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27th Sept., 1854. Murchison, Sir Roderick Impey, G.C.St.S., A.M.,
D. C. L., F.R.S., V. P.L.S., F.G.S., V.P.R.
London. 27th Sept., 1854. Owen, Richard, M.D., LL.D., F.R.S., F.L.S.,
F.G.S., British Museum, Londou. 7th May, 1851. Pidgeon, Henry Clarke, 10, St. Leonard's terrace,
Maida hill, West, London. 27th Sept., 1854. Phillips, John, M.A., LL.D., F.R.S., F.G.S.,
Professor of Geology, and Keeper of the University Museum, Oxford; Hon. Mem. Imp.
Acad., Moscow; Société Vaudoise, &c., Oxford, 27th Sept., 1854. Rosse, the Earl of, K.P., D.C.L., F.R.S., F.S.A.,
F.R.A.S., F.G.S., Birr Castle, Parsonstown,
Ireland. 27th Sept., 1854. Sabine, Major General Edward, R.A., D.C.L.,
LL.D., Pres. R.S., F.R.A.S., 13, Ashley place,
London, S.W., and Woolwich. 27th Sept., 1854. Sedgwick, Rev. Adam, A.M., F.R.S., F.G.S.,
F.R.A.S., Hon. M.R.I.A., Woodwardian Pro.
fessor, Trinity College, Cambridge.
Roy. Soc. North_Antiq. Copenhagen, Hon.
Touraine, &c., Temple place, Strood, Kent. 27th Sept., 1854. Whewell, Rev. William, D.D., F.R.S., F.G.S.,
F.R.A.S., Hon. M.R.I.A., Corr. Mem. of the
Professor, Cambridge, and 23, York terrace,
Regent's park, London. 27th Sept., 1854. Wright, Thomas, A.M., F.S.A., Hon. M.R.S.L.,
Member of the Institute of France; of the Roy.
ON THE EARLY HISTORY OF THE CATHEDRALS
AND ABBEYS OF ENGLAND.
By Nicholas Waterhouse, Esq.
(READ 5TH NOVEMBER, 1863.)
It is my intention to give, in the following paper, a short account of the Cathedrals and greater Monasteries of England, and afterwards to describe the comprehensive scheme which was drawn up, in the time of Henry VIII, for the restoration of those institutions to a state of efficiency suited to the progressive spirit of the age and to the tenets of the Reformed Church. I am, fortunately, able to give a local interest to the latter part of the subject—the charter of the mother Church of this diocese having been published in the “Blue Book” of 1854, as an example of the position and duties assigned to the Cathedrals which were then founded.
“The original purpose of a Cathedral Church,” according to the Report of the Cathedral Commission of 1854 (from which I shall largely quote), “was of a missionary character—the
"Bishop living together with his associated Clergy; main
taining the constant worship of Almighty God; educating
the young in the faith of Christ; and sending forth preachers “of the gospel into all parts of the diocese.” Monasteries, on the other hand, were designed as places of retirement, “wherein persons might be brought up in a way of devotion "and learning, to fit them for further service when they should be taken out.” The four Welsh Bishoprics are derived from the ancient
British Church and, indeed, are the only representatives of that Church, which laid claim to many Bishops and a large body of adherents in other parts of the island. Its Clergy were distinguished by their simple mode of life. The sketch of the austere habits of the monks of Val Rosine, in Pembrokeshire, as drawn in the pages of Fuller, will give some idea of the character of this branch of the early Church. “ They were raised with the crowing of the cock from their “beds and then betook themselves to their prayers and spent “the rest of the day in their several callings. When their task “ was done, they again bestowed themselves in prayers, “meditations, reading and writing; and at night, when the “heavens were full of stars, they first began to feed, having “their temperate repast to satisfy hunger, on bread, water and “ herbs. Then the third time they went to their prayers
and “so to bed, till the circulation of their daily employment “returned in the morning."*
As the conquering Saxon became converted to the Christian faith, his church absorbed that of the weaker and subject people, nor does there at the present day remain any distinctive memorial of the earliest Church in Britain.
