Read ANECDOTES OF THE ASSISTANT OFFICES OF THE CORONATION of Coronation Anecdotes , free online book, by Giles Gossip, on ReadCentral.com.

The assistant offices of the coronation are, for the far greater part, ecclesiastical or hereditary. They are connected therefore with all the religious changes, and family honours of the empire. The nobility bear in person a part in the royal day, and approach and actually touch that crown, from which, as the fountain of honour, they seem to renew, and re-invigorate, their most ancient claims to distinction: while the metropolitan of the English Church enjoys the exclusive right of consecrating and crowning the monarch.

As early as the Norman Conquest, this privilege of the see of Canterbury is spoken of as well-established; and but two subsequent instances occur of its being overlooked or denied: both remarkably associated with the history of the papal power in this country. In the first, that of the coronation by the archbishop of York of prince Henry, son of Henry II., may be traced the incipient cause of the assassination of archbishop Becket, whose martyrdom became conducive to the highest triumphs of that power: in the second, queen Elizabeth’s coronation by Oglethorpe, bishop of Carlisle, and the refusal of all the other prelates to assist in the ceremony, we behold its dying struggles for a dominion never more to be renewed.

Mr. Lingard, who, as a Catholic, may be supposed to state these transactions with a sufficient leaning to his own church, as expressly connects the murder of Becket with a jealousy on this subject as any other of our historians. Henry II. had employed the known enemy of the archbishop, Roger of York, in the consecration of his son above alluded to; but the primate and the king met on friendly terms at Rouen, in the following month; they compromised their differences; and the former set out on his return to his diocese. The Pope, however, “before he heard of the reconciliation, had issued letters of suspension or excommunication against the bishops who had officiated at the late coronation.” The archbishop had at one time resolved to suppress these letters, our historian admits; and surely it was now an imperative duty so to do. But the prelates concerned, it seems, who knew that he carried them about him, had assembled at Canterbury, and sent to the coast Ranulf de Broc, with a party of soldiers, to search him on his landing, and take them from him. Information of the design reached him at Witsand: and “in a moment of irritation,” says Mr. L., “he despatched them before himself by a trusty messenger, by whom, or by whose means, they were publicly delivered to the bishops in the presence of their attendants. It was a precipitate and unfortunate measure, the occasion, at least, of the catastrophe that followed.”

The prelates hastened to Normandy to demand redress and protection from the king; who, irritated by their representation, exclaimed: “Of the cowards who eat my bread, is there not one, who will free me from this turbulent priest?” and the blood of Becket flowed a few days after in reply. When he asked one of his assassins, “What is thy object?” he was told that he must instantly absolve the bishops “Till they offer satisfaction, I will not,” said the primate. “Then die,” exclaimed his murderers, and closed around him.

The Lord Great Chamberlain’s office commences with carrying the king his shirt on the morning of the coronation, and assisting the chamberlain of the household to dress his majesty. Queens regnant depute this office to some of the ladies of the household: we are told that the celebrated duchess of Marlborough last enjoyed it, at the coronation of queen Anne.

The office gives a claim to all the furniture of the royal chamber, in which its duties begin. The idea of our ancestors was, that the coronation, and particularly the consecration of a king, conferred new honours and talents of the most sacred and extraordinary description. He was now made a new man, and elevated into a new order of beings;

“Consideration, like an angel, came
And whipt the offending Adam out of him;
Leaving his body as a paradise,
To envelope and contain celestial spirits.”

Hence every part of his office was new and kingly. Froissart describes the consecration of Henry IV. immediately after the recognition, thus: “after this the duke descended from his throne, and advanced to the altar to be consecrated. This ceremony was performed by two archbishops and ten bishops: he was stripped of all his royal state before the altar, naked to his shirt, and was then anointed and consecrated in six places; that is to say, on the head, the breast, the shoulders, before and behind, on the back and hands: they then placed a bonnet on his head; and while this was doing, the clergy chaunted the litany, a service that is performed to hallow a font.” The lord chamberlain is official governor of the palace for the time being, and the principal personal attendant of the king.

