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"April 25.-The Secretary gave the Society an account of four stone coffins found in the road betwixt Chesterton and Water Newton. All four lying across the road north and south inclining towards the east. In the first was found a skeliton of a woman, as is supposed, with the small bones of an infant, the ribs not above the inches 3 long and entire. In the other three were found bones, in taking out of which the workmen, with their spades. and pickaxes, broke to pieces several small earthen potts; one remains entire in the hands of the Rev. Mr. Old, Rector of Chesterton in the shape of a common mustard-pot, another, broken, like a narrow neck decanter, being, I suppose, the lachrymatory vessels usually deposited in the graves along with the deceased. There was also one gold earring or jewel found in one of them in possession of Mrs. Child, of Yaxley.
The coffins, three of them, were strait and even] like a trough, differing not above one inch in breadth betwixt the head and the feet. The largest, now in possession of Mr. Edwards, of Water Newton, measures outside, from end to end, 7 foot 3 inches, inside 6 foot 4 inches, breadth at the head 2 feet 4 inches, at the foot 2 foot 3 inches, depth within almost 2 foot. It has no device upon it, only on the outside is furrowed with the tool slantwise about
inch deep; the others are all plain. One is of the common shape, wide at the head and narrow at the feet. They had each of them a plain cover of free stone.
August 8.-The Secretary communicated to the Society:
"The humble Petition of the Inhabitants of the Soak of Peterborough, within the County of Northampton, containing about forty towns and villages, against the Undertakers their, with exceptions to their Act, setting forth how and wherein they abused the parliament by their false suggestions, and a relation of a new reviving of an Old Court Project terribly to threaten those who oppose self-ended designs, May 28, 1650. This pamphlet, in 4to, contains 13 pages, and sets forth very ingeniously the hardships which the inhabitants of this Soak were like to suffer from the incroachments and oppressions of the Earl of Bedford and his participants, with a copy of a warrant signed by "FRAN QUARLES. "JOHN CLEYPOLE. "WILLIAM Lerfield. "September 27.-The Treasurer, Mr. Marshall, presented to the Society several pieces of ancient brick plowed up in Oxney fields belonging to Mrs. Bevil, the workmanship of which is curiously wrought with several neat whole figures in the middle and other embelishments on the sides. "December 12.-The Secretary presented a large shell of the mother of pearl kind, found by the workmen under the rock about 20 feet deep, in the ground, as they were digging the well in the
market-place of this City, at the expence of Mr. Wortley. The colours of the different laminæ appeared bright and shining, though it be near a state of petrifaction. "1739-40, January 30. - Mr. Neve communicated to the Society the original confirmation of Pope Paul to David Pool, the second Bishop of this Diocese, beginning thus: 'Paulus Eps servus Servōr dei Dilecto filio Davidi Poole Elector Petriburgens, Salt, etc.' "Anno Incarnationis dominice Millesimo quinquagesimo sexto Nono Kl. Aprilis Pontificatas nri anno Secundo.
'Penes Decanum et Capitulum Petriburg.'
"1740, June 18.-At which meeting it was agreed, nem. con., to draw up an Ordinance or Statute of Declaration, in order to prevent any misapplication or selfish designs of any future members. That whereas the present regular members have at their own great expence and pains, as well as by the benefactions of many Honourary members, got together a considerable number of books, prints, medals, and other curiosities to a considerable value, we therein declare it our original Intention that none of those things shall ever become the private property of any or all the members thereof; that none may hereafter be tempted to break us only for the hopes of Sharing the plunder. But that in case of a Dissolution of this Society (which we cannot suppose will ever happen, so long as Learning and Friendship shall flourish at Peterborough), then these things to be reposited in the library of this Cathedral Church, and in the meantime a fair catalogue to be delivered into the hands of the Register of the Dean and Chapter to be supplyd once every year at . . with the additions of the past year. 'September 3.-The Secretary communicated to the Society the original subscription for building of a Public Cross or Town House, 1669, with the names of the several benefactors, and how much each person contributed towards the building.
