« ZurückWeiter »
adjoining county of Yorkshire, objected to a large community of their Cistercian brethren settling so near them, and it was only after a good deal of discussion, and not till the authority of the Pope had been invoked, that the Stanlavv monks felt themselves secure. As late as 1316, owing to their disputes with Sawley, and their numerous discomforts, they seriously entertained the idea of building an abbey at Toxteth, near Liverpool, and obtained the royal sanction of Edward II. for the purpose; but the idea was never carried out, and Whalley Abbey soon took its place among the great religious foundations of the country.
XV.—Upholland Priory. (Monasticon, iv, 4og.)
We have now arrived at the latest of the prereformation monasteries of Lancashire, the Benedictine priory of St. Thomas of Canterbury, at Upholland, near Wigan. Sir Robert de Holland had established a college of secular canons, under the government of a dean, on his Upholland estate; but the loneliness of the spot proved too great, and the canons separated. The founder then resolved on another course, and determined to secure the permanence of his work by obtaining a colony of Benedictine monks to take the place left vacant by the canons. The site, too, was recognised as being fitter for monks than for seculars, and after various negociations, and with the approval of the Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield and his two chapters, the place was handed over to the monks.25 Before the invasion of the collieries, which have in recent years sprung up all around, Upholland must have been a beautiful spot, and well adapted for its sacred purpose as a place of prayer, study, and retirement.26 There on a hill-side, overlooking a wide expanse of wood and water, was founded the priory of St. Thomas of Canterbury, the latest in date of foundation of any monastery of black monks in England. Unfortunately, we have but little to guide us as to the early history of the house; we are even in ignorance of the name of the monastery from which the first monks were drawn. But as Sir Robert de Holland's petition to the Bishop of Lichfield was drawn up at Pontefract (Feb. 2, 1318), and the first prior bore the name of Thomas de Doncaster, it seems probable that the colony came from some religious house in Yorkshire. The churches of Childwall in Lancashire and Whitwick in Leicestershire were impropriated to the new foundation.
25 A somewhat similar history is given by Aubertus Mira:us in the Origines PencJictiitit, Cologne, 1614. cap. xciv, in relating the story of the short-lived abbey of IlaKberg. near Halteni. four miles from Davemer, a house formerly possessed by the llrothers of Common Life. "Quod quidem ccenobium "Henrico llavaro Ultrajactensi episcopo consentiente, a Carolo Egmundano "Geldria: duce bellicosissimo, et catholioc religionis augendse atque adversus "ha:reses id temporis exsurgentes stabilicnda stita'iosissimo, anno 1525 die 7 "Maii in monasterium oroinis S. Kencdicli est commu'.atum. Abbas vero "ejus loci primus anno eodem 13 die mensis Meii electus est I'aulus Beceensis "presbyter et Benedictini inslituli veins asseca. mrnachis aliquot aliunde "evocatis. l'orro fratres Hieronymiani cum in dicta caussa monasterio sese "pulsosqiuererentur uefuncto Carolo duce postliminio pristinum in iocum sun; "restituti."
With Upholland the list of monastic foundations in Lancashire is brought to an end. For the next two hundred and twenty years the houses, great and small, which we have been considering carried on, in peace and quiet for the most part, their beneficent and useful work. Neither among the Friars, with their public ministry and their international character, nor among the Cistercians of Furness and Whalley, with their industries and agriculture, nor among the Regular Canons, Augustinian and Premonstratensian, nor among the Benedictines, with their large place in the national history, their local ties and their varied work,—was there found, when the end was at hand, anything to warrant their wholesale suppression. The tale of that suppression has recently been put before us,27 not as told in the writings of prejudiced partizans or embittered enemies, but in the clear light of contemporary documents, in the plain, unbiassed words of historical verity.
26 Compare the account of Lantony in the Monasticou. vi, 129. "Sta: "namque inibi in valle profunda, ecciesia conventuaiis tira: omnibus fere Brit•' taniarum ccenobiis perfects religion! magis accommoda. tanto contemniativa: "quieti et secretiore cum omnniotente confabuiatione ydonea ouanto copu"laribus strepitibus et tumultuosis cianmrirnis inaccessa. Nnn denique hie "nueruia; oppressorum audiuntur caiumpnia:; non nroterva : iitis;antium "pondetant insanise, sed pax certa. quies secura. karitas firma ita sanctam "religionem invitant, sicut omnimodam dissoiutionem dissuaden;."
The Lancashire monasteries bore their share in the misfortunes of the Reformation period, and no small share it was. The religious houses of the county were not swept away, till two of the monks of Furness had suffered imprisonment for their fidelity to the old faith; till the Abbot of Whalley and two of his monks had laid down their lives in the same cause; till Kershall had seen its Superior, the Prior of Lenton, and some of his monks, numbered among the martyrs; till four of the Canons of Cartmell were enrolled among the victims of Henry's tyranny.
And when, with England's restoration to catholic unity under Queen Mary, an attempt was made to restore some of the ruined minsters of the land, Lancashire was not unrepresented. It was through the efforts of Dom John Feckenham, monk of Evesham, the mother house of Penwortham, that the royal abbey of St. Peter at Westminster was re-established; and when Westminster had been a
V Henry VIII. and the English Monasteries, 2 vols.; by the Very Rev. F. A. Gasquet, D.D., O.S.B. London: Hodges.
second time suppressed, and its venerable abbot was a prisoner for the faith of his fathers in the castle of Wisbeach, the first to ask for the habit of St. Benedict at his hands was the venerable John Thulis, a native of Upholland.
IN a former volume of the Society's Transactions (vol. xl. (N.S. 4), p. 143), there will be found a paper on the "Antiquities of the Meols Shore," in which I endeavoured, from implements of husbandry and artizans' tools found there, to point out some of the occupations of the early dwellers in the ancient settlement of Great Meols, on the Cheshire coast. Bv the kindness of the Council, I am now enabled to bring to the notice of the members illustrations and descriptions of a few more specimens, comprising agricultural and mechanical implements from my collection, the whole having been obtained during the last thirty years from the same neighbourhood. I propose, in future volumes, if agreeable to the members, to bring to their notice other specimens of articles of domestic use, ornaments, arms, &c, also from my collection,