Copyright
Elizabeth Wilson Grierson.

Canterbury online

. (page 1 of 5)
Online LibraryElizabeth Wilson GriersonCanterbury → online text (page 1 of 5)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


Y



NY PUBLIC LIBRARY THE BRANCH LIBRARIES

l ii |i i



3333302374 1990



hEFIK0I



G no\o



THE CENTRA EN ' 5 ROOM

DONMEIL L: ITER

20 r

WYCSlK/N.y. 10019



REFERENCE

C72.G



TALES OF ENGLISH MINSTERS



CANTERBURY



BY



ELIZABETH GRIERSON

AUTHOR OF

"THE CHILDREN'S BOOK OF EDINBURGH," "CHILDREN'S TALES
FROM SCOTTISH BALLADS," ETC.



WITH

THREE ILLUSTRATIONS IN COLOUR
AND FOUR IN BLACK AND WHITE






: t .



LONDON
ADAM AND CH%

1910



PUBLIC U






I'



1



* C TOR, LE

iLDtK FOUND .TlOfJS.



O



'etc




TALES OF

ENGLISH MINSTERS

SERIES

EACH CONTAINING TWO FULL-PAGE

ILLUSTRATIONS IN COLOUR AND

FOUR IN BLACK AND WHITE



DURHAM
LINCOLN
ST. ALBANS



YORK

ELY

ST. PAUL'S



CANTERBURY





c .



BY



AFD.C..BL^QK; . SOHO SQUARE . LONDON



< c eo c **
cc



a c c c



AMERICA .



AUSTRALASIA .



CANADA



INDIA



AGENTS

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
64 & 66 FIFTH AVENUE, NEW YORK

OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS

205 FLINDERS LANE, MELBOURNE

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY OF CANADA, LTD.

ST. MARTIN'S HOUSE, 70 BOND STREET, TORONTO

MACMILLAN & COMPANY, LTD.
MACMILLAN BUILDING, BOMBAY
309 Bow BAZAAR STREET, CALCUTTA



c



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS



IN COLOUR

THE NORTH SIDE OF THE CATHEDRAL
THE MURDER OF THOMAS A BECKET
CANTERBURY FROM PRIORY GARDEN



Frontispiece

FACING PAGE

- 8
On Cover.



FACING PAGE

- 2 5
j



IN BLACK AND WHITE

ST. AUGUSTINE'S CHAIR r

O ' J J i 53

THE TRANSEPT OF MARTYRDOM '"> ' -" - 32

*J

CANTERBURY PILGRIMS - 'j]-| '"' - 49



TOMB OF THE BLACK PRINCE



3 3
> i



56



*

* *



CANTERBURY

'Like a mighty army

Moves the Church of God ;
Brothers, we are treading
Where the Saints have trod." 1

I

WHEN we come to visit Canterbury Cathedral, we
find that there is so much to talk about that it
seems as if the stories connected with it would fill
a book of themselves. It is the most interesting of
all our Cathedrals, although I think that Win-
chester follows hard on its heels ; and in one way
it is unique, for, as you know, it is the Mother-
Cathedral of the great Church of England, for the
Archbishop of Canterbury ranks first among all
Anglican Bishops, whether at home or in our
Colonies ; and when difficulties arise in the Church,
not only in England, but in those far-off lands,
which cannot be settled by the Bishops and clergy
living there it is to the Archbishop of Canterbury
that they look for advice and aid.



6 ENGLISH MINSTERS

Now, perhaps you wonder why I have said the
* Mother-Cathedral,' and not the ' Mother-Church,'
which is not such a clumsy expression, and seems
to mean the same thing.

Ah ! but I have a reason for doing this, for when
we go down among the green Kentish hop-fields,
and enter the quaint little city, lying among its
pleasant meadows, it is not the Cathedral standing
in the middle of the town which I want you to
visit first, but a tiny little red-roofed church, with
a square, ivy-covered tower, which stands in a
churchyard, which in summer is fragrant with the
perfume of roses, on a hillside, just outside the
town.

This church is called * St. Martin's,' and, tiny as
it is, it can claim the proud title of the * Mother-
Church of England.'

For, as far as we know, it is the very oldest
church hi the country. And we can touch the
walls part of them built, like the tower of
St. Albans Cathedral, of Roman bricks which
are standing to-day very much as they stood
thirteen hundred years ago, when a Christian
Queen worshipped here, when all her subjects, and
even her own husband, were pagans.



CANTERBURY 7

' But how did a Christian Queen come to be
living in a heathen country ?' you ask.

