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vaniloquio nec enim præsidem habent, qui eos ad frugem vitæ melioris inclinet. Quod si tumultuosas eorum contentiones audiretis, claustrum non mul"tum differre crederetis a foro. Hæc omnia, reve"rende pater, vestræ correctionis judicium postulant tempestivum. Nisi enim huic malo maturius remedium adhibeatur, verendum est, ne sicut abbates ab episcopis, ita episcopi ab archiepiscopis, et a prælatis "suis decani et archidiaconi eximantur. Et quæ est "hæc forma justitiæ, aut potius juris deformitas, prohibere, ne discipuli magistro consentiant, ne filii "obediant patri, ne milites sequantur principem; ne "servi domino sint subjecti? Quid est eximere ab episcoporum jurisdictione abbates, nisi contumaciam, ac rebellionem præcipere, et armare filios in parentes? " videant, quæso, ista, et judicent, qui judicant orbem "terræ, ne inde emanare videantur injuriæ, unde jura "sumuntur. Arguemur temeritatis, et dicemur os nos"trum posuisse in cœlum, qui non de superbiæ spiritu, "sed de atramentario doloris hæc scribimus: sentimus equidem familiares angustias, qui publicas deploramus: nec fortitudo nostra fortitudo est lapidis, nec caro "nostra ænea est, ut tam enormes injurias dissimulare "possimus." 1
The celebrated bishop Grosseteste also manfully upheld the claims of the bishops to the visitation of monasteries, and not without reason, as is shown in his letters. Breach of monastic rules and habits of luxury found no favour with this prelate, and when he was supposed to be most severe and exacting, it was indeed one of his kindest acts, because it was the uplifting of the chastening rod of an offended but not unforgiving parent, against a wayward and headstrong child. Well had it
1 Petri Blesensis Opera (ed. Giles), vol. i. p. 202.
See Mr. Luard's preface to
Grosseteste's Letters (Chronicles and
been for his spiritual children if they had listened to fatherly admonition.
And so it was that the monasteries of England laid the foundation for their own destruction which otherwise might have been averted, and the monastic system, as a recognized institution, ceased to exist.
Whether it is better for a man to accept the responsibilities of such social position as chance may have given him, and to battle boldly with life and its circumstances, or whether he should rather retire from the busy scene, and seek for happiness and peace in the tranquillity of the cloister, has often been the subject of much discussion, and as yet has never been satisfactorily answered; to many undoubtedly monasticism would be simply a trap and a snare and an occasion of failing, because it suits not their genius, neither have they a special vocation that way; while on the other hand there are those earnest and devoted persons to whom, after the practice of their religious duties, the world in its varied aspects presents but few attractions, and who would find an especial charm in a monk's life, because to them that life is one of the most noble and magnificent that can be conceived; noble for its entire abnegation and sacrifice of self, and magnificent because it is constantly marked by acts of mercy and love unheedel by mortal eye, but which yet win a smile of approbation from the Holy Angels whose seat is ever before the throne of our Father in Heaven.
However, I am not at liberty here, neither is it my wish, to discuss the lawfulness of monasticism; I have rather to deal with the fortunes and progress of the ancient and honourable abbey of Gloucester, as set before the reader in these volumes.
The present work consists of two parts, the history, and the cartulary of St. Peter's, Gloucester. The history is printed and described in volume I., and the cartulary now remains to be spoken of
It is a finely written manuscript of the latter part of the thirteenth century, in good preservation, containing 337 leaves, of which some few, both at the commencement and the end, are mere fly leaves containing entries at various periods much later than that of the cartulary itself. The caligraphy is excellent, and the rubricated letters together with the floriated borders to the pages are worthy of remark. A fac-simile of the first page forms a frontispiece to the first volume of this work. With regard to the contents of this cartulary, the method of arrangement is anything but lucid or artistic; there is a system followed, but the reason for it is not apparent, while its defects are most conspicuous.
