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to St. John's, but no summary is given of its contents. In the public records, occasional mention of St. John's occurs, but always in connection with matters relating to the business of the church; as, for instance, in a Patent Roll of the 5th of Richard II. (A.D. 1386,)—an order respecting the appropriation of the church of St. John, " de ecclesia de Pleymundstok approprianda." This church was originally a rectory in the gift of the monastery of SS. Peter and Paul at Shrewsbury; it subsequently became the property of St. John's College in Chester. Again, in a Patent Roll of the 16th of the same king, there is an order made for the settlement of the fraternity of St. Mary and St. Ann, in the chapel of St. Ann, below the college of St. John; and in a deed, (Harl. MSS. 1,994, p. 69,) ten years after the dissolution of the college, this fraternity is mentioned again as having been placed "therein."

Some few notices occur in documents of an official character. In A.D. 1347, an order of Roger, bishop of Lichfield, respecting assignment of portions in the said church. In A.D. 1348, a regulation respecting the repair of the church. In A.D. 1400, an augmentation of the portion or stipend of the vicars of the collegiate church of St. John at Chester, by Thomas Arundel, archbishop of Canterbury. And in the following year a mandate of the same respecting the aforesaid augmentation. (Lambeth MSS.)

Occasionally also we have an intimation of the growing prosperity of the college. In A.D. 1349, Stoke was appropriated to it by the Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, being given to the church of St. John by Sir Peter de Thornton. In process of time, as appears by the Minister's Accounts (Augmentation Office, 4 Edward VI.), it had acquired possession of the rectories of Guilden Sutton, Farndon, Shocklache and Upton, in the neighbourhood, and of St. Martin and St. Bridget in the city of Chester. And Bishop Tanner doubts whether the college of the Holy Cross, mentioned in the Lincoln Taxation of Church Temporalities, was not from an early period included in the collegiate church of St. John.

There is no record of domestic events during the long period reaching from the eleventh to the sixteenth century, except the fall of the tower, which happened A.D. 1470. In the register of the mayors and sheriffs of the city there is a notice of this date, stating that the roof was then repaired and covered with lead. But there is nothing of importance, so far as I have been able to discover, nor any information tending to enlighten us as to the state of the fabric of the church, and the changes which time and decay were bringing on the structure. We will therefore proceed at once to the period of its dissolution.

An act was passed A.D. 1535 for the dissolution of religious houses, and in accordance with it no less than 380 were dissolved. Of the lesser houses, 31 had the king's licence to continue some time longer-amougst which was the nunnery of St. Mary's in Chester. The college of St. John's escaped this and the subsequent visitation (A.D. 1540), probably because it was at that time too poor to attract the notice of the king and his advisers. In the first year of the reign of his successor, a commission was issued for the survey of all the religious houses in Cheshire, from whose answer it appears that the population of the parish amounted to 1,200 "hoslyng y" people,-that the college consisted of one dean, seven canons,

Or "houslyng" people, i. e. communicants. This word is also sometimes spelt "husseling," and is found in the old writers; as, for instance,-

"Doe call me a confessour with Christe in his armes ;
I will be howselde in haste, whate happe so betyddys."
Morte d'Arthure, MS. Lincoln.

and four vicars, besides servants; and that the yearly value of their possessions, deducting "reprisals," was £119 17s. The plate was estimated at 232 oz. in "gilte," 173 oz.; and in white, 59 oz. ;-the "goodes and ornaments" amounting in all to the value of £11 19s. 9d. The lead upon the roof was estimated at forty fothers; of this, they recommended that all, except the covering of the nave, should be stripped off for the king's use; and of the five bells in the tower, four should be taken, and one left! Out of the annual rents of the college, a sum of £20 yearly was to be allowed for the service of the church; the rest, with the articles abovementioned, was taken for the king. The landed possessions and impropriations of the church after the spoliation, were distributed according to the caprice of the king and his advisers. The advowson and impropriate rectory were granted to Sir Christopher Hatton, and after passing through many hands, were conveyed to the noble family of Westminster, the present patrons. And part of the lands given by King Edward VI. for the foundation and maintenance of the grammar-school at Macclesfield formerly belonged to the college of St. John's in Chester, as appears from the MS. Stratf.