I will tell you.

As you all know, the Romans, under Julius
Caesar, invaded and conquered Britain about fifty
years before the birth of our Lord. They settled
down and colonized our country, which they held
for over four hundred years.

And, curious to say, although they were heathens
themselves, and bitterly opposed to the spread of
Christianity, it was through them that the way
was opened up for the Faith of Christ to be planted
in our land.

For they traded with France, or Gaul, as it was
then called, where in the second century there
were already Christian churches, and the people of
Gaul were not slow to send missionaries across the
Channel to the island from which they were
beginning to obtain large quantities of wheat.
And, in spite of persecution from the Roman
Emperors, the Faith spread in England, and a few
churches were built here and there in the more
important towns.

Now, there was a colony of Romans settled at
Canterbury, or, as it was called in those days,



8 ENGLISH MINSTERS

* Durovernum,' just as there were colonies of
Romans settled at York, Lincoln, Verulam, and
other places we have read of. And there must
have been some Christians living among them
perhaps some of the Roman soldiers themselves
believed the Christian Faith and they built a
little church here on the hillside, and dedicated it
to St. Martin.

St. Martin was a French Bishop, the Bishop of
Tours, and I am going to tell you his story, partly
because some people think that it was he who took
an interest in the Christians at Canterbury, and
perhaps came over from Gaul to found this little
church ; and partly because his story is such a
beautiful one that I am sure you would like me to
tell it to you, even if the Saint had nothing to do
with Canterbury at all.

Now, although St. Martin was a French Bishop,
he was not a Frenchman. He was the son of a
Roman magistrate, and he was born in Hungary
about A.D. 360.

When he was a boy he heard the story of our
Lord's life and death, and he made up his mind
that he would be one of His followers. His
parents were pagans, however, and they did not




THE MURDER OF THOMAS A BECKET.
IN CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL. PAGE 83.



TH

PL 1 : i



ASTOR

TILDE'. AATIu....

c



CANTERBURY 9

want him to become a Christian, so they made him
a soldier, hoping that the excitement of a soldier's
life would drive his new ideas out of his head.

And their plan was partly successful, for although
Martin, as he moved about Gaul with his regiment,
still kept the old resolve before him, and went to
church sometimes, and even put down his name as
a * catechumen '- -that is, as one who desired to be
instructed in the Christian Faith, and to be baptized
he never came to the point, as we say, but just
let time slip on, meaning some day, when he had
more leisure, to present himself for baptism, and
thus publicly declare himself a Christian.

The years passed, however, and Martin grew to
be a full-grown man, but, although he was good
and kind, he had never been baptized.

Now, it chanced that one winter his regiment
was stationed at Amiens, and on a bitterly cold
night he was walking near the city gate (perhaps
he was the officer on duty, and was visiting the
guard), when he saw a miserable beggar, with
hardly any clothes on, crouching by the wall,
almost perished with cold.

In those days no one heeded beggars, and it
would have been the most natural thing for a



10 ENGLISH MINSTERS

soldier in Martin's position to walk on, and leave
the poor man to die.

But the young officer had learned what Christ
had taught about showing mercy, arid he took his
thick, warm cloak from his shoulders and cut it in
two with his sword, and gave half of it to the
beggar, to protect him from the cold.

The next night, so the story runs, as Martin the
soldier lay sleeping in his chamber, he had a won-
derful vision.

The gates of Heaven were opened, and he saw
our Lord on a throne, surrounded by a host of
Saints and Angels, and, to his astonishment, in the
midst of all the glory and brightness, He was wear-
ing the half of a soldier's cloak. Martin recognized
it as his, and while he was gazing at the scene in
breathless awe, it seemed to him that Christ pointed
to the cloak and said softly : ' Behold the mantle
given to me by Martin, yet but a catechumen.'

The vision faded, but the words sank into the
young man's heart. If his Master could so confess
him in Heaven for doing such a little act of mercy,
he determined to be brave enough to confess Him
on earth, and, without delay, he made public pro-
fession of his faith, and was baptized.



CANTERBURY 11

And, more than this, he left the army, and went
into a monastery and became a monk. Afterwards
he was made Bishop of Tours, and we read that,
until he died, he fought as bravely with his tongue
and with his pen against errors and abuses in the
Church, as he had fought with his sword when he
was a soldier.

But now we must leave him and come back to
the little church on the Kentish hillside which is
called by his name.

