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destroyed—only a mound marks the spot—but you will also see a church which, for its architectural beauty as well as for its historical interest, ranks high even amongst our wonderful churches of Northamptonshire ; and you will see, alas ! a splendid structure melting to decay. If what you see in Fotheringhay church may fire your antiquarian zeal, and if that zeal will lead to some public appeal, and if by that appeal the minds of men are stirred to rescue that most beautiful structure from impending ruin, and to maintain it as a suitable English memorial to the memory of Mary, Queen of Scots, your visit will not be in vain; and we who greet you here will have fresh cause for gratitude that your Congress was held at Peterborough, and that in the course of it you went to Fotheringhay.
There is another thing which, as the Bishop of a diocese, I ought to say to you.
Not perhaps prominently in the three counties of Leicester, Northampton, and Rutland (which form the diocese), more than in other parts of our land, but everywhere, the work such as your Association does has been of incalculable importance. You have been associated for the purpose of calling attention to that which is ancient; you have been formed to foster that culture of the classification and scientific study of the things of old ; and such a work has, from that special point of view in which my labours run, been of the greatest benefit. The character of our nation's life is tinged by work like yours. A younger country than our own has got no past from which to draw her lessons of to-day. She may be “smarter” than we are, more
go-ahead,” more quick in her inventive faculties, more pliable and self-adaptible, but our great cousins across the Atlantic sea would give a large slice of their national wealth for such a treasure-house as we possess of archæology. She knows what it has got to say in making character and forming men ; she knows the value of that power of retrospect, and that a nation's greatness in the past is a large chapter of her present power and of her future strength. And besides what your work is doing in the formation of English character and the steadying of English lives, we Bishops have got another tribute of gratitude to you.
We are not all of us or even most of us—as good archæologists as we might be, but we all know the value of the study of archæology in the rectories and vicarages of our clergy. Often the quiet home of some country parson has been brightened and elevated by the study of some branch of your particular science, which has not only given the student a new and valued interest in life, but has (as from Lyminge, in Kent) sent to the outside world some of the most minute observations and most cultivated treatises.
I am proud to see how many there are amongst your ranks who, in addition to their duties of a higher spiritual sphere, have given their learning and patience and research to the great work of archaeology. And in these days, when golf and bicycles, tennis and croquet, make such demands upon men's time, it seems especially desirable that such higher pursuits (more suitable, perhaps, to the employment of the spare time of members of a learned profession) of all and any branch of the great science of archæology should be commended by example and precept to the attention of our country clergymen.
Of all the places and objects of archaeological interest that you will visit here, I can but speak of two.
On Tuesday morning you will be invited to visit Little Gidding, where the interesting little church only remains to mark the place which Mr. Shorthouse has done so much to rescue from forgetfulness.
The community life of Nicholas Ferrar will always appeal to those who recognise in such establishments the very cradle of modern archæology, and to many you the story of this particular community is already familiar.
It owed its origin to the elder Nicholas Ferrar, who, partly at his own expense and partly as a member of the suite of Princess Elizabeth, the sister of Charles I, had spent many of the best years of his life in travelling abroad. When he came home he settled down at Little Gidding, and in 1626, was ordained deacon by Dr. Laud, then Bishop of St. David's, and afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury.
There, in the quiet country retreat of Little Gidding, he gathered round him his mother, his brother John and nephew Nicholas, his sister, Mrs. Collet,
and her seven daughters, who formed the family community. You recollect how Izaac Walton, in his life of George Herbert, who was “the dearest friend” of Ferrar, whom he called “Saint Nicholas,"mentions that renowned community; how night and day they kept their vigil of unceasing prayer; and you will see on Tuesday the raised terrace down which they would have paced from their dwelling to the church. You remember, too, how the courtly fame of the older Nicholas, and former services rendered to the Duke of Buckingham, threw a halo of romance around the community, making them famous almost against their will; and you remember how, when the most beautiful home-bound, patiently compiled, artistically ornamented Harmony of the Holy Gospels, was sent to the King and by him accepted, the acknowledgment was written by King Charles I in his own band : " Truly I prize this as a rich and most rare jewel-and for the skill and care and cost bestowed on it there is no defect, but a superlative diligence in all about it. I very much thank them all. God's blessing on their faithful hearts and painful hands.” A wish and an appreciation that it were good to merit, if not from the pen of kings, yet from the public whom we serve, for either labours of studentship or the researches of archæology.
