London, Volume 1
A few years ago, it seems, a tree grew, but even that no longer marks the spot, where stood of old the famous , towards the eastern extremity of the vacant space on the north side of the Cathedral. The greater part of this space appears to have been a burying-ground, and no doubt the chief belonging to the City, from the most ancient times--from the erection of the sacred edifice, whether Christian church or heathen temple, on the mount now crowned by , or possibly from the origin of London itself. Sir Christopher Wren, who dug deep into all parts of the ground in laying the foundations of the present cathedral, discovered no indications to confirm the tradition that the site had been originally occupied by a temple of Jupiter or Diana; the precious fragments of bucks' horns, ox-heads, and boars' tusks, that had so charmed the antiquaries, had all disappeared, or become transmuted, like fairy coin, into much more worthless ware-into bits of wood and shreds of pottery. But he found under the choir of the old building a , or semicircular chancel, of Roman architecture--a structure of Kentish rubble-stone, cemented with their inimitable mortar--which proved that the Christian church had been the work of the Roman colonists; and he also clearly ascertained that the northern part of the churchyard had been a depository for the dead from the Roman and British
| times. Layer upon layer, there they lay-and still lie--the successive possessors of the land; uppermost, the graves of later generations; next under them, our Saxon forefathers from the days of Ethelbert and St. Austin, some more honourably and securely entombed within sarcophagi formed of great upright and horizontal flags, most embedded in cavities lined with chalk-stones--in either case the enclosure serving for both grave and coffin; then, the Britons of the period between the departure of the Romans and the establishment of the Saxons, their dust mixed with great numbers of ivory and box-wood pins, about inches long, the fastenings apparently of the now mouldered shrouds in which the bodies had once been wrapped; and, lowest of all, eighteen feet or more below the surface, other remains such as these last, but interspersed with fragments of Roman urns, revealing the burial-place of |
|The churchyard appears to have been enclosed, and that only in part, by Richard de Beaureis, who was Bishop of London in the reign of Henry I. But we find no mention of the Cross till long after this time. Yet the earliest notice of it that has come down to us describes proceedings which have all the air of old usage, and, at any rate, are not likely to have originated in the age when we thus hear of them, or in any preceding since the Norman Conquest, although they may possibly have been then revived after having been discontinued from the time of that revolution.|
Suddenly, in the latter part of the reign of Henry III., during the struggle between the King and the barons--in the midst, we may say, of the birth-throes of English liberty-Paul's Cross rises up before us, the central object of a picture as startling to our preconceptions of the time as of the place. The field of the dead is covered with an excited living throng, an assembly of the people met to pass judgment on their civic rulers, whom the King's minister, speaking from the Cross, charges with extortion and oppression. It is the Comitia of the citizens of
|London, held in their Forum, around the orator haranguing them from the Rostra. It appears that about the beginning of the year , Henry, having found, or pretending to have found, in the royal wardrobe at Windsor, a roll of parchment sealed with green wax, and filled with a number of accusations against the Lord Mayor and aldermen of London, though no could tell whence it came, commanded John Mansell, who is called of his Chief Justices, forthwith to summon a Folkmote at Paul's Cross, and there to read the document to the citizens. The word is , a people-meeting, as is a legislative assembly, a meeting of wise men or counsellors. And the thing also was probably a relic of the old Saxon freedom, though whether now, or when|
|revived, if ever lost, no record tells. But the assembling of a folkmote on this occasion is not mentioned as if it were something unheard of, or even new to that time. Only day's notice is stated to have been given: the day was the , the morrow of the festival of St. Paul; and when Mansell made his appearance, accompanied by the Earl of Gloucester, the other Chief Justice Henry de Bathon, and others of the King's Council, both the people and their magistrates were there to meet him. Mansell, having ordered the charges to be read aloud, so that all might hear them, then called upon the people to inform him who those rich men were that, as asserted by the unknown accuser, had been favoured in the collection of the late tallage exacted by the king from his good subjects of the city of London; and whether the mayor and aldermen had applied any part of the tax to their own use. The old civic chronicler, Fabian, himself an alderman, and a great venerator of his order, makes the impeached functionaries, in indignant consciousness of innocence, to have shown the boldest of fronts--in fact to have driven Mansell from the field with disgrace; and, certainly, the extortion and oppression have quite as much the look of being on the king's part as on their's. At least, if they had been fleecing their fellow-citizens of the commonalty, his majesty was clearly resolved that, by hook or by crook, he should have his share of the plunder. And he set to work by crook, making loud profession of his regard for nothing so much as the rights and interests of the most numerous class of his subjects, and seeking to effect his despotic purpose by the aid of the most popular institution in the country, perhaps that he might both gain his end and damage the institution at the same time. In the course of the affair, which it does not belong to our present subject to relate in detail, several other public meetings were held both at Paul's Cross and in the , at which the people were addressed by Mansell and others of the King's ministers. On of these occasions it is insinuated that the multitude which gathered around Paul's Cross did not properly deserve to be considered a meeting of London citizens--of those entitled to attend a folkmote; many strangers, or foreigners, non-freemen, and even servants or bondmen, having joined the assemblage. An irregularity this which would be apt to occur when there was anything very interesting to be discussed or transacted at these|
