Excerpt from Edmund Waterton, Pietas Mariana Britannica, A History of English Devotion to the
Most Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of God, 1879. pp 155-170
p. 155WALSINGHAM, formerly GALSINGAHAM.This was the most celebrated of all the English sanctuaries of our Blessed Ladye; and so great was the veneration in which it was held, that it was called the Holy Land of Walsingham. An old ballad says—As ye came from the holy landOf Walsingham and other instances occur.297 How applicable to this sanctuary were those words of Tobias “Nations from afar shall come to thee, shall bring gifts, and shall adore the Lord in thee, and shall esteem thy land as holy.”298Walsingham, or more correctly, Little Walsingham, is a parish, formerly a market town, in the northern division of the hundred of Greenhoe, in the county of Norfolk, twenty-eight miles north-west of Norwich, and one hundred and fourteen from London. It is about eight miles from the sea, and seven from Wells, the nearest port; but it is probable that most of the pilgrims who came by sea would land at Lynn Episcopi, now Lynn Regis, which is twenty-seven miles distant. Ships belonging to Lynn Episcopi are often mentioned amongst the pilgrim-transports.Two hundred feet due east from the east end of the priory church are two wells, commonly called the “Wishing-wells,” but this appears to be a comparatively late designation, and to which is attached a modern superstition, that297 Bishop Percy’s folio Manuscript, Ballads and Romances. Ed. Hales and Furnevall. Lond. 1868. V. iii. p. 471. Vide also p. 465. 298 Tobias, c. xiii. v. 14.p.156 whoever drank of these waters might obtain what they wished for while they drank.In or about the year 1061, a little chapel, similar to the Holy House at Nazareth, and dedicated to the Annunciation, was built here by Richeldis or Recholdis,299 a widow, in consequence, as the tradition says, of an injunction received in a vision from the Blessed Virgin Marye.300In the Pepysian Library there is an unique copy of an anonymous ballad, printed by Robert Pynson, and which bears internal evidence of having been composed about the year 1460. Its title runs thus—Of thys chappel see here the foundatyon,Builded the yere of Christ’s incarnatyonA thousande complete sixty and one,The tyme of Saint Edwarde, Kinge of this region.It relates how “the noble wedowe,” some time Lady of the town of Walsingham, Rychold de Faverches by name, was favoured by the Virgin Mother of God with a view of the Holy House at Nazareth, and commissioned to build its counterpart at Walsingham, upon a site thereafter to be indicated. It relates very circumstantially the widow’s perplexity—When it was al formed, then had she great doubte Where it should be sette, and in what manner place, Inasmuch as tweyne places were foune out,Tokened with meracles of our Laydie’s grace.• • • • • •The Wedowe thought it moste lykely of congruence This house on the first soyle to build and arrere Of thys who lyste to have experience;A chappel of Saynt Laurence standyth now there,Faste by tweyne wellys, experience do thus lere There she thought to have sette this chappel, Which was begone by our Ladie’s counsel.All night the Wedowe permayneing in this prayer,Our Blessed Laydie with blessed minystrys,Herself being here chief Artificer,299 Richeld is an old Norfolk name. In 2233, Bartholomew de Creke makes a grant to Richeld, widow of Robert de Creke. Blomefield, Parkins’ continuation, 4 v. iii. p. 37.300 Index. Mon. Dioec. Norv. p. 26. Leland Collect. v. iii. p. 26.p.157Arrered thys sayde house with angells handys, And not only rered it, but sette it there it is,That is tweyne hundrede foot and more in distaunce From the first place fokes make remembraunce.1The tradition, therefore, is, that Richeld, being in a state of doubt as to the exact spot on which to erect the little chapel, but inclining to the site by the two wells—“there she thought to have sette this chapel”—spent the night in prayer, and that our Blessed Ladye, “herself being here chief artificer,” reared it with the assistance of angels, and then “sette it there it is.” This tradition fully explains the extraordinary veneration in which the sanctuary of our Lady of Walsingham was held. “Whatever uncertainty,” says Harrod, “may still exist about the precise date of the chapel, there can be no doubt as to its having been the great source of attraction which drew pilgrims from all parts, and made the priory one of the richest in the world. Almost from the foundation of the priory up to the dissolution there was one unceasing movement of pilgrims to and from Walsingham. . . . The image of the Blessed Virgin in the small chapel, ‘in all respects like to the Santa Casa at Nazareth, where the Virgin was saluted by the Angel Gabriel,’ was the original, and continued to the dissolution the primary object of the pilgrims’ visit.”2Soon after the norman invasion, Geoffrey de Faveraches, as he is named, the son of Richeldis, founded and endowed a priory of Austin Canons, to whom he gave the above-named chapel. The charter of foundation is to this effect:“To all, &c. Geoffrey de Faveraches, &c.