimed to the aforesaid house, and to the aforesaid brethren, 
with the counsel and consent of our chapter and of the rector of the 
church of Foreys, | to wit, the Archdeacon of Moray, all the tithes 
of the aforesaid mills and others, if any happen to have been made 
within the soke of the aforesaid mills which the aforesaid mills had 
at the time of the making of this writing, except the tithes from the 
profits of the millers holding the aforesaid mills. We have quit- 

* Facsimiles of National MSS. of Scotland, Introduction, p. xi. 

t It would seem that these churches had the tithes of mills, which are generally 
vicarial tithes. 

William the Lion gave the churches of Forres and Dyke to Richard, Bishop of 
Moray, who had been his chaplain. 

Bishop Bricius of Moray erected Forres and Logyn-Fythenach into a canonry, 
and gave it to the Archdeacon of Moray. This Logic is the Logic near Dum- 
phail, and called Logic Fythenach, or the Woody Logic, to distinguish it from 
the other Logic. 


claimed, moreover, to the same house and to the same brethren, at 
the instance of our same Lord the King, all the tithes that were wont 
to be paid to us, and that ought to be paid to the Bishops of Moray 
for ever, from the rents* arising, and that shall arise, from the lands 
of Fernauan,t Tuliduui, Kep, Meikle Kintessoc,J reserving to the 
mother churches in whose parishes the aforesaid lands are the other 
tithes pertaining to them. And our Lord the King aforesaid, by 
bestowing greater gifts, has of his grace benevolently provided an 
indemnity, and abundantly given satisfaction to us and to our suc- 
cessors, and to the church of Moray. And we have given full satis- 
faction to the church of Forays and the Archdeacons of Moray for 
those things that belonged to them. In sure and indubitable testi- 
mony of the things aforesaid, to this writing along with our seal is 
affixed the seal of our chapter, together with the subscriptions of the 
canons. Done in the year of grace one thousand two hundred and 

t%* I, ANDREW, Bishop of Moray and Canon of the Holy Trinity 

of Elgin, subscribe. *|< 

>J< I, WILLIAM, Precentor of Moray, subscribe. >p 
>J I, WILLIAM, Chancellor of the church of Moray, subscribe. >J< 
t%* I, WILLIAM, Archdeacon of Moray, subscribe. *J* 
>J I, JOHN OF BEREWIC, Canon of the church of Moray, subscribe.^ 
t%* I, ANDREW, Canon of Moray, subscribe. t%* 
*%* I, WALTER, Canon of Kingussy, subscribe. t%t 
t%t I, R., Canon of Duppol, subscribe. >J 
*%* I, JOHN, Canon of Crumbdol, subscribe. ^ 
^ I, WALTER, Subdean of Moray, subscribe. *| 
t%* I, ARCHIBALD, Canon of Croyn, subscribe, t^t 

* The bishop perhaps refers to the grant to his see by William the Lion of the 
tithes of the king's can, or rents in kind, but the bishop's charter seems by Pope 
Urban's confirmation to have been sufficient to grant the corn tithes. 

f This is probably Fern way, which, according to Mr Forsyth (Acct. Moray, p. 173), 
is the original name of the district of Fernoway or Darnaway. This district, or the 
forest part of it, became the property of Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray, who is 
said to have founded Darnaway Castle between 1315 and 1331. 

J Kintessack is the present name of a locality in the parish of Dyke. 

Although Bishop Bricius had erected the canonry of Forres and Logyn- 
Fythenach for the benefit of the Archdeacon of Moray, yet, for some reason, the 
gift of Logyn-Fythenach required confirmation. This confirmation was enforced 
as a condition by Alexander in his grant to the bishop, in the month of September 


In 1239 we have Symon Prior of Pluscardine a witness to 
the charter,* by which, among other churches, the church of 
Fernuau, formed out of the Byset parish of Dunballoch, was 
granted by the Bishop of Moray to the canons of Elgin. 

In 1263 Pope Urban IV. granted a Bull to Pluscardine. 
He, after the example of Gregory, of happy memory, takes 
the monastery under the protection of the Blessed Peter and 
himself. He appoints that the monastic order which has 
been instituted in the monastery according to God and the 
rule of St Benedict, and the institution of the Brethren of Val- 
liscaulium should for all times be observed there. He con- 
firms the grants made to the house, especially the place where 
the monastery is situated, with all its appurtenances ; the 
church situated in the town, called Durris [Dores], with the 
tithes of sheaves of the same place ; the right of patronage 
in the church ; the tithes of sheaves in the forests of Pluscar- 
din and Wthutyr ; the tithes of the mills placed in the same 
forests, and of the iron dug in the same ; the right of fishing 
with twenty nets in the Spey ; and the mill with the streams, 
which the monks have in the town called Elgyn. The lands 
and possessions in the places commonly called Fernauay, 
Thulidoui, Kep, the Greater Kintessoch and Mefth are con- 
firmed ; also the land and forest called Pluscardin and 
Wthutyr. Nobody is to take tithes from their gardens, under- 
woods, fishings, or meadows. The monks may receive to con- 
version those flying from the secular power. There are the 
usual restrictions against leaving the House without the prior's 
licence ; and against any monk or lay brother being surety, 
and borrowing money ; leave to say the holy offices during an 
interdict ; and no prior is to be placed at their head except he 
who is chosen by the majority. The Bull is dated at Viterbo, 
3d July 1263^ 

1236, of Finlarg. He grants Finlarg in exchange for the wood called Cawood, 
and for Logyn-Fythenach, of which latter place the bishop should be bound to 
make a full grant to William, Archdeacon of Moray, and his successors for ever. 
This grant had probably been made in the interval between September 1236 and 

* Reg. Mor., p. 35. t Spalding Mis., vol. ii., p. 404. 


Symon seems to have been a long time prior, for Dominus 
Symon, Prior de Pluscardine, is witness to a charter by John 
the son of Malcolm de Moravia, which Mr Innes puts down 
as of the date 1284, and which is witnessed by William, Earl 
of Sutherland, and William, Earl of Ross.* In his time the 
monks of Pluscardine arranged with the burgesses of Elgin, 
that the monks should have the lands which lay between the 
two mills of Elgin in lieu of an obligation on the town to 
repair the mills and stanks, with which the burgh was then 
burdened. The convention is dated St Nicholas's Day I2/2.T 
Patrick Heyrock was provost, and Hugo Bisset one of the 
burgesses; and Hugo Herock, in 1286, has Simon, Prior of 
Pluscardine, as a witness to his endowment of the chaplains 
of St Nicholas and the Holy Cross at Elgin. J By 1330 the 
Heyrocks have become treasurers of the church of Moray, and 
the controversy between the town and the priory is now as to 
the multures. The monks are to have the seventeenth vessel 
or vat of corn in lieu of other multures. 

John, Bishop of Moray, and Richard, Bishop of Dunkeld, 
in a Cathedral Chapter of the Church of Moray, held on the 
loth of October I345,|| having before them, summoned by 
the Bishop of Moray, John Wyse the prior, Adam Marshall 
the subprior, and William of Inverness and Adam Young 
monks, of the House of the Vale of St Andrew of Pluscardine, 
interrogate them, and extract from them this statement, 
That from the first foundation of the House of Pluscardine, 
as they have heard from their predecessors and seen in their 
own time, the bishops of Moray for the time being, as often 
as they thought fit, had exercised the right of visitation and 
correction, institution and deprivation, over the priors and 
brethren of the House of Pluscardine, and received procura- 
tions ; and the prior and monks admitted that they had no 
exemption or privilege against this right, which was now, and 
had been from time beyond memory, exercised by the Bishops 
of Moray. Nor was this all. Sir William de Longo Vico, 

* Reg. Mor., 462. f Family of Innes, p. 55. J Reg. Mor., 283. 

Family of Innes, p. 57. || Reg. Mor., 157. 


a monk of the Rennard Valley, of the diocese of Toul, as 
nuncio of the Order of the Valliscaulians, and proctor of the 
prior of the House of Valliscaulium in the diocese of Langres, 
stated that the bishops and diocesan archbishops, as well in 
Germany as in other parts beyond the sea, in "whose diocese 
Houses of the Valliscaulian order were situated, down to this 
time had exercised, and now exercise, in their dioceses, the right 
of visitation and correction over these Houses, and received 
procurations. There were present the Chancellor and official of 
Moray, the Chancellor of Glasgow, the Treasurer of Dunkeld, 
and the Canons of Moray, specially called to be witnesses. 

The House of Pluscardine had further troubles in connec- 
tion with their multures. Robert de Chisholm, who was Lord 
of Quarrywood, near Elgin, refused to pay multures to the 
prior. The House appealed to the Bishop of Moray, and 
Alexander Bar, the then prelate, issued a monition to Sir 
Archibald Douglas, knight, in April 1390, in the following 
terms :* 

" Honourable and noble Sir, You and John de Kay, sheriff 
of Inverness, have determined a certain process in such man- 
ner, as God knows, to the grievous injury of the Priory of Plus- 
cardine, and to the great prejudice of the jurisdiction of the 
Church, which we crave to have by you recalled ; for we assert 
and declare that Alexander, King of Scotland, of pious memory, 
gifted to the prior and monks of Pluscardine the mills of Elgin 
and Forres and other mills depending on them, and the mulc- 
tures of the lands of those mills which he then received, or 
ought to have received, as they were for the deliverance of his 
soul, which mulctures of the lands, when arable, by virtue of 
the donation, the said prior and monks have received, likeas 
they yet without dispute receive ; and whereas the mulctures 
of the lands of Quarrywood, in the sheriffdom of Elgon, at 
that time unimproved, but now reduced to cultivation, belongs 
and appertains to the mill of Elgin, from which it is scarcely 
a mile distant ; because, if it had been at that time cultivated, 
the mulctures would, and ought to have been, received by the 
* Reg. Mor., p. 169. Forsyth's Moray, p. 133. 


royal granter." The complaint, after stating undisturbed 
possession, with the knowledge and tolerance of Robert de 
Chisholm, knight, during the preceding reigns, " further asserts 
and declares that the said Robert had seized and bound a 
certain husbandman of the lands of Findrassie (Finrossie), to 
whom the prior had by contract let the said mulctures, and 
thrown him into a private prison, by which he directly incurred 
the sentence of excommunication." The complaint proceeds 
to show cause why the action could not be determined by the 
civil, but by the ecclesiastical court, and concludes by threat- 
ening to excommunicate the civil judges if they attempted 
anything further by which the priory might be wronged or the 
jurisdiction of the Church marred. 

On the 1 6th of April 1390 Sir Thomas, Prior of the House 
of Pluscardine, records a solemn instrument of protest against 
the proceedings of Sir Robert de Chisholm.* The prior and 
the knight, however, attest a charter of John of Dunbar, Earl 
of Moray, to the burgh of Elgin on the 1st of May 1390, by 
which the earl discharged to the town for ever the ale of 
assize belonging to him, as constable of the castle of Elgin.-f- 

Quarrywood is in the parish of Spynie, and is so called from 
a rich quarry of freestone in these lands. It belonged in 1 365 to 
Sir Robert Lauder, whose grandson, Sir Robert de Chesholme, 
then constable of Urquhart Castle (to whom John Randolph, 
Earl of Moray, had given in 1 345 j the lands of Invermoriston 
and of Lochletter in Glenmoriston, and Glen Urquhart), in 
January 1365, married his daughter to Rose of Kilravock. 
Shaw wonders that Sir Robert Lauder could be alive when 

* Family of Innes, p. 65. 

+ Ib., p. 67, Shaw explains the assize of ale to be the quantity of ale which the 
burgh was bound to furnish to the earl as constable ; and, as Dr Cowell observes, 
assisa panis sometimes signifies a portion of bread, and the Doctor derives the 
expression "sizar" at Cambridge, from the quantity of bread which those students 
who had sizarships were entitled to receive. But Dr Cowell explains assisa panis 
et cerevisice as the power or privilege of assizing or adjusting the weights and 
measures of bread and beer; this privilege was one belonging to the lord of a 
town, and was accompanied with a power of demanding fees and fines, and it is 
probably this privilege which was surrendered by the earl. 

J Family of Innes, p. 60. Family of Kilravock, p. 37. 


his great-granddaughter was married, but the Lauders of the 
Bass were a stout race, and he was not only alive, but able to 
enter into a deed with his grandson in 1 366. 

Sir Robert de Chisholm's method of taking the law into his 
hands against the Church was a month after outrageously 
exceeded by Alexander Stewart, the "Wolf of Badenoch," who 
burnt Elgin and the cathedral on St Botolph's Day, i/th June 
1390. It seems that among the Bulls, apostolic letters, public 
instruments, charters, and other writings burnt with the cathe- 
dral, were those by which the rights of the Priory of the Val- 
liscaulians at Pluscardine, and its privileges and statutes and 
foundations, could be manifested. Pope Benedict XIII., in 
1404, issued a commission to the Bishop of Aberdeen to 
inquire for any other copies of the evidences burnt, but it 
does not appear that those of the House of Pluscardine were 

Whether the prior succeeded in rescuing his multures, we 
cannot ascertain, but the plea of exclusive jurisdiction set up 
by the Church when the temporal rights of a monastery were 
in dispute is not likely to have been sustained. In 1388, the 
appeal of a monk of the Priory of Urquhart in Moray against 
the investiture of a prior of Urquhart by the Bishop of Moray, 
was finally decided by King Robert III. and the clergy in 
Parliament on the I2th March I39i.f 

The mode in which the election of priors and their confirma- 
tion by the bishop was managed, is shown by what happened 
in the Priory of Pluscardine in 1398. Thomas, the head of the 
House, on the 7th August 1398^ resigns the priory into the 
hands of the Bishop of Moray; on the I3th of the same 
month the senior monk announces to the bishop that Alex- 
ander de Pluscardine, one of the monks, was unanimously 
elected prior ; that the Te Deum was duly chanted after the 
election, and that the House in full chapter assembled craved 
the bishop's confirmation. And on the Vigil of the Assump- 
tion (i4th August) the bishop || issues an order that any one 

* Reg. Mor., p. 422. + Preface Stat. Eccl. Scot., p. 51, N. (6). 

t Reg. Mor., 353. Ib. t 356. II lb. t 357. 


opposing the election should appear on the 2ist of the same 
month ; and on the 2ist the election of Alexander is confirmed 
by the bishop, reserving to himself and successors the right 
of annual visitation. As yet no usurpation by the Pope had 
taken place of the rights of the Valliscaulian monks to elect 
their own prior, a usurpation which we have seen Alexander 
Borgia attempt in the Priory of Beauly. 

The Priory of Urquhart was founded by King David I.,* 
and partly endowed by the Abbey of Dunfermline, whose 
grant the foundation charter confirms. The charter has no 
date, but is usually stated to be 1125. It is in form a grant 
to the Church of Urquhart and the prior and brethren serving 
there. The Papal Bulls of 1163 and 1182 to Dunfermline 
include Urquhart and the church of Urquhart among the 
possessions of the abbey; and in 1234 Pope Gregory IX. 
expressly confirms it to the abbey as the Cell of Urquhart in 
Moray, with the Church lands and other pertinents.^ 

A cell might be a grange J or house, with ample farm 
buildings, erected upon lands at a distance from the monastery 
to which the cell belonged ; there two or three of the monks 
lived, reaped the crops, collected the rents, and remitted them 
to the superior house. Thus Pluscardine had a grange and 
cell of monks in the parish of Dyke, who superintended their 
farm and estate of Grangehill, now Dalvey. || At times a cell 
was an oratory, where a certain number of monks were 
allowed to retire for prayer and meditation.lT 

* Reg. Dunf., 15. +/., 151, 154, 156, 175. 

J Wordsworth has poetically described the office of a cell when a grange, in his 
poem on the Cell of St Bees, 

" Who with the ploughshare clove the barren moors, 
And to green meadows changed the swampy shores? 
Thinned the rank woods : and for the cheerful GRANGE 
Made room where wolf and boar were used to range. " 
Forsyth's Moray, p. 77. 

|| In the beautiful gardens of Dalvey there is a venerable apple-tree, which still 
blossoms richly, and bears some fruit ; it is impossible to ascertain its age, but it 
is conjectured, with some appearance of truth, that it was planted by the monks 
of Pluscardine (New Statistical Ace., Dyke, p. 219). 
IT Ducange in verbo Cella. 


Urquhart was governed by a prior who, in 1343, was suffi- 
ciently independent to settle the obligation of the priory to 
pay the expense of serving the chapel of Kilravock ;* but in 
1358 the Abbot of Dunfermline asserted that the prior could 
not be elected without his sanction. In 1429 there is a letter 
from Columban, Bishop of Moray, authorising the commis- 
sioner of the Abbot of Dunfermline the king's assent having 
been also obtained to the commission to inquire into, correct, 
and reform the priorate and prior of the abbot's cell of 
Urquhart on account of some crimes come to the ears of the 

The bishop at the same time addressed a letter to the 
Prior of Urquhart, Sir Andrew Raeburn, informing him that 
the abbot intended, by his commissioner, to hold a visita- 
tion of the priory, and requiring the prior to attend it. J 
What faults the Prior of Urquhart had committed does not 
appear, nor the result of the visitation. Great care was taken 
in the rules of the Benedictine order that cells should not 
lapse into places where monastic discipline was neglected. 

Some twenty -five years later the charms of the Priory of 
Pluscardine excited the cupidity of a principal officer of the 
House of Dunfermline. The transaction which followed and 
gratified the covetous sacristan of Dunfermline is by Shaw 
and Forsyth attributed to the vices of the Pluscardine monks. 

" The monks of Pluscardine," writes Shaw, " becoming vici- 
ous, the priory was reformed and made a cell of Dunfermline." 
" The Convent of Pluscardine was free from episcopal juris- 
diction," says Forsyth, " but becoming licentious, soon after 
1460 the white monks were expelled, the black were intro- 
duced, and the priory made a cell of Dunfermline." The 
property of the House had dwindled, and the priory church 
and priory buildings had become ruinated in 1398, for the 
election of Alexander proceeded on his being expected to 
defend the possessions and to repair the church and dwellings 
of the monks. John Benale, Prior of Urquhart, whose con- 

* Family of Kilravock, p. 1 1 2. t Reg- Dunf., 167. 

I Reg. Dunf., 282, 283. Reg. Mor., 356. 


vent of brethren seems to have consisted of two monks, in 1454 
petitions Pope Nicholas V.* that he would unite the priories 
of Urquhart and Pluscardine. The petition stated that these 
two priories were conventual, curative, and elective, and were 
acknowledged to be foundations of kings of Scotland ; that 
by reason of wars, mortalities, and other calamities, the income 
of the priories had so diminished that they were unable to 
keep up a prior in each House with a decent and competent 
number of religious men, or to keep the buildings of each 
house in proper order, or to maintain Divine service ; so that 
in Pluscardine there were generally not above six monks, 
in Urquhart two only. The petition stated that Pluscardine 
was a dependent member of the Priory of Valliscaulium in the 
diocese of Langres in France, and on account of the great dis- 
tance of Pluscardine from Valliscaulium, and other inconveni- 
ences, it was unable to be visited by the mother house or 
her substitutes, or to obtain any help from her, and that it 
would be desirable it should be wholly separated from the 
Priory of Valliscaulium, and that the Priory of Urquhart, 
which depended on the Monastery of Dunfermline of the 
order of St Benedict, were annexed and united to Pluscardine. 

The Pope, on the I2th of March 1454, issued a commission 
to the Abbot of Lindores and the Chancellor and Treasurer of 
Moray, stating the petition of the Prior of Urquhart, and 
authorising them to inquire into the truth of its allegations, 
and the consent of the King being obtained, to carry out the 
union. The Papal Bull requires the commissioners to assign 
some proper compensation for the change to the Priory 
and Order of Valliscaulium. It asserts that Andrew Haag, 
Prior of Pluscardine, had resigned on a pension of 12, and 
appoints or authorises the commissioners to appoint John 
Benale prior of Pluscardine. 

On the 8th of November I454,f the Abbot of Dunferm- 
line granted a commission to William de Boys to receive the 
professions into the Benedictine order, of the monks of Plus- 

* Theiner Mon. Vet. Scot, et Hib., p. 391. + Reg. Dunf., 333. 


John, who was then appointed prior, was apparently a per- 
son of importance, for Elizabeth, Dowager Countess of Moray, 
executing a deed* at Forres on 2Oth May 1455, says, "the 
said Elizabeth, Countess of Morra, in absence of her own sele, 
has procurit the sele of a worshippful fader, Done John Benolda, 
Prior of Pluscardine ;" a curious instance of the translation of 
the " Dominus." 

In November 1456 the exchange is completed ; on the 7th -f- 
there is a commission of the Abbot of Dunfermline to William 
de Boys, the sacristan, to visit the Priory of Pluscardine ; it is 
addressed to John de Benaly, and on the same day,| on Wil- 
liam de Boys' resignation, John de Benale is made Sacristan 
of Dunfermline. On the 8th there is a letter from the Abbot 
of Dunfermline to the Abbot of Kinloss, informing him that 
John de Benaly had resigned the Priorate of Pluscardine, and 
requesting him to confirm the new prior if elected. 

With his commission of visitation in his pocket, the influence 
of William de Boys was enough to procure his election, and in 
1460 we find him named William de Boys, Prior of Pluscar- 
dine and Urcharde.|| He did not allow the rights of his house 
to be violated, for in 1463 he obtained a declaration from the 
Chancellor of Moray that the church of Dingwall in Ross- 
shire, with all its fruits, belonged to the Prior of Pluscardine. 
How long he continued does not appear, but in 1500, Robert 
is the Prior of Pluscardine. On the 3d February 1501 this 
person executed a deed, printed in the book of Kilravock,1T 
which is interesting, not only from the rarity of any documents 
of the convent of Pluscardine, but also from its throwing some 
light on the subject of mills and multures, so constantly mixed 
up with the Valliscaulian priories. 

" The erecting the machinery of a corn-mill," says Mr For- 
syth,** " could not formerly be undertaken by any person in a 
rank inferior to a baron, a bishop, or an hereditary sheriff." 

* Miscellany of Spalding Club, vol. iv., p. 130. 
f Reg. Dunf., 337. S/^.,339- 

/*., 339- II /*, 353, 354- 

^ Family of Kilravock, p. 171. ** Forsyth's Moray, p. 131. 


The Pluscardine House, by this deed, thirl all the growing 
corn of their lands of Penyck* to the mill of the laird of 
Lochloy, " but the annexation of the foresaid corns to the 
foresaid myll till indure ay and quhill we or cure successors 
thinks it speidful to big ane myll of our awin, or caus ony 
vther to big in our name a myll to grund our foresaid ten- 
nantes corneys." It concludes thus : 

" And this contract was maid at Pluscardin undir owre common seill, 
with our subscriptiones manualle, the thride day of Februar in the 
yere of God a thousand and five hundreitht year. 
" Ego, ROBERTUS, prior ad suprascripta subscribe. 
Et ego, ADAM FORMAN, ad idem. Et ego, JACOBUS WYOT, ad idem. 
Et ego, ANDREAS BROUN, ad idem. Et ego, JOHANNES HAY, ad idem. 
Et ego, ANDREAS ALAIN, ad idem. Et ego, JACOBUS JUSTICE, ad idem. 

* Pennik was given to the Abbey of Dunfermline by David I. (Reg. Dunf. , 14), 
and by the Abbey to the Priory of Urquhart at its foundation (Reg. Dunf., 17). 




Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. 

SINGLE individuals stand to the general historical develop- 
ment of humanity in the same relation as do detached stones, 
statues, corbels, spires, or weather-cocks to a building. The 
individual, in the eyes of the philosophical historian, has only 
so far an interest as he forms a link in the great chain of 
human activity ; or one stone in the historical dome. The 
individual is the outgrowth of his times, his dwelling-place or 
country, the intellectual and social atmosphere in which he 
has been reared and nourished. In proposing to read a paper 
on Immanuel Kant, I did not intend to occupy your time 
with his private life, or little biographical notices of his 
character, but to place before you my objective views as to 
his influence on our mode of thinking as the basis of our 
modern history. I purpose to keep to the general principles 
which I laid down before you in my paper "On the 
Possibility of a strictly Scientific Treatment of Universal 
History" (see vol. III., Transactions of Royal Historical 
Society, page 380), and shall try to apply those principles in 
sketching the development of an individual in whom the 
static and dynamic forces working in humanity were well 
balanced. Kant, as philosopher, is merely a link in a long 
chain of mighty speculative and empirical or deductive and 
inductive thinkers, who serve to illustrate, that from the 
earliest times of the awakening consciousness of humanity 
man tried to bring about an understanding of the natural and 
intellectual phenomena surrounding him. The method which 
these thinkers pursued was either a priori or a posteriori; 
they either started with general principles, and reasoned from 


them down to particulars ; or they followed the more thorny 
path of arguing from particulars, in order to come to general 
conclusions. Finally, Kant stands by himself in founding a 
system which succeeded in bringing harmony into these two 
conflicting methods. He may be said to have been the only 
"deducto-inductive" philosopher. He was a genius able to 
grasp mind and matter, the noumenal and phenomenal in 
their innermost connection, and succeeded in destroying a 
one-sidedness in philosophy which often had been detrimental 
to the real progress of science. 

Bacon and Descartes opposed the old methods of philo- 
sophy, and endeavoured to explain the various phenomena of 
nature on a merely mechanical basis. But Bacon, after all, 
was a reviver of the atomistic theory of Demokritos, whilst 
Leibnitz, in opposing Bacon, Descartes, and Spinoza, and 
their teleological principles, turned back to Plato and Aristotle 
in order to unite a priori the conflicting elements of the two 
Greek philosophers in his theory of monads. Kant is neither 
exclusively empirical nor teleological ; he is the creator of an 
entirely new mode of thinking and studying. All philosophy 
before Kant was more or less theology. The circle of ex- 
perience was extremely narrow ; and theology bore all before 
it : none could gainsay it. Explanations and hypotheses, 
drawn from the fertile sources of imagination and intuition, 
productive of surmises and conjecture, had full play, and 
ruled supreme. Free will, the senses, perception, matter, 
spirit, body, soul, nature, God, and universe, were settled as 
entities out of the inner consciousness of poets, prophets, or 
philosophers. By degrees, and slowly, experience tried to 
collect and heap up observations, which were at first isolated ; 
often in contradiction to certain a priori settled assumptions ; 
but subsequently they were arranged and brought into 
mutual relation, and we see natural sciences take a position 
apparently opposed to theology, philosophy, and metaphysics. 
Matter affecting and impressing our senses, acting and re- 
acting on them, was pronounced to be the only thing we 
could grasp, or know anything of. The experimentalist 


grew angry with the metaphysicians or theologians, and 
blamed the efforts of those who argued on matters which he 
was trying to discover by means of scientific observation. 
Either the theologians come to the same final results as we 
men of science, then they are entirely superfluous ; or they 
persist in opposing us with false assumptions, propagating 
thus errors which are detrimental to the progress of know- 
ledge, and then they are worse than superfluous ; they are 
altogether pernicious. From this conflict, also, a division in 
the scientific world arose. Some devoted themselves exclu- 
sively to " realism," others to " idealism." Everywhere, at 
this period, we see strife and warfare. 

In ancient times, as in the Middle Ages, the experimental 
sciences were but unruly and undisciplined children, con- 
tinually finding fault with their mother, speculation ; history 
was yet unknown ; mere chronicles, or, at the most, biogra- 
phies, existed. The knowledge of connecting laws was want- 
ing, all was guesswork, all was a disconnected heap of facts 
in sciences as well as in history. The discovery of America, 
and the Reformation, suddenly changed the very mode of 
thinking. Without the Reformation, no philosopher of the 
stamp of Bacon could have been possible. Philosophy de- 
tached itself through Bacon from theology, and entered the 
lists of experimental science ; so intimate was the connection 
between philosophy and experiment that we, in England, 
speak of a microscope as a philosophical instrument, and might 
even call a new method of dyeing silk, or a new way of 
manuring a philosophical invention. In consequence of 
this one-sidedness, inaugurated by Bacon, we became more 
and more devoted to a realistic, or, as some people have it, 
materialistic and practical philosophy, and failed to see that 
there was a power in us which has to arrange, to systematise, 
and even to apply what has been gathered on the fields 
of experience. Opposed to this realistic school were first 
Descartes and Leibnitz. The pure intellect was to be the 
source of all knowledge ; nothing was worth studying, except 
what could be reduced to an algebraic formula. Spinoza 


brought this theory to perfection. Not only nature, but all 
human life, with all its fluctuating passions, was to be ex- 
plained by mathematical rules. Man's sufferings, actions, 
intentions, and motives were to be treated as planes, triangles, 
spheres, cubes, squares, pyramids, or polyhedrons, etc. 
Leibnitz tried to save philosophy from these matter of fact 
tendencies. He discovered in mathematics the differential and 
infinitesimal " calculus ;" and in physics a new law motion. 
He strove to establish a union between primitive and final 
causes. He had an idea that the contrast between inorganic 
and organic, natural and spiritual, mechanical and moral 
elements must cease through the notion of continuity in the 
unity of gradually progressive, self-acting forces. His system 
reached its climax in his " Theodicy," altogether beyond the 
comprehension of human intellect. He dimly felt that there 
ought to be a union between metaphysics and experience ; but 
the solution of this problem was beyond his powers. Pro- 
fessor Christian Wolf was a thorough dogmatist. Philosophy 
was to him the knowledge of everything possible. Anything 
was possible that could be brought under a strict logical 
law, according to the principium identitatis, contradictionis, 
and rationis sufficientis. We were taken back by him to the 
categories of Aristotle. Experimental philosophy and meta- 
physics were again separated ; the latter was to make us 
acquainted with the essence of things from a speculative point 
of view. This was treated of by Wolf in his " Ontology," under 
the heading " De Entitate;" comprising the simple, compound, 
final, infinite, perfect, imperfect, accidental, and necessary 
substances. The universe, soul and God, were discussed 
according to these ontological categories, as subjects of Wolfs 
cosmology, pneumatology, and theology. Dogmatism in 
philosophy celebrated its greatest triumphs before the dazzled ' 
eyes of Europe. Dialectics ruled supreme. Explanations 
were given, and the unfathomable was again fathomed of 
course, only in words. Kant stepped on the philosophical 
platform when the dogmatism of Wolf was in its zenith ; he 
was himself a pupil of this mighty metaphysician. The 


struggle between the sciences a priori and those a posteriori 
was recommenced. The foundations of metaphysics, under- 
mined by Bacon, Descartes, Leibnitz, and Spinoza, stood 
propped up by Wolfs ingenuity ; but his system was terribly 
shaken again by the mighty sceptical philosophers of England 
and Scotland. Bacon already denied that metaphysics, treat- 
ing of the supernatural, could be a science. Locke went 
further ; he set down experience and perceptions as the basis 
upon which to build up a system of philosophy. Sensation 
and reflection were to be the leading elements. Bacon de- 
clared the supernatural to be an impossibility, and Locke 
pronounced even the supersensual a mere fiction, opposing 
Descartes, as the latter opposed Bacon. Locke's final dogma 
was, that experience cannot make us acquainted with the 
essence of things, but merely with their impressions on our 
senses. Berkeley, in analysing sensual impressions, found 
them producing perceptions, and therefore turned upon the 
realists and proclaimed triumphantly that, after all, every- 
thing is "idea." He thus confounded effect and cause, and 
pronounced them to be identical. All observations are mere 
impressions on our senses, but these produce perceptions. 
Perceptions are ideas, therefore everything is mere idea. All 
material things, if deprived of our perception, are nothing. 
There are only perceiving and perceived elements or ideas in 
us, which take their origin in God. Berkeley's dogma may 
be summed up thus : God has endowed us with the faculty of 
perception through impression ; all knowledge is, therefore, of 
divine origin. His dogmatism led to Hume's scepticism. 
Hume started by endeavouring to find out, whether we might 
become conscious of the impressions made by perceptions on 
our senses, and whether knowledge were possible beyond 
such perceptions. He assumed only one possible science 
mathematics, the conclusions of which are analytic (according 
to him), by means of equations. Empirical conclusions he 
wishes only to be based on the laws of causation (the nexus 
causa/is), and the whole of his philosophy may be reduced to 
the question : Is a cognisable causal " nexus" between the 


objects of experience and their impressions on our senses 
possible ? He denies this most peremptorily. Reason cannot 
connect different impressions, and at the same time trace 
their causes with certainty ; her conclusions are only analytic, 
but never synthetic. All conclusions drawn by experience 
can, therefore, never be strictly demonstrated, as we can only 
recognise the effect, but never the necessary cause. Neither 
reason nor experience can give us a real insight into causality, 
and this very causality is one of the essential features of 
science. What we are capable of attaining is a continuation 
of facts and impressions. Theflost hoc becomes a propter hoc, 
or the "after" a "therefore." This change is performed 
through our reasoning faculty. The causal nexus is a mere 
assumption ; it is a faith, a belief, like any other, and not a 
reality. This will suffice to characterise the philosophical 
stand-point at the period when Kant began his career. 

Glancing at the political and social condition of his times, 
we find him entering the university when Wolf returned to 
Halle, and Frederic II. ascended the throne. The Seven 
Years' War interrupted his academical studies. He finished 
his great work at the time when Frederic the Great ended 
his glorious life. He was attacked and persecuted under the 
government of Frederic William II., but finished his career, 
once more allowed to breathe a free and independent thinker 
under Frederic William III. Kant was born on the 22d of 
April 1724 at Konigsberg. His ancestors were of Scottish 
origin, thus Kant indirectly is a countryman of the great 
Scotsman, David Hume, from whom he descended in a 
direct spiritual line as philosopher. It is often interesting to 
trace the general law of action and reaction in single in- 
dividuals. The most influential agents have been educated 
by those who were to fall a sacrifice to the destructive in- 
tellectual powers of their pupils. Bacon was educated by 
Scholastics ; Descartes by Jesuits ; Spinoza by Rabbis ; and 
Kant by Pietists. Kant never could understand the un- 
healthy and deadening principles of his pietistic masters ; he 
learned from them a certain discipline of the mind, for which 


he was always grateful. He was a stern moralist in thought 
and deed all his life. 

Seven years (from 1733 to 1740) he frequented the 
"Collegium Fredericianum ;" nine years (from 1746-1755) he 
was tutor in three different families ; and on the I2th of June 
1755, he took his degree with a dissertation "On Fire." In 
April 1756, he was made a private teacher at the University, 
and had to spend fifteen years of his life in that position, till 
he was at last appointed " Professor ordinarius " of the univer- 
sity at Konigsberg. In the year 1756 he delivered his first 
lecture. He was so nervous that his voice nearly failed him, and 
he was scarcely heard ; but the next lecture was better, and at 
last he became famous for his learning, and the amiability of 
his delivery. He continually asserted that his intention was 
not to teach what had been taught, but to suggest and to 
rouse the minds of his hearers to self-thought and self-reason- 
ing. He declared, publicly, that his students could not learn 
philosophy from him, but how to think for themselves. From 
the year 1760 he took up various subjects in addition to Philo- 
sophy. He lectured to the theological faculty on "Natural Theo- 
logy;" to large audiences on "Anthropology" and "Physi- 
cal Geography." In 1763 and 1764 he published his "Only 
possible means to prove the Existence of the Divinity," and 
his " Observations on the Beautiful and Sublime," and gave 
lectures on these two subjects. In 1781 appeared his greatest 
work, under the title, " Critique of Pure Reason ;" in 1783 he 
published his " Prolegomena of any possible Metaphysics ;" 
in 1785 his "Principles of a Metaphysic of Morals ;" in 1786 
his " Metaphysical Introduction to the Natural Sciences ;" in 
1788 his "Critique of Practical Reason;" and in 1790, his 
"Critique of our Reasoning Faculty ;" in 1793, his "Religion 
within the limits of Pure Reason." 

He died on, the I2th of February 1804. What a period 
what a life from 1724 to '1804! He witnessed the Seven 
Years' War, the French Revolution, the Establishment of 
the American Republic, the fall of the Convention, the rise of 
Napoleon the political and social change of everything in 


Europe. Schiller and Goethe were inspired by him. He 
saw action and reaction, flux and reflux in human thoughts 
and achievements. Sciences of unknown subjects sprang up. 
Geology, under Werner, began hypothetically to step forward 
with uncertainty and timidity. Oken proclaimed his theory 
of evolution in unintelligible alchemistic phrases. Everything 
appeared to assume new phases. Men were either inclined 
to Voltairian incredulity, to Rousseau's fanaticism, Hume's 
scepticism, or Jesuitic bigotry. Mysticism went hand in hand 
with a negation of all things. Swedenborg stood in the fore- 
ground with his supernatural epileptic fits ; whilst Holbach, 
Grimm, and D'Alembert denied even our spiritual faculty 
of "negation." The intellectual state of Europe was but a 
reflex of the social and political condition of the times. Old 
mediaeval France, with her centralised organisation grown out 
of the grossest feudalism, was in dissolution ; Germany sighed 
under two hundred and forty major and minor despots, and 
a childish, almost Chinese, over-regulation in public matters ; 
England was, at least, Parliamentary free, the abode of the 
greatest orators that ever raised their voices for the public 
welfare. America possessed a Washington ; France, a Robes- 
pierre and Napoleon ; England, a Chatham and Burke ; and 
Germany, a Kant, Hamann, Herder, and Jacobi. 

Like a bright sun shedding lustre around, the Teuton 
philosopher stands high above his times, witnessing in serene 
splendour the intellectual, religious, and political chaos 
beneath him, out of which grew our nineteenth century. Not 
without meaning has he been placed on the monument of 
Frederic the Great as first among the mighty generals of 
the still mightier king. Socially and politically, Frederic 
II., and intellectually and philosophically, Immanuel Kant, 
understood the progressively advancing spirit of their times. 
And therein consists the real merit of a historical character. 
No glorious battles, no victories, no extensions of territory, 
no artificially embellished towns, no momentary prosperity in 
commercial enterprises can make up for a misunderstand- 
ing ; or, according to my theory, for an untimely disturbance 


of the acting and reacting moral and intellectual forces in 
humanity. He who, in history or science, dares to touch 
that balance and disturbs its equilibrium, can but bring 
trouble on humanity, for he forces generation after generation 
to endeavour to readjust that balance. Kant's private, as 
well as public life, was one great and successful effort to keep 
our morals and our intellect within the boundaries of the 

Independence and the most punctual legality were to be 
the basis of the individual and of the State, as but an aggregate 
of individuals. Pure moral principles, without any admixture 
of dogmatic dross, were to be the moving springs of humanity; 
our knowledge was to be based on a full consciousness of the 
possibility and certainty of our conclusions. The most im- 
portant step to attain was to trace in the phenomena of 
human thoughts and actions a certain law. To show how 
far we, as finite beings, endowed with intellect, might grasp 
space and time, the infinite, the invisible, the transcendental, 
the supersensual, so as not to waste our faculties on matters 
which must remain for ever unapproachable in the dominion 
of science, was to render the very greatest service to humanity. 
Kant achieved this task. His " Critique of Pure Reason" was 
partly misunderstood, or rather, generally not understood at all, 
or was distorted, because some felt it to be the death-warrant 
of all speculative efforts, metaphysical verbiage, and dogmatic 
quarrels. The book was decried as unintelligible transcend- 
entalism and incomprehensible dialecticism. Kant's inter- 
pretation of transcendentalism was one which some people 
would not like to admit. By this expression, he meant simply 
to transcend, " to step over," the boundaries of dogmatism, 
and to ascertain, after having shaken off this dead weight, 
how far we might proceed in the regions of the supersensual. 
His great merit was to prove that our transcending certain 
limits leads to nothing but to mere assumptions ; whether such 
assumptions and surmises are necessary for certain emotional 
purposes, he does not decide. He affirms our capacity of 
becoming conscious of perceptions, and tries to trace the con- 


ditions under which perceptions may be systematised, and 
thus increase our scientific acquirements. 

His philosophy is, therefore, not sceptic, but critical. His 
very first principle, in starting on the thorny path of philosophy, 
was " never to take an assertion for granted, without having 
carefully examined it." " Neither affirm nor deny without the 
most minute investigation." 

Who does not see, in these propositions, the germ of our 
modern mode of thinking ; who does not perceive that the 
intellectual development of humanity was to be based on 
principles differing totally from those of antiquated authority 
or blind faith ? He was by no means an " anti-dogmatist ;" 
he only looked on dogmatic metaphysics and experimental 
philosophy as two unknown quantities. The more the latter 
increased, the more the former decreased in value ; till, when 
experimental philosophy went over into scepticism, the stand- 
point of metaphysics was brought down to zero. At this point 
Kant pronounced it not only valueless, but utterly useless. 
The mere playing with words on words, dialectical contortions 
and distortions, metaphysical writhings and grimaces, were 
utterly repulsive to his noble, straightforward nature. The 
power that thought in us, and was conscious of this process, 
namely, mind, he not only recognised, but tried to discipline. 

He began his philosophical studies in 1740, and thirty years 
later, he founded his new system. The first work with which 
he inaugurated his new method of reasoning was published in 
1768, and his last appeared in 1798, again after exactly thirty 
years of mature reflection. Each decennary had its task. 
During the first three he approaches, step by step, the 
solution of his system, whilst during the last three we see 
him applying his discovery, and bringing his system to per- 
fection. During the first two decennaries (1740-1760), Kant 
investigates and follows up the postulates of the Leibnitz- 
Wolf philosophy; during the third (1760-1770), he is occupied 
with an analysis of the leading English philosophers, especially 
with Hume's scepticism ; and in 1770 he raises himself far 
above the dogmatic metaphysicians and the dry experi- 


mentalists, and takes his own lofty position. During the 
fourth decennary he is silent ; during the fifth, he publishes 
his "Critique of Pure Reason" (1780-1790), defines the ex- 
tent to which we may trust our power to draw conclusions, 
and tries, in this last decennary, to apply his well-founded 
system to solve the positive problems of Universal History. 

During the first period, he enters into an inquiry on the 
moving forces of the universe, and endeavours to establish a 
nexus between cause and effect. 

During the second period, he traces the possibility or im- 
possibility of proving a first cause. If cause, why first, and 
how so first ? He then comes to the only possible mode of 
proving the existence of a first cause, namely the ontolo- 
gical. Out of the mere notion " God," the existence of God 
cannot be proved ; but taking all the attributes necessary to 
form the conception of God, such a being may not only be 
assumed to exist, but must necessarily exist. In following 
up Kant's critical reasoning, we arrive at a mathematical con- 
viction of the existence of God, which is of greater value than 
the mere dogmatic assumption. Anything not in itself con- 
tradictory is cognisable, say the idealists. Only that is cog- 
nisable which exists, say the realists. Supposing nothing 
existed, then we could think nothing. In denying these two 
conditions, we should deny every intellectual and material 
possibility. Assuming that something is possible, we must 
look upon it as the sequence of something that existed pre- 
viously. There must be/or everything a final cause. This final 
cause cannot be denied ; its existence, on the contrary, must 
be assumed. There must be a something before anything is 
possible, without which nothing could be possible. This 
necessary existence may be conceived as indivisible in its 
essence, simple in its element, spiritual in its being, eternal in 
its duration, unchangeable in its condition in one word, it 
must be GOD ! This once enunciated and assumed, he went 
a step further and examined the modus operandi of our 
mind with its intellectual and reasoning faculties. What, he 
asked, is within the range of real cognition ? He compares 


metaphysics and mathematics, and finds, that whilst the 
former is entirely based on analysis, the latter is founded on 

Bydrawing a strict distinction between analytic and synthetic, 
conclusions, Kant created an entirely new standpoint for all 
our studies. He distinguishes between the emotional, as our 
moral and sesthetical, and between the intellectual, as our 
reasoning and scientific faculties. As morals and beauty, so 
are strict reasoning an,d science analogous elements. Here he 
is at issue with Hume, who assumes analysis as the basis in 
mathematics. Kant asserts the very opposite. Quantifies and 
forms are the objects of mathematics; but these quantities 
and forms are not given but constructed ; they are combined, 
built up synthetically. To become conscious of a triangle is 
to construct the required formal conditions, enabling us to 
perceive in them a triangle ; whilst metaphysicians have only 
analysis at their command. 

Analytic judgments or conclusions are those in which the 
predicate is already contained in the subject, by which a part 
of a whole is merely detached. In the assertion, " God is 
omnipotent," I detach an attribute of the subject God, and 
assert in reality nothing but that God is God. For if I have 
a conception of God, I have also a knowledge of his omni- 
potence. Such conclusions as these may be very ingenious, 
but they do not contribute to a widening of our knowledge. 

Synthetic conclusions are those in which a predicate is 
joined to a subject which is altogether extraneous, too often 
apparently in contradiction with it. As " water freezes." I 
have to prove how, under what conditions, and why water 
freezes. I have to know what water and what freezing is ; 
whether in such a condition water ceases to be a fluid, and if 
it cease, what is its condition in a state of crystallisation ; 
what are crystals ; does water in a frozen condition still con- 
tain heat ; what is heat ; how can heat be latent in ice ; does 
water freeze if mixed with salt ; why should it freeze with 
greater difficulty, if so mixed. The amount of knowledge 
acquired through synthetic conclusions is ever increasing. 


Analysis is a mere repetition of the same things. Kant took a 
mediating position between Descartes and Leibnitz, between 
Leibnitz and Newton, between Wolf and Crusius, and between 
Crusius and Hume. Between the English experimentalists 
and German metaphysicians there appeared always to be an 
insurmountable gulf. Kant tried to bridge over this gulf. 
Metaphysics were to be turned into an experimental science. 
He establishes the principles of natural theology and morals 
out of the very properties of things, though we may for ever 
remain ignorant of their real essence. With reference to the 
existence of the divinity, he tried this with his ontological 
proof. With reference to morals, he proceeded in the same 
way. Every moral action must have an aim or purpose 
either an aim for another secondary aim, or for its own final 
purpose. In both instances, the action is caused and neces- 
sary ; but in the first instance, it is conditional, and in the 
second, unconditional. An action done for a secondary pur- 
pose, for hope of reward, or for fear of punishment, is at the 
utmost right, clever or reasonable, but it is not absolutely 
moral. In order to become moral, it must be done uncondi- 
tionally, for its own sake. This led him to the contemplation 
of the beautiful, which Hutcheson and Shaftesbury before him 
closely connected with our moral feelings. Morals and 
aesthetics are so closely allied that our moral feelings are but 
a taste for right action. Shaftesbury calls morals the beautiful 
in our emotions, the harmony in our sentiments, the right pro- 
portion between our self-love and benevolence. Virtue is 
beauty of action ; our sense of virtue is but our aesthetical feel- 
ing put into practice, whilst Art puts it into forms. Virtue and 
taste are innate forces in human nature, like any other faculty 
of our mind ; but they have to be developed, cultivated, and 
fostered. For morals and aesthetics have one common root 
they complete one another. Art was thus elevated to its very 
highest standard. How Kant's lofty and sublime ideas in- 
fluenced poetry may be best studied in the works of the im- 
mortal Schiller, whose writings are permeated with Kant's 
theories and principles. To suggest was the principal aim of all 


his writings of this period. The student was not to be filled 
with given thoughts ; he was to be excited to think ; he was 
neither to be carried nor led ; he was to be made to walk for 
himself. " In inverting this method of teaching, the students 
pick up some kind of reasoning before ever their intellect has 
been cultivated, and they carry about a mere borrowed science. 
This is the cause that we meet with learned men, who have so 
little intellect, and why our academies send so many more 
muddled (abgeschmackte) heads into the world than any 
other state of the community." 

During the third period of his mental evolution, Kant occu- 
pied himself with a close investigation of our mental functions. 
Psychology and physiology are with him not separated, but 
closely united studies. The workings of the brain and the 
mind were, in his eyes, in close relation, and he attributed all 
visions, fanaticism, melancholy, and sentimental amativeness 
to a greater or lesser degree of mental aberration, the cause of 
which must be sought in thederangement of our cerebral organs. 

If the phantoms of our imagination turn into visions ; if 
our inner sensations become outwardly perceptible, our senses 
are in a state of dream. If our reason assumes certain concep- 
tions of its own as realities, our reason is in a state of dream. 
" There are emotional dreams, and there are dreams of our in- 
tellectual faculty. Visions belong to the first class ; meta- 
physics undoubtedly to the second." He thus arrives at a point 
when metaphysics and madness are treated as equal abberra- 
tions of our emotional and mental nature, though their origin 
is distinct, according to our different organisations. Dogmatists 
and metaphysicians, visionaries, and ghost-seers, are declared 
to be but " airy architects of imaginary worlds." Let them 
dream on as long as they like that they but dream, becomes 
day by day clearer. Metaphysics were developed by Kant's 
inquiries into a study to make ourselves acquainted with the 
limitation of human reason. We may, with its aid, as Goethe 
sayh, in a Kantian sense 

" There see that you can clearly explain 
What fits not into the human brain." 


This slow and gradual destruction of all hollow knowledge 
led us to a greater culture of those sciences which are pos- 
sible, and have become an ever-growing barrier to false and 
credulous sentimentalism and emotional dogmatism. The 
"supersensual " is not within the boundaries of human reason. 
Transcendental philosophy has to deal with experience, and 
not to ignore it. No knowledge is possible beyond the 
domains of our direct perceptions ; of the essence of things 
we know nothing; the noumenal is and must remain to us a 
mystery ; the phenomenal is within our intellectual grasp. 
An absolute psychology, cosmology, or theology, is impos- 
sible. Kant thus does not deny the existence of the " super- 
sensual," he only denies our faculty of becoming cognisant of 
it. What an immense stride towards a really human, and at 
the same time, humane, investigation of all those elements 
which ought to form the basis of our possible studies. Kant 
then goes further, and proves, with his trenchant power of 
criticism, that morals are independent of metaphysics, that 
humanity in general, and every individual in particular, carry 
the regulating force of morals already in their very organisa- 
tion. He distinguishes between opinion, faith, and knowledge. 
We may have reasons to make a statement, but these reasons 
may be based on an utterly subjective conviction. Such a 
conviction is but an opinion, and does nc/t exclude doubt ; if, 
however, our convictions are based on objective observation, 
our opinion rises into the reliable domain of knowledge ; if, 
again, our convictions are based on subjective elements, sup- 
ported by doubtful objective proofs, we may individually be 
convinced of certain assumed facts, we may believe in them, 
but we do not know. In applying these important distinc- 
tions to the whole sphere of our intellectual and material 
world, we were induced by Kant to draw more definite dis- 
tinctions between the possible and impossible, the necessary 
and merely accidental. In the mighty circle of religion, we 
have to bear three points in view, (i.) If all faith in a super- 
natural world be based on morals (ethic action), religion can- 
not have any other essential and real object than a purely 


moral one ; all elements that do not foster pure morality will 
be secondary, strange, indifferent, or even dangerous. Religion, 
in fact, with Kant, becomes pure ethics. (2.) Ethics are not 
based on a strictly scientific cognition, or theoretical convic- 
tion, but on moral actions and practical necessity. Not theo- 
retical assumptions, but practical reason, becomes thus the 
basis of religious faith. (3.) Granting this, it follows that our 
practical reason is independent of mere theological assertions 
that it discards, as will and moral force, all such boundaries as 
are erected by speculation, and drives us to conform to laws 
which must be common to the whole of humanity. 

During the fourth period he is silent. The storm of sceptic 
doubt was conquered. In this period we best perceive the 
positive results of the convulsions which brought forth criticism 
instead of scepticism, for though we acknowledge the force of 
doubt, we think it should be subject to a regulating higher 
power, viz., criticism. During the fifth period, he shakes off 
the fetters of idealism and materialism, and defines in his 
" Critique of Pure Reason," the boundaries of man's understand- 
ing. In accomplishing this, he assumes two principles upon 
which all knowledge and philosophy must rest. The one 
is idealistic subjective, and the other empirical objective. 
The inborn intellectual faculty mind can as little be ne- 
glected as the outer world with its impressions acting on our 
idealistic subjectivity. He then founded cosmology, worked 
out by Alex. Humboldt ; Geology by Leopold Buch and 
Sir Charles Lyell;* and then he paved the way to the 
theory of Darwinism, or the theory of the gradual develop- 
ment of matter ; he excited to anthropology and ethnology, 
for he strove through experience to trace law in all the 
phenomena surrounding us, in nature as well as in the subtle 
regions of our mental operations. 

These principles changed the whole system of our philoso- 
phical and historical studies. Creation was not assumed to 
have taken place, according to a certain dictum ; but we had 

* Whose recent death we must all deeply regret, though he has left us his im- 
mortal works as the most glorious monument of his earthly existence. 


to investigate the earth's crust to see how far we might 
trace the gradual formation of our globe. Kant's method 
produced comparative philology and mythology. Language 
was not to be a settled gift, but was to be traced back to 
its first origin ; this was the case with the different religions of 
ancient times. We were not to suppose that millions were 
left without religious comfort, but to investigate and ascertain 
how far the religious systems are rooted in the impressions of 
nature, how far they represent the moral and social condition 
of certain groups of mankind. This distinction led to a closer 
study of the nature of man, leading to biology and sociology ; 
but, above all, to a deeper and systematic study of history. 
There is no branch of learning which should be cultivated 
with greater care than history ; that is, history from a scientific 
point of view. What appears in single individuals as mere 
chance, or the result of coincidence, might perhaps be looked 
upon as subject to law like any other natural phenomenon ; 
though, in the latter case, unconscious material particles are 
the elements ; whilst in history, man with his consciousness, 
his assumed free will, passions, intellectual and bodily faculties, 
is the complicated agent. Kant affirmed (he can claim the 
honour of having been the first to do so) in 1784, when statis- 
tical tables were still in their infancy, that in looking on hu- 
manity as a whole, apparently disconnected incidents might be 
brought under the sway of certain laws acting with stern regu- 
larity. He drew attention to the complicated phenomena of 
the changes in the weather, the growth of plants under certain 
climatological conditions, the course of streams and their 
influence on the progress of civilization. Individuals, like 
whole nations, are entirely unconscious of the fact that, whilst 
they appear to work against one another, or have only their 
own egotistic aims in view, they are working according to 
certain laws to accomplish the grand destiny of mankind. If 
it may be assumed as an axiom " that the natural capacities 
of a creature have to develop according to a purpose," we may 
assert that this must be the case with man too. Applied to 
animals, we find this law obeyed, and producing natural selec- 


tion. Any organ not wanted is thrown off. Taking man, we 
find that though he is the only conscious reasoning creature 
on earth, his natural capacities are destined to be developed in 
the genus and not in the individual. Thus the study of a 
single individual is like the analysis of a single insect without 
any cognisance of the different varieties of animals. Histori- 
cal progress is not only the result of the exertions of single 
individuals, but those very individuals are but the outgrowths 
of generations after generations, inheriting their mode of think- 
ing and acting, and finally maturing the innate intellectual 
germ to a fruit which, in its turn, is again the seed of further 
developments. For the First Cause has willed that man, if we 
except the automatic functions of his animal nature, should 
evolve everything necessary for his happiness and perfection, 
in opposition to his natural instincts out of his own reason 
or rather out of the sum total of reason existing in humanity. 
" The means which nature employs to attain this aim " is, 
according to Kant, " antagonism," which in its turn becomes 
the very basis of legal order and social comfort. History is 
but one long series of wars, murders, conquests, intrigues, 
opposition of individuals against individuals, of families 
against families, of tribes against tribes, and of nations against 
nations, as if man only delighted in destruction and ruin. But 
is this so ? On the contrary, what unphilosophical minds 
bewail, is but a process in operation to attain in the end the 
greatest amount of happiness for mankind. Man was not 
destined to be idle ; but he has to learn how to use his bodily 
and intellectual faculties. 

Wars, controversies, passions, and strife, lead to activity, and 
activity is life. Wars engender peace ; controversies, truth ; 
covetousness, commercial enterprise ; passion, virtue ; and 
strife, brotherly love and good-will. Antagonism drives us to 
seek the solution of the only problem that should occupy 
humanity, to form one grand community, ruled by the laws of 
right. The most ingenious institutions, all our philosophical 
systems, all our religious efforts, are but continuous progres- 
sive attempts to lead humanity from a savage state to that of 


civilization. To further the solution of this difficult problem, 
we want a guide, a leader, and this we find in the conscious- 
ness of our nature and knowledge of the past, which make 
us acquainted with our destiny. We have not to look to an 
individual for guidance, but to the supreme principles of right. 
Individual bonds are only instruments that watch over 
these principles and see them practised. The problem of a 
perfect constitution of humanity will only be attained when 
man will form a grand international tribunal which will settle 
the disputes of nations according to just laws, binding on 
humanity at large. As Kant saw in his mind's eye the 
necessity for the existence of a planet beyond Saturn, the 
then last known planet of our solar system (1754), which planet, 
" Uranus," was discovered twenty-six years later by Herschel 
(1781) ; so he foresaw in 1784 that which America and Eng- 
land inaugurated in Geneva nearly ninety years later an in- 
ternational tribunal settling the disputes of two of the greatest 
nations of the world, at a table covered with green baize, by 
means of quiet arguments, and not on blood-stained battle- 
fields, with the sacrifice of wealth, happiness, and the lives of 
innumerable human beings. Kant clearly saw that history 
is but the outer garb of inward forces, working in humanity 
according to a pre-arranged law, which law must be assumed 
to be as fixed as that by which the solar systems are brought 
into order and cohesion. The endeavour of modern historians 
should be to trace this law. 

Law has to deal with forces, producing as causes, effects, 
and these forces must act and react, because a stationary 
force would be lifeless; the two forces working in antagonism 
and conflict can but be our moral and intellectual faculties, 
which in their disturbed balances explain all the phenomena 
of history. Kant must be looked upon as the real founder of 
modern thought, for his ideas, like those of every powerful 
mind, pervade our whole intellectual and social atmosphere. 

The writers following Kant, whether in England or France, 
consciously or unconsciously, continue in the path which he 
began to hew out for coming generations. Fichte, his antag- 


onist, really strengthened the position he attacked. Schelling 
worked out, like Comte, with copious verbosity, Kant's princi- 
ples. Their terminology differs from that of Kant, but in 
essence they add nothing to his first principles. Schelling 
proclaims his Immanence of Spirit in Nature, which immanence 
we can only trace in law. In asserting that the universe has 
its ground in what in God is not God Schelling deviates 
from Kant, and leads us to the Pythagorean Monad and 
Dyad, a severance of mind and matter, or of God and crea- 
tion, which is mere verbiage. 

Hegel built on Kant with the difference that with him the 
subjective becomes the absolute, whilst the objective is turned 
into the differentiation of the absolute, adding to these pheno- 
mena a third one when the absolute turns from its externality 
back into itself. 

Schoppenhauer and Hartmann continued to develop Kant's 
principles in an idealistic direction, whilst the host of natural- 
ists, geologists, physiologists, biologists, psychologists, ethno- 
logists, and comparative grammarians, follow him, cured of all 
cravings after the supersensual and try to ascertain what we 
may learn in the ever-varying empire of the phenomenal. 

Kant did not destroy thrones ; he made no kings or kinglets; 
he did not brandish a blood-stained sword, command armies, 
hold levies, create marshalls, commanders-in-chief, shoot free- 
thinking men, or trample under foot the rights of nations and 
individuals, like so many a phantom of glory, that could only 
be reared in the chaotic disorder of our ill-balanced moral and 
intellectual forces. Unlike these, he did not vanish like a 
thunder-storm, which purifies the air, but leaves wreck and 
ruin behind. 

The mighty warriors often are like swollen mountain- 
streams after a violent shower ; bubbling noisily, these streams 
rush down in torrents, tear down fences and houses, inundate 
plains and fields, carrying devastation in every one of their 
waves, and then disappear: whilst the philosopher, of the 
stamp of the great and immortal Kant, resembles a broad and 
majestic intellectual river, cutting deeply through mountains, 


meadows, fields, villages, and towns ; flowing slowly and noise- 
lessly, but spreading happiness, fertility, and abundance 
around ; serving as a mighty high road to connect nations, 
through their most noble outgrowths, their philosophers and 
searchers for truth, into one grand progressively advancing 

The great and inexhaustible means of furthering this union 
is an indefatigable study of history. For is it not a calumny 
of the Creator, whose wisdom we continually praise in a thou- 
sand tongues, to assume that we ought to study only certain 
of His works, and neglect altogether man in his gradual de- 
velopment as the Creator's fairest product ? In the uncon- 
scious regions of the empire of nature, in stars and nebulae, 
solar systems, crystallisations and chemical combinations, we 
trace wisdom, law, and order ; only the stages of man's in- 
tellectual activity, as they present themselves in history, are 
looked upon as an eternal reproach to the Creator, who is 
assumed to have acted on firm principles in the minutest of 
His inorganic or organic creatures, but who is thought to have 
left humanity without aim, law, or purpose, on this globe, so 
that we are forced to turn our eyes ^despairingly from this 
world, and to hope for the fulfilment of our destiny in un- 
known regions. 

History, treated from a scientific point of view, teaches us 
that this is not the case. 

History, as it is usually written, without the basis of a 
general principle, or merely as an accumulation of disconnected 
facts, state - enactments, or copied documents, collected in 
musty archives, is only very useful building material, out of 
which we have to construct an intelligible and comprehensive 
system of history. It is distressing to contemplate what later 
generations may do with history if details grow in the ratio of 
the last few hundred years. Unfortunately professed historians 
ignorant as they too often are, assert that " history is a mere 
child's box of letters, out of which the historian picks what 
he wants to spell out ; " but this is the view of a narrow- 
minded state-paper copyist, and not of a philosophical his- 


torian, whose aim can never be to glorify individuals, or to 
distort facts according to the wants of a party or the fashion 
of a period, but to look upon humanity as one great whole, 
and to trace in its complicated actions, order based on law. 

The historical world is as little barred as the ideal world 
both are open ; it is our faculty of seeing blinded by details, 
it is our mind confused by isolated facts, that will or cannot 
comprehend the stern law that drives man towards his real 
destiny the greatest possible happiness of all united into one 
common brotherhood. 



Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. 

I DO not propose to enter upon the system of landholding in 
Scotland or Ireland, which appears to me to bear the stamp 
of the Celtic origin of the people, and which was preserved in 
Ireland long after it had disappeared in other European 
countries formerly inhabited by the Celts. That ancient race 
may be regarded as the original settlers of a large portion of 
the European continent, and its land system possesses a re- 
markable affinity to that of the Slavonic, the Hindoo, and 
even the New Zealand races. It was originally Patriarchal, 
and then Tribal, and was Communistic in its character. 

I do not pretend to great originality in my views. My 
efforts have been to collect the scattered rays of light, and to 
bring them to bear upon one interesting topic. The present 
is the child of the past. The ideas of bygone races affect the 
practices of living people. We form but parts of a whole ; we 
are influenced by those who preceded us, and we shall influence 
those who come after us. Men cannot disassociate them- 
selves either from the past or the future. 

In looking at this question there is, I think, a vast differ- 
ence which has not been sufficiently recognised. It is the 
broad distinction between the system arising out of the origi- 
nal occupation of land, and that proceeding out of the necessi- 
ties of conquest ; perhaps I should add a third the complex 
system proceeding from an amalgamation, or from the exist- 
ence of both systems in the same nation. Some countries 
have been so repeatedly swept over by the tide of conquest 



that but little of the aboriginal ideas or systems have survived 
the flood. Others have submitted to a change of governors 
and preserved their customary laws ; while in others there has 
been such a fusion of the two systems that we cannot decide 
which of the ingredients was the older, except by a process 
of analysis, and a comparison of the several products of the 
alembic with the recognised institutions of the class of origi- 
nal, or of invading peoples. 

Efforts have been made, and not with very great success, 
to define the principle which governed the more ancient races 
with regard to the possession of land. While unoccupied or un- 
appropriated, it was common to every settler. It existed for 
the use of the whole human race. The process by which that 
which was common to all, became the possession of the indi- 
vidual, has not been clearly stated. The earlier settlers 
were either individuals, families, tribes, or nations. In some 
cases they were nomadic, and used the natural products with- 
out taking possession of the land ; in others they occupied 
districts differently defined. The individual was the unit of 
the family, the patriarch of the tribe. The commune was 
formed to afford mutual protection. Each sept or tribe in 
the early enjoyment of the products of the district it selected 
was governed by its own customary laws. The cohesion of 
these tribes into states was a slow process ; the adoption of 
a general system of government still slower. The disintegra- 
tion of the tribal system, and dissolution of the commune, was 
not evolved out of the original elements of the system itself, 
but was the effect of conquest ; and, as far as I can discover, 
the appropriation to individuals of land which was common 
to all, was mainly brought about by conquest, and was guided 
by impulse, rather than regulated by principle. 

Mr Locke thinks that an individual became sole owner of a 
part of the common heritage by mixing his labour with the 
land, in fencing it, making wells, or building ; and he illustrates 
his position by the appropriation of wild animals, which are 
common to all sportsmen, but become the property of him 
who captures or kills them. This acute thinker seems to me 


to have fallen into a mistake by confounding land with 
labour. The improvements were the property of the man 
who made them, but it by no means follows that the expendi- 
ture of labour on land gave any greater right than to the 
labour itself or its representative. 

It may not be out of place here to allude to the use of the 
word property with reference to land, property from propria, 
my own self is something pertaining to man. I have a pro- 
perty in myself. I haVe the right to be free. All that pro- 
ceeds from myself, my thoughts, my writings, my works, are 
property ; but no man made land, and therefore it is not 
property. This incorrect application of the word is the more 
striking in England, where the largest title a man can have is 
" tenancy in fee," and a tenant holds but does not own. 

Sir William Blackstone places the possession of land upon 
a different principle. He says that, as society became formed, 
its instinct was to preserve the peace ; and as a man who had 
taken possession of land could not be disturbed without 
using force, each man continued to enjoy the use of that 
which he had taken out of the common stock, but, he adds, 
that right only lasted as long as the man lived. Death put 
him out of possession, and he could not give to another that 
which he ceased to possess himself. 

Vattel (book i., chap, vii.) tells us that " the whole earth is 
destined to feed its inhabitants ; but this it would be incapable 
of doing if it were uncultivated. Every nation is then obliged 
by the law of nature to cultivate the land that has fallen to 
its share, and it has no right to enlarge its boundaries or have 
recourse to the assistance of other nations, but in proportion 
as the land in its possession is incapable of furnishing it with 
necessaries." He adds (chap, xx.), "When a nation in a body 
takes possession of a country, everything that is not divided 
among its members remains common to the whole nation, and 
is called public property." 

An ancient Irish tract, which forms part of the Senchus 
Mor, and is supposed to be a portion of the Brehon code, 
and traceable to the time of St Patrick, speaks of land in a 


poetically symbolic, but actually realistic, manner, and says, 
" Land is perpetual man." All the ingredients of our physi- 
cal frame come from the soil. The food we require and 
enjoy, the clothing which enwraps us, the fire which warms 
us, all save the vital spark that constitutes life, is of the land, 
hence it is "perpetual man" Selden (" Titles of Honour," 
p. 27), when treating of the title, "King of Kings," refers 
to the eastern custom of homage, which consisted not in offer- 
ing the person, but the elements which composed the person, 
earth and water " the perpetual man" of the Brehons to the 
conqueror. He says : 

" So that both titles, those of King of Kings and Great King, were 
common to those emperors of the two first empires ; as also (if we 
believe the story of Judith) that ceremonies of receiving an acknow- 
ledgment of regal supremacy (which, by the way, I note here, because 
it was as homage received by kings in that time from such princes 
or people as should acknowledge themselves under their subjection) 
by acceptance upon their demand of earth and water. This demand 
is often spoken of as used by the Persian, and a special example of 
it is in Darius' letters to Induthyr, King of the Scythians, when he 
first invites him to the field ; but if he would not, then bringing to 
your sovereign as gifts earth and water, come to a parley. And one 
of Xerxes' ambassadors that came to demand earth and water from 
the state of Lacedaemon, to satisfy him, was thrust into a well and 
earth cast upon him." 

The earlier races seem to me, either by reasoning or by 
instinct, to have arrived at the conclusion that every man was, 
in right of his being, entitled to food ; that food was a pro- 
duct of the land, and therefore every man was entitled to the 
possession of land, otherwise his life depended upon the will 
of another. The Romans acted on a different principle, which 
was " the spoil to the victors." He who could not defend 
and retain his possessions became the slave of the conqueror, 
all the rights of the vanquished passed to the victor, who 
took and enjoyed as ample rights to land as those naturally 
possessed by the aborigines. 

The system of landholding varies in different countries, and 


we cannot discover any idea of abstract right underlying the 
various differing systems ; they are the outcome of law, the 
will of the sovereign power, which is liable to change with 
circumstances. The word law appears to be used to express 
two distinct sentiments ; one, the will of the sovereign power, 
which, being accompanied with a penalty, bears on its face the 
idea that it may be broken by the individual who pays the 
penalty : " Thou shalt not eat of the fruit of the tree, for on the 
day thou eatest thereof thou shalt die," was a law. All laws, 
whether emanating from an absolute monarch or from the 
representatives of the majority of a state, are mere expressions 
of the will of the sovereign power, which may be exacted by 
force. The second use of the word law is a record of our 
experience e.g., we see the tides ebb and flow, and conclude it 
is done in obedience to the will of a sovereign power; but the 
word in that sense does not imply any violation or any pun- 
ishment. A distinction must also be drawn between laws 
and codes ; the former existed before the latter. The lex non 
scripta prevailed before letters were invented. Every com- 
mand of the Decalogue was issued, and punishment followed 
for its breach, before the existence of the engraved tables. 
The Brehon code, the Justinian code, the Draconian code, were 
compilations of existing laws ; and the same may be said of 
the common or customary law of England, of France, and of 

I am aware that recent analytical writers have sought to 
associate law with force, and to hold that law is a command, 
and must have behind it sufficient force to compel submission. 
These writers find at the outset of their examination, that 
customary law, the "Lex non scripta',' existed before force, 
and that the nomination to sovereign power was the outcome 
of the more ancient customary law. These laws appear based 
upon the idea of common good, and to have been supported 
by the " posse comitatus " before standing armies or state 
constabularies were formed. Vattel says (book i., chap, ii.), " It 
is evident that men form a political society, and submit to laws 
solely for their own advantage and safety. The sovereign 


authority is then established only for the common good of all 
the citizens. The sovereign thus clothed with the public 
authority, with everything that constitutes the moral person- 
ality of the nation, of course becomes bound by the moral 
obligations of that nation and invested with its rights." It 
appears evident, that customary law was the will of small 
communities, when they were sovereign ; that the cohesion of 
such communities was a confirmation of the customs of each, 
that the election of a monarch or a parliament was a recogni- 
tion of these customs, and that the moral and material force or 
power of the sovereign was the outcome of existing laws, and a 
confirmation thereof. The application of the united force of 
the nation could be rightfully directed to the requirements of 
ancient, though unwritten customary law, and it could only be 
displaced by legislation, in which those concerned took part. 

The duty of the sovereign (which in the United Kingdom 
means the Crown, and the two branches of the legislature) 
with regard to land, is thus described by Vattel : 

" Of all arts, tillage or agriculture is doubtless the most useful and 
necessary, as being the source whence the nation derives its subsistence. 
The cultivation of the soil causes it to produce an infinite increase. 
It forms the surest resource, and the most solid fund of riches and 
commerce for a nation that enjoys a happy climate. The sovereign 
ought to neglect no means of rendering the land under his jurisdic- 
tion as well cultivated as possible. . . . Notwithstanding the 
introduction of private property among the citizens, the nation has 
still the right to take the most effectual measures to cause the aggre- 
gate soil of the country to produce the greatest and most advantage- 
ous revenue possible. The cultivation of the soil deserves the atten- 
tion of the Government, not only on account of the invaluable 
advantages that flow from it, but from its being an obligation 
imposed by nature on mankind." 

Sir Henry Maine thinks that there are traces in England of 
the commune or mark system in the village communities 
which are believed to have existed, but these traces are very 
faint The subsequent changes were inherent in, and devel- 
oped by, the various conquests that swept over England ; even 


that ancient class of holdings called "Borough English," are a 
development of a warlike system, under which each son, as he 
came to manhood, entered upon the wars, and left the patri- 
monial lands to the youngest son. The system of gavelkind 
which prevailed in the kingdom of Kent, survived the acces- 
sion of William of Normandy, and was partially effaced in the 
reign of Henry VII. It was not the aboriginal or commun- 
istic system, but one of its many successors. 

The various systems may have run one into the other, but 
I think there are sufficiently distinct features to place them in 
the following order : 

1st. The Aboriginal. 

2d. The Roman. Population about 1,500,000. 

3d. The Scandinavian under the Anglo-Saxon and Danish 
kings A.D. 450 to A.D. 1066. The population in 1066 was 

4th. The Norman, from A.D. 1066 to A.D. 1 1 54. The popula- 
tion in the latter year was 3,350,000. 

5th. The Plantagenet, from 1154 to 1485 ; in the latter the 
population was 4,000,000. 

6th. The Tudor, 1485 to 1603, when the population was 

7th. The Stuarts, 1603 to 1714, the population having 
risen to 5,750,000. 

8th. The Present, from 1714. Down to 1820 the soil sup- 
ported the population ; now about one-half lives upon food 
produced in other countries. In 1874 the population was 

Each of these periods has its own characteristic, but as I 
must compress my remarks, you must excuse my passing 
rapidly from one to the other. 


The aboriginal period is wrapped in darkness, and I can- 
not with certainty say whether the system that prevailed 
was Celtic and Tribal. An old French customary, in a MS., 


treating- upon the antiquity of tenures, says : " The first 
English king divided the land into four parts. He gave one 
part to the Arch Flamens to pray for him and his posterity. 
A second part he gave to the earls and nobility, to do him 
knight's service. A third part he divided among husband- 
men, to hold of him in socage. The fourth he gave to 
mechanical persons to hold in burgage." The terms used apply 
to a much more recent period and more modern ideas. 

Caesar tells us "that the island of Britain abounds in cattle, 
and the greatest part of those within the country never sow 
their land, but live on flesh and milk. The sea-coasts are 
inhabited by colonies from Belgium, which, having established 
themselves in Britain, began to cultivate the soil." 

Diodorus Siculus says, "The Britons, when they have 
reaped their corn, by cutting the ears from the stubble, lay 
them up for preservation in subterranean caves or granaries. 
From thence, they say, in very ancient times, they used to take 
a certain quantity of ears out every day, and having dried 
and bruised the grains, made a kind of food for their immedi- 
ate use." 

Jeffrey of Monmouth relates that one of the laws of Dun- 
walls Molnutus, who is said to have reigned B.C. 500, enacted 
that the ploughs of the husbandmen, as well as the temples of 
the gods, should be sanctuaries to such criminals as fled to 
them for protection. 

Tacitus states that the Britons were not a free people, but 
were under subjection to many different kings. 

Dr Henry, quoting Tacitus, says, " In the ancient German 
and British nation the whole riches of the people consisted 
in their flocks and herds ; the laws of succession were few and 
simple : a man's cattle, at his death, were equally divided 
among his sons ; or, if he had no sons, his daughters ; or, if he 
had no children, among his nearest relations. These nations 
seem to have had no idea of the rights of primogeniture, or 
that the eldest son had any title to a larger share of his 
father's effects than the youngest." 

The population of England was scanty, and did not prob- 


ably exceed a million of inhabitants. They were split up into 
a vast number of petty chieftainries or kingdoms ; there was no 
cohesion ; no means of communication between them ; there 
was no sovereign pow^r which could call out and combine 
the whole strength of the nation. No single chieftain could 
oppose to the Romans a greater force than that of one of its 
legions, and when a footing was obtained in the island, the war 
became one of detail; it was a provincial rather than a 
national contest. The brave, though untrained and ill-discip- 
lined warriors, fell before the Romans, just as the Red Man of 
North America was vanquished by the English settlers. 


The Romans acted with regard to all conquered nations upon 
the maxim, " To the victors the spoils." Britain was no excep- 
tion. The Romans were the first to discover or create an 
estate of uses in land, as distinct from an estate of possession. 
The more ancient nations, the Jews and the Greeks, never 
recognised the estate of uses, though there is some indication 
of it in the relation established by Joseph in Egypt, when, 
during the years of famine, he purchased for Pharaoh the 
lands of the people. The Romans having seized upon lands 
in Italy belonging to conquered nations, considered them 
public lands, and rented them to the soldiery, thus retaining 
for the state the estate in the lands, but giving the occupier 
an estate of uses. The rent of these public lands was fixed at 
one-tenth of the produce, and this was termed usufruct the 
use of the fruits. 

The British chiefs, who submitted to the Romans, were 
subjected to a tribute or rent in corn ; it varied, according to 
circumstances, from one-fifth to one-twentieth of the produce. 
The grower was bound to deliver it at the prescribed places. 
This was felt to be a great hardship, as they were often obliged 
to carry the grain great distances, or pay a bribe to be excused. 
This oppressive law was altered by Julius Agricola. 

The Romans patronised agriculture. Cato says, "When 


the Romans designed to bestow the highest praise on a good 
man, they used to say he understood agriculture well, and is 
an excellent husbandman, for this was esteemed the greatest 
and most honourable character." Their system produced a 
great alteration in Britain, and converted it into the most 
plentiful province of the empire ; it produced sufficient corn 
for its own inhabitants, for the Roman legions, and also 
afforded a great surplus, which was sent up the Rhine. The 
Emperor Julian built new granaries in Germany, in which 
he stored the corn brought from Britain. Agriculture had 
greatly improved in England under the Romans. 

The Romans do not appear to have established in England 
any military tenures of land, such as those they created along 
the Danube and the Rhine ; nor do they appear to have taken 
possession of the land ; the tax they imposed upon it, though 
paid in kind, was more of the nature of a tribute than a rent. 
Though some of the best of the soldiers in the Roman legions 
were Britons, yet their rule completely enervated the 
aboriginal inhabitants they were left without leaders, with- 
out cohesion. Their land was held by permission of the 
conquerors. The wall erected at so much labour in the north 
of England proved a less effectual barrier against the incur- 
sions of the Picts and Scots than the living barrier of armed 
men which, at a later period, successfully repelled their in- 
vasions. The Roman rule affords another example that 
material prosperity cannot secure the liberties of a people, 
that they must be armed and prepared to repel by force any 
aggression upon their liberty or their estates. 

" Who will be free themselves must strike the blow." 

The prosperous " Britons," who were left by the Romans in 
'possession of the island, were but feeble representatives of 
those who, under Caractacus and Boadicea, did not shrink 
from combat with the legions of Caesar. Uninured to arms, and 
accustomed to obedience, they looked for a fresh master, and 
sunk into servitude and serfdom, from which they never 
emerged. Yet under the Romans they had thriven and 


increased in material wealth ; the island abounded in numer- 
ous flocks and herds ; and agriculture, which was encouraged 
by the Romans, flourished. This wealth was but one of the 
temptations to the invaders, who seized not only upon the 
movable wealth of the natives, but also upon the land, and 
divided it among themselves. 

The warlike portion of the aboriginal inhabitants appear to 
have joined the Cymri and retired westwards. Their system 
of landholding was non-feudal, inasmuch as each man's land 
was divided among all his sons. One of the laws of Hoel 
Dha, King of Wales in the tenth century, decreed " that the 
youngest son shall have an equal share of the estate with the 
eldest son, and that 'when the brothers have divided their 
father's estate among them, the youngest son shall have the 
best house, with all the office houses ; the implements of 
husbandry, his father's kettle, his axe for cutting wood, and 
his knife ; these three last things the father cannot give away 
by gift, nor leave by his last will to any but his youngest son, 
and if they are pledged they shall be redeemed." It may not 
be out of place here to say that this custom continued to exist 
in Wales ; and on its conquest Edward I. ordained, " Whereas 
the custom is otherwise in Wales than England concerning 
succession to an inheritance, inasmuch as the inheritance is 
partible among the heirs-male, and from time whereof the 
memory of man is not to the contrary hath been partible, 
Our Lord the King will not have such custom abrogated, but 
willeth that inheritance shall remain partible among like 
heirs as it was wont to be, with this exception that bastards 
shall from henceforth not inherit, and also have portions with 
the lawful heirs ; and if it shall happen that any inheritance 
should hereafter, upon failure of heirs-male, descend to 
females, the lawful heirs of their ancestors last served thereof. 
We will, of our .especial grace, that the same women shall 
have their portions thereof, to be assigned to them in our 
court, although this be contrary to the custom of Wales before 

The land system of Wales, so recognised and regulated by 


Edward I., remained unchanged until the reign of the first 
Tudor monarch. Its existence raises the presumption that 
the aboriginal system of landholding in England gave each 
son a share of his father's land, and, if so, it did not corre- 
spond with the Germanic system described by Caesar, nor 
with the Tribal system of the Celts in Ireland, nor with the 
Feudal system subsequently introduced. 

The polity of the Romans, which endured in Gaul, Spain, 
and Italy, and tinged the laws and usages of these countries 
after they had been occupied by the Goths, totally disappeared 
in England ; and even Christianity, which partially prevailed 
under the Romans, was submerged beneath the flood of 
invasion. Save the material evidence of the footprints of " the 
masters of the world " in the Roman roads, Roman wall, 
and some other structures, there is no trace of the Romans in 
England. Their polity, laws, and language alike vanished, 
and did not reappear for centuries, when their laws- and lan- 
guage were reimported. 

I should not be disposed to estimate the population of 
England and Wales, at the retirement of the Romans, at 
more that 1,500,000. They were like a flock of sheep without 
masters, and, deprived of the watch-dogs which overawed and 
protected them, fell an easy prey to the invaders. 


The Roman legions and the outlying semi-military settle- 
ments along the Rhine and the Danube, forming a cordon 
reaching from the German Ocean to the Black Sea, kept 
back the tide of barbarians, but the volume of force 
accumulated behind the barrier, and at length it poured 
in an overwhelming and destructive tide over the fair and 
fertile provinces whose weak and effeminate people offered 
but a feeble resistance to the robust armies of the north. The 
Romans, under the instruction of Caesar and Tacitus, had a 
faint idea of the usages of the people inhabiting the verge 
that lay around the Roman dominions, but they had no 



knowledge of the influences that prevailed in " the womb of 
nations," as Central Europe appeared to the Latins, who saw 
emerging therefrom hosts of warriors, bearing with them their 
wives, their children, and their portable effects, determined to 
win a settlement amid the fertile regions owned and improved 
by the Romans. 

These incursions were not Colonisation in the sense in 
which Rome understood it ; they were the migrations of a 
people, and were as full, as complete, and as extensive as the 
Israelitish invasion of Canaan they were more destructive of 
property, but less fatal to life. These migratory hosts left a 
desert behind them, and they either gained a settlement or 
perished. The Roman colonies preserved their connection 
with the parent stem, and invoked aid when in need ; but the 
barbarian hosts had no home, no reserves. Other races, moving 
with similar intent, settled on the land they had vacated. 
These brought their own social arrangements, and it is very 
difficult to connect the land system established by the abori- 
gines with the system which, after a lapse of some hundreds of 
years, was found to prevail in another tribe or nation which 
had occupied the region that had been vacated. 

Neither Caesar nor Tacitus give us any idea of the habits 
or usages of the people who lived north of the Belgae. They 
had no notion of Scandinavia nor of Sclavonia. The Wal- 
halla of the north, with its terrific deities, was unknown to 
them ; and I am disposed to think that we shall look in vain 
among the customs of the Teutons for the basis from whence 
came the polity established in England by the invaders of the 
fifth century. The Anglo-Saxons came from a region north 
of the Elbe, which we call Schleswig-Holstein. They were 
kindred to the Norwegians and the Danes, and of the family 
of the sea robbers ; they were not Teutons, for the Teutons 
were not and are not sailors. The Belgae colonised part of 
the coast i.e., the settlers maintained a connection with the 
mainland ; but the Angles, the Saxons, and the Jutes did not 
colonise, they migrated ; they left no trace of their occupancy 
in the lands they vacated. Each separate invasion was the 



settlement of a district ; each leader aspired to sovereignty, 
and was supreme in his own domains ; each claimed descent 
from Woden, and, like Romulus or Alexander, sought 
affinity with the gods. Each member of the Heptarchy was 
independent of, and owed no allegiance to, the other mem- 
bers; and marriage or conquest united them ultimately into 
one kingdom. 

The primary institutions were moulded by time and cir- 
cumstance, and the state of things in the eleventh century 
was as different from that of the fifth as those of our own 
time differ from the rule of Richard II. Yet one was as much 
an outgrowth of its predecessor as the other. 

Attempts have been made, with considerable ingenuity, to 
connect races with each other by peculiar characteristics, but 
human society has the same necessities, and we find great 
similarity in various divisions of society. At all times, and in 
all nations, society resolved itself into the upper, middle, and 
lower classes. Rome had its Nobles, Plebeians, and Slaves ; 
Germany its Edhilingi, Frilingi, and Lazzi ; England its 
Eaorls, Thanes, and Ceorls. It would be equally cogent to 
argue that, because Rome had three classes, and England had 
three classes, the latter was derived from the former, as to 
conclude that, because Germany had three classes, therefore 
English institutions were Teutonic. If the invasion of the 
fifth century were Teutonic, we should look for similar nomen- 
clature, but there is as great a dissimilarity between the 
English and German names of the classes as between the 
former and those of Rome. 

The Germanic mark system has no counterpart in the 
land system introduced into England by the Anglo-Saxons. 
If village communities existed in England, it must have been 
before the invasion of the Romans. The German system, as 
described by Caesar, was suited to nomads to races on the 
wing, who gave to no individual possession for more than a 
year, that there might J^je. no home ties. The mark system is 
of a later date, and was evidently the arrangement of other 
races who permanently settled themselves upon the lands 


vacated by the older nations. And I may suggest whether, 
as these lands were originally inhabited by the Celts, the con- 
querors did not adopt the system of the conquered. 

Even in the nomenclature of Feudalism introduced into 
England in the fifth century, we are driven back to Scandi- 
navia for an explanation. The word feudal as applied to 
land, has a Norwegian origin, from which country came Rollo, 
the progenitor of William the Norman. Pontoppidan (" His- 
tory of Norway," p. 290) says, " The Odhall, right of Norway, 
and the Udall, right of Finland, came from the words ' Odh,' 
which signifies proprietors, and 'all,' which means totum. A 
transposition of these syllables makes all odh, or allodium, 
which means absolute property. Fee, which means stipend or 
pay, united with oth, thus forming Fee-oth or Feodum, denoting 
stipendiary property." Wacterus states that the word allode, 
allodium, which applies to land in Germany, is composed of_an 
and lot i.e., land obtained by lot. 

I therefore venture the opinion that the settlement of 
England in the fifth and sixth centuries was not Teutonic or 
Germanic, but SCANDINAVIAN. 

The lands won by the swords of all were the common pro- 
perty of all ; they were the lands of the people, Folc-land ; 
they were distributed by lot at the Folc-gemot; they were Odh- 
all lands ; they were not held of any superior, nor was there 
any service save that imposed by the common danger. The 
chieftains were elected and obeyed, because they represented 
the entire people. Hereditary right seems to have been 
unknown. The essence of feudalism was a life estate, the land 
reverted either to the sovereign or to the people upon the death 
of the occupant. At a later period the monarch claimed the 
power of confiscating land, and of giving it away by charter or 
deed; and hence arose the distinction between Folc-land and 
Boc-land (the land of the book or charter), a distinction some- 
what similar to the freehold and copyhold tenures of the present 
day. King Alfred the Great bequeathed " his Boc-land to his 
nearest relative ; and if any of them have children, it is more 
agreeable to me that it go to those born on the male side." 


He adds, " My grandfather bequeathed his land on the spear 
side, not on the spindle side ; therefore if I have given what 
he acquired to any on the female side, let my kinsman make 

The several ranks were thus defined by Athelstane : 

" ist. It was whilom in the laws of the English that the people 
went by ranks, and these were the counsellors of the nation, of 
worship worthy each according to his condition 'eorl,' 'ceorl,' 
' thegur,' and ' theodia.' 

" 2d. If a ceorl thrived, so that he had fully five hides (600 acres) 
of land, church and kitchen, bell-house and back gatescal, and 
special duty in the king's hall, then he was thenceforth of thane-right 

" 3d. And if a thane thrived so that he served the king, and on his 
summons rode among his household, if he then had a thane who him 
followed, who to the king utward five hides, had, and in the king's hall 
served his lord, and thence, with his errand, went to the king, he might 
thenceforth, with his fore oath, his lord represent at various needs, 
and his and his plant lawfully conduct wheresoever he ought. 

" 4th, And he who so prosperous a vicegerent had not, swore for 
himself according to his right or it forfeited. 

" 5th. And if a ' thane ' thrived so that he became an eorl, then was 
he thenceforth of eorl-right worthy. 

" 6th. And if a merchant thrived so that he fared thrice over the 
wide sea by his own means (or vessels), then was he thenceforth of 
thane-right worthy." 

