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Spelman Hist., and fate of Sacr., with addit., and fate of proprietors. 2 edit., 8vo., 1853.
Division of Gresham's Property. Cal. Inq. P. M. G. Will recited. 1553. Pensions charged in 1553. 2d Rep., p. 207. V. 5, p. 233. 1555. 2 and 3 Ph. and M. Scrutiny to be made for lead, bells, jewels, that
belonged to abbeys. Addit. MS., 4624, 86.
Annuities formerly paid out of Aug. off., 1569-1608. 2 Rept., p. 243.
VOL. III. 'PREF. Disputes with churches about tithes.
Claus. 12 H. III. Sheriff of York to cause procl, to be made against giving lands held in capite to Religious houses, &c. Vide D. K., 27 Rep., p. 73.
Parlt. Rolls and Petitions.
Mr. Walbran never lived to write the Preface of which he has given us the heads. The first volume, as has been already stated, was published in 1863. The preparations for its successor began immediately afterwards. But in addition to this labour Mr. Walbran undertook a History of the Parish of Halifax, and was engaged also on a genealogical search requiring the minutest care, in which he was happily successful. Into these pursuits he threw himself with an enthusiasm of which few, if any, are capable. Visit after visit was paid to London and Oxford and other places, and the hours of the day were too brief for the unsated student. He would work, for instance, at the Bodleian during the whole day, and then, when the place was closed, would carry his books with him to the Radcliffe library, and work as long as he was permitted to stay. And this went on without intermission for months. On another occasion he went through a large portion of the early court rolls of the manor of Wakefield, a somewhat dreary task, as most persons will allow. It was otherwise with Mr. Walbran. He was in the seventh heaven of enjoyment. “My only regret is (as he wrote to me) that I have to eat and to sleep.” And so he would work on until his
immediate object was attained, or he was thoroughly worn out, and then he would return to his home at Ripon, more exhausted than he liked to confess, to digest and systematize the treasures of information which he had amassed. •
It was after one of these literary expeditions, in April, 1868, that his last illness came upon bim at Ripon. He was sitting in his work room, a place detached from his dwelling house and reached by a stair of stone, surrounded by a chaos of papers, with a few books of reference on a little shelf in the corner. His occupation was index-making, when all at once he was smitten with paralysis which took captive the two parts of his system on which he most relied, his speech and his right hand. Curiously enough, Mr. Hodgson, the historian of Northumberland, whom Walbran ever spoke of with admiration and respect, was engaged on the same work when the same disease found him out. Hodgson recovered so far as to make some use of the speech that he had lost, and of the hand which had been benumbed; Walbran lingered on for a year in the same pitiable condition. He could utter a syllable or two occasionally, and generally preserved much of his intelligence of old persons and things, but not a word could he speak for the future, and the pen, which literally dropped from his hand when the disease first struck him, never came between his fingers again. Old friends came to see him and did their best to bring the comfort which he so sorely needed, and the tears would come into his eyes when they spoke of old familiar themes, such as Fountains and the Saint of Clairvaux, or other matters of weightier and nearer import. He drank in everything that was said, and his struggles to speak one single word in reply were painful to witness. It was all in vain. The speech was sealed and the hand was chilled, and there was no change until the last, which came to the sufferer after many months of patient endurance, on the 9th of April, 1869.
This volume goes forth as the last memorial of a painstaking and kind-hearted scholar. The text ends where he left it. The
Appendix consists chiefly of the papers which their author prepared for the Yorkshire Architectural Society, on the Cistercian abbeys in that county, and they appear here by the kind permission of that body. In themselves they are essentially connected with the subject matter of this volume. The account of the Lords of Studley is a little work known hitherto only to a few. When it was compiled, the author was denied access to many material sources of information. The Editor therefore has not scrupled to make great alterations in the text by his corrections and additions.
Mr. Walbran fills a worthy place on the roll of Yorkshire antiquaries. His earliest efforts were all directed towards the history of that county. Almost from childhood his aspiration was to be the historian of the Wapentake of Claro, in which his home was situated. The avocations of a professional life delayed this project, although he never gave it up. Afterwards, in more recent years, when the project of a great Yorkshire county history was mooted, and volunteers were sought to take the charge of particular districts, Mr. Walbran undertook that portion of the Wapentake of Morley which contains the extensive parish of Halifax. He was engaged upon this at the time of his illness, but the work is incomplete. The only historical work of his that stamps him as possessing the capacity of a county historian, is a history of Gainford, in the county of Durham, which deserves to be much better known than it is. .
It was impossible for an ardent and enthusiastic temperament. like that of Mr. Walbran to escape the influence of the abbey of Fountains, which was so near to his home. When Montalembert beheld those ruins, so touched was he by the sight that he threw himself on his knees in what was then known as the cloisters of the abbey, and vowed to devote the rest of his life to the history of monasticism. The result of this vow was “the Monks of the West.” To Walbran the same ruins were familiar objects from his childhood, and he soon learned the lesson which it was
their mission to deliver. It was to his influence with Earl de Grey that the clearing out and the strengthening of the ruins is due. Not only did he superintend the excavations, but he almost lived on the spot whilst they were going on. It was with the same enthusiasm that he afterwards undertook for the Surtees Society the publication of the Records of the abbey. His zeal in the cause led him far beyond the annals of the single house which enthralled him. The history of the whole Cistercian Order became a speciality to him, and he was probably better acquainted with its literature and fortunes than any other scholar in Europe. No one who reads the two volumes of the “Memorials of Fountains” can fail to be struck with the varied information contained in the annotations. These were written for the first time on the margins of the slips which came to him from his printer. His old friend, Mr. Harrison, of Ripon, one of the worthiest and most genial of men, had the charge of the typography, and so fond was he of the theme, that he set with his own hands the greater part of the type of the first volume. The author and the printer bore each other a great love, and were within a few hundred yards of each other when the work was going through the press.
Mr. Walbran laboured under certain drawbacks. He never received a careful classical education, and to a comparatively late period of his life had very little acquaintance with original evidences. His professional career at Ripon did not allow him to be long absent from home, and his knowledge of antiquity was derived chiefly by making himself acquainted with the labours of others. To the end of his life he had very little personal knowledge of those vast stores of historical and ecclesiastical information contained in the Registry at York. It was to London and Oxford that he flew in the last years of his life, and the mere sight of his extracts is enough to shew the vast range of his reading. At the Record Office he was probably better acquainted with the various Catalogues and Deputykeeper's Reports than any Officer within the walls. I have heard amusing stories of the way in which, at' times when he was annoyed at something, he would somewhat maliciously perplex a bewildered official by asking for a document, the repository of which he was himself in the end obliged to point out. At Oxford he turned over every page of Dodsworth’s writings. He had scarcely time to systematize the vast stores of knowledge which he had acquired. If his life had been spared for a few more years he would have taken a far higher place among the historical students of the country.
It is fitting that the members of the Surtees Society should know that the whole cost of the present volume, and of the illustrations in both, is an offering from a munificent VicePresident, Mr. Akroyd, of Halifax, in whom Mr. Walbran in his weakness found a firm friend. The same generous patron of literature and art has purchased the historian's MSS., and has deposited them in the library of the Dean and Chapter of York, that they may be ready for use and reference when any one is found worthy to take up the prophet's mantle. The materials for the completion of the Memorials of Fountains Abbey are among them.