Books, Prehistory, Archaeologia Volume 29 Section XIII
Archaeologia Volume 29 Section XIII is in Archaeologia Volume 29.
Read 11th March, 1841.
THE Society has already published, in the third volume of the Vetusta Monumenta, engravings of the three Crosses which alone remain of the twelve that were erected by the King in memory of his Queen. An historical discourse is also there given on the circumstances under which these beautiful structures were erected, the work of Mr. Gough, assisted by Sir Henry Englefield. This discourse contains nearly everything which was then known on the subject, and has been the source from whence later accounts have been derived. What I now propose to do is to make some material additions to what was then known on the subject, and to correct some important misconceptions; and, in doing this, to make some small addition to the knowledge we possess concerning the arts and artists of the period, and particularly to assert for England, against Walpole and others, the claim of having produced by the hands of native artists most of the beautiful works of sculpture and architecture which are connected with the name and memory of this Queen.
She died at a place called Herdeby (Hardby) [Map], near Lincoln, on the 28th of November 1290, which was a few days after the commencement of the 19th year of her husband's reign. Mr. Gough has shewn, in a manner perfectly satisfactory, that Bishop Gibson and Dr. Stukeley were mistaken when they pointed out Hardby near Bolinbroke as the place of the Queen's death. There can be no doubt that the place in question is as Mr. Gough states, a little village called Hardby, on the Lincolnshire side of the Trent, but in the county of Nottingham (five miles west of Lincoln), which by this event, and this event only, is brought into notice.
Mr. Gough's proofs are sufficient, but if more were needed, more will be supplied in the course of this communication. Hardby is a member of the parish of North Clifton, a prebend in the church of Lincoln, and, at the time of which we are speaking, was a manor belonging to a family who had the surname of Weston.
To account for the Queen being at this place [Map] at the time of her illness and death, it is usually said that she was accompanying the King on his way to Scotland, and that falling ill she was left behind. It is added that the King, when he was approaching the borders of Scotland, ("dum finibus Scotie appropinquaret [while he was approaching the borders of Scotland]," are the words of Walsinghama,) received intelligence of her death, returned to the place where she lay, and accompanied the funeral procession to London, giving up his intended expedition to Scotland. In this there are very material errors. I do not mean to say that when the King left Westminster in the summer of that year he did not design to proceed to the borders of Scotland, or that when he summoned the Parliament to meet at Clipston, a royal palace in the forest of Sherwood, about twenty miles from Hardby [Map], in the autumn, it was not with a view of being nearer to Scotland than he would have been at London; but that he went with no kind of haste, and that so far from ever approaching the borders of Scotland, he was never in that year further north than Clipston, except that he made a short hunting excursion in the forests of the High Peak and Macclesfield. It will also further appear that, so far from being on the Scottish border when he received information of the Queen's death, he was with her at Hardby [Map] at the time of her death, and for several days preceding.
Note a. They are also the words of Trivet, p. 268; in fact the verbal conformity between Trivet and Walsingham plainly shews that one copied the other, or that both copied from a common original.
We collect this from the records of the time; and it affords one among innumerable instances of the importance of those documents in giving precision and accuracy to the history of our ancient sovereigns, and in correcting the statements of the old chroniclers, which they too often need. Walsingbam in particular requires to have his statements tested and confirmed. Yet their accuracy is, perhaps, as great as might reasonably be expected, when the means of information must have been of such difficult accessb.
Note b. Walsingham has two passages in which he speaks of this event. One in the Y podigma Neustria, p. 477; the other in the Historia, pp. 54, 56.
The King spent the greater part of the month of August in Northamptonshire. On the 30th and 31st of that month, and on the 1st of September, he was at Geddington [Map], where one of the crosses to the memory of his Queen was afterwards erected. From the 3rd to the 6th he was at Rockingham [Map]. On the 11th he was at Hardby. From the 13th to the 17th he was at the Priory of Newstead [Map]. On the 18th and 19th he was at the Abbey of Rufford [Map], and on the 20th we find him at his own house at Clipston. The Parliament was summoned to meet at Clipston on the 27th of October.
The preceding dates are taken from the testing clauses of the King's writs, with some slight assistance from Wardrobe accountsc. From the same authentic sources we learn that he then remained but two days at Clipston, leaving it on the morning of the 23rd, on which day there are writs tested at Dronfield [Map], a village between Chesterfield and Sheffield. On the 24th and 25th he was at Tidswell [Map], and on the 26th at Chapel-en-le-Frith [Map]. On the 27th he was at Macclesfield [Map]. He remained there till the 6th of October. On the 7th he set out on his return to Clipston, passing through Ashford, Chesterfield, and Langwith. That in this excursion he was enjoying the diversion of the chace appears from an entry in the Wardrobe accounts of the payment of 6s. 8d. of the King's gift to Robert at Hall of Wyrardeston, "quia navigavit in aqua post cervum in quoddam stagnum in foresta de Pecco [because he sailed in the water after a deer into a certain pond in the forest of Peccus]."
Note c. A complete Itinerary of this reign was made for the late Record Commission, to which I am indebted for these dates.
The Parliament was held at Clipston, and all the writs are tested there till the 11th, 12th, or 13th of November.
The Queen (age 49) died of a lingering disease, a slow fever. Wikes says, "modicz febris igniculo contabescensd [of fever burning with fire]." We see therefore why the more quiet situation of Harby Manor should be chosen for her rather than Clipston, where the Court and Parliament were to be held. I have not seen any positive evidence respecting the time when the Queen first took up her abode at this obscure place. The latest date at which I find the King and Queen together is late in the month of August, when a certain sum was paid to a messenger for carrying joint letters of the King and Queen from Northampton to the Earl of Gloucester. On the 18th of October 13s. 4d. was paid to Henry de Montepessulano for syrops and other medicines bought for the Queen's use at Lincoln. In that interval I conclude she was placed at Hardby, and probably about the 11th of September, when it appears the King was there.
