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ST. LAWRENCE'S WELL, ISLE OF WIGHT.
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.
THE CAISTOR GAD-WHIP.
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
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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.
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 VOL. XXII.
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.
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.
Part of the ironwork of one door has been found, and the impost of the central wall. The south half of the west gate, like so many of the double gates on the Roman wall, had been blocked up in late times, and only the north half used. Curiously enough, the present highway now runs through (or over) the north half. In the blocking of the south half a grand Corinthian capital, part of the drum of a double column, and other architectural details were found. One of the large insulæ north of the forum has been partly excavated, and it is expected that it will be proved that a large house stood at each corner, with an extensive garden or open ground behind. Messrs. Fox and Hope have also established a number of new facts with regard to the basilica, which had escaped previous explorers. Articles of bronze, iron, Articles of bronze, iron, and pottery have been found in great variety and profusion.
We are delighted to find that intelligent England is at last being to some extent roused to the importance and interest of the history beneath our feet. Every effort should be made to support the Society of Antiquaries in their present undertaking at Silchester, so that it may not in any way languish for want of funds. The subject should be brought, in an attractive way, before every local archæological association. We venture to commend to the authorities at Burlington House the offering of duly qualified Silchester lecturers, during the coming winter session, who might rouse interest in the provinces. Here is a popular quotation from what Mr. J. W. Grover, F.S.A., said on this subject recently at Oxford: They had an account of excavations made at Silchester in 1830, when about 200 brass Roman coins were found on a skeleton. In 1865-66-67 and 1873 the explorations were continued by Mr. Joyce, who read a valuable paper on the subject before the Society of Antiquaries. Mr. Grover then mentioned that the discovery had been made of a house which was supposed to have been the house of a Roman Chief Magistrate, the remarkable thing about the residence being that it stood very near the forum. The story was that the house was built about the year 50, when the Apostles were on earth. It was re-erected in the year 190, and re
modelled and rebuilt in the year 300 or 320. That was to say that they got evidence of the house extending over a period of very nearly 300 years, with continued occupation and improvement. Alluding amidst applause to the forum at Silchester, the lecturer said that they had a thing which nobody had except at Pompeii. The Italians had got a forum which it took Vesuvius to give them, but the French, Spanish, and German nations could boast of nothing of the kind. In England they had a Roman forum of the most perfect kind; it was a most wonderful structure, and they could beat them "into a cocked hat" at Rome. The building was 275 feet across on one side and 313 feet on the other. In the centre was a market-place 131 feet by 141 feet round, and there was a place in which the people could walk in wet weather. On the west side of the building was the basilica or Westminster Hall, but he found that the former was 18 feet longer than the latter. They should look upon these discoveries with profound reverence and awe. Mr. Grover took his hearers an imaginary walk round the forum, explaining the butcher's shops, the banking establishment, the place for chancery business, the merchants' hall, and the high priest's office, finishing up with the "oyster bar" at the corner of the building.
The threatened controversy on the BalliolBruce Dumfriesshire shield will probably end in no controversy at all. The Balliols have either no partisans, or the Balliolists, if there be any, do not show fight. Orle and escarbuncle have had never a word uttered in their defence, which looks rather bad for the orle and the escarbuncle. Meanwhile, the challenged seal is not in use. Probably it has not yet attained to the dignity of a graven image, and remains a devout, or undevout, imagination merely. It seems to be taken for granted in the county that the arms are doomed utterly. At any rate, the County Council now knows the facts, and will no doubt act worthily when the time comes for reconsideration of this vexed question of heraldry.
It has been decided to form a chapter of Scottish heralds to meet twice yearly in the
Lyon Office. Heraldic and genealogical papers will be read and discussed. This movement no doubt is largely due to the influence of the new Lyon King (Mr. Balfour Paul), who is evidently entering upon an energetic reign.
Mr. Blair, F.S.A., writes to us that a most interesting discovery of twelve bronze vessels of the Roman period has recently been made in the north of England. A week or two ago a farm servant was ploughing in a field about three or four miles to the north of Newcastle, on a farm belonging to Mr. C. L. Bell, of Woolsington Hall. The plough struck against something, and on the man examining the object, it proved to be a large caldron-like vessel, about 2 feet in diameter, formed of thin plates of bronze. It probably had two handles, as one of them, 6 inches in diameter, was unearthed. Within this large vessel were six patella, three of them with the usual projecting horizontal handle, while the handles of the remaining three have been broken off. The bottoms of all are decorated with concentric circles in relief, similar to the sauce pan in the possession of the Rev. T. Stephens, of Horsley-on-Rede, found a year or two ago by him on the Wanny Crags, in Redesdale. These vary in diameter from 6 inches to 8 inches. There is also an elegant patera, 12 inches in diameter, and 3 inches high, with one handle riveted to the side; the remaining five vessels are bowlshaped, and vary in diameter from 10 to 15 inches. The site of the discovery is on a portion of what was in olden times, and appears in old maps, as Prestwick Carr, a great resort of water-fowl. Eight of these bronze vessels have now found a permanent resting-place in the museum of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle at the Black Gate in that city.
