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Account of a Tour in Normandy, Vol. II. (of 2) by Dawson Turner

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ACCOUNT OF A TOUR IN NORMANDY Volume II by Dawson Turner

LETTERS FROM NORMANDY,

ADDRESSED
TO THE REV. JAMES LAYTON, B.A.
OF
CATFIELD, NORFOLK.

UNDERTAKEN CHIEFLY FOR THE PURPOSE OF INVESTIGATING THE ARCHITECTURAL
ANTIQUITIES OF THE DUCHY, WITH OBSERVATIONS ON ITS HISTORY, ON THE
COUNTRY, AND ON ITS INHABITANTS.

ILLUSTRATED
WITH NUMEROUS ENGRAVINGS.

CONTENTS.

LETTER XIV.

Ducler--St. Georges de Bocherville--M. Langlois

LETTER XV.

Abbey of Jumieges--Its History--Architectural Details--Tombs of Agnes
Sorel and of the Enervez

LETTER XVI.

Gournay--Castle of Neufmarche--Castle and Church of Gisors

LETTER XVII.

Andelys--Fountain of Saint Clotilda--La Grande Maison--Chateau
Gaillard--Ecouis

LETTER XVIII.

Evreux--Cathedral--Abbey of St. Taurinus--Ancient History

LETTER XIX.

Vicinity of Evreux--Chateau de Navarre--Cocherel--Pont-Audemer--
Montfort-sur-Risle--Harfleur--Bourg-Achard--French Wedding

LETTER XX.

Moulineaux--Castle of Robert the Devil--Bourg-Theroude--Abbey of
Bec--Brionne

LETTER XXI.

Bernay--Broglie--Orbec--Lisieux--Cathedral--Ecclesiastical History

LETTER XXII.

Site and Ruins of the Capital of the Lexovii--History of
Lisieux--Monasteries of the Diocese--Ordericus Vitalis--M.
Dubois--Letter from the Princess Borghese

LETTER XXIII.

French Police--Ride from Lisieux to Caen--Cider--General Appearance
and Trade of Caen--English resident there

LETTER XXIV.

Historians of Caen--Towers and Fortifications--Chateau de la
Gendarmerie--Castle--Churches of St. Stephen, St. Nicholas, St.
Peter, St. John, and St. Michel de Vaucelles

LETTER XXV.

Royal Abbeys of the Holy Trinity and St. Stephen--Funeral of the
Conqueror, Exhumation of his Remains, and Destruction of his Monument

LETTER XXVI.

Palace of the Conqueror--Heraldic Tiles--Portraits of William and
Matilda--Museum--Public Library--University--Academy--Eminent
Men--History of Caen

LETTER XXVII.

Vieux--La Maladerie--Chesnut Timber--Caen Stone--History of
Bayeux--Tapestry

LETTER XXVIII.

Cathedral of Bayeux--Canon of Cambremer--Cope of St. Regnobert--Odo

LETTER XXIX.

Church and Castle of Creully--Falaise--Castle--Churches--Fair of
Guibray

LETTER XXX.

Rock and Chapel of St. Adrien--Pont-de-l'Arche--Priory of the two
Lovers--Abbey of Bonport--Louviers--Gaillon--Vernon

APPENDIX I.

APPENDIX II.

INDEX.

LIST OF PLATES.

Plate 26 Sculpture upon a capital in the Chapter-House at St. Georges

Plate 27 M. Langlois

Plate 28 Musicians, from the Chapter-House at St. Georges

Plate 29 Distant View of the Abbey of St. Jumieges

Plate 30 Ancient trefoil-headed Arches in ditto

Plate 31 Distant of the Castle of Gisors

Plate 32 Banded Pillar in the Church of ditto

Plate 33 Distant View of Chateau Gaillard

Plate 34 Gothic Puteal, at Evreux

Plate 35 Leaden Font at Bourg-Achard

Plate 36 Ancient Tomb in the Cathedral at Lisieux

Plate 37 Head-Dress of Females, as Caen

Plate 38 Tower in the _Chateau de Calix_, at ditto

Plate 39 Tower and Spire of St. Peter's Church, at ditto

Plate 40 Sculpture upon a Capital in ditto

Plate 41 Tower of St. John's Church, at Caen

Plate 42 Monastery of St. Stephen, at ditto

Plate 43 Fireplace in the Conqueror's Palace, at Ditto

Plate 44 Profile of M. Lamouroux

Plate 45 Figure from the Bayeux Tapestry

Plate 46 Sculpture at Bayeux

Plate 47 Ornaments in the Spandrils of the Arches in Bayeux Cathedral

Plate 48 Castle of Falaise

Plate 49 Elevation of the West Front of _La Delivrande_

Plate 50 Font at Magneville

LETTERS FROM NORMANDY.

LETTER XIV.

DUCLER--ST. GEORGES DE BOCHERVILLE--M. LANGLOIS.

(_Ducler, July_, 1818.)

You will look in vain for Ducler in the _livre des postes_; yet this
little town, which is out of the common road of the traveller, becomes
an interesting station to the antiquary, it being situated nearly
mid-way between two of the most important remains of ancient
ecclesiastical architecture in Normandy--the abbeys of St. Georges de
Bocherville and of Jumieges.--The accommodation afforded by the inns at
Bocherville and Jumieges, is but a poor substitute for the hospitality
of the suppressed abbeys; and, as even the antiquary must eat and
perhaps sleep, he who visits either St. George or the holy Virgin, will
do well to take his _fricandeau_ and his bed, at the place whence I am
writing.

At a period when the right bank of the Seine from Harfleur to Rouen
displayed an almost uninterrupted line or monastic buildings, Ducler
also boasted of a convent[1], which must have been of some importance,
as early as the middle of the seventh century.--King Childeric IInd,
granted the forest of Jumieges to the convent of the same name and that
of St. Vandrille; and St. Ouen was directed by the monarch to divide the
endowment between the two foundations. His award did not give
satisfaction to St. Philibert, the abbot of Jumieges, who maintained
that his house had not received a fair allotment. The proposition was
stoutly resisted by St. Lambert, abbot of St. Vandrille; and the dispute
was at length settled by the saints withdrawing their claims, and ceding
the surplus land to the abbey of Ducler. St. Denys was the patron of
this abbey; and to him also the present parochial church is dedicated:
it is of Norman architecture; the tower is surrounded by a row of
fantastic corbels; and a considerable quantity of painted glass yet
remains in the windows. The village itself (for it is nothing more than
a village, though honored by French geographers with the name of a
_bourg_), consists of a single row of houses, placed immediately under
the steep chalk cliff which borders the Seine. The face of the cliff is
also indented by excavations, in which the poorer inhabitants dwell,
almost like the Troglodytes of old. The situation of Ducler, and that of
the two neighboring abbeys, is delightful in summer and in fine weather.
In winter it must be cold and cheerless; for, besides being close to a
river of so great breadth, it looks upon a flat marshy shore, whence
exhalations copiously arise. The view from our chamber window this
morning presented volumes of mist rolling on with the stream. The tide
was setting in fast downwards; and the water glided along in silent
rapidity, involved in clouds.

The village of Bocherville, or, as it is more commonly called, of St.
Georges, the place borrowing its name from the patron saint of the
abbey, lies, at the distance of about two leagues from Rouen. The road
is exceedingly pleasing. Every turning presents a fresh view of the
river; while, on looking back, the city itself is added to the
landscape; and, as we approach, the abbey-church is seen towering upon
the eminence which it commands.

The church of St. Georges de Bocherville, called in old charters _de
Baucherville_, and in Latin _de Balcheri_ or _Baucheri villa_, was built
by Ralph de Tancarville, the preceptor of the Conqueror in his youth,
and his chamberlain in his maturer age. The descendants of the founder
were long the patrons and advocates of the monastery. The Tancarvilles,
names illustrious in Norman, no less than in English, story, continued
during many centuries to regard it as under their particular protection:
they enriched it with their donations whilst alive, and they selected it
as the spot to contain their remains when they should be no more.

The following portion of the charter, which puts us in possession of the
indisputable aera of the erection of the church, is preserved by
Mabillon[2]. It is the Conqueror who speaks.--"Radulfus, meus magister,
aulaeque et camerae princeps, instinctu divino tactus, ecclesiam
supradicti martyris Georgii, quae erat parva, re-edificare a fundamentis
inchoavit, et ex proprio in modum crucis consummavit."

The Monarch and his Queen condescended to gratify a faithful and
favorite servant, by endowing his establishment. The corpse of the
sovereign himself was also brought hither from St. Gervais, by the monks
and clergy, in solemn procession, before it was carried to Caen[3] for
interment.

Ralph de Tancarville, however, was not fortunate in the selection of
the inmates whom he planted in his monastery. His son, in the reign of
Henry Ist, dismissed the canons for whom it was first founded, and
replaced them by a colony of monks from St. Evroul. Ordericus Vitalis,
himself of the fraternity of St. Evroul, commemorates and of course
praises the fact. Such changes are of frequent occurrence in
ecclesiastical history; and the apprehension of being rejected from an
opulent and well-endowed establishment, may occasionally have
contributed, by the warning example, to correct the irregularities of
other communities. A century later, the abbot of St. Georges was
compelled to appeal to the pope, in consequence of an attempt on the
part of his brethren at St. Evroul, to degrade his convent into a mere
cell, dependent upon theirs.--The chronicle of the abbey is barren of
events of general interest; nor do its thirty-one abbots appear to have
been men of whom there was much more to be said, than that they arrived
at their dignity on such a year, and quitted it on such another. Of the
monks, we are told that, in the fifteenth century, though their number
was only eight, the dignitaries included, the daily task allotted them
was greater than would in any of the most rigid establishments, in
latter days, have been imposed upon forty brethren in a week!

Inconsiderable as is the abbey, in an historical point of view, the
church of St. Georges de Bocherville is of singular importance, inasmuch
as it is one of the land-marks of Norman architecture. William, in his
charter, simply styles himself _Dux Normannorum_; it therefore was
granted a few years before the conquest. The building has suffered
little, either from the hands of the destroyers, or of those who do
still more mischief, the repairers; and it is certainly at once the most
genuine and the most magnificent specimen of the circular style, now
existing in Upper Normandy.--The west front is wholly of the time of the
founder, with the exception of the upper portion of the towers that
flank it on either side. In these are windows of nearly the earliest
pointed style; and they are probably of the same date as the
chapter-house, which was built in the latter part of the twelfth
century. The effect of the front is imposing: its general simplicity
contrasts well with the rich ornaments of the arched door-way, which is
divided into five systems of mouldings, all highly wrought, and
presenting almost every pattern commonly found in Norman buildings. A
label encircles the whole, the inner edge of which is indented into
obtuse pyramids, erroneously called lozenges. The capitals of the
columns supporting the arch are curiously sculptured: upon the second to
the left, on entering, are Adam and Eve, in the act of eating the
forbidden fruit; upon the opposite one, is represented the Flight into
Egypt. Normandy does not contain, I believe, a richer arch; but very
many indeed are to be seen in England, even in our village churches,
superior in decoration, though not, perhaps, in size; for this at St.
Georges is on a very large scale: on each side of it is a smaller blank
arch, with a single moulding and a single pillar. Two tiers of
circular-headed windows of equal size fill up the front.--The rest of
the exterior may be said to be precisely as it was left by the original
builders, excepting only the insertion of a pointed window near the
central tower.

The inside is at least equally free from modern alterations or
improvements. No other change whatever is to be traced in it than such
as were required to repair the injuries done it during the religious
wars; and these were wholly confined to a portion of the roof, and of
the upper part of the wall on the south side of the nave. The groined
roof, though posterior to the original date of the building, is perhaps
of the thirteenth century. The nave itself terminates towards the east
in a semi-circular apsis, according to the custom of the times; and
there, as well as at the opposite extremity of the building, it has a
double tier of windows, and has columns more massy than those in the
body of the church. The aisles end in straight lines; but, within, a
recess is made in the thickness of the wall, for the purpose of
admitting an altar. Both the transepts are divided within the church, at
a short distance from their extremities, into two stories, by a vaulted
roof of the same height as the triforium.--M. Le Prevost, who has very
kindly communicated to me the principal part of these details, has
observed the same to be the case in some other contemporary buildings in
Normandy. On the eastern side of each transept is a small chapel,
ending, like the choir, in a semi-circular apsis, which rises no higher
than the top of the basement story. A cable moulding runs round the
walls of the whole church within.--You and I, in our own country, have
often joined in admiring the massy grandeur of Norman architecture,
exemplified in the nave of Norwich cathedral: at St. Georges I was still
more impressed by the noble effect of semi-circular arcades, seen as
they are here on a still larger scale, and in their primitive state,
uninterrupted and undebased by subsequent additions.

