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Author: Ditchfield, P. H. (Peter Hampson), 1854-1930
Title: Vanishing England
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): inn; castle; church
Contributor(s): Bright, Mynors, 1818-1883 [Translator]
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Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 106,740 words (short) Grade range: 12-14 (college) Readability score: 51 (average)
Identifier: etext14742
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Title: Vanishing England

Author: P. H. Ditchfield

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VANISHING ENGLAND

The Book

by

P. H. DITCHFIELD
M.A., F.S.A., F.H.S.L., F.R.HIST.S.

The Illustrations by FRED ROE, R.I.

Methuen & Co. Ltd.
36 Essex Street W.C.
London

1910








[Illustration: The George Inn, Norton St. Philip, Somerset]


[Illustration: Canopy over Doorway of Buckingham House, Portsmouth]




CONTENTS


    CHAPTER

        I. INTRODUCTION

       II. THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ENGLAND

      III. OLD WALLED TOWNS

       IV. IN STREETS AND LANES

        V. OLD CASTLES

       VI. VANISHING OR VANISHED CHURCHES

      VII. OLD MANSIONS

     VIII. THE DESTRUCTION OF PREHISTORIC REMAINS

       IX. CATHEDRAL CITIES AND ABBEY TOWNS

        X. OLD INNS

       XI. OLD MUNICIPAL BUILDINGS

      XII. OLD CROSSES

     XIII. STOCKS AND WHIPPING-POSTS

      XIV. OLD BRIDGES

       XV. OLD HOSPITALS AND ALMSHOUSES

      XVI. VANISHING FAIRS

     XVII. THE DISAPPEARANCE OF OLD DOCUMENTS

    XVIII. OLD CUSTOMS THAT ARE VANISHING

      XIX. THE VANISHING OF ENGLISH SCENERY

       XX. CONCLUSION

           INDEX




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


    The George Inn, Norton St. Philip, Somerset (Frontispiece)

    Canopy over Doorway of Buckingham House, Portsmouth (Title page)

    Rural Tenements, Capel, Surrey

    Detail of Seventeenth-century Table in Milton's Cottage,
      Chalfont St. Giles

    Seventeenth-century Trophy

    Old Shop, formerly standing in Cliffe High Street, Lewes

    Paradise Square, Banbury

    Norden's Chart of the River Ore and Suffolk Coast

    Disused Mooring-post on bank of the Rother, Rye

    Old Houses built on the Town Wall, Rye

    Bootham Bar, York

    Half-timbered House with early Fifteenth-century Doorway,
      King's Lynn, Norfolk

    The "Bone Tower," Town Walls, Great Yarmouth

    Row No. 83, Great Yarmouth

    The Old Jetty, Gorleston

    Tudor House, Ipswich, near the Custom House

    Three-gabled House, Fore Street, Ipswich

    "Melia's Passage," York

    Detail of Half-timbered House in High Street, Shrewsbury

    Tower on the Town Wall, Shrewsbury

    House that the Earl of Richmond stayed in before the Battle of
      Bosworth. Shrewsbury

    Old Houses formerly standing in Spon Street, Coventry

    West Street, Rye

    Monogram and Inscription in the Mermaid Inn, Rye

    Inscription in the Mermaid Inn, Rye

    Relic of Lynn Siege in Hampton Court, King's Lynn

    Hampton Court, King's Lynn, Norfolk

    Mill Street, Warwick

    Tudor Tenements, New Inn Hall Street, Oxford (now demolished)

    Gothic Corner-post. The Half Moon Inn, Ipswich

    Timber-built House, Shrewsbury

    Missbrook Farm, Capel, Surrey

    Cottage at Capel, Surrey

    Farm-house, Horsmonden, Kent

    Seventeenth-century Cottages, Stow Langtoft, Suffolk

    The "Fish House," Littleport, Cambs.

    Sixteenth-century Cottage, formerly standing in Upper Deal, Kent

    Gable, Upper Deal, Kent

    A Portsmouth "Row"

    Lich-gate, Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks

    Fifteenth-century Handle on Church Door, Monk's Risborough, Bucks

    Weather-boarded Houses, Crown Street, Portsmouth

    Inscription on Font, Parish Church, Burford, Oxon

    Detail of Fifteenth-century Barge-board, Burford, Oxon

    The George Inn, Burford, Oxon

    Maldon, Essex. Sky-line of the High Street at twilight

    St. Mary's Church, Maldon

    Norman Clamp on door of Heybridge Church, Essex

    Tudor Fire-place. Now walled up in the passage of a shop
      in Banbury

    Cottages in Witney Street, Burford, Oxon

    Burgh Castle, Suffolk

    Caister Castle, Norfolk

    Defaced Arms, Taunton Castle

    Knightly Basinet (_temp._ Henry V) in Norwich Castle

    Saxon Doorway in St. Lawrence's Church, Bradford-on-Avon, Wilts.

    St. George's Church, Great Yarmouth

    Carving on Rood-screen, Alcester Church, Warwick

    Fourteenth-century Coffer in Faversham Church, Kent

    Flanders Chest in East Dereham Church, Norfolk, _temp_.
      Henry VIII

    Reversed Rose carved on "Miserere" in Norwich Cathedral

    Oak Panelling. Wainscot of Fifteenth Century, with addition _circa_
      late Seventeenth Century, fitted on to it in
      angle of room in the Church House, Goudhurst, Kent

    Section of Mouldings of Cornice on Panelling, the Church House,
      Goudhurst

    The Wardrobe House, the Close, Salisbury

    Chimney at Compton Wynyates

    Window-catch, Brockhall, Northants

    Gothic Chimney, Norton St. Philip, Somerset

    The Moat, Crowhurst Place, Surrey

    Arms of the Gaynesfords in window, Crowhurst Place, Surrey

    Cupboard Hinge, Crowhurst Place, Surrey

    Fixed Bench in the hall, Crowhurst Place, Surrey

    Gothic Door-head, Goudhurst, Kent

    Knightly Basinet (_temp._ Henry V) in Norwich Castle

    Hilt of Thirteenth-century Sword in Norwich Museum

    "Hand-and-a-half" Sword. Mr. Seymour Lucas, R.A.

    Seventeenth-century Boot, in the possession of Ernest
      Crofts, Esq., R.A.

    Chapel de Fer at Ockwells, Berks

    Tudor Dresser Table, in the possession of Sir Alfred Dryden,
      Canon's Ashby, Northants

    Seventeenth-century Powder-horn, found in the wall of an
      old house at Glastonbury. Now in Glastonbury Museum

    Seventeenth-century Spy-glass in Taunton Museum

    Fourteenth-century Flagon. From an old Manor House in Norfolk

    Elizabethan Chest, in the possession of Sir Coleridge Grove, K.C.B.

    Staircase Newel, Cromwell House, Highgate

    Piece of Wood Carved with Inscription. Found with a sword (_temp._
      Charles II) in an old house at Stoke-under-Ham, Somerset

    Seventeenth-century Water-clock, in Norwich Museum

    Sun-dial. The Manor House, Sutton Courtenay

    Half-timber Cottages, Waterside, Evesham

    Quarter Jacks over the Clock on exterior of north wall of Wells
      Cathedral

    The Gate House, Bishop's Palace, Well

    House in which Bishop Hooper was imprisoned, Westgate Street,
      Gloucester

    The "Stone House," Rye, Sussex

    Fifteenth-century House, Market Place, Evesham

    Fifteenth-century House, Market Place, Evesham

    Fifteenth-century House in Cowl Street, Evesham

    Half-timber House, Alcester, Warwick

    Half-timber House at Alcester

    The Wheelwrights' Arms, Warwick

    Entrance to the Reindeer Inn, Banbury

    The Shoulder of Mutton Inn, King's Lynn

    A Quaint Gable, the Bell Inn, Stilton

    The Bell Inn, Stilton

    The "Briton's Arms," Norwich

    The Dolphin Inn, Heigham, Norwich

    Shield and Monogram on doorway of the Dolphin Inn, Heigham

    Staircase Newel at the Dolphin Inn

    The Falstaff Inn, Canterbury

    The Bear and Ragged Staff Inn, Tewkesbury

    Fire-place in the George Inn, Norton St. Philip, Somerset

    The Green Dragon Inn, Wymondham, Norfolk

    The Star Inn, Alfriston, Sussex

    Courtyard of the George Inn, Norton St. Philip, Somerset

    The Dark Lantern Inn, Aylesbury, Bucks

    Spandril. The Marquis of Granby Inn, Colchester

    The Town Hall, Shrewsbury

    The Greenland Fishery House, King's Lynn.
      An old Guild House of the time of James I

    The Market House, Wymondham, Norfolk

    Guild Mark and Date on doorway, Burford, Oxon

    Stretham Cross, Isle of Ely

    The Market Cross, Salisbury

    Under the Butter Cross, Witney, Oxon

    The Triangular Bridge, Crowland

    Huntingdon Bridge

    The Crane Bridge, Salisbury

    Watch House on the Bridge, Bradford-on-Avon, Wilts

    Gateway of St. John's Hospital, Canterbury

    Inmate of the Trinity Bede House at Castle Rising, Norfolk

    The Hospital for Ancient Fishermen, Great Yarmouth

    Inscription on the Hospital, King's Lynn

    Ancient Inmates of the Fishermen's Hospital, Great Yarmouth

    Cottages at Evesham

    Stalls at Banbury Fair

    An Old English Fair

    An Ancient Maker of Nets in a Kentish Fair

    Outside the Lamb Inn, Burford

    Tail Piece






CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTION


This book is intended not to raise fears but to record facts. We wish
to describe with pen and pencil those features of England which are
gradually disappearing, and to preserve the memory of them. It may be
said that we have begun our quest too late; that so much has already
vanished that it is hardly worth while to record what is left.
Although much has gone, there is still, however, much remaining that
is good, that reveals the artistic skill and taste of our forefathers,
and recalls the wonders of old-time. It will be our endeavour to tell
of the old country houses that Time has spared, the cottages that
grace the village green, the stern grey walls that still guard some
few of our towns, the old moot halls and public buildings. We shall
see the old-time farmers and rustics gathering together at fair and
market, their games and sports and merry-makings, and whatever relics
of old English life have been left for an artist and scribe of the
twentieth century to record.

Our age is an age of progress. _Altiora peto_ is its motto. The spirit
of progress is in the air, and lures its votaries on to higher
flights. Sometimes they discover that they have been following a mere
will-o'-the-wisp, that leads them into bog and quagmire whence no
escape is possible. The England of a century, or even of half a
century ago, has vanished, and we find ourselves in the midst of a
busy, bustling world that knows no rest or peace. Inventions tread
upon each other's heels in one long vast bewildering procession. We
look back at the peaceful reign of the pack-horse, the rumbling wagon,
the advent of the merry coaching days, the "Lightning" and the
"Quicksilver," the chaining of the rivers with locks and bars, the
network of canals that spread over the whole country; and then the
first shriek of the railway engine startled the echoes of the
countryside, a poor powerless thing that had to be pulled up the steep
gradients by a chain attached to a big stationary engine at the
summit. But it was the herald of the doom of the old-world England.
Highways and coaching roads, canals and rivers, were abandoned and
deserted. The old coachmen, once lords of the road, ended their days
in the poorhouse, and steam, almighty steam, ruled everywhere.

Now the wayside inns wake up again with the bellow of the motor-car,
which like a hideous monster rushes through the old-world villages,
startling and killing old slow-footed rustics and scampering children,
dogs and hens, and clouds of dust strive in very mercy to hide the
view of the terrible rushing demon. In a few years' time the air will
be conquered, and aeroplanes, balloons, flying-machines and air-ships,
will drop down upon us from the skies and add a new terror to life.

  Not in vain the distance beacons. Forward, forward let us range,
  Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change.

Life is for ever changing, and doubtless everything is for the best in
this best of possible worlds; but the antiquary may be forgiven for
mourning over the destruction of many of the picturesque features of
bygone times and revelling in the recollections of the past. The
half-educated and the progressive--I attach no political meaning to
the term--delight in their present environment, and care not to
inquire too deeply into the origin of things; the study of evolution
and development is outside their sphere; but yet, as Dean Church once
wisely said, "In our eagerness for improvement it concerns us to be
on our guard against the temptation of thinking that we can have the
fruit or the flower, and yet destroy the root.... It concerns us that
we do not despise our birthright and cast away our heritage of gifts
and of powers, which we may lose, but not recover."

Every day witnesses the destruction of some old link with the past
life of the people of England. A stone here, a buttress there--it
matters not; these are of no consequence to the innovator or the
iconoclast. If it may be our privilege to prevent any further
spoliation of the heritage of Englishmen, if we can awaken any respect
or reverence for the work of our forefathers, the labours of both
artist and author will not have been in vain. Our heritage has been
sadly diminished, but it has not yet altogether disappeared, and it is
our object to try to record some of those objects of interest which
are so fast perishing and vanishing from our view, in order that the
remembrance of all the treasures that our country possesses may not
disappear with them.

The beauty of our English scenery has in many parts of the country
entirely vanished, never to return. Coal-pits, blasting furnaces,
factories, and railways have converted once smiling landscapes and
pretty villages into an inferno of black smoke, hideous mounds of
ashes, huge mills with lofty chimneys belching forth clouds of smoke
that kills vegetation and covers the leaves of trees and plants with
exhalations. I remember attending at Oxford a lecture delivered by the
late Mr. Ruskin. He produced a charming drawing by Turner of a
beautiful old bridge spanning a clear stream, the banks of which were
clad with trees and foliage. The sun shone brightly, and the sky was
blue, with fleeting clouds. "This is what you are doing with your
scenery," said the lecturer, as he took his palette and brushes; he
began to paint on the glass that covered the picture, and in a few
minutes the scene was transformed. Instead of the beautiful bridge a
hideous iron girder structure spanned the stream, which was no longer
pellucid and clear, but black as the Styx; instead of the trees arose
a monstrous mill with a tall chimney vomiting black smoke that spread
in heavy clouds, hiding the sun and the blue sky. "That is* what you
are doing with your scenery," concluded Mr. Ruskin--a true picture of
the penalty we pay for trade, progress, and the pursuit of wealth. We
are losing faith in the testimony of our poets and painters to the
beauty of the English landscape which has inspired their art, and much
of the charm of our scenery in many parts has vanished. We happily
have some of it left still where factories are not, some interesting
objects that artists love to paint. It is well that they should be
recorded before they too pass away.

   *Transcriber's Note: Original "it".

[Illustration: Rural Tenements, Capel, Surrey]

Old houses of both peer and peasant and their contents are sooner or
later doomed to destruction. Historic mansions full of priceless
treasures amassed by succeeding generations of old families fall a
prey to relentless fire. Old panelled rooms and the ancient
floor-timbers understand not the latest experiments in electric
lighting, and yield themselves to the flames with scarce a struggle.
Our forefathers were content with hangings to keep out the draughts
and open fireplaces to keep them warm. They were a hardy race, and
feared not a touch or breath of cold. Their degenerate sons must have
an elaborate heating apparatus, which again distresses the old timbers
of the house and fires their hearts of oak. Our forefathers, indeed,
left behind them a terrible legacy of danger--that beam in the
chimney, which has caused the destruction of many country houses.
Perhaps it was not so great a source of danger in the days of the old
wood fires. It is deadly enough when huge coal fires burn in the
grates. It is a dangerous, subtle thing. For days, or even for a week
or two, it will smoulder and smoulder; and then at last it will blaze
up, and the old house with all its precious contents is wrecked.

The power of the purse of American millionaires also tends greatly to
the vanishing of much that is English--the treasures of English art,
rare pictures and books, and even of houses. Some nobleman or
gentleman, through the extravagance of himself or his ancestors, or on
account of the pressure of death duties, finds himself impoverished.
Some of our great art dealers hear of his unhappy state, and knowing
that he has some fine paintings--a Vandyke or a Romney--offer him
twenty-five or thirty thousand pounds for a work of art. The
temptation proves irresistible. The picture is sold, and soon finds
its way into the gallery of a rich American, no one in England having
the power or the good taste to purchase it. We spend our money in
other ways. The following conversation was overheard at Christie's:
"Here is a beautiful thing; you should buy it," said the speaker to a
newly fledged baronet. "I'm afraid I can't afford it," replied the
baronet. "Not afford it?" replied his companion. "It will cost you
infinitely less than a baronetcy and do you infinitely more credit."
The new baronet seemed rather offended. At the great art sales rare
folios of Shakespeare, pictures, Sevres, miniatures from English
houses are put up for auction, and of course find their way to
America. Sometimes our cousins from across the Atlantic fail to secure
their treasures. They have striven very eagerly to buy Milton's
cottage at Chalfont St. Giles, for transportation to America; but this
effort has happily been successfully resisted. The carved table in
the cottage was much sought after, and was with difficulty retained
against an offer of L150. An old window of fifteenth-century
workmanship in an old house at Shrewsbury was nearly exploited by an
enterprising American for the sum of L250; and some years ago an
application was received by the Home Secretary for permission to
unearth the body of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, from
its grave in the burial-ground of Jordans, near Chalfont St. Giles,
and transport it to Philadelphia. This action was successfully opposed
by the trustees of the burial-ground, but it was considered expedient
to watch the ground for some time to guard against the possibility of
any illicit attempts at removal.

[Illustration: Detail of Seventeenth-century Table in Milton's
Cottage, Chalfont St. Giles]

It was reported that an American purchaser had been more successful at
Ipswich, where in 1907 a Tudor house and corner-post, it was said, had
been secured by a London firm for shipment to America. We are glad to
hear that this report was incorrect, that the purchaser was an English
lord, who re-erected the house in his park.

Wanton destruction is another cause of the disappearance of old
mansions. Fashions change even in house-building. Many people prefer
new lamps to old ones, though the old ones alone can summon genii and
recall the glories of the past, the associations of centuries of
family life, and the stories of ancestral prowess. Sometimes fashion
decrees the downfall of old houses. Such a fashion raged at the
beginning of the last century, when every one wanted a brand-new house
built after the Palladian style; and the old weather-beaten pile that
had sheltered the family for generations, and was of good old English
design with nothing foreign or strange about it, was compelled to give
place to a new-fangled dwelling-place which was neither beautiful nor
comfortable. Indeed, a great wit once advised the builder of one of
these mansions to hire a room on the other side of the road and spend
his days looking at his Palladian house, but to be sure not to live
there.

Many old houses have disappeared on account of the loyalty of their
owners, who were unfortunate enough to reside within the regions
harassed by the Civil War. This was especially the case in the county
of Oxford. Still you may see avenues of venerable trees that lead to
no house. The old mansion or manor-house has vanished. Many of them
were put in a posture of defence. Earthworks and moats, if they did
not exist before, were hastily constructed, and some of these houses
were bravely defended by a competent and brave garrison, and were
thorns in the sides of the Parliamentary army. Upon the triumph of the
latter, revenge suffered not these nests of Malignants to live. Others
were so battered and ruinous that they were only fit residences for
owls and bats. Some loyal owners destroyed the remains of their homes
lest they should afford shelter to the Parliamentary forces. David
Walter set fire to his house at Godstow lest it should afford
accommodation to the "Rebels." For the same reason Governor Legge
burnt the new episcopal palace, which Bancroft had only finished ten
years before at Cuddesdon. At the same time Thomas Gardiner burnt his
manor-house in Cuddesdon village, and many other houses were so
battered that they were left untenanted, and so fell to ruin.[1] Sir
Bulstrode Whitelock describes how he slighted the works at Phillis
Court, "causing the bulwarks and lines to be digged down, the grafts
[i.e. moats] filled, the drawbridge to be pulled up, and all levelled.
I sent away the great guns, the granadoes, fireworks, and ammunition,
whereof there was good store in the fort. I procured pay for my
soldiers, and many of them undertook the service in Ireland." This is
doubtless typical of what went on in many other houses. The famous
royal manor-house of Woodstock was left battered and deserted, and
"haunted," as the readers of _Woodstock_ will remember, by an "adroit
and humorous royalist named Joe Collins," who frightened the
commissioners away by his ghostly pranks. In 1651 the old house was
gutted and almost destroyed. The war wrought havoc with the old
houses, as it did with the lives and other possessions of the
conquered.

  [1] _History of Oxfordshire_, by J. Meade Falkner.

[Illustration: Seventeenth-century Trophy]

But we are concerned with times less remote, with the vanishing of
historic monuments, of noble specimens of architecture, and of the
humble dwellings of the poor, the picturesque cottages by the wayside,
which form such attractive features of the English landscape. We have
only to look at the west end of St. Albans Abbey Church, which has
been "Grimthorped" out of all recognition, or at the over-restored
Lincoln's Inn Chapel, to see what evil can be done in the name of
"Restoration," how money can be lavishly spent to a thoroughly bad
purpose.

Property in private hands has suffered no less than many of our
public buildings, even when the owner is a lover of antiquity and does
not wish to remove and to destroy the objects of interest on his
estate. Estate agents are responsible for much destruction. Sir John
Stirling Maxwell, Bart., F.S.A., a keen archaeologist, tells how an
agent on his estate transformed a fine old grim sixteenth-century
fortified dwelling, a very perfect specimen of its class, into a house
for himself, entirely altering the character of its appearance, adding
a lofty oriel and spacious windows with a new door and staircase,
while some of the old stones were made to adorn a rockery in the
garden. When he was abroad the elaborately contrived entrance for the
defence of a square fifteenth-century keep with four square towers at
the corners, very curious and complete, were entirely obliterated by a
zealous mason. In my own parish I awoke one day to find the old
village pound entirely removed by order of an estate agent, and a very
interesting stand near the village smithy for fastening oxen when they
were shod disappeared one day, the village publican wanting the posts
for his pig-sty. County councils sweep away old bridges because they
are inconveniently narrow and steep for the tourists' motors, and
deans and chapters are not always to be relied upon in regard to their
theories of restoration, and squire and parson work sad havoc on the
fabrics of old churches when they are doing their best to repair them.
Too often they have decided to entirely demolish the old building, the
most characteristic feature of the English landscape, with its square
grey tower or shapely spire, a tower that is, perhaps, loopholed and
battlemented, and tells of turbulent times when it afforded a secure
asylum and stronghold when hostile bands were roving the countryside.
Within, piscina, ambrey, and rood-loft tell of the ritual of former
days. Some monuments of knights and dames proclaim the achievements of
some great local family. But all this weighs for nothing in the eyes
of the renovating squire and parson. They must have a grand, new,
modern church with much architectural pretension and fine decorations
which can never have the charm which attaches to the old building. It
has no memories, this new structure. It has nothing to connect it with
the historic past. Besides, they decree that it must not cost too
much. The scheme of decoration is stereotyped, the construction
mechanical. There is an entire absence of true feeling and of any real
inspiration of devotional art. The design is conventional, the pattern
uniform. The work is often scamped and hurried, very different from
the old method of building. We note the contrast. The medieval
builders were never in a hurry to finish their work. The old fanes
took centuries to build; each generation doing its share, chancel or
nave, aisle or window, each trying to make the church as perfect as
the art of man could achieve. We shall see how much of this sound and
laborious work has vanished, a prey to restoration and ignorant
renovation. We shall see the house-breaker at work in rural hamlet and
in country town. Vanishing London we shall leave severely alone. Its
story has been already told in a large and comely volume by my friend
Mr. Philip Norman. Besides, is there anything that has not vanished,
having been doomed to destruction by the march of progress, now that
Crosby Hall has gone the way of life in the Great City? A few old
halls of the City companies remain, but most of them have given way to
modern palaces; a few City churches, very few, that escaped the Great
Fire, and every now and again we hear threatenings against the
masterpieces of Wren, and another City church has followed in the wake
of all the other London buildings on which the destroyer has laid his
hand. The site is so valuable; the modern world of business presses
out the life of these fine old edifices. They have to make way for
new-fangled erections built in the modern French style with sprawling
gigantic figures with bare limbs hanging on the porticoes which seem
to wonder how they ever got there, and however they were to keep
themselves from falling. London is hopeless! We can but delve its soil
when opportunities occur in order to find traces of Roman or medieval
life. Churches, inns, halls, mansions, palaces, exchanges have
vanished, or are quickly vanishing, and we cast off the dust of London
streets from our feet and seek more hopeful places.

[Illustration: Old Shop, formerly standing in Cliffe High Street,
Lewes]

But even in the sleepy hollows of old England the pulse beats faster
than of yore, and we shall only just be in time to rescue from
oblivion and the house-breaker some of our heritage. Old city walls
that have defied the attacks of time and of Cromwell's Ironsides are
often in danger from the wiseacres who preside on borough
corporations. Town halls picturesque and beautiful in their old age
have to make way for the creations of the local architect. Old shops
have to be pulled down in order to provide a site for a universal
emporium or a motor garage. Nor are buildings the only things that are
passing away. The extensive use of motor-cars and highway vandalism
are destroying the peculiar beauty of the English roadside. The
swift-speeding cars create clouds of white dust which settles upon the
hedges and trees, covering them with it and obscuring the wayside
flowers and hiding all their attractiveness. Corn and grass are
injured and destroyed by the dust clouds. The charm and poetry of the
country walk are destroyed by motoring demons, and the wayside
cottage-gardens, once the most attractive feature of the English
landscape, are ruined. The elder England, too, is vanishing in the
modes, habits, and manners of her people. Never was the truth of the
old oft-quoted Latin proverb--_Tempora mutantur, et nos mutamur in
illis_--so pathetically emphatic as it is to-day. The people are
changing in their habits and modes of thought. They no longer take
pleasure in the simple joys of their forefathers. Hence in our
chronicle of Vanishing England we shall have to refer to some of those
strange customs which date back to primeval ages, but which the
railways, excursion trains, and the schoolmaster in a few years will
render obsolete.

In recording the England that is vanishing the artist's pencil will
play a more prominent part than the writer's pen. The graphic sketches
that illustrate this book are far more valuable and helpful to the
discernment of the things that remain than the most effective
descriptions. We have tried together to gather up the fragments that
remain that nothing be lost; and though there may be much that we have
not gathered, the examples herein given of some of the treasures that
are left may be useful in creating a greater reverence for the work
bequeathed to us by our forefathers, and in strengthening the hands of
those who would preserve them. Happily we are still able to use the
present participle, not the past. It is vanishing England, not
vanished, of which we treat; and if we can succeed in promoting an
affection for the relics of antiquity that time has spared, our
labours will not have been in vain or the object of this book
unattained.

[Illustration: Paradise Square, Banbury]




CHAPTER II

THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ENGLAND


Under this alarming heading, "The Disappearance of England," the
_Gaulois_ recently published an article by M. Guy Dorval on the
erosion of the English coasts. The writer refers to the predictions of
certain British men of science that England will one day disappear
altogether beneath the waves, and imagines that we British folk are
seized by a popular panic. Our neighbours are trembling for the fate
of the _entente cordiale_, which would speedily vanish with vanishing
England; but they have been assured by some of their savants that the
rate of erosion is only one kilometre in a thousand years, and that
the danger of total extinction is somewhat remote. Professor Stanislas
Meunier, however, declares that our "panic" is based on scientific
facts. He tells us that the cliffs of Brighton are now one kilometre
farther away from the French coast than in the days of Queen
Elizabeth, and that those of Kent are six kilometres farther away than
in the Roman period. He compares our island to a large piece of sugar
in water, but we may rest assured that before we disappear beneath the
waves the period which must elapse would be greater than the longest
civilizations known in history. So we may hope to be able to sing
"Rule Britannia" for many a long year.

Coast erosion is, however, a serious problem, and has caused the
destruction of many a fair town and noble forest that now lie beneath
the seas, and the crumbling cliffs on our eastern shore threaten to
destroy many a village church and smiling pasture. Fishermen tell you
that when storms rage and the waves swell they have heard the bells
chiming in the towers long covered by the seas, and nigh the
picturesque village of Bosham we were told of a stretch of sea that
was called the Park. This as late as the days of Henry VIII was a
favourite royal hunting forest, wherein stags and fawns and does
disported themselves; now fish are the only prey that can be slain
therein.

The Royal Commission on coast erosion relieves our minds somewhat by
assuring us that although the sea gains upon the land in many places,
the land gains upon the sea in others, and that the loss and gain are
more or less balanced. As a matter of area this is true. Most of the
land that has been rescued from the pitiless sea is below high-water
mark, and is protected by artificial banks. This work of reclaiming
land can, of course, only be accomplished in sheltered places, for
example, in the great flat bordering the Wash, which flat is formed by
the deposit of the rivers of the Fenland, and the seaward face of this
region is gradually being pushed forward by the careful processes of
enclosure. You can see the various old sea walls which have been
constructed from Roman times onward. Some accretions of land have
occurred where the sea piles up masses of shingle, unless foolish
people cart away the shingle in such quantities that the waves again
assert themselves. Sometimes sand silts up as at Southport in
Lancashire, where there is the second longest pier in England, a mile
in length, from the end of which it is said that on a clear day with a
powerful telescope you may perchance see the sea, that a distinguished
traveller accustomed to the deserts of Sahara once found it, and that
the name Southport is altogether a misnomer, as it is in the north and
there is no port at all.

But however much as an Englishman I might rejoice that the actual area
of "our tight little island," which after all is not very tight,
should not be diminishing, it would be a poor consolation to me, if I
possessed land and houses on the coast of Norfolk which were fast
slipping into the sea, to know that in the Fenland industrious farmers
were adding to their acres. And day by day, year by year, this
destruction is going on, and the gradual melting away of land. The
attack is not always persistent. It is intermittent. Sometimes the
progress of the sea seems to be stayed, and then a violent storm
arises and falling cliffs and submerged houses proclaim the sway of
the relentless waves. We find that the greatest loss has occurred on
the east and southern coasts of our island. Great damage has been
wrought all along the Yorkshire sea-board from Bridlington to Kilnsea,
and the following districts have been the greatest sufferers: between
Cromer and Happisburgh, Norfolk; between Pakefield and Southwold,
Suffolk; Hampton and Herne Bay, and then St. Margaret's Bay, near
Dover; the coast of Sussex, east of Brighton, and the Isle of Wight;
the region of Bournemouth and Poole; Lyme Bay, Dorset, and Bridgwater
Bay, Somerset.

All along the coast from Yarmouth to Eastbourne, with a few
exceptional parts, we find that the sea is gaining on the land by
leaps and bounds. It is a coast that is most favourably constructed
for coast erosion. There are no hard or firm rocks, no cliffs high
enough to give rise to a respectable landslip; the soil is composed of
loose sand and gravels, loams and clays, nothing to resist the
assaults of atmospheric action from above or the sea below. At
Covehithe, on the Suffolk coast, there has been the greatest loss of
land. In 1887 sixty feet was claimed by the sea, and in ten years
(1878-87) the loss was at the rate of over eighteen feet a year. In
1895 another heavy loss occurred between Southwold and Covehithe and a
new cove formed. Easton Bavent has entirely disappeared, and so have
the once prosperous villages of Covehithe, Burgh-next-Walton, and
Newton-by-Corton, and the same fate seems to be awaiting Pakefield,
Southwold, and other coast-lying towns. Easton Bavent once had such a
flourishing fishery that it paid an annual rent of 3110 herrings; and
millions of herrings must have been caught by the fishermen of
disappeared Dunwich, which we shall visit presently, as they paid
annually "fish-fare" to the clergy of the town 15,377 herrings,
besides 70,000 to the royal treasury.

The summer visitors to the pleasant watering-place Felixstowe, named
after St. Felix, who converted the East Anglians to Christianity and
was their first bishop, that being the place where the monks of the
priory of St. Felix in Walton held their annual fair, seldom reflect
that the old Saxon burgh was carried away as long ago as 1100 A.D.
Hence Earl Bigot was compelled to retire inland and erect his famous
castle at Walton. But the sea respected not the proud walls of the
baron's stronghold; the strong masonry that girt the keep lies beneath
the waves; a heap of stones, called by the rustics Stone Works, alone
marks the site of this once powerful castle. Two centuries later the
baron's marsh was destroyed by the sea, and eighty acres of land was
lost, much to the regret of the monks, who were thus deprived of the
rent and tithe corn.

The old chroniclers record many dread visitations of the relentless
foe. Thus in 1237 we read: "The sea burst with high tides and tempests
of winds, marsh countries near the sea were flooded, herds and flocks
perished, and no small number of men were lost and drowned. The sea
rose continually for two days and one night." Again in 1251: "On
Christmas night there was a great thunder and lightning in Suffolk;
the sea caused heavy floods." In much later times Defoe records:
"Aldeburgh has two streets, each near a mile long, but its breadth,
which was more considerable formerly, is not proportionable, and the
sea has of late years swallowed up one whole street." It has still
standing close to the shore its quaint picturesque town hall, erected
in the fifteenth century. Southwold is now practically an island,
bounded on the east by the sea, on the south-west by the Blyth River,
on the north-west by Buss Creek. It is only joined to the mainland by
a narrow neck of shingle that divides Buss Creek from the sea. I think
that I should prefer to hold property in a more secure region. You
invest your savings in stock, and dividends decrease and your capital
grows smaller, but you usually have something left. But when your land
and houses vanish entirely beneath the waves, the chapter is ended and
you have no further remedy except to sue Father Neptune, who has
rather a wide beat and may be difficult to find when he is wanted to
be served with a summons.

[Illustration: Norden's Chart of the River Ore and Suffolk Coast]

But the Suffolk coast does not show all loss. In the north much land
has been gained in the region of Beccles, which was at one time close
to the sea, and one of the finest spreads of shingle in England
extends from Aideburgh to Bawdry. This shingle has silted up many a
Suffolk port, but it has proved a very effectual barrier against the
inroads of the sea. Norden's map of the coast made in 1601[2] shows
this wonderful mass of shingle, which has greatly increased since
Norden's day. It has been growing in a southerly direction, until the
Aide River had until recently an estuary ten miles in length. But in
1907 the sea asserted itself, and "burst through the stony barrier,
making a passage for the exit of the river one mile further north, and
leaving a vast stretch of shingle and two deserted river-channels as a
protection to the Marshes of Hollesley from further inroads of the
sea."[3] Formerly the River Alde flowed direct to the sea just south
of the town of Aldeburgh. Perhaps some day it may be able to again
force a passage near its ancient course or by Havergate Island. This
alteration in the course of rivers is very remarkable, and may be
observed at Christ Church, Hants.

  [2] It is now in possession of Mr. Kenneth M. Clark, by whose
  permission the accompanying plan, reproduced from the _Memorials
  of Old Suffolk_, was made.

  [3] _Memorials of Old Suffolk_, edited by V.B. Redstone, p. 226.

It is pathetic to think of the historic churches, beautiful villages,
and smiling pastures that have been swept away by the relentless sea.
There are no less than twelve towns and villages in Yorkshire that
have been thus buried, and five in Suffolk. Ravensburgh, in the former
county, was once a flourishing seaport. Here landed Henry IV in 1399,
and Edward IV in 1471. It returned two members to Parliament. An old
picture of the place shows the church, a large cross, and houses; but
it has vanished with the neighbouring villages of Redmare,
Tharlethorp, Frismarch, and Potterfleet, and "left not a wrack
behind." Leland mentions it in 1538, after which time its place in
history and on the map knows it no more. The ancient church of Kilnsea
lost half its fabric in 1826, and the rest followed in 1831. Alborough
Church and the Castle of Grimston have entirely vanished. Mapleton
Church was formerly two miles from the sea; it is now on a cliff with
the sea at its feet, awaiting the final attack of the all-devouring
enemy. Nearly a century ago Owthorne Church and churchyard were
overwhelmed, and the shore was strewn with ruins and shattered
coffins. On the Tyneside the destruction has been remarkable and
rapid. In the district of Saltworks there was a house built standing
on the cliff, but it was never finished, and fell a prey to the waves.
At Percy Square an inn and two cottages have been destroyed. The edge
of the cliff in 1827 was eighty feet seaward, and the banks of Percy
Square receded a hundred and eighty feet between the years 1827 and
1892. Altogether four acres have disappeared. An old Roman building,
locally known as "Gingling Geordie's Hole," and large masses of the
Castle Cliff fell into the sea in the 'eighties. The remains of the
once flourishing town of Seaton, on the Durham coast, can be
discovered amid the sands at low tide. The modern village has sunk
inland, and cannot now boast of an ancient chapel dedicated to St.
Thomas of Canterbury, which has been devoured by the waves.

Skegness, on the Lincolnshire coast, was a large and important town;
it boasted of a castle with strong fortifications and a church with a
lofty spire; it now lies deep beneath the devouring sea, which no
guarding walls could conquer. Far out at sea, beneath the waves, lies
old Cromer Church, and when storms rage its bells are said to chime.
The churchyard wherein was written the pathetic ballad "The Garden of
Sleep" is gradually disappearing, and "the graves of the fair women
that sleep by the cliffs by the sea" have been outraged, and their
bodies scattered and devoured by the pitiless waves.

One of the greatest prizes of the sea is the ancient city of Dunwich,
which dates back to the Roman era. The Domesday Survey shows that it
was then a considerable town having 236 burgesses. It was girt with
strong walls; it possessed an episcopal palace, the seat of the East
Anglian bishopric; it had (so Stow asserts) fifty-two churches, a
monastery, brazen gates, a town hall, hospitals, and the dignity of
possessing a mint. Stow tells of its departed glories, its royal and
episcopal palaces, the sumptuous mansion of the mayor, its numerous
churches and its windmills, its harbour crowded with shipping, which
sent forth forty vessels for the king's service in the thirteenth
century. Though Dunwich was an important place, Stow's description of
it is rather exaggerated. It could never have had more than ten
churches and monasteries. Its "brazen gates" are mythical, though it
had its Lepers' Gate, South Gate, and others. It was once a thriving
city of wealthy merchants and industrious fishermen. King John granted
to it a charter. It suffered from the attacks of armed men as well as
from the ravages of the sea. Earl Bigot and the revolting barons
besieged it in the reign of Edward I. Its decay was gradual. In 1342,
in the parish of St. Nicholas, out of three hundred houses only
eighteen remained. Only seven out of a hundred houses were standing in
the parish of St. Martin. St. Peter's parish was devastated and
depopulated. It had a small round church, like that at Cambridge,
called the Temple, once the property of the Knights Templars, richly
endowed with costly gifts. This was a place of sanctuary, as were the
other churches in the city. With the destruction of the houses came
also the decay of the port which no ships could enter. Its rival,
Southwold, attracted the vessels of strangers. The markets and fairs
were deserted. Silence and ruin reigned over the doomed town, and the
ruined church of All Saints is all that remains of its former glories,
save what the storms sometimes toss along the beach for the study and
edification of antiquaries.

As we proceed down the coast we find that the sea is still gaining on
the land. The old church at Walton-on-the-Naze was swept away, and is
replaced by a new one. A flourishing town existed at Reculver, which
dates back to the Romans. It was a prosperous place, and had a noble
church, which in the sixteenth century was a mile from the sea.
Steadily have the waves advanced, until a century ago the church fell
into the sea, save two towers which have been preserved by means of
elaborate sea-walls as a landmark for sailors.

The fickle sea has deserted some towns and destroyed their prosperity;
it has receded all along the coast from Folkestone to the Sussex
border, and left some of the famous Cinque Ports, some of which we
shall visit again, Lymne, Romney, Hythe, Richborough, Stonor,
Sandwich, and Sarre high and dry, with little or no access to the sea.
Winchelsea has had a strange career. The old town lies beneath the
waves, but a new Winchelsea arose, once a flourishing port, but now
deserted and forlorn with the sea a mile away. Rye, too, has been
forsaken. It was once an island; now the little Rother stream conveys
small vessels to the sea, which looks very far away.

We cannot follow all the victories of the sea. We might examine the
inroads made by the waves at Selsea. There stood the first cathedral
of the district before Chichester was founded. The building is now
beneath the sea, and since Saxon times half of the Selsea Bill has
vanished. The village of Selsea rested securely in the centre of the
peninsula, but only half a mile now separates it from the sea. Some
land has been gained near this projecting headland by an industrious
farmer. His farm surrounded a large cove with a narrow mouth through
which the sea poured. If he could only dam up that entrance, he
thought he could rescue the bed of the cove and add to his acres. He
bought an old ship and sank it by the entrance and proceeded to drain.
But a tiresome storm arose and drove the ship right across the cove,
and the sea poured in again. By no means discouraged, he dammed up the
entrance more effectually, got rid of the water, increased his farm by
many acres, and the old ship makes an admirable cow-shed.

[Illustration: Disused Mooring-Post on bank of the Rother, Rye]

The Isle of Wight in remote geological periods was part of the
mainland. The Scilly Isles were once joined with Cornwall, and were
not severed until the fourteenth century, when by a mighty storm and
flood, 140 churches and villages were destroyed and overwhelmed, and
190 square miles of land carried away. Much land has been lost in the
Wirral district of Cheshire. Great forests have been overwhelmed, as
the skulls and bones of deer and horse and fresh-water shell-fish have
been frequently discovered at low tide. Fifty years ago a distance of
half a mile separated Leasowes Castle from the sea; now its walls are
washed by the waves. The Pennystone, off the Lancashire coast by
Blackpool, tells of a submerged village and manor, about which cluster
romantic legends.

Such is the sad record of the sea's destruction, for which the
industrious reclamation of land, the compensations wrought by the
accumulation of shingle and sand dunes and the silting of estuaries
can scarcely compensate us. How does the sea work this? There are
certain rock-boring animals, such as the Pholas, which help to decay
the rocks. Each mollusc cuts a series of augur-holes from two to four
inches deep, and so assists in destroying the bulwarks of England.
Atmospheric action, the disintegration of soft rocks by frost and by
the attack of the sea below, all tend in the same direction. But the
foolish action of man in removing shingle, the natural protection of
our coasts, is also very mischievous. There is an instance of this in
the Hall Sands and Bee Sands, Devon. A company a few years ago
obtained authority to dredge both from the foreshore and sea-bed. The
Commissioners of Woods and Forests and the Board of Trade granted this
permission, the latter receiving a royalty of L50 and the former L150.
This occurred in 1896. Soon afterwards a heavy gale arose and caused
an immense amount of damage, the result entirely of this dredging. The
company had to pay heavily, and the royalties were returned to them.
This is only one instance out of many which might be quoted. We are an
illogical nation, and our regulations and authorities are weirdly
confused. It appears that the foreshore is under the control of the
Board of Trade, and then a narrow strip of land is ruled over by the
Commissioners of Woods and Forests. Of course these bodies do not
agree; different policies are pursued by each, and the coast suffers.
Large sums are sometimes spent in coast-defence works. At Spurn no
less than L37,433 has been spent out of Parliamentary grants, besides
L14,227 out of the Mercantile Marine Fund. Corporations or county
authorities, finding their coasts being worn away, resolve to protect
it. They obtain a grant in aid from Parliament, spend vast sums, and
often find their work entirely thrown away, or proving itself most
disastrous to their neighbours. If you protect one part of the coast
you destroy another. Such is the rule of the sea. If you try to beat
it back at one point it will revenge itself on another. If only you
can cause shingle to accumulate before your threatened town or
homestead, you know you can make the place safe and secure from the
waves. But if you stop this flow of shingle you may protect your own
homes, but you deprive your neighbours of this safeguard against the
ravages of the sea. It was so at Deal. The good folks of Deal placed
groynes in order to stop the flow of shingle and protect the town.
They did their duty well; they stopped the shingle and made a good
bulwark against the sea. With what result? In a few years' time they
caused the destruction of Sandown, which had been deprived of its
natural protection. Mr. W. Whitaker, F.R.S., who has walked along the
whole coast from Norfolk to Cornwall, besides visiting other parts of
our English shore, and whose contributions to the Report of the Royal
Commission on Coast Erosion are so valuable, remembers when a boy the
Castle of Sandown, which dated from the time of Henry VIII. It was
then in a sound condition and was inhabited. Now it is destroyed, and
the batteries farther north have gone too. The same thing is going on
at Dover. The Admiralty Pier causes the accumulation of shingle on its
west side, and prevents it from following its natural course in a
north-easterly direction. Hence the base of the cliffs on the other
side of the pier and harbour is left bare and unprotected; this aids
erosion, and not unfrequently do we hear of the fall of the chalk
cliffs.

Isolated schemes for the prevention of coast erosion are of little
avail. They can do no good, and only increase the waste and
destruction of land in neighbouring shores. Stringent laws should be
passed to prevent the taking away of shingle from protecting beaches,
and to prohibit the ploughing of land near the edge of cliffs, which
greatly assists atmospheric destructive action from above. The State
has recently threatened the abandonment of the coastguard service.
This would be a disastrous policy. Though the primary object of
coastguards, the prevention of smuggling, has almost passed away, the
old sailors who act as guardians of our coast-line render valuable
services to the country. They are most useful in looking after the
foreshore. They save many lives from wrecked vessels, and keep watch
and ward to guard our shores, and give timely notice of the advance of
a hostile fleet, or of that ever-present foe which, though it affords
some protection for our island home from armed invasion, does not fail
to exact a heavy tithe from the land it guards, and has destroyed so
many once flourishing towns and villages by its ceaseless attack.




CHAPTER III

OLD WALLED TOWNS


The destruction of ancient buildings always causes grief and distress
to those who love antiquity. It is much to be deplored, but in some
cases is perhaps inevitable. Old-fashioned half-timbered shops with
small diamond-paned windows are not the most convenient for the
display of the elegant fashionable costumes effectively draped on
modelled forms. Motor-cars cannot be displayed in antiquated old
shops. Hence in modern up-to-date towns these old buildings are
doomed, and have to give place to grand emporiums with large
plate-glass windows and the refinements of luxurious display. We hope
to visit presently some of the old towns and cities which happily
retain their ancient beauties, where quaint houses with oversailing
upper stories still exist, and with the artist's aid to describe many
of their attractions.

Although much of the destruction is, as I have said, inevitable, a
vast amount is simply the result of ignorance and wilful perversity.
Ignorant persons get elected on town councils--worthy men doubtless,
and able men of business, who can attend to and regulate the financial
affairs of the town, look after its supply of gas and water, its
drainage and tramways; but they are absolutely ignorant of its
history, its associations, of architectural beauty, of anything that
is not modern and utilitarian. Unhappily, into the care of such men as
these is often confided the custody of historic buildings and
priceless treasures, of ruined abbey and ancient walls, of objects
consecrated by the lapse of centuries and by the associations of
hundreds of years of corporate life; and it is not surprising that in
many cases they betray their trust. They are not interested in such
things. "Let bygones be bygones," they say. "We care not for old
rubbish." Moreover, they frequently resent interference and
instruction. Hence they destroy wholesale what should be preserved,
and England is the poorer.

Not long ago the Edwardian wall of Berwick-on-Tweed was threatened
with demolition at the hands of those who ought to be its
guardians--the Corporation of the town. An official from the Office of
Works, when he saw the begrimed, neglected appearance of the two
fragments of this wall near the Bell Tower, with a stagnant pool in
the fosse, bestrewed with broken pitchers and rubbish, reported that
the Elizabethan walls of the town which were under the direction of
the War Department were in excellent condition, whereas the Edwardian
masonry was utterly neglected. And why was this relic of the town's
former greatness to be pulled down? Simply to clear the site for the
erection of modern dwelling-houses. A very strong protest was made
against this act of municipal barbarism by learned societies, the
Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings, and others, and we
hope that the hand of the destroyer has been stayed.

Most of the principal towns in England were protected by walls, and
the citizens regarded it as a duty to build them and keep them in
repair. When we look at some of these fortifications, their strength,
their height, their thickness, we are struck by the fact that they
were very great achievements, and that they must have been raised with
immense labour and gigantic cost. In turbulent and warlike times they
were absolutely necessary. Look at some of these triumphs of medieval
engineering skill, so strong, so massive, able to defy the attacks of
lance and arrow, ram or catapult, and to withstand ages of neglect and
the storms of a tempestuous clime. Towers and bastions stood at
intervals against the wall at convenient distances, in order that
bowmen stationed in them could shoot down any who attempted to scale
the wall with ladders anywhere within the distance between the
towers. All along the wall there was a protected pathway for the
defenders to stand, and machicolations through which boiling oil or
lead, or heated sand could be poured on the heads of the attacking
force. The gateways were carefully constructed, flanked by defending
towers with a portcullis, and a guard-room overhead with holes in the
vaulted roof of the gateway for pouring down inconvenient substances
upon the heads of the besiegers. There were several gates, the usual
number being four; but Coventry had twelve, Canterbury six, and
Newcastle-on-Tyne seven, besides posterns.

[Illustration: Old Houses built on the Town Wall, Rye]

Berwick-upon-Tweed, York, Chester, and Conway have maintained their
walls in good condition. Berwick has three out of its four gates still
standing. They are called Scotchgate, Shoregate, and Cowgate, and in
the last two still remain the original massive wooden gates with their
bolts and hinges. The remaining fourth gate, named Bridgate, has
vanished. We have alluded to the neglect of the Edwardian wall and its
threatened destruction. Conway has a wall a mile and a quarter in
length, with twenty-one semicircular towers along its course and three
great gateways besides posterns. Edward I built this wall in order to
subjugate the Welsh, and also the walls round Carnarvon, some of which
survive, and Beaumaris. The name of his master-mason has been
preserved, one Henry le Elreton. The muniments of the Corporation of
Alnwick prove that often great difficulties arose in the matter of
wall-building. Its closeness to the Scottish border rendered a wall
necessary. The town was frequently attacked and burnt. The inhabitants
obtained a licence to build a wall in 1433, but they did not at once
proceed with the work. In 1448 the Scots came and pillaged the town,
and the poor burgesses were so robbed and despoiled that they could
not afford to proceed with the wall and petitioned the King for aid.
Then Letters Patent were issued for a collection to be made for the
object, and at last, forty years after the licence was granted,
Alnwick got its wall, and a very good wall it was--a mile in
circumference, twenty feet in height and six in thickness; "it had
four gateways--Bondgate, Clayport, Pottergate, and Narrowgate. Only
the first-named of these is standing. It is three stories in height.
Over the central archway is a panel on which was carved the Brabant
lion, now almost obliterated. On either side is a semi-octagonal
tower. The masonry is composed of huge blocks to which time and
weather have given dusky tints. On the front facing the expected foes
the openings are but little more than arrow-slits; on that within,
facing the town, are well-proportioned mullioned and transomed
windows. The great ribbed archway is grooved for a portcullis, now
removed, and a low doorway on either side gives entrance to the
chambers in the towers. Pottergate was rebuilt in the eighteenth
century and crowns a steep street; only four corner-stones marked T
indicate the site of Clayport. No trace of Narrowgate remains."[4]

As the destruction of many of our castles is due to the action of
Cromwell and the Parliament, who caused them to be "slighted" partly
out of revenge upon the loyal owners who had defended them, so several
of our town-walls were thrown down by order of Charles II at the
Restoration on account of the active assistance which the townspeople
had given to the rebels. The heads of rebels were often placed on
gateways. London Bridge, Lincoln, Newcastle, York, Berwick,
Canterbury, Temple Bar, and other gates have often been adorned with
these gruesome relics of barbarous punishments.

How were these strong walls ever taken in the days before gunpowder
was extensively used or cannon discharged their devastating shells?
Imagine you are present at a siege. You would see the attacking force
advancing a huge wooden tower, covered with hides and placed on
wheels, towards the walls. Inside this tower were ladders, and when
the "sow" had been pushed towards the wall the soldiers rushed up
these ladders and were able to fight on a level with the garrison.
Perhaps they were repulsed, and then a shed-like structure would be
advanced towards the wall, so as to enable the men to get close enough
to dig a hole beneath the walls in order to bring them down. The
besieged would not be inactive, but would cast heavy stones on the
roof of the shed. Molten lead and burning flax were favourite means of
defence to alarm and frighten away the enemy, who retaliated by
casting heavy stones by means of a catapult into the town.

  [4] _The Builder_, April 16, 1904.

[Illustration: Bootham Bar, York]

Amongst the fragments of walls still standing, those at Newcastle are
very massive, sooty, and impressive. Southampton has some grand walls
left and a gateway, which show how strongly the town was fortified.
The old Cinque Port, Sandwich, formerly a great and important town,
lately decayed, but somewhat renovated by golf, has two gates left,
and Rochester and Canterbury have some fragments of their walls
standing. The repair of the walls of towns was sometimes undertaken by
guilds. Generous benefactors, like Sir Richard Whittington, frequently
contributed to the cost, and sometimes a tax called murage was levied
for the purpose which was collected by officers named muragers.

The city of York has lost many of its treasures, and the City Fathers
seem to find it difficult to keep their hands off such relics of
antiquity as are left to them. There are few cities in England more
deeply marked with the impress of the storied past than York--the long
and moving story of its gates and walls, of the historical
associations of the city through century after century of English
history. About eighty years ago the Corporation destroyed the
picturesque old barbicans of the Bootham, Micklegate, and Monk Bars,
and only one, Walmgate, was suffered to retain this interesting
feature. It is a wonder they spared those curious stone half-length
figures of men, sculptured in a menacing attitude in the act of
hurling large stones downwards, which vaunt themselves on the summit
of Monk Bar--probably intended to deceive invaders--or that
interesting stone platform only twenty-two inches wide, which was the
only foothold available for the martial burghers who guarded the city
wall at Tower Place. A year or two ago the City Fathers decided, in
order to provide work for the unemployed, to interfere with the city
moats by laying them out as flower-beds and by planting shrubs and
making playgrounds of the banks. The protest of the Yorks
Archaeological Society, we believe, stayed their hands.

The same story can be told of far too many towns and cities. A few
years ago several old houses were demolished in the High Street of the
city of Rochester to make room for electric tramways. Among these was
the old White Hart Inn, built in 1396, the sign being a badge of
Richard II, where Samuel Pepys stayed. He found that "the beds were
corded, and we had no sheets to our beds, only linen to our mouths" (a
narrow strip of linen to prevent the contact of the blanket with the
face). With regard to the disappearance of old inns, we must wait
until we arrive at another chapter.

We will now visit some old towns where we hope to discover some
buildings that are ancient and where all is not distressingly new,
hideous, and commonplace. First we will travel to the old-world town
of Lynn--"Lynn Regis, vulgarly called King's Lynn," as the royal
charter of Henry VIII terms it. On the land side the town was defended
by a fosse, and there are still considerable remains of the old wall,
including the fine Gothic South Gates. In the days of its ancient
glory it was known as Bishop's Lynn, the town being in the hands of
the Bishop of Norwich. Bishop Herbert de Losinga built the church of
St. Margaret at the beginning of the twelfth century, and gave it with
many privileges to the monks of Norwich, who held a priory at Lynn;
and Bishop Turbus did a wonderfully good stroke of business, reclaimed
a large tract of land about 1150 A.D., and amassed wealth for his see
from his markets, fairs, and mills. Another bishop, Bishop Grey,
induced or compelled King John to grant a free charter to the town,
but astutely managed to keep all the power in his own hands. Lynn was
always a very religious place, and most of the orders--Benedictines,
Franciscans, Dominicans, Carmelite and Augustinian Friars, and the
Sack Friars--were represented at Lynn, and there were numerous
hospitals, a lazar-house, a college of secular canons, and other
religious institutions, until they were all swept away by the greed of
a rapacious king. There is not much left to-day of all these religious
foundations. The latest authority on the history of Lynn, Mr. H.J.
Hillen, well says: "Time's unpitying plough-share has spared few
vestiges of their architectural* grandeur." A cemetery cross in the
museum, the name "Paradise" that keeps up the remembrance of the cool,
verdant cloister-garth, a brick arch upon the east bank of the Nar,
and a similar gateway in "Austin" Street are all the relics that
remain of the old monastic life, save the slender hexagonal "Old
Tower," the graceful lantern of the convent of the grey-robed
Franciscans. The above writer also points out the beautifully carved
door in Queen Street, sole relic of the College of Secular Canons,
from which the chisel of the ruthless iconoclast has chipped off the
obnoxious _Orate pro anima_.

  *Transcriber's Note: Original "achitectural"

The quiet, narrow, almost deserted streets of Lynn, its port and quays
have another story to tell. They proclaim its former greatness as one
of the chief ports in England and the centre of vast mercantile
activity. A thirteenth-century historian, Friar William Newburg,
described Lynn as "a noble city noted for its trade." It was the key
of Norfolk. Through it flowed all the traffic to and from northern
East Anglia, and from its harbour crowds of ships carried English
produce, mainly wool, to the Netherlands, Norway, and the Rhine
Provinces. Who would have thought that this decayed harbour ranked
fourth among the ports of the kingdom? But its glories have departed.
Decay set in. Its prosperity began to decline.

Railways have been the ruin of King's Lynn. The merchant princes who
once abounded in the town exist here no longer. The last of the long
race died quite recently. Some ancient ledgers still exist in the
town, which exhibit for one firm alone a turnover of something like a
million and a half sterling per annum. Although possessed of a
similarly splendid waterway, unlike Ipswich, the trade of the town
seems to have quite decayed. Few signs of commerce are visible, except
where the advent of branch stations of enterprising "Cash" firms has
resulted in the squaring up of odd projections and consequent
overthrow of certain ancient buildings. There is one act of vandalism
which the town has never ceased to regret and which should serve as a
warning for the future. This is the demolition of the house of Walter
Coney, merchant, an unequalled specimen of fifteenth-century domestic
architecture, which formerly stood at the corner of the Saturday
Market Place and High Street. So strongly was this edifice constructed
that it was with the utmost difficulty that it was taken to pieces, in
order to make room for the ugly range of white brick buildings which
now stands upon its site. But Lynn had an era of much prosperity
during the rise of the Townshends, when the agricultural improvements
brought about by the second Viscount introduced much wealth to
Norfolk. Such buildings as the Duke's Head Hotel belong to the second
Viscount's time, and are indicative of the influx of visitors which
the town enjoyed. In the present day this hotel, though still a
good-sized establishment, occupies only half the building which it
formerly did. An interesting oak staircase of fine proportions, though
now much warped, may be seen here.

[Illustration: Half-timbered House with early Fifteenth-century
Doorway, King's Lynn, Norfolk]

In olden days the Hanseatic League had an office here. The Jews were
plentiful and supplied capital--you can find their traces in the name
of the "Jews' Lane Ward"--and then came the industrious Flemings, who
brought with them the art of weaving cloth and peculiar modes of
building houses, so that Lynn looks almost like a little Dutch town.
The old guild life of Lynn was strong and vigorous, from its Merchant
Guild to the humbler craft guilds, of which we are told that there
have been no less than seventy-five. Part of the old Guildhall,
erected in 1421, with its chequered flint and stone gable still stands
facing the market of St. Margaret with its Renaissance porch, and a
bit of the guild hall of St. George the Martyr remains in King Street.
The custom-house, which was originally built as an exchange for the
Lynn merchants, is a notable building, and has a statue of Charles II
placed in a niche.

This was the earliest work of a local architect, Henry Bell, who is
almost unknown. He was mayor of King's Lynn, and died in 1717, and his
memory has been saved from oblivion by Mr. Beloe of that town, and is
enshrined in Mr. Blomfield's _History of Renaissance Architecture_:--

  "This admirable little building originally consisted of an open
  loggia about 40 feet by 32 feet outside, with four columns down
  the centre, supporting the first floor, and an attic storey above.
  The walls are of Portland stone, with a Doric order to the ground
  storey supporting an Ionic order to the first floor. The cornice
  is of wood, and above this is a steep-pitched tile roof with
  dormers, surmounted by a balustrade inclosing a flat, from which
  rises a most picturesque wooden cupola. The details are extremely
  refined, and the technical knowledge and delicate sense of scale
  and proportion shown in this building are surprising in a designer
  who was under thirty, and is not known to have done any previous
  work."[5]

  [5] _History of Renaissance Architecture_, by R. Blomfield.

A building which the town should make an effort to preserve is the old
"Greenland Fishery House," a tenement dating from the commencement of
the seventeenth century.

The Duke's Head Inn, erected in 1689, now spoilt by its coating of
plaster, a house in Queen's Street, the old market cross, destroyed in
1831 and sold for old materials, and the altarpieces of the churches
of St. Margaret and St. Nicholas, destroyed during "restoration," and
North Runcton church, three miles from Lynn, are other works of this
very able artist.

Until the Reformation Lynn was known as Bishop's Lynn, and galled
itself under the yoke of the Bishop of Norwich; but Henry freed the
townsfolk from their bondage and ordered the name to be changed to
Lynn Regis. Whether the good people throve better under the control of
the tyrant who crushed all their guilds and appropriated the spoil
than under the episcopal yoke may be doubtful; but the change pleased
them, and with satisfaction they placed the royal arms on their East
Gate, which, after the manner of gates and walls, has been pulled
down. If you doubt the former greatness of this old seaport you must
examine its civic plate. It possesses the oldest and most important
and most beautiful specimen of municipal plate in England, a grand,
massive silver-gilt cup of exquisite workmanship. It is called "King
John's Cup," but it cannot be earlier than the reign of Edward III. In
addition to this there is a superb sword of state of the time of Henry
VIII, another cup, four silver maces, and other treasures. Moreover,
the town had a famous goldsmiths' company, and several specimens of
their handicraft remain. The defences of the town were sorely tried in
the Civil War, when for three weeks it sustained the attacks of the
rebels. The town was forced to surrender, and the poor folk were
obliged to pay ten shillings a head, besides a month's pay to the
soldiers, in order to save their homes from plunder. Lynn has many
memories. It sheltered King John when fleeing from the revolting
barons, and kept his treasures until he took them away and left them
in a still more secure place buried in the sands of the Wash. It
welcomed Queen Isabella during her retirement at Castle Rising,
entertained Edward IV when he was hotly pursued by the Earl of
Warwick, and has been worthy of its name as a loyal king's town.

Another walled town on the Norfolk coast attracts the attention of all
who love the relics of ancient times, Great Yarmouth, with its
wonderful record of triumphant industry and its associations with many
great events in history. Henry III, recognizing the important
strategical position of the town in 1260, granted a charter to the
townsfolk empowering them to fortify the place with a wall and a moat,
but more than a century elapsed before the fortifications were
completed. This was partly owing to the Black Death, which left few
men in Yarmouth to carry on the work. The walls were built of cut
flint and Caen stone, and extended from the north-east tower in St.
Nicholas Churchyard, called King Henry's Tower, to Blackfriars Tower
at the south end, and from the same King Henry's Tower to the
north-west tower on the bank of the Bure. Only a few years ago a large
portion of this, north of Ramp Row, now called Rampart Road, was taken
down, much to the regret of many. And here I may mention a grand
movement which might be with advantage imitated in every historic
town. A small private company has been formed called the "Great
Yarmouth Historical Buildings, Limited." Its object is to acquire
and preserve the relics of ancient Yarmouth. The founders deserve the
highest praise for their public spirit and patriotism. How many
cherished objects in Vanishing England might have been preserved if
each town or county possessed such a valuable association! This
Yarmouth society owns the remains of the cloisters of Grey Friars and
other remains of ancient buildings. It is only to be regretted that it
was not formed earlier. There were nine gates in the walls of the
town, but none of them are left, and of the sixteen towers which
protected the walls only a very few remain.

[Illustration: The "Bone Tower", Town walls, Great Yarmouth]

These walls guard much that is important. The ecclesiastical buildings
are very fine, including the largest parish church in England, founded
by the same Herbert de Losinga whose good work we saw at King's Lynn.
The church of St. Nicholas has had many vicissitudes, and is now one
of the finest in the country. It was in medieval times the church of a
Benedictine Priory; a cell of the monastery at Norwich and the Priory
Hall remains, and is now restored and used as a school. Royal guests
have been entertained there, but part of the buildings were turned
into cottages and the great hall into stables. As we have said, part
of the Grey Friars Monastery remains, and also part of the house of
the Augustine Friars. The Yarmouth rows are a great feature of the
town. They are not like the Chester rows, but are long, narrow streets
crossing the town from east to west, only six feet wide, and one row
called Kitty-witches only measures at one end two feet three inches.
It has been suggested that this plan of the town arose from the
fishermen hanging out their nets to dry and leaving a narrow passage
between each other's nets, and that in course of time these narrow
passages became defined and were permanently retained. In former days
rich merchants and traders lived in the houses that line these rows,
and had large gardens behind their dwellings; and sometimes you can
see relics of former greatness--a panelled room or a richly decorated
ceiling. But the ancient glory of the rows is past, and the houses
are occupied now by fishermen or labourers. These rows are so narrow
that no ordinary vehicle could be driven along them. Hence there arose
special Yarmouth carts about three and a half feet wide and twelve
feet long with wheels underneath the body. Very brave and gallant have
always been the fishermen of Yarmouth, not only in fighting the
elements, but in defeating the enemies of England. History tells of
many a sea-fight in which they did good service to their king and
country. They gallantly helped to win the battle of Sluys, and sent
forty-three ships and one thousand men to help with the siege of
Calais in the time of Edward III. They captured and burned the town
and harbour of Cherbourg in the time of Edward I, and performed many
other acts of daring.

[Illustration: Row No. 83, Great Yarmouth]

One of the most interesting houses in the town is the Tolhouse, the
centre of the civic life of Yarmouth. It is said to be six hundred
years old, having been erected in the time of Henry III, though some
of the windows are decorated, but may have been inserted later. Here
the customs or tolls were collected, and the Corporation held its
meetings. There is a curious open external staircase leading to the
first floor, where the great hall is situated. Under the hall is a
gaol, a wretched prison wherein the miserable captives were chained to
a beam that ran down the centre. Nothing in the town bears stronger
witness to the industry and perseverance of the Yarmouth men than the
harbour. They have scoured the sea for a thousand years to fill their
nets with its spoil, and made their trade of world-wide fame, but
their port speaks louder in their praise. Again and again has the
fickle sea played havoc with their harbour, silting it up with sand
and deserting the town as if in revenge for the harvest they reap from
her. They have had to cut out no less than seven harbours in the
course of the town's existence, and royally have they triumphed over
all difficulties and made Yarmouth a great and prosperous port.

