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REFLECTIONS ON THE PAST GLORIES OF

HATFIELD.

BY MISS EDITH BRADLEY.

(Read at the London Congress, 1896.) N a volume of an American journal, called

The Galaxy, Henry James, junior, has thus recorded his impressions of Hatfield in an article entitled « Three Excursions."

“I had been assured that it was one of the

most interesting of great English mansions ; and as I learned that it was shown to strangers with an altogether exemplary liberality, the short journey of less than an hour seemed well worth making. I found the expedition interesting in the highest degree ; and my only hesitation in attempting to make a note of my impressions arises from the very purity and perfection of those, from their harmonious character and exquisite quality. Such a place as Hatfield is, to my sense, one of the most beautiful things the world possesses : one of those things which we instinctively feel the vanity of any attempt to reproduce; just as we feel the indisposition to gossip about any deep experience. Sooner or later, however, our experience begins to reverberate; and these poor words may pass as a faint reverberation of Hatfield.”

The records of Hatfield go back to Anglo-Saxon times, when it belonged to the Crown, as it did once again after the Dissolution. By the great Saxon king, Edgar, it was granted as a manor to the Abbot of Ely and his successors.

At the commencement of the twelfth century the revenues of Ely monastery having reached great dimensions, the “golden rhetoric" of the Abbot was successfully employed in persuading King Henry I to erect it into a bishopric. The diocese of Ely was formed, in 1109, by the Isle of Ely and county of Cambridge, the manors belonging to the Church being divided between the bishops and the monks. Hence Hatfield obtained its name of Bishops' Hatfield, as it was one of their favourite places of residence, several of the Bishops of Ely—who generally held important posts in the Statedying here. For instance, Bishop John Barnet, Lord Treasurer to Edward III, died at Hatfield, June 7th, 1379; also Philip Morgan, 1434, and his successor, Cardinal de Luxemburgh, Archbishop of Rouen, and Bishop of Ely 1443.

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It was, however, Bishop John Morton, 1478, Chancellor of England and afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, who "bestowed great cost upon his house at Hatfield", as well as on Lambeth Palace (the present gatehouse is all that remains of his work at Lambeth), the Divinity Schools and S. Mary's Church at Oxford. He died September 1500, and was buried in the Crypt at Canterbury, where a sumptuous monument was erected to his memory.

With the Reformation, however, a shadow came over the glories of Hatfield, as elsewhere. Dr. Thomas Goodrich, Canon of Westminster, was made Bishop of Ely 1534; he was one of Henry VIII's privy councillors, and tutor to Prince Edward; and it is not unreasonable to suppose that, being a zealous and bigoted reformer himself

, he imbued his gentle, if not weak-minded, pupil with that puritanical spirit which caused him to finish the work of destruction begun so ably by his father, and demolish hundreds of beautiful chantry chapels in our churches and cathedrals which had been erected to the glory of God by pious and earnest men of old.

Certain it is that about this time Hatfield became again attached to the Crown, having been exchanged for certain priories in Cambridge.

In the now royal palace-of which little remains but the stables - Edward grew up with his sister, the Princess Elizabeth. Here, to both of them was brought the news of the death of the sovereign, and their own accession. From here they were both escorted by a loyal people along the twenty miles of road which led to London. "The Prince, in feeble health, was too young and inexperienced to maintain his power amid the unscrupulous ministers who surrounded him, and sank into an early grave before he had a chance of doing very much good or ill; whilst the Princess Elizabeth, however much her personal character may savour of meanness and vanity, was undoubtedly one of the best sovereigns by whom our country has ever been ruled, during a long reign of unexampled national glory and prosperity.

It is a pleasant thought that Hatfield and all its beautiful surroundings had not a small hand in moulding the character and mind of this really great woman. In a case in the house is preserved a hat belonging to the Princess; and the story runs that, when the panting nobles brought to Hatfield the news of Mary Tudor's death, they found her half-sister reading under an oak tree in the park. She rose, and made her way back to the house, in such haste that the hat fell from her head, was picked up by reverent servants, and has been safely preserved ever since.

