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

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connection; but we may doubt whether a less sinful solution may not be
given to the enigma.

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 28: Andelys is also called in old deeds _Andeleium_ and
_Andeliacum_.]

[Footnote 29: "Seculo septimo, cum pauca essent in regione Anglorum
monasteria, hunc morem in illa gente fuisse, ut multi ex Britannia,
monastiae conversationis gratia, Francorum monasteria adirent, sed et
filias suas eisdem erudiendas ac sponso coelesti copulandas mitterent,
maxime in Brigensi seu S. Farae monasterio, et in Calensi et in
_Andilegum_ monasterio."--_Bede, Hist_. lib. III. cap. 8.]

[Footnote 30: _Cotman's Architectural Antiquities of Normandy_, plate
15.--In a future portion of his work, Mr. Cotman designs devoting a
second plate exclusively to the oriel in the east front of this
building.]

[Footnote 31: _Monstrelet, Johnes' Translation_, II. p. 242.]

[Footnote 32: The letter of this stipulation appears to have been
attended to much more than its spirit for at the top of the monument
were five figures:--Our Savior seated in the centre, as if in the act of
pronouncing sentence; on either side of him, an angel; and below,
Charles de Valois and Enguerrand de Marigni; the former on the right of
Christ, crowned with the ducal coronet; the other, on the opposite side,
in the guise and posture of a suppliant, imploring the divine vengeance
for his unjust fate.--_Histoire de la Haute Normandie_, II. p. 338.]

[Footnote 33: _Montfaucon, Monumens de la Monarchie Francaise_, II. p.
220.]

[Footnote 34: In a collection of epitaphs printed at Cologne, 1623,
under the title of _Epitaphia Joco-seria_, I find the same monumental
inscription, with the observation, that it is at Tournay, and with the
following explanation.--"De pari conjugum, postea ad religionem
transeuntium et in ea praefectorum. Alter fuit Franciscanus; altera vero
Clarissa."]

[Footnote 35: _Histoire du Duche de Normandie_, III. p. 15.]

LETTER XVIII.

EVREUX--CATHEDRAL--ABBEY OF ST. TAURINUS--ANCIENT HISTORY.

(_Evreux, July_, 1818.)

Our journey to this city has not afforded the gratification which we
anticipated.--You may recollect Ducarel's eulogium upon the cathedral,
that it is one of the finest structures of the kind in France.--It is
our fate to be continually at variance with the doctor, till I am half
inclined to fear you may be led to suspect that jealousy has something
to do with the matter, and that I fall under the ban of the old Greek
proverb,--

"IsI+-I I deg.I muII+-I1/4I muI...I, I deg.I muII+-I1/4I muI I|I'I?I1/2I muI muI I deg.I+-I I"I muI deg.I"I?I1/2I I"I muI deg.I"I%I1/2."--

[English. Not in Original: The potter is jealous of the potter, as the
builder is jealous of the builder.]

As for myself, however, I do hope and trust that I am marvellously free
from antiquarian spite.--And in this instance, our expectations were
also raised by the antiquity and sanctity of the cathedral, which was
entirely rebuilt by Henry Ist, who made a considerate bargain with
Bishop Audinus[36], by which he was allowed to burn the city and its
rebellious inhabitants, upon condition of bestowing his treasures for
the re-construction of the monasteries, after the impending
conflagration. The church, thus raised, is said by William of
Jumieges[37], to have surpassed every other in Neustria; but it is
certain that only a very small portion of the original building now
remains. A second destruction awaited it. Philip Augustus, who desolated
the county of Evreux with fire and sword, stormed the capital, sparing
neither age nor sex; and all its buildings, whether sacred or profane,
were burnt to the ground. Hoveden, his friend, and Brito, his
enemy, both bear witness to this fact--the latter in the following
lines:--

"... irarum stimulis agitatus, ad omne
Excidium partis adversae totus inardens,
Ebroicas primo sic incineravit, ut omnes
Cum domibus simul ecclesias consumpserit ignis."--

The church, in its present state, is a medley of many different styles
and ages: the nave alone retains vestiges of early architecture, in its
massy piers and semi-circular arches: these are evidently of Norman
workmanship, and are probably part of the church erected by Henry.--All
the rest is comparatively modern.--The western front is of a debased
Palladian style, singularly ill adapted to a Gothic cathedral. It is
flanked with two towers, one of which ends in a cupola, the other in a
short cone.--The central tower, which is comparatively plain and
surmounted by a high spire, was built about the middle of the fifteenth
century, during the bishopric of the celebrated John de Balue, who was
in high favor with Louis XIth, and obtained from that monarch great
assistance towards repairing, enlarging, and beautifying his church. The
roof, the transept towards the palace, the sacristy, the library, and a
portion of the cloisters, are all said to have been erected by
him[38].--The northern transept is the only part that can now lay claim
to beauty or uniformity in its architecture: it is of late and bastard
Gothic; yet the portal is not destitute of merit: it is evidently copied
from the western portal of the cathedral at Rouen, though far inferior
in every respect, and with a decided tendency towards the Italian style.
Almost every part of it still appears full of elaborate ornaments,
though all the saints and bishops have fled from the arched door-way,
and the bas-relief which was over the entrance has equally disappeared.

Ducarel[39] notices four statues of canons, attached to a couple of
pillars at the back of the chancel.--We were desirous of seeing
authentic specimens of sculpture of a period at least as remote as the
conquest; and, as the garden belonging to the prefect, the Comte de
Goyon, incloses this portion of the church, we requested to be allowed
to enter his grounds. Leave was most obligingly granted, and we received
every attention from the prefect and his lady; but we could find no
traces of the objects of our search. They were probably destroyed during
the revolution; at which time, the count told us that the statues at the
north portal were also broken to pieces. At Evreux, the democrats had
full scope for the exercise of their iconoclastic fury. Little or no
previous injury had been done by the Calvinists, who appear to have been
unable to gain any ascendency in this town or diocese, at the same time
that they lorded it over the rest of Normandy. Evreux had been fortified
against heresy, by the piety and good sense of two of her bishops: they
foresaw the coming storm, and they took steps to redress the grievances
which were objects of complaint, as well as to reform the
church-establishment, and to revise the breviary and the
mass-book.--Conduct like this seldom fails in its effect; and the
tranquil by-stander may regret that it is not more frequently adopted by
contending parties.

The interior of the cathedral is handsome, though not peculiar. Some
good specimens of painted glass remain in the windows; and, in various
parts of the church, there are elegant tabernacles and detached pieces
of sculpture, as well in stone as in wood. The pulpit, in particular, is
deserving of this praise: it is supported on cherubs' heads, and is well
designed and executed.

The building is dedicated to the Virgin: it claims for its first bishop,
Taurinus, a saint of the third century, memorable in legendary tale for
a desperate battle which he fought against the devil. Satan was sadly
drubbed and the bishop wrenched off one of his horns[40]. The trophy was
deposited in the crypt of his church, where it long remained, to amuse
the curious, and stand the nurses of Evreux in good stead, as the means
of quieting noisy children.--The learned Cardinal Du Perron succeeded to
St. Taurinus, though at an immense distance of time. He was appointed by
Henry IVth, towards whose conversion he appears to have been greatly
instrumental, as he was afterwards the principal mediator, by whose
intercession the Pope was induced to grant absolution to the monarch.
The task was one of some difficulty: for the court of Spain, then
powerful at the Vatican, used all their efforts to prevent a
reconciliation, with a view of fomenting the troubles in France.--Most
of the bishops of this see appear to have possessed great piety and
talent.

I have already mentioned to you, that the fraternity of the Conards was
established at Evreux, as well as at Rouen. Another institution, of
equal absurdity, was peculiar, I believe, to this cathedral[41]. It bore
the name of the Feast of St. Vital, as it united with the anniversary of
that saint, which is celebrated on the first of May: the origin of the
custom may be derived from the heathen Floralia, a ceremony begun in
innocence, continued to abomination. At its first institution, the feast
of St. Vital was a simple and a natural rite: the statues of the saints
were crowned with garlands of foliage, perhaps as an offering of the
first-fruits of the opening year. In process of time, branches were
substituted for leaves, and they were cut from the growing trees, by a
lengthened train of rabble pilgrims.--The clergy themselves headed the
mob, who committed such devastation in the neighboring woods, that the
owners of them were glad to compromise for the safety of their timber,
by stationing persons to supply the physical, as well as the religious,
wants of the populace. The excesses consequent upon such a practice may
easily be imagined: the duration of the feast was gradually extended to
ten days; and, during this time, licentiousness of all kinds prevailed
under the plea of religion. To use the words of a manuscript, preserved
in the archives of the cathedral, they played at skittles on the roof of
the church, and the bells were kept continually ringing. These orgies,
at length, were quelled; but not till two prebendaries belonging to the
chapter, had nearly lost their lives in the attempt.--Hitherto, indeed,
the clergy had enjoyed the merriment full as well as the laity. One
jolly canon, appropriately named Jean Bouteille, made a will, in which
he declared himself the protector of the feast; and he directed that, on
its anniversary, a pall should be spread in the midst of the church,
with a gigantic _bottle_ in its centre, and four smaller ones at the
corners; and he took care to provide funds for the perpetuation of this
_rebus_.

The cathedral offers few subjects for the pencil.--As a species of
monument, of which we have no specimens in England, I add a sketch of a
Gothic _puteal_, which stands near the north portal. It is apparently of
the same aera as that part of the church.

[Illustration: Gothic Puteal, at Evreux]

From the cathedral we went to the church of St. Taurinus. The proud
abbey of the apostle and first bishop of the diocese retains few or no
traces of its former dignity. So long as monachism flourished, a contest
existed between the chapter of the cathedral and the brethren of this
monastery, each advocating the precedency of their respective
establishment.--The monks of St. Taurinus contended, that their abbey
was expressly mentioned by William of Jumieges[42] among the most
ancient in Neustria, as well as among those which were destroyed by the
Normans, and rebuilt by the zeal of good princes. They also alleged the
dispute that prevailed under the Norman dukes for more than two hundred
years, between this convent and that of Fecamp, respecting the right of
nominating one of their own brethren to the head of their community, a
right which was claimed by Fecamp; and they displayed the series of
their prelates, continued in an uninterrupted line from the time of
their founder. Whatever may have been the justice of these claims, the
antiquity of the monastery is admitted by all parties.--Its monks, like
those of the abbey of St. Ouen, had the privilege of receiving every new
bishop of the see, on the first day of his arrival at Evreux; and his
corpse was deposited in their church, where the funeral obsequies were
performed. This privilege, originally intended only as a mark of
distinction to the abbey, was on two occasions perverted to a purpose
that might scarcely have been expected. Upon the death of Bishop John
d'Aubergenville in 1256, the monks resented the reformation which he had
endeavoured to introduce into their order, by refusing to admit his body
within their precinct; and though fined for their obstinacy, they did
not learn wisdom by experience, but forty-three years afterwards shewed
their hostility decidedly towards the remains of Geoffrey of Bar, a
still more determined reformer of monastic abuses. Extreme was the
licentiousness which prevailed in those days among the monks of St.
Taurinus, and unceasing were the endeavors of the bishop to correct
them. The contest continued during his life, at the close of which they
not only shut their doors against his corpse, but dragged it from the
coffin and gave it a public flagellation. So gross an act of indecency
would in all probability be classed among the many scandalous tales
invented of ecclesiastics, but that the judicial proceedings which
ensued leave no doubt of its truth; and it was even recorded in the
burial register of the cathedral.

The church of St. Taurinus offers some valuable specimens of ancient
architecture.--The southern transept still preserves a row of Norman
arches, running along the lower part of its west side, as well as along
its front; but those above them are pointed. To the south are six
circular arches, divided into two compartments, in each of which the
central arch has formerly served for a window. Both the lateral ones are
filled with coeval stone-work, whose face is carved into lozenges, which
were alternately coated with blue and red mortar or stucco: distinct
traces of the coloring are still left in the cavities[43]. To the
eastern side of this transept is attached, as at St. Georges, a small
chapel, of semi-circular architecture, now greatly in ruins. The
interior of the church is all comparatively modern, with the exception
of some of the lower arches on the north side.--A strange and whimsical
vessel for holy water attracted our attention. I cannot venture to guess
at its date, but I do not think it is more recent than the fourteenth
century.

[Illustration: Vessel for holy water]

The principal curiosity of the church, and indeed of the town, is the
shrine, which contained, or perhaps, contains, a portion of the bones of
the patron saint, whose body, after having continued for more than three
hundred years a hidden treasure, was at last revealed in a miraculous
manner to the prayers of Landulphus, one of his successors in the
episcopacy.--The cathedral of Chartres, in early ages, set up a rival
claim for the possession of this precious relic; but its existence here
was formally verified at the end of the seventeenth century, by the
opening of the _chasse_, in which a small quantity of bones was found
tied up in a leather bag, with a certificate of their authenticity,
signed by an early bishop.--The shrine is of silver-gilt, about one and
a half foot in height and two feet in length: it is a fine specimen of
ancient art. In shape it resembles the nave of a church, with the sides
richly enchased with figures of saints and bishops. Our curious eyes
would fain have pried within; but it was closed with the impression of
the archbishop's signet.--A crypt, the original burial place of St.
Taurinus, is still shewn in the church, and it continues to be the
object of great veneration. It is immediately in front of the high
altar, and is entered by two staircases, one at the head, the other at
the foot of the coffin. The vault is very small, only admitting of the
coffin and of a narrow passage by its side. The sarcophagus, which is
extremely shallow, and neither wide nor long, is partly imbedded in the
wall, so that the head and foot and one side alone are visible.--A
portion of the monastic buildings of St. Taurinus now serves as a
seminary for the catholic priesthood.

