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century, as by Albert Durer and others.

The next arch, abutting on the tower, has a subject
in a similar position on each side One representing the
ecstacy ol ISt. Francis, is very common with the painter of
every school. Here the Saint is kneeling before a crucifix
upon a rock or mound, and scintillations issue from the
wounds, as rays to his hands, feet and breast. Usually
it is a Serajjhim displayed as a cross, l^y which the stig-
mata are affected, and which is most in accord with the
legfend, which says that "in a vision of God the blessed
Francis beheld a Seraphim as crucified, and so to hnn
evidently impressed the signs of crucifixion that he
appeared as if he himself was crucified."

The painting on the opposite side shows two j^ersons,
apparently male and female, who ai"e carrying a beam
between them. I do not know of any story which
answers to this, and consider it to be merely a. record of
some benefaction to the structure of the church, as
neither figures are nimbed.

On the north wall is conspicuously placed, nearly
opposite to the chief entrance, as usual, the figure of St.
Christopher, differing in no material points from the usual
conventional treatment. It is in tolerable preservation,
but shows in many places traces of an earlier figure
beneath the present one. Amongst the details most
worth remarking is the figure of a siren or mermaid in
the river, who is combing her long locks by the aid of a
mirror, which she holds in her hand. Westwards of this
is a painting of our Lady of Pity, The Virgin is seated
in a chair with the dead body of our Lord across her lap.
It is not common to find this subject in England, but one
of the finest works of the sculpture of the Ilenaissance is
a Pieta, by Michael Angelo.

On the splayed jamb of a window close by is a figure
in long tunic and mantle, seemingly holding a bag, but it
is a good deal defaced. The symbol is that given to


St. Matthew, as liaving been a Publican, but one cannot
say with certainty if this be truly attributed.

Turning now to the south wall, we find the familiar
subject of St. George encountering the dragon, and it is
as usual to find this on the south wall as that of St.
Christopher on the north ; and they are frequently, as in
this instance, opposite each other. Here again are traces
of a previous painting of the same subject, and, as it
appears to me, the later artist has utilised portions of
the earlier work. Some parts of the design are boldly
designed and executed with some degree of skill, the
figure of the dragon especially so. The features of this
subject are so common, and ofter little variety of treat-
ment. St. George encountering the dragon, with his
lance in rest ; in the background a lady, royally crowned
with a lamb in tether ; a castle, from which look out a
king and queen, is the usual treatment observed. The
story is told in the Golden Legend, as follows : —

George, a tribune of the country of Cappadocia, arrived
by a certain way, in the province of Libya, to a city called
Silena, near to which city wa.s a lake as big as a sea, in
which a pestiferous dragon lay concealed, who oftentimes
put to flight the people who armed themselves against
him, and by his breath killed all those approaching
to the walls of the city. On account of which,
the citizens were compelled to give two sheep daily
to him, that they might appease his fury ; otherwise
he so invaded the walls of the city, that many
were slain. Now, when nearly all the sheep had
gone, counsel was taken that each man by lot should
give of his sons and daughters, and these had nearly all
been consumed also. In this strait the king's daughter
is taken by lot and adjudged to the dragon. Then the
king in great grief says, " Take my gold and silver and
the half of my kingdom, but send back my daughter lest
she likewise dieth," To whom the people in fury replied,
" Thou, O King, hast made the edict, and all our children
are dead, and thou canst scarcely save thy daughter.
Unless you comply, as in other cases you ordained, we
will destroy thee and thy house." The king, then,
weeping, took lus daughter, and besought that he might
have eight days of mourning previously to her being


given up. The time having expired, he took his daughter,
indued her with royal robes, saying, "Alas! I had thought
to have invited princes to thy nuptials, to have adorned
the palace with pearls, to hear drums and trumpets,
hut you go to be devoured hj the dragon." Then she,
throwing herself at his feet, asks his blessing ; and with
tears he leads her towards the lake. Then the blessed
George, as he passed by, saw their mourning, and asked
her what it meant. She answered, " Good youth, mount
your horse and fly, lest with me you likewise perish."
To whom he said, " I fear not, damsel, but tell me what
this means, with all this crowd looking on." At length
she related her story, again beseeching him to retire ; but
he replied he would in Christ's name help her. As they
were discoursino^ the drag-on raised his huo-e head from
the lake. Then George mounting his horse, fortifying
himself with the sign of the cross, boldly put his lance
in rest and went to meet the dragon, grievously wounded
him, and cast him to the ground. He then said to
the damsel, " Cast your girdle about his neck, nothing
doubting," which when she had done, he followed her
like a dog.

