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relics and the prestige attached to their possession were the chief motives to these faction-fights over the deceased archbishops, there were other less romantic considerations at work. Kings and earls, as well as churchmen, came to be buried; and large gifts were made to the religious house, not only of money and gems, of which the Dean quotes instances, but of lands. We are afraid the authorities of the cloister were not always very particular as to the personal sanctity of those to whom they gave burial under these circumstances. The monks of Abingdon, as we read in their Chronicle, which the Master of the Rolls has lately given us, buried a lady "with great honours, in the cloister in front of the church door," who had no better claim to such distinction than having been "concubinæ loco" to King Henry I.;* but a son of hers gave them Langford Mill as a "soul - sceat." Even though an archbishop's burial might bring in neither lands nor money, his bones had a value besides their sanctity; they might work miracles; it was hard if they could not be induced to do that much for their own cathedral; and those who came to be healed at his shrine would not come empty-handed.
It was during Jaenbert's primacy -not otherwise memorable-that Offa, King of Mercia, in a succession of victorious battles, reduced the kingdoms of Northumberland, Kent, and Wessex. The Archbishop of Canterbury seems to have entertained the idea of making himself a sovereign prince in Kent, as a feudatory of Charlemagne, to whom he applied for aid. It was not given, however; and Offa punished his rebellious subject-for such he considered him-in a very characteristic manner. He determined
to have an archbishop of his own for Mercia. He pronounced in full witanagemot, that Lichfield henceforth was an archbishopric, and for its endowment he confiscated all the property of the see of Canterbury within the territory of Mercia. He applied to Pope Hadrian for a pallium, and obtained it; but he had to pay dear for it, in more ways than one. The Pope now, for the first time, got a footing for two legates in England, ostensibly to assist in regulating the disordered affairs of the Church. They decided in favour of Offa's new archbishop; and the King of Mercia, in the gratitude of his heart, volunteered to become an actual subscriber to the expenses of St Peter's at Rome, which laid the foundation of the charge called "Peter's pence.' Lichfield continued for many years to be a provocation to Canterbury; and it was not until the terrible Offa had gone the way of his forefathers, and a more energetic prelate had succeeded Jaenbert, that the supremacy was finally restored to Canterbury, and the rival archbishop was reduced once more to a suffragan.
There was peace, and, Dr Hook thinks, "episcopal indolence," at Canterbury for the next fifty years. But troubles enough were coming. During the middle of the ninth century, the pagan Danes were sweeping over England like a hurricane; coming in gusts, with an occasional lull between, to return with fresh strength, and carrying destruction wherever they went. The monastic chroniclers have exhausted a copious vocabulary of Scripture curses upon those terrible spoilers; for the religious houses were a tempting prey, and the Vikings cared little for archbishops of Canterbury, alive or dead. They
Chronicon. Monast. de Abbendon, vol. ii. p. 122. This chronicle gives a curious illustration of the struggles between the canons and the monks at Canterbury for the bodies of the archbishops. The canons of St Frideswide, in Oxford, carried off the parson of St Aldate's alive, when he was in extremis, that he might die in the habit of their order, and they might possess, not his bones (they would not be worth so much as an archbishop's), but his benefice. The brethren of Abingdon, to whom he had promised the reversion, were very indignant.-See vol. ii. p. 175.
