Westminster Abbey
by Mrs. A. Murray Smith
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Transcriber's notes:

Page numbers in this book are indicated by numbers enclosed in curly braces, e.g. {99}. They have been located where page breaks occurred in the original book. For its Index, a page number has been placed only at the start of that section.

The page numbers in the List of Illustrations are those in the original book. However, in this e-book, to avoid the splitting of paragraphs, the illustrations may have been moved one (or more) pages preceding or following.

In the original book, each illustration was on its own leaf, prefaced by a separate onion-skin leaf containing the description of that illustration. In the text version of this e-book, each pair of illustrations and descriptions is set off from the text with a separator line of asterisks.

The original book did not have a Table of Contents. One has been added for convenience.


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[Frontispiece: The North Transept]

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Here is represented the north front as it appeared before the last restoration, i.e. we see the handiwork of the eighteenth century and the facade as remodelled under the superintendence of Sir Christopher Wren. The modern front was constructed about twenty years ago.

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Painted by


Described by


Author of 'The Annals of Westminster Abbey,' 'The Roll Call of Westminster Abbey,' Etc.

With Twenty-One Full-Page Illustrations in Colour

London Adam and Charles Black 1906

Published August 30, 1904 Reprinted, with corrections, March 1906




Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

A Walk Round Westminster Abbey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141



1. The North Transept . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Frontispiece


2. View of the Abbey and St. Margaret's Church from Whitehall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

3. The West Front . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

4. The Chapter House and East End of Henry VII.'s Chapel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

5. The Interior of the Nave, looking East . . . . . . . . . . 24

6. St. Edmund's Chapel, showing the Tomb of the Duchess of Suffolk, Lady Jane Grey's mother . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

7. Interior of the South Transept . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

8. Chaucer's Tomb . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52

9. View of the Choir and Nave, looking West from the High Altar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56

10. The South Ambulatory, looking West down the South Choir Aisle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62

11. Early Brasses and Picturesque Tombs in St. Edmund's Chapel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66

12. The West End of the Confessor's Shrine, with the Modern Altar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70

13. The Tomb of Henry III. from St. Edward's Chapel . . . . . 76

14. St. Edward's Shrine and the Chantry Chapel of Henry V. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84

15. The Tomb of Queen Philippa and the Chantry Chapel of Henry V. from the South Ambulatory . . . . . . . . . . 88

16. The Chapel of Henry VII., looking East . . . . . . . . . . 90

17. The Coronation Chair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94

18. The North Ambulatory, showing the Steps which lead up to Henry VII.'s Chapel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106

19. Interior of the North Transept . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112

20. The South Transept and Chapter House from Dean's Yard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122

21. The Abbot's Courtyard and the Entrance to the Jerusalem Chamber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136

The illustrations in this volume were engraved in England by The Hentschel Colourtype Process.



"Kings are thy nursing fathers and their queens thy nursing mothers." From the reign of Edward the Confessor, the last sovereign of the royal Saxon race, till the death of Elizabeth, the last Tudor queen, these words of the old Hebrew prophet were literally applicable to the great West Minster. When Edward knelt within the Benedictine chapel on Thorneye, which had so miraculously withstood the ravages of the Danes, and vowed to dedicate a new church on the same spot to the glory of God and in the name of St. Peter, even his prophetic soul cannot have foretold the high destiny of his beloved foundation. As the building slowly grew during the last years of his reign, he conceived the idea of its use as a sepulchre for himself and his successors. In his visions he may even have foreseen the coronations of the English sovereigns within its walls, his own canonisation, and the long connection {4} between the throne and the monastery. All that the words above imply would have appealed to the pious founder, but what of his feelings could he have looked on through the centuries? He would have seen much to vex, yet we venture to think he would have found consolation, even in these latter days when the monks are no longer here and the Roman Church has ceased to be the Church of his country. Three hundred years after Edward's death came the destruction of his church in the name of piety, but for this there was ample compensation in the beautiful and stately buildings which were raised upon the ruins of the old, and in the devotion to the first founder's memory shown by Henry III. and his descendants. During the ages of faith, when the Pope held sway over England, king after king gave liberally to the fabric, while their queens may also be counted amongst the benefactors to the West Minster. St. Peter, the patron saint to whom the church was dedicated, was practically lost sight of in the halo which surrounded the memory of the Saxon king, and it was to the English royal saint rather than to the Hebrew apostle that the Abbey owed its peculiar sanctity. From the first it was a royal foundation, a building consecrated to the memory of a king, yet none of {5} these considerations were weighed in the balance when the West Minster shared in the general downfall of the English monasteries. The sovereign himself laid violent hands upon the treasures presented by his pious forefathers in honour of St. Edward, and the saint's body must surely have turned in its coffin when, to save it from indignity, the monks were obliged to lift it from the feretory and hide it beneath the ground. The shrine which had been the pride of each king since the days of Henry III., and honoured no less by the first Tudor sovereign, was stripped of its glories: the shining golden top, which used to be seen from end to end of the church, was melted down; the jewels, which had been offered by royal worshipper and humble pilgrim alike, even the precious images of sainted king and saintly evangelist, were ruthlessly transferred to the palace treasury. None of these survive to-day, but the mosaic pillars and the basement were concealed by the brethren before they fled from the monastery, and the lower part of the shrine was reconstructed by the daughter of the sovereign to whom the devastation was due; to her also we owe the wooden top, which replaced the glorious golden feretory. The monastic community, who were restored to their home by the same {6} Queen, the "bloody" Mary of Protestant history, survived a few years longer into the days of Elizabeth, and the former intimate connection between the Crown and the convent, severed with the final dismissal of the Abbot and monks, found a pale reflection in the friendship which Elizabeth always showed to the Dean of her new foundation. But the Maiden Queen was in very deed the last royal person to whom Westminster Abbey owed substantial benefits. She refounded the collegiate church, which finally took the place of the monastery, and established Westminster School; before her reign the only boys taught within the precincts were the few scholars collected in the cloisters by the monks. She is, in fact, the foundress of St. Peter's College, which thus owes its status as a royal foundation to Queen Elizabeth.

Very rarely, however, in modern days has the church or the college been honoured with a visit from the reigning sovereign in propria persona. At great functions, such as public funerals, the heir-apparent is occasionally present, but the Crown is usually represented by a Court official, and the Dean's stall, which is only vacated for the reigning king or queen, has been occupied on very rare occasions in the last hundred years. The Latin {7} play acted by the Westminster scholars every winter term, was formerly a gala occasion on which royalty used often to be present, but the old custom was gradually dropped. In the year 1903, for the first time within the memory of this generation, a royal person, H.R.H. the Duchess of Argyll, was present at the performance.

With the last of the Tudors there is no doubt that the strong and living bond between the palace and the Abbey was slackened, although it has never been altogether snapped, nor will it be as long as the coronation of our sovereigns continues to take place in Westminster Abbey. Then and then only does the king resume all his ancient rights, the collegiate body is practically deposed, and people realise that their national church is really a royal peculiar. For while the kings came less and less to St. Edward's shrine, their subjects in ever-increasing numbers, like the pilgrims in olden times, were and are drawn hither as by a magnet, till Westminster has become the sanctuary of a nation, and is no longer the sepulchre of the seed royal. A plain English squire, one of that "happy breed of men" to whom his native land—"this little world, this precious stone set in a silver sea"—was dearer than the blood of kings, was destined to inaugurate a new epoch in the {8} annals of the Abbey. To this man, Oliver Cromwell, it is that we owe the first conception of this church as a fitting burial-place for our national worthies. From the State obsequies of Admiral Blake, which were held here by Cromwell's command, has germinated the seed which has borne fruit in the public funerals and in the monuments, ordered and paid for by Parliament, of statesmen, soldiers and sailors. The nineteenth century has closed, and there is little space available in the Abbey for the worthies of the twentieth, but the national feeling still turns instinctively to Westminster on the death of a great man. For a long time past memorial services have been substituted for the grave or cenotaph, so lavishly granted to practically the first comer only a hundred years ago. Yet although the material fabric of this ancient foundation can no longer receive her sons within her bosom, her spirit is perhaps more alive than it has ever been since her altars were demolished and the images of her saints torn from their high places. No longer do the smoke of innumerable candles and the fumes of incense blacken and obscure her arches, but the spiritual breath of supplication and of thanksgiving still as of yore ascends to heaven from this ancient church, consecrated by the prayers of so many {9} past generations. The old order has changed, and a Protestant form of worship has long taken the place of the florid mass; what further changes the future has in store no man can prophesy. But at present churchmen of all shades of religious feeling may worship in this church with no extreme ritual to disturb their minds, and at the same time with none of that irreverent and jarring carelessness in the ordering of the services which vexed the souls of many in the days long ago, before any of the present generation were born. On one festival in the year, the Translation of St. Edward the Confessor, the 13th of October, Roman Catholics return in ever-increasing numbers to the West Minster, which was once their own, and pilgrims may be seen kneeling round the shrine, offering their devotions to the saint. On this historic day the Abbey clergy, mindful also of the founder's memory, keep his feast at their own service in the choir, by a sermon preached in his honour, Protestants and Catholics thus uniting in a common homage to the memory of the sainted English king.