It must have fallen more or less into ruins, or, at
least, it must have stood empty and deserted for
a century or two after the Romans were recalled
to Rome, and the heathen Anglo-Saxons overran
England.

Then what happened at one or two other places
happened here. As the country grew more settled
a new town arose with a new name. Durovernum
became * Canterbury ' the Burgh of the Men of
Kent ; the Capital of their Kingdom. Now, as
you know, by looking at any old map, the Angles
settled on the east coast of England, taking
possession of the land from the Firth of Forth
to the south of Lincolnshire. The Saxons took
possession of most of the middle and the south



12 ENGLISH MINSTERS

of England, and the Jutes, under their leaders,
Hengist and Horsa, took up their abode in Kent.

And it chanced that in the sixth century a great
King arose in Kent called Ethelbert, who conquered
a large part of the country of the Angles and Saxons,
and became their Overlord.

He was a pagan, fierce, strong, and warlike, who
worshipped Thor and Woden, the heathen gods of
the North. But he went on a visit to Gaul, and
there he fell in love with a Frankish Princess
named Bertha, daughter of King Charibert of Paris.

He loved her so much that he made up his mind
at once that no other maiden should be his wife,
and he went and asked her father if he would allow
him to marry her.

Now, as we know, Ethelbert was a very powerful
Monarch, and I expect he thought that King
Charibert would be glad to let his daughter become
his wife ; but, to his astonishment, the French
King hesitated.

He and all his family were Christians, and he knew
that the Kentish King was a pagan, and, although
he wanted to be on friendly terms with him, it did
not seem right to allow his young daughter to go
alone into a heathen country.



CANTERBURY 13

So he made one condition. If King Ethelbert
would allow a Christian priest to accompany the
Princess, and would promise that she would be free
to practise the rites ot her own religion in her new
home, he could marry her, but not unless.

The fierce heathen King agreed to this arrange-
ment readily. He was so accustomed to people
worshipping different gods that he did not mind
much what god Princess Bertha believed in, so long
as she was willing to be his wife ; and, when he
was discussing the matter, he suddenly remembered
the little Christian church up on the hillside, over-
looking his Capital, and he promised that henceforth
it should belong to the Princess and her chaplain,
and that they might have Service in it every day
if they liked.

King Charibert was satisfied, so the marriage
took place, and Queen Bertha went away with her
husband to his own country, taking with her a
good Bishop named Luidhard to be her friend and
adviser.

Her story is something like the story of
St. Margaret of Scotland. For, as you will one
day read, St. Margaret was also a royal Princess
who went into a strange country, and was married



14 ENGLISH MINSTERS

to a fierce, warlike husband, King Malcolm Canmore,
who, although he was not a heathen like King
Ethelbert, was only a Christian in name, until the
brave example of his gentle wife made him think of
religion as he had never thought of it before.

It must have been very lonely for Queen Bertha
at first. Her husband's Palace stood in the centre
of the little burgh, which was surrounded, as were
all towns in these days, by a high wall, so as to be
guarded against any sudden attack from any enemy.

These walls were pierced by gates, which were
always well guarded, and we can imagine that it
must have been a trial to the young Queen to pass
out, as we read she did every morning, through the
groups of curious soldiers, who perhaps dropped
scoffing words about her religion as she went
through their midst to her little church, to join
with her faithful friend Luidhard, and any other
Christians she could gather together, in the Worship
of God.

But she did it, and she must have done it in such
a wise and tactful way that her husband, watching
to see what sort of religion hers was, came to
respect it, and to wish to hear more about it.

So Queen Bertha, little as she thought it, was



CANTERBURY 15

really acting as a missionary in those difficult years
of her early married life, and by-and-by, as you will
hear, she had her reward.

Now we will leave her at Canterbury for a time,
and turn our thoughts to a scene that took place in
Rome some four years before she came to England.

There was, at that time, a slave-market in Rome,
and one day a young Roman deacon of noble
birth was walking through it. His name was
Gregory.

As he was looking with pitying eyes at the
groups of slaves standing chained together in the
hot sunshine, his attention was arrested by some
young boys with white skins, and golden hair, who
had evidently been brought from some far-distant
country, for no slaves with faces like this had ever
been seen in Rome before.

Gregory paused for a moment. He felt that he
would like to know where the strangers came from,
for their golden hair and sweet, pale faces reminded
him of what he had read about the Saints in Heaven.

4 From what country do they come ?' he asked at
last, turning to the slave-dealer who had charge of
the group.

' They are English, Angles,' said the man,



16 ENGLISH MINSTERS

wondering if the young deacon wanted to buy one
of them.

