Notes and Queries, Number 74, March 29, 1851 online

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prudent detection of an errour, or a sober communication of an
irrefragable truth, deserves the venerable esteem and welcome of a good
Angel. And he who by a candid adherence unto, and a fruitful
participation of, what is good and pious, confirms him therein, merits
the honourable entertainment of a faithful friend: but he who shall
traduce him in absence for what in presence he would seem to applaud,
incurres the double guilt of flattery and slander: and he who wounds
him with ill reading and misprision, does execution on him before

G. A. S.

_Traditions from remote Periods through few Links_ (Vol. iii., p.
206.). - The communication of H. J. B., showing how a subject of our beloved
Queen Victoria can, with the intervention, as a lawyer would say, of "three
lives," connect herself with one who was a liegeman of that very dissimilar
monarch, Richard III., reminds me of a fact which I have long determined in
some way to commit to record. It is this: My father, who is only
sixty-eight years old, is connected in a similar mode with a person who had
the plague during the prevalence of that awful scourge in the metropolis in
the year 1665, with the intervention of _one_ life only. My grandfather,
John Lower of Alfriston, co. Sussex, distinctly remembered an aged woman,
who died at the adjacent village of Berwick at about ninety, and who had,
in her fourth year, recovered from that frightful disease. Should it please
Providence to spare my father's life to see his eighty-third birthday, the
recollections of three persons will thus connect events separated by a
period of two centuries.

I may take this opportunity of mentioning a fact which may interest such of
the readers of "NOTES AND QUERIES" as are students of natural history. My
grandfather, who was born in the year 1735 (being the son of Henry Lower,
born on the night of the memorable storm of November, 1703), was among the
very last of those who engaged in the sport of _bustard-hunting_ in the
South Downs. This bird has been extinct, on at least the eastern portion of
that range, for upwards of a century. The sport was carried on by means of
dogs which hunted down the poor birds, and the sticks of the human (or
_in_human?) pursuers did the rest. My ancestor was "in at the death" of the
last of the bustards, somewhere about 1747, being then twelve years old.



_Longevity._ - Some few years since I had occasion to search the parish
registers of Evercreech in Somersetshire, in one of which I met with the
following astounding entry: -

"1588. 20th Dec., Jane Britton of Evercriche, a Maidden, as she afirmed
of the age of 200 years, was buried."

I can scarcely believe my own note, made however, with the register before

C. W. B.

_The Thirty-nine Articles._ - The following MS. note is in a copy which I
have (4to. 1683):

"Sept. 13. 1702.

"Memor. That Mr. Thomas King did then Read publickly and distinctly, in
a full Congregation during the Time of Divine Service, the nine and
thirty Articles of Religion, and Declare his Assent and Consent, &c.,
according as is Required in the Act of Uniformity, In the Parish Church
of Ellesmere, In the Presence of Us, who had the said Articles printed
before Us.


J. O. M.

_Emendation of a Passage in Virgil._ - Allow me to send you an emendation of
the usual readings of the 513th line of the first Georgic, which occurred
to me many years ago, and which still appears to me more satisfactory than
any which have hitherto been suggested.

"Ut, cum carceribus sese effudere quadrigæ,
_Ac sunt in spatio_, - _en_ frustra retinacula tendens,
Fertur equis auriga, neque audit currus habenas."

"When the chariots have passed the barriers,
_And are now in the open course_, -
_Lo_, the charioteer vainly pulling the
Reins, is carried along by the steeds."

The usual readings are "addunt in spatio," or "addunt in spatia," which are
difficult to be {238} explained or understood. The emendation which I
suggest is, I think, simple, easy, and intelligible; and I can imagine how
the word "addunt" arose from the mistake of a transcriber, by supposing
that the MS. was written thus: - ac[s]vnt, with a long [s] closely following
the c, so as to resemble a d.


_Poems discovered among the Papers of Sir K. Digby._ - In page 18. of your
current volume is a poem of which I am anxious to know the author: it is
entitled the "Houre-Glasse." Among the poems of Amaltheus I have discovered
one so like it, that it appears to be almost a translation. It is curious,
and but little known, so that I trust you can find it a place in "NOTES AND


Perspicuo in vitro pulvis qui dividit horas
Dum vagus augustum sæpe recurrit iter,
Olim erat Alcippus, qui Gallæ ut vidit ocellos,
Arsit, et est cæco factus ab igne cinis. -
Irrequiete cinis, miseros testabere amantes
More tuo nulla posse quiete frui."