On closer examination, the barbarous style of the sculpture forces
itself upon the eye. Towards the western end of the building the
capitals are comparatively plain: they become more elaborate on
approaching the choir. Some of them are imitations or modifications (and
it may even be said beautiful ones) of the Grecian model; but in general
they are strangely grotesque. Many represent quadrupeds, or dragons, or
birds, and commonly with two bodies, and a single head attached to any
part rather than the neck. On others is seen "the human form divine,"
here praying, there fighting; here devouring, there in the act of being
devoured; not uncommonly too the men, if men they must be called, are
disfigured by enormous heads with great flapping ears, or loll out an
endless length of tongue.--One is almost led to conceive that Schedel,
the compiler of the _Nuremberg Chronicle_, had a set of Norman capitals
before his eyes, when he published his inimitable series of monsters.
His "homines cynocephali," and others with "aures tam magnas ut totum
corpus contegant," and those again whose under lips serve them as
coverlids, may all find their prototypes, or nearly so, in the carvings
of St. Georges.

The most curious sculptures, however, in the church, are two square
bas-reliefs, opposite to one another, upon the spandrils of the arches,
in the walls that divide the extremities of the transepts into different
stories[4]. They are cut out of the solid stone, in the same manner as
the subjects on the block of a wood-engraving: one of these tablets
represents a prelate holding a crosier in his left hand, while the two
fore-fingers of the right are elevated in the act of giving the
blessing; the other contains two knights on horseback, jousting at a
tournament. They are armed with lance and buckler, and each of them has
his head covered with a pointed helmet, which terminates below in a
nasal, like the figures upon the Bayeux tapestry.--This coincidence is
interesting, as deciding a point of some moment towards establishing the
antiquity of that celebrated relic, by setting it beyond a doubt that
such helmets were used anterior to the conquest; for it is certain that
these basso-relievos are coeval with the building which contains them.

This church affords admirable subjects for the pencil. It should be
drawn in every part: all is entire; all original; the corbel-stones that
support the cornice on the exterior are perfect, as well along the choir
and nave, as upon the square central steeple: each of the sides of this
latter is ornamented with a double tier of circular arches. The
buttresses to the church are, like those of the chapel of St. Julien,
shallow and unbroken; and they are ranged, as there, between the
windows. At the east end alone they take the shape of small
semi-cylindrical columns of disproportionate length.

[Illustration: Sculpture upon a capital in the Chapter-House at St.
Georges]

The monastic buildings, which were probably erected about the year
1700, now serve as a manufactory. Between them and the church is
situated the chapter-house, which was built towards the end of the
twelfth century, at a period when the pointed architecture had already
begun to take place of the circular style. Its date is supplied in the
_Gallia Christiana_, where we read, that Victor, the second abbot,
"obiit longaevus dierum, idibus Martii, seu XVIII calendas Aprilis, ante
annum 1211; sepultusque est sub tabula marmorea in capitulo quod
erexerat."

We found it in a most ruinous and dilapidated state, yet extremely
curious; indeed not less so than the church. Its front to the west
exhibits a row of three semi-circular arches, with an ornament on the
archivolt altogether different from what I recollect to have seen
elsewhere[5]. The inside corresponds in profuse decoration with this
entrance; but the arches in it are all pointed. An entablature of
beautiful workmanship is carried round the whole building, which is now
used as a mill: it was crowded with dirty children belonging to the
manufactory; and the confusion which prevailed, was far from being
favorable to the quiet lucubrations of an antiquary. In no part of the
church is the sculpture equally curious; and it is very interesting to
observe the progress which this branch of the art had made in so short a
time. Two or three of the capitals to the arches in front, seem to
include one continued action, taken apparently from the history of
Joshua. Another capital, of which I send you a sketch from the pencil of
M. Le Prevost, is a great curiosity. The group which it contains, is
nearly a duplicate of the supposed statue of William the Conqueror at
Caen. In all probability it represents some legendary story, though the
subject is not satisfactorily ascertained. Against the pillars that
support these arches, were affixed whole-length figures, or cariatides,
in alto-relievo. Three of them still remain, though much mutilated; two
women and a man. They hold in their hands labels, with inscriptions that
fall down to their feet in front. One of the females has her hair
disposed in long braided tresses, which reach on either side to her
girdle. In this respect, as well as in the style of the sculpture and
costume, there is a resemblance between these statues and those on the
portals at St. Denys and at Chartres, as well as those formerly on that
of St. Germain des Pres, at Paris, all which are figured by Montfaucon
in his _Monumens de la Monarchie Francaise_, and are supposed by him to
be of the times of the Merovingian or Carlovingian dynasty; but
subsequent writers have referred them to the eleventh or twelfth
century.

[Illustration: M. Langlois]

It was in this chapter-house that M. Langlois[6] found, among a heap of
stones, a most interesting capital, that had formerly been attached to a
double column. By his kindness, I inclose you two drawings of it. One of
them shews it in its entire form as a capital; the other exhibits the
bas-relief carved upon it[7].

[Illustration: Bas-relief on capital]

The various injuries sustained by the building, render it impossible to
ascertain the spot which this capital originally occupied; but M. Le
Prevost supposes that it belonged to some gate of the cloister, which is
now destroyed. A more curious series of musical instruments is, perhaps,
no where to be found; and it is a subject upon which authors in general
are peculiarly unsatisfactory. I am told that, in an old French romance,
the names of upwards of twenty are enumerated, whose forms and nature
are quite unknown at the present day; while, on the other hand, we are
all of us aware that painting and sculpture supply figures of many, for
which it would be extremely difficult or impossible to find names[8].

[Illustration: Musicians, from the Chapter-House at St. Georges]

The chapter-house, previously to the revolution, contained a
tomb-stone[9], uninscribed and exhibiting only a sculptured sword, under
which it was supposed that either Ralph de Tancarville himself, the
founder of the abbey, or his grandson, William, lay interred. It is of
the latter that the records of the monastery tell, how, on the fifth day
after he girded himself with the military belt, he came to the church,
and deposited his sword upon the altar, and subsequently redeemed it by
various donations, and by confirming to the monks their right to the
several benefices in his domain, which had been ceded to them by his
grandfather.--Here then, I quit you: in a few days I shall have paid my
devotions at the shrine of Jumieges:--meanwhile, in the language of the
writers of the elder day, I close this sheet with.

EXPLICIT FELICITER Stus. GEORGIUS DE BOCHERVILLA;
DEO GRATIAS.

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 1: _Histoire de la Haute Normandie_, II. p. 266. VOL. II.]

[Footnote 2: _Ann. Benedict._ III. p. 674, 675.--This charter was not
among the archives of the monastery; but I am informed by M. Le Prevost,
that several are still in existence, most of them granted by the family
of the founder, but some by Kings of England. One of the latter is by
Richard Coeur de Lion, and his seal of red wax still remains appended to
it, in fine preservation. The seal, on one side, represents the king
seated upon his throne, with a pointed beard, having his crown on his
head, and a sword in one hand, and sceptre in the other: on the other
side, he is on horseback, with his head covered with a cylindrical
helmet, surmounted with a very remarkable crest, in the form of a fan:
on his shield are plainly distinguishable the three lions of
England.--From among the charters granted by the Tancarville family, M.
Le Prevost has sent me copies of two which have never yet been printed;
but which appear to deserve insertion here. One is from Lucy, daughter
of William de Tancarville, and grand-daughter of Ralph, the
chamberlain.--"Notum sit Ricardo de Vernon and Willelmo Camerario de
Tancarvilla, et veteribus et juvenibus, quod Lucia, filia Willelmi,
Camerarii de Tancarvilla, pro anima sua et pro animabus antecessorum
suorum, ad ecclesiam Sti. Georgii de Bauchervilla dedit molendinum de
Waldinivilla, quod est subter aliud molendinum et molendinum de
Waldinval, libere et quiete, et insuper ecclesiam de Seonvilla, salva
elemosina Roberti sacerdotis in vita sua, si dignus est habendi eam. Et
post mortem Willelmi capellani sui de Sancto Flocello, ad ecclesiam
supra dictam dedit decimam de vavassoribus de Seolvilla, quam dedit in
elemosina habendam Willelmo capellano tota vita bene et in pace et
secure, et decimas de custodiis totius terre sue que est in
Constantino.--Ego Lucia do hanc elemosinam pro anima mea et pro
antecessoribus ad ecclesiam Sanctii Georgii; et qui auferet ab ea et
auferetur ab eo regnum Dei. Amen.--Testibus, Ricardo de Haia et Matille
uxore sua et Nigello de Chetilivilla et hominibus de Sancto
Flocello."--To this is added, in a smaller hand-writing, probably the
lady's own autograph, the following sentence:--"Et precor vos quod
ecclesia Sancti Georgii non decrescatur in tempore vestro pro Dei amore
et meo de elemosinis patris mei neque de meis."--There is still farther
subjoined, in a different hand-writing, and in a much paler ink:--"Haec
omnia Ricardus de Vernon libenter concessit."--The other charter was
granted by William the Younger, and details a curious custom
occasionally observed in the middle ages, in making donations:--

"Universis sancte ecclesie fidelibus. Willelmus junior camerarius in
domino salutem. Notum sit presentibus et futuris, quod ego Willelmus
junior camerarius quinto die post susceptum militie cingulum veni apud
Sanctum Georgium, ibique cum honorifica processione susceperunt me Abbas
Ludovicus et monachi cum magno gaudio letantes; et ibi obtuli gladium
meum super altare Sti. Georgii, et tunc consilio et admonitione sociorum
meorum nobilium virorum qui mecum venerant, scilicet Roberti des Is,
dapiferi mei, et Rogerii de Calli, et Johannis de Lunda, et aliorum
plurium, redemi gladium meum per dona et confirmationem plurium
ecclesiarum, quas ipso die concessi eisdem meo dono, et, sicut avus
meus, fundator illius monasterii dederat, confirmavi; scilicet ecclesiam
de Abetot et ecclesiam de Espretot cum decima, et ecclesiam Sancti
Romani cum duabus partibus decime, et similiter ecclesiam de
Tibermaisnil: confirmavi etiam dona militum meorum et amicorum quae
dederunt ipso die abbatie in perpetuam elemosynam, Rogerius de Calli
dedit XX Sot. annuatim; Robertus de Mortuomari X Sot.; Robertus des Is X
solidos; Johannes de Lunda, cognatus meus X Sot.; Andreas de Bosemuneel
X solidos, vel decimam de una carrucatura terre ... Humfridus de
Willerio X solid.; Willelmus de Bodevilla X acras terre; Garinus de Mois
V solid.; Adam de Mirevilla X solid.; Robert. de Fuschennis X solid.;
Lesra de Drumara I acram terre."]

[Footnote 3: The following are the words of Ordericus Vitalis, upon the
subject:

"Religiosi tandem viri, Clerici et Monachi, collectis viribus et intimis
sensibus, processionem ordinaverunt: honeste induti, crucibus et
thuribus, ad Sanctum Georgium processerunt, et animam Regis, secundum
morem sanctae Christianitatis Deo commendaverunt."--_Duchesne, Scriptores
Normanni_, p. 661.]

[Footnote 4: See _Cotman's Architectural Antiquities of Normandy_, t.
10. f. A. and B.]

[Footnote 5: See _Cotman's Architectural Antiquities of Normandy_, t.
11. last figure.]

[Footnote 6: My readers will join with me, I trust, in thanks to M.
Langlois, for his drawings; and will not be sorry to see, accompanying
his sketch of the bas-relief, a spirited one of himself. Normandy does
not contain a more ardent admirer of her antiquities, or one to whom she
is more indebted for investigating, drawing, and publishing them. But,
to the disgrace of Rouen, his labors are not rewarded. All the
obstacles, however opposed by the "durum, pauperies, opprobium," have
not been able to check his independent mind: he holds on his course in
the illustration of the true Norman remains; and to any antiquary who
visits this country, I can promise a great pleasure in the examination
of his port-folio.]

