Excerpt 26

Edes denique memorata uelut Dei castra fouet in Cestria, 1 uidimus momentis nostris quod utinam maneat sempiternis. Quod siquis sciolus rerum et locorum permiserit euidenter et breuiter inferre uerum, cognationem exigit porta cum patria, quod cuidam innotuit experientia propria, qui plusculum in pane contractior et constrictus a panis fuit erogatione semotus. 2 ¶Recordetur qui intelligit quod hic legit, quod scriptor honeste tangit. Illud etiam intuendum, qualiter ipsum uirginis monasterium ambiatur quatuor mansionibus alborum monacorum , 3 . qui Reginam celi profitentur dominam, 4 ad consolationem presentis exilii et requiem futuram. Nam a fronte Cumbermare et a tergo Basinwerc et a lateribus, ad euidentissimum modum crucis, competenter et pulcre distinctis spaciis a quattuor monasteriis, uelut preconum laudibus comendatur, ut almum et album sit quicquid medium inuenitur. 5 Quippe instar uitalis ligni et dominici patibuli, que ab oriente in occidentem protensa sunt, paululum longiora sunt, et que ab aquilone in austrum, iuxta transuersum crucis lignum, breuia sunt.

Excerpt 26

The monastery, like a divine fortress, keeps those in Chester warm; 1 would that it might always do so! But if someone who claims to know about facts and places allows us, on the basis of evidence and with brevity, to infer what is true - St Werburgh's gate has a natural connection with the nearby suburb. This is a fact known from personal experience by anyone who has found himself more than usually deprived of bread, who has been constrained and removed from the distribution of bread. 2 ¶He who understands what he reads here should mull over what the author has frankly said. It should also be understood how the monastery of St Werburgh is surrounded by four houses of Cistercian monks , 3 which are dedicated to our lady, the queen of heaven, 4 for the consolation and future peace of those adrift in this world. For to the front Combermere , to the back Basingwork , and to the sides, these monasteries are arranged in the shape of a cross, like the praises of heralds, suggesting that whatever is found in the middle will be bright and nourishing. 5 Certainly the east-west axis, representing the living tree and gallows on which the Lord died, is somewhat longer and the north-south axis, like the cross-bar of the cross, is shorter.

Que percipit lector, nonne perspicit habitator? Quociens recordamur, animo reparamur. Rebus ostenditur quod stilus loquitur.

Surely the inhabitant should perceive these things if the reader can? Our spirit is revived whenever we recall them. What I describe is physically evident in the city.

Excerpt 27

Iste est igitur Michael prepositus Paradisi, quem honorificant i angelorum ciues, per quem Deus uoluit glorificare Cestrenses. Et quo ante diuinitatis aspectum dignior assistit, eo dulcius in suo ministerio Cestriam complectitur et custodit. Et qui de arce celesti auctore Deo conatus impios eliminauit, ipse Cestrie inimicos propellit et extinguit. Qui etiam, prudentiores ammonens consequenter, ad austrum posuit tentorium suum ut quos ab aquilonis latere gloriosa uirgo Wereburga uictores probat, ad uerum requiem et meridianam lucem ipse perducat. ii Michael et Wereburga. Isti enim simul unius platee duo inicia sortiti, conuenientissime susceperunt asseruandas portas geminas quia semper est angelis cognata uirginitas. Hec prope portam Angeli dixisse sufficiat, ut ad ea, que secuntur, series destinata pertendat.

Excerpt 27

Such therefore is Michael, the guardian of paradise, whom the fellow citizens of the angels honour and through whom God wanted to honour the Cestrians. There he stands deservedly in the divine gaze, and may thereby more sweetly hold and guard Chester according to his office. He who on God's behalf exiled from the arc of heaven those who rebelled, drives out and destroys the enemies of Chester. Following wise advice, he placed his camp in the south so that to whoever the glorious virgin Werburgh judges victorious in the north he can provide true peace in the midday sun. Michael and Werburgh. For, assigned the two entrances to street, they together undertook the preservation of the two gates , which was very fitting because virginity is akin to being an angel. Enough has been said about St Michael's Gate and the text carries on as planned.

