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expulsion of the Scottish monks, king Alchfrid gave the monastery to one Wilfrid, a learned, enthusiastic, and pious character, who had been his tutor, and who ever after regarded the place with peculiar affection. With the monastery was bestowed the lands appurtenant to thirty, or, as some write, forty dwellings, being probably the whole adjacent territory which was then brought into cultivation. After Wilfrid was elevated to the see of York, he rebuilt this monastery with all the superior elegance and taste he had acquired during his sojourn in Italy and foreign lands, and by his patronage and exertions, unquestionably, the huts that had been reared round the oratory of the holy fathers became the centre of civilisation to the circumadjacent country, and the earliest germ
of the future town.
The silence of the early chronicles allows us to hope that there was peace at Ripon during the warfare and brutal devastation that prevailed in the north during the eighth and ninth centuries. According, however, to some indefinite accounts, it shared this cruel fate towards the close of the latter period, for about the year 860, when the Danes were ravaging the country with insatiable fury, they are said to have razed the town to the ground, and done much injury to the monastery.
There remains, indeed, to our own day, a monument of some dreadful carnage that occurred here awhile after. This is a large conical tumulus at the east side of the town, about a bow shot from the cathedral, composed throughout of sand, gravel, and human bones, mingled in that indiscriminate manner that would occur when the victims of the battle-field were hastily collected in one vast mound that served alike as their memorial and their tomb. The teeth and bones of horses, too, have been found in quantities within a short distance around its base. This singular and mysterious object, which was called in Leland's time Ilshow, but now Ailcy Hill, measures about three hundred yards in circumference at its base, and about seventy in sloping height. Etymologists have connected its name with a presumption that Ella, the Northumbrian king, fought, or was subsequently slain here in 867, and that he, or those who fell with him, were deposited in a how or hill that was designated by his name. The fact of his death having occurred here is, however, clearly disproved by several ancient chroniclers,* who state that he fell with king Osbert, at York; and the Saxon personal appellation of Elsi harmonises better with the vulgar pronunciation, which has been immemorially “Ailcy.”
* Chron. Sax. ed. Wheloc p. 532. Asserij Annales XV Scrip. 159.
Still its own internal evidence has proved that it was thrown up in, or very shortly after, Ella's time, for, in digging in the hill, which, until the late enclosure of the common where it stood, was used as a gravel pit, there was found, in the early part of 1695, several stycas of Osbert and Ella, Ethelred, Eanred, and Aelred. Within memory many have also been found in the hill; but, through ignorance of their value, have been all dispersed or lost.
Hitherto, the soil of Ripon may have been possessed by the successive monarchs of Northumbria, with the exception of what had been given by them to Wilfrid and his monastery ; if the statement -believed as early as 1280*—is correct, that Athelstane, who reigned from 925 to 940, gave the Manor of Ripon to Wolstan, Archbishop of York. Yet little reliance can be placed on the mediæval interpretation of a Saxon grant, and the truth, as suggested both by the authentic portion of the charters of Athelstane, printed in the “Monasticon,'t as well as by the petition of Archbishop Bowet to Parliament, in 1415,4 seems rather to be, that Athelstane, when he came with his army to Ripon, on his expedition against the Scots, vowed, that, if it should prove successful, he would endow the churches of York, Ripon, and Beverley, with profitable privileges ; and that his grant consisted in the creation and conveyance of peculiar and exempt legal jurisdiction over those manorial and appurtenant lands already acquired by the see of York, and since comprehended in what is termed the franchise, or “Liberty of Ripon.”
When king Edred proceeded to the north, to revenge the perfidy of the Northumbrians, about the year 948, § he devasted and burned the town and monastery of Ripon, in consequence, as is supposed, of Archbishop Wolstan, its lord, being implicated in the rebellion. Odo, Archbishop of Canterbury, visited the province of York very soon after this devastation. |He had pity, as Leland observes, T on the desolation of Ripon monastery, and began, or caused a 6 new work to be edified wher the present minstre now is.” Prosperity seems to have followed his exertions so effectually that after the lapse of a century, and in the reign of Edward the
* Placita de Quo Warr. R. C. p. 197.
† Mon. Angl. i. 172.
# Rot. Parl. vol. iv., p. 85. & A. D. 948, says Matt. Westm., p. 368; but A. D.950, Sim. Dunelm., X Scrip. i., c. 166. || R. de Diceto. X Scrip. c. 455.
Itin. i. 91.
Confessor, the manor had acquired the annual value of 321. * Archbishop Aldred was then its lord. He was the last Archbishop of York under the Saxon dynasty, and crowned William the Conqueror.