|popular open-air diets. In the end, after the accused aldermen, deserted by their fellow-citizens, had been coerced or terrified into the payment of handsome sums by way of ransom or bribe, the business was settled by the calling of another folkmote at Paul's Cross, on the day before the feast of St. Leonard, at which the king himself was present, with the chief men of his court; and where such of the aldermen as had not previously made their peace were formally taken back into the royal favour, and reinstated in their offices-Henry even professing to be now satisfied that there never had been any ground for the charges made against them! Thus the sponge, having been squeezed, was set down again, nothing the worse, in its old position, to suck up more moisture for the next occasion.|
But whatever may have been the amount of practical abuse, we see from this account that, in so far at least as concerned the city of London, the government of England, in the century, was by no means either a pure despotism, or even a monarchy merely counterbalanced by an aristocracy. There was also a living and active element of democracy in the constitution, which, however unenlightened, yet required to be constantly managed and propitiated, and served at any rate to preserve the instinct of popular liberty in men's minds and hearts throughout the worst times. It may be presumed, both from the name and from the notices that have been preserved of its proceedings, that the London Folkmote was composed of the entire free commonalty of the city--of all that portion of the male inhabitants constituting what was properly called the Folk or People, as distinguished from the resident strangers or natives of other countries (the , as they would have been called at Athens), and also from persons in a servile state, whose condition throughout England at this date much more nearly resembled that of the slaves among the Greeks and Romans than that of those we now call servants. It was evidently not an assembly of delegates, like the Common Council of the city at the present day; but a body like that now called a Common Hall, or assembly of the whole Livery or freemen, of which, indeed, the Folkmote seems to have been the original form. The district meetings of the Livery are still called Wardmotes, as they appear to have been in the time of Henry III.[n.36.1]
Fabian records another Folkmote, or Folmoot, as having been called at Paul's Cross by King Henry III., after the feast of Candlemas, :
says the chronicler,
[n.37.1] Henry was at this time preparing, under the advice and with the support of his brother, to break through the trammels imposed upon him by the assembly of the barons held about a year before at Oxford, commonly called the Mad Parliament. The next year he sent to Rome for an absolution from the oath he had then been compelled to take; and in , on the Sunday in Lent,
From a writ of of the year , the of Edward I., it appears, according to Dugdale, that the ground on which Paul's Cross stood, described as lying eastward from the church, and as that on which the citizens of London had been anciently wont to hold their Folkmotes, was claimed as belonging to the king, and had only newly come to be used for the interment of the dead. The people, it is stated, used to be summoned to the folkmote by the ringing of a bell, hanging in a tower which stood on the ground. This tower is conjectured by Dugdale to be the same that is mentioned in the time of Henry I., in a charter of Bishop Richard de Beaumeis, in which the bishop grants to Hugh, the schoolmaster, and his successors, the habitation at the corner of the turret where William, the dean, had already placed him by his (the bishop's) command;
says Dugdale, writing in ,
This tower was called the Clochier, or Bell Tower; and in another document of the beginning of the reign of Henry III., which Dugdale quotes, it is described, under the Latin name of the , as situated in the corner of the greater cemetery of St. Paul, towards the - for such is the classical term here applied to the part of the churchyard appropriated to the holding of the Folkmote. Stow, in whose younger days this tower was still standing, gives the following account of it:--
adds Stow, with evident satisfaction,
In , years before the issue of the above-mentioned writ of , the churchyard was, apparently for the time, completely walled round,
| in conformity with a licence granted to the dean and canons by King Edward I., upon information given to him, that by the lurking of thieves and other disorderly persons in the night-time within the ground-which, although partly enclosed, was yet accessible to any body-divers robberies and homicides, not to speak of much immorality of other kinds, had been ofttimes committed therein. The licence, which was dated at , on the , |
gave permission that the ground should be inclosed
After the reign of Henry III., we read of no more Folkmotes being held at Paul's Cross. Indeed, a few years after the accession of Edward I., as we have just seen, the assembling of the Folkmote seems to be spoken of rather as a thing that had been than that was still in use. It is remarkable that the same period in our history which witnessed, if not the original institution, at least the complete establishment, of the Commons' House of Parliament, should have been that in which this ancient court of the commonalty of London fell into desuetude, or lost its importance with its old form and character. But the age of the introduction of representative government was perhaps naturally that of the decay and extinction of government by assemblies of the whole people.
The northern part of , however, still continued to be the Forum of the Londoners, and the Cross to be the station from which, in those days, when as yet there was no printing and little reading, announcements and harangues on all such matters as the authorities in church or state judged to be of public concern were poured into the popular ear and heart. Stow, who by the bye places it
of the churchyard-and in fact it was only a very little to the east of Canon Alley-describes it as
[n.38.2] and this was probably its form before as well as after his day. We may conjecture that it came to be used for ecclesiastical purposes after the ground on which it stood was taken into the churchyard in the reign of Edward I.; at least the earliest occasion on which it is recorded to have been so employed was in the year , when, according to a notice in Stow,
[n.38.3] A curse pronounced from this famous pulpit was sure to be heard far and wide upon earth, whether it went up to heaven or not.