There are several points of view whence the group of buildings formed by the Abbey, St. Margaret's Church, Westminster Hall, and the Houses of Parliament, can be seen above the {10} roofs of the houses, or without any intervening obstruction. The foreigner who arrives at Charing Cross first sees Westminster from the railway bridge, and gets another and a nearer aspect as he reaches the bottom of Whitehall. Now that passenger-steamers ply once again upon the river, many persons are familiar with the unrivalled water approach, but no longer does the wayfarer coming from the south or east hire a boat from the Lambeth side, and thus follow the traditional route taken by St. Peter, when he came to consecrate the original church on Thorneye. Although the Roman road, which led from north to south of England, and crossed the river here, is entirely lost sight of in London, the intending visitor will be well advised if he walk to the Abbey by the parks. From the bridge over the Serpentine he gets a distant view, and all the way, by Green Park and St. James's, there are glimpses of the Westminster Towers. At present, in the temporary absence of any building where the old aquarium used to be, he has but to cross Birdcage Walk, take the old Cockpit passage into Queen Anne's Gate, and from Dartmouth Street, just across the way, he will see a magnificent view of the Abbey Church with her small daughter, St Margaret, by her side. {11} As he approaches nearer, down Tothill Street, the ugly Western Towers, which we owe in the first instance to Wren's incapacity to understand Gothic architecture, in the second to his successor Hawkesmore's want of taste in the execution, become too prominent.

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The traveller who approaches Westminster from this direction has a fine view of the whole extent of the Abbey from east to west. St. Margaret's Church, while it certainly somewhat hides the more ancient building, adds to the impression of size. The statues of statesmen on the green in front prepare the minds of those who enter the north transept by the triple doorway, which we have already seen in the frontispiece, for the galaxy of politicians within, and when we stand beneath the lantern we can realise the plan of the whole far better after this general view than we could if we had entered immediately by the west door at the farther end.

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Below the offending towers is the west front, which was finished as far as the roof in the first years of Henry VII.'s reign, under those two indefatigable abbots, Esteney and Islip. Tudor badges are visible in the last bays of the nave vaulting: the great west window with its fine Perpendicular tracery probably belongs to Esteney's time (the last few years of the fifteenth century); and to Islip, who is often credited with the whole, we now attribute only the finishing touches which completed the west end. Henry and Islip were so beguiled by their fascinating plans for a new chapel at the east end, that they could spare neither money nor attention to the fact that towers were a practical artistic necessity at the west, and those begun by Islip were left unfinished for two centuries, when Wren took the matter up. A central tower was also contemplated by Islip, who never carried out his project. Wren went so far as to design one, but the apparently massive thirteenth-century {12} piers were found too weak to support its weight, and the idea had to be abandoned. Outside the west front, in the richly canopied niches, were formerly the statues of such kings and abbots "as had been benefactors," headed by Edward the Confessor, to whose piety we owe the very existence of the West Minster, and including Henry III. and Edward I. Amongst them were the great builders, Esteney and Islip, with, no doubt, Henry VII. himself.

The exterior of the church has suffered much from the ravages of time and of smoke. Before entering, it is well to take a survey of the outside, and so prepare ourselves for a more exhaustive ramble round the interior.

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The west front was not built till about one hundred and fifty years after Richard II. had added a porch to the north transept, and thus completed the thirteenth-century facade. The inside of the nave had been slowly growing all this time, and early in the reign of Henry VII. the vaultings were at last finished, and the exterior carried up as high as the basement of the towers, under the supervision of two successive abbots, Esteney and Islip. We scarcely see the upper part of the towers in the illustration, but we can well dispense with them, for they were added under the auspices of Wren and his followers in the eighteenth century, and are by no means a success. Owing to the crumbling state of the stone used for the fabric in former days, this facade and the towers themselves have recently been refaced, and the pinnacles strengthened. To the right of the picture are the windows of the Jerusalem Chamber, in which room Henry IV. died. To the left, appear St. Margaret's Church and a portion of the north transept, whilst in front is a monument erected to the memory of those "Old Westminsters" who were killed in the Crimean War.

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Like the timbers of Nelson's old ship the Victory, the surface of the stone, often the very stones themselves have been completely renewed since monastic times. The whole church has been frequently restored, but the exterior has suffered from the vagaries of architects, who found less scope for their own ideas inside the building, where the original stone-work was in better preservation. Much of the damage was due also to neglect, for after the dispersal of the monks, most of whom were themselves capable of superintending the repairs, {13} the lesser brethren, in fact, working on the building with their own hands, a long period went by during which neither the authorities of the Church nor of the State took note of the decaying stone-work. At last, in the time of Charles I., Dean Williams—afterwards Archbishop of York—took Abbot Islip as his pattern, and spent much of his own private income, since there were no funds available, in repairing the most ruinous parts of the church, notably the north-west, the west end, and the south-east chapels. He also remodelled the monks' dormitory, which he made into a library. So ungrateful was the public for these benefits that the Dean was accused of paying for this necessary work "out of the diet and bellies of the Prebendaries," but he was completely exonerated by a chapter order in 1628, indignantly denying the truth of "this unjust report." Williams's own disgrace and then the long interregnum put a stop to these benefactions, and the ruin continued unchecked for the next score or more of years. Dolben, an energetic man who had fought for his king during the Civil War, was made Dean soon after the Restoration, and on the very day of his installation the first fabric fund was instituted out of the Abbey revenues, a very inadequate sum, as it proved, for the {14} expenses. With this money, however, Dolben was able to repair the roof and vaulting, then in danger of falling; and later, in the seventeenth century, the fund was augmented by a Parliamentary grant.

At that time, with the approval of Dean Atterbury, the decaying tracery of the north rose window was completely destroyed and remodelled. The south had already been tampered with, and Wren anathematises the little Doric passage, which in Atterbury's time was patched on before the northern window, and the "cropping of the pyramids." In the first years of the eighteenth century Wren was himself Surveyor of the fabric, and, while he saved much of the stone-work from irretrievable ruin, fresh havoc called by the name of restoration was wrought under his directions and after his time by his successors. The decaying stone all round the nave and both transepts was in urgent need of repair, if not actually in ruins, and, probably in order to save trouble and expense, the small Early English pilasters supporting the window tracery were remorselessly cut off, and an acorn was substituted in every case. These pilasters have since been restored again under Mr. Pearson's supervision. As we walk along the green to the north front, we see the whole north side of the {15} nave, but before leaving the west end we may note that repairs have recently been carried out, as one or two of the crockets were showing signs of immediate ruin, and even the eighteenth-century towers required new faces. The north facade was completely restored and, in fact, practically rebuilt about twenty years ago: the portico from designs left by Sir Gilbert Scott, who was Surveyor of the fabric for some time, and the upper part by his successor, Mr. Pearson, who carried out the whole work. Both north and west fronts recall Wren, who remodelled the north and restored the west. Whether he or Hawkesmore was guilty of finally sweeping away the last vestiges of Richard the Second's northern entrance and such of the figures which still remained intact at the west end, we do not know. In any case, Crull, writing in 1713, says that a few of the statues of the twelve apostles which adorned Richard's portico were still in a fair state of preservation, as were many of the "benefactors" on the west, "all undeniable witnesses of their former excellency." It is impossible to enter into the history of the fabric fund and the many restorations of the Abbey. Enough for our present purpose to call attention to the fact that the soft stone is constantly corroding, and {16} that frequent supervision is necessary. The saying that "the arch never sleeps" is only too true, and the Clerk of the Works has to keep a constant and vigilant eye over the church which he so dearly loves, ever ready to report any sign of change in stone-work or actual fabric to the Dean and to the architect.

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In our walk round the Abbey we now enjoy an uninterrupted view of these fine buildings, which were formerly partly concealed by houses. The two are in striking contrast; the Chapter House, in the severe Early English style, with flying buttresses so characteristic of that period, belongs to the monastery which was built on the site of the Confessor's original foundation by Henry III. The Chapel of Henry VII., of the late Perpendicular style of architecture, replaced an Early English Lady Chapel, which had stood on this same spot since the first years of Henry III.'s reign.

