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FOUNDATION.—In his desire to do more especial honour to Tewkes
bury, William of Malmesbury has fancifully traced its etymon to the Greek word Theotocos*—the Mother of God—because the monastery which was built here was dedicated to the Virgin Mother. It is certain, however, that the town occupied the ground long before the monastery was erected. The
* Simul et videbatur voluntati religiosæ nomen applaudere, quod Theokesburia dicatur quasi Theotokos-biria, id est, Dei genetricis curia, vocabulo ex Græco et Anglicano composito. Will. Malmesbur. Edit. fol. 1596,
popular tradition is, that a religious recluse, named Theocus, had a Christian cell or chapel in this place about the end of the seventh century—“ubi quidam heremita manebat nomine Theokus, unde Theokusburia”—and that from him the “Curia Theoci” was in process of time modified into Tewkesbury. In Weever's Funeral Monuments, however, there is an ancient Saxon inscription, discovered in the church of Leominster at the close of the sixteenth century, which states that, in the Saxon era, Tewkesbury was called Đeotisbýrz, that is, Theotisbyrg, from which it would appear that Tewkesbury was the town, castle, or borough of Theot. Others, by conjectures equally vague or plausible, have laboured to prove that the name is derived from Dodo or Thodo, one of the first lords of the manor, and founder of the monastery, adducing as corroborative evidence that the Đ and Th are frequently substituted for each other in the Saxon language; wherefore, say they, from Thodo comes the Latin derivative Theodocus, and from that, Teodechesberie, as in Domesday Book. But further, it has been conjectured that Theocus and Dodo, or Thodo, were one and the same person; and those who are curious in the investigation of such questions will find the subject elaborately discussed ir all the principal histories of the county* and abbey.
The foundatien of this Abbey takes precedence of most others in the kingdom, and dates from the first fifteen years of the eighth century.
In the reigns of Ethelred, Kenred, and Ethelbald, kings of Mercia, two brothers, with the euphonious names of Odo and Dodo, flourished in this beautiful district, and adorned their high station by the practice of many Christian virtues and pious examples. Of their zeal for the honour of God they were resolved to leave some permanent evidence to posterity, and with this view selected a suitable spot on their manor of Tewkesbury, and there erected † the monastery which in after times became famous throughout the land. They endowed the abbey with much landed property-Stanwey cum membris, sic dicta, Tadington Prestecote et Didcott-which continued to form part of the abbey revenues till the Dissolution. The institution gradually extended its authority temporal and spiritual, and acquired a reputation for so much sanctity, that to obtain a grave in its sacred enclosure became an object of devout competition among the pious, and brought no little treasure to the prior's exchequer.
The first personage of royal dignity who was buried in the Abbey was Brictric, king of the West Saxons, and son-in-law to King Offa. The next was Hugh, a Mercian noble, and patron of the abbey, who had procured for
* Sir R. Atkyns, Rudder, Camden, Dyde, and the various “Directories ;" Notes on the Great Charters, Dugdale's Monasticon, Chron. of Tewkesb., etc.
+ PANC · AVLAM . RELIAM • ĐODO · DVX · CONSECRARI · FCCIT · IN ECCLESIAM · IN VONOREM . SANCTE · MARIE · VIRI:INIS · Monast. f. 154.
it the distinction of a royal mausoleum in St. Faith's Chapel; to which his own remains were afterwards consigned, with all the monks attending in solemn procession, and chanting his requiem.
Towards the middle of the tenth century, Haylward Snew, descended from King Edward the Elder, founded a monastery on his own
manor at Cranburne, * in Dorsetshire, and to this he subjected the priory of Tewkesbury, of which he was patron. Historians give him the credit of having possessed, in an eminent degree, the virtues of personal valour and earnest piety; and of the latter, no better proofs could be adduced than the fact of his having bestowed much of his substance upon the church. Algar, his eldest son and successor, did not long enjoy his inheritance; and to him succeeded his younger brother, Brictric, of whom the annexed adventure is recorded.
* Speaking of the cell of Cranburne, belonging to proved almost a death-blow to so doting a heart. The Tewkesbury :-Alredus Meauw, Comes Glocestriæ, ambassador, however, little consulted his own interest primus fundator.–Fabulabatur huic antiquitus mo when he slighted these tender overtures on the part nasterium Theokesbyri: sed Robertus, filius Haimo- of the maid of Flanders. But he lived in times when nis, comes Glocestriæ, dedit prædia hujus domus plenipotentiaries were not so wise as they are in the monasterio de Theokesbirie.—See Dugd. p. 163.— present day; for on the very first protocol being subChronic. of Tewkesburye.
mitted to his consideration, he broke off the negotia| Being sent as ambassador to the Court of Bald- tions and returned to England. For a time the win, Count of Flanders, Brictric made so tender an daughter of Baldwin was inconsolable. Like Queen impression upon the heart of the Count's daughter, Dido vf old, she exclaimed in great bitterness—for Matilda, that, unable to disguise her partiality for the Latin was no mystery to the ladies of her timeEnglish noble, she resolved to unite her destiny with his. No object could delight her eye, no sound could
-“Siquis mihi parvulus aula charm her ear, but the figure and voice of Brictric!
Luderet Æneas, qui te tantem ore referret,
Non equidem capta ac deserta viderer, But here the course of true love did not run smooth
Crudelis" -it ran all on one side ; for, occupied perhaps with politics, or haply with some early predilections nearer But while the lady was thus giving vent to her love the Severn, Brictric was obviously insensible to the in pathetic hexameters, Brictric had arrived at tender appeal, and so ungallant, moreover, as to treat Tewkesbury, little thinking of that storm which was the affections lavished upon him by the fair Maud soon to burst on the shores of Britain, and in which with a callousness of look and expression which he was to be stripped of his ancient patrimony.