« PreviousContinue »
oratory amidst the fire-scathed walls of the church; but Beorred, King of Mercia, seized their lands,* some of which he retained, and others he granted to his knights; and, until the restoration of the abbey under Egbert, the community struggled for existence in a state of the greatest poverty and depression. The new foundation was effected by the exertions and piety of Abbot Turketul in 966; and in the last years of his life (his death happened in 975) he directed the history to be compiled by Brother Sweetman from the testimony of the five sempectæ who had witnessed the destruction and rejoiced at the restoration of the monastery.+ Clarembaldus, the oldest of these patriarchs, attained the age of one hundred and sixty-eight years. Swarlingus died in 974,' aged one hundred and forty-two years. And in the same year died Brunne and Aio; their exact ages are not recorded, but Aio was ' learned in the law, and had been well acquainted with the charters of the ancient monastery: assuming, therefore, that his legal education could not have been perfected before his majority, the salubrious air of the fens must have prolonged his life at least to the age of one hundred and twenty-five years. Last and least, died Father Thurgar, who, a child ten years of age 'when he was rescued from the Danish murderers, was only one hundred and fifteen years old when he died in the fifteenth of King Edgar.I All the facts were thus derived from the information which the five venerable elders afforded to their secretary. And although the extraordinary prolongation of the lives of five contemporary members of one sinall community is not ascribed to the intercession of St. Guthlac, yet it is difficult, without a miracle, to believe in longevity so much exceeding the average duration of sublunary existence.
Turketul, the son of Ethelward or Ailward, the youngest child of Alfred, was born, as Ingulphus relates, in the year 907.8
On the death of his father, he obtained livery of his inheritance from King Edward his uncle, who used every endeavour to persuade bim to select a wife from the noble and youthful beauties of the kingdom. But Turketul would not be seduced by their charms; he had resolved upon celibacy, and Edward, prudently yielding to his pious inclinations, allowed him to take holy orders, and repeatedly offered to him the most splendid preferment. Turketul disclaimed the mitre with as much constancy as he had refused a consort. It is mentioned in particular that the Bishopric of Winchester, proffered on the death of Dinewulph, was strenuously rejected. Plegmund, archbishop of Canterbury, then instantly suggested that the Bishopric of Dorchester should be bestowed upon the reluc* Ingulph. 25.
+ Ingulph. 48.
Ingulph. 51. Ø He died in the year 975, aged sixty-eight years. Ingulph. 51, 52.
tant Turketul, but he continued his denial with unabated pertinacity. The King was now thoroughly convinced that Turketul was sincere in contemning all worldly riches and vanities; and, as a reward for his disinterestedness, appointed him to the office of Chancellor, an office, it seems, equivalent to that of prime-minister. All the temporal and spiritual affairs of the Kingdom were guided by the advice and counsel of this high officer, and the first act of the administration of Turketul was to advise the selection of seven Bishops to fill the seven vacant sees of Wessex and Mercia. Frithestane, the foster-brother of Turketul, and Ceolwulph, his chaplain or clerk, respectively obtained the sees of Winchester and Dorchester; and Werstan, Athelstan, Athelm, Adulph, and Bernek, were respectively assigned to the dioceses of Sherborne, Cornwall, Wells, Crediton, and Selsea.*
A much fuller account of this election of the seven Bishops may be found in Malmesbury and Florilegus. By them no mention is made of Turketul, in their narrative of the transaction, neither could be well be introduced in it, as the date of the synod or council itself in which the Bishoprics were conferred is 905, just two years before Turketul was born.t There are such difficulties in the history of the promotion of the seven Bishops, as to throw great doubt on the narrative altogether. Ingulphus therefore merely engrafts an impossibility upon an improbability, But the Saxon Chronicle places the death of Dinewulf in 909, and the succession of Frithestane in 910, and these dates alone are sufficient to falsify the whole legend of the early life of Turketul the Chancellor, who, according to the legend of Ingulphus, must have solicited the Bishopric for his foster-brother, when they were both in the nurse's arms.
