Immagini della pagina

1307. He is said to have been of " great parentage,” the younger son of Sir Richard Stapledon, Knight, but we hear no more of him until his installation, which was graced by ceremonies of magnificent solemnity. On his arrival at Exeter, he alighted from his horse at Eastgate, and walked on fout, the ground being smoothed, and covered with black cloth, to the cathedral; on each band he was accompanied by a person of distinction, while Sir William Courtney, who claimed the honour of being steward on this occasion, walked before him. At Broadgate he was received by the chapter and choir. After the accustomed ceremonies, a grand feast was given, of such expense as the revenues of the bishopric, according to Godwin's estimation, would not have been sufficient to defray.* All the steps of his political life were marked with honours. He was chosen one of the privy council to Edward II. appointed Lord Treasurer, and employed in embassies, and other weighty affairs of state, in which his abilities and integrity would have been acknowledged, had he not lived in a period of remarkable turbulence and injustice. In 1325 he accompanied the Queen of France, in order to negotiate a peace: but her intentions to depose her husband were no longer to be concealed; and the bishop, whose integrity her machinations could not corrupt, continued to attach himself to the cause of his unfortunate sovereign, and fell an early sacrifice to popular fury. In 1326 he was appointed guardian of the city of London, during the king's absence in the west; and while he was taking measures to preserve the loyalty of the metropolis, the populace attacked him, Oct. 15, as he was walking the streets, and beheaded him near the north door of St. Paul's, together with Sir Richard Stapledon, his brother. Godwin informs us, that they buried the bishop in a heap of sand at the back of his house, without Temple-bar: Walsingham says, they threw it into the river: but the former account seems most consistent with popular malevolence and contempt. Exeter-house was founded by him as a town residence for the bishops of the diocese, and is said to have been very magnificent. It was afterwards alienated from the see, and, by a change of owners, became first Leicester, and then Essex-house, a name which the site still retains. It appears that the queen soon after ordered the body of the murdered bishop to be removed, and interred with that of his brother, in Exeter cathedral. In the 3. Edw. III. 1329, a synod was held at London before Simon, Arch Bishop of Canterbury, to make inquiry into Bishop Stapledon's death; and his murderers, and all who were any way privy or consenting to the crime, were executed. His monument, on the north aisle of Exeter cathedral, was erected by the Rector and Fellows of this college; and afterwards repaired by this society in the year 1733, and again in 1807. The original inscription, which has been removed, may be seen in Polwhele's History of Devon. Among the muniments of the Dean and Chapter of Exeter, there is an account of the administration of his goods by. Richard Braylegh, Dean

ancient residence of the family. Prince thinks he was born at Aunery, in the parish of Monklegh, near Great Torrington, in Devonshire.

Yet in Henry IV's time it was valued at 7,000l. per annum, a sum scarcely credible u the expense of an entertainment.


of Exeter, and one of his executors; by which it appears, that he left a great many legacies to poor scholars, and several sums of money, from twenty to sixty shillings, for the repairing of bridges in the county, and towards building Pilton church, &c.'-Vol. I, p. 62-4.

The following interesting account of the Chapel of New College, will serve to characterize the manner in which he describes the buildings belonging to each college.

• The chapel of this college, still the most magnificent in the university, affords but a faint idea of the wonderful structure which Wykeham left. If we may trust to general tradition, confirmed in some measure by a reference to his exquisite skill displayed in Winchester cathedral, this chapel once comprehended an assemblage of all that was beautiful and grand in the Plantagenet architecture, and all that munificence, piety, or superstition, could add in rich and gorgeous furniture and decoration. It is probable that it remained in this state until the Reformation, when our ecclesiastical edifices were robbed of their gold and silver and precious stones, and the finest specimens of art defaced under the notion that they administered to idolatry. The first notice that we have of these depredations occurs in 1550, when King Edward's visitors orilered the painted windows to be taken down; “ but," says Wood," the college not being rich enough, as they pretended, to set up new, promised that they would when they were in a capacity.". According to the same historian, the chapel remained nearly in its pristine state, the images only being removed from the east end, until about the year 1636, when the stalls and desks were supplied by new ones, and the wainscot ornamented with paintings of the apostles, saints, &c. At the same time the screen was erected, and the floors of the inner and outer chapel paved with black and white marble. In 1663, the organ made by Dolham, and since improved by Green and Byfield, was placed over the screen. The former organ, which was first set up in 1458, stood in a loft on the north side of the upper end.

