« AnkstesnisTęsti »
1828. George Creed, Surgeon to the Suffolk Hospital.' The rare volume turned out to be nothing less than a long account of the trial of this said William Corder for a terrible murder committed at Bury. Our guide was manifestly disappointed that we showed no signs of enthusiasm over the highly prized volume with its gruesome binding. 'Most people think it a great curiosity,' he remarked disappointedly; look here at what the Rev J. M. Bellew wrote in it, when it was shown to him; and we read the following which that gentleman had been pleased to write there. "The execution done on Cawdor." Drury Lane Theatre, night of execution of W. Corder, when this line was repeated, a man from the gallery exclaimed, "Yes, he was hung this morning at Bury." Anecdote told to the Rev. J. M. Bellew by William Charles Macready. Bury, April 4, 1865.'
At the museum we parted with our guide, and, sketchbook in hand, we proceeded to 'do' the rest of the noteworthy sights of the place on our own account. We first made our way to the grand old Norman tower, built in 1090 by the Abbot Baldwin, which was formerly known as the Great Gateway of St. Edmunds. This unique and wellpreserved specimen of Norman architecture is possibly the finest of its kind in the world. It is grandly massive and effective, as though built for all time. How solid and enduring the old Normans made their structures, how they contrast with the mean, flimsy contract work of to-day! If they built not gracefully, they built mightily; they combined
massiveness with simplicity, a style of gloomy grandeur in truth, but always impressive and one that well expresses the austerity of the times. On the front of this grand tower we noticed the crossing of the round Norman arches, forming smaller pointed ones. Doubtless some similar ornamentation suggested the later Gothic arch, and so it may be that the light graceful Gothic was evolved from the stern and solemn Norman. At any rate such a supposition seems quite as reasonable as the far-fetched idea (seriously, however, supported by some good authorities) that Gothic architecture was originally suggested by the interlacing branches of an avenue of trees, though it must be confessed that an avenue of ancient elms, with their trunks doing duty for pillars, bears some distant resemblance to the centre aisle of a cathedral. I use the term 'centre aisle' as one that is frequently though wrongly employed; the word aisle' (derived from the Latin ala, a wing) means really a side passage separated from a central part, so that in truth the expression central aisle' is a meaningless misnomer. The term is, however, convenient even though incorrect, as is also the common saying that the sun rises and sets, when it does nothing of the kind, but stands still whilst the earth turns round.
Near to the old Norman tower stands St. Mary's church, one of the finest churches in all England. The truly magnificent open timber roof here (of the effective hammer beam' type), carved in Caen long years ago, is alone worth a special journey to Bury to see. It is truly a most wonderful and
beautiful work, a miracle of skilled craftsmanship, and is said by ecclesiologists to be the most perfect and grandest specimen of its kind now existing, though, in our less learned opinion, the splendid carved roof of the little-known church of Cawston, which we had so lately seen (excepting that it is in a wretched state of repair, or disrepair) is little, if any, inferior to it. Nothing surprised or delighted us more on our journey than the wonderful beauty, not to say grandeur, of some of the remote country churches; seldom visited these by strangers, unless they be enthusiastic antiquaries, for they lie wholly out of the pleasure tourist's track. The exceedingly interesting and once splendid church of Sall (whose former glories are, alas! fast decaying from long neglect) was not even mentioned in our guidebook! Most of these ancient Norfolk fanes, and some of the Suffolk ones, are built of flint, cut and carefully squared, joined and laid together with infinite pains. and astonishing accuracy. These old walls and towers, constructed of semi-translucent flint, have a peculiar beauty all their own, a beauty that cannot be approached by ordinary stone, and moreover, flint is the most enduring material that can be employed in building. It does not weather with age; not even granite is so lasting.
The hammer beams of the roof of St. Mary's church are carved to represent various angels, saints, martyrs, kings, and knights. There are no less than forty-two of these in all, each one being a study in itself. Amongst them we noticed St. Lawrence holding a gridiron, St. Edmund, St. Thomas à
TOMB OF MARY TUDOR.
Becket, with a goodly company of angels playing on musical instruments, besides bishops, kings, and armoured knights.
This church contains several tombs of interest. In the chancel we came upon a plain marble tablet, with the following inscribed thereon:
Sacred to the Memory of
Third Daugh of Henry ye 7th, King of England,
and Queen of France.
Who was first married in 1514 to
Monastery of St. Edmund's Bury,
The tomb was opened last century. Why, I wonder? Cannot the noble dead be left to rest in peace, undisturbed by the prying inquisitiveness of man? On that occasion one of the churchwardens cut off a lock of the deceased queen's hair, the flaxen lock that we were shown in the museum.
One of the most ancient altar-tombs is to a John Baret, and though interesting is most ghastly to look upon. The body, laid on the top of the monument, is shown as an emaciated corpse, but a too realistic copy of one that had long been buried. The anatomy of the carving is wonderful, and the figure has a kind of morbid attraction that compels you to look at it whether you will or no. I should not care
to attend service in view of that strange, weird memorial of the dead. On it is written in most perplexing English :
Ho that wil sadly beholde me with his ie
The figure on that monument haunted us for days long after. And such is the end of poor humanity, with all its wonderful genius, its marvellous inventions, and the rare creations of its brain!
All passes,-Art alone
The bust outlasts the throne-
There are some old brasses in the church, but none of special interest; there are likewise some modern ones, the over-perfect, precise-cut lettering of which is in marked contrast with the feeling, nervous, distinctly non-mechanical engraving of the old work. There is an individuality about the one; the inscriptions on it are full of character, like to the writing of a letter. You feel almost something of the personality of the ancient engraver; the very marks of his tool are still upon them, cut with his own hand. The modern brasses are to the old ones as is a printed leaf to a page of an ancient missal, or the mechanical chromograph to the work of the brush; and surely they are not so very precious as to need placing upon the wall (where a brass should never be), framed in oak and glazed as they are here?
As we glanced back on leaving the church, the view we had was most impressive; the glorious