Page images

When King Charles II. died I went to the Oundle carrier at the Ram Inn, in Smithfield,

Holy Wells: their Legends and who told me their well had drummed, and


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.


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.



Baxter, in his World of Spirits, p. 157, "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.

many people came to hear it. And I heard it drummed once since."- Brand's Pop. Ant., ii. 369.



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.


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.


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


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 medieval 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,

[ocr errors]

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

[graphic][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

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.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

cent Saxon brooches, found in Kent, were exhibited by Mr. George Payne, to whom they were lent for that occasion. At the same reception relics found in the tomb of Archbishop Hubert Walter (lent by the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury) were the centre of attraction.


THE BRITISH ARCHEOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION held the closing meeting of the session on Wednesday, June 18. Several objects of antiquarian interest were exhibited. Mr. J. M. Wood read a paper on “Some of the Round-Towered Churches of Essex," and Alderman C. Brown gave an account of the "Discovery of a Roman Column at Chester."

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 heraldry, local history, place-name lore, forts and cuts and plates, contain a mass of varied matter on 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 Edinburgh, 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 etymological importance. Without committing ourselves, and without espousing the cause of King Edwin of

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

two together and make a place-name, like Edinburgh or Eaglesham. But those who believe there was a grammar in the baptism of places, know that Celtic and English were very much like oil and water, and would scarcely mix. There are well-defined exceptions, of which the chief is that amalgamation takes place readily enough when a Celtic word like loch or glen has become English. But this has not been the case with either Eden or Eaglais, and Eaglesham almost certainly means the home of a person named Ægle. Can Mr. Miller furnish a single instance of a freestanding Celtic town-name like Eden, taking the possessive form in s, and followed by "burgh"? We have an impression that the well-known Salisbury Crags beside the Scottish capital are named in old writs Sarisbury or Saersbiri. Saer or Saher was a common Christian name in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Edwinsburgh need not have been King Edwin's any more than the Saer of Salisbury Crags needed to be the Saer de Quincy known to history. In short, we want more light on this question before discarding the evidence of the Holyrood charter with the spelling Eduinesburgh. Dr. David Christison covers a wide field in writing about the hill forts of Lorne and Nether Lochaher. Mr. P. J. Anderson gives some useful notes on heraldic representations and relative inscriptions at the Colleges of Aberdeen. It is pleasant to come across a saltire and chief, the date 1536, and the initials H. B. indicating the armorial bearings of Hector Boece, the arch-embellisher of Scots history. Boece was proud of his descent from the Bruce country; his ancestors, he said, were barons of Dryfesdale. He might have added that one of them was killed in Annandale fighting for David II. The Brucean saltire and chief on his coat-of-arms is, therefore, easily understood. Several other papers must remain unnoticed here, two or three recording the discovery of additional stones with the doubledisc and bent rod symbols; but we cannot close without awarding the palm for readableness and interest to two articles. One is by Dr. Munro, a leading authority on lake dwellings, and describes his visit to some terp mounds in Holland. mound is a lake dwelling left after the lake has disappeared, it may be called a stranded crannog. Dr. Munro is both exact and graphic. The second paper singled out for special praise is Dr. Joseph Anderson's notice of the relics of St. Fillan and their Dewars, or hereditary keepers.

A terp

The first quarterly issue of the journal of the Proceedings of the ROYAL SOCIETY OF ANTIQUARIES OF IRELAND, for the year 1890, contains an interesting memoir of Dudley Loftus, a celebrated Irish antiquary of the seventeenth century, by Professor Stokes; an illustrated paper on "Celtic Remains in England," by J. L. Robinson, pointing out the remarkable similarity between English and Irish early crosses; an account of the ancient Chapter House of the Priory of Holy Trinity, Dublin, with a folding-plate, by Thomas Drew; ancient mural inscriptions in county Limerick, by J. G. Barry, with two plates; as well as various other articles of merit and interest. The notes in the "Miscellanea " section are a good feature. We notice one misprint: “Eydam," under the photograph of VOL. XXII.

