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berec Spit, desi aceitas ur : care se centra - ༤༣ ----- ཀ་་

བ་ པས་ སྨད་ ༴ <བ་པ་ཝཱ་ ཧཱན་ 2. Sezon cossos este un case

Such was ze scene da ich find bare gazed wea animated with the same warms and barners; tat from which, on the death or her father, this nchis pertored beiress was suiker chat and sub jected to seclusion in a foreign country. All that is un

, in the transcript of the annals of the Abbey of loan the original perished in the fire at the Cotton Iilman is that Ela was secretly taken into Normandy by her relations, and there brought up in close and secret These relations, it is conjectured, were her mother and her mother's family, whose estates were either in Normumdy or Champagne. Immediately upon the inquisition held after her father's death, Ela's land would, in due course, be taken into the possession of the king, as she had become a royal ward: but such was not the case. The event which arose from these circumstances is highly characteristic of the court of the minstrel monarch. An English Knight, named William Talbot, undertook to discover the place of the youthful heiress' concealment; the idea having been suggested, if the fact be admitted, by King Richard's own dis covery, a few years before, by aid of the minstrel Blondel.

Assuming the garb of a pilgrim, the gallant Talbot passed over into Normandy, and there continued his search, wandering to and fro for the space of two years. When at length he had found the Lady Ela of Salisbury, he exchanged his pilgrim's dress for that of a harper or travelling troubadour, and in that guise entered the court in which the maid was detained. As he sustained to perfection his character of a gleeman, and was excellently versed in the jests or historical lays recounting the deeds of former times, the stranger was kindly entertained, and soon received as one of the household. At last his chivalric undertaking was fully accomplished; when, having found a convenient opportunity for returning, he carried with him the heiress, and presented her to King Richard. Immediately after, the hand of Ela was given in marriage to William Longspé by his brother King Richard, -Ela being then only ten years old, and William twenty-three.

After the marriage of Ela, we have little to recount of her for several years, unless it were to enumerate the names of her flourishing family of four sons and as many daughters. The Earl was in frequent attendance upon King John; but the Countess Ela appears to have passed most of her life in provincial sovereignty at Salisbury, or in the quiet retirement of some country manor,-most frequently, perhaps, in the peaceful shades of her native Amesbury."




Aubrey tells us that the last Lady Abbess of Amesbury was a Kirton, who, after the Dissolution, married to Appleton of Hampshire. She had during her life a pension from King Henry VII.

We pass over the career of the Earl; his assumption of Ela's hereditary office of the Shrievalty of Wiltshire; his attendance at the coronation of John, and upon the king in Normandy; his progresses with John in England, and his appointment to military command and as Warder of the Marches; his ruinous campaign in Flanders; and his presence at the signing of Magna Charta. After the death of John, the Earl returned to his Castle of Salisbury, and to that most interesting scene in which the pious Ela was an active partaker with him. This was no less than the ceremony of founding the present beautiful Cathedral of Salisbury, the fourth stone of which was laid by the Earl, and the fifth by the Countess Ela. We next pass the Earl's visit to Gascony in the spring of 1224, and his disastrous return, when, according to Matthew Paris, he was ‘for almost three months at sea' before he landed in England. During the interval all his friends had despaired of his life, except his faithful wife, who, though now a matron, became an object of pursuit to the fortune-hunters of the Court. The Justice Hubert de Burgh, with most indecent haste, now put forward a nephew of his own as a suitor to the Lady of Salisbury. It is related by Matthew Paris, that whilst King Henry was deeply grieved at the supposed loss of the Earl of Salisbury, Hubert came and required him to bestow Earl William's wife (to whom the dignity of that She was 140 years old (?) when she dyed. She was great-great-aunt to Mr. Child, rector of Yatton Keynell, from whom I had this information. Mr. Child, the eminent banker in Fleet Street, is Parson Child's cousin-german.'— Natural History of Wiltshire, 4to, p. 70.

earldom belonged by hereditary right) on his own nephew Reimund, that he might marry her. The king having yielded to his petition, provided the Countess would consent, the Justice sent Reimund to her, in a noble, knightly array, to endeavour to incline the lady's heart to his suit. But Ela rejected him with majestic scorn, and replied that she had lately received letters and messengers which assured her that the Earl, her husband, was in health and safety ; adding, that if her lord the Earl had indeed been dead, she would in no case have received him for a husband, because their unequal rank forbade such a union. “Wherefore,' said she, “you must seek a marriage elsewhere, because you find you have come hither in vain.' Upon the Earl's return, he claimed reparation from the Justiciary, who confessed his fault, made his peace with the Earl by some valuable horses and other large presents, and invited him to his table. Here, it is said, the Earl was poisoned (probably with repletion). He returned to his castle at Salisbury, took to his bed, and died March 7, 1226; and, as already mentioned, was buried in Salisbury Cathedral.

Ela, now a widow, continued firm in her resolution to remain faithful to the memory of her first lord, and to maintain her independence in what was then termed, in legal phrase, 'a free widowhood.' Her choice, however, was singular; for ladies of large estate, at that period, were seldom permitted to remain either as virgins or widows without a lord and protector, unless they had arrived at an advanced age. Her case is deemed extraordinary in the

chronicles. Her son, when he became of


claimed the inheritance of the earldom ; but the king refused it, by the advice of his judges, and according to the principles of feudal law. The objection probably was, that the earldom was then vested in his mother. Thus Ela's entrance into the profession of a recluse may possibly have partaken of a worldly motive, as being likely to facilitate her son's admission to his hereditary dignity ; but if so, it was still unsuccessful. In consequence of her protracted life, the earldom of Salisbury continued dormant; and as she survived both her son and grandson, it was never revived in the house of Longspé.

Ela was permitted to exercise in person the office of Sheriff of Wiltshire, and Castellane of Old Sarum. Her great seal, an elegant work of art, is extant, and represents her noble and dignified deportment, and her gracefully simple costume: 'her right hand is on her breast; on her left stands a hawk, the usual symbol of nobility; on her head is a singularly small cap, probably the precursor of the coronet; her long hair flows negligently upon her neck on each side; and the royal lions of Salisbury appear to gaze upon her like the lion in Spenser on the desolate Una!'

We at length reach the time of the foundation of Lacock Abbey. When,' says the Book of Lacock, Ela had survived her husband for seven (six ?) years in widowhood, and had frequently promised to found monasteries pleasing to God, for the salvation of her soul and that of her husband, and those of all their ancestors, she was directed in visions

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