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of Gelt to receive the disputed tithes.' If this is a mere linguistic coincidence, accidents of this kind seem only to happen at Laner
In 1300 Henry de Burgo, canon of Lanercost, was the bearer of a gift from Edward I. to the high altar of that church2: on 14 March, 1303-4, Henry, canon of Lanercost, appeared as proctor for his house in an act before Archdeacon Peter de Insula of Carlisle he was elected prior about 1310, and died in 1315. As Henry rose in favour among his brethren, and as years lent gravity to his demeanour, it may be permissible to assume that his versification took a similar turn. His rhymes between 1280 and 1290 may be regarded as his best for piquancy and fun. After his elevation to the priorate, verses in his name cease in the Chronicle, and verses with any pretension to local colour vanish altogether after his death.
No discussion of authorship would be complete without reference to the prominence in the Chronicle given to the lords of Gillesland. No franchise, ecclesiastical or secular, receives such attention. In fact the descent of the lordship in the family of Multon is not only unique in the territorial history of the Border counties, but it is singularly accurate. No other lordship has mention of its successive owners. This feature is so obvious that it needs no elaboration. It is odd that Stevenson should have singled out one of those references as incompatible with the Lanercost authorship, whereas the very mention of a paltry suit 5 in the court of Irthington, the capital messuage of Gillesland in 1280, would seem to suggest the opposite. Though the local verdict was of immense interest to the canons, a glorification of the victory over their neighbour and patron, which Stevenson expected, would have been imprudent, not to say dangerous, if the record had ever met his eye. The canons of Lanercost were well aware of the power of their patrons over them, as we know from the history of that house.
From another quarter a charge of inaccuracy has been brought against the chronicler for his account of the territorial descent of Gillesland. In the same year, we are told, died Thomas de Multona secundus,' then lord of Holbeach. It is unlikely, says
the objector, that a canon of Lanercost should have fallen into this mistake, as the Thomas de Multon, who died at that time, was the third and not the second who was lord of Gillesland. The objection wholly fails, inasmuch as the Thomas de Multon, who came between the Thomas primus and the Thomas secundus in the family tree, was never lord of Gillesland at all, his mother, through whom the barony came to that family, having outlived him. Misinterpretation of disjointed entries in this Chronicle. has led to much confused chronology. The account of the espousal of the heiress of the last of the Multons in 1313 and her subsequent rape from the castle of Warwick by the first of the Dacres of Gillesland is so picturesque in detail that scholars have worried themselves over the exact meaning of some of its phraseology.
How came the Chronicle to be so full of Lincolnshire news? After describing the avarice of the canons of Markby in 1289, some features of which he had hesitation to explain in detail, the narrator states that he was unwilling to believe the story till he had the particulars from the lips of a nobleman who lived not more than three miles from the place under discussion. Who was this nobleman? Can there be a doubt that Thomas de Multon, lord of Holbeach, who lived in that neighbourhood, was retailer of the news? In keeping with this we have the accounts of sundry occurrences in Lincolnshire, some of them of little interest beyond the ambit of the county, the communication of which may be ascribed to that family.
In holding an even balance between the rival claims to authorship, the geographical and business relationships of Lanercost should not be omitted. The situation was on one of the highways between England and Scotland. To this circumstance alone may be ascribed many of the sufferings it endured. There was no religious house in Cumberland that was more frequently burned by the Scots, and no district that underwent more pillage than Gillesland. In times of peace Scotsmen came into England by the Maiden Way, the old Roman highway from Roxburgh to Cumberland and the valley of the Eden, for the purpose of trade, as did Fighting Charlie in the days of the Wizard of the North. In recording one of these raids, the chronicler shows how much Lanercost occupied his mind when he tells that the Scots passed near the priory of Lanercost on their return to Scotland.*
2 P. 205.
1 Fine Roll, 12 Edw. I. m. 11.
4 P. 211.
By reason of its business connexions the house had unrivalled opportunities for gathering news relating to the Border districts. Apart from the advantages of its geographical situation, the canons had property in Carlisle, Dumfries, Hexham, Newcastle, and Mitford near Morpeth. From 1202 they were obliged to attend the yearly fair of Roxburgh on St James' Day to pay a pension to the monks of Kelso, issuing from the church of Lazonby, in Cumberland, in which they had a joint interest. Some of their property in Carlisle and Newcastle, not to speak of Dumfries, lay alongside the friaries of the Minorites in these towns. The direct road from Lanercost to Berwick, a town which figures largely in the narrative, passed near Roxburgh and through Kelso,1 and if a return journey was made to visit their Northumberland estates, Berwick would inevitably be a haltingplace. It will be seen, therefore, that within the area of the Lanercost connexions many of the scenes depicted in the printed portion of the Chronicle took place.
