Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

suis et tenementis manentes sint in ppetum quieti de sectis Swanemotor. et omnium alior. placitor. for. et de espeltamentis canum. et de omnibus submonitoibz. placitis querelis et exaccoibus et occoibz. ad for. et for. et viridar. et eor. ministros ptinentibz.”—Chapter-house, Westminster.

“Plita Forestarum in com. Sutht. apud Suthamton — anno regni regis Edwardi tcii post conquestum quarto coram Johe Mantvers. &c. justic. itinand. &c.”

De hiis qui clamant libtates infra Forestas in com. Sutht.

“Prior de Selebourne clamat esse quietus erga dnm regem de omnibus finibus et amerciamentis p tnsgr. et omnibus exaccoibz ad Dom. regem vel hered. suos ptinent. pret. plita corone reg.

“ Item clamat qd si aliquis hominum suorum de terris et ten. p. delicto suo vitam aut membrum debeat amittere vel fugiat, & judico stare noluerit vel aliud delictum fecit pro quo debeat catella sua amittere, ubicunq; justitia fieri debeat omnia catella illa sint ptci Prioris et successor. suor. Et liceat eidem priori et ballis suis ponere se in seisinam in hujusmodi catall. in casibus pdcis sine disturbacone ballivor. dni reg. quorumcunque.

“ Item clam. quod licet aliqua libtatum p dnm regem concessar. pcessu temporis quocunq; casu contingente usi non fuerint nlominus postea eadm libtate uti possit

. Et pdcus prior quesitus p. justic. quo waranto clamat omn. terr. et ten. sua in Seleburne, Norton, Basynges, Basyngestoke, & Nattele, que prior domus pdte huit & tenuit Xmo. die April anno regni dni Hen. reg. pavi dni reg. nue XVIII. imppm esse quieta de vasto et regardo, et visu forestarior. et viridarior. regardator. et omnium ministrorum foreste,” etc. etc.—Chapter-house, Westminster.

LETTER XXVI

Though the evidences and documents of the Priory and parish of Selborne are now at an end, yet, as the author has still several things to say respecting the present state of that convent and its Grange, and other matters, he does not see how he can acquit himself of the subject without trespassing again on the patience of the reader by adding one supplementary letter. No sooner did the Priory (perhaps much out of repair at the time) become an appendage to the college, but it must at once have tended to swift decay. Magdalen College wanted now only two chambers for the chantry priest and his assistant; and therefore had no occasion for the hall, dormitory, and other spacious apartments belonging to so large a foundation. The roofs neglected, would soon become the possession of daws and owls; and, being rotted and decayed by the weather, would fall in upon the floors; so that all parts must have hastened to speedy dilapidation and a scene of broken ruins. Three full centuries have now passed since the dissolution ; a series of years that would craze the stoutest edifices. But, besides the slow hand of time, many circumstances have contributed to level this venerable structure with the ground; of which nothing now remains but one piece of a wall of about ten feet long, and as many feet high, which probably was part of an out-house. As early as the latter end of the reign of Hen. VII. we find that a farm-house and two barns were built to the south of the Priory, and undoubtedly out of its materials. Avarice again has much contributed to the overthrow of this stately pile, as long as the tenants could make money of its stones or timbers. Wantonness, no doubt, has had a share in the demolition ; for boys love to destroy what men venerate and admire. A remarkable instance of this propensity the writer can give from his own knowledge. When a schoolboy, more than fifty years ago, he was eye-witness, perhaps a party concerned, in the undermining a portion of that fine old ruin at the north end of Basingstoke town, well known by the name of Holy Ghost Chapel. Very providentially the vast fragment, which these thoughtless little engineers endeavoured to sap, did not give way so soon as might have been expected; but it fell the night following, and with such violence that it shook the very ground, and, awakening the inhabitants of the neighbouring cottages, made them start up in their beds as if they had felt an earthquake. The motive for this dangerous attempt does not so readily appear : perhaps the more danger the more honour thought the boys; and the notion of doing some mischief gave a zest to the enterprise. As Dryden says upon another occasion,

[ocr errors]

Had the Priory been only levelled to the surface of the ground, the discerning eye of an antiquary might have ascertained its ichnography, and some judicious hand might have developed its dimensions. But, besides other ravages, the very foundations have been torn up for the repair of the highways: so that the site of this convent is now become a rough, rugged pasture-field, full of hillocks and pits, choked with nettles, and dwarf-elder, and trampled by the feet of the ox and the heifer.

