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documents transferred by Mr. Messenger along with the abbey to Mr. Aislabie, and now in the muniment room at Studley Royal. If this supposition should prove to be correct, it would relieve the minds of many antiquaries, and others interested in the history of the North, from a suspicion that a number of books which Mr. Messenger had in his house at Cayton were subsequently either lost or unfortunately dispersed by the family to whom he bequeathed his real estates. Circumstances in the history of the family have rendered all enquiries futile. Several members of old County families believe, however, that all Mr. Messenger's books went with his other personalty to the Tunstalls; and the indications in the MSS. in question, and the remembrance of Sir John Ingilby having been a buyer of old books when Mr. Messenger's personal property was dispersed, seem to point to the real facts of a case which has received hitherto much fruitless and tedious investigation.
J. R. W.
ny of the mounts ; and fually to be to minute
Prior Swynton's account book.—The MS. marked No. 25, is ascertained to be neither a Compotus of the Bursar or the Celalrer of Fountains, as has been supposed ; 'but a memorandum or account book kept chiefly by Prior Swynton, who took a very active part in the management of the secular affairs of the monastery, of which he became Abbot in 1471.
The volume, therefore, contains a large amount of minute detail, and information of a character not usually to be found in monastic or other mediæval accounts ; and furnishes illustrations of the domestic economy of the house, which could not have been derived from any other source. The subjects are necessarily not arranged in strict order, but generally speaking, may be comprehended as follows.
Statements of accounts between the Abbot and his tenants and servants. Expenses and other monies paid by Swynton for the house. Payments made to him for rent, cattle, corn, and other goods. Accounts of cattle received as part of rent, and especially from Allerdale in Cumberland ; and their distribution among their tenants for agistment, or dispersion by sale. Purchases of live stock and corn. Issues of corn, at stated periods, from certain Abbey-Granges, in payment of debts and for the use of the house. Lists of debts, chiefly arrears of rent, owing to the Abbot. A rental of part of the Wheldrake estate. There are, also, towards the end of the book, some curious memoranda of the receipts of wool from the celebrated sheep-shearings in
Craven, and an alphabetical list of the servants of the monastery, and their several occupations.
At a period when the use of money, as a circulating medium, was extremely limited, the statements of account which occupy the greater part of the book, present some singular instances of the modes by which its absence was supplied. Not only did the Abbot receive all kinds of farming produce, such as corn, malt, cattle, butter and cheese, in part of payment, but also linen and woollen cloth and other articles of manufacture. These he paid again to the creditors of the Abbey ; and the natural inference is fully corroborated that to manage such a system, even with tolerable success, a greater amount of energy and worldly shrewdness was required than many persons now supposed was to be found within the walls of a Convent. The great difficulty of making even small payments in specie is very strongly marked and there are several instances where the Bursar had to use some activity, and to ride far and long, after the fashion of country tradesmen of the present day, to raise a comparatively trifling sum that was urgently required. On the 7th leaf from the end of the MS. will be found the detailed result of the joint endeavours of the Bursar and Swynton among the tenants in Craven, to raise in cattle, sheep, money, or whatever they could obtain, the sum of 91. to be paid " Thomæ Clapham,” to whose name the ominous addition of Ballivo” is appended; and on the 9th leaf, in the same direction, a note to the effect that 14 pieces of lead had been disposed of, to a merchant at Ripon, in partpayment of 201., which he had advanced to the Abbot when he was about to travel to London.
A great variety of amusing and interesting incidents occur in the account of monies paid by Swynton during his absence from home, and his transactions with different persons, as the following instances may shew.-In 1453, the Abbot, on his journey to Harlsey castle, near Northallerton, to baptise a child of Sir James Strangwayes, lost his way, and gave a boy called Tyrwhyte, twopence for directing his path through a wood.—A young man called Currer, “ pro labore suo cum uno equo, ad monasterium” was rewarded with twopence.—Two men who drove cattle from Allerdale to Fountains, were paid a shilling.“ An oblation of fourpence was made to the church of Ripon for obtaining the iron (of St. Wilfrid) for burning the cattle at Warsall. --Swynton's expenses at Brimham and in Nidderdale, surveying the cattle for four days, amounted to eightpence. At a meeting at Ripon, eightpence was paid for sweet wine for the Abbot, who otherwise seems to have preferred it.—Six salt-fish
bought for the Abbot's kitchen cost twenty-pence.—The expenses of the Abbot's journey to Middleham, to speak with Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury, victor of the battle of St. Albans, twenty-two-pence.—And at Ripon, fourpence, when, attended by Swynton, he baptised the son of Roger Ward of Givendale.The minstrels of the Lord Poynings have twelvepence given to them.—In 1455, Swynton overlooks the planting of a hedge at “ Mildeby” near Boroughbridge, between the tenement of the Abbey and the land of John Ingleby.—The expenses of a sheep shearing, eightpence.—When the Prior of Newminster brought Abbot Greenwell a present of “ selfysch” he was rewarded with two ells of black cloth of the value of eight shillings.-Swynton bought a “ felt-hatt ” 6 pro equitacione” at a cost of tenpence.
-A comparative idea of the value of their money may be formed from the fact that in 1456 wheat was sold at Xs. the quarter ; rye, 3s. 4d. ; barley, 38.; oats, ls. 4d. A good cow was worth ten shillings. A carpenter could earn fivepence a day. A man thrashing wheat, threepence per quarter; barley, twopence ; green peas, 2 d. ; grey peas, twopence; oats, twopence.