It has been fortunate for the town that the Conqueror bestowed the manor on Aldred's successor, Thomas, t rather than on a layman, who might have neglected it, in consequence of its comparatively defenceless position. He had been a Canon of Bayeux, and having aided William with a large sum of money to prosecute his expedition, was thus rewarded with the primacy of York. During his time the town shared so severely in the devastation that succeeded the siege of York in 1069, that when Domesday survey was taken sixteen years after, the value of the manor was depreciated to 71. 10s. ; and most of the appurtenant berewics were still desolate and waste. Under the fostering and powerful patronage of the Archbishops of York, with whom Ripon was a favourite residence I until Walter Grey erected the palace at Thorp, the prosperity of the town increased apace. The death of Archbishop Thomas occurred here, Nov. 18th, 1100 ; $ and Murdac retired hither, when at issue with his Chapter. The hosts of retainers and followers that these great dignitaries daily maintained, together with the influx of persons who attended the fairs they had been privileged to hold by kings Henry and Stephen, could not fail in that day, when commerce was confined to chartered localities, to confer lasting benefit on the town. The number of persons employed in the erection of the church, and the several ecclesiastical structures around, must, also, from the long period over which these works extended, have contributed to the same result. Before the close of the thirteenth century, and probably at a far earlier period, the manufacture of woollen cloth had been established in the town, which had arrived at such importance as to be deemed worthy of representation in parliament.
On the 3rd of October, 1295, || it was summoned to send two members to a parliament, to be held at Westminster on the 13th of November following. It was summoned four times afterward, and until the 19th Edward II., when it ceased to send members, until the last parliament of Edward VI., I from which period it has been summoned to the present time.
* Domesday Book. | Ibid. | Stubbs, Act. Pont. Ebor. X Scrip. ii., c. 1709.
& Bromton., X Scrip. ii. 801. Palgrave's Parl. Writs, i. 36, 85. 1 Willis's Not. Parl., viii, p. 66-7.
About the year 1319, when the country was distracted by the contentions of the imbecile Edward and his barons, Robert Bruce seized on several of the towns and military stations of the north. He sacked and ravaged the Yorkshire towns of Northallerton, Boroughbridge, Skipton, and Scarborough, and having turned his army in this direction, remained at Ripon three days, where he imposed a tribute of one thousand marks on the terrified inhabitants, two hundred and forty of which they immediately paid, fearing lest he should put his threat of burning the town into execution.
The evil day was only protracted for a while for, after his pursuit of King Edward to York, his army again visited Ripon, when, finding the wretched inhabitants unable to comply with their demands, they perpetrated many brutal atrocities; putting to death, among others, several ministers of the collegiate church, which, according to Walsingham, they endeavoured to destroy by fire.
Notwithstanding the calamity which had befallen the town, King Edward summoned a parliament to meet here on the 14th of November, 1322 ; but it did not assemble, being removed by writ of proclamation to York.
Though this incident may be indicative of the temporary mental elasticity of the inhabitants, yet the manufacture of woollen cloth, on which the staple and progressive character of the town depended, was, probably, never after prosecuted with its former success. Indeed the woollen trade, generally, was at this period in a very hopeless condition, and never revived, until Edward III. induced certain Flemish manufacturers to settle in England, one of whose establishments at York would, alone, interfere unfavourably with the more unskilful operations conducted here. Yet the resort of the country people to its fairs and markets, where, in the deficiency of shops, goods of all descriptions were sold, together with the presence and patronage of two great ecclesiastical establishments, must have maintained the town in a reputable commercial position.
During the remainder of the fourteenth century, nothing occurred of general interest in the annals of Ripon; and through that which succeeded it, we would hope that the absence of striking incident is indicative of a state of peace and contentment; escaping the vicissitudes and troubles to which it might have been exposed by the possession of a permanent fortification, and subjection to a military lord of the fee, during the desolating wars of York and Lancaster.
But whatever may have been the degree of vigour with which the staple manufacture was prosecuted here, during these periods, in the middle of the sixteenth century, when a new combination of the elements of social progress was evolved, it sensibly declined, and the trade was transferred to the more congenial site of Halifax. Leland, who was here about the year 1534, observed that “there hath bene, hard on the farther Ripe of Skelle,, a great numbre of tenters for wollen clothes, wont to be made in the town of Ripon. But now idelnes is sore encresid in the town, and clothe makeing almost decayed.”
The simultaneous dissolution of the religious houses interfered also unfavourably with the social comfort and temporal prosperity of the town; not only by diverting the proceeds of large and distant estates, which had been freely expended here, into absent or avaricious hands, but by exchanging the solace of ancient ties and associations for the poisonous infusion of theological strife ; so that when a “great plague” visited Ripon, in 1546, the full measure of its affliction was filled up.
This state of derangement and discord continued with little abatement until the famous “Rising in the North,” in 1569, when Richard Norton and Thomas Markenfield, the lords of domains hard by Ripon, that had bestowed on their race these ancient and chivalrous names, allowed the long suppressed bitterness of their religious discontent to plot and urge on that ill-starred expedition, in which the earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland were put forward as the ostensible leaders. The former of these noblemen had a seat at Topcliffe, seven miles from Ripon, where the rebels held their early meetings. They came here, on their road from Durham, on Friday, the 18th of November, 1569, and were here on the 19th, when many joined them. They had a muster at the Market-cross, and the earls made a proclamation, which Sir George Bowes, their adversary, describes as the most effectual thing they did. Here Norton displayed his memorable banner, and mass was celebrated in the collegiate church. After putting Sir William Ingilby, who had opposed them, to flight, they marched to Knaresborough ; and at length to Clifford Moor, whence they injudiciously returned to the north ; but the footmen risen in Ripon and the vicinity had seen enough of the campaign, and refused to pass their homes. On the night of the 16th of December, the lords Warwick and Clinton arrived at Ripon, in pursuit of the rebels ; and in the next month a dreadful demonstration of their victorious arms was exhibited in