The oath of fealty, as prescribed by the law of Edward and 
Guthrum, was very similar to that used at a later period, and 
ran thus : 

" Thus shall a man swear fealty : By the Lord, before whom this 
relic is holy, I will be faithful and true, and love all that he loves, 
and shun all that he shuns, according to God's law, and according to 
the world's principles, and never by will nor by force, by word nor 
by work, do aught of what is loathful to him, on condition that he 
me keep, as I am willing to deserve, and all that fulfil, that our 
agreement was, when I to him submitted and chose his will." 

The Odh-all (noble) land was divided into two classes : the 


in-lands, which were farmed by slaves under Bailiffs, and the 
out-lands, which were let to ceorls either for one year or for a 
term. The rents were usually paid in kind, and were a fixed 
proportion of the produce. Ina, King of the West Saxons, 
fixed the rent of ten hides (1200 acres), in the beginning 
of the eighth century, as follows : 10 casks honey, 12 casks 
strong ale, 30 casks small ale, 300 loaves bread, 2 oxen, 10 
wedders, 10 geese, 20 hens, 10 chickens, 10 cheeses, I cask 
butter, 5 salmon, 20 Ibs. forage, and 100 eels. In the reign of 
Edgar the Peaceable (tenth century), land was sold for about 
four shillings of our present money per acre. The Abbot of 
Ely bought an estate about this time, which was paid for at 
the rate of four sheep or one horse for each acre. 

The freemen (Liberi Homines] were a very numerous class, 
and all were trained in the use of arms. Their Folc-land was 
held under the penalty of forfeiture if they did not take the 
field, whenever required, for the defence of the country. In 
addition, a tax, called Danegeld, was levied at a rate varying 
from two shillings to seven shillings per hide of land (120 
acres); and in 1008, each owner of a large estate, 310 hides, 
was called on to furnish a ship for the navy. 

Selden (" Laws and Government of England," p. 34), thus 
describes the freemen among the Saxons, previous to the 
Conquest : 

" The next and most considerable degree of all the people is that 
of the Freemen, anciently called Frilingi* or Free-born, or such as are 
born free from all yoke of arbitrary power, and from all law of com- 
pulsion, other than what is made by their voluntary consent, for all 
freemen have votes in the making and executing of the general laws 
of the kingdom. In the first, they differed from the Gauls, of whom it 
is noted that the commons are never called to council, nor are much 
better than servants. In the second, they differ from many free 
people, and are a degree more excellent, being adjoined to the 
lords in judicature, both by advice and power (consilium et 
authoritates adsunf), and therefore those that were elected to that 
work were called Comitas ex plebe, and made one rank of Freemen 

* This is a Teutonic, not an Anglo-Saxon term, the Anglo-Saxon word is Thane. 



for wisdom superior to the rest. Another degree of these were 
beholden for their riches, and were called Custodes Pagani, an 
honourable title belonging to military service, and these were such 
as had obtained an estate of such value as that their ordinary arms 
were a helmet, a coat of mail, and a gilt sword. The rest of the 
freemen were contented with the name of Ceorls, and had as sure 
a title to their own liberties as the Custodes Pagani or the country 
gentlemen had." 

Land was liable to be seized upon for treason and forfeited ; 
but even after the monarchs had assumed the functions of the 
Folc-gemot, they were not allowed to give land away without 
the approval of the great men ; charters were consented to and 
witnessed in council. " There is scarcely a charter extant," 
says Chief Baron Gilbert, " that is not proof of this right." 
The grant of Baldred, King of Kent, of the manor of Mailing, 
in Sussex, was annulled because it was given without the con- 
sent of the council. The subsequent gift thereof, by Egbert 
and Athelwolf, was made with the concurrence and assent of 
the great men. The kings' charters of escheated lands, to which 
they had succeeded by a personal right, usually declared "that 
it might be known that what they gave was their own." 

Discussions have at various times taken place upon the 
question, "Was the land-system of this period feudal?" It 
engaged the attention of the Irish Court of King's Bench, in 
the reign of Charles I., and was raised in this way : James I. 
had issued " a commission of defective titles." Any Irish 
owner, upon surrendering his land to the king, got a patent 
which reconvened it on him. Wentworth (Lord Stafford) 
wished to settle Connaught, as Ulster had been settled in 
the preceding reign, and, to accomplish it, tried to break the 
titles granted under " the commission of defective titles." 
Lord Dillon's case, which is still quoted as an authority, was 
tried. The plea for the Crown alleged, that the honour of 
the monarch stood before his profit, and as the commissioners 
were only authorised to issue patents to hold in capitc, 
whereas they had given title " to hold in capite, by knights' 
service out of Dublin Castle," the grant was bad. In the course 


of the argument, the existence of feudal tenures, before the 
landing of William of Normandy, was discussed, and Sir Henry 
Spelman's views, as expressed in the Glossary, were considered. 
The Court unanimously decided that feudalism existed in 

-_ " '- - ^ 

"England under the Anglo-Saxons, and it affirmed that Sir 
'Henry Spelman was wrong. This decision led Sir Henry 
Spelman to write his " Treatise on Feuds," which was pub- 
lished after his death, in which he re-asserted the opinion 
that feudalism was introduced into England at the Norman 
invasion. This decision must, however, be accepted with 
a limitation ; I think there was no separate order of nobility 
under the Anglo-Saxon rule. The king had his councillors, 
but there appears to have been no order between him and the 
Folc-gemot. The Earls and the Thanes met with the people, 
but did not form a separate body. The Thanes were country 
gentlemen, not senators. The outcome of the heptarchy was 
the Earls or Ealdermen ; this was the only order of nobility 
among the Saxons ; they corresponded to the position of 
lieutenants of counties, and were appointed for life. In 1045 
there were nine such officers ; in 1065 there were but six. 
Harold's earldom, at the former date, comprised Norfolk, 
Suffolk, Essex, and Middlesex ; and Godwin's took in the 
whole south coast from Sandwich to the Land's End, and 
included Kent, Sussex, Hampshire, Wilts, Devonshire, and 
Cornwall. Upon the death of Godwin, Harold resigned his 
earldom, and took that of Godwin, the bounds being slightly 
varied. Harold retained his earldom after he became king, 
but on his death it was seized upon by the Conqueror, and 
divided among his followers. 

The Crown relied upon the Libert Homines or freemen. 
The country was not studded with castles filled with armed 
men. The House of the Thane was an unfortified structure, 
and while the laws relating to land were, in my view, essenti- f 
ally feudal, the government was different from that to which / 
we apply the term feudalism, which appears to imply baronial 
castles, armed men, and an oppressed people. 

I venture to suggest to some modern writers that further 


inquiry will show them that Folc-landvi3& not confined to com- 
monages, or unallotted portions, but that at the beginning it 
comprised all the land of the kingdom, and that the occupant 
did not enjoy it as owner-in-severalty ; he had a good title 
against his fellow subjects, but he held under the Folc-gemot, 
and was subject to conditions. The consolidation of the 
sovereignty, the extension of laws of forfeiture, the assump- 
tion by the kings of the rights of the popular assemblies, all 
tended to the formation of a second set of titles, and hoc-land 
became an object of ambition. The same individual appears 
to have held land by both titles, and to have had greater 
powers over the latter than over the former. 

Many of those who have written on the subject seem to me 
to have failed to grasp either the object or the genius of FEU- 
DALISM. It was the device of conquerors to maintain their 
possessions, and is not to be found amongst nations, the 
original occupiers of the land, nor in the conquests of states, 
which maintained standing armies. The invading hosts 
elected their chieftain, they and he had only a life use of the 
conquests. Upon the death of one leader another was elected, 
so upon the death of the allottee of a piece of land it reverted 
to the State. T\it genius of FEUDALISM was life ownership and 
non-partition. Hence the oath of fealty was a personal obliga- 
tion, and investiture was needful before the new feudee took 
possession. The State, as represented by the king or chieftain, 
while allowing the claim of the family, exercised its right to 
select the individual. All the lands were considered Beneficia, 
a word which now means a charge upon land, to compensate 
for duties rendered to the State. Under this system, the 
feudatory was a commander, his residence a barrack, his tenants 
soldiers ; it was his duty to keep down the aborigines, and to 
prevent invasion. He could neither sell, give, nor bequeath 
his land. He received the surplus revenue as payment for 
personal service, and thus enjoyed his benefice. Judged in 
this way, I think the feudal system existed before the Nor- 
man Conquest. Slavery and serfdom undoubtedly prevailed. 
Under the Scandinavians, the country prospered ; and, from 


the great abundance of corn, William of Poitiers calls Eng- 
land " the store-house of Ceres." 


The invasion of William of Normandy led to results which 
have been represented by some writers as having been the most 
momentous in English history. I do not wish in any way to 
depreciate their views, but it seems to me not to have been 
so disastrous to existing institutions, as the Scandinavian in- 
vasion, which completely submerged all former usages. No 
trace of Roman occupation survived the advent of the Anglo- 
Saxons ; the population was reduced to and remained in the 
position of serfs, whereas the Norman invasion preserved the 
existing institutions of the nation, and subsequent changes 
were an outgrowth thereof. 

When Edward the Confessor, the last descendant of Cedric, 
was on his deathbed, he declared Harold to be his successor, 
but William of Normandy claimed the throne under a previous 
will of the same monarch. He asked for the assistance of his 
own nobles and people in the enterprise, but they refused at 
first on the ground that their feudal compact only required them 
to join in the defence of their country, and did not coerce 
them into affording him aid in a completely new enterprise ; 
and it was only by promising to compensate them out of the 
spoils that he could secure their co-operation. A list of the 
number of ships supplied by each Norman chieftain appears 
in Lord Lyttleton's " History of Henry III.," vol. i., appendix. 

I need hardly remind you that the settlers in Normandy 
were from Norway, or that they had been expelled from their 
native land in consequence of their efforts to subvert its insti- 
tutions, and to make the descent of land, hereditary, instead 
of being divisible among all the sons of the former owner. 
Nor need I relate how they won and held the fair provinces 
of northern France whether as a fief of the French Crown or 
not, is an open question. But I should wish you to bear in 
mind their affinity to the Anglo-Saxons, to the Danes, and to 


the Norwegians, the family of Sea Robbers, whose ravages 
extended along the coasts of Europe as far south as Gib- 
raltar and, as some allege, along the Mediterranean. Some 
questions have been raised as to the means of transport of 
the Saxons, the Jutes, and the Angles, but they were fully as 
extensive as those by which Rollo invaded France or William 
invaded England. 

William strengthened his claim to the throne by his mili- 
tary success, and by a form of election, for which there were 
many previous precedents. Those who called upon him to 
ascend it, alleged " that they had always been ruled by legal 
power, and desired to follow in that respect the example of 
their ancestors, and they knew of no one more worthy than 
himself to hold the reigns of government." 

His alleged title to the crown, sanctioned by success and 
confirmed by election, enabled him, in conformity with exist- 
ing institutions, to seize upon the lands of Harold and his 
adherents, and to grant them as rewards to his followers. Such 
confiscation and gifts were entirely in accord with existing 
usages, and the great alteration which took place in the 
principal fiefs, was more a change of persons than of law. A 
large body of the aboriginal people had been, and continued 
to be, serfs or villeins ; while the mass of the freemen (Liberi 
Homines) remained in possession of their holdings. 

It may not be out of place here to say a few words about 
this important class, which is in reality the backbone of the 
British constitution ; it was the mainstay of the Anglo-Saxon 
monarchy ; it lost its influence during the civil wars of the 
Plantagenets, but reasserted its power under Cromwell. Dr 
Robertson thus draws the line between them and the vas- 
sals : 

" In the same manner Liber homo is commonly opposed to Vassus 
or Vassalus, the former denoting an allodial proprietor, the latter 
one who held of a superior. These freemen were under an obliga- 
tion to serve the state, and this duty was considered so sacred that 
freemen were prohibited from entering into holy orders, unless they 
obtained the consent of the sovereign." 


De Lolme, chap, i., sec. 5, says : 

" The Liber homo, or freeman, has existed in this country from the 
earliest periods, as well as of authentic as of traditionary history, 
entitled to that station in society as one of his constitutional rights, 
as being descended from free parents in contradistinction to " villains," 
which should be borne in remembrance, because the term "freeman" 
has been, in modern times, perverted from its constitutional significa- 
tion without any statutable authority." 

The Liberi Homines are so described in the Doomsday 
Book. They were the only men of honour, faith, trust, and 
reputation in the kingdom ; and from among such of these as 
were not barons, the knights did choose jurymen, served on 
juries themselves, bare offices, and despatched country busi- 
ness. Many of the Liberi Homines held of the king in capite, 
and several were freeholders of other persons in military 
service. Their rights were recognised and guarded by the 
55th William I. ; * it is entitled : 



" We will also, and strictly, enjoin and concede that all freemen 
(Liberi Homines) of our whole kingdom aforesaid, have and hold 
their land and possessions well and in peace, free from every unjust 
exaction and from Tallage, so that nothing be exacted or taken from 
them except their free service, which of right they ought to do to us 
and are bound to do, and according as it was appointed (statutuni) to 
them, and given to them by us, and conceded by hereditary right for 
ever, by the common council (Folc-gemof) of our whole realm aforesaid." 

These freemen were not created by the Norman Conquest, 
They existed prior thereto ; and the laws, of which this is one, 

* "LV. De Chartilari seu Feudorum jure et Ingenuorum immunitate. Volume 
etiam ac firmiter praecipimus et concedimus ut omnes liberi homines totius 
Monarchic regni nostri prsedicti habeant e teneant terras suas et possessiones 
suas bene et in paci, liberi ab omni. Exactione iniusta et ab omni Tallagio : Ita 
quod nihil ab eis exigatur vel capiatur nisi seruicum suum liberum quod de iure 
nobis facere debent et facere tenentur et prout statutum est eis et illis a nobis 
datum et concessum iure hsereditario imperpetuum per commune consilium totius 
regni nostri prsedicti." 


are declared to be the laws of Edward the Confessor, which 
William re-enacted. Selden, in " The Laws and Government 
of England," p. 34, speaks of this law as the first Magna 
Charta. He says : 

" Lastly, the one law of the kings, which may be called the first 
Magna Charta in the Norman times (55 William I.), by which the king 
reserved to himself, from the freemen of this kingdom, nothing but 
their free service, in the conclusion saith that their lands were thus 
granted to them in inheritance of the king by the Common Council (Folc- 
gemof) of the whole kingdom ; and so asserts, in one sentence, the lib- 
erty of the freemen, and of the representative body of the kingdom." 

He further adds : 

"The freedom of an Englishman consisteth of three particulars : 
first, in ownership; second, in voting any law, whereby ownership is 
maintained ; and thirdly, in having an influence upon fat judiciary 
power that must apply the law. Now the English, under the 
Normans, enjoyed all this freedom with each man's own particular, 
besides what they had in bodies aggregate. This was the meaning 
of the Normans, and they published the same to the world in a 
fundamental law, whereby is granted that all freemen shall have and 
hold their lands and possessions in hereditary right for ever ; and by 
this, they being secured from forfeiture, they are further saved from all 
wrong by the same law, which provideth that they shall hold them 
well or quietly, and in peace, free from all unjust tax, and from all 
Tallage, so as nothing shall be exacted nor taken but their free 
service, which, by right, they are bound to perform." 

This is expounded in the law of Henry L, cap. 4, to mean 
that no tribute or tax shall be taken but what was due in the 
Confessor's time, and Edward II. was sworn to observe the 
laws of the Confessor. 

The nation was not immediately settled. Rebellions arose 
either from the oppression of the invaders, or the restlessness 
of the conquered ; and, as each outburst was put down by 
force, there were new lands to be distributed among the 
adherents of the monarch ; ultimately there were about 700 
chief tenants holding in capite, but the nation was divided 
into 60,215 knights' fees, of which the Church held 28,115. 


The king retained in his own hands 1422 manors, besides a great 
number of forests, parks, chases, farms, and houses, in all parts 
of the kingdom ; and his followers received very large holdings. 

Amongst the Saxon families who retained their land was 
one named Shobington in Bucks. Hearing that the Norman 
lord was coming to whom the estate had been gifted by the 
king, the head of the house armed his servants and tenants, 
preparing to do battle for his rights ; he cast up works, which 
remain to this day in grassy mounds, marking the sward of 
the park, and established himself behind them to await the 
despoiler's onset. It was the period when hundreds of herds 
of wild cattle roamed the forest lands of Britain, and, failing 
horses, the Shobingtons collected a number of bulls, rode 
forth on them, and routed the Normans, unused to such 
cavalry. William heard of the defeat, and conceived a re- 
spect for the brave man who had caused it ; he sent a herald 
with a safe conduct to the chief Shobington desiring to speak 
with him. Not many days after, came to court eight stalwart 
men riding upon bulls, the father and seven sons. " If thou 
wilt leave me my lands, O king," said the old man, " I will 
serve thee faithfully as I did the dead Harold." Whereupon 
the Conqueror confirmed him in his ownership, and named 
the family, Bullstrode, instead of Shobington. 

Sir Martin Wright in his " Treatise on Tenures," published 
in 1730, p. 61, remarks : 

" Though it is true that the possessions of the Normans were of a 
sudden very great, and that they received most of them from the 
hands of William I., yet it does not follow that the king took all the 
lands of England out of the hands of their several owners, claiming 
them as his spoils of war, or as a parcel of a conquered country ; but, 
on the contrary, it appears pretty plain from the history of those 
times that the king either had or pretended, title to the crown, and 
that his title, real or pretended, was established by the death of 
Harold, which amounted to an unquestionable judgment in his favour. 
He did not therefore treat his opposers as enemies, but as traitors, 
agreeably to the known laws of the kingdom, which subjected trai- 
tors not only to the loss of life but of all their possessions." 


He adds (p. 63) : 

" As William I. did not claim to possess himself of the lands of 
England as the spoils of conquest, so neither did he tyrannically and 
arbitrarily subject them to feudal dependence ; but, as the feudal law 
was at that time the prevailing law of Europe, William I., who had 
always governed by this policy, might probably recommend it to our 
ancestors as the most obvious and ready way to put them upon a foot- 
ing with their neighbours, and to secure the nation against any future 
attempts from them. We accordingly find among the laws of 
William I., a law enacting feudal law itself, not eo nomine, but in 
effect, inasmuch as it requires from all persons the same engage- 
ments to, and introduces the same dependence upon, the king as 
supreme lord of all the lands of England, as were supposed to be 
due to a supreme lord by the feudal law. The law I mean is the 
LII. law of William I." 

This view is adopted by Sir William Blackstone, who writes 
(vol. ii., p. 47) : 

" From the prodigious slaughter of the English nobility at the 
battle of Hastings, and the fruitless insurrection of those who survived, 
such numerous forfeitures had accrued that he (William) was able to 
reward his Norman followers with very large and extensive posses- 
sions, which gave a handle to monkish historians, and such as have 
implicitly followed them, to represent him as having, by the right of 
t]> sword, seized upon all the lands of England, and dealt them out 
'again to his own favourites a supposition grounded upon a mistaken 
sense of the word conquest, which in its feudal acceptation signifies 
no more than acquisition, and this has led many hasty writers into a 
strange historical mistake, and one which, upon the slightest exami- 
nation, will be found to be most untrue. 

"We learn from a Saxon chronicle (A.D. 1085), that in the nine- 
teenth year of King William's reign, an invasion was apprehended 
from Denmark ; and the military constitution of the Saxons being 
then laid aside, and no other introduced in its stead, the kingdom 
was wholly defenceless ; which occasioned the king to bring over a 
large army of Normans and Britons, who were quartered upon, and 
greatly oppressed, the people. This apparent weakness, together 
with the grievances occasioned by a foreign force, might co-operate 
with the king's remonstrance, and better incline the nobility to listen 


to his proposals for putting them in a position of defence. For, as 
soon as the danger was over, the king held a great council to inquire 
into the state of the nation, the immediate consequence of which 
was the compiling of the great survey called the Doomsday Book, 
which was finished the next year ; and in the end of that very year 
(1086) the king was attended by all his nobility at Sarum, where the 
principal landholders submitted their lands to the yoke of military 
tenure, and became the king's vassals, and did homage and fealty to 
his person." 

Mr Henry Hallam writes : 

" One innovation made by William upon the feudal law is very- 
deserving of attention. By the leading principle of feuds, an oath of 
fealty was due from the vassal to the lord of whom he immediately 
held the land, and no other. The king of France long after this 
period had no feudal, and scarcely any royal, authority over the 
tenants of his own vassals ; but William received at Salisbury, in 
1085, the fealty of all landholders in England, both those who held 
in chief and their tenants, thus breaking in upon the feudal compact 
in its most essential attribute the exclusive dependence of a vassal 
upon his lord ; and this may be reckoned among the several causes 
which prevented the Continental notions of independence upon the 
Crown from ever taking root among the English aristocracy." 

A more recent writer, Mr Freeman (" History of the Norman 
Conquest," published in 1871, vol. iv., p. 695), repeats the same 
idea, though not exactly in the same words. After describing 
the assemblage which encamped in the plains around Salis- 
bury, he says : 

" In this great meeting a decree was passed, which is one of the 
most memorable pieces of legislation in the whole history of England. 
In other lands where military tenure existed, it was beginning to be 
held that he who plighted his faith to a/ lord, who was the man of the 
king, was the man of that lord only, and did not become the man of 
the king himself. It was beginning to be held that if such a man 
followed his immediate lord to battle against the common sovereign, 
the lord might draw on himself the guilt of treason, but the men that 
followed him would be guiltless. William himself would have been 
amazed if any vassal of his had refused to draw his sword in a war 


with France on the score of duty towards an over-lord. But in 
England at all events, William was determined to be full king over 
the whole land, to be immediate sovereign and immediate lord of 
every man. A statute was passed that every freeman in the realm 
should take the oath of fealty to King William." 

Mr Freeman quotes Stubbs's " Select Charters," p. 80, as his 
authority. Stubbs gives the text of that charter, with ten 
others. He says : " These charters are from ' Textus Roffen- 
sis/ a manuscript written during the reign of Henry I. ; it 
contains the sum and substance of all the legal enactments 
made by the Conqueror independent of his confirmation of 
the earlier laws." It is as follows : " Statuimus etiam ut 
omnis liber homo feodere et sacramento affirmet, quod intra et 
extra Angliam Willelmo regi fideles esse volunt, terras et 
honorem illius oinni fidelitate cum eo servare et ante eum 
contra inimicos defendere." 

It will be perceived that Mr Hallam reads Liber Jiomo 
as " vassals." Mr Freeman reads them as " freemen," 
while the older authority, Sir Martin Wright, says : " I 
have translated the words Libert Homines, ' owners of 
land,' because the sense agrees best with the tenor of the 

The views of writers of so much eminence as Sir Martin 
Wright, Sir William Blackstone, Mr Henry Hallam, and Mr 
Freeman, are entitled to the greatest respect and considera- 
tion, and it is with much diffidence I venture to differ from 
them. The three older writers appear to have had before 
them the LI I. of William I., the latter the alleged charter 
found in the " Textus Roffensis ; " but as they are almost 
identical in expression, I treat the latter as a copy of the 
former, and I do not think it bears out the interpretation 
sought to be put upon it that it altered either the feudalism 
of England, or the relation of the vassal to his lord ; and it 
must be borne in mind that not only did William derive his 
title to the crown from Edward the Confessor, but he pre- 
served the apparent continuity, and re-enacted the laws of 
his predecessor. Wilkins' " Laws of the Anglo-Saxons and 


Normans," republished in 1840 by the Record Commissioners, 
gives the following introduction : 

" Here begin the laws of Edward, the glorious king of England. 

"After the fourth year of the succession to the kingdom of William 
of this land, that is England, he ordered all the English noble and 
wise men and acquainted with the law, through the whole country, 
to be summoned before his council of barons, in order to be acquainted 
with their customs. Having therefore selected from all the counties 
twelve, they were sworn solemnly to proceed as diligently as they 
might to write their laws and customs, nothing omitting, nothing add- 
ing, and nothing changing." 

Then follow the laws, thirty-nine in number, thus showing 
the continuity of system, and proving that William imposed 
upon his Norman followers the laws of the Anglo-Saxons. 
They do not include the LII. William I., to which I shall refer 
hereafter. I may, however, observe that the demonstration 
at Salisbury was not of a legislative character ; and that it was 
held in conformity with Anglo-Saxon usages. If, according 
to Stubbs, the ordinance was a charter, it would proceed from 
the king alone. The idea involved in the statements of Sir 
Martin Wright, Mr Hallam, and Mr Freeman, that the vassal 
of a lord was then called on to swear allegiance to the king, 
and that it altered the feudal bond in England, is not sup- 
ported by the oath of vassalage. In swearing fealty, the 
vassal knelt, placed his hands between those of his lord's, and 
swore : 

" I become your man from this day forward, of life and limb, and 
of earthly worship, and unto you shall be true and faithful, and bear 
you faith for the tenements at that I claim to hold of 

you, saving the faith that I owe unto our Sovereign Lord the King." 

This shows that it was unnecessary to call vassals to Salis- 
bury to swear allegiance. The assemblage was of the same 
nature and character as previous meetings. It was composed 
of the Liberi Homines, the freemen, described by the learned 
John Selden (ante, p. 113), and by Dr Robertson and De 
Lolme (ante, pp. 118, 119). 


But there is evidence of a much stronger character, which 
of itself refutes the views of these writers, and shows that the 
Norman system, at least during the reign of William I., was a 
continuation of that existing previous to his succession to 
the throne ; and that the meeting at Salisbury, so graphically 
portrayed, did not affect that radical change in the position 
of English landholders which has been stated. I refer to the 
works of EADMERUS ; he was a monk of Canterbury who was 
appointed Bishop of St Andrews, and declined or resigned 
the appointment because the King of Scotland refused to 
allow his consecration by the Archbishop of Canterbury. 
His history includes the reigns of William I., William II., 
and Henry I., from 1066 to 1122, and he gives, at page 173, 
the laws of Edward the Confessor, which William I. gave to 
England ; they number seventy-one, including the LI I. law 
quoted by Sir Martin Wright. The introduction to these 
laws is in Latin and Norman-French, and is as follows : 

" These are the laws and customs which King William granted to 
the whole people of England after he had conquered the land, and 
they are those which King Edward his predecessor observed before 
him." * 

This simple statement gets rid of the theory of Sir Martin 
Wright, of Sir William Blackstone, of Mr Hallam, and of Mr 
Freeman, that William introduced a new system, and that he 

* The laws of William are given in a work entitled "Eadmeri Monachi Can- 
tuariensis Historia Novorum Sine Sui Sseculi." It includes the reigns of Williams 
I. and II., and Henry I., from 1066 to 1122, and is edited by John Selden. Page 
1 73 has the following : 

"Hsec sunt Leges et Consuetudines "Cessontles Leis et les Cu stums que 

quas Willielmus Rex concessit universe le Rui William granted a tut le peuple 
Populo Anglise post subactum Tenour. de Engleterre apres le Conquest de le 
Esedum sunt quas Edwardus Rex cog- Terre. Ice les meismes que le Rui 
natus ejus obseruauit ante eum. Edward sun Cosin tuit devant lui. 

"De fide et obsequio ergu Regnum. 

" Statuimus etiam ut omnes liberi homines foedere et sacramento affirment quod 
intra et extra universum regnum Angliae (quod olim vocabatur regnum Britanniae) 
Willielmo suo domino fideles esse volunt, terras et honores illius fidelitate ubique 
servare cum eo et contra inimicos et alienigenas defendere." 


did so either as a new feudal law, or as an amendment upon 
the existing feudalism. The LI I. law, quoted by Wright, is 
as follows : 

" We have decreed that all free men should affirm on oath, that 
both within and without the whole kingdom of England (which is 
called Britain) they desire to be faithful to William their lord, and 
everywhere preserve unto him his land and honours with fidelity, and 
defend them against all enemies and strangers." 

Eadmerus, who wrote in the reign of Henry I., gives the 
LI I. William I. as a confirmatory law. The charter given by 
Stubbs varies but slightly from the law given by Eadmerus. 
The former uses the words Omnes liberi homines; the latter, 
the words Omnis liber homo. Those interested can compare 
them, as I give the text of each. 

Since the paper was read, I have met with the following 
passage in Stubbs's " Constitutional History of England," vol. 
i., p. 265 : 

" It has been maintained that a formal and definitive act, forming 
the initial point of the feudalisation of England, is to be found in a 
clause of the laws, as they are called, of the Conqueror, which directs 
that every freeman shall affirm, by covenant and oath, that ' he will 
be faithful to King William within England and without, will join 
him in preserving his land with all fidelity, and defend him against 
his enemies.' But this injunction is little more than the demand of 
the oath of allegiance taken to the Anglo-Saxon kings, and is here 
required not of every feudal dependant of the king, but of every 
freeman or freeholder whatsoever. In that famous Council of Salis- 
bury, A.D. 1086, which was summoned immediately after thelnalrnTg 
of the Doomsday survey, we learn, from the ' Chronicle,' that there 
cameToTKe king ' all his witan and all the landholders of substance 
in England, whose vassals soever they were, and they all submitted 
to him and became his men, and swore oaths of allegiance that they 
would be faithful to him against all others.' In the act has been seen 
the formal acceptance and date of the introduction of feudalism, but 
it has a very different meaning. The oath described is the oath of 
allegiance, combined with the act of homage, and obtained from all 
landowners whoever their feudal lord might be. It is a measure of pre- 


caution taken against the disintegrating power of feudalism, providing 
a direct tie between the sovereign and all freeholders which no 
inferior relations existing between them and the mesne lords would 
justify them in breaking." 

I have already quoted from another of Stubbs's works, 
" Select Charters," the charter which he appears to have 
discovered bearing upon this transaction, and now copy the 
note, giving the authorities quoted by Stubbs, with reference 
to the above passage. He appears to have overlooked the 
complete narration of the alleged laws of William I., given by 
Eadmerus, to which I have referred. The note is as follows : 

" LI. William I., 2, below note ; see Hovenden, ii., pref. p. 5, seq. y 
where I have attempted to prove the spuriousness of the document 
called the Charter of William I., printed in the ancient ' Laws,' ed. 
Thorpe, p. 211. The way in which the regulation of the Conqueror 
here referred to has been misunderstood and misused is curious. 
Lambarde, in the ' Archaionomia,' p. 1 70, printed the false charter 
in which this genuine article is incorporated as an appendix to the. 
French version of the Conqueror's laws, numbering the clauses 
51 to 67 : from Lambarde, the whole thing was transferred by 
Wilkins into his collection of Anglo-Saxon laws. Blackstone's 
' Commentary,' ii. 49, suggested that perhaps the very law (which 
introduced feudal tenures) thus made at the Council of Salisbury is 
that which is still extant and couched in these remarkable words, i.e., 
the injunction in question referred to by Wilkins, p. 228. Ellis, 
in the introduction to ' Doomsday,' i. 16, quotes Blackstone, but adds 
a reference to Wilkins, without verifying Blackstone's quotation from 
his collection of laws, substituting for that work the Concilia, in 
which the law does not occur. Many modern writers have followed 
him in referring the enactment of the article to the Council of 
Salisbury. It is well to give here the text of both passages ; that 
in the laws runs thus : 'Statuimus etiam ut'omnis liber homo foedere 
et sacramento affirmet, quod intra et extra Angliam Willelmo regi 
fideles esse volunt, terras et honorem illius omni fidelitate eum eo 
servare et ante eum contra inimicos defendere' (Select Charters, 
p. 80). The homage clone at Salisbury is described by Florence 
thus : ' Nee multo post mandavit ut Archiepiscopi, episcopi, abbates, 
comitas et barones et vicecomitas cum suis militibus die Kalendarum 


Augustarem sibi occurent Saresberise quo cum venissent milites eorem 
sibi fidelitatem contra omnes homines jurare coegit.' The ' Chronicle ' 
is a little more full : ' Thse him comon to his witan and ealle tha 
Landsittende men the ahtes waeron ofer call Engleland waeron thses 
mannes men the hi wseron and ealle hi bugon to him and waeron his 
men, and him hold athas sworon thaet he woldon ongean ealle other 
men him holde beon." 

Mr Stubbs had, in degree, adopted the view at which I had 
arrived, that the law or charter of William I. was an injunction 
to enforce the oath of allegiance, previously ordered by the 
laws of Edward the Confessor, to be taken by all freemen, and 
that it did not relate to vassals, or alter the existing feudalism. 

As the subject possesses considerable interest for the general 
reader, as well as the learned historian,! think it well to place the 
two authorities side by side, that the text may be compared : 

LI I. William /., as given by Eadmerus. 

" De fide et obsequio ergu Regnum. Charter from Textus Roffensis, given by 
"Statuimus etiam ut omnes liberi Mr Stubbs. 

homines foedere et sacramento affirment "Statuimus etiam ut omnis liber homo 

quod intra et extra universum regnum feodere et sacramento affirmet, quod 

Anglise (quod olim vocabatur regnum intra et extra Angliam Willelmo regi 

Britannia?) Willielmo suo domino fideles fideles esse volunt, terras et honorem 

esse volunt, terras et honores illius illius omni fidelitate cum eo servare et 

fidelitate ubique servare cum eo et con- ante eum contra inimicos defendere." 
tra inimicos et alienigenas defendere." 

I think the documents I have quoted show that Sir Martin 
Wright, Sir William Blackstone, and Messrs Hallam and 
Freeman, laboured under a mistake in supposing that William 
had introduced or imposed a new feudal law, or that the 
vassals of a lord swore allegiance to the king. The introduc- 
tion to the laws of William I. shows that it was not a new 
enactment, or a Norman custom introduced into England, and 
the law itself proves that it relates to freemen, and not to vassals. 

The misapprehension of these/authors may have arisen in 
this way : William I. had two distinct sets of subjects. The 
NORMANS, who had taken the oath of allegiance on obtaining 
investiture, and whose retinue included vassals ; and the ANGLO- 
SAXONS, among whom vassalage was unknown, who were 


freemen (Liberi Homines) as distinguished from serfs. The 
former comprised those in possession of Odhal (noble) land, 
whether held from the Crown or its tenants. It was quite 
unnecessary to convoke the Normans and their vassals, while 
the assemblage of the Saxons Omnes Liberi Homines was 
not only in conformity with the laws of Edward the Con- 
fessor, but was specially needful when a foreigner had pos- 
sessed himself of the throne. 

I have perhaps dwelt too long upon this point, but the error 
to which I have referred, has been adopted as if it was an 
unquestioned fact, and has passed into our school books and 
become part of the education given to the young, and there- 
fore it required some examination. 

I believe that a very large portion of the land in England 
did not change hands at that period, nor was the position of 
either serfs or villeins changed. The great alteration lay in 
the increase in the quantity of hoc-land. Much of the folc- 
land was forfeited and seized upon, and as the king claimed 
the right to give it away, it was called terra regis. The 
charter granted by King William to Alan Fergent, Duke of 
Bretagne, of the lands and towns, and the rest of the inherit- 
ance of Edwin, Earl of Yorkshire, runs thus : 

" Ego Gulielmus cognomine Bastardus, Rex Anglias do et con- 
cede tibi nepoti meo Alano Brittania Comiti et hseredibus tuas 
imperpetuum omnes villas et terras quae nuper fuerent Comitas Edwini 
in Eborashina cum feodis militia et aliis liberatibus et consuetudinibus 
ita liberie et honorifice sicut idem Edwiniis eadem tenuit 

" Data obsidione coram civitate Eboraci." 

This charter does not create a different title, but gives the 
lands as held by the former possessor. The monarch as- 
sumed the function of the folc-gemot, but the principle re- 
mained the feudee only became tenant for life. Each estate 
reverted to the Crown on the death of him who held it ; but, 
previous to acquiring possession, the new tenant had to cease 
to be his own " man," and became the " man " of his superior. 
This act was called " homage," and was followed by " investi- 
ture." In A.D. 11/5, Prince Henry refused to trust himself 


with his father till his homage had been renewed and accepted, 
for it bound the superior to protect the inferior. The process 
is thus described by De Lolme (chap. ii., sec. i) : 

" On the death of the ancestor, lands holden by " knight's service " 
and by " grand sergeantcy," were, upon inquisition finding the tenure 
and the death of the ancestor, seized into the king's hands. If the 
heir appeared by the inquisition to be within the age of twenty-one 
years, the king retained the lands till the heir attained the age of 
twenty-one, for his own profit, maintaining and educating the heir 
according to his rank. If the heir appeared by the inquisition to 
have attained twenty-one, he was entitled to demand livery of the 
lands by the king's officers on paying a relief and doing fealty and 
homage. The minor heir attaining twenty-one, and proving his age, 
was entitled to livery of his lands, on doing fealty and homage, without 
paying any relief." 

The idea involved is, that the lands were held and not 
owned, and that the proprietary right lay in the nation, as 
represented by the king. If we adopt the poetic idea of the 
Brehon code, that " land is perpetual man," then homage for 
land was not a degrading institution. But it is repugnant to 
our ideas to think that any man can, on any ground, or for any 
consideration, part with his manhood, and become by homage 
the " man " of another. 

The Norman chieftains claimed to be peers of the monarch, 
and to sit in the councils of the nation, as barons-by-tenure 
and not by patent. This was a decided innovation upon the 
usages of the Anglo-Saxons, and ultimately converted the 
Parliament, the folc-gcmot, into two branches. Those who 
accompanied the king stood in the same position as the 
companions of Romulus, they were the patricians ; those sub- 
sequently called to the councils of the sovereign by patent 
corresponded with the Roman nobiles. No such patents were 
issued by any of the Norman 7 monarchs. But the insolence 
of the Norman nobles led to the attempt made by the suc- 
cessors of the Conqueror to revive the Saxon earldoms as a 
counterpoise. The weakness of Stephen enabled the greater 
feudees to fortify their castles, and they set up claims against 

^ fond* 


the Crown, which aggravated the discord that arose in subse- 
quent reigns. 

The " Saxon Chronicles," p. 238, thus describes the oppres- 
sions of the nobles, and the state of England in the reign of 
Stephen : 

" They grievously oppressed the poor people with building castles, 
and when they were built, filled them with wicked men, or rather 
devils, who seized both men and women who they imagined had 
any money, threw them into prison, and put them to more cruel 
tortures than the martyrs ever endured ; they suffocated some in 
mud, and suspended others by the feet, or the head, or the thumbs, 
kindling fires below them. They squeezed the heads of some with 
knotted cords till they pierced their brains, while they threw others 
into dungeons swarming with serpents, snakes, and toads." 

The nation was mapped out, and the owners' names inscribed w 
in the Doomsday Book. There were no urToccupTed lands^ 



and had the possessors been loyal and prudent, the sovereign 

^ MH ^^ M ^ v ^ l ^^ MM ^^MMM^kMMaBi^lMMMHMMHfc*aHMMMJM^MM^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^^^MMiMMMMMMl^HiMHMMMM 

would have had no lands, save his own private domains, to give 
'away, nor would the industrious have been able to become 
tenants-in-fee. The alterations which have taken place in the 
possession of land since the composition of the Book of Doom, 
have been owing to the disloyalty or extravagance of the 
J descendants of those then found in possession. 

Notwithstanding the vast loss of life in the contests follow- 
ing upon the invasion, the population of England increased 
from 2,150,000 in 1066, when William landed, to 3,350,000 in 
1152, when the great-grandson of the Conqueror ascended the 
throne, and the first of the Plantagenets ruled in England. 


Whatever doubts may exist as to the influence of the 
Norman Conquest upon the mass of the people the freemen, 
the ceorls, and the serfs there can be no doubt that its 
effect upon the higher classes was very great. It added to 
the existing feudalism the system of Baronage, with its 
concomitants of castellated residences filled with armed men. 
It led to frequent contests between neighbouring lords, in 


which the liberty and rights of the freemen were imperilled. 
It also eventuated in the formation of a distinct order the 
peerage, and for a time the constitutional influence of the 
assembled people, the folc-gemot, was overborne. 

The principal Norman chieftains were Barons in their own 
country, and they retained that position in England, but their 
holdings in both were feudal, not hereditary. When the Crown, 
originally elective,became hereditary, the barons sought to have 
their possessions governed by the same rule, to remove them 
from the class of terra-regis (folc-land), and to convert them 
into chartered land. Being gifts from the monarch, he had the 
right to direct the descent, and all charters which gave land 
to a man and his heirs, made each of them only a tenant for 
life ; the possessor was bound to hand over the estate undivided 
to the heir, and he could neither give, sell, nor bequeath it. 
The land was beneficia, just as appointments in the Church, 
and reverted, as they do, to the patron to be re-granted. They 
were held upon military service, and the major barons, adopt- 
ing the Saxon title Earl, claimed to be peers of the monarch, 
and were called to the councils of the state as barons-by- 
tenure. In reply to a quo warranto, issued to the Earl of 
Surrey, in the reign of Edward L, he asserted that his ances- 
tors had assisted William in gaining England, and were 
equally entitled to a share of the spoils. " It was," said he, 
" by their swords that his ancestors had obtained their lands, 
and that by his he would maintain his rights." The same 
monarch required the Earls of Hereford and Norfolk to go 
over with his army to Guienne, and they replied, "The tenure 
of our lands does not require us to do so, unless the king went 
in person." The king insisted ; the earls were firm. " By 
God, sir Earl," said Edward to Hereford, "you shall go or 
hang." " By God, sir King," replied the earl, " I will neither go 
nor hang." The king submitted and forgave his warmth. 

The struggle between the nobles and the Crown commenced, 
and was continued, under varying circumstances. Each of the 
barons had a large retinue of armed men under his own 
command, and the Crown was liable to be overborne by a 


union of ambitious nobles. At one time the monarch had to 
face them at Runnymede and yield to their demands ; at 
another he was able to restrain them with a strong hand. 
The Church and the Barons, when acting in union, proved too 
strong for the Sovereign, and he had to secure the alliance of 
one of these parties to defeat the views of the other. The 
barons abused their power over the freemen, and sought 
to establish the rule " that every man must have a lord," thus 
reducing them to a state of vassalage. King John separated 
the barons into two classes major and minor ; the former 
should have at least thirteen knights' fees and a third part ; 
the latter remained country gentlemen. The 2oth Henry 
III., cap. 3 and 4, was passed to secure the rights of freemen, 
who were disturbed by the great lords, and gave them an 
appeal to the king's courts of assize. 

Bracton, an eminent lawyer who wrote in the time of Henry 
III., says : 

"The king hath superiors viz., God and the law by which he is 
made king ; also his court viz., his earls and barons. Earls are the 
king's associates, and he that hath an associate hath a master ; and 
therefore, if the king be unbridled, or (which is all one) without law, 
they ought to bridle him, unless they will be unbridled as the king, 
and then the commons may cry, Lord Jesus, pity us," etc. 

An eminent lawyer, time of Edward I., writes : 
" Although the king ought to have no equal in the land, yet 
because the king and his commissioners can be both judge and 
party, the king ought by right to have companions, to hear and 
determine in Parliament all writs and plaints of wrongs done by 
the king, the queen, or their children." 

These views found expression is the coronation oath. 
Edward II. was forced to swear : 

"Will you grant and keep, and, by your oath, confirm to the 
people of England the laws and customs to them, granted by the 
ancient kings of England, your righteous and godly predecessors; 
and especially to the clergy and people, by the glorious King St 
Edward, your predecessor ? " 

The king's answer " I do them grant and promise." 


" Do you grant to hold and keep the laws and rightful customs 
which the commonalty of your realm shall have chosen, and to main- 
tain and enforce them to the honour of God after your power." 

The king's answer " I this do grant and promise." 

I shall not dwell upon the event most frequently quoted 
with reference to the era of the Plantagenets I mean King 
John's " Magna Charta." It was more social than territorial, 
and tended to limit the power of the Crown, and to increase 
that of the barons. The Plantagenets had not begun to call 
Commons to the House of Lords. The issue of writs was 
confined to those who were barons-by-tenure, the patricians 
of the Norman period. The creation of nobles was the in- 
vention of a later age. The baron feasted in his hall, while 
the slave grovelled in his cabin. Bracton, the famous lawyer 
of the time of Henry III., says : " All the goods a slave 
acquired belonged to his master, who could take them from 
him whenever he pleased," therefore a man could not purchase 
his own freedom. " In the same year, 1283," says the Annals 
of Dunstable, " we sold our slave by birth, William Pyke, and 
all his family, and received one mark from the buyer." The 
only hope for the slave was, to try and get into one of 
the walled towns, when he became free. Until the Wars of 
the Roses, these serfs were greatly harassed by their owners. 

In the reign of Edward I., efforts were made to prevent the 
alienation of land by those who received it from the Norman 
sovereigns. The statute of mortmain was passed to restrain 
the giving of lands to the Church, the statute de donis to pre- 
vent alienation to laymen. The former declares : 

" That whereas religious men had entered into the fees of other 
men, without licence and will of the chief lord, and sometimes ap- 
propriating and buying, and sometimes receiving them of gift of 
others, whereby the services that are due of such fee, and which, in 
the beginning, were provided for the defence of the realm, are wrong- 
fully withdrawn, and the chief lord do lose the escheats of the same 
(the primer seizin on each life that dropped) ; it therefore enacts : 
That any such lands were forfeited to the lord of the fee ; and if he 
did not take it within twelve months, it should be forfeited to the 


king, who shall enfeoff other therein by certain services to be done 
for us for the defence of the realm." 

Another Act, the 6th Edward I., cap. 3, provides : . 

" That alienation by the tenant in courtesy was void, and the heir 
was entitled to succeed to his mother's property, notwithstanding the 
act of his father." 

The 1 3th Edward I., cap. 41, enacts : 

" That if the abbot, priors, and keepers of hospitals, and other 
religious houses, aliened their land, they should be seized upon by 
the king." 

The 1 3th Edward I., cap. I, de donis conditionalitis, provided : 
" That tenements given to a man, and the heirs of his body, should, at 

all events, go to the issue, if there were any; or, if there were none, 

should revert to the donor" 

But while the fiefs of the Crown were forbidden to alien 
their lands, the freemen, whose lands were Odhal (noble) and 
of Saxon descent, the inheritance of which was guaranteed to 
them by 55 William I. (ante, p. 119), were empowered to sell 
their estates by the statute called Quia Emptores (6 Edward I.). 
It enacts : 

" That from henceforth it shall be lawful to every freeman to sell, 
at his own pleasure, his lands and tenements, or part of them : so 
that the feoffee shall hold the same lands and tenements of the chief 
lord of the fee by such customs as his feoffee held before." 

The scope of these laws was altered in the reign of Edward 
III. That monarch, in view of his intended invasion of 
France, secured the adhesion of the landowners, by giving 
them power to raise money upon and alien their estates. The 
permission was as follows, I Edward III., cap. 12 : 

" Whereas divers people of the realm complain themselves to be 
grieved because that lands and tenements which be holden of the 
king in chief, and aliened without licence, have been seized into 
the king's hand, and holden as forfeit : (2.) The king shall not hold 
them as forfeit in such case, but will and grant from henceforth of 
such lands and tenements so aliened, there shall be reasonable fine 
taken in chancery by due process." 


I Edward III., cap. 13 : 

" Whereas divers have complained that they be grieved by reason 
of purchasing of lands and tenements, which have been holden of the 
king's progenitors that now is, as of honours ; and the same lands 
have been taken into the king's hands, as though they had been 
holden in chief of the king, as of his crown : (2.) The king will that 
from henceforth no man be grieved by any such purchase." 

De Lolme, chap, iii., sec. 3, remarks on these laws that they 
took from the king all power of preventing alienation or of 
purchase. They left him the reversionary right on the failure 
of heirs. 

These changes in the relative power of the sovereign and 
the nobles took place to enable Edward to enter upon the 
conquest of France ; but that monarch conferred a power 
upon the barons, which was used to the detriment of his 
descendants, and led to the dethronement of the Plantagenets. 

The line of demarcation between the two sets of titles, those 
derived through the Anglo-Saxon laws and those derived 
through the grants of the Norman sovereigns, was gradually 
being effaced. The people looked back to the laws of Edward 
the Confessor, and forced them upon Edward II. But after 
passing the laws which prevented nobles from selling, and 
empowering freemen to do so, Edward III. found it needful 
to assert his claims to the entire land of England, and enacted 
in the twenty-fourth year of his reign : 

" That the king is the universal lord and original proprietor of all 
land in his kingdom; and that no man doth, or can possess, any part of 
it but what has mediately or immediately been derived as a gift from 
him to be held on feodal service" 

Those who obtained gifts of land, only held or had the 
use of them ; the ownership rested in the Crown. Feodal 
service, the maintenance of armed men, and the bringing 
them into the field, was the rent paid. 

The wealth which came into England after the conquest 
of France influenced all classes, but none more than the 
family of the king. His own example seems to have affected 
his descendants. The invasion of France, and the captivity 


of its king, reappear in the invasion of England by Henry 
IV., and the capture and dethronement of Richard II. The 
prosperity of England during the reign of Edward, had passed 
away in that of his grandson. Very great distress pervaded 
the land, and it led to efforts to get rid of villeinage. The 
1st Richard II. recites : 

" That grievous complaints had been made to the Lords and 
Commons, that villeins and land tenants daily withdraw into cities 
and towns, and a special commission was appointed to hear the case, 
and decide thereon." 

The complaint was renewed, and appears in Act 9 Richard 
II., cap. 2 : 

" Whereas divers villeins and serfs, as well of the great Lords as 
of other people, as well spiritual as temporal, do fly within the cities, 
towns, and places enfranched, as the city of London, and other like, 
and do feign divers suits against their Lords, to the intent to make 
them free by the answer of the Lords, it is accorded and assented 
that the Lords and others shall not be forebound of their villeins, 
because of the answer of the Lords." 

Serfdom or slavery may have existed previous to the 
Anglo-Saxon invasion, but I am disposed to think that the 
Saxons, the Jutes, and the Angles reduced the inhabitants of 
the lands which they conquered, into serfdom. The history 
of that period shows that men, women, and children were 
constantly sold, and that there were established markets. 
One at Bristol, which was frequented by Irish buyers, was put 
down, owing to the remonstrance of the bishop. After the 
Norman invasion the name of Villein, a person attached to the 
villa, was given to the serfs. The village was their residence. 
Occasional instances of enfranchisement took place ; the word 
signified being made free, and at that time every freeman was 
entitled to a vote. The word enfranchise has latterly come to 
bear a different meaning, and to apply solely to the possession 
of a vote, but it originally meant the elevation of a serf into 
the condition of a freeman. The act of enfranchisement was 
a public ceremony usually performed at the church door. 
The last act of ownership performed by the master was the 


piercing of the right ear with an awl. Many serfs fled into 
the towns, where they were enfranchised and became freemen. 
The disaffection of the common people increased ; they 
were borne down with oppression. They struggled against 
their masters, and tried to secure their personal liberty, and 
the freedom of their land. The population rose in masses 
in the reign of Richard II., and demanded 

1st. The total abolition of slavery for themselves and 
their children for ever ; 

2d. The reduction of the rent of good land to 4d. per acre ; 

3d. The right of buying and selling, like other men, in 
markets and fairs ; 

4th. The pardon of all offences. 

The monarch acted upon insidious advice ; he spoke them fair 
at first, to gain time, but did not fulfil his promises. Ultimately 
the people gained part of their demands. To limit or defeat 
them, an Act was passed, fixing the wages of labourers to 4d. 
per day, with meat and drink, or 6d. per day, without meat and 
drink, and others in proportion ; but with the proviso, that if any 
one refused to serve or labour on these terms, every justice was at 
liberty to send him to jail, there to remain until he gave security 
to serve and labour as by law required. A subsequent Act pre- 
vents their being employed by the week, or paid for holidays. 
Previous to this period, the major barons and great lords 
tilled their land by serfs, and had very large flocks and herds 
of cattle. On the death of the Bishop of Winchester, 1367, 
his executors delivered to Bishop Wykeham, his successor in 
the see, the following: 127 draught horses, 1556 head of 
cattle, 3876 wedders, 4777 ewes, and 3541 lambs. Tillage was 
neglected; and in 1314 there was a severe dearth, wheat 
sold at a price equal to 30 per quarter, the brewing of ale 
was discontinued by proclamation, in order " to prevent those 
of middle rank from perishing for want of food." 

The dissensions among the descendants of Edward III. as to 
the right to the Crown, aided the nobles in their efforts to make 
their estates hereditary ; and the civil wars which afflicted the 
nation tended to promote that object Kings were crowned and 


discrowned at the will of the nobles, who compelled the freemen 
to part with their small estates. The oligarchy dictated to the 
Crown, and oppressed and kept down the freemen. The nobles 
allied themselves with the serfs, who were manumitted that 
they might serve as soldiers in the conflicting armies. 

From the Conquest to the time of Richard II., only barons- 
by-tenure, the descendants of the companions of the Conqueror, 
were invited by writ to Parliament. That monarch made an 
innovation, and invited others who were not barons-by-tenure. 
The first dukedom was created the nth of Edward III., 
and the first viscount the i8th Henry VI. 

Edward IV. seized upon the lands granted by former kings, 
and gave them to his own followers, and thus created a 
feeling of uneasiness in the minds of the nobility, and 
paved the way for the events which were accomplished 
by a succeeding dynasty. The decision in the Taltarum 
case opened the question of succession ; and Edward's efforts 
to put down retainers was the precursor of the Tudor policy. 

We have a picture of the state of society in the reign of 
Edward IV. in the Paston Memoirs, written by Margaret 
Paston. Her husband, John Paston, was heir to Sir John 
Fastolf. He was bound by the will to establish in Caister 
Castle, Fastolf's own mansion, a college of religious men to 
pray for his benefactor's soul. But in those days might was 
right, and the Duke of Norfolk, fancying that he should like 
the house for himself, quietly took possession of it. At that 
time, Edward was just seated on the throne, and Edward had 
just been reported to Paston to have said in reference to 
another suit, that 

" He would be your good lord therein as he would to the poorest 
man in England. He would hold with you in your right ; and as for 
favour, he will not be understood that he shall show favour more to 
one man to another, not to one in England." 

This was a true expression of the king's intentions. But 
either he was changeable in his moods, or during these early 
years he was hardly settled enough on the throne always to 


be able to carry out his wishes. This time, however, in some 
way or another, the great duke was reduced to submission, 
and Caister was restored to Paston. 

In 1465 a new claimant appeared ; and claimants, though 
as troublesome in the fifteenth as the nineteenth century, pro- 
ceeded in a different fashion. This time it was the Duke of 
Suffolk, who asserted a right to the manor of Drayton in his 
own name, and who had bought up the assumed rights of 
another person to the manor of Hellesdon. John Paston was 
away, and his wife had to bear the brunt. An attempt to 
levy rent at Drayton was followed by a threat from the duke's 
men, that if her servants " ventured to take any further dis- 
tresses at Drayton, even if it were but of the value of a pin, 
they would take the value of an ox in Hellesdon." 

Paston and the duke alike professed to be under the law. 
But each was anxious to retain that possession which in those 
days seems really to have been nine points of the law. The 
duke got hold of Drayton, whilst Hellesdon was held for 
Paston. One day Paston's men made a raid upon Drayton, 
and carried off seventy-seven head of cattle. Another day 
the duke's bailiff came to Hellesdon with 300 men to see if 
the place were assailable. Two servants of Paston, attempt- 
ing to keep a court at Drayton in their master's name, were 
carried off by force. At last the duke mustered his retainers 
and marched against Hellesdon. The garrison, too weak to 
resist, at once surrendered. 

" The duke's men took possession, and set John Paston's own 
tenants to work, very much against their wills, to destroy the mansion 
and break down the walls of the lodge, while they themselves ran- 
sacked the church, turned out the parson, and spoiled the images. 
They also pillaged very completely/ every house in the village. As 
for John Paston's own place, they stripped it completely bare ; and 
whatever there was of lead, brass, pewter, iron, doors or gates, or 
other things that they could not conveniently carry off, they hacked 
and hewed them to pieces. The duke rode through Hellesdon to 
Drayton the following day, while his men were still busy completing 
the wreck of destruction by the demolition of the lodge. The wreck 


of the building, with the rents they made in its walls, is visible even 
now " (Introd. xxxv.). 

The meaning of all this is evident. We have before us a 
state of society in which the anarchical element is predomin- 
ant. But it is not pure anarchy. The nobles were deter- 
mined to reduce the middle classes to vassalage. 

The reign of the Plantagenets witnessed the elevation of the 
nobility. The descendants of the Norman barons menaced, 
and sometimes proved too powerful for the Crown. In such 
reigns as those of Edward I., Edward III., and Henry V., the 
sovereigns held their own ; but in those of John, Edward II., 
and Henry VI., the barons triumphed. The power wielded 
by the first Edward fell from the feeble grasp of his son and 
successor. The beneficent rule of Edward III. was followed 
by the anarchy of Richard II. Success led to excess. The 
triumphant party thinned the ranks of its opponents, and in 
turn experienced the same fate. The fierce struggle of the Red 
and White Roses weakened each. Guy, Earl of Warwick, " the 
king-maker," sank overpowered on the field of Tewkesbury, 
and with him perished many of the most powerful of the nobles. 
The jealousy of Richard III. swept away his own friends ; 
and the bloody contest on Bosworth field destroyed the flower 
of the nobility. The sun of the Plantagenets went down, 
leaving the country weak and impoverished, from a contest 
in which the barons sought to establish their own power, 
to the detriment alike of the Crown and the freemen. The 
latter might have exclaimed : 

' ' Till half a patriot, half a coward, grown, 
We fly from meaner tyrants to the throne. " 

The long contest terminated in the defeat alikeof the Crown and 
the nobles, but the nation suffered severely from the struggle. 
The rule of this family proved fatal to the interest of a 
most important class, whose rights were jealously guarded by 
the Normans. The Liberi Homines, the freemen, who were 
Odhal occupiers, holding in capite from the sovereign, nearly 
disappeared in the wars of the Roses. Monarchs, who owed 
their crown to the favour of the nobles, were too weak to 


uphold the rights of those who held directly from the Crown, 
and who, in their isolation, were almost powerless. 

The term freeman, originally one of the noblest in the land, 
disappeared in relation to urban tenures, and was applied 
solely to the personal rights of civic burghers ; instead thereof 
arose the term freeholder, from free hold, which was originally 
a grant free from all rent, and only burthened with military 
service. The term was subsequently applied to land held for 
leases for lives as contradistinguished from leases for years, the 
latter being deemed base tenures, and insufficient to qualify a 
man to vote ; the theory being that no man was free whose 
tenure could be disturbed during his life. Though the Liberi 
Homines or freemen were, as a class, overborne in this struggle, 
and reduced to vassalage, yet their descendants were able, under 
the leadership of Cromwell, to regain some of the rights and in- 
fluence of which they had been despoiled under the Plantagenets. 

Fortescue, Lord Chief-Justice to Henry VI., thus describes 
the condition of the English people : 

" They drunk no water, unless it be that some for devotion, and 
upon a rule of penance, do abstain from other drink. They eat 
plentifully of all kinds of flesh and fish. They wear woollen cloth in all 
their apparel. They have abundance of bed covering in their houses, 
and all other woollen stuff. They have great store of all implements of 
household. They are plentifully furnished with all instruments of hus- 
bandry, and all other things that are requisite to the accomplishment 
of a great and wealthy life, according to their estates and degrees." 

This flattering picture is not supported by the existing 
disaffection and the repeated applications for redress from the 
serfs and the smaller farmers, and the simple fact that the 
population had increased under the Normans a period of 
88 years from 2,150,000 to 3,350,000, while under the 
Plantagenets a period of 360 years it only increased to 
4,000,000, the addition to the population in that period being 
only 650,000. The average increase in the former period was 
nearly 14,000 per annum, while in the latter it did not much 
exceed 2000 per annum. This goes far to prove the evil from 
civil wars, and the oppression of the oligarchy. 



The protracted struggle of the Plantagenets left the nation 
in a state of exhaustion. The nobles had absorbed the lands 
of the freemen, and had thus broken the backbone of society. 
They had then entered upon a contest with the Crown to in- 
crease their own power ; and to effect their selfish objects, 
set up puppets, and ranged under conflicting banners, but the 
Nemesis followed. The Wars of the Roses destroyed their 
own power, and weakened their influence, by sweeping away 
the heads of the principal families. The ambition of the 
nobles failed of its object, when " the last of the barons" lay 
gory in his blood on the field of Tewkesbury. The wars were, 
however, productive of one national benefit, in virtually ending 
the state of serfdom to which the aborigines were reduced by 
the Scandinavian invasion. The exhaustion of the nation 
prepared the way to changes of a most radical character ; 
and the reigns of the Tudors are characterised by greater 
innovations and more striking alterations than even those 
which followed the accession of the Normans. 

Henry of Richmond came out of the field of Bosworth a 
victor, and ascended the throne of a nation whose leading 
nobles had been swept away. The sword had vied with 
the axe. Henry VII. was prudent and cunning; and in the 
absence of any preponderating oligarchical influence, planted 
the heel of the sovereign upon the necks of the nobles. He 
succeeded where the Plantagenets had failed. His accession 
became the advent of a series of measures, which altered most 
materially the system of landholding. The Wars of the Roses 
showed that the power of the nobles was too great for the 
comfort of the monarch. The decision in Taltarum's case, in 
the reign of Edward IV., affected the entire system of entail. 
Land, partly freed from restrictions, passed into other hands. 
But Henry went further. He destroyed their physical influ- 
ence by rigidly putting down retainers ; and in one of his 
tours, while partaking of the hospitality of the Earl of Oxford, 
he fined him ; 15,000 for having greeted him with 5000 of his 


tenants in livery. The rigid enforcement of the laws passed 
against retainers in former reigns, but now made more penal, 
strengthened the king and reduced the power of the nobles. 
Their estates were relieved of a most onerous charge, and 
the lands freed from the burden of supporting the army of 
the State. 

Henry VII. had thus a large fund to give away ; the rent of 
the land granted in knight's service, virtually consisted of two 
separate funds one part went to the feudee, as officer or 
commandant, the other to the soldiery or vassals. The latter 
part belonged to the State. Had Henry applied it to the 
re-establishment of the class of freemen (Liberi Homines), as 
was recently done by the Emperor of Russia, when he 
abolished serfdom, he would have created a power on which 
the Crown and the constitution could rely. This might have 
been done by converting the holdings of the men-at-arms 
into allodial estates, held direct from the Crown. Such an 
arrangement would have left the income of the feudee unim- 
paired, as it would only have applied the fund that had been 
paid to the men-at-arms to this purpose ; and by creating out 
of that land a number of small estates held direct from the 
Crown, the misery that arose from the eviction and destruc- 
tion of a most meritorious class, would have been avoided. 
Vagrancy, with its great evils, would have been prevented, and 
the passing of the poor laws would have been unnecessary. 
Unfortunately Henry and his counsellors did not appreciate 
the consequence of the suppression of retainers and liveries. 
He compensated the nobles, but destroyed the agricultural 
middle class, by the course he adopted to secure the influence 
of the Crown. 

This change had an important and, in some respects, a most 
injurious effect upon the condition of the nation, and led to 
enactments of a very extraordinary character, which I must 
submit in detail, inasmuch as I prefer giving the ipsissima verba 
of the statute book to any statement of my own. To make 
the laws intelligible, I would remind you that the successful 
efforts of the nobles had, during the three centuries of Planta- 



genet rule, nearly obliterated the Liberi Homines (whose rights 
the Norman conqueror had sedulously guarded), and had 
reduced them to a state of vassalage. They held the lands of 
their lord at his will, and paid their rent by military service. 
When retainers were put down, and rent or knight's service was 
no longer paid with armed men, their occupation was gone. 
They were unfit for the mere routine of husbandry, and unpro- 
vided with funds for working their farms. The policy of the 
nobles was changed. It was no longer their object to maintain 
small farmsteads, each supplying its quota of armed men to 
the retinue of the lord ; and it was their interest to obtain 
money rents. Then commenced a struggle of the most fearful 
character. The nobles cleared their lands, pulled down the 
houses, and displaced the people. Vagrancy, on a most 
unparalleled scale, took place. Henry VII., to check this 
cruel, unexpected, and harsh outcome of his own policy, 
resorted to legislation, which proved nearly ineffectual. As 
early as the fourth year of his reign, these efforts commenced 
with an enactment (cap. 19) for keeping up houses and encour- 
aging husbandry ; it is very quaint, and is as follows : 

" The King, our Sovereign Lord, having singular pleasure above 
all things to avoid such enormities and mischiefs as be hurtful and 
prejudicial to the commonwealth of this his land and his subjects of 
the same, remembereth that, among other things, great inconvenience 
daily doth increase by dissolution, and pulling down, and wilful waste 
of houses and towns within this his realm, and laying to pasture 
lands, which continually have been in tilth, whereby idleness, the 
ground and beginning of all mischief, daily do increase ; for where, 
in some towns 200 persons were occupied, and lived by these lawful 
labours, now there be occupied two or three herdsmen, and the 
residue full of idleness. The husbandry, which is one of the greatest 
commodities of the realm, is greatly decayed. Churches destroyed, 
the service of God withdrawn, the bodies there buried not prayed 
for, the patrons and curates wronged, the defence of the land against 
outward enemies feebled and impaired, to the great displeasure 
of God, the subversion of the policy and good rule of this land, if 
remedy be not hastily therefor purveyed : Wherefore, the King, our 


Sovereign Lord, by the assent and advice, etc., etc., ordereth, 
enacteth, and establisheth that no person, what estate, degree, or 
condition he be, that hath any house or houses, that at any time 
within the past three years hath been, or that now is, or heretofore 
shall be, let to farm with twenty acres of land at least, or more, laying 
in tillage or husbandry ; that the owners of any such house shall be 
bound to keep, sustain, and maintain houses and buildings, upon the 
said grounds and land, convenient and necessary for maintaining and 
upholding said tillage and husbandry; and if any such owner or 
owners of house or house and land take, keep, and occupy any such 
house or house and land in his or their own hands, that the owner of 
the said authority be bound in likewise to maintain houses and build- 
ings upon the said ground and land, convenient and necessary for 
maintaining and upholding the said tillage and husbandry. On their 
default, the king, or the other lord of the fee, shall receive half of the 
profits, and apply the same in repairing the houses ; but shall not 
gain the freehold thereby." 

This Act was followed by one with reference to the Isle 
of Wight, 4 Henry VII., cap. 16, which recites that it is so 
near France that it is desirable to keep it in a state of defence. 
It provides that no person shall have more than one farm, 
and enacts : 

" For remedy, it is ordered and enacted that no manner of person, 
of what estate, degree, or condition soever, shall take any farm more 
than one, whereof the yearly rent shall not exceed ten marks ; and if 
any several leases afore this time have been made to any person or 
persons of divers and sundry farmholds, whereof the yearly value shall 
exceed that sum, then the said person or persons shall choose one farm- 
hold at his pleasure, and the remnant of the leases shall be void." 

Mr Froude remarks (History, p, 26), " An Act, tyrannical in 
form, was singularly justified by its consequences. The farm- 
houses were rebuilt, the land rep!6ughed, the island repeopled ; 
and in 1546, when the French army of 60,000 men attempted to 
effect a landing at St Helens, they were defeated and driven 
back by the militia, and a few levies transported from Hamp- 
shire and the surrounding countries." 

Lord Bacon, in his " History of the Reign of Henry VII.," 
says : 


"Enclosures, at that time, began to be more frequent, whereby 
arable land (which could not be manured without people and families), 
was turned into pasture, which was easily rid by a few herdsmen ; 
and tenancies for years, lives, and at will (whereupon much of the 
yeomanry lived), were turned into demesnes. This bred a decay of 
people and (by consequence) a decay of towns, churches, tithes, and 
the like. The king, likewise, knew full well, and in nowise forgot, 
that there ensued withal upon this a decay and diminution of subsidies 
and taxes ; for the more gentlemen, ever the lower books of subsidies. 
In remedying of this inconvenience, the king's wisdom was admirable, 
and the parliaments at that time. Enclosures they would not forbid, 
for that had been to forbid the improvement of the patrimony of the 
kingdom ; nor tillage they would not compel, for that was to strive 
with nature and utility; but they took a course to take away de- 
populating enclosures and depopulating pasturage, and yet not by 
that name, or by any imperious express prohibition, but by conse- 
quence. The ordinance was, that all houses of husbandry, that were 
used with twenty acres of ground and upwards, should be maintained 
and kept up for ever, together with a competent proportion of land 
to be used and occupied with them ; and in nowise to be severed 
from them, as by another statute made afterwards in his successor's 
time, was more fully declared : this, upon forfeiture to be taken, not 
by way of popular action, but by seizure of the land itself, by the king 
and lords of the fee, as to half the profits, till the houses and land 
were restored. By this means the houses being kept up, did of 
necessity enforce a dweller; and the proportion of the land for 
occupation being kept up, did of necessity enforce that dweller not 
to be a beggar r cottager, but a man of some substance, that 
might keep hinds and servants, and set the plough a-going. This 
did wonderfully concern the might and mannerhood of the king- 
dom, to have farms, as it were, of a standard sufficient to maintain 
an able body out of penury, and did, in effect, amortise a great 
part of the lands of the kingdom unto the hold and occupation 
of the yeomanry or middle people, of a condition between gentle- 
men and cottagers or peasants. Now, how much this did ad- 
vance the military power of the kingdom, is apparent by the true 
principles of war, and the examples of other kingdoms. For it hath 
been held by the general opinion of men of best judgment in the 
wars (howsoever some few have varied, and that it may receive some 


distinction of case), that the principal strength of an army consisteth 
in the infantry or foot. And to make good infantry, it requireth men 
bred, not in a servile or indigent fashion, but in some free and 
plentiful manner. Therefore, if a state run most to noblemen and 
gentlemen, and that the husbandman and ploughman be but as their 
workfolks and labourers, or else mere cottagers (which are but housed 
beggars), you may have a good cavalry, but never good stable bands 
of foot; like to coppice woods, that if you leave in them standing too 
thick, they will run to bushes and briars, and have little clean under- 
wood. And this is to be seen in France and Italy, and some other 
parts abroad, where in effect all is nobles or peasantry. I speak of 
people out of towns, and no middle people ; and therefore no good 
forces of foot : insomuch as they are enforced to employ mercenary 
bands of Switzers and the like for their battalions of foot, whereby 
also it comes to pass, that those nations have much people and few 
soldiers. Whereas the king saw that contrariwise it would follow, that 
England^ though much less in territory, yet should have infinitely more 
soldiers of their native forces than those other nations have. Thus did 
the king secretly sow Hydra's teeth; whereupon (according to the poet's 
fiction) should rise up armed men for the service of this kingdom." 

The enactment above quoted was followed by others in that 
reign of a similar character, but it would appear they were 
not successful. The evil grew apace. Houses were pulled 
down, farms went out of tillage. The people, evicted from 
their farms, and having neither occupation nor means of living, 
were idle, and suffering. Succeeding sovereigns strove also to 
check this disorder, and statute after statute was passed. 
Amongst them are the /th Henry VIII., cap. I. It recites : 

"That great inconveniency did daily increase by dissolution, 
pulling down, and destruction of houses, and laying to pasture, lands 
which customarily had been manured and occupied with tillage and 
husbandry, whereby idleness doth increase ; for where, in some town- 
lands, hundreds of persons and their ancestors, time out of mind, 
were daily occupied with sowing of corn and graynes, breeding of 
cattle, and other increase of husbandry, that now the said persons 
and their progeny are disunited and decreased. It further recites 
the evil consequences resulting from this state of things, and pro- 
vides that all these buildings and habitations shall be re-edificed and 


repaired within one year ; and all tillage lands turned into pasture 
shall be again restored into tillage ; and in default, half the value of 
the lands and houses forfeited to the king, or lord of the fee, until 
they were re-edificed. On failure of the next lord, the lord above 
him might seize." 

This Act did not produce that increased tilth which was 
anticipated. Farmers' attention was turned to sheep-breeding; 
and in order to supply the deficiency of cattle, an Act was 
passed in the 2ist Henry VIII., to enforce the rearing of 
calves ; and every farmer was, under a penalty of 6s. 8d. 
(about ^5 of our currency), compelled to rear all his calves 
for a period of three years ; and in the 24th Henry VIII., 
the Act was further continued for two years. The culture 
of flax and hemp was also encouraged by legislation. The 
24th Henry VIII., cap. 14, requires every person occupying 
land apt for tillage, to sow a quarter of an acre of flax or 
hemp for every sixty acres of land, under a penalty of 33. 46. 

The profit which arose from sheep-farming led to the depas- 
turage of the land ; and in order to check it, an Act, 25 Henry 
VIII., cap. 13, was passed. It commences thus : 

" Forasmuch as divers and sundry persons of the king's subjects of 
this realm, to whom God of His goodness hath disposed great plenty 
and abundance of movable substance, now of late, within few years, 
have daily studied, practised, and invented ways and means how they 
might gather and accumulate together into few hands, as well great 
multitude of farms, as great plenty of cattle, and in especial sheep, 
putting such lands as they can get to pasture and not to tillage: 
whereby they have not only pulled down churches and towns, and 
enhanced the old rates of the rents of possessions of this realm, or else 
brought it to such excessive fines that no poor man is able to meddle 
with it, but have also raised and enhanced the prices of all manner 
of corn, cattle, wool, pigs, geese, hens, chickens, eggs, and such com- 
modities almost double above the prices which hath been accus- 
tomed, by reason whereof a marvellous multitude of the poor people 
of this realm be not able to provide meat, drink, and clothes necessary 
for themselves, their wives, and children, but be so discouraged with 
misery and poverty, that they fall daily to theft, robbery, and other 


inconveniences, or pitifully die for hunger and cold ; and it is thought 
by the king's humble and loving subjects, that one of the greatest 
occasions that moveth those greedy and covetous people so to accumu- 
late and keep in their hands such great portions and parts of the lands 
of this realm from the occupying of the poor husbandmen, and so 
use it in pasture and not in tillage, is the great profit that cometh of 
sheep, which be now come into a few persons' hands, in respect of 
the whole number of the king's subjects, so that some have 24,000, 
some 20,000, some r 0,000, some 6000, some 5000, and some more 
or less, by which a good sheep for victual, which was accustomed 
to be sold for 25. 4d. or 35. at most, is now sold for 6s., 55., or 45- 
at the least ; and a stone of clothing wool, that in some shire of 
this realm was accustomed to be sold from i6d. to 2od., is now 
sold for 43. or 35. 4d. at the least ; and in some counties, where it 
has been sold for zs. 4d. to 23. 8d., or 33. at the most, it is now 55. 
or 43. 8d. at the least, and so arreysed in every part of the realm, 
which things thus used be principally to the high displeasure of 
Almighty God, to the decay of the hospitality of this realm, to the 
diminishing of the king's people, and the let of the cloth making, 
whereby many poor people hath been accustomed to be set on work ; 
and in conclusion, if remedy be not found, it may turn to the utter 
destruction and dissolution of this realm which God defend." 

It was enacted that no person shall have or keep on lands 
not their own inheritance more than 2000 sheep, under a 
penalty of 33. 4d. per annum for each sheep ; lambs, under a 
year old, not to be counted ; and that no person shall occupy 
two farms. 

Further measures appeared needful to prevent the evil ; and 
the 2/th Henry VIII., cap. 22, states that the 4th Henry VII., 
cap. 19, for keeping houses in repair, and for the tillage of the 
land, had been enforced on lands holden of the king, but 
neglected by other lords. It, therefore, enacted that the king 
shall have the moiety of the profits of lands converted from 
tillage to pasture, since the passing of the 4th Henry VII., 
until a proper house is built, and the land returned to tillage ; 
and in default of the immediate lord taking the profits as 
under that Act, the king might take the same. This Act ex- 
tended to the counties of Lincoln, Nottingham, Leicester, 


Warwick, Rutland, Northampton, Bedford, Buckingham, 
Oxford, Berkshire, Isle of Wight, Hertford, and Cambridge. 

The simple fact was, that those who had formerly paid the 
rent of their land by service as soldiers were without the 
capital or means of paying rent in money ; they were evicted 
and became vagrants. Henry VIII. took a short course with 
these vagrants, and it is asserted upon apparently good au- 
thority that in the course of his reign, thirty-six years, he 
hanged no less than 72,000 persons for vagrancy, or at the 
rate of 2000 per annum. The executions in the reign of his 
daughter, Queen Elizabeth, had fallen to from 300 to 400 per 

32 Henry VIII., cap. I, gave powers of bequest with regard 
to land ; as it explains the change it effected, I quote it : 

" That all persons holding land in socage not having any lands 
holden by knight's service of the king in chief, be empowered to 
devise and dispose of all such socage lands, and in like case, persons 
holding socage lands of the king in chief, and also of others, and not 
having the lands holden by knight service, saving to the king, all 
his right, title, and interest for primer seizin, reliefs, fines for aliena- 
tions, etc. Persons holding lands of the king by knight's service in 
chief were authorised to devise two-third parts thereof, saving to the 
king wardship, primer seizin, of the third paid, and fines for alienation 
of the whole lands. Persons holding lands by knight's service in chief, 
and also other lands by knight's service, or otherwise, may in like 
manner devise two-third parts thereof, saving to the king wardship of 
the third, and fines for alienation of the whole. Persons holding 
land of others than the king by knight's service, and also holding 
socage lands, may devise two-third parts of the former and the whole 
of the latter, saving to the lord his wardship of the third part. Per- 
sons holding lands of the king by knight's service but not in chief, or 
so holding of the king and others, and also holding socage lands, 
may in like manner devise two-thirds of the former and the whole of 
the latter, saving to the king the wardship of the third part, and also 
to the lords ; and the king or the other lords were empowered to 
seize the one-third part in case of any deficiency." 

The 34th and 35th Henry VIII., cap. 5, was passed to 


remove some doubts which had arisen as to the former statute ; 
it enacts : 

" That the words estates of inheritance should only mean estates 
in fee-simple only, and empowers persons seized of any lands, etc., in 
fee-simple solely, or in co-partnery (not having any lands holden of 
knight's service), to devise the whole, except corporations. Persons 
seized in fee-simple of land holden of the king by knight's service may 
give or devise two-thirds thereof, and of his other lands, except cor- 
poration, such two-thirds to be ascertained by the divisor or by 
commission out of the Court of Ward and Liveries. The king was 
empowered to take his third land descended to the heir in the first 
place, the devise in gift remaining good for the two-thirds ; and if the 
land described were insufficient to answer such third, the deficiency 
should be made up out of the two-thirds." 

" The next attack," remarks Sir William Blackstone, vol. ii., p. 117, 
"which they suffered in order of time was by the statute 32 Henry 
VIII., c. 28, whereby certain leases made by tenants in tail, which 
do not tend to prejudice the issue, were allowed to be good in law 
and to bind the issue in tail. But they received a more violent blow 
the same session of Parliament by the construction put upon the 
statute of fines by the statute 32 Henry VIIL, cap. 36, which declares 
a fine duly levied by tenant in tail to be a complete bar to him and 
his heirs and all other persons claiming under such entail. This was 
evidently agreeable to the intention of Henry VII., whose policy was 
(before common recovery had obtained their full strength and autho- 
rity) to lay the road as open as possible to the alienation of landed 
property, in order to weaken the overgrown power of his nobles. 
But as they, from the opposite reasons, were not easily brought to 
consent to such a provision, it was therefore couched in his Act 
under covert and obscure expressions ; and the judges, though willing 
to construe that statute as favourably as possible for the defeating of 
entailed estates, yet hesitated at giving fines so extensive a power by 
mere implication when the statute de donis had expressly declared 
that they should not be a bar to estates-tail. But the statute of 
Henry VIIL, when the doctrine of alienation was better received, 
and the will of the prince more implicitly obeyed than before, avowed 
and established that intention." 

Fitzherbert, one of the judges of the Common Pleas in the 


reign of Henry VIII., wrote a work on surveying and hus- 
bandry. It contains directions for draining, clearing, and 
enclosing a farm, and for enriching the soil and reducing it 
to tillage. Fallowing before wheat was practised, and when 
a field was exhausted by grain it was allowed to rest. Hol- 
lingshed estimated the usual return as 16 to 20 bushels of 
wheat per acre ; prices varied very greatly, and famine was 
of frequent recurrence. Leases began to be granted, but 
they were not effectual to protect the tenant from the entry 
of purchasers nor against the operation of fictitious recoveries. 

In the succeeding reigns the efforts to encourage tillage and 
prevent the clearing of the farms were renewed, and amongst 
the enactments passed were the following : 

5 Edward VI., cap. 5, for the better maintenance of till- 
age and increase of corn within the realm, enacts : 

" That there should be, in the year 1553, as much land, or more, 
put wholly in tillage as had been at any time since the ist Henry 
VIII., under a penalty of 55. per acre to the king; and in order to 
secure this, it appoints commissioners, who were bound to ascertain 
by inquests what land was in tillage and had been converted from 
tillage into pasture. The commission issued precepts to the sheriffs, 
who summoned jurors, and the inquests were to be returned, certified, 
to the Court of Exchequer. Any prosecution for penalties should 
take place within three years, and the Act continued for ten years." 

2 and 3 Philip and Mary, cap. 2, recites the former Acts of 
4 Henry VII., cap. 19, etc., which it enforces. It enacts : 

" That as some doubts had arisen as to the interpretation of the 
words twenty acres of land, the Act should apply to houses with 
twenty acres of land, according to the measurement of the ancient 
statute ; and it appoints commissioners to inquire as to all houses 
pulled down and all land converted from pasture into tillage since the 
4th Henry VII. The commissioners were to take security by recog- 
nisance from offenders, and to re-edify the houses and reconvert the 
land into tillage, and to assess the tenants for life towards the repairs. 
The amount expended under order of the commissioners was made 
recoverable against the estate, and the occupiers were made liable to 


their orders ; and they had power to commit persons refusing to give 
security to carry out the Act." 

2 and 3 Philip and Mary, cap. 3, was passed to provide for 
the increase of milch cattle, and it enacts : 

" That one milch cow shall be kept and calf reared for every sixty 
sheep and ten oxen during the following seven years." 

The 2d Elizabeth, cap. 2, confirms the previously quoted 
Acts of 4 Henry VII., cap. 19; 7 Henry VIII., cap. I ; 27 
Henry VIII., cap. 22; 27 Henry VIII., cap. 18; and it enacts: 

" That all farm-houses belonging to suppressed monasteries should 
be kept up, and that all lands which had been in tillage for four years 
successively at any time since the 2oth Henry VIII., should be kept 
in tillage under a penalty of IDS. per acre, which was payable to the 
heir in reversion, or in case he did not levy it, to the Crown." 

31 Elizabeth, cap. 7, went further; and in order to provide 
allotments for the cottagers, many of whom were dispossessed 
from their land, it provided : 

" For avoiding the great inconvenience which is found by experi- 
ence to grow by the erecting and building of great numbers of 
cottages, which daily more and more increased in many parts of the 
realm, it was enacted that no person should build a cottage for habi- 
tation or dwelling, nor convert any building into a cottage, without 
assigning and laying thereto four acres of land, being his own free- 
hold and inheritance, lying near the cottage, under a penalty ofio ; 
and for upholding any such cottages, there was a penalty imposed of 
403. a month, exception being made as to any city, town, corporation, 
ancient borough, or market town ; and no person was permitted to 
allow more than one family to reside in each cottage, under a penalty 
of i os. per month." 

The 39th Elizabeth, cap. 2, was passed to enforce the ob- 
servance of these conditions. It provides : 

" That all lands which had been in tillage shall be restored thereto 
within three years, except in cases where they were worn out by too 
much tillage, in which case they might be grazed with sheep ; but in 
order to prevent the deterioration of the land, it was enacted that the 
quantity of beeves or muttons sold off the land should not exceed 
that which was consumed in the mansion-house." 


In these various enactments of the Tudor monarchs we 
may trace the anxious desire of these sovereigns to repair the 
mistake of Henry VII., and to prevent the depopulation of 
England. A similar mistake has been made in Ireland since 
1846, under which the homes of the peasantry have been pros- 
trated, the land thrown out of tillage, and the people driven 
from their native land. Mr Froude has the following remarks 
upon this legislation : 

" Statesmen (temp. Elizabeth) did not care for the accumulation 
of capital. They desired to see the physical well-being of all classes 
of the commonwealth maintained in the highest degree which the 
producing power of the country admitted. This was their object, 
and they were supported in it by a powerful and efficient majority of 
the nation. At one time, Parliament interfered to protect employers 
against labourers, but it was equally determined that employers 
should not be allowed to abuse their opportunities ; and this directly 
appears from the 4th and 5th Elizabeth, by which, on the most trifling 
appearance of a diminution of the currency, it was declared that the 
labouring man could no longer live on the wages assigned to him by 
the Act of Henry VIII. ; and a sliding scale was instituted, by which, 
for the future, wages should be adjusted to the price of food. The 
same conclusion may be gathered also indirectly from the Acts inter- 
fering imperiously with the rights of property where a disposition 
showed itself to exercise them selfishly. 

" The city merchants, as I have said, were becoming landowners, 
and some of them attempted to apply their rules of trade to the man- 
agement of landed estates. While wages were rated so high, // 
answered better as a speculation to convert arable land into pasture, but 
the law immediately stepped in to prevent a proceeding which it regarded 
as petty treason to the State. Self-protection is the first law of life, and 
the country, relying for its defence on an able-bodied population, 
evenly distributed, ready at any moment to be called into action, 
either against foreign invasion or civil disturbance, it could not permit 
the owners of land to pursue, for their own benefit, a course of action 
which threatened to weaken its garrisons. It is not often that we are 
able to test the wisdom of legislation by specific results so clearly as 
in the present instance. The first attempts of the kind which I have 
described were made in the Isle of Wight early in the reign of Henry 


VII. Lying so directly exposed to attacks by France, the Isle of 
Wight was a place which it was peculiarly important to keep in a 
state of defence, and the 4th Henry VII., cap. 16, was passed to 
prevent the depopulation of the Isle of Wight, occasioned by the 
system of large farms." 

The city merchants alluded to by Froude, seem to have 
remembered that from the times of Athelwolf, the possession 
of a certain quantity of land, with gatehouse, church, and 
kitchen, converted the ceorl (churl) into a thane. 

It is difficult to estimate the effect which the Tudor policy 
had upon the landholding of England. Under the feudal 
system, the land was held in trust and burthened with the 
support of the soldiery. Henry VII., in order to weaken the 
power of the nobles, put an end to their maintaining inde- 
pendent soldiery. Thus landlords' incomes increased, though 
their material power was curtailed. It would not have been 
difficult at this time to have loaded these properties with 
annual payments equal to the cost of the soldiers which they 
were bound to maintain, or to have given each of them a 
farm under the Crown, and strict justice would have pre- 
vented the landowners from putting into their pockets those 
revenues which, according to the grants and patents of the 
Conqueror and his successors, were specially devoted to 
the maintenance of the army. Land was released from the 
conditions with which it was burthened when granted. This 
was not done by direct legislation but by its being the 
policy of the Crown, to prevent " king-makers " arising from 
among the nobility. The dread of Warwick influenced Henry. 
He inaugurated a policy which transferred the support of 
the army from the lands, which should solely have borne it, 
to the general revenue of the Country. Thus he relieved one 
class at the expense of the nation. Yet, when Henry was 
about to wage war on the Continent, he called all his subjects 
to accompany him, under pain of forfeiture of their lands ; and 
he did not omit levying the accustomed feudal charge for 
knighting his eldest son and for marrying his eldest daughter. 
The Acts to prevent the landholder from oppressing the occu- 


pier, and those for the encouragement of tillage, failed. The 
new idea of property in land, which then obtained, proved 
too powerful to be altered by legislation. 

Another change in the system of landholding took place in 
these reigns. Lord Cromwell, who succeeded Cardinal Wol- 
sey, as minister to Henry VIIL, had land in Kent, and he 
obtained the passing of an Act (31 Henry VIIL, cap. 2) which 
took his land and that of other owners therein named, out of 
the custom of gavelkind (gave-all-kind), which had existed in 
Kent from before the Norman Conquest, and enacted that 
they should descend according to common law in like manner 
as lands held by knight's service. 

The suppression of the RELIGIOUS HOUSES gave the Crown 
the control of a vast quantity of land. It had, with the con- 
sent of the Crown, been devoted to religion by former owners. 
The descendants of the donors were equitably entitled to the 
land, as it ceased to be applied to the trust for which it was 
given, but the power of the Crown was too great, and their 
claims were refused. Had these estates been applied to pur- 
poses of religion or education they would have formed a valu- 
able fund for the improvement of the people ; but the land 
itself, as well as the portion of tithes belonging to the religi- 
ous houses, was conferred upon favourites, and some of the 
wealthiest nobles of the present day trace their rise and im- 
portance, to the rewards obtained by their ancestors out of 
the spoils of these charities. 

The importance of the measures of the Tudors upon the 
system of landholding can hardly be exaggerated. The im- 
pulse of self-defence led them to lessen the physical force of 
the oligarchy by relieving the land from the support of the 
army, and enabling them to convert to their own use the income 
previously applied to the defence of the realm. This was a 
bribe, but it brought its own punishment. The eviction of the 
working farmers, the demolition of their dwellings, the depopu- 
lation of the country, were evils of most serious magnitude; and 
the supplement of the measures which produced such deplor- 
able results, was found in the permanent establishment of a 


taxation for the SUPPORT of the POOR. Yet the nation 
reeled under the depletion produced by previous mistaken 
legislation, and all classes have been injured by the transfer 
of the support of the army from the land held by the nobles 
to the income of the people. 

