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Emperial Magazine ;
OR, COMPENDIUM OF
RELIGIOUS, MORAL, & PHILOSOPHICAL KNOWledge.
DEC.] "SOCIAL REFINEMENT HAS NO EXISTENCE WHERE LITERATURE IS UNKNOWN."
THE CRUCIFIX AND GOLD CHAIN OF six inches long, and four broad-some
EDWARD THE CONFESSOR.
SIR,-If you think the accompanying narrative, extracted from a book printed in the year 1688, worthy a place in your Magazine, it is much at your service. To me the account is quite new; to others of your readers it may not be so; and I shall feel highly gratified if any further information can be obtained relative to the existence of the reliques mentioned in it.
An Account of the Finding of the Crucifix and Gold Chain of Edward the Confessor, after 620 years' Interment, and presenting it to King James II. By Charles Taylor, Gent.
esteeming it an accident, through the carelessness and neglect of the workmen in removing the scaffolds; others thought it done out of design: but be it the one or the other, thus it continued for almost seven weeks, and was often viewed by divers of the church, before it was my good fortune to go thither; when, on St. Barnaby's day, 1685, I met with two friends, between eleven and twelve of the clock, who told me they were going to see the tombs; so I went along with them, informing them that there was a report that the coffin of St. Edward the Confessor was broke ; and coming to the place, I was desirous to be satisfied of the truth thereof. In order thereunto, I fetched a ladder, looked upon the coffin, and found all things answerable to the report; and putting my hand into the hole, and turning the bones which I felt there, I drew from underneath the shoulder-bones a Crucifix richly adorned and enamelled, and a Gold Chain of twenty-four inches long, unto which it was affixed; the which I immediately shewed to my two friends, they being equally surprised, and as much admired the same, as myself. But I was afraid to take them away till I had acquainted the Dean; and therefore I "In the chapel of St. Edward the put them into the coffin again, with a Confessor, within the shrine erected full resolution to inform him. But to his most glorious memory, I have the Dean not being to be spoken with often observed (by the help of a lad- at that time, and fearing this holy der) something resembling a coffin, treasure might be taken thence by made of sound, firm, and strong wood, some other persons, and so concealed and bound about with bands of iron; by converting it to their own use; I and during the eighteen years I have went, about two or three hours after, to belonged to the choir of this church, one of the choir, and acquainted him it was a common tradition among us,with what I had found; who immedithat therein was deposited the body or remains of holy King Edward the Confessor.
"So many and so various have been the relations and reports concerning the finding and disposing of the Crucifix and Gold Chain of St. Edward the King and Confessor, and those so fabulous and uncertain withal, that in honour to truth, to disabuse the misinformed world, and to satisfy the curiosity as well as importunity of my friends, I think myself under an obligation to give an exact account of this fact, which I shall do with the utmost fidelity.
"Now it happened, not long after the coronation of their present Majesties, that the aforesaid coffin or chest was found to be broke, and an hole made upon the upper lid thereof, over against the right breast, about No. 48-VOL. IV.
ately accompanied me back to the monument, from whence I again drew the Crucifix and Chain, and shewed them him, who beheld them with admiration, and advised me to keep them till I could have an opportunity of shewing them to the Dean; so I kept them about a month, and having no opportunity in all that time to 4 F
speak with the Dean, but hearing, in | the meantime, that his Grace the Archbishop of York was in town, I waited upon him with the Crucifix and Chain; who looked upon them as great pieces of antiquity, ordering me to wait upon him the next morning, to attend him to Lambeth-house, that his Grace of Canterbury might also have a sight thereof: we went accordingly, and when I had produced them, and his Grace had well viewed them, he expressed the like conceptions of them that my Lord of York had done before.
"About the same time, that industrious and judicious antiquary, Sir William Dugdale, was pleased to give me a visit, desiring a sight thereof, (with whose request I willingly complied,) telling me that he would make some remarks thereon.
