Abbildungen der Seite



his ninetieth year. He oftep used to ual curacy of St. Saviour's, Norwich, speak of his father and grandfather. till 1785. After being constitootioned They were neither of them apparently he never put in an appearance here again estimable characters, and I believe that for the rest of his life. “He was the grandfather was about fifty when that scared by Billy Barlow he wouldn't the grandson was born, and he lived come here no more, not even to be to a good old age. That means that Joe buried.” And this is how it came to Barker's reminiscences, including such pass: Billy Barlow, apparently, was stories as he heard from his grand- then a big, hulking, "owdacious" lad. father, covered a period of, at least, 140 "And when Parson Tapps came over years; in other words, they went back the bridge, and the tother gentle folks to, say, 1743. But it seems that the as was with him, the sexton he ungrandfather was as fond of talking locked the Church door and they all about his young scrapes and prowess went in, and they left the key in the as the grandson was, and “he'd used door. And there was old Billy a-lookto say as he learnt all his devilment ing on, and when they was all inside from an old chap as my father used to Billy shut the door and locked it, and talk about too, sometimes-old Billy pulled out the key and he hulled it into Barlow, as broke a chap's nose with the moat, and there it is now, I suphis fist, fair fighting, too. They said pose; and Billy he made hisself scarce, that chap was a highwayman and was and he never split on hisself, you may a-looking out for a po-shay

assure yourself!" a-coming on the road. But he didn't Now, I have no doubt whatever that stop no po-shays that night, you may this did actually happen in the year depend on it!" I listened patiently 1741, when Richard Tapps was institill a pause came, then I interposed. tuted, as appears by the Episcopal Rec“But who was Billy Barlow?” “Oh, he ords, and though he died in 1789, during was dead afore I was much more nor all these forty-eight years bis born. My toes though!-grandfather never once appears in our parish books, used to say as he was a owdacious one. though these have been kept with Why, when he was a boy he locked rather unusual care and precision for Parson Tapps into Scarning Church the last 200 years. when he came to be constitootioned !" "But how about the bridge and the It took me some time to interpret that moat?" obscure word, until a happy thought “Well! that's what my old grandflashed upon me that he meant insti. father used to say. When he used to tuted, and I inferred that even in those tell that tale he'd always talk about the remote ages beneficed clergy were in- bridge and the moat, and I don't know stituted with the old forms just as what he meant!” No! Joe Barker did they are now. "But, Joe," I asked, not know about those things, for bridge “who was Parson Tapps? No man and moat probably had disappeared named Tapps was ever rector of Scarn- long before he was born. But I am ing. I know all their names for three in the habit of pointing out to my hundred years." Hereupon came a long friends where the old rectory stood discussion, and old Joe grew more and

less than a hundred years ago, and more positive. At last it came to this: which Mr. Barry Girling distinctly reThere was a certain Richard Tapps, membered. It was

an old moated who was constitootioned rector of Scarn- house, and you may easily trace the ing in 1741, as I afterwards discovered, moat, which must have been filled and he held the living with the perpet- up about the middle of the last century,



when an important alteration was made his people of ages which, in his opinion, in the highroad, which then, apparently, knew nothing and were best forgotten. was carried between the church and Eight or nine years ago I went to the parsonage, the new road actually Fransham to have a talk with Harry passing over the bed of the moat on the Pestell and his wife-two dear old north side of the house, which I doubt people that had lived all their lives in not in those days was crossed by a the parish and were fond of talking bridge communicating with the church about all that concerned the place. Old yard. I have set down all these things Harry Pestell must have been some because they afford an illustration of inches higher than six feet in his youth, an incident, in itself trilling and unim- and even when I saw him he was a portant, and occurring nearly 160 grand specimen of an old man. He years ago, coming to my knowledge talked freely, not to say volubly. Of from the lips of a man who had never course he had known the Vandal. read a book in his life, and whose "Why! he right down scrome when he father and grandfather "did not know a heard tell that that bit off the angel had great A from a bull's foot," as the wise dropt off. 'Have'm daywn" he says. and learned say.

'Have'm daywn! Lor', as Mas'r Alpe Let me give another illustration of used to say, 'he needn't a-been afraid the value of these local traditions. as any good angels were a-goin to