The Lord High Constable also attends the royal person, assists at the reception of the regalia from the dean and chapter of Westminster, and, together with the earl Marshal, ushers the champion into the hall.

Of the Royal Championship.

Whether we consider its uninterrupted exercise, and that by one family, for so many centuries, its feudal import, or its present splendid and imposing effect, the office of champion certainly eclipses all the other services of the coronation.

Since the coronation of Richard II. A.D. 1377, (of which there is in Walsingham a detailed account) this office has been performed by a Dymoke, the head of the family of that name who have held the manor of Scrivelsby in Lincolnshire, worth about L1200 per annum, by the tenure of this service. During the reigns of Edward II. and III. the right was in dispute: prior to that period and from the days of the Conqueror it was vested in the far-famed family of MARMION, whose chief, as

“ Lord of Fontenay,
Of Lutterworth and Scrivilbaye,
Of Tamworth tower and town,”

came from Normandy with William, and is there supposed to have held the first of these possessions, on condition of performing the service of champion to the successive dukes.

At the conquest the feudal system was established in England in its maturest and strictest forms; and the present office being the most perfect relic of that system known to modern times, a slight sketch of its peculiarities will not be uninteresting.

The foundation of all the subsequent customs of homage, suit, service, purveyance, &c. is to be traced in the original connexion between the vassal and his lord, or the chief and his retainers, which Tacitus notices as remarkable in ancient Germany. According to this, every follower was to be found fighting by the side of his chief in time of war, as the very first duty of social life and in time of peace to look up to him as the only legitimate fountain of honour and justice.

Certain it is, that this relation was, in substance, as well known and supported by our Anglo-Saxon ancestors, before the accession of William, as it was by our Highland neighbours, down to the rebellion in 1745. A striking instance of the romantic and desperate courage to which it gave rise occurs as early as the reign of Cynewulf, king of Wessex, A.D. 784. Sigebircht, the deposed predecessor of this prince, was, in the first year of his rival’s reign, found murdered in the forest of Andreswald: but left a brother, of the name of Cyneheard, who cherished for thirty-one years the secret purpose of avenging his death. At last he returned, with eighty-four retainers, into the neighbourhood of Winchester, the royal residence; and, tracing the king to a country seat at Merton, the abode of a favourite lady, surrounded the house at midnight. Cynewulf was quickly roused; but his followers were scattered throughout the place, and could not be collected until, after a brave personal conflict with the enemy, the king’s life-blood had satiated his vengeance. Cyneheard now offered the royal train their liberty and possessions, on condition of their peaceable departure; but they rejected his proposals with scorn, and to a man died on the threshold of their master. On the intelligence reaching the court, in the morning, Osric and Wavirth, two powerful chieftains, surrounded themselves with their vassals, and rode to Merton, where they were met by Cyneheard, with professions of friendship. He called their attention to the injuries of his family, the duty of avenging which had devolved upon himself; urged his claim to the vacant throne; made them the most liberal offers, in case of their acknowledgment of him; and concluded by reminding them, that many of his adherents were their own near kinsmen. “Our kinsmen,” they indignantly answered, “are not dearer to us than was our lord. To his murderer we shall never submit. If those who are related to us wish to save their lives, let them depart.” “The same offer,” rejoined the followers of Cyneheard, “was made to the attendants of the king, who refused it. We will prove to-day that our attachment is equal to theirs:” and Cyneheard, and all his adherents except one, were slain.

