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army. We have then the dining of the chiefs; the Duke about to dine, whilst Odo blesses the food; and the Duke sitting under a canopy. The fifty-fifth shows him holding a banner, and giving orders for the construction of a camp at Hastings. Six other compartments show us the burning of a house with firebrands, the march out of Hastings, the advance to the battle, and the anxious questioning by William of his spies and scouts as to the approach of the army of Harold. The sixty-third presents a messenger announcing to Harold that the army of William is near at hand. The sixty-fourth bears the inscription, that Duke William addresses his soldiers that they should prepare themselves boldly and skilfully for the battle. We have then six compartments, each exhibiting some scene of the terrible conflict. The seventy-first shows the death of Harold. The tapestry abruptly ends with the figures of flying soldiers. We have probably been somewhat too minute in the description of this remarkable performance. If any apology be necessary, it may be best offered in the words of Mr. Amyot, in his ‘Defence of the Early Antiquity of the Bayeux Tapestry,’ which is almost conclusive as to the fact of its being executed under the direction of Matilda, the wife of the Conqueror (“Archaeologia, vol. xix). “If the Bayeux Tapestry be not history of the first class, it is perhaps something better. It exhibits genuine traits, elsewhere sought in vain, of the costume and manners of that age which, of all others, if we except the period of the Reformation, ought to be the most interesting to us; that age which gave us a new race of monarchs, bringing with them new landholders, new laws, and almost a new language. As in the magic pages of Froissart, we here behold our ancestors of each race in most of the occupations of life—in courts and camps—in pastime and in battle—at feasts, and on the bed of sickness. These are characteristics which of themselves would call forth a lively interest; but their value is greatly enhanced by their connection with one of the most important events in history, the main subject of the whole design.”
31.-BATTLE ABBEY. C. KNIGHT.
IN MAGNo NAVIGIo MARE TRANSIv1T, ET venTT AD PEvKNSAE.
Such is the inscription to the forty-fifth compartment of the Bayeux Tapestry— in a great ship he passes the sea, and comes to Pevensey. The Bay of Pevensey is not now as it was on the 28th of September, A.D. 1066, when this great ship sailed into it, and a bold man, one whose stern will and powerful mind was to change the destiny of England, leaped upon the strand, and, falling upon his face, a great cry went forth that it was an evil omen;–but the omen was turned into a sign of gladness when he exclaimed, with his characteristic oath, “I have taken seisin of this land with both my hands.” The shores of the bay are now a dreary marsh, guarded by dungeon-looking towers, which were built to defend us from such another seisin. The sea once covered this marsh, and the Norman army came a mile or so nearer to the chalk hills, beyond which they knew there was a land of tempting fertility. It must have been somewhat near the old Roman castle that the disembarkation took place, whose incidents are exhibited in the Bayeux Tapestry. Here were the horses removed from the ships: here each horseman mounted his own, and galloped about to look upon a land in which he saw no enemy; here were the oxen and the swine of Saxon farmer slaughtered by those for whom they were fatted not ; here was the cooking, and the dining, and the rude pomp of the confident Duke, who knew that his great foe was engaged in a distant conflict. The character of William of Normandy was so remarkable, and indeed was such an element of success in his daring attempt upon the English crown, that what is personally associated with him, even though it be found not in our own island, belongs to the antiquities of England. He was a stark man, as the Saxon chronicler describes him from personal knowledge, a man of unbending will and ruthless determination, but of too lofty a character to be needlessly cruel or wantonly destructive. Of his pre-eminent abilities there can be no question. Connected with such a man, then, his purposes and his success, the remains of his old Palace at Lillebonne, which may be readily visited by those who traverse the Seine in its steamboats, is an object of especial interest to an Englishman. For here was the great Council held for the invasion of England, and the attempt was determined against by the people collectively, but the wily chief separately won the assent of their leaders, and the collective voice was raised in vain. More intimately associated with the memory of the Conqueror is the Church of St. Etienne at Caen, which he founded; and where, deserted by his family and his dependants, the dead body of the sovereign before whom all men had trembled was hurried to the grave, amidst fearful omens and the denunciations of one whom he had persecuted. The mutilated statue of William may be seen on the exterior of the same church. In England we have one monument, connected in the same distinct manner with his personal character, whilst it is at the same time a memorial of his great triumph and the revolution which was its result—we mean Battle Abbey. When Harold heard—
he gallantly set forward to meet him—but with an unequal force. He knew the strength of his enemy, but he did not quail before it. The chroniclers say that Harold's spies reported that there were more priests in William's camp than fighting men in that of Harold; and they add that the Saxon knew better than the spies that the supposed priests were good men-at-arms. Mr. Stothard, in his ‘Account of the Bayeux Tapestry, points out, with reference to the figures of the Normans, that “not only are their upper lips shaven, but nearly the whole of their heads, excepting a portion of hair left in front.” He adds, “It is a curious circumstance in favour of the great antiquity of the Tapestry, that time has, I believe, handed down to us no other representation of this most singular fashion, and it appears to throw a new light on a fact which has perhaps been misunderstood: the report made by Harold's spies that the Normans were an army of priests is well known. I should conjecture, from what appears in the Tapestry, that their resemblance to priests did not so much arise from the upper lip being shaven, as from the circumstance of the complete tonsure of the back part of the head.” Marching out from their entrenched camp at Hastings, the Normans, all shaven and shorn, encountered the moustached Saxons on the 14th of October. The Tapestry represents the Saxons fighting on foot, with javelin and battle-axe, bearing their shields with the old British characteristic of a boss in the centre. The Normans are on horseback, with their long shields and their pennoned lances. Harold and his two brothers fell at the foot of their standard which they had planted on the little hill of Senlac, and on this spot, whose name was subsequently changed to Bataille, was built Battle Abbey. It was not the pride of the Conqueror alone that raised up this once magnificent monument. The stern man, the hot and passionate man, the man who took what he could get by right and unright, “was mild to good men who loved God.” And so he built Battle Abbey.
