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Note to No. 232, p. 534, 1. 29. The Rev. S. Wilberforce was named as a contemporary member, though not a fellow, of Oriel College. The name of the Rev. R. D. Hampden was accidentally omitted.
althoudt only Cathring of the Mala Grande illustration
Art. 1.-1. Handbook to the Cathedrals of England. Southern
Division, 2 Parts; London, 1861. Eastern Division; Lon
don, 1862. Western Division; London, 1864. 2. Gleanings from Westminster Abbey. By George Gilbert Scott,
R.A., F.S.A. Oxford and London. Second edition, 1863. 3. The English Cathedral of the Nineteenth Century. By A. J. B.
Beresford Hope, M.A., D.C.L. London, 1861.
TEARLY forty years have passed since Britton's Cathedral N Antiquities' was reviewed in this Journal, by Southey.* The article, which is very characteristic of the writer, is, as usual, rich in various extracts and in historical illustration. We are told that, when the · Délices de la Grande Bretagne' were published at the beginning of the last century, York and Canterbury were the only Cathedrals which appeared among the engravings, although bird's-eye views of maisons de campagne' were plentiful; but the taste of the age is curiously exemplified when such edifices as Lincoln, and Wells, and Lichfield are overlooked, and a plan given of Marshal Tallard's garden at Nottingham, with its parterres of turf cut into squares, circles, semicircles, and ovals, “et ce qui fait dans son tout ce qu'on appelle gazoncoupé ;” and variegated by divisions of red sand, yellow sand, pulverised shells, pulverised coal, dust from the lead-mines, and gravel walks of every procurable variety of colour.'
In truth, Britton was the first to describe, and to design with anything like accuracy, the architectural glories of our English Cathedrals. His designs still rank among the best we possess; and whatever contributions have since been made to a fuller understanding of their history and construction, Britton is at least entitled to the distinction of having led the way toward a thorough study of these great churches. How much has been done in this direction within the last forty years we need hardly say. A comparison of Britton's text—which, it must be remembered, displays a knowledge of Gothic architecture far in advance of his time—with Professor Willis's monographs, or with the Handbooks which we have placed at the head of this article, will show at once how wide a gap remained to be filled, and with how far more accurate and more extended knowledge we may now walk through our Cathedral aisles and cloisters. If a new series of the Délices' were to appear at present, although space might possibly be found for a prospect' of another garden, in which divisions of red sand, yellow sand, and pulverised coal are not altogether unknown, Lincoln, Wells, and Lichfield would assuredly not be omitted. With the knowledge which we have gained about them has come an increased pride in these noble structures, and such a reverential care of them as has scarcely been known since the Reformation, and as we very much doubt to have been paralleled before it. The stir of repair and of restoration has been and is so great (and on the whole, whatever occasional errors may have been committed in the latter process, it has been so judiciously conducted) that, of late years, the scene in and about many an English minster has strongly recalled its earlier days, when its walls, now grey with age, were first rising in the midst of the hive of workmen. Ministri fervent in operibus suis ; lapides colligunt, collectos afferunt, campos et plateas, domos et curias implent.' *
* • Quarterly Review,' vol. xxxv. (1826.) Vol. 118.—No. 236.
It is curious that twenty-four, the existing number of English sees—a number which has only been completed since the formation of the dioceses of Ripon and Manchester-should be precisely that fixed by Gregory the Great, in his instructions to Augustine. Britain was almost an unknown island to Gregory. * Probably,' as Dean Stanley suggests, he thought it might be about the size of Sicily or Sardinia, the only large islands he had ever seen, and that twenty-four bishoprics would be sufficient.'t Gregory's instructions, however, issued while the island was still pagan, were followed but imperfectly. The formation of English sees has been very gradual, and has been influenced by causes which could hardly have been foreseen by either Gregory or Augustine. As each Saxon kingdom was converted, a bishopric was formed co-extensive with the kingdom ; and the Christian bishop, the chief pastor of the tribe, “succeeded in all probability to the post which the chaplain or high priest of the King had held in the days of Paganism.' As the tribe increased, and as various ter
* Herbert Losinga (circ. 1096) to the overseers of the cathedral he was then building at Norwich.
† Historical Memorials of Canterbury: the Landing of Augustine.' The great size of the English dioceses, in which respect they differ so remarkably from those of Continental Europe—where there is a bishop's see in almost every large townmay have been partly a result of Gregory's ignorance; but the main cause was the fact that the Saxon dioceses were at first conterminous with the several kingdoms. Stanley's 'Landing of Augustine.'
