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It was finished about , and no trace of the earlier one, built by Hugh Flory about 1 1 20, is to be seen. Eight abbots were buried here, but none of their graves have yet been found.


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To the north again of the chapter house is another small chamber, with an entrance to the dormitory undercroft. To the west of this under- croft is a fine piece of Norman bench end, so that this is ST. Only the north end wall of this dormitory remains above ground ; it was one of the largest in the country, measuring feet long by 44 feet wide. All the conventual buildings of this abbey were on the north side instead of being, as is more usual, on the south ; but otherwise the arrangements corresponded with those of most Benedictine abbeys. The cloisters, built about by Nicholas Thorne, which are in very fair preservation, are to the north of the nave of the church, with the chapter house leading out of them on the east, and the refectory and kitchen, of which nothing is now left, on the north side.

On the west was the abbot's lodging.

The Church had three towers, two at the western end and a central one. The latter was built in the time of Thomas Fyndon, about the year , but only part of the bases of the piers are to be seen. The north-west, or Ethelbert's tower, as it was called, must have been a very fine example of late Norman work, judging from prints of the eighteenth century. It suffered at the hands of the wiseacres of the town in , who had it battered down as some parts were considered unsafe!

The great gateway has already been mentioned. To the south of this were the guests' and pilgrims' buildings, which are still in a good state of preservation. They include a hall, a chapel, a kitchen, and other rooms under the hall, and were probably built by Thomas Fyndon about the end of the thirteenth century. West of the refectory was the stone court, and bound- ing this on the west side was the abbots' great hall, of which some of the undercroft may still be seen, as the old remains have been carefully preserved and worked into the present building.

It was built in the latter half of the thirteenth century. The undercroft is now used as the college museum, and the hall above as the library. Maunde Thompson, we gather the valuable information as to the dimensions of the various buildings.

This manuscript is supposed to have been written during the latter years of Abbot Ralph de Bourne, to , who succeeded Thomas Fyndon, one of the largest builders and restorers ; so that with the exception of the chapter house the buildings should have been at that time complete and in good condition. Width of Refectory, 13! The length of the Cloister is missing, also the width, but these are respectively 1 20 feet and feet.

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Taking these measurements, and comparing some of them with the ruins of the present day, it will be seen that the length of the church does not include the Eastern, or Dygon's chapel, which extends about another 42 feet. The chapter house would be the one built by Hugh Flory, as the present ruins measure three feet wider, or 36 feet, and would be that finished about There are not any remains above ground of the domus neces- sariorum, which may have been annexed to the east wall of the dormitory.


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To the south-east of the abbey church, in the field belonging to the hospital, is a large mound, on which was ST. It must have fallen into disrepair, for there are numerous bequests and gifts towards the expense of rebuilding it in the latter half of the fifteenth century. We are indebted to another manuscript in the Caius and Gonville Library, also published by the Henry Brad- shaw Society, for a description of some of the bells as they existed about the middle of the thirteenth century.

There were four bells in the campanile, two larger and two smaller; there were four, two larger and two smaller, in the tower, " ante gradus," which would probably mean the choir steps, and therefore the central tower ; and four in " the tower," probably Ethelbert's tower. There were also several named bells, but which tower they were in, or whether some of them were the same as mentioned above, it is impossible to say. There were two Absolons major and minor , two Richards major and minor , two " Bubanti," two Pilcheres, one Matheus, one Wulfric, one Resecodt, and " Sunesdeies belle.

So it would seem that many of the bells mentioned about a century before had been re-cast. Two other bells were also given, one by Adam Kingesnoth and one by Abbot Peckham. The abbey possessed three common seals, though there are originals or casts of at least another ten belonging to various abbots, priors, treasurers, etc. The earliest is a common seal of the abbey of the eleventh century, and represents Augustine robed in the " pallium," half length or seated ; the figure is indistinct, and bears the inscription : " Sigillum Sancti Augustini Anglorum Apostoli.

Domino Fidei Sociatur amore hoc Augustino debetur patris honore. At the time of the surrender the net yearly revenue of the monastery, as given by Dugdale in his Monasticon, was only 1,, though it possessed over 19, acres of land.

No doubt, as the funds grew smaller and smaller under the later abbots, property of all sorts was sold or given as security, but of relics of saints, of which there must have been a fine collection, no mention is made. The library at the end of the fifteenth century consisted of 1, MS. James as being in the hands of various public libraries and colleges. From some minutes from the ancient records in the Chamber of Canterbury we read, under the year 1 : ST. Augustine's Monastery, the city are supplied with building and paving stones from its ruins, on paying a trifle to the gate keeper!

Its ruins of to-day only too well shew to what an extent quarrying operations went on. In addition to this, certain persons were granted letters patent by James I. Augustine's was thoroughly searched, and the graves rifled of anything valuable. In reviewing the history of this once magnificent abbey, it is impossible not to feel regret that the fabric of an institution, founded at the time of the revival of Christi- anity in England, should have been so ruthlessly swept away.