The parish of Little Fransham pos- fetch him afore his time; he warn't sesses a church which is still beautiful such good company for the likes of in its sore ecay. The oak roof, which they! Anyhow, he had 'em daywn, and dates from the fifteenth century, still then he sawed off the backs o' the remains, though the angels with ex- seats. He'd used to do what he liked, he panded wings, which once added to the did. Them seats had been there, I'm splendor of the place, the rood screen told, hundreds and hundreds o' years which, some fifty years ago, divided before him, and we boys we used to sit the chancel from the nave, the backs in 'em, and many's the time as I's sot of the oak seats (themselves still in in they seats and watched the images." situ), and a great deal else that con- "You mean the angels, I suppose ?" tributed to make the interior of the "No! I don't mean the angels. S'pose sacred building “exceeding magnifi- I dunno a angel from a image?” cal,” have been swept away in the "But where were the images? What memory of man. The angels in the were they?" roof went first, about fifty years ago; [N.B. When you are questioning an they were sawn off because the Vandal old man, or, for that matter, when who happened to be at that time rector you're cross-examining any man, never of the parish thought they were danger- ask two questions at once.] ous. Then the backs of the seats were “Well, you're a larned gent, you are, sawn off, because the aforesaid Vandal and maybe you can tell me what they declared that they encouraged the people was, for I never heerd no one say what to go to sleep when he was preaching, they was. But d'ye think I don't gnaw as though any human being could pos- a angel from a image? There was four sibly have kept awake while that Phil- on 'em, and we boys used to look at istine was droning out his platitudes. 'em all sermon time. Angels!--they Then the rood screen went the way of warn't no angels!" so many rood screens-and that Van- "Well, but, my good friend, what is dal was happy. He had made a clean the difference between an angel and an sweep of everything that could remind image?"


By which very foolish question you "images" which were fixed in sockets will observe I showed my weakness, on the rood beam. There were for the and, thereby, I very nearly lost the ex- most part four such “images,” two of tremely valuable piece of information them being always those of the Blessed which came out of this interview. Virgin Mary and St. John. As an inHappily, however, old Pestell was quite stance, I may mention that on the rood equal to the occasion.

beam of Scarning Church there are five "What's the difference? Why, a such sockets distinctly traceable. The angel's got wings and a image has got socket for the rood or crucifix being his close on. And a angel ain't painted considerably larger than those for the all manner o' colors, and they images images. At Fransham I conjecture, they was dressed in red and green, and with some hesitation, that the rood was. two on 'em was men, and two on 'em not fixed into the beam, but suspended

women, D'ye s'pos I dunno what from the roof, and so the images were a image is?”

left undisturbed. Anyhow, I can have Old Pestell was getting quite angry no doubt that we have here an instance at my incredality. So I dropt the sub- of the aforesaid images having reject for a few minutes to give him time mained in situ in a small village church. to recover his equanimity.

till the second decade of this century, “Where were those images you spoke and were actually remembered by a of just now?"

man still living ten years ago. Old "Where! Why, atop of the screen, o'

Pestell died at Fransham in January, courst. There was a kind of balcony 1891, in his ninety-third year. in front of 'em and they stood behind it; It is, however, when we avail ourand we boys we'd used to watch 'em, selves of the opportunities which a long cause lots on 'em used to say they'd chat in the lowly cottages of the aged seen 'em move, and I've watched 'em poor affords us that we get some of the scores o' times to see if I could see most instructive reminiscences of the 'em move. But they never did as I daily life and social habits, and ways saw for all my watching of 'em!" of thinking and religious sentiments, of

"Were they on the top of the screen our rustics in days when there were when the Vandal took it down?" no railroads, and no newspapers and no

"Lor' no. That was long afore his large farms, and when the roads were, time. That was Parson Swatman as for thousands of miles in England, alsawed them off. I was a grown man most incredibly bad. It was only in by that time, and I heerd tell as one of 1827 that McAdam was appointed Genthe boys took his oath as he'd seen one eral Surveyor of Roads, and received a of the images move a goodish way and grant of 10,0001. from Parliament as a nodded his head, and he stood to it that recognition of his great services in hard that Parson Swatman said he'd bringing about the improvement of the seen double; and then some on 'em

highways in various parts of England. laughed a goodish deal, and then Par- Even as late as 1830 (and I believe son Swatman said he'd have no more after that) the parish roads within four images, and he sawed 'em off.”

or five miles of Norwich were so nearly Now, the inference from all this is impassable that Mr. Micklethwaite, plain enough. When the roods were owner of Taverham Hall-a considerremoved by authority from the chancel able squire and High Sheriff of Norfolk screens in the sixteenth century, the in 1810-used habitually to drive into spoilers almost invariably tore down, Norwich with four horses, as his son not only the central crucifix, but the informed me some twenty years ago,

adding, as if it were within his own Of course the road that was carried recollection: "He couldn't help himself; through the old heath is as straight as the roads were all rucks." The "old a ruler. On the heath there was a Lady Suffield,” as she is still called by tumble-down house, which has only those who remember her ladyship, even fallen into ruins of late years—it has down to the time of her death in 1850, not been pulled down-and here poachnever drove out from Blickling Park ers, and thieves, and gipsies, and other with less than four horses. "It was rogues used to drop in all night longnot from any love of display. She had "lying about anywhere." I infer they never done anything else all her life, used to have as much beer as they and she would go and stop the carriage could pay for, and that sometimes the at some of the cottages, and talk to the coin was “an old hare," and sometimes old people.” That was the report I re- a share of other plunder. "But no one ceived from the lips of one who knows, know'd nothing about licensing in those and to whom all my homage is due "on days." The area of heath and scrub this side idolatry.”

