OLD ST. PAUL'S CATHEDRAL
WILLIAM BENHAM, D.D., F.S.A.
Rector of St. Edmund the King, Lombard Street, and Honorary Canon of Canterbury
SEELEY AND CO. LIMITED, GREAT RUSSELL STREET
NEW YORK: THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
OLD ST. PAUL'S AND THE THREE CRANES WHARF. Compiled from old Drawings and Prints. Frontispiece.
A BISHOP PLACING RELICS IN AN ALTAR. From a Pontifical of the Fourteenth Century. British Museum, Lans. 451. P. 6
A PAPAL LEGATE. From a MS. of the Decretals of Boniface VIII. British Museum, 23923. P. 6
A FUNERAL PROCESSION. From a MS. of the Hours of the Virgin. British Museum, 27697. P.10
A PONTIFICAL MASS. From a Missal of the Fifteenth Century. British Museum, 19897. P. 54
BISHOP AND CANONS IN THE CHURCH OF ST. GREGORY-BY-ST. PAUL'S. From a MS. of Lydgate's Life of St. Edmund. British Museum, Harl. 2278. P. 62
Wenceslaus Hollar—to whose engravings of Old St. Paul's we are indebted for our exceptional knowledge of the aspect of a building that has perished—was born in Prague in 1607, and was brought to England by the Earl of Arundel, who had seen some of his work at Cologne. He soon obtained profitable employment, producing engravings both of figures and views in rapid succession, and about 1639 he was appointed drawing-master to the Prince of Wales, afterwards Charles II. On the outbreak of the Civil War he served as a soldier in the Royalist ranks, and was taken prisoner at Basing House, but escaped to Antwerp. Obtaining very poor employment there, he returned to England in 1652, and was engaged upon the plates for Dugdale's History of St. Paul's and other works, for which, however, he is said by Vertue to have received very small pay, about fourpence an hour, "at his usual method by the hour-glass."
Some years later the Plague and the Fire again threw him out of employment, and he seems to have sunk deeper and deeper into poverty, dying in 1677, with an execution in his house, "of which he was sensible enough to desire only to die in his bed, and not to be removed till he was buried." He lies in the churchyard of St. Margaret's, Westminster, but there is no stone to his memory.
In the course of his industrious life he is said to have produced more than 2000 engravings and etchings. "He worked," says Redgrave, "with extraordinary minuteness of finish, yet with an almost playful freedom." His engravings of Old St. Paul's, though not entirely accurate, undoubtedly give a true general view of the Cathedral as it was in its last years, after the alterations and additions by Inigo Jones, and nearly a century after the fall of the spire.
OLD ST. PAUL'S FROM THE SOUTH. After W. Hollar.
OLD ST. PAUL'S FROM THE NORTH. After W. Hollar.
OLD ST. PAUL'S FROM THE EAST. After W. Hollar.
OLD ST. PAUL'S FROM THE WEST. After W. Hollar.
THE CHAPTER HOUSE AND CLOISTER. After W. Hollar.
THE NAVE, OR PAUL'S WALK. After W. Hollar.
THE CHOIR. After W. Hollar.
THE LADY CHAPEL. After W. Hollar.
THE ROSE WINDOW. From a Drawing by E.B. Ferrey.
GROUND PLAN OF OLD ST. PAUL'S. After W. Hollar.
THE SHRINE OF ST. ERKENWALD. After W. Hollar.
THE TOMBS OF SEBBA AND ETHELRED. After W. Hollar.
THE MONUMENT OF JOHN OF GAUNT AND BLANCHE OF LANCASTER. After W. Hollar.
THE MONUMENT OF BISHOP ROGER NIGER. After W. Hollar.
THE MONUMENT OF SIR JOHN BEAUCHAMP, POPULARLY KNOWN AS DUKE HUMPHREY'S. After W. Hollar.
BRASSES OF BISHOP BRAYBROOKE, JOHN MOLINS, AND RALPH DE HENGHAM. After W. Hollar.
ST. FAITH'S CHURCH IN THE CRYPT OF ST. PAUL'S. After W. Hollar.
PORTRAIT OF BISHOP FISHER. From the Drawing by Holbein. British Museum.
ST. MATTHEW: VIEW OF A MEDIAEVAL SCRIPTORIUM. From a MS. of a Book of Prayers. British Museum, Slo. 2468.
A REQUIEM MASS. From a MS. of a Book of Prayers. British Museum, Slo. 2468.
SINGING THE PLACEBO. From a MS. of the Hours of the Virgin. British Museum, Harl. 2971
SEALS OF THE DEAN AND CHAPTER. From Casts in the Library of St. Paul's Cathedral.
ORGAN AND TRUMPETS. From a Collection of Miniatures from Choral Service Books. Fourteenth Century. British Museum, 29902.
MONUMENT OF DR. DONNE. After W. Hollar.
PREACHING AT PAUL'S CROSS BEFORE JAMES I. From a Picture by H. Farley in the Collection of the Society of Antiquaries.
OLD ST. PAUL'S FROM THE THAMES. From Hollar's Long View of London.
WEST FRONT AFTER THE FIRE. From a Drawing in the Library of St. Paul's Cathedral.
OLD ST. PAUL'S IN FLAMES. After W. Hollar.
OLD ST. PAUL'S
Roman London—The Beginning of Christian London—The English Conquest and London once more Heathen—The Conversion—Bishop Mellitus—King Sebert—The First Cathedral—Its Destruction—Foundation of the Second Cathedral by Bishop Maurice—Another Destructive Fire—Restoration and Architectural Changes—Bishop Fulk Basset's Restoration—The Addition Eastward—St. Gregory's Church on the S.W. side—"The New Work" and a New Spire: dedicated by Bishop Segrave—How the Money was raised—Dimensions of the Old Church—The Tower and Spire—The Rose Window at the East End—Beginning of Desecration.
The Romans began the systematic conquest of Britain about the time of Herod Agrippa, whose death is recorded in Acts xii. London was probably a place of some importance in those days, though there is no mention of it in Caesar's narrative, written some eighty years previously. Dr. Guest brought forward reasons for supposing that at the conquest the General Aulus Plautius chose London as a good spot on which to fortify himself, and that thus a military station was permanently founded on the site of the present cathedral, as being the highest ground. If so, we may call that the beginning of historic London, and the Romans, being still heathen, would, we may be sure, have a temple dedicated to the gods close by. Old tradition has it that the principal temple was dedicated to Diana, and it is no improbable guess that this deity was popular with the incomers, who found wide and well-stocked hunting grounds all round the neighbourhood. Ages afterwards, in the days of Edward III., were found, in the course of some exhumations, vast quantities of bones of cattle and stags' horns, which were assumed to be the remains of sacrifices to the goddess. So they may have been; we have no means of knowing. An altar to Diana was found in 1830 in Foster Lane, close by, which is now in the Guildhall Museum.
But not many years can have passed before Christianity had obtained a footing among the Roman people; we know not how. To use Dr. Martineau's expressive similitude, the Faith was blown over the world silently like thistle-seed, and as silently here and there it fell and took root. We know no more who were its first preachers in Rome than we do who they were in Britain. It was in Rome before St. Paul arrived in the city, for he had already written his Epistle to the Romans; but evidently he made great impression on the Praetorian soldiers. And we may be sure that there were many "of this way" in the camp in London by the end of the first century. For the same reason we may take it for granted that there must have been a place of worship, especially as before the Romans left the country Christianity was established as the religion of the Empire. Only two churches of the Roman period in England can now be traced with certainty. Mr. St. John Hope and his fellow-explorers a few years ago unearthed one at Silchester, and the foundations of another may be seen in the churchyard of Lyminge in Kent.
And this is really all we can say about the Church in London during the Roman occupation. The story of King Lucius and that of the church of St. Peter in Cornhill are pure myths, without any sort of historical foundation, and so may be dismissed without more words.
The Romans went away in the beginning of the fifth century, and by the end of the same century the English conquest had been almost entirely accomplished. For awhile the new comers remained heathens; then came Augustine and his brother monks, and began the conversion of the English people to Christ. The king of Kent was baptized in 596, and Canterbury became the mother church. Pope Gregory the Great sent Augustine a reinforcement of monks in 601. Two of these, Laurentius and Mellitus, were consecrated by Augustine as missionary bishops to convert West Kent and the East Saxon Kingdom to the faith. The chief town of the former district was Rochester, and of the latter London. This city had much grown in importance, having established a busy trade with the neighbouring states both by land and sea. The king of the East Saxons was Sebert, nephew of Ethelbert of Kent, and subject to him. He, therefore, received Mellitus with cordiality, and as soon as he established his work in the city, King Ethelbert built him a church wherein to hold his episcopal see, and, so it is said, endowed it with the manor of Tillingham, which is still the property of the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's. There is no portion of that old church remaining. It was in all probability built mostly of wood, and it perished by fire, as so many Anglo-Saxon churches did, on July 7th, 1087. Some historical incidents connected with that early building will be found on a subsequent page.
In the year before this calamity (April 5th, 1086), Maurice, chaplain and chancellor to William the Conqueror, had been consecrated Bishop of London by Lanfranc. Unlike most of William's nominees to bishoprics, Maurice's moral character was disreputable; but he was a man of energy, and he set to work at once to rebuild his cathedral, and succeeded in getting from the king abundance of stone for the purpose, some of it from the remains of the Palatine tower by the side of the Fleet River, which was just being pulled down, having been hopelessly damaged by the fire, and some direct from Caen. William also at the same time gave him the manor and castle of Bishop Stortford, thus making him a baronial noble. There was need for haste, for the Conqueror died at Rouen on the 9th of September that same year.
