Registrum Statutorum et Consuetudinum Ecclesiae Cathedralis Sancti Pauli Londiniensis. Originally published by Nichols and Sons, London, 1873.
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At the installation of a Canon of S. Paul's Cathedral, it was the ancient practice to place in his hands the Book of the Statutes of the Church, together with a loaf of white bread, the Dean, or, in his absence, the Major Persona present, saying these words: Nos recipimus te in Canonicum et Fratrem, et tradimus tibi regularis observantiæ formam in volumine isto contentam pro cibo spirituali, et in remedium laboris refectionem in pane corporalem. Whereupon the newly-elected brother having been led to his stall, and certain prayers having been said, he was conducted to the Chapter House, and there took a solemn oath of fidelity and canonical obedience. (fn. 1) The oath contained the following words: quod approbatas et approbandas hujus Ecclesiæ Consuetudines, prout eas didicerit, observabit.
This old statutable custom has continued, with some variations, down to the present time: sometimes a Bible or New Testament has been placed in the hands of the Canon or Prebendary, instead of the Regularis observantiæ forma in hoc volumine contenta; the white loaf too has not been forgotten. But in later times there has been no volume which contained the whole of the Statutes of the Cathedral. It would have been a hard task even to answer the question, where are those statutes to be found ? Scattered in ancient manuscripts, some in one place, some in another, there was no single volume, no half-dozen volumes, in which it could be said that the Statutes of the Cathedral were comprised. It would have been quite impossible to place in the hands of any of the Canons the Corpus Statutorum of the Church. Dugdale, in the Appendix to his History of S. Paul's Cathedral, had gathered together a very curious and valuable collection of documents; but, strangely enough, there is scarcely to be found amongst them a single statute properly so called. Archdeacon Hale, in the Introduction to his Domesday of S. Paul's, has given a very learned and im portant epitome of the history of the Manorial property of the Cathedral, of its tenures and leases, and of the income of the Church during a period of 150 years, from the middle of the twelfth to the end of the thirteenth century, richly illustrated out of his abundant stores of learning: but his work did not lead him to the Statutes. It must be regretted by all, and by none more than by the Editor of the present volume, that the task of bringing to light the Statuta et Consuetudines of the Church which he loved so well, did not fall upon that ripe scholar, full of a peculiar erudition, now all too rare, and well-fitted by his long researches into the History of the Cathedral to have thrown a flood of light upon the subject. I follow in his footsteps: in love for the grand Cathedral and its varied story, I claim to be his equal; in scholarship and critical acumen, alas! I follow longo intervallo. If I do not refer to Dean Milman's Annals of S. Paul's, in this connexion, it is because the whole plan of his work did not lead him to the mere publication of documents, but rather to that rapid and keen analysis of them for which his fame is as widespread as the English language.
In the first month of 1872, the Dean and Chapter having experienced the difficulty to which I have referred of ascertaining what the Statutes of the Cathedral really were, charged me, as the librarian of the Cathedral, with the task of preparing for the press an Editio Princeps of the Statutes: hence the present volume. At first the work appeared to lie within a comparatively narrow compass: it seemed that the materials for it would be found amongst the documents which I had arranged and classified in the Archive Room of the Cathedral. A wider search, however, soon disclosed much matter, the very existence of which was scarcely suspected. The Archiepiscopal Library at Lambeth supplied curious illustrative matter, some of which had indeed already been printed, but with more or less of curtailment; the Registry of the Diocese of London was, as might be expected, full of rich materials, for the most part inedited; the Library of the University of Cambridge brought to light a most valuable manuscript of the Statutes written by order of Dean Lisieux in the year 1450; the Bodleian Library contributed an important volume containing Statutes and Ordinances of the Guild of Jesus in the Crypt of S. Paul's, drawn up, as it appears, by Dean Colet himself; the British Museum furnished many interesting details; the Bishop of London, from his Library at Fulham, contributed two important volumes, Transcripts of Statutes and other documents relating to the Cathedral, made about the year 1724; and last, not least, the Archive Room of the Cathedral contained a collection of early manuscripts of the Statutes, together with Cartularies, Account Books, Minute Books, and other muniments of the highest value.
