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VABALATHUS UCRIMDR EXPLAINED.
The BRÄNK, OR SCOLD'S BRIDLE. A few months since, a friend sent me for interpreta- TAE brank is noticed as a Scottish instrument of Ection from the Continent an impression from a Canaan- clesiastical punishment, chiefly employed for the coercion itish seal that had been submitted to numerous learned
of female scolds, and those adjudged of slander and defapersons, without the desired attainment. This semi
mation.* It may be described as an iron skeleton Phænician signet with some little difficulty I made out; helmet, having a gag of the same metal, that by being the elucidation was acknowledged to be correct, and the protruded into the mouth of an inveterate brawler, effecanswer made by one of these savans was, “ Ah! je le tually branked that unruly member, the tongue. As an vois : mais-j'ai de quoi le puzzler;" so the Vabalathus instrument of considerable antiquity, at a period when legend has also, I believe, made its grand tour on the
the gag, the rack, and the axe were the ratio ultima Continent, without the desired effect, and I shall attempt. Rome, it has doubtless been employed, not unfrequently, to give that a solution.
for purposes of great cruelty, though in most examples, The coin I have seen, and what I recollect is—on the the gag was not purposely designed to wound the mouth, obverse is the head of Aurelian, with a radiated crown, but simply to restrain or press down the tongue. and on the reverse, the laureated head of VABALATICS
Several of these instruments are yet extant, though VCRIMDR. Vabalathus is supposed to have been the their use is now, thanks to more considerate civilization, son of Zenobia by her first husband, an Arab Prince ; become she had also two sons by Odenathus, her second husband,
lete. The Biupon whose assassination, in 266 or 267, Zenobia, then
shop's brank, Queen of Tadmor or Palmyra, conferred the imperial here shown. dignity upon her sons by both husbands. Naturally, remaining in therefore, we are to look for a solution of the difficulty
St. Mary's hitherto attached to the legend or title of VABALATHUS
Church, at St. VCRIMDR, in the Arabic language, that of Zenobia's first husband.
traditionally Descriptive names were in early times, in the East, given to persons of mature age, as their dispositions or
been placed habits in life became fully developed ; Vabalathus may, on the head of therefore, have been the name given to Zenobia's son, Patrick Haon account of a determined ardour for hunting, and
milton, and Ucrimdr, his title, derived from his birth and authority others of the in the State. Vabalathus appears to be a name com- early Scottish pounded of the Arabic Jug, vabal, pursuing with Martyrs, who de
| perished at the stake in that city during the religious vehemence, hunting close; and mysi, tus, nature
persecutions of James the Fifth's reign. That the gag or disposition; the name Vabalathus is therefore equi here represented may possibly have supplied in the hands valent to "a mighty hunter."
of both Archbishop and Cardinal Beaton a ready means Ucrimdr seems to be the title of Vabalathus, com- of restraining less confirmed recusants, and thereby aspounded of the Arabic ukr, to be reverenced sisted to suppress the advancement of the new heresy, and honoured by reason of his authority, see Willmet's
there can be but little doubt; but that it was applied to
| Hamilton, in his case more particularly, no particle of Arabic Dictionary; and richo, madrah, a prince; historical evidence can be adduced in support of the traUcrimdr will therefore, by contraction, signify, the pow- dition, and it seems therefore to have been an assertion erful prince, and conjointly, the name and title will read hazarded at a later age. The real origin of its designa-“ Mighty Hunter and Potent Prince !”
tion as “ The Bishop's brank,” is apparently and with From Vopiscus's account of Aurelian's triumph, we more truth derived from the use that Archbishop Sharp, read “ Germani, religatis manibus captivi præcesserunt, in more recent times, made of it, to silence the scandal inter hos etiam Palmyreni, qui superfuerant Principes an incautious and obstinate dame promulgated against civitatis.” We know that Vabalathus was one of these him openly before his congregation. princes.
1 In the fifth volume of the botsford edition of the I have applied the name and title to the test of other Waverley Novels, 1844, p. 270, the Bishop's brank is languages, but cannot obtain from them legitimate engraved as an illustration of “ The Monastery." It is etymons.
there stated to have been “formerly kept at St. Mary's Southwick Vicarage, May 1.