This is as much of the legend as is illustrative of this
subject, so commonly found in cur churches, and doubtless
once universal in this country. That the story is like
that of St. Christopher and many others, a parable to
illustrate christian teaching in a familiar manner, one
cannot doubt when it is well studied. The dragon is an
old symbol of evil, and plays its part in numerous stories
a,nd christian legends, all tending to the same end. Here it
is vanquished by the christian knight, that is, he conquers
evil, fortified by the sign of the cross, the symbol of gospel
truth. The legend of the Drachenfels on the Ehine
(the Dragon's Rock) is exceeding pretty, having exactly
the same tendency. It is the cross which saves and
which conquers. So also in the story of St. Margaret
and many others. To read it as a mere tale, the story of
St. George may excite but little reverence ; look upon it
as we look upon the stories given to children, and as it was
once addressed to minds scarcely more informed, and its
teaching is beautiful. It is only when we would make it
a real history, and analyze it as such, that we degrade it;


because it would not then pass a critical analysis. As
St. Christo]:)her was addressed mostly to the common
mind, as jDotent to aid in all the instant maladies and
evils of this life, saving from fatigue or from sudden
death, so St. George appealed to the knight or soldier,
who was to succour the distressed and to be the scoiu'ge
of evil. Such was the tlieory of chivalry.

Why St. George became the patron saint of England
belongs to another history. It is stated that Ptobert
Duke of Normandy, the father of William the Conqueror,
lighting against the Saracens, saw St. George visibly on
their side, giving them the victory over their enemies.
Certain it is that the ancient war-cry of England, " God
and St. George," appears nowhere before the Norman
Conquest, and, most probably, not till some time after.
It is easy to understand how, in this popular worship,
the tradition of having given military aid made his figure
an object of reverence, as the representative saint of the
English knighthood. Spenser's Pvedcross knight is but
the legitimate descendant from the ancient legend of
St. George. Beneath the figure of St. George is the subject
of " Weighing of Souls," which belongs to an earlier date,
and it was partially, or wholly overlaid by the later work.
The figure of St. Michael, holding the balance, is nearly
obliterated, but on his left is a female figure in red mantle
and blue tunic, holding in her left hand a little box
and in her right a rosary, which she is laying upon one
end of the beam. In one scale is a demon, in the other
a small figure with hands enjoined as in prayer, represent-
ing the soul being weighed.

On a former occasion I gave a sketch of the history of
this myth of "Soul weighing" as one of the most
curious in the history of religion ; and I alluded to the
story here represented, but having forgotten my reference
could not then give the original. I now supply the

The story, speaking of a usurer, is as follows : — He,
among all his vices, had one sole virtue, that he recited
the Ilosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary daily, as it had
been taught by St. Dominic. At length, when near to
death, he had a vision, in which he saw St. Michael the
Archangel jDlacing in one part of the scale all the good,


which this man had sometimes done ; and in the other
part, he saw demons placing all his vices, which were
infinitely greater and drawing dowai the balance. Who,
deep in thought and astounded in consequence of the
vision, presently beheld the Virgin to come nigh ; and she,
nearing the scale, in M^hicli his good deeds were reared up
high in the air, placed her rosary upon it ; and immediately
it began by its weight to fall and, by its sinking, to raise
the scale on the opposite side.^ The meaning of the ho:c
most likely is intended to represent the good works or
offerings made to her by the departed during his life. It
is not without precedent.

On the south wall of the aisle, within the screen
which encloses a chapel, are remains of paintings, here
as elsewhere, of two periods. Figures of skeletons in a
mutilated condition, which shows others beneath them,
indicate the w^ell-known morality to which I have before
alluded. Some undecipherable inscriptions are lieneath.
Close by these, at the extreme east corner, there are
traces of the earlier series. A figure of a bishop in
chasuble, in front of whom is a youth in a fringed tunic
and a cap upon his head, which shows the date to be early
in the fifteenth century, and other fragments obscured
by the overlying painting only suggest the possibility
that it may relate to the legend of St. Nicholas, and it
is a matter of regret, that it has been covered over so
ruthlessly by the painter of the sixteenth century. The
later sul^ject shews a figure tied to a tree, and being shot
at with arrows by archers in short tunics and broad-toed
shoes. The familiar St. Sebastian, of our picture galleries,
at once seems to come naturally as a solution. But we
must bear in mind, that our churches were only decorated
by the stories of such saints as were commonly known to
us. Now St. Sebastian was not a saint worshipped in
England. He specially belonged to the Peninsula, Italy
and France, where the name is. frequent enough in
families. But in England we have no churches dedicated
to St. Sebastian, nor are children baptised with his
name — a sure test of the reverence in which a saint has
been held. In some parts of England there are saints
localised, churches are dedicated to them there, and