“Be it known to you that I have given and granted to Edwin, my clerk, for the institution of a religious order which he will provide, and for the health of my soul and the souls of my parents and friends, in perpetual alms, the chapel which my mother founded in Walsingham, in1Journal of Royal Arch. Instit. v. xiii. pp. 555, 116.2 Harrod, Gleanings among the Castles and Convents of Norfolk. Norwich, 1857 P. 557.p.158honour of the Ever Virgin Mary, together with the possession of the Church of All Hallows, in the same vill, with all its appurtenances, &c.”3Geoffrey went on pilgrimage to Jerusalem, but the date of his journey is not given.Subsequently Gilbert, Earl of Clare, confirms to his clerics of Walsingham, Ralph and Geoffrey, for the health of his soul and the souls of his parents, in perpetual alms, the chapel which Richeldis, the mother of Geoffrey de Faveraches, had founded in Walsingham, with all its appurtenances.4 And a charter, of a later date, of Robert de Brucurt, addressed to William, Bishop of Norwich, dated A.D. 1146-1174, makes known that he gives and grants to God and St. Marye, and the canons of Walsingham, for the health of his soul, &c., all the possessions which that church held on the day when Geoffrey de Faveraches set out on his journey to Jerusalem.5 This is the correct early history of Walsingham, and which some writers have strangely confused; and there appears no reason to doubt that Richeld, the mother of Geoffrey de Faveraches, was the original founder of the celebrated chapel of our Ladye, and at the period usually assigned, A.D. 1061. The chain of evidence is satisfactory.The chapel of our Blessed Lady stood lengthways, east and west, on the north side of the church, which was built up to it, and communicated with it by a door. This church was two hundred and forty-four feet in length by seventy-eight in width, interior measurement. The priory adjoined the church on the south side. About two hundred and thirty feet due north, on a line drawn from the east end of the church, stood the “Knight’s Gate,” leading into what is now called “Knight’s Street.”This renowned sanctuary is generally spoken of as having been the counterpart of the Holy House at Nazareth. Fortunately the dimensions of the Walsingham chapel have been preserved by William of Worcester, and thus a comparison3 Mon. Ang. vi. p. 71. MS. Cott. Nero. E. vii. f. 7.4 Ibid.5Ibid. p. 73. p.159becomes possible. I propose, therefore, briefly to give such details of the Holy House of Nazareth, now of Loreto, as bear upon the question, using for my principal authority a most interesting work, entitled Loreto and Nazareth, drawn up from the researches of many writers, and from his own most careful investigations in both places, by the late lamented Father of the Oratory of St. Philip, William Antony Hutchison.6 It is to be regretted that this instructive book is not more known. It has lately been translated into German.The Holy House was miraculously translated by the angels from Nazareth, and placed by them on the summit of a hill at Tersatto, a small town near Fiume, about sixty miles south of Trieste, on the eastern side of the Adriatic gulf, on the 6th of May, A.D. 1291.7 Three years later, on the 10th of September, it was again translated across the Adriatic, and placed in a wood, about a mile from the sea-shore, and four miles from Recanati.8 In August, 1295, it was transferred to the hill of the two brothers; finally, in December of the same year, it was translated to its present position.9 The wood where the Holy House rested was in a district called Lauretum,10 either from the laurels that grew in abundance there, or because it belonged to a rich lady of Recanati, called Laureta; and hence the appellation of Domus Lauretana, or “House of Loreto,” which has ever since remained attached to it.11“ Although,” says Father Hutchison, “the House now at Loreto is identically the same as6Loreto and Nazareth. London E. Dillon, 2, Alexander Place, Brompton, 1863.7 Ibid. p. 4.8 Ibid. p. 17.9 Ibid.10 I have found instances of both these names