Page images
PDF
EPUB

The company then moved into the nave, where the Precentor, Rev. S. Reid, pointed out a few of the historical features of the Cathedral, observing that it was one of the great ecclesiastical centres of England, and one of the oldest, dating from about the year 670. Part of the church now standing was erected in the twelfth century through the instrumentality of Archbishop Roger. The Northern Primates resided in the vicinity at that period (which was anterior to the building of Bishopthorpe Palace), and took great interest in the Cathedral. The edifice was restored in 1459, when it had fallen into a ruinous state. Mr. Reid pointed out the beautiful Transitional work which had distinguished the architecture, and said he believed the church of Nun. Monkton presented the only other example extant of the kind of decoration there adopted. The Cathedral had several times undergone enlargement and restoration, being last restored, twenty years ago, by Sir Gilbert Scott at a cost of £40,000. Originally it was a collegiate church served by a body of Augustinian canons; but this body was dissolved in the sixteenth century. In 1836 it was made a Cathedral, and Dr. Boyd Carpenter was the third Bishop.

Mr. C. Lynam, Local Member of Council for Staffordshire, described the architectural features of the building, after which the party were conducted on a tour of inspection. In the Library a number of very old books and manuscripts excited the interest of the visitors, a costly MSS. liturgy of Wilfrid, presented to the Dean and Chapter by the Marquess of Ripon, being specially pointed out. The crypt, which is one of the most interesting portions of the fabric, being about the only remnant of the original church, was visited by a number of the party. The approach to it is by means of a dark narrow stone stair, opening out of the nave, and leading directly under the lantern-tower. Penetrating further along a passage at the foot of the steps the investigator who is bold enough to venture forward comes to a little. cavernous apartment, some 10 ft. by 7, and, despite the forbidding aspect of the place, the archæologist is well repaid for the inconvenience of the descent. In all the church architecture of the country there only survives one crypt presenting any correspondence to this, and that one is at Hexham. They were both built by Wilfrid, who was Bishop of Hexham and Abbot of Ripon, and who imbibed in Rome the spirit which characterised his architecture.

Arriving at Studley Royal the Marquess of Ripon bade them a hearty welcome, and the company sat down to an elegant luncheon, laid in that portion of the ruins which is said to have formed the lay brothers' room. The party who had set out for York were joined at lunch by the Marchioness as well as the Marquess of Ripon, and by a number of neighbouring friends, the guests numbering nearly a hundred in all.

Lord Ripon tendered a very hearty welcome to his visitors, assuring them of the pleasure it afforded him to see them there on that occasion. It was a singular coincidence that the day chosen for the visit was, in one respect at all events, probably the most appropriate that could have been hit upon in the whole year, because it was the feast of St. Bernard, the great Cistercian, to whose advice in a considerable degree the foundation of that monastery was due. Feeling as he did a natural pride in being connected with buildings so full of beauty and of interest as those in which they were assembled, it was to him a source of great pleasure that they should from time to time be freely thrown open to the examination of persons of scientific acquirements. New light was thrown upon their history and upon their objects, and notwithstanding all the investigations which had been carried on during the last half century they had even now, he doubted not, something to learn in addition to that which had been taught them by those who had preceded the British Archæological Association within those walls.

Mr. Wyon, F.S.A., Hon. Treas., on behalf of the company, thanked the Marquess and Marchioness of Ripon for the very kind and hospitable reception they had given them. Speaking of the Abbey, Mr. Wyon referred to the immense size of the buildings, the beauty of the architecture, and the sweetness of the surroundings, adding that he, for one, must refuse to join with people who in any way sneered at the selfishness or coldness of those who founded such abbeys as that. He felt that those men who drew together there and erected that magnificent pile of buildings, so large and rich in all their detail, did it not for their own glory, but for the glory of their great Master whom they chose to serve. The acknowledgments of all archæologists were due to the noble owner of the Abbey for the admirable preservation in which the ruin was kept. He asked them to pledge the health of the Marquess of Ripon.

The toast was enthusiastically honoured, and his lordship having briefly replied, the company adjourned to the open air.

Mr. Brock then gave a brief sketch of the circumstances under which the abbey was built by a party of Benedictine monks from St. Mary's Abbey, York, who sought a more stringent and ascetic rule of life than that prescribed in the establishment which they left. After enduring great privations this knot of monks won the sympathy and aid of the Archbishop of York, and a stone church was well in progress in the year 1136. A fire occurred shortly after, and it was recorded that the whole fabric was destroyed. As the result of a careful survey, Mr. Gordon Hills, who had written perhaps the best monograph of the building in existence, was only able to point out a wall forming a great part of the east wall of the lay brothers' room, and one other little bit of masonry, as being part of the original

church. It was difficult to understand how a building constructed for the most part of stone could be burnt to the ground. He (Mr. Brock) had therefore devoted himself to an inspection of the remains, and he was flattering himself that he had found reason for believing that a good deal of the lower part of the fabric of the church, at any rate, was of the early date assigned to the foundation. The mouldings of the arches of the lower part of west front were of the plain character which belonged to the period known as Early Norman. The pointed arches, the columns, and the clerestory he took to be part of the rebuilding. He would point out a fact which might surprise some of those present, viz., that the second builders of the church decorated it with the much-abused whitewash. There was evidence that the number of monks for whom provision was made in the rebuilding was 34 or 35. This figure, Mr. Brock explained in answer to an inquiry, had reference to the ritual monks only. As to the conversi, he did not much believe in them.

