Ely Cathedral.

Sacrist rolls of Ely (Volume 1) online

. (page 16 of 20)
Online LibraryEly CathedralSacrist rolls of Ely (Volume 1) → online text (page 16 of 20)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


of land near to their house, and adds the following clause : " besides I give
and concede to the said Hugh and Matilda for the term of their lives free
entrance and exit through my great gates which open towards the gates of
the Monks with all easings as often as it should be needed in the day
time 1 ."

1 "Sciant presentes et futuri quod Ego Agnes le Bray relicta quondam Andree de Ely
in pura et legitima viduitate mea dedi concessi et hac presenti carta confirmavi Hugoni le
Eppecer de Ely, Matildi uxori sue et eorum heredibus, quandam partem principalis
tenementi mei adjacentem tenemento suo continentem in longitudine octo virgas ferreas
Domini Regis et dimidium quarterium et in latitudine tres virgas ferreas Domini Regis et
tria quarteria. Preterea do et concedo predictis Hugoni Matildi uxori sue ad terminum
utriusque vite eorum, liberum introitum et exitum per magnas portas meas que se aperiunt
versus portas monachorum cum omnimodis asiamentis quotiens in die eis necesse fuerit.

" Habend. et tenend. predictam partem tenementi mei predicti prefatis Hugoni Matildi
eorum heredibus in perpetuum. Et Ego predicta Agnes heredes et assignati mei predictam
partem tenementi mei cum omnimodis asiamentis per portas meas ut predictum est prefatis

C. VOL. I. IO



146 (glppenbir Q5

It is abundantly evident that the house of the Bray family, of which
Agnes Bray was then proprietress, stood on the site of the present Bray
Lane where it issues from the Market Place, and that thus her gates (double)
would be exactly opposite the gates (double) of entrance to the Monastery.

This Porta Monachorum is also mentioned in other documents, and
would have been the natural point of entrance into the Monastery not only
from the Market Place, but for those who landing at the river bank (magna
ripa) approached by the Fore Hill.

All wayfarers who sought hospitality in the Monastery for a night and
a day must enter by that gate, and so gain access to the house of the
Hostilarius where they would find entertainment.

The arrangement of the Ely Monastery was in this respect the same as
at Canterbury, allowing for the difference of the position of the two sets of
buildings in relation to their Cathedrals.



THE FOURTH CANONRY IN THE SACRISTY.

The last Canonry house to engage our attention may not be passed
over without a few words ; but it will be convenient to notice the day of its
disappearance in old age, before we refer to the days of its youth when it
was known as the Sacristy or the House of the Sacrist [iv].

It had its centre, if we may so speak, in the rooms now occupied
by the Organist of the Cathedral, and its last occupant was the Canon
of the fourth stall, Dr Maddy. His decease in 1854 called into operation
a death sentence of the Act of 3 and 4 Vic. cap. 113, by which it was ordered
that the Canonry first vacant should be suppressed. The revenues of this
Stall, therefore, were diverted into the hands of the Ecclesiastical Com-
missioners, but all the land which had been appropriated to the Sacrist for
the time being reverted to the Dean and Chapter.

It was through this that Dean Peacock was enabled to bring about the
great improvement of the half circular path which passes round the east end
of the Cathedral [2]. For this work, however, he unfortunately swept away
a wall of the house of the Hostilarius [3] which then approached to within
about nine feet of the east corner of the Presbytery in which Bishop West's
Chapel is constructed. Had those then in authority been aware of the
earlier history of that wall they would certainly have left some mark to
preserve the site for the information of future generations of antiquaries.

Hugoni et Matildi eorum heredibus et assignatis suis contra omnes gentes warrantizabimus
in perpetuum," etc.

There are names of eleven witnesses, of whom Salomon Aurifaber is one.



The wall and the gate which stood across the nine foot path, represented
the division between the outside portion of the Monastery and the inner in
which the daily life of the cloistered men was passed. A door at this point
opening inwardly into the Monks' Cemetery received the name of the
Ostium versus Cimiterium Monachorum [4].

This topographical note is of no little importance too in aiding us to
add one more proof to our identification of Alan of Walsingham's Camera
with the Painted Chamber and the house of the second Canonry [ii].

Attention has already been drawn to an entry furnished by Bishop
Wren, which states that the Camera built by the Sacrist was between
the outer hostelry and the infirmary.

The outer Hostelry, or as it was more frequently termed in Latin,
" Hostillaria Forinseca," must have been one of the earliest of the monastic
houses to disappear. Its original position, however, has been traced
out by walls, which are to be found by measurements in early surveys,
and by existing foundations.

The annexed plan of the precincts of the Monastery eastward of the
Church gives the position which has been assigned to the establishment of
the Hostilarius, and it will appear that the northern side of the residence of
the second Canon must have been within a few feet of the southern
boundary of the Hostelry.

Concerning the meaning of the expression the outer Hostelry, some
explanation has been already given, but it may be here remarked, that
as the ordinary foot travellers entered by the "Porta Monachorum in
Elemosinaria " and found a lodging during a limited time in the outer
Hostelry, other guests entering by the " Porta Eliensis " at the opposite side
of the precincts were received and entertained according to their degrees ;
travellers of high distinction were welcomed by the Prior ; those of lesser
condition by superior monks appointed thereto ; and all Brethren of
the Benedictine Order, at the house called "the Black Hostelrie," close
to the Cellarer's lodgings, on the south of the Infirmary.

