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few cases, of bringing to light forgotten tablets
and records, as well as showing the melan-
choly way in which wretched modern "restora-
tions " have only too often made a clean sweep
of ancient mural statements, by causing them
to be dragged off the walls and then left to
perish. A local paper states that in the
church at Weldon, Northamptonshire, is a
tablet on which the name of Pratt plainly
appears, and bearing an inscription in Latin
and Greek, but as the tablet is about 300
years old the writing upon it is naturally much
worn. An amateur photographer of much
local repute obtained an excellent photograph
of the plate, when the reading of the inscrip-
tion was rendered possible, and it was found
to show that Henry Pratt left 20s. to be given
to the more needy people of Weldon on the
Redeeming Passion Day (Good Friday) by
the priest and churchwardens. The money
was to be derived from certain lands, and,
significantly, the inscription goes on to read,
" If anyone shall dare to take away (which
God forbid) or pervert to any other than the
prescribed use, or even attempt to alienate
this pound, a mite consecrated to Christ and
to be given to Christians, may he forthwith
become hated of God and man, and excom-
municated from our Saviour." Subsequent
inquiries by the Council located the land
mentioned in the bequest, and steps have now
been taken to get the Charity Commissioners
to recover the charity.



At the parish church of Teynham, Kent, an
interesting discovery has just been made.
The western door recently underwent reno-
vation, and the removal of all superficial
covering disclosed that the portal was of fine
massive oak, which, on examination, was
found to be scarred in several places with
bullet marks. There are eight distinct punc-
tures, in some of which the leaden bullets
still remain embedded. It is supposed that
these pellets were fired into the door during
the Great Rebellion. The surface of the door
is also charred in several places, as though
an attempt had been made to burn down
the building. It has already been almost
authoritatively stated in the district that



these bullets came from Roundhead muskets,
when Cromwell's soldiers were engaged in
the spoliation and desecration of the Kentish
churches. But it is far more probable that
some fierce skirmish took place at the church,
one party or the other endeavouring to dis-
lodge those who had taken refuge in the
church tower, and were perhaps firing from
that eminence.

4p

The bullets were just as likely to be those of
Royalists as of Parliamentarians. When war
is raging churches are often the scenes of
fierce struggles, owing to the strength of the
buildings and their not infrequent command-
ing position. The records of the Common-
wealth struggle yield frequent evidence of
fights in such places. Bullet marks on the
walls of our churches are far more common
than is usually supposed. They are most
frequently to be found at the west end, near
the town entrance, as this was par excellence
the stronghold or citadel of the church.
Bullet marks of the seventeenth century in
stone sometimes retain traces of the lead
down to the present day, particularly if
situated above ordinary hand-reach. When
the higher bullet marks at the west end of
Ashborne Church, Derbyshire, were being
examined in 1870, portions of lead were
picked* out with a penknife from several of
the indentations.

$? $? &
The Brixworth Rural District Council a
board well known to students of Poor Law,
and considered famous or notorious accord-
ing to the opinions of those who study its
methods has just adopted a design for its
seal which must commend itself to ecclesi-
ologists and antiquaries. Instead of being
content with a mere lettered legend, or some
of the cheap vulgar designs put out by ad-
vertising stationers, the Board has adopted a
vesica-shaped seal, the chief feature of which
is a north-west view of the highly remarkable
church of Brixworth. Ordinarily speaking, a
church would not be a suitable design for a
Council engaged in civil work ; but these
councillors have, in our opinion, acted wisely
in thus commemorating the almost unique
interest that attaches to this building, which
is in many respects the most interesting in
all England. Founded in 690 as a daughter
of the monastery of Peterborough, Brixworth



134



ENGLISH GLASS-MAKING.



Church, with its conventual buildings, became
the Christian missionary centre of all that
district of the south Midlands, whilst the
fabric was very largely constructed out of the
remains of a thriving Roman settlement on
the same site. Much of this early church
still remains, and is brimful of interest ; whilst
the later Saxon repairs and alteration of the
close of the ninth century, after it had been
devastated by the Danes, add much historic
value to its general features. This seal was
the suggestion of Rev. Dr. Cox, F.S.A., who
is now resident in that district, and has been
elected Vice -Chairman of the Brixworth
Council ; its execution was entrusted to Mr.
Bailey, of Derby.

