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rolls, from which he can arrive at even an approximate conclusion as to the length of life and the death-rate of former times.
Some of the entries which the author has introduced to our notice would be unintelligible were it not for the elucidations he has furnished. Here is a case in point. In the register of St. Mary Magdalene's, Canterbury, there are entries of the early part of the reign of George III, wherein it is recorded that certain children were “born in the fore part of the house.” The parents lived, it is suggested, in houses built over a parish boundary, and thus "a child born 'in the fore part of the house would be born within the city liberties, and would become a 'freeman’; but if born in the back part of the house, or over the border, it would not be 'free.' Hence the importance of distinguishing in which part of the house a child was born.”
We most of us have heard something of the cruelty attendant on the administration of the poor law in days gone by. One of its most shameful abuses was the removal from parish to parish of sick paupers. A most painful illustration of this occurs in the register of Staplehurst, Kent, where the following entry is to be found as long ago as the year 1578 :
“There was comytted to the earth the body one Johan Longley, who died in the highway as she was carried on horseback to have been conveyed from officer to officer, till she should have con to the parish of Rayershe." But deaths have unhappily resulted from removals of this kind in far more recent days than those of Elizabeth.
Many forgotten trades, or trades which now go by other names, are mentioned in Mr. Thiselton-Dyer's list, which, however, has no pretension to be exhaustive. Thus we have in 1629 the “letter-bearer," a functionary who must have often been employed when the post-office had still to be established, or could only be used on some of the main routes. At Nantwich “Mr. Roger Mainwaring, Post Maister," was buried in 1622. Was he a person who discharged analogous functions to those which the name implies to modern ears, or one who let out horses for hire ? Most probably the latter. A “comfit-maker" appears at St. Dunstan’s-in-the-West in 1597; and at St. Mary Woolnoth we meet with the strange designations of “ The Writer of the Court Letter," "pasteler," "gongfarmer," and "pryntagger.” At St. Peter's, Durham, John Haward, saltpetre-man, was buried in 1602. Unless he were of extremely amiable character, we fear there would be few who lamented his death, if there were no immediate prospect of his being succeeded by someone more despotic and exacting than himself. The saltpetre-man of the first half of the seventeenth century was hated even more, if that be possible, than the “window-peeper" of those more recent days when light was subject to heavy taxation.
Before the importation of saltpetre from abroad, as an important ingredient in the manufacture of gunpowder, it was a Crown monopoly; and agents, popularly known as saltpetre-men, were sent all over the conntry to seek for it in stables, pigeon-cotes, pigsties, and indeed in almost all other places the soil of which was supposed to be impregnated with animal matter. The injury these men did, and the irritation they caused by digging up floors and pulling down fences, were great ; no householder was free from their visits, which were rendered especially odious from their being empowered to impress carts and horses for the purpose of carrying away the mineral and the utensils employed in its manufacture. This galling domestic tyranny-though of course not to be compared with things of far greater moment—was no doubt one of the factors in the national irritation which made the Civil War possible. The monopoly was put an end to by Parliament in 1656.
Among other things that make old parish registers so interesting is the fact that, instead of merely being dry statistical records, as they are to-day, the story of any local events of importance was freely inserted in them, such as great storms, fires, adventures, etc.; and thus they form one of the most valuable repositories of local history, often clothing the dry bones of the Pipe Rolls and the Record Office with flesh and blood, and giving a living interest to our ideas of social life in olden times. We can heartily recommend this valuable little work.
Guide to the Church of St. John the Baptist in the City of Chester. By the Rev. Canon S. Cooper Scott. (Chester : Phillipson and Golder.) -This excellent little handbook is a model which we would gladly see imitated by other incumbents who, like Canon Scott, have charge of church buildings full of historic interest. St. John the Baptist's is by far the most interesting church in Chester, and for that matter in the whole county; and we can only hope that this lucid and carefullywritten guide will enable a larger number of those tourists who visit Chester from year to year to take an intelligent interest in this venerable structure. The reader may learn valuable lessons in the development of Gothic architecture by a thoughtful perusal of these pages. We must congratulate Canon Scott on the large number of illustrations he has been able to include in the work.
They add materially to the interest, and make the book more than a simple handbook for visitors. To many who are not able to visit the church, these illustrations present a very complete series of pictures of the chief features of interest in the building, and are worthy of careful study.
Lists of the vicars and of the deans of the church's collegiate period are given. We must object, however, to so hastily worded a statement as that “in the year 1545 an Act was passed to suppress all colleges, free chapels, chauntries, hospitals and guilds.”
The Municipal Parks, Gardens, and Open Spaces of London. By LIEUT.-COL. Sexby, V.D. (London : Elliot Stock, 218.)-LieutenantColonel Sexby is not the first man to tell us the history of London open spaces ; but this book of his supersedes its predecessors inasmuch as the whole subject of open spaces belongs to the present era of municipalisation. He does not treat of Hyde Park, Regent's Park, or St. James's Park, which are Crown property, and have already been dealt with by Camden Hotten in a fairly lucid way. It is the spaces upheld by the London County Council and other bodies that come under his notice, varying from an extent of 165 square yards (like the Lauriston Road Triangle, which is maintained by the Hackney District Board) to the splendid 267 acres of Blackheath (which the Council itself maintains). These open spaces are full of history, and it needs 676 pages and nearly 200 pictures to indicate their story down to the present time. If people only knew something of the history of these places, how much more interesting London would become. Think of Kennington, for instance, as the execution place of the Jacobites; of Leicester Square (rapidly being transformed by huge hotels) as the home of art and letters ; of Lincoln's Inn Fields with all their legal and literary associations; and so we might go on till we had enumerated the greater part of the parks, etc., described by Colonel Sexby. The author has done a good thing in compiling this very readable volume, for it will help to increase the size and vitality of London lungs. There is a good index, but why not a coloured map?