Eyam cross, Derbyshire, will puzzle English readers. The next general meeting of this society will be held at Athlone on Tuesday, July 8.

On June 3 the LONDON AND MIDDLESEX ARCHEOLOGICAL SOCIETY held a general meeting, Dr. Edwin Freshfield taking the chair. The members and friends of the society first met in the courtyard of the Bank of England. After pointing out the notable features of the spot, and describing its original appearance, with the Wall Brook running through (an unhealthy and plague-bearing stream, whose malodour was responsible for the deaths of the resident squire and some rectors), the president led his party round to Lothbury, and entered St. Margaret's Church. Here again the old course of the Wall Brook was pointed out, running under the chancel window and past the altar, as was also the font, a rare piece of sculptured marble, executed by the famous Grinling Gibbons. A beautiful picture was shown of the church as it may appear after the proposed restoration. A movement was then made to the Brewers' Hall, a splendid old place after the Jacobean style, where the Brewers' Company had kindly displayed many valuable relics. Mr. Welsh, the honorary secretary, contributed an interesting paper on "The Early History of the Brewers' Company as told by their own Records."

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

We have received from the SURREY ARCHEOLOGICAL SOCIETY part 1, vol. x., of their Collections which has just been issued. We must compliment the new secretaries on a most interesting production. Mr. Waller, F.S.A., contributes an important paper on the "Very Valuable Wall-Paintings in St. Mary's Church, Guildford," to which we made reference a few months ago. The learned ecclesiologist advances a theory explaining the subject of these mural paintings which is well supported and worthy of most careful examination. If we mistake not, it will be accepted by antiquaries as the true interpretation of the paintings. From the church registers and parish books of Ockley, Mr. Alfred R. Bax produces a vast amount of information of the deepest interest. He recalls, in an admirable paper, very many quaint village customs, and much of the internal life of a typical Surrey village in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Mr. George C. Williamson, who is now, we suppose, the leading authority on Traders' Tokens, has a paper on the "Seventeenth-Century Tokens of Surrey," illustrated by two beautiful lithographs of the rarer tokens. We believe, as regards Surrey, this is the first distinct information on these quaint memorials, and it is befitting that a subject so important to Surrey antiquaries should be so completely dealt with by the editor of the standard work on Traders' Tokens.


Mr. Kershaw, F.S. A., has found time amidst his multifarious duties in Lambeth Palace Library to write a chatty, bright paper on "Wandsworth Manorhouse," illustrated with two charming phototypes and a map. A valuable paper on the "Guildford Grammar School" follows, and is from the pen of Mr. D. M. Stevens. It is crammed with facts, and is an important addition to local history, especially at the present time, when the building is undergoing a socalled restoration. The eyes of antiquaries are watching this restoration with some anxiety, and we only trust their fears as to its result will not be justified. Mr. Waller describes with his customary accuracy an ancient brass from Netley Abbey. Mr. Tarver, F.S.A., has some memoranda on a monument at Streatham Church. Several Surrey wills are communicated by Mr. Crisp, and, to conclude the volume, we are delighted to see the first portion of the Surrey Visitation of 1623, for which we have so long waited. The volume is a remarkably valuable one, and merited we think a notice somewhat more lengthy than usual. May we be critical enough to point out, however, that amongst the list of vice-presidents of the society there are one or two errors in style? We especially notice Earl Onslow for Earl of Onslow, and the same error occurs further on in the name of Lord Lovelace.