[Footnote 7: Its size at top is fourteen inches and a half, by six
inches and two-thirds.]

[Footnote 8: This difficulty, in the present instance, has yielded to
the extensive researches of Mr. Douce, who has afforded assistance to
me, which, perhaps, no other antiquary could have bestowed. He has
unravelled all the mysteries of minstrelsy with his usual ability; and I
give the information in his own words, only observing that the numbers
begin from the left.--"No. 1 was called the _violl_, corresponding with
our _Viol de Gamba_. As this was a larger violin, though the sculptor
has not duly expressed its comparative bulk, I conceive it was either
used as a tenor or base, being perfectly satisfied, in spite of certain
doubts on the subject, that counterpoint was known in the middle
ages.--No. 2 is the largest instrument of the kind that I have ever
seen, and it seems correctly given, from one part of it resting on the
figure, No. 3, to support it. Twiss mentions one that he saw sculptured
on the cathedral, at Toro, five feet long. The proper name of it is the
_rote_, so called from the internal wheel or cylinder, turned by a
winch, which caused the _bourdon_, whilst the performer stopped the
notes on the strings with his fingers. This instrument has been very
ignorantly termed a _vielle_, and yet continues to be so called in
France. It is the modern Savoyard _hurdy-gurdy_, as we still more
improperly term it; for the hurdy-gurdy is quite a different instrument.
In later times, the _rote_ appears to have lost its rank in concert, and
was called the _beggar's lyre_.--No. 4 is evidently the _syrinx_, or
_Pan's pipe_, which has been revived with so much success in the streets
of London.--Twiss shewed me one forty years ago, that he got in the
south of France, where they were then very common.--No. 5 is an
instrument for which I can find no name, nor can I immediately call to
memory any other representation of it. It has some resemblance to the
old Welsh fiddle or _crowth_; but, as a bow is wanting, it must have
been played with the fingers; and I think the performer's left hand in
the sculpture does seem to be stopping the strings on the upper part, or
neck, a portion of which has been probably broken off.--I suspect it to
be the old _mandore_, whence the more modern _mandolin_. The rotundity
of the sounding-board may warrant this conjecture.--No. 6 was called the
_psalterion_, and is of very great antiquity, (I mean as to the middle
ages).--Its form was very diversified, and frequently triangular. It was
played with a _plectrum_, which the performer holds in his right
hand.--No. 7 is the _dulcimer_, which is very common in sculpture. This
instrument appears, as in the present case, to have been sometimes
played with the fingers only, and sometimes with a _plectrum_.--No. 8 is
the real _vielle_, or _violin_, of very common occurrence, and very
ancient.--No. 9 is a female tumbler, or _tomllesterre_, as Chaucer calls
them. This profession, so far as we can depend on ancient
representation, appears to have exclusively belonged to women.--No. 10.
A _harp_ played with a _plectrum_, and, perhaps, also with the left hand
occasionally.--No. 11. The figure before the suspended _bells_ has had a
hammer in each hand with which to strike them, and the opposite, and
last, person, who plays in concert with him, has probably had a harp, as
is the case in an ancient manuscript psalter illumination that I have,
prefixed to the psalm _Exaltate Deo_.--I have seen these bells suspended
(in illumination to the above psalm) to a very elegant Gothic frame,
ascending like the upper part of a modern harp."]

[Footnote 9: _Gallia Christiana_, XI. p. 270.]

[Illustration: Distant View of the Abbey of St. Jumieges]

LETTER XV.

ABBEY OF JUMIEGES--ITS HISTORY--ARCHITECTURAL DETAILS--TOMBS OF AGNES
SOREL AND OF THE ENERVEZ.

(_Ducler, July_, 1818)

The country between Ducler and Jumieges is of much the same character
with that through which we had already travelled from Rouen; the road
sometimes coasting the Seine, and sometimes passing through a
well-wooded country, pleasantly intermingled with corn-fields. In its
general appearance, this district bears a near resemblance to an English
landscape; more so, indeed, than in any other part of Normandy, where
the features of the scenery are upon a larger scale.

The lofty towers of the abbey of Jumieges are conspicuous from afar: the
stone of which they are built is peculiarly white; and at a distance
scarcely any signs of decay or dilapidation are visible. On a nearer
approach, however, the Vandalism of the modern French appears in full
activity. For the pitiful value of the materials, this noble edifice is
doomed to destruction. The arched roof is beaten in; and the choir is
nearly levelled with the ground. Two cart-loads of wrought stones were
carried away, while we were there; and the workmen were busily employed
in its demolition. The greater part, too, of the mischief, appears
recent: the fractures of the walls are fresh and sharp; and the
fresco-paintings are unchanged.--Had the proud, abbatial structure but
been allowed to have existed as the parochial church of the village,
the edifice might have stood for ages; but the French are miserably
deficient in proper feeling; and neither the historical recollections
connected with Jumieges, nor its importance as a monument of
architectural antiquity, could redeem it from their tasteless
selfishness. In a few years, its very ruins will have perished; and not
a wreck will remain of this ancient sanctuary of religion and of
learning.

It was in the year 654 or 655, that St. Philibert, second abbot of
Rebais, in the diocese of Meaux, founded this monastery. He selected the
site upon which the present building stands, a delightful situation, in
a peninsula on the right bank of the Seine. This peninsula, and the
territory extending from Ducler to Caudebec, had been granted to him for
this purpose by Clovis IInd, or, more properly speaking, by Bathilda,
his queen; for the whole administration of affairs was in reality under
her guidance, though the reins of state were nominally held by her
feeble husband. The territory[10] had previously borne the name of
Jumieges, or, in Latin, Gemeticum, a term whose origin has puzzled
etymologists. Those who hold it disgraceful to be ever at a loss on
points of this nature, and who prefer displaying a learned to an
unlearned ignorance, derive Gemeticum, either from _gemitus_, because,
"pro suis offensis illic gemunt, qui in flammis ultricibus non erunt
gemituri;" or from _gemma_, conformably to the following distich,--

"Gemmeticum siquidem a gemma dixere priores;
Quod reliquis gemmae, praecelleret instar Eoae."

The ground upon which the abbey was erected was previously occupied by
an ancient encampment. The author of the Life of St. Philibert, who
mentions this circumstance, has also preserved a description of the
original church. These authentic accounts of edifices of remote date,
which frequently occur in hagiology, are of great value in the history
of the arts[11].--The bounty of the queen was well employed by the
saint; and the cruciform church, with chapels, and altars, and shrines,
and oratories, on either side, and with its high altar hallowed by
relics, and decked out with gold and silver and precious stones, shews
how faithfully the catholics, in their religious edifices of the present
day, have adhered to the models of the early, if not the primitive, ages
of the church.

Writers of the same period record two facts in relation to Jumieges,
which are of some interest as points of natural history.--Vines were
then commonly cultivated in this place and neighborhood;--and fishes of
so great a size, that we cannot but suppose they must have been whales,
frequently came up the Seine, and were caught under the walls of the
monastery.--The growth of the vine is abundantly proved: it is not only
related by various monkish historians, one of whom, an anonymous writer,
quoted by Mabillon, in the _Acta Sanctorum ordinis Sancti Benedicti_,
says, speaking of Jumieges, "hinc vinearum abundant botryones, qui in
turgentibus gemmis lucentes rutilant in Falernis;" but even a charter
of so late a date as the year 1472, expressly terms a large tract of
land belonging to the convent, the vineyard[12].--The existence of the
English monastic vineyards has been much controverted, but not
conclusively. Whether these instances of the northern growth of the
vine, as a wine-making plant, do or do not bear upon the question of the
supposed refrigeration of our climate by the increase of the Polar ice,
must be left to the determination of others.--The whale-fishery of
Jumieges rests upon the single authority of the _Gesta Sancti
Philiberti_: the author admits, indeed, that it is a strange thing, "et
a saeculo inauditum;" but still he speaks of it as a fact that has fallen
under his own knowledge, that the monks, by means of hooks, nets, and
boats, catch sea-fish[13], fifty feet in length, which at once supply
their table with food, and their lamps with oil.

The number of holy men who originally accompanied St. Philibert to his
new abbey, was only seventy; but they increased with surprising
rapidity; insomuch, that his successor, St. Aicadras, who received the
pastoral staff, after a lapse of little more than thirty years from the
foundation of Jumieges, found himself at the head of nine hundred monks,
besides fifteen hundred attendants and dependants of various
denominations.

During all these early ages, the monastery of Jumieges continued to be
accounted one of the most celebrated religious houses in France. Its
abbots are repeatedly mentioned in history, as enjoying the confidence
of sovereigns, and as charged with important missions. In their number,
was Hugh, grandson of Pepin le Bref, or, according to other writers, of
Charlemagne. Here also, Tassilo, Duke of Bavaria, and his son, Theodo,
were compelled to immure themselves, after the emperor had deposed them;
whilst Anstruda, daughter of Tassilo, was doomed to share his imperial
bed.

An aera of misfortune began with the arrival of the Normans. It was in
May, in the year 841, that these dreadful invaders first penetrated as
far as Rouen, marking their track by devastation. On their retreat,
which almost immediately succeeded, they set fire to Jumieges, as well
as to the capital. In their second invasion, under Ironside and
Hastings, the "fury of the Normans" was poured out upon Neustria; and,
during their inroad, they levelled Jumieges with the ground[14]. But the
monks saved themselves: they dispersed: one fled as far as St. Gall;
others found shelter in the royal abbey of St. Denis; the greater part
re-assembled in a domain of their own, called Haspres, in Flanders,
whither they carried with them the bodies of St. Aicadrus and St. Hugh:
there too they resided till the conversion of their enemies to
Christianity.

The victorious fleet of Rollo first sailed in triumph up the Seine, in
the year 876. According to three monkish historians, Dudo of St.
Quintin, William of Jumieges, and Matthew of Westminster, the chieftain
venerated the sanctity of Jumieges, and deposited in the chapel of St.
Vast, the corpse of the holy virgin, Hameltruda, whom he had brought
from Britain. They also tell us that, on the sixth day after his
baptism, he made a donation of some lands to this monastery.--The
details, however, of the circumstances connected with the first,
diminish its credibility; and Jumieges, then desolate, could scarcely
contain a community capable of accepting the donation. But under the
reign of the son and successor of Rollo, the abbey of Jumieges once more
rose from its ashes. Baldwin and Gundwin, two of the monks who had fled
to Haspres, returned to explore the ruins of the abbey: they determined
to seclude themselves amidst its fire-scathed walls, and to devote their
lives to piety and toil.--In pursuing the deer, the Duke chanced to
wander to Jumieges, and he there beheld the monks employed in clearing
the ground. He listened with patience to their narration; but when they
invited him to partake of their humble fare, barley-bread and water, he
turned from them with disdain. It chanced, however, that immediately
afterwards, he encountered in the forest a boar of enormous size. The
beast unhorsed him, and he was in danger of death. The peril he regarded
as a judgment from heaven; and, as an expiation for his folly, he
rebuilt the monastery. So thoroughly, however, had the Normans
_demonachised_ Neustria, that William Longa Spatha was compelled to
people the abbey with a colony from Poitou; and thence came twelve
monks, headed by Abbot Martin, whom the duke installed in his office in
the year 930. William himself also desired to take refuge from the
fatigues of government in the retirement of the monastery; and though
dissuaded by Abbot Martin, who reminded him that Richard, his infant,
son still needed his care, he did not renounce his intention:--but his
life and his reign were soon ended by treachery.