Very soon after this date we begin to hear of sermons regularly preached from Paul's Cross. In , Michael de Northburgh, bishop of London, in bequeathing a sum of a to be placed in a chest in the treasury of the Cathedral, to form a sort of , or fund for loans upon pledges (but without interest), directed that if in any case at the year's end the sums borrowed were not repaid, then the preacher at Paul's Cross should in his sermon declare that the pledge would be sold within days, if not forthwith redeemed. The good bishop, by the bye, did not contemplate benefiting the lower orders of his countrymen only by this judicious charity. In those times, when the little
|commerce existing was still in great part a commerce of barter, money was often scarce even with those who had plenty of everything else; accordingly it was here provided that, while a poor layman might borrow to the extent of from the fund, the dean or any of the principal canons of the Cathedral might have a loan of twice that sum, a citizen or nobleman to the same amount, and the bishop of the diocese of or even of nearly .[n.39.1] It would be interesting to know if any of the noble or right reverend borrowers was ever proclaimed as a defaulter at the Cross; and also whether on occasion of such occurrences it was customary for the preacher to adapt his discourse to the case in hand, as would seem to be implied by the regulation that he should make the announcement in the course of his sermon. It is easy to conceive how forcibly he might illustrate certain of the moral duties by the happy application of this method-how the precept might not only be sent home by the example, as by the blow of a hammer, but the example itself might, according to the Horatian rule, be made more stimulating by being addressed to the eyes as well as to the ears of the congregation, through the actual exhibition of the forfeited pledge from the pulpit--of the humbler tradesman's holiday suit or best yew bow, the merchant's bale of broad-cloth, the nobleman's silver drinking-cup, or the bishop's holy book or richest mule-trappings. Indeed the register of this ancient pawnbroking establishment would be altogether of the most curious relics of the middle ages if it could be recovered; but it has no doubt perished long ago, as well as the good bishop's legacy itself, with the chest, secured by keys, in which it was kept, and the pledges of the last borrowers, upon whom probably the Reformation, or some other earlier convulsion, came suddenly some fine morning, foreclosing all redemption.|
But to return to the sermons. In the then bishop,. Robert de Braybroke, in certain letters addressed to his clergy, describes Paul's Cross-
--as the station from which the word of God was in use to be preached to the people in the most public and distinguished part of the cemetery. The object of the bishop's letters was to call upon his clergy to stir up their flocks to contribute to the repair of the Cross, which
It is said to have suffered, with many other buildings, by the earthquake which was felt all over the south of England on the morning of the . Stow records that in Kent especially
[n.39.2] The restoration of Paul's Cross was taken up as a matter in which the church over the whole kingdom was concerned. Other letters, inviting the faithful to assist in the good work, were written by the Archbishop of Canterbury;
It is affirmed that considerable contributions were in this way drawn from the pockets of the people, but that Braybroke and the other bishops, instead of applying the money to the pious purpose for which it was
|professedly collected, put it, or the greater part of it, into their own pockets. What seems to be certain is, that no considerable repair of the Cross was executed at this time, nor till about half a century afterwards, when it was rebuilt by of Braybroke's successors, John Kemp, who held the see from to .[n.40.1] Dugdale notices that Kemp's arms were to be seen in sundry places of the leaden cover of the Cross.|
of the earliest sermons, if not the very earliest, recorded to have been preached at Paul's Cross, is still preserved, and may be found printed at full length, from a manuscript of the time, in Fox's Book of Martyrs. It was preached on Quinquagesima Sunday, in the year , by a certain learned clerk of the name of R. Wimbeldon, and is altogether a highly curious specimen both of the language and of the popular theology of that age. When we state that the zealous martyrologist strongly recommends it to his readers as
it will be understood that it is no declamation in honour either of pope or saint. Indeed it might almost be suspected, from the strain in which he runs on, that Wimbeldon had adopted most of the opinions of his reforming contemporary, Wyclif; unless it was that before the Reformation the peculiar tenets which now distinguish the Romanists were really not wont to be so much insisted upon in preaching to the people as they naturally came to be after they were made the main subjects of contention between the hostile parties that divided Christendom. Nor does it appear that a man brought his orthodoxy into question in those days merely by inveighing, however freely, against the corruptions of the church, and the pride, luxury, ambition, hypocrisy, or other vices of the clergy. Many other productions of the and centuries have come down to us, besides this sermon of Wimbeldon's, in which a tone is taken in regard to such matters that would hardly have been ventured upon by any Romanist in a later age; we need only mention the Visions of Pierce Ploughman, many of Chaucer's poems, and the History of Matthew Paris; but, although the followers of Luther were afterwards fond of claiming the authors of these works as fellow-reformers, and altogether of their faith and party, it does not appear that any of them was in his own day regarded as other than a good Catholic, for all his philippics and sarcasms. Wimbeldon takes his text from the parable of the unjust steward, as related in the chapter of St. Luke-selecting the words
which he translates,
and applies to the different classes of men with much sharpness and good sense, enlivening his address, ever and anon, with a legend from St. Augustine or some other of the old fathers, or an illustration from the every-day occupations of his hearers, in the happiest style of popular oratory. The entire discourse occupies of Fox's long and closely-printed columns.[n.40.2]
Early in the next century Paul's Cross figures in a transaction so curiously characteristic of the times, and in its whole course so startling to modern manners and notions, that the relation ought not to be attempted by any modern pen, and we will therefore give the details in the homely but graphic words of the old chronicler.