Side by side, with the measures passed, to prevent the Clear- 
ing of the Land, arose the system of POOR LAWS. Previous 
to the Reformation the poor were principally relieved at the 
religious houses. The destruction of small farms, and the 
eviction of such masses of the people, which commenced in 
the reign of Henry VII., overpowered the resources of these 
establishments; their suppression in the reigns of Henry VIII. 
and Elizabeth aggravated the evil. The indiscriminate and 
wholesale execution of the poor vagrants by the former mon- 
arch only partially removed the evil, and the statute book is 
loaded with acts for the relief of the destitute poor. The first 
efforts were collections in the churches ; but voluntary alms 
proving insufficient, the powers of the churchwardens were 
extended, and they were directed and authorised to assess the 
parishioners according to their means, and thus arose a system 
which, though benevolent in its object, is a slur upon our 
social arrangements. Land, the only source of food, is rightly 
charged with the support of the destitute. The necessity for 
such aid arose originally from their being evicted therefrom. 
The charge should fall exclusively upon the rent receivers, and 
in no case should the tiller of the soil have to pay this charge 
either directly or indirectly. It is continued by the inadequacy 
of wages, and the improvidence engendered by a social system 
which arose out of injustice, and produced its own penalty. 

Legislation with regard to the poor commenced contem- 
poraneous with the laws against the eviction of the small 
farmers. I have already recited some of the laws to preserve 
small holdings ; I now pass to the Acts meant to compel land- 
holders to provide for those whom they had dispossessed. 
In 1530 the Act 22 Henry VIII., cap. 12, was passed ; it recites: 

" Whereas in all places through the realm of England, vagabonds 
and beggars have of long time increased, and daily do increase, in 


great and excessive numbers by the occasion of idleness, the mother 
and root of all vices,* whereby hath insurged and sprung, and daily 
insurgeth and springeth, continual thefts, murders, and other heinous 
offences and great enormities, to the high displeasure of God, the 
inquietation and damage of the king and people, and to the marvel- 
lous disturbance of the commonweal of the realm." 

It enacts that justices may give licence to impotent persons 
to beg within certain limits, and, if found begging out of their 
limits, they shall be set in the stocks. Beggars without 
licence to be whipped or set in the stocks. All persons able 
to labour, who shall beg or be vagrant, shall be whipped and 
sent to the place of their birth. Parishes to be fined for 
neglect of the constables. 

37 Henry VI II., cap. 23, continued this Act to the end of 
the ensuing Parliament. 

1 Edward VI., cap. 3, recites the increase of idle vagabonds, 
and enacts that all persons loitering or wandering shall be 
marked with a V, and adjudged a slave for two years, and 
afterwards running away shall become a felon. Impotent 
persons were to be removed to the place where they had 
resided for three years, and allowed to beg. A weekly 
collection was to be made in the churches every Sunday 
and holiday after reading the gospel . of the day, the amount 
to be applied to the relief of bedridden poor. 

5 and 6 Edward VI., cap. 2, directs the parson, vicar, curate, 
and churchwardens, to appoint two collectors to distribute 
weekly to the poor. The people were exhorted by the clergy 
to contribute ; and, if they refuse, then, upon the certificate of 
the parson, vicar, or curate, to the bishop of the diocese, he 
shall send for them and induce him or them to charitable 

2 and 3 Philip and Mary, cap. 5, re-enacts the former, and 
requires the collectors to account quarterly ; and where the 
poor are too numerous for relief, they were licensed by a justice 
of the peace to beg. 

* See 4 Henry VII., cap. 19, ante, p. 146, where the same expression occurs, 
showing that it was throwing the land out of tilth that occasioned pauperism. 


5 Elizabeth, cap. 3, confirms and renews the former Acts, and 
compels collectors to serve under a penalty of 10. Persons 
refusing to contribute their alms shall be exhorted, and, if they 
obstinately refuse, shall be bound by the bishop to appear at 
the next general quarter session, and they may be imprisoned 
if they refuse to be bound. 

The I4th Elizabeth, cap. 5, requires the justices of the peace 
to register all aged and impotent poor born or for three years 
resident in the parish, and to settle them in convenient habita- 
tions, and ascertain the weekly charge, and assess the amount 
on the inhabitants, and yearly appoint collectors to receive and 
distribute the assessment, and also an overseer of the poor. 
This Act was to continue for seven years. 

The 1 8th Elizabeth, cap. 3, provides for the employment of 
the poor. Stores of wool, hemp, flax, iron, etc., to be provided 
in cities and towns, and the poor set to work. It empowered 
persons possessed of land in free socage to give or devise same 
for the maintenance of the poor. 

The 3Qth Elizabeth, cap. 3, and the 43d Elizabeth, cap. 2, 
extended these Acts, and made the assessment compulsory. 

I shall ask you to compare the date of these several laws 
for the relief of the destitute poor with the dates of the enact- 
ments against evictions. You will find they run side by side.* 

* The following tables of the Acts passed against eviction, and enacting the sup- 
port of the poor, show that they were contemporaneous : 

Against Evictions. 

4 Henry VII., Cap. 19. 
7 Henry VIII., I. 




5 Edward VI., 

2 and 3 Philip and Mary, 

2 Elizabeth, 

Enacting Poor Laws. 






5 and 6 


2 and 3 











22 Henry VIII., 


I Edward VI., 


3 Philip and Ma 

5 Elizabeth, 

Cap. 12. 





I have perhaps gone at too great length into detail ; but I 
think I could not give a proper picture of the alteration in 
the system of landholding or its effects without tracing 
from the statute-book the black records of these important 
changes. The suppression of monasteries tended greatly to 
increase the sufferings of the poor, but I doubt if even these 
institutions could have met the enormous pressure which arose 
from the wholesale evictions of the people. The laws of Henry 
VII. and Henry VIII., enforcing the tillage of the land, pre- 
ceded the suppression of religious houses, and the Act of the 
latter monarch allowing the poor to beg was passed before 
any steps were taken to close the convents. That measure 
was no doubt injurious to the poor, but the main evil arose 
from other causes. The lands of these houses, when no longer 
applicable to the purpose for which they were given, should 
have reverted to the heirs of the donors, or have been applied 
to other religious or educational purposes. The bestowal of 
them upon favourites, to the detriment alike of the State, the 
Church, the Poor, and the Ignorant, was an abuse of great 
magnitude, the effect of which is still felt. The reigns of the 
Tudors are marked with three events affecting the land viz. : 

1st. Relieving it of the support of the army ; 
2d. Burthening of it with the support of the p^^. 
3d. Applying the monastic lands to private uses. 


The abolition of retainers, while it relieved the land of the 
nobles from the principal charge thereon, did not entirely 
abolish knight's service. The monarch was entitled to the 
care of all minors, to aids on the marriage or knighthood of the 
eldest son, to primer-seizin or a year's rent upon the death 
of each tenant of the Crown. These fees were considerable, 
and were under the care of the Court of Ward and Liveries. 

The artisan class had, however, grown in wealth, and they 
were greatly strengthened by the removal from France of large 
numbers of workmen in consequence of the revocation of the 
Edict of Nantes. These prosperous tradespeople became 


landowners by purchase, and thus tended to replace the Libert 
Homines, or freemen, who had been destroyed under the wars 
of the nobles, which effaced the landmarks of English society. 
The liberated serfs attained the position of paid farm-labourers ; 
had the policy of Elizabeth, who enacted that each of their 
cottages should have an allotment of four acres of land, been 
carried out, it would have been most beneficial to the State. 

The reign of this family embraced one hundred and eighteen 
years, during which the increase of the population was about 
twenty-five per cent. When Henry VII. ascended the throne 
in 1485 it was 4,000,000, and on the death of Queen Elizabeth 
in 1603 it had reached 5,000,000, the average increase being 
about 8000 per annum. The changes effected in the condi- 
tion of the farmers' class left the mass of the people in a far 
worse state at the close than at the opening of their rule. 


The accession of the Stuarts to the throne of England took 
place under peculiar circumstances. The nation had just 
passed through two very serious struggles one political, the 
other religious. The land which had been in the possession of 
religious communities, instead of being retained by the State 
for educational or religious purposes, had been given to fav- 
ourites. A new class of ownerships had been created the 
lay impropriators of tithes. The suppression of retainers 
converted land into a quasi property. The extension to land 
of the powers of bequest gave the possessors greater facilities 
for disposing thereof. It was relieved from the principal 
feudal burthen, military service, but remained essentially 
feudal as far as tenure was concerned. Men were no longer 
furnished to the State as payment of the knight's fee ; they 
were cleared off the land, to make room for sheep and oxen, 
England being in that respect about two hundred years in 
advance of Ireland, though without the outlet of emigration. 
Vagrancy and its attendant evils led to the poor law. 

James I. and his ministers tried to grapple with the altered 


circumstances, and strove to substitute an equitable Crown rent 
or money payment for the existing and variable claims which 
were collected by the Court of Ward and Livery. The knighfs 
fee then consisted of twelve ploughlands, a more modern name 
for "a hide of land." The class burthened with knight's 
service, or payments in lieu thereof, comprised 160 temporal 
and 26 spiritual lords, 800 barons, 600 knights, and 3000 
esquires. The knight's fee was subject to aids, which were 
paid to the Crown upon the marriage of the king's son or 
daughter. Upon the death of the possessor, the Crown received 
as primer-seizin a year's rent. If the successor was an infant, 
the Crown, under the name of Wardship, took the rents of the 
estates. If the ward was a female, a fine was levied if she did 
not accept the husband chosen by the Crown. Fines on 
alienation were also levied, and the estates, though sold, 
became escheated, and reverted to the Crown upon the 
failure of issue. These various fines kept alive the principle 
that the lands belonged to the Crown as representative of the 
nation ; but, as they varied in amount, James I. proposed to 
compound with the tenants-in-fee, and to convert them into 
fixed annual payments. The nobles refused, and the scheme 
was abandoned. 

In the succeeding reign, the attempt to stretch royal power 
beyond its due limits led to resistance by force, but it was no 
longer a mere war of nobles ; their power had been destroyed 
by Henry VII. The Stuarts had to fight the people with 
a paid army, and the Commons, having the purse of the 
nation, opposed force to force. The contest eventuated in a 
military protectorship. Many of the principal tenants-in-fee 
fled the country to save their lives. Their lands were con- 
fiscated and given away; thus the Crown rights were weak- 
ened, and Charles II. was forced to recognise many of the 
titles given by Cromwell ; he did not dare to face the convul- 
sion which must follow an expulsion of the novo homo in pos- 
session of the estates of more ancient families ; but legislation 
went further it abolished all the remaining feudal charges. 
The Commons appear to have assented to this change, from 


a desire to lessen the private income of the Sovereign, and 
thus to make him more dependent upon Parliament. This 
was done by the I2th Charles II., cap. 24. It enacts: 

" That the Court of Ward and Liveries, primer seizin, etc., and all 
fines for alienation, tenures by knight's service, and tenures in capite, 
be done away with and turned into free and common socage, and 
discharged of homage, escuage, aids, and reliefs. All future tenures 
created by the king to be in free and common socage, reserving rents 
to the Crown and also fines on alienation. It enables fathers to dis- 
pose of their children's share during their minority, and gives the 
custody of the personal estate to the guardians of such child, and 
imposes in lieu of the revenues raised in the Court of Ward and 
Liveries, duties upon beer and ale." 

The land was relieved of its legitimate charge and a tax 
on beer and ale imposed instead ! the landlords were relieved 
at the expense of the people. 

The statute which accomplished this change is described 
by Blackstone as 

" A greater acquisition to the civil property of this kingdom than 
even Magna Charta itself, since that only pruned the luxuriances 
that had grown out of military tenures, and thereby preserved them 
in vigour ; but the statute of King Charles extirpated the whole, and 
demolished both root and branches." 

The efforts of James II. to rule contrary to the wish of th e 
nation, led to his expulsion from the throne, and showed that, 
in case of future disputes as to the succession, the army, like 
the Praetorian Guards of Rome, had the selection of the 
monarch. The Red and White Roses of the Plantagenets 
reappeared under the altered names of Whig and Tory ; but 
it was proved that the decision of a leading soldier like the 
Duke of Marlborough would decide the army, and that it 
would govern the nation ; fortunately the decision was a wise 
one, and was ratified by Parliament : thus force governed 
law, and the decision of the army influenced the Senate. 
William III. succeeded, as an elected monarch, under the Bill 


of Rights. This remarkable document contains no provision, 
securing the tenants-in-fee in their estates ; and I have not 
met with any treatise dealing with the legal effects of the 
eviction of James II. All patents were covenants between 
the king and his heirs, and the patentees and their heirs. The 
expulsion of the sovereign virtually destroyed the title ; and 
an elected king, who did not succeed as heir, was not bound 
by the patents of his predecessors, nor was William asked, by 
the Bill of Rights, to recognise any of the existing titles, 
i This anomalous state of things was met in degree by the 
&P statute of prescriptions, but even this did not entirely cure 

PTf^Hiffc^h 6 defect in the titles to the principal estates in the kingdom. 

' The English tenants in decapitating one landlord and expel- 

iing another, appear to have destroyed their titles, and then 

&T~ endeavoured to renew them by prescriptive right; but I shall 
*/not pursue this topic further, though it may have a very 

' f 'definite bearing upon the question of iandholding. 

It may not be uninteresting to allude rather briefly to the 
state of England at the close of the seventeenth century. Geof- 
frey King, who wrote in 1696, gives the first reliable statistics 
about the state of the country. He estimated the number of 
houses at 1,300,000, and the average at four to each house 
making the population 5,318,000. He says there was but 
seven acres of land for each person, but that England was six 
times better peopled than the known world, and twice better 
than Europe. He calculated the total income at ^43, 500,000, 
of which the yearly rent of land was ^'10,000,000. The in- 
come was equal to ;/, i8s. od. per head, and the expense 
;/, us. 4d. ; the yearly increase, 6s. 8d. per head, or ; 1,800,000 
per annum. He estimated the annual income of 160 temporal 
peers at ^"2800 per annum, 26 spiritual peers at ^1300, of 
800 baronets at ;8oo, and of 600 knights at ^650. 

He estimated the area at 39,000,000 acres (recent surveys 
make it 37,319,221). He estimated the arable land at 
11,000,000 acres, and pasture and meadow at 10,000,000, 
a total of 21,000,000. The area under all kinds of crops 
and permanent pasture was, in 1874, 26,686,098 acres ; there- 



fore about five and a half million acres have been reclaimed 
and added to the arable land. As the particulars of his 
estimate may prove interesting, I append them in a note.* 

He places the rent of the corn land at about one-third of 
the produce, and that of pasture land at rather more. The 

* Geoffrey King thus classifies the land of England and Wales : 

Arable Land, 

Pasture and Meadow, 
Woods and Coppices, 
Forests, Parks, and Covers, 
Moors, Mountains, and Barren Lands, 
Houses, Homesteads, Gardens, Orch- 
ards, Churches, and Churchyards, 
Rivers, Lakes, Meres, and Ponds, 
Roadways and Waste Lands, 

He estimates the live stock thus 


Value $ Acre. 



o 5 10 














T rw rw* 

( The Land, 


( The Buildings, 2,000,000 
500,000 020 50,000 


39,000,000 o 6 04 12,000,000 

Beeves, Stirks, and Calves, 
Sheep and Lambs, 

Value without 
the Skin. 

4,500,000 2 o o 9,000,000 

' . 2,OOO,OOO Ol6o I,6OO,OOO 

Deer, Fawns, Goats and Kids, 

. . ... . . 247,900 


I,2OO,OOO 2 O O 3,000,000 


The annual produce he estimated as follows : 


Hemp, Flax, etc., . 
Butter, Cheese, and Milk, 


Horses bred, .... 
Flesh Meat, .... 
Tallow and Hides, 
Hay Consumed, . . . 
Timber, .... 

Acres. Rent. 
10,000,000 3,000,OOO ; 


C 8, 275, ooo 
L 1,000,000 


29, ooo, ooo 6, 800, ooo 


39,000,000 10,000,000 22,275,000 


price of meat per Ib. was : beef, id. ; mutton, 2|d. ; pork, 3d. ; 
venison, 6d. ; hares, /d. ; rabbits, 6d. The weight of flesh- 
meat consumed was 398,000,000 Ibs., it being 72 Ibs. 6 oz. for 
each person, or 3 oz. daily. I shall have occasion to contrast 
these figures with those lately published when I come to deal 
with the present ; but a great difference has arisen from the 
alteration in price, which is owing to the increase in the 
quantity of the precious metals. 

The reign of the last sovereign of this unfortunate race was 
distinguished by the first measures to enclose the commons and 
convert them into private property, with which I shall deal 

The changes effected in the land laws of England during 
the reigns of the Stuarts, a period of in years, were very 
important. The Act of Charles II. which abolished the Court 
of Ward and Liveries, appeared to be an abandonment of 
the rights of the people, as asserted in the person of the 
Crown ; and this alteration also seemed to give colour of right 
to the claim which is set up of property in land, but the 
following law of Edward III. never was repealed : 

" That the king is the universal lord and original proprietor of all 
land in his kingdom, and that no man doth or can possess any part of it 
but what has mediately or immediately been derived as a gift from him 
to be held onfeodal service" 

No lawyer will assert for any English subject a higher title 
than tenancy-in-fee, which bears the impress of Jwlding and 
denies the assertion of ownership. 

The power of the nobles, the tenants-in-fee, was strengthened 
by an Act passed in the reign of William and Mary, which 
altered the relation of landlord and tenant. Previous thereto, 
the landlord had the power of distraint, but he merely held 
the goods he seized to compel the tenant to perform per- 
sonal service. It would be impossible for a tenant to pay his 
rent if his stock or implements were sold off the land. As 
the Tudor policy of money payments extended, the greed 
for pelf led to an alteration in the law, and the Act of 


William and Mary allowed the landlord to sell the goods he 
had distrained. The tenant remained in possession of the land 
without the means of tilling it, which was opposed to public 
policy. This power of distraint was, however, confined to 
holdings in which there were leases by which the tenant 
covenanted to allow the landlord to distrain his stock and 
goods in default of payment of rent. The legislation of the 
Stuarts was invariably favourable to the possessor of land and 
adverse to the rights of the people. The government during 
the closing reigns was oligarchical, so much so, that William 
III., annoyed at the restriction put upon his kingly power, 
threatened to resign the crown and retire to Holland ; but 
the aristocracy were unwilling to relax their claims, and they 
secured by legislation the rights they appeared to have lost 
by the deposition of the sovereign. 

The population had increased from 5,000,000 in 1603 to 
5,750,000 in 1714, being an average increase of less than 7000 
per annum. 


The first sovereign of the House of Hanover ascended the 
throne not by right of descent but by election ; the legitimate 
heir was set aside, and a distant branch of the family was 
chosen, and the succession fixed by Act of Parliament ; but it 
is held by jurists that every Parliament is sovereign and has 
the power of repealing any Act of any former Parliament. 
The beneficial rule of some of the latter monarchs of this 
family has endeared them to the people, but the doctrine of 
reigning by Divine right, the favourite idea of the Stuarts, is 
nullified, when the monarch ascends the throne by statute 
law and not by succession or descent. 

The age of chivalry passed away when the Puritans de- 
feated the Cavaliers. The establishment of standing armies, 
and the creation of a national debt, went to show that money -, 
not knighthood or knight's service, gave force to law. The 
possession of wealth and of rent gave back to their possessors 


even larger powers than those wrested from them by the first 
Tudor king. The maxim that " what was attached to the 
freehold belonged to the freehold/.' gave the landlords even 
greater powers than those held by the sword, and of which 
they were despoiled. Though nominally forbidden to take 
part in the election of the representatives of the Commons, 
yet they virtually had the power, the creation of freehold, the 
substance and material of electoral right ; and consequently 
both Houses of Parliament were essentially landlord, and the 
laws, for the century which succeeded the ascension of 
George I., are marked with the assertion of landlord right 
which is tenant wrong. 

Amongst the exhibitions of this influence is an Act passed 
in the reign of George II., which extended the power of 
distraint for rent, and the right to sell the goods seized to 
all tenancies. Previous legislation confined this privilege 
solely to cases in which there were leases, wherein the 
tenant, by written contract, gave the landlord power to seize 
in case of non-payment of rent, but there was no legal 
authority to sell until it was given by an Act passed in the 
reign of William III. The Act of George II. presumed that 
there was such a contract in all cases of parole letting or 
tenancy-at-will, and extended the landlord's powers to such 
tenancies. It is an anomaly to find that in the freest 
country in the world such an arbitrary power is confided to 
individuals, or that the landlord-creditor has the precedence 
over all other creditors, and can, by his own act, and without 
either trial or evidence, issue a warrant that has all the force 
of the solemn judgment of a court of law; and it certainly 
appears unjust to seize a crop, the seed for which is due to 
one man, and the manure to another, arM apply it to pay the 
rent. But landlordism, entrusted with legislative power, took 
effectual means to preserve its own prerogative, and the form 
of law was used by parliaments, in which landlord influence 
was paramount, to pass enactments which were enforced by 
the whole power of the State, and sustained individual or 
class rights. 


The effect of this measure was most unfortunate ; it en- 
couraged the letting of lands to tenants-at-will or tenants 
from year to year, who could not, under existing laws, obtain 
the franchise or power to vote they were not freemen, they 
were little better than serfs. They were tillers of the soil, 
rent-payers who could be removed at the will of another. 
They were not even freeholders, and had no political power 
no voice in the affairs of the nation, The landlords in Parlia- 
ment gave themselves, individually by law, all the powers 
which a tenant gave them by contract, while they had no cor- 
responding liability, and, therefore, it was their interest to 
refrain from giving leases, and to make their tenantry as 
dependent on them as if they were mere serfs. This law was 
especially unfortunate, and had a positive and very great 
effect upon the condition of the farming class and upon the 
nation, and people came to think that landlords could do as 
they liked with their land, and that the tenants must be 
creeping, humble, and servile. 

An effort to remedy this evil was made in 1832, when the 
occupiers, if rented or rated at the small amount named, 
became voters. This gave the power to the holding, not to 
the man, and the landlord could by simple eviction deprive 
the man of his vote : hence the tenants-at-will were driven to 
the hustings like sheep they could not, and dare not, refuse 
to vote as the landlord ordered. 

The lords of the manor, with a landlord Parliament, asserted^ / / 
their claims to the commonages, and these lands_jJek>ncririP-/ f f 
to the people, were gradually enclosed, and became the pos-"* ' 
session of individuals. The enclosing of commonages com- 
menced in the reign of Queen Anne, and was continued in the 
reigns of all the sovereigns of/the House of Hanover. The 
first enclosure Act was passed in 1709; in the following thirty 
years the average number of enclosure bills was about three 
each year; in the following fifty years there were nearly forty 
each year ; and in the forty years of the nineteenth century it 
was nearly fifty per annum. 

The enclosures in each reign^were as follows : 


Acts. Acres. 

Queen Anne, ... 2 x >439 

George L, 16 17,660 

George II., .... 226 318,784 

George III., .... 3446 3,500,000 

George IV., .... 192 250,000 

William IV., .... 72 120,000 

Total, . . . 3954 4,207,883 

'hese lands belonged to the people, and might have been 
applied to relieve the poor. Had they been allotted in small 
farms, they might have been made the means of support 
of from 500,000 to 1,000,000 families, and they would have 
afforded employment and sustenance to all the poor, and thus 
rendered compulsory taxation under the poor-law system 
unnecessary; but the landlords seized on them and made the 
tenantry pay the poor-rate. 

The British poor law is a slur upon its boasted civilisation. 
The unequal distribution of land and of wealth leads to great 
riches and great poverty. Intense light produces deep shade. 
Nowhere else but in wealthy England do God's creatures 
die of starvation, wanting food, while others are rich beyond 
comparison. The soil which affords sustenance for the people 
is rightly charged with the cost of feeding those who lack the 
necessaries of life, but the same object would be better achieved 
in a different way. Poor-rates are now a charge upon a man's 
entire estate, and it would be much better for society if land 
to an amount equivalent to the charge were taken from the 
estate and assigned to the poor. If a man is charged with 
;ioo a year poor-rate, it would make no real difference to 
him, while it would make a vast difference to the poor to take 
land to that value, put the poor to work tilling it, allowing 
them to enjoy the produce. Any expense should be paid 
direct by the landlord, which would leave the charge upon 
the land, and exempt the improvements of the tenant, which 
represent his labour free. 

The evil has intensified in magnitude, and a permanent 



army of paupers numbering at the minimum 829,281 persons, 
but increasing at some periods to upwards of 1,000,000, has 
to be provided for ; the cost, about ,8,000,000 a year, is paid, 
not by landlords but by tenants, in addition to the various 
charities founded by benevolent persons. 

There are two classes relieved under this system, and 
which ought to be differently dealt with the sick and the 
young. Hospitals for the former and schools for the latter 
ought to take the place of the workhouse. It is difficult to 
fancy a worst place for educating the young than the workr 
house, and it would tend to lessen the evil were the children 
of the poor trained and educated in separate establishments 
from those for the reception of paupers. Pauperism is the 
concomitant of large holdings of land and insecurity of 
tenure. The necessity of such a provision arose, as I have 
previously shown, from the wholesale eviction of large 
numbers of the occupiers of land ; and as the means of supply- 
ing the need came from the LAND, the expense should, like 
tithes, have fallen exclusively upon land. The poor-rates 
are, however, also levied upon houses and buildings, which 
represent labour. The owner of land is the people, as repre- 
sented by the Crown, and the charges thereon next in 
succession to the claims of the State are the CHURCH and 
the POOR. 

The Continental wars at the close of the eighteenth and 
the commencement of the nineteenth century had some effect 
upon the system of tillage ; they materially enhanced the price 
of agricultural produce rents were raised, and the national 
debt was contracted, which remains a burthen on the nation. 

The most important change, however, arose from scientific 
and mechanical discoveries tne application of heat to the 
production of motive power. As long as water, which is a 
non-exhaustive source of motion, was used, the people were 
scattered over the land ; or if segregation took place, it was 
in the neighbourhood of running streams. The application 
of steam to the propulsion of machinery, and the discovery 
of engines capable of competing with the human hand, led to 


the substitution of machine-made fabrics for clothing, in place 
of home-spun articles of domestic manufacture. This led to 
the employment of farm-labourers in procuring coals, to the 
removal of many from the rural into the urban districts, to 
the destruction of the principal employment of the family 
during the winter evenings, and consequently effected a great 
revolution in the social system. Many small freeholds were 
sold, the owners thinking they could more rapidly acquire 
wealth by using the money representing their occupancy, in 
trade. Thus the large estates became larger, and the smaller 
ones were absorbed, while the appearance of greater wealth 
from exchanging subterranean substances for money, or its 
representative, gave rise to ostentatious display. The rural 
population gradually diminished, while the civic population 
increased. The effect upon the system of landholding was 
triplicate. First, there was a diminution in the amount of 
labour applicable to the cultivation of land ; second, there 
was a decrease in the amount of manure applied to the pro- 
duction of food ; and lastly, there was an increase in the 
demand for land, as a source of investment, by those who, 
having made money in trade, sought that social position 
which follows the possession of broad acres. Thus the 
descendants of the feudal aristocracy were pushed aside by 
the modern plutocracy. 

This state of things had a double effect. Food is the result 
of two essential ingredients LAND and LABOUR. The 
diminution in the amount of labour applied to the soil, con- 
sequent upon the removal of the labourers from the land, 
lessened the quantity of food ; while the consumption of that 
food in cities and towns, and the waste of the fertile ingredients 
which should be restored to the soil, tended to exhaust the 
land, and led to vast importations of foreign and the manu- 
facture of mineral manures. I shall not detain you by a dis- 
cussion of this aspect of the question, which is of very great 
moment, consequent upon the removal of large numbers of 
people from rural to urban districts ; but I may be excused 
in saying that agricultural chemistry shows that the soil 


" perpetual man " contains the ingredients needful to sup- 
port human life ; those animals meant for man's use, being 
products of the soil. These ingredients are seized upon by 
the roots of plants and converted into aliment. If they are 
consumed where grown, and the refuse restored to the soil, 
its fertility is preserved, nay, more, the effect of tillage is to 
increase its productive power. It is impossible to exhaust 
land, no matter how heavy the crops that are grown, if the 
produce is, after consumption, restored to the soil. I have 
shown you how, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, a man was 
not allowed to sell meat off his land unless he brought to, 
and consumed on it, the same weight of other meat. This 
was true agricultural and chemical economy. But when the 
people were removed from country to town, when the pro- 
duce grown in the former was consumed in the latter, and 
the refuse which contained the elements of fertility was not 
restored to the soil but swept away by the river, a process 
of exhaustion took place, which has been met in degree by 
the use of imported and artificial manures. The SEWAGE 
question is taken up mainly with reference to the health of 
towns, but it deserves consideration in another aspect its 
influence upon the production of food in the nation. 

An exhaustive process upon the fertility of the globe has 
been set on foot. The accumulations of vegetable mould in 
the primeval forests have been converted into grain, and sent 
to England, leaving permanent barrenness in what should be 
prolific plains ; and the deposits of the Chincha and Ichaboe 
Islands have been imported in myriads of tons, to replace in 
our own land the resources of which it is bereft by the civic 
consumption of rural produce. 

These conjoined operations were accelerated by the altera- 
tion in the. British corn laws in 1846, which placed the English 
farmer, who tried to preserve his land in a state of fertility, 
in competition with foreign grain-growers, who, having access 
to boundless fields of virgin soil, grow grain year after year 
until, having exhausted the fertile element, they leave it in a 
barren condition, and resort to other parts. A competition 


under such circumstances resembles that of two men of equal 
income, one of whom appears wealthy by spending a portion 
of his capital, the other parsimonious by living within his 
means. Of course, the latter has to debar himself of many 
enjoyments. The British farmer has lessened the produce of 
grain, and consequently of meat ; and the nation has become 
dependent upon foreigners for meat, cheese, and butter, as 
well as for bread. 

This is hardly the place to discuss a question of agriculture, 
but scientific farmers know that there is a rotation of crops,* 
and that as one is diminished the others lessen. The quantity 
under tillage is a multiple of the area under grain. A 
diminution in corn is followed by a decrease of the extent 
under turnips and under clover ; the former directly affects 
man, the latter the meat-affording animals. A decrease in the 
breadth under tillage means an addition to the pasture land, 
which in this climate only produces meat during the warm 
portions of the year. I must, however, not dwell upon this 
topic, but whatever leads to a diminution in the LABOUR 
applied to the LAND lessens the production of food, and dear 
meat may only be the supplement to cJteap corn. 

I shall probably be met with the hackneyed cry, The ques- 
tion is entirely one of price. Each farmer and each landlord 
will ask himself, Does it pay to grow grain ? and in reply to any 
such inquiry, I would refer to the annual returns. I find that 
in the five years, 1842 to 1846, wheat ranged from 503. 2d. to 
573. Qd. ; the average for the entire period being 543. lod. 
per quarter. In the five years from 1870 to 1874 it ranged 
from 463. lod. to 583. 8d., the average for the five years being 
543. 7d. per quarter. The reduction in price has only been 
3d. per quarter, or less than one-half per cent. 

* The agricultural returns of the United Kingdom show that 50^ per cent, of 
the arable land was under pasture, 24 per cent, under grain, 12 per cent, under 
green crops and bare fallow, and 13 per cent, under clover. The rotation would, 
therefore, be somewhat in this fashion : Nearly one-fourth of the land in tillage, is 
under a manured crop or fallow, one-fourth under wheat, one-fourth under clover, 
and one-fourth under barley, oats, etc., the succession being, first year, the manured 
crop ; next year, wheat ; third year, clover ; fourth, barley or oats ; and so on. 


I venture to think that there are higher considerations than 
mere profit to individuals, and that, as the lands belong to the 
whole State as represented by the Crown, and as they are 
held in trust to produce food for the people, that trust should be 

The average consumption of grain by each person is about 
a quarter (eight bushels) per annum. In 1841 the population 
of the United Kingdom was 27,036,450. ~ The average import 
of foreign grain was about 3,000,000 quarters, therefore fte^tf^/^ 
four millions were fed on the domestic produce. In 1871 
the population was 31,513,412, and the average importation 
of grain 20,000,000 quarters ; therefore only eleven and a hal_ 
millions were supported by home produce. TTerewe are met 
with the startling fact that our own soil is not now supplying 
grain to even one half the number of people to whom it gave 
bread in 1841. This is a serious aspect of the question, and 
one that should lead to examination, whether the development 
of the system of landholding, the absorptions of small farms 
and the creation of large ones, is really beneficial to the State, 
or tends to increase the supply of food. The area under grain 
in England in 1874 was 8,021,077 acres. In 1696 it was 
10,000,000 acres,' the diminution having been 2,000,000 acres. 
The average yield would probably be four quarters per acre, 
and therefore the decrease amounted to the enormous quantity 
of eight million quarters, worth ^25,000,000, which had to be 
imported from other countries, to fill up the void, and feed 
8,000,000 of the population ; and if a war took place, England 
may, like Rome, be starved into peace. 

An idea prevails that a diminution in the extent under 
grain implies an increase in the production of meat. The best 
answer to that fallacy lies in the great increase in the price of 
meat. If the supply had increased the price would fall, but 
the converse has taken place. A comparison of the figures 
given by Geoffrey King, in the reign of William III., with 
those supplied by the Board of Trade in the reign of Queen 
Victoria, illustrates this phase of the landholding question, 

and shows whether the "enlightened policy" of the nineteenth 



century tends to encourage the fulfilment of the trust which 
applies to land the production of food:* 

The former shows that in 1696 there were ten million acres 
under grain, the latter only eight million acres. Two million 
acres were added for cattle feeding. The former shows that 
the pasture land was ten million acres, and that green crops 
and clover were unknown. The latter that there were twelve 
million acres under pasture, and, in addition, that there were 
nearly three million acres of green crop and three million 
acres of clover. The addition to the cattle-feeding land was 
eight million acres ; yet the number of cattle in 1696 was 
4,500,000, and in 1874, 4,305,400. Of sheep, in 1696, there 
were 1 1,000,000, and in 1874, 19,889,758. The population had 
increased fourfold, and it is no marvel that meat is dear. It 
is the interest of agriculturalists to keep down tJie quantity 
and keep up the price. 

The diminution in the area under corn was not met by 

* The land of England and Wales in 1696 and 1874 was classified as follows : 

1696. 1874. 

Acres. Acres. 

Under grain, 10,000,000 8,021,077 

Pastures and meadows, . . . 10,000,000 12,071,791 

Flax, hemp, and madder, . . 1,000,000 

Green crops, 2,895,138 

Bare fallow, 639,519 

Clover, 2,983,733 

Orchards, ..... 1,000,000 148,526 

Woods, coppices, etc., . . . 3,000,000 I )S5 2 >598 

Forests, parks, and commons, . 3,000,000 \ 

Moors, mountains, and bare land, 10,000,000 > 9,006,839 

Waste, water, and road, . . 1,000,000 ) 

( 39,000,000 37,319,221 

The estimate of 1696 may be corrected by lessening the quantity of waste land, and 
thus bringing the total to correspond with the extent ascertained by actual survey, 
but it shows a decrease in the extent under grain of nearly two million acres, and 
an increase in the area applicable to cattle of nearly 8,000,000 acres ; yet there is 
a decrease in the number of cattle, though an increase in sheep. The returns are 
as follows : 

1696. 1800. 1 %74- 

Cattle, . . . 4,500,000 2,852,428 4,305,440 

Sheep, . . . 11,000,000 26,148,000 19,859,758 
Pigs, .... 2,000,000 (not given) 2,058,791 


a corresponding increase in live stock in other words, the 
decrease of land under grain is not, per se, followed by an 
increase of meat. If the area under grain were increased, it 
would be preceded by an increase in the growth of turnips, 
and followed by a greater growth of clover ; and these cattle- 
feeding products would materially add to the meat supply. 

A most important change in the system of landholding was 
effected by the spread of RAILWAYS. It was brought about 
by the influence of the trading as opposed to the landlord 
class. In their inception they did not appear likely to 
effect any great alteration in the land laws. The share- 
holders had no compulsory power of purchase, hence enor- 
mous sums were paid for the land required ; but as the 
system extended, Parliament asserted the ownership of the 
nation, over land in the possession of the individual. Acting 
on the idea that no man was more than a tenant, the State 
took the land from the occupier, as well as the tenant- 
in-fee, and gave it, not at their own price, but an assessed 
value, to the partners in a railway who traded for their 
mutual benefit, yet as they offered to convey travellers and 
goods at a quicker rate than on the ordinary roads, the State 
enabled them to acquire land by compulsion. A general 
Act, the Land Clauses Act, was passed in 1846, which gives 
privileges with regard to the acquisition of land to the promo- 
ters of such works as railways, docks, canals, etc. Numbers 
of Acts are passed every session which assert the right of the 
State over the land, and transfer it from one man, or set of 
men, to another. It seems to me that the principle is clear, 
and rests upon the assertion of the State's ownership of the 
land ; but it has often struck me jto ask, Why is this applica- 
tion of State rights limited to land required for these objects ? 
why not apply to the land at each side of the railway, the 
principle which governs that under the railway itself? I con- 
sider the production of food the primary trust upon the land, 
that rapid transit over it is a secondary object ; and as all 
experience shows that the division of land into small estates 
leads to a more perfect system of tillage, I think it would be 


of vast importance to the entire nation if all tenants who were, 
say, five years^jn possession were made "promoters " under 
the Land Clauses Act/ and thus be enabled to purchase the 
(ee of their holdings in the same manner as a body of railway 
proprietors! iFwould be most useful to the State to increase 
the number of tenants-in-fee to re-create the ancient free- 
men, the Libert Homines and I think it can be done without 
requiring the aid either of a new principle or new machinery, 
by simply placing the farmer in possession on the same 
footing as the railway shareholder. I give at foot the draft of 
a bill I prepared in 1866 for this object* 

The 55th William I. secured to freemen the inheritance of 
their lands, and they were not able to sell them until the Act 
Quia Emptores of Edward I. was passed. The tendency of 
persons to spend the representative value of their lands and 
sell them, was checked by the Mosaic law, which did not 
allow any man to despoil his children of their inheritance. 
The possessor could only mortgage them until the year of 

-..; A BUJ. T<"> y.KrflyTntnn rm ig DTTTT Y (]r MONEY UPO 


Whereas it is expedient to encourage occupiers of land to expend money 
thereon, in building, drainage, and other similar improvements ; and whereas the 
existing laws do not give the tenants or occupiers any sufficient security for such 
outlay: Be it enacted by the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty, by and with the 
advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons in Par- 
liament assembled, and by the authority of the same : 

1. That all outlay upon land for the purpose of rendering it more productive 
and all outlay upon buildings for the accommodation of those engaged in tilling or 
working the same, or for domestic animals of any sort, be, and the same is hereby 
deemed to be, an outlay of a public nature. 

2. That the clauses of "The Land Clauses Consolidation Act 1845," "with 
respect to the purchase of lands by agreement," and "with respect to the pur- 
chase and taking of lands otherwise than by agreement," and "with respect to the 
purchase money or compensation coming to parties having limited interests, or 
prevented from entering, or not making title," shall be, and they are hereby 
incorporated with this Act. 

3. That every tenant or occupier who has for the past five years been in 
possession of any land, tenements, or hereditaments, shall be considered " a pro- 
moter of the undertaking within the meaning of the said recited Act, and shall be 
entitled to purchase the lands which he has so occupied, ' either by agreement ' 
' or otherwise than by agreement,' as provided in the said recited Act." 

Then follow some details which it is unnecessary to recite here. 


jubilee the fiftieth year. In Switzerland and Belgium, where 
the nobles did not entirely get rid of the freemen, the lands 
continued to be held in small estates. In Switzerland there 
are seventy-four proprietors for every hundred families, and 
in Belgium the average size of the estate is three and a half 
hectares about eight acres. These small ownerships are not 
detrimental to the State. On the contrary, they tend to its 
security and wellbeing. I have treated on this subject in my 
work, " The Food Supplies of Western Europe." These small 
estates existed in England at the Norman Conquest, and their 
perpetual continuance was the object of the law of William L, 
to which I have referred. Their disappearance was due to 
the greed of the nobles during the reign of the Plantagenets, 
and they were not replaced by the Tudors, who neglected to 
restore the men-at-arms to the position they occupied under 
the laws of Edward the Confessor and William I. 

The establishment of two estates in land ; one the owner- 
ship, the other the use, may be traced to the payment of rent, 
to the Roman commonwealth, for the ager publicus. Under 
the feudal system the rent was of two classes personal 
service or money; the latter was considered base tenure. The 
legislation of the Tudors abolished the payment of rent by 
personal service, and made all rent payable in money or in 
kind. The land had been burthened with the sole support 
of the army. It was then freed from this charge, and a tax 
was levied upon the community. Some writers have sought to 
define RENT as the difference between fertile lands and those 
that are so unproductive as barely to pay the cost of tillage. 
This far-fetched idea is contradicted by the circumstance that 
for centuries rent was paid by labour the personal service 
of the vassal, and it is now part of the annual produce of the 
soil, inasmuch as land will be unproductive without seed and 
labour, or being pastured by tame animals, the representative 
of labour in taming and tending them. Rent is usually the 
labour or the fruits of the labour of the occupant. In some 
cases it is income derived from the labours of others. A 
broad distinction exists between the rent of land, which is a 


portion of the fruits or its equivalent in money, and that of 
improvements and houses, which is an exchange of the labour 
of the occupant given as payment for that employed in effect- 
ing improvements or erecting houses. The latter described 
as messuages were valued in 1794 at six millions per annum; 
in 1814 they were nearly fifteen millions; now they are valued 
at eighty millions* The increase represents a sum consider- 
ably more than double the national debt of Great Britain, and 
under the system of leases the improvements will pass from 
the industrial to the landlord class. 

It seems to me to be a mistake in legislation to encourage 
a system by which these two funds merge into one, and that 
the income arising from the expenditure of the working 
classes is handed over without an equivalent to the tenants- 
in-fee. This proceeds from a straining of the maxim that 
" what is attached to the freehold belongs to the freehold," 
and was made law when both Houses of Parliament were 
essentially landlord. That maxim is only partially true : corn 
is as much attached to the freehold as a tree ; yet one is cut 
without hindrance and the other is prevented. Potatoes, tur- 
nips, and such tubers, are only obtained by disturbing the free- 
hold. This maxim was at one time so strained that it applied 
to fixtures, but recent legislation and modern discussions have 
limited the rights of the landlord class and been favourable to 
the occupier, and I look forward to such alterations in our laws 
as will secure to the man who expends his labour or earnings 
in improvements, an estate in perpetuo therein, as I think no 
length of usor of that which is a man's own his labour or 
earnings should hand over their representative improvements 
to any other person. I agree with those writers who maintain 
that it is prejudicial to the State that the rent fund should be 

* A Parliamentary return gives the following information as to the value of 

lands and messuages in 1814 and 1874 : 

1814-15. 1873-74. 

Lands, .... ^34.330,463 ;49,9 6 > 8 66 

Messuages, .... 14,895,130 80,726,502 

The increase in the value of land is hardly equal to the reduction in the value of 

gold, while the increase in messuages shows the enormous expenditure of labour. 


enjoyed by a comparatively small number of persons, and think 
it would be advantageous to distrit5uTe~Tt, by increasing the 
number of tenants-in-fee. Natural laws forbid middlemen, who 
do nothing to make the land productive, and yet subsist upon 
the labour of the farmer, and receive as rent part of the produce 
of his toil. The land belongs to the State, and should only be 
subject to taxes, either by personal service such as serving in 
the militia or yeomanry, or by money payments to the State. 
Land does not represent capital, but the improvements upon 
it do. A man does not purchase land. He buys the right o 
possession. In any transfer of land there is no locking up of 
capital, because one man receives exactly the amount the 
other expends. The individual may lock up his funds, but the 
nation does not. Capital is not money. I quote a definition 
from a previous work of mine, "The Case of Ireland," p. 176 : 

" Capital stock properly signifies the means of subsistence for man, 
and for the animals subservient to his use while engaged in the pro- 
cess of production. The jurisconsults of former times expressed the 
idea by the words res fungibiles, by which they meant consumable 
commodities, or those things which are consumed in their use, for the 
supply of man's animal wants, as contradistinguished from uncon- 
sumable commodities, which latter writers, by an extension of the 
term, in a figurative sense, have called fixed capital." 

All the money in the Bank of England will not make a 
single four-pound loaf. Capital, as represented by con- 
sumable commodities, is the product of labour applied to 
land, or the natural fruits of the land itself. The land does 
not become either more or less productive by reason of the 
transfer from one person to another ; it is the withdrawal of 
labour that affects its productiveness. 

Wages are a portion of the value of the products of a joint 
combination of employer and employed. The former advances 
from time to time as wages to the latter, the estimated por- 
tion of the increase arising from their combined operations to 
which he may be entitled. This may be either in food or in 
money. The food of the world for one year is the yield at 


harvest ; it is the capital stock upon which mankind exist while 
engaged in the operations for producing food, clothing, and 
other requisites for the use of mankind, until nature again 
replenishes this store. Money cannot produce food ; it is use- 
ful in measuring the distribution of that which already exists. 
The grants of the Crown were a fee or reward for service 
rendered ; the donee became tenant-in-fee ; being a reward, it 
was restricted to a man and his heirs-male or his heirs-general ; 
in default of heirs-male or heirs-general, the land reverted to 
the Crown, which was the donor. A sale to third parties 
does not affect this phase of the question, inasmuch as it is a 
principle of British law that no man can convey to another a 
greater estate in land than that which he possesses himself ; 
and if the seller only held the land as tenant-in-fee for his own 
life and that of his heirs, he could not give a purchaser that 
which belonged to the Crown, the reversion on default of heirs 
(see Statute De Donis, 13 Edward 1., ante, p. 136). This right 
of the sovereign, or rather of the people, has not been asserted 
to the full extent. Many noble families have become extinct, 
yet the lands have not been claimed, as they should have been, 
for the nation. 

I should not complete my review of the subject without 
referring to what are called the LAWS OF PRIMOGENITURE. 
I fail to discover any such law. On the contrary, I find that 
the descent of most of the land of England is under the law 
of contract by deed or bequest, and that it is only in case 
of intestacy that the courts intervene to give it to the next 
heir. This arises more from the construction the judges put 
upon the wishes of the deceased, than upon positive enact- 
ment. When a man who has the right of bequeathing his 
estate among his descendants, does not exercise that power, it 
\is considered that he wishes the estate to go undivided to the 
ri^xt heir. In America the converse takes place, a man can 
leave all his land to one ; and, if he fails to do so, it is divided. 
The laws relating to contracts or settlements, allow land to 
be settled by deed upon the children of a living person, but it 
is more frequently upon the grandchildren. They acquire 


the power of sale, which is by the contract denied to their 
parents. A man gives to his grandchild that which he denies 
to his son. This cumbrous process works disadvantageously, 
and it might very properly be altered by restricting the power 
of settlement or bequest to living persons, and not allowing it 
to extend to those who are unborn. 

It is not a little curious to note how the ideas of mankind 
return to their original channels, after having been diverted for 
centuries. The system of landholding in the most ancient races 
was communal. That word, and its derivative, communism, has 
latterly had a bad odour. Yet all the most important public 
works are communal. All joint-stock companies, whether for 
banking, trading, or extensive works, are communes. They 
hold property in common, and merge individual in general 
rights. The possession of land by communes or companies is 
gradually extending, and it is by no means improbable that the 
ideas which governed very remote times may, like thecommunal 
joint-stock system, be applied more extensively to landholding. 

It may not be unwise to review the grounds that we have 
been going over, and to glance at the salient points. The 
ABORIGINAL inhabitants of this island enjoyed the same rights 
as those in other countries, of possessing themselves of land 
unowned and unoccupied. The ROMANS conquered, and 
claimed all the rights the natives possessed, and levied a 
tribute for the use of the lands. Upon the retirement of the 
Romans, after an occupancy of about six hundred years, the 
lands reverted to the aborigines, but they, being unable to 
defend themselves, invited the SAXONS, the JUTES, and the 
ANGLES, who reduced them to serfdom, and seized upon the 
land which they considered belonged to the body of the 
conquerors, but was allotted to individuals by the Folc-gemot 
or assembly of the people, and a race of Liber i Homines or 
freemen arose, who paid no rent, but performed service to the 
State ; during their sway of about six hundred years the insti- 
tutions changed, and the monarch, as representing the people, 
claimed the right of granting the possession of land seized for 
treason by boc or charter. The NORMAN invasion found a 


large body of the Saxon landholders in armed opposition to 
William, and when they were defeated, he seized upon their 
land and gave it to his followers, and then arose the term 
terra Regis, " the land of the king," instead of the term folc 
land, " the land of the people ; " but a large portion of the 
realm remained in the hands of the Liberi Homines or free- 
men. The Norman barons gave possession of part of their 
lands to their followers, hence arose the vassals who paid rent 
to their lord by personal service, while the Freemen held by 
service to the Crown. In the wars of the PLANTAGENETS 
the freemen seem to have disappeared, and vassalage was 
substituted, the principal vassals being freeholders. The de- 
scendants of the aborigines regained their freedom. The pos- 
session of land was only given for life, and it was preceded by 
homage to the Crown, fealty to the lord, investiture following 
the ceremony. The TUDOR sovereigns abolished livery and 
retainers, but did not secure the rights of the men-at-arms 
or replace them in their position of freemen. The chief lords 
converted the payment of rent by service into payment in 
money ; this led to wholesale evictions, and necessitated the 
establishment of the poor laws. The STUARTS surrendered 
the remaining charges upon land ; but on the death of one 
sovereign, and the expulsion of another, the validity of patents 
from the Crown became doubtful. The PRESENT system of 
landholding is the outcome of the Tudor ideas. But the 
Crown has never abandoned the claim asserted in the statute 
of Edward I., that all land belongs to the sovereign as repre- 
senting the people, and that individuals hold but do not own 
it ; and upon this sound and legal principle the State takes 
land from one and gives it to another, compensating for the 
loss arising from being dispossessed. 

I have now concluded my brief sketch of the facts which 
seemed to me most important in tracing the history of LAND- 
HOLDING IN ENGLAND, and laid before you not only the most 
vital changes, but also the principles which underlay them ; and 
I shall have failed in conveying the ideas of my own mind if I 
have not shown you that at least from the Scandinavian or 


Anglo-Saxon invasion, the ownership of land rested either 
in the people, or the Crown as representing the people, that 
individual proprietorship of land is not only unknown, but 
repugnant, to the principles of the British Constitution, that 
the largest estate a subject can have is tenancy-in-fee, and 
that it is a holding and not an owning of the soil ; and I 
cannot conceal from you, the conviction which has impressed 
my mind, after much study and some personal examination of 
the state of proprietary occupants on the Continent, that the 
best interests of the nation, both socially, morally, and mate- 
rially, will be promoted by a very large increase in the number 
of tenants-in-fee ; which can be attained by the extension of 
principles of legislation now in active operation. All that is 
necessary is, to extend the provisions of the Land Clauses 
Act, which apply to railways and such objects, to tenants in 
possession ; to make them " promoters " under that Act ; to 
treat their outlay for the improvement of the soil and the 
greater production of food as a public outlay ; and thus to re- 
store to England a class which corresponds with the Peasant 
Proprietors of the Continent the Freemen or Liberi Homines 
of Anglo-Saxon times, whose rights were solemnly guaranteed 
by the 55th William I., and whose existence would be the 
glory of the country and the safeguard of its institutions. 

P.S. Since this paper was read, the Land Act of 1875 has 
passed. It recognises the difference between land granted by 
the State, and improvements which represent labour; it asserts 
the separate estate of each, and abrogates the erroneous maxim, 
that " what is attached to the freehold belongs to the freehold." 
Under the old law, it was assumed that all improvements, 
whether of a permanent or temporary character, belonged to 
the landlord, but the Act entirely reversed the presumption, 
thus setting aside one of the prerogatives claimed by the 
tenant-in-fee, and giving the possessor an estate in the im- 
provements he effected, and restricting the landlord's estate 
to the lands and the improvements thereon, when the tenancy 



Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. 

ON some ancient fragments are represented two or more 
historical sequences, forming together one picture, such as the 
scene of the temptation of Eve in conjunction with the expul- 
sion from Paradise ; and from these we may obtain an idea as 
to the tendency and power of the untutored mind to take an 
instantaneous many-sided view of the subject it contemplates, 
and it may assist us in realising that though our mental view 
is more extended and clearer than that of early races, yet it 
may also be much more limited in lateral range. That the 
educated mind does not assume power over the exercise of 
certain faculties, there can be no doubt ; for this we have only 
to look into matters of everyday life : to see the unlettered 
mechanic guess, or, rather, instinctively calculate, the weight 
of materials ; to hear the shopwoman, innocent of figures, total 
up her gains and losses, or enumerate her stock-in-trade with 
a rapidity and with a precision which could not be exceeded 
if all the appliances of science had been employed. And we 
again see it in the power which the Indian savage or Euro- 
pean trapper possesses in tracking his way through the forest 
by signs and method of reasoning hardly intelligible to those 
whose minds are more cultivated. 

It would help us much in " the proper study of mankind " 
if we could accord to the ancient mind credit for possessing 
certain faculties, matured, which in our own mind have been 
pressed down and dwarfed by the cultivation of others ; if we 


could perceive " how apt we all are to look at the manners of 
ancient times through the false medium of our everyday 
associations ; how difficult we find it to strip our thoughts of 
their modern garb and to escape from the thick atmosphere 
of prejudice in which custom and habit have enveloped us ; 
and yet, unless we take a comprehensive, an extended view 
of the objects of archaeological speculation unless we can 
look upon ancient customs with the eyes of the ancients, 
unless we can transport ourselves in the spirit to other lands 
and other times, and sun ourselves in the clear light of bygone 
days, all our conception of what was done by the men who 
have long ceased to be must be dim, uncertain, and un- 
satisfactory, and all our reproductions as soulless and unin- 
structive as the scattered fragments of a broken statue" 

May we not, with this thought in view, allow that there 
was something more in the old heathen religions than the 
bare worship of sticks and stones, and while fully believing 
that the different races became most depraved in their religi- 
ous ceremonies until 

" Egypt chose an onion for a god," 

and without condoning their offences, may we not recognise 
throughout their degradation a double view of the Supreme 
Deity, a reverence towards Him as one God and a worship of 
Him as many, even as it is related of the Hebrews at one time, 

" They feared the Lord and served their own gods." 

Indeed, if we may not do this, and are to judge the heathen 
by their language alone, we shall ourselves be liable to the 
same harsh treatment in after-ages, for do not we, with the 
utmost sincerity, make use of such terms as Light of Light, 
Sun of Righteousness : 

" Hail, holy Light, offspring of Heaven first-born, 
Or of the Eternal co-eternal beam ; " 

and again our abhorrence of the powers of darkness : all 
which might be brought against us as evidence of sun- 


worship : nay it is even recorded that the early Christians 
actually were accused of worshipping the solar disc on account 
of such customs. 

There is evidence showing that the Hebrews did not exclu- 
sively possess God's name ; with them the whole people 
possessed that grand knowledge, with the heathen the men 
of God were isolated and few, but religious life was not quite 
extinct ; the great Shekinah shone in the tabernacle of the 
Hebrews, but there were also faint lights glimmering among 
the heathen around, reflections of, or emanations from it. 

Without this belief, our examination into the subject of 
orientation of temples comes to nought ; we might simply 
record : 

" So once of yore, each reasonable frog 
Swore faith and fealty to his sovereign ' log.' " 

Happily for us it is otherwise. The examination into heathen 
religions brings to light so many traces of Divine origin in 
numberless instances as to assist the student in more fully 
comprehending and believing the Mosaic records, and suggests 
a common origin. 

As far as we are concerned personally, we owe the heathen 
a debt of gratitude ; for while on the one side we have to 
thank the Hebrews for bringing down to us a religion pure 
and undefiled, we have on the other to be grateful to the 
heathen for having, incidentally to their rites, so fully developed 
the arts and sciences, and handed over to us poetry, sculpture, 
painting, architecture, music, dancing, the drama, astronomy, 
and whatever else is beautiful or useful in everyday life. 

" And Satan, bowing low, 
As to superior spirits is wont in heaven." 

In our social intercourse we are accustomed to turn our 
faces towards those to whom we address ourselves, and even 
in our religious ceremonies we do in many places of worship 
retain the ancient custom of facing in a particular direction 
during portions of the service ; and notwithstanding that we 
know that God is as much in one place as in another omni- 


present yet all Christians are enjoined to address Him as in 

In the East, at the present day, a kibleh is a needful acces- 
sory to the prayer; and a Mohammedan, for example, could not 
with equanimity repeat it did he not know the direction of 
the Kaaba towards which he should face. 

It is therefore no matter of surprise to find that in early 
times also this custom generally prevailed ; in days when 
visible manifestations of the Deity were apparent, and when 
particular places were considered to be the gates of heaven. 
The expression, "Turn unto the Lord thy God," is itself indi- 
cative of this practice, and we may without doubt assume the 
general use of a kibleh, and proceed to the question as to its 
nature and position as regards the earth's surface. In this 
examination we shall ascertain that in early days it was the 
eastern portion of the heavens that God was supposed more 
particularly to honour with His presence, and from whence He 
sent His glory upon earth. 

References to this both from the Old and New Testaments 
may here be given : 

" And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the 
way of the east." Again : 

" For as the lightning cometh out of the east and shineth 
even unto the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of 
Man be." 

It may be objected that although we can at all times during 
the day and night throughout the year point out the north 
and south, yet that the terms east and west cannot be applied 
to the heavens, because at each hour of the day and on each 
day of the year, the east will be represented to us on earth by 
a different portion of the starry firmament ; but we must 
recollect that both in the Pentateuch and in the heathen writ- 
ings the conception of the universe was very different to what 
it is at present, for with the ancients the earth was the centre 
of the round world, the heavens forming the solid and upper 
crust, the sun, moon, and stars being entirely subsidiary and 
accessories to the flat fixed earth. 


It is obvious, therefore, viewing the subject through the 
medium of the ancient cosmogony, that the east was a fixed 
and finite portion of the solid heavens, where the sun appeared 
at early dawn only to tarry for a while, and that thus the east 
could be regarded by the ancients as the peculiar abode of 
God's glory, as a permanently fixed portion of the round 
world, and not necessarily with any reference to the circum- 
stance that it was here the sun first rose. 

Dr Mosheim says : " Before the coming of Christ, all the 
eastern nations performed divine worship with their faces 
turned to that part of the heavens where the sun displays his 
rising beams. This custom was founded upon a general 
opinion that God, whose essence they looked upon to be light, 
and whom they considered to be circumscribed within certain 
limits, dwelt in that part of the firmament from whence He 
sends forth the sun." 

Spencer likewise, after stating the ancient custom, says : 
" Were it left to the judgment of men to decide which way 
God should be worshipped, the east would certainly have the 

These opinions are certainly borne out by all the early 
heathen who treat on the subject, some of whose writings 
will subsequently be referred to. The earliest records among 
the Greek writers are, however, comparatively modern when 
we search the history of mankind ; and in the absence of 
the rich literature of Egypt and Assyria, now lost to us, we 
fall back upon their scarcely less valuable libraries in stone 
and bricks, their tablets and monuments, and finally upon the 
Hebrew records. The Indian Veda is also not without its 
claim to be placed among the ancients' records. 

There are not wanting those who would fain dismiss the 
subject, with the opinion that the sunrise first originated the 
eastern attitude, and others, failing the sun, would suppose it 
to have originated in the direction of the Garden of Eden, 
from whence our first parents were driven. I apprehend, how- 
ever, that though the east as a kibleh may have to do with 
the dawn of day and the position of Eden, yet it also means 


much more than this. More wondrous occurrences are alluded 
to in holy writ than the dawn of day, or even than the posi- 
tion of the Garden of Eden. It is recorded that God's voice 
walked with Adam, appeared to Abraham and the patriarchs; 
that the elements were controlled by Him. Is it possible, 
then, for us to suppose that with this belief the leaders of the 
people should have systematically ignored the Creator and 
bowed themselves to His works ! That some of them did so, 
we know well, and that they were prone to do so, we also know ; 
but it is impossible to think that the rules which forbade them 
to worship false gods should have been founded on that self- 
same worship. On the contrary, it is evident that those who 
walked with God should have wished to turn in prayer to 
that spot whence He would most likely be made manifest. 

In brief, the key to the subject is not difficult to grasp and 
use, for it appears to lie in the comprehension of the method 
adopted in the manifestation of that Shekinah of which we 
read not only in Hebrew records, but of the appearance and 
working of which there are reflections also in the heathen 

The key in our possession, we shall be able faintly to point 
out how in early days the Shekinah in the east was the general 
kibleh ; how, when the sun became a symbolical emblem, the 
Shekinah came down and dwelt among the Hebrews, and re- 
mained still their kibleh, until finally it fled by way of the east. 

In doing this, I would allude to many affinities between the 
heathen and Hebrew forms of worship, and how the former 
appear to have been derived from the latter. 

Looking back to the earliest record we possess, we find our 
first parents, Adam and Eve, located in a garden eastward, in 
a district or country called Eden, the precise position of which 
has not yet been ascertained, although various hypotheses 
on the subject have been advanced. 

We shall probably not be far wrong in considering Eden to 
have been that large tract of country lying between the plains 
of Assyria and the river Indus, subsequently occupied by the 
Medes and Arians, and in tht present day by the Persians, 



Afghans, etc., between Turkey and Hindostan. The Garden 
of Eden would thus have been located in the Hindoo Koosh ; 
or in Cashmere, at the present time one of the most fruitful 
districts of the world. 
Milton tells us 

" Eden stretched her line 
From Auran eastward to the royal towers 
Of great Seleucia, built by Grecian kings ; " 

thus circumscribing the district and placing the garden in 

After the fall, our first parents appear to have been driven out 
by the eastern side of the Garden, yet still to have remained 
in the district called Eden in the presence of the Lord, for we 
find Cain shortly after driven out to the east of Eden to the 
land of Nod, which some identify as Hindostan and others as 

We have few indications of the form of worship in these 
primitive times; probably it consisted chiefly in calling on 
God's name alone, but yet we can observe indications of the 
germs which, under the fostering care of God, ripened into the 
religion we now possess, and which, when left alone, increased 
as a fungus into all misshapen forms of idolatry more or less 
(in human eyes) iniquitous, according to the nature of the 
people and the climate of the country inhabited. 

Of the first sacrifices we hear : " Abel, he also brought of the 
firstlings of his flock, and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had 
respect unto Abel, and to his offering." A dim memory of 
this is to be found in after-days in the Theogony of Hesiod, 
one of the earliest Greek records, where we are told how the 
gods and men contended at Mecone, in which contest the 
artful Prometheus persuaded cloud-compelling Jove to take 
the white fat as an offering in preference to the flesh, and 
Jove in revenge introduced to mankind deceitful woman, with 
her box full of domestic troubles and woes to henceforth 
render the life of mortal man most wretched. 

No mention is there of the erection of an altar to the Lord 
until after the deluge, when " Noah builded an altar unto the 


Lord, . . . and offered burnt-offerings on the altar. And the 
Lord smelled a sweet savour." This allusion to smelling a 
sweet savour is a constant form of expression in the Hebrew 
writings, although it was well known that the offering of the 
sacrifice was the acceptable gift to the Lord. The heathen, 
on the other hand, have completely materialised the term, by 
supposing that it was the odour from the burnt-sacrifices 
ascending to the heavens and tickling the nostrils of the gods, 
which was so pleasing to them. 

The position of the mountain on which the ark rested is 
hardly a matter for present discussion, and I will content my- 
self with saying that it would appear to be eastward of Baby- 
lon, and not to the north as suggested by Josephus. 

In our next view of worship, we are brought in contact with 
that great man among the ancients, El Khalil, the friend of 
God, whose name and doings have come down to us through 
so many channels besides the records of his own race ; and who 
is supposed by Josephus to have invented the monotheistic 
religion, and to have attempted to introduce it among his 
Chaldean brethren. 

There is evidence, however, that Abraham, in whose 

All nations shall be blessed," 

had only carried on the simple religion of his forefathers, from 
which his people appear to have receded. By reason of his 
grand character he was fitted to be trusted by the Lord with 
the scheme for the ultimate emancipation of the human race. 
He not only saw visions and dreamed dreams, but he is 
described as walking with God ; and his petition to God 
concerning the saving of the cities of the plain is the first 
supplication of man toward God, recorded. In this instance 
we find mankind advanced another step towards a form of 
worship. Abraham appears as a suppliant before the Lord, 
and his sacrifices are consumed by fire from heaven : for 
having laid the pieces of heifer and goat upon the altar, " it 
came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, 


behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed 
between those pieces." This sign of Divine acceptance of sacri- 
fice was one of the special means by which the true God dis- 
tinguished His worship from that of the false gods ; yet even 
in this there are not wanting indications of similar manifesta- 
tions among the heathen, which, however, possibly were only 
handed across from Hebrew records. 

The memory of Abraham is still so green among many 
eastern nations, that legends concerning him are numerous. 
The Arabs have one representing him in a doubtful frame of 
mind, selecting as his Lord one by one from among the host 
of heaven, and rejecting each as he finds its power finite, 
until, ultimately, he turns to Him who created all. Evidence 
of this same frame of thought among the Peruvians is given 
by Garcilaso, by whom the following words (translated from 
the Spanish) are put in the mouth of Huyana Cupac, Child of 
the Sun : 

" Many maintain that the sun lives, and is the maker of all things : 
but whosoever desired to do a thing completely must continue at his 
task without intermission. Now, many things are done when the sun 
is absent, therefore he cannot be the creator of all. It may also be 
doubted whether the sun be really living, for though always moving 
round in a circle, he is never weary. If the sun were a living thing 
like ourselves he would become weary ; and if he were free he would 
doubtless continue moving into parts of heaven in which we never 
see him. The sun is like an ox bound by a rope, being always 
obliged to move in the same circle, or like an arrow, which can 
only go where it is sent, and not where it may itself wish to go " 

The Arabs also consider Abraham to be the founder of the 
Kaaba at Mecca ; whatever its origin, it doubtless dates from 
remote antiquity, and there will be occasion to allude to it 
when speaking of the Jewish tabernacle. 

As we pass on towards the latter end of Abraham's life, we 
find him planting groves and calling on the name of the Lord 
therein, and it is remarkable that this practice of using groves 
as places of worship innocent in itself became, after the 


time of Abraham, so rapidly degraded in the depraved ser- 
vices of idolatry, not only among theCanaanites, but also among 
the nations of the world at large, that when the Hebrews 
returned to the Promised Land, after their sojourn in Egypt, 
one of the most peremptory injunctions they received was 
to cut down these groves of the heathen ; and they themselves 
were interdicted that form of worship (the use of groves) 
which with their forefather Abraham was not only harmless 
but right. The practice of worshipping on high places also 
obtained from the earliest times Abraham and his descendants 
built altars on high places with approval of the Lord. Among 
the heathen this custom got mixed up with the most revolting 
rites and ceremonies ; yet we only find the worship on high 
places forbidden to the Hebrews in a qualified degree, with 
an implied permission of it so long as the site for the position 
of the tabernacle was not settled. The Hebrews were told to 
root out high places of the heathen, and the inference I draw 
is, that a certain amount of sanctity was possessed by these 
high places, on account of their being the scenes of early 
worship of the true God, which sanctity the heathen had 
profaned. Indeed, from the giving of the Law on Mount 
Sinai by Moses, until his reappearance on the Mount of 
Transfiguration, there is a continuous series of remarkable 
events occurring on high lands and mountain tops. 

The first glimpse of that abominable system of the 
Canaanites, the offering up of their children to their gods, 
is given us in the temptation of Abraham ; if it be not itself 
the incident which led the perverted heathen to that practice. 
The event is supposed by some to have taken place on Mount 
Moriah, the site of the future abode t5f God's name. Josephus 
gives this as the site, and also states that the city of the Jebusites 
was the Salem of Melchisedek; but an attempt to locate both 
these sites at Jerusalem leads to the following dilemma : 
Moriah is just outside the stronghold of the Jebusites, and it 
can hardly be surmised that Abraham took his son up to 
sacrifice him on a prominent position just outside the gates 
of the royal city of Melchisedek, unless, indeed, we are to 


suppose that Moriah was the usual place for offering children 
to Moloch. The suggestion that the threshing-floor of 
Araunah, the site of the temple, could have been the scene of 
the immolation of human victims to false gods is, however, 
quite repugnant to the sense of readers of history, and there- 
fore we are fain to conclude that both those events could not 
have taken place at Jerusalem ; either that Moriah is not the 
scene of Abraham's sacrifice, or that Jerusalem is not the 
Salem of Melchisedek. 

Passing on to the life of Jacob, we have again before us 
acts, the commemoration of which in after-years appear to 
have given rise to various forms of idolatrous worship. Jacob, 
on passing through Luz, on the highland of the Holy Land, 
sleeps with a stone for his pillow, and seeing in a vision a 
ladder set up on earth reaching to heaven, he anoints this 
stone and names it the house of God, the Gate of Heaven. 
There is a Jewish tradition that this stone was in after-years 
brought to Jerusalem and served as a base for the ark, and 
that this was the " pierced stone " which the Jews were in the 
habit of anointing and lamenting over after the destruction of 
the temple by Titus. It is possible also that this may be 
the stone spoken of as being found in the sanctum of the 
second temple. 

This fits in exactly with the present Moslem tradition, in 
which the scene of Jacob's dream is transferred to the Sakhrah 
of the noble sanctuary, thus giving a good reason for Mahomet 
having chosen this site for his ascent to heaven in his parallel 
dream to that of Jacob. There is now at Jerusalem a stone 
called the " little Sakhrah," in the northern part of the Noble 
Sanctuary, which may possibly be the identical stone which 
Jacob set up at Bethel. We have other accounts of stones 
having been anointed in like manner ; and among the heathen 
the practice also came into vogue. It is not difficult to 
perceive how quickly the adoration of God at the stone may 
have become the worship of the stone itself, and it is certain 
that the worship of stones Bcetylia became a practice among 
the Chaldeans, Arabians, and especially the Syrophcenicians. 


The very name has a close resemblance to Bethel (though there 
are some who demur at this), and it is at least remarkable 
that, around the spot where Jacob anointed this one, so many 
other sacred stones should be found in after-years among the 
heathen ; one of the most singular of which was the luminous 
green stone of Tyre, a city which became great after the 
return of the Hebrews to the Promised Land. The black 
stone, or meteorolite, so sacred to the worshippers of all 
ages, in the Kaaba at Mecca is not the least renowned of 

We now approach that period when the promise of God to 
Abraham began to be fulfilled, when the Hebrews, having 
increased as the sands of the sea, are to be conducted into 
the Promised Land to overthrow and uproot that most detest- 
able of false worships in which the Canaanites, among all the 
descendants of Ham, appear to have been pre-eminent. For 
this purpose the people must be educated to a higher form of 
religion than they then possessed, it being not enough that 
their leaders only should possess the religion, as among the 
heathen, it was necessary that all should possess the know- 
ledge of God. In this we have the first appearance of the 
introduction of religion generally among the masses of the 
people, which has gradually done so much to ameliorate 
the condition of mankind. In order that this education 
should be thorough, they were kept as bondsmen in Egypt, 
and apart by themselves for forty years in the wilderness; and 
though they are represented to us throughout as a stubborn, 
wayward people, we cannot but suppose that the timid rabble 
who fled from Egypt were disciplined very considerably before 
they were able to menace the warlilce inhabitants of Canaan. 
The Shekinah, which appeared to Moses in the burning bush, 
became as a cloud by day and pillar by night during their 
wanderings, and eventually, on the erection of the tabernacle, 
overshadowed it and dwelt among them, and from henceforth 
they became a people specially under God's protection, and 
were kept in check by most stringent rules. 

Let us pause awhile to consider the shape and construction 


of that remarkable kibleh or place of worship which in process 
of time influenced the form of the temple of Solomon, and 
through it the later heathen temples and Christian churches. 
For what was Solomon's temple but the tabernacle in stone, 
and what form had all the later Mediterranean and Assyrian 
temples but that of the temple of Solomon. 

It has been assumed by some that the Hebrews derived the 
shape of the tabernacle from Egyptian models ; but, though 
there can be little doubt that ancient nation (Egypt) in early 
times had temples of very simple construction, and without 
images, yet there is evidence that the shepherd kings (previous 
to the advent of Joseph in Egypt) had ruthlessly destroyed 
the temples then existing to such an extent that with one 
single exception they have all disappeared. 

During the times of the shepherd kings and the eighteenth 
and nineteenth dynasties, when the civilisation of Egypt had 
reached its highest pitch and arts had fully developed, the 
edifices constructed partook as much of the nature of palaces 
as of temples, and faced in all directions, in striking contrast 
with the pyramids of the early dynasties, which are built with 
the most careful precision, in such a manner that their sides 
face the cardinal points of the compass, entrance being to 

The Hebrews would therefore have no knowledge of temple 
construction, as we understand the term, derived from the 
Egyptians at the time of their leaving that people. The 
writer of the article " Temple," Smith's " Biblical Dictionary," 
fully recognises this, and suggests that the style was obtained 
from the people of Assyria, who were of kindred language and 
race to the Hebrews. As unfortunately no ancient Assyrian 
temples have yet been uncovered, he is, in this line of argu- 
ment, obliged to accept the later buildings of Persepolis and 
Nineveh as illustrations of what the ancient temples of Assyria 
might have been, and to suppose that the Hebrews followed a 
style the existence of which previous to the erection of the 
tabernacle there is no evidence. 

If there is any reason for conjecturing an affinity between 


the Hebrew temple and the Assyrian buildings, surely we 
should not be wrong in conjecturing that the former may 
have in some measure influenced the style of the latter, which 
were built so many years after Solomon had reigned supreme. 

One temple, however, may have existed in Syria at the time 
of the exodus, namely, that dedicated to Melkarth, where 
the sacred luminous stone was enshrined ; there is not, how- 
ever, any direct evidence as to whether this temple was in any 
way similar to those built in after-years. Herodotus, when he 
visited it, certainly found a temple there, and was told that it 
had been built when the city was founded, 2300 years previous 
to his visit. This statement, however, appears to be some- 
what in error, for although we know that Tyre existed at the 
time of the exodus, yet it did not become a great city and rule 
the sea until the fall of Sidon, in the thirteenth century B.C. 
Josephus, who writes at some length on the subject, states that 
Tyre was built 352 years after the exodus, and 240 years 
before the building of the temple of Solomon. He evidently 
in this passage refers to the time when the Sidonians gathered 
at Tyre, enlarged the city, and probably built the temple whose 
stone became the kibleh of the Phoenician nation. It is pro- 
bable that at the time of the exodus the sacred stone at Tyre 
was worshipped in an open temenos. 

Thus, at a time when the old Egyptian temples had dis- 
appeared, and when those of the Mediterranean, including 
Italy, Greece, Asia Minor, etc., whose ruins are now visible on 
the earth, had not begun their existence, we find the Hebrew 
people massed together below cloud-compelling, loud-thunder- 
ing Sinai, anxiously awaiting the result of their lawgiver's visit 
to the sacred mount. 

What necessity is there for assuming that the tabernacle 
must be after the mode of some Assyrian or Egyptian build- 
ing ? Can we not frankly accept the plan and details as those 
of an original building conceived by Moses under Divine in- 
spiration, in order to supply not only the wants of this wander- 
ing race of Hebrews, but of the whole world, although of this 
latter application he may have been profoundly ignorant ? 


There was, probably, one very disturbing influence on the 
Hebrew mind at this time; this people had been living among 
a nation whose apparent basis of religion was the worship of 
the sun, and who had recently been engaged in a religious 
revolt in favour of the worship of the "glory of the solar 
disc," a record of which is still existing on the bas-reliefs of 
Tell Amarna. 

The Hebrews would thus, by their sojourn among the 
Egyptians, have been actuated by a double sentiment with 
regard to the east, viz., an inclination towards it as the point 
from whence God's glory should come, and a repulsion from 
it as the kibleh to which the sun-worshippers turned. 

On the arrival of the wanderers under Mount Sinai, the plan 
of the temple and its furniture all passed before the eyes of 
Moses divinely inspired, not only its proportions, but also its 
position. It was to lie east and west, the entrance towards 
the east. 

The reason for this orientation is not given, neither is any 
reason given for the particular rites and ceremonies to be per- 
formed, but as this new revelation was given for the purpose 
of supplying a craving and keeping the Hebrews apart from 
the heathen, reason there must have been for each minute 

Josephus tells us : " As to the tabernacle . . . with its 
front to the east, that when the sun arose, it might send its 
first rays upon it." This he qualifies by saying, " The sky was 
clear, but there was a mist over the tabernacle only, encom- 
passing it, but not with such a very deep and thick cloud as 
is seen in the winter season, nor yet in so thin a one as men 
might be able to discern anything through it." 

In the sacred narrative we read, " Then a cloud covered the 
tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the 
tabernacle. . . . For the cloud of the Lord was upon the 
tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night." This would 
appear sufficient to prove that the tabernacle had its entrance 
to the east, with no reference to the rising sun, for it seems 
probable that the sun's rays would only have played upon the 


exterior of the cloud, and never have shone on the tabernacle 
itself. Nor, when we consider the matter, does it seem reason- 
able to suppose that the suggestion of Josephus could have 
been thought of among the Hebrews at the time of the first 
erection of the tabernacle ; for the sun would have been of 
quite secondary consideration, even to sun-worshippers, when 
such extraordinary manifestations were proceeding on Sinai 
the mountains melted like wax at the presence of the Lord 
when they saw that the face of Moses shone with the reflec- 
tion of the "glory of the Lord," that a miraculous cloud 
descended on the tent, and that " fire came out from before 
the Lord and consumed upon the altar the burnt-offerings." 

Far more reasonable is the idea of some of the Jews of the 
present day, who say that the entrance was towards the east, 
in order that the priest might watch for the first dawn of day 
in offering up the morning sacrifice. This, however, is not 
a sufficient reason, and would not have held good if the taber- 
nacle had been placed on the west side of Mount Sinai, as 
then the first dawn would not have been visible from the taber- 
nacle on account of the mountain being in the way. 

On the whole, it appears that the sun could not have had 
anything to do with the position of the tabernacle, so far as 
its rays are concerned, though, being a prime object of idolatry 
among surrounding nations, no doubt it was so arranged 
that the Jewish worship could in no wise degenerate into 
sun worship. 

Mention has previously been made of the passages: "And, 
behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of 
the east ; " and, again, " For, as the lightning cometh out of 
the east, and shineth even to the west, so shall also the coming 
of the Son of Man be." 

Here we have the key to the whole subject of orientation. 
The ancients turned towards the east to worship the " glory of 
the Lord," and gradually learned to look upon the sun as a 
symbol of that glory. On the' erection of the tabernacle the 
pure worship of God was restored to the general community ; 
but as the old kibleh, the east, had become mixed up with the 


worship of idolaters, the rising sun, it could not be used as 
heretofore. So the tabernacle was built to contain the 
Shekinah, its entrance facing towards the east, from whence 
the glory had come, the worshippers having their backs 
towards the east. Thus the Hebrews were brought to face in 
a contrary direction to the sun-worshippers, while, at the 
same time, they continued to face towards that same glory 
now in the tabernacle, to which they had previously turned 
previous to the setting up of the tabernacle. It must not, 
however, be supposed that facing west became the custom 
among the Hebrews. It will be shown that this took place 
only within the sacred enclosure, elsewhere the people faced 
north, south, east, or west, according to the direction of the 
tabernacle, containing the Shekinah, their kibleh. 

Now, although the glory of the Lord, the Shekinah, filled 
the tabernacle, and after it the house of the Lord (in the first 
temple) ; and, though the Lord dwelt there, yet it does not 
appear that the Hebrews prayed to the Lord in the house, 
but rather they turned towards the house and prayed to Him 
in heaven. We see this in the exhortation of Moses to the 
people to pray to Him, " Look down from Thy holy habitation, 
from heaven, and bless Thy people, Israel." 

Again, the prayer of Solomon at the dedication of the 
temple, immediately after the Shekinah had filled the house : 

"Then spake Solomon, The Lord said that He would dwell 
in the thick darkness. I have surely built Thee an house to 
dwell in, a settled place for Thee to abide in for ever. . . . 
And Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the pre- 
sence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his 
hands toward heaven : and he said, . . . But will God indeed 
dwell on the earth ? Behold, the heaven, and heaven of hea- 
vens, cannot contain Thee; how much less this house that I 
have builded ? . . . And hearken Thou to the supplication 
of Thy servant, and of Thy people Israel, when they shall pray 
toward this place : and hear Thou in heaven Thy dwelling- 
place ; and when Thou hearest, forgive." 

Here we have direct proof that the Hebrews at this remote 


period had knowledge of the omnipresence of God : that while, 
to gratify their natural cravings, and to keep them in check 
during their life among the heathen, He dwelt among them, 
yet they still, while turning towards His visible manifestations 
on earth, worshipped Him in heaven. 

The echo of this sentiment, attenuated and feeble, is to be 
found among the heathen. The author of the Homeric Iliad, 
in particular, appears now and then to catch a glimpse of this 
omnipresence, although his words would sometimes belie him. 

Dr Potter, in his " Greek Antiquities," shows us that a pre- 
cisely similar method of praying obtained among the heathen 
long after the statues of the gods had ceased to be regarded as 
mere symbols of the deities above and below. " We do lift up 
our hands to heaven when we pray," saith Aristotle, and 
again, in Horace : 

c ' Coelo supinas si tuleris manus. " 

Pliny tells us that, " In worshipping ... we turn 
about the whole body ; " and that in Gaul it was proper to 
turn to the left about. Plautus, on the other hand, states that 
the Romans turned round by the right. 

In earlier days, Pindar mentions, " And forthwith he bade 
golden-tired Lachesis uprear her hands to heaven, and not to 
utter insincerely the mighty oaths of the gods ; " and, in the 
Iliad, wefindChryses uplifting his hands,and prayingto Phcebus 
Apollo, like, as we read, that when Solomon had made an end 
of praying all his prayers and supplications unto the Lord, he 
arose from before the altar of the Lord, from kneeling on his 
knees with his hands spread up to heaven. And ALneas tells 
Pandarus, on the battle-field, to raise his hands to Jove, just as 
in earlier times Solomon prays, " If Thy people go out to 
battle against their enemy, whithersoever Thou shalt send 
them, and shall pray unto the Lord toward the city which 
Thou hast chosen, and toward the house that I have built for 
Thy name : then hear Thou in heaven their prayer and their 
supplication, and maintain their cause." 

Again we find the mother of Hector asking him if he in- 


tends to lift his hands to Jove in the lofty citadel, and again 
the people praying to Jove, and looking toward the wide 
heaven, or to Ida : for they frequently address the Olympian 
Jove as ruling from Ida. These also accord with the Hebrew 
passages : " The Lord is in His holy temple ; the Lord's seat 
is in heaven." " Unto Thee will I lift up mine eyes, for Thou 
dwellest in the heavens." " For I lift up my hand to heaven, 
and say, I live for ever." 

We have thus apparently a similar custom among the Greeks 
to that of the Hebrews, of looking up to and worshipping 
Jove in the heavens, while addressing him as ruling from 
Olympus or Ida, his dwelling-place ; and there is considerable 
indication of a feeling as to his partial omnipresence, although 
there are also instances of his sleeping and being on a journey. 

In these passages, and throughout the works of the early 
writers, when not grossly perverted or degraded, we obtain 
glimpses of the views which obtained, and often of the events 
which took place, ages before in Palestine ; even down to that 
time when heroes were given the positions of gods, and true 
religion was almost lost, we have yet constantly the indication 
of a purer sentiment, as when we find the statues (represent- 
ing the gods) still addressed as residing above or below. 

Many of the customs attendant on these rites have still sur- 
vived their origin ; as, for example, in the ceremony which 
takes place at the hill Szafa, when the pilgrim with his face 
turned towards the north (the direction of the Kaaba), which 
is hidden from his view by intervening houses, raises his hands 
toward heaven, addressing a short prayer to the Deity. The 
hill Szafa is said, prior to the Mohammedan period, to have 
been esteemed by the old Arabians as a holy place, containing 
the god Motam (Buckhardt). 

Such were some of the customs of the ancients during their 
prayers, presenting a strange similarity to the earlier worship 
of the Hebrews in temple and tabernacle ; nor was it only 
in these matters that the likeness existed : the whole attitude 
of the early Greeks towards their gods reminds us most 
strongly of a religion perverted from that of the Hebrews. 


The perception of the attributes of the Deity among the 
Greeks, as compared with that of the Hebrews, was dim and 
indistinct, but, though of a much grosser nature, it is yet to be 

The God of the Hebrews did not sleep. " Behold, He that 
keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep." Yet even the 
psalmist, in his emotion, is betrayed into exclaiming, " Awake, 
Lord, why sleepest Thou ?" as though in poesy urging Him 
to show His superiority to Baal, who was evidently supposed 
to indulge in sleep, as we learn from the mocking of the 
prophet Elijah : " Cry aloud ; for he is a god : either he is talk- 
ing, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he 
sleepeth, and must be awaked." 

So also we learn that the Olympian Jove was subject to 
somniferous influences, especially at night, although, like 
mortals, he could lie awake and revolve schemes in his mind, 
or even, I presume, exercise himself actively during the night, 
as did Minerva in helping Diomede against the Trojans. The 
subjugation of the immortal gods to the dominion of Sleep 
appears to be similar to the twilight or death of the northern 
gods; and at first sight it would almost appear as though 
the all-powerful Jove -were, in this instance, but a servant of 
another. We shall see, however, that it is otherwise. 

We find Juno addressing Sleep as " king of all gods and 
all men." This shows how much power he was supposed to 
possess, although, no doubt, Juno rather exaggerated his 
power in order to please him, and put him in a good humour. 
Sleep, however, knows better his limits of power; and in his 
reply he gives us a clearer insight into the subject; for he says, 
" I could not approach Saturnian Jove, nor lull him to sleep, 
unless, at least, he commanded me ;" and proceeds to show 
that though he might once lull him, yet it would be only a 
temporary measure, the effect of which would quickly work 
off, and that then he would be liable to be hurled for ever out 
of heaven by Jove. Thus it is apparent that the Greeks 
Supposed that Jove had power even over sleep. 

They also looked upon Jove as king of kings and lord of 


lords ; for, although we find Neptune stating, on his own 
behalf, that the world was divided among the three sons of 
Cronos, and that Jove had only his third share the heavens, 
the earth, and Olympus, being common to all we must only 
take this as Neptune's own selfish view of the matter, not 
borne out by other circumstances. This is evident when he 
orders Neptune from the battle-field before Troy to retire to 
the sea or Olympus. The earth-shaker, though expostulating 
somewhat freely, quickly obeys the order. 

He is also styled as commanding Pluto's division : 

"Jove subterranean, and of high renown 

Again, Jupiter Larissaeus is shown with three eyes, and 
^Eschylus, the son of Euphorion, calls Jupiter the ruler of the 
sea. ! 

The omniscience of Jove is less apparent; for, though so 
keen sighted that he could observe from Olympus to Ida and 
to Troy, as could also the other gods, yet he appears less quick 
at hearing. 

There are, however, indications of his being able at times 
to divine what has occurred without having either heard or 
seen the act; and in spite of his many imperfections, there is 
a ring of the true knowledge of God in the account of Jove's 
appearance on Ida, watching over Troy, controlling and 
putting in action the elements. Indeed, there is almost in the 
history a resemblance to the manifestation which took place 
on Mount Sinai. 

The dwelling of the gods at Olympus, and the possession 
by one or other of them of the many mountains of Olympus, 
Ida, and other high places, strikingly bring to our mind the 
possession of Sinai by the glory of God, and the circumstances 
which took place there. 

It is most unfortunate for our present knowledge that 
Pausanias, who wrote so fully and carefully about ancient 
temples, should have avoided all mention of anything relating 
to the mysteries concerning them. The reason he gives is as 


follows : " It was my intention, indeed, to have related every 
particular about the temple at Athens, which is called 
Eleusinian, but I was restrained from the execution of this 
design by a vision in a dream." This ill-fated dream he 
bears in mind throughout his descriptions, and often draws 
up suddenly, and is silent just when he is about to treat upon 
these subjects. 

Notwithstanding, however, the reticence of so many of the 
ancient writers, we are yet able to gather moderately correct 
impressions as to the views entertained as well by the 
heathen as by the Hebrews as to the world in general, and 
of the Deity who governed it. All alike appear to have had 
the same notion as to the hollow round world, with its flat 
disc the earth fixed in the centre; and the poets, generally, 
made use of the term brazen, or iron, as applied to the 
firmament or heaven. The earth was the grand centre of 
the universe, the sun, moon, and stars were only accessories. 
Both Jews and Gentiles believed the heaven to be supported 
on pillars or foundations the mountains. 