elsewhere in the thirteenth century. Thus the Chartulary of Notre Dame of Paris contains a charter, dated November, 1264, of Peter, called Tonniaus de Lorreto in Boscagio, and Anne his wife (vol. ii. f. 224, n. xix.). In February, 1256, there is a precept of Henry, Archbishop of Sens, given at Loretum in Boscagio (Ibid. n. i, f. 290); and in a charter of June, 1258, some lands are described as lying contiguous to the vineyard of Philip de Loreto (ibid. f. 468, n. cvi.). This place was Lorrez-le-Bocage, in the department of Seine et Marne, in the arrondissement of Fontainebleau. And a lady of the name of Laureta was an early benefactor to the Knights Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem in England.11Ibid. pp. 25, 26.p.160when it arrived there nearly six centuries ago, yet some alterations have been made in it, of which we now proceed to give an account. Soon after the House was finally settled in its present site, the people of Recanati, seeing that it stood on the bare earth without foundation, feared to allow its ancient walls to be exposed to the violence of the wind and the rain. They determined, therefore, to surround the Holy House with a thick brick wall, which should serve as a support and protection to the ancient walls; but when it was finished, it was found that the new wall had separated from the old walls in such a manner, that a boy with a lighted candle in his hand could easily pass between the two. This separation was commonly thought to be miraculous, and it was believed that our Lady wished to show that she had no need of human assistance to support the walls of her Holy House. Had the separation only taken place here and there, there would be nothing astonishing, as it might be thought to be merely the effect of a settlement of a new wall; but from the account given, something more than this seems to have taken place, as the new walls all round the building seem to have separated from the old walls, and to a considerable distance. But whatever may have been the reason, there was no doubt of the fact, for Riera, who died anno 1582, says that in his day there were living many who had beheld this prodigy with their own eyes; and amongst the rest, Rainerius Nerucci, the architect of the Holy House.”12In the course of time the magnificent church, which contains the Holy House under its dome, was erected. It seems to have been begun about the year 1468 by Pope Paul the Second, and was greatly added to and beautified by Clement the Seventh. This Pontiff determined to complete the incrustation of the Holy House with marble, according to the plan decided on by Leo the Tenth. Whilst the sculptors were preparing their work, Nerucci, the architect, removed the brick wall, which, as has been said, was built around the House. He then erected 12Loreto and Nazareth, p. 14.p.161in its place a new wall, which was afterwards clothed with marble. On this wall the present roof of the Holy House is supported; for the Pope fearing lest the ancient roof, which was of wood, might take fire some day through the quantity of lamps that were always burning in the House, ordered a new roof of stone to be put in its place.13It has been ascertained on several occasions that the walls of the Holy House have no foundations whatever.14The successive renewals of the pavement from time to time were rendered necessary by the crowds of worshippers who frequented the Holy House. Originally a pavement of tiles seems to have been laid down, either at Tersatto or Loreto; but in the time of Sixtus the Fourth, this was replaced by a pavement of marble, the pilgrims having carried off most of the tiles of the ancient pavement as relics.15May not the bequest of William Haute, in 1462, of “one piece of that stone on which the Archangel Gabriel descended when he saluted the Blessed Virgin Marye” have been in reality, a bit of this ancient pavement? It will be observed that this piece of stone is not spoken of as being considered a relic, and, as such, exposed for public veneration, hut the testator merely bequeaths it to be placed under the foot of the image of our Ladye at Bourne.16The great alteration, however, which was made in the Holy House at this time, was one which, though very convenient for the faithful, was such a bold step, that only one possessed of the authority of Supreme Pontiff could have ventured to order it. Up to the time of Clement the Seventh, the Holy House had but one door, the ancient door, namely, on the north side. This was found to be very inconvenient, and to cause much confusion among the crowds who were striving to enter or to leave the House. Besides this, the doorway in question existed in13Loreto and Nazareth, p. 28. 