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Title: Highways and Byways in Cambridge and Ely

Author: John William Edward Conybeare

Illustrator: Frederick Landseer Maur Griggs

Release date: February 1, 2012 [eBook #38735]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Colin Bell, Christine P. Travers and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at (This
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Ely Cathedral. Western Tower.

Highways and Byways
Cambridge and Ely




Richard Clay and Sons, Limited.

(p. vii) PREFACE

The Highways of Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely are usually regarded as unattractive compared with those of England in general. Nor is this criticism wholly unfair. The county does lack the features which most make for picturesque rural scenery. There are no high hills, little even of undulation, and, what is yet more fatal, a sad sparsity of timber. The Highways, then, seem to the traveller merely stretches of ground to be got over as speedily as may be, and he rejoices that their flatness lends itself so well to this end.

It is however far otherwise with the Byways. These abound with picturesque nooks and corners. In every village charming features are to be found,—thatched and timbered cottages, hedgerow elms, bright willow-shaded watercourses, old-time village greens, and, above all, old-time village churches, often noble, and never without artistic and historical interest of high order. Few counties better repay exploration than Cambridgeshire.

And if the Highways are devoid of attraction during their course through the country districts, they make up for it by the supreme beauty and interest of their passage through the towns. Cambridge itself is, as all know, amongst the loveliest and most interesting places in existence, with its world-famed colleges and its epoch-making history. And Ely stands in the very first rank amongst the glorious cathedrals of England.

To introduce my readers, then, to the unique interest of these two places, with special regard to the points mostly passed over in guide-books, has been my chief purpose in the (p. viii) following pages. And to those who may think that a disproportionate amount of my space has been allotted to these, I would apologise by reminding them that the vast majority of travellers perforce confine their visits to such special centres, and have no time for exploring country lanes. But those who can make the time will find it (as this book, I hope, will show them) time well spent, and their exploration no small treat.

I need scarcely add that on such well-worn themes originality is hardly possible, and that I have made use both of my own earlier writings on the subject, and of those of others, my debt to whom I gratefully acknowledge. Most especially am I bound to do so with regard to Messrs. Atkinson and Clark, whose monumental work "Cambridge Described" is a veritable mine of information, and to Professor and Mrs. Hughes for the help which I have found in their "County Geography of Cambridgeshire."

Edward Conybeare.

(p. ix) CONTENTS


Cambridge Greenery. — The Backs. — The Lawns. — Logan's Views. — Old Common Fields. — Old Cambridge. — Origin of Cambridge. — The Castle. — Camboritum. — Granta-ceaster. — Danes in Cambridge. — Cambridgeshire formed. — Battle of Ringmere. — Norman Conquest. — The Jewry. — Religious Houses. — Rise of University. — Town and Gown. — Proctors. — The Colleges. — Examinations. — College Life. — Cambridge and Oxford 1


Entrance to Cambridge. — Railways. — Roman Catholic Church. — Street runlets, Hobson, Perne. — Fitzwilliam Museum. — Peterhouse, Chapel, Deer-park. — Little St. Mary's Church, Washington Arms. — Gray's window. — Pembroke College, Large and Small Colleges, "Querela Cantabrigiensis," Ridley's Farewell. — St. Botolph's Church. — The King's Ditch. — Corpus Christi College, Cambridge Guilds, St. Benet's Church, Firehooks, Corpus Library, Corpus Ghost. — St. Catherine's College. — King's Parade. — Pitt Press. — Newnham Bridge, Hermits. — The Backs River, College Bridges, Hithes 20


Queens' College, Erasmus, Cloisters, Carmelites, Chapel. — Old Mill Street. — King's College, Henry VI, King's and Eton, Henry's "Will." — King's College Chapel, Wordsworth, Milton, Windows, Rosa Solis, Screens, Stalls, Vaulting, Side-Chapels, View from Roof 47


Spiked gates. — Old Kings. — University Library, Origin, Growth, Codex Bezæ. — Trinity Hall, Colours, Library. — Clare College, "Poison Cup," Court, Bridge, Avenue. — The Backs, Sirdar Bonfire, College Gardens. — Trinity College, Michaelhouse, King's Hall, Henry VIII, Boat-clubs, Avenue, College Livings, Bridge, Library, Byron, Nevile's Court, Cloisters, Echo, "Freshman's Pillar," Prince Edward, Royal Ball, Goodhart, Buttery, College Plate, Grace-cup, Kitchen, Hall, Combination Room, Marquis of Granby, Tutors, Old Court, Fountain, Gate Towers, Clock, Lodge, Chapel, Newton, Organ, Bentley, Windows, Macaulay 78


Whewell's Courts. — All Saints' Cross. — The Jewry. — Divinity School. — St. John's College, Trinity and John's, Lady Margaret, Fisher, Hospital of St. John, Gate Tower, First Court, Hall, Wordsworth, Compulsory Worship, Combination Room, Second Court, Library, Great Bible, Third Court, Bridge of Sighs, New Court, Roof-climbing, Blazers, Wilderness. — Caius College, Gonville, The Three Gates, Kitchen, "Blues." — Senate House, Congregations, Vice-Chancellor, Voting, Degree-giving. — University Church, Mr. Tripos, Golgotha, Sermons, Tower, Chimes, Jowett. — Market Hill, Peasant Revolt, Wat Tyler, Bucer and Fagius, Bonfires, Town and Gown 108


Round Church. — Union Society. — The "Great Bridge," Hithe. — Magdalene College, Buckingham College, Pepys, Charles Kingsley, the "College Window," Master's Garden. — Castle Hill, Camboritum, Cromwell's Rampart, Repulse of Charles I, the "Borough," View from Castle. — St. Peter's Church. — "School of Pythagoras." — Westminster College. — Ridley Hall. — Newnham College.Selwyn College. — Convent of St. Radegund, Bishop Alcock. — Midsummer Common. — Boat Houses, Bumping Races. — Jesus College, "Chimney," Cloisters, Chapter House, Chapel, Cranmer, Coleridge 132


Sidney College, Oliver Cromwell, Fellow Commoners. — Holy Trinity, Simeon, Henry Martyn. — Christ's College, "God's House," Lady Margaret, Flogging of Students, Bathing forbidden, (p. xi) Milton, Lycidas, Gardens, Paley, Darwin. — Great St. Andrew's, Bishop Perry. — Emmanuel College, Harvard, Sancroft, Chapel, Ponds. — University Museums. — Downing College, Miss Edgeworth. — Coe Fen. — First Mile Stone. — Barnwell, Priory, Abbey Church. — Lepers' Chapel, Stourbridge Fair, Vanity Fair 151


Roads from Cambridge. — Cambs and Isle of Ely, Girvii, East Angles, Mercians, Formation of County. — Newmarket Road. — Quy. — Fleam Dyke. — Devil's Dyke. — Icknield Way. — Iceni, Ostorius, Boadicea. — Newmarket Heath, First Racing. — Exning, Anna. — Snailwell. — Fordham. — Soham, St. Felix. — Stuntney. — Wicken. — Chippenham. — Isleham, Lectern. — Eastern Heights. — Chevely, Cambridge Corporation. — Kirtling. — Wood Ditton. — Stetchworth. — Borough Green. — Bottisham. — Swaffham Bulbeck. — The Lodes. — Swaffham Prior. — Reach, Peat, Submerged Forest. — Burwell, Church, Clunch, Brass, Castle, Geoffry de Magnaville 168


Hills Road. — Gog Magogs. — Vandlebury. — Babraham, Peter Pence. — Old Railway. — Hildersham, Brasses, Clapper Stile. — Linton. — Horseheath. — Bartlow, St. Christopher, Battle of Assandun. — Cherry Hinton, War Ditches, Saffron. — Teversham. — Fulbourn, Brasses. — Wilbraham. — Fleam Dyke, Wild Flowers, Butterflies, Ostorius, Last Cambs Battle. — Balsham, Battle of Ringmere, Massacre, Church Brasses, Grooved Stones 201


London Road. — Trumpington, Church, Brass, Chaucer's Mill, Byron's Pool, Upper River. — Grantchester, Church. — Cam and Granta. — The Shelfords. — Sawston, Old-world Industries, Hall, Hiding-Hole, "Little John." — Whittlesford, Old Hospital. — Duxford. — Triplow Heath, Civil War. — Fowlmere, Hinxton, Sacring Bell. — Ickleton, Monolith Pillars. — Chesterford. — Icknield Way. — Saffron Walden 219


London Road. — Hauxton Bridge, Indulgences, Church, Becket Fresco. — Burnt Mill. — Haslingfield. — White Hill, View, Clunch Pits, Chapel, Papal Bulla. — Barrington, Green, Church, Porch (p. xii) Seats, Chest, Fountains, Finds, Coprolite Digging, Hall. — Foxton. — Shepreth. — Meldreth, Parish Stocks. — Melbourn, Shipmoney. — Royston, Origin, Cave, Heath. — Bassingbourn, Old Accounts, Villenage. — Black Death. — Ashwell, Source of Cam, Church, Graffiti. — Akeman Street. — Barton Butts. — Comberton Maze. — Harlton Church, Old Pit. — Orwell Maypole, Church, Epitaph. — Wimpole Hall, Queen Victoria. — Arrington. — Shingay, Hospitallers, Fairy Cart. — Wendy. — Artesian Wells. — Guilden Morden, Screen, St. Edmund, Confessionals 235


Oxford Road, Observatory, Neptune, Cambridge Discoveries. — Coton. — Madingley. — Hardwick. — Toft, St. Hubert. — Childerley, Charles I. — Knapwell. — Bourn. — Caxton. — Eltisley, St. Pandiania, Storm. — St. Neot's, Neotus and Alfred. — Paxton Hill. — Godmanchester, Port Meadow. — Huntingdon, Cromwell's Penance. — The Hemingfords. — St. Ives. — Holywell. — Overcote. — Earith, the Bedford Rivers, "Parallax" 265


Island of Ely. — Haddenham. — Aldreth, Conqueror's Causeway, Belsars Hill. — Wilburton. — Sutton. — Wentworth. — Via Devana. — Girton, College. — Oakington, Holdsworth. — Elsworth. — Conington, Ancient Bells. — Long Stanton, Queen Elizabeth. — Willingham, Stone Chamber. — Over, Gurgoyles. — Swavesey, Finials. — Ely Road. — Chesterton. — Fen Ditton. — Milton, Altar Rails. — Horningsea. — Bait's Bite, Start of Race. — Clayhithe. — Waterbeach. — Car Dyke. — Denny. — Stretham. — Upware. — Wicken Fen. 282


Ely. — Island and Isle. — St. Augustine. — St. Etheldreda, Life, Death, Burial, St. Audrey's Fair. — Danish Sack of Ely. — Alfred's College. — Abbey Restored. — Brithnoth, Song of Maldon. — Battle of Assundun. — Canute at Ely. — Edward the Confessor. — Alfred the Etheling. — Camp of Refuge, Hereward, Norman Conquest, Tabula Eliensis, Nomenclature, Norman Minster. — Bishops of Ely, Rule over Isle. — Ely Place, Ely House 303


Bishop Northwold. — Presbytery Dedicated. — Barons at Ely. — Fall of Tower, Alan of Walsingham, Octagon. — Queen Philippa. — Lady Chapel, John of Wisbech, Bishop Goodrich. — Bishop Alcock. — Bishop (p. xiii) West. — Styles of Architecture. — Monastic Industries. — Mediæval Account Books. — Clothing and Food of Monks. — Benedictine Rule. — Dissolution of Abbey. — Bishop Thirlby. — Bishop Wren. — Bishop Gunning. — Bishop Turner 324


Approach to Ely. — The Park. — Walpole Gate. — Crauden Chapel. — Western Tower, Galilee. — Nave. — Baptistery. — Roof. — Prior's Door. — Cloisters. — Owen's Cross. — Octagon. — Alan's Grave. — Transepts. — St. Edmund's Chapel. — Choir Stalls. — Presbytery. — Norman Piers. — Reredos. — Candlesticks 344


Monuments. — West's Chapel. — Alcock's Chapel. — Northwold Cenotaph. — Bassevi. — Shrine of Etheldreda. — Lady Chapel. — View from Tower. — Triforium. — Exterior of Minster. — Palace, "Duties" of Goodrich. — St. Mary's. — St. Cross. — Cromwell's House. — Cromwell at Ely. — St. John's Farm. — Theological College. — Waterworks. — Basket-making 366


Boundary of Fens. — Roman Works, Car Dyke, Sea Wall, Causeway. — Archipelago. — Littleport, Agrarian Riots. — Denver Sluice. — Roslyn Pit. — Fenland Abbeys, Chatteris, Ramsey, Peterborough, Thorney, Crowland 386


Draining of Fens — Monastic Works, Morton's Learn. — Diversion of Ouse. — Local Government, Jurats, Discontent. — Jacobean polemics. — First Drainage Company. — Rising of Fen-men. — Second Company, Huguenot Labourers. — Third Company, Earl of Bedford, Vermuyden. — Old River. — Cromwell. — Fourth Company, Prisoner Slaves, New River, Denver Sluice. — Later Developments 398


Coveney. — Manea. — Doddington. — March, Angel Roof. — Whittlesea. — Old Course of Ouse, Well Stream. — Upwell, Outwell. — Emneth. — Elm. — The Marshland — West Walton. — Walsoken. — Walpole. — Cross Keys. — Leverington. — Tydd. — Wisbech, Church, Trade, Castle, Catholic Prisoners, Clarkson. — The Wash. — King John. 409




(p. 1)

St. Benet's Church and Corpus Christi College.



Cambridge Greenery.—The "Backs."—The Lawns.—Logan's Views.—Old Common Fields.—Old Cambridge.—Origin of Cambridge.—The Castle.—Camboritum.—Granta-ceaster.—Danes in Cambridge.—Cambridgeshire formed.—Battle of Ringmere.—Norman Conquest.—The Jewry.—Religious Houses.—Rise of University.—Town and Gown.—Proctors.—The Colleges.—Examinations.—College Life.—Cambridge and Oxford.

Cambridge has been described by an appreciative American novelist as "a harmony in grey and green." And indeed it is true that few towns are so shot through and through with greenery. The London Road enters the place through two miles of umbrageous leafage; wide, open spaces of grass-land—Stourbridge Common, Midsummer Common, Coldham Common, Empty Common, Donkey Common, Peter's Field, (p. 2) Parker's Piece, Christ's Pieces, Jesus Green, Sheep's Green, Coe Fen—penetrate from the outskirts, north, south, and east, right to the heart of the town; while the world-famous "Backs," where the road runs beneath ancestral elms, between a continuous series of bowery College gardens and precincts—Queens', King's, Clare, Trinity, St. John's—with their beckoning vistas of long avenues of lime and chestnut, ring it in to the west, and form a scene of park-like loveliness to be found nowhere else on earth. Port Meadow, at Oxford, and the Magdalen Walks, furnish the nearest comparison; but only to show how far in front Cambridge stands in greenery. Even inside the Colleges this precedence shows itself; for in Cambridge every College Court in the place, almost without exception, unlike so many of the "Quads" of Oxford, has its central grass-plot.

These lawns, it may be noted, are sacrosanct, not to be profaned by the foot of anyone but a Fellow of the College[1] itself. No outsider, from another College, however high in academic rank, may, unless accompanied by a Fellow, cross over them; still less any member of the College, old or young, who is not himself a Fellow, nor any casual visitor, even of the privileged sex. Should any such attempt be made, the College porters will politely, but quite firmly, remove the transgressor. This convention is absolutely necessary for the very existence of the greensward, which, if allowed to be traversed by all-comers, would speedily be cut up and ruined.

This greenery, however, is a comparatively recent development in the history of Cambridge, most of it dating no further back than the latter half of the seventeenth century. In the last decade of that century an artist named David Logan (or Loggan), said to have been of Danish nationality but Scotch extraction, made a series of views of the various Cambridge Colleges, elaborated with extraordinary care and fidelity. So truthful and observant was he that a mysterious bird, long a puzzle in his drawing of the great court of Trinity, has lately been discovered, by reference to the College muniments, to have been a tame eagle then kept by the Society. His views (p. 3) were reissued in 1905 by Mr. J. W. Clark, the greatest living authority on Cambridge antiquities, and should be consulted by all who are interested in the development of Cambridge. In these views the existing avenues in the College enclosures at the "Backs" may be observed, but all of young trees quite recently planted (as indeed we know to have been the case from the College records), while right up to these enclosures run open treeless fields, not meadows, but corn-land, where harvesters may be seen at work and sheep grazing upon the fallow land. Most of the now green Commons are in like manner shown to have been then under the plough.

The late Professor Maitland, whose recent death has been so irreparable a loss to Cambridge and to the whole historical side of English education, has shown (in his Township and Borough) how truly these views of Logan's represent the seventeenth century facts, and how, somewhat earlier, the arable fields had come even to the river bank on the west of the town; or, to use his own more accurate language, that the western fields of Cambridge extended to the river bank. Every old English town and village, it must be remembered, was in theory (and originally in practice) self-supporting, and contained within its boundary sufficient arable and pasture land to feed its own inhabitants and their cattle. These were known as the "Common Fields" of the place. They were not "Commons" in our modern sense of the word, but were divided into small holdings amongst the townsmen, each man's holding consisting of so many tiny strips, never more than an acre in extent, scattered as widely as possible to make things fair for all. They were cultivated upon the three course system; every landholder having the right to pasture a proportionate number of cattle on the fallow of the year, as well as in the Common Meadows. The Common Fields of Cambridge comprised about five square miles, with the inhabited part of the township nearly in the centre, and roughly coincided with the existing Parliamentary Borough, though somewhat more extensive.

This inhabited part, the mediæval town of Cambridge, was comprised, (at least from the tenth century to the eighteenth,) in the space bounded by the river on the west, and on the east by a ditch, known finally as the "King's Ditch," from having been widened by Henry the Third in the Barons' War. (p. 4) This ditch left the Cam at the "King's Mill," (the modern representative of which still stands just above Silver Street Bridge,) and proceeded along the line of Mill Lane, Pembroke Street, Tibbs Row, Hobson Street, and Park Street, to fall into the river again opposite Magdalene College. Beyond the "Great Bridge," from which the place derived its name, a small cluster of houses climbed the steep bank, on the summit of which stood the Castle. Our earliest records show this area as by no means thickly covered with houses. Not only the inhabitants, but all their cattle lived in it; so there must have been many little farmyards and gardens interspersed amongst the dwellings.

Domesday Book gives the number of these as only 400, and a couple of centuries later, in 1279, when the University was already in full existence, there were scarcely more. By the middle of the eighteenth century this number had trebled. But even in 1801, as may be seen in Lyson's plan of the town, the King's Ditch, which was then still an open watercourse, remained substantially the boundary of inhabited Cambridge. And the vast suburban extensions in the areas of Barnwell, Newnham, Chesterton, and Cherry Hinton are mostly very recent indeed; the bulk in fact belonging to the last half century. Their rise, and the continuous intrusion of ever fresh University and College buildings, has had the effect of once more depleting the area of mediæval Cambridge, which to-day contains barely 800 houses. The whole of the University buildings, whether ancient or modern, are contained within this area, with the exception of the Colleges of Peterhouse, Pembroke, Christ's and Jesus (which together with a few of the Museums, stand just beyond the Ditch), and the New Court of St. John's College, which is on the other side of the river, in the old Common Field. The ecclesiastical and feminine foundations similarly situated, Selwyn College, Westminster College, Ridley Hall, Newnham College, and Girton College, are not recognised by the University as being strictly "Colleges" at all.

Peterhouse Wall, Coe Fen.

Such was old Cambridge; with its eleven ancient parishes of St. Peter, St. Giles, St. Clement, Holy Trinity, St. Michael, St. Mary (the greater), St. Edward, St. Benet, St. Botolph, All Saints, and St. John (which was destroyed to make room for King's College). Before the twelfth century closed three (p. 6) more churches were added, those of the Holy Sepulchre, of St. Peter (now St. Mary's the less) outside the "Trumpington Gate," of St. Andrew (the greater) outside the Barnwell Gate, and St. Andrew (the less) in the detached suburb which grew up round the great "Abbey" (really an Augustinian Priory) of Barnwell.

Old Cambridge probably owed its constitution—(quite possibly its very existence)—to the genius with which "the Children of Alfred," Edward the Elder and his Sister, the "Lady of the Mercians," reorganised the Midlands after the great cataclysm of the Danish wars, which in the previous generation had swept over the district, obliterating all earlier landmarks and boundaries. One pirate horde, under the most renowned of all their chieftains, Guthrum—the deadliest antagonist, and afterwards the most faithful ally, of our great Alfred,—had for a space settled themselves in Cambridge, and from that strategic position overawed East Anglia on the one hand and Mercia on the other.[2]

The Cambridge which they sacked was not, however, as it would seem, the later mediæval town which we have been already considering, but a much smaller stronghold on the western bank of the River, comprising what is now known as "Castle End," and is still sometimes called "the Borough" par excellence. At this point the Cam, one bank or other of which is usually swampy even now, and was actually swamp in early days, is touched by higher and firmer ground on both sides. The height to the west is quite respectable, rising some eighty feet above the stream. Here, therefore, and here alone, was there of old any convenient passage-way for an army; the river elsewhere forming an almost insuperable barrier to military operations, from the Fens almost to its source. Such a site was sure to be amongst the earliest occupied; and we find, accordingly, that both Romans and Anglo-Saxons (presumably Mercians) successively held it. Most probably it was also a British site; but the great Castle mound, which earlier antiquaries attributed to the Britons, has been shown by Professor Hughes to be, mainly at least, a Norman work.

(p. 7) This site was the original Cambridge, and may even have been called by that very name in its earliest form. For it is hard not to identify the Roman settlement (which the spade shows to have existed here) with the "Camboritum," which from the "Itinerary of Antoninus" (an official road book, probably of the third century A.D.) must have been somewhere in this immediate neighbourhood. And the word Camboritum is plausibly derived from the British Cam Rhydd "the ford of the Cam." Cam (which, being interpreted, signifies crooked) may well have been the British name for a stream with so tortuous a course. But, if so, it was not continuously used, so far as records can tell us.

The Roman Camboritum doubtless shared the almost universal destruction of Roman stations which marked the English conquest of Britain; and the site is described as still "a waste chester" two centuries later, when the monks of Ely sought amid the ruins for a stone coffin in which to entomb their foundress, St. Ethelreda. By this time the older name both of the town and of the river seems to have been forgotten. The latter was called, by the English, the Granta, and the former was accordingly known only as Granta-ceaster—the chester, or ruined Roman city, upon the Granta. (It should be noted that the village now called Grantchester was, till comparatively recent days, known as Grant-set.)

Yet another century, and we find, in the days of King Egbert, the grandfather of Alfred and the first King acknowledged by the whole English nation, that a bridge had been built (or rebuilt) over the old ford; and therewith the old site of Camboritum had been reoccupied under the new name of Granta-bridge, by which it is known throughout mediæval history. We do not meet with "Cambridge" in literature till the fourteenth century, nor with "Cam" till almost the date of "Camus, reverend sire," in Milton's Lycidas.

However this may be, it is pretty certain that the Cambridge on which Guthrum, in the year 872, marched from Repton was the "Borough" of Castle End. After holding, or, as one chronicler (Gaimar) would have us believe, only besieging it, for a whole year, the Danish host hastily made off to Wareham in Dorsetshire, to take part in that life and death struggle in the west which began with Alfred's great naval victory off Swanage, then drove him into hiding at Athelney, and ended (p. 8) with the Peace of Wedmore. By that treaty all England north of the Watling Street was ceded to the Danes as an under-kingdom, the "Dane-Law"; Guthrum, now a Christian and Alfred's godson, being set on the throne. Cambridge thus became undisputedly a Danish town. The district around was divided "with a rope" (i.e. by chain measure) amongst the invaders, and submitted as an organic whole, some half century later, to King Edward the Elder. It was probably at this time that the town began to extend itself into the East Anglian district to the east of the Cam. (Throughout its whole length the river, with its marshy banks, was the boundary between the old English kingdoms of Mercia and East Anglia; and traces of this are to be found in the distinctive customs of adjoining villages, on one side or the other of the stream, even to this day.) The "Saxon," or Romanesque, tower of St. Benet's Church, may well be of this date, erected by the English inhabitants dispossessed of their homes in the Borough by the conquering Danes who lorded it over them.

After its submission to Edward the Elder, Cambridge began its career as a County Town, giving its name, (as was the case in nearly all these new Edwardian counties,) to the surrounding district, which thus became known as Grantabrig-shire. The name covered only the southern part of the present county; for the Isle of Ely was reconstituted under the ancient jurisdiction of its great abbots and bishops. To this day, indeed, it has its own separate County Council, and even a separate motor-car lettering. The new political unit soon began to display no small local patriotism; for we read that in the fatal battle of Ringmere, fought on Ascension Day, 1010, between the fresh Danish invaders, who were then pouring over the land, and the united forces of East Anglia under the hero Ulfcytel, "soon fled the East English. There stood Grantabryg-shire fast only."

The Backs, Clare College Gate.

The victorious Danes, naturally, proceeded to wreak special vengeance on such obstinate foes. The county was ravaged with a ferocity even beyond the usual Danish harryings, and Cambridge itself was sacked and burnt. When it arose from its ashes, in the quieter days of the Danish Canute, the first "King of England," (his native predecessors having been Kings "of the English,") it was organised, Danish fashion, into (p. 10) ten Wards, each with its own "Lawman." In the reign of Edward the Confessor, it had, as we have seen, 400 dwelling-houses (masurae), not urban cottages closely packed in rows, but mostly tenements of the farmhouse type, each with its farmyard, the abodes of the husbandmen who owned and tilled the Common Fields of the town.

This number of houses shows Cambridge to have been at this time an important place, equal in population to a whole average "Hundred," with its ten villages; and as such we find it counted for legal purposes under the Norman and Plantagenet dynasties. But its Common Fields were by no means proportionately extensive,[3] so that many of the inhabitants must already have depended upon trade for their living.

If Cambridge fared ill at the hands of the Danes, it fared little better at those of the Normans. William the Conqueror made the place his headquarters in his operations against Hereward's "Camp of Refuge" at Ely. This resulted in the ruin of fifty-three out of the 400 houses, besides twenty-seven more pulled down to make room for his new Castle, which with its outworks and huge central keep occupied the greater part of the old Roman site to the west of the Bridge. The loss of these eighty houses probably brought down the population to little over 2,000 souls. Even with this reduction, however, the town might still claim to rank in the first class of English cities at the time; and this is shown by the growth of a Jewry within its walls, in the area bounded by St. John's College, Trinity College, and Bridge Street. For the Jews, (who first came into England as camp-followers of the Norman invaders,) naturally struck for the wealthier towns in which to form their settlement. As the place grew in importance Religious Houses began rapidly to spring up in and around it; the first being the great Augustinian Abbey of Barnwell, founded by Picot, the Sheriff of Cambridge under William the Conqueror.

The next generation saw Augustinian Canons settled in the town itself, at the Hospital (now the College) of St. John; and Benedictine nuns at the Priory of St. Radegund just beyond the King's Ditch, where their conventual church is still used as the Chapel of Jesus College. A century later, and friars of (p. 11) all the Orders came flocking into Cambridge; the Grey Franciscans, the Black Dominicans, the White Carmelites, the Austin Friars, the Friars of the Sack, the Friars of Bethlehem. The sites occupied by the first three of these names are to-day represented by the Colleges of Sidney, Emmanuel, and Queens'. Friars always made for the chief centres of life, and by the thirteenth century Cambridge had become emphatically such, by the rise of that institution destined to give it a perennial fame, the University.

How this rise of the University came about is an as yet unsolved problem in history. As in the case of Oxford, the great name of Alfred was invoked, by unscrupulous mediæval fabricators, as concerned in its foundation. And it is possible that there may be really traceable some distant connection with that great saint and hero. For Alfred actually did found amidst the ruins of Ely, after its sack by the Danes, a small College of priests, which lived on to be the nucleus of the restored Abbey in the days of his grandson Edgar the Peaceful. And it is also historical fact that this restored Abbey was specially renowned for the famous school attached to it—so famous as to count amongst its scholars more than one future monarch. Furthermore we know that the Ely monks taught in Cambridge also, and this may well have been the first germ of the University.

At any rate it is certain that, in 1209, when the schools of Oxford were for a while closed by the Government, as the outcome of a more than usually outrageous "rag," large numbers of the students migrated to Cambridge; which seems to point to the place having already some educational repute. From henceforward, at all events, it attained European reputation in this respect, for, in 1229, we find another batch of expelled students, this time from Paris, settling themselves here, and yet another swarm of Oxonians twenty years later.

The University had now become an organic body, with its Chancellor, its masters, and its scholars or "clerks," so called because, being not wholly illiterate, the Law considered them as potential members of the clerical profession, and gave them special immunities accordingly. They were not amenable to lay jurisdiction, but only to the milder "Courts Christian," in which the death-penalty was never inflicted. It seems not infrequently to have been deserved; for the earliest undergraduates (p. 12) were, at first, an utterly lawless lot, and made themselves most unpleasant neighbours to the "burgesses" of the Town.

When first they made their appearance the inhabitants of Cambridge had just bought the right to call themselves by this dignified name. This bargain was the upshot of a Royal visit in 1207 from King John, who, in consideration of a payment of 250 marks, (equivalent to £5,000 at the present value of money,) granted Cambridge a Charter of Incorporation, with the right to be governed by a Provost and bailiffs of their own (instead of by the King's Sheriff), and to regulate their own markets. Twenty years later, (by a further contribution to the royal purse,) the Provost acquired the higher title of Mayor.

But almost simultaneously, his prerogatives began to be curtailed by the rising power of the University, to whose "Taxers" was given, in 1231, the sole right of fixing the rents which might be demanded for lodgings from the inrushing swarm of students; while the regulation of the market weights and measures became vested in the Proctors. The authority of the Taxers died out when the Collegiate system became universal, but has been revived in recent days by the "Lodging-house Syndicate": that of the Proctors over the Market has become obsolete; not so long, however, but that, to this day, there may be seen, in the possession of the Senior Proctor for each year, an iron cylinder, a yard long and an inch in diameter, which was, not so many decades ago, the standard test for the dimensions of every roll of butter sold in Cambridge. For butter in Cambridge was retailed by the inch; a custom which still lingers on sporadically amongst our vendors.

The student population speedily became far more numerous than the townsfolk, and their accommodation must have been no small problem. At first the need was met wholly by private enterprise: University lodgers thronged the private houses and the annexes, or "hostels," as they are named, run up for their sole use by speculative landlords. These hostels gradually attained to more or less of official recognition by the University, and paved the way for the setting up of Colleges.

St. Michael's and All Angels.

The first actual College was Peterhouse, founded by Hugh de Balsham, Bishop of Ely, in 1284, and was of the nature of an experiment, the success of which it took a whole generation (p. 14) to establish. Once proved, a host of imitators appeared; and the following generation saw no fewer than seven similar foundations, Michaelhouse and King's Hall (the germs of Trinity College), Clare, Pembroke, Gonville, Trinity Hall, and Corpus Christi College. Then came a break of a century, followed by another outburst of zeal, which in the next hundred years produced yet another seven: King's, Queens', St. Catharine's, Jesus, Christ's, St. John's, and Magdalene. The last four of these were earlier religious and scholastic foundations remodelled; and a like process during the half century succeeding the Reformation has given us the Colleges of Trinity, Caius, Emmanuel, and Sidney. Not till the nineteenth century was the list added to by the appearance of Downing.

The original idea in all these foundations was to provide, not so much for the students as for the masters who taught them. To these it was an immense advantage to be able to dwell together in small groups and in quiet quarters, where they could engage in research and prepare their lectures, shut away from the turmoil of the seething crowd of Town and Gown in the streets. And it speedily appeared that if the seclusion of a College was helpful to the teacher it was even more helpful to the taught. For the test applied to students by the University before conferring upon them a Degree was by public disputations in the schools, each candidate having to support or oppose some literary or scientific thesis.

The memory of these wordy "opponencies" is still preserved in the denomination of "Wrangler" bestowed on the candidates who obtain a First Class in the Mathematical Examination for an "Honour" Degree, and by every examination through which such a Degree can be obtained being called a "Tripos,"[4] from the three-legged stool which played a notable part in those old ordeals. The test demanded steadiness of nerve and readiness of wit, as well as mere knowledge; and, in all these, the Scholar of a College, well catered and cared (p. 15) for, was far better equipped than his lawless, and often all but foodless, non-Collegiate competitor.

Thus every College found itself confronted by a great demand for admissions, which was met by the introduction of Scholars, so far as the pecuniary resources of the Foundation would admit, and, ultimately, by the admission of "Pensioners";—students who, without being members of the Foundation, were willing to pay for a share in its educational advantages. These Pensioners finally came to outnumber, (in every College), the masters and scholars together, as they do still. The original non-Collegiate students proportionately dwindled in number; till the depopulation of the University during the religious ups and downs of the Reformation era put an end to them altogether. For three hundred years afterwards no one was admitted to the University unless attached to one of the Colleges, till, in the later decades of the nineteenth century, the great expansion which marked that period called Non-Collegiate Students, on a limited and tentative scale, once more into existence.

Substantially, however, at the present day, the Colleges are Cambridge; and to the visitor their buildings completely out-bulk those which belong to the University—the Senate House, the University Church and Library, the Examination Hall, and the various Museums and Laboratories. Each College consists of an enclosed precinct, (to which the students are confined at night,) containing blocks of apartments, (usually arranged in "Courts,") for Fellows, Scholars, and Pensioners, a special "Lodge" for the Master; a Chapel; a Library; and a Hall, with Kitchen and Buttery attached. Here the Masters sit at the "High Table" on a dais across the upper end of the Hall, and the students at less pretentious boards arranged longitudinally. All are bound to dine in Hall, unless by special leave; but other meals may be in your own rooms, of which each student has a suite of three, in which he is said to "keep." All three are within one general outer door, or "oak," to be opened only by a latch-key, and "sported" whenever the owner desires his citadel to be inaccessible. Over the oak, on the outside, is painted his name (always in white capital letters upon a black ground), while at the foot of each staircase a similarly painted list gives the names of all the men whose rooms are to be found upon it. (p. 16) Each student's suite invariably comprises a sitting (or "keeping") room, a bedroom, and a pantry, or "gyp-room." This last name records the fact that till lately the functions of a housemaid were discharged by male servants known as "gyps,"[5] who are now almost universally superseded by female "bedmakers" appointed by the College Tutors.

The Tutors are immediately responsible for the general supervision of the students in the College: the actual teaching is done by Lecturers in the various subjects, who have special apartments, "Lecture Rooms," provided in every College for their purposes. Every student has to attend a certain quota of lectures, but otherwise is very much left to educate himself, his progress being checked by periodical College examinations, in addition to those required by the University to be passed before he can be admitted to a Degree. The lowest Degree is that of B.A. (Bachelor of Arts). Three years after attaining this a man may proceed to become M.A. (Master of Arts), when he ceases to be "in statu pupillari," and is no longer subject to the authority of the Proctors.

These officers perambulate the town after dark to punish University wrong-doers, usually by a fine of 6s. 8d., or some multiple of that sum, the unit being a survival from mediæval numismatics, as equivalent to half a "Mark." More serious offences are met by "Rustication," for a Term or a year, during which the offender may not show himself in Cambridge, and, in extreme cases, by expulsion from the University altogether. These punishments can also be inflicted by the authorities of each College on the students of that College. But in this domestic forum, for smaller offences the place of fines is taken by "gating" for a certain period, during which the nocturnal enclosure of the culprit begins at some earlier hour than usual.

As a regular rule the College gates are shut at ten p.m., after which no outsider (student or visitor) may enter, and no inmate (under the Degree of M.A.) pass out; though to students already out uncensured admission is given until midnight. Once inside the gates the student is under no obligation to keep to his own rooms, but has the run of the College all night. He is bound, however, to spend his nights within the walls, and not even for a single night may he be absent without a duly (p. 17) signed exeat from the College authorities giving him leave. And, as he must be in residence when they require it of him, so is he also forbidden to be in residence at such seasons as they bar; during the greater part of each Vacation, for example, comprising half the year.

Theoretically the Three Terms into which the Academic Year is divided consist of about ten weeks apiece; but, in practice, they have only eight of "Full Term," during which residence is compulsory. The first of these is the "Michaelmas," or, as it is popularly called the "October" term, lasting from about mid-October to mid-December. After the Christmas vacation follows the "Lent" term, from the middle of January to the middle of March. Then comes a month of Easter vacation, and then the "Easter" (more generally known as the "May") term; at the end of which the close of the working year is celebrated by a series of social festivities in connection with the College boat races, collectively designated "the May Week," though invariably taking place in June. Finally comes the "Long Vacation" (the last word being omitted in popular parlance), lasting till a new year begins in October. Many of the more studious men are, however, permitted to reside during July and August for the purposes of private reading. A man in residence, we may mention, is said to be "up"; thus we meet with such phrases as "coming up," "going down," and being "sent down," when ordered to leave Cambridge, temporarily or permanently, for disciplinary reasons.

All this is very unlike Continental or American University life, but is almost the ditto of Oxford. For Cambridge is the sister-daughter of Oxford. It was by Oxonian colonists that the University of Cambridge was begun; the earliest Cambridge College, Peterhouse, was not only suggested by the earliest Oxford Foundation, Merton, but borrowed its very Statutes; and the development of the two seats of learning has twinned itself throughout the centuries to an extent unparalleled elsewhere in history. The result is that to-day there are no two places in the world so alike, socially, intellectually, and even physically, as Oxford and Cambridge. The latter has at present the larger number of students; but each has approximately the same number of Colleges, and of satellite Collegiate institutions, formally or informally connected with the University (e.g., the Ladies' Colleges); and in each the Academic organisation, (p. 18) the social code, and the life led by both students and teachers, is almost absolutely identical. To experts well acquainted with both places the minute shades of difference are of extreme interest; but to the average visitor the places are as like as twin sisters. The very names of the Colleges are the same in no less than a third of the cases. If there is a Trinity at Cambridge there is also a Trinity at Oxford, if there is a Magdalen at Oxford there is a Magdalene at Cambridge; while St. John's, Jesus, Corpus Christi, and Pembroke are all in like manner duplicated. And, both at Oxford and Cambridge, Colleges are named from Queens; though a subtle difference in spelling (Queen's and Queens') records the fact that, while one Queen founded the Oxford College, two were concerned in the Cambridge foundation.

Oriel in Library, St. John's College.

(p. 19) With regard to picturesqueness and architectural merit it is difficult to assign the pre-eminence to either place, so far as the University and Collegiate buildings are concerned. Of each distinctive feature, considered separately, the choicest specimen is to be found in Cambridge—the best College Chapel at King's; the finest College Hall and College Courts at Trinity; the most characteristic and beautiful Library at St. John's. But, out-taken these, Oxford can show several examples of each feature better than the next best at Cambridge. And, apart from the University buildings, the town of Cambridge, with its narrow streets and mean public edifices, is hopelessly outclassed by the beautiful city of Oxford. Invidious comparisons, however, are, in the case of sisters, more than ordinarily odious.

(p. 20) CHAPTER II

Entrance to Cambridge.—Railways.—Roman Catholic Church.—Street runlets, Hobson, Perne.—Fitzwilliam Museum.—Peterhouse, Chapel, Deer-park.—Little St. Mary's Church, Washington Arms.—Gray's window.—Pembroke College, Large and Small Colleges, "Querela Cantabrigiensis," Ridley's farewell.—St. Botolph's Church.—The King's Ditch.—Corpus Christi College, Cambridge Guilds, St. Benet's Church, Fire-hooks, Corpus Library, Corpus Ghost.—St. Catharine's College.—King's Parade.—Pitt Press.—Newnham Bridge, Hermits.—The Backs River, College Bridges, Hithes.

Having thus given the reader a very meagre and sketchy outline of the sort of knowledge needful for a due appreciation of Cambridge, and leaving him to fill in such details as he pleases from the numberless histories and guide books, large and small (and for the most part excellent) which he will find quite readily accessible, we will now suppose him to be entering the town.

Should he do this from the railway station he will have to face a mile or so of "long unlovely street" to begin with. For when railroads were first made—(the Great Eastern line from London to Cambridge being constructed in 1845)—they were regarded with extreme suspicion and dislike by the authorities of both Universities. The noise of the trains, it was declared, would be fatal to their studies; the facility of running up to London would hopelessly demoralise their undergraduates; bad characters from the metropolis would come down in shoals to prey upon them. Thus both Oxford and Cambridge strenuously opposed any near approach of this new-fangled abomination to their hallowed precincts. Oxford actually succeeded in keeping the main line of the Great Western as far off from it as Didcot, ten miles away, whence it (p. 21) did not penetrate to the city itself till a considerably later date, when prejudice had been overcome by the patent advantages of the new locomotion, and a station hard by was welcomed. At Oxford, therefore, no such distance divides the railway and the Colleges as at Cambridge, where from the first the station stood in its present place. This, at the date of its construction, was far beyond even the outermost buildings of the town, with which it is connected by the old Roman road, the main artery of Cambridge, running straight, as Roman roads do run, for miles on either side to the "Great Bridge." To antiquarians this road is known as the Via Devana, because its objective is supposed to have been the old Roman city of Deva (Chester); during its passage through Cambridge it has no fewer than seven official designations, to the frequent discomfiture of strangers.

Where it conducts the visitor townwards from the railway station it presents, as we have said, a somewhat dreary vista; dignified only by the beautifully proportioned spire of the Roman Catholic Church, built in 1885. The erection of this edifice was due to the generosity of a single benefactor, Mrs. Lyne-Stephens, a French lady, who, early in the reign of Queen Victoria, won fame and fortune as the most renowned ballet dancer of the London stage. The Church is popularly called, in Cambridge, a Cathedral; but this is a misnomer, for the Bishop's See is not here but at Northampton.

The cross-roads at which the church is placed rejoice in the inane designation of Hyde Park Corner. The best approach to Cambridge is by the westward road of the four, which leads into the London Road (or Trumpington Road, as it is here called), that umbrageous avenue of leafage spoken of in our opening sentences. Keeping along this towards the town, we find ourselves confronted with one of the prettiest and most uncommon amongst the minor attractions of Cambridge, the runlets of clear water which sparkle along the side of either pavement.

This pleasant feature is attributed to the benevolence of an ancient Cambridge worthy, Thomas Hobson, who dwelt here from the reign of Henry the Eighth to that of Charles the First. By trade he was a "carrier," a profession which at that date included not merely the transport of goods but the provision of locomotion for passengers—then almost wholly (p. 22) equestrian. Thus Hobson not only himself travelled regularly to and from London with his stage-waggon, but kept a large stable of horses, not fewer than "forty good cattle," ready for hire—even supplying his customers with boots and whips for their journey. But he was very autocratic in the matter, and would never allow any steed to be chosen except in accordance with his will. "This or none" he would say to any hirer who dared to remonstrate. And his business was so prosperous that he could afford to say it, and thus give rise to the still current expression "Hobson's Choice." He rose to be Mayor of Cambridge, and his portrait still hangs in the Guildhall.

Finally when he died, at the age of eighty-six, in 1630, he gained the honour of a serio-comic epitaph from Milton, then a student of Christ's College, "on the University Carrier who sickened in the time of his Vacancy, on being forbid to go to London by reason of the Plague."

"Here lieth one who did most truly prove
That he could never die while he could move;
So hung his destiny, never to rot
While he might still jog on and keep his trot.
Rest, that gives all men life, gave him his death,
And too much breathing put him out of breath;
Nor were it contradiction to affirm
Too long Vacation hastened on his Term.
But had his doings lasted as they were
He had been an immortal carrier."

The popular tradition, (attested by an inscription on the fountain in the Market Place,) which gives this hero the whole credit of the street runlets, seems, however, to go too far, though they were certainly first made during his life-time. Their source is in some springs which issue from the chalk near Great Shelford, four miles south-east of Cambridge, and which are called, as such sources are commonly called hereabouts, "The Nine Wells"—nine being used as an indefinite number. It is interesting to remember that this conception evolved itself also amongst the ancient Greeks, who talked of the "Nine Fountains" at Athens, and the "Nine Ways" at Amphipolis, with exactly the same indefiniteness of numeration. The ancient outfall of these springs seems to have been by (p. 23) what is now called "Vicar's Brook," which is bridged by the London Road at the first milestone from Cambridge. Till the eighteenth century the bridge was a ford, known as Trumpington Ford. The earliest proposal to intercept the stream near this spot and divert its course through the town, was due, not to Hobson, but to another worthy (or unworthy) contemporary of his, Dr. Andrew Perne, then Master of Peterhouse College, a divine of such an accommodating breadth of view that he alone, amongst all the higher authorities of the University, succeeded in retaining his post and his emoluments throughout the horrible see-saw of the Reformation period.

We first hear of him in the reign of Edward the Sixth, as a Protestant of such stalwart calibre that he destroyed as "idolatrous" almost every single book in the University Library. Under Mary he figures as no less ardent a Catholic, even to the degree of digging up and publicly burning (in default of living heretics) the corpses of the celebrated Protestant teachers Bucer and Fagius. Finally the accession of Elizabeth convinced him once more that Protestantism was the truest form of Christianity; and she lived long enough to keep him from again changing his principles. This amazing versatility naturally did not pass without comment. The wits of the University coined from his name the Latin verb pernare "to be a turn-coat," and declared that the A.P. which showed on a new weather-cock given by him to his College stood for A Protestant or A Papist indifferently.

It was this man who, in 1574, started the idea of bringing the Shelford water into Cambridge. The plan was carried out by "Undertakers" (who hoped to make money by it), in 1610, and amongst these Hobson would seem to have been the predominant partner.


Accompanied by the rippling of these runlets (which only represent a very small amount of the water brought by "Hobson's Conduit" into Cambridge) we shortly reach our first University edifice, the Fitzwilliam Museum, fronted by a singularly fine façade of classical architecture, and having in the Entrance Hall a really magnificent staircase of coloured marbles. It should be noted that the four lions which flank the façade are (unlike those in Trafalgar Square) all in differing attitudes. The Museum (which is open to the public three days in the week and to members of the University on all (p. 25) days) contains a fine collection of pictures and antiques, the nucleus of which is a bequest made in 1816 by Viscount Fitzwilliam. The Egyptian section is specially noteworthy, and the water-colours by Turner. The building was commenced in 1837, but was not finally completed till 1875, when the cost had run up to a hundred and fifteen thousand pounds.

The long-fronted Hospital on the opposite side of the road is the modern representative of an ancient institution which gave to this region, then quite the extremity of Cambridge, the name (as appears in our oldest maps) of Spittal End.

Adjoining the Museum we find ourselves arriving at our first College, St. Peter's College, more commonly called Peterhouse, the same of which the inevitable Dr. Perne was so long Master. (We may here note that in Cambridge this name "Master" is the designation of the Head of every College except King's, which has a "Provost," and Queens', with its "President.") Peterhouse, as has been mentioned in our first chapter, was the earliest College to be founded in Cambridge. Its founder Hugh de Balsham, Bishop of Ely, derived his idea from Merton College at Oxford, which had been in existence some twenty years when, in 1281, he introduced its system into Cambridge, and even adopted its very statutes. He first designed to incorporate his College with the already existing quasi-monastic Brotherhood of the Hospital of St. John (now St. John's College). The double Rule, however, bred so many quarrels that he settled his "Scholars of Ely" on their present site; their abode being dubbed Peterhouse from the adjoining church of St. Peter (now St. Mary's the Less), which for three hundred and fifty years served as the College Chapel, and is still connected by a covered passage with the College buildings.

The existing Chapel was built by yet another Bishop of Ely closely connected with the College, Dr. Matthew Wren, Master here 1625-1634. He was uncle to the great Sir Christopher Wren, the architect of St. Paul's, and had enough architectural originality of his own to aim at copying the beautiful tracery of the mediæval church-builders. It was the first time that any such attempt had been made in England; and this going behind the Reformation roused the Protestant feeling of the time to fury. Men declared it incredible that there could be "so much Popery in so small a chapel"; and (p. 26) when the Civil War gave the Puritans their opportunity Wren paid for being so far in advance of his age by an imprisonment of not less than eighteen years, till released, in 1660, by the Restoration. The Chapel windows are now filled with some fine Munich glass, the only example of this work in Cambridge.

Besides the Chapel, the Library here is remarkable, and the "Combination Room" boasts itself as almost, if not quite, the finest apartment of its kind in all Cambridge. This name, we may mention, is given in every College to the parlour whither the M.A.'s retire, after dining in Hall, for wine, dessert, and conversation.[6] That of Peterhouse is a luxurious apartment, panelled with oak, and with stained-glass windows.

Another feature of the College is its little deer park, the only one in Cambridge, and, with the exception of Magdalen College, Oxford, the only one in either University. Access to this is obtained by passing through the passage between the Hall and the Kitchen. Beyond the deer park again an iron gate leads to the College Gardens, the only College Gardens in Cambridge which visitors may freely enter. And they are well worth entering.

There is, however, no way through this College, as there is through many, and we must leave it through the same gate as we entered by, thus returning to the street. Over the gate we observe the coat of arms belonging to the College, the armorial bearings of the founder surrounded by a border of crowns. This feature will be seen in every College, for each has its own arms, and these are invariably emblazoned above the entrance.

St. Mary the Less, South side.

Architecturally attached to Peterhouse is, as has been said, the church of St. Mary "the less," so called in contradistinction to "Great" St. Mary's, which here, as at Oxford, is the designation of the "University Church." This is the only really beautiful church in Cambridge, the tracery of the windows being exquisite flowing Decorated. All date from the fourteenth century, when the present structure displaced the earlier church dedicated to St. Peter. One feature of interest here is a monument put up to Richard Washington, who was minister of this church in the beginning of the eighteenth century. He was of the same family as the great George Washington, and in the coat of arms here displayed we may (p. 28) see the origin of the American Stars and Stripes, while the crest has become the American eagle.[7]

To the west of the church we get a view of the back of Peterhouse in its untouched picturesqueness, abutting on the churchyard, at the end of which comes another Museum, that of Classical Archæology. This is reached by a narrow lane, having the church on one side, and on the other "Emmanuel," the leading Congregationalist place of worship in Cambridge. As we return between these into the street we should look up at the buildings of Peterhouse and notice, in front of the window at the top corner of the ivy-clad wall, an erection of stout iron bars. By these hangs a tale; for the window belongs to the rooms traditionally occupied by the poet Gray when in residence here. It is said that he caused these bars to be put up, from his constitutional dread of fire, and that he kept a stout rope constantly affixed to them as a means of escape in case of need. Awakened one night by shouts of "Fire! Fire!" he slid down this rope in deshabille—to find himself plunged at the bottom into a huge vat of water placed there by his friends. So runs the tale; which adds that Gray migrated in disgust from Peterhouse to Pembroke. That he did so migrate is quite historical.

To reach his new College, Gray had only to cross the street; for almost immediately opposite to Peterhouse are seen the more widely extended buildings of Pembroke. Not so very many years ago they were the less widely extended of the two; for while Peterhouse has remained comparatively stationary, Pembroke, more than any other College, has partaken in the wonderful expansion which the last half century has wrought in the number of University students at Cambridge.

Peterhouse, from St. Mary's Churchyard.

From the Restoration onwards the Colleges of Cambridge were for two hundred years, till the middle of the nineteenth century, divisible in numerical strength between two strongly marked classes. At the top came the two great Societies of Trinity and St. John's; of which the former gradually drew ahead, and came to have some four hundred students to St. John's two hundred. The remaining fifteen Foundations (p. 30) were classed together as the "Small Colleges"; the largest of them being well under a hundred strong, and the smallest (amongst them Pembroke) small indeed. But with the great extension of the University curriculum, by the addition of a host of literary and scientific subjects to the Mathematics which had previously been the sole avenue to a Degree, there has come as marked an increase in the number of students, and the old College classification has broken down. Trinity, indeed, remains at the top, even more than ever, having almost doubled its overwhelming numbers; but St. John's has been caught up and overpassed by several of the once "small" Colleges, amongst them by Pembroke. And yet, in the year 1858, Pembroke had only one solitary freshman; and he migrated to Caius, in dread, as the tale then ran, of being divided into sections by the authorities, to satisfy the demands of the Mathematical, Classical, and Philosophical lecturers provided by the College.

The result is that Pembroke, even beyond most Colleges, is a medley of architectural additions. When Gray migrated to it, and for a century thereafter, the modest range of low white stone which still contains the main entrance, formed the whole frontage; the College buildings being a small quadrangle about half the size of the present First Court. It was, in fact (except for a new Chapel, built by Wren in 1663, and still in use), no larger than it was at its first foundation, in 1346, by Mary, widow of Amory de Valence, Earl of Pembroke, and daughter of Guy, Count of Chatillon and St. Paul. Her widowhood was brought about, according to tradition, by her husband being accidentally slain, before her eyes, on their very wedding day, at the tournament held to celebrate the nuptials. Modern criticism disputes this tragic tale, but it was believed in Gray's day, and he has referred, in his well-known list of the Founders of Cambridge Colleges, to

"sad Chatillon, on her bridal morn
Who wept her bleeding love."

On her widowhood, however occasioned, she retired from the world, and took the veil at Denny Abbey, between Cambridge and Ely. The College was founded by her in her husband's memory, and has ever since displayed her armorial bearings, the coats of Valence and St. Paul dimidiated.

(p. 31) At the time of the Civil War, the "Querela Cantabrigiensis" (a contemporary publication, written in the Royalist interest), in denouncing the misdeeds of the Parliamentary forces, complains bitterly that "fourscore ragged soldiers, who had been lowzing before Crowland nigh a fortnight, were turned loose into Pembroke Hall, being one of the least Halls of the University, to kennel there, and charged by their officers to shift for themselves, who, without more ado, broke open the Fellows' and Scholars' chambers, and took their beds from under them."

A century before this we find Bishop Ridley, the famous Protestant martyr, dwelling on this College (of which he had been Master) in his touching farewell to Cambridge, composed shortly before his execution:

"Farewell, Pembroke Hall, of late my own College, my care and my charge ... mine own dear College! In thy orchard—(the walls, butts,[8] and trees, if they could speak, would bear me witness)—I learnt without book almost all Paul's Epistles; yea, and I ween all the Canonical Epistles also, save only the Apocalypse—of which study, although in time a great part did depart from me, yet the sweet smell thereof I trust I shall carry with me into Heaven; for the profit thereof I think I have felt in all my lifetime ever after. And, I ween, of late there was that did the like. The Lord grant that this zeal and love toward that part of God's Word, which is a key and true commentary to all the Holy Scripture, may ever abide in that College so long as the world shall endure."

Besides Bishop Ridley, Pembroke can boast other well-known Protestant divines of the Reformation era, Grindal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Whitgift, his successor, and Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop of Winchester. The mitre and pastoral staff of the last named (both of brass, and the former quite unwearable) are preserved amongst the College treasures. So is also a magnificent silver-gilt cup, the gift of the Foundress, which still goes round the High Table on special Feast Days. It bears two inscriptions in old English characters. Round the bowl is an exhortation to "drenk and mak gud cher" for love of St. Dennis—to whom Marie de Valence, as a Frenchwoman, had a special devotion—while round the stem are the words "M.V. God."

This cup is the more valuable as being almost the only (p. 32) piece of mediæval plate still surviving in Cambridge. In ancient days the College Halls and Chapels were abundantly supplied, but when the Civil War broke out the loyal Gownsmen, with one accord, devoted all their silver to the service of the King and sent it off to him at Oxford. But it never got there; for Cromwell gained his first distinction by pouncing upon the convoy "with a ragged rout of peasants," and then compelled the surrender of what little was left in Cambridge. How this cup escaped is not known.

Nor is Pembroke's lay list of distinguished alumni less notable than its clerical. Besides Gray, it has another poet of the first rank in Edmund Spenser, and no less a statesman than the younger Pitt. Amongst men of science it counts the late Sir George Gabriel Stokes, whose memory is still fresh, and the all too much forgotten seventeenth century astronomer, Dr. Long. Of the latter a striking memorial long remained in the College—a copper globe, eighteen feet in diameter, pierced to represent the celestial sphere, and so arranged that thirty observers at once could find place within it and see the sequence of the constellations as the globe revolved. Unhappily this object of unique interest has been improved off the face of the earth, amongst the various innovations to which Pembroke has specially lent itself.

The original foundation of this College (which was for some time more commonly called "Marie Valence Hall") consisted of a Master, fifteen scholars, and four Bible clerks. It has now twelve Fellows, thirty-three scholars, and upwards of two hundred students in residence.

St. Botolph's Church.

A few yards from Pembroke stands the Parish Church of St. Botolph, which, according to the original design of the Foundress, would have been as closely connected with the College as is Little St. Mary's with Peterhouse. In the first inception of the Collegiate system the idea was that the Members of each College (which was only regarded as a glorified dwelling house of the period, and the Society of which, till their "Hall" was built, were, actually, to begin with, quartered in already existing dwelling houses) should worship in the nearest Parish Church, like other parishioners. Only by special licence from the Pope could a private Chapel for a College, or any other mansion, be erected. That granted by Pope Urban the Fifth (during the Papal exile at Avignon) for the (p. 34) Chapel of Pembroke is still extant in the Papal Register. It is dated July 1366, and runs as follows:

"To the Warden and College of Scholars of Valence Marie Hall, Cambridge:

License, on the petition of their Foundress, Mary de Sancto Paulo, Countess of Pembroke, to have a Chapel founded and built by the said Countess within their walls, wherein Masses and other Divine Offices may be celebrated by Priests of the said College; saving the rights of the Parish Church."

The Parochial rights here spoken of mean the exclusive right of the Parish Priest to celebrate marriages and to receive the dues known as "Easter Offerings "and "Surplice Fees."

The dedication of St. Botolph's Church notifies us that we are now entering Cambridge proper. For this Saint, who was historically an abbot, the pioneer of the Benedictine Order in East Anglia, became adopted by travellers as their special patron; and his churches were, accordingly, placed for the most part at the gates of towns that his benediction might speed the parting voyager. We thus find them at no fewer than four of the London exits, Aldgate, Aldersgate, Bishopsgate, and Billingsgate, and in more than sixty other places, mostly in East Anglia. That which we are now considering was associated with the entrance to Cambridge known as "Trumpington Gate," where the mediæval traveller from London made his way into the town by crossing the ancient defensive work called "The King's Ditch."

The construction of this great trench was popularly ascribed to King Henry the Third, who, in his struggle with the Barons, desired to keep a firm hold on the important strategic centre of Cambridge. There is some reason, however, to suppose that he did not actually initiate the idea of thus insulating the town by running a ditch across the bend of the river on which it stands, but merely deepened and widened an earlier trench, originally made, perhaps, by the Danes during their occupation of the place, and remade by King John. However this may be, the ditch utterly failed of its purpose. Not only was it unequal to keeping the Barons out, but it could not even preserve the town from being pillaged by a local marauder, Geoffry de Magnaville or Maundeville, who made his lair in the neighbouring fens.

The King's Ditch left the river at "the King's Mill" (now (p. 35) Newnham Mill), and re-entered it opposite Magdalene College. It remained an open watercourse (and a common sewer) till near the beginning of the nineteenth century, when it was filled in, none too soon, for sanitary reasons. Timber bridges spanned the stream at "Barnwell Gate," where the "Via Devana" entered the town, as well as here at "Trumpington Gate." These gates themselves, if they ever had any material existence, were probably, at the most, little more than toll-bars.

St. Botolph's Church was intended, as we have seen, to be specially connected with Pembroke College. Between them, however, there has always existed a block of buildings, while immediately adjoining the church on the other side there has arisen a College of later foundation, that of St. Mary and Corpus Christi, familiarly known as "Corpus." Unlike the other Colleges of Cambridge, this owes its existence not to the generosity of any private benefactor, but to that of two mediæval Guilds, the Guild of St. Mary and the Guild of Corpus Christi, which combined to leave future ages this splendid memorial of their beneficence.

These Guilds were merely two out of many such bodies in the Cambridge of that day; for the Guild was the Benefit Society of the mediæval period, and every respectable citizen was enrolled in one—often, indeed, in more than one. The Guild, collectively, saw to the personal interests of its members; aided them in distress, old age, and sickness; contributed towards the expenses of their burial; and finally provided Masses for their souls. This last item ultimately proved fatal to the Guilds, which were suppressed wholesale at the Reformation, as being thus tainted with Popish superstition, and their property confiscated for the benefit of the Royal exchequer.

Guilds, like our Benefit Societies, were voluntary associations, co-opting their members, and established on various bases. Earliest to rise, in all English boroughs, was the Merchant Guild, which regulated the entire trade of the town; fixing at its general meetings, called "Morning Talks," the market price of each staple commodity, and the hours and places at which it might be bought and sold, besides punishing rigorously (by fine or expulsion from the Guild) any unfair dealing, such as underselling, or "regrating,"—i.e., making a (p. 36) "corner" in any article as we should now say. Somewhat later each craft began to have its own Guild, supplanting to a large extent the older and more general organisation, whose executive insensibly became merged in the Town Council. To this day, however, the building in which that Council meets for its "Morning Talks," is called the Guildhall in most English towns.

Besides the trading Guilds, there arose others organised on a definitely religious basis, the members of which were bound to special devotion in some particular direction, from which the Guild took its name. Amongst these were the two to whom we owe the existence of "Corpus"—those of "Corpus Christi" and "Blessed Mary," the former having been (in 1342) the original inceptors of the idea. The armorial bearings of the College still testify to its double origin, being, quarterly, three lilies, (the emblems of Our Lady,) and a pelican "in her piety" (i.e., feeding her young with her own blood, as contemporary legend imagined to be the case), as a reference to the Holy Eucharist.

The College, which was founded 1352, was originally intended only for the education of a small number of priests, and consisted only of one small court, now known as the Old Court, which happily still exists in almost its original condition. It is a venerable and secluded spot, with ivy-grown walls and mullioned lattices, well worth a visit. From its north-eastern corner extends a long gallery pierced by an archway, connecting the College with the Church of St. Benedict, or "Benet," as it is commonly vocalised.[9] From this connection the College became popularly known as "Benet College," just as Peterhouse was so called from its like connection with the ancient church of "St. Peter by Trumpington Gate." But while Peterhouse retains its old designation, that of "Benet" has now become wholly disused, though only within the last century.

St. Benet's Church, Interior.

This connecting gallery is of red brick, toned by age into delicious mellowness, and is best seen from the back of the College, where a quiet little lane ("Free School Lane"), one of the most charming amongst the byways of Cambridge, gives access through the above mentioned archway into the quiet little church yard of this quiet little church, with its Saxon (p. 38) tower, the oldest monument of ecclesiastical architecture in Cambridge, and one of the most picturesque. The precise date of its erection, and how the church came to exist at all, is, and will probably remain, an unsolved problem in history. Some authorities imagine that it points to an East Anglian settlement to the east of the Cam, distinct from the Mercian "Grantabridge" on the western bank, where the old Roman town once stood; others believe that it was built by the English inhabitants expelled from that town by the Danes in the time of King Alfred. Whatever may be the truth there is no small fascination in this venerable relic of the old English days, with its "long and short" stonework, the rudely-fashioned Romanesque pilasters in its windows, and the nondescript "portal-guarding" lions of its interior archway. The body of the church has been altered and re-altered time and again during the ages: at the bases of the present chancel-arch those of two earlier predecessors may be observed, and the south wall of the chancel is honeycombed with disused openings once leading into the Collegiate buildings of Corpus, while the existing stairway (also disused) is seen in the eastern corner of the south aisle. The church is thus of rare interest to the architectural student, and its history has been exhaustively dealt with by Mr. Atkinson (Cambridge Illustrated, p. 133). A glass case in the south aisle contains various relics of antiquity belonging to it, and beside them an ancient iron "fire-hook," used of old for tearing down blazing roofs and buildings.[10]

Out-taken the Old Court, Corpus has nothing in the way of buildings that has either beauty or interest, the College having been remorselessly remodelled about 1825. But the contents of its Library surpass all else of the kind in Cambridge, containing, as it does, what is probably the identical Gospel Book used by St. Augustine in his conversion of the English, and what is probably the identical copy of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle written for King Alfred, if not by his own hand. These priceless treasures once formed part of the (p. 39) library of Canterbury Abbey, which was sold by Henry the Eighth, at its suppression, as waste paper. Such relics as survived twenty years of this profanation were rescued by Archbishop Parker (the first Protestant Archbishop), in Elizabeth's reign, and were presented by him to the College, of which he had been Master.[11] To guard, so far as possible, against their again coming "to such base uses," he accompanied his gift with the condition that if a certain number of the MSS. were ever missing, the whole should pass to Caius College, and thence to Trinity Hall in case of a like loss. The authorities of these Colleges have (and exercise) the right of annual inspection: so far quite fruitlessly, as no single MS. has disappeared during the last three centuries. But the result has been to render this Library harder of access to visitors than any other, and it can only be seen by special arrangement with the Librarian, who has to be present in person, along with some other Fellow or Scholar of the College, before strangers can be introduced.

Corpus has the reputation of being haunted by a ghost, the existence of which has been taken quite seriously even within the present century. But the tale of its origin has a most suspicious number of variants. Some hold it to be the spirit of a poor motherless girl of seventeen, the daughter of Dr. Spenser (Master from 1667 to 1693), who died of fright at being discovered by her father while enjoying a clandestine interview with her undergraduate lover. (This tragedy is fairly historical.) Others declare that it is the lover; who was locked, or locked himself, into a cupboard, where he died of suffocation! Others again have a tale of a student from King's, who (in order not to haunt his own College) came hither to kill himself! That strange noises, not yet accounted for, are heard in some of the rooms, is, apparently, an established fact.

Opposite the Gate-tower of Corpus an open roadside esplanade, shaded by lime trees, marks the still vacant space destined by St. Catharine's College, in the seventeenth century, for a Library, to complete its red-brick quadrangle, a design which has come to nothing. The interior of the Court, which is not without dignity, still lies open to view, shut in only by what was then meant to be a merely temporary iron railing, with St. Catharine's wheel conspicuous above the entrance. The College was founded as a kind of satellite to King's (p. 40) College, by Robert Woodlark, the third Provost of that great Foundation, in 1475. It has always remained a small and comparatively poor Society.

If we pass through the Court, such as it is, of St. Catharine's, (familiarly known as "Cat's,") the western gate will bring us out into Queens' Lane. We shall, however, do better to reach this most fascinating of all Cambridge byways not thus but through the College from which it derives its name, Queens'. To do this we must turn westwards down Silver Street, a few yards south of St. Catharine's, and just opposite St. Botolph's Church. Before taking this turn we should give a glance northward along Trumpington Street at the splendid mass of Collegiate and University buildings which here come into view. High above all rises the glorious fabric of King's College Chapel, while, beyond it, the classical façades of the Senate House and the University Library, the fine gateway of Caius College, and the further off tower of St. John's College, fill the eye with a delightful sense of aesthetic culture and harmony.

Entering Silver Street, a mean thoroughfare, all too narrow for its volume of traffic, and demanding no small caution from all and sundry, we have on our left a building for all the world like a College—so frequently, indeed, mistaken for one by newcomers, as to have gained the nickname of "the Freshman's College." In reality this is the University Printing Press, or the Pitt Press, as it is commonly called; the existing frontage opposite Pembroke having been erected in 1831, in memory of that statesman, who was a member of Pembroke College.[12] All the official printing of the University is done here, and the building also serves as the quarters of the University Registrary, who keeps the record of Entrances, Degrees, etc.

At the end of Silver Street, which is, happily, little over a hundred yards in length, we reach an iron bridge over the Cam; its placid stream "footing slow," as Milton says (in Lycidas), and only some thirty feet in breadth. Above the bridge, however, it widens out into a broad pool, enlivened by the rush of water from the "King's Mill," beyond which the eye ranges over the open levels of "Sheep's Green." Both the mill and the bridge are amongst the oldest features of (p. 41) Cambridge, and the tolls payable at both were in mediæval times a Royal monopoly. The King's agent in collecting them on this bridge (known as "The Small Bridge" in contradistinction to the more important structure beneath the Castle) was a hermit, for whose accommodation a small bridge-house and chapel were built. This curious use of hermits, as keepers of roads and bridges, was common in Cambridgeshire before the Reformation.

At Silver Street bridge the river enters on its course through the enchanted ground of the "Backs," and the visitor will do well to take water at the adjoining boat-house; for the stream here forms for half a mile a byway lovely beyond words, not to be matched elsewhere in all the world; flowing, as it does, between venerable piles of academic masonry, and "trim gardens," the haunts of "retired leisure"; umbrageous, as it is, with the shade of lime, and elm, and beech, and chestnut, and weeping willow, and laburnum; spanned, as it is, by bridge after bridge, each a new revelation of exquisite design.

First we find ourselves with the old red brick fabric of Queens' College on the one bank and the thicket of "Queens' Grove" on the other, joined together by a wooden bridge, attributed to Sir Isaac Newton, the Great Natural Philosopher and discoverer of the Law of Gravity. A miracle of ingenious construction is this bridge, formed of a series of mutually supporting beams requiring not a single bolt to hold them together. Such at least it was till a few years ago, when the old timbers, after two hundred years' wear, fell into decay and had to be replaced, as nearly in facsimile as modern skill could compass.

A few yards further and the red brick of Queens' gives place to the white stone of King's; the proximity reminding us that the Founders of these two beautiful Colleges were husband and wife, "the Royal Saint," King Henry the Sixth, and his heroic Consort, Margaret of Anjou. Poor young things! They were but twenty-two and fifteen respectively when they began these monuments of their liberality and devotion—upon the very eve of that miserable conflict, the wars of "the rival Roses," which brought about the downfall and death of both. But their work survived them, to be completed by Royal successors; King's by Henry the Seventh, Queens' by Elizabeth Woodville, wife of Henry's rival, Edward the Fourth of York.

(p. 42)

Clare Bridge.

King's Bridge, beneath which we now glide, is a single delicate rib of stone, a marked contrast to the elaborate woodwork of Queens', and to the three arches of grey stone and balustraded parapet of Clare, the next in order. Between these the river widens, and the view opens out on either side; a spacious meadow dotted and bounded with elms and limes on the west, (p. 43) and on the east as spacious a lawn beyond which rise the buildings of King's and of Clare College, and the west front of that glory of Cambridge and of the world, King's College Chapel. This reach of the river used, a few years ago, to be the scene of a pretty annual merry-making, known as the "Boat Show," which formed part of the attractions of the "May Week."[13] Hither the College boats which had been contending for precedence in the May Races used to row up in procession and draw up side by side in a mass occupying the whole breadth of the stream. Each crew rose in turn with uplifted oars to salute the victors who had attained (or retained) the Headship of the River; after which the procession returned to the boat houses two miles below. (The races were rowed two miles below again, where the stream is wide enough for the due manipulation of an eight-oar.)[14]

Clare Bridge passed, the College gardens of Clare and Trinity Hall (which last must not be confounded with the larger and later foundation of Trinity College) flank our course on either side for a short space, till the next bridge, Garret Hostel Bridge, which proclaims its non-Collegiate origin by being (like Newnham Bridge) a tasteless structure of iron. It is, in fact, a public thoroughfare; the road leading to it, Garret Hostel Lane, being the solitary survival of the dozen or so of little streets which gave access to the River from mediæval Cambridge, till the banks were usurped by the Colleges. And in its name we have the last surviving reminder of those "Hostels," or officially recognised lodging houses, which, before Colleges came into being (and for some while after), provided accommodation for the swarming students of the mediæval University.

Garret Hostel itself, together with others, was swallowed up by the gigantic College which we now reach, Trinity. Trinity Bridge, a cycloidal curve carried on three arches, is led up to on either side by the "long walk of limes" sung by Tennyson in "In Memoriam"; and the splendid range of chestnuts which, as we pass beneath it, opens upon us to the north-west, forms the boundary between the paddocks of Trinity and St. John's. On the east rises the vast fabric of Trinity Library built by Sir Christopher Wren, with its magnificent range of arched windows and its warm yellow sandstone, (p. 44) an occasional violet block adding to the effect, a veritable feast of quiet colour, especially when glowing in the evening sun, and contrasting pleasingly with the paler tint of the New Court of St. John's College, which, with its plethora of crocketed pinnacles, here bounds our view to the left front. To the right front rises the square tower of St. John's Chapel, picturesquely reflected in the still waters.

A slight bend in the stream, overhung by great elms, brings us to St. John's Bridge, a fine three arched structure of brick and stone built in 1696.[15] Beyond it the College buildings rise, like those of Queens', directly from the water—to the west the white stone abutments of the New Court, to the east the red brick walls and oriel window of the Library, the most beautiful building of its class in either Cambridge or Oxford. On it we can read the date 1624, and the letters I. L. C. S. standing for Johannes Lincolnensis Custos Sigilli, which commemorate the benefactor John Williams, Bishop of Lincoln, and Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal, to whose generosity we owe this gem of architecture. In his day, and for long after, St. John's was quite the largest College in Cambridge, rivalled only, for a moment, by Emmanuel. The present supremacy of Trinity did not begin till late in the eighteenth century.

The river is here spanned by the latest of the College bridges, a single arch of stone high in air, carrying a pathway vaulted over with stone and lighted on either side by grated windows, after the fashion of the "Bridge of Sighs" at Venice. It was built about 1830 to form a communication between the older part of the College on the eastern side of the river and the recently erected New Court on the western, while giving no opportunity for illicit leaving of the College. As has been already stated, students, while bound to be inside the College gates all night, are not bound to keep to their rooms, but may wander about the Courts at any hour.

St. John's Bridge.

With St. John's the Collegiate buildings cease and are succeeded by the last remaining "Hithes," or quays, used for commercial traffic, which of old lined the banks for the whole length of Cambridge. We read of Corn Hithe, Pease Hithe, Flax Hithe, Garlic Hithe and others. For the river was to (p. 46) old Cambridge all and more than all that the railways are now, the great artery of traffic, by which goods were far more easily and cheaply conveyed than along the roads of the period, which were always rough and often mere "Sloughs of Despond." Most especially was this the case with fuel, so that in the seventeenth century it was a familiar local saying that "here water kindleth fire." These ancient hithes, like the street-ways leading to them, have been almost all absorbed by the various College precincts. The last, as we have said, are to be seen yet, still in use, with barges (still laden chiefly with firewood) lying at them, below St. John's, by the side of the "Great Bridge," that famous passage of the river to which Cambridge owes both its name and its very existence. Opposite the lowest of them there is one more riverside College, Magdalene, an old monastic educational establishment turned to its present purpose at the time of the Reformation by Lord Thomas Audley of Saffron Walden, a courtier of King Henry the Eighth, who had obtained a grant of it from that rapacious monarch.

Our Cam byway here ends; for the river here passes out of the populated area of Cambridge. It is noteworthy that this area abuts on its banks to the same extent and no more than it did seven hundred years ago. The King's Ditch, which then bounded it, left the stream at the King's Mill, where our voyage started, and rejoined it just opposite Magdalene, where that voyage closes. It is well worth while, however, to retrace our course, for we shall find fresh loveliness in the reverse views of the exquisite scenery through which we have passed; and may note the many disused archways in the College walls, which tell how, scarcely a generation ago, this unique gem of English landscape was actually defiled by being used as a shamelessly open sewer.


Queens' College, Erasmus, Cloisters, Carmelites, Chapel.—Old Mill Street.—King's College, Henry the Sixth, King's and Eton, Henry's "Will."—King's College Chapel, Wordsworth, Milton, Windows, Rosa Solis, Screen, Stalls, Vaulting, Side-Chapels, View from Roof.

When we disembark once more at Silver Street Bridge, we find ourselves standing beneath the sombre old red-brick walls of Queens', indented just above us by a small projecting turret which we should not leave without notice, for it bears the name and, by tradition, was assigned to the use of the famous Erasmus during the months he spent in Cambridge. This great light of the Reformation, or, more properly speaking, of the intellectual revival which led up to it, was brought here by the influence of the saintly chancellor, Sir Thomas More, whose great wish was to broaden the University outlook by the introduction of the Classical spirit. Hitherto its curriculum had been almost exclusively confined to Aristotelian philosophy, adapted to dogmatic Christianity by the great mediæval Schoolmen, especially St. Thomas Aquinas. Erasmus brought in the knowledge of Greek, which he had acquired from the learned exiles whom the capture of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453 had driven to the west. Unhappily he, in no small degree, depreciated this great gift, by clogging it with his own self-opinionated pronunciation of the language, instead of taking it as actually spoken. Strange to say, this "Erasmian" barbarism shortly became a badge of Protestantism (though Erasmus himself lived and died a Catholic). It was thus enforced during the reign of Edward the Sixth, forbidden in that of Mary, and enforced again under Elizabeth. To this day it remains with us, and cuts us off from the living tongue of Hellas.

(p. 48) To enter Queens' it is advisable to cross the iron bridge, and recross the river by Sir Isaac Newton's wooden structure. Passing through the low doorway into which it leads we find ourselves in the most picturesque of all College Courts, bounded by the Hall in face of us, and on the other three sides by a low range of ancient red-brick cloisters. These once belonged to the Carmelite nuns, who removed to this site when flooded out of their original quarters at Newnham. In 1538 they sold their House to the College, just in time to escape its confiscation, at the suppression of the monasteries, by Henry the Eighth, who, as it was, required the purchase-money to be paid over to him. Having obtained the property Queens' at once built over the northern cloisters the beautiful gallery which serves as the drawing-room of the President's Lodge—(it has been stated that the Head of a College is, in Cambridge, always called the "Master," except here, where he is "President," and at King's where he is "Provost"). The gallery, which is a wooden construction overhanging the Cloister, is eighty feet long by twelve in width, with three large oriels looking into the Court. Those on the other side open into the President's garden, a charming enclosure abutting upon the river. Both gallery and garden are, of course, strictly private. Opposite the gallery, at the south-east corner of the cloisters, is a small Court of Elizabethan date, known as "Pump Court," and now-a-days as "Erasmus Court"; while from the north-east corner a tortuous little passage brings us into a more modern Court, shaded by a fine walnut-tree (whence its name of "Walnut Tree Court"). Here stands the New Chapel, the best bit of modern work in all Cambridge, erected in 1895 from the designs of Messrs. Bodley and Garner. The beautiful proportions and effective decoration of the interior are specially noteworthy.

The President's Gallery, Queens' College.

On the southern side of this court a passage (between the old Chapel and the Library) leads to the "Old Court," the original enclave of the College. This has remained practically unaltered since the Foundation, and is the best example remaining of the way in which a College was designed of old, after the fashion of the large country-house, as then built—Haddon Hall, for example, in Derbyshire. The red-brick and the white stone dressings, have mellowed, as elsewhere in Cambridge, to a tone of rich sombreness most restful and (p. 50) satisfying to the eye. The somewhat gaudy clock and clock tower are modern, as is also the yet gaudier sun-dial often, but erroneously, ascribed to Sir Isaac Newton. Over the Hall is emblazoned the very elaborate shield of the College, quartering the six bearings to which the poor little Queen Margaret laid claim—those of Hungary, Naples, Jerusalem, Anjou, Lorraine, and De Barre, all within a bordure "vert" added by Queen Elizabeth. Hence it is that green is to-day the distinctive Queens' colour at boating, cricket, etc.

Passing out of Queens', beneath the dignified gate-tower, we find ourselves in Queens' Lane, the quiet byway already referred to. Quiet byway as it now is, this was once a main street of Cambridge, known as Mill Street, forming (as it did before the great Colleges of King's, Trinity, and St. John's were built across it) the line of interior communication between the two bridges of the town, "the Small Bridge" by the King's Mill and "The Great Bridge" beneath the Castle. In those days it was a busy thoroughfare, thick set with burgher houses; now, in such broken lengths of it as survive, the buildings are almost wholly Collegiate. As we emerge from Queens' gate, and turn leftwards, we have on one side the dark-red bricks of that College, on the other the like buildings of St. Catharine's, while, at the further end of the street in front, our view is bounded by the white stone of the new gateway of King's. The whole effect is delightful.

Through this gateway we now make our way into the Premier[16] College of Cambridge, and soon find ourselves face to face with one of the most beautiful views of the world. Before us spreads a spacious lawn, the most extensive in existence,[17] bounded on three sides by the white and grey walls of College buildings, while on the fourth it merges into the wooded grass-land of the Backs; the river which divides it from these being scarcely perceptible from this point. We get a (p. 51) glimpse, however, of Clare Bridge, terminating the graceful façade of that College, which is in our immediate front. Behind us are the nineteenth-century additions to King's, and to our right front the fine pile of "Gibbs' Buildings," erected, in the eighteenth century, as a first attempt to approximate in some degree to the wishes of the Royal Founder, and transfer his College from the cramped position it had hitherto occupied, at the north of the Chapel, to the ampler site on the south which he had originally destined for it, and had cleared for his purpose by buying up and sweeping away, church and all, one of the most thickly populated parishes in Cambridge, that of "St. John Zachary" (i.e. St. John the Baptist), including a furlong's length of Mill Street.

Oriel in Queens' College.

For the scale on which Henry VI. intended to build was something hitherto quite unprecedented, and his plan took years to mature. The inspiration of it was originally caught from William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester, whose genius first conceived the idea of twinned Colleges, in the provinces and at the University, from the former of which the Scholars should pass on to complete their education at the latter. This idea Wykeham himself first carried into effect by the foundation of the College at Winchester and of New College at Oxford. And, fired by his example, Henry VI., when only twenty, resolved on doing the same thing himself with truly Royal magnificence. His Scholars should begin their course at Eton, beneath the walls of Windsor Castle, his birthplace and favourite residence, and should thence pass to finish it at Cambridge, in the College which he would there dedicate to his own Patron Saint Nicolas, on whose Feast, December 6th (still "Founder's Day" to all Etonians and King's men), he was born.

(p. 52) This was in 1440. He at once put hand to the work, and that same year signed the Charters for both Colleges; the Head of each being called "Provost," in order, as he said, "to weld the two Colleges together in a bond of everlasting brotherhood,"—a bond which actually lasted in its entirety till 1870, and of which traces even yet remain.

The acquisition of the sites involved complicated legal transactions which occupied several years; but by 1444 Eton was sufficiently advanced to receive its first Scholars, a colony brought by William of Waynflete from Winchester; and by 1446 Henry was able to dedicate the first stone of his Cambridge chapel. Every dimension of this glorious edifice he himself worked out with the utmost minuteness, and set down, as he would have it completed, in that notable record of his purposes still preserved in the College Library, and known as his "Will." The word had not in those days its present purely posthumous signification, but was used of any formal disposition of a man's estate, or any part of it, to some given purpose.

In this document, "one of the most remarkable works in the English language," as Mr. J. W. Clark styles it, the King describes his future College so accurately that a complete plan and elevation of the whole can be drawn from it. We thus learn that Gibbs' Building represents what was meant to be the western side of an enclosed court, with a fountain in the midst of it. The Chapel was to form the northern side of this court; the entrance, with its turreted gate-tower, the eastern; the Hall and Library, the western. The great lawn before us was not to be, as now, an empty space, but was to be occupied, partly by a small "kitchen court" containing the various offices (bake-house, brew-house, etc.), partly by a cloistered cemetery between the Chapel and the river, from the western side of which was to rise a pinnacled tower, 220 feet high, the rival to that at Magdalen, Oxford, which was already being planned by William of Waynflete. Another turreted gate-tower, on the very bank of the river, was to give access to the College Bridge (further north than the present one). Had this plan been carried out in its entirety, King's would indeed have been, as the historian Stow puts it, "such that the like colledge could scarce have been found again in any Christian land."

