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and eightpence from the tythes of Stokes and Alcester, with which
he is to find all the ink and parchment for the Scribes of the
Monastery, colours for illuminating, and all that is necessary
for binding the books_."[306]

Pleasing traits are these of his bookloving passion; and doubtless under
his guidance the convent library grew and flourished amazingly. But let
us return to the account of his "good works."

"Returning from Rome after two years he was elected sacrist. He then made
a reading-desk behind the choir,[307] which was much wanted in the
church, and appointed stated readings to be held near the tomb of Saint
Wilsius.... Leaving his office thus rich in good works, he was then
elected prior. In this office he buried his predecessor, Prior John, in a
new mausoleum; and also John, surnamed Dionysius; of the latter of whom
Prior Thomas was accustomed to say, 'that he had never known any man who
so perfectly performed every kind of penance as he did for more than
thirty years, in fasting and in prayer; in tears and in watchings; in
cold and in corporeal inflictions; in coarseness and roughness of
clothing, and in denying himself bodily comforts, far more than any other
of the brethren; all of which he rather dedicated in good purposes and
to the support of the poor."

Thus did many an old monk live, practising all this with punctilious care
as the essence of a holy life, and resting upon the fallacy that these
cruel mortifyings of the flesh would greatly facilitate the acquisition
of everlasting ease and joy in a better world; as if God knew not, better
than themselves, what chastisements and afflictions were needful for
them. We may sigh with pain over such instances of mistaken piety and
fanatical zeal in all ages of the church; yet with all their privations,
and with all their macerations of the flesh, there was a vast amount of
human pride mingled with their humiliation. But He who sees into the
hearts of all - looking in his benevolence more at the intention than the
outward form, may perhaps sometimes find in it the workings of a true
christian piety, and so reward it with his love. Let us trust so in the
charity of our faith, and proceed to notice that portion of the old
record which is more intimately connected with our subject. We read that

"Thomas had brought with him to the convent, on his entering, many books,
of both canon and civil law; as well as the books by which he had
regulated the schools of Oxford and Exeter before he became a monk. He
likewise had one book of Democritus; and the book of Antiparalenion, a
gradual book, according to Constantine; Isidore's Divine Offices, and the
Quadrimum of Isidore; Tully's de Amicitia; Tully de Senectute et de
Paradoxis; Lucan, Juvenal, and many other authors, _et multos alios
auctores_, with a great number of sermons, with many writings on
theological questions; on the art and rules of grammar and the book of
accents. After he was prior he made a great breviary, better than any at
that time in the monastery, with Haimo, on the Apocalypse, and a book
containing the lives of the patrons of the church of Evesham; with an
account of the deeds of all the good and bad monks belonging to the
church, in one volume. He also wrote and bound up the same lives and acts
in another volume separately. He made also a great Psalter, _magnum
psalterium_, superior to any contained in the monastery, except the
glossed ones. He collected and wrote all the necessary materials for four
antiphoners, with their musical notes, himself; except what the brothers
of the monastery transcribed for him. He also finished many books that
William of Lith, of pious memory, commenced - the Marterologium, the
Exceptio Missæ, and some excellent commentaries on the Psalter and
Communion of the Saints in the old antiphoners. He also bought the four
Gospels, with glosses, and Isaiah and Ezekiel, also glossed;[308] the
Pistillæ upon Matthew; some Allegories on the Old Testament; the
Lamentations of Jeremiah, with a gloss; the Exposition of the Mass,
according to Pope Innocent; and the great book of Alexander Necham, which
is called _Corrogationes Promethea de partibus veteris testamenti et
novæ_.... He also caused to be transcribed in large letters the book
concerning the offices of the abbey, from the Purification of St. Mary
to the Feast of Easter; the prelections respecting Easter; Pentecost, and
the blessings at the baptismal fonts. He also caused a volume, containing
the same works, to be transcribed, but in a smaller hand; all of which
the convent had not before. He made also the tablet for the locutory in
the chapel of St. Anne, towards the west. After the altar of St. Mary in
the crypts had been despoiled by thieves of its books and ornaments, to
the value of ten pounds, he contributed to their restoration."