The first part of the manuscript contains charters of donation to the monastery, classified alphabetically according to localities, this is continued to folio 180; then a blank page or two occur, where is entered an inquisition of the twenty-fourth year of Henry VIII., after which there is another collection of charters, also arranged alphabetically; this takes us to folio 228. Another section is then started containing papal bulls, and also various charters of donation, pleadings, and miscellaneous documents. Following this is a series of extents of manors belonging to St. Peter's, these are valuable for the minuteness with which they describe the lands, and the services incident thereto. We then have very curious and interesting rules concerning the management of manors; and the manuscript concludes with a miscellaneous selection of pleadings and other matters written on the fly leaves before mentioned, at various times and by various hands.
These arbitrary divisions or sections are not uncommon in monastic cartularies, there is a similar arrangement in the Ramsey cartulary now preserved in the Public Record Office, but it is certainly none of the best. A simple chronological sequence would have been much
more intelligible, and would have saved the scribe from the unnecessary repetitions which abound in the Gloucester cartulary. With regard to the exact period at which the manuscript in question was compiled, and by whom, it is not possible now to speak with any certainty. I am inclined, however, to ascribe it to the period of abbot John de Gamages (1284-1306). With the exception of the miscellaneous documents written on fly leaves and blank pages, about which there is no doubt whatever that they were entered at much more recent times, there is no charter in the cartulary proper of a later date than this abbot. And we find in the history of St. Peter's,1 that among the numerous gifts of abbot Gamages to the church, there were three books mentioned, the Legend of the Saints, Transcripts of Charters, and Constitutions of King EdwarL Now we may not be far wrong in seeking to identify the cartulary with the second of these volumes. The first is quite out of the question, the third will not at all accord, but the title of the second cannot be said to be otherwise than applicable, and until cause be shown to the contrary, I shall not think myself rash in assuming that the identity is fairly established. However, before disposing of this part of the subject, it will be expedient to describe briefly four other manuscript volumes which also relate to St. Peter's, and which are now in the possession of the Dean and Chapter of Gloucester Cathedral
Nos. 1 and 2 are manuscripts compiled about the year 1333, and are most probably the registers which are referred to in the history as having been compiled afresh by abbot Froucester.*
No. 1 is divided into two sections, the first is composed mainly of royal charters, commencing with the foundation charter of king Ethelred, which I have
1 Ante, vol i p. 40.
* See ante, vol. i. pp. 50 and 56. a 9
already printed.' and ending with an inspeximus by Richard II. of proceedings in the Exchequer relating to the vacancies of the abbey; the second section comprises private charters of donation, agreements, presentations to churches, resignations of livings, and cther ecclesiastical documents, all of them having immediate relation to St. Peter's This volume I have no hesitation whatever in identifying with the one mentioned in the history, because its contents perfectly tally with what we there find specified. The history in speaking of Froucester, says, "Et pro vacatione ecclesiæ quod gratiose et mira←biliter fuerat magnis laboribus et sumptuosis expensis
prosecutum, et ad finem ingeniose perductum, ac etiam in curia domini comitis de Stafford placitum de curia "tenenda de tribus septimanis in Newport, necnon et alia "diversa quæ prolonga erant narranda ut in capsa inde
confecta, et Wolteri Froucestre intitulata, et in archivis ecclesiæ condita plenius continentur." This proceeding relative to the vacancies is evidently the one before referred to, and the plea concerning the holding of the court of Newport is also found in a subsequent part of the same manuscript. The old title, however, cannot be compared, because the manuscript has been recently rebound, but there can be no doubt that, had the ancient binding been preserved, we should have seen the words Walteri Fronesty on the back, as mentioned in the Historia; however, without this, I think the proof of identity is suficient.
No. 2 is a thicker volume in the same hand, but ecmpiled on a very different principle. It contains ten distinct registers, namely, those of the sacristan, the almoner of Standish, the hostillar, the sub-almoner, the master of the works, the chamberlain, the refectorar, the infirmarer, the master of the chapel. and the præcenter.
4 Appendix to Introduction, vel
Ante, vol. i. p. 35.