Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

1

in their demand of a recognition of the rights which they had enjoyed under their native monarchs; and some of which, as gavel-kind, &c. they still retain.

From the period of the Conquest, although Kent has been the theatre of many of the most important events in English history, the relation of those events becomes the province of the general historian; we may briefly remark, however, that in this county the formidable insurrection of Wat Tyler had its origin, a commotion which, though attended in the sequel with the most unpardonable atrocities, yet arose from a cause which few will be found to condemn; here also the rebellion of Jack Cade took its rise; the proceedings of the Kentish Association in favour of Charles I. will be found under our history of Canterbury; and some other occurrences will be noticed in our accounts of various parts of the county. The Men of Kent fully realize the idea of Sir William Jones, of

“Men, who their duties know, But know their rights; and, knowing, dare maintain!” they have consequently always stood forward on occasions of threatened danger to liberty and property; and although far removed from sedition and turbulence, they have ever proved themselves the intelligent champions of constitutional freedom.

During the revolutionary war, the Kentish yeomanry formed Volunteer Associations to a great extent, for the defence of their native land; and on the 1st of August, 1799, they were reviewed, to the number of 5228, by his late Majesty, George III. panied by the Queen, several members of the royal family, the great officers of state, and many of the nobility and gentry, in Mote Park, near Maidstone, the seat of Lord Romney, who gave a most splendid entertainment on the occasion, to upwards of 6000 persons; and the Volunteers shortly afterwards subscribed for the erection of a temple in the park, in commemoration of his Lordship’s services and hospitality.

accom

CANTERBURY.

This city is pleasantly situated in a fertile valley, on the river Stour, by various channels of which stream it is intersected; it is distant from London, 56 miles, from Rochester 27, and from Dover 16. Of its origin nothing certain is known, although Geoffrey of Monmouth attributes its foundation to Rudhudibras, who, according to him, reigned here about 900 years before the birth of Christ. His testimony has indeed been discredited by subsequent authors; but although the period of its foundation may not be so remote as he states it, there can be no doubt of its having existed previously to the invasion by the Romans, as DUROVERNUM, the name by which they distinguished it, is evidently derived from the British word dwr, signifying water or river, referring to its situation, with some adjuncts, as to the meaning of which much learned labour has been misapplied.

That it was occupied by the Romans is a well ascertained fact; it occurs in the Itinerary of Antoninus by the name above mentioned, and he describes the roads to Rutupiæ (Richborough), to Dubris (Dover), &c. as branching off from this place. Many coins, vessels, and remains of tesselated pavements have been dug up at various periods; and in the city walls Roman bricks, and even three semicircular arches, were to be seen about fifty years ago.

From the Saxons it received the appellation of CANT-WARA-BYRG, the town of the Kentish men; and the Venerable Bede, speaking of it at the time of the arrival of St. Augustine, in 596, calls it “the chief place in the dominion of King Ethelbert.” This monarch, on his conversion, granted his palace here, together with some lands, to Augustine and his successors for ever, and the saint immediately erected it into a priory for monks of the Benedictine order, to which he himself belonged.

The conversion of the sovereign was followed by that of many thousands of his subjects, and the Pope, Gregory I., was so much pleased with the success of Augustine, that he invested him with the archiepiscopal dignity, and gave him authority to establish the Metropolitical seat at Canterbury; he also gave him “pre-eminence over all the prelates that either were, or should be, established in Britain;" and this pre-eminence was confirmed by several subsequent Popes, and is still retained by the Archbishops of this see, although it was not acquiesced in without considerable opposition, particularly from the Archbishops of York and the Bishops of London.

Augustine, after having nearly completed the erection of a Cathedral, and of an Abbey, the remains of which are still called by his name, died in 605, and was succeeded in the archiepiscopal dignity by Lawrence, who had accompanied him in his mission, and who having witnessed the great success of his predecessor in diffusing the knowledge of Christianity, imitated him by endeavouring to convert the Scots and the Irish, but was not equally fortunate.

On the death of Lawrence, in 619, he was succeeded by Mellitus, who had been appointed Bishop of London by Augustine, and who had preached with great effect among the East Saxons, and had induced their king, Sebert, to found the Cathedral of St. Paul in the capital of his dominions.

It would far exceed our limits to enumerate all the prelates who have occupied the archiepiscopal throne; suffice it to say that the succession has been uninterruptedly continued through a series of ninety-one persons, from the period of St. Augustine's consecration, about the year 600, to that of the present Archbishop, Dr. William Howley, in 1828; and that the list exhibits a greater proportion of virtues, talents, and learning, than could probably be found in any other of the same extent.