Note d. Gale, p. 121. Wikes states that she died at Grantham. It is difficult to account for positive assertions like this in writers who are in the main deserving of credit. Langtoft says, That ilk sere pe quene died in Lyndseie. (p. 248.)
This is worth notice, as assisting to determine the ancient limits of the district called Lindsey.
A "Magister Leopardus fisicus Regine" occurs in this year. He hada legacy of 20 marks by the Queen's will. But a physician, whose name does not appear, unless this Leopardus were he, was sent from Spain in this her last illness, a physician of the King of Arragon, to whom the Queen presented a silver goblet. It would seem also as if spiritual consolation was offered to her from her own kindred, as her treasurer paid at this period a certain sum to Sir Garcia de Ispannia for a cross given to the Queene.
Its vicinity to Clipston, from which it was about twenty miles distant, would probably recommend Hardby as a place to which the Queen might retire. It appears that a knight whose name was Sir John Weston, and who may have been of the family to whom Hardby belonged, was in a confidential situation about the Queen, the sum of 100s. being transmitted by his hands from Northampton to William le Brun then lying sick at Melchburn, a gift from the Queen.
Note e. Garcia de Espaigne however occurs elsewhere as having the charge of the Queen's stud after her death, at Hampton, Horsington, Woodstock, and Estwood.
It appears from two circumstances that the Queen's (age 49) death took place in the evening. First her anniversary was celebrated on the eve of the feast of Saint Andrew, which according to the ordinary mode of calculation would be the 29th of November; while the King's letter to the Abbot of Clugni, published in the Foedera, which is by far the most authoritative evidence for the day of her death, states that she died on the 4th of the kalends of December, which would be the 28th of Novemberf; but if the ecclesiastical day is to be reckoned from evening to evening, then the eve of Saint Andrew would include the evening of the 28th. Secondly, there are writs tested on the 28th, as if public business was transacted on the morning of that day. Then public business for a time ceased. No writs are found tested on the 29th or 30th, or on the 1st day of December.
It may be worth observing how differently the precise day of the Queen's death is stated by different writers:
Matthew of Westminster and the Annals of Dunstable, 5 kal. Dec. November 27. Thomas Wikes, 4 kal. Dec. November 28.
Walsingham and Trivet, 4 id. Dec. December 10.
Holinshed, Saint Andrew's Even.
Stowe, November 28.
Gough in the Vetusta Monumenta, November 20.
This list of diseordances may serve to shew how errors will creep in, and how vain it is to expect the highest conceivable accuracy in the multitude of minute statements of historical writers. There is a general aceuracy quite consistent with occasional slight deviations, and honest and honourable men know how to jadge of them.
The corpse (age 49) was opened and embalmed. The heart was reserved to be deposited, probably at her own desire, in the church of the Friars Predicants in London. What else was removed was interred in the chapel of the Blessed Virgin in the Minster at Lincoln [Map]. Writs are found tested by the King (age 51) at Lincoln on the 2nd and 3rd of December. On the 5th they are tested at Casterton, which is on the road from Grantham to Stamford; on the 9th at Northampton; on the 13th at Saint Alban's and London. It is manifest, therefore, that the funeral procession, in which the King was personally present, must have set out very soon after the death. It would seem that the body was taken from Hardby to Lincoln, and that the procession set out from Lincoln on the morning of the 4th.
I shall not trouble the Society with any recital of the discordant accounts which have been given of the course which the procession took, and the number and situation of the crosses which were erected at the places where the body restedg. They were in number twelve. In this are included the cross at Lincoln, from whence the procession started, and the cross at Charing, within sight of the Abbey in which the body was deposited. The sites were these:
Lincoln. Grantham. Stamford. Geddington. Northampton. Stony-Stratford. Woburn. Dunstable. Saint Alban's. Waltham. West-Cheap. Charing.
Note g. Yet as a note I shall give four of the lists:
Note 1. Stowe.—Grantham, Northampton, Stony-Stratford, Woburn, Dunstable, Saint Alban's, Waltham, West-Cheap, Charing.
Note 2. Camden.—Lincoln, Grantham, Stamford, Geddington, Northampton, Stony-Stratford, Dunstabie, Saint Alban's, Waltham, Charing.
Note 3. Stukeley.—Lincoln, Newark, Leicester, Geddington, Northampton, Stony-Stratford, Dunstable, Saint Alban's, Waltham, Cheapside, Charing.
Note 4. Gough.— Hardby, Lincoln, Newark, Leicester, Northampton, Stony-Stratford, Dunstable, Saint Alban's, Waltham, Cheapside, Charing, Grantham, Stamford, Geddington, Woburn.
Sir Henry Englefield was not disposed to admit Hardby, Newark, Leicester, Cheap, and Woburn.
We shall recur to these Crosses afterwards. At present they are mentioned only as indicia of the course which the funeral procession took.
This was not the usual route from those parts of the kingdom to London. The ordinary route in those times was from Stamford by Walmesford to Huntingdon, and from thence by Royston, Puckeridge, and Cheshunt. But it was intended that the august procession should pass through a more frequented part of the country, where the Queen was well known. It was also a part of the plan to take some of the greater religious houses by the way, and to have suitable places at which to rest: hence the deviation from the direct line from Stratford to Dunstable, to take in Woburn.
We have two notices of occurrences in this solemnity. One of what passed at Dunstable, the other Walsingham's account of what was done at Saint Alban's.