Thomas was equally liberal in other matters. His whole time and wealth
were spent in rebuilding and repairing the monastery and adding to its
comforts and splendor. He had a great veneration for antiquity, and was
especially anxious to restore those parts which were dilapidated by time;
the old inscriptions on the monuments and altars he carefully
re-inscribed. It is recorded that he renewed the inscription on the great
altar himself, without the aid of a book, _sine libro_; which was deemed
a mark of profound learning in my lord abbot by his monkish

With this I conclude my remarks on Thomas of Marleberg, leaving these
extracts to speak for him. It is pleasing to find that virtue so great,
and industry so useful met with its just reward; and that the monks of
Evesham proved how much they appreciated such talents, by electing him
their abbot, in 1229, which, for seven years he held with becoming piety
and wisdom.

The annals of the monastery[309] testify that "In the year of our Lord
one thousand three hundred and ninety-two, and the fifteenth of the reign
of King Richard the Second, on the tenth calends of May, died the
venerable Prior Nicholas Hereford, of pious memory, who, as prior of the
church of Evesham, lived a devout and religious life for forty years." He
held that office under three succeeding abbots, and filled it with great
honor and industry. He was a dear lover of books, and spent vast sums in
collecting together his private library, amounting to more than 100
volumes; some of these he wrote with his own hand, but most of them he
bought _emit_. A list of these books is given in the Harleian Register,
and many of the volumes are described as containing a number of tracts,
bound up in one, _cum aliis tractatibus in eodem volumine_. Some of these
display the industry of his pen, and silently tell us of his Christian
piety. Among those remarkable for their bulk, it is pleasurable to
observe a copy of the Holy Scriptures, which was doubtless a comfort to
the venerable prior in the last days of his green old age; and which
probably guided him in the even tenor of that _devout and religious
life_, for which he was so esteemed by the monks of Evesham. He possessed
also some works of Bernard Augustin, and Boethius, whose Consolation of
Philosophy few book-collectors of the middle ages were without. To many
of the books the prices he gave for them, or at which they were then
valued, are affixed: a "_Summa Prædicantium_" is valued at eight marks,
and a "_Burley super Politices_" at seven marks. We may suspect monk
Nicholas of being rather a curious collector in his way, for we find in
his library some interesting volumes of popular literature. He probably
found much pleasure in perusing his copy of the marvelous tale of "Beufys
of Hampton," and the romantic "Mort d'Arthur," both sufficiently
interesting to relieve the monotonous vigils of the monastery. But I must
not dwell longer on the monastic bibliophiles of Evesham, other libraries
and bookworms call for some notice from my pen.


[245] "Rediens autem, ubi Viennam pervenit, eruptitios sibi quos
apud amicos commendaverat, recepit." p. 26. _Vit. Abbat. Wear. 12mo.
edit. Ware._

[246] The youngest son of Oswy, or Oswis, king of Northumbria, who
succeeded his father in the year 670, Alfred his elder brother being
for a time set aside on the grounds of his illegitimacy; yet Alfred
was a far more enlightened and talented prince than Ecgfrid, and
much praised in Saxon annals for his love of learning.

[247] "Magnâ quidem copiâ voluminum sacrorum; sed non minori sicut
et prius sanctorum imaginum numere detatus." _Vit. Abb._ p. 38.

[248] "Bibliothecam, quam de Roma nobillissimam copiosessimanque
advenaret ad instructionem ecclesiæ necessariam sollicite servari
integram, nec per incuriam foedari aut passim dissipari præcepit."

[249] Bede says that he was "learned in Holy Scriptures." Dr. Henry
mentions this anecdote in his _Hist. of England_, vol. ii. p. 287,
8vo. ed. which has led many secondary compilers into a curious
blunder, by mistaking the king here alluded to for Alfred the Great:
even Didbin, in his Bibliomania, falls into the same error although
he suspected some mistake; he calls him _our immortal Alfrid_, p.
219, and seems puzzled to account for the anachronism, but does not
take the trouble to enquire into the matter; Heylin's little Help to
History would have set him right, and shown that while Alfrede king
of Northumberland reigned in 680, Alfred king of England lived more
than two centuries afterwards, pp. 25 and 29.

[250] The reader may perhaps smile at this, but it has long been my
custom to carry some 8vo. edition of a monkish writer about me, when
time or opportunity allowed me to spend a few hours among the ruins
of the olden time. I recall with pleasure the recollection of many
such rambles, and especially my last - a visit to Netley Abbey. What
a sweet spot for contemplation; surrounded by all that is lovely in
nature, it drives our old prejudices away, and touches the heart
with piety and awe. Often have I explored its ruins and ascended its
crumbling parapets, admiring the taste of those Cistercian monks in
choosing so quiet, romantic, and choice a spot, and one so well
suited to lead man's thoughts to sacred things above.

[251] Bede, _Vit. Abb. Wear._ p. 46.

[252] The fine libraries thus assiduously collected were destroyed
by the Danes; that of Jarrow in the year 793, and that of Wearmouth
in 867.

[253] Emer, Vita. ap. Mab. Act. SS. tom. iii. 199.

[254] Bede's Eccles. Hist. b. iii. c. xxv.

[255] "Idemque vir Dei quatuor Evangelica et Bibliothecam pluresque
libros Novi et Veteris Testamenti cum tabulis tectis auro purissimo
et pretiosis gemmis mirabili artificio fabricatis ad honorem Dei."
Dugdale's Monast. vol. ii. p. 133.

[256] In 665 he was raised to the episcopacy of all Northumbria.

[257] He was deprived of his bishopric in the year 678, and the see
was divided into those of York and Hexham. But for the particulars
of his conduct see _Soame's Anglo. Sax. Church_, p. 63, with _Dr.
Lingard's Ang. Sax. Church_, vol. i. p. 245; though without accusing
either of misrepresentation, I would advise the reader to search (if
he has the opportunity), the original authorities for himself, it is
a delicate matter for a Roman or an English churchman to handle with

[258] His Saxon name was Winfrid, or Wynfrith, but he is generally
called Boniface, Archbishop of Mentz.

[259] The mere act of baptizing constitutes "_conversion_" in
Jesuitical phraseology; and thousands were so converted in a few
days by the followers of Ignatius. A similar process was used in
working out the miracles of the Saxon missionary. He was rather too
conciliating and too anxious for a "converting miracle," to be over
particular; but it was all for the good of the church papal, to whom
he was a devoted servant; the church papal therefore could not see
the fault.

[260] Ep. iii. p. 7, Ed. 4to. - _Moguntiæ_, 1629.

[261] Ep. iv. p. 8.

[262] Ep. xiii.

[263] Ep. vii. p. 11.

[264] Ep. xiv. See also Ep. xxviii. p. 40.

[265] Ep. viii. p. 12.

[266] Ep. lxxxv. p. 119.

[267] Ep. ix. p. 13.

[268] Ep. xxii. p. 36.

[269] Ep. xcix. p. 135.

[270] Ep. cxi. p. 153.

[271] The accusation is not a groundless one. Foxe, in his _Acts and
Monuments_, warmly upbraids him; and Aikins in his _Biog. Dict._,
has acted in a similar manner. But the best guides are his
letters - they display his faults and his virtues too.

[272] This was in the year 731. _Goodwin_ says he "sate 36 years,
and died an. 767." He says, "This man by his owne wisedome, and the
authority of his brother, amended greatly the state of his church
and see. He procured the archiepiscopall pall to be restored to his
churche againe, and erected a famous library at York, which he
stored plentifully with an infinite number of excellent bookes." p.

[273] De Pontificibus et Sanctis Ecclesiæ Eboracensis.

[274] Alcuini Oper., tom. i. vol. 1, p. 57, translated in Sharpe's
William of Malmsbury, p. 73.

[275] Opera, tom. i. p. 305.

[276] In a letter to Gisla, sister to the emperor, he writes "Totius
forsitan evangelii Johannis expositionem direxissem vobis, si me non
occupasset Domini Regis præceptum in emendatione Veteri Novique
Testamenti." - _Opera_, tom. i. vol. 7, p. 591.

[277] Alcuini, ap. Gale, tom. iii. p. 730.

[278] Alcuini, Oper. tom. i. p. 52. Ep. xxxviii. It was written
about 796.

[279] He was also very careful in instructing the scribes to
punctuate with accuracy, which he deemed of great importance. See
Ep. lxxxv. p. 126.

[280] Necrolog. MS. Capituli, Metropolitani Salisburgensis, _apud_
Froben, tom. i. p. lxxxi.

[281] Charlemagne founded several libraries; - see _Koeler, Dissert.
de Biblio. Caroli Mog._ published in 1727. Eginhart mentions his
private collection, and it is thus spoken of in the emperor's will;
"Similiter et de libris, quorum magna in bibliotheca sua copiam
congregavit: statuit ut ab iis qui eos habere uellet, justo pretio
redimeretur, pretin in pauperes erogaretur." Echin. Vita Caroli, p.
366, edit. 24mo. 1562. Yet we cannot but regret the dispersion of
this imperial library.

[282] Formerly called _Streaneshalch_.

[283] At the age of 66, _Bede_, b. iv. cxxiii.

[284] Bede, b. iv. c. xxiv.

[285] John de Trevisa says, "Cædmon of Whitaby was inspired of the
Holy Gost, and made wonder poisyes an Englisch, meiz of al the
Storyes of Holy Writ." _MS. Harleian_, 1900, fol. 43, a.

[286] Ibid.

[287] Cottonian Collection marked _Claudius_, B. iv. There is
another MS. in the Bodleian (_Junius_ XI.) It was printed by Junius
in 1655, in 4to. Sturt has engraved some of the illuminations in his
_Saxon Antiquities_, and they were also copied and published by J.
Greene, F. A. S., in 1754, in fifteen plates.

[288] It is unfortunately imperfect at the end, and wants folio 32.

[289] Take the following as an instance of the similarity of thought
between the two poets. Sharon Turner thus renders a portion of
Satan's speech from the Saxon of Cædmon:

"Yet why should I sue for his grace?
Or bend to him with any obedience?
I may be a God as he is.
Stand by me strong companions."
_Hist. Anglo Sax._ vol. ii. p. 314.

The idea is with Milton:

. . . . . . . . To bow to one for grace
With suppliant knee, and deify his power,
Who from the terror of this arm so late
Doubted his empire; that were low indeed!
That were an ignominy, and shame beneath
This downfall!
_Paradise Lost_, b. i.

[290] He will find it in Charlton's History of Whitby, 4to. 1779, p.

[291] Marked MS. N. B. 17.

[292] Wright and Halliwell's Rel. Antiq. vol. ii. p. 180.

[293] It is printed in Hearne's History of Glastonbury, from a MS.
in the Bodleian Library, Ed. _Oxon_, 1722, _Appendix_ x. p. 291.

[294] Bibliothecam optimam cum duobus armillis ex auro purissimo
fabricatis. - _Heming. Chart_, p. 95.

[295] Thomas's Survey, of Worcester Church, 4to. 1736, p. 46. The
Scriptorium of the monastery was situated in the cloisters, and a
Bible in Bennet College, Cambridge, was written therein by a scribe
named Senatus, as we learn from a note printed in Nasmith's
Catalogue, which proves it to have been written during the reign of
Henry II. It is a folio MS. on vellum, and a fine specimen of the
talent of the expert scribe. - See _Nasmith's Catalogus Libr. MSS._,
4to. _Camb._ 1777, p. 31.

[296] Since writing the above, which I gave on the authority of
Green (_Hist. of Worc._ vol. i. p. 79), backed with the older one of
Thomas (_Survey Ch. Worc._ p. 70), I have had the opportunity of
consulting the reference given by them (_Heming, Chart._ p. 262),
and was somewhat surprised to find the words "_Et bibliothecam, in
duobus partibus divisam_," the foundation of this pleasing anecdote.
"_Bibliothecam_," however, was the Latin for a Bible in the middle
ages: so that in fact the Lady Godiva gave them a Bible divided into
two parts, or volumes.

[297] Chalmer's Hist. of the Colleges of Oxford, p. 458. Wood's
Hist. Antiq. of Oxon, lib. ii. p. 48.

[298] Green's Hist. Worc. p. 79.

[299] Sir W. Dugdale's View of the Troubles in England, _Folio_, p.
557. We can easily credit the destruction of the organ and painted
windows, so obnoxious to Puritan piety; but with regard to the
_Bibles_, we may suspect the accuracy of the Royalist writer, col.

[300] Symeon Dunelm. Tweyed. Script. x.

[301] Habingdon, MSS. Godwin de Præf, p. 231.

[302] Tindal's Hist. of Evesham, p. 248.

[303] _Ibid._ p. 250.

[304] MS. Harl., No. 3763, p. 180.

[305] MS. Cot. Vesp. b. xxiv. It is printed in Latin in _Nash's
Worcestershire_, vol. i. p. 419, and translated in _Tindal's Hist.
of Worcs._ p. 24, all of which I have used with _Dugdale's Monast._
vol. ii. p. 5.

[306] _MS. Cottonian Augustus II._ No. 11. "Ex his debet invenire
præcentor incaustum omnibus scriptoribus monasterii; et Pergamenum
ad brevia, et colores ad illuminandum, et necessaria ad legandum
libros." See _Dugdale's Monast._ vol. ii. p. 24.

[307] After the elapse of so many years, the research of the
antiquarian has brought this desk to light; an account of it will be
found in the Archeologia, vol. xvii. p. 278.

[308] "Emit etiam quator evangelia glosata, et Yaiam et Ezechielem

[309] Harleian MSS., No. 3763.


