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condition, part of Roger de Lacy's primitive work; but it has been much altered. From its summit there is a noble view over the castle, the town, and all the picturesque surrounding country.
But the portion of the castle which is after all most attractive, is so, not so much from its age or its architecture, though both are venerable, or from any association with “loud-throated war.” It is the great roofless hall, in which the “ Masque of Comus," as we learn from the first printed edition, “was presented before the Earl of Bridgewater, then President of Wales." Whether Milton himself visited Ludlow on this occasion is uncertain. The Masque, it is said, was composed to celebrate the appointment of the carl to his high office; and the poet produced what has been justly called “the noblest performance of the kind which exists in any language.”* “I should much commend," wrote Sir Henry Wotton to Milton, “the tragical part, if the lyrical did not ravish me with a certain Dorique delicacy in your songs and odes, whereunto, I must plainly confess to you, I have seen yet nothing parallel in our language.” The hall of Ludlow Castle was
no unworthy scene for the representation of so noble a work. From its northern windows (you may still reach them by a judicious scramble) the broken, wooded country is visible, in the depths of which lies the forest partly within sight) in whose “blind mazes,” according to a long-received tradition, the “ lady” of the Masque was lost; and from the Teme, winding below the castle, Turner, in the best of his illustrations of Milton, has represented the water-nymphs floating upward, as they leave “the rushy fringed bank” at the call of the attendant spirit. The "chief persons” who presented the Masque were, as we are told, “the Lord Brackley, Mr. Thomas Egerton his brother, and the Lady Alice Egerton,” children of the Earl and Countess of Bridgewater. According to the traditional story they were on their way from Herefordshire to their father's court at Ludlow Castle, when they stopped at Hay Park, a very old house standing high above the woods which then swept up toward it on all sides. On the following day they advanced through the woods toward Ludlow, and the lady was for a time separated from her brothers
Stept, as they said, to the next thicket-side
Milton has changed the English wood into a haunted forest, full of strange sounds and mysterious revelry; but the charm of his verse still lingers in its glades. The scene of " Comus is Mary Knoll Valley, a long hollow, the banks of which are thickly clothed with wood, whilst a streamlet murmurs along it toward the broader river. The wood lies to the right of the road to Wigmore. On a rising ground was a cell, with a figure of the Virgin-—“St. Mary's Knoll.” The valley is overlooked by higher ground, where the guardian shepherd may have been
• Tending on flocks hard by i' th' hilly crofts
and the wood itself is tufted with whortleberry, the “cooling fruit” of the brothers;
* Vacaulay, “Essay on Milton.”'
while among its "virtuous” plants grows thickly the golden agrimony, held to be the “hæmony” of the poet
Of sovran use
It is still possible to lose one's way in the wood, which is chiefly of oak, and of very primitive character ; but a visit to Ludlow is not complete without an hour or two spent in its recesses.
The last scene of “Comus” changes to "Ludlow Town and the President's Castle ;" and we pass from the enchanted wood to the great Church of St. Lawrence, after the castle the most interesting building in Ludlow. The whole town was walled, as was necessary in the stormy times of Welsh forayers; and the town walls met those of the castle at right angles. On the highest ground in the town stands the church, restored under the direction of the late Sir Gilbert Scott, and containing portions of Early English and Decorated work, though the general appearance is that of a fine building of the fifteenth century. There was an earlier church here, which was enlarged in 1199; and at that time a lofty mound of earth which stood near it was removed. This mound proved to be a Roman barrow; and it was no doubt the “low” (the Saxon word “hleow
(the Saxon word "hleow”= low, signifies such an earthen mound) which distinguished this “ Lude” from others recorded in “ Domesday," and gave it the name of Lud-low. The church is, perhaps, the finest in Shropshire, cruciform in plan, with large chantry chapels, and a lofty tower rising from the central crossing. This tower was built in the reign of Edward IV-a friend, as we have seen, to Ludlow. The stalls in the deep and wide chòir indicate that the church was collegiate; and the great east window is filled with ancient stained glass, representing the legend of St. Lawrence, the patron saint. The window was restored so long ago as 1832, but the beauty of the old glass remains uninjured. There are twenty-seven designs, each of which has a Latin inscription explaining the subject. At the spring of the arch are other figures, which have no relation to St. Lawrence. One of these represents Thomas Spoford, who was Bishop of Hereford from 1421 to 1448, and it was no doubt in his time that this window was erected. The six windows at the sides contain full-length figures of saints, among whom “St. George the bright, Our Lady's Knight,” is conspicuous. The original reredos, much mutilated, was found concealed behind a modern screen, and has been happily restored. It displays a series of figures of the apostles, with some subjects from the life of our Lord, and is a very unusual and remarkable example of an English reredos of the fourteenth century.
The chantry on the north side of the choir is even more interesting than the choir itself. It belonged to the Guild of the Palmers, founded in the year 1281 by certain burgesses of Ludlow, with the usual objects of such guilds, which were then common. The members were to help each other under all circumstances, and the "goods of the guild ” were to be bestowed on those of the brethren who needed such assistance. But the guild was founded not without reference to an ancient legend, which told how King Edward the Confessor “was warned of hys death certain dayes before hee dyed, by a ring that was brought to hym by certain pilgrims coming from Hierusalem; which ring hee had secretly given to a poore man that asked hys charitie in the name of God and Sainte Johan the Evangelist.” This poor man was St. John himself. The pilgrims who brought the ring to the Confessor were, according to the legend, "men of Ludlow.” Accordingly, the east window of the chantry is filled with glass representing the story of this ring; whilst other windows at the sides represent various saints, with the “Pater noster” carried along the foot of the upper lights, and figures of the twelve apostles, each with the sentence before him which he is held to have contributed to the Creed.