They enable us to form some idea of what was done at other places where the body rested. In the Annals of Dunstableh. we read that the body rested there one night, and that there was given to the house two rich cloths of Baudekyn and fourscore pounds of wax and more, and that when the procession left Dunstable [Map] the herse remained standing "in medio Fori [in the middle of the Forum]" says the printed copy, a manifest error for "in medio Chori," meaning in the midst of the choir of the Priory-church there. I need not say that by "herse" is meant a temporary frame of wood on which the coffin was placed, covered with black cloth. The Annals further say that the herse remained standing until the Chancellor and other eminent persons came to Dunstable and marked out the place on which the Memorial Cross was to be erected. When the procession approached Saint Alban's [Map], the whole Convent "solemniter revestitus in capis [solemnly clothed on the head]" went out to meet it as far as the church of Saint Michael at the entrance of the town. The body was taken immediately to their church and placed before the high altar, and all night long the whole convent was engaged in divine offices and holy vigils. The words of Walsingham, few and simple as they are, call up a very impressive spectacle. But if this were a proper occasion to introduce any thing for which we have no special evidence, and only know that it must have existed from what we can collect of the usages of the time, and from the common principles of human nature, it would be easy to shew that this funeral procession was one of the most striking spectacles that England ever witnessed.
The circumstance that writs are found dated on the same day (December 13) both at Saint Alban's and London seems to lead to the inference that the King withdrew from the procession on the morning after its arrival at Saint Alban's, and came through Barnet to London. Walsingham also says that when the procession arrived in London it was met by the King and his nobles. We know that from Saint Alban's it went to Waltham. Mr. Gough is perplexed with this deviation from the direct route. But two reasons may be given for it. Waltham had a royal monastery founded by King Harold, thus affording a suitable resting-place for another night, which was not to be found in a direct line from Saint Alban's to London: and secondly, the distance of Saint Alban's from London was too great for a winter's day's journey, when it was expedient that the procession should arrive in London early, for the convenience of the concourse who were to meet it.
When the body of the Queen was approaching London, the King, accompanied, says Walsingham, by the whole Nobility, Prelates, and other dignified Clergy, went forth to meet it. Five and thirty years before the Queen had been welcomed with equal splendour, but with far different feelings, by Henry the Third, when she arrived first in London, a young and beautiful bridei. The citizens on that occasion manifested their joy in a manner still practised on the continent, by hanging the fronts of their houses with tapestry. Now was a time for sorrow, there never having been a royal consort of England who had won more of the people's love than she.
Note i. There is an account of this in the City of London Chronicle, the Liber de Antiquis Legibus, as it is called.
The arrival of the funeral procession in London appears to have been on the l4th of December, and the entombment took place on the 17th. To this date we have the testimony of Wikes, the Annals of Dunstable, and Matthew of Westminster. We have no distinet evidence in what particular religious house the body remained while in London. The position of one of the Crosses in West-Cheap may seem to guide to Saint Paul's. What house there could have been near the site of Charing Cross [Map] is a more difficult question. The funeral rites in the Abbey were performed with great magnificence; "cum summa omnium reverentia et honore, [with the greatest respect and honor of all]" says Walsingham. One thing a little dimmed the splendour and detracted from the completeness of the solemnity. There was a dispute at that time between the Abbot of Westminster and the Archbishop of Canterbury (Peckham) which made the Archbishop unwilling to enter the Abbey; so that the Bishop of Lincoln (Sutton) presided. We have this information from Thomas Wikes.
The King remained at Westminster for a week after the entombment. He then removed to Ashridge [Map], a house of Bons Hommes, lately founded by his near relative Edmund Earl of Cornwall, in honour of the precious blood of Jesus, a small quantity of which was there preserved as a most precious relic, which had been given to his father the King of the Romans when abroad. We first find the King at Ashridge on the eve of Christmas, and he continued there till the 26th of January, and possibly for a few days longer. He then visited the inmates of two other religious houses, Evesham or Eynsham and Ambresbury. At the latter of these houses he would find his mother Eleanor of Provence, a very aged princess, who died in the month of June following; and also one of his daughters, Mary, who was professed in that house at a very early period of her life. He left Ambresbury on the 20th, and was at Andover, Uffington, and Burford, to the end of the month. Early in March he was at Tedington and Ichinton. He then advanced northward to attend to the affairs on the Scottish border, reaching York on the 3rd of April, Newcastle on the 20th, and on May the 5th we find him at Norham [Map]. From that time he devoted himself with all the vigour of his mind to affairs of state; but there is reason to believe what the old chroniclers relate of him, that he never ceased to lament the loss of his amiable and affectionate consort. It was not till nine years after that he took his second wife, Margaret of France.
The solemnities of a most magnificent funeral were far from being the only honours which he paid to the memory of Queen Eleanor.
On the 4th of January, being then at Ashridge [Map], the King addressed a very earnest, pious, and pathetic letter to the Abbot of Clugni, announcing the event, and entreating the prayers of himself and his order:— "Deus omnium Conditor et Creator, qui celestis profunditate consilii ordinat, vocat, disponit et revocat subjectas suze providentie creaturas, serenissimam consortem nostram Alianoram quondam Reginam Angliz, ex regali ortam progenie, quarto kalend, Decembris, de presenti seeculo, quod vobis non sine multa mentis amaritudine nunciamus, sicut sibi placuit, evocavit, [God, the Founder and Creator of all things, who orders the depth of the heavenly plan, he calls, arranges and recalls the subjects of?? providential creatures, our most serene consort Alianora, formerly Queen of England, sprung from royal descent, fourth kalend, December, of the present century, which we do not tell you without much bitterness of mind, as it pleased him, he summoned] &c. It is probable that similar letters were addressed to the heads of other religious houses, and to the Bishops.
The Prelates in several of the dioceses granted indulgences for prayers for the soul of the Queen, copies of which were afterwards transcribed in two schedules to be laid up among the records of the time.