Queens' College Gateway.

(p. 54) Unhappily its splendid design was brought to nought by the great tragedy of the Wars of the Roses, which broke out almost immediately. The singular mildness with which that conflict was waged (except on the actual field of battle), with no wasting of lands, with no burning of towns or villages, with no slaughter (and scarcely any plunder) of non-combatants, permitted the work on the Chapel, which, as we have seen, was already begun, to proceed, though slowly, and did not even stop the conveyance of stone from the chosen quarry at Huddleston in Yorkshire. The payment of the workmen was a harder matter, for Henry was far from being a wealthy monarch. He and his wife between them had less than the equivalent of £50,000 per annum, all too little for the expenses of their position, even in days of peace. Still the pay was found, in a certain measure, and the workmen came and went till dispersed by the appalling tidings that their Royal Saint had been deposed and murdered in the Tower. Then in panic horror they flung down their tools and fled, with such haste that they did not even complete the job on a block of stone, already half sawn through, which lay, as Logan's print of 1680 shows it, in the south-east corner of the present Great Court, Henry's intended quadrangle, a testimony to their despair, for upwards of three centuries. Then, when the idea of carrying out his intention was at last revived, this stone was appropriately used as the first to be employed for that purpose, the Foundation Stone of Gibbs' Building.

The work on the Chapel thus abruptly stopped by the Founder's death remained in abeyance for the remainder of the century. Not till 1508 was it resumed. The shell of the building was finished 1515; the glass and woodwork being added under Henry the Eighth. But in the end it was completed substantially in accordance with the Founder's Will, and is the only part of his design that has been so completed. His huge campanile, his cloisters, his gate towers, never came into being; and though the Great Court is now where he meant it to be, it is built in a fashion very different from his design.

This we see at a glance as we enter it round the southern end of Gibbs' Building. For it is not an enclosed quadrangle, but formed of two detached blocks to south and west, while the east side is only a stone screen, erected in 1825, and of a (p. 55) sadly inferior style. But the "goodly conduit" of the Founder's Will does rise in the midst,[18] and the north side is actually formed, as he decreed, by his glorious Chapel, the most magnificent in the world, which now rises before us in all its grandeur as we behold it across the Court.

And if the outside view is impressive, that which greets us when we enter is absolutely overpowering in its majesty. The sense of space and repose; the up-running lines of the shafting catching the eye whithersoever it turns, and leading it up to the myriad-celled spans of the vault; the subdued light through the pictured windows staining the venerable masonry; the great organ, upborne by the rich oaken screen, dominating the whole vista, combine to form, as has been well said, "a Sursum Corda done into stone," uplifting indeed to heart and sense alike. And when to this feast of visual harmony is added the feast of aural harmony, when the clear and mellow voices of the Choir blend with the majestic tones of the organ,

"And thunder-music, rolling, shakes
The prophets blazoned on the panes,"

we can understand how the inspiration of the scene has thrilled poet after poet, not Tennyson only, as above quoted, but Wordsworth, and even Milton, Puritan as he was, yet more. To the former King's College Chapel suggested one of the most exquisite of his sonnets:

"Tax not the Royal Saint with vain expense,
With ill-matched aims the architect, who planned,
Albeit labouring for a scanty band
Of white-robed scholars only, this immense
And glorious work of fine intelligence.
'Give all thou canst! High Heaven rejects the lore
Of nicely calculated less and more.'
So deemed the man who fashioned for the sense
These lofty pillars, spread that branching roof,
Self-poised, and scooped into ten thousand cells,
Where light and shade repose, where Music dwells,
Lingering and wandering on as loth to die;
Like thoughts whose very sweetness yieldeth proof
That they were born for immortality."

(p. 56) And Milton, when he came under the spell of this most glorious sanctuary, forwent all his conscientious objections to the Laudian revival of ornate services, "the scrannel pipes of wretched straw," and all the rest of his denunciations, and was, in spite of himself, carried away into forgetfulness of all save the glory and the beauty around him. Hear him in "Il Penseroso":

"But let my due feet never fail
To walk the studious cloister's pale,
And love the high embowed roof,
With antique pillars massy proof,
And storied windows richly dight,
Casting a dim religious light.
There let the pealing organ blow
To the full-voiced choir below,
In Service high and Anthem clear,
As may with sweetness, through mine ear,
Dissolve me into ecstasies
And bring all Heaven before mine eyes."

Clare College from King's.

This passage is memorable, not only for its own intrinsic loveliness, but because we, very probably, have in it a key to the great historical puzzle connected with King's College Chapel. How came these "storied windows," with their hundreds of pictured prophets, saints, and angels, to escape the ruthless destruction which was meted out to all such "idolatrous" representations, throughout the length and breadth of the county, by the Parliamentary authorities at Cambridge? William Dowsing, their authorised agent, went from church to church, in town and village, shattering and defacing, and has left us a minute record of his proceedings, in which he evidently took a keen personal delight. Thus, amongst the colleges we have already noticed, he tells us that, at Peterhouse, "we pulled down two mighty great Angells with wings, and diverse other Angells, and the four Evangelists, and Peter with his Keies over the Chappell Dore, and about 100 Chirubims." At Queens' "we beat down a 110 superstitious pictures, besides Chirubims"; and so on, with monotonous repetition, entry after entry. The account also records the sums which each college had to pay him for his trouble, and such a sum (of extra amount in consideration of the magnitude of the task) was actually paid him by the (p. 58) Bursar of King's. Yet here are the windows before our eyes to-day in unbroken, unblemished dignity.

No contemporary explanation is forthcoming, and the true facts of the case seem to have been kept so close, and to have been known to so few, that no tradition, even, of them was handed down to posterity. As time went on, the wildest and most impossible theories were evolved to account for the marvel. It was gravely said that the windows had been taken down by the Fellows themselves in a single night, and securely buried from the baffled spite of the Roundheads before morning, till better times; the place of each being known to one Fellow only! That the west window alone remained plain till the latter part of the nineteenth century (a peculiarity really not explained by history), was held proof positive that the Fellow in charge of that particular burial was done to death by the Puritans without betraying his secret; which equally defied the researches of later generations. Such searches were actually made. A more sentimental variant of the story made the hider a pious little chorister, shot down by Cromwell in the chapel itself for refusing to reveal where lay his precious charge! Through the empty casement a white dove flew in, and hovered over the heroic innocent! It need scarcely be pointed out that to remove the glass from a single one of these huge windows would be a work of days for a fully equipped band of professional glaziers supplied with scaffolding; yet these absurd tales were gravely repeated, and the missing window was actually sought for. The truth of the matter will, probably, now never be known. But it is certain that the windows could not have been spared without the connivance, at least, of Oliver Cromwell, whose influence was at that time paramount in Cambridge; and it is a plausible conjecture that his protection of them was due to the intercession of his friend John Milton, to whom, as we have seen, the Chapel and its "dim religious light" meant so much.

A full study of these wonderful windows, crowded as they are with marvellously elaborate detail, is a work demanding hours of close attention under the direction of a competent guide. Even for the cursory examination which will suffice most of us the use of a guide-book is essential; and it is fortunate that one has been brought out (purchasable at any Cambridge book-shop for the modest sum of sixpence) by Dr. (p. 59) M. R. James, the present Provost of King's, who is the supreme European authority on ancient stained glass.

The general scheme of decoration is the representation of the life of Our Lady (to whom the College is dedicated), beginning in the westernmost window of the north side, with her traditional birth, and going on round the Chapel, till it ends, in the westernmost window of the south side, with her Assumption and Coronation. But as the traditions concerning her did not provide a sufficient number of scenes for the requirements of the designer, the series is eked out, not only by various incidents in her Son's life wherein she does not appear (such as His Baptism, Temptation, and Passion), but by the three windows to the western side of the great screen on the south being filled with subjects drawn from the stories of St. Peter and St. Paul; all being, however, within the traditional period of her life-time.

A first glance at the windows produces only the effect of a gorgeous maze of colouring, through which we marvel that any clue should have been found. Next to the general effect of the ineffably harmonious blending of hues, the audacious vividness of the hues themselves, red and green and blue and gold and purple, is what first impresses the eye. Then we notice how, down the central light of each window, stand, one above another, four great figures, human or angelic, each displaying an inscribed scroll.[19] These figures are known as the Messengers, and when not Angels they are Old Testament Prophets. Their scrolls, which are in Latin, refer, sometimes by direct description, oftener by a suggestive text, to the subjects depicted in the Lights on either hand of them. The inscriptions, however, are of very little practical use to the visitor. Age has rendered many of them wholly, and more partially, illegible; while the black-letter characters of their crowded Latin words are not easy to decipher at the best. They are, moreover, by no means free from actual blunders, and the connection between text and scene is sometimes far from obvious. Their interest, in fact, is for experts; and less-gifted visitors will do well to content themselves with the interpretation given in the guide-book.

The same advice applies to the glass in general. It is not worth while to spend on a detailed study of the windows the (p. 60) time necessarily involved. Much of the work is excellent, and almost every window has its points of interest, but much, especially amongst the heads of the figures, is far from pleasing. This fact is largely owing to a considerable "restoration" undertaken in the Early Victorian era; when the art of glass-painting was at a sadly low ebb, and when the uncurbed restorer positively revelled in substituting for ancient decay his spick-and-span modern conceptions. But, as has been said, almost every window has features deserving that time should be made for their notice, which we now proceed to point out.

Each window contains four scenes, the upper and lower, to left and right of the central "Messengers," being normally co-related as Type and Antitype. This relation, however, is not universal, and does not occur in the first window of the series (that in the north-west corner of the Chapel), where the four scenes consecutively illustrate the legend connected with the birth of Our Lady. The story runs that her parents, Joachim and Anna, were childless even unto old age, and that, in consequence, Joachim, on presenting his offering in the Temple, was insulted by the High Priest. As he sadly sought retirement in the country an Angel appeared to him with the message that he should return to Jerusalem, where his wife would meet him at the Temple gate, and a daughter would be born to them.

The upper left-hand of the window shows the mitred High-Priest waving away Joachim, who is sorrowfully departing. His face is beautifully rendered. In the upper right-hand corner we see him kneeling before a green and gold angel hovering downwards. The rural surroundings are suggested by a pastoral composition. Note the sheep-dog and the shepherd's bagpipes.

King's College Chapel.

In the lower left-hand light Joachim and Anna are meeting before the Temple gate; and in the right-hand Anna is sitting up in a blue bed with red curtains, watching the infant Mary being washed. Mary has long golden curls, and her face is that of an adult; but Dr. James considers this head a later insertion. This window is known to have been repeatedly and promiscuously repaired (even as early as 1590), and was in utter confusion till the latest releading (1896). The repairs seem to have been executed with any old bits of glass the (p. 62) glazier might happen to have in stock. On one fragment (now removed) some coins of Charles the First were represented. Most of the windows have suffered, more or less, in this way, but none (except that over the south door) to the same extent as this first window, which though the first in order of subject, seems not to have been the first inserted, or at least completed; for at the top may be read the date 1527, whereas the window over the screen on the north side contains that of 1517.

These two dates are respectively near the inception and the completion of the glazing, which was begun 1515, the year when Luther began the Reformation by the publication of his famous Theses, and finished 1531, the year in which that Reformation was first inaugurated in England by the King being declared Supreme Head of the Anglican Church. The windows, however, must have been designed at a date considerably earlier, for in the heraldic devices which fill the small top lights Henry the Seventh, not Henry the Eighth, is treated throughout as the reigning monarch; his shield being blazoned in the central compartment, while the latter is only commemorated by the initials H. K.,—the last standing for his ill-fated wife Katharine of Aragon. These heraldic devices are the same in all the windows, and show the rival roses of York and Lancaster, the Tudor Portcullis and Hawthorn Bush, the Fleur-de-lys, and the initials H. E. (for Henry the Seventh and his Queen, Elizabeth of York). All the glass is of English manufacture, the work of four London firms, but it seems probable that the artists were to some extent under both Flemish and Italian influence.

Passing on to the second window, we find it thus arranged:

Presentation of a golden table in the
Temple at Delphi.
The Marriage of Tobias and Sara.
(Tobit vii. 13.)
Presentation of the Virgin in the
Temple at Jerusalem.
The Marriage of Mary and Joseph.

The first scene here is the only instance in the Chapel of a non-Scriptural incident being made use of as a Type. It is the Classical legend (found in Valerius Maximus, an obscure Latin writer used in the sixteenth century as a school book), (p. 63) which tells how a question as to the ownership of a golden table found in the nets of some Milesian fishermen was referred to the Delphic oracle of Apollo for solution. To whom should this table of pure gold be made over? The Oracle replied "To the Wisest." The prize was therefore given to Thales, the wisest Milesian of the day, who modestly passed it on to another sage, and he to yet another. Finally, after thus going the round of the Seven Wise Men of Greece, it came into the hands of Solon the Athenian, who declared that "the Wisest" could be no other than Apollo himself, and accordingly presented the table to the God in the Temple of Delphi. By a strange application, this tale was considered, in mediæval literature, as typical of the Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple at Jerusalem; her purity and that of the gold being, apparently, the connecting idea.

In the window we see the offering of the golden table; Apollo being represented by a golden image bearing a shield emblazoned with the Sun, and a banner. Beneath is Mary, as a young girl dressed in blue, walking up the steps of the Temple; an incident much dwelt on in the legend. In the upper Marriage scene note the Angel Raphael, the comrade and guide of Tobias; and, in the lower, Joseph's rod, the sign from which (a dove appearing upon it) marked him out, amongst all her suitors, as Mary's destined husband. This scene suggests a reminiscence of Raphael's well-known cartoon on the subject, which had lately been painted.

In the third window the arrangement is:
The Fall
(Eve's disobedience).
The Burning Bush
(remaining unconsumed).
—— ——
The Annunciation
(Mary's obedience).
The Nativity
(Mary remaining a Virgin).

Note the human head and hands of the Serpent, and the brilliant ruddiness of the apple. Also the ruby flames of the bush, and the representation of God the Father at its summit. Moses is in the act of putting off his shoes from his feet. In the Nativity scene the Babe can only be discovered by following (p. 64) the gaze of the child Angels who are clustering round in adoration. Contrary to the usual convention, which shows Him sitting on His Mother's knee as if a couple of years old, He is here represented realistically as an actual new-born baby. Above both lower lights in this window is a renaissance arcading.

In the fourth window we have:

The Circumcision of Isaac.
The visit of the Queen of Sheba to
—— ——
The Circumcision of Christ.
The visit of the Wise Men to Christ.

The face of Abraham and that of the officiating priest below are both good, and so is that of the Queen. The Epiphany Star is a fine object, and the effect of its light irradiating the thatch of the manger-shed is most powerfully rendered.

The fifth window gives us

The Legal Purification of a woman.
Jacob's flight from the vengeance
of Esau.
—— ——
The Purification of Mary.
The Flight into Egypt.

In the Purification scene the faces of Simeon, who is the main figure, Mary, and Joseph (carrying the dove-cage), are all worth looking at. So is Joseph in the Flight episode; which, however, is chiefly remarkable for introducing in the back-ground a legend from a late carol, which tells how Herod's soldiers pursued the Holy Family, and how the pursuit was miraculously checked. The fugitives met a husbandman, and instructed him to answer any inquiry for them by saying, "They passed whilst I was sowing this corn"; which was actually the case. But, lo! when the pursuers shortly came up the corn had sprung up, and was ripe already to harvest. It takes some little trouble to decipher this scene. The Purification is seen through an arcade of the Temple, on (p. 65) the frieze of which is a group of classical horsemen like those of the Parthenon.

The next window is that over the great organ screen dividing the ante-chapel from the choir. It is arranged thus:

The Golden Calf
(the introduction of Idolatry).
The Massacre of the Seed Royal by
Queen Athaliah.
—— ——
The idols of Egypt falling before
the Holy Child
(the overthrow of Idolatry).
The Massacre of the Innocents by
King Herod.

The Golden Calf is set high on a magnificent ruby pillar. Before it Moses is breaking the Tables of the Law; one fragment of which shows a Flemish inscription. Below, an idol is falling headlong from a precisely similar pillar. The kneeling figure in this scene is the Governor Aphrodisius, who was converted by the miracle; as is recorded in the apocryphal "Gospel of the Infancy." In the Massacre scene Queen Athaliah is represented by a conventional figure of the Virgo Coronata (with her Babe in her arms). The artist evidently had this figure in stock, and used it rather than take the trouble of producing something less incorrect. Near her there is a minutely depicted mediæval thatched house worthy of notice. So is the business-like callousness in the expression on the leading soldier's countenance. This window bears, as has been said, the date 1517, written 15017.

We are now in the choir, where our first window gives:

Naaman washing in Jordan.
Esau tempted by Jacob to sell his
—— ——
Christ baptised in Jordan.
Christ tempted by the Devil.

All three Temptations are given, the first being in the foreground. The countenance of the Devil (as a respectable old man) is a marvellous study.

(p. 66) The second window in the choir is:

The raising of the Shunamite's son.
The Triumph of David
(I Sam. xvii).
—— ——
The raising of Lazarus.
The Triumphal Entry.

The Shunamite's house is another bit of minute detail. Note the dishes on the shelf in front. Note also the magnificently gigantic head of Goliath borne by David on the point of the Philistine's own huge sword.

The third window:

The Manna.
The Fall of the Angels.
—— ——
The Last Supper.
The Agony in Gethsemane.

The manna is shown as falling in the shape of Communion Breads. Below, Christ gives the sop to the red-haired Judas, while Peter, who thus becomes aware of the traitor's identity, clenches his fist with a gesture of menace extraordinarily forcible.

The connection between the right-hand subjects is not obvious. Dr. James suggests that it refers to Christ's speaking of the casting out of Satan as a result of His Passion (John xii. 31). The smaller scale of this scene, and the nimbi given to Christ and the Apostles point to its having been the work of a special artist.

The fourth choir window:

Cain murders Abel.
The mocking of David by Shimei.
—— ——
Judas betrays Christ.
The mocking of Christ.

Cain is killing Abel with a large bone. Note the ruby fires of their respective altars in the back-ground, Abel's spiring upwards in full flame, while Cain's is blown down to the earth. In the betrayal scene the face of Malchus, as he lies upon the (p. 67) ground with his broken lantern under him, should be observed. It is highly expressive.

The fifth window:

Jeremiah in prison.
Noah mocked by Ham.
—— ——
Christ before Annas.
Christ mocked by Herod.

We have now reached the last window of the northern range, that in the north-east corner of the Chapel. It shows us:

Job scourged by Satan.
Solomon crowned by his mother.
(Cant. iii. 11.)
—— ——
Christ scourged by Pilate.
Christ crowned with thorns.

In the scourging scene we may note the singularly unpleasing features and expression of the Saviour's face; which Dr. James holds to be purposely so delineated, in reference to the words of Isaiah: "He hath no form nor comeliness, and when we see Him there is no beauty that we should desire Him." We do not, indeed, find in the entire series of windows one single attempt to represent Him worthily. The conventional face, familiar throughout the ages to Christian Art, even from the first century, and probably a real recollection of Him, is consistently departed from (as is characteristic of the Renaissance period), and with it has gone every divine and exalted association. Where even the genius of Michael Angelo failed, we cannot look to find the glassworkers of London succeeding.

The great east window has no central messengers, and thus contains six scenes, each occupying three lights, arranged thus:

The Nailing to the
Christ crucified
(the Piercing).
The Descent from the
—— —— ——
Ecce Homo!
The Sentence.
The Way of Sorrows.

(p. 68) There is little to call for special notice in this window. Structural conditions necessitate the Cross being of abnormal height. In the background of the Way of Sorrows is a vivid ruby patch, which may be meant for the Field of Blood.

Turning to the south-east window, we are confronted with an entirely exceptional development. The whole of the upper half is occupied with a single subject (the Brazen Serpent), and that in Early Victorian glass inconceivably poor and crude. The lower half is ancient and typical, the type and antitype being placed side by side:

Naomi bewailing her husband.
(Ruth i. 20.)
The Holy Women bewailing Christ.

The history of this marked departure from the norm is that the buildings of the Great Court were planned to abut upon the Chapel here, so as to block the lower half of the window, for which, accordingly, no glass was provided. That which is there now was originally in the upper half and was moved down in 1841, the Brazen Serpent being substituted for it. The remaining windows on this side of the choir also underwent a sad amount of "restoration" at the same period.

The next window (the fifteenth in the entire sequence) is of the normal arrangement.

Joseph cast into the pit.
The overthrow of Pharaoh.
—— ——
Christ laid in the Sepulchre.
The Harrying of Hell.

The last scene is a most forcible representation of Christ's victorious "Harrying of Hell," as conceived by mediæval imagination and referred to by Dante in his Inferno. The Conqueror of Death has forced His resistless way through the shattered gates of Hell, on which He stands, treading under His feet the gigantic leaden-coloured bulk of their demon warder. Before Him kneels Adam, at last rescued from his age-long captivity, and other Holy Souls. In the back-ground (p. 69) a blue devil gazes in dismay from the red mouth of Hell (represented after the usual mediæval fashion, as an actual mouth, with teeth, etc.), while another, in livid green, is dancing with demoniac rage above, and yet another, white and gold, is scudding away in terror as fast as his wings will carry him.

The remaining windows of the choir on this side deal with the Resurrection. In the first of these (the third from the east) the subjects are:

Jonah escaping from the Fish.
Tobias appearing to his mother
(who had thought him dead).
—— ——
Christ arising from the Sepulchre.
Christ appearing to His Mother.

The Fish is represented as a long green sea-serpent with a black, cavernous mouth, out of which Jonah is stepping. In the background is a ship, and, beyond, Nineveh. The Sepulchre is in the frequent unscriptural shape of a table monument.

In the right-hand type, Tobias has his dog with him, and also his angel guardian Raphael. That Christ appeared to His Mother is first found in St. Ambrose, who mentions it as undoubted. She is here shown kneeling at a prayer-desk.

In the next window we find:

Reuben finds Joseph taken away
from the pit.
Darius, at the Lions' den, sees
Daniel living.
—— ——
The Marys find Jesus taken away
from the Sepulchre.
Mary Magdalene, at the Sepulchre,
sees Jesus living.

In the last scene Christ is represented with a spade, inasmuch as Mary Magdalene supposed Him to be the gardener. Her very pronounced costume, with its astonishing golden ear-covers, is probably a German fashion of the early sixteenth century.

(p. 70) The fifth window gives the story of Christ's appearance to the disciples who went to Emmaus:

Tobias, on his journey, is joined
by the angel Raphael, in
appearance a wayfaring man.
(Tobit, v. 4.)
Habakkuk shares his meal with
Daniel at Babylon.
(Bel and the Dragon, v. 33.)
—— ——
The two disciples on their journey
are joined by Christ, in
appearance a wayfaring man.
Christ shares the meal of
disciples at Emmaus.

Observe that the bread in Our Lord's hand appears to be, not broken, but cut clean as with a knife. There was a mediæval legend to the effect that He showed His divine power by thus breaking it. Note, too, Raphael's brilliant green and crimson wings, put in to denote his angelic nature, though the story postulates their absence.

The following window (that next to the screen) deals with the story of St. Thomas (John xx.), and has been wrongly arranged: what are now the right-hand scenes should be the left so as to come first. It now stands thus:

The Prodigal Son returns to his
Joseph meets Jacob in Egypt.
—— ——
Thomas returns to belief in Jesus.
Jesus meets His Disciples at

We find in the first scene here what is perhaps the most ably drawn figure in the entire series of windows, that of the Elder Brother. Observe the utter contempt and disgust written on his face and in his whole attitude. He wears a pair of most aggressively red leggings.

The window over the organ loft shows us the Ascension, and the Coming of the Holy Ghost.

Elijah going up into Heaven.
Moses and the Israelites receiving
the Law at Pentecost.
—— ——
Christ going up into Heaven.
Mary and the Disciples receiving
the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

Elijah is deliberately turning round in his golden chariot of fire to cast down his ample ruby mantle upon Elisha. Moses is taking the Tables of the Law from the hand of God.

The subjects of the three windows between the screen and the south door are all from the lives of St. Peter and St. Paul, and nearly all from the Acts of the Apostles, from which also all the texts are taken. Accordingly the place of the usual prophetic Messengers is, in these windows, taken by figures of St. Luke (all identical), habited in the costume worn by a Doctor of Medicine in the sixteenth century. The series of type and antitype is dropped in these windows, and no strict chronological order is observed in the sequence of the subjects. Probably some have been misplaced, either originally or at one of the various releadings to which they have necessarily been subjected. Every century brings fresh need for this operation.

The subjects in the first window are:

Peter and the Apostles entering
the Temple.
Peter and John bound and scourged.
Peter and John healing the lame
man in the Beautiful Gate.
The Death of Ananias.

The design of the last scene is directly copied from Raphael's well-known cartoon.

The second window gives:

The Conversion of St. Paul. St. Paul at Damascus and his
escape in a basket.
St. Paul adored at Lystra. St. Paul stoned at Lystra.

(p. 72) The third window is also Pauline:

St. Paul giving a farewell blessing
before embarkation.
St. Paul before the Chief Captain at
St. Paul exorcising the demoniac at
St. Paul before Caesar at Rome.

The first of these scenes is interesting. The text (Acts, xvi. 2) connects it with St. Paul's departure from Troas on his first voyage to Europe. But the subject seems to be the touching scene at Miletus (Acts, xx) on his final departure for Jerusalem. The ship here, whence the boat is rowing to fetch him, should be noticed, as it is a fine and accurate specimen of sixteenth century naval architecture. Observe the lateen yard on the mizen mast. The man who drew that ship, unlike most artists, knew his ropes, they are all in their right places. In the last scene note the startled and awed expression on Nero's almost obliterated face, also his Imperial crown.

We have now almost completed our round of the Chapel, and are again at the south door by which we entered. Only two more windows remain, and in these we return to the typical treatment of Our Lady's life. That over the south door has, by accident (as it appears), been more shattered and defaced than any other in the Chapel. It is arranged thus:

The death of Tobit.
The burial of Jacob.
—— ——
The death of Mary.
The burial of Mary.

Mary is dying with the full rites of the Church. St. Peter sprinkles her with holy water, while St. John places in her hand a lighted "trindall" (three candles twisted together). The prayer book and cross are borne by other Apostles. Her bier is covered by a white pall with gold cross, and two severed hands may (with difficulty) be seen clinging to it. This refers to the legend that a certain Jew who sought to overthrow the bier was thus miraculously dismembered, and did not recover his hands till he penitently besought her to restore them.

(p. 73) Finally the south-west window completes the wondrous series:

The Translation of Enoch.
Bathsheba enthroned by her son
(I. Kings, ii., 19.)
—— ——
The Assumption of Mary.
Mary crowned by her Son Jesus.

The west window remained unglazed, for some unknown reason, till as late as 1879, when there arose a benefactor, Mr. Francis Stacey, a Fellow of the College, who has left this noble memorial of his generosity. The glass is by Messrs. Clayton and Bell, and the subject, as is usual in west windows, is the Last Judgment. The heraldic devices in the tracery are not those found in the older windows, but comprise (in order) the Tudor Portcullis,[20] the Plantagenet Rose, and the shields of King's College, Eton College, Cambridge University, King Henry VI., King Henry VII., King Henry VIII., Queen Victoria, and Stacey. There are also the shields of the See of Lincoln, whose Bishop is ex officio Visitor of the College, impaling Wordsworth (then Bishop), and of Okes (then Provost of the College).

The glass of King's College Chapel by no means exhausts the interest of the building. The next point to be observed is the great organ screen, erected during the brief ascendancy of the miserable Ann Boleyn, whose initials are carved upon it. On either side of the door-way, within, are emblazoned the twin shields of King's and Eton; differing only in that the former bears three red roses, the latter three white lilies (not fleurs-de-lys) on the sable ground beneath the chief, with its lion of England and fleur-de-lys of France on their respective red and blue. The organ itself was not put up till 1606, but the nondescript Renaissance dragons supporting it show that the case must have been in hand more than half a century (p. 74) earlier. They are for all the world like Raphael's wonderful creations in the Vatican. The great trumpeting angels on the top of the organ are eighteenth century work. Originally much smaller angels stood there, which in the seventeenth century were replaced by pinnacles. The doors of the screen belong to the Laudian revival, and bear the arms of Charles the First. The west door of the Chapel is of the same period, but the north and south doors are the original ones.

The Choir stalls date from Henry the Eighth, but the elaborate coats of arms carved over each were not added till 1633, and the canopies not till 1675. The magnificent brass lectern was given by Provost Hacombleyn, at the opening of the chapel; but the present altar is a very modern addition, having been only put up in the twentieth century. It stands, as directed by the Founder, no fewer than 16 feet from the eastern wall. The wood-work of the sanctuary walls is not even yet (1910) fully completed. It is of Renaissance character, as is also the altar. The lighting of the Chapel, it should be said, is still, happily, done only with candles; and, on a winter afternoon, their twinkling points of fire, in endless range, amid the vasty gloom, give an impression of mysterious solemnity to be obtained nowhere else.

Beautiful as the Chapel is, it would, had the designs of the Founder been carried out, have been yet more beautiful. His Will expressly deprecates that "superfluitie of too gret curious werkes of entaille and besy moulding" which the ante-chapel now exhibits in the elaborate series of Royal coats of arms beneath every window. They are beautifully carved, it is true, and we may note that the attitudes of the supporters (the Tudor dragon and greyhound) are in no two cases identical. But the whole effect is somewhat to weary the eye. So also do the perpetual roses and portcullises with which the walls are bestudded. One of the former, however, deserves special notice, as in it is framed one of the very few mediæval images of Our Lady which has weathered the storm of the Reformation. It is to be found at the southern corner of the west wall, and is what is known as a Rosa Solis. The inner petals are sun-rays, and in the midst is the "Woman clothed with the sun." (The White Rose of York is also sometimes represented (p. 75) in the windows as a sun-rose, the sun being also a Yorkist badge, but in this the rays are external to the flower.)

The walls, then, would have been less ornate, and more truly beautiful for the absence of profuse ornament, had the Founder's design been carried out. And we can see that even the exquisite roof was meant to be yet more lovely than as it now enraptures the eye. If we look at one of the soaring pilasters and follow up its lines, we shall see that each of the flutings is prolonged in a rib of the fan vaulting. No, not quite each. There is one member which has no such prolongation, but ends meaninglessly at the capital. And this tells us that the pilasters were designed to carry not a fan but a liern vaulting; so called because it appears to be a mesh of intertwined ivy (lierre) binding the fabric together. And beautiful as a fan roof is, a liern roof is capable of expressing harmonies of proportion yet more delicate and soul-satisfying. How subtle and exalted these harmonies would have been here we shall best learn if we have the good fortune to gain admission to the range of small side-chapels which flank the fane on either hand, nestling between the mighty buttresses. For in these, while the more western have the fan roof, the eastern and earlier built show liern vaulting of the most delicious character.

These side-chapels were intended each to have an altar, at which the Priest to whom it was assigned should say his own Mass daily, while all should meet later before the High Altar to assist at the Collegiate Mass. They are now used for various subsidiary purposes connected with the services. One contains the heating apparatus, another the hydraulic bellows of the organ, while many are mere lumber-rooms. These last are those abutting on the Choir, which have no opening into the Nave, such as those adjoining the ante-chapel possess. Through the gratings we may note some stained glass of an entirely different character from that in the Chapel windows. It is, in fact, of the previous (Fifteenth) Century, and thus older than the Chapel itself. From what earlier building it has been transferred is uncertain. Tradition, for some unknown reason, assigns it to Ramsey Abbey; but it seems more reasonable to suppose that it came from the old church of (p. 76) St. John Zachary hard by, when that was pulled down to make room for the College, and its fragments, as excavation has shown, utilised for levelling the site.

In one of the southern side-chapels will be found a verger, from whom it is well worth while to obtain access to the roof of the Chapel. This is reached by a wide spiral stairway in the north-western turret. Our first goal is a small door (the key of which should be specially asked for) leading into a narrow loop-holed passage, from which we can scramble into the space between the two roofs of the Chapel. We are here on the top of the fan vaulting which we have so much admired from below, and can note with what wondrous skill its huge stones are dovetailed into one another with the round keystone boss in the centre of each span. Above, and only just above, our heads are the mighty beams of Spanish chestnut composing the upper roof, the long vista being lighted by a small grated window at either end.

Returning to the staircase it does not take many steps more to bring us to the roof proper, with its open-work parapets and long leaden slope. This should be climbed to get the full benefit of the view, and those gifted with steadiness of head and sureness of foot will do well to make their way along the ridge from end to end, for each has its own beauties to show. To the West we see below us the great lawn, and the court of Clare, and the river, and the delicious verdure of the Backs, amid which rise the red walls of the Ladies' College at Newnham, and the adjoining Anglican foundation of Selwyn; while beyond is the open country, bounded by the low chalk upland stretching from Madingley Hill on the North to Barrington Hill on the South. The spire, so conspicuous on the summit of this range, is that of Hardwicke Church. To the South we can distinguish the places already described, (the little glass dome of the Fitzwilliam Museum, and the graceful spire of Our Lady's Church, being conspicuous objects,) and, beyond, the distant range of the East-Anglian Heights from the furthest north-east to the furthest south-west, that form the watershed of the wide valley of the Cam. To the East, the tower of the University Church, Great St. Mary's, raises its turrets almost to the level of our feet, and we look down on a maze of Cambridge house-roofs bright (p. 77) with the variegated tiling which is their special and beautiful characteristic. Beyond them the near promontory of the Gog Magog Hills juts out from the East-Anglian Heights on which lies Newmarket. To the North come College after College, Clare, Trinity Hall, Caius, Trinity, St. John's, Magdalene; while the University Library and the Senate House lie nearer still. Due north, across these, and across the wide-flung plain beyond them, the plain of the Southern Fenland, we can, if the day be clear, discern on the far horizon the shadowy towers of Ely Cathedral, fifteen miles away as the crow flies.

(p. 78) CHAPTER IV

Spiked gates.—Old King's.—University Library, Origin, Growth, Codex Bezæ.—Trinity Hall, Colours, Library.—Clare College, "Poison Cup," Court, Bridge, Avenue.—The Backs, Sirdar Bonfire, College Gardens.—Trinity College, Michaelhouse, King's Hall, Henry the Eighth, Boat-clubs, Avenue, College Livings, Bridge, Library, Byron, Nevile's Court, Cloisters, Echo, "Freshman's Pillar," Prince Edward, Royal Ball, Goodhart, Buttery, College Plate, Grace-cup, Kitchen, Hall, Combination Room, Marquis of Granby, Tutors, Old Court, Fountain, Gate Towers, Clock, Lodge, Chapel, Newton, Organ, Bentley, Windows, Macaulay.

On leaving King's Chapel we should give a glance to the marked line of demarcation between the whitish stone of which the lower courses are built and that employed in the upper.[21] It is of historical interest as showing how far the work had progressed before the long break caused by the Founder's death. Then, passing round the West Front, and noting the exquisitely delicate tracery of the canopies over the empty niches on either side of the door (wherein the two saints Mary and Nicolas to whom the building is dedicated were destined to stand) we leave the College by the iron gate on the North.

The formidable chevaux-de-frise which crown this gate are supposed at once to figure and to emphasise the danger run by such presumptuous students as dare to contemplate illicit exit from or entrance into the College during prohibited hours. It has already been said that between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. no undergraduate resident in College may leave its precincts, and no outsider may enter, under divers pains and penalties. (p. 79) Every College supplements this moral pressure by more or less effectual and awe-inspiring physical barriers. None however are more fearsome to see, and less effective in fact, than these. For not only can the College be entered or left with comparative ease by way of the Backs, but even this ghastly array of spikes is not unscalable to those who know the trick of it. Tennyson, as will be remembered, has referred to this exploit in his "Princess."

Passing beneath them we find ourselves again in that same ancient street of Cambridge, here again now a wholly Academic byway, by which we entered King's. But though we have left the College behind us we have not yet quite got clear of its associations. The fine modern Gothic pile to our right embeds, as we see, an ancient gateway. For more than three and a half centuries this was the entrance to the one small Court which alone represented the magnificent design of Henry the Sixth for his Royal Foundation. Not till the nineteenth century dawned were the students moved to the other side of the Chapel. The old precincts were then mostly destroyed, and the site made over to the University Library; for the growth of that magnificent institution has long taxed to the utmost all the accommodation that can be provided for it.

The mediæval Library of the University was a collection of manuscripts, requiring only one small room. Of its eighteen book-cases, eight were devoted to Theology, four to Law, and one apiece to Classics, Mathematics, Medicine, Logic, Moral Philosophy, and Scholasticism. This original Library was utterly swept away at the Reformation: Dr. Perne of Peterhouse, when Vice-Chancellor in the reign of Edward the Sixth, thus signalising his new-born zeal for Protestantism. A few years later, however, we find him amongst the first founders of the present Library, which now ranks third amongst the great Libraries of England; that of the British Museum standing first, and the Bodleian Library at Oxford second. All three are entitled to a free copy of every book published in the kingdom; so that their growth is now-a-days portentously rapid. One of the most striking features in this Library is the tableful of new books, scores in number, which is cleared every Friday.

This rapid growth however is modern. The one ancient (p. 80) room sufficed for the Library, till George the First rewarded the Whig loyalty of the University by a gift of 30,000 volumes.[22] The expansion thus begun has continued with accelerated speed. One by one the various ancient "Schools" which, with the old Library room, formed a small quadrangle, have been absorbed by its growth; until now the whole block belongs to it, as well as the old site of King's College, the main edifice on which, known as "Cockerell's Building," was erected 1837, where the College Hall once stood.

The Library is open only to Members of the University (Masters of Arts having the privilege of taking out not more than ten books at a time) and such ladies as are fortunate enough to find a place on the admission list. For this it is needful that two Masters of Arts should certify that the lady is, to their personal knowledge, seriously engaged in some branch of study or research. And even when admitted, she finds herself under disabilities, being forbidden to occupy any seat except in one room (the oriel window of which is visible from our standpoint at the gate of King's). Ordinary visitors may only enter under the escort of an M.A., who may take in six at a time.

Old Gate of King's College.

Those who have the good hap to be thus inducted, will, besides the new books, probably be most impressed by the long range of volumes forming the catalogue, and by the densely packed shelves of long-forgotten fiction in the "Novel Room." But the real treasures of the Library are to be found in Cockerell's Building. Here, in a range of cases, are to be (p. 82) seen our best Manuscripts, including a Thirteenth Century life of Edward the Confessor, the illustrations in which were found useful as a precedent even at the coronation of his latest namesake on the British Throne. At the extreme end, in a separate case, is the crown of all, one of the earliest manuscripts of the Gospels, dating from the Fifth Century. Only four others of equal authority are known, one in the British Museum, one in the Vatican Library, one at Paris, and one at St. Petersburg. Ours is known as "D" or "Codex Bezæ," from being the gift of the celebrated Calvinist divine Theodore Beza, who procured it from a soldier after the sack of its early home, the Monastery of St. Irenaeus at Lyons, in the Sixteenth Century. It is noteworthy for containing passages not found in any other Codex, one of which may be read (in Greek and Latin) on the single leaf here exposed to view. It narrates how our Lord, "seeing a certain man working on the Sabbath, said unto him: Man, if thou art doing this with Knowledge thou art blessed, but if without Knowledge thou art cursed."

Space does not permit us to enlarge further on the Library; and we return to our station at the old gate of King's College. As we look along the lane our view is bounded by the College whose name it now bears, Trinity Hall. This must not be confounded with the larger and later Foundation of Trinity College, next door to it beyond. Trinity Hall was founded in 1350, by Bishop Bateman of Norwich, specially for the education of Clergy. It has, however, actually, become especially given to the study of Law, and is yet more widely known by its prowess in aquatics. Its boat, for the last half century, has never been far from the Headship of the River, and has oftener attained that coveted position than any other. The colours of the College, white and black, are thus of wide renown. They are derived from the College Shield, which in heraldic language is sable a crescent ermines with a bordure ermines. Visitors who approach Cambridge by the London road see this device upon the milestones near the town, which were set up by the College in the eighteenth century, and were the first milestones erected in Britain since the days of the Roman occupation.

The Library here (which is open to visitors from noon to 1 P.M. in Full Term) is the best example left us of what (p. 83) libraries were of old in Cambridge. It was built about 1560, and still retains its original book-cases, the tops of which form desks for reading the folios in the shelves beneath. These were in old days chained to rings sliding on a locked bar which ran the whole length of each desk. Some of the books are so chained still, but not in the ancient fashion; for of old books were shelved with the backs inward, the title being written across the closed leaves of the front.

Otherwise the College has little to show us; and, instead of seeking it, we shall do better if we turn westwards through the specially beautiful iron gate which leads us into Clare College. The coat of arms beneath which we pass as we enter has its tale to tell concerning the foundation of the College. They are those of the noble lady who, in 1338, thus commemorated her widowhood, an example followed, as we have seen, in the next decade, by Marie de Valence at Pembroke. But Lady Elizabeth, daughter of Gilbert de Clare (the "Red Earl" mentioned in Marmion), had gone through no fewer than three of these lamentable experiences. She therefore not only charged her College Shield with the golden chevronels of Clare impaled with the golden cross of De Burgh (her latest husband), but surrounded the whole with a sable bordure besprinkled with golden heraldic tears, bearing perennial witness to her repeated sorrows. Hence it comes that the Clare "colours" are to this day black and gold.

Few College edifices convey such a sense of unity as these of Clare. "Their uniform and harmonious character gives them, at first sight, the appearance of having been built from one design, and carried out at one time."[23] As a matter of fact, however, the existing buildings are of no fewer than five separate dates, each separated by decades, and extending altogether over nearly a century and a half (1638-1768); while of the original fourteenth century structure no trace whatever is left. The eastern and northern sides of the Court are the earliest, built between 1638 and 1643, when the work was stopped, five years after its commencement, by the outbreak of the Civil War; while the stones and beams made ready for its continuance were commandeered by the Roundheads for the new works which they were then throwing up to strengthen the defences of Cambridge Castle. Not till 1669 did the College (p. 84) finances so far recover from this blow as to permit the resumption of the building. The western side was then built, followed by the northern (1683-93), while the Chapel was not added till 1768. But the result of all this patchwork is an exquisite little gem of a Court, its balustraded walls overshadowed by the towering pinnacles of King's College, and giving, as we have said, a wonderful sense of unity, which is partly owing to older work having been altered to harmonise with the newer.

The College treasury contains some most interesting and beautiful specimens of sixteenth-century plate. One tankard is known as the "Poison Cup," because, mounted in the cover, it has a conical fragment of crystal, such as was supposed, in the pharmacy of the day, to change colour if poison were poured into the vessel. This cup is of glass enclosed in exquisitely wrought filigree work. The thumb-piece is an angel with outspread wings. Another tankard is the "Serpentine Cup," the bowl being of that stone. This too is enclosed in most beautiful silver-gilt work, adorned with flowers and fruit and birds and arabesques. Yet another is the "Falcon Cup," a receptacle in the shape of that bird, originally intended, it would seem, for holding sweetmeats. All these were presented to the College by Dr. Butler, Court Physician to King James the First, of whom Fuller says that "he was better pleased with presents than money, and ever preferred rarities before riches."[24]

Passing through the court, we come to the beautiful bridge, already familiar to us from the river. Its balustraded parapet is surmounted by fourteen large balls of stone, thirteen of them whole, and one out of which a cantle of nearly a quarter of its bulk has, for some unknown reason and at some unknown date, been cut. A cheap laugh may thus be obtained by challenging a stranger to count these balls accurately; for the missing cantle, being turned towards the river, is quite invisible from the bridge itself. Another feature in connection with these balls is that one of them is visibly much newer than the rest (which, like the bridge, date from the middle of the seventeenth century). This is due to a not very far off feud between Clare and St. John's, when a piratical Johnian crew came up the river after dark and stormed the bridge. Before the enraged (p. 85) Clare men could open the iron gate under the College archway and pour out to the rescue, the enemy had begun throwing the balls into the water, where one sank so deep into the muddy bottom that it could never be recovered.

From the bridge we get a lovely view of the College "Backs." To the south the single slender arch of King's Bridge flings itself over the river in the graceful curve which is all its own; to the north we see the iron span of Garret Hostel Bridge, hiding from us the beauties of Trinity Bridge beyond. But, if there be no ripple upon the water, the three graceful arches of this invisible bridge are seen reflected upon the glassy surface with a specially charming effect. The whole view is amongst the world's loveliest, especially in the May term, when the Master's little garden to our right glows with bright colour, answered across the stream by that of the Fellows; when the water is alive with gay little craft, gigs, punts, and canoes; and when the "ambrosial dark" of the Avenue before us beckons us on to explore the delights of its umbrageous depths. It was planted in 1691, and is carried for 150 yards on a wide embankment, dense with shrubs and closed with jealously-spiked gates at either end, across what was once an island in the river (known as Butts Close), till it debouches on to the elm-shaded length of greensward described in our opening page, and named, in old maps of Cambridge, "King's College Back-sides." The whole does, in fact, belong to King's, but the many rights of way which traverse it make it practically an open park.

Not so long ago oaken railings (still to be seen in places) ran between it and the road, till a visit from Lord Kitchener (then Sirdar of Egypt, fresh from his Ethiopian victories) was made the occasion of a gigantic bonfire in the Market Place, to feed which the whole were torn up and carried away by gangs of enthusiastic undergraduates. A like fate befell the wooden palings and gates of the College gardens across the road, now replaced by iron, and altogether the damage done ran into hundreds of pounds; while the town police and the University proctors waited for each other to act until too late. There are three of these College gardens on end—King's, Clare, and Trinity; and rarely lovely they are, with their wide "smooth-shaven" lawns, broken into glades by clumps of ornamental trees. But each can only be entered under the (p. 86) ægis of a Fellow of its own respective College, and they are so carefully planted out from the road that scarcely even a glimpse can be gained of the delights within, "where no profaner eye may look."

Leaving these on our left we proceed along the northward-leading path till we reach the fine iron gate which bears the escutcheon of Cambridge's mightiest College, Trinity, a College more than twice as large as any other, numbering something like 700 residents, students and teachers together. Like London, which an Indian visitor once described as "not a city, but a herd of cities," Trinity may be described as a conjoined herd of colleges, for it was created by the amalgamation of no fewer than nine earlier institutions. Two of these, Michaelhouse[25] and King's Hall, were amongst the most noteworthy colleges in Cambridge. The former was founded by Henry de Stanton, Chancellor to King Edward the Second, in 1323, and was thus, next to Peterhouse, the oldest college in Cambridge. And King's Hall was but a few years younger, being founded by King Edward the Third in 1336. Indeed, it may claim to be actually the elder in embryonic existence, for Edward the Second, in 1317, was already maintaining scholars—"children of our Chapel" as his writ calls them—in Cambridge. And that these "children" (who were required to be at least fourteen years of age on coming into residence) were quartered hereabouts is evident from King's Hall having been built across the line of an ancient street running down to the river and known as "King's Childer Lane." The town agreed to the expropriation of this lane in consideration of one red rose annually to be paid by the College to the Corporation on Midsummer Day. The remaining seven foundations incorporated in Trinity College were hostels (institutions for lodging students, more or less organised in college fashion, but not recognised by the University as colleges). These were St. Catharine's Hostel, Physwick Hostel, Crutched Hostel, Gregory's Hostel, Tyled Hostel, Oving's Inn, and St. Gerard's or "Garret" Hostel; which last, as we have seen, is still kept in memory by the name of the public bridge crossing the river between Trinity and Clare.

(p. 87)

Old Schools' Quadrangle.

All these, Colleges and Hostels alike, were seized upon by Henry the Eighth, when that rapacious and unprincipled monarch desired to pose (in 1546, a year before his death) as a Pious Founder, and go down to posterity as a benefactor. He gained this credit cheaply; for not only did he thus get (p. 88) his edifices ready made, but their endowments also; while such additional endowments as he bestowed on his new College were almost wholly derived from the spoil of the Abbeys suppressed by him. Nor did he fail to take toll of each transfer of this stolen property for the benefit of his exchequer. His professed object, meanwhile, was "to educate Youth in piety, virtue, self-restraint, charity towards the poor, and relief of the distressed." His alumni, in short, were to be made as opposite to himself in character as possible.

From the very first, Trinity thus became almost the largest and wealthiest College in Cambridge. For a century it disputed the headship of the University with its neighbour, St. John's College, and for another century and more sang second to that great rival. But in 1785 it drew ahead, and since that date has improved its lead without a check, till now it stands not only first but without a second. So large is it that it cannot, for very sportsmanship, row as a whole in the bumping races, but has to be divided for that purpose into two boat clubs, denominated respectively "First Trinity" and "Third Trinity,"—or, in common speech, "First" and "Third" simply. The former is the original "Trinity Boat Club" and this is still its official name, whence it is also known as the "T.B.C." It wears the original Trinity colours,—dark blue,[26] with the badge of a golden lion and three crowns, the device of King Edward the Third. The latter consists of Trinity men from the two great rowing schools, Eton and Westminster. It is, of course, a very much smaller body than "First," but, as its members come up ready-made oarsmen, it has been almost as frequently Head of the River. Both boats are always in the first flight. Once there existed a "Second Trinity" club, which has long since ceased to maintain its existence.

We enter the precincts of this great College by "that long walk of limes," up which Tennyson passed, as he tells us in (p. 89) "In Memoriam," when he re-visited Cambridge, "to view the rooms" once inhabited by his friend and hero, Arthur Hallam.[27] This avenue was planted in 1672,[28] and leads us to the fine cycloidal[29] bridge, built at the same period. After crossing this, we should not keep straight, which would bring us into the "New Court" where Hallam dwelt (a poor bit of architecture erected 1825), but rather turn to the left, by the path that sweeps along the bank of the river, with its fine weeping willows. Looking back, as we leave the bridge behind us, we may admire the climbing agility which frequently enables undergraduates to descend to the projecting piers just above the water, and find their way back again, without a ducking.

We have here in front of us the New Court of St. John's College, seen across its lawn-tennis grounds; while to our left is the magnificent range of horse-chestnuts along the boundary of the two Colleges. Splendid at all times, these are seen at their very best when duly touched by frost. To our right rises the fine mass of Trinity Library, built by Sir Christopher Wren in 1675; whose walls of warm-coloured stone have been already dwelt upon. The lower portion of the building forms an open cloister, with grated windows and gates barring it from the Backs where we stand.

Through one of these gates our path leads us, and we find ourselves within the College, and at the door of the Library. At certain hours, usually between three and four in the afternoon, this is open to visitors; at others the escort of a Member (p. 90) of the College is needed. Of all the College Libraries in Cambridge this is the most interesting in its miscellaneous contents. Mounting the wide stone stair-way, we enter the long, wide, lofty, vaulted gallery, with a series of wooden book-cases projecting from either wall all along its course. The carved wreaths of flowers and leaves and fruitage which adorn these cases deserve careful notice. They are by Grinling Gibbons, probably the most wonderful wood carver who ever lived, and their intricacies bear striking testimony to his almost superhuman skill. In the recesses between the cases are to be seen sundry curios, from the College estates and other sources, while more are to be found in the long ranges of glass-covered tables topping the smaller book-shelves which line either side of the central passage way. Roman and Anglo-Saxon antiquities, and a splendid series of coins and medals, are here exhibited. Amongst the miscellaneous curios are a model of Cæsar's famous bridge across the Rhine and a globe of the planet Mars.

What will, however, first catch our eye on entering, will be the window at the southern end of the room, with its painted glass so unlike anything to be seen elsewhere. It is, in fact, unique, having been made in the middle of the eighteenth century by the discoverer of this particular method of staining glass, who kept the process secret—a secret which died with him and has never been recovered. The window cannot be called artistically beautiful, and the subject is weird. The University of Cambridge, represented as a lady in a somewhat scanty robe of yellow, is presenting Sir Isaac Newton to King George the Third (who did not come to the Throne till 1760, many years after the great philosopher died), while the transaction is being recorded by Francis Bacon Lord Verulam of Elizabethan fame!

Beneath this window is Thorwaldsen's fine marble statue of Lord Byron, one of Trinity's greatest poets. This was originally intended for Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey, but the Dean and Chapter of the period so strongly disapproved of Byron's morality that they refused it a place there. Apart from his poetical genius, he as little deserved to be honoured in Trinity library; for, as an undergraduate, he not only accomplished the apparently impossible feat of climbing by night to the roof (which others have more than once done (p. 91) since)[30] but abominably disfigured the statues upon it, in which he has had, happily, no imitators. Other relics of him are preserved hard by, which are supposed to bear upon the thrilling question as to how far he had or had not a club foot.[31]

For these few will care; but this end of the library contains things which few can fail to care about. Here is the death-mask of Sir Isaac Newton, and a reflecting telescope, on the model invented by him. Here is Thackeray's manuscript of "Esmond," and Tennyson's manuscript of "In Memoriam." Here is Milton's manuscript of "Lycidas," and his first design for "Paradise Lost," all cut and scored about with alterations and corrections, showing that he originally designed his great poem to be a drama, the characters of which (headed by Moses) are here listed. Here, too, is a copy of the "Solemn League and Covenant" imposed on all men by the Puritans at the time of the Great Rebellion.[32] This was found hidden amongst the rafters of a village church near Cambridge.

And here is a copy of the famous Indulgence sold by Tetzel, Luther's denunciation of which gave the signal for the earliest outburst of Protestantism at the Reformation. When the crabbed old printing is deciphered it proves to be a startlingly mild document, no licence to commit sin, as is generally supposed, but merely granting to the purchaser the privilege of confessing, once in his life, to a priest of his own choice instead of to the parson in whose parish he dwelt. The priest so chosen is given authority to absolve from nearly all sins, but (p. 92) not from the heinous offence of buying alum from anyone except the Pope, in whose territory it had, at that date (1515), been recently discovered. Alum was in those days a most valuable substance, and had hitherto been attainable only at the Turkish town of Roc, in Syria, whence the name of "rock alum" still surviving in use amongst pharmacopœists. To buy it there was not only to take money out of the pocket of the Pope, but to put it into those of the enemies of Christendom. Hence the heinousness of the offence.

Trinity library forms the western side of one of the Courts of the College, known as "Nevile's Court" (from Dr. Thomas Nevile, Master at the close of the sixteenth century, who planned and began it in 1610), and also as "Cloister Court," from the wide cloisters which surround it on the north, south, and west. The eastern side is formed by the Hall, raised four feet above the ground level, and reached by a beautiful balustraded and terraced staircase of stone. It is the finest college hall in either university, and was also the work of Nevile.

In the northern cloister which leads us to it, there are sundry points not to be overlooked. As we look along it from the library entrance we perceive at the far end a door with a stalwart iron knocker. Now there is a fine echo in this cloister, and a stamp of the foot at our end will evoke a sound from the door precisely like that of a knocker. So great a part does illusion play in human impressions, that five people out of six, when they hear this sound, are ready to declare that they have seen the knocker actually move. It was by timing this echo, we may mention, that Sir Isaac Newton first measured the velocity of sound. The echoing properties of these cloisters are referred to by Tennyson in the "Princess":

"our cloisters echoed frosty feet."

The massive block which pillars the angle of the cloister is known as the "Freshman's Pillar"; a favourite old-time amusement of the junior students (not yet wholly disremembered) having been to traverse the very narrow base-top right round, without setting foot to the ground. In old times, indeed until the last quarter of the nineteenth century, these cloisters played a notable part in undergraduate life. Athletic pursuits were far less general than now, and exercise (p. 93) was largely pedestrian. On a wet day, accordingly, when the roads were uninviting, the cloisters used to be crowded with a veritable swarm of trampers, doing "quarter-deck" from end to end of the three covered sides of the court.

Clare College from Bridge.

The stair-case entrances here lead to specially delightsome (p. 94) sets of rooms, with oak panels and beautiful plaster ceilings. One of these was occupied by the late Duke of Clarence, when, as "Prince Edward," he was an undergraduate of Trinity, mingling freely with the college life around him, and making himself generally beloved by his simple unaffected pleasantness.[33] His royal father, when Prince of Wales, was also an undergraduate of Trinity; but Court etiquette was stricter in those days, and, instead of being in College, he was quartered at Madingley Hall, four miles away. A few months after his wedding, in June, 1864, he brought his beautiful bride to visit Cambridge and take all hearts by storm. In their honour the whole area of Nevile's Court was tented in and floored over and made into one vast ball-room, which included the cloisters and the hall stairway. The former were used for promenading, all the best settees and arm-chairs to be found in College being commandeered to be placed in them; the Hall served for supper; while the band was housed beneath the Library. All was beautifully decorated and lighted (though it was before the days even of paraffin lamps), and the whole scene was one of unforgettable brilliance.[34] The cost was, naturally, something portentous; but those were the times of academic prosperity, before the great agricultural depression of the following decade brought down rents, and with them college incomes, almost (sometimes altogether) from pounds to shillings.[35]

The beautiful rooms of Nevile's Court are mostly held by Fellows of the College whose names may be known in the doorway lists by the "Mr." prefixed to them. Over one doorway we see a small bronze bust, set up as a memorial to Mr. Goodhart who once "kept" there and was an object of special admiration to all who knew him. He was, in fact, a kind of Admirable Crichton; not only a man of great intellectual power (as Fellows of Trinity must needs be, for these fellowships are the "blue riband" of the University), but excellent at all athletic pursuits, and able to do successfully (p. 95) whatever thing he set his hand to. It is recorded that on one occasion a bet was laid that he could not make himself an entire suit of clothes, and wear them for a month without their amateur origin being detected. Goodhart won the bet.

Beautiful as Nevile's Court is, it was originally yet more beautiful, with transomed windows, and gabled dormers instead of the present eighteenth century parapet. These are shown in a view "after Logan," given by Atkinson,[36] from the terrace before the Hall, by which we leave the court, passing through a low and massive wicket gate of black oak. This admits us into the "screens," a short and narrow passage having the Hall on one side, and, on the other, the kitchen and the Buttery. This last word has no connection with butter (though butter is here issued), but is derived from butler, as being the place where the ale for the hall dinners is served out. Its door, as is universal in such places, is a "hatch," the upper and lower halves of the door opening independently, and a broad sill on the top of the latter forming a sort of counter across which the business of the place is transacted. Of old the buttery served as an office, where much of the clerical work of the College was done; but this branch of its usefulness is now transferred to a special department.

When each College brewed its own ale and baked its own bread, as was the case till some half-century ago, the Buttery was a really important place. Even now the daily ration of bread and butter to which each Collegian in residence has a right, is here booked to him. This ration is called his "Commons." If for any approved reason he does not desire to draw it in any given week he is said to be "out of Commons"; and if, as sometimes happens, he is deprived of the right for misconduct, he is said to be "discommonsed" for such or such a period. (The equivalent phrase at Oxford is "to be crossed at the Buttery.") The Buttery officials also have charge of the adjoining strong-room in which the magnificent store of the College plate is secured; mighty salvers and bowls and "grace-cups,"[37] besides dishes, and the hundreds of spoons and forks, (p. 96) all the gifts of benefactor after benefactor since the College was first founded. A visitor may sometimes be fortunate enough to get a sight of these resplendent piles.

A sight of the kitchen, which adjoins the Buttery, can almost always be had, and is worth having; though the glory of the place has largely departed with the substitution of gas stoves for the old open ranges, six feet high and twelve feet long, before which scores of joints and fowls might be seen simultaneously twisting on huge spits. If less picturesque, the cooking is now more scientific, and the kitchen is a splendid chamber, the finest of all College kitchens, with an open pitched roof, and an oriel window, having been traditionally the ancient Hall of Michaelhouse. The walls are adorned with the shells of turtles, emblazoned with the dates of the great occasions on which they were immolated for soup. It is not only the dinners in Hall which are here cooked. Members of the College may order dishes to be sent to their own rooms, in reason; though any very extra expenditure in this respect would need to be authorised by your Tutor. This extraneous fare may constantly be seen being carried about the Courts, in large flat blue boxes, on the heads of the kitchen servants.

The doors of the Hall may usually be found open, or a request at the Buttery may open them; though there is a certain amount of luck in the matter, as the Hall is not only used for meals but for College examinations also, which, of course, must not be disturbed by intruders. A common lunch is served during Full Term, from 12 till 2, at which such as list sit where they will, Dons and undergraduates, cheek by jowl. The three daily dinners which the size of the College makes necessary are more formal affairs, especially the latest at 7.45, which the authorities of the College attend, sitting at the two High Tables on the dais, and faring more sumptuously than the students in the body of the Hall. Of these only the "Senior Sophs"[38] may be present, the "Junior Sophs" and Freshmen being relegated to the earlier hours. (p. 97) The westernmost range of tables is sacred to Bachelors of Arts and to the Scholars of the College. The rest may sit where they please at the remaining tables, and diners may enter and leave at their pleasure during the meal, but any course missed by lateness is missed for good. Ordinary morning dress is worn, except on special Feasts. Conversation may be freely indulged in, though it hardly, nowadays, rises to the height of Tennyson's heroic phrase in "In Memoriam," "the thunder of the Halls." The Master of the College himself does not dine in Hall except at great Feasts, but in his own adjacent Lodge, to the north, which communicates directly with the Hall by a door in the panelling between, and also by a sliding panel above, whence he (and his ladies) can, unobserved, overlook, and more or less overhear, what passes.

The high-pitched roof with its elaborate beams is copied, as are the other features (and the dimensions) of the Hall, from the Hall of the Middle Temple in London. Its ridge is broken in the centre by a "Lantern," or small openwork spire of wood (the openings being now glazed). This once served as a ventilating shaft, through which might escape the fumes of the great brazier (a yard in depth and two yards across) standing beneath it, and, till this generation, the only means used to warm the Hall. Over the doors is a "Music Gallery," usually closed in by quaintly carved shutters, whence, on Feast days, the College Choristers still discourse melody. The armorial bearings in the windows are those of eminent members of the College; while pictures of its more prominent Worthies (or Unworthies) hang on the walls. Conspicuous amongst these is Holbein's great portrait of Henry the Eighth, who stands "straddled over the whole breadth of the way," above the centre of the High Table, in all his underbred self-assertion, looking indeed "all our fancy painted him." His unhappy daughter Mary (who built the College Chapel) hangs near him, her full dourness and wretchedness in her face. Thackeray (a singularly powerful presentation) is also here, so is Clerk-Maxwell, so is Bishop Lightfoot, and many another light of literature, science, and theology; for the great size of Trinity has given it as great a proportion in the rolls of Fame.

On the other side of the Screens, in the "Combination Room," whither the High Table adjourns for dessert, may be (p. 98) seen other famous Trinity men, the most conspicuous being the celebrated Marquis of Granby, standing by his war-horse, with the bare bald head which won him his renown. He was in the act of charging the enemy[39] at the head of his regiment when the wind of a cannon ball carried away his hat and wig; and he did not halt his soldiery that they might be picked up. This unexampled pitch of heroism awoke the wildest enthusiasm throughout the length and breadth of England and made "The Marquis of Granby," as readers of Pickwick will remember, a favourite sign for inns throughout many years. Entrance to the Combination Room is only obtained through favour. There is little else to notice in it except the beautiful polish of the mahogany tables.

In the Screens are posted up the current College Notices—the hours and subjects of the lectures, the dates and results of the College examinations,[40] and the various tutorial admonishments of the Term. There is usually only one Tutor in a College, but the great size of Trinity requires the services of four; each being responsible for his own "Side," as it is called, consisting of some 150 students, to whom he is supposed (and the supposition is no unfounded one) to be "guide, philosopher, and friend," keeping a wise eye to their progress, moral, social, and intellectual.

Trinity Bridge.

Passing through the eastern doorway of the Screens we meet what is perhaps the most ideal academic view in the world. From our feet descends a semicircular stairway with steps of worn stone leading down to a vast enclosure of greensward, surrounded and traversed by broad walks of flags and pebbles, and enclosed on all sides by venerable Collegiate buildings with battlemented parapets. These buildings are not very lofty; which makes the court look even larger than it is, and gives the greater effect to the three grand gate towers, one of (p. 99) which adorns each of the three sides before us. In the midst of the Court (which is not far from square but delightfully irregular in shape) rises the inspired gracefulness of the fountain—with its octagonal base of broad steps (surrounded by bright flowerbeds) and its crocketed canopy upborne upon (p. 100) slender pillars with beautifully proportioned arches.[41] The whole is a veritable miracle of design, and would hold its own with any fountain even in Italy. It is, indeed, the work of Italian craftsmen of the best period,[42] brought over specially by Dr. Nevile, to whose genius we owe this most splendid of all College quadrangles, the "Old Court" (sometimes called the "Great Court") of Trinity.

To appreciate the greatness of this debt, we must bear in mind that, when he became Master of the College, Nevile found the ground occupied by heterogeneous ranges of old buildings, the remains of the suppressed Colleges and Hostels, running chaotically in all sorts of directions. These are shown in the earliest map of Cambridge,[43] made in 1592, just before he began his great work of pulling down, setting back, building and rebuilding. He thus remodelled almost the whole; the Chapel alone (built fifty years earlier) and the great eastern gate-tower remaining as they were before his reconstructions. In reality this Court, far more than the Cloister Court, deserves to be called by his name, and to remind us of his motto Ne vile velis ("Nothing cheap and nasty").

Since his day, indeed, surprisingly little alteration has been made. Plaster has been put on (and stripped off) here and there, stonework has been touched up, the Master's Lodge has been altered and re-altered, but the only radical change has been in the south-west corner beyond the Hall, which was rebuilt in 1775, with results as artistically deplorable as may well be, especially in comparison with the older work. Nevile had left in this corner a beautiful oriel window, still to be seen in Logan's view of the College (1680).

Of the three gate towers only one is of Nevile's own building, that on the southern side of the Court, known as the Queen's Gate from the statue of Anne of Denmark, the Queen Consort (p. 101) of James the First, which stands above its inner archway. The gate of this tower is used only on occasions. The other two both belonged to King's Hall; the eastern being still in its original place, the northern, which formerly aligned with it, having been moved back by Nevile to align with the Chapel. Both set forth the glories of Edward the Third; the former displaying over its entrance gate the armorial bearings of his seven sons, while over the archway of the latter he stands himself, with his three crowns (of England, France and Scotland) spitted on the long naked sword which he holds erect in front of him, and the proud motto "Fama super æthera notus" ("Known by Fame beyond the skies"). From his like niche in the eastern tower he has been displaced by Henry the Eighth. The statues on the inside of this tower are James the First, with his wife and son (afterwards Charles the First).

The northern tower is commonly known as the Clock Tower; being the dwelling place of the famous timepiece referred to by Wordsworth in the "Prelude" as breaking the silence of his rooms at St. John's College, which were not many yards away:

"Near me hung Trinity's loquacious clock,
Who never let the quarters, night or day,
Slip by him unproclaimed, and told the hours
Twice over, with a male and female voice."

The clock actually does repeat the hour, striking it first on the biggest of the three bells in the tower, whose note is A flat, and then on the second, E flat, a fifth above. The quarters are notified by two, four, six and eight strokes respectively on the first and second bells, F and E flat, a tone apart.[44]

To complete the round of the Court outside the grass-plots while midnight strikes is a favourite test of running powers amongst the Undergraduates. It is a fairly severe one; for the distance is 383 yards, with four sharp corners to negotiate, on somewhat pronounced pebbling, and the time occupied by the 32 strokes (8 for the 4 quarters and a double 12 for the hour) is only 43 seconds. An easier performance (p. 102) is to make a standing jump from top to bottom of the steps before the Hall; this is chiefly a trial of nerve. There are 8 steps, each 6 inches high and 15 wide, so that the drop is only 4 feet and the distance under 10; but it is a fearsome thought, looking down, to contemplate the result should one's heel catch on a step. To jump clear up the flight is a real feat, which only two men are known to have accomplished: even with the preliminary run which is possible below though not above the stairway.

On our way through the Court towards the Chapel, we have on our left hand the Master's Lodge, the front of which is an exceptionally happy piece of early Victorian restoration. A poor classical façade had (under Bentley) replaced Nevile's original front. But this front was still to be seen in Logan's print, and was thus (in 1842) reconstructed with little alteration. The Lodge contains splendid reception rooms, worthy of a palace. The Chapel, though by no means of the first rank as regards artistic beauty, is well worth seeing, for it contains what high authorities consider the very finest statue ever made since the palmy days of Greek art, Roubillac's wonderful presentation of Sir Isaac Newton.[45] There he stands at the west end of the Chapel, prism in hand, the king of all scientists, gazing with rapt eyes into Infinity, and a smile full of hope and illumination upon his lips.[46] The story goes that the expression on these lips did not wholly satisfy the sculptor at his first sight of his creation on its pedestal, and that he climbed up, then and there, chisel in hand, to give the effect he desired with a few exquisitely directed blows.

Other heroic figures are grouped around, Francis Bacon, (Tennyson's

"Large-browed Verulam
The first of those that know,")

The Fountain, Trinity College.

Tennyson himself, Macaulay, Dr. Barrow, the Master to (p. 104) whom the College owes its Library,[47] and the massive virility of his omniscient successor, Dr. Whewell.[48] Brasses affixed to the walls commemorate many another great inmate of the College, who, "having served his own generation according to the will of God," is here laid to rest:

"Trinity's full tide of life flooding o'er him
Morning and evening as he lies dead."

These lines were written to commemorate Dr. Thompson, the late Master (renowned for his sarcastic humour), and refer to the fact that undergraduates are expected to put in every week a certain number of attendances at the morning and evening Services held daily in the Chapel.[49] This obligation is now very leniently construed by the Senior and Junior "Deans," under whose cognisance offences against it come; but not so very long ago it was exceedingly strict, and the Chapel Lists, on which the attendances were recorded, were objects of real dread to the slothful. In 1838 the Senior Fellows (then the Governing Body of the College),[50] decreed that every student must be present twice on Sunday and once on every other day of the week. This ukase brought about something like a rebellion. A secret "Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Undergraduates" was formed, and avenged their wrongs by publishing every week regular lists exposing the far from adequate attendance of the Senior (p. 105) Fellows themselves (Thompson being one), to the intense annoyance of these dignitaries. Finally, they actually had the assurance to give a prize to the Fellow who had been most regular, Mr. Perry, who afterwards became the first Bishop of Melbourne, and who cherished the Bible thus won to the end of his life. The Society kept their secret for a whole Term, and, when finally discovered, were able to escape punishment by promising that the publication of their Lists, which made the Seniors the weekly laughing-stock of the University, should be brought to an end.

All these statues and memorials are in the Ante-Chapel, which is separated from the Chapel proper, as at King's, by the screen on which stands the great organ. This organ is the largest and best-toned in Cambridge,[51] but it is far from being as effective as the King's organ, to which the magnificent acoustic properties of its Chapel lend so wondrous a power. In Trinity there is always the sensation that the harmonies are boxed in; indeed the shape of the Chapel does very much suggest a box. In justice, however, to its designers, it must be remembered that the box-like effect would be very much lessened by the east and west windows with which it was originally provided. The latter was closed by Nevile's putting back the clock tower to abut upon it; the former still exists, as may be seen from the outside, but is utterly shut off from the interior by a huge and far from beautiful baldachino erected (not at his own cost but at that of the impoverished Fellows) by Dr. Bentley. This famous scholar was one of the few unpleasant Masters with whom the Crown (in which is here vested the right, usually belonging to the Fellows, of appointing the Head of the College) ever saddled Trinity. He passed his whole time as Head in one long unceasing quarrel with his College. To begin with, he was unpopular as being a member of the adjoining Foundation of St. John's, between which and Trinity there existed an age-long rivalry. Not many years before something like open war had been levied between the Colleges on the occasion of a Trinity merry-making, the Johnian onlookers being attacked with burning torches and using swords in their defence; while an attempt which they made to rush the great gates was beaten (p. 106) off by showers of stones and brickbats which had been stored to that end on the roof of the Gate Tower.

St. John's was at this time the largest College, and despised Trinity; a sentiment which Bentley, who was a born bully,[52] expressed with the utmost frankness, publicly calling the Fellows "asses," "dogs," "fools," "sots," and other scurrilous names, as they piteously set forth in their complaints to their Visitor,[53] the Bishop of Ely. Finally he was degraded by the Senate,[54] and reduced to the status of "a bare Harry-Soph," as a contemporary diarist (quoted by Mr. Clark)[55] puts it. But no Master, except Nevile and Barrow, has left so enduring a mark upon the College; for the ruinous expenditure into which he dragooned the unhappy Fellows has given the Chapel not only the baldachino, but the stalls, the panelling, and the organ; to say nothing of the clock, and the splendid oak staircase in the Lodge.

The profuse gilding and painting which enriches walls and roof in the Chapel is due to a restoration some forty years ago, when the outside was also faced with stone, and the windows filled with stained glass, commemorating ecclesiastical and other celebrities throughout all the Christian centuries. The Apostles appear in the most easterly windows on either side; whence the series progresses in chronological order westwards. The figures are for the most part powerfully drawn, and should be examined through an opera glass to appreciate their wealth of detail. We can thus see that Hildebrand has driven his crosier through the eagles of the Imperial Crown, that Dante, (p. 107) Matthew Paris, and Roger Bacon, hold in their hands copies of their own greatest works, that Giotto is studying an elevation of his Campanile; while noted church-builders, like St. Hugh of Lincoln and William of Wykeham, carry models of their edifices. The hapless Mary Tudor holds one of this very Chapel, of which she was the Foundress. It is appropriate that the beautiful silver cross over the Altar should be Spanish work of her date, though only placed there a few years ago by the generosity of some members of the College who met with it while travelling in Spain. It was originally a processional cross, and has been adapted for its new purpose with artistic skill of the first order.

When we leave the Chapel, and proceed towards the Great Gate, we are treading on classic ground. For it was along this flagged path that Macaulay, while at Trinity, used to take his daily exercise, pacing assiduously up and down, always the while devouring some author, whose pages he turned over with incredible rapidity, and at the same pace whether they were filled with the weightiest thought or the lightest fancy. Yet whether the book were profound philosophy or exquisite poetry or the trashiest of rhyme and fiction, he was ever afterwards able to recall its whole scheme and even to quote lengthy portions of it verbatim. His rooms were in the staircase facing us—the set on the ground-floor to the left of the entrance. This particular staircase has been the home of more great men than any other in the University. The ground-floor rooms opposite Macaulay's were those of Thackeray,[56] and the set above Thackeray's are hallowed as the habitation of Sir Isaac Newton: for whom the College built an observatory on the roof of the Gate Tower, and who also had the use of a small bit of ground which we see outside the gate, now a railed-in lawn, but then a pretty little garden, as Logan's view shows, with trees and flower-beds, surrounded by a high wall.

(p. 108) CHAPTER V

Whewell's Courts.—All Saints' Cross.—The Jewry.—Divinity School.—St. John's College, Trinity and John's, Lady Margaret, Fisher, Hospital of St. John, Gate Tower, First Court, Hall, Wordsworth, Compulsory Worship, Combination Room, Second Court, Library, Great Bible, Third Court, Bridge of Sighs, New Court, Roof-climbing, Blazers, Wilderness.—Caius College, Gonville, The Three Gates, Kitchen, "Blues."—Senate House, Congregations, Vice-Chancellor, Voting, Degree-giving.—University Church, Mr. Tripos, Golgotha, Sermons, Tower, Chimes, Jowett.—Market Hill, Peasant Revolt, Wat Tyler, Bucer and Fagius, Bonfires, Town and Gown.

We are now outside the Great Gate of Trinity; but, across the street, in front of us, rises yet another gate belonging to the College, and leading into its two newest Courts, named from Dr. Whewell, who left this noble memorial of his Mastership.[57] Those who list to enter them will at once see why the first is popularly known as "the Spittoon," and the second as "the Billiard Table"; but there is little more to see or to say about them.

The slender and lofty stone cross to the north of these buildings marks the site of the ancient church of All Saints, which was pulled down in the middle of last century, to be rebuilt at the further extremity of its parish, opposite the entrance to Jesus College. Its earliest name (in the twelfth century) was "All Hallows in the Jewry"; for Cambridge made good its claim to be amongst the larger towns of England by having, like the most of them, its Ghetto, or quarter (more or less sharply divided off from the rest), in which alone the Jews might reside. They were nowhere popular residents, for they were outside the pale of the Law (which refused to take (p. 109) cognisance of aliens in race and religion) and mere "chattels" of the Crown. This position, however ignominious, gave them special privileges as against their neighbours. They were too useful as financial assets to allow of their being murdered or robbed by anyone but their Royal owner himself; and, secure in his protection, they took small pains to conceal their contempt for their Christian neighbours, who retaliated by as much petty persecution as they dared, and, now and then, by a wholesale massacre. Finally matters became so strained that in the fourteenth century, under Richard the Second, the whole race of Israel were expelled from England, not to return till the days of Cromwell. They had originally come to our shores in the train of the Conqueror's army, thus conveniently enabling the Norman soldiers to turn their English loot into hard cash. Their quarter in Cambridge was the small triangular piece of ground between St. John's Street, Sidney Street, and All Saints' Passage.

North again of All Saints' Cross we see the new red-brick walls and white stone dressings of the Divinity School, where the Professors of that subject hold their classes and lectures. Opposite to this rise the stately buildings of St. John's College. We may note how very near they approach to those of Trinity. These two great Foundations, so long holding undisputed pre-eminence in the University, are, in fact, nearer neighbours than any other two Colleges in Cambridge—nearer, even, than King's and Clare. The narrow lane that parts their respective buildings belongs to St. John's, and is bounded on the Trinity side only by a brick wall. This flimsy partition induced Dr. Bentley, when congratulated on becoming Master of Trinity, to reply, with characteristic infelicity, "By the help of my God, I have leapt over a wall." An unverified tradition hence arose that he had actually made his way into the College, on the Great Gate being shut against his entry, by a ladder applied to the wall of the Trinity Fellows' Bowling Green.[58] Keen as has been the age-long rivalry between (p. 110) Trinity and St. John's, they have been more closely connected than any other two Colleges; and no fewer than four times has a Johnian become Master of Trinity. The respective Founders were also closely connected; for St. John's was founded (earlier in her grandson's reign) by Lady Margaret Tudor, grandmother to Henry the Eighth.

This noble lady is one of the choice characters of history. Her disposition, as depicted for us by the one who knew her best, her Confessor, the saintly Bishop Fisher, reads almost like an embodiment of St. Paul's encomium on Charity: "Bounteous she was, and liberal ... of singular easiness to be spoken unto ... of marvellous gentleness unto all folk ... unkind to no creature, nor forgetful of any kindness or service done to her (which is no little part of very nobleness). She was not vengeable nor cruel; but ready anon to forget and forgive injuries done unto her, at the least desire or motion made unto her for the same. Merciful also and piteous she was unto such as was grieved and wrongfully troubled, and to them that were in poverty or sickness or any other misery. To God and to the Church full obedient and tractable, searching His honour and pleasure full busily. A wareness of herself she had always, to eschew everything that might dishonour any noble woman.... All England for her death have cause of weeping."[59]

Trinity College Chapel and St. John's Gateway.

Lady Margaret was of Plantagenet stock, being great-granddaughter to "old John of Gaunt, time honoured Lancaster," and one of the legitimatised family of the Beauforts. Her first husband was the Welsh Earl Edmund Tudor, the father of her only child, Henry of Richmond, who afterwards succeeded to the throne of England as Henry the Seventh. After his death she twice married again; but none of her nuptials were of long continuance, and her true life was that of her widowhood, when she became famed as the Lady Bountiful of the Kingdom: "the mother of both the Universities; the very patroness of all the learned men of England;[60] the loving sister of all virtuous and devout persons; the comforter of all (p. 112) good Religious; the true defendress of all good priests and clerks; the mirror and example of honour to all noble men and women; the common mediatrice for all the common people of this realm.... Everyone that knew her loved her, and everything she said or did became her." Before her death she had endowed Preacherships and Professorships of Divinity (which still remain), both at Oxford and Cambridge, and had seen her first Collegiate Foundation, that of Christ's College, rise into full life. Her second and greater Foundation, St. John's College, she only lived to plan and to endow. When she died, on the 29th of June, 1509 (in the bright dawn of her grandson's reign and marriage—both alike destined to end in so miserable a tragedy), the buildings were not yet commenced.

She left their erection, however, in the best of hands. It was to her friend and counsellor, Bishop Fisher, who knew her so well, and appreciated her so dearly, that she committed the carrying out of her great design. He was markedly qualified for this purpose, not only by his connection with herself, but by special acquaintance with the spot. For in him we find yet another link between St. John's and Trinity. As Master of Michaelhouse,[61] some years earlier, he had been a close neighbour of the ancient Hospital of St. John, and had noted how far that venerable fraternity had outlived its usefulness. Originally a semi-monastic institution, founded in 1135, as a sort of alms-house for necessitous old men, the lack of any sufficient discipline had brought it to decay. The attempt made by Bishop Hugh de Balsham, in the century after its foundation, to leaven it with the scholars whom he afterwards transported to Peterhouse had proved a failure, and by the sixteenth century the few Brethren left were far from satisfactory in their ways.[62] Fisher, therefore, suggested to Lady Margaret to turn the Hospital into a College, under the same patronage, and after her death, set promptly to work to make the requisite alterations in the existing buildings.

(p. 113) His first act was to enclose a Court, the Gate Tower of which should worthily commemorate the Foundress. In this his success was complete. The tower, which to this day forms the main entrance to the College, is a delightful example of what may be done in architecture by a skilful use of red brick. The quoining is of stone, and of stone also are the elaborate decorations. In the centre above the first string-course a richly-canopied niche contains the statue of St. John the Evangelist. Below this, and immediately above the gate, is to be seen Lady Margaret's shield, the three lions of England, quartered with the three lilies of France, within a bordure barred azure and argent, supported by the antelopes of the Beaufort family. On either side of both statue and shield appear the Plantagenet rose and the Tudor portcullis, each surmounted by an Imperial crown (just as we so constantly find them in King's College Chapel), and all round is sprinkled the Margaret flower, the daisy. The whole forms a beautiful piece of composition which makes us regret that more of Fisher's work is not left. All the First Court, indeed, is his, but it has been altered out of all knowledge. Now its chief feature is the soaring mid-Victorian chapel, the largest in Cambridge (except, of course, King's), the most pleasing view of which is to be gained from the Trinity Backs, where the tower, framed in foliage, exquisitely doubles itself on the surface of the river. This ambitious fabric was built by Sir Gilbert Scott in the 'sixties; and a line of cement on the lawn of the Court alone traces for us the foundations of Fisher's original Chapel.

The Hall ranks in size and beauty next to that of Trinity. The most interesting of its portraits are those of Lady Margaret, Bishop Fisher, and the poet Wordsworth, who was a resident member of the College from 1787 to 1791. His rooms, as he tells in "The Prelude," were in the south-western staircase of the "First Court," just above the kitchen:

"The Evangelist St. John my Patron was:
Three Gothic Courts are his, and in the first
Was my abiding-place, a nook obscure.
Right underneath, the College Kitchens made
A humming sound, less tuneable than bees,
But hardly less industrious, with shrill notes
Of sharp command and scolding intermixed."

