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Pelrus duxit in actum, Romanis Civis, &c. in the ancient inscription, given above, referred to some other artist.
According to Vasari, Cavalini was a disciple of Giotto, and, like his master, practised in mosaic, as well as in painting ; but it appears, from the same authority, that Giotto was not born till the year 1276, nor his pupil till 1279. Now, St. Edward's Shrine, , according to the original inscription, was completed in 1270, the authenticity of which date is substantially corroborated by our ancient chroniclers, who all attest that St. Edward's remains were translated into the new Shrine in 1269. Walpole has misunderstood Vasari, and then taxed him with confounding his own account.* Weever states, that Abbot Ware, who was twice at Rome, viz. first in 1260 for confirmation, and again in 1267 on a mission from the King, brought with him, on returning to England, “ certain workmen, and rich porphyry stones, whereof he made that singular, curious, and rare Pavement before the high altar; and with those stones and workmen he did also
* Vertue, (vide “Walpole's Works," vol. iii. p. 24, edit. 1798), supposed Cavalini to have designed those beautiful crosses wbich Edward I. erected in memory of Eleanor, his first Queen : but it is extremely doubtful whether Cavalini was ever in England. The crosses were certainly the work of English artists; and are altogether different, as well in design and style as in materials and execution, from either of the monuments attributed to Cavalini, whether at Westminster or at Strawberry Hill, VOL. II.
frame the Shrine of Edward the Confessor." It is probable, therefore, that the artist called Petrus in the inscription, was one of those persons whom Abbot Ware brought from Rome, on his return from his last journey in 1267.
Among the numerous Reliques deposited in this Chapel, and which were under the direct charge of the Keeper of the Feretry (who was chosen from among the senior monks), was the crystalline vessel of our Saviour's Blood, which had been sent by the Knights Templars from the Holy Land in 1247, as a present to Henry III., and was attested by Robert, Patriarch of Jerusalem, to have trickled from our Saviour's wounds at his Crucifixion. The famous Stone, also, which was marked with the impression of the foot of Christ, as indented at his Ascension, and had been brought into England by the Friars' Preachers, was another of the holy reliques which were here kept, and had been given by Henry III., together with a thorn of Christ's crown, and various remains of Saints, including an arm of St. Sylvester, and a tooth of St. Athanasius! Here, likewise, was preserved a large piece of our Saviour's cross, richly adorned with gold, silver, and precious stones, which had been brought from Wales by Edward I. in the year 1285; and, also, the skull of St. Benedict, which had been given by Edward III. When these inestimable valuables were not exposed to the awe-struck gaze of the devotee, they were lodged in a secure repository, the site of which is now occupied by the tomb of Henry the Vth.
The very high degree of veneration in which the Confessors memory was held, may be partly appreciated from the preceding account : yet a few other particulars, connected with this subject, may not be uninteresting. On St. Edward's day, viz. that of the anniversary of his translation, the principal citizens of London, in their corporate capacity, were accustomed to visit his Shrine; and at the same time, grand processions with waxen tapers were made to it by all the religious communities of the metropolis. The splendours of the festival were frequently heightened by the presence of the sovereign and his court, and we are informed that in the year 1390, Richard II. (who had selected the Confessor as his patron saint) and his Queen sat crowned in this Church, with their sceptres in their hands, during the celebration of mass on this anniversary. But it was not on this day alone that Edward's memory was thus honoured; on all extraordinary occasions, and at the three great feasts of Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide, his Shrine was the principal resort of the people. Here vows were made, thanks returned, prayers offered up, and benefits solicited. Superstition and real piety were equally zealous in their devotions; and every rank of society, from the prince to the vagrant, flocked hither to make their oblations. At this Shrine, Henry IV. on March 20th, 1413, who had been some time afflicted with an apoplectic disease, was seized with his last mortal fit, whilst performing his devotions to St. Edward, when on the eve of his departure for the Holy Land.
In the year 1415, on the morrow after the Festival of St. Simon and St. Jude, when the news of the great battle of Agincourt had arrived in London, the Queen, Henry IV.'s widow, and her attendants, made their offerings at St. Edward's Shrine in gratitude for the victory; and on the same day, the Mayor, Aldermen, and Livery of London, with all the religious men of the different orders, came hither in solemn procession to offer up their thanksgivings for the same ever-memorable triumph. Here, also, Edward IV., on the 3d of March, 1460, made his offerings; after hearing the singing of Te Deum, on the occasion of the people assenting to his being King, when the question was asked them in Westminster Hall, where he had previously sat to hear their determination, with St. Edward's sceptre in his hand. At this Shrine, likewise, Richard III. and his Queen made their oblations before their coronation, in the choir, on the 6th of July, 1483, after having walked in procession, barefooted, from the King's seat, or bench, in Westminster Hall. Many other instances of the distinguished reverence paid to St. Edward's remains, are incidentally related by different historians.*
The Sword and Shield which Dart says, were "carried before Edward III., in France," are kept in this Chapel. The Sword is seven feet three inches in length and weighs eighteen pounds. The Shield has been stript of its covering, but has a lining of leather and buckram. It is of plain wood, three feet two inches long, and one foot ten inches wide.
WESTMINSTER ABBEY, ANCIENT CORONATION CHAIR,
AND PROPHETIC STONE.
NEAR St. Edward's Shrine at Westminister, stands that celebrated object of popular curiosity, the old CoRONATION CHAIR; in which the golden diadem has been placed upon the brows of all our sovereigns from the time of Edward II. Yet it is not the Chuir alone (although in itself a work of much interest, when attentively examined), but the far-famed “PROPHETIC,” or “ FATAL STONE,” inclosed within the frame-work, that constitutes the great focus of attraction to the Historian and the Antiquary.
Tradition has identified this Stone with that on which the Patriarch Jacob reposed his head when he saw the Vision of the ladder reaching to Heaven, with the Angels of God ascending and descending, in the plain of Luz. Its known history, however, carries it back to a period so remote, that this legend was scarcely necessary to procure for it respect and veneration; and whether it were originally an Egyptian or a Celtic monument, it furnishes a very remarkable proof of the wide diffusion of a most ancient practice observed in the inauguration of Kings; namely, by placing them either upon, or near to, an elevated stone, at the moment of investing them with the plenitude of regal power. This custom had its origin in the East, where it spread extensively, and is alluded to in many