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DIOCESAN HISTORIES.



WINCHESTER



BY

WILLIAM BENHAM, B.D. F.S.A.

RECTOR OF ST. EDMUND THE KING, LOMBARD STREET.

WITH MAP,



PUBLISHED UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE TRACT COMMITTBF..



LONDON :
SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE,

NORTHUMBERLAND AVENUE, CHARING CROSS, W.C. ;

43, QUEEN VICTORIA STREET, E.C.

26, ST. George's place, hyde park corner, s.w.

BRIGHTON: 135, north street.

New York : E. & J. B. YOUNG & CO.



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JA^•

20

1885



r



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CONTENTS.



CHAP. PAGE

I. — ^The Kingdom and Church of Wessex 3

2. — The Days of St. Swithun and King Alfred 21
3. — Growth of the Monarchy and of the Church 29

4. — ^The Days of the Danish Kings 37

5. — The Norman Conquest 42

6. — Bishops Walkelin and Gifford 53

7. —Bishop Henry DE Blois 67

8. — ^The Days of the Early Plantagenets 86

9. — William of Wykeham 124

10. — Cardinal Beaufort 142

II. — Bishop Waynflete 149

12. — ^The Beginning of the Tudor Times 155

13. — The Reformation Period 161

14.— The First Stuarts 185

15.— The Great Rebellion 200

16. — The Later Stuarts 211

17. — The Whig Bishops 219

i8. — The Days of Queen Victoria 237



Appendix 247



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WINCHESTER.

CHAPTER I.

THE KINGDOM AND CHURCH OF WESSEX.

The south coast of our native island was first peopled
from the opposite coast of Gaul. Settlers from
Armorica established themselves on the coast; thence
proceeding inland they found a well-watered valley
with extensive downs and shady forests round it,
suitable not only for their flocks but for the chase
and defence. Here they made their chief settlement,
and called it Caer Gwent. And from this city, in
course of time, proceeded otl^er colonies to the west
and north.

In the first century of Christianity this tribe, as
well as the other tribes on the coast of Britain, were
conquered by the Romans, and Roman Britain
without doubt became Christian. But as there are
no contemporary written records, we have only
traditions concerning the details of the conversion,
and one of these traditions finds its place in the pre-
sent history. Bede relates that during the reign of
M. Aurelius, a British king, named Lucius, sent
ambassadors to Rome begging for Christian teachers.



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4 WINCHESTER.

that they were sent, and that he was baptised^ But
this account, short as it is, can be shown to be
untrustworthy. He gives dates and names which
are certainly mistaken. Bede was a northern writer,
and his information, except such as came from
his own observation, was very confused. The Bishop
of Chester, Dean Milman, Drs. Burton and Green,
all regard the story as pure legend, though some
writers hold it possible that there is a slight founda-
tion for it 2 But if Lucius ever existed at all, he
probably lived at Llandaff. As for the mythical
additions that he ** founded churches in each of the
twenty-eight cities of Britain, settling upon them the
incomes of the Druidical priests"; that he made
London, York, and Caerleon metropolitical sees, and
"built the cathedral of Caer Gwent on a scale of
grandeur and magnificence which has never since
been equalled, annexing a monastery to it," * we may
dismiss all these statements at once.

Whether the English conquest of Britain in the
fifth and sixth centuries was a virtual extermination
of the conquered race, or whether a great amalga-
mation of Teutons and Celts followed is a question
which historiani may settle. But it is certain that the
south-east of England became altogether Teutonic,
and that British Christianity there disappeared before
the heathenism of the conquerors.

The conquest began with the landing of the Jutes

1 Bede, " Hist. Ecc.,'' i. 4.

• See the Church Quarterly Review^ for 1880.

• All this, and much more, in Milner's " History of Win-
chester."



