p. 191 “March 26, 1502: “ Offering to Our Ladye of Walsingham, vis. viiid.” 92 In many cases these were not casual, but annual, offerings; and frequently made more than once during the year. Thus in the Northumberland Household Book of 1512: “Item. My Lorde usith to send afor Michaelmas for his Lordschips offerynge to Our Lady of Walsyngeham iiij d.” 93 “Item. My Lorde usith and accustumyth to send yerely for the Upholdynge of the Light of Wax which his Lordschip fyndith birnynge yerly befor Our Lady of Walsyngham, contenynge xi. lb. of Wax in it after vii. ob. for the fyndynge of every lb. redy wrought. By a Covenaunt maid with the Channon by great for the hole yere for the fyndinge of the said Light byrnning, vis. viiid.” 94 The Earl also remunerated the services of the canon for keeping his light burning during service time throughout the year. “Item. My Lord usith and accustomith to syende yerely to the Channon that kepith the Light before Our Ladye of Walsingham for his reward for the hole yere for kepynge of the said Light, Lightynge of it at all service-tymes daily throwout the yere, xiid.” 95 In the accounts of the Duke of Buckingham on the 18th of May, 1519, the following entry occurs: “To Russell, for my offering to Our Ladye of Walsingham, 6s. 8d.” 96 Another contemplated offering to Our Ladye of Walsingham is now recorded, unique of its kind, and which was even more curious than the donation to Our Ladye of Loreto made by a a king—I think of Saxony—and which I saw displayed in one of the cases in the Treasury of Loreto, when I was on pilgrimage there in 1857, in the suite of the Sovereign Pontiff Pius the 92 Surrey Archaeol. Collect. vol. iii. p. 3. 93 Ibid. p. 337. 94 Ibid. p. 338. 95 Ibid. p. 342. 96 Letters and Papers, &c. Henry VIII. Vol. iii, pt. 1, p. 499, no. 1285. p.192 Ninth. It consisted of his Majesty’s wedding suit, coat, vest, and nether garments. On the 15th of May, 1515, Sir R. Wingfeld, English Ambassador to the Emperor, writes to Henry the Eighth for some place, the name of which is decayed in the original, and describes a great dance of fresh and fair bourgeoises maydens ordered by the Emperor to be held at . . . (Malines?) on Sunday the 13th of May, at which the ambassadors were also present, excepting the Pope’s nuncio. “Some of the women,” says he, “ were marvellous fair, well fed, and clean washen, in such wise that, an I were young as my beard is white, your Grace might think by the manner of my writing that the sight of them touched me nearer than it did, and the rather because I deem that fair bodies, gentlewomen and others, take but small pleasure to see white hairs, which I have gotten in the cold snowy mountains, which have the power to make all hares and partridges that abide amongst them white, where my beard (which I have promised to bear to Our Ladye of Walsingham, an God give me life) is wax so white, that whilst I shall wear it I need none other mean to cause women rejoice little in my company.” 97 Two years later Sir Robert writes to the King for permission to resign his functions in order that he might go to Walsingham to make an offering of his beard to our Ladye. The letter is dated Malines, May 3, 1517. In it Sir Robert says, that on the 16th of this month he will have served seven years as ambassador to the Emperor, having the pilgrim’s fortune to change many lodgings, and find few friends. Begs the King will have his poverty in remembrance, and give him licence to lay down his office, that he may visit Our Ladye of Walsingham, “where by the leave of God I would gladly leave my beard, which is now of so strange a color that I need none other arms or herald to show what favour I 97 Letters and Papers, &c. Henry VIII. vol. ii. pt. 1, p. 130, n. 463. Vitellius, B. xviii. 150. p.193 am worthy, or am like to have from henceforth amongst ladies and gentlewomen.” 98 Whether Sir R. Wingfeld ever carried his wish into execution I know not. He appears to have returned to England shortly after the date of this last letter. In the Privy Expenses of Henry the Eighth an entry occurs on the 14th of May, 1532: “ Paied to Maister Garneys for the King’s offering to Oure Ladye of Walsingham, viis. vid.” 99 This is the last offering which I have found of Henry the Eighth. Many bequests are contained in the wills of our forefathers. In 1347, John, eighth and last Earl of Surrey, by his will dated June 24, devised to the chapel of Our Ladye of Walsingham a jewel which he describes as his family eagle, and the rings arranged in the form of a constellation about it; 100 at least, so I read the bequest: Mon Egle dez saune les anels qe sount mys par constellation. 101 In 1381, William de Ufford, Earl of Sussex, says in his will: “I will that a picture of a horse and a man, armed with my arms, be made in silver, and offered to the altar of Our Ladye of Walsingham.” 