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dagger; the bare head rests on a pillow supported by two angels. The gauntleted hands are raised as in prayer, and here we meet with the most striking, it may be said "unique," feature of the monument; between the tips of the fingers is a very small oval-shaped concave plate containing a very diminutive figure of a man (probably meant to represent his soul); it is this figure which gives the archæological interest to the monument. Why he was so mutilated-why he was buried in the churchyard-why so long left there uncared for and perhaps unknown-must now ever remain a mystery; as also who he was. This can only be conjectured by supposing that he belonged either to the Northwodes or the Cheyneys; one who died in the earlier half of the fifteenth century. If a Northwode, it may have been the John Northwode who died in 1416; or if a Cheyney, probably Sir William, whose death is recorded in 1441.
There remains yet another monument to be described. It carries us on to a later period of England's history, and is connected with the Spanish Armada. Under a plain arched recess in the north wall of this Chapel we see a tomb, itself of much earlier date, with its front and the back of the recess composed of slabs of Bethersden marble richly diapered and panelled, probably belonging to the fifteenth century, and on it an alabaster figure of a knight in full armour of the latter part of the sixteenth, the chain shirt appearing at the throat above the plated cuirass, the head resting on a pillow supported by angels; on his breast lies an Order, attached to a narrow ribbon embossed with alternate small roses and stars; the Order itself so worn and effaced that it is difficult to identify it with any known Order. Local tradition has always assigned to it the title of "the Spanish Ambassador," but has never given it a name. He is so described in a rare coloured print by Livesay of the year 1791. It is amusing, and perhaps instructive, to mark the various forms of the name and office assigned to this worthy. For instance, Brayley, in his Beauties of Kent, gives the name as "CERINEMO," and says he was "taken by Sir Francis Drake 1588 and died a prisoner on board a ship at the Nore;" while in a Paper in the Gentleman's Magazine of
1798, under the signature of T. Mot, the name is spelt GERMONA, and he is styled, "Commander of the Land Forces on board the Spanish Armada, who died a prisoner on board the Guardship at the Nore." This account Mackenzie Walcott evidently copies in a Paper in Archæologia Cantiana on Kentish Priories, only calling him a "Spanish General," and describes the capture under similar circumstances. These varying accounts were no doubt based on a defective recollection of the entry in the Church Register, where among the burials, under date December 5, 1591, it appears thus: "Signior JERONIMO, a Spanish prisoner to Sir Edward Hoby, taken in the fight with the Spanish flete (1588)." Who then was he? The style of the armour, the costliness of the marble, the Order on his breast-all point to his having been a man of some mark, of some importance and dignity. But who? Among the treasures of the Record Office Museum is a letter from Robert Cecil,* afterwards Earl of Salisbury, written to his father, Lord Burleigh, on July 30th, 1588, describing the adventure of the fire-ships, which he facetiously calls the "fireworks," at Calais Harbour. He says that after Moncada, who commanded one of the largest galiases, had been shot on the deck of his stranded ship, "the second of account," whom he styles "a proper gentleman of Salamanca," was "taken and kept in one of the ships of the flete." Then C. F. Duro, the Spanish historian, in his work La Armada Invincible, says there was among the Aventureros, men no doubt of wealth and position, like the "Merchant Adventurers" of English History, one JERONIMO MAGNO. Is it too much to infer that possibly the Spanish grandee captured by Drake at the Calais Bar, and detained a prisoner on board one of the ships at the Nore in the custody of Sir Edward Hoby (at that time Constable of Queenborough Castle, and therefore commanding at the Nore), who was
* State Papers, Dom., Elizab., vol. cciii., No. 66, Record Off. Museum, a letter from Cecil to Lord Burleigh, July 30, 1588, runs thus: "I thought good to acquaint yow wth yt wch I have hearde of a Sp. Jentleman taken yesterday in one of ye Galeases wch was runn a shore at Calis and there is seised by Mosr. Gowrdan. The Captaine of this Shipp, named Moncadaa, one of ye greatest personages in the Fleete, was killed wth a small shott of a muskeyt yt persed both his eyes. The second of account in that Shipp is taken and kept in one of ye Shipps in her M'tie Fleete. This mann yt is here is a proper Jentleman of Salamanca," etc.; dated "From Douer, this 30th of July."
known probably chiefly by his Christian name of Jeronimo, with the recognized title of Signior, was the person who three years after died there, and was buried in this Church, and whose monument is now before us?
There also lie on the floor of the Chapel two massive stone coffins, one with the lid bearing a foliated cross. These clearly carry back the mind to the earlier days of the Chapel, and may probably have once held the bodies of some noble if not royal prioress in Saxon times.
It were indeed ungracious and unjust to bring to a close this attempt to describe Minster Church as it now is without an allusion to what it was when the Rev. William Bramston, the present Vicar, entered on his duties here in 1877. It was then little better than a ruin the roof leaking like a sieve, the walls dilapidated and overgrown with moss, the entire fabric a disgrace, its very appearance bringing into contempt the holy cause which it was supposed to represent. To his zeal and energy it is mainly due that out of that wreck has risen a restoration not unworthy of Him whom the Parishioners now delight to worship within its walls— a building of which they may be justly proud.