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We pass from the north front along the apse to the Chapel of Henry VII., and, as we turn the corner and have a clear view of the beautiful Early English Chapter House, with its flying buttresses, rejoice in the absence of the houses which were formerly close against it. The chapel itself was practically falling in the early nineteenth century, when, owing to the energy of Dean Vincent, and by the aid of a grant from Parliament amounting to 42,000 pounds, it was completely restored. The work was begun under Dean Vincent, but not finished until 1822, in the time of Dean Ireland; the whole was carried out with the help of a committee of taste, which instructed James Wyatt, the architect. Unfortunately, although Wyatt is honoured by a tablet in the nave, his name is not one of high standing architecturally, and the so-called committee of taste were guilty of many acts of sheer want of taste. Thus there is no doubt that {17} considerable damage was done to the original design of the chapel, statues were removed, bosses in the roof added, besides other alterations, but the healing hand of time has mellowed the stone, and the whole appears equally ancient and in sufficient harmony to the casual eye.



The most usual way to enter the church is by the north doorway, but the more convenient trysting-place is the west end of the nave. Our purpose in the following pages is to picture a morning spent in the Abbey with a party of tourists, who have been collected in a somewhat haphazard manner before a start is made, and are now assembled beneath the statue of the younger Pitt. Although the majority are probably of British and American nationality with a sprinkling no doubt of our colonial brothers, in the minority will very likely be found more than one stranger from the West or from the East, perchance even a coloured man. But as we pass along the aisles, now one, now another, whatever his nationality, is sure to be reminded by some grave or monument of his own country, and we shall hope to awaken {22} the interest of all alike. Before a start is made we would recall the memory of Dr. Bradley, who made it one of his chief duties and pleasures to show people round the church he loved so well, thus following a custom set by Stanley, and continued by the present Dean and his colleagues. Royal princes, distinguished foreigners, tourists from every part of the world, working men and women, and his own friends, all were equally welcome to Westminster Abbey. On every Saturday during the spring and early summer the late Dean made fixed engagements to take parties round, and on the Bank holidays was rarely absent from the Abbey, but held himself ever ready to help the chance sightseer and show him places which are not easily accessible to the public. His ground plans of the church and its precincts were hung up in the Jerusalem Chamber on the days when he expected parties, and here, before beginning their round, he would tell his eager listeners something of the general history of the foundation. After that the Dean used to lead the way into the building itself, by the little door beneath the Abbot's Pew, and show them all the most notable tombs and monuments. He now lies at rest beneath the very stones which his feet so often passed over on {23} these happy Saturday afternoons, close to the vault of an eighteenth-century Dean, whose heart was broken by his banishment from the Deanery, and of whom we shall have occasion to speak later.

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Standing in the south-west corner of the nave, we get a view of the interior of the church in its full extent as far as the east window. Behind this we know, from our previous survey of the outside, is the Chapel of Henry VII., and below, hidden from sight by the organ screen, is the high altar, with the shrine of the founder, St. Edward the Confessor, beyond. Formerly the rood was suspended from the nave roof between us and the present wooden screen, which, although the stone below is of fourteenth-century workmanship, is only about a hundred years or so old. Just beyond the rood were also the Jesus altars, above and below, but no trace of these nor of the wall or screen upon which they stood is left. We see now only two large monuments on either side of the choir screen, which, as we approach nearer, prove to be those of the great philosopher, Sir Isaac Newton, and of a less renowned personality, Earl Stanhope.

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Although practically impossible to stand at the west end and discourse at any length on the history and architecture, it is well to get some idea of the shape of the building and the period of each portion before we start. On either side are the lower parts of the towers, behind us is the great west window, finished, as we heard before, in the reign of King Henry VII. The bells hang in the belfry, the south-west tower, and the north-west tower is still called the baptistery, because baptisms used to take place there. The font is now in Henry VII.'s Chapel. The glass of the window over our heads dates only from George II.'s time; the two smaller ones, left and right, are filled with fragments of ancient glass, as is also the east window, which we see at the other end of the church. The building itself is in the usual cruciform shape, and we stand now, as it were, at the foot of the cross, the nave and ritual choir forming the beam, the transepts the arms, and the apse, with its circle of small chapels, the head. Behind the apse, we know from our previous survey, {24} is the Chapel of Henry VII., which takes the place of the old Lady Chapel. The nave is divided into twelve bays, intersected at the eighth by the choir screen, upon which is placed the organ. At the twelfth bay, where the nave properly so called ends, the ritual choir begins, and we can see the sanctuary and high altar through the open gates. On either side of the nave beyond the screen are the aisles, now included, as is all this part at the present time, in the choir. Look first at the graceful arcading of the triforium, then higher still from the clerestory windows carry the eye to the roof, 100 feet above our heads, and thence along the clustered columns and arches straight in front. The whole resembles that magnificent and peculiarly English beauty, an ancient beech avenue with its arching and interlacing boughs reaching up to heaven. Except to the student of architecture, the church might have risen from the ground in a single night, so harmonious and perfectly proportioned are the lines, so carefully did the old builders follow out the ideas of the thirteenth-century designers. Henry the Third himself probably supervised the plans, and we know that the King had already seen and admired Salisbury Cathedral, then quite a new building, before {25} he arranged to rebuild Westminster in the same style. As a fact, no less than two and a half centuries passed from the year 1245, when Henry gave orders for the demolition of the whole of the eastern end—the same part which the Confessor had watched grow up and had caused to be consecrated before his death,—till the reign of his collateral descendant, the first Tudor king, when the last bay was quite finished. Only an observant eye can detect the slight differences, chiefly in the vaultings of the roof, which mark the different stages of the western part, and it is difficult to realise that the old Norman nave, divided by a wall from the new Gothic church, existed long after Henry's death, and was taken down bit by bit as the building slowly proceeded. Edward the First's period is marked by metal rings round the columns, and only extended one bay west of the present screen, where formerly the Jesus altars and rood loft stood, with a stone wall behind, which is now concealed by the wooden casing of the modern screen. Services for the ordinary worshippers, the parishioners so to speak, were held by the monks at these altars, above and below the rood screen, but the lesson, which was read from above, was the only part of the High Mass celebrated in the choir intended for {26} the congregation in the nave. With the early fourteenth century the beautiful diaper work which decorated the triforium arcades ceased, and this helps us to fix the date of the later part. During the century which followed, the building practically stood still for a long time. Edward II. gave the monks no help, and Edward III. was too poor and too busy with his numerous wars to occupy himself with pious donations. But at the end of his reign Archbishop Langham, formerly the Abbot here, left a large bequest, primarily intended for the completion of the nave, which was diverted by his successor Litlington to more pressing needs, such as the rebuilding of the monastery, enlarging the cloisters, and, with the help of gifts from Richard II., the addition of a rich porch outside the north front. Henry IV. died in the precincts, but we have no record of any generosity on his part; his son Henry V., however, gave an annual sum to the work on the nave, which during his short reign progressed well. The pious Henry VI., who loved the Abbey and often walked here with the Abbot and Prior, no doubt helped as long as he had the power, but the civil wars soon put a stop to his aid. We know that he presented the wrought-iron gates which divide his father's {27} mortuary chapel from the shrine, and the stone screen to the west of the shrine probably belongs to his time. His supplanter, Edward IV., when settled on the throne, granted oaks and lead for the roof, while his wife, and the little son who was born in the Abbot's house, gave thank-offerings of money. Another gap followed during the troublous reign of Richard III., but by the end of the fifteenth century, when Henry VII. felt his title absolutely secure, and his dynasty established, the west end was quite finished, within and without, while then, and then only, the last remains of the old nave were cleared away.

We have thus briefly sketched the building of the church in which we stand, and now must turn our attention to the historic names which are all around us on the walls and pavement. The very earliest monument, the only tolerably artistic one in the nave, was put up in 1631 to a certain Mistress Jane Hill, and till nearly the end of the seventeenth century few others were added. But unfortunately from that time the custom grew apace of covering the wall space, even the floor itself, with memorials of soldiers, sailors, statesmen, physicians, men of science, and, in fact, a truly miscellaneous collection of people, till not a vacant spot is left, and {28} the ancient arcading is completely or partially covered up, in some cases even cut away. The committee of taste appointed to assist the Chapter were of some use here, for by their advice the Dean moved one or two monuments from the centre to the wall, and the iron railings in front of all of them were taken away. Dean Stanley, more than a century later, curtailed some of the most aggressive memorials, but none have been removed, for there would be no end to such a difficult undertaking, and in any case the ancient arcading was already ruined.