For convenience of reference, both in the margin and in the notes, I have marked each of the most important of the ancient (fn. 2) Manuscripts that I have consulted with one of the letters of the alphabet, from A to M; the more recent Transcripts occasionally employed are designated by italic letters, from a to d: an arrangement obvious enough, and suggested by the usual classification of Biblical Manuscripts into uncials and cursives. It must, however, be understood that these letters are introduced solely for the purpose of the present work, and that they have no reference whatever to the letters by which certain Manuscripts belonging to the Cathedral in 1447 were designated in Dean Lisieux' Catalogue. (fn. 3) The following Table will show at a glance what Manuscripts have been used in the preparation of Books I. and II. of the present volume, and in whose possession they now are; whilst the more detailed account of them, which will be found in the Appendix, (fn. 4) may have some little interest for the antiquary, as it exhibits the principal items of the very multifarious contents of these curious and venerable volumes.
TRANSCRIPTS FROM ANCIENT MANUSCRIPTS.
|a.||Made by Rev. W. Hall||circa 1724||Bishop of London.|
|b.||Made by Rev. W. Hall.||circa 1724||Bishop of London.|
|c.||Made by Rev. S. Ayscough||1724||S. Paul's Cathedral.|
|d.||Made in time of Bishop Compton||1675–1713||F. H. Dickinson, Esq.|
The above manuscripts are those which contain portions of the Statutes; the numerous other manuscripts which have been employed in the preparation of this volume will be duly indicated at the head of the sections for which they have been used.
The present work is divided into five books. Book. I. comprises the Statutes and Customs of the Cathedral as they were arranged and collected by Ralph de Baldock, Dean of S. Paul's from 1294 till 1303–4, when he was consecrated to the See of London, and augmented by Thomas Lisieux, Dean of S. Paul's from 1441 to 1456. Book II. contains a large collection of Statutes relating to the Cathedral, not included in the previous book, commencing with a short series of Statutes in their earliest extant forms, and ending with a Statute promulgated by Bishop Blomfield in 1848. Book III. consists exclusively of documents relating to the College of the Twelve Minor Canons, commencing as early as 1353, and extending to a Statute confirmed by Her Majesty in Council in 1855: in this Book will be found the body of Statutes drawn up by the Minor Canons for their own government in 1396, both in the original Latin, and in an English version prepared about 1530. In Book IV. are collected a series of documents illustrative of the Statutes, many of considerable interest, and all having a connexion, more or less obvious, with the matter previously printed. Book V. comprises Statutes, Ordinances, and Letters Patent relating to the Guild of Jesus in the Crypt of the Cathedral. The documents comprised in Books II. to V. are arranged in chronological order. The Appendix contains chronological lists and tables, and an account of manuscripts consulted; two Indices, the one of Names of Persons and Places occurring in the body of the work, the other a general Index of Subjects, conclude the volume.
The text exhibited in Book I. is that presented by the important volume preserved amongst the Cathedral Archives, known as the Statuta Minora, and designated in the present work as MS. B. After careful consideration and con- sultation with the Dean and Chapter, I decided to print the text of this Manuscript exactly as I found it, extending the contractions, but preserving the ancient spelling. (fn. 5) The text so formed has been minutely collated with the other manuscripts enumerated above, and any variations of interest have been carefully noted in the margin with the letter indicating the manuscript in which such variation has been found. Occasionally the reading in the margin will be found preferable to that in the text: but I have preferred to exhibit one manuscript in its entirety, so that the reader may be placed in the position of having, so to speak, the actual text of that manuscript in his hands, whilst immediately adjacent to each line of which a various reading is found in any other manuscript, that reading is placed before him. The labour of these minute and repeated collations has been very considerable, but I think that the result has justified the expenditure of time and trouble. As the text has not been in any way tampered with in this edition, but is presented, so far as I could accomplish that result, with literal accuracy, many very obscure passages will be found: but I have not considered it at all desirable to attempt to alter the barbarous Latinity, nor even to correct the not infrequent false concords; in short, my object has been simply to present the ipsissima verba of the Statutes themselves, in the full persuasion that the accuracy of the printed version of the text will more than make amends for its roughness. In the selection of the rubrics or headings of each chapter a little more latitude has been allowed: these rubrics vary in every copy, some copies having scarcely any; I have chosen those which, on the whole, appeared to give the best insight into the subject of each section.
