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Reviews and Notices

of New Books.

[Publishers are requested to be so good as always to mark clearly the prices of books sent for review, as these notices are intended to be a practical aid to book-buying readers.]


LOGARITHMS. By John Napier, Baron of Merchiston. Translated from Latin into English, with notes, and a catalogue of the various editions of Napier's works, by William Rae Macdonald, F.F.A. William Blackwood and Sons.

This book of 169 pages is full of interest to the mathematician who is not indifferent to the history of the processes which he uses in his everyday work. It need scarcely be said that the introduction of logarithms gave an impetus to the common employment of mathematics, which, perhaps, has never been exceeded by any other discovery, and "in this little book," writes his son and literary executor, Robert Napier, "you have most amply unfolded the theory of the construction of logarithms." We doubt if one out of every thousand who use logarithms ever heard of this "wonderful canon," or have an idea what it contains, and few still have any conception of the methods of calculation he employed. In the book under review we have a translation of the canon by Mr. Macdonald, whose copious notes are not the least interesting part to the mathematician. In his antiquarian researches he has been most happy, and has given us information which enables us to estimate Napier at a higher level than we did before.

The history of John Napier (Napier or Nepair, as the surname was sometimes spelt) is given in the preface, from which it appears that he was not only a mathematician, but a student of theology, whilst yet an undergraduate at St. Andrew's, and that thirty years later he published the results of his studies in a work entitled A Plaine Discovery of the Whole Revelation of St. John. This theological work went through numerous editions in English, Dutch, French, and German, "a proof of its widespread popularity with the Reformed Churches." The versatility of Napier's mind, the author says, is further evidenced by his attention to agriculture; the Merchiston system of tillage by manuring the land with salt is described by his eldest son, Archibald, who was subsequently raised to the peerage as Lord Napier of Merchiston. Another of the chief aids which he gave to mathematical science was the introduction of the decimal point, enabling fractions to be used with the same facility as whole numbers. The decimal point, we thus find, has had an existence of some 300 years-it is a unique thing that the introduction of such a small thing as a dot should have such a wonderful effect on the ease with which a science can be employed. We have often noticed that theology and exact science have frequently been closely interwoven in the same person, and that it is generally by the latter that his name is known. Napier is certainly no exception, for his name most certainly lives by his

introduction of logarithms. It should also be cherished for the invention of the decimal point. The author has evidently taken an affectionate interest in the task he allotted to himself, and has done his work well. This volume is one which should find its way into the library of many scientific physicists, not only on account of its historical value, but also as explaining the elegant methods employed by Napier in working out his great discovery.-W. de W. Abney, C.B., F.R.S.

BLOOMSBURY AND ST. GILES. By George Clinch. Truelove and Shirley. Crown 4to., pp. xii., 220, with 24 full-page illustrations. Price 12s. It is not a little remarkable that the work now so well done by Mr. Clinch had not been previously attempted, but up to the time of the issue of this handsome volume, no account of the above-named parishes, which are full of historical and literary associations, had been published. The first two chapters deal with the history of St. Giles, relating to the foundation of the hospital for lepers in 1101, and its suppression by the iniquitous Henry VIII., with grant to Lord Lisle. The old church of St. Giles, pertaining to the leper hospital, was pulled down and rebuilt in 1623. But the new church got into decay, and the present fabric of St. Giles-in-the-Fields was built in 1731, as one of the fifty churches then erected at the public charge. The third chapter deals with the celebrated or remarkable characters that have been connected with the parish, from such names as Lord Herbert of Cherbury and Andrew Marvell, down to mere local notorieties, such as "old John Norris, the musical shrimp man. "The fourth chapter opens with an account of the City gallows which used to occupy the space where Tottenham Court Road, New Oxford Street, High Street, Charing Cross Road, and Oxford Street now meet. This is followed by an account of the pound and cage, the stocks and whipping-post, and the fire engine, the chapter concluding with notes on old inns and alehouses, such as the Black Bear, the Crooked Billet, and the Hampshire Hog. An exhaustive account of the parochial charities comprises chapter five. The next chapter is chiefly occupied

with an account of Seven Dials and its literature. To Lincoln's Inn Fields and to Lincoln's Inn two other chapters are justly assigned.