"The fate of the east end of this chapel, at least through all its injurious treatment, cannot now be easily traced. It appears, that when sentence of destruction was averted from the windows in 1550, the high altar was decorated by a series of niches, containing images of gold and silver as is supposed, all of which were then taken down or destroyed, and the niches filled up with stone and mortar, and the whole plastered over, in what manner cannot be ascertained. In 1695 this plastering was removed, and some broken statues discovered, and the whole replaced by a mixture of wood-work, gilding, and painting, the latter executed by Henry Cook, an artist of King William's reign. It was his fancy to represent the concave of a semi-rotunda, in which the east end of the chapel seemed to terminate. In the centre was the salutation of the Virgin Mary, and over the communion-table Caracci's picture, now in the hall.


* In the porter's ludge are three paintings of this kind on pannel, which were removed from the chapel.


'All this remained until 1789, when the decayed state of the roof induced the society to order a complete repair of the whole chapel, and the original wall at the east end was again discovered, with the remains of some of its beautiful #niches and fret-work. These were now completely removed, and the present improvements introduced, under the direction of Mr. Wyat, so as to restore the wall to a resemblance of what it is supposed to have been in the founder's age. These changes, with the additional painted windows, stalls, screens, &c. are so amply detailed in the cominon guides, as to render it unnecessary to specify them in this place. The propriety of some of them has been questioned, and a dispute, that might have been conducted with urbanity between men of taste, has extended to an angry and apparently endless controversy, in which we have no inclination to engage. Whatever defects may appear to an eye nicely and fastidiously conversant with that species of architecture to which it belongs, it will not be easy by any powers of reasoning, to lessen the admiration which a survey of this chapel excites.

* Among the curiosities preserved here is the superb and costly crosier of the founder, of silver, gilt and enamelled, in which, instead of the holy lamb usually placed within the circle of crosiers, is a figure of Wykeham in his favourite pious posture of kneeling. Some of the ornaments pertaining to his mitre, which are of gold and precious stones, his gloves and ring, &c. are preserved in the muniment room.'

In the selection of names, as well as the delineation of characters, Mr. Chalmers informs us in his preface that, 'more regard perhaps has been paid to contemporary fame, than to the capricious verdict of modern and more fastidious times. The list which we have selected belongs to Magdalen College.

* Fuller remarks in his usual quaint style, that there is scarce a bishopric in England to which this college has not afforded one prelate at the least, “ doubling her files in some places," and many of them were unquestionably men of high distinction in their day. The two celebrated English Cardinals, Wolsey and Pole, were both educated here. Pole entered as a nobleman, and resided, as his biographer says, in the president's lodgings. His masters were Linacre and Latimer, under whom he acquired not only a taste for the literature of Greece and Rome, but that liberal spirit of patronage which induced him to encourage and correspond with men of learning when proscribed by the bigotry of the times. Of the bisliops belonging to this college, the most eminent were, Lee and Frewen, arch-bishops of York, the latter a benefactor to the college, and Boulter, arch-bishop of Armagh; Longland, bishop of Lincoln ; Cooper, of Winchester; Warner, of Rochester; Nicholson, of Gloucester; Hopkins, of Raphoe and Derry; Hough, of Worcester; Smalbooke, of Lichfield and Coventry; and Horne, of Norwich.

The ground colour of these niches was of a deep ultramarine blue, and the exterior edges of ile shafts of the niches richly silt.