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THE KINGDOM AND CHURCH OF WESSEX. $

in Kent in 449. Thirty years later the South Saxons
landed on the coast near Chichester, and by the
beginning of the sixth century Saxons had established
themselves in Essex, and Angles along the northern
coast But the foundations of a greater kingdom than
any of them was being laid on the shores of South-
ampton Water. The great forest known as the
Andredsweald, which stretched along the south coast
from Beachy Head, had been an almost impregnable
safeguard for the heart of the country against invaders
from the south. But the Southampton estuary, along
with the streams which flowed into it, made an opening
through this forest, of which the West Saxons had
to make more than one attempt to avail themselves
before they were successful. For twenty years the
native people bravely held this estuary against the
invaders, but at length, about A.p. 519, the kingdom
of Wessex was established by Cerdic, "and from that
time his royal oflfspring reigned," says the Anglo-
Saxon Chronicle. Besides the West Saxons came
a tribe of Jutes, who made their way up the Meon
river, a small tributary of the Southampton estuary,
and settled themselves along the little stream, and
were known as the Meonwaras (i.e,, **men of Meon ").
We chronicle the fact because an interesting chapter
of Church history subsequently arises out of it.
Another party of the same Jutes, assisted by the
West Saxons, conquered the Isle of Wight

Having once settled themselves, the West Saxons
rested awhile. After some years of inaction they
gradually extended their conquest westwards until
the dense forests of the Frome valley enabled the



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6 WINCHESTER.

Britons to keep them at bay. They went northward,
too, as far as the Thames Valley, and before the end
of the sixth century their dominion comprised the
districts known to us as Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire,
and Bucks.^ By a victory at Wimbledon, over the
King of Kent, Surrey was added to the West Saxon
dominion. But the career of conquest was checked
by a calamity which more than once proved a curse
to the West Saxon kingdom — namely, family quarrels.
One branch of the Cerdic line was set up against
another. Thus it came to pass that, in 593, King
Ceawlin was slain at Wodnesburh (Wanborough in
Wilts), and the supremacy passed for the time into
the hands of Ethelbert, King of Kent, who was con-
verted to Christianity three years afterwards by
St. Augustine, but who did not use his supre-
macy for their conversion to the faith, as Pope
Gregory urged him to do. He was more
desirous of subduing to his own authority the
Christianity which he found existing among the
Welsh, than of breaking the new ground of heathen-
dom, and the king apparently would not run the risk
of strife with his neighbours. Slowly, indeed, Chris^
tianity extended to London, but Wessex was still in
heathendom when Ethelbert died. Ceolwulf was
King of Wessex at that time, and added Sussex to
his dominions, taking it from Kent.

In 611, Kynegils, nephew of Ceolwulf, and great-

' It would seem probable that in the great belt of forest
which occupied the northern part of Hants the Celts held their
own for a long time. Witness the number of French saints to
whom churches in this district are dedicated.



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THE KINGDOM AND CHURCH OF WESSEX. 7

great-grandson of Cerdic, became king of the West
Saxons, and reigned thirty-one years. The first record
of his reign in the Chronicle is significant of the state
of the land. He had to fight the Welsh in the very
heart of his kingdom, and at Beandune (Barapton,
Oxon) "he slew 2,065." A few years later Edwin
became King of Northumbria, and was acknow-
ledged as supreme over the other kings of England.
His baptism by Paulinus in 627 was the cause of
a fierce rising against him, headed by Penda,
King of Mercia; and six years later Edwin was
slain in battle, and was succeeded by his cousin
Oswald. His death did not check the progtess of
the Gospel, for here comes in the beautiful chapter
of missionary enterprise which is recorded at length
in the "History of the Diocese of Durham"
(pp. 7-31). What the Roman missionaries had failed
to do was accomplished by Aidan and his companion
missionaries from lona.

