Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln - A Short Story of One of the Makers of Mediaeval England
by Charles L. Marson
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What was done at Witham we cannot now fully tell, for everything has perished of the upper house. The monks' church would be of stone, and probably was very like the present Friary Church. The cells certainly would be of wood in the second stage, for they were of "weeps," as we have seen, in the first. This part of the Charterhouse we have concluded stood in a field now called "Buildings," but now so-called without visible reason.

Round the present Friary Church there were the houses of the original inhabitants, a little removed from their foreign intruders; not quite a mile away, as at Hinton, where the two houses are thus divided, but yet something near three quarters of that distance.

When the inhabitants were removed to Knap in North Curry and elsewhere, they took their old rafters with them or sold these. Their walls seem to have been of mud and wattle, or of some unsaleable stuff, and these, no doubt, served for a time for the lay brethren, after a little trimming and thatching. But their church had to be looked to before it could serve for the worship of the conversi. The old inhabitants (near two hundred, Mr. Buckle thinks, rather generously), were still there up to Hugh's time, and if their church was like their houses the wooden roof was much decayed and the walls none of the best. Hugh resolved upon a stone vault of the Burgundian type, followed at the Grande Chartreuse, and he therefore had to thicken the walls by an extra case. The building was next divided into three parts, with doors from the north and west, so that men might seek refuge in the Holy Trinity from the dark of the world and its setting suns. The stone roof is supported upon small semi-octagonal vaulting shafts, ending in truncated corbels. This fondness for the number eight, which reappears markedly at Lincoln, has to do with St. Augustine's explanations that eight (the number next to seven, the number of creation and rest) signifies the consummation of all things and Doomsday. Four is the number of the outer world, with its seasons and quarters; three of the soul of man, the reflection of God; and eight, therefore, which comes after the union of these, is judgment and eternal life. Hugh was, no doubt, his own architect (if such a word is not an anachronism here), but he employed Somerset builders, who left the mark of English custom upon this otherwise peculiar and continental looking building. The leper window has been noticed above. The only other building at Witham which pretends to bear traces of Hugh's hand is the guest house, and this, as we have seen, may be at bottom the very house where Hugh hob-a-nobbed with King Henry.

The same style, the same severity, the same sacramental feeling no doubt marked the Conventual Church, and it is sad to think what great and pathetic memories perished with its destruction. If only the pigstyes and barns built out of these old stones could have been the richer for what was lost in the transit, they would have been the richest of their kind. For Hugh turned to this his first great work in the house of Martha with a peculiar relish, which was that of a lover more than of a man who had merely heaped up stones against the wind. If Lincoln was his Leah, Witham was his dear Rachael. Hither he was translated, like Enoch or Elijah, from a vexing world for a time every year. The two parts of the Charterhouse were the embodiments of "justice and innocence." Here was "the vine of the Lord of Hosts." His cell was kept for him, and while all the world was hotly harvesting he was laying up here his spiritual stores. Here his face seemed to burn with the horned light of Moses, when he appeared in public. His words were like fire and wine and honey, but poised with discretion. Yet he never became a fanatical monk, nor like Baldwin, whom the Pope addressed as "most fervent monk, clever abbot, lukewarm bishop, and slack archbishop." He warned his monastic brethren here that the great question at doom is not, Were you monk or hermit? but Did you show yourself truly Christian? The name is useless, or positively baleful, unless a man has the threefold mark—caritas in corde; veritas in ore; castitas in corpore—of love in the heart, truth on the lips, pureness in the body. Here he told them that chaste wedlock was as pure as continence and virginity, and would be blessed as high. He lived as he taught always, but here he seemed beyond himself. His buildings at Witham, enumerated in the Great Life, and not even planned before his time, are the major and minor churches, the cells for monks, the cloisters, the brothers' little houses, and the guest chambers. The lay kitchen was a poor building of brushwood and thatch, six or seven paces from the guest house, the blaze of which, when it caught fire, could be seen from the glass windows of the west end of the lay church. The wooden cells of the brothers lay round this in a ring. The guest house roof was of shingles. This kitchen fire took place at the last visit of the bishop while he was at the "night lauds." He gave over the office when it broke out, signed the cross several times, and prayed before the altar, while the young men fought the flame. He had already often ordered a stone kitchen to be built in its place, and so no real harm was done, for the fire did not spread. The only question which arises is whether the present guest house is far enough west to square with this story. No mention is made of the fish ponds, but they are likely enough to have been prepared in his time, for the rule, which never allowed meat, did allow fish on festivals. Hugh had no notion of starving other people, but used to make them "eat well and drink well to serve God well." He condemned an asceticism run mad, and called it vanity and superstition for people to eschew flesh when they had no such commandment, and substitute for it foreign vegetables, condiments for fat, and expensive fishes. He liked dry bread himself, and the drier the tastier, but he did all he could to spare others. Consequently, we may credit him with the fish ponds.

His work at Lincoln was on a much larger scale and happily much of it is still there, a goodly material for wonder, praise and squabbling. It was imposed upon him, for he found the Norman building more or less in ruins. This building consisted of a long nave, with a west front, now standing; and a choir, which ended something east of the present faldstool in a bow. At the east end of the nave was a tower, and to the north and south of this tower were two short transepts, or porches. The tower was either not very high or else was shortened, and perhaps recapped to make it safe after the earthquake, for the comparatively small damage which it did when it fell upon the choir proves that it could not have been very massive. It fell in Grossetestes' time and its details with it.

The first requisite for building is money: and money, as we have seen, was very hard to obtain in England just at this juncture. Three means by which Hugh raised it are known to us. The austere ideals of the Carthusian bishop, his plain vestments, his cheap ring, his simple clothes set free a good deal of the money of the see for this purpose. Then he issued a pastoral summons to the multitude of her sons to appear at least once a year at the mother church of Lincoln with proper offerings according to their power; especially rural deans, parsons, and priests through the diocese were to gather together at Pentecost and give alms for the remission of their sins and in token of obedience and recollection of their Lincoln mother. This, combined with a notice of detention of prebend for all non-resident and non-represented canons, must have brought the faithful up in goodly numbers to their ecclesiastical centre. If they were once there, the cracked and shored-up building and the bishop's zeal and personal influence might be entrusted to loose their purse strings, especially as he led the way, both by donation and personal work, for he carried the hod and did not disdain to bring mortar and stones up the ladder like any mason's 'prentice. Then, thirdly, he established or used a Guild of St. Mary, a confraternity which paid for, and probably worked at, the glorious task. Its local habitation was possibly that now called John of Gaunt's stables,{20} but anyhow it stood good for a thousand marks a year. A mark is thirteen and fourpence; and six hundred and sixty six pounds odd, in days when an ox cost three shillings and a sheep fourpence was a handsome sum. It could not have been far short of L10,000 of our money.

