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there was a vacancy. Ed.

h Willis, i. 27. Stevens, i. 265. k Willis, i. 27.


The revenues at the dissolution were, valued by Revenues.
Dugdale at . % 102. 7s. \d. per annum; by Speed
at .%5 1 0. 6s. Id. ' Notwithstanding the purchase
made by Boreman, Edward VI. granted the mo- Granted to

i . iJf , i i i THE TOWN.

nastery to the corporation of bt. Albans, which he
had lately instituted, and ordered that the church
should be reputed the parish church of the place,
and be served by a rector, to be nominated by the
mayor and burgesses of the town.

The abbots lived in splendor, suitable to their
rank and revenues. They dined in the great hall,
at a table to which there was a flight of fifteen
steps. The monks served up the dinner on plate,
and in their way made a halt at every fifth step,
where there was a landing, and sung on each a short
hymn. The abbot usually sat alone in the middle
of the table ; and when any persons of rank came,
he sat towards the end of the table. After the
monks had waited some time on the abbot, they
sat down at two other tables, placed on the sides
of the hall, and had their services brought in by
the novices; who, when the monks had dined,
sat down to their own dinners m .

The church, in its present state, is a most Church.
venerable and great pile : its form that of a cross,
with a tower. At the intersection the length is

1 Tanner, 180. * Antiquarian Repertory, Hi. 60.

2 A


six hundred feet; that of the transepts one hun-
dred and eighty. The height of the tower one
hundred and forty-four feet; that of the body
sixty-five; of the aiies thirty; the breadth of the
body two hundred and seventeen.
Ruined j By neglect, or by the ravages of war, the ori-
ginal church fell to decay. Abbot Ealdred, who
lived in 969, designed to pull down and rebuild it;
and for that purpose collected, from the ruins of
Verulamium, all the stone, tiles, and timber,
he could find. Death put a stop to his intention.
His successor, Eadmer, resumed the task of get-
ting together the materials ; and in his search,
found great quantities of curious antiquities ; such
as altars, urns, fyc. which the pious man broke to
pieces, as heathen abominations. He also, as is
said, discovered several books, some in British,
others in Latin ; and a great one in a language
and character unknown to any but an old priest.
This was found to be the authentic life of St. Al-
lan ; which was carefully treasured up, being a
confirmation of what Btde had written on the
same subject. The other books, being only ac-
counts of heathen mythology, inventions of the de-
vil, were instantly condemned to the flames n .
A famine stopped the design of the new

n Stevens, i. 237.


church, under the abbot Leofric. The troubles
that ensued, under the remaining Sa.von monarchs,
and the unsettled state of the kingdom at the Con-
quest, occasioned the plan to lie dormant till the
year 1077? when it was executed by abbot Paul, and rebuilt.
a Norman monk. He applied to that purpose
the timber, the stones, and tiles, collected by his
predecessors : accordingly we see the far greater
and more antient part of the walls a motley com-
position of stones and Roman tiles.

Many other parts afterwards were pulled down, Altera.

r r ' TIONS.

and rebuilt in the stile of the times ; and I suspect
that, in general, the present windows are long pos-
terior to those coeval with the walls ; being point-
ed, and in the taste of another age. The windows
in the great tower, and perhaps the range along
the nave, are of an intervening period ; for they
differ from the mode of each of the others. I find
this confirmed in the lives of the abbots. John
(first of the name) who died in 1214, pulled down
the front- wall, which was built of old tiles, so
strongly cemented with mortar, that it proved a
work of great labor. Master Hugh Goldcliff] a

Ex lapidibus et tegulis veteris civitatis Verolamii et mate-
rie lignea quam invenit a praedecessoribus suis collectam et
reservatam. Mat. Paris. 1001.

2 A 2


most excellent workman, was employed ; who,
consulting more the ornaments of sculpture, of
images and flowers, neglected the security of his
building ; so that it fell down, and was left unfi-
nished during the life of this good abbot p . His
successor, William of Trompington, had the honor
of completing his design. He not only rebuilt
that front, but made new windows, and put glass
into them, so as to give more light to the church.
He also raised the steeple much higher, covered it
with lead, and died full of good works, in 1235 q .
In the abbacy of John of JVhethamstead, this
church received the most considerable alterations.
To avoid prolixity, I omit the numerous works of
that most munificent abbot: I shall only note the
change he made in the exterior part, by enlarging
and glazing the windows on the north side of the
church, which was before dark, and by causing a
large window to be made at the west end of the
north aile, which was as destitute of light as the other
part r . John died in 1464; before which time the
narrow windows had been changed for those more
expanded, lightsome, and less pointed.

