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Sigmund : Why heave you Bloodaxe
Higher than all else?
Why ? mighty kingdoms
Sigmund : Why forbid victory
To him, the shrewdest ?
Well, not to know all,
Sigmund : Hail to thee, Eric !
Welcome to Valhall !
1 Sinfjötli, son of Sigmund, is one of those mentioned in the Völsunga Saga.
a Fenrir the wolf, who at Ragnarök, the End of All Things, will devour gods and men.
The Maccus who killed Eric with his own hand, according to Matthew of Westminster, was Magnus Olaf's son. 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, 31 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
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 interestirg 'I beg to acknowledge my indebtedness to Mr. H. B. McCall, F.S.A., for
his kind help and advice,
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 chai ming 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.”
The south porch, the most interesting piece of detail remaining in the whole church, projects from the wall, and has a flagged lean-to roof. It contains a highly enriched doorway, which is, however, not the original one, but has been built up from twelfth-century stones discovered amongst the debris of the ruined apse. Allen's description in 1831 is as follows :“On the south side is a porch, and within it a circular arched entrance, formerly very rich in sculptured ornaments, but now only retaining a solitary bird's head, which serves as a keystone.” Flanking the entrance on either side are now three nook-shafts, which rise from moulded bases standing on a chamfered plinth, which is returned on the sides of the porch. They carry carved and cushion capitals with neckings, and the abacus above (which is enriched with rosettes, etc.) is carried along the wall of the porch on either side, as a string-course. The arch is of three orders, the middle one consists of a series of beak-heads grasping a roll, while the inner and outer orders are also highly enriched with devices into which the chevron pattern enters largely, but which is not easy to describe. There is a hood-mould zigzagged on its inner edge.
The artistic feeling of the work is that of the middle of the twelfth century.
On the inside of the church, just above the west door, is a recess in the form of a vesica, which now contains a very rudely-carved stone, respecting which an eminent authority writes : There is of course no doubt, I think, of its preNorman date, but as to the right interpretation, that is very conjectural matter. The attitude of the hands is that of adoration or prayer; but this might betoken either the Magi or the three Hebrew children in the fire."
Some of the old inhabitants used to tell me that they strongly resented the destruction of the old church, and advocated restoration, but the Rev. Robert Taylor was an enthusiastic rebuilder; a friend of mine once described the rebuilding of the churches of Barmby Moor cum Fangfoss, as "an warrantable and outrageous piece of vandalism." A large number of carved stones, including many with beaks and grotesque masks (which certainly ought to have been used in the rebuilding), are to be seen in the grounds of Fangfoss Hall, also what is probably a holy water stoup; these are carefully and jealously preserved from desecration by Thomas Eadon, Esq., the owner of the Hall.
1 Alluded to in Yorkshire Archæological Journal, xxi, 254.