Robert Pashley – antiquarian traveller to Crete

ROBERT PASHLEY (1805-1859) was a barrister of Lincoln’s Inn and Inner Temple but became an intrepid traveller of Crete in 1834. This is not a ‘blow by blow’ account of his travels around the island (you can find that in my book Dawn of Discovery), but more of a look at how Pashley came to be there and the supporting correspondence.

In saying that, I would just mention that one of the most interesting places he encountered was the Melidoni (Melidhoni) cave wherein a room which he discovered was named after him (see pics further below). During the 1824 Revolution against the Turks, following a three month siege of the cave, some 250 unarmed villagers, including women and children, were suffocated when the entrance was sealed and fires, lit by the Turks, thrown in to the cave. It was not until Pashley visited the cave in 1834, did Manolis Kirmizakis, the only survivor of the events, inspect it and discover the bones of the martyrs. They were put in a large sarcophagus which is in the cave today and defines the independent Cretan character. Later finds in the cave gave evidence to its usage for worship by the ‘Minoans’ of Bronze Age Crete (2100-1600 BC – see my very last paragraph below).

I’ve not been able to find an image of Pashley but below could be a sketch of him from his own book, Travels in Crete (1837), most likely by his companion and illustrator, Antonio Schranz, but not acknowledged.

pashPossibly Pashley (on the right)

Despite the work of Richard Pococke (see last blog), prior to Pashley, Crete had no known ancient historical ancestry and the historian, Sir Moses Finley, said of Pashley:

“The first important breakthrough [in Crete] was made in 1834 by a young man from Trinity College, Cambridge, named Robert Pashley … he joined that remarkable constellation of nineteenth-century British explorers and archaeologists who were opening up vast new and exotic fields of inquiry … a modern expert could say of his seven-odd months work [in Crete] that Pashley identified most of the important sites with accuracy which had never before been attained and has in few cases since been challenged.”

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Sir Moses Finley (1912-1986)

The Royal Naval hydrographer, Captain (later Rear Admiral) Francis Beaufort (of the ‘Beaufort Scale’) was keen to investigate the ancient antiquities of the Aegean and was fully supportive of any persons wishing to join a ship for the purpose of antiquarian research. It was Beaufort who proposed Pashley for such a venture in Crete.

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Sir Francis Beaufort (1774-1857)

On the 18th July 1832, Beaufort wrote to Captain Richard Copeland of HMS Beacon, prior to the latter’s departure for a hydrographic survey of the eastern Mediterranean, enquiring:

“Would you like to have a classical traveller in the Beacon to hunt for antiquities while engaged on the coast of Asia Minor? I have no one in my eye nor do I know whether their Lordships [at the Admiralty] would permit it but before I ask them or enquire at the universities I wished to ascertain your candid opinion of the utility of the scheme, and still more your personal feeling about it.”

Copeland obviously agreed as Beaufort wrote to him again (26th July 1832), “I am much pleased that you approve of the idea of having a savant to accompany to you.” In fact Pashley was not Beaufort’s first choice as he added in his letter to Copeland, “… and I will take care that none but a 1st rate man, and gentleman, [be] sent out. There is somewhere in Italy the son of the Master of Trinity College Camb[ridge] who I understand would likely to jump at such an offer.”  The man he had in mind was the son of Christopher Wordsworth brother of the poet). It is not clear which son, John, Charles or Christopher Jr., he was thinking of but none of them did ‘jump at such an offer’. (As the letter was written in July 1832, Beaufort was most likely referring to Christopher Jr as he was in Greece between 1832-33, whereas John and Charles did not travel to Europe until 1833).

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Christopher Wordsworth Jr (1807-1885)

Sir John Barrow, Second Secretary of the Admiralty, wrote to Pashley in December 1832 informing him that their Lordships of the Admiralty had approved him to investigate “the antiquities, the geology and the botany at the parts of the Coast of Asia Minor and Greece on which he [Copeland] may be employed surveying.” The Admiralty obviously got the idea that Pashley was a geologist or naturalist from Beaufort who was covering his options. Beaufort informed Copeland of Pashley’s appointment (17th December 1832):

“I have at last the great pleasure of introducing Mr Pashley to you – he is a Fellow of Trinity College Cambridge – not only a distinguished scholar, but imbued with a proper zeal for antiquity hunting. That zeal will I am quite sure meet with every possible encouragement and assistance at your hands … and the important aid you will derive from the company of such a person on the interesting service in which you are engaged” (my italics – see next paragraph).

The ‘antiquity hunting’ is a clear reference to the intention of seeking antiquities. The ‘important aid’, as Beaufort told Pashley (17th December 1832), would be the “determining of the ancient names and places as may be included in his Survey.”  This was Beaufort’s excuse for the usefulness of Pashley’s attendance. The ‘interesting service’ is possibly a reference to Beaufort’s own frustration at failing to secure antiquities on his own visit to the Mediterranean as he commented to Pashley (17th December 1832), “… as I well recollect the provoking opportunities I lost on the coast of Asia Minor, and the feebleness of  my last efforts to rescue a few vestiges of ancient geography from oblivion.”

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Entrance to Melidoni cave when I was there in 2006 (pigeon on step gives an idea of scale….)

According to Beaufort, in a letter to Lt Thomas Graves (surveying in the Mediterranean) (also 17th December 1832), Copeland “welcomed a classical scholar Robert Pashley of Cambridge to help him identify ancient sites [in the Aegean].”