14Ibid. p. 29. 15 Ibid. p. 31.16 See ante, p. 4, sub Bourne.p.162the times of the Holy Family. It was, therefore, manifestly unseemly that so sacred a spot should be the scene of those undignified struggles on the part of the people. The Pope, therefore, determined to close up the ancient door, and to break three new doorways in the walls of the House—two of them being respectively in the north and south walls, towards the western extremities, and giving to the people ample means of entry and egress; the third doorway is in the south wall, and opens into the Sanctuary of the Holy House, behind the altar. His Holiness accordingly gave orders that these doorways should be made.17During the progress of these works, the small window in the west wall was enlarged and brought nearly into the centre of the wall, instead of being, as theretofore, nearer to the north than to the south wall. The materials of the new doorways were used partly to block up the ancient doorway, partly to enlarge the Sagro Cammino, and the remainder were buried underneath the pavement. At the same time the altar, which formerly stood against the middle of the south wall, was removed to its present position, i.e., about twelve feet from the east end, it is about four feet six inches long, with the top stone projecting, which is a dark black-looking slab, apparently of marble. It is all enclosed within the present altar. Behind the altar the Sagro Cammino, or Sacred Hearth, was considerably added to and brought into its present form. Above this, the image of our Lady of Loreto was placed, which had come in the Holy House when it arrived at Tersatto. These works were commenced on the 10th November, 1531, and were not finished till the 5th July, 1538.18Summing up, therefore, the following data are obtained: 1. The Holy House of Nazareth had but one door, which was nearly in the centre of the north wall, and one window which was in the west wall, and nearer to the north than to the south wall.17Loreto and Nazareth, p. 32.18 Pp. 35 36.p.163Father Hutchison is inclined to believe that formerly there was a second doorway where the Sagro Cammino now stands.192. The altar stood against the south wall. It is not stated where the image of our Ladye was placed.3. These arrangements were all changed, the alterations made by order of Clement the Seventh, when the altar was placed about twelve feet from the east end, and the image of our Ladye in the enlarged niche called the Sagro Cammino.The dimensions of the Holy House, internal measurement, are, length 31 ft. 35⅝. in., breadth 13 ft. Now to return to the Walsingham sanctuary, the little chapel of the Annunciation “arrerd with angells handys,” which formed the glory of Walsingham in its most palmy days, and which is described as being similar to the Holy House of Nazareth. It is certainly curious and interesting to notice how a miraculous translation is also associated with its early history, nearly two hundred and thirty years before the actual translation of the Holy House itself from Nazareth to Tersatto in 1291.The earliest details extant about this renowned sanctuary are those given by William Botoner, generally known as William of Worcester. He was born at Bristol, c. 1415, and was educated at Oxford, mainly at the expense of Sir John Fastolf, of Caistor in Norfolk, whose squire he afterwards became. His Itinerary is preserved in the library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and was published by Nasmyth in 1778. He was at Walsingham, probably, in 1479.It appears that, like the Holy House of Loreto, the chapel of the Annunciation at Walsingham—which I shall call, in the words of William of Worcester, the Capella Beatae Mariae—was covered in by an outer building, but I have found no record of the date when this outer covering was erected. William of Worcester calls19 Pp. 67-88.p.164it the novum opus, or new work; but this term is applied both to new buildings, and to buildings pulled down and rebuilt, therefore his words only prove that at the time of his visit, a new building, which enclosed the Capella, had recently been erected. These are the measurements which he has recorded: Longitudo novi operis de Walsingham continet in toto 16 virgas; latitudo continet infra aream 10 virgas, or 48 by 30 feet. Longitudo capelle Beate Marie continet 7 virgas 30 pollices; latitudo continet 4 virgas 10 pollices,20 or 23 ft. 6 in. by 12 ft. 10 in. Thus there was ample space for pilgrims to circulate between the walls of the capella and those of