The west front of the church of St. Giles is not devoid of interest.
Many other churches here have been desecrated; and this ancient building
has been converted into a stable. The door-way is formed by a fine
semi-circular arch, ornamented with the chevron-moulding, disposed in a
triple row, and with a line of quatrefoils along the archivolt. Both
these decorations are singular: I recollect no other instance of the
quatrefoil being employed in an early Norman building, though
immediately upon the adoption of the pointed style it became exceedingly
common; nor can I point out another example of the chevron-moulding thus
disposed. It produces a better effect than when arranged in detached
bands. The capitals to the pillars of the arch are sculptured with
winged dragons and other animals, in bold relief.

These are the only worthy objects of architectural inquiry now existing
in the city. Many must have been destroyed by the ravages of war, and by
the excesses of the revolution.--Evreux therefore does not abound with
memorials of its antiquity. But its existence as a town, during the
period of the domination of the Romans, rests upon authority that is
scarcely questionable. It has been doubted whether the present city, or
a village about three miles distant, known by the name of _Old Evreux_,
is the _Mediolanum Aulercorum_ of Ptolemy. His description is given with
sufficient accuracy to exclude the pretensions of any other town, though
not with such a degree of precision as will enable us, after a lapse of
sixteen centuries, to decide between the claims of the two sites. Caesar,
in his _Commentaries_, speaks in general terms of the _Aulerci
Eburovices_, who are admitted to have been the ancient inhabitants of
this district, and whose name, especially as modified to _Ebroici_ and
_Ebroi_, is clearly to be recognized in that of the county. The
foundations of ancient buildings are still to be seen at Old Evreux; and
various coins and medals of the upper empire, have at different times
been dug up within its precincts. Hence it has been concluded, that the
_Mediolanum Aulercorum_ was situated there. The supporters of the
contrary opinion admit that Old Evreux was a Roman station; but they say
that, considering its size, it can have been no more than an encampment:
they also maintain, that a castle was subsequently built upon the site
of this encampment, by Richard, Count of Evreux, and that the
destruction of this castle, during the Norman wars, gave rise to the
ruins now visible, which in their turn were the cause of the name of the
village[44].

It is certain that, in the reign of William the Conqueror, the town
stood in its present situation: Ordericus Vitalis speaks in terms that
admit of no hesitation, when he states that, in the year 1080, "fides
Christi Evanticorum, id est Evroas, urbem, _super Ittonum fluvium sitam_
possidebat et salubriter illuminabat[45]."

In the times of Norman sovereignty, Evreux attained an unfortunate
independence: Duke Richard Ist severed it from the duchy, and erected it
into a distinct earldom in favor of Robert, his second son. From him the
inheritance descended to Richard and William, his son and grandson;
after whose death, it fell into the female line, and passed into the
house of Montfort d'Amaury, by the marriage of Agnes, sister of Richard
of Evreux.--Nominally independent, but really held only at the pleasure
of the Dukes of Normandy, the rank of the earldom occasioned the misery
of the inhabitants, who were continually involved in warfare, and
plundered by conflicting parties. The annals of Evreux contain
the relation of a series of events, full of interest and amusement to us
who peruse them; but those, who lived at the time when these events were
really acted, might exclaim, like the frogs in the fable, "that what is
entertainment to us, was death to them."--At length, the treaty of
Louviers, in 1195, altered the aspect of affairs. The King of France
gained the right of placing a garrison in Evreux; and, five years
afterwards, he obtained a formal cession of the earldom. Philip Augustus
took possession of the city, to the great joy of the inhabitants, who,
six years before, had seen their town pillaged, and their houses
destroyed, by the orders of this monarch. The severity exercised upon
that occasion had been excessive; but Philip's indignation had been
roused by one of the basest acts of treachery recorded in
history.--John, faithless at every period of his life, had entered into
a treaty with the French monarch, during the captivity of his brother,
Coeur-de-Lion, to deliver up Normandy; and Philip, conformably with this
plan, was engaged in reducing the strong holds upon the frontiers,
whilst his colleague resided at Evreux. The unexpected release of the
English king disconcerted these intrigues; and John, alarmed at the
course which he had been pursuing, thought only how to avert the anger
of his offended sovereign. Under pretence, therefore, of shewing
hospitality to the French, he invited the principal officers to a feast,
where he caused them all to be murdered; and he afterwards put the rest
of the garrison to the sword.--Brito records the transaction in the
following lines, which I quote, not only as an historical document,
illustrative of the moral character of one of the worst sovereigns that
ever swayed the British sceptre, but as an honorable testimony to the
memory of his unfortunate brother:--

"Attamen Ebroicam studio majore reformans
Armis et rebus et bellatoribus urbem,
Pluribus instructam donavit amore Johanni,
Ut sibi servet eam: tamen arcem non dedit illi.
Ille dolo plenus, qui patrem, qui modo fratrem
Prodiderat, ne non et Regis proditor esset,
Excedens siculos animi impietate Tyrannos,
Francigenas omnes vocat ad convivia quotquot
Ebroicis reperit, equites simul atque clientes,
Paucis exceptis quos sors servavit in arce.
Quos cum dispositis armis fecisset ut una
Discubuisse domo, tanquam prandere putantes,
Evocat e latebris armatos protinus Anglos,
Interimitque viros sub eadem clade trecentos,
Et palis capita ambustis affixit, et urbem
Circuit affixis, visu mirabile, tali
Regem portento quaerens magis angere luctu:
Talibus obsequiis, tali mercede rependens
Millia marcharum, quas Rex donaverat illi.
Tam detestanda pollutus caede Johannes
Ad fratrem properat; sed Rex tam flagitiosus
Non placuit fratri: quis enim, nisi daemone plenus,
Omninoque Deo vacuus, virtute redemptus
A vitiis nulla, tam dira fraude placere
Appetat, aut tanto venetur crimine pacem?
Sed quia frater erat, licet illius oderit actus
Omnibus odibiles, fraternae foedera pacis
Non negat indigno, nec eum privavit amore,
Ipsum qui nuper Regno privare volebat."

The vicissitudes to which the county of Evreux was doomed to be subject,
did not wholly cease upon its annexation to the crown of France. It
passed, in the fourteenth century, into the hands of the Kings of
Navarre, so as to form a portion of their foreign territory; and early
in the fifteenth, it fell by right of conquest under English
sovereignty.--Philip the Bold conferred it, in 1276, upon Louis, his
youngest son; and from him descended the line of Counts of Evreux, who,
originating in the royal family of France, became Kings of Navarre. The
kingdom was brought into the family by the marriage of Philip Count of
Evreux with Jane daughter of Louis Hutin, King of France and Navarre, to
whom she succeeded as heir general. Charles IIIrd, of Navarre, ceded
Evreux by treaty to his namesake, Charles VIth of France, in 1404; and
he shortly after bestowed it upon John Stuart, Lord of Aubigni, and
Constable of Scotland.--Under Henry Vth, our countrymen took the city in
1417, but we were not long allowed to hold undisturbed possession of it;
for, in 1424, it was recaptured by the French. Their success, however,
was only ephemeral: the battle of Verneuil replaced Evreux in the power
of the English before the expiration of the same year; and we kept it
till 1441, when the garrison was surprised, and the town lost, though
not without a vigorous resistance.--Towards the close of the following
century, the earldom was raised into a _Duche pairie_, by Charles IXth,
who, having taken the lordship of Gisors from his brother, the Duc
d'Alencon, better known by his subsequent title of Duc d'Anjou,
recompenced him by a grant of Evreux. Upon the death of this prince
without issue, in 1584, Evreux reverted to the crown, and the title lay
dormant till 1652, when Louis XIVth exchanged the earldom with the Duc
de Bouillon, in return for the principality of Sedan. In his family it
remained till the revolution, which, amalgamating the whole of France
into one common mass of equal rights and laws, put an end to all local
privileges and other feudal tenures.

Evreux, at present, is a town containing about eight thousand
inhabitants, a great proportion of whom are persons of independent
property, or _rentiers_, as the French call them. Hence it has an air of
elegance, seldom to be found in a commercial, and never in a
manufacturing town; and to us this appearance was the more striking, as
being the first instance of the kind we had seen in Normandy. The
streets are broad and beautifully neat. The city stands in the midst of
gardens and orchards, in a fertile valley, watered by the Iton, and
inclosed towards the north and south by ranges of hills. The river
divides into two branches before it reaches the town, both which flow on
the outside of the walls. But, besides these, a portion of its waters
has been conducted through the centre of the city, by means of a canal
dug by the order of Jane of Navarre. This Iton, like the Mole, in Kent,
suddenly loses itself in the ground, near the little town of Damville,
about twenty miles south of Evreux, and holds its subterranean course
for nearly two miles. A similar phenomenon is observable with a
neighboring stream, the Risle, between Ferriere and Grammont[46]: in
both cases it is attributed, I know not with what justice, to an abrupt
change in the stratification of the soil.

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 36: This curious transaction, which took place in the year
1119, is related with considerable _naeivete_ by Ordericus Vitalis, p.
852, as follows:--"Henricus Rex rebellibus ultra parcere nolens, pagum
Ebroicensem adiit, et Ebroas cum valida manu impugnare coepit. Sed
oppidanis, qui intrinsecus erant, cum civibus viriliter repugnantibus,
introire nequivit. Erant cum illo Ricardus filius ejus, et Stephanus
Comes nepos ejus, Radulfus de Guader, et maxima vis Normannorum. Quibus
ante Regem convocatis in unnm, Rex dixit ad Audinum Episcopum. "Videsne,
domine Praesul, quod repellimur ab hostibus, nec eos nisi per ignem
subjugare poterimus? Verum, si ignis immittitur, Ecclesiae comburentur,
et insontibus ingens damnum inferetur. Nunc ergo, Pastor Ecclesiae,
diligenter considera, et quod utilius prospexeris provide nobis insinua.
Si victoria nobis per incendium divinitus conceditur, opitulante Deo,
Ecclesiae detrimenta restaurabuntur: quia de thesauris nostris commodos
sumptus gratanter largiemur. Unde domus Dei, ut reor, in melius
reaedificabuntur." Haesitat in tanto discrimine Praesul auxius, ignorat
quid jubeat divinae dispositioni competentius: nescit quid debeat magis
velle vel eligere salubrius. Tandem prudentum consultu praecepit ignem
immitti, et civitatem concremari, ut ab anathematizatis proditoribus
liberaretur, et legitimis habitatoribus restitueretur. Radulfus igitur
de Guader a parte Aquilonali primus ignem injecit, et effrenis flamma
per urbem statim volavit, et omnia (tempos enim autumni siccum erat)
corripuit. Tunc combusta est basilica sancti Salvatoris, quam
Sanctimoniales incolebant, et celebris aula gloriosae virginis et matris
Mariae, cui Praesul et Clerus serviebant, ubi Pontificalem Curiam
parochiani frequentabant. Rex, et cuncti Optimales sui Episcopo pro
Ecclesiarum combustione vadimonium suppliciter dederunt, et uberes
impensas de opibus suis ad restaurationem earum palam spoponderunt."]

[Footnote 37: _Duchesne, Scriptores Normanni_, p. 309.]

[Footnote 38: _Gallia Christiana_, XI. p. 606.]

[Footnote 39: From the manner in, which Ducarel speaks of these statues,
(_Anglo-Norman Antiquities_, p. 85.) he leaves it to be understood, that
they were in existence in his time; but it is far from certain that this
was the case; for the whole of his account of them is no more than a
translation from the following passage in Le Brasseur's _Histoire du
Comte d'Evreux_, p. 11.--"Le Diocese d'Evreux a ete si favorise des
graces de Dieu, qu'on ne voit presqu'aucun temps ou l'Heresie y ait
penetre, meme lorsque les Protestans inondoient et corrompoient toute la
France, et particulierement la Normandie. On ne peut pas cependant
desavoueer qu'il y a eu de temps en temps, quelques personnes qui se sont
livrees a l'erreur; et l'on peut remarquer quatre Statues attachees a
deux piliers au dehors du chancel de l'Eglise Cathedrale du cote du
Cimetiere, dont trois representent trois Chanoines, la tete couverte de
leurs Aumuces selon la coutume de ce temps-la, et une quatrieme qui
represente un Chanoine a un pilier plus eloigne, la tete nue, tenant sa
main sur le coeur comme un signe de son repentir; parce que la tradition
dit, qu'aiant ete atteint et convaincu du crime d'heresie, le Chapitre
l'avoit interdit des fonctions de son Benefice; mais qu'aiant ensuite
abjure son erreur, le meme Chapitre le retablit dans tous ses droits,
honneurs, et privileges: cependant il fut ordonne qu'en memoire de
l'egarement et de la penitence de ce Chanoine, ces Statues demeureroient
attachees aux piliers de leur Eglise, lorsqu'elle fut rebatie des
deniers de Henry I. Roy d'Angleterre, par les soins d'Audoenus Eveque
d'Evreux."]