The Deity abode in heaven at first; but as heathen wor- 
ship gradually degenerated, the people, after being accus- 
tomed to sacrifice on the mountain tops, by degrees began 
to look upon these mountain tops and high places of original 
scenes of worship as the occasional haunts of the gods ; and 
eventually (and, so far as we know, after the manifestations on 
Mount Sinai) these mountain tops became the recognised 
abodes of the gods, though, at the same time, the higher order 
lived also in heaven. Thus the exact position of Olympus is 
most deluding. From the Iliad at one moment it appears 
clearly to have been situated in heaven, far above the earth; 
at another time to be near the earth, near the summit of 
Mount Olympus, though not identical with it. It is pos- 
sible that at the time the Iliad was originally composed 
the gods were just obtaining a local habitation, and thus the 
difference of language in the several parts. 

The fact that each national centre had a Mount Olympus, 

an Ida, or a Zion, is sufficient proof that the account of the 



Thessalian home of the gods was no local tradition belonging 
to that place, and to the Achseans in particular, but was either 
a tradition travelling with the several human races in their on- 
ward progress from the east, and referable back to the most 
ancient times, or else it was the circling echo of some extra- 
ordinary manifestation of the Deity upon a mountain top, as 
took place upon Mount Sinai. Such wonders as were seen on 
the giving of the law cannot have failed to have become known, 
even if not heard and seen, by the wild children of the desert, 
the rightful owners of these parts ; from these the rumour 
would quickly have extended throughout the people speak- 
ing languages somewhat akin. When we consider that all 
the present civilised world has now accepted the fulfilled 
religion of the Hebrews, it can scarcely be urged that nations 
may not have done so in a modified form in earlier times, 
when there certainly was not nearly so great a divergence 
between the heathen and the Hebrews, as during the last 
two thousand years. Such being the origin, as surmised, with 
regard to mountain worship, it is natural to conclude that, 
after the abode of the gods was transferred from the heavens 
in the east to the mountain tops, these tops would become the 
kibleh ; that such was the case I have as yet seen no proof, 
and there are no existing remains of temples in the Medi- 
terranean (except Egypt) of so early a date ; but possibly the 
change of position to the west from the east may have taken 
place at once without the period of mountain kiblehs inter- 
vening, in imitation of the tabernacle worship, which I will 
now allude to. 

In modern atlases and school-books we are accustomed to 
find the tabernacle represented as a modern European tent, 
of the description called Marquee, such as is seen at a flower- 
show in this country. 

This idea was first brought forward and developed about 
twenty years ago by Mr Fergusson, and it has rapidly been 
taken up by the public, though I do not think that this 
representation to the eye of an Arab or Jew brought up 
in the East would call up any idea but that of the travelling 


tent of a rich Frank tourist. The oblong box-like structure 
shown in the works of Calmet, Bahr, and Newman is in all pro- 
bability the real representation of the tabernacle, for it ex- 
actly corresponds to the description given in the Bible ; Mr 
Fergusson, however, ridicules this shape, appealing to our 
English prejudices, by suggesting its likeness to a coffin with 
a pall thrown over it ; but he does not explain how the like- 
ness to the modern coffin should be any objection to its use 
among a people living three thousand years ago, who used 
neither coffin or pall, and whose eyes were entirely accustomed 
to building of the general shape of our modern coffins. 

As a matter of fact, the oblong box (call it coffin-shape if 
it is preferred) was and is the shape of all the buildings in 
Egypt and the East generally, as far as India, of which 
proof can be found in the Biblical accounts, in Fergusson's 
" Principles of Architecture," and in modern photographs : 
and I ask Mr Fergusson to produce a specimen of any early 
building from those countries, dating before our era, with a 
high-pitched roof, similar to that which he ascribes to the 
tabernacle even the Pyramids were built in a series of steps. 

The tabernacle was reproduced in stone in the construction 
of the temple ; but Mr Fergusson does not attribute a high- 
pitched roof to that edifice. It is evident, however, that if 
there had been such a roof to the tabernacle we should have 
some trace of it in the form of the temple or in the architec- 
ture of the country. Instead of this there is only reference to 
flat roofs. 

It may be said that the tabernacle was only a tent, but I 
contend that it was not a tent in our sense of the word. It 
was a wooden box-like building, with a leathern roof a 
wooden portable temple. 

Admitting for one instant that it was a tent, I ask why it 
is necessary to give it a high-pitched roof, when Arab tents of 
the same size at the present day are nothing like a marquee. 
I have passed the night in Bedouin tents during heavy rains, 
whose roofs of one thickness of camel hair, had a slope of not 
more than one in six, and they were comparatively dry inside ; 


and I do not see any reason for supposing that the roof of the 
tabernacle was more than a foot higher at the centre than at 
the sides. 

Mr Fergusson suggests that, with the box-like structure, the 
roof would sag in ; but, in his construction, he is obliged to 
introduce a great many ridge-poles and uprights not men- 
tioned in the Bible, with the use of half of which the box 
tabernacle would have its roof so held up as not to sag. 

The high-pitched roof introduces a grave difficulty ; the 
upper part is open from east to west, and the wind would have 
raised the roof and blown the tent down with facility. Again, 
the Holy of Holies is left without any roof except the angular 
one of the tent ; it thus ceases to be a cube, and it is open to 
the light and air to the west, so that any person on an eleva- 
tion to west could see into it. Such a construction is entirely 
contrary to the Biblical account, where the entire seclusion of 
the sanctum is enlarged upon, and the interior spoken of as 
" thick darkness." 

Mr Fergusson also makes a point as to the ornamental 
curtain being only seen in part of the box tabernacle; but there 
was no occasion for it to have been seen by mortal eye. If the 
choice work of the tabernacle had been intended for view, the 
embroidered curtain might have been used as a covering out- 
side instead of the rough badger skins. The whole account 
goes to show that the box was for the enshrinement of the most 
precious jewel any nation could possess ; and, therefore, with 
a rough covering on the outside, the hangings and furniture 
of the structure were made more and more costly the closer 
they were to the jewel they were intended to enshroud. There 
is nothing inconsistent in the covering of the golden-laden 
boards with an embroidered cloth, and that again with 
goats' hair. The precious Shekinah might well be carefully 

I have not space here to show how closely Calmet's box 
tabernacle corresponds in its dimensions with those given in 
the Bible ; but I have worked the question out many times 
and cannot find out the difficulties alluded to by Mr Fergusson, 


neither can I see any merit in the high-pitched roof which he 
has given in lieu of that with a very gentle slope. 

I have one more point to allude to on this subject, and that 
is the shape of the other tabernacle, the Kaaba at Mecca. It 
is described as an oblong box-like structure, and, if less 
ancient than the tabernacle, was possibly copied from it. The 
Arabs suppose that the Kaaba was built by Abraham in imi- 
tation of the heaven-descended tabernacle of clouds, which 
appeared on some spot at Mecca to Adam after his exit from 
Paradise. There is thus a curious connection between the 
ancient worship of the descendants of the two sons of Abra- 
ham of the bond-woman and of the free which is very in- 
teresting to those who study the subject, and which probably 
led that distinguished scholar, the late Emanuel Deutsch, to 
describe the Mohammedanism of Arabia as the Christianity of 
the East 

It will not be to our purpose to follow the tabernacle through 
its wanderings ; it served its purpose well until the arrival of 
the Hebrews in the Promised Land ; then there was a startling 
change: the ark and the tabernacle became wrenched asunder; 
the former fell into the hands of the Philistines ; the Hebrews, 
in despair, took to sacrificing and seeking the Lord again on 
high places on their own account, in spite of the Mosaic law 
on the subject, and the strict forms and ceremonies fell into 
disuse until the tabernacle became fixed in stone during the 
reign of King Solomon. 

In Jerusalem it was reared on the high place, the threshing- 
floor of Araunah the Jebusite, on Mount Moriah, possibly the 
scene of Abraham's exhibition of deep faith toward God, or 
possibly outside the walls of the Salem of King Melchisedek. 

The history of the locked-up stone of Jerusalem, Es Sakhrah, 
has already been partially told in your papers, but recent 
researches and excavations have led to a fuller knowledge of 
that sacred work than we then possessed. At present it is 
enshrined within the Dome of the Rock, the building of Abd el 
Melek, and is the source of attraction to the Moslems in their 
secondary pilgrimage. In some measure it is of greater im- 


portance than even the Kaaba at Mecca, and with the black 
stone of the Kaaba and the garden at Medina, enjoys the 
destinction of being considered a portion of Paradise on 

The dust accumulated on this stone is carefully collected 
once a year and distributed among the people as an antidote 
to opthalmia. The Mohammedan traditions about this rock are 
sufficiently curious ; though about forty feet square, it is said 
to be a detached stone, only resting on the top of a palm-tree, 
from the roots of which, issuing from Paradise, flow all the 
rivers of the earth. It is also the centre of the world, and it is 
Bethel, the gate of heaven, where Jacob lay and dreamed : it 
is about twenty miles nearer heaven than any other spot on 
earth. Here it was that Mahomet arrived on his visionary 
night journey to heaven from Mecca, having in one of the 
gateways of the noble sanctuary tied up Barak, on whose 
wings he had come. He found a ladder of light descending 
to the rock from heaven, and by the help of Gabriel he sped 
up with the rapidity of lightning, followed close on his heels 
by the sacred stone, which, however, was captured and fastened 
down again by the angel. These legends are no doubt com- 
pounded of many of the historical accounts related in holy 
writ much materialised, and they point to the extreme rever- 
ence the Moslems have for this rock. Whence then comes 
this stone, and what is it ? 

While founding his religion, and rooting out the idols from 
the Kaaba, Mahomet conceived the idea of making the 
ancient kibleh of the Jews at Jerusalem the kibleh of his 
followers, and announced his decision. Finding, however, 
that this device, contrary to his expectations, had not the 
desired effect of attracting the Christians and Jews, and that 
the Arabians were angry at the secondary position given to 
their ancient temple, the Kaaba, he was seized with an in- 
spiration ; and when worshipping at Kibleytein toward 
Jerusalem, suddenly faced round, and worshipped toward 
Mecca. Thus, there was much reason among the Moslems 
for highly venerating this spot at Jerusalem. 


On the capture of the Holy City by Omar in A.D. 636, 
the site of the ancient temple was found covered with refuse, 
placed there by the Christians as an active token of their 
abhorrence of the Jews. Omar, on clearing this away, dis- 
covered the present sakhrah, on which the cubbet was, in 
after-years, built by Abd el Melek. It was then, probably, as 
now, the highest portion of the crest of Moriah. A question 
arose whether the mosque (of Omar) should be so built that 
the kibleh of Moses and of Mecca should be in one line for 
those worshipping at Jerusalem, but Omar would not admit 
of such a compromise, and settled it otherwise. 

Abd el Melek, at one time during his reign, fearing for his 
supremacy when Mecca fell into the hands of Abdallah ibn 
Zobei, again made the sakhrah the kibleh for a time. The 
Kaaba, however, resumed its position on peace being restored, 
and has since held the first place. 

There can be little doubt that the sakhrah formed a 
portion of the mount on which the temple and its inner 
courts stood ; but I do not think that it represents either the 
site of the altar or of the sanctum sanctorum. 

I do not assert that the exact position of the ancient temple 
has been positively fixed, but I believe it has. No attempt 
has yet been made to assail the position I have assigned to 
it. The description of the position and arguments in favour 
of it will be found in the Athenaeum (2469), and in the 
Palestine Exploration Fund periodical, and I will only briefly 
say a few words on the subject. In Palestine it frequently 
happens that close by threshing-floors are caves in the rock 
for storing grain. From the remark that Oman and his four 
sons hid themselves, Dean Stanley has suggested that there 
may have been a cave, represented by that which is now 
found under the sakhrah, and that it was then the store for 
the grain they were threshing out. The floor would then 
have been on one side of the cave, probably to the south. In 
my plan, the altar stands on tank No. 5, which formed thus 
a portion of the subterranean communication spoken of as 
existing under the temple enclosure, and the sacred rock 


forms the floor of the room Pava (over the Magician's Chamber), 
and the Chamber of the Washers. The drain I discovered on 
the top of the rock was possibly that by which the refuse from 
the inwards was carried off. The cave forms part of the 
passage of the Chel under the gate Nitsots. The sakhrah, 
though not thus part of the temple proper or the altar, is part 
of the inner court, so sacred that within its precincts the king 
only could be seated. With this disposition the temple lies 
with its entrance to Arabia, facing about 10 north of east. 

It has been suggested that, " according to the Jewish 
calendar, the temple was built on the 7th of Zif : the ampli- 
tude of sunrise on that day at Jerusalem, according to tables 
which we have always found accurately to explain the Hebrew 
dates, was 10 48' 30" north of east." I have had no means 
of checking this statement, but it is very possible that in 
early times the east may have been obtained from the posi- 
tion of the sun at sunrise on a particular day, without any 
reference whatever to sun-worship. It would be most in- 
teresting if it could be ascertained that the position of other 
temples to north or south of east is in any way governed by 
the position of the sun at sunrise on any particular day of 
the year. 

On entering the Promised Land, the Hebrews were enjoined 
in the strictest manner to uproot the heathen institutions, to 
destroy their altars and break down their images, and cut 
down their groves and burn the graven images with fire ; but 
there is not a single allusion to the existence of any temples 
in Syria, nor does it appear probable that any existed at that 
time, for we learn from other sources that it was only in later 
days the temples came into use, and first, as Pausanias tells 
us, they we're made of wood. 

The Hebrews were also told to pluck down the high places 
of the heathen, but it does not appear that they carried out 
this injunction in its integrity ; and it does not seem quite 
clear at the present day as to exactly what was intended by 
the order whether it was simply to pull down the altars of 
the heathen which had been erected on sanctified places. At 


any rate, until the dedication of the temple, the sacrifice and 
worship of the Hebrews on high places, though not approved, 
was considered a venial offence as compared with other sins ; 
and we even find Solomon going to the high place of Gibeon 
and sacrificing, and then being visited by the Lord in a dream, 
and promised by Him the gift of wisdom. Gideon was told to 
sacrifice on the top of a rock at Ophrah, and also Manoah in 
like manner elsewhere. High places continued to be the scenes 
of worship and of sacrifice among nations until a late date, and 
the upper chamber in the house and the house-top were also 
considered fit places for worship. St Peter went up to the 
house-top to pray, and the Last Supper was celebrated in an 
upper chamber. 

On the heights of Nebo and Pisgah, also, altars only were 
used, and there is no mention of any temple. Certainly the 
remains of a temple exist in the ruins of the town of Niba, 
which I found in 1867; but this appears to be of quite a 
late date, probably not more ancient than the time of the 

It seems doubtful whether it was a temple whose pillars 
Samson pulled down on himself and his spectators, and it is 
not until the ark was placed in the house of Dagon that we 
have any direct evidence on the subject. 

Micah also made a house for his gods. 

It was only after the dedication of the temple of Solomon 
that we have any allusion to the temples of Baal, and the use 
of temples thus appears to have grown up after the entry of 
the Hebrews into the Promised Land. 

The story of Bel and the Dragon contains the description of 
a pagan temple in Babylon of the time of Daniel, 600 B.C., in 
the reign of Cyrus, King of Persia. The account of this 
temple corresponds, as far as it goes, with those of later date 
which I examined in the Lebanon and about Hermon, 
especially regarding the secret entrance for the priests. The 
account is the more interesting because the earliest temples, 
whose ruins are now extant, are of about this date, and though 
they are unfortunately much ruined and altered, yet it is 


apparent, from what still remains, that they had their entrances 
to the west, contrariwise to all later temples. 

Among the oldest of these I may mention the Parthenon 
and temple of Jupiter Olympius at Athens, which are said 
(Stewart's "Antiquities of Athens") to have had their principal 
entrances to the west. It would thus appear that we have no 
cass of any temples with their entrances to the east earlier than 
600 B.C., that is, about 400 years after the construction of 
Solomon's temple, and 800 years after the setting up of the 

This completely agrees with what Dr Potter tells us on the 
subject : " It was an ancient custom among the heathen 
to worship with their faces towards the east. This is proved 
by Clemens of Alexandria, and Hyginus, the freedman of 
Augustus Caesar, to have been the most ancient situation of 
temples, and that the placing the front of temples towards 
the east was only a device of later years." 

Vitruvius (B.C. 25) also says that the entrances of temples 
should be towards the west, although, in his time, most temples 
must have had their entrances changed to the east. 

We have thus the testimony of ancient historians and their 
commentators as to worship having originally been toward 
the east, and of temples having been so turned, up to the year 
600 B.C., or thereabouts. After this time all temples were 
either turned in a manner similar to Solomon's temple, or had 
no orientation at all. The inference I draw from this is, that 
the glory and knowledge of Solomon's temple gradually 
became infiltrated among the surrounding nations, and that 
the heathen, perhaps quite unconsciously, were influenced 

Let us now make inquiry as to the prospect of those 
tenJples which increased so rapidly under the fostering care of 
the Roman empire, and whose remains are now so numerous : 
sacred '5ome to the gods .and some to men. The Greek 
scholiast upon Pindar (B.C. 25) tells us they were wont to turn 
their faces towards the east when they prayed to the gods, and 
to the west when to the heroes or demi-gods. It is of little 


use referring to the latter ; they had no constant orientation, 
and were placed as circumstances required facing a thorough- 
fare or river. But regarding the temples to the gods, in the 
existing remains in Syria, Greece, Italy, and Sicily, we find 
their entrances for the most part toward the east, and that 
therefore the people worshipped toward the west, as did the 
Hebrews. True, it had been surmised that the temples about 
Mount Hermon had been turned towards it as to a kibleh, so 
that worshippers might look to it and pray ; but the plans and 
positions of all these temples have now been obtained, and, 
without exception, they all have their entrances to the east, 
and in no one case does the front, or any side of the building, 
face direct upon the summit of Hermon. They do not all 
face due east, but some a few degrees north or south of east 
possibly in accordance with the direction of east as obtained 
from the sun at dawn on the day of commencement, or of 

There is, however, one temple among these which differs 
from the rest, namely, that on the summit of Mount Hermon 
itself, possibly the remains of that remarkable temple to which 
St Jerome refers, at which the heathen from the region of 
Panias and Lebanon met for worship. It does not at all 
follow that the worshippers at this temple were the same 
people with those who met together in the temples surround- 
ing the mount. Probably at that time, as now, there were 
several religious sects in the country ; some, perhaps, following 
the old sun-worship, others that of the celestial gods, others 
that of the heroes, and possibly many adopting a mixture of 
all. There are now in the country several distinct sects of 
Christians, two distinct sects of Moslems, and also two sects 
whose religious observances are quite unknown to us, though 
much has been surmised concerning them. Of one of those 
latter, Benjamin of Tudila (A.D. 1 165) gives some account, 
stating that they worshipped even then on high places and 
rocky ridges ; and it seems probable that this sect may consist 
of the descendants of the ancient inhabitants, who preferred 
the secret worship approved of by the emissary of the mad 


Khalif Hakim (A.D. 1120) to the open religion of their Moslem 

That the older forms of sun-worship existed side by side 
with the not less idolatrous worship that sprung from it, there 
can be no doubt. Even as late as the time of the prophet 
Ezekiel we have a record of it : " . . . And, behold, at 
the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and 
the altar, were about five-and-twenty men, with their backs 
toward the temple of the Lord, and their faces toward the 
east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east." Hermon 
and other peaks of the Lebanons may thus have continued to 
be the scenes of sun-worship until a very late date, so late 
that I doubt but that traces may yet be found of it, if not the 
worship itself, among the people. In this worship it does not 
seem that a covered temple was necessary, and Herodotus 
tells us that the Persians had no temples, even in ages when 
temples were common in all other countries, and that they 
worshipped upon some high place. The Egyptian bas-relief 
at Tell Amarna, however, picturing the sun-worship during the 
eighteenth dynasty, when the Hebrews were in the country, 
shows a temple, the people having their backs towards it and 
their faces to the sun. 

As has been mentioned, the temple of Hermon differs from 
those located around its base and roots : it is an open sacellum 
facing north-east, and situated south of the southern peak, 
for there are three peaks, about 500 yards apart, forming 
almost an equilateral triangle. The northern and western do 
not appear to have been the scenes of worship, but that to the 
south, probably from the earliest times, has been used as such. 
Here, in the caldron scooped out of the rock summit, is the 
place where, I presume, the children were given over to 
Moloch and devoured by the flames. 

The place is so little known, and is of so interesting a 
nature, that I will give a short account of it : 

Around the southern peak is an oval of upright stones well 
dressed, in a continuous curved line, about 2 feet in height, 
each stone being about 8 feet long. This oval is elliptical, its 


longer axis from north-west to south-east being 1 30 feet, its 
shorter axis being about 100 feet in length. Within the oval 
rises the peak to a height of about 18 feet, and at the apex is 
a hole cut out like a caldron, 9 feet in diameter, and about 
6 feet deep ; at the bottom is shingle and rubbish, and the 
true bottom is probably deeper ; to the south, and just outside 
the oval, is the ruin of the sacellum. 

This peak cannot be seen from any point below except 
to the east, and the summit generally cannot be seen from 
the villages at the base of the mountain. From many of the 
villages a culminating point indeed is seen, but it is merely 
the swelling of the mountain side and not the true summit 

This peak, pre-eminent among the high places of Syria and 
Palestine, with its stone oval, was apparently the scene of 
that portion of the ancient form of worship which the Moslems 
still preserve around the Kaaba and the Sakhrah : namely, 
the towaf or walk round, generally repeated seven times. 
Prior to the age of Mahomet, the people, when idolatry pre- 
vailed in Arabia, regarded the Kaaba as sacred ; and having 
worshipped the black stone and reverently kissed it, proceeded, 
divested of all garments, to execute the towaf, nearly in the 
same manner as the Moslems execute the same ceremony at 
the present time, except that it is now performed with greater 

Whilst on the subject of high places, it may not be out of 
place to mention that the top of Mount Gerizim is also a kibleh, 
towards which the Samaritans turn during worship a people 
who, though now restricted to the town of Nablous (and only 
numbering about 200), formerly inhabited many of the sur- 
rounding towns and villages. They arethe only people in Syria 
who have openly carried on their form of worship continu- 
ously since the time of the captivity. Their customs and cere- 
monies on this account are most interesting, especially as they 
are founded on the Hebrew form of worship ; and, having been 
antagonistic to them since the time of Cyrus of Persia, we 
have in them a most extraordinary living corroboration of the 
general truth of the Hebrew records, for the Samaritans would 


glory in any discrepancy which would tend to throw doubt 
upon the authenticity of the books of their ancient enemies. 

It is remarkable, on the return of the Hebrews to the Pro- 
mised Land, that Ebal and Gerizim should have been selected 
as the site for the reading of the law and the utterance of the 
blessings and curses by all Israel ; and one of the chief dif- 
ferences in the Pentateuchs of the two people is, that the 
Samaritans read that the great altar of peace-offering, erected 
to Jehovah, was on Gerizim, the mount of blessing, and not 
on Ebal as we read it. 

The rock towards which the Samaritans now turn is that 
on which they suppose the great altar to have been erected, 
and close to it is a small hole which they say is the spot 
where Abraham sacrificed ; where Jacob dreamed ; where 
the ark rested ; the Holy of Holies. Dean Stanley suggests 
that this hole was the sewer by which the blood was carried 
away from the sacrifices, just as it was from the altar at 
Jerusalem. The pit in which the Paschal lambs are now roasted 
is to the west of this rock, and the Samaritans, when going 
through their ceremonies at Easter, face at the same time east- 
ward, and toward their sacred rock, being thus the only 
worshippers to the east in latter days, with the exception of 
sun-worshippers. When away from Gerizim they face 
towards the stone on the summit in prayer. 

Of the temple of Jupiter Hellenius, built on Gerizim in the 
reign of Antiochus, nothing apparently now remains ; but it 
probably was on the site now occupied by the ruins of the 
Church of Justinian to the north of the sacred rock. 

The heathen temples of the Roman empire continued in 
existence until the fourth or fifth century; in some cases, 
side by side, Jewish synagogues and Christian churches, in 
other cases, themselves turned into Christian churches. In 
Syria the heathen worship continued as late as A.D. 420, when 
the inhabitants summoned Simeon Stylite to help them from 
the ravages of wild beasts, and he counselled them to give 
up their idolatry ; and Theodosius the younger made a law 
about the same time, enjoining the destruction of all hea- 


then temples, in default of their being turned into Christian 

I may mention that we have direct evidence of this having 
occurred in the remains of the temple of Rukleh, at the foot of 
Mount Hermon, where the apsidal end is most obviously an 
addition taking the place of the old eastern entrance, the latter 
entrance being from the west ; the same is to be found in the 
ancient temple at Niba, west of Mount Nebo. That so few, 
comparatively, of these temples are now extant is not to be 
wondered at, when we read Gibbon, p. 65 : " In Syria (about 
A.D. 381) the divine and excellent Marcellus ... re- 
solved to level with the ground the stately temples within 
the diocese of Apamia, . . . and he successively attacked 
the villages and country temples of the diocese. ... A 
small number of temples was protected by the fears, the 
venality, the taste, or the prudence of the civil and ecclesiasti- 
cal governors." 

The synagogues of this period appear to form a distinct 
class of building from either temple or church, and, on look- 
ing at their orientation, we find it similar to neither that of 
church or temple : their entrances to the south, or facing Jeru- 
salem. True it is that they are at present only to be found 
in Galilee, so that perhaps it would be more strictly correct to 
say that they face to the south. One synagogue only has 
been discovered south of Jerusalem at Beersheba, but the dis- 
coverer (Mr Church, U.S.) has not noted its orientation. 

The architecture of these synagogues appears as though it 
were an adaptation to the Jewish wants, of the style of exist- 
ing temples in the Lebanon. 

At first examination it would appear natural to expect to 
find the chancel (if I may so call it) of the synagogues turned 
towards Jerusalem, and the entrance to the north, so that the 
people should turn towards their kibleh when they worship. 

But there is another method of viewing the subject viz., 
by continuing the principle on which the temple was built to 
the synagogues also : the temple with its front facing the 
east, from which the glory of the Lord proceeded ; the syna- 


gogues with their fronts facing the temple, in which the glory 
of the Lord resided. 

The entrance may also have been turned toward Jerusalem 
in order that there should be as little obstruction as possible 
between the worshippers and their kibleh. Thus we find 
Daniel prayed, his windows being open in his chamber 
toward Jerusalem ; and we find the same sentiments running 
through the Eastern mind in a legend given in Burton's 
" Travels in Arabia," where Mahomet, either at Kuba or at 
the Kibleytein, being uncertain of the true direction of Mecca, 
suddenly saw his holy city, though so many miles off, and in 
spite of so many obstacles naturally intercepting the view. 
There appear to be several allusions in the Old Testament to 
the habit of turning towards Jerusalem in prayer, apart from 
the worship in the temple itself. 

In examining the opinions of the authorities regarding the 
direction in which the synagogues should face, we find very 
conflicting evidence. 

Vitringa and Buxtorf make Jerusalem the kibleh, so that 
worshippers, when they entered and when they prayed, looked 
towards the city. Clemens of Alexandria makes the east 
the kibleh ; and Dr Lightfoot, quoting from the Talmud, 
tells us that the chancel, corresponding to the Holy of Holies, 
was towards the west, the people facing that way. Probably 
Clemens of Alexandria only referred to European and 
African synagogues, and thus so far agrees with Vitringa 
and Buxtorf ; but we have still two systems left, that in which 
the chancel is towards Jerusalem, and that in which it is to 
the east ; and finally, we have the existing remains disagree- 
ing with both, the entrance being towards Jerusalem, and 
therefore apparently their chancels away from it. The Jews 
in Jerusalem, at the present day, state they should face 
towards Jerusalem when they pray, wherever they may be, 
and to them the noble sanctuary is still the kibleh. Some 
Moorish Jews state that, during certain prayers, they face 
north and then south. 

On studying the orientation of early Christian churches, we 


find much written on the subject, especially in the works of 
Mr Asplin and Mr Gregory, in the early part of the last 
century. These writers, taking very different views, have 
nearly exhausted the subject, without bringing us to any 
definite conclusion, owing, in some measure, I apprehend, to 
the mistaken opinion that the Jews worshipped towards the 
west, whereas they worshipped towards the mercy-seat, 
wherever they happened to be. Mr Asplin, in particular, 
who has investigated the subject very thoroughly, is con- 
stantly prevented clenching an argument by the view he has 
taken as to the western worship of the Jews. There is, further, 
the very grave difficulty as to the known position of some of 
the early churches ; of those that faced north or south there 
is very little to be said. They were so placed, no doubt, 
owing to local peculiarities or circumstances, which may in- 
fluence any rules, like that of St Patrick in Ulster, and there 
is no occasion to refer to these solitary exceptions ; but there 
are cases which are very puzzling, those where the building 
lay east and west, the chancel to the west. 

Of these we have some very notable instances, viz., the 
churches of St Peter at Rome, the church of Tyre, and the 
Church of the Holy Sepulchre ; and also we may refer to the 
remark of Paulinus, Bishop of Nola, in the fourth century, who 
stated of his church, " It has not its prospect towards the east, 
as the more usual manner is." Mr Asplin goes so far as to 
quote with approval, " That for the four first centuries the 
general situation of churches was directly the reverse of what 
we now behold," yet he owns that this was contrary to 
the received opinion, not only of the vulgar, but even of the 
generality of our most celebrated and learned writers. 

The key to this difficulty appears to me to lie in the fact 
that the door of the present Holy Sepulchre happens to lie 
to the east, and therefore the churches built on the model 
of that erected by Constantine over this sepulchre must 
necessarily have had their entrance to the east, an orientation 
therefore due to this exceptional and special circumstance. 

The question may reasonably be asked by Europeans of 


the present day, why the early Christians should have given 
any orientation to their churches, seeing that the Lord is 
everywhere ? It cannot be forgotten, however, that the early 
Christians, whether Jews, Samaritans, or Gentiles, were all, 
more or less, Orientals, and were thoroughly accustomed to 
a kibleh, so that they would naturally have required one, both 
for uniformity and to satisfy their own cravings ; and it 
appears to me due to the destruction of Jerusalem and the 
consequent loss of the Holy Sepulchre for so many years, 
if not for ever, that we owe our present immunity from 
worship towards it. Even now the Arab Christians pay the 
alleged sepulchre a reverence little less than that which the 
Mohammedans pay their black stone ; and at Easter time, 
when the holy fire descends from heaven upon the sepulchre, 
the Arab Christians execute a towaf around it in a very similar 
manner to that indulged in by their Mohammedan brethren. 

The Christians of the world have, however, escaped the use 
of this kibleh, and the injurious results which might have 
resulted to Christianity from its abuse. There is yet, how- 
ever, a kibleh which the Christians have used from the earliest 
day, the east, and it would be most desirable to ascertain 
exactly how its use came about. Unfortunately this is in- 
volved in apparently hopeless obscurity. Some say it was a 
protest against the general worship of Jew and Gentile in 
their temples to the west, but here it is forgotten that the 
Christian religion did not overturn that of the Jews, but 
simply amplified and fulfilled it. Others say that the sun- 
worship having disappeared, with a few isolated exceptions, 
there was no reason why the Christians should not return 
to that kibleh from which the Jews had departed by way of 
protest, having, in its stead, the revealed glory in their 
temples. There is much reason in this argument, for the 
Shekinah had now left the Jewish temple. Others again say 
that it was simply to Jerusalem that Western Christians turn ; 
and again, others that it was to the Garden of Eden, the 
Paradise in the East. It appears to me that a custom may 
obtain without any one very distinct or strong influence, if an 


infinite number of minor influences are brought to bear in one 
direction. For example : all early Christians being Orientals, 
would, as we are aware, require a kibleh, but being Jews, 
Gentiles, and Samaritans, they would all have had various 
opinions on the subject : is it not, then, possible that the 
kibleh to the east may have been that most agreeable or least 
disagreeable to the feelings of each individual of the early 
congregation, while each would have a different reason for the 
choice; thus the custom may have arisen fortuitously? While 
putting forward this supposition, I do not, however, myself 
think that our kibleh arose in this manner. I am inclined 
to think that it sprang from the sentiments on the subject 
which seemed to pervade the human race when not ousted 
out by some enforced rite, and that it was particularly induced 
by the prophetic allusions to the Saviour of the world in the 
Old Testament, wherein the references to the east are most 

We have allusion to the glory of God coming by way of 
the east, and also the Prince by the east gate of the temple. 
He is called the Sun of Righteousness, the Morning Star, the 
Day-Spring from on high. How is it possible to examine 
these passages without instinctively feeling that the east has 
to us a charm over other quarters of the heavens, to which, 
even in our daily talk, we are ever unconsciously alluding ? 
From the time when Elijah went eastward across Jordon to 
be caught up, until our Saviour departed eastward past Olivet, 
we have continual reference to that as the special quarter of 
the heavens, and it should not therefore be surprising that 
we find the sentiment deeply engrained in the minds of all 

Without this clue it would be most baffling and unsatis- 
factory to attempt to comprehend how the Christian writers 
could have got hold of the very sentiments common to the 
Egyptian and Greek heathen. We are told that, at Christian 
baptism in early times, the catechumens were obliged to stand 
facing the west and renounce Satan with gestures and out- 
stretched hand, as though he were present the west being 


the place of darkness and strength of Satan and then to turn 
about to the east and make a covenant to the Sun of Right- 
eousness, and promise to be His servant. 

Clemens Alexandrinus says that they worshipped towards 
the east because the east is the image of our spiritual nativity, 
and from thence the light first arises and shines out of dark- 
ness, and the day of true knowledge, after the manner of the 
sun, arises upon those who lie buried in ignorance. 

How exactly this dual sentiment regarding east and west, 
day and night, good and evil, darkness and light, agrees with 
those of the ancient heathen ! Hesiod tells us that they con- 
sidered the abode of night in the west, behind where Atlas 
supports the heavens, where others thought the isles of the 
dead lay. 

And the funereal Sphinx, image of the setting sun, was 
made by the Egyptians gazing into the east, as it were into 
futurity. To the ancients the sun-symbolical representation 
of life, light, heat, and goodness, lay in the east. 

The more we consider the subject the more identical appear 
the views on certain points of Christians, Jews, Mohammedans, 
and heathen, covered only with a slight veil of difference; and 
we might almost feel inclined to soften down the horror with 
which we are filled against heathen rites and ceremonies, and 
view them as kindred allegories to our own, were we not 
checked by the remembrance of their horrible application, 
resulting in atrocities and crimes which have never in the 
same degree disgraced Jewish and Christian people, showing 
that there is a difference equal to that between light and 

Distinct, however, from the application of their religion to 
themselves, there are, to us Christians, sublime lessons to be 
learnt in their veriest fables, which the merest children can 
understand, as, for example, the fable of the ascent of 
Mahomet into the seven heavens, which, in its gross form, 
veils a beautiful allegory. I will only instance that portion 
which describes the repentant sinner penetrated with God's 
grace : 


" The face of the Deity was covered with 20,000 veils, for it would 
have annihilated man to look upon its glory. He put forth His hands, 
and placed one upon the heart and the other upon the shoulder of 
Mahomet, who felt a freezing chill penetrating to his heart and to 
the very marrow of his bones. It was followed by a feeling of 
ecstatic bliss, while a sweetness and fragrance prevailed around, 
which none can understand but those who have been in the Divine 

In conclusion, let me briefly recapitulate the principal heads 
of the system of orientation which I have endeavoured to 
trace : 

First, we find the worship in early days generally towards 
the east, in groves and on high places ; the custom kept in its 
integrity by the faithful, but degenerating to the worship of 
the sun and host of heaven, of stocks and stones, by the 
heathen. The very manifestations themselves to the faithful 
appear to be parodied and travestied by the heathen. The 
Hebrews are educated as a separate people in Egypt, as 
bondsmen, and are sent into Palestine to root out the Hamitic 
idolatries, and are specially interdicted from the form of 
worship of their forefathers Abraham^ Isaac, and Jacob. To 
make their religious ceremonies completely distinct, the 
worship towards the east is given up, and that glory they 
formerly turned to in the east is now located in the tabernacle, 
to which they turn in prayer, and which, on account of the 
position given to it, causes them to turn their backs on the 
rising sun during their worship. This takes place in 1400 B.C., 
and about 800 years afterwards, viz., in 600 B.C., we have the 
first signs of the heathen following the custom in like manner, 
as can be seen in the temples at Athens. By the time 
Jerusalem was destroyed, the worship generally had changed 
to west; and on Christianity being established, the early 
members of our church turned for many reasons to the old 
kibleh, the east, and the custom has continued to this day. 
The question of kiblehs generally is discussed. 

And now, in taking leave of the subject, let me say that I 
cannot expect others to be satisfied with the result of this 


paper any more than I am myself. I feel that, in discussing 
the subject, we are groping in the dark, but I cannot help 
thinking that the knowledge we are daily getting of the 
religions of the world generally will enable us shortly to see 
the question less dimly ; and I shall feel quite contented to 
think that I may have been instrumental, through this paper, 
in drawing attention to subjects which have not usually been 
brought much in contact, and that some new ideas may 
result. That this subject is intimately connected with the 
history of mankind, the affinity of races, their customs and 
ceremonies, I think there can be no doubt. 


Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. 

THE venerable relic which is the subject of this paper is a 
wooden cot (or cradle, as it has been called) of unquestionable 
antiquity, traditionally said to have been the cradle of the hero 
of Agincourt, the glory of Monmouth, Henry V. 

Lambarde, in his " Topographical Dictionary," speaking of 
the destruction of Monmouth Castle in the thirteenth century, 
writes : " Thus the glorie of Monmouth had cleane perished, 
ne had it pleased God longe after in that place to give life 
to the noble King Hen. V." (" Alphabetical Description of the 
Chief Places in England and Wales," by William Lambarde, 
first published in 1730). It may befit me, therefore, as an 
inhabitant of this town, to use my endeavour to preserve from 
perishing the memory of an object which tradition has asso- 
ciated with him who has given undying fame to my place of 
residence, and which for a period of many years has been 
lost to us. Tradition, of course, is not evidence. But where 
direct testimony is not to be obtained, and in the absence of 
authoritative contradiction, it must be accepted as of a certain 
weight and worth. It will generally' be found to be built 
upon a substratum of fact, and although, in process of time, 
the groundwork is almost invariably distorted, it is rarely 
destroyed. Should there be nothing, then, but tradition to 
link this rare example of mediaeval furniture with the House 
of Plantagenet and the town of Monmouth, it would not, I 
opine, be beneath the notice of those whose professed aim is 
to classify the stores of the past and to preserve everything 


connected with those of our forefathers whose history is an 
honour to our land. 

I may be allowed to observe, in the first place, that speci- 
mens of beds and cradles prior to the sixteenth century are 
very rare ; and I believe the cot in question is a unique 
example of such an object claiming to belong to the four- 
teenth century. This is the more extraordinary, inasmuch as 
such articles of domestic use do not wear out very quickly, 
being usually made of hard wood, unexposed to weather or 
violence ; and in the Middle Ages they were deemed of such 
value as to be often specially mentioned in the wills of people 
of quality. No trace exists of " my new bed of red velvet 
embroidered with ostrich feathers of silver, and heads of 
leopards of gold, with boughs and leaves issuing out of their 
mouths," which the mother of Richard II. left to her "dear 
son the king." The tattered remains of the old bed, called 
the bed of Henry V., which Coxe mentions in his history of 
Monmouthshire as having been long exhibited at the mansion 
of Courtfield, have vanished and left " not a rack behind." 
What has become of the " little cradille of tre in a frame 
coueryd and painted wi th fyne golde and devises, of a yerd and 
a quarter longe, and in bred xxij inches," which is ordered in 
a manuscript of " Ceremonies and Services in Court," temp. 
Henry VII. ? or, still more, of the " gret cradille of estat, con- 
tenynge in length v foot and half, in bred ij foot and a half, 
coueryd in clothe of gold," of the same order-book ? (" Anti- 
quarian Repertory," vol. i., p. 336.) Rich coverlids were pro- 
vided for the above; as also we find " a pane and a head shete 
for ye cradell of the same sute, both furred with mynever," in 
an inventory of Reginald de la Pole, in the fifteenth century 
(Turner's " Domestic Architecture in England, from Rich. II. 
to Hen. VIII," 1859, vol. Hi., p. 106). But of all such 
things, however treasured in their day, not a vestige has come 
down to us, except the venerable claimant which is the sub- 
ject of this essay. 

A false reputation for antiquity is so common that it makes 
one regard every claim with distrust. I am told that the 


" fourteenth-century funeral pall," lent by the Fishmongers' 
Company to the Exhibition of Art Needlework in 1873, which 
was stated to have been used at the obsequies of Sir William 
Wai worth in the time of Richard II., has since been proved, 
by the armorial bearings on it, to be of at least two centuries 
later date. The history of Edward's Tower in Carnarvon 
Castle is a parallel instance which will occur to every archae- 
ologist. The relic of which I am treating may, in like manner, 
be discovered by some future iconoclast to be an impostor ; 
but, meanwhile, I will bring forward and record such claims 
as it has, and will adduce no opinion without producing my 
authority for the same. 

The so-called cradle of Henry V., of which I submit a re- 
presentation, is different in form from any of the antique 

cradles I have met with, delineated m illuminated MSS. It 
is, in fact, a cot, and not a cradle. It belongs rather to the 
lecti pensiles mentioned by Joannes Alstorphius in his " Dis- 
sertatio Philologia de Lectis Veterum," which cradle-beds are 
said by Mercurialis, in his work, " De Arte Gymnastica," to 
have been invented by the Bithynian physician, Asclepiades 
("De lecti pensilis, cunarum, ac navis gestationem faculta- 
tibus. Qui primo lectulos pensiles excogitavit Asclepiades." 


Mercurial! De Arte Gymnastica). Ducange, in his Glossary, 
speaks of cradles suspended by cords, which would more 
resemble the cot under consideration. But there is one thing in 
common with them all the peculiarity of an arrangement for 
a crossed band to prevent the child from tumbling out. This 
may be noticed in the twelfth-century bas-relief from the 
cathedral of Chartres, in Willemin's " Monuments Fran9ais 
In^dits " (planche 74, meubles du xii m e siecle), " Berceau garni 
de ses sangles croise'es, precaution usitee encore dans quelques 
contrdes et qui avait pour but d'empecher 1'enfant de tomber ; " 
and again in the fifteenth-century cradle, from a manuscript 
in the Bibliotheque du Roi (No. 6896), " Le petit bers ou 
berceau garni de ses bandelettes pour preserver 1'enfant des 
dangers d'une chute." 

In my drawing of the cradle of Henry V., the openings for 
the lacing of the band appear, three on each side, while at the 
base are small holes through which a cord passes across the 
bottom to support the mattress. 

The measurement has been given with slight variations in 
sundry works. According to my own, its size runs : 

Length, 38 inches. 

Width at head, 19! inches; at foot, 17^ inches. 

Depth, 17 inches. 

Height of supports, including foot, 36 inches. 

The wood is in places worm-eaten, and it is become 
rickety. One of the carved supports is very much decayed. 
Though all beauty has disappeared from what was originally 
a handsome and solid piece of furniture, traces of gilding and 
red paint can still be detected here and there, on close exam- 
ination, and the carving of the spandrels and the birds perched 
on the supports is remarkably bold and characteristic. I am 
sorry to say some pieces of carved wood of anachronistic 
style have been inserted, of late years, in the corners ; while 
the old plain rail beneath has been replaced by similar carved 
work. This does not appear in Mr Shaw's excellent engrav- 
ing of the cradle, in his great work on mediaeval furniture 


(H. Shaw & Mey rick's " Specimens of Ancient Furniture," 
fol. 1836) ; and the difference will at once be observed on 
comparing my drawing with any of the old engravings ; but 
I have authority to state that these deplorable additions were 
made before it came into the possession of the father of the 
Rev. George Weare Braikenridge, the present owner. The 
entire chattel exhibits an appearance of archaic simplicity ; 
and it has a far more ancient aspect than the cradle of 
James I., preserved at Alloa Park, the seat of the Earl of 
Mar, a drawing of which appears in Nichol's " Progresses." 
In the fine museum of its present owner, where the cradle 
opcupies a place of honour, every care is taken of this precious 
relic ; and should such care continue and the ravages of the 
Anobium beetle be stopped, as they might easily be, there is 
no reason why this antiquity might not continue, for many 
a century to come, a unique example of mediaeval cabinet- 
work, and a memento of one of the greatest and worthiest of 
our kings. The cradle could not be in better hands than 
those of Mr Braikenridge, a Fellow of the Royal Historical 
Society, whose refined taste and antiquarian proclivities 
render him the worthy guardian of the many treasures of 
mediaeval art which his museum contains. 

I fancy it is Sir Thomas Browne in his " Garden of Cyrus," 
who remarks that nothing is ever so lost that diligent research 
cannot bring it to light ; and he goes on to surmise that it 
would not be impossible to recover the ground-plan of the 
tower of Babel, or the song of the Sirens, or the language of 
Paradise ! Without striving after anything so recondite, 
I must confess I have more than once almost despaired of 
ever coming upon the track of the cradle of Henry V., con- 
cerning which I read twenty years ago in topographical 
works relating to the county of Monmouth, and of which 
I was then assured, by local antiquaries, that not a trace was 
to be found. I should be almost ashamed to admit how 
shortsighted and futile my endeavours have been, did I not 
know that others far more influential and intelligent than 
myself have also sought the same object, and sought in vain. 


For upwards of seventy years the cradle had been missing ; 
and although once during that period a description, by an 
eye-witness, and an engraving of it was published, it does not 
seem to have caught the attention of local antiquaries ; and 
when, last summer, I determined to make a fresh effort to 
obtain intelligence respecting the missing chattel, the point 
from which I had to start was the commencement of the 
present century. 

In the year 1804, Mr Charles Heath of Monmouth pub- 
lished his " Historical and Descriptive Account of the Ancient 
and Present State of the Town of Monmouth ; including 
a variety of particulars deserving the stranger's notice relating 
to the Borough and its neighbourhood, collected from original 
papers and unquestionable authorities, the whole never before 
published." In this book is an account of " the cradle in 
which King Henry the Fifth was nursed when an infant." 
And the following description being written by a person who 
had himself seen the cradle, I felt I had some solid ground to 
go upon, though I had been more than once assured that the 
very fact of its existence was mythical : 

" This highly curious and interesting relique," Mr Heath proceeds, 
" was the property of the Rev. Thomas Ball, vicar of Newland, in 
Gloucestershire ; but at the time of my visit to inspect it a few years 
ago, such was the estimation in which it was then held, that it was 
consigned to a garret of an untenanted house, as an associate of the 
most useless lumber. 

" According to the account which Mr Ball gave of its descent, it 
appears ' that one of his ancestors had been employed as a rocker to 
the prince that it became an honorary present to him, in conse- 
quence of his situation in the royal household and had continued 
as an heirloom in the family down to its then possessor.' 

" The body of the cradle," writes Mr Heath, " which is wider at 
one end than the other, is suspended by staples, and a ring at each 
end, from two pillars joined by framework ; a carved bird perches at 
the top of each, with foliage at the feet ; it has six long holes at the 
upper edge for the rockers (three on each side), and twelve round 
holes at the bottom for cordage to pass through, which formerly was 


for supporting a rush-mattress, upon which beds of the best fashion 
in this country were used to be laid. A full inclination is shown to 
add all the ornament 'the workman's planes would afford upon the 
sides, which are carved with variety of irregular mouldings, struck 
from end to end : although it is remarkable that this Cambrian artist 
seems to have been unacquainted either with dovetailing or mitring, 
the ends being plain boards to keep out and fasten the sides to, 
which is done simply with nails ; and yet the carving of the birds, 
and foliage to the pillars, between which it swings, are specimens of 
better execution. Old wainscoting of excellent impannelling carved 
in this style, has frequently no better joinings. Whence it appears 
that those who executed the nicer parts were not employed to put 
the work together. Its dimensions are three feet two inches long ; 
one foot eight inches wide at the head ; one foot five inches three- 
quarters at the foot ; and one foot five inches deep. It is made of 
oak, inch and half thick, and the pillars are two feet ten inches 
from the ground to the top of the birds.* 

" The Rev. Mr Ball was a very sensible and intelligent character, 
and lived to an extreme age nor does there exist a doubt among 
well-informed persons in this neighbourhood but that the cradle was 
originally devoted to the use of the royal infant. On the decease of 

the Rev. Mr Ball, it was presented by his son to Whitehead, 

Esq. of Horn-brook, French-hay, near Bristol, in whose possession it 
now remains, and who, I am informed, justly appreciates its value. 
Greatly indeed it is to be lamented that some character of fortune 
in the county did not endeavour to fix it at Monmouth since, by its 
removal, its history is done entirely away." 

So far Heath, an enthusiastic historian, but not always 
accurate. The name of the incumbent of Newland was Pere- 
grine not Thomas Ball. Why the passage " that one of his 
ancestors had been," etc., *s placed within inverted commas, 
I cannot say; but I remark that a long quotation from 
Bonnor, which follows, is not so distinguished. In speaking 
of the " prince " and the " royal household," Heath was simply 
blundering, inasmuch as Henry of Bolingbroke was only Earl 

* "These birds had been gilt, but owing to lapse of time, and damp, or other 
cause, the gilding is nearly effaced, except in a few interstices of the feathers of 
the wings." 


of Derby at the time of the birth of his son and heir, and had 
no pretensions to the throne. His utter ignorance on this 
score is continually apparent. He says "at the time the 
queen was pregnant with her son and heir, the king was 
engaged in state affairs at Windsor," and in this he follows the 
blunders of others ; but I fancy it was from his own imagina- 
tion that he described the rocker as an officer of the royal 
household, who obtained the cradle "in consequence of his 
situation." The holes said to be " for the rockers " are the 
holes for the lacing band, before mentioned ; but this error 
occurs in the quotation from Bonnor. The measurement is 
slightly different from my own and from Bonnor's. Lastly, 
Horn-brook should be Hambrook. 
From this account we can gather certain original statements. 

1. That Heath himself had seen the cradle in a neglected 
state at Newland, a few years previous to 1804. Now, from 
the First Fruits Papers in the Record Office, Gloucester divi- 
sion, I learn that the Rev. Peregrine Ball was appointed to 
the vicarage of Newland 2Oth February 1745-46, and was 
succeeded on his death by the Rev. John Probyn, 26th 
December 1794. There is every reason to conclude that Mr 
Ball was dead at the time of Heath's visit. The quotation 
of Mr Ball's account reads as though Heath had received it 
from some other person, who showed him over the house ; 
and, though he afterwards speaks of Mr Ball as a very sensible 
and intelligent character, he does not state that he had been in 
personal communication with him, which there is little doubt 
he would otherwise have done. I think it most probable, there- 
fore, that Heath examined the cradle about the close of 1794, 
before it had been removed to Mr Ball's son's residence at St 
Briavels, whither it appears to have been taken ; and very 
likely it was at the sale of the effects of the old vicar. From 
this time of Heath's examination, till eighty years afterwards, 
when I lighted upon it in Mr Braikenridge's museum, I believe 
no Monmouth person had ever seen it, nor was it believed to 
be any longer in existence. 

2. That the well-informed people of the neighbourhood then 


regarded the cradle as a genuine relic, and that Mr Ball, who 
lived to an extreme age, always asserted the tradition. 

3. That the gilding of the birds ivas still visible though nearly 

4. That it was in the possession of Mr Whitehead of Ham- 
brook, French-hay, near Bristol, as late as 1 804, who was said 
to justly appreciate its value. 

5. That its removal from the neighbourhood of Monmotith 
was at once felt to be a loss to the town, as well as a detraction 
from the interest of this relic. 

The same year that Heath published his history of Mon- 
mouth, Bingley's " Tour through North Wales " appeared, in 
which, according to Sir Samuel Meyrick (" Specimens of Anci- 
ent Furniture "), was a representation of the cradle. My copy 
of the book, however, does not contain it. In 1818 the Rev. 
T. D. Fosbrooke published " The Wye Tour," and gave in it 
a description of another cradle which, for some forty or fifty 
years, usurped the title of the cradle of Henry V., and of 
which anon. Fosbrooke at the same time referred to "that 
of Henry V., once preserved at Newland a wooden oblong 
chest, without tester, swinging by links of iron between two 
posts, surmounted by two birds for ornament," which descrip- 
tion is stated to be " from the engraving." He goes on : 
" This looks much more ancient than that at Troy, which has 
a tester, rockers, and is covered with crimson velvet, but this 
is similar to ancient royal cradles." The engraving above 
mentioned was, I presume, Bonnor's, which Fosbrooke repro- 
duced on a very small scale in his " Encyclopaedia of Anti- 
quities," 4to, 1825 (plate, fig. i. "The cradle of Henry V., 
misnomered of Edward II., see Archeol. vi. 336"). Under 
the heading " Cradle" is a similar description to the above : 
" In the Middle Ages we find cradles suspended by cords and 
covered with cloth. That of Henry V. is a wooden oblong 
chest, swinging by links of iron between two posts, surmounted 
by two birds for ornament." 

Fosbrooke's knowledge of the cradle, we therefore see, was 
limited to an old engraving. He states that if resembles 


ancient royal cradles; but I do not know upon what au- 

In 1841, Mr Leitch Ritchie published "The Wye and its 
Associations." Speaking of Courtfield, he observes, " The re- 
mains of a bed and an old cradle were formerly shown as 
relics of the Monmouth hero." 

In 1843, in the " Dictionnaire Iconographique des Monuments 
de lAntiquit<y by L. J. Guenebault, we find, under the head- 
ing, " Berceaux d'Enfant," the cradle is mentioned " de Henry 
V., roi d'Angleterre, ouvrage de 1400 Shaw." I need scarcely 
point out that, if genuine, the cradle must have been made at 
least twelve or thirteen years before the above date. The 
author seems to have known of it only through the before- 
mentioned " Specimens of Ancient Furniture." 

In 1850, in a number of the Monmouthshire Gazette, ap- 
peared the following letter, bearing upon the subject : 

"Sx BRIAVELS, April 1850. SIR, It is so much the fashion in 
our day to look back to olden time, that anything bearing the 
stamp of antiquity is regarded as interesting; be it an old book, 
an old table, an antique high-backed chair, or any other article 
that may have been in daily use by our grandmothers generations 
back. This feeling seems to have been on the increase since the 
close of the great war in 1815 ; and having no further fights or 
deeds of glory of our own to talk about, we commence thinking 
of days gone by, and the relics left of those times and doings. I, 
therefore, being possessed of the like feeling, have an itching to 
enlighten my neighbours with respect to an 'old cradle;' not the 
stately cot with damask curtains sweeping the ground, lined and 
befringed in modern style, such as those we now see elevated 
in the window of the fashionable emporium of our great cities, 
but one formed of good old-fashioned heart of oak, pannelled and 
carved with demons of monstrous shapes, flying serpents with 
forked tongues, both hooked and barbed, enough to scare the cry- 
ing babe to silence, did it but know the horrid figures that watch 
its slumbers; and, withal, so firmly put together that it might 
have cradled royalty ever since the days of its first princely occu- 
pant down to the early part of the present century, at which date 
I have some faint recollections of having seen it. The tradition 


connected with it was called to my remembrance by reading in a 
local paper of the present year a notice of this very cradle, or, 
4 our cradle;' as it certainly should at this day be reposing, after 
all its rockings and tossings, in ' our village,' and would conse- 
quently be ' our cradle.' Sir, have you in your walks among the 
humble cottages of Wales ever seen the old wooden cradle that, 
rocked by force, sends forth a cry of seeming sympathy with the 
helpless babe within ? If so, you have some idea of my cradle that 
rocked to sleep, not far distant from the banks of the Wye and 
Monnow, the warlike Harry of Monmouth who stands amongst 
you the admiration of every one. You have your hero always to 
look upon ; we had the cradle that rocked to sleep that hero ; 
it is gone from us for ever sold for a mess of pottage or flattery. 
The tradition, as handed to me by my late father is this : In 
the village of Newland, near Monmouth, lived in the last century, 
the Rev. Peregrine Ball, vicar of the former place for forty-five 
years, and in whose possession was the cradle in which Harry 
of Monmouth had been nursed. The rev. gentleman often related 
the way in which it came into his family, tracing it back as hav- 
ing belonged to an aunt of his great-grandmother, but there the 
record of its earlier days is lost; still the cradle bore the stamp 
of its antiquity and royal purpose, its genuineness never being 
doubted, though no account has been preserved as to the direct 
way in which it had been handed down to posterity till about 
the close of the seventeenth century, when it came into the posses- 
sion of the Ball family. How desirable would it be if some one 
could give us further information as to its earlier career. After 
the decease of the old vicar, his only son removed to ' our village,' 
bringing with him the cradle. Years rolled on, and reverse of fortune 
affected the mind of him who possessed this valuable piece of anti- 
quity. The lady who presided over his household, in an unlucky 
moment, was induced to lend this precious relic, in order that a 
drawing might be taken of it for a society in London, and on board 
a Brockweir boat, plying from thence to Bristol, was shipped 'our 
cradle* shipped did I say? thrown on board a Brockweir trow, 
treated as lumber during its transit, and at Bristol tumbled out on 
the landing-place, and taken away by strangers ! Years afterwards 
application was made for its restoration ; no reply was ever given, as 
far as could be ascertained. Mr Ball became imbecile and died, the 



lady left our village, and this most valuable and interesting relic, ' our 
cradle/ was lost to us for ever. C." 

The principal interest of this epistle is, that it is the evidence 
of some one between fifty and sixty years of age who had seen 
the cradle at tJie village of St Briavels, in Gloucestershire, about 
the commencement of tJie present century, and who had heard its 
history from his father. As usual with all oral accounts, 
there is a certain amount of truth in this narrative mixed up 
with a deal of error. We have seen the Rev. Peregrine Ball 
held Newland forty-nine, and not forty-five, years. The 
childish imagination of the narrator transformed the carven 
foliage and arabesques of the spandrels into serpents and 
demons ; and its having been located for a very short while 
in our village, during the early youth of the writer, seemed 
to him to make it our property. Whether his assertions are 
to be taken as facts, I will not say ; but, in as far as they 
agree with other known facts, we may, I think, accept them. 

Thus, we have fresh information that Mr Ball's son conveyed 
the cradle to St Briavels, and that thence it was taken to Bristol, 
having been shipped on board one of the Wye barges plying 
between Brockweir and Bristol ; that the relic passed out of the 
Ball family during the temporary imbecility of the owner ; that 
it was sent away, on loan, for a drawing to be made of it for 
some London society, and was never returned, although efforts 
were made to recover it. Beyond this is the oft-told tale of the 
aged vicar of Newland, with the addition that the cradle came 
into the possession of the Ball family about the close of the 
seventeenth century, and had descended to the vicar from an aunt 
of his great-grandmother ; also that an inquiry about the cradle 
was made in a local paper at the beginning of the year 1850, 
and, no information forthcoming, " C." piiblished his recollections 
in the hope of obtaining news of tlie lost chattel ; lastly, that the 
genuineness of the relic was never doubted. 

In 1 86 1 Mr and Mrs S. C. Hall brought out their "Book of 
South Wales," and among other sketches which I had the 
pleasure of giving them for that work were the drawings of 
the two cradles laying claim to the honour of being the cradle 


of Henry V., page 72. The one was an original sketch, the 
other was copied from an engraving. 
Their notice runs thus : 

"On the great staircase at Troy House is preserved an old cradle, 
which is called that of Henry V. It is certainly not as old as the 
era of that monarch ; we engrave it, together with some pieces of 
old armour, apparently of the time of Elizabeth, which stand beside 
it. A comparison of this cradle with that upon the tomb of the 
infant child of James I., in Westminster Abbey, with which it is 
almost identical, will satisfy the sceptical as to its date. It is covered 
with faded and tattered red velvet, and ornamented with gilt nails 
and silken fringe ; from its general character we may believe it was 
constructed about 1650. The late Sir Samuel Meyrick considered it 
of the time of Charles I., and archaeologists repudiate the notion of 
its being that of the fifth Harry. 

"We engrave a representation of another old cradle, long preserved 
in Monmouth Castle, and which had better claims to be considered 
as that in which the baby-king was rocked. It has all the character- 
istics of cradles of his era as represented in ancient drawings, and 
was entirely made of wood. It was merely a wooden oblong box, 
which swung between posts, surmounted by - carved birds, with 
foliated ornaments beneath. It has been figured in books devoted to 
antiquities, and recently in Murray's ' Handbook of Mediaeval Art,' 
where it is stated to be preserved in Monmouth Castle; it has, 
however, long passed from thence into private hands." 

Perhaps this is the point where I should introduce the little 
I have to say respecting the pseudo-cradle of Troy, mentioned 
dubiously also, as I have already observed, by Fosbrooke in 
1818. The first public notice of it I have discovered is in the 
European Magazine for September 1808: " Half-a-mile from 
Monmouth is situated Troy House, the seat of the Duke of 
Beaufort, where is still to be seen the cradle in which Henry 
V. was rocked, and the armour that he wore at Agincourt." 
At this time the real cradle had passed out of sight for some 
years. The tradition of its having been preserved in the 
vicinity of Monmouth clung to the neighbourhood, and doubt- 
less gave birth to this spurious successor. It is described 


by Williams in his "History of Monmouthshire" in 1796 as 
"a neglected habitation, the family of Beaufort residing in 
Gloucestershire," and it probably continued to be occupied 
only for a few weeks at intervals. Visitors to Monmouth 
would naturally inquire about the ancient cradle, and the 
one on the staircase at Troy being of undoubted antiquity, it 
would readily be associated with the original article. 

Various topographical works meanwhile have supported 
the above delusion. Lewis's " Topographical Dictionary of 
England " describes Monmouth as " the birthplace of Henry 
V., who passed his infancy here, and whose cradle, and sword 
which he used at the battle of Agincourt, are deposited in 
Troy House." " The Land we Live in," a well-known work 
by Charles Knight, mentions Troy House, " an ancient resi- 
dence of the Worcester family, but now most observable as a 
show-house. It contains family pictures and curiosities, chief 
among which are the cradle in which Henry of Monmouth 
was rocked, and the armour he fought in at Agincourt." A 
similar statement concerning "the cradle of the precious 
infant" finds a place in "The History of Henry V.," by 
George Makepeace Towle. In 1857 the Cambrian Archaeo- 
logical Society met at Monmouth, and in the paper drawn 
up by the late Mr Wakeman of the Graig, he denounced the 
Troy cradle unhesitatingly. 

To return to the notice of our cradle in " The Book of South 
Wales." Here we meet with a statement that it was "long 
preserved in Monmouth Castle." I do not know upon 'what 
evidence this is founded, but I suspect it arose from an error 
in the " Archaeologia." According to Mr and Mrs S. C. Hall, 
this error has again been repeated in Murray's " Handbook 
of Mediaeval Art," a work I have not been able to meet with 
in the British Museum Library. It will be observed that the 
authors of " The Book of South Wales " could obtain no 
tidings of the locality of the relic, and even questioned its 
existence ; and I may add that Mr Wakeman informed me, 
many years ago, that he had not been able to trace it. 

In 1873 an essay, entitled "Notes on Beds and Bedding," 


was published by James Blythe. The author remarks : " We 
may here mention that the cradle in which Henry V. was 
born at Monmouth is still in existence. It is very similar to 
the modern cot, and consists of a box three feet two by one 
foot eight wide at the head, and one foot five and three- 
quarters at the foot, its depth being two feet five inches. This 
is suspended on two carved uprights, on the top of each of 
which stands the image of a dove." 

This notice is clearly not the testimony of an eye-witness. 
It is the first time we have heard it mentioned as " the cradle 
in which Henry V. was born!'" There is a considerable mis- 
take also as to its measurement. The notices in Rudder's 
" History of Gloucestershire " and the London Magazine being 
the only two that I have met with which call the carved 
birds " doves," I presume one of them is the source from 
which this description was taken. 

I have produced those notices of the cradle I could find 
between the period of its last description by an eye-witness 
(1804) and the present time, with one exception; and that 
exception contains the clue to its locality. I did not know of 
Shaw's engraving of the cradle, and the notice of its being in 
1836 in the possession of Mr Braikenridge, of Bristington, 
father of the Rev. George Weare Braikenridge, till after I had 
lighted upon it in the splendid museum of its present owner. 

Upon making inquiries at Hamgreen, I found the White- 
head family had long since disappeared from the neighbour- 
hood. The oldest inhabitants of the village stated that a Mr 
Whitehead had lived at Hambrook Court, and died there 
about seventy years ago. My inquiries, however, reached a 
gentleman of the name of fanner, of French Hay, who, in the 
most friendly manner, informed me of all he could gather 
upon the subject. From Mr H. C. Harford, of Stapleton 
House, he learned that the cradle was successively in posses- 
sion of a Mr Barnes and of Mr Braikenridge ; and thus I 
reached the object of my search. 

On making application to Mr Braikenridge, at Clevedon, he 
afforded me the following particulars of its history: It was 


purchased by his father, G. W. Braikenridge, Esq. of Broom- 
hill House, Bristington, in 1834, at the sale of the effects of 
Mr Barnes, of Redland Hall, Bristol. In 1835 a careful, 
though inexact, drawing of it was made by Mr Henry Shaw, 
for Shaw and Meyrick's " Specimens of Ancient Furniture " 
(fol. 1836), wherein the following notice from the pen of 
Sir Samuel Meyrick appears : 

" Plate XLI. The cradle of Henry the Fifth, in the possession of 
G. W. Braikenridge, Esq., Bristington, near Bristol. The beautiful 
foliage which fills the space between the uprights and stays of the 
stand of this cradle were never before engraved, although Bonnor 
in his ' Itinerary,' the London Magazine for 1774, and Bingley in his 
' Tour through North Wales,' pretended to give representations 
of this interesting piece of antiquity. Henry the Fifth was born at 
Monmouth, in the year 1388, and sent to Courtfield, in that county, 
about seven miles off, to be nursed for the benefit of his health, 
under the superintendence of Lady Montacute. Here it was pre- 
served for many years, until a steward of the property contrived to 
sell it. It then got into the hands of the Rev. Mr Ball, rector of 
Newland, Gloucestershire, and next those of Mr Whitehead, of 
Hambrook, and has been finally purchased by Mr Braikenridge. Its 
dimensions are 3 ft. 2 in. long, i ft. 8 in. wide at the head, i ft. 
5f in. at the foot, i ft. 5 in. deep. The uprights, including the 
birds, are 2 ft. 10 in. in height. The foliage, before mentioned, 
corroborates the date." 

In this notice, we may remark the authority of Sir Samuel 
Meyrick, as a distinguished antiquary, with respect to the age of 
the carving, and the importance of the relic. The cradle is 
now, for the first time, stated to have been preserved many 
years at Courtfield; and the steward of the property is said to 
have sold it. With the exception of the owner's name, 
there is not much in the notice but what may be traced, 
errors and all, to Bonnor's " Itinerary." With respect to 
Shaw's delineation, which accompanies the foregoing notice, 
I must observe, although by far the best representation we 
have, it is incorrect He has ignored the carved corners, etc., 
which, according to Mr Braikenridge, were inserted prior to 


1834. He has also left out the holes at the base, and has 
inserted an imaginary clump of iron, apparently just where 
the cord goes. 

This new statement respecting Courtfield was, I have no 
doubt, communicated to Sir Samuel Meyrick by the late Mr 
Vaughan ; for I am informed by Colonel Vaughan, the present 
owner of the picturesque and historically interesting domain 
of Courtfield, that there is no documentary evidence of the 
cradle ever having been in his family's possession, but that he 
always understood from his father the cradle was formerly in 
possession of the Vaughans at Courtfield, till some time after 
1745, when, owing to their being mixed up in the rebellion of 
the Pretender, they were compelled to leave England for a 
while ; and during their absence, the cradle was disposed of 
by their steward, and so came into the possession of Mr Ball, 
of Newland. That on the death of Mr Ball, his curiosities 
were sold by auction, and that the late Sir Samuel Mey- 
rick, of Goodrich Court, told him that he would have pur- 
chased it and reinstated it at Courtfield had he not missed 
the sale. 

I have great reluctance in attacking family tradition. 
Tradition is the poetry of history ; and, if genuine, is full of 
instructive truth. Unless, therefore, I found distinct argu- 
ments to the contrary, I should be inclined to admit the above 
as probable. But I am compelled to say I find much in this 
account that is untenable ; and I can only admit this legend 
as carrying the weight of the undoubted testimony of the 
present representative of the ancient house of Courtfield. 

In 1794, when the Rev. Peregrine -JBall died, Sir Samuel 
Meyrick was only eleven years of age, he having been born 
26th August 1783. I suspect the sale of which he spoke 
must have been that of Mr Barnes of Redland Hall in 
1834. We have seen that Heath describes the cradle as being 
held in no estimation except as a family relic, consigned 
to a garret ; and, whether he saw it before or after the 
death of the vicar, his account overthrows any theory of 
Mr Ball's having been a collector of curiosities, or that the 


relic was sold at his decease. The story of the steward's 
disposing of the cradle is one difficult to reconcile with 
the fact that the relic in question is a very cumbersome 
article, of no intrinsic value, nor in any way ornamental. Its 
only worth consists in the associations connected with it 
associations which would render it of more value at Court- 
field or at Monmouth than anywhere else. Supposing, how- 
ever, some curiosity-monger did tempt the steward with 
$ for the chattel, we must remember it remained within 
a few miles of Courtfield ; and when the family returned to 
their seat they would at once have been made acquainted 
with the abstraction of an heirloom, whose history was closely 
connected with the traditional glory of their home, and they 
would have been in a position immediately to reclaim it from 
their neighbour, the clergyman of Newland. Moreover, in 
about five or six and twenty years after the alleged abstrac- 
tion, we find a published description of the cradle, as an ancient 
heirloom in the family of the Rev. Peregrine Ball, which de- 
scription is repeated in county histories, and no contradic- 
tion ever advanced against the claim, by the Vaughan family, 
who, we may naturally conclude, would never have allowed 
so flagrant an assumption, had they been in a position to con- 
tradict it. 

Among the family papers in the possession of Colonel 
Vaughan, are some manuscript poems of the seventeenth cen- 
tury, elaborately describing the beauties and resources of 
Courtfield, with its statues, hanging gardens, etc., but no 
mention is made of the cradle of Henry of Monmouth. In 
the mansion, a room a remnant of the old house is still 
pointed out as the nursery of the young lord Harry. The 
name of this seat, according to Coxe, was originally Gray- 
field, and it was changed, from the circumstance of Henry V. 
having been nursed there. The Rev. J. Endell Tyler, in his 
" Memoir of Henry V.," speaks disparagingly of " the vanity 
of tradition at Courtfield, and the absence of any stories on 
the other side of Monmouth," as continuing a belief in the 
tale of this being the hero's nursing-place ; but I think the 


historian steps beyond his province, when he allows personal 
feeling to discountenance tradition. There is a tradition that 
the horseman, who was hurrying through the ravine, near 
Goodrich, with the news of the birth of Henry of Monmouth, 
was thrown, from the stumbling of his steed, in the steep lane 
leading towards the castle, and was killed on the spot. There 
is another tradition, that the ferryman at Goodrich was the 
first who informed the Earl of Derby of the birth of his 
son and heir, and that he received the boon of the ferry 
in return. The old belief in Henry's having been sent to 
Courtfield to be nursed, may have many arguments pro- 
duced in its favour; and it is certainly not to be upset 
by the sneer of unsupported opinion. I am not aware 
that there is even any direct evidence of Henry having 
been born in Monmouth Castle, but it would be difficult to 
find any one who would set it down to the vanity of tradition 
in the county, and the absence of claim elsewhere. In this 
case it is of course an admitted fact ; and in the minor matter 
of his nursing-place, it may be accepted as an uncontradicted 
tradition, until reason can be produced that it should be dis- 

There is another point in connection with Courtfield which 
has been disputed. Henry is stated, in many topographical 
works, to have been nursed by the Countess of Salisbury ; 
and her tomb is still pointed out in the picturesque church 
of Welsh Bicknor, which stands on the banks of the Wye, 
below the mansion. Coxe gives an engraving of this effigy, 
which, he states, must have been that of Margaret, Lady 
Montacute, daughter of Thomas, Lord Monthermer, and lady 
of the manor at that date. Williams, in his " History of 
Monmouthshire," makes the blunder (since copied by others) 
of calling this lady " Countess of Sunderland." She was 
daughter-in-law of the first Earl of Salisbury, sister-in-law of 
the second, and mother of the third. She died in 1 395 ; and 
the monument, with its angel supporters, closely resembles 
the effigies of this period in Gough's " Sepulchral Monuments." 
It was thus a not unnatural mistake among the country 


people of the district, to call the figure the Countess of Salis- 
bury instead of Lady Montacute. Being a family connection 
of the young Earl of Derby (her grandmother was a daughter 
of Edward I.), it is not improbable that the child might have 
been placed under her care in the safe and secluded peninsula 
of Courtfield. 

That we find her son, John, Earl of Salisbury, within twelve 
years, conspiring against Henry IV., does not in any way 
invalidate the tradition of Lady Montacute's taking charge 
of her kinsman's son and heir. Henry, by his usurpation of 
the throne, must have made enemies as well as friends ; and 
the Earls of Salisbury had been old adherents of Richard 
II. The second earl, uncle of the preceding, it was, who 
met Anne of Bohemia on her way to England to be married ; 
the Earl of Salisbury, with 500 spears and as many archers, 
received the bride-elect at Gravelines, and escorted her to 
Calais ; and he himself was the companion of Richard in his 
downfall, mounted on " a sorry nag," as narrated by the his- 
torians Stowe and Pennant, when " the Duke of Lancaster 
brought them from Flint to Chester," and thence, after 
a night's rest, on to London. Lady Montacute's son was 
certainly no friend to Henry IV., whatever his mother may 
have been to the Earl of Derby. He it was who " purposed 
to kil hym on the xij night," and, when encountered with 
" hard by licestre," was " overcum and by & by heddid " 
(Leland's " Collectanea," vol. i., p. 485). 

The autumn of the year of Henry's birth was a period of 
disquiet. The friends and evil counsellors of Richard II., 
Robert Vere, Duke of Ireland, Michael de la Pole, Earl of 
Suffolk, and others, were accused of misgoverning the realm, 
and were defeated wherever they took the field against the 
opposing party, of whom the infant Henry's father, though 
quite a young man, was a prominent member. We read, the 
Earl of Suffolk escaped to France, and entered Calais dis- 
guised as a poulterer, selling capons. The Duke of Ireland, 
defeated by the Earl of Derby at Radcot Bridge, in Berk- 
shire, December 20, 1387-88 ("Eulogium;" Cotton MSS. ; 


Galba, e. vii.), had to rid himself of his gauntlets and sword to 
swim the river Thames. " Richard the Redeles," as the king 
was called in a contemporary poem, was already beginning 
to feel the strength of that party which eleven years later 
hurled him from his throne ; and the struggle of this crisis 
must have made it an anxious and exciting time for all 
engaged in it, and this may perhaps have been one reason 
for the baby lord to be sent to the quiet and seclusion of 

That Lady Montacute herself acted as nurse to the infant, 
is of course a ridiculous supposition ; in fact, it would appear, 
the nurse's name was Johanna Waring, who, after Henry V. 
came to the throne, received an annuity of 20, " in consider- 
ation of good service done in former days " (" Memoirs of 
Henry of Monmouth;' by the Rev. J. Endell Tyler). Had 
the child's father then held the throne it might have been 
different. The Countess of Mar was appointed nurse to 
James VI. of Scotland, whose cradle, as I have already had 
occasion to remark, is still preserved at the family seat, Alloa 
Park. In the wardrobe accounts of Henry, Earl of Derby, 
from 1387-88 to 1388-89, the first year of his married life (for 
although he was espoused to Mary Bohun at fifteen years of 
age, when she was but twelve, the young couple did not pro- 
bably live together till 1387, no prior household accounts 
being in existence), it would appear the earl and countess 
then resided at Monmouth Castle, but only for a while. 
Among the entries is a charge " for a long gown for the 
young Lord Henry." The second child, Thomas, was born, 
and 2 paid to the midwife in London, before October 1388 
(according to Tyler), which I suppose means 1388-89. The 
entn'es in the various chronicles and MSS. of this period are 
rather confusing, owing to the different modes of reckoning ; 
1388 is the date accepted as the year of the birth of Henry of 
Monmouth, although the inscription on the statue in front of 
Monmouth Town Hall gives it 1387 ; and, according to Coxe, 
the historians Holinshed, Rapin, and Stowe, each give a dif- 
ferent year for the event. Various items of clothing for the 


children are entered in the before-mentioned accounts ; and, 
" at Kenilworth," there is an entry of " five yards of cloth for 
the bed of the nurse of Lord Thomas, and an ell of canvas 
for his cradle." It would therefore seem that the earl and 
countess were moving about pretty much as earls and count- 
esses do in these more peaceful days. But while from their 
household records we learn that the second child, with its 
nurse and cradle, were with them, there is no entry to show 
whether the elder son, together with his nurse and cradle, 
were with the family, or at Courtfield, or elsewhere. We are 
therefore thrown back on the tradition ; and must leave the 
matter there, while we proceed to gather certain remaining 
notices of the cradle itself, extending back from the period 
when it was in the possession of Mr Whitehead of Hambrook, 
at the beginning of the present century. 

It was not only mentioned, as we have seen, by Heath in 
his " History of Monmouth ; " it was likewise noticed by 
Archdeacon Coxe in his " History of Monmouthshire," pub- 
lished in the year 1800, the most important county topo- 
graphical work we have. Referring to Henry V. having 
been nursed at Courtfield, he continues : " His old cradle was 
preserved at the house of the Rev. Mr Ball, rector of Newland, 
in the vicinity, which descended to him from his ancestor, one 
of the rockers ; it is now in the possession of Mr Whitehead 
of French Hay, near Bristol, and, from the engraving given by 
Bonnor, seems to be a curious piece of antiquity." But this 
account is simply copied from Bonnor, who the preceding 
year had published his " Itinerary." One would have thought 
the archdeacon, however, might have known that Newland 
was a vicarage and not a rectory, and might have corrected 
Bonnor on that point. 

" The Copper Plate Perspective Itinerary, or Pocket Port- 
folio," by J. Bonnor, engraver, appeared in 1799. In No. iv., 
p. 34, we find the following passage : 

" Proceeding along the path you have in view the old mansion, 
venerable woods, and hanging gardens of Court Field, the residence 
of the late William Vaughan, Esq. For the benefit of this salubrious 


air, Henry, Prince of Wales, born 1388, at Monmouth Castle, and 
therefore called Harry of Monmouth, was nursed here. Fig. 3, 
pi. xi., represents the curious cradle in which he was rocked. It 
became an honorary perquisite to one of the rockers, who was an 
ancestor of the Rev. Mr Ball, rector of Newland, which is in this 
vicinity. And in 1773, when this drawing was made, by his per- 
mission, it was in his possession, who related that it had continued 
in his family from that time. It is given as a real curiosity of the 
fourteenth century. Since the death of that gentleman, his son has 

presented it to Whitehead, Esq. of Hambrook, French Hay, 

near Bristol. 

" A drawing of it was presented to the publisher of the London 
Magazine the same year, but the inaccuracy of the engraving from 
which it appears in that work for March 1774, and a very material error 
in the history which accompanies it, renders its introduction here neces- 
sary to their correction, as will be obvious from a comparison with 
the representation here offered. The misstatement of its history 
was occasioned in the following manner : To the drawing was 
annexed a written description of the cradle only. When it was put 
into the editor's hand, he was informed that it was the cradle of 
Prince Henry of Monmouth, afterwards King Henry V., who was 
born at Monmouth Castle. In preparing the article for the press, 
some time after, he erred in his recollection of the account that 
was given him, and, not aware of the mistake, he stated it to have 
belonged to the first Prince of Wales, who was born at Carnarvon 
Castle. The error was pointed out by Mr Bonnor, but was never 
corrected. The editor was unwilling, perhaps, to proclaim his own 
mistake, at so material an injury to the story it would have sustained 
by losing an hundred years of its antiquity ; yet it is sufficiently 
respectable on that account, it being 410 years since it was really in 

" The body of the cradle, which is wider at one end than the 
other, is suspended by staples and a ring at each end, from two 
pillars joined by framework; a carved bird perches at the top of 
each, with foliage at the feet ; it has six long holes at the upper 
edge for the rockers (three on each side), and twelve round holes at 
the bottom for cordage to pass through, which formerly was for sup- 
porting a rush mattress, upon which beds of the best fashion in this 
country were used to be laid. A full inclination is shown to add all 


the ornament the workman's planes would afford upon the sides, 
which are covered with a variety of irregular mouldings struck from 
end to end. Although it is remarkable that this Cambrian artist 
seems to have been unacquainted either with dovetailing or mitring, 
the ends being plain boards to keep out and fasten the sides to, 
which is done simply with nails, yet the carving of the birds and 
foliage to the pillars, between which it swings, are specimens of 
better execution. Old wainscoting of excellent impannelling, carved 
in this style, has frequently no better joinings, whence it appears that 
those who executed the nicer parts were not employed to put the 
work together. Its dimensions are 3 feet 2 inches long ; i foot 
8 inches wide at the head ; i foot 5f inches at the foot ; and i foot 
5 inches deep. It is made of oak, inch-and-half thick, and the pillars 
are 2 feet 10 inches from the ground to the top of the birds." 

Beneath the engraving is the inscription : 

" The cradle of Prince Henry, afterwards King Henry V., born at 
Monmouth Castle, 1388. Drawn from the original, 1773, by per- 
mission of the Rer. Mr Ball, rector of Newland, Gloucestershire, by 
J. Bonnor." 

From the above we learn that Bonnor made the drawing in 
1773, from which the engraving in the London Magazine 
was copied ; and he seems also to have supplied the descrip- 
tion, since he states that he at once informed the negligent 
editor of the mistake he had fallen into in calling it the cradle 
of Edward II. It may be remarked that Mr Bonnor 
received the account from the Rev. Peregrine Ball himself. 
He speaks of the " hanging gardens " of Courtfield, which we 
have heard were features of the spot in the preceding century. 
His blunders in calling the infant the Prince of Wales, and the 
vicar the rector, demand correction. There is also a mistake 
of twenty-five years in his chronology. Under a false impres- 
sion of the infant's regal state he imagines more than one 
person would be appointed to rock the child, and fancies the 
band-holes are the places for their hands. 

This description, however, is the fullest we have met with, 
and had the cradle never been engraved, it would have 
enabled one to recognise the relic at a glance. Bonnor's 


engraving will be seen to differ slightly from the one in the 
London Magazine ; but, even had he not stated that it was from 
the same drawing, the fact would have been self-evident. Mr 
Whitehead is stated to have been presented with the cradle by 
the son of the Rev. Peregrine Ball. From the before-quoted 
letter of " C.," in the Monmouthshire Gazette, it would be in- 
ferred that it came into his hands by chance, after being sent 
to London to be engraved. I am inclined to think the former 
is more probable. I can find no engraving made between 
1794 and 1799, at which last date we hear it was in Mr 
Whitehead's possession. Nor have I any evidence of Mr 
Ball's derangement of mind. The Rev. William Taprell Allen, 
vicar of St Briavels, informs me that a Mr Thomas Ball lived 
in the vicarage house about eighty years ago. He was a 
bachelor, and a particular friend of the old Squire Edwin of 
Clearwell, which is close to Newland, and there is every proba- 
bility that he was the son of the old vicar. He is said to 
have been eccentric, and to have had a great fondness for birds. 
A reason for Mr Ball's parting with this heirloom may appear 
in his being unmarried, while Mr Whitehead may possibly have 
been a family connection, and, any way, is described as one 
who would appreciate and take care of such a curiosity. An 
old seal, bearing the Ball crest a demi-lion rampant, carrying 
a ball between its paws was found near the vicarage some 
time since, and is now in the possession of Mr Allen. The 
name frequently occurs in the church registers of St Briavels 
and Hewelsfield from 1661, but no entry of a Peregrine Ball 
can be found. There is a probability of the old vicar's family 
having belonged to this neighbourhood, but I have no evid- 
ence of ihe fact, much as it would strengthen his assertion 
respecting the history of the cradle. 

In the " Archaeologia " (vol. vi., p. 363), published in 1782, 
is the following short sentence, which is of interest to us, and 
at the same time illustrates my observations : 

" The birth of Henry the Fifth in the Castle of Monmouth, when 
his father was Duke of Hereford, and resided there, at which place 
his cradle is still preserved." 


In these few words, extracted from a pseudo-scientific 
journal, there are no less than two glaring blunders. In the 
first place, the Earl of Derby was not created Duke of Here- 
ford before the twenty-first year of the reign of Richard II., 
when Harry of Monmouth was in his tenth year (Leland's 
" Collectanea," vol. i., p. 483). In the second, the cradle was 
not in Monmouth, but, as we have seen, in the possession of 
the Rev. Peregrine Ball, at Newland. 

In Rudder's " History of Gloucestershire," published in 
1779, the following account of the cradle occurs, under 
" Newland : " 

" The Reverend Mr Ball, the present incumbent of Newland, is 
possessed of a curiosity that deserves to be mentioned. It is the 
cradle of King Henry V., who was born at Monmouth. The whole 
is made of oak, and the part where the infant lay is an oblong chest, 
open at top, and with an iron ring at the head, and another at the 
feet, by which it hangs upon hooks, fixed in two upright pieces, 
strongly mortised in a frame which lies upon the floor. Thus sus- 
pended, the cradle is easily put in motion. Each of the upright 
pieces is ornamented at the top with the figure of a dove, gilt and 
tolerably executed." 

In this description the gilding of tlie birds is mentioned, 
from which we may infer it was then in better condition ; the 
birds are also specified as doves. It appears to have been 
written by an eye-witness. The cradle is described as an 
oblong chest, open at the top. Perhaps I should add there is 
also no bottom, the mattress having been supported by the 
cords, while its shape very much resembles the Saxon cryb 
or cota, as figured in ancient MSS. 

In 1775 another original sketch of the cradle was made, 
which appeared in the " Antiquarian Repertory " (4 vols. 4to), 
that year edited by Grose. It is described as "the cradle 
in which Henry V. was nursed at Monmouth Castle. En- 
graved from an original drawing by F. Blyth, September I, 
1775." This sketch is taken from the opposite side to my 
own (as also is Bonnor's), the foot of the cradle being towards 
the spectator, and the spandrels carved alike. It is incorrect 


in its proportions, and does not give the lacing-holes for either 
the cord or band. In the description we find it stated to have 
been in Monmouth Castle. It was probably from this the 
writer of the notice in the " Archaeologia " made his misstate- 
ment respecting the locality of the relic. 

Two years before, in 1773, the original sketch of which we 
have read in Bonnor's " Itinerary," had been taken by Bonnor, 
with Mr Ball's permission, and sent to the editor of the Lon- 
don Magazine. The article appeared in the number for March 

" Having been favoured with a curious drawing of the cradle in 
which Edward the Second was rocked at Carnarvon Castle, we have 
taken the earliest opportunity to present it to our readers. 

" The plate is engraved from an accurate drawing of the cradle in 
which this unfortunate prince was rocked, which piece of antiquity is 
in the possession of the Rev. Mr Ball, of Newland, in Gloucester- 
shire. It descended to him from his ancestors, to whom it became 
an honorary perquisite. This singular piece is made of heart of oak, 
whose simplicity of construction and rudeness of workmanship are 
visible demonstrations of the small progress that elegancy had made 
in ornamental decorations. On the top of the uprights are two 
doves ; the cradle itself is pendent on two staples, driven into the 
uprights, linked by two rings to two staples fastened to the cradle, 
and by them it swings. The sides and ends of the cradle are orna- 
mented with a great variety of mouldings, whose junctions at the 
corners are not mitred, but cut off square without any degree of 
neatness, and the sides and ends fastened together by rough nails. 
On each side are three holes for the rockers. To secure the up- 
rights from falling, there is a strong rail near the bottom, and the 
whole b rendered steady by cross pieces for feet, on which it stands. 
Its dimensions are : 3 feet 2 inches long ; i foot 8 inches wide at the 
head ; and i foot 5 inches wide at the foot ; i foot 5 inches deep ; 
and from the bottom of the pillar to the top of the birds is 2 feet 10 

The period of history involved in the tradition of this relic 
is replete with interest. During the short lifetime of the hero 
who is said to have been rocked in it, not only a blaze of 


military glory lit up the land, but the dawn of the Reforma- 
tion was slowly brightening. Wycliffe had just passed away, 
and under his influence the Lollards were beginning to bear 
testimony to a faith that outshone the fires of martyrdom. The 
dark ages of serfdom were doomed, and although the grand 
tyranny of the feudal system still kept all classes in a condi- 
tion of bondage, it produced a ferment that was the cause of 
those chivalric pictures of alternate violence and splendour 
which distinguish this epoch. The light of intelligence was 
growing from day to day, and amidst clouds of ignorance 
there glimmered a foreshadowing of modern liberty. 

