Curiosities of literature by L. D'Israeli ...
Illustrated by Bolton Corney 1838.

The Bayeux Tapestry, and the royal operative — a splendid flim-flam![1]

"Otho [Odon], the bishop at the Norman invasion, in the tapestry worked by Matilda the queen of William the Conqueror, is represented with a mace in his hand, for the purpose that when he despatched his antagonist he might not spill blood, but only break his bones! Religion has had her quibbles as well as law." — I. D'Israeli.[2]

The Bayeux Tapestry, as we denominate it, is a piece of hanging which belongs to the cathedral church of Bayeux. Its origin has not been ascertained; but it is, undeniably, the most ancient monument of its class in existence.

This extraordinary relic of imitative art represents the conquest of England by William, Duke of Normandy, in the year 1066. It is worked with coloured worsted on a brownish linen cloth; and is nineteen
inches in height by about two hundred and twenty-six feet in length, without seam. One third of the height is chiefly occupied by borders. The tale is told in a succession of scenes, which commence with the departure of Harold from the court of Edward, and terminate with the battle of Hastings. The scenes are divided as in ancient sculpture, and the subject of each scene is indicated by a short Latin inscription. The colours are not proper; but are so varied as to answer the purpose of light and shade.[3]

The public are indebted to the zeal and liberality of the Society of Antiquaries of London for the best engraved copy of this Tapestry. In 1816 they deputed the admirable Charles Stothard to make drawings of it,[4] and he laid the entire series before the Society in 1819.[5] The engravings, which united would extend nearly seventy feet, are executed by Basire; are coloured in imitation of the Tapestry; and form the most curious and attractive portion of the Vetvsta Monvmenta.[6] The intended letter-press, however, has not made its appearance! Surely with our venerable Saxon Chronicle, and our Domesday-Book; with the prose of Guillame de Poitiers, Guillaume de Jumieges, Ingulph, Eadmer, Orderic Vital, and William of Malmsbury; with the verse of Guy of Amiens, Geoffroy Gaimar, Benoit de Sainte-More, and Mestre Wace; and with all the aids to be derived from ancient laws, charters, and deeds — from architectural remains, monumental effigies, coins, seals, illuminations, etc. — a satisfactory description of it would be practicable.

To obviate further delay, I advise the appointment of a committee for the purpose; and shall propose as members Thomas Amyot, Esq., Sir Henry Ellis, Alfred John Kempe, Esq., Sir Frederic Madden, and Sir Samuel Rush Meyrick — with M. Floquet of Rouen as correspondant pour l'ancienne province de Normandie.

In the interim, I shall undertake an examination of the tradition which ascribes the Tapestry to Queen Matilda; advert to the internal evidence of its antiquity; submit a new conjecture on its origin; and conclude with an illustration of the martial achievement of Bishop Odon.

M. l'Abbe de la Rue, Chanoine Honoraire de Bayeux, assures us that the Tapestry is first mentioned in an inventory of the treasures of the church in 1369; and that the item contains no allusion to Matilda.[7]

The existence of the Tapestry in 1476 is proved by an inventory of that date, on which we possess more circumstantial information. I shall transcribe the preamble of it, and the item in question:—

"Inventaire des joyaulx, capses, reliquiairs, ornemens, tentes, paremens, livres, & autres biens apartenans a l'Eglise Nostre-Dame de Bayeux; & en icelle trouves, veus & visites par venerables & discretes personnes Maistre Guillaume de Castillon Archidiacre des Vetz, & Nicole Michiel Fabriquier, Chanoines de ladite Eglise, a ce deputez & commis en Chapitre general de ladite Eglise, tenu & celebre apres la Feste de Sainct Ravent & Sainct Rasiph en l'an mil quatre cent septante six, Tres Reverend Pere en Dieu Mons. Loys de Harecourt Patriarche de Jerusalem lors Eveque, &c.

Ensuivent pour le quint Chapitre les tentes, tapis, cortines, paremens des Autels & autres draps de saye pour parer le cueur aux Festes Solennelles, trouves & gardes en revestiaire de ladicte Eglise.

