Britannia, by William Camden


How Countries are divided. Big LLET us now proceed to the Division of Britain. Countries are divided by Geographers, either Naturally, according to the Rivers and Mountains; or Provincially, with respect to the several people who inhabit them; or * * Greek text.Arbitrarily, and with † Greek text.Political Views, according to the pleasure and jurisdiction of Princes. The first and second of these divisions are here and there treated of throughout the whole work; but the third (i.e. the Political) seems proper to this place: which yet is so much obscur’d by Time, that in this matter it is easier to detect Error, than to discover Truth.

Divisions of Britain. Our Historians affirm, that the most ancient division of Britain, was, into Loegria, Cambria, and Albania; that is (to speak more intelligibly) into England, Wales, and Scotland. But I look upon this to be of later date; both because it is threefold, arising from the three People, the Angles, the Cambrians, and the Scots, who at last shared the Island among them; and also because there is no such division mentioned by classick Authors; no, nor by any other, before our country-man Geoffry of Monmouth. For (as the Criticks of our age have observ’d) his Romance had not been all of a piece, unless he had given Brute three Sons, Locrinus, Camber, and Albanactus, to answer the three nations that were here in his time: in the same manner as he had before made a Brutus, because this Island was call’d Britain. And they no way doubt, but if there had been more nations at that time in Britain, he would have found more sons for Brute.

In the opinion of many of the Learned, the most ancient division of Britain is that of Ptolemy, in his second book of Mathematical Construction, where, treating of Parallels, he divides it into Great and Little Britain. But with due submission to Persons of so great Learning; I conceive they would be of opinion, that our Island is there call’d Britannia Magna, and Ireland Parva, if they would consider the distances from the ÆquatorAEquator EquatorGreat and Little Britain. a little more accurately, and compare it with his Geographical Works. Not but some modern writers have call’d the hither and southerly part of this Island, Great, and the farther toward the North, Little; the inhabitants whereof were formerly distinguish’d into MaiatæMaiatae and Caledonii that is, into the Inhabitants of the Plains, and of the Mountains, as the Scots are at this day into Hechtland-men, and Lowland-men. But the Romans neglecting that farther Tract, because (as Appian says) it could be of no importance or advantage to them, and fixing their bounds not far from Edenburgh, divided the hither part (after it was reduc’d to the form of a Province) into two, the Lower and the Upper; as may be gather’d from Dio. L.55. Britannia inferior and superior. For he calls the hither part, with Wales, the Upper; and the farther, lying northward, the Lower. And this is confirm’d by Dio’s account of the Seats of their Legions. Isca, Caerleon ar Vsk. The second Legion, Augusta, at Caerleon in Wales, and the Twentieth, call’d Victrix, at Chester or Deva; are both plac’d by him in Upper Britain. But he tells us, that the Sixth Legion call’d Victrix, whose residence was at York, serv’d in Lower Britain. I should think, this division was made by Severus the Emperor, since Herodian assures us, that after he had conquer’d Albinus (the then General of the Britains, who possess’d himself of the Government,) and settled the affairs of Britain, he divided the whole Province into two parts, and appointed a Lieutenant for the Government of each.

Afterwards, the Romans divided the Province of Britain into three parts (a) (as we learn from a Manuscript of Sextus Rufus) viz. Maxima CæsariensisCaesariensis, Britannia prima, and Britannia Secunda:Britannia triplex. which I fansy may be traced from the ancient Bishops, and their Dioceses. Dist.8. c.1. Pope Lucius, in Gratian, intimates that the Ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Christians, was model’d according to the jurisdiction of the Roman Magistrates; and that the Archbishops had their Sees in such Cities as had formerly been the residence of the Roman Governors. The cities (says he), and the places where PrimatesPrimates. are to preside, are not of a late model, but were fix’d many years before the coming of Christ; to the Governors of which cities, the Gentiles also made their appeals in their more weighty affairs. In which very cities also, after the coming of Christ, the Apostles and their Successors setled Patriarchs or Primates; who have power to judge the Causes of Bishops, andMajores Causæ.others of great consequence.causae caesariensis Now, since Britain had formerly three Archbishops, London, York, and Caerleon; it is in my opinion, that the Province which we now call Canterbury (for thither the See of London was translated) made the Britannia Prima; that Wales, which was subject to the Bishop of Caerleon, was the Secunda; and that the Province of York, which then reach’d as far as the ¦ ¦ Limitem.Wall, was the Maxima Cæsariensis.