The second section of the work describes Bloomsbury. The name had its origin from the family of Blemund or Blumund, who owned the manor early in the thirteenth century. It is chiefly celebrated for the British Museum, of whose history and description a good outline sketch is here given. Bloomsbury, too, as the west end of last century, is rich in associations with eminent literary and other celebrities, about whom Mr. Clinch has many pleasant particulars and anecdotes to record.

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OKEHAMPTON : ITS ANTIQUITIES AND INSTITUTIONS, a new edition, with additional chapters. By W. H. K. Wright, F.R. H.S. William Masland, Tiverton. Crown 8vo., pp. xviii., 242. This work was originally published in three parts in 1839, but not completed, and was chiefly due to the labour of Rev. H. G. Fothergill, Rector of Belston. In the present volume the old material has been given in its original form and arrangement; but the last half of the book, dealing chiefly with the ecclesiastical antiquities, is the work of Mr. Wright. The chief interest of the older part lies in the reproduction of the brief journals of Messrs Rattenbury and Shebbeare, burgesses of Okehampton, from the 21st James I. to the death of William III. The Orange Revolution is thus recorded:

"19 Feb., 1688. This day William and Mary, prince and princesse of Orange were proclaymed king and queen of England, France, and Ireland, and effigies of the Pope burnt in this towne."

The volume is well-illustrated, and is exceptionally interesting for the antiquary who may have no acquaintance with this little Devonshire borough; by residents and Devonians it is sure to be much valued.


GOLDSMITHS. By Robert Charles Hope, F.S.A., F.R.S.L. 8vo., pp. 76. Price 5s. To be had of the author, Albion Crescent, Scarborough. Only 100 copies printed.

All those who are interested in English plate will thank us for drawing their attention to this small but valuable work. It is a list of all who have been or still are members of the Goldsmiths' companies in the cities and towns where plate was or is assayed. The lists, which are arranged in alphabetical order for the different towns, and which have the date of entry, or the earliest date found attached, together with the latest date or year of death, have cost Mr. Hope an infinity of trouble. They have been obtained from original sources, either from the books of the old Goldsmiths' companies, or from the Freemen's lists (usually beginning in Elizabethan times) in the various cities and towns where the Assay Offices formerly existed. The book includes the goldsmiths of London, York, Norwich, Exeter, Newcastle-on-Tyne, Chester, Hull, Shrewsbury, and Sheffield. Birmingham has to be omitted, as, strange to say, this newest of cities could not grant permission to copy the names.

A CALENDAR OF WILLS RELATING TO THE COUNTY OF KENT. Edited by Leland Lewis Duncan, F.S.A. Printed for the Lewisham Antiquarian Society. Imp. 8vo., pp. 93, and interleaved with stout writing paper. Price 10s. 6d.

It is not long since we drew attention to a beautifully got-up book on the monumental inscriptions of Lewisham church and churchyard issued by this small but energetic society, and now Mr. Duncan, the hon. sec., has produced this valuable volume. It is a calendar of Kentish wills proved in the Prerogative County of Canterbury from the commencement of the series, in 1384, down to 1559. The arrangement is as follows: (a) name of deceased, in alphabetical

order; (b) parish; (c) date of probate, the letter F attached signifying that there is a filed will extant, in addition to the copy in the will-register; and (d) reference to the first forty-two will-registers of the court. This calendar cannot fail to be of the greatest possible service to the genealogist, as well as to those engaged in drawing up histories of Kentish parishes. The volume can only be obtained of Charles North, printer, Blackheath, S. E. Early application should be made, as only 150 copies have been printed.