It is evident from records and architecture alike that the building had to be begun from the very roots and foundations. In examining it we had better begin with the chroniclers. The Great Life is curiously silent about this work, and if we had no other records we should almost consider that the work was done under, rather than by, the bishop. He went to Lincoln "about to build on this mountain, like a magnificent and peaceful Solomon, a most glorious temple," says his laconic friend Adam. "Also fifteen days before he died Geoffrey de Noiers (or Nowers) the constructor or builder of the noble fabric, came to see him. The erection of this fabric was begun from the foundations, in the renewal of the Lincoln church, by the magnificent love of Hugh to the beauty of God's house." The dying bishop thus spoke to him: "In that we have had word that the lord king with the bishops and leading men of this whole kingdom are shortly about to meet for a general assembly, hasten and finish all that is needful for the beauty and adornment about the altar of my lord and patron saint, John Baptist, for we wish this to be dedicated by our brother, the Bishop of Rochester, when he arrives there with the other bishops. Yea, and we ourselves, at the time of the aforesaid assembly, shall be present there too. We used to desire greatly to consecrate that by our ministry; but since God has disposed otherwise, we wish that it be consecrated before we come thither on a future occasion." This is all that Adam has to tell us. Giraldus Cambrensis says, "Item, he restored the chevet of his own church with Parian stones and marble columns in wonderful workmanship, and reared the whole anew from the foundation with most costly work. Similarly, too, he began to construct the remarkable bishop's houses, and, by God's help, proposed, in certain hope, to finish them far larger and nobler than the former ones." Then again he says, "Item, he took pains to erect in choiceness, the Lincoln church of the blessed Virgin, which was built remarkably by a holy man, the first bishop of the same place, to wit the blessed Remigius, according to the style of that time. To make the fabric conformed to the far finer workmanship and very much daintier and cleverer polish of modern novelty, he erected it of Parian stones and marble columns, grouped alternately and harmoniously, and which set off one another with varying pictures of white and black, but yet with natural colour change. The work, now to be seen, is unique." The Legenda says that Hugh carried stones and cement in a box for the fabric of the mother Church, which he reared nobly from the foundations. Other chroniclers say just the same, and one adds that he "began a remarkable episcopal hall" as well. But far the most important account we have is that of the metrical life—written between 1220 and 1235. This gives us some of the keys to the intense symbolism of all the designs. Since a proper translation would require verse, it may be baldly Englished in pedagogic patois, as follows: "The prudent religion and the religious prudence of the pontiff makes a bridge (pons) to Paradise, toiling to build Sion in guilelessness, not in bloods. And with wondrous art, he built the work of the cathedral church; in building which, he gives not only his wealth and the labour of his people, but the help of his own sweat; and often he carries in a pannier the carved stones and the sticky lime. The weakness of a cripple, propped on two sticks, obtains the use of that pannier, believing an omen to be in it: and in turn disdains the help of the two sticks. The diet, which is wont to bow the straight, makes straight the bowed. O remarkable shepherd of the flock, and assuredly no hireling! as the novel construction of the Church explains. For Mother Sion lay cast down, and straitened, wandering, ignorant, sick, old, bitter, poor, homely and base: Hugh raises her when cast down, enlarges her straitened, guides her wandering, teaches her ignorant, heals her sick, renews her old, sweetens her bitter, fills her when empty, adorns her homely, honours her when base. The old mass falls to the foundation and the new rises; and the state of it as it rises, sets forth the fitting form of the cross. The difficult toil unites three whole parts; for the most solid mass of the foundation rises from the centre,{21} the wall carries the roof into the air. [So the foundation is buried in the lap of earth, but the wall and roof shew themselves, and with proud daring the wall flies to the clouds, the roof to the stars.] With the value of the material the design of the art well agrees, for the stone roof talks as it were with winged birds, spreading its wide wings, and like to a flying thing strikes the clouds, stayed upon the solid columns. And a sticky liquid glues together the white stones, all which the workman's hand cuts out to a nicety. And the wall, built out of a hoard of these, as it were disdaining this thing, counterfeits to unify the adjacent parts; it seems not to exist by art but rather by nature; not a thing united, but one. Another costly material of black stones props the work, not like this content with one colour, not open with so many pores, but shining much with glory and settled with firm position; and it deigns to be tamed by no iron, save when it is tamed by cunning, when the surface is opened by frequent blows of the grit, and its hard substance eaten in with strong acid. That stone, beheld, can balance minds in doubt whether it be jasper or marble; but if jasper, dull jasper; if marble, noble marble. Of it are the columns, which so surround the pillars that they seem there to represent a kind of dance. Their outer surface more polished than new horn, with reflected visions, fronts the clear stars. So many figures has nature painted there that if art, after long endeavour, toils to simulate a like picture, scarce may she imitate nature. Likewise has the beauteous joining placed a thousand columns there in graceful order; which stable, precious, shining, with their stability carry on the whole work of the church, with their preciousness enrich it, with their shine make it clear. Their state indeed is lofty and high, their polish true and splendid, their order handsome and geometric, their beauty fit and useful, their use gracious and remarkable, their stability unhurt and sharp. A splendid double pomp of windows displays riddles to the eyes, inscribing the citizens of the Heavenly City and the arms whereby they tame the Stygian tyrant.{22} And two are greater, like two lights; of these the rounded blaze, looking upon the quarters of north and south, with its double light, lords it over all windows. They can be compared to the common stars, but these two are one like the sun, the other like the moon. So do these two candles lighten the head of the Church. With living and various colours they mimic the rainbow, not mimic indeed, but rather excel, for the sun when it is reflected in the clouds makes a rainbow: these two shine without sun, glitter without cloud.

These things, described but puerilely, have the weight of an allegory. Without it seems but as a shell, but within lies the kernel. Without it is as wax, but within is combed honey; and fire lightens more pleasantly in the shade. For foundation, wall roof, white carved stone, marble smooth, conspicuous and black, the double order of windows, and the twin windows, which, as it were, look upon the regions of north and south, are great indeed, in themselves, but figure greater things.

The foundation is the body, the wall man, the roof the spirit, the division of the Church threefold. The body possesses the earth, man the clouds, the spirit the stars. The white and carved stone means the chaste and wise; the whiteness is modesty, the carving dogma. By the effigy of marble, smooth, shining, dark, the bride is figured, guileless, well conducted, working. The smoothness very rightly means guilelessness, the splendour good conduct, the blackness work. The noble cohort of the clergy lightening the world with light divine is expressed by the clear windows. The corresponding order can everywhere be observed. The Canonic is set forth by the higher order; the Vicarious by the lower; and because the canonic handles the business of the world, and the busy vicarious fulfils, by its obligations, divine matters, the top line of windows shines bright with a ring of flowers around it, which signifies the varying beauty of the world, the lower contains the names of the holy fathers. The twin windows, which afford the rounded blaze, are the two eyes of the Church, and rightly in these respects seem to be, the greater the bishop, and the lesser the dean. The North is Satan, and the South the Holy Ghost, which the two eyes look upon. For the bishop looks upon the South to invite, but the dean upon the North to avoid it. The one sees to be saved, the other not to be lost. The brow of the church beholds with these eyes the candles of Heaven and the darkness of Lethe. Thus the senseless stones enwrap the mysteries of the living stones, the work made with hands sets forth the spiritual work; and the double aspect of the Church is clear, adorned with double equipage. A golden majesty paints the entry of the choir: and properly in his proper image Christ crucified is shewn, and there to a nicety the progress of His life is suggested. Not only the cross or image, but the ample surface of the six columns and two woods, flash with tested gold. The capitols{23} cleave to the Church, such as the Roman summit never possessed, the wonderful work of which scarce the monied wealth of Croesus could begin. In truth their entrances are like squares. Within a rounded space lies open, putting to the proof, both in material and art, Solomon's temple. If of these the perfection really stays, the first Hugh's work will be perfected under a second Hugh. Thus then Lincoln boasts of so great a sire, who blessed her with so many titles on all sides."

