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Building.-"Now a custom of the Jews when they build any hous to leave part of it unfinisht in memory of the destruction of Jerusalem. Nay, the Jews say that God himself purposely left one part unfinisht.”*
Dead Bodies.-"The Mahometans to this day, when they have washed their dead, they dispose of them in such a place where they may be layd out so as that the face and feet may most directly be towards the temple of Meccha; which custom is but a transcript of the Jewish rite, which was to carry up the dead bodie, when washed into such a place as is a vжερоν, or upper chamber, where they composed the corpse in such posture as turned the face and feet toward Jerusalem. This perhaps gives original to our burial with face to the east. The modern Jews lay out a dead corpse with the feet toward the chamber door, and a wax-candle at the head put into a pot of ashes.”†
Shaving." Priests were allowed no whiskers, but to shave their whole face."‡
Custom at Sea." It was the custom in a storm to cast lots, and the person, on whom the lot fell, was exposed in a little boat as in the example of Jonas. This was practised in the reign of King Stephen."§
* Id. fol. 8.
+ Id. fol. 8.
Id. fol. 9.
§ Id. f. 9.-Strange as this custom may be, the archbishop had good authority for asserting it. The story is to be found in William of Newburgh, where it is told of a certain Rayner, a great enemy to the church, whose iniquities were such as once, when voyaging with his wife, to render the ship on the sudden immovable. Thereupon the sailors cast lots according to ancient custom, when the lot fell upon Rainerus. That this might not be the mere effect of chance they threw a second and a third time, and the result being the same, it was unanimously pronounced to be the judgment of God. He was therefore put into a boat with his wife and his ill-acquired wealth, when the boat being submerged by the weight of his sins was swallowed up by the waters. "Alter verò Rainerus nomine, præcipuus ecclesiarum effractor atque
Cross. At one time people used to sign themselves with the sign of the cross before they slept, and believed they were not otherwise under God's protection. Thus when a certain pious hermit, by name, Ketellus, who had the gift. of seeing devils, returned home one night weary with the labours of the field and forgot to sign himself as usual with the sign of the cross, two fiends immediately took advantage of this neglect. "Aha!" quothed they; "we have caught you at last, Master Ketellus!" Upon this he tried to cross himself and invoke the name of Christ, but found both his hands and tongue were tied. In the midst however of their diabolical taunts, a resplendent youth appeared bearing in his hands an axe, which being only slightly touched sent forth such a sound that the terrified demons incontinently fled. And now the youth-whom our historian has no doubt is the hermit's angel-accosts the anchorite, and, rebuking him for his negligence, says, "take care they do not catch you napping again, friend Ketellus.*"
Scadding of Peas.—“ A custom in the north of boiling the common grey peas in the shell and eating them with butter and salt, first shelling them. A bean shell and incensor, cum uxore suo transfretans, iniquitatum suarum pondere in medio mari navim, qua vehebatur, fecit immobilem. Quod cum maximo nautis, et aliis qui simul vehebantur, esset stupori, antiquo exemplo jacta est sors, et cecidit sors super Rainerum. Et ne forte hoc casu accidisse videretur, iterum et tertiò sorte jacta et fideli inventa, judicium Dei declaratum est. Itaque, ne universi cum ipso et propter ipsum perirent, expositus est in scapha cum uxore et pecunia male adquisita. Navis illico expedita est, et cursu solito ferebatur. Scapha verò pondere peccatoris subsedit, fluctibusque absorpta est." GULIELMI NEUBRIGENSIS HISTORIA. p. 46. Lib. i. cap. xi. Tom 1. Svo. Oxonii. 1719. It is hardly necessary to add that this custom must have originated in the scriptural tradition of Jonah and the whale.
* Id. Lib. Secundus, Cap. xxi. p. 173.
all is put into one of the pea-pods; whosoever gets this bean is to be first married."*
Places deemed fatal.-It was a common superstition to attach fatality to certain places. Thus we read that to enter Lincoln was supposed to be fatal to any English monarch; and King Stephen has obtained no little praise from some historians for having the courage to disregard the popular belief and causing himself to be crowned there in the twelfth year of his reign, after he had extorted the city from the hands of the Earl of Chester.†
Gipseys. This word, which is pronounced hard, is a Yorkshire term for certain springs, which burst occasionally from the earth, and run off into the sea. When they dry up they are supposed to portend good, but when on the contrary they continue to flow on they are supposed to be ominous of evil.‡
Heretics Branded.—In the reign of Henry II. the socalled heretics were branded on the forehead, amerced of all their goods, and publicly whipt with rods, the harbouring of them or in any way assisting them being forbidden under severe penalties. William of Neubury gives us a long story of a set of heretics, who came out of Gascony into England, under the guidance of a certain Gerard, whom they respected as their prince. They professed to be Christians and to venerate the apostolic
*GROSE'S PROVINCIAL GLOSSARY. Sub voce Scadding.