This second aera of the prosperity of Jumieges was extremely short; for
the prefect, whom Louis d'Outremer, King of France, placed in command at
Rouen, when he seized upon the young Duke Richard, pulled down the
walls of this and of all the other monasteries on the banks of the
Seine, to assist towards the reparation and embellishment of the seat of
his government. But from that time forward the tide of monastic affairs
flowed in one even course of prosperity; though the present abbatial
church was not begun till the time of Abbot Robert, the second of that
name, who was elected in 1037. By him the first stone of the foundation
was laid, three years after his advancement to the dignity; but he held
his office only till 1043, when Edward the Confessor invited him to
England, and immediately afterwards promoted him to the Bishopric of
London.--Godfrey, his successor at Jumieges, was a man conversant with
architecture, and earnest in the promotion of learning. In purchasing
books and in causing them to be transcribed, he spared neither pains nor
expence. The records of the monastery contain a curious precept, in
which he directs that prayers should be offered up annually upon a
certain day, "pro illis qui dederunt et fecerunt libros."--The inmates
of Jumieges continued, however, to increase in number; and the revenues
of the abbey would not have been adequate to defray the expences of the
new building, had not Abbot Robert, who, in 1050, had been translated to
the see of Canterbury, supplied the deficiency by his munificence, and,
as long as he continued to be an English prelate, remitted the surplus
of his revenues to the Norman abbey. He held his archiepiscopal dignity
only one year, at the expiration of which he was banished from England:
he then retired to Jumieges, where he died the following spring, and was
buried in the choir of the church which he had begun to raise. At his
death, the church had neither nave nor windows; and the whole edifice
was not completed till November, in the year 1066. In the following July
the dedication took place. Maurilius, Archbishop of Rouen, officiated,
in great pomp, assisted by all the prelates of the duchy; and William,
then just returned from the conquest of England, honored the ceremony
with his presence.

I have dwelt upon the early history of this monastery, because Normandy
scarcely furnishes another of greater interest. In the _Neustria Pia_,
Jumieges fills nearly seventy closely-printed folio pages of that
curious and entertaining, though credulous, work.--What remains to be
told of its annals is little more than a series of dates touching the
erection of different parts of the building: these, however, are worth
preserving, so long as any portion of the noble church is permitted to
have existence, and so long as drawings and engravings continue to
perpetuate the remembrance of its details.

The choir and extremities of the transept, all of pointed architecture,
are supposed to have been rebuilt in 1278.--The Lady-Chapel was an
addition of the year 1326.--The abbey suffered materially during the
wars between England and France, in the reigns of our Henry IVth and
Henry Vth: its situation exposed it to be repeatedly pillaged by the
contending parties; and, were it not that the massy Norman architecture
sufficiently indicates the true date, and that we know our neighbors'
habit of applying large words to small matters, we might even infer that
it was then destroyed as effectually as it had been by Ironside: the
expression, "lamentabiliter desolata, diffracta et annihilata," could
scarcely convey any meaning short of utter ruin, except to the ears of
one who had been told that a religious edifice was actually _abime_
during the revolution, though he saw it at the same moment standing
before him, and apparently uninjured.--The arched roof of the choir
received a complete repair in 1535: that of the nave, which was also in
a very bad state, underwent the same process in 1688; at the same time,
the slender columns that support the cornice were replaced with new
ones, and the symbols of the Evangelists were inserted in the upper part
of the walls. These reparations are managed with a singular perception
of propriety; and though the manner of the sculpture in the symbolic
figures, is not that of a Gothic artist, yet they are most appropriate,
and harmonize admirably with the building.

[Illustration: Symbols of the Evangelists]

You must excuse me that, now I am upon this subject, I venture to
"travel somewhat out of the record," for the sake of proposing to you a
difficulty which has long puzzled me:--the connection which Catholic
divines find between St. Luke's Bull and the word Zecharias;--for it
appears, by the following distich from the Rhenish Testament, that some
such cause leads them to regard this symbol as peculiarly appropriate to
the third Evangelist:--

"Effigies vituli, Luca, tibi convenit; extat
Zacariae in scriptis mentio prima tuis."--

[Illustration: Figures of effigies]

An antiquary might be perplexed by these figures, the drawings whereof I
now send you. He would find it impossible to suppose the
exquisitely-sculptured images and the slender shafts with richly-wrought
capitals, of the same date as the solid simple piers and arches all
around; and yet the stone is so entirely the same, and the workmanship
is so well united, that it would require an experienced eye to trace the
junction. In the middle of the sixteenth century, the central tower was
also found to need reparation; and the church, upon this occasion,
sustained a lasting injury, in the loss of its original spire, which was
of lead, and of great height and beauty. It was taken down, under
pretence of its insecurity; but in reality the monks only wished to get
the metal. This happened in 1557, under Gabriel le Veneur, Bishop of
Evreux, the then abbot. Five years afterwards the ravages of the
Huguenots succeeded: the injury done to Jumieges by these sectaries, was
estimated at eighty thousand francs; and the library and records of the
convent perished in the devastation.

The western front of the church still remains almost perfect; and it is
most singular. It consists, of three distinct parts; the central
division being nearly of equal width to the other two conjointly, and
projecting considerably beyond them. The character of the whole is
simplicity: the circular door-way is comparatively small, and entirely
without ornament, except a pillar on each side; the six circular-headed
windows over the entrance, disposed in a double row, are equally plain.
Immediately above the upper tier of windows, is a projecting chequered
cornice; and, still higher, where the gable assumes a triangular form,
are three lancet-shaped apertures, so extremely narrow, that they
resemble the loop-holes of a dungeon rather than the windows of a
church. In each of the lateral compartments was likewise originally a
door-way, and above it a single window, all of the same Norman style,
but all now blocked up. These compartments are surmounted with short
towers, capped with conical spires. The towers appear from their style
and masonry to be nearly coeval with the lower part of the building,
though not altogether so: the southern is somewhat the most modern. They
are, however, so entirely dissimilar in plan from the rest of the front,
that we cannot readily admit that they are a portion of the original
design. Nor are they even like to each other. Both of them are square at
their bases, and preserve this form to a sufficient height to admit of
two tiers of narrow windows, separated from each other by little more
than a simple string-course. Above these windows both become octagon,
and continue so to the top; but in a very different manner. The northern
one has obtuse angles, imperfectly defined; the southern has four
projecting buttresses and four windows, alternating with each other. The
form of the windows and their arrangement, afford farther marks of
distinction. The octagon part is in both turrets longer than the square,
but, like it, divided into two stories.

The central tower of the church, which was large and square, is now
reduced to a fragment: three of its sides are gone; the western remains
sufficiently perfect to shew what the whole was when entire. It
contained a double tier of arches, the lower consisting of two, which
were large and simple, the upper of three, divided by central shafts and
masonry, so that each formed a double window. All of them were
circular-headed, but so far differed from the architecture of the nave,
that they had side-pillars with capitals.

The church[15] was entered by a long narrow porch.--The nave is a fine
specimen of Norman architecture, but is remarkable in that style for one
striking peculiarity, that the eight wide circular arches on either
side, which separate it from the aisles, are alternately supported by
round pillars and square piers; the latter having semi-cylindrical
columns applied to each of their sides. The capitals are ornamented with
rude volutes. The arches in the triforium are of nearly the same width
as those below, but considerably less in height. There is no archivolt
or moulding or ornament. Above these there is only one row of windows,
which, like all the rest, are semi-circular headed; but they have
neither angular pillars, nor mouldings, nor mullions. These windows are
rather narrow externally, but within the opening enlarges considerably.
The windows in the upper and lower tiers stand singly: in the
intermediate row they are disposed by threes, the central one separated
from the other two by a single column.--The inside of the nave is
striking from its simplicity: it is wholly of the eleventh century,
except the reparations already mentioned, which were made in 1688.--The
choir and Lady-Chapel are nearly demolished; and only some fragments of
them are now standing: they were of pointed architecture, and posterior
to the nave by at least two centuries.

A smaller church, dedicated to St. Peter, stood near the principal one,
with which it was connected by means of a corridor of pointed arches.
There are other instances of two churches being erected within the
precincts of one abbey, as at Bury St. Edmund's. St. Peter's was a
building at least of equal antiquity with the great church. But it had
undergone such alterations in the year 1334, during the prelacy of the
twenty-seventh abbot, William Gemblet, that little of the original
structure remained. He demolished nearly the whole of the nave, for the
sake of adding uniformity to the cloisters of the monastery.--M. Le
Prevost, however, is of opinion, that the ruins of Jumieges contain
nothing more interesting to an antiquary than the west end of the
portion of building, which subsequently served as the nave. It is a mass
of flint-work; and he considers it as having belonged to the church that
existed before the incursion of the Normans.

The cloisters, which stood to the south-west of St. Peter's, are now
almost wholly destroyed.--To the west of them is a large hall or
gallery, known by the name of _la Salle des Chevaliers_. It is entered
by two porches, one towards the north-west, the other towards the
south-west[16], both full of architectural beauty and curiosity. I know
of no authority for their date; but, from the great variety and richness
of their ornaments, and the elegant taste displayed in the arrangement
of these, I should suppose them to have been erected during the latter
half of the twelfth century: one of the arches is unquestionably
pointed, though the cusp of the arch is very obtuse. The slight sketch
which accompanies this letter, represents a fragment of the inner
door-way of the south-west porch, and may enable you to form your own
judgment upon the subject.

[Illustration: Sketch of fragment of inner door-way]

The stones immediately over the entrance are joggled into each other,
the key-stone having a joggle on either side.--I have not observed this
peculiarity in any other specimen of Norman masonry.--Between these
porches apartments, along the interior of which runs a cornice,
supported by grotesque corbels, and under it a row of windows, now
principally blocked up, disposed in triplets, a trefoil-headed window
being placed between two that are semi-circular, as seen in the
accompanying drawing. The date of the origin of the trefoil-headed arch
has been much disputed: these perhaps are some of the earliest, and they
are unquestionably coeval with the building.

[Illustration: Ancient trefoil-headed Arches in Abbey of Jumieges]

The stupid and disgraceful barbarism, which is now employing itself in
the ruins of Jumieges, has long since annihilated the invaluable
monuments which it contained.--In the Lady-Chapel of the conventual
church was buried the heart of the celebrated Agnes Sorel, mistress of
Charles VIIth, who died at Mesnil, about a league from this abbey,
during the time when her royal lover was residing here.--Her death was
generally attributed to poison; nor did the people hesitate in
whispering that the fatal potion was administered by order of the Queen.
Her son, the profligate tyrant Louis XIth, detested his father's
concubine; and once, forgetting his dignity and his manhood, he struck
the _Dame de Beaute_.--The statue placed upon the mausoleum represented
Agnes kneeling and offering her heart to the virgin; but this effigy had
been removed before the late troubles: a heart of white marble, which
was at the foot of the tomb, had also disappeared. According to the
annals of the abbey, they were destroyed by the Huguenots. The tomb
itself, with various brasses inlaid upon it, remained undisturbed till
the period of the revolution, when the whole memorial was removed, and
even her remains were not suffered to rest in peace. The slab of black
marble which covered them, and which bore upon its edges the French
inscription to her memory, is still in existence; though it has changed
its place and destination. The barbarians who pillaged the convent sold
it with the rest of the plunder; and it now serves as a threshold to a
house near the Mont aux Malades, at Rouen[17]. The inscription, which is
cut in very elegant Gothic characters, is as follows: a part of it is,
however, at present hidden by its position:--"Cy gist Agnes Surelle,
noble damoiselle, en son vivant Dame de Roqueferriere, de Beaulte,
d'Yssouldun, et de Vernon sur Seine, piteuse entre toutes gens, qui de
ses biens donnoit largement aux gens d'eglise et aux pauvres; qui
trespassa le neuvieme jour de Fevrier, l'an de grace 1449.--Priez Dieu
pour elle."--It is justly to be regretted, that some pains are not taken
for the preservation of this relic, which even now would be an ornament
to the cathedral.--The manor-house at Mesnil, where the fair lady died,
still retains its chimneys of the fifteenth century; and ancient
paintings are discernible on the walls.

