Old and New London: Volume 6. Originally published by Cassell, Petter & Galpin, London, 1878.
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History of the Foundation of Lambeth Palace—Successive Additions and Alterations in the Building—Fate of the Palace during the Time of the Commonwealth—The Great Gateway—The Hall—Hospitality of the Archbishops in Former Times—The Library and Manuscript Room—The Guard Chamber—The Gallery—The Post room—The Chapel—Desecration of the Chapel—Archbishop Parker's Tomb—The Lollards' Tower—The Gardens—Bishops' Walk—Remarkable Historical Occurrences at Lambeth Palace—The Palace attacked by the Insurgents under Wat Tyler—Queen Mary and Cardinal Pole—Queen Elizabeth and Archbishop Parker—The "Lambeth Articles"—The Archbishop's Dole—The Palace attacked by a London Mob in 1641—Translation of Archbishop Sheldon—The Gordon Riots—The PanAnglican Synod—The Arches Court of Canterbury—The Annual Visit of the Stationers' Company—Lambeth Degrees—St. Mary's Church—Curious Items in the Parish Registers—The Tomb of the Tradescants.
"Immediately opposite to the Abbey and Palace of Westminster," writes Dr. R. Paulli, in his "Pictures of Old England," "rose the castellated walls and towers and chapel of the princely residence which the Archbishops of Canterbury had chosen, before the close of the twelfth century, as their town residence, in the immediate neighbourhood of the offices of state and the tribunals of justice." And there, he might have added, it rises still, and frowns down with mediæval and almost feudal grandeur upon the waters of the river as they flow calmly on towards the sea, just as they did in the days of our Norman sovereigns. The palace, it must be owned, wears a very solemn and even gloomy appearance, resembling a fortress rather than an episcopal palace; and there was a time when it rose still more conspicuous before the eyes of the citizens of London than now—we mean when the river was the "silent way" along which nearly all the traffic and the travellers passed. The reader will not forget Pope's reference to this palace in his description of the Thames, in emulation of Spenser, which we have quoted above, as a motto to this chapter.
The quiet gardens and venerable towers might almost be taken as a symbol of the archbishopric itself. "Its dingy brick, and solemn little windows, with the reverend ivy spreading everywhere about its walls," writes Mr. A. C. Coxe, in his "Impressions of England," "seemed to house the decent and comely spirit of religion itself: and one could almost gather the true character of the Church of England from a single glance at this old ecclesiastical palace, amid the stirring and splendid objects with which it is surrounded. Old, and yet not too old; retired, and yet not estranged from men; learned, and yet domestic; religious, yet nothing ascetic; and dignified, without pride or ostentation: such is the ideal of the Metropolitical palace on the margin of the Thames. I thought, as I glided by, of the time when Henry stopped his barge just here to take in Archbishop Cranmer, and give him a taste of his royal displeasure; and of the time when Laud entered his barge at the same place to go by water to the Tower, 'his poor neighbours of Lambeth following him with their blessings and prayers for his safe return.' They knew his better part."
As we have already seen, the manor of Lambeth was given by Goda, sister of Edward the Confessor, to the see of Rochester, in the eleventh century. The manor was afterwards seized by William the Conqueror, who gave part of the lands to his halfbrother, Odo, Bishop of Bayeux. It was, however, ultimately restored to its former owners, the see of Rochester, one of whose bishops, Glanville, erected here, at the close of the twelfth century, a residence for himself and his successors whenever they visited the metropolis. The ancient possession of Lambeth by the see of Rochester is still commemorated by the payment to the latter, in two half-yearly sums, of five marks of silver, in consideration of the lodging, fire-wood, forage, and other accommodations which the Bishops of Rochester had been accustomed to receive here whenever they visited London. This house being afterwards exchanged for other lands with Hubert Walter, Archbishop of Canterbury, became the episcopal residence. Pennant tells us that it was the original intention of Archbishop Walter to have erected here a "College of Secular Monks"—he meant, of course, of "monks," not of "seculars"—independent of those of Canterbury, but that circumstances obliged him to abandon his purpose.
Archbishops Hubert Walter and Langton successively lived at the Episcopal Manor House at Lambeth. The latter repaired it, as well as the palace at Canterbury. His residence here is proved by some public acts in 1209. Of this house there is no account or description, and it seems it was afterwards neglected and became ruinous. Archbishop Boniface, in 1216, as an expiation, it is said, for his outrageous behaviour to the prior of St. Bartholomew's in Smithfield, obtained a bull from Pope Urban IV., among other things, to rebuild his houses at "Lamhie," or to build a new one on a different site, from which circumstance he is generally supposed to have been the first founder of the present palace. It was gradually enlarged and improved by his successors, particularly by Chicheley, who enjoyed the primacy from 1414 to 1443. He was the builder of that portion of the palace known as the Lollards' Tower. "Neither Protestants nor Catholics," says Pennant, "should omit visiting this tower, the cruel prison of the unhappy followers of Wickliffe. The vast staples and rings to which they were chained before they were brought to the stake ought to make Protestants bless the hour which freed them from so bloody a period. Catholics may glory that time has softened their zeal into charity for all sects, and made them blush at these memorials of the misguided zeal of our ancestors."
Cardinal Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury, who died in 1500, made many additions and improvements to the present palace. He was the builder of the magnificent brick gateway or principal entrance at the north-west.
Warham having acted as ambassador for King Henry VII. to the Duke of Burgundy, was, on his return in 1493, appointed Chancellor of Wells, and soon afterwards Master of the Rolls. He was subsequently made Keeper of the Great Seal, then Chancellor; in 1503 he was raised to the see of London, and in the year following was enthroned Archbishop of Canterbury. In 1515 Warham resigned the Chancellorship, which was bestowed on Cardinal Wolsey, and retired to his palace. He was succeeded, in 1533, by Thomas Cranmer, who, writes the author of "Lambeth and the Vatican," "may be considered one of the most distinguished men that Cambridge ever produced, and the most eminent prelate that ever filled the see of Canterbury." The part which he took in favour of the divorce between Katharine of Aragon and Henry VIII. induced the king to nominate him archbishop; he was, therefore, eventually raised to the see of Canterbury, in which capacity he pronounced the divorce between Queen Katharine and Henry, and ratified his marriage with Anne Boleyn—a step which so ingratiated him into the favour of the king. Cranmer's zeal in the cause of the Reformed religion frequently led him into acts of severity towards those whose opinions differed from his own, from which even the spirit of the times and the barbarous inhumanity exercised by the Protestants abroad is neither an excuse nor an apology. On the death of Edward VI., Cranmer espoused the cause of Lady Jane Grey; Mary triumphed, and the ruin and martyrdom of the archbishop speedily followed.
To Cardinal Pole, who succeeded to the archbishopric, is attributed the foundation of the long gallery in Lambeth Palace. He was appointed to the deanery of Exeter by Henry VIII.; but was abroad when the king abolished the Papal authority in England, and, not attending when summoned to return, was proclaimed a traitor and divested of his deanery. In 1536 he was made cardinal; and when Mary ascended the throne he returned to England as legate from Pope Julius III., and had his attainder reversed by special Act of Parliament. "Few churchmen have borne so unblemished a reputation as this eminent prelate, and few have carried themselves with such moderation and meekness. He died November 17, 1558, being the very day on which Queen Mary herself died."
Matthew Parker died here in 1575, and was buried in the chapel. After the Civil Wars, and in the time of the Commonwealth, when fanatical and political fury went hand in hand, it was found that every building devoted to piety had suffered more than they had done in all the rage of family contest. The fine works of art and the sacred memorials of the dead were, except in a few instances, sacrificed to Puritanical barbarism, or to sacrilegious plunder. Lambeth House—for by that name, and the Manor of Lambeth, the archbishops at that time distinguished their residence, and not by the modern title of palace—fell to the share of the miscreant regicides Scott and Hardynge, who pulled down the noble hall, the work of Chicheley, and sold the materials for their own profit. The chapel they turned into a dancing-room; and because the tomb of the venerable Archbishop Parker "stared them in the face and checked their mirth, it was broken to pieces, his bones dug up by Hardynge, to whose share this part of the palace fell; and opening the leaden coffin, and cutting away the cerecloths, of which there were many folds, the flesh seemed very fresh. The corpse thus stripped was conveyed into the outhouse for poultry and dung, and buried among the offal; but upon the restoration of King Charles, that wretch Hardynge was forced to discover where it was; whereupon the archbishop had him honourably re-interred in the same chapel near the steps of the altar."