had a sufficient respect, however, for an archbishop's head when it appeared upon his gold or silver coinage; and Dr Hook considers that the explanation of the fact, that both the monastery and the cathedral escaped comparatively unharmed when the city was twice pillaged by these invaders, is to be found in this-that the then arch
bishop, Ceolnoth, is remarkable for having exercised his privilege of coining to an extent far beyond his predecessors, if the number and varieties of his coin still in existence is to be taken as evidence; that, in short, he bought off his cathedral, as Ethelred (by advice of a subsequent archbishop) is said to have done his kingdom. Still, Canterbury did suffer. The next archbishop found that the Danes had been root-and-branch reformers of ecclesiastical abuses, and had suppressed the canonries effectually. The canons had all fled: St Augustine's monastery was turned into a fortress, and watch and ward took precedence of psalms and vigils. But Alfred was now king; and though these were bitter times for the Saxons, monks or laymen, a series of defeats was training him for victory. At last it came-that great battle of Ethandun, which broke the Danish power at one blow, as the Saxon chroniclers tell us, but which certainly ended in a treaty of partition. Perhaps the best test of its being really a decisive victory for Alfred is, that Guthrum and his chiefs consented to adopt the religion of their conquerors. They were all baptised, and "the archbishop," says the Dean, with zealous churchmanship, "had the satisfaction of blessing an united flock." We confess we cannot share his enthusiasm at these wholesale conversions and political baptisms. But he avails himself of a pause in his history to make a remark which will apply largely to all religious records, and should be always borne in mind by those who read them.
"A great part of the effects of the Gospel must always remain hidden from the eyes of the majority of men, and can find no place in history. They are not made known to us by the biographers of the present age, or the legends of ages past. When a man knows that he is an object of admiration to those around him, it must always be very difficult for him to preserve his Christian simplicity of character; and legends and biographies, very useful in their way, record, for the most part, the modes of action, and the death-bed scenes, which are
more or less connected with the fanaticism of the age, or the conventionalities of the existing religious world.—It is in little unrelatable acts of pure disinterested piety, in persons not canonised in their life, or in their death, that the real power of the Gospel may be discovered by the eye which looks beneath the surface."
The author is enthusiastic in his praises of Alfred. He does not go so far, indeed, as to claim for him what we find stated in a modern summary, that he founded our militia, our navy, all the arts and sciences, the University of Oxford, and trial by jury; but, after quoting Gibbon's ascription to him of "the virtues of an Antoninus, the learning and wisdom of a Cæsar, and the legislative spirit of a Lycurgus,""we make an addition," says the Dean, "the grace of an apostle!"
It is not the first time, though Dr Hook may not have been aware of it, that Alfred has had a place assigned him amongst the apostles. Our author's dictum has been illustrated-we can hardly say confirmed
by the monk, whoever he was, who wrote the Chronicle of Abingdon before quoted. "He was a Judas among the twelve," says the Benedictine, speaking of this pattern monarch," heaping evil upon evil upon us.' The poor monks of Abingdon say they found him worse than the very Danes; for he robbed them of what poor tenements they had left, and built himself an “œdificium" of some kind on their property. Subsequent charters of kings Edred and Edwy, granted to the
* Chron. de Abbendon, i. 50, 125.
house, recite this spoliation as an acknowledged fact-a deed of " diabolical avarice," which they are fain to undo; and William of Malmsbury-quite an independent witness confirms the story. Alfred has had so much more than justice done to him by most writers, that it is only fair that the advocatus diaboli should be heard in his case when he has anything to say.
It is as hard to gather the true character of a monarch from these monastic writers as it would be to judge of the policy of a modern statesman from the leading articles of a violent party newspaper. There is no doubt, we suppose, that Edgar was a profligate; but he is said to have founded forty-seven monasteries, and "the grateful monks spoke of him as a man of godliness." They did indeed. Florence of Worcester speaks of him in the same fervent style that Mr Gibbon and Dr Hook use of Alfred, calling him the "flower and glory of England," and comparing him to Romulus, Cyrus the Great, Alexander, Artaxerxes, and Charlemagne-to whom our Abingdon friend adds "David." It is possible to hope that, in his sensual and impetuous character, there was an under-current