The Parents' Review
A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture
"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
Notes on the Sussex Branch of the Junior Archaeological Society
Volume 4, 1893/94, pgs. 752-759
EMERSON says that the world exists for the education of each man, and that we sympathize in the great moments of history, because the "law was enacted, the sea was searched, the land was found, or the blow struck for us." Each of us is, in truth, an "heir of the Ages" inheriting the results of the lives and struggles, and the accumulated treasures of knowledge, experience and skill of those that have gone before us.
The old buildings that are connected with the history of our country are not the least part of our inheritance. If we take the trouble to learn what we can about them, we shall be astonished to find how much the study of even one place will teach us, and how much more living and interesting the study of history becomes, when we have seen the places where the events took place, and heard them explained to us on the spot.
The object of the Sussex Branch of the Junior Archaeological Society is to give young people a taste for such studies, and, in the expeditions which take place twice in the year, to provide an opportunity for learning something definitely about some place of interest in the country to which the members belong. A lecture is given at each meeting, and those members that wish it, can write answers from memory to questions supplied by the lecturer three days after each meeting. Two prizes, a senior and a junior, are offered to those who give the best answers. It is possible that essays may sometimes be substituted for the questions and answers. This year letters were written to the Editor.
The Society was only started this year, but already numbers 73 members, and more have promised to join. It is in connection with the P.N.E.U., members of which can belong to the S.J.A.S. without paying a subscription. For others, the subscription is 2s.6d. annually, and members are admitted between the ages of 8 and 20, each of whom may bring two friends senior to the age of membership to the meetings. There is a Council of Reference consisting of a secretary and treasurer and eighteen ladies and gentlemen from different parts of the county, who help in the arrangement of meetings held in their own neighborhood and who admit members and decide questions connected with the Society.
Our first expedition was to have been to Battle Abbey, but shortly before it should have taken place, an outbreak of diphtheria there made it necessary to alter our plans. There was no time to arrange for a meeting elsewhere in June, consequently this year both took place in August; the first at Lewes on the 14th, and the second at Cowdray, a fortnight later. Both were well attended and most enjoyable. The weather was very hot on the day of the Lewes meeting, and our party were glad of the shady tennis court kindly lent us for tea. The distances were short, so no conveyances were needed. Lewes is very quaint and picturesque, with the Castle beautifully situated above the town. S. Michael's school-room was lent us for the lecture and was crowded. Mr. Philips, Curator of the Museum of the Sussex Archaeological Society, gave a most graphic and interesting lecture on the Battle of Lewes. We were extremely fortunate in obtaining his kind help, as he has made a study of Lewes and its history, and has a most complete knowledge of his subject, and power of interesting his hearers. He was commissioned by the Sussex Archaeological Society to give us a message of welcome and encouragement.
The following letters from some of our members will give further particulars of the Lewes meeting and lecture. The writers were limited to 300 words.
SENIOR PRIZE LETTER.
Boreham, Hailsham, August 28th
DEAR SIR,--I have much pleasure in giving an account of the pleasant Meeting held by the Sussex Branch of the Junior Archaeological Society at Lewes, on Monday, 14th August, 1893. At St. Michael's School-room we heard a very interesting lecture by Mr. Philips, on the Battle of Lewes, which was fought on May 14th, 1264. The Royal army was commanded by Henry III., his son Edward, Richard, King of the Romans, with his son Henry, and the Earl of Warenne. The Barons were under the leadership of Simon, Count de Montfort, Guy de Lusignan, and Gilbert de Clare. The Baronial army (among which were many Londoners,) consisted of 5,000 and that of the King of 6,000 men. The two armies having spent the evening before the battle very differently, met on the South Downs, on the 14th of May:
Prince Edward first attacked the Londoners; these, not much accustomed to fighting, soon fled; the Prince, in his ardour, pursued them for a long distance. When he returned he found all was lost, and both he and his father were taken prisoners. The Earl of Warenne, with a few followers, escaped, and afterwards embarked for the continent. By this victory the Barons regained their rights.
After the lecture we went to the Castle, where Mr. Philips explained the battle-field and many other interesting points. He showed us some beautiful tapestry in the barbican, and drew our attention to many interesting antiquities in the museum. Then we adjourned to tea in a field, to which, I assure you, we did ample justice. Finally we went to the Church of St. Pancras, Southover, where the remains of William, the Earl of Warenne, and his wife Gundrad, daughter of William the Conqueror, are interred.
And thus passed one of the most enjoyable days I have ever spent.
SECOND LETTER, SENIOR.
Sussex Junior Archaeological Society Meeting at Lewes,
DEAR EDITOR,--I send you a short account of hat we saw, heard, and did at the first meeting of the Sussex Junior Archaeological Society at Lewes.