' They should not be called Angles, but angels,
with faces so angel-like,' said Gregory sadly, his
mind still full of thoughts of Heaven.

' They come from a Kingdom called Deira,' went
on the merchant, hoping he had found a purchaser.

* De ire,' answered the young man, who was not
thinking of buying slaves at all, but of how it
might be possible to teach these children with the
angel faces about God ' ay, plucked from God's
ire, and called to Christ's mercy.'

6 And what is the name of their King ?' he asked,
hoping, perhaps, to hear that the King of the Angles
was a Christian.

' ^Ella,' was the reply.

Now, in these days people were always on the
lookout for good omens, and as ^Ella sounded like
the beginning of the Alleluia which Gregory was
wont to sing in church, he instantly took this for a
good omen.

' Some day Alleluia will be sung in ^Ella's land/
he said hopefully, and passed on out of the market,
w r ondering more than ever how it would be possible
to send missionaries to England.



CANTERBURY 17

* If the Pope will give me leave, I will go thither
myself,' he said ; and he went to the Pope, and
begged him to allow him to gather together a few
other monks who would be willing to share the
danger with him, and go with him as missionaries
to England.

The Pope would have granted his request, but
the people of Rome would not hear of it, for
Gregory was so much respected that they wanted
to keep him among them, and the Pope listened
to them, and greatly to the young deacon's dis-
appointment, bade him stay at home.

But in a wonderfully short time Gregory became
Pope himself, and had the power to send men
wherever he liked.

And although he had a great deal to think about
in his new position, he never forgot the fair-haired
boys he had seen in the market-place, and was
always on the lookout for a suitable time to send
men to preach the Gospel to their nation.

At last it came ; for news was brought to him
that the Christian Princess Bertha had married the
heathen King of Kent, and that he had allowed
her to take a Christian priest to her new home, and
to practise her own religion.



18 ENGLISH MINSTERS

* If his wife is a Christian, he cannot refuse
admittance to my monks,' thought good Pope
Gregory ; and straightway he sent for a very brave
and holy man named Augustine, and asked him if
he would go, at the head of a small company of
monks, and preach the Gospel to the English
nation.

Augustine said he would, and shortly afterwards
he set out, at the head of a little band of followers,
for England.

They had not gone very far, however, when their
hearts failed them, and they sent their leader back
to Rome to beg the Pope to allow them to return.

Perhaps some of you are inclined to say ' Cowards!'
when you read this, but just think for a moment of
what these men were asked to do.

There were neither post-offices, nor telegrams,
nor trains, in those days, and they were asked to
set out from Rome, and go, probably on foot, right
across the Continent of Europe to a strange land,
whose inhabitants they had heard spoken of as
' barbarous, fierce, and unbelieving,' and of whose
language they did not know a word.

It was really very much as if we had asked one
of our friends to-day to set out and walk right



CANTERBURY 19

across the Continent of Africa, and visit some
savage King on the other side, who would probably
murder him as soon as he set foot in his country.

But Pope Gregory was made of the stuff that
martyrs are made of, and he would not allow the
monks to return. He sent Augustine back to them
with a letter, which we can read to-day, if we will,
telling them that, having begun a good work, they
must not think of giving it up, and praying to God
to grant that, although he might not see them
again on earth, he might be permitted to see ' the
fruits of their labours ' in Heaven. * For,' added
the good Pope, thinking of the earnest desire
which he himself had had to go to England,
' though I cannot labour with you, I shall partake
in the joy of the reward, because I am willing to
labour.'

Do you remember the parable in the Bible
about the Kingdom of Heaven being like a grain
of mustard-seed, the least of all the seeds, and yet
how, when it springs up, it grows into a mighty
tree ?

I think that if Pope Gregory had been able,
when he planted his grain of mustard-seed, and
sent away his handful of half-frightened, half-



20 ENGLISH MINSTERS

reluctant monks, to look forward eighteen hundred
years and see into what an enormous and far-
spreading tree English Christianity would grow, he
would have been content.

At last, after weary travel, the little band of
missionaries arrived in England. They landed at
Ebbsfleet, in the Isle of Thanet, which, as you
know, is the north-east corner of Kent.

Augustine was a wise and prudent man, and,
instead of beginning to preach to the people at
once, he sent a courteous message to the King at
Canterbury that some ' strangers from Rome ' had
arrived, and would fain have an audience with him,
for he knew that he would have much more chance
to succeed in his mission if the King took him and
his companions under his protection.