Stow records under the year ,
[n.41.1] A scolding match, or, for aught that appears, an actual rencontre of talons or fisticuffs, in the church, between the wives of a knight and a nobleman--the flying to arms of probably the greater part of the congregation--the blood made to flow in all directions--the slaughter outright of the poor fishmonger-male an appropriate prologue of the savage and horrible to the comedy that follows, of the procession along , led by the parson in his canonicals, and brought up by the bare-headed lord and bare-footed lady; while, in admirable keeping with the absurdity of the whole exhibition, the principal part of the performance is vicariously sustained by the poor shivering menials--a pretty long string, we may suppose, of both sexes,who, would think, might not unfairly have been presumed to have suffered penance enough already in the service of a mistress requiring so sharp a discipline to keep her in order. It is a comfort to find, however, that the termagant
|was obliged to fil the water-vessels with her own noble hands, and, apparently, unassisted and unattended by either servants or husband. These are the incidents that paint an age. Nothing can bring more forcibly home to us than such a strange narrative as this the difference between the London of our own day and that of years ago. It makes wonder if the sun shone then as it does now--if our ancestors of that remote date were actually wide awake, and did not move about in a sort of mere somnambulous condition-at any rate, if they possessed any sense of the ludicrous or faculty of laughter, that they could look on gravely while such fantastic tricks were played before high heaven.|
Another remarkable appearance, also of a penitential character, that was made at Paul's Cross some years after this, is likewise described, with all its details, by Stow--the recantation of the learned and pious Reginald Pecocke, bishop of Chichester, who
says the annalist,
On the , he was brought to Paul's Cross, and there renounced his heresies, and made profession of his deep contrition and entire submission to holy church in a formal harangue
which Stow gives at fall length. And
concludes the account,
And, doubtless, he himself then felt that it would have been better had he died somewhat sooner.
Little more than years before these high-handed proceedings against Bishop Pecocke, which may be regarded as a sort of commencement of the war between the old and the new opinions in religion, the swords had been crossed at St. Alban's in the war of the Roses, which was to make the best blood in the land flow like water throughout the greater part of the next quarter of a century. Passing over that space, comprising the remainder of the reign and life of Henry VI., and the whole of the reign of Edward IV., we come, in what may be called the last act of the long, tumultuous drama, to perhaps the most remarkable day in the history of Paul's Cross. It is towards the latter end of June, in the year . The young king, Edward V., who had been escorted from Hornsey to the bishop's palace, close by the cathedral, on the , by the lord mayor, the sheriffs,
had been soon after, along with his brother, carried
Crookbacked Richard directed all things as Lord Protector; Lord Hastings, arrested in the council-room at the Tower on the morning of Friday, the , had had his head immediately struck off,
the Lord Grey, with his fellow-prisoners, had been executed before the gate of Pontefract Castle, on the same day; Lord Rivers lay there in his dungeon, about to follow his friends to the scaffold; Lord Stanley, the Archbishop of York, and the Bishop of Ely, were all under the lock and key of the tyrant;
The story has been told, as Herodotus himself might have told it, by Sir Thomas More; and we shall follow his lively and graceful narrative with little abridgment. The concern of Gloucester and his confederates was, how the matter
and for this purpose, while they took into their counsels Sir Edmond Shaw, the lord mayor, that he
they also associated to themselves
With Pinker's sermon, which was delivered at Hospital, on Easter day in the following year, we have here nothing. to do: More states that he
As for Shaw, it was determined that he should forthwith lay before the people the Protector's claims as the legitimate heir to the crown, in a sermon at Paul's Cross. Accordingly, on Sunday the , the Doctor presented himself in the pulpit at the Cross before a great audience,--
--and taking for his text the words from the Book of Wisdom, --
he proceeded to address the multitude. The introductory portion of his discourse consisted of an attempt to show that heaven, although it might sometimes suffer the legitimate line to be set aside for a season, never permitted it to be ultimately or long supplanted by those born out of wedlock, or their descendants, especially if the offspring of adultery.
It has been sometimes stated, that another famous exhibition, got up by the Protector at this crisis with the same view of winning the voices of the multitude--his exposure of poor Jane Shore-also took place at Paul's Cross; but this is a mistake--the penance imposed upon the frail, but merry and kind-hearted mistress of Edward IV., was to walk before a cross carried in procession through the streets. Her story, therefore, likewise so interestingly told by More, may stand over for the present. But very soon after this date, it became customary to adjudge persons who performed penance-especially the unhappy followers of the new opinions in religion--to stand before Paul's Cross during the sermon after they had been paraded in the procession. Thus, Fox tells us, that on Sunday the ,
Again, he notes that in
This last exhibition seems to be the same mentioned by Fabian as having taken place on Sunday the , in that year, when, he says, heretics stood before the Cross
The fagots were of course designed to signify the death by burning which the bearers had deserved, and which they only escaped by undergoing this humiliating penance, and making abjuration of their heresies. Sometimes they were condemned to wear ever after the badge of a fagot in flames on their clothes--an awkward coat of arms.
In case which Fox records at great length, that of
the fagot borne at the Cross turned out to be prophetic as well as emblematical. Baynham having adopted some of the opinions of Wyclif, was, towards the end of the year , arrested and brought before Sir Thomas More, then Chancellor, at his house in . Fox is an honest, but a very prejudiced and credulous writer; and it is to be hoped, for the honour of genius and elegant letters, that his zeal has led him to impute some things to More, which such a man, even in that age, could hardly have been guilty of. He tells us that he detained Baynham with him in a sort of free custody for a while, but that, when
However, the result was that Baynham at last consented to make abjuration, and on a Sunday in , he did penance by
|walking in procession, and then standing with a fagot on his shoulder at Paul's|
| Cross during the sermon, on a sort of scaffold erected before the pulpit, in the fashion which the martyrologist has represented in a rude but curious woodcut. But Baynham had been at home little more than a month, after having recovered his forfeited life by this submission, when, vehement remorse and shame conquering the fear of death and every other feeling, he called his friends together and expressed to them the bitterest regret for what he had done; |
He was now, as a relapsed heretic, beyond the pale of mercy in this world, and, as his judges believed, in the next also. Urgent methods, however, were used to make him recant before he should be committed to the flames. Being again arrested,
according to the martyrologist,
He was burned in Smithfield at o'clock in the afternoon, on the . Such tragic and brutal work as this, still more even than the solemn comedy of Lady Strange's penance, goes to make it difficult for us to feel, when we read of it, that the sky was as blue and the earth as green in England centuries ago as they are now.