The church itself is the best comment upon this somewhat obscure account, and it may be briefly divided into Pre-Hugonian, Hugonian, and Post-Hugonian parts. The first, the Norman centre of the west facade, does not concern us, except that its lovely face often looked down upon the great bishop in his dark or tawny cloak trimmed with white lambs' wool, which hid his hair shirt. Except for this Norman work and the Norman font, it would hardly be an exaggeration to say that the whole is by or for Hugh, for his shrine, his influence, and his example, completed what his work, and his plans, never dreamed about. Yet these last are responsible for much. He built a cruciform church, beginning with the entrance to the choir, with the aisles on either side. The chapels of St. Edward Martyr and St. James{24} form the base or step of the cross. The east transept, with all chapels adjoining, the choristers' vestry, antevestry, dean's or medicine chapel, with its lovely door and the cupboards in the now floorless room above it, the vaulted passage and chamber adjoining, are all his. So are, possibly, the matchless iron screens between the two choirs (topped with modern trumpery). South-east of the Medicine Chapel is one of St. Hugh's great mystic columns, and there are a pair of them. Where the Angel Choir now lifts its most graceful form and just behind the high altar, rose the semi-hexagonal east end, the opened honeycomb, where most fitly was placed the altar of St. John Baptist. It was somewhere in the walls of this forehead that the original bishop's eye and dean's eye were once fixed, possibly in the rounded eye sockets which once stood where Bishop Wordsworth and Dean Butler are now buried.{25}

When we look closely at this work, we are astonished at the bold freedom, and yet the tentative and amateur character of it. The builders felt their way as they went along, and well they might, for it was not only a new church but a new and finer style altogether. They built a wall. It was not strong enough, so they buttressed it over the mouldings. The almost wayward double arcade inside was there apparently, before the imposed vaulting shafts were thought about. The stones were fully shaped and carved on the floor, and then put in their positions. Hardly anything is like the next thing. Sometimes the pointed arch is outside, as in "St. James'" Chapel, sometimes inside as in "St. Edward's." Look up at the strange vaulting above the choir, about the irregularity of which so much feigned weeping has taken place. It represents, maybe, the Spirit blowing where it listeth and not given by measure. So, too, mystic banded shafts are octagonal for blessedness, and they blossom in hidden crockets for the inner flowers of the Spirit, and there are honeycombs and dark columns banded together in joyful unity, all copied from nowhere, but designed by this holy stone poet to the glory of God. The pierced tympanum has a quatrefoil for the four cardinal virtues, or a trefoil for faith, hope, and charity. Compared with the lovely Angel Choir which flowered seventy years later, under our great King Edward, it may look all unpractised, austere; but Hugh built with sweet care, and sense, and honesty, never rioting in the disordered emotion of lovely form which owed no obedience to the spirit, and which expressed with great elaboration—almost nothing. He may have valued the work of the intellect too exclusively, but surely it cannot be valued too highly? The work is done as well where it does not as where it does show.

The bishop's hall, which he began, could not have been much more than sketched and founded. It was carried on by one of his successors, Hugh de Wells (1209-1235), though one would like to believe that it was in this great hall that he entertained women, godly matrons, and widows, who sat by his side at dinner, to the wonder of monkish brethren. He would lay his clean hands upon their heads and bless them, sometimes even gently embrace them, and bid them follow the steps of holy women of old. Indeed he had quite got over the morbid terror he once felt for these guardians of the Divine humanity, for he used often to say to them, "Almighty God has deserved indeed to be loved by the feminine sex. He was not squeamish of being born of a woman. Yea, and he has granted hereby a magnificent and right worthy privilege to all women folk. For when it is not allowed to man to be or to be named the Father of God, yet this has been bestowed upon the woman to be the parent of God." The traces of his work at the other manor houses are wiped out by time. There is nothing at Stow; Buckden was built later; and the other footprints of this building saint are lost upon the sands of time.


{20} This building itself is of an earlier date.

{21} Of the earth.

{22} I.e., Saints and Lances.

{23} Side chapels.

{24} Or of SS. Dennys and Guthlac it may be.

{25} It is a pity in that case that the bishop lies under the old "dean's eye," and vice versa.



When King Richard died, John, with a handful of followers, gave his host, Arthur of Brittany, the slip, and hurried off to Chinon, in Touraine. Hence he sent a humble message that the Bishop of Lincoln would deign to visit him. The reason was obvious. His fate hung in the balance, and the best loved and most venerated of English bishops would, if he would but recognise him, turn that scale against Arthur of Brittany. On the Wednesday in Holy Week, April 19th, 1199, Hugh left Fontevrault, and the anxious prince rode to meet him and to pay him every court. John would fain have kept him by his side, but the bishop excused himself, and the two travelled back to Fontevrault together, and finally parted at Samur. They visited the royal tombs at the former place, but the prudent nuns would not allow the dubious prince inside their walls "because the abbess was not at home." John affected to be charmed at their scruples, and sent them a pious message, promising the bishop that he would shew them great favours. The answer was, "You know that I greatly dislike every lie. I shall therefore take care not to tell them your lip promises, unless I have proof that you certainly mean to fulfil them." John at once swore that he would fulfil all as soon as might be, and the bishop in his presence told the holy women, commended the prince to them, gave the blessing and carried off the royal humbug. He then had a long tale of John's good resolutions: he would be pious to God, kind to his subjects, and just to all; he would take Hugh for his father and guide, and wait upon him. He then shewed him a stone, cased in gold, which he wore round his neck, and told him that its fortunate owner would lack nothing of his ancestral possessions. "Put not your faith in a senseless stone," he was told, "but only in the living and true heavenly stone, the Lord Jesus Christ. Lay him most surely as your heart's foundation and your hope's anchor. He truly is so firm and living a stone that He crushes all who oppose Him. He suffers not those who rest on him to fall, but ever raises them to higher things and enlarges them to ampler deservings." They reached then the church porch, where was a lively sculpture of Doomsday, and on the judge's left a company of kings and nobles led to eternal fire. The bishop said, "Let your mind set ceaselessly before you the screams and endless agonies of these. Let these ceaseless tortures be ever in front of your heart's eyes. Let the careful remembrance of these evils teach you how great is the self loss which is laid upon those who rule other men for a little time, and, ruling themselves ill, are subjects to demon spirits in endless agony. These things, while one can avoid them, one is wise to fear ever, lest when one cannot avoid them, one should afterwards happen ceaselessly to endure them." He then pointed out that this Day of the Lord was put in the porch, so that those who entered to ask for their needs should not forget "the highest and greatest need of all, pardon for sins," which they might ask and have and be free from pains and glad with eternal joys. John seized the bishop's hand and shewed the kings on the right. "Nay, lord bishop, you should rather shew us these," he said "whose example and society we pray to follow and attain." For a few days he seemed exceedingly submissive in deed and speech. The beggars who wished him well he thanked with bows. The ragged old women who saluted him he replied to most gently. But after three days he changed his tune and dashed the hopes which had begun to spring. Easter Sunday came, and the bishop was at Mass and John's chamberlain slipped twelve gold pieces into his hand, the usual royal offering. He was standing (they always stand at Mass) surrounded by a throng of barons before the bishop and gloated upon the gold, tossed it in his hand and delayed so long to offer it, that everybody stared. At last the bishop, angry at such behaviour, then and there said, "Why gaze like that?" John replied, "Truly I am having a look at those gold coins of yours and thinking that if I had held them a few days ago, I should not offer them to you but pop them in my own purse. Still, all the same, take them." The angry bishop blushed for the king, drew back his arm, would not touch such money nor suffer his hand to be kissed; shook his head at him in fury. "Put down there what you hold," he said, "and go." The king cast his money into the silver basin and slunk away. John's insult was all the greater because out of Lincoln none of the bishop's people was ever allowed to nibble one crumb of the alms. That day the bishop had preached upon the conduct and future prospects of princes. John neither liked the duration nor the direction of the sermon, and sent thrice to the preacher to stop his talk and get on with the Mass so that he might go to his victuals. But not a bit of it. The preacher talked louder and longer until all applauded and some wept, and he told them how worthily they ought to partake of the true Sacramental Bread, who came from heaven and gives life to the world. John shared neither in the word nor the Sacrament. Neither then nor on Ascension Day, when he was made king, did he communicate. Indeed it was said he had never done so since he was grown up.