THE MONUMENTAL HISTORY OF THE EARLY BRITISH CHURCH. By J. Romilly Allen, F.S.A. (Scot.). Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. Pp. xvi., 225, with sixteen illustrations. Price 3s.

The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge are to be congratulated on the issue of this useful and much-needed volume, and upon having secured so competent an author as Mr. Romilly Allen, the now well-known writer of Early Christian Symbolism in Great Britain and Ireland. It was high time that some sound and reliable compendium of the archeological, as distinct from the documentary evidence of the Early Church in Great Britain, should be put forth. This book is divided into four sections, which deal respectively with the archæology of the RomanoBritish Church before 400, of the early Celtic Church 400 to 600, of the later Celtic Church 600 to 1006, and of the Saxon Church 600 to 1066; and each section is sub-divided into parts that treat of the structures, of the sepulchral monuments, and of the portable objects. The illustrations form a valuable feature of the work; seven of the sixteen plates are taken from Mr Romilly Allen's rubbings. It is a book that everyone interested in British ecclesiology will be bound to consult, and it will correct many of those fallacies into which popular lecturers on our Early Christianity not infrequently fall. There might possibly be a few advantageous minor corrections in subsequent editions, but the book, as a whole, can be recommended with much confidence.


It is a

GEOMETRY IN RELIGION. E. W. Allen. pp. 96, with illustrations. One of the signs of the times is assuredly to be found in the printing of arrant nonsense, such as never used to degrade the printing press. complete puzzle to us how a brain could be formed capable of compiling the arrangement of terms and expressions found in these closely-printed pages! Another puzzle is, provided such stuff was written, how any sane publisher can be found to print it! Even if we were able to answer both these conundrums, yet a third one would remain-why, when it has been published, is such a book sent to the editor of the Antiquary? All that we can do for the nameless author of this hopeless imbecility, which has not even the merit of being unconsciously amusing, is to give the full title, and to quote a single sentence, and then, if there are any lunatics among our readers, they may like to possess themselves of a copy of the work. The title is Geometry in Religion, and the Exact Dates in Biblical History after the Monuments; or, the Fundamental Principles of Christianity; the Precessional

Year, etc., as based on the Teaching of the Ancients by the Cube, Square, Circle, Pyramid, etc.

As a quotation, taken honestly at haphazard, and just as intelligent or the reverse as all the rest, this must suffice: "What the races expect in the New Age. The theory of retributive justice in sexual and parental relations leads to expectations for the time of the second existence, which, together with the rites (a rite is a system), form the expression of the 'hope' by customs, transmitted from father to son"!


PASSION PLAY AS PLAYED AT OBERAMMERGAU. By W. T. Stead. Review of Reviews Office. Quarto, pp. 130, illustrated with sixty photographic reproductions. Price Is. paper; 2s. limp cloth.

When Mr. Stead arrived at Ober-Ammergau on June 7, he asked for the text of the play in German and English. "In a short time," he says, "I was furnished with a small library in both languages, official guides, authorised texts, the only authentic version, complete descriptive accounts, illustrated editions, and so forth. Armed with specimens of the best, I made my way to the Passion Play on Sunday, June 8. Imagine, then, my astonishment on discovering that not one of all the versions sold has the faintest claim to give an account of the Passion Play as it is played to-day; that all of them describe the play as it was presented ten years ago; that in all the mass of Ober-Ammergau literature there is not a single German-English edition, with the German text printed in parallel columns to the English translation, and that none of the published books of the play contain any illustration, either of the play as it is played or of the performer as they appear. Nothing is more pathetic than to witness the vain attempts of the audience to follow the play by the aid of books which describe tableaux which have been dropped, give the dialogue of scenes which have been suppressed, and illustrate their text by portraitures of players who are no longer on the stage, or who are playing different parts."

