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two windows toward the east in the south aisle retain their original stonework and iron saddlebars, but the stonework of the remaining windows has been renewed. A comparison of the old and new small lights in the top compartments of the aisle windows will shew how completely the modern workman has failed to grasp the niceties of form which give a distinctive character to the work of the earlier mason. The tower appears at one time to have been floored across at no great height from the ground, and its arch was boarded up, and further blocked by an organ and organ gallery, until the year 1893, when the tower was opened out to the church, its walls cleaned and restored, stained glass placed in the western window, and a panelled roof of English oak upon the old corbels put in as a memorial of Mrs. S. Rothwell, the cost being defrayed by Mrs. Birchall and Mr. R. R. Rothwell, the plans being most kindly prepared by Mr. Edward W. Cox.

In the year 1891, a commencement was made of the removal of the whitewash, which had disfigured the church probably from the seventeenth century; and the work was carried on until the unsightly coating had entirely disappeared. The pulpit originally stood against the middle pillar of the north arcade, where the marks left by its removal are still visible. Other marks upon the pillar immediately opposite may indicate the former existence of a bracket for the support of an image, but this, in the absence of any record, is a matter of surmise.

No doubt can exist that the church, and more especially the chancel, has been much despoiled. Its hangings have been torn down, its frescoes obliterated, its stained glass demolished, its brasses broken, its monuments defaced, the fabric itself in places injured; yet notwithstanding the handiwork

of the iconoclast, and of the soldiers of the Commonwealth, it still remains a noble witness to the piety and liberality of an age gone by.


Various small devices cut upon the face of many of the stones of a mediæval building are generally passed by unnoticed by the majority of those who visit it, or, if observed, are regarded as the meaningless work of some idle hand. These incised figures have, nevertheless, been intentionally made, for a purpose, and possibly with a meaning, which has long been closely investigated by the students of "masons' marks." These marks are to be found on buildings of every age, and in every country. With a strange continuity and similarity of form, they have been cut upon their handiwork by known and unknown, by Egyptian, Oriental, Greek, Roman, and mediæval masons. Modern masons still employ them, but with a prosaic object, in a different position, and, though with a vague respect, in ignorance of any secret meaning which they may have heretofore conveyed.

The earliest regular use in this country of masons' marks began about the eleventh century; and as the various styles of architecture succeeded one another, these marks increased in number, and underwent corresponding variations. The marks appear to have had differing origins. Some bear a resemblance to various religious symbols; some appear to be alphabetical in character, some numeral, many geometrical; and others rude representations of various objects, among others of masons' tools. Their dimensions range from one to three inches, and frequently vary in accordance with their position. The same mark will be found of full size upon a stone in the wall, but of much smaller dimensions upon another in a

moulding. An inspection of Euclid's Elements will give a general notion of their appearance, and some of them are identical with the figures of some of his propositions. The circle is conspicuous, however, by its absence ; a curve is of rare occurence, but an angle is invariably introduced.

Examples of these marks occur in abundance at Sephton, and may be described as the simple angle, either right, obtuse, or acute; two triangles placed in hour-glass position; the five-pointed star; portions of the pentagon; a bisected angle or arrow head; the same with the bisecting line produced upwards or downwards, or upwards and crossed by a short line, forming a kind of gable cross; a triangle with each side produced in one direction, forming three external obtuse angles; two triangles on a common base; two parallel lines bisected diagonally by a third; a simple X; two figures of X, the one above and resting on the other; an X placed upon its side in the inner angle of an obtuse angle; a W; a W with its upper points touching a perpendicular line; a W with its inner lines produced above and cutting each other; an Nor Z; a figure resembling the letter A, with concave sides and the apex flattened; a bisected inverted U, the three points touching a base line and resembling a mediæval M; two curves, their convex sides facing each other and joined by a double bar, in the fashion of an H; a peculiar mark on the wall of the north aisle, in the shape of an horizontal line with a curved line resting upon it on its extremities, having at one end a reversed C, and at the other a crook or hook. An anchor is also to be found.

These various marks can be easily identified by a careful inspection of the jambs of the two Decorated windows of the north wall, the piscina, the mouldings of the chancel aumbry, the wall

above the sedilia, the east wall of the south aisle, the arches of both nave and chancel, and the porch. Masons' marks can also, with the help of a glass, be seen in abundance upon the clerestory walls; where, as they usually occur most frequently on the lower courses of a building, they supply an indication that the existing nave and chancel have been constructed largely out of material furnished by the demolition of an earlier church. It has already been noticed that they occur distinctly on the stones beneath the chancel stalls. These marks sometimes appear to be inverted, which may be accounted for either by the position of the mason with regard to his stone, or by the stone having been placed upside down when built into the wall.

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Such being the characteristics of these marks, the question presents itself, For what purpose were they made? The saying will here apply, "Many men, many minds." Some would assert that they form the alphabet, or, like the Chinese characters, are the verbal signs of a universal geometric language, intelligible to the craftsmen of every nationality; or that they express some secrets of construction. Others hold that they merely serve to identify the work of the members of some particular lodge or community of masons, or of some individual mason. The marks appear in many instances to have been handed down from father to son, which will account for the same mark occurring on parts of a building which belong to different periods. Documents are in existence, dating from the seventeenth century, which record the appropriation of certain marks by different individuals.

As the periods when various forms of marks came into use are approximately known, the expert is furnished with a key as to the date of the

workmanship on which they occur, and is able to trace the handiwork of the owner of a mark as he journeyed through the country from building to building. English mediæval masons placed their marks invariably at the centre of the face of a stone; modern masons make them, but merely as a means by which each man may identify his work, on the upper surface of the "bed." Straight lines, like the Roman numerals up to three, sometimes occur. Such are to be found near the sedilia, on the chancel wall, but these strokes probably only indicated to the builder the proper position of the stone. If the observer does not in these marks find "sermons in stones," he may at least conclude that they are not without a meaning, whether occult or practical.


Engraved plates of brass or latten came into use as memorials of the dead in the thirteenth century. The continental brasses exhibit both the figure and the background engraved upon a quadrangular plate; the English workers adopted the plan of inlaying the figure and any tabenacle work surrounding it, separately into the stone, or, very commonly, Purbeck marble slab, which supplied a background in itself. An illustration of this latter method is to be seen at Sephton, in the memorial brass of Margaret Bulkeley.

These memorial brasses furnish representations of ecclesiastics in their vestments, of knights in their armour, of ladies in the costume of their day, and of all sorts and conditions of men, of merchants and burghers, in their habits as they lived. pains were evidently taken to represent correctly even minute details of vestment, armour, or robe; the fashion of wearing the hair or beard; and the


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