Next Sunday the court was at Rouen and Archbishop Walter was investing John with the sacred emblems of the Duchy of Normandy during the High Mass. A banner on a lance was handed to the new duke. John advanced, amid cheers, and the foolish cackle of laughter of his former boon companions. He looked over his shoulder to grin back at the fools, his friends, and from his feeble grasp the old banner fell upon the pavement! But Hugh had left him for England before this evil omen. When the bishop reached Fleche on Easter Monday, he went to church to vest for Mass. His servants rushed in to say that the guards had seized his horses and carts, and robbers had taken some of his pack horses. The company, including Gilbert de Glanville of Rochester, his friend, begged him not to say Mass, but merely to read the gospel and hurry out of the trap. Neither chagrined at his loss, nor moved by their terrors, he went deaf and silent to the altar. He was not content either with a plain celebration. He must need have sandals, tunic, and all the rest of the robes, and add a pontifical blessing to the solemn celebration. As he was unrobing the magistrates came in a fine state of repentance, with restitution, safe conducts, and humble words. He jested with them and past on to St. Peter's, at Le Mans. Here another alarm met them. Arthur's troopers rushed the place in the night meaning to catch John. News of more robberies and violence came, but thanks to the Abbot he got safely on and Dame Constance of Brittany sent him many apologies and assurances. He reached Sees safely but insisted upon going aside for a little pious colloquy with a learned and devout Abbot of Persigne, although the country was in a very dangerous condition for travelling. He found the good man away; so he said Mass and went on, and at last got home to tell them at Lincoln that all was peace. His progress was a triumph of delighted crowds, for the hearts of his people had been with him in all the struggle thus safely ended, and the sea of people shouted, "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord," as their father rode towards his cathedral town. The commons evidently felt that the liberties of the church were the outworks of the liberties of the land.

But the god of victory is a maimed god, and the battles of the world irked Hugh's contemplative soul. He wished to lay by his heavy burden of bishopric and to go back to his quiet cell, the white wool tunic, the silence, and the careful cleaning of trenchers. The office of a bishop in his day left little time for spiritual tillage either at home or abroad. Not only the bishops had to confirm, ordain to all orders, consecrate, anoint, impose penance, and excommunicate, but they had to decide land questions concerning lands in frank almoin, all probate and nullity of marriage cases, and to do all the legal work of a king's baron besides. The judicial duties lay heavily upon him. He used to say that a bishop's case was harder than a lord warden's or a mayor's, for he had to be always on the bench; they only sometimes. They might look after their family affairs, but he could hardly ever handle the cure of souls. For the second or third time he sent messengers to ask Papal leave to resign, but Innocent, knowing that "no one can safely be to the fore who would not sooner be behind," rejected the petition with indignation; and Pharaoh-like increased his tasks the more by making him legate in nearly every important case of appeal. People who had nothing to rely upon except the justice of their cause against powerful opponents, clamoured for the Lincoln judgments, which then neither fear nor hope could trim, and which were as skilful as they were upright, so that men, learned in the law, ascribed it to the easy explanation of miracles that a comparative layman should steer his course so finely.

In the various disputes between monks and bishops, which were a standing dish in most dioceses, he took an unbiassed line. In the long fight waged by Archbishop Baldwin first and then by Hubert Walter with the monks of Canterbury, which began in 1186, and was not over until Hugh was dead, he rather favoured the side of the monastery. Yet we find him speaking multa aspera, many stinging things to their spokesman, and recommending, as the monk said, prostration before the archbishop. His words to the archbishop have been already quoted. With Carlyle's Abbot Sampson and the Bishop of Ely he was appointed by Innocent to hush the long brawl. The Pope, tired and angry, wrote (September, 1199) to the commissioners to compel the archbishop, even with ecclesiastical censures. They reply rather sharply to his holiness that he is hasty and obscure; and so the matter dragged on. Then in 1195 the inevitable Geoffrey Plantagenet, the bastard, Archbishop of York, before mentioned, has a lively dispute with his canons. Hugh is ordered by the Pope to suspend him, but would rather be suspended (by the neck) himself. Geoffrey certainly was a little extreme, even for those days—a Broad Churchman indeed. He despises the Sacraments, said the canons, he hunts, hawks, fights, does not ordain, dedicate, or hold synods, but chases the canons with armed men and robs them; but Hugh, though he cannot defend the man, seems to know better of him, and at any rate will not be a mere marionette of Rome. Geoffrey, indeed, came out nobly in the struggles with king John in later story, as a defender of the people. Then there is the dispute between the Bishop of Coventry, another striking bishop, who brought stout fellows against the saucy monks. He had bought their monastery for three hundred marks of the king, and when they would not budge, he chased them away with beating and maiming, sacked their house, burnt their charters, and so on. Hugh was against this too vigorous gentleman, who was clearly indefensible; but it was by no means because he was blindly prejudiced in favour of monks, for he seems to have supported the Bishop of Rochester against his monks. These disputes of astonishing detail, are very important in the history of the church, as by their means the Papal Empire grew to a great height of power; and however little the bishops' methods commend themselves, the monasteries, which became rebel castles in every diocese, were very subversive of discipline, and their warfare equally worldly.

In cases less ecclesiastical, we have a glimpse of Hugh defending two young orphans against Jordan of the Tower, the most mighty of Londoners. This powerful robber of the weak came to the court with an army of retainers, king's men and London citizens, to overawe all opposition. The "father of orphans" made a little speech on the occasion which has come down to us. "In truth, Jordan, although you may have been dear to us, yet against God we can yield nothing to you. But it is evident that against your so many and great abetters it is useless not only for these little ones to strive, but even for ourselves and our fellow judges. So what we shall do, we wish you to know. Yet I speak for my own self. I shall free my soul. I shall therefore write to my lord the Pope that you alone in these countries traverse his jurisdiction; you alone strive to nullify his authority." The vociferous and well-backed Jordan took the hint. He dismounted from his high horse, and the orphans got their own again. But these and like duties were a heavy cross to Hugh. He hoped to be excused of God because he obeyed orders, rather than rewarded because he did well. Like Cowley, he looked upon business as "the frivolous pretence of human lusts to shake off innocence." He would not even look at his own household accounts, but delegated such work to trustworthy folk, while these behaved well. If they misbehaved he quickly detected it and sent them packing.

We have now reached the year A.D. 1200. King John has been crowned for a year. Hugh was not present at this ceremony, and the king, anxious still for his support, sends for him to be present at the great peace he was concluding with France. By this treaty the Dauphin was to marry Blanche of Castile and become Earl of Evreux, a dangerous earldom, and Philip was to drop the cause of young Arthur and give up debateable Vexin. Hugh also was tempted over seas by the hope of visiting his old haunts, which he felt must be done now or never, for health and eyesight were failing him, and he needed this refreshment for his vexed soul. It was in the Chateau Gaillard again that he met the king, left him in the sweet spring time at the end of May, for a pilgrim tour to shrines and haunts of holy men living and dead—a pilgrimage made possible by the new peace.

Here it must be confessed that modern sympathy is apt to falter, for though we can understand the zeal of American tourists for chips of palaces and the communal moral code peculiar to archaeologists, coin collectors, and umbrella snatchers, we cannot understand the enthusiasm which the manliest, holiest, and robustest minds then displayed for relics, for stray split straws and strained twigs from the fledged bird's nests whence holy souls had fled to other skies. To us these things mean but little; but to Hugh they meant very much. The facts must be given, and the reader can decide whether they are beauty spots or warts upon the strong, patient, brave face upon which they appear.