The Queen had made a will, of which however no copy is now known to exist. But the fact is certain, there being frequent reference to it in a body of contemporary accounts of the parties to whom was committed the administration of her affairsk. In this will she gave legacies to several communities of religious, chiefly houses of Friars, and to many private persons, some of whom were attendants upon her. But, beside these, large sums were given to religious communities or to private persons, or remitted to them in the settlement of accounts between them and the Queen pro event, and entreating the prayers of himself and his order:— "Deus omnium Conditor et Creator, qui ccelestis profunditate consilii ordinat, vocat, disponit et revocat subjectas suze providentie creaturas, serenissimam consortem nostram Alianoram quondam Reginam Angliz, ex regali ortam progenie, quarto kalend. Decembris, de presenti seeculo, quod vobis non sine multa mentis amaritudine nunciamus, sicut sibi placuit, evocavit," &c. It is probable that similar letters were addressed to the heads of other religious houses, and to the Bishops. The Prelates in several of the dioceses granted indulgences for prayers for the soul of the Queen, copies of which were afterwards transcribed in two schedules to be laid up among the records of the time. The Queen had made a will, of which however no copy is now known to exist. But the fact is certain, there being frequent reference to it in a body of contemporary accounts of the parties to whom was committed the administration of her affairs.* In this will she gave legacies to several communities of religious, chiefly houses of Friars, and to many private persons, some of whom were attendants upon her. But, beside these, large sums were given to religious communities or to private persons, or remitted to them in the settlement of accounts between them and the Queen "pro anima sua," which gifts may appear to have been of the nature of meritorious alms on her behalf, and intended as inducements to the parties receiving them to remember the Queen in their private devotions.
Note k. These accounts are very curious and valuable. It appears that towards the expiration of a year after the Queen's decease, there were many claims against her still unliquidated. A Court seems to have been established by special commission to hear and determine claims, of which Ralph de Ivingho was the President. Persons under the name of Receptores were also appointed, through whose hands the money passed which was adjudged by the Court. But beside attending to the Querele, to the same persons was committed the carrying into execution the Queen's will (of which Robert Burnet the Chancellor was the chief executor), the oversight of the works of whatever kind which the King undertook in honour of her, and in short the execution of whatever was to be done in relation to her affairs, which thus became detached from the general business of the Treasurer and Barons of the Exchequer, or of the Officer of the King's Wardrobe. The accounts I speak of are those of the receivers, whose names were John Bacon and Richard de Kent (Kancia) or R. de Middleton, who may be the same person under another designation. It is possible, or rather probable, that the accounts for one or more terms are wanting both at the beginning and at the end of the series, which now consists of the accounts for ten successive terms, the first being Michaelmas Term 19 Edw. I. finiente, A. D. 1291, and the last Hilary Term 22 Edw. I A.D. 1294. Much use will be made of these accounts as we proceed, The whole sum accounted for is 6,237/. 2s. 104d.
Ample provision was also made for the perpetual celebration of memorial services.
And first at Hardby, the place at which she died. Here a chantry was founded, one hundred marks being placed in the hands of P. de Willoughby, Dean of Lincoln, for the purpose, in 1292. Mr. Gough says that the Prebendary of North Clifton (the parish of which Hardby is a member) was to receive 10 marks yearly, out of which he was to pay 100 shillings a year to the chantry priest, and to find him a lodging, and also to provide furniture for the altar, but that Edward the Second removed this service from Hardby to the church of Lincoln. If this were done by Edward the Second, there was a restoration of Queen Eleanor's chantry at Hardby, special notice being taken of it in the Valor of King Henry the Eighth. The cantarist had then an annual stipend of 103s. 4d. which he received from the Prebendary of North Clifton. This chantry would of course be suppressed by the Act of 1 Edward VI. which made no exception in favour of the commemorative services of the most illustrious and virtuous of his own ancestors.
Another was at Elynton. The only notice I have been able to find of this chantry is in the accounts for 1292, which contain an entry of the payment of 10 marks to Mr. Ralph de Ivingho for a messuage bought at Maydenhithe for the chantry in the chapel of Elynton for the soul of the Queen.
Another may have been at the house of the Friars Predicants in London, where the Queen's heart was deposited; there being an entry in the accounts of 77s. 6d. for 120 lbs. of wax to make torches to burn about the Queen's heart on the day of her anniversary; or this may have been only a temporary celebration.
But the great celebration was to be in the church of Westminster, where she lay entombed. The King was quite profuse in his gifts to the monks to secure in this church a splendid and perpetual commemoration. I take from Dugdale's History of Warwickshirel the following account of this foundation. He gave the manors of Knoll, Arden's Grafton, and Langdon, in the county of Warwick, and certain lands in Alspathm, Buleye, Hulverley, Witlakesfield, Kinwaldsheye, Nuthurst, and Didington, in the same county, the manors of Biddbrooke in Essex, Westerham and Edulnebrugge in Kent, and Turveston in Buckinghamshire—on condition that the Abbot, Prior and Convent, or the Prior and Convent should the Abbot be out of the way, should celebrate the Queen's anniversary every year on the eve of Saint Andrew the Apostle, in the choir of their ehurch, being solemnly invested, singing Plaeebo and Dirige with nine lessons, one hundred wax candles, weighing 12 lbs. [each] being then burning about the tomb. The candles were to be lighted on the eve of the anniversary and to burn all day till high mass was ended, all the bells both great and small were to be rung, and the convent was to sing solemnly for her soul's health. But on the day of the anniversary the Abbot himself, or the Prior if the Abbot were absent, if a more eminent Prelate could not be obtained, was to sing mass at the high altar, the candles then burning and the bells ringing, and each monk a private mass. the inferior monks the whole psalter, and the brethren converts the Lord's Prayer, Creed, and Aves as many as the Abbot and Convent should appoint, for her soul and the souls of all the faithful deceased. Penny dole was to be given to seven score poor people present at the solemnity. Thirty of the wax tapers were to remain all the year long about the tomb, all of which were to be lighted on the great festival days and upon the coming of any distinguished person: and two tapers were to be kept constantly burning. All this being provided for, the residue of the rents was to remain to the use of the monastery. This was done by a charter of the King bearing date at Berwick October 20, in the 20th year of his reign, A. D. 1292.