The monument in the church of St. Peter, generally known by the name of
_le tombeau des enervez_, was of still greater singularity. It was an
altar-tomb, raised about two feet above the pavement; and on the slabs
were carved whole-length figures, in alto-relievo, of two boys, each
about sixteen years of age, in rich attire, and ornamented with diadems,
broaches, and girdles, all copiously studded with precious stones.
Various traditions concerning this monument are recorded by authors, and
particularly at great length by Father du Plessis[18].--The nameless
princes, for such the splendor of their garb denotes them to have been,
were considered, according to a tradition which prevailed from very
early times, as the sons of Clovis and Bathilda, who, in the absence of
their father, were guilty of revolt, and were punished by being
hamstrung; for this is the meaning of the word _enervez_.--According to
this tradition, the monks, in the thirteenth century, caused the
monument to be ornamented with golden fleurs-de-lys, and added the
following epitaph:--

"Hic in honore Dei requiescit stirps Clodovei,
Patris bellica gens, bella salutis agens.
Ad votum matris Bathildis poenituere,
Scelere pro proprio, proque labore patris."--

Three other lines, preserved by Yepez, in his chronicle, refer to the
same tale, but accuse the princes of a crime of deeper die than mere
rebellion against parental authority:--

"Conjugis est ultus probrum; nam in vincula tradit
Crudeles natos, pius impietate, simulque
Et duras pater, o Clodovee, piusque maritus."

Mabillon supposed the tomb to have been erected for Tassilo and his son;
but I do not know how this conjecture is to be reconciled to the
appearance of the statues, both representing persons of equal age. An
examination of the grave at the time of the destruction of the abbey,
might have afforded some interesting results; though, had any discovery
been made, it would have been but a poor reward for the desolation which
facilitated the research.

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 10: Immediately on the opposite side of the Seine, are
extensive turf-bogs, which are of rare occurrence in this part of
France; and in them grows the _Andromeda polifolia_, a plant that seems
hitherto to have been discovered no where else in the kingdom.]

[Footnote 11: The following particulars relative to the territory of
Jumieges, as well as the church, are curious: they are copied from an
extract from the Life of St. Philibert, as given in the _Neustria Pia_,
p. 262.--"Congrue sane locus ille _Gemmeticus_ est dictus, quippe qui
instar gemmarum multivario sit decore conspicuus. Videas illic arborum
comas sylvestrium, multigenos arborum fructus, solum fertile, prata
virentia, hortorum flores suaveolentes, bortis gravidas vites, humum
undique cinctam aquis, pascua pecorum uberrima, loca venationi apta,
avium cantu circumsonantia. Sequana fluvius illic cernitur late ambiens:
et deinde suo pergeus cursu, uno duntaxat commeantibus aditu relicto.
Ibi mare increscens nunc eructat: nunc in sinum suum revolutum, navium
fert compendia, commercia plurimorum. Nihil illic deest; quicquid
vehiculis pedestribus, et equestribus plaustris, et ratibus
subministratur, abunde suppetit. Illic castrum condidere antiqui; ibi
stant, in acie, illustria castra Dei: ibi prae desiderio paradisi
suspirantes gemunt, quibus postea opus non erit, in flammis ultricibus,
nihil profuturos edere gemitus. Ibi denique almus sacerdos, Philibertus,
multiplici est laude et praedicatione efferendus: qui instar Patriarchae
Jacob, in animabus septuaginta, demigravit in hanc eremum, addito grege
septemplici, propter septiformem gratiam spiritus sancti. Ibi enim eius
prudentia construxit mA"nia quadrata, turrita mole surgentia; claustra
excipiendis adventantibus mire opportuna. In his domus alma fulget;
habitatoribus digna. Ab Euro surgit Ecclesia, crucis effigie, cujus
verticem obtinet Beatissima Virgo Maria; Altare est ante faciem lectuli,
cum Dente sanctiss, patris _Philiberti_, pictum gemmarum luminibus, auro
argentoque comptum: ab utroque latere, _Joannis_ et _Columbani_ Arae dant
gloriam Deo; adherent vero a Borea, _Dyonisii_ Martyris, et _Germani_
Confessoris, aediculae; in dextra domus parte, sacellum nobile extat _S.
Petri_; a latere habens _S. Martini_ oratorium. Ad Austrum est S. Viri
cellula, et petris habens margines; saxis cinguntur claustra camerata:
is decor cunctorum animos oblectans, eum inundantibus aquis, geminus
vergit ad Austrum. Habet autem ipsa domus in longum pedes ducentos
nonaginta, in latum quinquaginta: singulis legere volentibus lucem
transmittunt fenestrae vitreae: subtus habet geminas aedes, alteras
condendis vinis, alteras cibis apparandis accommodatas."]

[Footnote 12: Allusions to the cultivation of the vine at Jumieges, as
then commonly practised, may be found in many other public documents of
the fifteenth century: but we may come yet nearer our own time; for we
know that, in the year 1500, there was still a vineyard in the hamlet of
Conihoult, a dependence upon Jumieges, and that the wine called _vin de
Conihoult_, is expressly mentioned among the articles of which the
charitable donations of the monastery consisted.--We are told, too, that
at least eighteen or twenty acres, belonging to the grounds of the abbey
itself, were used as a vineyard as late as 1561.--At present, I believe,
vines are scarcely any where to be seen in Normandy, much north of
Gaillon.]

[Footnote 13: In a charter belonging to the monastery, granted by Henry
IInd, in 1159, (see _Neustria Pia_, p. 323) he gives the convent,
"integritatem aquae ex parte terrae Monachorum, et _Graspais_, si forte
capiatur."--The word _Graspais_ is explained by Ducange to be a
corruption of _crassus piscis_. Noel (in his _Essais sur le Departement
de la Seine Inferieure_, II, p. 168) supposes that it refers
particularly to porpoises, which he says are still found in such
abundance in the Seine, nearer its mouth, that the river sometimes
appears quite black with them.]

[Footnote 14: The following account of the destruction of the monastery
is extracted from William of Jumieges. (See _Duchesne's Scriptores
Normanni_, p. 219)--"Dehinc Sequanica ora aggrediuntur, et apud
_Gemmeticum_ classica statione obsidionein componunt.... In quo
quamplurima multitudo Episcoporum, seu Clericorum, vel nobilium
laicorum, spretis secularibus pompis, collecta, Christo Regi militatura,
propria colla saluberrimo iugo subegit. Cuius loci Monachi, sive incolae,
Paganorum adventum comperientes, fuga lapsi quaedam suarum rerum sub
terra occulentes, quaedam secum asportantes, Deo juvante evaserunt.
Pagani locum vacuum reperientes, Monasterium sanctae Mariae sanctique
Petri, et cuncta aedificia igne iniecto adurunt, in solitudinem omnia
redigentes. Hac itaque patrata eversione, locus, qui tauto honoris
splendore diu viguerat, exturbatis omnibus ac subuersis domibus, cA"pit
esse cubile ferarum et volucrum: maceriis in sua soliditate in sublime
porrectis, arbustisque densissimis; et arborum virgultis per triginta
ferme annorum curricula ubique a terra productis."]

[Footnote 15: The following are the proportions of the building, in
French feet:--

Length of the church..................265
Ditto of the nave.....................134
Width of ditto.........................62
Length of choir........................43-1/2
Width of ditto.........................31
Length of Lady-Chapel..................63
Width of ditto.........................27
Height of central tower...............124
Ditto of western towers...............150

]

[Footnote 16: Mr. Cotman has figured this porch, (_Architectural
Antiquities of Normandy_, t. 4) but has, by mistake, called it "_An Arch
on the West Front of the Abbey Church_."]

[Footnote 17: See a paper by M. Le Prevost in the _Precis Analitique des
Travaux de l'Academie de Rouen_, 1815, p. 131.]

[Footnote 18: _Histoire de la Haute Normandie_, II, p. 260.]

LETTER XVI.

GOURNAY--CASTLE OF NEUFMARCHE--CASTLE AND CHURCH OF GISORS.

(_Gisors, July_, 1818)

We are now approaching the western frontiers.--Gournay, Gisors, and
Andelys, the objects of our present excursion, are disposed nearly in a
line between the capitals of France and Normandy; and whenever war broke
out between the two states, they experienced all the glory, and all the
afflictions of warfare. This district was in fact a kind of debatable
land; and hence arose the numerous strong holds, by which the country
was once defended, and whose ruins now adorn the landscape.

The tract known by modern topographers, under the names of the
_arrondissemens_ of Gournay and of Andelys, constituted one of the
general divisions of ancient Normandy, the _Pays de Bray_. It was a
tract celebrated beyond every other in France, and, from time
immemorial, for the excellence of the products of its dairies. The
butter of Bray is an indispensable requisite at every fashionable table
at Paris; and the _fromage de Neufchatel_ is one of the only two French
cheeses which are honored with a place in the bill of fare at Very's at
Grignon's, or at Beauvilliers'.

The females of the district frequently passed us on the road, carrying
their milk and eggs to the provincial metropolis. Accustomed as we are
to the Norman costume, we still thought that the many-colored attire
and long lappetted cap, of the good wife, of Bray, in conjunction with
her steed and its trappings, was a most picturesque addition to the
surrounding scenery. The large pannier on either side of the saddle
leaves little room for the lady, except on the hinder parts of the poor
beast; and there she sits, perfectly free and _degagee_, without either
pillion or stirrup, showing no small portion of her leg, and
occasionally waving a little whip, ornamented in the handle with tufts
of red worsted.--We had scarcely quitted the suburbs of Rouen before we
found ourselves in Darnetal, a place that has risen considerably in
importance, since the revolution, from the activity of its numerous
manufacturers. Its population is composed entirely of individuals of
this description, to whose pursuits its situation upon the banks of the
Robec and Aubette is peculiarly favorable: the greater part of the goods
manufactured here are coarse cloths and flannels. Before the revolution,
the town belonged to the family of Montmorenci.--The rest of the ride
offered no object of interest. The road, like all the main post-roads,
is certainly wide and straight; but the French seem to think that, if
these two points are but obtained, all the rest may be regarded as
matter of supererogation. Hence, very little attention is paid to the
surface of the highways: even on those that are most frequented, it is
thought enough to keep the centre, which is paved, in decent repair: the
ruts by the side are frequently so deep as to be dangerous; and in most
cases the cross roads are absolutely impassable to carriages of every
description, except the common carts of the country.--There is nothing
in which England has a more decided superiority over France than in the
facility of communication between its different towns; and there is also
nothing which more decidedly marks a superiority of civilization.
English travellers, who usually roll on the beaten track to and from the
capital, return home full of praises of the French roads; but were they
to attempt excursions among the country-towns and villages, their
opinion would be wofully altered.--The forest of Feuillee extends about
four leagues on each side of the road, between Rouen and Gournay. It
adds little to the pleasantness of the ride: the trees are planted with
regularity, and the side-branches are trimmed away almost to the very
tops. Those therefore who expect overhanging branches, or the green-wood
shade, in a French forest, will be sadly disappointed. On the contrary,
when the wind blows across the road, and the sun shines down it, such a
forest only adds to the heat and closeness of the way.

The country around Gournay is characterized by fertility and abundance;
yet, in early times, the rich valley in which it is situated, was a
dreary morass, which separated the Caletes from the Bellovacences. A
causeway crossed the marshes, and formed the only road of communication
between these tribes; and Gournay arose as an intermediate station.
Therefore, even prior to the Norman aera, the town was, from its
situation, a strong hold of note; and under the Norman dukes, Gournay
necessarily became of still greater consequence, as the principal
fortress on the French frontier; but the annexation of the duchy to the
crown of France, destroyed this unlucky pre-eminence; and, at present,
it is only known as a great staple mart for cheese and butter. Nor is
it advantageously situated for trade; as there is no navigable river or
means of water-carriage in its vicinity. The inhabitants therefore look
forward with some anxiety to the completion of the projected canal from
Dieppe.