Thus we start on our pilgrimage with some idea of the shape and the history of the church which lies before us. First let us look into the baptistery called Little Poets' Corner, where Wordsworth's seated statue and some memorials of literary men are to be seen, such as the great teacher, Dr. Arnold, who is close to his gifted son Matthew, in the company of three notable divines, Maurice, Kingsley, and Keble. The entrance is blocked by two huge eighteenth-century erections, the one to Cornewall, a valiant sea-captain, put up by Parliament, the other to Craggs, a young statesman, whose posthumous fame was sullied by his share in the South Sea Bubble. The elder Craggs committed suicide {29} when the Bubble burst, but the son died first, and Pope wrote a wordy epitaph and superintended the erection of the monument. From this side we turn to the other tower, but make no exhaustive survey of the "Whig Corner," for statesmen galore are to be found in the north transept, and we mention the chief of these in connection with their contemporaries there. The latest name here is that of General Charles Gordon, a bronze given by the Royal Engineers seven years after the fall of Khartoum, but before the fall of the Mahdi wiped out England's dishonour. It is not likely that a Chinaman has joined our party; were one with us we would point out Gordon's services to the Chinese government and the honours he received from the Emperor. There is only one other memorial connected with China (in the north choir aisle), put up a century ago to Sir George Staunton, who went as Secretary on our first embassy to China. His son, a boy of eleven, accompanied him, and actually learned enough Chinese on the voyage to interpret for the party; he afterwards became a learned Chinese scholar. We linger yet a moment to point out one of the few German names in the Abbey, William Horneck, whose father, a Westminster Prebendary, was a German {30} by birth; he was himself one of the earliest of our Engineers, and won honour in the Duke of Marlborough's campaigns. When we reach the south transept we shall see a more familiar German name on the bust of Grabe, the well-known Oriental scholar.

We pass out now by the statue of a modern philanthropist, Lord Shaftesbury, who fought as energetically for the freedom of the white slave as did Zachary Macaulay, whose tablet is behind us in the tower, for that of the black. Shaftesbury's efforts on behalf of the overworked women and of the children in mines and factories will never be forgotten, nor is the distinguished statesman Charles James Fox, whose connection with the abolition of slavery is marked by the tasteless monument before our eyes, in any danger of oblivion. The life-size group represents Fox's dying agony in the arms of Liberty; a negro slave is kneeling at his feet.

If there be any one interested in astronomy amongst us, he should turn round to the tablet at the extreme west end, which commemorates young Benjamin Horrocks, the first observer of the transit of Venus in 1639, who was praised by Sir John Herschel as the pride and boast of modern {31} astronomy. Herschel's own bust is on the north wall; he lies side by side with Charles Darwin, near the iron gate. We now leave the west end and progress up the centre of the nave, noticing on our way eastward the old wooden pulpit, which has been brought here from Henry VII.'s Chapel and replaces a heavy marble one given in Dean Trench's time to commemorate the opening of the nave for evening services. Trench himself passed from Westminster, as Archbishop of Dublin, to Ireland, his native country, whither the pulpit has gone, but his body was brought back to England, and his grave is beneath our feet. Behind it the name of the American philanthropist, George Peabody, whose mortal remains rested in the Abbey for a few days only, reminds all Londoners of the original Peabody buildings, the first working-class dwellings on the block system, which were founded by him and called after his name.

A few steps further and we stand above the grave of David Livingstone, another ardent worker for the black man's cause, a personality dear to white and black alike. Should some traveller from South Africa be with us, he will be familiar with Livingstone's work amongst the natives and the opposition he met with from the ignorant Boer {32} farmers, who could not understand his enthusiasm for the coloured race. He lost his life for their cause, and so greatly was he loved by his "boys" that two of them carried the body through hardships and dangers innumerable across the continent of Africa to the West Coast, where it was shipped for England and finally brought safely here. Immediately in front, to our left, we see the names of engineers and architects. To the engineers we allude later; of two architects, Scott and Pearson, we have already spoken, and may pass on to the men who crushed the Indian Mutiny, first, however, pointing out the brass of Barry, the designer of the present Houses of Parliament. Sir James Outram, Colin Campbell, Lord Clyde, and John, Lord Lawrence, rest in close proximity to one another, even as they worked together for a common object in India. On Outram's monument, which is against the right-hand wall, near Lawrence's bust, is represented the meeting of the three Generals, Outram, Havelock, and Campbell, when the latter finally relieved the Lucknow Residency, a task bravely attempted by the two former, who were themselves beleaguered after bringing in stores and ammunition to the garrison. Lord Wolseley's recent Autobiography has vividly recalled the whole scene, and {33} bears witness also to the valour of many a forgotten hero, with most of whom he had previously fought in the Crimea. Seven of these officers are commemorated by the very inharmonious painted glass below the rose window of the north transept; amongst them may be mentioned in this connection Lord Clyde's brigadier, Adrian Hope, who took a foremost part in the relief of Lucknow, and was killed during the subsequent reconquest of Oude. While Clyde may be styled the conqueror of Oude, Lord Lawrence, a civilian not a soldier by profession, performed the task of reducing the Punjab. In the north transept is the bust of Sir Herbert Edwardes, who co-operated with the Lawrence brothers at the outbreak of the Mutiny, and continued to support John in his arduous work after Henry's death at Lucknow. Ten years before the Mutiny, Edwardes had already won undying fame in the same district, the Punjab, when he stamped out the Multan rebellion, and prevented that dangerous conflagration from assuming serious proportions. A grave west of Clyde's, that of Sir George Pollock, is a reminder of another part of our Indian Empire—an ever-present source of anxiety—Afghanistan, where Pollock retrieved England's lost prestige after the Cabul disaster.


Buried, as he would have wished, amongst these men of action is a sailor, who resembled the free-booters and fighting seamen of the Elizabethan age. Cochrane's feats of valour when in our navy surpassed those of all his contemporaries, but a charge of betraying the country which he had served so well, drove him into exile in 1814. His activity found new scope abroad, and his memory is honoured by Brazil and Chili alike as the founder of their navies; for the past few years Chilian sailors have laid a wreath annually upon his tomb. The stain was removed from Lord Dundonald's name before his death, and he was laid, as was justly due, amongst his compeers; his banner and arms were long afterwards restored to their places with those of the other Knights of the Bath, in Henry VII.'s Chapel.

Immediately before us now, on either side of the choir screen, two eighteenth-century monuments attract attention. The one to the right commemorates several of the Earls Stanhope, notably the first Earl, whose dashing valour might well be compared with Dundonald's, but whose military career ended in disaster and imprisonment. The feat usually connected with his name is a brilliant charge of cavalry at Almenara, one of the battles in the Peninsular War, when he killed a Spanish general {35} in single combat. On the left is a man of peace, Sir Isaac Newton, whose discovery of the law of gravitation brought him world-wide fame, and whose reputation as a natural philosopher and mathematician was unrivalled in his generation. His funeral was attended by "the chief men of the nation," and many distinguished foreigners; amongst them was the French philosopher, Voltaire, who carried his enthusiasm for Newton to such a height that he placed the English scientist at the head of all the geniuses in the universe. Those who are familiar with Roubiliac's portrait-statue at Trinity College, Cambridge, will note the extreme inferiority of this one (Rysbrack's), which represents the great Newton reclining on a couch, wrapped in a dressing-gown, and surrounded by the allegorical figures and emblems so dear to eighteenth-century artists.

It is well now to shape our course towards the east, turning to the right aisle, but ere we reach the iron gate, one or two memorials call for some remark. Thus our long wars with the Moors are brought to mind by Sir Palmes Fairborne's tablet, upon which is inscribed a bombastic epitaph usually attributed to Dryden. Fairborne, as Governor of Tangier, fought valiantly for a losing cause, and {36} three years after his death, the place, which had passed into the possession of the English Crown as part of the dowry of Charles the Second's queen, Catherine of Braganza, was finally abandoned to the Moors. Fairborne is not the only Englishman in the Abbey whose prowess against these black races is worthy of remembrance, but while he bore a Turk's head for his crest as a proof of his early valour in Candia, the other knight, Sir Bernard Brocas, rests his head upon that of a crowned Moor. No record remains of the doughty deed which caused Edward III. to grant Brocas this special crest, but the vergers in Addison's time used to point out his tomb, which we shall see presently in St. Edmund's Chapel, as that of "the old Knight who cut off the King of the Moors's head."

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This chapel is dedicated to St. Edmund, the martyred King of East Anglia. The illustration shows part of the Duchess of Suffolk's altar tomb with her recumbent effigy, while beyond, Prince John of Eltham's monument is partly visible against the screen; above the screen are the canopies over the tombs of Richard II. and his Queen, and Edward III. The red velvet pall over the shrine of Edward the Confessor shows between the canopy and tomb of Edward III.

