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Durham tells us, they attempted to return, but when they reached a place
called Werdelan, "on the east and near unto Durham," they could not move
the bier on which the body of St. Cuthbert was carried, although they
applied their united strength to effect it. The superstition, or perhaps
simplicity, of the monks instantly interpreted this into a manifestation
of divine interference, and they resolved not to return again to their
old spot. And we are further told that after three days' fasting and
prayer, the Lord vouchsafed to reveal to them that they should bear the
saintly burden to Durham, a command which they piously and cheerfully
obeyed. Having arrived there, they fixed on a wild and uncultivated site,
and making a simple oratory of wattles for the temporary reception of
their relics, they set zealously to work - for these old monks well knew
what labor was - to cut down wood, to clear the ground, and build an
habitation for themselves. Shortly after, in the wilderness of that
neglected spot, the worthy bishop Aldwine erected a goodly church of
stone to the honor of God, and as a humble tribute of gratitude and love;
and so it was that Aldwine, the last bishop of Chester-on-the-Street,
was the first of Durham.

When William Carelepho, a Norman monk, was consecrated bishop, the church
had so increased in wealth and usefulness, that fresh wants arose, more
space was requisite, and a grander structure would be preferable; the
bishop thereupon pulled the old church of Aldwine down and commenced the
erection of a more magnificent one in its place, as the beauty of Durham
cathedral sufficiently testifies even now; and will not the lover of
artistic beauty award his praise to the Norman bishop - those massive
columns and stupendous arches excite the admiring wonder of all; built on
a rocky eminence and surrounded by all the charms of a romantic scenery,
it is one of the finest specimens of architecture which the enthusiasm of
monkish days dedicated to piety and to God. Its liberal founder however
did not live to see it finished, for he died in the year 1095, two years
after laying its foundation stone. His bookloving propensities have been
honorably recorded, and not only was he fond of reading, but kept the
pens of the scribes in constant motion, and used himself to superintend
the transcription of manuscripts, as the colophon of a folio volume in
Durham library fully proves.[163] The monkish bibliophiles of his church
received from him a precious gift of about 40 volumes, containing among
other valuable books Prosper, Pompeii, Tertullian, and a great Bible in
two volumes.[164]

It would have been difficult perhaps to have found in those days a body
of monks so "bookish" as those of Durham; not only did they transcribe
with astonishing rapidity, proving that there was no want of vellum
there, but they must have bought or otherwise collected a great number of
books; for the see of Durham, in the early part of the 12th century,
could show a library embracing nearly 300 volumes.[165]

Nor let the reader imagine that the collection possessed no merit in a
literary point of view, or that the monks cared for little else save
legends of saints or the literature of the church; the catalogue proves
them to have enjoyed a more liberal and a more refined taste, and again
display the cloistered students of the middle ages as the preservers of
classic learning. This is a point worth observing on looking over the old
parchment catalogues of the monks; for as by their Epistles we obtain a
knowledge of their intimacy with the old writers, and the use they made
of them, so by their catalogues we catch a glimpse of the means they
possessed of becoming personally acquainted with their beauties; by the
process much light may be thrown on the gloom of those long past times,
and perhaps we shall gain too a better view of the state of learning
existing then. But that the reader may judge for himself, I extract the
names of some of the writers whom the monks of Durham preserved and

Peter Lombard.
Pompeius Trogus.
Gesta Anglorum.
Gesta Normanorum.

Hugh de Pussar,[166] consecrated bishop in 1153, is the next who attracts
our attention by his bibliomanical renown. He possessed perhaps the
finest copy of the Holy Scriptures of any private collector; and he
doubtless regarded his "_unam Bibliam in_ iv. _magnis voluminibus_," with
the veneration of a divine and the fondness of a student. He collected
what in those times was deemed a respectable library, and bequeathed no
less than sixty or seventy volumes to the Durham monks, including his
great Bible, which has ever since been preserved with religious care;
from a catalogue of them we learn his partiality for classical
literature; a Tully, Sedulus, Priscian, and Claudius, are mentioned among