Item. Une tente tres longue & etroite de telle a broderie de ymages & eserpteaulx [escripteaulx?] faisans representation du Conquest d'Angleterre, laquelle est tendue environ la nef de l'Eglise le jour & par les octaves des Reliques."[8]

This inventory was drawn up with extreme care; the compilation of it occupying several days. The Canons state that they wrote it in French "pour plus claire & familiere designation desdits joyaulx, ornemens & autres biens & de leurs circonstances;" and such, we may be sure, were their instructions. In conformity with their plan of recording the circonstances of the various articles, they describe "deux tentes de laine batues a fil d'or," as the "don du patriarche de Jerusalem ;" they describe "ung mantel duquel, comme on dit, le Duc Guillaume estoit vestu quand il epousa la Ducesse;" and they describe "ung autre mantel duquel, comme l'en dit, la Ducesse estoit vestue quand elle epousa le Duc Guillaume." Thus it appears that MM. les Chanoines, not satisfied with recording facts, record even traditions of the credibility of which, as venerables et discretes personnes, they felt bound to intimate their suspicions — yet, dear as was the memory of William and Matilda, are silent on the asserted tradition when they describe an article of so much interest as the tente du conquest d' Angleterre! In accordance with the soundest principles of criticism, it may be concluded that no such tradition then existed. We must pass over two centuries and a half before we can obtain a second glimpse of the Tapestry. In 1562 the Calvinists committed the most lamentable devastations in the cathedral of Bayeux. The Bishop, in his report on the occasion, mentioned the preservation of some tapestry, and the loss of "une tapisserie de grande valeur" — but did not allude to the Tapestry in question.[9] In 1588 De Bourgueville gave a description of the cathedral of Bayeux; its curious central tower, its lofty spires, its flying buttresses, its matchless clock, and musical chimes — but did not allude to the Tapestry.[10] In 1681 Du Moulin,[11] and in 1646 D'Anneville,[12] both Normans, chronicled the conquest of England — without alluding to the Tapestry; and M. de la Rue declares that he had read over the immense collections on the ecclesiastical and literary antiquities of Normandy formed by Du Monstier, who died in 1662, without discovering the least trace of it.[13] In 1705 Hermant, Cure de Maltot, who wrote at the command of the Bishop of Bayeux, published a portion of the history of that diocese.[14] He pointed out that we were indebted to Wace for some remarkable particulars relative to the expedition of William;[15] furnished a very ample account of Odon;[16] noticed the Jour des Reliques qui tombe toujours le premier jour de Juillet;[17] and even cited various precious articles from the inventory of 1476[18] — but did not allude to the Tapestry! It would be difficult to account for the silence of these writers, if we assume the existence of the tradition within the period.

On the death of M. Foucault in 1721, a drawing of near forty feet of the Tapestry was found in his collection. It became the property of M. de Boze, who was well qualified to appreciate it; but made it over to M. Lancelot.[19] M. Foucault had been Intendant de la generalite de Caen — apparently in the years 1688-1704. He was an active and sagacious antiquary: "Il luy est arrive plus d'une fois," writes M. de Boze, "d'apprendre aux habitants d'une ville ou d'une province, qu'ils possedoient des monuments singuliers, ausquels ils ne faisoient aucune attention."[20] M. Lancelot was a perfect enthusiast in research — the very model of an antiquary: "personne ne l'egaloit," says the same estimable writer, "pour l'exactitude des dates, & le detail des circonstances de tous les evenemens publics ou particuliers"[21] But M. Foucault missed the honor of having pointed out the value of this monument singulier; and M. Lancelot, when he composed an academical memoir on the drawing in 1724, had not ascertained whether it represented a basso-relievo, or a fresco, or stained glass, or tapestry — or where the monument itself was preserved.[22]

Father Montfaucon, who had composed an explanation of the same fragment, was more successful About the year 1728, he obtained from Bayeux the information which he so ardently desired; and despatched M. Antoine Benoit to make a drawing of the entire Tapestry, with directions de ne rien changer dans le gout de la peinture.[23] M. Lancelot, on receiving information of the discovery, secured a qualified correspondent at Bayeux; and both the antiquaries completed their learned illustrations in 1730.[24]

It is now obvious that we must have recourse to Father Montfaucon and M. Lancelot for the earliest statements of the tradition — statements not recorded till more than six centuries after the conquest; and as tradition is the only authority for the ascription of the Tapestry to Matilda, it becomes us to examine the statements in question attentively — and to endeavour to form a just estimate of their credibility. I shall transcribe them verbatim; with the addition of that of Sir Joseph Ayloffe, who cites as his vouchers the French antiquaries:—

"L'opinion commune a Bayeux est, que ce fut la Reine Mathilde femme de Guillaume le Conquerant, qui la fit faire. [savoir, la tapisserie.] Cette opinion qui passe pour une tradition dans le payis, n'a rien que de fort vraisemblable."

