Page:Notes and Queries - Series 11 - Volume 11.djvu/490

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NOTES AND QUERIES, ms.xi. JUNE 19, 1915.


which appeared in six volumes in 186671, is a valuable storehouse of information, to which ecclesiastical biographers of recent times have been inevitably indebted. Under the direction of a committee, it is now being revised and enlarged by a body of experts. THOMAS BAYNE.

NECESSARY NICKNAMES (11 S. xi. 320, 405). In the upper part of Wensleydale, N. Yorks, where there were few surnames, most of the inhabitants being Metcalfes, Chapma/is, Peacocks, &c., there was in the mid-nine- teenth century an old man called Chris- topher (Metcalfe, I think), who, from his owning a donkey cart, was known as " Assy Kit." He had a son Alexander, who became known as Assy Kit Alec, the s in the pos- sessive being in the N.R. almost always omitted. This name, pronounced as one Word, " Assikitalec," was rather a puzzler for a stranger, who was inclined to look upon it as a sort of title ! H. G. P.

The practice of adding sobriquets to dis- tinguish a large number of local families bearing the same name existed in Bolton some_ twenty -five years ago. The numerous Morrises were distinguished by a number of prefixes, of which the following examples are remembered : "The Singing Morrises," "The Laughing Morrises," "The Crazy Morrises," " The Crying Morrises."

It is said that one of the Morrises, who was known as "The Mangling Morris," lost her husband, and, being unable to pay for his coffin, hit upon the happy expedient of ex- changing the mangle for the necessary coffin. ARCHIBALD SPARKE, F.R.S.L.

DIBDIN'S ^HELICON THEATRE (11 S. x. 389). The site of the Helicon Theatre is, I am of the opinion, that of Pentonville Chapel, on the north side of Pentonville Hill, between Rodney Street and Cumming Street. The principal allusions from which this identification is derived have been summarized by Mr. E. Rimbault Dibdin from Charles Dibdin s 'Professional Life' and other sources.

The site, he says, was in Clerkenwell, not far from Pancras, and after the collapse of the building, Leroux sold or used the wreckage and let the ground for the erection of a chapel. Of special importance was Dibdin s selection of the site for water entertainments.

" I !?, k ' Advantage of a very fine piece of water on which I placed my best dependence, having intended to produce the effect of my grandest spectacles through the medium of hydraulics "


At the date of this;^ speculation 1he winter of 1785-6, after he had left the Royal Circus the New Road from " The Angel ' to Battle Bridge was completed, and many houses in terraces and streets had been built. An Act of 16 George III. authorized the building of Penton Place, to afford direct access to this new residential district from Clerkenwell and West Central London, through Bagnigge Wells. The site selected by Dibdin, opposite this new thoroughfare, would therefore have direct communication with the City and West End, and the many popular resorts in the vicinity and Clerkenwell. Situated in a district rapidly being occupied by a good class of resident, it would be in the- highway connecting Battle Bridge (St. Chad's Well and Pancras Wells) with White Conduit House, Dobney's and the Belvidere Tea Gardens. Almost within sight were Sadler's Wells, Islington Spa, the English Grotto, and others of less importance, making this the most frequented pleasure locality in or near London (vide map prefixed to Warwick Wroth 's ' Pleasure Gardens of the Eighteenth Century ').

The intended provision of a water enter- tainment by means of hydraulics could only apply to a site near to, and on a lower level than, the large reservoir now in Claremont Square. On the site Dibdin selected the water would rise at least thirty feet, and flow, when not required, into the River Fleet . At a very small expense water could be brought into the theatre or grounds, as the- mains connecting the high - level reservoir with that then situated on the site of Tolmer's Square passed down the hill.

The ultimate use of the area for a chapel clearly identifies it as the site of Pentonville Chapel, of which the foundation was laid 16 June, 1787 (Pinks's ' Clerkenwell,' 512),. In 1777 the ground landlord had endeavoured to secure the provision of a chapel in the- district as an appendant to the parish church. Penton Place was the thoroughfare selected, but the founders failed to comply with the vicar's requirement of a bond to the bishop for the regular payment of the salary of a minister for the chapel. Proba- bly, when ten years later the proposal was successfully revived, the site of Dibdin's speculation Was selected as being in a better position and having sufficient area for a burial-ground.

Dibdin also recorded, " I planted poplars" a slight allusion, but of some value in supporting my identification.. Augustus Pugin's ' Series of Views in.