In proof of our assertion we may enumerate the names of Odo, the favourite of Alfred; Dunstan, the haughty and ambitious controller of monarchs; Stigand, the patriotic assertor of the rights of his oppressed countrymen; Lanfranc, the munificent founder of a great part of the present Cathedral; Becket, the imperious but spirited supporter of the papal claims to temporal as well as ecclesiastical supremacy, and whose faults may perhaps be considered as more than expiated by his punishment; Langton, whose name will descend to the latest posterity as the boldest champion of Magna Charta; Simon of Sudbury, who was murdered by the insurgents under Wat Tyler; Henry Chicheley, the patron of learning, and founder of St. John's and All Souls' Colleges at Oxford; Thomas Cranmer, one of the fathers of the Protestant Church, whose temporary weakness was more than atoned for by a long life of piety and benevolence, and a triumphant martyrdom in defence of his principles; Cardinal Pole, whose virtues are acknowledged by the enemies of his faith*; Matthew Parker (the first Archbishop after the re-establishment of Protestantism by Queen Elizabeth), a great friend of literature, and founder of an invaluable library at Bene't College, Cambridge; William Laud, whose talents and learning rendered him still more obnoxious to those enemies whom his haughtiness and intolerance had created, and whose unhappy fate is too well known to need more particular mention here; Gilbert Sheldon, the founder of the Theatre at Oxford, and who in the seventeen years preceding his decease expended £70,000 in charitable uses; William Sancroft, one of the Seven Bishops committed to the Tower by James II., but who, notwithstanding his opposition to the tyrannical measures of that prince, afterwards refused, from conscientious scruples, to take the oath of allegiance to William and Mary, and was, in consequence, deprived of his See; John Tillotson, that virtuous prelate, on whom William III., in lamenting his loss, pronounced this short but expressive eulogium, "I never knew an honester man, and I never had a better friend;" the pious Tennison; the benevolent Wake; the learned Potter, author of " The Antiquities of Greece';" and the excellent Secker,

* Wood, in his Athene Oxonienses, states him to have achieved a yictory over the merciless disposition of Henry VIII. which gives the highest idea of his character. The king having desired his opinion on his proposed divorce from Catharine of Arragon, Pole, who knew the danger of opposing the royal monster, went to the interview, resolving to give his decision in favour of his majesty. On reaching the king's presence, however, his conscience smote him, and “ till he resolved to do it in another style, he could not speak a word to him; he then found his tongue, and spoke to the king his mind; which not being pleasing to him, he looked very angry on him, putting his hand sometimes to his poniard hanging at his girdle, with an intention to kill him, but was overcome with the simplicity, humility, and submission of his discourse."

Although, in common with other ecclesiastical dignitaries, the power and privileges of the Archbishop of Canterbury have suffered considerable di. minution in consequence of the Reformation, they are still important and numerous. His title is “ Primate and Metropolitan of all England," and he styles himself “By Divine Providence, Archbishop of Canterbury.” He takes precedence of every person in the realm, except the members of the royal family; has the privilege of crowning, marrying, and christening the Sovereign and his descendants; and the power of conferring degrees in law, physic, and divinity: His Province comprehends twenty-one Bishoprics, and he possesses the exclusive jurisdiction over nearly ninety Churches in various dioceses, which are called his Peculiars. He has many other privileges; and the yearly revenues of the See, which at the time of the Dissolution are stated to have been about £3200, are now supposed to amount to nearly £20,000.

With the exception of ecclesiastical affairs, of which we have presented a brief sketch, very little of interest is to be found in the annals of this city from the arrival of St. Augustine to the invasion by the Danes, who, although they had many years previously infested the western coast of England, did not land in Kent until the year 832, and even then confined their ravages to the Isle of Sheppey; but in 851 they again landed, and marching to Canterbury destroyed it, and put the inhabitants to the sword. From this period, during nearly two hundred years, this city, in common with almost the whole island, suffered dreadfully from the repeated incursions of these merciless invaders. In 918 they were besieged, and at length driven out by the Princess Elfleda, a daughter of the great Alfred, and worthy of such a parent; the city was burnt during this siege. After various other changes of fortune, it was once more subdued by the Danes in 1011, and above 8000 persons were massacred, the city and Cathedral were reduced to ashes, and the Archbishop, Alphage, being carried to the camp at Greenwich, was there barbarously murdered.

Shortly after this period, the Danes having obtained complete possession of the country, and Canute

« НазадПродовжити »