His first objective, when he left the Andelys, was Meulan, and there he "approached St. Nicasius." This saint, a very fine fellow, had been Bishop of Rheims, eight hundred years before. When the Vandals invaded the land he had advanced to meet them with a procession of singers and got an ugly sword cut, which lopt off a piece of his head. He went on still singing till he dropped dead. This brave fellow's skull Hugh took in his hands, worshipped the saint, gave gold; and then tried hard to tweak out one of his teeth: but such dentistry was unavailing. He then put his fingers into the nostrils which had so often drawn in the sweet odour of Christ and got with ease a lovely little bone, which had parted the eyes, kissed it and felt a richer hope of being directed into the way of peace and salvation; for so great a bishop would certainly fix his spiritual eyes upon him after this.

Next he went to St. Denis, where he prayed long at the tombs of the saints. The scholars of Paris, of all breeds, turned out in crowds to see a man, who, after St. Nicholas, had done so much good to clerks. Kisses, colloquies and invitations rained upon him, but he chose to lodge in the house of his relative Reimund. This man he had made Canon of Lincoln, and he afterwards refused to buy off King John and became an exile for conscience and the patron of exiles, and thus was in life and character a true son of St. Hugh. Among the visitors here were the Dauphin Lewis and Arthur of Brittany. The latter turned up his nose when told to live in love and peace with Uncle John; but Lewis carried off the bishop to cheer his weeping political bride Blanche, lately bartered into the match. The good bishop walked to the palace, and Blanche bore a merry face and a merry heart after he had talked with her.

The next place was Troyes, and here a wretch came with a doleful story. He had been bailiff to the Earl of Leicester, had torn a rogue from sanctuary at Brackley; had been excommunicated by Hugh, with all his mates. They had submitted and been made to dig up the putrid body and carry it a mile, clad only in their drawers, be whipped at every church door they passed, bury the body with their own hands, and then come to Lincoln for more flogging: and all this in the winter. This sentence frightened the bailiff, who bolted; but ill-luck dogged him. He lost his place, his money, and at last came to beg for shrift and punishment. Hugh gave him a seven years' penance and he went on his way rejoicing.

The next great place was Vienne on the Rhone. Here were the ashes of St. Anthony of the Desert, wrapped in the tunic of Paul, the first hermit. The Carthusian Bruno had caught the enthusiasm for solitude from these ambulatory ashes, which had travelled from Alexandria to Constantinople and so to Vienne in 1070. Of course they were working miracles, chiefly upon those afflicted by St. Anthony's fire. The medical details are given at some length, and the cures described in the Great Life. For the general reader it is enough to say that Hugh said Mass near the precious but plain chest, and that he gave a good sum for the convalescent home where the poor sufferers were housed. Whether change of air, a hearty diet, and strong faith be enough to arrest this (now rare) disease is a scientific question rather than a theological one; but if, as we are told, St. Anthony sent thunder bolts upon castles and keeps where his pilgrims were maltreated, his spirit was somewhat of that Boanerges type which is flatly snubbed in the Gospel. From Vienne Hugh went to his own Grenoble among those mountains which have, as Ruskin says, "the high crest or wall of cliff on the top of their slopes, rising from the plain first in mounds of meadow-land and bosses of rock and studded softness of forest; the brown cottages peeping through grove above grove, until just where the deep shade of the pines becomes blue or purple in the haze of height, a red wall of upper precipice rises from the pasture land and frets the sky with glowing serration."{26} A splendid procession came out to welcome him, and the city was hung with festoons of flowers and gay silken banners. He was led with chaunting to the cathedral of St. John Baptist, his particular saint, and that of his Order, upon the very feast of the great herald. There he sang the High Mass with intense devoutness, and after the gospel preached to the people, "giving them tears to drink," but in moderation, for he begged all their prayers for his littleness and unworthiness, whereas they knew quite well what a good and great fellow he was. Then he christened his own nephew, the heir of Avalon, whose uncle Peter was present, and the Bishop of Grenoble was godfather. The hitherto unbaptised boy was actually seven years old. Perhaps he had waited for Uncle Hugh to christen him, and when he had that honour he was not named Peter, as they proposed, but John, in honour of the place and day. Adam records that he taught the little fellow his alphabet and to spell from letters placed above the altar of St. John Baptist at Bellay.

Then he left for the Grande Chartreuse, having to foot it most of the way up the mountains, sweating not a little, for he was of some diameter, but he out-walked his companions. He took care to drop in while the brothers were having their midday siesta, and he was careful not to be of the least trouble. Indeed, for three weeks he put off the bishop, as he did at Witham, and his insignia all but the ring, and became a humble monk once more. The clergy and the laity hurried to see him from the district, and the poor jostled to behold their father; and each one had dear and gracious words, and many found his hand second his generous tongue. Some days he spent at the lower house. Here, too, he compounded an old and bitter feud between the bishop and the Count of Geneva whereby the one was exiled and the other excommunicate.

Near the end of his stay he made a public present to the House, a silver casket of relics, which he used to carry in his hand in procession at dedications. These were only a part of his collection, for he had a ring of gold and jewels, four fingers broad, with hollow spaces for relics. At his ardent desire and special entreaty the monks of Fleury once gave him a tooth from the jaws of St. Benedict, the first founder and, as it were, grandfather of his and other Orders. This came with a good strip of shroud to boot, and the goldsmith appeared, tools and all, warned by a dream, from Banbury to Dorchester to enshrine the precious ivory. The shred of shroud was liberally divided up among abbots and religious men, but the tooth, after copious kissing, was sealed up in the ring. At Fechamp once (that home of relics!) they kept a bone of St. Mary Magdalen, as was rashly asserted, sewed up in silks and linen. He begged to see it, but none dared show it: but he was not to be denied. Whipping up a penknife from his notary, he had off the covers pretty quickly, and gazed at and kissed it reverently. Then he tried to break off a bit with his fingers, but not a process would come away. He then tried to nibble a snippet, but in vain. Finally, he put the holy bone to his strong back teeth and gave a hearty scrunch. Two tit-bits came off, and he handed them to the trembling Adam, saying, "Excellent man, keep these for us." The abbots and monks were first struck dumb, then quaked, and then boiled with indignation and wrath. "Oh! oh! Abominable!" they yelled. "We thought the bishop wanted to worship these sacred and holy things, and lo! he has, with doggish ritual, put them to his teeth for mutilation." While they were raging he quieted them with words which may give us the key to such otherwise indecent behaviour. Suppose they had been having a great Sacramental dispute, and some, as is likely, had maintained against the bishop that the grinding of the Host by the teeth of any communicant meant the grinding of Christ's very body, then it becomes evident that Hugh put this their belief to rather a rough proof, or reproof. Anyhow, he posed them with this answer, "Since a short time back we handled together the most saintly body of the Saint of Saints with fingers granted unworthy; if we handled It with our teeth or lips, and passed It on to our inwards, why do we not also in faith so treat the members of his saints for our defence, their worship, and the deepening of our memory of them, and acquire, so far as opportunity allows, what we are to keep with due honour?"

At Peterborough they had the arm of St. Oswald, which had kept fresh for over five centuries. A supple nerve which protruded Hugh had sliced off and put in this wonderful ring. This, though he had offered it to the high altar at Lincoln, he would have left to the Charterhouse; but Adam reminded him of the fact, so instead thereof he ordered a golden box full of the relics he gave them to be sent after his death.