Passing from the Church and its Monuments, let us glance at what remains of the Monastery (or rather Nunnery) itself. Of its component parts all must now be conjecture. The gateway alone remains to bear silent witness to its former grandeur. It is unfortunately a case of "Ex pede Herculem." We may, however, reasonably imagine that a religious house which had for its first and second Prioresses representatives of royalty, and in their successors ladies of high and often of noble birth, would have every portion of its entourage complete. There would have been its refectory, its dormitory, chapter-house, cloisters, and garth, as
its chapel, all enclosed within a range of high walls. xcept the gatehouse, is gone; nor does a trace less it be in the line of a high-pitched roof on the
west wall, where probably stood the spacious refectory. Even the gatehouse is altered; no longer does the wide-spanned arch open its door to receive the visitor. It has been long since built up. The old arched or square-headed windows of stone, and closely quarried glass, have been replaced by wooden frames and staring sashes; and the former abode of the devout sisters of the Benedictine Order is now utilized into tenements for the families of farm-labourers. It is only in the north-eastern corner that we can detect anything of the really old. Here are jambs of Early English windows, now blocked up; here is still the newel stair which once led up to the apartments of the two priests: but it has long since ceased to be used. It is scarcely possible now to say which were the rooms of the Confessor of the Nuns and the Chaplain of the Church.
Our only clue to the distribution of the apartments (and this probably confined to the gatehouse itself) is to be found in the" Inventory "* already noticed (p 151). There were the apartment of the Lady Prioress, Alicia Crane; that of Dame Ursula Gosborne (? Gisborne), who was called the sup-prior; those of Dames Agnes Browne, Margaret.... locks, Dorothy Toplyve, Anne Loveden, Elizabeth Stradlynge, Anne Clifford, and Margaret Ryvers. In this Inventory are also included the most minute details of the "goods" which each contained, specifying not only the "clothys for the hangyngs," but also the "fetherbeds, bolsters," number of "pyllowes, blankattes, payres of shetes," etc., which each owned.
In Minster, as in the Benedictine Monasteries generally, the discipline of the house was under Episcopal jurisdiction: while the election of the Prioress lay with the sub-prioress and the nuns, it required the preliminary sanction and subsequent confirmation of the Archbishop. This is evident from an entry in the Lambeth Register, where Archbishop Stafford issues a Licencet to the sub-prioress and the convent to proceed to the election of a prioress on the death of the
* Archæologia Cantiana, Vol. VII., where the names are given of the occupants (temp. Henry VIII.) at the time of its suppression.
+ Archbishop Stafford's Register, f. 107 b (A.D. 1450): "Emanavit licentia suppriorisse et Conventui domus Monialium Scapeie ad procedendam electionem future Priorisse. . . . secundum consuetudinem."
The internal discipline, too, of the house
came under the control of the Primate.
In the same Registers we have glimpses of the life these nuns were accustomed to lead; and they are not always favourable pictures. More than once it became necessary for the Archbishops to interfere, and sometimes to administer warnings and even rebukes and threats. Archbishop Peckham* in 1286 had to condemn the latitude which (as he had heard) allowed mulieres seculares (women who were not under the vow) to come inside the walls, and threatens them severely unless they mend their ways.
Ten years later Archbishop Winchelsea held a personal visitation, and found other grounds of complaint; he heard that in refectory and dormitory, in cloister, and even in choir, the rule of SILENCE was not observed; that the nuns are "said to be garrulous and quarrelsome;" and for such delinquencies he enjoins periods of solitary confinement in the cells (in camera, carceris loco), and warns them that if this disorder continues still more severe forms of punishment must be resorted to to maintain the good order of the house.t
Of the successive Prioresses it is now impossible to give a full and correct list, as the names only occur incidentally in various records. For instance, we read that one Agnes (whose surname is not given) was Prioress in 1139; that Johanna de Cobham filled that post in the middle of the fourteenth century, and that on her death in 1368 she was succeeded by Isabella de Honyngton, who had "professed only a few months before. These two ladies no doubt belonged to the old Kentish families of Cobham and Honington. Then in 1511 Alice Rivers was Prioress; and she very probably belonged to the family of which Elizabeth, the Queen of Edward IV., was a member. The last of the Prioresses was Alicia Crane, who held the office at the time of the suppression, when she was pensioned.
*Archbishop Peckham's Register, f. 119.
"Injunctiones a Monialibus in Scapeia observandi. Robertus, etc., etc. In primis ut in locis silencio deputatis, et precipue in Choro, Claustra, Refectorio, & Dormitario, silencium observetur: . . . . Ita quod supe hoc non garulent nec contendant, etc., etc. Datum in Monasterio vestro Kal. Maii 4. D. MCCXCVI." (Archbishop Winchelsea's Register, f. 63.)
Archbishop Langham's Register, f. 64-5.