102 This “picture” was evidently an image. Isabel, Countess of Warwick, in her will dated December 1, 1439, says: “I will that my tablet, with the image of our Ladye having a glass for 103 it, be offered unto our Ladye of Walsingham; as also my gown of green alyz cloth of gold with wide sleeves; and a tabernacle of silver, like in the timber to that over 98 Letters and Papers, &c. p. 1029, n. 3199. Galba B. v. 203. 99 Ibid. p. 214. 100 Test. Ebor. vol. i. p. 41. 101 I suspect that saune is intended for saunc, which is also given saunch, saung; saunk, and explained as signifying sang, parenté, lignée, race, &c. See the Glossaire de la Langue Romane. By J. B. Roquefort. Paris, 1808. 102 Test. Vet. p. 115. 103 Afore, before. p.194 our Ladye of Caversham.” 104 She had made a valuable bequest to Our Ladye of Caversham. 105 In 1453, John, Lord Scrope of Masham, by his testament dated March 18, wills: “Yat ye house of Walsingham have x. marcs for forgeten avowes and beheestes by me made to our Ladye yer.” 106 In 1474, Dame Elizabeth Andrews wills that one of her two rings with the diamonds should be sent to our Ladye of Walsingham. 107 Antony Widvile, Earl Rivers, whose will, dated June 23, evinces great devotion to our Ladye, says in it: “My trapper of blakk 108 of gold I geve to Our Ladye of Walsingham.” 109 Henry the Seventh offered a figure of himself, kneeling, made of silver and gilt, to Our Ladye of Walsingham, 110 to whom on the 25th of February, 1505-6, Katherine, widow of Sir John Hastings, bequeathed her velvet gown. 111 Pilgrims to Walsingham generally made an offering or donation of a small piece of money at the shrine of our Ladye, a practice which stirred up the choler of Erasmus, who, nevertheless, took care to record that he, too, made his offering of a few pence. In the chapel of our Lady was a chauntry priest for the souls of King Edward the First and King Edward the Second, and of Sir John Ovidale, Knight ; and an annual distribution of 12s. 6d. to twenty-five poor persons in Bedingham for their souls. There was another chaplain to pray for the souls of John Marshall and Alice his wife. The stipends of these priests were 5l. 6s. 8d. each in 1534. In the King’s book of payments, 1—10th Henry the Eighth, there is an entry on the 1st of July for— “William Halys, King’s priest, singing before 104 Test. Vet. p. 240. 105 See ante, p. 10 106 Test. Ebor. vol. ii. p. 192. 107 Test. Vet. p. 329. 108 This would seem to be a misprint for cloth. 109 Bentley, Exerpt. Hist. p. 248. 110 See his will, printed in full by Thomas Astle, F.R.S. &c. London, 1775. 111 Test. Vet. p. 329. p.195 Our Ladye at Walsingham, half a year’s wages , 100s.” Same for the King’s candle there, 46s. 8d. 112 Again in November, 1515: Sir Richard Warde, singing before our Ladye at Walsingham, half a year’s wages, 100s. The King’s candle, 46s. 8d.’ 113 Hence it would appear that the King kept a candle constantly burning at Walsingham. Sir Bartholomew Burghersh, K.G., and one of the original knights of the order, who died on the 5th of April, 1369, by his will dated on the previous day, desired to be buried in our Ladye’s chapel. “I desire,” says he, “my body to be buried in the chapel at Walsingham before the image of the Blessed Virgin, and thither to be carried with all speed, having one taper at the head, and another at the feet, where it rests the first night. And also I will that a dirige shall be there said, and in the morning a Mass, whereat a noble shall be offered for my soul: that two torches be carried along, one on one side and the other on the other side, which are to be lighted at passing through every town, and then given to that church wherein it shall rest at night.” 114 Erasmus mentions an object which he says was shown at Walsingham as a relic of the Milk of our Blessed Ladye, but most of his comments are too impious to quote. It was enclosed in crystal, and stood on the right side of the high altar of the Priory church, and he describes it as “dried up, looking like pulverized chalk mixed with the white of an egg “--- concretum est: dicas cretam tritam, alboque ovi temperatum. On the occasion of his visit it was brought down from the altar by one of the canons to Erasmus, who, kneeling, recited the following prayer, which he mentions that he had already prepared before-hand: 112 Letters and Papers, &c. Henry VIII. vol. ii. pt. 11, p. 1442. 113 Ibid. pt. 11, p. 1469. 114 Test. Vet. p. 77; also Dugdale, Baronage, vol. ii. p. 36. p.196 “O Virgin Mother, who with thy maiden breasts has deserved to give milk to the Lord of heaven and earth, thy Son Jesus; we wish that being purified by His Blood, we also may advance to that happy infancy of dovelike simplicity, which knowing nought of malice, fraud, or deceit, eagerly desires the milk of the precepts of the Gospel, until it attains the perfect man, to the stature of the fulness of Christ, Whose happy company thou enjoyest for ever, with the Father and the Holy Ghost. Amen.” After his dinner, as I have already said, he revisited the church, his avowed object being to examine the history or authentication of this relic. Young Aldrich was with him; a circumstance which is adverse to his alleged second visit, for it does not appear that Aldrich