The palace had for some time previous to this been used as a prison for the Royalists; Guy Carleton, Dean of Carlisle, was one of the persons committed to it, but he fortunately escaped and quitted England. Bishop Kennett says, that of near one hundred ministers from the west of England who were imprisoned at Lambeth almost all died of a pestilential fever.
Passing by Grindall and Whitgift, we come to Archbishop Bancroft, who, as we shall presently have occasion to state more fully, began the fine library in this palace, and left his books to his successors for ever. He died in 1610, and was buried in Lambeth Church. Of the other improvements in this venerable pile we shall speak in describing the buildings themselves.
"With the exception of à Becket," writes the author of "Select Views of London," "there are, it is supposed, traces of some public act done in this house by every archbishop, from the time when the monks of Rochester became possessed of it till its alienation; for though in some cases the name only of Lambeth is mentioned, yet it is so explicitly averred in others that the archbishops were at the manor house, that it may be presumed this was their regular inn."
With the exception of the chapel, the whole of the present structure has certainly been erected since the above-mentioned period. The palace, as it now appears, is an irregular but very extensive pile, exhibiting specimens of almost every style of architecture that has prevailed during the last seven hundred years. The walls are chiefly built of a fine red brick, and are supported by stone buttresses, edged and coped with stone. The "great gate" is enumerated among the buildings of the palace in the stewards' accounts in the fifteenth year of Edward II. Cardinal Morton rebuilt it about the year 1490 in the manner we at present see it. The building, which is chiefly remarkable for its vast size, consists of two immense square towers, with a spacious gateway and postern in the centre; it is built of red brick, with stone dressings, and is embattled. The arch of the gateway is pointed, and the roof beautifully groined. Above, is a noble apartment, called the "Record Tower," where, until lately, the archives of the see of Canterbury were deposited. Access to the different storeys, now used chiefly as lumber-rooms, is obtained by spiral stairs in the towers.
Passing through the gateway, we enter the outer court. On the left is a low wall, partly covered with ivy, separating the palace demesnes from the Thames and what was once the favourite promenade known as Bishops' Walk, but now the Albert Embankment. In front appears the Water Tower, with the Lollards' Tower beyond; and on the right the Great Hall, now the library and manuscriptroom. It is a lofty structure of brick, strengthened with buttresses, and ornamented with cornices and quoins of stone. It is nearly one hundred feet in length, forty in breadth, and fifty in height. The roof is composed principally of oak, elaborately carved, and has in the centre a lofty and elegant lantern, at the top of which are the arms of the see of Canterbury impaling those of Juxon, and surmounted by the archiepiscopal mitre. The interior is lighted, in addition to the lantern, by ranges of high windows on either side, in some of which are heraldic devices in stained glass. Over the hall door appear the same arms as those above mentioned, together with the date MDCLXIII; and at the lower end is a screen of the Ionic order, on the top of which is the founder's crest, a negro's head crowned. The whole hall is wainscoted to a considerable height, and the floor is handsomely paved.
This hall was probably built originally by Archbishop Boniface in the thirteenth century. In the stewards' account, above quoted, the "Great Hall" is mentioned. It was "re-edified" by Archbishop Chicheley; and in 1570 the roofing was "covered with shingles" by Archbishop Parker. During the Commonwealth the hall is said to have been pulled down, and the materials sold by Colonel Scott and Matthew Hardyng, to whom the manor of Lambeth had been granted. The present hall was commenced after the Restoration by Archbishop Juxon, precisely on the site of its predecessor, and as nearly as possible after the ancient model; but it was not finished at his death. Juxon appears to have been so anxious concerning its erection, that he left the following direction in his will:—"If I happen to die before the hall at Lambeth be finished, my executors to be at the charge of finishing it, according to the model made of it, if my successor shall give leave."
The reason why such large halls were built in the houses of ancient nobility and gentry was that there might be room to exercise the generous hospitality which prevailed among our ancestors, and which was, without doubt, duly exercised by most of the possessors of this mansion, though not particularly recorded. What great hospitality Cranmer maintained, we may judge by the following authentic list of his household—viz., "steward, treasurer, comptroller, gamators, clerk of the kitchen, caterer, clerk of the spicery, yeoman of ewry, bakers, pantlers, yeomen of the horse, ushers, butlers of wine and ale, larderers, squilleries, ushers of the hall, porter, ushers of the chamber, daily waiters in the great chamber, gentlemen ushers, yeomen of the chamber, carver, sewer, cup-bearer, grooms of the chamber, marshal, groom-ushers, almoner, cooks, chandler, butchers, master of the horse, yeomen of the wardrobe, and harbingers." Cardinal Pole, his successor, had a patent from Philip and Mary to retain one hundred servants, a fact which affords some idea of his hospitality and grandeur.
Of the hospitality of Archbishop Parker, Strype gives us the following account:—"In the daily eating this was the custom: the steward, with the servants that were gentlemen of the better rank, sat down at the tables in the hall at the right hand; and the almoner, with the clergy and the other servants, sat on the other side, where there was plenty of all sorts of provision, both for eating and drinking. The daily fragments thereof did suffice to fill the bellies of a great number of poor hungry people that waited at the gate; and so constant and unfailing was this provision at my lord's table, that whosoever came in, either at dinner or supper, being not above the degree of a knight, might there be entertained worthy of his quality, either at the steward's or at the almoner's table. And, moreover, it was the archbishop's command to his servants that all strangers should be received and treated with all manner of civility and respect, and that places at the table should be assigned them according to their dignity and quality, which redounded much to the praise and commendation of the archbishop. The discourse and conversation at meals was void of all brawls and loud talking, and for the most part consisted in framing men's manners to religion, or to some other honest and beseeming subject. There was a monitor in the hall; and if it happened that any spoke too loud, or concerning things less decent, it was presently hushed by one that cried 'Silence.' The archbishop loved hospitality, and no man showed it so much or with better order, though he himself was very abstemious."
The great hall is now used as a library. Ranged on each side along the walls are projecting bookcases, containing nearly 30,000 volumes, chiefly valuable for works relating to theology and ecclesiastical history and antiquities; these, however, are varied with old English poetry and romances, and topographical, heraldic, and genealogical works. A collection of books existed at an early period as an appendage to the archbishop's household; but the first reliable date of the foundation of the present library is 1610, in which year Archbishop Bancroft left by will "to his successors the Archbishops of Canterbury, for ever, a greate and famous library of bookes of divinity, and of many other sorts of learning," provided they bound themselves to the necessary assurances for the continuance of such books to the archbishops successively; otherwise, they were to be bequeathed to the "publique library of the University of Cambridge." Bancroft's successor—Archbishop Abbot (1611–33)—carried out these injunctions, and left his own books to the Lambeth library. But the civil war marked the crisis in the history of the collection, for when the Parliamentarians were about to seize on Lambeth Palace, the learned Selden, fearing the danger of total dispersion, suggested to the University of Cambridge their right to the books, in accordance with Bancroft's will, as above mentioned. Very few of Archbishop Laud's books are here, nearly all of them having been presented to the library of St. John's College, Oxford. To Cambridge the Lambeth books were transferred and preserved, until, at the Restoration, they were recalled by Archbishop Juxon (1660–3). That primate's death occurring before the books could be restored, it was left to his successor, Archbishop Sheldon, to see them replaced at Lambeth. This primate presented many books to the library; but not so his successor, Archbishop Sancroft, who, although he had many of the MSS. re-bound and preserved, yet on his resignation presented his collection to Emmanuel College, Cambridge, of which he had been master. From Archbishop Tillotson (1691–5) we hear of no bequests; but his successor, Archbishop Tenison, bequeathed a portion of his library to Lambeth, a part to St. Paul's Cathedral, and the remainder to the library which he had founded in St. Martin's-in-the-Fields. (fn. 1) From 1716 to 1757, when the see of Canterbury was filled by the primates Wake, Potter, Herring, and Hutton, few additions were made; but Archbishop Secker, who followed next in order, will be gratefully remembered in the library annals as having given all the books in his own library, which included also many interesting pamphlets, to the archiepiscopal collection. To Archbishop Cornwallis we are indebted for presenting and causing the extensive collection of tracts to be bound and arranged. The names of Archbishops Manners-Sutton (1805–28) and Howley (1828–48) are associated with large bequests of theological lore to the library.