With mutual blessings he took his last leave of the Grande Chartreuse, and left it in the body, though his heart and mind could never be dislodged from its desert place. This place was his father and his mother, but Lincoln, he did not forget, was his wife.


{26} "Modern Painters," iv. 253.



After a brief visit to the Priory of St. Domninus Hugh made for Villarbenoit, his old school and college in one; but first he went to Avalon Castle, where his stout backers and brothers, William and Peter, ruled over their broad lands, who always had heartened and encouraged him in his battles for the liberties of the Church. Here "nobles, middle-class men, and the lowest people" received him with delight, and he spent two days at this his birthplace, and so on to Villarbenoit, and a fine dance his coming made for them all. He gave the Church a noble Bible worth ten silver marks, and passed to the cell of St. Maximin. Here aged hobblers and white-haired seniors, bowed mothers and women advanced in years, walled round him in happy throng. The bright-eyed lady of his unrest, possibly, was among these last, and they all bore witness to his early holiness, and prophesied his future niche in the calendar. After one more night at Avalon he set out for England.

At Bellay the incautious canons allowed him to undo a sacred little bundle which held three fingers of St. John Baptist, which they trusted him to kiss, although for many years no one had even looked upon such awful articulations. After confession, absolution, and prayer the bones were bared, and he touched "the joints which had touched God's holy head," kissed them, and signed the prostrate worshippers with them with the holy sign. Then he cut off a good piece of the ancient red cloth which had covered them and handed it to Adam. Thence he visited three more Charterhouses. In one of these, Arvieres, he met a man of his own age, Arthault by name, who had resigned his bishopric and was ending his days as a holy monk. In full chapter the bishop and the ex-bishop met. Arthault, knowing Hugh had been at the peace-making between France and England, asked him to tell them the terms of the peace; but the latter smiled and said, "My lord father, to hear and carry tales is allowable to bishops, but not to monks. Tales must not come to cells or cloister. We must not leave towns and carry tales to solitude." So he turned the talk to spiritual themes. Perhaps he saw that it is easier to resign a bishopric than to forsake the world altogether.

The next important place was Clugny, where they read him a chapter from St. Gregory's "Pastoral Care," and extorted the compliment from him that their well-ordained house would have made him a Clugniac if he had not been a Carthusian. Thence he went to Citeaux and said Mass for the Assumption (August 15th), and passed on to Clairvaux. Here he met John, the ex-Archbishop of Lyons, who was meditating away the last days of his life. Hugh asked him what scriptures most helped his thoughts, and the reply must have struck an answering chord in the questioner, "To meditate entirely upon the Psalms has now usurped my whole inward being. Inexhaustible refreshment always comes new from these. Such is fresh daily, and always delicious to the taste of the inner man." Hugh's devotion to the Psalms is evidenced by many passages in his life, and not least by the fact that he divided the whole Psalter among the members of the Chapter so that it should be recited throughout every day. His own share included three Psalms, i., ii., and iii., and if the reader tries to look at these through the saint's eyes he will see much in them that he has not hitherto suspected to be there.

He stopped a couple of days at Rheims, and was astonished at the good store of books the library owned. He "blamed the slothful carelessness of modern times, which not only failed to imitate the literary activity of the Fathers in making and writing books, but neither read nor reverently treated the sacred manuscripts the care of the Fathers had provided." His own conduct in this respect, both at Witham and Lincoln, was far otherwise. He took pains about the library at each place. His gifts to Lincoln were—(1) Two great volumes of sermons by the Catholic doctors for the whole year. (2) A little book of the Father's Life with a red covering. (3) A Psalter with a large gloss.{27} (4) A Homeliary in stag's leather, beginning "Erunt signa." And (5) A Martyrology with the text of the four Gospels. At Rheims, too, he also saw and worshipped the vessel of holy oil, which was used for anointing the kings of France. Then he made his way to the northern coast to St. Omer's Camp. He would not put to sea at once lest he should fail of his Mass on Our Lady's birthday. He had been unwell for some days with quartan fever, and tried bleeding, but it did him no good. He could not eat, but was obliged to go and lie down upon his small bed. He broke into violent sweats, and for three days hardly tasted food. On the 7th of September he would travel ten miles to Clercmaretz Abbey to keep the feast. He slept in the infirmary, where two monks waited on him, but could get him to eat nothing. He said there his last Mass but one, and still fasting went back to St. Omers. He felt a good deal better after this, and went on to Wissant, where he made the usual invocations to Our Lady and St. Ann, and had a safe, swift passage, and immediately upon landing said his last Mass, probably at St. Margaret's Church, in Dover. He never missed a chance of saying Mass if he could, though it was not said daily in his time. But he would not allow his chaplain to celebrate if he had been lately bled, reproved him for the practice, and when he did it again very sharply rebuked him.

From Dover he went to Canterbury, and prayed long and earnestly, first at the Saviour altar and then at the tombs of the holy dead,{28} and especially at the mausoleum of St. Thomas. The monastic flock (still sub judice) led him forth with deep respect. The news spread that he was ill, and the royal justiciaries and barons visited him and expressed their sympathy and affection in crowds, which must have considerably heightened his temperature. He explained to them with placid face that the scourge of the Lord was sweet to His servants, and what he said he enacted. "But He, the head Father of the Family, who had put forth His hand to cut him down, withdrew not the sickle from reaping the stalk, which he had now seen white to the harvest." One of the signs of this was the growing dimness of his eyes, much tried by the dust and heat of travel. But he would not have them doctored. "These eyes will be good enough for us as long as we are obliged to use them," he said. He crawled painfully on to London, part of the way on horseback and part by water, and in a high fever took to his bed in his own house, praying to be allowed to reach his anxious family at Lincoln. "I shall never be able to keep away from spiritual presence with our dearest Sons in Christ, whether I be present or absent in the body. But concerning health or my bodily presence, yea, and concerning my whole self, may the will be done of the holy Father which is in Heaven." He had ceased to wish to live, he told his chaplain, for he saw the lamentable things about to come upon the Church of England. "So it is better for us to die than to live and see the evil things for this people and the saints which are ahead. For doubtless upon the family of King Henry the scripture must needs be fulfilled which says there shall not be 'deep rooting from bastard slips' and the 'seed of an unrighteous bed shall be rooted out.' So the modern King of the French will avenge his holy father Lewis upon the offspring of wickedness, to wit, of her who rejected a stainless bed with him and impudently was joined with his rival, the king of the English. For this, that French Philip will destroy the stock royal of the English, like as an ox is wont to lick up the grass to its roots. Already three of her sons have been cut off by the French, two kings that is, and one prince. The fourth, the survivor, will have short peace at their hands." The next day, St. Matthew's, was his episcopal birthday, and he kept it up by having, for the first time in his life, the anointing of the sick. He first made a most searching confession to his chaplain, and then to the Dean of Lincoln, the Precentor, and the Archdeacon of Northampton.{29} He hesitated not to confess sins often before confessed to many, and made so straight, keen, and full a story of what he had left undone and what he had done that they never heard the like; and he often repeated, "The evildoing is mine, truly, solely, and wholely. The good, if there is any, is not so. It is mixed with evil; it is everywhere gross with it. So it is neither truly nor purely good." The Sacrament was brought him at nine o'clock the next day, and he flung himself from his bed, clad in his hair shirt and cowl, with naked feet, knelt, worshipped, and prayed long before it, recalling the infinite benefits of the Saviour to the children of men, commending his sinfulness to Christ's mercy, asking for help to the end and imploring with tears never to be left. Then he was houselled and anointed. He said, "Now let our doctors and our diseases meet, as far as may be. In our heart there will be less trouble about them both. I have committed myself to Him, received Him, shall hold Him, stick to Him, to whom it is good to stick, Whom to hold is blessed. If a man receives Him and commits himself to Him he is strong and safe." He was then told to make his will, and said it was a tiresome new custom, for all he had was not his, but belonged to the church he ruled; but lest the civil officer should take all, he made his will. "If any temporal goods should remain after my death in the bishopric, now here all which I seem to possess I hand over to the Lord Jesus Christ, to be bestowed upon the poor." The executors were the dean and the two archdeacons. After this simple but not surprising will he called for his stole and anathematized all who should knavishly keep back, or violently carry off, any of his goods, or otherwise frustrate his executors.

