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Southowscroft to the meadows of Sepholme. Thus they seemed to be within reach of the object of their desires, but, unluckily, there were grazing rights over the marsh belonging to seven oxgangs and fifteen tofts, which rights they had not been able to acquire, so they had to be content with posts driven in along the line of boundary to mark off this portion of the marsh.
The son of Sayer, Junr., was another Sayer of whose short tenure of the manor, lasting only about three years, I am in quest of further details. He was succeeded in 1292 by his son John-the Sir John de Sutton whose mailed effigy adorns the great chantry chapel or chancel of Sutton Church. The chronicle records a dispute with him and Godfrey de Melsa and their respective tenants, about the condition of the outlets of Forthdyk and Suttondyk at the millpool, and a carefully-framed agreement as to the shares the respective parties were to bear in the cost of future repairs.
When, in 1339, Sir John de Sutton, Junr., and Hugh of Leven, the fifteenth Abbot, succeeded to their respective dignities, the posts that had marked off the monks' share of the Westkerre (as the marsh began to be called) had long since disappeared, and the lord of the manor claimed common of pasture therein. After long negociations the parties, "brought to unanimity", agreed that, amongst other things, Sir John and his tenants should have common there for their sheep, but that the monks should have common for five hundred wethers or sheep in the remaining portion of the Westkerre, and large stones were fixed where the decayed feet of the posts had been found. The nature of this "unanimity" may be inferred from their plaintive comment that the arrangement was "contrary to right", while they had to keep up the river-bank to protect this very land.
The lands reclaimed from the tide in the south-eastern corner of the parish, nearest the Humber, were suited for pasturage, and were called the Salts, which name they still keep. It would take too long to tell how the monks acquired by purchase from Sayer, Senr., and, in various ways, from other persons, the grazing rights in the Salts which had been allotted in respect of the oxgangs of ancient ploughland. The details bring out clearly the mode
of division of the fifteen-acre oxgangs into smaller shares or parts. Thus the thirty long strips of each oxgang could be most conveniently divided into halves, thirds, and sixths, and the third part of half an oxgang would consist of five of these strips or selions, which seems to be the smallest quantity that carried with it a definite share of the meadows and pasturage. Rarely the arable land is dealt with by the single selion, but I suspect that this was not the ancient ploughland, but part of the reclaimed land which had been ploughed out, but which was not wedded to meadow and pasture.
The chronicle also gives some interesting details as to the grazing rights of the monks. To each oxgang of arable land of their own in Sutton, they had pasturage for twenty oxen and eighty sheep, besides the right to dig sixteen cart-loads of turves for fuel; and where sheep only could be kept, five could be substituted for one ox. They seem, indeed, to have substituted sheep for oxen to the utmost extent of their rights, for it is noted that of the twenty oxen which they could keep for each oxgang of arable, two were sufficient for its cultivation. This means, I assume, that two head of horned cattle were sufficient to keep up the stock out of which those actually required for the plough were taken, for the remainder of the oxen are reckoned among the proportionate number of sheep. Besides this they had all the reclaimed lands which they had got from other owners. Thus, in their most prosperous days, when Kingston-upon-Hull, close to one corner of the parish, had been incorporated by Edward I, and was carrying on an enormous export of wool, they had in Sutton eight sheepfolds, in which more than two thousand sheep were kept.
But in the time of Sayer, Junr., the porter of the monastery, who had charge of their grazing in the Salts, not having so many sheep of their own as they were entitled to turn out, took in sheep belonging to strangers for payment, which was a high crime in the eyes of the lord of the manor and the neighbours. Sayer treated it as too serious to be punished by fine; he impounded the strange sheep, collected the agreed payment, and deprived them of most of the rights which they had acquired in the Salts. This very serious loss was inflicted on them
by the help of Isabella, Countess of Albemarle, the widow of the last male heir of that family to which the Abbey had owed its foundation.