But the Conqueror, owing his crown to the sword, more strictly adapted the system which he found in use to his own military notions and future safety. Having divided all the principal estates of the country amongst his vassals, he converted the English military tenures into a regular obligation, called knights’ fees, which compelled each tenant in chief to have a certain number of knights, or horsemen, always ready to assert the rights of the crown, and to fight under its banner, in any cause, “We will,” says a law on this subject, yet extant, “that all the freemen of our kingdom possess their lands in peace, free of all tollage and unjust exaction: that nothing be required or taken from them but their free service, which they owe to us of right, as has been appointed to them, and granted by us with hereditary right for ever, by the common council of our whole kingdom.” “And we command that all earls, barons, knights, serjeants, and freemen, be always provided with horses and arms as they ought; and that they be always ready to perform to us their whole service, in manner as they owe it to us of right, for their fees and tenements, and as we have appointed to them by the common council of our whole kingdom, and as we have granted to them in fee a right of inheritance.” This free service required the due quota of horsemen, which each vassal was to furnish, to come, completely armed, on his requisition, and to be maintained under the royal command, at the charge of the party sending them, for forty days. Even the dignitaries of the church, and monastic bodies holding lands, were not exempt from this service.

Each tenant in chief subdivided his property into sub-vassalships, imposing a similar service, and carrying downwards all the obligations of homage, fealty, and personal attendance on all important occasions.

Out of such a system, that a favoured vassal should be selected to assert the personal right of the monarch to his throne, will appear very natural: it is only surprising that the violence and constant habit of appealing to the sword, in which this with the other feudal claims originated, should have left it to flow on in such an uninterrupted course a course of succession far more regular than the transmission of the crown it is supposed to defend.

The championship is connected also with a remarkable feature of ancient jurisprudence, the wager of battle, recently abolished. This was regarded as an appeal to the judgment of God; and succeeded, at the Conquest, the fires and other ordeals of our ancestors, which the Normans affected to despise. The reader, however, may be disposed to conjecture, that as much of the divine interposition might be expected to decide the healing of a burn or scald, as the issue of a battle. The older custom was for the accused to plunge his hand into a cauldron of boiling water, and take out a stone or piece of iron of a given weight; the depth of the vessel being proportionate to the magnitude of the crime charged: or for him to seize, at the end of a religious service, a bar of iron placed on a fire at the beginning of the service, and run over a certain length of ground with it: the method in which the wounds healed, in either case, being the criterion of guilt or innocence.

The wager of battle was certainly of more splendid pretensions, and was introduced at first with these stipulations. If the opposite parties were countrymen, they were to follow their national customs, whatever they were; if the appellee were a foreigner, or of foreign descent, he might offer wager of battle, and on its being declined, purge himself by his own oath and that of his witnesses, according to the Norman law; or if a native of the country, he might have his choice of the trial by ordeal or by battle.

The solemn feelings and great religious sincerity with which our forefathers regarded combats of this description, cannot be more powerfully or more accurately depicted, than in the memorable combat scene of IVANHOE:

“The draw-bridge fell, the gates opened, and a knight, bearing the great standard of the order, sallied from the castle, preceded by six trumpets, and followed by the knights preceptors, two and two, the grand master coming last, mounted on a stately horse, whose furniture was of the simplest kind. Behind him came Brian de Bois Guilbert, armed cap-a-pee in bright armour, but without his lance, shield, or sword, which were borne by his two esquires behind him. He looked ghastly pale, as if he had not slept for several nights, yet reined in his pawing war-horse with the habitual ease and grace proper to the best lance of the Order of the Temple. His general appearance was grand and commanding; but looking at him with attention, men read that in his dark features from which we willingly withdraw our eyes.

“On either side rode Conrade of Mont Fitchet and Albert de Malvoisin, who acted as godfathers to the champion. They were in their robes of peace, the white dress of the order. Behind them followed other knights companions of the Temple, with a long train of esquires and pages, clad in black, aspirants to the honour of being one day knights of the order.”

After these walked the accused in a coarse white dress, surrounded by wardens in sable livery.

“The slow procession moved up the gentle eminence, on the summit of which was the tilt-yard, and entering the lists, marched once around them from right to left, and when they had completed the circle made a halt. There was then a momentary bustle while the grand-master and his attendants” took their places: when “a long and loud flourish of trumpets announced that the court was seated for judgment. Malvoisin, then acting as godfather to the champion, stepped forward and laid the glove of the Jewess, which was the pledge of battle, at the feet of the grand-master.