One of the most prominent statesmen of Queen Elizabeth's reign was the Lord Keeper, William Cecil, Lord Burghley. His large fortune enabled him to build three palaces for himself: one in the Strand, where he maintained eighty persons in family besides those in attendance at Court. Here also he kept a standing table for gentlemen, and two others for persons below that degree, which were always served whether Lord Burghley were present or not. The second palace was Burghley House in Northamptonshire, and the third Theobalds Park in Hertford, which was his favourite home; here all his children and descendants, to the number of thirty, constantly assembled round his hospitable table ; and here he freely indulged his love for gardening, which he carried to perfection according to the tastes of the time.

Burghley's second son, Sir Robert Cecil, received his Majesty, James VI of Scotland, at Theobalds, on his journey to London to accept the English Crown.

Such a contrast did this home present to glooniy Scotland, that James begged Cecil to exchange Theobalds for Hatfield. In this way the present site passed into the hands of the Cecils, and Sir Robert became ere long the first Marquis of Salisbury. He pulled down the old palace (the part now used for stables alone remains), and erected the present mansion, which was completed in 1611. The architect is unknown : some say Cecil designed it himself, but Mr. P. T. Robinson, in the Vitruvius Britannicus, published 1833, thinks it more probable that John Thorp, the architect of Burghley House, was also responsible for Hatfield, as there is a similarity of style. Others, again, attribute it to John of Padua.

With the exception of the east wing, destroyed by fire early in this century, Hatfield remains as it was in 1611. Still the home of the Salisbury family, we may hope it will long continue in their hands.

I will conclude my few remarks by another reference to Henry James. He calls Hatfield:

“One of the most satisfactory of human institutions. The last impression it made upon me was the force of circumstances. You cannot spend an afternoon there without feeling that circumstances are the major part of life; and if you go there disposed to say that they are literally everything, there is nothing in Hatfield that will contradict you. Everything, in fact, will seem to say to you that, to have all that embodied tradition, that preserved picturesqueness, that domestic grandeur, as the background of one's personal life, is a pure gain, and not to have such things a dead loss. A place like Hatfield is deeply aware of its own preciousness, and that is the argument it will hold. The wandering American, at least, will feel that he best consults the harmony of the occasion by assenting. The moral of mellow façade and quiet terrace, of oaken chambers and Elizabethan trees, will seem to him to be that we are made up by the things that surround us, and that such things as these make us up supremely well. He will find it impossible not to believe that they mould the character, that they refine the temper, that they make the whole nature strong and exquisite. How can he refuse to believe it? How can he be guilty of the incivility of not supposing that the people who have allowed him to pass his charning day have moulded characters and exquisite natures ?”

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SPECIMENS OF SIMPLE HEAD-STONES

FOUND IN STONE DISTRICTS,

WHERE THEY MARK THE

SLEEPING-PLACES OF THE HUMBLER CLASSES.

BY J. T. IRVINE, ESQ.

(Read March 9th, 1897.)

HE primitive rudeness they present, both

in workmanship and in ornamentation, render them overlooked, or considered of an age far more remote than that to which they actually belong. As masons in medieval times kept stone

coffins with their lids ready for sale, so a variety of headstones appear also to have been kept for those whose purses could only reach this simpler class of memorial. Better specimens had their tops rounded, and the edge often moulded, but the sides left plain to be filled in afterwards to the purchaser's fancy. When obtained and brought home by the possessor to his village, where possibly no actual mason was resident, it is tolerably evident that the more generally present local smith was called in with his rude points to add such artistic additions. Those singular headstones found when G. E. Street, R.A., repaired the late Norman church of Adel, in Yorkshire, are samples ;' whose moulded edges evidence not very early Norman date

1 See in the Architectural Societies' Reports, Part for 1871, for some found at Thurnby Church, Lincolnshire, even more remarkable and perhaps older; and the Paper thereon (illustrated) by John Hunt, Esq.

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