Andelys is a town, whose antiquity is not to be questioned: it had existence in the time of the venerable Bede, by whom it is expressly mentioned, under its Latin appellation, Andilegum. The derivation of this name has afforded employment to etymologists. The syllable and enters, as it is said, into the composition of the names of sundry places, reported to be founded by Franks, and Saxons, and Germans; and therefore it is agreed that a Teutonic origin must be assigned to Andelys. But, as to the import of this same syllable, they are all of them wholly at a loss.—The history of Andelys is brief and unimportant, considering its antiquity and situation. It was captured by Louis le Gros in the war which he undertook against Henry Ist, in favour of Clito, heir of the unfortunate Duke Robert; and his son, Louis le Jeune, in 1166, burned Andelys to the ground, thus revenging the outrages committed by the Anglo-Normans in France: in 1197, it was the subject of the exchange which I have already mentioned, between Richard Coeur-de-Lion and Walter, Archbishop of Rouen; and only a few years afterwards it passed by capitulation into the possession of Philip Augustus, when the murder of Arthur of Brittany afforded the French sovereign a plausible pretext for dispossessing our worthless monarch of his Norman territory.
What Andelys wants, however, in secular interest, it makes up in sanctity. Saint Clotilda founded a very celebrated monastery here, which was afterwards destroyed by the Normans.—If we now send our ripening daughters to France, to be schooled and accomplished, the practice prevailed equally amongst our Anglo-Saxon ancestors; and we learn from Bede, that Andelys was then one of the most fashionable establishments. However, we must not forget that the fair Elfleda, and the rosy AElfgiva, were so taught in the convent, as to be fitted only for the embraces of a celestial husband—a mode of matrimony which has most fortunately become obsolete in our days of increasing knowledge and civilization.
After the destruction of the monastery by the Normans, it was never rebuilt; yet its sanctity is not wholly lost. At the behest of Clotilda, the waters of the fountain of Andelys were changed into wine for the relief of the weary labourer, and the tutelary saint is still worshipped by the faithful.
It was our good fortune to arrive at Andelys on the vigil of the festival of Saint Clotilda. The following morning, at early dawn, the tolling bell announced the returning holiday; and then we saw the procession advance, priests and acolytes bearing crosses and consecrated banners and burning tapers, followed by a joyous crowd of votaries and pilgrims. We had wished to approach the holy well; but the throng thickened around it, and we were forced to desist. We could not witness the rites, whatever they were, which were performed at the fountain; and long after they had concluded, it was still surrounded by groups