Near Yarmouth is the little port of Gorleston with its old jetty-head,
of which we give an illustration. It was once the rival of Yarmouth.
The old magnificent church of the Augustine Friars stood in this
village and had a lofty, square, embattled tower which was a landmark
to sailors. But the church was unroofed and despoiled at the
Reformation, and its remains were pulled down in 1760, only a small
portion of the tower remaining, and this fell a victim to a violent
storm at the beginning of the last century. The grand parish church
was much plundered at the Reformation, and left piteously bare by the
despoilers.

[Illustration: The Old Jetty, Gorleston]

The town, now incorporated with Yarmouth, has a proud boast:--

        Gorleston was Gorleston ere Yarmouth begun,
        And will be Gorleston when Yarmouth is done.

Another leading East Anglian port in former days was the county town
of Suffolk, Ipswich. During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries
ships from most of the countries of Western Europe disembarked their
cargoes on its quays--wines from Spain, timber from Norway, cloth from
Flanders, salt from France, and "mercerie" from Italy left its crowded
wharves to be offered for sale in the narrow, busy streets of the
borough. Stores of fish from Iceland, bales of wool, loads of untanned
hides, as well as the varied agricultural produce of the district,
were exposed twice in the week on the market stalls.[6] The learned
editor of the _Memorials of Old Suffolk_, who knows the old town so
well, tells us that the stalls of the numerous markets lay within a
narrow limit of space near the principal churches of the town--St.
Mary-le-Tower, St. Mildred, and St. Lawrence. The Tavern Street of
to-day was the site of the flesh market or cowerye. A narrow street
leading thence to the Tower Church was the Poultry, and Cooks' Row,
Butter Market, Cheese and Fish markets were in the vicinity. The
manufacture of leather was the leading industry of old Ipswich, and
there was a goodly company of skinners, barkers, and tanners employed
in the trade. Tavern Street had, as its name implies, many taverns,
and was called the Vintry, from the large number of opulent vintners
who carried on their trade with London and Bordeaux. Many of these men
were not merely peaceful merchants, but fought with Edward III in his
wars with France and were knighted for their feats of arms. Ipswich
once boasted of a castle which was destroyed in Stephen's reign. In
Saxon times it was fortified by a ditch and a rampart which were
destroyed by the Danes, but the fortifications were renewed in the
time of King John, when a wall was built round the town with four
gates which took their names from the points of the compass. Portions
of these remain to bear witness to the importance of this ancient
town. We give views of an old building near the custom-house in
College Street and Fore Street, examples of the narrow, tortuous
thoroughfares which modern improvements have not swept away.

  [6] Cf. _Memorials of Suffolk_, edited by V.B. Redstone.

[Illustration: Tudor House, Ipswich, near the Custom House]

[Illustration: Three-gabled House, Fore Street, Ipswich]

We cannot give accounts of all the old fortified towns in England and
can only make selections. We have alluded to the ancient walls of
York. Few cities can rival it in interest and architectural beauty,
its relics of Roman times, its stately and magnificent cathedral, the
beautiful ruins of St. Mary's Abbey, the numerous churches exhibiting
all the grandeur of the various styles of Gothic architecture, the old
merchants' hall, and the quaint old narrow streets with gabled houses
and widely projecting storeys. And then there is the varied history of
the place dating from far-off Roman times. Not the least interesting
feature of York are its gates and walls. Some parts of the walls are
Roman, that curious thirteen-sided building called the multangular
tower forming part of it, and also the lower part of the wall leading
from this tower to Bootham Bar, the upper part being of later origin.
These walls have witnessed much fighting, and the cannons in the Civil
War during the siege in 1644 battered down some portions of them and
sorely tried their hearts. But they have been kept in good
preservation and repaired at times, and the part on the west of the
Ouse is especially well preserved. You can see some Norman and Early
English work, but the bulk of it belongs to Edwardian times, when York
played a great part in the history of England, and King Edward I made
it his capital during the war with Scotland, and all the great nobles
of England sojourned there. Edward II spent much time there, and the
minster saw the marriage of his son. These walls were often sorely
needed to check the inroads of the Scots. After Bannockburn fifteen
thousand of these northern warriors advanced to the gates of York. The
four gates of the city are very remarkable. Micklegate Bar consists of
a square tower built over a circular arch of Norman date with
embattled turrets at the angles. On it the heads of traitors were
formerly exposed. It bears on its front the arms of France as well as
those of England.

[Illustration: "Melia's Passage," York]

Bootham Bar is the main entrance from the north, and has a Norman arch
with later additions and turrets with narrow slits for the discharge
of arrows. It saw the burning of the suburb of Bootham in 1265 and
much bloodshed, when a mighty quarrel raged between the citizens and
the monks of the Abbey of St. Mary owing to the abuse of the privilege
of sanctuary possessed by the monastery. Monk Bar has nothing to do
with monks. Its former name was Goodramgate, and after the Restoration
it was changed to Monk Bar in honour of General Monk. The present
structure was probably built in the fourteenth century. Walmgate Bar,
a strong, formidable structure, was built in the reign of Edward I,
and as we have said, it is the only gate that retains its curious
barbican, originally built in the time of Edward III and rebuilt in
1648. The inner front of the gate has been altered from its original
form in order to secure more accommodation within. The remains of the
Clifford's Tower, which played an important part in the siege, tell of
the destruction caused by the blowing up of the magazine in 1683, an
event which had more the appearance of design than accident. York
abounds with quaint houses and narrow streets. We give an illustration
of the curious Melia's Passage; the origin of the name I am at a loss
to conjecture.

Chester is, we believe, the only city in England which has retained
the entire circuit of its walls complete. According to old unreliable
legends, Marius, or Marcius, King of the British, grandson of
Cymbeline, who began his reign A.D. 73, first surrounded Chester with
a wall, a mysterious person who must be classed with Leon Gawr, or
Vawr, a mighty strong giant who founded Chester, digging caverns in
the rocks for habitations, and with the story of King Leir, who first
made human habitations in the future city. Possibly there was here a
British camp. It was certainly a Roman city, and has preserved the
form and plan which the Romans were accustomed to affect; its four
principal streets diverging at right angles from a common centre, and
extending north, east, south, and west, and terminating in a gate, the
other streets forming insulae as at Silchester. There is every reason
to believe that the Romans surrounded the city with a wall. Its
strength was often tried. Hither the Saxons came under Ethelfrith and
pillaged the city, but left it to the Britons, who were not again
dislodged until Egbert came in 828 and recovered it. The Danish
pirates came here and were besieged by Alfred, who slew all within its
walls. These walls were standing but ruinous when the noble daughter
of Alfred, Ethelfleda, restored them in 907. A volume would be needed
to give a full account of Chester's varied history, and our main
concern is with the treasures that remain. The circumference of the
walls is nearly two miles, and there are four principal gates besides
posterns--the North, East, Bridge-gate, and Water-gate. The North Gate
was in the charge of the citizens; the others were held by persons who
had that office by serjeanty under the Earls of Chester, and were
entitled to certain tolls, which, with the custody of the gates, were
frequently purchased by the Corporation. The custody of the
Bridge-gate belonged to the Raby family in the reign of Edward III. It
had two round towers, on the westernmost of which was an octagonal
water-tower. These were all taken down in 1710-81 and the gate
rebuilt. The East Gate was given by Edward I to Henry Bradford, who
was bound to find a crannoc and a bushel for measuring the salt that
might be brought in. Needless to say, the old gate has vanished. It
was of Roman architecture, and consisted of two arches formed by large
stones. Between the tops of the arches, which were cased with Norman
masonry, was the whole-length figure of a Roman soldier. This gate was
a _porta principalis_, the termination of the great Watling Street
that led from Dover through London to Chester. It was destroyed in
1768, and the present gate erected by Earl Grosvenor. The custody of
the Water-gate belonged to the Earls of Derby. It also was destroyed,
and the present arch erected in 1788. A new North Gate was built in
1809 by Robert, Earl Grosvenor. The principal postern-gates were Cale
Yard Gate, made by the abbot and convent in the reign of Edward I as a
passage to their kitchen garden; New-gate, formerly Woolfield or
Wolf-gate, repaired in 1608, also called Pepper-gate;[7] and
Ship-gate, or Hole-in-the-wall, which alone retains its Roman arch,
and leads to a ferry across the Dee.

  [7] The Chester folk have a proverb, "When the daughter is stolen,
  shut Pepper-gate"--referring to the well-known story of a daughter
  of a Mayor of Chester having made her escape with her lover
  through this gate, which he ordered to be closed, but too late to
  prevent the fugitives.

The walls are strengthened by round towers so placed as not to be
beyond bowshot of each other, in order that their arrows might reach
the enemy who should attempt to scale the walls in the intervals. At
the north-east corner is Newton's Tower, better known as the Phoenix
from a sculptured figure, the ensign of one of the city guilds,
appearing over its door. From this tower Charles I saw the battle of
Rowton Heath and the defeat of his troops during the famous siege of
Chester. This was one of the most prolonged and deadly in the whole
history of the Civil War. It would take many pages to describe the
varied fortunes of the gallant Chester men, who were at length
constrained to feed on horses, dogs, and cats. There is much in the
city to delight the antiquary and the artist--the famous rows, the
three-gabled old timber mansion of the Stanleys with its massive
staircase, oaken floors, and panelled walls, built in 1591, Bishop
Lloyd's house in Water-gate with its timber front sculptured with
Scripture subjects, and God's Providence House with its motto "God's
Providence is mine inheritance," the inhabitants of which are said to
have escaped one of the terrible plagues that used to rage frequently
in old Chester.

[Illustration: Detail of Half-timbered House in High Street,
Shrewsbury]

Journeying southwards we come to Shrewsbury, another walled town,
abounding with delightful half-timbered houses, less spoiled than any
town we know. It was never a Roman town, though six miles away, at
Uriconium, the Romans had a flourishing city with a great basilica,
baths, shops, and villas, and the usual accessories of luxury.
Tradition says that its earliest Celtic name was Pengwern, where a
British prince had his palace; but the town Scrobbesbyrig came into
existence under Offa's rule in Mercia, and with the Normans came Roger
de Montgomery, Shrewsbury's first Earl, and a castle and the stately
abbey of SS. Peter and Paul. A little later the town took to itself
walls, which were abundantly necessary on account of the constant
inroads of the wild Welsh.

        For the barbican's massy and high,
                  Bloudie Jacke!
        And the oak-door is heavy and brown;
        And with iron it's plated and machicolated,
        To pour boiling oil and lead down;
                  How you'd frown
        Should a ladle-full fall on your crown!

        The rock that it stands on is steep,
                  Bloudie Jacke!
        To gain it one's forced for to creep;
        The Portcullis is strong, and the Drawbridge is long,
        And the water runs all round the Keep;
                  At a peep
        You can see that the moat's very deep!

So rhymed the author of the _Ingoldsby Legends_, when in his "Legend
of Shropshire" he described the red stone fortress that towers over
the loop of the Severn enclosing the picturesque old town of
Shrewsbury. The castle, or rather its keep, for the outworks have
disappeared, has been modernized past antiquarian value now. Memories
of its importance as the key of the Northern Marches, and of the
ancient custom of girding the knights of the shire with their swords
by the sheriffs on the grass plot of its inner court, still remain.
The town now stands on a peninsula girt by the Severn. On the high
ground between the narrow neck stood the castle, and under its shelter
most of the houses of the inhabitants. Around this was erected the
first wall. The latest historian of Shrewsbury[8] tells us that it
started from the gate of the castle, passed along the ridge at the
back of Pride Hill, at the bottom of which it turned along the line of
High Street, past St. Julian's Church which overhung it, to the top
of Wyle Cop, when it followed the ridge back to the castle. Of the
part extending from Pride Hill to Wyle Cop only scant traces exist at
the back of more modern buildings.

  [8] The Rev. T. Auden, _Shrewsbury_ (Methuen and Co.).

The town continued to grow and more extensive defences were needed,
and in the time of Henry III, Mr. Auden states that this followed the
old line at the back of Pride Hill, but as the ground began to slope
downwards, another wall branched from it in the direction of Roushill
and extended to the Welsh Bridge. This became the main defence,
leaving the old wall as an inner rampart. From the Welsh Bridge the
new wall turned up Claremont Bank to where St. Chad's Church now
stands, and where one of the original towers stood. Then it passed
along Murivance, where the only existing tower is to be seen, and so
along the still remaining portion of the wall to English Bridge, where
it turned up the hill at the back of what is now Dogpole, and passing
the Watergate, again joined the fortifications of the castle.[9] The
castle itself was reconstructed by Prince Edward, the son of Henry
III, at the end of the thirteenth century, and is of the Edwardian
type of concentric castle. The Norman keep was incorporated within a
larger circle of tower and wall, forming an inner bailey; besides this
there was formerly an outer bailey, in which were various buildings,
including the chapel of St. Nicholas. Only part of the buildings on
one side of the inner bailey remains in its original form, but the
massive character of the whole may be judged from the fragments now
visible.

  [9] _Ibid._, p. 48.

These walls guarded a noble town full of churches and monasteries,
merchants' houses, guild halls, and much else. We will glance at the
beauties that remain: St. Mary's, containing specimens of every style
of architecture from Norman downward, with its curious foreign glass;
St. Julian's, mainly rebuilt in 1748, though the old tower remains;
St. Alkmund's; the Church of St. Chad; St. Giles's Church; and the
nave and refectory pulpit of the monastery of SS. Peter and Paul. It
is distressing to see this interesting gem of fourteenth-century
architecture amid the incongruous surroundings of a coalyard. You can
find considerable remains of the domestic buildings of the Grey
Friars' Monastery near the footbridge across the Severn, and also of
the home of the Austin Friars in a builder's yard at the end of Baker
Street.

[Illustration: Tower on the Town Wall, Shrewsbury]

In many towns we find here and there an old half-timbered dwelling,
but in Shrewsbury there is a surprising wealth of them--streets full
of them, bearing such strange medieval names as "Mardel" or "Wyle
Cop." Shrewsbury is second to no other town in England in the interest
of its ancient domestic buildings. There is the gatehouse of the old
Council House, bearing the date 1620, with its high gable and carved
barge-boards, its panelled front, the square spaces between the
upright and horizontal timbers being ornamented with cut timber. The
old buildings of the famous Shrewsbury School are now used as a Free
Library and Museum and abound in interest. The house remains in which
Prince Rupert stayed during his sojourn in 1644, then owned by "Master
Jones the lawyer," at the west end of St. Mary's Church, with its fine
old staircase. Whitehall, a fine mansion of red sandstone, was built
by Richard Prince, a lawyer, in 1578-82, "to his great chardge with
fame to hym and hys posterite for ever." The Old Market Hall in the
Renaissance style, with its mixture of debased Gothic and classic
details, is worthy of study. Even in Shrewsbury we have to record the
work of the demon of destruction. The erection of the New Market Hall
entailed the disappearance of several old picturesque houses.
Bellstone House, erected in 1582, is incorporated in the National
Provincial Bank. The old mansion known as Vaughan's Place is swallowed
up by the music-hall, though part of the ancient dwelling-place
remains. St. Peter's Abbey Church in the commencement of the
nineteenth century had an extraordinary annexe of timber and plaster,
probably used at one time as parsonage house, which, with several
buttressed remains of the adjacent conventual buildings, have long ago
been squared up and "improved" out of existence. Rowley's mansion, in
Hill's Lane, built of brick in 1618 by William Rowley, is now a
warehouse. Butcher Row has some old houses with projecting storeys,
including a fine specimen of a medieval shop. Some of the houses in
Grope Lane lean together from opposite sides of the road, so that
people in the highest storey can almost shake hands with their
neighbours across the way. You can see the "Olde House" in which Mary
Tudor is said to have stayed, and the mansion of the Owens, built in
1592 as an inscription tells us, and that of the Irelands, with its
range of bow-windows, four storeys high, and terminating in gables,
erected about 1579. The half-timbered hall of the Drapers' Guild, some
old houses in Frankwell, including the inn with the quaint sign--the
String of Horses, the ancient hostels--the Lion, famous in the
coaching age, the Ship, and the Raven--Bennett's Hall, which was the
mint when Shrewsbury played its part in the Civil War, and last, but
not least, the house in Wyle Cop, one of the finest in the town, where
Henry Earl of Richmond stayed on his way to Bosworth field to win the
English Crown. Such are some of the beauties of old Shrewsbury which
happily have not yet vanished.

[Illustration: House that the Earl of Richmond stayed in before the
Battle of Bosworth, Shrewsbury]

Not far removed from Shrewsbury is Coventry, which at one time could
boast of a city wall and a castle. In the reign of Richard II this
wall was built, strengthened by towers. Leland, writing in the time of
Henry VIII, states that the city was begun to be walled in when Edward
II reigned, and that it had six gates, many fair towers, and streets
well built with timber. Other writers speak of thirty-two towers and
twelve gates. But few traces of these remain. The citizens of Coventry
took an active part in the Civil War in favour of the Parliamentary
army, and when Charles II came to the throne he ordered these defences
to be demolished. The gates were left, but most of them have since
been destroyed. Coventry is a city of fine old timber-framed
fifteenth-century houses with gables and carved barge-boards and
projecting storeys, though many of them are decayed and may not last
many years. The city has had a fortunate immunity from serious fires.
We give an illustration of one of the old Coventry streets called Spon
Street, with its picturesque houses. These old streets are numerous,
tortuous and irregular. One of the richest and most interesting
examples of domestic architecture in England is St. Mary's Hall,
erected in the time of Henry VI. Its origin is connected with ancient
guilds of the city, and in it were stored their books and archives.
The grotesquely carved roof, minstrels' gallery, armoury, state-chair,
great painted window, and a fine specimen of fifteenth-century
tapestry are interesting features of this famous hall, which furnishes
a vivid idea of the manners and civic customs of the age when Coventry
was the favourite resort of kings and princes. It has several fine
churches, though the cathedral was levelled with the ground by that
arch-destroyer Henry VIII. Coventry remains one of the most
interesting towns in England.

One other walled town we will single out for especial notice in this
chapter--the quaint, picturesque, peaceful, placid town of Rye on the
Sussex coast. It was once wooed by the sea, which surrounded the rocky
island on which it stands, but the fickle sea has retired and left it
lonely on its hill with a long stretch of marshland between it and the
waves. This must have taken place about the fifteenth century. Our
illustration of a disused mooring-post (p. 24) is a symbol of the
departed greatness of the town as a naval station. The River Rother
connects it with the sea, and the few barges and humble craft and a
few small shipbuilding yards remind it of its palmy days when it was
a member of the Cinque Ports, a rich and prosperous town that sent
forth its ships to fight the naval battles of England and win honour
for Rye and St. George. During the French wars English vessels often
visited French ports and towns along the coast and burned and pillaged
them. The French sailors retaliated with equal zest, and many of our
southern towns have suffered from fire and sword during those
adventurous days.

[Illustration: Old Houses formerly standing in Spon Street Coventry]

Rye was strongly fortified by a wall with gates and towers and a
fosse, but the defences suffered grievously from the attacks of the
French, and the folk of Rye were obliged to send a moving petition to
King Richard II, praying him "to have consideration of the poor town
of Rye, inasmuch as it had been several times taken, and is unable
further to repair the walls, wherefore the town is, on the sea-side,
open to enemies." I am afraid that the King did not at once grant
their petition, as two years later, in 1380, the French came again and
set fire to the town. With the departure of the sea and the
diminishing of the harbour, the population decreased and the
prosperity of Rye declined. Refugees from France have on two notable
occasions added to the number of its inhabitants. After the Massacre
of St. Bartholomew seven hundred scared and frightened Protestants
arrived at Rye and brought with them their industry, and later on,
after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, many Huguenots settled
here and made it almost a French town. We need not record all the
royal visits, the alarms of attack, the plagues, and other incidents
that have diversified the life of Rye. We will glance at the relics
that remain. The walls seem never to have recovered from the attack of
the French, but one gate is standing--the Landgate on the north-east
of the town, built in 1360, and consisting of a broad arch flanked by
two massive towers with chambers above for archers and defenders.
Formerly there were two other gates, but these have vanished save only
the sculptured arms of the Cinque Ports that once adorned the Strand
Gate. The Ypres tower is a memorial of the ancient strength of the
town, and was originally built by William de Ypres, Earl of Kent, in
the twelfth century, but has received later additions. It has a stern,
gaunt appearance, and until recent times was used as a jail. The
church possesses many points of unique interest. The builders began in
the twelfth century to build the tower and transepts, which are
Norman; then they proceeded with the nave, which is Transitional; and
when they reached the choir, which is very large and fine, the style
had merged into the Early English. Later windows were inserted in the
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The church has suffered with the
town at the hands of the French invaders, who did much damage. The old
clock, with its huge swinging pendulum, is curious. The church has a
collection of old books, including some old Bibles, including a
Vinegar and a Breeches Bible, and some stone cannon-balls, mementoes
of the French invasion of 1448.

[Illustration: West Street, Rye]

Near the church is the Town Hall, which contains several relics of
olden days. The list of mayors extends from the time of Edward I, and
we notice the long continuance of the office in families. Thus the
Lambs held office from 1723 to 1832, and the Grebells from 1631 to
1741. A great tragedy happened in the churchyard. A man named Breedes
had a grudge against one of the Lambs, and intended to kill him. He
saw, as he thought, his victim walking along the dark path through the
shrubs in the churchyard, attacked and murdered him. But he had made a
mistake; his victim was Mr. Grebell. The murderer was hanged and
quartered. The Town Hall contains the ancient pillory, which was
described as a very handy affair, handcuffs, leg-irons, special
constables' staves, which were always much needed for the usual riots
on Gunpowder Plot Day, and the old primitive fire-engine dated 1745.
The town has some remarkable plate. There is the mayor's handbell
with the inscription:--

      O MATER DEI
      MEMENTO MEI.
         1566.
    PETRUS GHEINEUS
       ME FECIT.

The maces of Queen Elizabeth with the date 1570 and bearing the
fleur-de-lis and the Tudor rose are interesting, and the two silver
maces presented by George III, bearing the arms of Rye and weighing
962 oz., are said to be the finest in Europe.

[Illustration: Monogram and Inscription in the Mermaid Inn, Rye]

The chief charm of Rye is to walk along the narrow streets and lanes,
and see the picturesque rows and groups of old fifteenth-and
sixteenth-century houses with their tiled roofs and gables,
weather-boarded or tile-hung after the manner of Sussex cottages,
graceful bay-windows--altogether pleasing. Wherever one wanders one
meets with these charming dwellings, especially in West Street and
Pump Street; the oldest house in Rye being at the corner of the
churchyard. The Mermaid Inn is delightful both outside and inside,
with its low panelled rooms, immense fire-places and dog-grates. We
see the monogram and names and dates carved on the stone fire-places,
1643, 1646, the name Loffelholtz seeming to indicate some foreign
refugee or settler. It is pleasant to find at least in one town in
England so much that has been left unaltered and so little spoilt.

[Illustration: Inscription in the Mermaid Inn, Rye]




CHAPTER IV

IN STREETS AND LANES


I have said in another place that no country in the world can boast of
possessing rural homes and villages which have half the charm and
picturesqueness of our English cottages and hamlets.[10] They have to
be known in order that they may be loved. The hasty visitor may pass
them by and miss half their attractiveness. They have to be wooed in
varying moods in order that they may display their charms--when the
blossoms are bright in the village orchards, when the sun shines on
the streams and pools and gleams on the glories of old thatch, when
autumn has tinged the trees with golden tints, or when the hoar frost
makes their bare branches beautiful again with new and glistening
foliage. Not even in their summer garb do they look more beautiful.
There is a sense of stability and a wondrous variety caused by the
different nature of the materials used, the peculiar stone indigenous
in various districts and the individuality stamped upon them by
traditional modes of building.

  [10] _The Charm of the English Village_ (Batsford).

We have still a large number of examples of the humbler kind of
ancient domestic architecture, but every year sees the destruction of
several of these old buildings, which a little care and judicious
restoration might have saved. Ruskin's words should be writ in bold,
big letters at the head of the by-laws of every district council.

  "Watch an old building with anxious care; guard it as best you
  may, and at any cost, from any influence of dilapidation. Count
  its stones as you would the jewels of a crown. Set watchers about
  it, as if at the gate of a besieged city; bind it together with
  iron when it loosens; stay it with timber when it declines. Do not
  care about the unsightliness of the aid--better a crutch than a
  lost limb; and do this tenderly and reverently and continually,
  and many a generation will still be born and pass away beneath its
  shadow."

[Illustration: Relic of Lynn Siege in Hampton Court, King's Lynn]

[Illustration: Hampton Court, King's Lynn, Norfolk]

If this sound advice had been universally taken many a beautiful old
cottage would have been spared to us, and our eyes would not be
offended by the wondrous creations of the estate agents and local
builders, who have no other ambition but to build cheaply. The
contrast between the new and the old is indeed deplorable. The old
cottage is a thing of beauty. Its odd, irregular form and various
harmonious colouring, the effects of weather, time, and accident,
environed with smiling verdure and sweet old-fashioned garden flowers,
its thatched roof, high gabled front, inviting porch overgrown with
creepers, and casement windows, all combine to form a fair and
beautiful home. And then look at the modern cottage with its glaring
brick walls, slate roof, ungainly stunted chimney, and note the
difference. Usually these modern cottages are built in a row, each one
exactly like its fellow, with door and window frames exactly alike,
brought over ready-made from Norway or Sweden. The walls are thin, and
the winds of winter blow through them piteously, and if a man and his
wife should unfortunately "have words" (the pleasing country euphemism
for a violent quarrel) all their neighbours can hear them. The scenery
is utterly spoilt by these ugly eyesores. Villas at Hindhead seem to
have broken out upon the once majestic hill like a red skin eruption.
The jerry-built villa is invading our heaths and pine-woods; every
street in our towns is undergoing improvement; we are covering whole
counties with houses. In Lancashire no sooner does one village end its
mean streets than another begins. London is ever enlarging itself,
extending its great maw over all the country round. The Rev. Canon
Erskine Clarke, Vicar of Battersea, when he first came to reside near
Clapham Junction, remembers the green fields and quiet lanes with
trees on each side that are now built over. The street leading from
the station lined with shops forty years ago had hedges and trees on
each side. There were great houses situated in beautiful gardens and
parks wherein resided some of the great City merchants, county
families, the leaders in old days of the influential "Clapham sect."
These gardens and parks have been covered with streets and rows of
cottages and villas; some of the great houses have been pulled down
and others turned into schools or hospitals, valued only at the rent
of the land on which they stand. All this is inevitable. You cannot
stop all this any more than Mrs. Partington could stem the Atlantic
tide with a housemaid's mop. But ere the flood has quite swallowed up
all that remains of England's natural and architectural beauties, it
may be useful to glance at some of the buildings that remain in town
and country ere they have quite vanished.

[Illustration: Mill Street, Warwick]

Beneath the shade of the lordly castle of Warwick, which has played
such an important part in the history of England, the town of Warwick
sprang into existence, seeking protection in lawless times from its
strong walls and powerful garrison. Through its streets often rode
in state the proud rulers of the castle with their men-at-arms--the
Beauchamps, the Nevilles, including the great "King-maker," Richard
Neville, the Dudleys, and the Grevilles. They contributed to the
building of their noble castle, protected the town, and were borne to
their last resting-place in the fine church, where their tombs remain.
The town has many relics of its lords, and possesses many
half-timbered graceful houses. Mill Street is one of the most
picturesque groups of old-time dwellings, a picture that lingers in
our minds long after we have left the town and fortress of the grim
old Earls of Warwick.

Oxford is a unique city. There is no place like it in the world.
Scholars of Cambridge, of course, will tell me that I am wrong, and
that the town on the Cam is a far superior place, and then point
triumphantly to "the backs." Yes, they are very beautiful, but as a
loyal son of Oxford I may be allowed to prefer that stately city with
its towers and spires, its wealth of college buildings, its exquisite
architecture unrivalled in the world. Nor is the new unworthy of the
old. The buildings at Magdalen, at Brazenose, and even the New Schools
harmonize not unseemly with the ancient structures. Happily Keble is
far removed from the heart of the city, so that that somewhat
unsatisfactory, unsuccessful pile of brickwork interferes not with its
joy. In the streets and lanes of modern Oxford we can search for and
discover many types of old-fashioned, humble specimens of domestic
art, and we give as an illustration some houses which date back to
Tudor times, but have, alas! been recently demolished.

[Illustration: Tudor Tenements, New Inn Hall St, Oxford. Now
demolished]

Many conjectures have been made as to the reason why our forefathers
preferred to rear their houses with the upper storeys projecting out
into the streets. We can understand that in towns where space was
limited it would be an advantage to increase the size of the upper
rooms, if one did not object to the lack of air in the narrow street
and the absence of sunlight. But we find these same projecting storeys
in the depth of the country, where there could have been no
restriction as to the ground to be occupied by the house. Possibly the
fashion was first established of necessity in towns, and the
traditional mode of building was continued in the country. Some say
that by this means our ancestors tried to protect the lower part of
the house, the foundations, from the influence of the weather; others
with some ingenuity suggest that these projecting storeys were
intended to form a covered walk for passengers in the streets, and to
protect them from the showers of slops which the careless housewife of
Elizabethan times cast recklessly from the upstairs windows.
Architects tell us that it was purely a matter of construction. Our
forefathers used to place four strong corner-posts, framed from the
trunks of oak trees, firmly sunk into the ground with their roots left
on and placed upward, the roots curving outwards so as to form
supports for the upper storeys. These curved parts, and often the
posts also, were often elaborately carved and ornamented, as in the
example which our artist gives us of a corner-post of a house in
Ipswich.

In _The Charm of the English Village_ I have tried to describe the
methods of the construction of these timber-framed houses,[11] and it
is perhaps unnecessary for me to repeat what is there recorded. In
fact, there were three types of these dwelling-places, to which have
been given the names Post and Pan, Transom Framed, and Intertie Work.
In judging of the age of a house it will be remembered that the nearer
together the upright posts are placed the older the house is. The
builders as time went on obtained greater confidence, set their posts
wider apart, and held them together by transoms.

  [11] _The Charm of the English Village_, pp. 50-7.

[Illustration: Gothic Corner-post. The Half Moon Inn, Ipswich]

Surrey is a county of good cottages and farm-houses, and these have
had their chroniclers in Miss Gertrude Jekyll's delightful _Old West
Surrey_ and in the more technical work of Mr. Ralph Nevill, F.S.A. The
numerous works on cottage and farm-house building published by Mr.
Batsford illustrate the variety of styles that prevailed in different
counties, and which are mainly attributable to the variety in the
local materials in the counties. Thus in the Cotswolds,
Northamptonshire, Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Westmorland, Somersetshire,
and elsewhere there is good building-stone; and there we find charming
examples of stone-built cottages and farm-houses, altogether
satisfying. In several counties where there is little stone and large
forests of timber we find the timber-framed dwelling flourishing in
all its native beauty. In Surrey there are several materials for
building, hence there is a charming diversity of domiciles. Even the
same building sometimes shows walls of stone and brick, half-timber
and plaster, half-timber and tile-hanging, half-timber with panels
filled with red brick, and roofs of thatch or tiles, or stone slates
which the Horsham quarries supplied.

[Illustration: Timber-built House, Shrewsbury]

[Illustration]

These Surrey cottages have changed with age. Originally they were
built with timber frames, the panels being filled in with wattle and
daub, but the storms of many winters have had their effect upon the
structure. Rain drove through the walls, especially when the ends of
the wattle rotted a little, and draughts were strong enough to blow
out the rushlights and to make the house very uncomfortable. Oak
timbers often shrink. Hence the joints came apart, and being exposed
to the weather became decayed. In consequence of this the buildings
settled, and new methods had to be devised to make them weather-proof.
The villages therefore adopted two or three means in order to attain
this end. They plastered the whole surface of the walls on the
outside, or they hung them with deal boarding or covered them with
tiles. In Surrey tile-hung houses are more common than in any other
part of the country. This use of weather-tiles is not very ancient,
probably not earlier than 1750, and much of this work was done in that
century or early in the nineteenth. Many of these tile-hung houses are
the old sixteenth-century timber-framed structures in a new shell.
Weather-tiles are generally flatter and thinner than those used for
roofing, and when bedded in mortar make a thoroughly weather-proof
wall. Sometimes they are nailed to boarding, but the former plan makes
the work more durable, though the courses are not so regular. These
tiles have various shapes, of which the commonest is semicircular,
resembling a fish-scale. The same form with a small square shoulder is
very generally used, but there is a great variety, and sometimes those
with ornamental ends are blended with plain ones. Age imparts a very
beautiful colour to old tiles, and when covered with lichen they
assume a charming appearance which artists love to depict.

The mortar used in these old buildings is very strong and good. In
order to strengthen the mortar used in Sussex and Surrey houses and
elsewhere, the process of "galleting" or "garreting" was adopted. The
brick-layers used to decorate the rather wide and uneven mortar joint
with small pieces of black ironstone stuck into the mortar. Sussex was
once famous for its ironwork, and ironstone is found in plenty near
the surface of the ground in this district. "Galleting" dates back to
Jacobean times, and is not to be found in sixteenth-century work.

Sussex houses are usually whitewashed and have thatched roofs, except
when Horsham slates or tiles are used. Thatch as a roofing material
will soon have altogether vanished with other features of vanishing
England. District councils in their by-laws usually insert regulations
prohibiting thatch to be used for roofing. This is one of the
mysteries of the legislation of district councils. Rules, suitable
enough for towns, are applied to the country villages, where they are
altogether unsuitable or unnecessary. The danger of fire makes it
inadvisable to have thatched roofs in towns, or even in some villages
where the houses are close together, but that does not apply to
isolated cottages in the country. The district councils do not compel
the removal of thatch, but prohibit new cottages from being roofed
with that material. There is, however, another cause for the
disappearance of thatched roofs, which form such a beautiful feature
in the English landscape. Since mowing-machines came into general use
in the harvest fields the straw is so bruised that it is not fit for
thatching, at least it is not so suitable as the straw which was cut
by the hand. Thatching, too, is almost a lost art in the country.
Indeed ricks have to be covered with thatch, but "the work for this
temporary purpose cannot compare with that of the old roof-thatcher,
with his 'strood' or 'frail' to hold the loose straw, and his
spars--split hazel rods pointed at each end--that with a dexterous
twist in the middle make neat pegs for the fastening of the straw rope
that he cleverly twists with a simple implement called a 'wimble.' The
lowest course was finished with an ornamental bordering of rods with a
diagonal criss-cross pattern between, all neatly pegged and held down
by the spars."[12]

  [12] _Old West Surrey_, by Gertrude Jekyll, p. 206.

[Illustration: Missbrook Farm. Capel, Surrey.]

Horsham stone makes splendid roofing material. This stone easily
flakes into plates like thick slates, and forms large grey flat slabs
on which "the weather works like a great artist in harmonies of moss
lichen and stain. No roofing so combines dignity and homeliness, and
no roofing, except possibly thatch (which, however, is short-lived),
so surely passes into the landscape."[13] It is to be regretted that
this stone is no longer used for roofing--another feature of vanishing
England. The stone is somewhat thick and heavy, and modern rafters are
not adapted to bear their weight. If you want to have a roof of
Horsham stone, you can only accomplish your purpose by pulling down an
old cottage and carrying off the slabs. Perhaps the small Cotswold
stone slabs are even more beautiful. Old Lancashire and Yorkshire
cottages have heavy stone roofs which somewhat resemble those
fashioned with Horsham slabs.

  [13] _Highways and Byways in Sussex_, by E.V. Lucas.

The builders and masons of our country cottages were cunning men, and
adapted their designs to their materials. You will have noticed that
the pitch of the Horsham-slated roof is unusually flat. They observed
that when the sides of the roof were deeply sloping, as in the case of
thatched roofs, the heavy stone slates strained and dragged at the
pegs and laths and fell and injured the roof. Hence they determined
to make the slope less steep. Unfortunately the rain did not then
easily run off, and in order to prevent the water penetrating into the
house they were obliged to adopt additional precautions. Therefore
they cemented their roofs and stopped them with mortar.

[Illustration: Cottage at Capel, Surrey ]

Very lovely are these South Country cottages, peaceful, picturesque,
pleasant, with their graceful gables and jutting eaves, altogether
delightful. Well sang a loyal Sussex poet:--

        If I ever become a rich man,
          Or if ever I grow to be old,
        I will build a house with deep thatch[14]
          To shelter me from the cold;
        And there shall the Sussex songs be sung
          And the story of Sussex told.

  [14] I fear the poet's plans will never be passed by the rural
  district council.

We give some good examples of Surrey cottages at the village of Capel
in the neighbourhood of Dorking, a charming region for the study of
cottage-building. There you can see some charming ingle-nooks in the
interior of the dwellings, and some grand farm-houses. Attached to the
ingle-nook is the oven, wherein bread is baked in the old-fashioned
way, and the chimneys are large and carried up above the floor of the
first storey, so as to form space for curing bacon.

[Illustration: Farm-house, Horsmonden, Kent]

Horsmonden, Kent, near Lamberhurst, is beautifully situated among
well-wooded scenery, and the farm-house shown in the illustration is a
good example of the pleasant dwellings to be found therein.

East Anglia has no good building-stone, and brick and flint are the
principal materials used in that region. The houses built of the
dark, dull, thin old bricks, not of the great staring modern
varieties, are very charming, especially when they are seen against a
background of wooded hills. We give an illustration of some cottages
at Stow Langtoft, Suffolk.

[Illustration: Seventeenth-century Cottages, Stow Langtoft, Suffolk]

The old town of Banbury, celebrated for its cakes, its Cross, and its
fine lady who rode on a white horse accompanied by the sound of bells,
has some excellent "black and white" houses with pointed gables and
enriched barge-boards pierced in every variety of patterns, their
finials and pendants, and pargeted fronts, which give an air of
picturesqueness contrasting strangely with the stiffness of the
modern brick buildings. In one of these is established the old Banbury
Cake Shop. In the High Street there is a very perfect example of these
Elizabethan houses, erected about the year 1600. It has a fine oak
staircase, the newels beautifully carved and enriched with pierced
finials and pendants. The market-place has two good specimens of the
same date, one of which is probably the front of the Unicorn Inn, and
had a fine pair of wooden gates bearing the date 1684, but I am not
sure whether they are still there. The Reindeer Inn is one of the
chief architectural attractions of the town. We see the dates 1624 and
1637 inscribed on different parts of the building, but its chief glory
is the Globe Room, with a large window, rich plaster ceiling, good
panelling, elaborately decorated doorways and chimney-piece. The
courtyard is a fine specimen of sixteenth-century architecture. A
curious feature is the mounting-block near the large oriel window. It
must have been designed not for mounting horses, unless these were of
giant size, but for climbing to the top of coaches. The Globe Room is
a typical example of Vanishing England, as it is reported that the
whole building has been sold for transportation to America. We give an
illustration of some old houses in Paradise Square, that does not
belie its name. The houses all round the square are thatched, and the
gardens in the centre are a blaze of colour, full of old-fashioned
flowers. The King's Head Inn has a good courtyard. Banbury suffered
from a disastrous fire in 1628 which destroyed a great part of the
town, and called forth a vehement sermon from the Rev. William
Whateley, of two hours' duration, on the depravity of the town, which
merited such a severe judgment. In spite of the fire much old work
survived, and we give an illustration of a Tudor fire-place which you
cannot now discover, as it is walled up into the passage of an
ironmonger's shop.

[Illustration: The "Fish House," Littleport, Cambs]

The old ports and harbours are always attractive. The old fishermen
mending their nets delight to tell their stories of their adventures,
and retain their old customs and usages, which are profoundly
interesting to the lovers of folk-lore. Their houses are often
primitive and quaint. There is the curious Fish House at Littleport,
Cambridgeshire, with part of it built of stone, having a gable and
Tudor weather-moulding over the windows. The rest of the building was
added at a later date.

[Illustration: Sixteenth-century Cottage, formerly standing in Upper
Deal, Kent]

In Upper Deal there is an interesting house which shows Flemish
influence in the construction of its picturesque gable and octagonal
chimney, and contrasted with it an early sixteenth-century cottage
much the worse for wear.

We give a sketch of a Portsmouth row which resembles in narrowness
those at Yarmouth, and in Crown Street there is a battered,
three-gabled, weather-boarded house which has evidently seen better
days. There is a fine canopy over the front door of Buckingham House,
wherein George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, was assassinated by John
Felton on August 23rd, 1628.

[Illustration: Gable, Upper Deal, Kent]

The Vale of Aylesbury is one of the sweetest and most charmingly
characteristic tracts of land in the whole of rural England,
abounding with old houses. The whole countryside literally teems with
picturesque evidences of the past life and history of England. Ancient
landmarks and associations are so numerous that it is difficult to
mention a few without seeming to ignore unfairly their equally
interesting neighbours. Let us take the London road, which enters the
shire from Middlesex and makes for Aylesbury, a meandering road with
patches of scenery strongly suggestive of Birket Foster's landscapes.
Down a turning at the foot of the lovely Chiltern Hills lies the
secluded village of Chalfont St. Giles. Here Milton, the poet, sought
refuge from plague-stricken London among a colony of fellow Quakers,
and here remains, in a very perfect state, the cottage in which he
lived and was visited by Andrew Marvel. It is said that his neighbour
Elwood, one of the Quaker fraternity, suggested the idea of "Paradise
Regained," and that the draft of the latter poem was written upon a
great oak table which may be seen in one of the low-pitched rooms on
the ground floor. I fancy that Milton must have beautified and
repaired the cottage at the period of his tenancy. The mantelpiece
with its classic ogee moulding belongs certainly to his day, and some
other minor details may also be noticed which support this inference.
It is not difficult to imagine that one who was accustomed to
metropolitan comforts would be dissatisfied with the open hearth
common to country cottages of that poet's time, and have it enclosed
in the manner in which we now see it. Outside the garden is brilliant
with old-fashioned flowers, such as the poet loved. A stone scutcheon
may be seen peeping through the shrubbery which covers the front of
the cottage, but the arms which it displays are those of the
Fleetwoods, one time owners of these tenements. Between the years 1709
and 1807 the house was used as an inn. Milton's cottage is one of our
national treasures, which (though not actually belonging to the
nation) has successfully resisted purchase by our American cousins and
transportation across the Atlantic.

[Illustration: A Portsmouth "Row"]

The entrance to the churchyard in Chalfont St. Giles is through a
wonderfully picturesque turnstile or lich-gate under an ancient house
in the High Street. The gate formerly closed itself mechanically by
means of a pulley to which was attached a heavy weight. Unfortunately
this weight was not boxed in--as in the somewhat similar example at
Hayes, in Middlesex--and an accident which happened to some children
resulted in its removal.

[Illustration: Lich-gate, Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks]

A good many picturesque old houses remain in the village, among them
being one called Stonewall Farm, a structure of the fifteenth century
with an original billet-moulded porch and Gothic barge-boards.

There is a certain similarity about the villages that dot the Vale of
Aylesbury. The old Market House is usually a feature of the High
Street--where it has not been spoilt as at Wendover. Groups of
picturesque timber cottages, thickest round the church, and shouldered
here and there by their more respectable and severe Georgian brethren,
are common to all, and vary but little in their general aspect and
colouring. Memories and legends haunt every hamlet, the very names of
which have an ancient sound carrying us vaguely back to former days.
Prince's Risborough, once a manor of the Black Prince; Wendover, the
birthplace of Roger of Wendover, the medieval historian, and author of
the Chronicle _Flores Historiarum, or History of the World from the
Creation to the year 1235_, in modern language a somewhat "large
order"; Hampden, identified to all time with the patriot of that name;
and so on indefinitely. At Monk's Risborough, another hamlet with an
ancient-sounding name, but possessing no special history, is a church
of the Perpendicular period containing some features of exceptional
interest, and internally one of the most charmingly picturesque of its
kind. The carved tie-beams of the porch with their masks and tracery
and the great stone stoup which appears in one corner have an
_unrestored_ appearance which is quite delightful in these days of
over-restoration. The massive oak door has some curious iron fittings,
and the interior of the church itself displays such treasures as a
magnificent early Tudor roof and an elegant fifteenth-century
chancel-screen, on the latter of which some remains of ancient
painting exist.[15]

  [15] The rood-loft has unfortunately disappeared.

[Illustration: Fifteenth-century Handle on Church Door, Monk's
Risborough, Bucks]

Thame, just across the Oxfordshire border, is another town of the
greatest interest. The noble parish church here contains a number of
fine brasses and tombs, including the recumbent effigies of Lord John
Williams of Thame and his wife, who flourished in the reign of Queen
Mary. The chancel-screen is of uncommon character, the base being
richly decorated with linen panelling, while above rises an arcade in
which Gothic form mingles freely with the grotesqueness of the
Renaissance. The choir-stalls are also lavishly ornamented with the
linen-fold decoration.

The centre of Thame's broad High Street is narrowed by an island of
houses, once termed Middle Row, and above the jumble of tiled roofs
here rises like a watch-tower a most curious and interesting medieval
house known as the "Bird Cage Inn." About this structure little is
known; it is, however, referred to in an old document as the "tenement
called the Cage, demised to James Rosse by indenture for the term of
100 years, yielding therefor by the year 8s.," and appears to have
been a farm-house. The document in question is a grant of Edward IV to
Sir John William of the Charity or Guild of St. Christopher in Thame,
founded by Richard Quartemayne, _Squier_, who died in the year 1460.
This house, though in some respects adapted during later years from
its original plan, is structurally but little altered, and should be
taken in hand and _intelligently_ restored as an object of local
attraction and interest. The choicest oaks of a small forest must have
supplied its framework, which stands firm as the day when it was
built. The fine corner-posts (now enclosed) should be exposed to view,
and the mullioned windows which jut out over a narrow passage should
be opened up. If this could be done--and not overdone--the "Bird Cage"
would hardly be surpassed as a miniature specimen of medieval timber
architecture in the county. A stone doorway of Gothic form and a kind
of almery or safe exist in its cellars.

A school was founded at Thame by Lord John Williams, whose recumbent
effigy exists in the church, and amongst the students there during the
second quarter of the seventeenth century was Anthony Wood, the Oxford
antiquary. Thame about this time was the centre of military operations
between the King's forces and the rebels, and was continually being
beaten up by one side or the other. Wood, though but a boy at the
time, has left on record in his narrative some vivid impressions of
the conflicts which he personally witnessed, and which bring the
disjointed times before us in a vision of strange and absolute
reality.

He tells of Colonel Blagge, the Governor of Wallingford Castle, who
was on a marauding expedition, being chased through the streets of
Thame by Colonel Crafford, who commanded the Parliamentary garrison at
Aylesbury, and how one man fell from his horse, and the Colonel "held
a pistol to him, but the trooper cried 'Quarter!' and the rebels came
up and rifled him and took him and his horse away with them." On
another occasion, just as a company of Roundhead soldiers were sitting
down to dinner, a Cavalier force appeared "to beat up their quarters,"
and the Roundheads retired in a hurry, leaving "A.W. and the
schoolboyes, sojourners in the house," to enjoy their venison pasties.

He tells also of certain doings at the Nag's Head, a house that still
exists--a very ancient hostelry, though not nearly so old a building
as the Bird Cage Inn. The sign is no longer there, but some
interesting features remain, among them the huge strap hinges on the
outer door, fashioned at their extremities in the form of
fleurs-de-lis. We should like to linger long at Thame and describe the
wonders at Thame Park, with its remains of a Cistercian abbey and the
fine Tudor buildings of Robert King, last abbot and afterward the
first Bishop of Oxford. The three fine oriel windows and stair-turret,
the noble Gothic dining-hall and abbot's parlour panelled with oak in
the style of the linen pattern, are some of the finest Tudor work in
the country. The Prebendal house and chapel built by Grossetete are
also worthy of the closest attention. The chapel is an architectural
gem of Early English design, and the rest of the house with its later
Perpendicular windows is admirable. Not far away is the interesting
village of Long Crendon, once a market-town, with its fine church and
its many picturesque houses, including Staple Hall, near the church,
with its noble hall, used for more than five centuries as a manorial
court-house on behalf of various lords of the manor, including Queen
Katherine, widow of Henry V. It has now fortunately passed into the
care of the National Trust, and its future is secured for the benefit
of the nation. The house is a beautiful half-timbered structure, and
was in a terribly dilapidated condition. It is interesting both
historically and architecturally, and is note-worthy as illustrating
the continuity of English life, that the three owners from whom the
Trust received the building, Lady Kinloss, All Souls' College, and the
Ecclesiastical Commissioners, are the successors in title of three
daughters of an Earl of Pembroke in the thirteenth century. It is
fortunate that the old house has fallen into such good hands. The
village has a Tudor manor-house which has been restored.

Another court-house, that at Udimore, in Sussex, near Rye, has, we
believe, been saved by the Trust, though the owner has retained
possession. It is a picturesque half-timbered building of two storeys
with modern wings projecting at right angles at each end. The older
portion is all that remains of a larger house which appears to have
been built in the fifteenth century. The manor belonged to the Crown,
and it is said that both Edward I and Edward III visited it. The
building was in a very dilapidated condition, and the owner intended
to destroy it and replace it with modern cottages. We hope that this
scheme has now been abandoned, and that the old house is safe for many
years to come.

[Illustration: Weather-boarded Houses, Crown Street, Portsmouth]

At the other end of the county of Oxfordshire remote from Thame is the
beautiful little town of Burford, the gem of the Cotswolds. No
wonder that my friend "Sylvanus Urban," otherwise Canon Beeching,
sings of its charm:--

        Oh fair is Moreton in the marsh
          And Stow on the wide wold,
        Yet fairer far is Burford town
          With its stone roofs grey and old;
        And whether the sky be hot and high,
          Or rain fall thin and chill,
        The grey old town on the lonely down
          Is where I would be still.

        O broad and smooth the Avon flows
          By Stratford's many piers;
        And Shakespeare lies by Avon's side
          These thrice a hundred years;
        But I would be where Windrush sweet
          Laves Burford's lovely hill--
        The grey old town on the lonely down
          Is where I would be still.

It is unlike any other place, this quaint old Burford, a right
pleasing place when the sun is pouring its beams upon the fantastic
creations of the builders of long ago, and when the moon is full there
is no place in England which surpasses it in picturesqueness. It is
very quiet and still now, but there was a time when Burford cloth,
Burford wool, Burford stone, Burford malt, and Burford saddles were
renowned throughout the land. Did not the townsfolk present two of its
famous saddles to "Dutch William" when he came to Burford with the
view of ingratiating himself into the affections of his subjects
before an important general election? It has been the scene of
battles. Not far off is Battle Edge, where the fierce kings of Wessex
and Mercia fought in 720 A.D. on Midsummer Eve, in commemoration of
which the good folks of Burford used to carry a dragon up and down the
streets, the great dragon of Wessex. Perhaps the origin of this
procession dates back to early pagan days before the battle was
fought, but tradition connects it with the fight. Memories cluster
thickly around one as you walk up the old street. It was the first
place in England to receive the privilege of a Merchant Guild. The
gaunt Earl of Warwick, the King-maker, owned the place, and
appropriated to himself the credit of erecting the almshouses, though
Henry Bird gave the money. You can still see the Earl's signature at
the foot of the document relating to this foundation--R.
Warrewych--the only signature known save one at Belvoir. You can see
the ruined Burford Priory. It is not the conventual building wherein
the monks lived in pre-Reformation days and served God in the grand
old church that is Burford's chief glory. Edmund Harman, the royal
barber-surgeon, received a grant of the Priory from Henry VIII for
curing him from a severe illness. Then Sir Laurence Tanfield, Chief
Baron of the Exchequer, owned it, who married a Burford lady,
Elizabeth Cobbe. An aged correspondent tells me that in the days of
her youth there was standing a house called Cobb Hall, evidently the
former residence of Lady Tanfield's family. He built a grand
Elizabethan mansion on the site of the old Priory, and here was born
Lucius Gary, Lord Falkland, who was slain in Newbury fight. That Civil
War brought stirring times to Burford. You have heard of the fame of
the Levellers, the discontented mutineers in Cromwell's army, the
followers of John Lilburne, who for a brief space threatened the
existence of the Parliamentary regime. Cromwell dealt with them with
an iron hand. He caught and surprised them at Burford and imprisoned
them in the church, wherein carved roughly on the font with a dagger
you can see this touching memorial of one of these poor men:--

   ANTHONY SEDLEY PRISNER 1649.

[Illustration: Inscription on Font, Parish Church, Burford, Oxon]

Three of the leaders were shot in the churchyard on the following
morning in view of the other prisoners, who were placed on the leaden
roof of the church, and you can still see the bullet-holes in the old
wall against which the unhappy men were placed. The following entries
in the books of the church tell the sad story tersely:--

   _Burials._--"1649 Three soldiers shot to death in Burford
   Churchyard May 17th."

   "Pd. to Daniel Muncke for cleansinge the Church when the
   Levellers were taken 3s. 4d."

[Illustration: Detail of Fifteenth-century Barge-board, Burford,
Oxon.]

A walk through the streets of the old town is refreshing to an
antiquary's eyes. The old stone buildings grey with age with tile
roofs, the old Tolsey much restored, the merchants' guild mark over
many of the ancient doorways, the noble church with its eight
chapels and fine tombs, the plate of the old corporation, now in the
custody of its oldest surviving member (Burford has ceased to be an
incorporated borough), are all full of interest. Vandalism is not,
however, quite lacking, even in Burford. One of the few Gothic
chimneys remaining, a gem with a crocketed and pinnacled canopy, was
taken down some thirty years ago, while the Priory is said to be in
danger of being pulled down, though a later report speaks only of its
restoration. In the coaching age the town was alive with traffic, and
Burford races, established by the Merry Monarch, brought it much
gaiety. At the George Inn, now degraded from its old estate and cut up
into tenements, Charles I stayed. It was an inn for more than a
century before his time, and was only converted from that purpose
during the early years of the nineteenth century, when the proprietor
of the Bull Inn bought it up and closed its doors to the public with a
view to improving the prosperity of his own house. The restoration of
the picturesque almshouses founded by Henry Bird in the time of the
King-maker, a difficult piece of work, was well carried out in the
decadent days of the "twenties," and happily they do not seem to have
suffered much in the process.

[Illustration: The George Inn, Burford, Oxon]

During our wanderings in the streets and lanes of rural England we
must not fail to visit the county of Essex. It is one of the least
picturesque of our counties, but it possesses much wealth of
interesting antiquities in the timber houses at Colchester, Saffron
Walden, the old town of Maldon, the inns at Chigwell and Brentwood,
and the halls of Layer Marney and Horsham at Thaxted. Saffron Walden
is one of those quaint agricultural towns whose local trade is a thing
of the past. From the records which are left of it in the shape of
prints and drawings, the town in the early part of the nineteenth
century must have been a medieval wonder. It is useless now to rail
against the crass ignorance and vandalism which has swept away so many
irreplaceable specimens of bygone architecture only to fill their
sites with brick boxes, "likely indeed and all alike."

Itineraries of the Georgian period when mentioning Saffron Walden
describe the houses as being of "mean appearance,"[16] which remark,
taking into consideration the debased taste of the times, is
significant. A perfect holocaust followed, which extending through
that shocking time known as the Churchwarden Period has not yet spent
itself in the present day. Municipal improvements threaten to go
further still, and in these commercial days, when combined capital
under such appellations as the "Metropolitan Co-operative" or the
"Universal Supply Stores" endeavours to increase its display behind
plate-glass windows of immodest size, the life of old buildings seems
painfully insecure.

  [16] _Excursions in Essex_, published in 1819, states: "The old
  market cross and gaol are taking down. The market cross has long
  been considered a nuisance."

A good number of fine early barge-boards still remain in Saffron
Walden, and the timber houses which have been allowed to remain speak
only too eloquently of the beauties which have vanished. One of these
structures--a large timber building or collection of buildings, for
the dates of erection are various--stands in Church Street, and was
formerly the Sun Inn, a hostel of much importance in bygone times.
This house of entertainment is said to have been in 1645 the quarters
of the Parliamentary Generals Cromwell, Ireton, and Skippon. In 1870,
during the conversion of the Sun Inn into private residences, some
glazed tiles were discovered bricked up in what had once been an open
hearth. These tiles were collectively painted with a picture on each
side of the hearth, and bore the inscription "W.E. 1730," while on one
of them a bust of the Lord Protector was depicted, thus showing the
tradition to have been honoured during the second George's time.[17]
Saffron Walden was the rendezvous of the Parliamentarian forces after
the sacking of Leicester, having their encampment on Triplow Heath. A
remarkable incident may be mentioned in connexion with this fact. In
1826 a rustic, while ploughing some land to the south of the town,
turned up with his share the brass seal of Leicester Hospital, which
seal had doubtless formed part of the loot acquired by the rebel army.

  [17] These tiles have now found a place in the excellent local museum.

The Sun Inn, or "House of the Giants," as it has sometimes been
called, from the colossal figures which appear in the pargeting over
its gateway, is a building which evidently grew with the needs of the
town, and a study of its architectural features is curiously
instructive.

The following extract from Pepys's _Diary_ is interesting as referring
to Saffron Walden:--

  "1659, Feby. 27th. Up by four o'clock. Mr. Blayton and I took
  horse and straight to Saffron Walden, where at the White Hart we
  set up our horses and took the master to show us Audley End House,
  where the housekeeper showed us all the house, in which the
  stateliness of the ceilings, chimney-pieces, and form of the whole
  was exceedingly worth seeing. He took us into the cellar, where we
  drank most admirable drink, a health to the King. Here I played on
  my flageolette, there being an excellent echo. He showed us
  excellent pictures; two especially, those of the four Evangelists
  and Henry VIII. In our going my landlord carried us through a very
  old hospital or almshouse, where forty poor people were
  maintained; a very old foundation, and over the chimney-piece was
  an inscription in brass: 'Orato pro anima Thomae Bird,' &c. They
  brought me a draft of their drink in a brown bowl, tipt with
  silver, which I drank off, and at the bottom was a picture of the
  Virgin with the child in her arms done in silver. So we took
  leave...."

The inscription and the "brown bowl" (which is a mazer cup) still
remain, but the picturesque front of the hospital, built in the reign
of Edward VI, disappeared during the awful "improvements" which took
place during the "fifties." A drawing of it survives in the local
museum.

Maldon, the capital of the Blackwater district, is to the eye of an
artist a town for twilight effects. The picturesque skyline of its
long, straggling street is accentuated in the early morning or
afterglow, when much undesirable detail of modern times below the
tiled roofs is blurred and lost. In broad daylight the quaintness of
its suburbs towards the river reeks of the salt flavour of W.W.
Jacobs's stories. Formerly the town was rich with such massive timber
buildings as still appear in the yard of the Blue Boar--an ancient
hostelry which was evidently modernized externally in Pickwickian
times. While exploring in the outhouses of this hostel Mr. Roe lighted
on a venerable posting-coach of early nineteenth-century origin among
some other decaying vehicles, a curiosity even more rare nowadays than
the Gothic king-posts to be seen in the picturesque half-timbered
billiard-room.

[Illustration: Maldon, Essex. Sky-line of the High Street at twilight]

The country around Maldon is dotted plentifully with evidences of
past ages; Layer Marney, with its famous towers; D'Arcy Hall, noted
for containing some of the finest linen panelling in England; Beeleigh
Abbey, and other old-world buildings. The sea-serpent may still be
seen at Heybridge, on the Norman church-door, one of the best of its
kind, and exhibiting almost all its original ironwork, including the
chimerical decorative clamp.

[Illustration: St. Mary's Church, Maldon]

The ancient house exhibited at the Franco-British Exhibition at
Shepherd's Bush was a typical example of an Elizabethan dwelling. It
was brought from Ipswich, where it was doomed to make room for the
extension of Co-operative Stores, but so firmly was it built that, in
spite of its age of three hundred and fifty years, it defied for some
time the attacks of the house-breakers. It was built in 1563, as the
date carved on the solid lintel shows, but some parts of the structure
may have been earlier. All the oak joists and rafters had been
securely mortised into each other and fixed with stout wooden pins. So
securely were these pins fixed, that after many vain attempts to knock
them out, they had all to be bored out with augers. The mortises and
tenons were found to be as sound and clean as on the day when they
were fitted by the sixteenth-century carpenters. The foundations and
the chimneys were built of brick. The house contained a large
entrance-hall, a kitchen, a splendidly carved staircase, a
living-room, and two good bedrooms, on the upper floor. The whole
house was a fine specimen of East Anglian half-timber work. The
timbers that formed the framework were all straight, the diamond and
curved patterns, familiar in western counties, signs of later
construction, being altogether absent. One of the striking features of
this, as of many other timber-framed houses, is the carved corner or
angle post. It curves outwards as a support to the projecting first
floor to the extent of nearly two feet, and the whole piece was hewn
out of one massive oak log, the root, as was usual, having been placed
upwards, and beautifully carved with Gothic floriations. The full
overhang of the gables is four feet six inches. In later examples this
distance between the gables and the wall was considerably reduced,
until at last the barge-boards were flush with the wall. The joists of
the first floor project from under a finely carved string-course, and
the end of each joist has a carved finial. All the inside walls were
panelled with oak, and the fire-place is of the typical old English
character, with seats for half a dozen people in the ingle-nook. The
principal room had a fine Tudor door, and the frieze and some of the
panels were enriched with an inlay of holly. When the house was
demolished many of the choicest fittings which were missing from their
places were found carefully stowed under the floor boards. Possibly a
raid or a riot had alarmed the owners in some distant period, and they
hid their nicest things and then were slain, and no one knew of the
secret hiding-place.

[Illustration: Norman Clamp on door of Heybridge Church, Essex]

[Illustration: Tudor Fire-place. Now walled up in the passage of a
shop in Banbury]

The Rector of Haughton calls attention to a curious old house which
certainly ought to be preserved if it has not yet quite vanished.

  "It is completely hidden from the public gaze. Right away in the
  fields, to be reached only by footpath, or by strangely circuitous
  lane, in the parish of Ranton, there stands a little old
  half-timbered house, known as the Vicarage Farm. Only a very
  practised eye would suspect the treasures that it contains.
  Entering through the original door, with quaint knocker intact,
  you are in the kitchen with a fine open fire-place, noble beam,
  and walls panelled with oak. But the principal treasure consists
  in what I have heard called 'The priest's room.' I should venture
  to put the date of the house at about 1500--certainly
  pre-Reformation. How did it come to be there? and what purpose did
  it serve? I have only been able to find one note which can throw
  any possible light on the matter. Gough says that a certain Rose
  (Dunston?) brought land at Ranton to her husband John Doiley; and
  he goes on: 'This man had the consent of William, the Prior of
  Ranton, to erect a chapel at Ranton.' The little church at Ranton
  has stood there from the thirteenth century, as the architecture
  of the west end and south-west doorway plainly testify. The church
  and cell (or whatever you may call it) must clearly have been an
  off-shoot from the Priory. But the room: for this is what is
  principally worth seeing. The beam is richly moulded, and so is
  the panelling throughout. It has a very well carved course of
  panelling all round the top, and this is surmounted by an
  elaborate cornice. The stone mantelpiece is remarkably fine and of
  unusual character. But the most striking feature of the room is a
  square-headed arched recess, or niche, with pierced spandrels.
  What was its use? It is about the right height for a seat, and
  what may have been the seat is there unaltered. Or was it a niche
  containing a Calvary, or some figure? I confess I know nothing. Is
  this a unique example? I cannot remember any other. But possibly
  there may be others, equally hidden away, comparison with which
  might unfold its secret. In this room, and in other parts of the
  house, much of the old ironwork of hinges and door-fasteners
  remains, and is simply excellent. The old oak sliding shutters are
  still there, and two more fine stone mantelpieces; on one hearth
  the original encaustic tiles with patterns, chiefly a Maltese
  cross, and the oak cill surrounding them, are _in situ_. I confess
  I tremble for the safety of this priceless relic. The house is in
  a somewhat dilapidated condition; and I know that one attempt was
  made to buy the panelling and take it away. Surely such a monument
  of the past should be in some way guarded by the nation."

The beauty of English cottage-building, its directness, simplicity,
variety, and above all its inevitable quality, the intimate way in
which the buildings ally themselves with the soil and blend with the
ever-varied and exquisite landscape, the delicate harmonies, almost
musical in their nature, that grow from their gentle relationship with
their surroundings, the modulation from man's handiwork to God's
enveloping world that lies in the quiet gardening that binds one to
the other without discord or dissonance--all these things are
wonderfully attractive to those who have eyes to see and hearts to
understand. The English cottages have an importance in the story of
the development of architecture far greater than that which concerns
their mere beauty and picturesqueness. As we follow the history of
Gothic art we find that for the most part the instinctive art in
relation to church architecture came to an end in the first quarter of
the sixteenth century, but the right impulse did not cease.
House-building went on, though there was no church-building, and we
admire greatly some of those grand mansions which were reared in the
time of Elizabeth and the early Stuarts; but art was declining, a
crumbling taste causing disintegration of the sense of real beauty and
refinement of detail. A creeping paralysis set in later, and the end
came swiftly when the dark days of the eighteenth century blotted out
even the memory of a great past. And yet during all this time the
people, the poor and middle classes, the yeomen and farmers, were ever
building, building, quietly and simply, untroubled by any thoughts
of style, of Gothic art or Renaissance; hence the cottages and
dwellings of the humblest type maintained in all their integrity the
real principles that made medieval architecture great. Frank, simple,
and direct, built for use and not for the establishment of
architectural theories, they have transmitted their messages to the
ages and have preserved their beauties for the admiration of mankind
and as models for all time.