accompanied Erasmus on what he describes as his first visit to Walsingham, since he speaks of meeting the young Cantab on that occasion as if by chance. “Dinner over,” says Erasmus, “we returned to the church, . . . an eagerness to see the tablet” —i.e., the history of the relic—“to which the mystagogus had referred me attracted me. After some considerable search we found it, but fixed so high that not every one’s eyes could read it. Mine eyes are such that I cannot be called lynx- eyed, nor altogether dim-sighted. Wherefore, whilst Aldrich read it, I casually followed him with my eyes, not sufficiently trusting him in a matter of such weight.” This is, in a few words, the history which Erasmus relates as purporting to be contained in the tablet: “One William, born in Paris, had a great love of collecting relics; and after visiting many churches and monasteries and countries in quest of them, he at last arrived at Constantinople, where his brother was bishop—hujus frater illic tunc agebat episcopum. Being about to return home, his brother told him of a certain virgin consecrated to God who possessed some of the milk of our Blessed Ladye, and he succeeded in obtaining half of what she had. On his journey p.197 homewards, he was taken ill, and feeling his end approaching, he summoned his most intimate companion of his travels, a Frenchman, and told him to convey the relic to the altar of our Ladye in the Church of Notre Dame in Paris. Shortly afterwards the friend was seized with a mortal illness, and confided the relic to an English comrade, desiring him to fulfil the commission which he himself had been unable to execute. The Englishman did as he was requested, and delivered the relic to the canons of Notre Dame in Paris, from whom he obtained the half of it, which he brought to England, and finally conveyed to Walsingham, ‘being,’ as Erasmus adds, ‘called thither by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.’” Says Menedemus: “Certainly this account is charmingly consistent.” Ogygius, i.e., Erasmus: “Yes ; lest any doubt might remain, there were appended to it the names of the suffragan bishops, who to those who visit this milk, and make some little offering, grant as much pardon as their faculties admit of. Another proof of pious sincerity was added; the milk of the Blessed Virgin which was shown in many places was sufficiently to be venerated, but this relic was far more venerable than the others, because whilst they had been scraped from stones, this one had flowed from the very breasts of our Ladye.” Menedemus: “How is this proved?” Ogygius: “ Oh, the maiden of Constantinople, who had given the milk, mentioned it.” Menedemus: “ And she, perhaps, had been informed by St. Bernard!” Ogygius: “Most probably.” Menedemus: “Whose good fortune it was to taste the milk from the same breast which was sucked by the Infant Jesus. . . . But how can that be called the milk of the Blessed Virgin which did not flow from her breasts?” “Ogygius: “It flowed as the other did, but being received by a stone on which she chanced to sit, it dried up, and then, by the will of God, it was thus multiplied.” p.198 Menedemus: “Exactly so.” Now here Erasmus contradicts the statement which he has just previously made—viz., “that the other relics of the milk had been scraped from stones, but that this one flowed from the very breast of our Ladye;” yet here he says that this one fell on a stone as well.” Stripped, however, of its specious and Erasmian clothing, the real nature of the relic is quite apparent from what Erasmus says in the person of Ogygius. It is most improbable that the tale, which Erasmus relates, was ever written on the tablet on the wall at Walsingham; and the historical assertions are utterly incorrect. 1. The maiden of Constantinople heard the history of the relic from St. Bernard. He lived from A.D. 1091 to 1159, and was never at Constantinople. Anyhow this gives a date. 2. William was a Frenchman. Paris was his birthplace, and he was on his way homewards to Paris when he died. The date of his death is not recorded; but as he received the relic from the maiden of Constantinople who had seen St. Bernard, it must, at the latest, have occurred before A.D. 1200. Now the brother of William, equally a Frenchman, was Bishop—i.e., Patriarch of Constantinople; but the Patriarchs of Constantinople were all Greeks. Consequently the brother of William is a myth, and therefore William himself and the maiden of Constantinople are nowhere. The Latin Patriarchs of Constantinople only commenced in the year 1204; and they were six in number, and not one of them was a Frenchman: (1) Thomas Morosini, a Venetian ; (2) 1215, Gervase, also called Eberard, a Tuscan; (3) 1221, Matthew, Bishop of Jessol, in the Duchy of Venice; (4) 1227, Simon, Archbishop of Tyre, whose nationality is unknown 115 ; (5) 1234, 115 Acta SS. t. i. Aug. pp. 150, 151, nn. 906, 907. Le Quien, Oriens Christianus, vol. iii. col. 805. I have only examined the list of the Greek Patriarchs from Sergius the Second, A.D. 999, to John the Twelfth, A.D. 1294. Art de veréfier les Dates, vol. i. pp. 290-314; and Le Quien, t. i. coll. 257-291. p.199 Nicholas of Piacenza, Bishop of Spoleto ; and (6) 1253, Pantaleo Giustiniani, a Venetian, who returned to Italy after the taking of Constantinople by the Greeks in 1261. 