The ordinances of the Guild of Palmers contain one remarkable provision : services for the dead were to be attended by all the brethren and sisters; and “if any man wishes, as is the custom, to keep night-watches with the dead, this may be allowed, provided that he does not call up ghosts" (nec monstra larvarum inducere presumat) “nor makes any mockeries of the body, or of its good name” (nec corporis vel fame sue ludibria, nec ludos alios inhonestos, presumat aliqualiter attemptare). The customs and beliefs of Ludlow at the end of the thirteenth century must have been somewhat remarkable.*
* The ordinances of the Guild of the Palmers of Ludlow are printed (a translation only, for the most part) in the volume of “English Guilds," edited by Dr. Toulmin Smith and his daughter for the Early English Text Society.
A DARK STORY OF THE “ANGEL."
Descending toward the station we may visit for a few moments the “ Feathers,” no doubt the most ancient hostelry in Ludlow, and one of the most striking of the timber-ribbed, pargetted houses which adorn the streets. The exterior is rich in various devices, including the Prince of Wales's “ Feathers,” which were adopted as the sign, perhaps, in the time of Prince Arthur. The house is of that date; and many of the rooms are panelled with carved oak, and have ceilings quaintly moulded. It is not often that the modern pilgrim has a chance of resting beneath so venerable a roof. There is another old-fashioned inn,
Angel,” in Broad Street, conspicuous from its projecting bow-windows. This inn, in 1840, was the scene of a remarkable attempt at murder.
young man named Josiah Misters, who from his childhood seems to have borne a singularly bad character, had for some time been following from fair to fair a Mr. Ludlow, believed to carry with him a large sum of money. Misters, it is supposed, had been told that Ludlow would sleep at the “ Angel” inn on a certain night, and had made himself acquainted with the bed-room which he would probably occupy. Misters hid under the bed, and in the dead of the night attacked his sleeping victim with a razor. But instead of Ludlow, who was an elderly man, he encountered a strong young commercial traveller, on whom he inflicted severe wounds, but who succeeded in freeing himself from the hands of the murderer, and in rousing the house. Misters was taken, tried, convicted, and sentenced to be hanged a sentence which, in spite of much interest exerted on behalf of the criminal, was carried into execution at Shrewsbury on the 3rd of April, 1841, in the presence of enormous crowds from all the neighbouring counties. The counsel for the prosecution was Serjeant Ludlow; and thus the name of the old town came to figure three times in the story.
So we may take our leave of Ludlow, of which place the verses of Master Churchyard are still true :
“ And who that lists to walk the towne about
WEST CORNWALL AND THE LAND'S END.
An Ancient Dinner-table, and a Modern One-General Character of West Cornwall-W. Borlase, the Cornish Antiquary
-The Hundred of Penwith-Early Accounts-St. Michael's Mount, and its History-St. Michael's Chair - The Tir: Traffic-Primitive Hut-villages-Chysoister-Penzance, and its Trade-The Pilchard Fishery-Dolly Pentreath-The Land's End- The Logan-A Lonely Church and its Legend-Cliff Scenery of the Land's End-old Cornish ChurchesSt. Sennen-St. Just-Primitive Stone Circles —Zennor and Chywoone.
LOSE to the “church-town” of St. Sennen,
most westerly parish in Cornwall, is a large flat stone, which centuries ago served, according to the tradition, for the dining-table of seven Saxon kings. We are also told that Merlin, who was present at the gathering, foretold that a much greater number of kings should one day dine at the same stone, and that tumult and wars should speedily follow. This is Old Cornwall; and the story belongs to the primitive days of giants and sorcerers, white dragons and red. In the August of 1876 another banquet took place in the same parish of St. Sennen. The Mayor of Penzance entertained the members of the
British Archæological Association, not at the Kings' Stone, but on the turf which immediately crests the rock-masses of the Land's End. All the resources of modern cookery were brought into play for this occasion. Soups and entrées, iced puddings and creams, appeared as if by magic on the summit of the “dark Bolerium.” Claret and champagne were not wanting. The company was distinguished and very numerous; and the sole archaic feature within the tent which softened the glare of the unclouded sun, was the golden collar of the mayor, glittering at the head of his table, like that of the old Irish king
“With the knights of the Branch around him." This was Modern Cornwall: the Cornwall of railways and of steamers; no longer a remote half-enchanted region, to penetrate which required the adventurous courage of Percival or Gawain, but accessible within a few hours from the “full tide of humanity' at Charing Cross. And yet, sharp as is the contrast between the shadowy banquet of the kings and the substantial feast of yesterday, and distinct as are the conditions of the centuries, the face of this extreme portion of the Western Peninsula can have changed but little since the days of Merlin. It is still a weird, strange region ; and its strangeness stands out all the more perhaps for its contrast with modern feasting, and the swarm and bustle of modern visitors. Broken into rough steeps and valleys; treeless on the higher ground, where the moors blaze with furze and heath, the colouring of which, owing to the moist atmosphere, is unusually brilliant; granite "carns," as they are here called, breaking up at intervals; grey church-towers rising as landmarks over the wide, desolate wastes; and here and there a glimmer of the sea beyond its tremendous barrier—the “inland” of this broad peninsula affords precisely such a landscape as is the most appropriate setting for rude monuments of unknown age,