Born: Lucan, Latin poet, 39 A.D., Cordova.
Died: Constantius, Roman emperor, 361, Mopsucrene, Cilicia; Pope Leo the Great, 461; James II, king of Aragon, 1327, Barcelona; Thomas de Montacute, Earl of Salisbury, killed in France, 1428; Bishop Robert Lowth, biblical writer, 1787, Fulham,; Theophilus Lindsey, Unitarian divine, 1808; Dr. Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, musical composer, 1847, Leipsic.
Feast Day: St. Papoul or Papulus, priest and martyr, 3rd century. St. Flour, bishop and confessor, about 389. St. Rumald or Rumbald, confessor, patron of Brackley and Buckingham. St. Wenefride or Winifred, virgin and martyr, in Wales. St. Hubert, bishop of Liege, confessor, 727. St. Malachy, archbishop of Armagh, confessor, 1148.
They who have read Foxe's Martyrology, will perhaps remember that several Lollards who, to save their bodies from the stake, renounced the 'new doctrine,' were nevertheless required to walk to Buckingham, and present an offering at the shrine of St. Rumald. Now this St. Rumald, whose name is also written Rumbald, and Grumbald, was a very remarkable saint. According to Leland, who copies from a monkish life of him, he was the son of the king of Northumbria by a Christian daughter of Penda, king of Mercia. He was born at Sutton, in Northamptonshire, but not far from the town of Buckingham. Immediately he came into the world, he exclaimed: 'I am a Christian! I am a Christian! I am a Christian!' He then made a full and explicit confession of his faith; desired to be forthwith baptized; appointed his own godfathers; and chose his own name. He next directed a certain large hollow stone to be fetched for his font; and when some of his father's servants attempted to obey his orders, but found the stone far too heavy to be removed, the two priests, whom he had appointed his godfathers, went for it, and bore it to him with the greatest ease. He was baptized by Bishop Widerin, assisted by a priest named Eadwold, and immediately after the ceremony he walked to a certain well near Brackley, which now bears his name, and there preached for three successive days; after which he made his will, bequeathing his body after death to remain at Sutton for one year, at Brackley for two years, and at Buckingham ever after. This done, he instantly expired.
After this three-days' existence, the miraculous infant was buried at Sutton by Eadwold the priest; the next year he was translated by Bishop Widerin to Brackley; and the third year after his death, his remains were carried to Buckingham, and deposited in a shrine, in an aisle of the church which after-wards bore his name. Shortly before the year 1477, Richard Fowler, Esq., chancellor to Edward IV., began to rebuild this aisle, but died before its completion. In his will, therefore, he made this bequest:
Item, I wolle that the aforesaid Isle of St. Rumwold, in the aforesaid church prebendal of Bucks, where my body and other of my friends lyen buried, the which isle is begonne of new to be made, be fully made and performed up perfitely in all things att my costs and charge; and in the same isle that there be made of new a toumbe or shrine for the said saint where the old is now standing, and that it be made curiously with marble in length and breadth as shall be thought by myn executors most convenient, consideration had to the rome, and upon the same tombe or shrine I will that there be sett a coffyn or a chest curiously wrought and gilte, as it appertaynith for to lay in the bones of the same saint, and this also to be dean in all -things at my cost and charge.
This extreme care for the relics of the infant saint clearly spews that they were held in high veneration at this period, and they continued to be the object of pilgrimages till the middle of the sixteenth century.
There was also a famous image of St. Rumald at Bexley, in Kent. This statue or image was very small and hollow, and light, so that a child of seven years old might easily lift it, but, for some reason or other, it occasionally appeared so heavy that persons of great strength were unable to move it. 'The moving hereof,' says Fuller, 'was made the conditions of women's chastity. Such who paid the priest well, might easily remove it, whilst others might tug at it to no purpose. For this was the contrivance of the cheat-that it was fastened with a pin of wood by an invisible stander behind. Now, when such offered to take it who had been bountiful to the priest before, they bare it away with ease, which was impossible for their hands to remove who had been close-fisted in their confessions. Thus it moved more laughter than devotion, and many chaste virgins and wives went away with blushing faces, leaving (without cause) the suspicion of their wantonness in the eyes of the beholders; whilst others came off with more credit (because with more coin) though with less chastity.' Fuller concludes the Legend of St. Rumald with this remark:
Reader, I partly guess by my own temper how thine is affected with the reading hereof, whose soul is much divided betwixt several actions at once:-1. To frown at the impudency of the first inventors of such improbable untruths.-2. To smile at the simplicity of the believers of them.-3. To sigh at that well-intended devotion abused with them. 4. To thank God that we live in times of better and brighter knowledge.
A memorial of the saint is still preserved at Buckingham in the names of Well Street, and St. Ruonbald's Lane; and a well at Brackley bears his name.
It is not unworthy of observation, that Butler, in his Lives of the Saints, gives but a brief account of Rumald; and though acquainted with Leland's account of him, passes lightly over the miraculous story, only saying: 'He died very young on the 3rd of November, &c.
SPURS AND SPUR-MONEY
Among the privy-purse expenses of Henry VII, in the year 1495, appears the following item:
To the children for the king's spurs, 4s.' And between June 1530 and September 1532, no less than three payments of 6s. 8d. are recorded as made by his successor's paymaster 'to the Coristars of Wyndesor in rewarde for the king's spurres.