In another remarkable instance, which occurred soon after this, the scaffold of penance at Paul's Cross was in like manner only a stepping-stone to a more fatal scaffold. Hither, in the end of the year , was brought to make public confession of their imposture, Elizabeth Barton, called the Holy Maid of Kent, with Richard Master, the parson of the parish of Aldington, where she lived, who had sought, by means of her hysteric outcries and pretended inspirations, to raise the fame and attraction of the wooden Virgin in his chapel at Court-at- Street; her confessor, Dr. Booking, of whom, as Burnet tells us, there were violent suspicions that he did not, in his intercourse with her, confine himself strictly to his spiritual duties; Richard Deering, who wrote the most popular book of her revelations and prophecies; and half a dozen more of her accomplices. Having been
It was thought, he adds, that this public exposure would be the surest way to satisfy the people of the imposture of the whole affair; and it had, it seems, very generally that effect. Their penance and confession, however, did not save either the nun herself, or her chief confederates: on the following, she, Master, Bocking, Deering, and more of those who
| had been exposed at Paul's Cross, were, in the words of old Stow, |
The nun's own head was stuck up on ; those of the others on the different gates of the city. And, within little more than a year, Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, and Sir Thomas More both had their heads struck off on , principally, there can be no doubt-though other charges were made the pretext--for the countenance they had been, weakly enough, drawn in for a time to give to the Maid's ravings against the divorce of Queen Catherine, and the king's new marriage. Thus sure and sweeping, if a little slow, was the revenge taken by Henry, who is held up to our admiration by Burnet, as showing himself to be
by the way in which he passed over the audacity of the friars Peto and Elston, the former of whom, in the preceding summer, while preaching in the royal chapel at Greenwich, had told him to his face that many lying prophets had deceived him, but that, if he proceeded with the business he had in hand, the dogs should assuredly lick his blood, as they had done Ahab's; and the latter of whom, on a subsequent Sunday, the king also being present, rose from the midst of the congregation and justified all that Peto had said, nor would be silenced till his majesty himself commanded him to hold his peace. The friars, indeed, in the mean time, only received a rebuke before the privy council; but they and all the rest of their order were soon after banished from England.
A few years after the exposure of the Maid of Kent-who, by the bye, according to Strype,
--another gross Popish fraud was laid open to the popular scorn at the same place; the trick of the wonderful rood, or crucifix, of Boxley in Kent, which actually used to move its eyes and shake its beard, and sometimes even to nod its head and bow with its whole body, to those who knelt before it and brought it offerings. The wheel-work by which all this was managed under the guidance of the priests was, it seems, detected, in the year , by Nicolas Partridge; on which the image was brought to the neighbouring town of Maidstone, and shown to the people there, and then carried to London, where it afforded for a time infinite amusement to all classes, from the king and the inmates of the royal palace downwards. It seems to have been exhibited, probably for money, in some of the places of popular amusement. The rood had been famous for ages over all England, and people came from the most distant parts of the country to gaze and wonder at a discovery which no doubt astonished many of them almost as much as if it had been found out that any of themselves was merely a similar piece of mechanism. The evidence, however, was too conclusive to be resisted by any possible stupidity.
to translate the animated account given by John Hooker, the parson of Maidstone, in a Latin letter to Bullinger, which Burnet has printed,
At last the affair was taken up by the Council, and by their order the Boxley rood was brought to Paul's Cross, and
| there elevated on a scaffold, so as to be seen by all the people, during the preaching of a sermon by Hilsey, Bishop of Rochester. This, as we learn from Stow, was on Sunday the . |
This uproarious outbreak on the part of his congregation would, we take it for granted, be fatal to any further display of his eloquence by the bishop for that day.
But the tricks and delusions exposed at Paul's Cross were not always those of the Romanists. Exactly years after the penance of Elizabeth Barton, occurred that of Elizabeth Croft, the principal performer in the imposture known by the name of the Spirit in the Wall. The Spirit in the Wall was heard in , soon after the accession of Queen Mary, in a house without Aldersgate, and was certainly a Protestant spirit; the tenor of its exclamations and prophecies, as Strype acknowledges, being
In fact, so far as it went, the affair was as exact a parallel to that of the Maid of Kent as well could be. By her dark utterances,
The sounds were supposed to come from nothing less than an angel. It turned out that Croft,
made them with a peculiar kind of whistle, which she had got from Drakes: among her other confederates were several parish clerks; but the plot was nipped in the bud, before it had time to attract any higher patronage or countenance. On Sunday, the ,[n.48.1] she was brought out at Paul's Cross, and placed upon a scaffold erected for the purpose on the usual spot, where she stood all the time of the sermon, and made open confession of the deception she had been guilty of. Strype relates that
Neither she herself nor any of her accomplices was put to death; but of them, a weaver who lived in , was a few days after set on the pillory.
On the in the following year, , women did penance and made confession at Paul's Cross, for their concern in what was, apparently, a harmless enough imposture--the propagation of a story about an infant in a house near the cathedral having spoken, and bidden men pray, declaring that the kingdom of God was at hand. But most probably this miraculous infant was also in the Protestant interest. Most of the other penances performed here
| in the days of Mary appear to have been by persons, both clergy and laity, who had been seduced into some irregularity or other by the confusion and changes of the time, and who now desired to be received back into the bosom of the ascendant church. Several which Strype records are cases of priests who had taken to themselves wives which they were now willing, possibly more than willing, to part with. Thus, on the , we are told, |
But some of the religious men had indulged themselves with a pair of wives too. Thus, it is noted, that on the ,
On the , again,
--a spectacle which would be rather trying to the gravity of most congregations.