So began the great Cathedral of St. Paul, the finest in England in its time, which, witnessing heavy calamities, brilliant successes, scenes both glorious and sad, changes—some improvements and others debasements—lasted on for nearly six centuries, and then was destroyed in the Great Fire. We have first to note the main features of the architectural history.
Bishop Maurice began in the Norman style, as did all the cathedral-builders of that age, and splendid examples of their work are still to be seen in our cities. Bishop Maurice's, as I have said, was the finest of them all in its inception, but he really did little more than design it and lay the foundations, though he lived until 1108. He seems to have been too fond of his money. His successor, Richard Belmeis, exerted himself very heartily at the beginning of his episcopate, spent large sums on the cathedral, and cleared away an area of mean buildings in the churchyard, around which his predecessor had built a wall. In this work King Henry I. assisted him generously; gave him stone, and commanded that all material brought up the River Fleet for the cathedral should be free from toll; gave him moreover all the fish caught within the cathedral neighbourhood, and a tithe of all the venison taken in the County of Essex. These last boons may have arisen from the economical and abstemious life which the bishop lived, in order to devote his income to the cathedral building.
Belmeis also gave a site for St. Paul's School; but though he, like his predecessor, occupied the see for twenty years, he did not see the completion of the cathedral. He seems to have been embittered because he failed in attaining what his soul longed for—the removal of the Primatial chair from Canterbury to London. Anselm, not unreasonably, pronounced the attempt an audacious act of usurpation. Belmeis's health broke down. He was attacked with creeping paralysis, and sadly withdrew himself from active work, devoting himself to the foundation of the monastery of St. Osyth, in Essex. There, after lingering four years, he died, and there he lies buried.
King Henry I. died nearly at the same time, and as there was a contest for the throne ensuing on his death, so was there for the bishopric of London. In the interval, Henry de Blois, the famous Bishop of Winchester, was appointed to administer the affairs of St. Paul's, and almost immediately he had to deal with a calamity. Another great fire broke out at London Bridge in 1135, and did damage more or less all the way to St. Clement Danes. Matthew Paris speaks of St. Paul's as having been destroyed. This was certainly not the case, but serious injury was done, and the progress of the building was greatly delayed. Bishop Henry called on his people of Winchester to help in the rebuilding, putting forward the plea that though St. Paul was the great Apostle of the West, and had planted so many churches, this was the only cathedral dedicated to him. During these years Architecture was ever on the change, and, as was always the custom, the builders in any given case did not trouble themselves to follow the style in which a work had been begun, but went on with whatever was in use then.
Consequently the heavy Norman passed into Transitional, and Early English. For heavy columns clustered pillars were substituted, and lancets for round arches. Nevertheless, apparently, Norman columns which remained firm were left alone, while pointed arches were placed over them in the triforium. Even in the Early English clustered pillars there were differences marking different dates, some of the time of the Transition (1222), and some thirty years later. And here let us note that the "Gothic" church, as it is shown in our illustrations, does not indicate that the Norman work had been replaced by it. The clustered pillars really encased the Norman, as they have done in other cathedrals similarly treated. At Winchester, William of Wykeham cut the massive Norman into Perpendicular order, but at St. Paul's an outer encasement covered the Norman, as Wren showed when he wrote his account of the ruined church. A steeple was erected in 1221. There was a great ceremony at the rededication, by Bishop Roger Niger, in 1240, the Archbishop of Canterbury and six other bishops assisting.
In 1255 it became necessary for the Bishop of London (Fulk Basset) to put forth appeals for the repair of the cathedral, and his ground of appeal was that the church had in time past been so shattered by tempests that the roof was dangerous. Some notes about these tempests will be found in a subsequent page. Accordingly this part was renewed, and at the same time the cathedral church was lengthened out eastward. There had been a parish church of St. Faith at the east end, which was now brought within the cathedral. The parishioners were not well content with this, so the east end of the crypt was allotted to them as their parish church, and they were also allowed to keep a detached tower with a peal of bells east of the church. This tower had already an historic interest, for it had pealed forth the summons to the Folkmote in early days, when that was held at the top of Cheapside. This eastward addition was known all through the after years as "The New Work." It is remarkable to note how much assistance came from outside. Hortatory letters were sent from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, as well as from the greater number of other bishops, to their respective dioceses. And not only so, but eight Irish dioceses and one Scotch (Brechin) also sent aid.
There was another parish church hard by, that of St. Gregory-by-St. Paul. Almost all our cathedrals have churches close to them, such as St. Margaret's, Westminster; St. Laurence, Winchester; St. John's, Peterborough; St. Nicholas, Rochester. In all cases they are churches of the parishioners, as contrasted with those of the monastery or the cathedral body. St. Gregory's Church was not only near St. Paul's, but joined it; its north wall was part of the south wall of the cathedral. Its early history is lost in antiquity, but it was in existence before the Conquest. The body of St. Edmund, K. & M., had been preserved in it during the Danish invasions, before it was carried to Bury St. Edmunds by Cnut for burial. It shared the decay of the cathedral, and in the last days it was repaired, as was the west end, by Inigo Jones in his own style, as will be seen by the illustrations. Of the tombs and chantries which had by this time been set up, it will be more convenient to speak hereafter, as also of the deanery, which Dean Ralph de Diceto (d. 1283) built on its present site.
Before the end of the thirteenth century Old St. Paul's was complete. In the first quarter of the fourteenth century, a handsome marble pavement, "which cost 5d. a foot," was laid down over "the New Work," eastward, and the spire, which, being of lead over timber, was in a dangerous condition, was taken down and a very fine one set in its place, surmounted by a cross and a gilt pommel large enough to contain ten bushels of corn. Bishop Gilbert Segrave (who had previously been precentor of the cathedral, and was bishop from 1313 to 1317) came to the dedication. "There was a great and solemn procession and relics of saints were placed within" (Dugdale). But the following extract from a chronicle in the Lambeth library is worth quoting: "On the tenth of the calends of June, 1314, Gilbert, Bishop of London, dedicated altars, namely, those of the Blessed Virgin Mary, of St. Thomas the Martyr, and of the Blessed Dunstan, in the new buildings of the Church of St. Paul, London. In the same year the cross and the ball, with great part of the campanile, of the Church of St. Paul were taken down because they were decayed and dangerous, and a new cross, with a ball well gilt, was erected; and many relics of divers saints were for the protection of the aforesaid campanile and of the whole structure beneath, placed within the cross, with a great procession, and with due solemnity, by Gilbert the bishop, on the fourth of the nones of October; in order that the Omnipotent God and the glorious merits of His saints, whose relics are contained within the cross, might deign to protect it from all danger of storms. Of whose pity twenty-seven years and one hundred and fifty days of indulgence, at any time of the year, are granted to those who assist in completing the fabric of the aforesaid church."
In the Bodleian Library there is an inventory of these relics, amongst them part of the wood of the cross, a stone of the Holy Sepulchre, a stone from the spot of the Ascension, and some bones of the eleven thousand virgins of Cologne.
The high altar was renewed in 1309 under an indented covenant between Bishop Baldock and a citizen named Richard Pickerill. "A beautiful tablet was set thereon, variously adorned with many precious stones and enamelled work; as also with divers images of metal; which tablet stood betwixt two columns, within a frame of wood to cover it, richly set out with curious pictures, the charge whereof amounted to two hundred marks."
Dugdale also tells of "a picture of St. Paul, richly painted, and placed in a beautiful tabernacle of wood on the right hand of the high altar in anno 1398, the price of its workmanship amounting to 12l. 16s."
Quoting from a MS. of Matthew of Westminster, he gives the dimensions of the church, in the course of which he says the length was 690 feet. This is undoubtedly wrong, as Wren showed. I take the measurements from Mr. Gilbertson's admirable little handbook, who, with some modifications, has taken them from Longman's Three Cathedrals.
Breadth 104 ft. Height of Nave roof to ridge of vaulting 93 ft. " Choir 101 ft. 3 in. " Lady Chapel 98 ft. 6 in. " Tower from the ground 285 ft. " Spire from parapet of tower 204 ft. " Spire from the ground 489 ft. Length of church (excluding Inigo Jones's porch) 586 ft.
Wren (Parentalia) thinks this estimate of the spire height too great; he reckons it at 460 feet.
The cathedral resembled in general outline that of Salisbury, but it was a hundred feet longer, and the spire was sixty or eighty feet higher. The tower was open internally as far as the base of the spire, and was probably more beautiful both inside and out than that of any other English cathedral. The spire was a structure of timber covered with lead. In Mr. Longman's Three Cathedrals are some beautiful engravings after a series of drawings by Mr. E.B. Ferrey, reproducing the old building. There is one curious mistake: he has not given at the base of the spire, the corner pinnacles on the tower, which were certainly there. They are clearly shown in Wyngaerde's drawing of London, and on a seal of the Chapter, which we reproduce. Some time later than the rest of the work, stately flying buttresses were added to strengthen the tower walls. One special feature of the cathedral was the exquisite Rose window at the east end, of which we give an engraving. It had not a rival in England, perhaps one might say in Europe. Inigo Jones, if he was really the architect of St. Katharine Cree, made a poor copy of it for that church, where it may still be seen.
Of great historical events which had occurred during the growth of St. Paul's cathedral we have to speak hereafter. As the momentous changes of the sixteenth century drew near, the godlessness and unbelief which did so much to alienate many from the Church found strong illustrations in the worldliness which seemed to settle down awhile on St. Paul's and its services. Clergymen appeared here to be hired (Chaucer's Prologue), and lawyers met their clients. Falstaff "bought Bardolph at Paul's." But before we come to the great changes, it will be well to go back and take note of the surroundings of the cathedral, and also to stroll through the interior, seeing that we have now come to its completion as a building, except for one addition, a real but incongruous one, which belongs to the Stuart period. The accession of Henry VIII. then sees it, with that exception, finished, and we discern three main architectural features: there is still some heavy Norman work, some very excellent Early English, and some late Decorated. And there are also tombs of deep interest; though they are not to be compared indeed with those of Westminster Abbey. There are only two Kings to whom we shall come in our walk. But let us have the outside first.
