Phoebe Palmer.

The Antiquary (Volume 31) online

. (page 36 of 67)
Online LibraryPhoebe PalmerThe Antiquary (Volume 31) → online text (page 36 of 67)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


churneil, as mygeayrt-y-moom as orrym-pene.
As daggle mee ad ersooyl."

In addition to the fairies proper, there are
familiar or household spirits who are im-
placable in their resentment, but unchanging
in their friendship. There are two of these
in the Isle of Man, viz., the Lhiannan-Shee,
or " Spirit-Friend," a guardian spirit identical
with the Irish Lianhannshee ; and the Dooin-
ney-Oie, or " Night-Man," who seems peculiar
to the island, though he bears a faint re-
semblance to the Irish Banshee.

The following about the Dooinney-Oie, or
" Night-Man," is in addition to what has
already been given in the Folklore of the Isle
of Man :\

"An old man told Mr. Jenkinson, in
1874, that he heard the Dooinney-Oie shout-
ing close to him one night at eleven o'clock
in West Baldwin, when he was going home.
Another person told him that he and some
companions heard the Night-Man, and that
one of the party turned round and shouted
some insulting expression. They were quickly
saluted by a shower of stones, and 'on gain-
ing a house there was a regular tumult, and
even the cattle broke loose and bellowed as
if in great fear." \

Of late years there has been a disposition
to confound the characteristics of the Dooin-
ney-Oie with those of the Fenodyree.%

At the present day Manx children, for the

* Folklore of the Isle of Man, pp. 48, 49.

t See pp. 50, 51. % Isle of Man Guide, p. 40.

This will be shown in the following chapter.



QUARTERLY NOTES ON ROMAN BRITAIN



201



most part, merely laugh at the superstitious
beliefs which still linger ; but forty years ago
this, as will be shown from the following
account of them in Chambers Journal in
1853, was by no means the case :

" The children are strong believers in the
supernatural, like most of their elders, and
will, if you gain their confidence, tell you
startling tales. How, playing at twilight on
the brink of the deep glen adjoining their
cottage, they have seen, in the hollow far
below, the newly-washed linen of the fairy-
household spread out on the rocks to dry ;
how they have heard the tinkling sounds of
tiny musical instruments blending with the
gurgle of the unseen brook beneath the
gnarled and ivy clad trees; and how, above
all, one memorable day, towards dusk, two
of the ' little people ' were beheld advancing
hand-in-hand, as if to speak to them. Withered
hobgoblins, three feet high, clad in little jackets
and short red petticoats. What then ? Why,
then they saw no more, for they instantly
turned their backs and fled." (A Manx
Recruit.)

{To be continued^)



Ctiiarterlp jftote.s on Eoman
'Britain,

By F. IUverfield, M.A., F.S.A.



XVII.
HE archaeological record of the last
four months contains more promise
than performance. The discoveries
which have been actually made,
so far as they are known to me, are numerous
and interesting, but not specially remark-
able; on the other hand, some importan
excavations have been, or will shortly be,
commenced or recommenced. At Silchester
Mr. Fox and Mr. Hope continue those
admirable labours to which the University
of Oxford has lately accorded well deserved
recognition by conferring an honorary M.A.
on Mr. Fox. In Northumberland the New-
castle Society of Antiquaries, headed by Dr.
Hodgkin, has started a second year's work
vol. xxxi.




at Aesica (Great Chesters) on the Roman
wall. In Cumberland Chancellor Ferguson
and the Cumberland and Westmorland
Antiquarian Society have selected sites along
the western part of the wall, and will be at
work next month with co-operation, as I
hope, from Oxford. Special attention will
be paid to problems of the Vallum. Across
the Border the Scottish Society of Antiquaries
has deputed Dr. Christison, late Rhind
lecturer, and Dr. James Macdonald to ex-
cavate the Roman fortress at Birrens, near
Ecclefechan. This fortress was probably
that known to the Romans as Blatum
Bulgium, and it is well worth thorough
examination, particularly in the interests of
Roman military antiquities. It is one of a
class of fortresses like High Rochester,
Risingham, Lanchester, Binchester on the
east, Old Carlisle and Netherby on the west,
which seem to be almost more interesting
than the fortresses of the wall itself. It is
to be hoped that none of these undertakings
will be hampered by want either of money
or of what is almost as important of men.
Supervisors are hardly less necessary to an ex-
cavation than subscribers, and I am not sure
that they are not the more difficult to find.
If both are forthcoming, there should be
important results to record in October.