Pennant states, without quoting his authority, that in a priest named Sir Thomas Newman
He had just before told us that the Catholic penitents, not having been in danger of burning, never bore fagots. We do not know what reliance is to be placed upon his next assertion, that the last person who did penance at Paul's Cross was a seminary priest, who made his recantation in .
of the latest instances noticed of the pronouncing of an anathema or curse from this pulpit was in , in which year, as we are told by Fabian,
This Edmond de la Pole was the unfortunate Duke of Suffolk, nephew of King Edward IV., his jealousy and fears of whom made Henry VII. miserable for a great part of his reign, and who, afterwards falling into the hands of that king's more daring son and successor, was by him put to death, without even the form of a trial, in .
On the , a grand display of state and pageantry was made here on occasion of the publication of the Pope's sentence against Luther. An account of the ceremonial is quoted by Dugdale from of the Cotton manuscripts. ,
Legate de latere, as well as Cardinal and Archbishop of York, attended by
presented himself at the entrance to the cathedral, where he was
by the Dean; after which he advanced
| under a canopy of cloth of gold, borne by doctors, to the high altar, and there made his oblation. This done, he proceeded forth to the Cross in the churchyard, where he placed himself on a scaffold erected for the purpose, taking his seat |
On his right hand sate on the pace, or step, where he set his feet, the Pope's ambassador, and next to him the Archbishop of Canterbury; on his left the Emperor's ambassador, with the Bishop of Durham next to him:
concludes the account,
would be inclined to think that very little attention could be given to many of these sermons at Paul's Cross, when the senses of the audience were occupied and amused, in the way we have seen, all the time the preacher was addressing them, by the exhibition of persons performing penance with fagots on their shoulders, or lighted tapers in their hands, or pigs on their heads, or by such raree-shows as the Boxley rood, or by this roasting and crackling of heretical books in a great fire blazing away in the midst of them. This place of worship under the open sky must have presented usually rather an animated scene. Many more of the Reformers' books were afterwards burned here, with vain enough rage and spite. Thus Fox notes, that in the month of ,
And after this we read of baskets of books being brought to be burned in the churchyard on several occasions of grand ceremonial.
The great era of preaching at Paul's Cross began with the revolt of Henry VIII. against the authority of the Roman see, and the struggle of more than a quarter of a century between the religions that followed. During all that period of commotion and vicissitude, from the middle of Henry's reign to the accession of Elizabeth, for a great part of which people, when they went to bed at night, hardly knew of what religion they might rise in the morning, the conflict between the old and the new faith, in so far as it was waged by eloquence and argument, and on a popular arena, was chiefly carried on here. of Henry's measures, after he had taken his bold resolution of setting about the overthrow of the papal supremacy in England, was to secure this station. of a series of propositions submitted to the Council in , was to the following effect:--
[n.51.1] Accordingly Stow tells us that during the next session of Parliament--which extended from the , to the , and was that in which the Act was passed abolishing the jurisdiction of the Court of Rome-
The bishops, while deeming it prudent to yield at least a formal obedience to the royal order for the present, probably also thought it safest that so delicate a topic should only be handled by themselves. Another subject, however, which is recorded to have been discussed by some of the preachers at the Cross about this time, may be thought to have been of a still more delicate nature-the pending case of Henry's divorce from Queen Catherine. Strype relates that a friar called Father Robinson, belonging to the Franciscan monastery at Greenwich, offered to maintain the queen's cause in a public disputation with an abbot who had preached at Paul's Cross in favour of the divorce.
says the historian,
It may be presumed that the monk was saved the trouble of carrying his good intentions into execution: in fact, in not many months, he and his whole convent were turned adrift by the rampant despot with as little ceremony as the Pope and the Queen.
In the next reign the pulpit at Paul's Cross was filled by the most eminent preachers of the Reformation. Here Latimer and Ridley frequently proclaimed to crowds of eager listeners that testimony which they both afterwards sealed with their blood. Ridley, in acuteness and literary accomplishment the of the fathers of the English Reformation, preached a famous sermon at Paul's Cross on the sacrament of the Lord's Supper towards the close of the year , being then Bishop of Rochester. But, we confess,
|we would rather have heard honest old Latimer, plain and homely as he was, sometimes to the verge of the absurd and the ludicrous, or beyond it, yet shrewd withal and full of matter, and always interesting from the very boldness and directness of his appeals, and the goodness of heart and genuine simplicity of character that shone in everything he said. Latimer preached his sermon at Paul's Cross on New Year's Day, , and his and on the following Sundays. What is called his Sermon of , which is among those in the printed collection, was probably of these, although it is stated to have been|
| preached on the , which would fall on a Wednesday in that year. It was preached, we are told, in the Shrouds, which appears to have been a sort of covered gallery attached to the wall of the cathedral, in which, probably, the more distinguished portion of the congregation used commonly to be seated, and where the preacher also sometimes took his station when the weather was coarse.[n.52.1]
Latimer was at this time nearly years of age; but he was as stout in spirit, if not in body, as ever; and the of them that has been preserved affords evidence sufficient that, in these sermons at Paul's Cross, he did not mince matters in telling his audience of their besetting sins, or spare either small or great. While he was calling upon the rich men of London to repent, and denouncing them as more deserving of God's wrath than the men of Nebo, for their |
it is highly probable that the Lord Mayor himself, and many of the most opulent of his fellow-citizens, were present to profit by the rebuke; nor is it very unlikely that he might also have literally in his eye some wincing auditor to whom his words would come still more pungently home, when he next proceeded to assail the
--some occupied in the king's matters, some as ambassadors, some of the privy council, some to furnish the court, some as lords of the parliament, some as presidents, some as comptrollers of mints-all
that they could not attend to their proper professional duty as God's ploughmen. And after the buzz of admiration which would reward this more elaborate and ambitious passage, we may conceive the something approaching to hilarity into which the excited hearers would relax, when the preacher, after a pause, went on:--
The description of the Devil's episcopacy is carried
|on to a much greater length, and would, we may be sure, be highly relished by all present, except, perhaps, as we have said, by any of the bishops, if they were there, who might consider it as rather personal.|
The most remarkable occasion on which Ridley officiated at Paul's Cross, in this reign, was that on which the new service book was used for the time.