[Footnote 40: This was not the first, nor the only, contest, which was
fought by Taurinus with Satan. Their struggles began at the moment of
the saint's coming to Evreux, and did not even terminate when his life
was ended. But the devil was, by the power of his adversary, brought to
such a helpless state, that, though he continued to haunt the city,
where the people knew him by the name of _Gobelinus_, he was unable to
injure any one.--All this is seriously related by Ordericus Vitalis, (p.
555.) from whom I extract the following passage, in illustration of what
Evreux was supposed to owe to its first bishop.--"Grassante secunda
persecutione, quae sub Domitiano in Christianos furuit, Dionysius
Parisiensis Episcopus Taurinum filiolum suum jam quadragenarium,
Praesulem ordinavit; et (vaticinatis pluribus quae passurus erat)
Ebroicensibus in nomine Domini direxit. Viro Dei ad portas civitatis
appropinquanti, daemon in tribus figmentis se opposuit: scilicet in
specie ursi, et leonis, et bubali terrere athletam Christi voluit. Sed
ille fortiter, ut inexpugnabilis murus, in fide perstitit, et coeptum
iter peregit, hospitiumque in domo Lucii suscepit. Tertia die, dum
Taurinus ibidem populo praedicaret, et dulcedo fidei novis auditoribus
multum placeret, dolens diabolus Eufrasiam Lucii filiam vexare coepit,
et in ignem jecit. Quae statim mortua est; sed paulo post, orante Taurino
ac jubente ut resurgeret, in nomine Domini resuscitata est. Nullum in ea
adustionis signum apparuit. Omnes igitur hoc miraculum videntes subito
territi sunt, et obstupescentes in Dominum Jesum Christum crediderunt.
In illa die cxx. homines baptizati sunt. Octo caeci illuminati, et
quatuor multi sanati, aliique plures ex diversis infirmitatibus in
nomine Domini sunt curati."]

[Footnote 41: _Masson de St. Amand, Essais Historiques sur Evreux_, I.
p. 77.]

[Footnote 42: _Duchesne, Scriptores Normanni_, p. 279.]

[Footnote 43: For this observation, as well as for several others
touching Evreux and Pont-Audemer, I have to express my acknowledgments
to Mr. Cotman's memoranda.]

[Footnote 44: _Le Brasseur, Histoire du Comte d'Evreux_, p. 4.]

[Footnote 45: _Duchesne, Scriptores Normanni_, p. 555.]

[Footnote 46: _Goube, Histoire du Duche de Normandie_, III. p. 223.]

LETTER XIX.

VICINITY OF EVREUX--CHATEAU DE NAVARRE--COCHEREL--PONT-AUDEMER
--MONTFORT-SUR-RISLE--HARFLEUR--BOURG-ACHARD--FRENCH WEDDING.

(_Bourg-Achard, July_, 1818.)

Evreux is seldom visited by the English; and none of our numerous
absentees have thought fit to settle here, though the other parts of
Normandy are filled with families who are suffering under the sentence
of self-banishment. It is rather surprising, that this town has not
obtained its share of English settlers: the air is good, provisions are
cheap, and society is agreeable. Those, too, if such there be, who are
attracted by historical reminiscences, will find themselves on
historical ground.

The premier viscount of the British parliament derives his name from
Evreux; though, owing to a slight alteration in spelling and to our
peculiar pronunciation, it has now become so completely anglicised, that
few persons, without reflection, would recognize a descendant of the
Comtes d'Evreux, in Henry Devereux, Viscount of Hereford. The Norman
origin of this family is admitted by the genealogists and heralds, both
of France and of England; and the fate of the Earl of Essex is
invariably introduced in the works of those authors, who have written
upon Evreux or its honors.

It would have been unpardonable to have quitted Evreux, without rambling
to the Chateau de Navarre, which is not more than a mile and half
distant from the town.--This Chateau, whose name recals an interesting
period in the history of the earldom, was originally a royal residence.
It was erected in the middle of the fourteenth century by Jane of
France, who, with a very pardonable vanity, directed her new palace to
be called Navarre, that her Norman subjects might never forget that she
was herself a queen, and that she had brought a kingdom as a marriage
portion to her husband. Her son, Charles the Bad, a prince whose
turbulent and evil disposition caused so much misfortune to France, was
born here. Happy too had it been for him, had he here closed his eyes
before he entered upon the wider theatre of the world! During his early
days passed at Navarre, he is said to have shewn an ingenuousness of
disposition and some traits of generosity, which gave rise to hopes that
were miserably falsified by his future life.--The present edifice,
however, a modern French Chateau, retains nothing more than the name of
the structure which was built by the queen, and which was levelled with
the ground, in the year 1686, by the Duc de Bouillon, the lord of the
country, who erected the present mansion. His descendants resided here
till the revolution, at which time they emigrated, and the estate became
national property. It remained for a considerable period unoccupied, and
was at last granted to Josephine, by her imperial husband. At present,
the domain belongs to her son, Prince Eugene, by whom the house has
lately been stripped of its furniture. Many of the fine trees in the
park have also been cut down, and the whole appears neglected and
desolate. His mother did not like Navarre: he himself never saw it: the
queen of Holland alone used occasionally to reside here.--The principal
beauty of the place lies in its woods; and these we saw to the greatest
advantage. It was impossible for earth or sky to look more lovely.--The
house is of stone, with large windows; and an ill-shaped dome rises in
the centre. The height of the building is somewhat greater than its
width, which makes it appear top-heavy; and every thing about it is
formal; but the noble avenue, the terrace-steps, great lanthorns, iron
gates, and sheets of water on either side of the approach, are upon an
extensive scale, and in a fine baronial style.--Yet, still they are
inferior to the accompaniments of the same nature which are found about
many noblemen's residences in England.--The hall, which is spacious, has
a striking effect, being open to the dome. Its sides are painted with
military trophies, and with the warlike instruments of the four quarters
of the globe. We saw nothing else in the house worthy of notice. It is
merely a collection of apartments of moderate size; and, empty and dirty
as they were, they appeared to great disadvantage. In the midst of the
solitude of desolation, some ordinary portraits of the Bouillon family
still remain upon the walls, as if in mockery of departed greatness.

We were unable to direct our course to Cocherel, a village about sixteen
miles distant, on the road to Vernon, celebrated as the spot where a
battle was fought, in the fourteenth century, between the troops of
Navarre, and those of France, commanded by Du Guesclin.--I notice this
place, because it is possible that, if excavations were made there,
those antiquaries who delight in relics of the remotest age of European
history, might win many prizes. A tomb of great curiosity was discovered
in the year 1685; and celts, and stone hatchets, and other implements,
belonging, as it is presumed, to the original inhabitants of the
country, have been found beneath the soil. Many of these are described
and figured by the Abbe de Cocherel, in a paper full of curious
erudition, subjoined to Le Brasseur's _History of Evreux_. The hatchets
resembled those frequently dug up in England; but they were more
perfect, inasmuch as some of them were fastened in deers' horns, and had
handles attached to them; thus clearly indicating the manner in which
they were used.--The place of burial differed, I believe, in its
internal arrangement from any sepulchral monument, whether Cromlech,
Carnedd, or Barrow, that has been opened in our own country. Three sides
of it were rudely faced with large stones: within were contained about
twenty skeletons, lying in a row, close to each other, north and south,
their arms pressed to their sides. The head of each individual rested on
a stone, fashioned with care, but to no certain pattern. Some were
fusiform, others wedge-shaped, and others irregularly oblong. In
general, the stones did not appear to be the production of the country.
One was oriental jade, another German agate. In the tomb were also a few
cinerary urns; whence it appears that the people, by whom it was
constructed, were of a nation that was at once in the habit of burning,
and of interring, their dead. From these facts, the Abbe finds room for
much ingenious conjecture; and, after discussing the relative
probabilities of the sepulchre having been a burying-place of the Gauls,
the Jews, the Druids, the Normans, or the Huns, he decides, though with
some hesitation, in favor of the last of these opinions.

From Evreux we went by Brionne to Pont-Audemer: at first the road is
directed through an open country, without beauty or interest; but the
prospect improved upon us when we joined the rapid sparkling _Risle_,
which waters a valley of great richness, bounded on either side by
wooded hills.--Of Brionne itself I shall soon have a better opportunity
of speaking; as we purpose stopping there on our way to Caen.

A few miles before Brionne, we passed Harcourt, the ancient barony of
the noble family still flourishing in England, and existing in France.
It is a small country town, remarkable only for some remains of a
castle[47], built by Robert de Harcourt, fifth in descent from Bernard
the Dane, chief counsellor, and second in command to Rollo. The blood of
the Dane is in the present earl of Harcourt: he traces his lineage in a
direct line from Robert, the builder of the castle, who accompanied the
Conqueror into England, and fell in battle by his side.

Pont-Audemer is a small, neat, country town, situated upon the Risle,
which here, within ten miles of its junction with the Seine, is enlarged
into a river of considerable magnitude. But its channel, in the
immediate vicinity of the town, divides into several small streams; and
thus it loses much of its dignity, though the change is highly
advantageous to picturesque beauty, and to the conveniences of trade.
Mills stand on some of these streams, but most of them are applied to
the purposes of tanning; for leather is the staple manufacture of the
place, and the hides prepared at Pont-Audemer are thought to be the best
in France.

From Brionne the valley of the Risle preserves a width of about a mile,
or a mile and half: at Pont-Audemer it becomes somewhat narrower, and
the town stretches immediately across it, instead of being built along
the banks of the river.--The inhabitants are thus enabled to avail
themselves of the different streams which intersect it.

Tradition refers the origin, as well as the name of Pont-Audemer, to a
chief, called Aldemar or Odomar, who ruled over a portion of Gaul in the
fifth century, and who built a bridge here.--These legendary heroes
abound in topography, but it is scarcely worth while to discuss their
existence. In Norman times Pont-Audemer was a military station. The
nobility of the province, always turbulent, but never more so than
during the reign of Henry Ist, had availed themselves of the opportunity
afforded by the absence of the monarch, and by his domestic misfortunes,
to take up arms in the cause of the son of Robert. Henry landed at the
mouth of the Seine, and it was at Pont-Audemer that the first conflict
took place between him and his rebellious subjects. The latter were
defeated, and the fortress immediately surrendered; but, in the early
part of the fourteenth century, it appears to have been of greater
strength: it had been ceded by King John of France to the Count of
Evreux, and it resisted all the efforts of its former lord during a
siege of six weeks, at the end of which time his generals were obliged
to retire, with the loss of their military engines and artillery. This
siege is memorable in history, as the first in which it is known that
cannon were employed in France.--Pont-Audemer, still in possession of
the kings of Navarre, withstood a second siege, towards the conclusion
of the same century, but with less good fortune than before. It was
taken by the constable Du Guesclin, and, according to Froissart[48],
"the castle was razed to the ground, though it had cost large sums to
erect; and the walls and towers of the town were destroyed."

St. Ouen, the principal church in the place, is a poor edifice. It
bears, however, some tokens of remote age: such are the circular arches
in the choir, and a curious capital, on which are represented two
figures in combat, of rude sculpture.--A second church, that of Notre
Dame des Pres, now turned into a tan-house, exhibits an architectural
feature which is altogether novel. Over the great entrance, it has a
string-course, apparently intended to represent a corbel-table, though
it does not support any superior member; and the intermediate spaces
between the corbels, instead of being left blank, as usual, are filled
with sculptured stones, which project considerably, though less than the
corbels with which they alternate. There is something of the same kind,
but by no means equally remarkable, over the arcades above the west
door-way of Castle-Acre Priory[49]. Neither Mr. Cotman's memory, nor my
own, will furnish another example.--The church of Notre Dame des Pres is
of the period when the pointed style was beginning to be employed. The
exterior is considerably injured: to the interior we could not obtain
admission.