116 Moreover, in the lists of the relics belonging to the Church of Notre Dame which are given in the Chartulary, no mention is made of the milk of our Ladye. 117 But Ferreol Locri says that there was a relic of our Ladye’s milk both in the cathedral and in the royal chapel. 118 The allusion of St. Bernard refers to an old legend, that on one occasion our Blessed Ladye, with her Divine Son in her arms, appeared to him, and fed him with some drops of her milk. I have several engravings of the seventeenth century which represent the apparition. The Bollandists discuss the various accounts of it, and the opinions given by different writers, and sum up in favour of those who treat it as a legend. 119 The relic at Walsingham must have been brought from the East, possibly from Constantinople, by some English pilgrim. Robert Du Mont, describing the battle of Ascalon, in the year 1124, and the advance of the little Christian army, says that the princes marched at the head, the patriarch bore the Cross of Christ 120 as a standard, Pontius, Abbot of Cluny, carried the Lance which had pierced the side of of our Lord, and the Bishop of Bethlehem bore the milk of the Blessed Virgin Marye in a pyx. 121 And in the year 1243, St. Louis of France sent to 116 Art de vérifier les Dates. Paris, 1783, vol. i. p. 308, et seq. 117 Cartulaire de 1’Eglise Notre Dame de Paris. Edit. Guerard. Paris, 1850, vol. iii. p. 375 ; vol. iv. pp. 39, 110, 125, 126, 203, 207, 208. 118 Maria Augusta. Arras, 1608, p. 525. 119 Acta SS. t. iv. Aug. pp. 206, 208. 120 After the death of Heraclius in 636, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was burnt by the infidels, and the faithful determined to divide the Holy Cross into nineteen portions, which were distributed thus: Constantinople received three, the island of Cyprus two, Crete one, Antioch three, Edessa one, Alexandria one, Ascalon one, Damascus one, Jerusalem four, and two were distributed in Georgia (Memoire sur les instruments de la Passion de N. S. J. C. par Ch. Rohault de Fleury. Paris, 1870, p. 56). 121 Continuation de la Chronique de Sigisbert. Bib. des Croisades, pt. iii. p. 92. Also Baronius, ad ann. 1124, t. xii. p. 158. Antw. 1609. p. 200 the Chapter of Toledo, by the hands, and at the request of the Archbishop of that city, some precious particles of the relics which he had received from the imperial treasury at Constantinople—viz., of the wood of the Cross of our Lord, of the milk of the glorious Virgin Marye, &c. Mariana gives the letter of St. Louis to the Chapter of Toledo; it is dated Estampes, in the month of May of the year above named. 122 Guibert, who was Abbot of Saint Marye of Nogent-sur-Seine for twenty years, and died A.D. 1124, mentions that some of our Ladye's milk was preserved in a dove made of crystal at Laon; but he maintains that our Ladye never forced any of her milk from her breast to be kept for future veneration, since that would have been quite inconsistent with her humility. 123 D'Achery, who published the works of Guibert in 1651, commenting on this passage, says he hears and reads that other relics of our Ladye's milk are venerated in France and elsewhere; and therefore he is in perplexity of mind which side to take. 124 The Bollandists noticed the perplexity of D'Achery, and Father Cuperus admits that he is similarly perplexed, because if he adopts the opinion of Guibert, he is at variance with Italians, Spaniards, French, and Belgians, 125 who in different churches claim this as one of their most precious relics. He then refers to the letter of St. Louis given by Mariana, and remarks: “If I at once believe evidences of this kind, so remote from the days of our Ladye, I shall appear over credulous to severe critics of history, and as multiplying continual miracles without necessity. But I had rather appear over credulous than over censorious. Although I dare not pass a certain judgment as to the veracity of such like 122 De rebus Hispaniae. Mogunt, 1619, lib. xiii. c. viii. p. 554. 123 De pignoribus Sanctorum, lib. iii. c. iii, §3, inter opp. Guiberti, Patrol. Lat. t. clvi, col. 659. Edit. Migne. 124 Ibid. col. 5044. 125 Cf. Locri, Maria Augusta, pp. 524, 525; also Morlot, Metropolis Remensis Historia, t. ii.; Remis, 1679, pp. 474, 475, for a relic of our Ladye's milk sent by Pope Adrian, c. 1276. p. 201 relics, still I am far away, and I wish to be far away, from the impious Calvin and the supercilious Erasmus of Rotterdam, who wantonly reject the tradition of all those churches; and whom, on that account, John Ferrand of our Society deservedly censures in his dissertation on Relics. Indeed, I freely admit with Ferrand, that Almighty God could have preserved that milk from corruption for so many centuries, but I am anxious to learn from evidence, most ancient and trustworthy, whether He ever really did so, and wished this continual miracle to exist in so many places. For it is necessary that this evidence should be proportioned to the prodigy, so that undoubted historical faith may be given to it. Therefore I form no positive opinion on the truth of this matter; and here I derive great satisfaction from the opinion of Pope Innocent the Third—A.D. 1198 —1216, who, speaking of certain relics of our Lord, concludes as follows: ‘. . . Nevertheless, it is better to commit all to God rather than to define anything rashly.’ This opinion of the Pope, which I have given in capital letters, I desire to apply to the present subject. In the meantime, let other churches rejoice in so precious a treasure of the milk of the Blessed Virgin if each of them can confirm what they possess by solid documents proportionate to so great antiquity.”126 The significance of this well-expressed opinion of the Bollandists is manifest, and solves the difficulty. But now two very important questions arise: (1) Was the object called the milk of our Blessed Ladye shown in good faith as such; or (2) was the term “milk of our Ladye” a conventional one, and applied to an object, the real nature of which was well known and understood? 1. Considering the careful supervision exercised by the bishops, and that no relic can be exposed publicly for veneration unless sealed with an authorized seal, and duly authenticated, it seems in the highest degree improbable that “our Ladye's Milk” was ever shown as being really 126 Acta SS, t. iv. Aug. pp. 20, 21 p.202 such. The suppression of the devotion to the Holy Blood of Windesnack in Brandenburg, to which there was a great pilgrimage for many years, proves the vigilance of the Church in regard of relics not wholly satisfactory. 127 No one in his senses would ever dream of exhibiting a flask of white Rhine wine as “milk,” and much less as “our Ladye’s milk;” “ or a bottle of red wine as the “ tears” of Christ our Lord ; yet the well-known Liebefraumilch, which is commonly called “Maiden’s milk,” means literally “our dear Ladye’s milk;” and every visitor to Vesuvius remembers the Lachryma Christi wine. In both these instances the names are purely conventional, and known to be such. 2. There can be no doubt that the term “Milk of our Ladye” as applied to objects shown as such is a purely conventional name. Between two and three hundred paces southeast from the Basilica on the eastern side of the hill on which Bethlehem stands, there is a grotto venerated alike by Christians and Mussulmans and commonly called the Crypta Lactea and Grotte du Lait. The Arabs call it Meharet es-Sitti, the Grotto of our Ladye. 128 It belongs to the Franciscans, who go there every Saturday to celebrate Mass, and to sing the Litanies of our Blessed Ladye. There are many traditions as to the origin of its name; indeed Mislin says that every one has his own version; but they are all unanimous on one and the main point, which is that our Ladye spilt some drops of her milk in this grotto. 129 Hence its name: and this is the reason why the earth brought from it is called the Milk of our Blessed Ladye. 127 For its history see J. P. de Ludewig, Reliquiae Manuscriptorum omnis Aevi Diplomatum ac Monumentorum. Francofurti et Lipsiae, 1731, vol. viii. pp. 438—468. For the suppression see Riedel, Cod. Dipl. Brandenburg. t. ii. p. 121 et seq. 128 Description Géographique, Historique et Archéologique de la Palestine. Par M. V. Guerin Imprimee, par autorisation de 1’ Empereur à l’Imprimerie Imperiale. Paris, 1868, t. 1, p. 186. 129 Les Saints Pieux. Pélérinage à Jerusalem, &c. Par Mgr. Mislin, Abbé Mitré de Sainte Marie de Deg. en Hongrie. Paris, 1858, t. iii. pp. 31-33. p.203 Some say that our Ladye often retired to this grotto; others that she reposed one night in it on her way to Egypt; others, again, that being alarmed by the threats of Herod, her milk suddenly dried up, and that she retired to this cave, believing she would be in greater security there than elsewhere. Finding herself unable to nourish her Divine Son, she made her prayer to the Almighty, and forthwith her milk returned in such abundance that a few drops fell upon the ground. Hence why the rock is said to derive its peculiar property, when pulverized and mixed in water, and then imbibed, of preventing those who nurse from suffering of a diminution of their milk. This is no modern belief; on the contrary, it appears to be very ancient. In 1598, John Cotwyck, of Utrecht, a Doctor Utriusque Juris, embarked at Venice on his way to Syria and the Holy Land. He evidently brought back some of the earth called our Ladye’s Milk from the Grotto of the Milk, because he says that he had seen the effects of it amongst his own people, and thus learned that the opinion of the Orientals was not without foundation. 