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Evangelists, and on the west a mitred head, and another head of somewhat grotesque carving.
I now pass on to what I believe to be entirely unique in England, viz., the carved ceiling. I have already hinted as to the building of the church at various dates. This ceiling contains carved representations of (1) the head of our Saviour, (2) the Virgin Mary, (3) John the
Eleanor, second daughter of Raymond, Earl of Provence.
Baptist, and (4) a diamond panel fleur-de-lys. My conjecture is : the Saviour's head represents the High Altar, that of the Virgin the Lady Chapel on the south side, that of John the Baptist the second chapel on the south side, where a piscina belonging to an altar formerly stood, and the fleur-de-lys was carved anticipating another chapel to be built. The restoration of the tower has brought to light the exterior of the old turret staircase, built of brick, such as may be seen at Hadleigh in Suttolk, Ingatestone and North Weald in Essex; and I can only add that those who are interested in Ecclesiology or Archæology will be amply repaid by a visit to Great Dunmow, as it makes one think of the masterminds that have passed away, and leaves the impression that we have much yet to learn in these days of advanced education.
Note.—The illustrations of King Henry III, and Eleanor, second daughter of Raymond, Earl of Provence, are produced from photographs by Mr. L. Mackenzie ; and those of Roger Bigod, Earl of Norfolk, and Maud, Countess of Norfolk, from reduced drawings made by Miss Bertha Winstone from two other photographs by the same artist, as they were not sufficiently distinct to be reproduced for the purpose of printing. A copy of the photograph of Eleanor, daughter of the Earl of Provence, is added, as the picture from the process block is very indistinct.
SOME ACCOUNT OF
BY G. PATRICK, ESQ., A.R.I.B.A.
(Read at the Peterborough Congress, July 20th, 1898.)
N the well-known roll in the Harley col
lection of MSS. preserved in the British Museum, containing pictures in the life of St. Guthlac, so well described and illustrated by Dr. W. de Gray Birch in his Memorials of St. Guthlac, we are
introduced to the religious lady to whom this sacred edifice is dedicated—St. Pega ; and we have before us in this simple, unpretending village church, and in its immediate proximity, two buildings of very considerable interest to the archæologist and ecclesiological architect.
When St. Guthlac, impelled by the desire for a solitary life, settled himself upon the desolate isle of Crowland, his sister, St. Pega, appears likewise to have resolved to follow the life of a recluse ; and she selected this spot, and built herself a cell, here at Peakirk, five miles distant from her brother's oratory at Crowland.
In the old chronicles there are various renderings of the name of this village, such as Pegekirk, Peircherche, Peykirka, and the surrounding district is called Pegeland and Pagland; but they seem all to be derived from the name of the noble Saxon lady, Pega, who about the year 714 was living a saintly life in this place. In one of the pictures which illustrate the life of St. Guthlac beforementioned, we see St. Pega leaving her cell to go by boat to Crowland, on the occasion of the death of her brother; and in another we see her at his burial. She seems to have remained at Crowland for place had
about a year afterwards: as we read in Ingulph's Chronicle that she then left in the hands of Kenulph (who was building the abbey founded by King Ethelbald in memory of the holy Guthlac), “the scourge of St. Bartholomew and the Psalter of her brother, together with some other relics,” and returned by boat to her cell, which lay to the west at a distance of four leagues, where she continued to live in “tearful lamentations, " for two years and three months longer; and then departed on a pilgrimage to Rome, where she died about 720. This is so far as I am aware, all that is known of St. Pega, and this is the only church known to be dedicated to her. One is said to have been so dedicated at Rome, but its site has long been forgotten.
The cell occupied by St. Pega, like that of her brother at Crowland, was built, in all probability, of wood ; and if the communities which afterwards tourished in each
existence at that early period, the buildings of the inmates were simple detached cottages of wood. Dr. Birch seems to imply that a community did exist here as early as 716, for he says: “Pega was an inmate, if not the governess, of the monastery of Peakirk.” There appears, however, to be some uncertainty as to the actual status of this community, for the late McKenzie Wallcott, in his English Minsters, describes it as a Benedictine monastery, founded by Edmund Atheling, which was destroyed by the Danes in 1013, and translated to Crowland in 1048. Mr. Sweeting, however, in his Parish Churches, quoting from the Lansdowne MS., 1029, says there never was a monastery proper here : that the Abbot of Peakirk " was only the Priest or Curate of the Church ; who, coming as a monk from Burgh, affected to draw others after him, and to turn his manse into a cell, and by degrees into a separate independent house; till the Abbey of Peterboro' by degrees recovered their right and dissolved the other's pretensions."
“Wulgatus, the Abbot of Peakirk, was ejected from his seat in 1048, and all his manors were taken from him, the Abbot of Burgh having established his claim.” Wulgatus seems to have had reason to complain of
somewhat harsh treatment, as, in order to give him some compensation, he was shortly afterwards made Abbot of Crowland.
St. PEGA'S CELL. Whatever may have been the character of the buildings which existed here and at Crowland during the 150 years following the death of St. Pega, they must all have been destroyed in the Danish incursion in A.D. 870. We gather from the chronicle of our old friend Ingulph, that about the year 948, Turketul, who was chancellor to the kings Athelstan and Edmund, set himself to work to recover the former boundaries of the Abbey of Crowland, and amongst others he regained Peakirk. About this time he became a monk, and by the king was very shortly afterwards presented with the pastoral staff; and, having received the benediction of the bishop, the king, Edmund, at a general council held at London, confirmed him in his abbacy, and restored to the monastery all the lands that had belonged to it in former times. The chronicle then goes on to state that he, Turketul, established “on the eastern side of the monastery, in the cell of St. Pega the virgin," a community of learned clerks (a kind of seminary or training college), and “he also built a chapel for them and ordered them to perform the 'canonical hours’ there both night and day, at the same time at which the monks performed them.” He also ordered a daily supply of provisions to be given to each of them, just as though he had been one of the monks." It
appears also from the chronicle that any secular person, of whatever grade or condition, who repaired to Crowland to adopt the monastic life, had first to pass a probation at Pegeland, and was either received or rejected “according to the report the people of Pegeland gave of him.” It came to pass that, with the restoration of the monasteries throughout the kingdom during the reign of King Edgar, and the foundation of several new ones, the monastic orders began to flourish with renewed vigour, so that nearly all the clerks—or elders as they are termed in the chronicle-of Pegeland became monks of Crowland, and Pegeland was left nearly