(a) Usserii Antiquitat. Britan. p.51.

Britain divided into five parts. The next age after that, when the Constitution of the Roman Government was every day chang’d (either through ambition, that more might be preferred to places of honour; or the policy of the Emperors, to curb the growing power of their Presidents) they divided Britain into five parts,Notitia Provinciarum. Britannia prima, Secunda, Maxima Cæsariensis, Valentia, and Flavia Cæsariensis. Valentia seems to have been the northern-part of the Maxima Cæsariensis, which Theodosius, General under the Emperor Valens, recover’d from the Picts and Scots, and, out of complement to his Master, call’d it Valentia, as Marcellinus testifies in those words. Lib.28. The Province which had fal’n into the Enemy’s hands, he recover’d, and reduc’d to its former state; so that by his means, it enjoy’d a lawful Governor, and was also, † appointment of the Prince, afterwards call’d Valentia. It is reasonable to suppose, that the Son of this Theodosius (who upon his being Emperor, was call’d Flavius Theodosius, and made several alterations in the Empire) might add the Flavia; because we never meet with Britannia Flavia before the time of this Flavius. Britannia Prima. To be short then, Britannia Prima was all that Southern tract, bounded on one hand with the British Ocean, and on the other with the Thames and the Severn-Sea: Britannia SecundaBritannia Secunda. was the same with the present Wales: Flavia CæsariensisFlavia Cæsariensis. reach’d from the Thames to Humber: Maxima CæsariensisMaxima Cæsariensis., from Humber to the river Tine, or Severus’s wall: ValentiaValentia., from the Tine to the Wall near Edenburgh, call’d by the Scots Gramesdike; which was the limit of the Roman Empire.

And here I cannot but observe, that very learned men have betray’d a want of judgment, in bringing Scotland into this number; some urging that it was the Maxima Cæsariensis, others, the Britannia Secunda. As if the Romans had not neglected that cold frozen Climate, and included in this number such Provinces only as were govern’d by Consular Lieutenants and Presidents. For the Maxima Cæsariensis and Valentia were under persons of Consular dignity; and the other three, Britannia Prima, Secunda, and Flavia, under Presidents.

Primae Secundae Provinciae If any one ask me, what grounds I have for this division, and accuse me of setting false bounds; he shall hear in few words, what it was that led me into this opinion. After I had observ’d, that the Romans call’d the Provinces, Primæ, which were nearest Rome (as Germania Prima, Belgica Prima, Lugdunensis Prima, Aquitania Prima, Pannonia Prima, all nearer Rome, than such as are called Secundæ) and that the more refin’d writers call’d the Primæ, the Upper; and the Secundæ, the Lower: I concluded the South-part of our Island, as nearer Rome, to be the Britannia Prima. For the same reason, since the Secundæ Provinciæ (as they call them) were most remote from Rome, I thought Wales must be the Britannia Secunda. Further, observing that in the decline of the Roman Empire, those Provinces only had Consular Governors, which were the Frontiers (as is evident from the Notitia, not only in Gaul, but also in Afric; ) and that Valentia with us, as also Maxima Cæsariensis, are call’d Consular Provinces; I took it for granted, that they were nearest and most expos’d to the Scots and Picts, in the Parts above-mentioned. And as for Flavia Cæsariensis, I cannot but fansy that it was in the middle of the rest, and the heart of England; wherein I am the more positive, because I have an ancient writer, Giraldus Cambrensis, on my side. These were the Divisions of Britain under the Romans.

Afterwards, the barbarous nations invading it on all hands, and civil wars prevailing more and more among the Britains themselves; it lay for some time, as it were without blood or spirits, and without any face or appearance of Government. But at length, that part which lyes northward, was branch’d into the two Kingdoms of Scots and Picts, and the Pentarchy of the Romans in this hither part, was made the Heptarchy of the Saxons. For they divided this whole Roman Province (except Wales, which the remains of the Britains possess’d themselves of) into seven Kingdoms, viz. Kent, South-Sex, East-Angle, West-Sex, Northumberland, East-Sex, and Mercia. Saxon Heptarchy.

But what this Heptarchy of the Saxons was, as also what were the names of the places in that age; you will more easily apprehend, by this Chorographical Table.