[Footnote 1: On the site of this old tower, Archbishop Kilwardby afterwards built the house of the Dominicans, or "Black Friars."]
[Footnote 2: Hence old Fuller's racy witticism: "S. Paul's is truly the mother church, having one babe in her body, S. Faith, and another in her arms, S. Gregory."]
[Footnote 3: A pommel was a ball made of metal, from Lat., pomum: "an apple." It was not uncommon to surmount church spires with hollow vessels and to take note of their capability of holding. Sometimes they were made in form of a ship, especially near ports where corn was imported.]
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_The Cathedral Wall, its Course and Gates_—_Characteristic Names_—_The North Cloister_—_The Library_—_Pardon Churchyard_ —_Minor Canons' College_—_Paul's Cross_—_Bishop's House_ —Lollards' Tower_—_Doctors Commons_—_The Cloister and Chapter House_—_The West Front._
A wall was built round the churchyard in 1109, but was greatly strengthened in 1285. The churchyard had got such a bad character for robberies, fornications, even murders, that the Dean and Chapter requested King Edward I. to allow them to heighten this wall, with fitting gates and posterns, to be opened every morning and closed at night. From the north-east corner of Ave Maria Lane, it went east along Paternoster Row, to the end of Old Change, then south to Carter Lane, thence northwards to Creed Lane, with Ave Maria Lane on the other side. It will of course be remembered that the Fleet River ran along at the bottom of the hill, not bearing the best character in the world for savouriness even then, but crowded with boats as far as Holborn. It will be remembered that there was also a gate in the City Wall, on Ludgate Hill, a little to the west of St. Martin's Church. The gate had a little chapel within it, but the greater part of the building was used for a prison. Passing under it, and up Ludgate Hill, you came to the western gate of the Cathedral Close—a wide and strong one—spanning the street. There were six of these gates; the second was at Paul's Alley, leading to the Postern Gate, or "Little North Door"; third, Canon's Alley; fourth, Little Gate (corner of Cheapside); fifth, St. Augustine's Gate (west end of Watling Street); and sixth, Paul's Chain. The ecclesiastical names bear their own explanation: "Ave Maria" and "Paternoster" indicated that rosaries and copies of the Lord's Prayer were sold in this street. "Creed" was a somewhat later name. In olden days, it was Spurrier's Lane, i.e., where spurs were sold. But when an impetus was given to instruction under the Tudors, copies of the alphabet and the Creed were added to such articles of sale, and this was the place to get them. Paul's Chain got its name from the chain which was drawn across the gateway when service was going on, to prevent noise. The other names explain themselves.
Inside this area ran a cloister along the north side, turning a short distance southwards at the east end. This cloister was rebuilt by Dean More (1407-1421) round an enclosure which was a burial ground for clerics and men of mark in the City. The cloister was decorated by the series of paintings commonly known as the Dance of Death, such as may still be seen in the Cathedral of Basel, and in other places. Verses were appended to each picture, which were translated by Lydgate, the monk of Bury, and writer of poems on classical and religious subjects. Over the eastern side of the cloister was the library, a very fine one, but it perished in the Great Fire. The name "Pardon" applied to burial grounds, was not uncommon, apparently. The victims of the Black Death, in 1348, were buried in a piece of ground on the site of the Charter House, and this ground was known as Pardon Churchyard; and in the register books of St. Helen's, Bishopsgate, there are two entries of City magnates buried at different times by "the Pardon Door." Does it indicate that these particular burial grounds were bought with money paid for indulgences or expiations?
In the middle of the Pardon Churchyard of St. Paul's was a chapel of rich ornament, built by "Gilbert Becket, portgrave and principal magistrate in this City in the reign of King Stephen." He was the great Archbishop's father. The monuments in it and the surrounding churchyard are said to have rivalled in beauty those inside the cathedral. How this cloister and chapel fared, we shall see presently.
North of the Pardon Churchyard was the College of the Minor Canons, bordering on Paternoster Row; and between it and the cathedral, in an open space, which in older times was the authorised meeting-place of the folkmote, was Paul's Cross. There is no doubt of its exact situation, for during his valuable explorations into the history of the cathedral, Mr. Penrose discovered its foundations, six feet below the pavement, and this site is now marked by an inscription. It is all now laid out as a pleasant garden, and a goodly number of people may be seen there daily feeding the tame pigeons.
I have shown already (see Mediaeval London, p. 8) that the Folkmote was held on a large green, east of the cathedral. There were three such meetings yearly, to which the citizens were summoned by the ringing of the great cathedral bell. When the first Cross was erected on the ground there is no record to show. We may take for granted that there was first a pulpit of wood. Not only were sermons preached, but proclamations and State announcements were delivered from it, also Papal bulls, excommunications, and the public penance of notorious offenders. In the quaint language of Carlyle, Paul's Cross was "a kind of Times newspaper of the day." On important occasions, the Lord Mayor and Aldermen came in state. Sometimes even the King came with his retinue, and a covered seat was placed for them against the cathedral wall, which may be noticed in our engraving. If there was an important meeting, and the weather was unfavourable, the meeting was adjourned to the "Shrowdes," that is, to the crypt, which, as we have already seen, was now converted into the Church of St. Faith.
The Cross was damaged by lightning in 1382, and was rebuilt by Bishop Kempe (1448-1489). It had stone steps, the pulpit was of strong oak, and it was roofed in with lead. This was the building which was standing as we closed our account of the cathedral at the beginning of the Tudor dynasty. We shall see more of it hereafter in our historical memorials.
On the north side of the Cathedral Nave was the Bishop's residence, with a private door leading into the cathedral. Of the appearance of the west front of the cathedral we cannot speak with certainty, as it disappeared to make way for Inigo Jones's porch, to which we shall come hereafter. But there were, as usual, three entries, of which the middle had a fine brazen door-post, and there are two towers to be noted. That on the north was part of the Bishop's Palace; that on the south was commonly known as Lollards' Tower. It was the place for imprisoning heretics, and there are ugly stories about it. For example, a man named Hunne, who had been found in possession of some Wycliffite tracts, was confined here by Bonner, and was presently found hanged. It was said that he had committed suicide. But it was declared that the appearances rendered this theory impossible, and Bonner was generally believed to have incited murder; so much was this believed, in fact, that he was hated by the citizens from that time.
On the south side of the church were St. Paul's Brewhouse and Bakehouse, and also a house which, in 1570, was handed over to the Doctors of Civil Law as a "Commons House." These civilians and canonists had previously been lodged at "a mean house in Paternoster Row." South of the nave was the Church of St. Gregory-by-Paul's adjoining the wall up to the West Front. Between that and the South Transept was a curious cloister of two stories, running round three sides of a square, and in the middle of this square was the Chapter House. It was built in 1332, and was very small—only thirty-two feet six inches in internal diameter. The remains of it have been carefully preserved on the ground, and are visible to the passers-by. The Deanery I have mentioned, but we shall have more about it hereafter. The open space before the West Front was claimed by the citizens, as well as the east side; not, like that, for a folkmote, but for military parade. The arms were kept in the adjoining Baynard's Castle.
[Footnote 1: In old times the name Ludgate Hill was given to that part which ran up from the Fleet to the City Gate. Inside the Gate the street was called "Bowyer Row," from the trade carried on in it. But it was also frequently called "Paul's." Ludgate was pulled down in 1760, and then Ludgate Hill became the name of the whole street.]
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THE INTERIOR OF OLD ST. PAUL'S.
Fine coup d'oeil on entering the Nave—"Paul's Walk"— Monuments in Nave—Sir John Montacute—Bishop Kempe—Sir John Beauchamp, wrongly called afterwards Duke Humphrey's—The Choir—Shrine of St. Erkenwald—Nowell—Braybrooke—two Kings—many Bishops—Elizabethan Worthies.
The aspect of the Nave, on entering the western door, must have been magnificent. There were twelve bays to the nave, then the four mighty pillars supporting the tower, then the screen closing in the choir. The nave was known as "Paul's Walk," and not too favourably known, either, under this title. Of this more hereafter. At the second bay in the North Aisle was the meeting-place of Convocation, closed in as a chamber. Here, too, was the Font, by which was the Monument of Sir John Montacute. He was the son of the first Earl of Salisbury, and it was his mother of whom the fictitious story about the establishment of the Order of the Garter by Edward III. was told. John de Montacute's father was buried in the Church of the Whitefriars. The son was baptized in St. Paul's, and directed in his will, "If I die in London I desire that my body may be buried in St. Paul's, near to the font wherein I was baptized."
At the sixth bay came "the Little North Door," and it was answerable, as till lately was a similar door at St. Alban's Abbey, for much of the desecration of the church which went on. There was a notice on it that anybody bringing in burden or basket must pay a penny into the box at hand. Between the columns of the tenth bay was the Chantry of Bishop Kempe (1450-1489). It was the finest in the cathedral, built by Royal licence. He did much for the beautifying of the cathedral, and rebuilt Paul's Cross, as we have said already. He seems to have kept clear of the fierce struggles of the Wars of the Roses, for he saw rival kings in succession ostentatiously worshipping in St. Paul's, and did not lose the friendship of any of them. So far as one can judge, he honestly felt that he was not called upon to become a partisan of any, and this fact was recognised.
