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DIVINITY AND DIVINES.
OUR LADY OF CARDIGAN.
Previously to the dissolution of monasteries in England, by king Henry the Eight, there was at Cardigan, an image of the Virgin, which was much resorted to by pilgrims, even from distant parts, and produced very considerable revenues to the Church. Tradition asserted that it had been discovered swimming in the river Teivi, with a lighted wax taper in its hand; that after its removal, this taper burnt for several years. without any dimunition of its substance, but that on some persons committing perjury in swearing upon it, it was suddenly extinguished, and never burnt afterwards. Hence it became esteemed an invaluable relic, and, as such, was declared by the monks entitled to receive adoration. The dissolution of monasteries, of course
put an end to its influence: and the first information was laid against it, by Dr. William Barton, bishop of St. Davids, who at that time professed the principles of protestantism, but who a few years afterwards recanted and again became a catholic. The following is a copy of his curious letter, and of the consequent examinations respecting the tapers of the prior and vicar. In Barlow's letter he earnestly requests to have the see of his bishopric removed to Caermarthen. The year in which the letter was written is not inserted, but there is reason to it was 1537. suppose "After my right humble "commendations, the benevolent goodness ofyour lordship toward me appeareth, both by your lordships letters, and by relacion of M. "Dort, Barnes concernynge soch somes of "moneye as I am yndebted to the kynges high"nes favourably to be respited, though I cannot "in this, nor in other your manyfold benefits,
condignly make recompensation, yet, the little "that I maye to the utmost of my pore possi"bilitye, my unfayned endeavours shail not
fayle faythefully to performe. Concernynge "your lordships letres addressed for the taper "of Haverford West, ere the receyte of them, I "had done reformacion, and openly detested
the abuse thereof; all parties which before
tyme repugned, penitently reconcyled. But sythen I chaunced upon another taper of "most great credyte, and of more shameful "detestacion, called our ladies taper, of Cardi"gan, which I have sente here to your lordships, "with convenient instructyons of that develish delusyon. For when I admonished the canons "of St. Davyds, accordynge to the kynges in"structyons, in no wise to set forth feyned "reliques for to allure people to supersticyon, "neither to advance the vayne observacyons of unnecessary holy days, abrogated by the "kynges supreme authoritye, at St. Davyds daye the people wilfully solemnised the feaste: "then reliques were set forth, which I caused to "be sequestered and taken away, detayning "them in my custody until I may be advertised "of your lordship's pleasure. The parcels of the
reliques are these: two heades of sylver plate " enclosynge two rotten skulls, stuffed with pu"trified clowtes. Item, two arme bones, and a
worm eaten boke covered with sylver plate. "Of the canons showinge negligence towarde "the prefermente of Gods worde, and what un"godly disguised sermons was preached in the "cathedral church, in the feast of Innocents, "last past, they being present with an auditory "of iii or iiij hundred persons, this bearer, a
"mynister of the same church, shall forder de"clare havinge parte of the said sermone in "writinge apparente to be showed, Further"more. though I myght seeme more presump"tuous than needeth, to move any date for the "translacyon of the see from St. Davyds, to "Kermeddyn, yet my good lord, the juste equi
tye thereof, and expediente utilytie enforceth "me so to presume, consideringe that a better "deade for the commonwealth, and dew refor"macyon of this mysordered diocesse, cannot be purposed, as well for the prefuremente of Gods "worde, as for the abolyshyngs of all anti-chris"tian suspicion, aud therein the kynges supreme "majestye to be ampyfied with the universull "commodytie of his graces subjects there rese"dunte, annoyenge non with discomoditye ex"cept perchaunce four or fyve persons will sur"mise their private pleasor to be anoyed in "profytinge the commonwealth. And the cause "partlye that moveth me thus with importunitye "to be urgente in my suite, ys the over sump"tuous expences that the canons have incurred "in re-edifyenge the body of their cathedral "church, which, ere it be finished, will utterly
consume the small residue of the church trea"sure remayninge in their custodye, without "any profitable effect, savinge to nourish clat
"tering conventycles of barbarous rural persons; "the deformed habitacyons of the pore colle"gyons in such beggarly ruyne, and so wretch"edlye decayed that honestye will abhoore to "beholde them, which to remedy, pleaseth the "kynges highnes of his gracious bountye, to "grante the grey freres place at Kermeddyn, "where his most noble progenitor and grand"father lieth honorably entured, lycensynge "the see thydder to be translated, which (his graces pleasor condescendynge) may be per"formed without any chargeable difficultye. "And not only the pore collegyans, but also "the canons resydentyaries might be there pleasantly enhabited with habundant provision "of all necessary commoditye, continually havinge opportune occasion to profite the kynges subjects, whereas, at St. David's, lurk"ing in a desolate corner, they that be but munped can do veraye little good, in case they "wolde, savinge to themselves. And concernynge the frears that they neither should be
agreeved with any prejudice, I dowte not but "under the kynges hyghnes favor of such pre"ferrements as I have of his grace, sufficiently "to provyde for every one of them that shall be "founde an able mynister of Christ's church, in "competente lernynge and honest conversacyon.