Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

discovered near the Hot and Cross Baths a few years ago, there can be little doubt that this temple was dedicated to Minerva, the head and horns of young cattle were found, and. it is well known that young heifers were the victims of sacrifice offered to that deity.

There were also found two fragments of a frieze, with letters cut on them of curious import; and seems to be a specimen of Roman masonry preserved in the collection of the city. This is also a votive altar, and was apparently erected by some person obliged by Marcus Ausidius, an officer belonging to the eigth legion, as a grateful return to the deity who presided over the waters of Bath, for the salutary effects they liad produced on his patron.

The inscription, though not completely deciphered, is as follows:

[merged small][ocr errors]

These remains were found more than twelve feet below the present surface. And about the same depth, the workmen met with an ancient paved way, of broad free-stones, with a channel to carry off the water; from which it is evident, that the old city was ten or twelve feet below the present one.

In the year 1793, the workmen in digging near Sidneyplace, Bathwick, about four feet under ground, came to a large stone, which on clearing proved to be a sephulchral altar in almost perfect condition, with a Latin inscription to the memory of Caius Calpurnus, supposed to have been an officer of rank in Britain, and of a uoble family in Rome, who died! at the age of 75.

There were several other altars found, with various inscriptions on them; but as there are published learned ac-counts of these and other pieces of antiquity, with engravings. illustrative of the same, written by Governor Pownel, F. A. S. price 2s. 6d.-and by the Rev. R. Warner, (author of se

[graphic][merged small]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

veral learned and ingenious works) with plates, price 7s. 6d. we shall content ourselves with the account we have given of them, as being sufficient for our present purpose.

CHAP. IV...

Of the Cathedral Church of St. Peter and Paul.

HE Cathedral Church of Bath, (generally called the Ab

by year 676, and

devoted to the service of Nuns. But it soon fell a sacrafice to the rage of war, which then subsisted between the neigh bouring provinces of Western Britain, king Offa having made this part of Somersetshire an addition to his territory, founded a monastry, much more considerable than the original institution, on the ruins of Osric's nunnery; and placed therein secular Canons, monasticks very general in the seventh and eighth centuries.-Offa's monastry was demolished by the Danes, (a people whose religion was war, and who beheld with contempt the peaceable inmates of a cloister,) about ninety years after its erection.

Bath monastry was raised again; under the reign of Alfred, Edward the elder, and Athelstan; filled with secular priests,and dedicated to St. Peter..

The present noble edifice, called the Abbey, the boast and beauty of Bath, owes its origin to Oliver King. It is said that this prelate, when at Bath, one night as he lay musing on his bed, fancied he saw the Holy Trinity, with Angels ascending and descending by a ladder, near to which was a fair olive crown. This vision made so strong an impression on the bishop, that he thought to have heard a voice pronounce these words, "Let an Olive establish the crown, and a King restore the church." What the good prelate's imagination presented to his senses, induced him to build the Church of St Peter and Paul, on the site of the conventual Church built in the twelfth century. His death prevented him from compleating the work, After his decease it stood neglected during the time of four successive prelates, until at last, its almost total ruin followed. Upon the dissolution of religious houses, when the King's Commissioners offered it to the townsmen for five hundred

marks, they refused to purchase it, fearing, if they bought it so cheap, the suspicious mind of their monarch, may lead him to think they defrauded him.

In 1606, James Montague, who was then bishop of this see, raised it to its present state of grandeur, and made it parochial.

This noble structure, may be considered the last specimen of ecclesiastical gothic archetecture in this country. A noble arched door on the west side, is the grand entrance. When the interior of the Church opens to view, the beholder is struck with the majesty of the whole, and the beauty of every part. The great effulgence of light admitted through large and elegant windows, shews clustered pillars in the most perfect order, supporting eliptical arches, and a roof executed in a style superior to description.

*

But before one enters this superb fabric, the grandeur of the western end invites our attention. Here curiosity may be gratified with architectural beauties, displayed in the most singular pieces that art could devise.

A committee of the Society of Antiquarians have drawn up the following account of this noble scene.

"The grand entrance in the centre is filled with a rich ornamented door, given in 1617 by Sir Henry Montague, brother to the bishop of that name; it is charged with the arms of the see, impaling those of Montague, and round the shield is the device of the Order of the Garter, Honi soit qui mal y pense. In two other shields are the arms of Montague only; under the two upper shields on a label is this inscription, Ecce quam bonum et quam jucundum, &c. Above the shields is a profile helmet, with a crest of a griffin's head, behind is hung a flowing mantle, and at the bottom of the door are twoornamented bosses: This design strongly marks the décorative taste of the above date. The architrave round the entrance is composed of a number of mouldings, and a snbarchitrave diverges from it, and forms a square head over the arch; the spandrels of the arch are filled with labels enclosing wounded hearts, crowns of thorns, and wounded hands and feet, figurative of the five wounds of our Saviour. On each

* A beautiful View of the West Front, is prefixed to this Work.

« VorigeDoorgaan »