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*Archaeology News*
*Metal Detecting News*
*Treasure Hunting News*

This website is brought to you by a team of very passionate historians and metal detectorists. We are not part of the grab it and run brigade.
History is extremely important to us and recording finds and working alongside archaeologists is of utmost importance.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

How rain revealed Shropshire’s Roman coin haul

A sudden downpour led a rookie treasure hunter to one of the biggest hoards of Roman coins ever found in Shropshire, he revealed today.
Nic Davies from Ford, near Shrewsbury, has become the envy of time-served metal detecting enthusiasts after digging up the haul of bronze coins in 2009.
The hoard, which has been described as an ‘exceptional find’ was yesterday declared as treasure by coroner John Ellery at a hearing in Wem.

Read more: http://www.shropshirestar.com/news/2011/10/26/how-rain-revealed-shropshires-roman-coin-haul/#ixzz1bvmtWQD4

Sunday, 23 October 2011

An average field

Was thinking to myself today about what an average field holds, in relation to coins/finds. So I chose one out of my records, at random.

Crotal Bell (approx 1600's)
Several Roman Bronze Coins daing in the 300's AD
Belt Stiffener
Musket Balls
A Roman Fibula 1st Century
A Gold Ring
Elizabeth 1 Half Groat Coin
Elizabeth 1 Sixpence
Edward 1 Penny
Richard 1 Cut Half Penny
King John Penny
Henry III Cut Half Penny
4 Edward I Pennies
1 Edward III Penny
George V Medallion
William III Shilling
A Casket Key
A Medieval Seal
A Medieval Strap-End
2 Jettons (a medieval token)
Some Pottery
And about 1000 cartridge cases???????????

Interesting hobby. The thought that the fields have been used from Roman to present day, and hopefully more to come.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

York's Hungate dig nears completion

An archaeological excavation that has unveiled 2,000 years of York's history is about to once again disappear underground.
The Hungate dig in York is the biggest urban excavation in the city for a quarter of a century and covers a 2,500 sq m (26,900 sq ft) area.
The York Archaeological Trust has spent five years working on the dig but will hand the site back to developers in December.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Museums could bid for Ardnamurchan Viking finds

Museums will have the chance to bid to exhibit artefacts from the UK mainland's first fully intact Viking boat burial.

Archaeologists found the remains of a high-ranking warrior, along with a sword, axe and other items at Ardnamurchan in the Highlands.

Following analysis, the Crown is expected to eventually claim the objects on behalf of the nation.

Under treasure trove rules, museums could then apply to keep them.

The museums making the bids must be on an approved list, showing that they have a curator and appropriate facilities to care for the objects.

The artefacts are still being examined by experts at CFA Archaeology in Musselburgh.

Scottish Viking boat burial found

The UK mainland's first fully intact Viking boat burial site has been uncovered in the north-west Highlands, archaeologists have said.

Sanctuary for Veterans and C&NMDS Charity Rally

Sunday 13th November 2011
9.30am – 4.30pm
Rally Fee: £10

Open to all the clubs in the North West Region of the NCMD
& UK Detector Net

All funds to the Sanctuary for Veterans (S4V) Charity
S4V will provide purpose built luxury accommodation and support for injured veterans and their families. We will also provide a bespoke service for widow(er)’s and their children.

Our target is to develop 30 holiday cabins each sleeping up to six people in a picturesque and tranquil location built around a Centre of Excellence in rural Cheshire.


Oxheys Farm, Rushton, Tarporley, Cheshire
Approx 250 acres of pasture
Toilet on site (in farmyard)
Sorry No Dogs
Parking on a field
New site – not detected before
Postcode: CW6 9AT

Head for Tarporley, Cheshire.
From the A49 or A51 North: follow the Tarporley bypass towards Nantwich, at the traffic light crossroads of the A49 to Whitchurch and the A51 to Nantwich, turn left to Eaton.
At Eaton village take the 2nd right (to Winsford / Wettenhall), go through the village and take the 2nd right (before the left turning to Rushton village), follow this lane, and take the 2nd right to Oxheys Farm. Follow the MD Rally Signs.
From the A49 South: follow the A49 from Whitchurch, at the traffic light crossroads of the A49 from Chester and the A51 from Nantwich, go straight on to Eaton, then follow directions above.
From the A51 South: Follow the A51 from Nantwich, at the traffic light crossroads of the A49 from Whitchurch and the A49 from Chester, turn right to Eaton, then follow the directions above.
If you have any queries please ring Stan Bulmer: 01606 554357 after 6pm

Major archaeological discovery in Worcestershire

Metal detecting enthusiasts have uncovered Worcestershire's largest ever archaeological hoard and people are being offered the exciting chance to grab a glimpse. Thousands of Roman coins, unearthed near Evesham, represent the biggest hoard ever uncovered in the county. A selection will be showcased at Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum from tomorrow (Saturday, October 22).

The hoard was discovered in June this year by amateur enthusiasts Jethro Carpenter and Mark Gilmore with their metal detectors. Since the exciting discovery, experts from Worcestershire County Council Historic Environment and Archaeology Service (WHEAS) have undertaken an assessment of the site and uncovered evidence of a Roman settlement and found that the hoard was buried nearly a century after it was accumulated - the only known such British example - meaning the Worcestershire hoard is of national significance.

Jethro Carpenter said:
"As a child you watch pirate films and dream of finding buried treasure being uncovered in chests but the truth is that as a metal detector enthusiast you can hunt for months on end and find nothing so much as a dropped penny. On the day of the discovery, my detector was down for no more than five minutes when it started to make a high-pitched noise, indicating a lot of buried metal below foot. Even more excitingly, the screen flashed up 'overload'. Mark and I started digging and uncovered coin after coin. It was so exciting, my heart was racing as they just kept on appearing and I could see the head of an emperor visible indicating they were Roman. This find offers a window into a completely different world and it makes you wonder 'who buried these coins and why?' It's amazing that the Museums Service, archaeology experts and metal detectorists can work together to try and help us piece together this jigsaw.
Richard Henry (Finds Liaison Officer):
"This discovery of this coin hoard is really exciting news for Worcestershire and of major significance not only for the county but also the country. The 3784 coins span 38 years and are a fascinating little piece of history dating from a turbulent time during which the Roman Empire saw revolts, rebellions, plague and invasions. This project is a fantastic example of the ways different professional groups and the finders can work together to help preserve our nation's heritage. We really hope people will take the time to come and visit our exhibition where they will get a chance to see some of the coins and have the opportunity to find out more about the treasure process, from discovery to identification."
The majority of the hoard (3,700 coins) depict a total of 16 different Roman Emperors and it is currently with the British Museum for conservation and research. This information, when complete, will enable the local Coroner to decide whether the hoard should be declared as Treasure. If this is the case, a valuation will be set by the independent Treasure Valuation Committee and Worcestershire County Museum will have four months to raise the funding if they decide to acquire the find for long-term exhibition in the county.
The exhibition at Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum runs from Saturday, October 22 to Saturday, November 26, with a special introductory talk at 11am by Richard Henry.