T. R. Brown. Church, St. Andrews,” but the brank was then at Ab
EAST AND WEST POSITION OF CHURCHES.-Can a Wilson's Archæology of Scotland, 1851, 8vo., p. 692. reason be assigned for the departure, by the Roman Jamieson in his Scottish Dictionary explains: “ To brank; Catholics of the present age, from the practice when our to bridle, or restrain.” Thus the term brank is also used in cathedrals were erected, of building churches east and Scotland' to designate a rude substitute for a horse's bridle west, and placing the altars at the east end? J. de B. 1 and bit, formed most frequently of a halter and stick.
botsford. Since that time, the brank has reverted to here takes the place of the gag, the upper point pierced its original depository, and placed in the care of the the roof of the mouth, while the lower one bored through Sexton, where it is regarded with such general interest the tongue. The evident intention in applying an imthat its preservation is certain.*
plement so satanic in its form and construction, to those The Burgh records of Glasgow, under April 1574, who were condemned to be burned at the stake as guilty notice that Marione Smyt and Margaret Huntare, hav- of Witchcraft and Sorcery, or dealing with the devil, ing quarrelled they appear, and produce two cautioners was not so much the inevitable torment that its use neor sureties, “ þat þai sal abstene fra stryking of utheris cessarily involved, but the purposed prevention of the in tyme cuming, under pe pane of x lib., and gif þe flyte pronouncing the potent formula, the unearthly powers to be brankit," or undergo the punishment of the brank. their victims were supposed to possess; by which means From the fact of the brank here represented having
it was implicitly believed they could at will transform themselves to other shapes, or transport their bodies to where they pleased, and thus effectually evade their tormentors. A mere glance at the representation of this frightful instrument of torture induces a melancholy reflection on the barbarism that prevailed at a period so very recent; that educated men could credit such follies and inconsistencies, or that even among the illiterate and rude, there could be found persons willing to apply to a woman an agent of restraint so diabolically cruel, the pictured semblance alone being calculated to create feelings of no common horror and indignation.
Mr. Wilson, in reference to the earlier Scottish branks, observes :
It would not be difficult to add to these common instruments of punishment and of torture, others equally characteristic of the spirit of the age, though not brought into general use. The Registers of various Kirk-Sessions re
cently printed by the Abbotsford Club, the Spottiswode been found in 1848, secreted behind the oak-panelled Society, and others of the Scottish Literary Book Clubs, diswainscot, in one of the rooms of the old mansion of the close much curious evidence of the petty tyranny and Earls of Moray, in the Canongate, at Edinburgh, there cruelty too frequently exercised by those courts in the enis reason to suppose the use of the brank was at times forcement of ecclesiastical discipline, most frequently by adopted in some of the old baronial houses.
means little calculated to promote reformation, or good Some few years since, was retained in the old steeple
morals. In these, however, as in the traces of earlier man
ners, which we have sought to recover, the historian finds a at Forfar, “The Witch's brank," or bridle, as it was
key to the character of the age to which they belong, and indications of its degree of advancement in civilization, such as no contemporary historian could furnish, since it supplies elements for comparing and for contrasting the present with the past, no less available than the rude pottery and the im. plements of flint or bone, which reveal to us, the simple arts of aboriginal races. The great difference in point of value between the two classes of relics is, that these more recent indices of obsolete customs supply to us only an additional element wherewith to test, and to verify by the instruments themselves, the invaluable records which the printing press supplies, while the latter are the sole chronicles we possess of ages more intimately associated with our human sympathies than all the geological periods of the preadamite earth.
The earliest use of the brank in England, that is termed. The date 1661, punched on the circle, with known to the writer, is not antecedent to the reign of letters that seemed to denote Angus S. A spur-rowel King Charles the First. Brayley notices a Gossip's
• Wilson's Archæology of Scotland, 1851, p. 693. took effect, is pointed out to strangers, as a place of sur
+ Dalyell's Darker Superstitions of Scotland, p. 686. The passing interest. Where this brank is now, is not stated; Witch's brank is described in the old Statistical Account of the late Mr. Alexander Deuchar, a well-known collector, in the parish of Forfar, as the bridle used in conducting to ex- | Edinburgh, carried off some years since from Forfar, “ the ecution the wretched victims of such gross superstition. Witch's bridle," to add to his antiquarian treasures. The field, it is added, where those human sacrifices | • Archæology of Scotland, 1851, 8vo., p. 694.
