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One William Homell had afterwards provided for a second chaplain, and then another archbishop had annulled the old foundation, and made new provisions for the duties of the two chaplains, the distribution of alms by the master on St. Mary Magdalen's Day, and for the residence of the master. Yet there was only one chaplain, who did not reside. Alms were not properly distributed, though some had been given to blind priests. A long dispute followed, ending in John of Bridlington being confirmed in his mastership, although he was only in minor orders. There is a great deal more about this ancient but long mismanaged hospital, in “Memorials of Ripon,” to which collection I beg to refer any who are interested in the subject.
Archbishop Thurstan was the reputed founder also of the hospital of St. John the Baptist, but he only confirmed an earlier foundation by his predecessor, Thomas II? (1109-19). We have a long account of proceedings in the King's Bench in 1341, reciting proceedings in Chancery, with a Royal Visitation enquiring into abuses in this hospital, affording much curious information respecting it. There is also a short inventory of its goods in 1277," For the revenues and property of both hospitals in the sixteenth century see M.R., iii, 5, 8, 29–32. A chantry of two priests in the chapel of St. Mary Magdalene's was founded in 1334.5 Both hospitals still exist, and the ancient chapel of St. Mary Magdalene's, with its stone altar in silu, will be visited. St. John's has been rebuilt.
The hospital of St. Anne, which is to be visited, was not connected with the church, and I know nothing about it beyond what is to be seen in the large edition of Walbran's Guide to Ripon, where we find extracts from a short account published by the late Mr. Lukis in 1872, the historical part of which is based on a
document” found after Mr. Walbran's time, but to which no reference is given. It appears that this hospital was founded for four men, four women, and one priest, and that there were two beds for wayfarers. There was no endowment, the hospital was supported by the alms of the public, solicited from time to time in
time in archbishops' letters, on application. On one occasion the applicants were Seth Snawsell, of Ripon, and Robert Stokes, of Bykerton, who stated that the chapel and massendew were founded by their ancestor, who is not named. It must have been before 1438, in which year a sum of
1 M.R., i, 217. 2 M.R., i, 323
M.R., i, 212-223.
M.R., i, 205.
money was bequeathed for a mass in the chapel called “le masendieu.” Mr. Bilson thinks that the half-columns of the chapelarch are of the twelfth century, the date of the foundation of the other hospitals. Maison Dieu, God's House, was a common name for a hospital. In Ripon the term has been corrupted into “Maiden's due," as if it were thought that the hospital had been founded for single ladies, who looked upon it as their right. Mr Bilson will no doubt show you how the architecture corresponds with the probable dates of foundation and reconstruction, and whatever traces there are, or have been, of the original arrangements. The ruined chapel is all that is left now, the hospital itself, adjoining on the west, was most unfortunately pulled down in 1869, when indications of four fire-places were found.
I have not yet mentioned the seven vicars. Their office and status, in Ripon as elsewhere, arose out of non-residence and other neglect of duty on the part of the canons, who were sometimes Italian ecclesiastics, whom the archbishops were compelled to appoint under the corrupt system of papal provisions. And when they were not foreigners, they were not always averse to the performance of their duties by deputy. At first, they employed men to do their work who, like the unbeneficed and unlicensed clergy of our own time, had no statutory position or income. It was much the same everywhere, and the bishops, despairing of reforming the canons, made provisions for the perpetuity and maintenance of their deputies, who were called vicarii, or vicars, from their vicarious discharge of the duties of the canons. The history of ordinary parochial vicars is very similar. All parishes were originally rectories, but the principal endowments and tithes of many of them were given to monasteries, and the abbots and convents appointed vicars to do the work that had been done by rectors. In Ripon the canons were quasi-rectors, but as they could not be made to discharge their duties in a proper manner, or in their own persons, nor yet to make adequate provision for deputies, Archbishop Corbridge made a decree for the perpetuity of vicars in Ripon in 1303.1 Each canon was to have a perpetual vicar, and each vicar was to have six marks a year, paid by the canon whose work he did. The canon of Stanwick, who was ruler of the choir in Ripon, was to have a vicar who should reside at Stanwick, and have cure of souls in that parish. Thenceforward, the seven vicars, to whom was assigned that cure of souls in the parishes of Ripon and Stanwick for which the canons had been
1 M.R., ii, 44, 45.
responsible, were among the most important officers of the church. They were to live together in common, but there was the usual tendency in the direction of living separately, which had to be checked again and again.2 Leland speaks of the vicars' houses in a "fair quadrant of square stone” 3; this quadrangle was called their College, or the New Bedern, whence“ Bedern Bank,” but no traces of the building remain. At Lincoln the vicars still reside in a “fair quadrant,” called the Vicars' Court, and there are similar provisions for the vicars at Wells and elsewhere. A brief summary of the duties of the vicars, as well as of the other officers of the church, may be found in M.R., iii, Preface, pp. xiv, xv, xvii.
Something may now be said of the duties of the ministri or inferior officers of the church. The six vicars in Ripon have just been mentioned. One of them was on special duty each week. The three deacons in turn acted as deacons at high mass, singing the Gospel, in which duty was included the singing of the genealogies at Christmas and Epiphany4, taking their parts in the Gospels in Holy Week and reading the “Collation."