Wordsworth was not a very contented student. He shared (p. 114) the anarchical ideas then floating in the air, and soon to explode in the French Revolution. College discipline was eminently distasteful to him, and, above all, he detested the obligation to attend the Services in the College Chapel (which, indeed, were, in those days, conducted in far from ideal fashion).[63] In "The Prelude," he breaks out against them in unmeasured terms:

"Be Folly and False-seeming free to affect
Whatever formal gait of Discipline
Shall raise them highest in their own esteem:
Let them parade amongst the Schools at will,
But spare the House of God! Was ever known
The witless shepherd who persists to drive
A flock that thirsts not to a pool disliked?
A weight must surely hang on days begun
And ended with such mockery. Be wise,
Ye Presidents[64] and Deans, and to your bells
Give seasonable rest, for 'tis a sound
Hollow as ever vexed the tranquil air;
And your officious doings bring disgrace
On the plain steeples of our English Church,
Whose worship, 'mid remotest village trees
Suffers for this."

It is interesting to note that these sentiments are echoed, a year or two later, from Oxford, by Southey, then also in his youthful paroxysm of Revolutionary fervour. He lets himself go in his "Ode to the Chapel Bell":

"O how I hate the sound! It is the knell
That still a requiem tolls to Comfort's hour;
And loth am I, at Superstition's bell,
To quit, or Morpheus', or the Muse's bower.
Better to lie and doze than gape amain,
Hearing still mumbled o'er the same eternal strain,
The snuffling, snaffling Fellow's nasal tone,
And Romish rites retained, though Romish faith be flown."

Hall, St. John's College.

The Hall of St. John's was the scene of notable Christmas feasting in the good old days of academic prosperity. Daily, (p. 116) from Christmas to Twelfth Night, boars' heads, turkeys, gargantuan pasties, and cups of a peculiarly enticing composition, went the round of the board. After the fatal agricultural depression of the 'seventies these hospitable doings dwindled more and more, till now they are wholly of the past.

From the Hall we can often obtain permission to ascend to the unique glory of St. John's College, the Combination Room, which is incomparably finer than any other apartment of the same kind, either at Oxford or Cambridge. It is a spacious panelled gallery, running east and west, nearly 100 feet in length, lighted by transomed windows[65] along the southern side, and with a richly decorated plaster ceiling, the work of the same Italian artists who erected the fountain in the Great Court of Trinity, just at the time when this room was in building. For here we have got beyond Lady Margaret's "First" Court. The Combination Room forms the north side of the "Second" Court, erected at the very end of the sixteenth century (simultaneously with the Great Court of Trinity) by another noble benefactress, Lady Mary Cavendish, Countess of Shrewsbury, whose coat of arms (Cavendish impaled with Talbot) stands over the western gate.

This splendid benefaction was intended to be anonymous, as was also that which, in the "Third" Court, has given to St. John's yet another unique beauty, its exquisite Library, which (like the Combination Room) stands at the head, architecturally, of all College libraries, whether at Oxford or Cambridge. The benefactor in this case was Dr. John Williams, Bishop of Lincoln and Keeper of the Great Seal. His initials, as has been already mentioned, may be seen upon the outside of the western wall, beside the beautiful oriel window, overlooking the river, with which the room terminates, and his escutcheon hangs on the eastern wall, inside, over the door. For in his case, too, as in that of Lady Mary Cavendish, the secret leaked out before the work was finished, and in 1624 the letters I. L. C. S. (denoting Iohannes Lincolnensis Custos Sigilli) disclosed to passers-by the donor's identity.

(p. 117) The original bookcases of dark oak still project from either wall. They have mostly been heightened to make room for more books, but the additional shelves have been added not above but at the bottom, so that the sloping desks of the old tops still remain, though too high to be used; but the pair nearest the door remain at their original height. In the panelled end of each shelf may be noticed a tiny folding door, which on being opened proves to contain the catalogue, in crabbed early seventeenth century writing, of the books which the shelf held when first filled. The Library, however, contains nothing of any very special interest, its most noteworthy exhibit being an edition de luxe of the "Great Bible" issued in 1540 by Royal authority under the auspices of Archbishop Cranmer. This was the first English Bible authorised to be read in churches, and a copy was ordered to be set up in every parish church throughout the realm; the object being that every man might have access to it, and read for his own edification. He was not, however, allowed to take it home with him, and it was usually chained to the reading-desk to prevent this. And, as yet, there was no provision for any reading of Scripture in public worship, beyond the Epistles and Gospels of the Mass, the "sense" (i.e. the English) of which each parish priest had long been bound to give his congregation every Sunday as best he might.

Oriel in Second Court of St. John's College.

This first Authorised Version was founded on the work of Miles Coverdale, published five years earlier, with a specially (p. 118) fulsome dedication to King Henry the Eighth, who, in consideration of his recent breach with the Papacy,[66] is described as "our Moses ... who hath brought us out ... from the cruel hands of our spiritual Pharao." In this edition (of which we have here a copy printed on vellum, and perhaps destined for the King's own hands) this idea is enlarged upon in a highly elaborated frontispiece. Henry sits, smiling imperially, in the middle of the page, distributing Bibles right and left to all sorts and conditions of men—bishops, clergy, monks, nobles, commons, artisans, husbandmen, and, notably, prisoners;—while out of every mouth proceeds a label bearing the universal acclamation "Vivat Rex," the English equivalent of which, "God save the King," is first found in this Version.

The main approach to the Library is by a fine stone staircase in the north-western corner of the "Second Court;" but access is more generally obtained at present by an unpretending doorway in the middle of the northern side of the "Third Court." This door opens into the lower storey of the Library, which contains nothing of interest except a not very inspired statue of Wordsworth. Hence a circular iron stair leads up to the Library proper.

The "three Gothic courts," mentioned in Wordsworth's "Prelude" as belonging to St. John's, sufficed the College till the reign of George the Fourth. When it was then determined to expand, the bold departure was taken of erecting the new buildings on the other side of the river. Never, before or since, has any other College, either at Oxford or Cambridge, done the like; and one could wish that the experiment had been made at a period when architecture was at a less debased level. It was the period which Sir Walter Scott, in the "Antiquary," has in mind when he says "The Lord deliver me from this Gothic generation." But, of that period, the "New Court," as it is called, is a favourable specimen, most especially the grated[67] bridge connecting it with the main body of the College, which has a really graceful span. The idea of this structure was suggested by the Bridge of Sighs at Venice, and it is commonly (p. 119) known by that name, which provokes unkind comparisons. From it we get good views of the Library oriel to the north, and, on the other side, of the older bridge belonging to St. John's, three arches in the characteristic Johnian style of red brick with stone dressings, built at the end of the seventeenth century.

The New Court has practically but one side, the ends being very slightly returned, running east and west, with a quasi-cupola in the centre, surrounded by pinnacles and surmounted by a gilded vane. It is hard to believe, but it is quite historical, that one morning (in the 'sixties) this vane was found to be decked out in the brilliant scarlet "blazer"[68] of the College boat club, the perpetrator (who was never discovered) having actually scaled the roof by means of one of the water-pipes! And it was some time before the resources of civilisation in the hands of the College authorities availed to abate the outrage.

The New Court, on its southern side, is separated by a traceried cloister from the College Backs. On passing through the gate of this it is well to bear to the left and walk along the bank of the river, here overhung by magnificent elms, and affording a picturesque prospect of the Trinity buildings on the other side. The grounds of both Colleges to the west of the river are here divided up into a series of lawn-tennis courts, and are parted from each other by a broad ditch, which runs beneath the boughs of bowery horse-chestnut trees. In spring the Trinity bank of this ditch is bright with daffodils, the Johnian with narcissus. An iron foot-bridge, common to both Colleges, with a gate at either end, gives access from one to the other; but we had best continue by the path which skirts the Johnian bank. This finally leads out of the College grounds into the Backs proper, by a fine iron gate bearing a gilded eagle rising from a crown, the crest borne by Lady Margaret.

Before we reach this, we find water on either side of us; that to the west being not from the Cam, but a small tributary brooklet which joins the river near the Great Bridge. It is (p. 120) here dammed up so as to afford space for the College swans to make merry in, and on the further side is the Fellows' Garden, known as "the Wilderness." The wealth of spring flowers here cultivated—snowdrops, daffodils, crocuses, primroses, anemones, and hyacinths—is delicious in a country like Cambridgeshire, where Nature supplies their charms with very niggardly hand in comparison with the more favoured regions of England. Outside the Eagle gate we are close to the entrance of the Trinity avenue.

Let us stand once more before the great gate of Trinity. Turning to the south, instead of the north as before, we find ourselves in a few score yards with the buildings of a College again to the east and west of the street at once. This College is commonly known as Caius (pronounced Keys), and officially as "Gonville and Caius," after the original founder in the fourteenth century, and the benefactor who, two hundred years later, so largely developed it as to leave his name also attached to the site.[69] The former was a simple parish priest, rector of Terrington, on the Norfolk seaboard of the Wash. His little college, designated the "College of the Annunciation,"[70] and consisting only of a Master and three Fellows, found its original quarters hard by Pembroke, with which it was founded simultaneously in 1347. A few years later, on Gonville's death, his friend and diocesan, Bishop Bateman of Norwich, moved it to its present site, next door to his own new college, Trinity Hall.

There Gonville Hall, as it was now called, gradually developed, but remained a very puny bantling till the reign of Queen Mary, when one of its own scholars took upon himself the task of expanding it. His name was really Keys, which according to the fashion of the day, was transliterated into the (p. 121) Latin equivalent Caius, and he was a celebrated doctor of medicine, President of the College of Physicians, and himself physician to the Royal household. It was in the interests of his favourite study that he refounded the college, which to this day has a specially medical tinge. He was also a singularly devout man, and the spirit in which he built is exemplified by the three gates through which we successively pass in our progress through the College. From Trinity-street we enter beneath a narrow, plain, low-browed archway, known as the Gate of Humility, and inscribed Humilitatis.[71] A short avenue of lime-trees (also a part of the Founder's design) leads across the small court to a loftier, wider portal, over which we may read the word Virtutis. Through this we gain another court, and, looking back, we discover that in using the Gate of Virtue we have indeed used the Gate of Wisdom; for it bears the inscription Io. Caivs. Posvit. Sapientiae. And, finally, a small, beautifully designed turret, rich with Renaissance figures and pilasters, and inscribed Honoris, covers our exit through the Gate of Honour, to which those of Humility, Virtue, and Wisdom have successively led us on.

This Gate of Honour is really a wonderful little gem of architecture, quite unique in its design, which is due to Dr. Caius himself, though the work was not finished till after his death. The turret is an oblong mass of stone-work, some twelve feet in width by six in depth, rising to a height of about twenty feet, and topped with a singularly graceful hexagonal cupola.[72] The view of it, more especially from the further side of the Court, whence it groups with the Senate House and University library just outside, and with the soaring pinnacles of King's College Chapel beyond, is one nowhere to be surpassed. From a picturesque point of view no one can regret the absence of the somewhat gaudy coats of paint and gilding with which it originally was covered; but the result of their removal has been that the stone (which is soft, and was never intended to stand exposure to the atmosphere) is rapidly decaying.

(p. 122) The paved footway into which the Gate of Honour leads is known as Senate House Passage,[73] and is still the route along which the students of the College pass to receive in the Senate House such honours as their University examinations may have entitled them to. It forms the southern boundary of the College, which, alone amongst the Colleges of Cambridge, is wholly surrounded by public ways, Trinity-street being on the east, Trinity-lane on the north, and Trinity Hall-lane on the west. The tasteless mass of modern red brick (erected 1853) at the north-west angle of the block contains the hall; with the kitchens, by an unusual arrangement, beneath. These kitchens have an immemorial gastronomic renown in Cambridge, and are credited with the possession of culinary secrets enabling them to surpass all rival establishments. In some verses written about the end of the eighteenth century (concerning a well-known young lady of Cambridge) we find this referred to:

"The sons of culinary Caius,
Smoaking from the eternal Treat,
Gazed on the Fair with greedy air,
As she were something good to eat:
Even the sad Kingsman lost his gloom awhile,
And forced a melancholy smile.[74]

The Gate of Honour, Caius College.

Dr. Caius himself became the first Master of his new College, a post which he accepted with a reluctance which proved only too well justified, for he himself was a devout and pious man of the old school, and wholly out of sympathy with the militant Protestantism which was then fast becoming the dominating spirit at Cambridge, as in England generally. He has left in writing his lamentation over the sad depletion of the University which was the first result of the Reformation.[75] The wholesale (p. 124) destruction of ancient works of art—beautifully illuminated service books, and elaborately embroidered vestments—by which the votaries of the new religion sought at once to express their loathing of the older faith and to make its revival the harder, did but recall to him the like policy pursued by the Pagan antagonists of Jehovah in the days of the Maccabees. And he did what in him lay to stem the tide, rescuing here a Missal and there a Chasuble from the iconoclasts, till he had accumulated in his Lodge quite a little store of these sacred objects. But the times were too hard for him. He was denounced as a reactionary, a sympathiser with Popery; a riot broke out among the College students; the Lodge was stormed; the Papistical relics thrown out of the window and burnt in the midst of the Court;[76] whilst the Master and Founder himself was expelled from his own College and (as he had spent upon it all he had) ended his days in penury and exile. He was, however, allowed a grave in the chapel, which bears the touching inscription Fui Caius ("I was Caius").

The undergraduates of Caius wear a gown of a singular and not very pleasing violet hue with velvet trimmings. The College "colours" are light blue and black; the former, which is, as all know, the University colour, having been granted them to use, in memory of a famous race, in the early days of College boating, seventy years ago, when their crew beat the University Eight. It is, of course, an axiomatic rule of sportsmanship that no Club may assume the insignia of another (or any colourable imitation thereof), without leave from the previous users. The earliest "Light Blues" were the Eton Boat Club, by whose permission the Cambridge Boat Club took the colour. The Cricket Clubs, at both Eton and Cambridge, were then permitted to use it, and now (p. 125) this permission has been extended to all engaged as champions of the University, at athletics, football, etc.

The Senate House, to the entrance of which the Gate of Honour has brought us, is the nerve-centre of the University. Here are held, usually on each Thursday during Term, the meetings ("Congregations" is the official word) of that august body the "Senate," to whose vote all University legislation must ultimately be submitted. This body, however, consisting as it does of all who have attained the Degree of Master of Arts, several thousands in number, is far too large to initiate that legislation. This is done by a small elected General Committee, the "Council," and by special Committees (or "Syndicates") dealing with the various special subjects to be considered. Both Council and Syndicates also act as executive authorities, and by them "Graces" embodying this or that proposal are from time to time laid before the Senate. The Grace is read aloud by one of the Proctors, in his robes of office, standing beside the Chair, which is occupied by the Vice-Chancellor.[77] The benches are tenanted by such members of the Senate as care to be present.[78] There is no discussion;[79] but, on the Grace being read, any member may utter the words "Non Placet," whereupon the Proctor cries "Ad scrutinium," and the congregation divides; the "Placets," (or "Ayes" as they would be called in Parliament), moving to the right of the Chair, and the "Non-Placets" to the left. Should this grouping not sufficiently disclose the sense of the meeting, a poll is held; each member's vote being given publicly by writing, on an official form, avouched by his signature. These papers are (p. 126) then counted by the Proctors, and their respective numbers read out by the Vice-Chancellor.

These numbers are usually but small; indeed most of the business is altogether unopposed. But when some subject which excites general interest is brought forward, "backwoods-men" flock (and are whipped) up from all parts of England. Macaulay has given us a humorous poem on the coach-loads of country clergy thus pitch-forked into Cambridge to vote against the admission of Roman Catholics to the University; and within the last few decades, similar scenes were witnessed in connection with the question of their being allowed a recognised Public Hostel of their own, and with those of Compulsory Greek, and of granting Degrees to women.

Such is the procedure at the Senate House; or, rather, such it has hitherto been, for the whole question of University legislation is even now in the melting-pot. The use of the building for the chief University examinations is also dying or dead, now that a vast "Examination Hall" has been built for that purpose. But Degrees still continue to be conferred there; the students found worthy by the examiners successively kneeling before the Vice-Chancellor, and being admitted by him to their degree in the name of the Trinity. They are presented by the "Fathers" of their respective Colleges, in a recognised order, beginning with the Royal Foundations, King's always coming first and Trinity second. When the Degree of Doctor ("Honoris causa") is conferred on any distinguished visitors, the place is thronged, and each in turn is introduced with a laudatory Latin speech by the "Public Orator," who has to exert his ingenuity in composing some neat and appropriate epigrammatic remark about him.[80]

The Senate House is a stately classical building, running east and west, erected in the early decades of the eighteenth century. Up to that date the functions which it now discharges were served partly by the old Schools (now the University Library), which have been already spoken of, and which (p. 127) adjoin it on the west, and partly by the University Church (called here, as at Oxford, "Great St. Mary's"), which stands hard by to the east. The legislative meetings of the Senate were held in the former,[81] the Degrees were conferred, and other gatherings held, in the latter.

This was all very well before the Reformation, whilst reverence for consecrated places still held its own; but, after that great convulsion, the proceedings too frequently were markedly unecclesiastical in tone. The conferring of Degrees was originally a solemn function beginning with High Mass, and continuing with a serious vivâ voce exercise of the candidates in the presence of the Vice-Chancellor. But when the Reformation had made it fashionable to show a healthy Protestant contempt for the old Catholic superstitions, the whole ceremony was deliberately turned into a farce. The questioning of the candidates was no longer done by grave University officials, but by an "old" (i.e. a senior) Bachelor, who sat upon a three-legged stool, and made his interrogations as profane and scurrilous as possible. He was known, from his stool, as "Mr. Tripos," and so essential a part of the proceedings did he become that "Tripos" got to be (as it still is) the regular name for an "Honour" examination at Cambridge. To judge by the few that have come down to us, the jokes current on these occasions were poor to the last degree. Thus, in 1657, we read that two Oxonians, got up as hobby-horses, presented themselves, giving as their qualification that they "had smith's work at their digits' ends," (Smith being a then current writer of school books). They were duly admitted, on the ground that "such equitation gave them an equitable claim!" And all this was in the church; where, indeed, far less innocent performances were constantly given, including stage-plays and recitations in which the most solemn mysteries of the Catholic Faith were often travestied and held up to ridicule.[82]

The church which was thus so long profaned is of late (p. 128) Perpendicular architecture. Huge galleries have been inserted for the accommodation of such undergraduates as may attend; the nave being appropriated to the Master of Arts. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the east end was filled with tier above tier of semicircular benches for the seniors of the University, from whose prevailingly bald heads this elevation became profanely known as "Golgotha." All is now arranged in decent fashion, and since the building of the Senate House the church has only been used for strictly ecclesiastical purposes. Here each Sunday afternoon is preached the "University Sermon," the preacher being some clergyman selected by the Council of the Senate. No service is held in connection with this sermon, but the preacher, before commencing, reads from the pulpit what is known as the "Bidding Prayer"—a long list of subjects for intercession, comprising the various authorities in Church and State, the Clergy, and (as the source of their supply) the Universities and Colleges. Amongst these "as in private duty bound" the preacher specifically names the College to which he himself belongs, finally concluding with the Lord's Prayer.[83] The sermon is officially attended by the Vice-Chancellor and Proctors, who gather in the Senate House and cross the street in procession to the West door of the church. One of the Proctors carries the University Bible, a ponderous tome suspended by a chain; and in front is borne the silver mace of the University, by an official designated the "Esquire Bedell."

The church has witnessed various vicissitudes of doctrine. Here, during the first outbreak of Protestantism, the Missal was solemnly torn up and burnt amid the hooting of the crowd; and when, a century later, the Puritans gained the ascendancy, a like fate befell the Book of Common Prayer, Cromwell himself presiding at the ceremony. This was on Good Friday, 1643, when the Vice-Chancellor and several other Heads of Colleges were, for refusing to abet the proceeding, shut up in the church "all the long cold night, without fire or candle." They were afterwards haled to (p. 129) London, and, after being pelted through the City, were subjected to a sort of Black Hole treatment, under hatches on board a hulk in the river, with all port-holes closed, and no air "save such as they could suck from each others' breaths," as the "Querela Cantabrigiensis" piteously complains.

Till lately the tower of Great St. Mary's was a historical record of the stirring scenes amid which it arose, for it was slowly built during the course of no fewer than 120 years, being begun in the last decade of the fifteenth century and finished in the first of the seventeenth. Thus the lower stages were of Perpendicular Gothic, the higher of Renaissance style. Unhappily the Victorian restorers took it in hand, and rebuilt the top as, in their view, it would have been built had it been completed without this long delay, so that all historical interest is now lost. It contains a fine peal of twelve bells, on which sound the famous chimes composed in 1790 by Dr. Jowett,[84] tutor of Trinity Hall, which, since their adoption in the Westminster clock tower, have spread so widely throughout the country and the Empire. Their cadences are:

1st Quarter 1236
2nd " 3126, 3213
3rd " 1326, 6213, 1236
4th " 3126, 3213, 1326, 6213

The hour is struck on the tenor bell. These bells are of eighteenth century date: two more have been added since.

Peas Hill.

Great St. Mary's, for all its University connection, still remains what it was before the University came into being, a Parish Church; its Parish consisting of the Market Place, which opens out to the east of it, and is called locally "Market Hill." Whence this curious use of the latter word (p. 130) arose is not known, but it is immemorial at Cambridge for any expansion of a street into something wider. Besides Market Hill, there are the smaller spaces of Peas Hill and St. Andrew's Hill. All are utterly flat; yet, so potent is the word in the imagination of the Cambridge townsfolk, that such expressions as "I wonder the Hill don't fall down upon you" may be overheard in market disputes. Market Hill is not very large for its purpose even now; but till the nineteenth century it was much smaller, with more than one range of houses encumbering its area. On the southern side stands the Guildhall, a far from imposing structure, and in the centre rises the fountain supplied by the water of Hobson's Conduit, as described in our first chapter. The present structure was erected in 1855, the earlier one (put up in 1614) being then (p. 131) removed to its present position at the junction of Lensfield Road and Trumpington Road.[85]

Like the University Church, the Market Place has witnessed many stirring scenes. Here, in the fierce but short-lived Socialistic outbreak which we commonly associate with the name of Wat Tyler, when dreams were afloat of melting down all existing distinctions into one great Magna Societas, which should redress all wrongs and make all men equal in all things, a mighty bonfire was made by the insurgent peasantry of all the books and documents which could be looted from the University Chest in Great St. Mary's, and from the various Colleges and Hostels then existing. The Mayor of Cambridge was compelled to give the sanction of his presence to the deed; and finally the ashes were scattered to the winds, with the cry: "Away with the skill of the clerks! Away with it!"

Two centuries later, in 1555, the Hill saw another burning, of a more gruesome character. The Catholic reaction under Queen Mary was then in full swing; and it was determined to visit with the extreme penalty of the laws against heresy the corpses of two notable pioneers of the Reformation, Dr. Bucer and Dr. Fagius. Both were amongst the band of German Protestants who, under King Edward the Sixth, flocked over to disseminate the new Religion in England, and both had died while promulgating their tenets at Cambridge. They were now torn from their graves, and chained, in their coffins, to the stake, the pyre which incinerated them being chiefly composed of their own condemned books.

Within the last decade two other notable conflagrations have here been kindled. When Lord Kitchener, then Sirdar of Egypt, and fresh from his victories over the Mahdi, visited Cambridge to receive an Honorary Degree, his presence amongst us was greeted by the wildest orgies. A huge bonfire was kindled on the Hill, the pile ultimately stretching diagonally across almost the entire area, and fed with ever fresh supplies of wood, for which the whole town was scoured. Railings were torn up wholesale (notably, as has been said, in the Backs), shutters were wrenched from shop windows, and (p. 132) even doors from houses; while hoardings, gates, and tradesmen's barrows were seized and devoted to the flames. Like scenes, a few years later, on a somewhat smaller scale, celebrated the relief of Ladysmith in the Boer War.

These riotous proceedings were the work of the wilder spirits of University and Town alike. But in the earlier part of the Nineteenth Century many a fierce collision between Town and Gown took place on the Hill. The Fifth of November was the annual occasion consecrated by custom to these conflicts. Bands of undergraduates paraded the streets shouting "Gown! Gown!" while bands of the fiercer element amongst the townsfolk did the like, to the cry of "Town! Town!" Fights were thus frequent, in spite of the efforts of the authorities, both Civic and Academic. Gownsmen took to flight at the appearance of the Proctors and their "Bulldogs,"[86] but it was to re-form elsewhere, and few were actually caught. The Police, when they came into existence, in the early 'forties, were more formidable. They invariably took the side of the Town,[87] and it was due to them that the "Fifth" became less and less pugilistic, till it is now only a memory. Fisticuffs were all very well, but batons made the fun not good enough.

(p. 133) CHAPTER VI

Round Church.—Union Society.—The "Great Bridge," Hithe.—Magdalene College, Buckingham College, Pepys, Charles Kingsley, the "College Window," Master's Garden.—Castle Hill, Camboritum, Cromwell's Rampart, Repulse of Charles I, the "Borough," View from Castle.—St. Peter's Church.—"School of Pythagoras."—Westminster College.—Ridley Hall.—Newnham College.Selwyn College.—Convent of St. Radegund, Bishop Alcock.—Midsummer Common.—Boat Houses, Bumping Races.—Jesus College, "Chimney," Cloisters, Chapter House, Chapel, Cranmer, Coleridge.

Starting once more from the Great Gate of Trinity and turning northwards past St. John's we soon reach the "Via Devana," the old Roman road which, as has been said, is the backbone of Cambridge, traversing the town, under various names, from end to end. At this point of its course it is called Bridge-street. Opposite to us, as we enter it, rises one of the most distinctive buildings of Cambridge, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, popularly known as "the Round Church." Its strange shape is an echo of the Crusading period, during the whole of which such reproductions of the famous church of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem, the deliverance of which from the Turks was the Crusaders' dream, were erected in various parts of England. Earliest in date comes the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at Northampton, built at the very beginning of the twelfth century, in the opening fervour of the first Crusade, which has also given us the beautiful old chapel of Ludlow Castle (now in ruins) and this church in Cambridge. The gallant but fruitless effort of Richard Cœur de Lion to retrieve the disastrous loss of Jerusalem is commemorated by the Temple Church in London, completed at the very close of that century; while the (p. 134) yet more fruitless endeavours of Edward the First, a century later again, in the last expiring flash of Crusading zeal, inspired the latest of our English Round Churches, that of Maplestead in Essex. In all these churches the reproduction of their original is of a very modified character.

So it is with our Cambridge example. It consists, indeed, (or, rather originally consisted) of a circular nave surrounded by an ambulatory, like its Jerusalem prototype, and may, like it, have had a domed roof, though this is scarcely probable. But there the likeness must always have ended; and the structure has, in later days, been altered and re-altered time after time. At first there was probably a small semicircular eastern apse, which within a century gave place to an Early English chancel. This, in turn, was superseded by the present chancel with its aisles, built in the fifteenth century, when an octagonal bell-tower was also erected over the nave. Finally, in 1841, the newly-formed "Camden Society" for the restoration of ancient churches was permitted to work its will upon this one, and proceeded to reconstruct it in accordance with what they imagined ought to have been the design of its first builders.[88] And this imaginary ideal, with its pointed roof and tiny Norman windows, is all that we now see. Nevertheless, the sight, more especially inside, is impressive in no small degree.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Behind the Round Church rise the sumptuous rooms of the "Union[89] Society," a University club primarily instituted as an association for the cultivation of oratory amongst undergraduates, which has now added to its central debating hall a library, dining-room, smoking-room, and the other adjuncts of a first-class club. Here, on each Tuesday evening during Term, debates are held, usually on current political or social situations, theological polemics being strictly barred. When the Society was first instituted, in the early decades of the nineteenth century, current politics were also prohibited (by the University authorities), and could only be discussed under a decent veil of reference to antiquity. But the (p. 136) comparative merits of the causes championed by Cæsar and Pompey, or by the Cavaliers and Roundheads, were so easily made to apply to the burning questions of the day, that the prohibition speedily become obsolete. Many a well-known Parliamentary orator has won his first fame on the benches of the Union, Lord Macaulay being a notable example. His perfervid outpourings here swept away all opposition, and his friend and contemporary, Mackworth Praed, records how the issue of any debate is irrevocably decided—

"When the Favourite comes,
With his trumpets and drums,
And his arms, and his metaphors, crossed."

Leaving the Round Church behind us, and proceeding westwards, we pass the Church of St. Clement, with its inscription Deum cole ("Worship God"), which has nothing to detain us, and shortly arrive at "the Great Bridge,"[90] that famous passage of the river to which the town owes its name and its very existence. It can never have been an imposing structure, in spite of its high-sounding title, and is now represented by an exceedingly commonplace iron span. But, as the only passage of the Cam approachable by an army, in fore-drainage days, for many a long mile, it was of old a strategic point of first-class importance, and more than once played a notable part in English history. Its possession by the anti-monarchical forces shattered the last efforts both of King John and of Charles the First, and brought about, as we shall see, the speedy ruin and death of the former.

To the North of the Bridge, and on the Eastern bank of the River, is the last of the many "Hithes" (or Quays), of which we read so much in connection with old Cambridge, remaining in actual use for traffic. Here we may to this day see exemplified the ancient local proverb, "Here water kindleth fire;" for barges loaded with fire-wood and turf from the fens still discharge their cargoes at this spot.

The old name of the Great Bridge has, for at least a century,[91] been commonly superseded by the appellation of "Magdalene Bridge," which provokes singularly humiliating comparisons (p. 137) with the beautiful structure bearing that name at Oxford. In both cases it is derived from the adjoining College of St. Mary Magdalene (spelt, by a mere freak, at Oxford without the final e). Our College, however, is of a sadly lower grade than that at Oxford, with its ideal tower, and its beautiful chapel, and its grey cloisters, and its green "Walks" beside the Cherwell. Here we have but little beauty, and no very great historical interest. The College was first founded, in the middle of the fifteenth century, for the benefit of Benedictine students. It belonged to the great Abbey of Crowland, in the Huntingdonshire Fenland (though Ely, and other neighbouring Benedictine Houses, took part in the building), and was called Buckingham College, from its first special benefactor, Henry Stafford, the second Duke of Buckingham. At the suppression of the Abbeys, this College, like all other monastic property, was confiscated by King Henry the Eighth, who granted it to his favourite, Thomas Audley, Lord Chancellor. By him it was re-founded under its present name, and the nomination of the Master continues, even to this day, to be vested in his descendants. The existing representative of his family is Lord Braybrooke;[92] the name of whose seat, at Audley End, near Saffron Walden in Essex, records the fact that the whole property of the Benedictine Abbey of Walden was also granted to Lord Chancellor Audley. This Abbey had shared in the building of Buckingham College.

The beginnings of the re-founded College were on a very small scale, with only a single College servant (who acted as cook). Even forty years later this number, as Dr. Caius tells us, had only increased to three. To this day, indeed, Magdalene remains a small and select College. It consists of a single Court, representing Buckingham College, and the further side only of a second Court beyond. This isolated side, an admirable arcade, built at the close of the seventeenth century, contains the special treasure of the College, the collection of books bequeathed to it by the famous diarist, Samuel Pepys. This remains, as he himself arranged it, in twelve oaken "presses" with glass doors; the books on each shelf being brought to a common top level by appropriately graduated blocks of wood (shaped in imitation of their backs) (p. 138) inserted under each. The Library is on view on Tuesdays and Thursdays during Full Term, from 11.30 to 1 o'clock. Over the door is the Pepys motto: Mens cujusque is est quisque. ("Each man's mind is his very Self.")

Pepys had been a student here, and his portrait, by Lely, hangs in the Hall. So does that of another distinguished Magdalene man, Charles Kingsley, who was in residence 1839 to 1842. College tradition still records how he used surreptitiously to climb out of the College in the very early summer mornings, to be off on one of those piscatorial excursions which he so dearly loved. Another well-known writer connected with Magdalene is Mr. A. C. Benson, whose "College Window" was in the ground floor of the Pepysian Library range, on the North side, looking into the gardens of the Master's Lodge. In these gardens is a high terraced walk, beneath an old wall. Both terrace and wall are supposed to be connected with the ancient defences of Cambridge, but this is not proven.

St. Peter's Church.

We have, however, now come to the region where those defences did actually exist. For beyond this wall to the West rises the steep slope, partly natural and partly artificial, of the "Castle Hill," towering into the great mound on which stood the Norman Keep. This was built by William the Conqueror; but long before his day the site, defensible by nature, and commanding the all-important passage of the river, had been utilised for military purposes. Here, probably, was a British post, the Cam-Rhydd or "Ford of the Cam," which became the Roman Camboritum.[93] Here Oliver Cromwell, as commander over the forces of the "Associated Counties,"[94] set up fortifications which baffled the gallant effort to retrieve his fallen fortunes made by Charles the First after the fatal battle of Naseby. Having there left his matchless infantry, "lying with their pikes charged every way as when they lived," the unfortunate monarch, with the remains of his cavalry, broke through the network of the enemies' squadrons in full pursuit "like hounds after a fresh stag," and made a dash for the Eastern Counties, "where he had a party forming." Huntingdon he took by surprise, and (p. 139) "twice affronted the lines of Cambridge." But these were too strong to be rushed by horse-soldiers, and, as there was no other passage over the Cam, he had to retire, finally evading his pursuers, and making his way safely to Oxford, with all the loot acquired in this raid, "six waggons loaded with money, (p. 140) two thousand horses, and three thousand head of cattle." And the remembrance of Anglo-Saxon lines of defence round the site is perpetuated in the name "Borough," which still clings to it.

Many antiquarians, indeed, hold that the Cambridge of early days (anyhow down to the ninth century) was wholly confined to this small area, some quarter of a mile square, and that the extension of the town across the river was due to the expulsion of the inhabitants by Danish and Norman intruders. Be that as it may, we are here undoubtedly in the earliest Cambridge. The Castle has gradually passed away, till no ruins, even, are now left. Its modern representative, the County Court-house, where the Assizes are held, and the County Gaol, stand at the western foot of the great mound, whereon the Norman Keep no longer rises. From the summit is to be obtained a delightful view of Cambridge, with the "green-muffled" ring of the Backs, and the grey inner ring of the river-side Colleges, dominated by King's College Chapel, girding in the western flank of the Town, and starting almost from our feet; the long line of the East Anglian heights bounding our southern and eastern prospect; and to the north the "boundless plain," with the towers of Ely on the far horizon.

Close below us, and really at our very feet, rise the two churches of this earliest Cambridge, that of St. Giles, now merely a handsome modern edifice of imposing size, and that of St. Peter, also modern in its present form, but embodying some ancient features. It is the smallest church in Cambridge, only thirty-five feet in length by fifteen in width, being the reconstructed fragment of a larger structure built in the twelfth century, and pulled down in the eighteenth, when the Parish was united to that of St. Giles. It contains a fine late Norman font, with grotesque figures at each corner—two-tailed Mer-men, each grasping his tails in either hand. At one time the Borough had yet a third church, "All Hallows by the Castle" (so called to distinguish it from "All Hallows in the Jewry"), but this has wholly disappeared, Parish and all.

Remains of St. Radegund's Priory.

Beyond the spire of St. Peter's, as seen from the top of Castle Hill, may be distinguished a small mediæval building, known, for some forgotten reason, by the high-sounding title of "the School of Pythagoras." This lies just off the street (p. 142) to the eastward, at the point where this ceases to be a street, and merges into the open road that runs along the Backs. It is worth seeking out, for it is a picturesque little edifice, and an interesting example of a twelfth-century house built of stone. Wood, or, at the best, brick, were the materials then commonly used. In spite of the name, there is no reason to suppose that it was ever used for scholastic purposes, or anything more than a mere private dwelling-house. But Walter de Merton, the founder of Merton College, Oxford, actually acquired land hereabouts, apparently with some idea of starting a sister establishment at Cambridge. This land still belongs to Merton.

The great red brick and white stone edifice opposite the entrance to the School of Pythagoras is "Westminster College," wherein candidates for the Presbyterian ministry go through their theological course, after completing their secular studies at the University. A like institution for Anglicans, built in like style (which, indeed, is all but universal in modern academic work), is Ridley Hall, at the other end of the Backs. Neither of these is recognised by the University as anything more than a private lodging-house, nor is the similar (but much smaller) Roman Catholic seminary of Edmundhouse, on the slope above Westminster College.

The same non-recognition extends to the great Ladies' College of Newnham, which flings out its widespread "halls" over a lavish space adjoining Ridley. The grand bronze entrance gates to these "vestal precincts," inscribed with the name of the first Principal of the College, Miss Anne Jemima Clough (sister to the poet Arthur Clough) are hard by the more modest entrance to Ridley, and admit the visitor to a scene which reminds us of those in Tennyson's "Princess." And there are almost as many maidens here as he has assigned to his imaginary College, for Newnham is surpassed in the number of its students by Trinity only. Each has her own room, in which the bed becomes by day a sofa. Each is assigned to one of the "Halls," which in many respects are treated as separate entities, but all share the common collegiate life. There is, however, no chapel, for Newnham is most strictly undenominational. Students are, of course, free to attend any place of worship they may prefer, the preference being largely given to King's College Chapel. Hence a French (p. 143) traveller, who came over to study Women's Education in England, is said to have answered when asked on his return what religion was professed at Newnham: "Mostly, I think, the King's religion."

Jesus College Gateway.

(p. 144) The other Ladies' College, at Girton, has got a chapel, where the Church of England services are performed. This is the oldest of all the ladies' colleges connected with Oxford or Cambridge, and hence comes its position no less than two miles to the west of Castle Hill; for when the idea was first started, the close proximity of young men was deprecated almost in the trenchant spirit of Princess Ida. The very first start, indeed, was made (in 1869) no less than thirty miles away, at Hitchin, and only when this was found intolerable did the pioneers move (in 1872) to Girton.[95] There the beautiful grounds and splendid range of buildings give an impression of space rivalling Newnham; but the College is not nearly so large, and is somewhat more select. Here each student has a sitting-room as well as a bedroom, after the fashion of the men's Colleges.

Immediately to the north of Newnham is Selwyn College, a denominational institution belonging to the Church of England, corresponding to Keble College at Oxford, and, like it, recognised by the University, not indeed as a College, but as a "Public Hostel," whose undergraduates are not mere "non-collegiate students." Such "unattached" students are under a "Censor" and a special syndicate, and have a centre in the "Fitzwilliam Hall" (close to the museum of that name), where they have to report themselves daily.

The Back Court, Jesus College.

Looking eastwards from the Castle Hill, we see a wide, open green stretching from the further bank of the river, and beyond it a low church tower rising amid trees. This is the tower of Jesus College Chapel, once the Priory Church of St. Radegund. This lady was a Frankish queen of the sixth century, and a friend of the poet Venantius, the author of the well-known hymns Vexilla Regis and Pange Lingua. Under her dedication a Benedictine nunnery was founded here at the beginning of the eleventh century. It was never a large or wealthy institution, but continued to flourish for four hundred years and more. In 1455 its account books, still preserved among the archives of Jesus College, show an income of £70 per annum, equivalent in purchasing power to some £1,200 at the present value of money. Every Benedictine nun ranked socially as a gentlewoman, so that this income (p. 146) needed careful administration to make it suffice for the nine or ten sisters in residence. The Convent, however, was at this date quite solvent, but in less than twenty years a single incapable Prioress had run it deep in debt. The butcher's bill alone then amounted to £21 (equivalent to over £350), and, having no cash to pay withal, the nuns were taking two of his daughters free amongst the boarders whom they educated. They were also alienating their capital, so that the income was rapidly dwindling. In 1481 it had decreased by more than 50 per cent., and was only £30. The next Prioress was a strong and capable ruler, imposed upon the convent by the Bishop of the Diocese, who was its Visitor. But things had gone too far, and, in spite of her efforts, the place dwindled away. By 1496 there were only two nuns left, and, under Royal license, the convent was turned into "Jesus College" by the same Visitor. His name was Alcock, so his coat of arms bore three cocks' heads, with yet another cock for crest. This device confronts us at every turn in our passage through the College.

Jesus College Chapel, East End.

To reach it from Castle Hill, the most pleasant way is by descending the street, and turning to the left past St. Giles' Church. This road will soon bring us to the river, at a lock, where we cross by an iron foot-bridge. We are now on the open Green we saw from above, which is known as "Midsummer Common," from the great fair held there at that season. As we make our way over it, we see to our left along the river bank the long white boathouses[96] of the various colleges; for it is not till below this lock that the river becomes navigable for an eight-oar, and all the University rowing is done between it and that next below, at Baitsbite, three miles and more down the stream to the northward. Baitsbite[97] is the starting-point of the annual college races, held at the conclusion of the May Term.[98] As is well known, these are decided by "bumping," the boats all starting simultaneously one behind another, with a clear interval of two (p. 148) lengths between each. Any boat making a bump takes the place of its defeated rival in the next race, and has the privilege of rowing back to its boat-house with its flag flying.[99] This is also done by the boat Head of the River, which, of course, cannot bump, though it may be bumped. Should a boat make its bump on each of the four evenings that the races last, the crew are said to "get their oars," each man's oar becoming his personal property and being usually hung in his rooms as a trophy, appropriately painted with the College colours. These colours are also worn for racing; the most easily recognised being the bright scarlet of Lady Margaret (St. John's), the black and white of Trinity Hall, the green of Queens', the black and yellow of Clare, and the red and black of Jesus. The flags always bear the College arms, except that "First Trinity" fly the three crowned lions of King Edward the Third.

Leaving the distant prospect of the boathouses behind us, we resume our way to Jesus College, the grounds of which are separated from Midsummer Common by a broad ditch. Skirting this, we come to "Jesus Lane," and, turning to the right, reach the main entrance to the College, opposite the red brick façade of "Westcott House" (like Ridley Hall, an Anglican Clergy Training School), and the tall spire of the new Church of All Saints.[100] Iron gates admit us into a long passage, between red brick walls, known as "the Chimney," which conducts us to the College gate. Jesus is a large college, with several courts, but all that is much worth seeing is the chapel with its cloisters, to reach which we must seek a low-browed doorway to the east of the entrance gate. Both are relics of the nunnery. The latter, indeed, were rebuilt in the eighteenth century; but the nineteenth has rediscovered, in their eastern range, the beautiful Early English entrance into the Nuns' Chapter House. At the north-east corner of the cloisters we find the door into the chapel.

This bears little resemblance to the conventional College Chapel, being a cruciform church of the ordinary Norman shape, with a central tower. Very little of the work, however, is Norman, for the nuns did not get far on with their design (p. 149) till the twelfth century had come in and the Early English period had commenced. A beautiful gem of this style the chapel is, and, for once in a way, the drastic "restoration" to which it was subjected in early Victorian days is matter of real thankfulness.[101] The building had been sadly mauled about in the course of ages; the high-pitched roof lowered, the eastern lancets destroyed. All is now brought back, in excellent taste, to what it was at first. The old chancel has become the chapel proper, the transepts and the short nave serving as the ante-chapel.

Oriel of Hall, Jesus College.

In this the windows are filled with fine Morris glass, the rich hues of which are, unfortunately, much faded from their pristine brilliance. That at the end of the south transept, which first meets the eye, is occupied, above, by a magnificent group of the Celestial Hierarchy, in all its nine Orders—Angels, Archangels, Virtues, Principalities, Dominions, Powers, Thrones, Cherubim, Seraphim, with the addition, in the tenth place, of Man, as the image of God; and, below, by nine Saints, including St. Radegund, with the addition of Bishop Alcock. The four other windows of the transept show the four Evangelists, each attending a pair of Sibyls,[102] and, in the tower lights, Gospel scenes illustrating the Incarnation, Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension of Christ respectively. The nave windows, on the south, have Patriarchs and Prophets, with scenes beneath from the life or writings of each; and, on the (p. 150) north, emblematic figures representing the Cardinal and Theological Virtues, each trampling under her feet the contrary Vice.

The most notable of the alumni of Jesus College was also one of the earliest—Archbishop Cranmer. It is from his having been here that he is so often and so ridiculously said to have been brought up in a Jesuit seminary![103] Another notability was the poet Coleridge, who was here from 1790 to 1792. He was not an academic success, for, like his contemporaries, Wordsworth at St. John's, and Southey at Christ Church, he was carried away by the revolutionary spirit then rampant, and, being more audacious than they, got into more scrapes. One of his freaks was to trace out in gunpowder on the college lawns the words Liberty and Equality, which not only produced a sensation when the train was fired, but left the obnoxious sentiment permanently branded on the sacred grass. Finally he ran away. But he was taken back, and did not lose his love for his old college; for, long afterwards, we find him writing of "the friendly Cloisters and happy Grove of quiet, ever-honoured Jesus College, Cambridge." The Grove is the name given to the grassy field, begirt with trees, which is bordered by the ditch separating the College grounds from Midsummer Common.

The western portion of that common is often called "Jesus Green." It witnessed the execution of the only Marian martyr burnt at Cambridge. His pile was largely formed of Protestant books of devotion, one of which, "a Communion Book," he picked up and read diligently till the flames overpowered him, "praising God, who had sent him this consolation in his death."

(p. 151) CHAPTER VII

Sidney Sussex College, Oliver Cromwell, Fellow Commoners.—Holy Trinity, Simeon, Henry Martyn.—Christ's College, "God's House," Lady Margaret, Flogging of Students, Bathing forbidden, Milton, Lycidas, Gardens, Paley, Darwin.—Great St. Andrew's, Bishop Perry.—Emmanuel College, Harvard, Sancroft, Chapel, Ponds.—University Museums.—Downing College.—Coe Fen.—First Mile Stone.—Barnwell, Priory, Abbey Church.—Lepers Chapel, Stourbridge Fair, Vanity Fair.

Following Jesus Lane from the "Chimney" gate townwards, we once more strike into the Via Devana, here called Sidney Street, from the College filling the angle between the two roads. It is not a pretentious institution, having always been amongst the smallest colleges. But it has nurtured one man of colossal individuality, the great Protector, Oliver Cromwell. For Sidney Sussex College (as its full name runs, from its foundress, Lady Frances Sidney,[104] Countess of Sussex) was instituted (in 1596) for the very purpose of fostering such alumni. The earliest statutes of the College decree that its members shall be taught, before all else, to "detest and abhor Popery." Besides Cromwell, his right-hand man, Edward Montagu, Earl of Manchester, who distinguished himself when in authority at Cambridge during the Civil War by ejecting from their parishes so many recusant High Church parsons and filling their places with Puritan divines, was also a Sidney man. Both he and Cromwell were "Fellow Commoners," a name given to privileged undergraduates who, on payment of extra fees, were permitted to rank with the Fellows and to dine at the High Table. They also wore a more (p. 152) ornate gown than the ordinary undergraduate. It is only of late years that this plutocratic arrangement has been discontinued in the University. The site of Sidney was formerly that of the Franciscan Convent, with its splendid church, considered the finest in Cambridge. At the dissolution of the convent the University tried to secure this from King Henry the Eighth as the University Church. But the King's price was too high, the negotiations fell through, and the glorious building was remorselessly and utterly demolished.

Passing by Sidney, which has nothing to detain us, we shortly note a church on our right hand. This is Holy Trinity, the special home of the Evangelical movement in Cambridge. In the early days of that movement (and of the nineteenth century) the pulpit here was occupied by its great leader, Charles Simeon, Fellow of King's College, who through much persecution, through evil report and good report, championed the cause till he saw it triumphant. And a series of like-minded men has followed him.[105] The grey stone building just beside the church is the Henry Martyn Hall, built in memory of that great Evangelical pioneer and missionary. It is used for meetings connected with the movement.

Leaving Holy Trinity to our right, a turn in the street brings us face to face with the grey stone front of Christ's College, one of the most ideal in Cambridge. We owe it, like St. John's, to the bounty of the Lady Margaret Tudor, King Henry the Seventh's mother, whose beautiful character has already been dwelt upon in our last chapter. And she bestowed it upon us under the same inspiration as in the case of St. John's, that of her friend and confessor, Bishop Fisher, and, in doing so, adopted the same plan of transforming and expanding an earlier Foundation. This was a very small "School of Grammar," which never attained to the dignity of collegiate rank, founded in 1430 by John Bingham, parson of St. John Zachary, just before he and his Church were swept away to make room for King's College. It was then removed to this site, just outside the "Barnwell Gate" of Cambridge, where it maintained a microscopic existence for the rest of that century.

(p. 153)

Christ's College Chapel.

At the beginning of the next it had the good fortune to be taken up by Lady Margaret, who increased the number of residents maintained in it from five to sixty, and changed the name from "God's House" to "Christ's College." At the same time she planned out the principal court, as it now exists. Unlike St. John's, it was at least partly completed before her death, for the historian Fuller tells a pretty story of how she here beheld from a window the dean administering to one of the scholars the corporal chastisement which was at that day the recognised means of discipline,[106] and called out to him "Lente! Lente!" ("Gently! gently!") The College is (p. 154) appropriately full of her memory: her portrait adorns the Hall; on the front of the Gate Tower stands her statue, between the Plantagenet Rose and the Tudor Portcullis, and beneath it are carved her armorial bearings, as at St. John's, with the addition of the crest, a demi-eagle of gold rising out of a crown.[107] On either side are the three feathers of the Prince of Wales. These same arms, emblazoned, are over the inner gateway that leads into the Gardens, with her own beautiful motto, "Souvent me souvient" ("Oft I bethink me"). And in the Library under a glass shade is a reproduction of the upper part of her person, with the hands folded in prayer, from her monument in Westminster Abbey.

But, to the ordinary visitor, the memory of even Lady Margaret is, at Christ's, overshadowed by the mightier memory of John Milton, who was in residence here for seven years, from 1625 till, in 1632, he became a Master of Arts. In residence along with him was his "Lycidas," whose real name was Edward King. In the gardens an ancient mulberry tree, so old that its stem has to be encased in a pyramid of turf, and its remaining arms jealously shored up, is called by his name. The tradition that he himself planted it is probably unfounded, but it was actually there in his day, one of the score of these trees which, by the desire of King James the First, were placed in the gardens.

The gardens here are amongst the few College Gardens which at Cambridge are open to the public. During certain hours visitors are admitted, and no small privilege it is; for there are few lovelier spots than this verdurous lawn, shut in on one side by the grey "Garden Front" of the College,[108] with its balustraded cornice and transomed windows, and everywhere else "bosomed high in tufted trees";[109]—an ideal place for Milton's own

"retired Leisure,
That in trim gardens takes his pleasure."[110]

Hidden in a thicket at the north-eastern corner is a sequestered swimming-bath, fed by a stream drawn off from Hobson's (p. 155) conduit. To climb the statue beside this and dive off the head is a current feat amongst Christ's men. Something of a feat it is; requiring considerable sureness of foot and skill in balancing oneself.

To reach the Gardens we must cross the first court, a singularly pleasant example of a College Court, rendered the more picturesque by the central grass-plot being circular instead of the usual rectangle, and pass on through the "Screens" at its north-eastern corner. Here we are in another Court, only in part surrounded by buildings; the "Fellows' Buildings" being immediately in front of us. As Christ's, unlike most Colleges, has but one entrance,[111] we shall have to retrace our steps. In passing the Hall we should, if possible, look in to note the portraits of the College worthies. Amongst these are to be found not only Lady Margaret, Bishop Fisher, and Milton, but Quarles (the author of the "Emblems"), Paley, the Evidencer of Christianity,[112] who was a Fellow here in the eighteenth century, and the epoch-making name of Charles Darwin, the Apostle of Evolution.

From Christ's we continue along the Via Devana, here called St. Andrew's Street from the unlovely church of that name[113] which we see opposite the College. Of old the name was Preachers' Street, from the great preaching Order of the Dominican Friars, who from the thirteenth to the sixteenth (p. 156) century here found their home. The site of their House is now occupied by our next College, Emmanuel, as that of the Franciscans was by Sidney. It is remarkable that the ground of both the great Orders which were called into existence specially to preach the doctrines of Catholicism should have passed into the hands of men whose main object was to contest those doctrines. But so it was. Emmanuel, like Sidney, was founded (1584) expressly to combat the errors of Popery; and the Founder, Sir Thomas Mildmay, a courtier of Queen Elizabeth, has left on record his special wish that his College should turn out a constant supply of able Puritan divines.

His hope was realised. Emmanuel at once sprang to the front as the great power-house of the Puritan movement in Cambridge; and so strong was that movement that for the moment it carried the College to the very top of the list, so that it surpassed in numbers even Trinity and St. John's. Many of the stalwarts who belonged to the Pilgrim Fathers of New England were here educated; notably John Harvard, whose name is borne by the Premier University of America. So also were many of the preachers who kindled and sustained the ardour of the Roundheads through the stress of the Civil War. Even after the Restoration the College retained the impress of its Founder's hope. When, in 1664, the Duke of Monmouth visited Cambridge, a satirical guide to the University, written in doggerel Latin verse for his benefit, sneers at the strict moral tone of Emmanuel: "You may well perceive that they are all Puritans here." And Archbishop Sancroft, famous as the chief of the Seven Bishops who made so staunch a stand against the toleration of Roman Catholics under James the Second, was an Emmanuel man.

Emmanuel College.

For the first century of its existence, the students of Emmanuel worshipped in an unconsecrated building running north and south,[114] where they received the Sacrament "sitting on forms about the Communion Table, and pulling the loaf one after other when the minister hath begun. And so the cup; ... without any application of the sacred (p. 158) words." But in 1679 this room was turned into the College Library, and the present chapel built on the usual Anglican lines.

Emmanuel has little architectural beauty; but there are pleasant grounds, with a swimming-bath, as at Christ's, and two larger ponds, in which swans and wild ducks are kept. The swimming-bath and the smaller pond are accessible only by the favour of a Fellow; but the large piece of water is in a great open court (beyond the first court). All are fed from a branch of the Hobson's Conduit stream, runlets from which run down St. Andrew's Street, even as they run down Trumpington Street. Beyond the swan-pond lie the new buildings, lately erected to meet the greater expansion of the College, for Emmanuel, after over two centuries of depression, now ranks (along with Caius and Pembroke) at the head of the list with regard to relative numbers, except Trinity alone. In actual numbers she broke in 1890 her record of 1628, and has gone on advancing steadily since. Her shield bears a blue lion ramping on a white ground and holding a laurel wreath, emblematic of the victory of the "Lion of the tribe of Judah."

Immediately opposite the front gate of Emmanuel there runs off, at right angles, from the Via Devana, a thoroughfare known as Downing Street. Till the present century it actually gave access to Downing, the youngest of the Colleges to which the University officially accords that title. In those days Downing consisted of a huge parallelogram of prettily be-treed greensward, a furlong across and three furlongs long,[115] thus covering far more space than any other college. But in numbers it was the smallest of all, and also in income, till finally agricultural depression reduced it to such straits that it was forced to sell its northern frontage to the University. Thus Downing Street now leads, not to Downing, but to the great central huddle of University museums, laboratories, and lecture-rooms, which have been incessantly rising during the last two generations, and which are still continuing to rise. Here, cheek by jowl (on the site of the old Austin Friary), are the magnificent Geological Museum erected in memory of Professor Sedgwick, the Museum of Botany, the Law (p. 159) Schools, the Museum of Archæology, the Museum of Anatomy,[116] the Museum of Mineralogy, the Chemical Laboratory, the Medical Schools,[117] the Physical Laboratory,[118] the Engineering Laboratory, the Optical Lecture-room, and, beside these, the Philosophical Library, and the huge Examination Hall which is the latest addition to the equipment of the University.

To reach Downing to-day, one must turn to the left on leaving Emmanuel, and continue along the Via Devana (here called Regent Street) till large iron gates on the opposite side of the road invite us to enter the College grounds. These give still an impressive sense of space, though now curtailed at the southern as well as the northern end, and form a pretty setting for the two parallel ranges of yellow stone, which date from the beginning of the nineteenth century. For though Downing was by that time keeping the centenary of its foundation (by Sir George Downing, of Gamlingay in Cambridgeshire), the funds had not hitherto admitted of the erection of college buildings. When first set up, these classical frontages were considered the ne plus ultra of architectural perfection, and strangers were taken to see them as the great glory of Cambridge.

Regent Street, after we leave Downing, will soon bring us again to the Church of Our Lady, so that we have now completed our circuit of Cambridge. There remain, however, a few outlying spots worth a visit should time serve. Nearest and most picturesque of these is Coe Fen, a long strip of common, lying along the eastern bank of the river, before it enters on its course through the Backs. The best time to see it is at sunset, and the best way to gain it is by following down the narrow byway beside Little St. Mary's, and turning to the left at the bottom. We shall then find ourselves on the Fen, beneath the old wall of Peterhouse deerpark, a delicious, heavily-buttressed, mass of red brick-work, leaning over and curved with age, patched and re-patched all over with all (p. 160) kinds of fragments, giving colour effects that are quite charming.[119] Passing beyond its shelter, and that of its continuing hedge (which divides us from Peterhouse and other gardens), we may take the first turn to the left, up a narrow (and often dirty) byway, which will lead us past the Leys School, the great Wesleyan educational outpost of Cambridge, into the Trumpington Road, where it joins Lensfield Road at Hobson's Conduit. Or, instead of turning to the left we may turn to the right, and, crossing the Cam by the iron footbridge, make our way over "Sheep's Green," the Common east of the river, to Newnham Mill and the Backs. Or we may hold straight on, by the footpath that runs the whole length of the Fen, which will bring us out on the Trumpington Road just by the first milestone, where that road crosses "Vicar's Brook."

It is from this side that we notice how this is no ordinary milestone, but a grand monolith twelve or fifteen feet in length, and feel that it must have a story. And so indeed it has, for it is the very first milestone ever set up in Britain since the days of the Roman dominion here. In those days every great road in the country had its series of milestones recording the distance from the central milestone in London, which still exists, in its decay, as "London Stone." But after the mighty organisation of the Roman Empire lost its hold upon the land, roads went to ruin, and milestones were broken up or used for Anglo-Saxon gate-posts. Not till 1729 was the idea of restoring the system entertained; and it was a Cambridge College, Trinity Hall, that first took it up, and carried it out on the road from Cambridge to London. Hence it is that these milestones bear the Crescent of the College shield. And for their inaugural milestone was chosen this grand monolith, which was itself an old Roman milestone.

North-east of Cambridge stretch the mesh of dingy streets which make up the great suburb of Barnwell. Hither and thither they run, in soul-crushing monotony; yet even here there are gems of interest to be found. The suburb came into existence, to begin with, through the proximity of a great Abbey, the Augustinian Priory of Barnwell. This House of Religion was founded in the first instance by Hugoline, the pious wife of Picot, William the Conqueror's far from pious Sheriff of Cambridgeshire. It was by her located close (p. 161) beneath his dwelling-place in the Castle, and dedicated to St. Giles. Half a century later, the Picot land was forfeited for treason, and granted to Richard Peverel, who had been, in the First Crusade, standard-bearer to Robert Curthose, the Conqueror's eldest son. He transferred the House to the riverside, hard by a holy spring, the Burn Well (or source of the Brook), where a hermit of special sanctity had already reared an Oratory dedicated to St. Andrew. He also raised the number of monks from six to thirty, to correspond with that of his own years at the time.

The Abbey grew and flourished. Its inmates, as appears from their "Custom Book" of 1296 (lately published by Mr. J. W. Clark), led a very civilised life—cleanliness being specially insisted upon; and its proximity to Cambridge placed it in touch with political life. Royalty stayed in it now and again; in 1388 even Sessions of Parliament were held in it; Papal Legates visited it.[120] And when civil wars broke out, it was a prize worth plundering; a fate it more than once suffered. When the final plunder came, under Henry the Eighth, the whole was utterly swept away; the only thing left being a small stone building, which was apparently the Muniment room of the Abbey. Though utterly ruinous, this little block is by no means without architectural merit, and may be found by following the Newmarket Road (which enters Cambridge as "Jesus Lane") to its junction with East Road (the eastward continuation of Lensfield Road). Here Abbey Street runs down to the river, and just off it is our building, commonly known as the "Priory Chapel." Hard by is an old red-brick dwelling-house, bearing the date 1578, and called the "Abbey Barn"; and in its grounds are several venerable fragments.

In close proximity to these ruins is an actually surviving relic of Barnwell Priory. This is a tiny church of Early English Architecture, known as the "Abbey Church," or "Little St. Andrew's."[121] Small as it is, it is the Mother Church of a huge parish (now happily divided into districts) containing (p. 162) more than half the entire population of the Borough of Cambridge. It was built by the Canons of Barnwell, when their Priory was a century old, for the use of the little knot of hangers-on whom every great abbey attracted to its doors, and whose secular (and, perhaps, far from cleanly) presence was unwelcome at the fastidious worship of the Priory Church. And they made it the representative of the old hermit's Oratory of St. Andrew. For long ages it sufficed for the adjoining population; but when that population increased by the hundred-fold, as it did at the opening of the nineteenth century, things got to a desperate pass, and Barnwell became practically heathen, with an only too well-deserved reputation for vice of every kind.

So matters stood when, in 1839, Dr. Perry, Fellow of Trinity College, who was Senior Wrangler in 1828, and whom we have met with as the devoutest attendant at the College Chapel, and as the builder of Great St. Andrew's, came forward to stem the evil. Renouncing the comfort of College life, he took upon himself the charge of this hopeless district; for which he built, at his own expense, the commodious (if ugly) red-brick church opposite the Abbey, and a like fabric (St. Paul's) at the other end of the area, on the way to the railway station. He laboured devotedly himself, he inspired others to work, he invoked the help of a band of pious undergraduates who had already begun a Sunday School on their own account,[122] and when he departed to become the pioneer Bishop of Australia, he left a well-equipped Parish organisation which is still in full activity.[123]

The Lepers' Chapel, Barnwell.

Pursuing the Newmarket Road, we find (at the point where it at last ceases to be a Barnwell Street, and crosses the railway into the open country beyond), yet another tiny ancient church, called traditionally the "Lepers' Chapel." It is of Norman date, and probably served the Lepers' Hospital, which we know to have existed hereabouts, as remote as might be from the town. This hospital was endowed by King John (p. 163) with the tolls of the great Fair held hard by on Stourbridge Common, which even so late as the Eighteenth Century boasted itself the largest and most important in all Europe, a position now claimed by that of Nijni Novgorod in Russia. And, to judge by the accounts that have come down to us, the boast was not unfounded. The Cambridgeshire historian, Carter, writing in 1753, thus describes it:

"Stourbridge Fair ... is set out annually on St. Bartholomew by the Mayor, Aldermen, and the rest of the Corporation of Cambridge; who all ride thither in a grand procession, with music playing before them, and most of the boys in the town on horseback after them, who, as soon as the ceremony is read over, ride races about the place; when returning to Cambridge each boy has a cake and some ale at the Town Hall. On the 7th of September they ride in the same manner to proclaim it; which being done, the Fair begins, and continues three weeks; though the greatest part is over in a fortnight.

"This Fair, which was thought some years ago to be the greatest in Europe, is kept in a cornfield, about half a mile square, having the River (p. 164) Cam running on the north side thereof, and the rivulet called the Stour (from which and the bridge over it the Fair received its name) on the east side, and it is about two miles east of Cambridge market-place; where, during the Fair, coaches, chaises, and chariots attend to carry persons to the Fair. The chief diversions at Stourbridge are drolls, rope-dancing, and sometimes a music-booth; but there is an Act of Parliament which prohibits the acting of plays within fifteen miles of Cambridge.

"If the field (on which the Fair is kept) is not cleared of the corn by the 24th of August, the builders may trample it under foot to build their booths; and, on the other hand, if the same be not cleared of the booths and material belonging thereto by Michaelmas Day at noon, the plough-men may enter the same with their horses, ploughs, and carts, and destroy whatever they find on the premises. The filth, dung, straw, etc., left behind by the fair-keepers, make amends for their trampling and hardening of the ground.

"The shops or booths are built in rows like streets, having each their name, as Garlick Row, Booksellers'-row, Cook-row, etc. And every commodity has its proper place, as the Cheese Fair, Hop Fair, Wool Fair, etc.; and here, as in several other streets or rows, are all sorts of traders, who sell by wholesale or retail, as goldsmiths, toy-men, brasiers, turners, milliners, haberdashers, hatters, mercers, drapers, pewterers, china warehouses, and, in a word, most trades that can be found in London, from whence many of them come. Here are also taverns, coffee-houses, and eating-houses in great plenty, and all kept in booths, in any of which (except the coffee-booth) you may at any time be accommodated with hot or cold roast goose, roast or boiled pork, etc.

"Crossing the main road at the south end of Garlick Row, and a little to the left hand, is a great Square, formed of the largest booths, called the Duddery, the area of which Square is from 240 to 300 feet, chiefly taken up with woollen drapers, wholesale tailors, and sellers of second-hand clothes; where the dealers have room before their booths to take down and open their packs, and bring in waggons to load and unload the same. In the centre of this Square was (till within these three years) erected a tall May-pole, with a vane at the top; and in this Square, on the two chief Sundays during the fair, both forenoon and afternoon, Divine Service is read, and a sermon preached from a pulpit placed in the open air, by the Minister of Barnwell; who is very well paid for the same by the contribution of the fair-keepers.

"In this Duddery only, it is said, there have been sold £100,000 worth of woollen manufactures in less than a week's time; besides the prodigious trade carried on here, by the wholesale tailors from London, and most other parts of England, who transact their business wholly in their pocket-books, and meeting here their chapmen from all parts, make up their accounts, receive money chiefly in bills, and take further orders. These, they say, exceed by far the sale of goods actually brought to the Fair, and delivered in kind; it being frequent for the London wholesale men to carry back orders from their dealers for £10,000 worth of goods a man, and some much more. And once in this Duddery, it is said, there was a booth consisting of six apartments, all belonging to a dealer in Norwich stuffs only, who had there above £20,000 worth of those goods.

"The trade for wool, hops, and leather here is prodigious; the quantity (p. 165) of wool only sold at one fair is said to have amounted to £50,000 or £60,000, and of hops very little less.

"September 14, being the Horse Fair day, is the day of the greatest hurry, when it is almost incredible to conceive what number of people there are, and the quantity of victuals that day consumed by them.

"During the Fair, Colchester oysters and white herrings, just coming into season, are in great request, at least by such as live in the inland parts of the kingdom, where they are seldom to be had fresh, especially the latter.

"The Fair is like a well-governed city; and less disorder and confusion to be seen there than in any other place where there is so great a concourse of people: here is a Court of Justice always open from morning till night, where the Mayor of Cambridge, or his Deputy, sits as Judge, determining all controversies in matters arising from the business of the Fair, and seeing the Peace thereof kept; for which purpose he hath eight servants, called Red-coats, attending him during the time of the Fair and other public occasions, one or other of which are constantly at hand in most parts of the Fair; and if any dispute arise between buyer and seller, on calling out 'Red-coat,' you have instantly one or more come running to you; and if the dispute is not quickly decided, the offender is carried to the said Court, where the case is decided in a summary way, from which sentence there lies no appeal.

"About two or three days after the Horse Fair day, when the hurry of the wholesale business is over, the country gentry for about ten or twelve miles round begin to come in with their sons and daughters; and though diversion is what chiefly brings them, yet it is not a little money they lay out among the tradesmen, toy-shops, etc., besides what is flung away to see the puppet shows, drolls, rope-dancing, live creatures, etc., of which there is commonly plenty.

"The last observation I shall make concerning this Fair is, how inconveniently a multitude of people are lodged there who keep it; their bed (if I may so call it) is laid on two or three boards, nailed to four pieces that bear it about a foot from the ground, and four boards round it, to keep the persons and their clothes from falling off, and is about five feet long, standing abroad all day if it rains not. At night it is taken into their booths, and put in to the best manner they can; at bed-time they get into it, and lie neck and heels together until the morning, if the wind and rain do not force them out sooner; for a high wind often blows down their booths, as it did A.D. 1741, and a heavy rain forces through the hair-cloth that covers it.

"Though the Corporation of Cambridge has the tolls of this Fair, and the government as aforesaid, yet the body of the University has the oversight of the weights and measures thereof (as well as at Midsummer and Reach Fairs) and the licensing of all show-booths, live creatures, etc.; and the Proctors of the University keep a Court there also to hear complaints about weights and measures, seek out and punish lewd women, and see that their Gownsmen commit no disorders."

Fuller (in the seventeenth century) gives us the tradition that the fair originated with some Westmorland cloth dealers, (p. 166) who were here overtaken by a storm on their way to Norwich, and found so ready a market for the goods which they spread out to dry on the grass of the common that they went no further but returned hither the next year, and again. Thus the special prominence given to the "Duddery" here is accounted for. The tradition does not seem improbable, for Kendal has, from time immemorial, been renowned for its cloth—the famous "Kendal green" worn, in old ballads, by the English archers. To this day the shield of that town bears cloth-making implements, with the motto "Pannus mihi panis" ("Flock is my food"). And Norwich was (throughout the Middle Ages) the great commercial centre of the cloth trade. That there was some marked connection between Cambridgeshire and Westmorland is proved by the constant occurrence here of family names derived from Kendal place-names (Sizergh, Docwray, Strickland, Sedgwick, etc.) which have been current amongst the peasantry of Cambridgeshire since the fourteenth century at least.

Since Carter wrote, the great development of communication has made fairs a mere survival, and Stourbridge Fair has fallen from its high estate. It is now a very commonplace affair of a few days' duration, mainly for the horse trade. But it still is declared open by the Mayor of Cambridge or his delegate, and a dish of the white herrings which Carter speaks of still forms part of the opening ceremony. And it has an abiding interest for English readers, as the prototype of "Vanity Fair" in the "Pilgrim's Progress." Bunyan, as a Bedford man, would be familiar with the bustling scene, and, if we compare his pages with those which we have transcribed from Carter's History, we see how vividly he has allegorised it:

"At this Fair are all such Merchandize sold as Houses, Lands, Trades, Places, Honours, Preferments, Titles, Countreys, Kingdoms, Lusts, Pleasures, and Delights of all sorts, as Whores, Bauds, Wives, Husbands, Children, Masters, Servants, Lives, Blood, Bodies, Souls, Silver, Gold, Pearls, Precious Stones, and what not.

"And moreover at this Fair there is at all times to be seen Juglings, Cheats, Games, Plays, Fools, Apes, Knaves, and Rogues, and that of every kind.

"Here are to be seen, too, and that for nothing, Thefts, Murders, Adulteries, False Swearings, and that of a blood-red colour.

"And as, in other Fairs of less moment, there are the several Rows and Streets, under their proper Names, here such and such Wares are vended, so here likewise you have the proper Places, Rows, and Streets (namely (p. 167) Countries and Kingdoms) where the Wares of this Fair are soonest to be found. Here is the Britain Row, the French Row, the Italian Row, the Spanish Row, the German Row, where several sorts of vanities are to be sold. But, as in other Fairs some one Commodity is the Chief of all the Fair, so the Wares of Rome and her Merchandize is greatly promoted in this Fair."

We find also reference to the standing Court of summary jurisdiction under "the Great One of the Fair," with "the trusty Friends" who formed his police, that took cognisance of the "Hubbub and great Stir in the Fair" caused by the demeanour of the pilgrims.

As an instance of how wide a range the commodities sold at this fair covered, we may mention that Sir Isaac Newton there bought his famous prisms—three of them for £3. They were probably of French or Italian make; no glass of this character was as yet manufactured in England.


Roads from Cambridge.—Cambs and Isle of Ely, Girvii, East Angles, Mercians, Formation of County.—Newmarket Road.—Quy.—Fleam Dyke.—Devil's Dyke.—Icknield Way.—Iceni, Ostorius, Boadicea.—Newmarket Heath, First Racing.—Exning, Anna.—Snailwell.—Fordham.—Soham, St. Felix.—Stuntney.—Wicken.—Chippenham.—Isleham, Lectern.—Eastern Heights.—Chevely, Cambridge Corporation.—Kirtling.—Wood Ditton.—Stetchworth.—Borough Green.—Bottisham.—Swaffham Bulbeck.—The Lodes.—Swaffham Prior.—Reach, Peat, Submerged Forest.—Burwell, Church, Clunch, Brass, Castle, Geoffry de Magnaville.

At the Lepers' Chapel we are clear of Cambridge and well on the road to Newmarket, probably the most trafficked of all the great roads which radiate from Cambridge. Of these there are seven; this Newmarket Road going to the north-east, the Hills road to the south-east, the Trumpington Road to the south, the Barton Road to the south-west, the Madingley Road to the west, the Huntingdon Road to the north-west, and, finally, the Ely Road to the north. This last takes us into the Isle of Ely; the other six serve the county of Cambridge, more strictly so-called, i.e., the southern half of the Cambridgeshire of our maps, not so long ago quite separate, politically, from the northern half, and even now not wholly united for administrative purposes.

The Isle, which contains the whole of the fenland forming this northern half of Cambridgeshire, is far older as a political entity than the southern part of the county. Its existence dates back to the far-off days of the Anglo-Saxon conquest, in the fifth and sixth centuries, when the poor remnants of the British population in East Anglia, once the proud tribe of "the great Iceni," fled for refuge into the "dismal swamp" of the Fens. Here they held out for centuries, and formed themselves (p. 169) into a new tribe, the Girvii (as our earliest Latin chronicler transliterates the Welsh name Gyrwy, signifying "brave men," by which they called themselves). This Girvian principality has ever since held together. It passed as a whole into the hands of St. Etheldreda, by her marriage (in 652 A.D.) with the last Girvian Prince, Tonbert, and from her to her successors the Abbots and Bishops of Ely, whose jurisdiction survived until the nineteenth century.

Meanwhile the old southland homes of the unhappy Britons were being shared up by their English exterminators. The East Anglians swarmed over the uplands to the east, and joined hands (not in friendship) with the more powerful Mercians swarming in from the west. Roughly speaking the Cam divided these jarring tribes, which lived in undying hostility till the various English Kingdoms were united into one (in A.D. 827) by the genius and valour of Egbert, the first "King of the English." But the boundaries were not effaced till the desolating flood of the Danish invasions poured over all.

When that flood was stayed by Egbert's glorious grandson, Alfred the Great, and the district once more made English and Christian by his only less glorious son, Edward "the Elder," it was formed by him into a County called, from its chief town, Cambridgeshire (or, as it was then, "Granta-bryg-shire"). This was in the year 921. But for the first idea of any union between this new County and the old Isle of Ely we must wait another two centuries, when, in 1107, the Abbot of Ely became a Bishop, with the Isle and the County together for his See. The ecclesiastical tie thus formed has gradually developed into a civil tie also; just as the first union of the English race under a common Primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury, paved the way for its union under a common King.

To many charming byways amid the streamlets and the meadows and the gentle slopes of this southern Cambridgeshire the seven highways out of Cambridge will successively conduct us. The highways themselves are, as has been said, seldom inspiring thoroughfares, save for their far-flung horizons; and the Newmarket Road least of all, for it is, as might be looked for, motor-swept beyond all the rest. The one near-hand object alone worth mention is the little Church of Quy, whose far-seen tower dominates some miles of the (p. 170) road. But this has little interest except its curious name, which is matter of dispute amongst etymologists. "Cow-ey" is the most commonly accepted derivation, meaning the Island of Cows. But Quy can never have been an island. More probably it is "Cow-way," like the "Cowey Stakes" on the Thames, signifying that here was a passage for cattle across the marshy ground which bordered the little stream crossed by the road before reaching the church. This stream flows out of Fulbourn Fen, an isolated patch of fen-land a mile square, even yet only half reclaimed, and of old so impassable that it determined the line of the great Fleam Dyke, which runs up to it on either side but does not need to cross it.

Quy Church.

The Fleam Dyke is one of the great prehistoric lines of defence which were run from the Fens of the Cam to the summit of the East Anglian heights. Those heights were in ancient times clothed with dense forest, and formed an impenetrable barrier against enemies from the west seeking to invade the East Anglian districts. So too did the morasses of the fenland. But between fen and forest stretched a strip of open grassland furnishing easy access. To defend this, the only gate into their territory, was the great object of the (p. 171) inhabitants of those districts; and they ran across it two stupendous earthworks, the Fleam Dyke as their outer bulwark and the Devil's Dyke, which we meet at Newmarket, as the inner.[124] The former stretches for a length of some ten miles from the banks of the Cam at Fen Ditton to the uplands by Balsham (its course broken by Fulbourn Fen); the latter ranges in a long unbroken rampart from the Fen at Reach to Wood Ditton (i.e. "the ditch-end in the forest").

When these were constructed we do not know. They first appear in history as the scene of desperate fighting between Britons and Romans in the first century of our era. But they may very probably have existed before even the Britons came into the land. Magnificent earthworks they are, some 10 feet high on the inner side, and on the outer at least 30, from the bottom of the great ditch which flanks them to the crown of the parapet. When that parapet was topped by a palisade of timber, they must have presented formidable obstacles indeed. The Fleam Dyke we do not see from this road. But as we approach Newmarket, and enter upon its famous Heath, we cross the Devil's Dyke; and, as we look at its mighty dimensions, we cease to wonder that our simple-minded ancestors should have ascribed its formation to superhuman agency.

The gap by which we pass through the Devil's Dyke deserves notice. It is the one gap in the whole line of the work, and was left to admit, not our road, but that which we now join, the London Road of Newmarket. For this is one of the most venerable tracks in the land, being the "Icknield Way," made how long ago Heaven only knows. From the very first settlement of the country there must always have existed some route along this open strip between fen and forest which formed the only line of communication from the eastern to the midland regions of our island. In British days the former were occupied by the great clan of the Iceni, whose name survives in the English appellation of the road, and can be traced in many place-names along it, such as Ickleton in Cambridgeshire, and Ickleford in Hertfordshire.[125] (p. 172) The road followed the western slope of the chalk hills to the Thames and beyond, till it tapped the line of the great Tin-road, by which that then precious metal was brought from Cornwall to Thanet.[126]

At the Roman conquest of Britain in 55 A.D. the Iceni were friendly to the invaders, whom indeed they had invited into the land, to free them from their subjection to the House of Cymbeline, King of Britain. But when, a few years later, during the settlement of the country, the Roman general Ostorius ordered them to give up their arms, they regarded the demand as an intolerable insult, and bade him defiance, manning the Fleam Dyke against him. But such was his energy that, though he had no regular troops with him, his light-armed auxiliaries stormed the whole length of the line at a single rush. The routed Icenians fled in panic homewards, only to find their way hopelessly barred by their own fortifications along the Devil's Dyke, and all but the few who could force their way through the mad crush at this one narrow gap, were, in spite of a desperate resistance, slaughtered wholesale. The tribe were then disarmed, and endured unresistingly the licence and greed of Roman officials and Roman moneylenders, till goaded into madness, twelve years later, by the wrongs of their "warrior-queen," Boadicea. Then followed that convulsive explosion of popular rage and despair, in which every Roman within reach was massacred with every circumstance of horror, and to which the Romans, after their victory, replied by such a policy of extermination as to blot the Icenian name from the page of history. Never again do we meet with it.

Between the Dyke and Newmarket lies the Heath, renowned as the earliest English race-course. This form of amusement seems to have come in with the Stuart Dynasty. James the First is said to have inaugurated the sport. But the well-known tale of how Edward the First escaped from his captivity at Hereford, by inducing his guards to ride matches till their (p. 173) horses were exhausted and then galloping off on his own fresh mount, shows that the idea was afloat long before. And at Newmarket in particular such matches must often have been ridden in connection with the great horse mart which has given the town its name.

This New Market is, like the New Forest, now far from new. It dates from the year 1227, when a frightful outbreak of sickness frightened away buyers and sellers from their older market-place two miles off at Exning (a pretty natural amphitheatre of turf bright with many springs), and sent them to meet for the future in the freer air of the Heath. This word, by the way, does not, in Cambridgeshire, imply the existence of heather, merely meaning an open space.

Thus Newmarket came into being. The sport we first hear of in connection with it is not racing but hunting. For the boundless range of the moorlands to the east of the town (which even now astonish all who first see them) were then haunted by innumerable herds of wild deer, and afforded ideal ground for the chase. James the First, accordingly, had here a hunting-box,[127] in which his unhappy son was afterwards imprisoned for a while by the victorious army of the Commonwealth. And thus the Heath became known to his "merry" grandson, Charles the Second, who speedily saw how specially adapted its expanse was for horse-racing, and established a regular annual race-meeting, the first to be introduced into England.

The Royal sport spread like wildfire, and the bare Heath became year by year crowded by the gayest throng in England, thus vividly described by Macaulay:

"It was not uncommon for the whole Court and Cabinet to go down there," Charles himself, to the admiration of his subjects, posting down from London in a single day, with only two relays of fresh horses. "Jewellers and milliners, players and fiddlers, venal wits and venal beauties, followed in crowds. The streets were made impassable by coaches and six. In the places of public resort peers flirted with maids of honour, and officers of the Life Guards, all plumes and gold lace, jostled professors in trencher caps and black gowns. For on such occasions the (p. 174) neighbouring University of Cambridge always sent her highest functionaries with loyal addresses, and selected her ablest theologians to preach before the Sovereign and his splendid retinue. In the wild days before the Revolution, indeed, the most learned and eloquent divine might fail to draw a fashionable audience, particularly if Buckingham announced his intention of holding forth; for sometimes his Grace would enliven the dulness of a Sunday morning by addressing to the bevy of fine gentlemen and fine ladies a ribald exhortation which he called a sermon. With lords and ladies from St. James's and Soho, and with doctors from Trinity College and King's College, were mingled the provincial aristocracy, fox-hunting squires and their rosy-cheeked daughters, who had come in queer-looking family coaches, drawn by cart-horses, from the remotest parishes of three or four counties to see their Sovereign.... Racing was only one of the many amusements of that festive season. On fine mornings there was hunting. For those who preferred hawking, choice falcons were brought from Holland. On rainy days the cock-pit was encircled by stars and blue ribbons.... The Heath was fringed by a wild, gipsy-like camp of vast extent. For the hope of being able to feed on the leavings of many sumptuous tables, and to pick up some of the guineas and crowns which the spendthrifts of London were throwing about, attracted thousands of peasants from a circle of many miles."

Nor were these beggars the only ones to profit by the festive occasion. The townsfolk of Newmarket reaped a golden harvest; lodgings for the press of visitors were at fancy prices, and many were glad to pay a guinea a night for even the third of a bed; and "at Cambridge," we read, "a hackney-horse is not to be got for money."

When Newmarket became only one of many racing centres throughout the land, this height of glory naturally departed. But to this day its meetings rank in the very first class of such fixtures. And as a training ground for race-horses it stands second to none. Training stables rise all round it, and strings of young thorough-breds are constantly to be met along the road, and are treated with reverence, even by the drivers of motor-cars, who, for some distance on either side of the town are not allowed to travel at any speed over ten miles an hour. There are now seven principal annual racing fixtures here, the chief being the "Craven," in the spring, and the "Two Thousand" in the autumn.

The town of Newmarket is now wholly in Suffolk, although till a few years ago it lay partly in Cambridgeshire, for it is built on either side of the Icknield Street, which here formed the county boundary. But the Old Market at Exning was always in Suffolk; a little island of which may be seen on the (p. 175) map, surrounded by Cambridgeshire territory. Here we have an interesting historical survival. Whence came about this curious delimitation? The answer is that when Cambridgeshire was first formed into a county by Edward the Elder it was not yet forgotten that Exning had long been a special residence of Suffolk royalty.