Norfolk’s united front to tackle heritage crime

The national Alliance to Reduce Crime against Heritage (ARCH) has been spearheaded by English Heritage, the crown prosecution service and the police to tackle so-called ‘heritage crime.’

For the first time, police, local authorities, charities, farmers and community groups are making a co-ordinated effort to detect and prevent offences such as metal theft and criminal damage, while building a more accurate picture of the growing problem.

The first ever artwork showing woman giving birth

Archaeologists have discovered two pieces of astonishing art dating back around 2,600 years depicting a goddess giving birth - the oldest such image ever found in the western world.
The artefacts were at the heart of an ancient Etruscan settlement in Italy’s Mugello Valley, near Florence.
The incredible images were on a small fragment from a ceramic vessel dating back to around 600 BC, and show the head and shoulders of a baby emerging from a mother.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Time teams examine medieval site

A LARGE bone and two hundred pieces of pottery have been uncovered at a suspected medieval site at Warren Wood, Marlow.
Archaeology in Marlow have been working at the location in Winchbottom Lane, Little Marlow, since March 2010 and are now close to finishing.
Once the final stages are wrapped up in about two weeks, the items uncovered will be sent off to experts to be dated.
AIM spokesman John Laker said: “The object of the exercise is to try to date the enclosures.

Saturday, 15 October 2011



Many an English village can boast of the possession of the ruins of an ancient castle, a gaunt rectangular or circular keep or donjon, looking very stern and threatening even in decay, and mightily convincing of the power of its first occupants. The new masters did not feel very safe in the midst of a discontented and enraged people; so they built these huge fortresses with strong walls and gates and moats. Indeed before the Conquest the Norman knights, to whom the weak King Edward the Confessor granted many an English estate, brought with them the fashion of building castles, and many a strong square tower began to crown the fortified mounds. Thence they could oppress the people in many ways, and the writers of the time always speak of the building of castles with a kind of shudder. After the Conquest, especially during the regency of William's two lieutenants, Bishop Odo and Earl William Fitz-osbern, the Norman adventurers who were rewarded for their services by the gift of many an English manor, built castles everywhere. The wretched men of the land were cruelly oppressed by forced labour in erecting these strongholds, which were filled "with devils and evil men." Over a thousand castles were built in nineteen years, and in his own castle each earl or lord reigned as a small king, coining his own money, making his own laws, having power of life and death over his dependants, and often using his power most violently and oppressively.

The original Norman castle consisted of a keep, "four-square to every wind that blew," standing in a bailey court. It was a mighty place with walls of great thickness about one hundred and fifty feet high. It contained several rooms, one above the other. A deep well supplied the inhabitants with water. Spiral stone steps laid in the thickness of the wall led to the first floor where the soldiers of the garrison resided. Above this was the hall, with a chimney and fireplace, where the lord of the castle and his guests had their meals, and in the thickness of the wall there were numerous chambers used as sleeping-apartments and garderobes, and the existence of a piscina in one of these shows that it was a small chapel or oratory. The upper story was divided by wooden partitions into small sleeping-rooms; and unlike our modern houses, the kitchen was at the top of the keep, and opened on the roof.
Descending some stone steps which led from the ground floor in ancient time we should visit the dungeons, dark, gloomy, and dreadful places, where deep silence reigns, only broken by the groans of despairing captives in the miserable cells. In one of these toads and adders were the companions of the captive. Another poor wretch reposed on a bed of sharp flints, while the torture-chamber echoed with the cries of the victims of mediaeval cruelty, who were hanged by their feet and smoked with foul smoke, or hung up by their thumbs, while burning rings were placed on their feet. In Peak Castle, Derbyshire, a poor, simple squire, one Godfrey Rowland, was confined for six days without either food or drink, and then released from the dungeon with his right hand cut off. In order to extract a heavy ransom, to obtain lands and estates, to learn the secrets of hidden treasure, the most ingenious and devilish tortures were inflicted in these terrible abodes.

The same style of castle-building continued for a century and a half after the Norman Conquest. It is possible to distinguish the later keeps by the improved and fine-jointed ashlar stonework, by the more frequent use of the stone of the district, instead of that brought from Caen, by the ribs upon the groins of the vaulting of the galleries and chambers in the walls, and by the more extensive use of ornaments in the bosses, windows, doors, and fireplaces. The style of the decoration approaches the Early English character.

The walls of the keep were not the only protection of the fortress. A moat surrounds the whole castle, crossed by a drawbridge, protected on the side remote from the castle by a barbican. High walls with an embattled parapet surround the lower court, or ballium, which we enter by a gate defended by strong towers. A portcullis has to be raised, and a heavy door thrown back, before we can enter; while above in the stone roof of the archway there are holes through which melted lead and pitch can be poured upon our heads, if we attempt to enter the castle as assailants. In the lower court are the stables, and the mound where the lord dispenses justice, and where criminals and traitors are executed. Another strong gateway flanked by towers protects the inner court, on the edge of which stands the keep which frowns down upon us as we enter.

An immense household was supported in every castle. Not only were there men-at-arms, but also cooks and bakers, brewers and tailors, carpenters, smiths, masons, and all kinds of craftsmen; and all the crowd of workers had to be provided with accommodation by the lord of the castle. Hence a building, in the form of a large hall, was erected sometimes of stone, usually of wood, in the lower or upper court for these soldiers and artisans, where they slept and had their meals.

A new type of castle was introduced during the reigns of the three Edwards. The stern, massive, and high-towering keep was abandoned, and the fortifications arranged in a concentric fashion. A fine hall with kitchens occupied the centre of the fortress; a large number of chambers was added, and the inner and outer courts both defended by walls, as we have already described, were introduced. The Edwardian castles of Caernarvon and Beaumaris belong to this type of fortress.

