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Fountains Abbey are a wide and important subject, and for the purpose of even a slight and hasty discussion of them it will be necessary, and it is hoped not altogether tiresome, to devote a separate chapter to their consideration. At present we may connect with Mr. Brunet-Debaines's drawing of the nave the thought of those earlier years in the history of the foundation during which the severe and lofty Cistercian spirit had its most perfect work, and “the monks sought their daily bread by the sweat of their brows, planting with their life-blood the vineyard of the Lord of Hosts."1 But the engraving of the exterior, in which the great tower is prominent, speaks chiefly of a day of ominous departure from Cistercian simplicity.
In the latter part of the thirteenth century came a period of depression. John le Romaine, Archbishop of York, writing in 1 294 to the monks who had been sent from Clairvaux as visitors of the Cistercian houses in England, mentions the necessitous state of Fountains, and attributes it, in part at least, to misconduct and extravagance.
Burton (Monasticon Eborac., p. 143) tells us the Archbishop roundly asserted that the monks of
1 This passage from the chronicler of Meaux, describing the monastic life there under Adam - once a monk at Fountains - is borrowed from an interesting pamphlet, entitled, Charters of Roche Abbey, by Sidney Oldall Addy, M.A.
Fountains were become a laughing-stock to the kingdom, and he does not wonder at it. But, with this exception, they enjoyed a high reputation, and consequent steady increase in their revenues and territory, till at last, in 1535, their estates were certified by the Commissioners to be worth close upon £1000 a year. This income — which, it is needless to say, must not be estimated by our present standard—was produced mainly by a vast extent of landed property, including, amongst other items, an estate of 60,000 acres in a ring-fence in Craven. The account of the possessions of the monastery in flocks and herds is, perhaps, even more impressive1976 head of cattle, 1106 sheep, 86 horses, and 79 swine, were found at the dissolution, besides 117 quarters of wheat, 13 of rye, 134 of oats, and 192 loads of hay in the more distant granges, and 160 loads of hay and 128 quarters of corn in the park and granaries of the Abbey. For his interest in all these, Marmaduke Bradley, thirty-third and last Abbot, the nominee of Layton and Legh, received an annuity of £100 a year. Was it for this, we are tempted to ask, that Prior Richard and his brethren had left all and braved the winter in the wilderness ?
1 There was also much valuable plate, which, including chalice, crosses, etc., amounted to £708:5:9. Amongst the domestic part were twenty silver-gilt spoons (16 and 4), besides many of ungilt silver.
We have seen by this time something of what the realities of contrition and adoration can effect. They cannot save men from error, they cannot bestow the modern Englishman's cherished attribute of common sense ; but at least they are genuine and unmistakable, and the angels as they gaze are not perplexed. The pale shadows of these somewhat unmanageable graces, the feeling for a feeling and thought about a thought, are compatible with easy postures in accustomed armchairs, but they themselves are goads and scourges, to be prayed for, if at all, with judicious faintness. It remains to examine, in as much detail as our space permits, the buildings of which we have sketched the history. Though the original Cistercian churches conformed with exactness to certain wellknown limitations, and were built without exception on one recognisable plan, it is remarkable that, in