However, we must not grumble at something undone, where so much has been provided, and so well. The archaeological and historical references and statements are very fairly accurate, so far
we have been able to test them; and we heartily congratulate author and publisher on this welcome addition to the increasing library of books relating to the ever-growing metropolis of the empire.
The following items of intelligence as to some recent finds, contributed by correspondents and in other ways, are inserted as being of interest to the archæological world :
A Roman Pavement near Dorchester.-In Fordington Field, just outside Dorchester, excavations connected with unfinished cottages revealed, in August last, a Roman pavement of admirable design and considerable extent. It is situated about 250 yards west-northwest of the amphitheatre and Roman road which runs thereby. Seeing that the land round about (the property of the Duchy of Cornwall) has probably not been disturbed for many centuries, there is no saying what further remains may not be discovered in the vicinity.
It lies about 2 ft. beneath the surface, and some 30 ft. by 20 ft. or thereabouts have been exposed. It consists of a central octagonal ornament, surrounded by scrolls, guilloches, and similar designs, flanked north and south by oblong spaces, ornamented in a corresponding manner, but each containing in its centre a vase some 2 ft. in length, elegant in shape, with two scroll handles. The tesseræ are red, white, and black, and the artistic effect of the whole is excellent.
On the west side, at regular intervals, are three spaces covered with small cubes of red brick, which suggest passages leading to other
Not to enter into further detail, we would call attention to the probable importance of this discovery, having regard to the situation of the remains, and especially to the risk of injury which they run. When first found they were in the custody of a builder's workman, who, no doubt with the best intentions, permitted many children and others to roam at will all over them; and occasionally, by way of heightening the effect of the colours of the pavement, poured water over it.
With no trace of compunction he informed the writer that they had destroyed several feet before they knew what they had found : a fact which was but too evident. In the interests of archæology generally, and of “Durnovarian" antiquities in particular, it is to be hoped that speedy steps will be taken to preserve a work which is exceptionally fine of its kind.
An old Lincoln's Inn Landmark. The old gate-tower in Chancery Lane, which forms the principal entrance to Lincoln's Inn, is now undergoing repair.
This tower, one of the few remaining ancient landmarks in London, was built in the reign of Henry VII, and in the rooms over the gateway Oliver Cromwell is stated to have once occupied chambers. The wall of Lincoln's Inn was commenced in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and it is said that Ben Jonson worked thereon as a mason. Prior to the erection of this wall, the site of which is now occupied by chambers, Lincoln's Inn was separated from Chancery Lane by an embankment only.
The Tower's Secret Passage.-The secret underground passage at the Tower, recently laid bare, has just been explored by a couple of journalists, who recount their experiences in an illustrated article in the Daily News Weekly. Accompanied by General Milman, the Governor of the Tower, and Mr. May, the Clerk of the Works, they descended into the Tower moat, and found the entrance to the passage a hole in the wall. They ventured into its Cimmerian depths with lighted candles, and found themselves in a grim passage, just wide enough for a man of ordinary width ; the walls which enclosed them, reeking with the oozing damp of centuries, were of rough-hewn stone, set in the mortar of the Norman masons, placed in position well and true. Chill and horrid they felt to the touch, as the party groped their way along, stumbling and stooping, creeping and crawling. On and on they went, now deep under the Bloody Tower, now below the famous ascent to the inner precincts-on and on-until at last they emerged into the dungeon, many feet below the earth, and stood erect at last. This little chamber was the terrible end of the prisoner's journey. The history of the Tower being so well known, it may be imagined that here he was left to rot, and his secret with him. The journalists made their exit up a secret staircase, which led them close to the White Tower, and were taken to a little yard in which a thousand and one relics that have been found in the secret passage from the moat to the White Tower-old cannon-balls, of iron and stone, bits of old daggers, of poinards, strange in shape, of swords, links of chains, fragments of Venetian glass, goblets, bowls, flagons, bits of pottery, pipes innumerable, actually one whole bottle of canary, half full of the aged wine.
Ancient Pile Dwellings.—During the past summer excavations have been made at Hedsor (Bucks.), near the bank of the Thames, and the site of the ancient pile dwellings, under the direction of Mr. A. H. Cocks, of Marlow, one of the hon. secretaries of the Bucks. Archæological Society. The presence of these curious relics of a RomanoCeltic character was accidentally discovered in 1894, while a cesspool was being made in an orchard; and the discoveries then made were of such an interesting character that it was determined to resume operations as soon as a fund could be raised to meet the expenses, which amount to about £3 per day. This is the only instance of pile dwellings known to exist in the south of England, with the exception