the novum opus.Erasmus, who was at Walsingham in May, 1511, describes the Ladye chapel by templum, and as not completed, within which was the sanctuary of our Ladye, which he variously calls the intimum sacellum, sacellum angustum, and conclave divae Virginis.21 Therefore the templum inabsolutum angustum, and the conclave divae Virginis or sacellum angustum of Erasmus are, respectively, the novum opus and the Capella Beatae Mariae of William of Worcester.The description of the position of the Ladye chapel which Erasmus gives, is confirmed by some excavations made at Walsingham not many years ago. It adjoined the priory church on the north side. Erasmus, speaking of the templum inabsolutum, says “Our Ladye does not dwell here for the building is not yet finished;” and then, like a Dutchman, he feelingly adds “the place is very draughty on all sides; the windows are open, and the doors are open, and not far off is the ocean, the father of winds” —Locus est undique perflabilis patentibus portis, patentibus fenestris, et in propinquo est oceanus, ventorum pater. “ ’Tis20 Itineraria Symonis Simeonis et Will. de Worcester, ed. Nasmyth, 1778, p. 335. In Browne Willis’ Mitred Abbeys, Addenda, vol. ii. p. 330, this passage of William of Worcester is thus given “Latitudo continet infra arcam 10 virgas.” The Rev. James Lee Warner has most obligingly sent me a tracing of the original MS., which gives aream beyond all doubt whatever.21 Peregrinatio religionis ergo. Inter Colloquia Erasmi, Opp. Lug. Batav. 1703 t. i. col. 774, et seq.top of pagep.164a hard case,” says Menedemus,22 “where then does our Ladye dwell?” Ogygius, i.e. Erasmus, replies “Within that building, which I have said was unfinished, there is a small chapel ligneo tabulatu confectum, which admits by a narrow little door, on either side, those who come to salute our Ladye; the light is feeble, in fact, scarcely any, excepting from the wax-candles. A most delightful fragrance gladdens one’s nose”—in eo templo quod inabsolutum dixi, est sacellum angustum, ligneo tabulatum constructum, ad utrumque latus per angustum ostiolum admittens salutatores. Lumen est exigum; nec fere nisi ex cereis; fragrat odor naribus gratissimus. It is, indeed, an agreeable surprise to learn that anything was pleasing to this jesting and conceited ex-Augustinian canon.I accept his statements for the simple reason that he had no object to gain, no whim to gratify, by being otherwise than correct in them. In regard of the patentes portae, it is most probable that the capella had no doors, a measure, which the convenience for the constant influx of pilgrims into the little chapel, would suggest; and it is extremely likely that the doors in the north wall of the novum opus and in the twelve foot passage from the church though the south wall were also kept open during the day for the same reason. Erasmus had announced his intended visit to Walsingham in a letter to Andrew Ammonio, dated Cambridge, 8th May, 1511.23 Now it so happens, that just about this time, the windows of the novum opus were being glazed at the expense of the king. In the royal payments of the third and fourth years of Henry the Eighth, there are two entries as follows:1-8 June, 1511, part payment for glazing our Ladye’s chapel at Walsingham, 20l.24November (no date), 1512, Bernard Flour, for glazing our Ladye’s chapel at Walsingham, 23l. 11s. 4d.2522 One of the two characters of the dialogue.23 Ep. cxiv. Opp. t. iii. pt. i. col. 106.24Letters and Papers, &c. Henry the Eighth, vol. ii. pt. ii. p. 1451, 25 Ibid. p. 1458.p.166These fully explain how the windows happened to be open when Erasmus was at Walsingham, and confirm his account.Several years ago the Rev. James Lee Warner, cousin to the present proprietor of Walsingham, made some excavations, and laid bare the foundations of the ladye chapel. He has given a very interesting account of his discoveries, accompanied by plans, in the journal of the Royal Archaeological Institute.26 I have read and studied it with great pleasure, and it has afforded me valuable assistance. To use his words: “The measurements of this building coincide so exactly with the dimensions of the novum opus, as already quoted from William of Worcester, that not a shadow of a doubt can exist as to their identity.” 