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increased in 1345 to twenty. In that year the first court of the prior for the manor of Maxstoke was held; and a volume of the time of Henry VIII., written by Thomas Slade, was cited to show the number of freeholders doing suit and service—thirteen by small money payments, four by military service, one by payment of 18d. and { lb of pepper, and the last by the rendering of a pair of gloves. After a brief allusion to the death of the founder in 1354, and referring in terms of eulogium to his character, attention was called to the paucity of evidence as to the state of the Priory during the latter part of the fourteenth century and commencement of the fifteenth. Most fortunately, however, a volume still remained, commencing in the disastrous reign of Henry VI., and extending from 1432 to 1489, in which the annual accounts were inserted, as also copies of rent and court rolls, titles of licences, copies of charters, and deeds of gift; and several extracts bearing upon the festivities at the Priory were given. Instances were also cited from Slade's volume, showing the vigilant care with which the priors watched over the interests of their house: with two of these he had legal disputes, and was successful in each case. After remarking on the painful circumstance of seven persons arrested at Coventry in 1519, on a charge of heresy, having been sent for confinement to Maxstoke, whence they were afterwards retaken to Coventry, and martyred, the surrender of the Priory in July, 1536, was touched upon, its gross income being stated at £130, and the net amount £88. The Valor Ecclesiasticus was cited to show that in the possessions were included advowsons of the parish churches of Maxstoke, Shustoke, Fillingley, Long Itchington, Tamworth, Aston Cantlow, and Yardley. The Priory, after remaining in the hands of the Crown about two years, was granted to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, by whom it was speedily sold to Robert Trapps, a goldsmith, of London; and from him its possession was traced through the Paulets and Holbechs to the family of the present noble owner, Lord Leigh.”

No one, whether archæologist or not, should to the Priory ruins, without visiting the farm-house once forming a part of the Priory buildings. In this house is still seen, in good preservation, the room which was once the camera picta, but is now converted into a cheese-room. The ceiling is divided into compartments, and is adorned with paintings of the arms of

many noble houses ; and in one division of the compartments are the emblems of the Passion of our Lord. These relics of the past are rapidly disappearing, and it is a task of some difficulty to trace the drawings. In a few more years these artistic handiworks of the old monks will be what those who produced them now are- -lost to mankind for ever.

Our party left the Priory through the grand archway,

which still remains a noble monument of the old builders; and a fine specimen of what a glorious pile the sacred work must have been to which it leads; and next spent a delightful hour in the garden and grounds of the courteous and amiable vicar of Maxstoke. Here “some curious specimens of encaustic tiles, a fragment of a stained glass window, some elegant finials, and an old alms box," all relics of the adjacent ruins, were exhibited.

The approach of evening brought the signal for our return; and after a drive through some of those rich, tree-shaded, winding, and picturesque lanes; admiring the gloriously wooded spots, and pleasant variations of meadow lands, wheat-fields, (now in the golden glorious richness of harvest time,) hedges, copses, and landscapes here and there dotted with human habitations, gable-ended and roof-thatched, for which this dear old land is so famous, we reached home, every one declaring that a ramble with archæologists was not the dullest, nor the least enjoyable, way of spending a day in the country.

247

THE MEETING OF THE AVON AND THE

SEVERN.

In that most genuine month of the year, dear to poets and ramblers; in the "merry, merry month of May," it was our happy lot to be “towering” (as we heard a venerable-looking dowager phrase it) through the rich counties of Worcester and Gloucester. One day during this out, it occurred to us to visit the old historic town of Tewkesbury. We remembered that there was fought one of the decisive battles of the Wars of the Roses; that there the immortal Avon wedded herself to the glorious Severn; that, in a word, it possessed many attractions, any one of which was sufficient in itself to induce such inveterate ramblers as ourselves to turn aside from our path and pay our devoirs to the ancient place.

It was a lovely day. The apple and pear trees were dressed in their richest, their fullest bloom. The chestnuts waved up their pyramids of blossom, drawing words of admiration from every beholder. The gentle lilacs shed their fragrance far and wide, and young lasses, as they passed, begged a spray for their bosoms. The fields were rich with cowslips, and every bank was made beautiful with clustering primroses. The landscape displayed every tint of green, and the hedges were here and there made glorious by the thicklyblossoming blackthorn. All the birds were soothing, cheering, and delighting their loves, and us, with song, each one according to his gift; and the beauty of the whole formed a fit accompaniment to the barmony of sweet sounds, which every coppice, every little cluster of trees sent forth. Tennyson has described such a day for us, and here is his picture :

“ The steer forgot to graze,
And, where the hedge-row cuts the path-way, stood,
Leaning his horns into the neighbour field,
And lowing to his fellows. From the woods
Came voices of the well-contented doves.
The lark could scarce get out his notes for joy,
But shook his song together as he near'd
His happy home, the ground. To left and right
The cuckoo told his name to all the hills;
The mellow ouzel fluted in the elm;
The redcap whistled, and the nightingale
Sang loud, as though he were the bird of day.”

Such was the day on which we entered Tewkesbury.

Let no one, if he can help it, go to Tewkesbury by the railway. He may save a little in time, but he will lose a great deal in beauty. Let all who value this gain come by the turnpike-road, either froin Cheltenham, Ledbury, or Worcester. We came by the Worcester road. In nearing the town you have to descend a hill, and the whole place lies open before you. In the front are the rivers Avon and Severn, whose waters you see coinmingling to sweeter sounds than Moore's “ Meeting of the Waters.” Beyond the

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