[n.53.1] It was a zealous time, as well as an interesting. occasion, when people could thus be detained hearing a sermon in the open air, in a noisome churchyard, till o'clock on a night in November.
Another memorable Paul's Cross sermon of Ridley's was that which he preached, by command of the council, on Sunday, the , a few days after the death of King Edward, warning the people of the dangers that would have followed the accession of Mary, and setting forth the title of Lady Jane Grey, at that moment regarded by his faction as the reigning queen. Lady Jane's government only lasted for another Sunday; and on that day, the , the sermon at the Cross was preached by John Rogers, renowned as the of Mary's martyrs, who was then reader of . According to Strype, Rogers was more wary than Ridley had been, preaching only upon the gospel of the day.[n.53.2]
As soon as Mary was fairly seated on the throne, the pulpit at Cross was once more taken possession of by the friends of the old religion. Here, on the , a famous sermon was preached by Dr. Bourn, parson of High Ongar, in Essex, and chaplain to the queen, before the lord mayor and aldermen, the Lord Courteney, and a numerous audience of all classes.
At last a dagger was thrown at the preacher, which stuck in the pulpit; and then Rogers, who was present, and his friend Bradford, another eminent Protestant preacher, having interfered with some success to moderate the tumult, managed to convey Bourn away to a house in the neighbourhood.[n.53.3]
| On the next Sunday the sermon at Paul's Cross was preached by Dr. Watson, chaplain to Bishop Gardiner, guarded by of the Queen's guards; there being present, besides the lord mayor and aldermen, |
[n.54.1] The change of doctrine does not appear to have diminished the attendance upon the sermons. After the parliament met in October,
Yet the post of preacher here still continued to be of some danger. On the , while Dr. Pendleton was preaching, between and o'clock in the forenoon, a gun was fired at him, the tin bullet from which struck the wall a very little way over his head. Pendleton had been a zealous professor of the reformed doctrines in the late king's time.[n.54.2] On the , Dr. Rud, another apostate from Protestantism, appeared in the pulpit, who took the opportunity of making a frank profession of his change of sentiments, and particularly of telling the people how greatly he repented having taken a wife--of whom, however, he had of course by this time had the satisfaction of having got rid. On the next Sunday, the , Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, and Lord Chancellor, preached at the Cross;
On the we find it noted that the old Bishop of Durham, Tonstall, preached in the Shrowds, as we have seen was also done by old Latimer. On the another very illustrious congregation assembled to hear Gardiner preach at the Cross: Cardinal Pole
and about o'clock, King Philip himself arrived by land from .[n.54.3] On the , another sermon of Gardiner's was attended by bishops, the lord mayor and aldermen, and many of the judges; and on the of the same month, when Dr. Watson, Bishop of Lincoln, preached,
But lord mayor, aldermen, judges, and bishops, were all soon after this obliged to suit themselves, as best they could, to another change. The breath had been only days out of Mary's body, when on the the pulpit at Paul's Cross was mounted by Dr. Bill, the new queen's chaplain, and made to resound once more with the doctrines formerly preached by Ridley
| and Latimer. But the following curious passage from Stow's Annals, which has not been noticed by recent writers, shows that this alert commencement soon received a check:-- |
After this, however, Home, Jewel, and other eminent divines of the re-established Protestant church, vindicated the new order of things at Paul's Cross; and the sermons delivered there every Sunday, as of old, appear to have been well attended throughout the reign of Elizabeth. Stow has described at great length the gorgeous state in which her Majesty, attended by the Earl of Essex and a great number of ladies of honour, came from to the Cathedral on the , to hear the thanksgiving sermon for the destruction of the Spanish Armada, preached at the Cross by Doctor Pierce, bishop of Salisbury: she took her seat in a closet made for the purpose in the north wall of the church, over against the Cross. On the (), the same chronicler records,
The next year, while the lord mayor and aldermen were attending a sermon here, an order came to them from the queen for a levy of a able-bodied men to assist in raising the siege of Calais, then besieged by the Spaniards; upon which, we are told, they immediately quitted their devotions, and exerted themselves so actively, that they had the men in readiness for marching before morning.
Nor was the glory of Paul's Cross over till many years after this date. James I. came in great state on horseback, from , to hear a sermon preached from this famous pulpit by Dr. John King, Bishop of London, on Midlent Sunday, the . And Pennant is mistaken in supposing this was the last sermon ever preached here. It was not even the last attended by royalty; for, on the , Charles I., like his predecessors, also came in state to , and, after having attended the service in the cathedral, took his seat in a place prepared for him, and heard the sermon at the
| Cross.[n.56.1] But this was very nearly the last of those sermons delivered in the open air. In , while the cathedral was undergoing extensive repairs, and the churchyard was occupied with masons and building materials, the sermons were removed into the choir; and it does not appear that the old pulpit out of doors was ever again occupied. At last, by the votes of both Houses of the Long Parliament, on the and , for the abolishing of bishops, deans, and chapters, |
to quote the impressive words of its historian,
[n.34.1] Parentalia, p. 266.