Making their way eastward through the ruin of the church the attention of the company was called to the superb proportions of the tower erected in 1494, after the demolition of the one which was originally reared over the centre of the building. The guide observed in passing that they would be struck with the fact that as portions of the buildings decreased in antiquity they increased in artistic beauty, which was explained by the gradual change of sentiment in regard to architecture which came over the Cistercians as their order became more wealthy. It was at Fountains that the architect had elaborated the idea of a magnificent addition to the east end in the shape of nine altars, and it was the introduction of these that prompted a similar innovation at Durham, and not vice versa, as was often supposed. The nine altars at Fountains were one of the most masterly pieces of the Early English style of architecture that could be found in Yorkshire -delicate and charming were the details, and most artistic the effect produced. Referring to the old pavements which lie at the east end of the church, he declared himself sceptical with regard to the generally accepted view that they now occupied their original positions.

On visiting the Chapter House Mr. Brock drew attention to certain distinguishing masons' marks, which he had detected on the face of the blocks of stone used in the building, and from which he inferred that at the time of the erection of this portion of the Abbey the monks were able to employ very skilled workmen.

Having inspected the remains of what it is agreed formed the domestic offices and infirmary, the visitors climbed the rising ground beyond the rivulet which flows by the Abbey, and obtained a magnificent view of the river from this favourable elevation. Shortly

afterwards they took leave of the President and drove back to Ripon, whence they returned by special train to York.

Canon Raine presided at the evening meeting. Mr. C. H. Compton read a paper on Rievaulx Abbey, which has been printed at pp. 15-25. The Chairman, in proposing a vote of thanks to Mr. Compton, said the Abbey of Rievaulx was justly called one of the glories of Yorkshire. They had seen one of the glories that day. One practical thought arose to his mind, and he would take the liberty of making a suggestion to them in the hope that something might be done. That day they had seen a Cistercian house tenderly cared for. As the earth was removed they saw the ground-plan. They were going to Rievaulx, where they would see exactly the reverse-the earth mounting up against the walls and the walls crumbling to decay. He hoped they would have the opportunity, either collectively or individually, of suggesting to Lord Faversham, or if he was not there, of taking means of putting before him the desirability of some effort being made to clear the ruins of the earth with which they were encumbered, and to put the walls in a proper state of preservation. Mr. W. de Gray Birch, F.S.A., Hon. Sec., read a paper on of the Ancient Gods of Great Britain", which will, it is hoped, be printed hereafter.

"Some

The Chairman observed that Mr. Birch, in his important paper, had mentioned a number of deities with very uncouth names. The inference, he thought, was that those were scarcely to be called British deities at all. Let them consider by whom the inscriptions were wrought. The Roman legions were accompanied by cohorts recruited entirely from distant countries. Those people naturally had their home deities, and these they produced in England. There was one point which Mr. Birch had not noted. In the north particularly, in a great number of the inscriptions were the words, deus vetus or veteris, the ancient god. These inscriptions were very brief -no more than eight or ten words-and the person to whom they were dedicated never had more than one name, and that of an uncouth character. Who was that deus vetus or veteris? Some might think he was Jupiter or Saturn, but he should think it had reference to the principle of divinity rather than to any member of the pantheon at the time. He proposed a vote of thanks to Mr. Birch.

A paper by Mr. A. Oliver, on "The Ancient Brass Monuments of the Archbishops of York," was deferred, and the sitting closed,

FRIDAY, 21ST AUGUST 1891.

This day the members visited Rievaulx Abbey, another Cistercian ruin, and were thus able to compare two buildings, Fountains and Rievaulx, having much in common and yet differing widely in some important respects. A large party set out, and Helmsley was reached about noon. Carriages were in waiting to convey the visitors to the Abbey, which is about three miles distant. Turning off the direct road to the Abbey the party paid a short visit to Earl Faversham's famous terrace, and the glorious view of hill and dale to be obtained from this commanding eminence was greatly enjoyed. The company were enabled to glance at the Ionic temple at the northern end of the terrace, with its ceiling enriched with frescoes illustrative of subjects from heathen mythology. Making the descent of the hill, Rievaulx Abbey, nestling in the dell beneath, was soon reached, and here the visitors were met by the Rev. J. C. Cox, LL.D., F.S.A., by whom they were conducted over the ruin. It is hoped that his remarks will take the form of a paper hereafter in the Journal.

On the return journey the ruins of Helmsley Castle and the overrestored church were inspected. In the latter building are a few loose fragments of Saxon interlaced stonework.

The Rev. Canon Raine took the chair at the evening meeting.

Mr. J. P. Pritchett read a paper on "The Percies in Yorkshire", which we hope to print hereafter.

To recapitulate the historical events in which the Percies were concerned would be interminable, Mr. Pritchett observed, and he was compelled to omit a very large portion of his paper owing to the limited time at his disposal.

Major G. Lambert, F.S.A., gave some account of the houses, and their locality, which the members of the Percy family had occupied in London.

The Chairman stated that Mr. Pritchett's paper was important, and added much to the information they had previously possessed of the Percy family. The people of Yorkshire owed much gratitude to the older Percies. Their name was a household word in the county, and there was no one who was acquainted with the Minster was not aware of those two noble statues of the Percies which stood on either side of the west door.

Dr. Eastwood read a paper on "York as an Early British and English Centre of Life and Learning", which has been printed above at pp. 30-37.

Mr. Allan Wyon, F.S.A., Hon. Treas., gave a résumé of the work of the Association during its visit to York, and said they had received many

« PreviousContinue »