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and internally, by the innovators-all are truly sickening. Still, though changed to accommodate a service for which none of them, save East Witton, were intended, they contain indelible accessories of Catholic rites. The sedilia, the piscina, and the lychnoscope, remain in most; and nearly all contain traces both of the roodlofts and the chantry parcloses. Were it not for the pews, they would hold congregations at least one-third larger than now suffice to fill them.
Dr. Whitaker observes, "ancient piety was anxious to go beyond strict necessity, in the construction of churches. Their builders did not sit down, as we do, to compute the precise number of square feet which a given number of hearers will occupy, and to abolish form, proportion, and grace, if these requirements should either take up room, or cause expense." (1)
After saying: "from the expenses of building the choir, parishes were wholly exonerated; yet, in Richmondshire, this part of the fabric, if of a different period, and in a different style from the nave, varies principally in being more magnificent;" he thus proceeds: "To account for this, we are compelled to acknowledge the prodigious advantage arising from the celibacy of the Catholic clergy. Many of the benefices, in this district, still continue to be opulent rectories; of the rest, not many had undergone the unhappy process of an appropriation, before the present chancels were built;" but, after lauding the old Catholic rectors for, as he says, applying the "superfluity" of "their glebe and tithes" "on that portion of the church which was properly their own," the Dr. "a Protestant, and a married clergyman," naively "protests" against
(1) Whittaker's Richmondshire, vol. 1. p. 6.
celibacy, and cautions married rectors, with families, not to expend more than is necessary for repairs, but to take care of their children! A curious and unconscious testimony, certainly, to the vast difference between the Present and the Past. (1)
(1) "From the gospel and the epistles of St. Paul, the first christians had learnt to form an exalted notion of the merit of chastity and continency. (Matt. xix. 10, 1 Cor. vii.) In all they were revered: from ecclesiastics they were expected. To the latter were supposed more particularly to belong that voluntary renunciation of sensual pleasure, and that readiness to forsake parents, wife, and children, for the love of Christ, which the saviour of mankind required in the more perfect of his disciples, (Luke xvi. 26.): and this idea was strengthened by the reasoning of the apostle, who had observed, that while the married man was necessarily solicitous for the concerns of this world, the unmarried was at liberty to turn his whole attention to the service of God. (I Cor. vii. 32, 33.) Hence it was inferred that the embarassments of wedlock were hostile to the profession of a clergyman. His parishioners, it was said, were his family and to watch over their spiritual welfare, to instruct their ignorance, to console them in their afflictions, and to relieve them in their indigence, were expected to be his constant and favourite occupations. (The validity of this inference maintained in the very act of the Protestant Parliament which licenses the marriages of the clergy. 2. Ed. vi. c. 21.) But though the first teachers of Christianity were accustomed to extol the advantages, they did not impose the obligation of clerical celibacy. Of those who had embraced the doctrine of the gospel, the majority were married previously to their conversion. Had they been excluded from the priesthood, the clergy would have lost many of their brightest ornaments; had they been compelled to separate from their wives, they might justly have accused the severity and impolicy of the measure. (Hawarden, Church of Christ, vol. 1. p. 403.) They were, however, taught to consider a life of continency, even in the married state, as demanded by the sacredness of their functions. (Orig. Hom. 23, in lib. num. Euseb. Dem, evan. l. i. c. g.); and no sooner had the succession of Christian princes secured the peace of the Church, than laws were made to enforce that discipline, which fervour had formerly introduced and upheld. (See the Councils of Elvira, can. xxxiii; of Neocæsarea, can i; of Ancyra, can. xx; of Carthage, con. ii, can. ii; and of Toledo, con. i, can i.) Every monument of the first ages of the Saxon Church which has descended to us, bears the strongest testimony that the celibacy of the clergy was constantly and severely enforced. 'God's priests and deacons, and God's other servants, that should serve in God's temple, and touch the sacrament and the holy books, they shall always observe their chastity.' (Pænit. Eg. p. 133, iv.) 'If priest or deacon marry, let them lose their orders.' (Ibid i. and p. 134, v.) But deposition was the only punishment: the marriage was not annulled. It was only in the twelfth century that holy orders were declared to incapacitate a person for marriage. (Pothier, traite du contrat de marr. p. 135.) Even female relations were forbidden to dwell in the same house with a priest. (See Panit. Eg. p. 134. vi.)* "Thus writes the erudite and elaborate Dr. Lingard.” * The celebrated St. Egbert, Archbishop of York, a.d. 743, 767.