The great hall was converted to its present use by Archbishop Howley in 1834, previously to which time the books were arranged in some galleries over the cloisters which were then standing. The bequests of successive primates are generally distinguished by their arms or initials on the outside cover of the books, while autographs and memoranda on the title-pages record noted names, and supply links of ownership. Among those autographs may be found the names of Cranmer; Foxe, the "martyrologist;" Tillotson; Tenison; Henry Wotton, the well-known writer on architecture; the more famous one of Charles I., attached to a "Life of Archbishop Laud;" and several of less note. It is in this way that the interest of the books is identified with much that is historical. An exhaustive catalogue of the library and art treasures in the palace, with a full description of its illuminated manuscripts and ancient chronicles, was published in 1873 by the Archbishop's librarian, Mr. S. W. Kershaw. Space does not admit of our entering at any great length into a description of the varied contents of this library; but we may state that among the ancient printed books is one of great rarity: this is "The Chronicles of Great Britain," and was printed by Caxton at Westminster in 1480. There are about five other works printed by Caxton in the library, although imperfect. The "Golden Legend," printed by the celebrated Wynkyn de Worde, also finds a place here; as also does the "Nuremberg Chronicle" (the library had two copies), and the fifteenth century MSS., known as the "St. Alban's Chronicle." Of illuminated MSS., there are about thirty examples of the various styles of art in this library; one of the most rare being the little MS. known as the "Gospels of Mac Durnan," written about the year 900, and presented by King Athelstan to the City of Canterbury. The school of English art is represented most notably in the copy of the New Testament, printed on vellum, known as the "Mazarine," from the fact of the first copy having been discovered in the library of that cardinal.
This Mazarine Bible, when complete, is of great rarity and value, and only four perfect vellum copies are known. Another interesting example of English art is a MS. known as the "Dictyes and Sayings of the Philosophers;" and in this illumination the author is represented as introducing a tonsured personage, who presents a copy of the work to King Edward IV., accompanied by his queen and their son, afterwards Edward V. Walpole, in his "Royal and Noble Authors," has given an engraving of this miniature, and it has also been engraved by Strutt.
There is in the library only one book which is known for certain to have belonged to Archbishop Parker, and that is a treatise entitled "De Antiquitate et Privilegiis Ecclesiæ Cantuarensis." The library contains, inter alia, an original impression of the scarce plan of London by Aggas, together with a series of prints of the archbishops of the see from the Reformation downwards, collected by Archbishop Cornwallis.
In 1875 a donation was made of theological books from the collection of the late Professor Selwyn, of Cambridge, one of the honorary curators of this library. This gift supplied many deficiencies in modern works.
Dr. Ducarel, who was the Archbishop's librarian, is recorded in "Walpoliana" as a "poor creature," and not very anxious to oblige those who wanted to consult the library. From some incidental hints given by Horace Walpole, it may be inferred that a century ago the Archiepiscopal Library was not very easily available to scholars and literary men.
One late librarian, Dr. Samuel Maitland, who died in 1866, deserves mention in these pages. Born about the year 1790, he graduated at Trinity College, Cambridge, and was for some time a barrister of the Inner Temple. He, however, applied himself to the study of church history, and entering into orders, became librarian and keeper of manuscripts here, under Archbishop Howley, who conferred on him the Lambeth degree of D.D., in recognition of his learning and long and able services, and on whose death, in 1848, he resigned his appointment. He was the author of many learned works, amongst which we may specify—"Two Inquiries into the Grounds on which the Prophetic Period of Daniel and St. John has been supposed to consist of 1,260 years;" "The Dark Ages: being a series of Essays, intended to illustrate the State of Religion and Literature in the Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Centuries;" "Essays on Subjects connected with the Reformation in England;" "Eruvin, or Miscellaneous Essays on subjects connected with the Nature, History, and Destiny of Man," &c. He was also the compiler of an "Index to such English books printed before the year 1600, as are in the Archiepiscopal Library at Lambeth."
The first complete catalogue of printed books which was formed on the plan of the Bodleian Catalogue, was drawn up by Dr. Gibson (afterwards Bishop of Lincoln), the editor of "Camden's Britannia," who was some time vicar of Lambeth, and also librarian here. This catalogue is deposited in the manuscript library. In 1718 it was fairly copied by Dr. Wilkins, in three folio volumes, and has been continued by his successors to the present time. In 1873–4 the whole of the books and manuscripts underwent a complete repair, by a special grant from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. It may be added that the archbishop allows the library to be open to students, and, indeed, to all respectable persons, on application, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday during the year, vacations excepted.
Before quitting the hall, we may remark that a stone on the building gives the date of the erection 1685; but a leaden pipe attached to the walls, running from the roof to the ground, to carry off rain-water, bears the date 1663. The pipe appears to be in a very good state of preservation; and a coat-of-arms, supposed to be that of Bishop Juxon, can be plainly observed on it. To account for the difference in date, it is supposed that the pipe belonged to an old building which stood on the site of the present structure.
A building of modern date, adjacent to the library, serves as the manuscript-room; it was put into thorough repair a few years ago, and rendered fire-proof. Here are preserved some 1,300 manuscripts of the highest interest, together with the records of the palace, which are kept in patent "Reliance" safes. Some of the documents date from a very early time, and one of them, it is alleged, bears the signature of Canute.
Among the "curiosities" of Lambeth Palace preserved in the manuscript-room is the habit of a priest, consisting of a stole, manuple, chasuble, cord, two bands marked P, and the corporal; also a crucifix of base metal, a string of beads, and a box of relics. Here also is kept the shell of a tortoise, believed to have lived in the palace gardens from the time of Laud (1633) to 1753, when it perished by the negligence of the gardener; the shell is ten inches in length, and six and a half inches in breadth.
From the south-east corner of the hall a flight of stairs leads up to the Guard-chamber; it is a large state room, fifty-six feet long by twenty-seven feet wide, and is so called from having formerly contained the armour and arms appropriated to the defence of the palace. By whom the arms kept for this purpose were originally purchased does not appear, but they seem to have regularly passed from one archbishop to another. The author of "Select Views of London" says: "Archbishop Parker gave them to his successors, provided they were accepted in lieu of dilapidations. They were undoubtedly purchased by his successor, and so on; for Archbishop Laud says that he bought the arms at Lambeth of his predecessor's executors. In the plundering of Lambeth House, in 1642, the arms—the quantity of which had been extremely exaggerated in order to increase the popular odium against Laud—were removed. They were, however, restored afterwards, or replaced with others; for some of the old muskets and bandoleers of an ancient make remained during Archbishop Potter's time in the burying-ground, the wall of which was pulled down by Archbishop Herring, and the arms disposed of elsewhere."
The guard-chamber is now used as a state diningroom. The principal feature which distinguishes the apartment at present is its venerable timber roof, which somewhat resembles that of the great hall, but is much less ornamented; the windows likewise are pointed, and of an ancient make. Over the door of this chamber is the date 1681, which shows that there were some reparations made to it in Archbishop Sancroft's time. The lower part of the walls of the apartment is covered with oak wainscoting, above which are hung half-length portraits of many of the archbishops, the most interesting of which, perhaps, are those of Laud, Cardinal Pole, Chicheley, Warham, and Arundel. To the list of archiepiscopal portraits have been lately added those of Archbishops Sumner and Longley; the latter, by Richmond, is hung in the drawing-room. A portrait of Archbishop Laud, and also an etching of his trial in Westminster Hall, are to be found among the etchings of Hollar.
Leaving this chamber, we pass on to the chapel through a narrow gallery, which contains numerous portraits of ecclesiastical dignitaries, a small portrait of Martin Luther on panel, and also a splendid engraving of Old London. Descending the stairs at the end of this gallery, we enter the vestibule of the chapel. This apartment is sometimes called the "post-room," probably from the fact of the ceiling being supported in the centre by a stout pillar. It is on record that the builder of this tower, Archbishop Chicheley, "found during his time the impossibility of punishing all heretics with death, therefore whipping and other severe and degrading punishments were consequently resorted to." This so-called post-room has been by some considered as expressly set apart for that purpose; the pillar serving for the purpose of securing the unfortunate heretics, confined in the room above, while undergoing the degrading punishment of the lash.
