« PreviousContinue »
COUNTY OF DEVON (continued).
Cey Blessed Mary.
Northbokelond. Slapton. Northmolton.
8. Whitestone in Woneford Hundred.
Plympton Hundred and
Cey Blessed Mary Hundred.
14d. Goods remaining in the Custody of the
Holy Wells: their Legends and Superstitions.
BY R. C. HOPE, F.S.A., F.R.S.L.
(Continued from p. 269, vol. x.)
HIS spring is in Boughton Field, near Brampton Bridge, near the Kingsthorpe Road; it is of great note with the common people. It never runs but in mighty gluts of wet, and whenever it does so, it is thought ominous by the country people, who consider these breakings out of the spring to foretell dearth, the death of some great person, or very troublesome times.-Morton, 230.
BARNWELL: SEVEN WELLS.
Near the village are seven wells, in which during the ages of superstition it was usual to dip weakly infants, called berns. From whatever cause this custom was originally adopted, in the course of time some presiding angel was supposed to communicate hidden virtues to the water; and mystical and puerile rites were performed at these springs denominated fontes puerorum. A dark devotion was then paid to wells, which became a continual resort of persons, productive of great disorder, so that such pilgrimages were strictly prohibited by the clergy. An inhibition of this kind appears among other injunctions of Oliver Sutton, Bishop of Lincoln, about the year 1290.-Britton's H. of Northants, p. 209.
OUNDLE: DRUMMING WELL.
Baxter, in his World of Spirits, p. 157, says: "When I was a schoolboy at Oundle, in Northamptonshire, about the Scots' coming into England, I heard a well, in one Dob's yard, drum like any drum beating a march. Í heard it at a distance: then I went and put my head into the mouth of the well, and heard it distinctly, and nobody in the well. It lasted several days and nights, so as all the country people came to hear it. And so it drummed on several changes of times.
When King Charles II. died I went to the Oundle carrier at the Ram Inn, in Smithfield, who told me their well had drummed, and many people came to hear it. And I heard it drummed once since."- Brand's Pop. Ant., ii. 369.
NEWCASTLE: RAG WELL.
There is a well here known by the above name, formerly much frequented. The bushes around it were at one time literally covered with rags and tattered pieces of cloth.
BENTON RAG WELL.
Brand states: "I have frequently observed shreds or bits of rag upon the bushes that overhang a well in the road to Benton, a village in the vicinity of Newcastle-on-Tyne, which from that circumstance is now, or was very lately, called the rag well. This name is undoubtedly of long standing. Probably it has been visited for some disease or other, and these rag offerings are the reliques of the then prevailing popular superstition. It is not far from another holy spring at Jesmond." -H. of Newcastle-on-Tyne, i. 339.
JESMOND: ST. MARY'S WELL.
There is a holy well here, said to have as many steps to it as there are articles in the creed. It was recently enclosed for a bathing place, which was no sooner done than the water left it. The well was always esteemed of more sanctity than common wells, and therefore the failing of the water could be looked upon as nothing less than a just revenge for so great a profanation. But, alas! the miracle's at an end, for the water returned a while ago in as great abundance as ever. Pilgrimages to this well and chapel at Jesmond were so frequent, that one of the principal streets of the great commercial town aforesaid is supposed to have had its name partly from having an inn in it, to which the pilgrims that flocked thither for the benefit of the supposed holy water used to resort.H. of Newcastle-on-Tyne, i. 339; Brand, ii. 380, n. (To be continued.)
The Recent Discovery at
BY REV. CANON VENABLES, M.A., PRECENTOR OF
HE supposed "oratory or chapel beneath a fishmonger's shop at Grantham, the discovery of which was recorded in the Antiquary for May (p. 189), was nothing more than a very ordinary example of the vaulted cellar which commonly formed the basement of houses of any pretensions in mediæval times. All our old towns are full of them, though often overlooked, and too usually unappreciated by their owners. Very good examples exist beneath the modern-fronted houses in the High Street and the other older streets in Bristol, Norwich (there is a very fine one near St. Peter Mancroft Church), Northampton, Stamford, etc. Nearly the whole of Chester is built on them. A very good series may be examined in Lincoln on the west side of Bailgate, opposite the White Hart Hotel (Nos. 3, 7, 8, 9, 10). The houses at Winchelsea, erected on the formation of the new town in 1283, stand almost universally on vaulted crypts, most of them of excellent workmanship, very superior in design to that at Grantham. These crypts, it need hardly be stated, were used as storehouses for their goods by the merchants who occupied the houses above, as well as for general receptacles for household necessaries, very requisite in days when shops hardly existed, and families depended on a stock laid in at markets and fairs for the ordinary articles of daily consumption.