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Plan of Melidoni cave (room discovered by Pashley on right [9] – now closed off)

Pashley set out on his extensive exploration of antiquities on the island of Crete with the aid of Captain Manias (a guide from Sfakia in the southwest of Crete), Antonio Schranz (an illustrator) and a mule. He was very enthusiastic about the early undiscovered history of Crete and shortly after his arrival on the island he wrote to Beaufort (15th February 1834):

“I believe we know but little indeed in England of the value and capabilities of this island. I must say a word of its history, which is so very interesting from the earliest dawn of Grecian civilization down to the present hour. You know how it is connected with many of the ancient theogonies & myths with the origin of laws, of the fine & useful arts, in fact with everything of any importance in the progress of society before the wars of Troy.”

However, his search for ancient cities was not an easy task and he remarked in his book (above), “Crete has been so little explored that it was necessary to enquire everywhere for ancient ruins.” He reported back to Beaufort on his findings of ancient sites with mixed feelings as he did not always find sites where he had anticipated them to be from references to his maps but was pleased with what he had seen (3rd April 1834):

“I have visited the sites of nearly twenty ancient cities, most of which I am sorry to say are either not placed at all or are placed entirely out of their proper places in all the maps I have seen. Many of the remains are extensive, most of them interesting, & some are very singular… I consider the two months I have spent here as more profitability employed as worth more in every point of view than all the rest of my eastern travels.”

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Drawing of Melidoni cave by Schranz from Pashley’s book

When he had completed his travels he was convinced that he had seen nearly all the cities of ancient Crete and informed Beaufort accordingly (9th October 1834), “… as for Crete, you will find … that I have visited most of the ancient sites.” That was quite correct as there were many more awaiting discovery.

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Melidoni cave (with the sarcophagus containing the bones of the 250 who died in 1824) 

Of Pashley’s venture, the historian Llewellyn Smith rather short-sightedly wrote in 1973, “A large part of his book is wasted in speculation about topography of the ancient Cretan cities: a fashionable game at the time, but exceedingly boring for the reader today.” No pleasing some people. Although he did add, “Skip the topography, for the rest is pure gold.”

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Ancient sites visited by Pashley in Crete

As a final word on Pashley, in his work on Edward Lear in 1995, Peter Levi commented, “Crete was more or less unexcavated until Sir Arthur Evans’ dig at Knossos in 1900, though its innumerable ancient sites were charted by Pashley.” So Pashley had discovered Minoan Crete before Evans who happily received the credit for it – okay he did good work at Knossos.

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Next week: I’m on a roll now – Thomas Spratt RN, another antiquarian traveller to Crete (if you have been paying attention you will have met Spratt before – a June blog, ‘Crete: the island that tipped’)


Artemus Smith’s Notebooks

I continue my research of the notebooks of Dr Artemus Smith, archaeologist of great courage, determination and fiction. Here is another extract:

My good friend and mentor, Idley Blanchwater, had farmed all his life and was a great amateur archaeologist. Now, at the age of 98, he was sadly departing from us. His son and I were at his bedside shortly before his demise. To make his last journey more comfortable his son tried giving him warm milk to drink. “It’s from one of your own cows, father,” his son said. But Idley refused it. With a wink, the son gave the glass to his father’s nurse and she took it to the kitchen and poured a generous amount of whisky into the warm milk and returned with it insisting Idley try a little. So persuaded, he took a sip – then drank the whole glass – and his eyes brightened.

His son took this as a good opportunity to ask him for some final words of wisdom before he passed away. Idley raised himself up in bed on one elbow, looked at his son and said,

“Don’t sell that cow.”

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Richard Pococke – antiquarian traveller to Crete

IF YOU HAVE been reading my past bogs you will realize that one of my passions is Crete. I’m also interested in the early travellers to the island and what they found there before archaeological became ‘fashionable’ following Sir Arthur Evans’ excavations at Knossos in the early 1900s. Most of these early pioneers were either members of the clergy, the legal profession or the military,  maybe because they had nothing better to do (but let’s not go there). Anyway, I like to bring some of these fellows to the fore as I fear their names have been lost in the passages of time (see my books, In Search of Agamemnon and Dawn of Discovery on MY PUBLICATIONS on this blog – go on, buy one, you know you want to …..).

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Click here                                                             Click here

One such traveller was Richard Pococke. He was a member of the clergy and he visited Crete in 1739. Archaeology was not ‘something’ one did in the 18th century but Pococke was in search of ancient cities. He was, perhaps, the first British/Irish travel to the island to consider the existence of an ancient civilization. I was looking to see if he had found anything of the Bronze Age – then not a term used – before Arthur Evans’ great discoveries.

 pococke 2Richard Pococke (1704-1765)

There have been certain interesting views of Pococke. He was believed to be a man of “mild manners and primitive simplicity … In his carriage and deportment he seemed to have contracted something of the Arab character [see pic below], yet there was no austerity in his silence, and though his air was solemn, his temper was serene” (Cumberland, from Kemp, 1887, Tours in Scotland, 1747, 1750, 1760, Edinburgh University Press).

In 1761, a Mrs Delaney described Pococke as “the dullest man that ever travelled …” (Quane, 1950, ‘Pococke School, Kilkenny’ Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland). This may have been because he had no time for small talk or tittle-tattle at her tea parties (‘woman scorned’ …..). Whatever her view, Pococke was certainly not dull with regard to his travels. Kemp, the 19th century biographer of Pococke’s tour of Scotland (above), reported that “His [Pococke’s] contemporary, Bishop Forbes, has preserved a pen-picture of Dr Pococke … and represents him rather as a pleasant, genial, jocular man, able to adapt himself to every circumstance and society – qualities essential to travel.”

