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His connexion with Ripon, as head of his monastery, was never severed until towards the end of his life, when he appointed his kinsman, Tatbercht, as ruler of the house.1 On the 12th of October, 709, he fell sick and died in the monastery of Oundle, in Northamptonshire, and at his own request, his body was brought to Ripon, where it was entombed on the south side of the altar, forty years having passed since he had consecrated the church.2
And with Wilfrid's death closes the most important chapter in the history of the church of Ripon. After the time of his biographers the records become very scanty. There is a letter from one Botwine, abbot of Ripon, unless it was from an abbot of Peterborough of the same name, to Lullus, archbishop of Mayence, about 786, proposing mutual intercession, and sending three " lacernæ,” probably ecclesiastical vestments enriched with embroidery, as a present. Botwine, the abbot of Ripon, died in 786, and was succeeded by Albert, who died in 787, and was succeeded by Sigred and Wildeng.3 In 790, Ethelred, King of Northumbria, was supposed to have slain one Eardwulf outside the gates of the monastery ; the body being brought into the church, was found to be alive after midnight, having been raised from death, as was thought, by the prayers of the brethren assembled round him.4
It is with the history of the church that we are at present concerned, still I may perhaps be expected to say something about the alleged incorporation of the town by King Alfred the Great, in commemoration of which the “Ripon Millenary” was celebrated with much enthusiasm in 1886,5 But all I can say is, that there is no historical foundation whatever for any such supposition, and that it is moreover inherently impossible. The sole ground for it is that in Gent's “ Rippon ” the author makes a remark to that effect, which he says is from "an antient manuscript." He does not say what this “antient manuscript” was, but there can be little doubt that he is referring to a MS. by Alderman Theakston, who was mayor in 1615, 729 years later than the alleged date of the supposed incorporation. Then if we are to accept the statement in the MS., we must believe that an English town was incorporated by Royal Charter in 886, and that a West Saxon king exercised kingly authority in Northumbria at that time.
* Chron. de Mailros, p. 139; Sym. Dunelm., Hist. Regum, sub anno; M.R., i,
1 Eddii V.W., lxii; M.R., i, 22.
2 M.R., i, 19-30; A.S. Chron., an. 709; Bede, H.E., v, xix; Eadmer, liv; Eddius, Ixii; Fridegoda, lines 1355-9; Ripon Psalter, Whitham's ed., pp. 25-27; Fasti Ebor., i, 79, and notes.
3 M.R., I, 31, 32, 42, 43, and notes.
the quarto volume, Ripon Millenary, Ripon, 1892.
Rippon, 1733, p. 101.
To historical scholars I need say no more.
To E. A. Freeman it sounded much as the statement that the earth is flat sounds to an astronomer?, and I should think that by this time there must be few indeed who think that there is any historical value in a statement that rests solely on the authority of Alderman Theakston and good old Thomas Gent.
There seems to be no reason to doubt that Athelstan conferred the right of sanctuary and other privileges on Ripon in the former half of the tenth century, although the charters that purport to convey these rights must be two or three centuries later. Charters of this kind were often fabricated after the Norman Conquest, not for the purpose of establishing new and unfounded rights, but to place on record old and undoubted rights, and to protect them from the cavils of Norman lawyers. In later times, the benefits believed to have been conferred by King Athelstan were kept in mind by special commemorations held in the church.3
Soon after Athelstan's time, namely towards the middle of the tenth century, Northumbria was harried, Wilfrid's church burnt, Ripon laid waste, and, we may suppose, the monks slain or dispersed. According to Eadmer the monk of Canterbury, Archbishop Odo, during a vacancy in the see of York, about 952, visited Ripon, and, finding the church in ruins, carried the bones of St. Wilfrid to Canterbury, leaving the dust at Ripon. In Leland's time it was common opinion that Odo then began a new church at Ripon, where the Minster now stands. But an anonymous biographer relates that Oswald, Archbishop of York, found Wilfrid's bones in his grave on the south side of the altar, and enshrined them on the north side, brought back monks, and rebuilt the Minster.? Eadmer in his life of Oswald, says that it was the bones of a later Wilfrid that Oswald found, those of the great Wilfrid having been previously removed by Odo to Canterbury. 8 However, it was always believed in Ripon that the relics of the great Wilfrid were enshrined in his own church, and that it was those of the second Wilfrid that had gone to Canterbury.' There was a later translation by Archbishop Gray in 1224, when the head was enshrined separately. There are stones with interlacing work on them, built into the north-west corner of the present north transept,
