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Lanfranc quitted the peaceful shades and pleasant cloisters of Bec, to enter upon the difficult and stormy task of reforming the Anglo-Saxon church.
According to the usual custom, the new primate, ere he entered on the duties of his office, proceeded to Rome, to receive that important badge of spiritual investiture, (which still maintains its place on the shield of Canterbury), the pall. Most gratifying to the feelings of the illustrious teacher must the recollection have been, that he, to whose tribunal every cause was brought, and before whose footstool even kings had bowed—he, the supreme Pontiff, had been his pupil at Bee; and most gratifying to him also must have been the marked and respectful homage paid by his grateful scholar; for, at his entrance, the haughty pontiff rose up and greeted him with revered courtesy. "Holy father," exclaimed the astonished attendants, " do you rise up before the archbishop of Canterbury?" "Not because he is archbishop do I rise up before him," was the grateful answer, "but because I was once his pupil at Bec, and there sat at his feet imbibing all wisdom."
On his return to England, Lanfranc proceeded rigorously to reform those abuses which ignorance, sloth, and luxury had induced upon the English church; and the constitutions which are known by his name were agreed to at a general council of ecclesiastics, held at St. Paul's, in 1075. Disgusted with the gross ignorance of many of the Saxon clergy, the primate unsparingly dismissed them from their parishes, from their convents, and in some instances, even from their sees. Among those of the episcopal order, who were summoned to resign their crosiers on charge of incompetency, was Wulstan, the excellent bishop of Worcester, who most probably had been falsely accused by some enemy to his countrymen. The prelate obeyed the summons, and appeared before Lanfranc and the council who were then sitting in the abbey church at Westminster; but when commanded to resign his crosier, he advanced, and addressing the king, who was present, said, "A better than thou invested me with this office, and to him I return it." Thus saying, he placed the crosier upon the marble slab of the monument erected to the memory of the Confessor; but the stone, faithful to its trust, (so the admiring chronicler believed,) held firm hold of the pastoral staff, nor could the utmost force dislodge it. The king and the archbishop now bowed to the will of Heaven, thus unequivocally declared, and the worthy but unlettered bishop re-assumed his crosier and his see.*
In reforming and restoring the Benedictine rule, Lanfranc provided very efficiently for the general promotion of learning; since in every monastery of this order a school and a library were expressly provided. In some of the Saxon abbeys, though unfortunately in very few, a degree of attention was
* Malmsbury relates that this worthy prelate, as he saw the workmen pulling down the old cathedral, could not refrain from tears; and being asked the reason, he replied—" We destroy the edifices of our ancestors only to get praise to ourselves. That happy age of holy men knew not how to build stately churches, but under any roof they offered themselves living temples to God, and by their example incited others to do the same; we, neglecting the care of souls, labour only to heap up stones." paid to this rule; and in Ingulphus's account of Croy- land we find that its school, even at the commencement of the 11th century, was well supplied with scholars, the children of the neighbouring residents; and its library well-fitted with books. The picture which the abbot of Croyland gives of the venerable Turketul visiting the novices and pupils daily, inspecting their progress, and encouraging the more diligent by little gifts of "figs, dried raisins, nuts, or almonds, or more frequently apples and pears," which an attendant carried for him in a basket, is a pleasing trait, which proves that in these convent schools nothing of the stern and severe discipline of more modern grammar schools was known.
The example and vigilant superintendence of Lanfranc soon awakened in these seclusions a general and energetic spirit of improvement. At St. Albans, the monastery whose abbot took precedence of every other abbot of the kingdom, the transcription of books proceeded rapidly; for Lanfranc furnished copies. In the cathedral library of Exeter, about the same period, a collection of books, very extensive for that period, was formed; and among them that valuable MS,* although in the despised language of Saxon-England, found a place. Glastonbury, too, began to boast her library; and Croyland, stimulated to yet farther exertions by the awakening spirit around, made such numerous additions to its library, that at the period of its fatal fire, in 1091, seven hundred volumes were consumed.
* The Exeter Saxon MS., whence the late Mr. Conybeare has made his selections.
This most disastrous event was, however, eventually beneficial to the cause of learning; for, during the rebuilding of the monastery, Joffrid, who was then abbot, sent "master Gislebert, with three other monks, to the manor of Cottingham, near Cambridge.'' These four, who were all teachers, went every day over to Cambridge, and there hired a barn, in which they gave public lectures. The barn in a short time overflowed, and the scholars dispersed over the town. The order of the lectures was then thus arranged. Early in the morning, brother Odo, an excellent grammarian, gave lectures in grammar; at one, brother Terricus, an acute sophist, read Aristotle's logic; at three, brother William gave lectures on Tully's rhetoric and Quintillian; while master Geslebert, the professor of theology, not understanding English, but well versed in French and Latin, preached to the people. Thus, from the hired barn of the wandering scholar and his three obscure companions, do the lordly towers and palace-colleges of Cambridge owe their rise.
Until the commencement of the 12th century, we find but few notices of Oxford. That it had long been known as a school, is certain; but little celebritv seems to have attached to it, before the reifn
- o of the scholar king. At this period it appears as a flourishing school; and the important circumstance, that even then it was a place of education for the Jews of the kingdom, proves that at one place in England, a scientific education could be obtained. But still, few of the English scholars desirous of attaining eminence were contented with the advantages their native land could afford; but flocked with eager delight to the abbey school of Bec, or to the newly founded university of Paris. John of Salisbury, who thus quitted England to complete his education, gives the following account of the course of studies at this period pursued by the students of the university of Paris. "In the year after king Henry died I went to the peripatetic school of Paris, and there studied logic. Afterwards I adhered to master Alberic, and was two years with him and Robert Metridensis, an Englishman; then for the next three I transferred myself to William de Cenobium, for grammar; then Richard, called the bishop, retracing with him what he learnt from others, and the quadrivium; and also heard the German Harduin." He then studied rhetoric; and during this time, being poor, supported himself by teaching the children of the noble. He afterwards prosecuted logic with William of Soissons. Returning three years after, he heard master Gilbert on logic and divinity; then Robert Pullen and Simon Periacensis, his only teachers in theology. 'Thus,' says he, 'I passed twelve years in these various studies.'"
Returning to the state of the English schools, we find that the beneficial impulse communicated by Lanfranc did not cease with his death. After three years' opposition on the part of Rufus, Anselm the pupil and successor of Lanfranc in the abbacy of Bec, became also his successor in the chair of Canterbury. As learned as his predecessor, but possessing a mind even of a higher order, Anselm entered fully into the views of Lanfranc, and paid