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Sigurd and Rögnvald, and the two sons of the Earl of Orkney. "A dreadful battle, in which many Englishmen fell; but for one who fell came three in his place out of the country behind, and when evening came on the loss of men turned to the side of the Northmen. . . When Gunnhild and her sons knew for certain that King Eric had fallen, after having plundered the land of the king of England, they thought there was no peace to be expected from them; and they made themselves ready to depart from Northumbria, with all the ships King Eric had left, and all the men who would follow them. They took also all the loose property and goods which they had gathered, partly as taxes in England, partly as booty on their expeditions. With their host they first steered northward to Orkney."
The Rey cross at Stanmoor, between Richmond, Westmorland, and Cumberland, marks the site of the battle. Unhappily, it is now but a fragment, but we have a seventeenth century description of it before it was mutilated.
The name of Osulf is known to us as High Sheriff of Bamborough, in a diploma of 949. The Saga of Hakon the Good affirms that after the death of their father, the sons of Eric directed their attacks upon Norway, and these attacks, we know, occurred in 950, 952, and 954, making it probable that Matthew of Westminster's date, 950, for the death of Eric is correct.
The Egill's Saga also informs us that the death of Eric was at but a little interval from that of Athelstan.1
Gunnhild had a lay composed in honour of Eric, and it is interesting, though preserved in only a fragmentary condition. It shows us how little impression Christianity had made on some who rather prided themselves on having renounced paganism. It consisted of a dialogue between Odin and Bragi, the god of poetry, and Sigmund, the father of Sigurd the dragon slayer.
The Maccus who killed Eric with his own hand, according to Matthew of Westminster, was Magnus Olaf's son. He was, perhaps, summoned by Oswulf of Bamborough to join in the fight against Eric and the rest of the marauding horde.
It is remarkable that the Chronicle makes no mention of Eric being placed by Athelstan in authority in York in 935 or 936.
But all this portion of the Chronicle has meagre entries, for 934 is no other entry than the accession of Elphin to the bishopric of Worcester, and there are no entries at all for 935 and 936.
If we may combine the notices in the Sagas and those in the English Chronicle, we would judge that Eric Bloodaxe was three times in York, first as viceroy, and then later as king, elected by the people on two occasions.
BY REV. W. D. WOOD-REES, VICAR.1
FANGFOSS, a little village unknown to the many, known only to the few, is in the Wilton Beacon division of the Wapentake of Harthill, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, 3 miles from Pocklington, and derives its name from the old Norse word, "Vang," which denotes a cultivated piece of land in contradistinction to land not drained nor enclosed; "Foss," from "fossa," a trench, dyke, or ditch. Although there are many things worthy of our attention in the parish, our chief object is to describe the church, which is dedicated to St. Martin of Tours.
The church, as we now see it, consists of a nave and chancel only, with a south porch, of shallow projection, to the former. But the fabric was originally furnished with an apsidal east end, similar in general form to that of Feliskirk, near Thirsk; and there was until recently a western tower. It was entirely of twelfth-century character, though mutilated and uncared for until its rebuilding was taken in hand by the late Rev Robert Taylor in 1848. At this time the apse had entirely disappeared, the upper stages of the Norman tower repaired with brick-work, and common sash frames inserted in the place of the original windows. Such was the condition of the building in 1831, as described in Allen's History of York. There remained, however, at this period two narrow semicircular headed windows in the south wall of the chancel, which was divided by buttresses into four bays or compartments. A string course, which is possibly original, under the chancel windows consists of a row of lozenges between two narrow bands of zigzag. The corbel table carrying the cornice is described as having been of considerable merit, many of the corbels being carved with grotesque masks, etc. "One of a warrior," says Mr. Allen, "on horseback, has a spear in his hand, and on his head the conical nasal helmet, which was in use in the time of William I, and is often represented in the Bayeux tapestries."
The restoration was entrusted to Mr. Chantrel, a well-known London architect of that time, who, in his initial report, observes: "Fangfoss is perhaps one of the most interesting
1 I beg to acknowledge my indebtedness to Mr. H. B. McCall, F.S.A., for
buildings to the antiquary that can be found in the county, and it has so much beautifully carved material in a perfect state that I should be glad to undertake its restoration. Fangfoss has once been a gem of Norman architecture." Alas! Mr. Chantrel was not allowed to do as he wished, and what amounts practically to rebuilding took the place of judicious repairs.
The lost apse must have been a very chaiming feature. It was not an unusual eastern termination for a twelfth-century church, but few examples have been suffered to remain. The demolition was in some cases due to an extension of the chancel eastward, but more frequently to a desire for a large altar window, which could only be set in a square east end. The Norman churches, with their narrow and round-headed windows, must have been very dark; this did not much matter before the invention of printing. They had no books, and could not have read them if they had. (In the present church we have to light our lamps for the afternoon service in the dull days of November and December.) The fifteenth century was especially distinguished by the insertion of large windows in the place of the small early ones. In his report of the old church, which the Rev. Robert Taylor made immediately before the reconstruction, he says: "On the taking down of the church, it now appears there was originally an apse; being a semicircular recess at the end of the chancel, containing three windows. The recess was entered by an open arch, the full width of the apse, and had pilasters and vaulting ribs, which met in a boss. This must have had, viewed from the nave, a beautiful effect, the recess or apse, which contained the altar table, being seen through two highly ornamental arches. The quantity of carved stone, good and mutilated, is quite astonishing. Mr. Chantrel (the architect) is going to apply to the architectural or antiquarian society. I intend to put an account in the Builder. The church had also a Norman tower of good dimensions. This had disappeared; but in digging for foundations towards the west, we came upon the foundations of the tower. The ashlar work of the tower, as far as the plinth, being in beautiful preservation. We have all been amazed at our discoveries. Chantrel discovered a vesica piscis' (a fish's bladder), which he states to be the ancient symbol of Christianity. We also found the master mason's private mark, which is the same as those discovered at the east end. Chantrel, in his rapture, declared these last to be of great value."