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alone amounted to 480 tons) provided for the finishing thereof, were sold, and sent over beyond the seas, if a shipwreck (as some report) met them not by the way.
4. For the repairing thereof, collections were made all over the land, in the reign of queen Elizabeth, though inconsiderable, either in themselves, or through the corruption of others. Only honest Mr. Billet (whom I take to be the same with him who was designed executor to the will of William Cecil Lord Burghley) disbursed good sums to the repairing thereof; and a stranger, under a feigned name, took the confidence thus to play the poet and prophet on this structure:
“ Be blithe, fair Kirck, when Hempe is past,
Thine Olive, that ill winds did blast,
(Subscribed Cassadore.) By Hempe understand Henry the Eighth, Edward the Sixth, queen Mary, king Philip, and queen Elizabeth. The author, Í suspect, had a tang of the cask; and, being parcel-popish, expected the finishing of this church at the return of their religion; but his prediction was verified in a better sense, when this church
5. Was finished by James Montague, bishop of this see, disbursing vast sums in the same, though the better enabled thereunto by his mines at Mendip; so that he did but remove the lead from the bowels of the earth to the roof of the church, wherein he lies interred under a fair monument.
This church is both spacious and specious, the most lightsome as ever I beheld, proceeding from the greatness of the windows, and whiteness of the glass therein.
All I have more to add is only this, that the parable of Jotham* is on this church most curiously wrought in allusion to the Christian sirname of the first founder thereof)-how the trees, going to choose them a king, proffered the place to the olive. Now when lately one Oliver was for a time commander-in-chief in this land, some (from whom more gravity might have been expected) beheld this picture as a prophetical prediction, so apt are English fancies to take fire at every spark of conceit. But seeing since that Olive hath been blasted root and branches, this pretended prophecy with that observation is withered away.
As for the cathedral of Wells, it is a greater, so darker than that of Bath ; so that Bath may seem to draw devotion with the pleasantness, Wells to drive it with the solemnity thereof; and ill-tempered their minds who will be moved with neither. The west front of Wells is a masterpiece of art indeed, made of imagery in just proportion, so that we may call them“ vera et spirantia signa." England affordeth not the 'like: for the west end of Exeter beginneth accordingly: it doth not like Wells persevere to the end thereof.
• Judges ix. 8.
As for the civil habitations in this county (not to speak of Dunstar castle, having a high ascent, and the effect thereof, a large prospect by sea and land) Mountague, built by Sir Edward Philips, master of the Rolls, is a most magnificent fabric. Nor must Hinton St. George, the house of the Lord Poulet, be forgotten, having every stone in the front shaped doul-ways, or in the form of a cart-nail. This I may call a charitable curiosity, if true what is traditioned, that, about the reign of king Henry the Seventh, the owner thereof built it in a dear year, on purpose to employ the more poor people thereupon.
THE WONDERS. Wockey Hole, in Mendip-hills, some two miles from Wells. This is an underground concavity, admirable for its spacious vaults, stony walls, creeping labyrinths, the cause being un-imaginable, how and why the earth was put in such a posture, save that the God of nature is pleased to descant on a plain hollowness with such wonderful contrivances.
I have been at but never in this hole; and therefore must make use of the description of a learned eye-witness.*
“Entering and passing through a good part of it with many lights, among other many strange rarities, well worth the obserying, we found that water which incessantly dropped down from the vault of the rock, though thereby it made some little dint in the rock, yet was it turned into the rock itself, as manifestly appeared even to the judgment of sense, by the shape, and colour, and hardness; it being at first of a more clear and glassy substance than the more ancient part of the rock, to which no doubt but in time it hath been and will be assimilated : and this we found not in small pieces, but in a very great quantity, and that in sundry places, enough to load many carts; from whence I infer, that as in this cave, so no doubt in many other (where they searched) the rocks would be found to have increased immediately by the dropping of the water, besides that increase they have from the earth in the bowels thereof; which still continuing as it doth, there can be no fear of their utter failing."
MEDICINAL WATERS. Bath well known in all England and Europe over; far more useful and wholesome, though not so stately, as Dioclesian's bath in Rome (the fairest amongst 856 in that city, made only for pleasure and delicacy), beautified with an infinity of marble pillars (not for support but ostentation), so that Salmuth saith, fourteen thousand men were employed for some years in building thereof. Our bath waters consist of
1. Bitumen (which hath the predominancy); sovereign to discuss, glutinate, dissolve, open obstructions, &c.
* Dr. Hakewell, in his Apology, lib. v. p. 69.
2. Nitre; which dilateth the bitumen, making the solution the better, and water the clearer. It cleanseth and purgeth both by stool and urine, cutteth and dissolveth gross humours.
3. Sulphur ; in regard whereof they dry, resolve, mollify, attract, and are good for uterine effects, proceeding from cold and windy humours.
But how these waters come by their great heat, is rather controverted than concluded amongst the learned. Some impute it to wind, or airy exhaltations, included in the bowels of the earth, which by their agitation and attrition (upon rocks and narrow passages) gather heat, and impart it to the waters.
Others ascribe it to the heat of the sun, whose beams, piercing through the pores of the earth, warm the waters, and therefore anciently were called Aquæ Solis, both because dedicated to, and made by, the sun.
Others attribute it to quick lime, which we see doth readily heat any water cast upon it, and kindleth any combustible substance put therein.
Others refer it to a subterranean fire kindled in the bowels of the
earth, and actually burning upon sulphur and bitumen.
Others impute the heat (which is not destructive, but generative, joined with moisture) to the fermentation of several minerals.
