The Foundation of the Chapel of Walsingham


STC 25001
Ringler 25001; Brown and Robbins 2664.5 ("Of this chapell..."). Rpt. Huth, _Fugitive Tracts_, no. 2. No MS. extant (Brown and Robbins). Sig. A1 wanting

[Of this chapell se here the fundacyon]
London: Richard Pynson,[1496?].

Composition Date: 1496?.

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The first leaf is missing and the extent of any lost text is unclear. The following quatrain, placed at the top of the second leaf, appears to stand alone as a header to the main body of text, but may be the tail end of a longer prefatory statement.
¶Of this chapell se here the fundacyon
Bylded the yere of crystes incarnacyon
A thousande complete syxty and one
The tyme of sent edward kyng of this region
BEholde and se ye goostly folkes all
Which to this place haue deuocyon
Whan ye to our lady askynge socoure call
Desyrynge here hir helpe in your trybulacyon
5 Of this hir chapell ye may se the fundacyon
If ye wyll this table ouerse and rede
Howe by myracle it was founded in-dede

A noble wydowe somtyme lady of this towne
Called Rychold in lyuynge full vertuous
10 Desyred of oure lady a petycyowne
Hir to honoure with some werke bountyous
This blyssed virgyn and lady most gracyous
Graunted hir petycyon as I shall after tell
Unto hir worshyp to edefye this chapell

15 In spyryte our lady to Nazareth hir led.
And shewed hir the place where gabryel hir grette
Lo doughter consyder to hir oure lady sayde
Of thys place take thou suerly the mette mette= 'measure'; see OED s.v. met n1
Another lyke thys at walsyngham thou sette
20 Unto my laude and synguler honoure
All that me seche there shall fynde socoure

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Where shall be hadde in a memoryall
The great Ioy of my salutacyon
Fyrste of my ioyes grounde and orygynall
25 Rote of mankyndes gracyous redempcyon
Whan gabryell gaue to me relacyon
To be a moder through humylyte
And goddys sonne conceyue in virgynyte

This visyon shewed thryse to this deuout woman
30 In mynde well she marked both length and brede
She was full gladde and thanked oure lady than
Of hir great grace neuer destytute in nede
This forsayd hous in haste she thought to spede
Called to hir artyfycers full wyse
35 This chapell to forge as our lady dyd deuyse

All this a medewe wete with dropes celestyall
And with syluer dewe sent from hye adowne
Excepte tho tweyne places chosen aboue all
Where neyther moyster ne dewe myght be fowne
40 This was the fyrste pronostycacyowne
Howe this our newe Nazareth here shold stande
Bylded lyke the fyrste in the holy-lande

Whan it was al fourmed than had she great doute
Where it shold be sette and in what maner place
45 In-as-moche as tweyne places were founde oute
Tokened with myracle of our ladyes grace
That is to say tweyne quadrates of egall space
As the flees of Gedeon in the wete beynge drye
Assygned by myracle of holy mayde marye.

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50 The wydowe thought it most lykly of congruence
This house on the fyrste soyle to bylde and arere
Of this who lyste to haue experyence
A chapell of saynt laurence standeth nowe there
Faste by tweyne wellys experyence doth thus lere
55 There she thought to haue set this chapell
Which was begonne by our ladyes counsell

The carpenters began to set the fundamente
This heuenly house to arere vp on hye
But sone their werkes shewed inconuenyente
60 For no pece with oder wolde agre with geometrye
Than were they all sory and full of agonye
That they coud nat ken neyther mesure ne marke
To ioyne togyder their owne proper werke.

They went to reste and layde all-thynge on syde
65 As they on their maystresse had a commaundement
She thought our lady that fyrste was hir gyde
Wold conuey this worke aftyr hir owne entent
Hir meyny to reste as for that nyght she sente
And prayed our lady with deuoute exclamacyon
70 As she had begonne to perfourme that habytacion

All nyghte the wydowe permanynge in this prayer
Oure blyssed lady with heuenly mynystrys
Hir-sylfe beynge here chyef artyfycer
Areryd this sayd house with aungellys ha[n]dys
75 And nat only reryd it but set it there it is
That is two hundred fote and more in dystaunce
From the fyrste place bokes make remembraunce

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Erly whan the artyfycers cam to their trauayle
Of this sayd chapell to haue made an ende
80 They founde eche parte conioyned saunsfayle
Better than they coude conceyue it in mynde
Thus eche man home agayne dyd wynde
And this holy matrone thanked oure lady
Of hir great grace shewyd here specyally

85 And syth here our lady hath shewyd many myracle.
Innumerable nowe here for to expresse
To suche as visyte thys hir habytacle
Euer lyke newe to them that call hir in dystresse
Foure hundreth yere & more the cronacle to witnes
90 Hath endured this notable pylgrymage
Where grace is dayly shewyd to men of euery age

Many seke ben here cured by our ladyes myghte
Dede agayne reuyued of this is no dought
Lame made hole and blynde restored to syghte
95 Maryners vexed with tempest safe to porte brought
Defe / wounded & lunatyke that hyder haue sought
And also lepers here recouered haue be
By oure ladyes grace of their infyrmyte

Folke that of fendys haue had acombraunce
100 And of wycked spyrytes also moche vexacyon
Haue here be delyuered from euery such chaunce
And soules greatly vexed with gostely temptacion
Lo here the chyef solace agaynst all tribulacyon
To all that be seke bodely or goostly
105 Callynge to oure lady deuoutly.

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Therfore euery pylgryme gyue your attendaunce
Our lady here to serue with humble affeccyon.
Your-sylfe ye applye to do hir plesaunce
Remembrynge the great ioye of hir Annunciacion
110 Therwyth conceyuynge this bryef compylacyon
Though it halte in meter and eloquence
It is here wryten to do hyr reuerence

All lettred that wyll haue more intellygence
Of the fundacyon of this chapell here
115 If ye wyll aske kokes shall you encence "kokes" is perhaps the proper name Cox or Cockes; encence =insense, "instruct"
More clerely to vnderstande this forsayd matere
To you shall declare the cronyclere
All cyrcumstaunce by a noble processe
Howe olde cronyclers of thys bere wytnesse

120 O englonde great cause thou haste glad for to be
Compared to the londe of promyssyon
Thou atteynest my grace to stande in that degre
Through this gloryous ladyes supportacyon.
To be called in euery realme and regyon
125 The holy lande our ladyes dowre
Thus arte thou named of olde antyquyte

And this is the cause as it apereth by lyklynesse
In the is belded newe nazareth a mancyon
To the honoure of the heuenly empresse
130 And of hir moste gloryous salutacyon
Chyef pryncypyll and grounde of oure saluacyon.
Whan gabrye[l]l sayd at olde nazareth Aue gabryell] gabryesl 1496
This ioy here dayly remembred for to be

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O gracyous lady glory of Ierusalem
135 Cypresse of syon and ioye of Israel
Rose of Ieryco and sterre of Bethleem
O gloryous lady our askynge nat repell
In mercy all wymen euer thou doste excell
Therfore blissed lady graunt thou thy great grace
140 To all that the deuoutly visyte in this place.