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in other respects favoured the wealth and worldly pleasures of all Abbey, presenting it with five kinds, while the poor around the manors; but still refusing the re- Monastery gates were neglected and peated prayers of Willegod, he despised. ordered the body of Offa to be The dark memory of Ethelbert's removed to Bedford, where it was murder seemed to cling around the deposited in royal state in a chapel house of charity, overclouding it built on the banks of the river for a generation or two, until Elfric Ouse. In Matthew Paris's time no arose, pure and good, gaining remains of the monumental sepul- honour at last for Offa's “stately chre or of the chapel were visible; church and monastery:" before his all was washed away, according to time, indeed, there was a dawning tradition, by the violent floods which, of light under the rule of Ulsin, as we know, still occasionally pre- the sixth abbot, "pious and orderly. vail in Bedfordshire and the sur- Ulsin encouraged and helped people rounding counties.
to build dwellings around the Mon. Willegod, of whom, unlike his astery; he laid out a place for the successors, there are no evil reports, market, erected three churches at is said to have gone down in St. Alban's-namely, St. Stephen's, sorrow to the grave two months St. Michael's, and St. Peter's, and is after the death of his great king. regarded as the founder of the town
The monks to be seen in those of St. Alban's. days by the few who dwelt at St. The following list of the abbots Alban's, or who travelled by that of St. Alban's, forty-one in number, way and lingered about the gates is given in Stevens's “ History of of the Monastery, belonging as Abbeys," with a biographical sketch they did to the Benedictine order, appended to each name (we have were clothed in scanty black robes, added a few dates, &c. from New. loose, ungirdled, and nearly sweep- come's “ History of St. Alban's."): ing the ground ; underneath the white woollen vest each monk wore 1. Willegod
791 the penitential hair shirt, much
794 like the one seen by Mr. Ruskin
8. Ulsig (in the time of Alfred
the Great) the other day, as we may assume,
4. Ulnoth of which he thus tells us in
5. Eadfrith in the time of Ed. “Fors Claveriga,” letter xli. :
mund the Pius) "I was looking at St. Francis's 6. Ulson
948 camel's hair coat yesterday (they 9. Elfric (in the time of Edgar have it still at the sacristy), and I
the Peaceable) don't like the look of it at all."
8. Ealdred The St. Alban's monks, moreover,
9. Eadmer had their heads slaven on the
11. Elfric II. (in the time of crown, leaving merely a circle of
Canute) hair, the cowl hanging over the 12. Leofstan in the time of Ed. back and shoulders.
ward the Confessor) The early abbots of St. Alban's, 13. Fretheric
1044 with the exception of Willegod, are
1077 described as having displayed more
. 1097 zeal in the hunting-field and the
17. Ralph, surnamed Gubion banqueting-hall than in the dis
1151 charge of their monastic duties.
. 1168 We read of their arraying them. 20. Garin or Warin
. 1183 selves in gay apparel, seeking 21. John
22. William de Trumpington 1214 Ealdred and Eadmer were alike 23. John de Hertford (buried
intent upon exploring the riches of in the Abbey)
the ancient city Verulanium, just 24. Roger (buried in the choir) 1260
across the little river Ver, the 25. John of Berkhampstead, (buried in the choir) 1291
waters of which the monks, in their
leisure or meditative moments, 26. John Marinis (buried in the choir).
could look upon from the heights 27. Hugh of 'Eversden, (in the of the monastic edifice, which was
time of Edward II.) 1308 then, as now, we suppose, standing 28. Richard Wallingford
1326 on the elevated ground rising from 29. Michael Mentmore
the green valley through which the 30. Thomas de la More
river flowed. Great were the build31. John Moot.
1396 32. William Heyworth
ing treasures amassed by these two 33. John of Whethampstede (re
indefatigable abbots, who had it in signed in 1440)
1425 their mind to pull down the modest 34. John Stock.
1440 structure, and rear on its site one 35. John of Whethampstead (re- worthy of England's martyr. elected)
1440 A famine arose in the days of 36. William Alban
Leofric, their successor. This man, 37. William Wallingford (in the
" excellent for faith and morals," time of Richard III.) 1476 38. Thomas Ramrigge
was filled with compassion as he 39. Thomas Wolsey,
beheld the poor perishing for want 40. Robert Catton
1538 of food. Considering the Abbey 41. Richard Boreman.
