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equal length. The sides of the grave were constructed of regular masonry, plastered over, but there was no stone floor. On removing the rubbish a perfect skeleton of a male was discovered, together with the nails and other traces of the wooden coffin in which it had been enclosed. The skull was in a very perfect state; the right arm was bent, and the closed hand lay over the abdomen, whilst the left was extended and placed close to the side. Over the right shoulder was found the stem of a pewter chalice (very much corroded) together with numerous small fragments of the bowl and foot. Two circular bronze buckles, each 2 inches in diameter, lay, one immediately below the pelvis, and the other underneath the left hand, the latter having attached to it a small fragment apparently of leather, but wholly decomposed. There were no traces of vestments, but the chalice proves the remains to have been those of an ecclesiastic, most likely, some priest connected with the service of the Abbey Church.” The buckles may have been the fastenings of a leathern girdle worn round the waist above the albe or under Westment. Since this first discovery, the excavations have been continued, and the foundations of about 60 feet of the eastern portion of the Abbey Church have been exposed, being probably, those of the Presbytery or Sanctuary to the East of the choir. It seems to have terminated in a semicircular apse, a form by no means unusual in large churches of early Norman date." In this instance it is likely that the gradual increase in the importance of the Abbey, and the popularity which it had acquired by the translation thither of the body of St. Edward the Martyr, in 982, demanded a larger Church than the one which had been erected by King Alfred. All the walls hitherto discovered are at least 7 feet in thickness, and the width of the Presbytery from the apse westward is 28 feet, a measurement nearly equal to the corresponding portion of the Abbey Church of St. Alban (also erected during the Norman period) and indicating a church not less than 350 or 400 feet in length from East to West. The tower (said to have been surmounted by a lofty spire) was in all probability central, as at St. Alban's, and there is also another point of resemblance between the ancient Norman plan of St. Alban's as engraved by Messrs. Buckler,” and that of Shaftesbury so far as the examination hitherto permits. Each terminated in a semicircular apse, which was divided by a solid wall from the aisle on either side. The floor of the Presbytery is paved throughout with encaustic tiles of various patterns, but very much worn, and rises gradually eastward, by a gentle slope from (A) to (B); at which point is a single step. There were apparently three others at the entrance to the apse (c), and still further eastward were distinct traces of several more on which the Altar anciently stood. In a straight line and at a distance of nearly 40 feet westward from the point A, the ground was opened, and a continuation of the tile paving found at an additional depth of 17 inches, thus showing the height of the pavement of the apse, and the elevation of the Altar above the level of the western portion of the Church, which yet remains to be uncovered. The grave (e) formed of large stones, built in the solid wall,” was opened May 2nd, 1862. It was found to have been previously rifled, and the sculptured slab or effigy which once covered it had been removed. Among the rubbish within was an ancient iron lock, with a hasp, much corroded, a handle, and some iron straps containing short rivets, apparently the remains of a small box or casket; also one of the metatarsal bones of a human foot. The graves (f) and (g) had also been previously rifled, but among the rubbish removed from the former was found a gold hoop ring, of delicate workmanship, set with an unwrought emerald." The remaining grave (h) which lies immediately outside the North wall of the apse was also opened and found to contain a perfect skeleton, but without any accompanying relic. The aisle (D) on the North side of the main building is nearly 12 feet in width, and from the remaining base of an Altar to the East end, it evidently was used as a Chapel. A narrow passage cut through the solid wall (c) formed a connection between this and the Presbytery, and the stone step at the entrance, deeply worn on either side, plainly indicates the continual use to which it must have been subjected. The floor is paved with encaustic tiles principally heraldic, and apparently of the decorated period (14th century). They are laid in squares, each formed of 4 tiles bearing similar shields of arms, surrounded by a border of narrow tiles of a green colour. The step in front of the Altar seems also to have been paved with small plain tiles of a like description. The accompanying sketch shows the arrangement of the shields of arms, amongst which are those of the family of Clare, Earls of Gloucester,” frequently found in large churches both in Wiltshire