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TILE PAVEMENT IN THE CHURCH.
E now present to our readers an engraving of the Church
of St. Mary at Great Bedwyn, a description of which appeared in our last number. The author, having omitted in the body of his work, to mention the remains of a tile pavement, which once adorned this ancient Church, desires to say a very few words on the subject. There were extant in 1845, about forty patterns of tiles, scattered about the floors of the Church and Chancel, without any order or arrangement, except in this one instance :Repeated many times round the Chancel as border tiles set against the wall, were two long tiles, 9 inches by 61, representing on each an equestrian figure in armour, meeting at full speed in deadly strife. On one tile, was a Knight bearing on his shield the well known templar's cross, and wielding in his right hand an upraised sword, which would not have disgraced a Longespee; on the other, a Saracen holding with one hand a curved shield fitting close to the chest, and in the other a long lance poised for action in a horizontal position. This pair of tiles is engraved in the Gentleman's Magazine for July 1845 : and by the kindness of Mr. J. G. Nichols is now presented before our readers.
There were several separated tiles, inserted in different parts of the Chancel floor, which when brought together and placed in order, formed a large design of sixteen tiles, 22 inches square, representing within an ornamented circle a quatrefoil with cusps branched out into flowers and leaves, filling up the centre. This pattern, which as far as has been discovered, is unique, is, with several others from Bedwyn, represented in Shaw's very beautiful “Specimens of Tile Pavements.” About twelve other specimens found at Great Bedwyn and generally in the west of England, were figured by the Rev. The Lord Alwyne Compton, Rector of Castle Ashby, and printed by him on loose sheets of paper comprising many patterns and some borders, for the purpose of assisting Ecclesiologists in arranging designs for pavements, and of shewing at once their effect.
Of the remaining tiles at Bedwyn which have not been engraved, there were several bearing the royal insignia of lions and fleurs de lis variously combined, and, in one instance, were two lioncels rampant indorsed, with a sceptre terminated with a fleur de lis, running up between them. There were also many copies of a tile representing a castle, which may have been intended for the Arms, either of Eleanor of Castile, or of the Borough of Great Bedwyn. The fret of Hugh de Audley was often repeated, but the De Clare coat, so commonly found in large Churches with which that powerful family had any connection, did not occur here : Gilbert de Clare however, the last male of the family, died in 1313, that is, not long after the rebuilding of the whole portion of the Church, east of the nave.
H. BULL, Printer, Saint John Street, Devizes.
MULTORUM MANIBUS GRANDE LEVATUR Onus.”_ Ovid.
THE SEVENTI GENERAL MEETING
Wiltshire Archæological and Natural History Society,
HELD AT SWINDON, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, 15th, 16th, and 17th August,
PRESIDENT OF THE MEETING, THE Rr. Hon. T. H. S. SOTHERON ESTCOURT, M.P., D.C.L.
SN Wednesday 15th August, the Society assembled for its
Seventh General Meeting at the Town Hall, Swindon. The chair was taken by the Rt. Hon. T. H. S. SOTHERON ESTCOURT, M.P. at half past one o'clock.
Mr. ESTCOURT, after reviewing the operations of the Society from the time of its formation, proceeded to observe that the principal reason for selecting Swindon as the place of meeting for the present year was, that it was a part of the county with which, as yet, the Society had had no contact. Situated, as it was, at the north-eastern part of the county—at a distance from those remarkable objects of antiquarian lore with which the name of Wiltshire was associated in all parts of the world—the mysterious monuments at Avebury and Stonehenge-he was rejoiced that for once they were certain to escape from theories, and to fix their minds upon a nation and upon records of history of a later date, with which he confessed he felt a stronger sympathy than he did with the ancient Britons. On passing that morning through the wonderful circles at Avebury --on looking at those wonderful stones, at that wonderful mound
VOL. VII. NO. XX.
standing near-he said to himself, “My old friends, you have been known many a year, and therefore your day must be put off: we are going to look after the Saxons. You are erected by a people we know not who, for a purpose we know not what, and at a period we know not when you have been the peg upon which all kinds of disquisition, and every description of speculation have been hung;—this very year there has appeared in one of our most known periodicals a paper giving you a Buddhist origin, and I dare say next year somebody else may find out some other source of your wonders. Therefore you must permit us on this occasion to meet at Swindon and talk about the Saxons.” Here, then, they were assembled on the very borders of Alfred's kingdom-the borders of Wessex- -as near, at all events, as it was once safe to live, because the line of demarcation, along which the great fights took place, was not more than ten miles to the north of the town. Passing from Bath, it ran a little along the Cotswolds, it circled through Berkshire, and this spot being high and elevated in those days, it was probably well fortified. If therefore they cast their eyes northward, eastward, or westward, they would have the satisfaction of fixing their eyes upon a people with whom we must have a deep sympathy, from whom we had derived many of our institutions, and whose records we should do well to search, because they were trustworthy and not merely of a theoretical description. With regard to the Society, he said, speaking for himself, he was sure it had far exceeded in its results anything which he expected would have been the case when a meeting for its formation was held at Devizes seven years ago. The great work of the Society had been its Magazine, and he ventured to defy all the counties in England to produce a work of a similar character, containing so much that was interesting and trustworthy. Besides the Secretaries and the Committee, the Society was under great obligations to the Clergy throughout the county. The Bishop of Salisbury had, from the first, shown a very strong desire to further that particular study which it was the business of the Society to foster. It was a most fortunate thing that, at a period he knew not when, our land was divided into parishes; and it was also a
fortunate thing, in his opinion, that the records of those parishes had been so well preserved for at least the last three centuries; and if we went further, we should find in the public records collected in London and elsewhere a great deal to throw light upon what had happened in our different parishes. Some years ago, he had occasion to pay a visit at the Rolls Chapel to Sir Francis Palgrave—a name which could never be mentioned at a meeting of this description without honor—and Sir Francis on that occasion said to him, I will undertake to give you something of a contemporaneous record with regard to every event in English History worth caring about since the Conquest. He (Mr. Estcourt) asked him a question as to something which happened in the time of Henry the Eighth. But his reply was, I know nothing of English history later than the accession of Henry the Seventh, which showed how much his whole attention had been directed to ancient history. The reason why we in England possessed such a magnificent and unbroken collection of old records was that no enemy had ever come to spoil us. Whatever there was worth putting by in succeeding generations we had got, and no man had ever laid a revolutionary hand upon it. It was more than could be said of any other capital or nation in the world. Every little addition that could be made to information of this kind, it seemed to him was worthy of the notice of a thinking people.—He believed it was Dr. Johnson who said, in Rasselas, “whatever makes the past or the future predominant in the mind of man over the present, elevates him as a thinking being." No doubt what might be found recorded in an old parochial history might have been considered at the moment of no more value than the incidents of parochial history at the present moment. It was their antiquity which gave them their value. They might have appeared trifling at the mome
ment, but if they enabled us to decipher matter of real moment and real importance they could not but acquire a value in the eyes of thinking persons, of a different description to that which they originally bore. But he claimed for this Society something more. He claimed for it, that it was not merely a theoretical, speculative, or even an intellectual body, but he claimed for its proceedings