# Surrey Archaeological Collections/Volume 1/The Kingston Morasteen

III.

THE KINGSTON MORASTEEN.

A PAPER READ BEFORE THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE SURREY ARCHÆOLOGICAL SOCIETY, HELD AT KINGSTON, JUNE 30, 1854; WITH ADDITIONAL NOTES.

By WILLIAM BELL, Phil. Dr. and Honorary Member.

The inauguration of the Royal Coronation Stone at Kingston, by which the inhabitants and contributors have done themselves so much honour, and our early history good service, induces me to offer a few remarks on its significance and early use, deduced from corresponding memorials in various and widely-distant countries, and from the observances concerning those at very remote intervals, some of which survived till within a comparatively recent period.

That stones must necessarily, in the earliest ages of society, have served as seats; that some of a particular form, or in a peculiar situation, were gradually elected from the mass as the royal throne of princes and kings, whence, when the pontiff and kingly character were united, they were deemed holy, and afterwards shed the halo of their sanctity on everything around, or in contact with them, is but the natural and gradual march of the human intellect from things common to select—from select to sacred and divine. The meteor-stones that had been observed to fall from heaven—the Bethulia[1]—had an additional, perhaps to the savage mind an inevitable, cause of reverence, which in many cases, as in the Caaba[2] of Mecca, or the misshapen fragment worshipped as a deity at Edessa,[3] and transferred by Heliogabalus to Rome with unbounded reverence and unlimited expense, received honours more than human—they became themselves the deities: and when Sanconiathon teaches that the worship of these Bethulia was invented by Cœlus, he but personifies the visible heavens, and ascribes to the voluntary act of giving, a necessary operation of nature. So rooted did this practice become in the East, that the two ideas of stones and worship, or divinity, became almost identical. The Hebrews frequently used the terms as synonymous, when we find them giving the name of stone or rock to kings and princes—even to God himself, as the Rock of Israel, where the stone metaphor was intended to convey as much of sanctity as of security or endurance. But in Jacob's prophetic death-voice on the fates of his sons, the progenitors of the twelve tribes (Genesis xlix. 24), Joseph is called "the Shepherd and the Stone of Israel," in more direct and unmistakable allusion.

Dating the practice from these Bethulia, on which it would have been impious to alter a line, or detach a particle from the surface, the greater sanctity of stones rude, and in their natural forms, before those tooled and fashioned by hands, most probably took its rise; and in pity to the weakness and prejudices of human nature, Jehovah himself was expressly particular and authoritative in denouncing the use of squared or sculptured stones for the pure altars of his worship (Deut. xxvii. 5): "And thou shalt build the altar of the Lord thy God of whole stones: thou shalt not lift up iron upon them;" or, according to the received version, "Thou shalt not lift up any iron tool upon them." And, concurrently (Exodus xx. 25), "And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone; for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it." And, certainly, the earliest practice of that nation was with deference to the precept (Joshua viii. 30—32): "Then Joshua built an altar unto the Lord God of Israel in Mount Ebal, as Moses, the servant of the Lord, commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses: an altar of whole stones, over which no man hath lift up any iron." The law of the twelve tables at Rome had an injunction remarkably similar—Rogam asciâ ne polito; where the injunction, though only mentioning the funeral-pile, included all the component parts, of which the altars to the Lares and funereal gods were the principal; and as these customs or laws were a bequest from the primeval Etruscans, it may be questioned whether the precept was older in Palestine or in Italy.