J? f h fa
The Rev. Dr. Cox was also asked to advise as
to the seal of the Belper District Council, on
which Board he used to sit many years ago.
As far the greater part of the area under the
rule of the Belper Council was part of the
ancient Duchy of Lancaster, being a parcel
of the forfeited estates of the attainted Ferrers
family, the seal recommended and adopted
bears the arms of Lancaster, which were
specially appropriated to the Derbyshire
possessions of the Duchy viz., gules three
lions passant guardant in pale or, armed and
langued azure, over all a bend of the last.
On the diaper of the groundwork of the
seal the Tudor rose is introduced, which is
generally regarded as the Derbyshire badge.
It is not generally known that the old Coucher
Book of the Duchy at the Public Record
Office has beautifully illuminated arms of the
different districts of the Duchy. This seal
has also been most successfully executed by
Mr. Bailey.



OEngUsf) <&\w%'- making in tbe
^irteentb ant) >et)enteentf)
Centuries.

By E. Wyndham Hulme.

No. V. Glass-making at the Restoration
and the Invention of Flint-Glass.
ITH the virtual abolition of the
patent system under the Protec-
torate, the chief incentive to the
improvement of the arts was re-
A single exception may be noted in




moved.



the case of Captain Buck, who obtained a
private Act for smelting iron with coal, a
venture in which Cromwell himself was said
to have been interested. According to Dud
Dudley, Buck availed himself of the services
of an Italian glass-maker from Bristol, named
Dagney, who attempted the solution of the
problem on lines suggested by experience in
the glass manufacture viz., by the use of
closed pots. The experiments failed, but are
interesting, nevertheless, as constituting the
earliest reference to the Bristol industry which
afterwards acquired a certain reputation.

The materials for a history of glass-making
at this period are extremely scanty. Merret
states in i66r that the English workmen had
acquired such proficiency during the last
twenty years that " few foreigners of this pro-
fession are now left amongst us"; but this
statement can be accepted as true only of the
personnel of the industry. By this time, no
doubt, the French glass-makers, by inter-
marriage and the softening influence of time,
had lost the distinctive characteristics of their
nationality, and with the extension of the
green glass industry the trade had to a great
extent passed into the hands of native work-
men. In the invaluable directory of the glass
industry, published by Houghton in 1696
(Letter xcix.), out of a total of 90 glass-
houses in England and Wales, no less than
42 were devoted entirely to the bottle manu-
facture, while 28 are described as including
the manufacture of flint, green, and ordinary
glass. Nevertheless, upon the break-up of
Mansel's London establishment, and the con-
sequent elimination of the Italian element,
both the secrets and the trade of the crystal
manufacture appear to have reverted to the
Venetian State. " When the King came in,"
says the same writer (vol. ii., p. 138, ed. 1683),
" we bought our looking-glasses, and in a
great measure our drinking-glasses, from
Venice." Accordingly, we find that the first
efforts of the English glass-makers at the
Restoration were directed towards the re-
covery of Italian methods and the exclusion
of Italian glass.

In 1 66 1 no less than three separate at-
tempts, under various pretexts, are recorded to
revive the Mansel monopoly. These proving
unsuccessful, a keen competition set in for
the monopoly of various branches of the
industry on the ground of the invention of



ENGLISH GLASS-MAKING.



135



new methods in the manufacture. A patent
for glass bottles, granted to John Colnett in
166 1 (not included in the Official Blue-books),
was revoked* on the ground that the inven-
tion had been made many years previously
by Sir Kenelm Digby, and that Colnett and
others had worked under his instruction.
The connection of Digby with the green
glass trade is a curious fact which has been
overlooked by his biographers. The inven-
tion appears to have consisted in the manu-
facture of bottles of standard sizes, and the
period of the invention may be attributed to
the date of Digby's confinement at Win-
chester House, Southwark, where, as pre-
viously shown, a green glass factory existed
in 1612.

