Page:Yorkshire Oddities, Incidents and Strange Events.djvu/331

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319
The Wooden Bell of Ripon.

pray to God daily, they might totter three-quarters of a mile up to the Minster.

Dean W——, took on himself the chaplaincy; that is, he appropriated to the stocking of his cellar the money bequeathed to the almonership of the Magdalen Hospital.

But his cellar fell low. The Dean wanted money; his credit with the wine-merchants was as low as his cellar. How was money to be raised?

One day he had the bell of the Magdalen Chapel removed from the gable in which it had hung for many centuries, and had hung silent for many years.

The bell was supposed to have gone to the founders; and the money paid for it to the wine-merchant; anyhow, soon after, a hamper of fine old crusted port arrived at the Deanery.

But Ripon people, though long-suffering, could not quite endure the "robbing of churches." Murmurs were heard; the Dean was remonstrated with. He puffed out, turning as red as a turkey-cock—

"Well, well! the bell shall go back again."

And sure enough next week the bell was seen once more hanging in the gable of St. Mary Magdalen's chapel as of yore.

The Ripon people were content. The bell was never rung, but to that they were accustomed. Who cared whether the old goodies in the hospital were ministered to or not? It was no affair of theirs if the founder's wishes were set at nought, and the walls of the Magdalen never sounded with the voice of prayer.

But next spring, as on many a former one, the swallows built their nests among the eaves, and found a place about the altar of God's deserted house, as they had done in the days of the Psalmist. When nesting-time came, some boys began climbing about the roofs in quest of eggs.