That the original intention of placing stones was by designing them as objects to consecrate the place and make it holy, the earliest mention of them may prove. In Genesis xxviii., after Jacob had seen the glorious vision of the ladder, he exclaims, on awaking (v. 16, seq.), "Surely the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not; and he was afraid, and said: How dreadful is this place: this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for an altar, and poured oil upon the top of it. And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father's house in peace, then shall the Lord be my God; and this stone which I have set for a pillar shall be God's house."[4]

The transition was easy and natural from consecration to the Deity to an inherent sanctity and sacredness which was intended to be reflected from these commemorative stones to the fictions or facts of which they had become the witnesses and the testimony; and therefore circles or heaps of stones were put up in favourable localities wherever it was judged advisable to perpetuate the remembrance of deeds worthy of such record. The Scriptures, which are inestimable, even if only as the special records of the earliest history, detail these compacts and their evidences, in their account of the covenant entered into between Jacob and Laban (Genesis xxxi. 44): "Now therefore come thou, let us make a covenant, I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee. And Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar. And Jacob said unto his brethren, Gather stones; and they took stones, and made an heap: and they did eat there upon the heap." Now, the placing the stones in a circle does not appear clear from this description; yet the next instance cited almost necessarily involves the stones being placed, if not round a common centre, at least in a symmetrical order: "And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the Lord spake unto Joshua, saying, Take ye twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man; and command ye them, saying, Take ye hence out of the place where the priests' feet stood firm, twelve stones; and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging-place where ye shall lodge this night: that this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? then shall ye answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord when it passed over Jordan. The waters of Jordan were cut off, and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever." Cairns, or monuments of the dead, were raised by piles of stones, loosely thrown over the body of the deceased, and increased by each passer-by adding another to the heap. Such a cairn is mentioned over the burial-place of the king of Ai, whom Joshua, when he sacked and burnt the city, "hanged upon a tree until eventide;" and the practice has continued in the Alpine countries, where stones are plentiful, from these older periods to the present; or where a cross upon a mound has Christianized, and marks the spot on which, to banditti, an avalanche, or other misfortune, a human being has fallen a victim. It is not solely in Holy Writ, nor on the plains and heights of Palestine, that evidences of similar practices are to be found. All Europe is full of them; and on the authority of the American journals, examples of rude stone circles, which in Europe would be called decidedly Druidical, are not wanting to increase the enigmatical conformities between the eastern and western hemispheres. The obelisks set up by the Incas in Peru (vide Aglio's plates), like the Devil's Arrows at Boroughbridge (vide Drake's "Eboracum"), or the French Chaise à Diable ("Bulletin Monumental," vol. x. p. 462), can but resemble Jacob's pillar of stone in material and purpose; and round circles of stones can be matched in every quarter of the globe.