Dom Bernard de Montfaucon — 1730.[25]

"La meme tradition qui a donne a ce monument le nom de Toilette du Duc Guillaume, veut aussi que ce soit Mathilde ou Mahaut de Flandres, Reine d'Angleterre Duchesse de Normandie, femme de ce Prince, qui l'ait tissue elle-meme avec ses femmes."

M. Lancelot — 1730.[26]

"The Conquest of England by William the Norman . . . was, by command of queen Matilda, represented in painting; and afterwards, by her own hands and the assistance of the ladies of her courty worked in arras, and presented to the cathedral at Bajeux, [sic] where it is still preserved."

Sir Joseph Ayloffe, Baronet, V.P.A.S. etc.— 1770.[27]

The juxtaposition of these extracts forms no contemptible illustration of the nature of tradition; of its curious transformations — and of the occasional rapidity of its growth. Father Montfaucon, be it observed, echoes the sentiments of the monks of Saint- Vigor, who could have no motive to under-value the tradition; yet he expresses himself very cautiously. M. Lancelot, who wrote on the authority of his correspondent at Bayeux, is much more explicit. He informs us that the Tapestry was called La Toilette du Due Guillaume — but speaks with no confidence of the operative ardour of Matilda. Now, it is certain that the inhabitants of Bayeux, at this very period, ascribed almost every monument of antiquity au Duc Guillaume.[28] I reluctantly criticise Sir Joseph Ayloffe — the able Vice-President of our Society of Antiquaries; but it is unavoidable. Writing only forty years after Montfaucon and Lancelot, and citing no other authorities, he advances an assumption for every ten words in his paragraph!

The tradition as current about the year 1730, and its variations, have now been sufficiently discussed; but an apposite anecdote may not be unwelcome, after this argumentative detail. There remained at that period, in the Abbey of St. Stephen at Caen, a fresco portrait of William; which the monks, on the authority of tradition, believed to be coeval with that monarch: Father Montfaucon declared it to be of later date by more than three centuries![29]

On a review of this evidence, I am tempted to conclude with the learned historian and critic M. Daunou, "que l'opinion qu'on a concue a Bayeux de l'origine de cette tapisserie, est, comme la plupart des traditions locales de cette espece, denuee de tout fondement et incapable de supporter un examen serieux"[30]

The rejection of the tradition is no denial of the antiquity of the Tapestry; and we may therefore advert to the question of its internal evidence. M. Lancelot pronounced it to be coeval with the conquest before he was aware of the tradition: "habits, armes, caracteres de lettres, omements, gout dans les figures representees, tout," says that experienced antiquary, "sent le siecle de Guillaume le Conquerant, ou celuy de ses enfants."[31] Mr. Hudson Gurney,[32] Mr. Stothard,[33] and M. Delauney,[34] have expressed similar opinions. This point requires considerate examination. Propriety of costume is not always decisive of the coeval execution of a monument. It may have been the result of choice, or of the propensity of inferior artists to copy the works of their predecessors. Before we subscribe to the opinion of M. Lancelot, it should be made evident that the costume of the Tapestry is exclusively that of the period to which it relates, and that the artist represented the costume of his own times. Now, we cannot decide on the correctness of the costume of the monument without the means of comparison — which we very imperfectly possess; but its partial conformity with the illuminations in the Ms. of Petro D'Ebulo — the resemblance of the casques and shields to those on the medals of the Norman conqueror of Sicily — the built of the vessels, with their steering paddles — the very sparing use of the chevron ornament — the absence of pointed architecture, of plate armour, and of armorial bearings — are no doubt remarkable indications of the antiquity assigned to it. On the other hand, if illuminators chiefly represented the costume of their own times,[35] (an argument relied on by some antiquaries in whose opinions it would give me pleasure to acquiesce,) I doubt if we should extend that conclusion to the Tapestry; in which instance the elaborate nature of the composition, and the intelligence contained in the inscriptions, clearly point out the superintendence of some learned person — who most probably was qualified to direct the operatives as to the costume of the period. It is observable that Harold is called Dux previously to the scene of his coronation; afterwards, Rex. William, whose coronation forms no part of the pictorial tale, is called Dux; never Rex. This evinces a desire to avoid anachronisms — and is not erroneous costume an anachronism?