By the accompanying plan, it will be seen that the orchards and
gardens attached to the office of the Sacrist were of considerable extent, and
it is probable that the land on which the Lady Chapel was built had been
surrendered by the Sacrist who preceded Alan of Walsingham, as the most
suitable, if not the only available site, for a building of such importance.

The Cathedral had been already lengthened so far eastward by Bishop
Northwold's Presbytery that it reached within a few feet of the outer
Hostelry, a building which, if we may judge by the date of the endowments
made to it, must have existed some time in that position.

The establishment under the charge of the Hostilarius is proved by the
Compotus Rolls which still remain, to have been able to accommodate

10 — 2



1 48 ($4>j>enHr f§

a large arrival of travellers. There are mentioned in the accounts, the
Hostilarius, his socius, a chaplain, a deacon and subdeacon, a butler,
a cook, kitchen boys, a lotrix, a brewer, a gardener, and a bed-maker.
The gardens were extensive and contained a pond. Somewhere also
within the circuit of its walls, and probably bordering on the Monks'
Cemetery, was a Chantry Chapel dedicated to St Nicholas (a patron
of travellers) which we learn from one of the extracts from older registers
left by Bishop Wren, was to be kept up at the expense of the office
of the Hostilarius 1 [5]. In this chapel the wayfarers would have had the
opportunity of paying their morning and evening devotions to God; the
services being apparently entrusted to the clerks of the Almery who
received a gratuity on the eve of St Nicholas' day, December 5th, each year.

The space between the Lady Chapel and the Cathedral was probably, in
Walsingham's earlier days, given up to the workmen who passed thence into
the part of the presbytery which was being restored by Bishop Hotham [11].

In the earlier years of Henry the Sixth, a building seems to have
been either repaired or newly erected there by John Yoxham, at that time
the " Custos Feretri." The language of the deed (which is transcribed
among the Rolls of the Custos Feretri) is somewhat involved, but the
result seems to have been the completion of " a stone chamber " between
the Chapel of the Virgin Mary, and the Church of St Etheldreda, of a
very substantial character, mainly of stone with stone windows, a lead roof,
and a painted chamber, the total cost amounting to ^56.

In the notes of the Commissioners who assigned lodgings to the monks
remaining in the Monastery in 1541, several persons seem to have been
accommodated in that space, among whom were the Pistoler and Gospeler 2 .

The Surveyors of 1649 found the house still existing; and after
describing it with some minuteness, entered on a valuation of its materials,
lead, etc., but did not give the result of their estimate. It was probably,
however, shortly after destroyed 3 .

There is an Ely tradition that some part of the land round the east end
of the Cathedral was called the 100 acres. Perhaps if the 100 be written
"centum," and we remember that " centrigarth " was a north-country
expression for "cimiterium," we are not far from the origin of the term.

The reconstruction of the buildings of the Sacristy, which was the first
enterprise taken in hand by Alan of Walsingham on entering office, has
been briefly noticed in the Notes on Roll v., pages 31 and 32, and in



1 "Cantaria infra monasterium de Ely in Capella S li Nicholai juxta cimiterium
monachorum sumptibvts officii Hostilarie sustentanda."

Bishops' Register, Wren's Notes, p. 215.

2 Cf. Bentham, Supplement, page 59.

3 Cf. Report of Cromwell's Surveyors under the head of "The Alms mens Rooms."



glppenbir Q£ 149

a footnote on the latter page will be found an extract from Wharton's
Anglia Sacra, which gives the text of the most detailed account we possess
of the extensive work then carried out ; it will suffice therefore now to
indicate the position of the buildings erected by him.

The stone chamber which he constructed in the north angle near
the cemetery, for the goldsmith's selda or workshop on the lower floor, and
for his "counting-bord" on the upper, is marked [6] on the plan.

The line of building from that Corner Tower to the Almonry [7]
represents the complete work by which Alan separated the Sacristy from the
town, although the houses themselves have since his day undergone many
alterations. The greater Tower [8], however, obtains no distinct mention
or recognition in any writing of Alan's date, or in any later document;
it was probably the entrance for the Sacrist's carts. It does not even
seem to have been a public thoroughfare until after the suppression of the
fourth stall in the Cathedral 1 , to which the Sacristy had been assigned as
a house of residence, the only recognized way of communication between
the High Street, and the southern side of the Cathedral, having been by a
path leading through the present organist's house, and passing round the
buttresses of Bishop West's Chapel.

This path is indicated in the plan by a dotted line and the letter x. In
the same neighbourhood the figure [9] shows the position of the well of
water in use in the olden time, and the figure [10] the conjectural site of
the horse mill, molendinum equinum, of which the first cost is entered in
Roll iij, page 29, and which may have been used for drawing water and
mixing mortar for the work on the central tower.

Alan of Walsingham, not content with securing the boundary of his
Sacristy on the side of the town and the street, also completed the outer
circumference of his work by buildings [12] extending from the goldsmith's
stone chamber to the Lady Chapel, then only we may think emerging
from the ground, and the Western portion of his new premises seems to
have been devoted to the accommodation of his building staff, while the
"Camera Sacriste" and the "Domus" or "Hospicium " were in the more
easterly range.

With this brief account of the fortunes of the residence of the fourth
Canonry, the proposal to define the positions of the several residences of
the Prebendaries has been carried out so far as present knowledge extends.



l An old inhabitant a few years ago bore witness to the ground floor of this tower
having been enclosed and used as a Housekeeper's room.



APPENDIX C.



£0e Jgetebifarg (Bofbemtf^ of


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 16 18 19 20

Online LibraryEly CathedralSacrist rolls of Ely (Volume 1) → online text (page 16 of 20)