Page images

to the monasteries baul been finally marked out for destruction,

Lis unrivalled powers of sarcasm and invective were turned with terrible force upon the most palpable and indefensible ahses. The gross absurdities perpetrated in connexion with the veneration of relics were especially singled out by him for sa hing ridicule. I think,' he cried, in his famous second sermon before Convocation, 'ye have heard of St Blesis's beart which is at Malverne and of St Algar's bones, low In they deluded the people; I am afraid, to the loss of many souls. Whereby men may well conjecture that all ab it in this realm there is plenty of such jugzlinconceits'.'

The royal commissioners, on their crrand of confiscation, cauight up the line with alacrity. As seen in their letters to ('runwell, they appear to have been actuated by a spirit in wikh contempt for superstition and greed of gain were Sinewhat oldly compounded, and the rich settings and jewels tant adorned the relies rendered these monastic treasures a seial object of their cupidity. I have Malkow's cre that Peter stroke of,' wrote the bishop of Dover. Dr London sent wid that he had already captured two heads of St Ursula ani hal tidings of a thiru. Ap Rice, at Bury, reported the finding of 'the cules that St Lawrence was tosted withall, tre paring of St Elmundles naylles, St Thomas of Canterbury's po nn knyff and bis bootes, and divers skulles for the hedale?' The completc enumeration included objects which, thigh desined by monastic imposture to excite veneration, i apewears profanity now to name. To such excesses had an ane si nut supersticion been carried, which, as at first harboured by tle ('hristian Church, might undoubtedly claim the sanctan of some of the most illustrious of her teachers.

On Cambrilse the final dissolution intlicted a blow of wil the out want and visible traces long remained. The T:: p executed under the direction of archbishop Parker thirtysix years later shews the sites and surrounding orchards of tre out of the four foundations of the Mendicant Friars

[ocr errors]


L"relating to the Suppres. ** all the Jomantaries (ed. 1bos.

Wright. Camden Socicty), pp. 212, 231, K, cto.

still unoccupic.,—the houso of the Augustinian Friars near CTIAP. L I the old Botanic Gardens, looking on to what is now Pembroke Street,- that of the Dominicans standing where Emmanuel College with its gardens was shortly to appear,—while a solitary small tenement in one corner of a broad expanse of orchard ground, which is traversed by the King's Brook, alone represents the once splendid buildings of the Franciscans'. Of these foundations, nonc fell much regretted. The reputation which the Augustinian house had acquired under Barnes' presidency faded away with his departure; and the men who had ruled the Dominican society for the last quarter of a century, Jullys, Oliver, avd Pickering, had acquired little esteem in the university, and were notoriously opposed to all reform”.

It was natural that the university should hold that it had the first claim to benefit by the dissolution of the houses in its immediate neighbourhood, and we accordingly now find the pens of its most distinguished scholars not infrequently employed for the purpose of urging upon royalty and other influential personages the consideration of its case. The The Caract example, in this respect, was first set by Queens' College. Queros

Cullere Between that foundation and King's College there stood the ancient house of the Carmelites, which now presented a pitiable spectacle of external and visible decay. Their poverty indeed had already led them to alienate portions of their property to the authorities of King's College and of Queens''. The latter of these societies was at this time presided over

it and

! Their ancient importance may be 1.531, one Disse, appears to have inferred from the fact that the house been a bachelor of divinity and to bail been, in the reign of Richard 11, have prenched in the university selected as the place of assembly for church. Report of Ilind. JISS, C'une the Parliament which met at Cam. mixxion, IV 417. brile. Buker. Havor, p. 38.

3 Scarle, llist, of Queens' Coll., p. * An exceptiou however is to be 191-6. Ou 25 Nov. 153.), the Car. mnde in favour of the prior at the melites leasred to William Dusjna. time of the dissolution, who is de. A fellow of King's, a kariken with a scribee by Hilsex, bishop of Roches. house thereupon, which lay on the ter, in a letter to ('romwell, as a north side of their church. This man off good lernynge and a precbare piece of ground was finally cand to off God's trewe gonguell,' and also as hing's (vilen for 2:26. Os sil olur. opposed to image worship. Eilia's ing the prorontship of Jolin (hehe. Letters (3), 111!. The heard of the Cooper, innals, d. dc., p. 23. Franciscan house in Cambridge in

"I ly De Mey, a warm supporter of the Reformation, and dis

tic.guished by the ability with which he had discharged the duties of the office of commissary to Cranmer in the diocese of Norwich. To his prudence and aptitude for practical as airs', the college was largely indebted throughout this gerial, and in the work of adininistration he was effectively wwonded by two of the fellows,-one the celebrated Thomas Suith, the other, Richard Wilkes, afterwards master of Crist's College.