Considering that such Tracts or Counties, as these Kingdoms contain’d, could not so conveniently be represented in a small Chorographical Table, by reason of its narrowness; I chose to explain it by this other Scheme (which gives the Reader an entire view of it at once) rather than by a number of words.

The Saxon Heptarchy.

1. The Kingdom of Kent contain’d The County of Kent.
2. The Kingdom of South-Saxons contain’d The Counties of Sussex.
3. The Kingdom of East-Angles contain’d The Counties of Norfolk.
Cambridge; with the Isle of Ely.
4. The Kingdom of West-Saxons contain’d The Counties of Cornwall.
5. The Kingdom of Northumberland contain’d The Counties of Lancaster.
Northumberland; and Scotland to the Fryth of Edenburgh.
6. The Kingdom of the East-Saxons contain’d The Counties of Essex.
Middlesex, and part of Hertfordshire.
7. The Kingdom of Mercia contain’d The Counties of Glocester.
Chester, and the other part of Hertford-shire.

England divided into Counties. BUT while the Heptarchy continu’d, England was not divided into what we call Counties, but into several small partitions, with their number of Hides; a Catalogue of which, out of an old Fragment, was communicated to me by France Tate, a person excellently skill’d in our Law-Antiquities. But, it only contains that part which lies on this side the Humber.

Myrcna contains 30000 * * A hide (as some will have it) includes as much land as one plow can till in a year; but as others, as much as four Virgats.Hides.
Woken-setna 7000 hides.
Westerna 7000 hides.
Pec-setna 1200 hides.
Elmed-setna 600 hides.
Lindes-farona 7000 hides.
Suth-Gyrwa 600 hides.
North-Gyrwa 600 hides.
East-Wixna 300 hides.
West-Wixna 600 hides.
Spalda 600 hides.
Wigesta 900 hides.
Herefinna 1200 hides.
Sweordora 300 hides.
Eyfla 300 hides.
Wicca 300 hides.
Wight-gora 600 hides.
Nox-gaga 5000 hides.
Oht-gaga 2000 hides.
Hwynca 7000 hides.
Ciltern-setna 4000 hides.
Hendrica 3000 hides.
Vnecung-ga 1200 hides.
Aroseatna 600 hides.
Fearfinga 300 hides.
Belmiga 600 hides.
Witherigga 600 hides.
East-Willa 600 hides.
West-Willa 600 hides.
East-Engle 30000 hides.
East-Sexena 7000 hides.
Cant-Warena 15000 hides.
Suth-Sexena 7000 hides.
West-Sexena 100000 hides.

Tho’ some of those names are easily understood at first sight, it will be extremely hard to trace out the rest: for my part, I freely confess, they require a more acute Judgment, than I am master of.

Called in the Coins Aelfred. Afterwards, when King Alfred had the whole government in his own hands; as our forefathers the Germans (which we learn from Tacitus) administer’d Justice according to the several Lordships and Villages, taking a hundred of the common-people as assistants in the Administration; so he (to use the words of Ingulphus of Crowland) first divided England into Counties; because the natives themselves committed robberies, after the example, and under colour, of the Danes. Moreover, he made the Counties to be divided into Centuries or Hundreds,Hundreds. and Tithings; ordering that every man in the kingdom should be ranked under some one hundred and tithing. The Governours of Provinces were before that call’d * * Vicedomini.Lieutenants; but this office he divided into two, viz. Judges (now called Justices) and Sheriffs, which still retain the same name. By the care and industry of these, the whole Kingdom in a short time enjoyed such perfect Peace, that if a traveller had let fall a sum of money ever so large in the evening, whether in the fields, or the public high-ways; if he came next morning, or even a month after, he should find it whole and untouch’d. This is more largely explain’d by the Malmesbury Historian. Even the natives (says he) under pretence of being barbarians (i.e. Danes,) fell to robberies; so that there was no safe travelling without arms. But King Alfred settled the Centuries, commonly called Hundreds, and the Tithings; that every English man, living under the protection of the Laws, might have his certain Hundred, and his Tithing. If any one was accused of a misdemeanour, he should get bail in the hundred and tithing; or if he could not, should expect the severity of the laws. But if any one standing thus accus’d, should make his escape, either before or after bail, the whole Hundred and Tithing wasRegis mulctam incurreret.liable to be fined to the King. By this project, he settled peace in the Kingdom; so that even upon the high-roads where four ways met, he commanded golden bracelets to be hung up; thereby to deride the avarice of Travellers, while none durst venture to take them away.