It was Edward IV. who gave him licence to erect his chantry. "For the singular reverence which he bore to God and to the blessed and glorious Virgin Mary, as also to the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and to St. Erkenwald and Ethelbert, those devout confessors, he granted license to Thomas Kempe, Bishop of London, for the founding of a chantry of one priest, who should be the Bishop of London's confessor in this cathedral, for the time being, to celebrate divine service daily at the altar of the Holy Trinity in the body thereof, towards the north side, for the good estate of the said King and Queen Elizabeth, his Consort; as also of the said Bishop, during their lives in this world, and for the health of their souls after their departures hence, and moreover for the souls of the said King's progenitors; the parents and benefactors of the said bishop and all the faithful deceased; and to unite it to the office of confessor in this church for ever, and likewise to grant thereunto one messuage, one dovehouse, 140 acres of land, six acres of meadow, with eight acres of wood, called Grays, and 10s. rent with the appurtenances, lying in Great Clacton in the county of Essex; as also another messuage, twenty acres of land, two acres of meadow and two acres of wood, with the appurtenances in the same town, and two acres of land lying in Chigwell, together with the advowson of the Church of Chigwell, in the same county."
The next monument has a very strange and quaint interest. It was nearly opposite Kempe's, in the eleventh bay on the south side, that of Sir John Beauchamp, of Powick, in Worcestershire (son of Guy, Earl of Warwick), who died in 1374. He settled, out of some tenements in Aldermanbury, for the payment of 10 marks a year for a priest to celebrate at his altar, and 50s. a year for the special keeping of the anniversary of his death, December 3rd. There was a very fine image of the B.V.M. beside this tomb. Barnet, Bishop of Bath and Wells, gave a water mill, ninety acres of arable and pasture, and eight acres of wood, all lying at Navestock, in Essex, to the Dean and Chapter for the saying of certain prayers and a de profundis beside this image for the souls of the faithful; and there were constant oblations here. John Westyard, citizen and vintner, founded another altar at the same place for a chantry priest to say masses for the soul of Thomas Stowe, sometime Dean of St. Paul's, and for those of his parents and benefactors. In after years a strange mistake befell this tomb, one wonders why. It became popularly known as the tomb of Duke Humphrey, of whom we have more to say hereafter, who was buried not here but at St. Albans.
Entering within the choir, the first monument—a marble altar tomb—was that of Thomas Ewer, or Evere, who was Dean for twelve years, and died in 1400. In a straight line with it, before the steps of the high altar, lay Robert Fitzhugh, Bishop 1431-1436, who, as the learned Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, was sent as an English delegate to the Council of Basel. Whilst he was there he was elected to the See of London, and consecrated at Foligno. He was an earnest labourer for the betterment of the poor clergy in his diocese. Immediately behind the high altar screen was the magnificent shrine of St. Erkenwald, and beside it the tomb of Dean Nowell, both of which are described hereafter (see pp. 24, 51). East of this again, at the entrance to the Lady Chapel, was the beautiful brass of Robert Braybrooke, Bishop 1381-1405. His was a troublous time, the time of the evil government of Richard II. The Bishop exerted himself with all his might to bring about righteous government, and to draw the king away from evil counsellors. But he also persuaded the citizens to keep the peace when they would have run into riot, and was all his life held in honour. He was fierce against the Lollards, hardly to be wondered at, as they were constantly affixing papers against current doctrines and doings on the doors of the cathedral. It was this bishop who rebuked the citizens for their neglect of the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, their patron saint, and he made arrangements for special services, which from that time were carefully observed. He also gave directions for more devout observance of St. Erkenwald's Day, and set aside money from the See for the feeding of 15,000 poor people on that day in St. Paul's Churchyard. Robert Preston, a grocer, left a rich sapphire to the shrine, to be used for rubbing the eyes of persons who were threatened with blindness, and Braybrooke gave orders that the clergy should appear on all these high festivals in their copes, that nothing might be lacking to do them honour. He offered no opposition to the deposition of King Richard II.: it was clearly inevitable. Braybrooke was a vigorous reformer of abuses, and denounced the profanation of the church by traffickers, shooting at birds inside, and playing at ball.
Alongside the Lady Chapel, on the north side, was the chapel of St. George. We will now pass from it back by the north aisle. By the pillar north of the altar screen was the tomb of Sir Thomas Heneage. He was Vice-Chamberlain to Queen Elizabeth, and all his life was much trusted by her in matters of foreign diplomacy, though he sometimes got into trouble by taking too much on himself. His daughter Elizabeth was ancestress of the Earls of Winchelsea. He died in 1595.
Opposite this, at the North Wall, was the tomb of Ralph Hengham (d. 1311). Like so many great lawyers of old time he was in Holy Orders, Chancellor of the Diocese of Exeter, and also Chief Justice of the King's Bench. He was sent to the Tower for falsifying a document, which he is said to have done in order to reduce a fine imposed on a poor man from 13s. 4d. to 6s. 8d., and was himself fined heavily; the money being applied to building a clock tower in Palace Yard, opposite the door of Westminster Hall. Two judges, on being urged to tamper with records for beneficent purposes, are said to have declared that they did not mean to build clock towers! He was afterwards restored to office. He did good work in his day in compiling a Digest of the law.
SIR SIMON BURLEY, K.G., tutor and adviser of Richard II., beheaded on the charge of having corrupted the King's Court, 1388.
St. Paul's, as we see, was rich in tombs of mediaeval bishops; as to Royalty it could not be named as compared with Westminster Abbey, for the City was not a royal residence except in very rare cases. But here we come to two tombs of Kings. Sebba was buried in the North Aisle in 695. He had been King of the East Saxons, but being afflicted with grievous sickness he became a monk. His tomb remained until the Great Fire, as did that of Ethelred the Unready, next to it. On the arches above were tablets containing the following inscriptions:—
"Hic jacet Sebba Rex Orientalium Saxonum; qui conversus fuit ad fidem per Erkenwaldum Londonensem Episcopum, anno Christi DCLXXVII. Vir multum Deo devotus, actibus religiosis, crebris precibus & piis elemosynarum fructibus plurimum intentus; vitam privatam & Monasticam cunctis Regni divitiis & honoribus praeferens: Qui cum regnasset annos XXX. habitum religiosum accepit per benedictionem Waltheri Londinensis Antistitis, qui praefato Erkenwaldo successit. De quo Venerabilis Beda in historia gentis Anglorum."
"Hic jacet Ethelredus Anglorum Rex, filius Edgari Regis; cui in die consecrationis his, post impositam Coronam, fertur S. Dunstanus Archiepiscopus dira praedixisse his verbis: Quoniam aspirasti ad regnum per mortem fratris tui, in cujus sanguinem conspiraverunt Angli, cum ignominiosa matre tua; non deficiet gladius de domo tua, saeviens in te omnibus diebus vitae tuae; interficiens de semine tuo quousque Regnum tuum transferatur in Regnum alienum, cujus ritum et linguam Gens cui praesides non novit; nec expiabitur nisi longa vindicta peccatum tuum, & peccatum matris tuae, & peccatum virorum qui interfuere consilio illius nequam: Quae sicut a viro sancto praedicta evenerunt; nam Ethelredus variis praeliis per Suanum Danorum Regem filiumque suum Canutum fatigatus et fugatus, ac tandem Londoni arcta obsidione conclusus, misere diem obiit Anno Dominicae Incarnationis MXVII. postquam annis XXXVI. in magna tribulatione regnasset."
Certainly in this latter terrible epitaph, it cannot be said that the maxim de mortuis was observed. But it speaks the truth.
Of a much later date is a royal monument, not indeed of a king, but of the son and father of kings, namely, John of Gaunt. He died in 1399, and his tomb in St. Paul's was as magnificent as those of his father in the Confessor's Chapel at Westminster, and of his son at Canterbury. It was indeed a Chantry founded by Henry IV. to the memory of his father and mother, Gaunt and Blanche of Lancaster. She was Gaunt's first wife (d. 1369), and bore him not only Henry IV., but Philippa, who became wife of the King of Portugal, and Elizabeth, wife of John Holland, Earl of Huntingdon. It was through Blanche that Gaunt got his dukedom of Lancaster. She died of plague in 1369, during his absence in the French Wars, and was buried here. Before his return to England he had married (in 1371) Constance, daughter of Pedro the Cruel, and hereby laid claim to the crown of Castile, as the inscription on his monument recorded. Their daughter married Henry, Prince of the Asturias, afterwards King of Castile. Constance died in 1394, and was also buried in St. Paul's, though her effigy was not on the tomb. In January, 1396, he married Catharine Swynford, who had already borne him children, afterwards legitimised. One of them was the great Cardinal Beaufort; another, John Beaufort, Earl of Somerset, was the grandfather of Margaret Tudor, mother of Henry VII. Gaunt's third wife (d. 1403) is buried at Lincoln. The long inscription on the monument closed with the words, "Illustrissimus hic princeps Johannes cognomento Plantagenet, Rex Castilliae et Legionis, Dux Lancastriae, Comes Richmondiae, Leicestriae, Lincolniae et Derbiae, locum tenens Aquitaniae, magnus Seneschallus Angliae, obiit anno XXII. regni regis Ricardi secundi, annoque Domini MCCCXCIX."
Close by John of Gaunt, between the pillars of the 6th bay of the Choir, was the tomb of WILLIAM HERBERT (1501-1569), first Earl of Pembroke of the second creation, a harum-scarum youth, who settled down into a clever politician, and was high in favour with Henry VIII., who made him an executor of his will, and nominated him one of the Council of twelve for Edward VI. He went through the reign of Mary not without suspicion of disloyalty, but was allowed to hold his place at Court, and in the reign of Queen Elizabeth he was accused of favouring the Queen of Scots, though here also he overcame the suspicions, and did not lose his place. He married Anne, the sister of Queen Catherine Parr, and they were both buried in St. Paul's.