1 The Spectator, Sept. II, 1886.
2 M.R., i, 33-35, and notes; 89-93, and notes.
Itin., 2nd ed., i, 89; M.R., i, 84. 7 M.R., i, 41.
M.R., i, 42.
3 M.R., iv, 144 bis.
4 A.S. Chron., an. 948; Eadmer, lvij; M.R, I, 36.
At the last references.
Ripon Psalter, Whitham's ed., pp. 10, ; M.R., i, 30, and note ; Fasti Ebor., i, 80, 93, and notes.
and there is a portion of a cross similar in character; these have probably belonged to the tenth-century church of Odo or of Oswald, whichever it was; they cannot be of Wilfrid's time, the style of work is too late. This tenth-century church probably received St. Cuthbert's body when it was brought to Ripon in 995; it remained here for three or four months.1
The nature of the ecclesiastical establishment connected with this church is unknown. Archbishop Oswald is said to have brought back monachi of some sort. There may have been half-secular clergy as at Durham, Hexham, and elsewhere. However this may have been, we never find monks at Ripon at any subsequent period. Whether the conversion of monks into secular canons was silently effected, or whether any sort of monks were abolished and secular canons put in their place, we do not know. According to an uncertain author quoted by Leland in his Collectanea, Archbishop Ealdred (1060-1069) founded prebends in York, Beverley, and Ripon, if so, that would seem to have been the beginning of the medieval foundation. In Domesday, we find the canons of Ripon holding fourteen bovates.4 Early in the next century we again find mention of canons, and Archbishop Thurstan founds the prebend of Sharow. The south-eastern chapel of the present Minster has been attributed to this same Archbishop Thurstan, but Mr. Bilson thinks with good reason that it has formed part of Archbishop Roger's church. I must, however, leave the architectural history of the church entirely in his hands, and proceed at once with its constitutional history.
In and after 1140, the canons and chapter are constantly mentioned, but we cannot assign any stalls until the York registers begin to give us information towards the end of the thirteenth century. 6 In the earliest charters we find as witnesses not only canons, but chaplains and deacons. The chaplains officiated at particular altars, in connection with which chantries were afterwards founded, and the chantry priests are commonly described as “capellani," up to the time of the suppression. The deacons may sometimes have remained in deacons' orders all their lives, discharging such duties as deacons might. The canons of Ripon," septem personæ8" as they were called, were, like those of the mother church of York, and the sister churches of Beverley and Southwell, not "Augustinian canons," as has been erroneously stated, but seculars, being under
no monastic rule, and forming a chapter which, like that of Southwell, was acephalous, not having dean, provost, or other regular president under the archbishop. The senior canon present would naturally preside. The prebendary of Stanwick was ex officio precentor, and the prebendary of Monkton, treasurer. There was no chancellor, the chancellor of York would discharge the duties. In the later middle ages, Ripon, Beverley, and Southwell were often classed with York as the four mother churches, and were all in some sort cathedral churches of the Archbishop of York. Ripon, at least, was sometimes so styled. The archbishops of York had their throne at the eastern end of the south range of stalls up to the formation of the see of Ripon, when the bishop's throne took the place of the archbishop's. The property of the Ripon chapter was, as was usual, of two kinds, the communitas, which they held in common, and the seven prebends or endowments which the seven canons held separately, namely those of Stanwick, Monkton, Givendale, Sharow, Nunwick, Studley, and Thorpe, so named after the places from which the revenues were derived, by order of Archbishop Corbridge in 1301.4