27 From the plans which Mr. Lee Warner has prepared, the walls of the novum opus were of considerable thickness. There were three doors, one in the north, and one in the south wall, opposite to each other, and no doubt facing the two doors of the sacellum angustum, which Erasmus mentions: they were nearly in the centre of the two walls. The third door, and apparently of smaller dimensions, was in the west end, and not in the centre, but nearer to the south wall. The pavement of the novum opus was about 2ft. 6in. above the level of that of the church, from which the entrance was up three steps. In the plan of the ruins of Walsingham made by Mr. Lee Warner, the east wall of the novum opus is represented as of an extraordinary thickness, it being almost twice that of the other walls, and consequently about 24 feet wide.And now two questions arise: 1. William of Worcester describes the width of the novum opus as being ten yards: latitudo continet infra aream 10 virgas. What is to be understood by infra aream?Mr. Lee Warner, in the interesting article, to which I have already alluded, says: “The area (whatever it was) seems to have been identical with the platform of solid masonry which forms26 Vol. xiii. pp. 115-125.27Ibid. p. 123,p.167the eastern end of the opus novum. The expression infra aream may imply that it was elevated, but why William of Worcester excluded it from his internal measurement of the chapel, of which it formed the most honourable part, is not quite so apparent.”28 But, in a letter to me on this subject, he says “Upon subsequent reflexion, I believe that the great thickness of the east wall was apparent, not real; and that it was in fact only a portion of wall lying flat, having been partially undermined, and so fallen but roots of trees presented a difficulty in exploration. Are you cognizant of a remark of Matt. Paris? who, describing the solemnity, A. D. 1247, in the confessor’s chapel, says: “Rex advocavit eum, et praecepit residere in gradu, qui erat medius inter sedile suum et aream. P. 980, 4to ed. 1551.”This exploration has removed one difficulty, for I had been at a loss to account for the extraordinary apparent thickness of the east wall of the novum opus, viz. about 24ft. There can be no doubt that area, as used by William of Worcester, refers to the floor of the capella, which must have been above the level of the pavement of the opus novum. Moreover, in all probability, a step ran round the outside of the capella, whether level or not, with its floor, as is the case at Loreto and Einsiedeln; and this step and floor, together, formed the area of William of Worcester. I think that infra aream is to be taken as applying equally to longitudo and latitudo. Unfortunately, the ruins afford no assistance. If the pavement of the novum opus had been spared, it would have supplied valuable evidence for a solution of the question; but Mr. Lee Warner informs me that “the pavement of the capella was so thoroughly upturned by Thomas Cromwell and his agents, that not only wood, but stone, had for the most part vanished.” And this leads to the second question.2. Was the area of William of Worcester the ligneus tabulatus of Erasmus?In eo templo, says he, quod inabsolutum dixi,28 Vol. xiii. pp. 123, 124.top of pagep.168est sacellum angustum, ligneo tabulatu constructum, &c. How is the expression ligneo tabulatu constructum to be construed? Weever renders it, “a small chapell, but all of wood;”29 Gough Nichols, “a small chapel made of boards;”30 and Mr. Lee Warner speaks of it as the “wooden sacellum,” but the reading which he quotes is, ligneo tabulate constructum.31 The text which I have used is that of Vander Aa’s edition of 1703; and I have examined five other editions of the Colloquia, all of which give ligneo tabulatu.32 Facciolati does not mention the word;33 Ducange gives only one meaning, pavimentum—“a floor.”34It seems to be the general impression that the capella of Walsingham was built of wood, but I have found no authority for it, unless these words of Erasmus have given rise to it. The real solution of the difficulty lies in the sense in which Erasmus used them. But what is to be understood by these lines of the anonymous ballad of the year 1460, which I have already quoted?When it was al formed, then had she great doute Where it should be sette.Do they refer to the completion of the building materials, and as being ready for the builders; or will they warrant the inference that the little chapel was built of wood, and fitted together, and put up, prior to its being finally erected?The sanctuary of our Ladye, the Capella Beatae Mariae of William of Worcester, the Conclave Divae Virginis of Erasmus, is very briefly described by him. “When you look in you would29Anc. Funeral Monum. p. 860.30Pilgrimages to St. Mary of Walsingham, &c. Newly translated by John Gough Nichols, F.S.A. Lond. 1875, p. 13.31 Journ. Roy. Ant. Inst. vol. xiii. p. 124.32 1. Amsterdami, 1633, p. 271. 