of better feeling that there was a conscience which continually prompted him to repentance, in the only form in which repentance was then understood by kings. He was only sixteen when he came to the throne, and his reign brought good days for England. But the king de facto was an Archbishop of Canterbury. That dream of royal power which had once tempted Jaenbert was fulfilled in reality, though not in name, to Dunstan. For more than forty years he ruled the kingdom-" England's breast-plate," as he was called; for though his own primacy lasted only twenty-eight, he was the moving spirit in all the acts of his predecessor, Odo the Dane, who regarded him as a son, and a son to whose superior genius he yielded with a paternal satisfaction. King Edgar's rescripts, which began with
the form-"I and my archbishop'
would have been more correctly worded "My archbishop and I." Dr Hook discusses with fairness and ability a character upon which unmeasured praise or blame has been usually heaped, according to the sympathies of the historian. It was natural that the foremost man in the great battle between the Benedictines and the seculars should be both canonised and execrated. Our readers will gladly spare us from reproducing the controversy. Be he what he might besides, Dunstan was the giant of his age; and Dr Hook justly ranks him with Becket and Richelieu. If he was an "unscrupulous politician," unscrupulous is the natural adjective of politics. He was an eloquent preacher, a well-read theologian, a sculptor, a musician, an artist, a geometrician, and a worker in gold and silver. If he ruled princes, he could make courtiers mad with jealousy by the softer talents which are said to win ladies' hearts. No wonder that his rivals whispered of him that he knew more than any Christian ought to know; that he had learned the old sinful heathen spells that lay buried, as all men knew, in the charmed island of Avalon, and which had doubtless been revived in the college of Glastonbury-the Eton of those days, where Dunstan had been educated, and which gave seven archbishops to Canterbury. Of the miracles which he is said to have worked, and of his personal conflicts with the powers of darkness, we think it would have been more judicious not to have attempted any philosophical explanation. Chronic brain-fever the wonders of ventriloquism-the Eolian harp-and unsuspected mechanical science, have all been suggested as solutions more ingenious than satisfactory. The imagination of the ignorant will always be busy with the supernatural, half inventing and half believing. Dr Hook himself must have found it so, if he has had any experience amongst the rustic Anglo-Saxons" even of his own more
educated generation. Miracles are recorded by them still as within their own experience, and not always with intentional falsehood. Dunstan in some degree outlived his power, and the kings who succeeded found weaker counsellors, and paid the penalty in Dane-gelt and other troubles. He was buried in his cathedral, "deep under ground, with a pyramid over him, and at his head the matin altar ; but five hundred years afterwards the monks of Glastonbury set up a claim to the possession of his bones, which led to a correspondence between their abbot and the then primate of Canterbury; each warning the other-of course in the most friendly manner-against the "scandal, superstition, and confusion" likely to arise from such a mistake; and both very successful in convincing-themselves.
One more archbishop, and we have done. He was a generation later than Dunstan; like him a stanch Benedictine, but as different a character as can well be conceived. It was in those terrible days when the Danes were again carrying fire and sword through England in revenge for the treachery of St Brice's Day, that Elphege, Bishop of Winchester, was advanced to the primacy; a man "abundant in alms-deeds, and a rebuker of the rich-severe to others, but severer to himself." The Danes sat down before Canterbury. Friends urged him to fly, as archbishops had done before; but he refused. Nor did he take mace in hand instead of his crosier, as his predecessor Odo had done without reproach. But he too had a warfare to accomplish. Daily he was at his post in his cathedral, administering the sacred elements to the defenders of the walls. There was treachery at work within; and by such help the Danes, infuriated by the long resistance, rushed at last upon their prey. All the horrors of a city sacked by barbarians followed. The archbishop stood his ground, and offered himself as a victim instead of the women and
children. But the conquerors kept him in the hope of a ransom, which they fixed at three thousand pieces of silver. His friends assured him it could be raised, impoverished as they were; the church plate throughout the province should be sold if needful. Again he refused; not for him should the treasures of the church be given to heathens. At last his captors held a great feast, which was enlivened by a cargo of southern wine.