Suffolk, it must be remembered, is not, like Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, and other counties named after their chief town, an artificial division of the land, called into being by the Government merely as an administrative unit, but, like the Isle of Ely, one of the originally independent principalities the gradual accretion of which has formed England. Very early Suffolk and Norfolk joined together in one East Anglian Kingdom; but that Kingdom endured for centuries, and was not extinguished till its last monarch, St. Edmund, was murdered by the Danes in their great raid of 870 A.D. He was, indeed, but a tributary monarch, under the King of the English; but this was then only a quite recent arrangement, and his predecessors had been wholly independent sovereigns. For many years they were engaged in a heroic struggle to preserve their independence against Mercia, the great power which occupied all the Midlands, and therefore it was that they fixed their Royal abode at Exning, close to the great dyke which bulwarked the East Anglian realm, as, long before, it had bulwarked the Icenian.

Hence it came about that Exning was the birthplace of St. Etheldreda, the foundress of our great "sacred fane" at Ely, round which, almost more than Cambridge itself, the fortunes of Cambridgeshire have centred. Her father, King Anna, was called to the East Anglian throne in troublous times. Christianity and Paganism were at death-grips throughout the land. And the latter cause was championed by the monarch who was, for the moment, far the most powerful of the English sovereigns, Penda, King of Mercia. From his central position he struck out north, south, and east, at his Christian neighbours. His first blows were against Northumbria, where he successively shattered the Roman Mission of Paulinus and the Celtic Mission of Aidan. Next he drove into exile Kenwalk, the first Christian King of Wessex, and finally, in 654, burst over the East Anglian frontier "like a wolf, so that Anna and his folk were devoured as in a moment."

(p. 176) But this breaking up of the Exning family did but scatter its members to spread far and wide the cause of the Gospel. And a splendid band they were. Not for nothing is Anna described by Bede as "a good man, and the father of an excellent family." His eldest son followed him on the throne (for Penda was slain shortly after his last victory, and the Mercian dominion fell with him), and helped St. Etheldreda in her great work at Ely; another son, St. Erconwald, became one of the most famous of all the Bishops of London; while, of the daughters, one was Abbess of Barking, another of Dereham, another of Brie, in France.[128] Yet another, Sexburga, after being Queen of Kent, succeeded Etheldreda as Abbess of Ely, and was herself succeeded by her daughter Ermenilda, who, as Queen of Penda's son Wulfhere, had taken part in St. Chad's great work of converting Mercia. Seldom has any place bred such a household of Saints as this quiet little village of Exning. A pretty village it still is; but is now fast becoming a suburb of Newmarket. The bright little stream running through it is derived partly from springs in the old market meadow already spoken of (known as "the Seven Springs"), and partly from sources in a copse some half-mile to the south, known as St. Wendred's Well. All we know of this obscure Saint is that she had a local fame in the tenth century, when her body, in a golden coffin, was brought from Ely to the great battle between Edmund Ironside and Canute at Assandun, and became the spoil of the victor. The church at March is dedicated to her.

The road from Newmarket to Ely (twelve miles) passes several places worth notice. First comes Snailwell, with the flint-built round tower of its little church rising so picturesquely above the "well," now a broad, clear pond, from which the little river Snail crawls away into the adjacent fen. At the adjoining hamlet of Landwade there was lately unearthed a Roman villa, the fine tesselated pavement of which is now in the Sedgwick Museum of Cambridge.

Fordham, which we next reach, is a larger village, with a church of most unusual architectural interest. The north porch has a stone roof of no fewer than six vaulted bays, running east and west, and supporting a parvis chamber, with (p. 177) late Decorated windows, approached by a stone staircase from without, and, seemingly, designed for a chapel with a separate dedication to St. Mary Magdalene, the Church being St. Peter's. This development is unique.

Fordham Church.

(p. 178) Three miles on, we come to the furthest outpost of the East Anglian uplands, the little market town of Soham, situated on an almost isolated peninsula of the chalk, which here runs out into the fen, and upon the very borders[129] of the Isle of Ely. The Cathedral is here a conspicuous object, rising high upon its hill over the intervening fen, and only five miles away. But Soham is associated with a yet earlier development of local Christianity than Ely itself. Forty years before St. Etheldreda founded her Abbey, one was here established by St. Felix, "the Apostle of East Anglia." That title does not mean that he was absolutely the first to preach the Gospel to the East English, but the first whose work was permanent. For the introduction of the Faith into these parts met with more than one set-back before it was fairly established.

Within two years of the first coming of St. Augustine in 597 A.D., Redwald King of East Anglia, who had succeeded the earliest Christian monarch, Ethelbert of Kent, in the dignity of Bretwalda,[130] followed him also in seeking baptism. His Christianity, however, was of too unconventional a type to be acceptable. Bede tells us how "in the same temple he had an altar for the sacrifice of Christ, and a small one to offer sacrifices unto devils." This attempt (made under the influence of his heathen wife) was foredoomed to failure, and was followed by a period of religious confusion, till Sigebert, his son, succeeded to the throne. He had been an exile in France, where he had become "a most Christian and learned man," under the influence of St. Felix, a holy man of Burgundy, whose help he asked, on becoming King, "to cause all his province to partake" of his religion.


The landing-place of the Saint is still commemorated in the name Felixstowe near Harwich, and thence he proceeded (p. 179) to preach with entire success throughout all Sigebert's realm. Soham was his furthest point, for the fenland beyond was already Christian (the population being British, and provided for by Augustine's church at Cratendune).[131] And at Soham he set up an Abbey, where he himself was buried in 634, three years only after his landing. St. Etheldreda (who was probably Sigebert's niece) was at this time a young girl. Some imagine Soham to have been the site of a famous school set up by Felix, "after the model of those in France, with masters and teachers." But this (p. 180) is more likely to have been in his Cathedral city of Dunwich, once the leading town in East Anglia, now wholly submerged by the encroachments of the German Ocean. The See was transferred to Thetford and then to Norwich. Soham Abbey flourished on side by side with Ely, till both were destroyed in the great Danish raid of 870 A.D. Why, when Ely was rebuilt, a century later, Soham was not, is unknown.

The present parish church has a lofty Perpendicular nave, with fine flowing Decorated windows in the chancel and transept, and a really splendid tower, one hundred feet in height, crowned with a pinnacled parapet of flint-work. Shortly after the Norman Conquest, Soham became the objective of the first causeway to be made for civil purposes between the island of Ely and the mainland.[132] This was due to Bishop Hervey (the first to be Bishop of Ely as well as Abbot), and was felt to be so epoch-making a work that it was ascribed to supernatural influence. St. Edmund, the high-souled King of East Anglia (who, after his martyrdom by the Danes in 870, became the Patron Saint of the Eastern Counties), was said to have appeared in a dream to a man of Exning, bidding him suggest the design to the Bishop. The little island of Stuntney[133] formed a stepping-stone for this causeway, so that only three miles out of the six between Ely and Soham needed an actual embankment.


Soham, as has been said, was on all sides surrounded by fen, except on the narrow ridge of firm ground between it and Fordham. So water-logged, indeed, was the country round that sea-going vessels made a port here. This fen is now all drained and become most prosaic cornland. But a few miles east and west of Soham two little patches, each about a mile square, remain in their original state. These are Chippenham Fen to the east, and Wicken Fen to the west. Both are fairly inaccessible spots, but when we get to them they enable us to form a vivid idea of what the state of things must have been when the whole fenland was such as this. Both give the impression of a morass hopelessly impenetrable, covered with a dense growth of tall reeds rising high above (p. 181) your head, through which you push your way blindly, to be constantly checked by some sluggish watercourse, too wide to jump, too shallow to swim, and impossible to wade, for the bottom is a fathomless stratum of soft turf and ooze giving no foothold. To stumble into one of these watercourses is, indeed, no small peril. If you are alone the case is well-nigh hopeless, and even a friend on the bank would find it hard to pull you out. His best course is to cut a fairly large bundle of reeds, by trampling which under your feet (p. 182) you may for a moment be able to stand while he rescues you.

One can well understand how it came about that such a country was an almost inviolable sanctuary for those whom despair drove to seek refuge in its recesses. These small fragments of it still form a sanctuary; for many rare plants and insects, exterminated elsewhere by the march of progress, here still nourish. Conspicuous amongst these is the lovely swallow-tail butterfly; which flits about, dashing with bright touches of colour the weird and sombre beauty of the silent scene. Very silent it is now. But it was not so of old, when the whole fen was crowded with the swarming bird-life, so vividly described by Kingsley in "Hereward the Wake": "where the coot clanked, and the bittern boomed, and the sedge-bird, not content with its own sweet song, mocked the notes of all the birds around, ... where hung motionless, high over head, hawk beyond hawk, buzzard beyond buzzard, kite beyond kite, as far as eye could see. Into the air whirred up great skeins of wildfowl innumerable, with a cry as of all the bells of Crowland; while clear above all their noise sounded the wild whistle of the curlews, and the trumpet note of the great white swan." Such was the fenland of old; but all this wealth of commotion is long since gone, and scarcely do we see a bird now at Wicken or Chippenham, except here and there a waterhen, and (at Chippenham) the pheasants which are reared in coops on its margin.

These birds belong to Chippenham Hall, a mansion built by Admiral Russell, the hero of La Hogue in 1692, our first great naval victory since the rout of the Armada, "and the first great victory that the English had gained over the French since the day of Agincourt."[134] It stands on the site of an earlier house, which, in its day, served as a place of confinement for Charles the First in 1647, after the raid by Cornet Joyce on Holmby House had transferred his custody from the hands of the Parliament to those of the Army. Here he remained for some weeks, while the somewhat sordid game of political intrigue (out of which he still hoped to make his own) was being played around him, "very pleasant and cheerful, taking his recreation daily at tennis, and delighting much in the company of Cornet Joyce," but refusing to listen to the (p. 183) famous Puritan stalwart, Hugh Peters, who was accustomed to hold forth "with the Bible in the one hand and a great pistol in the other," and who here "moved His Majesty to hear him preach. Which His Majesty did the rather decline."

Within sight of Soham, across the fen to the east, and only three miles away, stood for awhile another House of Religion, the Priory of Isleham. But to get from one to the other it was (and is) needful to go round by Fordham, making the distance at least double. A more out of the way place than Isleham cannot well be found, but it is worth a visit. All that remains of the Priory is an oblong structure of stone buttressed with red brick, looking on the outside like a barn, and, indeed, used as such. But it is, in fact, the hulk of the Priory Church; and, inside, the pillars and capitals are in very fair condition. The work is all Norman. This short-lived establishment was built in the eleventh century, as a "cell" (or outlying colony), of the Abbey of St. Jacutus de Insula, near Dol in Brittany. Within two centuries the monks abandoned it in favour of their sister house at Linton.[135]

They may have found Isleham too sequestered. It stands, like Soham, on the verge of the Isle of Ely, and also on the verge of Suffolk, to which county it seems actually to have belonged throughout great part of the Middle Ages. But it was in the Bishopric neither of Ely nor of Norwich, but of far away Rochester, to which it had been annexed, as tradition went, by Alfred the Great. The Church, dedicated to St. Andrew, has an exceptionally fine hammer-beam roof, bearing the inscription:


A splendid brass records the memory of this benefactor's father, Thomas, who brought the Isleham estates into the family by his marriage with Margaret Bernard, the heiress of the former possessors. She as well as her successor, Margaret Francis, are on either side of him, in low-necked and high-waisted robes with ample skirts. That of Margaret Bernard (p. 184) bears a large flower and scroll pattern, and on her head-gear is inscribed the prayer "Jesu, mercy! Lady, help!" That of Margaret Francis is plain, trimmed with fur. Both wear an identical necklace, presumably the very same. Thomas himself (who was High Sheriff of Cambridge and Huntingdonshire in 1442 and 1452) is in plate armour of the most highly developed kind, with quaint and enormous elbow-guards. The figures, which are some thirty inches in height, are surmounted by an elaborate triple canopy.

Another brass, much more worn, shows somewhat smaller figures of the last of the Bernards, Sir John, and his wife, Dame Elizabeth Sakevyle. He is also in plate armour of a simpler type,[136] and she in a close-fitting kirtle and long gown, fastened by a cord across the breast, with a horned head-dress from which a veil depends over her shoulders. The dog at her feet implies that she was a lady in her own right. And yet a third brass gives us Sir Richard Peyton (1574), who was a Reader at Gray's Inn. Over his doublet he wears a gown, long, loose, and lined with fur. In his left hand he holds a book, whilst he lays the right upon his heart. His wife, Mary Hyde, beside him, is in a plain dress, falling open below the waist to show a richly brocaded petticoat.[137]

Besides these brasses, there is the fine tomb, in the north transept, of the first Bernard to be Lord of Isleham, a Crusader, as is shown by the crossed legs of his recumbent effigy. The tailed surcoat over his coat of mail fixes his date at about 1275. He was, in fact, one of those who accompanied Edward the First (not yet King) to Palestine. The moulding of the canopy above the tomb also connects him with that monarch, for it is the same as that of the Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey, placed by Edward over the Holy Stone of Scone, which he had carried off from Scotland in token of his claim to be indeed the rightful King of that stubborn realm.

Yet another point of interest in this church is the eagle lectern, an exquisite piece of mediæval brasswork, so good, indeed, that it has been copied in the lectern of Ely Cathedral. It is apparently fifteenth century work, and was found buried (p. 185) in the fen, some half century ago, between Isleham and Soham, so nearly half way that both parishes laid claim to it, and even now Soham folk are not reconciled to its loss. Whoever were the original possessors, it was probably concealed in the fen to save it from the Puritan iconoclasts of the seventeenth century, who, during the Civil War, habitually destroyed lecterns of this type as "abominable idols."

Eastward from Newmarket radiate most fascinating roads, leading through heather and pine woods to Mildenhall, with its splendid church and ancient market hall; and to Brandon, where men still make (as they have made for 5000 years) palæolithic flint implements by the very same methods used in those prehistoric days; and to Bury St. Edmunds, with its wonderful ruins and great historical associations. But these are all out of our beat. To the southward, however, we are in Cambridgeshire, and a fine avenue, two miles in length, known as "the Duchess's Drive," leads up to the ridge of the East Anglian heights. It is noteworthy that almost along the whole length of that ridge, and particularly hereabouts, villages cluster thick, whereas the slopes below can show scarcely any, but form an unoccupied belt, two miles wide, between the upland and the lowland populated area. A very out-of-the-way district is this watershed between the broad basin of the Ouse and those of the little rivers running into the North Sea, for the nearest railways are miles away, and an old time peace broods over everything.

The first village we come to is Cheveley. The church here is cruciform, with a piscina of rare beauty in its Early English chancel, which is closed in by a fourteenth century rood screen of Decorated work. To the same period belongs the church chest, which has the unique feature of being made of cypress wood, and the tower, also with the unique feature of an external bartizan or watch-turret, apparently for a beacon fire. The dedication of the church is no less unique, "St. Mary and the Sacred Host."

The name of Cheveley is associated with what Professor Maitland calls "the curious if disgraceful story of the decline and fall" of the ancient Corporation of Cambridge.[138] When the Revolution of 1688 had put a final end to the old Royal (p. 186) prerogatives over local administration, "the Corporation stood free from national supervision"; and Parliament, as time went on, appointed Commissioners to undertake the duties of police and hygiene, which had formerly been entrusted to it. With the cessation of recognised responsibilities the Corporation also ceased to have a conscience, and shamelessly squandered the corporate property on the personal greediness of its members. The Duke of Rutland, from his great seat at Cheveley, became, till the flood of nineteenth century reforms cleansed the Augean stable, its absolute master, and his nominees only were chosen into it, and thus, after a thousand years of strenuous, and mostly beneficent life, "first as a knot of heathen hidesmen,[139] then as a township of early English burg-men, then as a corporation of mediæval burgesses," it finally dwindled to a small dining club, "with good wine, and plenty of it," absolutely dominated by one great Tory magnate, and claiming "the right to expend their income on themselves and their friends, without being bound to apply any part of it to the good of the Town." Reform came none too soon.

Cheveley is some three miles from Newmarket, and, as much further on, we reach another interesting little village, Kirtling. The local pronunciation of the name is "Catlage," which is unhappily becoming obsolete, like so many other local pronunciations throughout England, under the orthographical dead level of elementary scholasticism. The most striking edifice here is the great red-brick gate tower, with its four octagonal turrets, which is all that remains of a mansion, in its day one of the most famous in England. It was built in the reign of Queen Mary by the first Lord North, whose family still hold "Kirtling Tower," and whose son here magnificently entertained Queen Elizabeth.[140]

The wide moat which surrounded it still exists, and reminds us that this mansion was on the site of a great mediæval castle belonging to the Tony family, from the days of William the (p. 187) Conqueror to those of Henry the Eighth. The manor had once been the property of the ill-fated King Harold, and was given by the Conqueror to Judith, widow of the saintly hero Waltheof, after his judicial murder. The church contains many North monuments, and Kirtling also possesses a pretty little Roman Catholic church, being one of the five "Missions" in Cambridgeshire—along with Cambridge, Ely, Newmarket, and Wisbech. For the Norths still hold, not only their ancient seat, but their ancient Faith.

Not far from Kirtling is Wood Ditton; the last word signifying either Ditch Town, or, more probably, Ditch End, for it stands at the upland extremity of the Devil's Dyke. Along this ridge of the East Anglian Heights the primæval forest was of old so dense that no artificial defence was needed to check the progress of an invading army. It was a veritable wall of oak, and ash, and thorn, and holly, and alder; no route for an army at any time, and where the felling of a few trees across the glades would speedily form an absolutely impenetrable obstacle. Here then the great earthwork, which we saw on Newmarket Heath, ends its ten-mile climb from the Fen at Reach, 350 feet below. Wood Ditton is a picturesque little place, still suggestive of woodland, especially around the flint-built church (constructed in the twelfth century and remodelled in the fifteenth), which has an octagonal steeple of specially graceful poise. A large brass, in somewhat poor condition, dating from 1393, commemorates "Henry Englissh and Wife Margt." Henry was a Knight, and wears what is known as "Camail" armour, which consisted of a series of small steel roundels fastened on to leather, hardened by boiling. Dowsing records (under date March 22, 1643), "We here brake down 50 superstitious pictures and crucifixes. Under the Virgin Mary was written: 'O Mother of God have mercy upon us.'"

The neighbouring village of Stetchworth (or Stretchworth) also suffered in Dowsing's visitation. But he failed to notice that one of the two ancient bells in the steeple had a "superstitious" inscription:


So it remained unshattered, and still hangs in the belfry, where the other bells also have noticeable inscriptions, two (p. 188) bearing the words "God save Thy Church. 1608," and the third

("Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord.")

This and the Margaret bell are ascribed to the fifteenth century.

Stetchworth Manor, in the tenth century, was given to the Abbey of Ely, to provide clothing for a newly-professed monk, the son of the donor. This sounds an extraordinarily disproportionate gift; but the clothing of an Ely monk was really a very serious item, and, as the Abbey account books show, cost the convent the equivalent of something very like £50 per annum. Readers of Chaucer will remember how comfortably, and even luxuriously, the monk of his "Canterbury Tales" is dressed.

Of the remaining villages along this upland line there is not much to tell.[141] They present a pleasant field for wandering exploration; each has its picturesque features, no church is without something of antiquarian interest, and over all broods a delicious aloofness. Westley Waterless Church has a flint-built round tower, of the Norfolk fashion, and a fine brass of 1325, representing Sir John de Creke and his wife, Lady Alyne. He is shown wearing the curious surcoat then in fashion, known as a cyclas, which, in front, reached only to the waist, and, behind, to the knees. The lady is one of the first examples of female portraiture in brass: her figure is strangely out of drawing.

Weston Colville has also a brass, now affixed to the wall, and too much damaged for identification. The church here is almost wholly Early English, as is that of Dullingham. Borough Green contains some fine twelfth century monuments, sadly knocked about. The Parson here was ejected by the Puritan Earl of Manchester, Governor of Cambridge, during the Civil War, for the heinous offence of saying "that he ought to shorten his sermons rather than neglect reading the Common Prayer, and that the Collects were to be preferred before preaching." Grounds no less frivolous were a sufficient excuse (p. 189) for a like ejection of half the parsons in Cambridgeshire at this period. The rest signed the Covenant and renounced their Anglican heresies, sometimes with considerable emphasis. One curate is recorded to have stamped the Book of Common Prayer under his feet, in the face of the congregation, declaring that he would henceforth be their minister "by no Prelatical and Popish imposition of hands." Some score of these Vicars of Bray lived to turn their coats once more at the Restoration.

Half-way between Cambridge and Newmarket, and half a mile from the main road, stands the fine Church of Bottisham, with good Decorated windows, a stone rood screen of Perpendicular work, and noteworthy sedilia and piscina. The beautiful fluting round the clerestory windows is still more noteworthy, and also the arcading beneath those of the south aisle both within and without. Here is the tomb of Elyas de Beckingham, Justice of the Common Pleas under Edward the First, who, almost alone, escaped in the clean sweep which that monarch made of his Bench for corruption. Here, in 1664, the parson was ejected on the grounds "that he was a time-server,[142] and one that observed bowing towards the east, standing up at the Gloria Patri, reading the Second Service at the Communion Table, and such-like superstitious worship and innovation in the Church. That he is a very unable and unfit man for the ministry; for half his parishioners cannot hear him, neither did he ever preach to their edifying, neither is he able, as the deponents do verily believe."

Bottisham, in all probability, played a part in that pathetic episode in the life of King Charles the First, which began with his flight from Oxford and ended with his vain appeal to the loyalty of the Scottish army then besieging Newark. Finding that Oxford must needs surrender to the Parliamentary forces closing in upon it, the King cut off his hair and beard, and in the disguise of a servant, carrying the cloak-bag of the two faithful chaplains who accompanied him, stole away at three in the morning, on Monday, April 27, 1646, from the beleaguered city, which had been his headquarters for so long. A long day's ride of 50 miles brought the party that night to Wheathampstead, near St. Albans, where a faithful adherent was found to give him shelter, though the Parliament were (p. 190) proclaiming, with drum and trumpet, that "what person soever shall harbour and conceal, or know of the harbouring and concealing of the King's Person, and shall not immediately reveal it to both Houses, shall be proceeded against as a traitor, forfeit his whole estate, and die without mercy." The next day, Tuesday, in clerical attire this time, and with only one companion, Mr. Ashburnham, the hunted Monarch entered Cambridgeshire (avoiding the towns) and that night, after another 50 miles of riding, slept "at a small village, seven miles from Newmarket." This village, Mr. Kingston, the historian of the Civil War in East Anglia, to whom I am indebted for this picturesque story, thinks may have been Bottisham, whence Charles could have reached Downham, his next stage, by water.

Bottisham is the first of a line of interesting villages. We next reach, through a mile or two of pretty lanes, Swaffham Bulbeck, where, again the church has some good Decorated work, and fifteenth century seats, also a cedar chest of the same period, with carvings of the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, and the Assumption of Our Lady. It is remarkable that these should have escaped the specially thorough "purification" which Dowsing here describes. "We brake down two crucifixes (and Christ nailed to them), one hundred superstitious pictures, and twenty cherubims, two crosses from the steeple, and two from the church and chancel, and digged down the altar-steps." The vicar was also ejected for being "zealous to put into execution Bishop Wren's fancies." Wren, the builder of Peterhouse Chapel, was Bishop of Ely 1638-1667, and deeply offended the Puritans by ordering the Communion Tables to be set "altar-wise" at the east end of the chancels (instead of being merely boards, which were habitually leant against the walls, and at Communion time were placed on trestles anywhere about the church). His High Church proclivities earned him eighteen years' imprisonment in the Tower, till released by the Restoration.

To the north of Swaffham Bulbeck runs out an extension of the village known by the remarkable name of "Commercial End." It consists of one picturesque street, at the extremity of which we find ourselves on the banks of a deep, narrow waterway, like an old canal. An old canal in fact it is, and shows us that we have here reached the beach-line of the (p. 191) ancient Fen; for this is Swaffham Lode, one of those artificial cuts through the tangled swamp by which barges and even sea-going vessels were enabled of old to reach the mainland. Of these Lodes there were several; and the knot of population at the termination of each shows the amount of traffic they anciently carried. Bottisham Lode has given its name to a village larger than Bottisham itself, and some three miles from it. And here at Swaffham the commerce of those bygone days has left us Commercial End. Hard by are the insignificant remains of a small Benedictine nunnery founded by the Bulbeck family in the reign of King John.

Swaffham Bulbeck.

A mile further on brings us to another Swaffham, Swaffham Prior, with its picturesque churchyard rising steeply fifty feet above the village, and containing not one but two churches, dedicated respectively to St. Mary, and SS. Cyriac and Julitta.[143]

Till the Restoration these represented two separate incumbencies; the former having been given to the Abbey of Ely by Brithnoth, the heroic Alderman of East Anglia under Ethelred the Unready. Both churches have passed through (p. 192) singular architectural vicissitudes. The design of the Norman tower of St. Mary's (the lower of the two), square below and octagonal above, was copied by the fifteenth century builders of St. Cyriac's, and is the only surviving portion of their work—the body of the church having been pulled down in 1667, at the union of the benefices.

Swaffham Prior.

A century later the steeple of St. Mary's was struck by lightning, which occasioned so unreasoning a panic amongst the worshippers that they resolved to abandon the church altogether. In vain did the Squire (then, as now, one of the Allix family)[144] offer to repair the damage, which was but slight, at his own charge. Nothing would serve but dismantling St. Mary's and using its spoil towards the rebuilding of (p. 193) St. Cyriac's, in the shape of a hideous brick tabernacle, of the worst Georgian style, attached to the ancient tower. St. Mary's would have been entirely pulled down had not the ancient masonry proved so solid that the work of demolition did (p. 194) not pay the local builder who got the job. As it was, it remained a ruin for yet another century, and it was not till the end of the nineteenth that it was restored—still under Allix auspices. Now it is once more the place of worship, and contains a specially well-executed rood-screen. But the beautiful spire which crowned the whole steeple still awaits replacement. The Georgian St. Cyriac's yet stands, and is used as a parish museum.

Swaffham Prior Churches.

From the churchyard of Swaffham Prior we get a grand view over the limitless fen to the northward; Ely Cathedral, ten miles away, rising conspicuous above it. The road we have been pursuing leads us on Ely-wards; but, a mile hence, comes to a dead stop at the little hamlet of Reach, once one of the most important places in the whole county. For here the mighty earthwork of the Devil's Dyke runs down into the fen. To meet it the greatest of all the Lodes was cut from the Cam at Upware, and at its hithe (or quay) our road has its termination. It is a striking surprise, for one comes upon it abruptly round a corner, and suddenly finds oneself at the end of all things. The hithe is a quiet green meadow now; but the clear brown water of the lode still sleeps beside it, and even yet barges, laden with turf or coal, occasionally creep up hither. Of old it was a constantly busy spot, where sea-going ships were loaded and unloaded, and trains of waggons attended, bringing and carrying off the cargoes.

The Castle Moat, Burwell.

Tradition gives Reach seven churches; but for this there is no historical evidence whatever, and it is probably only a hyperbolical way of extolling the ancient importance of the place. It is now merely a chapelry under Swaffham Prior, in which parish the western side of the township[145] is situated. For here the houses run in two lines, about a hundred yards apart, with a little village green between, on a gentle slope some quarter of a mile in length, having the fen level as its lower boundary, and, for the upper, the stupendous bulk of the Devil's Dyke, here cut clean off as if with a knife. All looks ancientry itself; but, in fact, this cutting off of the Dyke is quite a modern affair, not yet even two centuries old. Till then the Dyke ran right through the village down to the fen itself, effectually isolating the Swaffham Prior houses on the (p. 195) west from those on the east, which belong parochially to Burwell. Cole, the prince of Cambridgeshire chroniclers, whose voluminous MS. notes on the county still await a publisher, mentions that when he visited Reach in 1743 the Dyke still reached the fen; but when he came again in 1768 he found (p. 196) the present state of things. Of how, or by whom, this act of vandalism was perpetrated I can find no record.

Reach was of importance even in Roman days. The Dyke, of course, was already ancient when they ruled Britain, and the lode, too, may very probably have been already cut. The remains of one of their villas have been unearthed here, near the point where the Cambridge and Mildenhall railway now cuts through the Dyke. It has a well-preserved hypocaust, or apparatus for warming the house by hot air. The Roman "villa," we must remember, was the country mansion of the period, and equipped with every known luxury. In the Middle Ages the annual Fair at Reach (on the Monday before Ascension Day) was big enough to bring over the Mayor of Cambridge to open it. And the custom survives even today, when the occasion has dwindled to a very petty little gathering.

Reach, however, has still a local industry; the cutting of the peat, or "turf" as it is here called, in the neighbouring fen, for use as fuel. This peat forms a layer often many feet in thickness, and is formed for the most part of moss, mingled with the vegetable mould made by the decay of the dense forests with which the district was covered for uncounted ages; before its final submergence, early in the Christian era, destroyed the last of them. A like subsidence had more than once produced the same results earlier; for the remains of four or five forest beds at different levels have been found in the peat.

The trunks of these prehistoric trees are often of enormous size, especially the oaks.[146] One no fewer than 130 feet in length was unearthed in 1909. The wood, after its ages of immersion, has become black, hard, and heavy, like the Irish bog oak. Associated with such débris, the peat often furnishes remains of the dwellers in these archaic woodlands; whence we know that bears, wolves, wild boars, and gigantic wild bulls roamed their shades. In the skull of one of these last, now in the Sedgwick Geological Museum at Cambridge, is imbedded a flint axe-head. The arm of the primeval savage who wielded that weapon must have been strong beyond the arms of common men.

(p. 197)

Burwell Church, West End.

The peat is cut with a spade of peculiar construction, being flat, and both longer and narrower than ordinary spades. It is shaped somewhat like a fire shovel with a flange on either side, the object being that each "turf" extracted should be of uniform size, like a brick. A thousand of these should go (p. 198) to the ton; but though uniform in size they are not of uniform weight, for the peat, as might be expected, is more dense at its lower levels than near the surface. There is a good market for this turf, which makes a hot and lasting fire with a minimum of smoke, and that pleasant smoke. It is mostly sent off by water to Cambridge, Ely, Wisbech, etc.

This turf-cutting is not, of course, confined to Reach, but it has its greatest development here, and at the neighbouring village of Burwell, a mile or so to the eastward (to which, as we have seen, part of Reach belongs). Burwell is an important village of considerable extent, with a population of 2000, and a magnificent church, capable of seating them all. It is of the finest fifteenth century workmanship, with a few remains of Norman in the tower. The exterior is mostly flint; the interior, like that of so many churches in Cambridgeshire, is of "clunch," a hardened form of chalk, well adapted for building, and easily worked for carving. The beautiful sculptures of the Lady Chapel at Ely are of this material, drawn from the large quarries between Burwell and Reach. Clunch is found in many places throughout the county and has been worked (as existing remains show) ever since Roman days.

Burwell Church is specially connected with the University of Cambridge, in whose gift is the preferment, burdened with the condition that on Mid-Lent Sunday a sermon shall be preached there by the Vice-Chancellor or his deputy. Till the nineteenth century this condition was no light one; for the roads were in such a state that half a dozen men on each side could hardly keep the preacher's carriage from overturning, and, whenever possible, the cortege took to the newly-ploughed fields in preference. The route was not round by Reach but direct from Swaffham Prior.

Here is a remarkable brass of John Lawrence de Wardeboys, the last Abbot of Ramsey in Huntingdonshire. For his readiness in abetting the designs of Henry the Eighth, not only by eagerly surrendering his own abbey, "which was not his to give," but by persuading others to do like violence to their conscience, he was rewarded with a pension equivalent to between two and three thousand pounds a year. His brass records this venality of his principles. It was originally made during his abbacy, and showed him in full abbatical vestments, mitre and all (for Ramsey was a mitred abbey). After the (p. 199) surrender he had it turned over, and on the reverse side, now uppermost, we see him in a simple clerical gown and cap. He only lived a few years to enjoy his ill-gotten gains, dying in 1542.

Burwell Church, N.E. View.

(p. 200) South-west of the church are some scanty remains of Burwell Castle, which was built by King Stephen during the miserable "nineteen winters" of his war with Queen Matilda, so forcibly described in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, when the country was laid desolate by the outrages of the robber barons. The particular brigand who afflicted Cambridgeshire was one Geoffry de Magnaville, an outrageously wicked plunderer, who "did not spare even the churches," regarded as inviolable by ordinary malefactors. Both Cambridge and Ely were looted by him, and he terrorised the whole district, till at length he was slain, by an arrow through the throat, in attacking Burwell Castle. "Nor was the earth permitted to give a grave to the sacrilegious offender."

(p. 201) CHAPTER IX

Hills Road.—Gog-Magogs.—Vandlebury.—Babraham, Peter Pence.—Old Railway.—Hildersham, Brasses, Clapper Stile.—Linton.—Horseheath.—Bartlow, St. Christopher, Battle of Assandun.—Cherry Hinton, War Ditches, Saffron.—Teversham.—Fulbourn, Brasses.—Wilbraham.—Fleam Dyke, Wild Flowers, Butterflies, Ostorius, Last Cambs Battle.—Balsham, Battle of Ringmere, Massacre, Church Brasses, Grooved Stones.

At Burwell we are within touch of Exning, Fordham, and Soham, so that we have now exhausted the interest of the Cambridge-Newmarket Road. Next in order comes the Via Devana, which when it leaves Cambridge for the south-east is denominated the "Hills Road." The reason for this is that it shortly brings us to the most ambitious elevation neighbouring the town, no less than 220 feet in height, and bearing the high-sounding name of the Gog-Magog Hills.

The origin of this curious appellation is still to seek. According to some archæologists it is derived from the prehistoric figure of a giant which was formerly to be seen on the slope, traced there by cutting away the turf along the outline of the shape, such as that still extant near Cerne Abbas in Dorsetshire. This, if it ever existed, has long since disappeared. Others consider the name to be a seventeenth century skit on the gigantic height of the hills. Others again see in it a dim traditional recollection of the days when a set of gigantic barbarians really were, for a time, quartered here. This was in the reign of the Roman Emperor Probus (277 A.D.), who leavened his mutinous British forces with prisoners from the Vandal horde lately defeated by the Romans on the Danube. From one such detachment, placed here in garrison, the name of Vandlebury is supposed to have clung ever since to the great earthwork on the summit of the Gog-Magogs.

(p. 202) That earthwork, however, is of far older date, being of British, or even earlier, inception. It is a triple ring of gigantic ramparts, like those of Maiden Castle near Dorchester, and nearly a mile in circumference. All is now buried in the shrubberies of Gog-Magog House, the seat successively of Lord Godolphin and of the Dukes of Leeds.[147] But before being thus planted out it must have been one of the most striking examples in the kingdom of such fortifications. Till the eighteenth century it was a favourite scene of bull-baiting and other illegal sports amongst undergraduates, because the bare open country all round made it impossible for the authorities to surprise the offenders. Vandlebury was the original home of the legend, used by Sir Walter Scott in Marmion, which told how in the ancient camp, by moonlight, an elfin warrior would answer the challenge of any adventurous knight bold enough to encounter him in single combat.

In the early decades of the nineteenth century the then Duchess of Leeds here set up for her tenantry one of the earliest rural elementary schools. Children of both sexes were taught in this institution to read and to sew, the boys making their own smock frocks. The boys might, if they would, also learn, as an extra, to write; but not the girls, for Her Grace considered that it would deleteriously affect their prospects in domestic service if they were possessed of the dangerous power of deciphering their employers' correspondence.

Our road climbs the hill to the gate of Gog-Magog House, and plunges down into woodlands on the other side, in a fashion very unlike the usual Cambridgeshire highway, to meet the infant stream of the Granta[148] on its meandering way to Cambridge. Our further course is amongst the pretty villages along its valley, the best-wooded vale in all the county. First of these comes Babraham (anciently Bradburgham), with a pretty little Saxon-towered church snuggling in the park beside the Hall. Babraham is noted for the epitaph of an old-time swindler, who was enabled to pocket the Peter (p. 203) Pence[149] which he collected under Queen Mary by sharing his spoil with Queen Elizabeth. It runs thus:

"Here lies Horatio Palavazene,
Who robbed the Pope to lend the Queen."
"He was a thiefe." "A thiefe? Thou liest;
For why? he robbed but Antichrist.
Him Death with besome swept from Babram
Into the bosome of old Abram.
But then came Hercules with his club,
And struck him down to Beelzebub."

A curious fresco on the north wall of the church is thought to represent King Edward the Second.

A little beyond Babraham we cross the Icknield Street, on its way from Newmarket to Chesterford. Beside it runs, what is almost unknown in England, a deserted railroad, built by the Eastern Counties Railway Company (now the Great Eastern) in 1848, to afford direct communication between Newmarket and London, and abandoned, as a financial failure, in 1852, since which date the trains have gone round by Cambridge. Where this long disused line runs on the level it has melted back again into the adjoining fields, but the old cuttings and embankments and bridges still exist, and a weird sight they are.

At the adjoining villages of Great and Little Abington the road makes a picturesque zig-zag through the village street, and passes on, beneath a fine beech avenue, to Hildersham, where a pretty byway leads across the stream to the fourteenth century church. Here there are four good brasses (to members of the Parys[150] family), one of them showing the unique feature of a lance-rest fastened to the cuirass, and another (of 1530) being simply a skeleton. There are also two very striking recumbent effigies representing a crusader and his wife, each carved out of a single block of wood, now black with age. The churchyard here is effectively planted with junipers and fir trees, and the east end of the church is embowered in shrubs of rosemary, said to be the finest in Cambridgeshire.

(p. 204) From Hildersham the road goes on to Linton, a mile or so further; while the two places are also connected by a specially pleasant footpath, starting from a fine old smithy, and so through the meadows by the clear trout-stream, and past the yews and thorn-trees of the moated grange of "Little Linton," while above rises (to nearly four hundred feet, a proud height in Cambridgeshire) the appropriately named Furze Hill, with some real gorse patches (also a proud distinction in Cambridgeshire) upon its ridge.

Before we reach Linton we cross the famous "Clapper" stile, which can best be described as formed by three huge sledge-hammers (of wood) with exceptionally long shanks, hinged near the head to an upright post, each about a foot above the next. Normally the three hammer-heads rest upon one another and look like a single post (about a foot from the first); but, on attempting to cross, the shanks (the ends of which are not fastened but slide in a grooved post at their side of the stile) yield to our weight, the heads fly apart, and, when we are over, come together again with the "claps" whence the name of the stile is derived. How old this curious device is does not appear, but it is here immemorial. An effective sketch of this stile is given by Dr. Wherry, in his "Notes from a Knapsack."

Linton is a tiny town, smaller than sundry villages, but obviously not a village, with a long street of undetached houses (duly lighted) swinging down the slopes on either side the little river. There is a fine Perpendicular church, with some Norman work remaining in it, and a good tower, on the top of which an Ascension Day service is annually held. Against a wall are suspended two fire-hooks (much lighter than the one at St. Benet's, Cambridge) for the destruction of burning houses. (See note on page 38).

The main road here goes on, to pass out of Cambridgeshire into Suffolk, a few miles further, at the upland village of Horseheath, with its picturesque old-world village green on the hillside. The church here has a fine fourteenth century brass to Sir John de Argentine (a name familiar to readers of Sir Walter Scott, in the "Lord of the Isles")[151] and some notable (p. 205) monuments, somewhat knocked about, presumably by Dowsing, who records how he here "brake down four pictures of the prophets Ezekiel, Daniel, Zephaniah, and Malachi," besides other damage.

But a more interesting road from Linton is that which continues along the Bourne Valley, and leads, not into Suffolk, but into Essex, which is here bounded by that stream. A mile beyond the town we pass Barham Hall, now a farm-house, but of old a Priory of the same Order that we found at Isleham,[152] a Cell (or Colony) of the Abbey of St. Jacutus de Insula in Brittany. Another mile brings us to Bartlow, where, hard by the church, stand the three huge tumuli from which the name of the village is said to be derived. How they came to exist is an unsolved problem. Remains found in them, when excavated in 1835, were reported to be Roman, but the science of archæology was then in its infancy, and this report can hardly outweigh the wholly un-Roman appearance of the "Hills," as they are locally called. They look far more like British or Scandinavian work; but, indeed, three such mounds so close together are not found elsewhere, of any age.

The little church has an ancient fresco of St. Christopher, placed, as usual, opposite the entrance. For this Saint, by virtue of the legend which tells how he carried Christ over a river,[153] was in mediæval times regarded as a special example for Christians in their going out and their coming in; to whom, therefore, was due their first and last thought in passing the doorway. More noteworthy is the Saxon tower, with its walls no less than six feet in thickness. For in this it is quite possible that we may have a part of the very "minster of stone and lime" raised by Canute in memory of his crowning victory over Edmund Ironside at Assandun.

The location of that most dramatic of English battles, fought in the year 1016, is hotly disputed amongst historians; but there is much to be said for the early view which identifies Assandun with Ashdon in Essex, hard by Bartlow. For ten (p. 206) miserable years, under Ethelred the Unready, England had been ground in the dust, deeper and ever deeper, beneath the heel of the invading Dane. Year by year the degrading tribute wherewith she strove to buy off the foe had gone up by leaps and bounds. All hope seemed dead, when the accession of a hero to the throne roused the harried and exhausted nation into one last convulsive effort for freedom. Six times in as many months did Edmund of England and Canute of Denmark clash in battle. Five of these fields were indecisive, and then, on St. Luke's Day, 1016, the champions met once more at Assandun, perhaps on the slope still known as Bartlow End.

Treason decided the day against England. The fight began with a brilliant charge by Edmund at the head of his bodyguard, which crashed through the Danish phalanx "like a thunderbolt." But his absence from the English line enabled a traitorous noble, one Edric (who was always playing into Canute's hands, in hope of thereby making his own advantage), to raise a cry that the King was slain. A panic set in at once; and before Edmund could cut his way back, the whole army had broken, and was being fearfully cut up in its flight by the pursuing Danes. "And there the whole nobility of England was utterly destroyed." Edmund died of his exertions the same year; and Canute became King of England, the first monarch so to call himself. The native title had always been "King of the English." In thanksgiving he built a minster on the scene of his victory; and, as he had promised, he lifted up the head of Edric "above all the nobility of England"—upon the highest turret of the Tower of London. The "Roman" theory notwithstanding, the three Bartlow barrows may well be a memorial of this great fight, and so may the names of Castle Camps and Shudy Camps which attach to the furthest villages in this far-away corner of Cambridgeshire. The "Castle," however, of which only the moat now remains, was built later by De Vere, the first Earl of Oxford. Shudy Camps has a far-seen church on its lofty brow, visible even from Barrington Hill, on the other side of the Cam basin, fifteen miles away as the crow flies.

Cherry Hinton Church.

From the Via Devana, where it leaves Cambridge (just after the bridge over the Great Eastern Railway), there branches off to the left another road, which leads us to the scenes of (p. 208) earlier battles between Dane and Englishman. This is the Cherry Hinton Road, named after the first village along its course, some three miles on. Its long straight vista suggests at first sight the idea that it too may be a Roman road. In fact, however, it dates only from the enclosure of the land (about the beginning of last century), when the best ploughman in the village was employed, so the story goes, to drive his straightest furrow across the whole breadth of the Common Field as a guide for the road-makers. The older track between Cherry Hinton and Cambridge was by what used to be, till within the last fifty years, a pretty footpath across the fenny ground to the north of the field. It is fenny no longer, and the path has become for three-fourths of its length a somewhat dreary street through the dingy suburb of "Romsey Town."

Cherry Hinton itself is not yet absorbed by Cambridge, and remains a bright spacious village, with a rarely beautiful church. The exquisite Early English chancel is lighted on either side by four couplets of lancet windows, in ideal proportion, while five equally ideal lancets serve for an East window. Both walls have an arcading of cinque-foil pattern; and the double piscina and the graduated sedilia are of no less merit. All this loveliness is within a fine oaken screen of the fifteenth century, and the rest of the church is not unworthy of it. The great quarry, whence the "clunch" of which the church is mainly built was drawn, is a conspicuous object on the hill-side above the village; and above that again, equally conspicuous, is the reservoir of the Cambridge Water-works, looking like a redoubt, on the summit of the slope. At the foot clear springs break out from the chalk, which are also utilised to supply the town.

Close to the reservoir there is an actual fortification, an ancient earthwork, known as the War Ditches, which the researches of Professor Hughes have shown to be of British date.[154] At the bottom of the fosse he discovered rough British pottery along with the bones of domestic animals, and above these a layer of disjointed human skeletons of both sexes and all ages, apparently due to a general massacre, in some prehistoric struggle, of men, women, and children, whose corpses were hurled over the parapet. Above these again came Romano-British remains. From this earthwork the line (p. 209) of an ancient dyke, now called Warstead Street, may be traced to the East Anglian heights near Horseheath.

Till the nineteenth century the fields between Cherry Hinton and Cambridge were bright with the purple flowers of the saffron crocus, which was grown, as it was by the ancient Greeks and Romans, for medical use and for dyeing purposes. Its cultivation may very probably have been introduced into Britain by the Romans. The saffron here grown was considered the best in Europe, and fetched no less than thirty shillings a pound. But its use, after so many centuries, suddenly went out of fashion, and the plant is now wholly extinct in Cambridgeshire.[155]

From Cherry Hinton Church a green lane leads to Teversham, a short mile distant, but, except for pedestrians, more easily approached from the Newmarket Road. The church here is a pretty little structure, mainly Early English, with curious oval clerestory windows, and a nice Perpendicular screen. The octagonal pillars have floreated capitals. Dowsing's record of his destructions here is of special interest, inasmuch as the objects of his Protestant zeal were not, as usual, relics of pre-Reformation Popery, but the newly painted devices of the Laudian vicar, Dr. Wren (the Bishop of Ely and builder of Peterhouse Chapel). They consisted of the name JESUS, "in big letters" no fewer than eighteen times repeated, of those of the Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity, and of texts from Scripture: "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus," and "O come let us worship and fall down and kneel before the Lord our Maker." All these were "done out" as "idolatries"!

From the springs at Cherry Hinton the furrow-drawn road (passing on its way the County Lunatic Asylum) makes another bee-line of three miles to Fulbourn. Here the church is of special interest. There are no fewer than five mediæval brasses, including one, almost life-size, of Canon William de Fulburne, 1380, which is notable as being, probably, the earliest known example of a priest vested in a cope. This ecclesiastic was one of Edward the Third's chaplains. In a wooden shrine on the north side of the chancel is a moribund effigy of John Careway, vicar here in 1433. This is beneath a sept-foiled arch, beside which is another strangely irregular (p. 210) arch over a sedile. There is also the very unusual feature of a fourteenth century pulpit of richly-carved oak.

The dedication of this church is as unusual. It is to St. Vigor, an obscure sixth century bishop of Bayeux, who has only one other church in England, at Stratton-on-the-Fosse in Somerset. Till late in the eighteenth century there was a second church here in the same churchyard, as at Swaffham Prior. This was All Saints', and was ruined by the fall of its tower in 1766. The ruins were gradually stolen, the wood going first, but it took ten years for the last of the bells to disappear.

At the church the road divides. The northern branch meanders through the village past an ancient row of old-time almshouses to the station, beyond which it becomes a pretty lane leading to the adjoining villages of Great and Little Wilbraham. The church at the former has a tower arch of strikingly peculiar development, a tall lancet, flanked by segments of arches of much larger radius, inserted in the wall on either side, which support the central member somewhat in the fashion of flying buttresses. The parson here, "a widower with three small children" (as the Puritan report gloatingly points out), was ejected in 1644 by the Puritans, because "he said it was treason for any man to give any money against the King, and in his sermons discouraged his parish from doing anything for the Parliament, and that he never read any book coming from the Parliament." Caution should be observed in passing through these villages, as sundry well-seeming roads simply lead down to Fulbourn Fen[156] and end there. Springs feeding the fen are plentiful, and the ground is still very much of a swamp.

But the road to take from Fulbourn Church is that which winds away south-eastwards, for in less than three miles it will bring us to the Icknield Street,[157] close to the point where that famous war-path cuts through the no less famous Fleam Dyke. This is the best place for viewing and ascending that splendid prehistoric earthwork, the sister and rival of the Devil's Dyke. It makes a most fascinating byway to walk along, though it leads nowhither, ending abruptly where it dips down into Fulbourn Fen.[158] The dry chalk is (p. 211) clothed with flowers all the summer through. At Easter time we may here find the glorious purple Pasch-flower, that queen of all the anemone clan; later on "the turf is sweet with thyme and gay with yellow rock-rose, blue flax, milkwort, pink-budded dropwort, sainfoin, kidney vetch, and viper's bugloss, and here and there a bee orchis; with a dancing accompaniment of butterflies overhead, graylings, skippers, chalk hill and Bedford blues, and a host beside."[159]

Great Wilbraham Church.

The air is inspiring and so also is the view, with Ely on the far horizon to the north; and the historical associations are not less so. We can imagine the oaken palisade which topped the dyke lined with the Icenian clansmen in their tartan plaids shouting defiance to the presumptuous Roman who dared to demand their arms; then the incredibly audacious onslaught which, along the whole length of the Dyke at once, carried Ostorius and his light-armed troops at one rush clear across the mighty ditch, and up the forty feet of precipitous slope beyond, to crown the parapet and whirl away the patriot levies in headlong flight; then the merciless pursuit which forbade any chance to rally, till the fugitives were stopped by their own (p. 212) second line of defence at the Devil's Dyke, and slaughtered like rats beneath its rampart.[160]

Great Wilbraham.

Or our thoughts may turn to the later day when here was beheld the last fight worthy to be called a battle ever fought in Cambridgeshire. It is the year 905 A.D.; the great Alfred has been dead four years, and his son Edward the Elder has been chosen King in his stead. For the English monarchy is still elective, though already with a strong tendency to become hereditary. And this tendency now gives trouble. When (p. 213) Alfred himself was made King his nephew Ethelwald Clito, son of his elder brother Ethelred, the late King, was passed over in his favour. At that fearful crisis, when it was doubtful whether even an Alfred could stem the Danish inrush, there could be no thought of choosing a child as King.

Little Wilbraham.

But the Danes are now quietly settled in the Eastern Counties, and Ethelwald has grown up to manhood, and is bitterly angry at being again passed over, this time for his cousin Edward. If the English will not choose him, he will try the Danes. So to the Danes he goes, with promises of unlimited loot if they will support him, and, in the words of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, "entices them to break the peace," so that they cross the Watling Street, and make a ferocious raid into Mercia. "They took all they might lay hands on, and so turned homeward again. Then after them came King Edward, as fast as he might gather his force, and overran all their (p. 214) land between the Dykes and the Ouse, as far North as the Fens."

The Devil's Dyke and the Fleam Dyke are by this time known as "the two dykes of St. Edmund," and now play their latest part in history as defences. Edward is no Ostorius, being a valiant warrior of the cautious rather than the daring type, and the Fleam Dyke brings his avenging host to a standstill. Finally he resolves that to storm it would cost too much, and retires his command. But his levies from Kent are of another temper, and positively refuse to obey what they look upon as an ignominious order. One after another, seven royal messengers repeat it in vain; and finally the main body of the English army marches off under the Royal banner, leaving the mutineers still before the Dyke—probably at the very point where the Icknield Way cuts it.

This is the Danes' opportunity. They have now safely deposited their plunder, and are ready for another outbreak. With their whole force they sally forth, and fall upon these stubborn Kentish men, and the fighting becomes desperate. The Kentish Alderman (who combined the offices of High Sheriff and Lord Lieutenant) is slain, so is the Danish King Eric, so is Ethelwald "the Atheling" himself, "and very many with them. And great was the slaughter there made on either hand; and of the Danish folk were there the more slain, yet won they the field."[161] And thus, after so many ages of warfare, does the Fleam Dyke, or Balsham Ditch, as it is also called, enter on its millennium of peace.

Balsham Tower.

For it played no part in the tragedy which, a hundred years after this last fight, is associated with its alternative name. Once more Danes and Englishmen are at hand-grips; but now it is no mere loose aggregate of private hordes pressing, each on its own, into the land, but Swend Forkbeard, the monarch of a great Scandinavian Empire purposing to add England also to his dominions. And under the weak sceptre of Ethelred the Unready, nothing beyond local resistance has been offered him; and here alone is the local resistance serious. East Anglia is under the governorship of the hero Ulfcytel, who has already given the Danes an unforgotten taste of his "hand-play," and he gathers her whole force to meet them at Ringmere. But the appalling tidings of what Swend has done elsewhere, (p. 216) "lighting his war-beacons as he went" throughout the length and breadth of the land, "with his three wonted comrades, fire, famine, and slaughter," have taken all the heart out of the English levies. For "all England did quake before him like a reed-bed rustling in the wind." The battle is speedily over. "Soon fled the East Angles; there stood Grantabryg-shire fast only."

Upon Cambridgeshire accordingly this vainly gallant stand brought down the special vengeance of the conquerors. To and fro went Danish punitive columns, and visited the district with a harrying even beyond their wont. "What they could lift, that took they; what they might not carry, that burned they; and so marched they up and down the land." And at Balsham, perhaps because of some local resistance, they are said to have killed out the entire population, man, woman, and child; save one single individual only, who successfully defended against them the narrow entrance to the Church steeple.

It is quite possible that this doorway is the very one which we see when we reach Balsham, where the Dyke ends, high on the East Anglian heights: for, though the church was rebuilt in the fourteenth century, the basement of the tower seems to be far older. Here we are four hundred feet up, and the air has quite an Alpine freshness, after the damp, sluggish atmosphere of the sea level at Cambridge. We feel well why the old Chronicler, Henry of Huntingdon, speaks of "Balsham's pleasant hills."

Cottage at Balsham.

There are in this church two most noteworthy brasses, one a magnificent memorial, no less than nine feet in length, to John de Sleford, rector here, the rebuilder of the church. He was a distinguished personage, being Chaplain to Queen Philippa, Master of the Wardrobe to her husband King Edward the Third, and Canon both of Ripon and of Wells. The orphreys of his cope are embroidered with the figures of Saints, five on either side,[162] and in the canopy over his head his soul is being borne by angels to the Blessed Trinity with the prayer PERSONIS · TRINE · POSCO · ME: SVSCIPE · FINE. The other brass is no less magnificent in size and decoration, and commemorates a yet more magnificent pluralist, John (p. 217) Blodwell, who was Rector here in 1439, besides being Dean of St. Asaph, Canon of St. David's, Prebendary of Hereford, and Prebendary of Lichfield. He, too, has eight Saints on his cope, and eight more in his canopy.[163] Twelve Latin verses (p. 218) give a dialogue between himself and Death, whose words are incised, while his are in relief. The chancel has twelve fine stalls on either side, and a grand rood screen, all from the generosity of Rector Sleford. Yet another, and earlier, worthy connected with this place, is Hugh de Balsham, Bishop of Ely and Founder of the earliest Cambridge College, Peterhouse.

(p. 219) CHAPTER X

London Road.—Trumpington, Church, Brass, Chaucer's Mill, Byron's Pool, Upper River.—Grantchester, Church.—Cam and Granta.—The Shelfords.—Sawston, Old-world Industries, Hall, Hiding-Hole, "Little John."—Whittlesford, Old Hospital.—Duxford.—Triplow Heath, Civil War.—Fowlmere, Hinxton, Sacring Bell.—Ickleton, Monolith Pillars.—Chesterford.—Icknield Way.—Saffron Walden.

Due south from Cambridge goes the great London Road, a name now practically supplanted by the local designation of Trumpington Road. Trumpington, two miles out, is already joined to Cambridge by a string of suburban villas; but these are only on one side of the road, while the other is a continuous line of nightingale-haunted elms, not even the stench and dust of the motorist having availed to drive away those fearless songsters. In leaving the Town the road starts along Hobson's Conduit, passing the Botanic Gardens, and crosses Vicar's Brook at the historic milestone already described on page 160, the first to be set up in England since the days of the Romans.

Trumpington Church shares with Salisbury Cathedral the distinction of being built wholly in the Early English style at its best; and it has what is, perhaps, the best-known brass in England, that of Sir Roger de Trumpington, one of the crusading comrades of Edward the First. The knight is in full panoply of chain-armour, with steel epaulettes (or ailettes as they were then called) protecting his shoulders. His helmet is secured by a chain to his girdle, an unusual precaution, and his large concave shield is charged with his punning arms, two golden trumpets.

From the Church an alluring hollow lane winds down to a flat green island meadow (once a swamp, and still often (p. 220) flooded) between two branches of the Cam, dividing Trumpington from the sister village of Grantchester. On the Grantchester side of this island we come to a mill, with a specially delicious mill-pool below it, overhung by a wreath of foliage, chiefly chestnut. This is the representative of the mill immortalised by Chaucer, in the Canterbury Tale which describes so picturesquely the somewhat unsavoury adventures of the Cambridge "clerks":

At Trompyngtoun, nat far fro Cantebrigge,
There goth a brook, and over that a brigge,
Upon the whiche brook ther stant a melle,
And this is verray sothe that I you telle.

The present mill, however, is not on the actual site of Chaucer's, which stood some quarter of a mile higher up the stream. Its mill-pool still exists, and is famed as "Byron's Pool." Hither the poet used constantly to make his way when an undergraduate, as a retired spot where he might enjoy his favourite delight of bathing, which even in his day was a practice somewhat frowned upon by the academic authorities. A century or so earlier, as has been already said, any student found guilty of it was publicly flogged in the Hall of his College.[164] It is a fascinating place, overhung by fine trees, and remained in favour as a bathing-place even to the middle of the nineteenth century. Now it has become so silted up as to be practically useless. But on the river above it there is still a good swimming reach, little used, however, as most students are content with the University bathing sheds between Grantchester and Cambridge.

The footpath past these sheds is a pleasant byway between the two places, through the green meadows along the riverbank, and so also is the river itself, hereabouts no more than the "brook" which Chaucer calls it. It is, however, by no means a water to be played with rashly, having a tortuous course full of deep holes, in which many lives have been lost. Indeed, no student is now allowed on this "Upper River," unless a certified swimmer. A third alternative route is afforded by the lane between Grantchester and Newnham. (p. 221) Though the southern half of this suburb is actually in Grantchester parish, the lane still runs through open fields, and Grantchester itself is in no sense suburban.

A strangely zig-zag road (with no fewer than four right-angle bends to left and right alternately in as many hundred yards), climbs from the mill to the church, which stands, like Trumpington, on the gravel terrace above the river. These river gravels are amongst the most interesting of Cambridgeshire geological formations. Not only does their height above the present stream level (sometimes as much as thirty feet) point to an age when the rivers must have been much larger than now, but they are prolific in organic remains, indicating, sometimes a warmer, sometimes a colder climate than ours. Here, at Grantchester, bones of the mammoth and of the woolly rhinoceros connote subarctic conditions; but a few miles further up the Cam, at Barrington, the terrace is full of hippopotamus, along with elephant and rhinoceros of African type, postulating a sub-tropical temperature.

Grantchester Church is chiefly noteworthy for its singularly beautiful chancel, an almost ideal example of fourteenth century work, perched most effectively above one of the bends in the road. The name, with its "chester" has led many antiquarians to hold that here was a Roman station.[165] But the application of the name to the village is only some three centuries old. In earlier days it is always "Grantset." We do find "Grantchester" in Bede (as mentioned in our account of Ely); but the spot indicated is almost certainly Cambridge, then still in ruins after its destruction during the English conquest of Britain.

On the top of the church-tower here we may notice a weird-looking piece of iron work. This was put up in 1823 to facilitate the astronomical work in the University Observatory, as it is exactly south of the telescope dome there, two miles and a half away. With the acquisition of collimating telescopes, in 1869, this relationship ceased to be of value, and now the growth of trees has rendered the tower wholly invisible from the Observatory.

(p. 222) Not far from Byron's Pool we find the watersmeet of the two main streams which make our Cambridge river; each so equal in size to its sister that neither can be called the tributary of the other. The name Granta is usually appropriated to the eastern stream, that of Cam to the western. On some maps the latter is called the "Rhee," but this (like the Isis at Oxford), is merely a map-maker's name.[166]

And as the river divides, so also does our London Road, one route following either valley. The Granta route goes viâ Bishop Stortford and Epping Forest, entering London by the Mile End Road, the other viâ Royston, Ware, and Tottenham, coming in by Bishopsgate Street. The division comes just as we leave Trumpington, at the lych-gate of the village cemetery, whence the left-hand branch brings us to the twin villages of Great and Little Shelford, with the Granta running between them. Both churches are good, the former with an octagonal steeple, and a churchyard kept like a garden, and the latter with a grand square-headed Decorated window in its transept, where are preserved some nice fragments of the ancient alabaster reredos. There are also various good fifteenth century monuments of the De Freville family, whose name still lives on as that of a suburban district in Cambridge. Great Shelford Church is richly decorated, as it seems to have been of old, for here Dowsing destroyed no fewer than 128 "superstitions." The bridge over the Granta between the two villages was in mediæval times under the charge of a hermit, like Newnham Bridge at Cambridge.[167]

Great Shelford Church.

Villages continue to be found on both banks as we ascend the Granta. The main road, on the east of the stream, leads through Stapleford, a small place, to the large and important Sawston. Its size and importance are due to the existence of that all too rare development, a really thriving rural industry. For here is not only a flourishing paper-mill, turning out its twenty tons a week of superfine copper-glazed paper, but the much more uncommon manufacture of parchment, and of the "shammy" leather used for cleaning plate, etc. And this is produced in a delightfully rural and old-time fashion. There (p. 223) are no machines here automatically grinding out facsimile products; every process is confided to the skill and judgment of the individual in charge of it. There are fifteen or sixteen such processes involved, and a very little carelessness in any one of them would spoil the whole series. Thus every workman is an expert, and takes a pride in his work impossible to the mere driver of a machine. The great aim of each is to (p. 224) "keep his skin in condition" while under his hands, so as to have a right to glory in the finished article.

The very terms used in this manufacture have an ancient smack about them. The sheepskins used are called "pelts," and are supplied by the "fell-monger." They are first immersed for a while in a solution of lime, and then hung over nothing less primitive than the half of a tree, sawn lengthwise, while a "flesher" scrapes and "couches" them (i.e., removes all wrinkles). They are then "split," the inner skin, called the "mutton" or "lining," being adroitly separated from the outer "grain." This "lining" is next "frized" (i.e., rubbed), to remove all fat, then again "limed," and thoroughly washed. It is then "squeezed" and "punched" till "the water is killed," then soaked with cod-liver oil. This causes fermentation to set in, during which the skins have to be carefully watched by men whose duty it is to "turn the heats" before "burning" takes place. Alkaline treatment follows, and, finally, the skins are "ground," i.e., pared with a round knife and smoothed with a wooden "scurfer," being sprinkled the while with water from a bunch of butchers' broom, called by its old English name "knee-holm." They are then packed in "kips" of thirty apiece, and put on the market. Before "grounding," the taste of the ordinary customer, who likes a pretty white "shammy," is consulted by bleaching most of the skins with sulphur. Appearance, however, is thus dearly purchased, for sulphur blackens silver, besides shortening the life of the skin. The useful colour is dark brown.

"For parchment the 'linings' are tied in a frame by strings fastened round grooved pegs, on the same principle as a Spanish windlass.... After being scraped with a 'half-round' knife, dried, 'shaved,' dabbed with whitewash, and heated in a stove to remove the grease, they are then scalded and rubbed with pumice until they are fine and smooth.... The parchment workers wear clogs, sheepskin leggings, and 'basil' aprons. A basil is an unsplit tanned sheepskin. In this well-managed factory all the refuse goes to make soap, glue, dubbin, or manure, and not one scrap of material is wasted."[168]

Sawston, moreover, is not only full of present interest, but (p. 225) rich in associations with the past. The Village Cross stands on its ancient site, and the church, which retains some Norman features, has several mediæval brasses, though none of special merit. The Hall is yet more remarkable. It was built in the reign of Queen Mary with materials from the ruins of Cambridge Castle, granted by her in consideration of the earlier hall having been destroyed for sheltering her. At the death of her brother Edward the Sixth, the Protestant Lords of the Council sought to arrest her as she approached London. Hearing of their design she took refuge at Sawston Hall, then as now the seat of the Huddleston family, who then as now steadfastly adhered to the ancient faith. Her presence there being reported at Cambridge, a Protestant mob, under the direction of the authorities, pounced upon the hall so suddenly that she had barely time to escape on horseback behind one of the serving men, her course lighted by the flames of the burning building, which was utterly destroyed by the disappointed Protestants. A missal taken in the sack was, on the following Sunday, held up to public derision and formally torn to pieces in the University Church.

By the time the rebuilding of the hall was completed another, and more thoroughgoing, Protestant persecution had broken out. To hear Mass was made treason-felony, punished by forfeiture of goods and perpetual imprisonment, while to say it was an act of high treason, for which the offending priest suffered the lingering death assigned by the law to traitors, being first half-hanged, then disembowelled, and finally quartered. The Catholic chapels of the day were accordingly placed in the garrets, as in that still existing at Sawston Hall, where the worshippers had most warning in case of a domiciliary visit by the authorities. Secret cupboards were contrived for hiding the sacred vessels, books, and vestments, and secret exits by which the priest might, if possible, be smuggled out of the house, and, in case these proved unavailable, "Hiding Holes" in which he might take refuge. That at Sawston Hall is in the staircase, and is described by Mr. Allan Fea in his Secret Chambers and Hiding Places:

"The entrance is so cleverly arranged that it slants into the masonry of a circular tower, without showing the least perceptible sign, from the exterior, of a space capable of holding a baby, far less a man. A particular board in the landing is raised, and beneath it, in a corner of the cavity, is (p. 226) found a stone slab containing a circular aperture, something after the manner of our modern urban receptacles for coal. From this hole a tunnel slants downwards, at an angle, into the adjacent wall, where there is an apartment some twelve feet in depth, and wide enough to contain half a dozen people.... The opening is so massive and firm that, unless pointed out, the particular floor-board could never be detected, and when secured from the inside could defy a battering ram."

This is an unusually commodious Hiding Hole, large enough to hold not only the refugee priest but provisions to maintain him during the search, a very necessary item of the precautions. For when the pursuivants pounced upon a Catholic mansion they always began by locking up the inmates, that no succour might be given to the outlaw whose presence they suspected, and then proceeded to a most systematic and thoroughgoing search, in which chimneys, cellars, and roofs were exhaustively explored, panellings pulled down, and floors torn up, for days together. The ransacking and wrecking sometimes lasted a whole fortnight on end; but with such art were these retreats constructed that they constantly defied even so stringent a test, unless betrayed—sometimes by the unintentional emotion of those in the secret.

Like most others in England this Hiding Hole at Sawston Hall was due to the ingenuity of a Jesuit, one Nicolas Owen (nicknamed "Little John" from his diminutive stature), who, "with incomparable skill and inexhaustible industry," devoted his life to contriving these recesses. "And by this his skill," says a seventeenth century writer, "many priests were preserved from the prey of persecutors." Finally he was himself betrayed into the hands of the Protestant Government, who write exultingly of their "great joy" in his arrest; "knowing his skill in constructing hiding-places, and the innumerable number of these dark holes which he hath schemed for hiding priests throughout the kingdom." It was hoped that he might be induced to reveal these places, "to the taking of great booty of priests." But Owen remained staunch against all threats and blandishments, and finally allowed himself to be tortured to death without suffering the secret "to be wrung from him," as Cecil ordered that it should be. "The man is dead—he died in our hands," is the laconic report of the Governor of the Tower in answer to this order.

(p. 227) The knee-holm, or butchers' broom, used in the Sawston leather work, grows at Whittlesford, on the other side of the Granta, a pretty, shady village with an interesting church; the development of which, from a Saxon nucleus, is a nice (and not yet satisfactorily solved) problem for lovers of mediæval architecture. There is a wooden porch (oak) of the fourteenth century. At Whittlesford Bridge, where the Granta is crossed by the Icknield Street, close to the railway station, one sees, hard by the road, a decayed stone edifice, with a high pitched roof thatched with reeds, now used as a barn.


This is the chapel of the ancient Hospital of St. John, founded in the thirteenth century. There were several such institutions in Cambridgeshire, started, not specially for the care of the sick, but for "hospitality" in the widest sense of the word. Here travellers were entertained, the hungry were fed, the needy were ministered to, according to their several necessities. The Hospitals were rarely large institutions, and this one, as the size of its chapel shows, was quite a small affair, only endowed with some sixty acres of meadow land (p. 228) and a water-mill, equivalent, probably, to some £200 a year in all. But having been under the direction of a prior (appointed by the Bishop of Ely), it is sometimes known by the high-sounding title of Whittlesford Priory. The interior of the building still retains some beautiful early English work. A specially pleasant roadside hostelry next door (the Red Lion), with deliciously quaint carvings on mantel and ceiling, may be held, in some sense, its modern representative; and, indeed, is thought by many authorities to have actually formed part of it.

Though, for some reason, always associated with the name of Whittlesford, this Hospital is actually in the adjoining parish of Duxford, or rather in one of the two (now consolidated) parishes of St. John and St. Peter, between which this little village is divided. Both churches still exist (though St. John's is now only used for burials in its churchyard), and both are very much of the same build, mainly Early English, with a little Norman, of which St. John's steeple is the most noteworthy example. St. Peter's has a beautiful "low-side" window in the northern wall of the chancel.

To the west of Duxford the Icknield Street traverses a wide bleak expanse of treeless fields which, until the nineteenth century, were the unenclosed turf-land forming the famous Triplow Heath, the scene of the first breach between the Long Parliament and its army. In the view of the Parliament that force had now done its work. The Cavalier levies had been stamped out, the king had been "bought" from the Scots, and was in Parliamentary custody at Holmby House in Northamptonshire, the Scots themselves had withdrawn to their own country; why then should not this costly, and rather dangerous, army be disbanded?

But this was far from being the view of the soldiers themselves. A return to the monotonous routine of civil life, after the thrilling excitements of civil war, had no attractions for them; least of all, a return without their pay. That pay—one shilling a day—was more than double the current wages; and now it was many months behindhand—a whole year in some cases. The suggestions of disbandment were met, accordingly, by the concentration of the troops, including Cromwell's famous regiments, on Triplow Heath, in his own East Anglian district. This was on the 10th of June, 1647.

(p. 229)

St. Peter's Church, Duxford.

Commissioners from the Parliament were sent down from Westminster, with offers of two months' pay in cash and debentures for the remaining arrears, contingent on disbandment. But this was not nearly good enough; and the offers were met with cries of "Justice! Justice!" from the men, and with significant hints from the officers of a march on London if their claims were not speedily satisfied, "for a rich (p. 230) city may seem an enticing bait to poor beggarly soldiers to venture far to gain the wealth thereof."

And, while the baffled Commissioners returned, to call out the London train-bands to meet the threatened attack (finding them so reluctant to face this new and terrific foe that the death-penalty had to be denounced against all malingerers), the Army took more effective action by despatching Cornet Joyce, with a troop of horse, to seize the King at Holmby House and bring him along as a prisoner; or, as they put it, to rescue him from his Parliamentary jailers, and invite him to trust his person with his faithful soldiers. They might thus be able to sell him again to the Parliament, as the Scots had done, or they might really restore him, for a sufficient consideration, or make their own of him some way. And, while Charles was being thus carried off, as we have already seen, to Chippenham, they struck their camp and marched off along the Icknield Street to Royston, and thence to St. Albans, as a demonstration against London. When the unhappy monarch, a fortnight later, on Midsummer Day, was brought by the same route from Newmarket, crossing Whittlesford Bridge and passing through the midst of Triplow Heath, the scene had already returned to its habitual loneliness.

Triplow itself lies to the west of the Heath, and has a far-seen cruciform Church, sister to that in the adjoining village of Foulmire, or Fowlmere as it ought to be spelt. An actual mere, noted for its wealth of wild fowl, existed here till little more than half a century ago. It is now a worthless patch of land, full of springs and runlets. There is also a small prehistoric earthwork, known as "The Round Moats."

From Duxford, a pretty byway—far prettier till, a year or two ago, the picturesque wooden foot-bridge across the Granta was replaced by an iron modernity—leads to Hinxton, where the church has some interesting architectural developments, and a good brass to Sir Thomas de Skelton, steward to "old John of Gaunt, time-honoured Lancaster." He is shown in full plate-armour, and his two wives lie beside him. The Parochial Register here dates back to the very first institution of such documents, in 1538, by Thomas Cromwell. This is quite rare; for the idea was, in its first inception, to the last degree unpopular both with clergy and people, who suspected, from their experience of Henry's illimitable greed, that a tax would (p. 231) be exacted upon each of the ecclesiastical functions thus registered.

On the outside of the spire, which is of wood covered with lead, hangs a "Sanctus" (or "Sacring") Bell, which of old was rung at those places in the High Mass where a small bell is sounded by the Server at the Altar; that is to say, at the Ter Sanctus and the Consecration of the Host. Thus those of the faithful who were unable to attend church were invited to unite themselves in spirit with the worshippers there at the most solemn moments of the Service. Few of these bells remain, as their associations were, of course, specially distasteful to Protestant feeling, so that they were mostly destroyed at the Reformation.

At Hinxton we are on the borders of Essex, and a shady westward-running lane takes us on, across the river and the railway, to the last Cambridgeshire village on this line, Ickleton, where the church is of quite unique interest. Here, too, there is a Sacring Bell, on the side of the steeple; surviving, doubtless, through the same unknown local influence which also saved that on the sister spire of Hinxton. But the real interest of the church is entirely hidden from passers by. Those even who look from the pretty little Village Green to the southward see nothing that calls for notice, except the Sacring Bell and a fairly good Geometrical window in the steeple. The rest of the exterior shows only poor fourteenth century work—and cruelly "restored" at that.

But, once inside, we discover that the unsightly exterior is but an outer shell, built round, and over, a smaller and far older church, still standing, and so entirely enclosed that its clerestory lights now open into the existing aisles. Above them are the lights of the later fourteenth century clerestory, which, no doubt, originally contained Geometrical, or more probably Flowing, tracery. Now, however, they are mere "churchwarden" apertures, of various indefinite shapes, with mean wooden sashes, having been remorselessly doctored in the second decade of the nineteenth century.

It is when we look closely at this interior church that we note its truly astonishing features. At the first glance it might be taken for an ordinary Norman structure, with its round pillars and round arches; and, in fact, it is usually so described by the few authorities who notice it at all. The rudeness of (p. 232) the capitals, however, and the general aspect of the arcade, does not somehow look like Norman work, but more suggests Saxon architecture. And the very small clerestory lights, mere loopholes, still more lead us to this conclusion. Some archæologists, therefore, consider this interior church at Ickleton to be a Saxon edifice; and, so far as the clerestory is concerned, it is exceedingly probable that they are right. The piers of the tower arches, however, are unmistakably Norman, as is also the west doorway.

But what is the arcade? When we examine the massive circular pillars which support it, we see to our amazement that, instead of being built up in the usual manner, every one of them is a monolith! We are now obliged to confess ourselves in the presence not of Norman or Saxon but of Roman work, for no example of such monolithic construction is known in any later architecture, and was, indeed, sparingly employed even by the Romans.

How did these pillars come to be here? They are of Barnack stone from Northamptonshire, and must have been brought at an expense well-nigh prohibitory to the finances of a small country parish. We may dismiss the idea that they were hewn out of the quarry in this specially costly form, and fetched all the way from Barnack by the builders of this little unpretending church.

Dismissing this, there remain two other alternatives. A mile distant from Ickleton to the southward stands Chesterford, the site of an important Roman station, commonly identified with the Icianos of the third century "Antonine" Itinerary. The place derived its name, and its importance, from its position at the point where the River Granta is crossed by the Icknield Way, the line of communication along the strip of greensward between the Cambridgeshire fens and the forest topping the East Anglian heights, which gave access to the territory of the Iceni in Norfolk and Suffolk. The Saxon builders of Ickleton Church may have found these pillars amid the ruins of Icianos, or of some villa in the neighbourhood, and have brought them that short distance for their edifice. As they were ready made this would be a cheap job.

Such is the one alternative. The other, to which I myself incline, is that they did not need to fetch the pillars at all, but utilised them on the very spot where they originally stood. (p. 233) According to this view we have here an example, unique in Britain, of Roman work in situ. The very arcading which we see I take to have stood north and south of the central hall of some large Roman mansion. Such a mansion usually contained an oblong central hall of this kind (often roofless), with a peristyle, or cloister, on either side opening into it, a portico at one end, and a smaller tablinum or guest-chamber at the other. Lanciani has pointed out how this structural arrangement suggested the nave, aisles, porch, and chancel of the earliest ecclesiastical edifices at Rome.[169] The same suggestion may have influenced the builders of Ickleton Church to utilise this old Roman arcading, roofing in the enclosed space, but with a clerestory to prevent too great loss of light. If this view is correct the narrow north aisle probably represents the width of the original peristyle.

The south aisle is far wider, as wide indeed as the nave and north aisle together; and one asks why the fourteenth century architect planned his work so very unsymmetrically. The answer, I think, is to be found in the remarkable architectural development of the steeple. The piers of the tower are, as I have said, unmistakably Norman, but upon them are set, quite unconformably, arches at least a century later in date. The tower is pierced by these arches on all four sides, and was evidently meant as the centre of a cruciform church with transepts. For some reason this Norman plan was never completed, but it is very probable that the south wall of the church marks the limit to which the transept (which may have been actually begun) was meant to extend.

The church has also later features of interest. There are some good mediæval seat finials, shaped with the axe and bearing grotesque figures, musical instruments, and symbols; the word ORATE being decipherable upon one of them. The rood-screen is fifteenth century, and is placed across the eastern arch of the tower, with no trace of there having ever been a rood-loft.

The land of Ickleton was almost wholly Terra Ecclesiæ. A priory of Benedictine nuns existed here, founded in the twelfth century by Aubrey de Vere, the first Earl of Oxford; while the Abbeys of East Dereham in Norfolk, Tyltey in Essex, and even Calder (a "cell" of Furness), in far-off Cumberland, (p. 234) each possessed a Manor in the Parish. All alike were given by Henry the Eighth to Goodrich, Bishop of Ely, in exchange for the far more valuable property of Hatfield House. Queen Elizabeth, however, afterwards demanded them all back again, with much other land, as a condition of appointing Bishop Heton, in 1600, to the See, which she had kept vacant to fill her coffers for no less than nineteen years. The Manors were sold by the Crown, and are now in private hands. The benefice is in the gift of the Lord Chancellor.

The name Ickleton, like those of Ickborough in Norfolk, Ickingham in Suffolk, and Ickleford in Hertfordshire, is derived from the position of the village on the line of the Icknield Way. It may indeed be the direct linguistic descendant of the Roman Icianos. We must bear in mind that a prehistoric track, such as the Icknield Way, was not one single-metalled thoroughfare like a Roman road or a modern highway, but a broad line of route along which each traveller made his own "trek," so that the "Way" was a series of roughly parallel ruttings over the breadth of a mile and more. Such, to this day, are the routes across the Siberian steppes, which are often four or five miles across. Thus we found the Icknield Way at Whittlesford, three miles north of Chesterford, and it is probable that all the various "fords" we have been meeting—Shelford, Stapleford, Whittlesford, Duxford—have to do with its various passages of the Granta.

Beyond Chesterford the Granta comes down in tiny streamlets from the Essex chalk near Saffron Walden, with its wide-naved church, which Cromwell's troops used for a drill-shed and council-chamber, and its historic mansion of Audley End, once Walden Abbey, and its memories of the days, scarcely a century by-gone, when great crops of saffron were grown in its fields, leaving their only existing trace in the name. And even that is dying out; few of the inhabitants call their home anything but Walden. But this town is beyond our Cambridgeshire border.

(p. 235) CHAPTER XI

London Road.—Hauxton Bridge, Indulgences, Church, Becket Fresco.—Burnt Mill.—Haslingfield.—White Hill, View, Clunch Pits, Chapel, Papal Bulla.—Barrington, Green, Church, Porch, Seats, Chest, Fountains, Finds, Coprolite Digging, Hall.—Foxton.—Shepreth.—Meldreth, Parish Stocks.—Melbourn, Shipmoney.—Royston, Origin, Cave, Heath.—Bassingbourn, Old Accounts, Villenage.—Black Death.—Ashwell, Source of Cam, Church, Graffiti.—Akeman Street.—Barton, Butts.—Comberton, Maze.—Harlton Church, Old Pit.—Orwell Maypole, Church, Epitaph.—Wimpole Hall, Queen Victoria.—Arrington.—Shingay, Hospitallers, Fairy Cart.—Wendy.—Artesian Wells.—Guilden Morden, Screen, St. Edmund, Confessionals.

The Cam Valley road from Trumpington leads us over a singularly bare mile, edged by sparse thorn-trees, to Hauxton Mill, where we cross the Granta. The repair of the bridge here was, in mediæval days, paid for by the grant to all who aided this good object of a forty days' Indulgence. This does not mean a licence to sin with impunity for that period, as perfervid Protestants imagine, but merely the abrogation of any ordinary ecclesiastical censure incurred. The little church of Hauxton, not far beyond, is one of the few Norman village churches existing in Cambridgeshire, for the county suffered so severely in the Norman Conquest that little church building could be afforded till a century later, when Norman had given place to Early English.

In this church, upon the east wall of the south aisle is a fine fresco of Thomas à Becket, dating from within a few decades of his own lifetime. Representations of this Saint are extremely rare, for, as an ecclesiastic who had braved his king—and that king a Henry,—he was specially detested by Henry the Eighth. His Festivals were all suppressed, his name was erased from every Service Book, and his effigies were (p. 236) destroyed with ruthless diligence, so that this is almost the only one known to exist in all England. It was only saved by the niche in which it is painted being hastily bricked up and plastered over; to be forgotten for upwards of three centuries, till accidentally discovered in 1860 during some restoration work.

Hauxton Church stands a little off the main road, on a by way running from Shelford on the Granta to Haslingfield on the Cam. West of Hauxton this route becomes a mere field track, but quite a pretty one, crossing the Cam at an idyllic nook called Burnt Mill Bridges, where the green banks and clear waters are closed in by ancient elms and thorn bushes. It brings to the mind Milton's lines in Il Penseroso:

There in close covert, by some brook,
Where no profaner eye may look,
Hide me from day's garish eye."

Haslingfield (which is more directly reached from Cambridge by the Barton Road) has a fine and spacious church of the fourteenth century, the steeple being of special merit. Above it rises steeply the eastern extremity of a chalk spur to the height of 220 feet. From the summit, though so low, we get one of the widest panoramic views in England, embracing the whole valley of the Cam. "Ashwell Bush,"[170] which marks the source of the river, is conspicuous on a hill some ten miles to the south-westward, and Ely Cathedral, just beyond its junction with the Ouse, may be seen, twice as far away to the north; Cambridge, with its spires and pinnacles, lying between, five or six miles distant. Our eastward limit of vision is the long line of the East Anglian Heights, from Swaffham steeple[171] on their northernmost visible swell, twenty miles away, to the far-off jut of Sharpinhoe, near Dunstable, more than thirty miles in the opposite direction. Beneath us, in the valley, steeple after steeple rises amid its village elms, dotting the landscape like knots in net-work. No fewer than eighty of these can be made out, the most conspicuous being the cruciform church of Triplow.[172]

Haslingfield Church.

