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laws of Keneth of Scotland, in 840: "Sepulchrum omne sacrum habeto, idque crucis signo adornato, quod ne pede aliquando conculces, caveto." Concil.
tom. 1. p. 180.
In the year 1518, some constitutions of the province of York, reenacting earlier canons, decreed : "Firmiter inhibemus, ne cuiquam communio corporis Christi, vel morienti ecclesiastica sepultura, prætextu cujuslibet debiti, denegetur." Concil. tom. 3. p. 672.
P. ccxlij. l. 4. Among the fragments and capitula of archbishop Theodore, is the following, both interesting and important: "Quæsitum est ab aliquibus fratribus, de his qui in patibulo suspenduntur pro suis sceleribus, post confessionem Deo peractam, utrum cadavera illorum ad ecclesiam deferenda sint, an non?" Thorpe. vol. 2. p. 73. And it is said, that the Holy Eucharist might be given, but nothing is decided as to burial: unless that might be supposed to follow, after reception of the communion, as a matter of course. Some centuries later, Ælfric, in his homily of "the Greater Litany," laid down more strictly, "the possessions of no sinful man are to be received at his end, nor let his corpse be buried in a holy place." vol. 2. p. 345.
P. ccxliv. l. 29. It was usual to carry lighted candles, before the corpse, to the church; and omens were drawn from their continuing lighted. Many allusions to this occur in the chronicles: I take one from Matthew Paris: upon the burial of an earl of Salisbury, in 1226. 66 Contigit autem, quod dum de castello ad novam ecclesiam corpus ejus ad tumulandum portaretur, cerei qui cum cruce et thuribulo de more portabantur accensi, inter pluviarum effusiones, et ventorum tur
bines, lumen continuum in itinere ministrabant; ut aperte ostenderent comitem tam ardue pœnitentem, ad lucis filios pertinere." Hist. Angl. p. 277. Compare an order about the funeral taper, in the Concilia, tʊm. 3. p. 567.
P. celv. l. 20. There was anciently a small fee attached to the hallowing of water: this was called the "beneficium aquæ benedictæ," and was usually given to some poor scholar or clerk. I have not met with a similar rule in foreign churches; and it seems to have been peculiar to England. Thus it was ordered in some constitutions of the diocese of Salisbury, in 1256: "Personæ vel vicarii dabunt beneficium aquæ benedictæ clerico pauperi scholari, ita quod veniat omnibus solennibus diebus ad ecclesiæ serviendum, de qua habet dictum beneficium. "Concil. tom. 1. p. 714. This disposal of it was occasionally disputed by the parishioners; and the synod of Exeter, 1287, repeats the order, adding, "si parochiani malitiose subtrahere velint eleemosynas consuetas, ad ipsas sibi largiendas solicite moneantur, et, si necesse fuerit, compellantur." ibid. tom. 2. p. 147. In a constitution of the diocese of Winchester, in the year 1308, it is spoken of as the "beneficium aquæ portandæ," which, in like manner, is to be applied to the support of poor scholars. ibid. p. 297. And from a decree of archbishop Courtney, in 1393, it would seem, that a part of the duties of these "clerici aquæbajuli," was to carry the holy water, into various parts of the neighbouring parishes and sprinkle houses with it; that is, doubtless, if they were required to do so: as it is plainly expressed in a diocesan canon of the bishop of Coventry, in 1247;
quia plerique scholares carent necessariis, quorum scientia multi per gratiam Dei potuerunt ædificari;
volumus, ut scholares ferant aquam benedictam per villas rurales, si sint qui postulent et indigeant." ibid. tom. 1. p. 641.
When this office was wisely abolished, at the beginning of the reformation, the unavoidable loss of provision which it occasioned to poor scholars, was made up, or at least it was intended it should be so, from other sources and among the injunctions published by the king's visitors in 1548, was this; "forasmuch as the parish clerk shall not hereafter go about the parish with his holy water, as hath been accustomed, he shall instead of that labour, accompany the churchwardens," in registering the sums of money collected for the poor. ibid. tom. 4. p. 29.
