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Anglo Saxon Thanet
The Isle of Thanet is rich in funerary evidence for the Anglo Saxon period. Seven Anglo Saxon period cemeteries have been investigated on Thanet between the 18th/19th Centuries and the present day. A further two extensive cemeteries of Anglo Saxon date visible as crop marks have been identified from aerial photographs and a further eleven separate sites of small grave groups or isolated burials which may represent parts of larger cemeteries are recorded on the Island. The cemetery evidence on Thanet dates between the late 5th to early 8th Century.


The Pagan period
In the 6th Century there appears to have been an influx of wealthy Frankish people from Gaul; now Northern France and North West Germany. This is reflected in artefacts found in some female graves in Thanet such as Sarre, Grave 4, where a female was buried accompanied by a metal weaving sword, glass vessels and a crystal ball suspended from the waist.

She was also accompanied by a spoon as well as other artefacts; the sleeves of her garment had been woven using gold thread and she wore brooches on her shoulder.

Limestone and shell were both used as white inlays on Anglo Saxon brooches.

Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 5  1863  page 305

The ville or hamlet of Sarr, anciently Sarra, Saerre, or Serre, possessed an importance some centuries since which its present appearance, and now inland situation, do not at first sight confirm. In Roman and Anglo-Saxon times, the waters of the Wantsume, the estuary which then divided Thanet from Kent, approached it from the south and west. Its northern mouth, called the Yenladt, was just east of Reculver a little south of which, and nearly opposite Sarr, it was joined by the fresh waters of the Nethergone and the Stour. The other mouth opened into the British Channel, at Pegwell Bay. Sarr possessed then an important haven between Richborough and Reculver, admirably situated under the chalk cliffs facing the west and south. Below these are still to be seen, overgrown by a luxuriant vegetation, the shoals and sand-banks which the retiring sea has left, and which, down to the present day, retain all their characteristic forms and water-washed appearance. In a charter of Edbert, dated the thirty-sixth year of his reign (726), and reported in Annals of St. Augustine's Monastery, ships are mentioned as navigating to Sarr. At a later period, 1052, the Danish fleet, having plundered the eastern coast of Kent, sailed past Sarr, and passed out east of Reculver into the northern sea.1  Twine especially commends the haven as "statio firmissima navibus et gratissima nautis;"" and adds, that credible persons yet living in his time "have often seen, not only small boats, but vessels of good burden pass to and fro upon this Wantsume;" 2  which seems, indeed, as long as it was a practicable passage, to have been the invariable route for vessels between London and the South, instead of the longer and less sheltered passage by the North Foreland.

   "Sarre," as Leland tells us, "was the common ferry when Thanet was full iled." The present marshes between Chislet and Upstreet on one side, and between Sarr and St. Nicholas ad Vadum on the other, were a part of the Wantsume fast silting up even in Saxon times, and leaving numerous islets and shallows capable of being waded over at low tide. Bede relates that the estuary at Sarr was about   three furlongs wide; and an ancient manuscript map, which belonged to the Abbey of St. Augustine, and is engraved in Lewis's Thanet, gives a quaint drawing of a primitive boat, in which a man is represented ferrying a monk over the stream; while another man, staff in hand, wades up to his knees -the boat not being able to come close to the shore on account of the shallowness of the water-and carries another monk to it upon his shoulders. Edbert, by the charter above-mentioned, gave the tolls of the two ferry-boats at Sarr, till then payable to himself, to the Abbey at Minster, and these tolls, we learn, were still collected in the time of Edward III. In the reign of Henry VII. the waters had so much subsided that the ferry fell into disuse, the inhabitants obtaining an Act of Parliament for building a bridge, and probably then constructing the road now north-west of the present way to Canterbury.

   Sarr formerly had its church, which was dedicated to St. Giles. It is not recorded in Domesday, but is sketched in the early map of Thanet above described. Hasted tells us, that in the 41st Edward III. (1368) its poverty is alluded to, and it is mentioned in the time of Richard II. as being exempted from the tenth; but at what period it ceased to be used for Divine Service is unknown; we know, however, that during the fourteenth century it fell into decay, probably through the decrease of the inhabitants by the loss of the importance once attached to Sarr when it owned a haven and a ferry. Hasted has placed the church at a distance of forty rods from the village, on the road leading from Sarr to Monkton; but investigations which have arisen out of these recent researches have revealed the site of a church at a distance considerably greater from the hamlet, upon the second bluff of a large chalk-pit on the road to Ramsgate, and in a direct line between Elm-stone windmill and St. Nicholas church.