He grew worse. He confessed daily the lightest thought or word of impatience against his nurses. He was much in prayer, and he had the offices said at the right times however ill he was. He sang with the psalm-singers while he could. If they read or sang carelessly or hurriedly, he chastened them with a terrible voice and insisted upon clear pronunciation and perfect time. He made every one stand and sit by turns, so that while one set were resting the other were reverencing the divine and angelic presences. He had always been punctilious about the times of prayer and used always to withdraw from the bench to say his offices when they were due.

King John came in one day, but the bishop, who could sit up for his food, neither rose nor sat to greet him. The king said that he and his friends would do all they could for him. Then he sent out the courtiers and sat long and talked much and blandly; but Hugh answered very little, but shortly asked him to see to his and other bishops' wills and commended Lincoln to his protection; but he despaired of John and would not waste his beautiful words upon him. After the king, the archbishop came several times, and promised also to do what he could for him. The last time he came he hinted that Hugh must not forget to ask pardon from any he had unjustly hurt or provoked by word or deed. No answer from the bed! Then he became a little more explicit and said that he, Hugh's spiritual father and primate, had often been most bitterly provoked, and that really his forgiveness was most indispensible. The reply he got was more bracing than grateful. Archbishops rarely hear such naked verities. "It is quite true, and I see it well when I ponder all the hidden things of our conscience, that I have often provoked you to angers. But I do not find a single reason for repenting of it; but I know this, that I must grieve that I did not do it oftener and harder. But if my life should have to be passed longer with you I most firmly determine, under the eyes of all-seeing God, to do it much oftener than before. I can remember how, to comply with you, I have often and often been coward enough to keep back things which I ought to have spoken out to you, and which you would not well have brooked to hear, and so by my own fault I have avoided offence to you rather than to the Father which is in Heaven. On this count, therefore, it is that I have not only transgressed against God heavily and unbishoply, but against your fatherhood or primacy. And I humbly ask pardon for this." Exit the archbishop!

Now his faithful Boswell gives elaborate details of Hugh's long dying, not knowing that his work would speak to a generation which measures a man's favour with God by the oily slipperiness with which he shuffles off his clay coil. It was a case of hard dying, redoubled paroxysms, fierce fever, and bloody flux, and dreadful details. He would wear his sackcloth, and rarely change it, though it caked into knots which chafed him fiercely. But, though the rule allowed, he would not go soft to his end, however much his friends might entreat him to put off the rasping hair. "No, no, God forbid that I should. This raiment does not scrape, but soothe; does not hurt, but help," he answered sternly. He gave exact details of how he was to be laid on ashes on the bare earth at the last with no extra sackcloth. No bishops or abbots being at hand to commend him at the end, the monks of Westminster were to send seven or eight of their number and the Dean of St. Paul's a good number of singing clerks. His body was to be washed with the greatest care, to fit it for being taken to the holy chapel of the Baptist at Lincoln, and laid out by three named persons and no others. When it reached Lincoln it was to be arrayed in the plain vestments of his consecration, which he had kept for this. One little light gold ring, with a cheap water sapphire in it, he selected from all that had been given him. He had worn it for functions, and would bear it in death, and have nothing about him else to tempt folk to sacrilege. The hearers understood, foolishly, from this that he knew his body would be translated after its first sepulture, and for this reason he had it cased in lead and solid stone that no one should seize or even see his ornaments when he was moved. "You will place me," he said, "before the altar of my aforesaid patron, the Lord's forerunner, where there seems fitting room near some wall, in such wise that the tomb shall not inconveniently block the floor, as we see in many churches, and cause incomers to trip or fall." Then he had his beard and nails trimmed for death. Some of his ejaculations in his agonies are preserved. "O kind God, grant us rest. O good Lord and true God, give us rest at last." When they tried to cheer him by saying that the paroxysm was over he said, "How really blessed are those to whom even the last judgment day will bring unshaken rest." They told him his judgment day would be the day when he laid by the burden of the flesh. But he would not have it. "The day when I die will not be a judgment day, but a day of grace and mercy," he said. He astonished his physicians by the robust way in which he would move, and his manly voice bated nothing of its old power, though he spoke a little submissively. The last lection he heard was the story of Lazarus and Martha, and when they reached the words, "Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died," he bade them stop there. The funeral took up the tale where the reader left off, "I am the Resurrection and the Life."

They reminded him that he had not confessed any miscarriages of justice of which he had been guilty through private love or hate. He answered boldly, "I never remember that I knowingly wrested the truth in a judicial sentence either from hate or love, no, nor from hope or fear of any person or thing whatsoever. If I have gone awry in judgments it was a fault either of my own ignorance or assuredly of my assistants."

The leeches hoped much from meat, and, though the Order forbade it, his obedience was transferred to Canterbury. His friends posted off and got not only a permit, but a straight order enjoining this diet upon him. He said that neither for taste nor for medicine could he be prevailed upon to eat flesh. "But to avoid offending so many reverend men, and, too, lest, even in the state of death, we should fail to follow in the footsteps of Him who became obedient even unto death, let flesh be given to us. Now at the last we will freely eat it, sauced with brotherly love." When he was asked what he would like he said that he had read that the sick fathers had been given pig's trotters. But he made small headway with these unseasonable viands or with the poor "little birds" they next gave him. On the 16th of November, at sunset, the monks and clerks arrived. Hugh had strength to lay his hand upon Adam's head and bless him and the rest. They said to him, "Pray the Lord to provide a profitable pastor for your church," but their voices were dim in his ears, and only when they had asked it thrice he said, "God grant it!" The third election brought in great Grosseteste.

The company then withdrew for compline, and as they ended the xci. Psalm, "I will deliver him and bring him to honour," he was laid upon the oratory floor on the ashes, for he had given the sign; and while they chaunted Nunc Dimittis with a quiet face he breathed out his gallant soul, passing, as he had hoped, at Martinmas-tide "from God's camp to His palace, from His hope to His sight," in the time of that saint whom he greatly admired and closely resembled.

They washed his white, brave body, sang over it, watched it all night in St. Mary's Church, ringed it with candles, sang solemn Masses over it, embalmed it with odours, and buried the bowels near the altar in a leaden vessel. All London flocked, priests with crosses and candles, people weeping silently and aloud, every man triumphant if he could even touch the bier. Then they carried him in the wind and the rain, with lads on horseback holding torches (which never all went out at once), back to his own children. They started on Saturday{30} for Hertford, and by twilight next day they had reached Biggleswade on the Ivell, where he had a house, wherein the company slept. The mourning crowds actually blocked the way to the church. The bier was left in the church that Sunday night.