[Illustration: Wilney Street Burford]




CHAPTER V

OLD CASTLES


Castles have played a prominent part in the making of England. Many
towns owe their existence to the protecting guard of an old fortress.
They grew up beneath its sheltering walls like children holding the
gown of their good mother, though the castle often proved but a harsh
and cruel stepmother, and exacted heavy tribute in return for partial
security from pillage and rapine. Thus Newcastle-upon-Tyne arose about
the early fortress erected in 1080 by Robert Curthose to guard the
passage of the river at the Pons Aelii. The poor little Saxon village
of Monkchester was then its neighbour. But the castle occupying a fine
strategic position soon attracted townsfolk, who built their houses
'neath its shadow. The town of Richmond owes its existence to the
lordly castle which Alain Rufus, a cousin of the Duke of Brittany,
erected on land granted to him by the Conqueror. An old rhyme tells
how he

        Came out of Brittany
        With his wife Tiffany,
        And his maid Manfras,
        And his dog Hardigras.

He built his walls of stone. We must not imagine, however, that an
early Norman castle was always a vast keep of stone. That came later.
The Normans called their earliest strongholds _mottes_, which
consisted of a mound with stockades and a deep ditch and a
bailey-court also defended by a ditch and stockades. Instead of the
great stone keep of later days, "foursquare to every wind that blew,"
there was a wooden tower for the shelter of the garrison. You can see
in the Bayeux tapestry the followers of William the Conqueror in the
act of erecting some such tower of defence. Such structures were
somewhat easily erected, and did not require a long period for their
construction. Hence they were very useful for the holding of a
conquered country. Sometimes advantage was taken of the works that the
Romans had left. The Normans made use of the old stone walls built by
the earliest conquerors of Britain. Thus we find at Pevensey a Norman
fortress born within the ancient fortress reared by the Romans to
protect that portion of the southern coast from the attacks of the
northern pirates. Porchester Keep rose in the time of the first Henry
at the north-west angle of the Roman fort. William I erected his
castle at Colchester on the site of the Roman _castrum_. The old Roman
wall of London was used by the Conqueror for the eastern defence of
his Tower that he erected to keep in awe the citizens of the
metropolis, and at Lincoln and Colchester the works of the first
conquerors of Britain were eagerly utilized by him.

One of the most important Roman castles in the country is Burgh
Castle, in North Suffolk, with its grand and noble walls. The late Mr.
G.E. Fox thus described the ruins:--

  "According to the plan on the Ordnance Survey map, the walls
  enclose a quadrangular area roughly 640 feet long by 413 wide, the
  walls being 9 feet thick with a foundation 12 feet in width. The
  angles of the station are rounded. The eastern wall is
  strengthened by four solid bastions, one standing against each of
  the rounded angles, the other two intermediate, and the north and
  south sides have one each, neither of them being in the centre of
  the side, but rather west of it. The quaggy ground between the
  camp and the stream would be an excellent defence against sudden
  attack."

[Illustration: Burgh Castle]

Burgh Castle, according to the late Canon Raven, was the Roman station
_Gariannonum_ of the _Notitia Imperii_. Its walls are built of
flint-rubble concrete, and there are lacing courses of tiles. There
is no wall on the west, and Canon Raven used to contend that one
existed there but has been destroyed. But this conjecture seems
improbable. That side was probably defended by the sea, which has
considerably receded. Two gates remain, the principal one being the
east gate, commanded by towers a hundred feet high; while the north is
a postern-gate about five feet wide. The Romans have not left many
traces behind them. Some coins have been found, including a silver one
of Gratian and some of Constantine. Here St. Furseus, an Irish
missionary, is said to have settled with a colony of monks, having
been favourably received by Sigebert, the ruler of the East Angles, in
633 A.D. Burgh Castle is one of the finest specimens of a Roman fort
which our earliest conquerors have left us, and ranks with Reculver,
Richborough, and Pevensey, those strong fortresses which were erected
nearly two thousand years ago to guard the coasts against foreign
foes.

In early days, ere Norman and Saxon became a united people, the castle
was the sign of the supremacy of the conquerors and the subjugation of
the English. It kept watch and ward over tumultuous townsfolk and
prevented any acts of rebellion and hostility to their new masters.
Thus London's Tower arose to keep the turbulent citizens in awe as
well as to protect them from foreign foes. Thus at Norwich the castle
dominated the town, and required for its erection the destruction of
over a hundred houses. At Lincoln the Conqueror destroyed 166 houses
in order to construct a strong _motte_ at the south-west corner of the
old _castrum_ in order to overawe the city. Sometimes castles were
erected to protect the land from foreign foes. The fort at Colchester
was intended to resist the Danes if ever their threatened invasion
came, and Norwich Castle was erected quite as much to drive back the
Scandinavian hosts as to keep in order the citizens. Newcastle and
Carlisle were of strategic importance for driving back the Scots, and
Lancaster Keep, traditionally said to have been reared by Roger de
Poitou, but probably of later date, bore the brunt of many a marauding
invasion. To check the incursions of the Welsh, who made frequent and
powerful irruptions into Herefordshire, many castles were erected in
Shropshire and Herefordshire, forming a chain of fortresses which are
more numerous than in any other part of England. They are of every
shape and size, from stately piles like Wigmore and Goodrich, to the
smallest fortified farm, like Urishay Castle, a house half mansion,
half fortress. Even the church towers of Herefordshire, with their
walls seven or eight feet thick, such as that at Ewias Harold, look as
if they were designed as strongholds in case of need. On the western
and northern borders of England we find the largest number of
fortresses, erected to restrain and keep back troublesome neighbours.

The story of the English castles abounds in interest and romance. Most
of them are ruins now, but fancy pictures them in the days of their
splendour, the abodes of chivalry and knightly deeds, of "fair ladies
and brave men," and each one can tell its story of siege and
battle-cries, of strenuous attack and gallant defence, of prominent
parts played in the drama of English history. To some of these we
shall presently refer, but it would need a very large volume to record
the whole story of our English fortresses.

We have said that the earliest Norman castle was a _motte_ fortified
by a stockade, an earthwork protected with timber palings. That is the
latest theory amongst antiquaries, but there are not a few who
maintain that the Normans, who proved themselves such admirable
builders of the stoutest of stone churches, would not long content
themselves with such poor fortresses. There were stone castles before
the Normans, besides the old Roman walls at Pevensey, Colchester,
London, and Lincoln. And there came from Normandy a monk named Gundulf
in 1070 who was a mighty builder. He was consecrated Bishop of
Rochester and began to build his cathedral with wondrous architectural
skill. He is credited with devising a new style of military
architecture, and found much favour with the Conqueror, who at the
time especially needed strong walls to guard himself and his hungry
followers. He was ordered by the King to build the first beginnings of
the Tower of London. He probably designed the keep at Colchester and
the castle of his cathedral town, and set the fashion of building
these great ramparts of stone which were so serviceable in the
subjugation and overawing of the English. The fashion grew, much to
the displeasure of the conquered, who deemed them "homes of wrong and
badges of bondage," hateful places filled with devils and evil men who
robbed and spoiled them. And when they were ordered to set to work on
castle-building their impotent wrath knew no bounds. It is difficult
to ascertain how many were constructed during the Conqueror's reign.
Domesday tells of forty-nine. Another authority, Mr. Pearson, mentions
ninety-nine, and Mrs. Armitage after a careful examination of
documents contends for eighty-six. But there may have been many
others. In Stephen's reign castles spread like an evil sore over the
land. His traitorous subjects broke their allegiance to their king and
preyed upon the country. The _Anglo-Saxon Chronicle_ records that
"every rich man built his castles and defended them against him, and
they filled the land full of castles. They greatly oppressed the
wretched people by making them work at these castles, and when the
castles were finished they filled them with devils and evil men. Then
they took those whom they suspected to have any goods, by night and by
day, seizing both men and women, and they put them in prison for their
gold and silver, and tortured them with pains unspeakable, for never
were any martyrs tormented as these were. They hung some up by their
feet and smoked them with foul smoke; some by their thumbs or by the
head, and they hung burning things on their feet. They put a knotted
string about their heads, and twisted it till it went into the brain.
They put them into dungeons wherein were adders and snakes and toads,
and thus wore them out. Some they put into a crucet-house, that is,
into a chest that was short and narrow and not deep, and they put
sharp stones in it, and crushed the man therein so that they broke all
his limbs. There were hateful and grim things called Sachenteges in
many of the castles, and which two or three men had enough to do to
carry. The Sachentege was made thus: it was fastened to a beam, having
a sharp iron to go round a man's throat and neck, so that he might
noways sit, nor lie, nor sleep, but that he must bear all the iron.
Many thousands they exhausted with hunger. I cannot, and I may not,
tell of all the wounds and all the tortures that they inflicted upon
the wretched men of this land; and this state of things lasted the
nineteen years that Stephen was king, and ever grew worse and worse.
They were continually levying an exaction from the towns, which they
called Tenserie,[18] and when the miserable inhabitants had no more to
give, then plundered they and burnt all the towns, so that well
mightest thou walk a whole day's journey nor ever shouldest thou find
a man seated in a town or its lands tilled."

  [18] A payment to the superior lord for protection.

More than a thousand of these abodes of infamy are said to have been
built. Possibly many of them were timber structures only. Countless
small towns and villages boast of once possessing a fortress. The name
Castle Street remains, though the actual site of the stronghold has
long vanished. Sometimes we find a mound which seems to proclaim its
position, but memory is silent, and the people of England, if the
story of the chronicler be true, have to be grateful to Henry II, who
set himself to work to root up and destroy very many of these
adulterine castles which were the abodes of tyranny and oppression.
However, for the protection of his kingdom, he raised other
strongholds, in the south the grand fortress of Dover, which still
guards the straits; in the west, Berkeley Castle, for his friend
Robert FitzHarding, ancestor of Lord Berkeley, which has remained in
the same family until the present day; in the north, Richmond,
Scarborough, and Newcastle-upon-Tyne; and in the east, Orford Keep.
The same stern Norman keep remains, but you can see some changes in
the architecture. The projection of the buttresses is increased, and
there is some attempt at ornamentation. Orford Castle, which some
guide-books and directories will insist on confusing with Oxford
Castle and stating that it was built by Robert D'Oiley in 1072, was
erected by Henry II to defend the country against the incursions of
the Flemings and to safeguard Orford Haven. Caen stone was brought for
the stone dressings to windows and doors, parapets and groins, but
masses of septaria found on the shore and in the neighbouring marshes
were utilized with such good effect that the walls have stood the
attacks of besiegers and weathered the storms of the east coast for
more than seven centuries. It was built in a new fashion that was made
in France, and to which our English eyes were unaccustomed, and is
somewhat similar in plan to Conisborough Castle, in the valley of the
Don. The plan is circular with three projecting towers, and the keep
was protected by two circular ditches, one fifteen feet and the other
thirty feet distant from its walls. Between the two ditches was a
circular wall with parapet and battlements. The interior of the castle
was divided into three floors; the towers, exclusive of the turrets,
had five, two of which were entresols, and were ninety-six feet high,
the central keep being seventy feet.[19] The oven was at the top of
the keep. The chapel is one of the most interesting chambers, with its
original altar still in position, though much damaged, and also
piscina, aumbrey, and ciborium. This castle nearly vanished with other
features of vanishing England in the middle of the eighteenth century,
Lord Hereford proposing to pull it down for the sake of the material;
but "it being a necessary sea-mark, especially for ships coming from
Holland, who by steering so as to make the castle cover or hide the
church thereby avoid a dangerous sandbank called the Whiting,
Government interfered and prevented the destruction of the
building."[20]

  [19] Cf. _Memorials of Old Suffolk_, p. 65.

  [20] Grose's _Antiquities._

In these keeps the thickness of the walls enabled them to contain
chambers, stairs, and passages. At Guildford there is an oratory with
rude carvings of sacred subjects, including a crucifixion. The first
and second floors were usually vaulted, and the upper ones were of
timber. Fireplaces were built in most of the rooms, and some sort of
domestic comfort was not altogether forgotten. In the earlier
fortresses the walls of the keep enclosed an inner court, which had
rooms built up to the great stone walls, the court afterwards being
vaulted and floors erected. In order to protect the entrance there
were heavy doors with a portcullis, and by degrees the outward
defences were strengthened. There was an outer bailey or court
surrounded by a strong wall, with a barbican guarding the entrance,
consisting of a strong gate protected by two towers. In this lower or
outer court are the stables, and the mound where the lord of the
castle dispenses justice, and where criminals and traitors are
executed. Another strong gateway flanked by towers protects the inner
bailey, on the edge of which stands the keep, which frowns down upon
us as we enter. An immense household was supported in these castles.
Not only were there men-at-arms, but also cooks, bakers, brewers,
tailors, carpenters, smiths, masons, and all kinds of craftsmen; and
all this crowd of workers had to be provided with accommodation by the
lord of the castle. Hence a building in the form of a large hall was
erected, sometimes of stone, usually of wood, in the lower or upper
bailey, for these soldiers and artisans, where they slept and had
their meals.

Amongst other castles which arose during this late Norman and early
English period of architecture we may mention Barnard Castle, a mighty
stronghold, held by the royal house of Balliol, the Prince Bishops of
Durham, the Earls of Warwick, the Nevilles, and other powerful
families. Sir Walter Scott immortalized the Castle in _Rokeby_. Here
is his description of the fortress:--

        High crowned he sits, in dawning pale,
        The sovereign of the lovely vale.
        What prospects from the watch-tower high
        Gleam gradual on the warder's eye?
        Far sweeping to the east he sees
        Down his deep woods the course of Tees,
        And tracks his wanderings by the steam
        Of summer vapours from the stream;
        And ere he pace his destined hour
        By Brackenbury's dungeon tower,
        These silver mists shall melt away
        And dew the woods with glittering spray.
        Then in broad lustre shall be shown
        That mighty trench of living stone.
        And each huge trunk that from the side,
        Reclines him o'er the darksome tide,
        Where Tees, full many a fathom low,
        Wears with his rage no common foe;
        Nor pebbly bank, nor sand-bed here,
        Nor clay-mound checks his fierce career,
        Condemned to mine a channelled way
        O'er solid sheets of marble grey.

This lordly pile has seen the Balliols fighting with the Scots, of
whom John Balliol became king, the fierce contests between the warlike
prelates of Durham and Barnard's lord, the triumph of the former, who
were deprived of their conquest by Edward I, and then its surrender in
later times to the rebels of Queen Elizabeth.

Another northern border castle is Norham, the possession of the Bishop
of Durham, built during this period. It was a mighty fortress, and
witnessed the gorgeous scene of the arbitration between the rival
claimants to the Scottish throne, the arbiter being King Edward I of
England, who forgot not to assert his own fancied rights to the
overlordship of the northern kingdom. It was, however, besieged by the
Scots, and valiant deeds were wrought before its walls by Sir William
Marmion and Sir Thomas Grey, but the Scots captured it in 1327 and
again in 1513. It is now but a battered ruin. Prudhoe, with its
memories of border wars, and Castle Rising, redolent with the memories
of the last years of the wicked widow of Edward II, belong to this age
of castle-architecture, and also the older portions of Kenilworth.

Pontefract Castle, the last fortress that held out for King Charles in
the Civil War, and in consequence slighted and ruined, can tell of
many dark deeds and strange events in English history. The De Lacys
built it in the early part of the thirteenth century. Its area was
seven acres. The wall of the castle court was high and flanked by
seven towers; a deep moat was cut on the western side, where was the
barbican and drawbridge. It had terrible dungeons, one a room
twenty-five feet square, without any entrance save a trap-door in the
floor of a turret. The castle passed, in 1310, by marriage to Thomas
Earl of Lancaster, who took part in the strife between Edward II and
his nobles, was captured, and in his own hall condemned to death. The
castle is always associated with the murder of Richard II, but
contemporary historians, Thomas of Walsingham and Gower the poet,
assert that he starved himself to death; others contend that his
starvation was not voluntary; while there are not wanting those who
say that he escaped to Scotland, lived there many years, and died in
peace in the castle of Stirling, an honoured guest of Robert III of
Scotland, in 1419. I have not seen the entries, but I am told in the
accounts of the Chamberlain of Scotland there are items for the
maintenance of the King for eleven years. But popular tales die hard,
and doubtless you will hear the groans and see the ghost of the
wronged Richard some moonlight night in the ruined keep of Pontefract.
He has many companion ghosts--the Earl of Salisbury, Richard Duke of
York, Anthony Wydeville, Earl Rivers and Grey his brother, and Sir
Thomas Vaughan, whose feet trod the way to the block, that was worn
hard by many victims. The dying days of the old castle made it
illustrious. It was besieged three times, taken and retaken, and saw
amazing scenes of gallantry and bravery. It held out until after the
death of the martyr king; it heard the proclamation of Charles II, but
at length was compelled to surrender, and "the strongest inland
garrison in the kingdom," as Oliver Cromwell termed it, was slighted
and made a ruin. Its sister fortress Knaresborough shared its fate.
Lord Lytton, in _Eugene Aram_, wrote of it:--

  "You will be at a loss to recognise now the truth of old Leland's
  description of that once stout and gallant bulwark of the north,
  when 'he numbrid 11 or 12 Toures in the walles of the Castel, and
  one very fayre beside in the second area.' In that castle the four
  knightly murderers of the haughty Becket (the Wolsey of his age)
  remained for a whole year, defying the weak justice of the times.
  There, too, the unfortunate Richard II passed some portion of his
  bitter imprisonment. And there, after the battle of Marston Moor,
  waved the banner of the loyalists against the soldiers of
  Lilburn."

An interesting story is told of the siege. A youth, whose father was
in the garrison, each night went into the deep, dry moat, climbed up
the glacis, and put provisions through a hole where his father stood
ready to receive them. He was seen at length, fired on by the
Parliamentary soldiers, and sentenced to be hanged in sight of the
besieged as a warning to others. But a good lady obtained his respite,
and after the conquest of the place was released. The castle then,
once the residence of Piers Gaveston, of Henry III, and of John of
Gaunt, was dismantled and destroyed.

During the reign of Henry III great progress was made in the
improvement and development of castle-building. The comfort and
convenience of the dwellers in these fortresses were considered, and
if not very luxurious places they were made more beautiful by art and
more desirable as residences. During the reigns of the Edwards this
progress continued, and a new type of castle was introduced. The
stern, massive, and high-towering keep was abandoned, and the
fortifications arranged in a concentric fashion. A fine hall with
kitchens occupied the centre of the fortress; a large number of
chambers were added. The stronghold itself consisted of a large square
or oblong like that at Donnington, Berkshire, and the approach was
carefully guarded by strong gateways, advanced works, walled
galleries, and barbicans. Deep moats filled with water increased their
strength and improved their beauty.

We will give some examples of these Edwardian castles, of which Leeds
Castle, Kent, is a fine specimen. It stands on three islands in a
sheet of water about fifteen acres in extent, these islands being
connected in former times by double drawbridges. It consists of two
huge piles of buildings which with a strong gate-house and barbican
form four distinct forts, capable of separate defence should any one
or other fall into the hands of an enemy. Three causeways, each with
its drawbridge, gate, and portcullis, lead to the smallest island or
inner barbican, a fortified mill contributing to the defences. A stone
bridge connects this island with the main island. There stands the
Constable's Tower, and a stone wall surrounds the island and within is
the modern mansion. The Maiden's Tower and the Water Tower defend the
island on the south. A two-storeyed building on arches now connects
the main island with the Tower of the Gloriette, which has a curious
old bell with the Virgin and Child, St. George and the Dragon, and the
Crucifixion depicted on it, and an ancient clock. The castle withstood
a siege in the time of Edward II because Queen Isabella was refused
admission. The King hung the Governor, Thomas de Colepepper, by the
chain of the drawbridge. Henry IV retired here on account of the
Plague in London, and his second wife, Joan of Navarre, was imprisoned
here. It was a favourite residence of the Court in the fourteenth and
fifteenth centuries. Here the wife of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester,
was tried for witchcraft. Dutch prisoners were confined here in 1666
and contrived to set fire to some of the buildings. It is the home of
the Wykeham Martin family, and is one of the most picturesque castles
in the country.

In the same neighbourhood is Allington Castle, an ivy-mantled ruin,
another example of vanished glory, only two tenements occupying the
princely residence of the Wyatts, famous in the history of State and
Letters. Sir Henry, the father of the poet, felt the power of the
Hunchback Richard, and was racked and imprisoned in Scotland, and
would have died in the Tower of London but for a cat. He rose to great
honour under Henry VII, and here entertained the King in great style.
At Allington the poet Sir Thomas Wyatt was born, and spent his days in
writing prose and verse, hunting and hawking, and occasionally
dallying after Mistress Anne Boleyn at the neighbouring castle of
Hever. He died here in 1542, and his son Sir Thomas led the
insurrection against Queen Mary and sealed the fate of himself and his
race.

Hever Castle, to which allusion has been made, is an example of the
transition between the old fortress and the more comfortable mansion
of a country squire or magnate. Times were less dangerous, the country
more peaceful when Sir Geoffrey Boleyn transformed and rebuilt the
castle built in the reign of Edward III by William de Hever, but the
strong entrance-gate flanked by towers, embattled and machicolated,
and defended by stout doors and three portcullises and the surrounding
moat, shows that the need of defence had not quite passed away. The
gates lead into a courtyard around which the hall, chapel, and
domestic chambers are grouped. The long gallery Anne Boleyn so often
traversed with impatience still seems to re-echo her steps, and her
bedchamber, which used to contain some of the original furniture, has
always a pathetic interest. The story of the courtship of Henry VIII
with "the brown girl with a perthroat and an extra finger," as
Margaret More described her, is well known. Her old home, which was
much in decay, has passed into the possession of a wealthy American
gentleman, and has been recently greatly restored and transformed.

Sussex can boast of many a lordly castle, and in its day Bodiam must
have been very magnificent. Even in its decay and ruin it is one of
the most beautiful in England. It combined the palace of the feudal
lord and the fortress of a knight. The founder, Sir John Dalyngrudge,
was a gallant soldier in the wars of Edward III, and spent most of his
best years in France, where he had doubtless learned the art of making
his house comfortable as well as secure. He acquired licence to
fortify his castle in 1385 "for resistance against our enemies." There
was need of strong walls, as the French often at that period ravaged
the coast of Sussex, burning towns and manor-houses. Clark, the great
authority on castles, says that "Bodiam is a complete and typical
castle of the end of the fourteenth century, laid out entirely on a
new site, and constructed after one design and at one period. It but
seldom happens that a great fortress is wholly original, of one, and
that a known, date, and so completely free from alterations or
additions." It is nearly square, with circular tower sixty-five feet
high at the four corners, connected by embattled curtain-walls, in the
centre of each of which square towers rise to an equal height with the
circular. The gateway is a large structure composed of two flanking
towers defended by numerous oiletts for arrows, embattled parapets,
and deep machicolations. Over the gateway are three shields bearing
the arms of Bodiam, Dalyngrudge, and Wardieu. A huge portcullis still
frowns down upon us, and two others opposed the way, while above are
openings in the vault through which melted lead, heated sand, pitch,
and other disagreeable things could be poured on the heads of the foe.
In the courtyard on the south stands the great hall with its oriel,
buttery, and kitchen, and amidst the ruins you can discern the chapel,
sacristy, ladies' bower, presence chamber. The castle stayed not long
in the family of the builder, his son John probably perishing in the
wars, and passed to Sir Thomas Lewknor, who opposed Richard III, and
was therefore attainted of high treason and his castle besieged and
taken. It was restored to him again by Henry VII, but the Lewknors
never resided there again. Waller destroyed it after the capture of
Arundel, and since that time it has been left a prey to the rains and
frosts and storms, but manages to preserve much of its beauty, and to
tell how noble knights lived in the days of chivalry.

Caister Castle is one of the four principal castles in Norfolk. It is
built of brick, and is one of the earliest edifices in England
constructed of that material after its rediscovery as suitable for
building purposes. It stands with its strong defences not far from the
sea on the barren coast. It was built by Sir John Fastolfe, who fought
with great distinction in the French wars of Henry V and Henry VI, and
was the hero of the Battle of the Herrings in 1428, when he defeated
the French and succeeded in convoying a load of herrings in triumph to
the English camp before Orleans. It is supposed that he was the
prototype of Shakespeare's Falstaff, but beyond the resemblance in the
names there is little similarity in the exploits of the two "heroes."
Sir John Fastolfe, much to the chagrin of other friends and relatives,
made John Paston his heir, who became a great and prosperous man,
represented his county in Parliament, and was a favourite of Edward
IV. Paston loved Caister, his "fair jewell"; but misfortunes befell
him. He had great losses, and was thrice confined in the Fleet Prison
and then outlawed. Those were dangerous days, and friends often
quarrelled. Hence during his troubles the Duke of Norfolk and Lord
Scales tried to get possession of Caister, and after his death laid
siege to it. The Pastons lacked not courage and determination, and
defended it for a year, but were then forced to surrender. However, it
was restored to them, but again forcibly taken from them. However, not
by the sword but by negotiations and legal efforts, Sir John again
gained his own, and an embattled tower at the north-west corner, one
hundred feet high, and the north and west walls remain to tell the
story of this brave old Norfolk family, who by their _Letters_ have
done so much to guide us through the dark period to which they relate.

[Illustration: Caister Castle 7 Aug 1908]

[Illustration: Defaced Arms. Taunton Castle]

We will journey to the West Country, a region of castles. The Saxons
were obliged to erect their rude earthen strongholds to keep back the
turbulent Welsh, and these were succeeded by Norman keeps.
Monmouthshire is famous for its castles. Out of the thousand erected
in Norman times twenty-five were built in that county. There is
Chepstow Castle with its Early Norman gateway spanned by a circular
arch flanked by round towers. In the inner court there are gardens
and ruins of a grand hall, and in the outer the remains of a chapel
with evidences of beautifully groined vaulting, and also a winding
staircase leading to the battlements. In the dungeon of the old keep
at the south-east corner of the inner court Roger de Britolio, Earl of
Hereford, was imprisoned for rebellion against the Conqueror, and in
later times Henry Martin, the regicide, lingered as a prisoner for
thirty years, employing his enforced leisure in writing a book in
order to prove that it is not right for a man to be governed by one
wife. Then there is Glosmont Castle, the fortified residence of the
Earl of Lancaster; Skenfrith Castle, White Castle, the _Album Castrum_
of the Latin records, the Landreilo of the Welsh, with its six towers,
portcullis and drawbridge flanked by massive towers, barbican, and
other outworks; and Raglan Castle with its splendid gateway, its
Elizabethan banqueting-hall ornamented with rich stone tracery, its
bowling-green, garden terraces, and spacious courts--an ideal place
for knightly tournaments. Raglan is associated with the gallant
defence of the castle by the Marquis of Worcester in the Civil War.

Another famous siege is connected with the old castle of Taunton.
Taunton was a noted place in Saxon days, and the castle is the
earliest English fortress by some two hundred years of which we have
any written historical record.[21] The Anglo-Saxon chronicler states,
under the date 722 A.D.: "This year Queen Ethelburge overthrew
Taunton, which Ina had before built." The buildings tell their story.
We see a Norman keep built to the westward of Ina's earthwork,
probably by Henry de Blois, Bishop of Winchester, the warlike brother
of King Stephen. The gatehouse with the curtain ending in drum towers,
of which one only remains, was first built at the close of the
thirteenth century under Edward I; but it was restored with
Perpendicular additions by Bishop Thomas Langton, whose arms with the
date 1495 may be seen on the escutcheon above the arch. Probably
Bishop Langton also built the great hall; whilst Bishop Home, who is
sometimes credited with this work, most likely only repaired the hall,
but tacked on to it the southward structure on pilasters, which shows
his arms with the date 1577. The hall of the castle was for a long
period used as Assize Courts. The castle was purchased by the Taunton
and Somerset Archaeological Society, and is now most appropriately a
museum. Taunton has seen many strange sights. The town was owned by
the Bishop of Winchester, and the castle had its constable, an office
held by many great men. When Lord Daubeney of Barrington Court was
constable in 1497 Taunton saw thousands of gaunt Cornishmen marching
on to London to protest against the king's subsidy, and they aroused
the sympathy of the kind-hearted Somerset folk, who fed them, and were
afterwards fined for "aiding and comforting" them. Again, crowds of
Cornishmen here flocked to the standard of Perkin Warbeck. The gallant
defence of Taunton by Robert Blake, aided by the townsfolk, against
the whole force of the Royalists, is a matter of history, and also the
rebellion of Monmouth, who made Taunton his head-quarters. This
castle, like every other one in England, has much to tell us of the
chief events in our national annals.

  [21] _Taunton and its Castle_, by D.P. Alford (Memorials of Old
  Somerset), p. 149.

In the principality of Wales we find many noted strong holds--Conway,
Harlech, and many others. Carnarvon Castle, the repair of which is
being undertaken by Sir John Puleston, has no rival among our medieval
fortresses for the grandeur and extent of the ruins. It was commenced
about 1283 by Edward I, but took forty years to complete. In 1295 a
playful North Walian, named Madoc, who was an illegitimate son of
Prince David, took the rising stronghold by surprise upon a fair day,
massacred the entire garrison, and hanged the constable from his own
half-finished walls. Sir John Puleston, the present constable, though
he derives his patronymic from the "base, bloody, and brutal Saxon,"
is really a warmly patriotic Welshman, and is doing a good work in
preserving the ruins of the fortress of which he is the titular
governor.

We should like to record the romantic stories that have woven
themselves around each crumbling keep and bailey-court, to see them in
the days of their glory when warders kept the gate and watching
archers guarded the wall, and the lord and lady and their knights and
esquires dined in the great hall, and knights practised feats of arms
in the tilting-ground, and the banner of the lord waved over the
battlements, and everything was ready for war or sport, hunting or
hawking. But all the glories of most of the castles of England have
vanished, and naught is to be seen but ruined walls and deserted
halls. Some few have survived and become royal palaces or noblemen's
mansions. Such are Windsor, Warwick, Raby, Alnwick, and Arundel, but
the fate of most of them is very similar. The old fortress aimed at
being impregnable in the days of bows and arrows; but the progress of
guns and artillery somewhat changed the ideas with regard to their
security. In the struggle between Yorkists and Lancastrians many a
noble owner lost his castle and his head. Edward IV thinned down
castle-ownership, and many a fine fortress was left to die. When the
Spaniards threatened our shores those who possessed castles tried to
adapt them for the use of artillery, and when the Civil War began many
of them were strengthened and fortified and often made gallant
defences against their enemies, such as Donnington, Colchester,
Scarborough, and Pontefract. When the Civil War ended the last bugle
sounded the signal for their destruction. Orders were issued for their
destruction, lest they should ever again be thorns in the sides of the
Parliamentary army. Sometimes they were destroyed for revenge, or
because of their materials, which were sold for the benefit of the
Government or for the satisfaction of private greed. Lead was torn
from the roofs of chapels and banqueting-halls. The massive walls were
so strong that they resisted to the last and had to be demolished
with the aid of gunpowder. They became convenient quarries for stone
and furnished many a farm, cottage and manor-house with materials for
their construction. Henceforth the old castle became a ruin. In its
silent marshy moat reeds and rushes grow, and ivy covers its walls,
and trees have sprung up in the quiet and deserted courts. Picnic
parties encamp on the green sward, and excursionists amuse themselves
in strolling along the walls and wonder why they were built so thick,
and imagine that the castle was always a ruin erected for the
amusement of the cheap-tripper for jest and playground. Happily care
is usually bestowed upon the relics that remain, and diligent
antiquaries excavate and try to rear in imagination the stately
buildings. Some have been fortunate enough to become museums, and some
modernized and restored are private residences. The English castle
recalls some of the most eventful scenes in English history, and its
bones and skeleton should be treated with respect and veneration as an
important feature of vanishing England.

[Illustration: Knightly Bascinet (_temp._ Henry V) in Norwich Castle]




CHAPTER VI

VANISHING OR VANISHED CHURCHES


No buildings have suffered more than our parish churches in the course
of ages. Many have vanished entirely. A few stones or ruins mark the
site of others, and iconoclasm has left such enduring marks on the
fabric of many that remain that it is difficult to read their story
and history. A volume, several volumes, would be needed to record all
the vandalism that has been done to our ecclesiastical structures in
the ages that have passed. We can only be thankful that some churches
have survived to proclaim the glories of English architecture and the
skill of our masons and artificers who wrought so well and worthily in
olden days.

In the chapter that relates to the erosion of our coasts we have
mentioned many of the towns and villages which have been devoured by
the sea with their churches. These now lie beneath the waves, and the
bells in their towers are still said to ring when storms rage. We need
not record again the submerged Ravenspur, Dunwich, Kilnsea, and other
unfortunate towns with their churches where now only mermaids can form
the congregation.

       And as the fisherman strays
       When the clear cold eve's declining,
       He sees the round tower of other days
       In the wave beneath him shining.

In the depths of the country, far from the sea, we can find many
deserted shrines, many churches that once echoed with the songs of
praise of faithful worshippers, wherein were celebrated the divine
mysteries, and organs pealed forth celestial music, but now forsaken,
desecrated, ruined, forgotten.

        The altar has vanished, the rood screen flown,
        Foundation and buttress are ivy-grown;
        The arches are shattered, the roof has gone,
        The mullions are mouldering one by one;
        Foxglove and cow-grass and waving weed
        Grow over the scrolls where you once could read
        Benedicite.

Many of them have been used as quarries, and only a few stones remain
to mark the spot where once stood a holy house of God. Before the
Reformation the land must have teemed with churches. I know not the
exact number of monastic houses once existing in England. There must
have been at least a thousand, and each had its church. Each parish
had a church. Besides these were the cathedrals, chantry chapels,
chapels attached to the mansions, castles, and manor-houses of the
lords and squires, to almshouses and hospitals, pilgrim churches by
the roadside, where bands of pilgrims would halt and pay their
devotions ere they passed along to the shrine of St. Thomas at
Canterbury or to Our Lady at Walsingham. When chantries and guilds as
well as monasteries were suppressed, their chapels were no longer used
for divine service; some of the monastic churches became cathedrals or
parish churches, but most of them were pillaged, desecrated, and
destroyed. When pilgrimages were declared to be "fond things vainly
invented," and the pilgrim bands ceased to travel along the pilgrim
way, the wayside chapel fell into decay, or was turned into a barn or
stable.

It is all very sad and deplorable. But the roll of abandoned shrines
is not complete. At the present day many old churches are vanishing.
Some have been abandoned or pulled down because they were deemed too
near to the squire's house, and a new church erected at a more
respectful distance. "Restoration" has doomed many to destruction. Not
long ago the new scheme for supplying Liverpool with water
necessitated the converting of a Welsh valley into a huge reservoir
and the consequent destruction of churches and villages. A new scheme
for supplying London with water has been mooted, and would entail the
damming up of a river at the end of a valley and the overwhelming of
several prosperous old villages and churches which have stood there
for centuries. The destruction of churches in London on account of the
value of their site and the migration of the population, westward and
eastward, has been frequently deplored. With the exception of All
Hallows, Barking; St. Andrew's Undershaft; St. Catherine Cree; St.
Dunstan's, Stepney; St. Giles', Cripplegate; All Hallows, Staining;
St. James's, Aldgate; St. Sepulchre's; St. Mary Woolnoth; all the old
City churches were destroyed by the Great Fire, and some of the above
were damaged and repaired. "Destroyed by the Great Fire, rebuilt by
Wren," is the story of most of the City churches of London. To him
fell the task of rebuilding the fallen edifices. Well did he
accomplish his task. He had no one to guide him; no school of artists
or craftsmen to help him in the detail of his buildings; no great
principles of architecture to direct him. But he triumphed over all
obstacles and devised a style of his own that was well suitable for
the requirements of the time and climate and for the form of worship
of the English National Church. And how have we treated the buildings
which his genius devised for us? Eighteen of his beautiful buildings
have already been destroyed, and fourteen of these since the passing
of the Union of City Benefices Act in 1860 have succumbed. With the
utmost difficulty vehement attacks on others have been warded off, and
no one can tell how long they will remain. Here is a very sad and
deplorable instance of the vanishing of English architectural
treasures. While we deplore the destructive tendencies of our
ancestors we have need to be ashamed of our own.

We will glance at some of these deserted shrines on the sites where
formerly they stood. The Rev. Gilbert Twenlow Royds, Rector of
Haughton and Rural Dean of Stafford, records three of these in his
neighbourhood, and shall describe them in his own words:--

  "On the main road to Stafford, in a field at the top of Billington
  Hill, a little to the left of the road, there once stood a chapel.
  The field is still known as Chapel Hill; but not a vestige of the
  building survives; no doubt the foundations were grubbed up for
  ploughing purposes. In a State paper, describing 'The State of the
  Church in Staffs, in 1586,' we find the following entry:
  'Billington Chappell; reader, a husbandman; pension 16 groats; no
  preacher.' This is under the heading of Bradeley, in which parish
  it stood. I have made a wide search for information as to the
  dates of the building and destruction of this chapel. Only one
  solitary note has come to my knowledge. In Mazzinghi's _History of
  Castle Church_ he writes: 'Mention is made of Thomas Salt the son
  of Richard Salt and C(lem)ance his wife as Christened at
  Billington Chapel in 1600.' Local tradition says that within the
  memory of the last generation stones were carted from this site to
  build the churchyard wall of Bradley Church. I have noticed
  several re-used stones; but perhaps if that wall were to be more
  closely examined or pulled down, some further history might
  disclose itself. Knowing that some of the stones were said to be
  in a garden on the opposite side of the road, I asked permission
  to investigate. This was most kindly granted, and I was told that
  there was a stone 'with some writing on it' in a wall. No doubt we
  had the fragment of a gravestone! and such it proved to be. With
  some difficulty we got the stone out of the wall; and, being an
  expert in palaeography, I was able to decipher the inscription. It
  ran as follows: 'FURy. Died Feb. 28, 1864.' A skilled antiquary
  would probably pronounce it to be the headstone of a favourite
  dog's grave; and I am inclined to think that we have here a not
  unformidable rival of the celebrated

              +
           BIL ST
             UM
            PS HI
             S.M.
             ARK

  of the _Pickwick Papers_.

  "Yet another vanished chapel, of which I have even less to tell
  you. On the right-hand side of the railway line running towards
  Stafford, a little beyond Stallbrook Crossing, there is a field
  known as Chapel Field. But there is nothing but the name left.
  From ancient documents I have learnt that a chapel once stood
  there, known as Derrington Chapel (I think in the thirteenth
  century), in Seighford parish, but served from Ranton Priory. In
  1847 my father built a beautiful little church at Derrington, in
  the Geometrical Decorated style, but not on the Chapel Field. I
  cannot tell you what an immense source of satisfaction it would be
  to me if I could gather some further reliable information as to
  the history, style, and annihilation of these two vanished
  chapels. It is unspeakably sad to be forced to realize that in so
  many of our country parishes no records exist of things and events
  of surpassing interest in their histories.

  "I take you now to where there is something a little more
  tangible. There stand in the park of Creswell Hall, near Stafford,
  the ruins of a little thirteenth-century chapel. I will describe
  what is left. I may say that some twenty years ago I made certain
  excavations, which showed the ground plan to be still complete. So
  far as I remember, we found a chamfered plinth all round the nave,
  with a west doorway. The chancel and nave are of the same width,
  the chancel measuring about 21 ft. long and the nave _c._ 33 ft.
  The ground now again covers much of what we found. The remains
  above ground are those of the chancel only. Large portions of the
  east and north walls remain, and a small part of the south wall.
  The north wall is still _c._ 12 ft. high, and contains two narrow
  lancets, quite perfect. The east wall reaches _c._ 15 ft., and has
  a good base-mould. It contains the opening, without the head, of a
  three-light window, with simply moulded jambs, and the glass-line
  remaining. A string-course under the window runs round the angle
  buttresses, or rather did so run, for I think the north buttress
  has been rebuilt, and without the string. The south buttress is
  complete up to two weatherings, and has two strings round it. It
  is a picturesque and valuable ruin, and well worth a visit. It is
  amusing to notice that Creswell now calls itself a rectory, and an
  open-air service is held annually within its walls. It was a
  pre-bend of S. Mary's, Stafford, and previously a Free Chapel, the
  advowson belonging to the Lord of the Manor; and it was sometimes
  supplied with preachers from Ranton Priory. Of the story of its
  destruction I can discover nothing. It is now carefully preserved
  and, I have heard it suggested that it might some day be rebuilt
  to meet the spiritual needs of its neighbourhood.

  "We pass now to the most stately and beautiful object in this
  neighbourhood. I mean the tower of Ranton Priory Church. It is
  always known here as Ranton Abbey. But it has no right to the
  title. It was an off-shoot of Haughmond Abbey, near Shrewsbury,
  and was a Priory of Black Canons, founded _temp._ Henry II. The
  church has disappeared entirely, with the exception of a bit of
  the south-west walling of the nave and a Norman doorway in it.
  This may have connected the church with the domestic buildings. In
  Cough's Collection in the Bodleian, dated 1731, there is a sketch
  of the church. What is shown there is a simple parallelogram, with
  the usual high walls, in Transition-Norman style, with flat
  pilaster buttresses, two strings running round the walls, the
  upper one forming the dripstones of lancet windows, a corbel-table
  supporting the eaves-course, and a north-east priest's door. But
  whatever the church may have been (and the sketch represents it as
  being of severe simplicity), some one built on to it a west tower
  of great magnificence. It is of early Perpendicular date,
  practically uninjured, the pinnacles only being absent, though,
  happily, the stumps of these remain. Its proportion appears to me
  to be absolutely perfect, and its detail so good that I think you
  would have to travel far to find its rival. There is a very
  interesting point to notice in the beautiful west doorway. It will
  be seen that the masonry of the lower parts of its jambs is quite
  different from that of the upper parts, and there can, I think, be
  no doubt that these lower stones have been re-used from a
  thirteenth-century doorway of some other part of the buildings.
  There is a tradition that the bells of Gnosall Church were taken
  from this tower. I can find no confirmation of this, and I cannot
  believe it. For the church at Gnosall is of earlier date and
  greater magnificence than that of Ranton Priory, and was, I
  imagine, quite capable of having bells of its own."

It would be an advantage to archaeology if every one were such a
careful and accurate observer of local antiquarian remains as the
Rural Dean of Stafford. Wherever we go we find similar deserted and
abandoned shrines. In Derbyshire alone there are over a hundred
destroyed or disused churches, of which Dr. Cox, the leading authority
on the subject, has published a list. Nottinghamshire abounds in
instances of the same kind. As late as 1892 the church at Colston
Bassett was deliberately turned into a ruin. There are only mounds and a
few stones to show the site of the parish church of Thorpe-in-the-fields,
which in the seventeenth century was actually used as a beer-shop. In
the fields between Elston and East Stoke is a disused church with a
south Norman doorway. The old parochial chapel of Aslacton was long
desecrated, and used in comparatively recent days as a beer-shop. The
remains of it have, happily, been reclaimed, and now serve as a
mission-room. East Anglia, famous for its grand churches, has to mourn
over many which have been lost, many that are left roofless and
ivy-clad, and some ruined indeed, though some fragment has been made
secure enough for the holding of divine service. Whitling has a
roofless church with a round Norman tower. The early Norman church of
St. Mary at Kirby Bedon has been allowed to fall into decay, and for
nearly two hundred years has been ruinous. St. Saviour's Church,
Surlingham, was pulled down at the beginning of the eighteenth century
on the ground that one church in the village was sufficient for its
spiritual wants, and its materials served to mend roads.

A strange reason has been given for the destruction of several of
these East Anglian churches. In Norfolk there were many recusants,
members of old Roman Catholic families, who refused in the sixteenth
and seventeenth centuries to obey the law requiring them to attend
their parish church. But if their church were in ruins no service
could be held, and therefore they could not be compelled to attend.
Hence in many cases the churches were deliberately reduced to a
ruinous state. Bowthorpe was one of these unfortunate churches which
met its fate in the days of Queen Elizabeth. It stands in a
farm-yard, and the nave made an excellent barn and the steeple a
dovecote. The lord of the manor was ordered to restore it at the
beginning of the seventeenth century. This he did, and for a time it
was used for divine service. Now it is deserted and roofless, and
sleeps placidly girt by a surrounding wall, a lonely shrine. The
church of St. Peter, Hungate, at Norwich, is of great historical
interest and contains good architectural features, including a very
fine roof. It was rebuilt in the fifteenth century by John Paston and
Margaret, his wife, whose letters form part of that extraordinary
series of medieval correspondence which throws so much light upon the
social life of the period. The church has a rudely carved record of
their work outside the north door. This unhappy church has fallen into
disuse, and it has been proposed to follow the example of the London
citizens to unite the benefice with another and to destroy the
building. Thanks to the energy and zeal of His Highness Prince
Frederick Duleep Singh, delay in carrying out the work of destruction
has been secured, and we trust that his efforts to save the building
will be crowned with the success they deserve.

Not far from Norwich are the churches of Keswick and Intwood. Before
1600 A.D. the latter was deserted and desecrated, being used for a
sheep-fold, and the people attended service at Keswick. Then Intwood
was restored to its sacred uses, and poor Keswick church was compelled
to furnish materials for its repair. Keswick remained ruinous until a
few years ago, when part of it was restored and used as a cemetery
chapel. Ringstead has two ruined churches, St. Andrew's and St.
Peter's. Only the tower of the latter remains. Roudham church two
hundred years ago was a grand building, as its remains plainly
testify. It had a thatched roof, which was fired by a careless
thatcher, and has remained roofless to this day. Few are acquainted
with the ancient hamlet of Liscombe, situated in a beautiful Dorset
valley. It now consists of only one or two houses, a little Norman
church, and an old monastic barn. The little church is built of flint,
stone, and large blocks of hard chalk, and consists of a chancel and
nave divided by a Transition-Norman arch with massive rounded columns.
There are Norman windows in the chancel, with some later work
inserted. A fine niche, eight feet high, with a crocketed canopy,
stood at the north-east corner of the chancel, but has disappeared.
The windows of the nave and the west doorway have perished. It has
been for a long time desecrated. The nave is used as a bakehouse.
There is a large open grate, oven, and chimney in the centre, and the
chancel is a storehouse for logs. The upper part of the building has
been converted into an upper storey and divided into bedrooms, which
have broken-down ceilings. The roof is of thatch. Modern windows and a
door have been inserted. It is a deplorable instance of terrible
desecration.

The growth of ivy unchecked has caused many a ruin. The roof of the
nave and south aisle of the venerable church of Chingford, Essex, fell
a few years ago entirely owing to the destructive ivy which was
allowed to work its relentless will on the beams, tiles, and rafters
of this ancient structure.

Besides those we have mentioned there are about sixty other ruined
churches in Norfolk, and in Suffolk many others, including the
magnificent ruins of Covehithe, Flixton, Hopton, which was destroyed
only forty-four years ago through the burning of its thatched roof,
and the Old Minster, South Elmham.

Attempts have been made by the National Trust and the Society for the
Protection of Ancient Buildings to save Kirkstead Chapel, near
Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire. It is one of the very few surviving
examples of the _capella extra portas_, which was a feature of every
Cistercian abbey, where women and other persons who were not allowed
within the gates could hear Mass. The abbey was founded in 1139, and
the chapel, which is private property, is one of the finest examples
of Early English architecture remaining in the country. It is in a
very decaying condition. The owner has been approached, and the
officials of the above societies have tried to persuade him to repair
it himself or to allow them to do so. But these negotiations have
hitherto failed. It is very deplorable when the owners of historic
buildings should act in this "dog-in-the-manger" fashion, and surely
the time has come when the Government should have power to
compulsorily acquire such historic monuments when their natural
protectors prove themselves to be incapable or unwilling to preserve
and save them from destruction.

We turn from this sorry page of wilful neglect to one that records the
grand achievement of modern antiquaries, the rescue and restoration of
the beautiful specimen of Saxon architecture, the little chapel of St.
Lawrence at Bradford-on-Avon. Until 1856 its existence was entirely
unknown, and the credit of its discovery was due to the Rev. Canon
Jones, Vicar of Bradford. At the Reformation with the dissolution of
the abbey at Shaftesbury it had passed into lay hands. The chancel was
used as a cottage. Round its walls other cottages arose. Perhaps part
of the building was at one time used as a charnel-house, as in an old
deed it is called the Skull House. In 1715 the nave and porch were
given to the vicar to be used as a school. But no one suspected the
presence of this exquisite gem of Anglo-Saxon architecture, until
Canon Jones when surveying the town from the height of a neighbouring
hill recognized the peculiarity of the roof and thought that it might
indicate the existence of a church. Thirty-seven years ago the
Wiltshire antiquaries succeeded in purchasing the building. They
cleared away the buildings, chimney-stacks, and outhouses that had
grown up around it, and revealed the whole beauties of this lovely
shrine. Archaeologists have fought many battles over it as to its date.
Some contend that it is the identical church which William of
Malmesbury tells us St. Aldhelm built at Bradford-on-Avon about 700
A.D., others assert that it cannot be earlier than the tenth century.
It was a monastic cell attached to the Abbey of Malmesbury, but
Ethelred II gave it to the Abbess of Shaftesbury in 1001 as a secure
retreat for her nuns if Shaftesbury should be threatened by the
ravaging Danes. We need not describe the building, as it is well
known. Our artist has furnished us with an admirable illustration of
it. Its great height, its characteristic narrow Saxon doorways, heavy
plain imposts, the string-courses surrounding the building, the
arcades of pilasters, the carved figures of angels are some of its
most important features. It is cheering to find that amid so much that
has vanished we have here at Bradford a complete Saxon church that
differs very little from what it was when it was first erected.

[Illustration: Saxon Doorway in St. Lawrence's Church,
Bradford-on-Avon, Wilts.]

Other Saxon remains are not wanting. Wilfrid's Crypt at Hexham, that
at Ripon, Brixworth Church, the church within the precincts of Dover
Castle, the towers of Barnack, Barton-upon-Humber, Stow, Earl's
Barton, Sompting, Stanton Lacy show considerable evidences of Saxon
work. Saxon windows with their peculiar baluster shafts can be seen at
Bolam and Billingham, Durham; St. Andrew's, Bywell, Monkwearmouth,
Ovington, Sompting, St. Mary Junior, York, Hornby, Wickham (Berks),
Waithe, Holton-le-Clay, Glentworth and Clee (Lincoln), Northleigh,
Oxon, and St. Alban's Abbey. Saxon arches exist at Worth, Corhampton,
Escomb, Deerhurst, St. Benet's, Cambridge, Brigstock, and Barnack.
Triangular arches remain at Brigstock, Barnack, Deerhurst, Aston
Tirrold, Berks. We have still some Saxon fonts at Potterne, Wilts;
Little Billing, Northants; Edgmond and Bucknell, Shropshire; Penmon,
Anglesey; and South Hayling, Hants. Even Saxon sundials exist at
Winchester, Corhampton, Bishopstone, Escomb, Aldborough, Edston, and
Kirkdale. There is also one at Daglingworth, Gloucestershire. Some
hours of the Saxon's day in that village must have fled more swiftly
than others, as all the radii are placed at the same angle. Even some
mural paintings by Saxon artists exist at St. Mary's, Guildford; St.
Martin's, Canterbury; and faint traces at Britford, Headbourne,
Worthing, and St. Nicholas, Ipswich, and some painted consecration
crosses are believed to belong to this period.

Recent investigations have revealed much Saxon work in our churches,
the existence of which had before been unsuspected. Many circumstances
have combined to obliterate it. The Danish wars had a disastrous
effect on many churches reared in Saxon times. The Norman Conquest
caused many of them to be replaced by more highly finished structures.
But frequently, as we study the history written in the stonework of
our churches, we find beneath coatings of stucco the actual walls
built by Saxon builders, and an arch here, a column there, which link
our own times with the distant past, when England was divided into
eight kingdoms and when Danegelt was levied to buy off the marauding
strangers.

It is refreshing to find these specimens of early work in our
churches. Since then what destruction has been wrought, what havoc
done upon their fabric and furniture! At the Reformation iconoclasm
raged with unpitying ferocity. Everybody from the King to the
churchwardens, who sold church plate lest it should fall into the
hands of the royal commissioners, seems to have been engaged in
pillaging churches and monasteries. The plunder of chantries and
guilds followed. Fuller quaintly describes this as "the last dish of
the course, and after cheese nothing is to be expected." But the
coping-stone was placed on the vast fabric of spoliation by sending
commissioners to visit all the cathedrals and parish churches, and
seize the superfluous plate and ornaments for the King's use. Even
quite small churches possessed many treasures which the piety of many
generations had bestowed upon them.

There is a little village in Berkshire called Boxford, quite a small
place. Here is the list of church goods which the commissioners found
there, and which had escaped previous ravages:--

  "One challice, a cross of copper & gilt, another cross of timber
  covered with brass, one cope of blue velvet embroidered with
  images of angles, one vestment of the same suit with an albe of
  Lockeram,[22] two vestments of Dornexe,[23] and three other very
  old, two old & coarse albes of Lockeram, two old copes of Dornexe,
  iiij altar cloths of linen cloth, two corporals with two cases
  whereof one is embroidered, two surplices, & one rochet, one bible
  & the paraphrases of Erasmus in English, seven banners of lockeram
  & one streamer all painted, three front cloths for altars whereof
  one of them is with panes of white damask & black satin, & the
  other two of old vestments, two towels of linen, iiij candlesticks
  of latten[24] & two standertes[25] before the high altar of
  latten, a lent vail[26] before the high altar with panes blue and
  white, two candlesticks of latten and five branches, a peace,[27]
  three great bells with one saunce bell xx, one canopy of cloth, a
  covering of Dornixe for the Sepulchre, two cruets of pewter, a
  holy-water pot of latten, a linen cloth to draw before the rood.
  And all the said parcels safely to be kept & preserved, & all the
  same & every parcel thereof to be forthcoming at all times when it
  shall be of them [the churchwardens] required."

  [22] A fine linen cloth made in Brittany (cf. _Coriolanus_, Act
  ii. sc. 1).

  [23] A rich sort of stuff interwoven with gold and silver, made at
  Tournay, which was formerly called Dorneck, in Flanders.

  [24] An alloy of copper and zinc.

  [25] Large standard candlesticks.

  [26] The Lent cloth, hung before the altar during Lent.

  [27] A Pax.

This inventory of the goods of one small church enables us to judge of
the wealth of our country churches before they were despoiled. Of
private spoliators their name was legion. The arch-spoliator was
Protector Somerset, the King's uncle, Edward Seymour, formerly Earl of
Hertford and then created Duke of Somerset. He ruled England for three
years after King Henry's death. He was a glaring and unblushing
church-robber, setting an example which others were only too ready to
follow. Canon Overton[28] tells how Somerset House remains as a
standing memorial of his rapacity. In order to provide materials for
building it he pulled down the church of St. Mary-le-Strand and three
bishops' houses, and was proceeding also to pull down the historical
church of St. Margaret, Westminster; but public opinion was too strong
against him, the parishioners rose and beat off his workmen, and he
was forced to desist, and content himself with violating and
plundering the precincts of St. Paul's. Moreover, the steeple and most
of the church of St. John of Jerusalem, Smithfield, were mined and
blown up with gunpowder that the materials might be utilized for the
ducal mansion in the Strand. He turned Glastonbury, with all its
associations dating from the earliest introduction of Christianity
into our island, into a worsted manufactory, managed by French
Protestants. Under his auspices the splendid college of St.
Martin-le-Grand in London was converted into a tavern, and St.
Stephen's Chapel, Westminster, served the scarcely less incongruous
purpose of a Parliament House. All this he did, and when his
well-earned fall came the Church fared no better under his successor,
John Dudley, Earl of Warwick, and afterwards Duke of Northumberland.

  [28] _History of the Church in England_, p. 401.

Another wretch was Robert, Earl of Sussex, to whom the King gave the
choir of Atleburgh, in Norfolk, because it belonged to a college.
"Being of a covetous disposition, he not only pulled down and spoiled
the chancel, but also pulled up many fair marble gravestones of his
ancestors with monuments of brass upon them, and other fair good
pavements, and carried them and laid them for his hall, kitchen, and
larder-house." The church of St. Nicholas, Yarmouth, has many
monumental stones, the brasses of which were in 1551 sent to London to
be cast into weights and measures for the use of the town. The shops
of the artists in brass in London were full of broken brass memorials
torn from tombs. Hence arose the making of palimpsest brasses, the
carvers using an old brass and on the reverse side cutting a memorial
of a more recently deceased person.

After all this iconoclasm, spoliation, and robbery it is surprising
that anything of value should have been left in our churches. But
happily some treasures escaped, and the gifts of two or three
generations added others. Thus I find from the will of a good
gentleman, Mr. Edward Ball, that after the spoliation of Barkham
Church he left the sum of five shillings for the providing of a
processional cross to be borne before the choir in that church, and I
expect that he gave us our beautiful Elizabethan chalice of the date
1561. The Church had scarcely recovered from its spoliation before
another era of devastation and robbery ensued. During the Cromwellian
period much destruction was wrought by mad zealots of the Puritan
faction. One of these men and his doings are mentioned by Dr. Berwick
in his _Querela Cantabrigiensis_:--

  "One who calls himself John [it should be William] Dowsing and by
  Virtue of a pretended Commission, goes about y^{e} country like a
  Bedlam, breaking glasse windows, having battered and beaten downe
  all our painted glasses, not only in our Chappels, but (contrary
  to order) in our Publique Schools, Colledge Halls, Libraries, and
  Chambers, mistaking, perhaps, y^{e} liberall Artes for Saints
  (which they intend in time to pull down too) and having (against
  an order) defaced and digged up y^{e} floors of our Chappels, many
  of which had lien so for two or three hundred years together, not
  regarding y^{e} dust of our founders and predecessors who likely
  were buried there; compelled us by armed Souldiers to pay forty
  shillings a Colledge for not mending what he had spoyled and
  defaced, or forth with to goe to prison."

We meet with the sad doings of this wretch Dowsing in various places
in East Anglia. He left his hideous mark on many a fair church. Thus
the churchwardens of Walberswick, in Suffolk, record in their
accounts:--

  "1644, April 8th, paid to Martin Dowson, that came with the
  troopers to our church, about the taking down of Images and
  Brasses off Stones 6 0."

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

[Illustration: St. George's Church, Great Yarmouth]

The record of the ecclesiastical exploits of William Dowsing has been
preserved by the wretch himself in a diary which he kept. It was
published in 1786, and the volume provides much curious reading. With
reference to the church of Toffe he says:--

  "Will: Disborugh Church Warden Richard Basly and John Newman
  Cunstable, 27 Superstitious pictures in glass and ten other in
  stone, three brass inscriptions, Pray for y^{e} Soules, and a
  Cross to be taken of the Steeple (6s. 8d.) and there was divers
  Orate pro Animabus in ye windows, and on a Bell, Ora pro Anima
  Sanctae Catharinae."

  "_Trinity Parish, Cambridge_, M. Frog, Churchwarden, December 25,
  we brake down 80 Popish pictures, and one of Christ and God y^{e}
  Father above."

  "At _Clare_ we brake down 1000 pictures superstitious."

  "_Cochie_, there were divers pictures in the Windows which we
  could not reach, neither would they help us to raise the ladders."

  "1643, Jan^{y} 1, Edwards parish, we digged up the steps, and
  brake down 40 pictures, and took off ten superstitious
  inscriptions."

It is terrible to read these records, and to imagine all the beautiful
works of art that this ignorant wretch ruthlessly destroyed. To all
the inscriptions on tombs containing the pious petition _Orate pro
anima_--his ignorance is palpably displayed by his _Orate pro
animabus_--he paid special attention. Well did Mr. Cole observe
concerning the last entry in Dowsing's diary:--

  "From this last Entry we may clearly see to whom we are obliged
  for the dismantling of almost all the gravestones that had brasses
  on them, both in town and country: a sacrilegious sanctified
  rascal that was afraid, or too proud, to call it St. Edward's
  Church, but not ashamed to rob the dead of their honours and the
  Church of its ornaments. W.C."

He tells also of the dreadful deeds that were being done at Lowestoft
in 1644:--

  "In the same year, also, on the 12th of June, there came one
  Jessop, with a commission from the Earl of Manchester, to take
  away from gravestones all inscriptions on which he found _Orate
  pro anima_--a wretched Commissioner not able to read or find out
  that which his commission enjoyned him to remove--he took up in
  our Church so much brasse, as he sold to Mr. Josiah Wild for five
  shillings, which was afterwards (contrary to my knowledge) runn
  into the little bell that hangs in the Town-house. There were
  taken up in the Middle Ayl twelve pieces belonging to twelve
  generations of the Jettours."

The same scenes were being enacted in many parts of England.
Everywhere ignorant commissioners were rampaging about the country
imitating the ignorant ferocity of this Dowsing and Jessop. No wonder
our churches were bare, pillaged, and ruinated. Moreover, the
conception of art and the taste for architecture were dead or dying,
and there was no one who could replace the beautiful objects which
these wretches destroyed or repair the desolation they had caused.

Another era of spoliation set in in more recent times, when the
restorers came with vitiated taste and the worst ideals to reconstruct
and renovate our churches which time, spoliation, and carelessness had
left somewhat the worse for wear. The Oxford Movement taught men to
bestow more care upon the houses of God in the land, to promote His
honour by more reverent worship, and to restore the beauty of His
sanctuary. A rector found his church in a dilapidated state and talked
over the matter with the squire. Although the building was in a sorry
condition, with a cracked ceiling, hideous galleries, and high pews
like cattle-pens, it had a Norman doorway, some Early English carved
work in the chancel, a good Perpendicular tower, and fine Decorated
windows. These two well-meaning but ignorant men decided that a
brand-new church would be a great improvement on this old tumble-down
building. An architect was called in, or a local builder; the plan of
a new church was speedily drawn, and ere long the hammers and axes
were let loose on the old church and every vestige of antiquity
destroyed. The old Norman font was turned out of the church, and
either used as a cattle-trough or to hold a flower-pot in the rectory
garden. Some of the beautifully carved stones made an excellent
rockery in the squire's garden, and old woodwork, perchance a
fourteenth-century rood-screen, encaustic tiles bearing the arms of
the abbey with which in former days the church was connected,
monuments and stained glass, are all carted away and destroyed, and
the triumph of vandalism is complete.

That is an oft-told tale which finds its counterpart in many towns and
villages, the entire and absolute destruction of the old church by
ignorant vandals who work endless mischief and know not what they do.
There is the village of Little Wittenham, in our county of Berks, not
far from Sinodun Hill, an ancient earthwork covered with trees, that
forms so conspicuous an object to the travellers by the Great Western
Railway from Didcot to Oxford. About forty years ago terrible things
were done in the church of that village. The vicar was a Goth. There
was a very beautiful chantry chapel on the south side of the choir,
full of magnificent marble monuments to the memory of various members
of the Dunce family. This family, once great and powerful, whose great
house stood hard by on the north of the church--only the terraces of
which remain--is now, it is believed, extinct. The vicar thought that
he might be held responsible for the dilapidations of this old
chantry; so he pulled it down, and broke all the marble tombs with
axes and hammers. You can see the shattered remains that still show
signs of beauty in one of the adjoining barns. Some few were set up in
the tower, the old font became a pig-trough, the body of the church
was entirely renewed, and vandalism reigned supreme. In our county of
Berks there were at the beginning of the last century 170 ancient
parish churches. Of these, thirty have been pulled down and entirely
rebuilt, six of them on entirely new sites; one has been burnt down,
one disused; before 1890 one hundred were restored, some of them most
drastically, and several others have been restored since, but with
greater respect to old work.

A favourite method of "restoration" was adopted in many instances. A
church had a Norman doorway and pillars in the nave; sundry additions
and alterations had been made in subsequent periods, and examples of
Early English, Decorated, and Perpendicular styles of architecture
were observable, with, perhaps, a Renaissance porch or other later
feature. What did the early restorers do? They said, "This is a Norman
church; all its details should be Norman too." So they proceeded to
take away these later additions and imitate Norman work as much as
they could by breaking down the Perpendicular or Decorated tracery in
the windows and putting in large round-headed windows--their
conception of Norman work, but far different from what any Norman
builder would have contrived. Thus these good people entirely
destroyed the history of the building, and caused to vanish much that
was interesting and important. Such is the deplorable story of the
"restoration" of many a parish church.