For the better security of this magnificent foundation, the King directed that every successive abbot, before the restitution of his temporalities, should take an oath for the observance of the premises, and that every year, upon Saint Andrew's Eve, the charter should be publicly read in the Chapter House, in the presence of the whole Convent.
Note l. Edit. Thomas, p. 958.
Note m. Or Culspath, as im Stowe,
We learn from Fabian, that the obligation to keep two tapers constantly burning at the tomb was observed in his time, and from the Valor, that there was a distribution of 23s, 4d. weekly, in alms, at the abbey for the soul of Queen Eleanor, and the souls of King Richard the Second and Anne his Queen. It appears by the Valor, that the lands then given by King Edward the First, yielded at that time a clear income of more than £200. This splendid commemoration service would cease at the Reformation, after having endured about 250 years. So little can founders, even Royal Founders, foresee the changes of human opinion.
It will be observed, that this gift to the Monastery of Westminster was not completed till nearly the close of the second year after the Queen's decease. Hence it is that the expenses of the first anniversary, or at least a portion of them, are accounted for by the receivers before spoken of. We may form sume idea of the splendour of the ceremony, from the fact that 3706 pounds of wax, and probably more, were bought for the occasion. The Earl of Warren, who was in Yorkshire, had a special summons to attend. Against the second anniversary there were provided and charged in the same accounts 300 pitchers, 1500 dishes, 1500 plates, 1500 salsaria, and 400 cups; and small sums were given in alms to the prisoners in Newgate, and to the persons in the Hospitals of St. Giles, Saint James, Saint Thomas of Southwark, Saint Mary of Bishopsgate, and Saint Bartholomew, also to the seven houses of Friars in London, namely, the Friars Predicants, the Friars Minors, the Carmelites, the Augustinians, the Friars of the Holy Cross, the Friars of Pica, and the Friars of the Sack, which I the rather thus particularly mention, as we thus obtain evidence that all these several orders had obtained at that early period an establishment in London.
The first anniversary was celebrated in many other places, viz. at Haverfordwest, Haverbergh, Somerton, Burgh, Lindhurst, Ledes, and Langley. This was done at the King's expense, who paid to each place sums varying from £19 to £30, which shows that they were no stinted rites.
It seems that there was a perpetual commemoration in the church of the Monastery of Peterborough, an allowance being claimed by the monks of that house at the time of the examination into its revenues preparatory formation of the Valor, for alms distributed on the day of Queen Eleanor's anniversary.
To do still more honour to the memory of his beloved consort, he called in the aid of the most eminent painters, sculptors, and architects to be found in England. I am now about to speak of the crosses and tombs which he caused to be erected, several of which have escaped the fanatical rage which destroyed the rest, and are justly regarded, not only as being among the choicest and most beautiful works of art of that early age, but as among the choicest and most beautiful works which have descended to our time.
I shall speak first of the crosses, and, before proceeding to speak of them individually, I beg leave to make a few remarks upon them collectively.
And first, on the purpose with which they were erected. We in these times view the three, which have alone been permitted to remain,—by the bad spirit which has from time to time prevailed in England, warring against every thing that is eminently beautiful, or that is addressed to the higher feelings and interests of man,—but as so many beautiful specimens of the combined effect of sculpture and architecture, or so many conspicuous proofs of the perfection which these arts had attained at an age which some men still call dark, or, at most, as affecting memorials of conjugal love. They were to attract by their beauty, no doubt; but their higher purpose was to inspire the devotional sentiment: they were to call the traveller to remember the "Reginam bonz memorize," as she is often called, even in fiscal documents, whose image stood before him, that he might there pray for her. Though without inscription, they carried on their front the words "Orate pro anima," and accordingly, they were consecrated with due religious solemnities. We collect this from the Annals of Dunstable, where it is said, that when the Chancellor and other persons had marked out the spot on which the cross was to be erected, the Prior of Dunstable sprinkled the ground with holy water. By being placed by the highway side, the greater number of persons would see them, and be engaged to be mindful of the dead.
Secondly, on the choice of the places at which they were erected. Walsingham says, and there is no reason to doubt it, that they were erected at the places at which the body rested when it was being conveyed from Hardby to London: "in omni loco et villa quibus corpus pausaverat," &c. In this there is something which, on the first view, strikes us as peculiar. Memorials of the dead by the way-side are indeed of common occurrence, but to place them where the corpse has rested when it was being conveyed to the sepulchre, is at least a rare occurrence, and when we see it done, we look for a suggestion or a precedent. I can find but one similar instance, and as it was in the case of a distinguished person, who was well-known to both King Edward and Queen Eleanor, and who was indeed not a very distant relative of both, and held in great esteem by them, it is no unreasonable presumption that the peculiar honour paid to him was imitated in this instance by King Edward. The person I mean was Lewis the Ninth, King of France, the Saint Lewis of the French monarchy. He, King Edward, and Queen Eleanor all descended from our King Henry the Secondo. Edward and Eleanor had both accompanied him on the crusade of 1270. The King of France died at Tunis, while Edward and Eleanor went on, as is well known, to Palestine. The French King's body was brought to Paris, and from Paris was conveyed for interment to Saint Denis. It appears to have been carried on men's shoulders, and wherever on the way from Paris to Saint Denis the bearers rested, crosses were erectedp. Here then at least is a contemporary parallel instance. The fact must have been known to Edward, who stayed some time at Paris in 1273, on his return from Palestine. He and the Queen also both visited Paris at a later periodq.
