Sections on: Burnley, Padiham, Whalley, Clitheroe, Waddington, Mitton, Stonyhurst and Ribchester
An Illustrated Itinerary of County of Lancaster was published by How and Parsons of Fleet Street, London in 1842. The frontispiece of the book does not show the authors but the advertisement included before the preface states "The Editorship of the Work is committed to Mr. Redding; the manufacturing districts of the County of Lancaster will be described by W. C. Taylor LL.D., and the remaining portion by Mr. Redding." The work was to be published in monthly parts, each of 48 pages, with twenty to thirty wood cuts and one engraving on steel, from paintings executed by Mr. Creswick.
The book is not readily accessible to the general reader, so the opportunity has been taken reproduce the sections of most interest to local historians in the Clitheroe district. This has been achieved by computer scanning, using an optical character recognition programme. Computer scanning is never completely accurate, particularly with punctuation marks. While the final version has been subjected to proof reading and computer spelling checks, a few errors may remain, for which I am responsible.
The book has 338 pages and a further 48 for statistical information on the county. However, the work has no contents page, is not divided into chapters and has no sub-headings. In this document I have reproduced most of the text from pages 190 to 240, dealing with the journey from Burnley to Padiham, Whalley, Clitheroe, Waddington, Mitton, Stonyhurst and Ribchester. Sub-headings have been introduced as appropriate and a contents page provided with direct links to the appropriate sections. The sentences are sometimes long and convoluted with eccentric punctuation but they have been reproduced mainly as found. In a few cases, very long paragraphs have been split into smaller units. In addition, extended quotations have been more clearly separated from the main text by indenting them from the usual margin. The section on Stonyhurst was very confusing, with frequent switching back and forth between a description of the building, the tour around it and the history of the Jesuits. The paragraphs have been rearranged to give a more coherent account, leaving out the history of the Jesuits.
This section of the book has only one of the steel engravings mentioned in the advertisement and it is distant view of Clitheroe Castle under a heavy sky. Many of the woodcuts are unremarkable and so I have not attempted to reproduce them.
The authors are rather condescending in their treatment of the inhabitants of the district but from their observations we learn something of life in and around Clitheroe in the 1840's together with historical information. We have to recall that the communications by road were still poor in the 1840s and a trip by horse drawn vehicle around these towns and villages would be arduous by modern standards.
1. Burnley and Padiham
2. Arrival at Whalley
3. Whalley Churchyard and its Crosses
4. The View from Whalley Nab
5. At the Swan Inn
6. Whalley Parish Church
7. Whalley Abbey
8. The Hermitage and Isold de Heton
9. Journey to Clitheroe
10. Clitheroe Castle
11. The Borough of Clitheroe
12. History of the Honour of Clitheroe
13. Clitheroe Church
14. The Grammar School
16. Waddington Hall and King Henry VI
18. Mitton Church and the Shireburn Chapel
19. Little Mitton
20. The Approach to Stonyhurst
21. A Tour of the College
22. The Picture Gallery, Library, Museum and Gardens
24. Roman Remains at Ribchester.
1. Burnley and Padiham
We next proceeded to Burnley, most unpicturesque of towns, with a hard, cold appearance, tall chimneys, smoke, and a population looking as little pleasing as their place of residence; though parts of the town lie in situations which afford scope for much architectural effect, were the taste and the resources furnished which are essential for so desirable a result. With the true antiquarian spirit, we at once made our way to the "Old Church," but found nothing to suit our purpose. We had heard of an old cross, and knowing that no few Catholics were still found in Burnley, we expected to find a choice relic of antiquity; but in this too we were destined to meet with disappointment. Something which was once a cross, a nearly unshapen stone eight feet in height, bearing marks of having stood much rough weather, was all that remained - unless indeed we add the stories we heard by its side, of bones being discovered, and other evidences that we were standing on the site of an old Catholic chapel.
Burnley, an important division of the parish of Whalley, stands on a tongue of land formed by the confluence of the Burn, or Brun, with the Calder, which passing on though Padiham and Whalley, falls into the Ribble. This town appears to have been a Roman station, lying on a vicinal way, between Ribchester and Almondbury.
From Burnley we drove in a SS.E. direction, over high, bleak moors, towards Padiham, passing, as we quitted the town, the barracks, lately erected for an aid in preserving the peace. Leaving a place termed Cheapside, we reached Padiham, not long since the poorest village in Lancashire, having for years been dependent for its support almost entirely on handloom weaving, and that of the coarsest and worst paid fabrics. The introduction of "power", to use the technical term for mills driven by steam, has partially improved the condition of the inhabitants, but the place still wears a mean appearance. Indeed no few of the Lancashire villages have the unsightly, not to say squalid, look of too many of its towns, without the indications of their opulence. No sight is more refreshing than the sight of a village in Lancashire, as all villages ought to be, and as they mostly are in the southern counties, with cottages of brick and thatch, small gardens before the door, a bright stream trickling through or near the place, and a sprinkling of good old houses, betokening cultivation if not gentility; not to omit the neat old church, and a smiling parsonage.
2. Arrival at Whalley
Glad were we to leave behind us the cold tract and poor vegetation we had
just passed, and descend into this warm bosom of the earth. The country had
indeed improved in appearance as we drew nearer Whalley, and immediately above
it presented some highly
interesting views; but we were too wearied with our day's labour to give them any particular attention, or record the seats and halls, most of which deserve the neglect in which we left them, that we passed on our road.
Pinched with cold and famished with hunger, we alighted at the Swan Inn, kept by Mrs. Francis Silverwood, which we particularise thus for the benefit of those who, like ourselves, may hereafter wish for the comforts of a home when far from their own firesides. We shall not attempt to describe our sensations on finding our foot once more on this spot, rendered venerable and almost sacred by so many historical memories. At first, however, other demands required satisfaction than those of the head or the heart. No sooner had we partaken of the good things of "mine hostess", than we sallied out, late as it was, if only to assure ourselves that the abbey and the church were in reality where we had left them some twelvemonth since, and to resume our acquaintance with the most intelligent and obliging of all village clerks in the kingdom. The moon was up, the village still, the air, for the season of the year, soft and agreeable; the hills lay in immense shadows; and the Abbey and the Church, yes, there they were, immediately under the light of the moon. We stood gazing in calm satisfaction, ideas and feelings crowding on our mind, which was sensible even to a footfall, yet left in almost unbroken tranquillity, when of a sudden the church bells broke into a peal, and with their silver notes broke up the charm. We proceeded to our inn, and soon retired to our chamber, but though fatigued were for hours unable to sink to sleep, so busily occupied was our imagination under the immediate influence of the genius of the place. Monks in their cowls, barons in their armour, all "the pomp and pride" of chivalry, and all the gorgeous ceremonial of the old religion in its palmy state, passed in review before us, image after image succeeding each other, till our fancy was fairly wearied out, and we slept - and in sleeping, again lived in the very press and bustle of the "olden time."
3. Whalley Churchyard and its Crosses
We were up with the sun. It was a fine spring morning, rather frosty. Our intention was to ascend some height, and take a view of the surrounding country. As the church lay in our way, the road to it up an entrance to the right as you go towards the little picturesque bridge, we could not resist the inclination to look into its venerable cemetery. A few sheep were nibbling a surface of luxuriant grass, thickly covered with mounds, the separate resting-places of long generations. And how tranquilly the sleepers rest - Protestant and Catholic, regular and secular, men of all ages and many conditions, side by side till the last great day! How brief was each one's span of life! How idle many of his solicitudes, and his joys how hollow! Yet did they experience deep, real, and satisfactory emotions; at least those who had undergone the gentle passion, and from lovers had passed into parents. Even those who never knew the delights, fears, and pains which the parental relation brings, may still have felt the pure gratification of earnest devotion or of self-denying philanthropy. All true feeling is satisfactory, all true and intense feeling approaches the sublime -
"Not a hillock moulders near that spot
By one dishonour'd, or by all forgot."
Those are the Crosses; - yes, there Paulinus stood and taught the gospel of
peace and love. This humble churchyard is a memorial of a great national event.
These interesting remains commemorate the preaching in this place of Paulinus, and the conversion of Northumbria, in which Whalley was included, to the faith of Christ. It was a difficult labour that the missionary undertook. It is never easy, especially when religion has intertwined itself with the influences of even a low degree of civilisation; but in this case the teachers and the faith itself, the whole circle of ideas and appliances, were of foreign extraction, and wore a foreign appearance. The upper classes, indeed, appear to have outgrown the existing system. In a conference which Edwin held with his great men, in order to learn their opinion as to the adoption of the new religion, Coifé, the high-priest, seems to have played the philosophe. "No one," said he in substance, "has served the gods more sedulously than myself; no one has received fewer favours from them. My opinion is, that they are not worth the attention they receive. Is the new religion better?" The council determines in its favour - but who should signify the same to the people? Coifé offers himself. It was impious for the high-priest to ride on anything but a mare. He demands of the king a war-horse and a spear, gallops to the idol fane, transfixes the image, profanes the temple, and thus breaks the charm. A stone church is erected on the spot where the temple had stood.
And what were the arms which they brought for effecting the conquest of the nation? Augustin was in England. To his aid Pope Gregory sent four priests, Milletus, Justus, Rufinianus, and Paulinus; and, with them, in plain English, he sent a pastoral letter to Augustin, and ordered for the Missionaries a goodly assortment of canonicals, relics, censers, etc. with special request not to forget "the parchments." Yes, mark the emphasis in the last words of our quotation, "especially very many manuscripts."
