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mains of this church. Dugdale supposes the
Hastings to have been great benefactors ; for
numbers of them were interred here, in a chapel
of their name, and many in the habit of the order,
from a superstition of the respect the Evil Spirit
would pay to it on the last day.

These friars were celebrated for their annual Corpus

. . ' .'ii r-ii Christi

exhibitions of the mysteries called Corpus Christi Plays.
plays, which they performed on that day, to their
great emolument, before crowds of spectators, who
resorted hither at that season from all parts. Like
Thespis of old, they are recorded

Plaustris vexisse poemata,



and to have gone to the most advantageous parts
of the city, with portable theatres drawn on wheeled
carriages, from which they exhibited their page-



222 CORPUS CHRISTI PLAYS.

ants, which amounted to forty. The subjects are
announced in a sort of prologue, by a person
called Ve,viliator, who probably carried a flag
painted with the subject of the day, and at the
same time gave out to the crowd the history it
was to expect. The history is taken up at the
creation, and ends with the last day. I have said
much of these religious dramata in my JVelsh
Tour p , therefore will not pester the reader at pre-
sent with more than Eve's rhetoric, after being
tempted by the serpent, to persuade poor Adam
to taste of the forbidden fruit.

My semely spouse and good husbond,

Lystenyth to me ser, I zow pray ;
Take yis fayr appyl all in zow hond,

Yerof a mursel byte & asay
To ete this appyl loke that ze fond

Goddys felaw to be alvvay ;
All his wisdom to undyrstonde,

And Goddys per to be for ay.
All thyng for to make,

Both fysch & foule, se & sond,

Byrd & best, watyr & lond,

Yis appyl you take out of myn hond
A bete herof you take %

Henry VIII. put an end to the performances
of these poor friars, who had the honor of falling

f Tour 1773, p. 137. 8vo. ed. 1810. i. p. 185.
* Stevens, i. 145, &c.



COVENTRY: GREY FRIARS. 223

with the greater monasteries ; having escaped the
wreck of the lesser, because they had nothing
worth seizing to gratify his rapacious court. But
the king, not content with their ruin, added to it
the mortifying obligation of making their surrender
on the 5th of October 1538, and to sign it with
their names and common seal. The instrument
is curious, and worthy perusal.

" For as moche as we the wardens and freers
" of the house of Saynt Frances in Coventre,
" commonly callyd the Grey Freers in Coventre,
" in the county of Warwick, doo profoundly con-
" sider, that the perfection of Christian livynge
" dothe not consist in dume ceremonies, werynge
" of a grey coot, disgeasinge our selfe aftur
" straunge fassions, do kynge, noddynge, and
" beckyng, in guyrdyng our selves wythe a gurdle
*' fulle of knotts, & other like papisticall ceremo-
" nies, wherein we have ben mooste principally
" practised and mislyd in tymes paste ; but the
" very true waye to plese God, and to live a tru
" Christian inon, wytheout all ypocrisie and fayned
" diseimulation, is sinceerly declared unto us by
" our Mr. Christ e, his evangelists and apostles ;
" being myndyd hereafter to followe the same,
w conformynge our self unto the will and plesure



224 F COVENTRY: GREY FRIARS.

" of our supreme hedde under God in erthe, the
" kynges majestie, and not to folowe henseforth
" the superstitious traditions of any forinsecall
" potentate or peere ; wythe mutuall assent and
H consent do surrendre and yelde up into the
" hondes of the same, all our seide house of Saynt
" Frances, in the cite of Coventre, commonly
" callyd the Grey Freers in Coventre, wythe also
" the londs, tenements, gardens, medows, waters,
" pondiards, fedings, pastures, comens, rents, re-
" versions, & alle other our interest, ryghtes, or
" titles appertaining unto the same ; mooste hum-
" bly beseechinge his mooste noble grace to dis-
" pose of us, and of the same, as beste shall stonde
" wythe his mooste gracious pleasure. And fur-
" ther, frely to graunte unto every on of us his li-
" cense under wretyng & seealle, to chaunge our
" habits into secular fashion, and to receive suche
" maner of livinges as other secular priests com-
" monly be preferred unto. And we all faithfully
" shall pray unto Almighty God long to preserve
" his mooste noble grace wythe increase of moche
" felicite and honour. And in witnes of alle and
" singular the premisses, we the seide warden and
" covent of the Grey Freers in Coventre to thes
" presences have putte our covent seealle, the
" fivithe day of October, in the thertythe yert of



COVENTRY : GREY FRIARS. 225

" the raynge of our mooste soveraynge lord king
" Henry the eyghte.