H. A. B.

_Matter-of-fact Epitaph._ - May I venture to ask a place for the following
very matter-of-fact epitaph in the English cemetery at Leghorn?

"Amstelodamensis situs est hic Burr. Johannes,
Quatuor è lustris qui modò cratus erat:
Ditior anne auro, an meritis hoc nescio: tantas
Cæca tamen Clotho non toleravit opes."

which may be thus freely rendered:

"Here lie the remains of a Dutchman named Burr. John,
Who baffled at twenty the skill of his surgeon;
Whether greater his merits or wealth, I doubt which is,
But Clotho the blind couldn't bear such great riches."

C. W. B.

* * * * *



An ancient scholiast on Adam of Bremen, "paululum Adamo ratione ætatis
inferior," according to his editor, Joachim Maderus, supplies us with a
curious list of the stations in the voyages from Ripa, in Denmark, to Acre,
in the Holy Land. Adam of Bremen's _Ecclesiastical History_ dates toward
the end of the eleventh century, about 1070. His text is as follows: -

"Alterum (episcopatum) in Ripa; quæ civitas alio tangitur alveo, qui ab
oceano influit, et per quem vela torquentur in Fresiam, vel in nostram
Saxoniam, vel certe in Angliam."

The scholiast has this note: -

"De Ripa in Flandriam ad _Cuicfal_ velificari potest duobus diebus, et
totidem noctibus; de Cuicfal ad _Prol in Angliam_ duobus diebus et una
nocte. _Illud est ultimum caput Angliæ versus Austrum_, et est
processus illuc de Ripa angulosus inter Austrum et Occidentem. De Prol
in Britanniam ad Sanctum Matthiam, uno die, - inde ad Far, juxta Sanctum
Jacobum tribus noctibus. Inde Leskebone duobus diebus inter Austrum et
Occidentem. De Leskebone ad Narvese tribus diebus et tribus noctibus,
angulariter inter Orientem et Austrum. De Narvese ad Arruguen quatuor
diebus et quatuor noctibus, angulariter inter Aquilonem et Orientem. De
Arruguen ad Barzalun uno die, similiter inter Aquilonem et Orientem. De
Barzalun ad Marsiliam uno die et una nocte, fere versus Orientem,
declinando tamen parum ad plagam Australem. De Marsilia ad Mezein in
Siciliam quatuor diebus et quatuor noctibus, angulariter inter Orientem
et Austrum. De Mezein ad Accharon xiiii diebus et totidem noctibus,
inter Orientem et Austrum, magis appropiando ad Austrum."

We may fairly consider that the stations marked in this itinerary are of
great antiquity. "Prol in Angliam" is, no doubt, Prawle Point, in
Devonshire; a headland which must have been well known to the Veneti long
before the days of Adam of Bremen. Its mention here is one among the many
proofs of the early importance of this coast, the ancient "Littus
Totonesium," the scene of one of Marie's fabliaux, and of some curious
passages in Layamon's _Brut_, which are not to be found in the poem of
Wace. I wish to ask, -

1. Is the word "Prol" Saxon or British, and what is its probable etymology?

2. Where was "Cuicfal in Flandriam," from whence the voyage was made to


* * * * *


Some of your clerical readers, as well as myself, would probably be glad to
have determined, what are the proper times and measures in which the bells
of a church ought to be rung. There seems to be no uniformity of practice
in this matter, nor any authoritative directions, by which the customs that
obtain may be either improved or regulated. The terms chiming, tolling, and
peal-ringing, though now generally understood, do not intelligibly apply to
the few regulations about bells which occur in the canons.

I believe that _chiming_ is the proper method of summoning the congregation
to the services of the church: and _tolling_ certainly appears to be the
most appropriate use of the bell at funerals. But chiming the bells is an
art that is not recognised in the older rules respecting their use. For
instance, the Fifteenth Canon orders that on Wednesdays and Fridays weekly,
warning shall be given to the people that litany will be said, by _tolling
of a bell_. And, on the other hand, though we toll at a funeral, the
Sixty-seventh Canon enjoins that -

"After the party's death, there shall be rung no {239} more but one
short peal, and one other before the burial, and one other after the

The peal here alluded to does not of course mean what MR. ELLACOMBE has so
clearly described to be a modern peal, in Vol. i., p. 154., of "NOTES AND
QUERIES;" but it would at least amount, I suppose, to _consonantia
campanarum_, a ringing together of bells, as distinguished from the _toll_
or single stroke on a bell. Horne Tooke says:

"The toll of a bell is its being _lifted up_ (_tollere_, to raise),
which causes that sound we call its toll."

