Page images

of "The Alum Well." Tradition has not left anything on record respecting its virtues, nor do I know where it is located.—Ibid.

STOWE (LICHFIELD): st. Chad's well.

"Leland, in his Itinerary, says: 'Stowe Church, in the easte end of the towne, where is St. Chadd's Well, a spring of pure water, where is seen a stone in the bottom of it, on the whiche, some say, St. Chadd was wont, naked, to stand in the water and praye. At this stone St. Chad had his oratory in the tyme of Wulphar, King of the Merches.' The superstitious custom of adorning this well with boughs, and of reading the Gospel for the day, at this and at other wells and pumps, is yet observed in this city on Ascension Day."-Harwood's History of Lichfield, p. 509 (published 1806).

This custom is still continued in Lichfield

(see Shropshire Folk-lore, s.v. "Ascensiontide," pp. 348, 349, on "Traces of Well Worship"), but the procession only goes round the boundaries of the Close as there described, and does not go out to Stowe and St. Chad's Well. I can hear of no current superstition, custom, or tradition about the well.—C. S. B.

It is popularly believed that it is dangerous to drink of the water of St. Chad's Well, as it is sure to give a fit of the "shakes." Yet, in spite of the attendant's remonstrances, I took a good draught, and, instead of ague, experienced only great refreshment in a fatiguing walk on a sultry day.-Rev. C. F R. Palmer.


Great and Little Chatwell are two tiny hamlets in the (civil) parish of Gnosall, Staffordshire. At Little Chatwell is a well called St. Chad's, approached by old stone steps, the water of which is of very good quality and highly thought of for tea-making. At Great Chatwell is a bit of old sandstone wall with a fragment of a window, the remains of a chapel.

The lady who lives at St. Chatwell House, and whose father lived there before her (whether previous generations owned it I don't know) says that "according to tradition the well was consecrated by St. Chad," but how she got this tradition I don't know, or

whether it is more than the supposition of her own family.

The late owner of Little Chatwell (Mr. J. H. Adams, who had a great love of antiquities) called his house Chadwell Court. The name Chatwell (pronounced Chattle) is said to have formerly been Chadwell, but I don't know of anyone who has seen any old deed in which it was so spelt. Not that I doubt the etymology.-C. S. Burne.


There was a well of St. Rufinus at Tamworth, on the Warwickshire side of the town, mentioned in the Hundred Rolls, temp. Edward I. It was almost entirely destroyed by fire, June 15, 1559, and the restoration was very slow, occupying more than forty years. It is possible, the well having fallen into discredit, it was at this period finally destroyed and the road to it blocked up. Certain it is that the well is never mentioned after this period, and there has not been any public well in existence for 300 years, as far as any deed records.


down to the water.

"This well is situated at the furthest extremity of our parish (Adbaston). There are two cottages one mile from Ellerton; the well is in the garden of one of them. It is in first-rate condition, the water clear as crystal, surrounded by large stones, with steps The cottages are built in Elizabethan style, though the stone has been replaced by bricks in a recent reparation. It is said that King Charles I., when staying at Chetwynd Park on the way to Market Drayton, one day drank of this well; also that King Charles II. changed his clothes in one of these very cottages for a countryman's smock and clogs."*-Eldon Butler. Adbaston Vicarage, August 19, 1890.

* Charles II. did not come so far north in the flight from Worcester: the story probably refers to some other fugitive from the battle. The Duke of Buckingham, Earl of Derby, and others fled in this direction, and several of them were concealed in the neighbourhood for some time.-C. S. B.

Peterborough Gentlemen's



HERE was founded at Peterborough in the first half of last century, twenty years before the Society of

Antiquaries received its charter of incorporation, a local archæological society under the title of the "Peterborough Gentlemen's Society." This association, which exists to the present day, and of whose origin and work so little has hitherto been known, may fairly claim to be the parent of all those numerous local antiquarian societies that now abound in Great Britain and Ireland. Some account of their early proceedings cannot fail, therefore, to be of interest to modern antiquaries, particularly as the society dealt with various details in Peterborough and the district, many of which have since disappeared.