BRIDLE as being preserved in the vestry of Walton | Biddlestone drawn through the streets by an officer of the Church; it had, according to a previous account, the same Corporation holding a rope in his hand, the other end source of which is now forgotten, been presented to the
fastened to an engine called the branks,' which is like a parish, more than two hundred years since, by a person
crown, it being of iron, which was musled over the head and of some consequence at that period, whose name was
face, with a great gap or tongue of iron, which forced into
her mouth, forced the blood out; and that is the punishment Chester, with the date 1633, and the following inscrip
the magistrates do inflict upon chiding and scoulding wotion:
men, and that he hath often seen the like done to others." Chester presents Walton with a bridle
Gardiner further mentions, “Scoulds are to be duck'd To curb women's tongues that talk too idle.
| over head and ears into the water in a ducking stool ;" Its presentation arose from the circumstance of the in- he adds : dividual whose name it bears losing a valuable estate
These are practices as are not granted by their Charter through the instrumentality of a gossiping lying woman.
law, and are repugnant to the known laws of England. When this note was taken does not appear; the gossip's These punishments, as he was informed, were but gentle bridle has since “ become so corroded, the inscription
admonitions, to what they knew was acted by other magiscannot now be read, only some few indications of letters trates of Newcastle. remaining."
In Current Notes, vol. i. p. 45, is inserted the repreThe skeleton helmet, here shown,“ is made of thin
sentation of a brank or scold's bridle, yet extant among some old armour in the Guildhall, Worcester, said to have been formerly in use in that city, and probably of the date of Henry the Seventh's reign. It is, however, extremely doubtful if the civic records can render any notices of its use as a punishment at so early a period.
In some instances, it would appear, when too old to walk, or infirm, the brank was placed on the head, and the scold secured in the market or
some public place, against iron, and so contrived as to pass over and about the head, a post, to attract the pubwhen the whole clasps together, and is fastened at the lic gaze, 7 thusback of the neck, by a small padlock. The bridle bit, as | Plot, describing the it is called, is a flat piece of iron, about two inches customs of Staffordshire broad, passes into the mouth, and keeps down the tongue in his time, cynically by its pressure: an aperture in front admits the nose to observes, “ Lastly, we pass through. The woodcut exhibits the bridle opened come to the acts that re- l e dhu Mali turtin
spect mankind, amongst how auror nary Gurrys
* Gardiner illustrates this now obsolete custom by an enbefore being placed on the head of the delinquent. graving, that Brand copied into his History of Newcastle.
Ralph Gardiner, of Chirton, in his England's Grievance upon-Tyne, 1789, vol. ii., p. 192. He added, “the brank discovered in the Coal Trade and the Tyrannical Oppres was then preserved in the Town Court." A recent letter sion of the Corporation Magistrates of Newcastle-upon from Mr. John Adamson, to the Editor, intimates, “ the Tyne, 1655, 4to., chap. Iv., notices the prevalence of the
corporation still retain it." use of the brank in that town.
+ Kindly communicated by a correspondent from Yar.
mouth, from a manuscript of the seventeenth century in his John Willis, of Ipswich, upon his oath, said that he,
possession; with no other particular than the intimation this deponent, was in Newcastle, and he there saw one Ann
here retained, -"How oulde Mary Curtys tongue was
branked for skandle," a sketch doubtless made at the time * Topographical History of Surrey, vol. ii. p. 331, | by some adept observer of “ Current Notes.”