But the southern English still remained heathen.
In the year 633, Birinus, a friar in the monastery
of St Gregory at Rome, offered himself to Pope
Honorius to penetrate into the innermost parts of
Pagan Britain, " to sow the seeds of the holy faith." ^
It looks like a tacit rebuke to the supineness of the
first missionaries that the pope requested Asterius,
Bishop of Genoa, and not the Archbishop of Canter-
bury, to consecrate him bishop.^ Landing on the
West Saxon coast, and finding himself surrounded on

^ Bede, iii. 7.

* The Franks, being Teutons, like the English, spoke a
somewhat similar tongue. And Genoa was a great resort of



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8 WINCHESTER.

all sides by paganism, he took up his abode there
and preached diligently before King Kynegils and
his people. His efforts were aided by King Oswald,
who had opportunely come to ask for the hand of
the daughter of K3niegils, and the latter was baptised
in 635, his son-in-law Oswald being his godfather.
The place of the baptism is not stated, but we may
assume it to have been Winchester. The ancient
city of Caer Gwent had been laid in ruins by Cerdic,
but had risen from its ruins, and had now become
the chief residence of the court, its name passing into
the later form of Went-Ceaster. On the occasion of
his baptism, Kynegils is said to have given land to
the clergy for seven miles round Winchester.

Yet Winchester was not made the first seat of the
Bishop of the West Saxons. That honour was con-
ferred on Dorchester, now a pretty village six miles
below Abingdon, near the junction of the Thames
and the Isis, then a fortified town, the residence of
the king's brother Cuichelm. The reason for this
choice was that Birinus was eager to carry the gospel

Frankish traders. Birinus may have gone thither, therefore,
to learn the English tongue. How like it was to our own may
be seen from an extract of Otfrid's metrical translation of the
Gospel into French, A.D. 850.

Nu wil Jh scriben unser heill

Now will I write our health

Evangelions deil

Of the Gospel the deal (part).

.Si; is nu hiar begunnen

So is now here begun

In Frankisga tungun.

In Frankish tongue.



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THE KINGDOM AND CHURCH OF WESSEX. 9

into the inland parts, and Dorchester was close to
the borders of heathen Mercia. Here, next year,
Cuichelm, finding himself sick unto death, was bap-
tised by the bishop. According to Milner his burial-
place, on the downs near Wanating (Wantage), retains
the name of Cuckamsley HilL

With a view to make Winchester the seat of the
bishopric, as of the Court, Kynegils, who from this
time reigned in peace, began to build a grand cathe-
dral there, and had gathered great material as well as
laid the foundations ; but, finding himself seized with
mortal sickness, he solemnly charged his son Kenwalk^
in the presence of Birinus, to carry out his design, and
so died in 643.

Kenwalk, however, showed scant desire to fulfil
his father's behest After a little hesitation he relapsed
into paganism, and, carried away by headstrong pas-
sion, repudiated his wife Sexburh, Penda's daughter.
The aged heathen king went against him in
anger, and drove him from his throne. He fled to
the Court of Anna, king of the East Angles, and
there, influenced by the high character of his pro-
tector, and reflecting on his own wilfulness, he re-
turned to a better mind. At the end of three years,
through the help of his cousin Cuthred,^ he was
restored to his kingdom, took back his faithful wife,
and ruled well. He now proceeded to carry out his
father's will with regard to the church. " And where-
as," says Milner, "the churches that were raised upon
the conversion of our ancestors were, in general, of

* He was the son of Cuichelm. In gratitude Kenwalk
bestowed Berkshire upon him.



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lO WINCHESTER.

very rude workmanship, being nothing else, for the
most part, than trunks of trees placed close to each
other and covered with reeds, and also built upon a
very contracted scale, our cathedral was celebrated
for the beauty of its first architecture, and its dimen-
sions were the same which it afterwards possessed,
when no expense was spared to make it as magnificent
as possible." 1 It was completed and hallowed on
Christmas Day, 648, being dedicated to the Holy
Trinity. Kenwalk endowed it with the manors of
Worthy, Alresford, and Downton.

Two years afterwards Bishop Birinus died and was
buried at Dorchester (December 3, 650). His remains
were translated to Winchester by Bishop Hedda in
686.3

He was succeeded by Agilbert, a Frenchman, pro-
bably a native of Paris, and since Bede introduces
him simply as a " certain bishop, a Gaul by nation,"
it would seem that he had already been consecrated
by French bishops, and without any see. He had
studied in Ireland before Kenwalk appointed him to
succeed Birinus. But his foreign pronunciation gave
offence to the capricious king, who, in consequence,
determined to have a more polished preacher at his
court, and selecting a monk of his new church at

^ The author adds that Kenwalk was much assisted by the
famous St. Benedict Biscop, Abbot of Wearmouth (see " Dio-
cese of Durham," 65-72, 89), who was most skilful in archi-
tecture, and who took immense pains to search out the best
continental artists to build churches in Britain.

• He was canonized ; and two or three churches in Scotland
are dedicated to him.



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THE KINGDOM AND CHURCH OF WESSEX. It

Winchester, named Wina, he sent him to France to
be consecrated as bishop, and then placed him in
Winchester, assigning the south part of the kingdom
for his diocese, and the north for that of Agilbert.

This irregular and high-handed proceeding gave
such offence to Agilbert that he resigned his see and
went into Northumbria, where he took the side of
Wilfred at the Council of Whitby in 664 (see
" Diocese of Durham," p. 28). He then retired to
his native France, consecrated Wilfred, whom he had
already ordained priest at Compi^gne, and was made
Bishop of Paris. Before three years had passed,
Kenwalk had become dissatisfied with Wina, and
expelled him from his diocese. Thus, from having
two bishops together, Wessex had now none. It
remained deserted for four years, when Kenwalk,
whose conscience had again been awakened by
trouble — for the Mercian king had defeated him in
several fights — besought Agilbert to return. He
excused himself on the ground of infirmity,^ but re-
commended his nephew, Eleutherius, who came,
was received with open arms by priests and people,
and consecrated by Theodore, Archbishop of Canter-
bury, in 670. Wina, on his expulsion, betook himself
to Wulphere, king of the Mercians, who, having
received from him a large sum of money as a bribe,
recommended (equivalent to commanded) Sebba, the
king of the East Saxons, to make him Bishop of
London. Bede says that he died in possession of



* He died next year. In the "Archives Nationales," at
Paris, his name appears attached to a charter*



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12 WINCHESTER.

that see, but Kudbome^ declares that he was so
struck with remorse that he retired to his monastery
of Winchester and spent the last days of his life
in penitence, and that he had continually upon
his lips, " If we have erred in youth let us repent
in age. ''2

During the episcopate of Eleutherius, who justified
Agilbert's recommendation by his piety and wisdom,
King Kenwalk died (672), whereupon, says Bede, ''his
under-rulers took upon themselves the kingdom of
the people, and, dividing it among themselves, held it
ten years.'' During this state of things Eleutherius
also died, and Hedda, Abbot of Strenshall (Whitby)
was consecrated his successor in London by Arch-
bishop Theodore. Hedda is described by Bede as a
good and just man, who in his works showed more
virtue than learning. William of Malmesbury, how-
ever, who had seen his letters to Aldhelm, says that he
was no mean scholar either. He assisted King Ina
in drawing up his celebrated code of laws. Hedda
is one of the Bishops of Winchester who received
the honour of canonisation. He is chiefly noticeable
to us as having removed the " bishop's stool " from
Dorchester to Winchester. The need of having
a see near the Mercian border existed no longer,
for there were now four bishops in that kingdom.
On his death, in 705, the diocese was divided, on
the resolve of an episcopal synod. Hampshire,

» "Ang. Sacra," L, 190.

' Rudbome being connected with Winchester is more likely
to be correct than Bede, who lived in the north. And Wina
was certainly buried at Winchester.



