Vetusta Monumenta: Ancient Monuments, a Digital Edition

Plates 3.31-3.32: Holy Sepulchres at Northwold and Heckington (Original Explanatory Account)


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THESE Plates, engraved from the drawings by Mr. Schnebbelie in the summer of 1789, in the church of Heckington, in the county of Lincoln, between Sleaford and Boston, and in that of Northwold, in the county of Norfolk, represent the HOLY SEPULCHRE, or SEPULCHRE OF OUR LORD, in which our Saviour was deposited until his resurrection, and which was placed on the North side of the chancel of our cathedral and parochial churches, to be used in commemoration of that important event on the day on which it took place, or Easter day, when the Crucifix and Pix, which had been deposited in it in a solemn manner on Good Friday, the anniversary of the crucifixion, were taken out by the priest, pronouncing this text: Surrexit, non est hic [translation to be completed].

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The soldiers are all that remains of the holy sepulchre on the North side of the choir of Lincoln cathedral, East of the tomb of bishop Remigius, where the superstructure has given place to what is called the tomb of some bishop who succeeded bishop Remigius founder of that church and see in the close of the eleventh century. The three figures there are represented in mail and surcot, sittin and reclining their heads and arms on blank shields.

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Near the altar at Bowges, a tomb of our Lord, the figures inestimable1.

In the Convent of Friars Minors at Antwerp is a place at entering the precinct called the Sepulchre of our Lord2.

Weever3 says the Knights Templars had a representation of Christ’s sepulchre in their chapel in Holborne, with verses, brought from Jerusalem. This may have been only a model of the church of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem, such as have been frequently brought from thence in later times. In the church of St. Nicholas at Troyes was a Holy Sepulchre on the plan of that at Jerusalem.

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said monks did rise and went a pretty space from it, sitting down upon his knees with his shoes put off very reverently, did kiss it; and after him the other monk did so likewise, and they sat down on either side of the said cross, holding it between them: after that the prior came forth of his stall, and did sit down upon his knees with his shoes off, and in like sort did creep unto the said cross, and all the monks after him in the said order. In the mean time the whole quire singing a hymn.

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“In the evening every one resorted to the cathedral, the sacred lights were extinguished, and the Miserere was again repeated, after the host had been removed from the sepulchre to the high altar. This, to a good Catholic, should be a most desirable moment; because he may gain one thousand and sixty days indulgence, every time he repeats “Praised be the holy hearts of Christ and of the Virgin.”

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this ceremony as performed at Rouen in France, where three persons in female habits used to go to the sepulchre, where two others were placed, representing angels, who told them Christ was risen. The building mentioned in these extracts must be but very slight, since the whole expence amounted to no more than 17s 6d.”

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And the cloth for the sepulture steyned.All the wax apperteyning to and for the sepulture remayned.

In the inventory of church-plate, &c. at the dissolution at Ely cathedral, 31 Henry VIII. is “a red pall for the sepulchre1.”

John of Gaunt, among other furniture left to his wife Catherine, mentions “drap enbroudes pur la sepulcre2.” [translation to be completed]

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day the crucifix and the pix were taken out of the place where they were in solemn manner deposited on Good Friday by the priest, on the saying, Surrexit, non est hic1.

A taper of one pound weight was bequeathed to burn before the sepulchre of our Lord Jesus Christ, at Easter, in Whitlingham Church2.

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In the South wall of the chancel at Heckington, opposite to the sepulchre are three beautiful lofty stalls with purfled pediments and finials, and in the spandrils the figures of St. Margaret and the dragon; St. Catherine holding her wheel; the Deity and Virgin; all crowned: and two men in curled hair, one kneeling, the other sitting, looking up to the pattern of a tower or steeple coming down from heaven; over which is a monk or religious, holding a bowl and something with a handle in it.

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Translations of the Longer Passage:

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