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WE were favoured with the drawing from which the plate which adorns our present number was engraved, by the kindness of E. Blore, Esq., who was pleased to express his good will towards our Miscellany, by sketching this apcient house, while on a visit in this neighbourhood. It was long the residence of a branch of a family who were in great note in the northern part of Derbyshire. Of this family were, John and Geoffrey Blythe, sons of William Blythe, of Norton, to whom a grant of arms was made in 1485. The former became bishop of Salisbury, and the latter bishop of Coventry and Litchfield. The tomb which the latter placed over the remains of his parents is still to be seen in Norton church. The received pedigrees bring the Blythes of Norton-Lees froin Thomas Blythe, uncle to the two bishops, from whom, after several generations, sprang William Blythe, of Norton-Lees, yeoman, perhaps the builder of this honse. He married to his first wife Frances Vesey, of a very ancient family, in the wapentake. of Strafforth and Tickhill, daughter to William Vesey, by whom he had William Blythe, of Norton-Lees, a commander in the Parliament army, who married a Bright, and died early in 1666. He had, for a short time, à command in Sheffield Castle. His family was brought up in principles of nonconformity, and his son William Blythe obtained a licence for having divine service in his house at Norton-Lees, in the time of Charles II. His son and successor was a dissenting minister, and, residing on the estate of his ancestors, officiated in 1716 to a small congregation at Attercliffe. In the next generation the estate was sold, and is at present in the possession of Samuel Shore, Esq. of Meersbrook.
FURTHER ACCOUNT OF FOUNTAINS ABBEY.
4o-fo-40040-$+1000-do-doo THIS noble and beautiful pile of building, which rivals in elegance and extent many of the productions of ancient Greece and Rome, was founded
for the accommodation of the monks of the Cistercian* order, by John de Ebor, at that time the abbot, about the year 1204; and completed under the superintendence of his immediate successors John Phud and John de Cancia, the latter of whom finished the structure, instituted nine altars therein, added a beautiful painted pavement, erected the new cloister, the infirmary, and the house for the entertainment of the poor. In its original and perfect state this extensive pile of building, with its appendages, occupied upwards of ten acres of ground, two only of which are taken up with the present ruins, which present a beautiful and interesting prospect from whatever point of view they are contemplated.
It is impossible, at this remote périod, to form an adequate idea of the noble and sublime appearance which such extensive and beautiful erections must have presented to the eye of the spectator in their pristine splendour; but if the parts:which have been dilapidated and destroyed by the hand of time bore any proportion to those which still remain to be ex. plored by the antiquary or investigated by the curious, we may, indeed, form the most exalted opinion of its original grandeur and beauty,
There were formerly to be found many columns of black marble, with white spots, in the most eastern transversed part of the church; and many pillars of the same quality supported and adorned the chapter and refectory. The length of the church from east to west is 351 feet, and the width of the transept 186 feet. The ambulatory, which is situated behind the altar, is 132 feet long, and 36 feet broad.
HENRY, first Lord PERCY of Alnwick, was buried, in the year 1315, before the high altar, on the left side of which, carved upon the wall, is the figure of an angel holdiog a scroll, on which is the date 1285. This figure must have been placed there forty-five or fifty years subsequent to the completion of the building; for John de Cancia, who was abbot at the time it was finished, died in or about the year 1245, being the twentyfifth year of the reign of Henry III.
The whole of this fabric was begun and finished in the course of about forty years; a spaee of time which, allowing for the tardy proceeding of ancient architects, may be considered by no means too long for the completion of so immense an undertaking.
* The Cestercians derived their name from Cistertium, or Cisteaux, in the diocese of Chalons. It was instituted in 1098, by one Robert, who had been abbot of Molesme. This pious man is said to have withdrawn himself, with a select number of his monks, from the rest of the community, on account of their dissolute manners. To the rnles of St. Benedict, which the founder had adopted, some others were added by their third abbot, named Stephen Harding, who was an Englishman. Pope Urban 11. confirmed these (which were called Charitatis Charte) in the year 1107.
The Cistertians, who were also sometimes called Bernardines, were so particular as not to admit of another religious house, even of their own order, within a certain distance. They had the denomination of White Monks, from a white gown and cassock which they wore at church, though they had a black gown to put on when they went abroad. According to Emmilianne, they pretended to adopt the white habit, in obedience to the Virgin Mary, who, having appeared to St. Bernard (the founder of 150 of these houses), commanded that the dress should be adopted for her sake, to whom their monasteries were generally dedicated. Their first house in England was at Waverley, in Surrey; and they had 85 here. They came over in 1128, and generally fixed their abode in solitary places.- Boswell's Antiquities.