Speedily after, the Dean going to Lambeth, his Grace told him at dinner what he had seen, and informed him they were still in my possession: upon his return to the Abbey, that afternoon, about four of the clock, I was sent for, and Mr. Dean immediately took me along with him to Whitehall, that I might present this sacred treasure to the King; and being introduced, I immediately, upon my knees, delivered them to his Majesty, of which he accepted with much satisfaction; and having given his Majesty a farther account in what condition the remains of the body of that holy King were, and opened the Cross in his presence, I withdrew, leaving them safe in his royal possession:
cramped together with large iron wedges; where it now remains as a testimony of his pious care, that no abuse might be offered to the sacred ashes therein reposited.
"I shall now endeavour to give as exact a description of these rarities as I can possible: The Chain was full twenty-four inches long, all of pure gold, the links oblong and curiously wrought; the upper part whereof (to lie in the nape of the neck) was joined together by a locket, composed of a large round knob of massy gold, and in circumference as big as a milledshilling, and half an inch thick; round this went a wire, and on the wire about half a dozen little beads, hanging loose, and running to and again on the same, all of pure gold, and finely wrought. On each side of this locket were set two large square red stones, (supposed to be rubies); from each side of this locket, fixed to two rings of gold, the chain descends, and meeting below, passes through a square piece of gold of a convenient bigness, made hollow for the same purpose: this gold, wrought into several angles, was painted with divers colours, resembling so many gems, or precious stones, and to which the Crucifix was joined, yet to be taken off (by the help of a screw) at plea
"For the form of the Cross, it comes nighest to that of an humettee flory among the heralds, or rather the botony, yet the pieces here are not of an equal length, the direct or perpendicular beam being nigh onefourth part longer than the traverse, as being four inches to the extremities, while the other scarce exceeds three; yet all of them neatly turned at the ends, and the botons enamelled with figures thereon. The Cross itself is of the same gold with the Chain; but then it exceeds it by its rich enamel, having on one side the picture of our Saviour Jesus Christ in his passion
"At the time when I took the Cross and Chain out of the coffin, I drew the head to the hole, and viewed it, being very sound and firm, with the upper and nether jaws whole, and full of teeth, and a list of gold above an inch broad, in the nature of a coronet, surrounding the temples: there was also in the coffin white linen, and gold-coloured flowered silk, that look-wrought thereon, and an eye from ed indifferent fresh, but the least stress put thereto, shewed it was well nigh perished; there were all his bones, and much dust likewise, which I left as I found. His Majesty was pleased soon after this discovery to send to the Abbey, and order the old coffin to be inclosed in a new one, of an extraordinary strength, each plank being two inches thick, and
above casting a kind of beams upon
"The Cross is hollow, and to be opened by two little screws towards the top, wherein it is presumed some relique might have been conserved. The whole being a piece not only of great antiquity, but of admirable curiosity; and I look upon this accident as a great part of my good fortune, to be made the main instrument of their discovery and preservation."
Thus far Mr. Taylor's narrative; and I shall make only one observation upon it, which is the following:It may be doubted by some, whether the coffin described above could have been that of Edward the Confessor, as the ornaments found in it may seem to them, from the description, to have been manufactured in a style not to be expected at so remote an æra: but we have the testimony of William of Malmesbury, one of our first historians, that very highly finished works in gold and silver were the produce even of our darkest ages; the Monks, and among them St. Dunstan, were celebrated for their skill in this branch of art; and curious reliquaries, finely wrought and set with precious stones, were usually styled throughout Europe, opera Anglica.
I am, your obedient servant, London, October 25th, 1822.
which we are destined to encounter
Though I am not going to describe any marvellous incidents, or to delineate any hair-breadth escapes, yet from the relation of my misfortunes, the unsuspicious may learn precaution, and the inexperienced become wise.