In 1228, Galfridus de Lardare appears as canonicus præbendæ beati Andreæ,5 and in the will of William Cawood, prebendary of Thorp, dated February, 1419, he speaks of his prebend as that of St. John of Beverley in Ripon.6 In some other churches, as at Beverley and at St. Mary's, Warwick, the prebends were named after saints up to the dissolution. Besides the common fund and the seven prebends, there were the endowments of nine chantries, held separately by the chaplains who served them.? Brian Batty made provision for a chantry of St. George as late as 1515, but his intention does not appear to have been carried out, as no such chantry appears in the chantry certificates. In connexion with this chantry would seem to have been the very curious agreement between John the son of Brian Batty and William Bronfiet of Ripon, carver, for “a George apon horsebak and a dragon accordyng to a Georg at Crystall (Kirkstall) Abbay, and a loft in the Minster.” The George was to have two heads and three arms, the extra ones were doubtless meant to be screwed on and off for different occasions, 8 There were also chaplains serving parochial chapels, some of which had their own endowments.9 1 M.R., ii, 2.
6 M.R., iv, 190. 2 Chapter' Acts, 323; M.R., ii, 224, 1. M.R., iii, 15, etc, 56, etc., iv, Index M.R., ii, 1771, iii, S.
under Chantries. 4 M.R., ii, 32.
8 M.R., iv, 294n. 5 M.R., i, 51.
9 M.R., i, 196, etc.
On certain great festivals these outside chaplains attended at the Minster in their copes, together with their parishioners. The last survival of this was the early communion on Easter Day, attended by parishioners from the outlying chapelries. There was a fund called the common of the fabric, proceeding from certain rents, oblations, etc., and the farm of indulgences. Lastly, there were what are now called surplice-fees, and some other small receipts recorded in the treasurer's rolls.3
The hospitals of St. Mary Magdalene and of St. John the Baptist were attached to the church much in the same way as were the chapels and chantries. Both were founded in the twelfth century. It was supposed, in 1342", that St. Mary Magdalene's had been founded by Archbishop Thurstan (1114-1140).
At a visitation of this Hospital held in 13175, it was found that whereas according to the foundation there should be two chaplains, the master had been having one only, that hospitality had been neglected, and alms withheld from the poor, who had been put off with a saucer of beans or of flour, that the master seldom resided, and that everything had "gone to the dogs," as we say; they said, "omnia subtrahuntur et adnichilantur.” At another visitation, held in 13416, the jurors swore that a certain Archbishop of York, whose name they did not know, had founded the hospital, and that the archbishops were the patrons, but that the patronage rested with the king during a vacancy in the see. The site was called Dunscewith, and was surrounded by ditches. The hospital was to have fuel and pasture in Northscogh, and was to find a chaplain, and sustain lepers born in Riponshire. Each leper was to have a garment called Bak, two pairs of shoes a year, a loaf of bread, half a gallon of ale, and a piece of flesh on flesh days, or three herrings on fish days. The jury did not know whether the chapel had been dedicated, but there had been burials there. The then master was only in acolyte's orders, the charity was not duly administered. The archbishop had robbed the hospital of lands, common rights, and fuel rights. The master said that there were no brothers or sisters in the hospital at that time, and maintained that he was not bound to have more than one chaplain. In 1342?, another visitation was held, at which the jurors swore that Archbishop Thurstan founded the hospital for secular brothers and sisters, and one chaplain. It was to receive blind priests and lepers.
M.R., iii, 164, 253; see also, i, 196-202. * M.R., i, 228. ? M.R., iii, 2, 23, and Fábric Rolls M.R., i, 211. in iii, 88, etc.
M.R., i, 223 3 M.R., iii, 20,7, etc.
M.R., i, 228.