NOTES AND QUERIES. [9 th s. v. APRIL M, 1900.
building, and finished in A.D. 1610, during the reign of Henry IV. It was the -work of Louis de Foix, a celebrated French architect. Its height to the base of the lantern was 115 feet. HARRY HEMS.
Fair Park, Exeter.
NELSON'S HOUSE AT MERTON (9 th S. v. 230). In Prof. Laughton's 'Nelson Memorial' there is a very good illustration of Merton Place, Surrey, from a plate belonging to Earl Nelson. This view is also reproduced in 'Nelson and his Times,' by Lord Charles Beresford and H. W. Wilson (p. 166). Prof. Laugh ton says :
" The house has long since been pulled down, and the site is now occupied by 'tenements,' while Merton itself has been absorbed into and may be considered virtually a part of Wimbledon. A hundred years ago it was a country village; and Nelson's delight during the remainder of his life was to plan improvements in the grounds, which when there he personally superintended, and which in his absence formed the subject of many of his letters."
The house was originally built by Sir Richard Hotham, a London merchant. The moat was artificial. Within the last few years I saw an illustration of part of Merton Place in some illustrated weekly St. James's Budget I think it was. F. L. MAWDESLEY.
Delwood Croft, York.
An engraving of Merton Place, from a plate in the possession of Lord Nelson, is printed in my ' Nelson and his Companions in Arms ' (George Allen). If I remember right, it is also in G. Lathom Browne's 'Nelson.' A different view is given in the late Mrs. Gam- lin's 'Nelson's Friendships,' "from a drawing by E. H. Locker, engraved in 1806."
J. K. LAUGHTON.
BATTLE SHEAVES (9 th S. v. 230). The ques- tion may well be asked, To what battle did Dickens himself allude? Stanfield's picture ' War ' plainly hints at one of the fights of the Great Rebellion. With very few exceptions (for Marston Moor may be safely laid aside) none of these would at all answer the effective superlatives of the description. It was a battle to the death, " thousands upon thousands " were killed in the " great fight," and so on. Notwithstanding which, I have always associated it with one of the battles in the West with Lansdown, for instance, where success was uncertain well into the night. On the other hand, it might just as well be Newbury, where, twice over, even night brought no decision. But it is very doubtful if Dickens had anything but picturesque description in his mind. He was uncertain even about the date of his
story ; and some portion, at any rate, of the battle opening seems to have been added later (see Forster's 'Life'). Many traditions must haunt bygone fields of slaughter. Hart- ley Fydd, the scene of the great battle of Shrewsbury, was never forgotten, though it became a flourishing cornfield. The fall of the Red Rose at Tewkesbury was long re- membered in the " Bloody Meadow." There must be many more Sedgmoor, for instance, with its many heroes. But " harvest sheaves" is probably Dickens's invention. It recalls the millions of poppies that suddenly burst over the terrible field of Neerwinden, where nearly 30,000 men lay in "one red burial blent." Here, indeed, the earth had disclosed her blood, and refused to cover the slain.
GEORGE MARSHALL. Sefton Park, Liverpool.
"HANKY PANKY" (9 th S. v. 26, 175). I had my doubts about " Miss Pan key " being in the Monthly Mirror. However, on referring to it I find the names as given on the date stated. I then consulted Mr. H. B. Wheat- ley's ' Literary Blunders,' but found nothing about these words, which are, however, in his 'Dictionary of Reduplicated Words,' but no reference to Miss Pankey. Not being satisfied, I then referred to the Gentlemaris Magazine for July, 1796, and there the marriage is duly chronicled ; but it is a very different thing. Whether it was the printer's " devil," or that literary fiend who is always on the look- out to see that writers make slips, I cannot say ; but instead of the H in her name, Miss "Hankey,"a P appears in the Monthly Mirror. RALPH THOMAS.
" IRISH FEARAGURTHOK " (9 th S. v. 108, 174, 234). In the first part of a very interesting little book entitled "Capt. Cuellar's Ad- ventures in Connacht and Ulster, A.D. 1588/ A Picture of the Times, drawn from Con- temporary Sources. By Hugh Allinghara, M.R.I.A.," &c. (Elliot Stock, 1897), at p. 18, appears the following :
" The Feclr-Gortha, or Hungry Grass, is believed to grow in certain spots, and whoever has the bad luck to tread on this baneful fairy herb is liable to be stricken down with the mysterious complaint. The symptoms, which come on suddenly, are com- plete prostration, preceded by a general feeling of weakness ; the sufferer sinks down, and, if assist- ance is not at hand, he perishes. It is believed that if food be partaken of in the open air, and the fragments remaining be not thrown as an offering to the 'good folk,' that they will mark their dis- pleasure by causing a crop of hungry grass ' to arise on the spot and produce the effects described. Fortunately the cure is as simple as the malady is mysterious! Oatcake is the specific, or, in its absence, a few grains, of oatmeal. The wary