The account of Turketul's life does not increase in probability as we proceed. We shall not stop, on this occasion, to inquire into the history of the Chancery. It is sufficient to observe, that, if a 'Cancellarius' existed amongst the officers of the AngloSaxon court, he was nothing more than a notary or scribe, entirely destitute of the high authority which Ingulphus bestows upon him. .
Turketul is afterwards introduced as a warrior, leading on the Londoners and the host of Mercia at the battle of Brunnanburgh. Though he mainly contributed to the victory, his exploits were bloodless, he was so fortunate as to avoid killing or wounding any of the enemies whom he defeated. Lastly, he appears as the restorer of the ruined, monastery at Croyland, of which he became the Abbot. His regulations for the government of the monastery are given at full length. He divided the community into three classes. Until the monks had been professed * Ingulph. 36. + Malm. 26. Matt. West. 181.
for twenty-four years, they shared in every labour of the cloister, and in all the duties of the choir. During the next sixteen years, they were relieved from some of the minor devotions, but still they were considered as juniors;' and forty years profession elapsed before they attained the senior’degree, in which they were excused from participating in all offices of bodily fatigue and responsibility. After fifty years' profession, the monk became a sempecta; he obtained a separate chamber, an attendant was assigned to him, and every privilege was allowed which could ensure the enjoyment of bodily and mental ease, until the termination of his life.* These curious details are unluckily destitute of extrinsic confirmation. The monastic degree of the sempectæ cannot be traced in the history or records of Croyland, or of any other monastery in Christendom. The name barely occurs in Palladius, a Greek writer of the fifth century. But by Palladius it is used in a sense diametrically opposite; not as signifying the monk or solitary, but the young disciple who attended upon him. And the employment of the term in Ingulphus may induce the suspicion that the writer stumbled upon the strange sounding word without apprehending its proper application.t
In the portion of the work which Ingulphus claims as his own, many long and important charters of Edgar and his successors are incorporated in the narrative. A second conflagration, the effect of accident, destroyed the ill-fated monastery, which was built almost entirely of timber, in the year 1091; and, although the charter-room was strongly vaulted with stone, still the intense heat of the fire reduced its contents to ashes. Ingulphus, however, easily accounts for the preservation of the documents which he sets forth. The monks had not only duplicates, but even triplicates of many charters. These had been separated from the rest by 'Ingulphus: they were delivered by him to Fulmar the chaunter, in order that the younger monks might become acquainted with the Saxon character; and, having been secured in a coffer which was deposited in the cloister, they were fortunately preserved. This statement, however, derives no support from the charters which the author has used. The Norman phraseology in which they are clothed, though it shows at once that Ingulphus only presents the reader with modernized paraphrases, is not entirely inconsistent with the existence of Saxon originals: but this admission cannot be extended to charters entirely founded upon Norman customs of which no traces are found in Saxon
Ingulph. 48, 49. † The discussions respecting this term may be consulted in Mr. Gough's Additions to the History of Croyland, p. 273, to which we refer the curious reader. Ingulph. 96, 97,
times. We may quote the grant made by the convent, and which purchased the protection of Norman, the son of Earl Leofwine. At his demanda demise was made to him of the manor of Baddeley, for the term of one hundred years, to be holden of St. Guthlac, by the rent of a pepper-corn, payable on the feast of St. Bartholomew in every year.*
No other instance was ever found of a demise for a term of years before the conquest; and it does not appear possible that the charter recited by Ingulphus could have even been grounded upon any Saxon grant.
