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PRELATES OF EMINENCE SINCE The ReforMATION. NICHOLAS RIDLEY, afterwards bishop of London, and martyr. John Poynet, translated to Winchester, died a Protestant exile, at Strasburgh. WILLIAM Barlow, trans. lated to Lincoln. Richard NEILE, afterwards archbishop of York. John BUCKERIDGE, translated to Ely. WALTER CURLE, translated to Winchester. JOHN WARNER. JOHN DOLEEN, translated to York. FRANCIS TURNER, translated to Ely.
THOMAS SPRAT. FRANCIS ATTERBURY. SAMUEL BRADFORD.
JOSEPH WILCOCKS. ZACHARY PEARCE. John Thomas. Samuel Horsley, afterwards bishop of St. Asaph. Dr. DAMPIER, since translated to Carlisle. Dr. GOODENOUGH, the present bishop.
At the dissolution of religious houses, when the priory of Rochester was surrendered to Henry VIII. in 1540, its annual revenues were valued at 4861. 11s. 5d. The last prior was Walter Phillips, surnamed de Boxley; who, for his ready compliance in surrendering the possessions of his priory, was appointed dean of this cathedral, under the new foundation charter, granted by the king, in June, 1542. By this charter the church, and part of the estates of the dissolved priory of St. Andrew, with other possessions, were vested for ever in a dean, six prebendaries, six minor canons, a deacon, and sub-deacon, six lay-clerks, a master of the choristers, eight choristers, one grammar master, twenty scholars, two sub-sacrists, and six poor bedesmen, with inferior officers,
In the cemetery, called antiently LE GRENECHURCH Haw, on the north side of the cathedral, is the parish church of ST. NICHOLAS. For several centuries after the Conquest the inhabitants of this district used to offer their devotions at a parochial altar within the cathedral. But on account of the supposed disturbance the assembly of parishioners gave to the monks, about the beginning of the fourteenth century, the latter removed the altar, on the alledged pretext that it might interrupt the access of the pilgrims to the shrine of St. William. The prior and the chapter afterwards promised to accommodate the parishioners with a od 2
piece of ground, whereon they might build a separate place of worship; but, notwithstanding the inconvenience and trouble that must so frequently have arisen from the people's resorting to their parochial altar, so solicitous were the monks to retain the parishioners in a state of depend. ance on the mother church, that a hundred years passed before they could be induced to full their engagement. The spirited conduct, however, of bishop Young, and the interposition of archbishop Chicheley, to wbose arbitration all parties agreed to submit, at length prevailed over the pride and obstinacy of the members of the priory; and the parishioners were, by a composition, dated March 7, 1421, suffered to finish their church, the walls of which had been already raised. The church was consecrated by John bishop of Dromore, in Ireland, on Sunday December 18, 1423, in consequence of the absence of the bishop of Rochester. By the first article of the agreement, the parishioners were on no account, without leave of the convent, to enlarge the original fabric, except by the addition of a belfry at the north-west end, and the hours were specified when they were permitted to ring the bells. This belfry was not built before 1452, because Alicia Hunt bequeathed by her will, dated in that year, four marks to be paid by her executors “ in inchoatione fabrice campanilis eccles. St. Nic. Roffen.” A difference arose between the convent and the parishioners soon after the finishing of the church, in consequence of their attempting to erect a porch at the west end. And the monks were to be commended for putting a stop to the work, since it was not only a direct violation of the original composition, but must have obstructed the passage leading from the cemetery gate to the cathedral, and to the entrance into the priory. This church becoming incapable of a thorough repair, was taken down in 1620, and the present fabric erected and dedicated September 20, 1624. The building extends in length froin east to west one hundred feet, and from north to south sixty feet. It is a very substantial structure; the stone walls being of considerable thickness,
and supported on all sides by buttresses. It consists of a nave and two side aisles, which are separated from the nare by two ranges of lofty columns, from which spring the arches that support the roof.
Rochester is without gates; but the sites of three old gates are known. In the description of the outer bailey of the castle, the south gate was mentioned. There was another, called Cheldegate, which must have been in that part of the wall that crossed the bottom of the lane opposite the college gate, for Cheldegate was the antient appellation of that lane. Eastgate was the third gate; it stood at the east end of the High Street, and was the only gate in use in Leland's time, who mentions it to have been in most part remaining and marvellous strong.
This city sends two members to parliament, who are elected by the freemen at large.
Besides a charter fair on St. Dunstan's Day, is now held annually on the 30th of May, another fair has been held by prescription, long before any charter was granted, on St. Andrew's Day, but begins yearly on the 12th of December. Each of these fairs continues three days, but of old they were kept on the eve, on the day, and on the morrow, of the respective feasts.