Apropos of these entries, Mr. Markland quotes a note from Gifford's edition of Ben Jonson, stating that from the disturbance of divine service in the cathedrals (more especially in St. Paul's) by the jingling of the spurs of persons walking in their precincts, a trifling fine was imposed upon offenders in this way, called. 'spur-money,' the collection of which was left to the beadles and singing boys. It seems to us that the connection between the text and note is rather doubtful-indeed, Mr. Markland himself says, 'it must first be shown that it prevailed at so early a period.' Nicholas supposed that in the above cases the money was paid to redeem the royal spurs from the choristers, who claimed them as their perquisites at installations, or at the annual feast in honour of St. George.
Spur-money, as a penalty to be paid for wearing spurs in a cathedral, seems to have been thoroughly established in the seventeenth century. In the Gull's Horn-Book, Decker, advising his readers how they should behave in St. Paul's, says:
Be sure your silver spurs clog your heels, and then the boys will swarm about you like so many white butterflies; when you in the open quire, shall draw forth a perfumed embroidered purse-the glorious sight of which will entice many countrymen from their devotion to wondering -and quoit silver into the boy's hands, that it may be heard above the first lesson, although it be read in a voice as big as one of the great organs.' That the custom was not confined to St. Paul's, is proved by a passage in Ray's Second Itinerary- July 26, 1661.
We began our journey northwards from Cambridge, and that day, passing through Huntingdon and Stilton, we rode as far as Peterborough, twenty-five miles. There I first heard the cathedral service.
The choristers made us pay money for coming into the quire with our spurs on.' Another old writer complains that the boys neglect their duties to run about after spur-money. Modern choristers are not so bad as that, but they look sharply after their rights. Some few years ago, a visitor to Hereford Cathedral declined to satisfy the demands of the boys, who thereupon seized his hat, and decamped with it. The indignant despiser of old customs, instead of redeeming his property, laid a complaint before the bench; but the magistrates astonished him by dismissing the case on the grounds that the choristers were justified in keeping the hat as a lien for the payment of the customary fine. There was one way of escaping the tax, the spur-wearer being held exempt if the youngest chorister present failed to repeat his gamut correctly upon being challenged to do so. This curious saving clause is set forth officially in a notice issued by the dean of the chapel-royal in 1622:
If any knight or other person entitled to wear spurs, enter the chapel in that guise, he shall pay to the quiristers the accustomed fine; but if he command the youngest quirister to repeat his gamut, and he fail in the so doing, the said knight or other shall not pay the fine.
By enforcing this rule, the Iron Duke once baffled, the young assailants of his purse. When a similar claim was made against the Duke of Cumberland (afterwards king of Hanover) in Westminster Abbey, he ingeniously evaded it by insisting that he was privileged to wear his spurs in the place in which he had been invested with them.
On the belfry-wall of All Saints Church, Hastings, hangs a rhymed notice, declaring the belfry free to 'all those that civil be,' with a proviso:
If you ring in spur or hat,
Sixpence you pay be sure of that.
The debtors of Lancaster jail demand largess of any visitor wearing spurs within the castle-walls, and the doorkeeper of the Edinburgh Court of Session is privileged to demand five shillings from any one appearing in that court so accoutred.
Lord Colchester records in his diary (1776), that having inadvertently gone into the House of Commons booted and spurred, he was called to order by an old member for assuming a privilege only accorded to county members. This parliamentary rule is noticed by Sir James Lawrence in his Nobility of the British Gentry.
Though the knights condescended to sit under the same roof with the citizens and burgesses, they were summoned to appear gladio cincti, and they always maintained the dignity of the equestrian order. The most trifling distinction suffices to destroy the idea of equality, and the distinction of the spur is still observed. The military members appear no longer in armour, but they alone may wear spurs as a mark of knighthood. The citizen or burgess, who, after a morning-ride, should inadvertently approach the chamber with his spurs on, is stopped by the usher, and must return to divest himself of this mark of knighthood. And to this humiliation any gentleman of the first quality, any Irish peer, nay, the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself, who, whatever might be his authority or dignity elsewhere, should sit in the House in the humble character of citizen or burgess, must submit.
The first spur worn was merely a sharp goad, afterwards improved by bending the shank to suit the ankle. In the reign of Henry III, the rowelled spur made its first appearance; the rowel was gradually lengthened till it reached its maximum of seven inches and a half, in the time of Henry VI. Then came a change of fashion, and only spurs with close star-shaped rowels were in favour. At this time Ripon, in Yorkshire, was especially famous for the manufacture of spurs: 'As true steel as Ripon rowels,' became a proverbial expression. It was said that Ripon rowels would strike through a shilling, and rather break than bend. When James I passed through the town in 1617, he was presented with a pair of spurs valued at five pounds. The knights of old, proud of their spurs, were not content with simple steel. Brass and silver were pressed into service, and spurs were chased, gilt, decorated with jewels, and adorned with such mottoes as
A true knight am I,
Anger me and try.
Lady-equestrians adopted spurs at a very early period; Chaucer's wife of Bath is described by him as having:
on her feet a pair of spurs sharp.
The fops of Shakespeare's day, delighted to hear their spurs jingle as they strutted through the streets:
If they have a tatling spur and bear,
Heads light as the gay feathers which they wear,
Think themselves are the only gentlemen.
So, fastidious Brisk in Every Man oat of his Humour, praises his horse as 'a fiery little slave, he runs like a- Oh, excellent, excellent!-with the very sound of the spur!' And when an explanation of the latter phrase is demanded, replies: 'Oh, it's your only humour now extant, sir-a good jingle, a good jingle.'