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Under the tower is the effigy of a man : he has a horn suspended by a strap from his shoulder, and also something else which has now become effaced ; probably it was a bow and sheaf of arrows.
. An effigy of a woman with the wimple headdress is in the graveyard, and seems to be of the same period. They were probably man and wife. Mr. Paley suggests that these were the effigies of two persons who rebuilt the geometric parts of the church, the dates being coincident.
Morton, speaking of the church, says, “ the spire of the chapel of Glinton, for a chapel, is certainly the finest in England : it is so tall, and yet so very slender and neat.
NOTE TO P. 223.-Hide = 60 to 100 acres. Virgate = 15 to 40 acres. Carucate = the amount of land one team could plough in one year.
BY W. DE G. BIRCH, LL.D., F.S.A.
(Read January 18th, 1899.)
HE history of the Benedictine Abbey of
Ramsey in Huntingdonshire is, like that of all other abbeys, of much interest, because it reflects in itself to a great extent the general history of the majority of the contemporary people of England.
This great monastery is believed to have been founded in or about A.D. 969, by Ailwinus, a duke or earl of the East Anglians, at the instigation of Oswald, one of the most active archbishops who ever graced the provincial chair of York Cathedral. Ednoð, who was brought by Oswald from Worcester, another Benedictine stronghold of monachism, to prepare the foundation, erected offices for the reception of monks, who in 972 came hither from Westbury to inaugurate a period of nearly six hundred years of religious life in the Fenlands.
In 974 Archbishop Dunstan, with Oswald, dedicated the church of Ramsey to the honour of Saint Mary, the Blessed Virgin, all Holy Virgins, and Saint Benedict.
Ailwine, also called Ethelwine or Egelwine, the founder, was buried at Ramsey. His sepulchral effigy is described by Gough as lying neglected in a yard. It wears a mantle, buskins, and the pileus; in the right hand are two keys and a ragged staff
, the left hand on the breast. Over the Gothic arch which canopies the figure are shown two angels, taking charge of his soul as it rises from the tomb, which bears the epitaph :
“Hic requiescit Ailwinus incliti Regis Edwini cognatus, totius Angliæ aldermannus, et hujus sacri coenobii miraculosus fundator.”
The foundation of the abbey is said to have been divinely commanded to Ailwine ; and the unusual proceedings of a herd of cattle, which sat down in form of a cross, with the bull in the middle, marked out the spot for its site : “ Animalia in modum crucis, taurum vero in medio eorum.
A mediæval writer says that the site was pointed out by a ram : whence the name. But in my opinion the great probability is, that just as Ramsbury in Wiltshire is Corvinenis ecclesia, the Raven's church, for Ravnsbury, so Ramsey is Raven's Island for Ravns eye. Another etymology speaks of Ramsey as ramorum insula, alluding the great size of the ash trees which were cut down to form beams for the new buildings. On the other hand, it is said by Canon Taylor-a very weak authority, I admit—that the first part of the name points to Gaelic: ruimne, a marsh.