Towards the conclusion of the work, the adventures of the writer form a considerable and amusing portion of the history. Ingulphus was born of English parents, in the city of London. From his earliest years, he received a learned education. Beginning his studies at Westminster, he continued his labours in Oxford. Surpassing his contemporaries in his knowledge of the philosophy of Aristotle, he was equally versed in the rhetoric of Cicero. When he approached towards the age of manhood, he began to despise the humble home of his father, and, haunting the palaces of the great, he affected the dress and imitated the manners of a courtier. At this juncture, 1051, William, ' Earl' of Normandy, visited his cousin of England with a splendid train of followers. Ingulphus gained the favour of the future conqueror, and being retained in the service of the Earl, he returned with him to Normandy. There he rose most rapidly in power and dignity. Appointed secretary to William, he governed the court with unlimited power. Fortune depended upon the smiles or frowns of Ingulphus, the English favourite. It being announced in Normandy, that many of the Prelates and Barons of the Empire intended to proceed to the Holy Land, Ingulphus, and thirty others of the Norman court, determined to join the pilgrims. Seven thousand were assembled under the Archbishop of Mentz, who, after a long yet prosperous journey, arrived at Constantinople, where, according to the ceremonial of the Byzantine court, they adored' the Emperor Alexius. At Jerusalem they were received with great kindness by the Patriarch Sophronius. We have not space to pursue our recital of the adventures of Ingulphus, and it is only necessary to mention, that in the year 1075, he was instituted as abbot of Croyland, where he continued till his death. Anachronisms which merely impeach the accuracy of the histo
Ingulph. 57. + Grants for one or more life or lives were not uncommon, and there are instances of conventions for the occupation of land for an indefinite term, which in practice were equivalent to grants for life. But demises for long terms of years are of subsequent introduction. The earliest demise given by Maddox (Formulare Anglicanum, p. 180.) is of the 7 Ric. I. and that is for a term of thirty years. $ Ingulph. 73, 74. T 3
rian are entirely fatal to auto-biography. The passage respecting the education of Ingulphus long since roused the suspicion of Gibbon; and it still remains to be proved, that Aristotle formed part of the course of education at the university of Oxford, at a time wheu his works were studied in no other part of Christendom. An admission that some of the treatises of the Stagyrite were known to the curious few in imperfect translations or meagre abstracts, will not by any means contirm the assertions of Ingulphus. Language like his plainly implies that a proficiency in Aristotelian lore excited the emulation and rewarded the exertions of the Oxonian students.
But a more serious and insuperable error yet remains. The pseudo-Ingulphus, for we can no longer give any other name to the writer, does not state the exact year of his journey to Jerusalem. It took place, however, not long after his official promotion, and the mention made of the Patriarch Sophronius fixes the event between the years 1053 and 1059.* But the accession of Alexius I. did not happen till 1081,4 long after Ingulphus was settled at Croyland. There is no possibility of explaining away this proof of falsification, unless by supposing that the name of Alexius is an erroneous 'reading for Michael or Isaac, but if this solution be adopted, what reliance can be placed on manuscripts which are so depraved ?
Do we then bona fide consider the history of Ingulpbus as being little better than an historical novel? We must decidedly give an affirmative answer to the question. We believe it to be a mere monkish invention; and the object of the compilation may perhaps be guessed. It was intended to support St. Guthlac's title to the lands and possessions of which the deeds were lost, and to give a sterling value to the base metal of the golden charter. After the dissolution, the manuscript which had the reputation of being the autograph of Ingulphus, continued in the church of Croyland, where it was preserved with great care in a chest, locked with three keys, which were entrusted to the churchwardens of the parish. Selden endeavoured, but in vain, to obtain access to the treasure; and when Fulman made inquiries, he ascertained that it could no longer be found. Three ancient copies of this manuscript are known to have existed. One, in the possession of Marsham, was the basis of Fulman's edition, and appears to have been the most complete. Another, from whence Selden published the laws of the Conqueror, existed in the Cottonian
* Art de Vérifier les Dates, vol. i. p. 267. + Gibbon, Decline and Fall, vol. ix, c. 48.
Scriptores Rerum Anglicarum, Oxon. 1684. This volume is quoted as the second volume of Gale and Fell's collection.