I have promised a new conjecture on the origin of the Tapestry; and I venture to submit, in opposition to divers formidable chiefs of antiquarian lore, that it was executed after the union of Normandy with France — and at the expense of the Chapter.

Caradoc of Llancarvan,[36] and the Saxon annalists, describe William I. as the conqueror of England;[37] but he was too politic a prince to assume the title of the Conqueror[38] — and in Domesday-Book it is constantly said of him, postquam venit in Angliam=after he came into England.[39] it seems, therefore, improbable that a monument of the conquest should be publicly exhibited. On the union of Normandy with France in 1204,[40] the impolicy of such an exhibition would cease; and the Tapestry must have gratified the Normans (which it still does) as a memorial of the prowess of their ancestors, and as an intimation of the importance of their province to France. We will inquire how this notion accords with other circumstances. Mestre Wace, a Canon of Bayeux, who wrote a metrical account of the conquest about the year 1160,[41] gives it as a report that Harold swore on the relics at Bayeux.[42] In the tapestry it is stated positively. If it had been in existence, could Wace have doubted its authority? This circumstance alone forcibly argues a posterior date; but other similar instances of discrepancy could be named. The cathedral of Bayeux was burned in 1160;[43] and Philippe de Harcourt, who then held the bishopric, expended immense sums in its restoration.[44] If the Tapestry had been acquired in his time, would not the circonstance have been stated in the inventory which was submitted to his descendant Louis de Harcourt? The successor of Philippe de Harcourt was Henry de Beaumont. He had held the deanery of Salisbury, and was an Englishman.[45] He certainly could not consider such a memorial as a suitable ornament to his church; and he filled the see till 1205 — the period for which I contend as that of the most remote antiquity of the Tapestry.

If the Tapestry was executed after the union of Normandy with France, it is clear that the deviser endeavoured to preserve the costume which prevailed at the conquest; but oversights might be committed. Guillaume de Poitiers styles the combined invading army Normanni:[46] the Tapestry always has Franci. I consider this as an oversight — and indicative of the period at which the monument was executed. If the operatives were ever allowed to act without control, I conceive it would be in the ornaments, and forms of the letters. Now, the fables which occur in the borders are suspicious circumstances; but the letters afford more tangible evidence. They are unlike those on the seals of our Kings of the Norman line;[47] but perfectly resemble those on the seal of Henry de Beaumont, and on various Norman seals of the thirteenth century.[48]

Antiquaries of undisputed eminence — Montfaucon, Lancelot, Lethieullier, Ducarel, Visconti, De la Rue, Amyot, etc. — assume the Tapestry to have been a gift. — I believe it to have been provided at the EXPENSE OF THE CHAPTER; but, reserving for future exhibition the plans, elevations, sections, and details of this new edifice — I substitute a series of rude sketches of it.

Various circumstances tend to prove that the Tapestry was not a gift.

1. The inventories of 1369 and 1476 do not notice it as a gift; a circonstance which could scarcely have been omitted.

2. The monument itself contains no such indication. Now, the crown presented by Odon bore an inscription; the table presented by Louis de Harcourt bore an inscription; and the Tapestry presented by Leon Conseil contained his portrait.[49]

3. It has not the splendour of a gift. Crowns, crosses, shrines, chalices, etc. of gold and silver, and vestments embroidered in gold and silver, were the articles in request.[50]

4. It was even inferior to other articles of its class. It is said of Dame Leviet, embroiderer to William and Matilda, facit aurifrisium;[51] and the deux tentes which Louis de Harcourt presented to his church were worked a fil d'or[52] — but the tente in question is of the plainest materials.

5. The furniture of this description required in cathedrals and abbies seems to have been usually provided at the cost of those establishments: the monks of Saint-Riquier received a piece of tapestry in feodal payment annually![53]

6. If it had been a gift — if it had not been devised within the precincts of a church — it could not have escaped female influence: it could not have contained such indications of celibatic superintendence. It is not without its domestic and festive scenes; and comprises, exclusive of the borders, about five hundred and thirty figures — but in this number there are only three females!