JOHN OF CHISHULL, who filled the see from 1274-1280, and was Edward III.'s Chancellor, held a great number of valuable posts together. This may have produced the mental incapacity into which he fell. Archbishop Peckham had to appoint a commission to manage the diocese. He was buried against the wall of the North Aisle, not far from John of Gaunt.
ROGER NIGER, bishop from 1228 to 1241, was buried under the fifth bay of the Choir, between it and the North Aisle. There were three inscriptions on his tomb, the first on the aisle side:
"Ecclesiae quondam Praesul praesentis, in anno M bis C quater X jacet hic Rogerus humatus: Hujus erat manibus Domino locus iste dicatus: Christe, suis precibus veniam des; tolle reatus."
Then we have a short biography in laudatory terms, and below that a record which one may translate as it stands: "It came to pass while this Bishop Roger stood mitred [infulatus] before the high altar, ready to begin the Divine mysteries, there came on such a dense cloud that men could scarcely discern one another; and presently a fearful clap of thunder followed, and such a blaze of lightning and intolerable smell, that all who stood by fled hastily, expecting nothing less than death. The Bishop and one deacon only bravely remained, and when the air was at length purified the Bishop completed the service." We shall have more about this storm hereafter.
SIR JOHN MASON (1503-1566), the son of a cowherd at Abingdon, and afterwards a great benefactor to that town. His mother was a sister to the Abbot of Abingdon, and through this relationship he was educated at Oxford, became a Fellow of All Souls', took orders, and, in consequence of the skill which he displayed in diplomacy and international law, received rich Church preferments, among them the Deanery of Winchester. At the accession of Queen Mary he had to relinquish this, but as he had been faithful to her, she showed him much favour, and gave him some secular offices. On the accession of Elizabeth, he returned to his Deanery, and was all his life one of the most trusted of the Queen's councillors, especially in foreign matters.
DR. WILLIAM AUBREY was appointed Vicar-General of Canterbury by Archbishop Grindal, and was esteemed a great lawyer in his time. He was the grandfather of the famous antiquary (d. 1595).
Crossing the Choir, and beginning from the west, we will now proceed eastward along the South Aisle of the Choir. First, we come to two famous Deans, Donne and Colet, the account of whom belongs to a subsequent page. In fact, the greater number of monuments in this aisle are of later date than the others, but it will be more convenient to take them here, excepting those which are connected with the subsequent history. The wall monument of WILLIAM HEWIT (arms, a fesse engrailed between three owls) had a recumbent figure of him in a layman's gown. He died in 1599.
SIR WILLIAM COKAYNE (d. 1626) was a very rich Lord Mayor; high in the confidence of James I., who constantly consulted him on business. He was a munificent contributor to good works. It was said of him that "his spreading boughs gave shelter to some of the goodliest families in England." From his daughters descended the Earls of Nottingham, Pomfret, Holderness, Mulgrave, and Dover; the Duke of Ancaster, and the Viscounts Fanshawe.
JOHN NEWCOURT, Dean of Auckland, Canon of St. Paul's, Doctor of Law (d. 1485).
The handsome brass of ROGER BRABAZON, Canon of St. Paul's (d. 1498), had a figure in a cope. At the foot was the scroll, "Nunc Christe, te petimus, miserere quaesumus: Qui venisti redimere perditos, noli damnare redemptos."
Passing into the south side of the Lady Chapel, we come to two more mediaeval Bishops of London: HENRY WENGHAM (1259-1262). He was Chancellor to Henry III. Close to him was EUSTACE FAUCONBRIDGE, a Royal Justiciary, and afterwards High Treasurer, and Bishop of London, 1221-1228.
WILLIAM RYTHYN, LL.D., was Rector of St. Faith's and Minor Canon of the Cathedral (d. 1400).
RICHARD LYCHFIELD, Archdeacon both of Middlesex and of Bath, Canon Residentiary of St. Paul's (d. 1496).
The tomb of SIR NICHOLAS BACON (1509-1579), Queen Elizabeth's famous minister, and father of the great philosopher, had his recumbent figure, and those of his two wives, Jane, daughter of William Fernley, and Ann, daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke. The latter was the mother of Francis. The Latin inscription on the tomb was most laudatory, and reads as if it came from the same pen that wrote the dedication of the Advancement of Learning.
Another of the Elizabethan worthies is SIR FRANCIS WALSINGHAM (d. April 6th, 1590). The monument to him was placed on the wall, with a long Latin biographical inscription and twenty lines of English verse.
Two other wall tablets in the same chapel commemorated other heroes of that period. SIR PHILIP SIDNEY, who died of his wound at Arnhem, October 15th, 1586, was buried in St. Paul's, with signs of public grief almost unparalleled. "It was accounted sin for months afterwards for any gentleman to appear in London streets in gay apparel." The tablet to him was of wood, and bore the following inscription:—
"England, Netherlands, the Heavens and the Arts, The Soldiers, and the World, have made six parts Of noble Sidney; for none will suppose That a small heap of stones can Sidney enclose. His body hath England, for she it bred, Netherlands his blood, in her defence shed, The Heavens have his soul, the Arts have his fame, All soldiers the grief, the World his good name."
Close to this, on the same pillar, was a tablet to SIR THOMAS BASKERVILLE, who had also done good service as a brave soldier, according to the account given in fourteen lines of verse, which, it must be said, are a great deal more musical than Sidney's.
SIR CHRISTOPHER HATTON (1540-1591) had a finer monument than any of the other Elizabethan celebrities. Whether he deserved it is another matter. He was clever and handsome, and got into special favour with the Queen by his graceful dancing. He even wrote her amorous letters. The part he took in procuring the condemnation of the Queen of Scots is well known.
At the extreme end of St. Dunstan's Chapel we come to another Mediaeval worthy.
HENRY DE LACY, EARL OF LINCOLN (1249-1311), "the closest councillor of Edward I." (Bishop Stubbs), was somewhat doubtful in his loyalty to Edward II., being divided between his grateful memory of the father and his disgust at the conduct of the son. His house was on the site of Lincoln's Inn, which owes its name to him. He was a munificent contributor to the "new work" of St. Paul's, and was buried in St. Dunstan's Chapel, on the south side of the Lady Chapel.
[Footnote 1: "Here lieth Sebba, King of the East Saxons, who was converted to the faith by Erkenwald, Bishop of London, in the year of Christ 677. A man much devoted to God, greatly occupied in religious acts, frequent prayers, and pious fruits of almsgiving, preferring a private and monastic life to all the riches and honours of the kingdom, who, when he had reigned 30 years, received the religious habit at the hands of Walther, Bishop of London, who succeeded the aforesaid Erkenwald, of whom the Venerable Bede makes mention in his History of the English People."]
[Footnote 2: "Here lieth Ethelred, King of the English, son of King Edgar, to whom, on the day of his hallowing, St. Dunstan, the archbishop, after placing the crown upon him, is said to have foretold terrible things in these words: Forasmuch as thou hast aspired to the Kingdom through the death of thy brother, against whom the English have conspired along with thy wretched mother, the sword shall not depart from thy house, raging against thee all the days of thy life, destroying thy seed until the day when thy Kingdom shall be conveyed to another Kingdom whose customs and language the race over whom thou rulest knoweth not; nor shall there be expiation save by long-continued penalty of the sin of thyself, of thy mother, and of those men who took part in that shameful deed. Which things came to pass even as that holy man foretold; for Ethelred being worn out and put to flight in many battles by Sweyn, King of the Danes, and his son Cnut, and at last, closely besieged in London, died miserably in the year of the Incarnation 1017, after a reign of 36 years of great tribulation."]
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HISTORICAL MEMORIES TO THE ACCESSION OF THE TUDORS.
The First Cathedral—Mellitus and his Troubles—Erkenwald —Theodred "the Good"—William the Norman, his Epitaph —The Second Cathedral—Lanfranc and Anselm hold Councils in it—Bishop Foliot and Dean Diceto—FitzOsbert—King John's Evil Reign, his Vassalage—Henry III.'s Weak and Mischievous Reign—The Cardinal Legate in St. Paul's—Bishop Roger "the Black"—The three Edwards, Importance of the Cathedral in their Times—Alderman Sely's Irregularity—Wyclif at St. Paul's —Time of the Wars of the Roses—Marriage of Prince Arthur.
I have already said that the buildings of the ancient cathedral, with a special exception to be considered hereafter, were completed before the great ecclesiastical changes of the sixteenth century.
Our next subject will be some history of the events which the cathedral witnessed from time to time during its existence, and for this we have to go back to the very beginning, to the first simple building, whatever it was, in which the first bishop, Mellitus, began his ministry. He founded the church in 604, and he had troubled times. The sons of his patron, King Sebert, relapsed into paganism, indeed they had never forsaken it, though so long as their father lived they had abstained from heathen rites. One day, entering the church, they saw the bishop celebrating the Sacrament, and said, "Give us some of that white bread which you gave our father." Mellitus replied that they could not receive it before they were baptized; whereupon they furiously exclaimed that he should not stay among them. In terror he fled abroad, as did Justus from Rochester, and as Laurence would have done from Canterbury, had he not received a Divine warning. Kent soon returned to the faith which it had abandoned; but Essex for a while remained heathen, and when Mellitus wished to return they refused him, and he succeeded Laurence at Canterbury. Other bishops ministered to the Christians as well as they could; but the authority of the See and the services of the cathedral were restored by Erkenwald, one of the noblest of English prelates, son of Offa, King of East Anglia. He founded the two great monasteries of Chertsey and Barking, ruled the first himself, and set his sister Ethelburga over the other. In 675 he was taken from his abbey and consecrated fourth Bishop of London by Archbishop Theodore, and held the See until 693. He was a man, by universal consent, of saintly life and vast energy. He left his mark by strengthening the city wall and building the gate, which is called after him Bishopsgate. Close by is the church which bears the name of his sister, St. Ethelburga. He converted King Sebba to the faith; but it was probably because of his beneficent deeds to the Londoners that he was second only to Becket in the popular estimate, all over southern England. There were pilgrimages from the country around to his shrine in the cathedral, special services on his day, and special hymns. In fact, as in the case of St. Edward, there were two days dedicated to him, that of his death, April 30, and that of his translation, November 14, and these days were classed in London among the high festivals. His costly shrine was at the back of the screen behind the high altar. The inscription upon it, besides enumerating the good deeds we have named, said that he added largely to the noble buildings of the cathedral, greatly enriched its revenues, and obtained for it many privileges from kings. His name, so far as its etymology is concerned, found its repetition in Archibald, Bishop of London, 1856-1868, the founder of the "Bishop of London's Fund."