The learning of this small community was only equalled by their piety and painstaking assiduity. Harmonies and concordances, one in twenty-one different languages, of portions of Holy Writ, translations from classical and modern foreign writers, notably that of Valdesso, the learned cavalier and friend of the great Emperor, Charles V, attracted not only the interest of such men as George Herbert, Cosins, and Laud, but gave the gifted band of workers at Little Gidding a well-earned reputation, not only for piety but for learning and research.
Williams, the ex-Lord Keeper, was the near neighbour of the Gidding family at Buckden, the country house of the Bishops of Lincoln. There as he lived “in splendid hospitality” (which seems to have been varied by visits to his quieter retreat of Walgrave Rectory, Northamptonshire, where his sculptured monogram is carved into the chancel parapet), the courtier-bishop never failed in the uniform kindness and consideration he showed to the unworldly family at Gidding through good and evil days. He could admire a life he seemed to have no wish to imitate, and he felt for these simple, single-hearted neighbours a deep and affectionate regard.
It was a red-letter day when Bishop Williams came to confirm and preach in Little Gidding church. The choir of Peterborough Cathedral came over, by Dean Towers' special leave, to render the music of the ceremony.
But the King's visits were the most prized of all, and the last of them is most pathetic, when, after Naseby, the King left Oxford secretly, and wandered from place to place disguised; and thinking of the religious house where in the happier days he had spent some peaceful hours, he came once more in the darkness of the night to Little Gidding. You will be shown the steep field to the south-west of the church, which is still called the King's Close, up which he is said to have come.
And probably the visit brought its fiery recompense, for the blow fell, and the house was plundered and all its goods destroyed, before the King was executed. The family fled, but the house was wrecked, and all its precious contents were destroyed; and though the community regathered in diminished numbers and clung to the old home, the work was done; and you will stand on Tuesday on one of the most precious spots of English life, where religion, bravery, order, discipline, learning and assiduity served well their purpose of adorning life, and left behind a study we may honour and pursue. But
you will pardon me for the jealousy which, as the twenty-eighth Bishop of Peterborough and the successor to forty-five previous abbots of Peterborough, I may
be excused for feeling, if I desire particularly to fix your interest upon our beautiful cathedral itself, and to attempt in this Address somewhat to emphasise what has been already so well said to you to-day by our respected Dean in his most interesting and exhaustive address to you. I think both the Dean and myself, and all the cathedral authorities, would feel somewhat disappointed if, amongst all the other points of interest, you were not to give the first and foremost place in your attention and research to
that most beautiful cathedral which you have seen, but not surely for the first time to-day.
Those were indeed old days when Peada, the son of Penda, the Saxon King of Mercia, in the middle of the seventh century, founded the Abbey of Medeshamstede; and even archæologists have not got much to say as to the form and extent, or even possibly the actual materials, of that first structure, on which in Peada's time Saxulphus (the nobleman of his court) became first abbot-my own seventy-third predecessor in direct descent. This was just fifty-eight years after St. Augustine landed in Kent, 597.
Eleven years later, when Peada's younger brother, Wolfhere, was king, the monastery was consecrated, and the king stood up before all his thanes and said : “I, Wolfere, do this day freely give to St. Peter, and to the Abbot Saxulf and to the monks of this monastery, the lands and waters, and meres and fens and wears, all that lie around and are of my domain, so that none but the abbot and the monks shall have any claim upon them. This is my grant.
This was in the year 664, when Vitalianus was Pope, and Deus-dedit Archbishop of Canterbury.
And so for two hundred years the monastery grew in power and opulence, until the Danes, in 870, came sweeping across the fens and brought destruction to Croyland, Thorney, Ely, and Medesbamstede. The stone with the rough carving on it that stands at the southeast corner of the retro-chapel is commonly supposed to be the memorial of the eighty-four murdered monks that were buried with the abboť in one grave outside the eastern wall, by some surviving monks from Croyland, when the Danes broke up the first Saxon establishment of Medeshamstede.
Mr. Bloxham bas, as you know, as ruthlessly destroyed the Saxon origin of the quaint old stone as the Danes destroyed the monastery. He places it two hundred years later on in history, and makes it out to be Norman, not Saxon work; representing, not the abbot and his slaughtered monks, but our Lord and His Apostles.
This you must settle for yourselves.