" Per me Johannem Stafford, Guardian,

" Per me Thomas Mailer,

" Per me Thomas Sanderson,

" Per me Johannem A bell,

" Per me Johannem Wood,

" Per me Rogerum Lilly,

" Per me Thomam Aukock,

" Per me Matheum Walker,

" Per me Robartum Walker,

" Per me Thomam Bangsit,

" Per me Willielmum Gosnelle."

Which said house, or site, was in the thirty-fourth
of Henry VIII. granted by the king (inter alia)
to the mayor, bailiffs, and commonalty of this
city, and their successors for ever.

Not far from the friary is a fine gate, called
The Grey Friars Gate, the most beautiful of any
left standing r .

A little further to the east is Cheleysmor,
where is still to be seen part of the manor-house ;
a wooden building, with a gateway beneath. This,
or some other on the site of it, had been the resi-
dence of the lords of the place, and of the kings

r This elegant gate was taken down in 1781. Ed.



226 COVENTRY: WHITE FRIARS.

and earls of Mercia ; after that, of the earls of
Chester ; and finally, it fell to the crown, when
that earldom was resumed : which, with the park,
about three miles in circumference, belongs to the
Prince of Wales as Earl of Chester *. The castle
stood not remote from the manor-house.

From hence we proceeded to the Carmelites,
or White Friars ; whose house stands at the east
end of the city : another order devoted to poverty,
who lived on charity both from the living and the
dead ; for they often received legacies, supposed
expiations for sins. Their house was built about
the year 1342, by Sir John Poultney, four times
lord mayor of London; a gentleman deservedly
celebrated for his pious munificence'. At the
dissolution it was granted to Sir Ralph Sadler.
It was afterwards sold to John Hales, who, re-
siding here, occasioned it to be called Hates'
Place.

Hebe are considerable remains of the building:
part of the arched cloisters, the refectory and dor-
mitory, and vast vaulted rooms, which served as
magazines for provisions. A very handsome gate-
way, with three niches on the front, is still stand-
ing ; and on an inner gate are three arrows, the

s The Prince of Wales, under the act for redeeming the
land-tax, has sold the manor-house and park to the Marquis
of Hertford: great part of it is now enclosed. Ed.

x Burton's Leicestershire, 191.



COVENTRY: COMBUSTIBLE WOMAN. 227

arms of the Hales. Sir Christopher Hales, Ba-
ronet, and after him Lady Hales, resided at the
White Friars many years in the memory of some
who were lately living : during which time the pre-
mises were kept in good repair. The mansion-
house was afterwards sold, and is now filled with
weavers and Jersey-combers".

In the course of my walk a chamber was shewn
to me, in Gosford-street, noted for the melancholy
end of Mary Clues, in February 1772; who was
found almost consumed by fire, occasioned by an
accident of a most uncommon nature. She had
been confined to her bed by illness, the conse-
quence of intemperance. The room was floored
with brick ; the bed furnished with only one cur-
tain, and that was next to the window. The fire-
place was on the other side. She was left, the
evening before the accident, with two small bits
of coal put quite back in the grate, and a rush-
light on the chair, by the head of the bed. The
next morning a great smoke was perceived in the
room. On bursting open the door some flames
appeared, which were easily extinguished. The
remains of the woman lay on the floor, but the

" White Friars has been purchased by the city of Coventry
for a house of industry: the exterior of tbe antient part has
been preserved ; the cloisters are glazed, and fitted up as a
dining-room for the poor inhabitants. Ed.

Q 2



228 REMARKABLE PHiENOMENA.

furniture of the room was only slightly damaged ;
the bedstead superficially burnt, but neither sheets,
feather-bed, or blankets destroyed.

The solution of this phenomenon is rather ri-
diculous. Mrs. Clues was excessively addicted
to dram-drinking : she would drink a quart in a
day, either of rum or anise-seed water ; and by
those means, filling her veins with pure spirits, be-
came as inflammable as a lamp. She tumbled
out of bed, took fire by the candle, and in about
two hours was fairly burnt out to her thighs and
one leg, and nothing left except her bones, com-
pletely calcined \

This is not the only instance. I have read of
persons being burnt by their own phlogiston ,
natural or acquired. Two Courland noblemen,
after a drinking-match of spirituous liquors, died
scorched and suffocated : and the Countess Cor-
nelia Baudi, of Cesena in Italy y , was found in the
situation of Mary Clues, but without imputation
of the guilty origin. Semele was certainly one of
those combustible ladies; but the gallant Ovid
has ascribed her fatal end to another cause.