I believe the Tapestry to have been provided at the expense of the Chapter — because it bears decided marks of locality.

1. The size of it denotes its special purpose. According to Ducarel, it reaches exactly round the nave of the church of Bayeux.[54]

2. The time of its exhibition has the same tendency. It was not exhibited on the anniversary of the death of William or Matilda, but on the Jour des Reliques — which it behoved the Chapter to celebrate with the utmost solemnity. Now Odon, in addition to the gigantic crown which adorned the nave, had presented the church with several very valuable reliquaries, which were preserved till the fatal year 1562;[55] and as Odon is conspicuous on the Tapestry, it was suitable to the occasion.

3. Two prelates accompanied the armament of William; Geofiroy, Bishop of Coutances — and Odon, Bishop of Bayeux.[56] Geoffroy, who was of noble family, and of vast property and influence,[57] is not named in the Tapestry; but Odon is twice named, and is introduced on the most important occasions — at the council in which the invasion of England was resolved on, at that which was held soon after the army landed, and at a critical moment of the battle of Hastings.

4. The expedition of William and Harold into Bretagne, is but an episode in the history of the conquest of England. Guillaume de Jumieges scarcely bestows ten words on it.[58] Guillaume de Poitiers is more communicative;[59] but the Tapestry records circumstances of it not elsewhere noticed.[60] This admits of explanation: the army, on its return, halted at Bayeux; and the warriors no doubt recounted their adventures — the memory of which was preserved by tradition.

5. A view of Mont-Saint-Michel is introduced in this episode; but no event occurs to require it. This circumstance also admits of explanation; for the priory of Saint-Vigor, which was rebuilt by Odon, had received its inmates from Mont-Saint-Michel — and the nomination of its Abbot was one of the rights of the Bishop of Bayeux.[61]

6. Harold swore fidelity to William. He swore on relics — which William afterwards carried about him at the battle of Hastings.[62] But where did the ceremony take place? Guillaume de Poitiers, who was Chaplain to the Conqueror — Guillaume de Poitiers, who received his account of the event from eye-witnesses — assures us that it took place at Bonneville.[63] The deviser of the Tapestry is pleased to claim the honor for Bayeux.

7. Guillaume de Poitiers intimates that Harold was conducted to Rouen after the expedition into Bretagne — and states positively that William retained him some time as his guest.[64] In the Tapestry, the return of Harold to England immediately follows the ceremony at Bayeux.

8. M. d'Anville cites as the ancient names of Bayeux — Bajocasses, Civitas Bajocassium, and Bajocae.[65] The Tapestry has hic willelm venit: bagias — which M. Lancelot remarks he had not met with elsewhere.[66] The silver plate found near Derby in 1729, proves that bogiae was sometimes used at Bayeux.[67]

9. It has been said, whence came the Saxon terms AElfgyva and ceastra?[68] This new hypothesis solves the difficulty. The Saxon language prevailed at Bayeux; where traces of it are still discoverable.[69]