Llewellyn, the last Welsh prince, had closed the scene of 
Cambrian history in bloodshed and defeat a century before ; 
but the conquest of Wales remained unsettled till the seal 
was put upon it by Henry of Monmouth, when not even the 
magical glamour of Owen Glendower's fame could avail 
against the march of events which was to establish a united 
kingdom. James I. of Scotland was a captive in England. It 
was the period of the rebuilding of Westminster Hall, and 
of many of our historic castles and abbeys. The story of 
Wat Tyler's rebellion must have been the common recollec- 
tion of London citizens, while every town and hamlet had 
its tale of warfare. The very language of the people was 
undergoing rapid development. " The Vision of William 
concerning Piers the Plowman " was introducing new ideas as 
well as a new tongue, while the muse of Chaucer opened the 
splendid roll of English literature, a literature that is now 
the treasured heritage of continents, and seems destined to 
be the foremost of " the great globe itself." 

How strangely, yet how forcibly, is Richard described on 
his throne in his chamber, " wheiynne he was wont to sitte, 
fro after mete vnto evensong tyme, spekynge to no man, but 
ouerloking alle menne ; and yf he loked on eny man, what 
astat or degre that evir he were of, he most knele." Within 
a few months of this pride of place the sower of the wind 
reaped the whirlwind, and, in his despair, cursed " the un- 
trouthe of England ; and said, Alias ! what trust is in this 


fals worlde ! " At the formal abdication of Richard at West- 
minster, we read, Henry the Usurper " arcs and blissid hym," 
and claimed the crown, with the full approbation of those 
present ; whereupon the Archbishop of Canterbury " made a 
colacion " on the text " Vir fortis dominabitur populo," which, 
I presume, was a defence of the old theory that might is right 
There is something deplorable in the tragic end of King 
Richard. One can well imagine when he heard in his cap- 
tivity of the execution of the Earl of Salisbury, the son of 
Lady Montacute of Welsh Bicknor, " he was utterlie in de- 
spair," and so " for sorou and hunger he deid in the castle 
of Pountfret." 

The perfect character of Henry of Monmouth warded off 
all opposition. He was the admiration of his age : " truli a 
gracious man," as Lydgate calls him. He looked " very much 
like an angel," says Elmham, in describing his coronation ; 
while, according to Monstrelet he was almost apotheosised by 
his people after his demise, " comme silz furent ascertenes qu'il 
fut ou soit sainct, en paradis." Prophetic as genius often is, it 
is narrated that he turned sorrowfully to his chamberlain, when 
told of his son's birth at Windsor Castle, and said : " My lord, 
Henry of' Monmouth shall reign but a short time and shall 
acquire much, but Henry of Windsor shall reign long and lose 
all." He expired, we are told, while the priests were chanting, 
at his request, certain Psalms of David ; and so, soothed by 
the deep spiritual experience of the sweet singer of Israel, he 
tasted "the joy of salvation," and passed away so serenely 
that his attendants were unaware that he had died. 

Jt is refreshing to come into contact, as it were, with this 
grand soul, whose whole existence was heroic. His nobility 
invests with honour everything with which he has been asso- 
ciated. It is with reverence we gaze upon his shield and 
helmet in Westminster Abbey, or examine his signature 
amongst our records, or read his pleasant words ; and the 
tradition of his having slept, a little child, in the old cradle 
of this memoir, lends an undying interest to its history. 




Historiographer to the Royal Historical Society, Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries 
of Scotland, and Corresponding Member of the Historical and 
Genealogical Society of New England. 

AN inquiry into the life of George Wishart presented few 
attractions. Believing that he claimed the gift of prophecy, 
Mr Hill Burton * describes him as " a visionary." Mr Froude-f- 
charges him with preaching without authority and with 
illegally assuming the priestly office. Professor Lorimer^; 
alleges that, in his early ministry, he denied the doctrine of 
the Atonement. Mr Tytler has sought to prove that he 
intended murder, by conspiring against the life of Cardinal 
Beaton. Having ventured on the elucidation of his history, 
I have investigated the charges brought against him, with 
care and, I trust, impartiality. The result will be found in 
these pages. Meanwhile I may summarise my deductions, 
and say that the martyr has, from the inquiry, come forth 
unstained. He did not claim prophetic powers ; he preached 
with canonical sanction ; he did not act as a priest or ordained 
clergyman ; he taught the doctrine of the Atonement through- 
out his whole ministry ; he did not conspire against Beaton, 
and if he knew of the conspiracy he condemned it. 

* Burton's History of Scotland, Edin., 1873, I2mo, vol. iii., p. 251. 
t Froude's History of England, Lond., 1870, vol. iv., p. 177. 
t Lorimer's Historical Sketch of the Scottish Reformation, Lond., 1860. 
Tytler's History of Scotland, Edin., 1869, vol. iii., pp. 365-374. 


I have accompanied the memoir of George Wishart with 
his translation of the first Helvetian Confession. I have 
added a genealogical history of the House of Wishart, which 
includes a memoir of Sir John Wishart of Pitarrow. 

For useful materials I have been much indebted to Mr J. F. 
Nicholls, of the City Library, Bristol, the Rev. Dr Struthers, 
minister of Prestonpans, and Robert R. Stodart, Esq., of the 
Lyon Office. I also record my indebtedness to the town- 
clerks of Montrose and Dundee, and to Mr Walter Macleod, 
of Edinburgh, who, as a professional searcher of the Public 
Records, cannot be too highly praised. 


During the reign of the fifth James, the intolerance of 
Scottish churchmen had reached its height. The clergy were 
cruel and rapacious. They seized the chief offices in the 
State, and the people groaned under their misrule. Feign- 
ing charity, they practised avarice. Their lives were dis- 
solute in the extreme. The monasteries, formerly the sanc- 
tuaries of religion and letters, had become the unhallowed 
resorts of unblushing profligacy. Divine worship was a thing 
of unmeaning pomp and empty ceremony. Sacerdotal 
oppression crushed the national energies; and with the 
degradation of the sacred office religion began to be despised. 
Each confessor, as he arose, was dragged before the ecclesias- 
tical tribunal, and might escape death only on a recanta- 
tion alike public and degrading. The martyrdom at St 
Andrews, in 1527, of Patrick Hamilton, nephew of the Earl of 
Arran, and a descendant of the royal house, sufficiently 
proved that, in the maintenance of its supremacy, the Roman 
Church was determined to strike everywhere. But the death 
of this amiable martyr, instead of repressing, stimulated 
inquiry, and induced further investigation into the working of 
a system, maintained by the sale of indulgences on the one 
hand, and upheld by the executioner on the other. 

James Wishart of Pitarrow, Clerk of Justiciary, and King's 
Advocate in the reign of James IV., married, prior to the I3th 


April 1512, as his second wife, Elizabeth Learmont. This 
gentlewoman was a daughter of Learmont of Balcomie, and 
sister of that James Learmont, whose name as a statesman 
we shall find associated with public events in the interest of 
the Reformation. The family were descended from the older 
House of Learmont of Ercildoune, or Earlston, in the county 
of Berwick, of which Thomas the Rhymer was the most con- 
spicuous member. 

George Wishart, the future martyr, was the only son of 
James Wishart of Pitarrow, by his second wife. He was 
probably called George after his maternal grandfather ; 
the name was certainly derived from his mother's family.* 
The precise date of his birth is unknown, but it has generally 
been assigned to the year 1513. By the death of his father, 
which took place before May 1525, his upbringing would 
devolve on his mother, assisted probably by her brother, 
James Learmont of Balcomie. 

George Wishart chose the clerical profession, in which 
several members of his House had attained distinction, and 
wherein his prospects of advancement, owing to the intimacy 
which subsisted between his family and David Beaton, Abbot 
of Arbroath, the future cardinal, were not inconsiderable.^ 
As his name does not occur in the registers of any of the 
Scottish colleges, it is extremely probable that he was sent 
by his maternal uncle to one or more of the universities 
of Germany. During the progress of his studies he seems to 
have embraced the Reformed doctrines. In the year 1534 
John Erskine of Dun established at Montrose a school for the 
Greek language, under the superintendence of a learned 
Frenchman.^ On the retirement of this foreigner, Wishart, 
who had lately returned from the Continent, took his place. 
Having imported copies of the Greek Testament, he distri- 

* George Learmont was, in 1531, infeft as "son and heir of umq 1 James 
Learmont of Balcomie and Grizel Meldrum." 

t See Genealogical History of the Family of Wishart, infra. 

J Life of John Erskine of Dun ; Wodrow MSS., vol. i. ; Biblioth. Coll., 


buted them among his pupils. This procedure was reported 
to John Hepburn, Bishop of Brechin, who summoned him 
to appear in his diocesan court. This was in 1538.* 

The times were perilous. Wishart saw his danger and fled. 
Proceeding to Cambridge, he entered the College of Bennet 
or Corpus Christi. Cambridge was a nursery of the Reformed 
doctrines. There, in the Augustinian monastery of which 
Barnes was prior, and Coverdale one of the monks, Bilner 
and Latimer had preached the new faith. There, too, had 
Cranmer and Ridley read the Scriptures in the original 
tongues : the former being a Fellow of Jesus College, the 
latter Master of Pembroke. 

Wishart was probably invited to Cambridge by Dr Barnes, 
with whom he may have contracted an intimacy at Witten- 
berg, where that eminent divine resided with Luther. At 
Cambridge he was introduced to Hugh Latimer, Bishop of 
Worcester. By Latimer his acquaintance would be earnestly 
cultivated. Each could point to oppression at the hands of 
bigoted churchmen. During a preaching tour which, under a 
licence from the University of Cambridge, he undertook in 
1531, Latimer, in the pulpits of Bristol, denounced the doc- 
trine of purgatory and the invocation of the saints. His pre- 
lections were received with favour by the laity ; and on the in- 
vitation of the mayor he consented to conduct service on Easter 
Sunday. Informed of his intention, the local clergy procured 
an order from the Bishop of Worcester, an Italian named De 
Ghinuce, prohibiting any clerk from conducting service in the 
city, without his special sanction. The clergy next accused 
him of immorality, and as he disproved the charges brought 
against him, they arraigned him as a heretic in the court of 
Archbishop Warham. Their prosecution was stopped by the 
accession of Cranmer to the primacy. Being now bishop of 
the diocese, which he became in 1535, he was desirous that 
the Reformed doctrines should be preached in a city where 
a portion of the laity were willing to receive them, while as 
bishop he hoped to protect the preacher from molestation. 
* Petrie's History of the Catholick Church, part ii., p. 182. 


Eager to obey his wishes, and to be useful in the Church as 
a preacher or evangelist, Wishart agreed to proceed to Bristol. 

Obtaining from Latimer orders as a reader* Wishart 
commenced his labours in Bristol, by lecturing, on Sunday 
the 1 5th May 1539, in the church of St Nicholas. The 
clergy were on the alert. They silenced Latimer eight years 
before, and in 1525 had compelled Dr Robert Barnes to bear 
his faggot/f Wishart they pounced upon at once, charging 
him before the mayor and justices with preaching doctrines 
condemned by the Church. 

Arresting the preacher, the mayor sought direction, as to 
further procedure, from the Recorder, Lord Cromwell, in the 
following letter : 

" Pleaseth it your honourable Lordship to be advertised that Cer- 
teyn accusations are made and had by Sir John Kerell,| Deane of 
Bristowe, deputie of the Bishop of Worcester, our ordinary, and dyvers 
others, inhabitants of Bristowe foresaid, against one Geo. Wischarde, 
a Scotisheman born, lately beyng before your honourable Lordship ; 
which accusations the said deane and other inhabitants aforesaid 
hath presented before me, the Mayor of Bristowe and justices of 
peace. And the same accusations I have received, sendyng the same 
unto your said honourable Lordship. And, furthermore, the Cham- 
berlain and the Deane of Bristowe shall sygnyfy unto your honour- 
able Lordship, the very truth in the premysses, unto whom we shall 
desyre you to give credence. And then our Lord preserve your 
honourable Lordship in helth and welth, according unto your own 
hardest desire. 

"At Bristowe the ix. day of June, Anno Regis Henrici VIII. 

" Be me THOMAS JEFFRYES, Mayor of Bristol. 

" To the Right Honorable Lord, 
" Lord Pryvy Seale." 

* This was an inferior order in the Church. The reader possessed a faculty 
to preach, but he was not under the vow of celibacy like ecclesiastics of a higher 
grade. Wishart is styled "the reader " in the correspondence which follows. 

f Seyer's History of Bristol, 1821, 2 vols. 8vo, vol. ii., p. 215. 

I The name of the dean was Kearne. 

From the Original in the Public Record Office. 

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Wishart in the hands of Lord Cromwell was safe. But 
hostile influences were at work. On Monday the i6th May, 
the day subsequent to the lecture in St Nicholas' church, 
the Duke of Norfolk introduced, in the House of Peers, the 
" Bloody Act of the Six Articles,"* intended to restore Catholic 
ascendancy, and prove a scourge to those who maintained 
Protestant sentiments. In June the Act passed both Houses 
of Parliament, and, receiving the royal assent, became law. 
Forthwith ecclesiastical courts, assuming the worst features of 
the Inquisition, began to persecute to extremity those who 
upheld the new opinions. For refusing to subscribe the 
articles Bishop Latimer was thrown into prison, and com- 
pelled to resign his bishopric. The persecution which over- 
took him was extended to his protege the reader. An indict- 
ment by the Bristol clergy against Wishart, was laid before 
an ecclesiastical court, consisting of the Primate, Archbishop 
Cranmer, who still halted between two opinions, Clark, Bishop 
of Bath, Repps, Bishop of Norwich, and Sampson, Bishop of 
Chichester. Advised by Cranmer, Wishart consented to 
retract. Receiving his submission, the court ordained him 
to carry a faggot in St Nicholas' church, Bristol, on Sunday 
the 1 3th July, and in Christ church, of the same city, on 
the following Sunday.*}* 

The heresy of which Wishart was accused is mentioned in 
a contemporary record, belonging to the corporation of 
Bristol, known as the Mayor's Calendar. Commenced in 
1479 by Robert Riccart, the town-clerk, the record was 
continued under the direction of the municipal authorities ; 
it is now preserved among the muniments of the city. 
Of the entry relating to Wishart, having obtained a photo- 
graph, we present a facsimile on the opposite page. It reads 
thus : 

" 1639, H. VIII. xxx, Mem. 
"That this year the 15th of May a Scott, named George Wysard, 

* Froude's History of England, Lond., 1870, vol. iii., pp. 199-217. 
+ Memoirs, Historical and Biographical, vol. ii. , p. 223. 


sett furth his lecture in S. Nicholas Church of Bristowe, the moost 
blasphemous heresy that ever was heard : openly declaryng that 
Christ nother hathe nor coulde merite for him, ne yett for vs : Which 
heresy brought many of the Comons of this Towne into a grete Error: 
and dyvers of theym were persuaded by that heretical lecture to 
heresy. Whereupon the said stiffeneck'd Scott was accused by Mr 
John Kerne, Deane of this Diocese of Worc(ester), and soone aft. he 
was sent to the moost Reverend {father in God, the Archebishop of 
Cantrebury, before whom and others, that is to signifie the Bisshops 
of Bathe, Norwhiche, and Chichestre, w. otheres as Doctors, etc. 
And he before theym was examined, conuicted and condemned, 
in and vpon the destestable heresy aboue mentioned. Where- 
vpon he was injoyned to bere a ffaggott in S. Nicholas Churche 
forsaid, and the parishe of the same the xiij th day of July as 
foresaid : And in Christe Churche and parishe therof the xx th day 
of July abouesaid. Which Injunction was duely executed in forme 

Under the belief that the words " Christ nother hathe 
nor coulde merite for him, ne yett for us," represent 
the charge brought against the preacher, Mr Seyer, in his 
"History of Bristol," remarks that Wishart "seems to have 
adopted notions similar to those which were afterwards 
brought to a system under the name of Socinianism."* 
Adopting a similar view of the passage, Professor Lorimer 
writes : 

" It does not admit of a doubt that Wishart had fallen at this early 
period of his life, while his views of Divine truth were still immature, 
into some serious misapprehension on the subject of the merits of 
Christ and the way of human redemption. If the Popish churchmen 
of Bristol had been his only judges, we might have been justified 
in receiving, with hesitation, so strange an accusation ; because 
he was no doubt even then a vigorous opponent of Popish 
doctrines. And it was probably his zeal in attacking the doctrine 
of mediatory merit, in the case of the Romish saints, which carried 
him into the heretical extreme of denying the mediatory merit 
of the Redeemer himself. But as he was sent up to London to 
be tried by a tribunal over which Cranmer presided, it is only fair 
* Seyer's History of Bristol, vol. ii., p. 223. 


to conclude that the sentence which that tribunal pronounced upon 
him was just."* 

These conclusions are unwarranted. As Wishart preached 
at Bristol under the sanction of Bishop Latimer, it may surely 
be assumed that his doctrines did not materially differ from 
those of his patron. And the charge of Socinianism is 
further rebutted in words which he used in translating the 
Helvetian Confession not long afterwards. That translation 
contains the following sentence : 

" As he [Christ] onely is our mediatour and intercessour, hoste 
and sacrifice, byshop lord and our kynge, also do 'we acknowledge 
and confesse him onely to be our attonement and ransome, satis- 
faction, expiacion ; our wsdome, our defence, and our onely de- 
liuerer ; refusyng utterly all other meanes of lyfe and saluacion, except 
thus by Chryst onely." 

In the interval between quitting intercourse with Latimer 
immediately before his visit to Bristol and his living on 
the Continent soon after that visit, was Wishart likely to deny 
the fundamental doctrines of Protestant theology ? Does the 
statement of the Bristol chronicler warrant so improbable 
a conclusion ? Read in their present form, the words descrip- 
tive of Wishart's teaching are confused and meaningless. In 
asserting the general proposition that Christ's merit availed 
not for others, was he likely to strengthen the affirmation by 
a special allusion to himself? A chief error of the Romish 
Church, against which the early English Reformers preached, 
was the worship of the Virgin. By inserting the word 
mother before " nother " in the record, the passage obtains 
an intelligibility which it at present lacks. Thus : " George 
Wysard sett furth his lecture, in S. Nicholas Church of 
Bristowe, the moost blasphemous heresy that ever was 
heard ; openly declaryng that Christ [mother] nother hathe 
nor coulde merite for him, ne yett for vs." Finding, in im- 

* The Scottish Reformation : An Historical Sketch, by Dr Peter Lorimer, 
Lond., 1860, pp. 92-96. 


mediate juxtaposition, two words similar in form, as are 
mother and nother, the engrossing clerk had inadvertently 
omitted one of them, a species of error into which transcribers 
are prone to fall. Had the preacher affirmed, as part of his 
creed, that the Redeemer's merit did not extend to himself 
personally, the Romish clergy would probably have permitted 
this portion of his doctrine to pass uncondemned. But 
Wishart certainly taught that the Virgin mother had no 
merit either for her Divine Son, or for any others. 

In connection with Wishart's persecution at Bristol, three 
remarkable letters are preserved in the Cottonian MSS.* 
These letters have different signatures, but are all evidently 
written by one person who, residing at Bristol, was intimately 
conversant with the habits and peculiarities of the leading 
citizens. With the signature of William Ryppe, the following 
letter bears to be despatched from Coventry to Thomas 
White in Bread Street, Bristol : 

" ' Grace and pece be with us.' 

" O yow enemys to godes worde, why hath yow accused the 
same yong faithfull man that dyd rede the lecto r the very worde of 
god, he dyd no thing but scripture wold bere hym, and to dis- 
charge his conscience ? Thowgh the kynge and his counsell, w. his 
clergy hath made suche ordynance, yet they that be lerned will leve 
the kynges ordinance & styk to the ordinance of god, which is 
the Kyng of all Kynges. And we be bounde to dy in god quarell 
and leve the ordinance of man, and there this good yong man is 
trobelid ; but I trust yow shall all repent hit shortly, when my lord 
privy scale t do heare of it. And yow folys mayer, and that knave 

* Brit. Mus., Cotton MSS., Cleopatra EV., fol. 390. 

t The celebrated Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex, who held office as Recorder 
of Bristol, was also Keeper of the Privy Seal. In the books of the city chamber- 
lain is the following entry, respecting a balance of salary due to Lord Essex at the 
time of his execution : ' ' For so much the 20 charged in this side, paid to the 
Lord of Essex, late Recorder of this town, for his fee due to him at the feast of the 
Nativity of our Lord God in Anno 1540 : which customary used to be paid at one 
time : and for that the said Lord of Essex was beheaded before that feast in the 
same year, anno 1540, we, the auditors, find that the 20 ought not to be allowed 
in this account." 


Thomas White, w. the lyar Abynton,* the prater Pacy,t & flatering 
Hutton,} & Dronkyn Tonell, folis Coke,|| dremy Smyth,H & the 
nigarde Thorne, ** hasty Sylke, ft stuttyng Elyott,ft symple Hart, 
& grynning Pryn,|||| prowde Addamys,UH & pore Woddus,*** the 
sturdy parson of saynt Stevyns, the prowde Vicar of saynt Lenardes, 
the lying parson of saynt Jonys,ttt the dronken parson of saynt 
Eweens, ||| the brayling wr r of the calenders, the prating Vikar of 

* The Abyndons were an old Bristol family. Henry Abyndon, Bachelor of 
Music at Cambridge in 1463, was a member of King's Chapel, and Master of St 
Catherine's Hospital, Brightbow, Bedminster. In 1550 there is mention of 
"Abyndon ys Inne." This inn was rebuilt before 1565, and was then known as 
the new inn. The individual mentioned in the letter was probably Richard Abyn- 
don, who was mayor of Bristol in 1526, and again in 1537- In I5 2 9 ne was 
elected M. P. In an old calendar of the city, the following entry occurs : " On 
the 1 7th of July there was such thundering and lightening which lasted from 8 
o' the clock at night untill 4 next morning, which was fearfull for to heare ; but 
when Richard Abbingdon deceased the thunder also ceased presently." 

t " The prater Pacy " was probably the vicar of All-Hallows ; but a person 
of the name was mayor of Bristol in 1532. 

Hutton cannot be identified. Tonnell was mayor of Bristol in 1529. 

|| Coke was mayor in I535> and M.P. in 1537. 

IF Smyth was sheriff of Bristol in 1533. 

** Nicholas Thorne was a wealthy shipowner, and founder of a school at Bristol. 
He served as sheriff in 1529. In 1537 he represented the borough in Parliament, 
and in 1545 was elected mayor. He died August igth, 1546. His portrait by 
Holbein is extant. 

+t A person named Sylke was sheriff of Bristol in 1530 ; and the " proude vicar 
of St Leonards" was also Thomas Sylke. Both belonged to an old Bristol family 
of the name. William Sylke was rector of All-Hallows in 1264, when " Isonde, 
relict of Hugh Calvestone, grants lands to the Church, on payment of a yearly 
rent of a penny or a pair of gloves at her option." By another deed, dated about 
the same period, William Sylke "gives, grants, and confirms in fee, for the souls 
of his father, John Sylke, his mother, Isabella, and all his predecessors and suc- 
cessors," money " to keep a lamp for ever burning in the church of All-Hallows " 
the said money to be derived from land in Seatepull Street, Bristol. In 1547 
a Mrs Sylke bequeathed to the poor of St Thomas's parish three shillings for 
annual distribution. 

{$ Robert Ellyott was Sheriff of Bristol in 1522, mayor in 1541, and M.P. irt 
1542. In the patents of 1501 and 1502, for the discovery and settlement of the 
lands in America, his father, Hugh Ellyott, was associated with Ward, Ashe- 
hurst, Thomas, and Thorne, merchants of Bristol. 

Hart was sheriff of Bristol in 1536. |||| Pryn was sheriff in 1537. 

HIT Addamys was mayor of Bristol in 1546. 
*** Woddus was Sheriff of Bristol in 1535. 
ttt Thomas Tasker. JJj Waterhouse. 


allhalowys, w. dyvers other knave preistes, shall all repent this 
doing. Farewell the enemys of the worde of god. 

" Writen in haste at the noble cyty of Coleyn by yo r loviar 
William Ryppe of Brystow." 

(Inserted on the margin.") 

" The worshipfull m r Thomas White in Bredestrete 
in Bristow this letter be delyvered w. spede from 

The second letter bears to have been written at Rome, by 
Thomas Abynton. It is addressed on the margin : 

" To the worshipfull m r Thomas Abynton, 
in Bristow, this letter be delyvered from 
Croydyn to Bristow." 

The letter proceeds : 

" Yet onys agayne to the enemys of godes worde as ye knave 
the mayer, very fole to the kynges grace, & enemys to my 
lorde pryvy scale, and to y r awne sell. 

" O yow knavys and enemys to the worde of god now yow 
may se what cruelty yow dyd use in putting this faithfull Reder in 
pryson, and now be glad to putt hym owt agayne : If yow had not 
yow sholde have bene burned owt of yo r howsyng, yow shall repent 
this doing iff some of us do lyve, and specially some of the knave 
preists : as the same prowde knave the Vykar of saynt Leonardes,* 
rowling his night cappe of velvett every day and not able to chaunge 
a man agrote, & the dronken parson of saynt Jonys,t&that per- 
petuall knave the parson of saynt Stevyns, & brasyn face knave of 
allhalows, baburlyppe knave the preist of saynt Leonardes, w. long 
syr harry, and lytle S r Thomas, w. the vycar of saynt Austens, the 
olde fole. All these of this diocese that have cure shall go lyke 
knavys to sing Ave regina when the byshoope cum,| for they have 
warning the last visitacion, & take this my warning yow knavys all. 
Now to the Temporally. That same knave Thomas Whyte now doth 

* Thomas Sylke was vicar of St Leonards. t Thomas Tasker. 

Bishop Richard, who was employed as a royal commissioner at Bristol for the 
surrender of the monastery. 


begyn to shrynke in his harnys, but that shall not helpe hym. And 
the folishe mayer must folow a many of knavys counsell, & at the 
instance of the two poticarys,* the false knavys that ever was Schrevys 
this m r yere, and wily knavys, but they shall smart for this yere, 
And that flatering Hutton, and dronken Pacy & false towne- 
clerke.f Also the knavys do loke for the suttyll Recorder, but when 
he come if he do not holde w* the trew worde of god, my lorde 
pryvy scale shall bydd hym walke lyke a knave as he is. Therefore 
I do advyse yow, be ware and discharge the suretyes of the Reader 
by tyme : or els yow will repent hitt for he shall make as many as 
xx ty of you if nede do requyre. Fare yow well all yow knavys all 
that do holde agaynst the same honest man the reader, for he doth 
regard the kyng of hevyn before the kyng of England. And thus 
fare yow well yow shall knowe more of my mynde when o r byshopp 
come from London. 

" Yo r lovyer and frende Thomas Abynton in all haste from 
Rome the x th day of January." 

The third letter is addressed to Thomas Sylke, Vicar of St 
Leonards ; and as the writer demands that the reader should 
be set free before the bishop was informed of his detention, 
it was probably the first written. 

" To the stynkyng knave Sylke, Vykar of saynt Leonardes. 
" Thow stynkyng knave, I cast in a letter of late into thy 
chamber to delyver to the lying knave Thomas or Richard 
Abyngton, but thow, lyke a knave, must delyver the letter to that 
knave Thomas Whyte. Be sure thow shalt lese one day one of thy 
eares, & that ere it be myddell lent sonday. Remembre my sayng, 
I do write unto yow after a charitable maner that yow may de- 
lyver the reader ere the Byshoppe do knowe of it. For when he do 
heare of it he will ruffyll amonges yow for it. The knave Shrevys be 

* One of these two apothecaries was David Harris. He was sheriff in 1539, and 
mayor in 1551. When Richard Sharp was suffering at the stake for heresy, in 
1557, he was encouraged by one Thomas Hale, a shoemaker. This act so enraged 
Alderman Harris that he had Hale seized in his bed, and committed to Newgate ; 
he was afterwards condemned and burned. When Queen Elizabeth visited Bris- 
tol in 1573, David Harris was ejected from the office of alderman. The other 
" poticary " was probably a relative. 

t The town clerk was John Colys. 


a greate occasion of the same pore man the readers trowble, and 
specially that knave Harrye, the potecary. There is a nother knave 
Harrys * in towne, & that a pryvy and wily knave as ever lyved, 
crafty and suttyll, and a greate enemy to the worde of god : but 
when the Byshoppe do come, he shall handle hym in his kynde ; 
thowgh that the same knave Nicoll Thome t do faver hym, he shall 
not helpe hym, nother that ypocrite his wife also. O yovv hard- 
harted knavys that will not faver the worde of god, when such 
a faithfull yong man dyd take paynes to reade the trew worde of 
god and yow to trowble hym for his labo r . May not yow be sory ? 
yes trewly. And if yow had not delyvered hym owt of pryson the 
rather, he shold have come owt spyte of yo r teth ; like knavys as yow 
be all discharge his suretys, I will advise yow. Say not but yow have 
warning. For if the Poyntmakers i do ryse, some of yow will lese 
theyre eares and that shortly. I understande yow will do no thing 
tyll the knave Recorder do come. I do not mene my good lord 
pryvy scale. I do not call hym knave ; but I call Davy Broke 
knave and gorbely knave, and that droncken Gervys,|| that lubber 
Antony Payne,U & slovyn William Yong,** and that dobyll knave 
William Chester.ft For sometymes he is w. us and sometymes w. 
the knaves, but he shalbe a long knave for it, & his wife a folishe 
drabbe for she is the enemy of goddes worde. Fare yow well for 
his tyme, yo r loving frende the goodman'parson of saynt Stevyns, in 
Bedmyster, besydes the kynges towne of Faterford, commende me 
to all the knave preistes that be the enemys of goddes worde. For 
if we lyve & the byshoppe together, they shall not trowble this 
towne except the kynge do fayle us. For the knavys have no lern- 
ing nor none will lerne. Yet onys again fare yow well. 

" By yo r lovyer David Harrys, poticary, & that scalde knave 
William Fay, from the port of saynt Mary. 

" Commende me to that grynnyng knave the false towne clerke, 

* Rector of the grammar school. f Nicholas Thorn. 

+ The pointmakers were a flourishing guild at Bristol. 

David Broke was mayor of the city in 1527. || Gervys was sheriff in 1526. 

IT Antony Payne was sheriff in 1534. ** William Yong was .mayor in 1540. 

ft William Chester was mayor in 1538. In the following year he obtained 

a grant of the site of the Blackfriars monastery. When in May 1549 there was an 

insurrection in the city, under Fykes' mayoralty, he appeared for the malcontents, 

and obtained a pardon for them from Edward VI. 


he shall repent other thinges, yow knowe what I meane. Commende 
me to old folishe Sprynge,* & to the angry Pykes,f w. dyvers 
other which do not come to my mynde now, but another tyme be- 
ware mo of yow." 

Having, by burning his faggot, escaped death as the result 
of his evangelical labours at Bristol, Wishart proceeded to 
the Continent. According to Bishop Lesley, his contemporary, 
"he remained long in Germany ."I In defending himself during 
his trial at St Andrews he referred to his having sailed on the 
Rhine ; and as he translated into English the first Confession 
of the Helvetian Churches, it is probable that he visited 
Switzerland. In 1542 he returned to Cambridge, and there 
sought employment as a tutor. Respecting this portion of 
his career, we obtain the following particulars in a com- 
munication made to Foxe, the martyrologist, by Emery 
Tylney, one of his pupils : 

" About the yeare of our Lord, a thousand, five hundreth, fortie 
and three, there was, in the universitie of Cambridge, one Maister 
George Wischart, commonly called Maister George of Bennet's 
Colledge, who was a man of tall stature, polde headed, and on the 
same a French cap of the best. Judged of melancholye complexion 
by his phsiognomie, blacke haired, long bearded, comely of person- 
age, well spoken after his country of Scotland, courteous, lowly, 
lovely, glad to teach, desirous to learne, and was well trauelled, hau- 
ing on him for his habit or clothing, neuer but a mantell frise gowne 
to the shoes, a blacke Millian fustain dublet, and plaine blacke hosen, 
course new canuasse for his shirtes, and white falling bandes and 
cuffes at the handes. All the which apparell, he gaue to the poore, 
some weekly, some monethly, some quarterly as hee liked, sauing his 
Frenche cappe, which hee kept the whole yeare of my beeing with 
him. Hee was a man modest, temperate, fearing God, hating couet- 
ousnesse, for his charitie had neuer ende, nighte, morne, nor daye, 
hee forbare one meale in three, one day in foure for the most part, 
except something to comfort nature. Hee lay hard upon a pouffe of 

* Mayor in 1540. t Sheriff in 1533. 

J Lesley's History of Scotland, Edin., 1838, p. 191. 



straw, course new canuasse sheetes, which, when he change, he gaue 
away. He had commonly by his bedside a tubbe of water, in the 
which (his people being in bed, the candle put out, and all quiet) hee 
used to bathe himselfe, as I being very yong, being assured offen 
heard him, and in one light night discerned him ; hee loved me 
tenderly, and I him, for my age, as effectually. Hee taught with 
great modestie and grauitie, so that some of his people thought him 
seuere, and would haue slain him, but the Lord was his defence. 
And hee, after due correction for their malice, by good exhortation 
amended them, and hee went his way. O that the Lord had left 
him to mee his poore boy, that he might haue finished that hee had 
begunne ! For in his Religion hee was as you see heere in the rest 
of his life, when he went into Scotland with diuers of the Nobilitie, 
that came for a treaty to King Henry the eight. His learning was 
no less sufficient, than his desire, alwayes pres' and readie to do good 
in that hee was able both in the house priuately, and in the schoole 
publickely, professing and reading diuers authours. 

" If I should declare his love to mee and all men, his charitie to 
the poore, in giuing, relieuing, caring, helping, prouiding, yea infin- 
itely studying how to do good unto all, and hurt to none, I should 
sooner want words than just cause to commend him. 

" All this I testifie with my whole heart and trueth of this godly 
man. H^e that made all, gouerneth all, and shall judge all, knoweth 
I speake the truthe, that the simple may be satisfied, the arrogant 
confounded, the hypocrite disclosed. EMERY TYLNEY." * 

To complete the long-pending negotiations with the Eng- 
lish Government for the marriage of Edward Prince of Wales 
with the infant Queen Mary, commissioners from Scotland 
proceeded to London in June 1543. These commissioners 
were the Earl of Glencairn, Sir George Douglas, Sir William 
Hamilton of Sanquhar, James Learmont of Balcomie, and 
Henry Balnaves. They met the English commissioners at 
Greenwich on the 1st of July, when the marriage treaty 
was settled, and certain differences between the countries 
amicably adjusted.^ When the commissioners left Scot- 

* Foxe's Acts and Monuments, ed. 1596, p. 1155. 
t Rymer's Foedera, vol. xiv., pp. 786-791. 


land, the governor Arran, then a professor of the Reformed 
faith, was at variance with Cardinal Beaton ; and as no recon- 
ciliation between them seemed probable, Learmont of Bal- 
comie regarded the season as especially suitable for his 
relative leaving Cambridge and returning to the north. Ac- 
cepting his counsel, Wishart joined the commissioners, and 
accompanied them to Scotland, which they reached before 
the 3 1st of July.* 

Wishart intended at once to enter upon the duties of an 
evangelist. But the altered condition of public affairs 
rendered such a proceeding absolutely dangerous. Beaton 
had regained his authority, and the weak governor, in 
becoming reconciled to him, evidenced a desire to .per- 
petuate his friendship by publicly abjuring the Reformed 

Amidst the perils of the time, Wishart found a retreat in 
his native home, the mansion of Pitarrow.-f- There he re- 
mained from July 1543 till the spring of 1545, dividing his 
time between the study of theology and the cultivation of 
the arts. When the old mansion of Pitarrow was being demo- 
lished in 1802, | the workmen laid open, under the wainscot- 
ing which covered the walls of the great hall, a series of well 
executed paintings. 

These paintings were in bright colours. One over the fire- 
place represented the Pope on horseback, attended by a com- 
pany of cardinals, uncovered. In front stood a white palfrey, 
richly caparisoned, held by a person in elegant apparel. Be- 
yond was the Cathedral of St Peter, of which the doors were 
open, as if to receive the procession. Under the painting 
were these lines : 

* Sadler's State Papers, vol. i., pp. 235, 242-245. Knox, who mentions 
Wishart's return to Scotland with the commissioners, erroneously states that the 
event took place in 1544 (Knox's History, ed. 1846, vol. i., p. 102). 

f Pitarrow is situated in a rural district, fifteen miles from Montrose, on the east 
coast of Forfarshire. 

Dr George Cook's History of the Scottish Reformation, vol. i., p. 272 ; New 
Statistical Account, Kincardineshire, p. 81. 



"7 Papam. 

" Laus tua non tua fraus : virtus, non gloria rerum 
Scandere te fecit hoc decus eximium. 
Dat sua pauperibus gratis nee munera curat 
Curia Papalis quod more percipimus. 

HCEC carmina poiuis legenda cancros imitando. " 

Literally rendered, the inscription reads : 

" Thy merit, not thy craft ; thy worth, not thy ambition, raised 
thee to this pitch of eminence. The Papal Curia, as we well know, 
gives freely to the poor, nor grudges its gifts." 

But as the writer informs us his verses are to be read by im- 
itating crabs that is, backwards a very different meaning is 
derived thus : 

" The Papal Curia, as we well know, grudges its gifts, nor bestows 
on the poor freely. To this pitch of eminence thy ambition raised 
thee, not thy worth ; thy craft, not thy merit" 

Knox writes: " Wishart excelled in all human science."* 
During his first residence in Germany he may have acquired 
the art of painting, and he might have studied under Holbein. 
The brilliancy of colour apparent in the Pitarrow paintings 
would certainly assign them to an artist of the German school. 
To the narrative of Wishart's character, supplied to Foxe, 
Tylney adds these lines, which he styles : 


" Fides sola sine operibus justificat ; 
Opera ostendunt et ostentant fidem ; 
Romana ecclesia putativ^ caput mundi, 
Lex canonica caput Papse, 
Missse ministerium, mysterium iniquitatis."t 

There is here, as in the lines on the painting at Pitarrow, a 
double meaning. This bipartite arrangement is intended : 

* Knox's History, ed. 1846, vol. i., p. 125. 

t Foxe's Acts and Monuments, ed. 1596, p. 1155. 


" Fides sola sine operibus justificat 

Opera ostendunt et ostentant . fidem 

Romana ecclesia putative caput mundi 

Lex canonica caput Papae 

Missse ministerium .... mysterium iniquitatis." 

In the first division, Rome asserts : " This is the one faith. 
The Roman Church, the canon law, the service of the mass, 
prove and show good works." In the other, the preacher pre- 
sents his confession : " Papal supremacy, that mystery of 
iniquity, which thinks itself the head of the world, justifies 
faith without works." 

It would be rash to affirm that a similarity of manner and 
sentiment, striking as it certainly is, proves that the dogmata 
and the Pitarrow inscription proceeded from the same pen. 
But the assertion will be allowed, that George Wishart, who 
wrote the dogmata, translated the Helvetian Confession, and 
died in testimony of his hatred of Romish error, might have 
composed an inscription in his paternal mansion which con- 
demned the Papacy. Such an inscription he was more likely 
to compose than any other member of his House whose his- 
tory is known. And if he inscribed his ancestral hall with his 
pen, may he not likewise have adorned it with his brush ? 
Who more likely to illustrate a painting than the painter him- 
self ? The paintings at Pitarrow were executed on the plas- 
tered wall ; the wainscoting which afterwards concealed them 
was introduced subsequent to Wishart's period. 

Tired of his prolonged seclusion at Pitarrow, Wishart de- 
termined to resume his duties as an evangelist. In reading 
the Scriptures to the people in their native tongue, he had the 
authority of the State,* and being in reader's orders, he pos- 
sessed as an instructor the sanction of the Church. Rent- 
ing a house at Montrose, the " next unto the church except 
one,"-j- he there read and explained the Scriptures to all who 

* An Act of the Estates was proclaimed on the igth March 1543, declaring that 
it should be lawful for all men to read the Old and New Testaments in the mother 
tongue, and providing that " no man preach to the contrary upon pain of death." 

t Knox's History, ed. 1846, vol. L, p. 125; Petrie's History of the Catholick 
Church, Hague, 1662, folio, p. 182. 


came. After a time he removed to Dundee, where he pub- 
licly read and expounded the Epistle to the Romans. His 
prelections, conducted within eleven miles of the Castle of 
St Andrews, could not long escape the notice of Cardinal 
Beaton, who, since his reconciliation with the governor, pos- 
sessed an authority nearly absolute. The cardinal might not 
prevent the reading of the Scriptures ; he might not close, save 
on a specific charge, a mouth opened by the Church. But 
one who is disposed to persecute may readily find excuse to 
justify his interference. Charging Wishart with convoking 
the lieges without the royal sanction, he procured from the 
queen regent and the governor a proclamation, calling on 
him to desist. By one Robert Mill, a magistrate of Dun- 
dee, who had professed the Reformed doctrines, but had 
lately abjured them, the proclamation was handed to the 
preacher as he conducted service. " He remained," writes 
Knox, " a little space with his eyes bent towards heaven, and 
thereafter looking sorrowfully to the speaker and the people, 
said : God rs witness that I never intended your trouble but 
your comfort. Yea, your trouble is more dolorous to me 
than it is to yourselves. But I am assured that to refuse 
God's Word, and to chase from you His messengers, shall not 
preserve you from trouble, but it shall bring you into it. For 
God shall send to you messengers who will not be afraid of 
horning* nor yet banishment. I have offered unto you the 
Word of Salvation, and with the hazard of my life I hare 
remained among you. Now ye yourselves refuse me, and 
therefore must I leave my innocence to be declared by God. 
If it be long prosperous with you, I am not led by the Spirit of 
Truth ; but if unlooked-for trouble apprehend you, acknow- 
ledge the cause and turn to God, for He is merciful." *f* 

Among those present when Mill served the proclamation 
was the Earl Marischal, J who entreated the preacher to dis- 

* Putting to the horn, i.e., being denounced a rebel. This menace would, as 
matter of course, be contained in the proclamation, 
t Knox's History, Edin., 1846, vol. i., pp. 125, 126. 
f By Sir Ralph Sadler, in a report to Henry VIII., dated 27th March 1543, the 


regard it, or to accompany him to the north and there prose- 
cute his ministry. But Wishart had promised to the Earl of 
Glencairn* that he would next preach in Ayrshire, and he pro- 
ceeded thither at once. 

Ayrshire was included in the see of Glasgow, and Gavin 
Dunbar, the archbishop, was determined to check in his dio- 
cese the spread of heretical opinions. Informed that Wishart 
was preaching in Ayr, he went there with a body of attend- 
ants, and took possession of the church. Lord Glencairn and 
George Crawfurd of Loch Norris,-f- attended by their vassals, 
also proceeded thither to defend the preacher. But Wishart 
discommended violence. He invited the people to accompany 
him to the market cross, where, writes Knox, " he made so 
notable a sermon that his very enemies themselves were con- 
founded." Dunbar preached in the parish church which he 
had usurped. Inexpert in public teaching, he commended 
his office, and promised a more edifying discourse on his 
return. | 

Wishart prosecuted his labours chiefly in the district of 
Kyle. For a time he occupied the parish church of Galston, 
under the protection of John Lockhart of Barr, a Protestant 
landowner. Invited to preach at Mauchline, an adjoining 
parish, he consented ; but the use of the church was resisted 
on the plea that an elegant shrine preserved in it might be 

Earl Marischal is described as "a goodly young gentleman, well given to his 
Majesty." He was very friendly to the Reformation. During the civil wars in 
the reign of Queen Mary he shut himself in his Castle of Dunottar, and conse- 
quently became known as William of the Tower. He died about the year 1581 
(Sadler's State Papers, vol. i., p. 126). 

* William Cunningham, fourth Earl of Glencairn, was in 1526 appointed Lord 
High Treasurer. He early attached himself to the Reformers, and bore a con- 
spicuous part in their early struggles ; he died in 1547. His son Alexander, fifth 
earl, is historically known as " the good earl." 

f Now called Dumfries House, a seat of the Marquess of Bute. 

J Knox's History, Edin., 1846, vol. i. , p. 127. 

John Lockhart of Barr is, in a legal instrument dated Glasgow, 2oth Novem- 
ber 1510, nominated procurator and assignee of Mr Patrick Shaw, Vicar of Monk- 
town, about to set out for Rome. He is noticed in the rental book of the diocese 
of Glasgow in 1553 (Diocesan Registers of Glasgow, vol. i., p. 151; vol. ii. 
p. 38l). 


injured by the populace. Among the opposers were George 
Campbell of Monkgarswood, Mungo Campbell of Brounside, 
and George Read of Tempilland. At their instance, Sir Hugh 
Campbell of Loudoun, sheriff of the county, prohibited the use 
of the church, and caused the doors to be watched by a civic 
guard. This procedure was obnoxious to an influential land- 
owner, Hew Campbell of Kinzeancleugh,* who, with his 
friends and followers, sought to overpower the guard and 
enter the edifice by force. Wishart dissuaded Campbell from 
exciting public strife. " Brother," said he, " Christ Jesus is as 
potent in the fields as in the kirk. He himself oftener 
preached on the mountain, in the desert, and at the seaside, 
than in the temple. God sends by me the Word of Peace, 
and the blood of no man must be shed this day for the preach- 
ing of it." Having calmed his friend's vehemence, Wishart 
proceeded to a meadow, and there from a stone fence preached 
to an eager crowd. His discourse lasted three hours. It was 
attended by the conversion of Laurence Rankin, the laird of 
Sheill, a man whose corrupt life had been notorious.^ 

Under the protection of the Earls of Cassilisj and Glen- 
cairn, and others, Wishart had preached in Ayrshire about four 
weeks, when he was recalled to Dundee. A terrible epidemic 
had broken out in the place four days after his departure, 
and his return was urgently entreated. A contemporary 
chronicler informs us that in August 1545 a fatal pestilence 
visited all the burghs of Scotland. || In that month it is pro- 
bable Wishart returned to Dundee. His departure from Kyle 
grievecl many who had become attached to his ministry. To 

* Hew Campbell of Kinzeancleugh was a cadet of the House of Loudoun. His 
son, Robert Campbell of Kinzeancleugh, was a zealous friend of John Knox and 
a devoted promoter of the Reformation. 

t Knox's History, edit. 1846, vol. i., p. 128. 

J Gilbert Kennedy, third Earl of Cassilis, was taken prisoner at the battle of 
Solway, and consequently became known to Henry VIII., who held him in high 
esteem. He was a vigorous upholder of the Protestant cause. 

Spottiswoode's History of the Church of Scotland, Edin., 1851, 8vo, vol. i., 
p. 151. 

|j Diurnal of Occurrents, Maitland Club, p. 39. 


their entreaties that he would remain among them, he replied 
that his former hearers " were in trouble and needed comfort ;" 
he added : " Perhaps the hand of God will cause them now to 
revere that Word which formerly, through fear of man, they 
lightly esteemed."* 

At Dundee, on his return, Wishart excited a deep interest. 
Those who remembered his words when the apostate Mill 
interrupted his preaching, hoped that the pestilence which 
had followed so closely his departure might be arrested on 
his return. He was urged to resume his public ministrations, 
but as those who attended the sick or exhibited symptoms of 
ailment were carefully avoided, there was difficulty in arrang- 
ing matters. Wishart proposed to preach from the East Port, 
the sick and suspected being accommodated without, and 
those in health within the walls.-f- The proposal was accepted, 
and the preacher discoursed from the 2Oth verse of the lo/th 
Psalm : " He sent His Word and healed them." He set forth 
the blessed nature of Holy Scripture, and the comfort which 
it brought to the bereaved. Afflictive dispensations, he re- 
marked, conduced to humility and repentance. The Divine 
mercy, he said, was alike manifest in seasons of adversity 
and sickness as in times of prosperity and health. Affliction 
was a great teacher, and God frequently removed His friends 
from troubles which were to come. The preacher enjoined a 
faithful attendance on the sick, and exhorted that prayer 
should accompany the means used for their recovery. The 
hearers were deeply moved, and retired with expressions of 
thankfulness, j 

At Dundee Wishart preached frequently, and also waited 
upon the sick. His proceedings were again reported to the 
cardinal, who now had recourse to an assassin. John Wighton, 
a priest belonging to Dundee, undertook to destroy the 

* Knox's History, edit. 1846, vol. i., p. 129. 

t At this time the town of Dundee was surrounded by a double wall, with ports 
or gates, which were removed about the end of the eighteenth century, except the 
East Gate, or Cowgate Port, which, out of respect to Wishart's memory, has been 

Knox's Works, edit. 1846, vol. i., p. 130. 


preacher. Armed with a dagger, he entered the place of wor- 
ship in which Wishart was discoursing, and, concealing him- 
self behind the pulpit, waited his descent. Happily, Wishart 
remarked his presence, and before he had time to strike, 
seized him fast. " What would you do, my friend ? " said the 
preacher, calmly. Dreading instant death, Wighton threw 
himself on his knees and entreated mercy. The congregation 
had retired, but a few persons who remained behind gave 
the alarm, and a crowd burst upon the scene. " Let us smite 
the traitor ! " shouted a multitude of voices. Wishart remarked 
that he was unhurt, and begged that the aggressor might be 
spared. " He who touches him will trouble me," he said ear- 
nestly. He then improved the occasion by pointing out the 
perils which attend the Christian in his pilgrimage, and after 
duly exhorting his intended murderer, secured his retreat* 

Wishart remained in Dundee till the pestilence had ceased. 
From Lords Cassilis and Glencairn he received letters inti- 
mating that a provincial Synod of the Church was to meet at 
Edinburgh on the I3th January, and promising him a public 
audience on the occasion. He was pleased with this proposal, 
and agreeing to be at Edinburgh in January, remarked that 
having " finished one battle he was ready for another." 
Meanwhile he proceeded to Montrose, where he occasionally 

Having failed to silence the preacher by the dagger of the 
assassin, Beaton devised a stratagem for his arrest. At Mont- 
rose Wishart was waited upon by a jaded messenger, who 
thrust a letter into his hand. The letter bore that his friend 
John Kinnear of Kinnear, in Fife,"f- lay dangerously sick, and 
desired to see him at once. Moved by affection, Wishart 
mounted a led horse brought by the messenger, and in the 
company of a few friends proceeded on his journey. Having 
passed the outskirts of the town, he remarked to his com- 

* Knox's Works, edit. 1846, vol. i., p. 131. 

+ John Kynnear of Kynnear in the parish of Kilmany, Fifeshire, was, on the 
3oth July 1543, served heir to his father, David Kynnear de eodem, in the lands 
and barony of Kynnear (Inq, Spec., Fife, No. 2). 


panions that he began to suspect treachery. Some of his 
attendants riding forward discovered, at a retired and shel- 
tered spot, a troop of about sixty horsemen, evidently wait- 
ing an arrival. The preacher and his friends returned to 

About the end of November Wishart proposed to leave 
Montrose for Edinburgh. By his early friend, John Erskine 
of Dun, he was urged to remain in retirement, but he re- 
marked that he could not break his promise. Having reached 
Dundee, he was from thence conducted to Invergowrie, a 
hamlet in the vicinity, where he was entertained at the 
house of James Watson, one of his converts. Knox relates 
an anecdote in connection with this visit. The preacher 
rose during the night, and proceeding to a secluded portion 
of the garden, there expressed himself as if in pain, and after- 
wards knelt down and engaged in prayer. Two members of 
the household, who chanced to be awake, observed his pro- 
cedure, and followed him unseen. Informing him next morn- 
ing that they had remarked his vigil, they begged an ex- 
planation. He answered that he believed his life would be a 
short one. Knox regards this occurrence as evidence that 
the preacher was supernaturally informed of his approaching 
martyrdom. Such a view was not unnatural in times of 
superstition. But Wishart's act is easily explained. He 
evidently suffered from an imperfect circulation, which, as in 
the case of the Scottish poet, Robert Burns, induced at night 
strong fever, or unnatural warmth. Tylney relates that at 
Cambridge he had "commonly by his bedside a tub of water, 
in the which, his people being in bed, the candle put out, 
and all quiet, he used to bathe himself." It was, doubtless, 
while suffering from a feverish attack to which he was sub- 
ject that he sought relief in the coolness of the garden. 
These attacks becoming probably more frequent and severe, 
led him to say to those who rashly questioned him, that he 
feared his life would not be prolonged. 

From Invergowrie Wishart proceeded to Perth, then desig- 

* Knox's History, ed. 1846, vol. i., p. 132. 


nated St Johnstone. He adopted this circuitous route to 
Edinburgh in order to avoid the nearer but more danger- 
ous road through the eastern district of Fife, where the car- 
dinal maintained a nearly absolute jurisdiction. Travelling 
from Perth by way of Kinross, he reached the ferry at King- 
horn, and thence crossed the Forth to Leith, the port of 
Edinburgh. It was the beginning of December, and he ex- 
pected that the Earls of Cassilis and Glencairn would be 
in the capital awaiting his arrival. As they had not come, 
he was by friendly persons advised to remain in tempor- 
ary concealment. He acquiesced, but soon complained of 
the restraint. " Wherein do I differ from one dead," he 
exclaimed, " except that I eat and drink ? Hitherto God 
has accepted my labours for the instruction of the ignor- 
ant and the exposure of error. Now I lurk in secret as one 
who is ashamed." Entreating that he might be permitted to 
resume his ministry, arrangements were made accordingly. 
On the second Sunday of December he preached at Leith, 
selecting as his subject the Parable of the Sower. The bold- 
ness of his teaching increased the alarm of his friends, who, 
believing a report that the governor and the cardinal were 
to be in Edinburgh shortly, begged that he would quit so 
dangerous a vicinity.* 

At this period Wishart was introduced to three conspicuous 
opponents of the Romish Church, Alexander Crichton of 
Brunstone, Hugh Douglas of Longniddry, and John Cock- 
burn of Ormiston. Subsequent to his public appearance at 
Leith, these persons entertained him at their houses, and 
instituted arrangements for his safety. Intimately asso- 
ciated with him, as they became, during the last and most 
eventful period of his ministry, they severally claim par- 
ticular notice. Crichton of Brunstone had hitherto been 
a supporter of the Reformed cause, rather from hostility 
to Beaton than from any absolute conviction. His policy 
had been singularly vacillating. In 1539 he was, as one 
of his confidential friends, despatched by Cardinal Beaton 
* Knox's History, ed. 1846, vol. i., p. 134. 


with letters to the court of Rome. Having quarrelled with the 
cardinal, he attached himself to Arran,* who employed him 
on diplomatic missions to France and England.-}- But re- 
nouncing the governor's favour, he made himself known to 
Sir Ralph Sadler, through whom he was recommended to the 
English court. The history of his negotiations with Henry 
VIII. for the destruction of the cardinal will be detailed after- 
wards. But it is worthy of remark that subsequent to his 
intercourse with Wishart his name no longer appears on the 
list of conspirators. His latter history may be related briefly. 
In 1548 he was forfeited and escaped from Scotland. He 
died before the 5th December 1558, as on that day the pro- 
cess of forfeiture against him was reduced by the Scottish 
Parliament at the instance of John Crichton, who is described 
as " eldest lawful son and heir of umquhile Alexander Creich- 
ton of Brunstane." J 

Hugh Douglas of Longniddry was a man of firm principle 
and strong faith. A scion of the House of Douglas of Dal- 
keith, he was an early promoter of the Reformed doctrines. 
Under his roof John Knox, after renouncing his priestly office 
at Haddington, obtained employment and shelter as tutor to 
his sons, Francis and George. Knox had resided with Douglas 
about eighteen months prior to Wishart's visit, and it is pro- 
bable that his recommendation of the stranger tended towards 
his favourable reception by the Reformers of Haddington- 
shire. Of the personal history of Hugh Douglas, apart from 
his support of Knox and Wishart, not much is known. His 

* Sadler's State Papers, pp. 25, 185, 280. 

f* On the 8th November 1545, there was paid " be my Lord Gouernouis speciall 
command to the Laird of Brounstoun in support of his expenses maid in tyme of 
his being in Ingland lauborand for redres of certane Scottis schippis tane be the 
Inglische men, &c., 44 lib." (Treasurers' Accounts). 

J Acta Parl. Scot., vol. ii., p. 520. 

John Knox was born at Haddington and educated under the learned Mair at 
the University of Glasgow. In the protocol books of Haddington his name occurs 
in 1540, 1541, and 1542, under the style of " Schir John Knox," the designation of 
priests who had not attained the academical rank of master. A notarial instru- 
ment of assignment, dated 27th March 1543, bears his subscription as " Minister 
of the sacred altar and apostolic notary." 


son, Francis Douglas of Longniddry, in a deed of ratification, 
dated iQth April 1567, is named as third in the line of succes- 
sion to James, Earl of Morton, failing his male issue.* By 
Sir George Douglas, a descendant of the House, that portion 
of the lands of Longniddry which belonged to his family was, 
in 1650, sold to the Earl ofWinton, who also acquired the 
other portion. The estates of the Earl ofWinton, having been 
forfeited in 1715, were purchased by the York Building Com- 
pany, by whom they were sold in 1779 to John Glassel, a 
surgeon, who acquired a fortune by trading in Virginia. His 
only child became Duchess of Argyll. By her son, the pre- 
sent Duke of Argyll, the lands of Longniddry were sold to 
the Earl of Wemyss, who guards with pious care an aged tree 
under which Knox preached. A circular mound covers the 
foundations of the ancient mansion. 

John Cockburn of Ormiston, another upholder of Wishart's 
ministry, was descended from the ancient House of Cockburn 
of that ilk, and was hereditary Constable of Haddington. 
One of Knox's earlier converts, he remained through life his 
attached and earnest friend. Chiefly on account of the sup- 
port which he extended to Wishart he sustained severe perse- 
cution. By the Regent Arran and Archbishop Hamilton of 
St Andrews, he was, in 1548, forfeited and banished ; but he 
obtained his freedom by consenting to underlie the law. Knox, 
when detained in France, transmitted to his care Balnaves' 
" Treatise on Justification," which was found at Longniddry 
long afterwards.-f In October 1559 he received at Berwick, 
from Sir Ralph Sadler and Sir James Crofts, .1000 sterling for 
the benefit of the poor who professed the Reformed faith: 
also, two hundred crowns (63, 6s. 8d.) for his own use. Of 
the entire treasure he was deprived by the Earl of Bothwell 
and his retainers on his homeward journey. Cockburn's wife, 
Alison, daughter of Sir James Sandilands of Calder, was also 
a zealous supporter of the Reformed doctrines. 

Under the protection of these three landowners, Wishart con- 

* Acta Parl. Scot., vol. ii., p. 546. 

t Three Scottish Reformers, Eilin., 1874, p. 20. 


ducted Divine service in the parish church of Inveresk, near 
Musselburgh, both in the morning and afternoon of the Sun- 
day succeeding that on which he had preached at Leith. In 
connection with these services, Knox relates two incidents. 
As the people assembled for worship, two friars from the 
chapel of Loretto, at Musselburgh,* stood at the entrance of 
the church and whispered to those who entered. Remark- 
ing their procedure, Wishart invited them to enter. " Come 
in," he said, " and you shall hear the Word of Truth, which, 
according as you receive it, will prove to you a savour of life 
or of death." The friars still lingered at the door, and as the 
preacher denounced idolatrous worship, they again sought to 
divert the attention of those who stood near. Turning to- 
wards the scoffers, he exclaimed, " How long will you dare 
to deceive men's souls ? You reject the truth yourselves, 
and would prevent others from embracing it. God will surely 
expose your hypocrisy and confound your malice."'f 

The other incident was of a more hopeful character. At 
the close of the afternoon's service, Sir George Douglas, brother 
of the Earl of Angus, stood up, and, in the hearing of the con- 
gregation, said, " I know that my Lord Governor and the 
cardinal will hear that I have been present at these services. 
I shall make no denial, and I will fearlessly defend the preacher 
and uphold his doctrines." j 

* Knox describes the loungers as two Grey Friars. The members of the chapel 
of Loretto were so designated, though not strictly entitled to the appellative. 
The chapel at Loretto, or Alareit, near Musselburgh, was founded in 1533, 
by Thomas Douchtie, and by him dedicated to the Virgin. Within the building, 
Douchtie and his successors professed to work miracles. In 1536, James V. 
made a pilgrimage to the chapel from Stirling, after being driven back by a storm 
on his first voyage to France to bring home his queen. A political pasquinade, at the 
expense of Douchtie and his brethren, the Grey Friars, was composed by Alexander 
Cunningham, fifth Earl of Glencairn. In this composition he names a Friar 
Laing, who, very probably, was one of those associated with the incident at 
Inveresk (Three Scottish Reformers, pp. 12-16). 

t Knox's History, edit. 1846, vol. i., p. 135. 

i Sir George Douglas of Pittendreich was an especial favourite of Henry 
VIII. In his society, when acting as one of the Scottish Commissioners, Wishart 
returned to Scotland. Appointed a Privy Councillor in March 1543, he was 
forfeited by the Catholic party for alleged treason, but was assoilzied in Decem- 


As the governor and cardinal were now in Edinburgh, only 
a few miles distant, Wishart was, for greater safety, conducted 
to the mansion of Longniddry. There he had an opportunity 
of communing with Knox, who, deeply interested in his mis- 
sionary labours, became his companion from place to place, 
armed with a two-handed sword.* 

The mansion of Longniddry was situated in the parish of 
Gladsmuir, within four miles of the considerable village of 
Tranent. At Tranent Wishart preached to large assemblies 
on two consecutive Sundays. Attended by Knox, he pro- 
ceeded to the town of Haddington on the I4th January 1545-6. 
There he was entertained by David Forrest, a respectable 
burgess who had embraced the Reformed doctrines. In 
dread of persecution, Forrest afterwards sought shelter in 
England."]* He was, by the General Assembly of December 
1560, nominated as one "apt and able to minister;" but 
though the request that he would enter the ministry was more 
than once renewed, he preferred to remain a layman. Latterly 
he was appointed General of the Mint. J 

Wishart preached at Haddington two days in succession. 
Knox expected he would have large audiences, but was dis- 
appointed. At the first morning service a considerable num- 
ber were present, but at the afternoon service, and the morn- 
ing service of the second day, the attendance was " slender." 
The people, it was found, were unwilling to offend the Earl 
of Bothwell, who held lands in the neighbourhood, and was 
known to be in alliance with the cardinal. At the close of 
the first day's service, Wishart was entertained at the seat 
of Sir Richard Maitland of Lethington, father of William 
Maitland, the well-known statesman. Sir Richard was an 
industrious scholar, and without committing himself to the 

her 1544. He was constituted an Extraordinary Lord of Session in 1549. David, 
his eldest son, became seventh Earl of Angus ; and his second son, James, was 
Earl of Morton and Regent of Scotland (Hay's Senators of the College of Jus- 
tice, Edin., 1832, p. 94). 

* Knox's History, edit. 1846, vol. i., p. 136. 

t Sadler's Letters, vol. i., p. 585. 

J Knox's Works, edit. 1846, vol. i., p. 563, note by Mr David Laing. 


new opinions, was favourable to inquiry.* As on the second 
morning he was making preparations for service, Wishart 
received a letter from the Lords Cassilis and Glencairn, in- 
timating that they were unable to meet him at Edinburgh. 
Apprehending that they had become indifferent to the 
Reformed cause, he was deeply moved, and remarked 
" that he was weary of the world since men were weary of 
God." Unable to afford him any substantial comfort, Knox 
begged that he would not disqualify himself for present 

After walking about half-an-hour before the high altar, 
Wishart ascended the pulpit. Perceiving that few were pre- 
sent, he said, " Lord, how long shall it be that Thy healing 
Word shall be despised, and men shall not regard their own 
salvation ? I have heard of thee, O Haddington ! that thou 
would'st send to the foolish Clerk Plays two or three thousand 
persons ; but of those in thy town and parish, not one hundred 
will assemble to hear the message of the eternal God." After 
some severe and pointed warnings, he proceeded with an ex- 
position of the Second Table of the Law, and an exhortation 
to patience.^ It had been arranged that Wishart should, in 
the evening, repair to Ormiston, the seat of his friend Cock- 
burn. Before leaving Haddington he had a solemn parting 
with Douglas of Longniddry, and John Knox. As Knox 
expressed a desire to continue his attendant, he strictly forbade 
him. Relieving him of his two-handed sword, he said to him, 
" Return to your bairns, and God bless you : one is sufficient 
for a sacrifice." .The Reformers did not again meet. In his 
journey to Ormiston, Wishart was accompanied by John 
Cockburn, his host ; John Sandilands, younger of Calder, 

* Sir Richard Maitland of Lethington held office under James V., Mary of 
Guise, Queen Mary, and James VI. He was knighted in 1551 on being appointed 
an Extraordinary Lord of Session. His " Collection of Early Scottish Poetry " is 
a work of great value. Poems of his own composition are printed by the Mait- 
land Club. He died on the aoth March 1586 at the age of ninety. 

t Knox's History, edit. 1846, vol. i., pp. 136-138. 

I Children or pupils. 


Cockburn's brother-in-law ; * and Crichton of Brunstone.-f- Hav- 
ing reached Ormiston, the friends supped together ; and there- 
after Wishart discoursed respecting the death of God's chosen 
servants, concluding the evening's devotions by singing a metri- 
cal version of the $ist Psalm, j Wishing his friends refresh- 
ing rest, he retired to his apartment. 

The Provincial Synod met at Edinburgh on the I3th Janu- 
ary, but Beaton at once adjourned it till after Easter, promis- 
ing to those assembled, that in the interval he would put to 
silence a heretic who was giving him much concern by dis- 
turbing the Church. Obtaining the co-operation of the Earl of 
Bothwell, as Sheriff of Haddingtonshire, he accompanied that 
nobleman to Elphinstone Tower at the head of five hundred 
men. The preacher's arrival at Ormiston being duly re- 
ported, Bothwell resolved to gratify the cardinal by effecting 
his capture. At midnight the house of Ormiston was sur- 
rounded by troops, while Cockburn and his guests were 
summoned to a surrender. To Cockburn, Bothwell volunteered 
the promise, that should Wishart be delivered into his hands, 
he would become personal surety for his safety, even against 
the power of the cardinal himself. 

Informed that he was sought for, W T ishart said meekly, 
" Let the will of the Lord be done." He addressed Bothwell 
in these words : " I thank God that one so honourable as your 
lordship receives me this night, being assured that, having 

* John Sandilands was elder of the two sons of Sir James Sandilands of Calder. 
His younger brother was created Lord Torphichen. Knox resided in Calder 
House after his return to Scotland in 1555. 

t Knox relates that on account of the keen frost, and the imperfect condition of 
the roads, the journey from Haddington to Ormiston was performed on foot. The 
distance was about six miles. 

J Knox quotes the two opening lines : 

" Have mercy on me now, good Lord, 
After thy great mercy," etc. 

A paraphrase of the psalm commencing with these lines is contained in the " Gude 
and Godlie Ballates, " edited or composed by John and Robert Wedderburn, who 
were living at Dundee about the year 1540. 
Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 41. 


pledged your honour, you will preserve me from injury with- 
out order of law. The law, I am not ignorant, is corrupt, and 
is used as a cloak under which to shed blood ; but I less fear 
to die openly than to be slain in secret." " Not only," replied 
Bothwell, " shall I protect you from secret violence, but I shall 
shelter you from the designs both of the governor and car- 
dinal. In my keeping you shall be secure till I restore you to 
freedom or bring you again to this place." Accepting this 
engagement, Cockburn offered the earl his bond of manrent 
in token of service. 

Bothwell bore Wishart to Elphinstone Tower. Having 
secured so important a prisoner, the cardinal despatched to 
Ormiston James Hamilton of Stonehouse, Captain of Edin- 
burgh Castle, to arrest the persons of John Cockburn, John 
Sandilands, and Crichton of Brunstone. Cockburn and Sandi- 
lands invited Hamilton and his followers to refreshment, and 
in the interval Crichton contrived to escape. Of the pri- 
soners of the night, Wishart was confined in Elphinstone 
Tower, and Cockburn and Sandilands were sent to Edinburgh 

Ormiston House, where Wishart was captured, and which 
he is believed to have visited in the course of his previous 
ministrations, is now a ruin. Of the structure, a gable wall 
and some vaults only remain. Adjoining the gable is a 
flower-garden, containing a venerable yew, under which 
Wishart is said to have preached. The yew is of a remark- 
able size, the stem extending to a girth of seventeen feet and 
reaching a height of thirty-three. Within the adjoining chapel 
a monumental brass commemorates Alexander, eldest son of 
John Cockburn, Wishart's host a favourite pupil of Knox. 
A youth of high promise, he died in August 1564, at the 
age of twenty-nine. His epitaph, composed by Buchanan, 
proceeds thus : 

" Omnia quse longa indulget mortalibus setas, 
Hsec tibi Alexander, prima juventa dedit, 

* Knox's History, edit. 1846, vol. i., pp. 141, 142. 


Cum genere et forma generoso sanguine digna ; 

Ingenium velox, ingenuumque animum. 
Excoluit virtus animum, ingeniumque camenae 

Successu studio consilioque pari ; 
His ducibus primum peragrata Britannia deinde ; 

Gallia ad armiferos qua patet Helvetios ; 
Doctus ibi linguas quas Roma, Sion, et Athense, 

Quas cum Germano Gallia docta sonat 
Te licet in prima rapuerunt fata juventa : 

Non immaturo funere raptus obis, 
Omnibus officiis vitae qui functus obivit 
Non fas hunc vitae est de brevitate queri. 

Hie conditur M r Alexander Cockburn 
primogenitus Joannis domini Ormiston 
et Alisonse Sandilands, ex preclara 
familia Calder, qui natus 13 Januarii 1535 
Post insignem linguarum professionem ; 
Obiit anno astatis suae 28 calen. Sept*. " 

Sir John Cockburn, a younger brother of Knox's pupil, 
became a Lord of Session, and died in 1623. Other represen- 
tatives of the family were distinguished as lawyers and states- 
men. The barony of Ormiston now belongs to the Earl of 

From his confinement in Edinburgh Castle John Sandilands 
was liberated on granting the cardinal his bond of manrent* 
Cockburn escaped by scaling the wall. In the Treasurer's 
book it appears that, on the loth March 1546, John Paterson, 
pursuivant, received a fee of ten shillings for arresting " the 
gudes " of the Laird of Ormiston, and summoning him " to un- 
derly the law" at Edinburgh on the I3th April, "for resetting 
of Maister George Wishart, he being at the home ; " also 
" for breking of the waird within the castell of Edinburgh." 

As an important prisoner, Wishart was strictly guarded. 
Elphinstone Tower, his first prison, still remains a memorial 
alike of feudal dignity and ecclesiastical oppression. An 
oblong square keep, fifty-nine feet in length, it rises to a height 
of about eighty feet. The walls are from seven to twelve 
feet thick, and the several floors are supported on powerful 
arches. In the basement are the kitchen and servants' hall 

* Knox's History, edit. 1846, vol. i., p. 142. 


the baron's hall occupies the second floor, and the third contains 
two large sleeping-apartments and other chambers. Passages 
are constructed within the walls, to which light is admitted by 
arrow-slit windows. This keep was reared in the thirteenth 
century by John de Elphinstone, who owned the adjoining 
lands. In Wishart's time it belonged to a descendant of 
Johnstone of that ilk. John Ker, minister of Prestonpans, 
and stepson of John Knox, married a daughter of John John- 
stone of Elphinstone. After several changes the tower and 
lands were acquired by an ancestor of the present Baron 
Elphinstone. Wishart was immured in a narrow chamber 
on the basement floor. His first jailer, Patrick, Earl of Both- 
well, was only less cruel, crafty, and unscrupulous than his 
more notorious son, the murderer of Darnley. Succeeding 
to the earldom in early life, he proved so obnoxious to public 
order, that James V., after twice subjecting him to imprison- 
ment, deprived him of his lands in Liddesdale, and banished 
him from the kingdom. In England he engaged in treason- 
able negotiations with Henry VIII. Returning to Scotland 
on the death of James V., he attached himself to Beaton. Sir 
Ralph Sadler, in May 1543, describes him as "the most vain 
and insolent man in the world, full of pride and folly." * 
Imprisoned for disorderly practices, he was liberated, after 
the battle of Pinkie, in September 1547. He latterly obtained 
shelter at the court of Edward VI., and in 1556 closed in 
exile a life of shame. 

Bothwell's promise to protect his prisoner from the ven- 
geance of his adversaries was soon exchanged for another of 
a very opposite character. Wishart was made prisoner on 
the 1 6th January,-f- and, on the iQth of the same month, 
Bothwell, at a meeting of the Privy Council, pledged him- 
self to deliver his prisoner to the order of the governor. 
The proceedings of the council are recorded in these 
words : J 

* Sadler's State Papers, vol. i., p. 184. 
f Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 41. 
t Reg. Sec. Cone., fol. 25. 


" Apud Edinburgh presente domino gubernatore xix Januarii 

anno Domini millesimo v c xlv 10 . Sederunt Cardinalis can- 

cellarius, Episcopus Candide Case, Comes Bothuel 

Abbates paslay culros, dominus Borthuik, Clericus Registri. 

" The quhilk day in presens of my Lord Gouernour and Lordis 

of Counsel, Comperit Patrik Erie bothuel and hes bundin and 

oblist him to deliuer Maister george Wischart to my Lord Gouernour 

or ony vtheris in his behalff, quham he will depute to ressaue him 

betuix this and the penult day of Januar instant inclusive, and sail 

kepe surelie and ansuer for him in the meyntyme vnder all the hiest 

pane and chairge that he may incur giff he falzies herintill." 

Between his two promises Bothwell halted in a manner 
befitting his unstable and treacherous character. He con- 
veyed his prisoner to Edinburgh ; then, as if unwilling to 
violate his engagement, brought him back to Haddington- 
shire, and placed him in his castle of Hailes.* There he 
proposed to hold him fast, but the queen regent promised 
to renew her favour, which had been withdrawn, and the car- 
dinal offered money if he would place his prisoner in Edin- 
burgh Castle. Bothwell at length complied.^ 

At Edinburgh Castle Wishart was kept a few days only. 
With the governor's sanction, he was removed by the cardinal 
to his castle of St Andrews, and there confined in the sea- 
tower. This terrible memorial of priestly tyranny remains 
entire. Situated at the north-west corner of the spacious 
quadrangle, which was enclosed by the other buildings of the 
stronghold, the walls of the sea-tower are of enormous thick- 
ness. Within is an arched chamber, about thirteen feet 
square. From the centre, pierced in the solid rock, a circular 
vault descends to a depth of twenty-seven feet, the upper 
diameter being seven, and the lower seventeen feet. In this 
loathsome pit were confined those who dared to oppose the 
canon law or resist the authority of the Church. Here John 
Roger, a black friar, was immured before his secret murder 

* Hailes Castle occupies a retired spot on the banks of the Tyne, in the parish 
of Prestonkirk. It is now a ruin. 

t Knox's History, ed. 1846, vol. i., p. 143. 


in 1544; and here George Wishart languished four weeks. 
Closely identified with the preacher's last days, the castle of 
St Andrews claims further notice. Reared in 1200 by Roger, 
Bishop of St Andrews, as his episcopal residence, it frequently 
changed hands during the War of Independence. Within it 
James I. received from Bishop Wardlaw his early education, 
James II. took counsel with the ingenious Bishop Kennedy, 
and James III. is supposed to have been born. During the 
primacy of Cardinal Beaton the castle was fitted to endure a 

Though Wishart was a prisoner in his castle, the cardinal 
encountered some difficulties in effecting his death. Friar 
John Roger had been secretly removed from the dungeon, 
and thrust headlong from the rock.* But George Wishart, 
as the scion of an ancient house, and an associate of several 
of the nobility, might not be summarily disposed of. The 
Church might condemn, but a fatal sentence could only be 
carried out on the authority of the governor. To the governor 
"Beaton applied, desiring him to appoint a commission, with 
a criminal judge, to conduct the business of the trial. 
Unwilling to offend his powerful rival, Arran would have 
granted this request, but for the vigorous remonstrance of 
Sir David Hamilton of Preston, who pointed to the cardinal's 
ambition, and the unwarrantable character of his demand. 
Arran, accordingly, refused the commission, and expressed 
his desire that in the meantime all proceedings should be 

The cardinal had to encounter another difficulty. Gavin 
Dunbar, Archbishop of Glasgow, he well knew, regarded him 
with dislike, consequent on an extraordinary quarrel which 
had occurred between them eight months before. The cir- 
cumstances of this dispute are peculiarly illustrative of that 
spirit of intolerance in Scottish churchmen which, with other 
errors, George Wishart condemned in his prelections and by 
his example. The cardinal happened to be in Glasgow when, 

* Knox's History, ed. 1846, vol. i., p. 119. 

t Lindsay of Pitscottie's History of Scotland, Edin., 1727, folio, p. 188. 


on the 4th June 1545, the Sieur Gabriel de Montgomery* 
arrived from France with auxiliary troops. In honour of the 
occasion a solemn procession was arranged in the cathedral 
church. As cardinal, legatus natus, and primate, Beaton 
asserted the right of precedence, while Dunbar argued that as 
archbishop of the diocese he was entitled to the priority. The 
quarrel was taken up by the cross-bearers of the rival prelates, 
who, at the door of the choir, engaged in open conflict. Both 
crosses were thrown down, and the vestments of the bel- 
ligerents were torn and scattered. This quarrel between the 
cardinal and the archbishop, was, according to Knox, "judged 
mortal and without any hope of reconciliation."^ 

Had Archbishop Dunbar refused to attend the proposed 
convention at St Andrews, the cardinal might have failed to 
effect his purpose. He was, however, keenly desirous of 
upholding the Church by the destruction of heretics, and 
so, laying aside private feeling, he consented to take part in 
the approaching trial. 

By the cardinal the bishops were invited to meet in his 
cathedral on the 28th of February. The day before, John 
Winram, the sub-prior, visited the prisoner and summoned him 
to his trial. " It is," said the preacher, " useless for the car- 
dinal to summon one to attend his court who is wholly in his 
power. But observe your forms." 

On the morning of the trial the bishops were ushered into 
the cathedral by the cardinal's retainers. An armed party 
fetched the prisoner, who, on entering the gate of the cathe- 
dral, threw his purse to a beggar, remarking that it would no 

* James Montgomery de Lorges succeeded, in 1545, John Stuart, Count 
D'Aubigny, as captain of the Scottish guard in France. He died in 1560. 
Gabriel, his eldest son, mentioned in the text, obtained a painful notoriety from 
having mortally wounded in a tournament Henry II. of France, in June 1559. 
He retired to Normandy, and afterwards visited Italy and England. Subsequent 
to 1562 he acted as a commander of the Protestant party in the religious wars of 
France. He narrowly escaped destruction at the Massacre of St Bartholomew, 
and two years later, having invaded Normandy, he was taken prisoner, and 
executed on the 27th May 1574. 

t Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 39; Knox's History, ed. 1846, vol. i., pp. 145-147. 


longer be useful to himself. A discourse preached by Winram 
opened the proceedings. 

In selecting Winram to preach, Beaton acted with his usual 
policy. A churchman of considerable rank and known ability, 
Winram was suspected of tolerating the new opinions. By 
being called on publicly to denounce them, the cardinal ima- 
gined that, out of respect to his own consistency, he would 
feel bound to conform to the ancient doctrines. Winram 
probably suspected the snare, and so did not fall into it. 
Choosing as his subject the Parable of the Sower, he described 
the Word of God as the good seed, and characterised heresy 
as the evil seed. Heresy consisted, he said, of opinions 
obstinately maintained which impugned the authority of 
Scripture. It was manifested on the part of those who 
had the care of souls, by wilful ignorance or neglect of 
the pastoral duties. A spiritual teacher ought thoroughly 
to understand that Word which he professed to explain to 
others. In the words of St Paul, " a bishop must be blame- 
less, as the minister of God, not stubborn, not soon angry, not 
given to wine, no fighter, not given to filthy lucre, but a dis- 
penser of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, 
temperate, holding fast the word of doctrine, that he may be 
able to exhort with wholesome learning, and to convince the 
gainsayers."* As the goldsmith had a test for the true metal, 
so the test of heresy was Holy Scripture. Respecting the 
punishment of heresy in this life, he read in the parable, " Let 
both grow together until the harvest. "^ Nevertheless, per- 
sistent opposition to the truth might be punished by the 
secular arm. 

This discourse might have been addressed to any Protestant 
assembly. It certainly did not commit the preacher to an 
approval of the cardinal's proceedings. At the Reformation 
in 1560, Winram joined the Protestant party, and became 
associated with Knox and others in preparing the Confession 
of Faith and the First Book of Discipline. 

At the close of Winram's discourse, Wishart was invited to 

* Titus i. 7. t Matt. xiii. 30. 


ascend the pulpit, there to answer the articles of accusation. 
John Lauder,* a priest and member of the Priory, stood for- 
ward as accuser. Reading the articles of indictment with un- 
becoming haste,^ he demanded of the prisoner an immediate 
answer. After on his knees engaging in solemn prayer, 
Wishart rose, and said, " Words abominable even to conceive 
have been ascribed to me, wherefore hear and know my doc- 
trine : Since my return from England, I have taught the Ten 
Commandments, the Twelve Articles of Faith, and the Lord's 
Prayer. In Dundee I expounded St Paul's Epistle to the 
Romans ; and the manner of my teaching I shall presently 
explain " 

"Renegade, traitor, and thief!" exclaimed Lauder, "you 
have been a preacher too long, and have exercised your 
function without authority." 

The bishops having concurred, Wishart expressed a desire 
that he might be tried by the governor. 

" The cardinal is a judge, more than sufficient for thee," said 
Lauder. " Is not my Lord Cardinal Chancellor of Scotland, 
Archbishop of St Andrews, Bishop of Mirepois, Commendator 
of Arbroath, legatus natus, and legattis a later e?" "I do 
not depise my Lord Cardinal," rejoined the preacher, " but I 
desire to be tried by the requirements of Holy Scripture, 
under the authority of the governor, whose prisoner I am." 

"Such man, such judge," exclaimed the bystanders, while 
the cardinal proposed to pronounce sentence. 

On further consideration, it was ruled that, better to justify 
the proceedings, the charges should be read a second time, 
and the prisoner questioned upon each. 

"Renegade, traitor, and thief," proceeded Lauder, "thou 
hast deceived the people, and despised Holy Church, and the 
authority of the governor. Prohibited from preaching in 

* John Lauder studied at St Andrews. His name appears among the licentiates 
in Pedagogio, anno 1508. It appears from the Treasurer's Accounts that he was 
frequently employed in ecclesiastical affairs. 

t That Lauder spit in the prisoner's face, as is stated by Knox, may not be 
credited. Such ar. indecency would not have been tolerated either by the bishops 
or the spectators (Knox's History, ed. 1846, vol. i., p. 152). 


Dundee, thou didst continue. So when the Bishop of Brechin 
cursed thee, delivered thee to the devil, and commanded thee 
to cease preaching, thou didst obstinately disobey." " I read 
in Holy Scripture," answered Wishart, "that we ought to 
obey God rather than man." 

" False heretic, thou didst say that a priest at the altar say- 
ing mass was as a fox in summer wagging his tail." " The 
external motion of the body," replied the preacher, "without 
grace in the heart, is like the play of a monkey. God searches 
the heart, and those who truly worship Him must worship Him 
in sincerity. Such is my teaching." 

" Thou hast falsely taught that there are not seven sacra- 
ments," said Lauder. " I believe," replied Wishart, " in those 
sacraments only which were instituted by Christ, and are set 
forth in the Holy Gospel." 

" Thou hast denied the Sacrament of Confession, affirming 
that men ought to confess sin to God, and not to the priest." 
" I teach, my lord," said Wishart, " that priestly confession 
has no warrant, but that confession to God is blessed. In the 
5 1st Psalm David makes confession to God, saying, 'Against 
Thee, Thee only, have I sinned.' When St James writes, 
' Confess your faults one to another,' * he counsels us against 
being high-minded, and so to acknowledge our sinfulness 
before all. This do not the Grey Friars, who say they are 
already pure." 

The bishops expressed a strong dissent, while Lauder pro- 
ceeded to read the fifth article : 

" False heretic, thou didst affirm that it was essential that 
man should understand the nature of baptism." " My lord," 
said Wishart, " none of you would transact business with one 
to whose language you were a stranger. So the parent should 
understand what in baptism he undertakes for his child." 

"Thou hast the spirit of error!" exclaimed a chaplain of 
the cardinal. Lauder went on : 

" False heretic, traitor, and thief, thou didst set forth that 
the sacrifice of the altar was but a piece of bread, and the 

* James v. 16. 


consecration of the Eucharist a rite of superstition." " Sail- 
ing on the Rhine," replied the preacher, " I met a Jew, with 
whom I reasoned respecting his religion. ' Messias, when 
He cometh, will not abrogate the law as ye do,' said the Jew ; 
' we support our poor, ye allow your needy to perish ; we 
forbid the worship of images, your churches are full of idols ; 
and ye adore a piece of bread, saying it is your God.' This 
incident I have related in my public teaching." 

" Read the next article," interrupted the cardinal. 

" False heretic, thou didst affirm that extreme unction was 
not a sacrament." "To extreme unction I referred not in 
my teaching," was the preacher's reply. 

" False heretic, thou didst deny the efficacy of holy water, 
and impugned the cursing of Holy Church." " I never esti- 
mated the strength of holy water," said Wishart ; " and I 
cannot commend exorcism or cursing while such have no 
warrant in the Holy Scripture." 

"False renegade," proceeded Lauder, "thou hast denied 
the power of the Pope, and maintained that every layman is 
a priest." "On the authority of the Word," replied the 
prisoner, " I taught that believers are ' a holy priesthood,' * 
and that those ignorant of the Scriptures, whatever their rank 
or degree, cannot instruct others ; without the key of know- 
ledge, they cannot bind or loose." 

The bishops smiled derisively, while Lauder proceeded with 
the indictment. 

" False heretic, thou hast denied the freedom of the will, 

and taught that man can of himself neither do good nor evil." 

" Not so," answered the prisoner. " I teach in the words of 

A Holy Scripture: 'Whosoever committeth sin is the servant 

off^in ;' and, ' If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free 

indeed "t 

heretic," said Lauder, reading the eleventh article, 

t said that it is lawful to eat flesh on Friday." " In 
the writing ;s of St Paul I read," replied Wishart, " ' Unto the 
pure, all things are pure, but unto those that are defiled and 
* i Peter fa 5- t John viii. 34, 36. 


unbelieving is nothing pure.' Through the Word the faithful 
man sanctifies God's creatures : the creature may not sanctify 
that which is corrupt." 

" That is blasphemy," said the bishops. 

"Thou hast taught, false heretic," continued the accuser, 
" that men should pray to God only, and not to the saints. 
Answer, yea or nay." "The first commandment," replied 
Wishart, " teaches me to worship God only ; and, as St Paul 
writes, there is only 'one mediator between God and men, 
the man Christ Jesus.' * He is the door by which we must 
enter in. He that entereth not by this door, but climbeth 
up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.-f* Con- 
cerning the saints, we are not taught to pray to them, and it 
is not certain that they will hear us." 

"False heretic, thou sayest there is no purgatory." "In 
the Scriptures," replied the preacher, " such a place is not 

" Thou hast falsely contemned the prayers of monks and 
friars, and taught that priests may marry, and have wives." 
" I read in St Matthew's Gospel," was the Reformer's reply, 
" that those who abstain from marriage for the kingdom of 
heaven's sake are blessed of God.| Those who have not the 
gift of chastity, and yet have become celebates, ye know have 
erred greatly." 

" Renegade and heretic, thou hast refused to obey our 
general and provincial councils." "Should your councils 
teach according to the Word of God, I shall obey them," was 
the answer. 

" Proceed with the articles," shouted John Scot of the Grey- 
friars' monastery. 

" Thou hast taught that God dwells not in churches built 
by men's hands, and that it is vain to consecrate costly edifices 
to His praise." " God," replied Wishart, " is present every- 
where. ' Behold,' said Solomon, ' heaven and the heaven of 
heavens cannot contain Thee : how much less this house 
which I have built.' In the Book of Job God is described 

* I Tim. ii. 5. f John x. I. J Matt. xix. 12. 2 Chron. vi. 18. 


as ' high as heaven : deeper than hell : His measure longer 
than the earth, and broader than the sea.' * Yet God is 
pleased to honour places specially dedicated to His worship : 
' Where two or three/ said the Saviour, ' are gathered to- 
gether in my name, there am I in the midst of them.' ) God 
is certainly present where He is truly worshipped." 