Paulinus reaped success. He converted Edwin, king of Northumberland. Cautious were his steps, and wise his plan. Edwin was, as yet, not king, but an exile; his life was in peril; his breast was full of solicitude. While in this mood, he was addressed, under cover of the shades of evening, "What wilt thou give to have thy wishes fulfilled?" "The highest rewards in my power." Thrice was the question put, and thrice answered, with increasing emphasis. A hand fell on Edwin's head, while he heard the words "remember that sign." Edwin then knew that the being he had conversed with was not a man but a spirit. He overcame, and ascended the throne. Still he is not a Christian. Paulinus procures him a wife - but no conversion ensues. Eumer, an assassin, is sent by a king of Essex to kill Edwin with a poisoned dagger. The blow is received by a noble, who saw the villain's aim, but the king is wounded. His wife, at the same time, is delivered of a daughter. This rescue, and this blessing, Paulinus assures the king he had obtained of the Almighty by his prayers. Edwin begins to give way, and promises to become a Christian if his life is saved from the effects of the poison, and victory given him over his royal but base assailant. These favours are also granted, but the king is yet a Pagan. However, he begins to study Christianity, consults his wise men - but state policy probably stood in his way, and he hesitates still. "Hours together," says Bede, "would he sit in solitude, deliberating what he ought to do. On one such occasion the man of God, entering to the king, placed his right hand on the king's head, and asked him if he recognised the sign. The king fell, trembling, at the Missionary's feet, who raised him, and addressed him in a friendly voice, "Lo! thou hast escaped from the hands of the enemies whom thou didst fear, through the grace of God: Lo! by his favour thou hast received the kingdom which thou didst desire; remember thy promise, and receive the faith of Him who has snatched thee from thy adversities, and will, if thou obey Him, save thee from the perpetual torments of the wicked, and make thee a partaker with himself in the heavens of his eternal kingdom." Edwin now knew from what source the divine oracle had come to him, and, on consulting his nobles, became Christian (AD 627). His subjects followed their monarch. Paulinus baptised twelve thousand converts in one day, and became Archbishop of York. This was the Paulinus whose preaching here, in Whalley, is commemorated by the crosses that you behold.
There stands the messenger of truth; there stands
The legate of the skies! His theme divine,
His office sacred, his credentials clear;
By him the violated law speaks out
Its thunders; and by him, in strains as sweet
As angels use, the Gospel whispers peace."
Paulinus appears, from the description of him left by the Venerable Bede, to have had the power to alarm as well as to soothe, to terrify and to conciliate. "He was," says the graphic old chronicler, "a man tall of stature, slightly bent, with black hair, emaciated countenance, a curved and very slender nose, alike venerable and terrible in his aspect." This literal translation from the Ecclesiastical historian will aid the visitor's imagination to body forth the figure of the preacher, and the details into which we have gone may serve to bring up before him somewhat of the form and manners of the age. Paulinus, measured by his contemporaries, was in himself a great man, and the work which he performed was likewise great.
4. The View from Whalley Nab
We left the pleasure of exploring the interior of the small and venerable building for another opportunity, and proceeded towards Nab's Hill. We passed two or three good houses on our right; but Whalley is celebrated not for its grandeur but its antiquity; and a truly neat village-like place it is, with a pure atmosphere and balmy air. One from the south country finds in it most of the features which make up his idea of an English village; and but for the clatter, worse than the croaking of Homer's frogs - of those abominable clogs, coming from that group of boys at play - could easily fancy himself in some sequestered nook of Sussex or Kent.
We were now making our way up Nab's Hill; and heavy work we found, though we literally circumverted it, in order to gain our purpose, ascending through a narrow sort of cleft which had the appearance of being "a water-gait," as a watercourse is called in Lancashire. Beguiling our way, in conversation with our guide, we learned that Whalley was almost exclusively dependent on calico-weaving. We knew, therefore, that its population must be wretchedly poor. The average earnings of a weaver here is three shillings and sixpence a week, not more than four men in the place can make five shillings. And yet see how rich a land it is! What signs of abundance! What noble mansions and "broad acres," loaded with the bounties of Providence! Nor here, at least, is there any foreign or redundant population to bring down wages - the population has long been on the decrease.
We had more than one fine view in ascending Nab's Hill, which amply repaid our labour. The hill is intersected with lines of trees, which much improve its appearance. It is indeed a fine object from the plains below, though of small account as compared with other hills in its neighbourhood. If planting should proceed as rapidly and well as it has done within the last half century, this country may regain something of its old character, and be once more a forest. Nab's Hill has been planted, Cliviger has been planted, Langridge Fell, away yonder to the north west, has been planted. We scarcely need add, that the beauty of the scenery has been immeasurably enhanced. Equally improved has agriculture been in those parts of late; the breed of cattle also; doubtless, the happy result of the residence on their estates of a number of country gentlemen, who are thus occupying their time and talents in a way which benefits the nation, while it augments their own resources.
Making our way through a thicket of trees we at last reached the top of the hill, and choosing our position carefully, were gratified by the subjoined view of the northern part of Ribblesdale.
In the bottom, and at our feet, ran the Calder, a sweet bubbling stream. Carrying the eye to the right, we passed the sole street, a curved one, of the village of Whalley. Just above it, in the same direction, runs the road to Manchester. Wiswall Moor then rises up, with the mansion of Clark Hill, the residence of Mr. Whalley. But will old Pendle look on us? Wait; yes, the mist is gone, you now see his hunchback, and, further to the left, his brawny nose. Well may the inhabitants of the country be proud of this splendid hill. It is one of those which are celebrated in the following rude distich:
"Pendlehill and Pennygent, and little Ingleborough,
Are three such hills as you'll not find by searching England thorough."
Follow Pendle as he runs suddenly down, and before you get to his base you meet with Langridge Fell, a descriptive name, for it is a long ridge and high. Immediately in front of Langridge stands the princely Stonyhurst, with its fine new chapel and new seminary. In a line stretching south, in the midst of the scene, is Clitheroe Castle, placed on a piece of limestone rock heaved abruptly out of the surrounding plain. Bring your eye back to the river and you are again at Whalley, the church lying to the north east, the body of the abbey on the margin of the Calder below, and its north-west entrance on your extreme left. A finer champaign country, hills with nobler sweeps, objects of deeper interest, you have rarely seen. You there behold the type of almost all the states of civilisation that our country has passed through down to the present. The church may carry your mind back to the period when our forefathers worshipped stocks and stones; for where it stands there was, beyond a doubt, a Saxon church, since, agreeably to the instructions of Pope Gregory, Augustin and his associates, who brought over the island to Christianity, were accustomed to convert the old Pagan edifices to purposes of the new religion, or to supplant them when decayed by buildings raised on the same spot. Clitheroe reminds us of the Norman Barons and the days of chivalry - Stonyhurst, of new Roman Catholicism; and the Abbey of the old. What changes has old Pendle there witnessed, "himself unchanged;" what joyous shows and sad arrays, "knightes fair and ladies gay;" splendid retinues of gallant chevaliers, a hawking; country gentlemen, well fed and thick, a hunting; the cowl and the crown; the bridal festivity, and "the passing bell;" horse dashed against horse, and man breasting man!! - but there is no end of the story, so we will at once stop with a sigh and a "so passes away the world's glory:" only we beg the courteous reader to observe, that it was glory. "The dark ages," forsooth! It is time we knew enough to eschew these vulgar prejudices. We believe and grant that chemistry was not known, nor animal magnetism. The world suffered for want of the first; but how much it was better off by knowing nought of the second, and a herd of other kindred "sciences," we will not attempt to determine; nor will we affirm that "the days of old" were better than the present; enough for us that they are allowed to have had their light and done their work, and contributed something to the ever increasing volume of human good.
If, however, you would find some things to put into the scale against the evils of by-gone times, you need only seat yourself on that coach, the emblem of that important and disdainful abstraction, "the present times" and you will soon be in Manchester, and may in a few hours find more sorrows than you will like to witness.
5. At the Swan Inn
We did our duty that morning at the breakfast table. Mountain air and a long walk are excellent sharpeners of the appetite. So good a breakfast naturally reminded us of dinner; the rather as we intended to labour till nightfall for the special benefit of the reader.
"Let us," we said, to the comely mistress of the house, "have a couple of chickens and a bit of bacon for dinner, at six o'clock."
"I have," she replied, "plenty of bacon, but no fowls."
"What! no poultry in this country place?"
"No, sir; was there time, I could get it by sending to Manchester or Preston."
"What! send from here to Manchester for poultry! Why I thought they were born and bred here?"
"Yes, sir, but like our girls and boys, they are off as soon as they can run."
"Times are changed!" we added, "and we must do as well as we can."
"Beg your pardon, sir," she added, looking with all her eyes, "what did you say you would have instead?"
"O anything ;" but I merely remarked it was not so in the days of the monks; there was no lack of fowls in Whalley under their reign.
6. Whalley Parish Church
Whalley is a name which once covered, and indeed still covers, a vast extent of ground. The word Whalley, in its Saxon original, signifies the Field of Wells, an allusion to its more restricted locality, as placed "upon the skirts of Pendle." Whalley is a parish, township, and village, in the hundred and wapentake of Blackburn, and the honour of Clitheroe. It is the largest parish in the county, and one of the most considerable in the kingdom. It contains forty seven townships; has an area of one hundred and eighty square miles, or nearly a ninth part of Lancashire. The original parish, from its formation about AD 628, to its dismemberment before 1220, comprised the parishes of Blackburn, Rochdale, Ribchester, Chipping, Mitton, and Slaidburn, an area of four hundred square miles. The original of the church there was founded about AD 628, rebuilt 1100, and in the fifteenth century dedicated to All Saints. The parish church was at first styled "the White Church under the Leigh." The early clergymen were styled deans, not as now, vicars; but the church has suffered both in honour and in emoluments by being under the shade of the abbey.
But let us enter the venerable pile. The interior is in keeping with what you have already seen. There is the nave, there the choir; here are side aisles, and above, the galleries; notice also that neatly carved screen. But if you would see splendid carving, turn to this lofty pew, which stands like a monarch apart from the vulgar herd. It was built in 1610 by Roger Nowell, of Read Hall. You see on it the inscription:
J F IT
These cyphers record a sort of judicial decision. The first set signify John Fort of Read; the second John Taylor of Morton. The pew belonged of old to the Hall, but the father of Mr. Fort and the uncle of Mr. Taylor are said to have consented to divide it. This Mr. Fort would not consent to, alleging it went with his property. A reference was made to the Bishop of Chester, who decided it should be divided; and tradition says, the then clerk tossed up a penny, in order to determine which of the two should have the preference in choosing his side. The inscription on the mural monument is elegant. It was composed by the Rev. Thomas Wilson, late Master of Clitheroe Grammar School. It is, you see, in memory of Elizabeth, wife of James Whalley, Esq. of Clark Hill, daughter of Dr. Assheton, of Manchester:
Here sleeps Eliza - let the marble tell
How young, how sudden, and how dear she fell;
How bless'd and blessing in the nuptial tie,
How form'd for every gentle sympathy.
Her life, by Heaven approved, by earth admired,
Amidst the brightest happiness - expired.
Short was the nuptial gleam, the hour that gave
A parent's name consigned her to the grave,
And left her husband fix'd in grief to mourn,
Widow'd of all her virtues o'er her urn,
Yet whilst he feels and bends beneath the rod,
Meek resignation lifts his eye to God,
And shews within the blest, eternal sphere,
The partner of his bosom sainted there.