10. There are only fifteen persons named in the Tapestry; eleven persons of historical celebrity, such as Edward, Harold, William, etc. — Elfgiva, a female — and three persons unknown to fame, Turold, Wadard, and Vital. The brilliant names commemorated by Guillaume de Poitiers,[70] were less attractive to the deviser than those of Turold, Wadard, and Vital — names familiar to the inhabitants of Bayeux. This assertion requires proofs — but Elfgiva is entitled to precedence. William promised to bestow one of his daughters on Harold.[71] She is represented beneath the inscription AElfgyva — but Elfgiva was not her name. Emma, daughter of Richard I. of Normandy,[72] and mother of Edward the Confessor,[73] is sometimes called by the Saxon annalists, Elfgiva Emma.[74] Elfgiva, therefore, whatever Florence of Worcester may assert,[75] seems to have been an appellation of honor — a point which I submit to our Saxonists. But why was the name of the betrothed omitted? Could it not be ascertained? or was it so familiar as to be deemed superfluous? I apprehend the latter to have been the case: she was the dame par excellence — she was buried, and was annually commemorated, at Bayeux.[76] — tvrold appears as a name; but it is doubtful to which figure it applies.[77] The name was not uncommon. One Turold had been tutor to William, but died some years before the conquest.[78] Another Turold succeeded Odon in the see of Bayeux;[79] and I conjecture that the Turold named owes that honor to some relationship with the prelate. Ralph, a son of Turold, held some pleasant sites in Kent under Odon[80] — an additional proof of the connexion of the name with Bayeux. — hic : est : wadard : appears over the figure of a man armed and mounted. Mr. Douce and M. de la Rue considered him as a centinel![81] I take him to have been the chief commissary of the army. Wadard, a name which does not occur in the Domesday survey as a tenant before the conquest, obtained six messuages at Dover — the gift of Odon.[82] He also held lands under Odon in various parts of Kent, in Oxfordshire, in Lincolnshire, etc.[83] In Lincolnshire alone he is nine times called homo episcopi baiocensis = the homager of the Bishop of Bayeux,[84] — hic: willelm : Dvx interrogat : vital : si vidisset exercitv haroldi = Here Duke William asks Vital if he had discovered the army of Harold, This is a remarkable scene, and relates to a circumstance recorded in history. William himself made a reconnaissance soon after his arrival at Pevensey;[85] and despatched some approved knights on a second reconnaissance.[86] Vital, we may presume, was one of the approved knights. He obtained lands in Kent under Odon,[87] and was witness to a charter of Odon in 1092.[88] But why was he introduced in preference to the renowned warriors enumerated by Guillaume de Poitiers, Orderic Vital, Mestre Wace, and Benoit de Sainte-More? I conjecture that he was a relative of the Vital of saintly eminence who died in 1119 — in whose name miracles are said to have been performed — and who was born near, and is celebrated in the cartulary of the church of, Bayeux.[89]

I cheerfully approach a question of easier solution, Is Odon represented with a mace in his hand? He did not bear a mace at the battle of Hastings; nor is he so represented.

Guillaume de Poitiers, writing soon after the conquest, assures us that Odon never bore arms;[90] and Mestre Wace shall testify that he was not armed on the occasion in question:—

"Sor un cheval tot blanc seeit,
Tote la gent le congnoisseit.
Un baston teneit en son poing;
La u veeit li grant besoing,
Faseit li chevaliers torner,
E la les faseit arrester;
Sovent les faseit assaillir,
E sovent les faseit ferir."[91]

As the French of Mestre Wace is not identical with that of MM, les quarante, I shall furnish an imitation of the above lines — albeit the poetic light of the doer shineth faintly:—

"Mounted on a milk-white steed,
Odon spoke to every eye ;
Swift he rode where most was need,
A staff in hand — he bears it high.
And he checks each heartless knight,
Each knight incites to face the foe.
Onward to move — nor think of flight —
But grasp the lance — or deal the blow !"[92]

On this point the chronicler and the artist coincide. Odon is represented in the Tapestry as well-mounted — but not on a war-horse. He wears a suit of gambeson — not the armour, of a combatant. He wears indeed a casque — but has neither javelin nor shield. The inscription is HIC . ODO EPS : BACVLV TENENS : CONFORTAT PVEROS — which Mr. Sharon Turner will permit me to translate Here Bishop Odon bearing a STAFF encourages the young soldiers.[93] Now, the staff borne by Odon is of the same description as that which Duke William bears when he questions Vital on the result of his reconnaissance; when he addresses the soldiers previous to the onset; and when he endeavours to shame the fugitives. It is clearly a baton de commandement. Father Montfaucon, who had borne arms in early life,[94] calls it a baton;[95] M. Delauney of Bayeux calls it a baton;[96] and M. de la Rue expressly calls it a baton de commandement.[97] The weapons which certain antiquaries are pleased to consider as maces, are what Guillaume de Poitiers calls SAXA LIGNIS IMPOSITA[98] = stones with wooden handles — and were chiefly used as missiles.

This must positively be the terminus, on the present occasion, of my Anglo-Norman researches and conjectures. Having despatched the premises of D'Israeli, I should attack his inferences with the fullest confidence of success; but forbear — for it would seem like superfluous pugnacity.

In the first article of this anti-lively miscellany, I have endeavoured to estimate the claims of D' Israeli as a civilian; and in the present article as an antiquary. Let no one conclude that my principal aim is to deprive him of his titles of honor: the circumstance is the mere accidental effect of chronology! I shall, however, recommend to our universities and learned societies to economize in the distribution of such honors — and not bestow them on men who, whether they write on civil law or on other antiquarian subjects, are sure to increase the mass of the Curiosities of Literature.