A remarkable facts is recorded on the 99th folio of the M.S., which when made public will doubtless lead to some speculation among historical students. One William Hudson, a blacksmith at Aldfield, in enumerating the deductions which he claimed from his account, “ petit pro medicinis emptis filio domini Clifford xxd”. The particular date is not mentioned, but from the heading of the “ Compotus actus” it would be in the 33rd Henry VI., 1454-5. If the circumstance occurred before the 22nd of May, 1454, the patient might have been the “ Blackfaced Clifford,” whose father was slain on that day at the battle of St. Albans. But if by the “ Lord Clifford ” was intended the ferocious " Butcher ” himself, then the incident is rendered even still more interesting by the probability that the son was none other than the “ Shepherd Lord,” then an helpless infant, whose subsequent concealment among the peasantry has been immortalized by Wordsworth. In either case it must remain a matter of curious speculation why a child of the all-powerful house of Clifford was left penniless in the cottage of a blacksmith, under the very shadow of the Abbey, and why the Abbot was afterwards requested to pay for medicines; which in the case of “Black-faced Clifford," perhaps protracted his life to become a curse to his fellow creatures, and a pestilent instrument of desolation.
(There is a description of the Ingilby MSS. in the Sixth Report of the Commission for Historical MSS.) June, 1864.
(J. R. W.)
V.-EXCAVATIONS OF THE ABBEY.
OBSERVATIONS ON THE NECESSITY OF CLEARING
CONVENTUAL CHURCH OF FOUNTAINS.
At the recent visit of the British Archæological Institute to the ruins of Fountains abbey.--although the care and attention with which that celebrated structure is preserved, elicited the praise and commendation of the several distinguished members then present—there appeared to be a unanimous persuasion that the development not only of its architectural, but also of its picturesque beauties, is not fully and satisfactorily attained ; and that it was incumbent on me, as local secretary here, and also as one who has devoted considerable research to the history and architecture of the abbey, to make such a representation of the case to the Central Committee of the Institute, as might enable it (if it was considered to be within the scope of that influence it'proposes to direct for the maintenance of our National Antiquities) to draw the attention of the noble owner to the fact, in a manner that might be deemed more respectful and persuasive than the mere suggestion of a solitary individual.
In order to explain why such a necessity exists, and how it was occasioned, after all the care and expense that, it is well known has been, during many years, bestowed on the abbey, it will be necessary to suggest a few remarks on its history subsequent to its dissolution.
It will be remembered that, at the time of the Reformation, the abbey of Fountains was one of the most magnificent and extensive structures, as well as one of the most powerful and wealthy monastic foundations in the kingdom. The church and the domestic offices had been built at an early period, when an accession of princely grants and donations had enabled the abbots to gratify their architectural inclinations, on the noblest scale, while the solidity of the Anglo-Norman mode of construction had secured both against hasty reform or dangerous decay. The space that remained covered by them, when their utility was at an end, is said to have been about twelve acres. After the surrender of the house, the work of destruction was not urged with that demoniac fury that was usually displayed at other
(1) A Paper addressed to the Central Committee of the Archæological Institute in 1846. It was this Paper which originated the Excavations at Fountains Abbey.
places; and, generally speaking, little more than the timber and lead of the roofs, the glass of the windows, and the internal fita tings and furniture were removed. Immediately after the expulsion of the monks, the king granted the site of the abbey, with many of its possessions, to Sir R. Gresham of London, who, being non-resident, and having few tenants in the immediate neighbourhood, could not convert it into a stone quarry ; while its sequestered situation protected it from the sacrilegious hands of the inhabitants of Ripon and the adjacent country. In 1596, it was sold by Gresham's family to Sir Stephen Procter, who, being attracted by the beauty of the place, could unfortunately, think of no other materials wherewith to build his mansion, than the walls of the monastery. For this purpose however, I would believe he took little more than the outbuildings; and the venera able and picturesque appearance that the house has now assumed, accords so well with the surrounding scene, that it materially mitigates the regret with which the antiquary would otherwise contemplate so wide a scene of spoliation. After Procter's decease, the estate passed restlessly through various hands, none of whom resided on the spot, or cared for the preservation of the abbey ; until, in the middle of the seventeenth century, it was carried by a heiress into the family of Messenger, who, if they did not sufficiently protect it, did as much as their Romish creed would allow, without exciting suspicion, to preserve it from violence and sacrilege. During their possession, and in 1682, Thoresby, the historian of Leeds, recorded in his Diary that he saw it 6 full of trees in the very body of it;” and in this condition, “a noble wreck in ruinous perfection," it appears, from drawings and prints, to have remained until Mr. Messenger, in 1767, sold it to William Aislabie, Esq., the owner of the adjoining estate of Studley Royal. Mr. Aislabie had, naturally, long coveted its possession, as an invaluable addition to his celebrated Grounds, and immediately on obtaining possession, unfortunately set about, in the wretched taste of his time, to harmonize the crumbling and desolated relics of antiquity, with the trim neatness of his velvet lawns and gay parterres. The tourist Gilpin, of Boldre, visited the abbey when these operations were in progress, and in his “ Observations relative chiefly to Picturesque Beauty, made in the year 1772," has left an indignant commentary on what he had not patience to describe sufficiently. “A few fragments,” says he, “scattered around the body of a ruin are proper and picturesque. They are proper, because they account for what is defaced; and they are picturesque, because