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In the Saga Book of the Viking Club, in a Paper I read to that Society in April, 1895, an account is given of excavations and discoveries made by me in Iceland. The particulars were sent by me from Reykjavik at the time, and published in the Builder, with illustrations in
In an ancient account of London, Mellitus, the first Bishop of London, is said to have erected his church on the site of a pagan Roman temple. The areas of all European cities were in those days what would now be called very small ; so much so that it is not too much to assume, with the configuration of the site of London in view on the map before you, the formation of which has not much changed, and the area of which was regulated by the natural physics of the site, that the site of such Roman temple was on some part of the elevated land occupied by St. Paul's Cathedral.
This, though mere assumption, cannot be—topographically speaking-very wide of the mark.
On the same principle of assumption, it may not be too much to suppose that such Roman temple had succeeded one founded by the pre-Roman inhabitants, not Keltic, but some of the Baltic people, Hermiones, or others, nations now called Scandinavian, then unnamed, but such were
no doubt among the maritime visitants of London, then also unnamed, so far as its history is known to us.
Assuming ancestors of any branch of the Scandinavians, and the possibility of their old customs assimilating to those of Norway before the latter became Christianised, there would have been a Hof or pagan temple. There are features in these natural elevations now occupied by St. Paul's, that must have attracted these early pagan people to select the spot for one of special worship.
There is an account of a quantity of bones of oxen being found when old St. Paul's was erecting. The hasty conclusion was that they were the remains of sacrifices to Apollo or Diana, and that they were near a temple of Diana ; this conclusion was vague and uncertain, and historians began to discredit the value of the discovery of the bones, because of the unproved assertions as to the temple. But there appears to have been a temple where Bishop Mellitus planted his church.
When my friend, the late Mr. Roach Smith, found several cavities in places distant from St. Paul's, in which were bones of oxen, etc., it was considered-probably correctly—that these were places of refuse, and on that ground it was at once concluded the bones previously connected—without foundation—with a supposed temple to Apollo or Diana, were also a refuse deposit. But the position argues against that, as the ancients were rigid against defilement of their sacred sites.
Near an old pagan Hof or temple in Iceland, in an unfrequented part towards the interior, I found two undisturbed very symmetrical tumuli. With the consent of the Lutheran priest whose church was near the site of the old Hof, I made a careful excavation, bisecting them, and so obtaining sections of each.
They were carefully arranged, and so uniform that they told a story of the old religion.
I had encountered, previously and subsequently, several kitchen middens or refuse deposits; the tumuli were quite different in every respect from the middens; they evidently commemorated a succession of similar events, and for reasons given in the Saga Book—apparently the succession of Priest kings, the two offices being combined with these people in pagan times. The layers—as shown on the diagram-consisted of bones of sheep and oxen, evidently sacrificed, and the positions of the tumuli were in studied proximity to the old temple.
Here, it appears to me, is ground for reconsidering the deposit of bones on or near a pagan temple, at or not far from St. Paul's. The refuse deposits in no way affect it, any more than the kitchen middens affected the tumuli near the Hof in Iceland.
But the same close proximity of the Christian and pagan church sites—the same near deposition of the bones of sacrificed animals—the same distinction between accidental or waste deposits and studied positions of the remains of sacrifices-claim an earnest consideration and interest.
BY T. CANN HUGHES, ESQ., M.A., TOWN CLERK OF LANCASTER
[Local Member of Council for Lancashire).
(Read 2nd June 1897.)
