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108


NOTES AND QUERIES. [9 th s. ix. FEB. s, 1902.


" ROOF-TREE." What is the origin of this ? LEIGH MORRIS.

[" Two pairs of bent trees, in form resembling the lancet-shaped arches of a Gothic church, were set up on the ground, and united at their apexes by a ridge-tree" (Addy's 'Evolution of the English House,' p. 27). We recommend the purchase of this book, which appeared in 1898, as a volume of the "Social England Series" of Messrs. Swan Sonnen- schein & Co., price 4s. Qd. It is full of information on such subjects.]

FUNERAL FOLK-LORE. What is the origin of the notion that a path or road along which a corpse is carried on its way to burial becomes thereby a public highway, if it was not one before 1 This doctrine seems to be widely held. D. C. I.

[See 4"' S. xi. 213, 285, 374, 433 ; xii. 96, 158 ; 5 th S. x. 49, 197.]

STONING THE WREN. I should be glad if any of your readers could tell me in what parts of England the custom of stoning wrens to death is carried on on 26 December, also if any one would give me a full account of this ceremony. N. W. OSBORNE.

[See 6 th S. x. 492 ; xi. 58, 177, 297. Consult also Croker's ' Researches in the South of Ireland ' and Dyer's 'British Popular Customs,' and you will find what you seek.]

" SKIRRET." Is this word associated with the craft of Freemasonry ? I am informed that in gardening it is applied to a reel with cord for aligning paths, beds, &c. V.

BURKE'S VISITS TO MONMOUTHSHIRE. Mr. John Morley, on p. 10 of his 'Burke' (English Men of Letters," 1882 edit.), says of Burke's early years, " At the date of which we are speaking, he used to seek a milder air at Bristol, or in Monmouthshire or Wiltshire." Can any of your readers give me any in- formation as to Burke's visits to Monmouth- shire ? The local histories I have consulted do not mention any visits made by him to the neighbourhood, nor have I been able to glean any details from the works of Burke to which I have access. A. G.

14 SAULIES." What is the derivation of this old Scottish word, which was in use at the beginning of the seventeenth century and meant hired mourners at funerals'? The only suggested derivations which I have seen are the Anglo-Saxon sal, black ; the Gaelic sou, mockery ; and the Latin salve regmam It has occurred to mo that the appearance these men, dressed in black cloaks with hoods, and carrying drooping black flags or banners (" deule weedes "), may have sug- gested a resemblance to weeping willows, and that the name was derived from the


French word saule "un saule pleureur, un saule qui pleure" (Littre). Many Scottish words in use at the beginning of the seven- teenth century had French parentage. Sir! Walter Scott, in his 'Antiquary,' describes common "saulies" as miserable-looking old men clad with threadbare black coats, and tottering as if on the edge of that grave to which they were marshalling another ; but at funerals of the great there were sometimes as many as fifty " saulies," and these were of a better class. The Rev. Robert Blair, of Athelstaneford, in his poem * The Grave,' thus alludes to the hired mourners (I quote from my copy of the first edition, 1743) : But see ! the well-plum'd Herxe comes nodding on Stately and slow ; and properly attended By the whole Sable Tribe, that painful watch The sick Man's Door, and live upon the Dead, By letting out their Persons by the Hour To mimick Sorrow, when the Heart's not sad.

W. S.

KINGSMAN. George William Kingsman and Thomas Kingsman were admitted respectively to Westminster School in 1771 and 1775. Any information which would lead to their identification is desired. G. F. R. B.

ANTINOMIAN SECT. Mr. Havelock Ellis, in his useful work on 'The Criminal,' pp 125, 126 (Walter Scott, 1895), says :

" On the whole, we may conclude that the practice of the instinctive and habitual criminal corresponds very closely with the faith of that religious sect who in Commonwealth days held ' that heaven and all happiness consists in the acting of those things which are sin and wickedness,' and ' that such men and women are most perfect and like to God or eternity, which do commit the greatest sins with least remorse.' "

Can this peculiar sect be identified ?

RICHARD H. THORNTON.

Portland, Oregon.

GAZLAY FAMILY. Search is now being made for the birthplace of John Gazlay, an Englishman, who emigrated to America in 1717, and settled at Goshen, Orange County, New York. Family tradition, possibly erro- neous, attributes to him a Welsh origin. Major -General Sir Alfred Gaselee is of opinion that there is no possibility of relationship with his family, which deduces a descent from a Gaselee, possibly a con- tinental emigrant, who is found at Ports- mouth in 1G50. There is, of course, the village of Gasely, in Suffolk, to supply a place-name, and Sir Alfred Gaselee is so kind as to inform me of a family of Gazeley in England. I shall be very grateful for names and addresses of members of this family, or for extracts from church registers, or instances of the