He bows, and breathes (so Faith has train'd her son)
"Great Sovereign of the world - Thy will be done."
Those stalls are beautiful; they were taken from the abbey, and are at least four hundred years old.
There are four stalls (but destitute of the fine work above the choir, these four also taken from the Abbey) in Blackburn church. This seat, where sat the abbot, will repay your attention. Mark the admirable carving, and the old letters. The subject is a man forcibly shoeing a goose. These holy men seemed to have loved a joke. This is the inscription:
Whoso melles of wat men dos,
Let hym cum hier and shoe the ghos.
Which may be rendered thus, keeping the spirit of the original:
That fool to shoe a goose should try
Who pokes his nose in each man's pie.
On another seat are these Latin words: Semper gaudentes sint ista sede sedentes. In the vernacular tongue: Good luck betide you all that sit within this stall.
The seats in other stalls are similarly decorated. Here is a singular one: a figure, part man and part beast, making love to an unwilling female; the expression on both faces how characteristic; he labours to win, she is determined to repulse. That inscription, carved on the side of the pew, is simple and touching: Orate pro anima Thomae Cawe Monachi. "Pray for the soul of Father Thomas." Of a similar character is the stone over the remains of Paslew, the last abbot:
Jesu, Fili Dei, Miseri mei. J. P.
Need had he of pity on high, for he found none below. Having been concerned in an insurrection designed to resist the proceedings of Henry VIII against religious houses, he was convicted of high-treason at Lancaster, and executed in his native place, March 12, 1536/7.
Over that pew against the wall is not the least curious piece of antiquity; a brass plate, with father and mother and twenty children, nine boys and eleven girls. Be careful, or you will hardly make out the inscription. It is however the old story, a family picture. The date is 1515. "Raffe Catterall, Esquyer, and Elizabeth hys wyfe," had long disappeared from the church. Dr. Whitaker, however, had a good antiquarian nose, and found the plate in Garstang church. It is now replaced; and there it is, in what is termed Little Mitton Chapel.
Before we leave, go and observe that very fine window, executed in a masterly style of workmanship, at the east end of the church. All the titles are in old black letter. The ornamental paintings are various. Next to Dr. Whitaker's coat-of-arms, near the top of the window, is the rebus of Ashton - an ash in a tun; on the opposite side is that of Bolton - a bolt in a tun. The four Apostles are in the four central compartments. At the top of the compartment on the left is the Lancastrian rose, crowned upon four azure leaves; and corresponding on the right is the portcullis, crowned on an azure ground. Immediately beneath the window stands a beautiful picture of our Saviour by Northcote, presented as an altar-piece by Adam Cottam of Whalley, who had previously given a fine-toned organ .
7. Whalley Abbey
Quitting the church we proceeded to our inn, in order to make preparations for visiting the Abbey. It was a Cistercian establishment. The Cistercians were a branch of the Benedictines, and denominated Cistercians, from Cistertium, the Latin name for Cisteaux in Burgundy, where the order was instituted AD 1098, by Robert, abbot of Molesme. The order was brought into repute in England by Stephen Harding, an Englishman, third abbot of Cisteaux, who on that account is considered the principal founder. They were also called White Monks, from the colour of their garments, which were a white cassock with a narrow scapulary, and over that a black gown worn when they went abroad, but a white one when they went to church. Their monasteries, which became very numerous in a short time, were generally founded in solitary and uncultivated places; nor is it now easy to say how much they contributed to redeem from their abandoned and unfruitful condition the large tracts of country given them in the north east of Lancashire. Their houses were dedicated to the Virgin.
These monks came into England in 1128, and had their first house at Waverley in Surrey. Before the violent dissolution of religious houses under Henry VIII, they numbered eighty-five establishments in this kingdom. The depredations committed by Henry VIII, were certainly of a regal magnitude. Tanner, in his Notitia Monastica*, tells us that no fewer than 608 establishments, having the annual income of £140,785 were destroyed and devoured by him and his courtiers. But even this legalised plunder we could forgive them, in comparison of the devastations in art and antiquity which they ruthlessly perpetrated.
*Notitia Monastica, or an Account of all the Abbies, Priories, and Houses of Friers formerly in England and Wales, etc. etc. 1787, p. 23 of the Preface.)
Immediately after the suppression, under Henry VIII, of the minor religions houses (those whose net income was under £200 a year) two rebellions broke out, which in their issue and more indirect results hastened and facilitated the downfall of the rest. The first was in Lincolnshire, where Dr. Makerel, disguised like a cobbler, and calling himself Captain Cobbler, drew after him a great body of men, who were dispersed by the Duke of Suffolk. Within six days the second broke out, in Yorkshire. It was designated "The Pilgrimage of Grace." This grew to be very formidable, and was not easily put down. The part taken in this outbreak by Paslew, then abbot of Whalley, was the immediate occasion of the suppression of the house over which he presided.
In 1172, John Constable of Chester, founded a monastery of Cistercians at
Stanlaw in Cheshire. But it little merited the name he gave it, of Locus Benedictus,
the situation being low and unpleasant, and liable to floods both from the river
and the sea. The monks, with true native instinct, looked abroad for a better
site. Whalley was the object of their choice, a place as they describe it -
"greatly convenient for a habitation ." What indeed could they well
want more than they found here? The glebe was fertile, warm and spacious; the
fishery extensive and productive; the forests full of excellent game; and withal
the patron bountiful. Whalley was even then venerable for ecclesiastical antiquity,
it now became distinguished as the seat of a splendid monastic institution;
"which continued," says its historian, "for two centuries and
a half to exercise unbounded hospitality and charity, to adorn the site which
had been chosen with a succession of magnificent buildings, to protect the tenants
of its ample domains in the enjoyment of independence and plenty, to employ,
clothe, feed, and pay many labourers, herdsmen; and shepherds, to exercise the
arts, and cultivate the learning of the times;" the arts unsurpassable,
if the learning was obscure - yet though obscure, still useful, as the seed
in the soil.
The claims upon the hospitality of the establishment were great. The peculiar situation of Whalley, almost at an equal distance between Manchester and Lancaster, in the great route of pilgrims from north to south, rendered these demands no little oppressive. Nor were the largesses inconsiderable which its Superiors bestowed. Strange, yet characteristic of the times, showing who then had the upper hand - the nobility and gentry of the county received pensions from the monks. Some curious facts are preserved in accounts of the receipts and disbursements of the establishment. Under the head "given away," occur the names of many of the chief families of the county as recipients, and an ancestor of the Stanleys, Lord Stanley, stands convicted of having accepted the sum of £6 13s. 4d. And curious to note, just before is a record, stating how that 4s. had been given to four friars. Yes, the lord's influence at the court in London was worth far more than that of even four friars in the court of Heaven! Between these two items stands one, 36s. 7d. for minstrels; 4s. for charity; 36s. for music; 133s. for ambition! We fear these holy men, do what they could, were after all unable to keep the world out of their heads, and Satan out of their hearts. But what shall we say, when we learn that even the boisterous and cruel sports of the bear garden were not unknown to them? Plenty of good venison does it appear they eat, since the forests in general were theirs at a period when a large part of the country was nothing but forest. Evidences also appear in these accounts of the relaxation of discipline.
Travelling was a great luxury to monks; and the last abbot, Paslew, seems to have spent most of his time abroad. In 1504, the mean consumption of the Abbey in wine was eight pipes per annum, besides white wine; about a bottle a-day to each monk! Then of malt 150 quarters were annually brewed; nor was there any lack of other substantials, wheat 200 quarters. Merely for the abbot's table were slaughtered each year seventy-five oxen, eighty sheep, forty calves, twenty lambs, and four porkers. For the refectory and inferior tables, fifty seven oxen, forty sheep, twenty calves, ten lambs; the total number of mouths was 120. Certainly they must have been well employed. Nor could so large a proportion of animal food have been anything but detrimental to health. Fasting would indeed be necessary from time to time - if only to gain an appetite. But health would require it in the case of men who fed so grossly, especially since cleanliness was not within the virtues recognised by the order; for, to quote Dr. Whitaker, "they had no sheets to their beds, nor shirts to their backs, and they slept in their ordinary dresses of woollen;" nor did they frequent the bath. "In us," he adds, "it would produce a strange mixture of feelings to be repelled from the conversation of a man of learning or elegance by stench and vermin."
The monastery was not erected at once, but by degrees, as the house found resources. The original cost was £3000, at a time when the wages of an artisan were two pence a day, when much of the timber used in the erection was obtained in the neighbouring woods, and when the stone was supplied in abundance near at hand in the quarries of Read and Lymstone. There could be no difficulty in obtaining labourers, for the people were serfs. Gregory de Norbury, the abbot who died in 1309, made merchandise of his property in the native families, and conveyed the transfer of one of them in the following terms, which we cite as being a curiosity to Englishmen.
"To all, etc., Gregory, Abbot of the Convent of Whalley, etc., health. You shall know that we for ourselves and each of our successors have given, granted, and delivered to our beloved in Christ, John G. and his assignees R. son of I. son of A. de W., our native, with all his family and all his effects, for 100 shillings sterling, to us by the said John delivered and paid; so that the said John with all his family be free, discharged, and quit of all challenge; so that neither we nor our successors, for the future, shall be able to claim any right in the aforesaid, on account of his nativity, saving to us our right and challenge with respect to any others our natives. In witness whereof, we have affixed our seals."
In order to give the visitor of the abbey a just idea of these interesting remains and make him independent of ignorant or misinformed guides , we ask him to bear us company from our inn to the ruin. Proceeding in a westerly direction, winding to the left, we soon came upon the spot. You enter by a noble archway. A still more stately gateway, the outer entrance, lies 200 yards to the north west in advance. On passing within the inclosure, you see opposite to you an old respectable-looking house. This was the abbot's own abode. It was renovated and inhabited by the Asshetons. A suite of rooms used to be reserved here for the occasional residence of Earl Howe. His Lordship, not long since, sold a portion of the abbey remains to John Taylor, Esq., of Morton House, whose tenant, Mr. Hargreaves, is the present occupant. Notice that handsome flight of steps; and see over the door, the Whalley arms. And now say, do you not join in the indignation which we felt when, some time ago, we first surveyed this comparatively modern building? What! must everything in this country be appropriated? Cannot Englishmen contemplate even the ruins of the land - of their own land, without having the idea of mine and thine thrust before them?