Another bishop of these early times was Theodred, who was named "the Good." We cannot give the exact dates of his episcopate, further than that he was in the See in the middle of the tenth century, as is shown by some charters that he witnessed. There is a pathetic story told of him that on his way from London to join King Athelstan in the north he came to St. Edmund's Bury, and found some men who were charged with robbing the shrine of St. Edmund, and were detected by the Saint's miraculous interference. The bishop ordered them to be hanged; but the uncanonical act weighed so heavily on his conscience that he performed a lifelong penance, and as an expiation reared a splendid shrine over the saint's body. And further, he persuaded the King to decree, in a Witanagemote, that no one younger than fifteen should be put to death for theft. The bishop was buried in the crypt of St. Paul's, and the story was often told at his tomb, which was much frequented by the citizens, of his error and his life-long sorrow.
Another bishop who had been placed in the See by Edward the Confessor, who, it will be remembered, greatly favoured Normans, to the indignation of the English people, was known as "William the Norman," and, unpopular as the appointment may have been, it did the English good service. For when the Norman Conquest came the Londoners, for a while, were in fierce antagonism, and it might have gone hard with them. But Bishop William was known to the Conqueror, and had, in fact, been his chaplain, and it was by his intercession that he not only made friends with them, but gave them the charter still to be seen at the Guildhall. His monument was in the nave, towards the west end, and told that he was "vir sapientia et vitae sanctitate clarus." He was bishop for twenty years, and died in 1075. The following tribute on the stone is worth preserving:—
"Haec tibi, clare Pater, posuerunt marmora cives, Praemia non meritis aequiparanda tuis: Namque sibi populus te Londoniensis amicum Sensit, et huic urbi non leve presidium: Reddita Libertas, duce te, donataque multis, Te duce, res fuerat publica muneribus. Divitias, genus, et formam brevis opprimat hora, Haec tua sed pietas et benefacta manent."
To his shrine also an annual pilgrimage was made, and Lord Mayor Barkham, on renewing the above inscription A.D. 1622, puts in a word for himself:
"This being by Barkham's thankful mind renewed, Call it the monument of gratitude."
We pass on to the time of the "second church," the Old St. Paul's which is the subject of this monograph.
The importance of London had been growing without interruption ever since its restoration by King Alfred, and it had risen to its position as the capital city. This largely showed itself when Archbishop Lanfranc, in 1075, held a great council in St. Paul's, "the first full Ecclesiastical Parliament of England," Dean Milman calls it. Up to that time, secular and Church matters had been settled in the same assembly, but this meeting, held with the King's sanction, and simultaneously with the Witan, or Parliament, established distinct courts for the trial of ecclesiastical causes. It decreed that no bishop or archdeacon should sit in the shiremote or hundred-mote, and that no layman should try causes pertaining to the cure of souls. The same council removed some episcopal sees from villages to towns, Selsey to Chichester, Elmham first to Thetford, then to Norwich, Sherburn to Old Sarum, Dorchester-on-Thame to Lincoln.
Another council of the great men met in St. Paul's in the course of the dispute between Henry I. and Anselm about the investitures, but it ended in a deadlock, and a fresh appeal to the Pope.
In the fierce struggle between Henry II. and Archbishop Becket, Gilbert Foliot, Bishop of London, while apparently quite honest in his desire to uphold the rights of the Church, also remained in favour with the King, and hoped to bring about peace. Becket regarded Foliot as his bitter enemy, and, whilst the latter was engaged in the most solemn service in St. Paul's (on St. Paul's Day, 1167), an emissary from the Archbishop, who was then in self-imposed exile abroad, came up to the altar, thrust a sentence of excommunication into his hands, and exclaimed aloud, "Know all men that Gilbert, Bishop of London, is excommunicated by Thomas, Archbishop of Canterbury." When Becket returned to England, December 1st, 1170, after a hollow reconciliation with the King, he was asked to remove his sentence of excommunication on Foliot and the Bishops of Salisbury and York, who had, as he held, usurped his authority. He refused, unless they made acknowledgment of their errors. The sequel we know. The King's hasty exclamation on hearing of this brought about the Archbishop's murder on the 29th of the same month. During the excommunication, Foliot seems to have behaved wisely and well. He refused to accept it as valid, but stayed away from the cathedral to avoid giving offence to sensitive consciences. After Becket's murder, he declared his innocence of any share in it, and the Bishop of Nevers removed the sentence of excommunication.
It was at this period that the Deanery was occupied by the first man of letters it had yet possessed, Ralph de Diceto. His name is a puzzle; no one has as yet ascertained the place from which it is taken. Very probably he was of foreign birth. When Belmeis was made Bishop of London in 1152, Diceto succeeded him as Archdeacon of Middlesex. His learning was great, and his chronicles (which have been edited by Bishop Stubbs) are of great historical value. In the Becket quarrel Diceto was loyal to Foliot, but he also remained friendly with Becket. In 1180, he became Dean of St. Paul's. Here he displayed great and most valuable energy; made a survey of the capitular property (printed by the Camden Society under the editorship of Archdeacon Hale), collected many books, which he presented to the Chapter, built a Deanery House, and established a "fratery," or guild for the ministration to the spiritual and bodily wants of the sick and poor. He died in 1202. He wrote against the strict views concerning the celibacy of the clergy promulgated by Pope Gregory VII., and declared that the doctrine and the actual practice made a great scandal to the laity. Dean Milman suspects that he was much moved herein by the condition of his own Chapter.
In 1191, whilst King Richard I. was in Palestine, his brother John summoned a council to St. Paul's to denounce William de Longchamp, Bishop of Ely, to whom Richard had entrusted the affairs of government, of high crimes and misdemeanours. The result was that Longchamp had to escape across sea. At length the King returned, but the Londoners were deeply disaffected. William FitzOsbert, popularly known as "Longbeard," poured forth impassioned harangues from Paul's Cross against the oppression of the poor, and the cathedral was invaded by rioters. Fifty-two thousand persons bound themselves to follow him, but Hubert, Archbishop of Canterbury, met the citizens in the cathedral, and by his mild and persuasive eloquence persuaded them to preserve the peace. FitzOsbert, finding himself deserted, clove the head of the man sent to arrest him, and shut himself up in the church of St. Mary-le-Bow. His followers kept aloof, and a three-days' siege was ended by the church being set on fire. On his attempt to escape he was severely wounded by the son of the man he had killed, was dragged away, and burned alive. But his memory was long cherished by the poor. Paul's Cross was silent for many years from that time.
In 1213, a great meeting of bishops, abbots, and barons met at St. Paul's to consider the misgovernment and illegal acts of King John. Archbishop Langton laid before the assembly the charter of Henry I., and commented on its provisions. The result was an oath, taken with acclamation, that they would, if necessary, die for their liberties. And this led up to Magna Charta. But it was a scene as ignominious as the first surrender before Pandulf, when Pope Innocent accepted the homage of King John as the price of supporting him against his barons, and the wretched King, before the altar of St. Paul, ceded his kingdom as a fief of the Holy See. The Archbishop of Canterbury protested both privately and publicly against it.
Henry III. succeeded, at the age of ten years, to a crown which his father had degraded. The Pope addressed him as "Vassallus Noster," and sent his legates, one after another, to maintain his authority. It was in St. Paul's Cathedral that this authority was most conspicuously asserted. Before the high altar these legates took their seat, issued canons of doctrine and discipline, and assessed the tribute which clergy and laity were to pay to the liege lord enthroned at the Vatican. But the indignation of the nation had been waxing hotter and hotter ever since King John's shameful surrender. Nevertheless, in the first days of the boy King's reign, the Papal pretensions did good service. The barons, in wrath at John's falseness, had invited the intervention of France, and the Dauphin was now in power. In St. Paul's Cathedral, half England swore allegiance to him. The Papal legate, Gualo, by his indignant remonstrance, awoke in them the sense of shame, and the evil was averted. Then another council was held in the same cathedral, and the King ratified the Great Charter.
