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counterseal, the subject of which is a man on horseback destroying a dragon; no doubt St. George and the Dragon. Dugdale says Peck has given a drawing from an impression of this seal in his volume, whence it appears that the form of the seal was oval. Above the abbot is the figure of the Virgin with Our Saviour in her arms, seated. The inscription is
s': ABBATIS : ET: CONVENTVS SANCTE: MARIE:
Peck's impression was appended to a deed of the 46th Edward III (1372).
A fairly perfect impression of this Abbey seal has recently been presented to the British Museum, and is in the Manuscript Department (xcv, 19a, b).
NOTES ON SPECIMENS OF INTERLACING
WHICH OCCUR AT KIRKSTALL ABBEY,
BY J. T. IRVINE, ESQ.
THE present age is remarkable, for the many attempts made to reproduce old fallacies, and the singular amount of useless labour expended in hopeless endeavours to give such "fads" a rickety existence. In this way architectural studies suffer equally with other branches of general knowledge. Hence a special "hobby", for the moment, with many is that of abandoning and ignoring all previous progress, together with the conclusions and deductions arrived at by Britton, Rickman, and a host of more recent authorities, on and in the study of preNorman art, and to class as of Saxon age, all specimens of interlacing ornament they come across. This quite irrespective of its position, and accompanying circumstances, which often force even the very assertors, to be under the sad necessity of "whitewashing" their difficulties, by the suggestion of such ornament being "reused materials"!
Saxon structures of stone, as might be expected, are neither numerous, nor, when found, often of very early date, but mostly of that period when the iron hand of Cnut ("Denmark's joy") had made the wilderness, his father produced, to blossom; and he had led, for the first time, a West Saxon fleet through Scandinavian tideways. Or of the unquiet quietness of the Confessor's reign, when the contests of that grandest of men, Magnus the Good, against Swend-Uulf's son, was exhausting the energy that else might have dangerously disturbed the Saxon kingdom in England.
Of the use of interlacing ornament, there were truly two periods. The first, simplest, and best, that of the Saxon age, ending in 1066; the best ornament formed of a double strap-line; but towards the close, when Norman
influence began to be felt, often sinking into that of a single half-roll section. Its most elaborate examples are marked by a simplicity, and strength, that give it a dignity often wanting in those of the second or Norman age of its use.
The second period of the use or recurrence to interlacing ornament (to which class the greater number of such objects belong) took its rise somewhere about or shortly prior to 1090; when the vastly increased use of cut stone erections had, in the second generation from the Conquest, raised up a school of native masons of Saxon stock, who naturally supported a fashion which reverted to the old style of their native ornament. Though but a fashion, yet as a return to local use, it is both interesting and well worthy of study. In this, as usually is found to be the case, the imitating artist often seeks to hide his want of originality in an over-elaboration of ornament, considering, no doubt, he thus was improving on the older design. Of such class the so-called monument of Abbot Hedda at Peterborough Cathedral, and the base of its not very distant neighbour, the churchyard cross at Castre, are admirable specimens; as, indeed, are almost all the over-elaborated ones.
Double-strap is now seldom found, while that strap (so by courtesy termed) into which the dragon's or other animals' tails change when forming the cloud of interlacement so often seen, is in section reduced to about half the thickness of ordinary sash-cord.
Caps and spandrels of arches are filled with a sort of natural foliage. But patient study soon brings to light other points, readily revealing to an experienced eye the division in date existing between this Norman imitationwork and its older Saxon ancestry.
Excellent samples of the changes through which the fashion itself passes are seen, where it appears in the churches of St. Peter's, Northampton, and Castre; both the work of the same French architect, and in both the strapends begin to receive and change into leafy terminations. At Kirkstall Abbey, in this county, are no less than four examples of such ornamentation, all still occupying their original position in the building. Here, at least, the most obstinate supporter of this recent heresy cannot
pretend that prior to 1155 any former abbey had existed on the site, a date, by the way, before which the entire fashion would, in Northamptonshire, have probably passed away. Thus that dreary stalking-horse called "re-used materials" cannot be trotted out to ride off upon here. The five sketches from Kirkstall Abbey Church, which accompany these notes, show them as they now remain, while the process of change they underwent follows exactly their rotation of execution in the structure.
Besides these, still later cases of such use had here existed, in the shape of windows so ornamented; but the five fragments left, most unfortunately, are not sufficient to recover the design; while, singular to say, one of these stones belonged to curved bar-tracery. (See sketches F.)
The first sketch (A) presents a view of the western impost to the circular-headed recess, over the piscina, at the east end of the south wall of the choir; the very earliest work commenced of the Abbey Church. It has been engraved, I think, for Mr. J. H. Parker. Naturally enough this is most akin to actual pre-Norman ornamentation, though the serpent's head and leafy tail fairly reveal the “cloven hoof" of pretension, to that which it is not.
Sketch B gives the caps supporting the north side of that arch, which opens into the central eastern chapel from the north transept. In it the leaf-terminations begin to overwhelm the interlacing parts of the design, and as elsewhere mark that movement of change forwards which was taking place in it.
Sketch c shows the north-west angle of the base of the third pillar, west of the crossing pier of the north arcade of the nave. The other three angles are blocked, and left unfinished. Its design approaches much more to the old work than the last; but the breadth and treatment of the strap, and its remarkable production from a fillet of the very moulded base, divides it from all true Saxon work altogether.
Sketch D presents the highest up of all those remaining in the very places they had been formed to fill. It is that corbel-termination that supported the south side of the great western arch leading from the