The meek dissertation on the Bayeux Tapestry, as Mr. D'Israeli terms it, has had an exciting effect on his mental frame; and this excitement has produced, as it often does, inconsistency. He exalts my name much above its due level in antiquarianism; and, at the same time, threatens me with antiquarian annihilation! In his short comment there are also;

1. Two fictitious quotations: "I deny the sentinel," — "I deny the mace; 'tis no mace; 'tis a staff." And

2. Two false assertions. He declares that I call his aphoristical idea "a splendid flimflam:" I have only applied the words to his ascription of the Tapestry to Matilda. He says, "And on the pretext of correcting mace into baton, Mr. Corney has written this dissertation of fourteen pages." I have not bestowed two pages on that point. That such was not the main object of my essay, and that my conjectures were really possessed of some novelty and plausibility, may perhaps appear by the following extracts:—

"L'auteur pense que la tapisserie de Bayeux a ete faite aux depens du chapitie de l'eglise de cette ville, apres la reunion de la Nonnandie. Il prouve au moins qu'elle n'est pas l'ouvrage de Mathilde, femme de Guillaume-le-Conquerant." — Daunou, Membre de l'Institut Royal de France, Garde des Archives du Royaume, etc.

"I have read it with much interest, and am clearly of opinion that you have proved two things:

1. That there exists no good ground for attributing the tapestry to Matilda;

2". That it was probably worked at Bayeux for the use of the church of Bayeux." — John Lingard, D. D., Author of the Histony of England, etc.