The border counties of Wales are remarkable for the number and beauty of their ancient castles. On the site of British earthworks the Romans established their camps. The Saxons were obliged to erect their rude earthen strongholds in order to keep back the rebellious Welsh, and these were succeeded by Norman keeps. Monmouthshire is famous for its castles; out of the eleven hundred erected in Norman times twenty-five were built in that county. There is Chepstow Castle, with its early Norman gateway spanned by a circular arch flanked by round towers. In the inner court there are the gardens and ruins of a grand hall, and in the outer the ruins of a chapel with evidences of beautifully groined vaulting, and also a winding staircase leading to the battlements. In the dungeon of the old keep at the south-east corner of the inner court Roger de Britolio, Earl of Hereford, was imprisoned for rebellion against the Conqueror, and in later times Henry Martin, the regicide, lingered as a prisoner for thirty years, employing his enforced leisure in writing a book in order to prove that it is not right for a man to be governed by one wife. Then there is Grosmont Castle, the fortified residence of the Earl of Lancaster; Skenfrith Castle; White Castle, the Album Castrum of the Latin records, the Landreilo of the Welsh, with its six towers, portcullis, and drawbridge flanked by massive tower, barbican, and other outworks; and Raglan Castle, with its splendid gateway, its Elizabethan banqueting-hall ornamented with rich stone tracery, its bowling-green, garden terraces, and spacious courts, an ideal place for knightly tournaments in ancient days. Raglan is associated with the gallant defence of the castle by the Marquis of Worcester in the Civil War.

The ancient castles of England were the central feature of feudal society. They were the outward and visible sign of that system. M. Guizot in his History of Civilisation says, "It was feudalism which constructed them; their elevation was, so to speak, the declaration of its triumph." On the Continent they were very numerous long before castle-building became the fashion in England, and every suzerain saw with displeasure his vassal constructing his castle; for the vassal thus insured for himself a powerful means of independence. The Norman barons in the troublous times of Stephen lived a life of hunting and pillage; they were forced to have a fortified retreat where they might shut themselves up after an expedition, repel the vengeance of their foes, and resist the authorities who attempted to maintain order in the country.

Others followed the example of the barons. The townsfolk fortified their towns, monks their monasteries; and even within the town-walls many houses had their towers and gates and barriers in order to keep back troublesome visitors.

Here is a description of a French castle in the fourteenth century:—

"First imagine to yourself a superb position, a steep mountain, bristling with rocks, furrowed with ravines and precipices; upon the declivity is the castle. The small houses which surround it set off its grandeur; the river seems to turn aside with respect; it forms a large semicircle at its feet. This castle must be seen when, at sunrise, the outward galleries glimmer with the armour of the sentinels, and the towers are shown all brilliant with their large new gratings. Those high buildings must be seen, which fill those who defend them with courage, and with fear those who should be tempted to attack them.

"The door presents itself covered with heads of boars or wolves, flanked with turrets and crowned with a high guard-house. Enter, there are three inclosures, three moats, three drawbridges to pass. You find yourself in a large square court, where are cisterns, and on the right and left the stables, hen-houses, pigeon-houses, coach-houses; the cellars, vaults, and prisons are below; above are the dwelling-apartments; above these are the magazines, larders, or salting-rooms, and arsenals. All the roofs are bordered with machicolations, parapets, guard-walks, and sentry-boxes. In the middle of the court is the donjon, which contains the archives and the treasure. It is deeply moated all round, and can only be entered by a bridge, almost always raised. Although the walls, like those of the castle, are six feet thick, it is surrounded up to half its height with a chemise, or second wall, of large cut stones. This castle has just been rebuilt. There is something light, fresh, laughing about it, not possessed by the heavy massive castles of the last century."

One would scarcely expect to hear a castle described as "light, fresh, laughing"; yet so a fourteenth-century castle seemed to eyes accustomed to the gloomy, stern, and massive structures of the eleventh and twelfth centuries. In these no beauty or display of art was attempted. Defence and safety were the only objects sought after in the construction of our ancient strongholds.

Strange as it may seem, these castles were the birthplaces and homes of chivalry. Women were raised to an exalted position, and honoured and reverenced by knights and warriors. A prize won in a tournament was esteemed of vastly greater value, if it were bestowed upon the successful combatant by some lady's hand. "Queens of Beauty" presided at these contests of knightly skill and daring. The statutes and ordinances for jousts and tournaments made by John Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester, at the command of Edward IV., conclude thus: "Reserving always to the queenes highness and the ladyes there present, the attributing and gift of the prize after the manner and forme accustomed." If a knight was guilty of any impropriety of conduct, he was soundly beaten by the other knights, in order to teach him to respect the honour of the ladies and the rights of chivalry.

In the days of chivalry a knight vowed in somewhat extravagant language eternal love to his particular lady fair, wore her glove or her guerdon on his helmet, and swore to protect it with his life. Family ties and domestic joys were cultivated. The wife of a knight was often herself a warrior. Fair ladies have donned armour and followed their lords to the Crusades; and often during her lord's absence at the wars in France, or Scotland, or the Holy Land, the wife would defend his fief and castle, and sometimes was called upon to withstand a siege, when some neighbouring lord coveted the fair estates of the absent warrior, and sought to obtain them by force of arms.

The castles also were schools, not of learning, but of arms and chivalry, where the sons of vassals were trained in all the qualites that become a knight. The sons of vassals were sent to the castle of the suzerain to be brought up with his sons. Numerous reasons have been assigned for the origin of this custom, which we need not now enumerate. The practice, however, became general, and concerning it an ancient work entitled L'ordre de la Chevalerie records:—
"It is fitting that the son of the knight, while he is a squire, should know how to take care of a horse; and it is fitting that he should serve before and be subject to his lord; for otherwise he will not know the nobleness of his lordship when he shall be a knight; and to this end every knight shall put his son in the service of another knight, to the end that he may learn to carve at table and to serve, and to arm and apparel a knight in his youth. According as to the man who desires to learn to be a tailor or a carpenter, it is desirable that he should have for a master one who is a tailor or a carpenter; it is suitable that every nobleman who loves the order of chivalry, and wishes to become and be a good knight, should first have a knight for a master."

When the young squire attained the age of manhood he was admitted to the honour of knighthood, which was bestowed upon him with much ceremony and dignity. First he was divested of his garments and put in a bath, a symbol of purification; then they clothed him in a white tunic, a symbol of purity, in a red robe, a symbol of the blood which he was bound to shed in the service of the faith; and then in a close black coat, a reminder of the death which awaited him. Then he was obliged to observe a fast for twenty-four hours, and in the evening entered the church and there passed the night in prayer. On the morrow after confession and the receiving of Holy Communion, he heard a sermon upon the duties of knighthood, and then advancing to the altar presented his sword to the priest, who blessed it. Kneeling before his lord he was asked, "With what design do you desire to enter into the order? If it is in order to become rich, to repose yourself, and to be honoured without doing honour to chivalry, you are unworthy of it, and would be to the order of chivalry what the simoniacal priest is to the prelacy."