Chesterms of Orter the di med unti Nacy.
ritorial changes took place, the primitive dioceses were subdivided; Canterbury and York, which had been the two best known cities of Britain at the time of Augustine's arrival, and which represented the kingdoms of Kent and of Northumbria, always retaining their metropolitical supremacy. The dioceses of Ely and Carlisle were not formed until after the Conquest; and it was not until after the dissolution of the monasteries that the five sees of Oxford, Peterborough, Gloucester, Bristol, and Chester, were erected by Henry VIII.--the scanty realisation of a scheme that had once been far wider. The same causes which influenced the formation of dioceses affected the positions of Cathedrals. In some cases--as at Canterbury, York, and Winchester, the place of the see was the chief town of the Saxon kingdom. But the palaces of Saxon kings were by no means confined to walled cities; and the earlier bishops, like the king, to whose household they were attached, "adopted for the most part the old Teutonic habit of wandering from vill to vill, from manor to manor.' * Hence the Cathedral church was as often as not erected on the best and most convenient manor which the bishop had received from the King for his support and maintenance; and hence the position of the earlier sees at such places as Crediton, Sherborne, or Dorchester in Oxfordshire. But the insecurity, and probably the inconvenience of such situations had become felt long before the Conquest. The see of Crediton, as is expressly recorded. in the Charter of the Confessor, was removed to Exeter on account of the devastations and plunder of the Northmen in the open country.t Other sees had suffered quite as severely ; and in 1075 a synod held in London, under Archbishop Lanfranc, decreed the removal of certain sees in villulis'small and unwalled towns, which had grown up round the Cathedral--to the security of walled cities. Sherborne was then removed to Old Sarum, and Selsea to Chichester. Somewhat later, Dorchester was removed to Lincoln. Later still (A.D. 1109), Ely, strongly fortified by nature, and possessing one of the wealthiest Benedictine houses in England, was erected into a bishopric, having assigned to it a portion of the vast diocese of Lincoln ; and Carlisle, representing the Roman Lugubalia, did not receive her first bishop until 1133. The position of the sees erected by Henry VIII. was determined in every case by that of
* Kemble, Saxons in England,' i. 300. Ĩ
Una sit sedes episcopalis, unumque pontificium, et una æcclesiastica regula, propter paucitatem atque devastationem bonorum et populorum, quoniam pyratici Cornubiensem ac Cryditonensem æcclesias devastare poterant; ac per hoc in civitate Exoniæ tutiorem munitionem adversus hostes habere visum est; et ideo ibi sedem esse volo, Charter of King Edward ; Kemble's 'Cod. Diplom.,' No. 791.
the suppressed monastery, the church of which became the Cathedral of the new diocese.
With this glance at the causes which led to the fixing of English sees at the places where we now find them, we pass to the Cathedrals themselves, taking for our text-book the series of
Handbooks to the Cathedrals of England,' which we have placed at the head of this article. We shall use their text freely; but it may be as well to mention here that they are illustrated by some hundred engravings on wood, of the highest beauty and interest; many, indeed most of them, representing subjects or points of view which do not occur in Britton. To say that these engravings are executed for the inost part by Mr. Orlando Jewitt is to warrant their accuracy of detail and extreme delicacy of finish. Such specimens of xylography as the Bay of Ely Choir' (Ely Cathedral, plate iv.), or as the exquisite reredos in the same Cathedral (plate v.) have scarcely been exceeded by any modern artist.* With the Handbooks we join Mr. Gilbert Scott's Gleanings from Westminster Abbey,' the one great English church, which, like Nôtre Dame at Antwerp, or St. Gudule at Brussels, takes the position of a Cathedral without being the actual place of an episcopal see, although it had a bishop for a short time in the sixteenth century.
An English Cathedral is the most perfect sermon in stones' that anywhere remains to us. Other monuments, the mysterious cromlechs and circles of the primæval period, or the castles of later centuries, are not, of course, without tongues of their own; but the language of the first has become too strange and antique to be readily interpreted ; and the castles, for the most part shattered and imperfect, tell their story at best but obscurely. It is only a great Cathedral, which the Church has watched and cared for ever since its foundations were laid, that resembles in its clearness and completeness some stately discourse by Jeremy Taylor, with all its elaborate divisions and its illustrations of the highest poetry. And each Cathedral is in itself a microcosm ; leading its students through the long series of ages that have built up this present England, and bringing them, by the aid of its architecture and of the monuments which it protects, into as close a contact as is now possible with the great men of the past.
* Each cathedral has been described by the compiler of the Handbooks after careful personal examination, and with the assistance of the most recent labours of other inquirers. Professor Willis's admirable monographs have been largely drawn npon. No one has done so much toward setting forth the true history of Englisia cathedrals. His papers, however (to be found for the most part in the volumes of the Archæological Institute), are addressed mainly to architectural or arohxo. logical students. The Handbooks take a wider range, and describe the monuinents and other remains in each cathedral, as well as the church itself.