at not only endangers the health of the party, but also following is its tenor-the words within brackets are ves the tongue liberty 'twixt every dipp; to neither of added in writing: hich is this at all
By the Maior. ible, it being such a
Vnto the Wardmote Inquest idle for the tongue,
[of ye parish of St. Duostan in ye West.] í not only deprives lem of speech, but
The Hospitall and Children poore, your goodnes do con
fesse, rings shame for the
And pray to God to ayde you all, that help the fatherlesse, 'ansgression.” After
Beseeching you as heretofore, to them you haue been kind; etailing the appli
So sitting now in Wardmote quest, to haue them in your nces of the brank, or
mind. ridle, as here shown,
Desiring you to further them, and help them with your e continues,-“This
store eing put upon the
Who for the purpose to you all, have sent a bore therefore. ffender, by order of
And though they cannot it requite, yet such their prayers he Magistrate, and
are, astened by a padlock
That blessings heapt on blessings still, God will for you vehind, she is led
prepare. ound the towne by an officer, to her shame, nor is it
Sweet comforts to all Comforters, the Scripture doth exaken off till after the party shews by all external signes
That succour giues to Widdowes poore; and to the fathermaginable, humiliation and amendment."
lesse,* In the Borough gaol in the town of Leicester, was IIe lends'ynto the Lord that gives vnto the poore reliefe ;t formerly deposited, pro bono publico, another of these | He's blest that for the poore prouides, the Lord keeps him pranks; but it is
fro griefe. pow in private hands.
Do good (saith Paul) distribute eke, forget not this to doe: The drawing from
This sacrifice is sweete to God, hee blessings addes thereto; 5 which the wood-cut
One graine a thousand shall bring forth, seven-fold shall lo was made, was libe
receive, rally contributed by
Into his bosome for reward, that lookes not back to leaue. Mr. William Kelly,
Good measure full and pressed down, yea streaming o'er
the brim, of Leicester. Chains,
That meteth out with bounteous hand, the Lord will mete or their appliances,
to him.|| appear to have been
Rich Zache said vnto the Lord, foure fold I'le wrongs restore, attached to most of
But halfe the goods that I possesse, I giue vnto the poore. I these branks; to this
The sweet embaulmed words of truth, that did proceed fro last, a link or two is
Christ. shown, as part of the
Gives comfort heavenly vnto him that comforts the distrest. chain, about twelve
Me did you harbour, me you cloath'd, you gaue me drink inches long, that pertains to the original.
When ye relieued these little ones, and gaue them for to Christ's Hospital PETITION FOR RELIEF.
Come therefore, Come, receiue the seate prepared for you The fact that the richly-endowed seminary, the Blue by me,** Coat School, established at the suppressed Grey Friars' | Which glorious seate surpassing pence, God graunt you all Monastery in Newgate Street, by King Edward the
to see. Sixth, should at any time have petitioned for relief, or
And we as incense will lift up, our prayers and will sing, for the smallest sum in aid of their funds, seems so little
All glory to the God on high, that lets us lack nothing. known, that “the blues” repudiate it altogether, and
From Christ's-Hospitall this  of December (1613.) deny that any proof of the fact can be adduced. It is
God saue the King. true, the annual revenue now exceeds 50,0001. but the The petition is thus dated seven days later than the editor having been challenged to establish his assertion, holding of the Wardmote inquest, held in the parish the proof is now respectfully submitted.
church of St. Sepulchre, on the Tuesday preceding, Formerly the custom appears to have been, to trans- being the 21st. On the back, is written the following: mit to all the parishes in London, at stated intervals or Receiued ye xyth of Januarie 1613[-14] for ye Beneuo. seasons, a printed refresher of the requirements of the lence of the Ward mott Enquest of ye parish of St. DunHospital ; and the name of the parish to which it was addressed was written by the clerk, as also the date • Deut. xxiv. 19. These references are printed in the appended at the end. One of these printed petitions margin of the original petition, opposite to the lines. remains pasted among the minutes of the Farringdon
+ Prov. xix. 17. Psalm xli. 1. Hebr. xiii. 16. without Inquest Book, in December, 1613; and the || Luke vi. 38. [Luke xix. 8. ** Matt. xxv. 35.
stan's in the West, for ye use of Christes Hospitall by ORIGIN OF JACK THE Giant Killer.