2. Lugd. Bat. 1664, p. 416.3. Ibid. 1665, p. 368. 4. Paris, 1674, P. 358. 5. Lugd. Bat. 1729, p. 416. I have not been able to see the Basle edition by Frober of 1540.33 Ed. Patavii, 1805.34 Ducange says: “Tabulatus, pavimentum. Andreas Floriac. in Vita MS. S. Gauzlini Archiep. Brituric. lib. i. Novumvicum etiam lapideo Tabulatu fabricavit ecclesiam. Hinc Tabulatus pro pavimento stratus. Chronicon Romualdi ii. Archiep. Salern t. 7. Muratori col. 194. Panormi palatium satis pulchrum jussit aedificari, in quo fecit capellam miro lapide tabulatam.p.169say that it is the abode of the saints, so brilliantly does it shine on all sides with gems, gold, and silver.” What light there was was afforded by the numerous wax candles, therefore the inference is that it had no windows. But where did the altar stand, and where was the celebrated image of our Blessed Ladye placed? All that is known on this point is from _Erasmus, who laconically remarks that “our Ladye stood in the dark at the right side of the altar”—illa stabat in tenebris ad dextram altaris; and one of the canons was in constant attendance—adstat altari canonicus quidam—to receive and take care of the offerings of the pilgrims. As to the actual situation of the altar nothing is known. Judging from the position of the doors of the opus novum, which must have corresponded with those of the capella, it is most probable that the altar stood at the east end, and the image of our Ladye in the south-east angle.The celebrated image of our Ladye was of wood. Erasmus describes it as “a little image, remarkable neither for size, material, or execution”—imaguncula, nec magnitudine nec materia nec opere praecellens; and this is the only description extant, so far as I can ascertain, of Our Ladye of Walsingham. Whether it was a standing or a seated image is a question which must remain unanswered. The seal of Walsingham represents our Ladye as seated, but I do not think that it can be received as evidence of the image of our Ladye. I may add, that the image of our Ladye of Loreto is standing, and about three feet in height.On comparing the measurements of the capella of Walsingham with those of the Holy House of Loreto, it will be seen that they do not correspond. The dimensions of Loreto are—length, 31ft. 3 ⅝ in.; breadth, 13 ft. 4½ in. Of Walsingham—length, 23 ft. 6 in.; breadth, 12 ft. 10 in.35 Loreto is built of the limestone of Nazareth; there is no record of what material the capella of Walsingham was built, for ligneo tabulatu constructum cannot be35 Loreto and Nazareth, p. 82,p.170construed as “built of wood.”36 Both were enclosed by an outer building. Presuming the door in the north wall of the novum opus to have been opposite to the door of the capella, the position of this latter one would have corresponded with that of Loreto before the alterations commenced by Clement the Seventh in 1331. The altar at Loreto formerly stood against the north wall nothing is known of the position of the altar of the capella except that the image of our Ladye was on its right. And was the image itself of English workmanship, or was it a copy of our Ladye of Nazareth, and brought from the Holy Land by Geoffrey de Faveraches, the son of the founder?The anonymous ballad, written about the year 1460, records that a chapel dedicated to St. Laurence stood by the two wells, on the spot where Richeld originally intended to have erected the chapel of our Ladye. Erasmus describes this chapel as being “full of wonders;” and adds, that the wells were covered by a wooden shed, which, as the guide informed him, was brought thither suddenly, in the winter season, from a long distance. Evidently he was indistinct in his recollections, and confounded the tradition of the chapel of our Ladye with the shed. He ridicules its pretended antiquity, and remarks that it bore no signs of old age; moreover, that when he expressed his doubts on this point, his guide, while seeming to assent to what he said, pointed out an old bear’s skin attached to the rafters of the shed, and seemed amazed that he had not noticed this evident proof of antiquity! Erasmus gives a very plausible account of what passed in conversation between himself and his guide, yet he himself did not understand a word of English, for he mentions, in another part of the Dialogue, that he had to avail himself of the services of young Robert Aldrich as an interpreter. No doubt the lively Cantab and the East Anglian guide must have been poking fun at the Dutchman; indeed Erasmus seems to hint as much in another36 See Parker’s Architectural Glossary for details.