An amusing book, entitled _Hints to Some Churchwardens, with a few
Illustrations Relative to the Repair and Improvement of Parish
Churches_, was published in 1825. The author, with much satire,
depicts the "very many splendid, curious, and convenient ideas which
have emanated from those churchwardens who have attained perfection as
planners and architects." He apologises for not giving the names of
these superior men and the dates of the improvements they have
achieved, but is sure that such works as theirs must immortalize them,
not only in their parishes, but in their counties, and, he trusts, in
the kingdom at large. The following are some of the "hints":--

  "_How to affix a porch to an old church._

  "If the church is of stone, let the porch be of brick, the roof
  slated, and the entrance to it of the improved Gothic called
  modern, being an arch formed by an acute angle. The porch should
  be placed so as to stop up what might be called a useless window;
  and as it sometimes happens that there is an ancient Saxon[29]
  entrance, let it be carefully bricked up, and perhaps plastered,
  so as to conceal as much as possible of the zigzag ornament used
  in buildings of this kind. Such improvements cannot fail to ensure
  celebrity to churchwardens of future ages.

  "_How to add a vestry to an old church._

  "The building here proposed is to be of bright brick, with a
  slated roof and sash windows, with a small door on one side; and
  it is, moreover, to be adorned with a most tasty and ornamental
  brick chimney, which terminates at the chancel end. The position
  of the building should be against two old Gothic windows; which,
  having the advantage of hiding them nearly altogether, when
  contrasted with the dull and uniform surface of an old stone
  church, has a lively and most imposing effect.

  "_How to ornament the top or battlements of a tower belonging to
  an ancient church_.

  "Place on each battlement, vases, candlesticks, and pineapples
  alternately, and the effect will be striking. Vases have many
  votaries amongst those worthy members of society, the
  churchwardens. Candlesticks are of ancient origin, and represent,
  from the highest authority, the light of the churches: but as in
  most churches weathercocks are used, I would here recommend the
  admirers of novelty and improvement to adopt a pair of snuffers,
  which might also be considered as a useful emblem for
  reinvigorating the lights from the candlesticks. The pineapple
  ornament having in so many churches been judiciously substituted
  for Gothic, cannot fail to please. Some such ornament should also
  be placed at the top of the church, and at the chancel end. But as
  this publication does not restrict any churchwarden of real taste,
  and as the ornaments here recommended are in a common way made of
  stone, if any would wish to distinguish his year of office,
  perhaps he would do it brilliantly by painting them all bright
  red...."

  [29] Doubtless our author means Norman.

Other valuable suggestions are made in this curious and amusing work,
such as "how to repair Quartre-feuille windows" by cutting out all
the partitions and making them quite round; "how to adapt a new church
to an old tower with most taste and effect," the most attractive
features being light iron partitions instead of stone mullions for the
windows, with shutters painted yellow, bright brick walls and slate
roof, and a door painted sky-blue. You can best ornament a chancel by
placing colossal figures of Moses and Aaron supporting the altar, huge
tables of the commandments, and clusters of grapes and pomegranates in
festoons and clusters of monuments. Vases upon pillars, the
commandments in sky-blue, clouds carved out of wood supporting angels,
are some of the ideas recommended. Instead of a Norman font you can
substitute one resembling a punch-bowl,[30] with the pedestal and legs
of a round claw table; and it would be well to rear a massive pulpit
in the centre of the chancel arch, hung with crimson and gold lace,
with gilt chandeliers, large sounding-board with a vase at the top. A
stove is always necessary. It can be placed in the centre of the
chancel, and the stove-pipe can be carried through the upper part of
the east window, and then by an elbow conveyed to the crest of the
roof over the window, the cross being taken down to make room for the
chimney. Such are some of the recommendations of this ingenious
writer, which are ably illustrated by effective drawings. They are not
all imaginative. Many old churches tell the tragic story of their
mutilation at the hands of a rector who has discovered Parker's
_Glossary_, knows nothing about art, but "does know what he likes,"
advised by his wife who has visited some of the cathedrals, and by an
architect who has been elaborately educated in the principles of Roman
Renaissance, but who knows no more of Lombard, Byzantine, or Gothic
art than he does of the dynasties of ancient Egypt. When a church has
fallen into the hands of such renovators and been heavily "restored,"
if the ghost of one of its medieval builders came to view his work he
would scarcely recognize it. Well says Mr. Thomas Hardy: "To restore
the great carcases of mediaevalism in the remote nooks of western
England seems a not less incongruous act than to set about renovating
the adjoining crags themselves," and well might he sigh over the
destruction of the grand old tower of Endelstow Church and the
erection of what the vicar called "a splendid tower, designed by a
first-rate London man--in the newest style of Gothic art and full of
Christian feeling."

  [30] A china punch-bowl was actually presented by Sir T. Drake to
  be used as a font at Woodbury, Devon.

The novelist's remarks on "restoration" are most valuable:--

  "Entire destruction under the saving name has been effected on so
  gigantic a scale that the protection of structures, their being
  kept wind and weather-proof, counts as nothing in the balance. Its
  enormous magnitude is realized by few who have not gone personally
  from parish to parish through a considerable district, and
  compared existing churches there with records, traditions, and
  memories of what they formerly were. The shifting of old windows
  and other details irregularly spaced, and spacing them at exact
  distances, has been one process. The deportation of the original
  chancel arch to an obscure nook and the insertion of a wider new
  one, to throw open the view of the choir, is a practice by no
  means extinct. Next in turn to the re-designing of old buildings
  and parts of them comes the devastation caused by letting
  restorations by contract, with a clause in the specification
  requesting the builder to give a price for 'old materials,' such
  as the lead of the roofs, to be replaced by tiles or slates, and
  the oak of the pews, pulpit, altar-rails, etc., to be replaced by
  deal. Apart from these irregularities it has been a principle that
  anything later than Henry VIII is anathema and to be cast out. At
  Wimborne Minster fine Jacobean canopies have been removed from
  Tudor stalls for the offence only of being Jacobean. At a hotel in
  Cornwall a tea-garden was, and probably is still, ornamented with
  seats constructed of the carved oak from a neighbouring church--no
  doubt the restorer's perquisite.

  "Poor places which cannot afford to pay a clerk of the works
  suffer much in these ecclesiastical convulsions. In one case I
  visited, as a youth, the careful repair of an interesting Early
  English window had been specified, but it was gone. The
  contractor, who had met me on the spot, replied genially to my
  gaze of concern: 'Well, now, I said to myself when I looked at the
  old thing, I won't stand upon a pound or two. I'll give 'em a new
  winder now I am about it, and make a good job of it, howsomever.'
  A caricature in new stone of the old window had taken its place.
  In the same church was an old oak rood-screen in the Perpendicular
  style with some gilding and colouring still remaining. Some
  repairs had been specified, but I beheld in its place a new screen
  of varnished deal. 'Well,' replied the builder, more genial than
  ever, 'please God, now I am about it, I'll do the thing well, cost
  what it will.' The old screen had been used up to boil the
  work-men's kettles, though 'a were not much at that.'"

Such is the terrible report of this amazing iconoclasm.

Some wiseacres, the vicar and churchwardens, once determined to pull
down their old church and build a new one. So they met in solemn
conclave and passed the following sagacious resolutions:--

    1. That a new church should be built.

    2. That the materials of the old church should be used in the
    construction of the new.

    3. That the old church should not be pulled down until the new
    one be built.

How they contrived to combine the second and third resolutions history
recordeth not.

Even when the church was spared the "restorers" were guilty of strange
enormities in the embellishment and decoration of the sacred building.
Whitewash was vigorously applied to the walls and pews, carvings,
pulpit, and font. If curious mural paintings adorned the walls, the
hideous whitewash soon obliterated every trace and produced "those
modest hues which the native appearance of the stone so pleasingly
bestows." But whitewash has one redeeming virtue, it preserves and
saves for future generations treasures which otherwise might have been
destroyed. Happily all decoration of churches has not been carried out
in the reckless fashion thus described by a friend of the writer. An
old Cambridgeshire incumbent, who had done nothing to his church for
many years, was bidden by the archdeacon to "brighten matters up a
little." The whole of the woodwork wanted repainting and varnishing, a
serious matter for a poor man. His wife, a very capable lady, took the
matter in hand. She went to the local carpenter and wheelwright and
bought up the whole of his stock of that particular paint with which
farm carts and wagons are painted, coarse but serviceable, and of the
brightest possible red, blue, green, and yellow hues. With her own
hands she painted the whole of the interior--pulpit, pews, doors,
etc., and probably the wooden altar, using the colours as her fancy
dictated, or as the various colours held out. The effect was
remarkable. A succeeding rector began at once the work of restoration,
scraping off the paint and substituting oak varnish; but when my
friend took a morning service for him the work had not been completed,
and he preached from a bright green pulpit.

[Illustration: Carving on Rood-screen, Alcester Church, Warwick]

The contents of our parish churches, furniture and plate, are rapidly
vanishing. England has ever been remarkable for the number and beauty
of its rood-screens. At the Reformation the roods were destroyed and
many screens with them, but many of the latter were retained, and
although through neglect or wanton destruction they have ever since
been disappearing, yet hundreds still exist.[31] Their number is,
however, sadly decreased. In Cheshire "restoration" has removed nearly
all examples, except Ashbury, Mobberley, Malpas, and a few others. The
churches of Bunbury and Danbury have lost some good screen-work since
1860. In Derbyshire screens suffered severely in the nineteenth
century, and the records of each county show the disappearance of many
notable examples, though happily Devonshire, Somerset, and several
other shires still possess some beautiful specimens of medieval
woodwork. A large number of Jacobean pulpits with their curious
carvings have vanished. A pious donor wishes to give a new pulpit to a
church in memory of a relative, and the old pulpit is carted away to
make room for its modern and often inferior substitute. Old stalls and
misericordes, seats and benches with poppy-head terminations have
often been made to vanish, and the pillaging of our churches at the
Reformation and during the Commonwealth period and at the hands of the
"restorers" has done much to deprive our churches of their ancient
furniture.

  [31] _English Church Furniture_, by Dr. Cox and A. Harvey.

Most churches had two or three chests or coffers for the storing of
valuable ornaments and vestments. Each chantry had its chest or ark,
as it was sometimes called, e.g. the collegiate church of St. Mary,
Warwick, had in 1464, "ij old irebound coofres," "j gret olde arke to
put in vestments," "j olde arke at the autere ende, j old coofre
irebonde having a long lok of the olde facion, and j lasse new coofre
having iij loks called the tresory cofre and certain almaries." "In
the inner house j new hie almarie with ij dores to kepe in the
evidence of the Churche and j great old arke and certain olde
Almaries, and in the house afore the Chapter house j old irebounde
cofre having hie feet and rings of iron in the endes thereof to heve
it bye."

  "It is almost exceptional to find any parish of five hundred
  inhabitants which does not possess a parish chest. The parish
  chest of the parish in which I am writing is now in the vestry of
  the church here. It has been used for generations as a coal box.
  It is exceptional to find anything so useful as wholesome fuel
  inside these parish chests; their contents have in the great
  majority of instances utterly perished, and the miserable
  destruction of those interesting parish records testifies to the
  almost universal neglect which they have suffered at the hands,
  not of the parsons, who as a rule have kept with remarkable care
  the register books for which they have always been responsible,
  but of the churchwardens and overseers, who have let them perish
  without a thought of their value.

  "As a rule the old parish chests have fallen to pieces, or worse,
  and their contents have been used to light the church stove,
  except in those very few cases where the chests were furnished
  with two or more keys, each key being of different wards from the
  other, and each being handed over to a different functionary when
  the time of the parish meeting came round."[32]

  [32] _The Parish Councillor_, an article by Dr. Jessop, September
  20, 1895.

When the ornaments and vestments were carted away from the church in
the time of Edward VI, many of the church chests lost their use, and
were sold or destroyed, the poorest only being kept for registers and
documents. Very magnificent were some of these chests which have
survived, such as that at Icklington, Suffolk, Church Brampton,
Northants, Rugby, Westminster Abbey, and Chichester. The old chest at
Heckfield may have been one of those ordered in the reign of King John
for the collection of the alms of the faithful for the fifth crusade.
The artist, Mr. Fred Roe, has written a valuable work on chests, to
which those who desire to know about these interesting objects can
refer.

Another much diminishing store of treasure belonging to our churches
is the church plate. Many churches possess some old plate--perhaps a
pre-Reformation chalice. It is worn by age, and the clergyman,
ignorant of its value, takes it to a jeweller to be repaired. He is
told that it is old and thin and cannot easily be repaired, and is
offered very kindly by the jeweller in return for this old chalice a
brand-new one with a paten added. He is delighted, and the old chalice
finds its way to Christie's, realizes a large sum, and goes into the
collection of some millionaire. Not long ago the Council of the
Society of Antiquaries issued a memorandum to the bishops and
archdeacons of the Anglican Church calling attention to the increasing
frequency of the sale of old or obsolete church plate. This is of two
kinds: (1) pieces of plate or other articles of a domestic character
not especially made, nor perhaps well fitted for the service of the
Church; (2) chalices, patens, flagons, or plate generally, made
especially for ecclesiastical use, but now, for reasons of change of
fashion or from the articles themselves being worn out, no longer
desired to be used. A church possibly is in need of funds for
restoration, and an effort is naturally made to turn such articles
into money. The officials decide to sell any objects the church may
have of the first kind. Thus the property of the Church of England
finds its way abroad, and is thus lost to the nation. With regard to
the sacred vessels of the second class, it is undignified, if not a
desecration, that vessels of such a sacred character should be
subjected to a sale by auction and afterwards used as table ornaments
by collectors to whom their religious significance makes no appeal. We
are reminded of the profanity of Belshazzar's feast.[33] It would be
far better to place such objects for safe custody and preservation in
some local museum. Not long ago a church in Knightsbridge was removed
and rebuilt on another site. It had a communion cup presented by
Archbishop Laud. Some addition was required for the new church, and it
was proposed to sell the chalice to help in defraying the cost of this
addition. A London dealer offered five hundred guineas for it, and
doubtless by this time it has passed into private hands and left the
country. This is only one instance out of many of the depletion of the
Church of its treasures. It must not be forgotten that although the
vicar and churchwardens are for the time being trustees of the church
plate and furniture, yet the property really is vested in the
parishioners. It ought not to be sold without a faculty, and the
chancellors of dioceses ought to be extremely careful ere they allow
such sales to take place. The learned Chancellor of Exeter very wisely
recently refused to allow the rector of Churchstanton to sell a
chalice of the date 1660 A.D., stating that it was painfully repugnant
to the feelings of many Churchmen that it should be possible that a
vessel dedicated to the most sacred service of the Church should
figure upon the dinner-table of a collector. He quoted a case of a
chalice which had disappeared from a church and been found afterwards
with an inscription showing that it had been awarded as a prize at
athletic sports. Such desecration is too deplorable for words suitable
to describe it. If other chancellors took the same firm stand as Mr.
Chadwyck-Healey, of Exeter, we should hear less of such alienation of
ecclesiastical treasure.

  [33] Canon F.E. Warren recently reported to the Suffolk Institute
  of Archaeology that while he was dining at a friend's house he saw
  two chalices on the table.

[Illustration: Fourteenth-century Coffer in Faversham Church, Kent
From _Old Oak Furniture_, by Fred Roe]

[Illustration: Flanders Chest in East Dereham Church, Norfolk, _temp._
Henry VIII From _Old Oak Furniture_]

Another cause of mutilation and the vanishing of objects of interest
and beauty is the iconoclasm of visitors, especially of American
visitors, who love our English shrines so much that they like to chip
off bits of statuary or wood-carving to preserve as mementoes of their
visit. The fine monuments in our churches and cathedrals are
especially convenient to them for prey. Not long ago the best portions
of some fine carving were ruthlessly cut and hacked away by a party of
American visitors. The verger explained that six of the party held him
in conversation at one end of the building while the rest did their
deadly and nefarious work at the other. One of the most beautiful
monuments in the country, that of the tomb of Lady Maud FitzAlan at
Chichester, has recently been cut and chipped by these unscrupulous
visitors. It may be difficult to prevent them from damaging such works
of art, but it is hoped that feelings of greater reverence may grow
which would render such vandalism impossible. All civilized persons
would be ashamed to mutilate the statues of Greece and Rome in our
museums. Let them realize that these monuments in our cathedrals and
churches are just as valuable, as they are the best of English art,
and then no sacrilegious hand would dare to injure them or deface them
by scratching names upon them or by carrying away broken chips as
souvenirs. Playful boys in churchyards sometimes do much mischief. In
Shrivenham churchyard there is an ancient full-sized effigy, and two
village urchins were recently seen amusing themselves by sliding the
whole length of the figure. This must be a common practice of the boys
of the village, as the effigy is worn almost to an inclined plane. A
tradition exists that the figure represents a man who was building the
tower and fell and was killed. Both tower and effigy are of the same
period--Early English--and it is quite possible that the figure may be
that of the founder of the tower, but its head-dress seems to show
that it represents a lady. Whipping-posts and stocks are too light a
punishment for such vandalism.

The story of our vanished and vanishing churches, and of their
vanished and vanishing contents, is indeed a sorry one. Many efforts
are made in these days to educate the public taste, to instil into the
minds of their custodians a due appreciation of their beauties and of
the principles of English art and architecture, and to save and
protect the treasures that remain. That these may be crowned with
success is the earnest hope and endeavour of every right-minded
Englishman.

[Illustration: Reversed Rose carved on "Miserere" in Norwich
Cathedral]




CHAPTER VII

OLD MANSIONS


One of the most deplorable features of vanishing England is the
gradual disappearance of its grand old manor-houses and mansions. A
vast number still remain, we are thankful to say. We have still left
to us Haddon and Wilton, Broughton, Penshurst, Hardwick, Welbeck,
Bramshill, Longleat, and a host of others; but every year sees a
diminution in their number. The great enemy they have to contend with
is fire, and modern conveniences and luxuries, electric lighting and
the heating apparatus, have added considerably to their danger. The
old floors and beams are unaccustomed to these insidious wires that
have a habit of fusing, hence we often read in the newspapers:
"DISASTROUS FIRE--HISTORIC MANSION ENTIRELY DESTROYED." Too often not
only is the house destroyed, but most of its valuable contents is
devoured by the flames. Priceless pictures by Lely and Vandyke,
miniatures of Cosway, old furniture of Chippendale and Sheraton, and
the countless treasures which generations of cultured folk with ample
wealth have accumulated, deeds, documents and old papers that throw
valuable light on the manners and customs of our forefathers and on
the history of the country, all disappear and can never be replaced. A
great writer has likened an old house to a human heart with a life of
its own, full of sad and sweet reminiscences. It is deplorably sad
when the old mansion disappears in a night, and to find in the morning
nothing but blackened walls--a grim ruin.

Our forefathers were a hardy race, and did not require hot-water
pipes and furnaces to keep them warm. Moreover, they built their
houses so surely and so well that they scarcely needed these modern
appliances. They constructed them with a great square courtyard, so
that the rooms on the inside of the quadrangle were protected from the
winds. They sang truly in those days, as in these:--

        Sing heigh ho for the wind and the rain,
        For the rain it raineth every day.

[Illustration: Oak Panelling. Wainscot of Fifteenth Century, with
addition _circa_ late Seventeenth Century, fitted on to it in angle of
room in the Church House, Goudhurst, Kent]

So they sheltered themselves from the wind and rain by having a
courtyard or by making an E or H shaped plan for their dwelling-place.
Moreover, they made their walls very thick in order that the winds
should not blow or the rain beat through them. Their rooms, too, were
panelled or hung with tapestry--famous things for making a room warm
and cosy. We have plaster walls covered with an elegant wall-paper
which has always a cold surface, hence the air in the room, heated by
the fire, is chilled when it comes into contact with the cold wall and
creates draughts. But oak panelling or woollen tapestry soon becomes
warm, and gives back its heat to the room, making it delightfully
comfortable and cosy.

One foolish thing our forefathers did, and that was to allow the great
beams that help to support the upper floor to go through the chimney.
How many houses have been burnt down owing to that fatal beam! But our
ancestors were content with a dog-grate and wood fires; they could not
foresee the advent of the modern range and the great coal fires, or
perhaps they would have been more careful about that beam.

[Illustration: Section of Mouldings of Cornice on Panelling, the
Church House, Goudhurst]

Fire is, perhaps, the chief cause of the vanishing of old houses, but
it is not the only cause. The craze for new fashions at the beginning
of the last century doomed to death many a noble mansion. There seems
to have been a positive mania for pulling down houses at that period.
As I go over in my mind the existing great houses in this country, I
find that by far the greater number of the old houses were wantonly
destroyed about the years 1800-20, and new ones in the Italian or some
other incongruous style erected in their place. Sometimes, as at
Little Wittenham, you find the lone lorn terraces of the gardens of
the house, but all else has disappeared. As Mr. Allan Fea says: "When
an old landmark disappears, who does not feel a pang of regret at
parting with something which linked us with the past? Seldom an old
house is threatened with demolition but there is some protest, more
perhaps from the old associations than from any particular
architectural merit the building may have." We have many pangs of
regret when we see such wanton destruction. The old house at Weston,
where the Throckmortons resided when the poet Cowper lived at the
lodge, and when leaving wrote on a window-shutter--

        Farewell, dear scenes, for ever closed to me;
        Oh! for what sorrows must I now exchange ye!

may be instanced as an example of a demolished mansion. Nothing is now
left of it but the entrance-gates and a part of the stables. It was
pulled down in 1827. It is described as a fine mansion, possessing
secret chambers which were occupied by Roman Catholic priests when it
was penal to say Mass. One of these chambers was found to contain,
when the house was pulled down, a rough bed, candlestick, remains of
food, and a breviary. A Roman Catholic school and presbytery now
occupy its site. It is a melancholy sight to see the "Wilderness"
behind the house, still adorned with busts and urns, and the graves of
favourite dogs, which still bear the epitaphs written by Cowper on Sir
John Throckmorton's pointer and Lady Throckmorton's pet spaniel.
"Capability Brown" laid his rude, rough hand upon the grounds, but you
can still see the "prosed alcove" mentioned by Cowper, a wooden
summer-house, much injured

        By rural carvers, who with knives deface
        The panels, leaving an obscure rude name.

Sometimes, alas! the old house has to vanish entirely through old age.
It cannot maintain its struggle any longer. The rain pours through the
roof and down the insides of the walls. And the family is as decayed
as their mansion, and has no money wherewith to defray the cost of
reparation.

[Illustration: The Wardrobe House. The Close. Salisbury. Evening.]

Our artist, Mr. Fred Roe, in his search for the picturesque, had one
sad and deplorable experience, which he shall describe in his own
words:--

  "One of the most weird and, I may add, chilling experiences in
  connection with the decline of county families which it was my lot
  to experience, occurred a year or two ago in a remote corner of
  the eastern counties. I had received, through a friend, an
  invitation to visit an old mansion before the inmates (descendants
  of the owners in Elizabethan times) left and the contents were
  dispersed. On a comfortless January morning, while rain and sleet
  descended in torrents to the accompaniment of a biting wind, I
  detrained at a small out-of-the-way station in ----folk. A
  weather-beaten old man in a patched great-coat, with the oldest
  and shaggiest of ponies and the smallest of governess-traps,
  awaited my arrival. I, having wedged myself with the Jehu into
  this miniature vehicle, was driven through some miles of muddy
  ruts, until turning through a belt of wooded land the broken
  outlines of an extensive dilapidated building broke into view.
  This was ---- Hall.

  "I never in my life saw anything so weirdly picturesque and
  suggestive of the phrase 'In Chancery' as this semi-ruinous
  mansion. Of many dates and styles of architecture, from Henry VIII
  to George III, the whole seemed to breathe an atmosphere of
  neglect and decay. The waves of affluence and successive rise of
  various members of the family could be distinctly traced in the
  enlargements and excrescences which contributed to the casual plan
  and irregular contour of the building. At one part an addition
  seemed to denote that the owner had acquired wealth about the time
  of the first James, and promptly directed it to the enlargement of
  his residence. In another a huge hall with classic brick frontage,
  dating from the commencement of the eighteenth century, spoke of
  an increase of affluence--probably due to agricultural
  prosperity--followed by the dignity of a peerage. The latest
  alterations appear to have been made during the Strawberry Hill
  epoch, when most of the mullioned windows had been transformed to
  suit the prevailing taste. Some of the building--a little of
  it--seemed habitable, but in the greater part the gables were
  tottering, the stucco frontage peeling and falling, and the
  windows broken and shuttered. In front of this wreck of a
  building stretched the overgrown remains of what once had been a
  terrace, bounded by large stone globes, now moss-grown and half
  hidden under long grass. It was the very picture of desolation and
  proud poverty.

  "We drove up to what had once been the entrance to the servants'
  hall, for the principal doorway had long been disused, and
  descending from the trap I was conducted to a small panelled
  apartment, where some freshly cut logs did their best to give out
  a certain amount of heat. Of the hospitality meted out to me that
  day I can only hint with mournful appreciation. I was made welcome
  with all the resources which the family had available. But the
  place was a veritable vault, and cold and damp as such. I think
  that this state of things had been endured so long and with such
  haughty silence by the inmates that it had passed into a sort of
  normal condition with them, and remained unnoticed except by
  new-comers. A few old domestics stuck by the family in its fallen
  fortunes, and of these one who had entered into their service some
  quarter of a century previous waited upon us at lunch with
  dignified ceremony. After lunch a tour of the house commenced.
  Into this I shall not enter into in detail; many of the rooms were
  so bare that little could be said of them, but the Great Hall, an
  apartment modelled somewhat on the lines of the more palatial
  Rainham, needs the pen of the author of _Lammermoor_ to describe.
  It was a very large and lofty room in the pseudo-classic style,
  with a fine cornice, and hung round with family portraits so
  bleached with damp and neglect that they presented but dim and
  ghostly presentments of their originals. I do not think a fire
  could have been lit in this ghostly gallery for many years, and
  some of the portraits literally sagged in their frames with
  accumulations of rubbish which had dropped behind the canvases.
  Many of the pictures were of no value except for their
  associations, but I saw at least one Lely, a family group, the
  principal figure in which was a young lady displaying too little
  modesty and too much bosom. Another may have been a Vandyk, while
  one or two were early works representing gallants of Elizabeth's
  time in ruffs and feathered caps. The rest were for the most part
  but wooden ancestors displaying curled wigs, legs which lacked
  drawing, and high-heeled shoes. A few old cabinets remained, and a
  glorious suite of chairs of Queen Anne's time--these, however,
  were perishing, like the rest--from want of proper care and
  firing.

  "The kitchens, a vast range of stone-flagged apartments, spoke of
  mighty hospitality in bygone times, containing fire-places fit to
  roast oxen at whole, huge spits and countless hooks, the last
  exhibiting but one dependent--the skin of the rabbit shot for
  lunch. The atmosphere was, if possible, a trifle more penetrating
  than that of the Great Hall, and the walls were discoloured with
  damp.

  "Upstairs, besides the bedrooms, was a little chapel with some
  remains of Gothic carving, and a few interesting pictures of the
  fifteenth century; a cunningly contrived priest-hole, and a long
  gallery lined with dusty books, whither my lord used to repair on
  rainy days. Many of the windows were darkened by creepers, and
  over one was a flap of half-detached plaster work which hung like
  a shroud. But, oh, the stained glass! The eighteenth-century
  renovators had at least respected these, and quarterings and coats
  of arms from the fifteenth century downwards were to be seen by
  scores. What an opportunity for the genealogist with a history in
  view, but that opportunity I fear has passed for ever. The ----
  Hall estate was evidently mortgaged up to the hilt, and nothing
  intervened to prevent the dispersal of these treasures, which
  occurred some few months after my visit. Large though the building
  was, I learned that its size was once far greater, some two-thirds
  of the old building having been pulled down when the hall was
  constituted in its present form. Hard by on an adjoining estate a
  millionaire manufacturer (who owned several motor-cars) had set up
  an establishment, but I gathered that his tastes were the reverse
  of antiquarian, and that no effort would be made to restore the
  old hall to its former glories and preserve such treasures as yet
  remained intact--a golden opportunity to many people of taste with
  leanings towards a country life. But time fled, and the ragged
  retainer was once more at the door, so I left ---- Hall in a
  blinding storm of rain, and took my last look at its gaunt facade,
  carrying with me the seeds of a cold which prevented me from
  visiting the Eastern Counties for some time to come."

Some historic houses of rare beauty have only just escaped
destruction. Such an one is the ancestral house of the Comptons,
Compton Wynyates, a vision of colour and architectural beauty--

        A Tudor-chimneyed bulk
        Of mellow brickwork on an isle of bowers.

Owing to his extravagance and the enormous expenses of a contested
election in 1768, Spencer, the eighth Earl of Northampton, was reduced
to cutting down the timber on the estate, selling his furniture at
Castle Ashby and Compton, and spending the rest of his life in
Switzerland. He actually ordered Compton Wynyates to be pulled down,
as he could not afford to repair it; happily the faithful steward of
the estate, John Berrill, did not obey the order. He did his best to
keep out the weather and to preserve the house, asserting that he was
sure the family would return there some day. Most of the windows were
bricked up in order to save the window-tax, and the glorious old
building within whose walls kings and queens had been entertained
remained bare and desolate for many years, excepting a small portion
used as a farm-house. All honour to the old man's memory, the faithful
servant, who thus saved his master's noble house from destruction, the
pride of the Midlands. Its latest historian, Miss Alice Dryden,[34]
thus describes its appearance:--

  "On approaching the building by the high road, the entrance front
  now bursts into view across a wide stretch of lawn, where formerly
  it was shielded by buildings forming an outer court. It is indeed
  a most glorious pile of exquisite colouring, built of small red
  bricks widely separated by mortar, with occasional chequers of
  blue bricks; the mouldings and facings of yellow local stone, the
  woodwork of the two gables carved and black with age, the stone
  slates covered with lichens and mellowed by the hand of time; the
  whole building has an indescribable charm. The architecture, too,
  is all irregular; towers here and there, gables of different
  heights, any straight line embattled, few windows placed exactly
  over others, and the whole fitly surmounted by the elaborate
  brick chimneys of different designs, some fluted, others
  zigzagged, others spiral, or combined spiral and fluted."

  [34] _Memorials of Old Warwickshire_, edited by Miss Alice Dryden.

An illustration is given of one of these chimneys which form such an
attractive feature of the house.

[Illustration: Chimney at Compton Wynyates]

It is unnecessary to record the history of Compton Wynyates. The
present owner, the Marquis of Northampton, has written an admirable
monograph on the annals of the house of his ancestors. Its builder was
Sir William Compton,[35] who by his valour in arms and his courtly
ways gained the favour of Henry VIII, and was promoted to high honour
at the Court. Dugdale states that in 1520 he obtained licence to
impark two thousand acres at Overcompton and Nethercompton, _alias_
Compton Vyneyats, where he built a "fair mannour house," and where he
was visited by the King, "for over the gateway are the arms of France
and England, under a crown, supported by the greyhound and griffin,
and sided by the rose and the crown, probably in memory of Henry
VIII's visit here."[36] The Comptons ever basked in the smiles of
royalty. Henry Compton, created baron, was the favourite of Queen
Elizabeth, and his son William succeeded in marrying the daughter of
Sir John Spencer, richest of City merchants. All the world knows of
his ingenious craft in carrying off the lady in a baker's basket, of
his wife's disinheritance by the irate father, and of the subsequent
reconciliation through the intervention of Queen Elizabeth at the
baptism of the son of this marriage. The Comptons fought bravely for
the King in the Civil War. Their house was captured by the enemy, and
besieged by James Compton, Earl of Northampton, and the story of the
fighting about the house abounds in interest, but cannot be related
here. The building was much battered by the siege and by Cromwell's
soldiers, who plundered the house, killed the deer in the park,
defaced the monuments in the church, and wrought much mischief. Since
the eighteenth-century disaster to the family it has been restored,
and remains to this day one of the most charming homes in England.

  [35] The present Marquis of Northampton in his book contends that
  the house was mainly built in the reign of Henry VII by Edmund
  Compton, Sir William's father, and that Sir William only enlarged
  and added to the house. We have not space to record the arguments
  in favour of or against this view.

  [36] _The Progresses of James I_, by Nichols.

[Illustration: Window-catch, Brockhall, Northants]

"The greatest advantages men have by riches are to give, to build, to
plant, and make pleasant scenes." So wrote Sir William Temple,
diplomatist, philosopher, and true garden-lover. And many of the
gentlemen of England seem to have been of the same mind, if we may
judge from the number of delightful old country-houses set amid
pleasant scenes that time and war and fire have spared to us. Macaulay
draws a very unflattering picture of the old country squire, as of the
parson. His untruths concerning the latter I have endeavoured to
expose in another place.[37] The manor-houses themselves declare the
historian's strictures to be unfounded. Is it possible that men so
ignorant and crude could have built for themselves residences bearing
evidence of such good taste, so full of grace and charm, and
surrounded by such rare blendings of art and nature as are displayed
so often in park and garden? And it is not, as a rule, in the greatest
mansions, the vast piles erected by the great nobles of the Court,
that we find such artistic qualities, but most often in the smaller
manor-houses of knights and squires. Certainly many higher-cultured
people of Macaulay's time and our own could learn a great deal from
them of the art of making beautiful homes.

  [37] _Old-time Parson_, by P.H. Ditchfield, 1908.

[Illustration: Gothic Chimney, Norton St. Philip, Somerset]

Holinshed, the Chronicler, writing during the third quarter of the
sixteenth century, makes some illuminating observations on the
increasing preference shown in his time for stone and brick buildings
in place of timber and plaster. He wrote:--

  "The ancient maners and houses of our gentlemen are yet for the
  most part of strong timber. How beit such as be lately buylded are
  commonly either of bricke or harde stone, their rowmes large and
  stately, and houses of office farder distant fro their lodgings.
  Those of the nobilitie are likewise wrought with bricke and harde
  stone, as provision may best be made; but so magnificent and
  stately, as the basest house of a barren doth often match with
  some honours of princes in olde tyme: so that if ever curious
  buylding did flourishe in Englande it is in these our dayes,
  wherein our worckemen excel and are in maner comparable in skill
  with old Vitruvius and Serle."

He also adds the curious information that "there are olde men yet
dwelling in the village where I remayn, which have noted three things
to be marveylously altered in Englande within their sound
remembrance. One is, the multitude of chimnies lately erected,
whereas, in their young dayes there were not above two or three, if so
many, in most uplandish townes of the realme (the religious houses and
mannour places of their lordes alwayes excepted, and peradventure some
great personages [parsonages]), but each one made his fire against a
reredosse in the halle, where he dined and dressed his meate," This
want of chimneys is noticeable in many pictures of, and previous to,
the time of Henry VIII. A timber farm-house yet remains (or did until
recently) near Folkestone, which shows no vestige of either chimney or
hearth.

Most of our great houses and manor-houses sprang up in the great
Elizabethan building epoch, when the untold wealth of the monasteries
which fell into the hands of the courtiers and favourites of the King,
the plunder of gold-laden Spanish galleons, and the unprecedented
prosperity in trade gave such an impulse to the erection of fine
houses that the England of that period has been described as "one
great stonemason's yard." The great noblemen and gentlemen of the
Court were filled with the desire for extravagant display, and built
such clumsy piles as Wollaton and Burghley House, importing French and
German artisans to load them with bastard Italian Renaissance detail.
Some of these vast structures are not very admirable with their
distorted gables, their chaotic proportions, and their crazy
imitations of classic orders. But the typical Elizabethan mansion,
whose builder's means or good taste would not permit of such a
profusion of these architectural luxuries, is unequalled in its
combination of stateliness with homeliness, in its expression of the
manner of life of the class for which it was built. And in the humbler
manors and farm-houses the latter idea is even more perfectly
expressed, for houses were affected by the new fashions in
architecture generally in proportion to their size.

[Illustration: The Moat, Crowhurst Place, Surrey]

Holinshed tells of the increased use of stone or brick in his age in
the district wherein he lived. In other parts of England, where the
forests supplied good timber, the builders stuck to their
half-timbered houses and brought the "black and white" style to
perfection. Plaster was extensively used in this and subsequent ages,
and often the whole surface of the house was covered with rough-cast,
such as the quaint old house called Broughton Hall, near Market
Drayton. Avebury Manor, Wiltshire, is an attractive example of the
plastered house. The irregular roof-line, the gables, and the
white-barred windows, and the contrast of the white walls with the
rich green of the vines and surrounding trees combine to make a
picture of rare beauty. Part of the house is built of stone and part
half-timber, but a coat of thin plaster covers the stonework and makes
it conform with the rest. To plaster over stone-work is a somewhat
daring act, and is not architecturally correct, but the appearance of
the house is altogether pleasing.

The Elizabethan and Jacobean builder increased the height of his
house, sometimes causing it to have three storeys, besides rooms in
attics beneath the gabled roof. He also loved windows. "Light, more
light," was his continued cry. Hence there is often an excess of
windows, and Lord Bacon complained that there was no comfortable place
to be found in these houses, "in summer by reason of the heat, or in
winter by reason of the cold." It was a sore burden to many a
house-owner when Charles II imposed the iniquitous window-tax, and so
heavily did this fall upon the owners of some Elizabethan houses that
the poorer ones were driven to the necessity of walling up some of the
windows which their ancestors had provided with such prodigality. You
will often see to this day bricked-up windows in many an old
farm-house. Not every one was so cunning as the parish clerk of
Bradford-on-Avon, Orpin, who took out the window-frames from his
interesting little house near the church and inserted numerous small
single-paned windows which escaped the tax.

Surrey and Kent afford an unlimited field for the study of the better
sort of houses, mansions, and manor-houses. We have already alluded to
Hever Castle and its memories of Anne Boleyn. Then there is the
historic Penshurst, the home of the Sidneys, haunted by the shades of
Sir Philip, "Sacharissa," the ill-fated Algernon, and his handsome
brother. You see their portraits on the walls, the fine gallery, and
the hall, which reveals the exact condition of an ancient noble's hall
in former days.

[Illustration: Arms of the Gaynesfords in window, Crowhurst Place,
Surrey]

Not far away are the manors of Crittenden, Puttenden, and Crowhurst.
This last is one of the most picturesque in Surrey, with its moat,
across which there is a fine view of the house, its half-timber work,
the straight uprights placed close together signifying early work, and
the striking character of the interior. The Gaynesford family became
lords of the manor of Crowhurst in 1337, and continued to hold it
until 1700, a very long record. In 1903 the Place was purchased by the
Rev. ---- Gaynesford, of Hitchin, a descendant of the family of the
former owners. This is a rare instance of the repossession of a
medieval residence by an ancient family after the lapse of two hundred
years. It was built in the fifteenth century, and is a complete
specimen of its age and style, having been unspoilt by later
alterations and additions. The part nearer the moat is, however, a
little later than the gables further back. The dining-room is the
contracted remains of the great hall of Crowhurst Place, the upper
part of which was converted into a series of bedrooms in the
eighteenth century. We give an illustration of a very fine hinge to a
cupboard door in one of the bedrooms, a good example of the
blacksmith's skill. It is noticeable that the points of the linen-fold
in the panelling of the door are undercut and project sharply. We see
the open framed floor with moulded beams. Later on the fashion
changed, and the builders preferred to have square-shaped beams. We
notice the fine old panelling, the elaborate mouldings, and the fixed
bench running along one end of the chamber, of which we give an
illustration. The design and workmanship of this fixture show it to
belong to the period of Henry VIII. All the work is of stout timber,
save the fire-place. The smith's art is shown in the fine candelabrum
and in the knocker or ring-plate, perforated with Gothic design, still
backed with its original morocco leather. It is worthy of a sanctuary,
and doubtless many generations of Crowhurst squires have found a very
dear sanctuary in this grand old English home. This ring-plate is in
one of the original bedrooms. Immense labour was often bestowed upon
the mouldings of beams in these fifteenth-century houses. There was a
very fine moulded beam in a farm-house in my own parish, but a recent
restoration has, alas! covered it. We give some illustrations of the
cornice mouldings of the Church House, Goudhurst, Kent, and of a fine
Gothic door-head.

[Illustration: Cupboard Hinge, Crowhurst Place, Surrey]

It is impossible for us to traverse many shires in our search for old
houses. But a word must be said for the priceless contents of many of
our historic mansions and manors. These often vanish and are lost for
ever. I have alluded to the thirst of American millionaires for these
valuables, which causes so many of our treasures to cross the Atlantic
and find their home in the palaces of Boston and Washington and
elsewhere. Perhaps if our valuables must leave their old
resting-places and go out of the country, we should prefer them to go
to America than to any other land. Our American cousins are our
kindred; they know how to appreciate the treasures of the land that,
in spite of many changes, is to them their mother-country. No nation
in the world prizes a high lineage and a family tree more than the
Americans, and it is my privilege to receive many inquiries from
across the Atlantic for missing links in the family pedigree, and the
joy that a successful search yields compensates for all one's trouble.
So if our treasures must go we should rather send them to America than
to Germany. It is, however, distressing to see pictures taken from
the place where they have hung for centuries and sent to Christie's,
to see the dispersal of old libraries at Sotherby's, and the contents
of a house, amassed by generations of cultured and wealthy folk,
scattered to the four winds and bought up by the _nouveaux riches_.

[Illustration: Fixed Bench in the Hall, Crowhurst Place, Surrey]

There still remain in many old houses collections of armour that bears
the dints of many fights. Swords, helmets, shields, lances, and other
weapons of warfare often are seen hanging on the walls of an ancestral
hall. The buff coats of Cromwell's soldiers, tilting-helmets, guns and
pistols of many periods are all there, together with man-traps--the
cruel invention of a barbarous age.

[Illustration: Gothic Door-head, Goudhurst, Kent]

The historic hall of Littlecote bears on its walls many suits worn
during the Civil War by the Parliamentary troopers, and in countless
other halls you can see specimens of armour. In churches also much
armour has been stored. It was the custom to suspend over the tomb the
principal arms of the departed warrior, which had previously been
carried in the funeral procession. Shakespeare alludes to this custom
when, in _Hamlet_, he makes Laertes say:--

        His means of death, his obscure burial--
        No trophy, sword, nor hatchment o'er his bones,
        No noble rite, nor formal ostentation.

You can see the armour of the Black Prince over his tomb at
Canterbury, and at Westminster the shield of Henry V that probably did
its duty at Agincourt. Several of our churches still retain the arms
of the heroes who lie buried beneath them, but occasionally it is not
the actual armour but sham, counterfeit helmets and breastplates made
for the funeral procession and hung over the monument. Much of this
armour has been removed from churches and stored in museums. Norwich
Museum has some good specimens, of which we give some illustrations.
There is a knight's basinet which belongs to the time of Henry V
(_circa_ 1415). We can compare this with the salads, which came into
use shortly after this period, an example of which may be seen at the
Porte d'Hal, Brussels. We also show a thirteenth-century sword, which
was dredged up at Thorpe, and believed to have been lost in 1277, when
King Edward I made a military progress through Suffolk and Norfolk,
and kept his Easter at Norwich. The blade is scimitar-shaped, is
one-edged, and has a groove at the back. We may compare this with the
sword of the time of Edward IV now in the possession of Mr. Seymour
Lucas. The development of riding-boots is an interesting study. We
show a drawing of one in the possession of Mr. Ernest Crofts, R.A.,
which was in use in the time of William III.

[Illustration: Knightly Basinet (_temp._ Henry V) in Norwich Castle]

[Illustration: Hilt of Thirteenth-century Sword in Norwich Museum]

An illustration is given of a chapel-de-fer which reposes in the
noble hall of Ockwells, Berkshire, much dented by use. It has
evidently seen service. In the same hall is collected by the friends
of the author, Sir Edward and Lady Barry, a vast store of armour and
most interesting examples of ancient furniture worthy of the beautiful
building in which they are placed. Ockwells Manor House is goodly to
look upon, a perfect example of fifteenth-century residence with its
noble hall and minstrels' gallery, its solar, kitchens, corridors, and
gardens. Moreover, it is now owned by those who love and respect
antiquity and its architectural beauties, and is in every respect an
old English mansion well preserved and tenderly cared for. Yet at one
time it was almost doomed to destruction. Not many years ago it was
the property of a man who knew nothing of its importance. He
threatened to pull it down or to turn the old house into a tannery.
Our Berks Archaeological Society endeavoured to raise money for its
purchase in order to preserve it. This action helped the owner to
realise that the house was of some commercial value. Its destruction
was stayed, and then, happily, it was purchased by the present owners,
who have done so much to restore its original beauties.

[Illustration: "Hand-and-a-half" Sword. Mr. Seymour Lucas, R.A.]

[Illustration: Seventeenth-century Boot, in the possession of Ernest
Crofts, Esq., R.A.]

[Illustration: Chapel de Fer at Ockwells, Berks]

Ockwells was built by Sir John Norreys about the year 1466. The chapel
was not completed at his death in 1467, and he left money in his will
"to the full bilding and making uppe of the Chapell with the Chambres
ajoyng with'n my manoir of Okholt in the p'rish of Bray aforsaid not
yet finisshed XL li." This chapel was burnt down in 1778. One of the
most important features of the hall is the heraldic glass,
commemorating eighteen worthies, which is of the same date as the
house. The credit of identifying these worthies is due to Mr. Everard
Green, Rouge Dragon, who in 1899 communicated the result of his
researches to Viscount Dillon, President of the Society of
Antiquaries. There are eighteen shields of arms. Two are royal and
ensigned with royal crowns. Two are ensigned with mitres and fourteen
with mantled helms, and of these fourteen, thirteen support a crest.
Each achievement is placed in a separate light on an ornamental
background composed of quarries and alternate diagonal stripes of
white glass bordered with gold, on which the motto

    Feyth-fully-serve

is inscribed in black-letter. This motto is assigned by some to the
family of Norreys and by others as that of the Royal Wardrobe. The
quarries in each light have the same badge, namely, three golden
distaffs, one in pale and two in saltire, banded with a golden and
tasselled ribbon, which badge some again assign to the family of
Norreys and others to the Royal Wardrobe. If, however, the Norreys
arms are correctly set forth in a compartment of a door-head remaining
in the north wall, and also in one of the windows--namely, argent a
chevron between three ravens' heads erased sable, with a beaver for a
dexter supporter--the second conjecture is doubtless correct.

These shields represent the arms of Sir John Norreys, the builder of
Ockwells Manor House, and of his sovereign, patrons, and kinsfolk. It
is a _liber amicorum_ in glass, a not unpleasant way for light to come
to us, as Mr. Everard Green pleasantly remarks. By means of heraldry
Sir John Norreys recorded his friendships, thereby adding to the
pleasures of memory as well as to the splendour of his great hall. His
eye saw the shield, his memory supplied the story, and to him the
lines of George Eliot,

        O memories,
        O Past that IS,

were made possible by heraldry.

The names of his friends and patrons so recorded in glass by their
arms are: Sir Henry Beauchamp, sixth Earl of Warwick; Sir Edmund
Beaufort, K.G.; Margaret of Anjou, Queen of Henry VI, "the dauntless
queen of tears, who headed councils, led armies, and ruled both king
and people"; Sir John de la Pole, K.G.; Henry VI; Sir James Butler;
the Abbey of Abingdon; Richard Beauchamp, Bishop of Salisbury from
1450 to 1481; Sir John Norreys himself; Sir John Wenlock, of Wenlock,
Shropshire; Sir William Lacon, of Stow, Kent, buried at Bray; the arms
and crest of a member of the Mortimer family; Sir Richard Nanfan, of
Birtsmorton Court, Worcestershire; Sir John Norreys with his arms
quartered with those of Alice Merbury, of Yattendon, his first wife;
Sir John Langford, who married Sir John Norreys's granddaughter; a
member of the De la Beche family (?); John Purye, of Thatcham, Bray,
and Cookham; Richard Bulstrode, of Upton, Buckinghamshire, Keeper of
the Great Wardrobe to Queen Margaret of Anjou, and afterwards
Comptroller of the Household to Edward IV. These are the worthies
whose arms are recorded in the windows of Ockwells. Nash gave a
drawing of the house in his _Mansions of England in the Olden Time_,
showing the interior of the hall, the porch and corridor, and the east
front; and from the hospitable door is issuing a crowd of gaily
dressed people in Elizabethan costume, such as was doubtless often
witnessed in days of yore. It is a happy and fortunate event that this
noble house should in its old age have found such a loving master and
mistress, in whose family we hope it may remain for many long years.

Another grand old house has just been saved by the National Trust and
the bounty of an anonymous benefactor. This is Barrington Court, and
is one of the finest houses in Somerset. It is situated a few miles
east of Ilminster, in the hundred of South Petherton. Its exact age is
uncertain, but it seems probable that it was built by Henry, Lord
Daubeney, created Earl of Bridgewater in 1539, whose ancestors had
owned the place since early Plantagenet times. At any rate, it appears
to date from about the middle of the sixteenth century, and it is a
very perfect example of the domestic architecture of that period. From
the Daubeneys it passed successively to the Duke of Suffolk, the
Crown, the Cliftons, the Phelips's, the Strodes; and one of this last
family entertained the Duke of Monmouth there during his tour in the
west in 1680. The house, which is E-shaped, with central porch and
wings at each end, is built of the beautiful Ham Hill stone which
abounds in the district; the colour of this stone greatly enhances the
appearance of the house and adds to its venerable aspect. It has
little ornamental detail, but what there is is very good, while the
loftiness and general proportions of the building--its extent and
solidity of masonry, and the taste and care with which every part has
been designed and carried out, give it an air of dignity and
importance.

  "The angle buttresses to the wings and the porch rising to twisted
  terminals are a feature surviving from mediaeval times, which
  disappeared entirely in the buildings of Stuart times. These
  twisted terminals with cupola-like tops are also upon the gables,
  and with the chimneys, also twisted, give a most pleasing and
  attractive character to the structure. We may go far, indeed,
  before we find another house of stone so lightly and gracefully
  adorned, and the detail of the mullioned windows with their arched
  heads, in every light, and their water-tables above, is admirable.
  The porch also has a fine Tudor arch, which might form the
  entrance to some college quadrangle, and there are rooms above and
  gables on either hand. The whole structure breathes the spirit of
  the Tudor age, before the classic spirit had exercised any marked
  influence upon our national architecture, while the details of the
  carving are almost as rich as is the moulded and sculptured work
  in the brick houses of East Anglia. The features in other parts of
  the exterior are all equally good, and we may certainly say of
  Barrington Court that it occupies a most notable place in the
  domestic architecture of England. It is also worthy of remark that
  such houses as this are far rarer than those of Jacobean
  times."[38]

  [38] _Country Life_, September 17th, 1904.

But Barrington Court has fallen on evil days; one half of the house
only is now habitable, the rest having been completely gutted about
eighty years ago. The great hall is used as a cider store, the
wainscoting has been ruthlessly removed, and there have even been
recent suggestions of moving the whole structure across England and
re-erecting it in a strange county. It has several times changed hands
in recent years, and under these circumstances it is not surprising
that but little has been done to ensure the preservation of what is
indeed an architectural gem. But the walls are in excellent condition
and the roofs fairly sound. The National Trust, like an angel of
mercy, has spread its protecting wings over the building; friends have
been found to succour the Court in its old age; and there is every
reason to hope that its evil days are past, and that it may remain
standing for many generations.

[Illustration: Tudor Dresser Table, in the possession of Sir Alfred
Dryden, Canon's Ashby, Northants]

The wealth of treasure to be found in many country houses is indeed
enormous. In Holinshed's _Chronicle of Englande, Scotlande and
Irelande_, published in 1577, there is a chapter on the "maner of
buylding and furniture of our Houses," wherein is recorded the
costliness of the stores of plate and tapestry that were found in the
dwellings of nobility and gentry and also in farm-houses, and even in
the homes of "inferior artificers." Verily the spoils of the
monasteries and churches must have been fairly evenly divided. These
are his words:--

  "The furniture of our houses also exceedeth, and is growne in
  maner even to passing delicacie; and herein I do not speake of the
  nobilitie and gentrie onely, but even of the lowest sorte that
  have anything to take to. Certes in noble men's houses it is not
  rare to see abundance of array, riche hangings of tapestry, silver
  vessell, and so much other plate as may furnish sundrie cupbordes
  to the summe ofte times of a thousand or two thousand pounde at
  the leaste; wherby the value of this and the reast of their stuffe
  doth grow to be inestimable. Likewise in the houses of knightes,
  gentlemen, marchauntmen, and other wealthie citizens, it is not
  geson to beholde generallye their great provision of tapestrie
  Turkye worke, _pewter_, _brasse_, fine linen, and thereto costly
  cupbords of plate woorth five or six hundred pounde, to be demed
  by estimation. But as herein all these sortes doe farre exceede
  their elders and predecessours, so in tyme past the costly
  furniture _stayed there_, whereas now it is descended yet lower,
  even unto the inferior artificiers and most fermers[39] who have
  learned to garnish also their cupbordes with plate, their beddes
  with tapestrie and silk hanginges, and their table with fine
  naperie whereby the wealth of our countrie doth infinitely
  appeare...."

  [39] Farmers.

Much of this wealth has, of course, been scattered. Time, poverty,
war, the rise and fall of families, have caused the dispersion of
these treasures. Sometimes you find valuable old prints or china in
obscure and unlikely places. A friend of the writer, overtaken by a
storm, sought shelter in a lone Welsh cottage. She admired and bought
a rather curious jug. It turned out to be a somewhat rare and valuable
ware, and a sketch of it has since been reproduced in the _Connoisseur_.
I have myself discovered three Bartolozzi engravings in cottages in
this parish. We give an illustration of a seventeenth-century
powder-horn which was found at Glastonbury by Charles Griffin in 1833
in the wall of an old house which formerly stood where the Wilts and
Dorset Bank is now erected. Mr. Griffin's account of its discovery is
as follows:--

  "When I was a boy about fifteen years of age I took a ladder up
  into the attic to see if there was anything hid in some holes that
  were just under the roof.... Pushing my hand in the wall ... I
  pulled out this carved horn, which then had a metal rim and
  cover--of silver, I think. A man gave me a shilling for it, and he
  sold it to Mr. Porch."

It is stated that a coronet was engraved or stamped on the silver rim
which has now disappeared.

[Illustration: Seventeenth-century Powder-horn, found in the wall of
an old house at Glastonbury. Now in Glastonbury Museum]

Monmouth's harassed army occupied Glastonbury on the night of June 22,
1685, and it is extremely probable that the powder-horn was deposited
in its hiding-place by some wavering follower who had decided to
abandon the Duke's cause. There is another relic of Monmouth's
rebellion, now in the Taunton Museum, a spy-glass, with the aid of
which Mr. Sparke, from the tower of Chedzoy, discovered the King's
troops marching down Sedgemoor on the day previous to the fight, and
gave information thereof to the Duke, who was quartered at Bridgwater.
It was preserved by the family for more than a century, and given by
Miss Mary Sparke, the great-granddaughter of the above William Sparke,
in 1822 to a Mr. Stradling, who placed it in the museum. The
spy-glass, which is of very primitive construction, is in four
sections or tubes of bone covered with parchment. Relics of war and
fighting are often stored in country houses. Thus at Swallowfield
Park, the residence of Lady Russell, was found, when an old tree was
grubbed up, some gold and silver coins of the reign of Charles I. It
is probable that a Cavalier, when hard pressed, threw his purse into a
hollow tree, intending, if he escaped, to return and rescue it. This,
for some reason, he was unable to do, and his money remained in the
tree until old age necessitated its removal. The late Sir George
Russell, Bart., caused a box to be made of the wood of the tree, and
in it he placed the coins, so that they should not be separated after
their connexion of two centuries and a half.

[Illustration: Seventeenth-century Spy-glass in Taunton Museum]

We give an illustration of a remarkable flagon of bell-metal for
holding spiced wine, found in an old manor-house in Norfolk. It is of
English make, and was manufactured about the year 1350. It is embossed
with the old Royal Arms of England crowned and repeated several times,
and has an inscription in Gothic letters:--

        God is grace Be in this place.
          Amen.
        Stand uttir[40] from the fier
        And let onjust[41] come nere.

  [40] Stand away.

  [41] One just.

[Illustration: Fourteenth-century Flagon. From an old Manor House in
Norfolk]

This interesting flagon was bought from the Robinson Collection in
1879 by the nation, and is now in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Many old houses, happily, contain their stores of ancient furniture.
Elizabethan bedsteads wherein, of course, the Virgin Queen reposed
(she made so many royal progresses that it is no wonder she slept in
so many places), expanding tables, Jacobean chairs and sideboards, and
later on the beautiful productions of Chippendale, Sheraton, and
Hipplethwaite. Some of the family chests are elaborate works of art.
We give as an illustration a fine example of an Elizabethan chest. It
is made of oak, inlaid with holly, dating from the last quarter of the
sixteenth century. Its length is 5 ft. 2 in., its height 2 ft. 11 in.
It is in the possession of Sir Coleridge Grove, K.C.B., of the
manor-house, Warborough, in Oxfordshire. The staircases are often
elaborately carved, which form a striking feature of many old houses.
The old Aldermaston Court was burnt down, but fortunately the huge
figures on the staircase were saved and appear again in the new Court,
the residence of a distinguished antiquary, Mr. Charles Keyser, F.S.A.
Hartwell House, in Buckinghamshire, once the residence of the exiled
French Court of Louis XVIII during the Revolution and the period of
the ascendancy of Napoleon I, has some curiously carved oaken figures
adorning the staircase, representing Hercules, the Furies, and various
knights in armour. We give an illustration of the staircase newel in
Cromwell House, Highgate, with its quaint little figure of a man
standing on a lofty pedestal.

[Illustration: Elizabethan Chest, in the possession of Sir Coleridge
Grove, K.C.B. Height, 2 ft. 11 in.; length, 5 ft. 2 in.]

Sometimes one comes across strange curiosities in old houses, the odds
and ends which Time has accumulated. On p. 201 is a representation of
a water-clock or clepsydra which was made at Norwich by an ingenious
person named Parson in 1610. It is constructed on the same principle
as the timepieces used by the Greeks and Romans. The brass tube was
filled with water, which was allowed to run out slowly at the
bottom. A cork floated at the top of the water in the tube, and as it
descended the hour was indicated by the pointer on the dial above.
This ingenious clock has now found its way into the museum in Norwich
Castle. The interesting contents of old houses would require a volume
for their complete enumeration.

In looking at these ancient buildings, which time has spared us, we
seem to catch a glimpse of the Lamp of Memory which shines forth in
the illuminated pages of Ruskin. The men, our forefathers, who built
these houses, built them to last, and not for their own generation. It
would have grieved them to think that their earthly abode, which had
seen and seemed almost to sympathize in all their honour, their
gladness or their suffering--that this, with all the record it bare of
them, and of all material things that they had loved and ruled over,
and set the stamp of themselves upon--was to be swept away as soon as
there was room made for them in the grave. They valued and prized the
house that they had reared, or added to, or improved. Hence they loved
to carve their names or their initials on the lintels of their doors
or on the walls of their houses with the date. On the stone houses of
the Cotswolds, in Derbyshire, Lancashire, Cumberland, wherever good
building stone abounds, you can see these inscriptions, initials
usually those of husband and wife, which preserved the memorial of
their names as long as the house remained in the family. Alas! too
often the memorial conveys no meaning, and no one knows the names they
represent. But it was a worthy feeling that prompted this building for
futurity. There is a mystery about the inscription recorded in the
illustration "T.D. 1678." It was discovered, together with a sword
(_temp._ Charles II), between the ceiling and the floor when an old
farm-house called Gundry's, at Stoke-under-Ham, was pulled down. The
year was one of great political disturbance, being that in which the
so-called "Popish Plot" was exploited by Titus Oates. Possibly
"T.D." was fearful of being implicated, concealed this inscription,
and effected his escape.

[Illustration: Staircase Newel Cromwell House, Highgate]

Our forefathers must have been animated by the spirit which caused Mr.
Ruskin to write: "When we build, let us think that we build for ever.
Let it not be for present delight, nor for present use alone; let it
be such work as our descendants will thank us for, and let us think,
as we lay stone on stone, that a time is to come when those stones
will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men
will say as they look upon the labour and wrought substance of them,
'See! this our fathers did for us.'"

[Illustration: Piece of Wood Carved with Inscription Found with a
sword (_temp._ Charles II) in an old house at Stoke-under-Ham,
Somerset]

[Illustration: Seventeenth-century Water-clock, in Norwich Museum]

Contrast these old houses with the modern suburban abominations,
"those thin tottering foundationless shells of splintered wood and
imitated stone," "those gloomy rows of formalised minuteness, alike
without difference and without fellowship, as solitary as similar," as
Ruskin calls them. These modern erections have no more relation to
their surroundings than would a Pullman-car or a newly painted piece
of machinery. Age cannot improve the appearance of such things. But
age only mellows and improves our ancient houses. Solidly built of
good materials, the golden stain of time only adds to their beauties.
The vines have clothed their walls and the green lawns about them have
grown smoother and thicker, and the passing of the centuries has
served but to tone them down and bring them into closer harmony with
nature. With their garden walls and hedges they almost seem to have
grown in their places as did the great trees that stand near by. They
have nothing of the uneasy look of the parvenu about them. They have
an air of dignified repose; the spirit of ancient peace seems to rest
upon them and their beautiful surroundings.

[Illustration: Sun-dial. The Manor House, Sutton Courtenay]




CHAPTER VIII

THE DESTRUCTION OF PREHISTORIC REMAINS


We still find in various parts of the country traces of the
prehistoric races who inhabited our island and left their footprints
behind them, which startle us as much as ever the print of Friday's
feet did the indomitable Robinson Crusoe. During the last fifty years
we have been collecting the weapons and implements of early man, and
have learnt that the history of Britain did not begin with the year
B.C. 55, when Julius Caesar attempted his first conquest of our island.
Our historical horizon has been pushed back very considerably, and
every year adds new knowledge concerning the Palaeolithic and Neolithic
races, and the first users of bronze and iron tools and weapons. We
have learnt to prize what they have left, to recognize the immense
archaeological value of these remains, and of their inestimable
prehistoric interest. It is therefore very deplorable to discover that
so much has been destroyed, obliterated, and forgotten.

We have still some left. Examples are still to be seen of megalithic
structures, barrows, cromlechs, camps, earthen or walled castles,
hut-circles, and other remains of the prehistoric inhabitants of these
islands. We have many monoliths, called in Wales and Cornwall, as also
in Brittany, menhirs, a name derived from the Celtic word _maen_ or
_men_, signifying a stone, and _hir_ meaning tall. They are also
called logan stones and "hoar" stones, _hoar_ meaning a boundary,
inasmuch as they were frequently used in later times to mark the
boundary of an estate, parish, or manor. A vast number have been torn
down and used as gateposts or for building purposes, and a recent
observer in the West Country states that he has looked in vain for
several where he knew that not long ago they existed. If in the Land's
End district you climb the ascent of Bolleit, the Place of Blood,
where Athelstan fought and slew the Britons, you can see "the Pipers,"
two great menhirs, twelve and sixteen feet high, and the Holed Stone,
which is really an ancient cross, but you will be told that the cruel
Druids used to tie their human victims for sacrifice to this stone,
and you would shudder at the memory if you did not know that the
Druids were very philosophical folk, and never did such dreadful
deeds.

Another kind of megalithic monument are the stone circles, only they
are circles no longer, many stones having been carted away to mend
walls. If you look at the ordnance map of Penzance you will find large
numbers of these circles, but if you visit the spots where they are
supposed to be, you will find that many have vanished. The "Merry
Maidens," not far from the "Pipers," still remain--nineteen great
stones, which fairy-lore perhaps supposes to have been once fair
maidens who danced to the tune the pipers played ere a Celtic Medusa
gazed at them and turned them into stone. Every one knows the story of
the Rollright stones, a similar stone circle in Oxfordshire, which
were once upon a time a king and his army, and were converted into
stone by a witch who cast a fatal spell upon them by the words--

        Move no more; stand fast, stone;
        King of England thou shalt none.

The solitary stone is the ambitious monarch who was told by an oracle
that if he could see Long Compton he would be king of England; the
circle is his army, and the five "Whispering Knights" are five of his
chieftains, who were hatching a plot against him when the magic spell
was uttered. Local legends have sometimes helped to preserve these
stones. The farmers around Rollright say that if these stones are
removed from the spot they will never rest, but make mischief till
they are restored. There is a well-known cromlech at Stanton Drew, in
Somerset, and there are several in Scotland, the Channel Islands, and
Brittany. Some sacrilegious persons transported a cromlech from the
Channel Islands, and set it up at Park Place, Henley-on-Thames. Such
an act of antiquarian barbarism happily has few imitators.

Stonehenge, with its well-wrought stones and gigantic trilitha, is one
of the latest of the stone circles, and was doubtless made in the Iron
Age, about two hundred years before the Christian era. Antiquarians
have been very anxious about its safety. In 1900 one of the great
upright stones fell, bringing down the cross-piece with it, and
several learned societies have been invited by the owner, Sir Edmund
Antrobus, to furnish recommendations as to the best means of
preserving this unique memorial of an early race. We are glad to know
that all that can be done will be done to keep Stonehenge safe for
future generations.