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Pococke in his ‘Arab’ attire

On arriving in Khania (Canea) on the northwest coast of Crete he called upon the “only English house on the island” – that of the English Consul General. With the Consul and the Bishop of Kisamos, he set off to see the sites on the western part of the island. His first encounter with the ancients was on Cape Spada at Dictynnaeon but the first ancient remains seen by him at Magnia were small and of marble, possibly of the Dictynnaeon Temple mentioned by Strabo (Geography, 10.12).

 pococke 8Ancient sites visited by Pococke in Crete

Pococke found a ruined city at Aptera (Palicastro), some five miles from the port of Kisamos. He wrote to his mother on 29th September 1739 about Palicastro:

“Came near to the sea west of Cape Spada … and went south west about 4 miles to Palaio Castro, the old ruined city of Aptera on a high hill, at the foot of which, the muses and the sirens had a trial of musick & the sirens being vanquished lost their wings. We viewed the Antiquities.”

This reference to the ‘trial by musick’ relates to the mythological tale of the victory of the Muses over the Sirens following a musical contest which took place at the city and after which the Sirens plucked off their feathers in sorrow and threw themselves into the sea – Aptera is Greek for ‘Featherless’. The antiquities he viewed included a very antique bas relief (a sepulchral monument) which he purchased.

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Bas relief procured by Pococke (1 ft, 9 ins in length, 13 ins wide)

At Artacina, or Rocca, he saw the remains of some rooms which, he said, “the people say belong to the ancient Greeks, and they have some fables relating to it of a giant whom they call Ienes.” Unfortunately his lack of description does not help identify these rooms in any manner.

Pococke left Khania and headed eastward to Retimo (Rethyminon) in order to “make a tour round the island” although he was not to achieve this intention. He then headed south east to Matala where he came across some ruins of Castro Matala and cut into the rocks semicircular niches “hollowed in like graves, and a stone laid over them” but gave no indication of date of the site. He then observed, “In searching for Lebena further to the west, I found a place which I thought to be of greater consequence … that is the fair havens, near unto the city of Lasea; for there is a small bay about two leagues east of Matala, which is now called … Fair Havens.” This is confusing as Lasea (Lisia) is about 6 miles south east of where Matala is today and Lebena is the same distance east of Lasea. He was misplacing these sites – putting Lasea (‘Fair Havens’) where Lebena is today and Matala where Lasea is and Lebena where Matala is now situated (get it? ……. never mind).

 Fair Havens

Fair Havens

At Gortyns (not on the above map but just north of Lasea – 6 on map), Pococke was aware of its early origins, referring to Homer’s mention of it as a walled city (Iliad 2.646) and that “the walls were afterwards destroyed”. Indeed, there are no Bronze Age walls remaining at the city, although it does date back to this period (having been inhabited without interruption since 4000 BC). He described several ruins which would have been most likely Roman, including a theatre.  He did mention the ‘labyrinth’ (see blog in June) but believed it to be “nothing more than a quarry, out of which Gortynia was built … and they might choose to hollow out such a large grotto, rather than work this quarry in the common way, that their families might retire to it on any invasion, and secure their riches.”

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Gortyns labyrinth/quarry

At Knossos, Pococke came upon what he thought was the ancient city and observed that it was the place of the labyrinth of King Minos and “In the time of Minos, Amniso was used as its (Knossos) harbour.” Certainly this reference to Amniso(s) as port of Minos perhaps supports the idea that he believed in – and recognized – an early civilization. He did then go on to describe some ruins that he saw, including several large arches which he described as platforms for seats of a theatre.

Not far from Knossos, to the south, is Mount Iouktas (Joukta), the supposed burial place of Zeus. It is not clear whether Pococke actually visited the top of the mountain – probably not as he talked of what the modern Greeks said was up there (a temple and tomb) rather than what he saw for himself, “They relate (my italics) that there was a temple dedicated to him [Zeus] on this hill …”. Turning north he headed for Candia (Herakleion), but other than assuming it may have also been a port to Knossos, he made no ancient discoveries around the town.

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Cyclopean remains on Mount Iouktas – what Pococke missed!

He did ascend the Idaian Mountains (Mount Ida), the site where Zeus was said to have grown up, hiding from his father, Cronos, but Pococke was not impressed.  He made a mere reference to a small rough grotto on the north side of the mountain but the cave that was later to reveal many Bronze Age Minoan artifacts was not a ‘small grotto’ (see pic below).

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The cave of Mount Ida

On his return to Khania he announced, “Having seen everything that was curious, I returned to Canea [Khania].” This was to be proven not the case by the likes of Robert Pashley (1830s), Thomas Spratt (1850s) and Sir Arthur Evans (1900s) – much more was to be discovered.

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Pococke’s map of Crete, 1745

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Next week: Whilst on the subject of antiquarian travellers to Crete, let me introduce you to Robert Pashley, barrister.


Artemus Smith’s Notebooks

I continue my research of the notebooks of Dr Artemus Smith, archaeologist of great courage, determination and fiction. Here is another extract:

A crazy place America. I spent some time living and excavating on a farm in Arizona. One day a DEA (Drugs Enforcement Administration) officer called in on me and said, “I need to inspect your farm for illegally grown drugs.” I said, “Okay, but do not go in that field over there,” and pointed out the location.