The chapel is considered by far the most ancient part of the palace, being probably part of Archbishop Boniface's original erection. It is in the earliest style of English pointed architecture, being lighted on the sides by triple lancet-shaped windows, and on the east by a window of five lights, set between massive and deep masonry. It consists of a body only, measuring seventy-two feet in length, twenty-five feet in breadth, and thirty feet in height; but it is divided into two parts by a handsome carved screen, which, curiously enough, is painted. Previous to the Civil Wars the windows were adorned with painted glass, put up by Archbishop Morton, representing the whole history of man from the creation to the day of judgment. The windows being divided into three parts, "the two side lights contained the types of the Old Testament, and the middle light the anti-type and verity of the New Testament." Archbishop Laud, on taking possession of the palace—to use his own words—found these windows "shameful to look on, all diversly patched like a poor beggar's coat," and he repaired them. "This laudable action of the prelate," writes Dr. Ducarel, in his "History of Lambeth," "which would now be justly esteemed a mark of good taste and liberality, formed in that narrow age of Puritanical bigotry the subject of a criminal charge, it being alleged against him on his trial, 'that he did repair the story of those windows by their like in the Mass Book;' but this he utterly denied, and affirmed that he and his secretary made out the story as well as they could by the remains that were unbroken. These beautiful windows were all defaced by our outrageous reformers in the last century, who, under pretence of abhorring idols, made no scruple of committing sacrilege." The roof of the chapel, which is flat and divided into compartments, is embellished with the arms of Archbishop Laud.
The interior of the chapel is fitted up with a range of pews or stalls on each side for the officers of the archbishop's household, with seats beneath for the inferior domestics. The altar-piece is of the Corinthian order, painted and gilded; and the floor is paved with black and white marble in lozenge-shaped slabs.
The only interment that appears to have taken
place here is that of Archbishop Parker, who died
in 1575. His body, by his request, was buried at
the upper end of this chapel, against the communiontable, on the south side, under a monument of his
own erecting, bearing a Latin inscription by his old
friend, Dr. Walter Haddon. The spot where
Parker's body now rests is marked by the following
words cut in the pavement immediately before the
"Corpus Matthæi Archiepiscopi Tandem Hic
In the western part of the chapel is a monument, with a long inscription to his memory, placed there by Archbishop Sancroft.
During the Civil Wars, in 1648, when Lambeth Palace was possessed by Colonel Scott, the chapel was turned into a hall or dancing-room, and the ancient monument of Parker's was destroyed. Nor was this all. We are further told that his body, by order of Matthew Harding, a Puritan, was dug up, stripped of its leaden covering (which was sold), and buried in a dunghill, where it remained till after the Restoration, when Sir William Dugdale, hearing of the matter accidentally, immediately repaired to Archbishop Sancroft, by whose diligence, aided by the House of Lords, the bones were found, and again buried in the chapel, in the spot above indicated.
Underneath the chapel is a spacious crypt, which probably dates from the middle of the thirteenth century. It consists of a series of substantial stone arches, supported by short massive columns. The roof, which is about ten feet from the ground, is finely groined.
Retracing our steps through the "post-room," we come to one of the most interesting portions of Lambeth Palace, namely, the building called the Lollards' Tower. It was erected by Archbishop Chicheley, in the early part of the fifteenth century, as a place of confinement for the unhappy heretics from whom it derives its name. The building is constructed chiefly of brick, and is embattled. Chicheley's arms are sculptured on the outer wall, on the Thames side; and beneath them is a Gothic niche, wherein at one time stood the image of St. Thomas à Becket. The prison in which the Lollards were confined is at the top of the tower, and is reached by a very narrow winding staircase. Its single doorway, which is so narrow as only to admit one person at a time, is strongly barricaded by both an outer and an inner door of oak, each three inches and a half thick, and thickly studded with iron. The dimensions of the apartment within are twelve feet in length by nine in width, and eight in height; and it is lighted by two windows, which are only twenty-eight inches high by fourteen inches wide on the inside, and about half as high and half as wide on the outside. Both the walls and roof of the chamber are lined with oaken planks an inch and a half thick; and eight large iron rings still remain fastened to the wood, the melancholy memorials of the victims who formerly pined in this dismal prison-house. Many names and fragments of sentences are rudely cut out on various parts of the walls.
In 1873 the Lollards' Tower, having fallen into a very dilapidated condition, was thoroughly repaired. The old roof was removed, the flooring renewed, the old side walls re-faced with new stone, every stone and brick ascertained to be faulty taken out and replaced with sound materials, and the whole structure restored. The tower for many years was used as a lumber-room, but since its restoration it has been occupied by the Bishop of Lichfield as a town house.
In addition to the apartments already mentioned,
there are the "Presence Chamber," the "Steward's
Parlour," and the rooms in the new buildings which
now serve as the residence of the archbishop. The
Presence Chamber is a fine ancient room, thirty
feet by nineteen. The precise time of the erection
of this part of the palace is not known. This room
is at present remarkable only for the stained glass
in the windows. Two of these contain portraits
of St. Jerome and St. Gregory, with the following
"Devout his life, his volumes learned be,
The sacred writt's interpreter was he;
And none the doctors of the Church amonge
Is found his equal in the Hebrew tonge."
On the second window:—
"More holy or more learned since his tyme
Was none that wore the triple diadem;
And by his paynefull studies he is one
Amonge the cheefest Latin fathers knowne."
The present buildings, used as the archiepiscopal residence, owe much of their unity and stateliness to Archbishop Howley (1828–48), who not only rebuilt the principal palace front on the south, but restored much of the older portions. The work was carried out under the direction of Mr. Blore; they were several years in progress, and the entire expense was little short of £60,000. The gardenfront of the palace is of Tudor character, and with its bays and enriched windows, battlements, gables, towers, and clustered chimney-shafts, is very picturesque.
The gardens and grounds, together with the palace, cover about sixteen acres of ground. "Here were formerly," as John Timbs informs us in his "Curiosities of London," "two fine white Marseilles fig-trees, traditionally planted by Cardinal Pole against that part of the palace which he founded: these trees," he continues, "were more than fifty feet in height and forty in breadth, their circumference twenty-eight and twenty-one inches. They were removed during the late rebuilding, but some cuttings from the trees are growing between the buttresses of the library." The terrace is named Clarendon Walk, from having been the scene of the conference between the great and wise Earl of Clarendon and the ill-fated Laud. It is with regret we add, that "Bishops' Walk," with its pleasant elm-trees, trodden by the feet of so many visitors, both lay and clerical, was swept away to make room for the Embankment in front of new St. Thomas's Hospital.
There is extant a curious etching, by Hollar, of the river-side at Lambeth, including Lambeth Palace, or Lambeth "House," as it was called. In other respects it was in his time much the same as now, except that a grove of trees stands where now rises St. Thomas's Hospital.
Of the "remarkable occurrences" which have taken place at the palace, space will only allow us to speak briefly. Archbishop Anselm ordained Sampson, Bishop-elect of Worcester, both deacon and priest, together with the Bishop of Hereford, in 1096, at Lambeth. In 1097, he ordained Hugh, Abbot of St. Austin, at Lambeth, in the chapel of the church of Rochester, where the archbishop then lodged. He likewise presided in 1100 at the council held at Lambeth which announced the legality of the intended marriage of Henry I. with Matilda, the daughter of Malcolm, King of Scotland.
Archbishops Ralph, Corboyl, Theobald, Richard, and Baldwin, were all consecrated at Lambeth; and though, as we have said, we have no account of Becket's being there, yet on the vacancy of the see of Canterbury by his death, the suffragan bishops, in pursuance of the order of Richard de Luci, assembled at that place, and, if not unanimously, they at least with one voice, made choice of Roger, Abbot of Bec, to be his successor; but he would not accept the trust.
