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sometimes proveth as much as all the rest. Ask a countryman here on the highway, how far it is to such a town, and they commonly return, “So many miles and a way-bit;" which way-bit is enough to make the weary traveller surfeit of the length thereof. If such over-measure be allowed to all yards, bushels, &c. in this shire, the poor therein have no cause to complain of their pennyworths, in buying any commodities.
But hitherto we have run along with common report and false-spelling (the way not to win the race), and now return to the starting-place again. It is not way-bit, though generally so pronounced, but wee-bit, a pure Yorkshireism, which is a small bit in the northern language.
“Merry Wakefield."] What peculiar cause of mirth this town has above others I do not know, and dare not too curiously inquire, lest I turn their mirth among themselves into anger against me. Sure it is, it is seated in a fruitful soil and cheap country; and where good cheer and company are the premises, mirth in common consequence will be the conclusion; which, if it doth not trespass in time, cause, and measure, Heraclitus, the sad philosopher, may perchance condemn; but Saint Hilary, the good father, will surely allow.
PRINCES. Henry, youngest son to William duke of Normandy, but eldest to king William the Conqueror (by whom he was begotten after he was crowned king), on which politic criticism he claimed and gained the crown from duke Robert his eldest brother, was, anno Domini 1070, born at Selby in this county: If any ask what made his mother travel so far north from London? know, it was to enjoy her husband's company; who, to prevent insurrections, and settle peace, resided many months in these parts ; besides his peculiar affection to Selby, where after he founded a mitred abbey,
This Henry was bred (say some) in Paris; say others in Cambridge,* and I may safely say in both ; wherein he so profited, that he attained the surname of Beauclerk. His learning may be presumed a great advantage to his long and prosperous reign for thirty-five years and upwards, wherein he remitted the Norman rigour, and restored to his subjects a great part of the English laws and liberties.
Indeed his princely virtues, being profitable to all, did with their lustre so dazzle the eyes of his subjects, that they did not see his personal vices, as chiefly prejudicial to himself. For he was very wanton, as appeareth by his numerous natural issue, no fewer than fourteen,t all by him publicly owned; the males highly advanced, the females richly married, which is justly
• Tho. Rudburn, Leland, Fabian, Bale, and Pits, p. 203. † Speed's Chronicle, p. 453.
reported to his praise, it being lust to beget, but love to bestow them. His sobriety otherwise was admirable, whose temperance was of proof against any meat objected to his appetite; lampreys alone excepted, on a surfeit whereof he died, anno Domini 1135. He had only two children, William dying before, and Maud surviving him, both born in Normandy, and therefore omitted in our catalogue.
THOMAS, fifth son of king Edward the First, and the first that he had by Margaret his second wife, was born at (and surnamed from) Brotherton, a small village in this county, June 1, anno Domini 1300. He was created earl of Norfolk and earl-marshal of England. He left no male issue; but from his females, the Mowbrays dukes of Norfolk, and from them the earls of Arundel and lords Berkeley, are descended.
RICHARD PLANTAGENET, duke of York, commonly is called Richard of Conisborough, from the castle in this shire of his nativity.* The reader will not grudge him a place amongst our princes, if considering him fixed in his generation betwixt an antiperistasis of royal extraction; being son to a son of a king, Edmund of Langley duke of York, fifth son to king Edward III.; father to the father of a king, Richard duke of York, father to king Edward IV.
Besides, he had married Anne daughter and sole heir to Edward Mortimer, the true inheritrix of the crown. But, tampering too soon and too openly, to derive the crown in his wife's right to himself, by practising the death of the present king, he was taken, and beheaded for treason, in the reign of king Henry the Fifth.
EDWARD, sole son to king Richard the Third and Anne his queen, was born in the castle of Middleham, near Richmond, in this county ;t and was by his father created prince of Wales :a prince, who himself was a child of as much hopes as his father a man of hatred. But he consumed away of a sudden, dying within a month of his mother; king Richard little lamenting the loss of either, and presently projecting to repair himself by a new marriage.
The untimely death of this prince (in respect to the term to which, by natural possibility, he might have attained) in his innocent age, is generally beheld as a punishment on him for the faults of his father. The tongue forswears; the ears are cut off; the hand steals, the feet are stocked, and that justly, because both consisting of the same body. And because proles et pars parentis, it is agreeable with divine justice, to inflict on children temporal judgments for defaults of their parents.
* Near to Rotherham.
† Speed's Chronicle, p. 733,
Yet this judgment was a mercy to this prince, that he might not behold the miserable end of his father. Let me add, and a mercy also to all England; for, had he survived to a man's estate, he might possibly have proved a wall of partition, to hinder the happy union of the two houses of York and Lancaster.
SAINTS. Hilda was daughter unto prince Hererick, nephew to Edwin king of Northumberland ; and may justly be counted our English Huldah, not so much for sameness of sex, and namesounding similitude, as more concerning conformities. Huldah lived in a college ;* Hilda in a convent at Strenshalt in this county. Huldah was the oracle of those times, as Hilda of her age, being a kind of a moderatresse in a Saxon synod + (or conference rather) called to compromise the controversy about the celebration of Easter. I behold her as the most learned English female before the Conquest, and may call her the SheGamaliel, at whose feet many learned men had their education. She ended her holy life with a happy death, about the year of our Lord 680.
Benedict Biscop was born, saith Pits, amongst the East Saxons; saith Hierome Porter | in Yorkshire, whom I rather believe; first, because, writing his life ex professo, he was more concerned to be curious therein ; secondly, because this Benedict had much familiarity with, and favour from, Oswy king of Northumberland, in whose dominions he fixed himself, building two monasteries, the one at the influx of the river Were, the other at the river Tyne, into the sea, and stocking them in his life-time with 600 Benedictine monks.