' Quoted in ilolanus T)e Ifislorin SS. Imogijixm, S;c., ^-c, Lovanii, 1771.


scarcely anywhere else ; but others are common to
Christendom, and are found everywhere. The same
principle obtains in every country.

In the eastern counties the saint of most honour was
Edmund, King of the East Angles, martyred by the
Danes in 870 in the woods of Hoxne, near the Waveney,
which separates the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. He
was bound to a tree and shot to death with arrows, and
the homage to his memory extended as far inland as
Noithamptonshire. We must therefore rather ascribe
this representation to him than to St. Sebastian, for the
latter could scarcely have been introduced into an English
village except through some foreign influence. I have
therefore no doubt, that this represents the martyrdom of
the Anglo-Saxon King, Edmund, one of the most cele-
brated of English saints, and about whom legends still
exist in the villaofe near which he met his death.' His
body was for a long time sheltered in a little oratory of
wood near Ongar, in Essex ; and there can be little doubt
that this now forms a portion of the church of Green-
stead. Lidgate, a monk of the Abbey of Bury St.
Edmimds, where his shrine was, elaborated the story of
his life, and the richly illuminated MS., which he pre-
sented to Henry VI, is now preserved in the British
Museum. Beneath one corner of this painting, there also
appears part of the subject of St. Anne teaching the
Virgin. It is interesting to note, that the character of
the painting of the sixteenth centur}^, in both these
churches, is so identical in style of execution, that, it is
exti'emely probable, the same hand did both. The monk-
artist, for such, doubtless, he was, paid little respect to
what had gone before, and the new style, being more
showy in its colouring, was evidently preferred. And it
was painted over the older work without any preparation,

1 At ono end of the village is a brook Avho should afterwards crofs tliat bridge

crossed by a little wooden foot-bridge on their way to or from marriage. The

calhd CJo'dbridgc. It is said that under common peo|)le (at least eighty years

this bridi^c, for there is another not far ago) always avoided the biidgo on such

off, King Edmund concealed himself occasions, and would rather go miles

from his pursuers. But a bridiil party lound than run the hazard of the curse

rdnrning hone by moonlight, the bride falling upon them. So relates a lady

saw his goldrn spurs glitter in the now ninety six years of age, born in this

reflection of the stream, and her ex- village, fis one of the memories of her

clamatiun led to his discoverj^. 'I'hn youth,
king then pronounced a curse on all

iiaunj:)S and slapton churches. 241

a slovenly pvoceecliiig, vvliicli has its reward in Ijeing
durable, and yielding Avitli the removal of the whitewash.
There is a coarse diaper, done in black, showing a duck
swimming, &c., perhaps some heraldic cognisance, which
appear in many parts of the walls, and must be later than
any other part of the })ainting. It is unimportant, and
cannot be well understood in its mutilated condition.
Altogether, the numerous objects here described, mutilated
as they are, teach us a good many facts towards a general
history of the painting in our mediaeval churches.



Tlie antiquarian traveller, especially if lie lias received
a classical education, is for the most part tempted to
move southwards, and visit those regions that were the
sul3Ject of his early studies, and will ever be associated in
his mind with the perfection of art and literature. But
he would do well sometimes to turn his steps in an
opposite direction, and investigate the monuments of that
vigorous race which overthrew the solid fabric of Roman
dominion, gave its name to a j^rovince of France, infused
new life into an effete civilization, left its mark on the
architecture of Southern Europe, and contributed the
most healthy elements to our own national character.