William of Malmesbury's account of Ramsey Abbey is somewhat longer than his usual notices, and it is not unlikely that he had opportunity of inspecting original Benedictine records. He says Ramsey Abbey was founded by St. Oswald, Archbishop of York, with the co-operation of Egelwine, a “comes" of the Orient Angles, who was struck by the sight of the archbishop weeping when conducting the obsequies of a prince. This so overcame the lay “comes,” that he devoted the whole of his property to the construction of the abbey, which was richly built in a certain marshy hollow. There, says William of Malmesbury, reposes St. Felix, first bishop of the Orient Angles, translated from Soham. Also, there rest for ever the two brothers Egelredus and Egelbrihtus, whom King Egberht of Kent (as being the sons of his father's brother), fearing they might aspire to the throne, kept for a time in his court, and then banished them, not wishing them to see him. Thunre, a thegn, conceived the idea of murdering them, which he did treacherously, deceiving them with kisses every day, and at length thrusting a dagger into their hearts in the very act of embracing them. Thunre (whose AngloSaxon name of Thunder is probably in allusion to Thor), buries the bodies under the king's own throne, as an unlikely place for investigation and search ; but the Divine eye brought them to light by working miracles on the spot, and by a terrible vision to the king, who thought a fire was raging within him. The bystanders dug up the murdered children, and built a basilica in honour of their martyrdom. Thunre, who behaved with impertinence and disloyalty to the same king on a future occasion, was swallowed up alive by an opening chasm of earth : a direct agency of God—so that “vivens et videns intravit infernum. The bodies were removed to Ramsey, with the usual accompaniment of miracles. There, too, rests St. Ivo, a Persian bishop, who preceded and transcends them in the operation of miracles. He had retired thither with three companions, and died there forgotten; but the same Divine Eye made his body known to the Abbot of Ramsey, who translated it to Ramsey and set it in a mausoleum, whence springs a fountain, still “ running to this day,” second to none in the whole of England for its miraculous healing properties. This mediæval historian further, says: “ Vidi ego quod dicam;" and tells a story of a monk cured of dropsy after thrice drinking of the water.
The editors of Dugdale give a long list of abbots, with short notices and dates of accession and cession. Among them may
1. Ædnoth, 1st abbot, 992-1008, Bishop of Dorchester. 1016, killed by Danes.
2. Wlsi, 1008, killed at Ely by the Danes at the same time, 1016, as Ædnoth.
3. Withman, 1016, went to Jerusalem on a pilgrimage, and on return retired to Northeye as a recluse.
4. Ethelstan, 1020-1043, killed by an Irish servant in the church.
Herbert Losinga, or the Lozenge, 1087. Bishop of Thetford 1091.
Alduine was deprived by Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, at the Council of Westminster, 1102, for simoniacal heresy. William of Malmesbury, Gesta Pontificum, 119.
Walter, 1153, in whose term Geoffrey de Mandeville expelled the monks.
Hugh de Sulgrave, 1254, began the refectory, made St. Ivo's shrine, acquired lands, and greatly improved the abbey and its
William of Gomecester, succeeded in 1267. The good deeds of this abbot are recorded in the Cottonian MS., Vespasian A. XVIII. A long list of the numerous officers of the abbey during his eighteen years' rule is printed in the “ New Monasticon.”
John of Saltrey succeeded in 1285; he paid 2,000 marks fine to the king for custody of his house during the vacancy. Edward I is said to have extorted from him one half of all the revenues of the abbey. He sat thirty years, being blind the last six.
Simon of Eye is said to have begun the new work of the church, 1316-1342.
John Tychemarch, 1419-34, “fuit nobilis pater, renovavit lapsa, construxit et posuit nova.”
John of Wardboys, al. Laurence, 1507, surrendered in 1539, being very forward in procuring not only his own abbey to be surrendered to the king's use, but in influencing others to submit.
The second letter of Thos. Bedyll, a commissioner of Hen. VIII, concerning the monks of Ramsey, in Cleopatra E. iv, f. 204, commenting on the loyalty of this abbot, says: “In my moost hertie wise I commende me to you, doing you to understand that I am now at Ramesey, wher in myne opinion the abbot and convent be as true and as feythful obedienciaries to the king's grace as any religious folke in this realme, and liue as uprightly as any other after the best sort of lyving that hath bene emong religious folks this many yers: that is to sey mor gyven to ceremonies than is necessary. may fynd other houses in no worse condicion, and than I wolbe right glad that I tok this jorney."
In a letter of Richard Cromwell to his uncle, Thomas Cromwell, he says: “Ouer nyght I commenyd with the abbot, whom I found conformable to every thyng as shalbe at the tyme put in use accordyng as your Lordshipps will is.
The British Museum Records in Cleopatra E. iv. clearly show that this house was surrendered more readily than
I pray God I