Anthony Bek, who was appointed to the see in the year 1283, was a most
ambitious and haughty prelate, and caused great dissensions in his
church. History proves how little he was adapted for the responsible
duties of a bishop, and points to the field of battle or civil pomp as
most congenial to his disposition. He ostentatiously displayed the
splendor of a Palatine Prince, when he contributed his powerful aid to
the cause of his sovereign, in the Scottish war, by a retinue of 500
horse, 1000 foot, 140 knights, and 26 standard bearers,[168] rendered
doubly imposing in those days of saintly worship and credulity, by the
patronage of St. Cuthbert, under whole holy banner they marched against a
brave and noble foe. His arbitrary temper caused sad quarrels in the
cloister, which ultimately gave rise to a tedious law proceeding between
him and the prior about the year 1300;[169] from a record of this affair
we learn that the bishop had borrowed some books from the library which
afterwards he refused to return; there was among them a Decretal, a
history of England, a Missal, and a volume called "The book of St.
Cuthbert, in which the secrets of the monastery are written," which was
alone valued at £200,[170] probably in consideration of the important and
delicate matters contained therein.

These proceedings were instituted by prior Hoton, who was fond of books,
and had a great esteem for learning; he founded a college at Oxford for
the monkish students of his church.[171] On more than one occasion he
sent parcels of books to Oxford; in a list of an early date it appears
that the monks of Durham sent at one time twenty volumes, and shortly
after fifteen more, consisting principally of church books and lives of
saints.[172] The numbers thus taken from their library the monks, with
that love of learning for which they were so remarkable, anxiously
replaced, by purchasing about twenty volumes, many of which contained a
great number of small but choice pieces.[173]

Robert de Graystane, a monk of Durham, was elected bishop by the prior
and chapter, and confirmed on the 10th of November, 1333, but the king,
Edward III., wishing to advance his treasurer to that see, refused his
sanction to the proceeding; monk Robert was accordingly deposed, and
Richard Angraville received the mitre in his stead. He was consecrated on
the 19th of December in the same year, by John Stratford, archbishop of
Canterbury, and installed by proxy on the 10th of January, 1334.

Angraville, Aungerville, or as he is more commonly called Richard de
Bury, is a name which every bibliophile will honor and esteem; he was
indeed a bibliomaniac of the first order, and a sketch of his life is not
only indispensable here, but cannot fail to interest the book-loving
reader. But before entering more at large into his bookish propensities
and talents, it will be necessary to say something of his early days and
the illustrious career which attended his political and ecclesiastical
life. Richard de Bury, the son of Sir Richard Angraville, was born, as
his name implies, at Bury St. Edmunds, in Suffolk, in the year 1287.[174]

Great attention was paid to the instruction of his youthful mind by his
maternal uncle, John de Willowby, a priest, previous to his removal to
Oxford. At the university he obtained honorable distinction, as much for
his erudition and love of books as for the moral rectitude of his
behavior. These pleasing traits were the stepping stones to his future
greatness, and on the strength of them he was selected as one fully
competent to undertake the education of Edward Prince of Wales,
afterwards the third king of that name; and to Richard de Bury "may be
traced the love for literature and the arts displayed by his pupil when
on the throne. He was rewarded with the lucrative appointment of
treasurer of Gascony."[175]

When Edward, the prince of Wales, was sent to Paris to assume the
dominion of Guienne, which the king had resigned in his favor, he was
accompanied by queen Isabella, his mother, whose criminal frailty, and
afterwards conspiracy, with Mortimer, aroused the just indignation of her
royal husband; and commenced those civil dissensions which rendered the
reign of Edward II. so disastrous and turbulent. It was during these
commotions that Richard de Bury became a zealous partizan of the queen,
to whom he fled, and ventured to supply her pecuniary necessities from
the royal revenues; for this, however, he was surrounded with imminent
danger; for the king, instituting an inquiry into these proceedings,
attempted his capture, which he narrowly escaped by secreting himself in
the belfry of the convent of Brothers Minor at Paris.[176]

When the "most invincible and most magnificent king" Edward III. was
firmly seated upon the throne, dignity and power was lavishly bestowed on
this early bibliomaniac. In an almost incredible space of time he was
appointed cofferer to the king, treasurer of the wardrobe, archdeacon of
Northampton, prebendary of Lincoln, Sarum, Litchfield, and shortly
afterwards keeper of the privy seal, which office he held for five years.
During this time he twice undertook a visit to Italy, on a mission to the
supreme pontiff, John XXII., who not only entertained him with honor and
distinction, but appointed him chaplain to his principal chapel, and gave
him a bull, nominating him to the first vacant see in England.

