gap in the road way, extending apparently the entire width between the curtain walls, and forming a chasm about 9 ft. wide by 12 ft. deep. Its sides were faced with carefully-dressed and well-built ashlar, and at its southern end a doorway and passage led through the outer wall. On the inner side the door had a shouldered head, whilst its exterior door closed against a pointed arch, and was secured within by a heavy spar. From the position of this doorway and its low level, its exit must have been close to the margin of the moat, where it appears to have served the purpose of a sally-port.

The excavations and the adjoining site have been roofed over, and the large apartment thus enclosed has been utilisod as a wing to the Museum for the reception of a portion of the Society's collection of Roman inscribed and sculptured stones.

Winchester Cathedral.--Every now and again the archæological world and the admirers of our ancient ecclesiastical buildings are startled by alarming reports of serious danger to one or another of our grand old cathedrals, caused by the fall of some portions of the fabric. Subsequent examination generally shows that this damage is due to failure of the foundations to support the superimposed weight of the structure, or to the nature of the soil on which they are laid, or to both combined.

In the case of Winchester, to which public attention was directed, in February last, by the fall of some portions of the stone-vaulting of the choir, the trouble has been caused by the sinking of the earth under pressure from above. The eastward portions of the Cathedral have been threatened with a serious disaster, happily now in considerable measure averted by the judicious steps taken by the Dean and Chapter, upon the advice and under the direction of Mr. T. G. Jackson, R.A., in consultation with Sir Douglas Fox and partners, the well-known civil engineers.

The Cathedral is situated on a hillside, gently sloping from west to east, the subsoil of which is hard gravel, overlaid with deposits of peat and marl, of about 7 ft. and 6 ft. in thickness respectively, with some 9 ft. of vegetable earth in addition as surface soil. The hard gravel, , therefore, at the eastern end lies at a depth of over 22 ft. from the ground level. This depth appears to have been too great for the builders of the eastern addition in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries to cope with, and they resorted to the expedient of a grillage, or timber foundation, laid upon the marly soil. According to Mr. Jackson's report, referred to in The Builder of April 21st, the whole eastern end of the building was originally supported by a grillage formed of two layers of tree-trunks laid crossways to each other in the soft soil. The Builder further says: “Many of the trunks remain sound; but others, as we have seen for ourselves, are so decayed that portions may be crumbled to powder between the fingers. Even if the timber had remained sound, there would still have been settlement, for the trunks have been pressed down into the soft earth by the weight of the masonry above. The last mentioned difficulty seems to have been recognised by the builders, who extended the Lady-Chapel in the fifteenth century, for the grillage then employed was made of proportionately greater area, so as to distribute the weight more effectually."

In order to arrest any further settlement, and permanently secure the foundations, it became necessary to underpin the affected parts and carry

down the foundations to the hard gravel. This was not an easy task, as, after the removal of the peat the water flowed into the excavations, and the assistance of divers had to be obtained, who deposited sacks of Portland cement upon the gravel-bed, and grouted them in with cement. Upon this a solid base of cement concrete was laid, to receive the new footings of hard brick in cement under the old walls. The dangerously-defective condition of the vaulting and the cracks in the walls are receiving the most careful attention ; and we hope and believe that, under the capable guidance of Mr. Jackson and his colleagues, the future safety of the Cathedral is assured. The measures undertaken are solely those of preservation of the structure for future ages; but they are necessarily of a costly nature, and the Dean will be grateful for any contribution from those who love, value, and appreciate the noble architectural achievements of our forefathers.

Excavations at Holm Cultram Abbey, Cumberland. We are indebted to the Rev. W. Baxter, M.A., Rector of Holm Cultram, for the following note :

In February last, while certain improvements were being carried out in the Churchyard of St. Mary's, Holm Cultram, important discoveries were made beneath an uneven mound, covered with coarse grass and fortunately free from graves, about twenty-five yards from the eastern end of the remaining portion of the old Church. Apart from the mound formation, the situation was suggestive : on the very spot or thereabouts the tower had fallen on New Year's Day, 1600, bringing down the greater portion of the chancel; it was there that the new chancel, hastily rebuilt out of the old material, and gutted by fire in 1604, fell into a ruinous heap.

A few days diligent work revealed more than was anticipated, Amongst the blocks of red sandstone, fragments of pillars, and loose pieces of tiling that were unearthed, there were at least four objects of interest. First in order came two capitals, representing different periods of architecture-one a typical piece of Early English work, closely resembling the capitals of the pillars in the existing nave; the other an arched capital of the Decorated period, with a floral design above the arch on either side, and near the outer edge a stringing with double tie-band at intervals of an inch and a-half: a head also appears to be missing. Then came a small image of the Virgin or some saintly woman, surmounted by a cross, and the lower portion

[graphic][merged small]

of an image of the Madonna and Child, with a fringe of angels at either side, very beautifully sculptured.