We make no apology for this warmth, because we care not to have you as a companion unless you "feel it too." You see yonder small gate to the right. Let us try if we can get through it without being apprehended as trespassers. Well, you now behold before you the remains of the Chapter-house and Vestry; mark those three beautiful arches, and tell me were men ignorant or ill-employed who could give birth to such work. Mark the sward you tread on - how deep and rich the green! That cherry tree on the left has the reputation of being the finest in England. What soil too have we here - how full of vegetable matter! - the product and gift of ages of cultivation. Look at the ivy - what splendid branches and width of leaf! those old ivy roots too; did you ever see any so fine? Let us pace the distance between these two walls. The divisions by which different apartments were once made, have been destroyed; and now what a fine double arcade! Fifty yards in length! The last generation made use of this place for their rustic balls and other amusements. Now pass through the arches you have admired; you are in the Cloister Court. Not a vestige of the church is now left; though it is true you may by digging and close inspection, discover the foundations of the parts which have perished, and trace out the whole area of the Close; it contained thirty-six acres, three roods, and fourteen poles.
The spot on which you are standing was the monks' cemetery. Turn to your left, towards the river, and you behold the remains of a tomb; what a span the arch has, eighteen feet at the least! Truly these monks were as splendid in their burials as in their hospitalities.
A different sight will strike your eyes if you look at these corbels just at your back in the chapter-house building. What! even near their tombs and under the wing of their church, to show that they could unite the grotesque with the lascivious, as well as the sublime with the tender.
Follow us through that old door. This garden looks well; there is the river. Take care you do not slip from the plank. Well, you have crossed the Calder. What a fine row of old yew trees! Listen to the noise from yonder rookery. There is a beautiful bit of dilapidated wall and broken arches; we must sketch that.
This was the abbot's private chapel. Good man! he performed his devotions very near his kitchen, for there it is. Pray pace the length of those three splendid fireplaces. What smoking hecatombs were here offered up! Before you leave, cast your eyes in the direction of the river, towards the east; is that not a fine view? How tranquil is everything - air, water, meadows, mountains. But for the cawing of these rooks, some of whose voices sound so hoarse as to make you think they were contemporaneous with the monks, one would hardly have a consciousness of life.
8. The Hermitage and Isold de Heton
A hermitage once existed near the monastery, too near probably for the morals of its holy inhabitants. Under the general description of a recluse, votaries of both sexes were included. The lady hermits, however, do not appear to have been always spotless in their lives. Of such a character was Isold de Heton. A representation of her conduct was made to the king, from which we cite as follows:
"Be hit remembryd that the please and habitacion of the seid recluse is within place halowed and nere to the gate of the seyd monastre, and that the weemen that have been attendyng to the seyd recluse have recorse dailly into the seyd monastre for the levere of brede, ale, kychin and other thyngs: the whyche is not accordying to be had withyn such religyous plases: and how that dyvers that been anchores in the seyd plase have broken owte and departed: and in especyal how that now Isold of Heton is broken owte, and so livyng at her own liberte by this two yere and mor, like as she had never bin professyd; - and that divers of the wymen that have been servants there, have byn misgovernyd and gotten with chyld within the seyd plase halowyd, to the great displeasaunce of hurt and disclander of the abbeye aforeseyd," etc.
The consequence was the hermitage was dissolved by letters patent, and two chaplains appointed in its place, whose business it was to say mass daily in the church for the soul of Duke Henry of Lancaster, who had endowed the establishment. The hermitage, however, had been useful in its day.
9. Journey To Clitheroe
We took a chaise, determined to make the most of our time, and ordered the postillion to drive to Clitheroe. On leaving Whalley we passed a pleasing house on our right hand, rode through an interesting country, admired the frowning aspect of Pendle on the east, left on the same side a printing establishment with its tall chimney, and soon came in sight of Clitheroe Castle, which appeared directly in our front, rising at once out of the plain as if cast up by some sudden volcanic force.
We were soon at its base, as it lies on the south side of the town towards which our course lay. No site can be well conceived to exist in a plain more fitted, either for self-defence or for harbouring assailants, in the days when cannons were not, and gunpowder yet existed only in "the harmless bowels of the earth." The keep - which is nearly all that now remains - stands on the summit of a small precipitous limestone rock, and with a few brave men must have been impregnable. The crags of the rock partly covered with small trees, partly embrowned by the atmosphere, - now covered, now boldly jutting out - here overrun with roots, the source of whose nourishment it is not easy to conjecture - there left bare and exposed to the weather, looking not unlike the hard, worn and furrowed countenance of a sexagenarian mariner, - presented objects of pleasing meditation, and awakened more thoughts and feelings than we can stop to record. Being without a guide, we followed in vain more than one narrow gravelled walk that seemed to promise a path into the enclosure. Still we did not lose our trouble, as it gave us an opportunity of surveying the surrounding country, much to our gratification.
10. Clitheroe Castle
Arrived within the Castle, as it is termed, we found a comparatively modern building where the castle should have been, with coach-house, stables, and every other appurtenance that can betoken substance and comfort. We inquired fruitlessly for this and for that, recorded in topographical works, finding, after the most careful search, nothing but the Keep. What created most disappointment was to discover, instead of an antique chapel, an attorney's office belonging to the proprietor of the house, Mr. Dixon Robinson, and a sort of petty court-house, in which the wapentake court for the Blackburne hundred is held. The keep is a mere ruin, with grouted walls of huge thickness, which being interspersed with shrubs, and flanked by Pendle, presents some interesting views. A flight of broken stairs still remain in it, which are used occasionally for hoisting a flag; but owing to an accident which a boy suffered in climbing, they are generally kept closed by a door.
11. The Borough of Clitheroe
The borough of Clitheroe comprehends about 28,000 acres. The picturesque Ribble runs on the west from north to south, and the Lancashire Calder - "the forked Calder" - descending by Whalley, falls into the Ribble below Little Mitton; while Mearley and Herethorn brooks, uniting beneath Clitheroe on the south, yield their tributary streams to the Ribble at Low Moor; and in wet seasons, Chatburn brook (Chatburn lies higher up the stream on the Yorkshire border), issuing from the wild fissures of Pendle Hill, increases the Ribble below Chatburn. Thus situated, Clitheroe is appropriately named, the word signifying the Hill by the Waters. Limestone abounds in the neighbourhood; and there are many lime kilns. There is a petrifying spring near the Ribble, and a sulphur spring at Shaw-brook. In the vicinity are large cotton-spinning, weaving, and calico-printing works. The town being built of stone, has a cold but not uninteresting aspect, and seems to be a place of considerable trade.
12. History of the Honour of Clitheroe
The Lacies possessed Clitheroe. Of Norman origin, they came over with the Conqueror, and obtained as their share of the booty sixty knights' fees, principally in the counties of Lancaster, York, and Lincoln. For the maintenance of these possessions they built two castles; one at Pontefract, the baronial residence, the other here at Clitheroe. The male line of this family became extinct in 1193. The possessions passed to Richard Fitz-Eustace, lord of Halton and constable of Chester, whose son John founded the abbey of Stanlaw, the parent of Whalley. The honour of Clitheroe afterwards passed by marriage into the hands of Thomas Plantagenet, Earl of Lancaster, who rebelling against Edward II, was executed at Pontefract for high treason. The attainder having been reversed, the property fell to Henry Duke of Lancaster, and from him went to John of Gaunt, in right of his wife. His son became Henry IV, on which the honour of Clitheroe vested in the crown, remaining so till Charles II gave it as a reward to General Monk. From him it passed, by the bequest of his son's second wife, to Ralph Duke of Montague, and thence came into possession of the Buccleugh family: the Duke of Buccleugh has that portion of the honour which lies north of the Ribble, and his brother, Lord Montague that to the south. The old domain was kept entire from the time of the donation to Monk; but the forest of Bowland has been lately sold by the Duke of Buccleugh to Mr. Towneley of Towneley. In the early period of the Commonwealth, Clitheroe castle was dismantled by order of parliament. The work of destruction has been going on ever since. Its stones contributed to build the mansion which stands within the precincts: not long since materials were taken from it to erect an inn. The lower part of the walls are much dilapidated, and though the place is still strong, must ere many years be undermined by the action of natural agencies, and fall to irretrievable decay.
13. Clitheroe Church
Among the mural monuments in the church is one inscribed on a brass plate to the memory of Dr. John Webster, the astrologer, and the intrepid detector of witchcraft, who was master of the Free School in Clitheroe in 1643, and died 1682. The monument is embellished by a horoscope, in which it is sapiently indicated that they who understand the diagram will understand that the doctor understood it. We know not what methods Doctor Webster may have pursued in his business of witch-finding, and should hope that a man of learning was above the ordinary arts that were practised. Butler alludes to some of these, referring to one Matthew Hopkins, of great celebrity in his day:
Has not the present Parliament
A ledger to the devil sent,
Fully empower'd to treat about
Finding revolted witches out?
And has not lie, within a year,
Hang'd threescore of 'em in a shire?
Some only for not being drown'd;
And some for sitting above ground.
In 1649 the magistrates of Newcastle-upon-Tyne sent into Scotland with a view of making a bargain with a Scotchman, who professed the art of finding out witches. His plan was the simple one of pricking them with pins. The magistrates agreed to give this disgraceful practitioner twenty shillings a piece for all he could condemn; and, moreover, bear his travelling expenses. On his arrival the bellman was sent through the town to invite persons to bring the suspected forward. Thirty women were led into the town-hall, stripped, and subjected to the test; twenty-seven were found guilty. One wizard and fourteen witches were, on this evidence, tried at the assizes, convicted, and executed.
A more pleasing memorial is the monument by Westmacott, with an elaborate inscription, erected at the expense of his pupils, in honour of Thomas Wilson, for nearly forty years head-master of the Clitheroe Grammar School. A hospital for lepers, called the Hospital of Edisforth, stood within this borough, but shared the fate of the smaller monasteries in the reign of Henry VIII. A gallant stand was made at Clitheroe against the invaders under the command of William, son of the bastard brother of David king of Scotland, in 1138. The English were defeated.