130 Then there is the evidence of the Commissary Apostolic and Guardian of the Holy Sepulchre, Father Francis Quaresma or Quaresmi, 131 who bears witness to similar results; so does a Canon of St. Paul’s at Saint Denis, in 1652; 132 and also Surius, a few years later; 133 while Father Michael Nau, of the Society of Jesus, says- Je n’ assure pas que cette terre sert beaucoup dans les autres maladies, mais pour ce qui est de rendre le lait aux femmes qui l’ont perdu, et d’en faire venir à celles qui en ont peu c’est une chose si certaine et si infallible que les infidèles mêmes en ont fait mille fois l’experience.” 134 130 Cottovicus, Itinerarium Hierosolymitanum et Syriacum. Antv. 1619, p. 238. 131 Quaresmius, Historica, Theologica et Morales Terrae Sanctae elucidatio. Antv. 1639, t. ii. p. 678. 132 Le Voyage de la Terre Sainte, &c. Fait l’an 1652. Par M. J. D. P. Chanoine. de 1’ Eglise Royale et Collegiale de Saint Paul à Saint-Denis en France. Paris, 1657, cap. xix. pp. 164, 165. 133 Le Pieux Pèlerin ou Voyage à Jerusalem. Bruxelles, 1666, p. 148. 134 Voyage nouveau à la Terre Sainte, p. 426. p. 204 Mislin and Guerin, who are the latest writers, and Quaresma, Father Nau, and the Canon of Saint Mislin and Guerin, who are the latest writers, and Quaresma, Father Nau, and the Canon of Saint Paul’s, all mention that there is a continual resort to this grotto by the women of the neighbourhood, Christians, Arabs, Mussulmans, and Jewesses, who pray in it. According to Mislin the earth is like chalk, very white, and easily reducible to powder, and it is then made into little cakes which are sent all over the country, and which pilgrims carry away with them as objects of devotion or curiosity. This is a custom which dates very far back, and so great is the demand for “our Ladye’s Milk,” that the grotto, which originally was small, has now become greatly enlarged; a fact which Quaresma mentions as well. 135 There is a slight discrepancy in the description of the earth excavated from the grotto. Quaresma says it is reddish, but that when powdered in a mortar and reduced to powder and then well washed and sifted and exposed to the sun it becomes as white as milk—lacti simillima evadit. The Canon of St. Paul’s observes that by this process it is made blanche comme le laict. Mislin describes the earth as chalky, very friable, and easily reduced to powder. Guerin says that it consists of a sort of calcareous tufa, like chalk, and very friable, and easily scraped from the grotto. Like all the other writers, he bears testimony to the great antiquity of the custom of carrying away portions of this earth known as our Ladye’s Milk. Mislin also notices a circumstance which I have not seen mentioned by others. He says that sometimes in damp weather a liquid substance exudes from the sides of the cave, which is called the Milk of our Ladye, instead of the milk of the grotto of our Ladye. 136 The precise manner in which the Milk of our Ladye at Walsingham, as described by Erasmus, coincides with the account which these writers give of what is called our Ladye’s Milk in Palestine leaves no doubt that it was a portion of the 135 Ut sup. 1. c. 136 Ut sup. p. 33. p.205 scrapings from the Crypta Lactea of Bethlehem. In 1854 Canon Bourassée, of Tours, the learned editor of the Summa Aurea, was commissioned by the Cardinal Archbishop of that city to open a silver shrine, and identify the relics which it contained. Amongst the contents he found a fragment of stone, resembling marble, and of the colour of snow; it was folded up in a piece of vellum, on which was written De lacte Beate Virginis. 137 This seems to be the real history and signification of what is called “Our Ladye’s Milk;” hence it is easy to account for the quantity of it, which has been brought at various times into Europe. Indeed, considering the veneration which is attached to pieces of earth, or stone, or wood brought away from any of the holy places connected with the Life, Passion, and Death of Christ our Lord, it is most natural that the Crypta Lactea, so intimately associated by tradition with the Infancy of our Lord and His Blessed Mother, should have come in for a share of that veneration. Relics of this description are mentioned at an early period; thus St. Augustine speaks of earth brought from the Holy Sepulchre and of the veneration in which it was held. 138 Neither Venerable Bede, 139 nor St. Adamnan, Abbot of Hy, 140 mention the Crypta Lactea; but Hardouin, Bishop of Le Mans in the time of Clovis the Second, received some of the “Milk of our Ladye” from a pilgrim who had returned from the Holy Land. 141 Several of these relics from the Holy Land were found enclosed in lead, in the head of the ancient image of our Ladye of Thetford. 142 137 Summa Aurea, t. xi. col.. 710, note. Cf. Colvener. Kalendarium Marianum ad diem 4 Febr. §11. 3. 138 De Civitate Dei, lib. xxii. cap. viii. 139 De locis Sanctis, opp. t. iv. cap. xv. p. 434. Edit. Giles. 140 De locis Sanctis, lib. ii. cap. ii. Patrol. Lat. t. lxxxviii. col. 795. Edit. Migne. 141 Quoted by Darras. La Legende de Notre Dame, Paris, 1852, p. 113. 