This eminence was anciently known as White Hill, from the three great "clunch" quarries,[173] which still conspicuously scar (p. 238) its sides, and must have done so much more conspicuously of old, when this material was much more generally used for building than it is now. From these quarries came, for example, the stone used in the First Court of St. John's College, Cambridge. The "pits," as they are locally called, are rapidly greening over, for the clunch is now only dug for the mending of farm roads, and occasionally for marling the fields; as Pliny records that the ancient Britons marled them two thousand years ago.

At the summit of the ridge a small roadside cottage, known as "Chapel Bush," represents the once famous shrine of "Our Lady of White Hill"; in mediæval days a noted centre of local devotion, which drew pilgrims in large numbers from a wide area, so that their accommodation, as we read, was no small profit (and, often, difficulty) to the neighbouring villages. No ruins, even, of this ancient chapel remain; but, in 1885, there was discovered on its site a leaden bulla of Pope Martin the Fifth, the first Pope to be generally acknowledged after the Great Schism; when for forty years two (or three) claimants to the Holy See were reigning simultaneously, supported some by one part of Christendom, some by another. He reigned 1417 to 1431, and was the consecrator of Milan Cathedral. It was he who, at the "Assize of Barnwell" (1430), pronounced that all spiritual jurisdiction over the students of Cambridge was exclusively vested in the University authorities. His bulla bears the heads of SS. Peter and Paul, with the traditional features, which Lanciani has now established as historical; St. Peter having a broad face with curly hair and beard, while St. Paul is thin-faced and straight-haired.

On the southern side of the hill lies Barrington, perhaps the loveliest of all Cambridgeshire villages. It consists of two long lines of scattered cottages, straggling along either side of a Village Green nearly a mile in length. The Green is traversed from end to end by the "Church Path," a pebbled causeway of immemorial antiquity. The church, to which this leads, stands at the north-eastern extremity of the Green, and is a noble structure of the twelfth century, with later developments. The south doorway and door are thirteenth century, and are wonders of graceful work; while the fourteenth century seats are of special interest as having been constructed with book-boards, showing that reading was not the rare accomplishment (p. 239) in those days that it is commonly supposed to have been.[174] There is also an iron-bound chest dating from the tenth century, a splendid specimen of the smiths-work for which England was then so famous. The font, too, is equally old, showing on its margin the depressions (now filled in), often provided in fonts of the period when baptism by immersion was the rule, as outlets for accidental overflow.

Farmhouse at Haslingfield.

Here and there along the Green gush out bright fountains of delicious water from artesian wells driven into the "greensand," some 200 feet below the surface. Throughout all its length the village is sheltered, on the north, by the ridge of White Hill, while, on the south, the orchards and closes with their "hedge-row elms," slope down to the Cam and its water-meadows. The stream here runs beneath a gravel-terrace of its own formation, which has proved exceptionally rich in the remains of pleistocene mammalia, mostly, as has been said,[175] (p. 240) connoting a semi-tropical climate. Specimens of elephant, hippopotamus, rhinoceros, bison, urus, lion, bear, hyæna, derived from Barrington, are to be seen in the Sedgwick Museum at Cambridge. Associated palæolithic flint implements, and red-deer antlers rudely cut, show that human intelligence existed here along with these monsters, at least 5000 years ago, at the lowest estimate, which some geologists multiply fifty fold; and excavation has shown that the site has been populated pretty well ever since. Neolithic, British, Roman, Anglo-Saxon, and Mediæval relics have here been unearthed in quite astonishing abundance; and, though no Roman villa has yet been located, Roman coins have been found literally by the hundred.

This wealth of finds has been largely due to the "coprolite" digging, as it was inaccurately called, which went on here (and throughout the neighbourhood) during the whole latter half of the nineteenth century. It had been discovered that the "upper greensand"[176] (here a narrow deposit immediately over the gault and usually some fifteen or twenty feet below the surface) was full of organic remains worth extracting for manure. These remains were never true coprolites, but mostly formless nodules rich in phosphate of lime, many being sponges, along with abundance of sea-urchins, mollusca, crabs, and innumerable sharks' teeth.

The industry brought a wave of prosperity to the district; for coprolites were worth some £3 per ton, and the average yield was some 300 tons per acre. The merchants were, therefore, willing to pay well for the privilege of digging them out, and usually offered the landowner £150 or more per acre for three years' occupation of the land (more than its capital value); being bound also to level and resoil it at the end of their tenancy. Wages, too, ran high; a good "fossil-digger" could earn his 40s. per week. This produced a corresponding rise in agricultural wages, which went up from 10s. or 12s. per week to double that amount. The fossil-digging was all piecework, the men being paid by the cubic yard of earth moved.

South Porch, Barrington Church.

After being brought to the surface the fossil-bearing greensand was washed in a horse-mill on the spot, an artesian well (p. 241) being bored, if necessary, to supply the water. This separated out the nodules, while the greensand and water was run off as thick mud; used, when dry, for levelling the land, and sometimes for brick-making. The nodules were ground to powder in central works at Royston and elsewhere, and treated with sulphuric acid, thus producing super-phosphate of lime adapted for manure. At the height of the industry as many as 55,000 tons per year were extracted from the Cambridgeshire beds; but with their gradual exhaustion the trade dwindled away till it was finally destroyed by imports from Charleston, U.S.A., where the like "coprolites" are found as a superficial deposit, (p. 242) needing no digging. And with the trade has disappeared the artificial prosperity which it brought, to be succeeded by the full weight of the agricultural depression.

Barrington Hall is the seat of one of the oldest of English county families, the Bendyshes, who have held their estate here since the reign of John. Their residence at Barrington dates, however, only from that of Edward the Third, for whom, during his siege of Calais, they raised money by mortgaging their earlier abode at Radwinter, in Essex, to the monks of that place. Before the king by repaying their loan put them in case to redeem the mortgage, the monks had foreclosed; thus driving the family to reside on their Cambridgeshire property at Barrington. They are not, however, lords of the Manor there (though they are in the adjoining parish of Foxton). That position belongs to Trinity College, Cambridge, who are also rectors of the church, by the gift of their earliest founder, Hervey de Stanton, Chancellor to Edward the Second.

From either end of Barrington lanes lead southward across the Cam to Foxton and Shepreth respectively. Both these villages are hard by the main road which we are following. Foxton Church has a most beautiful Early English east window, and some very good Geometrical tracery. Here is found that rare form of rural industry, a book-printing establishment, which to some extent mitigates the depression mentioned above. At Shepreth this is done on a larger scale by the making of cement, for which the clay procurable here is, like that on the Medway, peculiarly adapted. This is a little gem of a village, with a clear and copious brook running across its maze of thick-shaded lanes. The source of these waters is in the ancient Fowl Mere already spoken of.[177]

Another such tributary rises in our next village, Melbourn, and runs, on its way to the Cam, through the adjoining Meldreth, an old-world place, where the parish stocks are still to be seen at the village cross-roads. Till the nineteenth century was well on its way, these instruments of punishment were in actual use for the correction of minor offences such as vagrancy. They consist of a low upright frame of rough wood, so contrived that the prisoner's feet, as he sat upon the ground beside it, were passed through holes in the structure and there secured. The parish constable was supposed to keep sentry (p. 243) over him, but actually seldom kept off either the friends, who might alleviate his captivity by beer and tobacco, or the more numerous enemies, who found it a good joke to tease and pelt his helplessness. The hands were sometimes also secured, sometimes not; but in any case the culprit's situation was exceedingly unpleasant, and the stocks proved a most wholesome deterrent.


Melbourn is a larger place, and boasts that rare possession, a village trysting-tree. This is a huge elm, standing by the roadside at the churchyard gate. It is now at the extremity of elm life, some three hundred years old, and only the stump (p. 244) (still clothed with leafage) remains. But the vast massiveness of the roots show its former grandeur. At this tree, in 1640, the villagers spontaneously gathered to resist the imposition of the "ship-money," whereby Charles the First was striving to recruit his exhausted exchequer. "And they fell upon the sheriff's men with stones and staves, and hedgestakes and forks, and beat them and wounded divers of them, and did drive them out of the highway into a woman's yard for their safety. And were forced for saving of their lives to get out of the town a back way; which, notwithstanding, some thirty or forty able men and boys pursued them above a quarter of a mile, stoning them, and driving the bailiffs into a ditch, where some of their horses stuck fast. And the multitude got some of the bailiffs' horses and carried them away, and would not redeem them without money."

This stirring episode shows that the men of Melbourn were already Puritan stalwarts, a character which the place has ever since maintained. Three years later the parson himself removed from the church "sixty superstitious pictures," and a cross from the steeple, and digged down the altar steps. And after the Restoration, when Nonconformity was put under the straitest ban of the law, its worship still continued here to be practised, so that the place became, as it still remains, the chief centre of the Free Church form of religion in this part of the county.

Three miles further the road brings us to the small but flourishing town of Royston, which, though now wholly in Hertfordshire, was till a few years ago partly in Cambridgeshire, with which it has a far closer physical connection than with its new county. The place has an interesting history. Like Newmarket, at the other end of Cambridgeshire, it is not, as are the villages around, one of the original English settlements dating from the fifth or sixth centuries, but a burgh of mediæval growth, owing its existence (again like Newmarket) to its position on the line of the Icknield Way, here crossed by another presumably British and certainly Roman road, the Ermine Street, which joined, as it still joins, the two great nerve-centres of Roman Britain, York and London. It is still known as the Old North Road.

Such a junction was necessarily an important spot, and the wonder is that there was not always a town here. It was left (p. 245) however still occupied when, in the eleventh century, the Lady Roesia, wife of Eudo Dapifer, the Norman chieftain to whom the land hereabouts was assigned by William the Conqueror, set up here, at the meeting of the ways, one of those stone wayside crosses by which mediæval piety so often marked such junctions. A century later the new-born devotion to St. Thomas of Canterbury led the then lord of the manor, Eustace de Mark, to found and dedicate to him a Priory, called, from the neighbouring cross, "De Cruce Rosae." This, as so often happened, became the nucleus of a little town, which got to be called Roesia's Town, or Royston.


At the same period Royston was the scene of yet another ecclesiastical development, by the establishment of a famous (p. 246) hermitage in its still celebrated cave. This cave is a curious bottle-shaped excavation in the chalk below the Icknield Way, of prehistoric origin, having been apparently one of those "dene holes" from which the ancient inhabitants of Britain used to procure chalk for marling their fields. It is not so long since this method was discontinued, and numbers of these holes are still to be found in Kent and elsewhere. They were always made on the same plan. A shaft was sunk to the desired depth, and the chalk excavated all round the bottom as far as safety permitted. The hole was then abandoned, and usually filled in. This one at Royston, however, remained open, and in the twelfth century was taken as his abode by a hermit, who employed himself in carving devotional figures and emblems all round the walls.

He must have been a true Solitary, for his shrine was only accessible by a rope ladder twenty-five feet long let down through the narrow opening at the top. It remained, however, a place of devotion till the Reformation, when it not only became disused, but was so effectually filled up that its very existence was forgotten for some two hundred and fifty years. Then curiosity was aroused by a subsidence at the top (under the very centre of the town), and the hole once more cleared out, a more convenient approach being cut from adjacent premises, by which it may still be visited.

The Priory of Royston was, of course, suppressed under Henry the Eighth. But its church was suffered to be bought by the inhabitants of the town, who besought the king to spare it to them on the ground that, though Royston stood in five several parishes, there was "never a parish church within two miles." This was literally true, the parochial boundaries having been already long established before the town grew up. The five parishes were those of Melbourn, Barley, Bassingbourn, Reed, and Therfield. They had therefore attended the Priory church, and been ministered to by its monks. The place was, in answer to this petition, constituted a parish, and the church rededicated to St. John the Baptist instead of to Henry's bête noire, Thomas à Becket. But the old connection of Royston with this saint survives to this day in the annual Fair held in July (near the date of his "Translation"), which is still popularly called "Becket Fair."

At Royston the Icknield Way used to be the boundary of (p. 247) Cambridgeshire, as at Newmarket, so that it was convenient for the resident magistrates to be in the Commission for both counties. Thus, by merely crossing the road, they could exercise their authority in whichever might be desired. Beyond the town, the way continues to run south-westwards, along the foot of the East Anglian heights, which here form the watershed between the basin of the Ouse and that of the Thames. Their northern escarpment is, at this point, still in its primæval condition, a steep slope of virgin turf, known as Royston Heath, the common property of the township. The Heath has a far-reaching view and delicious air, and the Royston folk do well in jealously guarding against any usurpation of their rights in it. That golf links should not exist on such a magnificent stretch of turf would almost be unthinkable, but even over this development many shake their heads as an encroachment.

As we continue our way along the hedgeless road at the foot of this delightful common, the Great Northern Railway, from Cambridge to London, keeps us close company on our right. A mile or so beyond it rises a conspicuous line of poplar trees. These mark the village of Bassingbourn, one of the most interesting in the county to the historian. For here there is preserved in the church a whole library of antique books, and amongst these (in manuscript) the churchwardens' accounts from 1498 to 1534, kept with an accuracy which enables us to picture faithfully the village life of those days. We find that it was a period of high wages, for a labourer got threepence a day if boarded, and fivepence unboarded. His board then was worth a shilling per week. Nowadays it is reckoned at ten shillings at least, so that we must multiply all the items by ten to express them in current value. His wages were thus equivalent to twenty-five shillings per week, double the present rate, while artisans could command nearly twice as much. The times were thus abnormally prosperous, and the parishioners could afford to spend so lavishly in merrymaking at the "Church Ales" that an annual profit equivalent to nearly £50 was usually made on these entertainments, which corresponded to the Parochial Teas and concerts of the present day. These profits went towards the "reparacyon" of the church, and the current church expenses, including such heavy items as refounding the bells, at a cost equal to over £200, and renovating the clock and the organ. Further funds (p. 248) were raised by a great "Miracle Play" of St. George and the Dragon, to which the whole neighbourhood assembled.

All this prosperity (founded, as always, on the high rate of wages) was the result of that fearful catastrophe, the Black Death, which, a few generations back, had all but decimated the population, and shattered the old social system of England, wherein the labourers were "villains," tied to the manor on which they were born, and bound to do for their lord (in lieu of rent) so many "jobs"[178] a year. A "job" meant 100 minutes' work, a strange subdivision of time, implying some fairly accurate means of measuring its flight, though we know not what these may have been. A Cambridgeshire "inquisition" of 1313 values each job at a halfpenny, so that the day's work of a "villain" was worth about threepence.

But the demand for labour after the "Death" became so great, and so many of the estate owners had died, that villenage came to an end, and the labourers could, as now, go where they would and make the best wages they could get in open market.

The result, after a while, was, as we have seen, a great increase in prosperity, testified to by the abundant Perpendicular work in almost every parish church in England. But the immediate effect was fearful distress, and a chaotic dislocation of the old feudal relationships, giving birth to the socialistic dreams which for a moment so vainly tried to materialise themselves in the anarchical outbreak which we call Wat Tyler's Rebellion. An example of this dislocation of ordinary conditions is furnished by the Papal registers, which tell us that the rectory of this very Bassingbourn (estimated at the equivalent of no less than £1,200 per year) was made over, in 1410, to the Chapel Royal of St. Martin's-le-Grand, London, "considering that the said chapel hath been ruined by the Great Storm, and its lands lie waste for lack of labourers through the pestilence."

The "great storm" here referred to took place on St. Maur's Day (January 15th), 1361. Of both storm and pestilence we shall find a most interesting record in the church of Ashwell, the next and last place which we should see in this corner of the county. To reach it we have, indeed, to cross the border and go some half mile beyond; but though politically (p. 249) in Hertfordshire, Ashwell physically belongs to Cambridgeshire. For here is the source of the Cam, and such a source as few would dream of for the sluggish unclear stream that we see at Cambridge. In the midst of the village the ground sinks into a sort of amphitheatre, some 100 yards in length by thirty in breadth and ten in depth, with abrupt sides covered with brushwood and overshadowed by ancestral ash-trees. All round the floor of this gush forth springs upon springs of the brightest, most sparkling water; so copious that when the infant stream escapes through a breach towards the north it is already nearly thirty feet broad. No prettier river-source is to be found throughout the length and breadth of England. The ash-trees, however, are not, as one is apt to think at first, the origin of the name, but its consequence. The first syllable really embodies that Celtic word for water which, as Axe, Exe, Esk, and Usk, meets us in so many places all over Great Britain; and this syllable, at some far-back date, suggested the planting of ashes around the well.


(p. 250) Not far from these bounteous springs rises the splendid tower of the church, springing high into the air with the same undaunted Early English ambition which raised the spire of Salisbury. And on its wall (inside) is carved, in rude and deeply incised lettering of Old English style, varied by some curiously Greek characteristics, the record already spoken of, dealing with the Black Death and the storm. This consists of four lines, intended for Latin elegiacs, again with a Greek touch, and runs thus:

M . Ct . Xpenta . miseranda . ferox . violenta .
Supest . plebs . pessima . testis . in . fineque . vents .
Validus . oc . anno . maurus . in . orbe . tonat.

The opening words stand for the date:

Ct = Cter = CCC, and Xpenta = XXXXX = 50

The interpretation therefore is:

1350! Miserable, wild, distracted,
The dregs of the people alone survive to witness.
And in the end a wind
Full mighty. This year St Maur thunders in the world.

The year 1349 marked the most fatal stage of the Black Death in these parts. In that year, to judge by the Diocesan records, no less than eighty-five per cent. of the beneficed clergy were swept away, which implies a corresponding mortality amongst other classes. By 1350 the worst was over, but the full wretchedness of the situation was now developing itself. The plague lingered on, constantly growing milder, till 1361, when the great storm was supposed to have cleared the fair of the last remnants of infection. A like popular distich about this later visitation is quoted by Adam of Murimuth:

C ter erant mille decies sex unus, et ille,
Luce tua Maure, vehemens fuit impetus auræ.
Ecce flat hoc anno Maurus in orbe tonans.

That is, in English:

There were 300 + 1000 + 60 + 1 and that
Mighty blast of wind was on thy day, Maurus.
Lo! in this year bloweth Maurus thundering in the world.

(p. 251)

Ashwell Church from the N.W.

(p. 252) St. Maur was a Gallican saint of the sixth century who was the first to introduce monasticism into France. There are several other interesting graffiti on the same wall as the above, one of them representing old St. Paul's with its lofty steeple, the highest in the world (510 feet), and the famous Rose Window of the transept which Chaucer mentions in his Canterbury Tales.

Another, and perhaps prettier, way of reaching Ashwell from Cambridge is by taking the road that runs along the Backs, and following it out of the town in its course to the south-west. Its local designation is the Barton Road, but to antiquarians it has been known, since the seventeenth century, as the Akeman Street. It was at that period that the accepted identification of our Roman roads came into being, mainly through the fearless erudition of Gale. Their names (except that of the Via Devana) are as old at least as the Norman Conquest; but, save only in the case of the Watling Street, the main line of which has never been disputed, the connection between any given name and any given road has been matter for the wildest conjecture. Thus, Geoffrey of Monmouth, writing in the eleventh century, makes the Ermine Street (which we now, with strong reason, identify with the Old North Road from London to York) run from St. David's to Southampton! Our Akeman Street is supposed to connect Wells on the Wash with Aust on the Severn, passing on its way through Bath (the Ake-man-chester of the Anglo-Saxons, i.e., "the stone stronghold of Aquæ," Aquæ being the Roman name for Bath). But a lot of this is mere conjecture. The "Barton Road," however, is undoubtedly on the line of a Roman road.

In spite of its name, it does not pass through the village of Barton. Indeed, like the other roads leading westwards from Cambridge, it curiously avoids the villages on its line, or rather (for the road is older than they) the villages have curiously avoided being directly upon it, though they lie thick on either side. Possibly the first Anglo-Saxon settlers may have had in this district some superstitious dread of a deserted Roman road, such as they certainly entertained at first for the deserted Roman towns, which they did not occupy for many a year (as at Cambridge), though they located their hamlets all round them.

Ashwell Church.

But though the Akeman Street does not actually take us (p. 254) through Barton village, it does lead us past the rare object of interest to be found connected with the place, the ancient Archery Butts of the parish. These are to be seen just opposite the sign-post which points to Haslingfield, and are worth a pause to contemplate, for they give a most impressive idea of what archery meant to our forefathers. Every parish, it must be remembered, was bound by law in mediæval times to have such a stretch of ground, and every yeoman was bound to constant practice upon it. And what practice! These "butts" are a stretch of greensward, some hundred yards across, and in length no less than three furlongs (660 yards). It looks an almost incredible distance for a bowman, but it was the standard, so far as we can judge by the very few butts of which the memory still survives. The length of the short street in South London, still called Newington Butts, is nearly the same.

Here, then, we can picture the sturdy archers of Plantagenet days stretching themselves; their bows, not the toys of the modern toxophilite with their thirty or forty pounds of pull, but of twice the power (eighty lb. being a common pull in those times), and their "cloth-yard" arrows, over three feet long, whistling to a target not planted forty or fifty yards away, but twelve times the distance—the whole length of these butts. Indeed, for anything under two furlongs light arrows were not allowed, and the heavy regulation war arrow had to be used. Each man was taught, as Bishop Latimer tells us in recording his own youthful training, to draw his bow not by mere strength, but by sleight of hand, "to lay the weight of his body into the bow," and to draw the bowstring not to his breast, like other nations, but to his ear. Small wonder that with eye and sinews so trained our English archers became the wonder and the dread of Europe, or that their shafts decided so many a battlefield—Cressy, Poictiers, Agincourt, Flodden.

A mile further we cross the Bourn Brook, a tiny tributary which joins the Cam near Grantchester, hard by a small station on the Cambridge branch of the London and North Western Railway, called Lord's Bridge, from the Lord Hardwicke who, in the beginning of the nineteenth century, substituted a bridge for the earlier ford here. To our right we see, across the fields, the church tower of Comberton; where, on the little village green, can still be seen the worn remains of a turf-built "maze," first traced out no one knows when, but certainly not later than (p. 255) the sixteenth century. Various mystical reasons are conjectured for the origin of these mazes, of which a fair number still exist in England (especially in the Eastern counties), while many more are known to have been destroyed by the Puritans of the seventeenth century as relics of heathen superstition. Such, indeed, they probably are. Mr. Walter Johnson, in his "Folk Memory," considers them to be exceedingly primitive, begun in connection with "ceremonial dances of painted heathen round a prehistoric camp fire." This Comberton maze is fifty feet in diameter, while the tracks are two feet in width, divided by slight banks of turf, once, it would seem, about a foot in height, but now much worn down.

The next turn (to the left) leads to Harlton, a pretty, shady village, with a fine Perpendicular church, having a stone rood screen, which is rare, and, what is yet rarer, a still surviving stone reredos of the fifteenth century, with a central recess, once closed with a door, and evidently intended as a "Tabernacle" for the Reservation of the Blessed Sacrament. The six niches on either side of this recess were as evidently meant for images of the twelve Apostles.

Harlton lies close under White Hill, that chalk spur which we have already met at Haslingfield.[179] Here, too, there is a "clunch-pit" in the hill-side, from which the material for the church was probably dug. It is now disused, except for occasional marling purposes, and some unknown benefactor has planted its slopes with larches and laburnums, forming a most fascinating little dell, the charms of which are free to all.

Our road now climbs the hill, which it crosses through a cutting, with a fine view from the summit in either direction. In the little clump of trees just to the west of the road there stood, till the 'seventies of the nineteenth century, Orwell Maypole, the last of its class to survive in these parts. In mediæval times every village had its maypole, round which the lasses and lads hied them to dance on May Day. But, like the mazes, they were called (and actually were) remnants of heathenism, and, as such, were destroyed wholesale in the years of Puritan ascendancy. So it befell with the great maypole which gave name to the church of St. Andrew Under-shaft in the City of London. It was hewn down, and, as it lay along the street, sawn in pieces, each householder taking for firewood (p. 256) the length that lay opposite his own door. The Restoration set a certain number up again, but the continuity of their use had been broken, and its revival (as May Day was connected with no special Festival of the Church, like Easter and Christmas, which were also originally heathen feasts) became a merely artificial reaction, bound to dwindle away. So it befell that Orwell Maypole, after being disused for generations, finally perished by natural decay. It stood almost exactly upon the meridian of Greenwich, so that it was a valuable and far-seen landmark.

Orwell itself lies, as usual, just off the road, on the southern slope of the hill. Half a century ago it was the prettiest of villages, with its eponymous "well," shaded by magnificent trees, gushing from the hill-side, in the midst of a prehistoric earthwork, just below the noble church. But, about 1870, the earthwork, unhappily, was found to contain "coprolites" (worth probably about £100 after the expenses of getting them had been paid). For this paltry sum the whole place was destroyed. Well, trees, earthwork, all are now gone; only the church is left, perched on its slope high above the village street. It has a grand decorated chancel, the roof of which is covered with heraldic devices, and contains an interesting epitaph in Latin verse to one of the seventeenth century rectors of the parish, beginning:

Pastor eram dum pastor eram tunc fistula dulcis
Tunc tuba qua torvum sprevit ovile lupum.

("I was a Pastor, while a Pastor I;
Sweet then my pipe; loud then my trumpet-call,
Whereat my flock defied the wolf so grim.")

In the south aisle is preserved a small crucifix of stone, dating from the thirteenth century. It had been built into the wall to save it from destruction at the Reformation, and was not discovered for three hundred years.

About a mile further we find a village along the road itself, the village of Wimpole. But we notice that the houses are all modern, and that no church is to be seen amongst them. A church there is belonging to them, but it stands a mile to the west, where the village also stood till towards the close of the eighteenth century. At that time the mansion and park of Wimpole Hall were being enlarged to their present (p. 257) magnificence by Philip, the first Earl of Hardwicke (the builder of Lord's Bridge). Plebeian cottages were not to be tolerated "betwixt the wind and his nobility," so he pulled down the entire village and planted it, where it now is, along the Akeman Street. The church, which could not well be moved, he faced with red brick to match his new-built stables, close to which it is situated.

Great Eversden.

Wimpole Hall has passed through various hands. The central portion was built, in 1632, by Sir Thomas Chicheley, the wings were added a century later by the Earl of Oxford, from whom it came to the Hardwicke family. It is now the seat of Viscount Clifden. The house is on a splendid scale, and the grounds on a scale yet more splendid, with a double avenue of elms, three miles long, running to the south. Here Queen Victoria stayed when visiting Cambridgeshire shortly after her marriage, and won all hearts by her graciousness. It is still remembered how when, by some blunder, the attendant in charge of her jewels was not forthcoming, she came down (p. 258) to the ball-room with a simple wreath of roses in her hair, "and not all the jewels in the world could have made her look so queenly."

There is, of course, a public road leading from Wimpole village to the church, which is also accessible from the west, where the great iron gates of the park are usually unbarred at the request of respectable visitors. These gates open upon the Ermine Street, which the Akeman Street crosses a mile beyond New Wimpole, after also crossing the great avenue. Close by them is another transplanted village, Arrington, whose church stands on the hill half a mile westward. The traffic of the old North Road is responsible for this move, and also for the delightful old coaching inn here, the Hardwicke Arms, with its old-fashioned rooms and long range of stables.

At the junction our road ceases. To continue our westward course we must go along the Ermine Street for half a mile, either northward or southward, where we shall find lanes, either of which will carry us on. The northern lane here will take us along the line of the hill, to Tadlow, Wrestlingworth, Potton, and, finally, Bedford, and will enable us, if we will, to explore the three Hadleys (East Hadley, Hadley St. George, and Cockayne Hadley), of which the two last have fine halls and parks. The southern, however, is the preferable route. It follows the course of the infant Cam, crossed by a bridge on the Ermine Street, and brings us first to the wholly obliterated Shingay, which, though once the most important parish hereabouts, and still giving its name to the Rural Deanery, has absolutely ceased to exist, church and all; its parishioners being affiliated to the neighbouring village of Wendy.

The cause of this ruin was the suppression, at the Reformation, of the institution which was literally the life of Shingay, a House of the Crusading Order of St. John of Jerusalem, or, as they were commonly called, the Knights Hospitallers. This title was given them because, at their original foundation, they dwelt in a Hospital (or house for the hospitable entertainment of pilgrims) at Jerusalem. We now connect this name only with places where the sick are ministered to; but it originally connoted far wider ministrations, and, indeed, rather corresponded to the other form in which the word has survived into our present speech—hotel. We read it on a leaden (p. 259) seal found here at Wendy, in 1876, which bears on one side a conventional representation of the Shrine of the Holy Sepulchre, surrounded by the legend Ihervsalem, Hospitalis. On the other is the name of Guarin de Montaigu, who, from 1232 to 1269, was Grand Master of the Order.

The Hospitallers, as readers of "Ivanhoe" know, were, like the Templars, a military Order, who, for over six centuries, fought unceasingly for Christendom. First at Jerusalem, then at Rhodes, then at Malta, they held out with never-failing devotion against the on-sweeping torrent of Mahommedan aggression; and it is scarcely too much to say that but for their eight-pointed cross Christianity might well have been crushed throughout Europe. Not till the nineteenth century was their last stronghold, Malta, reft from them by Napoleon, to pass finally under the flag of England. The Order still survives, but the modern sodality calling itself by the same name, connected with what we now call hospital work, was set up in quite recent days.

Preceptories of the Order, as their branch Houses were called, were found in every land, and not least in England, where they were so much beloved that, when the rival Order of the Temple was suppressed, in the fourteenth century, its property was made over to them. Here, at Shingay, their establishment was a small one consisting of the preceptor, two knights, and three priests, one of whom acted as Vicar of Wendy. The gross income of the House was, in 1332 (as we know from a Report still existing in the Record Office at Malta), £187 12s. 8d., equivalent to about £3,500 at the present value of money. Of this the land (about 1,000 acres) brought in £71; the mills, houses, etc., £4 13s. 4d.; the work of the villains £38 10s. 0d.; and the Rectories of Wendy and Sawston, which formed part of their endowment, £66 13s. 4d. The rest was derived from the fees paid by visitors; for, by the rule of the Order, the doors of the House were open to all comers. The expenses of the year amounted to less than half the income, for they lived frugally, their keep only coming to about £3 a week (in present value) for the six inmates, besides servants and guests. Men servants were paid at the rate of £12 a year (besides their keep), and each knight was allowed the equivalent of £25 a year for clothing and pocket-money. Thus a large sum was available for the war-chest of the Order, (p. 260) and was annually forwarded to the headquarters at Jerusalem or Rhodes.

One of their sources of income was a special privilege which is still remembered in local tradition. Their House (like those of the Templars) was exempt from every ban, even that of the Pope himself. Thus, in the dismal days of King John, when England was placed under an Interdict, when no rites of religion could be observed, and even burial of the dead was forbidden, so that "you might see human bodies lying everywhere about the fields unsepultured," Shingay shone out as the one spot in the whole district where the consolations of religion were still attainable. Here Mass continued to be said, here the departed could still be laid in hallowed earth. And hither they were brought from all sides. And thus it is that peasants may be found who still tell how, at some far off, unknown period, those who, for some forgotten, inexplicable reason, might not be buried like Christians in their own churchyard, were spirited away by night in a "fairy-cart" to Shingay, there to be committed in peace to the ground. This "fairy-cart" is an echo of the word feretorium (or bier on wheels), in which the conveyance was actually effected.

Rood Screen, Guilden Morden Church.

Not a building of any kind now exists at Shingay, and very few at the adjoining Wendy, where, at every turn, we are greeted by a wealth of fresh-springing waters, derived from the artesian wells of the old coprolite diggings. The height in which the water in these wells rises is strangely variable. They are always made on the same system; an ordinary well being dug through the upper strata till the impervious gault is reached, which may be any distance from six to sixty feet below the surface. A four-inch bore is then made through the gault by means of a sort of Brobdingnagian cheese-taster, four or five feet long, screwed to an iron handle three times that length. Again and again the taster is brought up, full of gault, and its contents or "core" thrown aside. As the bore gets deeper more irons are added, till the water-bearing greensand or "rock" is attained, usually in the second hundred feet of the bore. The taster is then removed and a "chisel" substituted for "striking the rock," i.e., punching a hole by lifting the entire length of irons a few feet and letting it fall. By and by up comes the water, quite suddenly for the most part, gushing (p. 261) from the bore and filling the well till it finds its level. This, as we have said, is curiously different in different spots; in some it does not reach the surface, and has to be pumped up; in others, as here at Wendy, it will supply a fountain eight or ten feet in height. One of these picturesquely gushes out from the top of an old wooden gate-post, up which some artistically-minded coprolite-digger has engineered its course. It is almost (p. 262) medicinal in the quantity of iron with which it is impregnated, but delicious to drink, and the softest possible.

This gate-post is beside the lane leading on Guilden Morden, the last village before we once more reach Ashwell, and itself standing on an outlying mound of the Ashwell chalk. Round this elevation the Cam takes a wide sweep. We may record that Wendy is the highest point along its course which navigation has ever attained. The breadth at Ashwell at once suggests to visitors that a canoe could reach the spot, and many an attempt has been made by ambitious undergraduates. But the upper reaches are so choked up with reeds and weeds and rushes and bushes that no one has ever penetrated further than this spot, some four miles, by water-way, below the source.

Guilden Morden has a far-seen church, a conspicuous object from White Hill, over Barrington, twelve miles away. It is a fine building, with an unusually spacious tower of Northamptonshire stone, and a Saxon font. But it is chiefly interesting for the remarkable development of the fourteenth century rood-screen, which on either side expands into a small "parclose" or pew, enclosed to the height of twelve feet by rich decorated tracery, ornately painted (the original pattern having survived sufficiently to be restored). On the west panel of the northern parclose may be discerned the figures of St. Erconwald and St. Edmund, both members of the royal line of East Anglia. The former was a brother of St. Etheldreda, the foundress of Ely, and became a much-beloved Bishop of London in the seventh century. The latter was the hero king martyred by the Danes a century later, the chosen friend of our great Alfred, of whom so lovely a picture has been left us by the old chroniclers:—

"From his earliest years the truest of Christians, he showed himself of such promise that, by the unanimous will of all his folk, he was not so much chosen as rushed into the kingship over them. For his very look was worthy of this high estate; so bright was it with the calm beauty of holiness and of a conscience like the sea at rest. Kind was he of speech and courteous to all; the grace of Humility came natural to him; and amongst his comrades he kept his place as their Lord with wondrous meekness and no touch of pride. For already the Saint bare in his face that which he was afterwards, by God's will, to show forth; seeing that as a boy he had pressed with all his might into the Way of Righteousness, which, as God's pity foreknew, would end for him in the Way of Martyrdom.... And walking in the King's Highway, he turned aside neither (p. 263) to the right hand, by being puffed up with his own merits, nor to the left, by yielding to the faults of human weakness. To the needy was he a cheerful giver, to the widows and orphans the kindest of Patrons; ever keeping before his eyes the saying of the Wise Man: "Behold they have made thee Prince; but be thou among them as one of themselves."[180]

Cottage at Steeple Morden.

These parcloses seem to have been made to serve as confessional boxes, devices which were very rare in England before the Reformation. "Shrift," of course, was universal; but neither priest nor penitent were shut from view. The former sat in a chair, usually at the altar rail, while the latter knelt beside and facing him. In these parcloses the priest's head as he sat on the seat would be visible to those in the church, but the kneeling penitent would be hidden. That such was the purpose here (p. 264) would appear from the lines in old English lettering painted upon their sides:—

Ad . mortem . duram . Jhesu . de . me . cape . curam .
Vitam . venturam . post . mortem . redde . securam .
Fac . me . confessum . rogo . te . Deus . ante . recessum .
Et . post . decessum . cælo. mihi . dirige . gressum .

"Jesu, in Death's dark vale, be Thou my stay,
Make safe my Life to Come from every foe,
Grant me Confession, Lord, ere hence I go,
And then to Heaven do thou make straight my way."

From Guilden Morden a lane leads straight to Ashwell, leaving on the left Steeple Morden (which lost its steeple in the great storm of 1703), and Littlington, the cradle of Cambridgeshire Nonconformity, of which hereafter. Here the old parish Lock-up survives; a dismal den of red brick, some ten feet square, with iron-clenched door and closely-barred window.

(p. 265) CHAPTER XII

Oxford Road, Observatory, Neptune, Cambridge Discoveries.—Coton.—Madingley.—Hardwick.—Toft, St. Hubert.—Childerley, Charles I.—Knapwell.—Bourn.—Caxton—Eltisley, St. Pandiana, Storm.—St. Neot's, Neotus and Alfred.—Paxton Hill.—Godmanchester, Port Meadow.—Huntingdon, Cromwell's Penance.—The Hemingfords.—St. Ives.—Holywell.—Overcote.—Earith, the Bedford Rivers, "Parallax."

Due westwards from Cambridge, turning leftwards out of the Via Devana just beyond Magdalene College, runs what used to be the old coaching road to Oxford. Till quite recently the milestones along it gave the distance to that city, between which and Cambridge there was of old a good deal of traffic, for the Universities were more closely connected then than even now. Popularly this road was called the Ad eundem road, a nickname referring to the not so long by-gone privilege by which any graduate of either place might be admitted to the same degree (ad eundem gradum) in the sister University simply on payment of the fees and without any further examination. It is now spoken of as the Madingley Road, from the first village along its course, or the St. Neots Road, from the first town to which it leads. Thence it went on to Oxford by way of Bedford, Buckingham, and Bicester.

A short two miles along this road brings us to the porticoed front and white domes of the University Observatory, erected in 1822. More than a century earlier its embryo had been set up on the summit of the Great Gate Tower at Trinity College, for the benefit of Sir Isaac Newton; but this seems to have been little used after the death of that greatest of scientists. Even after the new Observatory was set up a certain lack of keenness pervaded its work. Thus it came about that (p. 266) Cambridge and England lost the glory of the discovery of Neptune, the most distant planet of our Solar System.

For more than a decade the irregularities in the motion of Uranus (itself not long discovered) had suggested to astronomers that there must be another planet exterior to it, when, in 1841, John Couch Adams, then only an undergraduate of St. John's College, set himself to grapple with the arduous task of finding by analytical computation the orbit and place of this supposititious body. So stupendous were the difficulties that when, after four years of concentrated effort, he submitted his results to the Astronomer Royal, begging that the planet might be looked for in a certain spot (where we now know that it actually was visible at the time), his suggestion received very incredulous acceptance. Was it likely that a mere youth should have solved this gigantic problem?

That very autumn of 1845 another young man, quite independently, devoted himself to the same quest, the brilliant French mathematician Leverrier. He, in the following summer, published the results he had so far attained. Adams had never published; but these new results so strikingly agreed with his that the Astronomer Royal's incredulity gave way, and he desired that search should be made with the great equatorial telescope, then newly erected at Cambridge through the generosity of the Duke of Northumberland.

His injunctions were carried out; but the lack of a trustworthy star map made the work long. And it was made longer by lack of promptitude. The minute celestial object (only equal to a star of the eighth magnitude) had been actually seen, but further observations were needed to establish the fact that it was indeed a planet moving amongst the stars around it. And these observations were delayed at the crucial point by the observers adjourning for a cup of tea! When they returned the sky had clouded over and no favourable night occurred for many evenings after. Meanwhile Leverrier had called in the aid of the Berlin Observatory; where there did exist a good star map, and also the eagerness so sadly lacking here at Cambridge. The very day his letter was received (23rd September, 1846), the great Berlin telescope was directed to the spot which he indicated,—and there was the planet.

The story goes that when the tidings of this overthrow (p. 267) of hope reached Cambridge, and were reported to the Fellows of Trinity as they sat at dinner in their Hall, it was as if a thunderbolt had fallen amongst them:

"And all talk died, as in a grove all song
Beneath the shadow of some bird of prey;
Then a long silence came upon the Hall,"

broken at last by Adam Sedgwick, the venerable Professor of Geology, who solemnly raised his clenched fist and brought it down upon the High Table, not with violence but with a concentrated tension of indignation, saying slowly, with an equal solemnity: "Confound their lymphatic souls."[181] As for the Observatory, the blow thoroughly roused it up; and ever since it has remained, both in material and moral equipment, amongst the foremost of the great Observatories of the world, where solid and useful work is continuously being done, while up-to-date instruments, methods, and records are never to seek. On one evening of each week during term time any member of the University may see the practical working of the place, and bring friends with him.

A mile further we reach the foot of the chalk slope which bounds the Cam valley. At this point lanes diverge to the right and left. The latter almost immediately brings us to Coton, a tiny village with a tiny, but most picturesque, fourteenth century church, having a (restored) Norman chancel, a pretty spire, and a yet prettier south doorway. There is, too, a massive rood screen, and a curious "palimpsest" Table of Commandments, the original sixteenth century lettering showing beneath repainted characters of the seventeenth century. Altogether the place is well worth the slight divergence needed to (p. 268) visit it, more especially as the lane between it and our road gives a view of Cambridge almost comparable to the prospect of

"That sweet City, with her dreaming spires"

which the Cumnor slopes (as Matthew Arnold sings) provide for Oxonians. Coton can also be reached from Cambridge by a delightful field path beneath overhanging oaks, which runs straight from Garret Hostel Bridge. Coton spire (as has been already mentioned) is the "objective" of the Trinity avenue, though the view has long been closed out by the growth of the branches.

The other lane, to the right, which leads to Madingley, is also worth traversing. From its hedgeless "switch-back" terraces we look northwards across the valley, not of the Cam but of the Ouse, bounded by the uplands of the island of Ely, ten miles away at the nearest point, and nearly twice as far where the ridge is crowned by the dim and distant towers of the cathedral. Conspicuous in the nearer distance is the red-brick mass of the Ladies' College at Girton, some three miles away from us. Madingley, to which half a mile or so of this prospect leads us, is a little place of steep pitches and tree-shaded lanes, very different from the usual Cambridgeshire village, but with a special charm of its own. It has a pretty little church nestling beneath a fine Elizabethan hall of red-brick. Both church and hall contain portions of the spoil of the church of St. Etheldreda, which once stood at Histon and was pulled down by Mr. Justice Hinde, the first builder of Madingley Hall, to whom the sacred edifice was given by Henry the Eighth. Its Norman font is now in Madingley Church, while part of its roof is still to be seen in the Hall.

At Madingley Hall King Edward the Seventh was quartered while an undergraduate of Trinity College. Tradition asserts that it once sheltered another monarch, the ill-fated Charles the First, in a momentary attempt to escape from the clutches of the rebel army during his enforced residence at the neighbouring Hall of Childerley, as will be narrated in connection with that place. The Hall has, since that date, passed from one family to another, and is now the seat of Colonel Harding, D.C.L.


Madingley is a centre of pretty lanes. Besides that already (p. 270) spoken of, another, an avenue of greenery, leads northwards to the Via Devana, another westwards to the village of Dry Drayton, and another up the hill southwards, to rejoin our St. Neots road on the summit of the ridge. Here we are 220 feet above the sea, overlooking the valley of the Ouse to the north and to the south that of the Cam, or, rather, of its tributary the Bourn Brook. The road keeps the highest ground, almost on the level, while a succession of lanes to the right and left lead down to the villages on either slope.

First comes a southward turn to Hardwick, the church of which is so conspicuous an object in the view from the roof of King's College Chapel. Here, in 1644, "Mr. Mapletoft, parson thereof, with a wife and seven children, had these articles exhibited against him, viz., that he refused to read anything from the Parliament, but read many things from the King at Oxford with great boldness; that he prayeth not for the Parliament nor hath found them any arms at all; that he is a man devoted to many superstitious ceremonies, and commonly useth altar-worship, east-worship, and dropping-worship,[182] and after his sermon came out of the pulpit into the chancel and there made an end of his will-worship." Whereupon, by the Earl of Manchester's warrant, he was promptly ejected and sequestrated. The previous year the church had been purified by Dowsing, who notes with disgust that for dealing with "ten superstitious pictures and a cross" he was here paid only 3s. 2d. instead of the 6s. 8d., which was his regular fee.

The great iconoclast has the same grievance in the adjoining village of Toft, where he got "only 6s. 8d." for a specially heavy "purification" of the church, involving the destruction of "twenty-seven superstitious pictures in the windows, ten others in stone, three inscriptions, Pray for the souls, divers Orate pro animabuses [sic] in the windows, and a bell Ora pro anima Sancta Katharina." The "pictures in stone" were doubtless the alabaster images of the reredos, fragments of which are still preserved in the church, exquisite in modelling and colour. The most noticeable is a headless figure of St. Hubert, the mighty hunter of legend, who was converted by meeting a white hart with golden horns (supposed to be an emblem of Christ), and received from St. Peter a key wherewith to cure hydrophobia. The key is here in his hand, with (p. 271) a dog beneath it, and the golden-horned hart couched by his side.

Just before we reach the seventh milestone from Cambridge another south-running lane diverges to Caldecote, with its retired little fane on the hill-side over the Bourn, a very oasis of devotional peace and quietude. Confronting it across the stream is the steeple of Kingston, where there is a fine fourteenth century fresco in the north aisle, and a delicious little niche in the western wall of the tower, outside.

Cottage at Toft.

At the point where this lane leaves the road, another, looking like a mere farm road, turns off northwards. This leads to Childerley Hall, now a farm house, but in 1647 of sufficient consequence to serve as a sleeping place for Royalty. Hither King Charles the First was brought by his captors, when carried off by Cornet Joyce from Holmby House in Northamptonshire, as has been already narrated.[183] He was not altogether an unwilling captive, for both he and the Army hoped to arrive at some mutual accommodation which would make both (p. 272) independent of that Parliamentary control of which both were heartily wearied.

He was treated, accordingly, with the utmost respect; and during his stay at Childerley Hall[184] (from Saturday, June 5, to Tuesday, June 8), the students of Cambridge "flocked apace" to pay their homage to him. "He is exceedingly cheerful," writes a contemporary scribe,[185] "shows himself to all, and commands that no scholler be debarred from kissing his hand, for which honour they return humble thanks and Vivat Rex; and there the Sophs are in their gowns and caps as if no further than Barnwell." Nay, even the great chiefs of the army, the men who at Marston and Naseby had faced and conquered him, Fairfax, Ireton, and Whalley, and Cromwell himself, came hither to join in this hand-kissing, and, one after another, to be astonished at the ability and graciousness which their distressed Sovereign showed in the private interview granted to each in turn.

But, if local tradition is to be trusted, beneath all this gallant show of gracious acquiescence in the inevitable, there lurked in the King's heart a deep conviction that the hope on which it was founded was forlorn indeed. For this tradition tells of a truly desperate dash for freedom, the success of which was all but impossible. It has been constantly handed down at Madingley Hall that on one of these June midnights a white figure knocked at the door, and a subdued voice asked for "Jack" (Sir John Cotton, a noted loyalist, whose seat the Hall was at that time). He came, and found this mysterious visitor none other than the King himself, disguised in a peasant's smock, and imploring concealment till he could escape from the country. By a secret stair, traces of which still exist, he was conducted to a hiding place in the roof. But it was too late; his flight had been discovered, and the pursuing troopers were already out in search of him. Madingley Hall would, of course, be amongst the very first places to be suspected of harbouring him, and the wild venture ended in despair. All was hushed up; for both he and his captors wished to keep up the fiction that he was with them willingly.

But they kept a tight grip upon him, and, when he left Childerley that Tuesday morning, would not allow him to ride (p. 273) on to his state prison at Newmarket through Cambridge (where the streets were being decked in his honour with "whole rose-bushes and strewn with rushes and herbs"), lest these demonstrations should kindle too ardent a flame of loyalty. He was accordingly carried round by way of Grantchester and Trumpington. Since that time Childerley Hall has been rebuilt, but the room in which the King slept is still to be seen. And hard by the Hall there still stands the unpretentious little red-brick chapel (now a barn) in which he worshipped on that memorable Sunday.

A mile further along the road, lanes again branch off north and south. The northern leads to the secluded hamlet of Knapwell, where a spring of ferruginous waters, held of old to be wonder-working, still justifies its ancient name of the Red Well. The southern brings us to Bourn, where the Bourn brook rises. On the slope above the stream stands the beautiful cruciform church, of late Norman and Early English architecture; the arches which open from the tower into the nave and the aisles being particularly noticeable. Bourn Hall is a fine Elizabethan mansion, the seat of J. Briscoe, Esq., and is the modern representative of a castle (the moat of which still exists) erected here by Picot, Sheriff of Cambridgeshire under William the Conqueror, and the scene of hard fighting in the Barons' War, when it belonged to the Peverells.

Eleven miles from Cambridge we cross the Ermine Street, a junction sufficiently important to have been selected by the wisdom of our ancestors as the site of a gibbet; the object being that as many as possible should see the gruesome spectacle of malefactors hanging in chains, and thus, if evilly disposed, take warning, or, if well disposed, be encouraged by this visible vindication of the Law's majesty. The gibbet has been gone for a century and more; but till quite lately the sign-post here directed the traveller simply TO LONDON and TO YORK on either hand, reminding us that this was the old North Road.

A mile along it, towards London, stands the little town of Caxton, from which the gibbet derived its name. A prosperous place in the old coaching days (as the size of its inns still testifies), it is now a mere village with 450 inhabitants. But it continues to boast itself a town. As the nearest point on the North Road to Cambridge, it was an important junction. The (p. 274) historian, Carter, writing in 1753, mentions that a mail was carried twice a week (on horseback) between Caxton and Cambridge; the only mail connection our University town then had, except with London and Bury St. Edmunds! We read also that, in the Jacobite rising of 1745, when it was seriously expected that the Stuart forces, after their wonderful success in reaching Derby, would march on to London, many Cambridge students, who cared little about the issue, secured windows at Caxton "to see the Scots pass by."

Sixty years before this another gleam of interest lights up the name of Caxton. In 1686 the Bishop, Francis Turner (one of the famous Seven prosecuted by James the Second and afterwards deprived by William the Third as a non-juror), made a strenuous effort to get Mattins and Evensong said daily, according to the Rubric, throughout his Diocese. The following characteristic letter addressed by him to the Vicar of Caxton was discovered in 1908 amongst the church muniments:

Sept. 11th, 1686.

Good Brother,

The good character I have received concerning you ... has given me a particular confidence in yr. care to putt the directions of my printed letter in practice. Yr. parish, if it be not so numerous as I suppos'd, yet lyes on the Great Northern Roade; it would be for our Churches Honor and for the consolation of well dispos'd travellers to find Daily Prayers in yr. Church. I press them all over the Diocese where it is practicable, but at Caxton I wd. have them by all means, tho' you begin with a congregation of but a widdow or two. Have them if you please at 6 or 7 in the morning if that will be best for passengers. My good friend you have been bredd in a camp to toyle and hardship. I know the putting my orders in execution, that is the making of so many careless people Christian indeed, will cost you a great deale of labour. But do not grudge it; you are sure of as great a Reward in Heaven; and in good time you may find your account by it here.... In the mean time do your Business with all your might, and sett into it presently, before the Visitation. By which you will more than a little oblige, Sir,

Yr. affect. friend and Brother,
Fran. Ely.

Mr. Say of Caxton.

P.S.—If you have no little Schoole in your town I shall wonder, and you ought to procure one. If there bee one, then you need not want a congregation for both morning and evening prayers.

After crossing the Ermine Street we come to Eltisley, where there is a pretty Village Green and a good village inn; and the (p. 275) church, though small, has some fine Early English work. It is dedicated to St. John the Baptist and St. Pandiana (or Pandionia), an obscure personage, said by Leland to have been a Scottish[186] princess, who found in this remote spot a refuge from the importunities of her suitors, and was here buried by the side of a spring still known as St. Pandiana's Well. Her nunnery perished after the Conquest, and in the fourteenth century her body was translated into the church, along with that of the yet more obscure St. Wendreda,[187] a purely Cambridgeshire saint, whose name is also connected with the church of March, and with a "well" near Newmarket.

The village is the scene of a dramatic tale found in Roger of Wendover, under the date 1234. A famine was raging, and the hungry poor invaded the ripening harvest-fields and devoured the crops, "for which they may scarce be blamed. Of the farmers, however, (who ever from their avarice, look upon the poor with an evil eye,) many were highly wroth at this pious theft. And they of Alboldesley hied them all on the next Sunday (July 16th) to the church, and with tumult required the priest to excommunicate upon the spot all who had thus plucked their wheat-ears. But one pious man alone adjured him in God's name to pronounce no such sentence for his crops; adding that he was right well content that the poor should take from him in their need, and that he commended to the Lord's care whatsoever was left.

"Now scarcely had the priest perforce begun the curse, than there suddenly arose such a storm of thunder, lightning, whirlwind, rain and hail, that the corn in the fields was torn from the ground as by a blast from hell; and all that grew therein, and the cattle, and the very birds, were destroyed, as though trodden down by carts and horses. But that just man found his land without trace of harm. And thus it is clear that as the angels sing Glory to God in the Highest, so on earth is there Peace toward men of Good-will.

"This storm began on the borders of Bedfordshire (at Eltisley), and passed eastwards through the Isle of Ely. And here is a wondrous thing. Such crops as still stood when it (p. 276) was over were found so rotted that neither horse nor ass, steer nor pig, goose nor hen, would eat thereof." A cyclone of precisely the same character devastated Essex on June 24, 1897, and was as capricious in its visitations.

At Eltisley we reach the termination of the long ridge which has kept us at an upland level all the way from Madingley, and our road now runs rapidly down into the valley of the Ouse. We reach that noble stream at the old-world, but thriving, town of St. Neots, where there is a fine old bridge and a magnificent church. The name of this place is locally pronounced not Neats, but Notes. This last is the correct form, for the name is derived from Neotus, the eldest brother and friend of King Alfred, whom that greatest of our monarchs recognised as the good genius of his life.

The original name of this notable personality was Athelstane. He was the eldest grandson of Egbert, the first "King of the English," and held, accordingly, the under-kingship of Kent, at that time the usual appanage of the heir-apparent. This dignity he resigned to enter Religion, at the Abbey of Glastonbury, under the name of Neotus. A special bond of affection united him with his youngest brother, Alfred, who, as an enthusiastic boy of seventeen, took this dearest of brothers as his spiritual guide and counsellor. When, five years later, the successive deaths of the intervening brethren brought him to the throne, we read that the inconsiderate zeal with which he suppressed abuses drew anxious warnings from St. Neot, who foresaw that this overweening course would surely bring disastrous consequences.

"But Alfred heeded not the reproof of the man of God, nor listed what he foretold. Wherefore (seeing that a man's sins must needs be some way punished, either in this world or in that which is to come), the Righteous Judge and True willed that he should not be unpunished here, that so he might be spared hereafter."[188]

The punishment was that sudden and disastrous Danish inroad which overwhelmed the whole of the kingdom, and drove Alfred himself into hiding at Athelney. While he was there St. Neot died at the neighbouring Glastonbury. We read there, ere his departure, the saint had promised that as he had been Alfred's spiritual guide in life, so should that spiritual (p. 277) guidance and wardship still abide with him. "Thy guide have I been ever; thee and thine will I lead on." "I will be thy captain, I will be thy champion; thou shalt be glad and rejoice in me." "Lo, I will go before thy banner; thine enemies shall perish at my presence." And when, a few weeks later, the King led on his forces to the crowning victory over the Danes at Ethandune, he was persuaded that this promise was being fulfilled. With the eye of ardent faith he beheld the blessed spirit of his brother leading on the Christian banners to the onset. "See ye not?" he exclaimed to his men, "See ye not? That is indeed Neotus, Christ's glorious servant, Christ's unconquered soldier; and through him is the victory even now given to our hands."

Thus it came about that St. Neot remained the object of unforgotten reverence, not only to Alfred himself, but to his heroic son and daughter. The former christened after this sainted uncle his own eldest son Athelstane, afterwards "Athelstane the Magnificent," the mighty King of the English and Emperor of Britain; and when the latter delivered Mercia from the yoke of the Danes, she called by his name one of the fortress towns, which she founded on the Ouse to keep them in check, St. Neots.

It is appropriate that one of the earliest and most spirited of the Chronicles that record the great deeds of Alfred should have been preserved for five centuries in the Church of St. Neots, and should still be known as the "Chronicle of St. Neots."[189] The north aisle of this church is known as the "Jesus Chapel," having been built by a local mediæval fraternity called "The Guild of Jesus." The sacred monogram IHC, is to be seen on the beams of the roof inside and on the buttresses outside.

One of the most delightful routes of the district is that by which we make our way along the Ouse from St. Neots to Ely, by way of Godmanchester, Huntingdon, and St. Ives. On leaving St. Neots the road climbs Paxton Hill, where its shady course overhangs a beautiful sweep of the broad stream 120 (p. 278) feet below. Thence it drops to the river at Paxton itself, where the church has some good Saxon features, and thence continues along the water to the twin villages of Offord Darcy and Offord Cluny, close together on the right bank, and so over another little eminence to strike the river again at Godmanchester.

The etymology of this name shows it to have been a Roman station, and Roman remains have been found here. It is commonly identified with the Durolipons of the Antonine Itinerary. Here the Via Devana, running straight from Cambridge, strikes the Ermine Street, and the final syllable of the Latin name suggests that the united roads crossed the river by a bridge before separating on their respective lines towards Chester and York. If so the bridge must have stood somewhere near the present one, which, however, was not built till the thirteenth century. Godmanchester is now a reposeful little town, with a uniquely picturesque view across the verdant expanse of Port Holme, the largest meadow, as it boasts itself, in the world, a wide, wide flat of breezy grass, across which, more than a mile away, rise the buildings of Huntingdon. In flood time, when this flat becomes a shining lake, the scene is striking indeed.

From the northern end of the town a long causeway, pierced with many arches to carry off these floods, leads across the fields to the bridge, with its high pitch, its recessed and pointed buttresses, and its old bridge-chapel (now used for secular purposes) on the central span. Immediately behind lies the town of Huntingdon, larger and more stirring than its elder sister Godmanchester. It owes its existence to the same cause as St. Neots, being one of the fortresses erected by the "Children of Alfred," Edward the Elder and his sister Ethelfleda, "the lady of the Mercians," to ensure their pacification of these parts when reconquered from the Danes. It is famous as the birthplace of Oliver Cromwell, the entry of whose baptism, in 1599, is still to be seen in the register of All Saints' Church. The same book contains a record of his having been put to public penance, at the age of twenty, for scandalous living. The register of St. John's (now united to All Saints') tells us that the body of the unhappy Mary Stuart rested in that church during its removal by her son, James the First, from Peterborough Cathedral to Westminster Abbey.

From Huntingdon our road, keeping close in touch with the (p. 279) river, takes us through the pretty villages of Hartford, Wyton, and Houghton, to St. Ives. A yet prettier way is to recross the stream at Houghton Lock and take a field-road across the meadows to the two Hemingfords, Hemingford Abbots and Hemingford Grey. The latter is famous as the birthplace of the Misses Gunning, who were the leading beauties of the Court in the early days of the reign of George the Third, and married into the highest families of the Peerage. Both churches stand on the very brink of the Ouse, about a mile apart, their graceful steeples, with that of Houghton to the north-east and that of St. Ives to the north-west, watching as guardian sentinels over the rich Ouse meadows between. All have spires, but that of Hemingford Grey lost its upper part by an equinoctial gale in the middle of the eighteenth century, and only the base now remains.

St. Ives is yet another of Edward the Elder's fortresses, and is probably named from the Cornish town similarly designated. It is possible that it may be even a colony from that far-off strand, which had never swerved in its allegiance, planted here to leaven the turbulent Danish elements around. Certain it is that here Ednoth, Abbot of Ely, erected a church dedicated to St. Ivo. Who this saint may have been originally is not known; probably he (or she) was one of the many obscure Celtic saints whose names dot the map of Cornwall. But there grew up in the eleventh century a wild legend that Ivo, a Persian (!) bishop, had settled down in the neighbourhood. In the fifteenth century a stone sarcophagus, found by a peasant when ploughing, was declared to contain the body of this holy Oriental, and was translated with due pomp to the neighbouring Abbey of Ramsey. St. Ives was specially connected with this House, and it was an Abbot of Ramsey who built the beautiful bridge, the ditto of that at Huntingdon, by which we here recross to the left bank of the Ouse.

Our next point, on leaving St. Ives, is the tiny village of Holywell, which we may reach either by road, through the hamlet of Needingworth, or (preferably) by a field-path running westwards from near the railway station. The little church here stands on a slope above the river, and in the churchyard the holy well is still to be seen. But the delight of the place is its strand along the Ouse, a rarely picturesque medley of old houses on one side of the road and on the other the broad (p. 280) clear stream, here crossed by a ferry. This road continues (as a mere field-path) to another delicious ferry a mile lower, with a charming little inn beside it, in a grove of lofty trees. This lovely spot is named Overcote. Here travellers may cross into Cambridgeshire and make their way along the "Hundred Foot" embankment (so called because it is thirty yards in width) along the river to Earith. For motors the way lies through Needingworth, and past the pretty little Church of Bluntisham, with its three-sided apse and its churchyard yews.

Earith is a hamlet of Bluntisham, but a much larger place, owing its importance to its situation on the point where the great works connected with the drainage of the fens have their beginning by the diversion of the Ouse waters from their ancient bed into the two "Bedford Rivers," the Old and the New, which from this point run straight as a die (like the supposed "canals" in Mars) across the fen to Denvers Sluice, twenty-two miles away. The former was made in 1630, the latter in 1650, at the expense of what we should now call a company, promoted by the Earl of Bedford. No such cuts exist elsewhere in the world. Along them a clear horizon is to be obtained, and here, accordingly, was conducted, some forty years ago, a decisive experiment for proving the sphericity of the earth.

At that time a deluded gentleman, who called himself "Parallax," was obsessed with the notion that the globe was a flat disc, and used to go lecturing with great vigour on the subject. After these lectures he invited questions, none of which were able to shake his belief. When asked, for example, "Why does the hull of a ship disappear below the horizon while the masts remain visible?" he would answer, "Because the lowest stratum of air is the densest, and, therefore, soonest conceals objects seen through it." In view of the present Polar exploration, it may interest our readers to know that one of his points was the absolute non-existence of the South Pole. "Explorers say they cannot get near it, because of an icy barrier. Of course. That barrier is the raised rim of our world plate, and they can but sail round and round inside it." Finally he showed his wholehearted belief in his absurd views by laying a heavy wager that no one would disprove them. The stakes were deposited in the hands of judges, and the trial, under agreed conditions, took place upon the New River. (p. 281) Three boats were moored three miles apart, each provided with a cross-tree of equal height. If the earth was spherical the central cross would appear above the other to an observer looking through a telescope levelled from the cross-tree of the boat at either end; if it was flat he would see both the other cross-trees as one. "Parallax" declared that he did so (!), but the judges decided against him, and the poor man lost his money.


Island of Ely.—Haddenham.—Aldreth, Conqueror's Causeway, Belsars Hill.—Wilburton.—Sutton.—Wentworth.—Via Devana.—Girton, College.—Oakington, Holdsworth.—Elsworth.—Conington, Ancient Bells.—Long Stanton, Queen Elizabeth.—Willingham, Stone Chamber.—Over, Gurgoyles.—Swavesey, Finials.—Ely Road.—Chesterton.—Fen Ditton.—Milton, Altar Rails.—Horningsea.—Bait's Bite, Start of Race.—Clayhithe.—Waterbeach.—Car Dyke.—Denny.—Stretham.—Upware.—Wicken Fen.

From the bridge over the Ouse by the Earith sluice we see the sea-board (for that and nothing less is the word which its appearance irresistibly suggests) of the Island of Ely, rising before us, with a couple of miles of level fen between. We may reach it, if we will, by the main road, which leads eastward to Haddenham, the southernmost of the island villages. Haddenham stands on a projecting peninsula of high ground, the highest in the island, rising to nearly 150 feet, almost cut off from the rest by two inlets of fen (Grunty Fen on the north-east and North Fen on the north-west), and nearer than any other part to the mainland on the south. This quasi-insulation has left a curious mark on the Ecclesiastical map of Cambridgeshire. Throughout the whole Isle of Ely—the old Fenland Archipelago—the Bishop acts as his own Archdeacon. An Archdeacon of Ely there is; but his jurisdiction is confined to Cambridgeshire proper, Cambridgeshire south of the Isle. It extends, however, over Haddenham and the neighbouring village of Wilburton, the two parishes in this peninsula.

Haddenham has a fine Decorated church; the tower showing the first development of that style from Early English (1275), and the transepts its transition into Perpendicular (1375). The fifteenth century font is richly panelled, with roses and (p. 283) shields supported by lions and angels. This church was founded by Owen, the "Over-alderman" who governed the Island of Ely under St. Etheldreda, the Foundress of the Cathedral, and Queen of the Isle as the childless widow of its last native ruler, King Tonbert.[190] Owen's name is interesting as testifying to the Celtic survival in the fenland, already spoken of.[191] The broken cross bearing his name, now in the south aisle of Ely Cathedral, was originally set up at Haddenham; and, after being for ages an object of veneration, was, at the Reformation, mutilated and degraded into a horsing-block. At length the revived decency of the eighteenth century removed it to Ely.

The village of Haddenham lies chiefly along the road running southward to the hamlet of Aldreth, on the very verge of the Island. The nearest point of the low-lying mainland is only half a mile away; the "Old River" of the Ouse (now, since the construction of the Bedford Rivers, become quite a scanty watercourse) flowing between. This was the point selected by William the Conqueror for the famous Causeway, whereby, after being once and again baffled by the valour of Hereward, he ultimately succeeded in forcing his way into the Island.[192] For centuries afterwards this continued to be the chief entrance from the Cambridge district, till superseded by the present road viâ Stretham. A small barrow at the southern end of this causeway, which is now a mere field-track, still bears the name of Belsar's Hill, after the knight who, in this campaign, acted as the Conqueror's Commander-in-Chief.

Wilburton, a mile to the east, was given to Ely by St. Ethelwold, Bishop of Winchester, the prelate who aided in King Edgar's restoration of the Monastery of Ely, after its destruction by the Danes, in 870, had laid it waste for upwards of a century. The church has some fine woodwork in stalls, screen, and roof, adorned on the spandrills and bosses with the three cocks of Bishop Alcock, the founder of Jesus College. While Archdeacon of Ely he here entertained Henry the Eighth, when, as Prince of Wales, he accompanied his father on the last Royal Pilgrimage ever made to the shrine of St. Etheldreda at Ely, which he himself was so soon to despoil and destroy. A good brass (now affixed to the wall) commemorates Alcock's (p. 284) predecessor in the archidiaconate, Richard Bole (1477). And yet another Archdeacon, Wetheringset, is also here buried. Some curious metal-work hangs from the roof, and on the north wall of the nave are ancient frescoes, representing not only St. Christopher, the usual subject, but the much less known St. Blaise and St. Leodegar. The former was Bishop of Sebaste, and was martyred in 316 A.D. He became the patron saint of wool-combers, and was specially venerated in Leeds and Bradford. The latter was Bishop of Autun in Gaul, during the seventh century. There is here a fine old red-brick manor-house, called the Burgh-stead (or Bury-stead), built in 1600 by a London alderman to whom Queen Elizabeth sold the Manor,—after filching it from the Bishop of Ely, according to her usual practice.


The whole peninsula is specially rich in memorials of long past ages. In the peat of the old Ouse channel by Wilburton was found a great hoard of bronze weapons, lying in a promiscuous heap, "in such a manner as to suggest that a canoe with a cargo of bronze scrap had been upset there," as (p. 285) Professor and Mrs. Hughes picturesquely put it, in their "Geography of Cambridgeshire." Grunty Fen has produced a bronze sickle, and two splendid ornaments of twisted gold; while, a mile east of Wilburton, a British urn was discovered, associated with the bones of the urus, or gigantic wild ox of the Neolithic Age. And between Earith and Wilburton there has been dug out gold ring-money.

The Burystead, Wilburton.

But a yet more striking approach to the Island of Ely may be made by taking at Earith the road through the toll-gate which leads northward immediately alongside the great embankment of the New River, and lies some few feet below the level of its waters. For three miles this association continues; then (p. 286) road and river part company, and the former drives straight across the fen to climb the western shore of the island. The change of scenery when you reach that shore is striking in its suddenness. You have been travelling for miles through the bare, treeless, dead level of the fen, with its immense width of view; then, almost in a moment, you find yourself ascending a steepish hill through a tree-shaded hedge-bordered cutting which might be in Kent or even Devonshire.

At the top of this brow you look down on the fen behind you and on either hand, your southern horizon being bounded by the near uplands of Haddenham, with the flat bay of North Fen between. And very shortly you come to the undulating village street of Sutton, with its highest point crowned by the truly glorious church. This church is all in one style, Decorated, on the verge of developing into Perpendicular, having been built by Barnet, Bishop of Ely 1366 to 1373. The splendid tower is crowned by an octagonal steeple, and that again by a second, richly pinnacled, and is a landmark for many miles along the valleys of the Ouse and Cam.

From Sutton we reach Ely by way of Wentworth and Witchford. The former name is supposed to be a corruption of Owensworth, and to commemorate that the place was of old the property of St. Owen. The little church has a Saxon porch, with twisted pillars, and contains a remarkable carving of the same date, representing an ecclesiastic wearing the pall of a Primate. His left hand supports an open book, while in his right he holds, not a cross or pastoral staff, but something more suggestive of an aspersory for holy water. The corbel in Ely Cathedral depicting the burial of St. Etheldreda shows us a figure similarly equipped.

In looking southward from Sutton Church, three steeples are specially conspicuous in the Ouse valley. They are those of Over, Swavesey, and Willingham. All are churches of the first class, and all are best reached from Cambridge by way of the Via Devana, which, after crossing the "Great Bridge" and climbing the ascent past the Castle, continues its straight course to the north-west under the designation of the Huntingdon Road. Just as it leaves the town a branch-road on the right leads to the village of Histon, which the jam factories of (p. 288) Messrs. Chivers have made one of the most flourishing in the county. The church here has some good Early English work, and a remarkable "Rood" (much defaced) on the gable of the S. transept. This is an almost unique example of the early "Majestas" type of crucifix (p. 339). Christ, with outspread arms, wears, not the Crown of Thorns, but the Old English "king-helm," and is fully robed. About 1200 this ideal type gave place to the later "realistic" crucifix.

Sutton Church.

A mile beyond the last houses of Cambridge the Via Devana comes to the huge red-brick mass of Girton College, which has been already spoken of.[193] Its spacious grounds and never-ending corridors impress the mind with admiration for the enthusiasm and energy which has thus materialised Tennyson's vision of University education for women. At this point another northward turn takes us to Girton Church, where there are good brasses to two successive fifteenth century parsons. In their day the living belonged to Ramsey Abbey, by the gift of Eric, Bishop of Dorchester (1016). We next come to Oakington, the Mecca of Cambridgeshire Free Churchmen. For here, in the quiet little Nonconformist Cemetery, rest, side by side, the three men to whom the chief sects of the county trace their spiritual ancestry—Francis Holcroft, Joseph Oddy, and Henry Oasland.

The first named was a Fellow of Clare College where he had for his "chum" (i.e. chamber-mate, as we find the word used in "Pickwick") Tillotson, the future Archbishop of Canterbury. He began his ministerial career by taking on himself to supply the place of a brother collegian, the Puritan minister in charge of Littlington, near Royston, who, most un-Puritanically, was often incapacitated by drink from performing his duties. Later, in 1655, when still only twenty-two, he himself became pastor of the adjoining parish of Bassingbourn. When the "Black Bartholomew" of 1662 deprived him of this charge under the Act of Uniformity, he preached, at the risk of fine and imprisonment, throughout the neighbourhood, binding together his adherents in a loosely-knit organisation, whose members were admitted on subscribing the following Profession of Faith:

"We do in the presence of the Lord Jesus, the awful crowned King of Sion, and in the presence of his holy angels and people and all besides here (p. 289) present, solemnly give up ourselves to the Lord and to one another, by the will of God, solemnly promising and engaging in the aforesaid presence to walk with the Lord and with one another in the observation of all Gospel ordinances, and the discharge of all relative duties in this church of God and elsewhere, as the Lord shall enlighten us and enable us."[194]

His efforts were vigorously seconded by Oddy and Oasland, whose consciences, like his own, would not permit them to use the Anglican Prayer Book; and the units of this embryo Church, who were often spoken of at the time as "Mr. Holcroft's disciples," became widely spread throughout the county. Already, before the end of 1662, they had regular meetings at Barrington, Eversden, Waterbeach, and Guyhirn, as well as Cambridge; and when, ten years later, they became licensed by the King's Proclamation of Indulgence, we find the number increased fourfold. So far Nonconformity had been the only bond between these scattered bands of worshippers; but they now began to differentiate themselves into Baptist, Independent, and Presbyterian Congregations, though the lines were not as yet sharply drawn, and, indeed, are not even now sharply drawn in the country villages, where a man is "Church" or "Chapel," caring little what may be the precise denomination of his chapel. The strength of the Dissenting spirit thus implanted at Oakington may be measured by that of the language employed by the zealous Archdeacon of Ely, who, in 1685, declares this to be "the most scandalous parish and the worst in the diocese. The people most vile. A Fanatic Schoolmaster."

From Oakington the lane leads on to Long Stanton, where the two churches of St. Michael and All Saints are both noteworthy. The former is a simple Early English building with a thatched roof (till lately made of reeds from the fen, a far more durable material than straw, but now unobtainable), a rich double piscina, and an oak chest dating from the twelfth century. The latter, at the other end of the "long" village street, is a Decorated cruciform structure, the south transept having become the mortuary chapel of the Hatton family, who bought the lordship of the manor from Queen Elizabeth.

That rapacious monarch, her father's worthy daughter in ecclesiastical spoliation, had seized upon it amongst the surrenders which she exacted from Bishop Cox, the first Protestant (p. 290) to be Bishop of Ely. On his accession she confiscated a full half of his episcopal property, and was constantly insisting on further denudations, including Ely House, Holborn. On this final act of despotism goading him into remonstrance, she is reported (in Strype's History of the Reformation) to have made the well-known reply, "Proud priest! I made you. And I will unmake you. Obey my pleasure, or I will forthwith unfrock you." Only his speedy death (in 1581) prevented her from actually carrying out this threat. After it she kept the whole property of the See in her own hands for no less than nineteen years, when she handed it over to Bishop Heton, shorn of yet another moiety, which included the Manor of Longstanton with its ancient episcopal palace.

This palace had a further connection with Elizabeth; for in it she was entertained by Bishop Cox after that visit to Cambridge in 1564, when her erudition so thrilled the University.[195] And it was here that she was disgusted by the blasphemous entertainment got up for her benefit by the Protestant undergraduates, in which a performing dog danced with a consecrated Host in his mouth. King's College Chapel was the scene originally intended for this outrage; but the graver academic programme there lasted so long that the Queen could not stay for the afterpiece. The disappointed students begged leave to follow her and give an evening performance at Long Stanton. Mutual disgust was the result. As soon as Elizabeth understood what was going on she indignantly swept from the room, ordering every light to be instantly extinguished, leaving the wretched boys to grope for their properties and get back to Cambridge as best they could.

All Saints' Church, Long Stanton.

Following the road to Long Stanton station (six and a half miles), we there cross the G. E. R. (St. Ives Branch) and proceed, along a somewhat dreary stretch, to Willingham (nine miles), where an exceptionally fine church (All Saints) rewards our toil. After lingering in neglect and decay for years beyond the neighbouring churches, it has now become an ideal example of judicious restoration, very different from the drastic process too often known by that name. Every ancient feature and development has been preserved, including the beautiful (p. 291) roof,[196] with its elaborate carving, its tiers of angels and its double hammer beams, the fine parclose screens, and the Perpendicular pulpit. Beneath the clerestory may be seen traces of no fewer than four successive layers of frescoes, which, from the twelfth to the seventeenth century, each in turn adorned the walls. But the most striking feature of the church is the small Decorated "treasury" adjoining the north wall of the chancel. It is wholly of stone, even to the roof with its richly wrought (p. 292) "beams"; an almost unique example of this method of treatment. Dowsing here destroyed, on 16 March, 1643, "forty superstitious pictures, a crucifix, and two superstitious inscriptions, also two pictures of the Holy Ghost and one of the Virgin Mary in brass."

From Willingham a field road will take us, if desired, to Belsar's Hill,[197] which, besides its historical associations, is rich in the pretty crystals of selenite or gypsum. And though, as has been said, the track is now all but disused, it is still possible to follow the Conqueror's causeway to the Ouse and get ferried over to Aldreth.

The next turn on the Via Devana is the southward lane to Madingley, already described. Southward also lie Lolworth, Boxworth and Elsworth. The last has an exceptionally fine church, Decorated throughout, and displaying the almost unique feature of small lockers for books in the fourteenth century stalls. Conington, near the road on the same side, has a stone-ribbed spire containing three mediæval bells—a rare survival. They bear the following inscriptions:

Over, South Porch.

Northward we find the magnificent churches of Swavesey and Over already mentioned. The former is one of the noblest in Cambridgeshire. The nave is Perpendicular, but the large windows in the south aisle are really Early English lancets, the Perpendicular tracery being inserted—a most unusual development. The finials of the fourteenth century benches are to be noticed, especially in the north aisle, where they take the form of grotesque animals. The small size of these seats suggests that they were meant for children. The little ones would be (p. 294) charmed with these delightful finials, representing a fox and a goose, a fox and a stork, a bear and a dog, a wolf and a hound, an eagle and a snake, a wild boar, a lion, a pelican, a cherub, St. Peter, and an angel playing upon a dulcimer.


At Over every feature of the church is noteworthy. It is entirely built of Barnack stone, richly ornamented externally with running ball-flower patterns. The southern porch is beautifully proportioned, and the gargoyles extraordinary specimens of birds and beasts, apparently under the same inspiration as the Swavesey finials. Over the west door is a sculpture (almost weathered out of knowledge) of Our Lady in Glory, a very rare subject; also the arms of Ramsey Abbey, to which the benefice was presented by Ednoth, Bishop of Dorchester, who lies buried in Bishop West's chapel at Ely.[198] The tracery in general is Decorated, but the spire rises from an Early English tower, and the chancel is also Early English, with inserted Perpendicular windows. The Sanctus Bell[199] still hangs over the eastern gable of the nave. The interior woodwork (p. 295) is of the best, the roof is Decorated, and there is an exceptionally good sixteenth century pulpit. The arcading above the windows of the south aisle, with its banded Early English shafts, is another beautiful feature here. On some of the churchyard tombstones wall-rue may be found growing, a rare sight in this neighbourhood. From Over a lane leads on, crossing the Hundred Foot Bank to Overcote, that fascinating Ferry Inn upon the Ouse whose charms have already been dwelt upon.

Formerly, as we have said, the regular road from Cambridge to Ely was by way of the Causeway at Aldreth. But this roundabout route of over twenty miles compared unfavourably with the shorter line taken by the Cam, which was accordingly the favourite for such as could afford boat-hire. In the eighteenth century regular packet-boats ran daily between the two places, drawn by horses. To-day the only passengers on the river are pleasure-seekers, and the ordinary way to Ely from Cambridge is by the road supposed to represent the hypothetical Akeman Street of Roman days.[200] This road turns northwards round Magdalene College, and runs through the suburb of New Chesterton. Old Chesterton stands on the river, east of the road, and has a finely-proportioned steeple, with particularly melodious bells, and a slender spire. At this point is the winning-post of the College boat races.[201] On the opposite bank, a mile lower down the stream, is Fen Ditton, the "Ditch End" where the Fleam Dyke strikes the river.[202] Ditton Corner, just beneath the parish church, is the favourite spot for seeing these races, as it commands a view of two long reaches, and is also (as a bend in the stream must needs be) a highly probable spot for bumps.

Leaving these to the right, we reach Milton, whence the poet's family name is said to be derived, and where the church has seventeenth century altar rails, a very rare possession. Just opposite, with a ferry between, is Horningsea, where there is another good church. Between this and Fen Ditton is an ancient building, now used for farm purposes, which the Ordnance Map marks as "Biggin Abbey." An abbey, however, it never was, being only one (and the smallest) of the (p. 296) many scattered mansions of the Abbot and Bishop of Ely. On the stream beside it is Baitsbite Lock, the starting-point of the boat races. Here along the towing path may be seen the posts, set at regular intervals on the brink of the stream, to which each boat is moored by the "starting cord" held in the coxswain's[203] hand. He must not let it go till the gun is fired. Thrilling moments pass while he counts aloud the last seconds—"five ... four ... three ... two ... one," and the muscles of the crew grow ever tenser, till, at the signal, he flings the cord into the water, and every oar strains its utmost in the first stroke.


The next lock is Clayhithe, two miles further down the river, with an inn beside it in special favour for Cambridge boating pic-nics. Here, too, is the lowest bridge over the Cam, indeed the only one below Cambridge. It belongs to a private company, and is rigorously tolled. A pretty shady lane leads to it from Horningsea. Hard by, on the left bank, are the villages of Waterbeach and Landbeach. They are respectively (p. 297) four and twelve furlongs from the stream, and mark successive boundaries of the fenland waters. Between them runs an ancient earthwork, the Car Dyke (probably of Roman date), which of old kept those waters in flood time from drowning (p. 298) the meadows to the south. Starting from the Cam at Clayhithe it runs along the whole western limit of the fenland. It reaches the Ouse near the large village of Cottenham (where the east window of the fourteenth century church is copied from one in Prior Crauden's Chapel at Ely) with over 2,000 inhabitants, and goes on past the tiny and picturesque Rampton, with under 200, to Willingham and Earith, Ramsey and Peterborough, Deeping and Sleaford; finally ending its long course on the banks of the far off Witham, hard by Lincoln.

Swavesey Church.

For a mile or so our "Akeman Street" follows the course of the Car Dyke, and then strikes northward across the fen, along a causeway of its own, passing near the remains of Denny Abbey, a small foundation which passed through unusual vicissitudes. Originally a Benedictine House, it was transferred in the twelfth century to the Templars, and in 1290, passed from them to the Minor Sisters of the Franciscan order. Marie de Valence, the foundress of Pembroke College, was a noted benefactress to Denny, and in her statutes solemnly enjoined on the scholars of the former institution "kindness" towards the recluses of the latter. The abbey is now a farm, but there are more remains of the monastic buildings here than almost anywhere else in the county. Much of the church is built into the farm house, and the refectory is in use as a barn. Many old walls and dykes may be traced, while a large entrenchment to the south is known as "Soldiers' Hill." This name may be due to the Templars.

Two miles further we cross the old bed of the Ouse (containing now only such scanty waters as the Bedford rivers have left to it) at Elford, and enter the Isle of Ely. The ramp of the Island, however, lies two miles further on yet. We climb it by the village street of Stretham, where the ancient Town Cross still exists, an interesting and rare feature. It stands hard by the church, which contains various ancient tombstones, one to Nicholas de Ryngestone, rector under Edward the First, and a late fifteenth century brass to Dame Joan Rippingham, mother of two other rectors. A later rector was ejected in 1644 "for having made new steps to the altar, himself bowing twice as he went up, and as often while he came down." The church was an ancient possession of Ely, but was reft from the See by Elizabeth. Stretham lies at (p. 299) the extreme end of the little peninsular ridge on which Wilburton and Haddenham stand.[204] Beyond it we sink to the enclosed inlet of Grunty Fen, passing the hamlet of Little Thetford, and rise again to the higher ground where the towers of Ely greet our eyes, a little over a mile away.

Cottage at Rampton.