14. The Grammar School
In the Grammar School an annual present at Shrovetide is expected from the scholars, varying in amount according to the circumstances of the parents. With the exception of this "Cock Penny", the school is free. The origin of this custom it is now difficult to trace. Shrove Tuesday, indeed, was a sad day for cocks. Cock-fighting, and throwing at cocks, were among its barbarous sports. School-boys used to bring game-cocks to their master, and delight themselves in cock-fighting all the forenoon. In Scotland, the masters presided at the fight, and claimed the runaway cocks, called Fugees, as their perquisites. "The cock penny" may have been the substitute devised by a less cruel age for the ordinary gratuity. James King, captain in the Royal Navy, the friend and companion of Captain Cook in his third voyage of circumnavigation, the second son of Dr. James King, was born at Clitheroe during his father's curacy there in 1750.
The family of Sir William Dugdale, the celebrated antiquary, had their origin in Clitheroe. John, the father of Sir William, was matriculated at St. John's College Oxford, by the name of "John Dugdale, a Lancashire man borne."
Waddington is a neat white-looking village, with a clear rivulet running through
it, over which is a small picturesque bridge, with an old house or two near
it, combining to make a scene we thought worth sketching. Our arrival in this
place produced a suspension, not of hostilities, but of labour. The appearance
of two well-dressed strangers in a chaise was evidently no every-day event.
The smith ceased his heavy blows, leaned on his sledge-hammer, and surveyed
us and our proceedings narrowly; a farmer's man who wished to have his horse
shod, stopped in the midst while unharnessing the animal and fairly gaped in
staring; the village barber hastened to the smithy, and began to talk most glibly;
three or four clodhopper boys stood with their hands in their pockets, eagerly
bending forward to catch the conversation. A chandler's shop higher up the street
was the meeting-place of some half-dozen village gossips, who soon gathered
together, some with children in their arms or at their side, and all without
covering for the head or shoulders. And along both sides of the village, doors
were opening, or eyes straining through the casement. We meanwhile quietly pursued
our course; here asking a question, there contemplating an object; in a third
place taking a sketch, and in the fourth consulting about future operations.
But surely ours was enviable popularity, if there is any sense in the Roman's
preference, that he would rather be the first man in a village than the second
man in Rome! After all, the wisdom was perhaps not all on our side; for we know
not that we could charge the simple-minded villagers with folly, if they chanced
to wonder what sufficient reason there was for such a visit to their poor, humble,
and secluded spot.
Just beyond the bridge is an enclosure of almshouses, entered by a good archway, bearing an inscription to the effect that the "hospital" was built and endowed in the year 1700 by Robert Parker of Mosley Hall, Yorkshire, for the reception of poor widows. They consist of twenty-seven small but comfortable dwellings, with a large garden in front, and a chapel in the centre, where "prayers are read by Mr. Pearson, who lives in the village." At present there are twenty-three widows dwelling in the place, one is absent from illness. The widows assist each other in sickness. They are divided into two classes: one class receives £10 a year, the other £18. It would be difficult for any one to view the place, marking the neatness and propriety which reign there, and the kind of inmates which it has, without gratefully admitting that Mr. Parker had made a wise as well as a benevolent use of his superfluity in founding this pious retreat.
16. Waddington Hall and King Henry VI
Our next object was Waddington Hall. For this indeed it was that we had paid the visit. And "to what base uses may we come!" such was our reflection as we went under a roof which had given shelter and hospitality to a king. Meanness and dirt, cows and cowhouses, dogs and stables, with shattered implements of husbandry, alone saluted our sight; and even after we were within a part where human beings we thought might dwell, we still doubted if we were where we should find any one of our own species. Turning a little to the right, however, we found that it was "feeding time" for others besides the quadrupedal live stock. There, around a clothless table, and up and down a filthy room; sat or stood grandfather and his wife, master and his wife, a serving woman and several brawny lads, with one intelligent-looking girl, literally devouring fried fat bacon and boiled potatoes, with a gusto which an epicure could not fail to envy. The condition of their persons we pass, lest we should be charged with caricature. The character of the group was as singular as their appearance. We saluted them and received no reply. We put a question, and was answered by a simple "Yes." Another interrogatory brought forth a "No." Clearly were we defeated in our purpose of getting information. "Passive resistance," we thought, is no contemptible weapon of defence. In time, however, the old man's muscles began to relax a little, the rather we suspect as he saw us give a gratuity to his granddaughter, who was showing signs of possessing some other faculty besides that of eating. And at length, having finished his meal and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, grandfather became communicative.
The Hall consisting of a centre with two gables, could never have been very large, and is in a most dilapidated condition. Its sole interest is connected with one of the most pitiable of kings. Henry VI had the misfortune to come into possession of a throne while yet a minor. He was surrounded by wily relations, and served by ambitious and disquiet nobles. A war in France kept in nearly one unbroken course of failure, under the enthusiastic pressure and fervid onslaught of Joan of Arc. A jacquerie broke out at home. Not least among his evils, he married a queen who had a stout mind and an iron will, while Henry was the slenderest of reeds. Worst of all, there was a rival that claimed his crown. Civil wars broke out. The roses were dyed in blood. Henry was deposed. Under the auspices of the queen, fighting was more than once resumed, carried on with various issue, but always to the injury of the imbecile Henry. At last the king was obliged to flee for his life, and conceal himself wherever he could find a lurking place. The North afforded him friends. In the mountainous and thinly populated parts of Lancashire he was harboured with something like affection; but it is not to be supposed, whatever the fidelity of tried friends may have been, that even a king, whose distempered body inflicted maladies, and at times almost idiocy on his mind, could in any case have excited any strong feelings of respect; though it is not to be denied that Whitaker has conjectured from certain expressions in the records of the house, that Henry was sainted by the authorities of Whalley Abbey. He was however betrayed, July 1464, while sitting at dinner in Waddington Hall, by the servants of Sir James Harrington, who despatched him towards London. At Islington he was met by the Earl of Warwick, and lodged in the Tower, where either from pity or contempt he was allowed to live unmolested.
On finding himself betrayed the king made his escape, which was facilitated by the structure of the house. The present occupant showed us what is still called "the king's room" and explained how the king got away down one staircase - the remains of it are seen pictured in the left angle - while his pursuers ascended another. His pursuers, however, were too numerous and too eager for him. He reached the Ribble, hoping to put that between himself and his enemies; he attempted to ford it, and was captured midway.
The hall, as we have intimated, has lost all outward appearance of greatness. The king's room, however, has an old oak floor, the walls are very thick. "Henry's staircase" is narrow and winding, built of stone. The house, till within the last forty years, had a flat lead roof. A stone coffin stands at the back door, the rudeness of whose masonry not unaptly corresponds with the actual condition of this perishing edifice.
(Editor's note. Henry VI only one year old when his father, Henry V, died. He reigned from 1422-1461 before being usurped by Edward IV. He was briefly king again in 1470-1471 before being deposed again and murdered. Edward IV then reigned until 1483, was succeeded very briefly by his son Edward V, one of the'Princes in the Tower', and the same year, Richard III took the throne. He was defeated by Henry Tudor in 1485, bringing the 'Wars of the Roses' to a close.)
From Waddington we took a southerly route, and kept on our right Langridge Fell, which from our position strikingly resembled the back of a huge whale; while along our course ran the beautiful Ribble, and on our left stood Clitheroe, overtopped by the majestic Pendle. The country was well wooded, and we rejoiced to find signs that we had at last got into parts where corn was wont to be grown. We crossed the river over a fine bridge with five arches, passed Lowfield House, placed in a choice spot; caught a glimpse of the pinnacles of Stonyhurst, and rejoiced to behold hedge of thorn and bramble instead of stone, and, not least welcome sight, thatched cottages. Thus we reached Mitton. An old saw declares:
"The Hodder, the Calder, the Ribble and rain,
All meet in a point on Mitton's domain."
We at least were spared the last unpleasant companion. The Calder had kept us company from its fountain-head in Cliviger. The Ribble is thus described by Harrison, chaplain to Lord Cobham, with a quotation from Drayton:
"The Rybell, a river verie rich of salmon and lampreie, dooth in manner inviron Preston in Andernesse, and it riseth neere to Ribbesdale, above Gisburne (in Yorkshire):
From Penigent's proud foot. as from my source I slide,
That mountain my proud syre, in height of all his pride,
Takes pleasure in my course, as in his first-borne flood;
And Ingleborough Hill of that Olympian brood,
With Pendle, of the north the highest hills that he,
Doe wistly me behold, and are beheld by me."
The Hodder also comes out of Yorkshire. "Going," says Harrison, "to Shilburne, Newton, Radholme Parke, and Stonyhirst, it falleth ere long into the Ribble water."
Mitton Magna, or Great Mitton, is singularly situated on a tapering tongue of land, formed by the confluence into the Ribble of the Hodder and the Calder, terminating at their point of union the boundaries of Yorkshire, which thus darts, as it were, into the body of Lancashire.
18. Mitton Church and the Shireburne Chapel
The church stands on an eminence, commanding a fine view of a fine country. It is a low building, with an embattled tower. As we entered the churchyard, we saw a recumbent figure cut in stone, and learned that it was the counterpart of the marble figure of a knight lying within the edifice. A village mason, surprised at the cost of the marble memorial, and piqued that strangers had been trusted with the execution of it, determined to show what could be done at home, and produced this - which after all is but a copy - receiving for his pains, if we may judge from the place where lies the triumph of his skill, little more than cold thanks or absolute neglect. A cross also stands in the yard, which may once have decorated the top of the outside of the chancel. The cross was lost for many years, and was dug up by the former clerk, William Harrison.
The interior of the church is very plain, except the part which is termed the Sherburne Chapel. Near the screen, which separates this chapel from the chancel, is a curious old chest. On the top of the chest, are a few old volumes fastened to it by chains. This appears to have been at one time of day the village library, and the chains afford a marked contrast with the "circulating" and "travelling" libraries of the present hour. The books are mostly works in explanation and defence of the doctrines and liturgy of the Anglican Church. In one of them, "Burkitt's Expository Notes," there is on the title page, an autograph in these words, "Bought by Wm. Johnson, Vicar of Mitton, for the use of ye parishioners." On "Bennet's Paraphrase upon the Book of Common Prayer," we read, "Ex Libris Ecclesiae Parochialis de Mitton, 1722." It thus appears that parochial libraries are not a new thought.