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Our friends from the States will certainly pause before the monument of that ill-fated young British officer, Major Andre, for upon it is a small figure of General Washington. Andre, caught within the American lines during our war with the colonies, dressed as a civilian, and with suspicious papers in his boots, was hanged as a spy and buried beneath the gallows. We see Andre here vainly petitioning Washington for a soldier's death, while in the background all is prepared for his ignominious {37} fate. The heads of both these statuettes were constantly stolen by tourists in old days, as far back in fact as the time of Lamb, and a fresh supply was always kept in stock by the Clerk of the Works. Andre's bones, brought back to his native country, forty-one years after his death, by a royal prince, were buried near the monument, which was erected earlier at the expense of George III.

Beyond the gate, to our left, another pictorial monument appeals to Londoner and countryman alike, for here is represented the assassination of Tom of the Ten Thousand, a younger member of that well-known Dorset family the Thynnes, Marquesses of Bath. His murderers were hired by a notorious foreign count who desired to gain Thynne's rich young bride for his own wife, but failed to persuade the lady to recognise his claims. The cockney gazes in wonder at Pall Mall as it appeared in 1682, when it was a lonely road between meadows, where highwaymen were apt to demand your money or your life. The Welshman, if one be here, is pleased to recognise a countryman in the coachman, whose descendants long boasted that their ancestor was to be seen in the Abbey, on the box of Squire Thynne's carriage. A little further is the recumbent tomb of one {38} of the same family, William Thynne, who was Receiver of the Marches for many years under the Tudor sovereigns. As yet we have been unable to single out one of the many sailors whose memorials surround us in the nave, but now we are brought up short, so to speak, by a monstrous figure with a huge periwig and lolling on cushions, which, we are almost ashamed to explain, is meant for one of our most noted eighteenth-century admirals, Sir Cloudesley Shovel to wit.

It is better to distract attention to the bas-relief of the wreck below, and relate the story of Shovel's youthful valour, when he swam from ship to ship under fire carrying despatches in his mouth, for all the world like a Newfoundland dog. The strange and tragic history of his end must also be retold, when the flagship was wrecked on the treacherous Scilly rocks, and the Admiral's unconscious body received the coup de grace from a callous fishwife, who stole his signet ring, and after concealing it for thirty years, confessed her crime and returned the ring to Shovel's representatives on her deathbed. No less wanting in taste is the monument above to Sir Godfrey Kneller, the painter of simpering beauties at the Courts of five sovereigns, from Charles II. to George I., and the only memorial to {39} an artist, with the exception of Ruskin, in the whole Abbey. Kneller swore a mighty oath that he would not be buried at Westminster, "They do bury fools there," he grumbled, but he himself designed his most inartistic cenotaph, while his friend Pope wrote the epitaph, which begins with the extravagant line: "Kneller by Heaven and not a master taught."

While most of our party are attracted towards the last two conspicuous monuments, the Non-conformists, should any be amongst us, are sure to linger by the mural tablet, with medallion portrait heads, which Dean Stanley allowed the Wesleyans to put here in memory of the brothers John and Charles Wesley. Upon it are the appropriate words: "I look upon all the world as my parish," which John Wesley literally interpreted. Near by was already the memorial to Dr. Isaac Watts, the great dissenting minister of an earlier generation, whose hymns are still popular in church and chapel alike, as are to a greater degree those of Charles Wesley.

To a Frenchman or Italian a humbler tablet on the opposite side with a long inscription is of more interest, for it commemorates Pasquale de Paoli, the champion of Corsican independence, {40} who took refuge in England, the home of liberty, and died here in 1807. The ladies, leaving the men to their study of the seamen and soldiers, with whose names the walls are covered, ask for information about the bust of a young woman, just beyond Paoli. Grace Gethin, although the only authoress in the Abbey who has a monument to herself,—for the learned Margaret, Duchess of Newcastle, shares her husband's tomb in the north transept,—has no real claim to this distinction. Her immortal work, which she bequeathed to an admiring circle of blue-stockings, proved to be a mere book of extracts culled from popular writers. The playwright, Congreve, whose own medallion is below the Abbot's Pew in the nave, showed his want of literary cultivation by not only composing a poem in praise of the young writer, but allowing it to be published as a preface to the book, which went through several editions before the fraud was discovered. The annual sermon, which was long preached in the Abbey in memory of the youthful heiress (she was only twenty-one) who left a bequest for the purpose in her will, has become a thing of the past.

While the artistic persons with us have been bewailing the ruthless destruction of the wall {41} arcading and will have cause to lament still louder in the transepts, the student of heraldry is attracted to some defaced shields which repay a closer attention, and have helped antiquaries to fix the dates of the choir and nave. The Confessor's, with the familiar five birds, and Henry the Third's arms with three lions are easily identified in this aisle, and the learned in such matters point out many others, chiefly the coats of Henry's relations, such as his father-in-law, Raymond de Beranger, Count of Provence, and his brother Richard, King of the Romans, one of the royal princes selected to carry St. Edward's coffin from the palace to the new shrine.

We have now reached the crossing, and should all our party desire to make an exhaustive circuit of the church to-day, the south transept is our next goal. When time presses it is wisest for the guide to pause here, merely point out the Statesmen's Aisle and the Poets' Corner, and then pass on at once through the iron gates to the royal chapels.

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The illustration shows the south transept proper, looking towards the great rose window. On our right we see the historical side, to our left is Poets' Corner; from here the statue of Shakespeare is the most conspicuous, standing out from the mass of other memorials which commemorate poets and literary men. The glass in the window above and the lights below it are quite modern, placed there as a memorial to the late Duke of Westminster in 1902.

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Upon our right is the so-called "historical" side of the transept, where are collected the monuments of many distinguished literary men, not historians only, whose names are more familiar to us than {42} the majority of poetasters who were honoured with tributes in Poets' Corner proper. The busts of Grote and Thirlwall were placed here by Dean Stanley, in close proximity to other classical scholars. These two friends each compiled a history of Greece without the other's knowledge, till the publication of Thirlwall's surprised Grote, but made no change in their friendship. They are buried in the same grave, near Macaulay. We tread now upon the tombstone of Dean Ireland; with him rests the companion of his youth and the friend of his maturity, William Gifford, editor of the Quarterly Review at the time when its biting reviews cut many a rising poet, including Keats, to the heart. Ireland's name must ever be held dear by all visitors to the Abbey, for under his orders the nave and transepts, formerly accessible only on payment of a fee, were opened free to the general public. The quaint half-figure of William Camden claims our attention next. We see the famous antiquary and historian "in habit as he lived," with his hand upon his great work, the Britannia. Camden belongs to Westminster in every sense: as a boy he was a protege of Goodman's, as a young man he became usher, and he ultimately rose to be headmaster of the school. {43} Later on he gave up teaching in order to devote himself to antiquarian research, encouraged by the approval of the Queen, and supported by the salary he received as Herald. He continued to dwell in Dean's Yard, and loved to wander in the Abbey, meditating amongst the tombs; the fruit of his solitary hours here was the first attempt at a guide-book, a list of the monuments, which was, however, written in Latin, and therefore of no use to the ordinary tourist. His own monument was sadly knocked about twenty-three years (1643) after his death by some rough fellows, probably Cavaliers, who broke into the Abbey one night, and on their way to deface Lord Essex's hearse took the nose off poor Camden; the damage they did was repaired in the eighteenth century at the expense of Oxford University. Next to Camden, upon a plain mural monument, is inscribed the name of Isaac Casaubon. We know him by repute only as a celebrated French scholar, who was tempted from his native land by King James I. with the offer of a fat canonry at Canterbury, but who only lived to enjoy the sinecure post—he was a layman—four years. Surely there must be fishermen amongst us: to them the initials I. W. scratched upon Casaubon's memorial may recall the great angler, Isaac [Transcriber's note: "Izaak" in Index] Walton, {44} even though we have no means of proving that these were actually his handiwork; but as a friend of Casaubon's son, and a namesake and admirer of the father, there is no incongruity in associating the two names.

The "burlesque" statue of the famous actor, David Garrick, with "a farrago of false thoughts and nonsense inscribed below," must ever be associated with Charles Lamb, who thus appropriately described it. With Garrick himself is indissolubly connected the memory of his lifelong friend, Dr. Samuel Johnson, whose familiar form, with its brown coat and tie wig, was conspicuous at the funeral, standing close to Shakespeare's monument, tears coursing down his cheeks for the loss of his dear Davy. Five years later, Mrs. Garrick herself, once a brilliant, graceful dancer, now a little shrivelled old woman, stood by the doctor's open grave in this same transept, bowed with age and overcome with grief.