After leaving Waterbeach our road has diverged widely from (p. 300) the Cam. Those who have followed the river course, either by boat or by the towing-path, will be rewarded by finding themselves, in course of time, at Upware, the tiniest and most sequestered of hamlets, where the wide Fens spread all around, bare, treeless, houseless, open to the sweep of every breeze, and giving the same delicious sense of space as a sea view. The whole atmosphere breathes remoteness, the very inn calls itself "Five Miles from Anywhere." But, though wide, the view is not like a sea view, boundless. The Island of Ely limits it to the north-west, and to the south-east the nearer uplands of East Anglia. For here is the nearest point on the Cam to Reach, the little hamlet once so important an emporium, where the Devil's Dyke runs down to the Fen.[205] To Upware, accordingly, there was cut through the sedge and peat, at some time beyond memory, the long straight waterway of Reach Lode, whereby even sea-going ships were able to discharge their cargoes on Reach Hithe. At a later date, but as early as the twelfth century, Burwell Lode was led to the same outlet. Those to Swaffham and Bottisham come in somewhat higher up the river.

Dovecote at Rampton.

A mile to the east of Upware we can see how mighty a task those men of old undertook who cut these lodes through the primæval jungle. For here is that Wicken Fen, which we have (p. 301) already spoken of,[206] where a square mile of that jungle is preserved in its primæval condition, and where (in all but the old bird life) the fauna and flora of the old Fenland may still be studied in their old environment; where the peat is still spongy under your foot, and the tall crests of the reeds rise high above your head. To dig out masses of that spongy peat, to cut through miles of those tall reeds would be no light business even with our own modern means of excavation. What must it have been to the rude implements of the ancients?

The Quay, Ely.

Some two miles beyond Upware the Cam falls into the Ouse, and the united stream sweeps past Thetford and round the corner of the island to Ely, where the Cutter Inn (near the railway station) makes a good landing-place.

(p. 302) CHAPTER XIV

Ely.—Island and Isle.—St. Augustine.—St. Etheldreda, Life, Death, Burial, St. Audrey's Fair.—Danish Sack of Ely.—Alfred's College.—Abbey restored.—Brithnoth, Song of Maldon.—Battle of Assandun.—Canute at Ely.—Edward the Confessor.—Alfred the Etheling.—Camp of Refuge, Hereward, Norman Conquest, Tabula Eliensis, Nomenclature, Norman Minster.—Bishops of Ely, Rule over Isle.—Ely Place, Ely House.

The tourist through Cambridgeshire should now turn his attention to Ely, a place second only in interest, if indeed second, to Cambridge itself. The central point of note in Ely is the Cathedral; known to us ever since our schooldays through Macaulay's picture-giving pen, which sets it before us as "Ely's stately fane." We hope soon to learn something of the history of this great church, of her growth, of her decay, of her restoration, of those men and women who have made her what she is, of the tumults and storms she has over-lived. Truly we may say, with Stirling the poet that the Minster at Ely

"Still ship-like on for ages fares,
And holds its course, so smooth so true,
For all the madness of the crew;
It must have better rule than theirs."

Before we actually visit the place itself let us make ourselves familiar with the outline of its chequered history.

The city of Ely has a population approaching 8,000, and stands on the western edge of the Island of Ely, once truly an island, being an area of dry land rising from the midst of the fens, and, till their drainage, accessible only by boat or causeway. This Island, a true bit of natural terra firma, measures about eight miles by six, and lies at the southern end of a much (p. 303) more extensive fenland archipelago, of irregular shape, measuring approximately thirty miles by twenty, known from of old as the Isle of Ely. The waters of the Fen, which, so lately as a century ago, made this wide area an archipelago indeed, have now given place to a "boundless plain" of fertile corn-land, so rich in harvests as to be often called "The Golden Plain of England."

A twelfth century chronicler, the writer of the "Liber Eliensis," asserts that, within the first years of the seventh century A.D., Ethelbert, King of Kent, newly converted to Christianity, founded a monastery at Cratendune, about a mile south of Ely, and that Saint Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury, consecrated it. But we cannot say that the authentic history of Ely begins till seventy years later, when we see an Anglo-Saxon lady founding a monastery on this rising ground in the midst of the Fens. The lady is Etheldreda, once Queen of Northumbria; her monastery is known to us as Ely. She is the daughter of Anna, King of East Anglia, who had reigned at Exning, almost within sight of Ely.

King Anna was a devout man, who himself died a hero's death, fighting for the Cross and for his country against the overwhelming onset of Penda, the heathen King of Mercia, who made it the object of his life to stamp out English Christianity. But, though Anna fell, his cause triumphed. Penda shortly died, and his work perished with him. Not so Anna's. After his death the tide of Christian progress ran the stronger; and all over England it was through members of his family that it was specially championed.

Married to the King of Northumbria, his daughter Queen Etheldreda had renounced her husband and her northern kingdom, and had returned to her native Fenland, there to found a monastery for both monks and nuns. In taking this step she had been influenced by two persons of note; by St. Hilda, her aunt, the foundress and first Abbess of Whitby, and by St. Wilfrid, Bishop of York. Hilda had in early life gained a firm hold on the heart of her niece, who had become fired with the wish to follow her example and herself to found a monastery. In spite of this resolve, of which she made no secret, she had been forced (while strongly protesting) into a nominal marriage with Egfrid, the youthful King of Northumbria. After twelve years of unhappy life, she had been (p. 304) induced by St. Wilfrid to quit her husband; from St. Wilfrid's hand she had received the veil, before him she had taken the vows that bound her to a monastic life. It is a strange, unnatural tale, that cannot claim our approval; but there it is, and its truth is not questioned.

Queen Etheldreda, accompanied by certain attendants had then fled southward, with her deeply wronged husband in chase. She had been sheltered on one occasion from his pursuit by a tide of unprecedented height, which protected her on a rocky hiding-place while the King passed by, all unaware that he was close to her. At length she had reached her own fenland country; and here, still following Hilda's example, she set herself to build a monastery, choosing the highest ground available. She was a well dowered lady, for her first husband, Tonbert, was a Prince of the Girvii, a Celtic tribe descended from those refugee Britons who had sought safety in the fens when all else was conquered by the English invaders two centuries earlier. This prince had bequeathed to his childless widow all his wide fenland domains; so Etheldreda had no need to seek further for an endowment for her monastery; while her brother Adwulf, now King of East Anglia, defrayed the cost of the new buildings. These ere long became the home of both monks and nuns, who lived in separate houses and met only for their common worship in the Abbey church. No Abbot was appointed, but Etheldreda herself was their Abbess, ruling both sexes alike.

It is probable that from its foundation the monastery at Ely was under the influence of the rule of St. Benedict, for St. Wilfrid during Etheldreda's life-time was a frequent resident there, and he was in close touch with St. Botolph, that most influential, though half legendary saint, who, from his hermitage at Ickenhoe in Suffolk, was introducing throughout East Anglia the rule of the monks of St. Benedict, those great preservers of civilisation, which, but for them, must in many lands have perished, when the strong hand of the Roman Empire lost its grip.

The North Triforium of the Nave, Ely.

Little is recorded of Etheldreda's life as abbess; and, after a rule of seven years, she died at the age of forty-nine, in the year 679, her death being due to an epidemic then prevalent, combined with a tumour in the neck. The death-bed scene is sculptured on one of the corbels of the Octagon Towers at Ely, (p. 306) where the more picturesque events of her life are quaintly set before us in stone. The saintly lady died after much suffering, which the ministrations of her devoted physician Cynifrid failed to allay; though he did for her all that the surgery of those days allowed. She bore her sickness with composure of mind, and when she knew that the end was at hand, she (as others have done before and since) summoned her whole household to her chamber to take her last farewell of them all. She told them that the time of her departure was at hand; she spoke to them of the vanity of this world's enjoyments, and recommended them to keep Heaven always in view, whereby they might in some measure have a foretaste of its joys. After this she received the Communion in both kinds from the hands of Huna, a priest devoted to her service; then, while praying for the inhabitants of the monastery, she passed from earth. It may be of interest to remember that throughout the seven years of her rule at Ely, Theodore, the great organiser of the Anglican Church, "the first Archbishop whom the whole Church of England obeyed," filled the See of Canterbury.

It was Etheldreda's wish to be buried with all simplicity in the cemetery set apart for the nuns of Ely; so we are glad to learn that this her last desire was respected by her followers, and that she was laid to rest among the nuns in a wooden coffin. Her elder sister, St. Sexburga, widow of the King of Kent, took her place as Abbess, and ruled at Ely till another generation was arising. After sixteen years had gone by, those who still remembered and loved Etheldreda wished that her body should be with them at their devotions in the church, and they resolved to translate her remains from the cemetery to the Abbey.

No common coffin was held to be a fitting casket for those precious relics; but in a waste place named Armeswerke,[207] fifteen miles up the River Cam (which may be identified as now forming part of the Fellows' garden at Magdalene College, Cambridge, between the terrace and the river), there was found (p. 307) a marble sarcophagus of Roman workmanship.[208] This was brought to Ely; and with careful and simple ceremony the body of the first Abbess was lifted from the wooden and laid in the marble coffin, all being carried out under the superintendence of Sexburga. On beholding the uncorrupted body of the dear sister who had died in so much pain, Sexburga was heard to exclaim, "Glory to the name of the Lord most high!" All the look of suffering had gone, and the Saint appeared as if asleep on her bed. Gently removed from the wooden to the stone coffin, the body was carried into the Abbey Church, and placed behind the high altar; and for eight centuries the shrine of St. Etheldreda was visited by troops of pilgrims, who came from far and near to worship, to leave their offerings, and to seek healing from disease and infirmity. Sexburga was followed as Abbess by her sister, Ermenilda, Queen of Mercia. Thus Ely had three sister queens as her first three Abbesses; and hence perhaps the three crowns that still form the arms of the Bishopric.

St. Etheldreda was long remembered with affection, and was commonly spoken of as St. Audrey. The popular Pilgrims' Fair held at Ely was known at St. Audrey's Fair; and the cheap fairings bought and sold there (especially the coloured necklets of fine silk known as "St. Audrey's chains") were called, from her name, "tawdry"; and thus a new word was coined for us with a strange story of its own, a word hardly worthy of the great Abbess of the Fenland to whom it owes its origin. Centuries later, St. Audrey's Fair, held in October, had grown to be one of the most important in the land, lasting for a fortnight. By the year 1248 it had become such a centre of merchandise as to interfere with the traffic of the Fair which Henry the Third had lately established at Westminster in honour of St. Edward the Confessor; the King therefore issued a warrant interdicting the fair at Ely. This suspension meant serious loss to the Bishop, Hugh de Northwold, "who made a heavy complaint to the King concerning the matter, (p. 308) but he gained from him nothing except words of soothing promises of future consolation," says the chronicler.

For two hundred years after the death of the foundress, the abbey of monks and nuns went on with its pious works and ways. Then, in 870, appeared the Danes, still pagans; and after working their way through Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, where they "wasted with fire and sword all that ever they came to, they brake down all the abbeys of the fens; nor did Ely, so famous of old, escape." Having laid waste Peterborough, then known as Medhampsted, they came across the fens to Ely. The abbey and all the buildings pertaining to it were burnt; the monks and nuns put to the sword. Before setting fire to the buildings the Danes had secured for themselves all they contained of value, and great was the store, for the people of the neighbourhood had brought their goods into the monastery as to a place of safety. All was seized by the invaders, and what they could not carry away they destroyed. Thus Etheldreda's Abbey, after lasting 200 years, was left a deserted ruin; but her coffin of stone escaped without injury. One of the depredators, indeed, is said to have made an attempt to break into it, with the result that his eyes started from his head, and then and there he died, as the chronicler relates. The ancient sarcophagus had proved worthy of its trust.

The hour was one of direst need; for all England lay spent and gasping beneath the bloodstained feet of the heathen pirates. But, with the need, there arose the deliverer. In 871, the year after the sack of Ely, Alfred the Great, "England's darling," succeeded to the kingship of the exhausted realm; and the life and death struggle entered on its last and most desperate phase. For one moment even he seemed to go under, and was driven to an outlaw life in the marshes of Athelney; the next, we see him shattering the invaders by his miraculous victory of Ethandune, and, with incomparable state-craft, negotiating that Peace of Wedmore, whereby the Danes had to acknowledge him as their Overlord.

As such, he shortly established a College of Priests at Ely. Eight of the clerics who had witnessed the sack of the monastery came back to their old home, and rebuilt a part of the church that it might serve again as a place of worship. These priests were not monks, and are said to have had wives (p. 309) and children. They lived in poverty; for all the endowments of the Abbey had been seized by Burgraed, the last King of Mercia. But gradually, as the children of Alfred won back the kingdom, the endowment of Ely began afresh. Here a fishery, and there a wood, and again a mill with adjoining pastures, was bestowed on the little College—a term which still clings to the Cathedral precincts of Ely, called to this day the College, not the Close as in most Cathedral cities.

With the accession, in 958, of the great Edgar, the first English King to be Emperor of all Britain, the monarch who, nearly a thousand years ago, gained for himself, as but one of our kings has done since, the title of "Peacemaker," brighter days dawned. Then, as now, the Catholic Church might have been well called "Cette éternelle recommenceuse," able to rise from her ashes with life renewed. From the havoc wrought by the Danes, the Abbey of Ely, as a Benedictine House, arose once more, rebuilt, refounded, and re-endowed by King Edgar, who restored to it by Royal Charter all that Etheldreda had originally bestowed; adding thereto several demesnes and sundry privileges. The re-constitution of the Abbey was carried out under the guidance of Ethelwold, Bishop of Winchester.

The monks were thus restored; but the nuns of Ely have disappeared from view. As for those secular priests who were in possession and had maintained the sacred character of the spot for well-nigh a hundred years, ever since its devastation by the Danes, they were allowed to stay on if they submitted to the Benedictine Rule, otherwise they were dismissed.

In the year 970, on the Feast of the Purification, a day that we shall again find eventful in the annals of Ely, the new and restored monastic buildings were consecrated by Dunstan, who now, as Archbishop of Canterbury, filled the highest office in the Church of the land. The chronicler, Roger of Wendover, tells us how, by Dunstan's counsel, King Edgar "everywhere restrained the rashness of the wicked, cherished the just and modest, restored and enriched the desolate churches of God, gathered multitudes of monks and nuns to praise and glorify the Great Creator, and built more than forty monasteries." This shews us that, the events taking place at Ely were in no sense isolated, but were part of a great revival going on throughout the whole country.

In the year 991 the restored Abbey becomes connected with (p. 310) one of the most stirring poems of the English language, the "Song of Maldon." The Danish invasions, which had been checked for a century by the glorious line of monarchs who inherited King Alfred's blood and energy, were beginning again. One of these pirate hordes had landed in East Anglia, now no longer a separate principality but merely a district of the United Kingdom of England, governed by an "Alderman" named Brithnoth. Ethelred, surnamed the Unready, was on the throne—a King who for his lack of good judgment well deserved this contemptuous sobriquet—and his want of energy and capacity threw on to the shoulders of his subordinates the burden of the defence of his realm.

Brithnoth rose to the emergency, as a true Christian hero. At the head of his retainers he hurried to meet the foe, calling out the local levies to join his march. At Ely, as he hastened past, he, with his men, was royally entertained. The day before, when he was passing Ramsey Abbey, the Abbot had offered him hospitality, but only for himself and half a dozen picked friends. This niggardly invitation drew from Brithnoth a scornful answer: "Tell my Lord Abbot," he replied, "that I cannot fight without my men, neither will I feed without them." At Ely meat and drink were placed before leader and followers without distinction, and well were the monks rewarded, for Brithnoth requited their hospitality by the gift of no fewer than nine manors, all lying near Cambridge—Trumpington, Fulbourn, and others—stipulating only that, if slain in battle, his body should be brought back to their church for burial.

At Maldon in Essex on the River Panta (or Blackwater, as it is now called), he met the Danes, who began by sending a herald demanding a ransom, to be fixed by themselves, as the price of peace:

"Then back with our booty
To ship will we get us,
Fare forth on the flood,
And pass you in peace."

This degrading offer Brithnoth contemptuously refuses:

"For ransom we give you
Full freely our weapons,
Spear-edge and sword-edge
Of old renown."

(p. 312) The Danes at once make their way across the river and attack the English levies:

"Then drave from each hand
Full starkly the spear,
Showered the sharp arrows,
Busy were bows,
Shield met shaft,
Bitter the battle."

In the end the pirates are driven back to their ships, but at the cost of Brithnoth's own life. He is pierced by a spear, and sinks dying to the ground; to the last exhorting his soldiers to fight on, and commending his own soul to God in the following beautiful and touching lines:

"To Thee give I thanks,
Thou Lord of all living,
For all good hap
In this life here.
Sore need I now,
O Maker mild,
That Thou should'st grant
My spirit grace;
That my soul to Thee
May depart in peace,
And flee to Thy keeping,
Thou King of Angels.
To Thee do I pray
That the Gates of Hell
Prevail not against me."

West Aisle of the North Transept, Ely.

The Danes carried off Brithnoth's head; but his body was rescued; and, according to his wish, the monks came and brought it back to Ely, where the Abbot buried it, replacing the missing head by one of wax. During the eighteenth century the skeleton was met with in the course of some excavations and recognised as Brithnoth's by the absence of the skull. It now lies in Bishop West's beautiful chapel, along with the bones of other Anglo-Saxon worthies.

The Lady Elfleda, Brithnoth's widow, added largely to the benefactions he had bestowed on Ely; she gave the Abbey valuable lands within easy reach of the monastery, and she moreover presented to the church a golden chain, and a curtain worked with the most notable deeds of her husband's life. Those who have seen the Bayeux tapestry, representing (p. 313) the events of the life of William the Conqueror, can picture to themselves what Lady Elfleda's curtain may have been a century earlier.

In the next generation (1016) a body of the monks of Ely accompanied another hero to battle against the Danes. The hero of this generation was Ethelred's son, King Edmund Ironside; the battle was the great fight of Assandun, a place impossible to locate with certainty, but not improbably situated on the south-east border of Cambridgeshire. During the last twenty-five years the Danes had become more and more daring, and now, under their great king, Canute, the mightiest of all Scandinavian monarchs, they were attempting nothing less than the organised conquest of England. Thus Canute and Edmund were face to face in a desperate struggle, and, after five indecisive battles in a single year, Edmund was defeated, on St. Luke's Day, at Assandun, and his defeat was shortly followed by his death. Canute then assumed the crown, by right of conquest, a right which he proclaimed by calling himself not, like his predecessors, "King of the English," but "King of England."

He proved, however, not at all a bad king. He had been brought up a Christian, and he took the Church under his protection. He bore no malice against the monks of Ely for their support of Edmund Ironside, but, on the contrary, treated the Abbey with marked favour, and gave her rich endowments. More than once he visited Ely, and we all know the lines of the cheery old ballad which relates how Canute in his barge was rowing near the island. It runs thus:

"Merrily sang they, the monks at Ely,
When Cnut the King he rowed thereby;
Row to the shore, men, said the King,
And let us hear these monks to sing."

This was in the summer-time,[209] when the waters were open; but not seldom Canute made his visits in the depth of winter, when, on the Feast of the Purification, the Abbot of Ely each year entered on his Chancellorship of the realm, an office which he shared in turn with the Abbots of Canterbury and Glastonbury, each holding this office for four months at a time. The legend may well be true, which tells how, on one of these (p. 314) mid-winter visits, Canute reached Ely (from Soham)[210] in a sledge, preceded by the heaviest man that could be found (characteristically nick-named "Pudding"), who skated ahead of the King to ensure the ice would bear. On another occasion Canute was accompanied by his wife Queen Emma, and she, in token of her regard for the Abbey, left behind, as her gift, splendid hangings for the church, and for the shrine of the foundress. An altar frontal of green and red and gold, and a shrine cover of purple cloth, bedecked with gold and jewels, are described as being of exceptional beauty and value, "such as there was none like to them in richness throughout all the realm."

This was not Emma's first connection with Ely. While she was yet the second wife of Ethelred the Unready (after whose death she married the victorious Canute), her younger son, Edward, afterwards King Edward the Confessor, had here been presented in infancy at the altar, and had been in childhood a pupil of the choir school, where his special proficiency in learning psalms and hymns gave promise of his future saintliness. The Ely choir school was, at this time, probably the most noted educational institution in England, and was under the direction of the Precentor, who had general charge over all the literary work of the house, such as the reproducing of books, etc. That this precocious scholar, who left Ely at nine years old, ultimately came to the throne, while Alfred, his elder brother, did not, is due to one of the most ghastly tragedies of English history.

After the death of Canute in 1035, it became a question whether this same Alfred, "the Etheling" (i.e. Prince), Emma's eldest son by Ethelred, now a man of over thirty, or Harthacnut, her only son by Canute, a boy of sixteen, or one Harold, who, though not an Etheling, claimed to be Canute's eldest son, should be chosen King of England. Harold, in spite of grave doubts as to his paternity, "had all the cry"; and when Alfred, "the innocent Etheling," made an attempt to protect his widowed mother against the new King's oppression, he was sent as a prisoner by ship to Ely. Before being landed his eyes were put out, in a manner so brutal that he shortly died of the shock, to find a grave in the Abbey church under its western tower. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicler records this crime in a (p. 315) pathetic ballad, denouncing it as even beyond the horrors of the Danish wars:

"Nor was drearier deed
Done in this land,
Since Danes first came."

That no blame need be attached to the monks of Ely for this atrocity is indicated by the fact that, when Alfred's brother, Edward the Confessor, came to the throne, he confirmed all their ancient charters, granting lands and privileges to the Abbey, and himself became a benefactor to the place of his education.

With the Norman invasion, Ely again becomes a centre of war. Led by Christian the Bishop, and Osbiorn the Earl, a force of Danish adventurers had appeared in the Humber, professing to be the allies of the English in their struggle with the Normans. Their real object was to place their own King Sweyn, the nephew of Canute, on the throne of England, and, if foiled in this purpose, at least to enrich themselves with England's plunder. After partaking in scenes of devastation in Yorkshire, they sailed southward till they reached Ely, where they took up their quarters. Here the fenland folk forgathered with them, for the Norman was a more thoroughgoing oppressor than any Dane; and, in especial, the "strenuous" outlaw Hereward "the Wake" joined them "with his gang."

To show their zeal against the French—and to indulge their lust of plunder—they set off, by water, to Peterborough, where the Abbey had been recently conferred on a Norman ruffian named Thorold. To save this good old English foundation from such degrading occupancy, Hereward, as their guide, led them on, first to sack and then to burn it to the ground. The Danes, having got their booty, promptly sailed away, while Hereward returned to Ely, there to make his memorable stand against William and the Normans. Fiction may have embroidered the tale of his prowess; but there remains a foundation of truth, even after the superstructure of romance has been removed. At Ely were now gathered together to him a mixed company of fugitives; misfortune, according to her repute, making strange bed-fellows.

When William had conquered at Hastings, England, as a whole, was at first disposed to accept the verdict of battle, and (p. 316) to acknowledge his claim to the throne, as it had acknowledged Canute's. But when the necessities of his position, as the captain of an invading army, forced him to confiscate every estate in England (except the Church lands), and to bestow it on some Norman adventurer; when every single Englishman in high office, Sheriff and Alderman, Bishop and Abbot, was turned out to make room for a Frenchman,[211] the whole nation glowed with outraged patriotism, and Ely seemed likely to become a second Athelney, whence the spark of resistance to the tyrant might spread like wildfire throughout the length and breadth of the land.

And had there been a second Alfred this might well have actually come to pass. As it was, many of the magnates who could not brook submission retired to the "Camp of Refuge," as the Island of Ely now got to be called. This fastness, being surrounded on all sides by deep fens "as by a strong wall," promised them a sure retreat, and for a while enabled them to baffle all the efforts even of the mighty Conqueror to subdue them. Thither came Archbishop Stigand (deposed by the Conqueror to make way for the great Lanfranc); thither came the Abbot of St. Albans, thither came the valiant Ethelnoth, Bishop of Durham; thither came Morcar, the last Earl of Northumbria, "with many a hundred more," both clergy and laity. Here they received shelter and hospitality from Thurstan, the last of the English Abbots of Ely.

By the general voice Hereward was chosen as their captain, and fortified the island against the Conqueror. William, on hearing of this, hastened to Cambridge with his whole army, and invested the place (so far as it was possible to invest it) both by land and water, building a castle at Wisbech on the north, and at Reach on the south. At Aldreth, where scarcely a mile of fen parted the Island from the mainland at Willingham, he made a floating bridge of trees and faggots, fastened underneath with cow-hides; but when his men attempted to cross it, the unsteady structure capsized, and that portion of the army engaged in the attempt was drowned.

Perplexed and almost daunted, William, with his court and army, retired for a time to Brandon in Suffolk; while the refugees at Ely spent stirring days. The knights and churchmen were hospitably entertained in the refectory of the abbey, (p. 317) every man with his shield and lance hanging near him, to be ready in case of sudden alarm. Their days were diversified by raids into the surrounding country beyond the fens, to snatch what provisions they could for their fastness; and these raids of the islanders were so dreaded throughout the district, that its inhabitants were thankful for the protection of William's soldiery.

Hereward, according to the legend, hearing that another attack was imminent, followed the example of Alfred the Great by betaking himself in disguise to Brandon to learn the King's designs. He found that William, by a judicious mixture of severity and conciliation, had won over a certain number of the outlying fen-folk, and had imposed upon them the task of conveying a great store of wood and faggots for him to Aldreth, with which to construct there a causeway once more. Hereupon Hereward, still in his disguise, feigned that he was himself one of these traitors to England, and eager above all the others to help the Conqueror against the marauding thieves of the Camp of Refuge. It was he who was foremost in collecting faggots for the wood-pile at Aldreth, and then, when all was gathered, who was it but Hereward that set it on fire so that all was lost? And once more, when the besiegers were making a third attempt to gain the island, under the auspices of a reputed witch whom the pious William deigned to employ for the sustaining of his men's sunken courage, it was Hereward who fired the reed-beds through which the foe was advancing, so that the whole column, witch and all, were involved in one common destruction.

Finally William, finding that he could not reduce the island by force, resolved to bring it under by political pressure, and threatened to grant to his supporters all the Abbey lands within his power. On hearing this the Abbot and monks resolved to surrender, and they sent secret messengers to William, who was at Warwick, offering to submit to him on condition that he would spare the possessions of the Abbey. To this the King consented; and during Hereward's absence from Ely on a foraging expedition, he landed without resistance on the fen-girt island. Hereward on his return found that all was lost, and himself barely escaped with a few followers, to live on as outlaws in the greenwood for a few desperate years, till at length he, too, "came in," and was granted "the King's peace."

(p. 318) On William's unopposed success through their connivance the monks fondly imagined that they had something to expect from his gratitude, and were preparing a formal welcome and act of submission when it should please him to visit the abbey church in thanksgiving for his victory. William, however, had other designs, and paid his visit without notice, at an hour when he knew that the brethren would be in the refectory at dinner. He stood alone before the High Altar, and casting upon it a single mark of gold, equivalent to about £150, quietly departed.

Meanwhile the hapless monks were startled from their meal by the abrupt entrance of a Norman knight, Gilbert de Clare, with whom they had made interest, and who now rushed in shouting to them: "Ye wretched drivellers! Can ye choose no better time for guzzling than this when the King is here, yea, in your very church?" Instantly every monk sprang to his feet, and the whole community made a rush for the church. But it was too late. William was already well on his way out of Ely, and the unhappy monks had to run three miles before they caught up to him at Witchford. There they did at last succeed in impetrating his pardon, but he laid upon them a fine of no less than 700 marks of silver,[212] to meet which almost all the ornaments of the church had to be melted down. The ingots were minted into coin in the abbey itself; but the moneyers employed proved fraudulent, and the royal officers at Cambridge, to whom the cash was paid, reported it deficient in weight. This gave William an excuse for laying on a further fine of 300 marks, so that altogether no less than the equivalent of £20,000 was wrung by him out of the Brotherhood.

Yet the monks were not mistaken in thus casting in their lot with the Normans, for though William imposed these heavy fines upon them, though he heaped vexatious indignities upon them, though he inflicted shocking mutilations on their adherents (not on themselves, for he was careful to spare the monks in this respect), though he compelled them to maintain a foreign garrison of forty French knights at their very doors, yet in spite of all this the Abbey, with its seventy (p. 319) monks, prospered under his iron rule. The strange condition of the house at this juncture is vividly recorded for us by a picture, still preserved in the Bishop's palace at Ely and known as the "Tabula Eliensis."

This "tabula" is a painting of no artistic merit, dating probably from the reign of Henry the Seventh, but copied from an older one which has perished. It is divided into forty squares, and in each of these appears a knight and a monk, the names of both being given fully and distinctly. The knight is helmeted and holds his drawn sword in his right hand, while between him and his neighbour, the cowled monk, hangs his shield emblazoned with his arms. All indicate how the knights and monks, when thus forced to dwell in close contact, became friendly together as time went by.

Several of the monks bear names which show us that the ancient British stock of the Girvians still survived in the neighbouring fenlands. Among them we find, Donald, Evan, Cedd, Nigel, Duff, David, Constantine: names familiar to us in connection with Highland, Welsh, or Cornish literature. Strange as it seems to include such names as David and Constantine in this list, we have history, legend and geography to justify our counting them as in use among the later Britons. And it may be noted that, until the twelfth century at least, a man's name is an almost certain guide to his nationality, as (to some extent) it is to this day. After that, the old English nomenclature, both male and female, was almost wholly supplanted by that of the Normans; the only native names to survive being those of special heroes and saints, such as Alfred, Edward, Edmund, Edgar, Ethel, Audrey and Hilda.

The nave and transepts of Ely Minster erected during the century that followed, still stand to show us to what splendid purpose Norman architects could design and Norman workmen could build. For here, as elsewhere throughout England, one of the first and most striking results of the Conquest was such an outburst of church building as the country had never yet known. Edgar's church, though barely a century old, was condemned as hopelessly out of date. Something on a much grander scale was now felt needful. The new Church was founded, in 1083, by the aged Abbot Simeon, an act of great courage and faith in a man so old. He it was who began to build the north and south transepts. He also laid the foundation (p. 320) of the central tower and of an apsidal choir. Both tower and choir have fallen and been replaced, but the transepts stand to this day.

As soon as the choir was ready for it, the body of the first Abbess was brought from the Anglo-Saxon church close by, built under Edgar the Peacemaker, where it had rested for 130 years, and was placed in the new Norman choir behind the high altar. At her feet was laid her sister Sexburga, who had succeeded her as Abbess, and, on either side, the sister and niece who had, each in turn, followed after her as rulers of the house. The earlier church was then pulled down. All this did not take place till 1106, and long before then Simeon, like his namesake a thousand years before, had sung his "Nunc dimittis," leaving his work to be carried on by the devoted and energetic Richard, the last of the non-episcopal Abbots of Ely.

For an event of even greater moment than the building of the church took place about this time. Early in the twelfth century, in order to quell some dispute that had arisen as to the authority of the Bishop of Lincoln over the Abbot of Ely, the Pope had consented, at the request of King Henry the First and Archbishop Anselm, that the Abbot of Ely should become a Bishop, with the Isle of Ely and the County of Cambridge as his See.[213] More than 700 years went by before any change was made in the extent of the diocese thus created; for it was not till 1837 that the counties of Huntingdon and Bedford and the western half of Suffolk were added to it.

We owe to the creation of this Bishopric the very existence of Ely Minster as it now stands; had it remained merely an abbey, instead of being also a cathedral, it would have perished at the Reformation, along with the yet greater church at Bury St. Edmund's not far away, and with many another sister abbey throughout the land. At Ely, too, we should see before us ruined arches open to the sky, beautiful indeed and pathetic, but no longer a centre of worship. To this day the Bishop of Ely sits in his cathedral not as Bishop but as Abbot; not at the south-eastern but at the south-western end of the choir stalls, while the Dean occupies the seat once (p. 321) belonging to the Prior at the north-western end. Richard, as we have said, was the last of the Abbots of Ely who were Abbots and nothing else. Hervey, appointed in 1109, was the first Bishop-Abbot. He had already been Bishop of Bangor, whence he had been driven by a Welsh revolt.

This may be the place to say something of the abnormal civil position held by the Bishops of Ely till recent times. Etheldreda, the foundress of the Abbey, reigned, as the widow of her first husband, Tonbert, over the whole Isle of Ely, and exercised therein the full Royal rights of secular jurisdiction. These rights passed on to the Abbesses who succeeded her, and then in turn to the Abbots who followed; they were confirmed by the Charter of Edgar in 970, and again by Edward the Confessor, and when the abbots became bishops they still continued to exercise this jurisdiction. Each succeeding Prelate enjoyed rights throughout the Isle somewhat resembling those of the Prince Bishops of the continent.

This went on until Henry the Eighth fell upon the Church, and took away not only many of the Episcopal demesnes but also many of the Episcopal privileges (if indeed they may be so termed). Such rights as the King spared survived for 300 years longer. The Bishop of Ely still possessed a jurisdiction of considerable importance and dignity, holding almost sovereign authority within his "Franchise," which was styled "the Royal Franchise or Liberty of the Bishops of Ely." He himself appointed his own Judges to hear all cases within the Isle of Ely; Assize and Quarter Sessions were held in his name and at his pleasure; his chief bailiff acted as High Sheriff, and he nominated the magistrates. It was the Bishop's Peace, and not the King's Peace, against which malefactors throughout the Isle were held to offend. This went on till 1836, when on the death of Bishop Spark, these last remnants of Etheldreda's jurisdiction as Queen-Abbess ceased by Act of Parliament.

But to this day there live on some far-off echoes of the Girvian principality. The Isle of Ely, with its three Rural Deaneries and forty-six benefices, is ecclesiastically under the immediate jurisdiction of the Bishop; no Archdeacon holds any authority there, as in other parts of the diocese, except in the parishes of Haddenham and Wilburton. True, we have (p. 322) an Archdeacon of Ely, but he ought rather to be designated Archdeacon of Cambridgeshire, for, with the exceptions named, beyond the limits of the county proper he is powerless. The Isle, moreover, has its own County Council quite distinct from that of Cambridgeshire, while the common High Sheriff of both divisions is nominated from each in turn.

And in the very heart of London, close to Holborn Circus, traces of this civil jurisdiction still survive in Ely Place, where stands, abutting on houses of the most commonplace type, the beautiful chapel dedicated to St. Etheldreda, built at the close of the thirteenth century, and once attached to the town palace of the Bishops of Ely. Ely Place was a "Liberty," and, within the memory of those still living, the Royal writs did not run here, and no police-officer or sheriff could follow a debtor who had here taken sanctuary; it was, moreover, rated on a basis peculiar to itself. The "Liberty" is still governed by certain Commissioners, elected annually by the householders. It has its own day and night watchmen, with their gold-laced hats, who fulfil the function of policemen, and the silence of the night is, even in this twentieth century, broken by their call, hour by hour, as of yore. We all remember how Shakespeare makes Richard the Third say to the Bishop of Ely,

"My lord of Ely, when I was last in Holborn
I saw good strawberries in your garden there,"

and the reference to these lines in the "Ingoldsby Legends" is hardly less familiar. Palace, strawberries, garden are no more; the property once held in this region by the See of Ely has passed by purchase into other hands, but the chapel is still here, well tended, the same House of Prayer, after many vicissitudes, that it was 600 years ago; the din of modern city life being there shut out by walls eight feet thick.

There exists in London one more very different relic of the old demesne of the Bishops of Ely. On the frontage of a great house in Dover Street, now occupied by the Albemarle Club, with massive stone facings without and marble halls within, there may be seen, over the second storey, a mitre carved in stone, shewing that once it was the abode of the Bishops of Ely; for after their old Palace in Holborn was sold, (p. 323) this "Ely House," built about 1775, took its place, to be sold in turn early in the twentieth century with a view to forming a nucleus toward the endowment of a new bishopric, when the proposed subdivision of the present diocese can be carried out. Times have changed; and the Bishop of Ely is now free from the burdensome luxury of an official residence in London.

(p. 324) CHAPTER XV

Bishop Northwold.—Presbytery Dedicated.—Barons at Ely.—Fall of Tower, Alan of Walsingham, Octagon.—Queen Philippa.—Lady Chapel, John of Wisbech, Bishop Goodrich.—Bishop Alcock.—Bishop West.—Styles of Architecture.—Monastic Industries.—Mediæval Account Books.—Clothing and Food of Monks.—Benedictine Rule.—Dissolution of Abbey.—Bishop Thirlby.—Bishop Wren.—Bishop Gunning.—Bishop Turner.

The fact that Ely had been made a Bishop's See did not prevent her from remaining a monastery, the home of busy monks, living in refinement and cleanliness according to the Benedictine Rule. Year by year they beautified their Abbey Church; the western tower rose stage by stage till it became, as it still continues to be, a landmark for the surrounding plain. During the episcopate of Eustace, lasting from 1198 till 1215, the western porch, known as the Galilee, came into being.

The year of his death was disastrous for Ely. It was then raided by a horde of foreign mercenaries, hired by King John to support him against the Barons; they robbed the Minster of its treasures, and only on receiving a heavy ransom were they dissuaded from burning it. "When the Barons" (who were in London, at that time their headquarters) "heard these things," writes the chronicler, Roger of Wendover, "they looked one upon the other and said, 'the Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.'"

Later in the same century a Choir, or Presbytery, of exquisite design and workmanship, in the Early English style, was thrown out eastward by Hugh de Northwold, Bishop of Ely from 1229 till 1254. We have heard already of this prelate, and we must now do more than mention his name. It was he who had been chosen to take the "toilsome and perilous" journey to Provence, thence to bring back Eleanor as bride for Henry the Third, (p. 325) and that weakling monarch turned to him on other occasions, when in need of a trusty servant.

We read that the Presbytery of Ely Minster was built at the sole expense of Hugh, Bishop of that place, a special observer of all that was honourable and good. His hospitality knew no bounds. At the dedication of his presbytery and other works in the Minster, the King himself, with his eldest son, Prince Edward, a boy of thirteen, was present; innumerable prelates and nobles came to Ely, and after a due observance of spiritual festivities (which included the rededication of the whole church to St. Peter, St. Mary, and St. Etheldreda), were regally entertained by the Bishop in the leaden-roofed palace he had lately built; yet he lamented the small number of the assembled guests, declaring that the entertainment was in great measure shorn of its dimensions. He, however, "rejoiced in spirit that by God's favour he had been allowed to wait for that day, in which he had seen the happy consummation of all his designs."

This dedication took place in 1252. "Two years later the good bishop died at his manor at Downham, and his body was carried with much reverence to Ely, where it was buried in a magnificent Presbytery which he had founded and built." Such is the witness of Matthew Paris, a contemporary chronicler. We may mention that the income of the See of Ely was at this time equivalent to £30,000 a year.

Many years had gone by since the festivities thus described for us, when Henry and his son again appeared before Ely under very different circumstances. The Barons who had fought against the King, in their struggle to secure constitutional liberty, had met with a crushing defeat at Evesham (1265), where their heroic leader Simon de Montfort had been slain. Their lands had been virtually, though not nominally, confiscated, and for this reason they called themselves "the Disinherited," and gloried in the name. They refused to accept defeat, and made the Island of Ely their headquarters. In vain did the Bishop, Hugh de Balsham (the founder of Peterhouse), endeavour to prevent this occupancy of his domains; his efforts were fruitless, and only brought upon him the reproaches of the King and many others, who attributed his misfortunes to his incapacity. The insurgent Barons refused to quit the Island, and lived on there, supporting themselves by raid and (p. 326) pillage, as Hereward and his comrades had done of old. We are told that they entered Cambridge, and carried off abundance of booty; and that they seized on the persons of Jews and other rich citizens residing there, and took them back to the island as prisoners, to be set at liberty only on the payment of a heavy ransom.

The inhabitants of Lynn, then as now the chief seaport of the Fenland, found these marauding Barons such objectionable neighbours, that they resolved on an expedition against them. A number of citizens, mostly of the lower orders, manned a fleet of boats and went up the river toward Ely. Forewarned of their coming, the insurgent Barons met them drawn up on the bank, with a great array of standards and banners; then, feigning terror at the approach of the enemy, they fled inland; whereupon the men of Lynn, unversed in war and its strategy, landed intent on pursuit. Suddenly they found themselves surrounded by the foe; in vain were their efforts to regain their boats; many were slain by the dauntless Barons, others were made prisoners, while the few who escaped were received with derision on their return to Lynn.

The Bishop and the burghers of Lynn had failed alike to overcome the Disinherited; the Papal Legate now tried what he could do, as the state of affairs in the Fenland was growing desperate. He sent messengers admonishing the insurgents "to return to their Faith and to obedience to the Roman Curia, and to unity with Holy Mother Church; and to cease from robbery and to make reparation." To this, from their fastness, the Disinherited reply, "that they hold the same Faith as other Catholic men; that they believe and keep the articles of the Creed, that they believe in the Gospels, and in the Sacraments of the Church as the Church Catholic believeth, that they are ready to live and die for this Faith. They avow further that they do indeed owe obedience to the Church of Rome as the Head of all Christendom, but not to the avarice and greed of those who ought to govern it better."

Ely: The Presbytery.

They urge that they had been unjustly disinherited by order of the Legate, and that he ought to make amends to them; that he had been sent to England to make peace, but that by adhering to the King he kept up the war: that the Pope had ordered that no one should be disinherited, but that the King had demanded a ransom equivalent to disinheritance; that (p. 328) their first oath had been for the benefit of the kingdom and the whole Church; that they were still ready to die for it. They asserted, moreover, that many of the partisans of the King and Prince Edward had committed robberies, feigning that they belonged to the Disinherited; they insisted that their own lands must be restored to them, so that they might not be under the necessity of pillaging. Lastly, they exhort the Legate to recall his sentence; otherwise they would appeal to the Apostolic See, to a General Council, and, if needs must, to the Supreme Judge of all (i.e., the God of Battles), "seeing that they fight for the common weal of Church and Realm."

Such was the daring message that, according to Matthew Paris, issued, in the year 1267, from the Fenland stronghold. The Bishop and the men of Lynn had failed to daunt the recusants, and now the Legate had met with no better success. The following year came the King in person, along with his valiant son Edward "Longshanks," to try what the Strong Hand could do; and besieged the island. We can imagine how the father and son, as they sighted Ely, must have felt the contrast between their approach this time and their arrival fifteen years before. Then all was peace and welcome, now it is bitter war. They had Scottish troops at their command, and by constructing bridges of hurdles and planks they forced an entrance to the island; and soon the insurgents had no choice but to yield; some surrendered, while the rest took to flight. Their cause seemed lost; but in truth it was destined to triumph, for when Edward the First, six years later, returned as King from his Crusade, he granted all, and more than all, that the Barons had asked for, by calling into being England's first representative Parliament.

Throughout the course of these wars and tumults the House of God at Ely stood uninjured in beauty and security. But about the opening of the fourteenth century there appeared cracks in the great Central Tower. These massive Norman towers were not so strong as they looked, their piers being not, as they appeared to be, of solid stone, but only hollow pipes filled in with rubble. It was known that a similar tower at Winchester had fallen; the same disaster now threatened Ely; the monks were warned against entering the Abbey Church, and were bidden to say their office in an ancient chapel adjoining the Chapter House.

(p. 329) The catastrophe long foreseen came to pass on February 22, 1322. Late in the evening, as the monks were retiring to their dormitories, "with such a shock," says the chronicler, "that it was thought an earthquake had taken place," the tower fell toward the east, crushing the walls and pillars of the Norman choir. Northwold's presbytery further east remained unhurt, nor did the shrine of St. Etheldreda behind the high altar receive any damage. The nave and transepts likewise escaped injury. No one was killed, for in consequence of the timely warning the church was deserted.

Providentially the monk at this time in charge of the Cathedral fabric was an architect of rare genius, the most gifted, probably, that England has ever produced. For the Sacrist when this calamity befell was none other than the famous Alan of Walsingham, who was called by his contemporaries "the flower of craftsmen," and he it was who, in virtue of his office, was responsible for repairs. In the full vigour of life, a man of twenty-eight, who had been trained as a goldsmith, he rose to the occasion, and proved well able to cope with the problem and task before him.

The chronicler tells us how he "rose up by night and came and stood over the heap of ruins, not knowing whither to turn. But recovering his courage, and confident in the help of God and of His kind Mother Mary, and in the merits of the holy virgin, Etheldreda, he set his hand to the work." In answer to his prayers, an inspiration came to him. In place of the square tower that had fallen, he would build one octagonal in form, with a wider base gained by cutting off the angles of the transepts and choir, and he would crown it with a lantern of woodwork. His idea was bold and original, and the lantern-crowned Octagon of Ely Cathedral as it now stands, a glorious specimen of the Decorated work of the fourteenth century, still bears witness to the genius and courage of the young architect who designed and engineered it, while at the same time he planned the reconstruction of the Norman choir.

With this scheme in his mind, Alan of Walsingham set labourers at once to remove the huge mass of rubbish, and meantime he sent far and near to procure timber for the work in hand; while the famous quarries of Barnack in Northamptonshire supplied him with stone. By 1349, after twenty-six (p. 330) years of toil, the tower with its lantern of wood was finished. This wood was covered outside with lead, while within it was gorgeous with gold and stencilled painting, all the work of the most skilled hands that could be hired. We are told that the Sacrist himself provided gold florins to be turned into leaf by "Ralph le goldbeter." The very names of the workmen employed have an interest for us, as we read of John Attegrene, the master mason, of William Shank, the chief decorator, of John of Burwell, the best wood-carver. Nor must we forget John Hotham, of whom we shall hear more. Being Bishop at this juncture, he provided funds for the restoration and beautifying of his cathedral.

King Edward the Third and his well-loved Queen Philippa came down to see the work, already famous, that was being carried out at Ely. In honour of her visit the Queen brought her robes of state, embroidered with "squirrels," first worn at her thanksgiving for the birth of the Black Prince. These robes she gave to the Prior John of Crauden, to be made into three copes and other vestments for the clergy. Whether the ancient cope still preserved at the Deanery can be identified as one of these is doubtful. It is of rich myrtle-green velvet, worked in gold thread, silk, and pearls, with plume-like flourishes that might well suggest the term "squirrels." Along its straight edge there is laid on a richly embroidered border, representing the Annunciation in the centre and saints with their emblems on either side. The design of the border indicates that it belongs to a date somewhat subsequent to 1330, the year when the Black Prince was born; but, seeing that it is quite separate from the velvet, it must have been added later, and the main portion of the vestment may actually be part of Queen Philippa's gift.

But we must not suppose that the Ely builders were engaged during these twenty-six years only on the Octagon Tower and the adjacent restoration. Almost contemporary with the tower is Prior Crauden's lovely chapel, built to the south of the Minster from the designs of Alan of Walsingham, while at the same time, adjoining the north-eastern transept, there arose the glorious Lady Chapel. The foundation-stone of this wondrously elaborated edifice was laid in 1321, on Lady Day, by Alan of Walsingham himself; for it was he who, as architect, designed the building, though the actual carrying out of the (p. 331) work was committed to John of Wisbech, the Subsacrist of the Abbey.

The funds were partly supplied by Bishop Montacute (whose premature death prevented the full completion of the design); partly by "the alms of the Faithful," or, as we should now say, by public subscription, and partly from a find of treasure-trove which is thus picturesquely described by the Abbey chronicler:

"Now when the aforesaid chapel was in beginning, this Brother John had but little money in hand, or laid by, for the prosecution of so great a work. He betook himself therefore to prayer, and thereafter called his mates together, some being monks, some, likewise, seculars. And them he besought to meet at a certain hour, and help him in digging out a square trench which might serve for the foundation of the whole fabric.

"At the appointed time, accordingly, they met one night, and began to dig, each separately by himself in the place assigned to him. Thus it chanced that the aforesaid Brother John was digging, all alone by himself, in the place allotted to him. And, by the special will, as we verily believe, of God, he found there, not one of his mates wotting thereof, a brazen pot full of money, as if placed there on purpose to relieve his need.

"And when the whole night was well nigh spent, in the earliest dawn, a small rain came on, to the annoyance of those digging. Calling then his mates from their work, he said: 'Brethren mine, and fellow labourers, yea, most heartily do I thank you for all your long and well-wrought task. And good it is now to pause a little after your work. Therefore I commend you to God. And may He pay you a full worthy wage for your labour.' But when they drew off, he himself remained on the spot all alone, and bare off that urn, as secretly as he might, and hid it in the dormitory under his own bed. And he took that money, all befouled with rust as it was, and cleansed off the rust by rubbing it with chalk and water, and paid therefrom, while it lasted, the wages of his workmen."

From this account it would seem that this money was not gold, as that never tarnishes, but silver; probably old Saxon coins hidden at the time of the Danish sack of Ely. Even in the fourteenth century money was still largely estimated by weight, without much regard to the particular coinage; so that these old pennies would still be good currency.

The chapel is surrounded by seats of stone, each with its canopy of the same material, a veritable dream of artistic design and workmanship. With its completion, at the close of the year 1348, John of Wisbech ended his work on earth; a few months later, on June 18th, 1349, he, like many another priest of these eastern counties, fell a victim to the Black Death, which in some districts slew nine priests out of ten. (p. 332) He left as his monument this church, a wonderful example of the latest Decorated work, in its detailed sculpture and all but Perpendicular windows. It is built of clunch, a local stone that lasts well for interior use, but perishes somewhat when exposed to the weather. This was brought by water from Reach, where the great quarries from which it was hewn may still be seen.

This chapel was built, as its name denotes, in honour of the Virgin; above and below its canopies stood figures of exquisite grace, representing, for the most part, scenes from her life as related in the Apocryphal Gospels and later legends then current. For two hundred years these sculptures remained intact, till Thomas Goodrich became Bishop in 1533. He held the See for twenty-one years, and he made it his business deliberately to deface all this statuary. We may attribute his action either to his zeal for the extirpation of Mariolatry, or to his fear lest sacred legend should be confounded with sacred history. Whatever may have been the actuating motive, his deeds as an iconoclast remain before our eyes. In October, 1541, he issued a mandate to the clergy of his diocese, ordering the utter abolition and destruction of all shrines, images, and relics; and we find it hard to forgive him for such indiscriminating breakage, even when we remember how much we owe to him for his admirable setting forth of our duty to God and to our neighbour preserved to us in the Catechism of the Church of England. He was also the translator of St. John's Gospel in the version known as the "Bishop's Bible."

Ely Lantern.

With the close of the fourteenth century the development and beautifying of Ely Minster almost comes to a standstill. She is rich in Norman, in Early English, in Decorated work; but when Perpendicular architecture arose, that type peculiar to England, there came a pause at Ely; and the instances of the Perpendicular style to be met with here are comparatively unimportant insertions. In Bishop Alcock's Chapel, built by 1500, we meet with late Perpendicular work; while in Bishop West's, built about 1525, are traces of the Renaissance decoration that came in with the revival of classical literature and art. Such decoration gained hardly any foothold in England, and is extremely rare within our shores, but on the Continent it swept away before its inrush many a shrine of earlier date, sparing nothing for the sake of its associations or antiquity. With Bishop West's Chapel, the story of growth (p. 334) and development closes. Then came the Reformation under Henry the Eighth, and we come face to face with the work of iconoclasts rather than of builders.

Of all English cathedrals Ely perhaps possesses the most complete series of every style of Gothic architecture; and as the Minster records and registers relating to the whole period of her construction have been fortunately preserved, we can date approximately every arch and window, knowing when it was built, and, in many cases, who was the builder. Thus Ely provides a key to the dating of all English Gothic architecture. As we travel through our own country, and on the Continent, we realise the marvellous solidarity that in those Middle Ages held Christendom together. Whenever a new architectural development calculated to promote beauty, strength, or light, came into being in one Catholic land, it spread without fail to the others, even to those furthest removed; what was the fashion in Italy, Spain, or France became the fashion in Scotland, and, so long as the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem endured, even in the Holy Land; where the Crusaders built most diligently, as the yet surviving ruins of their churches and castles abundantly demonstrate, even to the present day.

But with the development of the Perpendicular style, about the year 1375, England began to strike out a line of her own. Buildings of this insular type arose, year by year, all over our land, but it never came into vogue on the Continent, where the more floreated styles of architecture, known as Flamboyant, became prevalent; while in England there was a reaction in the opposite direction in favour of less ornate tracery.

Roughly speaking we may say that mediæval architecture in England occupied four periods:

Norman architecture prevailed from 1075 to 1175;

Early English from 1175 to 1275;

Decorated from 1275 to 1375;

Perpendicular from 1375 till stopped by the Reformation.

In a careful study of the history of Ely Cathedral we shall find a confirmation of these dates.

Let us, for instance, stand outside the Minster at the east end, and we shall have before our eyes specimens of all these four great styles of Gothic architecture. We can see early (p. 335) Norman work in the transepts begun under Simeon, who was Abbot from 1081 to 1093. If we direct our attention to the east window with its lancet-shaped lights, built by Hugh de Northwold, Bishop from 1229 to 1254, we shall gain an idea of the exquisite grace and beauty of Early English architecture. In the windows of the Lady Chapel, constructed under John Hotham, Bishop from 1316 to 1337, we see Decorated work, with its branching tracery, at its culminating point; while in the chapel built by Bishop West, who filled the See of Ely from 1515 to 1533, on the south side of the east window, we have an instance of Perpendicular tracery, with its characteristic upright shafts running straight from the top to the bottom of the window. Comparing the table given above with the dates at which the work before us is known to have been carried out, we shall find it confirmed, and we may gain much by letting it be well impressed on our minds.

At Ely one feature of beauty is lamentably absent, namely stained glass contemporary with the building. In the Cathedrals of York and Lincoln much ancient glass survives, while remnants exist in many village churches; but at Ely, once no less richly be-jewelled, nearly all has been swept away. There is no record of its destruction, which may have taken place under the unsparing hand of Bishop Goodrich, or a century later, it may be, during the Civil Wars. We are the losers, and we can hardly feel that our loss is made good by the coloured glass with which during the last hundred years many of the windows have been refilled, though here and there fine modern glass sheds its glow on the grey stonework around.

Yet as we walk round this glorious Minster, surveying it whether from within or from without, the feeling uppermost in our minds is rather one of thankfulness that so much has been spared than of indignation that so much has been destroyed. We can understand what the poet-philosopher Coleridge meant when he spoke of Gothic architecture as "Infinity made imaginable"; and we may enter into the feelings of the peasant woman who, in simpler language, expressed the same idea, when after her visit to Ely Minster she remarked, "That Cathedral is like a little Heaven below; everybody should see it, both rich and poor."

We have now come to the end of the story of the building of Ely Minster; her Bishops and Deans have since then had (p. 336) enough to do in keeping her stonework in repair without adding to it; and this work of restoration has been carried on from century to century with real, if sometimes misguided, devotion. Originators have had their day; the repairer is now in possession.

Great as were the architectural achievements of the seventy monks of Ely, we must not suppose that all their time went in superintending such work. We do not know, indeed, whether they did much of it with their own hands at all. We have, it is true, seen John of Wisbech, the builder of the glorious Lady Chapel, himself digging out the foundations with his mates; but on the other hand we are told how skilled artisans from a distance were hired to undertake the more delicate work in completing the lantern. That the Brethren spent much time in writing we have abundant proof. Our own familiar word ink is a standing testimony to their industry in this respect, being derived from inc., the abbreviation universally used in the Abbey account books for incaustum, the Latin word for their writing fluid.

In the reign of William Rufus, that monarch's Commissioners came to Ely, and carried off 300 volumes from the Abbey library, besides all the Service books; and we need hardly doubt that most of these books, if not all, had been copied on the spot. One beautifully written Breviary from Ely is still to be seen in the University Library at Cambridge. It is of the fourteenth century.

The monks and Bishops were, moreover, constructors of bridges, of roads, and of causeways; they made new ones, they restored the old; and they were licensed to exact tolls for the upkeep of their work. In 1480 Bishop Morton led the way towards the draining of the Fens, by cutting the great drain, forty feet across, extending twelve miles, from Peterborough to Guyhirn, and still known as Morton's Leam. The Bishops also built numerous episcopal residences. Among others, Ely Place in Holborn, a castle at Wisbech, palaces at Somersham and Downham, manor houses at Doddington, at Fen Ditton, at Hatfield, were erected as the centuries slipped by; and seeing that the Bishops were also Abbots of Ely, we may believe that the monks did their part in carrying out episcopal work.

Ely possesses a unique record of her early days in her celebrated (p. 337) Liber Eliensis, a folio volume of 189 leaves of vellum, ten and a-half inches by seven and a-half, begun by Thomas, a monk of the convent, who lived about the close of the twelfth century, and professing to give the history of the monastery from its foundation up to his own day. Two copies of this manuscript are known to exist, bearing witness to the industry of the monks as scribes, while others have doubtless perished. The monks of Ely, moreover, wrote the Episcopal Rolls and Registers with the utmost care; these are still preserved with their entries as to the expenditure of money, as to ordinations, as to the granting of indulgences, as to appeals to the Pope, all kept with scrupulous exactitude.

Ely is rich, moreover, beyond most foundations, in other written records of her past; and these are preserved, some in the Cathedral library, some in the muniment room of the dean and chapter forming part of the restored "Steeple" or "Sextry" gateway, some in the library of Lambeth Palace, some in the British Museum. The existing rolls, or account books, kept by the chief officers of the monastery, number 288 in all, and give us full and clear detail as to what was spent not only on the building, the alms, and the services of the Abbey Church, but also on the food, the wine, the clothing, and the medicine of the monks. One item of medicine is "dragon's blood," one of food is "blankmang, a mixture of rice and almonds."

The following summary from the Chamberlain's Roll, recounting what was the cost of clothing a monk, will show us that he was expected to dress with dignity and comfort. The clothing of an Ely monk was really a very serious item of expenditure. A monk, like the parson of a church, was in England ex officio a gentleman; and his maintenance cost his convent the equivalent of £200 per annum (in the present value of money).[214] Of this sum at least a fourth went in clothing, which, as compared with food, was much dearer then than now. The account books still preserved at Ely give us (p. 338) the items. Each monk received annually the following garments (for which we give the value at the present rate of money):

  £ s. d.
1 Cowl 1 0 0
1 Monk's Frock 5 10 0
1 Pellice[215] 3 0 0
1 Winter coat 4 10 0
1 Summer ditto 4 5 0
1 Shirt (?) 2 5 0
1 Pair of linen drawers 3 0 0
2 Pair boots[216] 2 5 0
1 Pair Gaiters and Slippers 1 5 0
1 "Wilkok"[217]   10 0
1 Counterpane 4 10 0
1 Coverlet 2 0 0
1 Blanket[218]   12 6

This was in the year 1334,[219] and is a fair average specimen of the cost, which varied very little from year to year. Readers of Chaucer will remember how comfortably, and even luxuriously, he represents his monk in the Canterbury Tales as being dressed. The old garments of the monks were, at the end of the year, returned to the Camerarius for distribution amongst the poor.

Each monk had to enter the convent provided with a pair of blankets, garments of all kinds, bedding, towels, a bag for clothes for the wash, a furred tunic, day and night boots, a silver spoon, and many other articles. The novices had tablets hung round their necks on which to write in pencil each breach of the rule as it was committed lest it should be forgotten in the public confession of such formal transgressions which every brother had to make at the daily Chapter. These youths had also each to carry, in a pouch provided for the purpose, a knife, a comb, a needle, and some thread.

A complete set of Cellerarius Rolls is preserved at Ely, and these give a full account of the food in use in the monastery, (p. 339) with details as to its cost; and it appears to have been both wholesome and plentiful. Beef, mutton, venison, bacon, fowls, fish, butter, vegetables, rice, and sugar were provided, and bread of five different qualities. No less than 2,450 eggs were required for a single week's consumption. There was an ample allowance of milk; but the principal drink was beer, made in the brewhouse bequeathed to the convent by Bishop Hugh de Balsham, and supplied, like the bread, in five different qualities, the most inferior being known as "Skegman." All the food was in charge of the Cellerarius and Granatarius, themselves brethren of the monastery. The latter functionary was responsible for the bread and the beer, as being both made from grain. Wine was only produced at special festivals, and was almost wholly imported from Bordeaux, Oporto, or Xeres in Andalusia; a trade still recorded in our current words "port" and "sherry." For though vineyards were common in mediæval England (and notably at Ely, as the epitaph to Alan of Walsingham reminds us), yet they very seldom produced drinkable wine, and practically existed only to supply vinegar, a condiment much in use for rendering dry fish less unpalatable.

The Benedictine Rule was strict in itself. The day began at 2 a.m., when every monk had to leave his bed for Mattins and Lauds, a Service occupying two hours. Then came an hour during which he might return to his bed,[220] to be waked again at 5 a.m., for Prime and Terce.[221] Then followed the daily Chapter Meeting, when the work of the coming day was apportioned, and the faults of the past day rebuked. This ended, all had to attend Low Mass, and at eight o'clock High Mass, which was over by ten. Then, and not till then, the monks partook of the first meal of the day. For this they repaired to the refectory, and on entering they paused and saluted with a profound bow the crucifix, hanging over the High Table, and known to them as the "Majestas." (This title was due to the phrase in the familiar hymn, Vexilla Regis, "God reigneth from the tree."[222]) Their food was eaten (p. 340) in silence while portions of Scripture were read aloud by one of the brethren. He was bound to prepare this reading carefully, and was directed to avoid all hurry, and to repeat any passage of special note, in order that it might make the deeper impression on his hearers. After this came study in the Cloisters, varied by a stroll in the Burial Ground for meditation on mortality. At 3 p.m. they went again to the church, to sing Vespers; at 5 p.m. came supper with the same accompaniment as the morning meal; Compline followed; and then it was bed-time. On some occasions the Rule was relaxed and the monks were allowed to take part in quiet games, particularly at Christmastide.

Once in six weeks each monk had to undergo the Minutio sanguinis, or blood-letting, supposed in those days to conduce to health; and this drove him into the infirmary, where he had to spend about a week along with a batch of his brethren undergoing the same treatment. This custom, which sounds to us so unreasonable, tended at least to break the monotony of monastic life. Those who could stand it all, and gain good by it, must have been men of iron both in mind and body.

Such was the discipline through which those men had to pass who built Ely Minster, and dwelt and worshipped there for close upon nine hundred years. The "Liber Eliensis" tells us "There was one Rule for all; the chief requirement was obedience, love of sacred worship, and a full resolve to maintain the honour of God's House." In words that form part of their Rule, they could say "We believe that the Divine Presence exists everywhere, but above all when we attend Divine Service."

In the year 1539 the Monastery was dissolved by Henry the Eighth, and reconstituted as a Chapter of Dean and Canons. As we read this the question forces itself upon our minds "What became of the monks thus disbanded?" At Ely the monastery could, it is true, hold seventy monks, but the full roll were seldom, if ever, in residence at one time. After the Black Death (in 1349) the number fell to twenty-eight; and in the year 1532, seven years before the monastery was dissolved, there were only thirty-six monks on the spot, besides the Prior. Father Gasquet, a most diligent searcher into the history of that time, allows that, in spite of all his labour, "hardly any (p. 341) detail of the subsequent lives of those ejected from the dismantled cloisters of England is known to exist." It is, however, recorded that three of the Ely monks, being noted as good choir men, received a pension of £8 a year (equivalent to about £80 now) besides an office. But such traces are scanty indeed; some monks who were priests were appointed to the cure of souls; others lived on the pensions allotted to them which were usually equivalent to about £50 a year, paid as a rule fairly and punctually; some received on quitting the monastery a grant of money; we hear that one band of monks went out into the world each with a sum of twenty-six shillings and eightpence in his pocket (barely £15 at the present value of money). Such was the fate of the inmates of the Abbeys that submitted to the demands of the King, as did Ely under Goodrich, the last of the Abbots. Where "voluntary surrender" was refused, as it was by the Abbots of Glastonbury, Reading, Jervaulx, and other Houses, on the ground that their monastery was "not theirs to give," the monks were turned adrift without any provision whatsoever for the future. Some fled to the Continent, others to Scotland, while many died as the natural result of a sudden change in their mode of life combined with privation and distress.

It is nearly four hundred years since all these changes befell Ely. Many devoted men have during these long years filled the See, men of mettle, of learning and piety. Among others we may mention Thomas Thirlby, Bishop from 1554-1559 during the reign of Mary Tudor, who was deposed under Elizabeth on refusing to take the oath of the royal supremacy, "having declared that he would sooner die than consent to a change of religion." For this he was imprisoned in the Tower for three years, till a visitation of the plague led to his being sent from the infected air of London to the purer atmosphere of Canterbury, as the prisoner-guest of Archbishop Parker, under whose charge he remained for seven years. His imprisonment does not appear to have been rigorous, as far as physical comfort was concerned; but, with the illiberality universal in those days, he was denied the consolations of his religion; he might neither say nor hear Mass, he might read no books except Protestant ones; he might write no letters, nor even converse with anyone save under strict supervision. At Lambeth Palace lodging was provided for him, till he died (p. 342) in the summer of 1570, and was buried in the adjoining Parish Church.

In the reign of James the First, from 1609-1619, Ely had as her Bishop Lancelot Andrewes, whose well-known Book of Devotions bears witness to his piety. That he was also a man of culture is evident by his being chosen to be one of the translators of the Bible.

In Matthew Wren, who was Bishop of Ely for twenty-nine years, from 1638-1667, we meet with another prisoner for his faith. Bishop Wren was anti-puritan in his aims; throughout his diocese his influence was exercised in favour of the re-introduction of reverent ceremonial in public worship; and for this he was sent to the Tower, where he remained for eighteen years, till the Restoration set him free and brought him back once more to his well-loved Cathedral.

He died in 1667, and by his own wish was buried in the chapel of Pembroke College, Cambridge, which he had built as a thankoffering for his release from prison—(that prison which his friend Archbishop Laud had left only for the scaffold); his nephew, the famous Christopher Wren, being engaged as architect. Thirty years before, he had, while Master of Peterhouse, built from his own designs the chapel of that college. The two chapels still face each other across the Cambridge street in strange contrast. The earlier one betokens an effort to restore Gothic architecture; the later shows that classical ideals had, for the time being at least, won the day.

Peter Gunning, who was Bishop of Ely for eight years, from 1675 to 1683, had likewise faced imprisonment for the sake of his religion. As vicar of the church of St. Mary the Less at Cambridge, and later at Tunbridge, while on a visit to his mother, he preached sermons in support of King Charles the First and in defence of the Church of England, which excited against him the resentment of the prevailing faction and led to his imprisonment. But before long he regained his liberty and returned to Cambridge, where, on his refusing to subscribe the Covenant, he was deprived of the Fellowship he held at Clare Hall. He then sought refuge with the King at Oxford; and on the surrender of that city to the Parliamentary forces betook himself to London, where his use of the English Liturgy, and the sermons preached by him in the Exeter House (p. 343) Chapel, drew down upon him the censure of Cromwell in person. At the Restoration he was given posts of high responsibility. He was called upon to assist at the Savoy Conference in the remodelling of the Book of Common Prayer, in which the "Prayer for all sorts and conditions of men," compiled by him, took its place. At Cambridge he held successively within the next ten years the Masterships of St. John's and of Corpus Christi, and was also successively the Lady Margaret and the Regius Professor of Divinity; he was appointed to the See of Chichester in 1670, and in 1675 was translated to Ely, where, after eight years, he died. It is recorded of him that in 1678 he had the courage to raise in the House of Lords, where he sat as Bishop of Ely, a strong protest against the shameful Test Act, which imposed upon all civil servants of the Crown, all officers, both in army and navy, all professional men, lawyers, doctors, and teachers of every grade, that odious formula, the so-called Royal Declaration, an age-long source of bitterness, now, happily, at last, no longer Royal.

Francis Turner likewise, who held the See from 1684 till 1691, was yet another Bishop of Ely who suffered for his principles. He was one of the famous seven bishops committed to the Tower in 1688 for refusing to promulgate James the Second's Declaration of Indulgence, which they regarded as an unjustifiable stretch of the royal prerogative; and later he was deprived of his bishopric for declining, as a non-juror, to take the oath of allegiance to William and Mary, whom he considered to be usurpers of the royal dignity; showing thus (as Sir Walter Scott puts it) that while he could, in the interests of what he held to be justice, resist his sovereign, even in the plenitude of his power, like a free-born subject, so he would at all sacrifices maintain what he believed to be his king's legitimate rights, even in the depths of his adversity, like a loyal one.

(p. 344) CHAPTER XVI

Approach to Ely.—The Park.—Walpole Gate.—Crauden Chapel.—Western Tower, Galilee.—Nave.—Baptistery.—Roof.—Prior's Door.—Cloisters.—Owen's Cross—Octagon.—Alan's Grave.—Transepts.—St. Edmund's Chapel.—Choir Stalls.—Presbytery.—Norman Piers.—Reredos.—Candlesticks.

The foregoing pages have taught us something of the history of Ely Cathedral, of the men and women who have loved it and worked for it; of those who have defaced and pillaged it; of the wars and revolutions that have surged around it. Now we propose to visit it, and to see for ourselves the very stones which, though silent, can speak to us; hoping to be favoured with a fine day, that we may be able to study the Minster advantageously from without as well as from within. And let us come provided with a glass, for much of the best carved work is high above our heads.

It may be unenterprising to come to Ely by rail; but yet there is no approach that can give us a finer impression of the Minster than we gain by our first view of it from the train, whether we arrive from the north or from the south. In either case we have been travelling over flat dull country, when suddenly there stands up before our eyes the "stately fane" of which we have heard so much, and our first impulse is to show her some token of reverence. We take a good look at the pile of building before us, and we resolve not to forget our first sight of this our new friend. Well did the quaint historian, Thomas Fuller, write of Ely Minster in 1660, "This presenteth itself afar off to the eye of the traveller, and on all sides, at great distance, not only maketh a promise, but giveth earnest of the beauty thereof."

(p. 345) Leaving Ely station, our best course will be to walk toward the Cathedral, taking the second turn to the right. This brings us into a commonplace street; where, however, we should notice on our right a row of thatched cottages, with their overhanging upper storeys, that have survived from olden days. Just opposite these cottages is an iron gateway which invites us into the Cathedral "Park," an undulating piece of ground some sixteen acres in extent grazed by cattle and sheep, its highest point being an artificial mound, now densely clothed with trees, called Cherry Hill. An award of the seventeenth century speaks of it as Mill Hill, an early print shows it topped by a windmill; so here, doubtless, stood the windmill of the Monastery, mentioned in the epitaph on Alan of Walsingham as one of the four wonders of Ely due to his genius (the others being the Lantern, the Lady Chapel, and the Abbey vineyard). The place of the mill (which itself superseded the Norman keep built on this eminence by William the Conqueror) is now occupied by a monument in memory of Bentham, the historian of the Abbey of Ely, who wrote in the eighteenth century.

Grassy hillocks rise between us and the cathedral; and we gain an impression as of some great ship riding majestically over ocean billows. The church, indeed, is actually about the size of a large liner, and the green swells of the park are not unlike in magnitude to those of the Atlantic. Turner's painting of Ely Minster gives this same ship-like impression of the place, thus embodying the history of this wondrous pile. It has in truth weathered many a tempest, has been wrecked and built afresh, has sunk and been restored, and is preserved for us still as a holy and classic House of God.

The first of the Abbey buildings that we come to on our walk is the tithe barn with its tiled roof, one of the largest in England, constructed in mediæval days, with no architectural beauty, yet with a dignity of its own. It still bears witness to a financial state of affairs, when rent was paid in kind, far removed from that which now exists, since the commuting of tithes for payment in cash.

Leaving this barn on our left, we find ourselves in front of a massive gatehouse, known as the "Ely Porta" or "Walpole Gate." It was begun about 1396, and finished under Prior William Walpole, whose name still clings to it. This gatehouse (p. 346) has been used for various purposes, for a chapel, for a prison, for a brewery. To-day it serves as the chief schoolroom of the "King's School," which represents the famous Choir School where Edward the Confessor was educated. His coat of arms, a cross and five martlets, is carved accordingly on the northern hood-moulding of the gateway, those of the See of Ely on the other side. It was never finished according to the original design; the money of the Abbey being needed for other matters, of which one was a tedious lawsuit relating to the Bishop's jurisdiction.

We will not pass through the gateway yet; but, again turning to the right, follow the alley that leads us toward the cathedral itself. We will stop first at Prior Crauden's Chapel, a small upper room with a vaulted chamber beneath it. Passing through a narrow doorway, we climb a spiral staircase which brings us into the little Sanctuary, built by Prior Crauden, from the designs of his friend Alan of Walsingham, for his own private use. The Abbey records speak of him in monkish Latin as follows "Brother John of Crauden ruled the convent as a peaceable shepherd, and was beloved by God and man; may his memory be held blessed for ever. Adjoining the Priory he built a chapel of wondrous beauty, where he might worship God in prayer and praise. Hither did he resort by night and day for spiritual meditation, unless prevented by sickness; here he would commend to God, himself, his Church and all that concerned the Church. His face and his form were goodly to behold." Let us picture him to ourselves at his devotions in this tiny chapel—it only measures 31 feet by 15 feet—a very gem of Decorated architecture; and from the delicate leaf-like tracery around us, let us learn what to expect when we reach the Minster itself, which abounds in the work of this period. The contemporary mosaic pavement, representing Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, is specially noteworthy. So is also the dim fresco of daisies and trefoils, as delicate in design as it is true to nature, still visible on the southern wall.

Prior Crauden's Chapel.

John of Crauden held the office of Sacrist from 1321 till 1341, while John Hotham was Bishop. On the Bishop's death, in 1337, the monks of Ely unanimously elected Prior Crauden to succeed him, as being a man of marked piety and generosity; but the Pope annulled this election, and Simon de (p. 348) Montacute became Bishop. We are not told how the saintly prior took this rebuff; we may believe he bore it with a grace reflected from or by the chapel that he had built. Not only was he a builder and a man of piety; he was also a promoter of education; providing an endowment for the maintenance of three or four young monks in the then yet youthful University of Cambridge. For generations this chapel was partitioned into three rooms and belonged to the adjoining house. It has been restored of late years for devotional use, and here the boys of the King's Grammar School attend daily Mattins and Evensong.

The Canon's residence which adjoins the chapel was once the Priory, and is attached to the professorship of Hebrew at Cambridge. Here Prior Crauden entertained Queen Philippa, when she visited Ely with her husband, Edward the Third. Further on we see the Deanery, built of old as the dining-hall of the Abbey. Adjacent to it is the "Fair Hall," designed for great receptions, now the residence of the Head Master of the King's School.

Retracing our steps, we have on our right ancient buildings at present used by the boys of the same school; beyond them we reach again the Ely Porta; and this time we pass through it to find ourselves in a side street of the little city, along which run the station omnibuses. Opposite the gateway is a modern building, "Hereward Hall," occupied by the King's Scholars; while the dignified Chamber of the Ely Porta is also at their service in school hours. Turning to the right we follow the street, here styled "the Gallery," and we make straight for the cathedral. On our left is the wall of the Palace garden, and, showing well above, we see its splendid plane tree, planted in 1639, and said to be the finest in England.

Now we are actually approaching the western tower and the south-western transept of the cathedral; and these we may take as an object lesson. Ely, like Rome, was not built in a day, and it took centuries to complete its tower. Begun during the latter half of the twelfth century, the lower part is of late Norman work, with round arches and bold simple mouldings; but the architect and workmen who built these passed away, and their work had to be continued by the hands of others on whom had dawned the beauty of pointed arches. These later builders were not to be tied down by what they (p. 349) felt to be the crude ideas of former generations; and we see the workmanship of the tower and transept, stage above stage bearing evidence of growth, till through the Early English period it has passed into a narrowed octagonal tower with windows of Decorated tracery. There is a delicious harmony in it all; in the intricacy of the masonry, in the very colour of the stone; and we admire those builders of yore who, while respecting the work of their forefathers, did not hesitate to deal with their material according to their own fuller light and skill. Perhaps we shall doubt as to calling the topmost octagonal tower wholly in keeping with the base of the steeple; yet if we had the power we should not have the wish to alter it.

It is well that we should realise how much the preservation of this stately steeple has cost. Ever since the central tower fell in 1322, sacrists, priors, monks, bishops, deans, have lived in constant terror lest what had befallen the central might also befall the western tower. We can read how they have braced it with iron and wood, how they have weighted it with bells; how they have lightened it by removing its wooden spire, how they have buttressed it, how they have plastered it. Century after century they have continued the repairs, sometimes making mistakes, but never asking the question, fatal to all good work, "Is it worth while?" There it stands, surveying its vast plain for thirty miles around, with its air of unbroken security.

Jutting out from the tower, westward, is the so-called Galilee Porch. It is conjectured that it was so named because, as Galilee was the district of the Holy Land furthest from Jerusalem, so this western porch was the part of the sacred building farthest from the High Altar. Much doubt exists as to the date of this porch. It is commonly said to have been built under Bishop Eustace, who died in 1215; but some authorities hold that it belongs to a somewhat later period, when the style in which it is built had fully developed. Probably it dates from the close of his episcopate. Anyhow, it is a beautiful specimen of that Early English work of which we shall see so much more before we leave the Cathedral. Its walls are thicker than needful if the porch alone were to be considered, and it is thought that it was built thus massively with a view to acting as a buttress to the tower, which needed support. Over the porch is a parvise chamber, now disused; (p. 350) it may in early days have served to accommodate musicians, or as a place of sanctuary for criminals fleeing from justice. During the eighteenth century the Galilee narrowly escaped demolition; for Essex, who was architect to the Chapter of Ely, advised that it should be pulled down as being of no use, and in a condition too ruinous to admit of repair. Happily his counsel was rejected, and the Galilee still stands to gladden our eyes with its beauty.

From the Galilee we step into the nave. To attempt any description of the view before us would be futile; when we say that we are "uplifted" by it we have expressed in one word all that we dare to formulate. By moonlight, when the minster is empty; or on some day of Choral Festival, when arch and pillar echo back the music, this wondrous fabric, hallowed and mellowed by time, says to us, with a voice almost audible, "Sursum corda!" "The place whereon thou standest is holy ground."

The nave in which we are standing is wholly Norman in its architecture; its pillars, alternately clustered and cylindrical, support round arches; these again support the round-headed double arches of the triforium, and these yet again the triple lights of the clerestory windows, three tiers in all. The arches are somewhat stilted, starting with a straight line, and are rather higher than semi-circular. All this severe architecture of Norman type leads on, as it were, to the more delicate tracery and moulding of the Early English lancet lights of the east window.

It seems almost paradoxical to say that the western arches as we see them are of more recent date than the tower which they support; yet this statement is true, for they were constructed in the fifteenth century to strengthen the steeple built more than two hundred years before. The more ancient masonry is for the most part completely hidden by the newer, but the tops of the original archways remain in full view to show how much they have been contracted by this encasing stonework. During the previous century six bells had been hung in the steeple; moreover, the eight-sided turret had been built on the top of it, and all this additional weight must inevitably have led to the fall of the whole, but for the strengthening and underpinning of the piers.

South Aisle of the Nave, Ely.

Over the westernmost archway is a modern window inserted (p. 351) by Bishop Yorke toward the close of the eighteenth century, noteworthy only for its Flemish glass. In the lower southern light we see St. John the Evangelist playing with a partridge, illustrative of the legend which relates how his disciples found (p. 352) him, as an aged man, thus engaged, and how, in answer to their expression of surprise at this unwonted relaxation, he remarked to them "A bow cannot be kept always strung." Strange to say, this story, which would seem specially fitted to call forth the painter's gifts, is almost unknown to art.

Through the southern of these archways we step into the western transept, the Baptistery of the cathedral, where stands a font of modern date. Here to the east is the apsidal chapel known as St. Catharine's. All tracery and ornament around us is still strictly Norman in character, and zigzag moulding prevails; but we can see here how the round arched stone-work, as it intersects, forms graceful lancets, thus suggesting the pointed or two centred arch; and when once the architect's eye had caught its beauty, he refused to let his compass trace out the simpler one-centred arch of the Norman period, and Early English architecture came in with a rush.

St. Catharine's Chapel is used daily by the students of the Ely Theological College, and a beautiful altar of alabaster and jasper, placed here in 1896, harmonises, in its character of dignity and permanence, with the Norman stonework around. The apse in which it stands is a modern restoration, having been for many years a ruin; indeed the whole of this western transept was for long cut off from the Tower by a wall of stud and plaster, and served as a workshop and lumber-room, where materials for use in the repairs of the Cathedral could be stored, till Dean Peacock set himself in 1842 to remedy this condition of things. It is now one of the most romantic corners of the Minster.

We return to the Tower, and pause for a moment to notice "the Maze"[224] inlaid in marble in the pavement. From this quaint design at our feet we turn to look at the roof of the nave over our heads, painted with scenes from the Old and New Testaments. The western end is the work of Mr. Le Strange, who died in 1864, before his work of love was completed. Happily it was continued and finished by Mr. Gambier Parry, as devoted a lover of the Church and of art, a personal friend of Harvey Goodwin, who was Dean at the time, and at whose request the artist undertook the arduous task (p. 353) of roof-painting. A slight change in the character of the designs shows where one painter ended his work and the other took it up.

These over-head paintings take us from the Creation of Man and his fall, through the old Testament up to the Annunciation and Nativity, in a series of scenes instructively thought out; while Patriarchs and Prophets lead on to the Evangelists. Some part of the design is said to be due to a visit paid by Mr. Le Strange, on the advice of Sir Gilbert Scott, to the Church of Hildesheim in Hanover, where there existed a then untouched painted ceiling of mediæval date; but in the main it was his own conception.

Let us next turn aside into the southern aisle to look at the "Prior's Door." If we find it locked we can get it opened by asking one of the vergers to let us go through it. We shall thus obtain a sight of its outer mouldings; bold and fantastic, yet withal dignified and graceful, executed about the year 1180, and due, it may be, to some Masonic Company that had handed on its traditions from east to west, generation after generation; perhaps to members of that "Comacine Guild" that had its headquarters on an island in Lake Como, where its members had taken refuge from the Gothic invaders of Italy. In the tympanum, within a vesica shaped panel, is sculptured our Lord in Glory, holding in His left hand a book and a cross, while the right is raised in the act of blessing. On the door-posts are carved designs somewhat grotesque, suggesting the Signs of the Zodiac, and the course of human life.

This unique doorway opens into the garden of the Deanery, where once stood the Cloisters. In the walls that bound it, traces of the cloister windows still remain, now filled in with brickwork. The garden has its own especial charm, in its gay borders and pleasant paths; but when we picture what once it was, when we recall the cloisters we have perhaps ourselves seen, at Westminster, at Salisbury, at Gloucester, at Chester, we cannot but feel this walled-in garden, attractive though it is, a place of ruin. Beyond almost any other abbey where the church still stands, Ely has been robbed of her cloisters. They once ran round this garden, the southern wall of the nave forming one side, the whole being thus sheltered from the northern wind, while catching all (p. 354) the warmth and light of the sun. Traces are still left in the masonry, proving that Norman cloisters once existed here, but that these were removed and replaced during the fifteenth century.