He made five voyages to Rome, and always returned full fraught with relics, pictures, and ceremonies.
In the former is driven on as great a trade of cheating, as in any earthly commodity; insomuch that I admire to meet with this passage in a Jesuit, and admire more that he met not with the Inquisition for writing it. “Addam, nonnumquam in templis, reliquias dubias, profana corpora pro sanctorum (qui cum Christo in cælo regnant) exuviis sacris fuisse proposita.'
He left religion in England, braver, but not better, than he found it. Indeed, what Tully said of the Roman lady, “ That she danced better than became a modest woman," was true of God's service as by him adorned, the gaudiness prejudicing the gravity thereof. He made all things according (not to the pattern in the mount with Moses, but) the precedent of Rome; and his convent, being but the Romish transcript, became the
• 2 Chronicles xxxiv. 22.
†, Sir Henry Spelman's Councils. | In his Flowers of the Lives of the Saints, p. 47. VOL. III.
English original, to which all monasteries in the land were suddenly conformed.
In a word, I reverence his memory, not so much for his first bringing over painted glass into England, as for his bringing up pious Bede in his monastery. Being struck beneath the girdle with the dead palsy, his soul retired into the upper rooms of his clay cottage, much employed in meditation, until the day of his death, which happened anno 703.
Saint John of Beverley may be challenged by this county, on a threefold title; because therein he had his-1. Birth; at Harpham in this county, in the east Riding : 2. Life; being three and thirty years, and upwards, archbishop of York : 3. Death; at Beverley in this county, in a college of his own foundation.
I remember his picture in a window in the library at Salisbury, with an inscription under it (whose character may challenge to itself three hundred years' antiquity), affirming him the first Master of Arts in Oxford; and Alfredus Beverlacensis reporteth as much. Arts indeed were, and Oxford was (though hardly an university) in that age; but, seeing the solemnity of graduating was then unknown, a judicious Oxonian * rejecteth it as a fiction. More true it is, that he was bred at Strenshalt under Hilda aforesaid, which soundeth something to her honour and nothing to his disgrace, seeing eloquent Apollos himself learned the primer of his Christianity partly from Priscilla.t He was afterwards educated under Theodorus the Grecian, and archbishop of Canterbury. Yet was he not so famous for his teacher as for his scholar, venerable Bede, who wrote this John's life, I which he hath so spiced with miracles, that it is of the hottest for a discreet man to digest into his belief.
Being very aged, he resigned his archbishopric, that he might the more effectually apply his private devotions in his college at Beverley, for which he procured the freed-stool from king Athelstan. Yet such sanctuaries (though carrying something of holiness in their name) had a profane abuse for their very use, making malefactors with their promise of impunity, and then protecting them from justice. Saint John died May 7, 722; and was buried in the porch of his collegiate church. A synod held at London 1416 assigned the day of his death an anniverary solemnity to his memory.
Thomas PlantAGENET.—Before I proceed, I must confess myself formerly at a great loss to understand a passage in an honourable author, speaking of the counterfeit relics detected and destroyed at the Reformation : « The bell of Saint Guthlac,
Rishop Godwin, in the Archbishops of York. | Acts xviii. 26. | Historia Ecclesiæ, lib. v. cap. 2, 3, &c.
and the felt of Saint Thomas of Lancaster, both remedies for the head-ache."*
But I could recover no Saint Thomas (saving him of Canterbury) in any English martyrology, till since on inquiry I find him to be this Thomas Plantagenet.
He was earl of Derby, Lancaster, Leicester, and (in the right of Alice his wife) of Lincoln. A popular person, and great enemy to the two Spencers, minions to king Edward the Second, who being hated as devils for their pride, no wonder if this Thomas was honoured as a saint and martyr by the common sort. Indeed he must be a good chemist who can extract martyr out of malefactor ; and our chronicles generally behold him put to death for treason against king Edward the Second. But let him pass for a saint in this shire, though never solemnly canonized, it being true of such local saints what Servius Honoratus observeth of topical gods: “Ad alias regiones nunquam transibant," (they travelled not so far as to be honoured in other countries). His beheading, alias his martyrdom, happened at Pontefract, anno Domini 1322.
RICHARD ROLE, alias HAM POLE, had his first name from his father, the other from the place (three miles from Doncaster) where living he was honoured, and dead was buried and sainted. He was a eremite, led a strict life, and wrote many books of piety, which I prefer before his prophetical predictions, as but a degree above almanac prognostications. He threatened the sins of the nation with future famine, plague, inundations, war, and general calamities, from which no land is long free, but subject to them in some proportion. Besides, his predictions, if hitting, were heeded; if missing, not marked.
However, because it becomes me not åylouaxeiv, let him pass for a saint. I will add, that our Savour's dilemma to the Jews S may partly be pressed on the Papists his contemporaries. If Hampole's doctrine was of men, why was he generally reputed a saint; if from God, why did they not obey him, seeing he spake much against the viciousness and covetousness of the clergy of that age? He died anno Domini 1349.
John of BIRLINGTON, or BridLINGTON, was born hard by that town; bred two years in Oxford, where he profited in piety and learning above his age and equals. Returning home, for a short time he was teacher to a gentleman's sons, until the twentieth year of his age he entered himself a canon regular in the convent of Bridlington, where he grew eminent for his exemplary holiness,
It was his happiness that such offices always fell to his share, * Lord Herbert, in the Life of king Henry the Eighth, p. 431. + " In Sanctorum numerum retulit vulgus." Camden's Britannia, in Yorkshire. Bale, de Scriptoribus Britannicis, Cent. v. num. 8o. $ Matthew xx. 25.