We need not record the existence of dolmens, or table-stones, the
remains of burial mounds, which have been washed away by denudation,
nor of what the French folk call _alignements_, or lines of stones,
which have suffered like other megalithic monuments. Barrows or tumuli
are still plentiful, great mounds of earth raised to cover the
prehistoric dead. But many have disappeared. Some have been worn down
by ploughing, as on the Berkshire Downs. Others have been dug into for
gravel. The making of golf-links has disturbed several, as at
Sunningdale, where several barrows were destroyed in order to make a
good golf-course. Happily their contents were carefully guarded, and
are preserved in the British Museum and in that of Reading. Earthworks
and camps still guard the British ancient roads and trackways, and
you still admire their triple vallum and their cleverly protected
entrance. Happily the Earthworks Committee of the Congress of
Archaeological Societies watches over them, and strives to protect them
from injury. Pit-dwellings and the so-called "ancient British
villages" are in many instances sorely neglected, and are often buried
beneath masses of destructive briers and ferns. We can still trace the
course of several of the great tribal boundaries of prehistoric times,
the Grim's dykes that are seen in various parts of the country,
gigantic earthworks that so surprised the Saxon invaders that they
attributed them to the agency of the Devil or Grim. Here and there
much has vanished, but stretches remain with a high bank twelve or
fourteen feet high and a ditch; the labour of making these earthen
ramparts must have been immense in the days when the builders of them
had only picks made out of stag's horns and such simple tools to work
with.

Along some of our hillsides are curious turf-cut monuments, which
always attract our gaze and make us wonder who first cut out these
figures on the face of the chalk hill. There is the great White Horse
on the Berkshire Downs above Uffington, which we like to think was cut
out by Alfred's men after his victory over the Danes on the Ashdown
Hills. We are told, however, that that cannot be, and that it must
have been made at least a thousand years before King Alfred's glorious
reign. Some of these monuments are in danger of disappearing. They
need scouring pretty constantly, as the weeds and grass will grow over
the face of the bare chalk and tend to obliterate the figures. The
Berkshire White Horse wanted grooming badly a short time ago, and the
present writer was urged to approach the noble owner, the Earl of
Craven, and urge the necessity of a scouring. The Earl, however,
needed no reminder, and the White Horse is now thoroughly groomed, and
looks as fit and active as ever. Other steeds on our hillsides have in
modern times been so cut and altered in shape that their nearest
relations would not know them. Thus the White Horse at Westbury, in
Wiltshire, is now a sturdy-looking little cob, quite up to date and
altogether modern, very different from the old shape of the animal.

The vanishing of prehistoric monuments is due to various causes.
Avebury had at one time within a great rampart and a fosse, which is
still forty feet deep, a large circle of rough unhewn stones, and
within this two circles each containing a smaller concentric circle.
Two avenues of stones led to the two entrances to the space surrounded
by the fosse. It must have been a vast and imposing edifice, much more
important than Stonehenge, and the area within this great circle
exceeds twenty-eight acres, with a diameter of twelve hundred feet.
But the spoilers have been at work, and "Farmer George" and other
depredators have carted away so many of the stones, and done so much
damage, that much imagination is needed to construct in the eye of the
mind this wonder of the world.

Every one who journeys from London to Oxford by the Great Western
Railway knows the appearance of the famous Wittenham Clumps, a few
miles from historic Wallingford. If you ascend the hill you will find
it a paradise for antiquaries. The camp itself occupies a commanding
position overlooking the valley of the Thames, and has doubtless
witnessed many tribal fights, and the great contest between the Celts
and the Roman invaders. In the plain beneath is another remarkable
earthwork. It was defended on three sides by the Thames, and a strong
double rampart had been made across the cord of the bow formed by the
river. There was also a trench which in case of danger could have been
filled with water. But the spoiler has been at work here. In 1870 a
farmer employed his men during a hard winter in digging down the west
side of the rampart and flinging the earth into the fosse. The farmer
intended to perform a charitable act, and charity is said to cover a
multitude of sins; but his action was disastrous to antiquaries and
has almost destroyed a valuable prehistoric monument. There is a
noted camp at Ashbury, erroneously called "Alfred's Castle," on an
elevated part of Swinley Down, in Berkshire, not far from Ashdown
Park, the seat of the Earl of Craven. Lysons tells us that formerly
there were traces of buildings here, and Aubrey says that in his time
the earthworks were "almost quite defaced by digging for sarsden
stones to build my Lord Craven's house in the park." Borough Hill
Camp, in Boxford parish, near Newbury, has little left, so much of the
earth having been removed at various times. Rabbits, too, are great
destroyers, as they disturb the original surface of the ground and
make it difficult for investigators to make out anything with
certainty.

Sometimes local tradition, which is wonderfully long-lived, helps the
archaeologist in his discoveries. An old man told an antiquary that a
certain barrow in his parish was haunted by the ghost of a soldier who
wore golden armour. The antiquary determined to investigate and dug
into the barrow, and there found the body of a man with a gold or
bronze breastplate. I am not sure whether the armour was gold or
bronze. Now here is an amazing instance of folk-memory. The chieftain
was buried probably in Anglo-Saxon times, or possibly earlier. During
thirteen hundred years, at least, the memory of that burial has been
handed down from father to son until the present day. It almost seems
incredible.

It seems something like sacrilege to disturb the resting-places of our
prehistoric ancestors, and to dig into barrows and examine their
contents. But much knowledge of the history and manners and customs of
the early inhabitants of our island has been gained by these
investigations. Year by year this knowledge grows owing to the patient
labours of industrious antiquaries, and perhaps our predecessors would
not mind very much the disturbing of their remains, if they reflected
that we are getting to know them better by this means, and are almost
on speaking terms with the makers of stone axes, celts and
arrow-heads, and are great admirers of their skill and ingenuity. It
is important that all these monuments of antiquity should be carefully
preserved, that plans should be made of them, and systematic
investigations undertaken by competent and skilled antiquaries. The
old stone monuments and the later Celtic crosses should be rescued
from serving such purposes as brook bridges, stone walls,
stepping-stones, and gate-posts and reared again on their original
sites. They are of national importance, and the nation should do this.

[Illustration: Half-timber Cottages, Waterside, Evesham]




CHAPTER IX

CATHEDRAL CITIES AND ABBEY TOWNS


There is always an air of quietude and restfulness about an ordinary
cathedral city. Some of our cathedrals are set in busy places, in
great centres of population, wherein the high towering minster looks
down with a kind of pitying compassion upon the toiling folk and
invites them to seek shelter and peace and the consolations of
religion in her quiet courts. For ages she has watched over the city
and seen generation after generation pass away. Kings and queens have
come to lay their offerings on her altars, and have been borne there
amid all the pomp of stately mourning to lie in the gorgeous tombs
that grace her choir. She has seen it all--times of pillage and alarm,
of robbery and spoliation, of change and disturbance, but she lives
on, ever calling men with her quiet voice to look up in love and faith
and prayer.

But many of our cathedral cities are quite small places which owe
their very life and existence to the stately church which pious hands
have raised centuries ago. There age after age the prayer of faith,
the anthems of praise, and the divine services have been offered.

In the glow of a summer's evening its heavenly architecture stands
out, a mass of wondrous beauty, telling of the skill of the masons and
craftsmen of olden days who put their hearts into their work and
wrought so surely and so well. The greensward of the close, wherein
the rooks caw and guard their nests, speaks of peace and joy that is
not of earth. We walk through the fretted cloisters that once echoed
with the tread of sandalled monks and saw them illuminating and
copying wonderful missals, antiphonaries, and other manuscripts which
we prize so highly now. The deanery is close at hand, a venerable
house of peace and learning; and the canons' houses tell of centuries
of devoted service to God's Church, wherein many a distinguished
scholar, able preacher, and learned writer has lived and sent forth
his burning message to the world, and now lies at peace in the quiet
minster.

The fabric of the cathedrals is often in danger of becoming part and
parcel of vanishing England. Every one has watched with anxiety the
gallant efforts that have been made to save Winchester. The insecure
foundations, based on timbers that had rotted, threatened to bring
down that wondrous pile of masonry. And now Canterbury is in danger.

The Dean and Chapter of Canterbury having recently completed the
reparation of the central tower of the cathedral, now find themselves
confronted with responsibilities which require still heavier
expenditure. It has recently been found that the upper parts of the
two western towers are in a dangerous condition. All the pinnacles of
these towers have had to be partially removed in order to avoid the
risk of dangerous injury from falling stones, and a great part of the
external work of the two towers is in a state of grievous decay.

The Chapter were warned by the architect that they would incur an
anxious responsibility if they did not at once adopt measures to
obviate this danger.

Further, the architect states that there are some fissures and shakes
in the supporting piers of the central tower within the cathedral, and
that some of the stonework shows signs of crushing. He further reports
that there is urgent need of repair to the nave windows, the south
transept roof, the Warriors' Chapel, and several other parts of the
building. The nave pinnacles are reported by him to be in the last
stage of decay, large portions falling frequently, or having to be
removed.

In these modern days we run "tubes" and under-ground railways in close
proximity to the foundations of historic buildings, and thereby
endanger their safety. The grand cathedral of St. Paul, London, was
threatened by a "tube," and only saved by vigorous protest from having
its foundations jarred and shaken by rumbling trains in the bowels of
the earth. Moreover, by sewers and drains the earth is made devoid of
moisture, and therefore is liable to crack and crumble, and to disturb
the foundations of ponderous buildings. St. Paul's still causes
anxiety on this account, and requires all the care and vigilance of
the skilful architect who guards it.

The old Norman builders loved a central tower, which they built low
and squat. Happily they built surely and well, firmly and solidly, as
their successors loved to pile course upon course upon their Norman
towers, to raise a massive superstructure, and often crown them with a
lofty, graceful, but heavy spire. No wonder the early masonry has, at
times, protested against this additional weight, and many mighty
central towers and spires have fallen and brought ruin on the
surrounding stonework. So it happened at Chichester and in several
other noble churches. St. Alban's tower very nearly fell. There the
ingenuity of destroyers and vandals at the Dissolution had dug a hole
and removed the earth from under one of the piers, hoping that it
would collapse. The old tower held on for three hundred years, and
then the mighty mass began to give way, and Sir Gilbert Scott tells
the story of its reparation in 1870, of the triumphs of the skill of
modern builders, and their bravery and resolution in saving the fall
of that great tower. The greatest credit is due to all concerned in
that hazardous and most difficult task. It had very nearly gone. The
story of Peterborough, and of several others, shows that many of these
vast fanes which have borne the storms and frosts of centuries are by
no means too secure, and that the skill of wise architects and the
wealth of the Englishmen of to-day are sorely needed to prevent them
from vanishing. If they fell, new and modern work would scarcely
compensate us for their loss.

We will take Wells as a model of a cathedral city which entirely owes
its origin to the noble church and palace built there in early times.
The city is one of the most picturesque in England, situated in the
most delightful country, and possessing the most perfect
ecclesiastical buildings which can be conceived. Jocelyn de Wells, who
lived at the beginning of the thirteenth century (1206-39), has for
many years had the credit of building the main part of this beautiful
house of God. It is hard to have one's beliefs and early traditions
upset, but modern authorities, with much reason, tell us that we are
all wrong, and that another Jocelyn--one Reginald Fitz-Jocelyn
(1171-91)--was the main builder of Wells Cathedral. Old documents
recently discovered decide the question, and, moreover, the style of
architecture is certainly earlier than the fully developed Early
English of Jocelyn de Wells. The latter, and also Bishop Savaricus
(1192-1205), carried out the work, but the whole design and a
considerable part of the building are due to Bishop Reginald
Fitz-Jocelyn. His successors, until the middle of the fifteenth
century, went on perfecting the wondrous shrine, and in the time of
Bishop Beckington Wells was in its full glory. The church, the
outbuildings, the episcopal palace, the deanery, all combined to form
a wonderful architectural triumph, a group of buildings which
represented the highest achievement of English Gothic art.

Since then many things have happened. The cathedral, like all other
ecclesiastical buildings, has passed through three great periods of
iconoclastic violence. It was shorn of some of its glory at the
Reformation, when it was plundered of the treasures which the piety of
many generations had heaped together. Then the beautiful Lady Chapel
in the cloisters was pulled down, and the infamous Duke of Somerset
robbed it of its wealth and meditated further sacrilege. Amongst these
desecrators and despoilers there was a mighty hunger for lead. "I
would that they had found it scalding," exclaimed an old chaplain of
Wells; and to get hold of the lead that covered the roofs--a valuable
commodity--Somerset and his kind did much mischief to many of our
cathedrals and churches. An infamous bishop of York, at this period,
stripped his fine palace that stood on the north of York Minster, "for
the sake of the lead that covered it," and shipped it off to London,
where it was sold for L1000; but of this sum he was cheated by a noble
duke, and therefore gained nothing by his infamy. During the Civil War
it escaped fairly well, but some damage was done, the palace was
despoiled; and at the Restoration of the Monarchy much repair was
needed. Monmouth's rebels wrought havoc. They came to Wells in no
amiable mood, defaced the statues on the west front, did much wanton
mischief, and would have caroused about the altar had not Lord Grey
stood before it with his sword drawn, and thus preserved it from the
insults of the ruffians. Then came the evils of "restoration." A
terrible renewing was begun in 1848, when the old stalls were
destroyed and much damage done. Twenty years later better things were
accomplished, save that the grandeur of the west front was belittled
by a pipey restoration, when Irish limestone, with its harsh hue, was
used to embellish it.

A curiosity at Wells are the quarter jacks over the clock on the
exterior north wall of the cathedral. Local tradition has it that the
clock with its accompanying figures was part of the spoil removed from
Glastonbury Abbey. The ecclesiastical authorities at Wells assert in
contradiction to this that the clock was the work of one Peter
Lightfoot, and was placed in the cathedral in the latter part of the
fourteenth century. A minute is said to exist in the archives of
repairs to the clock and figures in 1418. It is Mr. Roe's opinion that
the defensive armour on the quarter jacks dates from the first half of
the fifteenth century, the plain oviform breastplates and basinets, as
well as the continuation of the tassets round the hips, being very
characteristic features of this period. The halberds in the hands of
the figures are evidently restorations of a later time. It may be
mentioned that in 1907, when the quarter jacks were painted, it was
discovered that though the figures themselves were carved out of solid
blocks of oak hard as iron, the arms were of elm bolted and braced
thereon. Though such instances of combined materials are common enough
among antiquities of medieval times, it may yet be surmised that the
jar caused by incessant striking may in time have necessitated repairs
to the upper limbs. The arms are immovable, as the figures turn on
pivots to strike.

[Illustration: Quarter Jacks over the Clock on exterior of North Wall
of Wells Cathedral.]

An illustration is given of the palace at Wells, which is one of the
finest examples of thirteenth-century houses existing in England. It
was begun by Jocelyn. The great hall, now in ruins, was built by
Bishop Burnell at the end of the thirteenth century, and was destroyed
by Bishop Barlow in 1552. The chapel is Decorated. The gatehouse, with
its drawbridge, moat, and fortifications, was constructed by Bishop
Ralph, of Shrewsbury, who ruled from 1329 to 1363. The deanery was
built by Dean Gunthorpe in 1475, who was chaplain to Edward IV. On the
north is the beautiful vicar's close, which has forty-two houses,
constructed mainly by Bishop Beckington (1443-64), with a common hall
erected by Bishop Ralph in 1340 and a chapel by Budwith (1407-64), but
altered a century later. You can see the old fireplace, the pulpit
from which one of the brethren read aloud during meals, and an ancient
painting representing Bishop Ralph making his grant to the kneeling
figures, and some additional figures painted in the time of Queen
Elizabeth.

[Illustration: The Gate House, Bishop's Palace, Wells]

When we study the cathedrals of England and try to trace the causes
which led to the destruction of so much that was beautiful, so much of
English art that has vanished, we find that there were three great
eras of iconoclasm. First there were the changes wrought at the time
of the Reformation, when a rapacious king and his greedy ministers set
themselves to wring from the treasures of the Church as much gain and
spoil as they were able. These men were guilty of the most daring acts
of shameless sacrilege, the grossest robbery. With them nothing was
sacred. Buildings consecrated to God, holy vessels used in His
service, all the works of sacred art, the offerings of countless pious
benefactors were deemed as mere profane things to be seized and
polluted by their sacrilegious hands. The land was full of the most
beautiful gems of architectural art, the monastic churches. We can
tell something of their glories from those which were happily spared
and converted into cathderals or parish churches. Ely, Peterborough
the pride of the Fenlands, Chester, Gloucester, Bristol, Westminster,
St. Albans, Beverley, and some others proclaim the grandeur of
hundreds of other magnificent structures which have been shorn of
their leaden roofs, used as quarries for building-stone, entirely
removed and obliterated, or left as pitiable ruins which still look
beautiful in their decay. Reading, Tintern, Glastonbury, Fountains,
and a host of others all tell the same story of pitiless iconoclasm.
And what became of the contents of these churches? The contents
usually went with the fabric to the spoliators. The halls of
country-houses were hung with altar-cloths; tables and beds were
quilted with copes; knights and squires drank their claret out of
chalices and watered their horses in marble coffins. From the accounts
of the royal jewels it is evident that a great deal of Church plate
was delivered to the king for his own use, besides which the sum of
L30,360 derived from plate obtained by the spoilers was given to the
proper hand of the king.

The iconoclasts vented their rage in the destruction of stained glass
and beautiful illuminated manuscripts, priceless tomes and costly
treasures of exceeding rarity. Parish churches were plundered
everywhere. Robbery was in the air, and clergy and churchwardens sold
sacred vessels and appropriated the money for parochial purposes
rather than they should be seized by the king. Commissioners were sent
to visit all the cathedral and parish churches and seize the
superfluous ornaments for the king's use. Tithes, lands, farms,
buildings belonging to the church all went the same way, until the
hand of the iconoclast was stayed, as there was little left to steal
or to be destroyed. The next era of iconoclastic zeal was that of the
Civil War and the Cromwellian period. At Rochester the soldiers
profaned the cathedral by using it as a stable and a tippling place,
while saw-pits were made in the sacred building and carpenters plied
their trade. At Chichester the pikes of the Puritans and their wild
savagery reduced the interior to a ruinous desolation. The usual
scenes of mad iconoclasm were enacted--stained glass windows broken,
altars thrown down, lead stripped from the roof, brasses and effigies
defaced and broken. A creature named "Blue Dick" was the wild leader
of this savage crew of spoliators who left little but the bare walls
and a mass of broken fragments strewing the pavement. We need not
record similar scenes which took place almost everywhere.

[Illustration: House in which Bishop Hooper was imprisoned, Westgate
Street, Gloucester]

The last and grievous rule of iconoclasm set in with the restorers,
who worked their will upon the fabric of our cathedrals and churches
and did so much to obliterate all the fragments of good architectural
work which the Cromwellian soldiers and the spoliators at the time of
the Reformation had left. The memory of Wyatt and his imitators is not
revered when we see the results of their work on our ecclesiastical
fabrics, and we need not wonder that so much of English art has
vanished.

The cathedral of Bristol suffered from other causes. The darkest spot
in the history of the city is the story of the Reform riots of 1831,
sometimes called "the Bristol Revolution," when the dregs of the
population pillaged and plundered, burnt the bishop's palace, and were
guilty of the most atrocious vandalism.

[Illustration: The "Stone House," Rye, Sussex]

The city of Bath, once the rival of Wells--the contention between the
monks of St. Peter and the canons of St. Andrews at Wells being hot
and fierce--has many attractions. Its minster, rebuilt by Bishop
Oliver King of Wells (1495-1503), and restored in the seventeenth
century, and also in modern times, is not a very interesting building,
though it lacks not some striking features, and certainly contains
some fine tombs and monuments of the fashionable folk who flocked to
Bath in the days of its splendour. The city itself abounds in
interest. It is a gem of Georgian art, with a complete homogeneous
architectural character of its own which makes it singular and unique.
It is full of memories of the great folks who thronged its streets,
attended the Bath and Pump Room, and listened to sermons in the
Octagon. It tells of the autocracy of Beau Nash, of Goldsmith,
Sheridan, David Garrick, of the "First Gentleman of Europe," and many
others who made Bath famous. And now it is likely that this unique
little city with its memories and its charming architectural features
is to be mutilated for purely commercial reasons. Every one knows Bath
Street with its colonnaded loggias on each side terminated with a
crescent at each end, and leading to the Cross Bath in the centre of
the eastern crescent. That the original founders of Bath Street
regarded it as an important architectural feature of the city is
evident from the inscription in abbreviated Latin which was engraved
on the first stone of the street when laid:--

              PRO
        VRBIS DIG: ET AMP:
        HAEC PON: CVRAV:
              SC:
            DELEGATI
         A: D: MDCCXCI.
       I: HORTON, PRAET:
     T: BALDWIN, ARCHITECTO.

which may be read to the effect that "for the dignity and enlargement
(of the city) the delegates I. Horton, Mayor, and T. Baldwin,
architect, laid this (stone) A.D. 1791."

It is actually proposed by the new proprietors of the Grand Pump Hotel
to entirely destroy the beauty of this street by removing the
colonnaded loggia on one side of this street and constructing a new
side to the hotel two or three storeys higher, and thus to change the
whole character of the street and practically destroy it. It is a sad
pity, and we should have hoped that the city Council would have
resisted very strongly the proposal that the proprietors of the hotel
have made to their body. But we hear that the Council is lukewarm in
its opposition to the scheme, and has indeed officially approved it.
It is astonishing what city and borough councils will do, and this
Bath Council has "the discredit of having, for purely commercial
reasons, made the first move towards the destruction architecturally
of the peculiar charm of their unique and beautiful city."[42]

  [42] _The Builder_, March 6, 1909.

Evesham is entirely a monastic town. It sprang up under the sheltering
walls of the famous abbey--

        A pretty burgh and such as Fancy loves
        For bygone grandeurs.

This abbey shared the fate of many others which we have mentioned. The
Dean of Gloucester thus muses over the "Vanished Abbey":--

  "The stranger who knows nothing of its story would surely smile if
  he were told that beneath the grass and daisies round him were
  hidden the vast foundation storeys of one of the mightiest of our
  proud mediaeval abbeys; that on the spot where he was standing were
  once grouped a forest of tall columns bearing up lofty fretted
  roofs; that all around once were altars all agleam with colour and
  with gold; that besides the many altars were once grouped in that
  sacred spot chauntries and tombs, many of them marvels of grace
  and beauty, placed there in the memory of men great in the service
  of Church and State--of men whose names were household words in
  the England of our fathers; that close to him were once stately
  cloisters, great monastic buildings, including refectories,
  dormitories, chapter-house, chapels, infirmary, granaries,
  kitchens--all the varied piles of buildings which used to make up
  the hive of a great monastery."

It was commenced by Bishop Egwin, of Worcester, in 702 A.D., but the
era of its great prosperity set in after the battle of Evesham when
Simon de Montford was slain, and his body buried in the monastic
church. There was his shrine to which was great pilgrimage, crowds
flocking to lay their offerings there; and riches poured into the
treasury of the monks, who made great additions to their house, and
reared noble buildings. Little is left of its former grandeur. You can
discover part of the piers of the great central tower, the cloister
arch of Decorated work of great beauty erected in 1317, and the abbey
fishponds. The bell tower is one of the glories of Evesham. It was
built by the last abbot, Abbot Lichfield, and was not quite completed
before the destruction of the great abbey church adjacent to it. It is
a grand specimen of Perpendicular architecture.

[Illustration: Fifteenth-century House, Market Place, Evesham]

At the corner of the Market Place there is a picturesque old house
with gable and carved barge-boards and timber-framed arch, and we see
the old Norman gateway named Abbot Reginald's Gateway, after the name
of its builder, who also erected part of the wall enclosing the
monastic buildings. A timber-framed structure now stretches across the
arcade, but a recent restoration has exposed the Norman columns which
support the arch. The Church House, always an interesting building in
old towns and villages, wherein church ales and semi-ecclesiastical
functions took place, has been restored. Passing under the arch we see
the two churches in one churchyard--All Saints and St. Laurence. The
former has some Norman work at the inner door of the porch, but its
main construction is Decorated and Perpendicular. Its most
interesting feature is the Lichfield Chapel, erected by the last
abbot, whose initials and the arms of the abbey appear on escutcheons
on the roof. The fan-tracery roof is especially noticeable, and the
good modern glass. The church of St. Laurence is entirely
Perpendicular, and the chantry of Abbot Lichneld, with its fan-tracery
vaulting, is a gem of English architecture.

[Illustration: Fifteenth-century House, Market Place, Evesham]

[Illustration: Fifteenth-century House in Cowl Street, Evesham]

Amongst the remains of the abbey buildings may be seen the Almonry,
the residence of the almoner, formerly used as a gaol. An interesting
stone lantern of fifteenth-century work is preserved here. Another
abbey gateway is near at hand, but little evidence remains of its
former Gothic work. Part of the old wall built by Abbot William de
Chyryton early in the fourteenth century remains. In the town there is
a much-modernized town hall, and near it the old-fashioned Booth Hall,
a half-timbered building, now used as shops and cottages, where
formerly courts were held, including the court of pie-powder, the
usual accompaniment of every fair. Bridge Street is one of the most
attractive streets in the borough, with its quaint old house, and the
famous inn, "The Crown." The old house in Cowl Street was formerly the
White Hart Inn, which tells a curious Elizabethan story about "the
Fool and the Ice," an incident supposed to be referred to by
Shakespeare in _Troilus and Cressida_ (Act iii. sc. 3): "The fool
slides o'er the ice that you should break." The Queen Anne house in
the High Street, with its wrought-iron railings and brackets, called
Dresden House and Almswood, one of the oldest dwelling-houses in the
town, are worthy of notice by the students of domestic architecture.

[Illustration: Half-timber House, Alcester, Warwick]

[Illustration: Half-timber House at Alcester]

There is much in the neighbourhood of Evesham which is worthy of note,
many old-fashioned villages and country towns, manor-houses, churches,
and inns which are refreshing to the eyes of those who have seen so
much destruction, so much of the England that is vanishing. The old
abbey tithe-barn at Littleton of the fourteenth century, Wickhamford
Manor, the home of Penelope Washington, whose tomb is in the adjoining
church, the picturesque village of Cropthorne, Winchcombe and its
houses, Sudeley Castle, the timbered houses at Norton and Harvington,
Broadway and Campden, abounding with beautiful houses, and the old
town of Alcester, of which some views are given--all these contain
many objects of antiquarian and artistic interest, and can easily be
reached from Evesham. In that old town we have seen much to interest,
and the historian will delight to fight over again the battle of
Evesham and study the records of the siege of the town in the Civil
War.




CHAPTER X

OLD INNS


The trend of popular legislation is in the direction of the
diminishing of the number of licensed premises and the destruction of
inns. Very soon, we may suppose, the "Black Boy" and the "Red Lion"
and hosts of other old signs will have vanished, and there will be a
very large number of famous inns which have "retired from business."
Already their number is considerable. In many towns through which in
olden days the stage-coaches passed inns were almost as plentiful as
blackberries; they were needed then for the numerous passengers who
journeyed along the great roads in the coaches; they are not needed
now when people rush past the places in express trains. Hence the
order has gone forth that these superfluous houses shall cease to be
licensed premises and must submit to the removal of their signs.
Others have been so remodelled in order to provide modern comforts and
conveniences that scarce a trace of their old-fashioned appearance can
be found. Modern temperance legislators imagine that if they can only
reduce the number of inns they will reduce drunkenness and make the
English people a sober nation. This is not the place to discuss
whether the destruction of inns tends to promote temperance. We may,
perhaps, be permitted to doubt the truth of the legend, oft repeated
on temperance platforms, of the working man, returning homewards from
his toil, struggling past nineteen inns and succumbing to the syren
charms of the twentieth. We may fear lest the gathering together of
large numbers of men in a few public-houses may not increase rather
than diminish their thirst and the love of good fellowship which in
some mysterious way is stimulated by the imbibing of many pots of
beer. We may, perhaps, feel some misgiving with regard to the
temperate habits of the people, if instead of well-conducted hostels,
duly inspected by the police, the landlords of which are liable to
prosecution for improper conduct, we see arising a host of ungoverned
clubs, wherein no control is exercised over the manners of the members
and adequate supervision impossible. We cannot refuse to listen to the
opinion of certain royal commissioners who, after much sifting of
evidence, came to the conclusion that as far as the suppression of
public-houses had gone, their diminution had not lessened the
convictions for drunkenness.

But all this is beside our subject. We have only to record another
feature of vanishing England, the gradual disappearance of many of its
ancient and historic inns, and to describe some of the fortunate
survivors. Many of them are very old, and cannot long contend against
the fiery eloquence of the young temperance orator, the newly fledged
justice of the peace, or the budding member of Parliament who tries to
win votes by pulling things down.

We have, however, still some of these old hostelries left; medieval
pilgrim inns redolent of the memories of the not very pious companies
of men and women who wended their way to visit the shrines of St.
Thomas of Canterbury or Our Lady at Walsingham; historic inns wherein
some of the great events in the annals of England have occurred; inns
associated with old romances or frequented by notorious highwaymen, or
that recall the adventures of Mr. Pickwick and other heroes and
villains of Dickensian tales. It is well that we should try to depict
some of these before they altogether vanish.

There was nothing vulgar or disgraceful about an inn a century ago.
From Elizabethan times to the early part of the nineteenth century
they were frequented by most of the leading spirits of each
generation. Archbishop Leighton, who died in 1684, often used to say
to Bishop Burnet that "if he were to choose a place to die in it
should be an inn; it looked like a pilgrim's going home, to whom this
world was all as an Inn, and who was weary of the noise and confusion
of it." His desire was fulfilled. He died at the old Bell Inn in
Warwick Lane, London, an old galleried hostel which was not demolished
until 1865. Dr. Johnson, when delighting in the comfort of the
Shakespeare's Head Inn, between Worcester and Lichfield, exclaimed:
"No, sir, there is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, by
which so much happiness is provided as by a good tavern or inn." This
oft-quoted saying the learned Doctor uttered at the Chapel House Inn,
near King's Norton; its glory has departed; it is now a simple
country-house by the roadside. Shakespeare, who doubtless had many
opportunities of testing the comforts of the famous inns at Southwark,
makes Falstaff say: "Shall I not take mine ease at mine inn?"; and
Shenstone wrote the well-known rhymes on a window of the old Red Lion
at Henley-on-Thames:--

        Whoe'er has travelled life's dull road,
          Where'er his stages may have been,
        May sigh to think he still has found
          The warmest welcome at an inn.

Fynes Morrison tells of the comforts of English inns even as early as
the beginning of the seventeenth century. In 1617 he wrote:--

  "The world affords not such inns as England hath, for as soon as a
  passenger comes the servants run to him; one takes his horse and
  walks him till he be cold, then rubs him and gives him meat; but
  let the master look to this point. Another gives the traveller his
  private chamber and kindles his fire, the third pulls off his
  boots and makes them clean; then the host or hostess visits
  him--if he will eat with the host--or at a common table it will be
  4d. and 6d. If a gentleman has his own chamber, his ways are
  consulted, and he has music, too, if he likes."

[Illustration: The Wheelwrights' Arms, Warwick]

The literature of England abounds in references to these ancient inns.
If Dr. Johnson, Addison, and Goldsmith were alive now, we should find
them chatting together at the Authors' Club, or the Savage, or the
Athenaeum. There were no literary clubs in their days, and the public
parlours of the Cock Tavern or the "Cheshire Cheese" were their clubs,
wherein they were quite as happy, if not quite so luxuriously housed,
as if they had been members of a modern social institution. Who has
not sung in praise of inns? Longfellow, in his _Hyperion_, makes
Flemming say: "He who has not been at a tavern knows not what a
paradise it is. O holy tavern! O miraculous tavern! Holy, because no
carking cares are there, nor weariness, nor pain; and miraculous,
because of the spits which of themselves turned round and round." They
appealed strongly to Washington Irving, who, when recording his visit
to the shrine of Shakespeare, says: "To a homeless man, who has no
spot on this wide world which he can truly call his own, there is a
momentary feeling of something like independence and territorial
consequence, when after a weary day's travel he kicks off his boots,
thrusts his feet into slippers, and stretches himself before an inn
fire. Let the world without go as it may; let kingdoms rise or fall,
so long as he has the wherewithal to pay his bill, he is, for the time
being, the very monarch of all he surveys.... 'Shall I not take mine
ease in mine inn?' thought I, as I gave the fire a stir, lolled back
in my elbow chair, and cast a complacent look about the little parlour
of the Red Horse at Stratford-on-Avon."

[Illustration: Entrance to the Reindeer Inn, Banbury]

And again, on Christmas Eve Irving tells of his joyous long day's ride
in a coach, and how he at length arrived at a village where he had
determined to stay the night. As he drove into the great gateway of
the inn (some of them were mighty narrow and required much skill on
the part of the Jehu) he saw on one side the light of a rousing
kitchen fire beaming through a window. He "entered and admired, for
the hundredth time, that picture of convenience, neatness, and broad
honest enjoyment--the kitchen of an English inn." It was of spacious
dimensions, hung round with copper and tin vessels highly polished,
and decorated here and there with Christmas green. Hams, tongues, and
flitches of bacon were suspended from the ceiling; a smoke-jack made
its ceaseless clanking beside the fire-place, and a clock ticked in
one corner. A well-scoured deal table extended along one side of the
kitchen, with a cold round of beef and other hearty viands upon it,
over which two foaming tankards of ale seemed mounting guard.
Travellers of inferior order were preparing to attack this stout
repast, while others sat smoking and gossiping over their ale on two
high-backed oaken settles beside the fire. Trim housemaids were
hurrying backwards and forwards under the directions of a fresh
bustling landlady; but still seizing an occasional moment to exchange
a flippant word, and have a rallying laugh with the group round the
fire.

Such is the cheering picture of an old-fashioned inn in days of yore.
No wonder that the writers should have thus lauded these inns! Imagine
yourself on the box-seat of an old coach travelling somewhat slowly
through the night. It is cold and wet, and your fingers are frozen,
and the rain drives pitilessly in your face; and then, when you are
nearly dead with misery, the coach stops at a well-known inn. A
smiling host and buxom hostess greets you; blazing fires thaw you back
to life, and good cheer awaits your appetite. No wonder people loved
an inn and wished to take their ease therein after the dangers and
hardships of the day. Lord Beaconsfield, in his novel _Tancred_,
vividly describes the busy scene at a country hostelry in the busy
coaching days. The host, who is always "smiling," conveys the pleasing
intelligence to the passengers: "'The coach stops here half an hour,
gentlemen: dinner quite ready.' 'Tis a delightful sound. And what a
dinner! What a profusion of substantial delicacies! What mighty and
iris-tinted rounds of beef! What vast and marble-veined ribs! What
gelatinous veal pies! What colossal hams! These are evidently prize
cheeses! And how invigorating is the perfume of those various and
variegated pickles. Then the bustle emulating the plenty; the ringing
of bells, the clash of thoroughfare, the summoning of ubiquitous
waiters, and the all-pervading feeling of omnipotence from the guests,
who order what they please to the landlord, who can produce and
execute everything they can desire. 'Tis a wondrous sight!"

[Illustration: The Shoulder of Mutton Inn, King's Lynn]

And then how picturesque these old inns are, with their swinging
signs, the pump and horse-trough before the door, a towering elm or
poplar overshadowing the inn, and round it and on each side of the
entrance are seats, with rustics sitting on them. The old house has
picturesque gables and a tiled roof mellowed by age, with moss and
lichen growing on it, and the windows are latticed. A porch protects
the door, and over it and up the walls are growing old-fashioned
climbing rose trees. Morland loved to paint the exteriors of inns
quite as much as he did to frequent their interiors, and has left us
many a wondrous drawing of their beauties. The interior is no less
picturesque, with its open ingle-nook, its high-backed settles, its
brick floor, its pots and pans, its pewter and brass utensils. Our
artist has drawn for us many beautiful examples of old inns, which we
shall visit presently and try to learn something of their old-world
charm. He has only just been in time to sketch them, as they are fast
disappearing. It is astonishing how many noted inns in London and the
suburbs have vanished during the last twenty or thirty years.

Let us glance at a few of the great Southwark inns. The old "Tabard,"
from which Chaucer's pilgrims started on their memorable journey, was
destroyed by a great fire in 1676, rebuilt in the old fashion, and
continued until 1875, when it had to make way for a modern "old
Tabard" and some hop merchant's offices. This and many other inns had
galleries running round the yard, or at one end of it, and this yard
was a busy place, frequented not only by travellers in coach or
saddle, but by poor players and mountebanks, who set up their stage
for the entertainment of spectators who hung over the galleries or
from their rooms watched the performance. The model of an inn-yard was
the first germ of theatrical architecture. The "White Hart" in
Southwark retained its galleries on the north and east side of its
yard until 1889, though a modern tavern replaced the south and main
portion of the building in 1865-6. This was a noted inn, bearing as
its sign a badge of Richard II, derived from his mother Joan of Kent.
Jack Cade stayed there while he was trying to capture London, and
another "immortal" flits across the stage, Master Sam Weller, of
_Pickwick_ fame. A galleried inn still remains at Southwark, a great
coaching and carriers' hostel, the "George." It is but a fragment of
its former greatness, and the present building was erected soon after
the fire in 1676, and still retains its picturesqueness.

The glory has passed from most of these London inns. Formerly their
yards resounded with the strains of the merry post-horn, and carriers'
carts were as plentiful as omnibuses now are. In the fine yard of the
"Saracen's Head," Aldgate, you can picture the busy scene, though the
building has ceased to be an inn, and if you wished to travel to
Norwich there you would have found your coach ready for you. The old
"Bell Savage," which derives its name from one Savage who kept the
"Bell on the Hoop," and not from any beautiful girl "La Belle
Sauvage," was a great coaching centre, and so were the "Swan with two
Necks," Lad Lane, the "Spread Eagle" and "Cross Keys" in Gracechurch
Street, the "White Horse," Fetter Lane, and the "Angel," behind St.
Clements. As we do not propose to linger long in London, and prefer
the country towns and villages where relics of old English life
survive, we will hie to one of these noted hostelries, book our seats
on a Phantom coach, and haste away from the great city which has dealt
so mercilessly with its ancient buildings. It is the last few years
which have wrought the mischief. Many of these old inns lingered on
till the 'eighties. Since then their destruction has been rapid, and
the huge caravanserais, the "Cecil," the "Ritz," the "Savoy," and the
"Metropole," have supplanted the old Saracen's Heads, the Bulls, the
Bells, and the Boars that satisfied the needs of our forefathers in a
less luxurious age.

Let us travel first along the old York road, or rather select our
route, going by way of Ware, Tottenham, Edmonton, and Waltham Cross,
Hatfield and Stevenage, or through Barnet, until we arrive at the
Wheat Sheaf Inn on Alconbury Hill, past Little Stukeley, where the two
roads conjoin and "the milestones are numbered agreeably to that
admeasurement," viz. to that from Hicks' Hall through Barnet, as
_Patterson's Roads_ plainly informs us. Along this road you will find
several of the best specimens of old coaching inns in England. The
famous "George" at Huntingdon, the picturesque "Fox and Hounds" at
Ware, the grand old inns at Stilton and Grantham are some of the best
inns on English roads, and pleadingly invite a pleasant pilgrimage. We
might follow in the wake of Dick Turpin, if his ride to York were not
a myth. The real incident on which the story was founded occurred
about the year 1676, long before Turpin was born. One Nicks robbed a
gentleman on Gadshill at four o'clock in the morning, crossed the
river with his _bay_ mare as soon as he could get a ferry-boat at
Gravesend, and then by Braintree, Huntingdon, and other places reached
York that evening, went to the Bowling Green, pointedly asked the
mayor the time, proved an alibi, and got off. This account was
published as a broadside about the time of Turpin's execution, but it
makes no allusion to him whatever. It required the romance of the
nineteenth century to change Nicks to Turpin and the bay mare to Black
Bess. But _revenir a nos moutons_, or rather our inns. The old "Fox
and Hounds" at Ware is beautiful with its swinging sign suspended by
graceful and elaborate ironwork and its dormer windows. The "George"
at Huntingdon preserves its gallery in the inn-yard, its projecting
upper storey, its outdoor settle, and much else that is attractive.
Another "George" greets us at Stamford, an ancient hostelry, where
Charles I stayed during the Civil War when he was journeying from
Newark to Huntingdon.

And then we come to Grantham, famous for its old inns. Foremost among
them is the "Angel," which dates back to medieval times. It has a fine
stone front with two projecting bays, an archway with welcoming doors
on either hand, and above the arch is a beautiful little oriel window,
and carved heads and gargoyles jut out from the stonework. I think
that this charming front was remodelled in Tudor times, and judging
from the interior plaster-work I am of opinion that the bays were
added in the time of Henry VII, the Tudor rose forming part of the
decoration. The arch and gateway with the oriel are the oldest parts
of the front, and on each side of the arch is a sculptured head, one
representing Edward III and the other his queen, Philippa of Hainault.
The house belonged in ancient times to the Knights Templars, where
royal and other distinguished travellers were entertained. King John
is said to have held his court here in 1213, and the old inn witnessed
the passage of the body of Eleanor, the beloved queen of Edward I, as
it was borne to its last resting-place at Westminster. One of the
seven Eleanor crosses stood at Grantham on St. Peter's Hill, but it
shared the fate of many other crosses and was destroyed by the
troopers of Cromwell during the Civil War. The first floor of the
"Angel" was occupied by one long room, wherein royal courts were held.
It is now divided into three separate rooms. In this room Richard III
condemned to execution the Duke of Buckingham, and probably here
stayed Cromwell in the early days of his military career and wrote his
letter concerning the first action that made him famous. We can
imagine the silent troopers assembling in the market-place late in the
evening, and then marching out twelve companies strong to wage an
unequal contest against a large body of Royalists. The Grantham folk
had much to say when the troopers rode back with forty-five prisoners
besides divers horses and arms and colours. The "Angel" must have seen
all this and sighed for peace. Grim troopers paced its corridors, and
its stables were full of tired horses. One owner of the inn at the
beginning of the eighteenth century, though he kept a hostel, liked
not intemperance. His name was Michael Solomon, and he left an annual
charge of 40s. to be paid to the vicar of the parish for preaching a
sermon in the parish church against the sin of drunkenness. The
interior of this ancient hostelry has been modernized and fitted with
the comforts which we modern folk are accustomed to expect.

Across the way is the "Angel's" rival the "George," possibly identical
with the hospitium called "Le George" presented with other property by
Edward IV to his mother, the Duchess of York. It lacks the appearance
of age which clothes the "Angel" with dignity, and was rebuilt with
red brick in the Georgian era. The coaches often called there, and
Charles Dickens stayed the night and describes it as one of the best
inns in England. He tells of Squeers conducting his new pupils through
Grantham to Dotheboys Hall, and how after leaving the inn the luckless
travellers "wrapped themselves more closely in their coats and cloaks
... and prepared with many half-suppressed moans again to encounter
the piercing blasts which swept across the open country." At the
"Saracen's Head" in Westgate Isaac Newton used to stay, and there are
many other inns, the majority of which rejoice in signs that are blue.
We see a Blue Horse, a Blue Dog, a Blue Ram, Blue Lion, Blue Cow, Blue
Sheep, and many other cerulean animals and objects, which proclaim the
political colour of the great landowner. Grantham boasts of a unique
inn-sign. Originally known as the "Bee-hive," a little public-house in
Castlegate has earned the designation of the "Living Sign," on account
of the hive of bees fixed in a tree that guards its portals. Upon the
swinging sign the following lines are inscribed:--

        Stop, traveller, this wondrous sign explore,
        And say when thou hast viewed it o'er and o'er,
        Grantham, now two rarities are thine--
        A lofty steeple and a "Living Sign."

The connexion of the "George" with Charles Dickens reminds one of the
numerous inns immortalized by the great novelist both in and out of
London. The "Golden Cross" at Charing Cross, the "Bull" at Rochester,
the "Belle Sauvage" (now demolished) near Ludgate Hill, the "Angel" at
Bury St. Edmunds, the "Great White Horse" at Ipswich, the "King's
Head" at Chigwell (the original of the "Maypole" in _Barnaby Rudge_),
the "Leather Bottle" at Cobham are only a few of those which he by his
writings made famous.

[Illustration: A Quaint Gable. The Bell Inn, Stilton]

Leaving Grantham and its inns, we push along the great North Road to
Stilton, famous for its cheese, where a choice of inns awaits us--the
"Bell" and the "Angel," that glare at each other across the broad
thoroughfare. In the palmy days of coaching the "Angel" had stabling
for three hundred horses, and it was kept by Mistress Worthington, at
whose door the famous cheeses were sold and hence called Stilton,
though they were made in distant farmsteads and villages. It is quite
a modern-looking inn as compared with the "Bell." You can see a date
inscribed on one of the gables, 1649, but this can only mean that the
inn was restored then, as the style of architecture of "this dream in
stone" shows that it must date back to early Tudor times. It has a
noble swinging sign supported by beautifully designed ornamental
ironwork, gables, bay-windows, a Tudor archway, tiled roof, and a
picturesque courtyard, the silence and dilapidation of which are
strangely contrasted with the continuous bustle, life, and animation
which must have existed there before the era of railways.

Not far away is Southwell, where there is the historic inn the
"Saracen's Head." Here Charles I stayed, and you can see the very room
where he lodged on the left of the entrance-gate. Here it was on May
5th, 1646, that he gave himself up to the Scotch Commissioners, who
wrote to the Parliament from Southwell "that it made them feel like
men in a dream." The "Martyr-King" entered this inn as a sovereign; he
left it a prisoner under the guard of his Lothian escort. Here he
slept his last night of liberty, and as he passed under the archway of
the "Saracen's Head" he started on that fatal journey that terminated
on the scaffold at Whitehall. You can see on the front of the inn over
the gateway a stone lozenge with the royal arms engraved on it with
the date 1693, commemorating this royal melancholy visit. In later
times Lord Byron was a frequent visitor.

On the high, wind-swept road between Ashbourne and Buxton there is an
inn which can defy the attacks of the reformers. It is called the
Newhaven Inn and was built by a Duke of Devonshire for the
accommodation of visitors to Buxton. King George IV was so pleased
with it that he gave the Duke a perpetual licence, with which no
Brewster Sessions can interfere. Near Buxton is the second highest inn
in England, the "Cat and Fiddle," and "The Traveller's Rest" at Flash
Bar, on the Leek road, ranks as third, the highest being the Tan Hill
Inn, near Brough, on the Yorkshire moors.

[Illustration: The Bell Inn, Stilton]

Norwich is a city remarkable for its old buildings and famous inns. A
very ancient inn is the "Maid's Head" at Norwich, a famous hostelry
which can vie in interest with any in the kingdom. Do we not see there
the identical room in which good Queen Bess is said to have reposed on
the occasion of her visit to the city in 1578? You cannot imagine a
more delightful old chamber, with its massive beams, its wide
fifteenth-century fire-place, and its quaint lattice, through which
the moonbeams play upon antique furniture and strange, fantastic
carvings. This oak-panelled room recalls memories of the Orfords,
Walpoles, Howards, Wodehouses, and other distinguished guests whose
names live in England's annals. The old inn was once known as the
Murtel or Molde Fish, and some have tried to connect the change of
name with the visit of Queen Elizabeth; unfortunately for the
conjecture, the inn was known as the Maid's Head long before the days
of Queen Bess. It was built on the site of an old bishop's palace, and
in the cellars may be seen some traces of Norman masonry. One of the
most fruitful sources of information about social life in the
fifteenth century are the _Paston Letters_. In one written by John
Paston in 1472 to "Mestresse Margret Paston," he tells her of the
arrival of a visitor, and continues: "I praye yow make hym goode cheer
... it were best to sette hys horse at the Maydes Hedde, and I shall
be content for ther expenses." During the Civil War this inn was the
rendezvous of the Royalists, but alas! one day Cromwell's soldiers
made an attack on the "Maid's Head," and took for their prize the
horses of Dame Paston stabled here.

We must pass over the records of civic feasts and aldermanic
junketings, which would fill a volume, and seek out the old "Briton's
Arms," in the same city, a thatched building of venerable appearance
with its projecting upper storeys and lofty gable. It looks as if it
may not long survive the march of progress.

The parish of Heigham, now part of the city of Norwich, is noted as
having been the residence of Bishop Hall, "the English Seneca," and
author of the _Meditations_, on his ejection from the bishopric in
1647 till his death in 1656[43] The house in which he resided, now
known as the Dolphin Inn, still stands, and is an interesting
building with its picturesque bays and mullioned windows and
ingeniously devised porch. It has actually been proposed to pull down,
or improve out of existence, this magnificent old house. Its front is
a perfect specimen of flint and stone sixteenth-century architecture.
Over the main door appears an episcopal coat of arms with the date
1587, while higher on the front appears the date of a restoration (in
two bays):--

  [43] It is erroneously styled Bishop Hall's Palace. An episcopal
  palace is the official residence of the bishop in his cathedral
  city. Not even a country seat of a bishop is correctly called a
  palace, much less the residence of a bishop when ejected from his
  see.

[Illustration: The "Briton's Arms," Norwich]

[Illustration: ANNO DOMINI 1615]

Just inside the doorway is a fine Gothic stoup into which bucolic
rustics now knock the fag-ends of their pipes. The staircase newel is
a fine piece of Gothic carving with an embattled moulding, a
poppy-head and heraldic lion. Pillared fire-places and other tokens of
departed greatness testify to the former beauty of this old
dwelling-place.

[Illustration: The Dolphin Inn, Heigham, Norwich]

We will now start back to town by the coach which leaves the "Maid's
Head" (or did leave in 1762) at half-past eleven in the forenoon, and
hope to arrive in London on the following day, and thence hasten
southward to Canterbury. Along this Dover road are some of the best
inns in England: the "Bull" at Dartford, with its galleried courtyard,
once a pilgrims' hostel; the "Bull" and "Victoria" at Rochester,
reminiscent of _Pickwick_; the modern "Crown" that supplants a
venerable inn where Henry VIII first beheld Anne of Cleves; the "White
Hart"; and the "George," where pilgrims stayed; and so on to
Canterbury, a city of memories, which happily retains many features of
old English life that have not altogether vanished. Its grand
cathedral, its churches, St. Augustine's College, its quaint streets,
like Butchery Lane, with their houses bending forward in a friendly
manner to almost meet each other, as well as its old inns, like the
"Falstaff" in High Street, near West Gate, standing on the site of a
pilgrims' inn, with its sign showing the valiant and portly knight,
and supported by elaborate ironwork, its tiled roof and picturesque
front, all combine to make Canterbury as charming a place of modern
pilgrimage as it was attractive to the pilgrims of another sort who
frequented its inns in days of yore.

[Illustration: Shield and Monogram on doorway of the Dolphin Inn,
Heigham]

[Illustration: Staircase Newel at the Dolphin Inn. From _Old Oak
Furniture_, by Fred Roe]

And now we will discard the cumbersome old coaches and even the
"Flying Machines," and travel by another flying machine, an airship,
landing where we will, wherever a pleasing inn attracts us. At
Glastonbury is the famous "George," which has hardly changed its
exterior since it was built by Abbot Selwood in 1475 for the
accommodation of middle-class pilgrims, those of high degree being
entertained at the abbot's lodgings. At Gloucester we find ourselves
in the midst of memories of Roman, Saxon, and monastic days. Here too
are some famous inns, especially the quaint "New Inn," in Northgate
Street, a somewhat peculiar sign for a hostelry built (so it is said)
for the use of pilgrims frequenting the shrine of Edward II in the
cathedral. It retains all its ancient medieval picturesqueness. Here
the old gallery which surrounded most of our inn-yards remains. Carved
beams and door-posts made of chestnut are seen everywhere, and at the
corner of New Inn Lane is a very elaborate sculpture, the lower part
of which represents the Virgin and Holy Child. Here, in Hare Lane, is
also a similar inn, the Old Raven Tavern, which has suffered much in
the course of ages. It was formerly built around a courtyard, but only
one side of it is left.

[Illustration: The Falstaff Inn, Canterbury]

There are many fine examples of old houses that are not inns in
Gloucester, beautiful half-timbered black and white structures, such
as Robert Raikes's house, the printer who has the credit of founding
the first Sunday-school, the old Judges' House in Westgate Street, the
old Deanery with its Norman room, once the Prior's Lodge of the
Benedictine Abbey. Behind many a modern front there exist curious
carvings and quaintly panelled rooms and elaborate ceilings. There is
an interesting carved-panel room in the Tudor House, Westgate Street.
The panels are of the linen-fold pattern, and at the head of each are
various designs, such as the Tudor Rose and Pomegranate, the Lion of
England, etc. The house originally known as the Old Blue Shop has some
magnificent mantelpieces, and also St. Nicholas House can boast of a
very elaborately carved example of Elizabethan sculpture.

We journey thence to Tewkesbury and visit the grand silver-grey abbey
that adorns the Severn banks. Here are some good inns of great
antiquity. The "Wheat-sheaf" is perhaps the most attractive, with its
curious gable and ancient lights, and even the interior is not much
altered. Here too is the "Bell," under the shadow of the abbey tower.
It is the original of Phineas Fletcher's house in the novel _John
Halifax, Gentleman_. The "Bear and the Ragged Staff" is another
half-timbered house with a straggling array of buildings and curious
swinging signboard, the favourite haunt of the disciples of Izaak
Walton, under the overhanging eaves of which the Avon silently flows.

The old "Seven Stars" at Manchester is said to be the most ancient in
England, claiming a licence 563 years old. But it has many rivals,
such as the "Fighting Cocks" at St. Albans, the "Dick Whittington" in
Cloth Fair, St. Bartholomews, the "Running Horse" at Leatherhead,
wherein John Skelton, the poet laureate of Henry VIII, sang the
praises of its landlady, Eleanor Rumming, and several others. The
"Seven Stars" has many interesting features and historical
associations. Here came Guy Fawkes and concealed himself in "Ye Guy
Faux Chamber," as the legend over the door testifies. What strange
stories could this old inn tell us! It could tell us of the Flemish
weavers who, driven from their own country by religious persecutions
and the atrocities of Duke Alva, settled in Manchester in 1564, and
drank many a cup of sack at the "Seven Stars," rejoicing in their
safety. It could tell us of the disputes between the clergy of the
collegiate church and the citizens in 1574, when one of the preachers,
a bachelor of divinity, on his way to the church was stabbed three
times by the dagger of a Manchester man; and of the execution of three
popish priests, whose heads were afterwards exposed from the tower of
the church. Then there is the story of the famous siege in 1642, when
the King's forces tried to take the town and were repulsed by the
townsfolk, who were staunch Roundheads. "A great and furious skirmish
did ensue," and the "Seven Stars" was in the centre of the fighting.
Sir Thomas Fairfax made Manchester his head-quarters in 1643, and the
walls of the "Seven Stars" echoed with the carousals of the
Roundheads. When Fairfax marched from Manchester to relieve Nantwich,
some dragoons had to leave hurriedly, and secreted their mess plate in
the walls of the old inn, where it was discovered only a few years
ago, and may now be seen in the parlour of this interesting hostel. In
1745 it furnished accommodation for the soldiers of Prince Charles
Edward, the Young Pretender, and was the head-quarters of the
Manchester regiment. One of the rooms is called "Ye Vestry," on
account of its connexion with the collegiate church. It is said that
there was a secret passage between the inn and the church, and,
according to the Court Leet Records, some of the clergy used to go to
the "Seven Stars" in sermon-time in their surplices to refresh
themselves. _O tempora!_ _O mores!_ A horseshoe at the foot of the
stairs has a story to tell. During the war with France in 1805 the
press-gang was billeted at the "Seven Stars." A young farmer's lad was
leading a horse to be shod which had cast a shoe. The press-gang
rushed out, seized the young man, and led him off to serve the king.
Before leaving he nailed the shoe to a post on the stairs, saying,
"Let this stay till I come from the wars to claim it." So it remains
to this day unclaimed, a mute reminder of its owner's fate and of the
manners of our forefathers.

[Illustration: The Bear and Ragged Staff Inn, Tewkesbury]

Another inn, the "Fighting Cocks" at St. Albans, formerly known as "Ye
Old Round House," close to the River Ver, claims to be the oldest
inhabited house in England. It probably formed part of the monastic
buildings, but its antiquity as an inn is not, as far as I am aware,
fully established.

The antiquary must not forget the ancient inn at Bainbridge, in
Wensleydale, which has had its licence since 1445, and plays its
little part in _Drunken Barnaby's Journal_.

[Illustration: Fire-place in the George Inn, Norton St. Philip,
Somerset]

Many inns have played an important part in national events. There is
the "Bull" at Coventry, where Henry VII stayed before the battle of
Bosworth Field, where he won for himself the English crown. There Mary
Queen of Scots was detained by order of Elizabeth. There the
conspirators of the Gunpowder Plot met to devise their scheme for
blowing up the Houses of Parliament. The George Inn at Norton St.
Philip, Somerset, took part in the Monmouth rebellion. There the Duke
stayed, and there was much excitement in the inn when he informed his
officers that it was his intention to attack Bristol. Thence he
marched with his rude levies to Keynsham, and after a defeat and a
vain visit to Bath he returned to the "George" and won a victory over
Faversham's advanced guard. You can still see the Monmouth room in the
inn with its fine fire-place.

The Crown and Treaty Inn at Uxbridge reminds one of the meeting of the
Commissioners of King and Parliament, who vainly tried to arrange a
peace in 1645; and at the "Bear," Hungerford, William of Orange
received the Commissioners of James II, and set out thence on his
march towards London and the English throne.

The Dark Lantern Inn at Aylesbury, in a nest of poor houses, seems to
tell by its unique sign of plots and conspiracies.

Aylesbury is noted for its inns. The famous "White Hart" is no more.
It has vanished entirely, having disappeared in 1863. It had been
modernized, but could boast of a timber balcony round the courtyard,
ornamented with ancient wood carvings brought from Salden House, an
old seat of the Fortescues, near Winslow. Part of the inn was built by
the Earl of Rochester in 1663, and many were the great feasts and
civic banquets that took place within its hospitable doors. The
"King's Head" dates from the middle of the fifteenth century and is a
good specimen of the domestic architecture of the Tudor period. It
formerly issued its own tokens. It was probably the hall of some guild
or fraternity. In a large window are the arms of England and Anjou.
The George Inn has some interesting paintings which were probably
brought from Eythrope House on its demolition in 1810, and the "Bull's
Head" has some fine beams and panelling.

[Illustration: The Green Dragon Inn, Wymondham, Norfolk]

Some of the inns of Burford and Shrewsbury we have seen when we
visited those old-world towns. Wymondham, once famous for its abbey,
is noted for its "Green Dragon," a beautiful half-timbered house with
projecting storeys, and in our wanderings we must not forget to see
along the Brighton road the picturesque "Star" at Alfriston with its
three oriel windows, one of the oldest in Sussex. It was once a
sanctuary within the jurisdiction of the Abbot of Battle for persons
flying from justice. Hither came men-slayers, thieves, and rogues of
every description, and if they reached this inn-door they were safe.
There is a record of a horse-thief named Birrel in the days of Henry
VIII seeking refuge here for a crime committed at Lydd, in Kent. It
was intended originally as a house for the refreshment of mendicant
friars. The house is very quaint with its curious carvings, including
a great red lion that guards the side, the figure-head of a wrecked
Dutch vessel lost in Cuckmen Haven. Alfriston was noted as a great
nest of smugglers, and the "Star" was often frequented by Stanton
Collins and his gang, who struck terror into their neighbours,
daringly carried on their trade, and drank deep at the inn when the
kegs were safely housed. Only fourteen years ago the last of his gang
died in Eastbourne Workhouse. Smuggling is a vanished profession
nowadays, a feature of vanished England that no one would seek to
revive. Who can tell whether it may not be as prevalent as ever it
was, if tariff reform and the imposition of heavy taxes on imports
become articles of our political creed?

[Illustration: The Star Inn, Afriston Sussex. Fred Roe, 16 Sep 97]

Many of the inns once famous in the annals of the road have now
"retired from business" and have taken down their signs. The First and
Last Inn, at Croscombe, Somerset, was once a noted coaching hostel,
but since coaches ceased to run it was not wanted and has closed its
doors to the public. Small towns like Hounslow, Wycombe, and Ashbourne
were full of important inns which, being no longer required for the
accommodation of travellers, have retired from work and converted
themselves into private houses. Small villages like Little Brickhill,
which happened to be a stage, abounded with hostels which the ending
of the coaching age made unnecessary. The Castle Inn at Marlborough,
once one of the finest in England, is now part of a great public
school. The house has a noted history. It was once a nobleman's
mansion, being the home of Frances Countess of Hereford, the patron of
Thomson, and then of the Duke of Northumberland, who leased it to Mr.
Cotterell for the purpose of an inn. Crowds of distinguished folk have
thronged its rooms and corridors, including the great Lord Chatham,
who was laid up here with an attack of gout for seven weeks in 1762
and made all the inn-servants wear his livery. Mr. Stanley Weyman has
made it the scene of one of his charming romances. It was not until
1843 that it took down its sign, and has since patiently listened to
the conjugation of Greek and Latin verbs, to classic lore, and other
studies which have made Marlborough College one of the great and
successful public schools. Another great inn was the fine Georgian
house near one of the entrances to Kedleston Park, built by Lord
Scarsdale for visitors to the medicinal waters in his park. But these
waters have now ceased to cure the mildest invalid, and the inn is now
a large farm-house with vast stables and barns.

It seems as if something of the foundations of history were crumbling
to read that the "Star and Garter" at Richmond is to be sold at
auction. That is a melancholy fate for perhaps the most famous inn in
the country--a place at which princes and statesmen have stayed, and
to which Louis Philippe and his Queen resorted. The "Star and Garter"
has figured in the romances of some of our greatest novelists. One
comes across it in Meredith and Thackeray, and it finds its way into
numerous memoirs, nearly always with some comment upon its unique
beauty of situation, a beauty that was never more real than at this
moment when the spring foliage is just beginning to peep.

The motor and changing habits account for the evil days upon which the
hostelry has fallen. Trains and trams have brought to the doors almost
of the "Star and Garter" a public that has not the means to make use
of its 120 bedrooms. The richer patrons of other days flash past on
their motors, making for those resorts higher up the river which are
filling the place in the economy of the London Sunday and week-end
which Richmond occupied in times when travelling was more difficult.
These changes are inevitable. The "Ship" at Greenwich has gone, and
Cabinet Ministers can no longer dine there. The convalescent home,
which was the undoing of certain Poplar Guardians, is housed in an
hotel as famous as the "Ship," in its days once the resort of Pitt and
his bosom friends. Indeed, a pathetic history might be written of the
famous hostelries of the past.

Not far from Marlborough is Devizes, formerly a great coaching centre,
and full of inns, of which the most noted is the "Bear," still a
thriving hostel, once the home of the great artist Sir Thomas
Lawrence, whose father was the landlord.

[Illustration: Courtyard of the George Inn, Norton St. Philip
Somerset]

It is impossible within one chapter to record all the old inns of
England, we have still a vast number left unchronicled, but perhaps a
sufficient number of examples has been given of this important feature
of vanishing England. Some of these are old and crumbling, and may die
of old age. Others will fall a prey to licensing committees. Some have
been left high and dry, deserted by the stream of guests that flowed
to them in the old coaching days. Motor-cars have resuscitated some
and brought prosperity and life to the old guest-haunted chambers. We
cannot dwell on the curious signs that greet us as we travel along the
old highways, or strive to interpret their origin and meaning. We are
rather fond in Berkshire of the "Five Alls," the interpretation of
which is cryptic. The Five Alls are, if I remember right--

        "I rule all" [the king].
        "I pray for all" [the bishop].
        "I plead for all" [the barrister].
        "I fight for all" [the soldier].
        "I pay for all" [the farmer].

One of the most humorous inn signs is "The Man Loaded with Mischief,"
which is found about a mile from Cambridge, on the Madingley road. The
original Mischief was designed by Hogarth for a public-house in Oxford
Street. It is needless to say that the signboard, and even the name,
have long ago disappeared from the busy London thoroughfare, but the
quaint device must have been extensively copied by country
sign-painters. There is a "Mischief" at Wallingford, and a "Load of
Mischief" at Norwich, and another at Blewbury. The inn on the
Madingley road exhibits the sign in its original form. Though the
colours are much faded from exposure to the weather, traces of
Hogarthian humour can be detected. A man is staggering under the
weight of a woman, who is on his back. She is holding a glass of gin
in her hand; a chain and padlock are round the man's neck, labelled
"Wedlock." On the right-hand side is the shop of "S. Gripe,
Pawnbroker," and a carpenter is just going in to pledge his tools.

[Illustration: "The Dark Lantern" Inn, Aylesbury 16 Aug 1902]

The art of painting signboards is almost lost, and when they have to
be renewed sorry attempts are made to imitate the old designs. Some
celebrated artists have not thought it below their dignity to paint
signboards. Some have done this to show their gratitude to their
kindly host and hostess for favours received when they sojourned at
inns during their sketching expeditions. The "George" at Wargrave has
a sign painted by the distinguished painters Mr. George Leslie, R.A.,
and Mr. Broughton, R.A., who, when staying at the inn, kindly painted
the sign, which is hung carefully within doors that it may not be
exposed to the mists and rains of the Thames valley. St. George is
sallying forth to slay the dragon on the one side, and on the reverse
he is refreshing himself with a tankard of ale after his labours. Not
a few artists in the early stages of their career have paid their
bills at inns by painting for the landlord. Morland was always in
difficulties and adorned many a signboard, and the art of David Cox,
Herring, and Sir William Beechey has been displayed in this homely
fashion. David Cox's painting of the Royal Oak at Bettws-y-Coed was
the subject of prolonged litigation, the sign being valued at L1000,
the case being carried to the House of Lords, and there decided in
favour of the freeholder.