South of England. South of the
Thames the most important fact to record
is the continued excavation of the large villa
at Darenth, near Dartford. This is a
dwelling-house of the courtyard type, with
rather small wings, and with a corridor
dividing the courtyard in two parts; both
these features, I believe, reappear in other
Romano - British villas. Attached to one
wing of the villa are baths, perhaps adapted
afterwards for other purposes, and extensive
outbuildings of some sort have been found
a little distance from the other wing. Rather
elaborate precautions appear to have been
taken against flooding from the river Dart,
which flows just below the buildings. The
smaller remains which have been found, so
far as I could judge on a recent visit, are
not very remarkable. Another villa has
been discovered, or rather re discovered, in
Kent, at Britton Farm, Wingham, close to
the Roman road from Canterbury to Rich-
borough ; no excavations have taken place.

2 D



202



Q UARTERL Y NOTES ON ROMAN BRITAIN.



At West Mailing, a little west of Maidstone,
two urns and a saucer of Samian ware have
been found, as Mr. H. C. H. Oliver kindly
tells me ; they belong doubtless to a native
burial. In Sussex I had hopes of dis-
coveries during some building operations in
Chichester; only a few coins were actually
found. I may mention here that a gold
coin of Nero was dug up in the Bishop's
gardens some little while ago ; it is In the
possession of the Bishop. The final results of
the inquiry into the Lavant caves shows that
they were in existence in Roman times;
possibly they are instances of the subterranean
chambers in which, according to Diodorus,
the Britons stored their grain. Certainly
they are quite distinct from the dene-holes
of the Eastern counties. Further west at
Dorchester a piece of tessellated pavement
has been found ; it is but one more among
many notable remains of the old Roman
Durnonovaria. I am told that it is to be
left exposed to view ; it is to be hoped that it
will not be left also exposed to the weather,
for one frost would ruin it beyond repair.

Bath. The continued exploration of the
Roman " pump-room " at Bath has resulted
in some architectural discoveries one
lettered fragment, some bronze ornaments,
and twenty or thirty gems with various
devices. They appear to be, for the most
part, of somewhat rude workmanship, but
they are remarkable for their numbers ; it
would seem that some lapidary sold orna-
ments at the Roman baths just as, for
instance, is done in the shops outside the
Kurgarten at Wiesbaden. A bronze pin
with a pearl, some small pewter ornaments,
and a first brass of Titus, were found in the
same excavations.

Gloucestershire. In Gloucestershire
Mr. L. Brock has recently excavated, on
behalf of Mrs. Dent, a Roman villa on the
Sudely estate sometimes known as the Wad-
field villa, a little east of Cheltenham. The
villa was first discovered in 1863, and had
been already uncovered in part. It consists
of a courtyard 34 feet wide, surrounded on
three sides by a house of the courtyard type,
the whole measuring 140 by no feet. It
will be recollected that the recent excavation
of the Spoonly villa, two miles from the
Wadfield villa, was also due to Mrs. Dent's



liberality. In plan the two villas are alike, but
the Spoonly villa is much the larger of the two.

Cheshire, Yorkshire. At Chester the
reorganization of the museum in its enlarged
quarters has proceeded successfully, but no
fresh discovery has been reported. Some
masonry found close to the east gate in
March last was for one moment thought
to be possibly Roman ; it seems really, how-
ever, to be Edwardian. In Yorkshire minor
discoveries of pottery have been made at
Tadcaster, the Roman Calcaria, and at
Driffield.

The Wall. Two Roman inscriptions
have been found near the Wall. One, the
more legible of the two, is an altar dedicated
to the Dea Brigantia by a man bearing the
Keltic name Congenniccus ; this was found
at South Shields. The other, found at Cor-
bridge during building operations, appears to
be a tombstone. I am indebted to Mr.
Blair for accounts of both. A Roman well
if it be Roman has been found at Wall-
send, near the north-west corner of the
fortress. At Carlisle Chancellor Ferguson
tells me that a gold coin of Hadrian has
been secured for Tullie House ; it would have
delighted the heart of Dr. Bruce.

Scotland. Some minor finds of pottery
have been made in ploughing outside of
Birrens ; the newly-commenced excavations
will doubtless add enormously to the record.
Dr. James Macdonald has done another
good piece of work by showing, as I under-
stand, that a supposed Roman bath at New-
field, near Dundonald, in Ayrshire, is not
really Roman.

Christ Church, Oxford,
June 10, 1895.



>ome QfrtDimal Closing IRings
anD Knocker*.

E are indebted to the kindness of
the Rev. C. R. Manning for the
drawings from which the accom-
panying illustrations of four closing
rings on the doors of the churches of Tiben-
ham, Hedenham, Newton Flotman, and Shot-
tisham-St.-Mary, Norfolk, have been taken.