Corpus mortale tumultus
Non tulit iEthereos; donisque jugalibus arsit.

x Philosoph. Trans. LXIV. part i. p. 340.
y Annual Register, 1763.



GOSFORD GREEN. 229

In Gosford-street I took horse to visit Combe
abbey, the seat of Lord Craven ; passed through
Gosford-gate, and by a green of the same name, green.
memorable for the single combat which was to
have been fought there in September 1398, be-
tween the Duke of Hereford 2, and the Duke of
Norfolk, earl marshal \ The former had basely
betrayed a private conversation, in which he said
that Mowbray had dropt several expressions of a
treasonable nature. The accusation was denied,
and, according to the barbarous usage of the times,
Moxvbray demanded the privilege of acquitting
himself by single combat. Each of the dukes,
agreeable to the laws of chivalry, flung down his
glove, which was taken up before the king and
sealed b (I suppose, to prevent any future denial
of the challenge). The king appointed Coventry
for the place of combat, and caused for that pur-
pose a vast and magnificent theatre to be erected
on this green c . The rival dukes made all requi-
site preparation, and particularly about the essen-
tial article armour. Froissart relates the steps
they took ; which shews the preference which was
given to foreign armourers. This I shall deliver
in the words of his noble translator d .

2 Afterwards Henry IV. a Thomas Mowbray.

b Polychronicon cccxxiv. c Vita Ricardi II. 145.

4 Sir John Bourchier, Lord Berners.



230 GOSFORD GREEN:

" These two lordes made provision for that was
" necessarye for them for their battayle. The
" Earl of Derby e sent his messangers in to Lom-
" bardy, to the Duke of My Hay n, Sir G a leas, for
" to have armure at his pleasure. The duke agreed
" to the erles desyre, and caused the knight that
" the erle had sent thyder, whose name was
" Fraunces, to se all the dukes armorye ; and
" whan the knight had chosen such as he lyked,
" than the duke furthermore, for love of the erle
" of Derby, he sent four of the best armourers
" that were in Lombardy to y e erle into Englande
" with the knight, to thentent y l tliei shuld arme
M & make armure accordyng to the erles en-
" tent. The Erie Marshal, on his part, sent in
" to Almayn, and in to other places, to provyde
" him for the journey. The charge of these two
" lords was greate. But the Erie of Derby was
" at mooste charge."

The armour of the great men was uncommonly
splendid and expensive ; usually inlaid with gold
and silver, with most elegant devices and patterns.
That of Francis I. in possession of Mr. JValpole,
and that of George Earl of Cumberland, at Ap-
pleby castle, exist as specimens of the great atten-
tion given to that circumstance. Besides beauty,

The Duke si Hereford.



INTENDED COMBAT THERE. 31

the utmost regard was paid to the essential requi-
site of its being proof. This was to be the result
of the skill of the armourer, not of art-magic ; for
the combatants were to clear themselves by oath,
from having any commerce with incantations, or
of renderincr their armour or bodies invulnerable

o

by any charm. Let their cause be ever so bad,
they determined to die like good Christians ; dis-
avowed all dependence on the power of Satan,
and supplicated the prayers of the pious specta-
tors.

Add proof unto my armour with thy prayers,
And with thy blessings steel my lance's point f .

I shall give the consequence of this important
affair in the very graphical words of honest Ho-
Ibished, who minutely describes the pomp and ce-
remony preceding the resolution taken by the un-
fortunate monarch, which in the end cost him his
crown and life.

" At the time appointed, the king came to Co-
" ventrie, where the two dukes were readie, ac-
" cording to the order prescribed therein ; com-
" ming thither in great arraie, accompanied with
" the lords and gentlemen of their linages. The
" king caused a sumptuous scaffold, or theater,

f Shakespeare. Richard II. in a speech of Hereford on this
occasion.



232 GOSFORD GREEN:

and roial listes there to be erected and pre-
pared. The Sundaie before they should fight,
after dinner, the duke of Hereford came to the
king (being lodged about a quarter of a mile
without the town, in a tower that belonged to
Sir William Bagot) to take his leave of him.
The morrow after, being the daie appointed for
the combat, about the spring of the daie came
the duke of Norfolke to the court, to take leave
likewise of the king. The duke of Hereford
armed him in his tent, that was set up neere to
the lists ; and the duke of Norfolke put on his
armor betwixt the gate and the barrier of the
town, in a beautiful house, having a fair perclois
of wood towards the gate, that none might see
what was done within the house.
" The duke of Aumarle that daie being high
constable of England, and the duke of Surrie
marshal, placed themselves betwixt them, well
armed and appointed. And when they saw their
time, they first entered into the lists with a great
company of men, apparelled in silke sendal, im-
brodered with silver both richlie and curiouslie;
everie man having a tipped staff, to keep the
field in order. About the houre of prime came
to the barriers of the lists the duke of Hereford,
mounted on a white courser, barded with green
and blew velvet, imbroidered sumptuously with