A society for "The Preservation of the Memorials of the Dead in Ireland" has recently been formed, with Colonel Vigors, Holloden, Bagenalstown, co. Carlow, as hon. sec. Its chief objects are: (1) To endeavour to preserve and protect the tombs, monuments and memorials of the dead in churches and burial grounds; (2) To secure a record of existing tombs and monuments
of interest, with their inscriptions, etc, and to obtain such information as is possible regarding others that may have been removed or destroyed; (3) To watch carefully works carried on in and about churches, etc., so as to prevent injury to monuments and tombstones; (4) To repair such tombs and monuments as shall be approved of, and that the funds admit of. The necessity of the work of such a society is even more obvious than in England. The condition of many of the most important tombs and monuments in Ireland is a scandal.
Here are a few sample horrors from one of the leaflets of the association: At Clare Island the tomb of Grace O'Malley, the "Queen of the West," "a handsome cutstone canopied one, in the chancel of St. Bridget's Abbey, has the lower portion of it embedded in the earth, and covered with manure, the place being used as a shelter for cattle!" At Ballintubber Abbey, County Mayo, the tomb of "Tibot-na-lung" ("Theobald of the Ship"), son of Grace O'Malley, and First Earl of Mayo, is subject to the same disgraceful treatment; it is a beautiful example of the transitional style of art, where the newly-introduced classic or Italian mouldings in general outline have been carried out by native workmen. At Lusk Church, County Dublin, the fine raised tomb of Sir Christopher Barnewall and his wife, with coats of arms on it, and two full-sized recumbent figures, stands exposed to the destructive effects of heat and cold, sun, rain and frost. At Kilfane old church, County Kilkenny, a splendid thirteenth-century, fulllength and mail clad knightly figure of one of the De Cantvilles is half buried in weeds and rubbish, and at any time liable to destruction. At Ardfert, Kerry, a tomb of one of the Knights of Kerry is reported to be "in a farmyard." At Buttevant sculptured stones lie scattered about the churchyard in great confusion, apparently belonging to richly decorated tombs. At Kilmallock Priory a tomb of the "White Knight" "and many other tombs" are reported to be "ankle-deep in cow-dung." This most useful society is about to issue its second annual report, when we hope to again call attention to its operations.
A discovery of considerable interest was made in the first week of August by General Pitt-Rivers, who is engaged in making further investigations with the view of definitely ascertaining the approximate date of Wans Dyke. Although his finds last year pointed to a pre-Roman work, nothing certain could be said on the matter. On the present occasion, however, a light has been thrown on the subject which proves beyond all doubt that the work is Roman or post-Roman. On Monday, August 4, about eight feet below the level, amongst other things brought to the surface were two pieces of Samian ware. They were found in that part of the earth which was thrown up when the Dyke was constructed, and as Samian ware was introduced into Britain by the Romans, it conclusively proves that those people must have been here before the cutting was made. In addition to the Samian ware, an iron clamp was found in the same place, such as was used to fasten the leather harness of the Romans, and similar to many which have been unearthed at Bokerly Dyke and at the Romano-British villages in that neighbourhood. Thus, thanks to the indefatigable efforts of General Pitt-Rivers, there is clear and convincing proof that the earthwork of Wans Dyke is post-Roman. It is difficult to assign an exact date, but it is probable that it was somewhere between A.D. 200 and 400 that the Dyke was made.
An interesting discovery of extensive wallpaintings at the church of St. Breage, near Helston, Cornwall, has recently been made by the vicar, Rev. Jocelyn Barnes. At present they have only been partially uncovered. The paintings include a great St. Christopher about 11 feet high, and a large Crucifixion, which is described as "surrounded with emblems of different trades, connected with His body by jets of blood." We expect that, in the latter case, the picture will turn out to be, on more careful examination, a portrayal of the Seven Sacraments, which were usually in medieval wall-painting thus linked with the Sacred Wounds. A figure of St. Conentinus, the first Bishop of Cornwall, who died in 401, has also been uncovered; he is represented vested in a cope, pastoral staff in left hand, and giving the benediction with the right hand. By his side is a fish.
The preliminary excavations on the site of the Montgomeryshire Abbey of Strata Marcella, to which we alluded in our last issue, have now been made, and have yielded encouraging results. We sincerely hope that Mr. Morris C. Jones, F.S.A., and Mr. Stephen Williams, who are in charge of the work, will meet with such a response to their appeal as to enable them to satisfactorily carry out their labours. The work already done gives evidence of a fine conventual church, with a nave 50 feet in width, and of imposing proportions. To the north of the chancel a flagged space about 25 feet square has been exposed. The minor discoveries include a curious round boss of worked bronze, a piece of finely-worked silver gilt, many fragments of stained glass, and a large number of tiles that pertain to thirteen distinct patterns. Ten of the tile patterns are the same as those recently found by Mr. Stephen Williams at Strata Florida.
Sir Charles Dilke has lost a most interesting relic of Charles I. It is a memorial ring of that monarch, and contains a portrait of the head with worn features and a melancholy expression, placed under an oval glass or crystal with bevelled edges. It was missed not long after its return from the Stuart Exhibition of 1889. Anyone who has knowledge of the relic may, on communication with the
publisher of the Athenæum, depend upon an adequate reward should the ring be recovered. If, as has been surmised, the ring has been stolen, it will probably be offered for sale in America or in foreign countries. We are glad to be able to give an engraving of this ring, which may prove of service in securing its return.
The parish church of Winstead, in Holderness, has just emerged with much credit from the dangers of a really necessary restoration. Mr. Temple Moore was the architect. He is one of the few gentlemen of repute in the profession (might they not be named on