" Thou hast, false heretic, averred that men ought not to 
fast." " Fasting," replied the prisoner, " is commended in 
Scripture ; and I have learned by experience that fasting is 
beneficial to the body. God honoureth those only who truly 

"False heretic, thou hast said that the souls of men do 
sleep until the Day of Judgment." " God forgive those who 
so report me," replied Wishart. "The soul of the believer 
does not sleep, but at once enters into glory." 

As the preacher closed, the bishops returned a verdict of 
"guilty." Wishart, on his knees, expressed these words of 
prayer : " Gracious and everlasting God, how long wilt Thou 
permit Thy servants to suffer through infatuation and ignor- 
ance ? We know that the righteous must suffer persecution 
in this life, which passeth as doth a shadow, yet we would 
entreat Thee, merciful Father, that Thou would est defend Thy 
people whom Thou hast chosen, and give them grace to 
endure and continue in Thy Holy Word." 

Having commanded the laity to retire, the cardinal sen- 
tenced the prisoner to be burned to ashes. By the captain 
of the castle and his warders, Wishart was conducted to his 
prison. There he was visited by two monks from the Grey- 
friars' monastery, John Scot and another, who offered to act 
as his confessors. He declined their offer, but expressed a 
desire that the sub-prior might be sent to him. Winram 
joined him at once ; but the subject of their conversation did 
not transpire. 

The execution was fixed for the ist of March, the day after 
the trial. A stake was erected in the centre of an open 
space fronting the principal entrance to the castle. The 
* Job xi. 8, 9. t Matt, xriii. 20. 



main tower, the several turrets, and front windows were 
decorated with silk hangings and tapestry ; and the prisoner's 
escape was rendered impossible by the heavy artillery of the 
fortress being pointed towards the scene of execution. 

From the front windows of the castle, the cardinal and 
bishops reclined on splendid cushions. The cardinal's military 
guard, bearing insignia, encircled the stake. As the trum- 
peters sounded, two executioners proceeded to fetch the 
prisoner. They arrayed him in a vestment of black linen, 
and hung bags of gunpowder around his person ; then they 
conducted him to the place of death. 

" Pray to our Lady, Master George," exclaimed two friars, 
as the prisoner crossed the drawbridge. " Tempt me not, my 
brethren," replied the preacher. 

At the stake, Wishart fell upon his knees, and exclaimed 
aloud : " Saviour of the world, have mercy upon me. 
Heavenly Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit." 
Turning to the multitude, he said : " Christian brethren and 
sisters, be not offended at the Word of God on account of the 
tortures you see prepared for me. Love the Word which 
publisheth salvation, and suffer patiently for the Gospel's sake. 
To my brethren and sisters who have heard me elsewhere, 


declare that my doctrine is no old wife's fables, but the 
blessed Gospel of salvation. For preaching that Gospel, I am 
now to suffer, and I suffer gladly for the Redeemer's sake. 
Should any of you be called on to endure persecution, fear 
not them who can destroy the body, for they cannot slay the 
soul. Most falsely have I been accused of teaching that the 
soul shall sleep after death till the last day ; I believe my 
soul shall sup with my Saviour this night." After a pause, 
he said, " I beseech you, brethren and sisters, exhort your 
prelates to acquaint themselves with the Word of God, so 
that they may be ashamed to do evil and learn to do good ; 
for if they will not turn from their sinful way, the wrath of 
God shall fall upon them suddenly, and they shall not escape." 
Again falling on his knees, he prayed for those who had, 
through ignorance, condemned him, and for all who had 
testified against him falsely. One of the executioners, who 
entreated his forgiveness, he kissed on the cheek, saying to 
him, " By this token I forgive thee ; do thine office." Wishart 
was now made fast to the stake, while a heap of faggots 
was piled around his body. Fire being applied, the bags of 
gunpowder attached to his person exploded, and he ceased to 

Deeply moved, the multitude retired from the scene of 
death. A religion which required such sacrifices could not 
long retain general acceptance. But the cardinal was in- 
different to public sentiment. Early in April he, at Fin- 
haven in Forfarshire, attended the marriage of his illegitimate 
daughter, Margaret, with David Lindsay, afterwards Earl of 
Crawford. One of the charges on which Wishart was con- 
demned, was that he opposed the celibacy of the clergy. But 
while the cardinal held those who opposed priestly celibacy 
to be worthy of death, he personally ignored its obligations. 
For many years he cohabited with Marion Ogilvy, a daughter 
of Lord Ogilvy of Airlie, by whom he was father of two sons 
and a daughter, Margaret.* In a contract of marriage which 
he subscribed at St Andrews on the roth April 1546, he 

* Knox's History, ed. 1846, p. 174, note by Mr David Laing. 


names Margaret Beaton as his daughter, and as such he pro- 
vided her with a dowry of four thousand merks.* 

The account we have presented of Wishart's trial and 
martyrdom is derived from the narrative of Foxe the 
martyrologist, in the first edition of his " Actes and Monu- 
mentes," printed in 1563. The original of that narrative 
is contained in a black-letter volume,-}- printed at London by 
John Day and William Seres, with the title, " The tragical 
death of David Beato, Bishoppe of Sainct Andrewes in Scot- 
land, whereunto is ioyned the martyrdom of maister George 
Wyseharte, gentleman, for whose sake the aforesayed bishoppe 
was not long after slayne. Wherein thou maiest learne what 
a burnynge charitie they shewed not only towardes him : but 
vnto suche as come to their hades for the blessed Gospel's 
sake." The volume is without a date, but the " Tragedy of 
Beaton " contained in it was composed by Sir David Lindsay 
about a year after the cardinal's death, and it is not im- 
probable that the account of Wishart, by which it is accom- 
panied, was prepared by Knox when he resided in the Castle 
of St Andrews, between April and July 1547. Whether this 
opinion be well founded or not, Knox has, by including in 
his " History" the narrative of the martyr's trial and death 
contained in the black-letter volume, substantially verified its 

In the reprint of Foxe's " Actes and Monumentes," which 
appeared in 1570, on the margin opposite to Wishart's allu- 
sion to the bishops, are these words : " M. George Wishart 
prophesieth of the death of the cardinall, which followed 
after." Proceeding on this unwarrantable deduction, George 
Buchanan, in his " History of Scotland," asserts that, at the 
stake, Wishart did actually predict the cardinal's death. 
Adopting his uncle's statement, David Buchanan, in his 
edition of Knox's " History," J adds that Wishart at the stake, 
" looking towards the cardinal, said, he who in such state 

* Lord Lindsay's Lives of the Lindsays, London, 1858, 8vo, vol. i., p. 201. 
1" A unique copy of this volume belonged to the late Mr Richard Heber. 
Knox's History, edited by David Buchanan, Lond., 1644, p. 171. 



from that high place feedeth his eyes with my torments, 
within few dayes shall be hanged out at the same window, to 
be seen with as much ignominy, as he now leaneth there in 

Other erroneous statements in connection with Wishart's 
execution may be related, since they have unhappily been 
adopted by more than one historian, and are generally 
believed. Lindsay of Pitscottie, an extremely credulous writer, 
remarks* "that Wishart informed the captain of the castle 
that he saw a great fire upon the sea, which, moving to and 
fro, at length came upon the city of St Andrews, and lighting 
upon the earth, brake asunder, which, he thought, did portend 
the wrath of God to seize shortly not only on that wicked 
man, who was lord of that castle, but also upon the city." 
George Buchanan-f* relates that the sub-prior, on being admitted 
to Wishart's presence, asked him whether he would receive 
the Holy Communion, when he answered that he would, pro- 
vided it was dispensed in both the elements. Having com- 
municated to the cardinal the prisoner's wish, Winram was 
censured for conveying it, while the request was denied. 
Next morning, at nine o'clock, the governor of the castle, on 
sitting down to breakfast, asked Wishart to eat with him. 
Wishart consented, and, with the governor's consent, con- 
secrated bread and wine, and distributed to those who sat 
with him, also partaking himself. He then closed with 
prayer. This narrative has been incorporated by David 
Buchanan in his edition of Knox's " History." 

Lindsay of Pitscottie's narrative betrays the credulous 
character of its author, and may be dismissed summarily. 
The statements of Buchanan are unsupported by Knox. 
As Knox was associated with Winram in preparing the stand- 
ards of the Reformed Church, he was as likely as any 
other to obtain from him what he might divulge respect- 
ing his last interview with Wishart. But Knox remarks 

* Lindsay of Pitscottie's History of Scotland, from 1431 to 1565, Edin., 1728, 
folio, p. 190. 
t History of Scotland, by George Buchanan, Lond., 1690, folio, vol. ii., p. 96. 


emphatically that " he could not show" what had occurred on 
that occasion.* Further, at the time that Wishart was at St 
Andrews undergoing his sufferings, Knox was resident in the 
neighbouring county of Haddington, while Buchanan was in 
exile. Knox, too, was an inmate of the castle in which the 
martyr was imprisoned, little more than a year after his death, 
and Buchanan did not compose his " History" till nearly thirty 
years afterwards. If the governor of the castle related that 
Wishart dispensed the Holy Communion, Knox must have 
heard the narrative, and he could have no motive for sup- 
pressing it. But it is extremely improbable that one occupy- 
ing the position of governor of the cardinal's castle, would 
venture to allow a condemned heretic to consecrate the 
eucharist. By so doing, and more especially by partaking 
of the elements himself, he would have rendered himself 
liable to a charge of sacrilege, attended with imprisonment or 
death. Wishart, after his trial, would no doubt be carried 
back to his dungeon under the rude guardianship of unfeeling 

Wishart's alleged prediction as to Beaton's death is un- 
noticed in the black-letter volume printed shortly after his 
execution. Foxe, in his first and in the text of his subsequent 
editions, omits reference to it; and Knox, who ascribes to 
the martyr what he did not claim, a sort of foreknowledge, is 
silent on the point. But on other grounds the preacher has 
been charged with conspiring against the cardinal's life. And 
this charge must be fully met. 

Wishart returned to Scotland at the close of July 1543, and 
in April of the following year, a person, described as a " Scot- 
tish man called Wyshert," bore from Crichton of Brunstone to 
the court of Henry VIII. a letter, of which the contents indi- 
cate a conspiracy for the destruction of the cardinal. The 
question arises as to whether the preacher and the messenger 
were one and the same person. To arrive at a proper con- 
clusion, the conspiracy against Beaton must be considered 
in its details. 

* Knox's History, Edin., 1846, vol. i., p. 168. 


When James V. died unexpectedly in December 1542, 
there was found in his possession a roll, containing the names 
of three hundred and sixty persons suspected of heresy. The 
roll was in the handwriting of Beaton, who had desired the 
king to confiscate all who were named in it. To carry out 
his plans, Beaton presented a document, which he described 
as the king's will, constituting him governor of the kingdom, 
and guardian of the infant princess. That document was 
pronounced a forgery, and, by general consent, the Earl of 
Arran was appointed governor.* 

A proposal for the marriage of the infant queen with the 
Prince of Wales was, in the interests of the Church, keenly 
opposed by the cardinal. Letters from him to the House of 
Guise, inviting armed resistance, being discovered, he was 
seized by the governor, and, on the charge of treason, warded 
in Blackness Castle. He regained his liberty, but in the 
meantime efforts were put forth by Henry VIII. to have 
him brought as a prisoner to England.-f- From among 
those whose lands the cardinal had proposed to confiscate, 
Henry found no difficulty in procuring the services of some 
well suited to his purpose. With these were joined a former 
friend of the cardinal, Alexander Crichton of Brunstone, 
a person of uncommon skill and vigorous enterprise. On 
Crichton's promise of co-operation, Henry honoured him with 
a private letter. Crichton acknowledged the royal missive, 
in a communication dated i6th November 1543, in which he 
assured Sir Ralph Sadler he would do his best to fulfil the 
king's wishes. J 

But the cardinal, though widely obnoxious, could not be 
assailed without much risk and difficulty. As chancellor of 
the kingdom, and a prince of the Church, any injury done 
to him would be adjudged treason. From many of the nobles 
and the principal landowners he had obtained bonds of 
manrent, by which they had become bound to support him with 

* Sadler's State Papers, vol. i., pp. 94, 138. 
f Ib. t vol. i., pp. 221, 249, 278, 312. 
t Ib., vol. i., p. 332. 


their persons and goods.* Crichton therefore could not readily 
fulfil the wishes of his royal correspondent. The mission 
which he undertook in November 1543 was not in shape until 
the following April. Of the condition of affairs at that period, 
we are informed in the following communication from the 
Earl of Hertford to the king : 

"Please it your Highnes to understande that this daye arryved 
here with me, the Erll of Hertforde, a Scottish man called Wyshert, 
and brought me a letter from the Larde of Brimstone, which I sende 
your Highnes herewith. And according to his request have taken 
order for the repayre of the said Wyshert to Your Majestic by poste, 
both for the delyvere of such letters as he hathe to Your Majestic from 
the saide Brunstone ; and also for the declaracion of his credence 
whiche as I can perceyve by him consisteth in two poyntes : one 
is that the Larde of Graunge/late thresourer of Scotlande, the Mr. 
of Rothes, th' Erie of Rothes' eldest son, & John Charters wolde 
attempt eyther t' apprehend or slee the Cardynall at some tyme 
when he shall passe thoroughe the Fyf lande, as he doth sundrye tymes 
to Sanct Andrewes : and in case they can so apprehend hym, will 
delyver him unto Your Majestic : which attemptat he say the they 
wolde enterpryse if they knew Your Majesties pleasure therein : and 
what supportacion and mayntenance Your Majestic wolde mynister 
unto them efter th' execution of the same, in case they suld be per- 
sewed afterwards be any of theyr enemyes : the other is that in 
case your Maj : wolde grant unto them a conveniant enterteyne- 
ment for to kepe 1000 or 1500 men in wages for a moneth or two, 
they, joyning with the power of th' Erll Marshall, the saide Mr. of 
Rothes, the Larde of Calder, and others of the Lorde Grey's friends 
will tak upon them at such tyme as Your Maj : armye sail be 
in Scottland to destroye the abbey and towne of Arbroy* being 
the Cardynalles, and all th' other bisshopes and abbotes houses 
and countreys on that syde the water thcreaboute ; and t' appre- 
hende all those whiche they say be the principall impugnators of 
th' amyte betwen Englande and Scotlande : for the whiche they sulde 
have a good opportunytie, as they saye, when the power of the said 
bisshopes and abbotes sail resorte toward Edinburgh to resiste Your 
Majestyes armye. And for th' execution of these thinges the said 
* Knox's History, edit. 1846, vol. i., p. 172. 


Wyshert sayeth that the saide Erll Marshall and others above named 
will capitulate with your Majestic in wryting under their handes and 
scales afore they shall desyre any supplie or ayde of money at Your 
Majesties' handes. This is th' effect of his credence with other 
sondry advertisementes of the grit contencion and division that is at 
this present within the realme of Scotlande, whiche we doubt not he 
woll declair unto Your Majestic at good length. Also I, the said 
Erll of Hertford, have recevyed this daye certene letters from the 
Lord Wharton and Sir Robert Bowes, with the copies of suche letters 
as were wrytten be the Erll of Glencarne's sone, & Bishop the Erll 
of Lennox's secretary, to be sent into Scotlande to the same Erlles : 
whiche copies the said Lord Wharton & M r Bowes atteyned to 
suche meanes as sail appear unto your Majestic by theyr saide letters, 
whiche with the saide copies we send also to Your Highnes, here 
inclosed : together with certen other letters which arryved here also 
this day from the Lord Ewers, conteyning certen exploytes done in 
Scotlande. Fynally, the Lorde Wyllyam Howard being at Tynemont 
sent a letter this morning to me, the said Erll of Hertford, whereby 
it appereth that certaine of the shippes victuallers are arryved there, 
and some of theym report that yesterday in the morning they sawe 
my Lord Admyrall with the reste of the fleete on see borde Hull 
makyng hitherwarde : so that the wynde contynuing as it is, they wilbe 
at Tynemont this night or to morrawe with the grace of God : who 
preserve Your Royall Majestic." * 

This letter is endorsed, " Despeched xvij Aprel at iiij oc at 
aft r none." 

In the preceding communication, Lord Hertford informs 
the king, through the messenger Wishart, that Crichton of 
Brunstone had made two propositions. In the first instance 
he undertook, on certain conditions, that the Master of 
Rothes, Kirkaldy of Grange, and Charteris of Kinfauns, 
would seize the cardinal, and either slay him or send him a 
prisoner into England. Or on obtaining from the English 
king the necessary support, the Earl Marischal, the Earl of 
Rothes, Sandilands of Calder, and other associates of Lord 
Gray, would destroy the Abbey of Arbroath, of which the 
cardinal was commendator, and from which he derived a por- 
* State Papers, Henry VIII., vol. v., pp. 377, 378.. 


tion of his wealth. On the subject of these proposals, the 
messenger, Wishart, was admitted by Henry to a private 
interview, of which the result is set forth in the following 
despatch from the Lords of the Privy Council to the Lord 
Hertford : 

" After our moost harty commendations unto your good Lordship, 
These shalbe to signifye unto you that this bearer Wishert, which 
cam from Brounston, hath bene with the King's Majestic, and for his 
credence declared ever the same matiers in substance whereof 
Your Lordship hath written hither : and hath received for answer 
touching the Feats against the Cardinall, That in cace the Lords and 
Gentlemen which he named shall enterprise the same ernestly and do 
the best they can to th' uttermost of their powers to bringe the same 
to passe indede; and theruppon not being able to contynue longer in 
Scotlande sholbe enforced to flye into this Realme for refuge, his 
Highnes wilbe contented to accepte them & relief them as shall 
appertyn. And as to their second desyre to have th' entretaynement 
of a certayn nombre of men at his Highnes chargs, promisyng 
therefore to covenaunt with His Majestic in writing under their seales 
to burn and destroy the Abbots, Bishops, and other Kirkmen's lands, 
His Majestic hath aunswered that forasmuch his Highnes Armey shall 
be by the grace of God entred into Scotlande and redy to return 
agayn before His Highnes can sende doun to them, and they sende 
agayn and have aunswer for a conclusion in this matier, his Highnes 
thinks the tyme too shorte to commune any further in it after this 
sorte : But if they mynde effectually to him, and destroy as they have 
offred at his Majestie's Armey being in Scotland; and for their true 
and upright dealyngs with His Majestic therin, will lay in to Your 
Lordshipp, my Lord Lieutenant, such hostages as you shall think 
convenient : his Highnes will take order that you my Lord, shall 
delivre unto them one thousand punds sterling for their furnytures 
in that behalf which his Majestie's pleasure is you shall cause to be 
payed unto them in case they shall break with you in this matier ; 
and delivre you such hostages as aforesayd. Thus fayre your Lord- 
shipp right hardly well. From Grenewich the 26 th of April 1544. 

"Your good Lordship's assured loveing frends Cherles Suffolk, 
Tho. Weston, Ste. Winton, John Gage, T. Chene, Antony Wyng- 
field, William Pagot." * 

k * Haynes' Collection of State Papers, Lond., 1740, folio, p. 32. 


Here we arrive at a point whence to determine whether the 
messenger who conveyed to the Court of Henry VIII. Crich- 
ton's proposals for the destruction of the cardinal, was identi- 
cal with the Reformed preacher. The conspiracy, it will be 
remarked, had hitherto proceeded solely on political grounds. 
Henry desired the cardinal's destruction on account of his per- 
sistent opposition to the proposed alliance on which he had set 
his heart ; while Crichton sought to avenge a private feud, 
and his coadjutors to resent a scheme of confiscation. Was 
Wishart the preacher likely to implicate himself in such a 
plot ? Politically it was not for the interests of the Protestant 
cause that he should. Could he have done so unknown to the 
cardinal, who, among the numerous charges brought against 
him at his trial, does not include that of treason or sacrilege ? 
Does Wishart's character, concerning which testimony is borne 
by two persons to whom he was personally known, warrant 
the belief that he would seek to destroy life ? By Tylney he 
is described as " a man, modest, temperate, fearing God, hating 
covetousness, forgiving those who would have slain him, and 
seeking to do good to all and hurt to none." Knox * styles 
him " a meek lamb," and further describes him as " a man 
of such graces, as before him were never heard within this 

Both in Lord Hertford's despatch to Henry VIII., and in the 
Privy Council's answer, Crichton's messenger is styled Wyshert 
or Wisherk George Wishart was in holy orders, and was a 
Master of Arts. His ecclesiastical connection is referred to in 
the letters contained in the Cottonian MSS. He is described 
as a " clerk " by his contemporary Bishop Lesley,-}- who 
belonged to the Romish Church. He is named as Master of 
Arts by Tylney, who remarks that he was " commonly called 

* Knox's History, vol. i., pp. 125, 168. 

+ The History of Scotland, written in the Scottish vernacular for the use of 
Queen Mary, by John Lesley, Bishop of Ross. Published by the Bannatyne Club 
in 1830, from a MS. belonging to the Earl of Leven, p. 191. Bishop Lesley was 
born in 1526, and was therefore in his twentieth year at the period of Wishart's 


Maister George of Bennet's College." He is styled " Maister 
George " by Knox.* In the Treasurer's Accounts-f- he also 
receives the prenomen of Master. Had Crichton been pri- 
vileged to employ a messenger who was a Master of Arts 
and in orders, he would not have allowed the facts to remain 
unnoticed. And if his messenger had been the Cambridge 
scholar, whom the Scottish Commissioners took under their 
protection, it is absolutely certain that he would have said so. 
By the Earl of Hertford the messenger would have been de- 
scribed otherwise than as " a Scottish man called Wyshert" 

But it may, we think, conclusively be shown who the mes- 
senger really was. There was a connection by marriage be- 
tween the House of Wishart of Pitarrow and that of Learmont 
of Balcomie.J James Learmont of Balcomie was one of the 
commissioners employed in negotiating the marriage of the 
Prince of Wales with the infant Queen Mary. He was an 
avowed enemy of the cardinal, who latterly sought his appre- 
hension^ He was also an associate of Norman Leslie, to 
whose sister his son George was afterwards married. || 

At this period the members of the House of Pitarrow 
consisted of John Wishart, who owned the estate, his 
brother George the preacher, and James of " Carnebeg," his 
second brother, who was father of four sons, John, James, 
Alexander, and George. John Wishart, eldest son of James of 
Carnebeg, ultimately became a judge in the Supreme Court, 
and probably had a legal training. If he studied law at Edin- 
burgh, he would in that city have an opportunity of meeting 
the associates of his kinsman, the Laird of Balcomie. Two 
of these associates, Norman Leslie, and Kirkaldy, younger of 
Grange, were early conspirators against the cardinal. 

If John Wishart became Crichton's messenger, his designa- 
tion in the Earl of Hertford's letter was sufficiently appro- 
priate. His father, as a younger brother of the Laird of 
Pitarrow, owned only a small holding on the estate, and he 

* Knox's History, ed. 1846, vol. i., pp. 125-169. 

t Treasurer's Accounts, March 1546. 

J See supra. Seefostta. \\ Douglas's Peerage, p. 588. 


had himself no certain prospects, or any well-defined social 

Was this John Wishart likely to support the cause of the 
Reformation by joining in a conspiracy against the cardinal ? 
His career is depicted in the accompanying history of his 
House. He was an active promoter of the Protestant doc- 
trines, and one of those who sat in Parliament when the 
Reformed Church was recognised. He was an adherent of 
the Regent Murray, who granted him land and honoured him 
with knighthood. But, like his contemporaries, Kirkaldy of 
Grange, and Maitland of Lethington, he lacked consistency. 
As paymaster of the Reformed clergy, his conduct was doubt- 
ful. He deserted the Regent Murray, who was largely his 
benefactor. He joined Kirkaldy of Grange when he held the 
Castle of Edinburgh on behalf of the dethroned queen, and in 
virtual opposition to the Protestant government. He rejoiced 
in contention, and was chargeable with avarice. Having 
joined Kirkaldy on behalf of Queen Mary, in 1573, he was 
not unlikely to have associated with the same wavering states- 
man in plotting the death of Beaton about thirty years pre- 

But George Wishart the preacher was, on the father's side, 
uncle of John Wishart, the supposed conspirator.. If the 
preacher was cognisant that his nephew joined in the conspir- 
acy, he was personally identified with it. Doubtless so. But 
there is no evidence that he was informed of it. He seems to 
have resided at Pitarrow from the period of his return to 
Scotland, in July 1543, till the spring of 1545, when he com- 
menced preaching at Montrose. The " Scottish man called 
Wyshert " appears in connection with the conspiracy only in 
April 1544. If, as we conjecture, John Wishart was studying 
law at Edinburgh when Learmont of Balcomie made him 
known to the cardinal's enemies, he may have proceeded on his 
expedition to the English court without communicating with 
his relatives at Pitarrow. On the messenger's return, the plot 
slumbered, and it was not revived till the following spring, when 
the name of Wishart no longer appears in the list of con- 


spirators. Is it an unwarrantable hypothesis that, being 
latterly informed of his doings, his uncle, the preacher, per- 
suaded him to withdraw from the conspiracy ? 

Till George Wishart's death, the conspirators made no 
definite arrangements. They were now actuated by a deadly 
revenge, which was probably stimulated by Learmont of Bal- 
comie, the martyr's relative. It would appear the final plot 
was in active progress a few weeks after the martyrdom, for, 
on his return from Finhaven early in April, the cardinal 
learned that he was in danger. Attending the Provincial 
Synod at Edinburgh, in the end of April, the Earl of Angus 
made an attempt to destroy him.* On his return to St 
Andrews, he gave instructions that the castle should be 
repaired and fortified. He next summoned the landowners 
of Fife to meet him at Falkland, on Monday the 3ist May, 
ostensibly to consider public affairs, but with the actual pur- 
pose of apprehending those persons whose enmity he most 
dreaded, among whom were Norman Leslie, John Leslie, his 
uncle, Kirkaldy of Grange, and Learmont of Balcomie. 

His purpose was anticipated. On the evening of Friday 
the 28th of May, Norman Leslie, with several followers, 
entered St Andrews, and proceeded to his usual inn. Kirk- 
aldy, younger of Grange, had arrived previously ; and John 
Leslie, whose hostility to the cardinal was well known, 
came during the night. Next morning the conspirators and 
their followers, numbering sixteen persons, walked in detached 
groups in the grounds of the cathedral. On a signal that the 
drawbridge was lowered to admit the workmen, Norman 
Leslie and his followers entered the castle. Engaging the 
porter in conversation, he enabled James Melville of Raith 
and William Kirkaldy to cross the drawbridge unobserved. 
When John Leslie came up, the porter attempted to secure 
the portcullis, but was struck down. Finding the castle in 
possession of an armed band, the workmen threw down their 
tools and dispersed. Kirkaldy guarded a private postern, 
while his associates aroused the servants and conducted them 

* Knox's History, ed. 1846, vol. i., p. 172. 


from the stronghold. Hearing the noise, the cardinal threw 
open his window and inquired the cause. Informed that 
Norman Leslie had taken the castle, he attempted to escape 
by the postern. Finding that it was guarded, he returned 
to his chamber, and piled the heavier furniture against the 
door. John Leslie knocked loudly, and, announcing his 
name, demanded admission. " I will have Norman," said the 
cardinal, " for he is my friend." " Be content with such as 
are here," was the rejoinder ; and on a call for fire, the 
cardinal opened. John Leslie and another rushed upon him 
with their swords, but James Melville entreated them to 
pause, and adjured the cardinal to prepare for death. He 
especially exhorted him to repent of the murder of Wishart, 
for which the Divine vengeance had now overtaken him. 
The conspirators then fell upon him with their swords. His 
last words were, " Fy, fy, I am a priest, all is gone." * 

The events of the morning were a terrible sequel to the 
auto-da-fe of March. The citizens were in consternation. 
The provost convened the town council, and, proceeding to 
the ramparts of the castle, inquired whether the cardinal was 
alive.-f- The answer was that he was dead, and, in hideous 
evidence of the fact, his dead body was suspended on the 
wall. Not long afterwards was formed, within the castle, the 
first congregation of the Protestant Church in Scotland. 

Though neither the first nor last of those who suffered, 
George Wishart rendered to the cause of the Reformation in 
Scotland real and important service. Through his instru- 
mentality John Knox was led to exchange the retired life of 
a private tutor for that of a public teacher of the Protestant 
doctrines. Though his ministry was of short duration, he 
lived at a time when men, who resisted prevailing error 
accomplished, within a few months, the work of a generation 
In Dundee his fervent preaching was long gratefully re- 
membered. The singular devotedness of the Covenanters 

* Knox's History, ed. 1846, vol. i., pp. 173-177. 

f /., vol. i., p. 178; Bishop Lesley's History of Scotland, Edin., 1830, 410, 
p. 19. 


of Ayrshire was not more derived from the early confession 
of the Lollards of Kyle,* than from the example and preaching 
of George Wishart. 

Wishart's character is celebrated by John Johnstone, in the 
following epigram : 

" Quam bene conveniunt divinis nomina rebus 

Divinae hie Sophiae corque oculusque viget 
Qui Patris arcanam Sophiam, ccelique recessus, 

Corde fovens terris Numina tanta aperit 
Unus amor Christus. Pro Christo concitus ardor 

Altius humanis Enthea corda rapit, 
Prseteritis aptans prsesentia judicat omnia 

Et ventura dehinc ordine quseque docet 
Ipse suam mortem tempusque modumque profatur 

Fataque carnifici tristia sacrilego 
Terrificam ad flammam stat imperterritus. Ipsa 

Quin stupet invictos sic pavefacto animos 
Ut vix ausa dehinc sit paucos carpere. Tota 

Ilicet innocui victa cruore viri est."+ 

Describing Wishart as in the pulpit alike uncompromising 
in the exposure of error as in reproving those who rejected 
the Gospel message, Knox expatiates on the gentleness of 
his private life. Tylney, who was his pupil at Cambridge, 

* Calderwood's History of the Church of Scotland, vol. i. , p. 49. 
t MS. Poems of John Johnstone, in the Advocates Library, Edinburgh. A 
portion of the epigram has thus been rendered by an ingenious friend : 

" How good a thing it is in one to find, 
His name the mirror of a virtuous mind ; 
And well may Wishart claim the spotless heart 
Where heavenly wisdom breathes in every part ; 
Christ his sole love, he doth unfold the store, 
Of all his bosom holds of sacred lore. 
Celestial themes are his, and he displays 
The hidden mystery of the Father's ways ; 
Fired with the love of Christ, his zealous heart 
Prophetic soars above all human art. 

Dauntless amidst devouring flames he stands, 
Which shrink as loath to kiss the martyr's hands ; 
No trembling victim now attests their rage, 
For fiercest fires doth innocence assuage." 


remarks that he was " courteous " and " lowly." To the poor 
at Cambridge he supplied food and raiment, and provided 
some with monthly, and others with weekly donatives. A 
diligent instructor, he assisted his pupils at their private read- 
ings, as well as in the public school. Though of grave deport- 
ment, his manners were mild, rather than austere. He was 
of a tall, slight figure, had a dark complexion, and wore a long 
beard, and a small French cap. He dressed in " a fustian 
doublet," with black stockings, and a frieze gown. 

To his erudition and accomplishments Knox and Tylney 
bear strong testimony. The bishops at St Andrews, who con- 
demned him, did not venture to meet his arguments. The 
clergy at Bristol attempted his discomfiture only by violence. 
Apart from the power of his public teaching, and the excel- 
lence of his private virtues, he, as a martyr, holds a place on 
the roll of the illustrious. He died to assert his testimony 
against sacerdotal arrogance and priestly corruption, which are 
the curse of nations. In his blood the Scottish Church took 
root, and so long as his countrymen cherish Protestantism 
and love liberty, his memory will be fragrant. 


THE following English translation of the first Helvetian Con- 
fession was composed by George Wishart. The original Con- 
fession was under the direction of a conference held at Basel 
in January 1536, prepared in Latin by the Reformers Bui- 
linger, Myconius, Grynaeus, Leo Juda, and Grossmann. In 
the following March it received the united sanction of the 
representatives of the different Swiss churches at a second 
conference at Basel. In versions of Latin and German it was 
submitted to an assembly at Wittenberg by Bucer and Capito, 
and also to the Protestant princes at the meeting at Smalkald 


in February 1 5 37, and was on both occasions approved. Subse- 
quent to the latter event, Wishart produced his English trans- 
lation. From a unique copy, formerly in the possession of Mr 
Richard Heber, Wishart's version has been reprinted in the 
"Miscellanyof the Wodrovv Society." From thatwork it is trans- 
ferred to these pages. The original is a tract of fifteen leaves 
octavo, in black letter. There is no date or printer's name, but 
it is believed to have been printed at London by Thomas 
Raynalde about the year 1548. The title-page is inscribed : 

" This confescione was fyrste wrytten and set out by the ministers 
of the churche and congregacion of Sweuerland, where all godlynes 
is receyued, and the worde hadde in most reuerence, and from thence 
was sent unto the Emperour's maiestie, then holdynge a gryat counsell 
or parliamet in the yeare of our Lord God, Md cxxxvii in the 
moneth of February. Translated out of laten by George Usher a 
Scotchman, who was burned in Scotland, the yeare of our lorde 
Mv c xlvi. 


" The Canonycall or holy Scrypture, whiche is the Worde of God, 
taught and gyven by the Holy Spryte, and publyshed unto the 
worlde by the prophetes and holy apostles, which also is the moost 
perfyte and auncient science and doctryne of wysdome, it alone con- 
tayneth consumatly all godlynes and all sorte and maner of facyon 
of lyfe. 


" The interpretacion, or exposicion of this holy wrytte, ought and 
shuld be sought out of it selfe, so that it shulde be the owne inter- 
pretour, the rule of charite and faythe hauynge gouernaunce. 


" As to other thyngs, of Tradicions of men, howe bewtifull and how 
moch receyued soeuer they be, what so euer tradicions withdraweth 
us and stoppeth us fro the Scripture, of such do we answere the 
sayinges of the Lorde, as of thyngs hurtfull and unprofytable, ' They 
worshippe me in vayne, teachying the doctrynes of man.' Mathi. 15. 


" For the whiche sorte of interpretacyon so farre as the Holy 
Fathers hathe not gone fro it, not onely do we receyue them as inter- 
pretones of the Scripture, but also we honour and worshyp them as 
chosen and beloued instrumentes of God. 


" The pryncypal entent of al the Scripture canonicall is, to declare 
that God is beniuolent and frendly mynded to mankynde ; and that 
he hathe declared that kyndnes in and throughe Jesu Chryste his 
onely sone : the which kyndnes is receyuyd by fayth ; but this fayth 
is effectuous through charitie, and expressed in an innocent lyfe. 

" OF GOD. 

" Of God we byleive in this sorte : that he is almyghtie, beynge 
one in substance, and thre in persones : which euen as he hathe 
created by his Worde, that is his Sone, all thynges of nothynge ; so 
by his Spirite and prouydence gouerns he, preserues, and norysheth 
he, most truly, ryghtously, and wysely all thynges. 

" OF MAN. 

" Man, whiche is the perfectest image of God in earthe, and also 
is the chefe dignite and honoure amonge all creatures visible, beynge 
made of soule and body ; of the whiche twayne the body is mortall, 
the soule immortall ; whan he was creat of God holy, by fallynge in 
vyce and synne throughe his owne fal, drew with hym in that same 
ruen and fal, and so subjected all mankynde to the same calamitie and 
wretchydnes that he fell in. 


" And so this pestiferous infection whiche men calleth Originall, 
hathe infecte and ouerspred the whole kynde of man, so far that by 
no helpe (he beynge the sone of wrathe and vengaunce and enemye 
of God) coulde be healed by any means but by the helpe of God onely : 
for yf there be any good that remayneth in man after the fall, that same 
beynge joyntelie made weaker and weaker by our vyce tournes to the 
worse ; because the strengthe and power of euyll ouercometh it, and 
nother suffereth it us to folowe reason nor yet to exersyse the godly- 
nes of our mynde. 



" Wherfore we attribute so free wyll to man as we whiche wyttynge 
and wyllynge to do good, fele experience of euyll. Also euyll trewly we 
maye do of oure owne wyll, but to embrace and folowe good (except 
we be elluminat, styred up and mounted, by the grace of Chryst) we 
maye not : for, ' God is he whiche worketh in us bothe to wyll, to 
performe, and to accomplyshe for his owne good wyll sake ; ' and of 
God commeth our helth and saluacion, but of our selfe commeth per- 


" And howbeit that through his fault man was subjecte unto 
dampnacion, and also was runne under the juste indingnacion of God 
to take vengeaunce of hym, yet God the father neuer seaced to take a 
mercyfull care ouer hym : The whiche thynge is manifest not onely 
of the fyrst promyses and the whole lawe, whiche as it is holy and 
good, teaching us the wyll of God, ryghtuousnes, and truthe, so 
worketh it wrath and storeth up synne within us, and slacketh it not, 
and that not through any faulte of it selfe, but through our vyce, but 
also clerely appereth it through Christ, whiche was ordayned and 
geuen for that purpose. 


" This Christ, the very Sone of God, and very God and very man 
also, was made our brother, at the tyme appoynted he toke upon 
him whole man, made of soule and body, hauynge two natures un- 
permyxte and one dewyne person, to the intent that he shoulde restore 
unto lyfe us that were deed, and make us aryse of God annexte with 
hym selfe. He also after that he had taken upon him of the im- 
maculate Virgin, by operacion of the Holy Goost, fleshe, whiche was 
holy bycause of the union of the Godhed, which is, and also was 
lyke to our fleshe in all thynges excepte in synfulnes : And that 
bycause it behoued the sacrefice for synne to be cleane and immacu- 
late, gaue that same fleshe to death for to expell all our synne by that 
meanes. And he also, to the entent that we shuld have one full and 
perfecte hope and trust of our immortalitie, hath raysed up agayne 
fro death to lyfe his owne fleshe, and hath set it and placed it in 
heauen at the ryghte hande of his Almyghty Father. 

" And there he sytteth our victorious champion, our gyder, our 


capitayne, and heed, also our hyghest bysshop in dede, synne, death, 
and hell, beynge victoriously ouercome by him, and defendeth oure 
cause, and pleadeth it perpetually untyll he shall reforme and fascion 
us to that lykenes to whiche we were create, and brynge us to be par- 
takers of eternall lyfe. And we loke for hyrn, and beleueth that he 
shall come at the ende of all ages to be our trewe ryghtuous just 
Judge, and shall pronounce sentence agaynst all fleshe, whiche shal 
be raysed up before to that judgement, and that he shall exalte the 
godly aboue the heauens, but the ungodly shall he condempne bothe 
body and soule to eternal destruction. 

" And as he onely is oure mediatour and entercessour, hoste and 
sacrifice, bysshop, lorde, and our kynge ; also do we acknowlage 
and confesse hym onely to be our attonement and raunsome, satis- 
faction, expiacion, or wysdome, our defence, and our onely deliuerer : 
refusyng utterly all other meane of lyfe and saluacion, excepte thus 
by Chryst onely. 


" And therefore in the whole doctryne of the Euangelystes annun- 
ciat and shew to be the fyrste, and chefely to be inculcated and 
taught, that we are safe onely by the marcie of God, and merite of our 
Sauiour Christ. And that men may perceyue and understande the 
better, howe necessary is the mercie of God and Christes merites for 
them, theyr synnes shuld be clerely shewed to them by the lawe, and 
remission by Christes death. 


" And these so godly benefites, with the very sanctificacion of the 
Holy Spirite, do we optayne by fayth, the very trewe gyfte of God, 
and not throughe any other power or strength of ourselues or merytes. 

" Whiche faythe is one certayne and undouted substance and 
aprehensyon of all thynges that we hope for to come of the kyndnes 
of God, and it cometh firste out of the selfe charitie, it worketh noble 
frutes of al virtues : yet notwithstandynge we attribute no thyng to 
the dedes, althoughe they be godly, yet be they mennes workes and 
actes ; but the helthe and saluacion that is optayned, we attribute to 
the grace of God onely : And truely this worshypynge alone is the 
very trewe worshypynge of God ; faythe I meane mooste pryngnaunt 
and plentifull of good workes, without any confydence in the workes. 



" Also we holde, and belewe, that the Churche, whiche is the con- 
gregacion and eleccion of all holy men, whiche also is the spouse of 
Christ, whom he shall presente without spot unto his Father, washynge 
it in his owne blode, is of suche lyuely stones aforesayd layde upon 
this lyuely rock on this maner. 

" The whiche Churche, howbeit it be euydently knowne onely to 
the eyes of God, yet be certayne externall rytes, institute by Christ, 
and be one publyke and lawful teachynge, teachynge of the Worde 
of God, not onely as it spyed and knowen, but it is also so con- 
stituted by them, that without the cerimonies there is no man 
reconed to be of it, excepte it be by a synguler preuilege of God. 


" And for this cause we graunte the Ministers of the Church to be 
cooperators of God, as Paule calleth them, by whome God geueth 
and ministreth both knowledge of our selfe, and remission of synne, 
and conuerteth men to hym selfe, rayseth them up and comforteth 
them, affrayeth them also, and judgeth them; but so that the vertue and 
efficacie thereof we ascrybe also to the Lorde, and the ministracion of 
the sacramentes. For it is manifest that this efficacie and powre is 
not bounde nor knytte to any creature, but is dyspensed lyberally and 
frely, whosoever, and whensoever, he shall please, for, ' He that 
watereth is nothynge, nor yet is he that planteth any thynge, but he 
that geueth the encreasment, whiche is God.' 


" The aucthoritie to preache Goddes Worde, and to feede the 
Lordes flocke, the whiche properly is the Power of the Keyes, pre- 
scribynge and commaundyng all men, bothe hye and lowe, all lyke, 
shulde be holy and inuiolat ; and shulde be committed onely to 
them that are mete therfore : and chosen other by the eleccion of 
God, or elles by a sure and aduysed eleccion of the Churche ; or by 
theyr wyll, to whom the Churches depute and apoynt that offyce of 


" This ministracion and offyce shulde be graunted to no man but 
to him whom the ministers of the Churche, and they unto whom the 


charge is gyuen by the Churches, and found judged to be of know- 
lage in the law of God and of innocent lyfe. The whiche seynge it 
is the very eleccion of God, it is well and justlye approued by the 
voyce of the Churche, and the imposicion of handes of the heedes of 
the preestes. 


" Christe, verely, hym selfe is the very trewe heed of his churche 
and congregacion, and the onely pastor and heed ; and he also 
geueth presydentes, heedes, and teachers, to the entent that in the 
externall administracion they shulde use the power of the churche 
well and lawfully : Wherfor we knowe not them that are heedes 
and pastors in name onely, nor yet the Romenishe heedes. 


"The chefe and pryncypall offyce of this ministracion is to preache 
repentaunce and remission of synne through Jesu Christe ; to praye 
continually for the people ; to geue diligence wholy to holy stodyes 
and to the Worde of God, and resyst and pursue the deuyll alway 
with the Word of God, as withe the sworde of the Spirite, and that 
with a deadly hatered, and by all meanes to chasten him awaye ; to 
defende the holy citezens of Christe. And by all meanes compell and 
reproue the fautie and vicious ; and to exclude from the churche 
them that stereth to farre, and that by a godly consente and agre- 
ment of them whiche are chosen of the ministers and magistrates for 
correcyon, or to ponyshe them by any other waye conuenient and 
profytable meanes, so longe untyll they come to a mendement, and so 
be safe : for this is the returnynge of the churche agayne, for one 
suche citizen of Chryst, yf he acknowlage and confesse his erroure 
with conuerted mynde and lyfe, for all this doctryne seketh and 
wylleth, that we requyre wyllynge and helthefull correccion, exhi- 
larite, or comforte all godly by a newe studdy of godlynes. 


"There is twayne whiche are named in the Church of God Sacra- 
mentes, Baptisme, and Howslynge : these be tokens of secrete thynges, 
that is, of godly and spirituall thynges, of whiche thynges they take 
the name, are not of naked sygnes, but they are of sygnes and verities 
together. For in Baptisme the water is the sygne, but the thynge 


and verytie is regeneracyon, and adopcion in the people of God. In 
the Howslynge and Thankes gyuynge, the bread and the wyne are 
sygnes, but the thynge and veritie is the communion of the body of 
our Lorde ; helthe and saluacion founde, and remyssyon of synnes ; 
the whiche are receyuyed by faythe even as the sygnes and tokens 
are receyued by the bodely mouth. 

" Wherfore we affyrme the Sacramentes not onely to be badges 
and tokens of Christian societie, but to be also sygnes of the grace 
of God, by the whiche the ministers worketh withe God, to the ende 
that the promyse bryngeth the worke to passe ; but so as is afore- 
sayde of the ministracion of the worde, that all the same powre be 
ascribed to the Lorde. 


" We affyrme Baptism to be by the institucion of the Lorde, the 
lauer of regeneracion, the whiche regeneracion the Lorde exhibiteth to 
his chosen by a visible sygne by the ministracion of the congrega- 
cion, as is aforesayde. In the whiche holy lauer we wasshe oure 
infantes, for this cause, because it is wyckednes to rejecte and cast 
out of the felowshyp and company of the people of God them that 
are borne of us, whiche are the people of God, excepte them that are 
expressely commaunded to be rejected by the voyce of God ; and 
for this cause chefely, bycause we shulde not presume ungodly of 
theyr election. 


" But the mtsticall supper is in the whiche the Lorde offereth his 
body and his blode, that is, his owne selfe, verely, to his owne, for 
this entent he myghte lyue more and more in them, and they in hym. 
Not so that the body and blode of the Lorde are communed natu- 
rally to the bread and wyne, or closed in them as in one place ; or 
put in them by any carnal or maruelous presence ; but bycause the 
body and blode of oure Lorde are receyued verely of one faythful 
soule, and because the bread and the wyne by the institucion of the 
Lorde, are tokens be whiche the very communion or participacyon of 
the Lordes body and blode are exhibited of the Lorde himselfe, 
through the mynistracion of the churche, not to be a meat corruptible 
of the body, but to be a noryshemente and meat of eternal lyfe. 

" And this holy meat do we use ofte for this cause, for when 


through the monicion and rememberaunce of it, we beholde withe the 
eye of our fayth the death and blode of hym that was crucified, and 
remember cure saluacyon and helthe, not with out a taste of heauenly 
lyfe, and very trewe felynge of eternall lyfe : when we do this we are 
wonderfully refreshed through this spiritual lyvynge and eternall goode. 
And that with an unspeakable swetnes we exulte and rejoyce with a 
myrth unexpressable in wordes, for the saluacion that is founde; and 
we all and whole are effused with all our power and strength, utterly 
in doynge of thankes for so wonderfull a benefyte of Christ toward 

" Therefore it is greatly without cure deservynges that some aleges 
and sayeth of us, that we attrybute lyttell to the Holy Sacramentes ; 
for they are holy thynges and honourable, bycause they'are institute 
and ordayned by oure hye preest Christ, and receyued ; exhybiting 
the thinges that they syngnifie in theyr owne maner as is aforesayd ; 
beynge witnes to the thinge thet is done'in dede ; representynge so 
hye and harde thynges, and bryngeth by wonderfull corespondence 
& lykenes of similitude, a lyght and a clerness to the mynysters 
that they sygnifie : so wholy is oure beleve and estimacion of the 
Sacramentes, but verely appropriattynge the virtue of quickenynge 
and santifienge to hym onely whiche is lyfe, to whom -be all honour 
& prayse for ever. Amen. 


" We beleve and thynke the holy conuencions and gatherynges 
shulde be holden on this maner & sorte : so that fyrst chefely and 
before all thynges the worde of God be preached to the people 
openlie in an open & publyke place, and that daylie : and the secrete 
& obscure places of the Scripture be opened & declared by mete and 
competent men : And that by the Holy Supper of thankes, called 
Howselynge, the faithe of the godlie be ofte exercysed, and that they 
shulde be contynually in prayer for all men & for the necessities 
of all men. But the rest of the ceremonies which as they are unprofit- 
able, so are they innumerable, as vescels, garmentes, wax, lyghtes, 
alters, golde, sylver, in so much as they serve to subverte the trewe 
religion of God : and chefely Idols & Images that stand open to be 
worshyped, and geve offence & slaunder ; and all suche prophane and 
ungodlie thynges do we abandon, reject, & put away from the holy 
congregacion & conuencion. 



" We also abandon & reject from our holy conuencions all them 
that departeth from the societe & fellowship of the holy Churche, 
and bryngeth in straunge or ungodlie sectes and opinions. With the 
whiche evyll the Anabaptistes are chefly infecte this tyme : the whiche 
we judge shuld be constrayned and punished by the majestrates and 
hye powers, yf they obstinatly do resyst and wyll not obeye the 
monission of the Church, and that for the intent that they shulde 
not infecte and corrupt the flocke of God through theyr wycked 


" The thynges that are called, and in dede also are indifferent, 
howbeit a godlie man may use them frely, and in every place, and 
at all tymes, yet notwythstandynge he shulde use them with know- 
lage and of charitie to the glory of God trewly, and the edificacion 
of the Churche and congregacion. 


" And seynge euery magistrate and hyghe powre is of God, his 
chefe and pryncipall office is (excepte he wolde rather use tyranny) to 
defende the trewe worshipinge of God from all blasfemy and to pro- 
cure trewe religion, and as the prophete doth teache of the voyce of 
God, to execute for his powre. In whiche part a trewe and syncere 
preachinge of the worde of God remayneth with a ryghte and dili- 
gente institucion of the discipline of citezens, and of the scooles : 
just correcion and nurture, with liberalitie towarde the mynysters of 
the Churche with a solicitat and thoughtfull charge of the poore, to 
the whiche ende all the rychesse of the Churche is referred. This, 
I saye, hathe the fyrst and chefe place in the execution of the 

" Then after to judge the people by equall and godlie lawes, to 
exersyce and mayntayne judgment & justice, to defend the comune- 
welthe, and punishe transgressours accordynge to theyr faulte, outher 
in goodes, theyr bodies or theyr lyves. And when the majestrate 
executeth these thynges he honoreth God as he shulde, in his voca- 
cion, and we (howbeit we be free bothe in our body and in all oure 
goodes, and in the studies of oure minde and thought also, with a 
trewe faithe) knoweth that we shulde be subjecte in holynes to the 


majestrate and shulde keep fydelitie and promes to hym, so long as 
his commandmentes, statutes and imperes evidently repugneth not 
with Him for whose sake we honour and worship the majestrates. 


" We judge Manage, whiche was instytute of God for all men, apte 
and mete therfor, which are not called from it by any other vocation, 
to repugn holyness of no ordre; the whiche mariage as the 
Churche auctoriseth it & celebrates, so solempniseth it with orison 
& prayer. And therefor we rejecte & refuse this monckly 
chastite, and all & hole this slouthful & sluggish sorte of lyfe of 
supersticious men, as abominably e invented & excogitat thynge, 
and abandon it as a thinge repugnant bothe to the comune weale 
& to the Churche. And so confirmeth and stablesseth it, so it 
belongeth to the magistrate to se that it be worth ely bothe begoune 
& worshypped ; & not broken but for a just cause. 


" It is not cure mynde for to prescribe by this breefe chapters a 
certayne rule of the Faythe to all Churches & congregacyones, for 
we know no outher rule of fay the but the Holy Scripture. And 
therefore we are well contented with them that agreeth with these 
thynges, howbeit they use ane other maner of s'peakinge, or Confes- 
sion dyfferent apartly to this of ours in wordes, for rather shulde the 
matter be consydered then the wordes. And therefore we make it 
free for all men to use theyr owne sorte of speakynge, as they shall 
perceyue most profitable for theyr churches and we shall use the 
same libertie. And yf any man wyll attempte to corrupte the trewe 
meanynge of this cure Confession, he shall heare both a confession 
and a defence of the veritie and truth. 

" It was oure pleasure to use these wordes at this present tyme 
that we myght declare our opinion in our religion & worshipenge 
of God. 


" The Truth wyl have the upper hande." 



NlSBET's statement as to the family of Wishart having 
derived descent from Robert, an illegitimate son of David, 
Earl of Huntingdon, who was styled Guishart on account of 
his heavy slaughter of the Saracens, is an evident fiction.* 

The name Guiscard, or Wiscard, a Norman epithet used to 
designate an adroit or cunning person, was conferred on 
Robert Guiscard, son of Tancrede de Hauterville of Nor- 
mandy, afterwards Duke of Calabria, who founded the king- 
dom of Sicily. This noted warrior died on the 2/th July 
1085. His surname was adopted by a branch of his House, 
and the name became common in Normandy and throughout 
France. Guiscard was the surname of the Norman kings of 
Apulia in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. 

John Wychard is mentioned as a small landowner in the 
Hundred de la Mewe, Buckinghamshire, in the reign of 
Henry III. (I2i6-i272).-f- During the same reign and that of 
Edward I. (1272-1307), are named as landowners, Baldwin 
Wyschard or Wistchart, in Shropshire ; Nicholas Wychard, 
in Warwickshire ; Hugh Wischard, in Essex ; and William 
Wischard, in Bucks.J In the reign of Edward I. Julian Wye- 
chard is named as occupier of a house in the county of 

A branch of the House of Wischard obtained lands in 
Scotland some time prior to the thirteenth century. John 
Wischard was sheriff of Kincardineshire in the reign of 
Alexander II. (1214-1249). In an undated charter of this 
monarch, Walter of Lundyn, and Christian his wife, grant 
to the monks of Arbroath a chalder of grain, " pro sua frater- 
nitate," the witnesses being John Wischard, " vicecomes de 

* Nisbet's System of Heraldry, Edin., 1816, folio, vol. i., p. 201. 

t Rotuli Hundredorum, vol. i. Testa, de Nevill, passim. 

Rotuli Hundredorum, vol. ii., p. 7 2 7- 


Moernes," and his son John.* John Wischard is witness to a 
charter, by Stephen de Kinardley, granting to the church of 
St Thomas the Martyr, of Arbroath, the davach of land in 
Kincardineshire called Petmengartenach. This charter is 
undated, but as it contains the names of Alexander II. and 
his queen Johanna, it evidently belongs to the period be- 
tween 1 22 1 and I249.-J- "J. Wischard vicecomes de Mernez" 
and John, his son, are witnesses to a charter by Robert 
Warnebald and Richenda his spouse, granting to the kirk of 
St Thomas of Arbroath, all their fief (feodum) in the parish 
of Fordun, comprising the two Tubertachthas, Glenferkeryn, 
Kynkell, and Kulback and Monbodachyn.j This instrument 
is undated, but there follows a charter of confirmation by 
Alexander II., dated 2Oth March, in the twenty-fourth year 
of his reign (1238). 

John Wischart, sheriff of the Mearns, or Kincardineshire, 
was father of three sons. William, the second son, entered the 
Church. Possessing superior abilities and extensive culture, 
he became Archdeacon of St Andrews, and while holding that 
office was, in 1256, appointed chancellor of the kingdom. He 
was, in 1270, elected Bishop of Glasgow, but in the same year 
was postulated to St Andrews. By the decree of Pope 
Urban IV., every bishop-elect was required to proceed to 
Rome for consecration, and Gregory X., the reigning pontiff, 
insisted that this rule should be obeyed. Disinclined to 
undertake the long and perilous journey, Bishop Wishart des- 
patched agents to Rome, begging that he might receive con- 
secration at home. After a long detention, the agents were 
informed that the papal sanction would be withheld ; but, on 
the persuasion of Edward I., who was then at Rome, on his 
way from Palestine, the pontiff consented to grant the neces- 
sary letters.|j In 1274 Bishop Wishart was consecrated at 
Scone, in presence of the king, several bishops, and many of 

* Reg. Vetus de Aberbrothoc, p. 97. t Ib., p. 179. % Ib., pp. 198, 199. 

Fordun, lib. x., p. 133. 

|| Spottiswoode's History, Edin., 1851, 3 vols. 8vo, vol. i., p. 91. 


the nobility. He thereupon resigned his office of chan- 

Along with other prelates of the Scottish Church, Bishop 
Wishart attended a Council held at Lyons in 1274, when a 
union was effected with the Eastern Church, and decrees were 
passed for reducing the mendicant orders, and abolishing 
pluralities. The two latter reforms were practically un- 
availing, for, by payments at the court of Rome, mendicant 
monks were allowed to beg as before, and ambitious clerks 
were permitted to hold as many benefices as they could pro- 
cure. In 1275, Bagimund, a papal nuncio, arrived in Scot- 
land, and, at a council held at Perth, fixed the value of Scot- 
tish benefices.-f- The revenues of the bishopric of St Andrews 
were estimated at an amount equal to ^9450 of sterling money. 

Commended by the chronicler, Wyntoun, Bishop William 
Wischart is by the historian, John of Fordoun, denounced as 
a pluralist and charged with hypocrisy.^ Whatever may 
have been his private character, his public acts bespeak his 
praise, for, during the seven years he held his bishopric, he 
founded at St Andrews the elegant structure of the Domini- 
can monastery, and in superb architecture reared the nave 
of the cathedral. While engaged with other leading per- 
sons in settling the vexed question of the marches between 
the kingdoms, he was seized with a mortal ailment, and 
expired at Morebattle in 1278. His remains were conveyed 
to St Andrews, and there deposited in the cathedral, near the 
high altar.|| 

Adam, third son of John Wishart, sheriff of the Mearns, 
had, in 1272, a charter of the lands of Ballandarg and Logic, 
in the county of Forfar, from Gilbert de Umphraville, Earl of 
Angus, and a crown charter confirming the same, dated I3th 

* Spottiswoode's History, Edin., 1851, 3 vols.'Svo, vol. i., p. 92. 

t The table, commonly called Bagiment's Roll, served as a rule for the prices 
taken of those who came to sue for benefices at the court of Rome (Spottis- 
woode's History, vol. i., p. 93). 

Fordun's Scotichronicon, lib. x., c. 28. 

Wyntoun's Chronicle, Edin., 1872, vol. ii., p. 258. 

11 Spottiswoode's History, vol. i. , p. 93 ; Wyntoun, vol. ii., p. 250. 


July 1280, in which he is styled "Adam Wyschard, filius 
Joannis." In 1279 he received from William, Abbot of 
Arbroath, a charter of the lands of Kenny-Murchardyn, or 
Kennyneil, in the parish of Kingoldrum, Forfarshire.* From 
him descended the House of Wishart of Logic Wishart, other- 
wise the Wisharts of that ilk. To this branch we shall refer 

Sir John Wishart, eldest son of John Wischart, sheriff of 
the Mearns, obtained the lands of Conveth (Laurencekirk), 
Halkertoun, and Scottistoun, in the Mearns, from Adam, 
Abbot of Arbroath. Of these lands he had a charter of 
confirmation, dated 2ist June 1246, wherein he is designed 
" Johannes Wyscard, filius Johannis." By a legal instrument 
addressed to the Abbot of Arbroath, he became bound not to 
alienate any portion of his lands without the abbot's consent.^ 
This instrument is undated, but appears to belong to the year 
1260. He was knighted by Alexander II., and, as Sir John 
Wishart, is a witness to the foundation charter of the hospital 
of Brechin.J 

On the death of Sir John Wishart, which took place in the 
reign of Alexander III., he was succeeded by his eldest son, 
also Sir John. This baron, along with his son John, took the 
oath of fealty to Edward I. at Elgin on the 2Qth July I296. 
During the same year he granted ten merks out of the lands 
of Redhall and Balfeith, for support of the chapel of St 
Thomas the Martyr, in the cathedral of Brechin.|| He died 
at an advanced age. 

In a charter by Margaret, Countess of Douglas, Lady Mar 
and Garioch, dated Feast of the Assumption, 1384, John 
Wischard is witness to the resignation in her hands of the 
lands of Colehill and Petgoury.lT 

In 1391 Robert III. prohibited Sir William of Keth, sheriff 

* Dalrymple's Historical Collections, Edin., 1705, p. 217; Reg. Vet. de Aberd., 
332 ; Jervise's Angus and Mearns, p. 347. 

t Reg. Vet. de Aberbrothoc, passim. J Reg. Epis. Brechin., vol. i., p. 7. 

Ragman Roll, pp. 103, 109. || Reg. Epis. Brechin., vol. i., pp. 59-61. 

U Reg. Epis. Aberd., p. 331. 


of Kincardineshire, from enforcing payment of certain fines, 
which the men of Sir John Wishart were adjudged to pay in 
the last justiciary circuit held within his baliary these fines 
amounting to 14.* 

Sir John Wishart, the fifth baron of certain lands in Kin- 
cardineshire, is the first of his House styled of Pitarrow. As 
" Dominus Joannes Wishart de Pittarro," he, in 1399, entered 
into an indenture with John, Abbot of Arbroath, respecting 
the mill and mill lands of Conveth. He died early in the 
reign of James I., leaving a son, who succeeded to his estate. 

Sir John Wischart, second of Pitarrow, went to France in 
the suite of the Princess Margaret, when, in 1434, she was 
married to the Dauphin, afterwards Louis XI/f* In 1437 8 
were allocated for the farms of the lands of Gurdnes, part of 
the manor of Firmartin, granted by the king to Sir John 
Wishart.:}: On the 6th July 1442, " Sir John Wyschart, lord 
of Pettarrow, knight," appeared before the chapter of Brechin, 
and to the vicar-general, in the absence of the bishop, pre- 
sented " Schir David Wyschart " as his chaplain, endowing 
him with ten merks of annual rent from certain lands. Having 
founded, with an endowment of ten merks yearly, from the 
lands of Redhall and others, the chaplainry of St Thomas the 
Martyr, in the cathedral of Brechin, for the salvation of his 
soul, and that of Janet (Ochterlony), his wife, he, on the loth 
of August 1442, presented as chaplain " his well-beloved David 
Wyschart, to be admitted thereto after examination." || In 
an instrument dated i/th November 1453, David Wys- 
chard is mentioned as one of the vicars or perpetual chaplains 
of the church of Brechin.lT 

In 1447 Alexander Wishart of Pitarrow witnesses the 
resignation by William Fullerton of the lands of Maryton.** 
James Wishart of Pitarrow, who had probably succeeded to 

* Rotuli Compotorum in Scaccaris, vol. ii., p. 177. 

t Chamberlain Rolls, ii. 117, iii. 367. 

Rotuli Compotorum in Scaccaris, vol. iii., p. 366. 

Reg. Epis. Brechin., p. 58. || Ib., p. 59. 

!/., p. 96. **/5.,ii. 63. 


the estate as a younger brother, obtained on the i/th January 
1461, a charter from the Abbot of Arbroath, of the mill and 
mill lands of Conveth. This instrument William Ochterlony 
of Kelly, designed uncle of James Wishart, subscribed as a 
witness. In 1471 James Wishart of Pitarrow is mentioned as 
holding the Constable lands of Brechin. In connection with 
these lands he is named in a charter dated 3Oth March 1482.* 
He died in June 1491, leaving a son John, and a daughter 
Marjory. The latter married Gilbert Middleton of that ilk. 
In the "Acta Auditorum " of 1493 there is a decree respecting 
the settlement of her dowry. 

John Wishart of Pitarrow did homage, on the 25th Feb- 
ruary 1492, to Robert Leighton, Abbot of Arbroath, for his 
lands of Reidhall and others. In June 1493 he is mentioned 
in a decreet of the Lords of Council.*!* In 1499 he appears 
to have suffered forfeiture, when his lands of Balgillo were 
granted to others. He married a daughter of Janet, daughter 
of Lyndsay of Edzell, with whom he got a charter, under the 
Great Seal, of the lands of Woodtoun and others in the 
county of Kincardine. 

By his wife Janet Lyndsay, John Wishart of Pitarrow had 
three sons, James, John, and William. John, the second son, 
along with his elder brother James, entered into an agree- 
ment respecting certain lands and other property, on the I9th 
March 1508. William, the third son, described as brother- 
german of the deceased " Master James Wyshart of Pitarrow," 
had, on the 28th October 1525, a grant from the Abbot of 
Arbroath of the ward and relief of his brother's lands. James 
Wishart, eldest son of John Wishart, had, as his first wife, 
Janet Lyndsay. On the 28th October 1510, a precept was 
granted by the Abbot of Arbroath for infefting him and 
" Janet Lyndsay his spouse " in the lands of Redhall, Bal- 
feith, and others, which belonged to his father, John Wishart 
of Pitarrow. On the I ith August 1511, he obtained a charter 
under the Great Seal of the lands of Carnebege, in the county 
of Kincardine. By James IV. he was appointed "Justice 

* Reg. Epis. Brechin., ii. 117. t Acts of Lords of Council, 1466-1494. 


Clerk* and King's Advocate" in December 1513, offices 
which he retained till some time between the years 1520 
and 1524. He was a member of the General Council which 
was held at Perth on the 26th November 1513, to meet 
Monsieur Labatie and Mr James Ogilvy, ambassadors from 
Louis XII., to confer respecting the renewal of the French 
league and the return of the Duke of Albany.-}* On the 
1 3th November 1516, he had a charter of the lands of Easter 
and Wester Howlands, Howlawshead, and others. He died 
before May 1525. 

Subsequent to the 28th October 1510, and the 3Oth April 
1512, James Wishart married as his second wife Elizabeth 
Learmont, a daughter or near relation of James Learmont of 
Balcomie, in Fife. On the 3Oth April 1512, he received, 
along with " Elizabeth Learmont his spouse," a royal charter 
of the lands of Easter and Wester Pitarrow, on the resigna- 
tion of his father, John Wishart of Pitarrow, reserving to his 
father, and Janet Lyndsay his spouse, their " frank tenement 
of the said lands during their lives."J Of his first marriage 
were born two sons, John and James, and two daughters, 
Janet and another ; of the second a son George, the future 

Janet, daughter of James Wishart of Pitarrow by his first 
marriage, espoused James Durham of Pitkerrow. His other 
daughter married George Leslie, third laird of Pitnamoon, by 
whom she had an only daughter. 

John, eldest son of James Wishart of Pitarrow, held a por- 
tion of his lands from the Abbey of Arbroath. Of that 
abbey, David Beaton, the future cardinal, became commen- 
dator in 1524. On the loth May 1525, Beaton, as Abbot of 
Arbroath, directed to James Strachan of Monboddo, and 
others, a precept for infefting John Wishart as heir to his 
father, James Wishart of Pitarrow, in the mill and lands of 
Conveth (Laurencekirk), held by the abbey in chief. This 

* Clerk of the Justiciary Court. t Acta Parl. Scot., vol. ii. 

4: Reg. Mag. Sig., lib. xviii., No. 44. 

Colonel Leslie's Family of Leslie, vol. ii., p. 150. 


precept is not, according to usage, sealed with the official seal 
of the abbey, but with the abbot's private seal, on which his 
family arms are engraved. Beaton also attaches his sig- 
nature, thus : * 

On the 9th February 1531, John Wishart of Pitarrow ob- 
tained a gift of the ward of the lands of Wester Glenburny 
and others in the county of Kincardine, which belonged to the 
late James Wishart of Pitarrow, and Elizabeth Learmont his 
spouse, conjunct fiar thereof the dues of which were in the 
king's hand.+ 

John Wishart died unmarried, or without issue. James, his 
younger brother, styled " of Carnebege," in the parish of For- 
doun,J married, and had four sons, John, James, Alexander, 
and George ; and two daughters, Margaret and Christina. 

Margaret Wishart married, first, William Gardyne, younger 
of Burrofield, and, secondly, in 1560, Alexander Tullo, son of 
William Tullo, younger of Craignestoun. Christina Wishart 
married John Wedderburn, burgess of Dundee. On the 2Qth 
May 1571, sasine was granted on a precept by Patrick Kin- 
naird of that ilk, in favour of Christina Wishart, relict of the 
late John Wedderburn, burgess of Dundee, in liferent ; and 
to George Wishart, " armigero crucis christianissimi regis 
Galliae," her brother, of an annual rent of 20 Scots, furth of 
the corn mill of Kinnaird.|| Alexander, third son of John 
Wishart of Pitarrow, married Marion, daughter of Alexander 
Falconer of Halkerton. On the 2d October 1556, he received 
precept of a royal charter for confirming him in a portion of 

* Eraser's Earls of Southesk, pp. Ixv., Ixvi. 

t Reg. Sec. Sig., vol. ix., fol. 76. J Ib., vol. xxvii., fol. 51. 

Matrimonial Contract in Register of Deeds, dated 8th February 1560. 
|| Protocol Register of Thomas Ireland, Notary Public, in the Town-Clerk's 
Office, Dundee. 


the lands of Halkerton, granted him by Alexander Falconer.* 
He was, on the 1st February 1562, appointed captain and 
keeper " of the houses, place, and fortalice of Badgenocht 
and bailie of the lands, barony, and bounds of the same."-f 
From Sir John Wishart, his eldest brother, he received, on 
the 24th May 1566, precept of a charter of the lands of Car- 
nebeg,;}: in the county of Kincardine, which lands were further 
destined to his brother George. 

George Wishart, fourth son of John Wishart of Pitarrow, 
obtained military employment in France. On the I4th June 
1565, sasine proceeded on a charter granted by John Wallace 
of Craigie, in favour of" George Wischart, brother-german of 
John Wischart of Pitarrow, armiger crucis regis Gallics." By 
this charter George Wishart received the lands of Westerdoid, 
in the lordship of Murlachewod and shire of Forfar. The 
charter is dated 5th June 1565, and on behalf of George 
Wishart sasine is granted in the hands of his attorney, de- 
scribed as " George Wishart of Drymme." George Wishart of 
Westerdoid died unmarried. On the 5th March 1573, he 
nominated his sister, Christina Wishart, relict of John Wed- 
derburn, his cessioner, or residuary legatee. || 

John, eldest son of James Wishart of Carnebeg, and grand- 
son of the justice-clerk, succeeded John Wishart, his uncle, in 
the lands and barony of Pitarrow. On the 3d October 1545, he 
received a gift of the non- entries of the lands of Staddok- 
mure, otherwise Reidheuch, and others, in the county of Kin- 
cardine, which were held by Queen Mary, by reason of non- 
entry, since the death of umquhile Strachan.H On 

the 24th March 1553, a precept of charter was granted to 
John Wishart, "son and heir of the late James Wishart," 

* Reg. Sec. Sig., vol. xxviii., fol. 94^. t Ib., vol. xxxviii., fol. 31. 

J Members of the family of Wishart, chiefly engaged in agricultural pursuits, 
resided at Carnebeg, in the parish of Fordoun, till the middle of the eighteenth 
century ; they are represented by the Rev. James Wishart, pastor of Toxteth 
Church, Liverpool. 

Reg. Sec. Sig., vol. xxxv., fol. 35. 

|| Protocol Book of Thomas Ireland, in Town-Clerk's Office, Dundee. 

If Reg. Sec. Sig., vol. xix., fol. 43. 



of the lands of Bathaggarties and others, in the lordship of 

John Wishart engaged, like his grandfather, in legal 
studies. While prosecuting these studies at Edinburgh, it 
is believed that, through Learmont of Balcomie, he became 
acquainted with Crichton of Brunstone, Norman Leslie, 
and others, who were concerned in a plot against Cardinal 
Beaton. In connection with this conspiracy he, in April 
1544, acted as messenger between Crichton and the English 
court. After succeeding to the paternal estates in 1545, he 
seems to have withdrawn from public affairs till 1557, when 
he joined the Earls of Argyle and Glencairn, Lord James 
Stuart, Prior of St Andrews, and John Erskine of Dun, in 
despatching a communication to John Knox at Geneva, invit- 
ing him to return to Scotland, and assuring him of general 
support. This communication was dated loth March 1557; 
and on receiving it Knox at once undertook his journey 
homeward. But at Dieppe, which he reached in October, he 
was informed by other correspondents that the zeal of the 
Scottish Reformers had considerably waned, and that few 
would imperil their fortunes by attempting a change. Knox 
was much disheartened, and determined to return to Geneva. 
Before leaving Dieppe he addressed letters of exhortation to 
the leading Reformers, and private communications to the 
Lairds of Pitarrow and Dun. 

On receiving Knox's private letters, Wishart and Erskine 
called together the leading Reformers, and urged them to im- 
mediate action. The result was that, on the 3d December 1557, 
was framed that memorable bond by which the Reformers 
confederated under the name of the Congregation, each be- 
coming bound to seek the destruction of the Romish 
Church.-f- Of the Congregation Wishart continued one of 
the leading members. When, on the 24th May 1559, they 
met at Perth, to devise measures for resisting the queen 
regent, Wishart and Erskine were deputed to assure the 

* Reg. Sec. Sig., vol. xxvii., fol. 51. 

+ Knox's History, edit. 1846, vol. i., pp. 267-274, 337-350, 361-451. 


royal envoys that, while they cherished no disloyal intentions, 
they would firmly assert their privileges. On the 4th June 
Wishart and Erskine attended a conference at St Andrews, 
with the Earl of Argyle and Lord James Stuart, who acted 
as representatives of the regent. Of this conference the 
result was favourable to the Reformed cause, and Knox at 
once commenced his public exposure of Romish error. The 
first day's preaching at St Andrews was followed by a popular 
insurrection, and the wrecking of the Dominican and Fran- 
ciscan monasteries. 

The queen regent having at length consented to grant to 
the body of the Congregation freedom of worship, Wishart 
joined a deputation in opening with her negotiations for this 
purpose, but the crafty princess withdrew her pledge. Wishart, 
with others, resented her duplicity by subscribing a manifesto 
declaring that she had forfeited her office as regent. He 
attended the convention at Berwick in February 1560, when 
the Duke of Norfolk, on behalf of Queen Elizabeth, agreed to 
support the Congregation against the power of France ; * 
and when the English army reached Edinburgh in April, with 
the intention of expelling the French, he joined the nobility 
and barons in hailing their advent, and pledging cordial co- 

In the Parliament held at Edinburgh on the ist August 
1560, John Wishart of Pitarrow is named as one of the com- 
missioners of burghs. By this Parliament, on the i/th August, 
the Confession of Faith was ratified.! The government of 
the State was entrusted to twenty-four persons, eight of whom 
were to be chosen by the queen, and six by the nobility. 
Wishart was one of those selected by the nobles. 

With a view to the surrender, by the Romish clergy, of the 
third portion of their revenues, Wishart was, in 1561, ap- 
pointed, along with certain officers of state, to prepare a valua- 
tion of ecclesiastical property. || On the 8th February 1561-2, 

* Knox's History, edit. 1846, vol. ii., pp. 45-52. t /., pp. 61-64. 

J Acta Parl. Scot., vol. ii., p. 526. Keith's History, p. 152. 

|| Knox's History, vol. ii., p. 304. 


when the Earl of Murray (Lord James Stuart) was married 
to Agnes Keith, daughter of the Earl Marischal, he was, 
along with nine other notable persons, honoured with knight- 
hood.* On the 1 5th February he was appointed Comptroller 
and Collector - General of Teinds.-f- In this capacity he 
became paymaster of the Reformed clergy. These bitterly 
complained of their scanty incomes, and Knox relates that 
the saying prevailed, " The good Laird of Pitarro was ane 
earnest professor of Christ ; but the mekle Devill receave the 

At the battle of Corrichie, fought on the 5th November 
1562, between the followers of the rebel Earl of Huntly and 
the royal troops, Sir John Wishart was present and highly 
distinguished himself. In the Parliament held at Edinburgh 
on the 4th June 1563, he was appointed with others to decide 
as to those who should have the benefit of the Act of Oblivion, 
for offences committed from the 6th March 1558 to the 1st 
September i56o.|| 

Actively employed in the State, Sir John Wishart did not 
overlook family affairs. On the 2ist December 1557, he and 
his wife, Janet Falconer, received a third part of the lands of 
Halkerton. He, on the 2ist September 1563, had the precept 
of a charter of the lands of Enrowglass, in the lordship of 
Badenoch and sheriffdom of Inverness.^ On the 23d Janu- 
ary 1564, he received a charter of the lands of Glenmuick, 
Assynt, Glentanner, Inchmarno, Tullych, Ballater, and others 
in the county of Aberdeen.* * By a letter under the Privy 
Seal he was granted, on the 24th May 1565, the reversion of 
the lands and barony of Rothiemurchus, in the regality of 
Spynie and sheriffdom of Inverness, escheat by the treason 
of the Lord Gordon.ff On the 28th July 1565, he and his 
wife obtained a precept of charter, in conjunct fee, of the lands 

* Knox's History, vol. ii., p. 314, note by Mr David Laing. 
t Reg. Sec. Sig., vol. xxxi., Nos. 3 and 5. 

J Knox's History, vol. ii., pp. 310, 311. Ib., vol. ii., p. 356. 

|| Acta Parl. Scot., vol. ii., p. 536. IT Reg. Sec. Sig., vol. xxxii., No. 4. 

** Ib., No. 131^. tt Ib., vol. xxxiii., No. 48. 


of Easter and Wester Balfour and Incharbak, in the county 
of Kincardine.* 

Having joined the Earl of Murray in opposing the marriage 
of Queen Mary with Lord Darnley, Sir John was denounced 
a rebel, and obliged to seek refuge in England. Conse- 
quent on his forfeiture, the rents owing him by Mr George 
Gordon of Balderny were, on the 26th October 1565, granted 
to Mr John Gordon ;-f* and a debt of 300 merks owing him 
by Captain Alexander Crichton of Hallyard was presented 
to the debtor, t By a letter under the Privy Seal Walter 
Wood of Balbirgenocht obtained the rents of his lands of 
Pitarrow, Easter Pitarrow, Wester Mill of Petreny, Pettingard- 
nave, Little Carnebeg, Reidhall, Easter Wottoun, Wester 
Wottoun, Easter Balfour, Wester Balfour, Incheharbertt, 
Gallowhilton, and Crofts of Kincardine, with the lands of 
Glentanner and Braes of Mar. 

Sir John Wishart returned to Scotland after the slaughter 
of David Rizzio. That event took place on the Qth March 
1566, and on the 2ist day of the same month, he obtained 
the royal pardon for " participating with the Duke of 
Chatelherault and Arran, Lord Hamilton, in holding the 
castles of Hamilton and Draffan on the 3Oth September 
last." || On the 24th May 1566, he granted a precept of 
charter of the lands of Carnebeg, in the county of Kincardine, 
to his brother-german, Alexander Wishart of Cosvell, and 
Marion Falconer, his wife, whom failing, to George Wishart, 
his brother-german.H 

In 1567, Sir John Wishart received a royal precept 
for confirming a charter of alienation by James, Earl of 
Murray, of the lands of Cragane, Cambusnakist, Auchin- 
dryne, Auchquhillater, Kyndrocht, and others in the lordship 
of Braemar.** The right of Sir John to the possession of 
these lands was disputed by the Earl of Mar, who brought 
his claim under the consideration of Parliament. On the 

* Reg. Sec. Sig., vol. xxxiii., No. <)$b. f /., No. ll$b. 

J Ib., No. 122. Ib., vol. xxxv., No. 45^. || Ib., No. I2b. 

IT Ib No. 35. ** Ib., vol. xxxviii., No. 31. 


29th July 1567, the Estates of Parliament recommended a 
private settlement.* 

In May 1567, Sir John joined the confederacy against 
the Earl of Bothwell. He was, on the iQth November of 
the same year, appointed an extraordinary Lord of Session.^ 
In 1568 he accompanied the Regent Murray to York, and 
gave his sanction to the charges preferred against Queen 

After the battle of Langside, and the assumption of the 
regency by the Duke of Chatelherault (formerly known as the 
Regent Arran), Sir John Wishart attached himself to the 
duke's party in opposition to his former friend and patron, 
the Regent Murray. In the cause of Queen Mary, he joined 
Sir William Kirkaldy in the Castle of Edinburgh, and 
became constable of the fort. He was one of eight persons 
by whose assistance Kirkaldy undertook to hold the castle 
against all assailants. When Kirkaldy capitulated in May 

1573, he became a prisoner in the hands of the Regent 
Morton. On the nth July, he was denounced a rebel, and his 
lands and goods were conferred on his nephew, " Mr John 
Wishart, son to Mr James Wishart of Balfeith." || He was 
also deprived of his office of judge. On the i8th January 

1574, he was re-appointed an extraordinary Lord of Session.1l 
He died on the 25th September 1576.** Sir John married 
Janet, sister of Sir Alexander Falconer of Halkerton, but had 
no children. 

James Wishart, second son of John Wishart of Pitarrow 
and brother of Sir John Wishart, received, on the I4th April 
1545, from Cardinal Beaton as Commendator of Arbroath, a 
precept for infefting him and Elizabeth Wood,-f"f his spouse, 

* Acta Parl. Scot., vol. iii., pp. 476-478. 

t Pitmedden MS. 

J Memoirs of Sir James Melvil, p. 186. 

Spottiswoode's History, Edin., 1851, vol. ii.,p. 193; Melvil's Memoirs, p. 241. 

|| Reg. Sec. Sig., vol. xli., No. go6. 

IT Brunton and Haig's Senators of the College of Justice, p. 138. 
** Knox's History, ed. 1846, vol. ii., p. 311, note by Mr David Laing. 
ft This gentlewoman was probably a daughter of David Wood of Craig, who 


in the town and lands of Balfeith, in the barony of Redhall, 
regality of Arbroath, and shire of Kincardine. The precept 
bears that the lands formerly belonged to John Wishart of 
Pitarrow, and were resigned by him into the cardinal's hands ; 
it is dated at the monastery of Arbroath, and subscribed 
by the cardinal and twenty-one of the brethren convened in 
chapter. It is impressed with the round seal of the cardinal, 
and counter-sealed with his privy seal ; it also bears the com- 
mon seal of the abbey.* 

James Wishart of Balfeith died in April 1575. In his will, 
which was executed on the 24th April of that year, he names 
three sons, John, James, and Alexander, and five daughters, 
Elspit, Christian, Jane, Isobel/f* and Helen. His brother } 
Alexander, styled " of Carnebeg," subscribes as one of the 
witnesses, and Sir John Wishart, his eldest brother, is con- 
stituted " oversman " of his executors.^ 

John Wishart, eldest son of James Wishart of Balfeith, 
succeeded to the lands and barony of Pitarrow on the death 
of his uncle, Sir John Wishart, in September 1576. In a 
Parliament held at Stirling in 1578, of which he was a 
member, John Wishart of Pitarrow was nominated one of the 
commissioners for examining the " Buik of the Policy of the 
Kirk," with a view to its public ratification. On the i6th 
February 1585, he was served heir to Sir John Wishart in the 
lands of Cairnton and others, and in Fordoun, a free burgh of 
barony. || In 1587 he awakened a legal process against the 
Countess of Murray " for execution of a decreet of war- 
randice " upon the lands of Strathtie'and Braemar, granted to 
Sir John by the Regent Earl of Murray. In 1592 he was 

was Comptroller from 1538 to 1546 (Sir John Scot's Staggering State, Edin., 
1872, p. in, note by Goodal). 

* Eraser's Earls of Southesk, pp. Ixv., Ixvi. 

"t* Isobel Wishart, Prioress of the Grey Sisters at Dundee, received on the i6th 
May 1566 the gift of a nun's portion, "with chalmer, habite, silver, fyre, candill, 
and all other thinges necessare within the Abbey of North Berwick " (Reg. Sec. 
Sig., vol. xxxv., p. 46). 

t Edin. Com. Reg., Testaments, vol. iv. 

Acta Parl. Scot., vol. iii., p. 105. || Inq. Spec., Kincardine, No. 4. 


allowed by Parliament to proceed against the heirs of the 
Earl of Murray, but at a Parliament held at Edinburgh on 
the 8th June 1594, the proceedings were arrested on the 
grounds that the earl was under age, that the documents on 
which his defence rested were burned at Donibristle when the 
late earl was murdered, and that the estates of the earldom 
were heavily encumbered.* 

In 1592 Sir John Wishart of Pitarrow "subscribed the 
band anent religion at Aberdeen." He was in the same year 
appointed one of the Earl Marischal's deputies, to apprehend 
the Earl of Huntly and others, for the burning of Donibristle, 
and murder of the Earl of Murray. He married Jean, 
daughter of William Douglas, ninth Earl of Angus. A 
charter under the Great Seal, " Domino Joanni Wishart de 
Pittarro et Dominae Jeannae Douglas ejus spousae baroni- 
arum de Pittarro, Reidhall, etc.," is dated /th April 1603. Of 
this marriage were born four sons, John, James, William, and 
Alexander, and a daughter, Elizabeth, who married Sir 
William Forbes, Bart, of Monymusk. Sir John Wishart 
died at an advanced age before the 3Oth April 1607. 
According to Sir John Scot he lived to " a good age in good 
reputation." -f- 

John Wishart, eldest son of Sir John Wishart of Pitarrow, 
had at the university as his companion, John Gordon, after- 
wards Dean of Salisbury. This divine dedicated to him 
in 1603 his "Assertiones Theologicae," J in these commen- 
datory terms : 

" Nobili &> generoso juueni JOANNI SOPHOCARDIO Pittarroensi, 
Joannes Gordonius Brittanno-Scotus, S. P. D. 

"Hisce diebus elapsis (Sophocardi amicissime) du animi oblectandi 
gratia musaeolum nostrum inuiseres, de controuersijs religionis nostri 

* Acta Parl. Scot., vol. lv., p. 80. 

+ Scot's Staggering State, Edin., 1872, p. ill. 

I The full title is, "Assertiones Theologicae pro vera verse Ecclesise Nota, quse 
est solius Dei Adoratio : contra falsae Ecclesias Creaturarum Adorationem. 
Rupell, 1603." The work is extremely rare. A copy is preserved in the Bodleian 


saeculi agere caepisti, & argumenta in medium proponere quibus 
nituntur nostrates pontificis Romani emissarij animum tuum ad 
Romana deliria allicere, quae pro tenuitate mea diluere sategi 
hinc mihi in animum venit breuiusculas assertiones ex 
lucubrationib. nostris Theologicis colligere, per quas rationibus 
solidissimis euincimus Episcopos & doctores pontificios in Gen- 
tilium, Arrianorum, Nestorianorum, & Eutychianorum errores 
blasphemes dilapsos esse, adeb vt externae ordinationis Episcopalis 
character, quern superb^ jactitant, per doctringe corruptelam irritus 
& inanis euasit ; ac proinde nullam verge Ecclesiae notam reliquam 
penes aulse Romanae adulatores permansisse. Tu verb pro ingenita 
animi tui sinceritate & zelo glorias Dei efflagitasti vt has easdem 
assertiones in publicam Ecclesiae Dei vtilitatem emitterem, vt illis 
adolescentium nostratium animi praemuniantur, tanquam amuleto 
contra Idolomaniam pontificiam, quae passim grassatur, & in- 
numeram mortalium multitudinem ad animarum naufragium impellit, 
du splendore honorum & diuitiarum fulgore mentis oculos illis 
perstringit, vt caduca bona solidis & aeternis anteferant. Accipe 
ergo, mi Sophocardi, has assertiones quibus conficiendis ansam 
praebuisti, vt non tibi solum, sed & Christianis omnibus qui seruari 
expetunt prosint : & memoriam Georgij Sophocardij patrui tui 
magni in scrinio pectoris reconde ; qui pro veritate Christiana fortiter 
strenu&q dimicans, impia pseudo Episcoporum condemnatione, qui 
tune rerum potiebantur apud Scotos, flammis olim traditus, nunc 
fruitur splendore praesentiae Christi, pro cuius gloria propaganda nee 
facultatibus nee vitae pepercit. Vale." 

This dedication may be rendered thus : 

" To the noble and excellent young gentleman, JOHN WISHART of 
the House of Pitarrow, John Gordon, a Scottish Briton, 
presents a hearty salutation. 

" In former days, dearest Wishart, when you attended our debating 
society, you discussed the religious controversies of the time, and 
reviewed the arguments by which emissaries of the priesthood sought 
to render attractive the foolish doctrines of the Romish Church. 
These arguments, though with less ability, I have endeavoured to 
expound. And it has occurred to me to select from our theological 
conversations some brief propositions ; by which, on substantial 


grounds, we demonstrate that the bishops and learned men of Rome 
had lapsed into the degrading errors of the heathens, and of the 
Arians, Nestorians, and disciples of Eutychus ; so that episcopal 
ordination, in which they rejoice, has through the corruption of their 
doctrines become foolish and absurd. In the present aspect of the 
papacy those corrupt persons have left no trace of the true Church. 
Through kindly feeling, and in your zeal for God's glory, you have 
urged me to publish these propositions ; so that our youths might 
be fortified against papal idolatry, which is spreading everywhere, 
and wrecking men's souls, while dazzling them with the glare of 
worldly honour, and the fleeting splendour of terrestrial opulence. 
These propositions, originated in your own suggestions, accept, 
dear Wishart, so that they may profit not yourself only, but all who 
desire help. And in the treasury of your heart cherish, I pray 
you, the memory of your great paternal uncle, George Wishart; who, 
after faithfully upholding the cause of Christian truth against false 
bishops, then all-powerful in Scotland, was betrayed to the flames, 
and who now rejoices in the bright presence of Christ, for'the main- 
tenance of whose glorious doctrines he gave up his life." 