INTENDED COMBAT THERE. 233

" swans and antelopes of goldsmiths worke, armed
"'at all points. The constable and marshal came
" to the barriers, demanding of him what he was?
" he answered, ' I am Henrie of Lancaster, duke
" of Hereford, which am come hither to do mine
" indevor against Thomas Moxvbraie duke of Nor-
" folke, as a traitor untrue to God, the king, his
" realme, and me.' Then incontinentlie he sware
" upon the holie Evangelists, that his quarrel was
" true & just ; and upon that point he required
" to enter the lists. Then he puts up his sword,
" which before he held up naked in his hand, and,
" putting down his visor, made a cross on his
" horsse, and with speare in hand entered into the
" lists, and descended from his horsse, and set
" him down in a chaire of green velvet, at the one
" end of the lists, and there reposed himself,
" abiding the comming of his adversarie.

" Soone after him entered into the field, with
" great triumph, King Richard, accompanied with
" all the peerses of the realme ; and in his com-
" panie was the earle of Saint Paule, which was
" come out of France, in post, to see this challenge
" performed. The king had there above ten thou-
" sand men in armour, least some fraie or tumult
" might rise amongst his nobles, by quarrelling or
" partaking. When the king was set in his seat,
" which was richly hanged and adorned, a king



234 GOSFORD GREEN :

" at arms made open proclamation, prohibiting all
" men, in the name of the king, and of the high
" constable and marshal, to enterprise or attempt
" to approach, or touch any part of the lists, upon
" pain of death, except such as were appointed to
" order or marshal the field. The proclamation
" ended, another herald cried, ' Behold here Hen-
" rie of Lancaster duke of Hereford, appelant,
" which is entered into the lists roiall, to do his
" devoir against Thomas Mozvbraie duke of Nor-
u folke, defendant, upon paine to be found false &
" recreant.'

""The duke of Norfolke hovered on horsseback
" at the entrie of the lists, his horsse being barded
" with crimson velvet, imbrodered richlie with
" lions of silver and mulberie trees ; and when he
" had made his oth before the constable and inar-
" shal, that his quarrel was just & true, he en-
" tered the field manfullie, saieng aloud, ' God,
" and him that hath the right ;' and then he de-
" parted from his horsse, & sate him downe in his
" chaire, which was of crimson velvet, courtined
" about with white and red damaske. The lord
" marshall viewed their spears, to see that they
" were of equall length, and delivered the one
" speare himself to the Duke of Hereford, and
" sent the other unto the Duke of Norfolke by a
" knight ; then the herald proclamed, that the



INTENDED COMBAT THERE. 235

traverses & chaires of the champions should be
removed, commanding them, on the king's be-
half, to mount on horssebacke, and address
themselves to the battel and combat g .
" The duke of Hereford was quicklie horssed,
and closed his bauier, and cast his speare into
the rest; and when the trumpet sounded, set
forward couragiouslie towards his enemie six or
seven pases. The duke of Norfolke was not
fullie set forward, when the king cast downe his
warder, and the heralds cried c Ho, ho.' Then
the king caused their speares to be taken from
them, and commanded them to repaire againe to
their chaires; where they remained two long
houres, while the king and his councell delibe-
ratlie consulted what order was best to be had in
so weightie a cause. Finallie : after they had de-
vised, and fullie determined what should be done
therein, the heralds cried ' Silence ;' and Sir
John Bushie, the king's secretarie, read the sen-
tence and determination of the king and his
councell, in a long roll ; the effect whereof was,
that Henrie duke of Hereford should, within
fifteene daies, depart out of the realme, and not
to returne before the terme of ten yeares were
expired, except by the king he should be re-

s Holinshed's Chr. 494.



236 GOSFORD GREEN.

" pealed againe ; and this upon paine of death :
" and that Thomas Mowbraie duke of Norfolke,
" bicause he had sowen sedition in the relme by
" his words, should likewise avoid the realme,
" and never returne againe into England, nor ap-
" proch the borders or confines thereof, upon pain
" of death : and that the king would staie the pro-
" fits of his lands, till he had levied thereof such
" summes of monie as the duke had taken up of
" the king's treasuror, for the wages of the gar-
" rison of Calls ; which were still unpaid.