My father, sir, was a physician of great eminence, in the populous town of Eand who, aware of the advantages which arise from a liberal education, kindly bestowed it upon a numerous family. In the law and the church, my two elder brothers were established; the two following ones had made choice of the army and navy; and as I always testified a great fondness for physic, my father unreluctantly consented to gratify me. Having studied that branch for two years under my excellent father's tuition, I became a student in the where I university of Aberdeen, spent five years in completing my knowledge of the different branches of my profession: I then returned to England on taking a satisfactory degree. After having passed a few weeks in the bosom of my family, eighteen months were spent in London, under the celebrated Doctor N-, from which place I was recalled suddenly, by an account of my respected father's dangerous illness. Alas! I scarcely arrived in time to receive his last blessing, so rapid had been the inroads of the disease with which he was attacked; and upon his death, I had the additional misery of finding that my beloved mother and two sisters were left actually portionless.
The heavy expenses my father had incurred in the education of his children, united to my brother's unbounded extravagance, had actually swallowed up the profits of an eight-and-twenty years' extensive practice. As our conwere not only nections at Enumerous, but respectable, and as
they universally wished me to under- | commencement of our acquaintance, take my late father's business, sanc- the situation I had so ardently wished tioned by the approbation of my mo- for, was attained; and for six years ther, I unhesitatingly consented. of my life I enjoyed as large a portion of felicity as is compatible with the various trials attached to this mortal state. It is true, there were times when I thought my Emma rather too volatile; but if I ventured to remark it to her, tears of contrition would start into her eyes, which I wiped away with pangs of remorse for having occasioned them, greater than the powers of language can de
To support that amiable parent and her two daughters, and render them independent of future contingencies, was the constant aim of my practice, and the ultimate hope of my wishes; and in the space of nine years, I had the happiness of succeeding. Anxious as I was to partake of conjugal felicity, yet until my mother and sisters were provided for, I resolved never to attempt it, but the moment I had realized a sufficient sum to insure them a competence, I considered myself at liberty to study my own happiness. As my friends were acquainted with my wish upon this subject, each appeared desirous of recommending; and at length one of them introduced me to a young lady, whose manners were peculiarly attractive and insinu-school, he was by several my junior; ating. Though she was not strictly beautiful, she possessed what the poet thinks more attractive, “the mindillum'd face;" with an eye so full of expression, that her sensations might be discovered without the aid of speech.
About this period, a school-fellow of mine returned from India, laden with riches, but impoverished in health. He immediately wrote to consult me as a physician, and to give me the pleasing intelligence of his arrival as a friend. Though we had passed three years at the same
in consequence of which, I had acted in the double capacity of preceptor and friend, for as a boy he had been peculiarly inattentive and indolent. Still there had been a something in his manners which interested my feelings, and I was pleased at the pros
1 saw I heard-and I was enchant-pect of renewing our acquaintance; ed;-in short, I was as desperately in and having consulted my wife, imlove as any boy of nineteen; I reason-mediately replied to his letter, entreated myself into the conviction that the ing that without loss of time he would disparity of our ages was merely pro- become our guest. per, for I was thirty-two, and she I was delighted at beholding the was just out of her teens. Every eagerness with which my Emma made succeeding interview increased my domestic arrangements for my friend's attachment, and I had the gratification accommodation, considering them as of perceiving that my pointed atten- a compliment paid to myself, and still tions were most flatteringly received; further was I gratified by the kind and in course of time, I made a formal de- affectionate reception she gave him. claration, and had the happiness of His debilitated state of health for a receiving an assurance of her es-length of time required the utmost atteem.
My Emma's father, who was a respectable clergyman, candidly informed me it was impossible for him to bestow any fortune upon his child, as the trifling sum he could save out of a confined income, he regularly laid by for the future support of his wife. This intelligence, instead of diminish ing, seemed to increase my attachment; -I was actually charmed at the idea of being able to supply the object of my affection with the elegancies of life, and to raise her to a state of affluence far beyond what she had hitherto enjoyed.