The Chapter-house is 84 feet by 42; and contains the tombs of eighteen
Their coffins were of stone, covered with two courses of slate well ce-
The Refectory, or dining-room, is 130 feet by 47.
The Cloisters are 300 feet long and thirty-six broad, having an arched
“ Here let my due feet never fail
Casting a dim religious light.”
The Dormitory, or sleeping-room, is situated above the cloisters, and is of the same dimensions.
The Cloister-garden is 126 feet square, enclosed by a high wall, and planted with evergreens.
There are still growing, on the south side of the abbey, several yewtrees, the circumference of one of which is twenty-six feet six inches. It was under these trees, as is recorded, that the monks used to assemble previously to the erection of the monastery; and the consideration of the fact, that a yew-tree increases very little in the course of a year, and that these are grown to a most prodigious size, might seem to favour this traditionary tale.*
* At York, the Cistertian abbey of Rievel, being much celebrated for the sanctity and
This being opposed by their abbot Girald, a visitation was sollicited; but when arch-
Over a window on the west side of the steeple, is the figure of a thrash standing on a tun: this is a rebus, allusive to the name of the founder, Thurstan, archbishop of York. On each side of the steeple, the following inscriptions remain legible:
On the East-Side,
North-Side, Upper Line,
North-Side, Lower Line,
The business of St. Mary's produced applications to the king and mutual accusations, and the archbishop of Canterbary, then the pope's legate in England, was acquainted by Thurstan with all these proceedings; but we cannot find what was the determination, farther than that at the succeeding Christmas, the archbishop gave the separatists a certain parcel of lands, about three miles north from Ripon, a spot represented as little better than a 'desert, and the monks as being reduced to such a state that first a large elm, and then a few yew-trees furnished, both by day and night, all their cover ing from the inclemency of the weather at that bleak season. The place lay between two steep hills, and was surrounded on all sides with rocks and brambles. This ungrateful soil they endeavoured to clear and cultivate, though at the same time they were so much in want of food, that they were reduced to the necessity, as their namber increased, of subsisting on wild herbs, when they could find them, and sometimes even on the leaves of trees.
Hargrove's History of Knaresbrough. † Boswell's Antiquities.
ANCIENT STATE OF DONCASTER AND ITS NEIGHBOUR
To the Editors of the Northern Star. CONFORMABLY to my promise, I now send you some farther account of the ancient history of Doncaster, continued from an article which appeared in your Fifth Number.
The Roman topography of Britain is at best doubtful and obscure ; nothing can be distinctly seen, and therefore little thoroughly understood ; the united labours of full fourteen centuries have been insufficient to dispel the darkness which hangs over it. If our niore early ancestors, (some of whom conld view our classic relics with the eye of an antiquary,) overlooked the vestiges of Roman grandeur, then existing with more prominence; what, in our day, can be expected but confusion more confounded, when the efforts of an increasing population, in order to the gratification of some caprice of bad taste, are fast levelling every noble pile of antiquity, filling up the protecting ditch, and tossing down the ponderous wall, which the infancy of warfare rendered formidable; --while the plough, at once the cause of their destruction and the means of many interesting discoveries, is progressively producing a revolution on the face of the earth, and, in time, cannot fail of effecting the total destruction of every vestige of antiquity to which it has access.
If, however, the Roman topography of Britain be obscure, that of the few writers which succeeded the Romans is, if possible, more difficult of elucidation. · Even in the natural and political history of our island, which is so important in enabling us to trace the gradual course of circulization in our largest and most beautiful cities, “ from the mud-wall cottage to the gilded palace, we have to lament an irremediable deficiency. Our knowledge of local districts, and particular places where important events are said to have occurred in Anglo-Saxon times, is extremely limited. We have little else to depend upon but the ignorant and designing monks, whose lying legends equal in absurdity the sources of Grecian mythology, and whose party-spirit indeed rather darkened than enlightened the period their writings profess to describe.
In Saxon bistory, Doncaster is known only by name, having no oceurence immediately near it, worthy of note, save the battle of Hatfield, which was fought between Penda, the Pagan king of Mercia, and Ceadwalla, the Briton. In this battle King Edwin of Northumberland lost his life; he was its first Christian king, and with him perished his eldest son prince Offaide ; this event took place in A. D. 633. Evident vestiges of an encampment yet remain, which appears to have been very extensive.
The Harleian MSS., as also the collections of the indefatigable Dodsworth, record that Doncaster, some short time prior to the Conquest, was in the possession of the Frossarts family, who held it of the king in capite, and in whose family it appeared to be hereditary; but he, like the genera..