So far I have said nothing about that large portion of reclaimed land which was laid out as meadow. Much of it appears to have gone to the lord of the manor; the remainder of it was divided, probably by lot, amongst the free tenants, in proportion to their oxgangs of arable. The several shares in the meadow-land were called 'dayles", being the doles or deals that were dealt out to those entitled to them. Each owner would gather the hay from his own dayle, and then the cattle of the whole of the owners, in due proportion, would graze the meadows in common until the following March.
About the year 1225 the monks began by acquiring a selion of arable land in Magnusdayle, and they gradually formed a compact little property of twenty-nine acres by gifts and purchases, chiefly by paying off debts due from the owners to the Jews of York and Lincoln. Selions of arable were intermixed with meadow, which was unusual, and may indicate something like private ownership. At all events, Sayer, Seur., allowed them to enclose this land with ditch and bank. But, with the carelessness which was always getting them into disputes, they neglected to keep up the bank and cleanse the ditches, which became so far obliterated that Sir Thomas de Sutton, the last male of the family, with his free tenants, claimed rights of pasturage over the land. Then they began to clean out the ditches, but these persons forcibly prevented it, and a meeting had to be convened upon the spot, at which the monks produced their charters, and the vestiges of the ditches were examined. At length, as Sir Thomas took their part, they were allowed to complete the enclosure, and under the name of the Oxlands, their little farm is recognisable to this day.
Unfortunately, the chronicle ends soon after this event, but one is glad to find another dispute in which we can entirely sympathise with them, and out of which they came victorious. The bank which they had to maintain in the Westcarr was made a few feet from the channel of the river, so that there was, and still is, a good space of grass, covered only by the highest tides. Brick
making had by this time been introduced into England, and certain tylers, or brickmakers, of Beverley began coming slily down the river and stealing the mud and the soil to the peril of the bank. The monks retaliated by many times seizing their oars, and at last by stopping a laden boat at Wawne. Thereupon, the men of Beverley, backed up by the Archbishop, resorted to threats and blasphemy, caught and imprisoned one of the monks, and threatened the Abbot himself. In the end, struck by shame, and some alarm at the expected approach of the King, they released the monk, offered satisfaction, begged for absolution, and "experienced the mercy of the Abbot".
There are several matters of less importance set out in the Chronicle. I hope to print the whole shortly, together with other records of an important character, relating to the mediæval and more recent arrangements of the parish of Sutton. Meanwhile, I have thought that the careful records of the dealings between the monks and the lords of Sutton, which have long been half hidden in the Chronica Monasterii de Melsa, need not wait longer for such an identification with the localities to which they relate as is indispensable to a correct appreciation of their significance.
A FEW NOTES ON THE GODS OF BRITAIN.
BY W. DE GRAY BIRCH, ESQ., F.S.A., HON. SEC.
(Read at the York Congress, 1891.)
ARCHEOLOGY tells us in unerring language that the whole of Great Britain was well, if not thickly, populated by various tribes, conveniently, but somewhat broadly, termed Celtic, long before the Romans approached its shores. These tribes cannot have had a common origin, for there are remarkably different peculiarities of race, physical detail, manners and customs, which have been carefully examined and compared by ethnologists and antiquaries, who have stored up a large array of observations and investigations into the relics, whether funerary or domestic, which each race has left behind as it succumbed before the irresistible power of superior discipline, and more consolidated organisation. Of the actual number of these tribes, and of their proper chronological sequence in the history of Great Britain, nothing is actually verified. In one part one custom, in another another, appears to have obtained simultaneously, and even in these late days obscure local observances still maintain, like a faint echo, some semblance, imperfect and difficult of recognition, of the original practices to which they thus point. In one place cremation, at another place interment; in this district sacrifices of blood, in that, the milder dedication of grain, fruits, or personal ornaments found favour with the people. The practice of solitary burial in one district, with or without superjacent tumulation of earth or stones, may be contrasted with the crowded burials found in the sand dunes of another district.
According to an accomplished archæologist, England never seems to have been the home of any race which did not receive ideas of civilisation from its visitors or con
querors. Lord Lytton has conclusively shown that the ancient Britons, to whatever sub-division of that allembracing appellation they may have belonged, were not ignorant barbarians, in the modern sense of the word