About the year 1582, John Wishart married a daughter of 
Forrester of Garden, Stirlingshire a union which, according to 
Scot of Scotstarvet,* was most obnoxious to his father. Of 
the marriage were born two children, a son and daughter. The 
daughter, whose Christian name was Margaret, married Sir 
David Lindsay of Edzell and Glenesk, who had in June 1605 a 
desperate encounter with his brother-in-law, the young laird 
of Pitarrow, at the Salt Tron of Edinburgh. They fought a 
whole day, and one Guthrie, a follower of Wishart, was killed, 
others on both sides being wounded. On account of this 
public outrage, the fathers of the two combatants were im- 
prisoned by the chancellor, Archbishop Spottiswoode, for 
not putting restraint upon their sons.^f* John Wishart's son 
predeceased his father, unmarried. His Christian name is not 
certainly known.:}: 

* Sir John Scot records some gossip on the subject of this union, which it is 
undesirable to reproduce (Scot's Staggering State, ed. 1872, p. in). 
f Pitcairn's Criminal Trials, vol. iii., p. 6l. 
J The Christian name of young Wishart was William or Walter ; the initials 


John Wishart was, on the 3Oth April 1607, served heir to 
his father in the baronies of Pitarrow and Reidhall.* He 
was afterwards knighted. Having become deeply involved, 
he sold his estates in 1615 to his younger brother James. 
On this event his wife retired to England, where she was 
maintained by her relative, Lady Annandale."j* Sir John 
proceeded to Ireland, where he obtained a grant of some 
escheated lands in county Fermanagh. Some curious details 
respecting his career in Ireland are supplied by Father Hay 
in his memoir of James Spottiswoode, Bishop of Clogher.J 
According to Hay, Sir John held " twenty-four townes or 
tates " of Bishop Spottiswoode's lands, for which he agreed to 
pay 36 of yearly rent. The rent being withheld, the bishop 
procured a warrant of distress, and thereupon arrested Sir 
John's cattle. This procedure being made public, Lord 
Balfour of Glenawly, a Scottish settler in the county of 
Fermanagh, to whom the bishop was obnoxious, obtained, 
on Sir John's behalf, letters of reprisal, and with a powerful 
force seized cattle belonging to the bishop. Some time 
afterwards the bishop's servants attempted to distrain the 
horses of Lord Balfour, on a claim for reset, when a scuffle 
ensued, in which Sir John Wemyss, Balfour's son-in-law, 
fell mortally wounded. By Lord Balfour, the slaughter of 
his relative was reported to the authorities in Dublin Castle, 
and the bishop was charged with manslaughter. He was 
tried in the Court of King's Bench in November 1626, and 
honourably acquitted. 

From a letter of Sir John Wishart, contained in Bishop 
Spottiswoode's Memoirs, it would appear that Lord Balfour, 

W. W., with the date 1622, are inscribed on a panel which formerly belonged 
to the Wishart family pew in the parish church of Fordoun (Jervise's Angus and 
Mearns, p. 387). 

* Inquisitiones Speciales, Kincardine, No. 21. 

t Scot's Staggering State, p. ill. 

J Spottiswoode Miscellany, vol. i., pp. 110-136. 

James Balfour, second son of Sir James Balfour of Pittendriech, and brother 
of the first Lord Balfour of Burley, was created, 6th July 1619, Lord Balfour, 
Baron of Glenawly, in the county of Fermanagh. 


though retaining his hostility to the bishop, ceased to asso- 
ciate with Sir John. The editor of the bishop's memoirs in 
the Spottiswoode Miscellany expresses an opinion that Sir 
John, whose manner was boastful and absurd, suggested to 
Sir Walter Scott the character of Captain Craigengelt in the 
" Bride of Lammermoor." * 

James Wishart, second son of Sir John Wishart and Jean 
Douglas, having acquired the lands of Pitarrow from his elder 
brother, had a charter thereto on the I2th December 1615. 
He also acquired the lands of Glenfarquhar and Monboddo. 
His affairs having become embarrassed, he about the year 
1631 sold the lands of Pitarrow, with the lands of Carnebeg, 
Woodtown, and the mill of Conveth, to David, Lord Car- 
negie, for the sum of 59,000 merks, or ^3277, 155. 6fd. ster- 
ling. In the instrument of sale, " Sir John Wishart, sometime 
of Pitarrow " is named as still living. -j- In a state of poverty, 
James Wishart proceeded to Ireland ; he became a captain in 
the king's service, and perished in battle. He left no male 
issue. His wife, Margaret Bickerton,j by whom he obtained 
a considerable fortune, survived him, and resided in Edin- 
burgh, supported by her relations. 

William, third son of Sir John Wishart of Pitarrow, and his 
wife, Jean Douglas, entered the University of King's College, 
Aberdeen, in 1606, and there graduated in i6i2. He was 
admitted coadjutor in the parochial charge of Fettercairn, Kin- 
cardineshire, 24th April 161 1, and was afterwards translated to 
Minto. He returned to Fettercairn in 1618, and was in May 
1630 translated to South Leith. In 1634 he sat as a member 
of the Court of High Commission, and was admitted a 
burgess and guild-brother of Edinburgh on the 27th July 
1636. As an opponent of the Covenant, he was on the Qth 

* Spottiswoode Miscellany, vol. i., p. 134. 

t Eraser's Earls of Southesk, p. Ixvii. By the representative of Lord Car- 
negie, the estate of Pitarrow was sold in 1831 to Alexander Crombie of Phesdo, 
to whose family it still belongs. 

% Pitarrow Writs, quoted by Mr Fraser in his "Earls of Southesk." 

Fasti Aberdonensis. 


June 1639 deposed from the pastoral office, and, having sup- 
ported Charles I. in the assertion of his prerogative, was 
forced to leave Scotland. He resided several years in Corn- 
wall, and there died. He published in 1633 an "Exposition 
of the Lord's Prayer," 1 8 mo ; and in 1642 " Immanuel," a 
poem. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Alexander Keith 
of Phesdo, who was served heir to her father on the 25th April 
1634. Of this marriage was born a son, John, who was killed 
righting on the king's side, at the battle of Edgehill, 23d 
October 1642.* 

Alexander, fourth son of Sir John Wishart and Jean 
Douglas, entered the University of King's College, Aberdeen, 
in 1626. He married Catherine, daughter of the Rev. Robert 
Kerr, minister of Linton, and had a son, William. 

William Wishart, son of Alexander Wishart and Catherine 
Kerr, graduated in the University of Edinburgh in 1645. In 
August 1649, he was admitted minister of Kinneil/f* Linlith- 
gowshire. Joining the Protesters, he was a member of the 
Dissenting Presbytery from the 6th August 1651 to the 
iith February 1659. By the Committee of Estates, he was, 
on the I5th September 1660, ordered to confine himself to his 
chamber, and in other five days was committed to prison at 
Edinburgh. After an imprisonment of thirteen months, partly 
in Stirling Castle, he was, on the petition of the Presbytery 
of Linlithgow, restored to freedom. Being sequestrated for 
refusing to disown the " Remonstrance," J he was deprived of 
his stipend, which, however, the Estates of Parliament, by an 
Act passed on the 29th January 1661, granted to his wife. 
He was intercommuned by the Privy Council on the 6th 
August 1675, on the charge of keeping conventicles, or 
preaching without public sanction. On the 5th February 
1685, sentence of banishment to his Majesty's plantations 
was pronounced against him for his refusing the Test, but he 

* Scott's Fasti Eccl. Scot., vol. iii., p. 866 ; and vol. i., p. 99. 
f This parish is now united to Borrowstounness. 

J A document addressed by the General Assembly of February 1645 to Charles I., 
reflecting on his conduct in the severest terms. 


was relieved on granting a bond to appear when called upon. 
He afterwards resided at Leith ; and when the Toleration 
Act was passed, he ministered to a congregation in that place. 
He died in February 1692, about the age of sixty-seven.* 
He married Christian, daughter of Richard Burne, of the 
family of Burne of Middlemill, Fifeshire, a magistrate of 
Linlithgow. Of this marriage were born three sons George, 
James, and William. 

George Wishart, eldest son of the Rev. William Wishart, 
minister of Kinneil, obtained a commission in the army, 
and became lieutenant-colonel of the Dragoon Guards. He 
purchased the estate of Cliftonhall, Edinburghshire. A royal 
warrant, dated iQth April 1700, authorised a patent to be 
prepared, conferring on him, with remainder to his heirs 
whomsoever, a baronetcy of Scotland. This honour was con- 
ferred on the I /th June 1706, with the limitation originally 
designed. Sir George Wishart, Bart, married, as his first 
wife, Anne, daughter of Barclay of Colairney, Fife- 
shire, by whom he had a daughter, Margaret, who espoused 
David Stuart of Fettercairn. On the death of Sir George, 
which took place prior to August 1722, her eldest son suc- 
ceeded to the baronetcy of Wishart, and became known as Sir 
William Stuart, Bart. This branch of the Wishart family 
is now represented by Harriet Williamina, only child of the 
late Sir John Hepburn-Stuart Forbes, Bart, of Pitsligo, and 
wife of Baron Clinton. 

Sir George Wishart, Bart, married, secondly, Fergusia 
M'Cubbin, of a Galloway family, by whom he had two 
daughters, Fergusia and Cordelia. By a deed of entail, dated 
4th January 1718, he conveyed his estate of Cliftonhall to 
himself and his heirs-male, whom failing, to his daughter Fer- 
gusia. On the death of Sir George Wishart, without heirs- 
male, Fergusia Wishart expede a general service as heiress 
of provision to her father, whereby she took up the unexe- 
cuted procuratory of resignation, and obtained a charter 
from the superior of the estate of Cliftonhall, conform to an 
* Fasti Eccl. Scot., vol. i., p. 172. 


instrument of sasine.* In 1727, she married George Lock- 
hart of Carnwath, Lanarkshire. She is now represented by 
Alexander Dundas Ross Wishart Baillie Cochrane of Lam- 
ington, M.P. for the Isle of Wight. 

Cordelia Wishart, younger daughter of Sir George Wishart, 
Bart, by his second marriage, married William Sinclair of 
Rosslyn ; she died without surviving issue. 

James, second son of the Rev. William Wishart, minister of 
Kinneil, entered the Royal Navy, and in 1703 became Admiral 
of the White. In 1708, and from 1712 to 1714, he was a 
Lord of the Admiralty. He commanded a fleet in the Medi- 
terranean, and was knighted by Queen Anne. He died 
without issue in May 1723, leaving a fortune of ^20,000 to 
his nephew, William Wishart, Principal of the University of 

William, third son of the Rev. William Wishart, minister 
of Kinneil, studied at the universities of Utrecht and Edin- 
burgh, graduating at the latter in 1680. In 1684 he suffered 
imprisonment on a charge of denying the king's authority. On 
the loth August 1691, he was ordained minister of the first 
charge of Leith. His settlement was resisted by the ad- 
herents of Mr Charles Kay, the non-jurant incumbent of the 
second charge. On the following day he preached under the 
protection of an armed " guard." He was translated to the 
Tron Church, Edinburgh, in 1707, and in 1710 was appointed 
Principal of the University of Edinburgh, an office he held 
along with his parochial charge. He received the degree 
of D.D., and was on five occasions chosen Moderator of the 
General Assembly. He published two volumes of discourses, 
and greatly excelled in his public ministrations. He married 
Janet, daughter of Major William Murray, brother of John 
Murray of Touchadam, Stirlingshire, and who on the 8th 
June 1714 was served heir-portioner of her aunt, Mrs Anne 
Cunningham of Drumquhassel ; she died on the 3Oth June 
1744. Principal Wishart died on the nth June 1729, in his 

* Particular Register of Sasines, loth December 1726. 


sixty-ninth year.* He was father of two sons, William and 

George, younger son of Principal William Wishart, studied 
at the University of Edinburgh, and there graduated 2/th 
May 1719. He was in June 1726 ordained minister of St 
Cuthbert's, Edinburgh, and translated to the Tron Church in 
July 1730. By the Commission of the General Assembly he 
was, in 1743, appointed one of their delegates to procure an 
Act of Parliament for establishing the Ministers' Widows 
Fund. In May 1746, he was elected principal clerk of the 
General Assembly, and in 1748 was chosen Moderator. He 
received the degree of D.D. in 1759, and in 1765 was 
appointed chaplain in ordinary to the king, and one of 
the Deans of the Chapel Royal. Esteemed as a preacher, he 
was beloved for his amiable manners. He died I2th June 
1785, aged eighty-three.-f He married Anne, daughter of 
John Campbell of Orchard, cousin and heir of Sir James 
Campbell, Bart, of Ardkinglass, by whom he had, with other 
daughters who died unmarried, Janet, who married Major- 
General Beckwith, and Jane, who married the Baron von 
Westphalen. Dr George Wishart died I7th November 1782, 
aged seventy-two. 

William Wishart, elder son of Principal William Wishart, 
studied for the Scottish Church, and began his ministry as 
pastor of the Presbyterian church, Founder's Hall, London. 
In 1737 he was presented to the New Greyfriars' church, 
Edinburgh, but his settlement was delayed consequent on a 
charge of heresy being brought against him by the Presby- 
tery, of which he was acquitted by the General Assembly. 
He was, in 1737, appointed Principal of the University of 
Edinburgh, and in 1745 was elected Moderator of the General 
Assembly. He published sermons and essays, and edited 
various theological works. He married first, in December 
1724, Margaret, daughter of Professor Thomas Haliburton of 
St Andrews, and by her, who died 27th February 1746, had 

* FastJ Eccl. Scot, vol. i., pp. 56, 101. t Ib., pp. 56, 121. 


a son, William Thomas ; another son, who died in January 
1739; and three daughters Anne, who died in 1819, aged 
eighty-two ; Janet, who married Mr Maxwell, merchant, 
Dundee ; and Margaret, who married James Macdowall, 
merchant, Edinburgh. Principal Wishart married, secondly, 
on the i /th March 1747, Frances, daughter of James Deans 
of Woodhouselee. He died I2th May 1753. His widow 
married Dr John Scot of Stewartfield, and subsequently John 
Struther Ker of Littledean, Roxburghshire.* 

William Thomas Wishart, only surviving son of Principal 
William Wishart, possessed the estate of Foxhall, in the 
county of Linlithgow. He was, on the 3<Dth March 1768, 
served heir to his father in the estate of Carsebonny, Stirling- 
shire. He recorded his arms -f 1 22d February 1769, as only 
son of Principal Wishart, and was allowed supporters as heir- 
male of Pitarrow. He married, in April 1768, Anne, eldest 
daughter of George Balfour, Writer to the Signet, and died 
3d December 1799, leaving five sons, William, George, 
Patrick, Archibald, and John Henry. 

William, eldest son of William Thomas Wishart of Foxhall 
and Carsebonny, succeeded his father. He was major in the 
1 5th Regiment of Foot, and died unmarried on the I4th 
August 1805. On his death the representation of the House 
of Pitarrow devolved on his brother George ; but the family 
estates passed by settlement to his next brother, Patrick. 
George Wishart was served heir-male of Sir George Wishart, 
Bart, before the Sheriff of Edinburgh, i8th July 1843, and 
assumed the baronetcy under the erroneous belief that it was 
destinecLto heirs-male. He died unmarried before 1860. 

Patrick, third son of William Thomas Wishart, was a Writer 
to the Signet. He sold the family estates. By his wife, Mar- 
garet, daughter of Alexander Robertson of Prenderguest, Ber- 
wickshire, he had three sons, William Thomas, James, and 
Alexander, and three daughters, Philadelphia-Anne, Hope- 
Balfour, and Jane. William Thomas, the eldest son, took orders 
in the English Church ; he died at St John, New Brunswick, 

* Fasti Eccl. Scot., vol. i., pp. 59, 70. t Lyon Register. 


without issue. The two younger sons died unmarried. 
Philadelphia-Anne, the eldest daughter, married Dr Macnider ; 
and Jane, the third daughter, married Major-General W. J. 
Gairdner, C.B., Bengal Army, by whom she had Archie 
Wishart Gairdner, lieutenant ioo,th Regiment, George 
Gairdner, in the service of the Hudson Bay Company, James 
Gairdner, R.N., and others. 

Archibald, fourth son of William Thomas Wishart, was a 
Writer to the Signet, and keeper of the Register of Sasines. 
He married, but died childless. 

John Henry, the fifth son, practised as a surgeon in Edin- 
burgh. He married Louisa, daughter of Major Wilson, R.A., 
by Martha, daughter of Robert White, M.D., of Bennochy, 
Fifeshire, and left three sons and two daughters. William, 
the eldest son, died in India ; the second son, James, was a 
surgeon in the army, and died at Scutari in 1856. John, the 
third son, male representative of the House of Wishart of 
Pitarrow, is now resident in Australia. 

Adam Wishart, third son of John Wishart, Sheriff of the 
Mearns or Kincardineshire, obtained, in 1272, a charter of the 
lands of Ballandarg and Logie, and in 1279 a charter of the 
lands of Kenny Murchardyn, or Kennyneil, all in the county 
of Forfar.* Gilbert, eldest son of Adam Wishart, swore 
fealty to Edward I. at Elgin on the 24th July 1296^ 
Robert, the second son, was advanced from the office of 
Archdeacon of Lothian to the Bishopric of Glasgow in 1272, 
when William Wishart of that see was postulated to St 
Andrews. According to the Chartulary of Melrose he was con- 
secrated at Aberdeen on Sunday before the Feast of the Puri- 
fication, 1272. He was a Privy Councillor of Alexander III., 
and on the death of that monarch in 1285 was appointed a 
Lord of Regency. So long as Edward I. evinced a desire 
to uphold the independence of Scotland, Bishop Wishart 
gave him countenance. But when the abdication of BaKol 
revealed the duplicity of the English monarch, he attached 

* Dalrymple's Historical Collections, 217 ; Reg. Vet. de Aberd., 332. 
+ Ragman Roll, p. 146. 


himself to the patriotic party, and in 1297 joined the standard 
of Wallace. Though a churchman, he assumed the coat of 
mail, and performed military duties in the field. 

When Robert the Bruce resolved to assert his right to the 
Scottish throne in the spring of 1306, Bishop Wishart gave 
him a cordial support, and at his coronation, which took 
place at Scone on the 2/th March, he, in absence of the 
regalia, which Edward had removed to London, supplied 
from his own wardrobe the robes in which King Robert 
appeared on the occasion. He was present with his sovereign 
at the battle of Methven, fought on the i8th of June. This 
engagement having resulted disastrously, Bishop Wishart 
sought shelter in the castle of Cupar-Fife. There he fell into 
the hands of the invaders, and being bound in chains, was 
sent as a prisoner to England. Confined in the castle of 
Nottingham, he was subjected to much indignity, and 
narrowly escaped death. He was afterwards detained in 
Porchester Castle, and the Pope was entreated to make 
vacant his see and to appoint as his successor a bishop 
favourable to the English interests.* 

After the decisive battle of Bannockburn, Bishop Wishart 
was, along with Bruce's wife, daughter, sister, and nephew, 
exchanged for the Earl of Hereford, who had been made a 
prisoner by the Scots. During his long confinement he had en- 
dured many privations, and become blind. He died on the 26th 
November 1316, and his remains were deposited in his cathe- 
dral church.-f- During his episcopate, he forwarded the erection 
of his cathedral. It was alleged by Edward I. that he used 
timber, allowed him for erecting a steeple to his cathedral, in 
constructing instruments of war for the reduction of Kirkin- 
tilloch Peel, held by the English.^ 

John Wishart, nephew of Bishop Robert Wishart, and prob- 

* Rymer's Foedera, vol. i., part ii., new ed., p. 996; Prynne ; Edward I., 
p. 1156 ; Tytler's History of Scotland, Edin., 1869, I2mo, vol. i., pp. 89, 94. 
t History of Glasgow, edited by the Rev. J. S. Gordon, D.D., Glasg., 1871, 


t Burton's History of Scotland, Edin., 1873, v l- i"-> P- 4 2 9 > Innes's Sketches 
of Early Scottish History, Edin., 1861, p. 50. 


ably a younger son of Gilbert Wishart of Logic, was some- 
time Archdeacon of Glasgow. In this capacity he vigorously 
upheld the national cause, but was unhappily taken prisoner 
by Edward II., who, on the 6th April 1310, ordered his 
removal from the castle of Conway to the city of Chester, and 
from thence to the Tower of London. Released after the 
battle of Bannockburn, he resumed his duties as archdeacon. 
In 1319 he was appointed Bishop of Glasgow. He died in 

To the family of Ballandarg and Logic probably belonged 
John Wyshert, who, on the I2th April 1378, received from the 
Privy Council of England a passport, authorising him to pro- 
ceed from Scotland to the University of Oxford for the pur- 
poses of study.-f- 

Alexander Wishart was, in 1409, member of an inquest 
respecting the lands of Meikle Kenny, in the parish of King- 
oldrum, Forfarshire. In a charter of these lands, granted by 
Malcolm, Abbot of Arbroath, in 1466, is named John, son of 
John Wishart of Logie.J 

In 1526 John Wishart succeeded his father Alexander in 
the lands of Kennyneil. On the 22d October 1530, he ob- 
tained a precept of a charter of the lands of Logic Wishart, 
Ballandarg Wester, and others. |j He had, on the 3<Dth Janu- 
ary 1531, a letter of regress of the lands of Lokarstoun and 
others.H" On the 3ist July 1538, a protection was granted by 
James 'V. to John Wishart of Logic Wishart, and Christian 
Ogilvy, his spouse, with John, Alexander, Katherine, and 
Christian Wishart, their sons and daughters, and William 
Wishart, brother to the said John, and to their lands and 
goods.* * 

On the forfeiture of Archibald, Earl of Angus, superior 
of Logic Wishart, John Wishart resigned his lands to 
James V., from whom, on the 2Qth May 1540, he received 

* Gordon's History of Glasgow, p. 58. 1* Rotuli Scotise, vol. ii., p. Sa. 

Reg. Nig. de Aberd., pp. 47, 50. Ib. 

|| Reg. Sec. Sig., vol. viii. , fol. 195. H Ib., vol. ix. , fol. 72. 
** Ib., vol. xii., fol. 6. 


a charter of the lands of Logic Wishart and others.* He 
further obtained a royal charter, erecting his whole lands into 
a barony, to be styled " the barony of Wishart," and a letter, 
dated I4th October 1540, whereby the king's right to the said 
barony was discharged.^ This branch of the House of Wishart 
became henceforth known as the Wisharts of that ilk. 

Alexander Strachan, son of John Wishart of Logic Wishart 
(named in the protection of James V.), died in November 
1569, leaving three daughters Margaret, Isobel, and Janet. 
By his will, which was confirmed in the Commissary Court of 
Edinburgh, on the 6th April 1570, he appointed his brother 
George Wishart tutor to his daughters, j 

George Wishart, a younger son of John Wishart of Logic 
Wishart, became a burgess of Dundee, and engaged in 
merchandise in that place. In the burgh records of Dundee 
" George Vischart " appears eighth in a list of sixteen coun- 
cillors, dated 28th September 1550. He is, on the 24th Sep- 
tember 1553, entered last on a list of four bailies. In the 
Record of the Convention of Royal Burghs, held at Dundee 
on the 28th September 1555, he is named as one of the com- 
missioners of that burgh. He continued to act as a magis- 
trate in the Burgh Court till 1564. 

On the 28th October 1563, George Wishart obtained a pre- 
cept of a charter, confirming him in the superiority lands of 
Kirriemuir, granted to him by his father, "John Wishart of that 
ilk." || On the 2/th January 1554-5,116 granted a discharge 
to his brother, John Wishart of that ilk, for five hundred 
merks, in satisfaction of his claim on half the lands of Ballan- 
darg.H By a royal letter, dated at Stirling, 7th March 1568, 
he received a gift of all the goods which belonged to James 
Cramond of Auldbar, which had become escheat by his being 
denounced rebel. 

* Reg. Sec. Sig., vol. xiii., fol. 93. 

+ Ib., vol. xiv., fol. 52^ ; Acta Parl. Scot., vol. ii., p. 379. 
J Edinburgh Com. Reg., Testaments, vol. ii. 

Record of Convention of Royal Burghs, Edin., 1 866, 410, vol. i., p. 10. 
|| Reg. Sec. Sig., vol. xxxii., p. \ib. 
U Wedderbum's Protocols in the Town-Clerk's Office, Dundee. 


John Wishart of Logic Wishart died in the year 1574. By 
his will, dated 2d September 1574, he appointed Marion 
Gardyne, his spouse, and Thomas Wishart, his second son, his 
executors, with Patrick Ogilvy of Inchmartin as " oversman." 
To his daughter Euphan he bequeathed 500; he also 
made a provision for his daughters, Mirabell, Agnes, and 

John Wishart, the next baron of Logie Wishart, obtained 
the honour of knighthood. He had two sons, John and 
Gilbert, and one daughter. Gilbert Wishart was, on the 3Oth 
November 1614, denounced rebel for non-payment of a debt 
of eighty pounds Scots.^ 

On the 3Oth October 1629, John Wishart of that ilk was 
served heir to his uncle, in lands situated in the regality of 
Kirriemuir ; also to his father, Sir John Wishart, in the lands 
of Kennyneil.J He seems to have died unmarried. 

Thomas Wishart, probably the same as is described as 
" his second son " by John Wishart of Logie Wishart, who 
died in 1574, obtained a portion of the lands of Inglistoun, in 
the county of Forfar. On the nth January 1612, Thomas 
Wishart " in Ballindarg " was served heir to his father in a 
fourth part of the lands of Inglistoun. He married || the 
only daughter of Sir John Wischart of Logie Wishart, and on 
the death of his brother John, succeeded to the representa- 
tion of the House. But the estates were dissipated. Of the 
marriage of Thomas Wishart " in Ballindarg " with his cousin, 
a daughter of Sir John Wischart of that ilk, were born two 
sons, George IF and Gilbert. George Wishart was born about 
the year 1599. Having prosecuted his theological studies 
at the University of Edinburgh, and obtained licence as a 
probationer, he was in 1624 admitted minister of the parish 

* Edinburgh Com. Reg., Testaments, vol. iii. 

t Reg. Sec. Sig. 

J Inq. Spec. Forfar, Nos. 188, 189. Ib., No. 76. 

|| Genealogical MS. in the Lyon Office. 

If Though the statement in the text as to the Bishop George Wishart's descent 
seems justified by the authority of Nisbet, we are only certain that the Bishop 
sprung from the House of Logie Wishart. 


of Monifieth, Forfarshire. In 1626 he was translated to the 
second charge of St Andrews. Having retired to England in 
1637, ne was deposed for deserting his charge. Soon after- 
wards he was appointed lecturer in All Saints church, New- 
castle, and in 1640 was presented to St Nicholas church in 
the same town. Of this latter charge he was deprived by the 
House of Commons in June 1642. When the Scots took 
Newcastle in October 1644, he was made prisoner, and 
on the charge of corresponding with Royalists, was com- 
mitted to the prison of Edinburgh, and there confined 
in a felon's cell. On his petition, the Estates of Parlia- 
ment, in January 1645, agreed to support his wife and 
five children. When the Marquis of Montrose arrived in 
Edinburgh with his victorious army, he was liberated, after 
a captivity of seven months. By the Marquis he was ap- 
pointed his private chaplain, and in this capacity he accom- 
panied his benefactor both at home and abroad. At Paris, 
in 1647, ne published a narrative of the Marquis's exploits 
under the following title : 

' : J. G. De rebus auspiciis serenissimi et potentissimi Caroli, Dei 
gratia, Magnae Britanniae Regis, &c., sub imperio illustrissimi Jacobi 
Montisrosarum Marchionis, Cometis de Kincardin, &c., supremi 
Scotiae gubernatoris, anno MDCXLIV. et duobus sequentibus, prae- 
clare gestis, commentarius." 

Wishart subsequently added a second part, bringing the 
narrative down to the period of Montrose's death. A copy 
of the work was suspended round Montrose's neck during his 

After the fall of Montrose, Wishart became chaplain to 
a Scottish regiment in the United Provinces ; he subsequently 
officiated as chaplain to Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia. On 
the Restoration, he was appointed rector of Newcastle, and 
on 3d June 1662 was consecrated Bishop of Edinburgh. He 
died in August 1671, in his seventy-second year. Though a 
vigorous upholder of the royal prerogative, he was privately a 
lover of toleration. To the prisoners captured at the engage- 


ment at Pentland in 1666, and warded in prison at Edinburgh, 
he sent daily a portion of his dinner. He bequeathed to the 
poor of Holyrood 500 Scots.* On an elegant mural 
monument raised to his memory in the Abbey of Holyrood 
is the following inscription: 

" Hie recubat Celebris Doctor Sophocardius alter, 
Entheus ille 2o<oo- KapSiav Agricola. 
Orator fervore pio, facundior olim 
Doctiloque rapiens pectora dura modis. 
Ternus ut Antistes Wiseheart, ita ternus Edinen. 
Candoris columen nobile, semper idem. 
Plus octogenis hinc gens Sophocardia lustris, 
Summis hie mitris claruit, atque tholis ; 
Dum cancellarius regni Sophocardius, idem 
Praesul erat Fani, Regulae Sanctse, tui. 
Atque ubi pro regno, ad Norham, contendit avito 
Brussius, indomita mente manuque potens ; 
Glasguus Robertus erat Sophocardius alter, 
Pro patria, qui se fortiter opposuit 
Nee pacis studiis Gulielmo, animisve Roberto, 
Agricola inferior, caetera forte prior ; 
Excelsus sine fastu animus, sine fraude benignus, 
Largus opis miseris, intemerata fides. 
Attica rara fides ; constantia raraque, nullis 
Expugnata, licet mille petita, malis. 
In regem, obsequii exemplar, civisque fidelis 
Antiquam venerans, cum probitate, fidem. 
Omnibus exutum ter, quern proscriptio, career, 
Exilium, lustris non domuere tribus. 
Ast reduci Carolo plaudunt ubi regna secundo, 
Doctori Wiseheart insula plaudit ovans. 
Olim ubi captivus, squalenteque carcere laesus, 
Annos ter ternos, prsesul honorus obit. 
Vixit Olympiadas terquinas ; Nestoris annos 
Vovit Edina : obitum Scotia moesta dolet. 
Gestaque Montrosei, Latio celebrata cothurno : 
Quantula (proh) tanti sunt monumenta viri ! " 

* Fasti Eccl. Scot, vol. i., p. 392 ; vol. ii., p. 394 ; vol. iii., p. 724. 


Bishop Wishart's epitaph may be thus rendered in a free 
translation : 

" Here rest the remains of the distinguished Doctor George Wishart, 
the third bishop of his name. Gifted with superior wisdom and 
piety, he by his eloquence and learning moved the stubborn and 
reclaimed the vicious. A pattern of honour, he maintained a con- 
sistent and upright life. For four hundred years, the members of 
his House were remarkable both in Church and State. William 
Wishart was Chancellor of the kingdom and Bishop of St Andrews. 
Robert Wishart was Bishop of Glasgow, and a zealous supporter of 
King Robert the Bruce, and an upholder of the national cause. 
Bishop GeorgS equalled Bishop William in his love of peace, and 
Bishop Robert in his patriotic valour. He celebrated the exploits 
of the great Montrose. In his deportment, dignity was unallied 
with pride. The poor shared largely of his bounty. His generous 
emotions neither misplaced confidence nor misfortune might arrest 
or overcome. Loyal to his sovereign, he was devoted to his country. 
Thrice deprived of his substance, he faithfully endured impeach- 
ment, imprisonment, and exile. Having long suffered adversity, he 
was privileged on the restoration of monarchy to experience com- 
fort. In the city where he was cruelly imprisoned, he was for nine 
years an honoured bishop. He attained the venerable age of [seventy- 
two], Edinburgh wished that he might reach the years of Nestor, 
and Scotland bewailed his death." 

Bishop Wishart married Margaret Ogilvy, by whom he had 
four sons, Hugo, Captain James, Patrick, and Robert, and 
two daughters, Jean and Margaret Jean, the elder daughter, 
married William Walker.* 

Gilbert Wishart, younger son of Thomas Wishart in Ballan- 
darg, graduated at King's College, Aberdeen, in 1622. Prior 
to the i/th March 1635, he was admitted to the pastoral 
charge of Dunnichen, Forfarshire. He died in January 1688, 
aged about eighty-six, leaving a son, John, and a daughter, 
Isobel, who married John Ogilvie in Easter Idvie/f- 

John Wishart was Regent of Philosophy in the University 
of Edinburgh, and one of the Commissaries of Edinburgh. 

* Fasti Eccl. Scot., vol. i., p. 392. f Ib., vol. ii., p. 768. 


He owned the estate of Balgavie, which he latterly ex- 
changed for the barony of Logic Wishart* He is described 
by Nisbet as " nephew to the bishop, and great-grandson 
of Sir John Wishart of Logic." -f- 

In the beginning of the sixteenth century or earlier, 
a branch of the House of Pitarrow obtained the lands of 
Drymme or Drum, near Montrose. In an instrument dated 
I4th June 1565, seising George Wishart, brother of John 
Wishart of Pitarrow, in the lands of Westerdoid, Forfarshire, 
George Wishart of Drymme is named as his attorney.^; To 
the discharge of an assignation by the laird of Dun, dated 
1 7th June 1581, George Wischart of Drimme is a'witness. On 
the 7th June 1580, George Hepburn, Chancellor of Brechin, 
directed to him as bailie a precept of sasine for infefting Paul 
Eraser, precentor of Brechin, in a portion of waste land. || 

To George Wishart, elder of Drymme, was granted on the 
7th August 1591, a royal charter of the moor called Menboy.1I 
By George Wishart of Drymme, son of the preceding, the 
moor of Menboy was, on the 26th July 1605, s ld to Alexander 
Campbell, Bishop of Brechin, and Helen Clephane, his 
second wife.* * 

Of the family of Wishart of Drum, certain members 
settled in the parish and burgh of Montrose. In the 
parish register of Montrose, " George Wyscheart, guidman 
of Irvine," is, on the 22d October 1624, named as witness 
to a baptism. Bailie George Wyschart is mentioned in the 
baptismal register on the 22d March of the same year. On 
the 2d March 1649, James Wischart, described as lawful son 
of Mr James Wischart, burgess of Montrose, had sasine of a 
tenement in Brechin as nearest of kin to Thomas Ramsay 
of Brechin, notary public, his uncle/f--f- In 1656 James 
Wischeart is named as a member of the town council of 

* Genealogical MS. in the Lyon Office, p. 477. 
t Nisbet's System of Heraldry, vol. i., p. 201. 

Protocol Book of Thomas Ireland in the Town-Clerk's Office, Dundee. 
Reg. Episc. Brechin., p. 309, No. 272. || Ib., p. 215, No. 193. 

T Ib., p. 286, No. 246. ** Ib., p. 292, No. 253. ft Ib., p. 247, No. 189. 


Montrose, and on the 28th October of the same year, Mr 
James Wishart, a son of the preceding, was chosen " doctor " 
or rector of the grammar school. 

Mr James Wishart, rector of the grammar school of 
Montrose, was father of a son, William, and three daughters, 
Jean, Margaret, and Elizabeth. He died nth September 
1683.* William Wishart studied at the University of Edin- 
burgh, and was, on the 23d April 1669, ordained by George 
Wishart, Bishop of Edinburgh, minister of Newabbey. He 
was, in 1680, translated to Wamphray, where he died 
unmarried in February 1685. 

Elizabeth, third daughter of Mr James Wishart, born 
November 1664, married Robert Strachan, rector of the 
grammar school of Montrose, descended from the ancient 
House of Strachan of Thornton, Kincardineshire. [ 

By patent, dated 22d February 1769, the arms of William 
Thomas Wishart, head and representative of the House of 
Pitarrow, were recorded in the Lyon Register : argent, three 
piles or passion nails, meeting in a point, gules ; supporters 
two horses, argent, saddled and bridled, gules ; crest a demi- 
eagle, wings expanded, proper. 

* Fasti Eccl. Scot., vol. i., pp. 597, 664 ; Montrose Parish Records, 
f- Montrose Parish Records. 



Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and Vice- President of the 
Anthropological Institute. 

THERE is nothing which contributes more fully to throw 
light on the manners and habits of a people, or more forcibly 
to exhibit to us the tone of thought which prevailed among 
them, than the rites and ceremonies that they adopted 
connected with their religion. And the wilder and more 
extravagant the superstitions which in such a nation prevailed, 
the more strikingly do they evince the tone of thought and 
feeling that animated the people. Potent everywhere, and 
under whatever phase, as was the influence of these notions, 
they served in each case to develop the whole mind and 
character of the nation ; as each passion, and emotion, and 
faculty, were exerted to the very utmost on a subject of such 
surpassing interest to them all. Imagination here, relieved 
from all restraint, spread her wings and soared aloft, disporting 
herself in her wildest mood ; and the remoter the period to 
which the history of any particular country reaches, and the 
more barbarous the condition in. which the people existed, 
the more striking, and the more extraordinary to us, appear 
the superstitions by which they were influenced. Human 
nature is by this means developed to the full, all its energies 
are exerted to the utmost, and the internal machinery by which 
its movements are impelled, is stimulated to active operation. 
We gaze with wonder and with awe upon the spectacle thus 
exhibited. However involuntarily, we respect a people mis- 
guided and erring as they were whose eagerness to follow 


whatever their conscience prompted, urged them to impose 
such revolting duties on themselves ; while we regard, with 
pity and with horror, those hideous exploits which were the 
fruit of that misguided zeal. Through the wide and varied 
range of the history of the world, no subject can be found 
which exceeds this in the interest that it excites in every re- 
flecting mind ; nor in the instruction which, to those of every 
period and of every country alike, it is capable of imparting. 

In the consideration of the branch of the subject now before 
us, we have not, as in the former cases, to inquire into the 
invention of the system by the ingenuity of man ; but to 
endeavour to ascertain by what means, the system itself 
which had probably been originally imparted in all its grand 
and leading features to the mind of man by the Divinity him- 
self became perverted and corrupted by the carelessness 
or wilfulness or ignorance of man. A rude curiosity urged 
him to try and discover the truth that had been obscured, 
or to find out for himself some new truth which would conduct 
him in safety on his career. When mankind had lost the 
knowledge of the true God, they at once set to work to in- 
vent gods for themselves. The sun, moon, and stars, from 
their majesty, and their apparent influence on our world, 
offered themselves as immediate objects of adoration. After 
them, certain animals were selected for this purpose. One 
ancient writer causes Momus to express his surprise and 
indignation at the Egyptian crew of apes, goats, bulls, and 
other creatures, who were allowed, according to their notions, 
to intrude into heaven ; and wonders how Jupiter can toler- 
ate all this, and allow himself to be caricatured in ram's 
horns. To which Jupiter replies, that they were mysteries 
not to be decided by the ignorant and uninitiated. In some 
parts of Egypt, the crocodile was an object of worship.-f- 

After animals, mankind were led to worship the elements 01 
fire and water, in the seas and rivers near the spots where 
they lived ; and whose constant motion might perhaps have 
induced persons to associate with them some notion of vitality 

* Note to Sir H. Rawlinson's Herodotus, vol. ii., pp. 51, 52. f /#., p. 64. 


and intelligence. In the absence of having real objects of 
worship, rude representations of them were in time adopted, 
whether of wood or stone, whence arose the origin of idolatrous 
worship ; and the necessity of providing receptacles for these 
images, and for those who were required to take care of them, 
and to assist in the ceremonies used at such worship, may 
have originated temples and a priesthood. 

The earliest idols, we are told, were rude stocks. Sometimes 
they were roughly hewn, so as to increase their resemblance 
to a man or an animal. In other cases large blocks of stone 
were selected for the purpose, on which were cut the names 
of the gods they were intended to represent. No sort of idol 
was more common than that of oblong stones erected. In some 
parts of Egypt they were to be seen on each side of the 
highways. These stones were generally rendered black, which 
seems to have been thought in those times the most solemn 
colour, and suitable for objects dedicated to religious purposes. 
Some persons are of opinion that their true original is to be 
derived from the pillar of stone which the patriarch Jacob 
erected at Bethel. Many of the superstitions rife among the 
Druids, are supposed to have been derived from Egypt, among 
which was the worship of the serpent ; whence arose the 
serpentine form in which many of their temples were con- 
structed, and probably also the serpentine lines still to be 
traced on several of their monuments. Rude stones, some- 
times horizontal, sometimes perpendicular, some intended for 
monuments, others for altars, and groups of them for temples, 
were also used by those who, in this country and in France, 
professed the religion of the Druids. 

Several of the barbarous nations worshipped mountains. 
When the art of sculpture had been invented, rude stones and 
stocks were carved so as to resemble real and living beings, 
generally men, but sometimes animals. This we also observe 
in the Druidical relics which are still in existence, a remarkable 
instance of which is afforded by the carvings, mainly serpentine 
lines, in the interior of the famous Druidical temple on 
the island of Gavr Innis, near the coast of Brittany. 


Among the ancient Greeks, their statues were generally 
made of wood. Those trees which were sacred to any god, 
were generally thought most acceptable to him ; and therefore 
Jupiter's statue was made of oak, Venus's of myrtle, that of 
Hercules of poplar, and Minerva's of the olive tree.* The 
learned Bishop Godwin, in his work on the civil and ecclesi- 
astical rites of the ancient Hebrews,-f- refers to the images 
possessed by Laban, which he supposes to have been used as 
household gods ; and the writer remarks that " among other 
reasons why Rachel stole away her father's images, this is 
thought to be one, that Laban might not by consulting with 
these images discover what way Jacob took his flight." 

The first generations of men, we are told, had neither 
temples nor statues for their gods, but worshipped towards 
heaven in the open air. The Greeks and most other nations, 
worshipped their gods upon the tops of high mountains. And 
even Abraham was commanded by God to offer his son Isaac 
upon one of the mountains in the land of Moriah. In later 
ages, temples were often built upon the summits of mountains ; 
and both at Athens and Rome the most sacred temples stood 
in the highest parts of the city. Several of the heathen temples 
are thought to have been at first only stately monuments 
erected in honour of the dead. The temples in the country 
were generally surrounded with groves sacred to the tutelar 
deity of the place where, before the invention of temples, the 
gods were worshipped. The entrance was towards the west, 
and the altars and statues towards the east ; so that they who 
came to worship might have their faces towards them, because 
it was an ancient custom among the heathens to worship with 
their faces towards the east.j 

The earliest Grecian temples were made of wood, out of 
which, in the natural progress of improvement, grew those of 
stone. Nearly all the Grecian temples had the same form 
that of a barn, ornamented with columns upon the fronts and 

* Potter's Grecian Antiquities, pp. 225, 226. 

t Lib. iv., chap, ix., p. 171. J Arts of Greeks and Romans, vol. i., p. 295. 


Herodotus tells us, with regard to the Persians, that " it is 
not their practice to erect statues, or temples, or altars, but they 
charge those with folly who do so ; because, as I conjecture, 
they do not think the gods have human forms, as the Greeks 
do. They are accustomed to ascend the highest parts of the 
mountains, and offer sacrifice to Jupiter, and they call the whole 
circle of the heavens by the name of Jupiter. They sacrifice 
to the sun and moon, to the earth, fire, water, and the winds. 
To these alone they have sacrificed from the earliest times." * 

Among the Romans, the places dedicated to the worship of 
the gods were called temples, and were consecrated by the 
augurs, being since called A ugusta. A small temple or chapel 
was called Sacellum. A wood or thicket of trees consecrated 
to religious worship, was called Lucus, a grove. The gods 
were supposed to frequent woods and fountains. Moreover, 
the solitude of groves was thought very fit to create a religi- 
ous awe and reverence in the minds of the people. Some 
indeed are of opinion that groves derived their religious 
character from the primitive ages of man, who lived in such 
places before the building of houses. Thus, from the houses 
of men were derived the temples and habitations of the gods. 

Originally, altars were often erected under the shade of trees, 
and they were simply made of turf. Sometimes they were 
covered with boughs. To turf succeeded stone, the most com- 
mon material ; brick, marble, and metal. Even the ashes, and 
the horns of the victims curiously interlaced, were applied for 
this purpose, from which arose the horns of the altar. 

When altars were first used by pagans, has eluded the 
researches of the most learned antiquaries. They are men- 
tioned in the sacred writings as early as the time of Cain and 
Abel. Under the patriarchal dispensation, they were the most 
solemn and important instruments of religion. They long 
preceded temples ; and from the summit of the highest hills 
their fires consumed the offerings made to heaven. Herodotus, 
however, asserts that the Egyptians were the first who erected 
altars, and cast statues, in honour of the gods. But they are 

* Clio. 


supposed to have derived their superstitions from the Chal- 
deans, who first corrupted the patriarchal form of worship.* 

The altar of the twelve gods at Athens stood in the Forum, 
and seems, from some of the inscriptions upon it, to have 
served, with the gilt pillar in the Forum at Rome, as a central 
point from which to measure distances.^ 

The mode of constructing altars, and the materials out of 
which they were made, appear to have varied considerably 
among different nations, and at different periods. Originally, 
that is, in the patriarchal times, they consisted merely of earthy 
clods piled one on another. They were next made of stones 
laid rudely or scientifically together, according to the degree 
of civilisation attained by those who erected them. Marble 
was afterwards used. But wood and the horns of animals are 
said to have been the most expensive materials, since they 
admitted greater perfection in the workmanship and more 
costly ornaments. 

The form of these altars was either square, round, or oval, 
according to the taste or notions of the builder. The height 
was usually that of a man's waist, but occasionally much 
greater. In some cases the size must have been considerable, 
as, besides the space necessary for the consumption of the 
victim, the surface held the statue of the god or gods to whom 
the altars were consecrated. They were invariably turned 
towards the east, a custom followed in the Roman Catholic, 
and indeed in most Christian churches. 

The most ancient altars were adorned with horns, and it is 
to be observed that the figures of Roman altars upon medals 
are never without horns, while the altars which still remain in 
the ruins of old Rome have the same ornament]: The horns 
of the altar served for various purposes. The victims were 
fastened to them. Suppliants, who fled to the altar for refuge, 
caught hold of the horns. 

Upon some part of the altar was commonly engraved the 

* Arts of Greeks and Romans, vol. i., p. 60. 
t Note to Sir H. Rawlinson's Herodotus, vol. ii., p. 7. 
Potter's Grecian Antiquities, p. 299. 
2 A 


name or ensign of the god to whom it was dedicated, as in 
the case of the Athenian altar upon which St Paul observed 
the inscription, " To the unknown God."* 

Altars were consecrated with oil, which was poured upon 
them. Sometimes ashes were used tempered with water.^f- 

The ancient use of altars appears to have been threefold : 
i. To offer sacrifices and prayers to the gods to whom they 
were dedicated. 2. To render alliances and oaths more 
solemn. 3. To serve as an asylum or place of refuge for 
those who fled to them.| 

When a temple was erected, it was always dedicated to 
some divinity. Among the Romans the dedication had to 
be authorised by the senate and the people. Early in the 
morning the college of the pontiffs and other orders met, with 
a crowd of people, and surrounded the temple with garlands 
of flowers. The vestal virgins, holding in their hands 
branches of the olive tree, sprinkled the outside of the temple 
with holy water; and then the person who officiated pro- 
nounced aloud the form of the consecration, after which the 
court of the temple was consecrated by the sacrifice of some 
beast upon the altar. 

The mode of sacrificing to the gods, adopted by the 
ancients, differed materially among different people, and at 
different periods. Herodotus tells us that the Persians " do 
not erect altars or kindle fires when about to sacrifice ; they 
do not use libations, or flutes, or fillets, or cakes ; but when 
any one wishes to offer sacrifice, ... he leads the victim 
to a clean spot, and invokes the god, usually having his tiara 
decked with myrtle. . . . When he has cut the victim into 
small pieces, and boiled the flesh, he strews under it a bed of 
tender grass, generally trefoil, and then lays all the flesh upon 
it. When he has put everything in order, one of the magi 
standing by sings an ode, . . . which they say is the 
incantation. . . . After having waited a short time, he 

* Potter's Grecian Antiquities, p. 299. 

t Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities. 

Ib. Ib. y tit. "Dedicatio." 


that has sacrificed carries away the flesh, and disposes of it as 
he thinks fit."* 

Among the Egyptians, we are informed by Herodotus that 
great care was taken by the priests in examining the beasts 
selected for sacrifice. "If the examiner," says he, "finds one 
black hair upon him, he adjudges him to be unclean ; and 
one of the priests appointed for this purpose makes this 
examination, both when the animal is standing up and lying 
down ; and he draws out the tongue to see if it is pure as to 
the prescribed marks. . . . He also looks at the hairs of 
his tail, whether they grow naturally. . . . Any one who 
sacrifies an animal that is unmarked, is punished with death. 

. . The established mode of sacrifice is this : Having led 
the victim properly marked to the altar where they intend to 
sacrifice, they kindle a fire ; then, having poured wine upon the 
altar near the victim, and having invoked the god, they kill 
it ; and after they have killed it they cut off the head ; but 
they flay the body of the animal ; then, having pronounced 
many imprecations on the head, they who have a market and 
Grecian merchants dwelling amongst them, carry it there, and 
having done so, they usually sell it ; but they who have no 
Grecians amongst them throw it into the river, and they pro- 
nounce the following imprecation on the head : ' If any evil 
is about to befall either those that now sacrifice, or Egypt in 
general, may it be averted on this head.' " -f- 

We are further told by Herodotus that " the Egyptians 
consider the pig to be an impure beast ; and, therefore, if a 
man in passing by a pig should touch him only with his gar- 
ments, he forthwith goes to the river and plunges. And, in the 
next place, swineherds, although native Egyptians, are the 
only men who are not allowed to enter any of their temples ; 
neither will any man give his daughter in marriage to one 
of them, nor take a wife from among them, but the swine- 
herds intermarry among themselves. The Egyptians there- 
fore do not think it right to sacrifice swine to any other 
deities ; but to the moon and Bacchus they do sacrifice 
* Clio. t Euterpe, ii. 38, 39. 


them at the same time, that is, at the same full moon, and 
then they eat of the flesh. . . . The sacrifice of pigs 
to the moon is performed in the following manner : When 
the sacrificer has slain the victim, he puts together the tip of 
the tail with the spleen and the caul, and then covers them 
with the fat found about the belly of the animal, and next he 
consumes them with fire ; the rest of the flesh they eat during 
the full moon in which they offer the sacrifices, but in no 
other day would one even taste it. The poor amongst them, 
through want of means, form pigs of dough, and having baked 
them, offer them in sacrifice. On the eve of the festival of 
Bacchus, every one slays a pig before his door, and then 
restores it to the swineherd that sold it, that he may carry it 

A notion is still prevalent in certain agricultural districts in 
England, that the time of the full moon is the proper period 
for killing pigs. Whether this notion had its origin in the 
ancient superstition alluded to, might form a curious subject 
of inquiry. 

Xenophon, in his account of the expedition of Cyrus, alludes 
to this custom in the following terms, from which it may be 
inferred that it was then in use among the Greeks : " Next 
day, Xenophon, going on to Ophrynium, offered a sacrifice, 
burning whole hogs after the custom of his country, and found 
the omens favourable." ~f 

Among the Greeks, when a meeting was to be held at a 
particular spot, the place was purified by killing young pigs, 
which, as was usual in such lustrations, they carried round 
about the utmost bounds of it.:]: 

Xenophon, in the work lately quoted, refers to the sacrifice 
of the wolf, as practised by the Persians. 

Herodotus gives the following account of perform- 
ing sacrifice among the Scythians, which, he says, " is 
adopted with respect to all kinds of victims alike : " " The 
victim itself stands with its fore feet tied together ; he 
who sacrifices standing behind the beast, having drawn 
* Euterpe, ii. 47, 48. f B. vii. J Potter's Grecian Antiquities. 


the extremity of the cord, throws it down ; and as the victim 
falls, he invokes the god to whom he is sacrificing ; then he 
throws a halter round its neck, and having put in a stick, he 
twists it round and strangles it, without kindling any fire, or 
performing any preparatory ceremonies, or making any liba- 
tion ; but having strangled and flayed it, he applies himself to 
cook it."* 

Athenaeus tells us that the Boeotians were wont to sacrifice 
eels of an unusual size, taken in Cofais, a lake of that 
country ; and that about these they performed all the cere- 
monies usual at other sacrifices.-f 

Among the Greeks and Romans, at the entrance of 
their temples there was a pond or basin used by the priest 
for ablution before sacrificing to the superior gods, merely 
sprinkling being deemed sufficient for the infernal deities. 
The priest, clad in white, and crowned with branches of the 
tree dedicated to the god, carried the vessel for holding wine. 
He was attended by children, who carried vessels and 
baskets. The musicians belonging to the temple played on 
flutes during the sacrifice ; the popce or mctimarii were naked 
to the girdle ; there were assistants or partakers, bearing 
vessels of various kinds ; also the sacrificers, who, among the 
Romans, although not among the Greeks, had the head 
veiled, unless the god to be sacrificed to was Saturn. The 
victim was adorned with bandeaux or garlands, sometimes 
with fillets and trappings. The priest walked round the 
altar several times, holding his hand upon his mouth, and 
then poured the wine upon the altar, concluding with pluck- 
ing some of the hair from the victim, and casting it into the 
fire. Then was the time for the victimarius to take the knife 
for cutting the throat of the victim, or the axe to knock him 
down. The blood was collected and the skin taken off ; then 
the heraspes, or flamen, examined the entrails for the prog- 
nostics, and presages were also formed from the burning of 
the incense, and from the motion and windings of the smoke. 

Herodotus informs us that the priests washed themselves 

* Melpomene, v. 60. t Potter's Grecian Antiquities. 


thrice every day and thrice every night in cold water, besides 
three ablutions every day, and an occasional one at night. 
They also shaved not only the head and beard, but removed 
the hair from the whole body.* 

Baked bread was supplied every day to the priest from 
the sacred corn, as also a plentiful amount of beef and of 
goose flesh, as well as wine, as Herodotus tells us. Fish was, 
however, forbidden to the priests. They also abstained from 
mutton and pork ; and on the occasion of their more solemn 
purifications, they were not allowed to eat salt with their 
meals. Garlic, onions, and beans, particularly beans, were 
excluded from the tables of the priests.^ 

The priest, while offering sacrifice, was attired in a black 
gown, in order to prevent his clothes being tarnished by the 
smoke. Hence the origin of the black gown adopted by the 
clergy of all denominations, which is still in common use.J 

Women as well as men were employed to officiate in im- 
portant duties in the temples, among the Egyptians. 

As regards the kind of animal offered up in sacrifice, this 
appears to have depended upon the particular god to whom, 
and the person by whom, it was offered. A shepherd would 
sacrifice a sheep, a neat-herd an ox, and a goat-herd a goat. 
And Athenaeus asserts that a fisherman, after a plentiful 
draught, would offer a tunny to Neptune. To the infernal 
and evil gods they offered black victims ; to the good, white ; 
to the barren, barren ones ; to the fruitful, pregnant ones ; to 
the masculine gods, male, and to the feminine, female victims. 
Men as well as animals were sometimes offered up. || 

It was also an established rule that the sacrifices should cor- 
respond with the condition and quality of the person by whom 
they were offered. From a poor man the smallest oblations 
were acceptable. If he could not afford to sacrifice a real 
ox, he might offer one made of bread. Men of wealth when 

* Note to Sir H. Rawlinson's Herodotus, vol. ii., p. 52. f fb., p. 56. 

J Arts of Greeks and Romans, vol. ii., pp. 120, 129. 
Note to Sir H. Rawlinson's Herodotus, vol. ii., p. 47. 
|| Potter's Grecian Antiquities. 


they had received or desired any great favour from the gods, 
offered a great number of animals at once, as for instance, a 
hundred oxen.* 

The primitive Greeks were accustomed to offer up the tongues 
of animals, together with a libation of wine to Mercury as the 
god of eloquence. Sometimes they were offered with a view 
of making an expiation for some indecent language that had 
been spoken ; or in token that they entrusted to the gods as 
witnesses the discourse which had passed at the table ; or to 
signify that what had been spoken there ought not to be 
remembered afterwards, or divulged.*}* 

Solemn festivals were very common among the Egyptians, 
Greeks, and Romans. One of the most important at Sparta 
was that of the Gymnopsediae, or naked youths, which lasted 
several days, where the grace and strength of the Spartan 
youth were exhibited to their admiring countrymen, and to 
foreigners. Wrestling and dancing were the chief exercises. } 

One very remarkable festival which was observed among 
the Romans, was called the Feast of Wolves, in comme- 
moration of Romulus and Remus having been nursed by a 
she-wolf. The famous statue of the wolf suckling these 
infants is still preserved in the Capitol at Rome. This statue 
is made of bronze, and is very ancient, being referred to by 
the historian Livy, and was once struck by lightning. The 
priests who officiated at this festival, who were called Luperci, 
began their course at the foot of Mount Palatine, called by 
the Romans Lupercal that is, the place where the wolf 
nursed Romulus. Bishop Godwin thus describes the cere- 
monies : " Two goats were slain, and two noblemen's sons 
were to be present, whose foreheads being blooded with the 
knives of them that had slain the goats, by-and-by were to 
be dried up with wool dipped in milk. Then the young boys 
must laugh immediately after their foreheads were dry. That 
done, they cut the goat-skins, and made thongs of them, 
which they took in their hands, and ran with them all about 

* Potter's Grecian Antiquities, 259. + Ib., 77. 

t Note to Sir H. Rawlinson's Herodotus, vol. iii., p. 372. 


the city stark naked, and so they struck with those thongs all 
they met in their way."* 

A dog was also sacrificed at this time, because there is a 
natural antipathy between the dog and the wolf. 

The Roman historian Livy complained in the year of Rome 
539 that "the Roman rites are growing into disuse, not only 
in private and within doors, but in public also. In the Forum 
and Capitol there are crowds of women sacrificing, and offer- 
ing up prayers to the gods, in modes unusual in that country. 
A low order of sacrificers and soothsayers has enslaved men's 
understandings, and the number of these is increased by the 
country people, whom want and terror has driven into the 

It was customary for worshippers when in temples, to con- 
ceal the hands, out of reverence. They had also the head 
covered during prayer, when standing. While kneeling, the 
head and face were covered, with the right hand upon the 
mouth, the forefinger being inclined to the thumb a gesture 
also used in passing a temple. The Romans of regular habits 
came to the temples, which were open to every person, and 
often lighted before day, temples having no windows. Those 
who could not go to the temple atoned for the omission by 
resorting to their oratories. A priest read the prayers from a 
book, which were repeated by the people, turned towards the 
east, with their heads veiled, in order to prevent their attention 
from being disturbed by any ill omen. They touched the 
altar while they prayed, and advanced the hand from the lips 
towards the images of the gods. The young of both sexes 
also sung hymns, accompanied by music.^ 

The Greeks prayed standing or sitting. Before entering 
the temple, they purified themselves by lustral water, which 
was common water wherein a burning torch from the altar 
had been quenched, and which stood in a large vase at the 
entrance to the temple. 

We are assured that the piety of the ancient Greeks, and 

* Bishop Godwin's Roman Antiquities, lib. ii., sec. ii., cap. I, fols. 41, 42. 
t Arts of Greeks and Romans, vol. i., p. 295. 


the reverence which they entertained towards their deities, 
was in nothing more evinced than by the continual prayers 
and supplications which they made to them. Plato asserts 
that no man amongst them that was endued with the smallest 
prudence, would undertake anything without having first 
invoked the advice and assistance of the gods. And this was 
practised by the whole nation as well as by their philosophers, 
and in the most primitive times. Moreover, every night and 
morning it was the universal practice for the people to recom- 
mend themselves to their several deities.* "At the rising 
both of the sun and moon," says Plato, " one might every- 
where behold both the Greeks and barbarians, those in 
prosperity as well as those under calamities and afflictions, 
prostrating themselves, and hear their supplications." 

There was a notion among the people in ancient times, that 
their prayers were more acceptable, and more successful, 
when offered in a barbarous and unknown language. The 
reason assigned was, that the first and native languages of 
mankind, though barbarous and uncouth, yet consisted of 
words and names more agreeable to nature. On this account 
it was customary for magicians, and those who pretended to 
have a more intimate familiarity with the gods than other 
men, to make their petitions in barbarous and unknown 

Among the Romans, it was customary for the senate to 
decree great religious solemnities on the occasion of extra- 
ordinary victories, which were intended as thanksgivings to 
the gods. The temples were then thrown open, and the 
statues of the deities placed in public upon couches. Before 
them the people gave expression to their thankfulness. The 
extent of the victory generally determined the duration of 
the festival. Although sometimes decreed for only one 
day, its usual period was three or five. Pompey had ten 
days decreed upon the conclusion of the war with Mithri- 
dates. Caesar obtained one of fifteen days.J 

* Potter's Grecian Antiquities. t /<&., 88. 

J Note to Bonn's Caesar, pp. 63, 64. 


On certain occasions expiations were required to be made 
by way of satisfaction to some deity for the commission of a 
crime. The forms of expiation were, however, as various as 
the causes were numerous. Among the Greeks, if a homicide 
of high position wished to appease the gods in order to 
avert vengeance, the sacrificial rites for the occasion were 
performed by some one of high dignity, very often by the 
sovereign ; a sucking pig was laid on the altar, and killed 
with unusual solemnity ; the hands of the homicide were 
sprinkled with the blood ; libations were offered to Jupiter 
Expiator ; the remnants of the sacrifice were thrown away ; 
and cakes composed of meal, salt, and water, were burnt on 
the altar, while prayers were devoutly offered to the Furies. 
Sometimes expiations were made for whole cities ; and in 
the more ancient times to remove, or prevent, or to avert an 
impending calamity, human victims were offered up. Sub- 
sequently, human blood was regarded as the most expiatory ; 
and parents brought their own children for the purpose of see- 
ing their blood sprinkled over the culprit.* 

When any great and public calamity occurred among the 
Romans, especially when the plague broke out, the ceremony 
called Lectisternium was observed, on which occasion the statues 
of the gods were brought down from their bases or pedestals, 
and laid upon beds made for the purpose in their temples, 
with pillows under their heads ; and in this posture they were 
magnificently entertained. All the gates of the city were 
opened, and the tables were everywhere served with meat. 
Foreigners, whether known or unknown, were feasted and 
lodged without cost, and all matters of hatred or quarrel 
were forgotten.f 

The office of augur was held in high estimation among the 
Romans, since, from their extraordinary superstition, nothing 
was undertaken without consulting one. He occupied the 
sacred college of the priesthood, ruling immediately below 
the pontiffs. He was never deprived of his dignity, whatever 

* Arts of Greeks and Romans, vol. ii., pp. 163, 164. 

t Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, tit. "Lectisternium." 


might be his crimes. Clad in his robe of scarlet and purple, 
the augur on days of ceremony turned towards the east, 
and with his staff, marked out a tract in the sky which he 
called Templum. He then proceeded to observe the birds 
which approached to, or passed over that tract, their species, 
their manner of flight, and the attitudes which they assumed. 
The signs on the left hand were happy ; those on the right 
of bad omen. Sometimes the divination was effected by 
domestic fowls, to which a kind of cake was thrown. If they 
ate with eagerness, as if they were really hungry and were 
blessed with good appetites, and if, during the process of 
eating, the crumbs fell freely to the ground, the sign was 
favourable ; otherwise, it was unfavourable. If they refused 
to eat at all, which we may infer they would do if they had 
already secured plenty, it was considered that an awful crisis 
was at hand. One of the sages of antiquity, when his 
chickens, from some cause or other, whether reasonable or 
unreasonable, refused to pick up his crumbs, had them 
thrown into the sea, exclaiming, " If they won't eat, they 
shall drink."* 

We are told that the Lycians, when they wished to ascer- 
tain beforehand whether any undertaking was likely to be 
successful or not, went to a fountain dedicated to Apollo, and 
threw into it baits for the fish. If the fishes ate them, it foretold 
good luck ; if they refused them, then they might be sure 
that the undertaking would turn out unlucky.*!* 

The howl of the dog was also considered ominous, as it is, 
indeed, by some superstitious persons at the present day. 
Among the Egyptians the dog was held in great venera- 
tion, and divine honours were paid to it. In Greece and 
Rome dogs were sometimes sacrificed to the gods ; by the 
former to Pan, by the latter to their domestic Lares. Both 
in Greece and Rome they were offered during the dog- 
days, probably as a preservative against the bite of that 

* Arts of Greeks and Romans, vol. ii., pp. 69, 70. 

t Bishop Godwin's Roman Antiquities, lib. ii., sec. ii., cap. 7. 


animal.* Indeed, it has been asserted that the Romans 
crucified a dog every year, on account of the dogs not 
having given warning by their barking when the Gauls 
entered . Rome, but of which the geese, by their cack- 
ling, affected timely notice. Therefore, in order to do due 
honour to these illustrious birds, the Romans carried a 
goose of silver in an elbow-chair, laid upon a pillow. One 
ancient writer asserts that the Ethiopians had a dog for their 
king ;[ and who possibly might have ruled quite as wisely as 
some human kings have done. 

The actions of animals offered in sacrifice, were observed 
with great care as particularly ominous. It was customary 
to pour water in the animal's ear, in order that it might, by 
nodding its head, signify its consent to be sacrificed. If it 
wagged its tail, that was a good omen. Indeed the tail 
appears to have been considered as one of the most ominous 
parts of the body. If, when cut off and thrown into the 
fire, it curled up, this foretold some misfortune. When it 
was extended out at length and hung downward, this was an 
omen of some overthrow about to happen. But when it was 
cocked up, this was a sure presage of a victory.^ 

It was considered a good sign when, at a sacrifice, the 
flames immediately took hold of and consumed the victim, 
seizing at once all the parts of it ; on which account the priests 
took care to have the sticks quite dry so that they would 
easily take fire. So, too, it was regarded as fortunate if the 
flame was bright and pure, and without noise or smoke. Also, 
if the sparks tended upward in the form of a pyramid, and if 
the fire did not go out until all was reduced to ashes. On 
the other hand, it was deemed unlucky if the fire would not 
easily light ; or if, instead of ascending straight upwards, it 
whirled round, turning sideways or downwards, when it sent 
out smoke or sparks, or died out before all the sacrifice was 

* Arts of Greeks and Romans, vol. ii., p. lor. 

t Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, tit. " Canis " 

t Potter's Grecian Antiquities, p. 367. Ib., p. 371. 


It may be observed, however, that nothing was confirmed 
by the augurs without the appearance of two lucky omens, one 
after another, nor did one evil omen by itself count ; * which 
may be satisfactory to some of the superstitiously disposed at 
the present day. Spilling the salt at table, as also wine on 
the clothes, was deemed ominous in those days/f" 

It was considered by the Greeks that if a man sneezed in 
the afternoon it was a good omen, but a bad one in the morn- 
ing. If a man sneezed at table while they were taking away, 
or if another happened to sneeze at the left hand of a man, 
then persons were told to beware that all is not right ; but if 
on the other hand, then all is well.J 

Those Grecians who wished to dream a prophetical dream, 
were recommended to sacrifice a, ram to Amphiaraus, and to 
sleep upon the fleece. Plutarch tells us that if we eat good ripe 
fruit our dreams will be the truer. The dreams most to be 
relied upon, we are informed, are those which take place 
towards the morning. Pliny says a dream is never true soon 
after eating and drinking. Consequently, those who are 
careful about their dreams will do well to avoid late suppers. 

The omens that appeared towards the east, were accounted 
fortunate by the Greeks, Romans, and all other nations, on 
the ground that the sun rises in that direction. On the other 
hand, omens to the west were deemed unlucky. So also 
signs on the right hand were accounted fortunate, those on 
the left unfortunate. || Great attention was paid to the 
flight of birds, and to the peculiar manner in which they 
moved. The eagle, if she appeared brisk, clapping her wings, 
sporting about in the air, or flying from the right hand to the 
left, was one of the best omens the gods could give. The 
flight of vultures was also much observed. The hawk was 
deemed an unlucky omen. Swallows flying about, or resting 
upon a place, were also deemed to forebode no good. Owls 
were in general regarded as unlucky birds ; but at Athens they 

* Bishop Godwin's Roman Antiquities, lib. ii., sec. ii., cap.' 6, pp. 48, 49. 
t Ib. J Rous's Attic Antiquities, lib. vii., cap. 2, p. 368. 

Ib., lib. vii., cap. 4, pp. 348-350- II /*-, 375. 376. 


were considered to foretell victory, being sacred to Minerva, 
the protectress of that city. The dove was a lucky bird, as 
was also the swan.* 

Ants were made use of in divination, and bees were esteemed 
an omen of future eloquence. Toads were accounted lucky 
omens, but boars were unlucky.-f- 

A Gnostic papyrus, or ancient Egyptian roll, in the British 
Museum, discovered in Egypt, mentions divination " through 
a boy with a lamp, a bowl, and a pit," very like what is now 
practised in Egypt and Barbary. It also contains spells for 
obtaining power over spirits, for discovering a thief, for com- 
manding another man's actions, for obtaining any wish, and 
for preventing anything. Others in the Leyden Museum con- 
tain recipes of good fortune,, for procuring dreams, for making 
a ring to bring good fortune and success in every enterprise, 
for causing separation between man and wife, for occasioning 
restless nights, and for making one's self loved.j 

Comets were always thought to portend something dread- 
ful. So also were eclipses of the sun or moon, with which 
several armies have been much 'terrified. If lightning ap- 
peared to the right, it was deemed fortunate ; if to the left, 
unlucky. Earthquakes were unfortunate omens, and were 
generally supposed to be caused by Neptune. It was an un- 
lucky omen to have anything thunderstruck. In order to 
avert unlucky omens given by thunder, it was usual to make 
a libation of wine, pouring it out in cups. At Rome, places 
affected by thunder were enclosed by a public officer, and the 
fragments of thunderbolts were carefully buried for fear any 
person should be polluted by touching them. 

Tacitus alludes to the appearance of a comet during the 
reign of Nero, which, he says, was a " phenomenon which, 
according to the persuasion of the vulgar, portended a change 
to some kingdoms." || He also records that " the popular voice 
was further stimulated by the construction put, in the same 

* Potter's Grecian Antiquities, 377, 379. t Ib., 382. 

Note to Sir H. Rawlinson's Herodotus, vol. ii., pp. 115, 116. 

Potter's Grecian Antiquities, pp. 383, 385, 386. || Annals, b. xiv., c. 22. 


spirit of superstition, upon a flash of lightning ; for as Nero 
sat at meat in a villa called Sublaqueum, upon the banks of 
the Simbruina lakes, the viands were struck by lightning and 
the table overthrown ; and as this occurrence took place in 
the neighbourhood of Tibur, whence the paternal ancestors of 
Plautus sprang, they believed that this was the man predes- 
tinated for the empire by the decree of the deities."* The 
same renowned historian also states, in a subsequent book of 
his Annals, that " in the close of the year the public mind was 
occupied with accounts of prodigies which seemed the har- 
bingers of impending calamities. At no other time did the 
lightning flash with such frequency ; there appeared, also, a 
comet, an omen ever expiated by Nero with the effusion of 
illustrious blood. "^ 

Livy alludes to the clang of arms during a battle as being 
" similar to that which is usually made in the dead of night 
when the moon is eclipsed," J a practice which is still pursued 
by some superstitious northern nations. Tacitus gives the fol- 
lowing account of an eclipse of the moon, which, according to 
the calculations of eminent mathematicians, happened on the 
27th of September in the year 14 of the Christian era, about 
five weeks after the death of Augustus : 

" The moon, in the midst of a clear sky, became suddenly eclipsed. 
The soldiers, who were ignorant of the cause, took this for an omen 
referring to their present adventures. To their own labours they com- 
pared the eclipse of the planet, and prophesied that ' if to the dis- 
tressed goddess should be restored her wonted brightness and splen- 
dour, equally successful would be the issue of these their struggles.' 
Hence they made a loud noise by ringing upon brazen metal, and by 
blowing trumpets and cornets. As she appeared brighter or darker, 
they exalted or lamented. But when gathering clouds had obstructed 
their sight, and it was believed that she was now buried in darkness, 
then (for minds once dismayed are prone to superstition) they be- 
wailed ' their own eternal sufferings thus portended, and that the 
gods viewed their daring deeds with aversion.' " || 

* Annals, b. xiv. , c. 22. t Ib., b. xv., c. 47. J B. xxvi., c. 5. 

Note to Bohn's Tacitus, vol. i., p. 21. || Annals, b. i., c. 28. 


It was considered an ill omen when Mount Etna, in Sicily, 
emitted not only smoke but balls of fire ; and Livy says that 
extensive flames issued from it before the death of Caesar.* 

Occasionally divinations were performed by water. Some- 
times they dipped a looking-glass into the water when they 
desired to know what would become of a sick person ; for as 
he looked well or ill in the glass, accordingly they presumed 
of his future condition. Another custom resorted to was fill- 
ing a bowl with water, and letting it down into a ring equally 
poised on each side, and hanging by a thread tied to one of 
their finders, when, in a form of prayer, they requested the 
gods to declare or confirm the dispute in question ; where- 
upon, if the thing proposed was true, the ring, of its own 
accord, would strike against the bowl a set number of times. 
On some occasions they threw stones into the water and ob- 
served the turns they made in sinking.-^ 

Prodigies of various kinds are reported as having been wit- 
nessed in Rome, and the pages of Livy are filled with de- 
scriptions of these extraordinary events. An ox was said to 
have spoken several times, which caused great consternation, 
and upon which various interpretations were put ; although 
the poor beast himself does not appear to have turned to any 
very great account his newly-acquired capacity of talking. 
Pliny records that on one occasion, when a report was brought 
that an ox had spoken, the senate was held under the open 
air. Showers of stones are frequently reported by Livy, and 
certain mysterious sounds, as also appearances in the air, 
which are now accounted for by electrical and other natural 
causes. The priests, however, with surprising dexterity, 
appear to have turned all these occurrences to very good 
account as regarded themselves ; and expiations were ordered 
by them to do away with any evil consequences that might 
result. Monstrous births by any animal were always reckoned 
among the prodigies of the day, and peculiar importance was 

* Note to Devitte's Livy, vol. iv., p. 2220. 
t Potter's Grecian Antiquities, p. 407. 


attached to the event. Tacitus, in his Annals, refers frequently 
to the occurrence of prodigies of various kinds. 

Persons whose minds were disordered appear to have been 
considered in the ancient times as capable of foretelling 
future events.* In these days we should be inclined to 
attribute disorder of mind to those who believed in such 

The profession of an augur or soothsayer is supposed to be 
very ancient, and indeed the practice of the art was forbidden 
by Moses.-f It was in high favour among the Chaldeans, 
who made a particular profession of it. The Greeks appear 
to have learnt it from them, and it was afterwards followed 
by the Tuscans. | Herodotus records that " soothsayers 
among the Scythians are numerous, who divine, by the help 
of a number of willow rods, in the following manner : When 
they have brought with them large numbers of twigs, they 
lay them on the ground and untie them ; and having placed 
each rod apart, they utter their predictions ; and whilst 
they are pronouncing them, they gather up the rods again 
and put them together one by one. This is their national 
mode of divination. But the Enarees or Androgyni say that 
Venus gave them the power of divining. They divine by 
means of the bark of a linden tree. When a man has split 
the linden tree in three pieces, twisting it round his own 
fingers, and then untwisting it, he utters a response. When 
the king of the Scythians is sick, he sends for three of the 
most famous of these prophets, who prophesy in the manner 
above mentioned. " 

The Romans attached so much importance to the practice 
of augury, that by a decree of the senate it was expressly 
ordered that the advice of the augur should be exactly 
followed without the least deviation from it, as we learn 
from Cicero. || Romulus did not presume to commence the 

* Adam's Roman Antiquities, 278. 
f" Lev. xvii. ; Deut. xviii. 

J Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, tit. "Augur." 
Melpomene, iv. 67, 68. || De Leg. Aug. Per., lib. ii. 

2 B 


building of Rome until he had consulted the augurs, and he 
afterwards constituted a college of them.* 

But the most popular mode of divination in ancient times 
was by consulting the oracles, which were so revered that 
nothing of importance, whether in public or private life, was 
undertaken without resorting to them. The oracle of Jupiter 
and Dodona was the most ancient in Greece. Three priest- 
esses in this temple were the authorised expounders of 
the divine will, which they sometimes sought in the neigh- 
bouring forest, at the foot of the prophetic oak ; and they 
appear to have divined from the murmuring or roaring of its 
branches, as though the tree itself could speak, according as 
the wind was gentle or boisterous. Sometimes they pro- 
phesied from a bubbling spring, at others from the noises 
made by the brazen kettles suspended round the temple.-f- 

The celebrated oracle of Apollo at Delphi was located in a 
cave, from whence exhalations were said to arise that threw 
whoever stood near it into a perfect frenzy ; and during the 
continuance of the fit communicated the power of predicting 
the future. A magnificent temple was erected on the spot, 
to which a whole army of ministers and domestics were 
attached. A tripos was placed over the mouth of the cave ; 
and upon it the Pythia, a priestess of Apollo, received her 
inspiration. Before she sat on the tripos, she washed herself 
in the Castalian fountain which bubbled from the foot of 
Parnassus, and assumed a laurel crown. In a short time she 
began to foam, her countenance was much distorted, and the 
wildest expressions issued from her mouth, which were put 
into Greek verse. J 

The famous cave of the Sybil described by Virgil, which is 
near Baiae, on the coast of Italy, the gloomy recesses of 
which I some time ago explored, was an oracle of this 
description. It consists of a long winding passage, leading to 
the heart of a mountain ; but I need not say that I saw and 
heard nothing of the Sybil herself, who has long ceased to be 

* Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, tit. "Augur." 

t Arts of Greeks and Romans, vol. ii., 261. J Ib,, 262. 


tenant of the premises. Several of the rocks in that neigh- 
bourhood are volcanic, and occasionally emit flames, which 
no doubt afforded a confirmation of the superstitions relating 
to the supernatural rites formerly practised there. 

Conjectures have been raised as to why women instead ot 
men were employed in practising these impostures on their 
fellow-creatures. Some have supposed the reason to be that 
women were more easily made the dupes of superstition than 
were the hardier sex. Tacitus attributes something like 
gallantry to the Germans, when he says of them that they 
consider " there is something of a divine nature in women, 
and the power of seeing into the future. Nor do they reject 
their advice or disregard their answers." * 

The influence of the female sex has been extensive in all 
ages, and in all countries, even among the most barbarous ; 
far greater, I believe, than has been actually supposed. Nor is 
it the less extensive because, like the mighty operations of 
nature, it works silently (not always the mode of ladies' pro- 
ceeding) and unseen. Perhaps it is the most potent when it 
is the less openly felt. Great as it is in modern times, it was 
perhaps greater still in the days of which I have been 
speaking. The power which women gain by having the 
care of the young entrusted to them, alone affords them a 
moral influence the most extensive of all ; far greater than 
what they could ever obtain by becoming lawyers, doctors, or 
even legislators. Their proper sway appears to me to be the 
domestic, not the political circle ; their own houses, not the 
House of Commons. The attention of Tacitus to this 
interesting topic will, I hope, be allowed as an apology for 
this brief digression. 

Severe punishment was decreed by the Roman laws 
against priestesses and vestal nuns who were guilty of incon- 
tinence. In the field of execution, called the Campus Sceler- 
atus, or wicked field, which lay within the city, a vault was 
made under the earth, with a hole left open above to enable 
any one to enter. In this vault there was a little couch, 

* Germ., c. 8. 


with a burning lamp and some refreshment. To this place 
the condemned criminal was to be brought through the 
market-place ; but it was so closed up with thick leather, that 
her lamentations could not be heard so as to excite the pity 
of the spectators. When brought to the place of execution, 
she was let down by a ladder into the cave, the opening of 
which was bricked up, and she was there left to die.* 

Closely connected with, and forcibly illustrative of the 
manners and customs, and the rites and superstitions, of ancient 
days, are the modes of punishing criminals then resorted to. 
Into the general question of the laws of the people of ancient 
times, I have not attempted to enter, as being in the first place 
not within the scope of the subject on which I am now treat- 
ing ; and, in the next place, being far too comprehensive, not to 
say much too complicated also, to admit of its being embraced 
by the present series of papers. I will, however, venture to 
conclude this branch of the subject with a few words as to 
the origin and nature of civil punishments generally, among 
the ancient nations : 

" That particular punishments were often adopted in the earlier 
ages of society on account of the means ready at hand for inflicting 
them, will be obvious to every reader of history. The Asiatic 
punishment of throwing criminals to wild beasts, originated in the 
abundance of those animals in that part of the world. The Tarpeian 
rock afforded to the Romans a ready means of capital punishment 
by hurling criminals from that height. The proximity of seas and 
large rivers induced particular people to have recourse to drowning 
as a capital punishment. And it was during their sojourn in the 
stony desert, that the children of Israel first resorted to stoning as 
the means of putting malefactors to death, and which they continued 
long after they left the wilderness." t 

Among the ancient Egyptians, strangling was resorted to as 
a capital punishment. An Egyptian painting, copied by 
Belzoni, represents an execution in an Egyptian prison by this 

* Bishop Godwin's Roman Antiquities, lib. i., sec. i., cap. 16, pp. 13, 14. 
t Civilisation, considered as a Science, in relation to its Essence, its Elements, 
and its Ends. By George Harris, F. S. A. (Bonn's Library edition), pp. 263, 264. 


mode. The executioner first strikes his victim on the head 
so as to stun him, and then twists the bow-string round his 
neck. Death by strangling within the walls of a prison is 
therefore one of the most ancient modes of capital punish- 
ment, as well as that at present in use in this country. Pro- 
bably the picture referred to is the oldest representation of an 
execution extant. 

Putting out the eyes was a punishment among the Egyp- 
tians, which, according to Herodotus, was done with a red-hot 

A picture, representing the interior of an ancient Roman 
prison, exhibits the various modes in which criminals were 
dealt with in days of yore. Some are placed in a kind of 
pillory, their bodies beneath the floor, their heads just appear- 
ing above it. Others are heavily manacled, and some have 
their feet fastened in the stocks. A female is suspended from 
the roof with a weight to her legs, which was a punishment in 
use during the Middle Ages. 

Last in the order of succession, in accordance alike with the 
course of nature, and with the career of our own destiny, we 
come to the consideration of that solemn subject, closely con- 
nected with that which has immediately preceded it, the rites 
which were paid by the early people of the world to the relics 
of the dead, and the various modes in which they disposed of 
the remains of those recently departed from the ranks of the 

This you may probably deem a somewhat dismal subject, 
and one which it will be difficult to treat in a manner other- 
wise than dismal. It is however, to a certain extent, relieved 
of its doleful character, by the quaint and grotesque customs 
which were occasionally associated with it, the ludicrous nature 
of some of which appears to be heightened by their very con- 
trast with the solemnity of the proceedings with which they 
are connected. 

Of the various features assumed by those superstitions which 
we have been considering, those displayed in the celebration 
of the obsequies deemed due to the dead which seem, more- 


over, to reflect the notions prevalent at those periods respect- 
ing that mysterious and uncertain future state, upon which the 
subjects of them have already entered, and to which those 
engaged in the ceremonial itself are alike rapidly hastening 
are unquestionably among the most interesting, and which, 
moreover, peculiarly exhibit the character and tone of thought 
and feeling which animated those who directed these solem- 

The most striking chapter in the history of the world is 
doubtless that which affords us a description of the supersti- 
tions, so varied and so strange, by which mankind have at 
different periods been overawed. The lines are deep, and the 
shadows are dark, by which the picture has to be traced. The 
scene is startling and even appalling, but a deeply instructive 
lesson may be gathered from its teaching. We, in this boasted 
age of civilisation and enlightenment, look with pity, and per- 
haps contempt, through the telescope of time, to the scenes 
alluded to ; and while taking a survey of that dreary period, 
are apt to flatter ourselves that these dismal clouds of super- 
stition and error, which in that age darkened the land, have for 
ever and entirely been dispersed, and that we live in times 
wholly free from all such debasing influences. It must, how- 
ever, be admitted that, in all ages, and in all countries, human 
nature is ever the same, and a love for the marvellous, and a 
hankering after superstition, always have been, and always will 
be, a ruling passion. It may exhibit itself in different ways, and 
in various aspects, but the demon itself will ever be found 
lurking near us. Silent and unseen is its influence, but that 
influence is nevertheless potent, and indeed irresistible. Pos- 
sibly there is not a nation, not an age, not an individual, even 
in the present day, that is wholly free from its thralls. Dreams, 
omens, charms, spectres, still continue to haunt us ; and the 
superstitions attached to particular days the ill-fate attributed 
to Friday for instance are as vigorous and as active as ever. 
Half angel and half demon, half savage and half celestial, the 
genius of superstition, from the earliest ages of society to the 
present time, has stalked through the land, and exercised its 


spell ; and to the latest period in the world's history it will 
maintain its power. We may affect to despise it, but we 
nevertheless dread it. However we may protest against, and 
even pretend to ridicule its authority, we are not the less its 

Remarkable it is, from whatever cause, that people of all 
ages and all countries alike, have ever united in doing homage 
to the dead, and in paying reverence to those forms which, 
while animated, they treated with unrestricted familiarity. 
Hallowed rites, widely varying in their mode of celebration, 
have always accompanied the consignment of the cold and un- 
conscious corpse to the tomb. Very different, corresponding 
with the character of the performers, have been the devices 
for giving vent to and for typifying that poignant grief and 
that intense feeling of desolation which the occasion calls 
forth in the minds of all alike. 

With reverence and with awe should we enter the confines 
of these gloomy and desolate regions, consecrated by the 
sorrows of all people of all times, while in the contemplation 
of the subject itself, the solemnity of its nature commands our 
reverence, and its immediate relation to our own destiny 
ensures our deep interest. 

Various conjectures have been raised as to what was the 
earliest method of disposing of the bodies of the dead. Two 
modes appear to have been adopted for this purpose de- 
positing the remains in the ground, and consuming them by 
fire. Burying them in the earth is the oldest mode, and that 
which has been most commonly adopted. 

It appears probable that simple interment in the earth, 
which most readily in each case suggested itself, and which 
might in all cases be availed of, whatever was the nature of 
the country, was that which was the earliest in use. It would 
be only in rocky or mountainous countries, that caves could 
be resorted to for this purpose. We read, however, very early 
in the Sacred Scriptures of a cave being used for and con- 
verted into a sepulchre, as in the case of Abraham already 
referred to, who purchased the cave of Machpelah for this 


purpose. It has been suggested, however, that Abraham 
derived this fashion from the Egyptians, the people of Upper 
Egypt and Ethiopia being the first civilised nation known, and 
who were the ancestors of the Pelasgi of Etruria and other 
countries.* In many respects, caves appear peculiarly suit- 
able for sepulchral objects, as not only serving, to use 
Abraham's expression, " to bury the dead out of sight," but 
to secure their remains from molestation ; while the gloomy 
solemn character of those receptacles accorded well with the 
object to which they were appropriated. It is probably, how- 
ever, only in the case of persons of great wealth, like 
Abraham, that those places would be resorted to ; while the 
ground would still be used for all ordinary burials, a simple 
mound marking the spot beneath which the body lay, and 
which would be naturally caused by the superfluity of earth 
occasioned through the space occupied by the body in the 
ground. Convenience, and the desire to preserve undisturbed 
the remains of those who had been buried, would soon lead to 
the appropriation of particular spots of ground for the pur- 
pose of interment; while the caves would in all likelihood be 
reserved by the owners of them as places of burial for the 
members of their own family. 

Solemn and imposing, if not actually picturesque, must 
have been the performance of funeral obsequies at this early 
period, though wanting in gorgeous accoutrements for later 

Among the Jews, burial appears to have been the custom 
adopted with regard to the dead, and this was continued to 
a late period, as we find to have been done in the case of 
Lazarus. Coffins, or boxes to hold dead bodies, were not, 
however, usual among the Jews, but the body was simply 
wrapped in a cloth, and carried upon a bier.*f Even in this 
country some two hundred years ago, and probably later, 
coffins were by no means universally used. 

With the Jews, the bodies of great people were embalmed, 

* Arts of Greeks and Romans, 284. 

t Manners and Customs of the Jews, pp. 175, 176. 


or wrapped up with gums and spices before they were 
interred. We read in Genesis of the embalming of Jacob, 
and Joseph of Arimathea brought spices and wrapped in 
linen cloths the body of our Lord.* 

In the descriptions of the funerals of Jewish kings, recorded 
in the Bible, we sometimes read of burning the bodies, though 
this was not the usual practice. Thus, the bodies of Saul and 
his sons were burnt ; and this appears to have been re- 
sorted to in times of pestilence.^ It is also recorded that at 
the death of Jehoram the people made no burning for him.| 

When bodies were interred in the open plains, heaps of 
earth or of stones were placed over them, both to mark the 
spot where they were laid, and also to protect them from 
being disturbed by wild beasts. In course of time these 
erections were adopted to perpetuate the memory of the 

Probably the earliest coffins consisted in the receptacles 
scooped out in the side of the cave in which the body was to 
be deposited, as we may still observe in the ancient catacombs 
at Rome and elsewhere. Possibly the stone coffin was an imi- 
tation of these rocky receptacles, or an effort to supply their 
place. As stone was not always to be had, wood, or metal, or 
earthenware, would in many cases be used as a substitute. 

