Medieval Quote Advent Calendar 6th of December

A description of Abbot Samson of Bury St Edmunds

“ABBOT SAMSON was below the average height, almost bald; his face was neither round nor oblong ; his nose was prominent and his lips thick; his eyes were clear and his glance penetrating; his hearing was excellent; his eyebrows arched, and frequently shaved; and a little cold soon made him hoarse. On the day of his election he was forty­ seven, and had been a monk for seventeen years. In his ruddy beard there were a few grey hairs, and still fewer in his black and curling hair. But in the course of the first fourteen years after his election all his hair became white as snow.

He was an exceedingly temperate man ; he possessed great energy and a strong constitution, and was fond both of riding and walking, until old age prevailed upon him and moderated his ardour in these respects. When he heard the news of the capture of the cross and the fall of Jerusalem, he began to wear under garments made of horse hair, and a horse­ hair shirt, and gave up the use of flesh and meat. None the less, he willed that flesh should be placed before him as he sat at table, that the alms might be increased. He ate sweet milk, honey, and similar sweet things, far more readily than any other food.

He hated liars, drunkards, and talkative persons; for virtue ever loves itself and spurns that which is contrary to it. He blamed those who grumbled about their meat and drink, and especially monks who so grumbled, and personally kept to the same manners which he had observed when he was a cloistered monk. Moreover, he had this virtue in himself that he never desired to change the dish which was placed before him. When I was a novice, I wished to prove whether this was really true, and as I happened to serve in the refectory, I thought to place before him food which would have offended any other man, in a very dirty and broken dish. But when he saw this, he was as it were blind to it. Then, as there was some delay, I repented of what I had done, and straightway seized the dish, changed the food and dish for better, and carried it to him. He, however, was angry at the change, and disturbed.

He was an eloquent man, speaking both French and Latin, but rather careful of the good sense of that which he had to say than of the style of his words. He could read books written in English very well, and was wont to preach to the people in English, but in the dialect of Norfolk where he was born and bred. It was for this reason that he ordered a pulpit to be placed in the church, for the sake of those who heard him and for purposes of ornament.”

 

From the Chronicle of the Abbey of St Edmund’s http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/jocelin.asp

Advent Calendar of Medieval Quotes 4th of December

A description from Roger of Hoveden of the demise of The White Ship in 1120.

“To his son and all his retinue he [Henry I] had given a ship, a better one than which there did not seem to be in all the fleet, but as the event proved, there was not one more unfortunate ; for while his father preceded him, the son followed somewhat more tardily, but with a still more unhappy result. For the ship, when not far from land, while in full sail, was driven upon the rocks which are called Chaterase, and being wrecked, the king’s son, with all who were with him, perished on the sixth day before the calends of December, being the fifth day of the week, at nightfall, near Barbeflet. In the morning, the king’s treasures which were on board the ship, were found on the sands, but none of the bodies of those lost.There perished with the king’s son, his illegitimate brother, earl Eichard, together with the king’s daughter, the wife of Rotrou ; Richard, earl of Chester, with his wife, the king’s niece, and sister of earl Tedbald, the king’s nephew. There also perished Othoel, the governor of the king’s son, Geoffrey Riddell, Robert Maldint, William Bigot, and many other men of rank ; also several noble women with no small number of the king’s children ; besides one hundred and forty soldiers, with fifty sailors and three pilots. A certain butcher was the only person who made his escape, by clinging to a plank of the wrecked vessel. The king having had a fair voyage, on reaching England, thought that his son had entered some other port ; but on the third day he was afflicted with the sad tidings of his death, and at first, from the suddenness of the calamity, fainted away, as though a person of weak mind; but afterwards,concealing his grief, in contempt of fortune he resumed his kingly spirits. For this son being the only one left him by lawful wedlock, he had named him heir to the kingdom in succession to himself.”

From: The Annals of Roger of Hoveden Volume I pgs 213-214

https://archive.org/details/annalsofrogerde01hove