   The road that passes it was anciently denominated the Dun Strete, or "Street over the Down." It appears from the map before-mentioned to have gone in a straight line from the ferry to St. Lawrence's, and was probably a Roman, or perhaps a British road. Over this ancient way must have passed the Saxons when they landed at Ebb's Flete, in 447, shortly afterwards to make the conquest of Kent, and subsequently of England. Then, and much later, Thanet was covered with woods, the tradition of which is still preserved in the names of various hamlets and holdings. The rising land especially, stretching from St Nicholas towards Birchington, was one continuous forest; a spot which is still denoted by a sea-mark, where the timber was once consumed. In these woods. as Lewis tells us, were to be seen entrenchments and caves,'1  as in the ancient wood of "Chesmunds," where he supposes the Saxon inhabitants to have taken refuge from the Danes.

   At the junction of the ferry and the 'Dunstrete' the south-western promontory of the island, was the 'Dun,' or Down of Sarr, an important and central position, commanding the country for miles around: and on this spot is the Cemetery into which we have been making researches, and which I proceed to describe.

   Although, as will be seen, it has proved to be one of our richest and most interesting Anglo-Saxon burying-places, it appears to have escaped the notice of all Kentish antiquaries. Bryan Faussett, Douglas, Stukely, and Mortimer, make no mention of it; Mr. Wright omits it from his Map; and the revelations of Ozingell give no hint of the neighbouring treasures at Sarr. Certain Saxon relics, however, were reported to have been found here some years since, such as a bronze stoup, a drinking-glass, and a  fine fibula. But the attention of our Society was first called to this spot as a Saxon cemetery by the discovery made, during works on the property of Mr. Holman, at Sarr windmill, in July, 1860, of a remarkably fine fibula, some gold coins, a bronze bowl, and other articles of great interest. These relics, which are described by Mr. C. Roach Smith, in the fourth volume of 'Archaeologia Cantiana,' were purchased by the British Museum, and our Society at once opened negotiations for further researches on the land immediately adjoining, the property of the Marquess Conyngham. The noble owner kindly gave the required permission, but some delay was inevitable, on account of the injury, which would be caused to the seed crop then on the land. This year, however, in the month of August, Mr. Swinford, Lord Conyngham's tenant, in a most courteous manner gave to the writer of this paper leave to make the required researches for the Society.

   I accordingly commenced the excavations, with two labourers, on the 17th of September last, being then and ever since assisted by the kind co-operation of the Rev. Mr. Drake1 and Mr. J. B. Sheppard. Other gentlemen, too, have occasionally rendered me much service, and I desire here to express my obligation to them all.

   Our first excavation was in close proximity to the windmill, and at no great distance from the grave which three years previously had yielded so valuable an addition to the stores of Anglo-Saxon relics. The ground was excellent for the purpose required, being a clear chalk, with an upper soil of made earth, from twelve to eighteen inches thick. We began by running parallel trenches across the field, and then using an iron probe; but soon found that the probe was all that was required, though we were sometimes deceived by a fault in the chalk, as well as by some circular holes, or shallow pits, dug in various parts of the field. The object of these holes was not at first apparent, but in some instances at least we found them to be connected with Roman sepulture, and exhumed from them broken pieces of Roman pottery, burnt wood, and charred bones of sheep, swine, and other animals, as well as a considerable quantity of oyster shells.

   GRAVE No. I.-Length eight feet, depth three feet from the surface, width three feet. In this we found two skeletons lying on the same level, the feet of one to the head of the other, but no other relics.

   No. II.-This grave had at some period been disturbed. Some bones of oxen, near the surface, were found, but no other relics.

No. 111.-This was six inches longer than No. 1, and four feet deep, by three feet three inches wide. An iron spearhead lay near the right shoulder, and the socket of the shaft by the right foot; fragments of a sword were scattered about the grave. There were also four silvered shield-studs. These three interments, as well as the fourth, were all made nearly east and west.