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Pathetic indeed must have been the scene when the abbot and his companions visited for the last time the " Corpora Sanctorum," and finally handed over to the despoilers the shrines and relics of the saints, the tombs of kings, and all that they and their predecessors had held sacred for nearly a thousand years. Nor is it possible to form a correct picture of the appearance of a pre-Reformation church without realis- ing the most prominent features of its interior, to wit, the rood on high and the loft and screen underneath it.

To piece together, then, the scattered records avail- able on this subject in respect of Kent, is to supply a neglected chapter of no mere provincial interest, but one that, since the county was, from the days of Augustine, the seat of the primatial See of English Christianity, belongs to the history of our country at large. Wills of individuals, inventories of church goods, and churchwardens' parish accounts are, necessarily, mines of information on the subject ; but the most valuable and unimpeachable documents of all are the buildings themselves.

The importance cannot be over- rated of studying at first hand the actual fabrics, all the more precious because, like the Sibylline books, they are, alas! That being so, language fails to condemn it in terms strong enough. Within living memory these temporary decorations used to occur at Christmas only ; but nowadays so favourite a pastime have they become with irresponsible ladies and curates, that they are indulged in at Easter, Ascension Day, Whitsunday, and Trinity Sunday as well, the full height of extrava- gance culminating in the autumnal orgy of the " Harvest Festival.

It is lament- able to reflect what all this involves ; so many pairs of unskilled hands being let loose to work what damage they may with hammer and nails half a dozen times per year, year after year, to the woodwork which is the venerable heritage from our fathers. The disastrous process, if and wheresoever persisted in, can end in only one result the disappearance from ancient churches of the inestimable treasure of their wood fittings, which, once destroyed, can never, for all time, be made the same again that they were.

But, not to anticipate, attention must briefly be directed to the genesis of the rood-screen. To go back, then, to the fourth century, when Constantine whose mother, Helena, a consensus of tradition declares to have been of British birth sat on the throne of the Roman Empire. For hardly before 46 MEMORIALS OF OLD KENT that date, when the fury of persecution was spent, did Christians, hiding hitherto in caves and cata- combs, feel secure enough to set apart, above ground, buildings of their own for congregational worship ; but well-nigh from that time onward may two main and broadly divergent types of church be said to have co- existed.

The first is that of the Basilica, in its origin, of course, entirely Pagan ; but such that came to be adopted as present ready to hand, and also as preferable to the classic temple, because of the latter's necessary and intimate association with heathen worship.

But so soon as ever the Christian religion became, so to speak, rooted in the soil and spread hither and thither, it asserted itself by evolving, out of its own necessities, a different form of building, peculiarly appropriate to its own spiritual instincts. The original type continued, while at the same time the newer, which for distinction may be denominated the mystery type, developed. In the latter, as contrasted with the Basilican, the interior, instead of being thrown open to afford a vista from end to end, was subdivided, its sanctuary screened off by at least one partition from the western or more public portion of the building.

The mystery type is of universal rule from the White Sea shore to Abyssinia, both in the Orthodox Church and in all the separated communions of the Eastern rite ; and although the same uniformity is not to be found throughout Western Chris- tendom, in our own land, at any rate, the mystery ideal prevailed during centuries prior to the Reformation. The fullest expression of the type in the West is embodied in the cruciform church, with its structurally- bounded quire ; but to this same type no less the simple parallelogram, under one continuous roof, such as is common in parts of Wales, for example, belongs, seeing that there it would always be divided athwart its length by a screen from side to side of the building.

Such innovations as did from time to time gradually obtain recognition had a twofold tendency, not towards total abolition of old customs, but, on the one hand, curtailing them for practicability in ordinary workaday use, and, on the other hand, relegating them in their fulness to rarer opportunities ; at the same time attaching to them a mystical signification not originally theirs. Thus, the vesting of a priest at the altar, which must have been the general practice in old days before vestries existed, has now become stereotyped into a ceremony peculiar to a bishop when he formally pontificates.

Again, to take an illustration that directly relates to the present subject, another custom, itself now extinct, but in mediaeval times of invariable observance in Western Europe, was that of completely shutting off the high altar from the nave by an enormous sheet or curtain suspended in the quire, from the first Sunday in Lent to the Thursday in Holy Week.

In England this custom had become an institution at least as far back as the reign of King Alfred, who, shortly after his great victory over the Danes in the year , ordained a fine of one hundred and twenty shillings as the penalty for tearing down a Lenten veil in church. The bare fact of such a severely repressive measure being called for proves that a per- manent veil must have been already long since obsolete, when the temporary one could be so determinedly resented that there were persons who would not scruple to drag it down by force, unless restrained by the terrors of the law.

No doubt, however, this solemn Lenten veiling represented what had been the more primitive mode of separating, all the year round, the sanctuary from the body of the church. From the first planting of Christianity in Kent, or even from the days of King Alfred, to the eleventh or twelfth century, leaves a long gap to fill ; but, unhappily, no authenticated specimen of a chancel-arch of pre- Norman date survives in the county. The few Norman chancel-arches yet standing show, for the most part, the straitness of access to the chancel maintained.

The size of the chancel-arch is indeed a fair index of date. Livett, " had small arches like that remaining in West Farleigh Church " ; whereas in later Norman work the arch is of increased size.