them sport. "The archbishop was sent for to make Money, bishop, money,' was the cry which resounded on all sides, as he was hurried into the hall. Breathless from fatigue, he sat down for a short time, in silence. Money, money,' was still the cry. Your ransom, bishop, Having now recovered dignity, and all were attentive to hear his breath, the archbishop rose with whether a promise of money for his ransom would be made. 'Silver and gold,' he said, have I none; what is mine to give, I freely offer, the knowledge of the one true God. Him it is my duty to preach; and if you heed not my call to repentance, from His justice you will not escape.' Some one more heartless than the rest here threw an ox bone with all his force at the defenceless old man, and amidst shouts of laughter the cowardly example was followed. The missiles, which the floor plentifully supplied, were hurled at him, till he fell in an agony of pain, but not dead. There was standing by, a Dane, whom Elphege had baptised and confirmed on the preceding day. He knew not how to assist his spiritual father, but he was moved by feelings of pity and compassion. It is clear that he revolved in his mind what
step he would take if his favourite waring that in such a case, he would, as horse were mortally wounded; and knowspeedily as possible, put him out of his pain, he lifted up his battle axe, and as an act of Christian charity, clave in twain the skull of Elphege, Archbishop of Canterbury."
His bones lie side by side with Dunstan's at Canterbury, carried there by King Canute with great honours, ten years after; and stubborn indeed must be the English puritan who grudges him his title of Saint. He was something more, at all events-by Dr Hook's leave than our 66 ordinary Christians,"
and claims something more than "the homage of a charitable respect."
The Dean has much to say about Stigand, whose character he warmly vindicates from the charge of timeserving which has been alleged against him; but the volume closes with the accession of the conqueror, and the last Saxon archbishop's life was cast in too eventful a period to be dismissed in a sketch. If the succeeding volumes of this biographical history do not disappoint the promise of the first, our readers will thank us for having at least called their attention to them.
Amongst the points of minor interest of these pages, it is amusing to note how the world ecclesiastical as well as civil is given to repeat itself. When we read of the first (Italian) Bishop of London being startled out of his propriety by the sight of " wax lights burning on the altar" (p. 95), we feel almost as puzzled for the moment as he was, and are inclined to fancy that the writer must have worked up a portion of a modern newspaper paragraph by mistake. When Hadrian, in the seventh century, submits to have "the licentious prolixity of his beard curtailed," before he ventures to present himself to the English bishops, or Archbishop Richard, in his canons, five hundred years later, decrees that "clerks that wear long hair are to be clipped by the archdeacon, even against their will," we wonder whether a modern prelate was aware that he had such good medieval authority, and whether future archdeacons are likely to have this shearing of the flock imposed upon them as an addition to their duties? The modern caricature which represents the rector as sleek and well-fleshed, the curate lean and pale, might have had its origin in the days when, according to the canonical rule of Chrodegang, Archbishop of Metz, presbyters and deacons were to be allowed three cups of wine at dinner, and subdeacons only two. There was the same tendency then as now
VOL. XC.-NO. DXLIX.
to mark certain doctrinal peculiarities by little clerical fancies of costume. The scissors did for the hair what it does now in the tailor's hands for the clerical coat and waistcoat. The varieties of the tonsure marked those ecclesiastical differences which sundry forms of clerical costume now affect to represent less successfully. And as we are told that there is, or was, a certain coat considered correct by HighChurchmen, which profane tailors knew in the trade as an "M.B." (Mark of the Beast), so we read that the Italians, who shaved their heads after what they held to be the tonsure of St Peter, accused their opponents of wearing what they were pleased to call "the mark of Simon Magus.' Even in those remote ages there were Ladies' Colleges, where the Abbess Hildelidis and her scholars could read Latin (De laudibus Virginitatis), and even understand the Græcisms of the author, and bishops died of the gout.
There is one great fact which receives strong incidental confirmation from several scattered notices in this volume, and which has been kept very much in the background, intentionally or not, by the old ecclesiastical historians. It is the extent to which paganism continued to retain its hold upon the inner heart of the population long after they had professed a nominal Christianity. The wholesale conversions under the preaching of Augustine, Paulinus, Wilfred, and others, and the ready relapse into heathenism when the pressure was withdrawn, would be pretty conclusive evidence that such conversion was in danger of being superficial. But the indefinite amount of the old belief still surviving even in those whose new profession was sincere, who accounted themselves Christians, and, to a certain extent, were so,the leaven of Paganism which ran through the whole of popular medieval Christianity,—is a noteworthy point of ecclesiastical history which deserves fuller inquiry. It was not merely that Christian