In this transept there are monuments to another actor and an actress, celebrated in their own day. Barton Booth, a Westminster scholar under Dr. Busby, rose to a high place in his profession; his wife, once like Mrs. Garrick a popular dancer, put up the tablet. His memory still survives in two {45} Westminster streets, called Barton Street and Cowley Street, after his name and the place where he was buried. Mrs. Pritchard was honoured by a memorial near Shakespeare's statue, upon which the poet-laureate of the day wrote a florid inscription. She began her professional career after Booth's death, but lived long enough to tread the same boards as Garrick, whose grave is just below; she predeceased the younger actor by ten years. Only one actress, Ann Oldfield, who belonged to an earlier generation (she flourished in the beginning of the eighteenth century), was buried actually within the Abbey; a woman of no character but of some talent, she lies near the Deanery door in the nave. We must not forget, when we reach St. Andrew's Chapel, to point out the colossal statues of Mrs. Siddons and her brother, John Kemble, upon whose shoulders fell the mantles of Mrs. Barry and Garrick, and who carried on the old traditions at Drury Lane and Covent Garden during the first quarter of the nineteenth century.

We have digressed from our beaten path to follow after the lights of the theatrical profession, and shall afterwards find other well-known players in the cloisters. A glance round, as we stand in the western part of the transept, shows that we are {46} literally surrounded by familiar faces and much-loved authors. Of Addison we speak later, so may pass over his very inferior statue (by Westmacott), but just beyond we see the busts of Lord Macaulay and of Thackeray, and the medallion heads of Sir Walter Scott and of John Ruskin; below them is the grave of Charles Dickens. The lovers of music raise their eyes meantime to the unwieldy figure of Handel, whose personality remained essentially German although the greater part of his life was spent in England, at the Court of the first three Georges. Beneath his monument is the medallion of that gifted singer Jenny Lind Goldschmidt, placed there as a record of the many occasions when the Swedish nightingale interpreted Handel's beautiful music to the British public in a manner never excelled before or since. Close to us now is a reminder of the old monastic days—the door which leads into an ancient chapel used by the brethren as a vestry, and in the floor before it is the grave of Abbot Litlington, to whom we have alluded before and of whom we shall speak again. Near his is that of a humble monk, one Owen Tudor, who took sanctuary during the Wars of the Roses, and probably lived to see his nephew, Henry Tudor, on the English throne. Above the {47} door Oliver Goldsmith's name recalls the early days of the English novel, when the Vicar of Wakefield was one of the very few in existence. Many of us have enjoyed his inimitable comedy, She Stoops to Conquer, on the stage, as well as those popular plays, The Rivals and The School for Scandal, by the other eighteenth-century Irish dramatist, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, whose tombstone is beneath our feet. That great portrait painter Sir Joshua Reynolds is responsible for the position and design of Goldsmith's medallion, which spoils the architecture, and is so high that even classical scholars rarely attempt to decipher Dr. Johnson's pompous inscription. The cynical English lines, which the poet Gay wrote for his own tablet close by, are far more often noticed:—

Life is a jest and all things show it; I thought so once and now I know it.

A preposterous and affected statue to our left, with the immortal name of Shakespeare below it, has distracted the eyes of our friends, and comments are freely made when we tell them how nearly the bones of the sweet Swan of Avon were brought from Stratford to this burial-place of poets. The monument itself was erected by subscription more than a century after Shakespeare's {48} death, but the removal of the body had been averted long before by Ben Jonson's protest and the dramatist's posthumous curse. The Scotchmen with us, who have just gazed with much appreciation at Chantrey's bust of their national novelist, a replica of the one at Abbotsford, now look up to the heavy-featured face of Burns, their national poet. We pause to tell them that this memorial was placed here twenty-one years ago, and was paid for with shilling subscriptions, which were voluntarily contributed by all classes in Scotland, from the highest to the lowest. Southey and Coleridge are the next on the eastern wall, and we find their names familiar to all those who have toured in the Lake country, although few of their works are read now by the generality, save possibly Southey's Life of Nelson. Campbell's bust is at the angle where we turn into the original Poets' Corner, and several of those around us call to mind his still popular poems, notably "Hohenlinden" and the "Battle of the Baltic." A few steps further and we stand upon the vault of Edmund Spenser, that prince of poets, who was buried in close proximity to the tomb of Geoffrey Chaucer, the father of English poetry. Within this vault moulder not only the dust of Spenser, {49} but the funeral odes and the pens wherewith they were writ, which his friends, the poets and literary men of the day, threw old Camden tells us upon his coffin. Elizabeth herself, according to a contemporary writer, mindful of the tribute paid to her in the Fairie Queen, ordered a monument to be erected in honour of her poet, but this was never done: she died three years later, and some said that a greedy courtier embezzled the money intended for this purpose. Whatever the truth, a literary Countess, Lady Dorset, repaired the omission twenty years afterwards, but by the following century her memorial had crumbled away, and was replaced by a copy, for which Gray's friend Mason collected a sum of money. After Spenser's burial this part of the transept was dedicated to the memory of poets, and amongst many forgotten names are others of undying fame. Before us, for instance, are Ben Jonson and Milton. Jonson, who knew Shakespeare and owed much to his friendship with Lord Bacon, died as did so many of his literary contemporaries, in poor circumstances: like Chaucer and Spenser, he ended his life in a house close to the Abbey, in King Street, which was recently demolished. His body was buried in the nave, {50} standing upright on its feet; the words "O rare Ben Jonson," which are repeated on the monument, were cut upon the stone at the charge of a certain Sir Jack Young, who happened to be passing when the mason was fixing the gravestone. The ancient inscription has been placed against the wall to preserve the lettering, and a modern paving stone marks the place of the vault. The buttons of the poet's coat, which are on the wrong side in his bust, gave rise to the couplet:—

O rare Ben Jonson, what a turncoat grown, Thou ne'er wast such till thou wast carved in stone.

While roystering Ben waited a hundred years before his literary distinction was recognised by this memorial in Poets' Corner, the strength of Royalist feeling kept Milton's name out of the Abbey altogether for the same period after his death. Thus, although both men died in the seventeenth century, their monuments date from the middle of the eighteenth. Milton's name was regarded as anathema by the loyal Chapter, and it was not till long after the Jacobite Atterbury's exile, that a Dean (Wilcocks) was broad-minded enough to acknowledge Milton's genius, and allow an admirer of his, one Benson, to put up a monument. The lyric muse above Gray's medallion {51} close by, points to the bust of that master of poetry and prose, to whom he and all the poets ever since Milton's time owe so much. Gray himself must always be remembered in the Abbey, for who can stand amongst the kings and look upon the "mighty conquerors, mighty lords," who made this island kingdom, without recalling the words of his historic ode?

Nowadays, when by common consent Chaucer is regarded as the patriarch of English poets, visitors to this transept naturally consider that he was buried here on account of his literary reputation. But this was not the case. At one time a favourite of kings, Chaucer was also a connection by marriage with his powerful patron John of Gaunt, yet he seems to have died in comparative poverty. He was Clerk of the Works at the royal palace hard by, and a dweller beneath the shadow of the old Lady Chapel; his burial in the adjoining church followed as a matter of course, simply because he resided within the precincts. For nearly a hundred and fifty years the only record of his grave was a leaden plate, with a Latin inscription by an Italian poet, which hung upon the pillar near. At last one Brigham, himself with a turn for verse-making, procured an ancient marble {52} tomb, and got permission to put it up against this wall. It has been called by Chaucer's name ever since; but whether the poet's bones still lie in the original grave, where Dryden's coffin was afterwards placed, or were transferred here, is still a moot-point. The modern window above, the gift of an American admirer, contains portraits of Chaucer and his contemporary John Gower. Quite lately another painted glass window, dedicated to the Confessor, has been inserted beside it. John Dryden, whose reputation equalled Spenser's in his own day, died, like Chaucer (1400) and Spenser (1599), at the end of a century, in his case the eighteenth, and his burial in Chaucer's grave, near the entrance to St. Benedict's Chapel, was a mark of special honour. To reach his beautiful bust, a copy by Scheemakers of an earlier one, we must pass over the gravestones of two well-known modern poets, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and Robert Browning. On a pillar close by is Woolner's bust of Tennyson, which represents the laureate in middle life. The name of Abraham Cowley on a stone beside them conveys little to us now, but his contemporary reputation was very great, and Dryden owed much to Cowley, his immediate predecessor in the circle of poets. Before we move on there are two busts {53} which are artistically very inferior to Dryden's. I refer first to that of Longfellow, whose name is a household word on either side of the Atlantic, and of whom Americans are justly proud. On the other column is that of the Scotch Archbishop of Canterbury, Archibald Tait, placed here with intent, because in the vicinity lies another Primate also of Scotch birth, Spottiswoode, Archbishop of St. Andrews, a favourite with King James I., and by his command historian of the Scottish Church.

