« AnteriorContinua »
known, gave rise to Fairs, which were once most improperly held in churchyards.—Gaston de Blondeville, vol. iv. p. 68.
In the preceding notice of St. Albans, the narrow limits assigned to this work has made it necessary to confine our sketches and observations to the more striking features of the Abbey and its vicinity. Where the materials are so abundant and inviting, and where only a few characteristic portions can be admitted, their selection must be always attended with more or less difficulty; but in the present instance, it is hoped, the order of subjects has been so arranged as to present the reader with a faithful picture of the Abbey as it now is, and such as, with the vast improvements in contemplation, it may continue to be for ages to come. For the lives and acts of its “forty abbots and one,” we must refer our readers to the chronicles of the Abbey, and the other sources of information hereunto annexed.
“Now closes the scene; and here,” in the words of the historian, “may we behold fallen and set for ever the glory and splendour of this and all other of those religious corporations, which, with most pious intentions in the founders, with general good conduct in the rulers, with most grateful acceptance in the sober and virtuous of all ranks, had provided for the wants and necessities of men; and the revenues, which had cheered the hearts of the naked and hungry, now turned out of the channel of hospitality and benefi
THE SUBJECT CONCLUDED.
cence, to be dissipated and wasted in the voluptuous pleasures and base gratifications of the court and its followers."
“ Here forty abbots have ruled and onc,
Twenty with palle and mitre on,
APPENDIX.*-1. The present roof of the Abbey was erected at the expense of Abbot Whethamstead, after the original, which is said to have been of stone, had been blown down in a tempest. The “ Wallingford Screen" was built, in 1480, by the Abbot of that name, at an expense of eleven hundred marks. It reaches from the ground to the eastern window, and for beauty and magnitude is said to surpass everything else of the kind in Europe. It was adorned, in the palmy days of the Abbey, with “a profusion of gold and silver ornaments;" but in its present condition, stripped of all such glittering ornaments, and its elegant simplicity so much more apparent, it is thus “ unadorned, adorned the most.”
2. The Abbey Church of St. Albans was " chiefly erected by Paul, the first 5 Norman Abbot, early in the reign of William Rufus, at which period the
• The woodcut here introduced, shows the north en- through which there is a common passage leading to trance, with part of the interior, of the LADY-CHAPEL, the town, called the ante-chapel.
edifice erected by Offa had become extremely ruinous. The Norman architecture is consequently preserved in the greater part of the building, particularly in the choir, nave, transepts, and great tower; but a very considerable portion has been rebuilt in the various styles of the times when repairs became necessary, the particulars of which may be seen in the lives of the different Abbots. For the purposes of repair, the materials were chiefly furnished by the ruins of Verulam ; among which was a profusion of Roman brick.”—Archt. of St. Albans.
3. We are aware of the difference of opinion which once subsisted among writers as to the true era and character of the round and pointed arches which distinguish the Abbey Church. But the round arches which were formerly considered Norman, have been lately, we understand, pronounced Saxon by a distinguished architect, who has bestowed great pains in the investigation; and has at last, it is to be hoped, settled the question
“And proved, when Mercian Offa was anointed,
Arches were broad and round-not lancet-pointed."
4. P. 87.—The epitaph on the two hermits, Roger and Sigarius, states, that thinking themselves unworthy to rest within the church, they chose a restingplace in the wall below. Legendary inscriptions on the clustered pillars are still dimly visible through the modern whitewash.
5. This Abbey Church, venerable alike for its antiquity, and admirable for its design and workmanship,“ possesses all the magnitude and dignity of the largest Cathedral. It is cruciform, measures from east to west, including the Lady Chapel, six hundred and six feet in length; the extreme breadth, at the intersection of the transepts, is two hundred and seventeen feet. The height of the body is sixty-five feet, and that of the tower is one hundred and forty-four feet.”
ARMS OF ST. ALBANI.
AUTHORITIES:-M. Paris.- Grafton.--Harding.- - Weever. - Willis. — Tyrrell.— Burnet.– Dugdale. — Holinshed.—Speed.-Camden.— Archäologia.— New Visit to St. Albans, January 1842, MS. Notes by an come.-Clutterbuck.–Topography of Great Britain. Artist, MS. -Guide to St. Albans Abbey.--St. Augustine. The Society of Antiquaries has published very splenRadcliffe's St. Albans Abbey.-Holeroft's Margaret of did illustrative plans, elevations, and sections of the Anjou.- Memoir of Lord Bacon.-- Blome's Britannia Abbey Church of St. Albans.