I have not thought it necessary to follow out the history of the church with its mutilated fabric and crippled revenues, as the incidents belonging to that subsequent period are generally of an insignificant character. The most interesting events that have occurred in the interval are detailed in a paper read before the Chester Archæological Society, by the late Chancellor Raikes, in August, 1850. There is only one further notice to which, in conclusion, I will call your attention. It is contained in a note to Bishop Gastrell's Notitia communicated by the Rev. Mr. Raines from the Milnrow Register, intimating that a brief was read in that parish church for the repairs of St. John's Church, A.D. 1719. The funds derived from this brief, I conclude, were expended in the year 1721, as the legend on the large beam crossing the chancel bears that date, with the names of the churchwardens in whose year of office were carried out the improvements (if they can be called so) or additions, in the way of galleries and other encroachments on the convenience of the congregation, obstructing sight and sound, and equally injurious to the general effect of the building.

And also in Shakespeare:

"Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin,
Unhousel'd, disappointed, unanel'd."
Hamlet, act i. sc. 4.

I am indebted to the kindness of Dr. Rock for pointing out the meaning of this word, which in the hurry of making references I had missed.


YEARS ago we do not much care to say or think how many-we read and greatly relished the varied pages of Sykes's "Local Records" of the counties above-mentioned; the great progenitor, if we may be allowed the term, of the work now under notice. "Relished" we designedly say, for, diving as the industrious author did into the scant, obscure, and dimlylighted records of a remote past, there was a savour of antiquity about his book that greatly recommended it to the taste of all enquiring lovers of mediæval lore. The book of which we are now about to speak, treating mostly of the men and events of the last quarter of a century, and devoting many of its pages to a jejune recital of the names of local functionaries, mayors, to wit, common-councilmen, "and such small deer,”— persons whose full-blown dignities are unappreciated beyond half a mile from their own doors, and in whom the reading public takes no interest, for the simple reason that it knows nothing about them,-must of necessity be destitute of many of those charms which so strongly recommended its predecessor; and must therefore be content to rest its appeal to public favour almost wholly upon the scrupulous fidelity and exactness with which its details of recent transactions have been collected and arranged. At the same time, however, in justice to Mr. Latimer, we are bound to say-and our readers will be afforded an opportunity of seeing that such is the case— that he has been by no means unmindful of such investigations and discoveries of late, as tend to throw any light upon the past history and antiquities of the two great northern counties of which he treats.

To turn now to the book itself, and examine it, so far as our limits will admit of, somewhat in detail. The first thing that has attracted our notice in glancing over its pages, is the comparatively large number of centenarians whose deaths are here recorded. These our curiosity has prompted us to count; and the sum-total we find to be no less than 112— males, 20; females, 92—a pretty convincing proof, were any wanting, that women are, on the average, less affected by the wear and tear of life than men. The greatest age attained is 116, and that, curiously enough, by one of the male sex. Another thing, too, that has struck us, but one unfortunately of a melancholy interest, is the great number of murders here mentioned, the perpetrators of which have been hitherto successful in escaping detection. As for the causes célèbres of the book, they are but three in number; the trial at Newcastle, in 1839, of Archibald Bolam, for the murder of Joseph Millie; in London, in 1844, of J. C. Belaney, for the alleged murder of his wife; and at Durham, in 1855, of J. S. Wooler, also for the alleged murder of his wife. In the first case, a conviction for manslaughter was the result; in the other two, an acquittal.

The deaths recorded of men of title and eminence more or less intimately connected with these counties, are those of Lord Stowell, Lord Chancellor Eldon, the first Earl of Durham, Earl Grey the Reform minister, Hugh, Duke of Northumberland, the Marquis of Londonderry,

"Local Records; or, Historical Register of Remarkable Events which have occurred in Northumberland and Durham, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and Berwick-upon-Tweed. With Biographical Notices of Deceased Persons of Talent, Influence, &c., in the District. 1832-1857. Being a Continuation of the Work, under the same Title, published by the late Mr. Sykes. By John Latimer." (Newcastle: published at the Chronicle Office, 42, Grey-street.)

the Duke of Cleveland, Lord Ravensworth, and Viscount Hardinge. In reference to other persons of more than mere local eminence, we find the deaths recorded of—Robert Morrison, the Orientalist; Thomas Morton, the dramatist; that heroic maiden, Grace Darling; Charlton Nesbitt, the engraver, a pupil of Bewick; Luke Clennell, the painter and engraver, also a pupil of Bewick; Sir Antony Carlisle, the surgeon; Archdeacon Singleton; Sir Robert Ker Porter; the Rev. John Hodgson, the historian of Northumberland; Major-General John Antony Hodgson, the surveyor of Northern India; George Stephenson, the eminent engineer; Jane Porter, the novelist; Dr. Lingard, the historian; the Rev. George Stanley Faber, the writer on Prophecy; and John Martin, the painter.

