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Description of King's Cliffe.
pointed. The 'Cross Keys,' where Byrom used to lie when he came to drink in wisdom at the fountain head is still the chief inn; and though it has slightly modernised its exterior, it is still substantially the same old house which we connect with Law's quaint and gentle disciple. The parish church, at every service in which, week-day and Sunday, Law was a constant attendant, is the same externally as it was in his day, though internally it has succumbed to the modern spirit of restoration. There is a new rectory, a few new houses, and a handsome new school, very different from the humble and now venerable little schoolhouse, still standing but disused, which owed its existence to the munificence of the good people whose lives we are about to trace. But, happily, “Mr. Law's house by the Church ’is still unaltered, and still occupied by one who bears the honoured name of Law. This, historically and æstheti. cally, as well as through its associations with the English Mystic,' is by far the most interesting object in King's Cliffe. It stands in an open space called the 'Hall Yard,' and is partly on the site of what was once a royal residence. Several monarchs lodged for a while at their ‘Manor House at Clive' when they came to hunt in the neighbouring Forest of Rockingham, or when they made their royal progresses through the country. King John probably rebuilt the house, for it went by the name of King John's palace.' 'I hope,' wrote Law to Byrom in 1751, ‘you will make King John's house, not the Cross Keys, your inn.' The front part of the house has the date ‘1603' over the door, but the back part is much older. The garden and the little close of pasture stand just as they were in the days of Law, and there still remains the little wooden bridge over the brook (a tributary of the Nene) which Law crossed almost every day of his life when he went to visit his favourite schools and alms-houses. These, too, stand just as Law
Traces of Law at King's Cliffe.
left them, and, though plain and unpretentious, have a picturesque and venerable appearance. In one corner of the garden of the manor house, stands a fine oak grown from an acorn planted by Mrs. Hutcheson immediately after her settlement at Cliffe in 1744. In the main street of the village there still stands the house which Law's father built and where he earned an honourable living as a grocer and chandler,.but it is no longer used as a shop. You may still meet in the streets of Cliffe boys and girls dressed in the quaint but not unbecoming costume of the charity, through which Law,' being dead yet speaketh.'' In fact, King's Cliffe is the only one of the places connected with any of the great revivers of practical religion in the eighteenth century which still retains many traces of those who made their names famous. Epworth has not much left in it to remind one of the Wesleys, nor Olney of Cowper and Newton and Scott, nor Haworth of Grimshaw, nor Everton of Berridge, nor Madeley of Fletcher, but King's Cliffe reminds one of Law at every step; and it may be added that those who may be so fortunate as to gain access will find in more than one of the houses at Cliffe still more interesting memorials of the departed saint.
It is not necessary to transcribe here information about King's Cliffe which may be found in a directory. I shall therefore only add that the whole valley, on an acclivity of which Cliffe (hence the name) lies, formerly belonged to the Forest of Rockingham, and that one of the walks of that forest is called Morehay. There, in an interesting old house still standing, lived William Law's eldest brother, George, who was a sort of ranger or bailiff for the Earl of
Since this sentence was written, the old dress has, alas ! been improved cff the face of creation. It is no part of the present work to discuss the arrangement of the schools ; but I may remark, as a matter of fact, that any education, not based on distinctively Church principles, would have been utterly abhorrent to the feelings of William Law.
Law and Hutcheson's Charities.
Westmoreland. Enough, it is hoped, has now been told to enable the reader to realise what sort of a place it was in which Law was born and bred and where he passed the last twenty years of his life.