Wappentacks, Tithings and Laths. These Hundreds are in some parts of the Kingdom called Wappentaches; and if you desire to know the reason, I will give it to you out of Edward the Confessor’s Laws. When any one received the government of a Wappentach; on a set day and in the place where the meeting used to be held, all the elder sort met him; and when he had alighted from his horse, they rose up to him. Then he held up his spear, and took security of every one there, according to custom; for whoever came, touched * * Cum lanceis suis ipsius hastam.his spear with theirs; and this touching of armour confirm’d them in one common interest, and was a publick league. In English, arms are called wepun, and Saxon: taccare is to confirm, as if this were a confirmation of arms: or, to speak more agreeably to the English tongue, (a) Wepentac is a touching of armour: for wepun signifies armour and tac is touching. There were also other Jurisdictions above those of Wapentaches, which they called Saxon: Drihingas, as including the third part of the Province: and they who were Lords over them, were stil’d Saxon: Drihingerefas. To these, Appeals were made in all such causes, as could not be determin’d in the Wapentaches. So that what the English nam’d a Hundred, these called a Wapentach; and what was in English three or four Hundreds, they called (b) Saxon: Drihinge. But in some Provinces, what they called Trihing, was in English term’d Saxon: Lew; and what could not be determin’d in the Saxon: Drihinge, was carry’d into the Shire.

(a) See Sir Henry Spelman’s Glossary, under the word Wapentachium.

(b) Of which the Ridings in Yorkshire are a corruption.

Shires. These Counties (which if you would express in proper Latin, may be term’d either Conventus or Pagi) we call by the Name of Shyres; from the Saxon word Scyre, signifying to branch and divide. By the first division, there were only 32 Counties; for in the year 1016, in the Reign of Æthelred,AEthelred Malmsbury assures us there were no more. In the life of Æthelred he writes thus. At this time the Danes invaded sixteen Counties, whereas there are but thirty two in all England. And in those Days, the Counties were divided according to the different sorts of Laws. Division of England, according to Laws. For the Laws of England were three-fold; those of the West-Saxons, called West-saxenlage; those of the Danes, called Denelage; and those of the Mercians, called Merchenlage. Under the West-Saxon-Law, were comprehended nine Counties, Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Berkshire, Hamshire, Wiltshire, Somersetshire, Dorsetshire, and Devonshire. To the Dane-laws belonged fifteen Counties, viz. Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire. The other eight were govern’d by the Mercian-Law;Lib. M.S. S. Edmundi. these were Glocestershire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Cheshire, Shropshire, and Staffordshire. Domesday-book. But when William the first made his Survey of the Kingdom, there were reckoned thirty six Counties, as the Polychronicon tell us; tho’ the publick records in which he register’d that Survey, reckon no more than thirty four. For Durham, Lancashire, Northumberland, Westmoreland, and Cumberland, did not come into the number; the three last (as some would have it) being then under the Scots; and the other two, either exempt from taxes, or included in Yorkshire. But all these being afterwards added to the number, made it (as it is at this day) thirty nine. Wales divided into Counties. Besides which, there are thirteen more in Wales; (c) six whereof were in Edward the first’s time; and the rest, Henry the eighth settled by Act of Parliament.

(c) But the Statute of 34 and 35 of Hen. 8. Cap. 26. tells us, That eight Shires were of ancient and long time, to wit, those of Glamorgan, Caermarthen, Pembroke, Cardigan, Flint, Caernarvon, Anglesey, and Merioneth; and other four were made by the Statute of 27 Hen. 8. Cap. 26. besides Monmouthshire; namely, Radnor, Brecknock, Montgomery, and Denbigh. So that in K. Edward’s time there seem to have been eight.