His answers being satisfactory, knights, or ladies, advance and clothe him with the equipments of his order, spurs, the hauberk or coat of mail, the cuirass, the vambraces and gauntlets, and lastly his sword. Then his lord gives him three blows of a sword on his shoulder, saying, "In the name of God, of Saint Michael, and Saint George I dub thee knight," adding, "Be brave, adventurous, and loyal." He then mounts his horse, caracoles about, brandishing his lance, and afterwards in the courtyard he repeats the performances before the people ever eager to take part in the spectacle.

The young knight was now able to take part in the jousts, and all kinds of chivalric displays, which were common and frequent. Many castles have, like that at Carisbrooke, a tilting-ground within the walls; but great and important tournaments were held outside the castle. Richard I. appointed five special places for the holding of tournaments, namely between Sarum and Wilton, between Stamford and Wallingford, between Warwick and Kenilworth, between Brakely and Mixeberg, and between Blie and Tykehill. There was much pomp and ceremony attached to these knightly exercises. The lists, as the barriers were called which inclosed the scene of combat, were superbly decorated, and surrounded by pavilions belonging to the champions, ornamented with their arms and banners. The seats reserved for the noble ladies and gentlemen who came to see the fight were hung with tapestry embroidered with gold and silver. Everyone was dressed in the most sumptuous manner; the minstrels and heralds were clothed in the costliest garments; the knights who were engaged in the sports and their horses were most gorgeously arrayed. The whole scene was one of great splendour and magnificence, and, when the fight began, the shouts of the heralds who directed the tournament, the clashing of arms, the clang of trumpets, the charging of the combatants, and the shouts of the spectators, must have produced a wonderfully impressive and exciting effect upon all who witnessed the strange spectacle.

The regulations and laws of the tournament were very minute. When many preliminary arrangements had been made with regard to the examination of arms and helmets and the exhibition of banners, etc., at ten o'clock on the morning of the appointed day, the champions and their adherents were required to be in their places. Two cords divided the combatants, who were armed with a pointless sword and a truncheon hanging from their saddles. When the word was given by the lord of the tournament, the cords were removed, and the champions charged and fought until the heralds sounded the signal to retire. It was considered the greatest disgrace to be unhorsed. A French earl once tried to unhorse our King Edward I., when he was returning from Palestine, wearied by the journey. The earl threw away his sword, cast his arms around the king's neck, and tried to pull him from his horse. But Edward put spurs to his horse and drew the earl from the saddle, and then shaking him violently, threw him to the ground.

The joust (or just) differed from the tournament, because in the former only lances were used, and only two knights could fight at once. It was not considered quite so important as the grand feat of arms which I have just described, but was often practised when the more serious encounter had finished. Lances, or spears without heads of iron, were commonly used, and the object of the sport was to ride hard against one's adversary and strike him with the spear upon the front of the helmet, so as to beat him backwards from his horse, or break the spear. This kind of sport was of course rather dangerous, and men sometimes lost their lives at these encounters. In order to lessen the risk and danger of the two horses running into each other when the knights charged, a boarded railing was erected in the midst of the lists, about four or five feet high. The combatants rode on separate sides of this barrier, and therefore they could not encounter each other except with their lances. Sometimes two knights would fight in mortal combat. If one knight accused the other of crime or dishonour, the latter might challenge him to fight with swords or lances; and, according to the superstition of the times, the victor was considered to be the one who spoke the truth. But this ordeal combat was far removed from the domain of sport.

When jousts and tournaments were abandoned, tilting on horseback at a ring became a favourite courtly amusement. A ring was suspended on a level with the eye of the rider; and the sport consisted in riding towards the ring, and sending the point of a lance through it, and so bearing it away. Great skill was required to accomplish this surely and gracefully. Ascham, a writer in the sixteenth century, tells us what accomplishments were required from the complete English gentleman of the period:—

"To ride comely, to run fair at the tilt or ring, to play at all weapons, to shoot fair in bow, or surely in gun; to vault lustily, to run, to leap, to wrestle, to swim, to dance comely, to sing, and play of instruments cunningly; to hawk, to hunt, to play at tennis, and all pastimes generally which be joined to labour, containing either some fit exercises for war, or some pleasant pastime for peace—these be not only comely and decent, but also very necessary for a courtly gentleman to use."

In the days of pageants and royal progresses these old castles were the scenes of very lively exhibitions of rustic histrionic talent. The stories of Greek and Roman mythology were ransacked to provide scenes and subjects for the rural pageant. Shepherds and shepherdesses, gods and goddesses, clowns and mummers, all took part in the rural drama which kings and queens delighted to honour. When Queen Elizabeth visited the ancient and historic castle of Sudeley, great preparations were made for the event, and a fine classical pageant was performed in her presence, a sketch of which may not be without interest.

The play is founded on the old classical story of Apollo and Daphne. The sun-god Apollo was charmed by the beauty of the fair Daphne, the daughter of a river-god, and pursued her with base intent. Just as she was about to be overtaken, she prayed for aid, and was immediately changed into a laurel tree, which became the favourite tree of the disappointed lover. The pageant founded on this old classical legend commenced with a man who acted the part of Apollo, chasing a woman who represented Daphne, followed by a young shepherd bewailing his hard fate. He, too, loved the fair and beautiful Daphne, but Apollo wooed her with fair words, and threatened him with diverse penalties, saying he would change him into a wolf, or a cockatrice, or blind his eyes. The shepherd in a long speech tells how Daphne was changed into a tree, and then Apollo is seen at the foot of a laurel tree weeping, accompanied by two minstrels. The repentant god repeats the verse:—

  "Sing you, play you; but sing and play my truth;
  This tree my lute, these sighs my note of ruth:
  The laurel leaf for ever shall be green,
  And chastity shall be Apollo's queen.
  If gods may die, here shall my tomb be placed,
  And this engraven, 'Fond Phoebus, Daphne chaste.'"
A song follows, and then, wonderful to relate, the tree opens, and Daphne comes forth. Apollo resigns her to the humble shepherd, and then she runs to Her Majesty the Queen, and with a great deal of flattery wishes her a long and prosperous reign.