As caves, for the reasons probably which I have stated, 
became the favourite, not to say fashionable, burying-places 
for the rich in the early times ; in those parts of the country 
where caves were not to be found, sepulchres were erected in 
imitation of caves, of which are many of the vast Egyptian 
and Indian caves remaining to this day. 

Burning the dead does not appear to have been ever 
resorted to by the Egyptians. The Pyramids of Egypt are 
supposed to have been vast tombs for the reception of the 
bodies of the dead. And notwithstanding the various con- 
flicting conjectures of modern travellers and historians, the 
diligent researches of Denon and Belzoni have confirmed 

* Manners and Customs of the Jews, p. 175. 

t Amos vi. 10. I 2 Chron. xxi. 19. 


the accounts left us by Herodotus, of their being exclusively 
appropriated to the inhumation of one royal corpse. They 
are found to be composed of immense blocks of stone, heaped 
together in a regularly mathematical form, diminishing from 
a broad quadrangular base to a narrow apex.* The largest 
pyramid, according to Belzoni, measures at the base 693 
square feet, with a perpendicular height of 498.^ 

Herodotus gives the following extraordinary and interest- 
ing account of the building of this stupendous structure by 
Cheops : 

" Having shut up all the temples, he first of all forbade them to 

offer sacrifice, and afterwards he ordered all the Egyptians to work 

for himself; some accordingly were appointed to draw stones from 

the quarries in the Arabian mountains down to the Nile, others he 

ordered to receive the stones when transported in vessels across the 

river, and to drag them to the mountain called the Libyan. And 

they worked to the number of a hundred thousand men at a time, 

each party during three months. The time during which the people 

were thus harassed by toil lasted ten years, on the road which they 

constructed, along which they drew the stones, a work in my opinion 

not much less than the pyramid. . . . On this road ten years 

were expended, and in forming the subterraneous apartments on the 

hill, on which the pyramids stand, which he had made as a burial 

vault for himself, in an island, formed by draining a canal from the 

Nile. Twenty years were spent in erecting the pyramid itself; of 

this, which is square, each face is eight plethra, and the height is the 

same. It is composed of polished stones, and jointed with the 

greatest exactness. None of the stones are less than thirty feet. 

This pyramid was built thus, in the form of steps, which some called 

crosses, others bomides. When they had first built it in this 

manner, they raised the remaining stones by machines made of short 

pieces of wood. Having lifted them from the ground to the first 

range of steps, when the stone arrived there, it was put on another 

machine that stood ready on the first range, and from this it was 

drawn to the second range on another machine, for the machines 

were equal in number to the ranges of steps ; or they removed the 

machine, which was only one, and portable, to each range' in succes- 

* History and Analysis of Architecture, 21. f 7<J., 21. 


sion, whenever they wished to raise the stone higher, for I should relate 
it in both ways as it is related. The highest parts of it, therefore, were 
first finished, and afterwards they completed the parts next following ; 
but last of all, they finished the parts on the ground, and that were 
lowest. On the pyramid is shown an inscription in Egyptian charac- 
ters how much was expended in radishes, onions, and garlic for the 
workmen, which the interpreter, as I well remember, reading the 
inscription, told me amounted to 1600 talents of silver. And if this 
be really the case, how much more was probably expended in iron 
tools, in bread, and in clothes for the labourers, since they occupied 
in building the works the time which I mentioned, and no short time 
besides, as I think, in cutting and drawing the stones, and in forming 
the subterraneous excavation ? " * 

The tombs at Thebes consist of chambers and passages 
excavated in the side of a mountain, thus imitating those 
natural sepulchres, caverns. They are covered with sculptures 
and paintings of such resplendent tints that they almost defy 
imitation. These paintings serve very correctly to exhibit 
the condition of civilisation of the country at that particular 
time, and represent the modes of manufacture, agriculture, 
navigation, pottery work, machinery, and processes of trade, 
rural employments, hunting, fishing, marches of troops, pun- 
ishments in use, musical instruments, dresses and furniture.^ 

Some of the Egyptian tombs also consist of artificial 
excavations in the sides of hills, others are formed out of 
subterranean passages, another mode of imitating caves. J 

The most ancient kind of sepulchre in Asia and Greece, 
was the barrow or tumulus ; that is, a heap of earth, with a 
memorial stone, sometimes an altar, at the top ; sometimes 
chambers with galleries within them, and a defensive wall 
around the base. 

Herodotus gives the following extraordinary account of 
the mode of burial among the ancient Persians : 

" What follows, relating to the dead, is only secretly mentioned, 

* Euterpe, ii, 124, 125. t Arts of Greeks and Romans, 284. 

fb., vol. i.. 92. Ib., 92. 


and not openly, viz., that the dead body of a Persian is never buried 
until it has been torn by some bird or dog ; but I know for a 
certainty that the magi do this, for they do it openly. The Persians 
then, having covered the body with wax, conceal it in the ground." * 

But his description of a royal funeral among the Scythians 
is more extraordinary still. He says that 

" When their king dies, they dig a large square hole in the ground, 
and having prepared this, they take up the corpse, having the body 
covered with wax, the stomach opened and cleaned, filled with 
bruised cypress, incense, parsley, and anise seed ; and then having 
sewn it up again, they carry it in a chariot to another nation. Those 
who receive the corpse brought to them, do the same as the royal 
Scythians ; they cut off part of their ear, shave off their hair, wound 
themselves on the arms, lacerate their forehead and nose, and drive 
arrows through their left hand. Thence they carry the corpse of the 
king to another nation whom they govern ; and those to whom they 
first came accompany them. When they have carried the corpse 
round all the provinces, they arrive among the Gerrhi, who are the 
most remote of the nations they rule over, and at the sepulchres. 
Then, when they have placed the corpse in the grave on a bed of 
leaves, having fixed spears on each side of the dead body, they lay 
pieces of wood over it, and cover it over with mats. In the 
remaining space of the grave, they bury one of the king's concubines, 
having strangled her, and his cup-bearer, a cook, a groom, a page, a 
courier, and horses, and firstlings of everything else, and golden goblets. 
They make no use of silver or brass. Having done this, they all 
heap up a large mound, striving and vicing with each other to make 
it as large as possible. 

"When a year has elapsed, they then do as follows. Having 
taken the most fitting of his remaining servants, they are all native 
Scythians, serving whomsoever the king may order, and they 
have no servants bought with money. When therefore they have 
strangled fifty of these servants, and fifty of the finest horses, having 
taken out their bowels and cleansed them, they fill them with chaff, 
and sew them up again. Then having placed the half of a wheel, 
with its concave side uppermost, on two pieces of wood, and the 
other half on two other pieces of wood, and having fixed many of 

* Clio, i. 140. 


these in the same manner, having thrust thick pieces of wood 
through the horses lengthwise, up to the neck, they mount them on 
the half wheels ; and of these the foremost part of the half wheels 
supports the shoulders of the horses, and the hinder part supports the 
belly near the thighs, but the legs on both sides are suspended in the 
air. Then having put bridles and bits on the horses, they stretch 
them in front, and fasten them to a stake. They next mount upon a 
horse each, one of the fifty young men that have been strangled, 
mounting them in the following manner. When they have driven a 
straight piece of wood along the spine as far as the neck, but a part 
of this wood projects from the bottom, they fix it into a hole bored 
in the other piece of wood that passes through the horse. Having 
placed such horsemen round the monument, they depart. 

" Thus they bury their kings. But the other Scythians, when they 
die, their nearest relations carry about among their friends, laid in 
chariots ; and of these each one receives and entertains the attend- 
ants, and sets the same things before the dead body, as before the 
rest. In this manner private persons are carried about for forty days, 
and then buried. The Scythians having buried them, purify them- 
selves in the following manner. Having wiped and thoroughly 
washed their heads, they do thus with regard to the body ; when they 
have set up three pieces of wood leaning against each other, they 
extend around them woollen cloths ; and having joined them together 
as closely as possible, they throw red-hot stones into a vessel placed 
in the middle of the pieces of wood and the cloths."* 

A more extraordinary custom, closely connected with the 
subject of funerals, is related by the same distinguished writer 
as prevalent among the Messagetae. 

" When a man has attained a great age, all his kinsmen meet, and 
sacrifice him, together with cattle of several kinds ; and when they 
have boiled the flesh, they feast on it This death they account the 
most happy ; but they do not eat the bodies of those who die of 
disease, but bury them in the earth, and think it a great misfortune 
that they did not reach the age to be sacrificed." t 

Among the ancient Egyptians, the opinion was entertained 
that after the lapse of several thousand years, their souls would 
come to reinhabit their bodies, if the latter were preserved 

* Melpomene, iv. 71-73. t Clio, i. 216. 


entire. Hence the origin of mummies, and the situation of 
sepulchres in places not subject to inundation. Belzoni was 
of opinion that such people as could afford cases, would have 
one to be buried in, upon which the history of their lives 
was painted. Those who could not afford a case, were con- 
tented to have their lives written on papyri, rolled up and 
placed above their knees.* 

Herodotus says of the Babylonians that " they embalm the 
dead in honey, and their funeral lamentations are like those 
of the Egyptians." -f- He gives a minute and interesting 
account of the mode in which the Egyptians practised this 
art. He tells us 

" There are persons appointed for this very purpose. They, when 
the dead body is brought to them, show to the bearers wooden 
models of corpses, made exactly like by painting. And they show 
that which they say is the most expensive manner of embalming, 
the name of which I do not think it right to mention on such an 
occasion. They then show the second, which is inferior and less 
expensive ; and the third, which is the cheapest. Having explained 
them all, they learn from them in what way they wish the body 
to be prepared ; then the relations, when they have agreed on the 
price, depart ; but the embalmers, remaining in the workshops, thus 
proceed to embahn in the most expensive manner. First, they draw 
out the brains through the nostrils with an iron hook, taking part oi 
it out in this manner, the rest by the infusion of drugs. Then with 
a sharp Ethiopian stone they make an incision in the side, and take 
out all the bowels ; and having cleansed the abdomen, and rinsed 
it with palm wine, they next sprinkle it with pounded perfumes. 
Then having filled the belly with pure myrrh, pounded, and cassia, 
and other perfumes, frankincense excepted, they sew it up again ; 
and when they have done this, they steep it in vetrum, leaving it 
under for seventy days ; for a longer time than this it is not lawful 
to steep it. At the expiration of the seventy days, they wash the 
corpse, and wrap the whole body in bandages of flaxen cloth, smear- 
ing it with gum, which the Egyptians commonly use instead of glue. 
After this, the relations, having taken the body back again, make a 

* Arts of Greeks and Romans, vol. i., 38. t Clio, i. 198. 


wooden case in the shape of a man, and having made it, they enclose 
the body ; and thus having fastened it up, they store it in a sepul- 
chral chamber, setting it upright against the wall. In this manner 
they prepare the bodies that are embalmed in the most expensive 
way." * 

He then goes on to describe the methods of embalming 
those whose relations desire it to be effected in a less ex- 
pensive manner. He concludes by stating that 

"Should any person, whether Egyptian or stranger, no matter 
which, be found to have been seized by a crocodile, or drowned in 
the river, to whatever city the body may be carried, the inhabi- 
tants are by law compelled to have the body embalmed, and having 
adorned it in the handsomest manner, to bury it in the sacred vaults, 
nor is it lawful for any one else, whether relatives or friends, to 
touch him ; but the priests of the Nile bury the corpse with their own 
hands, as being something more than human."t 

In the museum at Berlin are preserved the hooks for 
drawing out the brain, and other instruments used by the 
ancient Egyptians during the process of embalming. Also 
an ancient Egyptian paint-box, which was extensively used 
in the embellishment of the cases or coffins in which the dead 
bodies were deposited. There is also in the same museum 
an ancient Egyptian medicine-chest, a somewhat alarming 
apparatus, if the sick man was seriously intended to swallow 
the whole contents of those stupendous physic phials. The 
patient, one would fear, could have but a slender chance of 
recovery. The Egyptian doctor must have been as much 
dreaded as the direst disease ! 

The following account of the mode of embalming the dead 
in use among the Ethiopians, is also from the pen of 
Herodotus : 

" When they have dried the body, either as the Egyptians do, or 
in some other way, they plaster it all over with gypsum, and paint it, 
making it as much as possible resemble real life. They then put 
round it a hollow column made of crystal, which they dig up in 

* Euterpe, ii. 86. f H>-, 90. 


abundance, and is easily wrought. The body being in the middle 
of the column is plainly seen, nor does it emit an unpleasant smell, 
nor is it in any way offensive : and it is all visible as the body itself. 
The nearest relations keep the column in their houses for a year, 
offering to it the first-fruits of all, and performing sacrifices ; after 
that time they carry it out and place it somewhere near the city." * 

In the Sacred Scriptures we have an account of Mary 
Magdalene anointing our Lord's feet with precious ointment, 
contained in a box of alabaster, which He stated was done by 
her for His burial. Alabaster vases of the Oriental kind are 
found in the Greek sepulchres, and are presumed to have con- 
tained the oil or perfumes with which the body of the dead was 
anointed. Vases, cups, and bowls, of various forms and 
dimensions, generally painted black, were used at the funeral 
supper, after which they seem to have been carelessly thrown 
into the tomb, as they are often found broken. Some of them 
were carefully deposited in tombs by the side of the deceased, 
as is the case with those in a sepulchre tomb discovered at 
Pompeii. These vessels are of different colours, and are 
placed in various parts of the tomb, according probably as 
convenient space for them was afforded, one vessel being 
deposited upon the breast of the deceased. The uses of these 
vessels found in tombs are mentioned by Plutarch, who, speak- 
ing of the funeral procession at the anniversary of the victory 
of Plataea, in honour of the slain, informs us that there were 
young men, carrying " vessels full of wine and milk for the 
libations, and cruets of oil and perfumed essences," and a bowl 
of wine poured out. The Egyptians supposed that the dead 
were troubled with constant thirst; and it is still customary 
in Bceotia to place vessels full of water in the graves of the 

The first thing that was done on a person dying, was to insert 
a piece of money in his mouth, as a gift or fee to the ferryman 
of Hades. On opening a grave in Cephalonia, the coin was 
discovered still sticking between the teeth of the skeleton. 

* Thalia, iii. 24. t Arts of Greeks and Romans, 103. 


The dead were provided with this as soon as possible, it being 
thought that they would be ferried over all the sooner.* 

It has been asserted by a recent authority that burning the 
dead originated in fire-worship, and that it was only practised 
when fire-worship was the religion of the people. "j* This state- 
ment, however, seems to be unsupported. 

Both burying and burning appear to have been resorted to 
by the Greeks, also by the Jews. In Sparta burial seems to 
have been the customary mode. In other parts of Greece, 
both skeletons and ashes have been discovered, also coffins, 
which were sometimes of wood, sometimes of baked clay. J 
Interment seems to have been the general mode among 
the lower orders. The Athenians, according to the antiquary 
Rous, seldom put more than one man's bones in the same coffin, 
but the Megarenses sometimes three or four. 

At the present day burning the dead is not practised in any 
country in Europe, but the custom of burial is universal. 
During the great French Revolution, some persons proposed 
to revive the practice of burning the dead, but the suggestion 
was not adopted. Special regulations were enacted by the 
Greeks respecting burial-places for the dead. One of 
Solon's laws provided that no tomb was to consist of more 
work than ten men could finish in three days ; neither was it 
to be erected archwise, or adorned with statues. And another 
law directed that no grave should have over it, or by it, more 
than a certain number of pillars of three cubits high, a table 
and labellum, which was a little vessel to contain victuals for 
the ghost's maintenance. || 

The primitive Greeks were buried in places prepared for that 
purpose in their own houses ; and there was a law among 
the Thebans that no person should build a house without pro- 
viding a repository for his dead. But the general custom, in 

* Becker's Charicles, translated by Metcalfe, p. 287. 

t Mr A. Bakewell's Lecture on Cremation before the Royal Institution, 
January 1875. 

% Ib., pp. 290, 291. Attic Antiquities, p. 263. 

|| Potter's Grecian Antiquities, p. 207. 

2 C 


later ages especially, was to bury the dead without their 
cities, and chiefly by the highways. The common graves of 
primitive Greece were nothing but holes or caverns dug in the 
earth ; while those of later ages were more curiously wrought. 
They were commonly paved with stone, had arches built over 
them, and were adorned with no less art and care than the 
houses of the living, insomuch that mourners commonly retired 
into the vaults of the dead, and there lamented over their 
relations for many days and nights together.* 

Kings and great men were anciently buried in mountains, 
or at the feet of them, whence originated the custom of raising 
a mount upon the graves of great persons. This consisted 
sometimes of stone, but the common materials were nothing 
but earth.f 

Among the Romans the places for burial were either private 
or public. The private were in fields or gardens, usually near 
the highway, in order to be conspicuous, and to remind those 
who passed by of their mortality. Hence the frequent in- 
scriptions, which are still retained on many monuments of our 
day, " Siste viator, aspice viator " stop, traveller ; look, travel- 
ler. The public places for the burial of great men were 
commonly in the Campus Martius.J 

In the gallery of inscriptions in the Vatican at Rome, are 
contained several Roman tombstones and monuments of great 
interest, on several of which are inscriptions and devices de- 
noting the nature of the calling followed by the deceased, and 
affording some insight into his character. Some bas-reliefs 
represent a cutler's shop on one side, with a customer bargain- 
ing for an article, and also his workshop on the other. 

The early Christians appear to have adopted the Roman 
custom as to places of burial ; but they subsequently had 
them in the neighbourhood of the churches, and inside their 
towns, whence the origin of churchyards. 

It has been said that, at a very early period in Roman 
history, it was customary, as in Greece, to bury persons of 

* Potter's Grecian Antiquities, 217-219. t /A, 219, 220. 

J Adam's Roman Antiquities, 444. 


distinction in their own houses.* Latterly, however, neither 
sepulture nor the more common obsequies were allowed 
within the walls of the city, except to the vestal virgins, and 
to some families of high distinction. -f 1 

At Athens there were two common burying-grounds, one 
within, the other without the walls. That within was devoted 
to those who died on the field of battle for the good of the 
state. Over their graves were placed columns, inscribed with 
the names of the places where they fell, and their epitaphs. 
The Greeks also buried their dead in the gardens of their 
villas ; and, in the case of persons of great consequence, 
sometimes they were interred within their temples.^ 

Dionysius of Halicarnassus observes that great men had 
often many tombs, though their bones were only contained in 

Burning the bodies of the dead is said by some authorities 
to have originated in the fear of their remains being violated 
by enemies. || Homer affords us the following account of the 
burning of the body of Patroclus : 

" Wood was collected for the pile, and when ready, the procession 
was headed by warriors, fully armed, in cars, followed by the infantry. 
The body was carried on a bier, in the middle, by companions, who 
had cut off their hair, in token of mourning, and laid it upon the 
corpse. Achilles followed next as chief mourner, stooping over the 
body, and supporting the head of it. When arrived at the pile, and 
the body deposited near it, Achilles cut off his hair, made an oration, 
and put the hair between the arms of the corpse. It was then placed 
upon the upper story of the pile ; a large number of sheep and oxen 
were killed, and with their fat Achilles smeared the whole body of 
Patroclus from head to foot ; placed urns full of oil and honey upon 
its two sides ; killed four of the best horses, two of the best dogs, 
out of the nine which he kept to guard his camp, and threw them 
against the pile. Lastly, to appease the manes of his friend, he 
sacrificed twelve young Trojans of the best family. He then set 
fire to the pile, invoked his friend, and during the conflagration 

* Sketches of Institutions, etc., of Romans, p. 398. t Ib., p. 404. 

Arts of Greeks and Romans, vol. i., 101. Ib., 106. || Ib. t 289. 


poured out wine from a golden urn, upon the ground, still loudly 
calling upon the soul of Patroclus. In the meanwhile, all the chiefs 
having assembled around Agamemnon, Achilles requested them to 
extinguish all vestiges of flame with wine, and to collect the bones of 
Patroclus without mixing them, because their situation in the midst 
of the pile would easily discriminate them ; and to put them into a 
golden urn, with a double envelope of fat. The urn was then de- 
posited in the tent of Achilles, and covered with a precious veil, the 
extent of the barrow marked out, foundations laid around it, and the 
earth thrown up, the whole barrow denoting both the site and dimen- 
sions of the funeral pile." * 

The relics of the body were distinguished from those of the 
beasts and men burned with it, by placing the body in the 
middle of the pile, whereas the men and beasts lay on the 
sides. The bones and ashes thus collected were deposited in 
urns, consisting of either wood, stone, earth, silver, or gold, 
according to the quality of the deceased.^ 

The shape of these urns appears to have varied a good 
deal at different periods. The Latins made them in the form 
of the huts which they inhabited. Several urns of this 
description are preserved in the Vatican at Rome, at the 
bottom of which the ashes are still lying. The form of the 
heart is said to have been adopted in deciding on the ordinary 
shape of the urn. 

Sometimes the bodies were burnt upon large biers of bronze, 
or some other metal, large enough to contain a sufficient 
amount of fuel for the purpose. One of these biers is to be 
seen in the gallery of the Vatican at Rome. 

With regard to the ceremonies used at funerals in the 
ancient times, the following account has been transmitted to 
us by Herodotus, of those adopted by the Egyptians : 

" When in a family a man of any consideration dies, all the females 
of that family besmear their heads and faces with mud, and then 
leaving the body in the house, they wander about the city, and beat 
themselves, having their clothes girt up, and exposing their breasts, 

* Arts of Greeks and Romans, vol. i., 93, 94. 
t Potter's Grecian Antiquities, 214, 215. 


and all their relations accompanying them. On the other hand, the 
men beat themselves, being girt up in like manner. When they have 
done this, they carry out the body to be embalmed." * 

A representation on an Egyptian coffin now in the British 
Museum, exhibits the mode in which, among the Egyptians 
in ancient times, funerals were celebrated. The body is here 
depicted as being carried in a boat, drawn by black horses, 
down the Nile, for the purpose probably of being embalmed. 
The vessels containing the spices and other articles for em- 
balming, are placed in the centre of the boat beneath the 
body, which reposes on a sort of bier ; and a canopy is erected 
over it to shelter it from the sun. The mourners are seen 
with their breasts bare and besmeared with clay, and beating 
themselves, exactly as described by Herodotus. 

The Babylonians used to bury their dead in honey, and 
the lamentations at their funerals were very like those of the 
Egyptians. Modern researches show two modes of burial 
to have prevailed in ancient Babylonia. Ordinarily the bodies 
seem to have been compressed into urns, and baked or burned. 
Thousands of funeral urns are found on the sites of the 
ancient cities. Coffins are also found, though but rarely. 
These are occasionally of wood, but in general of the same 
kind of pottery as the urns. The coffins from Warka are 
of green glazed pottery, and are shaped like a slipper-bath, 
and belonged probably to the Chaldeans of the Parthian 
age. Funeral jars, which seem to have been used for ordinary 
burial, are to be found by thousands in every Babylonian 
ruin. Ashes are sometimes found in these jars, but it is more 
usual to meet with a skeleton compressed into a small space, 
but with the bones and cranium uncalcined. Sir Henry 
Rawlinson remarks that in all such cases as have fallen under 
his own personal observation, he has found the mouth of the 
jar much too narrow to admit of the possibility of the cranium 
passing in or out ; so that either the clay must have been 
moulded over the corpse and then baked, or the neck of the 
jar added after the interment.^ 

* Euterpe, ii. 85. + Sir H. Rawlinson's Herodotus, vol. i., pp. 272-274. 


From other sources we learn that at the time appointed for 
the funeral to take place, the judges and friends were invited, 
and sat in a certain place beyond the lake (supposed to be 
that of Moeris), which the body was to pass. The vessel, 
whose pilot was called Charon, being hauled up to the shore 
before the body was suffered to embark, every one was at 
liberty to accuse the deceased. If any accuser made good his 
charge, that the deceased had led a bad life, the body was 
denied the customary burial ; but if the accuser charged the 
deceased unjustly, he incurred a severe punishment. If no 
accuser appeared, or the accusation could not be supported, 
the relations recited the praise of the deceased, and the 
attendants joined their acclamations to this funeral oration. 
The body was then deposited in the family sepulchre. Those 
who, for their crimes, or for debt, were forbidden to be interred, 
were deposited privately in their own houses.* 

The following extraordinary account of the celebration 
of funeral solemnities among the Issedones, is afforded by 
Herodotus : 

" When a man's father dies, all his relations bring cattle, and then 
having sacrificed them, and cut up the flesh, they cut up also the 
dead parent of their host, and having mingled all the flesh together, 
they spread out a banquet ; then having made bare and cleansed his 
head, they gild it ; and afterwards they treat it as a sacred image, 
performing grand annual sacrifices to it A son does this to his 
father, as the Greeks celebrate the anniversary of their father's 

Among the Thracians, Herodotus records the observance of 
the following customs : 

" The relations, seating themselves round one that is newly born, 
bewail him, deploring the many evils he must needs fulfil, since he 
has been born ; enumerating the various sufferings incident to man- 
kind But one that dies they bury in the earth, making merry and 
rejoicing, recounting the many evils from which, being released, he 
is now in perfect bliss."J 

* Rees's Cyclop., art. "Egypt." + Melpomene, iv. 26. 

t Terpsichore, v. 4. 


Among the Greeks, when a person died, those about him 
addressed their prayers to Mercury, whose office it was to 
convey souls to the infernal regions. Mothers, or the nearest 
in kin or affection, kissed the dying with open mouths, as if 
to inhale their departing spirits.* After death had occurred, 
the eyes were closed by the next of kin ; the face was covered, 
and the body, being laid out, was consecrated, anointed, 
and laid in a square garment. The feet and hands were tied 
by bandages, as in the case of Lazarus. The Naulon, or piece 
of money to pay Charon's fare, was placed in the mouth ; and 
a cake, made of flour and honey, to appease Cerberus. A 
house being polluted wherein a corpse lay, as was the case 
also among the Jews, a vessel of lustral water from another 
dwelling was placed at the door for visitors to sprinkle them- 
selves with as they went out. The corpse itself, which was 
also the custom among the Romans, was placed at the 
entrance of the house, with the feet towards the door, decked 
with garlands, and laid upon a couch or litter adorned with 
them, and which were made of all sorts of herbs and flowers, 
and especially of olive. The cypress, we are told, became a 
funereal tree, not from its gloomy foliage, but because it never 
grows up again after it is cut down. People of condition placed 
boughs of it at the door ; and we still see on marbles, sepul- 
chres with cypresses planted by them. Some hair, cut from 
the head of the deceased, was also hung at the door. The 
time for keeping the body above ground varied, the poor being 
buried soonest. Persons were stationed to keep off the flies.-f 

The Romans were in the habit of ringing a bell, or making 
a great clatter with brazen vessels, to notify when any person 
was about to die, which is said to have originated in the notion 
that the sound frightened away evil spirits. This was pro- 
bably the origin of the passing-bell in this country.^ 

At the funeral the corpse was carried with the feet fore- 
most on an open bier, covered with the richest cloth, and 

* Bishop Godwin's Roman Antiquities, p. 73. 
t Arts of Greeks and Romans, vol. i., 95, 96. 
J Rous's Archaeologise Atticae, p. 241. 


borne by the nearest relations and most distinguished friends. 
A statue of the deceased was carried before his body.* 

The following very extraordinary custom among the early 
Christians is recorded by Bishop Godwin in his " Ecclesias- 
tical Rites of the Hebrews : " When any catechumenist died, 
some living person being placed under the bed of the deceased, 
the latter was asked whether he would be baptized ? The 
corpse not replying, the person under the bed answered for 
him that he would be baptized, and the ceremony was per- 
formed accordingly/!* 

Previous to the procession to the tomb, a crier proclaimed, 
" Whoever will attend the funeral must come now." To lead 
the procession there were mourning women, as mentioned in 
Jeremiah. J We hear also of the minstrels or musicians of 
Scripture, playing melancholy tunes. The addition of tumblers 
and buffoons Dionysius Halicarnassus makes not a general 
practice, but says that it was limited to persons who had lived 
merrily. There appears, however, to have been such a variety 
in funereal customs, that none can be called universal. It is 
however stated that the face of the corpse, when carried out, 
was uncovered, and sometimes painted, to make it more 
agreeable, especially those of young maids. But in all those 
cases where the face of the dead was deformed or changed, it 
was covered. 

Death itself being supposed to be muffled in black, it was 
the colour of mourning from the earliest times. This was the 
case among the Greeks generally. And it was not until the 
time of the emperors that white garments were substituted for 
black ones in the case of the women. || 

At the funerals of eminent persons, the mourners were 
adorned with garlands, and carried torches or tapers, or 
some ornaments for the deceased, or images of the infernal 
gods. The sons of the deceased walked with their heads 
veiled, the daughters barefooted, and with their hair dis- 

* Sketches of Institutions, etc., of the Romans, pp. 398, 400. 

t Rous's Arch. Att., p. 241. J Jer. ix. 17. Arts of Greeks and Romans, 96. 

|| Becker's Callus, translated by Metcalfe, p. 409. 


bevelled. The men walked before the corpse, and the women, 
if aged or relatives, behind.* 

The custom of weeping and throwing dust on their heads is 
frequently represented on the Egyptian monuments, where 
the men and women have their dresses fastened by a band 
round the waist, the breast being bare, as described by Hero- 
dotus. For seventy days the family continued to mourn at 
home, singing the funeral dirge, and abstaining from the bath, 
wine, delicacies, and rich clothing.^ 

The mourners at funerals proceeded to the place where the 
body was to be burnt or buried. The pile was previously 
prepared with combustible wood, upon which the corpse was 
laid. It was watered with perfumed liquors ; a finger was cut 
off in order to be buried ; the face was turned towards the 
sky ; and Charon's fare, commonly a silver obolus, was placed 
in the mouth of the deceased. All the pile was surrounded 
with cypress. The nearest relation turning his back, while the 
pile was being inflamed, threw upon it the arms and other 
effects of the defunct. A sacrifice was also made of oxen, 
bulls, and sheep, which were thrown upon the pile. While the 
body was burning, the mourners stood round and prayed to 
the winds to blow upon it, and make it burn the better. A 
strong wind was considered a good omen. A bellman was in 
attendance to keep off any who appeared disposed to meddle 
with the bones. J 

When the body was consumed, the ashes and bones were 
washed with milk and wine, and deposited in an urn, as 
already mentioned. 

According to Herodotus, " all the wandering tribes of the 
Libyans buried their dead in the fashion of the Greeks, except 
the Nasamonians. They bury them sitting, and are right care- 
ful when the sick man is at the point of giving up the ghost, 
to make him sit, and not let him die lying down." || 

* Becker's Callus, translated by Metcalfe, 97. 

t Note to Sir H. Rawlinson's Herodotus, vol. ii., pp. 117, 118. 

J Rous's Archseologise Atticse, 262. 

Arts of Greeks and Romans, vol. i., 294. || Melpomene, 190. 


Sir Henry Rawlinson remarks that the primitive inhabi- 
tants of the Canary Islands, who were a genuine African 
people, buried their dead standing, some with a staff in their 
hands.* The ancient Britons also frequently buried their 
dead in a sitting posture, the hands raised to the neck, and 
the elbows close to the knees, -f- 

Lucian, in describing the funeral ceremonies of his time, 
remarks that all are accompanied with complaints and mourn- 
ing, tears and sobs, to agree with the master of the ceremony, 
who orders all matters, and recites with such a mournful 
voice all the former calamities of the deceased as would 
make them weep, if they had never seen him. So that the 
dead man is the most happy of all the company, for while 
his friends and relations torment themselves, he is set in some 
convenient place, washed, cleansed, perfumed, and crowned, 
as if he were to go into company.! 

But the strangest custom of all among the Romans was the 
occasional introduction to funerals of mimics, who counter- 
feited the words, actions, and manners of the deceased, for the 
purpose of turning him into ridicule ; though in some cases 
they were called upon to extol his virtues. Suetonius tells us 
that the arch-mimic Favo was present at the funeral of the 
Emperor Vespasian. Sometimes the mimic walked before 
the bier, and with the assistance of a mask, and by his ges- 
tures, imitated the actions of the deceased. || 

Suetonius relates that at the funeral of Vespasian, the 
mimic Favo came masked with a vizard, and in a disguise 
like the emperor, who being taxed with covetousness, and 
counterfeiting him according to custom, asked aloud before 
the assembly, those who had the management of the funeral, 
how much the charges of the burial came to ? And when he 
heard that it amounted to a hundred sesterces, which is about 
750, he cried out that if they would give him that sum of 

* Prichard's Natural History of Man, 297. 

t Note to Sir H. Rawlinson's Herodotus, vol. iii., p. 139. 

J Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, tit. " Cadaver." 

Arts of Greeks and Romans, vol. ii., 227. || Id., 283. 


money, they might throw him after his death where they 
should think fit* Cornelius Tacitus tells us that the great 
magistrates of Rome sometimes carried the funeral bed of 
emperors and dictators.-f* 

By the pontifical laws, it was not allowable for a high 
priest to look upon a dead body ; but if by chance he had 
seen one in his way, he was bound by the law, before he 
went any farther, either to throw some earth upon it, or to 
bury it.J 

Marcus ^Emilius Lepidus, who had been six times declared 
chief of the senate, on his death-bed gave strict orders to his 
sons that he should be carried out to burial on a couch, with- 
out the usual ornaments of purple and fine linen, and that 
there should not be expended on his funeral more than ten 
pieces of brass ; alleging that the funerals of the most dis- 
tinguished men used formerly to be decorated by trains of 
images, and not by vast expense. 

Tacitus tells us that at the funeral of Germanicus 

" His ashes were borne upon the shoulders of the tribunes and 
centurions ; before them were carried the ensigns unadorned, and the 
fasces reversed. As they passed through the colonies, the populace in 
black, the knights in their purple robes, burned precious raiment, 
perfumes, and whatever else is used in funeral solemnities, according 
to the ability of the place : even they whose cities lay remote from the 
route, came forth, offered victims, and erected altars to the gods of 
the departed, and with tears and ejaculations testified their sorrow. 
The senate, and great part of the people, filled the 
road, a scattered procession, each walking and expressing his grief 
as inclination led him." || 

The same distinguished writer tells us that 

" To the memory of Drusus were decreed the same solemnities as 

to that of Germanicus, with many superadded ; the natural effect of 

flattery, which gathers strength as it grows older. The funeral was 

signally splendid in the procession of images; as ^Eneas, the father of 

* Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, tit. "Funus." 

t Ib. J Ib. 

Livy, b. xlviii. || Annals, b. iii., c. ii. 


the Julian race, all the kings of Alba, and Romulus, founder of Rome, 
next the Sabine nobility, Attus Clausus, and the effigies of the rest 
of the Claudian family, were displayed in lengthened train." * 

Pictures or images of illustrious persons connected with the 
deceased, were sometimes carried at their funerals. The urns 
containing the ashes of the deceased, collected from the 
funeral pile, were deposited in a large building erected for 
the purpose, called a columbarium, from its resemblance 
to a dovecote, some remains of which still exist at Rome. 
You see in these buildings urns of different dimensions, 
representing the father, mother, and various members of 
the family, proportioned to the size of the children at the 
time of death. 

The Romans, we are told, paid the greatest attention to 
funeral rites, because they believed that the souls of the 
unburied were not admitted into the abodes of the dead, or 
at least wandered a hundred years along the river Styx, 
before they were allowed to cross it ; for which reason, if the 
bodies of their friends could not be found, they erected to 
them an empty tomb, at which they performed the usual 
solemnities. If they happened to see a dead body, they 
always threw some earth upon it ; and whoever neglected to 
do so, was obliged to expiate his crime by sacrificing a hog to 
Ceres. Hence, no kind of death was so much dreaded as 
shipwreck, and to want the due rites was considered the 
greatest misfortune.-f 

All funerals used anciently to be solemnised at night with 
torches, in order that they might not fall in the way of 
magistrates and priests, who were supposed to be violated 
by seeing a corpse, so that they could not perform sacred 
rites until they were purified by an expiatory sacrifice. But 
in after-ages, public funerals were celebrated in the daytime, 
at an early hour in the forenoon, and with torches also. 
Private or ordinary funerals were always at night. J 

Instances are recorded of persons coming to life again on 

* Annals, b. iv., c. 9. 

t Adam's Roman Antiquities, 435, 443. J Id., 441. 


the funeral pile after it was set on fire ; and of others who, 
having revived before the pile was kindled, returned home 
on foot* 

Particular ceremonies have been adopted by all nations 
to mark their mourning for the dead, although these have 
varied widely in different countries. The Jews, during 
the whole period of mourning, were to cease from washing 
or anointing themselves, or changing their clothes. Those 
ceremonies, on ordinary occasions, lasted seven days ; but 
in the case of the death of an eminent person, as in those 
of Moses and Aaron, they were to be continued for a 

The ceremonies by which the Greeks used to express their 
sorrow upon the death of their friends, and on other occa- 
sions, were various and uncertain. Hence it was that 
mourners in some cities demeaned themselves in the very 
same manner with persons who in other places designed to 
express joy ; for the customs of one city being different from 
those of another, it sometimes happened that what in one 
place was meant for an expression of mirth, was in others a 
token of sorrow. It seems, however, to have been a general 
and constant rule amongst them to recede as much as pos- 
sible from their ordinary customs, by which change they 
thought it would appear that some extraordinary calamity 
had befallen them. They also tore, cut off, and sometimes 
shaved their hair.J 

The period of mourning among the Romans, on the part of 
men, or of distant relatives, appears to have been but short. 
Widows were, however, bound to mourn for their husbands 
for an entire year. 

The Romans while mourning kept themselves at home, 
avoiding every entertainment and amusement, neither cutting 
their hair nor beard. They dressed themselves in black, which 

* Adam's Roman Antiquities, 447. 

t Dr Cox's Manners and Customs of the Israelites, p. 106. 

J Potter's Greek Antiquities, vol. ii., 196, 198. 

Pliny's Letters, b. iv., ep. 2, and b. vi., ep. 34. 


latter custom is supposed to have been borrowed from 
the Egyptians. Sometimes they attired themselves in skins, 
laying aside every kind of ornament, not even lighting a fire, 
which was esteemed an ornament to a house. The women 
on these occasions laid aside their gold and purple. Under 
the republic they dressed in black like the men. But under 
the emperors, when party-coloured clothes came in fashion, 
they wore white in mourning.* 

A feast of ghosts and phantoms, called Lemuria, was 
solemnised the Qth day of May, in order to pacify the 
manes of the dead, who were supposed to pay visits at night, 
with the ill-natured object of tormenting the living. The 
institution of this feast is ascribed to Romulus, who, to 
get rid of the ghost of his brother Remus, whom he had 
ordered to be murdered, and which was constantly paying 
him visits, ordered a feast, called after his name, Remuria and 
Lemuria. Sacrifices were offered for three nights together, 
during which time all the temples of the gods were shut up, 
and no weddings were allowed to take place. The principal 
ceremony which was used at this sacrifice was of rather a 
singular nature. About the middle of the night, the person 
who offered, being barefooted, made a signal, having the 
fingers of his hand joined to his thumb, whereby he fancied 
that he kept off the phantom or bad spirit. Then he washed 
his hands in spring water, and putting black beans into his 
mouth, threw them behind him, uttering these words, " I 
deliver myself and mine by these beans," making withal, we 
are told, a melancholy noise, with pans and other brass 
vessels, which they used to strike one against the other, 
desiring the ghosts to withdraw, and repeating nine times 
together an urgent request that they would retire in peace 
without any more disturbing the living,*!' a solicitation with 
which it appears that the ghosts were, on all ordinary cases 
at least, either so polite or so obliging as to comply. 

I have now completed the survey which I have been 

* Adam's Roman Antiquities, 451. 

t Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, tit. " Lemuria." 


attempting of the manner of life and daily occupations of the 
people of the ancient world ; during which I have endeavoured 
to trace the progress of civilisation from its earliest dawn to 
the period when it had attained a height and a glory, very 
little, if at all, inferior to the splendour with which it beams 
forth in the present enlightened age. What an insight into 
human nature is thus afforded ! How striking a view of 
the inner mind of society is by this means unfolded to our 
mental vision ! How varied is the prospect in each direction; 
and how chequered is the scene which lies open before us ! 
How different does the world, when beheld under this phase, 
appear to what we in these days see it ; and yet at the same 
time how strikingly similar, and even identical. It is in the 
one moment the same and altogether another orb. The 
people and their institutions vary much from our own ; but 
human nature itself is still precisely what it was, and what it 
ever will be. Mankind and their various callings are ever 
changing, according as circumstances influence their career. 
But the nature of man is ever and alike unchangeable, 
although events may affect its aspect. The grand, and stately, 
and wondrous machinery is what it originally was, however 
its operations may vary according to the agents by whom it 
is stimulated to activity. 

Most important and most interesting is it, moreover, in the 
comprehensive survey thus taken of the progress of mankind 
from the infancy of the race itself, to trace out, and to keep 
ever clearly in view, the steady, and powerful, and ceaseless 
operation of those grand elements of civilisation, through 
whose mighty and mysterious, though invisible agency, the 
advancement of society, and the elevation of mankind have 
hitherto been so far effected ; and through whose all-impor- 
tant instrumentality in the course of ages, when the appointed 
period for this shall have been prepared and shall be 
reached, will eventually be accomplished the civilisation of 
the world.* 

* Civilisation considered as a Science. 


Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. 

As Mayor of Bedford when the statue of John Bunyan, pre- 
sented to that town by the Duke of Bedford, was lately 
inaugurated, I was led to devote some attention to the his- 
tory of the great dreamer. During my investigations I was 
led to the conclusion that his biographers have fallen into 
some errors. 

It is commonly stated that Bunyan was, about the year 1728, 
born at Elstow, a village near Bedford ; this statement is cer- 
tainly incorrect. He was born at Harrowden, a hamlet be- 
longing to Cardington, a parish subsequently famous as the 
residence of the celebrated philanthropist, John Howard. 
The place is called Bunyan End, but it is now a ploughed 
field. It is not surprising that the mistake should have 
occurred, since the hamlet of Harrowden adjoins Elstow, and 
Bunyan, immediately after his marriage, occupied the cottage 
in the village which has been designated as his birth-place. 

Mr Offor in his memoir, quoting from Bunyan's account of 
himself, concludes that he was " a travelling tinker, probably 
a gipsy ; " and Bunyan, referring to his descent, styles it " low 
and contemptible." But the probability is that his father 
belonged to the class of village tradesmen. The tinkers were 
wandering people, who lived in tents, which they erected on 
the road-side or on waste ground ; but Bunyan and his father 
were settled inhabitants, and conducted trade as braziers, 
then called tinkers, as the occupation consisted chiefly in 
repairing culinary vessels. 

In Bunyan's time each village had its weaver, carpenter, 
blacksmith, wheel-wright, and other artificers, who, with 


small farmers and graziers, formed a class which ranked 
between the labourer and yeoman or farmer who cultivated 
his own land. Watchmakers and bell-founders occasionally 
conducted their occupations in remote villages. A bell- 
founder of repute carried on business at Wootton, a rural 
village about five miles from Bedford, and where the name of 
Bunyan frequently occurs in the parish register. The modest 
turn of Bunyan's mind would dispose him to speak of himself 
with marked humility, and he would shrink from exalting his 
position or parentage beyond its reality. 

It has been represented by several of his biographers that 
Bunyan's education was defective, an opinion founded on his 
statement in " Grace Abounding," that " his parents put him 
to school to learn both to read and to write; but that he 
soon lost the little that he learned." But he must have 
received as good an education as, at this period, was usually 
given to children of his class. Mr Blower, whose researches 
have been very extensive in matters relating to Bunyan, is of 
opinion that he studied at the Bedford Grammar School. 
This is confirmed by a passage in the preface to the " Scrip- 
tural Poems," in which Bunyan describes himself as " a 
mechanic guided by no rule, but what he gained in a gram- 
mar school." 

The Bedford Grammar School was a free foundation for 
the inhabitants of the town, so that Bunyan's parents must 
have paid for his instruction, and we may accordingly infer 
that they were in moderate circumstances. 

Bunyan, as a youth, entered into the rural sports and 
amusements of the period. He was fond of bell-ringing, 
dancing, " the game of cat," and other amusements. He 
seems, indeed, to have alternated between merriment and 
religious despondency. He writes, " The Lord, even in my 
childhood, did scare and affright me with fearful dreams, and 
did terrify me with dreadful visions." And again : " Often 
after I have spent this and the other day in sin, I have, in my 
bed, been greatly afflicted, while asleep, with the apprehen- 
sions of devils and wicked spirits who still, as I then thought, 

2 D 


laboured to draw me away with them." His waking reflec- 
tions seem also to have tormented him : " When I was but 
nine or ten years old," he writes, " I did so distress my soul, 
that then, in the midst of many sports and childish vanities 
with my vain companions, I was often cast down, and 
afflicted in my mind therewith ; yet I could not let go my 

With all his self-accusation, we do not find that Bunyan 
was addicted to any actual vices, if we may except a pernici- 
ous habit of swearing. He was no drunkard ; he was never 
suspected of dishonesty ; and he thoroughly exonerates him- 
self from any sexual irregularities. He was led to abandon 
the use of oaths by a woman, whom he styles " a loose and 
ungodly wretch ; " she told him that he was the ungodliest 
fellow for swearing that she ever heard in her life, and that 
by thus doing he was able to spoil all the youth in the whole 
town, if they came but in his company. 

As a youth he entered the army, three years after the com- 
mencement of the civil war. It has been debated whether 
he joined the royal or the Parliamentary forces. In the Life 
of Bunyan, appended to the twenty -eighth edition of the 
"Pilgrim's Progress," printed in 1752, it is stated: "Being 
a soldier in the Parliament's army at the siege of Leicester in 
1645, he was drawn out to stand sentinel, but another soldier 
voluntarily desired to go in his room ; which Mr Bunyan 
consenting to, he went ; and as he stood sentinel there, was 
shot into the head with a musket-bullet, and died." The 
incident is related by Mr Southey. 

Among the more recent biographers, Mr Brown, minister of 
the Bunyan Meeting in Bedford, remarks that " on which side 
in the civil wars he took up arms is still a moot point." But 
Mr Offor and Mr Copner are strongly of opinion that he 
must have been a Royalist. His adherence to monarchical 
principles is testified in many parts of his works ; one passage 
may be quoted. In the preface to his discourse on Anti- 
christ, he writes : " My loyalty to my king, my love to my 
brethren, and my service to my country have been the cause - 


of my present scribble." It is acknowledged that he attended 
the church in his early years, and his bell-ringing propensities 
indicate that he was at least nominally a churchman, from 
which we should also infer that in " Good King Charles' 
golden days " he must have been a Royalist. 

Shortly after his return from the wars, he married his first 
wife, by whom he had four children. From his own account 
he entered into the marriage state without having made any 
provision for housekeeping. He writes that he and his wife 
had not a dish or a spoon between them. His wife, the 
daughter of a pious father, was an orphan ; and if she pos- 
sessed but few worldly effects, she brought to her husband 
what was far better, industrious and well-regulated habits. 
She possessed two books, "The Plain Man's Pathway to 
Heaven," and "The Practice of Piety," a legacy from her 
father. She and her husband read these books together. 

Bunyan began to attend church regularly, but afterwards 
he hardly considered that he was then a religious man, 
nor could he have been so considered by the Puritans, as on 
Sunday afternoons he indulged in rural sports which were 
then sanctioned. In early life Bunyan was afflicted with a 
kind of morbid infatuation. He seemed to think sinfulness 
attached to his favourite pursuit of bell-ringing, and lest 
he should be doing wrong he refrained from its indulgence ; 
but he made a compromise between what he considered his 
duty and his inclination, by going to the bell-tower, " to look 
on." He then began to think that one of the bells might fall, 
so to be in a place of security where he might watch the 
ringers, he stood under one of the large beams that is placed 
across the tower. But even there he thought, " Suppose the 
swing of the bell should cause it to fall askance, it might 
rebound from the wall and kill me nevertheless." To become 
more secure he stood " at the steeple door." Then he thought 
he might be safe, but soon his mind misgave him, and it 
occurred to him that the steeple might fall, so eventually he 
was scared away altogether. 

For a time Bunyan halted between two opinions. Hearing 


several poor women engage in conversation upon the natural 
condition of mankind, and the blessedness of the " new birth," 
he joined them frequently, and from their conversation 
became convinced that he lacked the earnest of spiritual life. 
Becoming acquainted with Mr Gifford, a Baptist minister at 
Bedford, who first officiated at the community which after- 
wards became celebrated under the pastorate of Bunyan, 
he was received by him into church-fellowship. From his 
scriptural knowledge and fluency of utterance, Mr Gifford 
and his people insisted on his preaching in the surrounding 
villages. While prosecuting his early ministrations, Bunyan 
underwent violent persecution. During the Protectorate 
he was vigorously opposed by the Presbyterians, and on the 
Restoration, the episcopal clergy under Charles II. deter- 
mined to enforce his silence. On the charge of preach- 
ing to the lieges, he was committed to prison on the I2th 
November 1660, and kept in restraint till early in 1666. He 
was then liberated, but after six months was again incarcerated, 
and made to endure imprisonment for other six years. Dis- 
charged from prison early in 1672, he was arrested a third 
time, but after a few months' detention he permanently 
obtained his liberty. 

A belief is erroneously entertained that Bunyan suffered 
imprisonment on Bedford Bridge. During the seventeenth 
century a place for warding offenders was built against 
the central pier of the bridge over the river Ouse. But as 
the bridge was only fourteen feet wide, it is evident that it 
could not have accommodated fifty-two persons, who, we are 
informed, shared Bunyan's imprisonment. But there is on 
the point conclusive evidence. From the records of the 
common council of Bedford we have the following : 

" \\th July 1661. The Bayliffe having this day informed the 
councel that the town prison upon y e Bridge is farr out of repaire so 
that it is not fit to secure prisoners, it is ordayned by Mr Maior and 
the Aldermen (his brethren) the Bayliffe Burgesses and Coralty in 
this present Councell assembled, that the Chamblins shall forthw th 


take order to repaire it both for y e stone-worke and tymber-worke 
and otherwise making it secure as they shall deeme meete." 

The preceding minute, it will be remarked, is dated eight 
months after the period when Bunyan was first committed to 
prison ; and then the prison on the bridge is declared to have 
been so far out of repair as to be unfit for its purpose. 

Bunyan was incarcerated in the county prison, which stood 
in the High Street, and the site of which is now an open 
space, measuring 1 10 feet in length by 30 feet in breadth. 

The story of a gold ring, with the letters I. B. indented 
upon it, having been found among the rubbish when the 
bridge was taken down, has been seriously put forward as 
evidence that Bunyan must have been confined in the Bridge 
Prison. To this statement it may be a sufficient answer, that 
as Bunyan was necessitated to tag laces for the support of 
his family during his imprisonment, it is most unlikely he 
would indulge in wearing a gold ring. The initials on the 
ring do not necessarily signify John Bunyan. 

In prison, Bunyan did not experience a rigorous restraint. 
Under the favour of the jailer, he was permitted to visit his 
family and to exhort publicly. He relates that being on one 
occasion permitted to visit Christian friends in London, his 
enemies were much offended, and menaced the jailer with 
dismissal. During the last four years of his imprisonment 
he attended the Baptist meeting, and in the eleventh year 
was elected to its pastorate. Towards the close of 1672 he 
received a royal pardon, under the Great Seal, in which, it 
is important to remark, he is described as a prisoner in " the 
common jail of our county of Bedford." 

After his liberation, Bunyan lived sixteen years ; but of the 
events of his life during that period we know but little. He 
visited London once a year, and made excursions to other 
parts of England. Wherever he went, his celebrity as a 
preacher procured him numerous auditors. 

Brought up in the Church of England, Bunyan renounced 
the Book of Common Prayer, and became a Nonconformist. 


During a controversy into which he was reluctantly led, he 
remarked, " Since you would know by what name I would be 
distinguished from others, I tell you I would be, and I hope I 
am, a Christian, and choose, if God count me worthy, to be 
called a Christian, a believer, or such other name which is 
approved by the Holy Ghost." These having been his senti- 
ments, we can easily understand why his works contain suffi- 
cient catholicity to render them acceptable to all denomina- 

Bunyan, it has been stated, continued to work as a brazier 
up to the period of his decease. This is improbable. On his 
return from Reading, whither he had proceeded on the bene- 
volent errand of reconciling an offended father with his son, 
he was seized with an ailment, which prematurely closed his 
life. He died at London on the 3ist August 1688. His 
remains were deposited in the burial-ground at Bunhill 

Bunyan was prone to indulge a habit of composing religious 
rhymes. Several unpublished, verses from his pen are con- 
tained in a copy of Foxe's " Acts and Monuments," preserved 
in the library of the Bedford Literary Institution. 

During his imprisonment, the Bible and Foxe's " Martyrs " 
were his chief companions ; but he was supplied by his 
friends with other books. From Spenser's " Faerie Queene," 
" the man of hell, that calls himself Despayre," might have 
suggested to him the Giant Despair. Both propose to their 
victims the most powerful inducements to self-destruction. 
Bunyan's Christian says, " My soul chooseth strangling rather 
than life, and the grave is more easy for me than this dun- 
geon." And Spenser's Despayre exclaims : 

" For what hath life, that may it loved make, 
And gives not rather cause it to forsake ? " 

The wife of the giant counsels to "take them into the 
castle-yard to-morrow, and show them the bones and skulls 
of those thou hast already despatched." And Spenser, in a 
description, shows 


" Stubs of trees 

On which had many wretches hanged beene, 
Whose carcases were scattered on the greene." 

The Giant Despair " told them that since they were never 
like to come out of that place, their only way would be forth- 
with to make an end of themselves either with knife, halter, 
or poison ; for why," said he, " should you choose life, seeing it 
is attended with so much bitterness." Spenser's Despayre, 
after advancing powerful reasons why the " Red Crosse 
Knight " should kill himself, 

"Brought unto him swords, ropes, poison, fire, 
And all that might him to perdition draw." 

These similarities do not detract from the merit of the 
"Pilgrim's Progress," which is unquestionably one of the 
most remarkable, as well as original, of uninspired works. 

Of the earlier editions of Bunyan's " Pilgrim," few copies 
can be obtained. The only known copy of the third edition 
was destroyed by a fire at the residence of Mr Offor. Of the 
first edition, printed in 1678 by Nathaniel Pinder in the 
Poultry, only one copy is known to exist ; it has lately been 
reproduced in fac-simile. 


Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. 

THOMAS MULOCK was born in Ireland in 1789 ; not in the 
north of Ireland, as has been stated, but in or near Dublin, his 
father having possessed a country house not far distant from 
that city. His father was an Irishman, and held the official 
position of comptroller of the stamp-office. His mother was 
of Swiss extraction, a Miss Horner, granddaughter of the 
Burgomaster of Bale, a tall and stately lady, to whose mental 
qualities Mr Mulock was more probably indebted for his 
great natural abilities than to his father, who, however, was a 
man of good business habits, and of a fine genial tempera- 
ment. Thomas Mulock was the second of twenty-two chil- 
dren born to this happy pair. When assembled round the 
family table, they formed so large a company that Mr 
Mulock was accustomed to compare them, jocularly, to a 
public meeting. 

Though so young a man, during the viceroyalty of the 
Duke of Richmond (1807-1813), Thomas Mulock was fre- 
quently a guest on the most intimate terms at the Castle, as 
an evidence of which, on one occasion, when he had forgotten 
his glasses (being extremely short-sighted), the good-natured 
duke ordered the dinner to be kept waiting while he returned 

* We regret to announce that Mr Rich is no longer among us ; he died on the 
nth June 1875. Born on the 8th October 1818, he entered a house >f business 
in the city of London. He subsequently conducted a private seminary, but 
latterly devoted himself wholly to literature. For some time he successfully con- 
ducted the People's Magazine, and he was a copious contributor to Chambers 's 
Journal and other serials. Of about a hundred volumes which proceeded from 
his pen, most of them anonymously, the more important are his index to Sweden 
borg's "Arcana Ccelestia," and his illustrated work on the Franco-German war, 
in two volumes, royal octavo. 


home to fetch them. Perhaps he presumed a little on the 
honour shown to him, for on one occasion, when going to 
dine at the Castle, he said to his father, "Just post this letter 
for me ; I am in a hurry." The answer was not less charac- 
teristic of the father than the request was of the son. 
Looking at him with a good-humoured smile, the old gentle- 
man simply replied, " I will tell the other servant? 

Thomas was destined by his parents for the Church, and 
arrangements were being made to send him to Trinity 
College. His own views influenced perhaps by the gaiety 
of the Castle were different. He persuaded his father to let 
him have the money (about ^1000) which would have been 
spent on his education ; and went to seek his fortune in the 
world in company with his elder sister Sophia. He left Ireland 
before the expiration of the duke's viceroyalty, most pro- 
bably in the early part of 1812, and first went to Liverpool, 
where he entered a commercial house. I have no informa- 
tion as to where he first made the acquaintance of George 
Canning, but in the election of that year he accompanied 
him about the town to canvass for votes, and bravely stood by 
his side on the hustings, when they were both pelted with a 
merciless shower of rotten eggs, fishbones, and cabbage-stalks. 
He and Canning were thenceforth stanch friends, and during 
the next few years Mulock was frequently, if not for long 
periods, in London, mingling with the fast men and the wits 
of the period. It was the age of Byron, Campbell, Scott, 
Southey, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Moore, Montgomery, Lock- 
hart, and Croly, not to mention others of less note. Society 
was very much what the Prince Regent by his example made 
it. Party spirit ran high, questions of high policy were 
mingled with the wretched personalities of the Princess of 
Wales and her royal persecutor, and conspiracy was rife 
among the populace. Thomas Mulock, however, naturally took 
his place among men of high attainments, and when he went on 
the Continent, towards 1820, it was with the serious purpose 
of lecturing on English literature; and these lectures, judging 
from all the circumstances, must have been delivered in the 


French language. At Paris he alluded in one of his discourses 
to Canning, and remarked in his dogmatic manner that it 
was impossible he could ever be prime minister. Looking 
up, he saw Mrs Canning among the audience. It is probable 
that she reported the remark to Canning, for on the very 
night (in 1827) when the king sent for the great statesman 
to form an administration, he wrote to his friend Mulock 
from the palace immediately after the interview with his 
Majesty, and informed him, triumphantly, that he was prime 

Mr Mulock was accompanied in his tour on the Continent 
by the same attached sister who left Ireland with him, and to 
whose sons, Mr William Villiers Sankey, and Mr Robert 
Sankey, I am indebted for such of those particulars as I have 
not heard Mr Mulock himself relate. On the Continent, as 
in London, he mingled with the eminent men of the period. 
Among others, he made the acquaintance of Sismondi, Spurz- 
heim, Benjamin Constant, Jomard, and Talma. There also 
he met with Wordsworth and his sister, who were among the 
host of travellers that took advantage of the cessation of 
hostilities to go abroad. 

Shortly before Mr Mulock's departure for the Continent, the 
Literary Gazette had been started by the late Mr Jerdan, who 
had previously edited the Sun. In the third volume of his 
autobiography (p. 123), Mr Jerdan speaks of his and Mr 
Mulock's acquaintance with Prince Louis Napoleon, and 
adds : 

" It is an odd coincidence that I recognise him (Thomas Mulock) 
as the author of three clever satirical letters in the Gazette, under the 
signature and in the character of SATAN, which made a noise at the 
time ; which my correspondent was increasing by giving a course 
of lectures on English Literature at Geneva, and afterwards in 

These letters of " Satan " are to be found in the Literary 
Gazette for the year 1820, at pp. 765, 781, and 796, and are 
headed " Letters from a Distinguished Personage." Mr 


Jerdan, as editor, gives as his reason for inserting them that he 
had no wish to make so powerful a personage his enemy, and 
the devil goes on to say, in the first letter, that there is not a 
kingdom or a court a city or a village a family or an indi- 
vidual over whom he has not occasionally some influence ; 
he has a seat in Parliament, and not infrequently assists at 
the Privy Council ; nay, he can boast of having been more 
than once on the Bench of Bishops : 

" In the supercilious looks of the Churchman as well as in the 
affected humility of the Dissenter, the lineaments of my countenance 
may often be distinctly traced. I am sometimes to be seen beneath 
the broad-brimmed hat of the Quaker, and all the young men about 
town must have frequently recognised me in a more alluring form 
peeping slily from under a straw bonnet, or enveloped in the folds 
of a silk petticoat." 

In the second letter there are touches of satire which might 
have been written yesterday. After boasting of the crowds 
of votaries who worship him in all parts of the world, more 
especially in the Temples of Vanity, Ambition, Pleasure, 
Fortune, and Fame, and even in the courts of Justice, " Satan " 

" It is very well known that I am the patron of all those who hold 
opinions which tend to represent man as an automaton, and the 
world as a machine ; it is not equally notorious that I give the chief 
impulse to those bodies, so numerous in every country, who substi- 
tute by my means their own morbid feelings for the simple precepts 
of what you call your sacred writings." 

Then, after hinting at various forms of fanaticism and 
superstition, the devil adds : " I may observe that one of my 
chief amusements is to preside over the ever-varying fashions 
of female attire," specifying rouge for the face and certain 
extravagances to improve the figure ; nor forgetting laces and 
flounces and feathers, Spencers and pretty bonnets, and pads 
of all kinds (the chignon had not then been invented), and 
the various places, such as balls, routs, and assemblies, where 


these allurements are displayed. Finally, his Satanic Majesty 
claims the merit of having suggested the establishment of 
circulating libraries, and the employment of nurses, tutors, and 
governesses, for which he assigns good reasons ; the circulation 
of novels being finely designed to promote the extension of 
the primeval temptation, the knowledge of good and evil, and 
nurses and governesses being admirable means of relieving 
parents of their proper duties. 

In the third letter, " Satan " advances a claim which con- 
cerns very nearly the Royal Historical Society. Men are 
the puppets ; he is the mind which plans and directs their 
movements. The influence and presence of the devil is the 
key to the true interpretation of history ! He sums up in- 
stances from all time, ending with the French Revolution and 
the wars which followed it, all planned by him. It will not 
be his fault if England does not follow the example. After 
warning the nation, he warns the ladies in particular to 
beware of him, for " they can never have a tfoe a tete, or an 
assignation with a dear friend, without his participation and 

Finally, he turns upon the parsons : 

" I trust that the clergy, who are in general so vociferous against 
me, will, in talking of me in future, speak of me as it becomes one 
gentleman to speak of another. Vulgar abuse ill suits the dignity of 
their profession, or the importance of my character. Pray what 
would be their use if there were not, or if there never had been, a 
devil ? Not less than twenty thousand of them in this country eat 
their bread indirectly through my means ; and if I were once fairly 
disposed of, it is demonstrable that there would be no further occa- 
sion for tithes. I know I have a good many friends even among the 
clergy ; and in the hope of their still increasing in number, I forbear 
saying anything harsh ; but," he concludes, " let them look to it, for 
we stand or fall together." 

Such, if Mr Jerdan's memory did not deceive him, were 
the sketches of society written by my late friend fifty-four 
years ago, under the pseudonym of his Satanic Majesty. 


The editor of the Gazette was overwhelmed with communica- 
tions, as he said, in the number for December 16, 1820, from 
other devils, whom it was impossible to oblige. A young 
lady was anxious to know if the devil was likely to appear in 
the shape of a handsome young man, or an officer of the 
Guards. A merchant thought he would take the hint and 
trade honestly for the future, but was soon a bankrupt, and 
so on. Whether Mr Mulock borrowed the idea from Sage's 
" Diable Boiteux " I know not, but he had a sincere belief in 
the devil, and I have myself heard him speak bitterly of those 
whom he believed to be influenced by the devil in their 
behaviour towards him. It is curious, by the way, how freely 
the devil was made use of in the seditious publications of 
Paris in 1848, and again in 1870, after the fall of Napoleon 
III. I have a pamphlet in my hand, published at the latter 
period, " Si j'etais le diable " (" If I were the devil, what I 
would do to destroy France ") ; and the writer, in the char- 
acter of " Satan," goes on to enumerate the various doings of 
the Radicals and Communists as his favourite means of 
action, thus verifying the satirist's idea of the part played by 
his Satanic Majesty in the events of history. 

If the letters of " Satan " may be accepted as an illustra- 
tion of Mr Mulock's finer vein of satire, it would convey a 
false impression of his character to omit all notice of the 
coarser warp in his nature which condescended to personali- 
ties which it is not the fashion of our time to indulge in. 

An illustration of this unsparing form of satire, is to be found 
in the files of the Sun. I am myself old enough to remember 
the famous demagogue, Henry Hunt, not, of course, at the 
period referred to, but nearer the end of his career, before 
hackney-coaches had gone out of use, and when blue coats and 
white hats were still the prevailing fashion. Mr Jerdan, speak- 
ing of Hunt's famous Spa Fields demonstration (the prototype 
of the Chartists at Kensington), recalls to mind " Mr Mulock, 
a gentleman of rare talent," as having contributed " a series of 
reports and bulletins, on the assumed ground that Hunt had 
been committed to Bedlam as a lunatic, giving an account of 


his aberrations when visitors were admitted, which would not 
have been unworthy of Dean Swift."* 

We left Mr Mulock lecturing in Paris, where he offended 
Moore by damning with faint praise his " Lallah Rookh." From 
Paris he went to Geneva, and finally extended his journey to 
Italy (in 1821), where he fell in with Byron, who speaks of 
him in his letters to Moore as Muley Mulock. My impres- 
sion on first meeting with this somewhat happy epithet was 
that Byron's fancy had been tickled with an alliteration which 
certainly expressed a fact. But looking at the old pictures 
in a print shop a few weeks ago, my attention was caught by 
the portrait of a race-horse named Muley Molock, which 
must have been well known at that time. Lord Byron in all 
probability knew the history of this horse when he applied it 
so appropriately to the dogmatic lecturer. 

On his return from the Continent, probably in the early 
part of 1822, Mr Mulock was invited by the Rev. Sir Har- 
court Lees to visit him at his rectory near Newcastle-under- 
Lyne. While there, he made the acquaintance of the late Mr 
Minton, who appears to have been impressed by his pro- 
nounced views of Christianity, and invited him to take up his 
residence in the neighbourhood, in order to evangelise his 
workmen. The result was that he worked earnestly in the 
ministry at Stoke-upon-Trent. William Howitt, who was then 
courting the pretty Quakeress, Mary Botham of Uttoxeter, and 
was therefore often in the neighbourhood, has recorded a visit 
to Mr Mulock's place of worship in one of his popular descrip- 
tive sketches. This is some proof that Mr Mulock was one of 
the lions of that day, fifty years ago. William Howitt says, in 
the passage referred to : 

" He (Mr Mulock) was a gentleman of good family and education. 
I think he had been private secretary to George Canning, and had 
the best prospects. [This was a mistake.] He wrote poetry of no 
mean order, and forsaking his connection with Canning [not true, 
however, he was in correspondence with Canning to the last], and 
his brighter worldly prospects, had lectured on English literature in 
* Autobiography, vol. ii., pp. 130, 597- 


most of the capitals of Europe (probably in French). In Paris he 
had ventured to speak so plainly his opinion of the career and char- 
acter of Bonaparte, that some officers who had served under him 
(namely, Napoleon), sent the lecturer word that if he repeated such 
sentiments they should feel obliged to call him to account. On 
receiving this message, he repeated the lecture verbatim, read the 
letter, and treated it as a threat of assassination. We were told much 
of this extraordinary man, and, accordingly, we went to hear him. 
The place of worship was a large upper room in a china factory. It 
was perhaps thirty or forty yards long, and ten or a dozen wide, and 
of a proportionate height. Its walls were bare and whitewashed. 
About fifty people formed his audience ; ten at least of them were 
ladies of known wealth, and of elegant appearance ; the rest were 
potters in their working clothes, with their wives and children. In 
the midst of this great room, thus singularly furnished, stood Thomas 
Mulock, at his unique reading-desk. He was then a young man of 
gentlemanly, and even handsome person, of about the middle size. 
[Perhaps the reading-desk prevented Mr Howitt from judging accu- 
rately, as Mr Mulock was certainly close upon six feet high.] He 
was clad in a blue dress-coat with gilt buttons, a buff kerseymere 
waistcoat, which at that period was much worn, and white trousers. 
Altogether he irresistibly reminded you of Coleridge. [But he was 
taller and slimmer.]" 

Referring to his discourse on this occasion, Mr Howitt 
says : 

"He assured us that all the preachers the Christian world, so 
called, all over were preaching what they did not understand ; and 
all the missionaries to every region of the globe were running before 
they were sent, and on a business which they knew nothing about." 

Certainly Mr Mulock would not have hesitated to say so, 
for I have heard him assert much the same thing in conversa- 
tion ; but to explain the ground of his convictions would 
lead us too far into debatable questions, which in a society 
like this are best avoided. Enough, that Mr Mulock was a 
man of strong aversions, as well as of extreme opinions. " Sir," 
he said on one occasion, " doctors, lawyers, and parsons are 


the devil's trinity in this country ! " and, accordingly, though 
it is a digression in this place, when pleading for the recogni- 
tion of the independence of the Southern States of America, 
during the civil war in that country, he emphatically said : 

" The great hindrance to a proceeding so eminently eligible is the 
pernicious prevalence of lawyerdom in our councils, where, unfortu- 
nately, firm luminous principles of comprehensive statesmanship 
have little or no place. The Foreign Office can do nothing without 
consulting the law officers of the Crown, who are indisputably the 
most mischievous advisers when the wide and lofty concerns of 
nations are critically in question. A first-rate porer over briefs the 
most renowned Nisi Prius or chancery lawyer, when calamitously 
called on to report his opinion on points of State importance, has 
nothing to guide him but his bit of Blackstone, or, at furthest, some 
dingy dicta ferreted out of Lord Stowell's decisions. As for the 
writers on what is absurdly termed the Law of Nations, their works 
are utterly worthless, for they are, in truth, the plausible nothings 
evolved from the subtle minds of speculative men. International 
law is a mere abstraction it has no real authoritative existence in any 
part of the world and let Grotius, Puffendorf, and Bynkershoek 
prattle as speciously as they may, the only law of nations is the law 
of the strongest, just as victorious Brennus cast his sword into the 
doubtful scale. Statesmen, endowed with sound judgment, large 
views, and righteous principles, will never seek the aid of lawyers, 
whose vocation is in a totally different sphere. In Westminster Hall, 
let them enjoy their fame and their fees, but when the great interests 
of nations are at stake, the doors of Downing Street should be closed 
against technical lawyers and all lawyers are inevitably such for 
their faculty habits are unfavourable to that enlargement of mind 
which is indispensable in true statesmanship." 

To close this somewhat long parenthesis and return to 
Mr Mulock at the Potteries, he appears to have resided at 
Hartshill in 1823, as a lodger, in a house adjoining that of Mr 
Mellard, a tanner, who had three daughters, all members of 
Mr Mulock's congregation, and accustomed to chat with him 
over the palings which divided their respective gardens. It 
would be wicked to say that the three girls set their caps at 


the handsome young parson, but having to account for the 
existence of a well-known name in modern fiction, it is 
necessary to record the fact that he married the youngest 
of them, and there is a legend that he dressed for the cere- 
mony all in white, even to his shoes, which were of 
white satin. The issue of the marriage were two sons and 
a daughter. The latter is known to fame as the author 
of "John Halifax, Gentleman," and other popular fictions. 
The record of the sons is a less happy one. Thomas, the 
elder, studied painting at the Royal Academy, where he 
took a conspicuous part in some act of rebellion, and Mr 
Mulock, as he was certain to do in such a case, taking the 
part of the principals, Brutus like, approved of his son's ex- 
pulsion. The young man was afterwards on the point of 
going to Australia, when he fell off a quay wall, and was so 
injured that he died. Benjamin, the younger, entered the 
Land Transport Corps, and was employed on the works at 
Balaklava during the Russian war. He was skilled in music, 
and was an excellent photographer. In the latter character 
he was employed a few years ago in South America to photo- 
graph the monthly progress of the Bahia railway. After his 
return home, he died in consequence of an accident. The 
photographs are on a large scale, and beautifully executed. 

While Mr Mulock ministered at Stoke, he paid one or more 
flying visits to Oxford, where his peculiar religious views had 
gained some converts. He was intimately acquainted with 
William Wilberforce. He knew the sons, and did not much 
like them. Samuel, the late bishop, who had entered at Oriel 
about this time, he thought rather wild, and had besides a 
poor opinion of his talents. This is not to be wondered at, 
as no two men could be more dissimilar, and at the same time 
more strongly marked in their idiosyncrasies. Rumour was 
busy with Mr Mulock's followers at Oxford, who were accused 
of holding a doctrine which could have no other effect than to 
sap the very foundations of society if it were practically 
applied. A letter addressed by Mr Mulock from that seat of 

learning, " to the sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty, in 

2 E 


and near Stoke" and a pamphlet published by Mr Reade of 
Hartshill, with whom he had a bitter controversy, would 
throw some light on this subject if it were worth investigating. 

In 1827 Mr Canning's letter, announcing that he had scaled 
the impossible height of the premiership, as Mr Mulock 
deemed it, was followed by the offer of an appointment in the 
Cabinet. As usual, Mr Mulock made difficulties. He wished 
to pledge Canning to the abolition of the Test Act, and 
not succeeding, he lost the opportunity which most other men, 
possessed of his energy and talents, would eagerly have seized. 
He did not retire from the secretaryship, for he was never 
appointed, nor did he break with Canning, as has been 
alleged. They remained friends to the last, and had been on 
such intimate terms that Mr Mulock felt justified in writing 
his friend's biography, for which he possessed ample mate- 
rials. Arrangements were already made for the publica- 
tion of this work, when the late Lord Canning (the son of 
the great statesman) and Lord Stratford de Redcliffe 
threatened him with an injunction. To avoid litigation 
he agreed to reserve what he still deemed his right. It is to 
be hoped that the manuscript, like his own autograph remin- 
iscences, is safe in the keeping of some member of the 
family, and that it will not in the future be subject to the fate 
of Byron's diary. 

In 1840 Mr Mulock, abandoning his ministrations at Stoke 
and Oxford, came to London and took a small house at 
Earls' Court, not far from the pretty residence of Mr and Mrs 
Carter Hall. Here he lived for three or four years, and then 
moved into Southampton Street, Holborn, where he opened 
an office, the purpose of which recalls a painful episode of his 
life at Stoke. The office was announced as that of a " society 
for the protection of alleged lunatics, and for tJie assistance of 
those whose property -was unjustly detained \ and others? 
These "others" must have made the plan an exceedingly 
comprehensive one. One of his coadjutors in this good work 
was Mr Perceval, the only son of the celebrated minister 
who fell by the hand of an assassin. A third gentleman in 


the association was a Mr Boulter, who, like Mr Perceval, 
contributed a large sum to the society. Mr Mulock also 
contributed according to his means. By their exertions 
several persons who had been unjustly confined in asylums 
were restored to liberty ; among others, a German named Dr 
Peithmann, who had been confined at the instance of certain 
officious friends of the Prince Consort, for offensively urging 
some demand upon him. These charitable exertions were 
continued till the end of 1846 or the beginning of 1847, when 
Mr Mulock went to Ireland to look up his old friends, and 
during the famine was a guest of the late Mr Litton, the 
member for Coleraine, and a stanch supporter of the Con- 
servative party. In 1849 he came to London, and after a 
short stay in the metropolis he went to Edinburgh, and 
thence drifted as far north as Inverness, the capital of the 
Highlands, where for some time he edited the Inverness 
Advertiser. He especially distinguished himself by writing a 
series of articles on the proprietors and people of the Western 
Highlands and Islands of Scotland, which were afterwards 
(1850) collected in a volume. The period illustrated by these 
letters is that of the famous evictions. The circumstances 
were analogous on a smaller scale to those of the famine in 
Ireland, and a Highland Destitution Relief Board was estab- 
lished, and entrusted with the administration of a sum of 
,200,000. Mr Mulock criticised the operations of the board, 
as he criticised the proceedings of the proprietors, unsparingly. 
He speaks of Sir Charles Trevelyan as one " qualified " to 
administer relief to the starving Highlanders " by his signal 
imbecility ! " and talks of his " rushing into the national advan- 
tages of systematised starvation." The maximum of work 
for the minimum of food was the rule laid down by Sir 
Charles, and to enforce this rule, a number of half-pay naval 
officers were foisted upon the funds. This subject, treated 
with withering scorn by Mr Mulock, was not the only question 
of national importance which engaged his pen while editing 
the Highland journal. One of these subjects was the Free 
Church question, which involved him in a hot controversy with 


Hugh Miller, whom he denounced, certainly in his most 
decisive, though not most polished manner, for that " venomous 
vulgarity of abuse, which has hardly a parallel in the recorded 
rancour of the vilest vituperation" The alliterations in 
" venomous vulgarity," " recorded rancour," and " vilest 
vituperation," are far from being in good taste, and they 
who knew Mr Mulock will understand that he was in one 
of his most " tempestuous tempers " when he penned them. 
The story of his connection with the Advertiser, and the 
circumstances of his withdrawal from it, as told by him- 
self, fairly exemplify the impracticable side of his character. 
Having accepted the interim editorship during the illness 
of the proprietor, Mr M'Cosh, he was entreated by that 
gentleman to withdraw his critique on the life of Dr 
Chalmers, which Mr M'Cosh said would "not only give 
pain to his oldest and dearest friends, but also peril the 
interests of the paper, which," he added, "is the only 
dependence I have to leave my family in the event of my 
own removal." Mr Mulock refused compliance, on the 
ground that " no objection was urged against the truth, 
soundness, or style of the article." It accordingly appeared. 
Mr M'Cosh died, and eventually Mr Mulock's connection with 
the paper was abruptly terminated. Previous to his tempor- 
ary assumption of the editorship, he had written articles in 
the Witness on Irish affairs, which gave offence to Mr Fox 
Maule, afterwards Lord Panmure and Earl of Dalhousie, at 
whose suggestion they were discontinued. 

In the year of the great exhibition, 1851, Mr Mulock came 
with all the world to London, and it was then I first had the 
pleasure of making his acquaintance, at the house of the sister 
already mentioned as the devoted travelling companion of 
his younger days. He remained in the metropolis for some 
months, and during this time contributed to one of the 
London papers. In a series of brilliant articles, he defended 
the coup d*6tat of December 2d as a political necessity in the 
then state of France ; and a curious quarrel arose out of the 
circumstances with the editor of the journal to which they 


were contributed. As usual with him, Thomas Mulock was 
inflexible and uncompromising in maintaining his own views. 
In his opinion of that event, Lord Palmerston, who was then 
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, participated ; and 
after a few days his lordship addressed a complimentary 
letter to the Prince President, sending it direct to the Elys^e, 
instead of forwarding it through the customary channel of 
the embassy. Those who are old enough to remember the 
excitement in the French army and the addresses of the 
colonels, whose first demand on the victor in the parliament- 
ary struggle was " Vengeance for Waterloo ! " will appreciate 
the motive of our foreign minister. But Lord Palmerston 
did not stop at this point. He sent other despatches to Louis 
Napoleon which had not been submitted to the Queen and 
the Prince Consort ; and for these acts of insubordination, as 
they were deemed, he was dismissed from the Foreign Office 
by Lord John Russell. The alliance of France and England 
grew naturally out of these circumstances ; and if Lord Pal- 
merston deserves praise for his shrewd forecast of the future 
and his daring initiative, some credit is also due to those who 
had the manliness to stand by his side and brave the storm 
of vituperation with which he and they were alike assailed. 

It would be tedious to relate the whole story of Mr 
Mulock's connection with the press. There was hardly a 
great public question opened for discussion which he did not 
write upon in his trenchant style. His subjects range from 
questions of high state policy down to the lowest questions 
of opinion and morals, of which latter a luckless example 
may be mentioned in the famous Chetwynd divorce case. 
Mr Mulock appears to have had documents in his possession 
which tempted him to interfere with the conduct of the trial, 
and brought him under the censure of the court. Committed 
for contempt, he was in prison several months, for he would 
neither obey the order of the court to avoid the heavy fine 
with which he was threatened, nor pay the fine when he was 
sentenced. It is further characteristic of him that he con- 
nected what he deemed the failure of justice in this case with 


the coming doom of the British empire. Toleration of an- 
other man's opinion was for him the toleration of all that was 
unjust and dishonourable, and revolting to divine truth itself. 
By nature he was a despot, intellectually, socially, religiously, 
and politically. The law of give and take, the possibility 
that other men might have reason on their side too, could not 
be entertained for a moment. Considering his great abilities, 
and his knowledge of men and things, the obduracy of his 
temperament is almost unaccountable. It can only be under- 
stood by distinguishing nicely between moral and intellectual 

And yet Mr Mulock was a kind-hearted, genial, and most 
companionable man. He was fond of children and fond of 
music, and thoughtful and considerate about other people's 
comforts. He was master of a vast store of anecdote relative 
to other times and manners, and even to the most recent occur- 
rences. It would scarcely have been possible to name a cele- 
brity of the last sixty years of whom he had not some interest- 
ing anecdote to relate. His conversational powers were of a 
rare order when he was in the mood, but he was like a sleeping 
lion, easily roused to anger, and ready for a serious bout of 
fence with his best friend when his prejudices were touched. 
In a word, his weakness was excessive egotism. In all that he 
did, it was himself, his opinions, his convictions, his supposed 
rights, that he guarded. And as Wolsey spoke of ego et rex 
metis, so Mr Mulock always associated his cause with that of 
the Almighty. There was a something wanting in him, which 
I can only designate as that abandonment of self which is the 
root after all of every enduring virtue. A careless word 
touched him like a studied insult, and a slight variation in the 
manner of doing a thing, compared with his own sometimes 
strange ways, was a want of principle. 



Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. 

THE great Hussite movement at the commencement of the . 
fifteenth century has never yet been satisfactorily accounted 
for. Even Palacky, writing under the strict and vexatious 
censorship of the press at Vienna, has been unable to display 
in their fulness the various forces which then acted in the 
same or in parallel directions, and produced that tremendous 
explosion which shook the Church of Rome to its founda- 
tions, and placed the four millions of Bohemian or Czeskish 
Slavonians for a time, both morally and intellectually, at the 
head of the nations of Europe. That movement was at once 
national, intellectual, literary, religious, and also historical ; 
that is to say, one of the forces which tended to produce it 
was traditional, and arose from the fact that Bohemia was 
originally converted by Greek missionaries, possessed a 
Slavonic ritual of its own, and permitted the use of the chalice 
to the laity. Hence the surname of the ever-victorious, 
though eventually totally blind, leader of the Hussites, ZlSKA 
Z KALICHU, " Ziska * of the Chalice," the chalice which was 
borne on the banners of the Hussite armies, and is even now 
the only ornament allowed in the simple Protestant chapels 
thinly scattered through the north of Bohemia. 

The legend of St Procop, scenes from which are to be 
found depicted or sculptured by the wayside in various parts 
of Bohemia, exhibits very strongly the resistance made to the 
introduction of the Roman ritual to the exclusion of the 
Graeco-Slavonic one. It is also in itself a curious legend, but, 

* It is not generally known that Ziska is merely an abbreviation of Sigismund. 


as might be expected in the case of a saint who interfered 
actively after death in opposition to the Church of Rome, it 
is not to be found in such works as Alban Butler's " Lives of 
the Saints." It occurs in a poetical form in a manuscript of 
the first half of the fourteenth century, but corrupted rhymes 
and omitted lines indicate that the composition itself must be 
considerably older. It has been twice printed this century 
in Bohemia. 

The writer commences by an address to old and young to 
listen to what he is about to tell them of St Procop, " who 
was born in Bohemia, successfully extended his order, faith- 
fully fulfilled the holy law, and wrought great miracles." The 
holy Procop, he continues, was of a Slavonic family in the 
village of Chotun, not far from Bohmisch Brod. His parents 
were an old farmer and his wife, who, according to Solomon's 
wish, were neither over rich nor over poor, but occupied in 
every respect a middle station. They were God-fearing 
people, and brought their son up in such a manner that he 
was soon remarkable for his virtues amongst his equals. 
Seeing his excellences and the bent of his mind, they sent 
him to Vyssegrad (High-castle), near Prague, to a distin- 
guished teacher, under whom Slavonic learning and literature 
were flourishing. Procop paid especial attention to the study 
of the Scriptures, in which he made such progress that all the 
teachers marvelled thereat, and' remarked upon it among 
themselves. He was never idle, and never devoted any time 
to amusement, but was always engaged either in prayer or 
study, and was " as meek and quiet as if he had been a monk." 
The canons began to take notice of him, and on account of 
his humility, made him a priest, and elected him a canon of 
St Peter's, and they would have elected him their provost, 
had he not, in order to avoid the snares of the world, refused 
to accept the position. 

Meanwhile, he met with a virtuous old Benedictine monk, 
and requested him to admit him into his order. The monk 
at first dissuaded him from giving up the prospects before 
him in the Church in Bohemia, but eventually consented to 


admit him. Procop then adopted a hermit's life in the neigh- 
bourhood of his native district, and finally settled in a forest 
near the river Sazava, about ten English miles from Kourim. 
Here he found a rock, on which he proposed to dwell, pre- 
occupied by devils. Undaunted by this, he proceeded to clear 
away the forest around, and built a chapel in honour of the 
Virgin Mary. For many years he remained here unknown to 
all men, but, as a city upon a hill cannot be hid, neither can 
a fire be under a bushel, so did not God allow him to remain 
unknown all his days. 

A prince named Oldrich (Odalric, Ulric), after a discussion 
with his attendants as to where they should hunt, determined 
upon doing so in the hilly neighbourhood of the Sazava. In 
the course of the hunt, the prince was left entirely alone, and 
a marvellously beautiful and well-fatted stag appeared before 
him. Oldrich pursued it, crossbow in hand, and it gradually 
retired before him, always just keeping out of range, till it 
reached the rock on which Procop was at work felling an oak. 
It sprang behind Procop, and turning its antlers towards him, 
displayed a cross between them. 

" Seeing that beast of wondrous race, 
And the monk so meek of face," 

Prince Oldrich threw down his crossbow, and pulled up his 
horse. He then proceeded to question the monk, asking him 
who he was and what he was doing there. The monk replied 
that he was a sinner named Procop, living in that hermitage 
under the rule of St Benedict. Oldrich dismounted, and 
begged him to hear his confession, which Procop did, and 
assigned him a penance. After this, the prince requested 
him to give him something to drink, as he was heated with 
his long chase. Procop replied that he had no other drink 
save the water which he drank himself. Taking a drinking - 
cup, he sighed from his heart, blessed the water with his 
hand, gave it to the prince, and bade him drink. On drink- 
ing, the prince was astonished at finding such excellent wine 
in so lonely a spot, and said that he had been in many lands, 


but had never drunk better wine. Struck by these miracles, 
he bade Procop collect more brethren about him, for it was 
his intention to found and endow a convent there, which at 
Procop's recommendation he determined to dedicate to St John 
the Baptist. Oldrich took counsel with his lords and esquires, 
assembled workmen, and had the building erected with all 
possible speed, and Procop, against his will, was chosen abbot. 
This happened in the year of our Lord 1009, and in the reign 
of the Emperor Henry II. 

Procop exercised all virtues and all hospitality as abbot, 
and people crowded to him, " as chickens to a hen," from all 
quarters. Various miracles of his are related. A person 
named Menna, who desired to see him, found himself unable 
to cross the Sazava, all the boats being moored at the other 
side. Suddenly up came Procop and the brethren, chanting 
and praising God. Menna prayed that for the merits of 
Procop God would grant him the means of crossing the water. 
In a moment a boat released itself from its fastenings, came 
to him, and conveyed him across. Procop refused to accept 
the credit of this occurrence, and referred his brethren to the 
Scriptures, in which the power of true faith, if only as a grain 
of mustard seed, is exhibited. 

Another miracle, given at considerable length in the poem, 
is the casting out of a devil, which flew up to the church top, 
but eventually fell down, and burst into four pieces. 

Another set of devils complained bitterly that a Bohemian 
was now set over them, and that they would have to leave 
their comfortable residence, where Procop and his brethren 
had established themselves. Procop, overhearing what they 
said, made himself a whip, put on his priestly robes, went 
into the cave where they dwelt, and drove them away. 

Next is related the restoration of a blind woman to sight. 
But just as the reverence for Procop was at its height, Prince 
Oldrich died without completing the convent as he had in- 
tended. His successor was his son Bretislaw, who, being 
informed that Procop had first been a hermit, and then his 
father's confessor, and that his father had made him many 


promises, in particular engaging to build him a convent, but 
had died before he had been able fully to carry out his inten- 
tions, proceeded to ask the advice of his councillors, who urged 
him to finish what his father had begun. He went to Procop, 
took him by the hand, commended himself to his prayers, 
confessed to him, addressed him as " Holy Father," and con- 
firmed him in all possessions and privileges as abbot. Pro