[1] The author intends to re-examine his collections on the Bayeux Tapestry, and to methodise the results. He proposes to consider its history, the scenes which it represents, the tradition attached to it, and the evidence of its origin. He is gratified by the approbation bestowed on his first essay — which has been translated into French by M. Jubinal.
[2] C.L., i. 246.
[3] The Tapestry of Bayeux. C. A. Stothard del. J. Basire sculp. 17 folio plates, 1819-23.+ Hudson Gurney, Archaeologia, xviii. 359, etc.
[4] Mrs. C. S., Memoirs of C. A. Stothard, 1823. 8vo. p. 218.
[5] C A. S., Archaeoiogia, xix. 184.
[6] La Tapisseriede Bayeux drawn and engraved by M. Sansonetti, has recently appeared at Paris in 24 folio plates. The scale is that of Mr. Stothard.
[7] Recheriches sur la Tapisserie de Bayeux, Caen, 1824. In-4. pp. 44, 48.
[8] Lancelot, Memoires de I'Acad^mie Royale des Inscriptions, viii. 603-4.
[9] M. Beziers, Hist. Sommaire de Bayeux, Caen, 1773. In-12. p. 3, etc.
[10] Recherches des Antiquitez de Neustrie, Caen, 1588. In-4. p. 56.
[11] Hist, de Normandie, Rouen, 1631. In-fol. pp. 163-92.
[12] Inventaire de l'Hist. de Normandie. Rouen, 1646. In-4. pp. 64-70.
[13] R. T. B., p. 51
[14] Histoire du diocese de Bayeux, Caen, 1705. In.-4.
[15] Ibid. p. 196.
[16] Ibid. pp. 130-50.
[17] Ibid. p. 194.
[18] Ibid. p. 352.
[19] M. A. I. vi. 739.
[20] Ibid. v. 401.
[21] Ibid, xvi. 268.
[22] Ibid. vi. 739.
[23] Monumens de la Monarchie Francioise, i. 371, ii. 2.
[24] ibid. ii. 1, etc. + M. A. I., viii. 602, etc.
[25] M. M. F., ii. 2.
[26] M. A. I., viii. 605.
[27] Archaeologia, iii. 186.
[28] F. Pluquet, Contes populaires de Bayeux, Rouen, 1834. In-8. p. 30.
[29] M. M. F., i. 402.
[30] Journal des Savans, 1826. p. 698.
[31] M.A.I., vi. 755.[32] Archaeologia, xviii. 359-70.
[33] Ibid. xix. 184-91.
[34] Origine de la Tapisserie de Bayeux, Caen, 1824. In-4. p. 11.
[35] J. Strutt, Regal Antiquities, 1777. 4to. p. 5.
[36] The Historic of Cambria, 1584. 4to. p. 108.
[37] Saxon Chronicle, [by Anna Gurney] 1819. 8vo. pp. 209, 226, 239.
[38] Rep. on Public Records, 1800. Fol. App. a a.
[39] H. Ellis, Gen. Int. to Domesday-Book, 1817. 4to p. 169.
[40] Vide Depping, Hist, de la Normandie, Rouen, 1835. In-8. ii. 452, etc.
[41] Brial, Hist. Litteraire de la France, xiii. 518, etc. +Le Roman de Rou, Rouen, 1827. 2 vol. in-8. ii. 106, etc.
[42] Ibid. ii. 113.
[43] De la Rue, R. T. B., p. 51.
[44] Hermant, H. D. B., p. 176.
[45] Hermant, H. D. B., p. 177. +Le Neve, Fasti E. A., 1716. Fol. p. 262.
[46] H. N. S. A., p. 201, etc.
[47] Appendix to Reports on Records, 1819. Fol. No. 35, etc.
[48] Recueil de Sceaux Normands, Caen, 1834. Planche, iii. Nos. 4 & 5, etc.
[49] M. Beziers, H. S. B., pp. 39, 45, & Adv. 4.
[50] Saxon Chronicle, 1819. 8vo. pp. 210, 215, 271, etc.
[51] Domesday-Book, 74 a 2.
[52] De la Rue, R. T. B., p. 49.
[53] Bullet, Dissertations, Paris, 1171. In-12. p. 279.
[54] Anglo-Norman Antiquities. 1767. Fol. p. 79.
[55] Hermant, H. D. B., p. 131.
[56] G. de Poitiers, Historiae Normannorvm scriptores antiqvi. Lvtetiae, 1619. Fol. p. 201.
[57] O. Vital, Ibid. p. 523.+Domesday-Book, 87 b 2, 102 a 1, etc.
[58] H. N. S. A., p. 285.
[59] Ibid. p. 191, etc.
[60] Lancelot, M. A. I., viii. 614.
[61] M. Beziers, H. S. de B. p. 129.
[62] G. de Poitiers, H. N. S. A., p. 201.
[63] Ibid. p. 191. "Coadunato ad Bonamvillam consilio, illic Heraldus ei fidelitatem sancto ritu Christianorum iurauit."
[64] Ibid. p. 192.
[65] Notice de l'ancienne Gaule, Paris, 1760. In-4. pp. 82-4.
[66] M. A. I., viii. 626.
[67] w. Stukeley, Account of a Silver Plate, 1736. 4to. p. 5.
[68]Archaeologia, xviii. 100, 102.+xix. 199, 204.
[69] F. Pluquet, Essai historique sur Bayeux, Caen, 1829. In-8. p. 9.
[70] H. N. S. A., pp. 202-3.
[71] G. de Jumieges, Ibid. p. 285.
[72] G. de Jumieges, Ibid. p. 247.
[73] Saxon Chronicle, by Ingram, 1823. 4to. p. 212.
[74] Ibid. pp. 175, 212, 232.
[75] Ibid. p. 175.
[76] De la Rue, R. T. B., p. 56.
[77] Lancelot, M. A. I., vi. 753.
[78] G. de Jumieges, H. N. S. A., p. 268.
[79] O. Vital, Ibid, p. 765.
[80] Domesday-Book, 6 a 1, 7 a 2, etc.
[81] Archaeologia, xvii. 102.
[82] Domesday-Book, 1 a 1.
[83] Ibid. 6 a 2, 7 b 1, etc. 155 b 2, 156 a 1, etc.
[84] Ibid. 342 passim.
[85] G. de Poitiers, H. N. S. A., p. 199.
[86] G. de Poitiers, Ibid. p. 201.
[87] Domesday-Book, 10 a 1.
[88] De la Rue, R.T.B.,p.57.
[89] Hermant, H.D.B., pp. 185-6.
[90] "Arma neque mouit vnquam, neque voluit moueri: valde tamen timendus armatis." H. N. S. A., p. 209.
[91] R. R., ii. 220.
[92] E Mss. Corneianis.
[93] Vide Du Cange, in voce puer.
[94] Weiss, Biog, Univ., xxix. 536.
[95] M. M. F., ii. 28.
[96] O. T. B., p. 81.
[97] R. T. B., p. 87.
[98] H. N. S. A., p. 201.


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