With the Saxons the change was very rapid. Immediately after they renounced heathenism they were distinguished for their devotion to the new faith and their love of religious rites. Kings and princes expended their wealth in building and endowing monasteries, till England was said to contain more monks than military men. The greatest of the Cathedrals—Canterbury, Durham, Winchester and Ely—the richest of the mitred abbeys—Westminster, St. Albans, Glastonbury and St. Edmundsbury-all derived their broad lands and their political importance from Saxon times. The more we examine the history of this period the more we shall perceive the great importance of the Church and the great numbers
* Fuller's Church History, vol. ii, p. 142,
of both sexes devoted to the celebration of her services. The officers of the Church are thus described in Elfric's Pastoral Charge, A.D. 995:-“Ist, the ostiary keeps the doors, rings “ the bells, admits believers ; 2nd, the lector reads in God's “ Church and publishes God's word ; 3rd, the exorcist adjures
malignant spirits with invocations; 4th, the acolyth holds “the candle at Divine ministrations when the gospel is read, “to signify bliss by that light, to the honour of Christ, who " is our light; 5th, the sub-deacon brings forth the vessels "to the deacon and humbly ministers under the deacon, with “the housel vessels, at the holy altar; 6th, the deacon mi“nisters to the mass-priest and places the oblation on the “altar and reads the Gospel at the divine ministration : he may baptize children and housel the people. The deacons ought to serve their Saviour in white albs and preserve the
heavenly life with purity and let all be done as becometh " that order. 7th, the presbyter is the mass-priest or elder“not that he is old otherwise than in wisdom ; he halloweth “God's housel, as our Saviour commanded; he ought by
preaching to instruct the people in their belief, and to give “ an example to Christians by the purity of his manners. “There is no more between a bishop and a priest, but that “the bishop is appointed to ordain and to bishop children “and to hallow Churches and to take care of God's rights, for
they would be abundantly too many if every priest did this : “ he hath the same order, but the other is more honourable."
The sloth and love of ease which almost invariably have attended the monastic life soon made their appearance in the Saxon monasteries. The monks of Lindisfarne had been forbidden by their founder to drink anything but water and milk: they obtained permission to drink more generous liquors—ale and wine. Monks are admonished by the Synod, A.D. 747, against wearing fashionable garterings on
* Hook’s Lives of the Archbishops, vol. i, p. 447.
the leg, or laymen's cloaks. Writing to the monks of Wearmouth, Alcuin exhorts that "the youth be accustomed to
attend the praises of our Heavenly King ; not to dig up the “ burrows of foxes, or to pursue the winding mazes of hares." “In some monasteries the abbot might be seen in the same
attire as other men of his own station in society, with his
mantle of blue cloth, faced with crimson silk and ornamented “with stripes or vermicular figures. We find them addicted "to war, to hunting, to hawking, to games of chance, to the
company of minstrels and jesters. In some of the nunneries, also, the lady abbess would appear in a scarlet tunic, with
full skirts and wide sleeves and hood, over an under vest of “fine linen, of a violet colour. Alcuin complains of secret "junketings and furtive compotations; while the nuus were “ forbidden to write or send amatory verses, and abbesses were warned that there should not be
dark corners in " their houses, as advantage of them was taken for mischief."*
Amongst the good deeds of the early monks, it must not be forgotten that Dunstan required King Edgar to transmit to the different provinces of his kingdom copies of the Holy Scriptures, to be placed in the Churches for the instruction of the people.
The early Saxon Cathedrals were buildings of the simplest character; the walls were often merely formed of the trunks of oak trees, and the roof of a covering of reeds. If the reeds were removed and the roof covered with sheets of lead, the Church was regarded as magnificent. It is recorded of Wilfred Archbishop of York, A.D. 678, as a cause for the highest commendation, that he covered the thatched roof of his Cathedral with lead and filled the windows, hitherto open to the weather, with such glass as permitted the sun to shine within.t
It is no wonder, as the buildings were so very slight, that the Episcopal see was not unfrequently transferred from one
* Hook's Lives of the Archbishops, vol. i, p. 33.
+ Ibid, p. 157.