In 1381, during the insurrection of Wat Tyler, the rebels not only beheaded Archbishop Sudbury, then Lord High Chancellor, but plundered this palace, and burnt most of the goods, books, and remembrances of Chancery. Sudbury's Register Book fortunately escaped destruction, and is still at Lambeth. The damages done by this lawless banditti were repaired in a great measure by Arundel and Chicheley; but much was left for their successors to do, as may be reasonably concluded from the sums of money expended by Morton and Warham.
In the account given of the convocation assembled by Archbishop Arundel in St. Paul's Cathedral, in June and July, 1408, it is related that after the session of July 26, the bishops, abbots, priors, chancellors of the two universities, doctors of divinity and laws, deans, archdeacons, "and other venerable persons eminent in every branch of literature, to a number not easily to be computed," were entertained with elegance, and with great profusion of viands, by the archbishop in his manor of Lambeth.
In 1446 Archbishop Stafford held at Lambeth a convocation of all the prelates resident in London, to deliberate about the payment of a tenth imposed by the Pope. The king's prohibition was offered as a plea for not agreeing to this demand. In 1481 the bull of Pope Innocent IV. against the rebellious subjects of Henry VII. was exhibited to Archbishop Morton "in a certain inner chamber within the manor of Lambeth."
In the year 1501, Katharine of Arragon, afterwards Queen of Henry VIII., on her first arrival in England, "was lodged with her ladies for some days at the archbishop's inne at Lambeth." It was afterwards honoured with the frequent presence of royalty. In 1513, during a visit, it is presumed, from Henry VIII. to Archbishop Warham at this palace, Charles Somerset was created Earl of Worcester.
In 1533, Archbishop Cranmer confirmed at Lambeth the marriage of Henry VIII. with Anne Boleyn; and three years afterwards the same prelate, "being judicially seated in a certain low chapel within his house at Lambeth," by a definitive sentence annulled the marriage between the same parties; the queen, in order to avoid the sentence of burning, having confessed to the archbishop some just and lawful impediments to her marriage with the king. A little before the latter event—namely, on the 13th of April, 1534—the commissioners sat at Lambeth to administer the oath of succession to the Crown, upon the heirs of the same Queen Anne, to the clergy, and chiefly those of London that had not yet sworn. On the same day were conveyed thither from the Tower Bishop Fisher and Sir Thomas More, the only layman at this meeting, to tender their oath to them; but both of them, as readers of history know, refused.
In 1537, the archbishops and bishops, by virtue of the royal commission, held various meetings at Lambeth Palace, to devise the "Godly and Pious Disposition of a Christian Man," usually styled, from the composers of it, "The Bishops' Book," but were obliged to separate on account of the plague then raging at Lambeth, and persons dying even at the palace gate.
Several circumstances respecting Cardinal Pole are noticed as having happened here by Strype, Burnet, and other authors. Queen Mary is said to have completely furnished Lambeth Palace for his reception at her own cost, and to have frequently honoured him with her company. "In 1554, on his arrival from the Continent, having presented himself at court, he went from thence in his barge to his palace at Lambeth; and here he soon afterwards summoned the bishops and inferior clergy, then assembled in convocation, to come to him to be absolved from all their prejudices, schisms, and heresies. The following month all the bishops went to Lambeth to receive the cardinal's blessing and directions."
"On the 21st of July, 1556," says Strype, "the queen removed from St. James's in the Fields into Eltham, passing through the park to Whitehall, and took her barge, crossing over to Lambeth unto my lord cardinal's palace; and there she took her chariot, and so rid through St. George's Fields to Newington, and so over the fields to Eltham, at five o'clock in the afternoon. She was attended on horseback by the cardinal, &c., and by a conflux of people to see her grace, above ten thousand." In the winter of the same year the queen removed from St. James's through the park, and took her barge to Lambeth, where she visited Cardinal Pole. After dinner she resumed her journey to Greenwich, where she kept her Christmas.
Queen Elizabeth was a frequent visitor here to Archbishop Parker; and the confidence she reposed in that prelate induced her to employ him in many affairs of great trust. On his first promotion to the archiepiscopal see, she committed to him in free custody the deprived Bishops Tunstal and Thirlby, Bishops of Durham and Ely respectively, whom, we are told, he entertained most kindly. Tunstal survived his confinement only about four months, and was buried in Lambeth Church; Thirlby, however, continued to be the archbishop's "guest" for upwards of ten years, and was buried near his brother bishop.
On one occasion when Queen Elizabeth visited Archbishop Parker—possibly during one of her "progresses"—the following circumstance is said to have occurred:—The queen was never reconciled to that part of the Reformation which allowed the marriage of ecclesiastics; and, unfortunately, Parker had not only written a treatise on the lawfulness of marriage, but had absolutely entered into the holy state prior to the repeal of the statute forbidding celibacy. The haughty Elizabeth, although elegantly entertained by the archbishop and his lady for several days, could not at her departure refrain from venting her resentment in the following rude manner. Addressing herself to Mrs. Parker, by way of taking leave, she said: "Madam, I may not call you; mistress, I am ashamed to call you; yet though I know not what to call you, I thank you."
In 1571, we read, the queen "took an airing in St. George's Fields," previous to which she had an interview with the archbishop at Lambeth Bridge. It appears, according to Strype's "Life of Parker," that the prelate had in some degree, about this time, fallen under the queen's displeasure by speaking freely to her concerning his office. The archbishop relates this incident in a letter to Lady Bacon:—"I will not," he writes, "be abashed to say to my prince that I think in conscience in answering to my charging. As this other day I was well chidden at my prince's hand; but with one ear I heard her hard words, and with the other, and in my conscience and heart, I heard God. And yet, her highness being never so much incensed to be offended with me, the next day coming on Lambeth Bridge into the fields, she gave me her very good looks, and spake secretly in mine ear, that she must needs continue mine authority before the people to the credit of my service. Whereat, divers of my arches then being with me peradventure mervailed; where peradventure somebody would have looked over the shoulders, and slily slipt away, to have abashed me before the world."
Grindall, Parker's successor in the archbishopric, soon fell under the queen's displeasure, and it does not appear that she ever honoured him with a visit. Archbishop Whitgift, however, seems to have been more fortunate, for it is reported that Elizabeth was entertained by him no less than fifteen different times, and that she frequently stayed here for two or three days together. James I. was likewise an occasional visitor of Whitgift; and the last occasion was on the 28th of February, 1604, when the prelate lay on his death-bed. It was during the primacy of Whitgift that an important event occurred at Lambeth Palace which has linked its history more closely than anything else with that of the Established Church. This was none other than the Conference where the famous "Lambeth Articles" were propounded for the signature of the clergy. Macaulay mentions these articles thus:—"A class of questions, as to which the founders of the Anglican Church and the first generation of Puritans had differed little or not at all, now began to furnish matter for fierce disputes. The controversies which had divided the Protestant body in its infancy had related almost exclusively to Church government and to ceremonies. There had been no serious quarrel between the contending parties on points of metaphysical theology. The doctrines held by the chiefs of the party touching original sin, faith, grace, predestination and election, were those which are popularly called Calvinistic. Towards the close of Elizabeth's reign, her favourite prelate, Archbishop Whitgift, in concert with the Bishop of London and other theologians, drew up the celebrated instrument known by the name of the 'Lambeth Articles.' In that instrument the most startling of the Calvinistic doctrines are affirmed with a distinctness which would shock many who, in our age, are reputed Calvinists. One clergyman, who took the opposite side and spoke harshly of Calvin, was arraigned for his presumption by the University of Cambridge, and escaped punishment only by expressing his firm belief in the tenets of reprobation and final perseverance, and his sorrow for the offence which he had given to pious men by reflecting on the great French Reformer." The precious document itself, which is thus connected in name with Lambeth, may be read in extenso in Southey's or any other "History of the English Church," and so we may be spared the necessity of quoting it here; we may, however, merely add that the "Lambeth Articles" were nine in number, and ultra-Calvinistic in their character. They were drawn up by Dr. Whitaker, Master of St. John's College, Cambridge, and Regius Professor of Divinity in that University, at the request of Archbishop Whitgift, who sought to impose them on the clergy of the Established Church. They were rigidly suppressed, however, by order of Queen Elizabeth; and so strictly were her injunctions executed, that for many years a printed copy of them was not to be obtained "for love or money." They were brought forward, some ten years later, at the Hampton Court Conference, but only to be rejected. The Irish Protestant Church, however, adopted them in 1615.