Mr. Philips, in his lecture on the Battle of Lewes, explained that the Royalists were headed by Henry, Edward, and Richard, King of the Romans. Simon de Montfort, or "the Righteous: Earl of Leicester, Henry and guy headed the Barons. The chief cause of the rebellion (1258-1265) was the teaching of St. Francis.* Simon reached Fletching. Nine miles from Lewes, on May 12th, 1264, and encamped. Next day he sent an embassy to Henry, offering him L33,000 to withdraw, but he refused. Each solider of the Barons wore a white cross. Next day Simon marched to within sight of St. Pancras, where he prayed--"Give us, O Lord, fulfilment of our wish and victory." The forces were, Royalists 60,000, Barons 50,000. Edward first charged the Londoners, who had insulted his mother, overcame and pursued them, and captured Simon's chariot. Gilbert advanced and overcame Richard, who fled to a windmill, on the present site of the Black Horse" Inn. Henry fought, shouting--"Simon, je vous defye." When overcome, he retired, and finally surrendered to de Montfort. In 1795 and in 1819, four pits were found, each containing the remaining of 500 men.
After the lecture we visited the Castle, where Mr. Philips pointed out
the grooves, through which the portcullis was drawn into the apartment
above. We then mounted the Castle, where there are two alabaster
statues of Hercules and Minerva, also two British canoes and some
stocks. Next we visited the museum, went on the leads, where the
battle-field was pointed out; then we crossed a narrow bridge into the
tapestry room. Tea brought a very pleasant day to an end.
*The writer seems to be referring to the influence exerted by the Friars, as to which see Green's "Short History of the English People," chap.iii, section vi.
JUNIOR PRIZE LETTER
DEAR EDITOR--I am giving a short account of the day spent at Lewes by the S.J.A.S., beginning with the lecture.
The battle was fought between Henry III and his Barons. The leaders were-- Royalists: Simon de Montfort, his sons, Gilbert de Clare, and Guy de Lusignan. The King resided at the Priory, Edward at the Castle. The night of the 13th was spent in prayer by the Baronial forces, and in carousing and drinking by the Royalists. Edward was first in the field, defeated the Londoners, was delayed returning, and arrived at eight; and was told of the defeat. Henry was very brave; two horses were killed under him. The King of the Romans was taken prisoner. On the 15th, a council was held called the Mise of Lewes. The battle was a decisive and constitutional one.
After the lecture we when to the Castle. The first archway was not
built at this time. Under the second Edward passed on his way back from
pursuing the Londoners. Next was the shell keep, this used to be
walled-in. A fireplace is cut in the bricks. From the leads the site of
the battle was shown. In the museum there were several old things. The
tapestry came next; the subjects were not known. The coronet and
treasure bag of the de Warennes were seen, and other interesting
objects. After this we had tea in Southover Priory; tea finished, we
visited the church of St. Pancras. We saw the memorial chapel of the de
Warennes. The architecture is Norman. The bodies of William, first Earl
of Warenne, and Gundrada, his wife, are buried there.
SECOND LETTER, JUNIOR
DEAR MR. EDITOR,--On the 14th of August I went to the meeting of the Junior Archaeological Society, at Lewes. First we went to the school, where Mr. Philips gave us a lecture on "The Battle of Lewes." The battle was fought on May 14th, 1264. The leaders on the Royal side were Henry III., Prince Edward, and the King of the Romans, and on the other side Simon de Montfort. Each side was divided into three bodies, and King Henry, full of hope, exclaimed, "Simon, je vous defie." The Londoners fled, and were pursued by Edward with great slaughter. When he was coming back he saw, to his surprise, the Barons' troops round the Castle. The King of the Romans took shelter in a windmill (about where the Black Horse Inn now stands), but was made to surrender. Prince Edward retired to the Priory, pursued by the Barons, who set fire to the church. The Monks put out the fire, and the Prince surrendered to the Barons.
The gateway of the Castle, a strong old building, has two arches, and
the hooks for the door still remain. We went up a narrow, winding path
to the Castle. In the courtyard are two Anglo-Saxon canoes, and stocks
and the whipping-post. In the Museum there are some old weapons and
cups. By the gateway there is a tower, with some beautiful tapestry. We
then had tea, and afterwards went to a church where there was a little
old Norman room. In the middle of the floor there is a tomb containing
the bones of a Lord of the Castle and his wife. In a recess in the wall
is a box with the skull and cowl of a monk, which is so old it is
almost falling to dust.
We were fortunate in our weather also on August 28th, the day of the Cowdray expedition. Our party met at Midhurst, and proceeded thence to Cowdray, where Canon Stephens, son-in-law and biographer of Dean Hook, was so good as to show them all that remains to be seen of the great house, and gave a very interesting lecture on the place and its history.
Cowdray is situated a little to the east of Midhurst. We first hear of it in the possession of the Bohuns, in the time of Henry III. Passing to Lord Southampton, who was allowed to add to the park, and rebuild or add a castle of stone. He must be considered the founder of the modern Cowdray House; additions were made to it by his successors. He left Cowdray to his half-brother, Sir Anthony Browne, who was succeeded by his son, another Sir Anthony, created Viscount Montague by Queen Mary. The place belonged to eight Lords Montague in succession, and was a magnificent building full of treasures in the way of paintings, carving and old manuscripts.
