« PreviousContinue »
principal rooms, and immediately within the entrance from the steps is a doorway, now blocked up, which communicated with a staircase leading to the upper rooms; and outside the entrance-door, on the top of the flight of steps, is the entrance to another newel-staircase, also leading to the upper rooms, and from this is a grated opening looking into the chapel. The room above is large, and is lighted by two large square-headed windows with Perpendicular tracery. From this room a square opening, 10 in. from the floor, and 3 ft. 6 in. in height (since blocked up), looked into the chapel.
Immediately over the large room adjoining the chapel are two apartments in the roof, having a door opening on to the leads within the parapet. This is called the guard-room; and there is another and larger apartment, occupying the whole roof of the east part of the building, which is called the barracks, and the door of which opens on to the same leads. It is very probable they were both originally intended for the purposes which their names indicate, and much more so that they were actually used for this purpose when the Castle was garrisoned in the civil wars.
The gate-house is of two different dates; the lower story, from its mouldings and the corbels remaining within the archway, being clearly of the fourteenth century, while the upper story is as clearly of that of the fifteenth.
A portion of the ancient wall with its battlements, extending from the west side of the gate-house almost to the north-west angle of the house, still remains, and being almost covered with ivy adds greatly to the picturesque appearance of the gate-house and bridge.
Full details of the several families who have possessed this Castle will be found in Skelton's Antiquities of Oxfordshire and in Beesley's History of Banbury.
The above description of the Castle I have abridged from the Domestic Architecture of the Middle Ages, by the late J. H. Parker, and I have enlarged the plan exhibited from the same work.
MR. J. W. GROVER, F.S. A.
It is with much regret that we announce the death, on the 23rd of August last, of our old and much esteemed Associate and VicePresident, J. W. Grover, Esq. He was a Member of the Institute of Civil Engineers, and became an Associate of our Society in 1866. He was engaged in engineering works in connection with railways, and more recently water-supply in this country and many parts of the world; and whenever he was employed in his professional pursuits he was always on the look-out for any traces of archeological remains, for the discovery of which his professional training gave him an acute perception, and he was thus enabled to record many interesting discoveries, chiefly connected with the Roman occupation of our own island. Thus it was that on a professional visit to the neighbourhood of Cirencester he paid a visit to Chedworth Villa almost as soon as it was brought to light, a very interesting account of which appears in our Journal. More recently he took great interest in the excavations at Silchester, and gave an interesting account of the work which had then been done, under the auspices of the Society of Antiquaries, at our Oxford Congress in the year 1889, in which he allowed his imagination to pass beyond the bounds of the dry bones of mere archæological treatment, and painted a vivid and interesting picture of a Roman municipal town, and peopled it with the busy throng of an industrious race.
Mr. Grover was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1878, and a Vice-President of this Association on the 4th March 1891.
Pre-Reformation Clergy House at Alfriston, Sussex.-The Old Clergy House at Alfriston, which is in urgent need of repair, is a building erected in the fourteenth century, apparently of contemporary date with the adjoining Church of St. Andrew, colloquially known as "The Cathedral of the South Downs." It is constructed of oak framing, with the interstices filled in with "wattle and dab". It consists of a
central hall (23 ft. by 17 ft.) the entire height of the building, with an open-timbered roof with large cambered tie-beams and moulded kingposts used as a support to the upper part of the roof, after the manner usual in Sussex ecclesiastical buildings. This hall was apparently used as a general living and reception-room by the medieval clergy. On either side of this hall are smaller rooms, two stories in height (the one end now temporarily used as a reading-room), which were probably the dormitories and offices, etc.
The building is of a character rarely found in England, and is, therefore, of national interest, as it is an important piece of evidence showing the manner in which the parochial clergy, as distinguished from the monastic establishments, lived in England in the Middle Ages. The building is now in a very dangerous condition, and although for the last three years everything has been done to preserve it from actually falling, it has become obvious that unless its preservation is at once seriously taken in hand, it will not survive the storms of another winter. The building was carefully examined in 1890, and the cost of an entire preservation will be about £450. The Sussex Archæological Society, at a General Meeting, were "of opinion that every effort should be made to secure the preservation of so interesting an example as the Old Vicarage House of Alfriston." "With this opinion the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings cordially agrees." As soon as funds are forthcoming, and before further outlay, steps will be taken to arrange with the Patron and Bishop to secure the building to the parish for ever, as a reading-room and for other parochial uses. Subscriptions and donations may be forwarded to Rev. F. W. Beynon, Alfriston Vicarage, Berwick, Sussex.
Reproduction of the Liber Vita in Facsimile.-Mr. Henry Littlehales hopes to produce the Durham Liber Vita in facsimile by photography. The value of such a work will lie chiefly in the fact that each page will display the arrangement of the names by successive scribes from the ninth century, and where a later insertion has been entered amongst those of an earlier period, the approximate date of such an entry will be supplied by the form of its appearance. The size of the reproduction will be 4to., and will consist of 129 pages in facsimile. A Second Part, containing a short Introduction, etc., will be issued separately, and subsequently.
The number of copies will be limited, and the price will be one guinea to subscribers. On publication the price will be raised to thirty shillings. Part I, consisting of Introduction, etc., may be had separately, price one shilling, on application to the author at Clovelly House, Bexley Heath.