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Whitsuntide festivities of 1256, jousts were And yet, even in this closing stage of her held at Blythe, in Nottinghamshire, where career, we find her earnestly soliciting from the Lord Edward, eldest son of King Henry the king, important benefits for the foundaIII, first began to give proofs of his chival tion which held the chief place in her affecrous spirit. In this “mimic war," vers tions. T convent had been deficient in were overthrown and maimed, and

among fire-wood, and one among the grants of the others, William de Longespé was

monarch consisted of forty acres of woodverely bruised that he died shortly after in land, from Melksham forest, “granted to the flower of his age. The following year the earnest request of our beloved kinswothere was another “passage of arms,” in man, Ela, FOUNDRESS OF THE HOUSE OF the same field of tournament, in which Ro LACOCK." ger Bigod, earl of Norfolk, grandson of the At length, “in the seventy-fourth year countess of Salisbury, was so severely hurt of her age, on the 24th of August, 1261, that he died the year following of the inju- yielding up her soul in peace, she rested in ries received.

the Lord, and was most honorably interred Thus was Ela deprived by death of both

in the choir of the monastery.” Among her son and grandson. Nor were these the the entries in the Book of Lacock, the folonly trials of her maternal affections; the lowing should not be omitted : “ To three year previous to the death of her eldest son, poor persons on the eve and day of the she had lost her daughter Isabella, Lady profession of the Lady Ela Longespé, to Vescy; and in the last year of her life she each of them daily, in bread, drink, and was preceded to the tomb by her son Ste meat, 2d worth.” “To the poor, on the phen, whom she caused to be interred in feast of St. Bartholomew, the apostle, for her favorite abbey of Lacock, erecting over the soul of the Lady Ela Longespé, eight his remains, a handsome memorial of ma bushels of corn, worth 58. 8d., and sixteen ternal affection. So that of all her family, chuses, or allaces (dried fish), worth 8s." she left only two sons and two daughters “For forty-four pounds of wax, for twentysurviving, one of whom, Richard, canon of five candles daily lighted throughout the Salisbury, died the year after her.

year (during the mass for the dead), about The five last years of Ela's life were the tomb of the Lady Ela Longespé, the spent in perfect retirement, she having ab foundress, at 7d.,—1£. 58. 8d.stracted herself even from the peaceful rule Among the bequests to this convent is of the monastery she had founded. The the following very touching one; “BeBook of Lacock records, that after having queathed to the abbey of Lacock, the manor for eighteen years “strenuously governed of Shorewall, in the isle of Wight, by Amithe flock committed to her charge,* most cia, countess of Devon, and · Ladye of the devoutly serving God, and maintaining a

Isle;' together with her heart to her daughter life of close seclusion, in fastings, watch Margaret, a nun at Lacock.The deep and ings, holy meditations, severe self-discipline, hallowed feeling under the influence of and other good and charitable works; and, which a mother bequeathed her heart, to at length perceiving that old age had come rest near that daughter, whom she had re. upon her, and such weakness as prevented signed in this world to be devoted to the her from benefitting her order, she retired service of religion, can be better conceived from the government of the house, appoint than described. ing Beatrice of Kent, as abbess in her The reception within the walls of the place. This was on the last day of the abbey, in the year 1297, of the heart of the year 1256, and in the seventieth year of aged Nicholas Longespé, bishop of Salisher age. And thus she survived for nearly bury, the last surviving son of the founfive years after, released from every care.” dress, is another instance of pious affection.

We learn that the abbey maintained three * Strenue gubernavit. Matthew of Paris applies priests for the daily celebration of divine to her an expression not less vigorous, "non muliebriter gubernavit.

services, and one discreet and learned priest

the general confessor to the convent, and The venerable Ela sleeps below, the teacher and preacher of God's word.

The foundress of these walls and abbess too, The last abbess of Lacock was Johanna

And Salisbury's countess ; full of years, and blest

With store of virtuous deeds, she sank to rest. Temys, who continued to preside till the dissolution of the house in 1539, when it The holy ritual of that religion which was surrendered, with so many others, into Ela loved and cherished, has been retained the unhallowed grasp of Henry VIII. The within these walls, to which it is kindred. fatal document is still preserved among the The late dowager countess of Shrewsbury records in the Augmentation office. The was a resident here for a number of years, surrender was made on the 21st of July, and a branch of her family still possesses before John Tregonwell and William Peter, this beautiful domain. In the year 1806, clerks in chancery, and is ratified by the the Rev. George Witham, the countess' common seal of the abbey. Besides the chaplain, an ecclesiastic possessed of every abbess and the prioress, there were fif amiable virtue, compiled and printed with teen other nuns, at the time of what was his own hands a short “ History of Lacock qualified by the gentler term of “surren Abbey.” This small quarto is a literary der.