The suburbs of Pont-Audemer furnish another church dedicated to St.
Germain, which would have been an excellent subject for both pen and
pencil, had it undergone less alteration. The short, thick, square,
central tower has, on each side, a row of four windows, of nearly the
earliest pointed style; many of the windows of the body of the church
have semi-circular heads; the corbels which extend in a line round the
nave and transepts are strangely grotesque; and, on the north side of
the eastern extremity, is a semi-circular chapel, as at St.
Georges.--The inside is dark and gloomy, the floor unpaved, and every
thing in and about it in a state of utter neglect, except some dozen
saints, all in the gayest attire, and covered with artificial flowers.
The capitals of the columns are in the true Norman style. Those at St.
Georges are scarcely more fantastic, or more monstrous.--Between two of
the arches of the choir, on the south side of this church, is the effigy
of a man in his robes, coifed with a close cap, lying on an altar-tomb.
The figure is much mutilated; but the style of the canopy-work over the
head indicates that it is not of great antiquity. The feet of the statue
rest upon a dog, who is busily occupied in gnawing a marrow-bone.--Dogs
at the base of monumental effigies are common, and they have been
considered as symbols of fidelity and honor; but surely the same is not
intended to be typified by a dog thus employed; and it is not likely
that his being so is a mere caprice of the sculptor's.--There is no
inscription upon the monument; nor could we learn whom it is intended to
commemorate.

At but a short distance from Pont-Audemer, higher up the Risle, lies the
yet smaller town of Montfort, near which are still to be traced, the
ruins of a castle,[50] memorable for the thirty days' siege, which it
supported from the army of Henry Ist, in 1122; and dismantled by Charles
Vth, at the same time that he razed the fortifications of Pont-Audemer.
The Baron of Montfort yet ranks in our peerage; though I am not aware
that the nobleman, who at present bears the title, boasts a descent from
any part of the family of _Hugh with a beard_, the owner of Montfort at
the time of the conquest, and one of the Conqueror's attendants at the
battle of Hastings.

From Pont-Audemer we proceeded to Honfleur: it was market-day at the
place which we had quitted, and the throng of persons who passed us on
the road, gave great life and variety to the scene. There was scarcely
an individual from whom we did not receive a friendly smile or nod,
accompanied by a _bon jour_; for the practice obtains commonly in
France, among the peasants, of saluting those whom they consider their
superiors. Almost all that were going to market, whether male or female,
were mounted on horses or asses; and their fruit, vegetables, butchers'
meat, live fowls, and live sheep, were indiscriminately carried in the
same way.

About a league before we arrived at Honfleur, a distant view of the
eastern banks of the river opened upon us from the summit of a hill, and
we felt, or fancied that we felt, "the air freshened from the wave." As
we descended, the ample Seine, here not less than nine miles in width,
suddenly displayed itself, and we had not gone far before we came in
sight of Honfleur. The mist occasioned by the intense heat, prevented us
from seeing distinctly the opposite towns of Havre and Harfleur: we
could only just discern the spire of the latter, and the long projecting
line of the piers and fortifications of Havre. The great river rolls
majestically into the British Channel between these two points, and
forms the bay of Honfleur. About four miles higher up the stream where
it narrows, the promontories of Quilleboeuf and of Tancarville close the
prospect.--Honfleur itself is finely situated: valleys, full of meadows
of the liveliest green, open to the Seine in the immediate vicinity of
the town; and the hills with which it is backed are beautifully clothed
with foliage to the very edge of the water. The trees, far from being
stunted and leafless, as on the eastern coast of England, appear as if
they were indebted to their situation for a verdure of unusual
luxuriancy. A similar line of hills borders the Seine on either side, as
far as the eye can reach.

It was unfortunate for us, that we entered the town at low water, when
the empty harbor and slimy river could scarcely fail to prepossess us
unfavorably. The quays are faced with stone, and the two basins are fine
works, and well adapted for commerce. This part of Honfleur reminded us
of Dieppe; but the houses, though equally varied in form and materials,
are not equally handsome.--Still less so are the churches; and a
picturesque castle is wholly wanting.--In the principal object of my
journey to Honfleur, my expectations were completely frustrated. I had
been told at Rouen, that I should here find a very ancient wooden
church, and our imagination had pictured to us one equally remarkable
as that of Greensted, in Essex, and probably constructed in the same
manner, of massy trunks of trees. With the usual anticipation of an
antiquary, I imagined that I should discover a parallel to that most
singular building; which, as every body knows, is one of the greatest
architectural curiosities in England. But, alas! I was sadly
disappointed. The wooden church of Honfleur, so old in the report of my
informant, is merely a thing of yesterday, certainly not above two
hundred and fifty years of age; and, though it is undeniably of wood,
within and without, the walls are made, as in most of the houses in the
town, of a timber frame filled with clay. There is another church in
Honfleur, but it was equally without interest. Thus baffled, we walked
to the heights above the town: at the top of the cliff was a crowd of
people, some of them engaged in devotion near a large wooden crucifix,
others enjoying themselves at different games, or sitting upon the neat
stone benches, which are scattered plentifully about the walks in this
charming situation. The neighboring little chapel of Notre Dame de Grace
is regarded as a building of great sanctity, and is especially resorted
to by sailors, a class of people who are superstitious, all the world
over. It abounds with their votive tablets. From the roof and walls

"Pendono intorno in lungo ordine i voti,
Che vi portaro i creduli divoti."

Among the pictures, we counted nineteen, commemorative of escape from
shipwreck, all of them painted after precisely the same pattern: a
stormy sea, a vessel in distress, and the Virgin holding the infant
Savior in her arms, appearing through a black cloud in the corner,--In
the Catholic ritual, the holy Virgin, is termed _Maris Stella_, and she
is II+-I"' I muI3/4I?II.I1/2 [English. Not in Original: pre-eminently, especially,
above all] the protectress of Normandy.

Honfleur is still a fortified town; but it does not appear a place of
much strength, nor is it important in any point of view. Its trade is
inconsiderable, and its population does not amount to nine thousand
inhabitants. But in the year 1450, while in the hands of our countrymen,
it sustained a siege of a month's duration from the king of France; and,
in the following century, it had the distinction, attended with but
little honor, of being the last place in the kingdom that held out for
the league.

From Honfleur we would fain have returned by Sanson-sur-Risle and
Foullebec, at both which villages M. Le Prevost had led us to expect
curious churches; but our postillion assured us that the roads were
wholly impassable. We were therefore compelled to allow Mr. Cotman to
visit them alone, while we retraced a portion of our steps through the
valley of the Risle, and then took an eastern direction to Bourg-Achard
in our way to Rouen.

Bourg-Achard was the seat of an abbey, built by the monks of Falaise, in
1143: it was originally dedicated to St. Lo; but St. Eustatius, the
favorite saint of this part of the country, afterwards became its
patron. Before the revolution, his skull was preserved in the sacristy
of the convent, enchased in a bust of silver gilt[51]; and even now,
when the relic has been consigned to its kindred dust, and the shrine to
the furnace, and the abbey has been levelled with the ground, there
remains in the parochial church a fragment of sculpture, which evidently
represented the miracle that led to Eustatius' conversion.--The knight,
indeed, is gone, and the cross has disappeared from between the horns of
the stag; but the horse and the deer, are left, and their position
indicates the legend.--The church of Bourg-Achard has been materially
injured. The whole of the building, from the transept westward, has been
taken down; but it deserves a visit, if only as retaining a _benitier_
of ancient form and workmanship, and a leaden font. Of the latter, I
send you a drawing. Leaden fonts are of very rare occurrence in
England[52], and I never saw or heard of another such in France: indeed,
a baptismal font of any kind is seldom to be seen in a French church,
and the vessels used for containing the holy water, are in most cases
nothing more than small basins in the form of escalop shells, affixed to
the wall, or to some pillar near the entrance.--It is possible that
the fonts were removed and sold during the revolution, as they were in
our own country, by the ordinance of the houses of parliament, after the
deposition of Charles Ist; but this is a mere conjecture on my own part.
It is also possible that they may be kept in the sacristy, where I have
certainly seen them in some cases. In earlier times, they not only
existed in every church, but were looked upon with superstitious
reverence. They are frequently mentioned in the decrees of
ecclesiastical councils; some of which provide for keeping them clean
and locked; others for consigning the keys of them to proper officers;
others direct that they should never be without water; and others that
nothing profane should be laid upon them[53].

[Illustration: Leaden Font at Bourg-Achard]

As we were at breakfast this morning, a procession, attended by a great
throng, passed our windows, and we were invited by our landlady to go to
the church and see the wedding of two of the principal persons of the
parish, We accepted the proposal; and, though the same ceremony has been
witnessed by thousands of Englishmen, yet I doubt whether it has been
described by any one.--The bride was a girl of very interesting
appearance, dressed wholly in white: even her shoes were white, and a
bouquet of white roses, jessamine, and orange-flowers, was placed in her
bosom.--The mayor of the town conducted her to the altar. Previously to
the commencement of the service, the priest stated aloud that the forms
required by law, for what is termed the civil marriage, had been
completed. It was highly necessary that he should do so; for, according
to the present code, a minister of any persuasion, who proceeds to the
religious ceremonies of marriage before the parties have been married by
the magistrate, is subject to very heavy penalties, to imprisonment, and
to transportation. Indeed, going to church at all for the purpose of
marriage, is quite a work of supererogation, and may be omitted or not,
just as the parties please; the law requiring no other proof of a
marriage, beyond the certificate recorded in the municipal registry.
After this most important preliminary, the priest exhorted every one
present, under pain of excommunication, to declare if they knew of any
impediment: this, however, was merely done for the purpose of keeping up
the dignity of the church, for the knot was already tied as fast as it
ever could be. He then read a discourse upon the sanctity of the
marriage compact, and the excellence of the wedded state among the
Catholics, compared to what prevailed formerly among the Jews and
Heathens, who degraded it by frequent divorces and licentiousness. The
parties now declared their mutual consent, and his reverence enjoined
each to be to the other "comme un epoux fidele et de lui tenir fidelite
en toutes choses."--The ring was presented to the minister by one of the
acolytes, upon a gold plate; and, before he directed the bridegroom to
place it upon the finger of the lady, he desired him to observe that it
was a symbol of marriage.--During the whole of the service two other
acolytes were stationed in front of the bride and bridegroom, each
holding in his hands a lighted taper; and near the conclusion, while
they knelt before the altar, a pall of flowered brocade was stretched
behind them, as emblematic of their union. Holy water was not forgotten;
for, in almost every rite of the Catholic church, the mystic
sanctification by water and by fire continually occurs.--The ceremony
ended by the priest's receiving the sacrament himself, but without
administering it to any other individual present. Having taken it, he
kissed the paten which had contained the holy elements, and all the
party did the same: each, too, in succession, put a piece of money into
a cup, to which we also were invited to contribute, for the love of the
Holy Virgin.--They entered by the south door, but the great western
portal was thrown open as they left the church; and by that they
departed.

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 47: _Masson de St. Amand, Essais Historiques sur Evreux_, I.
p. 39.]

[Footnote 48: _Johnes' Translation_, 8vo, IV. p. 292.]

[Footnote 49: See _Britten's Architectural Antiquities_, III. t. 2.]

[Footnote 50: _Goube, Histoire de Normandie_, III. 249.]

[Footnote 51: _Histoire de la Haute Normandie_, II. p. 319.]

[Footnote 52: Mr. Gough, (See _Archaeologia_, X. p. 187.) whose attention
had been much directed to this subject, seems to have known only four
fonts made of lead, in the kingdom;--at Brookland in Kent, Dorchester in
Oxfordshire, Wareham in Dorsetshire, and Walmsford in Northamptonshire;
but there are in all probability many more. We have at least four in
Norfolk. He says, "they are supposed to be of high antiquity; and that
at Brookland may have relation to the time of Birinus himself. To what
circumstance the others are to be referred, or from what other church
brought, does not appear."--The leaden fonts which I have seen, have all
been raised upon a basis of brick or stone, like this at Bourg-Achard,
and are all of nearly the same pattern.]

[Footnote 53: See _Concilia Normannica_, II. pp. 56, 117, 403, 491, 508,
&c]

LETTER XX.

MOULINEAUX--CASTLE OF ROBERT THE DEVIL--BOURG-THEROUDE--ABBEY OF
BEC--BRIONNE.

(_Brionne, July_, 1818.)

Having accomplished the objects which we had proposed to ourselves in
Rouen and its vicinity, we set out this morning upon our excursion to
the western parts of the province. Our first stage, to Moulineaux, was
by the same road by which we returned a few days ago from Bourg-Achard.
It is a delightful ride, through the valley of the Seine, here of great
width, stretching to our left in an uninterrupted course of flat open
country, but, on our right hand, bordered at no great distance by the
ridge of steep chalky cliffs which line the bank of the river. The road
appears to have been a work of considerable labor: it is every where
raised, and in some places as high as fifteen feet above the level of
the fields on either side.--Agriculture in this district is conducted,
as about Paris, upon the plan called by the French _la petite culture_:
the fields are all divided into narrow strips; so that a piece of not
more than two or three acres, frequently produces eight or ten different
crops, some of grain, others of culinary vegetables, at the same time
that many of these portions are planted with apple and cherry trees. The
land is all open and uninclosed: not a fence is to be seen; nor do there
even appear to be any balks or head-marks. Strangers therefore who come,
like us, from a country entirely inclosed, cannot refrain from frequent
expressions of surprise how it is that every person here is enabled to
tell the limits of his own property.

