The Monastery of St. PETER.8

The Monastery of St. PETER.

nour of Christ, in the Year of our Lord 170, which afterward was utterly defaced when the Heat of Persecution (under Dioclesian) wasted Britain.

This Place afterward (for a long Time) lay altogether neglected, and not regarded, but became all overgrown with Thorns and Bushes; in so much as the English Saxons named it Thornez, or Thorney, until Sebert King of the East Saxons (or of Essex and Middlesex) who was the first that subscribed to the Worship of Christ, built in that Place a Monastery to Christ and St. Peter, in the Year of Christ 605; whereupon, partly from the Situation to the West, and partly, from the Monastery or Minster, it began to take the Name of Westminster: But afterward, when this Monastery was destroyed in the furious Wars of the Danes, Dunstane, Archbishop of Canterbury (by the Favour of King Edgar) repaired it, and granted, and gave it to a small Company of Monks.

King Sebert built a Monastery in the Place where the Church stood.

The Monastery destroyed by the Danes, and repaired by S. Dunstane.

Afterward, King Edward, surnamed the Confessor, with the Tenths of all his Revenues, built it a-new, to be a Place for his own Sepulcher, and a Monastery for the Monks of St. Bennet's Order, and endowed it with Revenues lying (here and and there) in all Places of England; and it is an ancient Fabrick, and very stately: Since which Time this Monastery hath been (and yet is) very famous, for the Consecration and Coronation of the Kings of England, and the Burial of many of them, and other great Personages, and for the Custody of the Regalia for the Coronation.

The Monastery rebuilded by K. Edward the Confessor.

But 160 Years after, King Henry the Third, pulled down that ancient Fabrick of King Edward, and (with 50 Years Work) built a Church of a most goodly Frame. with a Multitude of Marble Pillars, set in comely Order; whereof he himself laid the first Stone, and covered the Roof with Lead, Anno 1220.

The new Church builded by King Henry 3.

I find, by some Records in the Tower, (communicated to me by a Friend) several things given to this new Church for Ornament, both by the King and his Queen. She set up in S. Edward's Feretory, the Image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. And the King in the 28th of his Reign, which was about the Year 1244, caused Edward Fitz Odo, Keeper of his Works at Westminster, to place upon her Forehead, for Ornament, an Emerald and a Ruby, taken out of two Rings, which the Bishop of Chichester had left the said King for a Legacy. The same Year the King commanded the Keepers of his Works at Westminster, that they should provide for the Abbot of Westminster, one strong and good Beam to support the Bells of the King's Gift, and deliver the said Beam to the Sacristan: And in the 39th of the said King, he gave 100 Shillings, by Payment each half Year, to the Brethren of the Guild at Westminster, and their Successors, who were assigned to ring the great Bells there, to be paid out of his Exchequer, till the King can provide them the Value of 100 Shillings, Land or Rent. In the 24th of his Reign, he gave the Prior three Marks to repair the Organ. In the 28th Year of his Reign he commanded Edward Fitz Odo to make a Dragon in Manner of a Standard or Ensign of certain red Samitt, to be every where adorned with Gold; and his Tongue to be made appearing, as though it continually moved; and his Eyes of Sapphires, or other Stones agreeable to him; and this to be set in St. Peter's Church against the King's coming thither. In the 30th of his Reign, the same King Henry the Third gave the said Church one great Crown of Silver to set Wax Candles upon in the said Church; and he commanded the Keeper of his Exchange to do this out of the Issues thereof, and to buy also out of the said Issues, as precious a Mitreas could be found in the City of London, for the Abbot of Westminster's Use, of the King's Gift. And Lastly, 41st of Henry the Third, about An. 1257, as a farther Ornament for St. Peter's, he ordered a sumptuous Monument to be erected there for his Daughter Katharine deceased, giving Order to his Treasurer and his Chamberlains of the Treasury, to deliver to Mr. Simon de Wells five Mark and an half, for his Expences in going to London for a certain Brass Image to be set upon her Tomb, and returning home again: And upon the same Tomb there was also set a Silver Image. For the making of which, William of Gloucester, the King's Goldsmith, was paid sixty Marks and ten.]

Costly Gifts to this Church.

J. S.

Mr. G. Holmes.

Guild at Westminster.

Ubique auro excencellatus.

Which Church afterward, the Abbots did much enlarge to the Westward. And King Henry the Seventh, in the Year 1502, bestowed 14000 Pounds on the East-side, where he built a Chappel [called Our Lady's Chappel] of admirable Beauty, (which Leland calls the Miracle of the World: For any Man that sees it, may say, that all Elegancy of Workmanship and Matter is couched in it) to be a Place of Sepulture for himself and all his Posterity; wherein (at this Day) is to be seen his own Tomb, most gorgeous and great, made all of solid Brass [where also his Queen lies by him. And in the said King's last Will, dated April 10, Anno 1508, he appointed to be buried there, in a Chappel made by himself, and a Sum of 5000l. is mentioned to be delivered to the Abbot of Westminster, for Masses and Alms; whereof Ten thousand Masses to be said for his Soul at 6d. a Mass, and 2000l. for Alms between his Death and Burial: So much to the City of London, so much to Prisons, &c.

Enlarged Westward.

King Henry the 7th his Chapel.

Buried there.

J. S.

In the Year 1569, this most magnificent Monument of Henry the Seventh, and also of Queen Elizabeth his Wife, received much Damage by a certain lewd Fellow that stole away divers Parcels of Brass and Copper that adorned their Tombs: But he was discovered and punished by Mr. Barnard Randolph, the common Sergeant of London.

The Brass of his Tomb stolen away.

Among the rest of the Lands belonging to this Abbey, was a Garden, they called the Vine Garden; because perhaps Vines anciently were there nourished, and Wine made. It was in King Edward the Sixth's Time enclosed with Houses anfd Buidlings, and other Lands and Meadows, and Pastures belonging to the same; and likewise a certain Parcel of Land called, The Milbank: These were of Value 58s. and given by that King, in the third of his Reign, to Joanna Smith, in Consideration of Service.]

The Vine Garden.

Afterward, when the Monks were expelled by King Henry the Eighth, it was eftsoons converted to divers Governments. First, it had a Dean and Prebendaries: Anon after, a Bishop, and that only one, named Thomas Thurlbey, Anno 1540, when the Revenues of the Church were abridged. He departed thence Anno 1550, being removed to Norwich, and left it to be governed by a Dean.

The Alteration in the Time of Henry the 8th.

A Bishop of Westminster.

Within short Time after, Queen Mary brought in the Monks again, with an Abbot nam'd Feckenham, who not long after being expulsed by Act of Parliament, Queen Elizabeth (of blessed Memory) converted it into a Collegiate Church, or rather a Nursery for the Church, in the Year 1560. For there she ordained (to the Glory of God, and the Propagation of true Religion and good Literature) a Dean, twelve Prebendaries, an Upper Master, and an Usher for the School, forty Scholars, termed Queen's Scholars, who (at their due time) are preferred to both the Universities; besides Ministers, Singers, and Organists; ten Queristers, and twelve poor Soldiers, &c.

A Nursery for the Collegiate Church of Westminster, instituted by Q. Elizabeth.