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BY H. ANDERSON MEADEN, M.R.A.S., F.R.S.L.
FROM an antiquarian point of view the Isle of Lewis is, in many respects, unique, though its ecclesiastical treasures have been rapidly disappearing as if they were of no consequence whatever! Graves are freely marked by stones taken from the old churches; thatch is held down by the thick slates removed from their roofs, while one beautifully-worked stoup was employed for many years in keeping a gate open!
The people in the country districts are quite charming, but they are more concerned with fishing and agriculture than with antiquarian studies, so that, bearing in mind also a certain hostility to the outward reminders of a religion which they have left behind, it is scarcely surprising that they have attached little if any importance to these hallowed emblems of the past.
At Eye, four miles from Stornoway, there is an interesting and well preserved ruin containing a slab to the memory of Margaret Mackinnon, mother of the last mitred abbot of Iona, but the place is neglected and its appearance completely spoilt by modern tombstones, though Nature has happily risen in revolt and partly covered them with a plentiful supply of
Some thirty miles from Stornoway, in the village of Eorrapaidh, near the Butt of Lewis, there is another church in equally good condition but prettily situated among the crofts, and happily not used for burials. It has been preserved at the expense of the neighbouring Church of St. Peter, around which interments are still made, with the result that nothing is left except a portion of one wall, much of the remainder having been taken down within the memory of middle-aged persons in order to provide covering cairns for the graves.
Eorrapaidh Church, properly known as St. Moluag's, but described locally as Teampull Mor (i.e., Great Church), or St. Olave's (after the Norse King who rebuilt it), is probably late thirteenth century, though the site has been hallowed since the sixth century, when St. Moluag, the companion of St. Columba, visited the island and erected a church on this spot.
The building is of quite a simple nature-oblong, 50 ft. by 23 ft. There is a sacristy at the north-east corner, lighted
6TH SER. VOL. XII.
by a very narrow east window. There is a similar, but even smaller, building, forming a chapel at the south-east corner, approached by a separate door from the outside end only, connected with the main building by a "squint," through which the high altar would be visible. The inside measurement of this chapel is only 93 ft. by 51 ft.
St. Moluag's was one of the four places in Scotland to which pilgrimages were made for the cure of lunacy. The patient was first given water from the holy well close by, after which he was led round the church three (or seven) times, sunwise. He was then left bound all night with his head resting on a stone, and if not cured by the morning the case was considered incurable. The last treatment of this kind took place about the year 1850, and is remembered by some of the inhabitants.
The Gaelic name implies the veneration in which the building was held, though ample proof of this is afforded by the fact that it was customary to kneel down and say a paternoster on coming within sight of the church some four miles
Teampull Mor has now been handed over to official trustees, and the work of restoration has been commenced. At present only the chapel and sacristy have been done, but if the necessary funds are forthcoming it is hoped that the main building will be taken in hand this year. This will be the only ancient building in use in the whole island, and should have the effect of reviving local interest in such matters. When people have an opportunity of seeing with their own eyes the contrast between the hideous modern erections in which they now worship, and the stately beauty of the ancient houses of prayer, they will cease to regard the remains of the latter merely as convenient accumulations of material for the building of stone dykes, or anything else that may be needed.
Lovers of nature would find all that they could want in the neighbourhood of Eorrapaidh-a magnificent coast, a peaceful and healthy locality, and a race of people, said to be almost pure Norse, and certainly much the finest in the whole island.
There is no railway, and the journey from Stornoway to Eorrapaidh has to be done by road. Visitors to the old church should not forget to see Clach an Truiseil, probably the largest monolith in the country. It is about midway between the two places, but some little distance off the main road, and, owing to houses and the formation of the ground, not sufficiently visible to attract attention.
Reviews and Notices of Books
A CALENDAR OF THE PUBLIC RECORDS RELATING TO PEMBROKESHIRE Vol. I. Haverford, edited by HENRY OWEN, D.C.L. Oxon., F.S.A., of Poyston. No. 7, Record Series of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion. 1911.
THIS compilation is a very successful attempt to collect documents relating to the Castle, Town, and Lordship of Haverfordwest from the earliest times until the close of the reign of Henry VIII.
Ecclesiastical matters and notices referring to mediæval Haverford included in the Rolls Series of Chronicles and Memorials have been omitted.
The documents here printed were gleaned from the MSS. now preserved in the British Museum and Public Record Office. Both of these repositories have been searched with the aid of the available indices and calendars.
The materials relating to Haverford have been classified under seven heads.
No. 1 contains the History of the Lordship of Haverford from 1204 to 1544.
No. 2 illustrates the jurisdictional status of the Barony.
No. 3 is a good instance of original research, as it gives Ministers' Accounts of the Lordship down to the close of the reign of King Henry VIII, and, though primarily concerned with the manor, contains many details of general interest.
No. 4 consists of texts, also manorial.
No. 5 is accidentally omitted.
No. 6 illustrates the History of the Town. It has been subdivided into two sections:-A. Comprising evidences upon the municipal, manorial, and topographical aspects of the town. The texts of the charters, excepting that of 1207, have already appeared in the pages of Archeologia Cambrensis. Subdivision B exhibits the trading activity of the burgesses.