Such was the simple play which delighted the minds of our forefathers, and helped to raise them from sordid cares and the dull monotony of continual toil. In our popular amusements the village folk do not take part, except as spectators, and therefore lose half the pleasure; whereas in the time of the Virgin Queen the rehearsals, the learning the speeches by heart, the dresses, the excitement, all contributed to give them fresh ideas and new thoughts. The acting may not have been very good; indeed Queen Elizabeth did not always think very highly of the performances of her subjects at Coventry, and was heard to exclaim, "What fools ye Coventry folk are!" But I think Her Majesty must have been pleased at the concluding address of the players at Sudeley. After the shepherds had acted a piece in which the election of the King and Queen of the Bean formed a part, they knelt before the real queen, and said—

"Pardon, dread Sovereign, poor shepherds' pastimes, and bold shepherds' presumptions. We call ourselves kings and queens to make mirth; but when we see a king or queen we stand amazed. At chess there are kings and queens, and they of wood. Shepherds are no more, nor no less, wooden. In theatres workmen have played emperors; yet the next day forgotten neither their duties nor occupation. For our boldness in borrowing their names, and in not seeing Your Majesty for our blindness, we offer these shepherds' weeds; which, if Your Majesty vouchsafe at any time to wear, it shall bring to our hearts comfort, and happiness to our labours."

When the queen visited Kenilworth Castle, splendid pageants were performed in her honour. As she entered the castle the gigantic porter recited verses to greet Her Majesty, gods and goddesses offered gifts and compliments on bended knee, and the Lady of the Lake, surrounded by Tritons and Nereids, came on a floating island to do homage to the peerless Elizabeth and to welcome her to all the sport the castle could afford. For an account of the strange conduct of Orion and his dolphin upon this occasion, we refer our readers to Sir Walter Scott's Kenilworth; and the lover of pageants will find much to interest him in Gascoigne's Princely Progress.

The glories of our ancient castles have passed away; some indeed are preserved, and serve as museums, or barracks, or the country house of some noble lord; but most of them are in ruins. All traces of many a Norman castle have completely vanished. There was once a castle at Reading, but the only relics of it are the names Castle Hill and Castle Street. The turbulent barons made such terrible use of their fortresses during the troublous times of the civil war in Stephen's reign that in the more settled reign of Henry II. they were deprived of this means of oppression and their castles destroyed wholesale. The civil war in the reign of Charles I. was also another great cause of the destruction of these old fortresses. They were of great service during the progress of the war to those who were fortunate enough to possess them, and many of them in spite of Cromwell's cannon were most gallantly held and stoutly defended. Donnington Castle, Berkshire, was bravely held in spite of a prolonged siege during all the time that the war lasted by gallant Colonel Boys, who beat off the flower of the Parliamentary army; and when in obedience to the King's command he yielded up the castle, he and his brave garrison marched out with all the honours of war, having earned the respect of both friend and foe. Many other castles could tell the story of similar sieges in the days when "the gallants of England were up for the King."

But these brave sieges were the cause of their destruction. Cromwell when in power recognised their strength; they were too dangerous, these castles, and must be destroyed. His cannon-balls had rattled against their stone walls without much effect during the war; but their fate was sealed with that of their King, and the gunpowder of Cromwell's soldiers was soon employed in blowing up the walls that resisted him so long, and left them battered and smoking ruins.

Since then the ivy has grown over them to hide their nakedness. Forlorn and lonely the ruined castle stands. Where once loud clarion rang, the night owls hoot; vulgar crowds picnic where once knights fought in all the pride and pomp of chivalry. Kine feed in the grass-grown bailey court; its glory is departed. We need no castles now to protect us from the foes of our own nation. Civil wars have passed away, we trust, for ever; and we hope no foreign foeman's foot may ever tread our shores. But if an enemy threatened to attack England her sons would fight as valiantly as in the brave days of old, though earthen ramparts have replaced the ancient castles and iron ships the old wooden walls of England.


Throughout England there are many monasteries. Who were the builders of these grand and stately edifices? What kind of men lived within those walls? What life did they lead? We will try to picture to ourselves the condition of these noble abbeys, as they were in the days of their glory, before the ruthless hands of spoilers and destroyers robbed them of their magnificence.

It has often been remarked that the monks knew well how to choose the most beautiful spots for their monastic houses, establishing them by the banks of some charming river, surrounded by beautiful scenery and fertile fields.
They loved the beauties of nature, and had a keen sense for discovering them. They had a delicate and profound appreciation of the delights of the country, and loved to describe the beauties that surrounded their habitations. Nature in its loveliness and wild picturesqueness was a reflection of God's beauty, a temple of His light and goodness. Moreover they built their monasteries amidst forests and wild scenery, far from the haunts of men, seeking solitude, wherein they could renew their souls by the sweetness of a life of contemplation, and consecrate their energies to the service of God. In the days of war and bloodshed, of oppression and lawlessness, holy men found it very difficult to be "in the world and yet not of it." Within the monastic walls they found peace, seclusion, solitude; they prayed, they worked, they wrote and studied. They were never idle. To worship, to labour, to fight as the milites Christi with weapons that were not carnal, these were some of the duties of the monks.
The world owes much to these dwellers in monasteries. They rescued the people from barbarism, and uplifted the standard of the cross. They emerged from their cells to direct councils, to preach and teach at the universities, to build churches and cathedrals, and astonish the world by their skill and learning. Who can tell what services they rendered to their nation and to all mankind by pouring forth that ceaseless stream of intercession day and night for the averting of the judgments of divine wrath which the crimes and follies of men so richly deserved? "What the sword is to the huntsman, prayer is to the monk," says St. Chrysostom; and well did they use this weapon for the spiritual and material benefit of all.

Another great benefit they conferred upon the world was that of charity. They were the true nurses of the poor. There were no poor laws, and union workhouses, and hospitals. The monks managed to supply all the wants of all who suffered from poverty, privation, and sickness. "The friendship of the poor constitutes us the friends of kings," says St. Bernard; "but the love of poverty makes kings of us." They welcomed in their ranks poor men, who were esteemed as highly as those of noble birth on entering the cloister. All men were equal who wore the monk's robe.
Amongst other services the monks rendered was the cultivation of learning and knowledge. With wonderful assiduity they poured forth works of erudition, of history, of criticism, recorded the annals of their own times, and stored these priceless records in their libraries, which have done such good service to the historians of modern times. The monasteries absorbed nearly all the social and intellectual movement of the thirteenth century. Men fired with poetical imagination frequently betook themselves to the cloister, and consecrated their lives to the ornamentation of a single sacred book destined for the monastery which gave them in exchange all the necessaries of life. Thus the libraries of the monastic houses were rich in treasures of beautifully illuminated manuscripts, which were bound by members of the community. The Abbot of Spanheim in the fifteenth century gives the following directions to his monks:—

"Let that one fasten the leaves together, and bind the book with boards. You, prepare those boards; you, dress the leather; you, the metal plates, which are to adorn the binding."