By far the greater part of the volume has never been before printed, and I must ask the indulgent consideration of the reader for any errors that he may discover: in transferring so large a mass of matter from very many manuscripts, in all kinds of handwriting, in all states of preservation, and of dates varying from the twelfth to the nineteenth centuries, it can hardly be but that many errors of the pen or of the press have escaped notice. Few save those who have themselves undergone this kind of labour know its difficulty. I have made three-fourths of the transcripts necessary, and have prepared the indices, mea manu; and have collated the proof sheets with the originals whenever that was possible.
It had often been a matter of curious inquiry, how it had happened that so many manuscript volumes of the Statutes, so many Royal Charters, and Deeds, escaped the destructive fire to which in 1666 almost the entire Library of the Cathedral, as well as the Church itself, fell a victim. In the course of some researches in the Bodleian Library I was fortunate enough to discover the name of the preserver of these treasures. One Mr. John Tillison, (fn. 6) in a Paper concerning his Receipts and Services at S. Paul's, preserved amongst the Rawlinson Manuscripts, says, that by his own "great labor, dilligence, and charge," these invaluable Records were preserved. (fn. 7)
In the notes, I have thought it of importance that the reader should have always before him the exact date, so far as it could be ascertained, of the section which he was perusing: and hence, I have repeated, with what may seem wearisome iteration, short notes giving the date of the election, consecration, translation, or death, of the principal persons named in the particular passage. One knows how inconvenient it is to turn to a chronological table at the end of a book, and (although such a table is not wanting) I believe that these intentional repetitions will not be found useless.
As for the Introduction, I will only say that a thick volume and long leisure to prepare it would be necessary to do justice to the great mass of material collected here. In the intervals of an active life it is difficult to seize the time which is necessary for such a work: quiet and seclusion are requisite rather than the scattered hours snatched from the brief leisure gleaned after public duties are done. No one can feel more fully than I its shortcomings. It is rather a large Preface than an Introduction. I would ask for the kind consideration of my readers. To the Historian I would say, with Bishop Horne in the Preface to his Sermons, "I have done as well as I could, and know not that it will be in my power to do better. Accept such as I can give, and pardon errors and imperfections. I stand at the door of the Temple with my torch. If you would view its glories enter in." Or, in the words of the Author of the Second Book of Maccabees: "If I have done well, and as is fitting the story, it is that which I desired; but if slenderly and meanly, it is that which I could attain unto. And here shall be an end."
The agreeable duty remains of tendering my sincere thanks to all from whom I have received important assistance: to his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury for that free access to the priceless treasures of his Library which my position at Lambeth has secured me; to the Lord Bishop of London for most kindly allowing me to have at my own house, and for as long a period as was necessary, two important volumes of Transcripts relating to the Cathedral; to the Bishop again and to his Registrars, John Shephard, Esq. and John B. Lee, Esq. for free access to the Episcopal Registers and other documents under their care; to the Dean of Peterborough for kindly presenting to me a copy of the privately printed Statutes of that Cathedral; to the Dean and Chapter of S. Paul's, for that acquaintance with their ancient records which my office as Keeper of the Cathedral Archives gives me; to my brethren of the College of the Minor Canons for most readily placing at my disposal the Archives of the body; to H. Bradshaw, Esq. Librarian of the University of Cambridge, by whose courtesy I was allowed the use of MS. B. for many months at my own house; to the Rev. W.D. Macray for much kindness shown to me at the Bodleian Library at Oxford; to Professor J. S. Brewer and to James Gairdner, Esq. of the Record Office, for kind assistance in dating several manuscripts; to F. H. Dickinson, Esq. for the sight of his ancient transcript of the Statutes; to my old friend the Rev. W. H. Seggins for much help in the tedious task of collation; to John Gough Nichols, Esq. for suggestions during the progress of the work and for assistance in the revision of the proofs; to E. Levien, Esq. of the department of MSS. British Museum, whose aid in looking over the proofs for press, and supplying in many cases correct readings and emendations in doubtful and corrupt passages has been of much service; and if last, certainly not least, to my Wife for long and persevering help in the tedious work of compiling the large Indices to the volume.