1538-39 riches of gold, silver, and gems,
also the many Roman stones carved, Elfric, the first of his name, and cut in shape, and of great value, the seventh abbot, did much by his he rejoiced in his heart, knowing virtues and learning towards remov- that his flock should starve no more. ing from Offa's Monastery the sad Collecting together the hoarded reproach of the evil doings of some treasures of two lives-treasures of his predecessors. Elfric I. has which he knew had been soleninly occasionally been confused with consecrated to the service of the new his namesake, the eleventh abbot. Abbey in contemplation-he sold Elfric I., in exchange for a cup all, reserving only “ some very prefamed for its exquisite workman. cious gems and carvings called ship, which had been presented to cameos," for which he could find the Abbey Church by Abbot Ead
no purchaser. Then he fed those frith, obtained possession of a royal that were ready to die, answering fishery near the Monastery. This mildly to the reproaches of some fish-pool had long sorely troubled who loved the Abbey more than the monks, who groaned under the they loved the poor, that “the faith. insolence and pride of the King's ful in Christ, especially if they were servants frequenting the place. poor,constituted the Temple of God, Elfric now dried it up, retaining a the real and true Church which fishery only large enough for the it was his duty to build up and Monastery. The dry land newly preserve, and that it was the best acquired, he turned into a garden. instance of pure and undefiled reMatthew Paris says (writing in ligion, to visit the fatherless and 1240), “ To this day are to be seen the widow in their affliction." the banks and shores of the great Abbot Leofstan, who is recorded lake adjoining to the Abbey, which to have been of " royal birth, and leads westwards, and is called famed for his beauty of counte* Fishpool Street.'"
nance," did not view all things in
so fair a light as that in which he looked upon the sorrows of those he was able to help. Such were his notions of gentle birth, that he refused to admit into the profession of monk any person, unless of famous, or at least legitimate, descent, asserting that "the ignoble are ever prone to all enormities."
Newcome and Stevens agree in attributing to Elfric I. sundry learned writings generally claimed for Elfric II. In many particulars besides, their account differs from that of Dean Hook, Lord Campbell, and Dean Milman, also from the statistics of Le Neve, Newcourt, and others. Departing, therefore, from Newcome and Stevens, we find Lord Campbell, in his " Lives of the Chancellors" (vol. i. p. 34), stating that "Elfric, the second of that name, and eleventh abbot of St. Albans, was Chancellor to Ethelred the Unready." In Hook's "Lives of the Archbishops of Canterbury," under the head of "Elfric," we find that he was Archbishop of Canterbury for thirteen years, and the author of many learned works, in which are taught one or two of the most important principles of the Reformation. Some of these writings are still preserved. Elfric translated many books of the Bible, and this he did so well that he was much pressed to undertake more. Being greatly wearied with translation, and desirous of returning to original work, he wrote thus to an Earldoman,' who had been strong in his persuasions:
"I say now that I neither dare, nor will, translate any book after this one, out of the Latin into the English; and I pray thee, dear Earldoman, that thou require it of me no more, lest I be disobedient to thee, or a liar if I obey."
Dean Hook speaks of Elfric, the pupil of the celebrated Ethelwold, and Archbishop from 995-1006, as
formerly a bishop of St. Alban's. He evidently sees good reasons for the confusion that has arisen as to the identity of this learned writer of epistles, sermons, and commentaries, the author of a Saxon grammar, and the admirable translator; for he asks, "Who is Elfric?" and gives us his numerous aliasesAelfric, Alaricius, Alvericius, Aelfricius, &c. According to Dean Hook, Alfric, Archbishop of Canterbury, was first a monk of Abingdon. Abingdon, once famed for its Monastery, was in former days, as Mr. Ruskin remarks, "quite one of the loveliest, as well of historically interesting scenes in England. A few cottages and their gardens, sloping down to the river side, are still left, and an arch or two of the great Monastery."
Dean Milman, in his "Latin Christianity," although he says nothing himself of Alfric, Archbishop of Canterbury, as having presided at St. Alban's, gives his will, with the following commentary on it, from "an anonymous writer," who recognizes that part of his career. After noting that he bequeathed much of value to the Abbey of St. Alban's, where his brother was then abbot, the anonymous commentator says, that "in his bequests to St. Alban's, Elfric evidently alludes to some transactions during his own abbacy."
Leofstan (twelfth abbot), the familiar friend of Edward the Confessor, was chiefly intent on guarding the roads leading from St. Alban's to London. For this purpose he sought the friendship of a very valiant knight, named Thurnot," to whom he granted the manor of Flamstead, on condition that he and his brave comrades should promise their powerful protection to the Abbey church, and to all those coming from a distance to visit the monks and the town of St. Alban's. Thurnot, presenting
Abbot Leofstan with a “very beau building was of stone taken from tiful palfrey for his own riding, the ruins of Verulam, being ori. and a choice greyhound," gave his ginally brought from the Tottenhoe knightly word that no harm should quarries, and found by Paul, utterly happen to the travellers and mer- decayed, not only, possibly, from chants coming by that way; and he length of time-namely, from Offa honourably kept his word. In the to Paul—but from its being laid time of William the Conqueror and fixed in an unskilful manner, Thurnot lost his manor of Flam- that is, in some way different from stead, which was given to a follower its natural position in the quarry. of the Norman king. This was in The rude style of Abbot Paul's the days of Abbot Fretheric, who architecture was the necessary rewas under the cloud of the Con- sult of the Roman material, which queror's displeasure ; all those who, would admit of no shapely curves like Thurnot, clung to his Abbey, and elegant carving. Ai the same suffering with him. Fretheric, hav. time, the zealous abbot might have ing boldly and persistently refused rejoiced as he became acquainted to submit to William the Norman, with the strong and enduring subfound himself forced to fly far away. stance of the rugged tiles which He sought refuge with the monks have lasted faithfully to tell of the of Ely, who gave him shelter; and good work done by Paul the Norat their Monastery he died, leaving We may observe how the St. Alban's for two years without Roman tile was used until ex. an abbot. The Abbey would un- hausted, when stone was used from doubtedly have been annihilated by the screen to the great western William in his fury against the door. Here, with the more manabbot who had dared to oppose his ageable material, it is noticeable will, had not Archbishop Lanfranc that there was no want of good interposed, persuading the King artists and skilful builders in the to allow him to appoint a monk of land ; indeed, it was at this time Bec, named Paul -some say a near that the ancient York Cathedral was relative of Lanfranc's—to the abbacy built, and that of Canterbury just of St. Alban's.