THE sheet legends and chap books, which formerly
was the business of the Company of iying-stationers, to p me JOHN BANNISTER, Clericum,
disseminate every where, are now fast disappearing, Inpredicti Hospit.
the old printers of these matters are all gone, and the The Wardmote seems to have dispensed but little in
| fashion of modern reading, is to reject them altogether, so the way of charity, as the same persons were also
that no printer finds it deserving his attention to produce charged to distribute the sums named in the following
copies which may be sold at the smallest possible prices. receipts :
When our forefathers, the Saxons, came into this
| island, they found here monuments of an earlier popu
Jan. the 1519, 1613. llation, as cromlechs, vast entrenchments, and other Receaued by vs, the Stewarde and poore prisoners in the similar products of immense labour, as well as Roman hole of Wood Street Compter, from the Worpll the Ward. mote Inquest of St. Dunstan's in ye West, the some of
buildings and towns. With the character and uses of three shillings for our reliefe, ffor wch wee praise God,
the latter, they were perfectly well acquainted; but they and pray for all our good benefactors.
looked with much greater reverence on cromlechs, burHENRY MARKS, Steward.
rows, and indeed on all earthworks, of which the origin Received the 16th of January, 1613, by vs the poore
was not very apparent, because their own superstitions, prisoners of Ludgate, from the Wardmote Enquest of the
had taught them to attribute such structures to the priparishe of St. Dunstan-in-the-West, by the hands of Mr.
meval giants of their mythology, who were objects of William Shackley and Mr. Richard Wootton, the sum of
dread even to the gods themselves. They believed, that two shillings and eightpence, for which we praise God, and
the ground on which they stood was under the immediate pray for all of benefactors.
protection of beings of a higher order than humanity, ALPHONSE IRENONGER. who frequented them at the silent hour of night, and
The xyth of January, 1613, whose anger it was perilous to provoke. The Saxons Receaued the daie and yeare aboue written by ve, the brought with them numberless mythic traditions and poore prisoners in the hole of the Pultrie Compter, from the stories relating to their gods and heroes, which they had Worl the Wardmote Enquest of St. Dunstan's-in-the transmitted through ages of which no historical notices West, the some of Three Shillings, by the bands of William remain, and the scene of which, had been successively Shackley and Richard Wotton.
placed in every country where they had effected a setFor wel wee geue God thanks and daiely prnie for all
| tlement. Many of their legends and stories had thus of good benefactors. EDMOND CATCHES, Steward. become located in England, when the introduction of
Christianity caused a sudden change in the general belief LETITIA'S CDarms.
of the people, and what were merely nothing more than VERSES BY CAROLAN, TAE BLIND BARD. mythic personages, were at length designated as the real Translated from the Irish.
heroes of former days, or, as bad spirits were considered With pleasure I sing of the maid,
as so many devils, or messengers of evil. These mythic Whose beauty and wit doth excel;
traditions still current as romances, continued under My Letty, the fuirest shall lead
altered forms as romances of chivalry, and under various From beauties shall bear off the bell.
subsequent degradations, were more recently hawked Her neck to the swan I'll con pare,
about the towns and villages, through every street, and Her face to the brightness of day,
at every cotter's door, in the degraded category of penny "And is he not bless'd who shall share
chap-books and nursery tales. Amid these gradations, In the charms her bosom display.
and in this debased manner, the mighty deeds of the god "Tis thus the fair maid I commend,
Thor against the giants of Jotenheim, became transWhose words are than music more sweet;
formed into the exploits of Jack the Giant-killer! No bliss can on woman attend,
With the peasantry, to whom these changes and But with thee, dear Letty, we meet.
literary vicissitudes were wholly unknown, the earlier Your beauties should still be my song,
legends continued intimately connected with certain
localities, and the names of Woden, Thor, and the rest, But my glass is devoted to thee, May the health I wish thee, be long,
were traditionally current, and their stories so frequently And if sick, be love-sick for me.
handed down, with very slight or little transformation, Carolan died in March, 1738, in his 68th year.
at periods when they had ceased to be recognised in more
cultivated society, or were forgotten amid their refineJEST.- Whence is this word derived ?
ments. The giant races of the Northern and Teutonic
mythology were termed Jotens or Yotens, in AngloStephen Weston says, “ The English word jest' is from Saxon Eotenas. To them, the early Anglo-Saxon poetry
MS in Persian, and not from Gesticulor;in John. attributed operations of immense power or renioteness son; or. Gesta Romanorum.'"-Persian Recreations, 1812. of antiquity-the mounds and earthworks of ancient p. 97.
times, as well as the weapons and other articles found