Moulineaux is a poor village, a mere assemblage of cottages, with mud
walls and thatched roofs. But the church is interesting, though
desecrated and verging to ruin. Even now the outside alone is entire.
The interior is gutted and in a state of absolute neglect.--The building
is of the earliest pointed style: its lancet-windows are of the plainest
kind, being destitute of side pillars: in some of the windows are still
remains of handsome painted glass.--Either the antiquaries in France are
more honest than in England, or they want taste, or objects of this kind
do not find a ready market. We know too well how many an English church,
albeit well guarded by the churchwardens and the parson, has seen its
windows despoiled of every shield, and saint, and motto; and we also
know full well, by whom, and for whom, such ravages are committed. In
France, on the contrary, where painted glass still fills the windows of
sacred buildings, now employed for the meanest purposes, or wholly
deserted, no one will even take the trouble of carrying it away; and the
storied panes are left, as derelicts utterly without value.--The east
end of the church at Moulineaux is semi-circular; the roof is of stone,
handsomely groined, and the groinings spring from fanciful corbels. On
either side of the nave, near the choir, is a recess in the wall, carved
with tabernacle-work, and serving for a piscina. Recesses of this kind,
though of frequent occurrence in English churches, do not often appear
in France. Still less common are those elaborate screens of carved
timber, often richly gilt or gorgeously painted, which separate the nave
from the chancel in the churches of many of our smaller villages at
home. The only one I ever recollect to have seen in France was at
Moulineaux.--I also observed a mutilated pillar, which originally
supported the altar, ornamented with escalop shells and fleurs-de-lys in
bold relief. It reminded me of one figured in the _Antiquarian
Repertory_, from Harold's chapel, in Battle Abbey[54].

Immediately after leaving Moulineaux, the road winds along the base of a
steep chalk hill, whose brow is crowned by the remains of the famous
castle of Robert the Devil, the father of Richard Fearnought. Robert the
Devil is a mighty hero of romance; but there is some difficulty in
discovering his historical prototype. Could we point out his _gestes_ in
the chronicle, they would hardly outvalue his adventures, as they are
recorded in the nursery tale. Robert haunts this castle, which appears
to have been of great extent, though its ruins are very indistinct. The
walls on the southern side are rents, and covered with brush-wood; and
no architectural feature is discernible. Wide and deep fosses encircle
the site, which is undermined by spacious crypts and subterraneous
caverns.--The fortress is evidently of remote, but uncertain, antiquity:
it was dismantled by King John when he abandoned the duchy. The
historians of Normandy say that it was re-fortified during the civil
wars; and the fact is not destitute of probability, as its position is
bold and commanding.

Bourg-Theroude, our next stage, is one of those places which are
indebted to their names alone for the little importance they possess. At
present, it is a small assemblage of mean houses, most of them inns; but
its Latin appellation, _Burgus Thuroldi_, commemorates no less a
personage than one of the preceptors of William the Conqueror, and his
grand constable at the time when he effected the conquest of
England.--The name of Turold occurs upon the Bayeux tapestry,
designating one of the ambassadors dispatched by the Norman Duke to Guy,
Earl of Ponthieu; and it is supposed that the Turold there represented
was the grand constable[55].--The church of Bourg-Theroude, which was
collegiate before the revolution, is at present uninteresting in every
point of view.

About half way from this place to Brionne, we came in sight of the
remains of the celebrated abbey of Bec, situated a mile and half or two
miles distant to our right, at the extremity of a beautiful valley. We
had been repeatedly assured that scarcely one stone of this formerly
magnificent building was left upon another; but it would have shewn an
unpardonable want of curiosity to have passed so near without visiting
it: even to stand upon the spot which such a monastery originally
covered is a privilege not lightly to be foregone:--

"The pilgrim who journeys all day,
To visit some far distant shrine;
If he bear but a relic away,
Is happy, nor heard to repine."--

And _happiness_ of this kind would on such an occasion infallibly fall
to your lot and to mine. A love for botany or for antiquities would
equally furnish _relics_ on a similar _pilgrimage_.

As usual, the accounts which we had received proved incorrect. The
greater part of the conventual edifice still exists, but it has no kind
of architectural value. Some detached portions, whose original use it
would be difficult now to conjecture, appear, from their wide pointed
windows, to be of the fifteenth century. The other buildings were
probably erected within the last fifty years.--The part inhabited by the
monks is at this time principally employed as a cotton-mill; and, were
it in England, nobody would suspect that it ever had any other
destination. Of the church, the tower[56] only is in existence. I find
no account of its date; though authors have been unusually profuse in
their details of all particulars relating to this monastery. I am
inclined to refer it to the beginning of the seventeenth century, in
which case it was built shortly after the destruction of the nave. Its
character is simple, solid elegance. Its ornaments are few, but they are
selected and disposed with judgment. Each corner is flanked by two
buttresses, which unite at top, and there terminate in a crocketed
pinnacle. The buttresses are also ornamented with tabernacles of saints
at different heights; and one of the tabernacles upon each buttress,
about mid-way up the tower, still retains a statue as large as life, of
apparently good workmanship. They were fortunately too high for the
democrats to destroy with ease. The height of the tower is one hundred
and fifty feet, as I found by the staircase of two hundred steps, which
remains uninjured, in a circular turret attached to the south side. The
termination of this turret is the most singular part of the structure:
it is surmounted by a cap, considerably higher than the pinnacles, and
composed, like a bee-hive, of a number of circles, each smaller than the
one below it. A few ruined arches of the east end of the church, and of
one of the side chapels are also existing. The rest is levelled with the
ground, and has probably been in a great measure destroyed lately; for
piles of wrought stones are heaped up on all sides.

If historical recollections or architectural beauty could have proved a
protection in the days of revolution, the church of Bec had undoubtedly
stood. Ducarel, who saw it in its perfection, says it was one of the
finest gothic structures in France; and his account of it, though only
an abridgement of that given by Du Plessis, in his _History of Upper
Normandy_, is curious and valuable.--Mr. Gough states the annual income
of the abbey at the period of the revolution, to have exceeded twenty
thousand crowns. Its patronage was most extensive: the monks presented
to one hundred and sixty advowsons, two of them in the metropolis; and
thirty other ecclesiastical benefices, as well priories as chapels, were
in their gift[57].--Its possessions, as we may collect from the various
charters and donations, might have led us to expect a larger revenue.
The estates belonging to the monastery in England, prior to the
reformation, were both numerous and valuable.

Sammarthanus, author of the _Gallia Christiana_, says, in speaking of
Bec, that, whether considered as to religion or literature, there was
not, in the eleventh century, a more celebrated convent throughout the
whole of Neustria. The founder of the abbey was Hellouin, sometimes
called Herluin, a nobleman, descended by the mother's side from the
Counts of Flanders, but he himself was a native of the territory of
Brionne, and educated in the castle of Gislebert, earl of that district.
Hellouin determined, at an early age, to withdraw himself from the court
and from the world: it seems he was displeased or affronted by the
conduct of the earl; and we may collect from the chroniclers, that it
was not a very easy task in those times for an individual of rank,
intent upon monastic seclusion, to carry his purpose into effect, and
that still greater difficulties were to be encountered if he wished to
put his property into mortmain. Hellouin was obliged to counterfeit
madness, and at last to come to a very painful explanation with his
liege lord; and, when he finally succeeded in obtaining the permission
he craved, his establishment was so poor, that he was compelled to take
upon himself the office of abbot, from an inability to find any other
person who would accept it.--The monkish historians lavish their praises
upon Hellouin. They assign to him every virtue under heaven; but they
particularly laud him for his humility and industry: all day long he
worked as a laborer in the building of his convent, whilst the night was
passed in committing the psalter to memory. At this period of his life,
a curious anecdote is recorded of him: curious in itself, as
illustrative of the character of the man; and particularly curious, in
being quoted as matter of commendation, and thus serving to illustrate
the feelings of a great body of the community.--His mother, who shared
in the pious disposition of her son, had attached herself to the convent
to assist in the menial offices; and one day, while she was thus
engaged, the building caught fire, and she perished in the flames; upon
which, Hellouin, though bathed in tears, lifted up his hands to heaven,
and gave thanks to God that his parent had been burned to death in the
midst of an occupation of humility and piety!

During the life of Hellouin, the abbey was twice levelled with the
ground: on each occasion it rose more splendid from its ruins, and on
each the site was changed, till at length it was fixed upon the spot
from which its ruins are now vanishing. The whole of Normandy would
scarcely furnish a more desirable situation. Under the prelacy of
Hellouin, Bec increased rapidly in celebrity, and consequently in the
number of its inmates: it was principally indebted for this increase to
an accidental circumstance. Lanfranc, a native of Pavia, a lawyer in
Italy, but a monk in France, after having visited various monasteries,
and distinguished himself by defending the doctrine of the real
presence, then impugned by Berengarius, established himself here in the
year 1042, and immediately opened a school, which, to judge from the
language of Ordericus Vitalis[58], seems to have been the first ever
known in Normandy. Scholars from France, from England, and from
Flanders, hastened to place themselves under his care; his fame,
according to William of Malmesbury, went forth into the outer parts of
the earth; and Bec, under his auspices, became a most celebrated resort
of literature. To borrow the more copious account given by William of
Jumieges--"report quickly spread the glory of Bec, and of its abbot,
Hellouin, through every land. The clergy, the sons of dukes, the most
eminent schoolmasters, the most powerful of the laity, and the nobility,
all hastened hither. Many, actuated by love for Lanfranc, gave their
lands to the convent. The abbey was enriched with ornaments, with
possessions, and with noble inmates. Religion and learning increased;
property of all kinds abounded; and the monks, who but a few years
before, could scarcely command sufficient ground for the site of their
own building, now saw their estates extend for many miles in a
lengthening line."--Promotion followed the fame of Lanfranc, who soon
became abbot of the royal monastery of St. Stephen, at Caen, and thence
was translated to the archiepiscopal see of Canterbury.

It was the rare good fortune of Bec, that the abbey furnished two
successive metropolitans to the English church, both of them selected
for their erudition, Lanfranc and Anselm. It is not a little remarkable,
too, that both were Italians. Lanfranc, whilst archbishop of Canterbury,
presided in the year 1077, at the dedication of the third church built
at Bec. We may judge how far the abbey had at that time increased in
consequence; for five bishops, one of them brother to the Conqueror,
honored the ceremony with their presence; and the nobles and ladies of
France, Normandy, and England crowded to the spot, to refresh their
bodies by the pleasures of the festival, and their souls by endowments
to the convent.

In the fifteenth century, when our Henry Vth brought his victorious
armies into France, the monks of Bec were reduced to a painful
alternative. It was apprehended by the French monarch, that the
monastery might be converted into a depot by the English; and they were
commanded either to demolish the church, or to fortify it against the
invaders. They naturally regarded the latter as the lesser evil; and the
consequence was, that the abbey was scarcely put into a state of
defence, when it was attacked by the enemy, and, after sustaining a
siege for a month, was obliged to surrender. A great part of the
monastic buildings were levelled to the ground; and the fortifications
which had been so strangely affixed to them were also razed: meanwhile
the monks suffered grievously from the contending parties: their
sacristy was plundered; their treasury emptied; and they were themselves
exposed to a variety of personal hardships. At the same time, also, the
tomb of the Empress Maud[59], which faced the high altar, was destroyed,
after having been stripped of its silver ornaments.

Considering the number of illustrious persons who were abbots or
patrons of Bec, and who had been elected from it to the superintendance
of other monasteries, the church does not appear to have been rich in
monuments. We read indeed of many individuals who were interred here
belonging to the house of Neubourg, a family distinguished among the
benefactors of the convent; and the records of the abbey speak also of
the tomb of Richard of St. Leger, Bishop of Evreux; but the Empress was
the only royal personage who selected this convent as the resting-place
for her remains; and she likewise appears to have been the only eminent
one, except Hellouin, the founder, who lay in the chapter-house, under a
slab of black marble, with various figures of rude workmanship[60]
carved upon it. His epitaph has more merit than the general class of
monumental inscriptions:--

"Hunc spectans tumulum, titulo cognosce sepultum;
Est via virtutis nosse quis ipse fuit.
Dum quater hic denos aevi venisset ad annos,
Quae fuerant secli sprevit amore Dei.
Mutans ergo vices, mundi de milite miles
Fit Christi subito, Monachus ex laico.
Hinc sibi, more patrum, socians collegia fratrum,
Cura, qua decuit, rexit eos, aluit.
Quot quantasque vides, hic solus condidit aedes,
Non tam divitiis quam fidei meritis.
Quas puer haud didicit scripturas postea scivit,
Doctus ut indoctum vix sequeretur eum.
Flentibus hunc nobis tulit inclementia mortis
Sextilis quina bisque die decima.
Herluine pater, sic cA"lica scandis ovantA"r;
Credere namque tuis hoc licet ex meritis."