Gournay is a small, clean, and airy place. The last two circumstances
are no trifling recommendation to those who have just escaped from the
dirt and closeness of Rouen. Its streets are completely those of a
country town: the intermixture of wood and clay in the houses gives them
a mean aspect, and there are scarcely two to be found alike, either in
size, shape, color, or materials.--The records of Gournay begin in the
reign of Rollo. That prince gave the town, together with the Norman
portion of the Pays de Bray, to Eudes[19], a nobleman of his own nation,
to be held as a fief of the duchy, under the usual military tenure. In
one of the earliest rolls of Norman chieftains[20], the Lord of Gournay
is bound, in case of war, to supply the duke with twelve soldiers from
among his vassals, and to arm his dependants for the defence of his
portion of the marches. Hugh, the son of Eudes de Gournay, erected a
castle in the vicinity of the church of St. Hildebert, and the whole
town was surrounded with a triple wall and double fosse. The place was
inaccessible to an invading enemy, when these fosses were filled with
the waters of the Epte; but Philip Augustus caused the protecting
element to become his most powerful auxiliary. Willelmus Brito
relates his siege with minuteness in his _Philippiad_, an heroic poem,
devoted to the acts and deeds of the French monarch.--After advancing
through Lions and Mortemer, Philip encamped before Gournay, thus
described by the historical bard;--

"Non procul hinc vicum populosa genta superbum,
Divitiis plenum variis, famaque celebrem,
Rure situm piano, munitum triplice muro,
Deliciosa nimis speciosaque vallis habebat.
Nomine GORNACUM, situ inexpugnabilis ipso,
Etsi nullus ei defensor ab intus adesset;
Cui multisque aliis praeerat Gornacius HUGO.
Fossae cujus erant amplae nimis atque profundae
Quas sic Epta suo repleret flumine, posset
Nullus ut ad muros per eas accessus haberi.
Arte tamen sibi REX tali pessundedit ipsum.
Haud procul a muris stagnum pergrande tumebat,
Cujus aquam, pelagi stagnantis more, refusam
Urget stare lacu sinuoso terreus agger,
Quadris compactus saxis et cespite multo.
Hunc REX obrumpi medium facit, effluit inde
Diluvium immensum, subitaque voragine tota
Vallis abit maris in speciem, ruit impete vasto
Eluvies damnosa satis, damnosa colonis.
* * * * *
Municipes fugiunt ne submergantur, et omnis
Se populus villa viduat, vacuamque relinquit.
* * * * *
Armis villa potens, muris munita virisque,
Arte capi nulla metuens aut viribus ullis,
Diluvio capitur inopino...............
* * * * *
REX ubi GORNACUM sic in sua jura redegit,
Indigenas omnes revocans ad propria, pacem
Indicit populis libertatemque priorem;
Deinde re-aedificat muros.............

In 1350, after the death of Philip of Valois, Gournay was again
separated from France, and given as a dower to Blanche of Navarre, the
widow of that prince, who held it forty-eight years, when, after her
death, it reverted to the crown. At the commencement of the following
century, the town fell, with the rest of the kingdom, into the
possession of the English; and once more, upon the demise of our
sovereign, Henry Vth, formed part of the dower of the widowed queen. On
her decease, it devolved upon her son; but a period of eleven years had
scarcely elapsed, when the laws of conquest united it for a third time
to the crown of France, in 1449.--From that period to the revolution, it
was constantly in the possession of different noble families of the
kingdom.

The name of Hugo de Gournay is enrolled amongst those who followed the
conqueror into England, and who held lands _in capite_ from him in this
country[21]. Hugo was a man of eminent valor, and his services were
requited by the grant of many large possessions; but, after all his
military actions, he sought repose in the abbey of Bec, which had been
enriched by his piety. His son, Girald, who married the sister of
William, Earl Warren, accompanied Robert, Duke of Normandy, into the
Holy Land; and the grandson of Girald was in the number of those who
followed Richard Coeur-de-Lion in a similar expedition, and was
appointed his commissioner, to receive the English share of the spoil,
after the capture of Acre. He was also among the barons who rose against
King John. Their descendants settled in very early times in our own
county, where their possessions were extensive and valuable.

It was in Gournay that the unfortunate Arthur, heir to the throne of
England, received the order of knighthood, together with the earldoms of
Brittany, Poitou, and Angers, from Philip Augustus, immediately
previously to entering upon the expedition, which ultimately ended with
his death; and, according to tradition, it was on this occasion that the
town adopted for its arms the sable shield, charged with a knight in
armor, argent[22].

Gournay has now no other remains of antiquity, except the collegiate
church of St. Hildebert[23], which was founded towards the conclusion of
the eleventh century, though it was scarcely completed at the end of the
thirteenth. Hence the discrepancy of style observable in the
architecture of its different parts. The west front, in which the
windows are all pointed, was probably one of the last portions
completed. The interior is principally of semi-circular architecture,
with piers unusually massy, and capitals no less fanciful and
extraordinary than those already noticed at St. Georges. Here, however,
we have fewer monsters. The ornaments consist chiefly of foliage, and
wreaths, and knots, and chequered work, and imitations of members of the
antique capital. Some of the pillars, instead of ending in regular
capitals, are surmounted by a narrow projecting rim, carved with
undulating lines. It has been supposed that this ornament, which is
quite peculiar to the church of St. Hildebert, is a kind of
hieroglyphical representation of water.--Perhaps, it is the chamber of
Sagittarius; or, perhaps, it is a _fess wavy_, to which the same
signification has been assigned by heralds.--If this interpretation be
correct, the symbol is allusive to the ancient situation of the town,
built in the midst of a marsh, intersected by two streams, the Epte and
the St. Aubin.

While we were on the point of setting out from Gournay, we had the
pleasure of meeting Mr. Cotman, who landed a few days since at Dieppe,
and purposes remaining in Normandy, to complete a series of drawings
which he began last year, towards the illustration of the architectural
antiquities of the duchy. He has joined our party, and we are likely to
have the advantage of his society for some little time.

The village of Neufmarche, about a league from Gournay, on the right
bank of the Epte, still retains a small part of its castle, built by
Henry Ist, to command the passage of the river, and to serve as a
barrier against the incursions of the French. Its situation is good,
upon an artificial hill, surrounded by a fosse; and the principal
entrance is still tolerably entire. But the rest is merely a shapeless
heap of ruins: the interior is wholly under the plough; and the
fragments of denudated walls preserve small remains of the coating of
large square stones, which formerly embellished and protected them.
Neufmarche, in the days of Norman sovereignty, was one of the strong
holds of the duchy. The chroniclers[24] speak of the village as being
defended by a fortress, in the reign of William the Conqueror. The
church, too, with its semi-circular architecture, attests the antiquity
of the station.

Long before we reached Gisors, we had a view of the keep of the castle,
rising majestically above the town, which is indeed at present "une
assez maussade petite ville, qui n'a guere qu'une rue." From its
position and general outline, the castle, at first view, resembles the
remains of Launceston, in Cornwall. It recalled to my mind the
impressions of surprise, mixed with something approaching to awe, which
seized me, when the first object that met my eyes in the morning (for it
was late and dark when I reached Launceston) was the noble keep,
towering immediately above my chamber windows, and so near, that it
appeared as if I had only to open them and step into it. I do not mean
to draw a parallel between the castles of Launceston and Gisors, and
still less am I about to inquire into the relationship between the
Norman and the Cornish fortresses. The lapse of twenty years has
materially weakened my recollection of the latter, nor would this be a
seasonable opportunity for such a disquisition: but the subject deserves
investigation, the result of which may tend to establish the common
origin of both, and to dissipate the day-dreams of Borlase, who longed
to dignify the castellated ruins of the Cornish peninsula, by ascribing
them to the Roman conquerors of Britain.

Gisors itself existed before the tenth century; but its chief celebrity
was due to William Rufus, who, anxious to strengthen his frontiers
against the power of the kings of France, caused Robert of Belleme to
erect this castle, in 1097. Thus then we have a certain date; and there
is no reason to believe, but that the whole of what is left us is really
of the same aera, or of the following reign, in which it is known that
the works were greatly augmented; for Henry Ist was completely a
castle-builder. He was a prince who spared no pains in strengthening and
defending the natural frontiers of his province, as the fortresses of
Verneuil, Tillieres, Nonancourt, Anet, Ivry, Chateau-sur-Epte, Gisors,
and many others, abundantly testify. All these were either actually
built, or materially strengthened by him.--This at Gisors, important
from its strength and from its situation, was the source of frequent
dissentions between the sovereigns of England and France, as well as the
frequent witness of their plighted faith, and the scene of their
festivities.--In 1119, a well-known interview took place here, between
Henry Ist and Pope Calixtus IInd, who had travelled to France for the
purpose of healing the schisms in the church, and who, after having
accomplished that task, was desirous not to quit the kingdom till he had
completed the work of pacification, by reconciling Henry to Louis le
Gros, and to his brother, Robert. The speech of our sovereign upon this
occasion, as recorded by Ordericus Vitalis[25], is a valuable document
to the English historian: it sets forth, at considerable length, his
various causes of grievance, whether real, imaginary, or invented,
against the legal heir to our throne.--After a lapse of thirty-nine
years, Louis le Jeune succeeded in annexing Gisors to the crown of
France; but he resigned it to our Henry IInd, only three years
subsequently, as a part of the marriage portion of his daughter,
Margaret. It then remained with our countrymen till the conquest of the
duchy by Philip Augustus; previously to which event, that sovereign and
Henry met, in the year 1188, under an elm near Gisors, on the road to
Trie, upon receiving the news of the capture of Jerusalem by the Sultan
Saladin[26]. The monarchs, actuated by religious zeal, took up the
cross, and mutually pledged themselves to suspend for a while their
respective differences, and direct their united efforts against the
common foe of the christian faith, Legends also tell that, during the
conference, a miraculous cross appeared in the air, as if in
ratification of the compact; and hence the inhabitants derive the
armoria bearing of the town; _gules_, a cross engrailed _or_[27]. In
1197, Philip embellished Gisors with new buildings; and he retired
hither the following year, after the battle of Courcelles, a conflict,
which began by his endeavor to surprise Richard Coeur-de-Lion, but which
ended with his total defeat. He had well nigh lost his life during the
flight, by his horse plunging with him, all armed as he was, into the
Epte.--He took refuge in Gisors; and the _golden gate_ of the town
commemorated his gratitude. With eastern magnificence, he caused the
entire portal to be covered with gold; and the statue of the Virgin,
which surmounted it, received the same splendor.

During the wars between France and England, in the fifteenth century,
Gisors was repeatedly won and lost by the contending parties. In later
and more peaceable times, it has been only known as the provincial
capital of the bailiwick of Gisors, and of the Norman portion of the
Vexin.

The castle consists of a double ballium, the inner occupying the top of
a high artificial mound, in whose centre stands the keep. The whole of
the fortress is of the most solid masonry. Previously to the discovery
of cannon, it could scarcely be regarded otherwise than as impregnable,
for the site which it occupies is admirably adapted for defence; and the
walls were as strong as art could make them.--The outer walls were of
great extent: they were defended by two covered ways, and flanked by
several towers, of various shapes.--In the inclosed sketch, you will
observe a circular tower, which is perhaps more perfect than any of the
rest. The two entrances which led to the inner wards, were defended by
more massy towers, strengthened with portcullises and draw-bridges.

[Illustration: Distant of the Castle of Gisors]

The conical mound is almost inaccessible, on account of its steepness.
The summit is inclosed by a circular wall of considerable height,
pierced with loop-holes, and strengthened at regular intervals with
buttresses, most of which are small and shallow, and resemble such as
are found in the Norman churches. Those, however, which flank the
entrance of the keep, are of a different character: they project so
boldly, that they may rather be considered as bastions or solid
turrets.--The dungeon rises high above all the rest, a lofty octagon
tower, with a turret on one side of the same shape, intended to receive
the winding staircase, which still remains, but in so shattered a state,
that we could not venture to ascend it. The shell of the keep itself is
nearly perfect, and is also varied in its outline with projecting
piers.--Within the inner ballium, we discovered the remains of the
castle-chapel. More than half, indeed, of the building is destroyed, but
the east end is standing, and is tolerably entire. The roof is vaulted
and groined: the groins spring from short pillars, whose capitals are
beautifully sculptured with foliage; The architecture of the whole is
semi-circular; but I should apprehend it to be posterior to any part of
the fortress.--The inside of the castle serves at this time for a
market-hall: the fosse, now dry and planted with trees, forms a
delightful walk round the whole.