"1740, October 29.-Mr. Neve, V.P., communicated an ancient deed on parchment, with the seal appended, of Acharius, one of the Abbots of this Monastery, I 200. Willo fil Robti de Dodestrop, the legend round the seal :
Signum Burgense Cruce, Clave. refulget et Eube. "September 17.-The Secretary communicated an original Petition, with the hands of above an hundred subscribers of the principal Inhabitants of this City to the Right Honourable Oliver St. John, Lord Chief Justice of the Court of Common Bench at Westminster, wherein, in the first place, they acknowledg his Lordship's many and great favours towards them, particularly for preserving the Minster and assigning it as a place of Publick Worship for them, and for procuring his Highnesses Letters Pattents for the relief of the late sufferers by a fire here, etc: "1. The first article of this petition is that the flagg Fenn should be stinted or rated in proportion to the quality and quantity thereof, and the number of estates of the respective Commoners in the same.
"2. That upon regulating the said common Fenn, a certain yearly rate or payment of money be set upon the said Tennants not exceeding £200 per Annum towards the maintainance of two preaching Ministers to officiate in the Minster and Parish Church, and for reparation of the said Churches. "3. That the Reversion of the Impropriation and the lease of the great Tythes and other oblations be granted by the State for the uses above. "4. That his Lordship would use his Interest for procuring an Act of Parliament for the same use, etc.
"1741, October 21.-The Secretary communicated a fair Index of all remarkable things contained in the Ancient and Valuable MS. belonging to the Dean and Chapter of this Church, called Swapham. "October 28.-The Secretary communicated out of the Cottonian Library a
catalogue of all MS. and papers relating to the history of this Monastery, with references to each class where to be found, being about forty in Number. "1742, June 2.-Dr. Balguy, V.P., and five other members: The Secretary gave an account to the Society of a curious paper MS., in the custody of Mrs. Mitchell in Spalding, of the Book of Psalms in French, written in all the hands in use in Europe by one Mrs. Esther Anglois, a French Lady at Listebourg in Escose, 1599, dedicated to Prince Maurice, of Nassau, with a complimentary copy of Latin Verses to him, by B. K., her husband, and general other complimentary copies of Verses, in the Ladies most elegant writing, by Andrew Melvin, Robert Rollas, John Johnson, etc.; and on her person and abilities, under a picture finely drawn by her with a pen, as also the arms of the Prince and the headpieces and tailpieces to each psalm. "This curious Book is bound in Velvet, embroidered with gold, the leaves finely gilt and painted, with a running foliage stamped thereon. The Princes Cognizance, or device, is embroidered on the covers, and drawn at the end of the psalm within a laurel wreath; a branch of palm with this word on a scroll, viresut,' and his coronet over it."
MUCH WENLOCK: ST. MILBURGA'S Well.
St. Milburga's Well is still to be seen near the entrance to the beautiful and interesting ruins of the priory. A conduit from it, it is said, supplied a beautiful carved fountain which has lately been brought to light within the abbey precincts.
STOKE ST. MILBOROUGH: ST. MILBOROUGH'S
It is an unfailing spring, a little above the church, and at the foot of the steep bank leading up the Brown Clee Hill. It was reputed to be good for sore eyes, and was also much used for "bucking " clothes, which were rinsed in the well water and beaten on a flat stone at the well's mouth; but some ten years ago it was covered in, and altered, and I am told is now in a ruinous and unsightly condition. The legend still current in the village relates that St. Milburga was a very holy and beautiful woman, who, nevertheless, had so many enemies that she was obliged to live in hiding. Her retreat, however, became known, and she took to flight, mounted on a white horse (most authorities say a white ass), and pursued by her foes with a pack of bloodhounds, and a gang of rough men on horseback. After two days and two nights' hard riding she reached the spot where the well now is, and fell fainting from her horse, striking her head upon a stone. Blood flowed from the wound, and the stain it caused upon the stone remained there partly visible, and has been seen by many persons now living.