Terrible is it to think of the dreadful destruction of these libraries at the time of the spoliation of monasteries and of the priceless treasures which they contained.
We are apt to suppose that the lives of the monks were gloomy, hard, severe, and that few rays of the sunshine of happiness could have penetrated the stern walls of the cloister. But this does not appear to have been the case. The very names of monasteries show that they rejoiced in their solitude and labour. Netley Abbey was called the Joyous Place, loeto loco; and on the Continent there are many names which bear witness to the happiness that reigned in the cloister. Moreover the writings of the monks proclaim the same truth. Cluny is called by Peter Damien his hortus deliciarum (garden of delights), and it is recorded that when Peter de Blois left the Abbey of Croyland to return to France he stopped seven times to look back and contemplate again the place where he had been so happy. Hear how Alcuin laments on leaving the cloister for the Court of Charlemagne:—

"O my cell! sweet and well-beloved home, adieu for ever! I shall see no more the woods which surround thee with their interlacing branches and aromatic herbs, nor thy streams of fish, nor thy orchards, nor thy gardens where the lily mingles with the rose. I shall hear no more those birds who, like ourselves, sing matins and celebrate their Creator, in their fashion—nor those instructions of sweet and holy wisdom which sound in the same breath as the praises of the Most High, from lips and hearts always peaceful. Dear cell! I shall weep thee and regret thee always."

The life was very peaceful, entirely free from care, and moreover lighted by the whole-hearted friendships which existed between the brethren. A chapter might be written on the love of the cloister, which like that of David for Jonathan, was "wonderful, passing the love of women." Thus St. Bernard burst out in bitter grief at the loss of a brother monk:—

"Flow, flow, my tears, so eager to flow! he who prevented your flowing is here no more! It is not he who is dead, it is I who now live only to die. Why, oh, why have we loved, and why have we lost each other?"

The letters of Anselm to Lanfranc and Gondulph, his dearest friends, abound in expressions of the most affectionate regard and deep true friendship. He writes:—

"How can I forget thee? Can a man forget one who is placed like a seal upon his heart? In thy silence I know that thou lovest me; and thou also, when I say nothing, thou knowest that I love thee. What can my letter tell thee that thou knowest not already, thou who art my second soul?"

The monks' lot was not sad and melancholy. They loved God and His service, and rejoicing in their mutual regard and affection were happy in their love and work. Orderic Vitalis writes, "I have borne for forty-two years with happiness the sweet yoke of the Lord." Moreover they shed happiness on those who dwelt around them, on the crowds of masons and carpenters, traders and workmen, who dwelt under the shadow of the monastery or farmed the fields of the monastic estates. No institution was ever more popular; no masters more beloved. They took a hearty interest in the welfare of all their tenants, and showed an active sympathy for all. The extent of their charity was enormous. In a French abbey, when food was scarce, they fed 1,500 to 2,000 poor in the course of the year, gave monthly pensions to all the families who were unable to work, entertained 4,000 guests, and maintained eighty monks—a wonderful record truly.

The influence of the monastery was felt in all the surrounding neighbourhood—the daily services, the solemn and majestic chants, the processions, must have created a deep impression on the minds of people. Many of the great writers and thinkers of subsequent ages have appreciated the wonderful labours of the monks. Dr. Johnson wrote:—

"I never read of a hermit, but in imagination I kiss his feet; never of a monastery, but I fall on my knees and kiss the pavement."

And now these noble buildings, hallowed by a thousand memories, exist only as dishonoured ruins. Some have been pulled down entirely, and the site used for gaols or barracks. Convicts labour where once monks prayed. The renowned abbey of Cluny is a racing stable, and Le Bec, the home of Anselm, has suffered a like profanation. Factories have invaded some of these consecrated sites. Many have been used as quarries for generations. All the carved and wrought stone has been cut off, and used for making bridges and roads and private houses. Nature has covered the remains with clinging ivy, and creeping plants, and wild flowers, and legends cluster round the old stones and tell the story of their greatness and their ruin. The country folk of western Ireland show the marks on the stones furrowed by the burning tears of the monks when they were driven out of their holy home. I am describing the condition of the monasteries in the days of their glory, when the spirit of the religious orders was bright and pure and enthusiastic. It cannot be denied that often the immense wealth which kings and nobles poured into the treasury of the monks begat luxury and idleness. Boccaccio in Italy, and even Dante, and our own Chaucer, write vigorously against the corruption of the monks, their luxury, love of sport, and neglect of their duty. Thus Chaucer wrote of a fourteenth-century prior:—

  "Therefore he was a prickasoure a right:
  Greihounds he hadde as swift as foul of flight:
  Of pricking and of hunting for the hare
  Was all his lust, for no cost wolde he spare.
  I saw his sleves purfiled at the hond
  With gris, and that the finest in the loud.
  And for to fasten his hood under his chinne,
  He hadde of gold ywrought a curious pinne:
  A love-knotte in the greter end ther was.
  His head was balled, and shone as any glas,
  And eke his face, as it had been anoint.
  He was a lord full fat and in good point
  His eye stepe, and rolling in his bed,
  That stemed as a forneis of led.
  His botes souple, his hors in gret estat,
  Now certainly he was a fayre prelat.
  He was not pale as a forpined gost.
  A fat swan loved he best of any rost.
  His palfrey was as broune as is a bery."

Many were the efforts to reform the abuses which crept into the monastic houses. Holy men grieved over the scandals of the times in which they lived. Many monasteries remained until the end homes of zeal and religion, and the unscrupulous tools of Henry VIII. could find naught to report against them. The only charge they could fabricate against one monastery was "that the monks would do evil, if they could."