Note o. That King's daughter, Eleanor, was the mother of Blanch and Berengaria, the former being the mother of Saint Lewis, and the latter grandmother of Eleanor. I have not thought it necessary to go into the particulars of Queen Eleanor's life. She was the sister of Alphonso, King of Castile, a great patron of science in that age.
Note p. See Charpentier in voce Crux, who refers to Felibien, p. 249.
Note q. King Edward the First constructed a chapel in the church of the Friars Minors at London, expressly in honour of Saint Lewis, his companion in arms, where was a painted statue of that King.
We proceed to speak of the individual crosses, taking them seriatim in the order of the procession.
Mr. Gough speaks doubtfully of there having been a cross at Lincoln; but that one of the crosses was erected at that city is put beyond doubt by the accounts of which I have spoken, where we have the payment of £60, and of forty marks, in different sums, each in part payment for the cross, which was being erected at this place. This was in the years 1291, 1292, and 1293. The payments were made to Richard de Stow, who has the addition "cementarius," and who was indisputably the builder of this cross. William de Hibernia (Ireland) received twenty-two marks for making the "virg. capit. et anul." and the carriage of them to Lincoln. Robert de Corf also received a small sum on the same account. The "virg. capit. et anul." which may possibly admit of being translated rod, capital, and ring, occur in the accounts for all the crosses.
The existence of a cross at this place depends for the present upon tradition and the testimony of Camden. There is no notice of it in the accounts of which I speak.
This cross also is not mentioned in the accounts. Here is tradition, the testimony of Camden, and also that of a native topographer, who, in his Annals of Stamford, speaks of the cross with the arms of England, Castile and Leon, and Ponthieu, the well known insignia of the Queen, found on all the crosses which remain.
Here the cross still exists. It is not mentioned in the accounts.
It will be seen that all the other crosses do occur in the accounts, which reach only to the year 1294. These three northern crosses were probably the last erected, and not begun till after 1294.
This and the crosses at Stony Stratford, Woburn, Dunstable, and Saint Alban's, were the work of the same architect: his name was John de Bello, or de la Bataille (Battle). In one entry only, a partner (socius) is mentioned, whose name was John de Pabeham. Like Stowe, Battle has the addition of "cementarius." The five crosses were all erected between 1291 and 1294. It is impossible to ascertain the precise sum which was paid for any one of them, money being advanced to him upon account from time to time for the whole. But if we may proceed upon the principle of an equal distribution of the money when it was paid for two or more, he would receive £134 for the Northampton cross; but this does not include the payment for the statues, which were the work of William de Ireland, who received five marks for each of them. He also provided the "virg. capit. et anul." The sum of £6, 3s. 8d. was paid for scaffolding, when these and the statues were put in their places. There is a charge for the carriage of them.
There is also acharge of £40, and sixty marks for laying down a pavement or causey, (pavimentum) and (calcetum), from the town to the cross. It was paid to "Robertus filius Henrici "(Harrison), a burgess of Northampton, and is said to be "proanima Regine." The construction of causeys was accounted an act of piety.
On the same principle of calculation, Battle received £63. 13s. 4d. for this cross. The "virg. capit. et anul." were furnished by Ralph de Chichester, who received small sums for them. We have no special notice of statues being provided for this cross, but there is a general entry in the accounts of the payment of five marks each for fifteen statues for the crosses to William de Ireland, and to another person who is called Alexander le Imaginator.
The sum which can be traced into the hands of Battle on the same principle of distribution for the cross at Woburn is but £60. 6s. 8d. It appears to have been begun later in the year 1292 thar the rest. The "virg. capit. et anul." were supplied by Ralph de Chichester. There is no special mention of the statues, which is to be accounted for in the same manner as before.
What is found concerning the cross at this place is an exact counterpart of what is said concerning the cross at Stony-Stratford.
The same may be said of the cross at this place, except that the work began in 1291, and that the sum of £113 may, on the same principle, be traced into the hands of Battle, in payment for it.
We have now done with Battle's crosses, and we have before us one concerning which we can be more certain that we have the whole sum which was paid for it. This cross was begun in 1291, and the latest payments on account of it, are found in Michaelmas Term, 1292. The whole sum, it appears, was £95. The stone with which it was built was brought from Caen, and the principal person employed upon it was Dymenge de Legeri, or as he is called in one of the entries, Nicholas Dymenge de Reyns. He was no doubt a foreigner. Three other persons had, however, some share in the work, namely, Roger de Crundale, Alexander le Imaginator, and Robert de Corf. The last person supplied the "virg. capit. et anul."
This cross appears to have been a work of more magnificence than those before-mentioned, as the contract for building it was for £300. "Magister Michael de Cantuaria cementarius," (Michael de Canterbury) was the contractor; and he received in several sums, in 1291, 1292,and 1293, £226 13s.4d. No other name is mentioned in connexion with it.
This was by far the most sumptuous of these works. It was in progress when the accounts commence in 1291; and there is reason to think, that it was not completed in 1294, when they close. It was begun by Master Richard de Crundale, "cementarius," but he died while the work was in progress, about Michaelmas Term, 1293, and it proceeded under the direction of Roger de Crundale. Richard received about £560 for work, exclusive of materials supplied by him, and Roger, £90 17s. 5d. The stone was brought from Caen, and the marble from Corf. The steps and other parts of the fabric were made of the marble, for which considerable sums were paid. Ralph de Chichester supplied the "virg. capit. et anul." and Alexander Le Imaginator received five marks in part payment for statues which were intended for it.
