Vetusta Monumenta: Ancient Monuments, a Digital Edition

Plates 2.15-2.16: Canterbury Cathedral and Priory with a Portrait of Eadwine (Original Explanatory Account)


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An ACCOUNT of two antient DRAWINGS, One representing The CATHEDRAL CHURCH and MONASTERY at CANTERBURY, And the other The EFFIGIES of EADWIN the Monk, As they are delineated in PLATE XV. and XVI.

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On the 5th of September 1174 this choir was so destroyed by fire, that they were obliged to take it down, and rebuild it from the ground. However the antient crypt, which was under the choir, remained in its former situation.


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in it opposite the high altar) to the tower of St. Andrew, which projected beyond the walls of the church: and on the south side of the choir there was another tower corresponding to it, dedicated to St. Anselm. From these two towers the wall being lighted with windows formed a semicircle; and joined at the east end of the fabric to the chapel of the Trinity, which extended eastward beyond the walls of the church, though it was joined to them.

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drawing of the monastery of St. Gaul, which was shewn him there by the librarian, mentions it as one of the curiosities, with which he was entertained during his travels, in the year 1683; and as such has given the following account of it.

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Translations of the Longer Latin Passages:

Page 1, lines 21-24: Toward the end of the codex there are found two leaves, on the former of which is a scenographia [a map drawn with perspective] of a monastery; on the latter is a portrait of the monk himself, Eadwine, writing, holding a metal pen in his right hand (for this codex could not be inscribed with a feather quill), a scalpel or knife in his left hand.

Page 3, lines 40-42: For not only was the choir destroyed by this fire, but also the Infirmary Hall, the Chapel of St. Mary, along with some other offices (or “workshops/storerooms”) of the Court.

Page 4, lines 3-5: Preserved in the monastery of St. Gall is an old sketch of that monastery, drawn eight hundred years ago, accurately showing all the offices (or “workshops/storerooms”) of the place, with accompanying verses. We came by a copy of it owing to Hermann’s kindness.

Page 4, lines 13-20: The scribe: I am the chief of scribes, and neither my praise nor my fame shall die; shout out, oh my letter, who I may be. The letter: By its fame your script proclaims you, Eadwine, whom the painted figure represents, alive through the ages, whose genius the beauty of this book demonstrates. Receive, O god, the book and its donor as an acceptable gift. (Heslop 1992, 180)