If it be admitted that the Chronicle bears evidence of continuous production as the work of more than one author, the presumptions in favour of Lanercost are difficult to set aside. The canon of an Augustinian priory belonged to his house he was the member of a corporation with historic succession: like a family, his house inherited ancestral traditions. If attachment to the house of his profession was a feature of his rule, the direct opposite was the characteristic of the friar's calling. The friar did not belong to a house: local detachment was his glory his individuality was lost in his province. He was a wanderer, a sort of parochial assistant, who went about from place to place under the Bishop's licence to give clerical help where required. Like John Wesley in his palmy days, the friar was incapable of localisation the world was his parish. In addition, the Austin canons in the North of England had a well-deserved reputation as patrons of learning and students of history, for which their constitution well fitted them. Nearly half of their houses in the North produced chronicles, the value of which is appreciated at the present day. Who is not acquainted with the work of John and Richard of Hexham, Alan Frisington of Carlisle, William of Newburgh, Peter Langtoft, Walter of Hemingburgh, John of Bridlington, Stephen Edeson of Wartre, Walter Hilton of Thurgarton, George Ripley, and Robert the Scribe, scholars who shed lustre on the Augustinian institute in Northern England? The 1 Britannia Depicta (1720), pp. 160-162.
Chronicle of Lanercost betrays many symptoms of learning and scholarship in agreement with Augustinian traditions. It requires a robust faith to predicate in the mendicant friar a knowledge of Beda, Chrysostom, Ambrose, Justin Martyr, Gregory, and Augustine, leaving out the Theodosian Code, as the quotation is in some doubt. Whatever imperfections the composition may contain, and nobody wishes to conceal them, the authors may reasonably be acquitted of ignorance of patristic learning. Literary touches of various forms brighten up the dull catena of miracle and legend.
In the light of what has been already stated, it would be hazardous to offer a dogmatic view of the authorship of the Chronicle, but it seems quite reasonable to hold that the preponderance of evidence favours the Augustinian house. In the early vicissitudes of the friars in the Border counties, opportunities for undertaking and continuing such a work simply did not exist. The sources of the Chronicle, so far as they can be conjectured, are a strange mixture of written history and oral tale. Many of the stories there recorded, some of them being in glorification of the Mendicant Orders, were taken down from the lips of a narrator. An Augustinian house with the geographical advantages of Lanercost was well adapted to serve as an emporium of news, and the ubiquitous friars, who often assisted the canons in parochial administration, were convenient agents to collect the supply. But the corpus of the Chronicle, taken as it exists in manuscript, was compiled from written sources, and the institution from which it emanated was well supplied with some of the best materials for the period to which it relates.
1The phrase, teste theodocto, which puzzled Sir Herbert Maxwell (p. 128), should be compared with teste Ezechiele (p. 126) and teste Chrysostomo (p. 135) as clearly correlative. Stevenson should have printed theodocto as a proper name, but the spelling is probably corrupt. The print, however, corresponds with the text of the manuscript. The quotation savours of the style of the Theodosian Code.
Hamilton of Kincavil and the General Assembly of 1563
HE General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has recently
interest. The earlier records of the Assembly are unfortunately most imperfect. Neither the originals nor complete transcripts are known to exist. And The Booke of the Universal Kirke published by the Bannatyne Club, is largely made up of material from various writers, by whom portions of the records bear to be quoted or summarized. In this compilation (vol. i. p. 36) under date 27th June, 1563, appears a short account of the proceedings of the General Assembly anent the case of James Hamilton of Kincavil. This bears to be taken from Calderwood's History of the Church of Scotland. The document which the Assembly has now acquired is an official extract on parchment from the missing Register of the Acts of Assembly, and, as will be seen, it sets forth the proceedings at length.
For its proper understanding a brief statement of facts seems necessary. James, or, as he is generally called, Sir James Hamilton of Kincavil, was the eldest son of Sir Patrick Hamilton of Kincavil, by Margaret Stewart, daughter of the Duke of Albany, and thus the elder brother of Patrick Hamilton, Abbot of Fearn, who was burned at St. Andrews on 29th February, 1528. The circumstances surrounding the condemnation and burning of Patrick Hamilton are still obscure. The hostility of Angus the Regent to a Hamilton can easily be understood. But the martyr was closely related to the Betons, and both the Archbishop and his nephew, the future Cardinal, had shown themselves to be friendly. Stranger still, Sir James Hamilton of Finnart-a bastard son of Arran and thus Patrick's own cousin-in spite of all the ties of kinship, was prominent in the proceedings against him. It seems, too, that only the extraordinary rapidity with which the sentence was carried into effect prevented Sir James Hamilton 1 Woodrow Society, vol. ii. p. 228.