In number of inmates, extent of possessions, and possibly, in
magnificence of buildings, other Norman monasteries may have excelled
Bec: none equalled it in the prouder honor of being a seminary for
eminent men and especially for those destined to the highest stations in
the church. Lanfranc and Anselm were not the only two of its monks who
were seated on the archiepiscopal throne at Canterbury. Two others,
Theobald and Hubert obtained the same dignity in the following century;
and Roger, the seventh abbot of Bec, enjoyed the still more enviable
distinction of having been unanimously elected to fill the office of
metropolitan, but of possessing sufficient firmness of mind to resist
the attractions of wealth, and rank, and power. The sees of Rochester,
Beauvais, and Evreux were likewise filled by monks from Bec; and it was
here that many monastic establishments, both Norman and foreign, found
their pastors. Three of our own most celebrated convents, those of
Chester, Ely, and St. Edmund's Bury, received at different epochs their
abbots from Bec; and during the prelacy of Anselm, the supreme pontiff
himself selected a monk of this house as the prior of the distant
convent of the holy Savior at Capua.--The village of Bec, which adjoins
the abbey, is small and unimportant.

I was returning to our carriage, when a soldier invited me to walk to a
part of the monastic grounds (for they are very extensive) which is
appropriated to the purpose of keeping up the true breed of Norman
horses. The French government have several similar establishments: they
consider the matter as one of national importance; and, as France has
not yet produced a Duke of Bedford or a Mr. Coke, the state is obliged
to undertake what would be much better effected by the energy of
individuals.--A Norman horse is an excellent draft horse: he is strong,
bony, and well proportioned. But the natives are not content with this
qualified praise: they contend that he is equally unrivalled as a
saddle-horse, as a hunter, and as a charger. In this part of the country
the present average price of a hussar's horse is nineteen pounds; of a
dragoon's thirty-four pounds; and of an officer's eighty pounds.--These
prices are considered high, but not extravagant. France abounds at this
time in fine horses. The losses occasioned by the revolutionary wars,
and more especially by the disastrous Russian campaign, have been more
than compensated by five years of peace, and by the horses that were
left by the allied troops. An annual supply is also drawn from
Mecklenburg and the adjacent countries. Importations of this kind are
regarded as indispensable, to prevent a degeneration in the stock. A
Frenchman can scarcely be brought to believe it possible; that we in
England can preserve our fine breed of horses without having recourse to
similar expedients; and if at last, by dint of repeated asseverations,
you succeed in obtaining a reluctant assent, the conversation is almost
sure to end in a shrug of the shoulders, accompanied with the
remark--"Ah, vous autres Anglais, vous voulez toujours voler de vos
propres ailes."

As we approached Brionne, the face of the country became more uneven;
and we passed an extensive tract of uncultivated chalk hills, resembling
the downs of Wiltshire.--Brionne itself lies in a valley watered by the
Risle: the situation is agreeable, and advantageous for trade. The
present number of its inhabitants does not amount to two thousand; and
there is no reason to apprehend that the population has materially
decreased of late years. But in the times of Norman rule, Brionne was a
town of more importance: it had then three churches, besides an abbey
and a lazar-house. At present a single church only remains; and this is
neither large, nor handsome, nor ancient, nor remarkable in any point of
view. We found in it a monument of the revolution, which I never saw
elsewhere, and which I never expected to see at all. The age of reason
was a sadly irrational age.--The tablet containing the rights and duties
of man, disposed in two columns, like the tables of the Mosaic law, is
still suffered to exist in the church, though shorn of all its
republican dignity, and degraded into the front of a pew.

On the summit of a hill that overhangs the town, stood formerly the
castle of the Earls of Brionne; and a portion of the building, though it
be but an insignificant fragment, is still left. The part now standing
consists of little more than two sides of the square dungeon, The walls,
which are about fifty feet in height, appear crumbling and ragged, as
they have lost the greater part of their original facing. Yet their
thickness, which even now exceeds twelve feet, may enable them to bid
defiance for many a century, to "the heat of the sun, and the furious
winter's rages."--Nearly the half of one of the sides, which is seventy
feet long, is occupied by three flat Norman buttresses, of very small
projection. No arched door-way, no window remains; nor any thing, except
these buttresses, to give a distinct character to the architecture: the
hill is so overgrown with brush-wood, that though traces of foundation
are discernible in almost every part of it, no clear idea can be formed
of the dimensions or plan of the building. Its importance is
sufficiently established by its having been the residence of a son or
brother of Richard IInd, Duke of Normandy, on whose account, the town of
Brionne, with the adjacent territory, was raised into an earldom.
Historians speak unequivocally of its strength. During the reign of
William the Conqueror, it was regarded as impregnable. This king was
little accustomed to meet with disappointment or even with resistance;
but the castle of Brionne defied his utmost efforts for three successive
years. Under his less energetic successor, it was taken in a day. Its
possessor, Robert, Earl of Brionne, felt himself so secure within his
towers, that he ventured, with only six attendants, to oppose the whole
army of the Norman Duke; but the besiegers observed that the fortress
was roofed with wood; and a shower of burning missiles compelled the
garrison to surrender at discretion.--The castle was finally dismantled
by the orders of Charles Vth.

Brionne is known in ecclesiastical history as the place where the
council of the church was held, by which the tenets of Berengarius were
finally condemned. It appears that the archdeacon of Angers, after some
fruitless attempts to make converts among the Norman monks, took the
bold resolution of stating his doctrines to the duke in person; and that
the prince, though scarcely arrived at years of manhood, acted with so
much prudence on the occasion, as to withhold any decisive answer, till
he had collected the clergy of the duchy. They assembled at Brionne, as
a central spot; and here the question was argued at great length, till
Berengarius himself, and a convert, whom he had brought with him,
trusting in his eloquence, were so overpowered by the arguments of their
adversaries, that they were obliged to renounce their errors. The
doctrine of the real presence in the sacrament, was thus
incontrovertibly established; and it has from that time remained an
undisputed article of faith in the Roman Catholic church.

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 54: Vol. III. p. 187.--The engraving in the _Antiquarian
Repertory_ was made from a drawing in the possession of the late Sir
William Burrell, Bart.]

[Footnote 55: The word _Turold_, in the tapestry, stands immediately
over the head of a dwarf, who is holding a couple of horses; and it has
therefore been inferred by Montfaucon, (_Monumens de la Monarchie
Francaise_, I. p. 378.) that he is the person thus denominated. But M.
Lancelot, in the _Memoires de l'Academie des Inscriptions_, VI. p. 753,
supposes Turold to be the ambassador who is in the act of speaking; and
this seems the more probable conjecture. The same opinion is still more
decidedly maintained by Father Du Plessis, in his _Histoire de la Haute
Normandie_, II. p. 342.--"Sur une ancienne tapisserie de l'Eglise de
Baieux, que l'on croit avoir ete faite par ordre de la Reine Mathilde
femme du Conquerant, pour representer les circonstances principales de
cette memorable expedition, on lit distinctement le mot _Turold_ a cote
d'un des Ambassadeurs, que Guillaume avoit envoiez au Comte de Ponthieu;
et je ne doute nullement que ce Turold ne soit le meme que le
Connetable. Le scavant Auteur des Antiquitez de notre Monarchie croit
cependant que ce mot doit se rapporter a un Nain qui tient deux chevaux
en bride derriere les Ambassadeurs; et il ajoute que ce Nain devoit etre
fort connu a la Conr du Duc de Normandie. On avoue que si c'est lui en
effet qui doit s'appeller Turold, il devoit tenir aussi a la Cour de son
Prince un rang distingue; sans quoi on n'auroit pas pris la peine de le
designer par son nom dans la tapisserie. On avoue encore que le nom de
Turold est place la de maniere qu'on peut a la rigueur le donner au Nain
aussi bien qu'a l'un des deux Ambassadeurs; et comme le Nain est
applique a tenir deux chevaux en bride, on pourrait croire enfin que
c'est le Connetable, dont les titres de l'Abbaie de Facan nous ont
appris le nom: _Signum Turoldi Constabularii_. Mais le Nain est tres-mal
habille, il a son bonnet sur la tete, et tourne le dos au Comte de
Ponthieu, pendant que les deux Ambassadeurs noblement vetus regardent ce
Prince en face, et lui parlent decouverts: trois circonstances qui ne
peuvent convenir, ni au Connetable du Duc, ni a toute autre personne de
distinction qui auroit tenu compagnie, ou fait cortege aux
Ambassadeurs."]

[Footnote 56: This tower is figured, but very inaccurately, by Gough, in
his _Alien Priories_, I. p. 22.--The cupola which then surmounted it is
now gone; and the cap to the turret, which served as the staircase, has
strangely changed its shape.]

[Footnote 57: _Alien Priories_, I. p. 24.]

[Footnote 58: "Nam antea, sub tempore sex ducum vix ullus Normannorum
liberalibus studiis adhaesit; nec doctor inveniebatur, donec provisor
omnium, Deus, Normannicis oris Lanfrancum appulit. Fama peritiae illius
in tota ubertim innotuit Europa, unde ad magisterium ejus multi
convenerunt de Francia, de Wasconia, de Britannia, necne
Flandria."--_Duchesne, Scriptores Normanni_, p. 519.]

[Footnote 59: A question always existed, whether the Empress was really
buried here, or at the abbey of Ste Marie des Pres, at Rouen. Hoveden
expressly says, that she was interred at Rouen: the chronicle of Bec, on
the other hand, is equally positive in the assertion that her body was
brought to Bec, and entombed with honor before the altar of the Virgin.
The same chronicle adds that, in the year 1273, her remains were
discovered before the high altar, sewed up in an ox's hide.--Still
farther to substantiate their claim, the monks of Bec maintained that,
in 1684, upon the occasion of some repairs being done to this altar, the
bones of the empress were again found immediately under the lamp (which,
in Catholic churches, is kept constantly burning before the holy
sacrament,) and that they were deposited once more in the ground in a
wooden chest, covered with lead.--The Empress was a munificent endower
of monasteries, and was at all times most liberal towards Bec. William
of Jumieges says, that it would be tedious to enumerate the presents she
made to the abbey, but that the sight of them gave pleasure to those
strangers who have seen the treasures of the most noble churches. His
remarks on this matter, and his account of her arguments with her
father, on the subject of her choice of Bec, as a place of her
interment, deserve to be transcribed.--"Transiret illac hospes Graecus
aut Arabs, voluptate traheretur eadem. Credimus autem, et credere fas
est, aequissimum judicem omnium non solum in futuro, verumetiam in
praesenti seculo, illi centuplum redditurum, quod seruis suis manu sicut
larga, ita devota gratanter impendit. Ad remunerationem vero instantis
temporis pertinere non dubium est, quod, miserante Deo, sopita adversa
valetudine, sanctitatem refouit, et Monachos suos, Monachos Beccenses,
qui prae omnibus, et super omnes pro ipsius sospitate, jugi labore
supplicandi decertando pene defecerant, aura prosperae valetudinis ejus
afflatos omnino redintegravit.--Nec supprimendum illud est silentio,
imo, ut ita dicatur, uncialibus literis exaratum, seculo venturo
transmittendum; quod antequam convalesceret postulaverat patrem suum, ut
permitteret eam in CA"nobio Beccensi humari. Quod Rex primo abnuerat,
dicens non esse dignum, ut filia sua, Imperatrix Augusta, quae semel et
iterum in urbe Romulea, quae caput est mundi, per manus summi Pontificis
Imperiali diademate processerat insignita, in aliquo Monasterio, licet
percelebri et religione et fama, sepeliretur; sed ad civitatem
Rotomagensium, quae metropolis est Normannorum, saltem delata, in
Ecclesia principali, in qua et majores ejus, Rollonem loquor et
Willelmum Longamspatam filium ipsius, qui Neustriam armis subegerunt,
positi sunt, ipsa et poneretur. Qua deliberatione Regis percepta, illi
per nuncium remandavit, animam suam nunquam fore laetam, nisi compos
voluntatis suae in hac duntaxat parte efficeretur.--O femina macte
virtutis et consilii sanioris, paruipendens pompam secularem in corporis
depositione! Noverat enim salubrius esse animabus defunctorum ibi
corpora sua tumulari, ubi frequentius et devotius supplicationes pro
ipsis Deo offeruntur. Victus itaque pater ipsius Augustae pietate et
prudentia filiae, qui ceteros et virtute et pietate vincere solitus erat,
cessit, et voluntatem, et petitionem ipsius de se sepelienda Becci fieri
concessit. Sed volente Deo ut praefixum est, sanitati integerrimae
restituta convaluit."--_Duchesne, Scriptores Normanni_, p. 305.]

[Footnote 60: _Histoire de la Haute Normandie_, II. p, 281.]

LETTER XXI.

BERNAT--BROGLIE--ORBEC--LISIEUX--CATHEDRAL--ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY.

(_Lisieux, July_, 1818.)

Instead of pursuing the straight road from Brionne to this city, we
deviated somewhat to the south, by the advice of M. Le Prevost; and we
have not regretted the deviation.