T has occurred to me that a few notes on
matters of archæological interest which have recently come under my notice may be acceptable to my fellow members of the British Archæological Association, and may be put on record for future
The ancient borough of Lancaster, in addition to possessing a very fine mace, which, with other corporate regalia, is described by Mr. St. John Hope in his well-known work on Municipal Insignia, has a most interesting series of charters. These commence with the earliest existent document, that of John, Earl of Moreton, granted to Lancaster in 1193. This is followed by a long series of charters. These, thanks to the thoughtful care of my predecessor as Town Clerk (Mr. W. O. Roper, F.S.A.), have been framed and glazed and their seals preserved; and I hope the day is not far distant when they will be all translated and published by Mr. Roper in his long-promised History of Lancaster, in a way and with a thoroughness with which none else has the knowledge to treat of them. For my present purpose it is sufficient to mention that, by the Charter of 1338, the burgesses obtained permission to hold a fair on the eve of St. Michael and for fifteen days next following, and also a fair on the eve, day, and morrow of the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. By his Charter of 1420, Henry V confirmed the right to hold these fairs. These rights of fair have been from time to time continued by other charters. By a Charter of Charles II (1684), the Corporation had power to appoint “one Common Clerk, one honest man to be Mace bearer, and Two sergeants”. These officers are still appointed, and in their robes of office accompany the mayor on all public processions, churchgoings, and the like. One of the sergeants is called “ The Mayor's Sergeant”, and the other " the Town Sergeant”, and they walk at the head of the processions, bearing the two smaller silver-gilt maces of the date of James I. The mace-bearer carries the great mace of Queen Anne, a very handsome emblem. Lancaster is, so far as I am aware, the last town in England in which, as provided by its ancient charters, the proclamation of the fair is still carried out. Twice since I became Town Clerk have I taken part in this proclamation, on 10th October 1896, and 1st May last. The proclamation is read by the Mayor's Sergeant on the steps of the town hall in the presence of the Mayor, Town-clerk, and other officials.
The following is a copy of the proclamation :
May 1st, July 5th, October 10th, .... Esquire, Mayor of the Borough and Town of Lancaster, and Justice of the Peace of our Sovereign Lady the Queen, within the said Borough, strictly chargeth and commandeth all manner of persons which be or hereafter shall be assembled here this day or during the time of this present fair, that they keep the peace, make no affray, create no quarrels for any master old or new, whereby Her Majesty's Peace may be broken, upon pain of forfeiture of One hundred shillings and their bodies to prison, there to remain during the said Mayor's pleasure; and also that no manner of person or persons being Merchants, chapmen, sellers, buyers, losers, or changers, do sell, buy, lose, or change any manner of merchandise, goods, or chattels, but such as be merchantable; and the same goods and chattels to be bought and sold in open fair and market, and in no hid or secret place, upon pain of forfeiture of the same goods and chattels, one half to Her Majesty's use and the other to the takers thereof, and also that no manner of person or persons buy or sell with any weight, balance, mete, or measure, within the Town or fair, but such as may be marked or sealed by the Mayor or his officers, and lawfully tried by Her Majesty's standard for weights and measures remaining here in this Town, to be kept for the whole body of the shire, upon pain of forfeiture of such weights and measures and their bodies to prison, there to remain until they have been fined for the same. And that no person or persons do defraud the officers of Her Majesty's Customs, toll, or duties to Her Majesty's due within this fair, upon pain of imprisonment and fine at the Mayor's pleasure; and that no horses be brought into the markets this present day to be sold before three of the clock in the afternoon, upon pain of imprisonment of the bringers thereof, and the Horse Fair and Fair for all manner of Cattle shall be held in Penny Street, Dalton Square, and adjacent streets, and the Cloth fair in Church Street and adjacent stieets. And further, the said Mayor hereby publisheth that if any person be wronged or have any offence offered within the precincts of this Fair or the liberties thereof, he, she, or they may come to the said Mayor and officers of this Town and the matter shall be heard and determined according to justice; and that it shall and may be lawful for all Her Majesty's loving subjects to come free or go free during the time of this present fair, without impediment or arrest, to be laid upon them by warrant from the said Mayor for any matter or cause (Matters of Treason Felony, Breach of Her Majesty's Peace, Executions after Judgments, and Offences committed within this Fair only excepted), and this Fair to continue three days, whereof this day to be the first.
" GOD SAVE THE QUEEN.”
The practical result of all this is now nothing. As a matter of fact, there is not now any Cloth Fair, and only a few stalls in the market
square, and the fair opens business on the night before the proclamation.
The old Mayor's seal of the borough, believed to be of the reign of Henry IV or Henry V, has in its centre three towers (each triple-turreted), with a lion passant guardant crowned with a fleur-de-lis. The legend runs
S HENR DE GRE ANGLE FRANCE : DNS : HIBE.
The following is a description of the special jubilee medal designed for Lancaster in 1887 by Mr. T. Pinches, of London.
The obverse has the head of Her Majesty facing to the left, and the inscription : VICTORIA QUEEN OF GREAT
The reverse has a view of the gateway of the Castle, the royal arms and those of Lancaster, and the inscription : “In Com
BRITAIN AND IRELAND DUKE OF LANCASTER.