Sometimes strange notices appear in inns. The following rather
remarkable one was seen by our artist at the "County Arms," Stone,
near Aylesbury:--

  "A man is specially engaged to do all the cursing and swearing
  that is required in this establishment. A dog is also kept to do
  all the barking. Our prize-fighter and chucker-out has won
  seventy-five prize-fights and has never been beaten, and is a
  splendid shot with the revolver. An undertaker calls here for
  orders every morning."

Motor-cars have somewhat revived the life of the old inns on the great
coaching roads, but it is only the larger and more important ones
that have been aroused into a semblance of their old life. The cars
disdain the smaller establishments, and run such long distances that
only a few houses along the road derive much benefit from them. For
many their days are numbered, and it may be useful to describe them
before, like four-wheelers and hansom-cabs, they have quite vanished
away.

[Illustration: Spandril. The Marquis of Granby Inn, Colchester]




CHAPTER XI

OLD MUNICIPAL BUILDINGS


No class of buildings has suffered more than the old town halls of our
country boroughs. Many of these towns have become decayed and all
their ancient glories have departed. They were once flourishing places
in the palmy days of the cloth trade, and could boast of fairs and
markets and a considerable number of inhabitants and wealthy
merchants; but the tide of trade has flowed elsewhere. The invention
of steam and complex machinery necessitating proximity to coal-fields
has turned its course elsewhere, to the smoky regions of Yorkshire and
Lancashire, and the old town has lost its prosperity and its power.
Its charter has gone; it can boast of no municipal corporation; hence
the town hall is scarcely needed save for some itinerant Thespians, an
occasional public meeting, or as a storehouse of rubbish. It begins to
fall into decay, and the decayed town is not rich enough, or
public-spirited enough, to prop its weakened timbers. For the sake of
the safety of the public it has to come down.

On the other hand, an influx of prosperity often dooms the aged town
hall to destruction. It vanishes before a wave of prosperity. The
borough has enlarged its borders. It has become quite a great town and
transacts much business. The old shops have given place to grand
emporiums with large plate-glass windows, wherein are exhibited the
most recent fashions of London and Paris, and motor-cars can be
bought, and all is very brisk and up-to-date. The old town hall is now
deemed a very poor and inadequate building. It is small, inconvenient,
and unsuited to the taste of the municipal councillors, whose ideas
have expanded with their trade. The Mayor and Corporation meet, and
decide to build a brand-new town hall replete with every luxury and
convenience. The old must vanish.

And yet, how picturesque these ancient council chambers are. They
usually stand in the centre of the market-place, and have an
undercroft, the upper storey resting on pillars. Beneath this shelter
the market women display their wares and fix their stalls on market
days, and there you will perhaps see the fire-engine, at least the old
primitive one which was in use before a grand steam fire-engine had
been purchased and housed in a station of its own. The building has
high pointed gables and mullioned windows, a tiled roof mellowed with
age, and a finely wrought vane, which is a credit to the skill of the
local blacksmith. It is a sad pity that this "thing of beauty" should
have to be pulled down and be replaced by a modern building which is
not always creditable to the architectural taste of the age. A law
should be passed that no old town halls should be pulled down, and
that all new ones should be erected on a different site. No more
fitting place could be found for the storage of the antiquities of the
town, the relics of its old municipal life, sketches of its old
buildings that have vanished, and portraits of its worthies, than the
ancient building which has for so long kept watch and ward over its
destinies and been the scene of most of the chief events connected
with its history.

Happily several have been spared, and they speak to us of the old
methods of municipal government; of the merchant guilds, composed of
rich merchants and clothiers, who met therein to transact their common
business. The guild hall was the centre of the trade of the town and
of its social and commercial life. An amazing amount of business was
transacted therein. If you study the records of any ancient borough
you will discover that the pulse of life beat fast in the old guild
hall. There the merchants met to talk over their affairs and "drink
their guild." There the Mayor came with the Recorder or "Stiward" to
hold his courts and to issue all "processes as attachementes, summons,
distresses, precepts, warantes, subsideas, recognissaunces, etc." The
guild hall was like a living thing. It held property, had a treasury,
received the payments of freemen, levied fines on "foreigners" who
were "not of the guild," administered justice, settled quarrels
between the brethren of the guild, made loans to merchants, heard the
complaints of the aggrieved, held feasts, promoted loyalty to the
sovereign, and insisted strongly on every burgess that he should do
his best to promote the "comyn weele and prophite of ye saide gylde."
It required loyalty and secrecy from the members of the common council
assembled within its walls, and no one was allowed to disclose to the
public its decisions and decrees. This guild hall was a living thing.
Like the Brook it sang:--

        "Men may come and men may go,
        But I flow on for ever."

Mayor succeeded mayor, and burgess followed burgess, but the old guild
hall lived on, the central mainspring of the borough's life. Therein
were stored the archives of the town, the charters won, bargained for,
and granted by kings and queens, which gave them privileges of trade,
authority to hold fairs and markets, liberty to convey and sell their
goods in other towns. Therein were preserved the civic plate, the
maces that gave dignity to their proceedings, the cups bestowed by
royal or noble personages or by the affluent members of the guild in
token of their affection for their town and fellowship. Therein they
assembled to don their robes to march in procession to the town church
to hear Mass, or in later times a sermon, and then refreshed
themselves with a feast at the charge of the hall. The portraits of
the worthies of the town, of royal and distinguished patrons, adorned
the walls, and the old guild hall preached daily lessons to the
townsfolk to uphold the dignity and promote the welfare of the
borough, and good feeling and the sense of brotherhood among
themselves.

[Illustration: The Town Hall, Shrewsbury]

We give an illustration of the town hall of Shrewsbury, a notable
building and well worthy of study as a specimen of a municipal
building erected at the close of the sixteenth century. The style is
that of the Renaissance with the usual mixture of debased Gothic and
classic details, but the general effect is imposing; the arches and
parapet are especially characteristic. An inscription over the arch at
the north end records:--

  "The xv^{th} day of June was this building begonne, William Jones
  and Thomas Charlton, Gent, then Bailiffes, and was erected and
  covered in their time, 1595."

A full description of this building is given in Canon Auden's history
of the town. He states that "under the clock is the statue of Richard
Duke of York, father of Edward IV, which was removed from the old
Welsh Bridge at its demolition in 1791. This is flanked by an
inscription recording this fact on the one side, and on the other by
the three leopards' heads which are the arms of the town. On the other
end of the building is a sun-dial, and also a sculptured angel holding
a shield on which are the arms of England and France. This was removed
from the gate of the town, which stood at the foot of the castle, on
its demolition in 1825. The principal entrance is on the west, and
over this are the arms of Queen Elizabeth and the date 1596. It will
be noticed that one of the supporters is not the unicorn, but the red
dragon of Wales. The interior is now partly devoted to various
municipal offices, and partly used as the Mayor's Court, the roof of
which still retains its old character." It was formerly known as the
Old Market Hall, but the business of the market has been transferred
to the huge but tasteless building of brick erected at the top of
Mardol in 1869, the erection of which caused the destruction of
several picturesque old houses which can ill be spared.

Cirencester possesses a magnificent town hall, a stately
Perpendicular building, which stands out well against the noble church
tower of the same period. It has a gateway flanked by buttresses and
arcades on each side and two upper storeys with pierced battlements at
the top which are adorned with richly floriated pinnacles. A great
charm of the building are the three oriel windows extending from the
top of the ground-floor division to the foot of the battlements. The
surface of the wall of the facade is cut into panels, and niches for
statues adorn the faces of the four buttresses. The whole forms a most
elaborate piece of Perpendicular work of unusual character. We
understand that it needs repair and is in some danger. The aid of the
Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings has been called in,
and their report has been sent to the civic authorities, who will, we
hope, adopt their recommendations and deal kindly and tenderly with
this most interesting structure.

Another famous guild hall is in danger, that at Norwich. It has even
been suggested that it should be pulled down and a new one erected,
but happily this wild scheme has been abandoned. Old buildings like
not new inventions, just as old people fear to cross the road lest
they should be run over by a motor-car. Norwich Guildhall does not
approve of electric tram-cars, which run close to its north side and
cause its old bones to vibrate in a most uncomfortable fashion. You
can perceive how much it objects to these horrid cars by feeling the
vibration of the walls when you are standing on the level of the
street or on the parapet. You will not therefore be surprised to find
ominous cracks in the old walls, and the roof is none too safe, the
large span having tried severely the strength of the old oak beams. It
is a very ancient building, the crypt under the east end, vaulted in
brickwork, probably dating from the thirteenth century, while the main
building was erected in the fifteenth century. The walls are well
built, three feet in thickness, and constructed of uncut flints; the
east end is enriched with diaper-work in chequers of stone and knapped
flint. Some new buildings have been added on the south side within
the last century. There is a clock turret at the east end, erected in
1850 at the cost of the then Mayor. Evidently the roof was giving the
citizens anxiety at that time, as the good donor presented the clock
tower on condition that the roof of the council chamber should be
repaired. This famous old building has witnessed many strange scenes,
such as the burning of old dames who were supposed to be witches, the
execution of criminals and conspirators, the savage conflicts of
citizens and soldiers in days of rioting and unrest. These good
citizens of Norwich used to add considerably to the excitement of the
place by their turbulence and eagerness for fighting. The crypt of the
Town Hall is just old enough to have heard of the burning of the
cathedral and monastery by the citizens in 1272, and to have seen the
ringleaders executed. Often was there fighting in the city, and this
same old building witnessed in 1549 a great riot, chiefly directed
against the religious reforms and change of worship introduced by the
first Prayer Book of Edward VI. It was rather amusing to see Parker,
afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, addressing the rioters from a
platform, under which stood the spearmen of Kett, the leader of the
riot, who took delight in pricking the feet of the orator with their
spears as he poured forth his impassioned eloquence. In an important
city like Norwich the guild hall has played an important part in the
making of England, and is worthy in its old age of the tenderest and
most reverent treatment, and even of the removal from its proximity of
the objectionable electric tram-cars.

As we are at Norwich it would be well to visit another old house,
which though not a municipal building, is a unique specimen of the
domestic architecture of a Norwich citizen in days when, as Dr. Jessop
remarks, "there was no coal to burn in the grate, no gas to enlighten
the darkness of the night, no potatoes to eat, no tea to drink, and
when men believed that the sun moved round the earth once in 365
days, and would have been ready to burn the culprit who should dare to
maintain the contrary." It is called Strangers' Hall, a most
interesting medieval mansion which had never ceased to be an inhabited
house for at least 500 years, till it was purchased in 1899 by Mr.
Leonard Bolingbroke, who rescued it from decay, and permits the public
to inspect its beauties. The crypt and cellars, and possibly the
kitchen and buttery, were portions of the original house owned in 1358
by Robert Herdegrey, Burgess in Parliament and Bailiff of the City,
and the present hall, with its groined porch and oriel window, was
erected later over the original fourteenth-century cellars. It was
inhabited by a succession of merchants and chief men of Norwich, and
at the beginning of the sixteenth century passed into the family of
Sotherton. The merchant's mark of Nicholas Sotherton is painted on the
roof of the hall. You can see this fine hall with its screen and
gallery and beautifully-carved woodwork. The present Jacobean
staircase and gallery, big oak window, and doorways leading into the
garden are later additions made by Francis Cook, grocer of Norwich,
who was mayor of the city in 1627. The house probably took its name
from the family of Le Strange, who settled in Norwich in the sixteenth
century. In 1610 the Sothertons conveyed the property to Sir le
Strange Mordant, who sold it to the above-mentioned Francis Cook. Sir
Joseph Paine came into possession just before the Restoration, and we
see his initials, with those of his wife Emma, and the date 1659, in
the spandrels of the fire-places in some of the rooms. This beautiful
memorial of the merchant princes of Norwich, like many other old
houses, fell into decay. It is most pleasant to find that it has now
fallen into such tender hands, that its old timbers have been saved
and preserved by the generous care of its present owner, who has thus
earned the gratitude of all who love antiquity.

Sometimes buildings erected for quite different purposes have been
used as guild halls. There was one at Reading, a guild hall near the
holy brook in which the women washed their clothes, and made so much
noise by "beating their battledores" (the usual style of washing in
those days) that the mayor and his worthy brethren were often
disturbed in their deliberations, so they petitioned the King to grant
them the use of the deserted church of the Greyfriars' Monastery
lately dissolved in the town. This request was granted, and in the
place where the friars sang their services and preached, the mayor and
burgesses "drank their guild" and held their banquets. When they got
tired of that building they filched part of the old grammar school
from the boys, making an upper storey, wherein they held their council
meetings. The old church then was turned into a prison, but now
happily it is a church again. At last the corporation had a town hall
of their own, which they decorated with the initials S.P.Q.R., Romanus
and Readingensis conveniently beginning with the same letter. Now they
have a grand new town hall, which provides every accommodation for
this growing town.

[Illustration: The Greenland Fishery House, King's Lynn. An old Guild
House of the time of James I]

The Newbury town hall, a Georgian structure, has just been demolished.
It was erected in 1740-1742, taking the place of an ancient and
interesting guild hall built in 1611 in the centre of the
market-place. The councillors were startled one day by the collapse of
the ceiling of the hall, and when we last saw the chamber tons of
heavy plaster were lying on the floor. The roof was unsound; the
adjoining street too narrow for the hundred motors that raced past the
dangerous corners in twenty minutes on the day of the Newbury races;
so there was no help for the old building; its fate was sealed, and it
was bound to come down. But the town possesses a very charming Cloth
Hall, which tells of the palmy days of the Newbury cloth-makers, or
clothiers, as they were called; of Jack of Newbury, the famous John
Winchcombe, or Smallwoode, whose story is told in Deloney's humorous
old black-letter pamphlet, entitled _The Most Pleasant and Delectable
Historie of John Winchcombe, otherwise called Jacke of Newberie_,
published in 1596. He is said to have furnished one hundred men
fully equipped for the King's service at Flodden Field, and mightily
pleased Queen Catherine, who gave him a "riche chain of gold," and
wished that God would give the King many such clothiers. You can see
part of the house of this worthy, who died in 1519. Fuller stated in
the seventeenth century that this brick and timber residence had been
converted into sixteen clothiers' houses. It is now partly occupied by
the Jack of Newbury Inn. A fifteenth-century gable with an oriel
window and carved barge-board still remains, and you can see a massive
stone chimney-piece in one of the original chambers where Jack used to
sit and receive his friends. Some carvings also have been discovered
in an old house showing what is thought to be a carved portrait of the
clothier. It bears the initials J.W., and another panel has a raised
shield suspended by strap and buckle with a monogram I.S., presumably
John Smallwoode. He was married twice, and the portrait busts on each
side are supposed to represent his two wives. Another carving
represents the Blessed Trinity under the figure of a single head with
three faces within a wreath of oak-leaves with floriated
spandrels.[44] We should like to pursue the subject of these Newbury
clothiers and see Thomas Dolman's house, which is so fine and large
and cost so much money that his workpeople used to sing a doggerel
ditty:--

  Lord have mercy upon us miserable sinners,
  Thomas Dolman has built a new house and turned away all his spinners.

  [44] _History of Newbury_, by Walter Money, F.S.A.

The old Cloth Hall which has led to this digression has been recently
restored, and is now a museum.

The ancient town of Wallingford, famous for its castle, had a guild
hall with selds under it, the earliest mention of which dates back to
the reign of Edward II, and occurs constantly as the place wherein the
burghmotes were held. The present town hall was erected in 1670--a
picturesque building on stone pillars. This open space beneath the
town hall was formerly used as a corn-market, and so continued until
the present corn-exchange was erected half a century ago. The slated
roof is gracefully curved, is crowned by a good vane, and a neat
dormer window juts out on the side facing the market-place. Below this
is a large Renaissance window opening on to a balcony whence orators
can address the crowds assembled in the market-place at election
times. The walls of the hall are hung with portraits of the worthies
and benefactors of the town, including one of Archbishop Laud. A
mayor's feast was, before the passing of the Municipal Corporations
Act, a great occasion in most of our boroughs, the expenses of which
were defrayed by the rates. The upper chamber in the Wallingford town
hall was formerly a kitchen, with a huge fire-place, where mighty
joints and fat capons were roasted for the banquet. Outside you can
see a ring of light-coloured stones, called the bull-ring, where
bulls, provided at the cost of the Corporation, were baited. Until
1840 our Berkshire town of Wokingham was famous for its annual
bull-baiting on St. Thomas's Day. A good man, one George Staverton,
was once gored by a bull; so he vented his rage upon the whole bovine
race, and left a charity for the providing of bulls to be baited on
the festival of this saint, the meat afterwards to be given to the
poor of the town. The meat is still distributed, but the bulls are no
longer baited. Here at Wokingham there was a picturesque old town hall
with an open undercroft, supported on pillars; but the townsfolk must
needs pull it down and erect an unsightly brick building in its stead.
It contains some interesting portraits of royal and distinguished folk
dating from the time of Charles I, but how the town became possessed
of these paintings no man knoweth.

Another of our Berkshire towns can boast of a fine town hall that has
not been pulled down like so many of its fellows. It is not so old as
some, but is in itself a memorial of some vandalism, as it occupies
the site of the old Market Cross, a thing of rare beauty, beautifully
carved and erected in Mary's reign, but ruthlessly destroyed by Waller
and his troopers during the Civil War period. Upon the ground on which
it stood thirty-four years later--in 1677--the Abingdon folk reared
their fine town hall; its style resembles that of Inigo Jones, and it
has an open undercroft--a kindly shelter from the weather for market
women. Tall and graceful it dominates the market-place, and it is
crowned with a pretty cupola and a fine vane. You can find a still
more interesting hall in the town, part of the old abbey, the gateway
with its adjoining rooms, now used as the County Hall, and there you
will see as fine a collection of plate and as choice an array of royal
portraits as ever fell to the lot of a provincial county town. One of
these is a Gainsborough. One of the reasons why Abingdon has such a
good store of silver plate is that according to their charter the
Corporation has to pay a small sum yearly to their High Stewards, and
these gentlemen--the Bowyers of Radley and the Earls of Abingdon--have
been accustomed to restore their fees to the town in the shape of a
gift of plate.

We might proceed to examine many other of these interesting buildings,
but a volume would be needed for the purpose of recording them all.
Too many of the ancient ones have disappeared and their places taken
by modern, unsightly, though more convenient buildings. We may mention
the salvage of the old market-house at Winster, in Derbyshire, which
has been rescued by that admirable National Trust for Places of
Historic Interest or Natural Beauty, which descends like an angel of
mercy on many a threatened and abandoned building and preserves it for
future generations. The Winster market-house is of great age; the
lower part is doubtless as old as the thirteenth century, and the
upper part was added in the seventeenth. Winster was at one time an
important place; its markets were famous, and this building must for
very many years have been the centre of the commercial life of a large
district. But as the market has diminished in importance, the old
market-house has fallen out of repair, and its condition has caused
anxiety to antiquaries for some time past. Local help has been
forthcoming under the auspices of the National Trust, in which it is
now vested for future preservation.

[Illustration: The Market House, Wymondham, Norfolk]

Though not a town hall, we may here record the saving of a very
interesting old building, the Palace Gatehouse at Maidstone, the
entire demolition of which was proposed. It is part of the old
residence of the Archbishops of Canterbury, near the Perpendicular
church of All Saints, on the banks of the Medway, whose house at
Maidstone added dignity to the town and helped to make it the
important place it was. The Palace was originally the residence of the
Rector of Maidstone, but was given up in the thirteenth century to the
Archbishop. The oldest part of the existing building is at the north
end, where some fifteenth-century windows remain. Some of the rooms
have good old panelling and open stone fire-places of the
fifteenth-century date. But decay has fallen on the old building. Ivy
is allowed to grow over it unchecked, its main stems clinging to the
walls and disturbing the stones. Wet has begun to soak into the walls
through the decayed stone sills. Happily the gatehouse has been saved,
and we doubt not that the enlightened Town Council will do its best to
preserve this interesting building from further decay.

The finest Early Renaissance municipal building is the picturesque
guild hall at Exeter, with its richly ornamented front projecting over
the pavement and carried on arches. The market-house at Rothwell is a
beautifully designed building erected by Sir Thomas Tresham in 1577.
Being a Recusant, he was much persecuted for his religion, and never
succeeded in finishing the work. We give an illustration of the quaint
little market-house at Wymondham, with its open space beneath, and the
upper storey supported by stout posts and brackets. It is entirely
built of timber and plaster. Stout posts support the upper floor,
beneath which is a covered market. The upper chamber is reached by a
quaint rude wooden staircase. Chipping Campden can boast of a handsome
oblong market-house, built of stone, having five arches with three
gables on the long sides, and two arches with gables over each on the
short sides. There are mullioned windows under each gable.

[Illustration: Guild Mark and Date on doorway, Burford, Oxon]

The city of Salisbury could at one time boast of several halls of the
old guilds which flourished there. There was a charming island of old
houses near the cattle-market, which have all disappeared. They were
most picturesque and interesting buildings, and we regret to have to
record that new half-timbered structures have been erected in their
place with sham beams, and boards nailed on to the walls to represent
beams, one of the monstrosities of modern architectural art. The old
Joiners' Hall has happily been saved by the National Trust. It has a
very attractive sixteenth-century facade, though the interior has been
much altered. Until the early years of the nineteenth century it was
the hall of the guild or company of the joiners of the city of New
Sarum.

Such are some of the old municipal buildings of England. There are
many others which might have been mentioned. It is a sad pity that so
many have disappeared and been replaced by modern and uninteresting
structures. If a new town hall be required in order to keep pace with
the increasing dignity of an important borough, the Corporation can at
least preserve their ancient municipal hall which has so long watched
over the fortunes of the town and shared in its joys and sorrows, and
seek a fresh site for their new home without destroying the old.




CHAPTER XII

CROSSES


A careful study of the ordnance maps of certain counties of England
reveals the extraordinary number of ancient crosses which are
scattered over the length and breadth of the district. Local names
often suggest the existence of an ancient cross, such as Blackrod, or
Black-rood, Oakenrod, Crosby, Cross Hall, Cross Hillock. But if the
student sally forth to seek this sacred symbol of the Christian faith,
he will often be disappointed. The cross has vanished, and even the
recollection of its existence has completely passed away. Happily not
all have disappeared, and in our travels we shall be able to discover
many of these interesting specimens of ancient art, but not a tithe of
those that once existed are now to be discovered.

Many causes have contributed to their disappearance. The Puritans
waged insensate war against the cross. It was in their eyes an idol
which must be destroyed. They regarded them as popish superstitions,
and objected greatly to the custom of "carrying the corse towards the
church all garnished with crosses, which they set down by the way at
every cross, and there all of them devoutly on their knees make
prayers for the dead."[45] Iconoclastic mobs tore down the sacred
symbol in blind fury. In the summer of 1643 Parliament ordered that
all crucifixes, crosses, images, and pictures should be obliterated or
otherwise destroyed, and during the same year the two Houses passed a
resolution for the destruction of all crosses throughout the kingdom.
They ordered Sir Robert Harlow to superintend the levelling to the
ground of St. Paul's Cross, Charing Cross, and that in Cheapside, and
a contemporary print shows the populace busily engaged in tearing down
the last. Ladders are placed against the structure, workmen are busy
hammering the figures, and a strong rope is attached to the actual
cross on the summit and eager hands are dragging it down. Similar
scenes were enacted in many other towns, villages, and cities of
England, and the wonder is that any crosses should have been left. But
a vast number did remain in order to provide further opportunities for
vandalism and wanton mischief, and probably quite as many have
disappeared during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as those
which were destroyed by Puritan iconoclasts. When trade and commerce
developed, and villages grew into towns, and sleepy hollows became
hives of industry, the old market-places became inconveniently small,
and market crosses with their usually accompanying stocks and
pillories were swept away as useless obstructions to traffic.[46] Thus
complaints were made with regard to the market-place at Colne. There
was no room for the coaches to turn. Idlers congregated on the steps
of the cross and interfered with the business of the place. It was
pronounced a nuisance, and in 1882 was swept away. Manchester market
cross existed until 1816, when for the sake of utility and increased
space it was removed. A stately Jacobean Proclamation cross remained
at Salford until 1824. The Preston Cross, or rather obelisk,
consisting of a clustered Gothic column, thirty-one feet high,
standing on a lofty pedestal which rested on three steps, was taken
down by an act of vandalism in 1853. The Covell Cross at Lancaster
shared its fate, being destroyed in 1826 by the justices when they
purchased the house now used as the judges' lodgings. A few years ago
it was rebuilt as a memorial of the accession of King Edward VII.

  [45] Report of the State of Lancashire in 1590 (Chetham Society,
  Vol. XCVI, p. 5).

  [46] _Ancient Crosses of Lancashire_, by Henry Taylor.

Individuals too, as well as corporations, have taken a hand in the
overthrow of crosses. There was a wretch named Wilkinson, vicar of
Goosnargh, Lancashire, who delighted in their destruction. He was a
zealous Protestant, and on account of his fame as a prophet of evil
his deeds were not interfered with by his neighbours. He used to
foretell the deaths of persons obnoxious to him, and unfortunately
several of his prophecies were fulfilled, and he earned the dreaded
character of a wizard. No one dared to prevent him, and with his own
hands he pulled down several of these venerable monuments. Some
drunken men in the early years of the nineteenth century pulled down
the old market cross at Rochdale. There was a cross on the
bowling-green at Whalley in the seventeenth century, the fall of which
is described by a cavalier, William Blundell, in 1642. When some
gentlemen came to use the bowling-green they found their game
interfered with by the fallen cross. A strong, powerful man was
induced to remove it. He reared it, and tried to take it away by
wresting it from edge to edge, but his foot slipped; down he fell, and
the cross falling upon him crushed him to death. A neighbour
immediately he heard the news was filled with apprehension of a
similar fate, and confessed that he and the deceased had thrown down
the cross. It was considered a dangerous act to remove a cross, though
the hope of discovering treasure beneath it often urged men to essay
the task. A farmer once removed an old boundary stone, thinking it
would make a good "buttery stone." But the results were dire. Pots and
pans, kettles and crockery placed upon it danced a clattering dance
the livelong night, and spilled their contents, disturbed the farmer's
rest, and worrited the family. The stone had to be conveyed back to
its former resting-place, and the farm again was undisturbed by
tumultuous spirits. Some of these crosses have been used for
gate-posts. Vandals have sometimes wanted a sun-dial in their
churchyards, and have ruthlessly knocked off the head and upper part
of the shaft of a cross, as they did at Halton, Lancashire, in order
to provide a base for their dial. In these and countless other ways
have these crosses suffered, and certainly, from the aesthetic and
architectural point of view, we have to bewail the loss of many of the
most lovely monuments of the piety and taste of our forefathers.

We will now gather up the fragments of the ancient crosses of England
ere these also vanish from our country. They served many purposes and
were of divers kinds. There were preaching-crosses, on the steps of
which the early missionary or Saxon priest stood when he proclaimed
the message of the gospel, ere churches were built for worship. These
wandering clerics used to set up crosses in the villages, and beneath
their shade preached, baptized, and said Mass. The pagan Saxons
worshipped stone pillars; so in order to wean them from their
superstition the Christian missionaries erected these stone crosses
and carved upon them the figures of the Saviour and His Apostles,
displaying before the eyes of their hearers the story of the Cross
written in stone. The north of England has many examples of these
crosses, some of which were fashioned by St. Wilfrid, Archbishop of
York, in the eighth century. When he travelled about his diocese a
large number of monks and workmen attended him, and amongst these were
the cutters in stone, who made the crosses and erected them on the
spots which Wilfrid consecrated to the worship of God. St. Paulinus
and others did the same. Hence arose a large number of these Saxon
works of art, which we propose to examine and to try to discover the
meaning of some of the strange sculptures found upon them.

[Illustration: Strethem Cross, Isle of Ely.]

In spite of iconoclasm and vandalism there remains in England a vast
number of pre-Norman crosses, and it will be possible to refer only to
the most noted and curious examples. These belong chiefly to four main
schools of art--the Celtic, Saxon, Roman, and Scandinavian. These
various streams of northern and classical ideas met and were blended
together, just as the wild sagas of the Vikings and the teaching of
the gospel showed themselves together in sculptured representations
and symbolized the victory of the Crucified One over the legends of
heathendom. The age and period of these crosses, the greater influence
of one or other of these schools have wrought differences; the beauty
and delicacy of the carving is in most cases remarkable, and we stand
amazed at the superabundance of the inventive faculty that could
produce such wondrous work. A great characteristic of these early
sculptures is the curious interlacing scroll-work, consisting of
knotted and interlaced cords of divers patterns and designs. There is
an immense variety in this carving of these early artists. Examples
are shown of geometrical designs, of floriated ornament, of which the
conventional vine pattern is the most frequent, and of rope-work and
other interlacing ornament. We can find space to describe only a few
of the most remarkable.

The famous Bewcastle Cross stands in the most northern corner of the
county of Cumberland. Only the shaft remains. In its complete
condition it must have been at least twenty-one feet high. A runic
inscription on the west side records that it was erected "in memory of
Alchfrith lately king" of Northumbria. He was the son of Oswy, the
friend and patron of St. Wilfrid, who loved art so much that he
brought workmen from Italy to build churches and carve stone, and he
decided in favour of the Roman party at the famous Synod of Whitby. On
the south side the runes tell that the cross was erected in "the first
year of Ecgfrith, King of this realm," who began to reign 670 A.D. On
the west side are three panels containing deeply incised figures, the
lowest one of which has on his wrist a hawk, an emblem of nobility;
the other three sides are filled with interlacing, floriated, and
geometrical ornament. Bishop Browne believes that these scrolls and
interlacings had their origin in Lombardy and not in Ireland, that
they were Italian and not Celtic, and that the same sort of designs
were used in the southern land early in the seventh century, whence
they were brought by Wilfrid to this country.

Another remarkable cross is that of Ruthwell, now sheltered from wind
and weather in the Durham Cathedral Museum. It is very similar to that
at Bewcastle, though probably not wrought by the same hands. In the
panels are sculptures representing events in the life of our Lord. The
lowest panel is too defaced for us to determine the subject; on the
second we see the flight into Egypt; on the third figures of Paul, the
first hermit, and Anthony, the first monk, are carved; on the fourth
is a representation of our Lord treading under foot the heads of
swine; and on the highest there is the figure of St. John the Baptist
with the lamb. On the reverse side are the Annunciation, the
Salutation, and other scenes of gospel history, and the other sides
are covered with floral and other decoration. In addition to the
figures there are five stanzas of an Anglo-Saxon poem of singular
beauty expressed in runes. It is the story of the Crucifixion told in
touching words by the cross itself, which narrates its own sad tale
from the time when it was a growing tree by the woodside until at
length, after the body of the Lord had been taken down--

        The warriors left me there
        Standing defiled with blood.

On the head of the cross are inscribed the words "Caedmon made
me"--Caedmon the first of English poets who poured forth his songs in
praise of Almighty God and told in Saxon poetry the story of the
Creation and of the life of our Lord.

Another famous cross is that at Gosforth, which is of a much later
date and of a totally different character from those which we have
described. The carvings show that it is not Anglian, but that it is
connected with Viking thought and work. On it is inscribed the story
of one of the sagas, the wild legends of the Norsemen, preserved by
their scalds or bards, and handed down from generation to generation
as the precious traditions of their race. On the west side we see
Heimdal, the brave watchman of the gods, with his sword withstanding
the powers of evil, and holding in his left hand the Gialla horn, the
terrible blast of which shook the world. He is overthrowing Hel, the
grim goddess of the shades of death, who is riding on the pale horse.
Below we see Loki, the murderer of the holy Baldur, the blasphemer of
the gods, bound by strong chains to the sharp edges of a rock, while
as a punishment for his crimes a snake drops poison upon his face,
making him yell with pain, and the earth quakes with his convulsive
tremblings. His faithful wife Sigyn catches the poison in a cup, but
when the vessel is full she is obliged to empty it, and then a drop
falls on the forehead of Loki, the destroyer, and the earth shakes on
account of his writhings. The continual conflict between good and evil
is wonderfully described in these old Norse legends. On the reverse
side we see the triumph of Christianity, a representation of the
Crucifixion, and beneath this the woman bruising the serpent's head.
In the former sculptures the monster is shown with two heads; here it
has only one, and that is being destroyed. Christ is conquering the
powers of evil on the cross. In another fragment at Gosforth we see
Thor fishing for the Midgard worm, the offspring of Loki, a serpent
cast into the sea which grows continually and threatens the world with
destruction. A bull's head is the bait which Thor uses, but fearing
for the safety of his boat, he has cut the fishing-line and released
the monstrous worm; giant whales sport in the sea which afford pastime
to the mighty Thor. Such are some of the strange tales which these
crosses tell.

There is an old Viking legend inscribed on the cross at Leeds. Volund,
who is the same mysterious person as our Wayland Smith, is seen
carrying off a swan-maiden. At his feet are his hammer, anvil,
bellows, and pincers. The cross was broken to pieces in order to make
way for the building of the old Leeds church hundreds of years ago,
but the fragments have been pieced together, and we can see the
swan-maiden carried above the head of Volund, her wings hanging down
and held by two ropes that encircle her waist. The smith holds her by
her back hair and by the tail of her dress. There were formerly
several other crosses which have been broken up and used as building
material.

At Halton, Lancashire, there is a curious cross of inferior
workmanship, but it records the curious mingling of Pagan and
Christian ideas and the triumph of the latter over the Viking deities.
On one side we see emblems of the Four Evangelists and the figures of
saints; on the other are scenes from the Sigurd legend. Sigurd sits at
the anvil with hammer and tongs and bellows, forging a sword. Above
him is shown the magic blade completed, with hammer and tongs, while
Fafni writhes in the knotted throes that everywhere signify his death.
Sigurd is seen toasting Fafni's heart on a spit. He has placed the
spit on a rest, and is turning it with one hand, while flames ascend
from the faggots beneath. He has burnt his finger and is putting it to
his lips. Above are the interlacing boughs of a sacred tree, and sharp
eyes may detect the talking pies that perch thereon, to which Sigurd
is listening. On one side we see the noble horse Grani coming
riderless home to tell the tale of Sigurd's death, and above is the
pit with its crawling snakes that yawns for Gunnar and for all the
wicked whose fate is to be turned into hell. On the south side are
panels filled with a floriated design representing the vine and
twisted knot-work rope ornamentation. On the west is a tall
Resurrection cross with figures on each side, and above a winged and
seated figure with two others in a kneeling posture. Possibly these
represent the two Marys kneeling before the angel seated on the stone
of the holy sepulchre on the morning of the Resurrection of our Lord.

A curious cross has at last found safety after many vicissitudes in
Hornby Church, Lancashire. It is one of the most beautiful fragments
of Anglian work that has come down to modern times. One panel shows a
representation of the miracle of the loaves and fishes. At the foot
are shown the two fishes and the five loaves carved in bold relief. A
conventional tree springs from the central loaf, and on each side is a
nimbed figure. The carving is still so sharp and crisp that it is
difficult to realize that more than a thousand years have elapsed
since the sculptor finished his task.

It would be a pleasant task to wander through all the English counties
and note all pre-Norman crosses that remain in many a lonely
churchyard; but such a lengthy journey and careful study are too
extended for our present purpose. Some of them were memorials of
deceased persons; others, as we have seen, were erected by the early
missionaries; but preaching crosses were erected and used in much
later times; and we will now examine some of the medieval examples
which time has spared, and note the various uses to which they were
adapted. The making of graves has often caused the undermining and
premature fall of crosses and monuments; hence early examples of
churchyard crosses have often passed away and medieval ones been
erected in their place. Churchyard crosses were always placed at the
south side of the church, and always faced the east. The carving and
ornamentation naturally follow the style of architecture prevalent at
the period of their erection. They had their uses for ceremonial and
liturgical purposes, processions being made to them on Palm Sunday,
and it is stated in Young's _History of Whitby_ that "devotees creeped
towards them and kissed them on Good Fridays, so that a cross was
considered as a necessary appendage to every cemetery." Preaching
crosses were also erected in distant parts of large parishes in the
days when churches were few, and sometimes market crosses were used
for this purpose.


WAYSIDE OR WEEPING CROSSES

Along the roads of England stood in ancient times many a roadside or
weeping cross. Their purpose is well set forth in the work _Dives et
Pauper_, printed at Westminster in 1496. Therein it is stated: "For
this reason ben ye crosses by ye way, that when folk passynge see the
crosses, they sholde thynke on Hym that deyed on the crosse, and
worshyppe Hym above all things." Along the pilgrim ways doubtless
there were many, and near villages and towns formerly they stood, but
unhappily they made such convenient gate-posts when the head was
knocked off. Fortunately several have been rescued and restored. It
was a very general custom to erect these wayside crosses along the
roads leading to an old parish church for the convenience of funerals.
There were no hearses in those days; hence the coffin had to be
carried a long way, and the roads were bad, and bodies heavy, and the
bearers were not sorry to find frequent resting-places, and the
mourners' hearts were comforted by constant prayer as they passed
along the long, sad road with their dear ones for the last time. These
wayside crosses, or weeping crosses, were therefore of great practical
utility. Many of the old churches in Lancashire were surrounded by a
group of crosses, arranged in radiating lines along the converging
roads, and at suitable distances for rest. You will find such ranges
of crosses in the parishes of Aughton, Ormskirk, and Burscough Priory,
and at each a prayer for the soul of the departed was offered or the
_De profundis_ sung. Every one is familiar with the famous Eleanor
crosses erected by King Edward I to mark the spots where the body of
his beloved Queen rested when it was being borne on its last sad
pilgrimage to Westminster Abbey.


MARKET CROSSES

Market crosses form an important section of our subject, and are an
interesting feature of the old market-places wherein they stand. Mr.
Gomme contends that they were the ancient meeting-places of the local
assemblies, and we know that for centuries in many towns they have
been the rallying-points for the inhabitants. Here fairs were
proclaimed, and are still in some old-fashioned places, beginning with
the quaint formula "O yes, O yes, O yes!" a strange corruption of the
old Norman-French word _oyez_, meaning "Hear ye." I have printed in my
book _English Villages_ a very curious proclamation of a fair and
market which was read a few years ago at Broughton-in-Furness by the
steward of the lord of the manor from the steps of the old market
cross. Very comely and attractive structures are many of these ancient
crosses. They vary very much in different parts of the country and
according to the period in which they were erected. The earliest are
simple crosses with steps. Later on they had niches for sculptured
figures, and then in the southern shires a kind of penthouse, usually
octagonal in shape, enclosed the cross, in order to provide shelter
from the weather for the market-folk. In the north the hardy
Yorkshiremen and Lancastrians recked not for rain and storms, and few
covered-in crosses can be found. You will find some beautiful
specimens of these at Malmesbury, Chichester, Somerton, Shepton
Mallet, Cheddar, Axbridge, Nether Stowey, Dunster, South Petherton,
Banwell, and other places.

Salisbury market cross, of which we give an illustration, is
remarkable for its fine and elaborate Gothic architectural features,
its numerous niches and foliated pinnacles. At one time a sun-dial and
ball crowned the structure, but these have been replaced by a cross.
It is usually called the Poultry Cross. Near it and in other parts of
the city are quaint overhanging houses. Though the Guildhall has
vanished, destroyed in the eighteenth century, the Joiners' Hall, the
Tailors' Hall, the meeting-places of the old guilds, the Hall of John
Halle, and the Old George are still standing with some of their
features modified, but not sufficiently altered to deprive them of
interest.

[Illustration: The Market Cross, Salisbury, Wilts. Oct. 1908]

Sometimes you will find above a cross an overhead chamber, which was
used for the storing of market appurtenances. The reeve of the lord of
the manor, or if the town was owned by a monastery, or the market and
fair had been granted to a religious house, the abbot's official sat
in this covered place to receive dues from the merchants or
stall-holders.

There are no less than two hundred old crosses in Somerset, many of
them fifteenth-century work. Saxon crosses exist at Rowberrow and
Kelston; a twelfth-century cross at Harptree; Early English crosses at
Chilton Trinity, Dunster, and Broomfield; Decorated crosses at
Williton, Wiveliscombe, Bishops-Lydeard, Chewton Mendip, and those at
Sutton Bingham and Wraghall are fifteenth century. But not all these
are market crosses. The south-west district of England is particularly
rich in these relics of ancient piety, but many have been allowed to
disappear. Glastonbury market cross, a fine Perpendicular structure
with a roof, was taken down in 1808, and a new one with no surrounding
arcade was erected in 1846. The old one bore the arms of Richard Bere,
abbot of Glastonbury, who died in 1524. The wall of an adjacent house
has a piece of stone carving representing a man and a woman clasping
hands, and tradition asserts that this formed part of the original
cross. Together with the cross was an old conduit, which frequently
accompanied the market cross. Cheddar Cross is surrounded by its
battlemented arcade with grotesque gargoyles, a later erection, the
shaft going through the roof. Taunton market cross was erected in 1867
in place of a fifteenth-century structure destroyed in 1780. On its
steps the Duke of Monmouth was proclaimed king, and from the window of
the Old Angel Inn Judge Jeffreys watched with pleasure the hanging of
the deluded followers of the duke from the tie-beams of the Market
Arcade. Dunster market cross is known as the Yarn Market, and was
erected in 1600 by George Luttrell, sheriff of the county of Somerset.
The town was famous for its kersey cloths, sometimes called
"Dunsters," which were sold under the shade of this structure.

Wymondham, in the county of Norfolk, standing on the high road between
Norwich and London, has a fine market cross erected in 1617. A great
fire raged here in 1615, when three hundred houses were destroyed, and
probably the old cross vanished with them, and this one was erected to
supply its place.

The old cross at Wells, built by William Knight, bishop of Bath in
1542, was taken down in 1783. Leland states that it was "a right
sumptuous Peace of worke." Over the vaulted roof was the _Domus
Civica_ or town hall. The tolls of the market were devoted to the
support of the choristers of Wells Cathedral. Leland also records a
market cross at Bruton which had six arches and a pillar in the middle
"for market folkes to stande yn." It was built by the last abbot of
Bruton in 1533, and was destroyed in 1790. Bridgwater Cross was
removed in 1820, and Milverton in 1850. Happily the inhabitants of
some towns and villages were not so easily deprived of their ancient
crosses, and the people of Croscombe, Somerset, deserve great credit
for the spirited manner in which they opposed the demolition of their
cross about thirty years ago.

Witney Butter Cross, Oxon, the town whence blankets come, has a
central pillar which stands on three steps, the superstructure being
supported on thirteen circular pillars. An inscription on the lantern
above records the following:--

    GULIEIMUS BLAKE
    Armiger de Coggs
        1683
    Restored 1860
             1889
             1894

It has a steep roof, gabled and stone-slated, which is not improved
by the pseudo-Gothic barge-boards, added during the restorations.

Many historical events of great importance have taken place at these
market crosses which have been so hardly used. Kings were always
proclaimed here at their accession, and would-be kings have also
shared that honour. Thus at Lancaster in 1715 the Pretender was
proclaimed king as James III, and, as we have stated, the Duke of
Monmouth was proclaimed king at Taunton and Bridgwater. Charles II
received that honour at Lancaster market cross in 1651, nine years
before he ruled. Banns of marriage were published here in Cromwell's
time, and these crosses have witnessed all the cruel punishments which
were inflicted on delinquents in the "good old days." The last step of
the cross was often well worn, as it was the seat of the culprits who
sat in the stocks. Stocks, whipping-posts, and pillories, of which we
shall have much to say, always stood nigh the cross, and as late as
1822 a poor wretch was tied to a cart-wheel at the Colne Cross,
Lancashire, and whipped.

Sometimes the cross is only a cross in name, and an obelisk has
supplanted the Christian symbol. The change is deemed to be
attributable to the ideas of some of the Reformers who desired to
assert the supremacy of the Crown over the Church. Hence they placed
an orb on the top of the obelisk surmounted by a small, plain Latin
cross, and later on a large crown took the place of the orb and cross.
At Grantham the Earl of Dysart erected an obelisk which has an
inscription stating that it occupies the site of the Grantham Eleanor
cross. This is a strange error, as this cross stood on an entirely
different site on St. Peter's Hill and was destroyed by Cromwell's
troopers. The obelisk replaced the old market cross, which was
regarded with much affection and reverence by the inhabitants, who in
1779, when it was taken down by the lord of the manor, immediately
obtained a mandamus for its restoration. The Mayor and Corporation
still proclaim the Lent Fair in quaint and archaic language at this
poor substitute for the old cross.

[Illustration: Under the old Butter Cross, Whitney Oxon]

One of the uses of the market cross was to inculcate the sacredness of
bargains. There is a curious stone erection in the market-place at
Middleham, Yorkshire, which seems to have taken the place of the
market cross and to have taught the same truth. It consists of a
platform on which are two pillars; one carries the effigy of some
animal in a kneeling posture, resembling a sheep or a cow, the other
supports an octagonal object traditionally supposed to represent a
cheese. The farmers used to walk up the opposing flights of steps when
concluding a bargain and shake hands over the sculptures.[47]

  [47] _Ancient Crosses and Holy Wells of Lancashire,_ by Henry
  Taylor, F.S.A.


BOUNDARY CROSSES

Crosses marked in medieval times the boundaries of ecclesiastical
properties, which by this sacred symbol were thus protected from
encroachment and spoliation. County boundaries were also marked by
crosses and meare stones. The seven crosses of Oldham marked the
estate owned by the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem.


CROSSES AT CROSS-ROADS AND HOLY WELLS

Where roads meet and many travellers passed a cross was often erected.
It was a wayside or weeping cross. There pilgrims knelt to implore
divine aid for their journey and protection from outlaws and robbers,
from accidents and sudden death. At holy wells the cross was set in
order to remind the frequenters of the sacredness of the springs and
to wean them from all superstitious thoughts and pagan customs. Sir
Walter Scott alludes to this connexion of the cross and well in
_Marmion_, when he tells of "a little fountain cell" bearing the
legend:--

        Drink, weary pilgrim, drink and pray
        For the kind soul of Sybil Grey,
        Who built this cross and well.

  "In the corner of a field on the Billington Hall Farm, just
  outside the parish of Haughton, there lies the base, with a
  portion of the shaft, of a fourteenth-century wayside cross. It
  stands within ten feet of an old disused lane leading from
  Billington to Bradley. Common report pronounced it to be an old
  font. Report states that it was said to be a stone dropped out of
  a cart as the stones from Billington Chapel were being conveyed to
  Bradley to be used in building its churchyard wall. A
  superstitious veneration has always attached to it. A former owner
  of the property wrote as follows: 'The late Mr. Jackson, who was a
  very superstitious man, once told me that a former tenant of the
  farm, whilst ploughing the field, pulled up the stone, and the
  same day his team of wagon-horses was all drowned. He then put it
  into the same place again, and all went on right; and that he
  himself would not have it disturbed upon any account.' A similar
  legend is attached to another cross. Cross Llywydd, near Raglan,
  called The White Cross, which is still complete, and has evidently
  been whitewashed, was moved by a man from its base at some
  cross-roads to his garden. From that time he had no luck and all
  his animals died. He attributed this to his sacrilegious act and
  removed it to a piece of waste ground. The next owner afterwards
  enclosed the waste with the cross standing in it.

  "The Haughton Cross is only a fragment--almost precisely similar
  to a fragment at Butleigh, in Somerset, of early
  fourteenth-century date. The remaining part is clearly the top
  stone of the base, measuring 2 ft. 11/2 in. square by 1 ft. 6 in.
  high, and the lowest portion of the shaft sunk into it, and
  measuring 1 ft. 1 in. square by 101/2 in. high. Careful excavation
  showed that the stone is probably still standing on its original
  site."[48]

  "There is in the same parish, where there are four cross-roads, a
  place known as 'The White Cross.' Not a vestige of a stone
  remains. But on a slight mound at the crossing stands a venerable
  oak, now dying. In Monmouthshire oaks have often been so planted
  on the sites of crosses; and in some cases the bases of the
  crosses still remain. There are in that county about thirty sites
  of such crosses, and in seventeen some stones still exist; and
  probably there are many more unknown to the antiquary, but hidden
  away in corners of old paths, and in field-ways, and in ditches
  that used to serve as roads. A question of great interest arises.
  What were the origin and use of these wayside crosses? and why
  were so many of them, especially at cross-roads, known as 'The
  White Cross'? At Abergavenny a cross stood at cross-roads. There
  is a White Cross Street in London and one in Monmouth, where a
  cross stood. Were these planted by the White Cross Knights (the
  Knights of Malta, or of S. John of Jerusalem)? Or are they the
  work of the Carmelite, or White, Friars? There is good authority
  for the general idea that they were often used as preaching
  stations, or as praying stations, as is so frequently the case in
  Brittany. But did they at cross-roads in any way serve the purpose
  of the modern sign-post? They are certainly of very early origin.
  The author of _Ecclesiastical Polity_ says that the erection of
  wayside crosses was a very ancient practice. Chrysostom says that
  they were common in his time. Eusebius says that their building
  was begun by Constantine the Great to eradicate paganism. Juvenal
  states that a shapeless post, with a marble head of Mercury on it,
  was erected at cross-roads to point out the way; and Eusebius says
  that wherever Constantine found a statue of Bivialia (the Roman
  goddess who delivered from straying from the path), or of
  Mercurius Triceps (who served the same kind purpose for the
  Greeks), he pulled it down and had a cross placed upon the site.
  If, then, these cross-road crosses of later medieval times also
  had something to do with directions for the way, another source of
  the designation 'White Cross' is by no means to be laughed out of
  court, viz. that they were whitewashed, and thus more prominent
  objects by day, and especially by night. It is quite certain that
  many of them were whitewashed, for the remains of this may still
  be seen on them. And the use of whitewash or plaister was far more
  usual in England than is generally known. There is no doubt that
  the whole of the outside of the abbey church of St. Albans, and of
  White Castle, from top to base, were coated with whitewash."[49]


  [48] _Ancient Crosses and Holy Wells of Lancashire,_ by Henry
  Taylor, F.S.A.

  [49] _Ibid._

Whether they were whitened or not, or whether they served as
guide-posts or stations for prayer, it is well that they should be
carefully preserved and restored as memorials of the faith of our
forefathers, and for the purpose of raising the heart of the modern
pilgrim to Christ, the Saviour of men.


SANCTUARY CROSSES

When criminals sought refuge in ancient sanctuaries, such as Durham,
Beverley, Ripon, Manchester, and other places which provided the
privilege, having claimed sanctuary and been provided with a
distinctive dress, they were allowed to wander within certain
prescribed limits. At Beverley Minster the fugitive from justice could
wander with no fear of capture to a distance extending a mile from the
church in all directions. Richly carved crosses marked the limit of
the sanctuary. A peculiar reverence for the cross protected the
fugitives from violence if they kept within the bounds. In Cheshire,
in the wild region of Delamere Forest, there are several ancient
crosses erected for the convenience of travellers; and under their
shadows they were safe from robbery and violence at the hands of
outlaws, who always respected the reverence attached to these symbols
of Christianity.


CROSSES AS GUIDE-POSTS

In wild moorland and desolate hills travellers often lost their way.
Hence crosses were set up to guide them along the trackless heaths.
They were as useful as sign-posts, and conveyed an additional lesson.
You will find such crosses in the desolate country on the borderland
of Yorkshire and Lancashire. They were usually placed on the summit of
hills. In Buckinghamshire there are two crosses cut in the turf on a
spur of the Chilterns, Whiteleaf and Bledlow crosses, which were
probably marks for the direction of travellers through the wild and
dangerous woodlands, though popular tradition connects them with the
memorials of ancient battles between the Saxons and Danes.

From time out of mind crosses have been the rallying point for the
discussion of urgent public affairs. It was so in London. Paul's
Cross was the constant meeting-place of the citizens of London
whenever they were excited by oppressive laws, the troublesome
competition of "foreigners," or any attempt to interfere with their
privileges and liberties. The meetings of the shire or hundred moots
took place often at crosses, or other conspicuous or well-known
objects. Hundreds were named after them, such as the hundred of
Faircross in Berkshire, of Singlecross in Sussex, Normancross in
Huntingdonshire, and Brothercross and Guiltcross, or Gyldecross, in
Norfolk.

Stories and legends have clustered around them. There is the famous
Stump Cross in Cheshire, the subject of one of Nixon's prophecies. It
is supposed to be sinking into the ground. When it reaches the level
of the earth the end of the world will come. A romantic story is
associated with Mab's Cross, in Wigan, Lancashire. Sir William
Bradshaigh was a great warrior, and went crusading for ten years,
leaving his beautiful wife, Mabel, alone at Haigh Hall. A dastard
Welsh knight compelled her to marry him, telling her that her husband
was dead, and treated her cruelly; but Sir William came back to the
hall disguised as a palmer. Mabel, seeing in him some resemblance to
her former husband, wept sore, and was beaten by the Welshman. Sir
William made himself known to his tenants, and raising a troop,
marched to the hall. The Welsh knight fled, but Sir William followed
him and slew him at Newton, for which act he was outlawed a year and a
day. The lady was enjoined by her confessor to do penance by going
once a week, bare-footed and bare-legged, to a cross near Wigan, two
miles from the hall, and it is called Mab's Cross to this day. You can
see in Wigan Church the monument of Sir William and his lady, which
tells this sad story, and also the cross--at least, all that remains
of it--the steps, a pedestal, and part of the shaft--in Standisgate,
"to witness if I lie." It is true that Sir William was born ten years
after the last of the crusades had ended; but what does that matter?
He was probably fighting for his king, Edward II, against the Scots,
or he was languishing a prisoner in some dungeon. There was plenty of
fighting in those days for those who loved it, and where was the
Englishman then who did not love to fight for his king and country, or
seek for martial glory in other lands, if an ungrateful country did
not provide him with enough work for his good sword and ponderous
lance?

Such are some of the stories that cluster round these crosses. It is a
sad pity that so many should have been allowed to disappear. More have
fallen owing to the indifference and apathy of the people of England
in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries than to the wanton and
iconoclastic destruction of the Puritans. They are holy relics of
primitive Christianity. On the lonely mountainsides the tired
traveller found in them a guide and friend, a director of his ways and
an uplifter of his soul. In the busy market-place they reminded the
trader of the sacredness of bargains and of the duty of honest
dealing. Holy truths were proclaimed from their steps. They connected
by a close and visible bond religious duties with daily life; and not
only as objects of antiquarian interest, but as memorials of the
religious feelings, habits, and customs of our forefathers, are they
worthy of careful preservation.




CHAPTER XIII

STOCKS, WHIPPING-POSTS, AND OLD-TIME PUNISHMENTS


Near the village cross almost invariably stood the parish stocks,
instruments of rude justice, the use of which has only just passed
away. The "oldest inhabitant" can remember well the old stocks
standing in the village green and can tell of the men who suffered in
them. Many of these instruments of torture still remain, silent
witnesses of old-time ways. You can find them in multitudes of remote
villages in all parts of the country, and vastly uncomfortable it must
have been to have one's "feet set in the stocks." A well-known artist
who delights in painting monks a few years ago placed the portly model
who usually "sat" for him in the village stocks of Sulham, Berkshire,
and painted a picture of the monk in disgrace. The model declared that
he was never so uncomfortable in his life and his legs and back ached
for weeks afterwards. To make the penalty more realistic the artist
might have prevailed upon some village urchins to torment the sufferer
by throwing stones, refuse, or garbage at him, some village maids to
mock and jeer at him, and some mischievous men to distract his ears
with inharmonious sounds. In an old print of two men in the stocks I
have seen a malicious wretch scraping piercing noises out of a fiddle
and the victims trying to drown the hideous sounds by putting their
fingers into their ears. A few hours in the stocks was no light
penalty.

These stocks have a venerable history. They date back to Saxon times
and appear in drawings of that period. It is a pity that they should
be destroyed; but borough corporations decide that they interfere with
the traffic of a utilitarian age and relegate them to a museum or doom
them to be cut up as faggots. Country folk think nothing of
antiquities, and a local estate agent or the village publican will
make away with this relic of antiquity and give the "old rubbish" to
Widow Smith for firing. Hence a large number have disappeared, and it
is wonderful that so many have hitherto escaped. Let the eyes of
squires and local antiquaries be ever on the watch lest those that
remain are allowed to vanish.

By ancient law[50] every town or village was bound to provide a pair
of stocks. It was a sign of dignity, and if the village had this seat
for malefactors, a constable, and a pound for stray cattle, it could
not be mistaken for a mere hamlet. The stocks have left their mark on
English literature. Shakespeare frequently alludes to them. Falstaff,
in _The Merry Wives of Windsor_, says that but for his "admirable
dexterity of wit the knave constable had set me i' the stocks, i' the
common stocks." "What needs all that and a pair of stocks in the
town," says Luce in the _Comedy of Errors_. "Like silly beggars, who
sitting in stocks refuge their shame," occurs in _Richard II_; and in
_King Lear_ Cornwall exclaims--

        "Fetch forth the stocks!
        You stubborn ancient knave."

  [50] Act of Parliament, 1405.

Who were the culprits who thus suffered? Falstaff states that he only
just escaped the punishment of being set in the stocks for a witch.
Witches usually received severer justice, but stocks were often used
for keeping prisoners safe until they were tried and condemned, and
possibly Shakespeare alludes in this passage only to the preliminaries
of a harsher ordeal. Drunkards were the common defaulters who appeared
in the stocks, and by an Act of 2 James I they were required to endure
six hours' incarceration with a fine of five shillings. Vagrants
always received harsh treatment unless they had a licence, and the
corporation records of Hungerford reveal the fact that they were
always placed in the pillory and whipped. The stocks, pillory, and
whipping-post were three different implements of punishment, but, as
was the case at Wallingford, Berkshire, they were sometimes allied and
combined. The stocks secured the feet, the pillory "held in durance
vile" the head and the hands, while the whipping-post imprisoned the
hands only by clamps on the sides of the post. In the constable's
accounts of Hungerford we find such items as:--

    "Pd for cheeke and brace for the pillory                  00,02,00
    Pd for mending the pillory                                00,00,06
    Pd the Widow Tanner for iron geare for the whipping post  00,03,06"

Whipping was a very favourite pastime at this old Berkshire town; this
entry will suffice:--

    "Pd to John Savidge for his extraordinary
    paines this yeare and whipping of severall persons        00,05,00"

John Savidge was worthy of his name, but the good folks of Hungerford
tempered mercy with justice and usually gave a monetary consolation to
those who suffered from the lash. Thus we read:--

    "Gave a poore man that was whipped and sent
    from Tythinge to Tythinge                                 00,00,04"

Women were whipped at Hungerford, as we find that the same John
Savidge received 2d. for whipping Dorothy Millar. All this was
according to law. The first Whipping Act was passed in 1530 when Henry
VIII reigned, and according to this barbarous piece of legislation the
victim was stripped naked and tied to a cart-tail, dragged through the
streets of the town, and whipped "till his body was bloody." In
Elizabeth's time the cart-tail went out of fashion and a
whipping-post was substituted, and only the upper part of the body was
exposed. The tramp question was as troublesome in the seventeenth
century as it is to-day. We confine them in workhouse-cells and make
them break stones or pick oakum; whipping was the solution adopted by
our forefathers. We have seen John Savidge wielding his whip, which
still exists among the curiosities at Hungerford. At Barnsley in 1632
Edward Wood was paid iiijd. "for whiping of three wanderers." Ten
years earlier Richard White received only iid. for performing the like
service for six wanderers. Mr. W. Andrews has collected a vast store
of curious anecdotes on the subject of whippings, recorded in his
_Bygone Punishments_, to which the interested reader is referred. The
story he tells of the brutality of Judge Jeffreys may be repeated.
This infamous and inhuman judge sentenced a woman to be whipped, and
said, "Hangman, I charge you to pay particular attention to this lady.
Scourge her soundly, man; scourge her till her blood runs down! It is
Christmas, a cold time for madam to strip. See that you warm her
shoulders thoroughly." It was not until 1791 that the whipping of
female vagrants was expressly forbidden by Act of Parliament.

Stocks have been used in quite recent times. So late as 1872, at
Newbury, one Mark Tuck, a devoted disciple of John Barleycorn,
suffered this penalty for his misdeeds.[51] He was a rag and bone
dealer, and knew well the inside of Reading jail. _Notes and
Queries_[52] contains an account of the proceedings, and states that
he was "fixed in the stocks for drunkenness and disorderly conduct in
the Parish Church on Monday evening." Twenty-six years had elapsed
since the stocks were last used, and their reappearance created no
little sensation and amusement, several hundreds of persons being
attracted to the spot where they were fixed. Tuck was seated on a
stool, and his legs were secured in the stocks at a few minutes past
one o'clock, and as the church clock, immediately facing him, chimed
each quarter, he uttered expressions of thankfulness, and seemed
anything but pleased at the laughter and derision of the crowd. Four
hours having passed, Tuck was released, and by a little stratagem on
the part of the police he escaped without being interfered with by the
crowd.

  [51] _History of Hungerford_, by W. Money, p. 38.

  [52] _Notes and Queries_, 4th series, X, p. 6.

Sunday drinking during divine service provided in many places victims
for the stocks. So late as half a century ago it was the custom for
the churchwardens to go out of church during the morning service on
Sundays and visit the public-houses to see if any persons were
tippling there, and those found _in flagrante delicto_ were
immediately placed in the stocks. So arduous did the churchwardens
find this duty that they felt obliged to regale themselves at the
alehouses while they made their tour of inspection, and thus rendered
themselves liable to the punishment which they inflicted on others.
Mr. Rigbye, postmaster at Croston, Lancashire, who was seventy-three
years of age in 1899, remembered these Sunday-morning searches, and
had seen drunkards sitting in the stocks, which were fixed near the
southern step of the village cross. Mr. Rigbye, when a boy, helped to
pull down the stocks, which were then much dilapidated. A certain
Richard Cottam, called "Cockle Dick," was the last man seen in
them.[53]

  [53] _Ancient Crosses and Holy Wells of Lancashire_, by H. Taylor,
  F.S.A., p. 37.

The same morning perambulating of ale-houses was carried on at
Skipton, the churchwardens being headed by the old beadle, an imposing
personage, who wore a cocked hat and an official coat trimmed with
gold, and carried in majestic style a trident staff, a terror to
evil-doers, at least to those of tender years.[54] At Beverley the
stocks still preserved in the minster were used as late as 1853; Jim
Brigham, guilty of Sunday tippling, and discovered by the
churchwardens in their rounds, was the last victim. Some sympathizer
placed in his mouth a lighted pipe of tobacco, but the constable in
charge hastily snatched it away. James Gambles, for gambling on
Sunday, was confined in the Stanningley stocks, Yorkshire, for six
hours in 1860. The stocks and village well remain still at Standish,
near the cross, and also the stone cheeks of those at Eccleston Green
bearing the date 1656. At Shore Cross, near Birkdale, the stocks
remain, also the iron ones at Thornton, Lancashire, described in Mrs.
Blundell's novel _In a North Country Village_; also at Formby they
exist, though somewhat dilapidated.

  [54] _History of Skipton_, W.H. Dawson, quoted in _Bygone
  Punishments_, p. 199.

Whether by accident or design, the stocks frequently stand close to
the principal inn in a village. As they were often used for the
correction of the intemperate their presence was doubtless intended as
a warning to the frequenters of the hostelry not to indulge too
freely. Indeed, the sight of the stocks, pillory, and whipping-post
must have been a useful deterrent to vice. An old writer states that
he knew of the case of a young man who was about to annex a silver
spoon, but on looking round and seeing the whipping-post he
relinquished his design. The writer asserts that though it lay
immediately in the high road to the gallows, it had stopped many an
adventurous young man in his progress thither.

The ancient Lancashire town of Poulton-in-the-Fylde has a fairly
complete set of primitive punishment implements. Close to the cross
stand the stocks with massive ironwork, the criminals, as usual,
having been accustomed to sit on the lowest step of the cross, and on
the other side of the cross is the rogue's whipping-post, a stone
pillar about eight feet high, on the sides of which are hooks to which
the culprit was fastened. Between this and the cross stands another
useful feature of a Lancashire market-place, the fish stones, an
oblong raised slab for the display and sale of fish.

In several places we find that movable stocks were in use, which could
be brought out whenever occasion required. A set of these exists at
Garstang, Lancashire. The quotation already given from _King Lear,_
"Fetch forth the stocks," seems to imply that in Shakespeare's time
they were movable. Beverley stocks were movable, and in _Notes and
Queries_ we find an account of a mob at Shrewsbury dragging around the
town in the stocks an incorrigible rogue one Samuel Tisdale in the
year 1851.

The Rochdale stocks remain, but they are now in the churchyard, having
been removed from the place where the markets were formerly held at
Church Stile. When these kind of objects have once disappeared it is
rarely that they are ever restored. However, at West Derby this
unusual event has occurred, and five years ago the restoration was
made. It appears that in the village there was an ancient pound or
pinfold which had degenerated into an unsightly dust-heap, and the old
stocks had passed into private hands. The inhabitants resolved to turn
the untidy corner into a garden, and the lady gave back the stocks to
the village. An inscription records: "To commemorate the long and
happy reign of Queen Victoria and the coronation of King Edward VII,
the site of the ancient pound of the Dukes of Lancaster and other
lords of the manor of West Derby was enclosed and planted, and the
village stocks set therein. Easter, 1904."