Quod si recapitulari breuissime quatuor ingressus portarum placet:Recapitulacio. Iohannes uigilat ab oriente ut felicitas oriatur, Petrus ab occidente ut iniquitas moriatur, Wereburga ab aquilione ut hostilitas confundatur, Michael a meridie ut eternitas conferatur. Qui et alios secum habent excellentissimos et idoneos urbis uigiles et ciuium protectores qui sufficiant et suaue ducant habitatores amplecti et fouere et ante Dei presentiam precibus comendare.Limphas Dei quo plus biberis, dulciores inuenies; hoc habet usus, crede ueteribus. Nam cum pleni sint dulcedine et sanctitate, in eternitatis fonte bibunt, quam misericorditer et benigne pupillis oporteat prouidere. Haec de quatuor portis tuis pingenda credidi, ciuitas Cestria, ut quod habet lector in litera, teneat habitator in oculis et memoria. Memor tui sit superna pietas et eterna clementia, quae me olim in primis annis aluisti et cum nequirem discernere inter opposita, 6 literis instituisti. Aucta sis Dei beneficiis et celesti misericordia, dulcis et alumpna prouincia, merearis auxilium et protectionem apud uniuersitatis Auctorem. Aperiat tibi sua uiscera, qui nostras lauit maculas in columpna sancte crucis arborea et in eius gratuleris nomine qui plenus est nectarea pietate.

But it is pleasing to recapitulate very briefly the four entry gates: Recapitulation. John watches from the east so that goodness might spring forth, Peter from the west so that wickedness might die, Werburgh from the north so that enmity might be confounded, Michael from the south so that eternal life might be earnt. Cestrians also have other suitably excellent guardians of the city and protectors of its citizens, who are fitted, and count it their delight, to cherish the inhabitants and to encourage them and promote their causes before God's presence.The more you drink the waters of God, the sweeter you will find them. This is what regular practice shows, trust the men of old! For since they are full of sweetness and sanctity, they drink from the stream of eternity, which eternity it behooves them, with tenderness of heart and benevolence of spirit, make available to their wards. I have judged these four gates worth depicting, O city of Chester, so that what the reader has in books, the inhabitant may hold in his gaze and memory. I remember your heavenly piety and continual mercy, with which you once nourished me during my first years, and when I was unable to distinguish between opposite propositions, 6 you taught me with letters. May you be honoured with divine privileges and heavenly mercy, sweet, local province, may you earn help and protection from the author of the universe. May He open to you his heart who washed away our sins on the wooden beam of the holy cross, and may you rejoice in his name, which is filled with the nectar of faith.

Apparatus Criticus

honorificant] honorifi bod Back to context...
perducat] producat ta Back to context...


Lucian alludes to the possible derivation of Cestria, the Latin name for Chester, from Latin Castra, 'camp', an etymology quoted by Bradshaw and interpreted as a reference to Chester's Roman history. Lucian christianises the etymology by making Chester a Dei castra, 'divine fortress'. Dei castra was indeed a common medieval Latin circumlocution for 'monastery' (DML castrum, 1c). Back to context...
Lucian is punning here on the near homophones, porta, 'gate' and patria, 'suburb'. His point seems to be that the inhabitants of the suburb know St Werburgh's to nourish Chester, because they can receive both literal and spiritual bread from the monastery, that is, both alms and the eucharist. When Lucian was writing, St Oswald's parish covered a large area, including the North East part of the walled city, the abbot's manor of St Thomas outside the North Gate, and other monastic estates further afield. The chief place of worship for the parishioners was the altar of St Oswald in the south nave aisle of St Werburgh's. See Lewis and Thacker 2005, 150-1. Back to context...
There is a cross-shaped diagram illustrating the location of these four monasteries in the lower margin of fol. 60v. It is reproduced as the frontispiece of Taylor 1912 Back to context...
i. e. the Virgin Mary Back to context...
Lucian is referring to Basingwork, Combermere, Stanlow and Poulton. Basingwork, Flintshire was founded in 1131 as a dependency of Savigny by Ranulf II. Combermere, another dependency of Savigny, was founded in 1133. Poulton and Stanlaw, both like Combermere in Chester, were daughter houses of Combermere founded in 1146x1158 and 1172 respectively. For further details, see Knowles and Hadcock, 1971, 110-28. Back to context...
This suggests Lucian received an education in dialectic at St John's: see DML opponere, 13. Back to context...