« AnteriorContinuar »
In the Reports of The Commissioners we find very early mention of the use of Rushes in Sacred edifices,- and of the Ceremony of Preaching in the open air.
By the Charitable Donation book, in the possession of The Corporation of Bristol, it appears, that WILLIAM SPENCER, by his deed of feoffment, dated the 29th of November, 1494, devised to certain feoffees one messuage or tenement, situate on the back of Bristol, then in the tenure of RICHARD Play, at the yearly rent of 4l., upon condition, that the feoffees, and their heirs for ever, should find and provide every year with the rents and profits of that tenement, three priests sufficiently instructed in sacred divinity, to preach the word of God in the parish church of St. Mary Redcliff, in Bristol, or in the Curchyard of the said church, before the Mayor and Commonalty, and other devout people repairing thither at the feast of Pentecost, and to pay to each of the priests for preaching, 6s. 8d.,-to the Mayor, for the preacher's dinner at his table, 3s. 4d. each
day,—to the clerk and sexton for ringing the bell, and placing the forms for the Mayor and Common Council, 12d,
per day,—and the residue of the rent, he appointed, should remain towards payment of Quit-rents, the reparations of the said tenement, and to the common profit of the Town.
These several sums, amounting to 11. 13. 4d., are annually applied according to the gift The Corporation, on whom the charge has devolved, pay at Whitsuntide for preaching three sermons, ll. 10s. -to the clergyman of St. Mary Redcliff, and for ringing and strewing Rushes in the church, 3s. 4d. The Mayor and a part of the Corporation go to Redcliff Church on Whitsunday, when the Church is always spread with these verdant honours. 32
John LANE, Gentleman, by his Will, the date of which is not specified, gave certain sums for the education of the
poor children of Yatton, in the County of Somerset, and in the purchase of bread for
32 Rep. VIII. p. 607.
the poor,—and he also bequeathed to the Parish, half an acre of pasture ground, called “ The Grove,” reserving a quantity of the grass for strewing the church on Whitsunday, and 2s. a year to the sexton, to keep the graves of his family well turfed and briared, and the rest of the profits thereof, to keep the gravestones in repair, and to the poor.<3
It is the custom at Middleton Cheney, in the County of Northampton, in summer, to strew the floor of that church with hay cut from “ Ash Meadow,”-and, in winter, straw is provided at the expense of the Rector.34
Brackens, or fern, seem to have been used for strewing the church of St. Michael in York, in lieu of rushes, which probably bore a higher price. 35
Rep. XIII. p. 162.-Collinson's Hist. of Somerset, vol. iii. p. 620.
34 Beckwith's Fragmenta Antiquitatis, p. 576.
35 Nichols's Accompts of Churchwardens, p. 309, note.
In 1515, 138. were paid " for 12 burden of Rushes for the White-Hall.”36
And, in 1544, ls. 5d. were paid “ for Rushes against the Dedicacion day,' St. Margaret's, in Westminster, which is always on the first Sunday in October.
Rushes, it would therefore seem, were used for warmth and ornament in Winter, both in Churches, and in the Halls of entertainment, -as well as in Summer, for 'coolness.
Preaching in the open air appears to have been common in 1478, as we find an Item in the Churchwardens' Accompts of St. Margaret's, in Westminster, of 2s. 8d. “for a pulpytte in the Church-yard, against the preaching of Dr. PENKEY."38
This Dr. PENKEY or PENKER was one of the “ Churchmen," whom RICHARD the Third, in his deep hypocrisy, sent for, to
36 Nichols's Accompts of Churchwardens, p.
6. 37 Ibid. p. 12. 38 Ibid.
give due semblance to the “ holy descant” of BUCKINGHAM, –
Go, Lovel, with all speed to Doctor Shaw,Go thou (to Catesby) to Friar Penker ;-bid them both Meet me, within this hour, at Baynard's Castle.
King Richard the Third, Act iii. Sc. v.
PAUL'S CROSS, AND PREACHING THERE.
The subject of Crosses forms a class in the system of Old English Architecture of very high interest. The great variety and general beauty of their forms, their age, and a sort of traditional Sanctity attached to them, unite to impress the mind of the beholder with sentiments of veneration not easily to be described.
Considered as fragments of National costume, as memorials of the skill and piety of our forefathers, the man of taste must ever lament their destruction, and reprobate that excess of indiscriminatng zeal in our Reformers, which, in seeking the overthrow