No. 7 consists of "Ancient Deeds."
No. 8 relates chiefly to the structural and military history of the Castle of Haverfordwest.
The general reader will find that there are some pleasant pickings for him dotted about in these somewhat technical pages. For instance, on page 80 is the account of John Rowe, Reeve of St. Ismael's, concerning the carcases and skins of rabbits, taken during
the years 1387 and 1388, on the islands of Scokholm, Scalmey, and Middleholm. The catch consisted of 3120 rabbits, from which tithe in kind had been deducted. Of these, 2318 had been sold skinned, apparently in Haverfordwest; 802 were consumed by two couple of ferrets, a most liberal allowance, but perhaps the gentle beasts shared them with the ferreters. £11 98. 2d. is respited, being the value of 3000 rabbit-skins taken in the previous year, and charged for as if they had been sold in Haverfordwest, but as a matter of fact these skins were sent to Bristol, and while waiting at Dyneb (Tenby) were stored in a wet place for a week, and again further wetted, both on the sea, during the passage, and in a damp storehouse at Bristol, whereby they became rotten and of no value at all. Unfortunately, we do not learn what was the price received for the rabbits' carcases.
Strange obsolete words occasionally turn up. In the year 1404-5 Phillip Jany, who was the tenant of Trauger (Trefgarne), at a rental of 8s., had the said rent remitted to enable him to re-erect a tenement on his holding; he also received 1s. 6d. for making sixteen clad in the wood of Trauger, to put under the lead on Haverford Castle to preserve it. Our editor states that clads were wattled hurdles, and as they came out of Trefgarne wood he is probably right, but mats made of reed were often used for this purpose.
On page 30 we find the place name Coppidbusshe. There are several farms so called in the county, and some folks connect the word with Copyhold, which is a mistake, for it is related to copse, and means a piece of brush wood, which was divided into plots, one of which was annually cut for firewood.
We must congratulate Dr. Owen on having accomplished a very conscientious piece of work, and shall anxiously look out for the sister volumes on Pembroke and Tenby, which, we understand, will shortly appear.
THE ROMAN ERA IN BRITAIN. By JOHN WARD, F.S.A.
In this volume on The Roman Era in Britain, Mr. John Ward has furnished archæologists and others, who, in increasing numbers, are taking an intelligent interest in bygone times, trustworthy information which is scattered in a vast number of antiquarian papers, not always easily accessible. It is a sequel to an earlier volume in the series of Antiquarian Handbooks, Romano-British Earthworks and Buildings. Mr. Ward courteously acknowledges his indebtedness to the hearty co-operation of curators of museums, which has enabled him to illustrate his work copiously from the various "finds" preserved in these institutions.
The Roman Era lasted about 450 years. What four centuries and a-half mean the author helps us to realise very vividly by reminding us of the contrast between the times of Henry VI. with
our own a period without the printing press, steam power, railways, steamships, telegraphs, gas and electricity; before America was discovered, or our vast colonial empire was founded. He justly argues that in the period from the Claudian Conquest in A D. 43 to the final withdrawal of the Roman legions, c. 410, the changes brought about under Roman influence were no less remarkable and far-reaching. Some useful maps strengthen this contrast-the physical map, showing the forests, marshes, and elevations exceeding 500 ft., which determined (Fig. 2) the distribution of the civilian population, and the roads and towns in Roman times, with a third map showing the railroads and regions of densest population at the present day.
Still more suggestive is the section in which he treats of the natural resources and industries. Coal, which is of such vital importance to Britain, now pre-eminently a manufacturing people, was of little value to the Roman-Britons, essentially agriculturists, whereas wheat, upon the free importation of which the national safety depends at present almost entirely, was grown in such abundance in this country that the Emperor Julian in the fourth century arranged for the conveyance by 600 vessels of a supply from Britain to relieve scarcity in the Rhenish countries.
The chapter on the structure and distribution of the roads is most helpful and suggestive. Truly characteristic of the masterly organising power of the Romans, imperial in their comprehensiveness, they had, in addition to their military use, an operative influence in breaking down the mutual antipathies of the semiisolated British tribes, and hastening their acceptance of Roman rule. The author points out how the Roman routes were along lines almost identical with those of the main lines of railway: Watling Street to Deva (Chester) being the Roman L. and N. W. main line, continued to Carnarvon and the Menai Straits by a route which the Irish Mail of to-day closely follows; how remarkably the G.W.R. from London to South Wales was anticipated, and how the Great Northern Expresses from London to Scotland follow much the same line as Erming Street.
The Roman engineers had a decided preference for high ground, owing to the swampy and thickly-wooded condition of the valleys at the time, but they did not, as is popularly believed, keep to an undeviating straight line. The route was direct but not straight, and instead of negotiating difficult gradients by curves, they continued the route by straight lines forming angles with one another.
The forts and camps by which the Romans made their conquest secure, and the several types of houses in which they lived, are set forth in greater detail in the earlier volume referred to.
A valuable chapter, adequately illustrated, describes the chief characteristics of the pottery found in such abundance on Roman sites. Here, again, Mr. Ward rightly contests the common opinion that the potter's wheel was a Roman introduction, vessels of artistic