Archbishop Abbot, who was appointed to the see of Canterbury in 1611, was accused by the Duke of Buckingham of living at too costly a rate for an archbishop, and of entertaining people who were not well affected to the king and his court. On this occasion he replied to Secretary Conway: "When King James gave me the archbishopric, he charged me that I should carry my house nobly, and live like an archbishop, which I promised him that I would do; and all that came to my house of the civil sort I gave them friendly entertainment, not sifting what exceptions the duke made against them. . . . But I meddled with no man's quarrels; and if I should have received none but such as cordially and in truth loved him, I might many times have gone to my dinner without company."
Apropos of the banquets in the great hall, we may state that Mr. Fenton, a distinguished chef de cuisine under one of the archbishops during the present century, left to his family a valuable legacy—the recipe for "Fenton's Canterbury Sauce." His grace was not a gourmand, but he liked a good dinner, and knew both a good dinner and a good cook when he had got one.
Although the dinners in the great hall have ceased to take place, and the fragments, therefore, are no longer given to the poor as of old, a substitute for the latter custom is still in practice, in the shape of the archbishop's bounty or "dole," which has been dispensed before the principal entrance of the palace every week down to the present time: it consists of money, bread, and provisions, which are given to thirty poor parishioners of Lambeth, ten receiving it in turn on different days.
Going back again to the early part of the seventeenth century, we must speak of Laud, who was translated to the archbishopric from the see of London on the death of Abbot in 1633. This prelate unfortunately lived in troublous times; and Evelyn records, in his "Diary," under date April 27, 1641—apparently as an eye-witness—the fact of "the Bishop of Canterbury's palace at Lambeth being assaulted by a rude rabble from Southwark." A few days later the palace was again attacked by a London mob. As we learn from the "Comprehensive History of England," "Laud's friend, Pierce, the Bishop of Bath and Wells, had called the Scottish war of 1640–41 'bellum Episcopale' (a war for Episcopacy), and such the English people were disposed to consider it. During the sitting of the convocation, a libel or paper was posted up at the Royal Exchange, inviting the London apprentices, who were rather prone to mischief, to rise and sack the archiepiscopal palace of Lambeth. The invitation was accepted, and on the night of the 11th of May, a mob, consisting almost entirely of apprentices and youths, fell upon the said palace. But Laud had had time to fortify and garrison his residence; the rioters were not very numerous, and he 'had no harm.' Laud, in noting the occurrence in his 'Diary,' says: 'May 11. Monday night, at midnight, my house at Lambeth was beset with 500 persons of the rascal riotous multitude. I had notice, and strengthened the house as well as I could, and, God be blessed, I had no harm.' Clarendon represents the mob to have been much greater, for he tells us that 'the rabble of mean, unknown, dissolute persons amounted to the number of some thousands.' Since then,' adds Laud, 'I have got cannon, and fortified my house, and hope all may be safe; but yet libels are constantly set up in all places of note in the city.'" Ten days afterwards Laud made the following entry in his "Diary:"—"One of the chief being taken, was condemned at Southwark on Thursday, and hanged and quartered on Saturday morning following." The victim, it appears, was quite a youth, and the horrid punishment of treason was awarded to him by the court lawyers because there happened to be a drum in the mob, and the marching to beat of drum was held to be a levying of war against the king. Clarendon says that "this infamous, scandalous, headless insurrection, quashed with the deserved death of that one varlet, was not thought to be contrived or fomented by any persons of quality."
In their accusations against Archbishop Laud, the Puritan House of Commons charged him with setting up and repairing Popish images and pictures in the window of his chapel in Lambeth Palace. The archbishop, in his defence, urged that the Homilies of the Reformed and Established Church allowed the historical use of images, and that Calvin himself permitted them in that sense; and that the Primitive Christians approved of, and had in their houses, pictures of Christ himself.
Laud was beheaded by the Parliamentarians in January, 1644, and his body was interred in the church of Allhallows, Barking, near Tower Hill. After this event the see of Canterbury was vacant nearly seventeen years, during which period, as we have shown above, Lambeth Palace was nearly demolished.
From Evelyn's "Diary," under date of August 31, 1663, we glean the following particulars concerning the ceremony attending the translation of Dr. Sheldon to the archbishopric:—"I was invited," Evelyn writes, "to the Translation of Dr. Sheldon, Bishop of London, from that see to Canterbury, the ceremonie performed at Lambeth. First went his grace's mace-bearer, steward, treasurer, comptroller, all in their gownes, and with white staves; next the Bishops in their habites, eight in number; Dr. Sweate, Deane of the Arches; Dr. Exton, Judge of the Admiralty; Sir William Merick, Judge of the Prerogative Court, with divers Advocates in scarlet. After divine service in the chapel, perform'd with musiq extraordinary, Dr. French and Dr. Stradling (his grace's chaplaines) saied prayers. The Archbishop in a private roome looking into the Chapel, the Bishops who were Commissioners went up to a table plac'd before the altar, and sat round it in chaires. Then Dr. Chaworth presented the commission under the broad seale to the Bishop of Winchester, and it was read by Dr. Sweate. After which the Vicargeneral went to the vestry, and brought his grace into the chapell, his other officers marching before. He being presented to the Commissioners, was seated in a greate arm chaire at one end of the table, when the definitive sentence was read by the Bishop of Winchester, and subscribed by all the Bishops, and proclamation was three times made at the Chapell dore, which was then set open for any to enter and give their exceptions, if any they had. This don, we all went to dinner in the greate hall to a mighty feast. There were present all the nobility in towne, the Lord Maior of London, Sheriffs, Duke of Albemarle, &c. My Lo. Archbishop did in particular most civily welcome me. So going to visite my Lady Needham, who liv'd at Lambeth, I went over to London."
"During the great Plague in 1665," writes Miss Priscilla Wakefield, "the piety of the Christian and the magnanimity of the hero were displayed by Archbishop Sheldon. He continued in his palace at Lambeth whilst the contagion lasted, preserving, by his charities, multitudes who were sinking under disease and want; and, by his pastoral exertions, procured benevolences to a vast amount."
When Archbishop Sancroft was deprived, in 1690, he left behind him his nephew, who, refusing to give up peaceable possession, was "dispossessed" by the sheriff and imprisoned, whilst Tillotson was installed in the palace. Evelyn, who narrates this fact in his "Diary," also tells us how he "Din'd at Lambeth with the new Archbishop, and saw the effects of my green-house furnace set up by my son-in-law." Here, in successive meetings of the Commissioners, was settled the plan of Chelsea College, the project of Charles II., as already mentioned. (fn. 2) Among the Commissioners were Sir Christopher Wren, Sir Stephen Fox, and John Evelyn, whose "Diary" records their proceedings from time to time.
Queen Mary II. paid a visit here to Archbishop Tillotson in 1694, as appears from an entry in the churchwardens' accounts of "five shillings paid to the ringers" on that occasion. This was only a few weeks before the archbishop's death. In the preceding year the archbishop had called an assembly of the bishops at Lambeth Palace, when they agreed to several regulations, which were at first designed to be enforced by their own authority; but upon more mature consideration it was judged requisite that they should appear under that of their Majesties in the form of royal injunctions. The queen was at different times consulted by the archbishop concerning this business, and it is not unlikely that it was the subject of their conversation on the occasion of the visit above mentioned.
Both of Dr. Tillotson's successors, Archbishops Tenison and Wake, lived and died here, and the former was buried in the parish church close by the palace. Dr. Wake was the author of "The Church of England and its Convocations," and several other theological works; he was celebrated especially for his controversy with Bossuet, and his project of union between the English and Gallican Churches.
The palace very narrowly escaped destruction during the Gordon Riots in 1780. The first alarm was given on Tuesday, June 6th, when a party, to the number of 500 or more, who had previously assembled in St. George's Fields, came to the palace with drums and fifes, and colours flying, crying, "No Popery!" Finding the gates shut, after knocking several times without obtaining any answer, they called out that they should return in the evening, and paraded round the palace all that day. Upon this alarm, it was thought necessary to apply to the Secretary at War for a party of soldiers for the security of the palace; accordingly, a party of the Guards, to the amount of one hundred men, commanded by Colonel Deacon, arrived about two o'clock that afternoon, when sentinels were immediately placed upon the towers of the palace and at every convenient avenue. The mob still paraded round the house, and continued so to do for several days, notwithstanding the number of the soldiers. In this alarming situation, Archbishop Cornwallis, with his wife and family, were with great difficulty prevailed upon to quit the palace, whither they did not return till the disturbances were entirely ended. The military remained at Lambeth for upwards of two months, during which period there were from 200 to 300 men quartered in the palace.