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Before us is the monument, put up one hundred and fifty years after his death, to Geoffrey Chaucer, the father of English poetry, and we see upon the pavement wreaths which mark the graves of our two most distinguished modern poets, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and Robert Browning, and were placed there no doubt by some visitor to the Abbey, who desired thus to show honour to their memory. This spot is the very centre of the famous Poets' Corner, and close by is the vault where lie the bones of Spenser, and the pens and funeral odes of the poets who attended his funeral.

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Close together on the left are the monuments of three men, all of whom were old Westminsters, two of them headmasters of the school. Busby and Vincent were strict disciplinarians, whose belief in the efficacy of the rod was afterwards equalled if not excelled by Dr. Keate at Eton. Busby flogged impartially the boy with brains and the boy with none, but prided himself in later life on having schooled many a budding genius, including the future laureate, Dryden himself. Amongst those who smarted under his discipline was the eloquent preacher, Dr. South, who reclines in marble so peacefully by his side. For fifty-five years Busby ruled supreme at Westminster School; he remained a Loyalist to the core throughout the disturbing changes of the Commonwealth, and {54} continued faithful to the Stuarts even under the disquieting regime which followed the Restoration. South, who was a Prebendary, is remembered here for his refusal of the Deanery, a post which Dr. Vincent, whose medallion is between these monuments, accepted (1816) a century after South's death. So excessive was his use of the rod that Southey, a schoolboy at the time, raised an energetic protest against the headmaster's tyranny, and was forthwith expelled from Westminster. When he became Dean, however, Vincent turned his superfluous energy to more practical uses, and, as we have already said, carried out the restoration and preservation of Henry VII.'s Chapel, besides many useful repairs to the Abbey fabric.

Before we pass within the iron gate and thus approach the head of the cross, i.e. the apse with its surrounding chapels, we must stand awhile in the centre of the church beneath the lantern. On either side stretch the arms of the cross: the southern one we have just visited, the northern we leave for our return. From here we can observe the architectural features, and point out that the west aisle of the south cross is cut off by the eastern walk of the cloister, a singular arrangement, due probably to the fact that the ancient Norman {55} cloister, which stood long after the building of Henry the Third's church, was already in this position. Between the triforium and the roof of this cloister is a vaulted chamber, called the Muniment Room, where some of the Abbey documents are still kept, and the ancient chests contain archives, which are gradually being sorted and rearranged. Upon the wall the traces of Richard the Second's badge, the White Hart, can be seen from below on sunny mornings. We have already noticed the doorway of St. Faith's Chapel at the extreme south end, and there also are the ruins of a little stone stair, which used to lead below the triforium level above the chapel into the monks' dormitory beyond. The large rose window, the tracery of which has been remodelled more than once since the thirteenth century, was refilled with painted glass two years ago in memory of the late Duke of Westminster. We look the other way, down the north transept, and see the statues of statesmen in the distance, which we shall examine later on. The northern rose window was also restored several times in the eighteenth century, when it entirely lost its original character under Dean Atterbury's energetic supervision. We are told that he actually watched the workmen hewing {56} smooth the old sculptures. Before his exile the Dean chose the subjects for the painted glass, the colours of which, mellowed by time, compare favourably with the modern lights below. From where we stand we can see one of the few existing stone angels blowing trumpets, which formerly filled the spandrels of the arches, and were part of the angelic choir all round the church. The arcading immediately under the window still remains, but lower down the architecture is completely ruined by two monstrous naval monuments. The eastern aisle is cut off from the rest of the transept and divided into three small chapels. The western is partially severed from the main aisle by large cenotaphs.

We turn to the west and see the present choir, which stretches to the organ screen. The stalls are of no artistic merit, and were designed in part by Wyatt, early in the nineteenth century; later on they were added to by Blore, who was also responsible, in 1848, for the wooden casing of the ancient stone wall between choir and nave. Beneath the black-and-white pavement, his own gift, lie the remains of Dr. Busby.

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From the high altar we look down to the west end, and see above the choir screen the painted glass of the west window which was inserted in the reign of George II. To our right is the tomb of Aymer de Valence, and the smaller contemporary monument of the first bride ever married in the Abbey, Aveline, Countess of Lancaster. In the foreground is the ancient mosaic pavement, which was laid in the thirteenth century, when this part of the church was built; and beyond the altar rails we see the comparatively modern stalls of the choir and the still more recent organ case. The pulpit marks the intersection of the sanctuary with the north transept.

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Facing east we look directly towards the Holy of Holies, the Sanctuary, where, raised high on a {57} mound of sacred earth, brought from Palestine, is the shrine of Edward the Confessor, girdled by a half circle of royal tombs. Between us and the saint's feretory is a fifteenth-century screen, which is faced on this side by a modern reredos, designed by Sir G. Scott. In front of this is the high altar. Some way below the level of the floor, on either side of the altar, are the bases of two pillars, which formed part of the original Norman church, and have helped the experts to fix the exact proportions of the Confessor's building.

Edward the Confessor was not canonised for nearly a hundred years after his death, in spite of the repeated appeals made to Rome by the Westminster abbots. In the meantime his coffin lay before this altar in a plain stone tomb, which was adorned by a rich pall, the gift of William the Conqueror. When at last our founder's name was added to the roll of saints, the body was transferred (October 13, 1163) to an elaborate shrine, in the presence of Henry II. and his then friend the Archbishop, Thomas a Becket. When this part of the old church was destroyed to make way for Henry the Third's new building, the old shrine was removed to a temporary chapel, while a new and more magnificent one, which we shall examine more {58} closely presently, was prepared by the same Italian workmen who were employed on the pavement, and afterwards to decorate the tombs of Henry III. and Queen Eleanor of Castile. The materials—the mosaic, the coloured marbles, and the porphyry—used for this beautiful pavement, which was put down in 1268, as well as for the royal tombs, were, like the designers and craftsmen themselves, brought from Rome by Abbot Ware, who, with his successor, Abbot Wenlock, lies beneath the mosaic work which Ware had supervised. The whole design, now partly covered by an ancient Persian carpet, represents the probable duration of the world according to the Ptolemaic system. To our left are three artistic tombs, which belong to a later date, the early fourteenth century, and are no doubt by the same unknown artist. In shape they resemble the hearses which used to stand in the church before and for a time after the burial of all distinguished persons. The recumbent figures take the place of the effigies of the deceased, which were usually made of wood, in the likeness of the dead person. These were first carried at the funeral, and afterwards laid upon the hearse. The little statuettes all round the sides are intended for the mourners, and above are represented the lighted {59} torches and wax tapers, which covered the hearse. In the small tomb nearest to us lies Aveline, wife of Edmund Crouchback, Henry the Third's second son, whose own far more elaborate sepulchre is nearest the altar. Edmund and Aveline were the first couple ever married in the present church. Their wedding, in fact, took place only a few months—in the spring of 1270—after the choir and transepts had been opened for service. But the north aisle of the choir was certainly completed before this marriage took place, for upon the wall are the arms of Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester and King of the Barons, in close juxtaposition with the fleurs-de-lis of France. In 1263 a grand temporary reconciliation was patched up between Henry III. and the proud Earl, which was ratified at Boulogne in the presence of the French King, St. Louis the peacemaker. These shields must therefore have been carved here at about that time—in any case before Simon's fall; he was killed in 1265 at the battle of Evesham. The arms of Aveline's rich and powerful father, William de Fortibus, are in this same aisle. The heiress herself died young, leaving no children, and her husband inherited her vast wealth, with which he endowed the powerful house of Lancaster. Edmund took {60} a foreign bride after Aveline's death, and resided much with her in Provins, whence he brought the red roses which became the Lancastrian badge. His eldest son, Thomas, the second Earl of Lancaster, met his death on the scaffold through the machinations of Aymer de Valence—a tragic sequel to the friendship between their fathers, Edmund Crouchback and his uncle William de Valence, who were brothers at arms, and had often fought side by side in the Holy Land.