“Valourous lord and reverend father,” said he, “here standeth the good knight Brian de Bois Guilbert, knight preceptor of the Order of the Temple, who by accepting the pledge of battle which I now lay at your reverence’s feet, hath become bound to do his devoir in combat this day, to maintain that this Jewish maiden, by name Rebecca, hath justly deserved the doom passed upon her condemning her to die as a sorceress. Here, I say, he standeth such battle to do knightly and honourably, if such should be your noble and sanctified pleasure.”

“Hath he made oath,” said the grand-master, “that his quarrel is just and honourable? Bring forward the crucifix and the Te igitur.”

“Sir and most reverend father,” answered Malvoisin readily, “our brother here present hath already sworn to the truth of his accusation, in the hand of the good knight Conrade de Mont Fitchet, and otherwise he ought not to be sworn, seeing his adversary is an unbeliever and may take no oath.”

“The grand-master having allowed the apology, commanded the herald to stand forth and do his devoir. The trumpets then flourished, and a herald stepping forward, proclaimed aloud, “Oyez, oyez, oyez. Here standeth the good knight Sir Brian de Bois Guilbert, ready to do battle with any knight of free blood who will sustain the quarrel allowed and allotted to the Jewess Rebecca, to try by champion in respect of lawful essoigne of her own body; and to such champion the reverend and valorous grand-master here present allows a fair field, an equal partition of sun and wind, and whatever else appertains to a fair combat.” The trumpets again sounded, and there was a dead pause of many minutes.

“The judges had now been two hours in the lists, awaiting in vain the appearance of a champion.

“It was the general belief, that no one could or would appear for a Jewess accused of sorcery, and the knights, instigated by Malvoisin, whispered to each other, that it was time to declare the pledge of Rebecca forfeited. At this instant a knight, urging his horse to speed, appeared on the plain, advancing towards the lists. An hundred voices exclaimed, ‘A champion,’ ‘a champion!’ And, despite the prepossession and prejudices of the multitude, they shouted unanimously as the knight rode into the tilt-yard. The second glance, however, served to destroy the hope that his timely arrival had excited. His horse, urged for many miles to its utmost speed, appeared to reel from fatigue, and the rider, however undauntedly he presented himself to the lists, either from weakness, weariness, or both, seemed scarce able to support himself in the saddle.

“To the summons of the herald who demanded his rank, his name and purpose, the strange knight answered readily and boldly, ’I am a good knight and noble, come hither to sustain with lance and sword the just and lawful quarrel of this damsel, Rebecca, daughter of Isaac of York; to uphold the doom pronounced against her to be false, and truthless, and to defy Sir Brian de Bois Guilbert as a traitor, murtherer, and liar; as I will prove in this field with my body against his, by the aid of God, our Lady, and of Monseigneur Saint George, the good knight.’

“The stranger must first show,” said Malvoisin, “that he is a good knight, and of honourable lineage. The Temple sendeth not forth her champion against nameless men.”

“My name,” said the knight, raising his helmet, “is better known, my lineage more pure, Malvoisin, than thine own. I am Wilfrid of Ivanhoe.” “Rebecca”, said he, riding up to the fatal chair, “dost thou accept of me for thy champion?”

“I do,” she said, “I do!” fluttered by an emotion which the fear of death was unable to produce.

“Ivanhoe was already at his post, and had closed his visor, and assumed his lance. Bois Guilbert did the same.

“The herald then, seeing each champion in his place, uplifted his voice, repeating thrice, Faîtes vos devoirs, preux chevaliers. After the third cry, he withdrew to one side of the lists, and again proclaimed, that none on peril of instant death should dare by word, cry, or action, to interfere with, or disturb this fair field of combat. The grand-master, who held in his hand the gage of battle, Rebecca’s glove, now threw it into the lists, and pronounced the fatal signal words, Laissez aller. The trumpets sounded, and the knights charged each other in full career.”

The result arising out of the peculiar situation of one of the combatants toward Rebecca, was his almost immediate death: but, seeing him fall, Wilfrid assumed the rights of a victor, and “placing his foot on his breast, and the sword point to his throat, commanded him to yield or die on the spot. Bois Guilbert returned no answer.