SO ME MEDIEVAL CLOSING RINGS AND KNOCKERS.



203



Few objects show more clearly the genuine-
ness of the artistic work of the Middle Ages
than the small and simple, but graceful, ad-
juncts, such as these, of a mediaeval building.













CLOSING RING ON DOOR OF TIBENHAM CHURCH,
NORFOLK.*

They stand out in bold contrast when com-
pared with the laboured straining after effect
which too often characterizes modern work
of the kind. It is scarcely necessary to add
a verbal description of these rings and their
escutcheons, as the pictures do this suffi-
ciently of themselves. The rings are each
fixed to doors of the fifteenth century, and it
may be pretty safe to infer that they them-
selves date from somewhere about the middle
of that century. Mr. Manning, in sending
the drawings to us for use in the Antiquaiy
says : " I imagine the local blacksmiths were
quite equal to this kind of work, as the wood-
carvers were for screens, etc., and I wish our
technical classes could revive such village
industries."

There can be little doubt that, compara-
tively speaking, a large number of ancient
closing rings, handles, and knockers, more or
less similar to these Norfolk examples, still

* Rather less than half sire.



exist in different parts of the country, and
notably so in East Anglia. It is to be feared,
however, that a still larger number have
perished during the last fifty years or so
owing to the so-called " restorations," which
have been the passing fashion of the day,
when these things have too frequently been
reckoned as "contractor's stuff," and ignor-
antly removed as rubbish. Illustrations of a
good many may be seen in different books on
architecture, or on ironwork, and others in
the various volumes of the Builder.

Besides these simpler closing rings, there are
other types of handles and knockers, con-
cerning which it may not be amiss to say a
few words. We refer to the rings held in the
jaws of animals, a form, by the way, which
has come down to us in the ordinary front-
door knocker of many old town houses. The
mediaeval knockers, or door-handles, of this




CLOSING RING ON DOOR OF BELFRY STAIRCASE,
HEDENHAM CHURCH, NORFOLK.*

kind, are divisible into at least two types.
The one where the ring is simply held in the
jaw of an animal, and the other in which a

* Rather less than half size.



204



SOME MEDIAEVAL CLOSING RINGS AND KNOCKERS



human head or mask issues from the jaws of
the larger head [in front of the upper part of
the ring itself.

Of the first of these types the knocker on




fiiffllRTPTlii



CLOSING RING ON DOOR OF NEWTON FLOTMAN
CHURCH, NORFOLK.*

the north door of Durham Cathedral is the
best, and to many persons the only known
example. Its form is so generally familiar
that it is almost superfluous to say anything
about it, but an illustration of it is given here
with a few notes, for convenience of com-
parison with another very similar knocker,
which has only recently been brought to light
in Essex, and for the illustration of which we
are indebted to the Editor of the Essex Re-
view, where it originally appeared, accom-
panied by a description by Mr. Miller Christy,
F.L.S. The Durham knocker is commonly
supposed to have been used by fugitives who
fled to the Abbey to claim sanctuary. Re-
garding this the following paragraphs from
the preface to the volume of the Sanetuarium
Dunelmense may be conveniently quoted
here :

" The method of claiming sanctuary, and
the ceremonies observed, seem to have
varied according to the custom of different
churches.

" At Durham, persons who took refuge fled

* Rather less than one-third size.



to the north door, and knocked for admis-
sion. The large knocker still upon the north
door is believed to have been that which was
used for this purpose. There were two
chambers over the north door in which men
slept, for the purpose of admitting such fugi-
tives at any hour of the night. As soon as
anyone was so admitted, the Galilee bell was
immediately tolled, to give notice that some-
one had taken sanctuary. The offender was
required to declare, before certain credible
witnesses, the nature of his offence, and to
toll a bell in token of demanding the pri-
vilege of sanctuary. The notice of this custom
occurs constantly in the registers of the Sanc-
tuary at Durham, until the year 1503, in such
terms as to show that it was regularly ob-
served. But it does not appear to be noticed
after that time.

" Everyone who had the privilege of sanc-
tuary was provided with a gown of black
cloth, with a yellow cross, called St. Cuth-
bert's Cross, upon the left shoulder. A grate
was expressly provided near the south door




CLOSING RING ON THE SOUTH DOOR OF SHOTTIS-
HAM-ST.-MARY CHURCH, NORFOLK.*

of the Galilee for such offenders to sleep
upon ; and they had a sufficient quantity of
provisions and bedding at the expense of the

* Rather less than half size.



SOME MEDIAEVAL CLOSING RINGS AND KNOCKERS.