These discoveries were, however, thrown into comparative insignificance by the greater discovery which followed— the existence of the lower portion of a doorway, 4 ft. in width, and 75 ft. 6 in. from the eastern end of the present Church. It is set in a solid wall exactly in line with the pillars of the nave.

On either side of the doorway are the bases of two pillars, with some very vigorous moulding, and dogtooth ornament in a good state of preservation. On the south side of this entrance, in what must have been the chancel, is a flooring of tesselated tiles, small in size but of good design, similar to those which formed the flooring of the aisles, many specimens of which are still to be found in this district. Within the doorway on the north side many square encaustic tiles of larger dimensions were discovered, and these formed a circular pattern with a floral ornamentation and a black cross, the cognisance of the Abbey.

Ten feet westward from the doorway, in the wall which joins it, is a base, 5 ft. square on which must have rested one of the pillars of the tower, To the east of the doorway on the chancel side, at the last stage of the work of excavation, a large stone step was discovered, possibly a chancel step.

The excavations are of importance, as affording material for the correction of previous ideas with regard to the position of the north transept and the tower. According to a MS. bearing date circa 1600, Holm Cultram church was “93 yards long, 45 yards broad. The length of the chancel was 32 yards, the breadth 21 yards; from the steeple (which was in the middle) to the lower church door, 54 yards ... and the steeple being 19 fathoms stood upon the chancel.” It is now concluded that the north-eastern pillar of the tower, and not the north-western, as was supposed, rested on the aforementioned base ; that the crossing, in all probability, was on the site of the tower, and that the transepts were not so far eastward as had generally been conjectured. The doorway in question must have been east of the transept, and outside it, and may possibly have led into the Chapterhouse. Such a reconstruction of the plan agrees with the measurements in the old document. The only difficulty is Bishop Nicholson's statement that the nave had nine arches. On the present hypothesis, it would only have eight, but possibly the transept arch was counted as a bay.

The discoveries are also interesting, as revealing work of such artistic merit as to suggest the richness and finish which must have characterised the perfect structure. The existing church, unfortunately, consists of no more than the six western bays of the nave, the clerestory and aisles having been removed, and the arches walled up in the eighteenth century.

The Wall and Vallum between Tyne and Solway.-Our attention has been drawn to a Paper by Mr. T. V. Holmes, F.G.S., read at a meeting of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle, on March 28th, 1906. The Paper, which is entitled “Notes on the Comparative Ages of the Roman Wall between Solway and Tyne, and the structures associated with it,” is an interesting contribution to the study of an ever-fascinating series of problems. Mr. Holmes is of opinion that the vallum is of pre-Roman origin, and marks the result of a desire on the part of the settled agricultural inhabitants of the valleys of the Tyne, Irthing, and Eden to make a boundary between their settlements and the ground over which a more or less migratory people might drive their flocks and herds. He also contends that such camps as Vindobala, Hunnum, Procolitia, and Borcovicus--commanding neither road nor river, but likely to be useful as camps of refugewere of later date than the rest. It is most improbable, he

says, that these would be built before the time of Commodus, and the latest of them he ascribes to the second half of the fourth century. The wall between Solway and Tyne, uniting camp to camp, was built, Mr. Holmes concludes, only when the barrier of Antoninus tended to become untenable-probably in the first fifteen or twenty years of the fifth century.

We have been supplied with the following note on the subject :

The tribal boundary theory of the valluin has received weighty support recently, but there are difficulties in the way of its acceptance. The design is too complicated, and too expensively carried out; and several large tracts of land on the southern side must in early times have been quite unsuited for agriculture. There is, however, still room for much careful observation, especially in the interesting section between Sewingshields and Carvoran. Here the engineer, whether Roman or pre-Roman, had many difficulties to encounter. There were marshes, and even shallow lakes, to be avoided, and an adequate supply of earth to be found within a reasonable distance, the southern slopes of the basalt hills being only thinly covered. It has been suggested that in dealing with these difficulties he has kept the vallum, as far as possible, within sight of the nearest point of the wall, but the matter requires further investigation. The same suggestion would explain the fact that at several points the vallum is overlooked from the south.

In dealing with the dates of the stations, Mr. Holmes seems to place too much reliance on a strategical theory, and to under-estimate the evidence of the actual remains, and especially of inscriptions. There are, unfortunately, few remains at Vindobala, Hunnum, and Procolitia ; but the gateways and other buildings at Borcovicus certainly belong to an early period, and Procolitia has yielded an inscription mentioning Platorius Nepos. Moreover, Borcovicus was a wall station or nothing ; if a “camp of refuge” had been needed in that neighbourhood, it would certainly have been placed elsewhere.

As to the date of the wall, it is impossible to accept Mr. Holmes's

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