   No. IV.-This grave was carefully made, and exhibited more attention paid to form than any interment found during the whole of these excavations. In shape it much resembled a coffin, widened at the shoulders, and narrowed towards the feet. It was of the unusual length of ten feet; in depth, four feet six; in width, at the bottom, four feet.

   The first indication of its valuable contents was a small piece of gold braid, or flat wire, folded as if it had been woven into the dress, or worked into some ornament on the arm,1 for it lay just above the right hand of the skeleton. Near it was a small silver ring (Plate II., fig. 4); six circular pendants of thin gold plate, (Plate I., figs. 1-6), with gold loops for suspension, lay between the shoulders. A large number of beads were found about the centre of the grave, and amongst them lay two small circular bronze fibulae (Plate I., figs. 8, 9), of the shape and pattern so common in Kent, which had probably been suspended from the same wire,-a bead being found attached to a small portion of wire which had passed through the loop of one of the fibulae.2.

Iron Keys (half-size). Shears (half-size).

At the head was a glass vessel of delicate material (Plate III.). By the left side lay a large knife, much resembling one found in the grave by the Windmill, in 1860, which for some time was considered a sword; and near it a smaller knife, of the size and shape commonly found in these graves, but surrounded by the remains of a sheath, and having the blade ornamented  with a small crosswise diapered pattern. Two iron keys were near, the suspending ring to one of which is bronze, that to the other of iron; and a pair of shears, across the blades of which, above the points, adheres a piece of wood, or of some harder material, which had probably acted as a keeper to prevent the opening of the blades when not required for use.1  A beautiful silver spoon, or strainer (Plate II., fig. 3), lay about the centre of the body. Lower down, between the thigh-bones, was a large crystal ball (Plate I., fig. 7), mounted in silver-gilt, and near it two long fibula (Plate III., figs. 1, 2); all these I will describe more fully below. The larger fibula, which is of bronze, had rolled over as the body had decayed, and lay with its face downward on the "os sacrum" of the skeleton, on which it had impressed its shape and pattern with a green aerugo.

   There were also two fragments of a bronze ferule, or ferule-shaped casing, in which wood remains; fragments of a silver binding or edging (much resembling in size and shape the brass edging so common on the covers of prayer-books), in which also wood remains, and two of which form right-angled corners; portions of silver wire ; a bronze buckle; two small rivets, or tags, one of bronze, the other of silver; the fragments of a comb,
   1. [I think Mr. Brent must be mistaken in his opinion of this fragment adhering to the shears. It is certainly of bone or ivory, and is, I cannot but think, a piece of comb, afterwards described as found in a broken state, which has become fixed to the iron as it rusted. A line remaining upon it corresponds to the ornament of the comb, and in it is still one of the bronze nails or rivets, many of which the comb has for fastenings - T.G.F.] made apparently of ivory or bone; a bronze pin,3 of which the head is lost; a fossil echinus, the Spatangus cor-anguinim, polished, and evidently, deposited in the grave as a relic, ornament, or charm, and two Roman coins. The larger of these coins (as Mr. Faussett, the Honorary Secretary of our Society, to whom I have been indebted for many valuable suggestions, has informed me,) is a large brass of Aurelius; the smaller is too much obliterated to be easily deciphered.4

   I will now give a detailed description of the principal relics of this grave :-The Gold Pendants (Plate I., figs. 1-6).-These are thin circular plates of gold, stamped in patterns, and supplied with loops, also of gold, for suspension. They are of three sizes. The diameter of the largest is about 1 1/4 inch, and its weight 3 dwts. 3 grs.; of the smallest 1 1/8 inch, and 1 dwt. 21 grs.; the remaining four are alike in size, intermediate between these two, and weigh 2 dwts. 17 grs. They are of pure gold, and stamped on one side only, the central ornament in them all being curious patterns of scrolled and interlaced figures,5 some of which are like attempts at emblematical designs,- rude hints, perhaps, afterwards improved by other northern and German nations, and ingrafted into those architectural designs which gave a new style to Europe.