205




KNOCKER, DURHAM CATHEDRAL.

house for thirty-seven days." Sanciuarium
Dunelmense, Preface, p. xvi.

* * * * *

"The general privilege of sanctuary was
intended to be only temporary. Within forty
days after a felon or murderer had taken re-
fuge, he was to appear before the coroner,
clothed in sackcloth, and there confess his
crime, and abjure the realm."

*****
" If an offender did not make this confes-
sion and abjuration within forty days, and
continued in the sanctuary, any person who
furnished him with provisions was guilty of
felony." Ibid., p. xviii.

*****
11 Of the number registered as having taken
(June 18, 1484 September 10, 1524) refuge
in the sanctuary at Durham, 283 persons
were implicated in 195 cases of murder and
homicide. Sixteen claimed the rights of
sanctuary on account of debt, thirteen for



horse or cattle stealing, four for escaping from
prison, four for housebreaking, one for rape,
seven for theft, and one each for being back-
ward in his accounts, for harbouring a thief,
and for failing to prosecute." Ibid.

Although no direct reference is made to
the knocker itself, it will not be out of place
to quote the description which the writer of
the book known as The Rites and Monuments
of the Cathedral Church of Durham, himself
an eyewitness, gives of the method of claim-
ing sanctuary there :

" In the old tyme, longe before the house
of Durham was supprest, the Abey Church,
and all the Church yard, and all the circuyte
therof, was a Saunctuarie, for all manner
of men that had done or commytted any gret
offence, as killing of a man in his own de-
fence, or any prisoners had broken out of
prison and fled to the said church dore, and
knocking and rapping at yt to have yt opened,
there was certen men that dyd lie alwaies in
two chambers over the said north church
dour, for the same purpose that when any
such offenders dyd come, and knocke, streight
waie they were letten in, at any houre of the
nyght, and dyd rynne streight waie to the
Galleley Bell and tould it, to th' intent any
man that hard it might knowe that there was
som man that had taken Saunctuarie. And
when the Prior had intelligence therof, then
he dyd send word, and commanding them
that they should keape themselves within the
Saunctuarij, that is to saie within the Church
and churchyard ; and every one of them to
have a gowne of blacke cloth maid with a
cross of yeallowe cloth called Sancte Cuth-
bert's cross, sett on his lefte shoulder of his
arme, to th intent that every one might se
that there was such a frelige graunted by God
and Sancte Cuthbert, for every such offender
to flie unto for succour and safegard of there
lyves, unto such tyme as they might obteyne
their Prince's pardone, and that thei should
lie within the Church or Saunctuarij in a
Grate, which grate ys remayninge and stand-
ing to this daie, being maid onlie for the same
purpose, standing and adjoining unto the
Gallelei dore on the south syde, and likewise
they had meite, drinke, and bedding, and
other necessaries of the House cost and
charg, for 37 daies, as was meite for such
offenders, unto such tyme as the Prior and
the Covent could gett theme conveyed out



206



SOME MEDIAEVAL CLOSING RINGS AND KNOCKERS.



of the dioces. This freedom was confirmed
not onely by King Guthrid but also by King
Mured."*

This much must suffice here in regard to
the subject of " sanctuary," but those who
wish to pursue it further may consult with
advantage the Samtuarium Dunelmense, as
well as a paper in the second volume of
Norfolk Anhtcology, by Mr. Harrod.



" Standing about a quarter of a mile back
from the main road, between Dunmow and
Great Bardfield, on the north side of the
road, and near the northern extremity of the
parish of Lindsell (that is to say, about a mile
and a quarter from the church), is a modern
red brick farmhouse belonging to what has
long been known as The Brazen Head Farm.
On the front-door of this house is to be found




THE "BRAZEN HEAD," L1NDSKLL, ESSEX. f



There is no idea that the other knocker at
Lindsell, in Essex, which bears so great an
analogy to that at Durham, ever had any con-
nection with the subject of " sanctuary." How
it came to be fixed where it is, and where it
has been for at least four centuries, is not
known. It will be well to quote what Mr.
Miller Christy has written about it. He
says :

* Rites of Durham (Surtees Soc., vol. xv.), p. 35.
t From the Essex Review, vol. i., p. 105, by kind
permission of the Editor.



the ' Brazen Head ' with which I am now
concerned, in the shape of a large, ancient,
circular door-knocker.

" Although the present house is quite
modern, it stands upon very nearly the same
site as an earlier farmhouse, encircled by a
moat which became ruinous through age, and
was pulled down some fifteen or twenty years
ago ; but a curious and ancient pigeon-house
of timber and plaster, which belonged to it,
still stands. It was from the front-door of
this earlier house that the Brazen Head came.