Óf this discomfort we had practical experience on Sunday, June 29. Our so-called Libretto of the Songs and Dialogue: Ober-Ammergau, 1890, bought at the place, is scored with corrections as to omitted or inserted parts and tableaux. The English, too, is eccentric, as may be judged from directions on the opening page : "Pouse to take a lunch. Don't forget an opera glas"! Mr. Stead, has, however, most admirably and thoroughly supplied this remarkable deficiency. The introductory, explanatory, and historic chapters are excellent, whilst the main part of the book is taken up with the German text, as now being acted, with an English version, happily interspersed with brief descriptions, in parallel columns, The very numerous photographic plates are reproduced by express permission from the copyright originals of this year. Mr. Stead's book has made us long to go again, and, as this is out of the question, the next best thing is to strongly recommend every English visitor, who purports going to this marvellous and soul-stirring drama during August or September, to be fore-armed with a copy of this work.

BOOKS RECEIVED, of which notices are reserved.— Annals of the Barber-Surgeons, Newspaper Reporting, Lostara, History of Holbeach, The Days of James IV., The Testimony of Tradition, Gentleman's Magazine Library (Architectural Antiquities), and The Corporation Records of St. Albans.

Among the pamphlets and magazines that have reached us may be mentioned, in addition to those usually received, the South Australian Cornish Association; Struggles in Africa; The Studio, a New York journal devoted to the Fine Arts; A Cursory Relation of all the Antiquities and Familyes in Cumberland, a reprint of a pamphlet by Edmund Sandford, c. 1675, edited by Chancellor Ferguson; Condover Past and Present, a sixpenny historical pamphlet compiled to further the ends of a local industrial exhibition; The Library Journal, the official organ of the American Library Association; the first quarterly part of Berkshire Notes and Queries, edited by G. F. Tudor Sherwood, price Is. 6d. ; and Thenks Awfully, sketches in cockney dialect (Field and Tuer), price is.



GENERAL PITT-RIVERS, in a recent letter to the Times, strongly urged the desirability of carrying out further excavations at Wroxeter and Silchester, etc., instead of sending money abroad to Greece, Palestine, Cyprus, or Egypt.

As regards Wroxeter, the portion that has been explored is a mere fragment. When the season is dry and the corn ripe, the outlines of Roman buildings underneath the surface can be traced most distinctly in the cornfields which surround the already explored portion. A rich harvest of Roman antiquities may be expected when further excavations are carried out.

Unfortunately, the local society has not funds for the purpose, its excellent Transactions swallowing up most of its income. And a recent appeal to the Society of Antiquaries to help has resulted in a negative answer, on account of lack of funds.

If only, as General Pitt-Rivers urges, we had an English Exploration Fund, Wroxeter and similar sites might speedily be thoroughly explored.



[Silchester is now absorbing attention; the work of definite exploration has already been begun by the Society of Antiquaries. The response to the appeal for funds for this work is fairly good. The town of Wroxeter should come next. Meanwhile, we venture to think that all special aid should be given for the present to Silchester. Both these excavations are of national, and not merely local, importance.-ED.].


Mr. Hope mentions St. Lawrence's Well, in the Isle of Wight, as still there. I see, however, that it is now cleared away, vide Cathedrals, Abbeys, and Churches of England and Wales, Cassell, p. 636, where it says: "Gone, too, with the opening of a new road is the St. Lawrence's Well of ice-cold water, of which thirsty travellers drank." It is a pity, for it was a very picturesque little affair with a gate, so that it could be shut up. There was an old man there, if my memory serves me, who supplied glasses of the water.

32, Compton Street, Derby.


dates from the era of Hengist and Vortigern; it is quite possible that this place was Pretorium of the Romans.

The direct distance from York to Lincoln is about fifty-five miles, but the iters mount up to seventy-two miles, by taking a circuitous route through Nottinghamshire to avoid the Humber. The iter distance from York to Pretorium is given at forty-five miles, which agrees exactly with Caistor, involving the transit by Barton ferry. We have no real evidence as to the true site of Pretorium, but this "thong" incident may be a modern survival from prehistoric times. A. HALL.