This inscription records another item of vanishing England. Before the
Inclosure Acts at the beginning of the last century there were in all
parts of the country large stretches of unfenced land, and cattle
often strayed far from their homes and presumed to graze on the open
common lands of other villages. Each village had its pound-keeper,
who, when he saw these estrays, as the lawyers term the valuable
animals that were found wandering in any manor or lordship,
immediately drove them into the pound. If the owner claimed them, he
had certain fees to pay to the pound-keeper and the cost of the keep.
If they were not claimed they became the property of the lord of the
manor, but it was required that they should be proclaimed in the
church and two market towns next adjoining the place where they were
found, and a year and a day must have elapsed before they became the
actual property of the lord. The possession of a pound was a sign of
dignity for the village. Now that commons have been enclosed and waste
lands reclaimed, stray cattle no longer cause excitement in the
village, the pound-keeper has gone, and too often the pound itself has
disappeared. We had one in our village twenty years ago, but suddenly,
before he could be remonstrated with, an estate agent, not caring for
the trouble and cost of keeping it in repair, cleared it away, and its
place knows it no more. In very many other villages similar happenings
have occurred. Sometimes the old pound has been utilized by road
surveyors as a convenient place for storing gravel for mending roads,
and its original purpose is forgotten.

It would be a pleasant task to go through the towns and villages of
England to discover and to describe traces of these primitive
implements of torture, but such a record would require a volume
instead of a single chapter. In Berkshire we have several left to us.
There is a very complete set at Wallingford, pillory, stocks, and
whipping-post, now stored in the museum belonging to Miss Hedges in
the castle, but in western Berkshire they have nearly all disappeared.
The last pair of stocks that I can remember stood at the entrance to
the town of Wantage. They have only disappeared within the last few
years. The whipping-post still exists at the old Town Hall at
Faringdon, the staples being affixed to the side of the ancient
"lock-up," known as the Black Hole.

At Lymm, Cheshire, there are some good stocks by the cross in that
village, and many others may be discovered by the wandering antiquary,
though their existence is little known and usually escapes the
attention of the writers on local antiquities. As relics of primitive
modes of administering justice, it is advisable that they should be
preserved.

Yet another implement of rude justice was the cucking or ducking
stool, which exists in a few places. It was used principally for the
purpose of correcting scolding women. Mr. Andrews, who knows all that
can be known about old-time punishments, draws a distinction between
the cucking and ducking stool, and states that the former originally
was a chair of infamy where immoral women and scolds were condemned to
sit with bare feet and head to endure the derision of the populace,
and had no relation to any ducking in water. But it appears that later
on the terms were synonymous, and several of these implements remain.
This machine for quieting intemperate scolds was quite simple. A plank
with a chair at one end was attached by an axle to a post which was
fixed on the bank of a river or pond, or on wheels, so that it could
be run thither; the culprit was tied to the chair, and the other end
of the plank was alternately raised or lowered so as to cause the
immersion of the scold in the chilly water. A very effectual
punishment! The form of the chair varies. The Leominster ducking-stool
is still preserved, and this implement was the latest in use, having
been employed in 1809 for the ducking of Jenny Pipes, _alias_ Jane
Corran, a common scold, by order of the magistrates, and also as late
as 1817; but in this case the victim, one Sarah Leeke, was only
wheeled round the town in the chair, and not ducked, as the water in
the Kenwater stream was too shallow for the purpose. The cost of
making the stool appears in many corporation accounts. That at
Hungerford must have been in pretty frequent use, as there are several
entries for repairs in the constable's accounts.[55] Thus we find the
item under the year 1669:--

    "Pd for the Cucking stoole                   01,10,00"

and in 1676:--

    "Pd for nailes and workmanship about
    the stocks and cucking stoole                00,07,00"

  [55] The corporation of Hungerford is peculiar, the head official
  being termed the constable, who corresponded with the mayor in
  less original boroughs.

At Kingston-upon-Thames in 1572 the accounts show the expenditure:--

    "The making of the cucking-stool        .     8s.    0d.
    Iron work for the same  .      .        .     3s.    0d.
    Timber for the same     .      .        .     7s.    6d.
    Three brasses for the same and three wheels   4s.   10d.
                                                ------------
                                             L1   3s.    4d."

We need not record similar items shown in the accounts of other
boroughs. You will still find examples of this fearsome implement at
Leicester in the museum, Wootton Bassett, the wheels of one in the
church of St. Mary, Warwick; two at Plymouth, one of which was used in
1808; King's Lynn, Norfolk, in the museum; Ipswich, Scarborough,
Sandwich, Fordwich, and possibly some other places of which we have no
record.

We find in museums, but not in common use, another terrible implement
for the curbing of the rebellious tongues of scolding women. It was
called the brank or scold's bridle, and probably came to us from
Scotland with the Solomon of the North, whither the idea of it had
been conveyed through the intercourse of that region with France. It
is a sort of iron cage or framework helmet, which was fastened on the
head, having a flat tongue of iron that was placed on the tongue of
the victim and effectually restrained her from using it. Sometimes the
iron tongue was embellished with spikes so as to make the movement of
the human tongue impossible except with the greatest agony. Imagine
the poor wretch with her head so encaged, her mouth cut and bleeding
by this sharp iron tongue, none too gently fitted by her rough
torturers, and then being dragged about the town amid the jeers of the
populace, or chained to the pillory in the market-place, an object of
ridicule and contempt. Happily this scene has vanished from vanishing
England. Perhaps she was a loud-voiced termagant; perhaps merely the
ill-used wife of a drunken wretch, who well deserved her scolding; or
the daring teller of home truths to some jack-in-office, who thus
revenged himself. We have shrews and scolds still; happily they are
restrained in a less barbarous fashion. You may still see some
fearsome branks in museums. Reading, Leeds, York, Walton-on-Thames,
Congleton, Stockport, Macclesfield, Warrington, Morpeth, Hamstall
Ridware, in Staffordshire, Lichfield, Chesterfield (now in possession
of the Walsham family), Leicester, Doddington Park, Lincolnshire (a
very grotesque example), the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford, Ludlow,
Shrewsbury, Oswestry, Whitchurch, Market Drayton, are some of the
places which still possess scolds' bridles. Perhaps it is wrong to
infer from the fact that most of these are to be found in the counties
of Cheshire, Staffordshire, and Shropshire, that the women of those
shires were especially addicted to strong and abusive language. It may
be only that antiquaries in those counties have been more industrious
in unearthing and preserving these curious relics of a barbarous age.
The latest recorded occasion of its use was at Congleton in 1824, when
a woman named Ann Runcorn was condemned to endure the bridle for
abusing and slandering the churchwardens when they made their tour of
inspection of the alehouses during the Sunday-morning service. There
are some excellent drawings of branks, and full descriptions of their
use, in Mr. Andrews's _Bygone Punishments_.

Another relic of old-time punishments most gruesome of all are the
gibbet-irons wherein the bones of some wretched breaker of the laws
hung and rattled as the irons creaked and groaned when stirred by the
breeze. _Pour l'encouragement des autres_, our wise forefathers
enacted that the bodies of executed criminals should be hanged in
chains. At least this was a common practice that dated from medieval
times, though it was not actually legalized until 1752.[56] This Act
remained in force until 1834, and during the interval thousands of
bodies were gibbeted and left creaking in the wind at Hangman's Corner
or Gibbet Common, near the scene of some murder or outrage. It must
have been ghostly and ghastly to walk along our country lanes and hear
the dreadful noise, especially if the tradition were true

        That the wretch in his chains, each night took the pains,
        To come down from the gibbet--and walk.

In order to act as a warning to others the bodies were kept up as long
as possible, and for this purpose were saturated with tar. On one
occasion the gibbet was fired and the tar helped the conflagration,
and a rapid and effectual cremation ensued. In many museums
gibbet-irons are preserved.

Punishments in olden times were usually cruel. Did they act as
deterrents to vice? Modern judges have found the use of the lash a
cure for robbery from the person with violence. The sight of
whipping-posts and stocks, we learn, has stayed young men from
becoming topers and drunkards. A brank certainly in one recorded case
cured a woman from coarse invective and abuse. But what effect had the
sight of the infliction of cruel punishments upon those who took part
in them or witnessed them? It could only have tended to make cruel
natures more brutal. Barbarous punishments, public hangings, cruel
sports such as bull-baiting, dog-fighting, bear-baiting,
prize-fighting and the like could not fail to exercise a bad influence
on the populace; and where one was deterred from vice, thousands were
brutalized and their hearts and natures hardened, wherein vicious
pleasures, crime, and lust found a congenial soil. But we can still
see our stocks on the village greens, our branks, ducking-stools, and
pillories in museums, and remind ourselves of the customs of former
days which have not so very long ago passed away.

  [56] Act of Parliament 25 George II.




CHAPTER XIV

OLD BRIDGES


The passing away of the old bridges is a deplorable feature of
vanishing England. Since the introduction of those terrible
traction-engines, monstrous machines that drag behind them a whole
train of heavily laden trucks, few of these old structures that have
survived centuries of ordinary use are safe from destruction. The
immense weight of these road-trains are enough to break the back of
any of the old-fashioned bridges. Constantly notices have to be set up
stating: "This bridge is only sufficient to carry the ordinary traffic
of the district, and traction-engines are not allowed to proceed over
it." Then comes an outcry from the proprietors of locomotives
demanding bridges suitable for their convenience. County councils and
district councils are worried by their importunities, and soon the
venerable structures are doomed, and an iron-girder bridge hideous in
every particular replaces one of the most beautiful features of our
village.

When the Sonning bridges that span the Thames were threatened a few
years ago, English artists, such as Mr. Leslie and Mr. Holman-Hunt,
strove manfully for their defence. The latter wrote:--

  "The nation, without doubt, is in serious danger of losing faith
  in the testimony of our poets and painters to the exceptional
  beauty of the land which has inspired them. The poets, from
  Chaucer to the last of his true British successors, with one voice
  enlarge on the overflowing sweetness of England, her hills and
  dales, her pastures with sweet flowers, and the loveliness of her
  silver streams. It is the cherishing of the wholesome enjoyments
  of daily life that has implanted in the sons of England love of
  home, goodness of nature, and sweet reasonableness, and has given
  strength to the thews and sinews of her children, enabling them to
  defend her land, her principles, and her prosperity. With regard
  to the three Sonning bridges, parts of them have been already
  rebuilt with iron fittings in recent years, and no disinterested
  reasonable person can see why they could not be easily made
  sufficient to carry all existing traffic. If the bridges were to
  be widened in the service of some disproportionate vehicles it is
  obvious that the traffic such enlarged bridges are intended to
  carry would be put forward as an argument for demolishing the
  exquisite old bridge over the main river which is the glory of
  this exceptionally picturesque and well-ordered village; and this
  is a matter of which even the most utilitarian would soon see the
  evil in the diminished attraction of the river not only to
  Englishmen, but to Colonials and Americans who have across the sea
  read widely of its beauty. Remonstrances must look ahead, and can
  only now be of avail in recognition of future further danger. We
  are called upon to plead the cause for the whole of the
  beauty-loving England, and of all river-loving people in
  particular."

Gallantly does the great painter express the views of artists, and
such vandalism is as obnoxious to antiquaries as it is to artists and
lovers of the picturesque. Many of these old bridges date from
medieval times, and are relics of antiquity that can ill be spared.
Brick is a material as nearly imperishable as any that man can build
with. There is hardly any limit to the life of a brick or stone
bridge, whereas an iron or steel bridge requires constant supervision.
The oldest iron bridge in this country--at Coalbrookdale, in
Shropshire--has failed after 123 years of life. It was worn out by old
age, whereas the Roman bridge at Rimini, and the medieval ones at St.
Ives, Bradford-on-Avon, and countless other places in this country and
abroad, are in daily use and are likely to remain serviceable for many
years to come, unless these ponderous trains break them down.

The interesting bridge which crosses the River Conway at Llanrwst was
built in 1636 by Sir Richard Wynn, then the owner of Gwydir Castle,
from the designs of Inigo Jones. Like many others, it is being injured
by traction-trains carrying unlimited weights. Happily the Society for
the Protection of Ancient Buildings heard the plaint of the old bridge
that groaned under its heavy burdens and cried aloud for pity. The
society listened to its pleading, and carried its petition to the
Carmarthen County Council, with excellent results. This enlightened
Council decided to protect the bridge and save it from further harm.

The building of bridges was anciently regarded as a charitable and
religious act, and guilds and brotherhoods existed for their
maintenance and reparation. At Maidenhead there was a notable bridge,
for the sustenance of which the Guild of St. Andrew and St. Mary
Magdalene was established by Henry VI in 1452. An early bridge existed
here in the thirteenth century, a grant having been made in 1298 for
its repair. A bridge-master was one of the officials of the
corporation, according to the charter granted to the town by James II.
The old bridge was built of wood and supported by piles. No wonder
that people were terrified at the thought of passing over such
structures in dark nights and stormy weather. There was often a
bridge-chapel, as on the old Caversham bridge, wherein they said their
prayers, and perhaps made their wills, before they ventured to cross.

Some towns owe their existence to the making of bridges. It was so at
Maidenhead. It was quite a small place, a cluster of cottages, but
Camden tells us that after the erection of the bridge the town began
to have inns and to be so frequented as to outvie its "neighbouring
mother, Bray, a much more ancient place," where the famous "Vicar"
lived. The old bridge gave place in 1772 to a grand new one with very
graceful arches, which was designed by Sir Roland Taylor.

Abingdon, another of our Berkshire towns, has a famous bridge that
dates back to the fifteenth century, when it was erected by some good
merchants of the town, John Brett and John Huchyns and Geoffrey
Barbour, with the aid of Sir Peter Besils of Besselsleigh, who
supplied the stone from his quarries. It is an extremely graceful
structure, well worthy of the skill of the medieval builders. It is
some hundreds of yards in length, spanning the Thames and meadows that
are often flooded, the main stream being spanned by six arches. Henry
V is credited with its construction, but he only graciously bestowed
his royal licence. In fact these merchants built two bridges, one
called Burford Bridge and the other across the ford at Culham. The
name Burford has nothing to do with the beautiful old town which we
have already visited, but is a corruption of Borough-ford, the town
ford at Abingdon. Two poets have sung their praises, one in atrocious
Latin and the other in quaint, old-fashioned English. The first poet
made a bad shot at the name of the king, calling him Henry IV instead
of Henry V, though it is a matter of little importance, as neither
monarch had anything to do with founding the structure. The Latin poet
sings, if we may call it singing:--

        Henricus Quartus quarto fundaverat anno
        Rex pontem Burford super undas atque Culham-ford.

The English poet fixes the date of the bridge, 4 Henry V (1416) and
thus tells its story:--

        King Henry the fyft, in his fourthe yere
        He hath i-founde for his folke a brige in Berkshire
        For cartis with cariage may goo and come clere,
        That many wynters afore were marred in the myre.

        Now is Culham hithe[57] i-come to an ende
        And al the contre the better and no man the worse,
        Few folke there were coude that way mende,
        But they waged a cold or payed of ther purse;
        An if it were a beggar had breed in his bagge,
        He schulde be right soone i-bid to goo aboute;
        And if the pore penyless the hireward would have,
        A hood or a girdle and let him goo aboute.
        Culham hithe hath caused many a curse
        I' blyssed be our helpers we have a better waye,
        Without any peny for cart and horse.

        Another blyssed besiness is brigges to make
        That there the pepul may not passe after great schowres,
        Dole it is to draw a dead body out of a lake
        That was fulled in a fount stoon and felow of owres.

  [57] Ferry.

The poet was grateful for the mercies conveyed to him by the bridge.
"Fulled in a fount stoon," of course, means "washed or baptized in a
stone font." He reveals the misery and danger of passing through a
ford "after great showers," and the sad deaths which befell
adventurous passengers when the river was swollen by rains and the
ford well-nigh impassable. No wonder the builders of bridges earned
the gratitude of their fellows. Moreover, this Abingdon Bridge was
free to all persons, rich and poor alike, and no toll or pontage was
demanded from those who would cross it.

Within the memory of man there was a beautiful old bridge between
Reading and Caversham. It was built of brick, and had ten arches, some
constructed of stone. About the time of the Restoration some of these
were ruinous, and obstructed the passage by penning up the water above
the bridge so that boats could not pass without the use of a winch,
and in the time of James II the barge-masters of Oxford appealed to
Courts of Exchequer, asserting that the charges of pontage exacted on
all barges passing under the bridge were unlawful, claiming exemption
from all tolls by reason of a charter granted to the citizens of
Oxford by Richard II. They won their case. This bridge is mentioned in
the Close Rolls of the early years of Edward I as a place where
assizes were held. The bridge at Cromarsh and Grandpont outside Oxford
were frequently used for the same purpose. So narrow was it that two
vehicles could not pass. For the safety of the foot passenger little
angles were provided at intervals into which he could step in order
to avoid being run over by carts or coaches. The chapel on the bridge
was a noted feature of the bridge. It was very ancient. In 1239
Engelard de Cyngny was ordered to let William, chaplain of the chapel
of Caversham, have an oak out of Windsor Forest with which to make
shingles for the roofing of the chapel. Passengers made offerings in
the chapel to the priest in charge of it for the repair of the bridge
and the maintenance of the chapel and priest. It contained many relics
of saints, which at the Dissolution were eagerly seized by Dr. London,
the King's Commissioner. About the year 1870 the old bridge was pulled
down and the present hideous iron-girder erection substituted for it.
It is extremely ugly, but is certainly more convenient than the old
narrow bridge, which required passengers to retire into the angle to
avoid the danger of being run over.

These bridges can tell many tales of battle and bloodshed. There was a
great skirmish on Caversham Bridge in the Civil War in a vain attempt
on the part of the Royalists to relieve the siege of Reading. When
Wallingford was threatened in the same period of the Great Rebellion,
one part of the bridge was cut in order to prevent the enemy riding
into the town. And you can still detect the part that was severed.
There is a very interesting old bridge across the upper Thames between
Bampton and Faringdon. It is called Radcot Bridge; probably built in
the thirteenth century, with its three arches and a heavy buttress in
the middle niched for a figure of the Virgin, and a cross formerly
stood in the centre. A "cut" has diverted the course of the river to
another channel, but the bridge remains, and on this bridge a sharp
skirmish took place between Robert de Vere, Earl of Oxford, Marquis of
Dublin, and Duke of Ireland, a favourite of Richard II, upon whom the
King delighted to bestow titles and honours. The rebellious lords met
the favourite's forces at Radcot, where a fierce fight ensued. De Vere
was taken in the rear, and surrounded by the forces of the Duke of
Gloucester and the Earl of Derby, and being hard pressed, he plunged
into the icy river (it was on the 20th day of December, 1387) with his
armour on, and swimming down-stream with difficulty saved his life. Of
this exploit a poet sings:--

        Here Oxford's hero, famous for his boar,
        While clashing swords upon his target sound,
        And showers of arrows from his breast rebound,
        Prepared for worst of fates, undaunted stood,
        And urged his heart into the rapid flood.
        The waves in triumph bore him, and were proud
        To sink beneath their honourable load.

Religious communities, monasteries and priories, often constructed
bridges. There is a very curious one at Croyland, probably erected by
one of the abbots of the famous abbey of Croyland or Crowland. This
bridge is regarded as one of the greatest curiosities in the kingdom.
It is triangular in shape, and has been supposed to be emblematical of
the Trinity. The rivers Welland, Nene, and a drain called Catwater
flow under it. The ascent is very steep, so that carriages go under
it. The triangular bridge of Croyland is mentioned in a charter of
King Edred about the year 941, but the present bridge is probably not
earlier than the fourteenth century. However, there is a rude statue
said to be that of King Ethelbald, and may have been taken from the
earlier structure and built into the present bridge. It is in a
sitting posture at the end of the south-west wall of the bridge. The
figure has a crown on the head, behind which are two wings, the arms
bound together, round the shoulders a kind of mantle, in the left hand
a sceptre and in the right a globe. The bridge consists of three
piers, whence spring three pointed arches which unite their groins in
the centre. Croyland is an instance of a decayed town, the tide of its
prosperity having flowed elsewhere. Though nominally a market-town, it
is only a village, with little more than the ruins of its former
splendour remaining, when the great abbey attracted to it crowds of
the nobles and gentry of England, and employed vast numbers of
labourers, masons, and craftsmen on the works of the abbey and in the
supply of its needs.

[Illustration: The Triangular Bridge Crowland]

All over the country we find beautiful old bridges, though the opening
years of the present century, with the increase of heavy
traction-engines, have seen many disappear. At Coleshill,
Warwickshire, there is a graceful old bridge leading to the town with
its six arches and massive cutwaters. Kent is a county of bridges,
picturesque medieval structures which have survived the lapse of time
and the storms and floods of centuries. You can find several of these
that span the Medway far from the busy railway lines and the great
roads. There is a fine medieval fifteenth-century bridge at Yalding
across the Beult, long, fairly level, with deeply embayed cutwaters of
rough ragstone. Twyford Bridge belongs to the same period, and
Lodingford Bridge, with its two arches and single-buttressed cutwater,
is very picturesque. Teston Bridge across the Medway has five arches
of carefully wrought stonework and belongs to the fifteenth century,
and East Farleigh is a fine example of the same period with four
ribbed and pointed arches and four bold cutwaters of wrought stones,
one of the best in the country. Aylesford Bridge is a very graceful
structure, though it has been altered by the insertion of a wide span
arch in the centre for the improvement of river navigation. Its
existence has been long threatened, and the Society for the Protection
of Ancient Buildings has done its utmost to save the bridge from
destruction. Its efforts are at length crowned with success, and the
Kent County Council has decided that there are not sufficient grounds
to justify the demolition of the bridge and that it shall remain. The
attack upon this venerable structure will probably be renewed some
day, and its friends will watch over it carefully and be prepared to
defend it again when the next onslaught is made. It is certainly one
of the most beautiful bridges in Kent. Little known and seldom seen
by the world, and unappreciated even by the antiquary or the motorist,
these Medway bridges continue their placid existence and proclaim the
enduring work of the English masons of nearly five centuries ago.

Many of our bridges are of great antiquity. The Eashing bridges over
the Wey near Godalming date from the time of King John and are of
singular charm and beauty. Like many others they have been threatened,
the Rural District Council having proposed to widen and strengthen
them, and completely to alter their character and picturesqueness.
Happily the bridges were private property, and by the action of the
Old Guildford Society and the National Trust they have been placed
under the guardianship of the Trust, and are now secure from
molestation.

[Illustration: Huntingdon Bridge]

We give an illustration of the Crane Bridge, Salisbury, a small Gothic
bridge near the Church House, and seen in conjunction with that
venerable building it forms a very beautiful object. Another
illustration shows the huge bridge at Huntingdon spanning the Ouse
with six arches. It is in good preservation, and has an arcade of
Early Gothic arches, and over it the coaches used to run along the
great North Road, the scene of the mythical ride of Dick Turpin, and
doubtless the youthful feet of Oliver Cromwell, who was born at
Huntingdon, often traversed it. There is another fine bridge at St.
Neots with a watch-tower in the centre.

The little town of Bradford-on-Avon has managed to preserve almost
more than any other place in England the old features which are fast
vanishing elsewhere. We have already seen that most interesting
untouched specimen of Saxon architecture the little Saxon church,
which we should like to think is the actual church built by St.
Aldhelm, but we are compelled to believe on the authority of experts
that it is not earlier than the tenth century. In all probability a
church was built by St. Aldhelm at Bradford, probably of wood, and was
afterwards rebuilt in stone when the land had rest and the raids of
the Danes had ceased, and King Canute ruled and encouraged the
building of churches, and Bishops Dunstan and AEthelwold of Winchester
were specially prominent in the work. Bradford, too, has its noble
church, parts of which date back to Norman times; its famous
fourteenth-century barn at Barton Farm, which has a fifteenth-century
porch and gatehouse; many fine examples of the humbler specimens of
domestic architecture; and the very interesting Kingston House of the
seventeenth century, built by one of the rich clothiers of Bradford,
when the little town (like Abingdon) "stondeth by clothing," and all
the houses in the place were figuratively "built upon wool-packs." But
we are thinking of bridges, and Bradford has two, the earlier one
being a little footbridge by the abbey grange, now called Barton Farm.
Miss Alice Dryden tells the story of the town bridge in her _Memorials
of Old Wiltshire_. It was originally only wide enough for a string of
packhorses to pass along it. The ribbed portions of the southernmost
arches and the piers for the chapel are early fourteenth century, the
other arches were built later. Bradford became so prosperous, and the
stream of traffic so much increased, and wains took the place of
packhorses, that the narrow bridge was not sufficient for it; so the
good clothiers built in the time of James I a second bridge alongside
the first. Orders were issued in 1617 and 1621 for "the repair of the
very fair bridge consisting of many goodly arches of freestone,"
which had fallen into decay. The cost of repairing it was estimated at
200 marks. There is a building on the bridge corbelled out on a
specially built pier of the bridge, the use of which is not at first
sight evident. Some people call it the watch-house, and it has been
used as a lock-up; but Miss Dryden tells us that it was a chapel,
similar to those which we have seen on many other medieval bridges. It
belonged to the Hospital of St. Margaret, which stood at the southern
end of the bridge, where the Great Western Railway crosses the road.
This chapel retains little of its original work, and was rebuilt when
the bridge was widened in the time of James I. Formerly there was a
niche for a figure looking up the stream, but this has gone with much
else during the drastic restoration. That a bridge-chapel existed here
is proved by Aubrey, who mentions "the chapel for masse in the middest
of the bridge" at Bradford.

[Illustration: The Crane Bridge, Salisbury]

Sometimes bridges owe their origin to curious circumstances. There was
an old bridge at Olney, Buckinghamshire, of which Cowper wrote when he
sang:--

        That with its wearisome but needful length
              Bestrides the flood.

The present bridge that spans the Ouse with three arches and a
causeway has taken the place of the long bridge of Cowper's time. This
long bridge was built in the days of Queen Anne by two squires, Sir
Robert Throckmorton of Weston Underwood and William Lowndes of Astwood
Manor. These two gentlemen were sometimes prevented from paying visits
to one another by floods, as they lived on opposite sides of the Ouse.
They accordingly built the long bridge in continuation of an older
one, of which only a small portion remains at the north end. Sir
Robert found the material and Mr. Lowndes the labour. This story
reminds one of a certain road in Berks and Bucks, the milestones along
which record the distance between Hatfield and Bath? Why Hatfield? It
is not a place of great resort or an important centre of population.
But when we gather that a certain Marquis of Salisbury was troubled
with gout, and had frequently to resort to Bath for the "cure," and
constructed the road for his special convenience at his own expense,
we begin to understand the cause of the carving of Hatfield on the
milestones.

[Illustration: Watch House On The Bridge Bradford on Avon Wilts. 8 Oct
1908]

The study of the bridges of England seems to have been somewhat
neglected by antiquaries. You will often find some good account of a
town or village in guide-books or topographical works, but the story
of the bridges is passed over in silence. Owing to the reasons we have
already stated, old bridges are fast disappearing and are being
substituted by the hideous erections of iron and steel. It is well
that we should attempt to record those that are left, photograph them
and paint them, ere the march of modern progress, evinced by the
traction-engine and the motor-car, has quite removed and destroyed
them.




CHAPTER XV

OLD HOSPITALS AND ALMSHOUSES


There are in many towns and villages hospitals--not the large modern
and usually unsightly buildings wherein the sick are cured, with wards
all spick and span and up to date--but beautiful old buildings
mellowed with age wherein men and women, on whom the snows of life
have begun to fall thickly, may rest and recruit and take their ease
before they start on the long, dark journey from which no traveller
returns to tell to those he left behind how he fared.

Almshouses we usually call them now, but our forefathers preferred to
call them hospitals, God's hostels, "God huis," as the Germans call
their beautiful house of pity at Luebeck, where the tired-out and
money-less folk might find harbourage. The older hospitals were often
called "bede-houses," because the inmates were bound to pray for their
founder and benefactors. Some medieval hospitals, memorials of the
charity of pre-Reformation Englishmen, remain, but many were
suppressed during the age of spoliation; and others have been so
rebuilt and restored that there is little left of the early
foundation.

We may notice three classes of these foundations. First, there are the
pre-Reformation bede-houses or hospitals; the second group is composed
of those which were built during the spacious days of Queen Elizabeth,
James I, and Charles I. The Civil War put a stop to the foundation of
almshouses. The principal landowners were impoverished by the war or
despoiled by the Puritans, and could not build; the charity of the
latter was devoted to other purposes. With the Restoration of the
Church and the Monarchy another era of the building of almshouses set
in, and to this period very many of our existing institutions belong.

[Illustration: Gateway of St. John's Hospital, Canterbury]

Of the earliest group we have several examples left. There is the
noble hospital of St. Cross at Winchester, founded in the days of
anarchy during the contest between Stephen and Matilda for the English
throne. Its hospitable door is still open. Bishop Henry of Blois was
its founder, and he made provision for thirteen poor men to be housed,
boarded, and clothed, and for a hundred others to have a meal every
day. He placed the hospital under the care of the Master of the
Knights Hospitallers. Fortunately it was never connected with a
monastery. Hence it escaped pillage and destruction at the
dissolution of monastic houses. Bishop Henry was a great builder, and
the church of the hospital is an interesting example of a structure of
the Transition Norman period, when the round arch was giving way to
the Early English pointed arch. To this foundation was added in 1443
by Cardinal Beaufort an extension called the "Almshouse of Noble
Poverty," and it is believed that the present domestic buildings were
erected by him.[58] The visitor can still obtain the dole of bread and
ale at the gate of St. Cross. Winchester is well provided with old
hospitals: St. John's was founded in 931 and refounded in 1289; St.
Mary Magdalen, by Bishop Toclyve in 1173-88 for nine lepers; and
Christ's Hospital in 1607.

  [58] Mr. Nisbett gives a good account of the hospital in
  _Memorials of Old Hampshire_, and Mr. Champneys fully describes
  the buildings in the _Architectural Review_, October, 1903, and
  April, 1904.

We will visit some less magnificent foundations. Some are of a very
simple type, resembling a church with nave and chancel. The nave part
was a large hall divided by partitions on each side of an alley into
little cells in which the bedesmen lived. Daily Mass was celebrated in
the chancel, the chapel of hospital, whither the inmates resorted; but
the sick and infirm who could not leave their cells were able to join
in the service. St. Mary's Hospital, at Chichester, is an excellent
example, as it retains its wooden cells, which are still used by the
inmates. It was formerly a nunnery, but in 1229 the nuns departed and
the almswomen took their place. It is of wide span with low
side-walls, and the roof is borne by wooden pillars. There are eight
cells of two rooms each, and beyond the screen is a little chapel,
which is still used by the hospitallers.[59]

  [59] The _Treasury_, November, 1907, an article on hospitals by
  Dr. Hermitage Day.

Archbishop Chichele founded a fine hospital at Higham Ferrers in
Northamptonshire, which saw his lowly birth, together with a school
and college, about the year 1475. The building is still in existence
and shows a good roof and fine Perpendicular window, but the twelve
bedesmen and the one sister, who was to be chosen for her plainness,
no longer use the structure.

Stamford can boast of a fine medieval hospital, the foundation of
Thomas Browne in 1480 for the accommodation of ten old men and two
women. A new quadrangle has been built for the inmates, but you can
still see the old edifice with its nave of two storeys, its
fifteenth-century stained glass, and its chapel with its screen and
stalls and altar.

Stamford has another hospital which belongs to our second group. Owing
to the destruction of monasteries, which had been great benefactors to
the poor and centres of vast schemes of charity, there was sore need
for almshouses and other schemes for the relief of the aged and
destitute. The _nouveaux riches_, who had fattened on the spoils of
the monasteries, sought to salve their consciences by providing for
the wants of the poor, building grammar schools, and doing some good
with their wealth. Hence many almshouses arose during this period.
This Stamford home was founded by the great Lord Burghley in 1597. It
is a picturesque group of buildings with tall chimneys, mullioned and
dormer windows, on the bank of the Welland stream, and occupies the
site of a much more ancient foundation.

There is the college at Cobham, in Kent, the buildings forming a
pleasant quadrangle south of the church. Flagged pathways cross the
greensward of the court, and there is a fine hall wherein the inmates
used to dine together.

As we traverse the village streets we often meet with these grey piles
of sixteenth-century almshouses, often low, one-storeyed buildings,
picturesque and impressive, each house having a welcoming porch with a
seat on each side and a small garden full of old-fashioned flowers.
The roof is tiled, on which moss and lichen grow, and the
chimney-stacks are tall and graceful. An inscription records the date
and name of the generous founder with his arms and motto. Such a home
of peace you will find at Quainton, in Buckinghamshire, founded, as an
inscription records, "Anno Dom. 1687. These almshouses were then
erected and endow'd by Richard Winwood, son and heir of Right Hon'ble
Sir Ralph Winwood, Bart., Principal Secretary of State to King James
y'e First." Within these walls dwell (according to the rules drawn up
by Sir Ralph Verney in 1695) "three poor men--widowers,--to be called
Brothers, and three poor women--widows,--to be called Sisters." Very
strict were these rules for the government of the almshouses, as to
erroneous opinions in any principle of religion, the rector of
Quainton being the judge, the visiting of alehouses, the good conduct
of the inmates, who were to be "no whisperers, quarrelers, evil
speakers or contentious."

These houses at Quainton are very humble abodes; other almshouses are
large and beautiful buildings erected by some rich merchant, or great
noble, or London City company, for a large scheme of charity. Such are
the beautiful almshouses in the Kingsland Road, Shoreditch, founded in
the early part of the eighteenth century under the terms of the will
of Sir Robert Geffery. They stand in a garden about an acre in extent,
a beautiful oasis in the surrounding desert of warehouses, reminding
the passer-by of the piety and loyal patriotism of the great citizens
of London, and affording a peaceful home for many aged folk. This
noble building, of great architectural dignity, with the figure of the
founder over the porch and its garden with fine trees, has only just
escaped the hands of the destroyer and been numbered among the bygone
treasures of vanished England. It was seriously proposed to pull down
this peaceful home of poor people and sell the valuable site to the
Peabody Donation Fund for the erection of working-class dwellings. The
almshouses are governed by the Ironmongers' Company, and this proposal
was made; but, happily, the friends of ancient buildings made their
protest to the Charity Commissioners, who have refused their sanction
to the sale, and the Geffery Almshouses will continue to exist,
continue their useful mission, and remain the chief architectural
ornament in a district that sorely needs "sweetness and light."

City magnates who desired to build and endow hospitals for the aged
nearly always showed their confidence in and affection for the Livery
Companies to which they belonged by placing in their care these
charitable foundations. Thus Sir Richard Whittington, of famous
memory, bequeathed to the Mercers' Company all his houses and
tenements in London, which were to be sold and the proceeds
distributed in various charitable works. With this sum they founded a
College of Priests, called Whittington College, which was suppressed
at the Reformation, and the almshouses adjoining the old church of St.
Michael Paternoster, for thirteen poor folk, of whom one should be
principal or tutor. The Great Fire destroyed the buildings; they were
rebuilt on the same site, but in 1835 they were fallen into decay, and
the company re-erected them at Islington, where you will find
Whittington College, providing accommodation for twenty-eight poor
women. Besides this the Mercers have charge of Lady Mico's Almshouses
at Stepney, founded in 1692 and rebuilt in 1857, and the Trinity
Hospital at Greenwich, founded in 1615 by Henry Howard, Earl of
Northampton. This earl was of a very charitable disposition, and
founded other hospitals at Castle Rising in Norfolk and Clun in
Shropshire. The Mercers continue to manage the property and have built
a new hospital at Shottisham, besides making grants to the others
created by the founder. It is often the custom of the companies to
expend out of their private income far more than they receive from the
funds of the charities which they administer.

[Illustration: Inmate of the Trinity Bede House at Castle Rising,
Norfolk]

The Grocers' Company have almshouses and a Free Grammar School at
Oundle in Northamptonshire, founded by Sir William Laxton in 1556,
upon which they have expended vast sums of money. The Drapers
administer the Mile End Almshouses and school founded in 1728 by
Francis Bancroft, Sir John Jolles's almshouses at Tottenham, founded
in 1618, and very many others. They have two hundred in the
neighbourhood of London alone, and many others in different parts of
the country. Near where I am writing is Lucas's Hospital at Wokingham,
founded by Henry Lucas in 1663, which he placed in the charge of the
company. It is a beautiful Carolian house with a central portion and
two wings, graceful and pleasing in every detail. The chapel is
situated in one wing and the master's house in the other, and there
are sets of rooms for twelve poor men chosen from the parishes in the
neighbourhood. The Fishmongers have the management of three important
hospitals. At Bray, in Berkshire, famous for its notable vicar, there
stands the ancient Jesus Hospital, founded in 1616 under the will of
William Goddard, who directed that there should be built rooms with
chimneys in the said hospital, fit and convenient for forty poor
people to dwell and inhabit it, and that there should be one chapel or
place convenient to serve Almighty God in for ever with public and
divine prayers and other exercises of religion, and also one kitchen
and bakehouse common to all the people of the said hospital. Jesus
Hospital is a quadrangular building, containing forty almshouses
surrounding a court which is divided into gardens, one of which is
attached to each house. It has a pleasing entrance through a gabled
brick porch which has over the Tudor-shaped doorway a statue of the
founder and mullioned latticed windows. The old people live happy and
contented lives, and find in the eventide of their existence a
cheerful home in peaceful and beautiful surroundings. The Fishmongers
also have almshouses at Harrietsham, in Kent, founded by Mark Quested,
citizen and fishmonger of London, in 1642, which they rebuilt in 1772,
and St. Peter's Hospital, Wandsworth, formerly called the Fishmongers'
Almshouses. The Goldsmiths have a very palatial pile of almshouses at
Acton Park, called Perryn's Almshouses, with a grand entrance
portico, and most of the London companies provide in this way homes
for their decayed members, so that they may pass their closing years
in peace and freedom from care.

[Illustration: The Hospital for Ancient Fishermen, Great Yarmouth. Aug
1908]

Fishermen, who pass their lives in storm and danger reaping the
harvest of the sea, have not been forgotten by pious benefactors. One
of the most picturesque buildings in Great Yarmouth is the Fishermen's
Hospital, of which we give some illustrations. It was founded by the
corporation of the town in 1702 for the reception of twenty old
fishermen and their wives. It is a charming house of rest, with its
gables and dormer windows and its general air of peace and repose. The
old men look very comfortable after battling for so many years with
the storms of the North Sea. Charles II granted to the hospital an
annuity of L160 for its support, which was paid out of the excise on
beer, but when the duty was repealed the annuity naturally ceased.

The old hospital at King's Lynn was destroyed during the siege, as
this quaint inscription tells:--

     THIS HOSPITAL WAS
    BURNT DOWN AT LIN
     SEGE AND REBULT
     1649 NATH MAXEY
      MAYOR AND EDW
     ROBINSON ALDMAN
    TREASURER PRO TEM
               P.R.O.

Norwich had several important hospitals. Outside the Magdalen gates
stood the Magdalen Hospital, founded by Bishop Herbert, the first
bishop. It was a house for lepers, and some portions of the Norman
chapel still exist in a farm-building by the roadside. The far-famed
St. Giles's Hospital in Bishopsgate Street is an ancient foundation,
erected by Bishop Walter Suffield in 1249 for poor chaplains and other
poor persons. It nearly vanished at the Reformation era, like so many
other kindred institutions, but Henry VIII and Edward VI granted it a
new charter. The poor clergy were, however, left out in the cold, and
the benefits were confined to secular folk. For the accommodation of
its inmates the chancel of the church was divided by a floor into an
upper and a lower storey, and this arrangement still exists, and you
can still admire the picturesque ivy-clad tower, the wards with cosy
ingle-nooks at either end and cubicles down the middle, the roof
decorated with eagles, deemed to be the cognizance of Queen Anne of
Bohemia, wife of Richard II, the quaint little cloister, and above
all, the excellent management of this grand institution, the "Old
Man's Hospital," as it is called, which provides for the necessities
of 150 old folk, whose wants are cared for by a master and twelve
nurses.

[Illustration: Inscription on the Hospital, King's Lynn]

Let us travel far and visit another charming almshouse, Abbot's
Hospital, at Guildford, which is an architectural gem and worthy of
the closest inspection. It was founded by Archbishop Abbot in 1619,
and is a noble building of mellowed brick with finely carved oak
doors, graceful chimneys with their curious "crow-rests," noble
staircases, interesting portraits, and rare books, amongst which is a
Vinegar Bible. The chapel with its Flemish windows showing the story
of Jacob and Esau, and oak carvings and almsbox dated 1619, is
especially attractive. Here the founder retired in sadness and sorrow
after his unfortunate day's hunting in Bramshill Park, where he
accidentally shot a keeper, an incident which gave occasion to his
enemies to blaspheme and deride him. Here the Duke of Monmouth was
confined on his way to London after the battle of Sedgemoor. The
details of the building are worthy of attention, especially the
ornamented doors and doorways, the elaborate latches, beautifully
designed and furnished with a spring, and elegant casement-fasteners.
Guildford must have had a school of great artists of these
window-fasteners. Near the hospital there is a very interesting house,
No. 25 High Street, now a shop, but formerly the town clerk's
residence and the lodgings of the judges of assize; no better series
in England of beautifully designed window-fasteners can be found than
in this house, erected in 1683; it also has a fine staircase like that
at Farnham Castle, and some good plaster ceilings resembling Inigo
Jones's work and probably done by his workmen.

The good town of Abingdon has a very celebrated hospital founded in
1446 by the Guild of the Holy Cross, a fraternity composed of "good
men and true," wealthy merchants and others, which built the bridge,
repaired roads, maintained a bridge priest and a rood priest, and held
a great annual feast at which the brethren consumed as much as 6
calves, 16 lambs, 80 capons, 80 geese, and 800 eggs. It was a very
munificent and beneficent corporation, and erected these almshouses
for thirteen poor men and the same number of poor women. That hospital
founded so long ago still exists. It is a curious and ancient
structure in one storey, and is denoted Christ's Hospital. One of our
recent writers on Berkshire topography, whose historical accuracy is a
little open to criticism, gives a good description of the building:--

  "It is a long range of chambers built of mellow brick and
  immemorial oak, having in their centre a small hall, darkly
  wainscoted, the very table in which makes a collector sinfully
  covetous. In front of the modest doors of the chambers inhabited
  by almsmen and almswomen runs a tiny cloister with oak pillars, so
  that the inmates may visit one another dryshod in any weather.
  Each door, too, bears a text from the Old or New Testament. A more
  typical relic of the old world, a more sequestered haven of rest,
  than this row of lowly buildings, looking up to the great church
  in front, and with its windows opening on to green turf bordered
  with flowers in the rear, it could not enter into the heart of man
  to imagine."[60]

  [60] _Highways and Byways in Berkshire_.

We could spend endless time in visiting the old almshouses in many
parts of the country. There is the Ford's Hospital in Coventry,
erected in 1529, an extremely good specimen of late Gothic work,
another example of which is found in St. John's Hospital at Rye. The
Corsham Almshouses in Wiltshire, erected in 1663, are most picturesque
without, and contain some splendid woodwork within, including a fine
old reading-desk with carved seat in front. There is a large porch
with an immense coat-of-arms over the door. In the region of the
Cotswolds, where building-stone is plentiful, we find a noble set of
almshouses at Chipping Campden in Gloucestershire, a gabled structure
near the church with tall, graceful chimneys and mullioned windows,
having a raised causeway in front protected by a low wall. Ewelme, in
Oxfordshire, is a very attractive village with a row of cottages half
a mile long, which have before their doors a sparkling stream dammed
here and there into watercress beds. At the top of the street on a
steep knoll stand church and school and almshouses of the mellowest
fifteenth-century bricks, as beautiful and structurally sound as the
pious founders left them. These founders were the unhappy William de
la Pole, first Duke of Suffolk, and his good wife the Duchess Alice.
The Duke inherited Ewelme through his wife Alice Chaucer, a kinswoman
of the poet, and "for love of her and the commoditie of her landes
fell much to dwell in Oxfordshire," and in 1430-40 was busy building
a manor-place of "brick and Tymbre and set within a fayre mote," a
church, an almshouse, and a school. The manor-place, or "Palace," as
it was called, has disappeared, but the almshouse and school remain,
witnesses of the munificence of the founders. The poor Duke, favourite
minister of Henry VI, was exiled by the Yorkist faction, and beheaded
by the sailors on his way to banishment. Twenty-five years of
widowhood fell to the bereaved duchess, who finished her husband's
buildings, called the almshouses "God's House," and then reposed
beneath one of the finest monuments in England in the church hard by.
The almshouses at Audley End, Essex, are amongst the most picturesque
in the country. Such are some of these charming homes of rest that
time has spared.

The old people who dwell in them are often as picturesque as their
habitations. Here you will find an old woman with her lace-pillow and
bobbins, spectacles on nose, and white bonnet with strings, engaged in
working out some intricate lace pattern. In others you will see the
inmates clad in their ancient liveries. The dwellers in the Coningsby
Hospital at Hereford, founded in 1614 for old soldiers and aged
servants, had a quaint livery consisting of "a fustian suit of ginger
colour, of a soldier-like fashion, and seemly laced; a cloak of red
cloth lined with red baize and reaching to the knees, to be worn in
walks and journeys, and a gown of red cloth, reaching to the ankle,
lined also with baize, to be worn within the hospital." They are,
therefore, known as Red Coats. The almsmen of Ely and Rochester have
cloaks. The inmates of the Hospital of St. Cross wear as a badge a
silver cross potent. At Bottesford they have blue coats and blue
"beef-eater" hats, and a silver badge on the left arm bearing the arms
of the Rutland family--a peacock in its pride, surmounted by a coronet
and surrounded by a garter.

[Illustration: Ancient Inmates of the Fishermen's Hospital, Great
Yarmouth]

It is not now the fashion to found almshouses. We build workhouses
instead, vast ugly barracks wherein the poor people are governed by
all the harsh rules of the Poor Law, where husband and wife are
separated from each other, and "those whom God hath joined together
are," by man and the Poor Law, "put asunder"; where the industrious
labourer is housed with the lazy and ne'er-do-weel. The old almshouses
were better homes for the aged poor, homes of rest after the struggle
for existence, and harbours of refuge for the tired and weary till
they embark on their last voyage.

[Illustration: Cottages at Evesham]





CHAPTER XVI

VANISHING FAIRS


The "oldest inhabitants" of our villages can remember many changes in
the social conditions of country life. They can remember the hard time
of the Crimean war when bread was two shillings and eightpence a
gallon, when food and work were both scarce, and starvation wages were
doled out. They can remember the "machine riots," and tumultuous
scenes at election times, and scores of interesting facts, if only you
can get them to talk and tell you their recollections. The changed
condition of education puzzles them. They can most of them read, and
perhaps write a little, but they prefer to make their mark and get you
to attest it with the formula, "the mark of J----N." Their schooling
was soon over. When they were nine years of age they were ploughboys,
and had a rough time with a cantankerous ploughman who often used to
ply his whip on his lad or on his horses quite indiscriminately. They
have seen many changes, and do not always "hold with" modern notions;
and one of the greatest changes they have seen is in the fairs. They
are not what they were. Some, indeed, maintain some of their
usefulness, but most of them have degenerated into a form of mild
Saturnalia, if not into a scandal and a nuisance; and for that reason
have been suppressed.

Formerly quite small villages had their fairs. If you look at an old
almanac you will see a list of fair-days with the names of the
villages which, when the appointed days come round, cannot now boast
of the presence of a single stall or merry-go-round. The day of the
fair was nearly always on or near the festival of the patron saint to
whom the church of that village is dedicated. There is, of course, a
reason for this. The word "fair" is derived from the Latin word
_feria_, which means a festival, the parish feast day. On the festival
of the patron saint of a village church crowds of neighbours from
adjoining villages would flock to the place, the inhabitants of which
used to keep open house, and entertain all their relations and friends
who came from a distance. They used to make booths and tents with
boughs of trees near the church, and celebrated the festival with much
thanksgiving and prayer. By degrees they began to forget their prayers
and remembered only the feasting; country people flocked from far and
near; the pedlars and hawkers came to find a market for their wares.
Their stalls began to multiply, and thus the germ of a fair was
formed.

[Illustration: Stalls at Banbury Fair]

In such primitive fairs the traders paid no toll or rent for their
stalls, but by degrees the right of granting permission to hold a
fair was vested in the King, who for various considerations bestowed
this favour on nobles, merchant guilds, bishops, or monasteries. Great
profits arose from these gatherings. The traders had to pay toll on
all the goods which they brought to the fair, in addition to the
payment of stallage or rent for the ground on which they displayed
their merchandise, and also a charge on all the goods they sold.
Moreover, the trades-folk of the town were obliged to close their
shops during the days of the fair, and to bring their goods to the
fair, so that the toll-owner might gain good profit withal.

We can imagine, or try to imagine, the roads and streets leading to
the market-place thronged with traders and chapmen, the sellers of
ribbons and cakes, minstrels and morris-dancers, smock-frocked
peasants and sombre-clad monks and friars. Then a horn was sounded,
and the lord of the manor, or the bishop's bailiff, or the mayor of
the town proclaimed the fair; and then the cries of the traders, the
music of the minstrels, the jingling of the bells of the
morris-dancers, filled the air and added animation to the spectacle.

There is a curious old gateway, opposite the fair-ground at
Smithfield, which has just recently narrowly escaped destruction, and
very nearly became part of the vanished glories of England. Happily
the donations of the public poured in so well that the building was
saved. This Smithfield gateway dates back to the middle of the
thirteenth century, the entrance to the Priory of St. Bartholomew,
founded by Rahere, the court jester of Henry I, a century earlier.
Every one knows the story of the building of this Priory, and has
followed its extraordinary vicissitudes, the destruction of its nave
at the dissolution of monasteries, the establishment of a fringe
factory in the Lady Chapel, and the splendid and continuous work of
restoration which has been going on during the last forty years. We
are thankful that this choir of St. Bartholomew's Church should have
been preserved for future generations as an example of the earliest
and most important ecclesiastical buildings in London. But we are
concerned now with this gateway, the beauty of which is partially
concealed by the neighbouring shops and dwellings that surround it, as
a poor and vulgar frame may disfigure some matchless gem of artistic
painting. Its old stones know more about fairs than do most things. It
shall tell its own history. You can still admire the work of the Early
English builders, the receding orders with exquisite mouldings and
dog-tooth ornament--the hall-mark of the early Gothic artists. It
looks upon the Smithfield market, and how many strange scenes of
London history has this gateway witnessed! Under its arch possibly
stood London's first chronicler, Fitzstephen, the monk, when he saw
the famous horse fairs that took place in Smithfield every Friday,
which he described so graphically. Thither flocked earls, barons,
knights, and citizens to look on or buy. The monk admired the nags
with their sleek and shining coats, smoothly ambling along, the young
blood colts not yet accustomed to the bridle, the horses for burden,
strong and stout-limbed, and the valuable chargers of elegant shape
and noble height, with nimbly moving ears, erect necks, and plump
haunches. He waxes eloquent over the races, the expert jockeys, the
eager horses, the shouting crowds. "The riders, inspired with the love
of praise and the hope of victory, clap spurs to their flying horses,
lashing them with their whips, and inciting them by their shouts"; so
wrote the worthy monk Fitzstephen. He evidently loved a horse-race,
but he need not have given us the startling information, "their chief
aim is to prevent a competitor getting before them." That surely would
be obvious even to a monk. He also examined the goods of the peasants,
the implements of husbandry, swine with their long sides, cows with
distended udders, _Corpora magna boum, lanigerumque pecus_, mares
fitted for the plough or cart, some with frolicsome colts running by
their sides. A very animated scene, which must have delighted the
young eyes of the stone arch in the days of its youth, as it did the
heart of the monk.

Still gayer scenes the old gate has witnessed. Smithfield was the
principal spot in London for jousts, tournaments, and military
exercises, and many a grand display of knightly arms has taken place
before this priory gate. "In 1357 great and royal jousts were then
holden in Smithfield; there being present the Kings of England,
France, and Scotland, with many other nobles and great estates of
divers lands," writes Stow. Gay must have been the scene in the
forty-eighth year of Edward III, when Dame Alice Perrers, the King's
mistress, as Lady of the Sun, rode from the Tower of London to
Smithfield accompanied by many lords and ladies, every lady leading a
lord by his horse-bridle, and there began a great joust which endured
seven days after. The lists were set in the great open space with
tiers of seats around, a great central canopy for the Queen of Beauty,
the royal party, and divers tents and pavilions for the contending
knights and esquires. It was a grand spectacle, adorned with all the
pomp and magnificence of medieval chivalry. Froissart describes with
consummate detail the jousts in the fourteenth year of Richard II,
before a grand company, when sixty coursers gaily apparelled for the
jousts issued from the Tower of London ridden by esquires of honour,
and then sixty ladies of honour mounted on palfreys, each lady leading
a knight with a chain of gold, with a great number of trumpets and
other instruments of music with them. On arriving at Smithfield the
ladies dismounted, the esquires led the coursers which the knights
mounted, and after their helmets were set on their heads proclamation
was made by the heralds, the jousts began, "to the great pleasure of
the beholders." But it was not all pomp and pageantry. Many and deadly
were the fights fought in front of the old gate, when men lost their
lives or were borne from the field mortally wounded, or contended for
honour and life against unjust accusers. That must have been a sorry
scene in 1446, when a rascally servant, John David, accused his
master, William Catur, of treason, and had to face the wager of battle
in Smithfield. The master was well beloved, and inconsiderate friends
plied him with wine so that he was not in a condition to fight, and
was slain by his servant. But Stow reminds us that the prosperity of
the wicked is frail. Not long after David was hanged at Tyburn for
felony, and the chronicler concludes: "Let such false accusers note
this for example, and look for no better end without speedy
repentance." He omits to draw any moral from the intemperance of the
master and the danger of drunkenness.

But let this suffice for the jousts in Smithfield. The old gateway
heard on one occasion strange noises in the church, Archbishop
Boniface raging with oaths not to be recited, and sounds of strife and
shrieks and angry cries. This foreigner, Archbishop of Canterbury, had
dared to come with his armed retainers from Provence to hold a
visitation of the priory. The canons received him with solemn pomp,
but respectfully declined to be visited by him, as they had their own
proper visitor, a learned man, the Bishop of London, and did not care
for another inspector. Boniface lost his temper, struck the sub-prior,
saying, "Indeed, doth it become you English traitors so to answer me?"
He tore in pieces the rich cope of the sub-prior; the canons rushed to
their brother's rescue and knocked the Archbishop down; but his men
fell upon the canons and beat them and trod them under foot. The old
gateway was shocked and grieved to see the reverend canons running
beneath the arch bloody and miry, rent and torn, carrying their
complaint to the Bishop and then to the King at Westminster. After
which there was much contention, and the whole city rose and would
have torn the Archbishop into small pieces, shouting, "Where is this
ruffian? that cruel smiter!" and much else that must have frightened
and astonished Master Boniface and made him wish that he had never set
foot in England, but stayed quietly in peaceful Provence.

But this gateway loved to look upon the great fair that took place on
the Feast of St. Bartholomew. This was granted to Rahere the Prior and
to the canons and continued for seven centuries, until the abuses of
modern days destroyed its character and ended its career. The scene of
the actual fair was within the priory gates in the churchyard, and
there during the three days of its continuance stood the booths and
standings of the clothiers and drapers of London and of all England,
of pewterers, and leather-sellers, and without in the open space
before the priory were tents and booths and a noisy crowd of traders,
pleasure-seekers, friars, jesters, tumblers, and stilt-walkers. This
open space was just outside the turreted north wall of the city, and
was girt by tall elms, and near it was a sheet of water whereon the
London boys loved to skate when the frost came. It was the city
playground, and the city gallows were placed there before they were
removed to Tyburn. This dread implement of punishment stood under the
elms where Cow Lane now runs: and one fair day brave William Wallace
was dragged there in chains at the tails of horses, bruised and
bleeding, and foully done to death after the cruel fashion of the age.
All this must have aged the heart of the old gateway, and especially
the sad sight of the countless burials that took place in the year of
the Plague, 1349, when fifty thousand were interred in the burial
ground of the Carthusians, and few dared to attend the fair for fear
of the pestilence.

Other terrible things the gateway saw: the burning of heretics. Not
infrequently did these fires of persecution rage. One of the first of
these martyrs was John Bedley, a tailor, burnt in Smithfield in 1410.
In Fox's _Book of Martyrs_ you can see a woodcut of the burning of
Anne Ascue and others, showing a view of the Priory and the crowd of
spectators who watched the poor lady die. Not many days afterwards the
fair-folk assembled, while the ground was still black with her ashes,
and dogs danced and women tumbled and the devil jeered in the miracle
play on the spot where martyrs died.

We should need a volume to describe all the sights of this wondrous
fair, the church crowded with worshippers, the halt and sick praying
for healing, the churchyard full of traders, the sheriff proclaiming
new laws, the young men bowling at ninepins, pedlars shouting their
wares, players performing the miracle play on a movable stage, bands
of pipers, lowing oxen, neighing horses, and bleating sheep. It was a
merry sight that medieval Bartholomew Fair.

[Illustration: An Old English Fair]

We still have Cloth Fair, a street so named, with a remarkable group
of timber houses with over-sailing storeys and picturesque gables. It
is a very dark and narrow thoroughfare, and in spite of many changes
it remains a veritable "bit" of old London, as it was in the
seventeenth century. These houses have sprung up where in olden days
the merchants' booths stood for the sale of cloth. It was one of the
great annual markets of the nation, the chief cloth fair in England
that had no rival. Hither came the officials of the Merchant Tailors'
Company bearing a silver yard measure, to try the measures of the
clothiers and drapers to see if they were correct. And so each year
the great fair went on, and priors and canons lived and died and were
buried in the church or beneath the grass of the churchyard. But at
length the days of the Priory were numbered, and it changed masters.
The old gateway wept to see the cowled Black Canons depart when Henry
VIII dissolved the monastery; its heart nearly broke when it heard the
sounds of axes and hammers, crowbars and saws, at work on the fabric
of the church pulling down the grand nave, and it scowled at the new
owner, Sir Richard Rich, a prosperous political adventurer, who bought
the whole estate for L1064 11s. 3d., and made a good bargain.

The monks, a colony of Black Friars, came in again with Queen Mary,
but they were driven out again when Elizabeth reigned, and Lord Rich
again resumed possession of the estate, which passed to his heirs, the
Earls of Warwick and Holland. Each Sunday, however, the old gate
welcomed devout worshippers on their way to the church, the choir
having been converted into the parish church of the district, and was
not sorry to see in Charles's day a brick tower rising at the west
end.

In spite of the changes of ownership the fair went on increasing with
the increase of the city. But the scene has changed. In the time of
James I the last elm tree had gone, and rows of houses, fair and
comely buildings, had sprung up. The old muddy plain had been drained
and paved, and the traders and pleasure-seekers could no longer dread
the wading through a sea of mud. We should like to follow the fair
through the centuries, and see the sights and shows. The puppet shows
were always attractive, and the wild beasts, the first animal ever
exhibited being "a large and beautiful young camel from Grand Cairo
in Egypt. This creature is twenty-three years old, his head and neck
like those of a deer." One Flockton during the last half of the
eighteenth century was the prince of puppet showmen, and he called his
puppets the Italian Fantocinni. He made his figures work in a most
lifelike style. He was a conjurer too, and the inventor of a wonderful
clock which showed nine hundred figures at work upon a variety of
trades. "Punch and Judy" always attracted crowds, and we notice the
handbills of Mr. Robinson, conjurer to the Queen, and of Mr. Lane, who
sings:

        It will make you to laugh, it will drive away gloom,
        To see how the eggs will dance round the room;
        And from another egg a bird there will fly,
        Which makes all the company all for to cry, etc.

The booths for actors were a notable feature of the fair. We read of
Fielding's booth at the George Inn, of the performance of the
_Beggar's Opera_ in 1728, of Penkethman's theatrical booth when _Wat
Taylor and Jack Straw_ was acted, of the new opera called _The
Generous Free Mason or the Constant Lady_, of _Jephthah's Rash Vow_,
and countless other plays that saw the light at Bartholomew Fair. The
audience included not only the usual frequenters of fairs, but even
royal visitors, noblemen, and great ladies flocked to the booths for
amusement, and during its continuance the playhouses of London were
closed.

I must not omit to mention the other attractions, the fireproof lady,
Madam Giradelli, who put melted lead in her mouth, passed red-hot iron
over her body, thrust her arm into fire, and washed her hands in
boiling oil; Mr. Simon Paap, the Dutch dwarf, twenty-eight inches
high; bear-dancing, the learned pig, the "beautiful spotted negro
boy," peep-shows, Wombell's royal menagerie, the learned cats, and a
female child with two perfect heads.

But it is time to ring down the curtain. The last days of the fair
were not edifying. Scenes of riot and debauch, of violence and
lawlessness disgraced the assembly. Its usefulness as a gathering for
trade purposes had passed away. It became a nuisance and a disgrace to
London. In older days the Lord Mayor used to ride in his grand coach
to our old gateway, and there proclaim it with a great flourish of
trumpets. In 1850 his worship walked quietly to the accustomed place,
and found that there was no fair to proclaim, and five years later the
formality was entirely dispensed with, and silence reigned over the
historic ground over which century after century the hearts of our
forefathers throbbed with the outspoken joys of life. The old gateway,
like many aged folk, has much on which to meditate in its advanced
age.

[Illustration: An Ancient Maker of Nets in a Kentish Fair]

Many other fairs have been suppressed in recent years, but some
survive and thrive with even greater vigour than ever. Some are hiring
fairs, where you may see young men with whipcord in their caps
standing in front of inns ready to be hired by the farmers who come to
seek labourers. Women and girls too come to be hired, but their number
decreases every year. Such is the Abingdon fair, which no rustic in
the adjoining villages ever thinks of missing. We believe that the
Nottingham Goose Fair, which is attended by very large crowds, is also
a hiring fair. "Pleasure fairs" in several towns and cities show no
sign of diminished popularity. The famous St. Giles's Fair at Oxford
is attended by thousands, and excursion trains from London, Cardiff,
Reading, and other large towns bring crowds to join in the humours of
the gathering, the shows covering all the broad space between St.
Giles's Church and George Street. Reading Michaelmas Pleasure Fair is
always a great attraction. The fair-ground is filled from end to end
with roundabouts driven by steam, which also plays a hideous organ
that grinds out popular tunes, swings, stalls, shows, menageries, and
all "the fun of the fair." You can see biographs, hear phonographs,
and a penny-in-the-slot will introduce you to wonderful sights, and
have your fortune told, or shy at coco-nuts or Aunt Sally, or witness
displays of boxing, or have a photograph taken of yourself, or watch
weird melodramas, and all for a penny or two. No wonder the fair is
popular.

[Illustration: Outside The "Lamb Inn". Burford, Oxon]

There is no reverence paid in these modern gatherings to old-fashioned
ways and ancient picturesque customs, but in some places these are
still observed with punctilious exactness. The quaint custom of
"proclaiming the fair" at Honiton, in Devonshire, is observed every
year, the town having obtained the grant of a fair from the lord of
the manor so long ago as 1257. The fair still retains some of the
picturesque characteristics of bygone days. The town crier, dressed in
old-world uniform, and carrying a pole decorated with gay flowers and
surmounted by a large gilt model of a gloved hand, publicly
announces the opening of the fair as follows: "Oyez! Oyez! Oyez! The
fair's begun, the glove is up. No man can be arrested till the glove
is taken down." Hot coins are then thrown amongst the children. The
pole and glove remain displayed until the end of the fair.

Nor have all the practical uses of fairs vanished. On the Berkshire
downs is the little village of West Ilsley; there from time immemorial
great sheep fairs are held, and flocks are brought thither from
districts far and wide. Every year herds of Welsh ponies congregate at
Blackwater, in Hampshire, driven thither by inveterate custom. Every
year in an open field near Cambridge the once great Stourbridge fair
is held, first granted by King John to the Hospital for Lepers, and
formerly proclaimed with great state by the Vice-Chancellor of the
University and the Mayor of Cambridge. This was one of the largest
fairs in Europe. Merchants of all nations attended it. The booths were
planted in a cornfield, and the circuit of the fair, which was like a
well-governed city, was about three miles. All offences committed
therein were tried, as at other fairs, before a special court of
_pie-poudre_, the derivation of which word has been much disputed, and
I shall not attempt to conjecture or to decide. The shops were built
in rows, having each a name, such as Garlick Row, Booksellers' Row, or
Cooks' Row; there were the cheese fair, hop fair, wood fair; every
trade was represented, and there were taverns, eating-houses, and in
later years playhouses of various descriptions. As late as the
eighteenth century it is said that one hundred thousand pounds' worth
of woollen goods were sold in a week in one row alone. But the glories
of Stourbridge fair have all departed, and it is only a ghost now of
its former greatness.

The Stow Green pleasure fair, in Lincolnshire, which has been held
annually for upwards of eight hundred years, having been established
in the reign of Henry III, has practically ceased to exist. Held on an
isolated common two miles from Billingborough, it was formerly one of
the largest fairs in England for merchandise, and originally lasted
for three weeks. Now it is limited to two days, and when it opened
last year there were but few attractions.

Fairs have enriched our language with at least one word. There is a
fair at Ely founded in connexion with the abbey built by St.
Etheldreda, and at this fair a famous "fairing" was "St. Audrey's
laces." St. Audrey, or Etheldreda, in the days of her youthful vanity
was very fond of wearing necklaces and jewels. "St. Audrey's laces"
became corrupted into "Tawdry laces"; hence the adjective has come to
be applied to all cheap and showy pieces of female ornament.

Trade now finds its way by means of other channels than fairs.
Railways and telegrams have changed the old methods of conducting the
commerce of the country. But, as we have said, many fairs have
contrived to survive, and unless they degenerate into a scandal and a
nuisance it is well that they should be continued. Education and the
increasing sobriety of the nation may deprive them of their more
objectionable features, and it would be a pity to prevent the rustic
from having some amusements which do not often fall to his lot, and to
forbid him from enjoying once a year "all the fun of the fair."




CHAPTER XVII

THE DISAPPEARANCE OF OLD DOCUMENTS


The history of England is enshrined in its ancient documents. Some of
it may be read in its stone walls and earthworks. The builders of our
churches stamped its story on their stones, and by the shape of arch
and design of window, by porch and doorway, tower and buttress you can
read the history of the building and tell its age and the dates of its
additions and alterations. Inscriptions, monuments, and brasses help
to fill in the details; but all would be in vain if we had no
documentary evidence, no deeds and charters, registers and wills, to
help us to build up the history of each town and monastery, castle and
manor. Even after the most careful searches in the Record Office and
the British Museum it is very difficult oftentimes to trace a manorial
descent. You spend time and labour, eyesight and midnight oil in
trying to discover missing links, and very often it is all in vain;
the chain remains broken, and you cannot piece it together. Some of us
whose fate it is to have to try and solve some of these genealogical
problems, and spend hours over a manorial descent, are inclined to
envy other writers who fill their pages _currente calamo_ and are
ignorant of the joys and disappointments of research work.

In the making of the history of England patient research and the
examination of documents are, of course, all-important. In the parish
chest, in the municipal charters and records, in court rolls, in the
muniment-rooms of guilds and city companies, of squire and noble, in
the Record Office, Pipe Rolls, Close Rolls, royal letters and papers,
etc., the real history of the country is contained. Masses of Rolls
and documents of all kinds have in these late years been arranged,
printed, and indexed, enabling the historical student to avail himself
of vast stores of information which were denied to the historian of an
earlier age, or could only be acquired by the expenditure of immense
toil.

Nevertheless, we have to deplore the disappearance of large numbers of
priceless manuscripts, the value of which was not recognized by their
custodians. Owing to the ignorance and carelessness of these keepers
of historic documents vast stores have been hopelessly lost or
destroyed, and have vanished with much else of the England that is
vanishing. We know of a Corporation--that of Abingdon, in Berkshire,
the oldest town in the royal county and anciently its most
important--which possessed an immense store of municipal archives.
These manuscript books would throw light upon the history of the
borough; but in their wisdom the members of the Corporation decided
that they should be sold for waste paper! A few gentlemen were deputed
to examine the papers in order to see if anything was worth
preserving. They spent a few hours on the task, which would have
required months for even a cursory inspection, and much expert
knowledge, which these gentlemen did not possess, and reported that
there was nothing in the documents of interest or importance, and the
books and papers were sold to a dealer. Happily a private gentleman
purchased the "waste paper," which remains in his hands, and was not
destroyed: but this example only shows the insecurity of much of the
material upon which local and municipal history depends.

Court rolls, valuable wills and deeds are often placed by noble owners
and squires in the custody of their solicitors. They repose in peace
in safes or tin boxes with the name of the client printed on them.
Recent legislation has made it possible to prove a title without
reference to all the old deeds. Hence the contents of these boxes are
regarded only as old lumber and of no value. A change is made in the
office. The old family solicitor dies, and the new man proceeds with
the permission of his clients to burn all these musty papers, which
are of immense value in tracing the history of a manor or of a family.
Some years ago a leading family solicitor became bankrupt. His office
was full of old family deeds and municipal archives. What happened? A
fire was kindled in the garden, and for a whole fortnight it was fed
with parchment deeds and rolls, many of them of immense value to the
genealogist and the antiquary. It was all done very speedily, and no
one had a chance to interfere. This is only one instance of what we
fear has taken place in many offices, the speedy disappearance of
documents which can never be replaced.

From the contents of the parish chests, from churchwardens'
account-books, we learn much concerning the economic history of the
country, and the methods of the administration of local and parochial
government. As a rule persons interested in such matters have to
content themselves with the statements of the ecclesiastical law books
on the subject of the repair of churches, the law of church rates, the
duties of churchwardens, and the constitution and power of vestries.
And yet there has always existed a variety of customs and practices
which have stood for ages on their prescriptive usage with many
complications and minute differentiations. These old account-books and
minute-books of the churchwardens in town and country are a very large
but a very perishable and rapidly perishing treasury of information on
matters the very remembrance of which is passing away. Yet little care
is taken of these books. An old book is finished and filled up with
entries; a new book is begun. No one takes any care of the old book.
It is too bulky for the little iron register safe. A farmer takes
charge of it; his children tear out pages on which to make their
drawings; it is torn, mutilated, and forgotten, and the record
perishes. All honour to those who have transcribed these documents
with much labour and endless pains and printed them. They will have
gained no money for their toil. The public do not show their gratitude
to such laborious students by purchasing many copies, but the
transcribers know that they have fitted another stone in the Temple of
Knowledge, and enabled antiquaries, genealogists, economists, and
historical inquirers to find material for their pursuits.

The churchwardens' accounts of St. Mary's, Thame, and some of the most
interesting in the kingdom, are being printed in the _Berks, Bucks,
and Oxon Archaeological Journal_. The originals were nearly lost.
Somehow they came into the possession of the Buckinghamshire
Archaeological Society. The volume was lent to the late Rev. F. Lee, in
whose library it remained and could not be recovered. At his death it
was sold with his other books, and found its way to the Bodleian
Library at Oxford. There it was transcribed by Mr. Patterson Ellis,
and then went back to the Buckinghamshire Society after its many
wanderings. It dates back to the fifteenth century, and records many
curious items of pre-Reformation manners and customs.

From these churchwardens' accounts we learn how our forefathers raised
money for the expenses of the church and of the parish. Provision for
the poor, mending of roads, the improvement of agriculture by the
killing of sparrows, all came within the province of the vestry, as
well as the care of the church and churchyard. We learn about such
things as "Gatherings" at Hocktide, May-day, All Hallow-day,
Christmas, and Whitsuntide, the men stopping the women on one day and
demanding money, while on the next day the women retaliated, and
always gained more for the parish fund than those of the opposite sex:
Church Ales, the Holy Loaf, Paschal Money, Watching the Sepulchre, the
duties of clerks and clergymen, and much else, besides the general
principles of local self-government, which the vestrymen carried on
until quite recent times. There are few books that provide greater
information or more absorbing interest than these wonderful books of
accounts. It is a sad pity that so many have vanished.

The parish register books have suffered less than the churchwardens'
accounts, but there has been terrible neglect and irreparable loss.
Their custody has been frequently committed to ignorant parish clerks,
who had no idea of their utility beyond their being occasionally the
means of putting a shilling into their pockets for furnishing
extracts. Sometimes they were in the care of an incumbent who was
forgetful, careless, or negligent. Hence they were indifferently kept,
and baptisms, burials, and marriages were not entered as they ought to
have been. In one of my own register books an indignant parson writes
in the year 1768: "There does not appear any one entry of a Baptism,
Marriage, or Burial in the old Register for nine successive years,
viz. from the year 1732 till the year 1741, when this Register
commences." The fact was that the old parchment book beginning A.D.
1553 was quite full and crowded with names, and the rector never
troubled to provide himself with a new one. Fortunately this sad
business took place long before our present septuagenarians were born,
or there would be much confusion and uncertainty with regard to
old-age pensions.

The disastrous period of the Civil War and the Commonwealth caused
great confusion and many defects in the registers. Very often the
rector was turned out of his parish; the intruding minister, often an
ignorant mechanic, cared naught for registers. Registrars were
appointed in each parish who could scarcely sign their names, much
less enter a baptism. Hence we find very frequent gaps in the books
from 1643 to 1660. At Tarporley, Cheshire, there is a break from 1643
to 1648, upon which a sorrowful vicar remarks:--

  "This Intermission hapned by reason of the great wars obliterating
  memorials, wasting fortunes, and slaughtering persons of all
  sorts."

The Parliamentary soldiers amused themselves by tearing out the leaves
in the registers for the years 1604 to the end of 1616 in the parish
of Wimpole, Cambridgeshire.

There is a curious note in the register of Tunstall, Kent. There seems
to have been a superfluity of members of the family of Pottman in this
parish, and the clergyman appears to have been tired of recording
their names in his books, and thus resolves:--

    "1557   Mary Pottman nat. & bapt. 15 Apr.
            Mary Pottman n. & b. 29 Jan.
            Mary Pottman sep. 22 Aug.
                     1567
        From henceforw^{d} I omitt the Pottmans."

Fire has played havoc with parish registers. The old register of
Arborfield, Berkshire, was destroyed by a fire at the rectory. Those
at Cottenham, Cambridgeshire, were burnt in a fire which consumed
two-thirds of the town in 1676, and many others have shared the same
fate. The Spaniards raided the coast of Cornwall in 1595 and burnt the
church at Paul, when the registers perished in the conflagration.

Wanton destruction has caused the disappearance of many parish books.
There was a parish clerk at Plungar in Leicestershire who combined his
ecclesiastical duties with those of a grocer. He found the pages of
the parish register very useful for wrapping up his groceries. The
episcopal registry of Ely seems to have been plundered at some time of
its treasures, as some one purchased a book entitled _Registrum
causarum Consistorii Eliensis de Tempore Domini Thome de Arundele
Episcopi Eliensis_, a large quarto, written on vellum, containing 162
double pages, which was purchased as waste paper at a grocer's shop at
Cambridge together with forty or fifty old books belonging to the
registry of Ely. The early registers at Christ Church, Hampshire, were
destroyed by a curate's wife who had made kettle-holders of them, and
would perhaps have consumed the whole parish archives in this homely
fashion, had not the parish clerk, by a timely interference, rescued
the remainder. One clergyman, being unable to transcribe certain
entries which were required from his registers, cut them out and sent
them by post; and an Essex clerk, not having ink and paper at hand for
copying out an extract, calmly took out his pocket-knife and cut out
two leaves, handing them to the applicant. Sixteen leaves of another
old register were cut out by the clerk, who happened to be a tailor,
in order to supply himself with measures. Tradesmen seem to have found
these books very useful. The marriage register of Hanney, Berkshire,
from 1754 to 1760 was lost, but later on discovered in a grocer's
shop.

Deplorable has been the fate of these old books, so valuable to the
genealogist. Upon the records contained there the possession of much
valuable property may depend. The father of the present writer was
engaged in proving his title to an estate, and required certificates
of all the births, deaths, and marriages that had occurred in the
family during a hundred years. All was complete save the record of one
marriage. He discovered that his ancestor had eloped with a young
lady, and the couple had married in London at a City church. The name
of the church where the wedding was said to have taken place was
suggested to him, but he discovered that it had been pulled down.
However, the old parish clerk was discovered, who had preserved the
books; the entry was found, and all went well and the title to the
estate established. How many have failed to obtain their rights and
just claims through the gross neglect of the keepers or custodians of
parochial documents?

An old register was kept in the drawer of an old table, together with
rusty iron and endless rubbish, by a parish clerk who was a poor
labouring man. Another was said to be so old and "out of date" and so
difficult to read by the parson and his neighbours, that it had been
tossed about the church and finally carried off by children and torn
to pieces. The leaves of an old parchment register were discovered
sewed together as a covering for the tester of a bedstead, and the
daughters of a parish clerk, who were lace-makers, cut up the pages of
a register for a supply of parchment to make patterns for their lace
manufacture. Two Leicestershire registers were rescued, one from the
shop of a bookseller, the other from the corner cupboard of a
blacksmith, where it had lain perishing and unheard of more than
thirty years. The following extract from _Notes and Queries_ tells of
the sad fate of other books:--

  "On visiting the village school of Colton it was discovered that
  the 'Psalters' of the children were covered with the leaves of the
  Parish Register; some of them were recovered, and replaced in the
  parish chest, but many were totally obliterated and cut away. This
  discovery led to further investigation, which brought to light a
  practice of the Parish Clerk and Schoolmaster of the day, who to
  certain 'goodies' of the village, gave the parchment leaves for
  hutkins for their knitting pins."

Still greater desecration has taken place. The registers of South
Otterington, containing several entries of the great families of
Talbot, Herbert, and Falconer, were kept in the cottage of the parish
clerk, who used all those preceding the eighteenth century for waste
paper, and devoted not a few to the utilitarian employment of singeing
a goose. At Appledore the books were lost through having been kept in
a public-house for the delectation of its frequenters.

But many parsons have kept their registers with consummate care. The
name of the Rev. John Yate, rector of Rodmarton, Gloucestershire, in
1630, should be mentioned as a worthy and careful custodian on account
of his quaint directions for the preservation of his registers. He
wrote in the volume:--

   "If you will have this Book last, bee sure to aire it att the
   fier or in the Sunne three or foure times a yeare--els it will
   grow dankish and rott, therefore look to it. It will not be
   amisse when you finde it dankish to wipe over the leaves with a
   dry woollen cloth. This place is very much subject to
   dankishness, therefore I say looke to it."

Sometimes the parsons adorned their books with their poetical
effusions either in Latin or English. Here are two examples, the first
from Cherry Hinton, Cambridgeshire; the second from Ruyton, Salop:--

        Hic puer aetatem, his Vir sponsalia noscat.
        Hic decessorum funera quisque sciat.

        No Flatt'ry here, where to be born and die
        Of rich and poor is all the history.
        Enough, if virtue fill'd the space between,
        Prov'd, by the ends of being, to have been.

Bishop Kennet urged his clergy to enter in their registers not only
every christening, wedding, or burial, which entries have proved some
of the best helps for the preserving of history, but also any notable
events that may have occurred in the parish or neighbourhood, such as
"storms and lightning, contagion and mortality, droughts, scarcity,
plenty, longevity, robbery, murders, or the like casualties. If such
memorable things were fairly entered, your parish registers would
become chronicles of many strange occurrences that would not otherwise
be known and would be of great use and service for posterity to know."

The clergy have often acted upon this suggestion. In the registers of
Cranbrook, Kent, we find a long account of the great plague that raged
there in 1558, with certain moral reflections on the vice of
"drunkeness which abounded here," on the base characters of the
persons in whose houses the Plague began and ended, on the vehemence
of the infection in "the Inns and Suckling houses of the town, places
of much disorder," and tells how great dearth followed the Plague
"with much wailing and sorrow," and how the judgment of God seemed but
to harden the people in their sin.

The Eastwell register contains copies of the Protestation of 1642, the
Vow and Covenant of 1643, and the Solemn League and Covenant of the
same year, all signed by sundry parishioners, and of the death of the
last of the Plantagenets, Richard by name, a bricklayer by trade, in
1550, whom Richard III acknowledged to be his son on the eve of the
battle of Bosworth. At St. Oswalds, Durham, there is the record of the
hanging and quartering in 1590 of "Duke, Hyll, Hogge and Holyday, iiij
Semynaryes, Papysts, Tretors and Rebels for their horrible offences."
"Burials, 1687 April 17th Georges Vilaus Lord dooke of bookingham," is
the illiterate description of the Duke who was assassinated by Felton
and buried at Helmsley. It is impossible to mention all the gleanings
from parish registers; each parish tells its tale, its trades, its
belief in witchcraft, its burials of soldiers killed in war, its
stories of persecution, riot, sudden deaths, amazing virtues, and
terrible sins. The edicts of the laws of England, wise and foolish,
are reflected in these pages, e.g. the enforced burial in woollen; the
relatives of those who desired to be buried in linen were obliged to
pay fifty shillings to the informer and the same sum to the poor of
the parish. The tax on marriages, births, and burials, levied by the
Government on the estates of gentlemen in 1693, is also recorded in
such entries as the following:--

"1700. Mr. Thomas Cullum buried 27 Dec. As the said Mr. Cullum was a
gentleman, there is 24s. to be paid for his buriall." The practice of
heart-burial is also frequently demonstrated in our books.
Extraordinary superstitions and strong beliefs, the use of talismans,
amulets, and charms, astrological observations, the black art,
scandals, barbarous punishments, weird customs that prevailed at man's
most important ceremonies, his baptism, marriage and burial, the
binding of apprenticeships, obsolete trades, such as that of the
person who is styled "aquavity man" or the "saltpetre man," the mode
of settling quarrels and disputes, duels, sports, games, brawls, the
expenses of supplying a queen's household, local customs and
observances--all these find a place in these amazing records. In
short, there is scarcely any feature of the social life of our
forefathers which is not abundantly set forth in our parish registers.
The loss of them would indeed be great and overwhelming.

As we have said, many of them have been lost by fire and other
casualties, by neglect and carelessness. The guarding of the safety of
those that remain is an anxious problem. Many of us would regret to
part with our registers and to allow them to leave the church or town
or village wherein they have reposed so long. They are part of the
story of the place, and when American ladies and gentlemen come to
find traces of their ancestors they love to see these records in the
village where their forefathers lived, and to carry away with them a
photograph of the church, some ivy from the tower, some flowers from
the rectory garden, to preserve in their western homes as memorials of
the place whence their family came. It would not be the same thing if
they were to be referred to a dusty office in a distant town. Some
wise people say that all registers should be sent to London, to the
Record Office or the British Museum. That would be an impossibility.
The officials of those institutions would tremble at the thought, and
the glut of valuable books would make reference a toil that few could
undertake. The real solution of the difficulty is that county councils
should provide accommodation for all deeds and documents, that all
registers should be transcribed, that copies should be deposited in
the county council depository, and that the originals should still
remain in the parish chest where they have lain for three centuries
and a half.




CHAPTER XVIII

OLD CUSTOMS THAT ARE VANISHING


Many writers have mourned over the decay of our ancient customs which
the restlessness of modern life has effectually killed. New manners
are ever pushing out the old, and the lover of antiquity may perhaps
be pardoned if he prefers the more ancient modes. The death of the old
social customs which added such diversity to the lives of our
forefathers tends to render the countryman's life one continuous round
of labour unrelieved by pleasant pastime, and if innocent pleasures
are not indulged in, the tendency is to seek for gratification in
amusements that are not innocent or wholesome.

The causes of the decline and fall of many old customs are not far to
seek. Agricultural depression has killed many. The deserted farmsteads
no longer echo with the sounds of rural revelry; the cheerful
log-fires no longer glow in the farmer's kitchen; the harvest-home
song has died away; and "largess" no longer rewards the mummers and
the morris-dancers. Moreover, the labourer himself has changed; he has
lost his simplicity. His lot is far better than it was half a century
ago, and he no longer takes pleasure in the simple joys that delighted
his ancestors in days of yore. Railways and cheap excursions have made
him despise the old games and pastimes which once pleased his
unenlightened soul. The old labourer is dead, and his successor is a
very "up-to-date" person, who reads the newspapers and has his ideas
upon politics and social questions that would have startled his less
cultivated sire. The modern system of elementary education also has
much to do with the decay of old customs.

Still we have some left. We can only here record a few that survive.
Some years ago I wrote a volume on the subject, and searched
diligently to find existing customs in the remote corners of old
England.[61] My book proved useful to Sir Benjamin Stone, M.P., the
expert photographer of the House of Commons, who went about with his
camera to many of the places indicated, and by his art produced
permanent presentments of the scenes which I had tried to describe. He
was only just in time, as doubtless many of these customs will soon
pass away. It is, however, surprising to find how much has been left;
how tenaciously the English race clings to that which habit and usage
have established; how deeply rooted they are in the affections of the
people. It is really remarkable that at the present day, in spite of
ages of education and social enlightenment, in spite of centuries of
Christian teaching and practice, we have now amongst us many customs
which owe their origin to pagan beliefs and the superstitions of our
heathen forefathers, and have no other _raison d'etre_ for their
existence than the wild legends of Scandinavian mythology.

  [61] _Old English Customs Extant at the Present Time_ (Methuen and
  Co.).

We have still our Berkshire mummers at Christmas, who come to us
disguised in strange garb and begin their quaint performance with the
doggerel rhymes--

  I am King George, that noble champion bold,
  And with my trusty sword I won ten thousand pounds in gold;
  'Twas I that fought the fiery dragon, and brought him to the slaughter,
  And by these means I won the King of Egypt's daughter.[62]

  [62] The book of words is printed in _Old English Customs_, by
  P.H. Ditchfield.

Other counties have their own versions. In Staffordshire they are
known as the "Guisers," in Cornwall as the "Geese-dancers," in Sussex
as the "Tipteerers." Carolsingers are still with us, but often instead
of the old carols they sing very badly and irreverently modern hymns,
though in Cambridgeshire you may still hear "God bless you, merry
gentlemen," and the vessel-boxes (a corruption of wassail) are still
carried round in Yorkshire. At Christmas Cornish folk eat giblet-pie,
and Yorkshiremen enjoy furmenty; and mistletoe and the kissing-bush
are still hung in the hall; and in some remote parts of Cornwall
children may be seen dancing round painted lighted candles placed in a
box of sand. The devil's passing-bell tolls on Christmas Eve from the
church tower at Dewsbury, and a muffled peal bewails the slaughter of
the children on Holy Innocents' Day. The boar's head is still brought
in triumph into the hall of Queen's College. Old women "go a-gooding"
or mumping on St. Thomas's Day, and "hoodening" or horse-head mumming
is practised at Walmer, and bull-hoodening prevails at Kingscote, in
Gloucestershire. The ancient custom of "goodening" still obtains at
Braughing, Herts. The _Hertfordshire Mercury_ of December 28, 1907,
states that on St. Thomas's Day (December 21) certain of the more
sturdy widows of the village went round "goodening," and collected L4
14s. 6d., which was equally divided among the eighteen needy widows of
the parish. In 1899 the oldest dame who took part in the ceremony was
aged ninety-three, while in 1904 a widow "goodened" for the thirtieth
year in succession. In the _Herts and Cambs Reporter_ for December 23,
1904, is an account of "Gooding Day" at Gamlingay. It appears that in
1665 some almshouses for aged women (widows) were built there by Sir
John Jacob, Knight. "On Wednesday last (St. Thomas's Day)," says this
journal, "an interesting ceremony was to be seen. The old women were
gathered at the central doorway ... preparatory to a pilgrimage to
collect alms at the houses of the leading inhabitants. This old
custom, which has been observed for nearly three hundred years, it is
safe to say, will not fall into desuetude, for it usually results in
each poor widow realising a gold coin." In the north of England
first-footing on New Year's Eve is common, and a dark-complexioned
person is esteemed as a herald of good fortune. Wassailing exists in
Lancashire, and the apple-wassailing has not quite died out on Twelfth
Night. Plough Monday is still observed in Cambridgeshire, and the
"plough-bullocks" drag around the parishes their ploughs and perform a
weird play. The Haxey hood is still thrown at that place in
Lincolnshire on the Feast of the Epiphany, and valentines are not
quite forgotten by rural lovers.

Shrovetide is associated with pancakes. The pancake bell is still rung
in many places, and for some occult reason it is the season for some
wild football games in the streets and lanes of several towns and
villages. At St. Ives on the Monday there is a grand hurling match,
which resembles a Rugby football contest without the kicking of the
ball, which is about the size of a cricket-ball, made of cork or light
wood. At Ashbourne on Shrove-Tuesday thousands join in the game, the
origin of which is lost in the mists of antiquity. As the old church
clock strikes two a little speech is made, the National Anthem sung,
and then some popular devotee of the game is hoisted on the shoulders
of excited players and throws up the ball. "She's up," is the cry, and
then the wild contest begins, which lasts often till nightfall.
Several efforts have been made to stop the game, and even the judge of
the Court of Queen's Bench had to decide whether it was legal to play
the game in the streets. In spite of some opposition it still
flourishes, and is likely to do so for many a long year. Sedgefield,
Chester-le-Street, Alnwick, Dorking also have their famous football
fights, which differ much from an ordinary league match. In the latter
thousands look on while twenty-two men show their skill. In these old
games all who wish take part in them, all are keen champions and know
nothing of professionalism.

"Ycleping," or, as it is now called, clipping churches, is another
Shrovetide custom, when the children join hands round the church and
walk round it. It has just been revived at Painswick, in the
Cotswolds, where after being performed for many hundred years it was
discontinued by the late vicar. On the patron saint's day (St. Mary's)
the children join hands in a ring round the church and circle round
the building singing. It is the old Saxon custom of "ycleping," or
naming the church on the anniversary of its original dedication.

Simnels on Mothering Sunday still exist, reminding us of Herrick's
lines:--

        I'll to thee a Simnel bring,
        'Gainst thou goes a mothering;
        So that when she blesseth thee
        Half the blessing thou'lt give me.

Palm Sunday brings some curious customs. At Roundway Hill, and at
Martinsall, near Marlborough, the people bear "palms," or branches of
willow and hazel, and the boys play a curious game of knocking a ball
with hockey-sticks up the hill; and in Buckinghamshire it is called
Fig Sunday, and also in Hertfordshire. Hertford, Kempton,
Edlesborough, Dunstable are homes of the custom, nor is the practice
of eating figs and figpies unknown in Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire,
Oxfordshire, Wilts, and North Wales. Possibly the custom is connected
with the withering of the barren fig-tree.

Good Friday brings hot-cross-buns with the well-known rhyme. Skipping
on that day at Brighton is, I expect, now extinct. Sussex boys play
marbles, Guildford folk climb St. Martha's Hill, and poor widows pick
up six-pences from a tomb in the churchyard of St. Bartholomew the
Great, London, on the same Holy Day.

Easter brings its Pace eggs, symbols of the Resurrection, and
Yorkshire children roll them against one another in fields and
gardens. The Biddenham cakes are distributed, and the Hallaton
hare-scramble and bottle-kicking provide a rough scramble and a
curious festival for Easter Monday. On St. Mark's Day the ghosts of
all who will die during the year in the villages of Yorkshire pass at
midnight before the waiting people, and Hock-tide brings its quaint
diversions to the little Berkshire town of Hungerford.

The diversions of May Day are too numerous to be chronicled here, and
I must refer the reader to my book for a full description of the
sports that usher in the spring; but we must not forget the remarkable
Furry Dance at Helston on May 8th, and the beating of the bounds of
many a township during Rogation Week. Our boys still wear oak-leaves
on Royal Oak Day, and the Durham Cathedral choir sing anthems on the
top of the tower in memory of the battle of Neville's Cross, fought so
long ago as the year 1346.

Club-feasts and morris-dancers delight the rustics at Whitsuntide, and
the wakes are well kept up in the north of England, and rush-beating
at Ambleside, and hay-strewing customs in Leicestershire. The horn
dance at Abbot Bromley is a remarkable survival. The fires on
Midsummer Eve are still lighted in a few places in Wales, but are fast
dying out. Ratby, in Leicestershire, is a home of old customs, and has
an annual feast, when the toast of the immortal memory of John of
Gaunt is drunk with due solemnity. Harvest customs were formerly very
numerous, but are fast dying out before the reaping-machines and
agricultural depression. The "kern-baby" has been dead some years.

Bonfire night and the commemoration of the discovery of Gunpowder Plot
and the burning of "guys" are still kept up merrily, but few know the
origin of the festivities or concern themselves about it. Soul cakes
and souling still linger on in Cheshire, and cattering and clemmening
on the feasts of St. Catherine and St. Clement are still observed in
East Sussex.

Very remarkable are the local customs which linger on in some of our
towns and villages and are not confined to any special day in the
year. Thus, at Abbots Ann, near Andover, the good people hang up
effigies of arms and hands in memory of girls who died unmarried, and
gloves and garlands of roses are sometimes hung for the same purpose.
The Dunmow Flitch is a well-known matrimonial prize for happy couples
who have never quarrelled during the first year of their wedded life;
while a Skimmerton expresses popular indignation against quarrelsome
or licentious husbands and wives.

Many folk-customs linger around wells and springs, the haunts of
nymphs and sylvan deities who must be propitiated by votive offerings
and are revengeful when neglected. Pins, nails, and rags are still
offered, and the custom of "well-dressing," shorn of its pagan
associations and adapted to Christian usage, exists in all its glory
at Tissington, Youlgrave, Derby, and several other places.

The three great events of human life--birth, marriage, and death--have
naturally drawn around them some of the most curious beliefs. These
are too numerous to be recorded here, and I must again refer the
curious reader to my book on old-time customs. We should like to dwell
upon the most remarkable of the customs that prevail in the City of
London, in the halls of the Livery Companies, as well as in some of
the ancient boroughs of England, but this record would require too
large a space. Bell-ringing customs attract attention. The curfew-bell
still rings in many towers; the harvest-bell, the gleaning-bell, the
pancake-bell, the "spur-peal," the eight-hours' bell, and sundry
others send out their pleasing notice to the world. At Aldermaston
land is let by means of a lighted candle. A pin is placed through the
candle, and the last bid that is made before that pin drops out is the
occupier of the land for a year. The Church Acre at Chedzoy is let in
a similar manner, and also at Todworth, Warton, and other places.
Wiping the shoes of those who visit a market for the first time is
practised at Brixham, and after that little ceremony they have to "pay
their footing." At St. Ives raffling for Bibles continues, according
to the will of Dr. Wilde in 1675, and in church twelve children cast
dice for six Bibles. Court, Bar, and Parliament have each their
peculiar customs which it would be interesting to note, if space
permitted; and we should like to record the curious bequests, doles,
and charities which display the eccentricities of human nature and the
strange tenures of land which have now fallen into disuse.

It is to be hoped that those who are in a position to preserve any
existing custom in their own neighbourhood will do their utmost to
prevent its decay. Popular customs are a heritage which has been
bequeathed to us from a remote past, and it is our duty to hand down
that heritage to future generations of English folk.




CHAPTER XIX

THE VANISHING OF ENGLISH SCENERY AND NATURAL BEAUTY


Not the least distressing of the losses which we have to mourn is the
damage that has been done to the beauty of our English landscapes and
the destruction of many scenes of sylvan loveliness. The population of
our large towns continues to increase owing to the insensate folly
that causes the rural exodus. People imagine that the streets of towns
are paved with gold, and forsake the green fields for a crowded slum,
and after many vicissitudes and much hardship wish themselves back
again in their once despised village home. I was lecturing to a crowd
of East End Londoners at Toynbee Hall on village life in ancient and
modern times, and showed them views of the old village street, the
cottages, manor-houses, water-mills, and all the charms of rural
England, and after the lecture I talked with many of the men who
remembered their country homes which they had left in the days of
their youth, and they all wished to go back there again, if only they
could find work and had not lost the power of doing it. But the rural
exodus continues. Towns increase rapidly, and cottages have to be
found for these teeming multitudes. Many a rural glade and stretch of
woodland have to be sacrificed, and soon streets are formed and rows
of unsightly cottages spring up like magic, with walls terribly thin,
that can scarcely stop the keenness of the wintry blasts, so thin that
each neighbour can hear your conversation, and if a man has a few
words with his wife all the inhabitants of the row can hear him.

Garden cities have arisen as a remedy for this evil, carefully planned
dwelling-places wherein some thought is given to beauty and
picturesque surroundings, to plots for gardens, and to the comfort of
the fortunate citizens. But some garden cities are garden only in
name. Cheap villas surrounded by unsightly fields that have been
spoilt and robbed of all beauty, with here and there unsightly heaps
of rubbish and refuse, only delude themselves and other people by
calling themselves garden cities. Too often there is no attempt at
beauty. Cheapness and speedy construction are all that their makers
strive for.

These growing cities, ever increasing, ever enclosing fresh victims in
their hideous maw, work other ills. They require much food, and they
need water. Water must be found and conveyed to them. This has been no
easy task for many corporations. For many years the city of Liverpool
drew its supply from Rivington, a range of hills near Bolton-le-Moors,
where there were lakes and where they could construct others. Little
harm was done there; but the city grew and the supply was
insufficient. Other sources had to be found and tapped. They found one
in Wales. Their eyes fell on the Lake Vyrnwy, and believed that they
found what they sought. But that, too, could not supply the millions
of gallons that Liverpool needed. They found that the whole vale of
Llanwddyn must be embraced. A gigantic dam must be made at the lower
end of the valley, and the whole vale converted into one great lake.
But there were villages in the vale, rural homes and habitations,
churches and chapels, and over five hundred people who lived therein
and must be turned out. And now the whole valley is a lake. Homes and
churches lie beneath the waves, and the graves of the "women that
sleep," of the rude forefathers of the hamlet, of bairns and dear
ones are overwhelmed by the pitiless waters. It is all very
deplorable.

And now it seems that the same thing must take place again: but this
time it is an English valley that is concerned, and the people are the
country folk of North Hampshire. There is a beautiful valley not far
from Kingsclere and Newbury, surrounded by lovely hills covered with
woodland. In this valley in a quiet little village appropriately
called Woodlands, formed about half a century ago out of the large
parish of Kingsclere, there is a little hamlet named Ashford Hill, the
modern church of St. Paul, Woodlands, pretty cottages with pleasant
gardens, a village inn, and a dissenting chapel. The churchyard is
full of graves, and a cemetery has been lately added. This pretty
valley with its homes and church and chapel is a doomed valley. In a
few years time if a former resident returns home from Australia or
America to his native village he will find his old cottage gone from
the light of the sun and buried beneath the still waters of a huge
lake. It is almost certain that such will be the case with this
secluded rural scene. The eyes of Londoners have turned upon the
doomed valley. They need water, and water must somehow be procured.
The great city has no pity. The church and the village will have to be
removed. It is all very sad. As a writer in a London paper says:
"Under the best of conditions it is impossible to think of such an
eviction without sympathy for the grief that it must surely cause to
some. The younger residents may contemplate it cheerfully enough; but
for the elder folk, who have spent lives of sunshine and shade, toil,
sorrow, joy, in this peaceful vale, it must needs be that the removal
will bring a regret not to be lightly uttered in words. The soul of
man clings to the localities that he has known and loved; perhaps, as
in Wales, there will be some broken hearts when the water flows in
upon the scenes where men and women have met and loved and wedded,
where children have been born, where the beloved dead have been laid
to rest."

The old forests are not safe. The Act of 1851 caused the destruction
of miles of beautiful landscape. Peacock, in his story of _Gryll
Grange_, makes the announcement that the New Forest is now enclosed,
and that he proposes never to visit it again. Twenty-five years of
ruthless devastation followed the passing of that Act. The deer
disappeared. Stretches of open beechwood and green lawns broken by
thickets of ancient thorn and holly vanished under the official axe.
Woods and lawns were cleared and replaced by miles and miles of
rectangular fir plantations. The Act of 1876 with regard to forest
land came late, but it, happily, saved some spots of sylvan beauty.
Under the Act of 1851 all that was ancient and delightful to the eye
would have been levelled, or hidden in fir-wood. The later Act stopped
this wholesale destruction. We have still some lofty woods, still some
scenery that shows how England looked when it was a land of blowing
woodland. The New Forest is maimed and scarred, but what is left is
precious and unique. It is primeval forest land, nearly all that
remains in the country. Are these treasures safe? Under the Act of
1876 managers are told to consider beauty as well as profit, and to
abstain from destroying ancient trees; but much is left to the
decision and to the judgment of officials, and they are not always to
be depended on.

After having been threatened with demolition for a number of years,
the famous Winchmore Hill Woods are at last to be hewn down and the
land is to be built upon. These woods, which it was Hood's and Charles
Lamb's delight to stroll in, have become the property of a syndicate,
which will issue a prospectus shortly, and many of the fine old oaks,
beeches, and elms already bear the splash of white which marks them
for the axe. The woods have been one of the greatest attractions in
the neighbourhood, and public opinion is strongly against the
demolition.

One of the greatest services which the National Trust is doing for the
country is the preserving of the natural beauties of our English
scenery. It acquires, through the generosity of its supporters,
special tracts of lovely country, and says to the speculative builder
"Avaunt!" It maintains the landscape for the benefit of the public.
People can always go there and enjoy the scenery, and townsfolk can
fill their lungs with fresh air, and children play on the greensward.
These oases afford sanctuary to birds and beasts and butterflies, and
are of immense value to botanists and entomologists. Several
properties in the Lake District have come under the aegis of the Trust.
Seven hundred and fifty acres around Ullswater have been purchased,
including Gowbarrow Fell and Aira Force. By this, visitors to the
English lakes can have unrestrained access over the heights of
Gowbarrow Fell, through the glen of Aira and along a mile of Ullswater
shore, and obtain some of the loveliest views in the district. It is
possible to trespass in the region of the lakes. It is possible to
wander over hills and through dales, but private owners do not like
trespassers, and it is not pleasant to be turned back by some
officious servant. Moreover, it needs much impudence and daring to
traverse without leave another man's land, though it be bare and
barren as a northern hill. The Trust invites you to come, and you are
at peace, and know that no man will stop you if you walk over its
preserves. Moreover, it holds a delectable bit of country on Lake
Derwentwater, known as the Brandlehow Park Estate. It extends for
about a mile along the shore of the lake and reaches up the fell-side
to the unenclosed common on Catbels. It is a lovely bit of woodland
scenery. Below the lake glistens in the sunlight and far away the
giant hills Blencatha, Skiddaw, and Borrowdale rear their heads. It
cost the Trust L7000, but no one would deem the money ill-spent.
Almost the last remnant of the primeval fenland of East Anglia, called
Wicken Fen, has been acquired by the Trust, and also Burwell Fen, the
home of many rare insects and plants. Near London we see many bits of
picturesque land that have been rescued, where the teeming population
of the great city can find rest and recreation. Thus at Hindhead,
where it has been said villas seem to have broken out upon the once
majestic hill like a red skin eruption, the Hindhead Preservation
Committee and the Trust have secured 750 acres of common land on the
summit of the hill, including the Devil's Punch Bowl, a bright oasis
amid the dreary desert of villas. Moreover, the Trust is waging a
battle with the District Council of Hambledon in order to prevent the
Hindhead Commons from being disfigured by digging for stone for
mending roads, causing unsightliness and the sad disfiguring of the
commons. May it succeed in its praiseworthy endeavour. At Toy's Hill,
on a Kentish hillside, overlooking the Weald, some valuable land has
been acquired, and part of Wandle Park, Wimbledon, containing the
Merton Mill Pond and its banks, adjoining the Recreation Ground
recently provided by the Wimbledon Corporation, is now in the
possession of the Trust. It is intended for the quiet enjoyment of
rustic scenery by the people who live in the densely populated area of
mean streets of Merton and Morden, and not for the lovers of the more
strenuous forms of recreation. Ide Hill and Crockham Hill, the
properties of the Trust, can easily be reached by the dwellers in
London streets.

We may journey in several directions and find traces of the good work
of the Trust. At Barmouth a beautiful cliff known as Dinas-o-lea,
Llanlleiana Head, Anglesey, the fifteen acres of cliff land at
Tintagel, called Barras Head, looking on to the magnificent pile of
rocks on which stand the ruins of King Arthur's Castle, and the summit
of Kymin, near Monmouth, whence you can see a charming view of the Wye
Valley, are all owned and protected by the Trust. Every one knows the
curious appearance of Sarsen stones, often called Grey Wethers from
their likeness to a flock of sheep lying down amidst the long grass of
a Berkshire or Wiltshire down. These stones are often useful for
building purposes and for road-mending. There is a fine collection of
these curious stones, which were used in prehistoric times for
building Stonehenge, at Pickle Dean and Lockeridge Dean. These are
adjacent to high roads and would soon have fallen a prey to the road
surveyor or local builder. Hence the authorities of this Trust stepped
in; they secured for the nation these characteristic examples of a
unique geological phenomenon, and preserved for all time a curious and
picturesque feature of the country traversed by the old Bath Road. All
that the Trust requires is "more force to its elbow," increased funds
for the preservation of the natural beauty of our English scenery, and
the increased appreciation on the part of the public and of the owners
of unspoilt rural scenes to extend its good work throughout the
counties of England.

A curious feature of vanished or vanishing England is the decay of our
canals, which here and there with their unused locks, broken towpaths,
and stagnant waters covered with weeds form a pathetic and melancholy
part of the landscape. If you look at the map of England you will see,
besides the blue curvings that mark the rivers, other threads of blue
that show the canals. Much was expected of them. They were built just
before the railway era. The whole country was covered by a network of
canals. Millions were spent upon their construction. For a brief space
they were prosperous. Some places, like our Berkshire Newbury, became
the centres of considerable traffic and had little harbours filled
with barges. Barge-building was a profitable industry. Fly-boats sped
along the surface of the canals conveying passengers to towns or
watering-places, and the company were very bright and enjoyed
themselves. But all are dead highways now, strangled by steam and by
the railways. The promoters of canals opposed the railways with might
and main, and tried to protect their properties. Hence the railways
were obliged to buy them up, and then left them lone and neglected.
The change was tragic. You can, even now, travel all over the country
by the means of these silent waterways. You start from London along
the Regent's Canal, which joins the Grand Junction Canal, and this
spreads forth northwards and joins other canals that ramify to the
Wash, to Manchester and Liverpool and Leeds. You can go to every great
town in England as far as York if you have patience and endless time.
There are four thousand miles of canals in England. They were not well
constructed; we built them just as we do many other things, without
any regular system, with no uniform depth or width or carrying
capacity, or size of locks or height of bridges. Canals bearing barges
of forty tons connect with those capable of bearing ninety tons. And
now most of them are derelict, with dilapidated banks, foul bottoms,
and shallow horse haulage. The bargemen have taken to other callings,
but occasionally you may see a barge looking gay and bright drawn by
an unconcerned horse on the towpath, with a man lazily smoking his
pipe at the helm and his family of water gipsies, who pass an
open-air, nomadic existence, tranquil, and entirely innocent of
schooling. He is a survival of an almost vanished race which the
railways have caused to disappear.

Much destruction of beautiful scenery is, alas! inevitable. Trade and
commerce, mills and factories, must work their wicked will on the
landscapes of our country. Mr. Ruskin's experiment on the painting of
Turner, quoted in our opening chapter, finds its realisation in many
places. There was a time, I suppose, when the Mersey was a pure river
that laved the banks carpeted with foliage and primroses on which the
old Collegiate Church of Manchester reared its tower. It is now, and
has been for years, an inky-black stream or drain running between
stone walls, where it does not hide its foul waters for very shame
beneath an arched culvert. There was a time when many a Yorkshire
village basked in the sunlight. Now they are great overgrown towns
usually enveloped in black smoke. The only day when you can see the
few surviving beauties of a northern manufacturing town or village is
Sunday, when the tall factory chimneys cease to vomit their clouds of
smoke which kills the trees, or covers the struggling leaves with
black soot. We pay dearly for our commercial progress in this
sacrifice of Nature's beauties.




CHAPTER XX

CONCLUSION


Whatever method can be devised for the prevention of the vanishing of
England's chief characteristics are worthy of consideration. First
there must be the continued education of the English people in the
appreciation of ancient buildings and other relics of antiquity. We
must learn to love them, or we shall not care to preserve them. An
ignorant squire or foolish landowner may destroy in a day some
priceless object of antiquity which can never be replaced. Too often
it is the agent who is to blame. Squires are very much in the hands of
their agents, and leave much to them to decide and carry out. When
consulted they do not take the trouble to inspect the threatened
building, and merely confirm the suggestions of the agents. Estate
agents, above all people, need education in order that the destruction
of much that is precious may be averted.

The Government has done well in appointing commissions for England,
Scotland, and Wales to inquire into and report on the condition of
ancient monuments, but we lag behind many other countries in the task
of protecting and preserving the memorials of the past.

In France national monuments of historic or artistic interest are
scheduled under the direction of the Minister of Public Instruction
and Fine Arts. In cases in which a monument is owned by a private
individual, it usually may not be scheduled without the consent of the
owner, but if his consent is withheld the State Minister is empowered
to purchase compulsorily. No monument so scheduled may be destroyed or
subjected to works of restoration, repair, or alteration without the
consent of the Minister, nor may new buildings be annexed to it
without permission from the same quarter. Generally speaking, the
Minister is advised by a commission of historical monuments,
consisting of leading officials connected with fine arts, public
buildings, and museums. Such a commission has existed since 1837, and
very considerable sums of public money have been set apart to enable
it to carry on its work. In 1879 a classification of some 2500
national monuments was made, and this classification has been adopted
in the present law. It includes megalithic remains, classical remains,
and medieval, Renaissance, and modern buildings and ruins.[63]

  [63] A paper read by Mr. Nigel Bond, Secretary of the National
  Trust, at a meeting of the Dorset Natural History and Antiquarian
  Field Club, to which paper the writer is indebted for the
  subsequent account of the proceeding's of foreign governments with
  regard to the preservation of their ancient monuments.

We do not suggest that in England we should imitate the very drastic
restorations to which some of the French abbeys and historic buildings
are subjected. The authorities have erred greatly in destroying so
much original work and their restorations, as in the case of Mont St.
Michel, have been practically a rebuilding.

The Belgian people appear to have realized for a very long time the
importance of preserving their historic and artistic treasures. By a
royal decree of 1824 bodies in charge of church temporalities are
reminded that they are managers merely, and while they are urged to
undertake in good time the simple repairs that are needed for the
preservation of the buildings in their charge, they are strictly
forbidden to demolish any ecclesiastical building without authority
from the Ministry which deals with the subject of the fine arts. By
the same decree they are likewise forbidden to alienate works of art
or historical monuments placed in churches. Nine years later, in 1835,
in view of the importance of assuring the preservation of all national
monuments remarkable for their antiquity, their association, or their
artistic value, another decree was issued constituting a Royal
Commission for the purpose of advising as to the repairs required by
such monuments. Nearly 200,000 francs are annually voted for
expenditure for these purposes. The strict application of these
precautionary measures has allowed a number of monuments of the
highest interest in their relation to art and archaeology to be
protected and defended, but it does not appear that the Government
controls in any way those monuments which are in the hands of private
persons.[64]

  [64] _Ibid._

In Holland public money to the extent of five or six thousand pounds a
year is spent on preserving and maintaining national monuments and
buildings of antiquarian and architectural interest. In Germany steps
are being taken which we might follow with advantage in this country,
to control and limit the disfigurement of landscapes by advertisement
hoardings.

A passage from the ministerial order of 1884 with reference to the
restoration of churches may be justly quoted:--

  "If the restoration of a public building is to be completely
  successful, it is absolutely essential that the person who directs
  it should combine with an enlightened aesthetic sense an artistic
  capacity in a high degree, and, moreover, be deeply imbued with
  feelings of veneration for all that has come down to us from
  ancient times. If a restoration is carried out without any real
  comprehension of the laws of architecture, the result can only be
  a production of common and dreary artificiality, recognizable
  perhaps as belonging to one of the architectural styles, but
  wanting the stamp of true art, and, therefore, incapable of
  awakening the enthusiasm of the spectator."

And again:--

  "In consequence of the removal or disfigurement of monuments which
  have been erected during the course of centuries--monuments which
  served, as it were, as documents of the historical development of
  past periods of culture, which have, moreover, a double interest
  and value if left undisturbed on the spot where they were
  originally erected--the sympathy of congregations with the
  history of their church is diminished, and, a still more
  lamentable consequence, a number of objects of priceless artistic
  value destroyed or squandered, whereby the property of the church
  suffers a serious loss."

How much richer might we be here in England if only our central
authorities had in the past circulated these admirable doctrines!

Very wisely has the Danish Government prohibited the removal of stones
from monuments of historic interest for utilitarian purposes, such as
is causing the rapid disappearance of the remains on Dartmoor in this
country; and the Greeks have stringent regulations to ensure the
preservation of antiquities, which are regarded as national property,
and may on no account be damaged either by owner or lessee. It has
actually been found necessary to forbid the construction of limekilns
nearer than two miles from any ancient ruins, in order to remove the
temptation for the filching of stones. In Italy there are stringent
laws for the protection of historical and ancient monuments.
Road-mending is a cause of much destruction of antiquarian objects in
all countries, even in Italy, where the law has been invoked to
protect ancient monuments from the highway authorities.

We need not record the legal enactments of other Governments, so
admirably summarized by Mr. Bond in his paper read before the Dorset
Natural History and Antiquarian Field Club. We see what other
countries much poorer than our own are doing to protect their national
treasures, and though the English Government has been slow in
realizing the importance of the ancient monuments of this country, we
believe that it is inclined to move in the right direction, and to do
its utmost to preserve those that have hitherto escaped the attacks of
the iconoclasts, and the heedlessness and stupidity of the Gallios
"who care for none of these things."

When an old building is hopelessly dilapidated, what methods can be
devised for its restoration and preservation? To pull it down and
rebuild it is to destroy its historical associations and to make it
practically a new structure. Happily science has recently discovered a
new method for the preserving of these old buildings without
destroying them, and this good angel is the grouting machine, the
invention of Mr. James Greathead, which has been the means of
preventing much of vanishing England. Grout, we understand, is a
mixture of cement, sand, and water, and the process of grouting was
probably not unknown to the Romans. But the grouting machine is a
modern invention, and it has only been applied to ancient buildings
during the last six or seven years.[65] It is unnecessary to describe
its mechanism, but its admirable results may be summarized. Suppose an
old building shows alarming cracks. By compressed air you blow out the
old decayed mortar, and then damping the masonry by the injection of
water, you insert the nozzle of the machine and force the grout into
the cracks and cavities, and soon the whole mass of decayed masonry is
cemented together and is as sound as ever it was. This method has been
successfully applied to Winchester Cathedral, the old walls of
Chester, and to various churches and towers. It in no way destroys the
characteristics and features of the building, the weatherworn surfaces
of the old stones, their cracks and deformations, and even the moss
and lichen which time has planted on them need not be disturbed.
Pointing is of no avail to preserve a building, as it only enters an
inch or two in depth. Underpinning is dangerous if the building be
badly cracked, and may cause collapse. But if you shore the structure
with timber, and then weld its stones together by applying the
grouting machine, you turn the whole mass of masonry into a monolith,
and can then strengthen the foundations in any way that may be found
necessary. The following story of the saving of an old church, as told
by Mr. Fox, proclaims the merits of this scientific invention better
than any description can possibly do:--

  "The ancient church of Corhampton, near Bishops Waltham, in
  Hampshire, is an instance. This Saxon church, 1300 years old, was
  in a sadly dilapidated condition. In the west gable there were
  large cracks, one from the ridge to the ground, another nearer the
  side wall, both wide enough for a man's arm to enter; whilst at
  the north-west angle the Saxon work threatened to fall bodily off.
  The mortar of the walls had perished through age, and the ivy had
  penetrated into the interior of the church in every direction. It
  would have been unsafe to attempt any examination of the
  foundations for fear of bringing down the whole fabric;
  consequently the grouting machine was applied all over the
  building. The grout escaped at every point, and it occupied the
  attention of the masons both inside and outside to stop it
  promptly by plastering clay on to the openings from which it was
  running.

  "After the operation had been completed and the clay was removed,
  the interior was found to be completely filled with cement set
  very hard; and sufficient depth having been left for fixing the
  flint work outside and tiling inside, the result was that no trace
  of the crack was visible, and the walls were stronger and better
  than they had ever been before. Subsequent steps were then taken
  to examine and, where necessary, to underpin the walls, and the
  church is saved, as the vicar, the Rev. H. Churton, said, 'all
  without moving one of the Saxon "long and short" stones.'"

  [65] A full account of this useful invention was given in the
  _Times_ Engineering Supplement, March 18th, 1908, by Mr. Francis
  Fox, M. Inst. C.E.

In our chapter on the delightful and picturesque old bridges that form
such beautiful features of our English landscapes, we deplored the
destruction now going on owing to the heavy traction-engines which
some of them have to bear and the rush and vibration of motor-cars
which cause the decay of the mortar and injure their stability. Many
of these old bridges, once only wide enough for pack-horses to cross,
then widened for the accommodation of coaches, beautiful and graceful
in every way, across which Cavaliers rode to fight the Roundheads, and
were alive with traffic in the old coaching days, have been pulled
down and replaced by the hideous iron-girder arrangements which now
disfigure so many of our streams and rivers. In future, owing to this
wonderful invention of the grouting machine, these old bridges can be
saved and made strong enough to last another five hundred years. Mr.
Fox tells us that an old Westmoreland bridge in a very bad condition
has been so preserved, and that the celebrated "Auld Brig o' Ayr" has
been saved from destruction by this means. A wider knowledge of the
beneficial effects of this wonderful machine would be of invaluable
service to the country, and prevent the passing away of much that in
these pages we have mourned. By this means we may be able to preserve
our old and decaying buildings for many centuries, and hand down to
posterity what Ruskin called the great entail of beauty bequeathed to
us.

Vanishing England has a sad and melancholy sound. Nevertheless, the
examples we have given of the historic buildings, and the beauties of
our towns and villages, prove that all has not yet disappeared which
appeals to the heart and intellect of the educated Englishman. And
oftentimes the poor and unlearned appreciate the relics that remain
with quite as much keenness as their richer neighbours. A world
without beauty is a world without hope. To check vandalism, to stay
the hand of the iconoclast and destroyer, to prevent the invasion and
conquest of the beauties bequeathed to us by our forefathers by the
reckless and ever-engrossing commercial and utilitarian spirit of the
age, are some of the objects of our book, which may be useful in
helping to preserve some of the links that connect our own times with
the England of the past, and in increasing the appreciation of the
treasures that remain by the Englishmen of to-day.




INDEX


Abbey towns, 210-29
Abbot's Ann, 381
---- Hospital, Guildford, 343
Abingdon, 278
---- bridge, 320
---- hospital, 344
---- archives of, 365
Age, a progressive, 2
Albans, St., Abbey, 212
---- inn at, 254
Aldeburgh, 18
Aldermaston, 196, 381
Alfriston, 256
Allington Castle, 124
Alnwick, 31
Almshouses, 333-48
Almsmen's liveries, 346
American rapacity, 6-7, 164, 183
Ancient Monuments Commission, 392
_Anglo-Saxon Chronicle_ on Castles, 116
Armour, 184
Art treasures dispersed, 5
Ashbury camp, 208
Atleburgh, Norfolk, 147
Avebury, stone circle at, 207
---- manor-house, 180
Aylesbury, Vale of, 86, 91
---- inn at, 256

Bainbridge, inn at, 254
Banbury, 83
Barkham, 148
Barnard Castle, 119
Barrington Court, 189
Bartholomew's, St., Priory, 351-9
Bath, city of, 220
Beauty of English scenery vanishing, 383-91
Berkeley Castle, 118
Berwick-on-Tweed, 29, 31
Beverley, 303, 310
Bewcastle Cross, 288
Bledlow Crosses, 303
Bodiam Castle, 125
Bonfires of old deeds, 366
Bosham, 16
Bournemouth, 17
Bowthorpe, 139
Boxford, 145
Bradford-on-Avon, 142, 328
Branks, 315
Bray, Jesus Hospital at, 340
Bridges, destruction of, 10
---- old, 318-32
Bridgwater Bay, 17
Bridlington, 17
Bristol Cathedral, 220
Burford, 94
Burgh-next-Walton, 17
Burgh Castle, 112

Caister Castle, 126
Canals, 389
Canterbury Cathedral, 211
---- inns at, 248
Capel, Surrey, 82
Castles, old, 111-32
Cathedral cities, 210-29
Caversham bridge, 322
Chalfont St. Giles, 88
Charms of villages, 67
Chester, 50
Chests, church, 159
Chests in houses, 196
Chichester, 164
---- hospital at, 335
Chingford, Essex, 141
Chipping Campden, 345
Chipping monuments, 164
Church, a painted, 158
---- furniture, 158
---- plate, 160
Churches, Vanishing or Vanished, 133-65
Churchwarden's account-books, 366
Cinque Ports, 23
Cirencester, 270
Clipping churches, 378
Clock at Wells, 214
Cloth Fair, Smithfield, 356
Coast erosion, 15-27
Coastguards, their uses, 27
Cobham, 336
Coleshill bridge, 326
Colston Bassett, 139
Commonwealth, spoliation during the, 148, 220
Compton Wynyates, 174
Conway, 31
Corhampton church, 397
Cornwall, prehistoric remains in, 204
Corsham, 345
Cottages, beauties of old, 68, 108
Covehithe, 17
Coventry, 58, 255, 345
Cowper at Weston, 170
Cranbrook registers, 372
Crane bridge, Salisbury, 327
Cromer, 17
Crosses, 283-305
---- wayside, 293
---- market, 293
---- boundary, 300
---- at Cross-roads and Holy Wells, 300
---- sanctuary, 303
---- as guide-posts, 303
Crowhurst, 181
Croyland bridge, 324
Cucking stool, 314
Curious entries in registers, 373
Customs that are vanishing, 375-82

Deal, 86
Derby, West, stocks restored, 312
Devizes, inn at, 260
Dickens, C., and inns, 242
Disappearance of England, 15-27
Documents, disappearance of old, 364-74
Dover Castle, 117
Dowsing, W., spoliator, 148
Dunwich, 22

Eashing bridge, 327
Eastbourne, 17
Easter customs, 379
Easton Bavent, 17
Edwardian castles, 123
Elizabethan house, an, 104, 178
Ely fair, 363
---- registry plundered, 369
England, disappearance of, 15-27
Essex, 100
Estate agents, 10
Evesham, 223
Ewelme, 345
Exeter town hall, 280
Experience, a weird, 171
Fairs, vanishing, 349-63
Fastolfe, Sir John, 126
Felixstowe, 18
Fig Sunday, 379
Fires in houses, 166
Fishermen's Hospital, 342
Fitzstephen on Smithfield Fair, 352
Flagon, a remarkable, 194
Football in streets, 378
Forests destroyed, 386
Foreign governments and monuments, 392-5
Friday, Good, customs on, 379
Furniture, old, 196
---- church, 158

Galleting, 78
Garden cities, 384
Gates of Chester, 51
Geffery Almshouses, 337
Gibbet-irons, 316
Glastonbury, 147, 250
---- powder horn found at, 192
Gloucester, 252
Goodening custom, 377
Gorleston, 45
Gosforth Cross, 289
Grantham, inns at, 240
---- crosses at, 298
Greenwich, the "Ship" at, 260
Grouting machine, 396
Guildford, 343
Guildhalls, 268
Guildhall at Lynn, 38
Gundulf, a builder of castles, 115

Hall, Bishop, his palace, 246
Halton Cross, 291
Hampton, 17
Happisburgh, 17
Hardy, T., on restoration, 156
Hartwell House, 196
Heckfield, 160
Herne Bay, 17
Hever Castle, 124
Higham Ferrers, 335
_Hints to Churchwardens_, 153
Holinshed quoted, 177, 191
Holman Hunt, Mr., on bridges, 318
Honiton Fair, 360
Hornby Cross, 292
Horsham slates, 80
Horsmonden, Kent, 82
Hospitals, old, 333-48
Houses, old, 104, 171
---- destroyed, 5
---- half-timber, 57, 74, 107
Hungate, St. Peter, Norwich, 140
Hungerford, 308, 314
Huntingdon, inn at, 240
---- bridge at, 327

Ilsley, West, sheep fair, 362
Inns, signs of, 262
---- old, 230-65
---- retired from business, 259
---- at Banbury, 84
Intwood, Norfolk, 140
Ipswich, 45
Irving, Washington, on Inns, 234
Ivy, evils of, 141

Jessop, spoliator, 150
Jousts at Smithfield, 353

Kent bridges, 326
Keswick, Norfolk, 140
Kilnsea, 17, 21
Kirby Bedon, 139
Kirkstead, 141

Leeds Cross, 290
---- Castle, 123
Leominster, 314
Levellers at Burford, 97
Lichgate at Chalfont, 90
Links with past severed, 3
Liscombe, Dorset, 140
Littleport, 86
Llanrwst bridge, 320
Llanwddyn vale destroyed, 384
London, vanishing, 11
---- churches, 135
---- growth of, 70
---- Inns, 238
---- Livery Companies' Almshouses, 338
---- Paul's Cross, 304
---- St. Bartholomew's Fair, 351-9
---- water supply threatens a village, 385
Lowestoft, 150
Lynn Bay, 17
Lynn Regis, 35, 342

Mab's Cross, Wigan, 304
Maidstone, 280
Maidenhead bridge, 320
Maldon, 103
Manor-houses, 177
Mansions, old, 166-202
Marlborough, inn at, 259
Martyrs burnt at Smithfield, 353
Megalithic remains, 203
Memory, folk, instance of, 208
Menhirs, 203, 204
Merchant Guilds, 267
Milton's Cottage, 88
"Mischief, the Load of," 262
Monmouthshire castles, 128
Mothering Sunday, 379
_Mottes_, Norman, 111, 115
Mumming at Christmas, 376
Municipal buildings, old, 266-82

National Trust for the Protection of Places of Historic Interest, 141,
  189, 278, 281, 386
Newbury, stocks at, 309
---- town hall, 274
Newcastle, 111
---- walls, 34
New Forest partly destroyed, 386
Newton-by-Corton, 17
Norham Castle, 120
Norton St. Philip, 255
Nottingham Goose Fair, 360
Norwich, 244, 271
---- hospitals at, 342

Ockwells, Berks, 187
Olney bridge, 330
Orford Castle, 118
Oundle, 338
Oxford, 70
---- St. Giles's Fair, 360

Palimpsest brasses, 147
Palm Sunday customs, 379
Pakefield, 17
Paston family, 126, 140, 246
Penshurst, 181
Pevensey Castle, 112
Plaster, the use of, 180
Plough Monday, 378
Pontefract Castle, 121
Poole, 17
Porchester Castle, 112
Ports and harbours, 84
Portsmouth, 86
Poulton-in-the-Fylde, 311
Pounds, 312
Prehistoric remains,  destruction of, 203-9
Preservation of registers, 374
Progress, 2
Punishments, old-time, 306-17

Quainton, Bucks, 337

Radcot bridge, 323
Ranton, house at, 107
---- priory, 138
Ravensburgh, 20, 21
Reading, guild hall at, 274
---- Fair, 360
Rebels' heads on gateways, 32
Reculver, 23
Reformation, iconoclasm at, 145, 218
Register books, parish, 368
Restoration, evils of, 9, 10, 151, 153, 156, 220
Richard II., murder of, 121
Richmond, 111, 260
Ringstead, 140
Rochester, 35, 248
Rollright stones, 204
Roman fortresses, 114
Rood-screens removed, 158
Roudham, 140
Rows at Yarmouth, 42
---- ---- Portsmouth, 86
Ruskin, 3, 67, 198, 200
Ruthwell Cross, 289
Rye, 60

Saffron Walden, 100
Salisbury, halls of guilds at, 281
Sandwich, 34
St. Albans Cathedral, 212
---- inn at, 254
St. Audrey's laces, 363
St. Bartholomew's, Smithfield, 351-9
St. Margaret's Bay, 17
Salisbury, halls of guilds at, 281, 294
Sandwich, 34
Saxon churches, 144
Scenery, vanishing of English, 3, 383-91
Scold's bridle, 315
Sea-serpent at Heybridge, 104
Selsea, 23
"Seven Stars" at Manchester, 252
Shingle, flow of, 26
Shrewsbury, 52, 270
Shrivenham, Berks, 165
Shrovetide customs, 378
Signboards, 264
Sieges of towns, 32
Simnels, 379
Skegness, 21
Skipton, 310
Smithfield Fair, 351-9
Smuggling, 258
Society for Protection of Ancient Buildings, 141, 320, 326
Somerset, Duke of, spoliator, 146
Somerset crosses, 296
Sonning bridges, 318
Southport, 16
Southwell, inn at, 144
Southwold, 17, 18
Staircases, old, 196
Staffordshire churches, 136
Stamford, hospitals at, 336
Stilton, inn at, 243
Stocks, 306-17
-- in literature, 307
Stonehenge, 205
Storeys, projecting, 72
Stourbridge Fair, 362
Stow Green Fair, 362
Strategic position of castles, 114
Streets and lanes, in, 67-110
Stump Cross, 304
Suffolk coast, 20
Surrey cottages, 76
Sussex coast, 17
Sussex, Robert, Earl of, spoliator, 147
Swallowfield Park, 194

_Tancred_, description of an inn, 236
Taunton Castle, 129
Tewkesbury, inns at, 252
Thame, 91, 367
Thatch for roofing, 78
Thorpe-in-the-Fields, 139
Tile-hung cottages, 77
Tournaments at Smithfield, 353
Towns, old walled, 28-66
---- abbey, 210-29
---- decayed, 266
---- halls, 266-82
Turpin's ride to York, 240
Tyneside, coast erosion at, 21

Udimore, Sussex, 94
Uxbridge, inn at, 256

Viking legends, 290, 291

Walberswick, Suffolk, 148
Walled towns, old, 28-66
Walls, city, destroyed, 12
Wallingford, 276, 313
Warwick, 70, 159
Wash, land gaining on sea, 16
Water-clock, 196
Well customs, 381
Wells, cross at, 297
Wells Cathedral, 213-16
Welsh castles, 130
Weston house, 170
Whipping-posts, 306-17
White Horse Hill, 206
Whitewash, the era of, 157
Whittenham Clumps, 207
Whittenham, Little, 152
Whitling church, 139
Whittington College, 338
Winchester, St. Cross, 334
Winchmore Hill Woods, destroyed, 386
Window tax, 180
Winster, 278
Witney Butter Cross, 297
Wirral, Cheshire, 25
Wokingham, 277
---- Lucas's Hospital at, 340
Wood, Anthony, at Thame, 93
Wymondham, 256, 297

Yarmouth, 17, 40, 147, 342
York, 48
---- walls of, 34
Yorkshire coast, 17
Ypres Tower, Rye, 64



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