Part qtit t *

Saxon. ^ t i s m tne inside only that any part of the original

p Mat. Paris, 1047. The same, 1054, 1063.

r Stevens, i. 262.


building, or the genuine Saxon architecture, is pre-
served ; which is to be seen in the round arches which
support the tower, and some of the enormous pillars
with round arches in the body of the church, and in
the stile of each transept. After the Conquest the
round arch was continued, but the pillars were also
round and massy : these are square, and not less
than twenty-nine feet thick, with capitals totally
unadorned. Their composition, as well as that of
the stair-cases, is of brick : the other pillars are
light, and the arches pointed ; evidently of a far
later date than the others. Above, are two gal-
leries; the lowest is very elegant, divided with
light slender pillars, much enriched ; but I find no
authority to ascertain the time.

Above the antient arches are galleries, with
openings round ; of a stile probably coeval with the

The upper part of the choir is entirely of go- Choir.
thic architecture, and is divided from the body by
a stone skreen, ornamented with gothic tabernacle
work. Before this stood the chapel of Saint Cuth-
bert : a work owing to the piety of abbot Richard,
who happening to be present at the translation of
the incorruptible body of that Saint to the church
of Durham, apprehending, from its pliantness then,
jt was going to fall to pieces, caught it in his arms


and in reward, one of them, which was withered,
was instantly restored \
High Altar. The high altar fills the end of the choir: a
most rich and elegant piece of got hie sculpture,
once adorned with images of gold and silver, placed
in beautiful niches : the middle part is not of a
piece with the rest, being modern and clumsy.
This altar was made by abbot IVallingford, either
in the reign of Edward TV. or Richard III. at the
expence of eleven hundred marks.
Chapel of The hind part of it, which stands in the chapel

t. Alban. q g t Alban, is of got hie work; inferior indeed to
the other side, but still of much elegance. The
tops of both are nearly similar ; consisting of a
light open-work battlement: at the bottom is a
large arched recess, in which stood the superb

Shrine, shrine which contained the reliques of St. Albany
made of beaten gold and silver, and enriched with
gems and sculpture. The gems were taken from
the treasury, one excepted, which, being of singu-
lar use to parturient women, was left out. This
was no other than the famous JEtites, or Eagle-
stone, in most superstitious repute from the days of
Pliny' to that of abbot Geffry, re-founder of the
shrine ; which had been taken down and concealed,
during the reign of Edward the Confessor, to pre

s M. Paris, 1006. * Lib. xxxvi. c. 21.


serve it from the ravages of the Danes*. To
guard the invaluable treasures, a careful and trusty
monk was appointed, who was called Gustos Fere-
tri, and who kept watch and ward in a small
wooden gallery, still standing, near the site of
the martyr's shrine*.

On the north side of the high altar stands the Ramridge
magnificent chapel of abbot Ramridge, who was
elected in the year 1496. The fronts are of most
elegant gothic open-work ; the upper part supplied
with niches for statues : in many parts are carved,
allusive to the abbot's name, two rams, with the
word Ridge inscribed on their collars, supporting
a coronet over the arms of the abbey. At the
foot of this beautiful structure is a large flag, with
the figure of an abbot, with figures of rams : pro-
bably the spot of the good man's interment.

On the south side of the chapel of St. Alban is
the magnificent tomb y of Humphry Duke of Glo- Tomb of

o r j Humphry

cester, distinguished by the name of The Good. Duke op

. Glocester.
He was uncle to Henry VI. and regent of the king-
dom, under his weak nephew, during twenty-five
years. His many eminent qualities gained him the

u Mat. Paris, 996.

x Such a guardian was appointed to the shrine of St. Am-
phibalus, at Redbourn. M. Paris, 1054.
y Finely engraven in Sandford's Genealogical History, p. 318.


love of the people ; his popularity, the hatred of
the queen and her favorites. His life was found
to be incompatible with their views. They first ef-
fected the ruin of his dutchess by a ridiculous
charge of witchcraft, and after that, brought as
groundless a charge of treason against the duke.
He was conveyed to St. Edmonds Bury, where a
parlement was convened in 1446, before which the
accusation was to be made. His enemies, fearing
the public execution of so great and so beloved a
character, caused him to be stifled in his bed, and
then pretended that he died of vexation at his sud-
den fall. His body was interred in this church,
the scene of his detection of the pretended mira-
cle of the blind restored to sight at the virtuous
shrine of St. Alban. Shakespeare gives us the re-
lation admirably z . Glocesler had a predilection
for this place: he had bestowed on ;it rich vest-
ments, to the value of three thousand marks, and
the manor of Pembroke, that the monks should
pray for his soul : and he also directed that his
body should be deposited within these holy walls.
The fees attendant on his funeral, were not of the
most moderate kind ; unless we may suppose, as
probably was the case, that the house was at the
charge of erecting the monument to so great a be-