The largest example has a beaded edge, and a second circular line a quarter of an inch within it; the space between the two being filled with a double-lined zigzag ornament: this pendant, too, has a small twist of gold overlaid at the junction of the loop. The others have only their edges beaded, and in smaller beading, except two, which have a circle of rather scanty dots just within this, and one of which has four little knobs overlaid where the loop joins.

   Mr. C. Roach Smith, in his (Collectanea Antiqua,' enumerating the Saxon ornaments from Ozingell, gives an example very like these pendants. though less in size than the smallest; and another, embossed not dissimilarly, is in Plate XI. of the 'Inventorium Sepulchrale.' A single example was afterwards found in another grave at Sarr, with beads of amber and other material.

   The Fibulae.-The circular fibulae (Plate I., figs. 8, 9) are nearly alike in size and pattern. In the centre of one is a garnet, surrounded by ivory; in that of the other is a pale green stone, surrounded by ivory, but raised slightly above it by a gold beading. Three sliced garnets radiate from the centre of each, the intervals between the stones being ornamented with an indented pattern. They are both of bronze, with the faces gilt, and their diameters measure rather less than an inch and a quarter.

   Of the two long fibulae (Plate II., figs. 1.2) the smaller is of silver, partly gilt, and set with garnets. In the centre of the upper compartment is a circular garnet, flanked by two others of a triangular shape; all three are bordered with gold. Down the centre runs a cross, at the arms of which are semicircular garnets, and the lower end of which divides, making a border round an oval garnet at the base. A treble beading follows the oblong shape of the upper part of the fibula, and a single beading runs down the sides of the cross. The larger example is of bronze gilt and is a fine specimen of a class frequently found and described. Its length is nearly four inches, and the front is chased with a not unusual pattern.

   The Glass Vessel (Plate III.).-This is of very delicate material, and of the usual pale-green colour of Saxon glass. It has, as will be seen in the illustration, much of the common raised thread-work upon it, some of which has taken the form of five arched ornaments, springing from knobs or drops standing nearly a quarter of an inch out from the glass near its bottom; and it terminates in a sixth knob. It is of an unusual, perhaps unique shape, as the produce of an Anglo-Saxon grave, but bears some resemblance to a specimen taken from one of the graves of the Alemanni at Oberflacht, in Suabia, as described by Mr. Wylie in 'Archaeologia' (vol. xxxvi. part 1). When first taken out of the grave, amid all its iridescent qualities, it presented a prevailing ruby or reddish-brown colour. Mr. Wylie alludes to a similar appearance in some glass vessels found in ancient graves in Germany, which, he suggests, may have arisen from the residuum of wine or blood.6 Probably it is one of a class of vessels manufactured expressly for funeral rites, as its material and form are far too delicate for daily use. Its height is about five inches.

   The Spoon or Ladle (Plate II., fig. 3).-This elegant relic is in excellent preservation. The handle, which is of silver, is perforated near the top, for the purpose of suspension, and bears running down it a delicate zigzag ornament. Its base spreads out to join the bowl, and is ornamented with six garnets set in gold foil on a projecting socket of silver of a crescent form, which ends at each point in a rude head of a bird or serpent. The bowl is of silver, washed with gold, and is riveted to the handle with a small round-headed stud, close to which is a hole, apparently for another. The centre of the bowl is pierced with nine little circular holes, arranged in the form of a cross: the small number of these seems to preclude the use of the spoon as a strainer, although it might well be employed for the aspersion of water, or other fluid required in sacrificial rites.

   The Crystal Ball (Plate I., fig. 7.)-This most interesting relic is, I believe, the largest crystal ever found in a grave. Its diameter is nearly two inches and a half, and its weight within fifteen grains of ten ounces avoirdupois. It is girt with two flat bands of silver-gilt, about a third of an inch in width, embossed in parallel lines, three towards each edge, and a broader one in the centre. The bands cross each other underneath it, and meet again at the top in a sort of circular turret, through which runs a large ring of silver-wire, eight inches and a quarter in circumference, by which the ball was suspended. To this ring, as in the example given by Douglas7 of a smaller ball, thus mounted, found on Chatham Lines in 1782, another similar ring has probably been attached, the fragments of which were found beside it.8

   These crystal balls are not uncommonly found in our Saxon graves, though seldom mounted. Bryan Faussett found one at Kingston ;9 one from Chartham Down was in the collection of Sir William Fagg; and the late Lord Londesborough took a perforated crystal from a barrow on Breach Down. They were prized and preserved by the Romans also, and have been found in their sepulchral deposits.