A good story is told of Archbishop MannersSutton (1805–28) by the Honourable Miss Amelia Murray, in her "Recollections." "It happened once that Lord Eldon and the Archbishop dined with the King (George III.), and the former became rather communicative and merry over his port. At last he said, 'It is a curious fact, sir, that your Majesty's Archbishop and your Lord Chancellor both married their wives clandestinely! I had some excuse, certainly, for Bessie Surtees was the prettiest girl in all Newcastle; but Mrs. Sutton was always the same pumpkin-faced thing that she is at present.' The king was much amused;" as, indeed, he well might be.
Coming down to more recent times, we find Lambeth Palace used for the holding of meetings of prelates of the Reformed Anglican Church at home and in the colonies. The first of these meetings—called the Pan-Anglican Synod—was held here, under Archbishop Longley, in the autumn of 1867. It was attended by upwards of seventy bishops, from England, Ireland, the colonies, and America; but beyond the issuing of an address, couched in very general terms, nothing definite seems to have resulted from this great ecclesiastical gathering.
In 1876 the great hall, or public library, was used as the Arches Court of Canterbury, for the trial of cases brought before the Dean of the Court of Arches under the "Public Worship Regulation Act." The west end of the apartment was fitted up as a court for the accommodation of the bar, the reporters, witnesses, &c., and the east end was barriered off for the general public. The judge, Lord Penzance, occupied the archbishop's chair. The first two cases tried here were those of the Rev. Charles J. Ridsdale, of St. Peter's, Folkestone, and the Rev. Arthur Tooth, vicar of St. James's, Hatcham, for ritualistic proceedings in their respective churches.
There are still one or two items of interest concerning Lambeth Palace which we must not omit to mention. Here, for instance, every year during the month of December, the officials of the Stationers' Company still wait formally upon the archbishop in order to present him with copies of certain almanacks which they have the privilege of publishing, and which were formerly not allowed to be issued except with the sanction of the Established Church. The officials and their servants were in former times entertained by the archbishop, on the occasion of these visits, with a copious supply of cakes and ale. This curious custom had a somewhat singular origin, which is now not generally known, or, more probably, is now "generally forgotten," though recorded by Sylvanus Urban in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1800:—"On the annual aquatic procession of the Lord Mayor of London to Westminster, the barge of the Company of Stationers, which is usually the first in the show, proceeds to Lambeth Palace, where from time immemorial they (the Stationers) receive a present of sixteen bottles of the archbishop's prime wine. This custom originated at the beginning of the last century. When Archbishop Tenison enjoyed the see, a very near relative of his, who happened to be Master of the Stationers' Company, thought it a compliment to call there in full state and in his barge, when the archbishop, being informed that the number of the company on the barge was thirty-two, thought that a pint of wine for each would not be disagreeable, and ordered, at the same time, bread and cheese and ale to be given to the watermen and attendants; from this accidental circumstance it has grown into a settled custom. The Company, in return, present to the archbishop a copy of the several almanacks which they have the privilege of publishing."
Of course, since aquatic processions on the Thames have been discontinued, the barge of the Stationers' Company no longer performs the journey to Lambeth Palace; but the present of the almanacks is still made to the archbishop, although somewhat nearer the end of the year; the honorarium of "cakes and ale" for the bearer, however, seems to be forgotten.
The Archbishops of Canterbury used formerly to keep their own barge, in which they crossed the Thames to the House of Lords or to Whitehall Palace. Their favourite landing-place on the opposite side of the water was Whitehall Stairs, the picturesque gateway of which, represented on page 444, was standing till the present century.
Degrees are occasionally conferred at Lambeth on individuals who have risen to eminence among the English clergy, though they have not graduated in early life at one of the great universities. They are, however, a legacy from times anterior to the Reformation, when the Archbishop of Canterbury had the recognised right of conferring them, as being the permanent legate for the Pope of Rome. The privilege was specially confirmed to the see of Canterbury by that self-elected Pope, Henry VIII., in April, 1534, and it is still occasionally exercised by the archbishop.
The parish church of St. Mary, Lambeth, is situate near the water-side, and adjoins the palace. The whole of the building, with the exception of the tower, was pulled down and rebuilt in 1851. "Sufficient of the original fabric of the church," writes Mr. Tanswell, in his "History of Lambeth," "has been preserved to enable us to assign the latter end of the fourteenth century as the date of its foundation. The later character of the details of the chapels on the north and south sides of the chancel lead to the conclusion that the church, when first erected, consisted of a nave, chancel, and tower only, and that these chapels, which are the property of the Howard and Leigh families respectively, were added at a subsequent period."
Mr. W. Newton, the author of "London in the Olden Time," says that the antiquity of the existing church is not known, and that it was "originally a Gothic structure, a portion of which is supposed to date from about the end of the fifteenth century." This, however, is scarcely the case, for in the Bishops' Registers at Winchester is a commission against such of the inhabitants of Lambeth as refuse to contribute to the rebuilding and repairs of the church, dated 1374. Three years afterwards there was another commission to compel the inhabitants to build a tower for their church, "then newly built," and to furnish it with bells. Mr. Newton adds: "The building has been much altered from its original state, and is now (1855) rather a heterogeneous combination of various styles of architecture, likely to afford but little interest to the architectural student." From this statement, however, we venture to disagree.
In January, 1851, the work of restoration was commenced, according to the plans and under the direction of Mr. Philip Hardwick, and it was completed in little more than a year. Care was taken that the outline of the original foundations should be preserved, and that, wherever possible, the ancient detail should be reproduced. The church, as it now appears, consists of a nave, north and south aisles, and porch, chancel, and chapels; the fine western tower remaining without alteration. The arcades in the nave have been carefully restored, and the walling above them has been carried up to the original height and pierced with clerestory lights, the whole being surmounted by an open timber roof, divided into seven bays by arched trusses, resting on the ancient corbels. The chancel is divided from the nave, and the Howard and Leigh Chapels from the chancel, by three lofty arches. The large east window, of five lights, with the upper part filled with foliated tracery, is furnished with stained glass, and is inscribed to the memory of Archbishop Howley. The west end of the church is lighted by a large circular window filled with geometrical tracery, and the organ is placed immediately beneath it. There are extensive galleries on both sides of the church, and also at the west end. The flooring is closely and uniformly paved, and most of the walls are wainscoted.
In the old building, on the wall over the entrance to the chancel, were placed the royal arms as borne by Queen Anne, with the figures of Fame and Devotion, the one sounding a trumpet and the other holding a flaming heart. These were afterwards placed at the west end of the north gallery. At the restoration of the church, the old altar-piece, which displayed a painting of Moses and Aaron supporting the tables of the Law, was removed, and is now placed against the wall of the north gallery. The present altar-piece is of carved oak, enriched with gilding and arabesque painting.
The east end of the old north aisle was called Howard's Chapel, from its having been built, in 1552, by Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk (many of whose family are here interred); and that of the south aisle, Leigh's Chapel, built in the same year by Sir John Leigh (son of Ralph Leigh, lord of the manor of Stockwell), who, with his lady, lies buried here. At the bottom of the middle compartment of the south-east window, painted on a pane twentyfour inches by sixteen, was the picture of the pedlar and his dog, of which we have spoken in a previous chapter. (fn. 3) At what time this memorial was first put up there is no mention, but such a portrait certainly existed in 1608, there being in the churchwardens' accounts of that year an entry of "two shillings, paid to the glazier for a panel of glass for the window where the picture of the Pedlar stands." In 1703 a "new glass Pedlar" was put up, at the expense of two pounds; but this was removed from where it was then placed, in the year 1816 (when the church was repaired and "beautified"), to the window above mentioned, which was much more conspicuous.