* Henry VI. part ii. sc. 2. taken from Grafton p. 597, 598.


nefactor. Sir Henry Chauncy expressly says,
that abbot IVhethamsted adorned Duke Hum-
phry's tomb; which shews, that part at lest of
the expences were borne by the convent. The ac-
count is curious.

" CHARGES of the burial of Humphry Duke Funeral
11 of Gloucester, and observances appointed by
" him, to be perpetually born by the convent of
" the monasterie of St. Alban b .

" First, The abbat and
" convent of the said mo-
" nastarie have payd for
" markynge the tumbe &
" place of sepulture of the
" said duke, within the seid
" monasterie, above the . s. d.

" sume of ccccxxxiii. 2. viii.

" Item. To two monks
" prests,daylyseiyingmesse
" at the auter of sepulture
" of the seid prince, everich
" takyng by 1 day vi d sma.
" thereofF, by 1 hole yere xviii. v*.

a 448.

b Cotton Library Claudii, A. 8. fol. 195. A copy of this
is hung up in the church.


" Item. To the abbat . s. d,

"ther yerely, the day of
"the anniversary of the
" seid prince, attending his
" exquys ther - xls.

" Item. To the priour
" yerly ther, the same day,
" in likwyse atteinding xxj.

" Item. To xl monks
" prests, yerly, to everich
" of them, in the same day,
" vw. wild. sm. therofF xir. vi. viii.

" Item. To viii monks
" not prests, yerly, in the
" seid day, to everich of
" them 3*. Aid. sm. thereof? xxvls. vind

" Item. To ii ankeresses,
" i at St. Peter church,ano-
" ther at St. Mich, the seid
" day, yerly, to everich sm. nw. 4rf.

" Item. In money, to be
" distribut to pore peple
" ther, the seid day, yerly xls.

11 Item. To xiii pore
" men beryng torches, the
"seid day, about the seid
" sepulture m. nrf.

" Item. For wex bren-


" nyng dayly at the messes, . s. d.

" and his anniversary of

* torch, yerly - - vi. xn. in.

" Item. The kechin of
" the convent ther yerly, in
" relief of the great decay of
" the hustode of the seid
" monasteri in the marches
" of Scotland, which before
" tyme shall be appointed
" to the kichyn - x.

This beautiful tomb was once insulated, as ap-
pears by one of these items. In the middle is a
pervious arch, adorned above with the coat of arms
of the deceased ; and others again along a freeze ;
with his supporters, two antelopes with collars.
From the freeze arises a light elegant tabernacle-
work, with niches ; containing on one side the ef-
figies of our princes ; the other side is despoiled
of the figures.

In 1703, the vault in which reposed the re-
mains of this illustrious personage was discovered.
The body was preserved in a leaden coffin, in a
strong pickle : and over that was another case of
wood, now perished. Against the wall is painted
a Crucifixion, with four chalices receiving the


blood ; a hand pointing towards it, with a label,
inscribed Lord have mercy upon me.

The epitaph has long since been defaced ; but
was as follows :

Hie jacet Umphredus dux ille Glocestrius, olim
Henrici regis protector, fraudis ineptae
Detector ; dum ficta notat miracula caeci c
Lumen erat patriae, columen venerabile regni :
Pacis amans musisque favens melioribus ; unde
Gratum opus Oxonio A quae nunc scola sacra refulget.
Invida sed mulier regno, regi, sibi, nequara
Abstulit hunc, humili vix hoc dignata sepulchre.
Invidia rumpente tamen post funera vivit.

Abbot IVhethamsted's tomb (or Johannes de
Whetham- loco Jrumentario, as he stiled himself) is covered
Chapel ty a sma ^ chapel, erected by himself. It is a
plain building, on the south side of the choir.
His arms, allusive to his name, are three ears of
wheat ; and the motto, allusive to the nourishing
state of the monastery under his government, is
Valles abundabunt, twice repeated. Weever, from
p. 562 to 5Q7, enumerates all his munificent
works. He had a great turn towards ornamental
generosity ; and caused this church, the Lady's

Alluding to the detection of the impostor.