In view of the impending dissolution, Dr Mey had already olained from thic Carmelites a formal promise of the transfer « tlu ir property into the hands of the college authorities'. 1:29 however necessary that this transfer should be sancved by the Crown, and for this purpose a letter, couched in a superior Latinity, at once sugrestive of Smith's hand, was forwarded to Cromwell, beseeching his good offices in their behalf. It sets forth that the friars, owing to the decine of false religion and of the supplies once yielled by the practice of mendicancy, had alreadly nearly all forsaken ile bouise; and those who remained were unable alike to maintain themselves and to keep the premises in repair. The writers doubt not that it is the royal design (cujus te ** immerito caput et principem esse putamus) to convert the bouse to better and more reputable uses, and they Fist that the premises, though not extensive, would be L'at useful to the college. They proceed accordingly to trke their claims on the royal favour. They recall how, wirbeit moyalty had visited Cambridge, Queens' College Lalmost invariably been selected as its place of sojourn, t.coulle standing remote from the noise of the town, and bing not without a crtain charm of situation. But if the 22nt property should pass into other hands it was inpable to say to what base uses it might not be turned: a tanary, or perchance a tannery, might arise, which the

Devenes says of bim he was railing corruptions and abuses with. ***.in the constitution both out consulting his opinion.' Lires, allers and State, and there was p. ex. ***er a'y considerable stop taken • Starle, llist. aj Queens' Coll., p. keude uue tufurmation of the pre


[ocr errors]

of the

[ocr errors]

college would find a great annoyance and royalty itself, on a CHAP. future visit, most displeasing! On the other hand, the bestowal of these buildings on the college would be a lasting source of comfort and congratulation to the society, and attended, the petitioners would fain hope, with some advantage to his royal Majesty himself'.

Cromwell, who was then with Henry at Arundel Castle, did not keep the petitioners long in suspense. Their appeal was dated the 8th of August, and on the 16th an answer was returned that the college was empowered, in conjunction with the provost of King's, Dr George Day, to take possession of the property, and, after drawing up a complete inventory of the goods, to hold the same until the royal pleasure was further known. On the 28th of the same month, the Car- Surrendes melites, now only six in number, signed a formal deed of Carmelitr surrender; and for the next seven years the bursar's accounts shew us the college authorities employed in taking down windows, repairing locks, removing nettles from the neglected garden ground, and finally, in the year 1.5+1, purchasing of the king's officers the entire building materials of the ancient fabric?.

On the 8th of November in the same year, the last of suppressi these foundations, that of the venerable and once illustrious print society at Baruwell, surrendered to Dr Leigh in the chapterhouse. Although the valuation made by the commissioners in 1534 shews that the revenues of the priory were still considerable'—they were exceeded by those of only two of the colleges in Cambridge, King's and St John's,-the fact that but six canons, besides the prior, attested the deed of surrender, proves that the house had participated in the prevalent decay.

Encouragcil apparently by the success of the authorities are is at Queens', the university now commenced to press its claims wenty more boldly on the attention of the crown, and in the Octuber that the of 1338 addressed to Heury a letter congratulating him on aina

of the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

I JS. Cotton, Faustinn,' C. vii, 3 The revenne was estimated at "ned in 102 ; Searle, Ibid. 'Adulitions,' pp. £2:36. Ils. 101d. Cooper, anals,

evikens vi, vii.

: Scarle, Ibid. pp. 228.9.

The und


1 370.

70! his policy of confiscation and at the same time pleading in

sciently plain language for some share in the spoil. It servilely compared itself to the trembling soldier whom Angustus, as told by Suetonius, rebuked for the groundless trepidation with which he presented his petition'. The unLiling clemency, the virtues, and the ardent regard for piety -.ich distinguish Henry, embolden the petitivácrs to ask fur that for which otherwise they could scarcely have venturul to hope. They dilate on the splendid results alreauly a-lived by the royal policy: the Roman pontiff shut out fr in the realm,-his indulgences, diplonas, and other empty pencus (nugte) given to the winds, the superstitious life, fairnligion, and monstrous rites of monasticism abolished, te friars, ‘a race begotten of fraud and falschood, the remDast of the Pharisees and false philosophers,' expelled. But it is out, they urge, sufficient to root up the evil weeds, good $] must also be sown; and the university is deeply moved ts the spectacle of the downfall of these societies in its midst, -moral, not to deplore their fate, but to hope that these a: ji at haunts of superstition and vain religion may yet be Ele subervient to Christian doctrine and to the spread of

1.d learning, ---that, in brief, these same houses, from Wince 'swarms of lizy drones and great thrones of improstors

once wont to insue,' may be converted into culleres, the Desirts of young men distinguished by their aptitude for Janing or of older twen wollqualificil for por whing.'

That this and similar jutitions were received with ot kast apparent favour, may be inferred from the sequel. It bengo to be rumoured that it was the royal design to found a new and splendid college, endowed from monastic revenues; !!le we find the university, as the next step, venturing <«c!y to buy for the gift of the roble premises of the ranciscans. A petition to Henry, drawn up apparently in

i Setcoisa, Augustus, c. 33. tion to the monastic foundations

:pe. Vemorials, 1 ii, Arn. 86. generally; but the expression.movet Brelord. Vol. I, pt. i. c. 41) nos fratereulorum nostrum ruina' ansoner, in the ab-tract fiven by proses I think, very clearly that ki, 132reppet the the petitioners had at the time only

y as rulinog in this pain th: Cambride houses in view.

« PreviousContinue »