The poet does not clear the ambiguity and confusion of terms, when he
sings -

"Faintly as _tolls_ the evening _chime_!"

Peals are not heard in London on Sunday mornings, I believe; but in the
country, at least hereabouts, they are commonly rung as the summons to
church, ending with a few strokes on one bell; and then a smaller bell than
any in the peal (the _sanctus_ bell of old, perhaps, and now sometimes
vulgarly called "Tom Tinkler") announces that divine service is about to

The object of these remarks is to elicit clearly what is the right way of
ringing the bells of a church on the several occasions of their being used.



* * * * *


In the _Musæum Tradescantianum, or a Collection of Rarities preserved at
South Lambeth, near London_, by John Tradescant, 1656, I find, amongst
"other variety of rarities," "the plyable Mazer wood, which, being warmed
in water, will work to any form;" and a little farther on, in the list of
"utensils and household stuffe," I also find "Mazer dishes." In my opinion,
it is more than a coincidence that Doctor Montgomery, who, in 1843,
received the gold medal of the Society of Arts for bringing gutta percha
and its useful properties under the notice of that body, describes it in
almost the same words that Tradescant uses when speaking of the pliable
Mazer wood: the Doctor says, "it could be moulded into any form by merely
dipping it into boiling water." It is worthy of remark that Tradescant, who
was the first botanist of his day, seems to have been uncertain of the true
nature of the "Mazer wood," for he does not class it with his "gums,
rootes, woods;" but, as before observed, in a heterogeneous collection
which he styles "other variety of rarities." Presuming, as I do, that this
Mazer wood was what we now term gutta percha, the question may be
propounded, how could Tradescant have procured it from its remote _locale_?
The answer is easy. In another part of the _Musæum Tradescantianum_ may be
found a list of the "benefactors" to the collection; and amongst their
names occurs that of William Curteen, Esq. Now this William Curteen and his
father Sir William, of Flemish Descent, were the most extensive British
merchants of the time, and had not only ships trading to, but also
possessed forts and factories on, some of the islands of the Eastern
Archipelago, the native _habitat_ of the sapotaceous tree that yields the
gutta percha. Curteen was a collector of curiosities himself, and no doubt
his captains and agents were instructed to procure such: in short, a
specimen of gutta percha was just as likely to attract the attention of an
intelligent Englishman at Amboyna in the fifteenth century, as it did at
Singapore in the nineteenth.

If there are still any remains of Tradescant's collection in the Ashmolean
Museum at Oxford, the question, whether the Mazer wood was gutta percha or
not, might be soon set at rest; but it is highly probable that the men who
ordered the relics of the Dodo to be thrown out, showed but little ceremony
to the Mazer wood or dishes.

A curious instance of a word, not very dissimilar to Mazer, may be found in
Eric Red's Saga, part of the _Flatö Annals_, supposed to be written in the
tenth century, and one of the authorities for the pre-Columbian discovery
of America by the Icelanders. Karlsefne, one of the heroes of the Saga,
while his ship was detained by a contrary wind in a Norwegian port, was
accosted by a German, who wished to purchase his, Karlsefne's, broom.

"'I will not sell it,' said Karlsefne. 'I will give you half a mark in
gold for it,' said the German man. Karlsefne thought this a good offer,
and thereupon concluded the bargain. The German man went away with the
broom. Karlsefne did not know what wood it was; but it was _Mæsur_,
which had come from Wineland!"

Perhaps some reader may give an instance of Mazer wood being mentioned by
other writers; or inform me if the word Mazer, in itself, had any peculiar


* * * * *

Minor Queries.

_Paul Pitcher Night._ - Can any of the contributors to "NOTES AND QUERIES"
throw light upon a curious custom, prevalent in some parts of Cornwall, of
throwing broken pitchers, and other earthen vessels, against the doors of
dwelling-houses, on the eve of the Conversion of St. Paul, thence locally
called "Paul pitcher night?" On that evening parties of young people
perambulate the parishes in which the custom is retained, exclaiming as
they throw the sherds, -

"Paul's eve,
And here's a heave!"