Could we have passed through this ornate doorway while the cloisters were still in use, what should we have met with in this "haunt of ancient peace"? We should have entered a covered cloister forming a square, with each side approximately one hundred and forty feet long,[225] its windows opening into the well-turfed cloister garth. Low-recessed archways in the cathedral wall, facing south (one of which still exists), would hold a set of aumbries or cupboards containing a good library of books of reference, the works of the great doctors of the church, and of profane authors as well. Of such books there was an ample and well-replenished store, for Bishop Nigel had, towards the close of the twelfth century, bequeathed certain tithes to provide for the "making and repairing of books" at Ely, and this bequest would doubtless be spent on books for purposes of study in the cloister, as well as for use in church. Opposite to these aumbries we should see a row of carrells, or wainscoted cells, under the windows, each holding a desk fitted up suitably for reading and writing, large enough for the use of one monk, and there we should see him in his black Benedictine robes seated at his work. Through his bit of the window, if his eye wandered from his books, he could look out on the pleasant plot of enclosed grass, and see the other three sides of the cloister. During the fifteenth century glass came into use in the cloister windows, chiefly on the side next the church, where most of the writing and reading was done. It would appear that the cloisters were not only used for study but served also as a school-room, where novices and choir boys received instruction; and the part chiefly dedicated to study was the northern side, close to the bookcases. The Cloister, we must remember, was the centre of monastic life, giving its very name to the calling of a monk, for here the brethren spent their working hours.

We shiver at the very thought of the cold that life in the cloister must have entailed. We hear of a scribe whose hands (p. 355) were so paralysed by cold that he had to delay finishing his copy of the works of Bede; one author had to lay aside his writing for the winter till spring should return. No attempt was made to heat the cloisters, but in mid-winter a single fire was kept burning in a room called the "calefactorium" where the brethren might go in turn to warm themselves. We speak of life in the open air as an idea of modern days; in truth it had been forestalled by the monks of old. The cloisters were lighted by lamps fed with grease from the kitchen, and the candles used were of rush-pith dipped in the same.

Silence was maintained in the cloister, and the monks used signs instead of words when asking for a book. Strict rules were laid down as to the keeping clean and putting back of books. One Benedictine writer adds to his manuscript the following note: "Whoever pursues his studies in this book should be careful to handle the leaves gently and delicately, so as to avoid tearing them; and let him imitate the example of Jesus Christ who, when he had quietly opened the book of Isaiah and read therein attentively, closed it with reverence and gave it again to the minister." The lending of books was counted as one of the principal works of mercy, but only to be done under the most careful regulations as to the return of the volume lent. Such is in outline the scene we should have beheld had it been our lot five hundred years ago on this very ground,

"To walk the studious Cloister's pale."

We now re-enter the cathedral through the Prior's Door, and taking a few steps further along the interior of the aisle we come to Owen's Cross. Owen was St. Etheldreda's faithful steward, the "Primus Ministorum" (or "Over-alderman," as the Anglo-Saxon has it,) of her fenland kingdom, and governor of her family. His Welsh sounding name bears witness to his being a fenman of British ancestry. Bede tells us that Owen was a man of much piety; that when his royal mistress no longer needed his services he forsook the world and became a monk under St. Chad, Bishop of Lichfield. Owen set forth on his journey to the monastery dressed in a plain garment, carrying a pick-axe and bill-hook, to denote that as he was little capable of meditating on the holy scriptures he would the more earnestly apply himself to the labour of his hands, and (p. 356) had not come to the monastery, "as so many do," to live idle. St. Chad received him with much favour, and it was Owen who was permitted to hear the angelic voices that announced to the holy bishop that he was to die within seven days.

Owen was himself canonized, and this cross became an object of veneration at Haddenham, where pilgrims from Cambridge crossed the Ouse. During the eighteenth century its mutilated base was brought into the cathedral from Haddenham, where it had long served as a horsing-block. It is now more worthily placed, and we can still read the inscription in Latin which runs as follows (the name of Owen being Latinized almost out of recognition),


Grant O God to Owen Thy light and rest. Amen.

A little further on, still in the south aisle, we come to the "Monks' Door," with its strange outer carvings of dragons, its one door-post enriched with spiral fluting, a sister doorway to the prior's, but by no means a twin. Almost touching it is the half of an ancient arched doorway now walled up, its door-post spirally and deeply sculptured. In both doorways one door-post is hidden by the masonry of a great buttress built here by Alan of Walsingham to support his central tower. We are here in the last remnant of Ely's cloisters, and let us not fail to observe the recessed archway for books in the southern wall of the nave mentioned above. Before leaving the aisle we should notice that its windows are for the most part late insertions, the original Norman fenestration being replaced by Perpendicular.

We now come to the wonder of Ely, of which we have already heard much, its Octagon Tower and Lantern. Other features in the cathedral we may meet with elsewhere, but this central feature was not itself a copy, nor has it served as a pattern—it remains alone, a brilliant make-shift, a great Necessity having proved the mother of a great Invention. We can hardly here enter into the details of this Octagon Tower as an engineering feat, but we can remind our readers how, by enlarging the base of his steeple, by making it rest on eight (p. 357) supporting piers, instead of on four like its fallen predecessor, Alan of Walsingham gave it greatly increased stability.

The Tower from the Cloisters.

Thomas Fuller, whom we have quoted before, thus racily describes the Lantern at Ely, as it was at the close of the (p. 358) Commonwealth, and draws from it the lesson he loved to find underlying outward things. After speaking of the beauty of the minster, he goes on to say, "The lanthorn therein, built by Bishop Hotham, is a masterpiece of architecture. When the bells ring the woodwork thereof shaketh and gapeth (no defect but perfection of structure) and exactly chocketh into the joints again; so that it may pass for the lively emblem of the sincere Christian who, though he has motum trepidationis of fear and trembling, stands firmly fixed on the basis of a true faith."

We, too, can admire the ingenuity with which the woodwork forming the Lantern is fitted together so as to be self-supporting; and our attention should be called to the vast size of the eight upright beams of oak above us, fore-shortened, as we see them from the floor, so that we hardly realise that the length of each is sixty-eight feet. We can well believe the chronicler who tells us that Alan "procured them with much trouble, searching far and wide, and with the greatest difficulty finding them at last, paying a great price for them, and transporting them by land and water to Ely." During the nineteenth century, when this woodwork had to be restored, and to some extent replaced, the difficulty met with in procuring and conveying the timber required was almost enough to daunt those responsible for the work.

On the central boss of the groining we see a half-length figure of Christ in Glory, carved in oak, the right hand raised to bless, considerably above life size. In the sacrist's accounts for the building of the Lantern, under the date of 1340, occurs this item: "Paid to John of Burwell, for carving the figure upon the principal Key Vault, two shillings and his keep at the Prior's table." A good two-shillings' worth, even if we multiply the sum by thirty to make it equivalent to the present value of coin.

The modern glass of the windows above these arches commemorates those whose names are connected with Ely; eight personages in each window. The south-east window gives us in its upper lights, St. Etheldreda as Queen, with her father and her two husbands; below she appears again as Abbess, with Bishop Wilfrid and the two sisters who followed her as Abbesses, Sexburga and Ermenilda. In the north-east window is represented her niece Werburga, who also became Abbess, (p. 359) and St. Withburga; and, on a line with these ladies, St. Edmund and Archbishop Dunstan; in the lower four lights stand Bishop Ethelwold, Earl Brithnoth, Abbot Brithnoth, and King Edgar the Peaceful, the refounder of the Abbey after the Danish desolation. The north-west window depicts in the upper tier four kings of England, William the Conqueror, Henry the First, Henry the Third, and Edward the Second. In the row beneath stand Abbot Simeon, Hervey, the first Bishop of Ely, Bishop Northwold, and Alan of Walsingham. In the four upper lights of the south-west window are portrayed Queen Victoria in her Coronation robes, Prince Albert arrayed as Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge, Edward the Third and Queen Philippa; below come Bishop Turton and Dean Peacock, who both contributed to the cost of this glass, and in a line with them are Bishop Hotham and Prior Crauden.

At the ends of the hood-mouldings of the diagonally placed arches of the Octagon are carved eight heads. Edward the Third in his crown gazes with kingly bearing across the archway at his Queen, Philippa, who wears an expression of cheering benignity, well becoming a queen; Bishop Hotham looks his part, and Prior Crauden has the countenance of a saint and an enthusiast. On the north-western archway Alan of Walsingham, clean shaven, and his master mason, with flowing locks, face each other carved in the stone that they knew so well how to manipulate. The seventh and eighth heads are grotesque.

Slightly higher than these portrait heads, supporting canopied niches, come the celebrated corbels on which are sculptured the leading events of the life of St. Etheldreda in the following order:

Just where the nave and the Octagon Tower join is a slab, which some hold to cover the grave of Alan of Walsingham. (p. 360) A well-worn stone is all we see, but we can trace on it a dimly embossed matrix, showing that once it held a brass of rich workmanship, since torn away. Whether this be his tomb or no, Alan has his monument here in the structure we behold above and around us, bearing witness to his life, which ended in 1364 when he had reached the age of seventy. On the brass which once marked his resting-place we know that there was engraved a lengthy epitaph in Latin verse, still extant, of which we offer an abridged translation as follows:

"These things of note are at Ely, the Lantern, and Chapel of Mary, A windmill too, and a vineyard that yieldeth wine in abundance. Know that the Choir before you exceedeth all others in beauty, Made by Alan our brother, Alan the wise Master Builder; He who of craftsmen the flower, was gifted with strength in his lifetime. Alan the Prior, forget not, here facing the Choir lieth buried. He, for that older Tower which fell one night in the darkness, Here erected, well-founded, the Tower ye now are beholding. Many the Houses of God that, as Prior and Sacrist, he builded. May God grant him in Heaven a seat as the end of his labour."

From this epitaph we may conclude that Alan of Walsingham had given Ely both a windmill and a vineyard; of these no trace exists (though we know that the mill stood on the summit of "Cherry Hill"); but "the Lantern and Chapel of Mary" and the western bays of the Choir, as built under him at Bishop Hotham's charge, remain for us to this day.

From the Octagon we can view the transepts begun in 1083 by Abbot Simeon. The columns and mouldings bear witness to the fact that these eastern transepts are of earlier date than the nave. At the western corner of the north transept we notice a doorway of classical design inserted in 1699 by Sir Christopher Wren, to repair a fall which had taken place there. Before leaving this transept let us enter the Chapel of St. Edmund (one of two screened off chambers against the eastern wall), and take note of the alabaster reredos, exquisite in design and material, placed there in 1898 by Canon Stanton, in memory of his father.

Cathedral Towers.

On this reredos Christ appears in glory, as the ascended High Priest of His Church, interceding for His people. Beneath on the retable is inscribed in Greek the words: "Able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him." The chapel is intended to be used for private meditation and for services connected with missionary work. We (p. 362) leave it with the sense that the highest message the minster has to give is still remembered among us.

From the Octagon we may pass into the Choir, where gates of brass open through the richly carved screen of oak. This screen is a really beautiful creation of the nineteenth century, while the tabernacled oaken stalls within are mediæval, dating from 1337, and are yet more beautiful, forming as they do part of Alan of Walsingham's great restoration. For over four centuries these stalls stood where Alan placed them, under the Octagon, separated from the nave by a massive Norman screen of stone. About 1770 they were moved by the architect Essex to the eastern end of the Choir. The stalls having been thus removed, Essex saw no reason for preserving the Norman screen, so he had it destroyed. Had the venerable structure still stretched across the nave we should feel it purposeless, and it would undoubtedly have been inconvenient: so we ought perhaps to admit that Essex really conferred on the cathedral a boon by his drastic act on which a less daring and more conservative architect would not have ventured. Still we send a sigh of regret after the ancient work, that had stood through so many centuries only to be pulled down as an encumbrance, and carted away at last as rubbish.

The stalls after their removal eastward were painted to look like mahogany (!) in accordance with eighteenth century standards of beauty. They were left in this far eastern position for about eighty years, when they were shifted half-way back again, into their present place, under the supervision of Sir Gilbert Scott, the architect employed to direct the restoration then in progress. Their upper panels have been filled with Bible scenes carved in high relief in wood; mostly the work of a Flemish artist of the nineteenth century. On the south are scenes from the Old Testament, on the north from the Gospels. They repay a careful study, being beautiful and original in design. Twenty-five in number on either side, arranged chronologically, they face each other, answering in several instances as type and antitype; the Deluge corresponds with the Baptism, Jacob's Deception of Isaac with the Betrayal; the Lifting up of the Brazen Serpent with the Crucifixion, the Ascent of Elijah with the Ascension. Whether this is intentional or accidental we leave to be decided by those who, familiar with Bible incidents, are wishful to exercise their ingenuity and (p. 363) their power of discernment, in discovering further and less obvious correspondence.

The stall seats are on hinges, and are known as "Miserere" (i.e. mercy) seats. They were thus named from being so contrived that when turned back they gave a merciful support to the monks, who could thus sit after a fashion, instead of having to stand, during the lengthy nocturnal services in which they were engaged; but if the occupant of the stall abused this relief by permitting himself to be overcome with sleep, he and his seat fell forward together with a crash, to his great discomfiture. When turned back the quaint carvings usual under such seats may be seen, the work of the fourteenth century carvers. The subjects represented are strangely varied; scriptural, legendary, grotesque, according to the taste and fancy of the carver, and no two are alike. We find here Noah's Ark, a pelican feeding her young, a nun at prayer, monkeys and dragons, a woman beating a fox for robbing her hen-roost, a fox attired as a bishop, a monkey extracting a man's tooth, a king and a monk fighting, St. Martin sharing his coat with a beggar. The upper canopied work of these stalls is of delicate beauty, little damaged by all it has undergone, whether of neglect or of change, during the six centuries and a half of its existence.

But while admiring these choir stalls, we are almost inclined to grudge their presence, for they obstruct the view of the stone arches against which they stand. We are still beholding the work of the great Alan; after the tower fell he and his workmen built these three bays, with the triforium and clerestory arches above; and we feel how perfectly brain, heart, and hand must have worked together in harmony to produce so exquisite a result. It was Bishop Hotham who provided the funds for most of this work.

Passing on up two steps beyond these three bays we come to arches somewhat different; while we observe a corresponding change in the character of the liern vaulting overhead. We are now in the presence of Early English masonry, wrought a century before under Bishop Northwold, and perhaps yet lovelier than the Decorated work which was her daughter. Arch beyond arch, six in number, extends this Presbytery, as it is called, ending in an east window of three lower lancet lights, with an upper tier of five smaller lancets. The (p. 364) Northwold Presbytery does not merge imperceptibly into Alan's Choir; for the transition is marked on either hand by a semicircular shaft of stone that soars aloft, the only remnant left to us of the eastern limb of the original Norman church. These venerable piers therefore deserve our special notice, though they might not attract it if we were ignorant of their story. They themselves stand as raised by their builders, but Bishop Northwold gave them new capitals of Purbeck marble harmonising with the work he was erecting eastward.

Next let us study the modern reredos or altar screen, all of white stone and marble, having as its background the three lancet windows of the east end, filled with not unworthy modern glass, against which it stands out with grace and dignity; a space of thirty feet intervening. The reredos consists of five spandrels surmounted by gables, and is made of alabaster, lavishly gilt and bejewelled, inlaid with mosaic. On the highest gable stands a figure representing Christ in Glory, His hand held forth to bless His people. Immediately below comes the Annunciation, carved in low relief in a trefoil-shaped medallion. Below again is a statuette of our Lord, with Moses and Elijah on either hand, and beneath these, under a canopy of alabaster, is the Last Supper. In a line with this, still in the same high relief, is sculptured our Lord's triumphal entry into Jerusalem, His washing of the Disciples' feet, His agony in Gethsemane, His bearing of the cross. Immediately over these Gospel scenes, under the shadow of a marble canopy, we have the heads of the four great prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, on one side, balanced on the other by the four Latin doctors of the Church, St. Jerome, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, St. Gregory. Within the four side spandrels are carved the heads of Mary Magdalene, of Mary the mother of James, of St. John the Evangelist, and St. John the Baptist; on the points of the gables above are the four Evangelists, while between them, and flanking them, stand on spiral pillarets delicate figures emblematical of faith, hope, and charity, of justice, prudence, and fortitude—those graces and virtues which made the saints here represented to be such.

On the retable at the foot of the reredos, stand two massive candlesticks of silver gilt. These were procured for the cathedral in 1660, on the restoration of the Chapter and the return of Bishop Wren after his imprisonment of eighteen (p. 365) years. During the Commonwealth the cathedral staff had dwindled down to one canon and one verger. It is recorded that the first requisites purchased by the Chapter on being reinstated were these very candlesticks—plus a wheelbarrow and a broom.

And now we shall do well to make an appreciable physical effort, in order to get a view of two bosses of special interest in the vaulting overhead. It is somewhat neck-racking work, and a glass is absolutely necessary if we are to carry away any definite impression of the sculptures in question. On one of these bosses the coronation of the Virgin is carved most gracefully and reverently; on the other is St. Etheldreda, crowned and gorgeously robed, seated with a crozier in her right hand, as Abbess. Both are richly coloured, and have escaped, through being inaccessible, the injury done to the other images in the cathedral. For more than 600 years they have looked down on the tomb of Bishop Northwold, the builder of this noble Presbytery, erected, we must remember, to do honour to the shrine of the Foundress.

This Presbytery of wondrous beauty, enriched by the best that could be wrought by human hands, alike in the past and in our own days, may well recall to us Keble's lines:

"Love delights to bring her best,
And where Love is, that offering evermore is blest."

The "Angel Choir" in Lincoln Cathedral, built at the same time, is so nearly a twin with Bishop Northwold's Choir at Ely that to distinguish the two, if their photographs are placed side by side, requires some nicety of observation. Whether either was actually copied from the other we do not know, for in those days the torch of architectural inspiration quickly passed from hand to hand. This is the case in our own time with regard to inventions due to the increase of scientific knowledge; when no part of the civilised world remains long behind the rest, if light, locomotion, or medicine is concerned. Age after age man sets himself to make his own the best that can be obtained, and to say for himself, no less than for the world at large

"Let Knowledge grow from more to more."


Monuments.—West's Chapel.—Alcock's Chapel.—Northwold Cenotaph.—Basevi.—Shrine of Etheldreda.—Lady Chapel.—View from Tower.—Triforium.—Exterior of Minster.—Palace, "Duties" of Goodrich.—St. Mary's.—St. Cross.—Cromwell's House.—Cromwell at Ely.—St. John's Farm.—Theological College.—Waterworks.—Basket-making.

The monuments within the Ambulatory may now claim our attention. Starting at the southern entrance, let us look first at a canopy of coloured stone, the tomb of De Luda, Bishop of Ely from 1290 to 1298. The builder of Ely Chapel,[226] Holborn, he was eminent for learning, and was keen to enrich the See; as a man of note he was sent by Edward the First to France to settle terms of peace. Here we can study the details of Decorated work at its best. Close at hand is Bishop Barnett's tomb of grey marble, of a date somewhat later, robbed of the effigy in brass which was once part of it. Next we come to the cenotaph of Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester, who lived during the Wars of the Roses. He had travelled to Jerusalem, and had made his home in Italy, and was known as "The Pilgrim Scholar." A pioneer of Greek, then reviving in the schools of Western Europe as the result of the fall of Constantinople, he was also a patron of Caxton and his novel printing press. Under Edward the Fourth he tried his hand at governing Ireland, where his cruelty toward the Lancastrians gained for him the name of "the Butcher." He was beheaded in 1470, and appears here in marble lying between his two wives. Next note Bishop Hotham's tomb, of the Decorated period. His name is familiar to us as having promoted by every means in his power the work carried out by Alan of Walsingham.

(p. 367) So far the tombs we have noticed have stood in a line under three arches of the Presbytery, as the eastern part of the Choir is called: we now turn to the south aisle to look at that of Peter Gunning, Bishop of Ely under Charles the Second, who wrote (as we mentioned before) the prayer to which we owe the phrase "All sorts and conditions of men." The mitred bishop rests his head on one hand, in an attitude somewhat ungainly, and his monument is of little artistic merit. But the resolute, delicately-cut features deserve our study, and the epitaph is of interest as recording how he had vindicated the Church of England in the presence of Cromwell himself. Let us pause a few steps further east to look at the calm face of Canon Selwyn, a nineteenth century lover of the cathedral; and then, as we pass the tomb of Bishop Eustace, who built the western porch, let us go back in thought to the far-off troublous days of King John.

From the Retro-choir we enter Bishop West's chapel, rich with the ornament of Perpendicular architecture at its highest pitch of elaboration. Nicholas West was Bishop of Ely under Henry the Eighth, from 1515 to 1533; and little did he foresee that the sanctuary he was adorning with the devotion of a lover who offers of his best would be despoiled and defaced by his own immediate successor in the See.

He was no novice as an architect when he came to Ely; for while Dean of Windsor he had completed the vaulting of St. George's Chapel. This chantry abounds in work characteristic of the Renaissance, extremely rare in England. Again and again, always with arabesque ornament that recalls the designs of Raphael in the Loggie of the Vatican, is reproduced the bishop's favourite motto, Gratia Dei sum quod sum ("By the grace of God I am what I am"), alluding, it may be, to his own humble parentage; for, born the son of a baker in Putney, he rose to be Bishop of Ely, and to live "in the greatest splendour of any prelate of his time"; he kept a hundred servants; nor did he forget the poor, feeding two hundred of them daily at his gate; or it may be that the motto refers to his having in early life brought upon himself disgrace by his violent temper. He had been turned from these evil ways to become the friend and ally of the two saintliest men in England—Sir Thomas More and Bishop Fisher.

Besides embellishing this chapel with this motto, he adorned (p. 368) it further with exquisite statuary. Here delicate canopies, upwards of two hundred in number, still overhang corresponding pedestals, on which there stood once, for a few short years, statuettes of workmanship equally delicate; but of these nothing is left beyond a few traces of their feet, which being carved out of the solid stone did not give way when the tiny statue of which they formed a part was broken off by the mandate of Bishop Goodrich. When the quarrel arose between Henry the Eighth and the Pope as to his repudiating Catharine of Aragon, Bishop West was true throughout to the cause of the injured Queen; but he died in 1533, just before the bursting of the storm in which his friends, More and Fisher, laid down their lives, and was buried in the chapel that bears his name.

Here, too, lie the bones of the great Earl Brithnoth, who, as we remember, was brought back hither headless, from the battle of Maldon, by the monks of Ely to be buried amongst them according to their promise. We connect this warrior's character with the dying words attributed to him in Anglo-Saxon poetry, "God, I thank Thee for all the joy that I have had of Thee in life."[227] Other Anglo-Saxon worthies of the ninth and tenth centuries rest also in this chapel: an Archbishop of York, a Swedish Bishop, and several Bishops of Elmham, in Suffolk, and Dorchester, in Oxfordshire—Sees which were in later years transferred to Norwich and Lincoln respectively. It is held that these were retired prelates, who had come to end their days at Ely; where they were welcome guests, as they were licensed by the Diocesan to perform the often-needed episcopal functions of the Abbey, without calling in the distant and over-busied Bishop of Dorchester, to whose See Ely belonged. This was a convenience both to the Brotherhood and to the Diocesan himself. The names of Earl Brithnoth and of these contemporaries are inscribed on tablets let into the wall of this chantry.

Touching it on the northern side, behind the screen of the High Altar, we see a fine tomb, Perpendicular in style, where lies buried the Cardinal de Luxembourg, a foreign prelate presented to the See of Ely in 1438 by King Henry the Sixth, but never (it seems) canonically confirmed as Bishop. In order to gain space for his chapel, Bishop West did not scruple to take a slice off the tabernacled work of unrivalled beauty that (p. 369) adorned this adjoining tomb, but the northern side he left in its perfection. Notice, too, close at hand, a bronze monument to Dr. Mills, professor of Hebrew, who died about the middle of the nineteenth century. The recumbent figure is of great beauty.

Next we come to Bishop Alcock's chapel, occupying the northern corner of the ambulatory, as Bishop West's does the southern. It was built, a generation earlier, by Bishop Alcock only a few years after his reconstitution of St. Radegund's Priory at Cambridge as Jesus College, recorded in our sixth chapter, and is marked as his by the frequent recurrence of his "canting" armorial bearings, a shield and crest all cocks, or, rather, black cocks' heads. He was a great builder, a great worker, and, like many another ecclesiastic of his day, a great politician, being Lord President of Wales, and Comptroller of the Royal Works to Henry the Seventh; yet withal he was a man of marked sanctity. His chapel is rich in Perpendicular ornament. A wreath of grapes and vine-leaves in stone runs round it in all directions, as if verily clambering. The undercutting of this wreath is wondrous, but perhaps the marvel of it culminates in a pendant boss of vine-leaves on the northern side so deeply wrought that we can see right through it, yet perfect to-day as when first carved.

The masons who worked here liked their joke; and one of them made a boss of foliage, graceful enough when seen from above,—but stoop down to look at it from below, and behold a grinning imp. This stonework was chiselled in situ, the rough blocks were placed where they were to stay, and there they were cut into the shape required, several being even yet unfinished. Canopied niches abound here, but of the statuary that once filled them one figure alone has escaped destruction, and still indicates how beautiful its companions must have been. To Bishop Alcock Jesus College, Cambridge, owes its existence, and Peterhouse many benefactions; and here is his tomb. In 1900 Bishop Alwyne Compton filled the window of this chapel with stained glass, depicting four of his most noted predecessors.

Leaving this chantry behind we see on our right, under his own Early English bays, the monument to our old friend, Hugh de Northwold, who lies buried not in this spot but in the middle of his presbytery. Before he became Bishop of Ely (p. 370) he had been Abbot of Bury St. Edmund's, for which place he ever retained a warm affection. His feet touch a block of marble, on which is sculptured the martyrdom of St. Edmund, whom we see tied to a tree and shot to death by Danish arrows, while his beheading is also represented. Here, too, is a wolf guarding the Saint's head, according to the legend. The story ran that, after the Saint's martyrdom and decapitation, his surviving subjects, to whom his "universal graciousness which yet suffered no unbecoming familiarity" had deeply endeared him, sought, so soon as the Danes had marched away, to take up his remains for fitting burial. The body they soon found, but the head had been cast into a thicket, and was not discovered till the searchers heard a voice crying, "Here! Here! Here!" which guided them to the spot where it lay. A huge wolf was standing, as it were, on guard over the sacred relic, but did not offer to attack the finders, who, on their part, suffered it to remain unhurt. The faithful beast followed them like a dog till it saw the head laid together with the body, and then quietly departed into the forest, no man doing aught against it.

Close at hand, leaning against the northern wall of the aisle, is a detached fragment of stonework, once the arm of Northwold's abbatial chair which he brought with him from Bury St. Edmund's. This, too, is made in the form of a beast of prey (somewhat distantly resembling a wolf), holding between its paws a human head. The Abbey of Bury St. Edmund's, it may be mentioned, was, in some sort, a daughter House of Ely. When King Edgar, "the Peacemaker," founded that monastery in honour of the Royal Martyr he populated it, in the first instance, by drafting forty monks from Etheldreda's earlier royal foundation.

We will next look at the impressive monument of William of Kilkenny, Bishop of Ely for three years under Henry the Third. He gave great offence through being consecrated bishop by the Archbishop of Canterbury in Italy, instead of in England, where it was felt that both prelates ought to have been attending to their duties at home; he, moreover, died abroad on a journey to Spain, whither he was going on the King's business. A traveller and statesman, he was also a generous promoter of education, as is shown by his founding scholarships at Barnwell Priory. A recumbent figure holding a crozier, he rests on a pillow as if asleep.

(p. 371) Next we reach the tomb of Bishop Redman, who held the See for a very short time in the opening years of the sixteenth century. The tomb is of fine Perpendicular work, and the Bishop lies under a canopy rich in armorial bearings; but the figure is strangely truncated at the foot, which derogates not a little from its beauty.

Retracing our steps for a few yards, we find beneath our feet a brass which records one of the tragedies that the Minster has witnessed; here lies buried Basevi, the gifted architect of the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge, who met with his death in 1845 while accompanying Dean Peacock over the work of repair going on in the western tower. The Dean had just a moment before given the architect a caution to take care how he walked. Basevi, familiar with scaffolding, smiled at the advice, and going on with his hands in his pockets, came to a hole he had not perceived, and fell through in a way that would have been well-nigh impossible had his hands been free; his feet struck the pavement below with a jar so intense that death was almost instantaneous.

And now we end our tour round these sepulchres and monuments by contemplating all that remains of what was once the rallying centre for those countless pilgrims who travelled hither in search of spiritual and physical benefit—the shrine of St. Etheldreda. It was once enriched with gems and costly hangings. It has been told how Queen Emma, in 1016, gave it a "purple cloth worked with gold and set with jewels."[228] Sixty years later the shrine is described as "made in part of silver, as adorned with pearls, emeralds, onyxes, alamandine stones, embossed with images in relief, among which were two lions carved in crystal, also four figures of angels carved in ivory." Such it was made by Theodwin, who was Abbot for three years under William the Conqueror, and such he left it. After another sixty years it was robbed by Bishop Nigel, who took away much of its gold and silver and used it for his own purposes.

But if it was despoiled in one century it was enriched in the next. From 1252 it stood behind the High Altar in Bishop Northwold's Presbytery, erected purposely for its reception; with the figure of the Foundress of the Abbey gazing down upon it from the central boss of the vaulting overhead. The (p. 372) shrine was thus held in honour till the reign of Henry the Eighth; when the Royal greed swooped down upon it, the dust of Etheldreda was thrown we know not where (though the chapel in Holborn bearing her name, and the church of the Dominicans at Stone in Staffordshire claim to possess relics of her hand), her coffin was broken up and destroyed, the treasures that adorned her shrine were dispersed. Love of loot was the great motive for this spoliation; hatred of abuses, some real, some imaginary, was the hypocritical excuse. Whatever may have been the pretext for its demolition, the shrine was robbed and left empty.

The existing monument is a vaulted canopy of the fourteenth century, and is held to be due to Alan of Walsingham. Much of the ancient colouring survives on its northern side, but the southern has been completely refaced with new stone-work. Let no one leave without stooping down to pass beneath it, where it is easy to stand upright. It was here that pilgrims congregated, happy in the sense that they were in close proximity to the bones of the sainted Abbess. Here once was sheltered the sarcophagus of marble that held the body of the Foundress of the Abbey. Sturdy blows must have been needed to annihilate it; but destroyed it was, and no tradition gives any record of its fate, nor has any remnant of it ever been recovered. Stripped as we see the shrine, now set aside in the northern aisle of the presbytery, it seems left to prove that dignity may linger on for ages, long after the word has been spoken "Thy glory is departed."

Before leaving the cathedral we must pass into the Lady Chapel adjoining the north-eastern transept, connected with it by a passage. We have already told when and by whom it was built, and when and by whom it was desecrated. At the Reformation it was rededicated to the Holy Trinity, and became a parish church, replacing the church of St. Cross, which once stood close to the cathedral, but was pulled down during the sixteenth century. Our visit must have its painful side, as we remember how one form of faith built this chapel and another defaced it. We could envy those who saw it fresh from the hand of gifted sculptors and masons, its windows, now so bare, all aglow with colour of a richness to which the few poor fragments that remain bear eloquent testimony.

(p. 373) This chapel measures a hundred feet in length and is about half that width, the roof is of a single span, with no pillars to support it. Around it runs a stone bench, divided up by canopied niches still bearing traces of the old colouring—red, blue, green and gold. The canopied work over these niches is in almost perfect preservation, rich and free in design, but the statuary which once abounded under and above it has been ruthlessly and deliberately broken. Only one head half hidden by sculptured foliage escaped the iconoclasts as they went round the hallowed walls to "break down all the carved work thereof with axes and hammers."

We look up and see some relics of stained glass, accidentally spared when the rest was smashed, in colour most harmonious, the greens and reds incomparably mellow in tone; while certain small outlined figures strangely traversing it, stiff yet vigorous, recall the painting on Egyptian monuments. A few square feet of this precious glass, a multitude of headless yet graceful statuettes canopied by unblemished stone-work, are still left to show us how beautiful the whole must have been when in its glory. We leave with a sigh the chapel, designed by Alan of Walsingham, and built by his faithful subsacrist John of Wisbech.

Those who desire it can, before they quit the Minster, climb to the top of the western tower, and if the day is clear they will be well rewarded by a superb view over the "boundless plain" below; towns and hamlets, steeples and spires, spread there beneath us, nor must we forget the railways, with their kindly evidence of modern life at its fullest. To the east the horizon is bounded by those East Anglian uplands which nurtured Etheldreda for her great work here. But, beyond almost any other, this is essentially a man-made landscape; its salient features are not hills, but buildings, not rivers but lodes. Peterborough, the sister Abbey-Cathedral, is in view twenty miles away to the north-west, and many a church of note and beauty is prominent within nearer range, including the towers and spires of Cambridge fifteen miles to the south. The very cornfields and pastures beneath us have been reclaimed from the marsh by man; while, far on the north-east, is "Denvers Sluice" protecting the rich fenland from inundation. The view from the top of the tower is well worth a climb, if we have time and strength for the venture.

(p. 374) Those who wish to be acquainted with the structural secrets of the cathedral should make an effort to gain admittance to one of the spiral staircases to the upper passages that lead from triforium to triforium, from clerestory to clerestory. In these higher regions we shall still come upon deeply wrought crocketing, such as that in the upper eastern lancet windows—crocketing seen only by the stray visitor, yet worked with ungrudged labour and skill. Here we may step along the plank that takes us from beam to beam for a hundred feet over the vaulting of the Choir, through the spacious chamber that separates this vaulting from the outer roof. On every beam stands a pail of water ready in case of fire.

Through a low doorway at the end we pass to the circle of the lantern. Here a shutter-like panel can be opened and we can look downwards if we will, but we shall probably elect rather to spend these rare minutes in gazing upwards, on the figure of Christ in the key boss of the vaulting, now that for once in our lives we find ourselves near enough to John of Burwell's carving to see how bold and yet how reverent it is.[229]

One question forces itself upon us, how was it placed here? How was Mr. Gambier Parry able to paint the glowing angels on these panels? We see in imagination the scaffolding, the ropes, the pulleys, that have been in use here, where now all is calm and rest, and we feel that William Watson might have had this very scene before him when he wrote the lines:

"No record Art keeps
Of her travails and woes:
There is toil on the steeps,
On the summit repose."

The tourist has one further duty to perform; for he must not leave Ely without walking round the cathedral outside. He will then be perplexed by the anachronisms before him; he will see Perpendicular windows inserted in Norman aisles, Decorated tracery in Early English masonry; he will observe this from without more plainly than from within, and he will realise how the monks who designed and built it all had a firm belief in themselves, and in their own age, so that they did not shrink from what we should now count as acts of Vandalism. (p. 375) They no more hesitated to displace the work of their forefathers by their own, than we hesitate to light our houses and churches with electricity, instead of being content with the gas that was good enough for our grandparents.

As we turn to the north, on leaving the cathedral by the western door, we shall be puzzled by the strange appearance of the steeple on its northern side. For Ely Minster, we cannot deny it, is lop-sided; it has no north-western transept to correspond with the south-western. On the north side of the tower there is masonry proving that once it had the support of such a transept; but there is no record of its fall or demolition, so we are left to surmise that perchance it shared the fate of the adjoining church of St. Cross, described as a "lean-to," dark and "uncomley, very unholdsome for want of thorrowe ayre" which we know to have been pulled down during the reign of Elizabeth.

We must now go eastward, and, keeping close to the cathedral as we follow the path that surrounds it, we shall be able to drink in the view, described earlier, of the Minster as seen from the east. From this point we can grasp it all, and we can feel ourselves in close touch with the builders of yore, with Simeon, and Richard, and Hugh, and Alan, and John; for the work of each is here before our eyes at once. They now rest from their labours, leaving them as a priceless legacy to benefit ourselves and others. Look at Richard's transepts resting on old Simeon's foundations; look at Hugh's lancet windows, at Alan's incomparable lantern, at the Lady Chapel which John was able to build through his finding of that brazen urn. The space that lies between us and these men of mark seems bridged by a span as we contemplate their work and try to understand it.

As we complete our circuit of the East end, and stand at that of the south transept, we shall be struck with a conspicuous range of ruined arches built into the Canons' residences to the south-east. These are the remains of the Infirmary; which we have seen to play such an important part in the life of the Abbey. It had its own chapel, hall and kitchen, and stood on the site of the original Saxon church. The space between it and the Minster was called the Slype, and served as a kind of market, whither travelling merchants brought their wares for the inspection of the Prior, Sacrist, (p. 376) and other chief officers of the Abbey. These officers, we may mention, did not share the common life of the monks, but had houses of their own, fragments of which still dot the "College,"—mostly, like the Infirmary, now built into the residences of the various Canons.

Not a stone's throw from the Galilee Porch, just across the street towards the west, stands the episcopal palace. At one time this palace was actually connected with the cathedral by a covered gallery crossing the street. We can see from an old print how seriously this erection must have blocked the traffic, and on this account it was finally removed; yet its name adheres to the thoroughfare over which it once passed, and which is still called "the Gallery." The Bishop of Ely is fortunate in having his house close to his cathedral, unlike too many of the episcopal residences, which are at an inconvenient distance from the central city of the See. Moreover, his palace is of reasonable size; not too large nor yet too small for the hospitality to which a bishop must be given if he is to live up to the Scriptural standard; and it has another great practical advantage in being near to a station where several lines converge, and where all trains stop.

The Palace was built in the main by Bishop Alcock toward the end of the fifteenth century. It is of chequered red brick with stone facings; his own arms, three heads of the barn-door cock, and the arms of the See, three crowns, are worked in stone on the face of the front wing looking north; there project, moreover, three niches (now empty) with the canopies he loved so well. Thirty years later Bishop Goodrich (who robbed these niches of their statuary) added the western gallery, a hundred feet long, with its beautiful oriel window, on whose outer panels he caused to be engraved his original version of our Duty toward God and our neighbour, which we may still read for ourselves if we can contrive to see through certain bushes that hide it. These inscriptions are on two slabs of freestone beneath the two side-lights of the oriel window in the gallery of the palace. Unhappily they are rapidly perishing under the action of the weather, and will soon be altogether lost. This is unfortunate, as they are of no small interest, representing, as it would seem, Goodrich's original draft for the "Duties," which were afterwards expanded into the form so familiar to us in the Catechism. Nor does any one seem (p. 377) to have been at the pains to record them verbatim while they remained legible; so that now many conjectural words have to be supplied, by considering the number of letters in the spaces worn away. In the following reproduction these conjectural words are placed within brackets and italicised. The duty towards God, which is on the eastern side, is in Roman capitals, and probably had eleven lines, the first three of which are wholly gone. It runs thus:—

[The . duty . toward . god . is . to .
believe . in . him . to . love . him .
with . all . our . hert . & . soul .
] . all . our . power . to . wors
hippe . god . to . give . him . tha
nkes . to . put . our . whole . trust
in . him . and . to . cal . on . him . to
honoure . his . holy . name [and
] . worde . and . to . serve . god
[truly] . all . the . days . of . our

The duty towards our neighbour, on the western side, is in Old English letters, in fourteen lines, as follows:—

The . duety . [towards . our . neigh]boure . is
to . love . him . a[s . we . do . ourself . an]d . to
do . to . all . men . as . I . wo[uld . they . do . ]to . me
to . honour . and . obay . [the . King . and . all . set] under . him ? ? ?
beme ? ? [and . to . order . ourselves]
lowly . to . all . [our . betters] . to . hurt . no
body . by . word . nor . d[eed . to . be . jus]te . in . all
our . delyng . to . bear . no . [malice] . in . our . hert
to . kep . our . handes . from . stelyng . & . our
tong . from . evil . speaking . to . kep . our . bo
dys . in . temperance . not . to . covet . other . mens .
goods . but . laboure . truly . for . our . lyvyng . in . ye
state . of . lyfe . it . plese . God . to . call . us . on . to .

Of the many residences once belonging to the See, this palace is all that is left. In looking back, we must remember that in days when travelling was difficult it may have been of real advantage to the Bishop to have places of abode dotted all over his diocese, where he could stay, and where he could exercise his episcopal functions. We read, for instance, how, in 1487 and the following year, Bishop Alcock admitted (p. 378) between forty and fifty persons to minor or higher orders in his chapel at Downham Manor.

St. Mary's Church.

Beyond the Palace stands St. Mary's Church, built by Bishop Eustace about 1200, while Norman architecture was developing into Early English. It has been remarked that "its architect was disposed to adopt the new style without quitting the old one." The columns of the nave are simple Norman; the chancel and chapel on the south are distinctly Early English; the tower and spire are of Decorated work; and we meet with inserted Perpendicular windows. In the midst of a well-kept churchyard may be seen a broken and ancient font, with an inscription embossed in lead stating that it has been so placed that it may receive only the water of heaven.

The citizens of Ely throughout the Middle Ages were well provided with churches, having for their devotions both St. (p. 379) Mary's and also St. Cross, of which we have spoken before. The name St. Cross has an interesting history. When first the abbey was built, there stood against the stone rood-screen thrown across the nave an altar known as the Altar of the Holy Cross; here the inhabitants of the city were invited to worship, while the monks said their office quite apart within the screen. But, as time went on, the monks found that this twofold worship was not convenient, and, wishing to have the Abbey to themselves, they built, immediately outside it on the north, a church for their lay neighbours, "for doing such things as should be done in a parish church," and named it St. Cross, after the altar within the Minster which was thus superseded. With the dispersion of the monks the nave came again into public use, and the church of St. Cross was permitted to decay, and was finally removed.

Adjoining the churchyard of St. Mary's stands the vicarage. It is a rambling house of moderate size, quaintly made of rough hewn beams with reed-stiffened clay in between, and opening on to the street. This house has a notable history. It was first built as a tithe house, and was within the same ring-fence as the great barn or granary for the storing of the tithe sheaves belonging to the monastery. In this house lived the farmer of the tithes, who bore the title of Steward, and collected tithe, first for the monks, later for the Dean and Chapter of Ely; and as this office became hereditary the name of Steward was taken as a family surname. The last of these Stewards was Sir Thomas, who died in 1636, leaving no son to succeed him; but his daughter Elizabeth was the mother of Oliver Cromwell, and Oliver by a very natural arrangement stepped into his grandfather's office. He accordingly left his home at St. Ives, sixteen miles distant, bringing his wife, his mother, and several children, to live in the tithe house at Ely; the older lady thus returning to the home of her childhood.

The Cathedral from the West Fen Road.

For ten years the Cromwell family occupied this very house, which still remains pretty much what it was in their time. Here two children were born, and one died. Mrs. Cromwell was an excellent housewife, being we are told "as capable of descending to the kitchen with propriety as she was of acting in her exalted position with dignity." To Cromwell's duties as tithe farmer were added, in the course of time, those of Governor of the Isle of Ely. On St. Mary's Green, in front (p. 380) of this house, he used to drill and instruct the levies of his newly-formed "Eastern Counties' Association," which by and by developed into his formidable "Ironsides." The result of his drilling speaks for itself in the history of the Civil War; (p. 381) of his precepts, one at least, commonly attributed to him, was good, "Say your prayers, and keep your powder dry."

The same house served as the residence of the tithe farmers till the passing of the Tithe Commutation Acts, when, after the death of the last of the officials in 1840, the Dean and Chapter sold it. Only in 1905 was it purchased by the Vicar of St. Mary's, to become the vicarage of his church; appropriate in every way from size and position and association for this purpose. The Tithe Barn was a massive structure of stone thatched with reeds, but no trace of it is left; for it was pulled down about the middle of the nineteenth century, when tithe having ceased to be paid in kind[230] it no longer served any useful purpose; and on its site were built the almshouses and national schools, now to be seen quite close to the vicarage.

Cromwell was no friend to the cathedral services, nor did his residence near at hand tend to make him love them. He at the tithe house, and Bishop Wren at the Palace, must have lived in avowed antagonism; but they ceased to be neighbours in 1642, when the Bishop was sent to the Tower by warrant of Parliament for his persistent effort to restore reverent ceremonial in public worship. The services in the Minster were conducted at this time by Canon Hitch, Vicar of Holy Trinity, to whom Cromwell wrote as follows from his house hard by:

Ely 10th January 1643.

Mr. Hitch,

Lest the soldiers should in any tumultuary or disorderly way attempt the Reformation of the Cathedral Church, I require you to forbear altogether your Choir Service, so unedifying and offensive:—and this as you shall answer for it if any disorder should arise thereupon. I advise you to catechise, and read and expound the Scriptures to the people; not doubting but the Parliament with the advice of the Assembly of Divines will direct you further. I desire your sermons too where they usually have been, but more frequent.

Your loving friend,
Oliver Cromwell.

(p. 382) Canon Hitch took no notice of this letter, and the "Choir Service" went on as before; wherefore Cromwell, sword in hand, his hat on his head, attended by a party of soldiers, went to the cathedral at the time of Divine Service, and spoke aloud these words: "I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me, and am commanded to dismiss this assembly." Canon Hitch, who was conducting the Service at the Communion Table, paid no attention, and went on without stopping; whereupon Cromwell, followed by soldiers and rabble, went up to the clergyman, laid his hand on his sword, and, bidding him "leave off his fooling and come down," drove the congregation out of the cathedral.

Five years after this scene took place, an order was made by the House of Commons to the effect "that the Cathedral Church in the Isle of Ely, being in a ruinous condition, should be examined with a view to its being pulled down and its material used to make provision for sick and maimed soldiers and their families." Providentially this order was not carried into effect, Cromwell's own influence being presumably used against it.

If we continue our walk for a few minutes further westward along the street, we come to a quaint and picturesque building now known as St. John's Farm. It was built by Bishop Northwold, in order to unite the two Hostels of St. John the Baptist and St. Mary Magdalene. These Hostels had been founded for the use of monks who, though residing in Ely, wished to be independent of the greater monastery; Bishop Northwold put an end to this undesirable state of things by erecting one Hostel for the use of the two communities, and placing it under the direct supervision of the Sacrist of Ely. The Hostel is now an unpretending homestead, much rebuilt, yet retaining bits of thirteenth century work still untouched and therefore of interest.

Those who approach Ely from the south must notice two prominent buildings standing quite apart from the cathedral. One is the Theological College, a structure of red brick well placed on rising ground, where twenty students can reside while preparing to take Holy Orders in the Church of England; it was founded by Bishop Woodford, who filled the See for twelve years from 1873. The College has its own private chapel for daily use, but by its constitution the students are (p. 383) bound to attend many services in the cathedral; the founder having insisted on this proviso as tending to maintain the link between the new foundation and the ancient Minster, a link which he foresaw might otherwise dwindle away. As a rule students have one year of special training and study; and during this time they take part in the parochial work of the cathedral city.

St. John's Farm.

The other conspicuous building is a round castellated structure that might well pass for a Norman keep, but is, in fact, the water tower of Ely, supporting a huge tank into which water is forced from springs at Isleham some seven miles (p. 384) distant.[231] The inhabitants of the city have good reason to be thankful for this water supply; not a hundred years ago the natural springs on the spot were so inadequate for their use that most of the water for brewing and washing had to be brought up from the river, slung in a pair of leather bags on horseback, an arrangement manifestly inconvenient, "though providing," as the historian adds, "a comfortable subsistence for many industrious poor." Let us hope that these poor folk did not bear a grudge against Dean Peacock, to whose zeal the waterworks of Ely are mainly due.

One of the chief industries of Ely is the making of jam, for which the rich fruit-growing fields in the neighbourhood supply the material. And if we follow the main street down to the wharf on the river Ouse we shall see in the piles of willow wands that lie ready stripped on its banks, evidence of a much older industry still carried on here. This is the basket-making, for the which the fenland districts of Britain were famed even before the Romans reached the country. Posidonius, the Rhodian geographer under whom Cicero studied, and who himself visited our island about 100 B.C., mentions "British baskets" as exported for use on the Continent. A century later Strabo tells us of their extensive home use, for storing corn, and Martial, in the next generation, gives us the very word, which was adopted into the Latin from the Celtic original (still used in Welsh), as it has since been adopted into English. In sending a present to a lady he alludes to it as:

"A basket rude, from painted Britons come."
("Barbara de pictis venio bascauda Britannis.")

The withies of which the baskets are made were at first, doubtless, the shoots of the willows found growing wild along the streams. Now they are cut from carefully tended osier-beds, small enclosed areas which are periodically flooded, where the willows are regularly cultivated with a view to the production of long shoots suitable for this industry. "They are regularly cut, peeled, and seasoned and afford employment to large numbers of people."[232] Nor is the making of baskets the only purpose for which willows may be profitably cultivated; for, as Fuller says:—"This tree delighteth in moist (p. 385) places and is triumphant in the Isle of Ely, where the roots strengthen the banks and the lop affords fuel for the fire. It groweth incredibly fast; it being a by-word in this county that the profit by willows will buy the owner a horse before other trees will pay for his saddle."

Having thus come to know something of Ely Minster, we shall feel the greater interest in all our further explorations through those highways and byways of the surrounding district over which she presides with the air of a Mother, and a Queen.

Willow Walk.


Boundary of Fens.—Roman Works, Car Dyke, Sea Wall, Causeway.—Archipelago.—Littleport, Agrarian Riots.—Denver Sluice.—Roslyn Pit.—Fenland Abbeys, Chatteris, Ramsey, Peterborough, Thorney, Crowland.

The vast Fenland district of which the Isle of Ely is the core consisted, until the fens were drained, of an archipelago of scattered islets rising out of a morass, through which the rivers from the uplands around stagnated in a complex system of waterways, constantly changing, as one branch or another got silted up and the streams had to make themselves new channels.

The foreshore of the uplands may still be traced on a contour map, and is seen to be deeply indented, with bays running in from the fen and capes running out into it. The southernmost point of the morass was at Fen Ditton on the Cam, two miles below Cambridge. Its western boundary went by, Waterbeach, Cottenham, and Willingham, to Earith; thence through Huntingdonshire to Ramsey and Peterborough; thence, by Deeping, Holbeach, and Spalding, to the Witham, a few miles below Lincoln. Throughout all this length ran a Roman earthwork, the Car Dyke, still existing at many points, evidently thrown up by these mighty civilisers to keep the floods in check. A like Roman embankment, of much larger dimensions, is to be seen on either shore of the great estuary which of old brought the sea-shore as far south as Wisbech. The eastern boundary of the Fenland needs no such defence, as on this side the higher ground sinks much more abruptly to the fen level. It passes from Fen Ditton by Horningsea, Bottisham, Swaffham, and Reach to Burwell. Here a peninsula projects to Soham, (p. 387) followed by a deep inlet to Isleham and Mildenhall. Then it runs north and west to Downham, in Norfolk, and thence due north to the sea by Lynn.

We must not, however, suppose that the whole of this immense tract was always morass. Oscillations in the land level have more than once raised it high enough and long enough for great forests to clothe it; the trees of which, frequently of giant size, are constantly exhumed from the peat which the later depressions have formed over them.[233] The last of these forests seems to have lingered on into Roman times. A Roman roadway may still be traced, running east and west across the whole breadth of the district, from Denver, at the south-western point of the Norfolk uplands, to Stanground, near Peterborough, on the Huntingdonshire mainland. The Fens must have been very different from what they afterwards became for such a road to be in use. But before the collapse of Roman Britain in the fifth century of our era all seems to have gone to fen once more; and the islets in it served as a refuge for the remnant of the British population when the flood of the Anglo-Saxon Conquest burst over the land.[234]

These islets number some thirty and more, and vary considerably in size. Far the largest is that on which Ely stands, the southern part of which has been spoken of in Chapter XII. At its extreme northern point, on a subsidiary islet of its own, is the large village of Littleport, chiefly memorable as having been the focus of a most serious agrarian outbreak, which in the year 1816 convulsed the district. Widespread agricultural distress marked the first decades of the nineteenth century. The wholesale enclosure of the common fields and the waste lands brought with it no small suffering to the peasantry; who everywhere lost, by the Enclosure Acts, the advantages which the waste lands had afforded them, receiving in exchange a scanty portion of "town land" in each parish, the rent of which is applied to local charities. And in many instances the policy of the Government placed these "town lands" in the least accessible corner of the parish; for the express purpose of preventing labourers from acquiring allotments in them and thus becoming less dependent on their wages. The draining of the fens, moreover, which was then in full progress, by exterminating the old abundance of fish and wildfowl deprived the (p. 388) marsh-men at once of their chief recreation and their most savoury food. Wages were only nine shillings a week, while wheat was no less than five guineas a quarter. These grievances actually drove the peasantry to arms, not without countenance from sympathisers of a superior class, who felt that the demand of the rioters for wages enough to purchase a stone of flour a week, which was all they asked, could not be called unreasonable.

"Assembling by sound of horn at Littleport, they sacked some of the houses of the most prosperous, levied contributions on others, and then marched on Ely in formidable force, armed with guns, pistols, scythes, etc., and under cover of a waggon, on which they had mounted four punt-guns. These formidable weapons, used for wild-fowl shooting, with barrels eight feet long, whose charge was no less than a pound of gunpowder, projected over the front of the vehicle to clear the way if needful. But though the leading inhabitants of Ely had hastily armed themselves, and been sworn in as special constables they were not prepared to face this artillery, and the town passed without resistance into the power of the mob, who repeated their Littleport doings on a larger scale, though with little bodily hurt to anyone. Unhappily the mob soon got out of hand, and the movement rapidly degenerated into a mere drunken riot, the chief sufferers in which were, as usual, those who had done most for the relief of the poor—the local shopkeepers, who had aided them by credit, and the local clergy, who had organised soup-kitchens for them.

"At the first approach of the military force sent for to suppress them, the rioters retreated in good order, still under cover of their armed waggon, to Littleport, where, however, only a handful made any sort of stand when the soldiers actually arrived."[235] The rest dispersed in panic, and not a blow was struck in defence of those, some eighty in number, who were selected to be made an example of. A special commission was held for the trial of these unhappy men. "In spite of strong testimony to character, five were hanged, and five more transported for life, the rest undergoing various terms of imprisonment; all to the accompaniment of ecclesiastical rejoicings, the Bishop entering the cathedral in solemn procession, to the strains of the triumphal anthem, "Why do (p. 389) the heathen rage?", with his Sword of State borne before him (by his butler!), and escorted by fifty of the principal inhabitants, carrying white wands. No fewer than three hundred of these wand-bearers guarded the execution of the five rioters; yet the sympathy for them was so strong that the bishop could not get a cart to carry them to the gallows under five guineas for the trip."

Such was the last serious exercise of the Bishop's long-descended secular jurisdiction over the Isle. From the Girvian Princes to the Abbesses of Ely, from the Abbesses to the Abbots, from the Abbots to the Bishops that Palatinate jurisdiction had been handed on for twelve hundred years;—and this was its sordid close. It died none too soon.

Littleport is now quite a thriving and prosperous place, with a shirt-factory employing over 300 hands and a most effective system of agriculture in the reclaimed fens around. It has a fine Early English church, and a grand tower, through the basement of which goes the footway of the street. Until the nineteenth century the place was so inaccessible by land that the Cambridgeshire annalist Carter (1752) tells us that "it is as rare to see a coach at Littleport as a ship at Newmarket."

From Littleport the road pursues its level way for seven miles across the fen, till, after crossing the small islet of Hilgay, it strikes the Norfolk uplands at their south-western corner, hard by Denver Sluice; the present boundary of the North Sea tide, which once ran up almost to Cambridge. This magnificent Sluice is the keystone of the whole drainage scheme of the fenland. Here the New and the Old Bedford Rivers, whose start we saw at Earith (p. 280), once more rejoin the Ouse, having conveyed in twenty-two miles the waters which by the old channel would have taken thirty-three. This, of course, gives them a better fall, and renders them less liable to silt themselves up.

Practically the New River does all the work, very little water being in the Old except what the tide brings up. It is a striking sight to be on the Sluice at high water and gaze at the sea waves ridging up this old river with force that seems illimitable. And yet not enough pass in, before the ebb calls them back, ever (or hardly ever) to reach Earith, as a glance at the channel there instantly shows. Still more striking is it to be on the Sluice when the spring tides are on, and see the sea on the north of (p. 390) the Sluice standing fifteen or twenty feet higher than the fresh waters on the south. One realises what widespread disaster would ensue if the Sluice were to give way. Small wonder that during the Fenian dynamite scare of 1867 the place was watched day and night by a guard of soldiers. The Sluice itself is a massive dam of stonework; having a big lock with two sets of gates, one against the stream of the river, the other against the tideway of the sea, which reaches this point by a broad cut from the important seaport of King's Lynn.

This present erection was built 1752. Its earlier predecessor was set up 1651 by the Dutch engineer Vermuyden, the maker of the Bedford Rivers, to whose genius the whole present scheme of drainage owes its existence. He carried through his plan in face of most determined opposition, especially from the towns of Lynn and Cambridge, who complained that "whereas of old ships from Newcastle were wont to make eighteen voyages in the year to Cambridge with sea coal, now, since the blocking of the stream at Denver and the diversion of its waters at Earith, they can make but ten or twelve, whereby the price of fuel hath increased by half." When this first sluice was "blown up" by the tide in 1713 there were loud rejoicings. The consequences, however, proved so serious, that the next generation was fain to see it replaced.

Lynn is the point to which the road we have been following ultimately leads. On leaving Ely by this road, the first turn to the right will bring us down to the famous Roslyn (or Roswell) Pit, beloved of geologists and botanists. It is a large water-filled excavation by the side of the railway, nurturing various rare water plants, and presenting the wonderful spectacle of chalk lying above boulder-clay, a phenomenon now attributed to ice action.[236]

St. Wendreda's Church, March.

The western declivity of the Island plunges down to the fen at Mepal, on the New Bedford River. After crossing this, the road leads straight across the fen to Chatteris, and is called Ireton's Way; the causeway on which it runs having been made by that great Puritan general, for strategic purposes, during the Civil War. Chatteris was the first of the wonderful chain of Abbeys which swept round the Fenland from Ely into Lincolnshire. The others are Ramsey and Peterborough on the last verge of the mainland; with Thorney and Crowland, rising, like (p. 392) Chatteris, on islands in the morass.[237] Of these, Chatteris and Thorney alone are in Cambridgeshire; though Peterborough is within half a mile of the county boundary. The former, a nunnery, was founded by the Lady Alwyn, foster-mother to Edgar the Peacemaker. It was never a large House, and no remains of it survive; but Chatteris is now the seat of another Benedictine community, exiled from France in 1901. The place possesses some curious wells of warm water, not of any great depth, as such usually are, but penetrating only some ten or twelve feet into the fen deposits. Local chemical decomposition is supposed to account for the phenomenon. The fen hereabouts is rich in geological and archæological remains. And within sight of his mother's convent, only six miles away across the fen, her son (also an Alwyn), the Alderman or Earl of the district, founded, on the projecting cape of the Huntingdonshire mainland, the much larger abbey of Ramsey, whose abbot was one of the higher or "mitred" class, privileged to give the "Minor" Orders (i.e. those beneath the grade of Deacon).

Thorney was of earlier date; coeval, indeed, with Peterborough. Of its foundation a graphic description is given by the chronicler. After telling how King Wulfhere of Mercia (whose wife was sister to St. Etheldreda), endowed Peterborough and its abbot Sexwulf with broad possessions, he continues:

"Then said the King: 'This gift is little, but it is my will they hold it so royally and so freely that neither geld nor fee be taken from it....And thus free will I make this Minster, that it be under Rome alone: and my will it is that all we who may not go to Rome visit St. Peter here.'

"While thus he spake, the Abbot prayed of him that he would give him whatsoever he should ask. And the King granted him. Then said the Abbot: 'Here have I God-fearing monks, who would fain live as anchorites (i.e., hermits), knew they but where. And here is an island which is called Ancarig[238] (Thorney). And my boon is that we might there build a Minster, to the glory of St. Mary, so that they who would lead the life of peace and rest may dwell therein.'

"Then the King answered and said: 'Beloved Sexwulf, lo! not only that which thou hast asked, but all else on our Lord's behalf I thus approve and grant.' ... And King Wulfhere first confirmed it by word, and after (p. 393) subscribed it with his fingers on the Cross of Christ" (i.e. he signed his name with a cross, on which he laid his finger, saying, "I deliver this as my act and deed," as we do with the seal on a deed at present. Seals did not come in till the Norman Conquest). Amongst the witnesses to his signature we find "Wilfrid the Priest, who was afterwards Bishop," i.e. the great St. Wilfrid of Ripon.

Thorney, however, was long in rising to abbatial dignity, and remained the abode of anchorites, so humble and so sequestered that in the great Danish raid of 870, when Ely and every other Religious House throughout the Fenland was destroyed, the plunderers did not take the trouble to seek it out, and it became a haven of refuge for the survivors of the sack of Crowland. The story is graphically told in the "Chronicle of Crowland"; in its present form probably a thirteenth century work, but obviously compiled from earlier sources.

After describing vividly the utter overthrow, at a great battle in Kesteven (West Lincolnshire), of the local forces hastily called out to meet the Danish host, he tells how a few poor fugitives got them to the Church of Crowland, and interrupted the Midnight Service with their crushing tidings.

"At this news all was confusion. And the Abbot, keeping with himself the oldest of the monks and a few of the children (of the Abbey School), bade all those in their prime to take along with them the sacred relics of the monastery (namely the holy body of St. Guthlac, his scourge, and his psalter) and the other chief treasures, and thus to flee into the neighbouring fens. With sorrow of heart did they his bidding, and, having laden a boat with the aforesaid relics and the charters of the Kings, they cast into the cloister well the frontal of the High Altar (which was covered with plates of gold) along with ten chalices ... and other vessels. But the end of the frontal, so long was it, always showed above the water; whereupon they drew it out and left it with the Abbot; for ever could they see the flames of the towns in Kesteven draw nigher and nigher, and feared lest the Heathen should on a sudden burst in upon them. So took they boat, and came unto the wood of Ancarig on the southern march of their islet. And here abode they with Brother Toretus, an anchorite, and other brethren, then dwelling there, four days, thirty in all, of whom ten were priests. But the Abbot, and two old men with him, hid the aforesaid frontal outside the church, to the North; and afterwards he and all the rest clad in their sacred vestments, met in Choir, and kept the Hours of Divine Service according to their Rule. And the whole of the Psalms of David went they through from end to end. After this sang they High Mass, the Abbot himself being Celebrant....

"Now, when the Mass was drawing to an end, and the Abbot and his deacon and subdeacon and the taper-bearers had already communicated in (p. 394) the Holy Mysteries, came the Heathen bursting into the church. And upon the very Altar, by the cruel hand of King Oscytel, was the venerable Abbot himself sacrificed, a true martyr and victim of Christ. All they who stood round and ministered with him were beheaded by the savages; and the aged men and children, as they fled from the Choir, were taken and questioned under the bitterest tortures, to make them show the treasures of the church. Dom[239] Asker, the Prior, was slain in the vestry, and Dom Lethwyn, Sub-prior, in the refectory. Behind him there followed close Brother Turgar, a ten year child, shapely, and of a fair countenance; who, when he saw his superior slain, besought earnestly that he too might be slain with him. But Earl Sidroc the Younger, touched with pity for the lad, stripped him of his cowl, and gave him a Danish cloak, bidding him follow everywhere his steps.... And thus, out of all who abode in the Monastery, old and young, he alone was saved; coming and going amongst the Danes throughout all his sojourn amongst them, even as one of themselves, through this Earl's favour and protection.

"Now when all the monks had been done to death by the torturers, and no whit of the Abbey treasures shown thereby, the Danes, with spades and ploughshares, brake open right and left all the sepulchres of the Saints round about that of St. Guthlac. On the right was that of St. Cissa, priest and anchorite, and of St. Bettelin, a man of God, erst an attendant on St. Guthlac, and of Dom Siward (the Abbot) of blessed memory. And on the left was that of St. Egbert, St. Guthlac's scribe and confessor, and of St. Tatwin, the pilot who guided St. Guthlac to Crowland.... All these did the savages burst open, looking to find treasure therein. And finding none, they were filled with indignation; and piling up all these holy bodies on a heap, in piteous wise, they set fire to them, and, on the third day after their coming, that is to say, on the 7th of the Kalends of October (September 25), they utterly consumed them, church and monastery and all.

"But on the fourth day off they went, with countless droves of beasts and pack-horses, to Medehampstead (Peterborough). And there, dashing at the outer precinct of the Monastery, with its barred gates, they assailed the walls on every side with arrows and machines. At the second assault the Heathen brake in, and, in the very breach, Tubba, the brother of Earl Hubba, fell grievously wounded by a stone cast. By the hands of his guards he was borne into the tent of Hubba his brother, and despaired even of life. Then did Hubba's rage boil over, and he was altogether wild against the monks, so that he slew with his own hand every soul clad in the religious habit; the rest sprang upon the rest; not one in the whole Monastery was saved; both the venerable Abbot Hedda, and all his monks, and all the lay-brethren were massacred; and Brother Turgar was warned by his master, Earl Sidroc, never anywhere to cross the path of Earl Hubba. Every altar was uprooted, every monument broken in pieces, the great library of holy books burnt, the plenteous store of monastic papers scattered to the winds; the precious relics of the holy virgins Kineburgh, Kinswith, and Tibba,[240] trodden under foot; the walls utterly overthrown; (p. 395) the buildings burnt up, church and all, blazing with a bright flame for five whole days after.

"Then on the fourth day the Host drew together, with spoil beyond tale from all the country round, and set off towards Huntingdon. The two Sidroc Earls, at the crossing of the rivers, ever came last, to guard the rear of the whole army. Now all their host had passed over the river Nene safely; but, as they were themselves crossing, they had the bad luck to lose two carts, laden with untold wealth and plenishing, which sank in a deep eddy of the stream to the left of the stone bridge, so that horses and all were drowned before they could be got out. And while the whole household of Earl Sidroc the younger was busied in drawing out these same carts, and in transferring the spoil to other waggons and carriages, Brother Turgar slipped away and fled to the neighbouring forest. All night did he walk, and with the earliest dawn came into Crowland. There he found his fellow monks, who had got back from Thorney the day before, and were hard at work putting out the fires, which still had the mastery in many of the ruins of the Monastery.

"And when they saw him safe and sound they were somewhat comforted; but on hearing from him where their Abbot and the other Superiors and Brethren lay slain, and how all the sepulchres of the Saints were broken down, and all the monuments, and all the holy books and all the sacred bodies burnt up, all were stricken with grief unspeakable; and long was the lamentation and mourning that was made. Satiated at length with weeping, they turned again to putting out the conflagration. And when they raised the ruins of the church roof about the High Altar, they found the body of their venerable father and abbot, Theodore, beheaded, stripped, half burnt, and bruised, and crushed into the earth by the fallen timbers. This was on the eighth day after his murder, and a little away from the spot where he was slaughtered. And the other ministers, who fell with him, found they in like manner crushed into the ground by the weight of the beams—all save Wulfric the taper-bearer.

"But not all at once. For the bodies of some of the Brethren were not found till half a year after their martyrdom, and not in the places where they were slain. For Dom Paulinus and Dom Herbert, very old men, and decrepit, whose hands were cut off and themselves tortured to death in the Choir, were found, after a diligent search, not there but in the Chapterhouse. In like manner Dom Grimketyl and Dom Egmund, both some hundred years old, who had been thrust through with swords in the Cloister, were found in the Parlour. And the rest too, both children and old men, were sought for in divers places, even as Brother Turgar told just how each had been slain; and at last were all found, with many a doleful plaint and many a tear, save Wulfric only. And Dom Brickstan, once the Precentor of the monastery, a most skilful musician and poet, who was amongst the survivors, wrote on the ashes of Crowland that Lament which is so well known and begins thus:

'Desolate how dost thou sit, who late wast Queen among Houses
Church so noble of old; erst so beloved of God.'

(Quomodo sola sedes, dudum regina domorum,
Nobilis ecclesia, et nuper amica Dei).

(p. 396) "Now when the Monastery, after long and hard work, was cleared, so far as was then possible, from filth and ashes, they took counsel on choosing them a Pastor; and when the election was held, the venerable Father Godric, though much against his will, was made Abbot. To him came that venerable old man Toretus, the Prior of Thorney, and his Sub-prior, Dom Tissa, both anchorites of the utmost sanctity. And devoutly they prayed him that he would deign to take with him certain Brethren and come to Peterborough, and give, of his charity, Christian burial to the bodies of their Abbot and the other Brethren, which yet remained unburied and exposed to beasts and birds. The Abbot gave heed unto their prayer, and with many of the brethren (amongst them Brother Turgar) came unto Peterborough, where all the Brethren of Thorney met him. And with much labour the bodies of all the monks of that Monastery were got together, 84 by tale, and buried in one wide grave in the midst of the Abbey cemetery, over against what was once the East End of the Church. This was on St. Cecilia's day (November 22).

"And over the body of the Abbot, as he lay amid his children, he placed a three-sided stone, three feet high and three long and one broad, bearing carved likenesses of the Abbot, and his monks standing around him. And this stone, in memory of the ruined Abbey, bade he thenceforward to be called Medehampstead. And once in every year, while he lived, did he visit it; and, pitching his tent above the stone, said Mass for two days with instant devotion for the souls of those there buried.

"Through the midst of that cemetery there ran the King's highway (Via Regia); and this stone was on the right thereof, as one comes up from the aforesaid stone bridge towards Holland (S.E. Lincolnshire); and on the left stood a stone cross bearing a carven image of the Saviour; which our Abbot Godric then set there, to the intent that travellers who passed by might be mindful of that holy Abbey, and pray to the Lord for the souls of the Faithful who lay in that cemetery."

The Abbot of Thorney was also "mitred," and the House ranked as second only to Ely in the county. William of Malmesbury (A.D. 1135) describes it as "a little paradise, delightsome as heaven itself may be deemed, fen-circled, yet rich in loftiest trees, where water-meadows delight the eye with rich green, where streamlets glide unchecked through each field. Scarce a spot of ground lies there waste; here are orchards, there vineyards. Nature vies with culture, and what is unknown to the one is produced by the other. And what of the glorious buildings, whose very size it is a wonder that the ground can support amid such marshes? A vast solitude is here the monks' lot, that they may the more closely cling to things above. If a woman is there seen, she is counted a monster, but strangers, if men, are greeted as angels unawares. Yet there none speaketh, save for the moment; all is holy silence.... Truly I may call that island a hostel of chastity, (p. 397) a tavern of honesty, a gymnasium of divine philosophy. From its dense thickets it is called Thorney."

At the draining of the Fens, in the seventeenth century, Thorney was assigned to the Earls (now Dukes) of Bedford, who, during the nineteenth century alone, have expended on their Thorney estates nearly £2,000,000. Yet the Thorney property does not even pay its way. The noble owners have, however, their reward in the genuine success which has crowned the experiment from a philanthropic point of view. Thanks to their efforts, Thorney is again, as in the old days of the Benedictines, a smiling, well-wooded oasis amid the dreary Fenland; where the welfare of the tenantry is, as of old, the chief object of the landlord, and where, in consequence, pauperism, drunkenness, and crime are alike practically unknown. The remains of the Abbey Church are still used for parochial worship, but only 117 of its original 290 feet of length have survived Henry the Eighth's demolitions.

(p. 398) CHAPTER XIX

Draining of Fens.—Monastic Works, Morton's Leam.—Diversion of Ouse.—Local Government, Jurats, Discontent.—Jacobean polemics.—First Drainage Company.—Rising of Fen-men.—Second Company, Huguenot Labourers.—Third Company, Earl of Bedford, Vermuyden.—Old River.—Cromwell.—Fourth Company, Prisoner Slaves, New River, Denver Sluice.—Later Developments.

The thought of the Fenland Abbeys leads on to the fascinating story of the draining of the fens. For the monks were the first to reclaim from the morass such little patches of ground as each Abbey could bank in, and to discover how very fertile such reclaimed soil is. Their early chronicles speak with rapture of the hay that could be mown three times a year, and the amazing fecundity of the corn-land. Thus it was their interest constantly to be enclosing fresh acres. They discovered, too, that by judiciously letting in the flood water on to a field they could get a fresh deposit of silt, and gradually raise the level of the soil. And the first attempt at drainage work on a large scale was also due to a monk, Bishop Morton, Abbot of Ely, who in 1480 cut the twelve mile long "Leam," or channel, which still bears his name, to divert the River Nene from its long meandering course through Whittlesea Mere and Outwell, and to bring it straight to Wisbech.

Thus it came about that the reclamation of the fens went hand in hand with the prosperity of the Abbeys around them. When these were prosperous, the whole district prospered; when misfortune befell them, the fens likewise suffered; and it often took many years for the marks of the ruin to be effaced. After the wholesale destruction wrought by the great Danish raid of 870, centuries did not suffice for this. The story we have just told of the sack of Crowland clearly (p. 399) shows that the place was then accessible by land. But in the hundred and fifty years of desolation that followed, such works as the brethren had effected fell into decay, and the land once more became waterlogged. Even when William of Malmesbury wrote, in the twelfth century, he tells us that Crowland could still only be reached by boat. And the yet more wholesale destruction wrought by Henry the Eighth was followed by a like period of reversion to waste.

The zeal, however, of these early civilisers was not always according to knowledge; and at quite an early date a grievous mistake was made, which caused endless difficulties ever after, and still affects the whole drainage system of the district. This was the cutting, at some date between 1215 and 1270, of a leam, not two miles long, from the Great Ouse at Littleport to the Little Ouse,[241] thereby diverting the waters of the former into the channel of the latter, and bringing their united volume into the sea at Lynn. Before that date the Great Ouse ran from Littleport to Outwell, where it was met by the Nene, and by a branch of the Little Ouse. The joint river was called the Well Stream, and poured into the sea at Wisbech.

That this had been the age-long course of the Fenland waters is shown by the existence of a huge Roman sea wall running round the old coast line from Lynn to Wisbech, and from Wisbech to Sutton in Lincolnshire. This wall traces for us the outline of a great tidal estuary running up to Wisbech, which continued an estuary even to the eighteenth century. But the diversion of the greater part of its river water to Lynn proved fatal to it. Such stream as was left, scarcely more than that of the Nene, could not, at the ebb, scour out the channel through the sands which the flood-tide continually tended to silt up. Wisbech became more and more shut off from the sea, and is now ten miles away from it. And further, the inability to escape quickly enough through these choking sands drove the river water at Wisbech back upon itself and forced it to "drown" the neighbouring fens; while at Lynn the same disastrous effect was produced by the new volume of water being too great for the narrow bed of the Little Ouse and flooding over the banks all round. The Marshland, as the Norfolk district protected by the Roman wall was called, suffered especially from this result of interfering with Nature.

(p. 400) Nor did it prove possible to undo the mischief. When once a short cut has been made for a great river, it is no easy matter to turn the stream back into its old tortuous course; and, when once an estuary has got thoroughly silted up, it is yet more difficult to restore it to its old condition. Throughout the Middle Ages constant complaints were made, and occasional attempts; but these were always brought to nought by some conflicting interest or other which got the ear of the Government. The fen problem was early recognised as a matter of national concern, and, from the time of Edward the First onwards, the Crown tried to grapple with it, but by hopelessly futile methods.

To begin with, the system of Local Government already established for the regulation of Romney Marsh in Kent was extended to the Fenland. The Sheriff was bound to summon twenty-four "jurats" from the inhabitants of the neighbourhood, to deal with each difficulty as it arose. But a plan which worked well enough for a district only some ten miles by fifteen, and with no river to speak of, was wholly inadequate to deal with the huge area and mighty forces of the Fenland, even when this was divided (as it still is for drainage purposes) into three "Levels," "North," "Middle," and "South." The jurats hated their invidious office, and were themselves hated by the inhabitants; each man always declaring that they had saddled him with repairs which ought to have been laid upon some neighbour, and each man ready to see his own land "drown" rather than put in a single spadeful of work which, in his view, should have been someone else's job.

Besides, the drain or the dam or the embankment which was good for one set of interests was bad for another. We have seen how Cambridge complained of the erection of Denver Sluice; and like grievances fill page after page of the Plantagenet Rolls. The men of Lynn complain that whereas they were of old able to sail straight to Peterborough, only thirty miles, they now have to go round by Littleport, over fifty miles, owing to the erection of a dam by the jurats. And, again, that a new cut has so diverted the waters that they can no longer take "navigable" (i.e. sea-going) vessels to Yaxley and Holme in Huntingdonshire, "whereby our trade is greatly decayed." Loud and incessant are the cries from all quarters (except Lynn alone) to "bring back the waters into their (p. 401) natural outfall" at Wisbech. But this, as we have said, had become beyond the power of man; and, despite the well-meant efforts of the unhappy jurats, and of such philanthropists as Bishop Morton, things kept getting worse decade by decade; till the suppression of the Abbeys completed the ruin, and the fens became the dismal tangle of decayed waterways, small and great, new and old, artificial and natural, usable and unusable, the unravelling of which occupied the next three centuries.

Feeble efforts were locally made here and there to control the waters; but, as the historian Carter puts it, the next wet and windy winter "down comes the bailiff of Bedford (for so the country people call the overflowing of the river Ouse), attended, like a person of quality, with many servants (the accession of tributary brooks), and breaks down all their paper banks as not waterproof, reducing all to their former condition." He goes on to give a vivid description of the puzzle-headed conservatism with which the reformers had to contend:

"This accident put the wits of that and succeeding ages upon the dispute of the feasibility of the design; and let us sum up the arguments for and against this great undertaking.

"Argument 1. Some objected that God said to the water, 'Hitherto shalt thou come, and no further.' It is therefore a trespass on the Divine prerogative, for man to presume to give other bounds to the water than what God hath appointed.

"Answer 1. The argument holdeth in application to the Ocean, which is a wild horse, only to be broke, backed, and bridled by Him who is the Maker thereof; but it is a false and lazy principle if applied to fresh waters, from which human industry may and hath rescued many considerable parcels of ground.

"Argument 2. Many have attempted but not effected it. None ever wrestled with it, but it gave them a foil, if not a fall, to the bruising, if not breaking, of their backs. Many have burnt their fingers in these waters, and instead of draining the Fens have emptied their own pockets.

"Answer 2. Many men's undertaking thereof implies the possibility of the project; for it is not likely so many wise men should seek for what is not to be found; the failing is not in the improbability of the design, but in the undertakers either wanting heads or hearts to pursue, or pay the people employed therein.


"Argument 4. An alderman of Cambridge affirmed the Fens to be like a crust of bread swimming in a dish of water. So that under eight or ten feet earth it is nothing but mere water. Impossible therefore the draining thereof, if surrounded by that liquid element both above and below.

(p. 402) "Answer 4. Interest betrayed his judgment to an evident error, and his brains seemed rather to swim than the floating earth; for such as have sounded the depth of that ground find it to be Terra Firma, and no doubt so solid to the centre as any other earth in England.

"Argument 5. The river Grant or Cam (call it what you will), running by Cambridge, will have its stream dried up by the draining of the Fens. Now, as Cambridge is concerned in its river, so that whole County, yea, this whole Kingdom, is concerned in Cambridge. No reason, therefore, that private men's particular profit should be preferred before an universal good, or good of an University.

"Answer 5. It is granted the water by Cambridge kindles and keeps in the fire therein; no hope of sufficient fuel on reasonable rates, except care be taken for preserving the River navigable; which may be done and the Fens drained nevertheless. To take away the thief is no wasting or weakening of the wick of the candle. Assurances may be given that no damage shall rebound to the stream of Grant by stopping other superfluous waters.

"Argument 6. The Fens preserved in their present property afford great plenty and variety of fish and fowl, which have therein their seminaries and nurseries; the which will be destroyed on the draining thereof, so that none will be had but at excessive prices.

"Answer 6. A large first makes recompense for the shorter second course of any man's table. And who will not prefer a tame sheep before a wild duck? a good fat ox before a well-grown eel?

"Argument 7. The Fens afford plenty of sedge, turf, and reed; the want whereof will be found if their nature be altered.

"Answer 7. These commodities are inconsiderable to balance the profit of good grass and grain, which those grounds, if drained, will produce. He cannot complain of wrong, who hath a suit of buckram taken from him, and one of velvet given instead thereof. Besides, provision may be made that a sufficiency of such ware-trash may still be preserved.

"Argument 8. Many thousands of poor people are maintained by fishing and fowling in the Fens, which will all be at a loss for a livelihood if their farms be burnt; that is, if the Fens be drained.

"Answer 8. It is confessed that many who love idleness live (and only live) by that employment. But such, if the Fens were drained, would quit their idleness, and betake themselves to more lucrative manufactures.

"Argument 9. Grant that the Fens be drained with great difficulty, they will quickly revert to their old condition, like to the Pontine Marshes in Italy.

"Answer 9. If a patient, perfectly cured, will be careless of his healthe, none will pity his relapse. Moderate cost, with constant care, will easily preserve what is drained; the Low Countries affording many proofs thereof.

"Argument 10. Grant them drained and so continuing; as now the great fishes prey upon the less, so then wealthy men would devour the poorer sort of people; injurious partage would follow upon the inclosures, and rich men (to make room for themselves) would jostle the poor people out of their Commons.

"Answer 10. Oppression is not essential either to draining or enclosing, though too often a concomitant of both. Order may be taken by (p. 403) Commissioners of quality, impowered for that purpose, that such a proportion of Commons may be allotted to the poor that all private persons may be pleased and advance accrue hereby to the Commonwealth."

The outcome of these vigorous polemics was that King James the First threw himself whole-heartedly into the idea of a general drainage scheme; and under his auspices a Company of "Adventurers" or "Undertakers" was formed to carry out the business. This, however, was regarded by the Fen-men as an unmitigated piece of tyranny; the Opposition in Parliament made violent protests; "Libellers" wrote inflammatory broadsides inciting the Fen-men to rise;[242] and the Fen-men, who wanted little inciting, did rise in no small numbers. Nocturnal raids destroyed every work begun by the Company's labourers; the labourers themselves were intimidated; and before long progress became impossible. The Company became bankrupt, and the thousands of reclaimed acres which were to have been divided amongst the "Adventurers" never actualised.

(Northern District)

(Southern District)

The Crown, however, did not lose sight of the scheme. A special Commission of enquiry was formed, which sent in a most pessimistic Report, representing Wisbech as demanding that the "upland men" should contribute to the scouring of the outfall there, inasmuch as it drained their lands, to which the upland men retorted that Wisbech might mind its own business (p. 406) and bear its own burdens. "Hence the country about Crowland and Thorney, formerly good ground, hath become mere Lerna,[243]—which doth not only cause overflowing in the upland country, to their infinite loss, but the Islanders themselves are in like danger, as for their cattle and their own safety; out of fear whereof they oftentimes, upon the swelling of the waters, ring their bells backward, as in other places when the town is on fire."

So things dragged on till 1620, when another Company was formed by the King, again doomed to speedy failure.[244] Ten years later again, Charles the First took up his father's idea, and formed a third Company, placing at its head the powerful Earl of Bedford. His first act was to call in a Dutch engineer, Cornelius Vermuyden, acquainted with the drainage methods so successful in Holland, whose fee was an award of no less than 95,000 acres in the lands he might reclaim. Under the auspices of this expert was dug from Earith to Denver the Old Bedford River already spoken of.[245] But the local opposition was still too strong, fostered as it now was by the powerful influence of Oliver Cromwell; and it was not lessened when the King himself bought up the Company. His action was represented as one more encroachment upon the liberties of England, and a regular part of the Puritan programme was "to break the King's dykes, to drown his lands, and to destroy his tenants." These drastic measures proved only too effective; and, with the outbreak of the Civil War, this third attempt, like those before it, came to nought.