and the neighbouring counties: also those of Montacute, Earls of Sarum, Were P and others not identified. The projecting masonry (i) bears the semicircular base of a Norman pier, from which perhaps sprung the rib of a groined roof. On the South side of the Presbytery was probably a similar aisle as shown by a portion of another tile pavement at the point (E) but this together with the whole of the western portion of the Church, including choir, nave, aisles, and transepts, yet remains to be uncovered. The chamber (F) is of a later date than the parts of the church above described, and appears to have been used as a crypt. It is 24 feet from East to West, and has the remains of a massive groined roof, of early pointed character, springing from corbels projecting from the walls about 4 feet above the level of the floor. The height of the chamber to the crown of the vaulting (now broken in) was nearly 9 feet. The floor exhibits no traces of paving of any kind, and is 6 feet below the level of that in the adjoining aisle of the church, the communication between the two being a narrow stone staircase leading to a small doorway in the West wall of the crypt. In clearing out the rubbish a quantity of human bones' were found near the level of the floor, together with some
* The custom of depositing a chalice and paten with the corpse of a priest appears to have been very general ; and, although no established regulation may be found which prescribes it, it is in accordance with ancient evidences cited by Martene in his treatise on Rites observed at the Obsequies of Ecclesiastics. Occasionally not only the sacred vessels, but a portion of the Eucharist was placed upon the breast of the deceased; a very ancient practice, although forbidden by several Councils. An old writer on ritual observances, cited by Martene, states that it was customary to place over the head of the corpse a sigillum of wax, fashioned in the form of a cross: that the bodies of persons who had received Holy Orders ought to be interred in the vestments worn by them at Ordination; and that on the breast of a priest ought to be placed a chalice, which, in default of such sacred vessel of pewter, should be of earthenware. (See Archaeological Journal, No. x., p. 136.)
*In the porch of the Church of Holy Trinity is a monumental slab, bearing the recumbent effigy of a priest. This came from the site of the Abbey.
* As in the Cathedrals of Norwich and Peterborough. In several instances traces of the ancient semicircular apse may still be found, although the superstructure has been altered, or rebuilt, at a later period; as at Gloucester, Canterbury, and Winchester, where the crypts still retain the semicircular form.
* History of the Architecture of the Abbey Church of St. Alban, 1847, p. 9.
*The situation of this grave, on the North side of the High Altar, is probably not far from the spot in which the body of St. Edward the Martyr is said to have been interred.
* A very similar relic from the site of Mynchin Buckland Priory, co. Somerset, set with an unwrought sapphire, is engraved in the Proceedings of the Somersetshire Archaeological Society, vol. x., p. 57.
* Richard de Clare temp. Henry III, held the manor and hundred of Cranborn, together with the right of hunting in Cranborn Chace, a privilege which had been obtained by one of his ancestors. A complaint was made against him by the Abbesses of Wilton, Shaftesbury, and Tarent, concerning his interference with the management of their woods at Fernditch and Chettell, and an agreement made between the Earl and the Abbess of Shaftesbury concerning her woods at Fontmell, Iwerne, and Handley, co. Dorset.
Gilbert de Clare, son of Richard, and the last male heir of the family, died in 1313. The arms on the tiles at Shaftesbury, doubtless denote a benefaction to the Abbey from some member of the Clare family.
* Among the skulls found during the excavations there was one (apparently of an adult male) with a remarkable perforation on the upper part and left side of the frontal bone. The rotundity of the aperture is remarkably clean as if caused by a pistol ball, or the rounded point of an extremely sharp arrow. Whatever the projectile was, it must have gone directly through the brain, and foramen magnum, to the spiral marrow, there being no corresponding fracture at the base of the skull. The wound must therefore have been caused by some missile, either shot from a height, or received whilst in a stooping posture. There is also a portion of another skull with a somewhat similar aperture, on the upper part of the right parietal bone, but in this instance the edges are more jagged. To Henry Bennett, Esq., F.R.C.S., of St. John's Hill, Shaftesbury, who has taken much interest in the excavations, and by whom the various bones discovered during the progress of the work, have been carefully examined, the writer is indebted for this, as well as for other similar information. A remarkably fine specimen of a portion of the skull of a horse was also found among the rubbish near the floor of the crypt.