P. cclvj. l. 12. In limiting the introduction of the use of holy water to the ix th century, I cannot but have been in error: which I am ready to take this opportunity of acknowledging. In the seventh century, archbishop Theodore says, in his penitential: "Aqua benedicta domos suas aspergant, quotiens voluerit, qui habitant in eis. Et quando presbyter consecraverit aquam, primum orationem dicat." Thorpe. vol. 2. p. 58. And there is a remarkable place in Bede, in an epistle from S. Gregory to Mellitus, where the pope directs the heathen temples to be sprinkled and purified with holy water. Hist. Ecc. lib. 1. cap. 30.
P. cclx. l. 1. That such an abuse prevailed, is clear and the reader may compare a proclamation, in the year 1538, which, speaking of the holy bread, says, among other things, that it was intended, not to supersede, but "to put us in remembrance of the howsell, which in the beginninge of Christe church men did oftener receive, than they use now to doe." Concil. tom. 3. p. 842.
P. ccxciv. l. 1. Absolution was occasionally granted to persons after death; chiefly, as it would seem, that they might obtain the rites of Christian burial. A commission from the archbishop of Canterbury for this purpose, is printed in the Concilia. A certain man had died excommunicate, and not only an absolution is ordered to be pronounced, but prayers and psalms, usual at such solemnities. What these were, does not appear. tom. 2. p. 531. This was in the year 1326. Another was granted, in 1369. Also by the archbishop. Some years ago a stone coffin was discovered in the cloisters of Chichester cathedral, and close by it, was found a thin plate of lead, with a form of absolution upon it, granted to Geoffry bishop of Chichester in 1088. Archæol. vol. 23. p. 419. It is not improbable, that in such cases, of persons absolved from ecclesiastical censures after death, the absolution was buried with them.
P. 42. "ante ostium ecclesiæ." It appears almost needless to remind the reader of Chaucer's Wife of Bath:
"She was a worthy woman all hire live,
Housbondes at the chirche dore had she had five.” prol. 461. And compare the account of the marriage in the
"Forth cometh the preest, with stole about his nekke,
And bade hire be like Sara and Rebekke; etc." l. 9577.
There is a remarkable passage, in the evidence relating to Sir William Plumpton's second marriage, taken before the Ecclesiastical Court in the year 1472, which shews, that marriages were performed sometimes, not at the door of the church, but at the door of the chancel; that is, I suppose, of the rood-screen.
"Richard Clerk, parish clerk of Knaresborough, deposed-that very early in the morning of the said Friday came the said Sir William and Joan to the parish church of Knaresborough, and, they standing at the door of the chancel of the said church within the said church, the aforesaid John Brown, [then vicar,] came from the high altar in his vestments and solemnized marriage between them in the presence of the deponent; etc." Plumpton correspondence. pref. p. lxxvj.
P. xxxv. Since the publication of the two first volumes of this work, I have found two other manuscript Prymers. One of these is in the library of Queen's college, Oxford: (S. 20. in arch.) imperfect, of about the year 1420. 1420. It has the word "corinnice" in the version of the two psalms, vol. 2. p. 22: but the "hours of the cross, are in rhyme, thus agreeing with the manuscripts in the Bodleian, and at Cambridge.
The other is in the Ashmolean library at Oxford : No. 1288. which I have not yet had an opportunity to examine. The kindness of a friend enables me to state that its contents are much the same with those of the other copies.
P. xliv. l. 10. About the year 1459), a monk at Bolton Abbey is requested in a letter to send a prymer: "as ever I be saved, she praied me write for either salter or primmer." Plumpton Correspondence. pref. p. xxxix. In the year 1500, among the presentments to the commissary of the diocese of London, occurs: "Avicia Godfrey notatur officio quod subtraxit quendam librum, vocatum a premar Elisabetha Sekett ser