   Their object is not very apparent. The suspending bands and rings of this and of Douglas's specimen imply their use as ornamental appendages, although the size and weight of the former suggests a certain awkwardness and inconvenience, were such a decoration to swing from a lady's waist or girdle. The greater number, however, of such crystals have no suspending rings nor bands. Did they indicate an office or profession in their possessors? or, as Douglas suggests, were they connected with magical rites or superstitious practices? We know so little of the inner life and of the religious forms of the early Saxon tribes, that we cannot satisfactorily decide this point.

Unquestionably a vast amount of superstition pervaded the northern nations even after the introduction of Christianity, -a longing after some of the dregs of the old faith; and some practices of Paganism may have long continued, as amongst the Bretons10 and inhabitants of Armorica, the Druidic circle, the cromlech and the cairn, had so strong a mystery for the fears or reverence of the population, that, in spite of the prohibitions of their Church and its ministers, they were ever found lingering by the "weird grey stones" with reverence and awe. The use of these spheres for magical purposes. both in ancient and modern times, in Europe as in the East, is a fact too well established to challenge debate. We have even in our own day seen the crystal consulted with implicit belief by well-educated people. The rude Anglo-Saxon valued it for some purpose unknown, and it was buried with him in the grave. Was it not with him some symbolical remnant of mystery or ancient superstition? It is nothing very extraordinary if it were; but surely it would be something to be marvelled at if a thing, then prized only as an ornament, became in an after age, and in a highly-educated one, considered to possess wonderful and magical properties.

   One of our best living authorities11 enters somewhat into this view of the case when he describes these crystals as worn or used as amulets. Another12 classes them merely as ornaments to the person.

   Beads, Silver Ring (Plate II., fig. 4), Echinus.-More than 140 beads were found in the grave. Of these, 133 are of red amber, but have lost all their external lustre from long contact with the soil. There are two of clay, large and ornamented with different- coloured striae, and some few of porcelain. The number much exceeds the quantity usually found, and the large proportion of amber beads probably attests the wealth of the deceased; amber, especially the bright red-coloured sort, being much esteemed and prized by the ancient people of Europe, not only as a charm against evil influences and poisons, but as being supposed to possess a preventative quality against certain diseases. In our further researches, although beads of a great variety were discovered, amber beads were comparatively rare.13

   Amber is found on the shores of the Baltic, and occasionally in our own coasts.

   The ring found in this grave is of a common type, made of thin silver wire, and ornamented with a circular twist of the same wire. Unless worn on the thumb, it would indicate a woman of unusual size, a fact which the few bones preserved do not appear to corroborate.

   I have every reason to believe the little "echinus" was a charm or curiosity stored by the deceased, and not a native fossil of the chalk, from its polished appearance, as well as from the fact that similar relics have been found in graves. M. L. F. Jehan, in his work on Brittany,14 I think, mentions such things as occurring in Celtic interments.

   The evidence, as far as I may yet decide, favours the supposition that the occupant of this grave was a female,-a lady probably of rank and position. To name the race to which she belonged, or to decide upon her date or religion, would be premature until I have laid before the reader the facts which I have gathered from the opening of the 183 graves which follow.

THE relics found throughout our researches bear, with few exceptions, a great resemblance to those exhumed some years since from the neighbouring cemetery at Ozingell. Beside the usual weapons and implements in iron, such as swords, urn-bones, spear-heads, knives, and keys, we have added to the Society's Museum several glass vessels, two being of the pillared or tear-drop form; much pottery, some of which is of curious shape; a bronze balance and scales, in fine preservation, and accompanied by their weights; a door-lock with bolt, constructed to work diagonally; a horse-bit; an axe-head; two weapons, like a Highland dirk and knife, in one double scabbard; a pike, three feet nine inches long; a spear, with a fastening like that of a bayonet; a sword, with two plates of silver forming part of the guard; an enamelled sword pommel, a beautiful belt-clasp, with a plate of 'gold in the centre; shears, bronze tweezers, bronze and bone pins; children's toys; a number of draughts, or counters; beads of great variety, of amethyst, amber, glass, porcelain, and coloured clay; carbuncle pendants, set in silver and gold; a good variety of fibulae, etc.

