Monday, 19 July 2010

And you thought Gregorian chant was controversial now...

An event which took place in the year 1083, as told by the chronicler Roger of Hoveden:

'A disgraceful quarrel took place between the monks, and Turstin, the abbot, of Glastonbury, a man unworthy to be named, and possessed of no prudence... Among other doings, in his folly, he treated the Gregorian chant with contempt, and attempted to compel the monks to leave it off, and learn the chant of one William, of Pesehamp, and sing it; this they took to heart, because they had, both in this particular and in the other offices of the church, grown used to the practices of the Roman Church.

Upon a certain day, when they did not expect it, he rushed into the chapter-house, with an armed body of soldiers, and pursued the monks, who in their extreme terror had fled into the church, even to the altar; and there the soldiers, piercing the crosses, and images, and shrines of the Saints with darts and arrows, even went so far as to slay one monk while embracing the holy altar, who fell dead pierced with a spear: another also fell at the verge of the altar, transfixed with arrows; on which, being compelled by necessity, the monks stoutly defended themselves with the benches and candlesticks belonging to the church, and, though grievously wounded, succeeded in driving all the soldiers beyond the choir. The result was, that two of the monks were killed and fourteen wounded.'

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