The Sherburne Chapel, containing marble monuments and figures as large as life, memorials of a knightly family, is a sight the more impressive from the bare simplicity with which it stands in immediate juxta position in the church. Who could, however, help feeling that man here was more thought of and honoured than God? In the decoration of their chapel and display of themselves, the Sherburnes spared no expense, and have left behind them costly and magnificent memorials; but for the temple of the Creator, they let that take its chance at the hands of an uncultivated peasantry. Nor are your surprise and regrets abated when you have read, supposing you have patience to get through the task, the long and minute recital of the meritorious deeds, splendid achievements, and high honours of these same "rulers of the land." As we stood there, before this blazonry of human greatness, our thoughts were carried back many hundred years to the memorials which are left us of the first Christians and early martyrs. Let the reader carry his mind into the catacombs in and about Rome, and he will soon learn in the inscriptions he reads, that he has to do with real and not fictitious feeling - with human nature - with genuine Christian emotion. How simple, often how inexpressibly touching the memorial! A parent briefly names the age of his beloved child, or a husband that of his wife, and the years they had lived in wedlock. Or it is a wish of peace, or a rough emblem of the believer's hope; no long drawn catalogue of virtues, no self-laudation under the thin guise of panegyrising a departed member of the family; all is as natural and as affecting as the first promulgation of that Gospel in whose faith they lived, suffered, and died. We translate an instance or two. "The resting-place of Domitian." "Severus to Jemima his wife, who lived twenty years and two months, of which she passed two years with her husband." "Her mourning parents had this made in memory of Leopardes, a virgin, who lived seventeen years and two days. In peace."
19. Little Mitton
A very short walk brought us to Little Mitton, whose Hall was a choice piece of architecture, being a specimen of the sort of houses in which the gentry lived in the days of the Seventh Harry. Whitaker declares the "hall, with its embayed window, screen, and gallery over it, one of the finest Gothic rooms" he had "seen in a private house." The screen-work, which is extremely rich, he pronounces to be of later date than the rest of the woodwork. "Upon the panels of the screen are carved, in pretty bold relief, ten heads, male and female, within medallions, which have a rude kind of character, and were evidently intended for portraits." The historian of Whalley thus concludes what he says touching this architectural gem. "I cannot take leave of this venerable room without a wish that it may never fall into hands who have less respect for it than its present owner; and that no painter's brush or carpenter's hammer may ever come near it, excepting to arrest the progress of otherwise inevitable decay. If thou lift up thy tool upon it thou had defiled it."
This forcible passage rushed into our mind as we drew near the hall, and beheld signs of change, repair and restoration, rife on every side. It seemed as if the enemies of the place had beleaguered it on every side, and that its ruin was inevitable. We entered the house; our sight, our hearing, and even our sense of smell was assailed by tokens of alteration. The very evil that the antiquarian enthusiast had deprecated had come in all its force upon the place. The hall may, for aught we know, prove a very good hall for the purposes of the present proprietor (which, however, we rather doubt; but let no lover of art approach it with the memory of what it was; let no antiquarian enter therein to behold that of which he had read) the glory has departed; and in its place, new and old, exquisite work and very bad, this colour and that, blend together in this specimen of what the moderns can do, presenting a motley and almost grotesque spectacle. What "the painter's brush" and the burnisher's hand (the carpenter's hammer at the time we write has done its best and its worst, as well as the graver's tool) may with infinite and thankless labour effect, we do not predict; and in good sooth, after the devastation committed, future changes are of small account. It should however be in justice added, that Mr. Aspinall, of Standen Hall, has rescued the place from the degradation and the damage which it previously suffered in being an ordinary farm-house.
20. The Approach to Stonyhurst
Our road was now towards Stonyhurst - princely Stonyhurst - taking, among the creations of man in this fine district, the rank which Pendle holds among the works of the Almighty. It was a short journey, two miles, but one never to be forgotten. Yes, these narrow lanes, with tall, thick, tangled hedges, this moss, and these moss-grown trees, this deep-coloured vegetation, those luxuriant fields of corn - truly this is England, our own dear south country. As if to add singularity to loveliness, two bridges cross the river at this point: one a modern stone erection, with parapet walls and bold piers; the other, also of stone, very old, covered with ivy, steep, no wall, and extremely narrow. We thought they were not altogether unapt symbols of the days of our forefathers, and of our own days - both very good days in their way, yet with a difference: those having more of the poetry of life; these eminently fitted for its solid utilities. What forbids the union of two influences, which never ought to have been kept asunder? The cottages that dotted the scene, the old stumps of broken railing (no more stone walls), the rustic wain and the heavy horse, we could have called them all old friends, and for a moment believe we had seen each in our boyhood. Then the trees - truly these are trees; a rare sight in Lancashire, where something little better than shrubs often go by the name. And as we ascended the sort of ridge on which the edifice is placed, every now and then we caught a glimpse of its two noble turrets glancing through the woods with which the hill sides are covered; while our eyes were delighted and our ears regaled by the bright stream of the Hodder, which ran gurgling on our left. A relic of the olden time presented itself to our notice as we made our way to the mansion, in the great number of persons whom we met wearing the appearance of beggars, no few with the impress on them of genuine Irish features. We afterwards learned that hospitality is so far considered a duty by the authorities of the establishment, that they refuse relief to no applicants; - with one exception, they prohibit alms to all comers who bear on their persons the disqualifying stains of manufacturing manipulations.
Well, here we are, at Stonyhurst. This is the building we have seen from so many points in the surrounding country. These are the cupolas that now glistened in the sun, and now look like watch-towers keeping an eye over what was done in the plains below, and under the shades of coming night were the last objects to fade from the eye. It was with mingled feelings we entered beneath the great archway, and stood within the quadrangle, which forms an inner court, on whose sides the main body of the edifice is built.
21. A Tour of the College
The recollections that we brought with us served to raise a very lively curiosity to survey the house, and to behold members of the order. Our wish was gratified, and our expectations far surpassed. The review of the impressions made on us, indeed, does not leave unqualified satisfaction. There prevails for the most part a tranquillity about the place which approaches to gloom. The porter who in part attended on us, though civil, was uncommunicative. We were honoured by the company of one of the brethren; but his looks were not prepossessing, nor his communications either free or abundant, though his manners were easy and courteous. It is possible that the hospitalities of the establishment may have been somewhat of late restricted, as we learn that the reverend brethren hold that their confidence has been abused, and the secrecy of their home in a measure profaned. On other occasions, as we have been informed, these self-made bachelors have found their hospitable inclinations bring inconvenience.
The mansion in which this college is founded, has an imposing aspect, both from the commanding position in which it is placed, and the general outline of the building. It is an edifice of the days of Elizabeth, though not pure in its style; additions have been made to the original structure; it is in contemplation to add another part or wing to the left side, which will much improve the proportions and appearance. The house is approached up a very long avenue, leading from a village, and near a Catholic cemetery, in which we found several objects of interest. Swans were sailing along a very fine sheet of water, as we drew near the outer entrance, which lies though a handsome pair of stone pillars, and then through a massive gate. As we entered on the avenue we were much delighted at the prospect, embracing not only a full view of the mansion, but fine and diversified foliage on each side, presenting also on the right a spacious building, which we found to be the seminary, or ecclesiastical college, where the candidates for holy orders carry on their studies. Another building is found, lower down on the banks of the Hodder, which is used in part as an elementary school, in part also as a place of retreat for the young priests. Among them we believe it is that the real society of the Virgin exists.
We were received at the gateway by the porter, who introducing us to a waiting-room, asked for our letters of introduction. We had, we replied, not furnished ourselves with any, having on a prior occasion been admitted without. It was the rule, he rejoined, but would, if we pleased, take our card to the Principal of the establishment. We sent it, and added an intimation of the object of our visit, hoping that some one better informed than an ordinary servant might be permitted to accompany us though the house.
While waiting for the return of our messenger, we occupied our time in surveying the ornaments of the room in which we were. It is a good-sized apartment, well lined with paintings of different kinds and various merit. We shall not attempt an enumeration of things which the eye only can form an adequate idea of - at least if we may venture to judge others by our own experience, having generally found mere verbal descriptions of pictures the most tedious of tedious things. We must however refer to a case containing some exquisite paintings in vellum, said to be by Rubens, though we cannot help suspecting that some of them at least are rather copies than originals. The subjects are for the most part of a Roman Catholic character; and there are both among these, and in other parts of the house, paintings on religious matters, which, in our opinion, neither correct religious feeling nor good taste can approve; such for instance as a representation of the Almighty in person raining brimstone and fire on the devoted "cities of the plain."
The originators of the institution found the mansion - the dwelling-place for long of the Sherburnes, who are so glorified in Mitton church - in a very neglected condition. They succeeded in obtaining, on moderate terms, a long lease of the house and farm from Thomas Weld, Esq., its owner, and proceeded to take effectual steps for repairing the dilapidations, and converting the place into an educational establishment. The estate we believe is now for the most part the property of the order. Connected with the house are about 1100 acres of land, which are under the care of a steward of their own. They have extensive offices attached to the house, in which ordinary trades and pursuits are carried on; so that when their income from the parents of their pupils is taken into account, it will be seen that they have not only great resources at their command, but means also of augmenting their opulence. The expenditure of their resources is under strict control, and, as far as we know, judiciously managed. They have of late erected, at right angles with the north wing of the house, a handsome church, which cost above £10,000. The first stone of the building was laid in 1832. It is dedicated to St. Peter.
The porter returned and took us under his guidance. We passed over the spacious quadrangle, with its handsome flight of steps, and traversed a long stone gallery or cloisters, the walls of which bore monumental tablets in memory of benefactors and eminent servants of the institution, the inscriptions on which breathe a religious character; so brief, simple, and unassuming are they. As we entered the sacred edifice we saw a venerable old man, in his sacerdotal robes, kneeling before one of the side altars, wrapped in devotion. Our steps did not rouse him; and his apparent unconsciousness of our presence, together with the devotional attitude of a few other persons scattered up and down the place, made us cautious in every step we set, and every question we asked. We have been in this church at two different times, and experienced on both occasions the tranquillising and elevating effect it is fitted to excite. Behind the high altar is a fine window of stained glass, bearing in its several compartments figures of our Saviour, the Virgin, and the Twelve Apostles, etc.
The altar itself is beautifully decorated with a fine crucifix of silver, and bronze candlesticks. On each side is a private altar; that on the right being surmounted by a full-length portraiture of Ignatius Loyola; that on the left, of Francis Xavier. The altar on the right is that at which prayers are offered for the dead. The elevation of the interior is in excellent style, with its elegant oak roof, and is well set off by a fine and beautifully-toned organ. The edifice will accommodate 1500 worshippers, and is generally quite full. The students constitute the choir. There is divine service twice every Sunday, and on both occasions a sermon.
