Слике страница
PDF
ePub

FAIRFORD,

Nos. 2 and 3.

“With three-arch'd roof Thy temple springs,
Where music spreads melodious wings,
And all around one glory brings.”

(The Cathedral, p. 68.)

AIRFORD, in the county of Gloucester, is mentioned in Domesday. Book (163 b) as “Fareforde.” Although its name cannot

a

be traced back to the time of the Britons, it appears probable that it was the scene of a great battle between the Saxons and the Britons in A.D. 577, mentioned in the "Saxon Chronicle."

Sir Robert Atkyns, in his History of Gloucestershire, says, “There must have been in ancient times many considerable warlike actions in this place, for many medals and urns are often dug up; and there are several barrows raised over the slain in the adjoining fields."

A great number of skeletons and various other relics of the dead have been found at different times in Fairford : and in 1850–51 it was discovered, by the diligent and patient research of William Michael Wylie, Esq., B.A., F.S.A., that in a piece of ground formerly belonging to the KEBLE

• Called Dooms-day, Domesday, or Domysday, “quia nulli parcit, sicut nec magnus dies judicii :” also called Rotulus Wintonia. See Milner's History of Winchester, vol. i. p. 144.

[ocr errors]

family, called “Tanner's ground,” which Mr. KEBLE sold a few years ago, there existed an ancient burying-place of great extent, and filled with most interesting relics, which are fully described and beautifully represented in Mr. Wylie's book, entitled “Fairford Graves” (J. H. Parker, 1852), to which the author of these notes is indebted for many of the particulars here given, and to which the reader is referred.

It seems probable that soon after the great battle alluded to above, in which the Saxons were victorious over the Britons, the former began to erect habitations near the graves of the slain ; and it is possible that this was the origin of the pretty village which they may have called Fair Ford, on account of the beauty of the scenery, and the ford of the little river Coln, which here (to quote Mr. Wylie's words) “ quits the steep slopes and valleys of the Cotswold ridge, and flows some four miles through the plain to join the Thames near Lechlade.”

Rudder, however, in his “New History of Gloucestershire” (p. 442), says, “The ancient and proper name is Fareforde, where fare does not signify 'fair,' or 'beautiful,' but 'a passage,' in which sense we even now sometimes use it.” He derives ‘fare' from the Saxon faran, 'to go,' or pass,' and supposes Fareforde to mean ‘the passage at the ford.' See also the "Beauties of England and Wales."

About the year 850 a grant of land at Fairford appears to have been made to the Church of Gloucester by the Saxon Prince Ethelwulf, the son of Egbert.

[ocr errors]

“In 1263 (47 Hen. III.), Richard de Clare, Earl of Gloucester and Hertford, obtained this lordship, with priveledge of a market and fairs, which in the succeeding reign was confirmed to Gilbert, his son, whose sister and co-heir, Elianor, con

veyed it by marriage to Hugh le Despencer, the younger, in 1314. From this last family it descended to the Beauchamps and Nevylles, Earls of Warwick, and was one of the hundred and fourteen manors which were fraudulently obtained from Anne, Countess of Warwick, by King Henry VII., by a deed dated Dec. 13, 1488."

“John Tame purchased this manor of the Crown in 1498 6."

" It is said that this John Tame had the fortune to capture a vessel bound from the Low Countries to Rome, with a freight of beautiful coloured glass destined for some church c.”

This man was a merchant belonging to a family settled in London, where it is stated several of them had served the office of Sheriff. He established a flourishing wool and clothing trade at Fairford, but one of his first works was the building a noble church, in which (according to the tradition) he put the glass which he had taken. This church appears to have been built on a Saxon foundation, upon which there had once been a Norman erection, as in most churches of that neighbourhood d. It is manifest, if the tradition is true, that the founder and the architect had in view the adaptation of the church to the windows, and that their plan was

, well carried out: for it seems as if the windows had been made for the church according to the usual custom.

The dedication of the church to the Virgin Mary is said to have been celebrated in 1493, about five years before the purchase of the manor, and a year after the capture of the vessel containing the glass : but the church was not finished by John Tame, who died in 1500°. It remained for his

Bigland, quoted by Mr. Wylie. See also Leland, vol. v. p. 2. Graves," p. 1o. See “Glossary of Architecture," vol. iii. plate 5. of Fairford,” 1791, p. 6.

“Fairford e “ An Account

nephew, Sir Edmond Tame, Knight, to carry out and complete the work which his uncle had begun; as Leland' says, “ John Tame begun the new

f church at Fairforde, and Edmunde Tame finishid it;" adding that “Fairforde never florishid afore the comming of the Tames onto it."

Sir Edmond Tame lived until 1534 He and his two wives are buried in the chancel; as are also John Tame and his wife.

Fuller, in his “Worthies” (p. 367), mentions, amongst the Sheriffs of Gloucestershire, several men of the name of Tame.

This church is "indeed a very finished specimen of the purest Gothic architecture that prevailed about the close of the fifteenth century.” It consists of a "lofty nave, two aisles, and a tower in the middle;" it is 120 ft. in length, and 55 broad. “The whole is embattled. The aisles are divided from the nave by four arches, the pillars light and fluted, low enough to admit a range of windows above them. The tower then intervenes. The aisles are continued parallel with the chancel, with which is a communication by two arches of equal height.” The tower is somewhat low for the height and size of the church, and it is supposed to have been intended that it should be surmounted by a spire.

Rudder (in his “New History of Gloucestershire,” 1779, p. 444) says of the beautiful windows before alluded to, of which there are twenty-eight in number, that the figures in them “were designed by that eminent master Albert Durer, to whom the greatest improvements in painting glass are attributed :" the same supposition has been entertained by others who have examined the glass, but it has been suggested as more probable (considering that Albert Durer was, at the time that the windows are said

| vol. ii. p. 22 ; small edition, vol. ii. p. 48.

& "Account of Fairford,” 1791, p. 5.

« ПретходнаНастави »