of what may have been the site of the earlier town of Reading. It was greatly due to the influence of the Abbots that from the earliest period of our parliamentary history Reading sent two members to that assembly; and in the time of Henry III a meeting was convened here, the great Chapter-house of the Abbey being probably the scene of the convention. Many important convocations, of which records have been preserved, were held in the town; but it was not till the time of Henry VI that the municipal corporation was formally constituted. Its early functions seem to have been to guard the privileges of the burgesses and townsmen from undue interference and exactions on the part of the Abbot; and the earliest charters confer upon the corporation rights of independent action, which they had not previously possessed. The dissolution of the Abbey, and the execution of Hugh Faringdon and two of the monks, in November, 1539, are matters of history, as are the important operations which took place at Reading during the great Civil. War.

Besides the Abbey and the three churches already mentioned, there is not much of interest in the town. The Greyfriars Church, after having been used for the most menial purposes, and having remained roofless for many years, has now happily been restored, and presents us with a very fine specimen of Decorated work of Early fourteenth-century date.

The Castle exists only in name, its very site being unknown now, as it was four hundred years ago. A few old houses remain, but the most interesting has been recently pulled down. This, known as Walsingham House, stood at the corner of Broad Street and Minster Street; and though its external features had been much modernised, it contained some plaster ceilings of the Elizabethan period of unusual excellence. Portions of these have, through the influence of the Berkshire Archæological Society, been preserved; and it is hoped that a space will be found for them in one of the public buildings of the town.

One more word as to the Public Museum and Library. The former, besides having many objects of general and

local interest, has been made the resting-place of the wonderful collection-which is still being added to—of Roman antiquities, the result of the systematic research which has been carried out for several years at Silchester. There is no other collection of its kind to compare with this. The Library contains a very large collection of works referring to the county, which has been carefully catalogued, and is always accessible to those desiring local information.

I must now conclude this most imperfect address, which I have drafted in the form of a sketch of our proposed proceedings, and the objects to be viewed during the ensuing week.

The fact that this is the Sixty-Second Congress of this ancient Society decided me not to attempt to go over old ground by descanting on the merits of archæological and antiquarian research. All reasonable people now admit that much practical knowledge is to be gained by the study of the works and habits of those who have lived and laboured before us; and I can only trust that the assembling together of so many enlightened students, who take a genuine interest in the history of the past, may tend to kindle greater enthusiasm in this branch of science, so that the Congress at Reading may long be remembered as one of the most pleasant and successful in the annals of the British Archæological Association.

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(Read at the Reading Congress, 1905.) S a Brass county, it cannot be said that

Berkshire contains many examples either of great interest or of any great importance ; but it is possible to draw up an account of these memorials which will give a slight history of “the Age of

Brass.” There are in all some two hundred examples, of which the greatest number belong to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The fourteenth century possesses very few, but they are valuable, as by them we are enabled to commence our subject at a comparatively early period. It will, however, be necessary to divide the subject under headings, viz. :1. Priests’; 2. Knights'; 3. Civilians’; 4. Ladies.'

5. Palimpsest Brasses.


1.-PRIESTS' BRASSES. These may be divided into three sections, grouped according to the vestments which are worn, viz., those showing (a) the Chasuble, (b) the Cope, and (c) Academical Dress.

(a) Priests in the Chasuble. This class includes a halfeffigy at Wantage, c. 1360 ; William Herlestone, Sparsholt, 1360: a priest at Shottesbrook, c. 1375 ; Seys, 1350, West Hanney, and a priest at Childrey, 1480. With the exception of the Wantage example, they are all full length, and the detail of the ornament on those of the fourteenth century is similar. Shottesbrook displays the

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Size: 241/4 inches x 17 inches
From a Rubbing by ANDREW OLIVER, A.R 1.B.A.

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