The DEA verbally exploded and said, “Mister, that’s exactly where I’m gonna start. Reaching into his rear trouser pocket, he removed his badge and proudly displayed it to me.  “See this badge?  This badge means I’m with the Federal Government and I am allowed to go wherever I wish . . . . on any land.  No questions asked or answers given.  Have I made myself clear?  Do you understand?”

I nodded politely, apologized, and went about my business.

A short time later, I heard loud screams and saw the DEA officer running for his life chased by my big Santa Gertrudis bull.  With every step the bull was gaining ground on the officer, and it seemed likely that he would be gored before he reached safety. I threw down my tools, ran to the fence and yelled at the top of my lungs . . . . .

 “Your badge, show him your badge!”

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William Price – the druid who created cremation

SO THERE I WAS preparing a talk on ‘Human Bones and the Law’ when I came upon this case R v Price 1884. Now the law on ownership of bones dates way-back. Basically no one owns bones, not even if they belong to a member of your family. Sir Edward Coke, Chief Justice in the 17th century, pontificated, “The burial of the cadaver [corpse], that is caro data vermibus [flesh given to the worms] is nullius in bonis [among the property of no person] and belongs to the ecclesiastical cognizance.” [1]

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Sir Edward Coke (pronounced ‘Cook’) C.J. (1552-1634)

Well, there was this Welshman, William Price (1800-93), who had qualified as a medical doctor and became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England (having trained in London). He returned to Wales to work as a GP and, in 1823, became the chief surgeon at the Brown Lenox Chainworks in Pontypridd. So far so good.

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Dr William Price in 1822 as a respectable medical student – ‘so far so good’

He then became involved in the Chartist movement (believing in votes for all men regardless of status – next there will be votes for women!) which led to an uprising which led to Price escaping to France. In Paris, at the Louvre Museum, he experienced his ‘turning point in his religious life’ when he saw an ancient Greek inscription which, for some bizarre reason, he interpreted as a Celtic bard addressing the moon. Yeah, okay. This was a sign to him to spread the word of the ‘true secrets’ of the Welsh language and free the Welsh from English dominance. Nothing new there. Anyway, as a result he became a druid and founded a new Druidic group which gained many followers. Just to give you an idea of some of his antics: he christened his daughter Gwenhiolan Iarlles Morganwg – meaning ‘Gwenhiolan, Countess of Glamorgan’; he organised an eisteddfod at Pontypridd but no one turned up (bad marketing); he held a Welsh nationalist parade along with a half-naked man called Myrddin (the Welsh name for Merlin) and a goat … of course.

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Price in his druid gear in 1884

So wacky or what? But I digress, so now to the point. In 1883, when Price was 83 years old, his second wife, who was in her mid twenties (let’s not go there), gave birth to a son whom he named  Iesu Grist (the Welsh for Jesus Christ) as he had ‘great expectations’ for him. Sadly the child died after 5 months. Price’s religious belief prevented him from burying the corpse as it would pollute the earth. So he decided to cremate him on the hill outside his village of Llantrisant which was ‘not the done thing’ then. In fact, many of the villagers saw the smoke of the fire and attacked him. He was rescued by the police and the child was taken from the pyre before it had been engulfed in flames.

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Painting of Price in his famous fox-skinned headdress 

Price was then arrested for illegal disposal of a corpse (the police were satisfied that the child had died of natural causes prior to the cremation attempt). At his trial at Cardiff Crown Court, whilst he accepted that cremation was not legal, he argued that there was no law against it either. Going back to Sir Edward Coke (above), the principle here is that if no one owns a body how can it be illegal to do what one wishes with it?  The judge, Mr Justice Stephen, agreed with Price and he was released from custody to much cheering from the people (not the ones from his village obviously). It would appear that cremation was here to stay and on the 14th March Price did, indeed, cremate his son. This led to the newly founded Cremation Society of Great Britain which put sufficient pressure on the government to introduce the Cremation Act 1902 (of which there have been several amended versions since).

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Cremation of William Price

The case made Price famous, so much so that a statute of him was erected in Llantrisant in 1982 by the Cremation Society of Great Britain. His wife produced another boy who was also named Iesu Grist for the same reason as his first, the coming of the second (or third) Jesus Christ – he wasn’t (but that is no surprise). William Price was cremated in 1893 on the same hillside as his first son and was watched by some 20,000 people (see pic above). He certainly made an impression!

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Statute of Price at Llantrisant

Footnote

[1] Unless they have “acquired different attributes by virtue of the application of skill, such as dissection or preservation techniques, for exhibition or teaching purposes. It thereby acquires a usefulness or value. It is capable of becoming property in the usual way, and can be stolen.” (See the case of R v Kelly & Lindsay 1998 – stealing bones used for educational purposes by a hospital).

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Next week: Odd bods: Eadweard Muybridge ….. ‘moving picture-maker’ who got away with murder


Artemus Smith’s Notebooks

I continue my research of the notebooks of Dr Artemus Smith, archaeologist of great courage, determination and fiction. Here is another extract:

 My neighbour, George Shortbrain, came into the public house and sat next to me. An unfortunate name but similar to his nature – a man of limited intelligence. The public house had a television set and was showing the 10:00 PM news. The news crew was covering a story of a man on a ledge of a large building preparing to jump.