SOME MEDIAEVAL CLOSING RINGS AND KNOCKERS.



207



The head, which is undoubtedly intended as
that of a lion or leopard, stands out in very
bold relief from a circular plate of metal, some
18 inches in diameter, having a small though
narrow thickened rim. The head, which is
shown full-faced (or, in heraldic parlance,
affrontee, cabossed or trunked), of course,
occupies the centre of the disc, of which it
fills roughly about one third. The rest of
the disc is largely occupied by tapering rolls
of hair which radiate from all round the head
nearly to the rim of the disc. In the mouth
is the knocker, a large iron ring, which knocks
on the rim of the disc. Altogether the
knocker is most effective as a work of art,
standing out as much as 6 inches in relief.
The design is treated largely in the grotesque,




CLOSING RING OR KNOCKER, ADEL CHURCH, YORK-
SHIRE.

(From a photograph by Mr. J. Wormald, Leeds.)

conventional heraldic style of former days.
In heraldic blazon it might be best described
as a leopard's head erased, affrontee, holding
in its mouth a ring. I believe that the metal
in which it is executed is bronze. Though



not solid, the metal is of considerable thick-
ness. The accompanying illustration is taken
from an excellent sketch of the knocker, made
by my friend Mr. Ernest E. Thompson, in
May, 1891.




CLOSING RING OR KNOCKER, ALL SAINTS CHURCH
PAVEMENT, YORK.

(From a photograph by Mr. Duncan, York.)

"That the Brazen Head is of great age, it is,
I think, impossible to dispute. How old it
may be I do not feel competent to decide,
but it may be pointed out that, just about
four centuries ago, it had already given to
the farm the name it still bears. Those who
have seen both it and the celebrated sanctuary
knocker on the north door of the cathedral
at Durham cannot fail to be struck with the
general resemblance in the designs of the
two, though that at Durham represents not
a lion's but a griffin's head, and it has also
no circular disc. ... So far as I am aware,
none of our county historians make any
mention of the Brazen Head at Lindsell
except Morant, who speaks {History 0/ Essex,
vol. iL, 1768, p. 445) of 'Robert Alger,
owner of a capital messuage in this parish
called Brason Head, because a wolf's head



208



SOME MEDLEVAL CLOSING RINGS AND KNOCKERS.



of brass, well cast, was affixed to the top of
the outer gate.' Wright (History of Essex,
vol. ii., p. 245) simply copies Morant. The
head, however, certainly is not a wolf's.
Morant cannot have seen it.''*

The Durham and Lindsell knockers are,
so far as we are aware, the only two examples
of this particular type which are known. Of
the second type, in which a man's head
issues from that of the monster, there are four
examples known. A recent writer has dealt
with them under the name of " Hagodays."t
Whether there is ancient authority for this
name, or whether it is merely a modern
invention like that of "hagioscope" for a
squint, we do not know. It sounds as if it
were a modern invention. The examples of
this second type of door-handle or knocker
are the following : Adel, Yorkshire ; All
Saints' Church in the Pavement at York ; St.
Nicholas's Church at Gloucester ; and St.
Gregory's Church at Norwich. Possibly
some others exist which are as yet unrecorded.
The late Sir John Maclean informed the
writer that he had come upon another fine
example in a dealer's shop, but had been
unable to effect the purchase of it, which he
desired to make. 1'his example had been,
Sir John Maclean believed, removed from a
church, with the door to which it was fixed,
by the contractor who undertook the " restora-
tion" of some unfortunate and (to Sir J.
Maclean) unknown church.

The knocker at St. Nicholas's Church at
Gloucester is a remarkably fine one, and
almost forms a type by itself, the secondary'
head being reversed, and the disc, instead of
being circular, forming a flat hexagon of
metal.

The two examples at Adel and All Saints'
Pavement at York are so generally similar
that not only are they evidently of the same
age, but it is no unreasonable assumption to
say that they must have come from the same
workshop. In both instances the disc is
circular, the outer rim having leaf- work
engraved round it, while the larger central
face is that of a nondescript monster, the
ring depending from the open jaw, while in
front of the ring issues the face of a man,

* The Essex Review, April, 1892, p. 104.

t Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire
Archaological Society, vol. xiv.," Sanctuary Knockers,"
by Mrs Kagnall Oakley.



whom perhaps it has been needlessly assumed
is intended for a fugitive from the law.
There is, however, no definite evidence that
either of these knockers or churches had
any distinct connection with the claiming of
sanctuary, although there seems to have



Online LibraryPhoebe PalmerThe Antiquary (Volume 31) → online text (page 36 of 67)