When these undercrofts are brought to light by an accidental fire, or, as at Grantham, by pulling down a house, they are as a rule supposed to be chapels or oratories, simply because they are built in a style which chiefly survives in religious buildings, and is therefore currently believed to be peculiar to them. People are slow to realize that in former days, when architecture was a living art, each age had its own style, in which everything was built, whether it were religious or secular, church or dwelling-house, cloister or cellar,
all conforming to the same rules, and exhibiting the same forms and details. The secular buildings having to a very large extent perished, mediæval architecture is naturally associated in the popular mind with ecclesiastical buildings, which happily, to an equally large extent, still survive. When, therefore, any old building is discovered with what people call "church windows," pillars with moulded capitals, stone vaulting, and the like, people at once jump to the conclusion that its purpose must have been ecclesiastical. In the same way, and from the same prevalent
plan of the new house he was instructed to erect. The crown of the vault rose a little above the proposed level of the shop-floor. An additional step up would have been needed, and, therefore, though it would have continued to form an excellent cellar, this interesting relic of antiquity, already at least two centuries old when Richard III. visited Grantham and signed the death-warrant of Buckingham at the still existing Angel Inn hard by, was demolished. The builder seemed to fear that, if he delayed, pressure for its preservation might be brought to bear too strong for him to resist, and being resolved it should go, he set his men to work "with axes and hammers" before any application could be made to the owner, who was then suffering from illness. Thus another of the few remaining links with the past has perished, and Grantham is all the poorer for it.
But severely as the needless destruction of any ancient building is to be reprobated, it must in truth be allowed that the Grantham cellar, though extremely interesting as an example of early domestic architecture, had small pretensions to beauty. It was a small chamber, 15 feet by 12 feet, with a vaulted roof, supported by very heavy, square unmoulded ribs, springing without any capital from a low column in the centre. Being partly below the ground-level, it was lighted by windows in the side-walls, the sill of that in the south wall being its supposed "altar slab," and the narrow window itself the alleged "recess for the crucifix." The steps, said to be "worn by the feet of pilgrims," were a modern entrance from the outside, the original descent being from the interior of the house above. There was nothing whatsoever in the apartment to indicate a religious destination, and the idea, though currently accepted, must be pronounced false.
The proceedings of the SOCIETY OF ANTIQUARIES OF SCOTLAND for 1888-89, being their one hundred and ninth session, are recorded in a handsome quarto, their twenty-third volume. Its five hundred pages, enriched with over one hundred and eighty cuts and plates, contain a mass of varied matter on heraldry, local history, place-name lore, forts and brochs, cup-markings, torcs and armlets, stone hammers and bronze axes galore-of which the very catalogue is tremendous. Yet the book is strong rather in facts and things than in demonstrations-a healthy circumstance. First on the list is an excellent paper on the Barony of Mouswald in Dumfriesshire, a product of much zealous research. It was one of the latest labours of Mr. J. J. Reid, the Queen's Remembrancer. The barony long belonged to the family of Carruthers, an early scion of their house having been a moving spirit in the war for Scottish freedom during the boyhood of David II. Sir Herbert Maxwell writes a long descriptive and profusely illustrated account of stone and bronze weapons, celts, spearheads and cauldrons from Wigtownshire. Mr. David Marshall prints some valuable documents, and treats of the Earldom of Orkney and the Lordship of Zetland. Mr. Peter Miller deals in two separate papers with Clackmannan and Edinburgh as place-names. The former contains a cut of the "Clackmannan stone," a whinstone boulder. We cannot say we are satisfied with the derivation of Clackmannan and the meaning of "monk's stone." Mr. Miller accepts too easily the view that in Scotland, Clachmonach, or any kindred form, would become Clackmannan. Also in dealing with Edin. burgh, although he makes out a fair case for the belief that Edin was its old name, he fails to explain away the awkward fact that the oldest charters spell the word Eduinesburg, Edenesburg, and Edensburg, oftener than Edenburg, Edinburc, and Edynburg, without the s, which we take to be of great etymo. logical importance. Without committing ourselves,
Proceedings and Publications of and without espousing the cause of King Edwin of
[Though the Editor takes the responsibility for the form in which these notes appear, they are all specially con tributed to the "Antiquary," and are, in the first instance, supplied by accredited correspondents of the different districts.]
AT the SOCIETY OF ANTIQUARIES on June 11, when the president held his annual reception, three magnifi
Northumberland, we do not think Mr. Miller has proved that Edinburgh might not have been etymologically and historically Edwin's burg. Can he give us a few clear instances of Celtic towns taking the English suffix "burgh"? There is a great deal of loose writing, not by Scottish antiquaries only, on place-names. It is habitually assumed that when you have any two words, the one Celtic (like Edin, Gaelic for a hill-face, or Eaglais, a church), the other English (like burh, burgh, or ham, house), you can clap the