Of course, the chancel (more properly quire), containing the High Altar, was, in all cases, the most elaborately decorated part; but, a little careful examination, shows the sanctuaries of the chantries (which, in the Wensleydale churches, are usually the side aisles of the nave) to have been also richly adorned. These had separate altars, having each a priest, who said mass daily. Hence, very frequently, "the whole of the side aisles," i. e. chapels, were latticed in or otherwise defined;" but, not as Dr. Whitaker infers, to define the family burial vault. In fact, a chantry was often founded by the last of an ancient line, whose fathers were buried either in the churchyard or nave of the church; and the altar was endowed by him, that the Adorable Sacrifice might be offered in perpetuity for his own soul, and the souls of his kinsfolk, and for all Christian souls.
The mistakes into which writers constantly fall, from ignorance of Catholic usages, ceremonies, and belief, are so very frequent, that I hope my remarks will neither be misconstrued nor held offensive. Enough of this for the present.
It is not my intention to enter largely into archæological details, nor to indulge historical and antiquarian surmises, likely to prove tedious to the fair readers who, I trust, will scan my pages, when I shall be very distant from the banks of the Yore. Such laboured efforts would better suit a different place. My aim, indeed, is to instruct, but also to amuse; and what can be more amusing, to one who knows and loves Wensleydale well, than to ponder over its former days and doings beside the "old Ha' ingle," when the north-east wind, howling round Penhill, drifts the snow against the panes without, but the cheerful fire
blazes brightly within, and to compare the knights of old, when in like circumstances, they
with moderns, somewhat similarly situated. Or else, in summer, to wander beside the river, when June's sweet sunshine or yet sweeter moonlight falls upon its waters, and recall fair Mary of Middleham, and gentle Queen Anne, who, in their blooming girlhood, so often watched the stream with joy; or that fairer and saintly Queen Mary, who from her prison lattice at Bolton, could never, either by summer night or winter day, behold its rapid
Nooks there are, sweet and retired, where tourist never comes, and few, save labourers or sportsmen, tread ;— green, pleasant places for poetic dream or more solemn meditation;-places, where the heart may hold communion with itself undisturbed by worldly clamour, and where, save the song of birds, and hum of insects, and tinkling gush of musical streams, no sound falls on the ear; unless, at intervals, a soft breeze bears from afar the mellowed tone of some old church bell.
Fair recesses like these, reader, I would have you seek at times, else you will never know the true beauties of Wensleydale; and, if you love to study nature, your search will not prove barren. Then, too, shun not to climb some high ascent, there are many to be found— and when you see the country stretched out around and beneath, in its beautiful succession of moorland and wood, meadow and cornfield, endeavour, in imagination, to picture to yourself its aspect in former times.
The Roman cohorts, with their glittering arms and
ensigns, are evoked by Fancy, marching to and from Bracchium: the valley is alive with Roman civilization. Then follows a ruder scene-the legions are withdrawn, and savage Picts ravage the country and destroy the towns: but quickly another host appears-Saxon steel repels the rude hordes, and the new race restores towns and villages. The Cross is reared, and happiness and virtue abound. Then, floating from the cold north, comes the grim Raven:
· Herald of ruin, and death, and flight— Where will the carrier of Odin alight?"
on the fair banks of the Yore, that soon becomes crimson with the blood of the brave, and fair, and holy. But peace returns, though only for a season. Once again, devastation; and then, a long bright day of glory, extending to that period when the quaint old journeyer, heard "goode singing" amongst the canons of Coverham, and found "Sonske a park, and both Middleham West Park, and Guanlesse well wooded;" and Bolton "the fairest castle in Richmondshire," with "unusual chimneys and a marvellous clock." Shortly, even this disappears under a black cloud: the clang of arms follows for awhile: Cromwell and his Ironsides are victors, but not without a struggle. Last of all appear the brave plumed and kilted Highlanders of the last of the Stewarts, no unwelcome visitors to the loyal dales.
He's coming frae the north that's to marry me-
A feather in his bonnet, a rose aboon his bree,
He's a bonnie, bonnie laddie, an' yon be he!" But the sweet White Rose soon withers, though its dry leaves were long cherished, and its memory is yet dear to true hearts. The vision is over!