Lieutenants. In each of these Counties, especially in times of publick Disturbance, there is appointed a Deputy under the King, by the name of Lieutenant; who is to take care that the State be no way damnify’d. The first Institution hereof seems to be owing to King Alfred, who settled in every County the Custodes regni, or Keepers of the kingdom. These were afterwards restor’d by Henry the third, under the title of Capitanei. For in the fiftieth year of his Reign, he (as John of London has it) held a Parliament, in which this wholesom Law was enacted, That in every County there should be one * * Capitaneus.Captain maintain’d by the King, who, by the assistance of the Sheriff, should curb the insolence of the robbers. Upon which, many were so affrighted, that they left that trade; and the Royal Authority began to revive. This was wisely enough order’d: but, whether Canutus the Dane, when he made a Tetrarchy in a Monarchy,897. Matt. Westm. did not act more prudently, let our Politicians determin. He flourished in 1070. For he (as Hermand the Archdeacon says) being a man of very great sagacity, and dividing the government of the Kingdom into four shares, put each under a Tetrarch, whom he had found faithful to him. The government of the West-Saxons, which was the greatest, he took to himself; † Mircha.Mercia, the second part, he committed to one Edrick; the third, called Northumbre, to Yrtus; and Earl Turkille had the fourth, i.e. East Anglia, a very plentiful country. Ann. 1607. This account I owe to the diligence of Mr. Fr. Thinne, who is a great proficient in the study of Antiquities, and was pleas’d to communicate these particulars to me.

Sheriff of the Shire. But every year, some one inhabitant, of the † Minoribus Nobilibus.Gentry, is set over the County, and stil’d Vice-comes, i.e. a Deputy of the Comes or Earl; and in our language, Sheriff, i.e. one set over the County; and he may very properly be term’d the QuæstorQuaestor of the County or Province. For it is his business to collect the publick revenues of the County; to gather into the Exchequer all Fines, even by distraining; to attend the Judges, and execute their orders; to empannel twelve men,Twelve men. who are to determin matters of Fact and bring in their Verdict to the Judges (who with us are only Judges of Law, not of Fact;) to see such as are condemn’d, duly executed; and to give Judgment in petty causes.

Justices of the Peace. There are also in every County, certain EirenarchæEirenarchae, or Justices of the Peace, settled by King Edward the third, and those take cognizance of murders, felonies, trespasses, and many other misdemeanors. Judges of Assize.Besides, every year the King sends into each County two of the Justices of England, to give sentence upon Prisoners, and to make a Gaol-delivery. But of these more hereafter, when we come to the Courts.

As to the Ecclesiastical Government: After the Bishops of Rome had assign’d to each Presbyter his Church, and set them over distinct Parishes; Honorius, Archbishop of Canterbury, about the year of our Lord 636, first began to divideEngland divided into Parishes. England into Parishes, as we read in the Canterbury-History.

At this time, England has two ProvincesProvinces., and two Archbishops; Canterbury, Primate of all England, and Metropolitan; and York. Under these, are * * 25, C.twenty four Bishops; † † 22, C.twenty one under Canterbury, and the rest under York. What these BishopricksC.Bishopricks. are, with their several Counties, or Dioceses, is set forth in these words of that excellent person the most reverend Father in God Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury, a great Patron of Learning, and particularly of Antiquities.

In the Province of Canterbury.

CAnterbury, with Rochester, contains the County of Kent. London, Essex, Middlesex, and part of Hertfordshire. Chichester, Sussex. Winchester, Hamshire, Surrey, and Isle of Wight; with Guernsey and Jersey, Islands lying upon the Coast of Normandy. Salisbury, Wiltshire and Berkshire. Exeter, Devonshire and Cornwal. Bathe and Welles jointly, Somersetshire. Glocester, Glocestershire. Worcester, Worcestershire and part of Warwickshire. Hereford, Herefordshire and part of Shropshire. Coventry and Lichfield, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, and the other part of Warwickshire; as also that part of Shropshire which borders upon the River Repil. Lincoln, the largest, six Counties, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Huntingdonshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and the other part of Hertfordshire. Ely, Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely. Norwich, Norfolk and Suffolk. Oxford, Oxfordshire. Peterborough, Northamptonshire and Rutlandshire. Bristol, Dorsetshire. To which eighteen Dioceses in England, must be added those of Wales, which are depriv’d of an Archbishop of their own, and are also made fewer; * * Septem vix in quatuor hardly coming entire into four. These are, † Menevensis.St. Davids (whose seat is at St. Davids) Landaff, Banchor, and Asaph or Elwensis.

In the Province of York.

YORK it self comprehends Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire. Chester, Cheshire, Richmondshire, and Lancashire, with part of Cumberland, Flintshire, and Denbighshire. Durham, the Bishoprick of Durham, and Northumberland. Carlisle, part of Cumberland, and Westmorland. To which number, may be added the Bishoprick of Sodor, in the Isle of Man.