The history of glass-making at the Restora-
tion is not free from obscurity. In 1663
there is a petition from George, Duke of
Buckingham, asking for a renewal of a patent
for "christal," with a sole license for the
manufacture of looking-glass plates, glasses
for coaches, and other glass plates, on the
ground that "he had long employed work-
men in the business, and had found out the
mystery of making these plates, a manufac-
ture not known or used hitherto in England."
The wording of the petition would lead to
the conclusion that Buckingham had in some
way or other succeeded to the remnant of
Mansel's London business, for it is difficult
otherwise to justify the statement that he had
long worked in the business, or to account
for his request for a renewal of a patent, the
previous existence of which is not recorded.
The petition, however, was favourably re-
ported upon by the law officer, and Bucking-
ham would probably have secured the
monopoly but for the fact that a few months
later a similar petition was presented, which
led to a reopening of the whole question.
The terms of the second petition were as
follows (S. P. Dom., 1663, August 31): "for
extracting out of flint all sorts of looking
glasses, plates both crystal and ordinary."
The King noted the similarity of the two
requests, and, as a result, a change of policy
was adopted, possibly in deference to a peti-
tion of the glass-grinders (Sloane MSS., 857),
in which the importance of leaving the glass
manufacture free from all restraint within the
* Hist. MSS. Comm., Rept. VII., p. 164.



country was insisted on in view of the pro-
posed exclusion of Venetian glass. These
suggestions were embodied in the Royal pro-
clamation of July 25, 1664. The importa-
tion of looking - glass plates, spectacles,
burning-glasses, tubes, and other glass plates
was prohibited, on the ground that the
Venetians were flooding the markets with
their wares at unremunerative prices with the
object of ruining " a manufacture lately found
and brought to perfection." This measure of
protection appears to have satisfied Bucking-
ham, and to have exerted a favourable influ-
ence on the development of the native flint-
glass industry. The Duke's glass works,
established at Vauxhall about this date, were
managed by a company of Italians under one
Rosetti, and soon acquired a reputation for
the size and quality of the mirrors and coach-
glasses manufactured there. In 1676 the
factory was visited by Evelyn, who describes
the " huge vases of mettal as clear ponderous
and thick as crystal, and the looking glasses
larger and better than any that come from
Venice," and Houghton speaks of the manu-
facture in similar terms of eulogy.

Unfortunately there is little evidence to
show the nature of the improvements by
which these results were obtained. Bucking-
ham probably used flint ; and, as we gather
from the S. P. Dom., 1666, April 16, salt-
petre was also employed. Beyond this the
invention appears to have related to improved
methods of" casting plates of larger dimen-
sions than had hitherto been obtained. The
numerous improvements in casting, grinding,
and polishing these plates prove the existence
of an extensive market for these articles, for
which large sums were readily obtainable.
There is, however, nothing to connect the
works of Buckingham with the invention of
modern flint- or lead-glass, the origin of which
we shall now proceed to discuss.

According to Houghton, in his Letters on
Husbandry and Trade, 1696, No. cxcvi., the
first to make " the flint glasses " was [George]
Ravenscroft, who erected a glass-house at
Henley-on-Thames, and whose reputation
is attested by the fact that his glasses com-
manded a ready sale in the foreign as well as
the home markets. Ravenscroft's patent,
dated 1674, gives no information as to the
process employed ; but the fact that the patent



136



ENGLISH GLASS-MAKING.



was limited to seven years at the petitioner's
request indicates that the invention had been
practised at an earlier date. Ravenscroft's
claim, however, to the invention of modern
flint-glass is negatived by the description
given of the process in Plot's Ox/., 2nd ed.,
p. 258. Again, we find that the invention con-
sisted merely of the reintroduction of Italian
methods of crystal-glass manufacture. "The
invention," says Plot, " of making glasses (i.e.,
drinking glasses) of stones and other materials
was lately brought into England by Seignior
da Costa, a Montserratees, and was carried
on by our Mr. Ravenscroft, who has a patent
for the sole making of them." The materials,
he continues, at first consisted of the blackest
flints (calcined) and white sand, with the
addition of 2 oz. of nitre, tartar, and borax to
each pound of flint, a proportion suggested
by Dr. Ludwell, of Wadham College. Sub-
sequently it was found that the glasses then
made underwent a process of devitrification,
known as " crizelling." Accordingly a change
was introduced by the employment of white
pebbles from the river Po, and a smaller pro-
portion of the same mixture of salts. In
1684 (Birch, Hist. Roy. Soc, vol. iv., p. 276)
the constitution of this Italian flint or "pebble"
glass was discussed, and the opinion was ex-
pressed that the function of the alkali was
merely to serve as a flux ; whereupon Mr.
Hooke stated that glass could be made of
litharge alone, but that it was very trouble-
some running through all the pots. The
glass thus obtained, sometimes called glass of
lead, must not be confounded with the modern
lead glass, which contains a large proportion
of alkali. The passage seems to prove that
the use of lead oxide formed no part of the
constituents of the flint-glass of that period,
and that considerable confusion prevailed as
to the true constituents of glass. To return,
however, to Ravenscroft, we find that in 1675
he obtained permission (Sloane MS., 857) to
export flint-glasses to the value of ^400 ;
but the manufactory must have shortly been
removed elsewhere, for Burn, in his History
of Henley-on-Thames, states that no trace
of any glass-house existed, nor, save for a
vague tradition, was it known then where the
manufacture had been carried on.