At the end of six months from the
tention; and though Emma, from the commencement of our union, had left the chief arrangement of our domestic concerns to the faithful creature who had superintended my family before our marriage, yet whatever nutriment I ordered for my patient, she invariably made in his apartment. Singular as this circumstance was, it only tended to raise her in my opinion:What an angel of compassion, thought I, should I have to nurture me, if I were ill!-for if she displays such humanity to a being for whom she has no attachment, how refined would be her attention to the object of her tenderness!
At length I could not help fancying
piece of impertinence; but at length, darting upon him a look which conveyed astonishment and indignation, I insisted instantly upon knowing to whom he alluded? I perceived by his countenance he was aware of his imprudence; but as I had long been dissatisfied with his behaviour, I resolved not to be the dupe of artifice or apologies, and taking my wife's unreluctant hand, I said, "From you alone, Emma, will I condescend to hear an explanation of these singular circumstances."
there was a reserve in my wife's manners towards me; in short, an indefinable something about her which I could not comprehend. She attempted, it is true, to appear pleased if I returned unexpectedly, but that pleasure was always intermixed with a degree of embarrassment. My friend had recovered his health. Oh, let me not pervert that sacred title! Charles D- had for some weeks been perfectly well; yet never even hinted an intention of departing, though it could not be my society which attracted him, for my practice was so extremely extensive, that II could not avoid observing that she scarcely entered my house from morn- cast an imploring look upon the object ing until evening. I was unhappy of my resentment;-my feelings were without knowing wherefore, and con- wound up to an excess of agony, sequently dejected; I even observed known only to those who have loved that my old housekeeper appeared as to the excess of fondness which I did; uncomfortable as myself; and though but having at length succeeded in Emma had been accustomed to treat tranquillizing them, I informed her her rather as a friend than a domestic, that the slightest attempt at evasion or I had long perceived a sort of haughty deception, would eternally destroy her imperiousness in her mode of speak- own and my happiness. ing.
Coming home much earlier one evening than usual, and, from some person going out at the same moment, not knocking, my feelings were wrought up, upon entering the parlour, at seeing Emma in tears, and Charles pacing up and down, evidently violently agitated.
"For heaven's sake, Emma,” I exclaimed in a tone of impatience, yet at the same time taking her tenderly by the hand," who, or what, can have occasioned the agitation which I now witness? I have long, long, observed, though I never mentioned it, that some secret sorrow preys upon your spirits; speak, then, my love, surely your husband has a right to your most unbounded confidence.'
"When you keep people in the house," (said the sychophant I had incautiously admitted,) "who presume to insult the mistress of it, and who, in fact, are little better than spies, upon that mistress's behaviour, you cannot surely be astonished that her feelings should be wounded by your want of confidence ;"" yet if I were Mrs. L," (he added, elevating his voice still higher,)" by heaven, she should not remain in the house another moment." Such a variety of conflicting sensations crowded upon my imagination, that for several moments I was incapable of making any reply to this
As I conducted her out of the room,
Directing towards me one of those glances which used to dissolve my soul in tenderness, and at the same time grasping my trembling hand, she said, " My dearest Henry, why will you, for a mere trifle, thus violently agitate yourself?" Trifle!" I repeated in a tone of bitterness,-" is it a trifle to be insulted by the man, who to my skill and kindness owes his existence? Yet name him not, but candidly inform me why I found you in tears, and D- in the violent agitation which I witnessed?" "Every thing will I explain, and I trust satisfactorily, if you will but be patient," replied Emma. I nodded assent, and she proceeded nearly in the following words :-" Charles and myself had just taken our wine after dinner, when Thomas informed him that a gentleman wished to speak with him at the door; whom I instantly desired him to conduct into the room. The stranger proved to be a brother officer, recently returned to England: in consequence of which, I immediately ordered a fresh supply of wine to be brought up; and after remaining about half an hour with them, retired to the drawing-room, having first invited the young officer to take tea and coffee with us. This, however, he refused, in consequence of a prior engagement; and when Charles entered the drawing-room, I perceived his countenance