Among these, the Archbishop of Canterbury has the first place; the Archbishop of York, the second; the Bishop of London, the third; the Bishop of Durham, the fourth; and the Bishop of Winchester, the fifth. The rest take place according to the time of their Consecration. But if any of the other Bishops happen to be Secretary of State, in virtue thereof he claims the † † Fifth, C.first place, ⌈next to these.⌉ There are besides, twenty six Deaneries, thirteen whereof were erected in the larger Churches, by King Henry the eighth, upon his expulsion of the Monks. The Archdeaconries are sixty; and the Dignities and Prebends make five hundred and forty four.

ThereParishes. are also nine thousand two hundred eighty four Parish-churches under the Bishops; of which, three thousand eight hundred forty five are Appropriate; as is plain from the Catalogue exhibited to King James ⌈the first,⌉ which I have here subjoyned. Now, Appropriate Churches are such, as by authority of the Pope and the consent of the King and Bishop of the Diocese, were on certain conditions annex’d to those Monasteries, Bishopricks, Colleges, and Hospitals, whose revenues were but small; either because they were built upon their ground, or granted by the Lords of the Manour. Such a Settlement is express’d in law, by being united, annex’d, and incorporated for ever. But upon the subversion of the Monasteries, these (to the great damage of the Church) were made * * Feuda Laicalia.Lay-fees.

In the Province of Canterbury. Dioceses. Parish-Churches. Churches appropriate.
Canterbury, 257 140
London, 623 189
Winchester, 362 131
Coventry and Lichfield, 557 250
Salisbury, 248 109
Bath and Wells, 388 160
Lincoln, 1255 577
Peterburrow, 293 91
Exeter, 604 239
Glocester, 267 125
Hereford, 313 166
Norwich, 1121 385
Ely, 141 75
Rochester, 98 36
Chichester, 250 112
Oxford, 195 88
Worcester, 241 76
Bristol, 236 64
S. Davids, 308 120
Bangor, 107 36
Llandaff, 177 98
S. Asaph, 121 19
Peculiars in the Province of Canterbury. 57 14
The whole number in the Province of Canterbury. 8219 3303
In the Province of York. York, 581 336
Durham, 135 87
Chester, 256 101
Carlisle, 93 18
The whole number in York. 1065 592
The whole number in both Provinces. 9284 3845

But in the Book of Cardinal Wolsey, which was written in the year 1520, there are reckon’d in all the Counties, 9407 Churches. I know not how this difference should happen, unless it be, that some were demolish’d in the last age; and the Chapels which are Parochial, be omitted, and others which are barely Chapels, reckon’d among the Parish-Churches. However, I have set down the number of Churches at the end of each County, out of that Book of the Cardinal.

ThereMonasteries. were also in the Reign of King Henry the eighth (if it be not a crime to mention them) monuments of the piety of our fore-fathers, erected to the honour of God, and the propagation of Christianity, and of learning, and the support of the poor; I mean, the Religious houses (ie. Monasteries or Abbies, and Priories,) to the number of 645: Whereof 40 were suppress’d by a Grant from Pope ClementHen. 5. had before that dissolved 100 Priories of Monks Aliens. the seventh, obtain’d by Cardinal Wolsey, who had then laid the foundation of two Colleges, one at Oxford, and another at Ipswich: And presently after, about the 36th of Henry the eighth, a torrent (as it were) casting down the banks, broke in upon the Ecclesiastical state of England; and, to the surprize of the world, and the grief of the nation, at once cast down the greatest part of the Religious, with their curious structures. For the same Liberty which the Pope had granted the Cardinal, the King, by consent of Parliament, took himself. Whereupon, in the year 1536, all Religious houses, with their revenues, which had 200l. a year, or under, were granted to the King; in number 376. * * The next year, C.And in the year 1539, under a specious pretence of rooting out superstition, the rest were given up to the King’s disposal; with the Colleges, Chauntries, and Hospitals, ⌈ten years after.⌉ At which time, there were † Censitæ sive taxatæ.valu’d or tax’d 605 religious houses, standing; Colleges (besides those in the Universities) 96. Hospitals, 110. Chauntries and Free-chapels, 2374. Most of these, in a short time after, were demolish’d, and their revenues squander’d away, and the rich Treasures which had been gradually consecrated to God by the pious munificence of the English from the time they receiv’d Christianity, were in a moment dispers’d, and (if I may use the word without Offence) Profan’d.


Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 13:06