On a review of the above details, it appears therefore that the architects to whom the country was indebted for these works were,
Richard de Stowe, John de Battle, Dymenge de Legeri, Michael de Canterbury, Richard de Crundale, and Roger de Crundale
of whom Michael de Canterbury was the builder of St. Stephen's Chapel, and Richard de Crundale was much employed in the works then going on at the palace of Westminster; and, as there is no notice of designs being presented by any other hand, it is but justice to them to believe that the designs, as well as the execution, were their own. The sculpture was the work of
William de Ireland, and Alexander le Imaginator,
who is called in one place Alexander de Abyngton, a pretty plain proof that he also was an Englishman.
We proceed next to the tombs.
We are indebted to Bishop Saunderson for the best account we possess of the tomb which was placed in the Minster at Lincoln. He says it stood in the Lady's Chapel, and was an altar monument of marble, whereon was a Queen's effigies in gilded brass, and that it had the following inscription, in what he calls Saxon characters. Hic sunt sepulta viscera Alienore quondam Regine Angliz uxoris Regis Edwardi filii Regie Henrici, cujus anime pro picietur Deus—Amen. This tomb, but not the statue, was the work of Dymenge de Legeri, and Alexander de Abyngton. They received in several payments, £25 for the work. Roger de Crundale had £1 16s. 8d. for marble. William de Suff. (Suffolk) received eight marks for three little images of the Queen, cast in metal, to be placed near this tomb.
The great work, the gilt statue, was the work of Master William Torell, of whose taste and skill the statue on the tomb at Westminster is still the striking evidence. The statue at Lincoln was probably a duplicate work. The only special notice of the remuneration which he received for it, is the payment to him of 40s. on account.
The heart of the Queen was deposited in the Church of the Friars Predicants, an order for which she had a strong affection. It was partly by her means that the Church was built," so that it had nothing of the grace which antiquity gives to sacred edifices, when her heart was deposited within its walls. She gave to the house a legacy of 200 marks, and was a benefactor also by her will to the Friars of the same order at several other places, as Derby, Leicester, Dunstable, Oxford, and Warwick; and there was a large distribution of money among the houses of this order throughout England after her death, either as sums bequeathed by her, or as gifts by the King in her name.
A peculiar disposition of the heart was not at all an unusual circumstance in those times. Richard, King of the Romans, the uncle of the King, had given his heart to the Friars Minors at Oxford, while the body was buried in the Abbey of his foundation at Hales; and Eleanor, the mother of King Edward, directed that her body should be buried in her convent at Ambresbury, but that her heart should be deposited in the church of the Friars Minors at London; and King Edward himself directed that his heart should be carried to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem.
Several skilful persons were called in to decorate the place where the Queen's heart lay. William de Hoo, "cementarius," received 2½ marks for something which is described by the word "crista." William de Suffolk prepared several small images of metal to be placed near the spot. Alexander Le Imaginator had 12s. 3d. for work in iron, and 5s. for a painted cloth. Roger de Newmarch received £4 17s. 9d. for paving stones, lime, and other necessaries; and finally, Walter de Durham, the painter, was called in to decorate the place with his beautiful work: he was paid £13 and one mark. This was that Walter the painter, who was much employed at this period on the works at Westminster.
There is not, I believe, any description remaining of these works, which would be destroyed when Sir Thomas Cawarden took down the church, which he bought in the reign of Edward the Sixth. Surely means ought to have been taken to preserve a national monument like this. This was the church of the Black Friars. A theatre arose upon its site.
The place selected to receive the body was the newly erected chapel at the east end of the church of the Abbey of Westminster. This chapel had been erected by King Henry the Third, especially in honour of Edward the Confessor, whom he seems to have held in peculiar honour, naming his eldest son after him. The chapel is one of singular beauty, and designed with great architectural ingenuity; but to enjoy it perfectly, the mind should contemplate it, freed from all the excrescences with which it is disfigured, and not excepting even the monument of King Henry the Fifth, which, beautiful as it is in itself, is evidently not there in its place, and supersedes some work of the original architect, not less beautiful we may presume than itself. When this is done, we get an inner chapel longitudinal, and with a half hexagonal end, with a pavement of rich mosaic, the whole chapel finished in every part with minute decorations in the most exquisite taste. Around this chapel is an aile, into which open several smaller chapels, each lighted by its own windows, from which also some portion of light is admitted into the inner chapel, which, however, is chiefly lighted from windows placed at a great height just below the vaulted roof, and not at first perceived. In the centre of this inner chapel is the shrine of King Edward the Confessor, of the richest mosaic; the work it can hardly be doubted, after the evidence produced by Walpole, of Peter Cavalini.
On each side of the inner chapel are three intercolumniations, in each of which is now an altar tomb. If the chapel were entered, as was the original intention, from the west end, there would be on the left hand the tombs of Edward the First, Henry the Third, and then the tomb of Queen Eleanor. On the right hand the tomb of Queen Philippa is in the space corresponding to that which the tomb of Queen Eleanor occupies; the tomb of Edward the Third is opposite to that of Henry the Third; and the tomb of Richard the Second and his Queen opposite to that of Edward the First. At the east end is the tomb of Henry the Fifth, with its appendages. A more august spectacle can hardly be conceived—so many renowned sovereigns sleeping round the shrine of an older sovereign, the holiest of their line.
It was doubtless the intention of King Henry the Third when he constructed this chapel, that it should be, as it became, the place of interment for himself and his family, and it was so contrived that the tombs and effigies which should be placed in it should be visible to those who paced the aisle which surrounds the inner chapel. The chapel itself, enriched with a profusion of gold and precious stones, was probably entered only by a few.