Robert of Gloucester has thus described, in his quaint verse, the foundation of Battle Abbey —
“King William bithougt him alsoe of that
And slayn also thorurg him
Brown Willis tells us that in the fine old parish-church of Battle was formerly hung up a table containing certain verses, of which the following remained:—
“This place of war is Battle called, because in battle here
The politic Conqueror did wisely thus to change the associations, if it were possible, which belonged to this fatal spot. He could not obliterate the remelnbrance of “the day of bitterness,” the “day of death,” the “day stained with the blood of the brave” (Matthew of Westminster). Even the red soil of Senlac was held, with patriotic superstition, to exude real and fresh blood after a small shower, “as if intended for a testimony that the voice of so much Christian blood here shed does still cry from the earth to the Lord” (Gulielmus Neubrigensis). This Abbey of Bataille is unquestionably a place to be trod with reverent contemplation by every Englishman who has heard of the great event that here took place, and has traced its greater consequences. He is of the mixed blood of the conquerors and the conquered. It has been written of him and his compatriots
“Pride in their port, defiance in their eye,
His national character is founded upon the union of the Saxon determination and the Norman energy. As he treads the red soil of Senlac, if his reformed faith had not taught him otherwise he would breathe a petition for all the souls, Saxon and Norman, “that there slain were,” The Frenchman, whose imagination has been stirred by Thierry's picturesque and philosophical history of the Norman Conquest, will tread this ground with no natural prejudices; for the roll of Battle Abbey will show him that those inscribed as the followers of the Conqueror had Saxon as well as Norman names, and that some of the most illustrious of the names have long been the common property of England and of France. Yet the sight of this place is a mortifying one. The remains of the fine cloisters have been turned into a dining-room, and, to use the words of the ‘Guide-Book, “Part of the site of the church is now a parterre which in summer exhibits a fine collection of Flora's greatest beauties.” This was the very church whose high altar was described by the old writers to have stood on the spot where the body of Harold was found, covered with honourable wounds in the defence of his tattered standard. “Flora's greatest beauties!" Those who can look upon this desecration of a spot so singularly venerable without a burning blush for some foregone barbarism, must be made of different stuff from the brave who here fought to the death because they had a country which not only afforded them food and shelter, but the memory of
• St. Calixtus, October the 14th.
great men and heroic deeds, which was to them an inheritance to be prized and defended.
The desecration of Battle Abbey of course began at the general pillage under Henry the Eighth. The Lord Cromwell's Commissioners write to him that they have “cast their book” for the dispatch of the monks and household. They think that very small money can be made of the vestry, but they reckon the plunder of the church plate to amount to four hundred marks. Within three months after the surrender of the Abbey it was granted to Sir Anthony Browne; and he at once set about pulling down the church, the bell-tower, the sacristy, and the chapter-house. The spoiler became Wiscount Montacute; and in this family Battle Abbey continued, till it was sold, in 1719, to Sir Thomas Webster. Brown Willis who wrote at the beginning of the last century, thus describes it in his day:-"Though this abbey be demolished, yet the magnificence of it appears by the ruins of the cloisters, &c., and by the largeness of the hall, kitchen, and gate-house, of which the last is entirely preserved. It is a noble pile, and in it are held sessions and other meetings, for this peculiar jurisdiction, which hath still great privileges belonging to it. What the hall was, when in its glory, may be guessed by its dimensions, its length above fifty of my paces; part of it is now used as a hay-barn; it was leaded, part of the lead yet remains, and the rest is tiled. As to the kitchen, it was so large as to contain five fire-places, and it was arched at top; but the extent of the whole abbey may be better measured by the compass of it, it being computed at no less than a mile about. In this church the Conqueror offered up his sword and royal robe, which he wore on the day of his coronation. The monks kept these till the suppression, and used to show them as great curiosities, and worthy the sight of their best friends, and all persons of distinction that happened to come thither: nor were they less careful about preserving a table of the Norman gentry which came into England with the Conqueror.”
32.-SPEECHES BEFORE THE BATTLE OF HASTINGS.
WARNER's ALBron's ENGLAND. HARold's SPEECH.
“See, valiant war-friends, yonder be the first, the last, and all
But to be self-false in this Isle a self-foe ever is,
T) UKE WILLIAM's SPEECH.
“To live upon or lie within this is my ground or grave,
33.-INDUSTRY OF THE ANGLO-SAXONS. C. KNIGHT. AGRICULTURE. The opening of the year was the time in which the ground was broken up, and the seed committed to the bounty of heaven. We cannot with any propriety assume that the seed was literally sown in the coldest month, although it is possible that the winter began earlier than it now does. December was emphatically called Winter-monat, winter-month. The Anglo-Saxon name of January was