[Illustration: Banded Pillar in the Church of Gisors]

We were much disappointed by the church of Gisors; in the illustration
of the details of which, Millin is very diffuse. The building is of
considerable magnitude; its proportions are not unpleasing, and it
contains much elaborate sculpture; but the labor has been ill bestowed,
having been lavished without any attention to consistency. It is
throughout a jumble of Roman and Gothic, except that the exterior of the
north transept is wholly Gothic. Some of the little figures which
decorate it are very gracefully carved, especially in the drapery. A
pillar in the south aisle, entwined by spiral fillets, is of great
singularity and beauty. The dolphin is introduced in each pannel, and
the heraldic form of this fish harmonizes with the gentle curve of the
field upon which it is sculptured. A crown of fleurs-de-lys surrounds
the columns at mid-height. These symbols, as I believe I observed on a
former occasion, are often employed as ornaments by the French
architects. The church, which is dedicated to the twin saints, St.
Gervais and St. Protais, is the work of different aeras, but principally
of the latter half of the sixteenth century, a time when, as a Frenchman
told me, "l'on commenca a batir dans le beau style Romain."--The man who
made the observation was of the lower order of society, one of the
_swinish multitude_, who, in England, never dream about styles in
architecture. I mention the circumstance, for the sake of pointing out
the difference that exists in these matters between the two countries.

Here, every man, gentle or simple, educated or uneducated, thinks
himself qualified and bound to deliver his opinion on objects connected
with the fine arts; and though such opinions are of necessity commonly
crude, and sometimes absurd, they, on the other hand, frequently display
a degree of feeling, and occasionally of knowledge, that surprises you.
It may be true indeed, as Dr. Johnson said, with some illiberality, of
our brethren across the Tweed, that though "every man may have a
mouthful, no one has a belly full;" but it still marks a degree of
national refinement, that any attention whatever is bestowed upon such
subjects. This smattering of knowledge, accompanied with the constant
readiness to communicate it, is also agreeable to a stranger. Except in
a few instances at Rouen, I never failed to find civility and attention
among the French. To the ladies of our nation they are uniformly polite
though occasionally their compliments may appear of somewhat a
questionable complexion; as it happened to a female friend of mine to be
told, while drawing the church of St, Ouen, "qu'elle avait de l'esprit
comme quatre diables."

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 19: _Histoire de la Haute Normandie_, I, p. 18.]

[Footnote 20: _Duchesne, Scriptores Normanni_, p. 1046.]

[Footnote 21: _Duchesne, Scriptores Normanni_, p. 1129.]

[Footnote 22: _Histoire de la Haute Normandie_, I. p. 20.]

[Footnote 23: See _Cotman's Architectural Antiquities of Normandy,
plates_ 38-41.]

[Footnote 24: _Ordericus Vitalis_, in _Duchesne's Scriptores Normanni_,
p. 490, 491, 606.]

[Footnote 25: _Duchesne, Scriptores Normanni_, p. 865.]

[Footnote 26: Some writers say that the real cause of their meeting was
to settle a difference of long standing.--Hoveden, as quoted in the
_Concilia Normannica_, I. p. 92, tells us, that Henry was upon the point
of sailing for England, when tidings were brought him that Philip had
collected a great force, with which he threatened to lay Normandy waste,
unless the British monarch surrendered to him Gisors with its
dependencies, or caused his son Richard, Count of Poitou, to marry
Alice, sister of the French king;--"Quod cum regi Angliae constaret,
reversus est in Normanniam; et, accepte colloquio inter ipsum et Regem
Franciae inter Gisortium et Trie, XII. Kalendas Februarii, die S. Agnetis
V. et Martyris, convenerunt illuc cum Archiepiscopis, et Episcopis et
Comitibus, et Baronibus regnoram suorum. Cui colloquio interfuit
Archiepiscopus Tyri, qui repletus spiritu sapientiae et intellectus, miro
modo praedicavit verbum Domini coram regibus et principibus. Et convertit
corda eorum ad crucem capiendam; et qui prius hostes erant, illo
praedicante, et Deo co-operante, facti sunt amici in illa die, et de manu
ejus crucem receperunt: et in eadem hora apparuit super eos signum
crucis in cA"lo. Quo viso miraculo, plures catervatim ruebant ad
susceptionem crucis. Praedicti vero reges in susceptionem crucis, ad
cognoscendum gentem suam, signum sibi et suis providerunt. Rex namque
Franciae et gens sua receperunt cruces rubeas et Rex Angliae cum gente sua
suscepit cruces virides: et sic unusqnisque ad providendum sibi et
itineri suo necessaria, reversus est in regionem suam."]

[Footnote 27: In 1555, an addition was made to this coat of a chief
_azure_, charged with three fleurs-de-lys, _or_, by the command of Henry
IInd of France, to commemorate his public entry into Gisors.]

LETTER XVII.

ANDELYS--FOUNTAIN OF SAINT CLOTILDA--LA GRANDE MAISON--CHATEAU
GAILLARD--ECOUIS.

(_Ecouis, July_, 1818)

Our evening journey from Gisors to Andelys, was not without its
inconveniences.--The road, if road it may be called, was sometimes
merely a narrow ravine or trench, so closely bordered by trees and
underwood, that our vehicle could scarcely force its way; and sometimes
our jaded horses labored along a waggon-way which wound amidst an
expanse of corn-fields. Our postilion had earnestly requested us to
postpone our departure till the following morning; and he swore and
cursed most valiantly during the whole of his ride. On our arrival,
however, at Andelys, a few kind words from my companions served to
mitigate his ire; and as their eloquence may have been assisted by a few
extra sous, presented to him at the same time, his nut-brown countenance
brightened up, and all was tranquillity.

Andelys is a town, whose antiquity is not to be questioned: it had
existence in the time of the venerable Bede, by whom it is expressly
mentioned, under its Latin appellation, _Andilegum_[28]. The derivation
of this name has afforded employment to etymologists. The syllable _and_
enters, as it is said, into the composition of the names of sundry
places, reported to be founded by Franks, and Saxons, and Germans; and
therefore it is agreed that a Teutonic origin must be assigned to
Andelys. But, as to the import of this same syllable, they are all of
them wholly at a loss.--The history of Andelys is brief and unimportant,
considering its antiquity and situation. It was captured by Louis le
Gros in the war which he undertook against Henry Ist, in favour of
Clito, heir of the unfortunate Duke Robert; and his son, Louis le Jeune,
in 1166, burned Andelys to the ground, thus revenging the outrages
committed by the Anglo-Normans in France: in 1197, it was the subject of
the exchange which I have already mentioned, between Richard
Coeur-de-Lion and Walter, Archbishop of Rouen; and only a few years
afterwards it passed by capitulation into the possession of Philip
Augustus, when the murder of Arthur of Brittany afforded the French
sovereign a plausible pretext for dispossessing our worthless monarch of
his Norman territory.

What Andelys wants, however, in secular interest, it makes up in
sanctity. Saint Clotilda founded a very celebrated monastery here, which
was afterwards destroyed by the Normans.--If we now send our ripening
daughters to France, to be schooled and accomplished, the practice
prevailed equally amongst our Anglo-Saxon ancestors; and we learn from
Bede, that Andelys was then one of the most fashionable
establishments[29]. However, we must not forget that the fair Elfleda,
and the rosy AElfgiva, were so taught in the convent, as to be fitted
only for the embraces of a celestial husband--a mode of matrimony which
has most fortunately become obsolete in our days of increasing
knowledge and civilization.

After the destruction of the monastery by the Normans, it was never
rebuilt; yet its sanctity is not wholly lost. At the behest of Clotilda,
the waters of the fountain of Andelys were changed into wine for the
relief of the weary labourer, and the tutelary saint is still worshipped
by the faithful.

It was our good fortune to arrive at Andelys on the vigil of the
festival of Saint Clotilda. The following morning, at early dawn, the
tolling bell announced the returning holiday; and then we saw the
procession advance, priests and acolytes bearing crosses and consecrated
banners and burning tapers, followed by a joyous crowd of votaries and
pilgrims. We had wished to approach the holy well; but the throng
thickened around it, and we were forced to desist. We could not witness
the rites, whatever they were, which were performed at the fountain; and
long after they had concluded, it was still surrounded by groups of
women, some idling and staring, some asking charity and whining, and
some conducting their little ones to the salutary-fountain. Many are the
infirmities and ailments which are relieved through the intercession of
Saint Clotilda, after the patient has been plunged in the gelid spring.
A Parisian sceptic might incline to ascribe a portion of their cures to
cold-bathing and ablution; but, at Andelys, no one ever thought of
diminishing the veneration, inspired by the Christian queen of the
founder of the monarchy. Several children were pointed out to us,
heretical strangers, as living proofs of the continuance of miracles in
the Catholic church. They had been cured on the preceding anniversary;
for it is only on Saint Clotilda's day that her benign influence is shed
upon the spring.

Andelys possesses a valuable specimen of ancient domestic architecture.
The _Great House_[30] is a most sumptuous mansion, evidently of the age
of Francis Ist; but I could gain no account of its former occupants or
history. I must again borrow from my friend's vocabulary, and say, that
it is built in the "Burgundian style." In its general outline and
character, it resembles the house in the _Place de la Pucelle_, at
Rouen. Its walls, indeed, are not covered with the same profusion of
sculpture; yet, perhaps, its simplicity is accompanied by greater
elegance.--The windows are disposed in three divisions, formed by
slender buttresses, which run up to the roof. They are square-headed,
and divided by a mullion and transom.--The portal is in the centre: it
is formed by a Tudor arch, enriched with deep mouldings, and surmounted
by a lofty ogee, ending with a crocketed pinnacle, which transfixes the
cornice immediately above, as well as the sill of the window, and then
unites with the mullion of the latter.--The roof takes a very high
pitch.--A figured cornice, upon which it rests, is boldly sculptured
with foliage.--The chimneys are ornamented by angular buttresses.--All
these portions of the building assimilate more or less to our Gothic
architecture of the sixteenth century; but a most magnificent oriel
window, which fills the whole of the space between the centre and
left-hand divisions, is a specimen of pointed architecture in its best
and purest style. The arches are lofty and acute. Each angle is formed
by a double buttress, and the tabernacles affixed to these are filled
with statues. The basement of the oriel, which projects from the flat
wall of the house, after the fashion of a bartizan, is divided into
compartments, studded with medallions, and intermixed with tracery of
great variety and beauty. On either side of the bay, there are flying
buttresses of elaborate sculpture, spreading along the wall.--As,
comparatively speaking, good models of ancient domestic architecture are
very rare, I would particularly recommend this at Andelys to the notice
of every architect, whom chance may conduct to Normandy.--This building,
like too many others of the same class in our own counties of Norfolk
and Suffolk, is degraded from its station. The _great house_ is used
merely as a granary, though, by a very small expence, it might be put
into habitable repair. The stone retains its clear and polished surface;
and the massy timbers are undecayed.--The inside corresponds with the
exterior, in decorations and grandeur: the chimney-pieces are large and
elaborate, and there is abundance of sculpture on the ceilings and other
parts which admit of ornament.

The French, in speaking of Andelys, commonly use the plural number, and
say, _les Andelys_, there being a smaller town of the same name, within
the distance of a mile: hence, the larger, all inconsiderable as it is,
and though it scarcely contains two thousand inhabitants, is dignified
by the appellation of _le Grand Andelys_.

As the French seldom neglect the memory of their eminent men, I was
rather disappointed at not finding any tribute to the glory of Poussin,
nor any object which could recal his name.--The great master of the
French school was born at Andelys, in 1594, of poor but noble parents.
The talents of the painter of the _Deluge_ overcame all obstacles. Young
Poussin, with barely a sufficiency to buy his daily bread, found means
of making his abilities known in the metropolis to such advantage, as
enabled him to proceed to Rome, where the patronage of the Cavaliere
Marino smoothed his way to that splendid career, which terminated only
with his life.--And yet I doubt if the example of Poussin has, on the
whole, been favorable to the progress of French art. Horace Walpole, in
his summary of the excellencies and defects of great painters, observed
with much justice, that "Titian wanted to have seen the antique; Poussin
to have seen Titian." The observation referred principally to the
defective coloring, which is admitted to exist in the greater part of
the works of the painter of Andelys. But Poussin, considered as a model
for imitation, and especially as a model for the student, is liable to a
more serious objection.--He was a total stranger to real
nature:--classical taste, indeed, and knowledge, and grace, and beauty,
pervade all his works; but it is a taste, and a knowledge, and a grace,
and a beauty, formed solely upon the contemplation of the antique.
Horace's adage, that "decipit exemplar vitiis imitabile," has been
remarkably verified in the case of Poussin; and I am mistaken, if the
example set by him, which has been rigorously followed in the French
school, even down to the present day, has not contributed more than any
thing else to that statuary style in forms, and that coldness in
coloring, which every one, who is not born in France, regrets to see in
the works of the best of their artists.--The learned Adrian Turnebus was
also a native of Andelys; and the church is distinguished as the
burial-place of Corneille.