As the tenant at the Priory was lately digging among the foundations, for materials to mend the highways, his labourers discovered two large stones, with which the farmer was so pleased that he ordered them to be taken out whole. One of these proved to be a large Doric capital, worked in good taste; and the other a base of a pillar; both formed out of the soft freestone of this district. These ornaments, from their dimensions, seem to have belonged to massive columns; and show that the church of this convent was a large and costly edifice. They were found in the space which has always been supposed to have contained the south transept of the Priory church. Some fragments of large pilasters were also found at the same time. The diameter of the capital was two feet three inches and an half; and of the column, where it had stood on the base, eighteen inches and three quarters.

Two years ago some labourers digging again among the ruins found a sort of rude thick vase or urn of soft stone, containing about two gallons in measure, on the verge of the brook, in the very spot which tradition has always pointed out as having been the site of the convent kitchen. This clumsy utensil," whether intended for holy water, or whatever purpose, we were going to procure, but found that the labourers had just broken it in pieces, and carried it out on the highways.

The Priory of Selborne had possessed in this village a Grange, an usual appendage to manerial estates, where the fruits of their lands were stowed and laid up for use, at a time when men took the natural produce of their estates in kind. The mansion of this spot is still called the Grange, and is the manor-house of the convent possessions in this place. The author has conversed with very ancient people who remembered the old original Grange ; but it has long given place to a modern farm-house. Magdalen College holds a court-leet and court-baron’ in the great wheat-barn of the said Grange, annually, where the President usually superintends, attended by the bursar and steward of the college.

The following uncommon presentment at the court is not unworthy of notice. There is on the south side of the king’s field (a large common-field so called), a considerable tumulus, or hillock, now covered with thorns and bushes, and known by the name of Kite's Hill, which is presented,

1 A judicious antiquary, who saw this vase, observed, that it possibly might have been a standard measure between the monastery and its tenants. The priory we have mentioned claimed the assize of bread and beer in Selborne manor : and probably the adjustment of dry measures for grain, etc.

2 The time when this court is held is the mid-week between Easter and Whitsuntide.

3 Owen Oglethorp, president, etc. an. Edw. Sexti, primo (viz. 1547] demised to Robert Arden Selborne Grange for twenty years. Rent vil.-Index of Leases.

year by year, in court as not ploughed. Why this injunction is still kept up respecting this spot, which is surrounded on all sides by arable land, may be a question not easily solved, since the usage has long survived the knowledge of the intention thereof. We can only suppose that as the prior, besides thurset and pillory, had also furcas, a power of life and death, that he might have reserved this little eminence as the place of execution for delinquents. And there is the more reason to suppose so, since a spot just by is called Gally [Gallows] hill. The lower part of the village next the Grange, in which is a pond and a stream, is well known by the name of Gracious-street, an appellation not at all understood. There is a lake in Surrey, near Chobham, called also Gracious-pond : and another, if we mistake not, near Hedleigh, in the county of Hants. This strange denomination we do not at all comprehend, and conclude that it may be a corruption from some Saxon word, itself perhaps forgotten. It has been observed already, that Bishop Tanner was mistaken when he refers to an evidence of Dodsworth, “De mercatu et FERIA de Seleburne.” Selborne never had a chartered fair; the present fair was set up since the year 1681, by a set of jovial fellows, who had found in an old almanack that there had been a fair here in former days on the first of August; and were desirous to revive so joyous a festival. Against this innovation the vicar set his face, and persisted in crying it down, as the probable occasion of much intemperance. However the fair prevailed; but was altered to the twenty-ninth of May, because the former day often interfered with wheat-harvest. On that day it still continues to be held, and is become an useful mart for cows and calves. Most of the lower house-keepers brew beer against this holiday, which is dutied by the exciseman; and their becoming victuallers for the day without a license is overlooked. Monasteries enjoyed all sorts of conveniences within themselves. Thus at the priory, a low and moist situation, there were ponds and stews for their fish : at the same

« ZurückWeiter »