All this at the time of the death of Queen Eleanor was but a new work. The body of Henry the Third had been received here; but even his tomb, as I shall presently shew, had not then been completed. No tomb had been placed in any other of the intercolumniations.
The space allotted to her was at the feet of King Henry the Third, in one of the sides of the half hexagonal end.
The tomb still remains, and has no doubt often been the subject of admiration to many members of this Society, and especially the statue of the Queen, which is a work of exquisite beauty, chaste in its design almost as an ancient Grecian work. The figure is attired in a close vest, over which is a robe open in front. One hand rests upon the breast, the other is so placed as to hold a sceptre, and a groove may be perceived between the thumb and the forefinger in which a sceptre might be fixed. We have no drawing or other information from which we can learn whether a sceptre was ever actually placed in her hand, and possibly the artist might perceive that the effect of his work would be rather impaired than improved by such an addition. There is, however, one ensign of royalty, a circlet on the head ornamented with trefoils alternately large and small. The hair flows gracefully on the shoulders, and to a most beautiful face of the Grecian cast there is given an expression of softness, benignity, modesty, and piety, corresponding with the character given of her by Walsingham, "fuerat nempe mulier pia, modesta, misericors, Anglicorum amatrix omnium." Modern writers tell us, I know not on what authority, that this statue was taken by later artists as the model from which they formed statues of the Virgin. This figure is of metal, and has been richly coated with gold. The head rests on two cushions, which have been gilded in an armorial pattern of the arms of Castile and Leon, and probably also of England and Ponthieu. Over the head is a canopy of tabernacle work very rich and beautiful. The whole rests upon a sheet of metal which has been gilt in a pattern like that of the cushions. On the edge of this sheet is the inscription, which merely relates who she was; the letters are cut or cast with singular sharpness and beauty. All this work in metal is placed upon an altar-tomb of stone or marble, having on the side towards the interior of the chapel six shields with the arms of Castile and Leon, England and Ponthieu.
The marble work is in a state of decay, but the whole of the metallic parts of the tomb is as sharp and perfect as when five centuries and a half ago it was first placed there. Some painting and ancient iron-work on the outside, that are seen from the aisle, have nearly perished. Some injury is done by the buildings which inclose the tomb of King Henry the Fifth. They obstruct a full view of the effigies.
It now remains to give some account of the persons employed upon this beautiful work, with a few slight particulars of the expense of preparing it.
The marble work was executed by Richard de Crundale, to whom was committed the building of the Cross at Charing. He was employed upon it in 1291, in which year he received £10 on account for work on this tomb and on the Cross at Charing. This is the only payment I have seen any account of.
The statue was the work of Master William Torell, goldsmith, whose name will probably hereafter be ranked high in the catalogue of English artists. In 1291 he received 50 marks for work on the Queen's image. In the next year he was employed on two statues, one of the Queen and the other of a King, for which he received in several payments £35 and 37 marks.
The "metal for the Queen's image," (I translate the words of the record) was bought of William Sprot and John de Ware, to whom £50 and afterwards 50 marks were paid for it. Flemish coin was bought to supply the gold for the gilding. The quantity was 476 florins, which were bought at different times at 2s. 6d. each. Sixty-eight florins more were bought apparently for the same purpose.
The work appears to have been finished by Michaelmas Term 1292, when there was paid to Master Thomas the carpenter 44s. 4d. for timber and for making the scaffold for raising the image of the Queen, and also for the herse. Thomas de Hokynton, or Hoghton, "ingeniator," received 70s. for making a cover over the Queen's image and barriers about it. Other sums were paid for the same kind of work. Thomas de Leghton received £13 for iron work. Master William the paviour £7, "for making the pavement in the chureh of Westminster about the tomb." Nothing appears to have been omitted. The cover which protected the image, and which was probably removed only on the day of her anniversary, or when any very eminent person visited the Confessor's shrine, was decorated by the hand of the most skilful painter of the time, Walter de Durham, who received a small sum for his labours upon its.
Note s. The four mortices which may be discerned in the sheet of metal on which the effigies lie were probably intended for the purpose of fixing this cover. The same contrivance may be observed in the tomb of Henry the Third.
I have thus laid before the Society all the information I have been able to collect on a subject of some public interest, part of which is derived from sourees which till lately were wholly maceessible. But before concluding this communication, I wish to make one observation respecting the second statue in metal, that of a King, on which Torell was engaged when he was preparing the statue of Queen Eleanor.
As no name of the King is mentioned it might appear that the King then in being was intended, and that King Edward, while he was preparing this tomb for the Queen, was preparing a similar one for himself. But though it can hardly be doubted that the present tomb of King Edwaré the First is but a fragment, and the least valuable part of the whole design, We statue of a King on which Torrell was engaged at that time was certainly the statue of King Henry the Third on the tomb next to that of Queen Eleanor. It is in precisely the same style of art, there is the same kind of circlet on the brow, and the same groove for a sceptre in the right handt. But the fact is placed beyond doubt by two entries in certain accounts of Hugh de Kendal of money received by him for houses, rents, and tenements which had belonged to Jews, sold by him in pursuance of a writ of the King dated at Ashridge on December 27, 1290. In these accounts he claims allowance for 40 marks paid by him to Master W. Torell, "maker of the image of King Henry," in part payment, and afterwards of a small sum for making a scaffold for the tomb of King Henry. I add, as a further slight contribution to the history of the arts, that Kendal paid £64 and a mark to John de Bristol, the King's glazier, for making glass windows in the church of Westminster.
Note t. This statue, like that of Eleanor, has been gilt. The face is evidently intended for a portrait, and is that of a man who seems to have known care. There are deep lines both perpendicular and horizontal on the brow.