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those days the only way to endow a man or a corporation of men with the things necessary for their subsistence, was to give them land; the “possessions of different kinds ” may be an obscure statement of what we know was the case in other early ecclesiastical endowments in Kent; that, together with cultivated land in the east, there went a portion of the forest land in the west and of the marsh land in the south. It is the first instance of the endowment of the English as distinguished from the British Church. It was probably at the same time that Ethelbert gave to Augustine “a church which he was informed had been built by the ancient Roman Christians, which he reconstructed by the name of Christ Church, and there established a residence for himself and for his successors.” We gather that the house given to Augustine and his monks adjoined or was in the immediate neighbourhood of this ancient church.
We have the great good fortune to possess information enough to enable us, with considerable completeness and accuracy, to restore this ancient church; and this is the more interesting, because it is the solitary instance (if we except the doubtful case of Brixworth, North Hants) in which we can recover in its entirety a church of the Roman British period.
The description of the building occurs in the account by Eadmer, the chanter, of a fire which greatly damaged the interior in 1067 A.D. Omitting details which belong to a later time, this is his description : “This is that very church which had been built by the Romans, as Bede bears witness, which was arranged in some measure (in quadam parte) in imitation of the blessed Prince of the Apostles, Peter.” Under the
east end was a crypt, which the Romans call a Confession, the upper part of which rose above the level of the choir of the singers by several steps... This crypt was made beneath in the likeness of the confession of St. Peter, the vault of which was raised so high that the part above could only be reached by many steps. . . Thence the choir of the singers was extended westward into the body (aula) of the church, and shut out from the multitude by a suitable enclosure. . . . In the next place, beyond the middle of the length of the body, there were two towers which projected beyond the aisles of the church. The south tower had an altar in the midst of it, which was dedicated in honour of the blessed Pope Gregory. At the side was the principal door of the church, which, as of old, by the English was called the Suthdure, and is often mentioned by this name in the law books of the ancient kings"; for all disputes from the whole kingdom which cannot be legally referred to the King's Court or to the Hundreds or Counties do in this place receive judgment. Opposite to this tower, and on the north, another tower was built in honour of the blessed Martin, and had about it cloisters for the use of the monks. And as the first tower was devoted to legal contentions and judgments of this world, so in the second the younger brethren were instructed in the knowledge of the offices of the Church, for the different seasons and hours of day and night.
The extremity of the church was adorned by the oratory of the Blessed Mother of God, which was so constructed that access could only be had to it by steps. At its eastern part there was an altar, consecrated to
1 See a learned legal disquisition by Selden, Dec. Script. p. 42.
the veneration of that Lady, which had within it the heart of the blessed virgin Austroberta. When the priest performed the divine mysteries at the altar, he had his face turned to the east towards the people, who stood below. Behind him to the west was the pontifical chair, constructed with handsome workmanship, of
large stones and cement, and far removed from the Lord's Table, being contiguous to the wall of the church, which embraced the entire area of the building."
Later on we find that "the pillars of the interior of the church” were greatly injured by the fire. The building, therefore, was of the basilican type, with a body and aisles separated by two rows of pillars. Whether these pillars carried a horizontal architrave, or a series of arches, we cannot be sure, but more probably the latter. It had the remarkable feature of a western as well as an eastern apse; the same feature appears at Trier, and only in three or four other churches in the Rhine country, viz. Bemburg, Rothenburg, Mainz, and Laach. The floor of the eastern apse was raised by the crypt beneath; and it is very interesting information that this crypt was made in imitation of the crypt of the old St. Peter's at Rome, which, with that of St. Paul, was the great object of the pilgrimages of the northern nations. Wilfrid's church at Ripon was said to have been built upon the site of an ancient British church, and has also a crypt, which was perhaps a copy of the same venerable confession; and Hexham, also one of Wilfrid's churches, has a similar crypt. What was the cause of the elevation of the floor of the western apse we are not told; but it is probable that there also it was occasioned by a crypt.
In Eadmer's time there were altars at the east end ; one built against the wall of rough stones and mortar by Archbishop Odo, to contain the body of Archbishop Wilfrid of York, which he had translated to Canterbury; and afterwards another altar was placed at a convenient distance before the aforesaid altar, and dedicated in honour of our Lord Jesus Christ, at which the divine mysteries (in Eadmer's time) were duly celebrated. But the archbishop's throne was a handsome stone construction, placed in the middle of the semicircular wall of the western apse, and the original altar would be placed before it on the chord
of the apse, as at the Lateran and at St. Peter's; and the celebrant would face eastward, as Eadmer expressly says. The choir was an elevated platform, carried out from the chord of the eastern apse into the nave, and divided from the nave by stone screens.
All this is exactly the normal plan of a basilican church, with two exceptions, one the western apse, and the other the consequence of it, that since the usual entrance on the west was prevented by the existence of the apse, the principal entrance was placed on the south, and was known as the Suthdure (the south door); apparently the entrance was through the south tower door, whose lower storey formed a porch to it. These flanking towers are not usual in the ordinary basilican church, but they are not without parallel. The sixth-century Church of St. Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna, has a lateral tower. There is a tower at Rochester of earlier date than the present cathedral, which probably occupied a similar position in relation to the coeval church. Exeter Cathedral has two Norman lateral towers. The use of the south tower at Canterbury as a legal court is very interesting. Was the chamber of the tower used as a record office for the documents of the court ? In mediæval times the south porches of churches and the chambers over them were sometimes similarly used.
Eadmer speaks of the cloister as if it were a part of the work of Augustine in adapting the Roman Church to the uses of his mission; the monastic life almost necessitated the usual buildings-chapterhouse, refectory, day-room, dormitory, arranged round a cloister court. They may have been at first of timber only, as the majority of the Saxon monasteries