On the opposite side of the road some men were sowing barley in a field called the
Holy Wells: their Legends and Plock (by others the Vineyard), and they ran
to help the saint. Water was wanted, but none was at hand. The horse, at St. Milburga's bidding, struck his hoof into the rock, and at once a spring of water gushed out. Holy water, henceforth and for ever, flow freely," said the saint. Then, stretching out her hands, she commanded the barley the men had just sown to spring up, and instantly the green blades appeared. Turning to the men, she told them that her pursuers were close at hand, and would presently ask them, "When did the lady on the white horse pass this way?" to which they were to answer, "When we were sowing this barley." She then remounted her horse,
By R. C. HOPE, F.S.A., F.R.S.L.
MUCH WENLOCK: ST. OWEn's well.
HE only ancient dedication (in Shropshire) to a Welsh saint is that of St. Owen's Well at Much Wenlock, the existence of which in the sixteenth century is known to us from the Register of Sir Thomas Boteler, vicar of the parish.-Shropshire Folk Lore, p. 621.
and bidding them prepare their sickles, for in the evening they should cut their barley, she went on her way. And it came to pass as the saint had foretold. In the evening the barley was ready for the sickle, and while the men were busy reaping, St. Milburga's enemies came up, and asked for news of her. The men replied that she had stayed there at the time of the sowing of that barley, and they went away baffled. But when they came to hear that the barley which was sown in the morning ripened at mid-day, and was reaped in the evening, they owned that it was in vain to fight against God.
Mediæval hagiologists relate the flight of St. Milburga from the too violent suit of a neighbouring prince, whose pursuit was checked by the river Corve, which, as soon as she had passed it, swelled from an insignificant brook to a mighty flood which effectually barred his progress.
SHREWSBURY: SS. PETER AND PAUL'S WELL. SS. Peter and Paul were obvious dedications for two wells in a field near Burnt Mill Bridge" in the parish attached to the Abbey of SS. Peter and Paul at Shrewsbury. They were "good for sore eyes," and were much
resorted to till they were destroyed by the drainage of the field, about 1820.-Salopian Shreds and Patches, July 27, 1881.
THE WREKIN: ST. HAWTHORN'S WELL.
St. Hawthorn's Well existed on the Wrekin in recent years, and was supposed to be effectual in cases of skin diseases. We are told of a man who suffered from a scorbutic affection, who was wont to walk from his home, six miles distant, before 2.30 a.m., that he might drink the water and bathe his face in the well before sunrise, which was needful to the cure. But unfortunately his trouble was in vain.-Ibid., August 17, 1881.
RHOSGOEH: WISHING WELL.
At Rhosgoeh, on the Long Mountain in the Montgomeryshire portion of the Shropshire parish of Worthen, is a famous wishingwell, which is "good for the eyes" besides. "One of my cottagers," writes Sir Offley Wakeman," who lived close to the well for two years, tells me that the bottom was bright with pins-straight ones he thinks and that you could get whatever you wished
for the moment the pin you threw in touched the bottom." "It was mostly used for wishing about sweethearts."
WELLINGTON: ST. MARGARET'S WELL.
and was yearly visited by Black Country folk This is renowned for its eye-healing virtues, and others, who douked, or dipped, their heads in it on Good Friday.
LUDLOW BOILING WELL.
The pretty legend of the Boiling Well-so called from its continual bubbling as it rises in a meadow beside the river Corve at Ludlow, was related to me on the spot in the year 1881, as follows. Three centuries ago the principal figure would have been described as a holy saint in disguise instead of a simple palmer.