" When these judgements were once read, the
" king called before him both parties, and made
" them to sweare that the one should never come
" in place where the other was, willinglie, nor
" keepe any companie togither in any forren re-
" gion : which oth they both received humblie,
" and so went their waies. The duke of Norfolke
" departed sorrowfullie out of the realme into
" Almanie, and at the last came into Venice ',
" where he, for thought and melancholic, de-
" ceassed; for he was in hope (as writers record)
" that he should have beene borne out in the
" matter by the king; which, when it fell out
" otherwise, it greeved him not a little. The
" duke of Hereford tooke his leave of the king at
" Eltham, who there released foure yeares of his
" banishment; so he tooke his jornie over into



BINLY. COMBE ABBEY.



237



" Calls, and from thence went into France, where
" he remained.

" A woonder it was to see what number of
" people ran after him, in everie towne and street
" where he came, before he tooke the sea, lament-
" ing and bewailing his departure ; as who should
" saie, that when he departed, the onlie shield,
" defense, and comfort of the commonwealth was
" vaded and gone."

About two miles from Coventry, I crossed the
little river Sow at Binly bridge, a little beyond
which stands the beautiful small church of that
name, dedicated to St. Bartholomew, formerly
belonging to the monks of Coventry ; now a cu-
racy in the gift of Lord Craven, who rebuilt the
church with uncommon elegance. The roof is
coved, and ornamented with scriptural histories,
in form of medallions, and with pious ornaments
of crosses, crowns, and thorns, and other deco-
rations adapted to the place. The altar is in a
tribune, with marble pillars; and its window con-
sists of glass painted with a fine holy family, by
Mr. William Pecket.

Combe Abbey, or, to spell it with propriety,
Cwm, from its low situation, lies about two miles
farther. Notwithstanding its conversion to the
seat of a nobleman, it retains in part the form of
its conventual state. The cloisters are preserved



Binly

Church.



Combe
Abbey.



238 COMBE ABBEY.

on three sides of the antient court, glazed as when
occupied by their former owners, and their walls
enriched with the spoils of the chace. Methinks
the jovial abbot is now before me, formed out of
the monk so admirably described by old Chaucer.

A monk ther was, a fay re for the maistrie,

An out rider that loved venerie ;

A manly man, to ben an abbot able ;

Full many a deinte hors hadde he in stable.

And when he rode, men mighte his bridel here,

Gingeling in a whistling wind as clere

And eke as loude as doth the chapell belle.

Ther as this lord was keper of the celle,

The rule of Seint Maure and of Seint Beneit,

Because that it was olde & somedele streit,

This ilke monk lette olde thinges pace,

And held after the newe world the trace.

He yave not of the text a pulled hen,

That saith that hunters ben not holy men ;

Ne that a monk, when he is rekkeles,

Is like a fish that is waterles :

This is to say, a monk out of his cloistre,

This ilke text held he not worth an oistre.

And I say his opinion was good :

What shulde he studie, & make himselven wood,

Upon a book in cloistre alway to pore,

Or swinken with his hondes, & laboure

As Austin bit ? How shall the world bs served ?

Let Austin have his swink to him reserved.

Therefore he was a prickasoure a right ;

Greihounds he hadde as swift as foul of flight :



COMBE ABBEY. 239

Of pricking, & of hunting for the hare,
Was all his lust; for no cost wolde he spare.

The abbot is now represented by a jovial
English baron h , not less a lover of the generous
exercise. He derives his right to the place from
his ancestor Sir William Craven, Knight, great
grandson of Henry Craven, elder brother to Sir
William, lord mayor of London in 16 10; one of
the richest men of his time. It was purchased
from that squanderer Lucy countess of Bedford,
who inherited it from her brother Lord Harring-
ton, who derived it from his mother Anne, daugh-
ter of Robert Kelway, who received it in lease
after the forfeiture of John Dudley Duke of North-
umberland, to whom it had been granted by Ed-
ward VI. It had been founded by Richard de Founder.
Camville, in 1150, and peopled with Cistercian
monks ; who were at the dissolution found to be
endowed with upwards of three hundred pounds a
year 1 . Robert Bates, alias Kymmer, was the last
abbot ; who, for his surrender, was rewarded with
a pension of eighty pounds a year k , and his thir-
teen or fourteen religious with small pittances, as
the merit of the deed rested in the former.

That accomplished nobleman Lord Harring-

k The Lord Craven here alluded to died in 1791. Ed.
1 Tanner. k Willis, ii. 241.



240 COMBE ABBEY:

ton was the refounder of this house ; which Cam-
den says arose from the ashes of the antient abbey.
His taste is evident, in his preservation of the ve-
nerable cloisters. It is indebted to the owners of
the present name for its instructive furniture of



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