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Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 11.djvu/129

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9* S. XL FEB. 14, 1903.] NOTES AND QUERIES.



CONTENTS. -No. 268.

NOTES : Area of Tara Hall, 121 Bacon-Shakespeare Ques- tion, 122-Sir C. Parkins, 124-" Mr. W. H.," 125 Foot- print of the Prophet-Original Diocese of New Zealand- Laconic Prayer -Cornish Wreckers, 126 Luck Money, 127.

QUERIES : " Loon-slatt" Garret Johnson Savoir Vivre Club, 127 Thackeray and ' Vanity Fair ' French Phrase 'Discursos de la Nobleza de Espana' " Maiden "= Married Woman -Van der Neer's Centenary" Spheres of influence " Gifford : Pagett Equation of Time at Christ- mas, 128 Gavran " Stuprifactio " San Diego "Myal doctor" Jeremiah Wainewright 'Constitutio Societatis Navium Bajonensium,' 1213 Henshaw Family, 129.

REPLIES : R'\yal Marriage at St. George's, Hanover Square Fees for searching Registers, 130 Banquo Knightley Clurleton 'Les Psaumes de Beze,' 131 Wealemefna Bruce and Burns, 132 "Bonnet-laird " and " Cock-laird" Introduction of the Hop Exemption from Poor Tax Thackeray's Residences in London, 133 St. Botolpb, City of London" From the lone shieling " Pre-Reformation Practices, 134 Wale Historical Point in Epitaph, 135 "La Triste Heritiere "Portraits of Celebrities Number of ' Quarterly Review ' McDonough Princess Charlotte -St. Nicolas, 136 -The Coronation Title Leviathan " Lucid interval," 137 Reference Wanted Hognel Money Crooked Usage, Chelsea, 138.

NOTES ON BOOKS : Sidgwick's 'Poetry of George Wither 'Scot t's 'Works of Swift ' Shadwell's 'Regis- trum Orielense' Maclean's 'Literature of the Celts' ' Jesus Christen Bvangelio Saindua S. Mattheuen Araura.'

Notices to Correspondents.

THE AREA OF TARA HALL. THE following passage occurs in Mr. Wake- man's ' Handbook of Irish Antiquities,' 1891, p. 139:

"The ruins of Teach Midhchuarta, or the Ban- queting Hall of Tara, occupying a position a little to the north - east of Rath Righ, consist of two parallel lines of earth, running in a direction nearly north and south, and divided at intervals by open- ings which indicate the position of the ancient doorways. Their entrances appear to have been twelve in number (six on each side), but as the end walls, which are now nearly level with the ground, may have been pierced in a similar way, it is uncer- tain whether this far-famed Teach Midhchuarta had anciently twelve or fourteen entrances. Its interior dimensions, 360 by 40 feet, indicate that it was not constructed for the accommodation of a few."

If we multiply 360 by 40 we shall see that the area of this "banqueting hall" was 14,400 square feet. Now this is exactly the number of square feet contained in the actus quadratus or half juger. The actus quadratus was known in Southern Spain as acna, acnua, agna, or agnua, and was a unit of Roman land measure- ment. There are three actus quadrati in 4,800 square yards.

Tara Hill, on which the foundations of this building and other famous remains stand, is about eighteen miles to the north-west oi Dublin.

In an article on ' English and Roman Land Measures '* I referred to the * Close Roll ' of the year 1242, in which

' the justices of Ireland are directed to cause to be )uilt in Dublin Castle a hall containing one hun- Ired and twenty feet in length and eighty feet in )readth."

The area of this building was, therefore, 9,600 square feet, i.e., it was exactly one modius or the third part of a juger.

I also referredt to a hall at Ludgershall, which, according to the ' Liberate Rolls ' of }he thirteenth century, was ordered to be 60 feet long and 40 feet broad, i.e., it was to contain 2,400 square feet, or one-fourth of a modius; and I drew attention to various smaller English buildings^ described in ' Bol- don Book ' of the twelfth century, which were directed to be built of such a length and breadth as to conform to Roman measures of surface. One of these buildings, a bishop's hall, was to be 60 feet long and 16 feet broad, and was therefore to contain 960 square feet. Another was a chapel 40 feet long and 15 feet broad, and was therefore to contain 600 square feet. Many others were houses (domus) also 40 feet long and 15 feet broad, and they had to be built by the villani of various manors in the county of Durham.

It will be noticed that Tara Hall was exactly three times as long as the hall which was ordered to be made in Dublin Castle, and that the hall in Dublin Castle was exactly twice as broad as Tara Hall. These places were within the English Pale.

The fact that the remains of the walls of Tara Hall are earthen would interfere some- what with accurate measurement. But, making due allowance for error, it must be admitted that if the enclosed space or area of the building was not originally intended to be equal to the actus quadratus the co- incidence is a very remarkable one. And whatever doubt may be felt as to the possi- bility of obtaining perfect measurement in this case, there can be no such doubt in the case of the hall which was ordered to be built in Dublin Castle in 1242. There, at any rate, the exact area was fixed before the building was erected, if ever it was erected. We know that the hall in Dublin was ordered to be built of such a length and breadth that it would contain exactly one

  • 9 th S. vi. 463.

t Ibid. I also mentioned a chamber in Windsor Castle which, according to the ' Liberate Rolls,' was ordered to be 60 feet long and 28 feet wide. This is not an aliquot part of the modius, but is a multiple of 240 square feet.

t 9 th S. vi. 461.