142 See ante, p. 149. top of page p.206 Erasmus puts into the mouth of Menedemus some expressions about the quantity of our Ladye’s Milk which was said to exist, and which I will not quote; but they seem to have been introduced in order to give himself, in the character of Ogygius, the opportunity of saying as follows: “So they say of the Cross of our Lord which is shown publicly and privately in so many places, that, if all the fragments were collected together, they would appear to form a fair cargo for a merchant ship, and yet our Lord bore His whole Cross.” This latter assertion is quite at variance with the Gospels, for our Lord never carried His Cross, in the sense of balanced on His shoulder and wholly raised from the ground. The third part of the Homily against the Peril of Idolatry says that, “if all the pieces thereof were gathered together, the greatest ship in England would scarcely bear them.” Calvin, I believe, generally has the credit of being the originator of this stupendous lie which has been so sedulously propagated by his followers and by heretics of all persuasions, and to which implicit faith is given by very many in these days. Now this colloquy of the Peregrinatio, in its present form, appears to have been printed, at the latest, in 1524, at which time Calvin was only fifteen years of age, he having been inflicted upon the world at Noyon, in Picardy, on the 10th July, 1509. Consequently, he would seem only to have adopted the fable, which, in common fairness, must be attributed to the fertile and mischievous brain of Erasmus. I have so often met with references to this fable, and moreover, I have so often heard it asserted in reply, and often in perfect good faith, that the multiplication of the wood of the True Cross was miraculous, 143 that I feel I shall do a good service to the cause of truth if I give a brief statement of the real facts. Indeed, as Erasmus commences his attack on the True 143 Cf. e.g. Morlot, Hist. de la Vile de Reims. Reims, 1843, v. iii. p. 533. p.207 Cross in his Peregrinatio to Walsingham, it is fitting that he should receive his refutation under the protection of our Ladye of Walsingham, the Blissful Queen of Heaven, whose Dower it is England’s glory still to be; a title which, by the way, England has never lost, notwithstanding that recently, and for the first time, an attempt has been made to rob her of it. 144 A few years ago a learned French gentleman, M. Rohault de Fleury, applied himself to a careful study and critical examination of the relics of the various Instruments of the Passion of our Lord, but more especially of the Holy Cross and the Crown of Thorns. He received every facility for carrying out his object. He commenced his investigations by submitting portions of four well authenticated pieces—those of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem in Rome, of the Cathedral of Pisa, of the Cathedral of Florence, and of Notre Dame in Paris—to a microscopical examination, in his presence, by two learned men of undoubted reputation, M. Decaisne, Member of the Institute, and Signor Peter Savi, Professor in the University of Pisa. The result of this examination proved that the wood of the True Cross was of the genus fir. The specific gravity of the various conifers differs: Scotch fir, 0∙56 ; pinus abies, 0∙46 ; pinus epicea, 0∙52 ; yellow pine, 0∙66. M. de Fleury has selected 0∙56 as the mean, and for his standard, and on these figures he has based his calculations. 145 Now it has been established by Paucton, that a porter can carry a weight of 90 kilogrammes, or 198 lbs., a distance of 5 kilometres, or 31 miles, in one hour; and a carrier of coals, who often rests, can bear 115 kilogrammes, or 253 lbs.; 146 but Laisne 147 and Charles Duffin give lesser weights. 144 In the Introduction, cap. ii. which was written several years ago, I have given the full history of how England became the Dos Maria, and how she still preserves the title. 145 Mémoire sur les Instruments de la Passion de N S. J. C. par Ch. Rohault de Fleury, ancien élève de l’Ecole polytechnique. Paris: Lesort, 1870, p. 71. 146 Mètrologie. 1780, p. 94. 147 Aide-mémoire des Officiers du génie, 1853, p. 69. p.208 The late M. Duprez, who was an able practitioner, considered that a strong carpenter can carry a dècistére 148 of wood—equal to about 100 kilogrammes, or 222 lbs.—a distance of 40 to 50 metres at most; that is to say, by walking for two minutes, and then resting for three; and that he could continue in this way for an hour. Under these conditions, it would have taken an hour to pass along the Via Dolorosa. Now the weight of the Cross was such that our Lord was unable to support it all the while, and required the assistance of Simon the Cyrenean. If, therefore, the weight of 100 kilogrammes be taken as a maximum, it should be considered that our Lord was terribly weakened by His sufferings, and that His executioners were rapidly exhausting His remaining strength; consequently, the weight of the Cross might be estimated at three-fourths, or 75 kilogrammes. As the Cross was not balanced on the shoulder, but trailed on the ground, the diminution of weight may, in consequence, be taken at 25 kilogrammes; therefore, on this calculation, the full weight of the Cross may be estimated at 100 kilogrammes, or 222 lbs. Now, from these figures it is easy to calculate the bulk of the Cross, by dividing the weight by the density of the fir, 0∙56, which gives 578,000,000 of cube millimetres. 