It is to be lamented that Chardin, in his account above quoted, is not more particular in his description, particularly as to the number of stones in the circles he saw. They were, however, duodecimal, which, from the easy manner in which it was produced by the reiteration of the earliest mystical number four times, or the double of the first perfect number (2 + 2 = 4) three times, was in all religions the favoured complement of priests, and thence of rulers. The twelve tribes of Israel may have been a fortuitous and happy agreement; and the twelve Amschapands of Zoroaster are repeated in the twelve Cabiri of Greece. The most ancient liturgy of Italy, the Etrurian, was administered by twelve Lucomani; and no doubt of an equally primeval origin was the institution of Odin's twelve Diars (angels), or Drottnas (lords), as they are called by Sturleson, in the passage already cited for the twelve seats which surrounded the Upsala Morasteen. The fixing this rule of numbers had great influence on the legislation of our Saxon ancestors; or brethren. In the Code of the Ripuarians,the duodecimal noun, and its multiples and divisions, form a principal feature; for a contested matter of from 3 to 100 sous, six jurors were necessary; for one from 100 to 200, twelve; for 300, thirty-six; and for the large amount of 600 sous, nothing less than 72 deciders was thought satisfactory. This number entered largely into the calculations of romance; the twelve Paladins of Charlemagne, the twelve sons of Aymon; and in our country, the twelve Knights of Arthur's Round Table, are but a few specimens, where even the ingenuity and finesse of fiction conformed itself to the popular numeration. If I did not feel that this part of my subject was running into exuberance, I might here, after Grimm and Lappenberg, show how this duodecimal numeration, in its divisions and multiples, had a remarkable influence in governing the Saxon annalists in fixing the dates of the Saxon events. That these uniformly occur in the reiteration of the multiples of four, must tend to cast serious doubt upon their general authenticity; for nature, and the natural course of events, are too various and free to be confined by such artificial rules; but fiction is continually reproducing itself. If the reader take in hand the Anglo-Saxon annals, he will find the following remarkable coincidences, among many, to bear out the assertion. In the eighth year (4 x 2) after the arrival of the Germans,the Britons led four large armies, under four leaders, to Crawford, in Kent, against Hengist and Osc, his son. Eight years later, in 465, Hengist and Osc collected an unconquerable army, which was drawn up in twelve (3 x 4) noble lines, against the whole force of Britain. After eight years more, Hengist and Osc achieved a new victory over the Britons. On the fortieth (10 x 4) year after his arrival, and the sixteenth (4 x 4) after this battle, Hengist dies, and afterward Osc ruled twenty-four years (6x4), to the end of a cycle of eight times eight years from the first arrival of the Saxons in Britain. In the year 568 (71 x 8) Ethelbert is mentioned, as well as two immediate successors, who each ruled twenty-four (6 x 4) years. These are sufficient to prove the frequent introduction of the favourite unit, and to throw doubts on our earliest annals, for analogous reasons to those by which Sir Isaac Newton was first induced to suspect the authenticity of the first books of Livy and the oldest periods of Roman history; an idea afterwards so satisfactorily followed up by Niebuhr. That, however, the first impulse of the inquiry did not originate with Sir Isaac Newton, or with Niebuhr, seems apparent from the following extract from Spence's Anecdotes, published by J. W. Singer, London, 1820, p. 109:—"The first four hundred years of the Roman history are supposed to have been fabulous, by Senator Buonaroti; and he gives several good reasons for his opinion. He suspects that Borne in particular was built by the Greeks; as Tarentum, Naples, and several other cities in Italy were." These instances are introduced in this place, to prove in our kingdom the prevalence of the duodecimal system; and it will now remain to apply it to the aggregation of the stone circles remaining in Britain, as far as their imperfect preservation will permit.

It seems, in the first place, most reasonable to admit that the great palladium of our laws and constitution—the trial by twelve jurors[7]—was the most enduring and important continuance in this ancient reverence of the duodecimal number of rulers and usages. The most perfect Druidical circle at present in Britain, and perhaps at the same time (possibly from this very circumstance), also unique, is in Cumberland, near Keswick; and its peculiarity consists in having, within a circle of fifty unhewn stones, at its eastern end, an inclosure or sanctum, in the form of a parallelogram, formed by twelve stones, four at the west end, and four north and south, with one larger than the rest in the centre towards the east, which may fairly be considered to be the Mora-stone, with the twelve subordinate seats, as at Upsala, and the large circuit for the surrounding general assembly. Opportunities have not yet been afforded me for examining the other stone circles of the kingdom with this view. But in his account of the Morasteen in Sweden, Camden mentions a similar one at St. Burien, in Cornwall; and another also may be found in Borlase's description of that county; and as these sacella, or such sanctum sanctorum, are the normal form in the remaining Druidical circles in Mecklenburg, and the marks of Brandenburg, we may infer that if our own were more perfect at Rollrich, in Oxfordshire; at Stanton Drew, in Somersetshire; at Averbury; perhaps even if Stonehenge itself were intact; that this was the general ground-plan of all such places of Druidical assemblage and worship. This supposition granted, our Kingstone stone would be only one of a smaller circle of thirteen, surrounded by a larger outer girth of somewhat indefinite but frequent multiple of four. The Rollrich stones were originally 60 (4 by 15), and the Keswick ones, if rightly counted, and not including the two required to complete the sacellum, are 48 (4 by 12). In Ireland, tradition at least has preserved a perfect image of a Morasteen in superlative grandeur. I am not aware whether the existing remains are confirmatory. The principal circle of stones in the land of Erin was the Crum-Cruach, on a hill in Breferi, a district of the county of Cavan. Here was an obelisk, wholly covered with gold and silver, in the midst of a circle of twelve stones, which were only covered with brass, on which were carved figures. The old Irish, we are told, on the election of their Tanaists, used to deliver a wand to him whom they intended to raise to that dignity, he having previously ascended a high stone; and as soon as he had received the wand, he descended, and turned himself round thrice forward and thrice backward. The inferior stones surrounding your own Mora-stone seem to have all vanished before the requirements of an increasing population, and the improvements in the construction of our dwellings. But a reverence deeply seated in the minds of the people must have kept the principal and kingly stone from profanation or destruction; and the sacred purposes to which it was appropriated seem attested by tradition and history,[8] as it is thus amply confirmed by the reasons we can adduce from past ages, and by farther comparison with similar existing monuments near at hand. As these, as well as their immediate neighbourhood, are curious and continually illustrative, their explanation will be here not misplaced.