It is the safer to relate all than reject any of these opinions, each having both their opposers and defenders.
They used also inwardly, in broths, beer, juleps, &c. with good effect. And although some mislike it, because they will not mix medicaments with aliments, yet such practice beginneth to prevail. The worst I wish these waters is, that they were handsomely roofed over (as the most eminent baths in Christendom are) which (besides that it would procure great benefit to weak persons) would gain more respect hither in winter time, or more early in the spring, or more late in the fall.
The right honourable James earl of Marlborough undertook to cover the Cross-bath at his own charge; and may others follow his resolution, it being but fit, that where God hath freely given the jewel, men bestow a case upon it.*
PROVERBS. " Where should I be born else than in Taunton Dean.''] This is a parcel of ground round about Taunton, very pleasant and populous (as containing many parishes); and so fruitful, to use their phrase, with the zun and zoil alone, that it needs no manuring at all. The peasantry therein are as rude as rich ; and so highly conceited of their good country (God make them worthy thereof!) that they conceive it a disparagement to be born in any other place; as if it were eminently all England.
* Dr. Fuller's benevolent wish has since been amply realized.--Eo.
“ The beggars of Bath."] Many in that place; some natives there, others repairing thither from all parts of the land; the poor for alms; the pained for
Whither should fowl flock, in a hard frost, but to the barn door? here, all the two seasons, being the general confluence of gentry. Indeed laws are daily made to restrain beggars, and daily broken by the connivance of those who make them
: it being impossible, when the hungry belly barks, and bowels sound, to keep the tongue silent. And although oil of whip be the proper plaister for the cramp of laziness, yet some pity is due to impotent persons. In a word, seeing there is the Lazars-bath in this city, I doubt not but many a good Lazarus, the true object of charity, may beg therein.
SAINTS. DUNSTAN was born in the town of Glastonbury in this county. He afterwards was abbot thereof, bishop of London and Worcester, archbishop of Canterbury, and at last, for his promoting of monkery, reputed a Saint.* I can add nothing to, but must subtract something from, what I have written of him in my
“ Church History.” True it is, he was the first abbot of England, not in time but in honour, Glastonbury being the proto-abbaty, then, and many years after, till pope Adrian advanced St. Alban's above it. But, whereas it followeth in my book,t “ That the title of Abbot till his time was unknown in England," I admire by what casualty it crept in, confess it a foul mistake, and desire the reader with his pen to delete it. More I have not to say of Dunstan, save that he died anno Domini 988; and his skill in smithery was so great, that the goldsmiths in London are incorporated by the name of the Company of St. Dunstan.
MARTYRS, John Hooper was born in this county,bred first in Oxford, then beyond the seas. A great scholar and linguist; but suffering under the notion of a proud man, only in their judgments; who were unacquainted with him. Returning in the reign of king Edward the Sixth, he was elected bishop of Gloucester ; but for a time scrupled the acceptance thereof, on a double account.
First, because he refused to take an oath tendered unto him. This oath I conceived § to have been the oath of canonical obedience ; but since (owing my information to my worthy friend the learned Dr. John Hacket) I confess it the oath of supremacy, which Hooper refused, not out of lack of loyalty but store of conscience: for the oath of supremacy, as then modelled, was more
* Lives of the Saints. † Century x. p. 129.
I "Terræ Sommersetensis alumnus." Bale, de Scriptoribus Britannicis, Cent. viii. num. 86.
$ In my “ Ecclesiastical History."
than the oath of supremacy enjoining the receiver's thereof conformity to the king's commands in what alterations soever he should afterwards make in religion ; which implicit and unlimited obedience learned casuists allow only due to God himself. Besides the oath concluded with “So help me God, and all his angels and saints.” So that Hooper had just cause to scruple the oath; and was the occasion of the future reforming, whilst the king dispensed with his present taking thereof.
The second thing he boggled at, was the wearing of some episcopal habiliments; but at last, it seemeth, consented thereunto, and was consecrated bishop of Gloucester.
His adversaries will say, that the refusing of one is the way to get two bishoprics, seeing afterward he held Worcester in commendam therewith. But be it known, that as our Hooper had double dignity he had treble diligence, painfully preaching God's word, piously living as he preached, and patiently dying as he lived, being martyred at Gloucester, anno 155 .. He was only a native of this shire suffering for the testimony of the
and this account we may honour the memory of Gilbert Bourn bishop of Bath and Wells in the reign of queen Mary, who persecuted no Protestants in his diocese to death, seeing it cannot be proved that one Lush was ever burnt, though by him condemned. I mention bishop Bourn here the more willingly, because I can no where recover the certainty of his nativity.
PRELATES. JOCELINE of Welis.*_Bishop Godwin was convinced, by such evidences as he had seen, that he was both born and bred in Wells, becoming afterwards the bishop thereof.
Now whereas his predecessors styled themselves bishops of Glaston (especially for some few years after their first consecration), he first fixed on the title of Bath and Wells, and transmitted it to all his successors. In his time the monks of Glastonbury, being very desirous to be only subjected to their own abbot, purchased their exemption, by parting with four fair manors to the see of Wells.
This Joceline, after his return from his five years' exile in France (banished with archbishop Langton on the same account of obstinacy against king John), laid out himself wholly on the beautifying and enriching of his cathedral. He erected some new prebends; and, to the use of the chapter, appropriated many churches, increasing the revenues of the dignities (so fitter called than profits, so mean then their maintenance); and to the episcopal see he gave three manors of great value. He, with Hugo bishop of Lincoln, was the joint founder of the
* Taken generally out of Bishop Godwin.