The connection of Robert Hooke with the
glass manufacture, although not directly bear-



ing on the subject of flint-glass, is of sufficient
importance to warrant a brief notice here.
In 1 69 1 Robert Hooke* and Christopher
Dodsworth obtained a patent for " a way of
mixing metall soe as to make glass for
windows of more Lustre and Beauty, and to
make red christall glass of all sorts." On
January 8, 1689-90, Hooke had exhibited
before the Royal Society a specimen of clear
glass manufactured by a Mr. Judd, which
under the blow-pipe assumed a ruby hue,
owing to a preparation of antimony, which
formed part of its ingredients.

From this date Hooke's interest in the
glass manufacture continued unabated to the
time of his death. The numerous occasions
upon which he introduced the subject to the
Royal Society indicate that his interest was
something more than that of a purely scien-
tific investigator. On November 18, 1696,
he explained " y e matter of red window
glass," which he said " was made of ordinary
green glass when blowing dipt in a pott of
redd mettall, soe that there was a thin plate
of red over y e ordinary, so if when another
colour was to be in y e plate they scraped
with emery a bare place [in] the red thin
plate and work another collour, either yellow,
green, Durty (sic) red, or Blue, y e Red
being too opaque of itselfe in a thicker
plate " (MS. Journals of the Royal Society).
Hooke's invention, therefore, consisted in
dipping the bulb formed at the end of the
glass-blower's tube into a pot of red metal,
which thus formed a thin plate of red glass
on one side of the glass plate only, obviating
the too great opacity of the homogeneous
red glass, and effecting also a considerable
economy of the red metal.

In 1695 Hooke was experimenting on a
Persian glass, called " gom roon ware," and
in 1697 he explained the method of pro-
ducing concave watch-glasses. In 1699 he
again refers to the metallic glass of lead,
which he said could be reduced into lead
again. In 1701 he proposed a fire-resist-
ing textile, to be composed of finely-drawn
glass thread and asbestos, and in 1702
he mentions the fact that the glass-grinders

* In the patent and some other documents the
name is misspelt Hooker, but the identity of Hooke
is proved by the Journals of the Royal Society, Nov.
11, 1696.



ENGLISH GLASS-MAKJNG.



ni



were substituting glass for sand in grinding
glass. These facts seem to show that Hooke's
relations with the glass industry were of a
peculiarly intimate nature, and it seems in-
credible that, if a great change had been
effected during this period in the composi-
tion of flint-glass, the fact should have
escaped the observation of Hooke and other
qualified observers, such as Plot, Houghton,
and others. The inevitable conclusion,
therefore, is that the invention of modern
flint-glass belongs to the eighteenth, and not
the seventeenth, century.

Regarded from the point of view of their
constituent materials, modern flint-glass and
the glass of lead of the ancients present a
strong resemblance, both being composed of
a double silicate of lead and potash. The
distinction between the two rests mainly
upon the different uses for which the glass
was produced; the glass of lead being
primarily intended for coloured glass and the
manufacture of artificial gems, while modem
flint-glass, as its name denotes, superseded
the higher qualities of crystal glass, known as
flint-glass, from the fact that flint and pebble
entered largely into its composition. Of the
antiquity of the glass of lead there is no
possible doubt. The old saying that glass
was discovered in the endeavours to imitate
the precious stones, and the fact that the
manufacture was known to the Romans and
to other Eastern nations who excelled in the
ornamentation of glass, point to an antiquity
as high as that of glass itself. Neri's receipt
for this glass is as follows : " Take calcined
lead 15 lb., and crystall or Rochetta or Pol-
verine fritt, according as you would make the
colours, 12 lb., mix them as well as you
possibly can in a pot, and at the end of 10
hours cast them into water ; separate the
lead, and return the mettal into the pot,
which in 12 hours you shall have most fit
to work." The value of this glass, according
to the same authority, lay in the fact that true
Oriental gems could be imitated in a way
which no other glass would do. Experiments
with this glass for the same purpose were
made by Boyle, and will be found set out in
his Experimental History of Colours ( Works,
vol. i., p. 781). Merret, in i66r, states this
manufacture to be " a thing unpractised by
our furnaces," and he gives us as the chief