He acquired whilst there an honor which reflected more credit than even
the smiles of his holiness - the brightest of the Italian poets, Petrarch
of never dying fame - bestowed upon him his acquaintance and lasting
friendship. De Bury entered Avignon for the first time in the same year
that Petrarch took up his residence there, in the house of Colonna,
bishop of Lombes: two such enlightened scholars and indefatigable book
collectors, sojourning in the same city, soon formed an intimacy.[177]
How interesting must their friendly meetings have been, and how
delightful the hours spent in Petrarch's library, which was one of great
extent and rarity; and it is probable too that De Bury obtained from the
poet a few treasures to enrich his own stores; for the generosity of
Petrarch was so excessive, that he could scarcely withhold what he knew
was so dearly coveted. His benevolence on one occasion deprived him and
posterity of an inestimable volume; he lent some manuscripts of the
classics to his old master, who, needing pecuniary aid, pawned them, and
Cicero's books, _De Gloria_, were in this manner irrecoverably lost.[178]
Petrarch acted like a true lover of learning; for when the shadows of old
age approached, he presented his library, full of rare and ancient
manuscripts, many of them enriched by his own notes, to the Venetian
Senate, and thus laid the foundation of the library of Saint-Marc; he
always employed a number of transcribers, who invariably accompanied him
on his journeys, and he kept horses to carry his books.[179] His love of
reading was intense. "Whether," he writes in one of his epistles, "I am
being shaved, or having my hair cut, whether I am riding on horseback or
taking my meals, I either read myself or get some one to read to me; on
the table where I dine, and by the side of my bed, I have all the
materials for writing."[180] With the friendship of such a student, how
charming must have been the visit of the English ambassador, and how much
valuable and interesting information must he have gleaned by his
intercourse with Petrarch and his books. At Rome Richard de Bury obtained
many choice volumes and rare old manuscripts of the classics; for at Rome
indeed, at that time, books had become an important article of commerce,
and many foreign collectors besides the English bibliomaniac resorted
there for these treasures: to such an extend was this carried on, that
the jealousy of Petrarch was aroused, who, in addressing the Romans,
exclaims: "Are you not ashamed that the wrecks of your ancient grandeur,
spared by the inundation of the barbarians, are daily sold by your
miscalculating avarice to foreigners? And that Rome is no where less
known and less loved than at Rome?"[181]

The immense ecclesiastical and civil revenues which Aungraville enjoyed,
enabled him whilst in Italy to maintain a most costly and sumptuous
establishment: in his last visit alone he is said to have expended 5,000
marks, and he never appeared in public without a numerous retinue of
twenty clerks and thirty-six esquires; an appearance which better became
the dignity of his civil office, than the Christian humility of his
ecclesiastical functions. On his return from this distinguished sojourn,
he was appointed, as we have said before, through the instrumentality of
Edward III., to the bishopric of Durham. But not content with these high
preferments, his royal master advanced him to still greater honor, and on
the 28th of September, 1334, he was made Lord Chancellor of England,
which office he filled till the 5th of June, 1335, when he exchanged it
for that of high treasurer. He was twice appointed ambassador to the king
of France, respecting the claims of Edward of England to the crown of
that country. De Bury, whilst negociating this affair, visited Antwerp
and Brabant for the furtherance of the object of his mission, and he
fully embraced this rare opportunity of adding to his literary stores,
and returned to his fatherland well laden with many choice and costly
manuscripts; for in all his perilous missions he carried about with him,
as he tells us, that love of books which many waters could not
extinguish, but which greatly sweetened the bitterness of peregrination.
Whilst at Paris he was especially assiduous in collecting, and he relates
with intense rapture, how many choice libraries he found there full of
all kinds of books, which tempted him to spend his money freely; and with
a gladsome heart he gave his dirty lucre for treasures so inestimable to
the bibliomaniac.