By Monday they got to Buckden, and on the Tuesday they had got as far as Stamford, but the crowds were so great here that hardly could they fight their way through till the very dead of the night. The body, of course, was taken into the church; and a pious cobbler prayed to die, and lo! die he did, having only just time for confession, shrift, and his will; and way was made for him in death, though he could not get near the bier in life. The story recalled to Adam's mind a saying of his late master when people mourned too immoderately for the dead—"What are you about? What are you about? By Saint Nut" (that was his innocent oath), "by Saint Nut, it would indeed be a great misfortune for us if we were never allowed to die." He would praise the miraculous raising of the dead, but he thought that sometimes a miraculous granting of death is still more to be admired. At Stamford they bought horn lanterns instead of wax torches, for these last guttered so in the weather that the riders got wax all over their hands and clothes. Then they made for Ancaster, and on Thursday they came to Lincoln. Here were assembled all the great men of the realm, who came out to meet the bier. The kings of England and Scotland, the archbishops, bishops, abbots, and barons were all there. No man so great but he thought himself happy to help carry that bier up the hill. Shoulders were relieved by countless hands, these by other hands. The greatest men struggled for this honour. The rains had filled the streets with mud above the ankles, sometimes up to men's knees. All the bells of the town tolled and every church sang hymns and spiritual songs. Those who could not touch the bier tossed coins upon the hearse which held the body. Even the Jews came out and wept and did what service they could.

The body was taken to a bye place off the cathedral{31} and dressed as he had ordered—with ring, gloves, staff, and the plain robes. They wiped the balsam from his face, and found it first white, but then the cheeks grew pink. The cathedral was blocked with crowds, each man bearing a candle. They came in streams to kiss his hands and feet and to offer gold and silver, and more than forty marks were given that day. John of Leicester laid a distich at his feet, much admired then, but "bald as his crown" to our ears:

"Staff to the bishops, to the monks a measure true, Counsel for schools, kings' hammer—such behold was Hugh!"

The next day at the funeral his cheap vestments were torn in pieces by the relic-hunting, which it must be confessed he had done nothing to check; and he was buried near the wall not far from the altar of St. John Baptist, and, as seemed more suitable for the crowds who came there, on the northern side of the building itself.{32}

This tremendous funeral long lived in men's memory, and there is a far prettier verse about it than the old distich of John—

"A' the bells o' merrie Lincoln Without men's hands were rung, And a' the books o' merrie Lincoln Were read without man's tongue; And ne'er was such a burial Sin' Adam's days begun."

Passing by the shower of gold rings, necklaces, and bezants which were given at his shrine, it is certain that the coals of enthusiasm were blown by the report of miracles, never for very long together kept at bay by mediaeval writers. While wishing to avoid the affirmatio falsi and to give no heed to lying fables, we must not risk being guilty of a suppressio veri. The miracles at the tomb come in such convenient numbers that their weight, though it possibly made the guardians of the shrine, yet breaks the tottering faith of the candid reader. But some are more robust, and for them there is a lively total which makes Giraldus's lament for the fewness of miracles in his day seem rather ungrateful. "Four quinsies"—well, strong emotion will do much for quinsies. "One slow oozing"—the disease being doubtful, we need not dispute the remedy. "Three paralytics"—in the name of Lourdes, let them pass. "Three withered, two dumb, two hunchbacks, one boy dead"—here we falter. "One jaundice case" sounds likelier; "one barren woman" need not detain us. "Four dropsies, four blind, and nine lunatics"—and now we know the worst of it. It would have been a great deal easier to accept the whole in a venture (or forlorn hope) of faith if Hugh had witnessed and some one else performed these miracles, for he had a scrupulously veracious mind. He was so afraid of even the shadow of a lie that he used to attemper what he said with words of caution whenever he repeated what he had done or heard: "that is only as far as I recollect." He would not clap his seal to any letter which contained any questionable statement. "We remember to have cited you elsewhere," a common legal phrase, would damn a document if he did not remember, literally and personally, to have done so. His influence, too, can be discerned in the candid Adam, whose honest tale often furnishes us with an antidote to his impossible surmises. But veracity, unfortunately, is not highly infectious, and it is a little difficult not to believe that the high and serene virtues of the great man gone were promptly exploited for the small men left. One miracle there seems no reason to doubt. John, in an almost maudlin fit of emotional repentance, made peace at the funeral with his Cistercian enemies and founded them a home at Beaulieu in the New Forest. Indeed, these were the true miracles which recommended Hugh to the English people, so that they regarded him as a saint indeed, and clamoured for him to be called one formally—the miracles wrought upon character, the callous made charitable, liars truthful, and the lechers chaste; the miracles of justice, of weak right made strong against proud might, and poor honesty made proof against rich rascality; the miracle of England made the sweeter and the handsomer for this humble and heavenly stranger.

The later history need not detain us long. His body was moved, says Thomas Wykes in the Annales Monastici, in the year 1219. Perhaps—and this is a mere guess—the place where his body lay was injured at the time of the battle and capture of Lincoln two years before; and for better protection the coffin was simply placed unopened in that curious position two-thirds into the wall of the apse foundation, where it was found in our day. In 1220 he was canonized by Pope Honorius III., who was then at Viterbo organising a crusade, after a report vouching for the miracles drawn up by the great Archbishop Stephen Langton and John of Fountains, a just and learned man, afterwards Treasurer of England.

Sixty years later, that is to say, in 1280, John Peckham, the pious friar archbishop, Oliver Sutton, the cloister-building Bishop of Lincoln, and others, among them King Edward I. and his good wife Eleanor, opened the tomb and lifted out the body into a shrine adorned with gold and jewels and placed it upon a marble pedestal in the Angel Choir, either where the modern tomb of Queen Eleanor now stands or just opposite. The head came away and sweated wonder-working oils, and was casketted and placed at the end of the present Burghersh tombs, as a shrine of which the broken pedestal and the knee-worn pavement are still to be seen. The body was placed in a shrine cased with plates of gold and silver, crusted with gems, and at the last protected by a grille of curious wrought iron. A tooth, closed in beryl with silver and gilt, appears as a separate item in the Reformation riflings. The history of both shrines and of the bones they held is a tale by itself, like most true tales ending in mystery. Perhaps, as King Henry VIII. had not much veneration for holy bones, but, like our enlightened age, much preferred gold, silver, and jewels, his destroying angels may have left the relics of Hugh's forsaken mortality to the lovely cathedral, where his memory, after seven centuries, is still pathetically and tenderly dear.


{27} Which alone still survives.

{28} Dunstan, Alphege, Lanfranc, Anselm, and others presumably.

{29} Roger de Roldeston, William de Blois, and Richard of Kent.

{30} November 18, 1200.

{31} Possibly on the site where St. Hugh's chapel now stands in desolation.

{32} A boreali ipsius aedis regione, not of the cathedral, but of the new honeycomb apse, please.


* * * * *

Transcriber's note

A few obvious typographical errors have been corrected; they and other possible errors are listed below.

Inconsistent hyphenation: nowadays (now-a-days), brushwood (brush-wood), footprints (foot-prints)

Chapter I

"Under the smoothe" corrected to "Under the smooth".

Chapter II

"seiges of Milan" not changed.

"beseiges their city" not changed.

"lord of Normany" corrected to "lord of Normandy".

"Manuel Commenus" probable error for "Manuel Comnenus". Not changed.

"post-Hugonian" possible error for "Post-Hugonian". Not changed.

Chapter III

"was thorougly understood" corrected to "was thoroughly understood".

"between Normany and England" corrected to "between Normandy and England".

"audibly says, 'Oh," corrected to "audibly says, "Oh,".

"They ought to chose" corrected to "They ought to choose".

Chapter IV

"prae-Edwardian" not changed.

Chapter V

"beseiged in Lincoln" not changed.

"to smoothe those English" corrected to "to smooth those English".

Chapter VI

"neural tremours" not changed.

Chapter VIII

Opening double quotation marks (signifying continued quotation) are missing from the paragraphs starting "These things, described but puerilely" and "The foundation is the body", and have not been added.


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