Henry III. grew to manhood, and gave himself up to the management of foreign favourites, and in 1237, instigated by these, who were led by Peter de la Roche, Bishop of Winchester, he invited Pope Gregory IX. to send a Legate (Cardinal Otho "the White") to arrange certain matters concerning English benefices, as well as some fresh tribute. They called it "promoting reforms." Their object was to support him in filling all the rich preferments with the Poitevins and Gascons whom he was bringing over in swarms. The Cardinal took his lofty seat before the altar of S. Paul's, and the King bowed before him "until his head almost touched his knees." The Cardinal "lifted up his voice like a trumpet" and preached the first sermon of which we have any report in St. Paul's. His text was Rev. iv. 6, and he interpreted "the living creatures" as the bishops who surrounded his legatine throne, whose eyes were to be everywhere and on all sides. The chroniclers tell how a terrific storm burst over the cathedral at this moment, to the terror of the whole congregation, including the Legate, and lasted for fifteen days. It did much harm to the building. The bishop, Roger Niger, exerted himself strenuously in repairing this. Edmund Rich, the Archbishop of Canterbury, indignantly protested against the intrusion of foreign authority, and was joined by Walter de Cantelupe, the saintly Bishop of Worcester, but for a long time they were powerless. Besides direct taxation, wealth raised from the appropriation of rich canonries was drained away from church and state into the Papal treasury. The Legate remained for four years in power. The Archbishop, in despair, retired abroad, and died as a simple monk at Pontigny. The Bishop of London, Roger Niger, was so called from his dark complexion, and people whimsically noted his being confronted with the Cardinal Otto Albus. Bishop Roger, before his episcopate, was Archdeacon of Rochester, a very wise and energetic administrator. He was now on the side of Rich, bent on defending his clergy from being over-ridden by the foreigners. He exerted himself as bishop not only to repair the mischief done by the storm, but to enlarge and beautify the still unfinished structure. Fourteen years later King Henry was offering devotion at the shrine of Rich, for he had been canonised, and that on the strength of his having resisted the King's criminal folly in betraying the rights of his people; for by this time the nation was aroused. The Londoners rose and burned the houses of the foreigners. Bishop Roger, though he, of course, declared against the scenes of violence, let it be seen that he was determined, by constitutional methods, to defend his clergy from being plundered. On his death, in 1241, there was a long vacancy, the King wanting one man and the canons determined on another, and they carried their man, Fulk Bassett, though he was not consecrated for three years. Pope Innocent IV., in 1246, sent a demand of one-third of their income from the resident clergy, and half from non-resident. Bishop Fulk indignantly called a council at St. Paul's, which declared a refusal, and even the King supported him. The remonstrance ended significantly with a call for a General Council. But he was presently engaged in a more serious quarrel. The King forced the monks of Canterbury, on the death of Edmund Rich, to elect the queen's uncle, Boniface of Savoy, to the primacy. He came and at once began to enrich himself, went "on visitation" through the country demanding money. The Dean of St. Paul's, Henry of Cornhill, shut the door in his face, Bishop Fulk approving. The old Prior of the Monastery of St. Bartholomew, Smithfield, protested, and the Archbishop, who travelled with a cuirass under his pontifical robe, knocked him down with his fist. Two canons, whom he forced into St. Paul's chapter, were killed by the indignant populace. The same year (1259) brave Bishop Fulk died of the plague. For years the unholy exactions went on, and again and again one has records of meetings in St. Paul's to resist them.
When Simon de Montfort rose up against the evil rule of Henry III. the Londoners met in folkmote, summoned by the great bell of St. Paul's, and declared themselves on the side of the great patriot. They are said to have tried to sink the queen's barge when she was escaping from London to join the King at Windsor.
King Edward I. demanded a moiety of the clerical incomes for his war with Scotland. The Dean of St. Paul's (Montfort) rose to protest against the exaction, and fell dead as he was speaking. Two years later, the King more imperiously demanded it, and Archbishop Winchelsey wrote to the Bishop of London (Gravesend) commanding him to summon the whole of the London clergy to St. Paul's to protest, and to publish the famous Bull, "clericis laicos," of Pope Boniface VIII., which forbade any emperor, king, or prince to tax the clergy without express leave of the Pope. Any layman who exacted, or any cleric who paid, was at once excommunicate. Boniface, who had been pope two years, put forward far more arrogant pretensions than Gregory or Innocent had done, but times were changed. The Kings of England and France were at once in opposition. The latter (Philip IV.) was more cautious than his English neighbour, and in the uncompromising struggle between king and pope, the latter died of grief at defeat, and his successor was compelled, besides making other concessions, to remove the papal residence from Rome to Avignon, where it continued for seventy years, the popes being French nominees. King Edward, with some trouble, got his money, but promised to repay it when the war was over, and the clergy succeeded in wresting some additional privileges from him, which they afterwards used to advantage.
We pass over the unhappy reign of Edward II., only noting that the Bishop of Exeter, Stapylton, who was ruling for him in London, was dragged out of St. Paul's, where he had taken sanctuary, and beheaded in Cheapside. He was the founder of Exeter College, Oxford.
The exile of the popes to Avignon, so far from diminishing their rapacity, increased it, if possible, and Green shows that the immense outlay on their grand palace there caused the passing of the Statute of Provisors in 1350, for the purpose of stopping the incessant draining away of English wealth to the papacy. During that "seventy years' captivity," as it was called, Italy and Rome were revolutionised, and when at length the popes returned to their ancient city (1376) the great "papal schism" began, which did so much to bring on the Reformation. It arose out of the Roman people's determination to have an Italian pope, and the struggle of the French cardinals to keep the dignity for Frenchmen. The momentous results of that fierce conflict only concern us here indirectly. We simply note now that the year following the return to Rome saw John Wyclif brought to account at St. Paul's.
But before following that history, it will not be out of place to take another survey of our cathedral during these years, apart from fightings and controversies. St. Paul's had been most closely connected with the continually growing prosperity of the city. The Lord Mayor was constantly worshipping there in state with his officers. On the 29th of October each year (the morrow of SS. Simon and Jude) he took his oath of office at the Court of Exchequer, dined in public, and, with the aldermen, proceeded from the church of St. Thomas Acons (where the Mercers' Chapel now is) to the cathedral. There a requiem was said for Bishop William, as already described, then they went on to the tomb of Thomas Becket's parents, and the requiem was again said. This done they returned by Cheapside to the Church of St. Thomas Acons, where each man offered a penny. On All Saints' Day (three days later) they went to St. Paul's again for Vespers, and again at Christmas, on the Epiphany, and on Candlemas Day (Purification). On Whitsun Monday they met at St. Peter's, Cornhill, and on this occasion the City clergy all joined the procession, and again they assembled in the cathedral nave, while the Veni Creator Spiritus was sung antiphonally, and a chorister, robed as an angel, waved incense from the rood screen above. Next day the same ceremony was repeated, but this time it was "the common folk" who joined in the procession, which returned by Newgate, and finished at the Church of St. Michael le Querne. And once more they went through the ceremony, the "common folk of Essex" this time assisting. There could not be fuller proof of the sense of religious duty in civil and commercial life. The history of the City Guilds is full of the same interweaving of the life of the people with the duties of religion. There is an amusing incident recorded of one of these Pentecostal functions. On Whitsun Monday, 1382, John Sely, Alderman of Walbrook, wore a cloak without a lining. It ought to have been lined with green taffeta. There was a meeting of the Council about this, and they gave sentence that the mayor and aldermen should dine with the offender at his cost on the following Thursday, and that he should line his cloak. "And so it was done."
At one of these Whitsun festivals (it was in 1327) another procession was held, no doubt to the delight of many spectators. A roguish baker had a hole made in his table with a door to it, which could be opened and shut at pleasure. When his customers brought dough to be baked he had a confederate under the table who craftily withdrew great pieces. He and some other roguish bakers were tried at the Guildhall, and ordered to be set in the pillory, in Cheapside, with lumps of dough round their necks, and there to remain till vespers at St. Paul's were ended.
We return to the religious history, in which we left off with the name of Wyclif. The Norman despotism of the Crown was crumbling away, so was the Latin despotism of the Church. On both sides there was evident change at hand, and Wiclif gave form to the new movement. He was born about 1324, educated at Oxford, where he won high distinction, not only by his learning, but by his holiness of life. The unparalleled ravages of the plague known as the "black death," not only in England but on the Continent, affected him so deeply that he was possessed by the absolute conviction that the wrath of God was upon the land for the sins of the nation at large, and especially of the Church, and he began his work as a preacher against the abuses. His first assault was upon the Mendicant Friars, whom he held up, as did his contemporary, Chaucer, to the scorn of the world. Then he passed on to the luxury in which some of the prelates were living, and to their overweening influence in the Councils of State. Edward III., after a reign of great splendour, had sunk into dotage. John of Gaunt had been striving for mastery against the Black Prince, but the latter was dying, July, 1376, and Gaunt was now supreme. He hated good William of Wykeham, who had possessed enormous influence with the old king, and he was bent generally on curbing the power of the higher clergy. At this juncture Wyclif was summoned to appear at St. Paul's to answer for certain opinions which he had uttered. It is not clear what these opinions were, further than that they were mainly against clerical powers and assumptions; questions of doctrine had not yet shaped themselves. He appeared before the tribunal, but not alone. Gaunt stood by his side. And here, for a while, the position of parties becomes somewhat complicated. Gaunt was at this moment very unpopular. The Black Prince was the favourite hero of the multitude, an unworthy one indeed, as Dean Kitchin has abundantly shown, but he had won great victories, and had been handsome and gracious in manners. He was now at the point of death, and Gaunt was believed to be aiming at the succession, to the exclusion of the Black Prince's son, and was associated in the popular mind with the King's mistress, Alice Ferrers, as taking every sort of mean and wicked advantage of the old man's dotage. Added to this the Londoners were on the side of their Bishop (Courtenay) in defence, as they held, of the rights of the City. So on the day of Wyclif's appearance the cathedral and streets surrounding it were crowded, to such an extent indeed that Wyclif had much trouble in getting through, and when Gaunt was seen, accompanied by his large body of retainers, a wild tumult ensued; the mob attacked Gaunt's noble mansion, the Savoy Palace, and had not Courtenay intervened, would have burnt it down. The Black Prince's widow was at her palace at Kennington, with her son, the future Richard II., and her great influence was able to pacify the rioters.