Bernay was once celebrated for its abbey, founded in the beginning of
the eleventh century, by Judith, wife of Richard IInd, Duke of Normandy.
Some of the monastic buildings are standing, and are now inhabited: they
appear to have been erected but a short time before the revolution, and
to have suffered little injury.--But the abbey church, which belonged to
the original structure, is all desolate within, and all defaced without.
The interior is divided into two stories, the lower of which is used as
a corn market, the upper as a cloth hall. Thus blocked up and
encumbered, we may yet discern that it is a noble building: its
dimensions are grand, and in most parts it is a perfect specimen of the
semi-circular style, except the windows and the apsis, which are of
later dates. The pillars in the nave and choir are lofty, but massy: the
capitals of some of them are curiously sculptured. On the lower member
of the entablature of one capital there are still traces of an
inscription; but it is so injured by neglect and violence, that we were
unable to decipher a single word. The capital itself is fanciful and not
devoid of elegance.

[Illustration: Capital]

The convent was placed under the immediate protection of the sovereign,
by virtue of an ordinance issued by Philip Augustus[61], in 1280, at
which time Peter, Count of Alencon, attempted to establish a claim to
some rights affecting the monastery. He alleged a grant from a former
monarch to one of his predecessors, by whom he asserted that the convent
had been founded; and, in support of his claim, he urged its position
within the limits of his territory. The abbot and monks resisted: they
gave proof that the abbey of Bernay was really founded by the duchess;
and therefore the king, after a full and impartial hearing, decided
against the count, and declared that the advocation of the monastery was
thenceforth to belong to himself and his successors in the dukedom for
ever.--Judith died before the convent was entirely built, and the task
of completing it devolved upon her widowed husband, whose charter,
confirming the foundation, is still in existence. It begins by a recital
of the pious motives[62] which urged the duchess to the undertaking; it
expressly mentions her death while the building was yet unfinished; and,
after detailing the various lands and grants bestowed on the abbey, it
concludes by denouncing the anger of God, and a fine of two hundred
pounds weight of gold upon those who disturb the establishment, "that
they may learn to their confusion that the good deeds of their
ancestors, undertaken for the love of God, are not to be undone with
impunity."

The parochial church at Bernay is uninteresting. The sculptures,
however, which adorn the high altar, are relics saved from the
destruction of the abbey of Bec. The Virgin Mary and Joseph are
represented, contemplating the infant Jesus, who is asleep. The statues
are all of the natural size. We saw many grave-stones from the same
abbey, nine or ten feet long, and covered with monumental figures of the
usual description, indented in the stone. These memorials were standing
by the side of the church door, not for preservation, but for sale! And
at a small chapel in the burial-ground near the town, we were shewn
twelve statues of saints, which likewise came from Bec. They are of
comparatively modern workmanship, larger than life, and carved in a
good, though not a fine, style. In the same chapel is kept the common
coffin for the interment of all the poor at Bernay.

The custom of merely putting the bodies of persons of the lower class
into coffins, when they are brought to the burial-ground, and then
depositing them naked in their graves, prevails at present in this part
of France as it did formerly in England.--In a place which must be the
receptacle for many that were in easy, and for not a few that were in
affluent, circumstances, it was remarkable that all lay indiscriminately
side by side, unmarked by any monumental stone, or any sepulchral
record.--Republican France proscribed distinctions of every description,
and those memorials which tended to perpetuate distinctions beyond the
limits of mortal existence, were naturally most unpardonable in the eyes
of the apostles of equality. But doctrines of this nature have fallen
into disrepute for more than twenty years; and yet the country
church-yard remains as naked as when the guillotine would have been the
reward of opposition to the tenets of the day. There are few more
comfortless sights, than such a cemetery: it looks as if those by whom
it is occupied regarded death as eternal sleep, and thought that the
memory of man should terminate with the close of his life. However
unlettered the muse, however hackneyed the rhyme, however misapplied
the text, it is consolatory to see them employed. Man dwells with a
melancholy satisfaction upon the tomb-stones of his relations and
friends, and not of them alone, but of all whom he has known or of whom
he has heard.--A mere _hic jacet_, with the name and years of him that
sleeps beneath, frequently recals the most lively impressions; and he
who would destroy epitaphs would destroy a great incitement to
virtue.--In other parts of France tomb-stones, or crosses charged with
monumental inscriptions, have re-appeared: at Bernay we saw only two;
one of them commemorated a priest of the town; the other was erected at
the public expence, to the memory of three gendarmes, who were killed at
the beginning of the revolution, and before religion was proscribed, in
the suppression of some tumult.

At less than a mile from Bernay, in the opposite direction, is another
church, called Notre Dame de la Couture, a name borrowed from the
property on which it stands. We were induced to visit it, by the
representation of different persons in the town, who had noticed our
architectural propensities. Some assured us that "C'est une belle
piece;" others that "C'est une piece qui n'est pas vilaine;" and all
concurred in praising it, though some only for the reason that "les
processions vont tout autour du choeur."--We found nothing to repay the
trouble of the walk.

Bernay contains upwards of six thousand inhabitants, the greater part of
whom are engaged in manufacturing coarse woollen and cotton cloths; and
the manufactures flourish, the goods made being principally for home
consumption. It is the chief place of the _arrondissement_, and the
residence of a sub-prefect.--Most of the houses are like those at Rouen,
merely wooden frames filled with mortar, which, in several instances, is
faced with small bricks and flints, disposed in fanciful patterns: here
and there the beams are carved with a variety of grotesque figures. The
lower story of all those in the high street retires, leaving room for a
wooden colonnade, which shelters the passenger, though it is entirely
destitute of all architectural beauty. The head-dress of the females at
Bernay is peculiar, and so very archaic, that our chamber-maid at the
inn appeared to deserve a sketch, full as much as any monumental effigy.

[Illustration: Head-dress of females of Bernay]

On our road between Bernay and Orbec, we stopped at the village of
Chambrais, more commonly called Broglie. Before the revolution, it
belonged to the noble family of that name, and it thence derived its
familiar appellation. The former residence of the Seigneurs of Broglie,
which is still standing, apparently uninjured, upon an adjoining
eminence, has lately been restored to the present Marechal Duc de
Broglie. It looks like an extensive parish work-house, or like any thing
rather than a nobleman's seat.--The village church is very ancient and
still curious, though in parts considerably modernized. Unlike most
churches of great antiquity, it is not built in the form of a cross, but
consists only of a nave and choir, with side-aisles and an apsis, all on
a small scale[63]. Towards the north, the nave is separated from the
aisle by some of the largest and rudest piers I ever saw. They occupy
full two-thirds of the width of the intervening arches, which are five
feet wide, elliptic rather than semi-circular, and altogether without
ornament of any kind. Above each of these arches is a narrow,
circular-headed window, banded with a cylindrical pilaster; and, in most
instances, a row of quatrefoils runs between the pillar and the window.
The bases of the windows rest upon a string-course that extends round
the whole building; and on this also, alternating with the windows, rest
corbels, from which spring very short, clustered columns, intended to
support the groinings of the roof. On the south side, the massy piers
have been pared into comparatively slender pillars; and the arches are
pointed, as are all the lower windows in the church.--The font is of
stone, and ancient: it consists of a round basin, on a quadrangular
pedestal, like many in England.--The west front of the church is
peculiar. It is entered by a very wide, low, semi-circular door-way, of
rude architecture, and quite unornamented. Above is a window
corresponding with those in the clerestory; and, still higher, a row of
interlaced arches, also semi-circular. A pointed arch, the receptacle
for the statue of a saint, surmounts the whole; but this is, most
probably, of a later aera, as evidently are the two lateral
compartments, which terminate in slender spires of slate, and are
separated from the central division by Norman buttresses.

We stopped to dine at Orbec, a small and insignificant country town,
formerly an appendage of the houses of Orleans and Navarre, with the
title of a barony; but, more immediately before the revolution, the
domain of the family of Chaumont. Its church is a most uncouth edifice:
the plan is unusual; the entrance is in the north transept, which ends
in a square high tower.

Bernay, Orbec, and Lisieux, communicate only by cross roads, scarcely
passable by a carriage, even at this season of the year. From Orbec to
Lisieux the road runs by the side of the Touques, which, at Orbec, is no
more than a rivulet. The beautiful green meadows in the valley, appear
to repay the great care which is taken in the draining and irrigating of
them. They are every where intersected by small trenches, in which the
water is confined by means of sluices.--In this part of the country, we
passed several flocks of sheep, the true _moutons du pays_, a large
breed, with red legs and red spotted faces. Their coarse wool serves to
make the ordinary cloth of the country, but is inapplicable to any of a
finer texture. To remedy this deficiency, and, if possible, improve the
local manufactures, some large flocks of Merino sheep were imported at
the time when the French occupied Spain; and they are said to thrive.
But it is only of late years that any attempts, have been made of the
kind.--The Norman farmer, however careful about the breed of his horses,
has altogether neglected his sheep; and this is the more extraordinary,
considering that the prosperity of the province is inseparably connected
with that of the manufactures, and that much of the value of the produce
must of necessity depend upon the excellence of the material. His pigs
are the very perfection of ugliness: it is no hyperbole to say, that, in
their form, they partake as much of a greyhound as of an English
pig.--These animals are sure to attract the gaze of our countrymen; and
poor Trotter, in his narrative of the journey of Mr. Fox, expressed his
marvel so often, as to call down upon himself the witty vengeance of one
of our ablest periodical writers.

Melons are cultivated on a great scale in the country about Lisieux.
They grow here in the natural soil, occupying whole fields of
considerable size, and apparently without requiring any extraordinary
pains.--As we approached the city, the meadows, through which we passed,
were mostly occupied as extensive bleaching-grounds. Lisieux is an
industrious manufacturing town. Its ten thousand inhabitants find their
chief employment in the making of the ordinary woollen cloths, worn by
the peasantry of Normandy and of Lower Brittany. Linen and flannels are
also manufactured here, though on a comparatively trifling scale. For
trade of this description, Lisieux is well situated upon the banks of
the Touques, a small river, which, almost immediately under the walls of
the town, receives the waters of a yet smaller stream, the Orbec. A
project is in agitation, and it is said that it may be carried into
effect at an inconsiderable expence, of making the Touques navigable to
Lisieux. At present, it is so no farther than the the little town of the
same name as the river; and even this derives no great advantage from
the navigation; for, however near its situation is to the mouth of the
stream, it is approachable only by vessels of less than one hundred tons
burthen.--It was at Touques that Henry Vth landed in France, in the
spring of 1417, when the monarch, flushed with a degree of success as
extraordinary as it was unexpected, quitted England with the
determination of returning no more till the whole kingdom of France
should be subjugated.

The greater part of the houses in Lisieux are built of wood; and many of
them are old, and most of them are mean; yet, on the whole, it is
picturesque and handsome. Its streets are spacious, and contain several
large buildings: it is surrounded with pleasant _boulevards_; and its
situation, like that of most other Norman towns, is delightful.--In
consequence of the revolution, the city has lost the privilege of being
an episcopal see. Even when Napoleon, by virtue of the concordat of
1801, restored the Gallican church to its obedience to the the supreme
Pontiff, the see of Lisieux was suppressed. The six suffragan bishops of
ancient Normandy were at that time reduced to four, conformably to the
number of the departments of the province; and Lisieux and Avranches
merged in the more important dioceses of Bayeux and Coutances.

The cathedral, now the parish church of St. Peter, derived, however, one
advantage from the revolution. Another church, dedicated to St. Germain,
which had previously stood immediately before it, so as almost to block
up the approach, was taken down, and the west front of the cathedral was
made to open upon a spacious square.--Solid, simple grandeur are the
characters of this front, which, notwithstanding some slight anomalies,
is, upon the whole, a noble specimen of early pointed architecture.--It
is divided into three equal compartments, the lateral ones rising into
short square towers of similar height. The southern tower is surmounted
by a lofty stone spire, probably of a date posterior to the part below.
The spire of the opposite tower fell in 1553, at which time much injury
was done to the building, and particularly to the central door-way,
which, even to the present day, has never been repaired.--Contrary to
the usual elevation of French cathedrals, the great window over the
principal entrance is not circular, but pointed: it is divided into
three compartments by broad mullions, enriched with many mouldings. The
compartments end in acute pointed arches.--In the north tower, the whole
of the space from the basement story is occupied by only two tiers of
windows. Each tier contains two windows, extremely narrow, considering
their height; and yet, narrow as they are, each of them is parted by a
circular mullion or central pillar. You will better understand how high
they must be, when told that, in the southern tower, the space of the
upper row is divided into three distinct tiers; and still the windows do
not appear disproportionately short. They also are double, and the
interior arches are pointed; but the arches, within which they are
placed, are circular. In this circumstance lies the principal anomaly in
the front of the cathedral; but there is no appearance of any disparity
in point of dates; for the circular arches are supported on the same
slender mullions, with rude foliaged capitals, of great projection,
which are the most distinguishing characteristics of this style of
architecture.