Now it seems that King Ethelbert must have
watched Queen Bertha, and become interested in
the religion she professed, for he said at once that
he would meet the strangers, and hear what they
had to say.

But because he believed in witchcraft, and was
very much afraid that they might have the power
to bewitch him, he would not meet them in any
house, where he thought spirits had more power,



CANTERBURY 21

but went right out into the open country, to a
wide chalk down, and there he gave audience to
the little band of foreigners.

St. Augustine could not speak to him in his own
language ; but he could speak the language of the
people of Gaul, and he had taken the precaution to
bring an interpreter over from Gaul with him.

So he stood there before the King, who was
seated in rude state on the green turf, and explained
the Christian Faith to him, and the Frankish inter-
preter at his side translated his words as he
went on.

When he had finished, the King spoke, telling
him that his words seemed * fair,' but that they
were ' new ' and * strange,' and that he could not
give up the gods of his fathers for them, but that
he was willing to shelter and protect him and
his monks, and to allow them to preach in his
Kingdom.

Then he went back to Canterbury, and in a very
short time he sent an invitation to the strangers to
come to his Capital.

And so it was that Christianity came back to
England to the middle and south of it, at least,
for, as you may know, it was brought to Scotland



ENGLISH MINSTERS

and Northumbria about the same time by St.
Columba and his followers, who came from Ireland,
where the Faith of Christ still held sway, not
having been destroyed by the Jutes, and Angles,
and Saxons, as it had been in Britain.

If we could have stood at the side of St. Martin's
Church on the day when St. Augustine and his
monks entered the ' Burgh of the Men of Kent/
we should have seen a strange sight. Indeed, it has
been described so accurately to us by the Venerable
Bede that we can almost picture it to ourselves.

We can imagine how the news must have spread
in the little city that the strangers from Rome,
to talk to whom the King himself had gone to
the Isle of Thanet, were coming to live among
them, and explain to them, if they would listen,
their Queen's religion. And we can fancy how
they would throng up this hilly road that passes
the church, for they knew that this was the way
the strangers would come, and perhaps they would
stop, and crowd together just by the church, for I
think Queen Bertha would be there with Bishop
Luidhard, ready to welcome her fellow-Christians,
and to pray for the success of their mission.

And by-and-by the faint sound of singing would



CANTERBURY 23

be heard, and a strange little procession would
come over the crest of the hill. First came two
monks, one carrying, high in the air, a silver cross,
and the other a board, on which was rudely traced
the crucified figure of our Lord.

Then came the rest of the monks, in their dark
and travel- stained gowns, with their leader, St.
Augustine, in their midst.

They were chanting a litany as they walked.
One moment, thinking of the heathen darkness that
lay over the fair land into which they had come,
they were praying that ' God would turn away His
wrath ' from the city, and the next, remembering

with thankful hearts how they had been brought
in safety to the end of their long and dangerous

journey, they were bursting into the word of praise
which Gregory had taken for his word of good
omen in the Roman market-place * Alleluia !
Alleluia !'

It would take too long to tell all that happened
to St. Augustine and his monks. We must hurry
on to the history of the Cathedral ; so I will only
tell you that he preached constantly in the little
Church of St. Martin, and that the King must
sometimes have gone with his wife to listen to him,



24 ENGLISH MINSTERS

for in a year we find that he became a Christian,
and was baptized by St. Augustine. Indeed, some
people tell us that the very font that was used at
the ceremony is standing in St. Martin's to-day.

Now, King Ethelbert did not do things by halves,
and when he was converted he must have thrown
all his influence on the side of the missionaries, for
great numbers of his subjects were baptized also,
and in no very long time we hear of him helping
his nephew, the King of the East Saxons, to build
a Cathedral in London, and found a Bishopric
there.

He also handed over his Palace in Canterbury to
St. Augustine and his friend, telling them that
they could turn it into a monastery, while he and
Queen Bertha retired to Reculver, which stands
near the coast some miles distant, where he built
another royal residence.

This, then, was the beginning of the great
Cathedral which stands in the middle of the little
city of Canterbury. For Augustine founded not
only a monastery, but a church, which was known
as ' Christ Church,' and, as has always happened in
the building of our Minsters, this original church
was burned, rebuilt, and improved ; added to,



y c

ic LIB;



, I EN'OX AN

TILOEIM F




Photochrom Co., Ltd.
CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL : ST. AUGUSTINE'S CHAIR


1 3 4 5

Online LibraryElizabeth Wilson GriersonCanterbury → online text (page 1 of 5)