We often regard these hyperborean countries as isolated
from the rest of the world, but this is a mistake, for they
are connected by mariy links with nations geographically
remote.^ During the heroic age of Norwegian history —
from the ninth to the thirteenth century- — foreign in-
fluences Avere working actively in the North. The

^ For evidences of this eoiinectiou we paratively short time, and has left behiutl
need uot travel Leyoud our own metro2)o- it fewer traces than any other invader.
lis ; four churches in the Gity of Loudon Peter Cunningham, Jlarid-hooh of Loudon,
were dedicated to Olave the Norwegian. pp. 125, 364. But a remarkable slab
It was only just that St. Olave should \\ ith Runic characters may be seen in the
be tluis honoiu'ed in England, as he had vestibule of the Library of the Corpora-
assisted our fiH-efathers in their wars with tion at the Guildhall : upon it an animal is
tlie Danes. The church named after him represented with horned head and spurred
in Tooley Street was erected close to the claviS, bearing a striking resemblance in
scene of one of his most famous exploits, subject and style to the memorial stone
for in the reign of Ethelred he broke of King Goi-m at Jelling in Jutland,
down Lond'ni Bridge, and thus caused This curious relic of the eleventh century
tlie surrender of the city by the l)iines. was discovered in St. Paurs churchyard,
Newcourt, Eccclisiaxfical Histori/ of T.on- and has been fully described by the
don, i, 509 ; compare Carlyle's Earlij learned Danish antiipiary C C. Riifn, to
Kings of Nonvay, p. 103. St. Clement whom we owe the interpi-etation of the
Danes, in the Strand, oommcuiorates Ilunes on thecolossal li(jn of Piraeus, which
anijther Ijranch of the Scandinavian race, now adorns the arsenal at Venice,
w hich occupied uur country for a com-


Vikings and their followers were pirates ; tliey were
the scourge of the European coasts ; they outstripped
their neighbours in ship huilding and navigation, but had
little inclination to cultivate the arts that minister to
comfort and luxiuy. They were therefore obliged either
to satisfy their requirements by direct importation from
their more civilized neighbours, or to imitate the pro-
cesses of superior skill as well as their own semi-barbarous
condition would allo^A'.

I do not propose on the present occasion to take a
comprehensive view of Scandinavian antiquities, but
rather to notice some proofs of these foreign influences,
and to group them under the following heads: — 1, Roman ;
2, Byzantine ; 3, Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman.

The Greek and Roman writers do not throw much light
on the early history of Scandinavia, for even in limine we
are met by a proof of their ignorance — they all assert or
imply that this peninsula is an island. Strabo, as far as
I am aware, is quite silent on the subject. For this
omission two reasons may be assigned : he flourished
under Augustus and Tiberius, and therefore at a period
when the relations of Rome with the north of Europe
were not so fully developed as in later times : he also
knew how to weigh evidence, and to apply the tests of
historical criticism to the statements of his predecessors —
hence he shows great caution in describing those regions,
which were then imperfectly known. Moreover, he justifies
liis reticence by remarking that Augustus forbade the
Roman Generals to pursue the Germans across the Elbe.^
The next author is Pomponius Mela, Avho lived in the
reign of Claudius. We know his date from the passage
in which he speaks of this emperor as revealing the
Britons to his countrymen, and of his triumph over them
as an impending event. Thus it appears that the Romans
had already been brought into closer contact with the
north-west of Europe. Accordingly, Mela is the first
geographer who mentions Scandinavia ; he calls it Can-

^Sira.ho,Ge3(/rap?n'a,hook\u,c.T,B. 4, rij; 'ix,dpcis. The hostile confederacy,

i>vvi Ik ivsopuTipou "vKiKctili iT(i<x.Tnyuu which the caution of Augustus foresaw

TOi/ iv x-P"' '^o>.iy.o'j, SI ruu 'iiu Toy and avoided, wa.s furmed under the

"AA/3/of y.v-d' ■/I'jvxiccu ovtojv ccTri^^oiro, Autouiue.s, as will be seen below.