• The

• The scholars of other ranks who attained high reputation by their genius ard writings form a very numerous list, and many of them who studied here during the first half century from the foundation, contributed not a little to the revival of real literature, which at no great dis. tance of time facilitated the Reformation. Of these, Dean Colet and Lilly the Grammarian, were of this college, and Linacre and Latimer either taught as private tutors, or lectured within its walls. It could afterwards boast of Dr. John Roper, Lady Margaret's professor of divinity, and one of the most eminent theologists of his time: Dr. Wotton, physician to Henry VIII. and a writer on natural history: Robertson, an excellent grammarian, and one of the compilers of English Liturgy in 1549: Fox, the celebrated author of the “Acts and Monuments of the Church," a work of stupendous labour and information, which the adherents to the church of Rome may be excused for depreciating, since it tended so considerably to consolidate the Protestant establishment:* Sir Francis Knollis, statesman: Lilly, an elegant writer and dramatic poet: Dr. Field, the learned dean of Gloucester: Dr. Thomas Godwyn, the Hebrew antiquary: Sir Thomas Roe, the ambassador: Hampden, the patriot: John Digby, Earl of Bristol: Chilmead, the critic and philologist: Theophilus Gale, a non-conformist divine of considerable talents: the very learned and pious Dr. Hammond: Dr. Peter Heylin, ecclesiastical historian and controversial writer, from whose pen there is, in the archives of this college, a metrical life of the founder, written probably when Heylin was young: George Withers, a voluminous and most unequal poet, whose reputation seems to be reviving: Harmar, the learned Greek professor: George Digby, Earl of Bristol, son to the preceding John, but inferior in fame, unsteady in character, and an example of the misapplication of eloquence and knowledge: Elisha Coles, formerly one of the most popular of our Latin lexicographers : Sir Robert Howard, the dramatic poet: and the learned traveller and biographer, Dr. Thomas Smith. To these may be added the illustrious name of the elegant and aocomplished Joseph Addison, who was about fifteen when he entered Queen's; but Dr. Lancaster, then fellow, and afterwards provost, having seen his Latin verses on the inauguration of William III. discovered the excellence of his Latin poetry, even at that early age, and procured his being elected a demy of Magdalen College in 1689, when he was seventeen. His Cato and most of his early pieces were written while he was a student here : Dr. Sacheverell, once the idol of a party, and once, let it be remembered, the friend and associate of Addison; Col. lins, Yalden, and Holdsworth, poets: Dr. Matthew Forbery, and Dr. Thomas Waldgrave, divines. The latter was tutor to Gibbon, the celebrated historian, who might have graced this list, for he passed some time in Magdalen College as an undergraduate, had not his foolish presumption driven him from regularity of study into that vague and capricious pursuit of miscellaneous information, which has so frequently ended in superficial knowledge and lax principles. The recent deaths of Dr. Townson* and Dr. Chandler, afford an opportunity to add their names. With their characters the world will be made still better acquainted by the republication of Dr. Townson's works, together with his life, by Mr. Churton, and of Dr. Chandler's life of the founder.'

* Fox was a Fellow of this College, but had been originally entered of Brazen Nose College. It is a remarkable circumstance in his life, that he was protected by the popish Duke of Norfolk against the persecution vi Bishop Gardiner, and, until obliged to retire to the Continent, had been employed by the Duke to be tutor to the children of his son, the elegant and accomplished Earl of Surry: •


The history of the colleges and halls being concluded, we are, presented in the next place, with an account of the public buildings attached to the University; viz. the Schools, with the Bodleian Library-the Theatre—the Ashmolean Museum-the Clarendon Printing-house—the Radcliffe Library—the Observatory--the Physic Garden—and St. Mary's, or the University church. These are surely objects of general interest, and seemed to promise abundance of useful and curious information: but great was our mortification and surprise to find the whole dispatched in about nineteen pages; and that too in so meagre and evidently so hurried a manner, that we are tempted to inflict what Mr. Chalmers cannot but consider as a severe punishment, and transcribe the entire description which he has given of St. Mary's.

*St. Mary's church, an elegant and spacious Gothic edifice, of which Anthony Wood has left a very minute History, is here noticeable chiefly as being the University Church, or that to which the vice Chancellor, heads of Houses, &c. repair for divine service on Sundays and Holidays, except on some particular days, when the sermons are appointed to be preached in certain Colleges; as, on Christmas day in the morning, Good Friday, and Ascension Day, at Christ Church; on the Festivals of St. Mark and St. John the Baptist, at Magdalen; on Lady Day and Trinity Sunday, at New College; and on St. Philip and St. James, and on the first Sunday in August, at Merton. During Lent in the afternoon, and on St. Simon and St. Jude, the sermons are preached in St. Peter's in the east. The public preachers are ten in number, appointed by the vice Chancellor, Proctors, the Regius Professor and Margaret Professor of Divinity; and they must be either Doctors or Bachelors in Divinity or in Civil Law, or Masters of Arts. Of these public preachers five go out of office every year. The eight lectures on the Essential Doctrines of Christianity, and in Defence of Revealed Religion, founded by the Rev. John Bampton, Canon of Salisbury, are also delivered in this church. The room on the north side of the chancel is now the Common Law school, where the Vinerian professor reads his lectures.'

Upon the whole, however, though we can only consider the present publication as an enlarged guide, or an abridgement of Wood's * History of the Colleges and Halls,' with a continuation to the present time, yet it certainly contains much information which will be useful and amusing to the generality of readers, and which could pot be procured, except in works which are now become both

^ See the next Article.

• See the next Article. VOL. VI. NO, XI.


« IndietroContinua »