and waste land in some parishes When Carlyle made so great a point amounted to almost as much as was of the incident at Thurtell's trial, where under cultivation. Running along the a witness explained what he meant by north bank of a watercourse, which a gentleman by saying that he kept a gig, separates the parish of Scarning from Carlyle must have been ignorant of the Wendling, lies a tract of land on which fact that in 1824 only the leisure classes the Abbey of Wendling stood for some kept gigs. Once off the “king's high- four centuries. The Wendling canons way" and you were among the “rucks." made the most of it; they skilfully "Farmers never drove to market in manipulated the stream and utilized it they days," said one of our elders to for turning a mill, at which all the me. “They rode 0' horseback and tenants of their Wendling manor were they'd used to race halfway home- bound to bring their corn to be ground. more particular when they was tight." Skirting the millstream there was a

It is extremely difficult to realize long tract of rough, waste land overwhat the country was like before the grown with gorse and scrub; at the beopen fields and “waste lands" were ginning of this century it was reckoned inclosed. In this part of Norfolk the no man's land, and had become old byeways, as a rule, followed the worthless for purposes of tillage. But course of the little runnels or brooks one of the elders of our parish, being a which served as the boundaries of the far-sighted and resourceful young felold manors. Wherever you see a par- low, managed to set himself up with a ish road which is quite straight for donkey and cart some eighty years ago, half a mile, there you may be sure it is and began to cut down the scrub and a new road laid down when some en- make merchandise of it. He sold the closure was carried out. I think the stuff for kindling fuel and for oven last inclosure in this parish was made wood, and he succeeded so well and in 1803. One of my old gossips, who was left so unmolested that he saved died at about eighty, and whom I con- quite a pretty little sum of money, stantly visited nearly twenty years ago,

which became the nucleus of the conmore than once boasted that his father siderable fortune that he left behind had turned the first furrow when the him twenty years ago. The mill concommon at Daffy Green was enclosed. tinued to be used till 1878 [?], when a Why he should have been proud of this flood wrought much damage to the anachievement I know not, but he was. cient waterways and to the mill itself,


[ocr errors]

and the landlords (Christ Church) de- beer through that. “You give all that's clined to carry out the repairs.

“I re

left to the constable, mates, and tell member when I was a boy,” said one him he's welcome to it, with my love,' of my informants, "there used to be says he. But there warn't a drop left an old paved road of great round stones for the constable nor no one else!" to the mill from the turnpike. But It goes without saying that reministhey took 'em all up and sold 'em for cences like these indicate a certain lowthe turnpike road." I infer that this ness of morale as generally prevalent “reform" was carried out when the among the rustics, and yet I am inmacadamizing of the main road began, clined to think that, so far from our and the boulders were utilized for this people being any worse than their purpose while, at the same time, em- neighbors, they bore rather a better ployment was found for men out of character than the average Norfolk work by setting them "to break stones laborer three generations ago. on the high road."

The influence of the school in the

parish may have had something to do I think that I have elsewhere drawn with this, and the fact that there has attention to the fact that this parish been always a resident clergyman, contains nearly 3,500 acres of very good whose presence must have been for tbe land. It has never had a great squire's advantage of his parishioners in more house in it. That is, it has always been ways than one. It is true that there an "open parish,” with a number of are no traditions which point to any one small estates, the owners of which, in of these gentlemen having been a man many cases, were non-resident.

of conspicuous earnestness, or energy, Until the beginning of this century or pulpit gifts. On the other hand, no justice of the peace had ever lived there are no bad stories or anything to in the place, and the outlying hamlets the discredit of any one of them curmust have been very “shy neighbor- rent among the people. They are althoods," inhabited by a more or less ways spoken of with a certain measure lawless set, who lived in a strangely of respect and esteem. One of them, free and unmolested way. There was who has long since passed away and a cage just outside Scarning, but lying left no representatives, is remembered in the parish of Dereham, and the chiefly for a song that he used to sing stocks and pillory, or whipping-post,

at the tithe dinner every year, when stood outside our churchyard. One of such gatherings appear to have been my Elders remembered a dissolute old characterized by a dangerous amount roisterer named Marshall being put in of boisterous joviality likely to end in the stocks (he does not remember by unseemly talk and conduct. Mr. Auwhat authority), and kept there for frere was appointed Rector of the parthree or four hours. "He was a won- ish at the beginning of this century; he der for roaring and hollering was that invariably took the chair at the tithe there Marshall. They put him in the dinner, which seems to have been held cage at Dereham

night, and in, or near, the Black Horse. The two he roared like a bull and called for Rectors (for there are two, one being beer and said he was going to die of the Lay Rector, who was never present cold. So some of his mates they at these festivities) shared the expense brought him a quart of beer. But they of the entertainment, and when the couldn't get it through the bars of the tithepayers had eaten

and drunk cage; so they brought him a long old enough to be quite good for them-that tobacco pipe, and he sucked up his is, when they had come to the end of


« ZurückWeiter »