y.Xl f.f,7] TTXprj^VJOl 'TTPO^ Tf,]/ K'jl'JOlvixU


daiiovia, adding that it surpasses in size and fertility the
otlier islands in the bay C^odanus, and that it is inhabited
by the Teutoni.^ Phny, in his Natural History, gives us
the names Scandia, Bergos, and Nerigos, which bear a
striking resemblance to Scania, Bergen, and Norway, or
rather Norge, as the natives themselves call it. He
(juotes Xenophon of Lampsacus as his authority for stating
that there is an island of immense size, Baitia, three days'
sail from the Scythian shore. The name appears to be
the same as we have in the modern Belts and Baltic, nor
need we be surprised that Pliny has transferred this
appellation from water to land. Again, he speaks of
Sevo as a vast chain of mountains not inferior to the
Rhipoean. This is probal^ly Mount Kjcilen, which sepa-
rates Norway from Sweden, and of which the southern
branch is called Seve-Ryggen.- Tacitus, repeating the
error of his predecessors, says that the Suiones inhabit an
island in the ocean. From the context, as well as the
form of the word, we infer the Swedes are meant, for he
tells us that the Sitones are their next neighbours, who
are governed by women — an assertion which seems derived
from the name of the Finns, Kainu-laiset, apparently a
variation of the Norse Qtind, a woman.^ Lastly, Ptolemy,
who was a contemporary of the Antonines, mentions four
Scandinavian islands east of the Cimbric Chersonesus,
three smaller ones, and the largest opposite the mouth of
the Vistula and inhabited by the Cha^dini.^ Agricola's
fleet circumnavigated Britain, but neither Greeks, Bo-
mans, Phoenicians, nor Carthaginians penetrated further ;
however, they were well acquainted with the existence

1 Mela, De situ orbis, Book iii, c. 6. rauibre jaunc dans Tan tiquite, read at the
In illo siuu, quern Codanuni diximus, Stockholm Congress of Archaeology, see
ex insulis Codanonia, quaui adhuc Teu- especially p. 793. Vliny, Natural History,
toni tenent, ut fecunditate alias, ita ib. c. 13, s. 96, Mons Sevo ibi imuiensus
niagnitudine antestat. In this passage, nee Ripaeis jugis minor.

according to Vossius, the best manu- '^ Tacitus, Gcrmania, c. 44. Suio-

scripts have Candanovia. num hinc civitates ipso in Oceano, ib.,

2 Pliny, Natural Hlslorij, Book iv, c. c. 45. Suionibus Sitonum gentes con-
16, s. 104. Sunt qui et alias prodant, tinuantur, cetera similes uno differunt,
Scandiam,])umnani, Bergos maxumamque quod femina dominatur. L)r. "William
omnium Nei'igon, ex qua in Thylen 'timiilxs Dictionary of Classical Gcograjjhi/,
navigetur. Baitia is mentioned, «A., c. 13, s. v., Sitones.

s. 95. This name was inteipreted to ^ Ptolemy, Gtor/raphia, Book ii, c. 11.

mean the peninsula of Samland by Mon- Ab Orientali parte Chersonesi (Cimbricw)

sieur Wibei'g in the discussion that IV Scanditc nuncupate, III tpiidem

followed Monsieur Hjalmar Stolpe's jjarvae, una vero quae maxima earum est

Memoire sur rorigine et le commerce de et maxime orientahs juxta VistuKc 11.


of the Arctic ocean, as many passages both in the poets
and in the prose writers abundantly prove. ^

Naval and military expeditions contributed much to
the spread of geographical knowledge, but commercial
intercourse was still more efficacious, and the amber trade
especially produced communication between the northern
and southern parts of our continent.

Amber was a favourite sul^stance with the Romans ;
the ladies used it for necklaces, both as an ornament and
because it was supposed to possess properties that would
cure diseases of the throat. Juvenal, speaking of a woman
addicted to astrology, who has an almanac constantly in
her hands, compares her to those who carry amber balls
for the sake of their coolness and perfume.-

We can trace almost with certainty three routes by
which this traffic was conducted — the eastern, the central
and the western. The greatest quantities of amber were
found in the; peninsula of Samland, near Konigsberg,
Ijetween the Frische and Curische Haff — a fact which is
curiously illustrated by its being mentioned in a Japanese
map as the primary source of this material. From the
embouchure of the Vistula, the first route followed the
rivers Pregel and Pripetz, passed through the towns of
Amadoka and Azagarion, marked by Ptolemy,^ and then
descended by the Dnieper to Olbia, on the Euxine, which
has been happily described as the morning star of civiliza-
tion for these barbarous regions.'^ Many autonomous
Greek coins found in Prussia, Courland, Livonia, and
even in the island of Oesel, near Riga, together with
similar discoveries and deposits of amber in the interioi",
seem to indicate the activity of commercial relations

ostia . . . A'ocatur aiitem et haec proprie Martial, Epigrams, iii, 65, 5, sucina trita.

Scandia et tenent ipsius occidentalia xi,8,6,Sucina virgiiieaquod regelatamanu.

Chajdini. •' Ptulemj', iii, 5. Circa autem Borys-

^ It i.s needless to add references, as theuem fl. bae Azagarium, Amadoca . ". .

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