VOL. XXXI.



obstacles in the manufacture that the glass
was brittle, and that the lead, however care-
fully calcined, returned into its metallic form,
and so burst through or corroded the bottom
of the pots. He speaks, however, of the
glory and beauty of its colours as far surpass-
ing those obtained with crystal, "of which
no man could be ignorant that hath any ex-
perience of the metal." Comparing the
ancient and modern process of manufacture,
the difference would appear to consist in
this : that the ancients first prepared a semi-
vitrified frit, and then ground the mass with
the lead oxide. Whereas in the modern
practice the three chief materials, viz., fine
sand, potash, and lead oxide, are first care-
fully mixed, and then passed together into
the glass pots.

The commonly accepted view that lead
oxide was first used by the English at the
period when coal was substituted for wood
in the furnaces, and the pots were protected
from the direct action of the fire, is entirely
devoid of foundation. If any change in the
composition of the ingredients took place
with a view of promoting the fusion of the
materials, the change must have been in the
direction of increasing the dose of alkali ;
which would account for the inferior quality
of Mansel's glass, evidence of which has been
cited previously. The earliest reference to
the composition of modern flint-glass appears
in the specification of Oppenheim, dated
1 755, No. 707, in which he states the
customary proportions to be 2 parts lead,
1 part sand, 1 part saltpetre or borax.
Here, at any rate, is positive evidence that
the invention was common knowledge in the
trade at that time. More specific informa-
tion is given by Bosc d'Antic in his collected
works published in 1780. In the original
memoir, written twenty years earlier,
English glass-making is referred to without
specific reference to the composition of
the glass. In the collected edition of his
works, however, an important note is added
on the progress of English glass-making since
1760. The art of flint-glass, as understood
by the English, consisted, according to this
writer, in introducing the greatest possible
quantity of lead into the mixture. While
not denying the beauty of the lustres and
glasses which the English flint-glass-makers

1



138



YORKSHIRE SWORD-ACTORS.



were sending into France, he criticises the
manufacture as defective on account of its
want of transparency, and the occasional
presence of air-bubbles, which deformed the
appearance of the glass. The absence of
any reference to flint-glass in Chambers'
Encyclopaedia of 1 738, in the article on glass
in the Universal Magazine for 1747, and in
the reprint of this article in the Dictionary of
Arts and Sciences for 1754, written by a
practical glass-maker, justify the assumption
that the invention was not known outside
the trade, either in this country or abroad,
until the latter half of the eighteenth century.
This would confirm our view that in 1755 flint-
glass was a comparatively recent invention.
Further than this, perhaps, it is unsafe to go.
There is, however, in 1727, the record of a
patent obtained by a Nicholas Took, the date
and title of which deserve some attention.
The patent was for "a certain mixture or
composition that fluxeth sand and makes
glass at much less charge than wood ashes,
or any other ingredients hitherto made use
of for that purpose, and likewise saves a
third part of fire and workmanship." The
title distinctly points to a process of making
glass without employing the process of
fritting, and it is difficult to avoid the con-
clusion that the use of oxide of lead is in-
tended. Of the national origin of this inven-
tion there is no question. Fourcroy, in his
Syst. Conn. Chiw., vi. 96, states that the oxide
of lead was first used for enamels and glazes
for pottery, and was adopted by the English
manufacturers in increasingly large quantities
for their glasses, and from them it was copied
by other countries.



gotksbire ^tooro^ctots.

By T. M. Fallow, M.A., F.S.A.



PICTURE was given in the Anti-
quary for the month of March last,
of the custom of firing at the



Online LibraryPhoebe PalmerThe Antiquary (Volume 31) → online text (page 24 of 67)