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in circumference, which remained entire in the reign of Henry IV. Leland says that in his day (temp. Henry VIII.) it might be easily traced, and Stukeley, in 1723, fancied that it could still be made out; but no traces of it are now distinguishable. Within the space which it enclosed many Roman remains have been at different times discovered. One of the most remarkable was an extensive and very complete bath. It was first laid open in 1683, and is described by Sir E. Atkyns in his 'History of Gloucestershire;' being afterwards covered up, the site of it was forgotten until it was again discovered by accident in the last century. Stukeley then examined and fully described it; for some time it was looked upon with interest by the townsmen, but it again became neglected, and a few years back was destroyed by the parties who rented the nursery-ground in which it was situated. Various other relics, as tesselated pavements, vases, coins, and penates, have been found; and in a place outside ;the town, believed to have been the Roman cemetery, a number of urns and monumental inscriptions have been dug up. Stukeley, in his 'Itineraria Curiosa,' mentions one, inscribed to the memory of a certain Julia Casta, that he saw in the possession of a Mr. Tibbot, who also kept the lady's skull "in his summer-house; but," adds Stukeley, with his usual gravity, "the people have stole all her teeth out tor amulets against the ague"—a use which that fair lady little suspected her teeth would be put to some fourteen centuries after her death:—" But who knows," as Sir Thomas Browne asks, " who knows the fate of his bones, or how often they are to be buried? Who hath the oracle of his ashes, or whither they are to be scattered?"
During the several dynasties that succeeded the Roman power, Cirencester was occasionally both the seat of war and the scene of splendid ceremonials. After the Norman conquest it was a place of great strength. Its castle was destroyed by Stephen, but it was rebuilt and garrisoned by the Earl of Leicester for Queen Matilda. When the barons were in arms against John, it was occupied by the royal army. In the reign of Henry IV., a gallant exploit of the inhabitants led that monarch to confer upon the town valuable corporate privileges. When the conspiracy formed by the Earls of Salisbury, Rutland, Huntingdon, and other adherents of Richard II. was discovered, Salisbury and Kent with their followers gained possession of Cirencester. The noblemen and officers took up their abode in the town, leaving their soldiers encamped outside the walls. Perceiving how careless a guard was kept, the mayor and the municipal officers got a number of the townsmen together and attacked the earls, and having easily defeated their retinue, struck off the heads of Salisbury and Surrey, who had fled to the abbey for sanctuary, with those of some other men of rank. The soldiers meanwhile, imagining from the tumult that some of the king's troops had arrived, hastily abandoned their camp. Henry, out of gratitude for this timely service, granted to the men of Cirencester all the goods and chattels left in the town by the rebels, "except such as were of gold, or silver, or gilded, and excepting also all money and jewels." By another grant was given, " during our pleasure," "to the men iv does in season, to be delivered unto them by our chief forester, or his deputy, out of our forest of Bradon; and also one hogshead of wine, to be received out of the port of our town of Bristol." He also granted " unto the women aforesaid vi bucks, to be delivered them in right season ... and also one hogshead of wine." Some time after, he made Cirencester a corporate town. The rest of its history may be quickly passed over, as nothing of much consequence occurred. At the commencement of the great civil war it was garrisoned for the Parliament, but was taken after a sharp attack by Prince Rupert, whose chaplain published an account of the capture; and during the continuance of the war it changed hands more than once. Since then, the only notable occurrence perhaps is, that the first blood spilt in the almost bloodless revolution of 1688 was shed here.
"Of all counties in England," says Fuller (' Ch. Hist.,' b. vi.), " Gloucestershire was most pestered with monks, having four mitred abbeys," whence, he says, grew "a topical wicked proverb, ' As sure as God's in Gloucestershire.'" Cirencester possessed one of these mitred abbeys, and it was a tolerably wealthy one, the income at the dissolution being estimated at 1051/. 7*. Id. Little is left of the ecclesiastical splendour of the town. Of the noble abbey the only vestige is a gateway leading to Grove Lane. Of the three churches which formerly existed only one remains. In Leland's day there were two standing. "S. Lawrence yet stondeth," he says, "but as no paroch church. S. Cecilia church is clene down." That which yet stands is dedicated to St. John. It is a spacious and very handsome edifice, and would be a great ornament to the town could it be fairly seen. At present it is nearly hidden by a parcel of mean houses, which, whilst they hide the church, obstruct the Gloucester road. The church has a large nave and aisles, a chancel, and four mortuary chapels. The parts are of different styles, having been erected at different periods between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries. The tower is one hundred and thirty-four feet high, and of 'graceful proportion. Originally the windows were filled with stained glass, but very little of it escaped the Puritanic mallet. A few years back the scattered fragments were collected by Mr. S. Lyson, the antiquary, and arranged in the great west window. The interior of the church has suffered a good deal of improvement. There are, however, some interesting relics left: there are several noble wooden roofs which remain uninjured; a few brasses and some monuments will repay examination; and there is a very curious but rude sculpture in relief of a " Whitsunale." The lord of the feast holds in his hand a scroll with the words "Be Merrie,'' and the figures of the lady, the steward, jester, and other officers of the ale are easily made out. The chapels are the most interesting parts of the building: that of St. Catherine is very beautiful; in St. Mary's are some fresco paintings of purgatory, which were discovered a few years back on removing the whitewash; Trinity chapel, now used as a mausoleum of the Bathurst family, was once the richest of these chapels, it containing the gifts and adornings of the votaries of St. Thomas a Becket, whose altar was within it, and of whose martyrdom there is a representation in fresco near the altar. Under the painting is an inscription in black letter, which deserves to be quoted as a striking evidence of the kind of worship once claimed for that most famous of English saints, and of the benefits that were promised by his intercession :—" What man or woman worshipped this holy Saint, Bishop, and Martyr, every Sunday that beth in the year, with a Paternoster and Ave, or giveth any alms to a poor man, or bringeth any candle to light [at the altar], less or more, he shall have v gifts of God. The i is, he shall have reasonable good to his life's end. The ii. is, that his enemies shall have no power to do him no bodily harm nor disease. The iij is, what reasonable thing he will ask of God and that holy saint, it shall be granted. The iv is, that he shall be unburdened of all his tribulation and disease. The v is, that in his last end he shall have shrift and housil, great repentance, and sacrament of anointing, and then he may come to that bliss that never hath end. Amen."
Let us get into the open air.
Other objects in the town we need not stay to examine, though the town-hall and an old house or two would perhaps repay us. As I mentioned the little regard which the townsmen formerly paid to their antiquities, it is proper to add here that they have now a museum established for the reception and preservation of such as are left.
We have not now time to do more than glance at OakleyGrove, Lord Bathurst's seat and park, though it is the most celebrated place in the neighbourhood, and one which the visitor to Cirencester will do well to stroll through at leisure. It is extensive, being sixteen miles in circumference, and associated with it are some of the most eminent names of what used to be called the Augustan era of our literature. Pope, Swift, Addison, Prior, Gay, Arbuthnot, Bolingbroke, and other lesser stars used to assemble here to partake of the hospitality of Lord Bathurst, a nobleman who outlived them long enough to welcome Sterne as their successor, and whose lengthened existence gave rise to a celebrated