A market is kept every Friday, and is well supplied with poultry and other articles from the country adjacent. There is also a plentiful market for cattle on the last Tuesday in every month.
At the entrance into the High Street, next the bridge, at a small distance from the Town-key on the left, are the remains of St. Clement's church. Some of the walls are still visible at the entrance of the lane, which formerly bore the name of the saint to whom the church was dedicated. It is now converted into three dwelling-houses, in one of which are some pillars and an arch entire. The parish of St. Clement was united to that of St. Nicholas, by the statute of 2 and 3 of Edward VI. cap. 17.
On the same side of the strect is the Town Hall, erected in 587. It is a handsome brick structure, supported by coupled columns of stone, of the Doric order;
the area under it was paved with Purbeck stone, at the expence of Sir Stafford Fairborne, in 1706: adjoining to the back part of the area is the gaol of this city, an inconvenient and noisome dungeon. The entrance into the hall is by a spacious staircase, the ceiling of which is curiously ornamented; as is the ceiling of the hall, with trophies of war, fruits and flowers. At the upper end of the hall are full-length portraits of king William III. and queen Anne, by Kneller. Against the upper end of the front wall is the portrait of Sir Cloudesly Shovel. Sir Jolin Jennings and Sir Thomas Colby are ranged on the same side. At the lower end of the hall are the portraits of those two eminent benefactors to this city, Sir Joseph Williamson and Mr. Watts. Sir John Lake is the first portrait within the back wall; Sir Thomas Palmer and Sir Stafford Fairborne are placed in the some line, all executed by the most eminent masters. All public business respecting the government of the city is transacted in this hall, and here also the judges have frequently held the assizes for the county of Kent. The clock-house was built at the expence of Sir Cloudesly Shovel, in 1686, who also gave the clock; and, by a deed of gift, confirmed the same to the mayor and citizens for ever. The original dial being much de. cayed, it was taken down in 1771, and the mayor and citizens caused the present elegant dial to be erected; they also added the minute hand to the clock, and a large bell: over the dial are the arms of Sir Cloudesly Shovel.
At the bottom of Cheldegate Lane, opposite the College gate, is a large and commodious brick building for the reception of the poor of St. Nicholas parish. It was erected in 1724; towards the building of it, Sir Thomas Palmer and Sir John Jennings gave 500l. Such of the poor as are able are employed in spinning worsted and yarn.
In the High Street, near the pump, antiently stood the corn cruss, where was held the corn market, long disused. On the left, is the Custom House; adjoining to which is thí house appointed for the reception of six poor travellers. The design of this charity may be seen from the following
inscription placed over the door: Richard Watts, Esq. by his will dated 22d of August, 1579, founded this charity for sis poor travellers; who, not being rogues or proctors, may receive gratis, for one night, lodging, entertainment, and four-pence each. In testimony of his muni. ficence, in honour of his memory, and inducement to his example, Nathaniel Hood, Esq. the present mayor, has caused this stone gratefully to be renewed and inscribed, A. D. 1771."*
For the support of this charity, Mr. Watts left an etate, valued at that time at no more than 361. per year, but pow': producing an income of 500l. per annum. He ordered, by his will, that what surplus remained, after defraying the expences of this house for travellers, should be given to the
* That this liberal patron of the poor should except rogues from a participation of his charity, is not matter of surprize; for it ill becomes the friend of integrity to countenance or encourage the man of known dishonesty and injustice. But that proctors should also be excluded, in so express a manner, carries with it an inuendo, that he had no better opinion of that profession than he had of those whom he has stigmatized by the appellation of rogues. At this distance of time, it is difficult to account for the exception here mentioned. Popular tradition assigns a cause, which carries with it some plausible appearance of truth-That Mr. Watts had employed a proctor to make his will, in which he had given and bequeathed to himself no inconsiderable part of the effects of his client; who, recovering beyond all expectation, decected the fraud, and ever after conceived an aversion to that order. However it is most probable that the testator, when dictating this clause in his will, had not in his thoughts the practitioners in our ecclesiastical courts, the term proctors not being exclusively applicable to them. And in Strype's Annals of the Reformation there is a passage which will strongly induce us to be lieve that Mr. Watts meant those who collected money under begging briefs, and were in general a debauched set of vagrants and receivers of stolen goods: “ If some like course (viz. committing to a house of correction) might be taken with the wandering people, they would easily be brought to their places of abode. Being abroad, they all in general are receivers of all stolen things that are portable: as nainely, the tinker in his budget, the pedlar in his hamper, the glassman in his basket, and the lewd proctors, which carry the broad seal and green seal in their bags, cover infinite numbers of felonies; in such sort that the tenth felony cometh not to light. For he hath his receiver at hand in every alehouse, in every bush. And these last rabble are very nurseries of rógues."