curiosity of great rarity. The present sketch We have thus traced the annals of Lacock is indebted to it in more instances than one. abbey to the time when that royal exemplar One word more respecting the dissolution of all that was most ruthless in tyranny-all of this religious retreat, and we have done. that was most inexorable in revenge-all that The hypocritical formality with which the was most loathsome in lust—all that was imperial robbery, planned and executed by most sordid in avarice-HENRY VIII, bear the sacrilegious avarice of Henry VIII and ing, as in mockery, the absurd title of Defen his hungry minions, would awaken no other der of the Faith, smote throughout the king-feeling than that of virtuous indignation, dom those unnumbered beautiful edifices, did not the humble and uncomplaining sub which had so long subserved the cause of mission of the helpless inmates of its walls, piety, learning, hospitality and charity. The demand our tears also. Let us picture to stern mandate went forth—Down with them, ourselves the scene exhibited at the time of even unto the ground ! and the effects of that this iniquitous visitation, executed by men mandate are still before our eyes. In the interested in doing the will of their employmajesty of silent desolation, they still hal ers, in defiance of every feeling of justice low the romantic vallies, and secluded spots and humanity. The “commissioners," as over which their august and venerable frag they were termed, appear to have been ments are strewn.

men whose consciences « Among those monuments of the piety of with a hot iron." Let us look at their meour forefathers, Lacock has preserved, in thod of proceeding in reference to the house an almost perfect form, the cloisters, the whose history we are sketching; and ex uno cells of the nuns, its rich Gothic win

disce omnes.

One story told will serve for dows, and ivied chimneys; the church only

all the rest. has disappeared. In the cloisters, which The arrival of a party of stern-looking are as fresh, as if from the architect's hand men is announced to the abbess and her of yesterday, is preserved the monumental startled sisters. The reckless bearing and stone that covered the remains of Ela; it authoritative tone of the visitants beloken was removed from near the altar of the their purpose. Thus are the commissioners, destroyed choir, and has the following “men dressed in a little brief authority," inscription, in the jingling verse of the and ready time.

“To play such tricks before high heaven, Infra sunt defossa Elæ venerabilis ossa,

As make the angels weep."
Quæ dedit has sedes, sacras monialibus ædes,
Abbatissa quidem, quæ sancte vixit ibidem,

No previous intimation had been given of Et comitissa Sarum, virtutum plena bonarum. the fearful visit, and all is doubt, fear, and

were seared as

in Oxfordshire, where the beautiful but unfortunate mother of the first noble Longespé, fair Rosamund, had her tomb.

consternation. The abbess and her whole community are summoned before the visitors in the chapter house. Having hurried to the altar, and poured forth a hasty prayer together, perhaps for the last time, we may conceive them standing in silent submission before their cold and subtle inquisitors. The fatal instrument of surrender has been already prepared. Its purport is, that the abbess and her nuns of their own will and free consent, and without any compulsion, did, out of pure conscience, resign forever FOR THE KING'S USE, their whole property and possessions ;" we use the very terms that disgrace many an instrument of the kind, and this instrument the poor sisters were compelled to confirm, in consideration of the beggarly pittance doled out to them in their destitution !

Any thing like remonstrance, complaint, or refusal, was sternly interdicted. But this was tolerable : the worst was yet to come. Crimes were alledged against them, such as would blanch the cheek of womanhood to hear. The wolf can readily find charges when the lamb is accused. A long catalogue of alledged crimes, but unaccompanied by a shadow of proof, shocks the ear of the reader. Malignity “ will sometimes overleap itself;" this list of enormities is so evidently exaggerated, as to excite in every virtuous bosom instant indignation at their falsehood. From the disgusting pages of a Speed, a Foxe, and others, where these atrocities are recorded in cold blood, without the slightest intimation of a proof, or of the necessity of one, we turn away with no reply but that of indignant silence!

We said that all remonstrance on the part of the sufferers was forbidden. It was so: but, despite this command, we find one calm dispassionate appeal upon record, so touching and so natural, that we must not withhold it from the reader. writer is the abbess of that very convent, Godstow, *

Letter of the Abbess of Godstow to Crumwell.