A defaced painting on the ambulatory side of Edmund's tomb once showed the figures of ten Crusaders; amongst them may have been portraits of the uncle and his nephew; they died (1296) within a week of one another, on an ill-fated expedition to Gascony, which ended in defeat and disaster to the English force. All these three monuments—Aymer's is between those of the Earl and Countess of Lancaster—repay a close study, but we can only glance at them now. Notice the noble and dignified recumbent effigy on Aveline's tomb, which is dressed in the simple costume of a grand dame of the thirteenth century; it was formerly painted and gilt; some traces of the red and white paint, also the green vine leaves, still remain beneath the canopy. At the feet two dogs are snapping at {61} one another in play. The two warriors are depicted in life and in death: above each is an armed equestrian figure with visor up, while below lie their quiet images in the sleep of death. The royal prince has a finer monument with a triple canopy, otherwise there is little difference between the two. The picture of Richard II. in his brilliant youth hangs opposite his relatives. The King, whose destiny seemed so fair, but whose tragic fate must move our pity, is here represented in the coronation robes holding the orb and sceptre, and seated in St. Edward's chair upon the ancient stone of Scone, which his ancestor, Edward I., wrested from the Scots. Behind the portrait a piece of tapestry, which used to be in the great schoolroom, recalls the fact that the whole sanctuary was hung with arras and also wainscoted in Queen Anne's time. The remains of the sedilia south of the altar date from Edward the First's time, and were for long believed to form the canopy of an ancient Saxon tomb, which the monks moved here from the Norman Chapter House and called by the name of King Sebert, their traditional founder. We can see this better from the ambulatory, also the curious skull and cross-bone ornament which is all that is left of the tomb of Anne of Cleves, Henry {62} the Eighth's repudiated wife, the only one of all his wives who was buried in the Abbey. She was interred here with a pompous funeral service by order of her friend and step-daughter Queen Mary.

Let us return now to the iron gate which divides the south ambulatory from the transept. Just inside is a small chapel, called after St. Benedict, the founder of the Benedictines, to which order the Westminster monks belonged, and where his head was long kept. The chapel is not open, but easily seen from outside. Within is the fine altar tomb of Simon Langham, first Abbot of Westminster, then Archbishop of Canterbury, through whose munificent bequest his energetic successor, Litlington, was able to add to the monastic buildings and cloisters. Other burials of interest took place in this chapel. The tomb which usurps the place of the altar is that of Frances, Countess of Hertford, daughter-in-law to the Protector Somerset, by whose orders these altars were destroyed, and sister to that famous Admiral, Lord Howard of Effingham, whose fleet drove the Spanish Armada from our shores. A well-preserved seventeenth-century brass, raised a few inches above the floor, gives us the portrait of Dr. Bill, the first Dean after Elizabeth reconstituted the {63} collegiate body, which had been originally founded by her father, Henry VIII., but was suppressed by her sister Mary. Bill lived only a year at the Deanery, but during that short period he drafted the statutes, the nucleus of which remains unaltered to the present day, although the details have been considerably changed. His successor, Gabriel Goodman, whose kneeling statue is against the south wall, was in office throughout nearly the whole long reign of Queen Elizabeth, dying only two years before his friend and patroness. We must not linger in this little chapel, for voices from the past are calling us to hasten onwards toward the burial-place of kings.

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In the immediate foreground on the left is the entrance to St. Edmund's Chapel, while the iron gates just beyond the back of the sedilia mark the junction of the south ambulatory with the south transept. Close behind the verger's desk is a pointed arch with a small tomb below, in which are buried the remains of various princes and princesses, and upon it used to be a golden statue of St. Catherine, the patron saint of Henry III.'s dumb daughter Catherine, the first little one interred in this place. At the back of the arch are still traces of the mural painting which Edward I. caused to be done here to commemorate his children, no less than six of whom were buried near their aunt. On the opposite side we see the plain Saxon tomb called by the name of King Sebert, whom the monks believed to be their founder. Part of Richard II.'s monument is visible behind the oak seat.

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Close at hand in the ambulatory is a dark arch, beneath which several royal children were laid to rest when the church was still quite new. The founder's dearly loved dumb daughter Catherine, a beautiful child of five, was the first of all the royal family who was thus honoured, and in ancient times we should have seen a tiny gilt brass statuette of St. Catherine, her patron saint, kneeling here, with a silver portrait image of the princess herself. Two of her brethren and four of her nephews and nieces, the children of her brother Edward I., were buried beside her, and Edward {64} caused the arch to be richly adorned and gilt, while a painting of his own little ones was added in the background. The eldest boy, Alfonzo, a lad of twelve, was sent shortly before his death from Wales to Westminster, where, by his war-like father's command, he offered the coronet of Llewellyn, the last native Prince of Wales, to St. Edward's shrine. His brother Edward afterwards became the first English Prince of Wales.

In the next chapel, that dedicated to St. Edmund, king and martyr, we find other members of Henry the Third's family. To the right, forming part of the screen, is the tomb of his half-brother, that William de Valence to whom we referred in connection with his own son Aymer and Henry's son, Edmund Crouchback. De Valence was a Frenchman, and not only as a foreigner, but from his haughty overbearing character, was very unpopular in England. Yet his friend and cousin Edward I., unheeding the popular voice, caused this beautiful and costly tomb to be made for his remains. It was originally covered with that rare and excellent enamel work which was then made at Limoges in De Valence's native province, but only a few fragments, notably on the shield, the {65} pillow, and the girdle, remain intact. Formerly, besides the enamel and filigree decorations, there were no less than 31 gilt images of mourners, each with an enamelled coat of arms above it, in the shallow arcades round the tomb. Practically nothing is left of all this splendour, and the wooden chest which contained the body, for it was the custom to bury the dead above ground in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, is stripped bare of ornament. On the other side of the entrance lies a royal Prince of English birth, John of Eltham, the second son of Edward II., and thus grandson to Henry III. To the student of armour the alabaster effigy is of special interest as a specimen of the military costume of the fourteenth century; while the coronet is the earliest known example of ducal form—the title of Duke was not introduced into England till rather later. The small crowned images of royal personages, John's relations, round the base of the altar tomb are all mutilated, while the triple canopy has long disappeared, broken down by the pressure of the crowds which used to throng into the church at all large funerals in the eighteenth century. John was only nineteen at the time of his death, but had already won his spurs at the battle of Halidon Hill, and was {66} so trusted by his incapable father that in spite of his youth he was given the command of the whole English army in Scotland. On a small altar tomb close to that of John of Eltham are two tiny alabaster images, twenty inches long, in the stiff costume of the period; these represent his nephew and niece, William of Windsor and Blanche of the Tower, infant children of Edward III. In the centre of the floor are two admirable fourteenth-century brasses, which have fortunately escaped the despoiler's hand. The one commemorates the Black Prince's friend, Archbishop Waldeby; the other Richard the Second's aunt, Eleanor, Duchess of Gloucester. The grave of a modern novelist and diplomatist, Edward Bulwer, Earl of Lytton, is close by; the place was selected by Dean Stanley on account of its proximity to the tomb of Sir Humphrey Bourchier, a knight who was killed at Barnet Field, the victory which established Edward the Fourth's claim to the crown. Lord Lytton described this and other fights during the Wars of the Roses in his well-known novel, The Last of the Barons. We have not time to-day to study all the interesting monuments in this and the adjoining chapel,—that dedicated to St. Nicholas, the children's patron saint, where, amongst the tombs of {67} grown-up people of high rank, are the funeral urns of two tiny infants,—but we may notice the number of ladies who are buried or commemorated in both these little chapels. Most of them were prominent at Court in the time of the Tudors, and some of them were near relatives of Queen Elizabeth's. The place of St. Nicholas's altar is again covered by a woman's tomb; this time the intruder is the widow of the Protector Somerset, that proud Duchess whose temper made the life of those about her well-nigh unendurable.

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We have already seen part of this chapel. On the floor in the foreground are two fine fourteenth-century brasses, raised on low altar tombs; against the screen behind is a dilapidated monument, which was once one of the most beautiful in the Abbey. In the wooden coffer above the stone base are the bones of William de Valence, Henry III.'s half-brother, and upon it lies his effigy, which was originally covered with Limoges enamel, but a few pieces only remain intact, notably in the shield and the sword belt. Facing us is a large Jacobean monument, which commemorates Edward Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, and was put up by his widowed Countess, whose own effigy lies beside that of her husband. Through the pillars beyond the wooden screen of the Chapel appears the stone screen between Edward the Confessor's Chapel and the high altar, while beyond, above the south arches of the Confessor's Chapel, are the openings of the triforium.

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A large mural monument close by recalls a happy marriage and records the grief of the heart-broken husband. Elizabeth's trusted Minister, the great Lord Burleigh, is here depicted in his robes of state, kneeling above the recumbent effigies of his wife, a lady noted for her learning and for her active benevolence, and of their unhappy daughter, Anne, Countess of Oxford. At his mother's feet is the figure of Robert Cecil, the first Lord Salisbury of that name, who succeeded his father as confidential adviser to their sovereign. Neither father nor son is buried here. Lord Burleigh lies at Stamford, his country place, and on the day of the funeral a stately service was held in the Abbey, a mark of respect repeated recently (August 1903) {68} when his descendant, the late Lord Salisbury, was laid to rest at Hatfield.

Returning into the ambulatory we should look at this side of the royal tombs before passing

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