[n.36.1] Mansell, the chief justice, whose high-handed style of going through with his work, and skill withal in wielding the fierce democracy, Henry found so serviceable in the above contest with the London magistrates, was, like many of the most eminent statesmen and lawyers of those days, a churchman. He is sometimes designated the King's Chaplain; but for munificence of spirit, as well as for the place which he held in the King's favour, Mansell may be styled the Wolsey of the thirteenth century. The following notice is given by Stow, in his Survey, on the authority of Matthew Paris :-- In the year of Christ 1256, the fortieth of Henry III., John Mansell, the King's counsellor and a priest, did invite to a stately dinner the kings and queens of England and Scotland, Edward the King's son, earls, barons, and knights, the Bishop of London, and divers citizens; whereby his guests did grow to such a number that his house at Tothill could not receive them, but that he was forced to set up tents and pavilions to receive his guests; whereof there was such a multitude, that seven hundred mess of meat did not serve for the first dinner. In his Annals, Stow adds- The like dinner had not been made by any chaplain before. Mansell is affirmed, in the Chronicle of Mailros, to have held three hundred benefices in the English Church.
[n.37.1] See also Stow's Annals, eod. an.
[n.37.2] See also Stow's Annals, eod. an.
[n.38.1] Dugdale, p. 12.
[n.40.1] Dugdale, on the authority of Godwin de Praesulibus. Kemp, whom Dugdale here, by mistake, calls Thomas, twas afterwards successively archbishop of York and archbishop of Canterbury, besides being lord chancellor and a cardinal.
[n.40.2] We transcribe a few. sentences, modernising the old spelling, where it does not affect the sound, to give the curious reader a taste of what sort of preaching was to be heard at Paul's Cross nearly five hundred years ago-- Right as ye seeth, Wimbeldon begins his explanation of his text, that, in tilling of the material vine, there ben divers labours; for some cutten away the void branches, some maken forks and rails to beaten up the vine, and some diggen away the old earth fro the rote, and lain there fatter; and all this offices ben so necessary to the vine, that, if any of them fail, it shall harm greatly other [or] destroy the vines; for, but if [unless] the vine be cut, she shall wax wild; but if she be railed, she shall be overgo with nettles and weeds; but if the rote be fatted with dong, she for feebleness should wax barren ;--right so in the Church beth needful these three offices; priesthood, knighthood, and labourers. To priests it falleth to cut away the void branches of sins with the swerd of her [their] tongue. To knighthood it falleth to letten [prevent] wrongs and thefts to hen done, and to maintain God's law and them that hen teachers thereof, and also to keep the land from enemies of other lands. And to labourers it falleth to travail bodilich, and, with their sore sweat, getten out of the earth bodilech livehood for hem [themsellves] and other parties. Even this simple passage is not wholly unsuggestive as to the state of things in England in that day, were such our present subject. The only other quotation we shall make is of a few sentences from Wimbeldon's picture of the clergy of his day. How the life of priests, he exclaims, is changed! They be clothen as knights, they speaken as earls, other [orl of winning as marchants ; they riden as princes; and all that is thus spended is of the goods of poor men and of Christ's heritage. .... In these [things] travaileth prelates, that ben too much blent with too much shining of riches, that make them houses like churches in greatness, that with divers pointries coloren their chambers, that with divers clothings of colours make images gay; hut the poor man for default of clothes beggeth, and with an empty womb crieth at the door.
[n.48.1] Strype says the 6th, but that was not a Sunday.
[n.51.1] Strype, Mem. i. 151.
[n.52.1] From what Latimer says in one of his sermons, it would seem that in no circumstances could it have been very agreeable either to preach or to attend the service at Paul's Cross:-- I do much marvel that London, being so rich a city, hath not a burying-place without; for, no doubt, it is an unwholesome thing to bury within the city, specially at such a time when there is great sickness, so that many die together. I think, verily, that many a man taketh his death in Paul's churchyard; and this I speak of experience, for I myself, when I have been there in some mornings to hear the sermons, have felt such an ill-favoured, unwholesome savour, that I was the worse for it a great while after. Andre think no less but it be the occasion of much sickness and diseases. --Sermon for the Third Sunday in Advent, 1552,
[n.53.2] Memorials, iii. 3.-Stow, in his Annals, says that Ridley's sermon, wherein he vehemently persuaded the people in the title of the Lady Jane, late proclaimed Queen, and inveighed earnestly against the title of Lady Mary, was preached on the 16th.
[n.54.2] On Sunday, the 8th of April, this year, a cat, with her head shorn, and the likeness of a vestment cast over her, with her fore feet tied together, and a round piece of paper like a singing cake betwixt them, was hanged on a gallows in Cheap, near to the Cross, in the parish of St. Matthew, which cat, being taken down, was carried to the Bishop of London (Bonnor), and be caused the same to be showed at Paul's Cross by the preacher, Dr. Pendleton. --Stow's Annals.
[n.54.3] Stow, Annals.
[n.56.1] Continuation of Stow's Annals.-There is a sermon in print, entitled The White Wolf; preached at Paul's Cross, February II, 1627, by Stephen Denison, Minister of Katherine Cree Church.
[n.56.2] Dugdale's History of St. Paul's Cathedral, p. 109; edit, of 1818.