May it please your honor, with my most humble duty, to be advertised, that, whereas, it pleased your lordship to be the very mean to the king's majesty for my preferment, most unworthy as I am to the abbess of this the king's monastery of Godstow; in which office I trust I have done the best in my power towards the maintenance of God's true honor, with all truth and obedience to the king's majesty. I was never moved nor desired by any creature, in the king's behalf, or in your lordship's name, to surrender and give up the house; nor was I ever minded, or intended so to do, otherwise than at the king's gracious command, or yours; to which I have ever, and will submit myself most humbly and obediently. I trust to God, that I have never offended God's laws, or the king's, whereby

Et veteri pavidum religione nemus. Pallentes nocturna ciens campana sorores,

Hinc matutinam sæpe monebat avem ;
Hinc procul in media tardæ calignis hora,

Prodidit arcanas arcta fenestra faces.
Nunc muscosa extant sparsim de cespite saxa,

Nunc muro avellunt germen agreste boves. Fors et tempus erit, cum tu, Rhedycina, sub astris

Edita, cum centum turribus ipsa rues. Where now those roofless walls give scanty room, Fair Rosamund, to guard thy simple tomb; Where by the fragments scattered on the floor We trace the chancel's site, now seen no more ; Fair Godstow towered amidst the forest shade, By our forefathers' faith how awsui made ! How oft its bell, that tolled the hour of prime, Awoke the matin lark before his time; And through tall windows streamed its tapers bright, Seeming to chide the tardy-footed night. Now moss-grown ruins totter to their fall, And the kine crop the grass upon the wall. And shall thy fate be such, Oxonia ! must Thy huudred towers thus crumble in the dust ?

Might we not add in regard to this venerable seat of learning, and more especially in reference to the present religious indications there, the following: Then didst thou fall, when in ill-omened hour, The hand of reformation marred thy bower: Thy rise shall be, when error's voice shall cease To haunt thy walls; and unity and peace, The peace of heart by free submission won, When pride is self-subdued and duty done,Shall to thy mother her lost child restore, To Rome, who yearns to clasp that child once more; To interchange fond vows, too long unknown, And with her glories interweave thine own.

W.

* The following beautiful lines on the ruins of Godstow nunnery, were written by Dr. Markham, archbishop of York, when at Oxford : Qua nudo Rosamonda humilis sub culmine tecti

Marmoris obscuri servat inane decus; Rara intermissæ circum vestigia molis,

Et sola in vacuo tramite porta labat; Sacræ olim sedes rignæ convallis in umbra,

this poor monastery ought to be suppressed. Surely no better proof is wanting than Yet, notwithstanding this, my good lord, so the above letter of the integrity of this spiit is, that Dr. London, who, as your lord rited woman, and that of the sisters of her ship well knows, was against my promo society; nor could a better proof be exhition, and has ever since borne me great bited of the hard measures and worldly malice and grudge, like my mortal enemy, crastiness to which she, as well the other is suddenly come to me, with a great rout religious of that day, was exposed. Of with him, and doth threaten me and my what description of persons many of those sisters, saying that he hath the king's com commissioners were, we have a specimen mission to suppress this house, in spite of in this very Dr. London, who could insult my teeth. And when he saw that I was in her sorrows a virtuous and high minded content that he should do all things accord woman, and whom we afterwards find coning to his commission, and showed him victed of perjury, and exposed to public plainly that I would never surrender into scorn and degradation. his hands, he being my ancient enemy. The measures of the commissioners were Now he begins to treat me, and to inveigle imperative, and sometimes, as was the case my sisters, one by one, otherwise than ever at Reading and Glastonbury, they proI heard tell that the king's subjects have ceeded to the extreme penalty of death, on been handled; and here tarrieth and con a charge of high treason.* On the other tinueth, to my great cost and charge, and hand, if they recommended the religious to will not take my answer that I will not sur the king's favor, it was in consideration of render till I know the king's gracious com their readiness to yield to the imperial mand, or your lordship's. I do, therefore, mandate ! most humbly beseech you to continue my The following letter of the prior of Hingood lord, as you ever have been ; and to ton, addressed to his brother in London, direct your honorable letters to remove him presents the picture of a mind hesitating hence. Whensoever the king's gracious between a sense of duty, and the terrors of command, or yours, shall come to me, you

arbitrary power. shall find me most ready and obedient to “ Thus:-In our Lord Jesus shall be follow the same. And notwithstanding your salvation. And whereas you marvel that Dr. London, like an untrue man, hath that I and my brethren do not freely and informed your lordship, that I am a spoiler voluntarily give and surrender up our house and a waster, your good lordship shall at the motion of the king's commissioners, know that the contrary is the truth ; for