Before the commencement of the war which arose from the disputed claims
of Edward, Richard de Bury returned to enjoy in sweet seclusion his
bibliomanical propensities. The modern bibliophiles who know what it is
to revel in the enjoyment of a goodly library, luxuriant in costly
bindings and rich in bibliographical rarities, who are fully susceptible
to the delights and exquisite sensibilities of that sweet madness called
bibliomania, will readily comprehend the multiplied pleasures of that
early and illustrious bibliophile in the seclusion of Auckland Palace; he
there ardently applied his energies and wealth to the accumulation of
books; and whilst engaged in this pleasing avocation, let us endeavor to
catch a glimpse of him. Chambre, to whom we are indebted for many of the
above particulars, tells us that Richard de Bury was learned in the
governing of his house, hospitable to strangers, of great charity, and
fond of disputation with the learned, but he principally delighted in a
multitude of books, _Iste summe delectabatur multitudine librorum_,[182]
and possessed more books than all the bishops put together, an assertion
which requires some modification, and must not be too strictly regarded,
for book collecting at that time was becoming a favorite pursuit; still
the language of Chambre is expressive, and clearly proves how extensive
must have been his libraries, one of which he formed in each of his
various palaces, _diversis maneriis_. So engrossed was that worthy bishop
with the passion of book collecting, that his dormitory was strewed
_jucebant_ with them, in every nook and corner choice volumes were
scattered, so that it was almost impossible for any person to enter
without placing his feet upon some book.[183] He kept in regular
employment no small assemblage of antiquaries, scribes, bookbinders,
correctors, illuminators, and all such persons who were capable of being
useful in the service of books, _librorum servitiis utiliter_.[184]

During his retirement he wrote a book, from the perusal of which the
bibliomaniac will obtain a full measure of delight and instruction. It is
a faithful record of the life and experience of this bibliophile of the
olden time. He tells us how he collected his vellum treasures - his
"crackling tomes" so rich in illuminations and calligraphic art! - how he
preserved them, and how he would have others read them. Costly indeed
must have been the book gems he amassed together; for foreign countries,
as well as the scribes at home, yielded ample means to augment his
stores, and were incessantly employed in searching for rarities which his
heart yearned to possess. He completed his Philobiblon at his palace at
Auckland on the 24th of January, 1344.[185]