[ocr errors]

At the annual meeting of the CAMBRIDGE ANTIQUARIAN SOCIETY, held on May 19, Professor J. H. Middleton gave an interesting description of a sixteenthcentury jug, exhibited by Professor G. F. Browne. This beer-jug is made of what is called, in Elizabethan inventories," Cullen (Cologne) ware. The designs consist of three female figures in the costume of the potter's own time: I. Judith holding a sword and the head of Holophernes; with scroll over her head inscribed "IVDIT 1569.' II. Queen Esther standing Iwith folded hands: ESTER HAT FICTORIA," i.e. "Esther has the victory." III. Lucretia holding a dagger to her breast: "LVCRECIA Ao 1569." It seems that this very interesting piece of dated Cullen ware was dug up recently in Downing Street. A signet-gem of the fourth century belonging to the Rev. S. S. Lewis was then shown. The gem is of exceptionally fine workmanship and is a very beautiful sard, an oval of about 1 inch by inch wide, engraved with a figure of Christ, bearded, in short tunic and long boots; bearing a sheep with curved horns on His shoulders. He stands on an anchor, emblem of Faith ; two lambs leap up towards Him. Behind Him is a tree, on which three birds are sitting. In the field are two fishes-the IXOYE being the well-known emblem of Christ.

The members of the LEWISHAM ANTIQUARIAN SOCIETY, on May 31, visited the prehistoric monuments in the grounds of Charles Hill, Esq., F.S.A., at Rockhurst, West Hoathly, Sussex, A paper was read by Dr. Phené, the well-known authority on antiquities of this class. In the course of his remarks, Dr. Phené reminded the society that they were standing in the sacred spot of the wood of Anderida. One of the huge blocks of stone, upon which are rude

traces of nose and lips, he identified with the goddess Andraste, a local female divinity of the district, mentioned by Dion Cassius and others, who was worshipped in days long anterior to the Roman invasion. Other relics of the same religion Dr. Phené believes can be found in the gigantic human figures mapped out on the chalk soil at Wilmington and elsewhere; and he suggests that these great figures were the sacrificial idols described by Cæsar, it being a manifest absurdity to suppose that the wicker-work idols described by that writer could have been upright figures, but rather enclosed spaces in the figure of a man-or other form-into which the victims were driven and sacrificed. The particular figure before them was of another class, being a sphinx-like head some 20 feet in height, and more than 60 feet in circumference. Dr. Phené's interesting paper, which also touched upon the traces of serpent worship in England, was unfortunately curtailed by want of time, and it is hoped that an opportunity will be given the members of hearing it in full next winter.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

We have received the second part of the eleventh volume of the Proceedings of the YORKSHIRE GEOLOGICAL AND POLYTECHNIC SOCIETY, which contains an able paper on the "Pre-history of the Village of Fimber," by Mr. J. R. Mortimer. Fimber is a village of great antiquity, situated within a large entrenched enclosure; but in addition to this entrenchment there are traces of even older earthworks, which Mr. Mortimer calls "hollow ways," or covered ways. On the uncultivated hillsides these sunk roads have now the appearance of narrow terraces; but many sections have been cut, and seem to prove that originally they were of sufficient height to hide from view a tall man while passing along the bottom. The hollow ways must have been constructed in pre-Roman times, as at half their depth many fragments of hard Roman pottery have been found, thus indicating that the entrenched roads had been disused and half filled up by slowly accumulating débris, before the potsherds had found their way into them. There are also various tumuli in the immediate vicinity of Fimber, some of which have been excavated by Mr. Mortimer with very interesting results.

The annual Whitsuntide excursion of the LANCASHIRE AND CHESHIRE ANTIQUARIAN SOCIETY was this year made into the North-West of Yorkshire. On Wednesday, May 28, a party of members left Manchester for Barnard Castle, stopping for about two hours en route at Kirkby Stephen, where they visited the parish church, which contains many fragments of early Norman date, including a portion of a cross with the figure of the devil bound in chains. Arriving at Barnard Castle, the castle was first visited. It was founded very early in the twelfth century by one of the Baliol family, from whom the castle and town have derived their names. The parish church and the new Bowes Museum were also inspected. On Thursday the party started early for Eggleston Abbey, formerly occupied by Præmonstratensian or White Canons. It lies on the right bank of the Tees, about two miles from Barnard Castle. There are many

« PreviousContinue »