Prentice Hugh by Frances Peard Page 1 of 212

There are differences of opinion as to Bishop Bitton"s share in the transforming of Exeter Cathedral, and I have followed that expressed by Archdeacon Freeman, who, after speaking of the prevalent idea that the present choir was the work of Stapledon, states that, from the evidence of the Fabric Rolls, it was done by Bitton, whose episcopate lasted from 1292 to 1307.

After noticing the facts which point to this conclusion, Archdeacon Freeman adds: "We thus establish, as I conceive, with absolute certainty, the date of the completion of the eastern half of the choir, a point entirely misconceived hitherto. To Bitton and not to Stapledon it must be ascribed. And we shall see reason presently for ascribing to him all the substantial features of the remainder, and the vaulting of the whole."

With regard to the story itself, no one can be more conscious than I am myself of the dangers inseparable from attempting to place it at so early a date, when the author is at once plunged into a very quagmire of possible anachronisms.

I can only ask the indulgence of those who, happening to cast their eyes upon these pages, detect there the errors in manners and customs which I am too conscious may exist.

It may be convenient, for the unlearned, to notice that the value of coins was about fifteen times as much as in the present day. Thus one pound equalled fifteen pounds, and one mark (or shilling) fifteen shillings. A groat contained four silver pennies, and there were two hundred and forty pennies in a silver pound.

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