Some few persons were standing at the west end, and contemplating the place with evident satisfaction; and we were led to reflect how grateful so imposing a sight must be to the mind of an English Roman Catholic, who is not only conscious of being disesteemed by his countrymen, but in general beholds his religious observances under mean and, in his estimation, unworthy accompaniments.
We passed through fine galleries and handsome apartments, which we purposely omit, as we have no idea of giving a kind of auctioneer's inventory of the place. Glad, however, were we to catch sight as we went, of a large cupboard or press, replete with musical instruments, which on inquiry we found were made use of by the students in their hours of recreation. One great recommendation of the establishment as a place of education, is found in the numerous opportunities which it affords for innocent and healthful amusements. If walking or riding over a fine rich and picturesque country - if fishing where there are fish worth the trouble of catching; if a pure air and a spacious playground are valuable, they are all united here. With the size and convenience of the playground, with its wall for tennis, filled as it was with students enjoying their several games, and professors and proctors in their gowns, parading up and down engaged in friendly converse - all apparently happy, we were very highly gratified, and the sight went far to relieve a certain gloom which had some way taken possession of our mind. The sound of a gong, struck repeatedly, startled us in our passage from one part to another. It was the customary signal for attention to some of the duties of the students.
When we reached the refectory, the Rev. Mr. Bridge did us the honour to replace our guide, the porter, and we have pleasure in thus acknowledging the courteousness of that gentleman. The refectory, sixty feet by twenty, was the baronial hall of the Sherburnes; its ceiling, frieze, and floor are handsome. Dinner apparatus was on the several tables, made of oak, twenty-five in number, capable of accommodating 150 scholars. Some good portraits adorn this apartment.
The dressing-room for the pupils, fitted up with small compartments holding clothes, brushes, etc., was no small curiosity in its way - but the dormitories are still more worthy of notice. Each student has a separate bed, over the head of which, for the most part, we saw a small crucifix. The arrangement is such, that each may also be said to have in some sense a separate bed-room, while an outer range of curtained apartments opens into one long gallery, enabling the night-proctors to exert an effectual supervision over the boys, during their hours of retirement and rest.
One room into which we were introduced, fitted up with desks, and having a kind of pulpit placed in the middle of the side which faces you as you enter at the door, is, we were informed, appropriated exclusively for study; the pupils spend in it four hours every day, under supervision of a Prefect, whose sole business is to preserve entire silence, and to enforce order, in the preparation of their several tasks or lessons, for the recital of which they go into separate class rooms, each according to his division.
22. The Picture Gallery, Library, Museum and Gardens
The picture gallery, or recreation room, is a spacious apartment well furnished with paintings. It contains no less than ten portraits of the Stuarts. Over the fireplace is a painting which groups together portraits of the great men of the Society of Jesus during the early period of its history. We were much struck with a fine Ecce Homo. An interior, presented Jesus with Mary and Martha; the effect of which is very beautiful. Another painting of merit is a St. Catherine attending the sick; indeed the collection is one of great value and much interest.
The library, consisting of 16,000 volumes, is found in a room built in the shape of a cross, with a gallery round it supported on columns. On entering, the first object which fixed our attention was a splendid circular electrical machine. So far as a cursory inspection on two occasions would enable us to judge, we feel warranted in stating that the books have been selected with a laudable regard to impartiality; and if the young men who are educated in the institution, prove bigots at the last, it is certainly not for the want of an opportunity of reading the best works which have been written on the leading points in dispute, whether in history, theology, or science. A cabinet in the museum contains some relics of more than ordinary interest; we may mention a Prayer-book, which once belonged to the unhappy Mary Queen of Scots, richly covered with crimson velvet. Here also we saw a silk cap, formerly the property of that learned man, and excellent father, Sir Thomas Moore. Near it lies his seal. A crucifix of gold has perhaps more marketable value, but was less precious in our eyes than a Latin manuscript on vellum of the Gospel of St. John, said to have been found in the seventh century in St. Cuthbert's tomb. The same glass case contains also some beautifully carved crucifixes; a crucifix of crystal, another of rosewood, with a Christ painted on it, reported to be by the hand of Rubens; the workmanship is not unworthy of his reputation. The Museum is very rich in curiosities, in consequence probably of the numerous and extensive connections of the Order with all parts of the world. Here may you see lying or hanging near each other, a suit of armour, with other memorials of our Middle Ages; Indian bows and arrows, Indian aprons, cradles, and shoes; canoes, Chinese slippers; a cast of Talleyrand, another of Greenacre, and another of Brougham; two casts of Indian chief, even more ugly than those we have just named; portraits executed on wood by a red-hot iron; a collection of coins, casts of early martyrdoms, a crystal cross set with precious stones, a grotesque group of apes, a bust of Cardinal Weld, the twelve Caesars, an Adoration of the Wise Men; with minerals, shells, birds, feathers without number. The most valuable article is a cabinet of lapis lazuli profusely adorned, which formerly belonged to the learned Queen Christina of Sweden.
Not least curious and interesting are the gardens, though now diminished in size by encroachments for the accommodation of the pupils. They remain pretty much in the stiff and angular style in which they were originally laid out. They are well kept, and furnish the house with many luxuries. Our eyes soon fell and fixed themselves on a Roman altar, one of the finest remains of classical antiquity which have been dug from the soil of our land. Camden, in 1603, saw this altar at Ribchester, where it was found. It is dedicated to the divine matrons, by a captain of the Asturians. The inscription we copied verbatim et literatim from a brass plate on one of its sides:
Dec. al.' Ast.
SS. LL. M.
It is, in a good state of preservation. Pieces of broken sculpture of a different age from its own, and suggesting very dissimilar ideas, lie near and around it.
The most extraordinary feature in the gardens is, perhaps, the lofty, solid, well-trimmed walls of yew, which stretch out in great lengths, adding more, we confess, to the singularity than the beauty of the place. And yet they have a certain antique air which accords well with the general character of the establishment. On one side, that sheltered from the Irish Sea, the foliage is luxuriant, and of a very deep rich green. The exposed side has never recovered from the injury which it suffered by the storm in January 1839; the salt water brought from the west on that occasion, almost ruined the walls, distant though they are from the ocean. The gardens are adorned by two handsome summerhouses, built of brick, with stone coignes and very heavy cornices, like some found at Hampton Court, after the manner of Inigo Jones. They are embellished with handsomely carved flowers and fruit, and surmounted each by the figure of an eagle. We were pleased to behold a fine bowling green, surrounded by yew trees and hedges. Lengthened avenues of firs and cedars, terminated by square pedestals, bearing fruits and flowers executed in a very bold style of carving, had the finer effect because of the long shadows of evening, and the figures which were gently pacing up and down them, attired in long black robes.
We lingered in the garden as long as propriety would permit, unwilling to quit so deeply interesting a spot. The sound of the gong, however, warned us of the approach of night, for it was a summons to the vesper prayers. Immediately individuals and groups in friendly converse, all wearing the habiliments peculiar to the Order, were seen gathering near the church, or indistinctly observed passing down the cloisters. Presently the gently pealing organ and a choir of swelling voices came upon our ears, as we stood pleasurably contemplating the mansion, and bade us think of shelter for the night, and the distance we had to go. Accordingly with a feeling of softened regret we removed ourselves from the pleasing spectacle and the sacred and soothing harmony, resumed our seat in the carriage, quitted this "gem of Ribblesdale," and ere long were busily engaged with the substantials of a comfortable dinner.
From Stonyhurst a short and most agreeable drive brought us near to Ribchester. Keeping the Ribble on our right, we had a good opportunity of witnessing the richness of its scenery. We passed several houses on our road, which, more or less, merited the epithet of "Halls" applied to them. At length, taking a turn towards the west, we came in sight of that part of the vale of the Ribble in which Ribchester lies. It was with no ordinary sensations we fixed our eyes on this lovely scene. The village is endeared to the lover of the antique by a host of recollections - memories embracing centuries - and the most diversified types of civilisation. And then to find the Ribchester of the Romans, which books had taught us to expect a poor wretched place, situated in the midst of one of the richest and most smiling prospects we ever saw, added the delight of surprise to the gratification of at length realising long cherished wishes. We stopped the carriage to gaze on the scene, ere we left the height from which we beheld it to so great an advantage. A more complete bosom than this cannot well be conceived. The hills on all sides retire as if expressly to form it, appearing in the extreme north and south to curve gently round in order to inclose the vale. Rising boldly from the plain to a considerable height, varied in shape and diversified in hue, they offer splendid triumphs of the art of agriculture, presenting woods, arable, pasture land, and woods again with constant interchange. The Ribble serpentines through the plain, making a noble sweep to leave land for Ribchester; and over the river, as you descend from the eminence on the Preston road, stands a handsome bridge, spanning one hundred yards with three arches, and affording fine views both up and down the stream.'
The moment we set our eyes on this locality, we believed the tradition that Ribchester had been a seaport. The opportunities of birth have given us some knowledge of the signs which accompany the influence of the sea, and we are free to assert that we never saw anything look more like sea shore than the banks of the Ribble at this spot. Content with recording our impression, we leave to others the geological difficulties which are said to explode the claim of Ribchester to having once been a bay of the sea.
The first object to which our attention was directed was Salesbury Hall, lying on the eastern side of the Ribble, under shelter of a hill to the north. The view above the house is romantic and charming. The Ribble bursts from its confined channel between two rocks, beautifully shaded with trees. Its waters gush with impetuosity through a narrow strait, and form a deep whirlpool, denominated Sale Wheel. Above, the banks are high and confined, the country rising and wooded; and the distance is terminated by the bold mountain scenery of "the Olympian brood." This hall was successively the property of the Salesburys, Clitheroes, and Talbots, and is entitled to peculiar respect from an antiquary as being the birthplace of Thomas Talbot.
A fine sculpture found at Ribchester was built up in one of its walls. It is an altar dedicated to Apollo. On one side the deity is represented as elegantly leaning on one elbow, with a quiver on his back, a lyre in his hand, and a loose mantle flowing gracefully behind him. On the other front appear two of his priests, attired in long robes, and a peplum, with the head of a bull between them ready to be sacrificed. It has been conjectured this was a votive altar, erected either to acknowledge or to obtain a safe voyage to the port of Ribchester. This fine piece of Roman antiquity Dr. Whitaker, by favour of Lord Bulkeley, was allowed to detach from the wall in the year 1814.