"Years ago, you know, there was what was called the Palmer's Guild at Ludlow. You may see the palmer's window in the church now: it is the east window in the north chancel, which was the chantry chapel of the guild. The old stained glass gives the Edward the Confessor gave a ring to a poor story of the Ludlow palmers; how King pilgrim, and how years afterwards two palmers from Ludlow, journeying homewards from the Holy Land, met with the blessed St. John the Evangelist, who gave them the same ring, and bade them carry it to their king and tell him that he to whom he had given it was no other than the saint himself, and that after receiving it again the king should not live many days, which came to pass as he said. The Palmer's Guild founded many charities in Ludlow, and among them the Barnaby House, which was a hospice for poor travellers. Many used to pass through the town in those days, especially pilgrims going to St. Winifred's Well in Wales. And once upon a time an old palmer journeying thither was stayed some days at Barnaby House by sickness, and the little maid of the house waited on him. Now, this little maid had very sore eyes. And when he was got well and was about to go on his way, he asked of her what he should do for her. 'Oh, master,' said she, that my sight might be healed!' Then he bade her come with him, and led her outside the town, till they stood beside the Boiling Well. And the old man blessed the well, and bade
it have power to heal all manner of wounds and sores, to be a boon and a blessing to Ludlow as long as the sun shines and water runs. Then he went his way, and the little maid saw him no more, but she washed her eyes with the water, and they were healed, and she went home joyfully. And even to this day the well is sought by sufferers from diseases of the eyes." Our old informant had known a man come with a horse and cart all the way from Bromyard, in Herefordshire, to fetch a barrel of the water for his wife's use, and when the barrel was empty he came again. Shropshire Folklore, 421.
LUDLOW: WISHING WELL.
In a valley called "Sunny Gutter," near Ludlow, is a wishing-well, into which you must drop a stone, and the wish you form at the moment will be fulfilled.—Ibid., 422.
BASCHURCH: THE EAS WELL.
The Eas Well, at Baschurch, in a field beside the river Perry, a mile west of the church, was frequented till twenty years ago by young people, who went there on Palm Sunday to drink sugar and water and eat cakes. A clergyman who was present in 1830, speaks of seeing little boys scrambling for the lumps of sugar which escaped from the glasses and floated down the brook which flows from the spring into the river.-Ibid., 432.
OSWESTRY: ST. OSWALD's well.
The famous well of St. Oswald makes no figure in the authentic history of the saint. In all probability it was a pagan sacred spring frequented long before his time, to whom it was afterwards dedicated. An undated deed of the thirteenth century describes certain land as being situated near the Fount of St. Oswald. In the fifteenth century the chronicler Capgrave writes that in the plain called in English Maserfeld, "the church which is called the White Church is founded in honour of St. Oswald, and not far from it rises an unfailing spring, which is named by the inhabitants St. Oswald's Well." Leland, in the sixteenth century, adds that in his day it was said that "an eagle snatched away an arm of Oswald from the stake, but let it fall in that place where now the spring is," which gushed forth where the incorruptible arm of the saint rested. A chapel, he says, has been erected
over it, the ruins of which were still to be seen in Pennant's time (1773), but have now disappeared. But the waters of Oswald's Well still flow freely at the foot of a woody bank in a field on the outskirts of Oswestry, next to that now used as the Grammar School playground. A little stream from the well to a pool below. Above and behind it is secured from falling soil or leaves by walled masonry, probably about a hundred years old, opening in front in a rounded archway, beneath which the stream flows away. In 1842 a local antiquary, the late Mr. J. F. M. Dovaston, wrote that "the feeble and the infirm still believe and bathe in the well, and did more so until it was enclosed in the noisy playground. Bottles of its waters are carried to wash the eyes of those who are dim or short-sighted, or the tardy or erring legs of such as are of weak understandings." Nowadays it seems chiefly used as a wishing-well, and many are the ceremonies prescribed for attaining the heart's desire thereby. One rite is, to go to the well at midnight, and take some of the water up in the hand, and drink part of it, at the same time forming the wish in the mind. The rest of the water must then be thrown upon a particular stone at the back of the well, where the schoolboys think that King Oswald's head was buried, and where formerly a carved head wearing a crown projected from the wall. In Mr. Dovaston's boyhood this was in good preservation, but in 1842 he says wanton tenants have battered it to a perfect mummy. If the votary can succeed in throwing all the water left in his hand upon this stone, notwithstanding any other spot, his wish will be fulfilled.
A young girl at Oswestry, about three years ago, obtained the wish which she had breathed into a small hole in the keystone of the arch over the well.
Another approved plan is to bathe the face in the water, and wish while doing so; or, more elaborately, to throw a stone upon a certain green spot at the bottom of the well, which will cause a jet of water to spout up in the air. Under this, the votary must put his head and wish, and the wish will be fulfilled in the course of one or two days.
Another plan savours of divination: it is to search among the beech-trees near the