According to the received notions, the first "heave" cannot be objected to;
but, upon its being repeated, the inhabitants of the house whose {240} door
is thus attacked may, if they can, seize the offenders, and inflict summary
justice upon them; but, as they usually effect their escape before the door
can be opened, this is not easily managed.

Query, Can this apparently unintelligible custom have any reference to the
21st verse of the IXth chap. of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans: "Hath not
the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto
honour, and another unto dishonour?" - the earthen fragments thus turned to
dishonour being called "Paul's pitchers."

Any more probable conjecture as to the origin or meaning of this custom, or
any account of its occurring elsewhere, will greatly oblige

F. M. (a Subscriber).

_Disinterment for Heresy._ - A remarkable instance of disinterment on
account of heresy is stated to have occurred a little before the
Reformation, in the case of one Tracy, who was publicly accused in
convocation of having expressed heretical tenets in his will; and, having
been found guilty, a commission was issued to dig up his body, which was
accordingly done. I shall be much obliged to any of your readers who will
favour me with the date and particulars of this case.


_"Just Notions," &c._ - At the end of the Introduction of _The Christian
Instructed in the Principles of Religion_, by W. Reading, Lond. 1717, occur
the following lines: (Query, whether original, or, if not, from whence
quoted?) -

"Just notions will into good actions grow,
And to our reason we our virtues owe;
False judgments are the unhappy source of ill,
And blinded error draws the passive will.
To know our God, and know ourselves, is all
We can true happiness or wisdom call."

U. Q.

_Pursuits of Literature._ - How came the author of the _Pursuits of
Literature_ to be known? I have before me the 11th edition (1801); and in
the Preface to the fourth and last dialogue, the author declares that
"_neither my name nor situation in life will ever be revealed_." He does
not pretend to be the sole depository of his own secret; but he says again:

"My secret will be for ever preserved, I _know_, under every change of
fortune or of political tenets, while honour, and virtue, and religion,
and friendly affection, and erudition, and the principles of a
gentleman have binding force and authority upon minds so cultivated and
dignified. When they fall, I am contented to fall with them."

Nevertheless, the author of the _Pursuits of Literature_ is known. How is

S. T. D.

_Satirical Medal._ - I possess a medal whose history I should be glad to
know. It is apparently of silver, though not ringing as such, and about an
inch and a quarter in diameter. On the obverse are two figures in the
long-waisted, full-skirted coats, cavalier hats, and full-bottomed wigs of,
I presume, Louis XIV.'s time. Both wear swords; one, exhibiting the most
developed wig of the two, offers a snuff-box, from which the other has
accepted a pinch, and fillips it into his companion's eyes. The legend is
"Faites-vous cela pour m'affronter?"

The mitigated heroism of this _query_ seems to be _noted_ on the reverse,
which presents a man digging in the ground, an operation in which he must
be somewhat hampered by a lantern in his left hand; superfluous one would
deem (but for the authority of Diogenes), as the sun is shining above his
head in full splendour. The digger's opinion, that the two combined are not
more than the case requires, is conveyed in the legend, -

"Je cherche du courage pour mon maistre."

The finding was curious. On cutting down an ash-tree in the neighbourhood
of Linton, Cambridgeshire, in 1818, a knob on its trunk was lopped off, and
this medal discovered in its core! It was probably the cause of the
excrescence, having been, perhaps, thrust under the bark to escape the
danger of its apparently political allusion. The Linton carrier purchased
it for half-a-crown, and from him it passed in 1820 into hands whence it
devolved to me.

Is anything known of this medal, or are any other specimens of it extant? I
pretend to no numismatic skill, but to an unlearned mind it would seem to
contain allusion to the insult which Charles II. and his government were
supposed to submit to from Louis XIV.; to be, in fact, a sort of metallic

Some friend, I forget who, pronounced the workmanship Dutch, which would, I
think, favour the above theory. The figures are in bold and prominent
relief, but to a certain degree rounded by wear, having been evidently
carried in the pocket for a considerable time.

G. W. W.

_Matthew's Mediterranean Passage._ - I should be thankful for any
information as to where the following work could be seen, and also
respecting the nature of its contents.

"Somerset. - Matthew's Mediterranean Passage by water from London to
Bristol, &c., and from Lynne to Yarmouthe. Very rare, 4to. 1670."