13, Paternoster Row.


With reference to the description quoted at p. 17 of the Antiquary, I would suggest that the proceedings there recorded of the "Caistor Gad-Whip" have an older origin than the accredited feudal tenure ascribed to Broughton. It appears that Caistor in Lincolnshire had the Saxon name of Thong Ceaster, with a local tradition to account for the origin of this name; but, connecting the words "thong" and "whip," I am inclined to identify these Broughton tenure proceedings with the name, and the name "Thong Ceaster" with the proceedings.

Caistor was a Roman station, and the Saxon name

Intending contributors are respectfully requested to enclose stamps for the return of the manuscript in case it should prove unsuitable.

During June, July, and August, the CONFERENCE will be suspended.

It will be resumed in the September number, subject: "Suggestions for the better Management and Usefulness of Archæological Societies."

The "Low Side Window" discussion can be continued in the Correspondence columns.

The Antiquary.


Notes of the Month.

WESTMINSTER ABBEY is gravely threatened with serious danger. By timely remonstrance and unexaggerated plain-speaking, the peril may be averted, but it is none the less real and imminent. The two excuses that have been put forward by the authorities for the recent reparation of a portion of the exterior, namely, that the atmosphere had seriously deteriorated the stonework, and that the parts to be renewed were neither original nor ancient, cannot be urged in favour of the new proposition, which involves a complete restoration of the interior. "The Abbey," as is excellently urged in a scholarly article of the Athenæum for August 2, "is not simply the finest piece of architecture in the empire, not solely the richest of all our buildings in historic memories, the one remaining and unsophisticated witness of some of the greatest events of our history, the tombhouse of a crowd of our best countrymen. It combines all these claims to be let alone. That the Abbey clergy should dream of sanctioning the destruction of a relic so grand, and practically authentic, is, indeed, astonishing."

It is proposed to thoroughly restore and rearrange the crowd of monuments of all ages and kinds that now throng the Abbey in picturesque confusion. To this subject we hope to refer more definitely in our next issue. For our own part, we should require very strong evidence and the almost unanimous assent of antiquarian and architectural


experts before we could be reconciled to the removal or shifting of a single monument from its present position. If the process is once begun, where is it to stop? Any good stonemason's foreman, with a score or two of assistants, could soon drill into line, or group according to date and character all the monuments, statuesque and otherwise; but then it would be merely a stone Madame Tussaud's, and not Westminster Abbey, with its fluctuating tale of the varying waves of national prestige and art.

The Antiquary has no concern with party politics, but the appointment by the crown of Sir John Puleston as Constable of Carnarvon. Castle is a matter of archæological interest. The propriety of appointing the Conservative candidate for the Carnarvon Boroughs to such a post, which has been hotly discussed at the Town Council, and strongly condemned by several of the Conservative Councillors, is no affair of ours, save inasmuch as it affects the due preservation and custody of a great historic fabric. On that ground, it is very much to be deprecated that the Prime Minister should have conferred the appointment on a gentleman who is not in any way, save by his political candidature, connected with the county. It would have been far better to have taken the bold step of conferring the office on the Mayor of Carnarvon for the time being.

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The work of excavation now in progress at Silchester has not been quite as extensive as could have been wished because of the unsettled weather, and because of the difficulty of labour during hay-harvest. Nevertheless the operations, under the guidance of Mr. G. E. Fox, F.S.A., and Mr. W. H. St. John Hope, have been of no little interest and importance, and give full promise of most satisfactory eventual results. The north and south gates have been completely cleared, and their exact relation to the enceinte wall determined. The west gate had never been touched, and it was approached with misgiving, because it was thought that none of it remained, as a highroad runs over its site. It has, however, been laid completely open, revealing a grand double gateway with central wall, and flanked by double guard chambers.


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