When, however, that war was over, and Charles beheaded, Cromwell himself, now Lord Protector of the Realm, came forward as an advocate of the scheme, and formed yet a fourth Company, again under the Earl of Bedford, who had followed his fortunes, and again with Vermuyden for engineer. This time the result was permanent. Cromwell was, as the Fen-men speedily discovered, a far more dangerous personage to bully than they had found his predecessors at the head of the State. (p. 407) Troopers were quartered upon the malcontents, and a plentiful supply of extra cheap labour was furnished by the penal servitude of Scotch prisoners taken at Dunbar and Dutch sailors captured by Blake in the Channel. This method of making war pay its own expenses was familiar to Cromwell, who had already sold many shiploads of these gallant enemies as slaves, some to toil under the lash for the West Indian planters, some to tug at the oars of Venetian galleys. Happily, as he was the first Christian commander to adopt this all too thrifty procedure, so he was the last, and such atrocious exploitation of fellow Christians and fellow soldiers died with him.

Thus was dug, in 1651, the New Bedford River, and thus was built, somewhat later, Denver Sluice. Vermuyden's plan, which continued for two centuries to be gradually developed on the lines he originally laid down, was to cut a few main water-courses through the district, running at a higher level than the swamps around, with Lynn for their chief outfall, and an infinite number of short straight cuts at right angles to these, whence the water draining from the morass should be pumped into them. This pumping was originally done by windmills, and a picturesque sight it was to see their white sails dotting the wide expanse. But all are now superseded by the less poetical but more dependable steam pumping stations, whose tall chimneys form a notable object in the Fenland landscape.

The work was very gradual, with many drawbacks. The Denver Sluice, on which the whole plan depended, was, as has been said, destroyed in 1713, and not rebuilt till 1750, when the very towns which had most rejoiced in its fall were the loudest in demanding its replacement. Other calamities also affected the work, which was not finally completed till towards the end of the nineteenth century. The opposition, too, was unceasing, though it took the form of lawsuits rather than violence. But this, too, died out. The very last of them was an attempt by Wisbech, in 1844, to force the hand of the Bedford Level Corporation (as the old Company of Adventurers is now called) by proposing a rival scheme in Parliament.

Now, however, all is victory. For many years past the reclaimed fen has borne excellent crops; and if, since the agricultural depression of the later nineteenth century decades (p. 408) set in, it can no longer merit so fully as it did the title of "the Golden Plain of England," yet the widespread cultivation of fruit and flowers (mostly narcissus) has furnished no small compensation, and the district as a whole enjoys a very large share of prosperity. At this moment the vast areas allotted to the great Adventurers are being largely broken up into small holdings, with the happiest results.

Sentimentally, and even to a certain extent economically, we may regret the Fenland of old, with its vanished wealth of picturesque life; its reeds which made such splendid thatch, its marsh flowers, its butterflies, its shoals of fish, its endless skeins of wild-fowl, its clever "decoys" where these were taken in such exhaustless numbers that a single one (in 1750) sent up to London 3000 couples a week and let for £500 a year. But with these have also vanished the incessant fever and ague and rheumatism which were an ever-present torment in the old Fen life, and the incessant opium-eating in which the Fen-Folk were fain to find relief. Taking things altogether, the gain has outweighed the loss in the draining of the Fens.

(p. 409) CHAPTER XX

Coveney.—Manea.—Doddington.—March, Angel Roof.—Whittlesea.—Old Course of Ouse, Well Stream.—Upwell, Outwell.—Emneth.—Elm.—The Marshland.—West Walton.—Walsoken.—Walpole.—Cross Keys.—Leverington.—Tydd.—Wisbech, Church, Trade, Castle, Catholic Prisoners, Clarkson.—The Wash.—King John.

In close contiguity to the Island of Ely, on the west, is a tiny satellite, which supports the little village of Coveney. Here the church has some remarkable modern woodwork from Oberammergau, the gift of Mr. Athelstan Riley. The pulpit is also remarkable, dating from 1703 and being of Danish work. More remote are Manea and Stonea, both, happily for themselves, now on a railway line, but otherwise unspeakably inaccessible. It is strange at Manea to see the towers of Ely a short five miles away, and to know that twenty miles of bad road will scarcely get you there. Both names seem to have the same signification, Stone Island; which (as they are eminently unstony, being merely low elevations of gravel) may perhaps refer to the selenite crystals with which the ground here teems. Manea Station is one of the few inland places where the curvature of the earth can be clearly seen. The line (towards March) is perfectly straight and perfectly level, and along it you may observe the trains rising into sight over the horizon like ships at sea.

March stands on a much larger island, seven miles in length. At its southern extremity is Doddington, where the fine Early English church was once the richest in England. It was the Mother Church of a wide district, including its whole island and the fens for miles around. As these were drained so did the value of the benefice increase, till it became worth over £7,000 per annum. Parliament then stepped in, and divided (p. 410) the parish (and income) into seven Rectories, three of these being in the town of March, a modern growth around its important railway junction at the furthest northern point of the island. A fourth is Old March, a quiet "village-hamlet" (as Cardinal Wolsey calls it) two miles south of its larger offspring. The church here is most exceptionally beautiful. It is a Perpendicular structure, with a fine crocketed spire and flint patterns in the outer walls of the clerestory. The roof is beyond all magnificent, with "an innumerable company of Angels" along its vista of double hammer-beams. A brass commemorates William Dredeman, the donor of this crowning glory, who died in 1503; and there is another to Catharine Hansard, 1517, on which the Annunciation is depicted. The church is dedicated to St. Wendreda, a purely local saint.[246] The Parish account-books here give a striking picture of the mutations of the Reformation period. There are payments "for pluckynge doun emags [images] in ye Chyrch and for drynkynge thereat" (1547); "for breckyng down the Altar and carrying forth ye stons" (1550); "for makyng the Hy Alter" (1553); "for pulling doun ye hy alter" (1558); and "for a comunion tabull" (1559).

March is the half-way house between Ely and Peterborough, and between it and the last-named lies Whittlesea, also on a good-sized island of its own, which extends nearly to the Northamptonshire mainland. It is a pleasant little town, with a picturesque market place, where the ancient Market House still rises in the centre. And its church almost rivals that of March, with a still more glorious spire. In 1335 Whittlesea was the scene of a most unedifying conflict between the Abbeys of Ramsey and Ely. To begin with, the Abbot of Ramsey and his monks raided the lands at Whittlesea belonging to Ely, drove away sixteen horses, and (by firing the sedge) burned twenty others, besides ten oxen, eighty cows, and one hundred swine, along with much grass, reeds, and other property. In retaliation for this outrage the Prior of Ely (and he, too, the saintly Prior Crauden) organised a regular military expedition, and came, at the head of the whole Abbey musters, "with banners flying as in war," to Ramsey itself, where, as that House complains, he "hewed down our woods, depastured our grass, and drove off our cattle." Both (p. 411) parties appealed to the King; but the discreditable transaction seems to have ended in a compromise. That such wild work should be possible at all in England reminds us that at this date the country had not yet recovered from the confusions attendant on the fall and murder of Edward the Second eight years before.

Till the latter part of the nineteenth century Whittlesea gave its name to a famous mere, lying to the south of the town, and on the very border of the fens. It was a sheet of shallow water a couple of miles in length and breadth, and furnished a splendid field for angling, skating, and boat-sailing. Its shallowness made it none the less dangerous; for the bottom was fathomless ooze, so soft that the punting poles used here had to be furnished with a round board at their extremities, and demanded special skill, for if you once let this board get underneath the mud, it was much more likely to pull you in than you to pull it out.

Other islets of the fen archipelago are Murrow, between Thorney and Wisbech, Westry near March, and Welney, on the Old Bedford river to the north of Manea. The name of the last reminds us that by it ran the old Well Stream, long robbed of its waters by their diversion to Lynn in the thirteenth century. To this day, however, its course may be traced on the map by the meandering boundary between Cambridgeshire and Norfolk across the fen. Following this line northwards we shortly come to the outskirts of the firm ground on which Wisbech stands, an artificial island dating from Roman times and owing its existence to the great Roman sea wall around the Wash.

Through this island ran the great Well Stream, giving their names to the villages (or rather the village, for they form a continuous row of houses) of Upwell and Outwell. This is the longest village in England, stretching on either side of the road for nearly five unbroken miles. It contains over 5,000 inhabitants, and lies partly in Cambridgeshire partly in Norfolk. The churches are in the latter county, and are grand specimens of the splendid series of churches which glorify the Marshland, as this district by the Wash has for ages been named. Both are of Perpendicular date, with a tower somewhat older. That of Upwell has an elaborate turret for the Sanctus bell. The canopy over the pulpit is still more elaborate. The roof has (p. 412) a series of angels, but far less numerous and effective than those at March. At Outwell there is a fine Decorated door, like that of Barrington.

Elm Church.

Emneth, on the further road to Wisbech, also has an angel roof, of specially interesting character. Each figure is holding some symbol of the Faith; one the Host, another a candlestick, another a Gospel-book. At Elm, hard by, may be seen a still more interesting development of church architecture. The tower is Early English, enriched on its internal face with exquisite shafting, and opening into the nave by an Early English arch. But both shafting and arch must have been insertions in much older work, for between the two may be seen the high-pitched string-course and the rude little window of the original Saxon church. The nave is also Early English (clerestory and all, which is rare hereabouts), while the chancel is Decorated, with its roof higher than that of the nave.

Here at a farm house called Needham Hall (from a famous historic mansion formerly on the site) is shown an old table formed of one solid piece of oak, on which Oliver Cromwell is said to have once slept. When he arrived here at the head of his command during the Civil War, he chose this rude couch (p. 413) in preference to the best bed in the house, that he might fare no better than his men, who were bivouacking in the yard and outhouses.

The churches along the Roman sea-wall on either side of the old Well Stream estuary are also of rare magnificence. To the east, in Norfolk, we find a series of villages deriving their names from the wall itself,—Walsoken, West Walton, Walpole St. Peter, and Walpole St. Andrew. In every one of these the church is a joy; above all at West Walton, with its bell-tower (fifty yards to the south of the main building) uplifted on four graceful arches enriched with dog-tooth moulding. Octangular buttresses support the angles, which are ornamented with blank lancet arches. The next floor has on each side an arcade of three lancets, and the storey above a window of two lights beneath an arch of two mouldings, forming a splay of four banded pillars. No more perfect gem of composition exists; and the Perpendicular parapet which now crowns it very inadequately takes the place of the spire which seems to have been purposed by the original builder. The church itself displays similar features of Early English grace. The nave pillars have Purbeck marble shafts, with beautifully foliated capitals, and the clerestory is pierced with seventeen small archlets, alternately blind and light.

Walsoken, now practically a suburb of Wisbech, has a Perpendicular shell around a Norman nave, which is (next to Norwich Cathedral) the best example of the style in all Norfolk. The chancel arch is a deservedly famous specimen of Transition work. It springs from six banded pillars, and has a soffit exquisitely worked with zig-zags and cusps. The screens of the chapels which formerly occupied the east end of either aisle are rich Perpendicular woodwork. The roof is also Perpendicular, with angels on the transome beams.

Walpole St. Peter's is even more remarkable; for there is actually an ancient right of way through it, underneath the Altar. The thirteenth century chancel, with its five large Decorated windows on either side, ascends by no fewer than eleven steps from the nave to make room for this unique passage way. The five windows of the nave are of the earliest and best Perpendicular, and its eastern gable is crowned with three beautifully proportioned pinnacles. In this parish is the hamlet of Cross Keys, the name of which is sometimes supposed (p. 414) to be connected with St. Peter. But it is much more probably the quay at the starting point of the ancient low-tide passage across the sands of the estuary which led to Sutton Crosses on the Lincolnshire side, five miles away, and which played, as we shall shortly tell, so notable a part in English history. From Walpole the sea-wall sweeps round by Terrington to Lynn. But here we are far in Norfolk. We must not, however, forget that we owe one of our Cambridge Colleges to Terrington, for Dr. Gonville, while Vicar here, founded in 1347 his "College of the Annunciation," the embryo of Caius College.

Walpole St. Peter.

On the Cambridgeshire side of the Well Stream we also find churches fully equal to those on the Norfolk bank. Leverington is one specially to be noted, with its beautiful steeple, an Early English tower surmounted by a Decorated spire so exquisitely proportioned that it seems absolutely to melt away into the sky. There is also a fine Decorated porch with a stone-roofed parvis (p. 415) chamber of original and singular beauty. The chancel is also Decorated, while the grand nave is Perpendicular. The font, too, is Perpendicular, an octagonal structure of oolite, with richly ornamented niches on every face, each containing the head of a saint in high relief. The east window of the north aisle retains much of its ancient glass, proving it to be a "Jesse" window, tracing the descent of Christ from that patriarch through David.

Tydd St. Giles lies at the northernmost extremity of the Isle of Ely, where the "Shire Drain" divides the village from its sister parish of Tydd St. Mary in Lincolnshire. Here, too, the church is remarkable, having its tower fifty feet beyond the East End, a unique position. Like Leverington, it has a specially fine octagonal font, richly traceried, and carved with emblems of the Passion and with the arms of the See of Ely. In the floor of the nave is a thirteenth century gravestone, bearing a floriated cross, and the legend (in Old English characters): " John.Fysner, cujus.aie.deus.ppiciet.Amen." (Pray for the soul of Mr. John Fysner, on whose soul may God be merciful.)

On one of the pillars is a more interesting inscription in rude capital letters, much worn. It is in French, and would seem to be of the early fourteenth century, when that language was becoming very fashionable in England, as our current legal phraseology still shows. It runs thus:—


i.e. in modern French: "Ce pilier commença Ricard le Prêtre premièrement. Priez pour lui"; and in English "This pillar Richard the Priest first began. Pray for him."

After having told of so much loveliness all around, it is disappointing to be obliged to confess that at Wisbech itself, the metropolis of the northern Fenland, the church is comparatively commonplace. Not that it is otherwise than a fine structure, and, like Great Yarmouth, splendidly wide, having a double nave and a double chancel; but it is hopelessly outclassed by those in the neighbouring villages. The best feature is the (p. 416) tower, which is richly ornamented with sacred and heraldic devices of the later Perpendicular period. And in the nave is a fine fifteenth century brass. Otherwise there is little to say about it; and, indeed, little to say about Wisbech at all. It is a picturesque old place, with that somewhat pathetic picturesqueness of an ancient seaport town which the sea has deserted.

Wisbech, however, is not by any means a "dead city." It has 10,000 inhabitants, and keen local ambitions, which have developed an excellent museum and other up-to-date municipal equipment. Modern energy and science have, moreover, made so effective a waterway through the ten miles of silted-up estuary that vessels of 3,000 tons can now, at high tide, reach the wharf. Such, however, are almost unknown visitants. Last year (1909) the vessels clearing from the port numbered 209, of 36,000 tons in all. Two of these are registered at Wisbech itself, as are also twelve sea-fishing boats. A characteristic photograph of Wisbech's shipping is given by Mrs. Hughes in the "Geography of Cambridgeshire" (p. 118). Other photographs (pp. 47, 48) show the great height to which the tide rises in the river, there being a difference of over twenty feet between high and low water mark. The Nene still has its outfall here, and flows through the town in a fine sweep locally called the Brink.

It is hard to believe that this Brink is not the Beach whence the name of the town is vulgarly supposed to be derived. But you must not suggest this to a Wisbech man. The single vowel is an integral part of local faith and local pride, and to insert the "a" is to show yourself a hopeless outsider. With it the name would come from Ouse-beach (like Land-beach and Water-beach near Cambridge). Without it the derivation is Ouse-beck. This last syllable is a Scandinavian word, well known throughout the north of England, and there signifying a running brook. Throughout the Fenland it is frequently used for a drain. But can the mighty Well Stream of the Ouse, at its tidal outfall here, have ever suggested either drain or brook to the men of old who named the place? And can these have been Scandinavians?


The chief oversea trade of Wisbech is in timber from Norway; and it also does a large traffic in fruit, flowers, and vegetables, which are extensively grown hereabouts. In this neighbourhood, moreover, may be seen a much rarer cultivated (p. 417) crop, nothing less primitive than the woad with which the ancient Britons dyed their bodies; though it is a mistake to suppose that this dye took the place of clothing, for as far back as history traces them they were quite fairly civilised, and used woad only for tattooing, like sailors.[247] It is now used for dyeing cloth. "An old woad mill, built of turf blocks arranged in (p. 418) the ancient herring-bone pattern, with a timber and reed-thatched roof, can still be seen at the village of Parson's Drove, about six miles from Wisbech. The plant (Isatis tinctoria) grows about six feet high, and has a blue-green leaf and bright yellow flower; the people still call it by its old name, wād. The young plants are delicate, and the crop requires much care. It is weeded by men and women clad in hardened skirts and leathern knee-caps, who creep along the ground and take out the weeds with a curious little handspade which fits into the palm. The plant is picked by hand. The leaves are crushed to a pulp in the mill by rude conical crushing wheels dragged round by horses, and are then worked by hand into large balls and laid on "fleaks" of twined hazel, or on planks, in special sheds, for three months to dry. After this, the balls are thrown together, mixed with water and allowed to ferment in a dark house for five or six weeks. The woad is then rammed into casks and is ready to be sold to cloth manufacturers."[248]

Wisbech plays but little part in history. Its position at the convergence of the two great Roman sea-walls, east and west of the estuary, makes it pretty certain that they must have had a station here; but, if so, it has wholly passed out of memory. Wisbech Castle is said to have been built by William the Conqueror, and certainly existed in the time of King John. It passed into the possession of the Bishops of Ely, and was rebuilt by two famous holders of the See, Bishop Morton, the designer and excavator of Morton's Leam,[249] and Bishop Alcock, the Founder of Jesus College, Cambridge.[250] Both these prelates were singularly thoroughgoing reformers. The former went into minute details about the dress of his clergy, forbidding them to wear gaudy attire (such as "lirripoops" or gowns open in front like a present-day M.A. gown), and charging them straitly to cut their hair "so that all men may see their ears." And the latter was an indefatigable pulpiteer; one of his University sermons is recorded to have lasted three mortal hours on end.

Bell Tower, Tydd St. Giles.

This episcopal connection of Wisbech Castle led to its (p. 419) becoming, in the reign of Elizabeth, the final scene of that pathetic and lingering tragedy, the fate of the old Catholic Hierarchy of England. Such of that hierarchy as were alive at Elizabeth's succession were, with one exception, deposed for refusing the Oath of Supremacy, to the number of fifteen. (p. 420) Shortly afterwards they were imprisoned, not by any process of law but by the Royal fiat, and continued under more or less severe restraint for the rest of their lives. This was wholly on account of their religion. Lord Burghley, a hostile witness (in his Execution of Justice in England[251]), testifies to their blameless characters, describing them as "faithful and quiet subjects," "persons of courteous natures," "of great modesty, learning and knowledge," "secluded only for their contrary opinions in religion, that savour not (like those of the seminary priests) of treason."

Yet, though thus inoffensive, their doom was grievously heavy. Committed, to begin with, to solitary confinement, in what Froude calls "the living death of the Tower" and other London prisons, for three or four years, they were afterwards quartered (singly) on the Protestant prelates, who were stringently ordered by the Council to prevent them from communication, either by word or letter, with anyone, and to see that they had neither paper to write withal, nor books to read (except Protestant ones). Thus deprived of every intellectual, social, and religious solace, "pining away in miserable desolation, tossing and shifting from one keeper to another," they one by one drooped and died. But all remained steadfast to their Faith; and finally the "obstinate" survivors were, in 1580, closely imprisoned, along with others in like case, in Wisbech Castle.

Here they were under the charge of Cox, the new Protestant Bishop of Ely, who writes of them as "sworn against Christ," and boasts that "if walls, locks, and doors can separate them from out-practice they shall not want a sufficient provision of each." "Nor let it be thought, as some bishops have reported, that I mind to make trade by over-ruling such wretches." The "trade" was handed over to a favourite servant, to make what he could out of the unhappy prisoners (who, like all prisoners in those days, had to be supported by their friends), subject only to providing out of his takings £80 per annum for the upkeep of two Protestant preachers, "who are well able to set down God's anger" against Popery. These preachers (p. 421) (amongst whom one regrets to find "Lancelot Andrewes of Pembroke Hall") were ever and anon to pester the "recusants" with denunciatory discourses in the castle hall. "And the recusants shall be conveyed thither by a secret way, without seeing any; and they shall have a secret place for themselves to be in, to hear and not be seen.... This is the holy ordinance of God."[252]

Kept with this rigour the Confessors lingered on, year after year, till death set them free. The latest to be released were Thomas Watson, Bishop of Lincoln, who died in 1584, and Feckenham, the last Abbot of Westminster, who died in 1585. Both are buried (as the Parish Registers testify) in Wisbech churchyard.

The castle was sold by the See of Ely in 1783, and has since been almost wholly pulled down. Nearly at the same date a young man, born at Wisbech, was beginning those efforts which have reflected glory on his native town, and have revolutionised public opinion throughout the civilised world. The man was Thomas Clarkson, and the cause to which he devoted his life was the abolition of slavery. That institution, up to his time, was regarded as a very foundation of the earth. Rooted in the furthest past of man's history, and as world-wide as it was ancient, the idea of questioning its place in the eternal fitness of things never occurred even to philanthropists. A virtuous man would treat his slaves kindly; but as for not having such, he would as soon have scrupled at having sheep and oxen, or at employing hired servants.

It was left for young Clarkson, while a student at Cambridge, to realise that the time was come when, if the human conscience was to make any further progress in enlightenment, this hoary iniquity must, root and branch, be abolished. On a steep hillside above Wade Mill, in the road between Cambridge and London, a monument by the wayside still marks the spot where he dismounted from his horse, and, kneeling on the ground in the fervour of youthful enthusiasm, solemnly vowed (p. 422) to God that for this holy object he would live and, if need be, die.

At once he set to work. Gathering a band of like-minded friends round him (mostly belonging to the so-called Clapham Sect, who were then inaugurating the great Evangelical Revival)—Wilberforce, Zachary Macaulay, Babington, Thornton, Buxton, Cropper, and the rest—he started an agitation in and out of Parliament, which carried all before it. The Slave Trade was abolished in 1807; on August 1st, 1834, slavery itself ceased throughout the British Empire; the example of Britain was followed by other European Powers; and finally, in 1864, after a last desperate struggle for existence in the American Civil War, it was cast forth from its last stronghold in the United States. If practised at all now, it is practised under some feigned name and elusive system. No civilised man dare any longer proclaim himself an avowed slave-driver. Well indeed does Clarkson deserve the monument which Wisbech has erected to her glorious son.

At Wisbech, till the reclamation of the neighbouring Washes, Cambridgeshire (or rather the Isle of Ely) possessed an actual strip of seaboard extending from Wisbech town northward to the county boundary between Tydd St. Mary and Tydd St. Giles. This strip was itself reclaimed ground, but of far earlier date, due to the era of Roman civilisation in Britain. The old coast-line, as has been said, is still marked for us by a massive embankment extending from Sutton, in Lincolnshire, to Wisbech, and thence to King's Lynn, in Norfolk—an embankment sufficiently old to have given its name to the ancient villages along its course. The designations of Walsoken, West Walton, Walpole St. Peter, and Walpole St. Andrew, all testify to this sea wall having been already in existence when the East Anglians, in the fifth century, first took possession of the land.

Wisbech Church.

This embankment kept back, to the west and to the east, the tide-water of the Well Stream (see p. 399), a wide inlet of the sea, narrowing southward till it reached its extremity at Wisbech, and forming the estuary for the united outfall of all the Fenland waterways. In later days operations connected with the draining of the fens have diverted nearly the whole (p. 424) volume of the Great Ouse and its tributary streams to fall into the sea at King's Lynn, and have led the Nene straight to Wisbech. But till the thirteenth century was well advanced the Ouse and the Nene joined each other near Outwell, the united river being called the "Well" or "Well Stream." The names of Upwell, Outwell, Welney, &c., still preserve the memory of this old waterway.

The estuary was, of course, tidal, leaving at low water a broad expanse of sands, amidst which the shifting channel of the river was so far broadened out as to be fordable at certain points; thus admitting of passage across the whole breadth of the inlet, even where it became five miles wide. The regular track for this passage was from the little hamlet of Cross Keys, on the Norfolk coast (the name of which is derived from this circumstance) to Sutton Crosses, near the village of Long Sutton, on the Lincolnshire side, and is approximately marked for us to-day by the line of the Great Northern Railway between these spots, traversing the level fields and meadows which have (since the year 1830) finally replaced the sands of old.

The conditions of the passage were identical with those to be found now at Morecambe Bay. That estuary can also be crossed at low tide; but to do so in safety a good deal of local knowledge is essential. The right points for fording the river channels must be found, the numerous quicksands must be avoided, while the localities of both fords and quicksands are constantly changing. It is therefore exceedingly rash to make the attempt without guides; for across the level sands of every estuary the tide makes with extreme rapidity, sometimes coming in before the wind faster than any man can hope to outrun it. These guides are professionals, who await on either bank the demand for their services.

All this is exactly what is said of the Well Stream "Washes" in authorities of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. As late as 1775, though successive reclamations had by that time reduced the breadth of the passage by more than half, we hear of the guide "always attending at Cross Keys to conduct passengers over, bearing a wand or rod in his hand, probably in imitation of Moses, who held a rod when he conducted the Israelites through the Red Sea." The rod was (p. 425) really used for probing the sand in front, lest it should prove "quick," and also for taking the bearings on the opposite shore by which the course was steered.

It was through neglect of such expert advice that the Well Stream estuary became the scene of that dramatic episode in English history, which, on the 13th of October in the year 1216, cost King John his treasures and his life. The story is narrated by the contemporary historian Roger of Wendover, and the Barnwell and Coggeshall chroniclers. The whole circumstances have been most carefully and minutely elaborated by Mr. St. John Hope, through whose kindness I am enabled to use his materials. His able monograph on the subject is to be found in Vol. LX. of "Archæologia."

John was, in 1216, at death-grips with the Barons, who, in the previous year, had wrung from him the signature of Magna Charta. The rights and wrongs of the quarrel were not so wholly one-sided as is popularly supposed, and the appeal of both parties to the Pope had not sufficed to clear them up. The offer of the Crown by the Barons to Louis, Dauphin of France, was for the moment more successful. Most of England acknowledged him as King, and even the King of Scots came to do homage for his sub-kingdom (as Scotland then was); only a few strongholds, notably Windsor Castle, holding out for John and being besieged by the Barons.

John himself, however, was still at large, and at the head of a small, but very effective, mercenary army of filibusters from all the countries of Europe. He met the situation by a campaign of extraordinary energy; his object being to relieve his invested fortresses by drawing off their assailants to the defence of their own lands. Incidentally, desire of revenge, and the need of paying his troops by plunder, operated as a further motive for the merciless destruction which, in a series of brilliant and ferocious raids, he meted out to the districts owned by his opponents. The speed of his movements is almost incredible, considering the conditions of travel in the thirteenth century; but they can be traced with accuracy by the still existing entries in the Patent and Close Rolls; for day by day John did not cease to do royal business and to sign the documents submitted to him, however far he might have marched since morning. In the eyes of his Continental contemporaries (p. 426) this consuming energy came to be held his chief characteristic. In the "Dittamondo" of the Italian poet, Fazio degli Uberti, written early in the fourteenth century, which gives a brief notice of the successive Kings of England from the Norman Conquest onwards, the one thing mentioned about John is the "hot haste" of his riding.

Hot haste it was, indeed! Week after week the King made his army (which, though small, cannot have numbered fewer than two or three thousand men) cover distances that would be creditable to a solitary bicycle tourist on the macadamised roads of to-day. From Corfe Castle, in Dorsetshire, whither he had retreated on the landing of Louis, he dashed across England (via Bristol) to Cheshire, ravaged that district for over a fortnight, and was back at Corfe within six weeks of setting out. The very next day he was off again, and by a circuitous route of 155 miles (for his enemies' forces barred the direct way) reached Oxford within a week. A few days later another yet more wonderful week of 225 miles carried him from Reading to Lincoln; his daily stages being Bedford (45 miles), Cambridge (30), Castle Hedingham, in Essex (25), Stamford (70), Rockingham (10), and Lincoln (50). Here he remained ten days, during which he raised the siege of the castle; having also succeeded in relieving Windsor, for the Barons who were attacking it hastily broke up, and marched to Cambridge in hopes of cutting him off at this strategic point—the only place, as we have said,[253] where the Cam was passable for an army. It was doubtless to escape this danger that John undertook, on September 19th, the forced march of 70 miles from Hedingham to Stamford, which had perforce to be made via "the Great Bridge" of Cambridge.

Yet another week of marches up and down Lincolnshire, 115 miles in all, brought him round the Wash to Lynn (by way of Wisbech); and then came the great catastrophe.

It was on Wednesday the 12th of October, 1215, that King John, after three days' stay at Lynn, retraced his steps, with his wonted celerity, by way of Wisbech, to Swineshead Abbey near Boston, a distance of over forty miles. Documents signed by him on this day at all three places are to be found in the Patent and Close Rolls. His baggage train, which obviously (p. 427) could not have kept up with this pace, he ordered to follow by the direct route across the sands. We read with some surprise that his flying column was accompanied by such a train at all; but the contemporary historians agree in telling us of "carts, waggons, and sumpter horses," loaded with the King's treasures and properties (including even a portable chapel), and with the spoil amassed during this long raid.

Such a train would cover at least a mile on any road, and could only move quite slowly, three miles an hour at the very outside. How it kept touch with the column at all is a wonder, and we may be sure that it could never have done so during the forced march from Hedingham on the 19th of September. After that date the occupation of Cambridge by the Baronial forces would effectually bar the way against any attempt to follow in the King's track; and it is highly probable that he, knowing that this would be so, had ordered the train and its escort to make their way instead from Hedingham to Lynn, and that he paid his hurried visit to that place with the sole object of once more getting into touch with them.

However that may be, there is no doubt that the train did set out from Lynn, along the road to Cross Keys, after the King and his troops had ridden off towards Wisbech. It was impossible, however, to attempt the passage that same day, for the channel of the Well Stream could only be forded during the hour or so on either side of low-water, which, as calculations show, was on this day about noon. The long line of vehicles had, accordingly, to halt for the night at Cross Keys, for to have attempted the passage in the dark (the moon was nearly at the new), would have been simply suicidal.

Next morning, Thursday, October 13th, they woke to find the tide lapping against the old Roman embankment behind which they lay, for it was a spring tide, and at its highest about 6.30 a.m. Rapidly it receded, and by 9 a.m. the wide expanse of the sands would lie bare before them. The moment these were dry enough for the passage of carts they would start, for their leaders knew well the urgent necessity for speed. To get such a train across the Well Stream channel in the short space of two hours they must be at the ford the very moment it was (p. 428) practicable. Every instant was precious, and every driver did his utmost to press on, regardless of the warnings of the guides (if they had any).

But to drive a loaded cart over wet sand is at the best a slow job. Readers of Sir Walter Scott will remember his vivid description, in Redgauntlet, of the difficulties attending such attempts:

"The vehicle, sinking now on one side, now on the other, sometimes sticking absolutely fast and requiring the utmost exertions of the animal which drew it to put it once more in motion, was subjected to jolts in all directions.... There seemed at least five or six people around the cart, some on foot, others on horseback. The former lent assistance whenever it was in danger of upsetting or sticking fast in the quicksands: the others rode before and acted as guides, often changing the direction of the vehicle as the precarious state of the passage required.... Thus the cart was dragged heavily and wearily on, until the nearer roar of the advancing tide excited apprehension of another danger.... A rider hastily fastened his own horse to the shafts of the cart, in order to assist the exhausted animal which drew it, ... but at length, when, after repeated and hair-breadth escapes, it actually stuck fast in a quicksand, the driver, with an oath, cut the harness, and departed with the horses, splashing over the wet sand and through the shallows as he galloped off."

Multiply all this at least a hundred-fold, throwing in the added turmoil caused by the multitude of carts jamming and impeding one another, and we can picture something of the scene as that fatal morning advanced and the doomed cavalcade ploughed its way on to destruction. For there was no margin of time; and though the leading vehicles seem to have reached the Well Stream channel, they reached it too late. Already it was unfordable, for such traffic at least as theirs. Some of the carts doubtless tried to make a dash across; but their horses, exhausted by the strenuous effort of the last two hours, were unequal to the tremendous strain of negotiating the soft bottom of the stream. A very few such failures would entirely bar the way to those who were eagerly pressing on behind, and almost in a moment the whole column would be in irremediable confusion. In the struggling press, to turn would be as impossible as to proceed, while momentarily the laden carts, for which the only hope was to be kept going, would, at a standstill, sink deeper, inch by inch, into the ever quickening sand. And then in the midst of the welter, up came the tide, (p. 429) sweeping over the level sands, as spring tides in the Wash do sweep;—and, when the waters once more went down, of all that mass of treasure and plunder, of all those horses and drivers and carts and waggons not a trace was to be seen. The sands had swallowed all; and to this day they retain their prey. As Shakespeare makes King John say:

"These Lincoln Washes have devoured them."

The expanse of sands is now an expanse of fields and meadows, through which the River Nene is led by a straight cut from Wisbech to the sea. Where that cut is crossed by the Great Northern Railway (which, as has been said, runs almost along the line of the old crossing-track) is the traditional spot of the disaster, and Mr. St. John Hope believes that excavation might there bring to light some of its relics, even after the lapse of so many years.

Matthew Paris (in his Historia Anglorum), writing in the generation following the catastrophe, tells us that John himself was on the scene and barely escaped from the rising waters. But he, as we have seen, was the previous night (and the next) at Swineshead Abbey. It is just possible that, with his astounding energy, he may have ridden in the morning with a few attendants to Long Sutton (a distance of twenty miles, as before the reclamation of the fens travellers from Boston thither would have to go round by Spalding), and thence across the sands, to overlook in person the passage of the Well Stream. If so, he may well, in the confusion, have been surprised by the tide and have barely escaped by hard riding. Anyhow the catastrophe cost him his life; for this heart-breaking blow, coming on top of his three months' herculean exertions, brought on a feverish attack that very night. Ill as he was, he was on horseback again by dawn, and rode fifteen miles to Sleaford. Next day he struggled on twenty miles to Newark, where "the disease increasing, he received the counsel of Confession and the Eucharist from the Abbot of Croxton," and died that same evening (October 18th), fairly burnt out by his own consuming and tireless energy. If ever King did, he "died standing."

"Foul as Hell is, it is defiled by the fouler presence of John." Such is the uncompromising verdict of the inimical chronicler; (p. 430) and such (in less trenchant phraseology) has been very much the verdict of popular historians even to our own day. But it was a verdict by no means universally accepted by contemporaries. John did not, like William Rufus, receive what Professor Freeman calls "the distinction of a popular excommunication." For Rufus no prayer was said, no psalm was sung, no Mass was offered. All men felt that prayer was hopeless. But John was buried in peace; and it speedily appeared that the cause for which he stood was the cause which (more especially when the weight of his own personal unpopularity was removed) most commended itself to the heart of England. Men had no desire to see the English Crown become an appanage for the heir to the French monarchy. And so Louis rapidly found. Within nine days of his father's death the infant Henry the Third was crowned at Gloucester,—with his mother's bracelet, in default of the proper crown (which, however, is not likely to be amongst the treasures lost in the Wash, as many histories assume); and within six months men were flocking "as to a Holy War," from all parts of the country, to take part in that decisive battle known as "the Fair of Lincoln," which crushed, once and for all, the foreign intrusion, and established irrevocably the claim of the native-born ruler to succeed his father on the throne of England.

And with this stirring story we take our leave of the Highways and Byways of Cambridgeshire, the stage of so many a story, the home of so many a memory; the scene—to those who have eyes to see—of so much quiet loveliness; where the Present is ever brooded over by the Past, and where on the anvils of Thought and Science the Future is ever being shaped. We have explored the County from end to end, we have mounted her uplands, we have traversed her fens, we have clambered her earthworks, we have entered her churches. Her Manor-houses have told us their tale of struggle, her Colleges have borne their witness to the growth of knowledge. We have been able to

"Watch Time's full river as it flows";

and the pathos of all that has come and gone stands out before us, as a record more thrilling than the most daring romance, as a theme more inspiring than the noblest poem. We bid (p. 431) good-bye to the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely feeling that no hue of dulness attaches to them, as is commonly supposed by the unappreciative crowd, but that rather the footprints of the past which abound within their borders give promise of a future that shall not be unworthy of what has gone before.

The Old Court of Corpus.

(p. 432) ADDENDA.

Attention should have been called to two remarkable ecclesiastical inscriptions, on the Eastern and Western borders of our district respectively.

In the upland churchyard of Castle Camps (p. 206), hard by the Priest's Door into the Chancel, a tombstone has the following epitaph:

Mors Mortis Morti mortem nisi morte dedisset
Æternæ Vitæ janua clausa foret.

["Except the Death of Death Death's death by death had been
Ne'er would Eternal Life with door unshut be seen."]

And in the church of Fen Stanton, low down amid the Ouse meadows near St. Ives, is the following ancient rebus (also hard by the Priest's Door):

QV   A   D   T   M   P
H   SA   M   X   D   L

I.e.—Quos Anguis dirus tristi mulcedine pavit
Hos Sanguis mirus Christi dulcedine lavit.

["Whom the dire Serpent fouls with poisonous food
Christ washeth in His sweet and wondrous Blood."]

A variant of these lines is to be seen in the Alpine sanctuary of Champéry near the Lake of Geneva.

(p. 433) INDEX


Barnwell, 10, 160
Chatteris, 390
Crowland, 137, 393
Denny, 30, 298
Ely, 302-341, 345-376
Peterborough, 373, 390, 394
Ramsey, 75, 198, 279, 310, 392, 410
Soham, 178
Thorney, 392, 396
Abbey Barn, 161
Abington, 203
Adams, Prof., 266
"Ad eundem," 265
Adventurers, 403
Adwulf, 304
Agincourt, 184
Aidan, St., 175
Akeman Street, 252, 258, 295
Alan of Walsingham, 329, 345, 356, 360, 362, 366, 373
Alcock, Bp., 146, 283, 332, 376, 418
Aldreth, 283, 295, 316
Alfred the Etheling, 314
Alfred the Great, 11, 38, 169, 183, 213
Alum, 92
Ambulatory, 366
Ancarig, 392
Andrewes, Bp., 342
Andrew, St., Oratory of, 161
Anna, King, 303
Archdeacon of Ely, 282
Armeswerke, 306
Arnold, Matthew, 268
Arrington, 258
Artesian, 260
Ashwell, 248
Ashwell Bush, 236
Assandun, 205, 313
Assize of Barnwell, 161
Athelney, 308
Audley End, 234
Audrey's Fair, St., 307
Augustine, St., 38, 303
Augustinians, 11, 158


B.A., 16
Babraham, 202
Backs, 2, 41, 85
Bacon, 90, 102
Baitsbite, 296
Balsham, 171, 216
Balsham, Bp., 12, 25, 112, 325
Baptistery (Ely), 352
Barham Hall, 205
Barnack, 329
Barnett, Bp., 366
Barnwell, 10, 160
Barnwell Gate, 35, 152
Barnwell Priory, 16, 160, 370
Barrington, 238, 289
Barrow, 102
Bartlow, 205
Barton, 254
Barton Road, 252
Basevi, 371
Basket-making, 384
Bassingbourn, 247
Bateman, Bp., 82
Bath, 252
Becket, Thomas à, 235, 246
Bedford, Earl of, 406
Bedford Rivers, 280, 389
Bedmakers, 16
Belsars Hill, 283, 292
Benedictine Rule, 339
Benson, A. C., 138
Bentham, 345
Bentley, 40, 101, 105, 109
Bible (St. John's Coll.), 117
Bidding Prayer, 128
Biggin "Abbey," 295
Bishop's Delph, 178
Bishopsgate, 222
Black Death, 248, 340
Blaise, St., 284
Blazer, 119
Bluntisham, 280
Boadicea, 172
Boat Houses, 146
Boat Races, 88, 146, 296
Boat Show, 43
Bonfire, 85
Borough, 7, 8
Borough Green, 188
Botolph, St., 32, 34, 304
Bottisham, 189
Bourn, 273
Bourn Brook, 270
Bourne R., 202
Brazier, 97
Brandon, 185
Bretwalda, 178
Clare, 42, 84, 93
Great, 46, 136
Hauxton, 235
Hostel, 43
Huntingdon, 278
King's, 42
Magdalene, 136
Newnham, 41, 222
Queens', 41
St. John's, 118
Trinity, 43
Bucer, 23, 131
Buckingham College, 137
Bulldogs, 132
Burgesses, 12
Burgraed (King), 309
Burnt Mill, 236
Burwell, 195, 198
Bury St. Edmunds, 320, 370
Butcher's Broom, 227
Butterflies, 182, 211
Butter Measure, 12
Buttery, 95
Butts, 254
Byron, 90, 94
Byron's Pool, 220


Caldecote, 271
Cam, 7, 8, 40, 222, 295
Cambridge and Oxford, 2, 11, 17
Camden Society, 134
Camp of Refuge, 10, 316
Canute, 8, 205, 313
Car Dyke, 297
Carmelites, 11
Castle, 4, 138
Castle Camps, 206
Cavendish Laboratory, 159, 267
Caxton, 273
Ceilings, 100
Chad, St., 176, 355
Chained books, 83
Chancellor, 125
Chantries, 239
Chapel, Bush, 238
Chapel lists, 104
Chapels (College):
Christ's, 153
Clare, 84
Corpus, 35
Emmanuel, 158
Girton, 144
Jesus, 147, 148
King's, 52-77, 290
Pembroke, 30, 342
Peterhouse, 26, 342
Queens', 48
St. John's, 113
Trinity, 102
Chapels (at Ely):
Bishop Alcock's, 332, 369
Bishop West's, 332, 367
Crauden's, 330, 346
Lady, 330, 372
St. Catherine's, 352
St. Edmund's, 360
Charles the First, 101, 138, 182, 190, 268, 406
Charles the Second, 173
Cherry Hill, 345
Cherryhinton, 208
Chester, 221
Chesterford, 232
Chesterton, 295
Chevely, 185
Childerley, 271
Chimes, 101, 129
Choirs, 114
Choir School (Ely), 314
Christopher, St., 205
Chum, 288
Church ales, 247
Churches (Cambridge):
Abbey, 161
All Saints', 108
Christ Church, 162
Holy Sepulchre, 133
Holy Trinity, 152
Our Lady's, 21
St. Andrew's the Great, 155
St. Andrew's the Less, 161
St. Benet's, 36
St. Botolph's, 32
St. Clement's, 136
St. Giles', 140
St. Mary's the Great, 127
St. Mary's the Less, 25
St. Michael's, 13, 86
St. Paul's, 162
St. Peter's, 140
Churches (Ely):
Holy Trinity, 372
St. Cross, 379
St. Mary's, 378
Clapham Sect, 422
Clapper Stile, 204
Clarence, Duke of, 94
Clarkson, 421
Clayhithe, 296
Clergy Training School, 148
Clerks, 11
Clerk-Maxwell, 97
Cloisters, 92, 353
Clough, 142
Clunch, 198, 236
Codex Bezæ, 82
Coe Fen, 159
Coleridge, 150
"College" (Ely), 376
Christ's, 152-155
Clare, 83-85, 342
Corpus Christi, 35-38
Downing, 159
Ely Theological, 382
Emmanuel, 156-158
Girton, 144
Gonville and Caius, 120-124
Jesus, 146-150, 369
King's, 50-79
Magdalene, 137
Newnham, 142
Pembroke, 28-34, 298
Peterhouse, 25-28, 369
Queens', 47-50
Ridley Hall, 142
St. Catherine's, 39-40
St. John's, 109-119
Selwyn, 144
Sidney Sussex, 151-152
Trinity, 86-107, 242
Trinity Hall, 82-83
Westminster, 1 42
Comacine Guild, 353
Comberton, 254
Combination Rooms, 26, 97
Commons, 1
"Commons," 95
Common Fields, 3
Conduit, 23, 130, 158
Confessionals, 263
Conington, 292
Conqueror, William the, 187, 283, 315, 359
Coprolites, 240
Corporation, 12, 185
Coton, 89
Cottenham, 298
Courts (College), 2
Courts, Christian, 11
Covenant, 91
Coveney, 409
Cox, Bishop, 289
Cratendune, 179, 303
Cranmer, Abp., 150
Crauden, Prior, 330, 346, 359, 410
Cromwell, Oliver, 32, 128, 151, 272, 278, 367, 381, 406, 412
Cross Keys, 413, 424, 427
Crusades, 328
Cycloid, 89
Cyclone, 276
Cymbeline, 172


Darwin, 155
Deanery (Ely), 348, 353
Decorated, 334
Degrees, 16
Denver, 387
Denver Sluice, 280, 389, 407
Devil's Dyke, 171, 187, 194, 212, 300
"Disinherited," 325
Divinity schools, 109
Doddington, 409
Dominicans, 11, 155
Dowsing, 56, 187, 189, 205, 222, 270
Dry Drayton, 270
Dullingham, 188
Dunstan, Abp., 309
Dunwich, 180
"Duties," 377
Duxford, 228
Dykes, 170-173


Earith, 298, 389
Early English, 334
Eastern Counties Association, 380
Edgar the Peacemaker, 309, 373, 192
Edmund the Ironside, 206, 313
Edmund, St., 175, 180, 262
Edmundhouse, 142
Edward the Confessor, 314
Edward the Elder, 6, 8, 169, 212, 278
Edward the First, 328
Edward the Second, 86, 359, 411
Edward the Third, 86, 101, 330, 348, 359
Edward the Seventh, 94, 268
Egbert, 7, 169
Eleanor, Queen, 324
Electoral roll, 125
Elizabeth, Queen, 126, 290, 419
Elm, 412
Elsworth, 292
Eltisley, 274
Ely, 7, 11, 140, 188, 236, 302-385, 409
Ely House, 290, 333
Ely Place, 322
Emma, Queen, 314
Emneth, 412
Enclosure Acts, 387
Epigrams, 80
Erasmus, 47
Erconwald, St., 176, 262
Ermine Street, 244, 258, 273
Ermenilda, 176, 307
Esquire, Bedell, 128
Ethandune, 308
Etheldreda, St., 7, 169, 175, 179, 283, 303, 358
Ethelred, the Unready, 310
Eton, 51
Eustace, Bp., 349, 367
Eversden, 289
Examination Hall, 15
Examinations, 14, 98
Exeat, 17
Exning, 173, 175


Fagius, 23, 131
Fairy-cart, 260
Falcon Cup, 84
Felix, St., 178
Fellow Commoners, 151
Fellows, 2, 89
Fen Ditton, 171, 295
Fields, 3
Firehooks, 38, 204
First Trinity, 88, 148
Fisher, Bishop, 110, 152
Fisher, Osmund, 149
Fitzwilliam, 23, 371
Fleam Dyke, 170, 210
Fordham, 176
Fowlmere, 230
Foxton, 242
Franchise of Ely, 321
Franciscans, 11, 100, 152
Free School Lane, 36
Freshman's Pillar, 92
Friars, 11
Fulbourn, 209
Fuller, 344, 357, 384


Galilee, 324, 349
Garret Hostel, 43
Gating, 16
Geoffry de Magnaville, 34, 200
George the First, 80
George the Third, 90
Gibbet, 273
Gibbons, 90
Girton, 268
Girvii, 169
Godmanchester, 278
Godolphin, 202
God's House, 153
Gogmagogs, 201
Gonville, 14, 120
Goodhart, 95
Goodrich, Bp., 332, 341, 376
Granby, Marquis of, 98
Granta, 7, 202, 222
Grantabridge, 7
Grantabrigshire, 8
Granta-ceaster, 7
Grantchester, 7, 221
Grantset, 7
Gray, 28
Great Ouse, 399
Greek, 47
Greensand, 240
Guild Hall, 130
Guilden Morden, 262
Gunning, Bp., 342, 367
Guyhirn, 289


Haddenham, 282, 356
Halls, 15
Hardwick, 270
Harlton, 255
Harvard, 156
Haslingfield, 236
Hauxton, 235
Hemingford, 279
Henrietta Maria, Queen, 116
Henry the First, 359
Henry the Third, 324, 359
Henry the Sixth, 41, 51, 54
Henry the Eighth, 87, 97, 118, 152, 283, 372
Hereward, 10, 283, 315
Hermits, 41, 222
Hervey, Bp., 180, 321, 359
Hervey de Stanton, 86, 242
Hiding-hole, 225
High-table, 15, 96
Hilda, St., 303
Hildersham, 203
Hinxton, 230
Histon, 268, 287
Hithes, 44, 194
Hobson, 21, 158
Holcroft, 288
Holme, 400
Holywell, 279
Honours, 14, 98
Horningsea, 295
Horseheath, 209
Hospital of St. John, 25, 112
Hospitallers, 258
Hostels, 12, 43
Hotham, Bp., 330, 335, 359, 363, 366
Hubert, St., 270
Huddleston, 225
Hundreds, 10
Huntingdon, 138, 278


Iceni, 168, 211
Ickleton, 231
Icknield Way, 171, 203, 234, 244
Indulgence, 91, 235
Ink, 336
Ireton, 272
Ireton's Way, 390
Isle of Ely, 8, 168, 282
Isleham, 183
Ivo, St., 279


Jacutus, St., 205
James the First, 154, 173, 403
Jesus Lane Sunday School, 162
Jewry, 10, 108
Job, 248
John, King, 12, 136, 425-430
Jowett, 129
Julitta, St., 191
Jurats, 400


Kendal, 166
King's Ditch, 3, 34
King's Hall, 14, 86, 101
King's Mill, 34
Kingsley, 138
Kingston, 271
Kirtling, 186
Kitchen (Trinity), 96
Kitchener, Lord, 131
Knapwell, 273
Knee-holm, 227


Landbeach, 296
Landwade, 176
Lantern (Ely), 356
Lantern (Trinity), 97
Lectures, 16
Lepers' Chapel, 162
Leverington, 414
Leverrier, 266
Leys School, 160
"Libellers," 403
Liber Eliensis, 303, 337
Corpus, 38
King's, 52
Pepys, 137
Peterhouse, 26
St. John's, 44, 116
Trinity, 43, 80
Trinity Hall, 82
University, 79-82, 100
Lincoln, 298
Lingay Fen, 222
Linton, 204
Littlego, 155
"Little John," 226
Little Ouse, 399
Littleport, 387, 400
Littlington, 264, 288
Lock-up, 264
Lode, 191, 194, 300
Logan, 2, 95, 100
London Stone, 160
Long Stanton, 289
Long Vacation, 17
Lycidas, 154
Lynn, 326, 390, 399, 400, 426


Macaulay, 14, 107, 136
Madingley, 268
Maitland, 3, 185
"Majestas," 287, 339
Maldon, 310
Manea, 409
March, 410
Margaret, Lady, 110, 152
Margaret, Queen, 41
Mark, 318
Market Hill, 130
Marshland, 399, 411
Martial, 384
Martin V., Pope, 161, 238
Mary Stuart, 278
Mary Tudor, 97, 225
Maur, St., 252
Mayor of Cambridge, 12
May pole, 255
Mazes, 254, 352
Medhampsted, 308, 394, 396
Melbourn, 242
Meldreth, 242
Mepal, 390
Merton, 25, 142
Michael House, 14, 86
Midsummer Common, 146
Mildenhall, 185
Mildmay, 156
Milestone, 82, 160
Mill Hill, 345
Mill, St., 50
Milton, 295
Milton, John, 56, 58, 91, 154
Miserere seats, 363
Monks' Door, 356
Monks' garments, 338
Morning Talks, 36
Morton, Bp., 336, 398, 418


Needham Hall, 412
Needingworth, 279
Nene, 398
Neotus, St., 276
Neptune, 266
Nevile, 92, 100
Nevile's Court, 92, 94, 95
Newcastle, 390
New College, 51
Newmarket, 173, 174, 389
Newton, Isaac, 41, 91, 92, 103, 107, 265
Non-Collegiate Students, 15
Northwold, Bp. Hugh de, 307, 324, 329, 335, 359, 363, 365, 369, 371


Oakington, 288
Oasland, 288
Oath of Supremacy, 419
Observatory, 221, 265
Octagon, 356
Oddy, 288
Old North Road, 244
Opponencies, 14
Organs, 105
Orwell, 256
Ostorius, 172, 211
Ouse R., 277-280, 301
Outwell, 398, 411
Over, 286, 294
Overcote, 280, 295
Owen, 283, 355


Paley, 155
Pandiana, St., 275
Parallax, 280
Parchment, 224
Paris, Matthew, 325, 328
Park (Ely), 345
Parker, Abp., 39
Paxton, 278
Peacock, Dean, 384
Peas Hill, 130
Pembroke, 28
Penda, 175, 303
Pensioners, 15
Pepys, 137
Perne, 23
Perpendicular Architecture, 334
Perry, Bp., 105, 155, 162
Peterborough, 298, 308, 315, 373, 400
Peter Pence, 203
Peters, Hugh, 183
Philippa, Queen, 330, 348, 359
Picot, 10, 160
Pilgrim's Progress, 166
Pitt Press, 40
Pitt, William, 32
Plate, College, 31, 84, 95
Poison Cup, 84
Population, 4, 10
Posidonius, 384
Preachers' Street, 155
Premier College, 50
President, 48
Prior's Door, 353
Priory Chapel, 161
Probus, 201
Proctors, 12, 16, 125
Provost, 12, 48


Quarles, 155
Queen's Lane, 50
Querela Cantabrigiensis, 31, 129
Quy, 169


Radegund, St., 10, 144
Railroads, 20, 203
Rampton, 298
Reach, 171, 187, 194, 196, 300
Regent Street, 159
Residence, 17
Richard the Third, 322
Ridley, Bp., 31
Ringmere, 8, 214
Roger of Wendover, 309, 324
Rolls, C. S., 91
Romney Marsh, 400
Romsey Town, 208
Röntgen, 267
Roof Climbing, 91
Rooms, 15
Roubillac, 102
Round Churches, 133
Royston, 244
Rufus, William, 336, 430
Rustication, 16
Rutherford, Professor, 267


Sacring Bell, 231, 294
Saffron, 209
St. Ives, 279
St. John's Farm, 382
St. Neots, 276
Sancroft, Abp., 156
Sarcophagus, 307
Sawston, 222
Scholars, 14
Schools, 14
Screens, 95, 98
Seals, 393
Sea Wall, 399, 411, 422
Sedgwick, Adam, 267
Selenite, 292, 409
Selwyn, Bp., 367
Senate House, 15, 125
Sexburga, 176, 306
Sexwulf, 392
"Shammy" Leather, 222
Sharpinhoe, 236
Shelford, 222
Shepreth, 242
Shingay, 258
Ship Money, 244
Shudy Camps, 206
Sibyl, 149
Simeon, Abbot, 319, 335, 359, 360
Simeon, Charles, 152
Simon de Montfort, 325
Slavery, 421
Snailwell, 176
Soham, 178, 180
Sophs, 96
Sound, 92
Southey, 114
Spark, Bp., 321
Spenser, 32
Spikes, 78
Stanground, 387
Stapleford, 222
Steeple Morden, 263
Stocks, 242
Stokes, Sir George, 32, 267
Stonea, 409
Stone altar, 134
Stourbridge Fair, 163-167
Stretham, 283, 298
Stuntney, 180
Suffolk, 175
Sutton, 286
Sutton Crosses, 424
Swaffham, 236
Swaffham Bulbeck, 189
Swaffham Prior, 191
Swavesey, 292
Syndicates, 125


Tabula Eliensis, 319
Taxers, 12
"T.B.C.," 88
Tennyson, 55, 91, 97, 102, 104
Terms, 17
Terrington, 120, 414
Teversham, 209
Thackeray, 91, 97, 107
Theodore of Tarsus, 306
Thetford, 180
Third Trinity, 88
Thirlby, Bp., 341
Thompson, 104
Thomson, Sir J. J., 267
Tillotson, Abp., 288
Tithe Barn, 381
Toft, 270
Tonbert, 169, 283
Triplow Heath, 228
Tripos, 14, 127
Trumpington, 219, 310
Trumpington Gate, 35
Turf-cutting, 196
Turner, Bp., 274, 343
Tydd, 415


Ulfcytel, 8, 214
"Undertakers," 403
Union, 134
University, Origin of, 11
Upper River, 220
Upware, 194, 300
Upwell, 411


Vacations, 17
Valence, Marie de, 30
Vandlebury, 201
Vanity Fair, 166
Vermuyden, 406
Via Devana, 21, 159, 206
Vicars Brook, 23
Vice-Chancellor, 125
Victoria, Queen, 257
Vigor, St., 210


Walden, 137
Wall-rue, 295
Walpole, 413, 422
Walpole Gate, 345
Walsoken, 413, 422
War Ditches, 208
Warstead Street, 209
Washington Arms, 26
Waterbeach, 289, 296
Wat Tyler, 131, 248
Waynflete, Bp., 52
Wedmore, Peace of, 8, 308
Well Stream, 399, 411, 416, 422
Welney, 411
Wendred, St., 176, 275
Wendy, 260
Wentworth, 286
West, Bp., 332, 335, 367
Westcott House, 148
Westley Waterless, 188
Westminster College, 142
Westmorland, 166
Weston Colville, 188
Westry, 411
West Walton, 413, 422
Whalley, 272
Whewell, 104, 108
White Hill, 236
Whitgift, Abp., 124
Whittlesea, 410
Whittlesford, 227
Wicken Fen, 180, 300
Wilbraham, 210
Wilburton, 283
Wilfrid, St., 303, 393
Will of Henry the Sixth, 52
Williams, Bp., 116
Willingham, 286, 290
Wimpole, 256
Wireless Telegraphy, 267
Wisbech, 399, 403, 415, 426
Wisbech, John of, 331
Witchford, 286, 318
Woad, 417
Wood Ditton, 171, 187
Wordsworth, 55, 101, 102, 113, 118
Wranglers, 14
Wren, Bp., 25, 189, 209, 342
Wren, Christopher, 30, 43, 360


Yaxley, 400

Richard Clay and Sons, Limited



1: The word "Fellow" signifies, in any College, one of the strictly limited corporation to whom its whole property legally belongs. This corporation is kept filled up by co-option; the most distinguished of the junior students being usually chosen.

2: The kingdom of Mercia comprised the Midlands, and was (roughly) bounded on the north by the Humber and Mersey, on the west by Wales, on the south by the Thames, and on the east by the Cam and the Lea.

3: An ordinary "Hundred" contained an area some five miles square, instead of the five square miles which was that of old Cambridge.

4: Till the nineteenth century was well advanced the Mathematical Tripos was the only avenue to the attainment of "Honours" at Cambridge; so that even such a distinguished scholar as Lord Macaulay was debarred from them by his inability to pass that examination, and had to content himself with the lower status of an "Ordinary" or "Poll" Degree (so called from the Greek πολλι = many, as being the refuge of the common herd of candidates). Triposes in many other branches of knowledge, classical, scientific, legal, historical, and linguistic, have since been added.

5: These corresponded to the still existing "Scouts" at Oxford.

6: The corresponding Oxford name is "Common Room."

7: The Washington arms are, in heraldic language: Barry of four, gules and argent. On a chief azure three mullets of the second. Crest, a demi-eaglet sable rising from an earl's coronet.

8: This word reminds us that archery practice was, in England, a regular feature of mediæval College life.

9: This is shown in our first wood-cut.

10: The speediest possible destruction of such buildings was the only way of dealing with fires before effective engines came in, which was not until the nineteenth century. Rings to facilitate the use of fire-hooks are to be found under the eaves of many old houses hereabout. The hooks had 30 foot handles, mounted on a pair of wheels.

11: Bishop Latimer, the Protestant martyr, also belonged to Corpus.

12: The University had licensed printers from the time of Henry the Eighth, but did not set up a Press of its own till the eighteenth century, when influenced by the great scholar and critic Richard Bentley.

13: See page 17.

14: See Chapter VI.

15: Sculptures over the piers represent the bridge itself, a very unusual feature.

16: This rank is one of the privileges due to the Royal Founder. Another was the exemption of King's men from the authority of the Proctors; another their right to a Degree without passing the usual examinations. This was given up in the middle of last century, and now every King's student is required by the College to take Honours in some Tripos.

17: A current story tells how a millionaire, who boasted that his money should make him a lawn as perfect, was discomfited by being told that to attain such perfection "you must mow and roll it regularly for 400 years. That is what has been done here."

18: His statue surmounts it, flanked by two figures representing Science (gazing at the Chapel) and Religion (with her eyes devoutly fixed upon the Hall). To leap across from the lawn to the pedestal of this group is a feat seldom accomplished.

19: These figures are somewhat larger than life-size.

20: The Portcullis was adopted by Henry the Seventh as the Tudor badge, to signify that his claim to the throne was double (through his mother, Lady Margaret, as well as his wife), even as a portcullis doubled the defensibility of a castle gate.

21: The former is from Huddleston in Yorkshire, the latter from Weldon in Northamptonshire.

22: This gift called forth a satirical epigram from Oxford; where the prevalent Toryism was made the pretext for quartering a regiment of cavalry in the city to suppress Jacobite demonstrations:

"King George, observing with judicious eyes
The state of both his Universities,
To Oxford sent a troop of horse;—and why?
That Learned Body wanted Loyalty.
To Cambridge books he sent; as well discerning
How much that Loyal Body wanted Learning."

A retort (in which the humour is a trifle less spontaneous) was speedily penned by Sir William Browne, who specialised on epigrams and left prizes for their encouragement which are still annually awarded:

"The King to Oxford sent a troop of horse,
For Tories own no argument but Force.
With equal skill to Cambridge books he sent;
For Whigs admit no force but Argument."

23: Atkinson and Clark, Cambridge Described.

24: Foster and Atkinson, Old Cambridge Plate.

25: Michaelhouse (like Peterhouse) derived its name from the neighbouring church which was used for worship by the Scholars till they got a chapel of their own.

26: The T.B.C. boat was one of the two first boats to appear on the river. The other was the "Lady Margaret" or St. John's boat, whose colours were (and are) bright red. These two boats used to row along, challenging each other, by sound of bugle, to extempore bursts of racing. This was in the Twenties. The first regular College races began in the year 1827; but only five Colleges rowed (Trinity, St. John's, Caius, Jesus and Emmanuel). Not till 1859 were all represented.

27: Hallam's rooms were on the southern side of the New Court, in the central staircase (letter G), and were the western set on the first floor. Tennyson himself never "kept" in College, but had lodgings, first in Rose Crescent, and afterwards opposite the Bull Hotel.

28: Its line was determined by the distant spire of Coton Church which for two centuries closed the vista. (It is now hidden by these trees.) A current witticism was that the view symbolised a Trinity Fellowship—a long, straight-forward prospect, closed by a village church. Till the year 1878 every Fellow had to become a Priest of the Established Church within seven years, on pain of forfeiting his Fellowship. After this he was a Fellow for life, unless he married. And each Fellow in turn had a right to any College living that fell vacant. All this is altered now. Fellows are elected unconditionally for a limited period (which may be renewed), and College livings are assigned to the best men to be had, whether of Trinity or not.

29: A cycloid is the curve described by any single point on the rim of a rolling wheel.

30: Nocturnal exploration of the College roofs has been so favourite an amusement amongst undergraduates that not long ago a book was actually published entitled The Roof-Climber's Guide to Trinity College. Every eminence in the College has been scaled, save only the Great Gate Tower. The Hon. C. S. Rolls, who was afterwards the first man to fly from England to France and back, and who fell a martyr to his zeal for aviation, was, in his day, the most daring and systematic of all Trinity roof-climbers.

31: Byron himself was morbidly sensitive on this point. Mr. Clark (Guide to Cambridge, p. 140) tells how he abused a friend who fell behind out of courtesy: "Ah! I see you wish to spy out my deformity." He was in residence 1805-8.

32: This instrument bound its subscribers to zealous endeavour, far from any "detestable indifference and neutrality," for the "extirpation of Popery, Prelacy, ... Archbishops, Bishops, Deans, Chapters, Archdeacons, and all that Hierarchy." Every adult in the kingdom had to sign this very thoroughgoing test, on pain of imprisonment.

33: These same rooms (on the south-westernmost staircase) were probably those occupied by Lord Byron.

34: The entrance was from the New Court, which communicates with Nevile's Court by an arcade in the southern cloister of the latter.

35: All the Colleges have thus suffered severely; King's being hit hardest of all. Trinity was less seriously affected, owing to the fact that much of its land lies in the North of England.

36: Cambridge Described, p. 444.

37: A "Grace-cup" is a large silver tankard which at College feasts is solemnly passed down the High Table, each guest in turn standing up to drink it. Three, indeed, must always be so standing, the drinker, the last man, and the next man; whence the cup has sometimes three handles. At each potation the three concerned formally bow to each other.

38: For the first year of his residence the student is called a Freshman, in the next he is a "Junior Soph," and in the third a "Senior Soph." The origin of the word "Soph" is doubtful. It is presumably short for Sophist; but all Americans will recognise it as the origin of their "Sophomore." And American University nomenclature is largely derived from Cambridge. The word, however, has of late gone out of general use, and practically survives scarcely anywhere but in Trinity.

39: At the battle of Minden, 1759.

40: Besides the University Examinations needed to obtain a Degree, every College keeps its students up to the mark by extra examinations of its own, held usually twice a year. There are also competitive examinations for the College Scholarships, and (at Trinity) for the Fellowships. About seventy per cent. of Trinity students are "Honour men"; reading, not for the ordinary (or "Poll") Degree, but for one or other of the various Triposes. And of these "Honour" candidates of Trinity, over thirty per cent. attain a First Class; which is thus gained by nearly twenty-five per cent. of Trinity students, the highest College average in the University.

41: The water is from an ancient conduit made originally to supply the Franciscan Convent, and comes from a spring some two miles to the west. Till recently this was the only supply for Trinity, and (by a charitable tap outside the Great Gate) for many neighbours also. Now it is supplemented by an artesian well behind the chapel, bored to a depth of 120 feet into the Greensand.

42: These same craftsmen probably made the beautiful ceilings in the Combination Room at St. John's College (which is copied from that in one of the rooms in this Court), and in the University Library.

43: See Cambridge Described, p. 443.

44: Both clock and bells are due to Dr. Bentley, the famous Master who bullied the College into so many happy and undesired expenses during his tenure of office (1700-1742). The repeating is solely for convenience; one often fails to note the first stroke or two of an hour.

45: This was given to the College in 1755 by the then Master, Dr. Robert Smith.

46: Wordsworth in "The Prelude" tells us how he loved

"The antechapel, where the statue stood
Of Newton, with his prism and silent face,
The marble index of a mind for ever
Voyaging through strange seas of Thought, alone."

47: Barrow's great wish was that the University should build a theatre (like the Sheldonian at Oxford), instead of having its dramas performed, as they then were, in the University Church. When the Senate boggled at the expense, he declared that Trinity should shame them by erecting unaided a yet finer building than he proposed, and "that very afternoon" himself staked out the foundations of the Library. (Clark's Guide, p. 123.)

48: Of the astonishingly wide sweep of Whewell's knowledge many tales are yet told. There was no subject on which he could not talk with authority. It is related how an impertinent Fellow once hoped to puzzle him by getting up an article on Chinese music in a back number of the Edinburgh Review, and introducing the subject in Hall. "Ah," replied Whewell, "it is a long time since I thought of that. But you will find an article of mine about it in the Edinburgh, some ten or fifteen years ago."

49: On Sundays and Festivals all wear surplices, and the throng then presents a very striking appearance. It suggested Tennyson's vision of "Six hundred maidens clad in purest white," in "The Princess."

50: This is now the College Council, consisting of the Master, the Tutors, and other Members elected for a certain period.

51: It was made early in the eighteenth century by the celebrated Father Smith, an organ-builder of world-wide fame.

52: By his arrogance Bentley incurred the undying hatred of Pope, who denounces him in the "Dunciad" as boasting himself (in addressing Dullness)

"Thy mighty Scholiast, whose unwearied pains
Made Horace dull, and humbled Milton's strains;
Turn what they will to verse, their toil is vain;
Critics like me shall make it prose again."

53: To every College is attached some high-placed personage as Visitor, with a vague, but by no means unreal, power of interference when appealed to. Bentley was only saved from deposition by the sudden death of the Visitor.

54: The Senate is the general assembly of Masters of Arts, which is the supreme University authority.

55: Guide to Cambridge, p. 129. The meaning of the curious word "Harry-Soph" is apparently equivalent to a student unequal to a Degree. Bentley was deprived of all his Degrees.

56: Readers of Esmond will remember that Thackeray quarters that hero on this same staircase, "close by the gate, and near to the famous Mr. Newton's lodgings." Thackeray was in residence 1829-31, Macaulay 1818-24, Newton 1662-1717.

57: Whewell was Master of Trinity from 1841 to 1866.

58: This Bowling Green lies to the west of Trinity Chapel, and is one of the choicest gems of Cambridge, a gracious, walled oblong of turf, with a wooded terrace overlooking the river at its western end, and at the east, the lately discovered fourteenth century front of the College Bursary, once forming part of King's Hall. The privilege of entering this Paradise can only be attained under the escort of a Fellow.

59: The above quotation, as well as that which follows, is from the sermon preached by Fisher in Westminster Abbey at her burial. (I have modernised the spelling.)

60: Amongst these we must count Erasmus; who composed the epitaph on her tomb.

61: Michaelhouse was one of the constituent Colleges of Trinity.

62: We need not, however, take too literally the statement in the Instrument of Suppression, that but two ill-conducted Brethren remained. For, as Mr. Clark has shown, that Instrument was copied verbatim from the earlier one used for the turning of St. Radegund's Priory into Jesus College.

63: There was no attempt at music, no organ even, anywhere save at King's, Trinity, and St. John's, and these three Colleges kept between them a choir of six "lay clerks" (elderly for the most part), who used to hurry from service to service, as did also the single organist employed! And this went on till 1842!

64: At St. John's, the title of President is given to the Vice-master of the College.

65: In one of these windows should be noted a portrait of Henrietta Maria, the Queen of Charles the First, who was once entertained in this apartment.

66: It need scarcely be pointed out that this breach was not made from any Protestant zeal, but only to enable the King to put away the wife he was tired of, and marry Anne Boleyn, which the Pope would not authorise.

67: The gratings are to prevent any nocturnal escape from College. Only one man is ever known to have "squeezed himself betwixt the bars."

68: This word, now used of all flannel sporting jackets, was, for several decades—till nearly 1880, in fact—confined to the fiery coats of the St. John's (or, officially, "Lady Margaret") Boat Club. When, about that date, the question of having a "universal blazer" was debated by the undergraduates, an elderly clergyman protested, in all shocked seriousness, against the "incendiary tendencies" of such a notion.

69: The two infant cherubs which (without any heraldic authority) act as supporters to the College Shield over the gate of the new buildings (those to the east of the street) are popularly supposed to be meant for the innocent souls of the two Founders. The shield itself (duly granted by the Heralds' College, 1575), comprises both their Coats with a blue and silver bordure. That of Dr. Caius is curious; two green serpents standing on their tails upon a green stone amid flowers of amaranth. This is declared (in the grant) to signify "Wisdom stayed upon Virtue and adorned with Immortality"—a characteristic Elizabethan "conceit."

70: It was not till after Gonville's death that it began to be called by his name.

71: The present gateway is not, however, the original one, but erected in mid-Victorian days at the same time as the large pinnacled gate at the south-east corner of the College, but the humble character of the original is fairly reproduced.

72: Each side of the hexagon was originally a sun-dial.

73: "Passage" is the local name applied to the many paved footways which intersect Cambridge. They are forbidden ground to vehicles, including bicycles, a prohibition which constantly brings undergraduates before the Police Court.

74: At this date King's was a highly conservative College, and its discipline strict with a strictness long discarded by the University at large.

75: "To the Universities," Froude (our most ardent Protestant historian) tells us, in his History of England, "the Reformation brought with it desolation.... They were called Stables of Asses—Schools of the Devil.... The Government cancelled the exhibitions which had been granted for the support of poor Scholars. They suppressed the Professorships and Lectureships—Degrees were held anti-Christian. Learning was no necessary adjunct to a creed which 'lay in a nutshell.' ... College Libraries were plundered and burnt. The Divinity Schools at Oxford were planted with cabbages, and the laundresses dried clothes in the School of Arts."

At Cambridge Dr. Caius gives a long list of University Hostels, filled, within his memory, by zealous students, which, when he wrote had become wholly deserted and taken possession of by the townsfolk.

76: The pillage was actually presided over by the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Dr. Whitgift, Master of Trinity, whose Protestant zeal raised him later to the Archbishopric of Canterbury.

77: This officer is the acting Head of the University, and is appointed by the Council from amongst the Heads of the Colleges, usually by rota, year by year. The Chancellor, whom he represents, is always some specially distinguished notability, and is appointed for life. He is only present on state occasions.

78: Members are often able to introduce ladies, when there is likely to be room for them. And undergraduates may listen to proceedings from the Galleries, where, in defiance of rule, they are often heard as well as seen, should the business be exciting.

79: Such discussion as may seem needful has already taken place before a Meeting of the resident Members of the Senate, who have spent at least forty nights in Cambridge during the last Academic year, and whose names are accordingly on the "Electoral Roll." They are summoned, as required, by the Vice-Chancellor, to discuss the various matters which it is proposed to embody in "Graces."

80: The office thus requires no mean scholarly and oratorical powers. When Queen Elizabeth visited Cambridge, the Public Orator had to make her a laudatory address of half an hour in duration, without notes, "with the Queen's horse curvetting under her" (for this was not in the Senate House—yet unbuilt—but in the open air before King's College Chapel), and with constant mock-modest interruptions from her Royal lips. Her only thanks were a commendation of his excellent memory.

81: One apartment was called the Regent House, as being thus used by the Governing Body of the University.

82: As Protestantism lost its first militant fervour, these performances more and more dropped their polemical features. But they still remained most inappropriate for a place of worship. We have seen how the higher minds of the University, such as Dr. Barrow, felt about them before the seventeenth century came to an end. (See p. 104.)

83: On the Sunday after All Saints' Day, when the "Lady Margaret Preacher," appointed by the Vice-Chancellor, officiates, he begins by reading the long roll of benefactors to the University from the earliest times; in itself a specially inspiring predication.

84: It is hard upon Dr. Jowett that his name should have come down to posterity associated, not with this real contribution to the gladness of the world, but with a satirical quatrain on the tiny plot which he reclaimed from the street in the angle of Trinity Hall adjoining Clare:

"A little garden little Jowett made,
And fenced it with a little palisade;
And would you know the mind of little Jowett,
This little garden will a little show it."

85: There was a fountain here, however, long before Hobson's day—at least as early as the fourteenth century—but whence the water came is not known. If, as seems probable, it was a natural spring, its existence was probably the factor which originally determined the site of the Market.

86: This is the name bestowed on the stalwart officials a couple of whom attend each Proctor and exercise such physical coercion of delinquents as he may bid.

87: One specially remembered conflict, when Rose Crescent was held by the Gown against an overwhelming force, till a police charge drove them in headlong rout to take refuge in Trinity, was made the subject of a parody of Macaulay's Horatius, to be found in Clark's Guide to Cambridge.

88: This design included the undoubted feature of a stone altar, the setting up of which gave occasion, after much litigation, for the promulgation of the well-known Judgment, which declares that in the Church of England the Law permits only a movable wooden table.

89: So called because in union with the twin Society at Oxford; members of each having, ipso facto, all the privileges of membership in the other.

90: So called to distinguish it from the smaller town bridges by Newnham Mill and Garret Hostel.

91: We find "Magdalene Bridge" in Wordsworth's "Prelude."

92: Over the entrance gateway may be seen the arms of Lord Braybrooke's family, the Nevilles. These are also the arms of the College.

93: In spite of the enticing similarity of sound, it is fairly established that the word Camboritum is not the parent of the word Cambridge. In mediæval times we only read of "Granta-bridge."

94: These were Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambs, Hunts, Beds and Herts, which combined to raise a common force (on the Parliamentary side).

95: Newnham is just younger, having been opened 1875. It then consisted of one Hall only.

96: These are large wooden edifices containing sheds for the boats below and dressing-rooms for the crews above.

97: See Chapter XIII.

98: There are also races in the Lent Term for the less exalted boats. But only the first division in the May races has any general interest. Each division contains sixteen boats, and the last boat of each division is also the first of the division below, being thus known as a "sandwich boat."

99: The races end at Chesterton, about a mile below the boathouses.

100: This church, as has been already said, formerly stood at the other end of its Parish, in the old Jewry, hard by Trinity and St. John's.

101: This restoration had the advantage of being carried out under the auspices of a man of real architectural taste (though better known by his geological distinction), the Rev. Osmund Fisher, then Dean of the College. The discovery of the Chapter House entrance in the cloisters was also due to him.

102: Some words put by Virgil into the mouth of the Sibyl (or prophetess) of Cumae were supposed by the early Christians of Rome (to whom the idea of Sibylline books being prophetic was familiar from Roman History) to foretell the Incarnation. Hence she, and her sister Sibyls of other fictions as well, came to be considered inspired, and before long a whole literature of imaginary Sibylline predictions was in circulation.

103: The Jesuits, of course, did not come into being for years after Cranmer's academic day.

104: Her husband had been over the Royal Excise, and the College shield bears the familiar Broad Arrow of that department.

105: The church is architecturally naught, outside; but the tower arches, within, form the loveliest gem in Cambridge.

106: The rod retained its use in this connection till the eighteenth century. In the seventeenth, during the period of Puritan ascendancy, it was made a University enactment that if any undergraduate should "by day or night enter any river, ditch, lake, pond, mere, or any other water within the County of Cambridge, whether for the sake of swimming or of washing," he should be flogged in his College hall. It must be remembered that students then entered at least five years earlier than now.

107: This crest is absent from the Johnian gate-tower, but is found above the iron gate leading into the Backs.

108: This front belongs to an isolated block known as the "Fellows' Buildings," erected shortly after Milton's time.

109: "L'Allegro."

110: "Il Penseroso."

111: A small back door, however, leads from the kitchen into "Christ's Lane" (on the south). On one famous occasion, when, at a time of popular excitement, the students were confined to the College, sympathisers from without burst this in (using the bar which closes the lane to vehicles as a battering-ram) and set them free.

112: Paley's Evidences is still one of the set subjects in the "Littlego" (or "Previous Examination") which every student must pass before being allowed to proceed further.

113: Unlovely as this church is, it is a monument of the piety and generosity of one of the most pious and generous men Cambridge has ever known, Dr. Perry, first Bishop of Australia, who, while a Fellow of Trinity, devoted his private fortune to the ecclesiastical needs of the town, and thus enabled no fewer than three large churches to be built. Unhappily it was at a period of execrable taste (the earliest Victorian), and the three are far from beautiful or correct examples of ecclesiastical architecture. But when the then newly formed Camden Society (for the revival of a purer style of building) ventured to hint as much, a storm of Protestant indignation arouse throughout Cambridge, and a public protest against such Romish criticism was actually signed by every resident Fellow of Trinity!

114: This was on the site of the Dominican Refectory. Sir Thomas Mildmay boasts that, in contempt of their religion, he has turned their Refectory into a Chapel, and their Church into a Refectory. The Hall and Combination Room still occupy the site of the Church.

115: This occupied all but the whole space bounded by Downing Street, Tennis Court Road, Lensfield Road, and Regent Street.

116: The ethnological series of skulls here ranks (with those at Berlin, St. Petersburg, and Washington) as the most complete in the world.

117: On the wall here is engraved Pasteur's inspired saying: "Dans les champs de l'observation le hasard ne favorise que les esprits préparés."

118: This is called the Cavendish Laboratory, being the gift of the late Duke of Devonshire, Chancellor of the University. The word laboratory we may note is, in student speech, invariably "Lab," which is even used as a verb.

119: See p. 5.

120: Here was held, in 1430, under the representatives of Pope Martin the Fifth, the famous "Assize of Barnwell," which decided, by Papal authority, that in the University alone was vested all spiritual jurisdiction over its students, to the exclusion of the ordinary Diocesan and Parochial claims.

121: So called to distinguish it from "Great St. Andrew's," opposite Christ's College.

122: This School still flourishes, and is still staffed by undergraduates. It is known as "Jesus Lane Sunday School," its first quarters having been in that street.

123: The parish has now been divided into half a dozen districts. And its earliest houses, immediately round the Abbey Church, remain (as they have been from the first) outlying fragments of two small Town parishes, St. Benet's and St. Edward's.

124: There were other minor Dykes (such as the Warstead Street, from Cherry Hinton to Horseheath), but these play no part in history.

125: These forms show that the C was sounded hard. On the coins of the clan the name is written ECEN. These coins are of gold and bear the figure of a horse, being rude copies of the Macedonian staters which the tin trade brought to Britain. The earliest known are of the third century B.C., the latest (those inscribed with the name) of the first half century A.D.

126: Tin was precious as a component of bronze, which, till iron came in, was the material for weapons and tools. See my Roman Britain (S.P.C.K.), p. 33.

127: In the Register of Fordham Church (a few miles north of Newmarket) is an entry to the effect that, on 27 February 1624, "The Most High and Mighty Prince, King James the First of England and Sixth of Scotland condescended to hunt six hares in Fordham Field!"

128: Her abbey was for generations the favourite boarding-school in France for young ladies from England.

129: These borders are now marked only in the Ordnance maps. The line runs right across the county from west to east, following the West River (the ancient course of the Ouse), to its junction with the Cam, and then almost straight eastward to the boundary of Suffolk, along a water-course known as the "Bishop's Delph" (i.e., ditch, from the verb delve).

130: This title implied a vague Primacy amongst the various Anglo-Saxon monarchs, conferred, by as vague a recognition on their part, upon him who was for the time the most powerful amongst them. But though vague it was far from unreal. We find Ethelbert's protection enabling St. Augustine to preach all over England. Indeed the name (which etymologically signifies merely Broad Wielder) very early got to be regarded as meaning Wielder of Britain.

131: Augustine, true to his mission from St. Gregory, strove to rekindle all over the land such embers of the Faith as still smouldered on amongst the British refugees. For those in the fenland, the Girvii, he had set up a small religious house at Cratendune near Ely, which was afterwards absorbed by Etheldreda's larger Abbey.

132: William the Conqueror had already run a military causeway across Willingham Fen to the south-west side of the island at Aldreth.

133: The word "stunt" in the dialect of Cambridgeshire signifies steep. The shores of Stuntney rise from the fen with most unusual abruptness.

134: Macaulay.

135: After the suppression of the alien Priories this property went to the Crown, and was granted by Henry the Sixth to Pembroke College, Cambridge, in whose hands it still remains.

136: He fought at Agincourt, and was one of the knights told off to kill the French prisoners.

137: The Peytons held Isleham till the eighteenth century.

138: Township and Borough, p. 96.

139: The original Corporation (not yet so called) consisted of the local residents who held (or were rated at) a "hide" of land (120 acres). This was at the end of the ninth century, when the landowners were Danes and heathen.

140: A constant tradition declares that she was imprisoned (or hidden) here during part of her sister's reign, but it cannot be verified.

141: The frequent occurrence of "West" in their names—Westley, Weston, West Wratting, West Wickham—reminds us that their geographical and historical connection is with Suffolk, to the east of them, rather than with Cambridgeshire.

142: i.e., An observer of holy times and seasons.

143: These martyrs were son and mother, and suffered in the Diocletian persecution, the former being of very tender years. Julitta cheered him on to his glorious death, and wa