In the year 1744 this curious family circle was settled in the Hall Yard, and no time was lost by them in carrying out their benevolent designs. It has been already mentioned that William Law had, seventeen years previously, founded a school for the education and full clothing of fourteen poor girls. In 1745, Mrs. Hutcheson founded a similar school for eighteen boys, and in 1756 increased the number to twenty, and directed that every boy who should have stayed out his full time in the school, with good behaviour, should be put to some trade. She then bought a school-house for the master, and built a school and four small tenements adjoining it for the separate habitation of four ancient and poor widows, chosen out of the Town of King's Cliffe.' William Law also built a school-house and school, and also two small 'tenements adjoining to the school, to be inhabited separately by two ancient maidens or widows of the Town of King's Cliffe.' The widows'in Mrs. Hutcheson's alms-houses, and the 'ancient maidens or widows' in Mr. Law's are to have two shillings and sixpence paid them on every Saturday throughout the year, and ten shillings to each of them every Lady-day to help them to firing.'
It would be wearisome to the general reader if all the laws of these excellent charities were here inserted. It will suffice to mention two or three which are most characteristic of W. Law's spirit and intention. With regard to the *widows and ancient maidens' it is provided that 'none are to be looked upon as qualified to be chosen merely because they are old and poor, but only such old and pour women as are of good report for their sobriety, industry, 228 Regard for Virtue and Religion in the Charities.
and Christian behaviour in their several stations. The want of these virtuous qualifications is not to be dispensed with ; it being our desire and intention by these provisions to reward the virtue and merit of such ancient women, and prevent their falling to the straitness of a parish allowance in the time of their age and infirmities. If, therefore, in any after times any ancient women of ill manners, of unchristian behaviour, who have had the character of idle, gossiping, or slothful persons should be nominated, such disregard of virtuous qualifications would be as great a violation of the nature and design of these charities, as if young women, or persons of another parish, were chosen in them.' The same strict regard for virtue and religion is shown in the case of the schools :— If a master or mistress be not of a perfectly sober, decent, and Christian behaviour, and of good example to the children, the trustees are earnestly requested not to suffer the continuance of such a master or mistress, a more pious and virtuous education of the children than that of a common school being the one great end chiefly intended by these foundations.' And as an indication of the particular form of Christianity in which W. Law desired the children to be trained, and the ancient maidens and widows to be cherished, the following provisions may be quoted :— The Rector of King's Cliffe for the time being is always to be a trustee. As soon as he is inducted into the living of King's Cliffe, and enters upon his first residence, he has a right to claim admission into the trust. No other person of King's Cliffe is ever to be a trustee ; be he who he will, or of what degree soever, he is utterly incapable of being admitted or chosen into any share of this trust. The Trustees are always ‘to be chosen out of the neighbouring gentry and clergy not more than four miles distant from King's Cliffe. Every boy and girl at their going out of the school are to have a new
*Rules to be observed by Girls.'
Bible, and Book of Common Prayer distinct from it, given to them. The holidays are to be only at the times of the three great Church festivals—Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide— but in harvest time the children are allowed to glean in the fields for their parents, after having said each of them one lesson early in the morning. "The master at his first entrance into the school in the morning is to pray with the children, and again at 12 o'clock, except on those days when they go to church, and again at their breaking up in the evening.'
The other provisions are mostly of a business nature, sensible, but not generally interesting ; but the above extracts are quoted to show that what Law most of all desired was that the children should be so trained that they might grow up to be good Christians, and good churchmen and churchwomen. When Law became a mystic he did not cease to be a churchman.
These points are more strikingly brought out in the following 'Rules to be observed by girls,' which were evidently drawn up by Mr. Law himself, and which are so interesting in their touching simplicity, that I trust there is no need to apologise for quoting from them at some length. After some excellent injunctions about teaching the girls to pray, to behave courteously, to learn certain lessons, &c., they provide :
(7) Every girl, as soon as she can say the whole catechism in a ready manner shall have a shilling given her, before them all, with commendation and exhortation to go on in her duty.
(8) Every girl shall have sixpence given her, as soon as she can say by heart the morning and evening prayer.
(9) Every one that shall get by heart the 5th, 6th, 7th, 18th, or 25th chapters of S. Matthew, or the 6th or 7th of S. Luke, or the. 18th or 19th of S. John; or the 15th