The date of the building establishes the fact of the pointed arch being
in use, not only as an occasional variation, but in the entire
construction of churches upon a grand scale, as early as the eleventh
century.--Sammarthanus tells us that Bishop Herbert, who died in 1049,
began to build this church, but did not live to see it completed; and
Ordericus Vitalis expressly adds, that Hugh, the successor to Herbert,
upon his death-bed, in 1077, while retracing his past life, made use of
these words:--"Ecclesiam Sancti Petri, principis apostolorum, quam
venerabilis Herbertus, praedecessor meus, coepit, perfeci, studiose
adornavi, honorifice dedicavi, et cultoribus necessariisque divino
servitio vasis aliisque apparatibus copiose ditavi."--Language of this
kind appears too explicit to leave room for ambiguity, but an opinion
has still prevailed, founded probably upon the style of the
architecture, that the cathedral was not finished till near the
expiration of the thirteenth century. Admitting, however, such to be the
fact, I do not see how it will materially help those who favor the
opinion; for the building is far from being, as commonly happens in
great churches, a medley of incongruous parts; but it is upon one fixed
plan; and, as it was begun, so it was ended.--The exterior of the
extremity of the south transept is a still more complete example of the
early pointed style than the west front: this style, which was the most
chaste, and, if I may be allowed to use the expression, the most severe
of all, scarcely any where displays itself to greater advantage. The
central window is composed of five lancet divisions, supported upon
slender pillars: massy buttresses of several splays bound it on either
side.

The same character of uniformity extends over the interior of the
building. On each side of the nave is a side-aisle; and, beyond the
aisles, chapels. The pillars of the nave are cylindrical, solid, and
plain. Their bases end with foliage at each corner, and foliage is also
sculptured upon the capitals. The arches which they support are
acute.--The triforium is similar in plan to the part below; but the
capitals of the columns are considerably more enriched, with an obvious
imitation of the antique model, and every arch encircles two smaller
ones. In the clerestory the windows are modern.--The transepts appear
the oldest parts of the cathedral, as is not unfrequently the case;
whether they were really built before the rest, or that, from being less
used in the services of the church, they were less commonly the objects
of subsequent alterations. They are large; and each of them has an aisle
on the eastern side. The architecture of the choir resembles that of the
nave, except that the five pillars, which form the apsis, are slender
and the intervening arches more narrow and more acute.--The Lady-Chapel,
which is long and narrow, was built towards the middle of the fifteenth
century, by Peter Cauchon, thirty-sixth bishop of Lisieux, who, for his
steady attachment to the Anglo-Norman cause, was translated to this see,
in 1429, when Beauvais, of which he had previously been bishop, fell
into the hands of the French. He was selected, in 1431, for the
invidious office of presiding at the trial of the Maid of Orleans.
Repentance followed; and, as an atonement for his unrighteous conduct,
according to Ducarel, he erected this chapel, and therein founded a high
mass to the Holy Virgin, which was duly sung by the choristers, in
order, as is expressed in his endowment-charter, to expiate the false
judgment which he pronounced[64].--The two windows by the side of the
altar in this chapel have been painted of a crimson color, to add to the
effect produced upon entering the church; and, seen as they are, through
the long perspective of the nave and the distant arches of the choir,
the glowing tint is by no means unpleasing.--The central tower is open
within the church to a considerable height: it is supported by four
arches of unusual boldness, above which runs a row of small arches, of
the same character as the rest of the building; and, still higher, on
each side, are two lancet-windows.--The vaulting of the roof is very
plain, with bosses slightly pendant and carved.

[Illustration: Ancient Tomb in the Cathedral at Lisieux]

At the extremity of the north transept is an ancient stone sarcophagus,
so built into the wall, that it appears to have been incorporated with
the edifice, at the period when it was raised. The style of the
medallions which adorn it will be best understood by consulting the
annexed sketch, which is very faithful, though taken under every
possible disadvantage. The transept is now used as a school; and the
little filthy imps, who are there taught to drawl out their catechisms,
continued swarming round the feverish artist, during the progress of the
drawing. The character of the heads, the crowns, and the disposition of
the foliage, may be considered as indicating that it is a production, at
least of the Carlovingian period, if it be not indeed of earlier date. I
believe it is traditionally supposed to have been the tomb of a saint,
perhaps St. Candidus; but I am not quite certain whether I am accurate
in the recollection of the name.--Above are two armed statues, probably
of the twelfth or thirteenth centuries. These have been engraved by
Willemin, in his useful work, _Les Monumens Francais_, under the title
of _Two Armed Warriors, in the Nave of the Cathedral at Lisieux_; and
both are there figured as if in all respects perfect, and with a great
many details which do not exist, and never could have existed, though at
the same time the draftsman has omitted the animals at the feet of the
statues, one of which is yet nearly entire.--This may be reckoned among
the innumerable proofs of the disregard of accuracy which pervades the
works of French antiquaries. A French designer never scruples to
sacrifice accuracy to what he considers effect.--Willemin describes the
monuments as being in the nave of the church. I suspect that he has
availed himself of the unpublished collection of Gaignat, in this and
many other instances. It is evident that originally the statues were
recumbent; but I cannot ascertain when they changed their position.--No
other tombs now exist in the cathedral: the brazen monument raised to
Hannuier, an Englishman, the marble that commemorated the bishop,
William d'Estouteville, founder of the _College de Lisieux_ at Paris,
that of Peter Cauchon in the Lady-Chapel, and all the rest, were
destroyed during the revolution.

The diocese of Lisieux was a more modern establishment than any other in
Normandy. Even those who are most desirous to honor it by antiquity, do
not venture to date its foundation higher than the middle of the sixth
century. Ordericus Vitalis, a monk of the province, suggests with some
reason that we ought not to be hasty in forming our judgment upon these
subjects; for that, owing to the destruction caused by the Norman
pirates and the abominable negligence (_damnabilis negligentia_) of
those to whom the care of the records of religious houses had
subsequently been intrusted, many documents had been irretrievably
lost.--The see of Lisieux was also peculiarly unfortunate, in having
twice been in a state of anarchy, and on each occasion for a period of
more than a century. The series of its prelates is interrupted from the
year 670 to 853, and again from 876 to 990.

It is rather extraordinary, that no one of the Lexovian bishops was ever
admitted by the church into the catalogue of her saints. Many of them
were prelates of unquestionable merit. Freculfus, in the ninth century,
was a patron of literature, and himself an author; Hugh of Eu, grandson
of Richard, Duke of Normandy, was one of the most illustrious
ecclesiastics of his day; Gilbert is described by Ordericus Vitalis as
having been a man of exemplary charity, and deeply versed in all
sciences, though it is admitted that he was somewhat too much addicted
to worldly pleasures, and not averse from gambling; and Arnulf, whose
letters and epigrams are preserved among the manuscripts of the Vatican,
was a prelate who would have done honor to St. Peter's chair.--All these
were bishops of Lisieux, during the ages when canonization was not
altogether so unfrequent as in our days. Arnulf particularly
distinguished himself by taking a leading part in the principal
transactions of the times. He accompanied the crusaders to the holy land
in 1147; five years subsequently he officiated at the marriage of Henry
Plantagenet with Eleanor of Guyenne, the repudiated wife of Louis le
Jeune, which was performed in his cathedral; he assisted at the
coronation of the same king, by whom he was shortly afterwards employed
in a mission of great importance at Rome; and he interposed to settle
the differences between that sovereign and Thomas a Becket; and though
he espoused the part of the prelate, he had the good fortune to retain
the favor of the monarch. A life thus eventful ended with the conviction
that all was vanity!--Arnulf, disgusted with sublunary honors, abdicated
his see and retired to a monastery at Paris, where he died.--One of the
immediate successors of this prelate, William of Rupierre, was the
ambassador of Richard Coeur-de-Lion to the Pope; and he pleaded the
cause of his sovereign against Walter, Archbishop of Rouen, on the
occasion of the differences that originated from the building of Chateau
Gaillard. He also resisted the power usurped by King John within the
city and liberties of Lisieux, and finally obtained a sentence from the
Norman court of exchequer, whereby the privileges of the dukes of the
province were restricted to what was called the _Placitum Spathae_,
consisting of the right of billetting soldiers, of coining money, and of
hearing and determining in cases of appeal. The decision is honorable
both to the independence of the court, and the vigor of the prelate.--In
times nearer to our own, a bishop of Lisieux, Jean Hennuyer, obtained a
very different distinction. Authors are strangely at variance whether
this prelate is to be regarded as the protector or the persecutor of the
protestants. All agree that his church suffered materially from the
excesses of the Huguenots, in 1562, and that, on the following year, he
received public thanks from the Cardinal of Bourbon, for the firmness
with which he had opposed them; but the point at issue is, whether,
after the massacre of St. Bartholomew, ten years subsequently, he
withstood the sanguinary orders from the court to put the Huguenots to
the sword, or whether he endeavored, as far as lay in his power, to
forward the pious labor of extirpating the heretics, but was himself
effectually resisted by the king's own lieutenant.--Sammarthanus tells
us that the first of these traditions rests solely upon the authority
of Anthony Mallet[65] but it obtained general credence till within the
last three years, when a very well-informed writer, in the _Mercure de
France_, and subsequently in the article _Hennuyer_ in the
_Bibliographie Universelle_, espoused, and has apparently established,
the opposite opinion.

We visited only one other of the churches in Lisieux, that of St.
Jacques, a large edifice, in a bad style of pointed architecture, and
full of gaudy altars and ordinary pictures. On the outside of the stalls
of the choir towards the north is some curious carving; but I should
scarcely have been induced to have spoken of the building, were it not
for one of the paintings, which, however uninteresting as a piece of
art, appears to possess some historical value. It represents how the
bones of St. Ursinus were miraculously translated to Lisieux, under the
auspices of Hugh the Bishop, in 1055; and it professes, and apparently
with truth, to be a copy, made in the seventeenth century, from an
original of great antiquity. The legend relating to the relics of this
saint, is noticed by no author with whom I am acquainted, nor do I find
him mentioned any where in conjunction with the church of Lisieux, or
with any other Norman diocese.--But the extraordinary privilege granted
to the canons of the cathedral, of being Earls of Lisieux, and of
exercising all civil and criminal jurisdiction within the earldom, upon
the vigil and feast-day of St. Ursinus, in every year, is most probably
connected with the tradition commemorated by the picture. The actual
existence of the privilege, in modern times, we learn from Ducarel; who
also details at length the curious ceremonies with which the claim of it
was accompanied. The exercise of these rights was confirmed by a compact
between the canons and the bishop, who, prior to the revolution, united
the secular coronet of an earl with the episcopal mitre, and bore
supreme sway in all civil and ecclesiastical polity, during the
remaining three hundred and sixty-three days in the year.

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 61: This ordinance is preserved by Du Monstier in the
_Neustria Pia_, p. 400.]

[Footnote 62: The preamble of the charter is as follows:--"Nulli dubium
videri debet futuros esse haeredes Regni coelestis, et cohaeredes Dei,
qui Christum haeredem sui facientes, eorum, quae in hujus vitae
peregrinatione, quasi a quadam paterna haereditate possident, locis ea
Divino cultui deditis mancipare non dubitant. Ad quam rem, nostram
firmat fidem calix aquae frigidae, qui, juxta Evangelicum verbum, suo
pollet munere. Non ergo divini muneris gratia privari credendi sunt, qui
Ecclesiasticis obsequiis, etsi officio non intersunt, rerum tamen suarum
admistratione, Divini officii sustentant ministros: ea spe temporalem
subministrantes alimoniam, ut sic solummodo coelestibus reddant
intentos, qui coelestis Regis assiduo constituuntur invigilare obsequio,
participes fiant ejusmodi beneficii omnimodo."--_Neustria Pia_, p. 398.]

[Footnote 63: The following are the dimensions of the building, in
English feet:--

LENGTH. WIDTH.
Nave 54 15
Choir 45 15
North aisle 7
South ditto 15

]

[Footnote 64: _Anglo-Norman Antiquities_, p. 47.]

[Footnote 65: "Sed ne quid omittam eorum etiam quae unum Antonium
_Mallet_ habent auctorem, anno 1572, cum prorex urbis Lexoviensis
Livarotus a Carolo rege literas accepisset, quibus qui Lexovii infecti
erant haeresi occidi omnes jubebantur per eos dies quibus princeps
civitas cruore ejus insaniae hominum commaduerat, easque communicasset
episcopo: Neque sum passurus, inquit praesul, oves meas, et quamquam
evagatas Christi caula, meas tamen adhuc, necdum desperatas, gladio
trucidari. Referente contra prorege imperio se mandatoque urgeri
principis; quod si posthabeatur, omnem esse periculi aleam in caput suum
moriendique necessitatem redituram: Et polliceor, inquit episcopus, illa
te eximendum, postulantique cautionem, praesul consignatum manu sua
scriptum tradidit, fidem datam confirmans. Qua illico publicata
clementia, et ad errantes oves perlata, sollicitudine praesulis
vigilantis circa gregis commissi sibi salutem et conservationem, rediere
sensim in ecclesiae sinum omnes quotquot Lexovii per ea tempora novum
istud fataleque delirium dementarat, nec ultra ibidem diu visi qui a
recta fide aberrarent."--_Gallia Christiana_, p. 802.]

LETTER XXII.

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