The excavations were commenced on the 17th of September last, and concluded on the 17th of December, during which period 187 graves were opened.

   It remains for me to tender my best thanks to our noble President and the Council for the encouragement and assistance which they have given me throughout this undertaking.

                               J.B.    December, 22, 1863.

1. In a grave subsequently opened we found similar fabric, resting on and around the skull. This, too, was a woman's grave, and contained beads of amber and porcelain, and a small gold pendant.
   [ Much gold web, exactly like this fragment , was found on the Saxon St. Cuthbert, when his body was discovered in 1827, and is thus described by Mr. Raine, an eye-witness:-

   "The Stole:-The groundwork of the whole is woven exclusively with thread of gold. I do not mean by thread of gold the silver-gilt wire frequently used in such matters, but real gold thread, if I may so term it, not round but flat . This is the character of the whole web, with the exception of the figures.. for which, however surprising it may appear, vacant spaces have been left by the loom, and they themselves afterwards inserted with the needle..

   "A girdle and two bracelets of gold tissue were found.. Of the girdle, the portion which we were able to preserve measures twenty-five inches, its breadth seven-eighths of an inch. It has evidently proceeded from the loom, and its two component parts are a flattish thread of pure gold and a thread of scarlet silk, which are not combined in any particular pattern. . . . The bracelets are made of precisely the same materials and workmanship. .. . They measure nine inches in circumference, and are of the same breadth as the girdle."

   The stole and an accompanying maniple both bore the inscription,-"PlO EPISCOPO FRIDESTANO AELFFLAED FIERI PRECEPIT," fixing the date of their manufacture between Frithestan's consecration to the See of Winchester, 905, and the death of Elfeda, second Queen of Edward the Elder, which occurred before 916 (the date of Edward's third marriage). All the five ornaments-stole, maniple, girdle, and bracelets-appear by strong evidence to have been placed on the Saint's body in 934, two years after Frithestan's death, by Athelestan, Edward's son and successor. (See Raine's 'St. Cuthbert,' pp. 202-209.)

   Mr. Raine also quotes from the manuscript account, by Reginald the Monk, of the removal of the Saint's body to Durham Cathedral, in 1104, a description of some similar gold embroidery, which formed the border and cuffs to a dalmatic then discovered and removed. (P. 89, and App. p. 4.)  The gold thread found in the grave at Sarr answers most exactly to this description of St. Cuthbert's stole, etc. It is flat, and woven; the thread of silk or other substance which was interwoven with it has perished, but in the less frayed parts, the spaces where such threads have passed through are most evident. The art of wire-drawing is believed is to have been unknown till the fourteenth century, and this flat thread, delicate as it is, must have been formed on the anvil. Its evident process of manufacture, and its use for weaving or embroidery, are most curiously illustrated by a passage in the Mosaic description of the ephod made for Aaron :-" And they did beat the gold into thin plates, and cut it into wires, to work it in the blue, and in the purple, and in the scarlet, and in the fine linen, with cunning work." (Exod. xxxix. 3.)

   The breadth of our woven fragment appears to have been rather less than a quarter of an inch,-it is too frayed for ascertaining its length ; but from the position in which it was found, we may conclude that it formed either the border of the sleeve, as in the earlier discovery of St. Cuthbert, or (more probably, there being no corresponding fragment) a bracelet, as in the later. It is a slight help towards fixing the date of this grave to know that exactly similar ornaments were made for and worn by Anglo- Saxons of high rank at the beginning of the tenth century.- T. G. F.]

2. It may well have been a habit to include within the acus of a fibula the wire which strung a necklace of beads, for greater security to necklace and fibula.

3. [ This appears to be a large needle, broken at the eye.]

4. [ Conjectured by Mr. Vaux, of the British Museum, to be one of Tetricus.]