The foundation of the various orders of monks shows the efforts which were from time to time made by earnest men to revive the zeal and religious enthusiasm characteristic of the early dwellers in monasteries. The followers of St. Benedict and St. Columba were the first monks of the western Church who converted the peoples of England, Germany, Belgium, and Scandinavia. The Benedictines had many houses in England in Saxon times. In the tenth and eleventh centuries flourished a branch of the Benedictines, the order of Cluny, who worked a great religious revival, which was continued in the twelfth by the order of the Cistercians, founded at Citeaux in Burgundy. Some of our most beautiful English abbeys—Fountains, Kirkstall, Rievaulx, Tintern, Furness, and Byland—all belonged to this order. In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the new orders of preaching friars founded by St. Francis and St. Dominic arose, and exercised an immense influence in the world. They did not shut themselves up in the cloister, but went everywhere, preaching in the market-places, and tending the sick, the lepers, and the outcasts. At first they were immensely popular, but the orders degenerated like their predecessors, and long before the Reformation laid themselves open to the derision and the scoffs of the more enlightened men of the age. Since the days of the Friars there has been no building of monasteries in England. Wealth, luxury, and corruption had destroyed the early piety of the monks, and rich men preferred to give their wealth for the purpose of founding colleges and hospitals, rather than in increasing the number of religious houses.

We will now visit these monasteries, and try to picture them as they stood in the days of their glory, and see the daily life which the monks led. The rules of the orders differed somewhat, some being stricter than others; and likewise the arrangements of the buildings were not all based upon one plan. The Carthusian monasteries differ widely from those of the other orders, owing to the rule that each monk should have his separate cell, wherein he lived and had his food, and only met his brethren in church and in the chapter-house. We will examine the usual plan of a monastery, the main buildings of which clustered round the cloister-court. This was called the paradise, around which was a covered ambulatory. Here the monks read and wrote, and sometimes had little spaces partitioned off for studies, with bookstands and cupboards. It was the great centre of the monastic life. The earlier ambulatories were open, but in the fourteenth century they had windows looking on to the cloister-court, filled with stained glass. The monks must have found the open cloister a somewhat chilly place for writing, and although their fingers were endured to hardness, had sometimes to abandon their tasks. Orderic Vitalis tells us that his fingers were so numbed by the cold in a hard winter that he was obliged to leave his writing until a more congenial season.

On the north of the cloister-court stood the monastic church, the grandest and noblest of the monastic buildings, adorned with shrines, and tombs, and altars. Several of our cathedrals were monastic churches, and afford us some idea of the splendour and magnificence of these stately buildings. Many other churches built by the monks, quite as large and noble as any of our cathedrals, are now in ruins, with only a wall or a buttress remaining to mark the site of the once noble minster. The church was usually cruciform, with nave and aisles. East of the high altar in the choir stood the lady-chapel, and round the choir a retro-choir, or presbytery. There was a door on the south side of the church, opposite the eastern ambulatory, for the entrance of the monks. The south transept formed part of the eastern side of the cloister. On the same side stood the chapter-house, a large chamber richly ornamented with much architectural detail, and adorned with mural paintings. Between the chapter-house and the church there is a narrow room, which was the sacristy, and on the south of the chapter-house a building in two stories, the ground floor being the frater-house, where the monks retired after meals to converse, the upper room being the dortor, or dormitory, where they slept. A passage often separated the chapter-house from this building.
On the south side of the cloister-court stood the refectory, a long room in which the monks took their meals; and on the west was a range of buildings the use of which differed in various monasteries, in some for cellars and larders, in others for dormitories. Sometimes this western building was the domus conversorum, or house of the lay brethren. The abbot's lodging was a fine house, consisting of hall, chambers, kitchen, buttery, and cellars, capable of entertaining a large number of guests, and frequently stood on the east side of the chapter-house quite separate from the other buildings. In small monastic houses governed by a prior his residence often formed the western side of the cloister-court. The farmery, or infirmary, where sick monks were nursed during illness, was a separate building, having its own kitchen, refectory, and chapel. The hospitium was also a separate building near the outer gate of the abbey, and consisted of a hall, dormitories, and a chapel, in which each night a goodly company of guests were entertained and courteously welcomed by the hospitaller. A high wall surrounded the abbey precincts, in which was the outer gate, consisting of a porter's lodge, a prison, and a large room in which the manorial court was held, or the abbot met the representatives of the townsfolk in order to direct their affairs and choose their chief magistrate or settle their differences.

The author of Piers Ploughman gives a description of the appearance of a monastery in the fourteenth century. As he approached the monastic buildings he was so bewildered by their greatness and beauty that for a long time he could distinguish nothing certainly but stately buildings of stone, pillars carved and painted, and great windows well wrought. In the centre quadrangle he notices the stone cross in the middle of grass sward. He enters the minster, and describes the arches as carved and gilded, the wide windows full of shields of arms and merchants' marks on stained glass, the high tombs under canopies, with armed effigies in alabaster, and lovely ladies lying by their sides in many gay garments. He passes into the cloister, and sees it pillared and painted, and covered with lead, and conduits of white metal pouring water into bronze lavatories beautifully wrought. The chapter-house was like a great church, carved and painted like a parliament-house. Then he went into the refectory, and found it a hall fit for a knight and his household, with broad tables and clean benches, and windows wrought as in a church. And then he wandered and wondered at "the halls full high and houses full noble, chambers with chimneys and chapels gay," and kitchens fit for a king in his castle, and their dorter or dormitory with doors full strong, their fermerye (infirmary) and frater, and many more houses, and strong stone walls, enough to harbour the queen. The author was evidently amazed at all the sights which he witnessed in the monastery.

We will now see the monks at work, and spend a day with them in their monastic home. It is not easy definitely to map out a monk's day. The difficulty arises in a measure from the want of distinct marks of time. A monastic day was divided into twelve hours of uncertain length, varying according to the season; but the religious observances began at midnight, when the brethren rose at the sound of a bell in the dortor for the continuous service of Mattins and Lauds. They then retired to sleep, until the bell again summoned them at sunrise, when Prime was said, followed by the morning Mass, private masses and confessions, and the meeting of the Chapter; after this, work; then Tierce; then High Mass, followed by Sext. A short time was then devoted to reading, during which the ministri and the reader at table dined; and then the monks sat down to dinner. This was the first food of the day, though the weaker brethren were allowed to sustain themselves with wine and water, or bread steeped in wine. Dinner was followed by a brief rest in the dormitory. If the monks did not wish to sleep they could read in the dorter; but they were to be careful not to disturb their resting brethren by any noise, such as that caused by turning over the leaves of their books. At one o'clock the bell rang for None, a short service consisting of a hymn, two psalms, some collects, the Lord's Prayer, and versicles. Then the brethren washed themselves, had a stoup of wine in the frater, and worked until Evensong, which was followed by supper. After supper they read in the cloister until the bell rang for Collation, which consisted of a reading in the chapter-house, whence they retired to the fratery for a draught of wine or beer. Then followed Compline, and then the monks were ready for bed, and retired to the dortor. Even there rules followed them, and directed them how they were to take off their shoes, and "to behave with more quiet, self-restraint, and devotion than elsewhere."