George said, “Do you think he’ll jump?”

“Yes he will,” I answered.

“Well, I bet he won’t,” said George. “In fact, I bet you a five pounds he won’t.’”

I agreed to the bet.

Just then the chap on the ledge did a swan dive off the building, falling to his demise.

George was very upset but willingly handed me the five pounds.

I said, “I can’t take your money, George, I saw this earlier on the 6:00 PM news and so I knew he would jump.'”

George replied, “I did too, but I didn’t think he’d do it again.”

I took the money.           

 

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Ye Olde Castle Inn, Bramber

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Ye Old Castle Hotel

ONCE UPON A TIME there was this Inn in Bramber, West Sussex, called the White Lion. Today it’s my local pub and called the Castle Hotel. How did that happen? Well, it’s first mentioned, as the White Lion, in Henry VIII’s time in the 16th century (1526, as ‘dispensing alcohol’) but it could go back further than that. In the ‘olden’ days, Inns took their names from the local Lords’ family crests and Bramber’s Lord after William the Conq was William de Braose (see my blog on Bramber Castle way back in April) and the crest of his son, Philip de Braose, (c 1096-1135) was a lion – but a gold one. The coat of arms of William de Mowbray (1173-1222) was a white lion and Bramber became part of the de Mowbray estate by marriage in 1298, when John de Mowbray married Aline de Braose. The two lions merged when de Mowbray became Duke of Norfolk in 1397, so the pub could date back to sometime then …… oh yes it could.

philip_de_Braose,_coat_of_arms,_Falkirk_Roll_svg           de_Mowbray,_

Philip de Braose’s coat of arms                         William de Mowbray’s  coats of arms

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De Mowbray/Duke of Norfolk coat of arms at the end of the 14th century

It would, of course, have been quite a popular Inn as it was on the main Pilgrims road from Canterbury to Winchester (and vice versa) so would have been a stopping off point for travellers throughout the Middle Ages. So, a Pilgrims’ Progress – to a pie and a pint. Nothing much has changed there.

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Pilgrims progress on route, with silly hats; “Mine’s a pint at the White Lion” says the guy on the white horse

The White Lion doubled up as the Bramber court house which was most likely a room on the first floor. In fact, in 1552, the County Coroner and 14 jurors gathered at the court house to decide whether the innkeeper of the White Horse, William Battner, should be tried for assaulting a Joan Davyd, the servant of the innkeeper of the ‘other public house’ in Bramber (wherever that may have been).  Joan had been fighting with William’s son, John, when William’s dogs had been attacking pigs belonging to the ‘other innkeeper’ (widow Kayne); the pigs had been causing damage on Battner’s land – get it? Anyway, Joan died as result of John wacking her ear with his hand. The jury of the inquest held that Joan died of a natural death because she had been suffering from black jaundice and was already weakened, so the blow did not cause her death (don’t try this at home as today it would be manslaughter. Don’t say you haven’t been warned).

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“You deserve a clip round the ear as well, sir – but it’s your round!”

By the 17th century the Inn was sleeping around fourteen people and this increased to around twenty by the early 18th century. There were four ground floor rooms and five on the first floor (including the court ‘house’) and a stable yard at the back (now the new family restaurant, formerly the games room). From 1780 to 1833, the Inn was owned by the Gough family who, from 1713-1860, also owned St Mary’s Tudor House along the High Street. So the Goughs were obviously an affluent bunch who dabbled in Inn-keeping (well, Inn-ownership … I don’t suppose they got their hands too dirty). From 1841 to 1871 the White Lion was owned by James Potter whose son, Walter, displayed his stuffed animals at the Inn from 1861. He was, later (1880), to set up the Potter’s Museum (for more info click here) in, what is now, the gardens of Bramber Villa .

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Potter’s Museum along from the Castle Hotel

It was when the Inn changed hands from James Potter to Henry Kelcey in 1871 that it changed its name to the Castle Hotel. This was as a result of the many visitors to the ruins of Bramber Castle, assisted by the opening up of the railway in 1861. Picnicing up at the Castle ruins led to Kelcey selling refreshments up there, so the change of name was a promotional ‘thing’. When the Duke of Norfolk sold Bramber Castle, the 1925 advert included a reference to a £70 per year rental paid by the Kemp Town Brewery (in east Brighton) which meant that the Castle pub was then a tied house of the brewery but continued to make money up at the Castle ruins. And why not. Now we just get the ice-cream man.

 castle2
The Castle Hotel in recent flowering glory

For more info on the Castle Hotel/pub today click here

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Next week: Brasenose – an Oxford College


ASIDE

I mentioned last week that Lawrence of Arabia’s motor bike sold at auction for a record £315,100. Well, keeping up with such prices, E.H. Shepard’s signed drawing of Winnie the Pooh et al playing pooh sticks sold at Sothebys this week for £315,500 – a record for any book illustration. I think I’m in the wrong buisness.

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Pooh, Piglet and Christopher Robin – bargain at 300k!


Artemus Smith’s Notebooks

I continue my research of the notebooks of Dr Artemus Smith, archaeologist of great courage, determination and fiction. Here is another extract:

My fine friend, Christian de Belvedere, called in on my rooms the other day sporting a shiner of a black eye. “My dear fellow, what happened to you?” I enquired with deep concern.

“Well, old boy,” he replied, “I made bit of a faux pas. The wife said to me, ‘If I pass away before you I imagine you will find someone else in due course, but you won’t share our house with her will you?’ 

‘No, no, my dear,’ I replied.

Then she said, ‘You won’t give her my car will you?’

‘Good Lord, no, no, my dear’ I replied.

Then she said, ‘You won’t give her any of my clothes will you?’

‘Certainly not, my dear,’ I replied.

Then she said, ‘You won’t give her my golf clubs will you?’

‘Definitely not, my dear,’ I replied, ‘she’s left-handed ……..’ aagh!”

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Thomas Spratt RN : Travels in Lycia and the Fellows’ Marbles (so, not just Elgin ….)

SEVERAL BLOGS AGO I waxed lyrical about Thomas Abel Brimage Spratt in Crete (‘Crete: the island that tipped’). Well, now I’m gonna tell you a little about him in Lycia (that’s southwestern Turkey – see map at end) and his involvement in the procuring of the Xanthos Marbles …..

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Thomas Spratt (1811-1888) … remember him?

In April 1839 the antiquarian Sir Charles Fellows travelled to Lycia in search of antiquities and ancient sites. Perhaps the most spectacular of his discoveries was the ruins of the city of Xanthos. The date of these remains he considered to be ‘a very early one’ and the walls ‘Cyclopean’. He did not clarify how early but three temples at the site have since been dated to the Classical 5th century BC.

(c) British Museum; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

 Sir Charles Fellows (1799-1860)

The Royal Naval hydrographer, Thomas Spratt and his two colleagues, the naturalist Edward Forbes and the historian the Rev E.T. Daniell, joined Fellows in January 1842 just before the completion of the latter’s work. Spratt’s ship, HMS Beacon then under the charge of Captain Graves, had been “commanded to bring from Syria [actually Anatolia] the remains of antiquity discovered at Xanthos by Sir Charles Fellows.” This may not have been considered an entirely popular venture by some in England as Forbes, although not clarifying, commented:

“There had not been a little discussion too, in London circles, with regard to the doings of the ‘Beacon’ when procuring the Xanthus marbles, and the part Captain Graves took in that expedition had been much misinterpreted.”

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Xanthos Neried Monument now in the British Museum (courtesy of Fellows)

It would appear that the monuments of Xanthos were causing as much controversy as the Elgin Marbles had done forty years earlier. Along with Graves, both Spratt and Forbes appeared uneasy about this mass clearance of a site and its removal to England. Spratt himself was to send items back to the British Museum and the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge but not to this scale. In fact, Graves had given orders that two of the large tombs (Harpy and Payava) should not be dismantled until further instructions had come from Malta to construct suitable boats for their transportation down river. These orders were ignored.

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Sailors dismantling the Tomb of Payava at Xanthos despite Capt Graves’ orders (drawn by Charles Fellows)

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Tomb of Payava resituated in the British Museum

Spratt, Forbes and Daniell intended to travel to Lycia for surveying, naturalist and antiquarian purposes respectively. They came upon some eighteen ancient major cities and several other minor sites and managed to trace the marches of Alexander the Great through Lycia. Unfortunately Daniell was taken ill with malignant malaria and died before the completion of the expedition.

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 Edward Forbes (1815-1854)

They began their tour at Makri harbour (ancient Telmessus), the nearest safe anchorage to Xanthos, and travelled to neighbouring Caria. It was not long before they came across the Cyclopean conglomerate stone architecture of Pinara. More Cyclopean walls were discovered at Arneae but unlike many other ancient walls of Lycia they bore no inscriptions, possibly indicating an earlier phase of architecture. Likewise at Cyaneae, where they reported, “within the walls was a confused row of buildings of early and late date; but we saw no sculptured fragments, columns or inscriptions.”

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5th century BC Tombs at Pinara

Spratt’s and Forbes’ findings were published in their book Travels in Lycia (1847). However, Spratt was obviously unimpressed with the lack of credit he had received for his work in Lycia as his colleague, William Leake, wrote to Sir Roderick Murchison, the President of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) on the 15th January 1854:

“Capt Spratt complains that his discoveries geographical and archaeological in Lycia and the adjoining parts of Asia Minor have never [been] noticed by any President [of the RGS] in his annual address, and I think he complains not without reason, those discoveries having been some of the most important that have been made in that country and of a nature particularly fitted to the objects of our Society.”

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Lycia in Turkey

Poor old Spratt. In fact, very little has been written about his achievements – until my excellent book, Dawn of Discovery, that is (go to ‘MY PUBLICATIONS’ tab on this blog or just click here).

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Next week: Ye Olde Bramber Castle Inn – a Pilgrim’s Progress

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Artemus Smith’s Notebooks

I continue my research of the notebooks of Dr Artemus Smith, archaeologist of great courage, determination and fiction. Here is another extract:

I was in a restaurant the other day and a customer was bothering the waiter. First, he asked that the air conditioning be turned up because he was too hot, then he asked it be turned down cause he was too cold, and so on for about half an hour. Surprisingly, the waiter was very patient as he walked back and forth and never once got angry. So finally, I asked him why he didn’t throw out the pest. “Oh, I really don’t care or mind,” said the waiter with a smile. “We don’t have air conditioning.”

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Lord Elgin loses his marbles at Mycenae ….

Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin, 11th Earl of Kincardine, was born in 1766, educated at Harrow and Westminster, at St Andrews and also in Paris. He joined the army in 1785 and rose to the rank of Major-General by 1835 but saw no military action. He began a diplomatic career in 1790 and was an Envoy to Brussels in 1792; Envoy Extraordinary at Berlin in 1795; Ambassador at the Porte (Constantinople) in 1799. He died in 1841 in Paris, deep in debt as a result of his expenditure on the Athens’ marbles (aka the ‘Elgin Marbles’) and other monuments (the marbles were sold to the British Museum in 1816 for £35,000, about half their true value then).

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Lord Elgin by Anton Graff around 1788

It was in 1799, when Elgin took on the role of ambassador in Constantinople, that his mission to collect antiquities began. He was in no doubt that part of his term in this office included the study of antiquity and said so much to the Select Committee of the House of Commons when offering the country his collection of sculptured marbles from Athens. He considered this aspect of his ‘diplomatic’ work a ‘service to the arts’ (yeah, right) and he appointed William Richard Hamilton, his private secretary, and his chaplain, the Rev Philip Hunt, for the purpose of this mission. Hunt was appalled to see the damage to the  Parthenon on the 5th century BC Acropolis at Athens caused by both the Turks and visiting ‘tourists’ from other countries and took the matter up with Elgin.

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Julian Fellowes (who wrote Downton Abbey) as Rev Philip Hunt in the TV film, Lord Elgin and Some Stones of No Value

Elgin originally planned only to draw the marbles but managed, by bribery and threats, to persuade the Ottoman government in Athens to give him permission to remove the marbles to England and this was to cause much consternation. Lord Byron’s Childe Harold was to turn public opinion against Elgin and his insistence that the removal of the marbles was for preservation purposes – and we all know about the ‘Elgin Marbles’ debate so we won’t go there (in fact, the preferred name in some circles nowadays is the Athens’ marbles or the ‘Parthenon Marbles’ but Elgin didn’t restrict his ‘acquisitions’ just to the Parthenon – see one of the six the larger-than-life Caryatids from the Erechtheum on the Acropolis for example).

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One of the Caryatids (‘Elgin Marbles’) at the British Museum (height: 2.3m, 7.5ft) – the other five are at the Acropolis Museum in Athens

Then to Greece and Mycenae (I’ve told you about Mycenae before, July blog, but click here for my co-authored book on the subject). In August 1801, Elgin sent Hunt, together with the topographical draughtsman, Giovanni Battista Lusieri, to investigate the Argolid of the Peloponnese of Greece and report back their findings. Hunt found the 1250 BC citadel of Mycenae and did contemplate the removal of the Lion Gate and wrote to Elgin on the 3rd September 1801:

“No description can convey an adequate idea of the massive stones which compose its [Mycenae’s] walls. The Ancient Greeks supposed them to have been the work of the Cyclops, as well as two colossal Lions in bas-relief over the Gate Way; and which still remain in this original situation. The block on which they are sculptured is too gigantic, and too distance from the sea to give any hopes of being able to obtain so renowned a monument of the Fabulous ages.”

Wall and Lion Gate. Citadel of Mycenae

The Lion Gate – the height of the doorway opening from the floor to the bottom of the lintel is about 10 ft (2.95 m) and the lintel (Hunt’s ‘block’) is said to weigh some 20 tons – good luck with moving that lot!

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The Lion Gate in the late 19th century

Hunt was responsible for the shipping of parts of the Athens’ marbles to England (some sank on the ship,  Mentor, but were recovered three years later at much expense). So Elgin would have had the Lion Gate added to his collection and now perhaps it would be prominent in the British Museum if he had his way – had it not been for its sheer size, weight and distance from the sea. Doesn’t bear thinking about – today the entrance at the Mycenaean citadel would certainly not be the same without the lions, but that detail would not have bothered the likes of Elgin.

Elgin did remove some ‘bits’ from the ‘Treasury of Atreus’, a tholos tomb down the road from the Mycenaean citadel (see my ‘Tombs of Mycenae’ blog, July) but fragments of the tomb’s entrance columns reproduced in the British Museum were ‘acquired’ by Lord Sligo sometime shortly after 1810.

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Entrance columns/pillars from the Tresaury of Atreus (British Museum)

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Next week: Still travelling – Thomas Spratt RN and the ‘Fellows Marbles’ from Lycia (no, not just Elgin….)


Artemus Smith’s Notebooks

I continue my research of the notebooks of Dr Artemus Smith, archaeologist of great courage, determination and fiction. Here is another extract:

An acquaintance of mine, Jock McTaggarty, is a boxing promoter. I had sent him one of my students who was keen to take up the sport. McTaggarty telephoned me with some concern asking whether I was sure the lad was a genuine student. I enquired as to why he should ask such a question. He replied that the student had been for a medical and he, McTaggarty, had received the results and was obliged to relay them to the student. MacTaggarty then informed me that he had called the boy in and said to him:

 “You realise you’ve got Sugar Diabetes.”

 The boy replied, “Nice one. When do I fight him?”

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The Grand Tour

NO, NOT an England rugby tour.  The Grand Tour was a tour of parts of Europe in antiquity. It began around the 16th century, with Fynes Moryson being one of the first Grand Tourists in 1591. However, it was not until the 18th century that it became fashionable. By this latter date such travel had become part of the elite youth’s education and social image. It was a fusion of tourism and social status. The popular countries to visit were France and Italy, travelling via Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Paris was fashionable, but Rome was warm and cultural. Italy was in the Mediterranean, which was central to the four great empires, Assyrian, Persian, Greek and Roman, which made Italy a more popular venue for the Oxbridge and classically educated aristocrats. Makes sense.