“Slay him not, sir knight,” said the grand-master, “unshriven and unabsolved kill not body and soul. We allow him vanquished.” “This is indeed the judgment of God,” said he, looking upwards “Fiat voluntas tua!”

But Froissart records a most curious instance of the motives that were sometimes assigned for “a deed of arms” of this description.

Shortly after Henry IV. had ascended the throne of our feeble Richard II. Louis duke of Orleans sent him a letter of the following tenor.

“I Louis, by the grace of God, son and brother to the kings of France, duke of Orleans, write and make known to you, that with the aid of God and the blessed Trinity, in the desire which I have to gain renown, and which you in like manner should feel, considering idleness as the bane of lords of high birth which do not employ themselves in arms, and thinking I can no way better seek renown than by proposing to you to meet me at an appointed place, each of us accompanied with one hundred knights and esquires, of name and arms without reproach, there to combat together until one of the parties shall surrender; and he to whom God shall grant the victory, shall do with his prisoners as it may please him. We will not employ any incantations that are forbidden by the church, but make every use of the bodily strength granted us by God, having armour as may be most agreeable to every one for the security of his person, and with the usual arms; that is to say, lance, battle-axe, sword and dagger, and each to employ them as he shall think most to his advantage, without aiding himself by any bodkins, hooks, bearded darts, poisoned needles, or razors, as may be done by persons unless they be positively ordered to the contrary.”

He then states, that “under the good pleasure of our Lady and my lord St. Michael” he will wait the answer of the king at Angoulême: and concludes,

“Most potent and noble prince, let me know your will in regard to this proposal, and have the goodness to send me as speedy an answer as may be; for in all affairs of arms, the shortest determination is the best, especially for the kings of France, and great lords and princes; and as many delays may arise from business of importance, which must be attended to, as well as doubts respecting the veracity of our letters, that you may know I am resolved, with God’s help, on the accomplishment of this deed of arms, I have signed this letter with my own hand, and sealed it with my seal of arms. Written at my castle of Coucy, the 7th of August, 1402.”

Henry replied to this curious challenge, by expressing his surprise at such an invitation from a sworn friend and ally. “With regard to what you say, that we ought to accept your proposal to avoid idleness,” he adds, “it is true we are not so much employed in arms and honourable exploits as our noble predecessors have been; but the all-powerful God may, when he pleases, make us follow their steps, and we through the indulgence of his graces have not been so idle, but that we have been able to defend our honour.” He declines the meeting, at that time, principally on account of the inequality of rank between the parties, but intimates that he shall be ready to afford all proper satisfaction to his challenger on his next visit to the continent. This affair ended in a mere war of words; but the real motive of Louis was subsequently avowed by him to be the revenging on Henry what he had “done against king Richard,” the son-in-law of the king of France. “With regard to your high station,” he smartly says, “I do not think the divine virtues have placed you there. God may have dissembled with you, and have set you on a throne, like many other princes, whose reign has ended in confusion; but in consideration of my own honour I do not wish to be compared with you.”

An Inquisitio post mortem, dated in the 7th of Edward III., speaks of the tenure of the manor appertaining to the royal champion as follows: “That the manor of Scrivelsby is holden by grand sergeanty, to wit by the service of finding, on the day of coronation, an armed knight, who shall prove by his body, if need be, that the king is true and rightful heir to the kingdom.”

It is remarkable that this important document neither prescribes the absolute appearance of the lord of the manor as knight, but only that he is bound to ‘find an armed knight’ if required; nor does it describe the office as hereditary. With regard to the latter point, it would seem that possession is the entire law of the case, and we suppose the office would pass with the property by sale: with respect to the former, the honour seems to have called forth the valour of every successive lord, and princes have seldom imagined that their subjects can in such a cause overstep their duty.