completed. The rule of the first Norman Abbot Paul, besides this outward abbot was a grand epoch in the his- revolution, effected such reforras tory of Offa's foundation. It was in the monastic discipline of St. within the first eleven years of his Alban's that it began to be called abbacy. that Paul rebuilt the Church “the school of religion," and Paul's of the Monastery, and all the adja- good fame drew to the Abbey many cent buildings, except the bake- of the bishops and chief persons house and mill-house. To quote of the land, manors and benefrom Newcome's “History of St. factions being now generously be. Alban's," "This applies to only so stowed where confidence was felt much as includes the choir or body, that all would be wisely distributed. the tower, steeple, and the east end We read of more humble benefaccalled the · Saint's Chapel,' where tions also: “Robert the mason, stood afterwards the shrine of St. who laboured hard at the Abbey in Alban, with the transept north and Paul's time, gave for life ten shillings south, and part of the nave as far a year to the Monastery." only as the screen." Abbot Paul's It was in Abbot Paul's time that Church was entirely of Roman tile, the Scriptorium was arranged. One which seems to intimate, in Mr. “Robert, a Norman, a very stout sol. Newcome's opinion, that the former dier who lived at Hatfield, a man of
letters and diligent lover of the Scriptures, gave two tenths of the tithes of his demesnes, for purchasing and providing books for the monks." The best copyists being sought far and near, were stationed in the Scriptorium, there to write, uninterruptedly and in silence. Abbot Paul ordered that their meals should be taken to them, and thus they need never so leave their copying as to distract their thoughts or scatter their manuscripts. We read of twenty-eight choice books being transcribed, the originals of which were furnished by the Abbot's powerful relative and patron, Lanfranc.
Besides many presents of value to the Church and Monastery, Paul furnished the town with bells, which inspired "Litholf, a man of great rank, who lived in the woody part of the country," to add to this music which proclaimed to all the existence of Offa's Abbey, a gift of two bells of a larger size.
The Norman abbot had the misfortune to outlive his patron, and we hear of his befriending Anselm during the unmerited poverty of the first two years of his archbishopric, for which generosity Anselm subsequently made ample returns. Abbot Paul died after his return from a visitation made by him to Tinmouth, one of the "cells" dependent on the Abbey of St. Alban's, of which cells there were many. At various times, benefactors, and in some cases abbots, of St. Alban's Abbey built and furnished with monks, divers small penitential abodes which were connected with the great Abbey. These were called "cells," and paid a yearly sum to the Abbey. Whenever the Abbot of St. Alban's paid a visit to Tinmouth Cell (and this was the case with some of the others), his expenses and those of twenty followers were defrayed by the prior
and monks dwelling in the cell. There were the cells of Tinmouth, Belvoir, Hertford, Hatfield, Benham, Merkgate, Wallingford, &c. Sometimes we find them mentioned as "Priories." Matthew Paris, with his usual faithfulness, omits not to mention the failings as well as the strong points in the character of Paul the Norman. This Norman of high culture but obscure birth demolished the tombs of his predecessors, whom he scorned, because, although mostly of royal affinity, he considered them "rude and ignorant men," being Saxons; nor do we hear of his excepting the scholarly Elfric.
During the abbacy of Richard, Abbot Paul's church was conseerated for the first time since its
rebuilding. Henry I. and his queen were present, their large retinue being lodged in the town and Monastery from Dec. 7 to Jan. 6, the abbot paying all expenses. "Saxon Chronicle: "-"A.D. 1116. In this year was the King Henry on the Nativity, at St. Alban's, where he permitted the consecration of that monastery."
Geoffrey, when yet "a schoolmaster at Dunstaple," wrote a sacred drama. "It will no doubt surprise some readers," Brown writes in his "Sacred Architecture," "that our Catholic churches were at one period actually the theatres of sacred dramas, and that those plays were composed by the clergy, and acted by their scholars, particularly in the reign of Henry I." "When Geoffrey, sixteenth abbot of St. Alban's," says Matthew Paris, "was a young man, and presided in the school of Dunstaple (about A.D. 1110), he composed a certain play of St. Katherine, of that kind which we commonly call 'Miracles,' and borrowed from the sacrist of St. Alban's some of the sacred vestments of the Abbey to adorn the persons who acted his play." This