† “Anno regni suo duodecimo, cum rex Stephanus extorta de manibus comitis Cestrensis civitate Lincolnia potiretur, ibidem in celebritate natalis Dominici solemniter voluit coronari, vetustam superstitionem, qua reges Anglorum eandem civitatem ingredi vetabantur, laudabiliter parvipendens. Denique incunctanter ingressus, nihil sinistri ominis, sicut illa vanitas comminabatur, expertus est." GUILIELMI NEU BRIGENSIS HISTORIA. Vol. i. Lib. 1. cap. xviii. p. 59. 8vo. Oxonii. 1719.
Id. p. 95. Lib. Primus. Cap. xxviii.
faith, but held the Eucharist, Baptism, and Matrimony, in abhorrence, and upon being threatened with the penalties of the law, they stoutly replied in the words of scripture, "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake; for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven."* This argument not satisfying their orthodox judges, they were handed over to the secular authorities and punished as above mentioned, when, as it happened to be the time of a severe winter, they all miserably perished.† For a season this would appear to have given an effectual check to heresy, but the snake was only scotched, not killed. Other heretics followed, and as a natural consequence of the interdiction of fire and water-that is the interdiction of all human aid and intercourse-the condemned heretics formed into societies in various parts; but neither did this please the orthodox; a decree of the Council of Tours forbade all such communings and associations under the severest ecclesiastical penalties. ‡
Bells. It may be difficult to say at what precise period bells first began to be rung by way of triumph. The oldest date, which so far as I know can be assigned to it, is 1574, when the bells were rung throughout England for a great victory obtained over the Scots by the nobles and people of Yorkshire, the Scottish king being taken in the action.§
*S. MATTHEW. Chap. v. ver. 10.
+ Gulielmi Neubrigensis Historia. Vol. i. Lib: Secundus, Cap. xiii. p. 147.
"Et quoniam de diversis partibus in unum latibulum crebrò conveniunt, et, præter consensum erroris nullam cohabitandi causam habentes, in uno domicilio commorantur, talia conventicula et investigentur attentius, et, si inventa fuerint, canonica severitate vetentur." Id. Cap. xv. Lib: Secundus, p. 153.
§ "Gestum est hoc feliciter Deo propicio anno a plenitudine temporis quo verbum caro factum est 1574, tertio Idus Julii die Sabbati, et
Horns. Every great man, whether priest or laic, had in his retinue a multitude of horn-bearers, who upon any stop or disturbance sounded an alarm by blowing their horns. Thus when the keepers of the Forest took away the bows and arrows from the retinue of a certain prior, the horns sounded on either side, and the whole country rose at the signal.*
Graves. It would appear to have been a custom at one time for bishops to consecrate their own graves. John Stafford, the bishop of Bath and Wells, consecrated his own tomb in a chapel that he had erected in honour of the Virgin Mary and St. Thomas the Martyr.†
Candlesticks. It was customary for priests of the higher orders to have a candlestick with seven branches sculptured on their tombs. So when John de Hotham, bishop of Ely, was buried in his cathedral church there was an alabaster image of him placed above the tomb, with a candlestick from which proceeded seven branches.‡ Kennett says that it was a fashion of the time, and that it arose from the seven candlesticks in the Apocalypse
mox latè vulgatum, atque in cunctis Anglorum provinciis gratè susceptum est, campanis pro solemni lætitia concrepantibus." Id. lib: secundus, cap. 33, p. 215. This very particular mention of a circumstance, which, if usual, was much too trifling for record, certainly leads to the conclusion that it was at the time a novelty.
*"In crastino S. Jacobi in via publica juxta Hersorton priore transeunte, forestarii a garcionibus suis ejus arcus et sagittas abstulerunt, et ex utraque parte cornibus ululabant; et ad hanc injuriam patria convenit." ANNALES ECCLESIE WIGORNIENSIS. Anglia Sacra, Whartoni, p. 511, folio. 1691.
"Pontificalibus indutus ornamentis, quæ in consecrationis die antea gestaverat, in quibus itidem sepeliri voluit, sepulchrum suum infra dictam capellam solenniter consecravit." Idem.
"Ipse autem sepultus est in ecclesia sua Cathedrali apud Ely, et honorificè collocatus sub quadam pulchrâ staturâ lapideâ, cum imagine episcopi de alabastro super tumulum ipsius erectâ, cum septem candelabris ex uno stipite decentissime procedentibus." HISTORIA ELIENSIS; Anglia Sacra Whartoni; p. 648.