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THE KINGDOM AND CHURCH OF WESSEX. 1 3

Surrey, Sussex, and the Isle of Wight were kept to
Winchester ; the western parts were committed to a
see which was established at Sherborne; the first
bishop of the newly-made see being the monk-poet,
Aldhelm. But in 711 Sussex was separated from
the diocese of Winchester, and placed under the
newly-created see of Selsey. Surrey, also, was placed
under the same see, but before long reverted to
Winchester.

The dioceses, as arranged by Archbishop Theo-
dore, at the Council of Hertford, had this note-
worthy difference from those of the rest of Christen-
dom. On the Continent the tribes who overthrew
the Roman Empire and established their own govern-
ments in its place, thereby laying the foundations of
modem Europe, found the Church already existing,
and respected it The dioceses, therefore, antedated
the kingdoms; but in our own country the king-
doms were founded before the Christian missionaries
came, and thus the dioceses were originally conter-
minous with the kingdoms. The Archbishop of
Canterbury was the ecclesiastical ruler, and the
royal chaplain of the kingdom of Kent, as the
Bishop of Dorchester was of Wessex. As Chris-
tianity spread, it became necessary to increase the
episcopate, and it was in his endeavour to do this
that Theodore encountered a most strenuous opposi-
tion from the bishops. When he succeeded he was
careful to work on the old lines by fixing his new
bishoprics within the boundaries of the existing king-
doms ; thus the East Angles being divided into two
tribes, the Northfolk and the Southfolk, he made two



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14 WINCHESTER,

sees for them, Dunwich and Elraham. But, moreover,
it would seem that as Wessex was the first of the
kingdoms to be broken up into shires, a bishop was
appointed to each, though the evidence is not clear,
owing to the want of written history of the southern
parts. But incidentally, as we shall presently see,
there is mention of two contemporary bishops of
Wessex.

There were now in England three chief states.
Northumbria was the northern kingdom ; it contained
only the land of the Lindiswaras (Lincolnshire) south
of the Humber. Mercia^ ruled by King Wulphere,
was supreme over not only middle England, but over
the East and South Saxons and Kent. The South
Saxon King, Edelwalch, appears to have invited him
to become his overlord, in order to be protected
against Wessex, Hitherto the South Saxons, shut
out from all the rest of the island by the Andredes-
weald had remained heathen. But now Edelwalch
was baptised in presence of Wulphere, who in reward
of his confidence gave him the Jutish settlement of
Wight and the Meonwaras, which he had wrested, with
their will or against it, from Wessex. They had
always kept themselves distinct from their neighbours,^
but now they shared the efforts which were to be
made for the evangelisation of their new masters.
How St. Wilfred laboured in the north may be read

* On the west of the Meon river, on the edge of the downs
which extend in unbroken line from Winchester, is the village
of Exton. The name at first sight might appear to mean
"water-town," but in its old form it is always Est'Saxon-tun€,
which looks as if it were the eastern frontier of the West Saxons,
overlooking the Meonwaras.



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THE KINGDOM AND CHURCH OF WESSEX. 1 5

in the histories of Durham and York, and how hei
came to remove into the land of the South Saxons is
told in that of Chichester. But he finds his place
in our volume also, for memorials of his labours
among the Meonwaras remain to this day. As we
pass up the Meon river we come first to Meon-
stoke, with an old church partly Norman, but nearly
rebuilt by William of Wykeham. And close to it, on
the very bank of the river, is another ancient church,
Corhampton. It is small, and to a careless observer
has little of interest ; but it is the oldest church in
the county, unquestionably Saxon. ^ The details are
full of interest to the student of architecture, but yet
more interesting to the lover of Church history will
be this memorial of the untiring zeal of St. Wilfred of
York.^ In the next village on the Meon, Warnford,
we come on another relic. Here is a heavy Norman
church, much out of repair, on which are two ancient
inscriptions, setting forth that the church was founded
by St Wilfred, and restored by Adam de Port
The latter was a great landholder in Hampshire,
who lived in the days of Henry II.


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