149 Having obtained these results, M. Rohault de Fleury began to examine the size and bulk of all the known authentic relics of the Holy Cross; and in nearly every instance he has given plans of the various pieces; and in his calculations he leaves a margin, so that he is invariably, if anything, over the mark. He wrote for plans and details on all sides; and after this exhaustive inquiry, his investigations have succeeded in making up the volume of all the known relics of the Holy Cross only to 3,941,975 cube millimetres—say, in round numbers, 4,000,000. Now, allowing a very large margin for relics of the 148 Or 3 cubic feet, 149 A millimetre is 0.39337 of an inch. p.209 Holy Cross which may be in private hands, or may not have come to the notice of M. Rohault de Fleury—say, multiply the quantity known by 10—this quantity, which must convince the most sceptical only amounts to 40,000,000, or less than one-fourth of the bulk; and there is a deficit of 538,000,000 millimetres still to be accounted for! I am aware that the Commissioners, who were employed in the suppression of the Monasteries in England, reported that at Bury St. Edmunds there were “peeces of the Holie Crosse able to make a hole crosse of;” 150 but this is one of the usual official lies of the period, and does not deserve even a contemptuous notice. To this particular one I have merely referred, because some writers, either from malice or ignorance, seem to consider it valuable evidence. Sometimes small pieces of the Holy Cross were mounted in a wooden cross of larger size, into which a small cavity had been scooped out to receive the relic. A cross of this description, and presented by the Prince of Bosnia, is now preserved in the Treasury of St. Mark’s at Venice, and is figured by M. Rohault de Fleury. 151 These outer crosses in reality served as reliquaries. In 1534 the Canons of Walsingham acknowledged the Royal Supremacy. I have not ascertained whether the whole of the Community signed the deed, but the names of twenty-two, including the Prior and Sub-Prior, are affixed to it. The document is in Latin, and commences thus: Quum ea sit non solum Christianae religionis et pietatis ratio, sed nostre etiam obediencie regula, Domino Regi nostro Henrico ejus nominis octavo, cui uni et soli post Christum Jesum servatorem nostrum debemus universa, non modo omnimodam in Christo et eandem sinceram, integram, perpetuamque animi devotionem, fidem et observanciam, honorem, cultum, reverenciam prestemus, sed etiam 150 Letters relating to the Suppression of the Monasteries, p. 85. 151 Plate viii. n. 2, p. 503. It is greatly to be desired that this most valuable work were translated into English. p.210 de eadem fide et observancia nostra rationem quotiescunque postulabitur reddamus et palam omnibus (si res postulat) libentissime testemur ; Let all to whom the present writing may come know that we, the Prior and Community of the Priory of Walsingham, in the diocese of Norwich, with one mouth and voice, and with the unanimous consent and assent of all, by this deed, given under our common seal in our chapter-house, do, for ourselves and our successors, all and each, for ever, declare, attest, and faithfully promise and undertake, that we, the said Prior and Community and our successors, all and each, will ever render an entire, inviolate, sincere, and perpetual fidelity, submission, and reverence to the lord our King, Henry the Eighth, and to Queen Anne, his Consort, and to the issue of him by the said Anne lawfully begotten, as well as to be begot; and that we will make known, preach, and counsel the same to the people whenever an opportunity or an occasion shall be given. Item, that we hold as confirmed and ratified, and will always and for ever hold, that the afore-said Henry our King is the Head of the Anglican Church. Item, that the Bishop of Rome, who in his Bulls usurps the name of Pope and arrogates to himself the sovereignty of Chief Bishop, has not any greater jurisdiction conferred on him by God than any other extern Bishop. Item, that none of us, in any holy discourse to be held in private or in public, shall call the said Bishop of Rome by the name of Pope or Chief Bishop, but by the name of the Bishop of Rome, or of the Roman Church; and that none of us shall pray for him as Pope, but as Bishop of Rome. Item, that we will adhere to the said lord the King alone, and to his successors, and will maintain his laws and decrees, renouncing for ever the laws, decrees, and canons of the Bishop of Rome which shall be contrary to the Divine Law and Holy Scripture.

Excerpt from Edmund Waterton, Pietas Mariana Britannica, A History of English

Devotion to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of God, 1879. pp 191-210

Waterton 3