Of what a variety of scenes has this part of the Ribble been the witness! Here Agricola placed an encampment on the northern bank of the river. This, however, was not a mere military post. Tradition and discoveries concur in proving it to have been a place of magnitude and wealth. Brass was probably manufactured here. "Military roads," says Camden, "led to and, from it; one from York, the other from the north by the spacious forest of Bowland, still visible." Then there was the road hence to Manchester, called Bride or Broad-street. A spectator placed upon a commanding point of Ribblesdale, might have seen these noble achievements of the Romans running through otherwise impenetrable forests north and south by the town; and the river, then a far more splendid object than now, with the hill-sides up to the summits of the fells covered with native oak, beech, pine, ash, and alder; the sea, too, washing the shore, and sails flapping in the breeze. What noble forms have those soldiers! Behold their industry. Listen to the sounds of their military preparation. And here and there you may with an effort descry a naked and painted Barbarian, impelled by a curiosity he could not resist, secretly watching what is going forward.
The scene changes: you may now behold a more tranquil condition. A Christian church raises its modest head on the bank, deserted by the ocean, and enriched by pagan remains. Marshes are redeemed, solid ground appears, cultivation spreads, and lo! a procession according to the rites of Mother Church is winding in pomp along the banks of the river, taking in their way back to Ribchester the ancient chapel of Stydd. It is the commemoration of a saint.
How dissimilar the next scene: the clang of arms, the clash of swords, the flight and the pursuit. They are brothers and fellow-countrymen who thus engage in deadly strife. That noble form is the Earl of Derby; his opponent a Shuttleworth. They have now met; and see how they run and fight, past Ribchester down as far as the eye can penetrate to Salesbury, the position of which, at the foot of high mountains and narrow passes, has defeated the Royalist general. We conclude this rapid review of events with the impressive words of Whitaker:
"It is impossible to take leave without a sigh for the decay of our ancient gentry. In traversing the left bank of the Ribble from Walton to Salesbury, we have surveyed a tract of warm and fertile country, once possessed by five knightly families, all resident on their own estates, allied by perpetual intermarriages, and forming a society of equals among themselves. In this tract were four parks, as many manor-houses of first rank, three of them furnished with domestic chapels; and the vale shaded and enriched by woods of ancient oak. All these families are now gone: one only replaced by a second of equal rank; but with respect to the rest, the houses are decaying or decayed, the parks divided, and the woods destroyed."
The regrets of the accomplished writer would not be less, could he now survey the changes which have taken place since his day, under the influence of wealth acquired by manufacturing labour and enterprise. Regrets, however, are fruitless; yet may we ask, will the successors of the old gentry leave to posterity, as our forefathers did, an inheritance, not only of chivalrous deeds, but also of lofty conceptions and noble structures? What new style of architecture, what specimens of pure taste, are the opulent and the religious of this age preparing as a legacy for ages to come? The best we seem capable of doing, is to imitate without spoiling the works of our ancestors. Let us descend into the vale. Turn to the right, now, down that narrow path; the building you see in front is Stydd Chapel, the oldest entire building throughout the north-east of Lancashire. Before you approach nearer to it, mark that curious edifice on the left, with the fine old yew tree by its side. It is a Roman Catholic foundation, an almshouse. A Catholic chapel is near, whose minister, the Rev. Mr. Wagstaffe, is a venerable man, with white hair, above eighty years of age, beloved and respected by his flock for having spent his long life in deeds of benevolence. Stydd chapel seems to have belonged to a guild or hospital of high antiquity. Deeds of bequests carry us back to a very early period for its foundation. We specify one on account of its singularity: Nicholas Talbot appoints, l501, a priest to sing for twelve months at Stydd, "where Fader and Moder are buried." The chapel is an interesting object, in the midst of an interesting country; the windows somewhat dissimilar, lancet-shaped, partly built up and plastered, with the zigzag ornament over the top of two; the arch of the main entrance, a fine piece of Norman architecture, hidden and disfigured by an ugly porch. Dr. Whitaker says the mixed style in which the place is executed indicates the age of Stephen.
"The inside" (as it was in Whitaker's day) "of this small neglected edifice is still more interesting, having had divine service only twice since the Reformation. No reading desk was ever erected, and prayers are read out of the pulpit, which is durably elevated on a basis of stone; opposite appears a stone coffin-tomb of high antiquity, broken open, and the fragments lying in most picturesque disorder - the floor strewed with ancient gravestones, some inscribed with Longobardic letters, now too obscure to he retrieved; and by way of contrast to this scene of squalid antiquity, here lies under a slab of beautiful white marble the late Catholic Bishop Petre. The stone which was removed on occasion of his interment yet remains; and the Longobardic characters inscribed around it have been originally relieved by sinking the surface of the stone around them, after which the cavity has again been filled by fluid mortar, extremely white, which gives it the appearance of a rude cameo of two colours. I do not remember to have seen anything like this on other ancient gravestones."
The place, however, has been cleansed and fitted up for divine service, which is regularly performed by that excellent clergyman the Rev. Mr. Hazlewood, vicar of Ribchester, on the last Sunday in every month, in the afternoon. Occasionally, indeed, the place seems to be well filled. James Rigley, the farmer near whose house the chapel is situated, told us that when a certain Boanerges came, who "had geet fearfu' weel loiked," they were obliged to take forms into the chapel for the accommodation of the hearers. The edifice is plain and rude in the interior, with a pulpit on the south side, a broken railing in order to make something like a division between the chancel and the nave, a stone floor, hard benches, oak beams bearing the anagram I.H.S.; nor least noticeable is the ivy, which has broken in at the east end, and usurped nearly the whole of the place where the window ought to be seen, looking both here and on the exterior, not only picturesque, but almost as aged as the structure itself. Under the pendent festoons of the ivy stands the communion table, of plain oak. The marble gravestone mentioned above remains. Above this simple rostra, hang a few links of a chain, showing that "a sounding board" had once graced (it could not be for use) this tiny place of worship. The pulpit is ascended by a few broken stone steps, and forms a part of the rails which parcel off the communion table from the rest of the building. Near the communion table is a recess in the wall, designed to hold holy water. The accounts we had read of this antique building had excited a great interest in our minds in connection with it; and we lingered near the place unwilling to depart, though the untrained eye might pass it by unnoticed, standing as it does, with somewhat a barn-like appearance, in a common field, near a poor farmhouse. With our feelings engaged in what we actually saw, we had nearly overlooked a fine old octagon font, with armorial bearings beautifully carved; and neglected to survey the north side of Stydd Chapel with more than a cursory glance. An inspection of it, however, was rewarded by the sight of this fine old arch.
24. Roman Remains at Ribchester
And now for Ribchester, which has proved so prolific in the remains of Roman art. The inhabitants have a jingling proverb, not far from truth in substance:
"It is written upon a wall in Rome,
Ribchester was as rich as any town in Christendom."
We cannot detail all the discoveries that have been made here; the rarest and latest must suffice. We refer to a figure to be found in Pennant, as an enigma for the learned. Pennant mentions having seen a sculpture, discovered in digging a grave in the churchyard. It represents a Roman soldier carrying the labarum vexillum, or standard of the cavalry. Many valuable objects have been lost for want of proper custody. This we fear has been the case with a ring seen at the beginning of the century, in possession of a poor man who picked it up near the river. The metal was gold, the stone a cornelian, with a bird engraven, and this tender motto, Aye, mea vita - adieu, my life.
In 1811, some workmen employed to arrest the encroachments of the river came to some remains, which proved on investigation to be of a fine temple, erected in the beginning of the third century in honour of Minerva. Shortly after, the sexton in digging in the cemetery met with ruins of columns, fragments of which stand now in the vicarage yard, having been portions of this temple. Further search proved that the structure had been of an oblong shape, with sixteen columns in front, and one hundred and twelve feet in length. In the drawing two objects appear; the one a hand millstone, one foot four inches in diameter, and two inches and a half thick. The other object is a stone, whose use we do not profess to know; it is six inches square, with an aperture from four to five inches deep. These were discovered not long since by Mr. Patchett, surgeon, of Ribchester, while excavating for the foundations of a house: he turned up at the same time a number of broken tiles and earthenware, some having figures on them.
About two years ago, while digging in his garden, which adjoins the spot where the principal coins have been found, Mr. Patchett discovered an old wall, which appeared to be the foundation of some edifice now destroyed. On turning over the earth, however, a square place was laid open, about one yard and a half deep, and four and a half square. The bottom was flagged on a sort of clay or cement substratum. The walls were three-fourths of a yard thick, and filled with similar cement of about half a yard thick. It was a Roman bath. There were a lead delivery-pipe and an overflow-pipe. Two beautifully paved footpaths led to the bath, of about one yard and a half in width, and one foot six inches below the surface of the soil. Prior to the discovery of this bath, a party of labourers turned up a portion of one of the footpaths when excavating a neighbouring cellar. We regret to add that the whole of the materials of this interesting object have been used in erecting a new house.
Christianity was introduced into this place by Paulinus. Ribchester originally belonged to the parish of Whalley, but was soon separated from the parent stock. It now forms a parish in the deanery of Amounderness. The church is an irregular pile. The tower is castellated, and in itself a fine object. The roof is supported by stout antique beams, one of which, a tye-beam, bears an inscription written in very singular characters. The pulpit bears the date 1636, and is adorned with curious wood work.
The chief employment is weaving, which in some cases is carried on in connection with farming operations. But we heard heavy complaints of rack-rents and miserably low wages, with uncertain work; and in truth the place has every appearance of poverty, and offers a painful contrast with the historical recollections which it awakens, and the beautiful scenery which invites the eye and gratifies the taste on every side around it.
"I shall catch none to-day," we heard a man advanced in life exclaim in a melancholy tone, who was angling in the river.'
"Why?" we asked; "the day is not inauspicious."
"No; but do you not see that magpie?"
In fact, pynots, that is magpies, according to an old Lancashire superstition, are considered birds of ill-omen; hence the saying, "One's anger, two's mirth, three's a wedding, four's a birth." In spring it is considered by old-fashioned anglers unlucky to see a single magpie; but two are a favourable auspice, because in cold weather one bird only leaves the nest in search of food, the other remaining to keep the eggs or the young ones warm; but when both are out together, the weather is warm, mild, and favourable for fishing.
Deep was our regret when we found the time had arrived for quitting the "blessed place," as the monks termed Whalley (locus benedictus). Mounting the coach we ascended Wiswall Moor, leaving the place, with its own and the surrounding treasures, on our right; and as object after object faded away, or was hidden by the intervention of a mansion or a bend of the road, we literally cast many "A longing, lingering look behind."