The above is quoted from Thos. Thorpe's Cat., part iii., 1832, p. 169., no.


_Inscription on an Oak Board._ - I have an old oak board, on which are
carved the following lines in raised capital letters of an antique form,
with lozenges between the words: -

OR . WHO . I . WAS . THAT . DID . THE . SAME .


The letters are two inches long, and a quarter of an inch high from the
sunken face of the board, which is four feet long by ten inches wide. It
has a raised rim or border round the inscription; which proves that it had
not contained more lines than as above. It was found at Hereford, in a
county which still abounds in timbered houses, and it had been lately used
as a weather-board. The legend was submitted to the late Sir Samuel Meyrick
of Goderich Court; who was of opinion, that it had formerly been over the
chimney-piece or porch of some dwelling-house, and is a riddle involving
the builder's or founder's name. If any of your readers can suggest the age
and original use of this board, or explain the name concealed in the lines,
it will oblige

P. H. F.

_Expressions in Milton._ - Allow me to ask some correspondent to give the
meaning of the following expressions from the prose works of Milton: -

"A toothless satire is as improper as a toothed sleck stone, and as

"A toothed sleck stone," I take to mean a "jagged whetstone," very unfit
for its purpose; but what is the force of the term "as bullish?"


"I do not intend this hot seasons to _bid you the base_, through the
wide and dusty champaign of the councils."

The meaning I receive from this is, "I don't mean to carry you through the
maze of the ancient councils of the church;" but I wish to know the exact
force of the expression "to bid you the base?"

R. (a Reader).

_Saints' Days._ - The _chorea invita_ is not a very satisfactory explanation
of St. Vitus's dance; and though St. Vitus is not in the Roman martyrology
of our day, yet he is in the almanacs of the fifteenth century, and
probably earlier. The martyr Vitus makes the 15th of June a red letter-day
in the first almanac ever printed. Who was St. Vitus, and how did he give
his name to the play of the features which is called his dance? Again, the
day before St. Patrick is celebrated in Ireland, St. Patricius is
celebrated in Auvergne. Can any identity be established?


_Chepstow Castle._ - In Carlyle's _Life of Cromwell_, vol. i. pp. 349, 350.,
there is a letter from Cromwell, dated before Pembroke, wherein he directs
a Major Saunders, then quartered at or near Brecon, to go to Monmouthshire
and seize Sir Trevor Williams of Llangevie, and Mr. Morgan, High Sheriff of
Monmouth, "as," he writes, "they were very deep in the plot of betraying
Chepstow Castle." Carlyle has the following foot-note to the letter:

"Saunders by his manner of indorsing this letter seems to intimate that
he took his two men; that he keeps the letter by way of voucher. Sir
Trevor Williams by and bye compounds as a delinquent, retires then into
Llangevie House, and disappears from history. Of Sheriff Morgan, except
that a new sheriff is soon appointed, we have no farther notice

Can any of your correspondents give me information in what work I can find
a tolerably full account of this "betraying of Chepstow Castle?" and also
of what place in the county was this Morgan, Sheriff of Monmouth?


_The Wilkes MSS. and "North Briton."_ - I inquired long since what had
become of these MSS., which Miss Wilkes bequeathed to Peter Elmsley, of
Sloane Street, "to whose judgement and delicacy" she confided
them, - meaning, I presume, that she should be content to abide by his
judgement as to the propriety of publishing them, or a selection; but
certainly to be preserved for the vindication of her father's memory;
otherwise she would have destroyed them, or directed them to be destroyed.
In 1811 these MSS. were, I presume, in the possession of Peter Elmsley,
Principal of St. Alban's Hall, as he submitted the Junius Correspondence,
through Mr. Hallam, to Serjeant Rough, who returned the letters to Mr.
Hallam. Where now are the original Junius Letters, and where the other
MSS.? The _Athenæum_ has announced that the Stowe MSS., including the
Diaries and Correspondence of George Grenville, are about to be published,
and will throw a "new light" on the character of John Wilkes. I suspect any
light obtained from George Grenville will be very like the old light, and
only help to blacken what is already too dark. I therefore venture to ask
once again, Where are the Wilkes MSS.? and can they be consulted? Further,
are any of your readers able and willing to inform us who were the writers
of the different papers in the _North Briton_, either first or second

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Online LibraryVariousNotes and Queries, Number 74, March 29, 1851 → online text (page 2 of 6)