Anciently, the champion rode with the royal procession from the Hall to the Abbey, and proclaimed the challenge on his way, as well as at the feast: some instances have occurred of its being repeated also in the city, as at the coronation of Henry IV. At his predecessors coronation it is remarked by Walsingham, that sir John Dimmock, being armed according to custom, came to the door of the Abbey with his attendants before the service was concluded: and that the earl marshal of the day went out to him and said, he should not have made his appearance so soon.

The fate of our recent and future champions has become of late duly regarded by law. To challenge all who should dispute the pretensions of the king is rightly enough a post of honour; to accept the challenge would always, we know, have been still more bold; but an act of parliament passed during the regency (59 Geo. III. ca.) abolishes altogether the trial and actual battle; so that the champion’s lands, after being held with manifest peril for centuries, have at last become a peaceable possession; and all dispute respecting the crown is of course as fully disposed of. It no longer rests on the valour of a single arm not even on that of a Marmion, or a Dymoke.

There was another office, that of the Lord High Steward of England, to which in former times much authority was attached. He possessed a kind of vice-regal power on the demise of the crown and until the coronation of the rightful heir, and was a governor of the kingdom immediately under the reigning monarch, so as to be able to control or remove the judicial servants of the crown, at any time. What was once the importance of this office is still indicated by the temporary guardianship of St. Edward’s crown being committed to an officer bearing this title on the day of the coronation, and his honourable place of walking immediately before the king in procession. The Earls of Leicester once enjoyed this great dignity hereditarily; through them it descended to the De Montford family, until, on the attainder of the last Earl, it was granted by Henry III. to his younger son Edmund, by whom it became transmitted to John of Gaunt, and eventually to Henry IV. while Duke of Lancaster; since which period it has been prudently suffered to merge in the crown.

The Court of Claims takes its origin from the ancient prerogatives of the Lord High Steward, who sat judicially in the Whitehall of the king’s palace, at Westminster, to receive the applications and decide upon the claims of all those who held lands on the tenure of performing some personal service at the coronation. It is a court, in fact, exercising this part of his ancient office by commission. These services had the name of magnum servitium, or grand sergeanty, as being attached to the person of the king, and involve the honour of knighthood in all cases; no person under the rank of a knight, nor a minor or female tenant, being allowed to perform them.

Numerous offices occur in the list of claims, to which our limits will not allow us to pay attention. Toward him who is “every inch a king” every sort of service is supposed to confer honour; and many comparatively trivial duties have been long connected with the more substantial rights of property. The preceding offices require no recognition of the Court of Claims for their exercise; but those which follow are to be substantiated before this tribunal at each successive coronation.

The hereditary Grand Almoner of England is an honour attached to the barony of Bedford. Its duties are to collect and distribute certain monies at the coronation from a silver dish; which the Almoner claims for his fee, together with all the cloth on which the king walks in procession from the door of the hall at Westminster to the Abbey church.

The Chief Butlership is traced by authentic records into the hands of William de Albini, who came to England with William the Conqueror, and has been exercised by some of the noblest families in the country since. It is now an hereditary right of the Duke of Norfolk as Earl of Arundel, and entitles the possessor to the best gold cup and cover, with all the vessels and wine remaining under the bar, and all the pots and cups, except those of gold and silver, which shall be in the wine cellar after dinner.

In the remote periods of our history, when the assassination of princes was practised by various arts, a faithful guardian of the royal cup might well be esteemed an acquisition to the court. A “chief butler” was one of the most ancient attendants on royalty, we know from Scripture history, and, according to the same details, was instrumental in bringing about that singular revolution in the court of Egypt, which resulted in planting the Jews there, for the accomplishment of some of the most extraordinary purposes of God. The same kind of office seems to have been held by the Jewish chieftain Nehemiah in the court of Persia, and to have given him considerable influence in accelerating the return of his countrymen from their captivity in Babylon.

The Dapifer or Sewer, who, “in his surcote, with tabard, sleeves, and a hoode about his neck, and his towell above all, served the messes,” or arranged the dishes on the table of the coronation feast of Elizabeth, Henry VII.’s queen, is an ancient worthy of the royal day, whose office has become extinct. If the dishes are not become more tractable, or the royal observation less nice, royal feasting has become, perhaps, less rare in modern times, and this kind of skill, therefore, more common.