It was built in the form of a quadrangle, the principle entrance being a lofty archway with the Browne arms and motto "Suivez raison" above it. Through this archway is a spacious court, in the centre of which was once a fountain. Opposite are the walls that formerly enclosed the great Hall, 60 feet long, known as the Buck Hall, from the eleven figures of bucks in different attitudes, carved in brown wood, with which it was decorated. The carved roof is said to have been magnificent, and some of the stonework that supported it remains on the walls to this day.
There are still traces of the great staircase at the east of the hall. In the dining room were valuable frescoes of which drawing were made that were purchased by the Society of Antiquaries, and engraved, so they have been in a way preserved. They represented the military exploits of Henry VIII., in which Lord Southampton and Sir Anthony Browne took part. Holbein stayed at Cowdray for a time, and painted several portraits for Sir A. Browne.
The chapel was at the east of the hall, and of this there is a drawing by Grimm. Its famous altar-piece, representing the Resurrection, was preserved in the great fire. Part of the paintings on the was and the tracery off five windows still remain.
Edward VI. Paid a visit to Cowdray, and it is recorded that he was "marvelously, yea rather excessively banketed" there. Queen Elizabeth stayed there for six days, and was entertained with all manner of pageants and feasting. The Sunday's breakfast included three oxen and a hundred and forty geese--one sighs for the powers of digestion of the good old times!
Sir Anthony's grandson and successor, the second Lord Montague, wrote, in 1595, a "Booke of Orders and Rules" for the management of his household, the original M.S. of which is preserved at Easebourne Priory. It gives us an idea of the extraordinary pomp and ceremony of those days, and Lord Montague must have had a wonderful mind for details. The minuteness of his directions for his officers and servants in charge of the various departments of his household make one think what a dreadful fidget he must have been, and what a trial o his two wives! Here is one example, out of many, of his ceremoniousness, taken from the directions for "the Clarke of my Kytchin:" "I will that he suffer none to stande unseemly with his backe towarde my meate while itt is att the raunge." "The Yeoman of myne Ewrye" is, among other things, to take the table cloth on both his arms, and "goe together, with the Yeoman Usher, with due reverence to the table of my dyett, makeinge two curteseys thereto, the other about the middest of the chamber, the other when he cometh to ytt, and there kissing ytt shall lay ytt on the same place where the said Yeoman Usher with his hand appoynteth." One duty of the Yeoman Usher is to "have a viligant eye to the meate, to the entente that ytt be not ymbezeled or conveighed to corners." A minor office of the Almoner is "to avoyde out of the hall raunters" (rant, to drink or riot) "and dogges."
I regret that I cannot do more than give these few "specimen" extracts from this very attractive "Booke;" it is printed in Vol. VII of the Collections of the Sussex Archaeological Society. This "Booke of Orders and Rules" was one of the few things saved in the great fire in 1793. The fire was supposed to have been caused by the carelessness of some workmen and occurred at a time when all the family were away. A few weeks afterwards the last Lord Montague was drowned while attempting to shoot the falls at Laufenburg. The letters bringing the news of the fire crossed those telling of Lord Montague's death. The two sons of Mrs. Poyntz, sister of Lord Montague, and next owner of Cowdray, were also drowned, while on a boating excursion near Bognor.
The evils that befel the Montagiue family were by some thought to be a punishment for holding Church lands--a punishment long delayed, if that were so! The story is that a Monk appeared at a grand festival in the Hall of Battle Abbey, on the occasion of Sir Anthony Browne taking possession of the estate given him by the king, and pronounced a curse on the family of Browne, and a prophecy that they should perish by fire and water; a prophecy fulfilled in the destruction of all but the ruined remains of the old house of Cowdray, and in the death by drowning of the last of the family. The estate now belongs to the Earl of Egmont, whose house, Cowdray Lodge, is a mile away from the old building.
My paper is becoming so long that I must only add a few words that I should like to say to our younger members. As Coleridge says, "We receive but what we give," and if we are to really profit by our Archaeological meetings and lectures, we must come not merely to amuse ourselves, but in a reverent and teachable spirit. The good we get out of anything depends on ourselves, and on the state of mind we bring to bear upon it. Every place of historical interest , church or castle, ruined abbey or ancient house, is full of many solemn memories, and has deep lessons to teach, which cannot be understood except by those who come in a frame of mind and feeling fitted to received them. Knowledge and reverence should always go hand in hand, and of the two the latter is the more important, for without it the higher kind of knowledge is unattainable; a truth which has been recognised by our own great poet in the lines
"Let knowledge grow from more to more,
The design of our Society is to foster and increase reverence as well as knowledge, by helping those who may belong to it to fulfil the apostolic precept: "Whatsoever things are venerable . . . Think on these things." (Phil. iv., 8. Auth. Vers. Marg.)
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