' He founded the beautiful divinity-school at Oxford,


chapel, and several parts of the house, to be
adorned with historical paintings, and inscriptions
of his own composition to be placed under them.
He also was a great composer of epitaphs. The
reader will accept, as a specimen of the first, a
distich placed in our Lady's chapel :

Dulce pluit manna, partum dum protulit Anna,
Dulcius ancilla dum Christus crevit in ilia e .

Of the other, a curious one upon one Peter, wh
was interred in the lower choir:

Petrum petra tegit ; qui post obituna sibi legit
Hie in fine chori, se sub tellure reponi.
Petra fuit Petrus, petrae quia condicionis
Substans et solidus, quasi postis religionis
Hie sibi sub petra, sit pax et pausa quieta f .

His artist was Alan Strayler. painter, who is Strayler,

, , thePainter.

said to have been so well paid for his work, that

he forgave the convents three shillings and four
pence of an old debt, for colors ; and on that ac-
count was probably complimented with the follow-
ing epitaph :

Nomen pictoris Alanus Strayler habetur
Qui sine fine choris eelestibus associetur ?.

Werner, 562. f Idem, 577. e Idem, 578.


I believe, some of his labors are yet extant
in the roof of the choir ; on which is painted, in
compartments, an Eagle and a Lamb. Under
others, in our Lady's chapel, was this line :

Inter oves Aries, ut sine cornubus Agnus.

Under the other,

Inter aves aquila veluti sine felle columba.

In the middle of the cieling of the north aile, is
a painting of the martyrdom of St. Alban, (as is
said) over the very spot on which he suffered.
There is, besides, a rude sculpture of his death in
a small aile on the back of his chapel, expressing
the manner how the executioner lost his eyes for
his impiety.

In the centre of another cieling, is a rude paint-
ing of king Offa ; and this inscription beneath :

Fundator ecclesiae circa annum 793.

Quem mal depictum, et residentem cernitis alt&

Sublimem solio Mercius Offa fuit.

Mondments ^ N tne cn i r are some fine brasses of mitred ab-
Abbot bots. That of Thomas de la More, a most muni-
ficent and pious man, who died in 1 396, is very
richly engraved. His figure lies in the center, sur-


rounded by the twelve Apostles in miniature : a
proof that this art was arrived at great perfection
at so early a period.

I must not omit the modest epitaph of an an-
tient abbot.

Hie quidem terra tegitur,
Peccato solvens debitum:
Cujus nomen non impositum,
In libro vitse sit inscriptum.

On a large brass plate is engraven the figure of Heir of Ed-

t-, r . mundEarl

a warrior, fragments ot the inscription are of Kent.
given by Mr. Salmon; which inform us, that it
was in memory of the son and heir to Edmonde
erle of Kent. The date 1480. The historian
says, that he was killed in the second battle of St.
Albaris. This must be a mistake ; for none of the
name of that family fell on that day, except Sir
John Grey of Groby. This must therefore have
been a cenotaph in honor of Anthony Grey, eldest
son of Edmund Earl of Kent, buried at Luton,
who died before his father h : the earl dying in
1489 : which might bring the son's death to the
date on the brass.

Against a wall, near JVhethamsted's chapel,

h Vincent's Discoverie, &c. 287.


is painted, kneeling, in a cloak, Ralph Maynard,
of this town, of the family of the ancestor of Lord

A long inscription 1 against a column, on the
north side of the body of the church, clames the
Sir John honor of having the body of the celebrated Sir
ville. John Mandeville interred beneath. We admit
that this place gave him birth ; but he found a
grave at Liege, in the convent of the Gulielmites,
in 1371. He was the greatest traveller of his own
or any other age ; having been out thirty-four
years; and in the character of pilgrim, knight-
errant, and man of observation, visited the great-
est parts of Africa and Asia then known. It is
probable that he penetrated as far as China. He
left an account of his travels, which was shame-
fully falsified by the monks ; who destroyed much
of its credit, by mingling with it legendary tales,
and stories out of Pliny : but still truth appears
so frequently, that the authenticity of the ground-
work is by no means impaired. He was called
Johannes de Mandevile, aliter dictus ad Barbara,
from his forked beard. He is engraven on his
tomb with that addition, armed, and treading on
a lion. At his head, the hand of one blessing

1 This, and many others, are nearly defaced with white ;
but may be seen in Werner, 567.


him ; and these words in the French of the time,
Vos ki paseis sor mi pour V amour Deix proies por
mi. His knives, horse-furniture, and spurs, were,
in the time of Ortelius k , preserved at Liege by
the monks, and shewn to strangers.