Soon came an overwhelming change. The succession of the Black Prince's son was secured, and then public opinion was directed to the other question, Wyclif's denunciation of the Papal abuses. Relieved from Gaunt's partisanship, he sprang at once into unbounded popularity. His learning, his piety of life, were fully recognised, and the Londoners were now on his side. He had preached at the very beginning of the new reign that a great amount of treasure, in the hands of the Pope's agent, ought not to pass out of England. Archbishop Sudbury summoned him not to St. Paul's, but to Lambeth. But the favour with which he was now regarded was so manifest that he was allowed to depart from the assembly a free man, only with an injunction to keep silence "lest he should mislead the ignorant." He went back to Lutterworth, where he occupied himself in preaching and translating the Bible. He died in 1384. A wonderful impetus was, however, given to the spread of his opinions by the schism in the Papacy which was filling Europe with horrified amazement.
From that time till the accession of the Tudors, two subjects are prominent in English history: the spread of Lollardism, i.e., the Wycliffite doctrines, and the Wars of the Roses. Both topics have some place in the history of Old St. Paul's.
Richard II. on his accession came in great pomp hither, and never again alive. But his body was shown in the cathedral by his victorious successor, Henry IV., who had a few days before buried his father, John of Gaunt, there, who died at Ely House, Holborn, February 3rd, 1399, and whose tomb was one of the finest in the cathedral, as sumptuous as those of his father, Edward III., at Westminster, and his son, Henry IV., at Canterbury.
Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, the youngest son of Henry IV., was appointed guardian of his infant nephew, Henry VI., on his father's death; but partly though the intrigues and squabbles of the royal family, partly by his own mismanagement, he lost the confidence of the nation. His wife, Jacqueline, had been persuaded by a sorcerer that her husband would be king, and she joined him in acts of witchcraft in order to bring this about. She was condemned (October, 1441) to do penance by walking three successive days in a white sheet and carrying a lighted taper, starting each day from St. Paul's and visiting certain churches. Her husband, says the chronicler Grafton, "took all patiently and said little." Still retaining some power in the Council, he lived until 1447, when he died and was buried at St. Albans. He was an unprincipled man, but a generous patron of letters and a persecutor of Lollards; and hence, in after years, he got the name of "the good Duke Humphrey," which was hardly a greater delusion than that which afterwards identified the tomb of Sir John Beauchamp in St. Paul's as Duke Humphrey's. But the strange error was accepted, and the aisle in which the said tomb lay was commonly known as "Duke Humphrey's Walk," and it was a favourite resort of insolvent debtors and beggars, who loitered about it dinnerless and in hope of alms. And thus arose the phrase of "Dining with Duke Humphrey," i.e., going without; a phrase, it will be seen, founded on a strange blunder. The real grave is on the south side of the shrine of St. Alban's.
Richard, Duke of York, swore fealty in most express terms to Henry VI. at St. Paul's in March, 1452. He had been suspected of aiming at the crown. But the government grew so unpopular, partly through the disasters in France, partly through the King's incapacity, that York levied an army and demanded "reformation of the Government." And on May 23rd, 1455, was fought the battle of St. Albans, the first of twelve pitched battles, the first blood spilt in a fierce contest which lasted for thirty years, and almost destroyed the ancient nobility of England. York himself was killed at Wakefield, December 23rd, 1460. On the following 3rd of March his son was proclaimed King Edward IV. in London, and on the 29th (Palm Sunday) he defeated Henry's Queen Margaret at Towton, the bloodiest battle ever fought on English ground. A complicated struggle followed, during which there was much changing of sides. Once King Henry, who had been imprisoned in the Tower, was brought out by the Earl of Warwick, who had changed sides, and conducted to St. Paul's in state. But the Londoners showed that they had no sympathy; they were on the Yorkist side in the interest of strong government. Hall the chronicler makes an amusing remark on Warwick's parading of King Henry in the streets. "It no more moved the Londoners," he says, "than the fire painted on the wall warmed the old woman." That is worthy of Sam Weller. In May, 1470, Henry died in the Tower, and his corpse was exhibited in St. Paul's. It was alleged that as it lay there blood flowed from the nose as Richard Crookback entered, witnessing that he was the murderer. Richard afterwards came again to offer his devotions after the death of his brother, Edward IV., and all the while he was planning the murder of his young nephews.
Arthur, Prince of Wales, son of Henry VII., married Catharine of Aragon in St. Paul's, November 14th, 1501. He died five months later, at the age of 15. The chroniclers are profuse in their descriptions of the decorations of the cathedral and city on that occasion. The body of Henry VII. lay in state at St. Paul's before it was buried in Westminster Abbey.
This brings us to a new epoch altogether in our history. The stirring events now to be noted do not so much concern the material fabric of the cathedral as in the past, but they were of the most momentous interest, and St. Paul's took more part in them than did any other cathedral.
"This humble tomb our citizens placed here Unequal to thy merits, father dear; For London's people know how wisely thou Didst guide their fate, and gladly feel it now. Under thy guidance freedom was restored, And noble gifts through thee on us were poured. Riches and earthly honours cease to be, But thy good deeds abide in memory."]
[Footnote 2: See Mediaeval London, p. 62.]
[Footnote 3: Page 25.]
[Footnote 4: There was a special order in the first year of Edward VI. that instead of this censing a sermon should be preached.]
[Footnote 5: It stood where the Peel statue now is, at the top of Cheapside.]
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HISTORICAL MEMORIES OF THE TUDOR PERIOD.
Good Dean Colet—Accession of Henry VIII.—Papal Favour —Cardinal Wolsey at St. Paul's—Bishop Fisher's Preaching at Paul's Cross—Fall of Wolsey—Alienation of the King from the Pope—The English Bible in the Cathedral—Edward VI. —Ridley's Strong Protest against the Images—Progress of the Reformed Doctrines—Somerset's Evil Deeds—Destruction of the Cloisters—Re-establishment of the Roman Mass under Mary —Cardinal Pole at St. Paul's—The Lord Mayor's Proclamation —Alienation of the Nation from Romanism—Death of Mary and Accession of Elizabeth—The Reformed Liturgy Restored—Growth of Puritanism—Destruction of the Steeple by Lightning —Continued Irreverence—Retrospect, the Tudor Monuments.
It seems fitting that we should open the chapter of a new era in the history of St. Paul's with the name of its most famous Dean, a great, wise, good man. His name was John Colet. He was born in London, in the year 1466, within three months of his famous friend, Erasmus. His father, Sir Henry Colet, was twice Lord Mayor, one of the richest members of the Mercers' Company. John, who was his eldest son, had ten brothers and eleven sisters, all by the same mother, who outlived the last of them. The young man was presented to livings (it was no unusual thing then) before he took Orders, and gave himself to study, both mathematical and classical, and in his zeal for learning travelled much abroad, where he saw much of ecclesiastical life, which startled him greatly. Returning, at length, to England, he was ordained at Christmas, 1497, went to Oxford, and began to lecture with great power on the Epistle to the Romans. It must be remembered that this was the epoch when the fall of Constantinople had driven the Greek scholars westward, the epoch of the revival of "the new learning" in Europe, the discrediting of the old scholastic philosophy which was now worn out and ready to vanish away. Colet stands before us then as the representative of the new learning in England, and as keen to reform the abuses in the Church which were terrifying all earnest and thoughtful men. He carried on his lectures with such energy that his lecture-room was crowded, the most distinguished tutors there being among his audience. And one day there came the great Erasmus, who had heard of him, and from the day of their first meeting they were fast friends for life. In 1504, Henry VII. made Colet Dean of St. Paul's, and he showed at once that he had lost none of his zeal. He carried on his lectures in the cathedral and preached constantly, and another warm friend made now was Sir Thomas More, who earnestly helped him in his strenuous endeavours to improve the cathedral statutes, to reform abuses, and to increase the preaching power. He was a rich man, and in 1509 he employed much of his wealth—about L40,000 present value—in the foundation of St. Paul's School. He wrote some simple precepts for the guidance of masters and scholars, and drew up prayers and an English version of the Creed. He appointed William Lilly first master, and called on Linacre to write a Latin grammar. The school became famous; it was burnt down in the Fire, rebuilt in 1670, and removed to Hammersmith in 1884. It is not to be wondered at that many of the churchmen of the day regarded Colet as a most dangerous innovator. Complaints were made to Archbishop Warham that he was favouring the Lollards, which was absolutely untrue. He would in all probability, had he lived, have been found on the same side as More and Fisher, that is, intensely desirous to preserve the Church and its doctrines, but to cleanse it from the foul scandals, the sloth, greed, immorality, which were patent to all the world. There was a meeting of Convocation in February, 1512, to consider how to extirpate the Lollard heresy which was reviving. Warham appointed Colet to preach the sermon, which he did with wonderful energy, denouncing the simony, the self-indulgence, and the ignorance of the bishops and clergy. The Lollards were there in great numbers, attentive, silent listeners. He was as plain and honest with the King himself, who, recognising his goodness of purpose, made him a Royal Chaplain. In 1514, he went with Erasmus on pilgrimage to Becket's tomb and ridiculed the accounts which the vergers gave of the healing power of the relics. When Wolsey was installed as Cardinal, Colet preached, and warned him against worldly ambition. And all through his time at St. Paul's the aged Bishop Fitzhugh was in active hostility to him. He died September 16th, 1519, and, although he had requested that only his name should be inscribed on his grave, the Mercers' Company erected a handsome tomb, for which Lilly wrote a long inscription. Lilly and Linacre were both buried near him.
It will be seen, I think, at once that Colet is a great representative of the thoughtful and earnest men of his time, one of the greatest precursors of the Reformers, or rather, in full sense, a great reformer himself. We have now to take up the course of secular events. In 1514, Pope Leo X. sent young King Henry VIII. a "sword and cap of maintenance" as a special honour, and he, "in robe of purple, satin, and gold in chequer, and jewelled collar," came to the Bishop's palace, and from thence there was a grand procession of gorgeously-arrayed nobles and clerics round the church, with joyous hymns.