[Illustration: Distant View of Chateau Gaillard]

I doubt, however, whether we should have travelled hither, had we not
been attracted by the celebrity of the castle, called _Chateau
Gaillard_, erected by Richard Coeur-de-Lion, in the immediate vicinity
of Le Petit Andelys.--Our guide, a sturdy old dame, remonstrated
strongly against our walking so far to look at a mere heap of stones,
nothing comparable to the fine statue of Clotilda, of which, if we would
but have a little patience, we might still procure a sight.--Our
expectations respecting the castle were more than answered. Considered
as to its dimensions and its situation, it is by far the finest
castellated ruin I ever saw. Conway, indeed, has more beauty; but
Chateau Gaillard is infinitely superior in dignity. Its ruins crown the
summit of a lofty rock, abruptly rising from the very edge of the Seine,
whose sinuous course here shapes the adjoining land into a narrow
peninsula. The chalky cliffs on each side of the castle, are broken into
hills of romantic shape, which add to the impressive wildness of the
scene. The inclosed sketch will give you an idea, though a very faint
one, of the general appearance of the castle at a distance. Towards the
river, the steepness of the cliff renders the fortress unassailable: a
double fosse of great depth, defended by a strong wall, originally
afforded almost equal protection on the opposite side.

The circular keep is of extraordinary strength; and in its construction
it differs wholly from any of our English dungeon-towers.--It may be
described as a cylinder, placed upon a truncated cone. The massy
perpendicular buttresses, which are ranged round the upper wall, from
which they project considerably, lose themselves at their bases in the
cone from which they arise. The building, therefore, appears to be
divided into two stories. The wall of the second story is upwards of
twelve feet in thickness. The base of the conical portion is perhaps
twice as thick.--It seldom happens that the military buildings of the
middle ages have such a _talus_ or slope, on the exterior face, agreeing
with the principles of modern fortification, and it is difficult to
guess why the architect of Chateau Gaillard thought fit to vary from the
established model of his age. The masonry is regular and good. The
pointed windows are evidently insertions of a period long subsequent to
the original erection.

The inner, ballium is surrounded by a high circular wall, which consists
of an uninterrupted line of bastions, some semi-circular and others
square.--The whole of this part of the castle remains nearly perfect.
There are also traces of extensive foundations in various, directions,
and of great out-works. Chateau Gaillard was in fact a citadel,
supported by numerous smaller fortresses, all of them communicating with
the strong central hold, and disposed so as to secure every defensible
post in the neighborhood. The wall of the outer ballium, which was built
of a compact white and grey stone, is in most places standing, though in
ruins. The original facing only remains in those parts which are too
elevated to admit of its being removed with ease.--Beneath the castle,
the cliff is excavated into a series of subterraneous caverns, not
intended for mere passages or vaults, as at Arques and in most other
places, but forming spacious crypts, supported by pillars roughly hewn
out of the living rock, and still retaining every mark of the workman's
chisel.

It will afford some satisfaction to the antiquary to find, that the
present appearance of the castle corresponds in every important
particular with the description given by Willelmus Brito, who beheld it
within a few years after its erection, and in all its pride. Every
feature which he enumerates yet exists, unaltered and unobliterated:--

"Huic natura loco satis insuperabile per se
Munimeu dederat, tamen insuperabiliorem
Arte quidem multa Richardus fecerat illum.
Duplicibus muris extrema clausit, et altas
Circuitum docuit per totum surgere turres,
A se distantes spatiis altrinsecus aequis;
Eruderans utrumque latus, ne scandere quisquam
Ad muros possit, vel ab ima repere valle.
Hinc ex transverso medium per planitiei
Erigitur murus, multoque labore cavari
Cogitur ipse silex, fossaque patere profunda,
Faucibus et latis aperiri vallis ad instar;
Sic ut quam subito fiat munitio duplex
Quae fuit una modo muro geminata sequestro.
Ut si forte pati partem contingeret istam
Altera municipes, queat, et se tuta tueri.
Inde rotundavit rupem, quae celsior omni
Planitie summum se tollit in aera sursum;
Et muris sepsit, extremas desuper oras
Castigansque jugi scrupulosa cacumina, totum
Complanat medium, multaeque capacia turbae
Plurima cum domibus habitacula fabricat intus.
Umboni parcens soli, quo condidit arcem.
Hic situs iste decor, munitio talis honorem
Gaillardae rupis per totum praedicat orbem."

The keep cannot be ascended without difficulty. We ventured to scale
it; and we were fully repaid for our labor by the prospect which we
gained. The Seine, full of green willowy islands, flows beneath the rock
in large lazy windings: the peninsula below is flat, fertile, and well
wooded: on the opposite shores, the fantastic chalky cliffs rise boldly,
crowned with dark forests.

I have already once had occasion to allude to the memorable strife
occasioned by the erection of Chateau Gaillard, which its royal founder
is reported to have so named by way of mockery. In possession of this
fortress, it seemed that he might laugh to scorn the attacks of his
feudal liege lord.--The date of the commencement of the building is
supposed to have been about the year 1196, immediately subsequent to the
treaty of Louviers, by which, Richard ceded to Philip Augustus the
military line of the Epte, and nearly the whole of the Norman Vexin. By
an express article of the treaty, neither party was allowed to repair
the fortifications of Andelys; and Philip was in possession of Gisors,
as well as of every other post that might have afforded security to the
Normans. Thus the frontiers of the duchy became defenceless; but
Richard, like other politicians, determined to evade the spirit of the
treaty, adhering nevertheless to its letter, by the erection of this
mighty bulwark.--The building arose with the activity of fear. Richard
died in 1199, yet the castle must have been completely habitable in his
life-time, for not a few of his charters are dated from Chateau
Gaillard, which he terms "his beautiful castle of the rock."--Three
years only had elapsed from the decease of this monarch, when Philip
Augustus, after having reduced another castle, erected at the same time
upon an island opposite the lesser Andelys, encamped before Chateau
Gaillard, and commenced a siege, which from its length, its horrors, and
the valor shewn on either side, has ever since been memorable in
history.--Its details are given at great length by Father Daniel; and Du
Moulin briefly enumerates a few of the stratagems to which the French
King was obliged to have recourse; for, as the reverend author observes,
"to have attempted to carry the place by force, would have been to have
exposed the army to certain destruction; while to have tried to scale
the walls, would have required the aid of Daedalus, with the certainty of
a fall, as fatal as that of Icarus;" and without the poor consolation of

".... vitreo daturus
Nomina ponto."--

The castle, commanded by Roger de Lacy, defied the utmost efforts of
Philip for six successive months.--So great was its size; that more than
two thousand two hundred persons, who did not form a part of the
garrison, were known to quit the fortress in the course of the siege,
compelled to throw themselves upon the mercy of the besiegers. But they
found none; and the greater part of these unfortunate wretches,
alternately suppliants to either host, perished from hunger, or from the
weapons of the contending parties. At length the fortress yielded to a
sudden assault. Of the warriors, to whose valor it had been entrusted,
only thirty-six remained alive. John, ill requiting their fidelity, had
already abandoned them to their fate.

Margaret of Burgundy, the queen of Louis Xth, and Blanche, the consort
of his brother, Charles le Bel, were both immured in Chateau Gaillard,
in 1314. The scandalous chronicle of those times will explain the causes
of their imprisonment. Margaret was strangled by order of her husband.
Blanche, after seven years' captivity, was transferred to the convent of
Maubuisson, near Pontoise, where she continued a recluse till her
death--In 1331, David Bruce, compelled to flee from the superior power
of the third Edward, found an asylum in Chateau Gaillard; and here, for
a time, maintained the pageantry of a court.--Twenty-four years
subsequently, when Charles the Bad, king of Navarre, was sent as a
captive from Rouen to Paris, he was confined here, during one night, by
order of the dauphin, who had made him his prisoner by treachery, whilst
partaking of a banquet.--In the following century Chateau Gaillard
braved the victorious arms of Henry Vth; nor was it taken till after a
siege of sixteen months. The garrison only consisted of one hundred and
twenty men; yet this scanty troop would not have yielded, had not the
ropes, by which they drew up their water-buckets[31], been worn out and
destroyed.--During the same reign, it was again taken and lost by the
French, into whose hands it finally fell in 1449, when Charles VIIth
commanded the siege in person. Even then, however it stood a long siege;
and it was almost the last of the strong-holds of Normandy, which held
out for the successors of the ancient dukes. After the re-union of the
duchy, it was not destroyed, or suffered to fall into decay, like the
greater number of the Norman fortresses: during the religious wars, it
still continued to be a formidable military post, as well as a royal
palace; and it was honored by the residence of Henry IVth, whose father,
Anthony of Bourbon, died here in 1562.--Its importance ceased in the
following reign.--The inhabitants of the adjacent country requested the
king to order that the castle should be dismantled. They dreaded, lest
its towers should serve as an asylum to some of the numerous bands of
marauders, by whom France was then infested. It was consequently
undermined and reduced to its present state of ruin.

We did not again attempt to pay our devotions at the shrine of Saint
Clotilda, and we found no interesting object in the church of Andelys
which could detain us. We therefore proceeded without delay to Ecouis,
where we were assured that the church would gratify our curiosity.--This
building has an air of grandeur as it is seen rising above the flat
country; and it is of a singular shape, the ground-plan being that of a
Greek cross. The exterior is plain and offers nothing remarkable: the
interior retains statues of various saints, which, though not very
ancient or in very good taste, are still far from being inelegant. Saint
Mary, the Egyptian, who is among them, covered with her tresses, which
may easily be mistaken for a long plaited robe, is a saint of unfrequent
occurrence in this part of France. In the choir are several tomb-stones,
with figures engraved upon them, their faces and hands being inlaid with
white marble.--In this part of the building also remains the tomb of
John Marigni, archbishop of Rouen, with his effigy of fine white marble,
in perfect preservation. The face is marked with a strong expression of
that determined character, which he unquestionably possessed. When he
was sent as an ambassador to Edward IIIrd, in 1342, he made his
appearance at the English court in the guise of a military man, and not
as a minister of peace; and we may doubt whether his virtues qualified
him for the mitre. If even a Pope, however, in latter days, commanded a
sculptor to pourtray him with a sword in his hand, the martial tendency
of an archbishop may well be pardoned in more turbulent times. The
following distich, from his epitaph, alludes to his achievements:--

"Armis praecinctus, mentisque charactere cinctus,
Dux fuit in bellis, Anglis virtute rebellis."

The unfortunate Enguerrand de Marigni, brother of the archbishop, and
lord treasurer under Philip the Fair, was the founder of this church. At
the instigation of the king's uncle, Enguerrand was hanged without
trial, and his family experienced the most bitter persecution. His body,
which had at first been interred in the convent of the Chartreux, at
Paris, was removed hither in 1324; and his descendants obtained
permission, in 1475, to erect a mausoleum to his memory. But the king,
at the same time that he acceded to their petition, added the express
condition[32], that no allusion should be made to Marigni's tragical
end. The monument was destroyed in the revolution; but the murder of the
treasurer is one of those "damned spots," which will never be washed out
of the history of France.--Charles de Valois soon felt the sting of
remorse; and within a year from the wreaking of his vengeance, he caused
alms to be publicly distributed in the streets of Paris, with an
injunction to every one that received them, "to pray to God for the
souls of Enguerrand de Marigni, and Charles de Valois, taking care to
put the subject first[33]."--In the church at Ecouis, was formerly the
following epitaph, whose obscurity has given rise to a variety of
traditions:--

"Ci gist le fils, ci gist la mere,
Ci gist la soeur, ci gist le frere,
Ci gist la femme, et le mari;
Et ci ne sont que deux ici[34]."

Other inscriptions of the same nature are said to have existed in
England. Goube[35] supposes that this one is the record of an incestuous

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