The Grand Carver Grand Panniter, or provider of bread, and the Royal Napier, are offices that have also become extinct, while good carving and good living have been still found at the royal table; and while the Chief Cupbearer has retained his office and the possession of the manor of Great Wimondley, in Hertfordshire, as his reward.

The Chief Lardiner is also still entitled to notice, as having the care and management of the royal larder, and being duly careful of “the remainder of beef, mutton, venison, kids, lard, and other flesh; as also the fish, salt, &c. remaining in the larder,” which fall to his share of the feast. This office has been attached to the manor of Scoulton, in Norfolk, from the reign of Henry II.

Nor should we omit to notice that the Lord Mayor and Citizens of London claim a snug “seat next the cupboard, on the left side of the hall,” in virtue of their right to assist the Chief Butler in his duties at the coronation feast; or that his lordship serves the king after dinner with wine in a gold cup, having the cup and its cover for a fee. It is remarkable that the city claims a right to perform the same service, and to receive a similar fee, at the coronation of our queens: but as this escaped Her Majesty’s law officers in the late argument for her coronation, we will not suppose it had any connexion with the strong desire for that event at the Mansion House. The mayor, bailiffs, and commonalty of Oxford also claim to assist in the office of butlery, and receive the humbler reward of three maple cups.

With other presents of grout or gruel, maple cups and napkins, to the king, gentle reader, we will suppose thou hast of late been sufficiently acquainted; but the conspicuous duty of the Barons of the Cinque Ports must not pass unnoticed.

These ports claim to furnish sixteen supporters of the royal canopy, in the following proportion, i.e. Hastings, 3; Dover, 2; Hithe, 2; Rye, 2; Sandwich, 3; Rumney, 2; Winchelsea, 2. It is called in an account of the coronation of Richard I. “a silk umbraculum, borne on four lances:” but is now generally composed of cloth of gold, having a gilt silver bell at each of the four corners, which are supported by four staves of silver. The origin of this claim is involved in such remote antiquity, that a charter of Charles II. speaks of “the time of the contrary being never remembered to have been.” We have seen that a crown, ascribed to the days of King Alfred, bore a couple of bells on its sides. These accompaniments of royal and pontifical dignity, appear to be of Eastern origin; but the modern application of them is curiously contrasted with the ancient design. At the doors of the tents or houses of grandees a bell or sonorous body was generally placed, that applicants for admission might announce their desires: thus the Jewish High Priest wore bells round the lower border of his sacerdotal garments, “that his sound might be heard” on approaching the presence of God. It was clearly designed to indicate an application for the audience of a superior: but in the roar of cannon, the clatter of church bells, and the warm gratulations of such a people as received His Majesty on a late occasion, what tidings of any kind could the feeble bells of the canopy convey?

We shall notice but one other claim, that of the lord of the Isle of Man to present the king with the interesting present of two falcons on the day of his coronation. “Hawks and falcons were favourite subjects of amusement, and valuable presents in those days,” says Mr. Turner, “when the country being much over-run with wood, all species of the feathered race must have abounded. A king of Kent begged of a friend abroad two falcons of such skill and courage as to attack cranes willingly, and seizing them to throw them on the ground. An Anglo-Saxon, by his will, gives two hawks (hafocas), and all his stag-hounds (head or hundas) to his natural lord.” And similarly to this claim of the king on the lord of Man, “Ethelstan,” according to this writer, “made North Wales furnish him with as many dogs as he chose, whose scent-pursuing noses might explore the haunts and coverts of the deer; he also exacted birds ‘who knew how to hunt others along the atmosphere.’”

The Isle of Man was given in the reign of Henry IV. to the Northumberland family; on the forfeiture of that earldom Sir John Stanley became possessed of it, on the present tenure of presenting the kings of England with two falcons on the day of their coronation; and although the sovereignty was purchased from the Duke of Athol by the crown during the late king’s reign, that nobleman still holds his manorial rights by the performance of this duty.