The Gentlemen's Society in Peterborough was founded on August 26, 1730. The first volume of minutes, extending from that date to March 2, 1742-43, was presented to the Chapter Library of Peterborough by Rev. H. Freeman, Rector of Folksworth, in December 1853. A rule was made on June 25, 1740, that, if the society should ever be dissolved, the books, papers, prints, medals, and other curiosities shall be reposited in the Library of the Dean and Chapter of the cathedral church, and shall not be divided among any or all of the members of the said society. From the first volume of the minutes we take the following notes:

"1730, September 2.-Maurice Johnson,

Esq., of Spalding, made an honorary member.

"October 7.-Thomas Marshall, rector of St. John's, reads an historical account of his church of St. John's, first erected by Abbot Torrold, 1078. A list of rectors given, and names added up to 1786. "October 14.-In the Chapel at Long Thorp (which is an hamlet belonging to the parish of St. John the Baptist, in Peterborough), is the following inscription engraved on a copper plate

and fastened into a stone of the pave-
ment just at the entrance into the
Chancel which shows the time of the
Consecration (or rather the reconsecra-
tion) of the said Chapel, together with
the reason of it; for 'tis probable that
it had been long before that an Oratory
or Chapel, erected in popish times to
say Mass, and for the Soul of some
deceased person. The Inscription runs

Cúm refectum et Deo, cæmiterij gratiâ.
Sacratum hoc fuit Sacellum Anno Domini
1683. hoc primum auxilianti manu posuit
Saxum Gulielmus filius natu maximus
Georgij Leafield Armigeri, sub quo eodem
Saxo a Dedicatione Ipse primus corpore tenui
Sepultus erat, Decris 21, 1685 ætat 8vo.

"1730-31, February 3.-Mr. Marshall communicated to the Society the following inscription from two ancient pieces of stone work, fixed into that part of the West front of the Bishop's Palace in Peterborough, which stands nearest the Cathedral Church. They are carved in large projecting letters upon two separate stones cut in the form of an Escutcheon, and then put (as it were) into a square frame of stone with scroll work round it. The letters seem to make up this short pious sentence: Laudetur Dominus, except some should choose rather to read it: Laus detur Domino. (The sense in both cases the same.) The stone which has the in


scription Laudetur or Laus detur upon it stood originally the first, i.e., nearest the Cathedral Church, at about 12 or 18 feet distance from the other till about


up in the common fields of Eye in this County which was formerly part of the great forest of Arundel, as also the head of a Roman javelin used in hunting the wild boar found in the same place. June 9, 1731, order to present one of these to our Sister Society at Spalding. "November 17.-Dr. Stukely, Rector of All Saints', Stamford, proposed as an honourable member, and admitted on December 1.

"1732, June 14.-Rev. Mr. Snell sends description of the four urns found at

March, one of which he presented with the burnt bones in it to the Society. "1732, July 5.-Rev. Mr. Neve submits Chronological Series of Abbots and Bishops of Peterborough.

[ocr errors]

"September 20.-Presented to Society a

piece of the left horn of a stag found in a place called Slipe river, 5 feet underground, between Low Burrow Fen and Burrough Great Fen, September 11, 1732.

"November 8.-Secretary proposes that as time of evening prayers at the Cathedral is altered from 4 to 3, meetings of Society commence for winter season immediately after prayers.

1733, February 14.-Communicated to the Society by the Secretary a fair MS. of the Charters of the Priory of Bishmede, in Bedfordshire, now in the Custody of William Gery, Esq.

four months ago, the present Bishop Dr. Robert Clavering) making very considerable alterations in his palace, had some part of the west front (which extended most to the northward and was very ruinous) entirely taken down. In this demolished part stood the first stone which the ignorant workmen, not knowing it had any relation to the second, removed to another place, and set it up (without the square frame) over the grand arch of the Piazza. The second stone remains where it was first put up whole and entire with its square frame.

"February 10.-Notice of four Roman

urns dug up at March in beginning of November last by labourers in making the New Road from March to Wisbeach -four urns in all; in three were burnt bones, ashes, etc., and in fourth upwards of 400 Roman Denarii; the whole dated between the time of Augustus Triumvirate and the Emperor Commodus; intrinsic weight of each about 7d. or 7 d. sterling; the largest share in hands. of Rev. Mr. Snell, of Doddington, in whose parish they were found; he has two of the urns and a fragment of the third; that which contained the money is in possession of Mr. George Smith, of March. "1731-2, March 15.-Silver seal, English,

found at Peterborough in February, 1731-2, by a labourer as he was digging up the rubbish of an old wall on the South Side of the Bishop's palace, having been formerly part of the old abbey. The seal itself is of silver, not the least bruised or defaced, and weighed about 3s. 2d. sterling. It is now in the possession of the Right Rev. Father in God Robert, Lord Bishop of Peterborough, being his Lordship's property as being found within his Lordship's demesnes. Seal within a cusped circle, the modern arms of Hereford on a sheld with SOVCHE EST CANTO