We learn from the prologue to this rare and charming little volume how
true and genuine a bibliomaniac was Richard de Bury, for he tells us
there, that a vehement love _amor excitet_ of books had so powerfully
seized all the faculties of his mind, that dismissing all other
avocations, he had applied the ardor of his thoughts to the acquisition
of books. Expense to him was quite an afterthought, and he begrudged no
amount to possess a volume of rarity or antiquity. Wisdom, he says, is an
infinite treasure _infinitus thesaurus_, the value of which, in his
opinion, was beyond all things; for how, he asks, can the sum be too
great which purchases such vast delight. We cannot admire the purity of
his Latin so much as the enthusiasm which pervades it; but in the eyes of
the bibliophile this will amply compensate for his minor imperfections.
When expatiating on the value of his books he appears to unbosom, as it
were, all the inward rapture of love. A very _helluo librorum_ - a very
Maliabechi of a collector, yet he encouraged no selfish feeling to alloy
his pleasure or to mingle bitterness with the sweets of his avocation.
His knowledge he freely imparted to others, and his books he gladly lent.
This is apparent in the Philobiblon; and his generous spirit warms his
diction - not always chaste - into a fluent eloquence. His composition
overflows with figurative expressions, yet the rude, ungainly form on
which they are moulded deprive them of all claim to elegance or
chastity; but while the homeliness of his diction fails to impress us
with an idea of his versatility as a writer, his chatty anecdotal style
rivets and keeps the mind amused, so that we rise from the little book
with the consciousness of having obtained much profit and satisfaction
from its perusal. Nor is it only the bibliomaniac who may hope to taste
this pleasure in devouring the sweet contents of the Philobiblon; for
there are many hints, many wise sayings, and many singular ideas
scattered over its pages, which will amuse or instruct the general reader
and the lover of olden literature. We observe too that Richard de Bury,
as a writer, was far in advance of his age, and his work manifests an
unusual freedom and independence of mind in its author; for although
living in monkish days, when the ecclesiastics were almost supreme in
power and wealth, he was fully sensible of the vile corruptions and
abominations which were spreading about that time so fearfully among some
of the cloistered devotees - the spotless purity of the primitive times
was scarce known then - and the dark periods of the middle ages were
bright and holy, when compared with the looseness and carnality of those
turbulent days. Richard de Bury dipped his pen in gall when he spoke of
these sad things, and doubtless many a revelling monk winced under the
lashing words he applied to them; not only does he upbraid them for their
carelessness in religion, but severely reprimands their inattention to
literature and learning. "The monks," he says, "in the present day seem
to be occupied in emptying cups, not in correcting codices, _Calicibus
epotandis, non codicibus emendandis_, which they mingle with the
lascivious music of Timotheus, and emulate his immodest manners, so that
the sportive song _cantus ludentis_, and not the plaintive hymn, proceeds
from the cells of the monks. Flocks and fleeces, grain and granaries,
gardens and olives, potions and goblets, are in this day lessons and
studies of the monks, except some chosen few."[186] He speaks in equally
harsh terms of the religious mendicants. He accuses them of forgetting
the words and admonitions of their holy founder, who was a great lover of
books. He wishes them to imitate the ancient members of that fraternity,
who were poor in spirit, but most rich in faith. But it must be
remembered, that about this time the mendicant friars were treated with
undeserved contempt, and much ill feeling rose against them among the
clergy, but the clergy were somewhat prejudiced in their judgment. The
order of St. Dominic, which a century before gloried in the approbation
of the pope, and in the enjoyment of his potential bulls, now winced
under gloomy and foreboding frowns. The sovereign Pontiff Honorius III.
gratefully embraced the service of these friars, and confirmed their
order with important privileges. His successor, Gregory IX., ratified
these favors to gain their useful aid in propping up the papal power, and
commanded the ecclesiastics by a bull to receive these "well-beloved
children and preaching friars" of his, with hospitality and respect.
Thus established, they were able to bear the tossings to and fro which
succeeding years produced; but in Richard de Bury's time darker clouds
were gathering - great men had severely chastized them with their pens and
denounced them in their preachings. Soon after a host of others sprang
up - among the most remarkable of whom were Johannes Poliaco, and
Fitzralph, Archbishop of Armagh, who was a dear friend and chaplain of
Richard de Bury's and many learned disputations were carried on between
them.[187] The celebrated oration of Fitzralph's, cited in the presence
of the pope, was a powerful blow to the mendicant friars - an examination
of the matter has rather perplexed than cleared the subject, and I find
it difficult which side to favor, the clergy seem to denounce the begging
friars more from envy and interested motives, for they looked with
extreme jealousy at the encroachments they had made upon their
ecclesiastical functions of confession, absolution, etc., so profitable
to the church in those days. In these matters the church had hitherto
reserved a sole monopoly, and the clergy now determined to protect it
with all the powers of oratorial denunciation; but, looking beyond this
veil of prejudice, I am prone to regard them favorably, for their intense
love of books, which they sought for and bought up with passionate
eagerness. Fitzralph, quite unintentionally, bestows a bright compliment
upon them, and as it bears upon our subject and illustrates the learning
of the time, I am tempted to give a few extracts; he sorely laments the
decrease of the number of students in the university of Oxford; "So,"
says he, "that yet in my tyme, in the universitie of Oxenford, were
thirty thousand Scolers at ones; and now beth unnethe[188] sixe
thousand."[189] All the blame of this he lays to the friars, and accuses
them of doing "more grete damage to learning." "For these orders of
beggers, for endeless wynnynges that thei geteth by beggyng of the

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