An inscription under the great west window de-
notes, that the courts of justice were adjourned
from London to this town : once, in the reign of
Henry VIII, and again in that of his daughter
Elizabeth, on account of the pestilence which at
those times raged in the capital.

The magnificent brazen font, brought from the Font.
plunder of Leith by Sir Richard Lee, in the reign
of Henry VIII. was again stolen in the civil wars.
The knight commemorates his benefaction in these
bombastic terms : " Cum Lcethia oppidum apud
" Scot os non incelebre et Edinburgus primoria
" apud eos ci vitas incendio conflagrarent, Ri-
fl cardus Leius eques auratus me flammis ereptum
<c ad Anglos perduxit. Hujus ego tanti beneficii
" memor non nisi regum liberos lavare solitus,
" nunc meam operam etiam infimis Anglorum li-
" benter condixi. Leius victor sic voluit.
" Vale. A. D. 1543."

k Life of Sir J. M. prefixed to his Travels. The tomb was
in being in the time of Weever, who, saw both that and the in-

2 B


The last inscription I shall mention, is that in
memory of two hermits, now almost defaced, in-
scribed near a benetoire, by the door in the south
aile leading into the cloisters.

Vir domini verus jacet hie hermita Rogems
Et sub eo clarus meritis hermita Sigarus.

The door adjacent is extremely beautiful, and
rich in sculpture. The cloisters lay on the other
side. Nothing but the marks of their junction
with the outside of the church now remains ; a se-
ries of tripartite arches : nor is there the lest re-
lique of the vast and magnificent buildings, which
once covered a large space on this side.
Chapel of Adjoining to the east end of the church is the
chapel of St. Mary, supported by light and ele-
gant pillars. The roof is of stone, the sides of
the windows ornamented with a fine running; foli-
age, and little images adorn the pillars of each
window. The stair-case from hence to the leads
has a beautiful imitation of cordage cut in stone,
following the spiral windings. All the arches are
of the sharp-pointed gothic.

I cannot trace the founder of this elegant
building. It was prior to the days of John of



JVhethamsted ; for he caused 1 " our Lady's chapel
" to be new trimmed, and curiously depicted with
" stories out of the Sacred Word ; and caused
" some verses (before quoted by me) to be curi-
" ously depensed in gold."

Edmund Beaufort Duke of Somerset, Henry
Percy Earl oiNorthumberland, John Lord Clifford,
and others of the nobility and gentry, to the
amount of forty-seven, slain in the first battle of
St. Alban's, were interred in this chapel.

Saint Peter's, the third church in St. Alban's, St. Peter's.
lies at the upper end of the town : it was founded
by abbot Uljm, and was an impropriation of the ab-
bey, now a vicarage in the patronage of the bishop
of Ely. This church received the overflowings of
the bodies of the men of rank slain in the same
battle. There is still a perfect brass of Sir Bertin
Entxvysle, in complete armor. He was born in
Lancashire, and was viscount and baron of Brik-
beke'm Normandy. He died on May 28th, 1455,
of the wounds he received while fighting in the
cause of Henry.

The two Ralph Babthorps of Yorkshire, father
and son (the one sewer, the other 'squire to that
unfortunate prince) found then graves here ; slain
in the same cause.

1 We&ver, 562.
2 U 2


On a stone is this inscription : Edit he le Vi-
neter gist : ici: Dieu: de: sa: alme: eie: merci.

A large marble monument, with a bust, com-
memorates the reward of ingenuity and honest
industry. " Beneath, lie the remains of Edward
" Strong, a shepherd's boy near this town, who
" took to masonry, worked at St. Paul's cathe-
" dral, and laid the last stone. He acquired a
" good fortune, with a fair character, and died
" aged 72, in 1723."

At the bottom of the town is a small brick

Holywell house, called Holywell ; once the residence of

Sarah Dutchess of Marlborough. Her portrait,

in white, exquisitely handsome, is preserved here ;

as is that of her aged mother, Mrs. Jennings. In

the first, are not the lest vestiges of her diabolical

passions, the torments of her queen, her husband,

and herself.

Two little pictures in this house are so charm-
ingly finished, as to merit a visit. One is of a
beautiful woman, with red hair parted in the mid-
dle ; a close cap, placed far behind ; with a long
black coif, edged with pearl.

She is dressed in a scarlet gown, Avith sleeves
and mantle of purple : breasts and shoulders naked.
She appears a deep devotee, reading a rich illumi-
nated missal, seated in a chair. Her middle is

m Lord Treasurer Godolphin died in that house.


surrounded with a chain, a rosary of gold and

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