"1731, April 21.-Mr. White Kennet, Prebendary, presented to the Society five pieces of cast brass, supposed to be used by the ancient Romans in setting their Toils when they went an hunting, dug

"1733, May 19.-The Secretary gave an

account of a curious tesselated pavement discovered last week in Castor Churchyard by the sexton digging a grave for a poor woman. The squares were very small and of different colours and so intermixed as to form larger squares of more than a foot which run through the whole work. When washed and cleaned the colours appeared exceeding bright, but the whole pavement. was so strongly cemented together that the sexton could get up no one piece of it without defacing it, and the coffin was afterwards layd upon it. I enquired then for some medalls or what they call Dormans, but as they were formerly found there in very great plenty, they are now but seldome to be met with.

"Castor was undoubtedly a Roman station, and, according to the best conjectures of the most learned Antiquaries was the Durobriva of Antoninus. It was certainly, as appears by the ruines, a city of large extent, and reached not only from the top of the Hill above the town, but down mill field and along the meadow by the river-side, where it was joyned by a large stone bridge to the camp on the other side at Chesterton, in Huntingdonshire. The Erming street or great portway northwards lay through it. "May 23.-Mr. John Clement communicated to the Society his collection of several remarkable epitaphs, ancient and modern, at the Minster Church and Churchyard of this city, not taken notice of by Gunton, Willis (B.), etc.

(To be continued.)

Books in Chains.*

ONG before the days of printing, the custom of fastening books to their shelves or to desks with chains was common throughout all Europe. This was done not only for the purpose of securing them from theft, but, as Mr. Blades points out, as a natural way of securing them for general use, so that one student should not be favoured above another by the loan of the volume from an indulgent librarian or custodian. The habit of chaining books in churches for the general use of the people was not an invention of the time of the Reformation, but existed long before that epoch, as can be abundantly proved; but the custom became much extended at that time owing to the respective injunctions about the Bible, Erasmus' Paraphrase, Jewell's Apology, and Foxe's Book of Martyrs.


The various libraries of our Universities seein to have been universally chained. late as 1748, the Foreigner's Companion through the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford notices the inconvenience of chain

Books in Chains (being Nos. 2-5 of Biographical Miscellanies), by William Blades. Blades, East, and Blades; royal 8vo., illustrated.

ing books, and about this time their abolition began, so that by the end of the century very few chained collections remained. At King's College a man was paid £1 75., in 1777, for nine days' labour in taking the fetters off the volumes. There are, however, a few chained libraries still remaining in England. The largest of these is at the cathedral church of Hereford, and is the one genuine survival of an old monastic library. consists of about 2,000 volumes, of which about 1,500 are chained. There are five complete bookcases, and the remains of two others. Each bookcase (of one of which we are enabled to give an engraving) is 9 feet 8 inches long, 8 feet high, and 2 feet 2 inches wide.


The catalogue, which is also chained, classifies the books, many of which are in manuscript, in eight divisions. Each chain is from three to four feet long, according to its position, so that every volume can be placed on the reading desk. In the centre of the chains are swivels, which are useful in preventing their entanglement. Among the rules of the library of King's College, Cambridge, in 1683, was this: "For the rendering his business about the library more easy, each person that makes use of any books in the said library is required to set them up again decently, without entangling the chains."

Hereford is also fortunate in possessing the latest as well as the oldest collection of chained books in the kingdom. In the vestry of All Saints' Church in that city is a library of 285 volumes, occupying three shelves along two sides of the vestry, all chained, which were bequeathed to the parish as late as 1715. Twenty years ago, the vestry, to their shame be it spoken, sold the whole lot, chains and all, to a second-hand bookseller for £100. They were packed up and taken to London, but fortunately the Dean of Windsor rescued them and brought about their restoration just before they were shipped to America.

At Grantham Church, in the room over the south porch, which was formerly used as a chapel, is a collection of 268 books, of which seventy-four have the chains still attached to them; the collection was presented in 1598.

At Wimborne Minster is another most interesting chained library in the chamber

[merged small][merged small][graphic][subsumed][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »