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Green Autumnal Narcissus. Narcissus viridiflorus.
Dedicated to St. Narcissus, Bp.
St. Marcellus, the Centurion, ▲. D. 298.
A. D. 400.
ST. KATHARINE'S BY THE TOWER.
To the Editor of the Every-Day Book. Sir, Oct. 29, 1825. The ancient and beautiful collegiate church of St. Katharine finally closes tomorrow, previous to its demolition by the St. Katharine's dock company. The destruction of an edifice of such antiquity, one of the very few that escaped the great fire of 1666, has excited much public attention. I hope, therefore, that the subject will not be lost sight of in your Every-Day Book. Numbers of the nobility and gentry, who, notwithstanding an earnest appeal was made to them, left the sacred pile to its fate, have lately visited it. In fact, for the beauty and simplicity of its architecture, it has scarcely a rival in London, excepting the Temple church the interior is ornamented with various specimens of ancient carving; a costly monument of the duke of Exeter, and various others of an interesting kind. This interesting fabric has been sacrificed by the present chapter, consisting of the master, sir Herbert Taylor, three brethren chaplains, and three sisters, to a new dock company, who have no doubt paid them handsomely for sanctioning the pulling down of the church, the violation of the graves, and the turning of hundreds of poor deserving people out of their homes; their plea is, that they have paid the chapter. I hope, sir, you will pardon the liberty I have taken in troubling you with these particulars; and that you will not forget poor Old Kate, deserted as she is by those whose duty it was to have supported her.
Your obedient servant,
The purpose of this correspondent may be answered, perhaps, by publishing his
well-founded lamentation over the final dissolution of his church; his call upon me could not be declined. I did not get his note till the very hour that the service was commencing, and hurried from Ludgate-hill to the ancient "collegiate church of St. Katharine's by the Tower," where I arrived just before the conclusion of modation among the crowd within, were prayers. Numbers unable to get accomcoming from the place; but "where there's a will there's a way," and I contrived to gain a passage to the chancel, and was ultimately conducted to a seat in a pew just as the rev. R. R. Bailey, resident chaplain of the tower, ascended the curious old pulpit of this remarkable structure. This gentleman, whose "History of the Tower" is well known to topographers and antiquaries, appropriately selected for his text, "Go to now, ye that say, to-day or to-morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and seil and get gain." (James iv. 13.) He discoursed of the frailty of man's purpose, and the insecurity of his institutions, and enjoined hope and reliance on Him whose order ordained and preserves the world in its mutations. He spoke of the "unfeeling and encroaching hand of commerce," which had rudely seized on the venerable fabric, wherein no more shall be said
"Lord, how delightful 'tis to see,
ing was endeared by locality, and its bu To some of the many present the buildrial ground was sacred earth. Yet from thence the bones of their kindred were to be expelled, and the foundations of the edifice swept away. For eight centuries the site had been undisturbed, save for the reception of the departed from the world-for him whose friends claimed that there "the servant should be free from his master," or for the opulent, who, in his end, was needy as the needy, and required only "a little, little grave." Yet the very chambers of the dead were to be razed, and the remains of mortality dis persed, and a standing water was to be in their stead. The preacher, in sad remembrance, briefly, but strongly, touched on the coming demolition of the fane, and there were those among the congregation who deeply sorrowed. On the features of an elderly inhabitant opposite to me, there was a convulsive twitching, while, with his head thrown back, he watched
the preacher's lips, and the big tear sprung from his eyes; and the partner of his long life leaned forward and wept; the bosoms of their daughters rose and fell in grief; matrons and virgins sobbed; manly hearts were swollen, and strong men were bowed.
After the sermon sixty poor children of the precinct," for whose benefit it was preached-it was the last office that could be celebrated there in their behalf-sung a hymn to the magnificent organ, which, on the morrow, was to be pulled down. They choralled in tender tones
"Great God, O! hear our humble song,
O guard our tender youth from wrong,
These were the offspring of a neighbourhood of ill fame, whence, by liberal hands, they had been plucked and preserved as brands from the burning fire. It seemed as though they were about to be scattered from the fold wherein they had been folded and kept.
While the destruction of this edifice was contemplated, the purpose gave rise to remonstrance; but resistance was quell ed by the applications, which are usually successful in such cases. "An Earnest Appeal to the Lords and Commons in Parliament, by a Clergyman," was ineffectually printed and circulated with the hope of preventing the act. This little tract says:
"The collegiate body to whom the church and precinct pertain, and who have not always been so insensible to the nobler principies they now abandon, owe their origin to Maud, wife of king Stephen-their present constitution to Eleanor, wife of king Henry III.—and their exemption from the general dissolution in the time of Henry VIII. to the attractions (it is said) of Anne Boleyn. The queens' consort have from the first been patronesses, and on a vacancy of the crown matrimonial, the kings of England. The fabric for which, in default of its retained advocates, I have ventured now to plead, is of the age of king Edward III., lofty and well-proportioned, rich in ancient carving, adorned with effigies of a Holland, a Stafford, a Montacute, all allied to the blood royal, and in spite of successive mutilations is well able to plead for itself: surely then, for its own sake, as well as for the general interests involved in its preservation, it is not too much to ask, that it may, at least, be confronted with
those who wish its destruction-that its obscure location may not cause its condemnation unseen-that no one will pass sentence who has not visited the spot, and that, having so done, he will suffer the unbiassed dictates of his own heart to decide."
Mixen Agaric. Agaricus fimetarius.
St. Quintin, A. D. 287. St. Wolfgang, Bp. of Ratisbon, A. D. 994. St. Foillan, A. D. 655.
All Saints-day, Mr. Brand has collected Respecting this, which is the vigil of many notices of customs; to him therefore we are indebted for the following particulars :—
On this night young people in the north of England dive for apples, or catch at them, when stuck upon one end of a kind of hanging beam, at the other extremity of which is fixed a lighted candle. This they do with their mouths only, their hands being tied behind their backs. From the custom of flinging nuts into the fire, or cracking them with their teeth, it has likewise obtained the name of astcrack night. In an ancient illuminated missal in Mr. Douce's collection, a pera pole laid across two stools; at the end son is represented balancing himself upes of the pole is a lighted candle, from which he is endeavouring to light another in his hand, at the risk of tumbling inte a tub of water placed under him. A writer. about a century ago, says, "This is the last day of October, and the birth of this packet is partly owing to the affair of th night. I am alone; but the servants having demanded apples, ale, and nuts, 1 took the opportunity of running back my own annals of Allhallows Eve; for you are to know, my lord, that I have been mere adept, a most famous artist, both ir the college and country, on occasion this anile, chimerical solemnity.”
* Life of Harvey, the conjuror, Svo, 172
Pennant says, that the young women in Scotland determine the figure and size of their husbands by drawing cabbages blind-fold on Allhallow Even, and, like the English, fling nuts into the fire. It is mentioned by Burns, in a note to his poem on "Hallow E'en," that "The first ceremony of Hallow E'en is pulling each a stock or plant of kail. They must go out, hand in hand, with eyes shut, and pull the first they meet with. Its being big or little, straight or crooked, is prophetic of the size and shape of the grand object of all their spells-the husband or wife. If any yird, or earth, stick to the root, that is tocher, or fortune; and the taste of the custoc, that is the heart of the stem, is indicative of the natural temper and disposition. Lastly, the stems, or, to give them their ordinary appellation, the runts, are placed somewhere above the head of the door; and the christian names of the people whom chance brings into the house, are, according to the priority of placing the runts, the names in question." It appears that the Welsh have "a play in which the youth of both sexes seek for an even-leaved sprig of the ash: and the first of either sex that finds one, calls out Cyniver, and is answered by the first of the other that succeeds; and these two, if the omen fails not, are to be joined in wedlock."
Burns says, that "Burning the nuts is a favourite charm. They name the lad and lass to each particular nut, as they lay them in the fire; and accordingly as they burn quietly together, or start from beside one another, the course and issue of the courtship will be." It is to be noted, that in Ireland, when the young women would know if their lovers are faithful, they put three nuts upon the bars of the grates, naming the nuts after the lovers. If a nut cracks or jumps, the lover will prove unfaithful; if it begins to blaze or burn, he has a regard for the person making the trial. If the nuts, named after the girl and her lover, burn together, they will be married. This sort of divination is also in some parts of England at this time. Gay mentions it in his "Spell: "
Two hazel nuts I threw into the flame, And to each nut I gave a sweet-heart's name :
This with the loudest bounce me sore amaz'd,
That in a flame of brightest colour blaz'd;
* Owen's Welsh Dictionary.
There are some lines by Charles Graydon, Esq.-"On Nuts burning, Allhallows Eve."
"These glowing nuts are emblems true
Burns says, "the passion of prying into
In an appendix to the late Mr. "Pennant's Tour," several other very observ
able and perfectly new customs of divination on this night are enumerated. One is to "steal out unperceived, and sow a
handful of hemp-seed, harrowing it with
Another is, "to winn three wechts o'naething." The wecht is the instrument used in winnowing corn. "This charm must likewise be performed unperceived and alone. You go to the barn and open both doors, taking them off the hinges, if possible: for there is danger that the being, about to appear, may shut the doors and do you some mischief. Then take that instrument used in winnowing the corn, which, in our country dialect, we call a wecht, and go through all the attitudes of letting down corn against the wind. Repeat it three times; and, the third time, an apparition will pass through the barn, in at the windy door, and out at the other, having both the figure in question, and the appearance or retinue marking the employment or sta tion in life."
Then there is "to fathom the stack three times." "Take an opportunity of going unnoticed to a bear stack (barley stack), and fathom it three times round. The last fathom of the last time, you will catch in your arms the appearance of your future conjugal yokefellow." Another, "to dip your left shirt sleeve in a burn where three lairds land's meet." "You go out, one or more, for this is a social spell, to a south-running spring or rivulet, where three lairds' lands meet,' and dip your left shirt sleeve. Go to bed in sight of a fire, and hang your wet sleeve before it to dry. Lie awake; and some time near midnight, an apparition, having the exact figure of the grand object in question, will come and turn the sleeve, as if to dry the other side of it.".
The last is a singular species of divination "with three luggies, or dishes." "Take three dishes; put clean water in one, foul water in another, and leave the third empty blindfold a person, and lead him to the hearth where the dishes are ged: he (or she) dips the left hand f
by chance in the clean water, the future husband or wife will come to the bar of matrimony a maid; if in the foul, a widow; if in the empty dish, it foretells with equal certainty no marriage at all. It is repeated three times and every time the arrangement of the dishes is altered." Sir Frederick Morton Eden says, that " Sowens, with butter instead of milk, is not only the Hallow E'en supper, but the Christmas and New-year's-day's breakfast, in many parts of Scotland."
In the province of Moray, in Scotland, "A solemnity was kept on the eve of the first of November as a thanksgiving for the safe in-gathering of the produce of the fields This I am told, but have not seen: it is observed in Buchan and other countries, by having Hallow Eve fire kindled on some rising ground."+
In Ireland fires were anciently lighted up on the four great festivals of the Druids, but at this time they have dropped the fire of November, and substituted candles. The Welsh still retain the fire of November, but can give no reason for the illumination.
The minister of Logierait, in Perthshire, describing that parish, says: "On the evening of the 31st of October, O. S. among many others, one remarkable ceremony is observed. Heath, broom, and dressings of flax, are tied upon a pole. This faggot is then kindled. One takes it upon his shoulders; and, running, bears it round the village. A crowd attend. When the first faggot is burnt out, a second is bound to the pole, and kindled in the same manner as before. Numbers of these blazing faggots are often carried about together; and when the night happens to be dark, they form a splendid illumination. This is Halloween, and is a night of great festivity." Also at Callander, in Perthshire:-"On All Saints Even they set up bonfires in every vil lage. When the bonfire is consumed, the ashes are carefully collected into the form of a circle. There is a stone put in, near the circumference, for every person of the several families interested in the bonfire; and whatever stone is moved out of its place, or injured before next morning, the person represented by that stone is devoted, or fey; and is supposed net to live twelve months from that day. The
Eden's State of the Poor.
people received the consecrated fire from the Druid priests next morning, the virtues of which were supposed to continue for a year."* At Kirkmichael, in the same shire, "The practice of lighting bonfires on the first night of winter, accompanied with various ceremonies, still prevails in this and the neighbouring highland parishes." So likewise at Aberdeen," The Midsummer Even fire, a relict of Druidism, was kindled in some parts of this county; the Hallow Even fire, another relict of Druidism, was kindled in Buchan. Various magic ceremonies were then celebrated to counteract the influence of witches and demons, and to prognosticate to the young their success or disappointment in the matrimonial lottery. These being devoutly finished, the Hallow fire was kindled, and guarded by the male part of the family. Societies were formed, either by pique or humour, to scatter certain fires, and the attack and defence here often conducted with art and fury."-" But now"-" the Hallow fire, when kindled, is attended by children only; and the country girl, renouncing the rites of magic, endeavours to enchant her swain by the charms of dress and of industry."
Pennant records, that in North Wales "there is a custom upon All Saints Eve of making a great fire called Coel Coeth, when every family about an hour in the night makes a great bonfire in the most conspicuous place near the house; and when the fire is almost extinguished, every one throws a white stone into the ashes, having first marked it; then, having said their prayers, turning round the fire, they go to bed. In the morning, as soon as they are up, they come to search out the stones; and if any one of them is found wanting, they have a notion that the person who threw it in will die before he sees another All Saints Eve." They also distribute soul cakes on All Souls-day, at the receiving of which poor people pray to God to bless the next crop of wheat.
Mr. Owen's account of the bards, in sir R. Hoare's" Itinerary of archbishop Baldwin through Wales," says," The autumnal fire is still kindled in North Wales on the eve of the first day of November, and is attended by many ceremonies; such as running through the fire and smoke, each casting a stone into the fire, and all running off at the conclusion to
• Sinclair's Stat. Acc. of Scotland. ↑ Ibid. : Ibid.
escape from the black short-tailed sow; then supping upon parsnips, nuts, and apples; catching at an apple suspended by a string with the mouth alone, and the same by an apple in a tub of water; each throwing a nut into the fire, and those that burn bright betoken prosperity to the owners through the following year, but those that burn black and crackle denote misfortune. On the following morning the stones are searched for in the fire, and if any be missing they betide ill to those that threw them in."
At St. Kilda, on Hallow E'en night, they baked "a large cake in form of a triangle, furrowed round, and which was to be all eaten that night."* In England, there are still some parts wherein the grounds are illuminated upon the eve of All Souls, by bearing round them straw, or other fit materials, kindled into a blaze. The ceremony is called a tinley, and the Romish opinion among the common people is, that it represents an emblematical lighting of souls out of purgatory.
"The inhabitants of the isle of Lewis (one of the western islands of Scotland,) had an antient custom to sacrifice to a sea god, called Shony, at Hallow-tide, in the manner following: the inhabitants round the island came to the church of St. Mulvay, having each man his provision along with him. Every family furnished a peck of malt, and this was brewed into ale. One of their number was picked out to wade into the sea up to the middle; and, carrying a cup of ale in his hand, standing still in that posture, cried out with a loud voice, saying,
Shony, I give you this cup of ale, hoping that you'll be so kind as to send us plenty of sea-ware, for enriching our ground the ensuing year;' and so threw the cup of ale into the sea. This was performed in the night time. At his return to land, they all went to church, where there was a candle burning upon the altar; and then standing silent for a little time, one of them gave a signal, at which the candle was put out, and immediately all of them went to the fields, where they fell a drinking their ale, and spent the remainder of the night in dancing and singing," &c.†
At Blandford Forum, in Dorsetshire, "there was a custom, in the papal times, to ring bells at Allhallow-tide for all christian souls." Bishop Burnet gives a letter from king Henry the Eighth to