_Old Glastonbury Abbey. - Its Library. - John of Taunton. - Richard
Whiting. - Malmsbury. - Bookish Monks of Gloucester Abbey. - Leofric
of Exeter and his private library. - Peter of Blois. Extracts from
his letters. - Proved to have been a great classical student,
etc., etc._

The fame of Glastonbury Abbey will attract the steps of the western
traveller; and if he possess the spirit of an antiquary, his eye will
long dwell on those mutilated fragments of monkish architecture. The
bibliophile will regard it with still greater love; for, in its day, it
was one of the most eminent repositories of those treasures which it is
his province to collect. For more than ten hundred years that old fabric
has stood there, exciting in days of remote antiquity the veneration of
our pious forefathers, and in modern times the admiration of the curious.
Pilgrim! tread lightly on that hallowed ground! sacred to the memory of
the most learned and illustrious of our Saxon ancestry. The bones of
princes and studious monks closely mingle with the ruins which time has
caused, and bigotry helped to desecrate. Monkish tradition claims, as the
founder of Glastonbury Abbey, St. Joseph of Arimathea, who, sixty-three
years after the incarnation of our Lord, came to spread the truths of the
Gospel over the island of Britain. Let this be how it may, we leave it
for more certain data.

After, says a learned antiquary, its having been built by St. Davis,
Archbishop of Menevia, and then again restored by "twelve well affected
men in the north;" it was entirely pulled down by Ina, king of the West
Saxons, who "new builded the abbey of Glastonburie[310] in a fenny place
out of the way, to the end the monks mought so much the more give their
mindes to heavenly thinges, and chiefely use the contemplation meete for
men of such profession. This was the fourth building of that
monasterie."[311] The king completed his good work by erecting a
beautiful chapel, garnished with numerous ornaments and utensils of gold
and silver; and among other costly treasures, William of Malmsbury tells
us that twenty pounds and sixty marks of gold was used in making a
coopertoria for a book of the Gospels.[312]

Would that I had it in my power to write the literary history of
Glastonbury Abbey; to know what the monks of old there transcribed would
be to acquire the history of learning in those times; for there was
little worth reading in the literature of the day that was not copied by
those industrious scribes. But if our materials will not enable us to do
this, we may catch a glimpse of their well stored shelves through the
kindness and care of William Britone the Librarian, who compiled a work
of the highest interest to the biographer. It is no less than a catalogue
of the books contained in the common library of the abbey in the year one
thousand two hundred and forty-eight. Four hundred choice volumes
comprise this fine collection;[313] and will not the reader be surprised
to find among them a selection of the classics, with the chronicles,
poetry, and romantic productions of the middle ages, besides an abundant
store of the theological writings of the primitive Church. But I have not
transcribed a large proportion of this list, as the extracts given from
other monastic catalogues may serve to convey an idea of their nature;
but I cannot allow one circumstance connected with this old document to
pass without remark. I would draw the reader's attention to the fine
bibles which commence the list, and which prove that the monks of
Glastonbury Abbey were fond and devoted students of the Bible. It begins
with -

Bibliotheca una in duobus voluminibus.
Alia Bibliotheca integra vetusta, set legibilis.
Bibliotheca integræ minoris litteræ.
Dimidia pars Bibliothecæ incipiens à Psalterio, vetusta.
Bibliotheca magna versificata.
Alia versificata in duobus voluminibus.
Bibliotheca tres versificata.[314]

But besides these, the library contained numerous detached books and many
copies of the Gospels, an ample collection of the fathers, and the
controversal writings of the middle ages; and among many others, the
following classics -

Virgil's Æneid.
Virgil's Georgics.
Virgil's Bucolics.
Isagoge of Porphyry.

I must not omit to mention that John de Taunton, a monk and an
enthusiastic _amator librorum_, and who was elected abbot in the year
1271, collected forty choice volumes, and gave them to the library,
_dedit librario_, of the abbey; no mean gift, I ween, in the thirteenth
century. They included -

Questions on the Old and New Law.
St. Augustine upon Genesis.
Ecclesiastical Dogmas.
St. Bernard's Enchiridion.
St. Bernard's Flowers.
Books of Wisdom, with a Gloss.
Postil's upon Jeremiah and the lesser Prophets.
Concordances to the Bible.

Postil's of Albertus upon Matthew, and the Lamentations of Jeremiah
and others, in one volume.
Postil's upon Mark.
Postil's upon John, with a Discourse on the Epistles
throughout the year.
Brother Thomas Old and New Gloss.
Morabilius on the Gospels and Epistles.

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