but stand stifly, and, as you think, obstihave not alienated one ha'pworth of the nately in our opinion; truly, brother, I goods of this monastery, movable or im-: { marvel greatly that ye think so;

but rather, movable; but have rather increased the that you would have thought us light and same, never having leased any farm or hasty in giving up that thing, which it is piece of ground belonging to this house, not ours to give, being dedicated to Alotherwise than had been done in times past, mighty God for service to be done to His always under the convent seal, for the weal honor continually, together with many good of the house. And, therefore, my very deeds of charity, which are daily done in trust is, that I shall find the king as gracious this house to our Christian neighbors. And lord to me, as he is to all other his subjects, considering that there is no cause given by seeing I have not offended; and am, and us, why the house should be put down, but will be, most obedient to his gracious com that the service of God, religious conversamands at all times, by the grace of Al

* The following are notices extracted from Crummighty Jesus, who ever preserve you, in well's private memoranda: honor long to endure to his pleasure. Amen.

Item. The abbot of Reading to be sent down to Godstow, the 5th day of November.

be tried and executed at Reading, with his accom

plices. Your most bounden beadswoman,

Item.—The abbot of Glastonbury to be tried at KATHARINE BULKELEY, Abbess there.

Glaston, and also to be executed there, with his accomplices.

tion of the brethren, hospitality, alms deeds, with all other our duties, are as well observed in this poor house, as in any religious house in this realm, or in France; which things we trusted that the king's grace would consider. But, because you write of the king's high displeasure, and my lord privy Seal's, who ever hath been my special good lord, and I trust yet will be, I will endeavor as much as I may to persuade my brethren to a conformity in this matter; so that neither the king's highness, nor my said good lord, shall have any cause to be displeased with us; trusting that my poor brethren, who know not where to have their living, may be charitably looked upon. Thus our Lord Jesus preserve you in grace.” Ed. Hord.

Hinton, the 10th day of February.

To his brother Allen Hord in the middle temple.

The following is a list of the inmates of Lacock Abbey, at the time of the dissolution, and of the annual pensions assigned

them. To Johanna Themys, abbess, £40: to Elenor Monmouth, prioress, £5; to Anne Brydges, Amy Patsall, Ellen Bennet, £4 each; to Margaret Leggetton, Elizabeth Wylson, Elizabeth Baynton, Agness Bygner, and Margaret Welshe, £3 6s. 8d. each; to Johanna Marshall, and Elizabeth Wye, £3 each; to Elenor Basdale, and Anne Trace, £2 13s. 4d. each; and to Scholastica Hewes, Elenor Maundrel and Thomasina Jerves, £2 each.

The imagination may faintly conceive, but what language can adequately express, the feelings of forlorn destitution which must have weighed down the hearts of these poor women, some of them, perhaps, having sacrificed friends and expectations in life, and now to find themselves turned adrift, to seek where they might a sojourn, till earth should receive their ashes.

Some natural tears they dropped, but wiped them

soon : The world was all before them, where to seek Their place of rest, and Providence their guide.

A LETTER ON PRAYERS FOR THE DEAD.

I

DEAR N

to explain the nature of our belief in the doctrine of purgatory, or a middle state of souls; and to show you our reasons for praying for the souls of the faithful therein detained. Of all the doctrines of the Catholic Church, there is perhaps no one, if we except confession, less generally understood, and more misrepresented than that of purgatory; and yet why should it be so? Is it not a consoling belief, a cheering thought, that though the cold grave has closed over the countenance on which we once loved to gaze,-though the eye that once sparkled with all the joy of a fond father's or a loving mother's heart, is now bedimmed in death, and we hear no longer the endearing accents of a parent's, a brother's, a sister's, or a child's voice, we can still follow them beyond that grave into the very regions of eternity,—that we can go in spirit

in search of those cherished objects before the throne of God; and if we find them not enthroned in all the splendor of the Deity, we can search and find them advancing towards the land of eternity, in a state of temporary probation, preparing for their entrance into the promised land, heaven, their home, their true country? And oh! is it not consoling to us to believe and to know that heaven has placed it in our power to aid them in that preparation, and by our prayers, alms-deeds, and supplications, to abridge the period of their exile from the beatific vision of their God ? Such is the firm and settled belief of Catholicssuch the doctrine of the true Church. I will not, my dear friend, for the task would be almost as useless as it would be endless, attempt a refutation of the many unkind and absurd arguments advanced against this doctrine. To do so would be to treat

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