5. [ It will be observed in the very accurate illustrations which accompany this description, that three of these pendants are exactly alike, and evidently stamped by the same mould. It is curious to see that the loops of these three, though clearly attached after the stamping, are very nearly, though not quite, in the same position in each; near enough however, to shew that the figures are intended to be regarded with that point uppermost ( to shew it indeed more plainly for the slight difference as proving the loop to have been fixed be the eye and not be any merely mechanical arrangement). This gives us plainly a designed bottom and top to the group of figures, and, given a bottom and top, must we not suppose there to have been a meaning also?

6. [ This is but the ordinary result of decomposition on glass, and may at least be proved to be no residuum of the last contents of the glass be its appearance on the outside as well as the inside. On another glass vessel, found at Sarr, there is so thick an outer crust of brown, which has, too, so strong a smell, that I was inclined to think it might have been coated with paint ; but a great authority on ancient glass, to whom I have shewn it, assures me that both crust and smell are occasioned by decomposition- T.G.F.]

7. 'Nenia Britannica,' p. 14. Etc.

8. [ Two other mounted crystals, in all respects resembling this, were taken by Mr. Hillier from Saxon graves on Chessell Down, in the Isle of Wight, and with one of them was found a perforated spoon, as with this grave. Douglas is not very convincing in his arguments to prove that the crystal and spoon, as well as the shears and glass vessel, with which, as in this grave, they are sometimes accompanied, were connected with magical rites; and the better opinion seems to be that of Mr. Roach Smith, who assigns them to ordinary uses. The ring which suspends this ball of ours - and its broken companion, if we may judge by the fragments - are, as the rings of the three other specimens, constructed to extend or contract, evidently to fit the wrist or arm; and the position of the crystal in the grave, between the thigh-bones, well bears out the idea that it was attached as an ornament to the wrist at the time of burial,- most probably to the left wrist, to correspond to the more costly, but less cumbrous, gold ornament found, as seems natural, on the right. It is objected that some of these crystal balls, not being mounted, could not have been used as personal ornaments; but it does not seem difficult to suppose a mounting of some perishable material, as leather or wood. The shears, it will be seen, lay in the grave close to the comb, a portion of which still adheres to them ; and this juxtaposition does not lead us to believe that they could be anything but an ordinary domestic implement. May not the spoon also have been an article of the toilet, for sprinkling scent, or some such use? The glass vessels are invariably of the pointed shape, which is believed to be that of the drinking-cup, or "tumbler," and when found in women's graves, as here, seem to shew that even ladies were not exempted from the custom of draining their glasses at a draught.- T.G.F.]

9. ' Inventorium Sepulchrale,' p. 42.

10. See ' Barzaz Breiz,' by Villemarque, Introduction.

11. Mr. Wright, ' Pagan Saxondom,' p. 10.

12. Note by Mr. C.R. Smith to ' Inventorium Sepulchrale,' p. 43.

13. {A curious little fragment of flat glass was also found in this grave, stained entirely through, and of that ruby colour which is supposed to be producible only by the use of gold, and to have been unknown till centuries after the date of this grave. The evidence for its having formed part of the original deposit of the grave is perhaps not complete: it may have been dropped later into the soil. If, however, it was originally there, it was probably of Roman manufacture, and treasured as a jewel.-T.G.F.]

14. 'La Bretagne, Esquisses Pittoresques et Arch?ologiques.'

Roman Britons after 410

We know from Wessex king-lists, for example, that the 'West Saxons' of the Middle Thames - known for most of the Saxon period as the Gewissae - were founded by a man with the Celtic name Cerdic (ie, Caradoc). It is not surprising that metalwork associated with them has a mixed character incorporating late Roman, Celtic and Germanic styles.

In fact the Roman art historian coming upon early Anglo-Saxon art will be struck by a great deal of admixture beginning with the animal ornament on bracelets (including gold examples in the Hoxne treasure, from Suffolk), on rings (like silver examples from Amesbury, Wiltshire) and on brooches (such as the silver brooch from Sarre, Kent) all of which date from the late 4th to the late 5th century.

Equally intriguing is the recent discovery of pewter pendants inset with glass found with very late Roman material - mainly from Ickham in Kent - which seem to prefigure later jewelled Kentish disk brooches and pendants.


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