Page:Notes on the churches in the counties of Kent, Sussex, and Surrey.djvu/23

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xiii
PREFACE.

libros rescribendi. Tune illi unianimiter omnes deuota mente consenserunt ut alii libri rescriberentur, eodem modo quo et priores scripti erant, in quantum eos memoriter recordari potuissent." (Cod. Dipl. V, 154.) Again, of a subsequent charter, A.D. 909, the subject is the importance of written records, and the necessity of maintaining a succession of them in sound condition. (Ut sup. 168.)

Many probably will be surprised to hear of paintings in Saxon times; but Bede tells us expressly of such things. As he calls them indifferently not merely "picturas," but "imagines," he may possibly be describing sculpture; though the situation, in which they were placed, "ecclesiam in gyro coronaret," makes me consider them to have been rather paintings on the interior walls, than carvings inserted in the exterior. The subjects were, in one church the history of our Lord: in the other proofs of the harmony between the Old and New Testaments; for instance, Isaac bearing the wood, and in an adjoining compartment the Lord carrying the cross; again, the serpent, which Moses lifted up in the wilderness, and the Son of man exalted on the cross. "Dominicæ historiæ picturas, quibus totam Dei genetricis ecclesiam in gyro coronaret ; imagines quoque ad ornandum monasterium ecclesiamque beati Pauli apostoli de concordia veteris et novi Testamenti summa ratione compositas exhibuit: verbi gratia, Isaac ligna quibus immolaretur portantem, et Dominum crucem in qua pateretur æque portantem, proxima super invicem regione, pictura conjunxit. Item serpenti in heremo a Moyse exaltato, Filium hominis in cruce exaltatum comparavit." (Bede, 323, Oxford, 1846.)

The researches, required by this undertaking, have shown, that, as the sequel will render evident, an immense number of churches and chapels have been desecrated and destroyed. We may flatter ourselves, that we live in a church-building age; and so, happily, we do, compared to a preceding period. Still in that respect we come far behind the zeal and munificence of our ancestors. It will be observed, that the work of destruction has been carried on in all the three counties, though, as might be anticipated, most extensively in the two largest, namely, Kent and Sussex. Many however of the demolished churches were situated near the mansions of the resident nobility or gentry; and I am disposed to conjecture, that these small, distinct ecclesiastical structures might, in some instances, if not generally,