Collation5.” The sub-deacons sang the Epistle, and acted as sub-deacons at mass. Three readers read the three lessons from Isaiah on Christmas Day. Of the six choristers, two only appear to have been on duty in each week, a sufficient number for the kind of music then used. Of the three thuriblers and three patenars, one seems to have been on duty at a time. The patenarius? had certain duties at high mass, the thuribler attended to the incense, and there was a sub-thuribler, who probably carried the incense boat. The ministri helped at the Easter Communion of all the parishioners by administering the unconsecrated wine after the sacrament in one kind, holding the houselling cloths, keeping the doors, and so on. They most of them would perform in the miracle plays. 8
Then we find regular payments to the schoolmaster, to the minstrels, to the man that carried the dragon in the Rogation processions, to the shrine-bearers, to the archbishop's park keeper for palms and ivy for Palm Sunday, to the chapter-clerk for writing out rolls, and to an auditor of accounts.9
The sacristan cleaned the church, including floors, walls, windows, gutters, etc., attended to a bell called the klank knoll, and to the clock, and to the setting up and taking down of St. Wilfrid's tent in
1 M.R., ii, 46, 60, 178.
M.R., iii, 232.
9 Chamberlains' Rolls, in M.R., iii, 224, etc.
Rogation tide. The Margler or sexton rang the curfew, and helped the clerks of the vestry in the washing of the relics. The vestry clerks cleaned the choir, made wafer-bread, and from the old palms made ashes to be used on the following Ash Wednesday, Certain clerks went to York for the holy oils, helped to take down the paschal candle, and filled the font twice in the year. The first payment for playing on the organs is in 14473, after which it occurs regularly, but there were organs, the bellows of which were then mended, in 1399. The chapter had their own plumber and glazier, and other artificers referred to in the Rolls.
Such, then, was the mediæval constitution of the church, and it continued up to the time of the dissolution, when all was swept away. In the first year of Edward VI, the chantries went as a matter of course, and as collegiate churches were included in the Act, the fact of Ripon Minster being collegiate proved to be a deplorable calamity at that time. That it was also parochial did not save it, and while other parishes retained their endowments, Ripon was left wholly destitute. All its possessions were annexed to the Duchy of Lancaster, and leased out to various persons. We do not know how the parish was worked during the unhappy times of Edward VI, Mary, and Elizabeth. The old vicars appear to have continued in office into Elizabeth's time, and as late as 1567 to 1580 we find repeated proceedings against them promoted by the Archbishop of York and the Court of High Commission, for their reluctance to comply with the new regulations for public worship. In October, 1567, five of them were accused of refusing to read or cause to be read the lessons in the body of the church, and likewise the Epistle and Gospel and the Homilies. They were accused also of not communicating together when the communion was ministered, and of conveying forth out of the church by night all the images and other " trumpery,” and bestowing them it was not known where. It was said that they suffered the stones and rubbish of the altars to remain in divers closets in the church, and that they did never after any homily or divine service exhort the people to remember the poor. Furthermore, it was alleged that there were in a vault of the said church reserved vj great tables of “alablaster" full of images, and xlix books, some antiphoners, and such books as were condemned by public authority. What would we not give to have those forty-nine books now? Perhaps one of
IM.R , ui, 999, 1101, 120, 133.
* MR, ii, 132.
M.R., iii, 344, etc.
them still exists, namely the " Ripon Psalter," which was presented by the late Marquis of Ripon to the Chapter Library. And it may have been preserved for the sake of the genealogical notes that had been added to its calendar. In the following Februaryż the courts decreed that St. Wilfrid's Needle was to be stopped up, and that an altar standing in a little chapel in the vault where the said needle was should be taken down and defaced, and Sir Thomas Blackburne, the vicar, was to do public penance, and read a declaration from the pulpit describing himself as a most blind guide of an old and superstitious custom, in drawing people from the choir to the Ladyloft for the rites formerly practised, and he was to renounce his said evil and superstitious dealings, being penitent for the same, and was to confess that he, unto whom the charge of the fabric was committed, had suffered that old, abhominable, and superstitious vault called the Wilfrid's Needle, and the altar therein, and certain other altars, to remain undefaced, undestroyed, and untaken away.
He had a day on which to certify of the performance of this penance, but we do not know whether it ever came off or not, or what became of Sir Thomas Blackburne, at last. But in March, 15713, he was proceeded against for hearing mass in the Rebellion time, that was, during the rising in the North in 1569, and taking part in other papistical service. It is interesting to note that a portion of one of the alabaster tables or sculptures that Blackburne tried to preserve still exists in the Minster, as do the foundations of the altars in the crypt and in the south-eastern chapel.
John Jackson, the parish clerk in 1567, was then in trouble for still making bread for the Holy Communion with the picture of the Crucifix and other pictures upon the same, contrary to the Queen's Majesty's injunctions. And here we note that the waferbread was not objected to, only making it with pictures upon it. John Jackson also used many times to scoff and scorn at the Queen's proceedings.
A few years later, namely in 15805, William Sewall, of Ripon, clerk, was proceeded against for refusing to sign children at baptism with the sign of the cross, but he denied the accusation. What were the simple folk of Ripon to think, with spiritual guides holding such widely diverging views ? One of the old vicars was accused of notorious incontinency, and John Birkbie, rector of More
1 Chapter Acts, 382; M.R., i, 26-30. 2 M.R., iji, 346. The local portion was reprinted, with a M.R., iii, 348. translation, etc., by Mr. John Whitham, M.R., iji, 346. and published by Mr. W. Harrison of
5 M.R., iü, 349 Ripon in 1893, 4to, pp. 10 and 36.