The churchwardens' books contain some interesting and curious items concerning the old church. It appears that it contained, in preReformation times, no less than five altars: they were dedicated respectively to the Blessed Virgin, to St. Thomas, to St. George, to St. Nicholas, and to St. Christopher. Then there are the "accounts of Wardens of the Brethren of Sent Crystover, kept within the church of Lambeth in the time of Henry VIII.," from which it appears that the stipend paid to Sir William Webster, the priest, "for one year and one quarter," amounted to the sum of £8 6s. 8d. In the reign of Queen Mary is a charge for replacing an altar in the Norfolk Chapel, on the revival of the old religion: "1557. Paid to Nicholas Brymsted, for making up the syde awtor in my Lady of Norfolke's Chapel, and paving in the churche, and for sande, 4s. 2d." This chapel, it appears, was consecrated in 1522, for in the churchwardens' accounts for that year are the following entries:—"Payd for candyls when the chapel was hallowed, 2d." "To my lady's grace for cloth for the ambys, £1." Under date of 1567 the following entry occurs:—"Payd for mending a piece of glasse in the crucifixe in the Dewk's (Duke's) Chapel, 1s. 4d."
The ancient pulpit must have been a curiosity in its way; for by the above-mentioned accounts it appears that in 1522 a new pulpit was erected in this church, at a cost of twenty shillings, and the old one was valued at eightpence only. The new pulpit continued in use till the year 1615, when Archbishop Abbot gave another at a cost of £15. It was placed against the south-east pillar of the nave, and was furnished, after the Puritan fashion of that time, with a hour-glass, of which, however, there are no remains, though it is mentioned twice in the churchwardens' accounts. The pulpit and reading-desk were subsequently removed to another position at the entrance from the chancel to the nave.
The parish registers begin with the year 1539.
In the churchwardens' accounts are the following
entries respecting them:—
"1566. Payd for paper ryall, for the christenynge
Payd Matthew Allen, by consente of the hole
parishe, for new writing of the olde boke of
baptisme, marriage, and burial, 6s. 8d.
"1574. For ii quere of paper to make a boke, 8d.
"1593. Payd to the curat for writinge our boke of
christenings, weddings, and burials, 2s."
During the Commonwealth the banns of marriage
were often published in towns upon market-days,
and the marriage ceremony was performed by a
civil magistrate. In the Lambeth registers is an
entry of, at all events, one such marriage:—
"1653, Nov. 7. Mark Perkins and Margaret Payne,
married by Thomas Cooper, Justice of the Peace."
Lambeth has numbered among its rectors many men who have risen to eminence, of whom we may mention Dr. Hooper, afterwards Bishop of St. Asaph, and subsequently Bishop of Bath and Wells: he was the author of several works in defence of the Church of England. Dr. Gibson, the editor of "Camden's Britannia," and author of the "Codex Juris Ecclesiastici;" he resigned the rectory on being raised to the bishopric of Lichfield. Dr. B. Porteus, afterwards Bishop, in succession, of Chester and of London. His successor, Dr. Vyse, rector of the parish during the latter part of the last century, was the son of a clergyman at Lichfield, the contemporary and friend of Dr. Johnson. To him Dr. Johnson addressed two letters, printed in "Boswell," soliciting him to ask the Archbishop of Canterbury to present to the Charterhouse Hospital a nephew of the learned Grotius.
The church contains some interesting monuments, including those to the memory of several of the archbishops, but they were, of course, shifted from the positions which they originally occupied when the rebuilding of the fabric took place in the year 1851.
Here repose the bones of the brave old primate Bancroft, of the meek Secker, and of the learned Tenison, who successively sat in the archiepiscopal chair. Archbishops Cornwallis and Hutton, too, are likewise interred here, as also are Bishops Thirlby and Tunstall. The body of Thirlby was accidentally discovered when Archbishop Cornwallis was buried in 1783. The body, which was wrapped in fine linen, was moist, and had evidently been preserved in some species of pickle, which still retained a volatile smell, not unlike that of hartshorn; the face was perfect, and the limbs flexible; the beard of a remarkable length, and beautifully white. The linen and woollen garments were all well preserved. The cap, which was of silk, adorned with point lace, was in fashion like that represented in the pictures of Archbishop Juxon. A slouched hat, with strings fastened to it, was under the left arm. There was also a cassock, so fastened as to appear like an apron with strings, and several small pieces of the bishop's garments, which had the appearance of a pilgrim's habit.
Besides the above-mentioned, here, or in the churchyard, rest the bodies of Dollond, the noted maker of telescopes, and founder of the well-known firm in St. Paul's Churchyard; Madame Storace, the vocalist; and Moore, the author of the tragedy of the "Gamester." Here, too, sleep in peace Ashmole, the antiquary, and the Tradescants, whose united collections of natural history formed the nucleus of the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford. Of the Tradescants we have spoken at some length in our account of their house at South Lambeth. (fn. 4) In 1662, a table monument of free-stone was erected here by the widow of John Tradescant the younger, covered on each of its four sides with sculptures: at each corner is the representation of a large tree, seeming to support the slab; at one end is a hydra picking at a bare skull; on the other are the arms of the family. On one side of the tomb are ruins, Grecian pillars and capitals, an obelisk and pyramid; and on the opposite a crocodile, shells, &c., and a view of some Egyptian buildings. Having become very much dilapidated, this monument was repaired in 1773; but having again become almost illegible, it was entirely repaired by subscription, in 1853, in accordance with the original form and design. The tomb, which is raised on a granite plinth, has upon it the following inscription:—
"John Tradescant, died A.D. MDCXXXVIII. Jane
Tradescant, his wife, died A.D. MDCXXXIV. John
Tradescant, his son, died 25th April, A.D. MDCLXII.
John Tradescant, his grandson, died 11th September,
A.D. MDCLII. Hester, wife of John Tradescant the
younger, died 6th of April, A.D. MDCLXXVIII.
"Know, Stranger, ere thou pass, beneath this stone
Lye John Tradescant, Grandsire, Father, and Son.
The last died in his Spring; the other two
Lived till they had travell'd Art and Nature through,
As by their choice Collections may appear,
Of what is rare in land, in sea, in air;
Whilst they (as Homer's Iliad in a nut)
A world of wonders in one closet shut.
These famous antiquarians that had been
Both gardeners to the rose and lily queen,
Transplanted now themselves, sleep here; and when
Angels shall with their trumpets waken men,
And fire shall purge the world, these hence shall rise,
And change this garden for a Paradise.
"This tomb, originally erected on this spot in year 1662,
By Hester, relict of John Tradescant the Younger,
Being in a state of decay,
Was repaired by Subscription in the year 1773.
"After lapse of nearly two centuries since its erection,
It was entirely restored by Subscription in the year 1853."
The fund for the restoration of this tomb—about £100—was raised under the direction of the late Sir William Hooker, the distinguished botanist and curator of Kew Gardens; Sir Charles G. Young, Garter King-at-Arms; the Rev. C. B. Dalton, Rector of Lambeth, &c. It was an old debt to the memories of these first of English gardeners and naturalists; men who did so much to minister to "the inclinations of kings and the choice of philosophers."
Dr. Ducarel, in his "History of Lambeth," tells us that a beacon was formerly placed on the top of the tower of this church; and in Hollar's view of the palace, engraved in 1647, and also in his view of London from Lambeth, it is plainly shown. The beacon also appears in the view of Lambeth from the Thames in "Nichols' History," and in a view taken by a Florentine artist in the suite of Cosmo, Duke of Tuscany, in 1669. There are no remains of it in existence now.
Readers of English history will not have forgotten that it was under the shelter of the old church tower, on a wet and dreary night in December, 1688, that Mary of Modena, having crossed the river from the Horseferry in a tiny boat, sat crouching, with her infant son in her arms, till the companions of her flight could find the coach that should convey her safely to Gravesend. Miss A. Strickland draws a touching picture of the scene. "On that spot, which has been rendered a site of historic interest by this affecting incident, the beautiful and unfortunate consort of the last of our Stuart kings remained sitting, with her infant son fondly clasped to her bosom . . . Mary Beatrice looked back with streaming eyes towards the royal home where her beloved consort remained, lonely and surrounded with perils, and vainly endeavoured to trace out the lights of Whitehall among those that were reflected from the opposite shore along the dark rolling river." It is a satisfaction to know that her patience was rewarded, and that she and her child made their escape to France from this country.