Sunday, 11 March 2012

Antiquarian Detective

I should like to invite you all to guess the age of this fine chest and for an extra teacake bonus, tell me which church it can be found in.






Thadeus

32 comments:

  1. Sir James Bung-Stopper Tarville11 March 2012 at 11:47

    Is this Colonel Hampton's last known resting place?

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  2. 1647, somewhere in Norfolk? (You'll have to post the teacake.)

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    1. Consider yourself one of the family

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  3. That chest looks to be a great age - possibly 13th or 14th century?

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  4. Mr Many Coats is closer on the date but it is older. A stirling effort though Sir!

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  5. Older! Surely then 12th century and no older? Even though it has a wonderful simplicity that infers a great age I'd be surprised if it were older Thadeus...

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  6. And the age is.......

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  7. St Andrew's, South Lopham, Norfolk. A 'dugout' chest. Date? Probably late Norman ie early 1100s.

    Huzzah!

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  8. Early 12th century! Stunning. Looking at it closely I think I'm right in saying it was not so much built as carved from a single block of timber. Rather like a dug out canoe. Thanks Thadeus and Munro for your photos and superior with and wisdom on this matter..

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  9. Not so much ' with' as 'wit' with an h because you keep the wit in your heads and heads begins with H. (that doesn't work does it)

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  10. Ah, Mr Tweeder-Harris, you have almost got it right, check out the picture at the end of the post for the answer to the age. I shall send the teacake via carrier pigeon and trust it does not snack upon it whilst delivering.
    And to you Mr Many Coats, a valiant effort indeed - yes a dugout and with or H and wit whatever woohoo.....

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    1. Did I almost get this right... that depends on whether one accepts the suggested date on the label. 900AD? Hmm, I'd like to know the basis for this. There is a lot of post-Conquest work with 'Saxon' influence in Norfolk. As part of their understandable local pride, people often want to claim the maximum age for their surviving material culture.

      Huzzah!

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    2. I heartily concur with Munro. To find a chest older than the surviving church is odd to say the least, but so too the fact that it appears to have been hidden at some point during rebuilding work long ago. How was a chest of that size lost and then uncovered in 1965? In the words of the youth of today: "What's that all about?"

      We will have to do some more digging if we are to get to the bottom of this dugout!

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    3. I really dig what you're saying man...

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    4. Bumper Cockton-Smythe15 March 2012 at 18:31

      Antiquarian bullishness, typical . Why shouldn't a chest be older than a church? Durham has a coffin that's older than the church... Doesn't have to have belonged to that church since 900 or whatever. Could have been in some monastery, or another peaceful place for most of the time, ended up there after the monks got their marching orders.
      Three lines of investigation, I'd say. Get some clever dendro-chrono bod to chew a bit off and pronounce, turn it over and look on the bottom for the British kite standard or, and I nomimate Munro for this, spend a night in it and tell us in the morning... You'll be huzzahing then, alright. Huzzah...

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    5. I feel the need to defend Many Coats here. Firstly Durham has a coffin and not a box, nor a chest. It seems significantly different to me, for as Ethel Cake has already pointed out you wouldn't keep your socks in a coffin, nor your vest for that matter. An important distinction I think and so as Mr Many Coats would say "In the words of the youth of today, 'Nuff said'".

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    6. A salient point well made Simeon my friend and whilst I too accept that both a coffin or a chest could in theory be older than the building housing it, when it comes to this example it just raises too many questions - Such as why a good solid chest like this example was taken out of use and how it was hidden? Questions like these are not answered by the simple signage in the church and remind us all of the fact that locally produced church histories should be treated with caution. As Munro pointed out they tend to have a good smattering of hearsay and wishful thinking attached to them. We Ragged Ramblers refer to it as 'Tunnel Vision'!

      Certainly I see nothing in the chests construction to confirm such an early date and would want to know how that conclusion was reached. Are there other early chests still extant from which a comparison can be made? Was there any evidence of its former use - Fragments of socks or even really old vests. More questions than answers then...

      Hence the need for more digging into this particular dugout!

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    7. Ah, so if there isn't a body in a box/chest/dug-out/trunk it isn't a coffin, and never was - capital stuff, my dear Slacky, glad that's all sorted...

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    8. My dear Bumper

      Are you suggesting its a coffin? If it was a coffin why was it not placed beneath the ground? I think most antiquarians would argue that wooden coffins of such an early date were rare c.900, as most people at this time just did not use bespoke coffins, rather they were interred in simple stone or wood lined graves, or even unlined for that matter. If then we are to accept the rather arbitrary date for this wooden receptacle, then it would be highly unlikely it was anything else than a chest. One can not after all have their cake and eat it Unless of course you are a Ragged Rambler!

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    9. Bumper.

      I know we have never seen eye to eye and that's probably because your are only 2ft 6. I was merely saying that there is a place for everything and everything should be in its place.

      I do know a fellow who dug up his father's ashes once. They had been interred in a lovely oak box, but he emptied them into the ground so he might use said box to keep nic nacs in. I do not however think this is the norm. Certainly I have never heard of anyone turfing their Great, Great Grandmother out of her final resting place because they were in need of somewhere to store their underpants.

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    10. If it be a coffin 'twas the resting place of some rogue or rascal. For tis clear from the great length of this monstrous casket that the fellow was drawn upon the rack prior to death.

      Tis the Devils work says I...

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    11. I'm only that height because of the bath chair, Simmy, I was a fine figure of a chap in Hussar days, many a rector's wife said so.. I'm not saying it is a coffin, or that it's not: could have served many a job over the centuries, keeping some posh togs safe, holding important documents, money paid in taxes, and maybe at some stage a blasted coffin, why not.
      It comes from when the world was made of wood, wood used for everything & anything, and worked in a million different ways by as many people. We can't see back into it, because being less lasting than stone, it's gone, finito, vanished. So no one of us can pronounce upon it, simply by looking at it. Harrumph, I say.

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    12. I totally agree Bumper. In which case we were right to challenge the signage!

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    13. "Challenge", old bean? Sounded more like dismissal, to my ears...
      Andy, Andy, Andy, I've told you a hundred times, my man, it's waiting for you to collect, behind the gas pipes, Little Roxburton-on-the-Wallop Station waiting room. Blasted thing's been there since 1956.

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    14. Don't you be givin' me that fancy-Dan lardy-da mouth music Cockton - I'm coming to collect

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    15. "treated with caution' is hardly a dismissal Bumper my friend, merely a warning and a challenge to all those who do not to think for themselves. It looks as if you should be treating Andy with caution as well! Is he referring to your sepia tinted photographic collection of Ragged Ramblers seated in necessary houses?

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  11. Miss Jean Angerstein-MacTavish13 March 2012 at 21:58

    Och that's ne'er Colonel Hampton's final bothy, it's too wee by far. Ye couldne e'en fit the mon's moustaches in that! Oooch he was a fine yin, he was so.

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  12. As father always said whilst sneaking a woodbine in the woodshed...

    It's not the cough that carries you off
    It's the coffin they carry you off in!

    Except this is not a coffin, it's a chest or more simply a box, so how about..

    It's not the box for keeping your socks
    It's the chest to keep your vest in

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  13. I hadn't realised that this quick time filler would cause so much discussion over who stores underpants in which box. Can I categorically say, here and now, any self respecting antiquarian enjoys the rough sensation from tweed by not wearing any. I certainly haven't for years.

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  14. But what of tweed underpants Thadeus or even corduroy knickers with a gusset pocket for keeping your worthers in?

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  15. I'll get what's mine, and that's a fact Cockton-Smythe

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