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Fynes Moryson (1566-1630)

The tutors that accompanied these young gentlemen had little control over them and, although the initial idea behind the Grand Tour was education, some aristocrats focused more on simple enjoyment. This meant few made records of their travels (probably just as well in some cases). The more committed traveller did publish reports but these were more on the lines of advice in travelling rather than educational information about the particular country. As far as education was concerned, the Grand Tourers devoted more time to the art than to the politics, society and economy of the cities that they visited. Several Grand Tourist liked their portraits painted in Rome by the Italian painter, Pompeo Batoni (he did a good business).

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Grand Tourist Francis Basset by Pompeo Batoni in 1778

Some of the less youthful Grand Tourers were more interested in acquisitions. Wealthy aristocrats who had both the time and finance to travel to the exotic ancient world gathered up remains of the past. They were the gentlemen collectors and Thomas Bruce, the Earl of Elgin (1766-1841), fits into this loose category. Arguably, he was a contributor to the preservation of the heritage of the past rather than knowledge, although Sir Arthur Evans gave some credibility to the wealthy ‘traveller’ with his intensive excavations and reconstruction work (even though criticized in some quarters) at Knossos. Some aristocrats intended to collect ancient memorabilia to show off in their stately residences, and they are not to be confused with scholarly researchers of the 18th and 19th century. Others were happy to donate their collections to museums in exchange for some recognition, such as Edward Daniel Clarke (1769-1822) and John Marten Cripps (1780-1853). They brought back from overseas 183 crates of ‘goodies’ in 1802 and the library of Jesus College, Cambridge, benefited from this collection. This library was the ‘museum’ in Cambridge before the Fitzwilliam Museum was completed in 1840. Clarke in particular was held in high regard for his donations and was awarded an LL.D from Cambridge University and thereafter a Professorship.  There was also Charles Wateron (1782-1865), an expert in taxidermy, who returned from South America in 1802 with his tropical animals, not just for the benefit of future generations but also for political satire.

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 Edward Daniel Clarke 

Learned travellers, such as Robert Pashley and Thomas Spratt (I’ve told you about him before), although not interested in treasures as such, were not averse to removing the occasional item. Pashley brought back to England a sarcophagus and Spratt an altar, a lid to a sarcophagus and various small engravings and statuettes which were donated to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and the British Museum. Pashley’s and Spratt’s motives were of a scholarly interest, and it could be said that anyone with an interest in antiquity is acquisitive by nature. Certainly Pashley’s and Spratt’s values would not be in question as they did not keep their acquisitions but allowed them to be preserved for public viewing and future prosperity.

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Sarcophagus (2nd Century AD) brought back from Crete by Thomas Spratt, now in the British Museum (height: 130.5 centimetres, length: 266 centimetres, width: 150.3 centimetres)

The Grand Tour was in decline by the beginning of the 19th century, mainly due to the French Revolution (1789) and Britain’s subsequent war with France (1793-1815). As a result, Greece (then part of the Ottoman Empire) became the most popular destination for the Grand Tour travellers from 1790 onwards. However, the Grand Tourers were not all decadent aristocrats and some were looking to classical Greece for inspiration.

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Map of the Grand Tour 

Sir William Gell (1777-1836) wrote about his travels in Greece and his publications were described by Plouviez (Straddling the Aegean, 2001) as “the first really practical travel guides since Pausanias [2nd century AD].” But it was not all 5 Star luxury – Gell (The Itinerary of Greece, 1810) was very specific about the needs for a visit to Greece:

“The most necessary article for a traveller is a bed, which should of course be as portable as possible. A piece of oil-cloth to cover it, when it is rolled up in the day, and to place under it at night, would be useful. A carpet about eight feet square is of service to sit upon. A knife, fork, spoon plate, drinking cup, and some kind of vessel for boiling water, seem almost the only necessary additions. A light umbrella as a shed from the sun would always be found very agreeable, and would be more serviceable if it were fitted to an iron spike, by which it might be stuck into the ground. Curtains suspended to sides of the room by cords, are very useful to exclude insects while the traveller sleeps. If these are made of silk, and tucked under the bed as soon as it is made, the night’s rest will not be disturbed; many will prefer mosquito curtains, but they are not to be depended upon. When a family travels to Greece, it would be advisable to carry a thick curtain, by which a room may be separated, if necessary, into two parts.”

gell Sir William Gell

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Next week: Lord Elgin loses his marbles at Mycenae


 ASIDE: Bagpuss Revisited

Those of you who read my Bagpuss theory last week and are Monty Python fans may be interested in Jonathan Morris’ biography of Michael Palin wherein he says of famous dead parrot sketch: “It was hardly Cleese’s, Chapman’s [they wrote it] or Palin’s fault that the ensuing years the parrot sketch would come to be a mite overanalysed. One overexcited critic has in all seriousness interpreted the parrot sketch as a parody of the Christian belief in eternal life.”  Yeah, right.

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Artemus Smith’s Notebooks

I continue my research of the notebooks of Dr Artemus Smith, archaeologist of great courage, determination and fiction. Here is another extract:

My colleague, Dr Emille Netley-Smythe, said that his son came home from school the other day and said, “Dad, I’ve got a part in the school play as a man who has been married for 25 years.”

Emille replied, “Never mind, son, maybe next time you’ll get a speaking part.”

 

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