Coming to the obituaries of men less known to the world at large, but who have been useful, most of them, in their generation, we find mentioned -the Rev. Antony Hedley, the local antiquary; Count Boruwlaski, the learned Polish dwarf; John Rawling Wilson, the local antiquary; John Trotter Brockett, the glossarist and antiquary; John Buddle, the engineer; Robert Roxby, the poet; Thomas Jopling, the founder of joint-stock banking; John Wilson Ewbank, the painter; Thomas Miles Richardson, the painter; John Jackson, the engraver, a pupil of Bewick; John Shield, the poet; Thomas Wentworth Beaumont; James Thomson, the engraver; John Brumell, the numismatist; Thomas Hodgson, the Anglo-Roman antiquary; Joseph Price, the first to apply steam-vessels to the towing of ships; and John Adamson, the micellaneous writer and antiquary.

The first of our verbatim extracts cannot be more appropriately devoted than to the notice of Mr. Latimer's indefatigable predecessor, as annalist of the northern counties, John Sykes:

"January 21, 1837. Died, at the Leazes-crescent, Newcastle, aged 56, Mr. John Sykes. Mr. Sykes was brought up as a shoemaker, but afterwards commenced business as a bookseller, and overcame, in a very creditable manner, many of the defects arising from neglected education. In 1824 he published the first edition of his "Local Records;" and, the work having met with great encouragement, a second and much improved edition, in two volumes, was published in 1833, and is now extremely scarce. The deceased was engaged in compiling materials for a third edition at the time of his death, and left a vast mass of MSS. in an unfinished state. Besides this work, Mr. Sykes edited a few local tracts, which, from the small number printed, have now become exceedingly rare."

The early part of the present volume, it is only fair to add, is in a great measure compiled from the MSS. left by Mr. Sykes. The last extract from them bears date January 9, 1837, only twelve days before his death.

We will now proceed to place before our readers a selection from the more interesting passages to be found in the work; beginning, of course, with such as tend to throw a light upon the past history and antiquities of the counties of Northumberland and Durham. In some few instances we find ourselves under the necessity of abbreviating or condensing the narrative, as given in Mr. Latimer's ably-written compilation :

"Oct. 15, 1832. The sexton of Hexham Abbey Church being engaged in making a grave in the portion of the churchyard known as the Campsey-bill, there was discovered, at a depth of about seven feet, a metal vessel, resembling a flagon, containing a large quantity of Saxon coins, about 9,000 in number, and nearly all of copper. They were about half an inch in diameter, and were found to be stycas of Eanred, Ethelred, and Redulph, kings of Northumberland during the Heptarchy, and Eanbald and Vigmund, archbishops of York. The Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle possess the flagon, and b The specimens from this discovery that we ourselves have seen were much smaller in diameter.

a large collection of the coins, the dies of which were remarkably numerous and diversified.

"July, 1833. The eastern gateway of the Roman station of Borcovicus, at Housesteads, was totally freed from rubbish. The threshold was much worn, and one of the pivot-holes of the doors was still covered with a shining blue coat of iron, from the friction which had been upon it. In the same month, an ancient cemetery was discovered in a field called Cross Close, at Hartlepool. Two of the gravestones, which bore Runic characters, with a rude cross, were deciphered to mean Hilmme, the meek,' and Hilde, the virtuous.'

"August, 1833. A man engaged in excavating sand from below Claxheugh Rock, near Sunderland, discovered a small cavern, in which he found a full-grown human skeleton. It could not be ascertained how long it had remained, or under what circumstances it had been deposited there. The excavation appeared to have been the work of human industry, the marks of masons' tools being plainly visible.

"May, 1834. About this time, workmen commenced the erection of a new north porch and buttresses to the church of St. Nicholas, Newcastle, to correspond with those lately erected on the south. The following was the appearance of the edifice before this alteration.

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