I have not exhausted all the services which the monks attended. In addition to the principal ones there were several minor functions, at which devotion to the Blessed Virgin was the chief feature. The life was hard and the discipline severe; and lest the animal spirits of the monks should rise too high, the course of discipline was supplemented by periodical blood-letting. The doctors of the day were firm believers in the utility of this practice, and perhaps it had special advantages for dwellers in monasteries. According to the mediaeval metrical treatise on medicine, Flos Medicinae, or Regimen Sanitatis Salerni

  "Spiritus uberior exit per phlebotomaniam."
  "It maketh cleane your braine, releeves your eie,
  It mends your appetite, restoreth sleep,
  Correcting humours that do waking keep;
  And inward parts and sences also clearing
  It mends the voyce, touch, smell, taste, hearing."
According to the Observances of the Augustinian Priory at Barnwell, Cambridge, each brother was compelled to be bled seven times a year. It was probably a welcome duty, as the monks enjoyed a regular holiday, and were solaced with unwonted good fare.

Those who wished to be bled asked leave in Chapter, and having received a formal licence, attended High Mass. After the gospel they left the quire, and were bled in the farmery, where they remained three days. During this period they were excused attendance at the daily services, except on very special occasions; and minute directions are given for their personal comfort. They were allowed fire and lights, with suitable food, eggs and vegetables being specially mentioned; and they might take exercise within the precincts, and even beyond them, should the prelate give them leave. The infirmary seems to have been the most cheerful place in the monastery. Its inmates were "to lead a life of joy and freedom from care, in comfort and happiness." Conversation was freely permitted, though sarcastic and abusive language was strictly forbidden. "Games of dice and chess, and other games unsuitable to those who lead a religious life, were forbidden"; "because beyond all doubt they are offensive to God, and frequently give occasion to strife and contention among those who play them." We notice that invalids were allowed to walk in the "vineyards"; evidently the monks grew their own grapes, and made their own wine. The infirmary must have been well frequented. The complaints which are often specially mentioned as likely to compel the monks to resort to it are "irksomeness of life in the cloister," "long continuance of silence," "fatigue in the quire or extension of fasting," and "sleeplessness and overwork."

With regard to blood-letting the various orders had different customs. The Benedictines and Cluniacs had no stated times or seasons for the operation. The Cistercians prescribe bleeding four times in the year. The Carthusians were bled five times, and the Dominicans four times in the year.

The food of the monastery was varied and plentiful. Fish and flesh were brought to the table, the former being obtained from the monastic stew-ponds. Fruit was supplied, both raw and cooked, and a good supply of beer and wine. Wine seems to have been very commonly used, and some relaxation was evidently permitted in the matter of drink.

The hospitium, or guest-house, is worthy of a visit. Thither flocked a mixed crowd of knights and dames, monks and clerks, palmers, friars, traders with their wares, minstrels with their songs, and beggars, enjoying to the full the hospitality of the monks, who recognised it as one of their duties "to entertain strangers." The religious houses were, to a great extent, the inns of the Middle Ages; and when they were situated on the high roads, the guests were numerous and their entertainment costly. We are reminded, however, by the Observances of Barnwell Priory that "by showing hospitality to guests the reputation of the monastery is increased, friendships are multiplied, animosities are blunted, God is honoured, charity is increased, and a plenteous reward in heaven is promised." It was enjoined that the hosteller, or brother in charge of the hospitium, should have "facility of expression, elegant manners, and a respectable bringing up; and if he have no substance to bestow he may at any rate exhibit a cheerful countenance and agreeable conversation, for friends are multiplied by agreeable words." He had to provide clean cloths and towels, cups without flaws, spoons of silver, mattresses, blankets and untorn sheets, pillows, quilts, etc. His duties are laid down with much minuteness; every morning he was required to go through the inventory, lest anything should be missing.

The meeting in the chapter-house we must not omit to describe. When all the brethren had taken their seats, one monk went to the pulpit and read aloud the martyrology for the day. Then some psalms and collects were read, and a portion of the monastic rule, and briefs announcing the deaths of persons in whom the brethren were interested. The tabula, or notice-board, recording the names of those who were responsible for certain duties, was read; and a sermon followed. After the precentor had given minute instructions with regard to the reading and singing of the services for the day, the abbot said: "Speak of your own order." This was the call to confession; and any brother who was conscious that he had transgressed any rule, or neglected his duty, came forward and asked pardon for his fault. This was followed by the report of the circator, whose duty was to play the spy, and discover the faults of the monks. And after this the brethren accused each other. One brother started up saying: "I accuse —— a brother." The accused came forward and stood before the abbot, waiting patiently for the charge. The accuser then stated the charge, which was admitted, or denied, by the accused. If the abbot judged him to be flogged, the culprit might not be flogged by his accuser. He rose from his knees and modestly divested himself of his garments, remaining covered from his girdle downwards; and he who flogged him might not cease till the abbot bade him. Then he helped the brother to put on his clothes, who bowed to the abbot and went back to his place. The Chapter, after this exciting interlude, proceeded to transact the temporal business of the house, and then adjourned.

The chapter-house was often the scene of great events in the history of England. At Reading Abbey in this noble chamber parliaments were held. Here Heraclius, the patriarch of Jerusalem, presented to Henry II. the keys of the Holy Sepulchre, and invoked his aid in the crusade against the Saracens. Here the bishops assembled and excommunicated Longchamp, Chancellor and Regent of the country. Here the marriage contract between John of Gaunt and Blanche of Lancaster was signed, when there were great rejoicings in the ancient town, and tilts and tournaments took place daily. These gay scenes must have greatly disturbed the tranquil life of the monks, and contrasted strangely with their normal condition.

The picture of monastic life, which a study of the records of a monastery brings before us, is strange and alien to our present ideas; but it is brightened by a spirit of sincere religion and true charity, and helps us to understand the attraction of the convent walls in turbulent and troublous times.

Six Roman from Humberside

As well as Metal Detecting I love collecting coins. Recently whilst searching Ebay I came across these Roman Bronze at a bargain price of a fiver!! So here you go. Found by a Metal Detectorist in Humberside.

Deighton Coin Hoard - Historical

I found this interest of an ancient coin hoard found back in the 19th Century.

A few bits and bobs

Over the years I have met hundreds of like minded individuals who love the hobby of Metal Detecting. About 7 years ago a guy sent me some images of items he had found. A Roman Seal Box and Key were just two of the items. Not sure of the others.