The first of them which I adduce, is the famed London stone, the last fragment of which is now preserved within a stone pedestal, walled into the south side of St. Swithin's Church, in 'Cannon-street. This stone has undergone many changes of situation, as I learn from a note in Thorn's edition of "Stowe's Chronicles," Lond. 1842, 8vo. p. 84. It formerly stood on the opposite or south side of the street; was in 1742 removed to the edge of the kerbstone on the north side; and in 1798, incased, at the instance of Mr. Thomas Marden, printer, of Sherburn-lane, by the parish officers, as it is now seen. Its fortune seems as various nearly as these migrations; but the weight of Camden's opinion seems to have united all suffrages in looking upon it as a central milliarium, whence all the Roman itineraries were measured, as from a common starting-point. Without stopping at present to discuss various objections to such an assumption, and taking such a destination as admitted, there would be nothing incompatible with such purpose in supposing this stone, or at all events one on its place, to have been a primeval object of veneration to the people whom the Romans found in the island at their first invasion under Cæsar. That the trunk-walled Burg of Cassivelaunus, and his Trinobantes proper,—firmissina earum regionum civitas ("Cæsar de Bello Gall." lib. v. c. 16),—should have been without such place of assemblage, required by their customs, social and political, and hallowed by its ancient prestige of sanctity, is inconsistent with history, particularly when we here meet with a stone whose memory has been kept alive in an under-current of tradition and veneration amongst the people till a very recent period. The tenacity with which the earliest impressions of religious deference live in all ages, and all people, might assure us of the probability; and an undoubted proof of its surviving to the age of our immortal dramatist, seems to me to be unequivocally found in his works, and will be carried down, if rightly understood now, to the latest posterity. Based, perhaps, upon a tradition or chronicle older than Holinshed, in the Second Part of "King Henry VI.," act iv., we have as scene 2, the following:—"London: Cannon-street. Enter Jack Cade and his followers.—He strikes his staff on London Stone—Now is Mortimer lord of this city, and here, sitting upon this stone, I charge and command that, of the city's cost, the pissing conduit run nothing but claret-wine the first year of our reign. And now henceforward it shall be treason for any that calls me other than Lord Mortimer." Short as this speech is, coupled with the stage direction now, of striking the stone, it gives us all the usages we have heard of as to other Morasteens, and all the various indispensable requisites of a coronation. The sanctity of the place, the striking the stone, a burlesque of the regal defiances at Presburg, and still practised by the sovereign at the ceremony of dubbing a knight—which, as Pennant remarks, had been a customary way of taking possession—the being placed on the stone upon which his recognition as a prince and sovereign is to follow; all are ample testimonies of the intention. Stowe, in his Annals, produces many instances where this stone is mentioned in documents as early as Athelstan, as a kind of landmark, and for "the payment, tendering, and making of debtors to their creditors at their appointed days and times, till of later times payments were more usually made at the font in Paul's Church, and now most commonly at the Royal Exchange." These would assure us of its sanctity, as temples were used by the Romans for many pecuniary transactions; and as we here find them transferred to the interior of a Christian church, until the greater convenience of the continental bourse, introduced into Great Britain by Sir Thomas Gresham, carried them more appropriately to the secular edifices, as at Bristol, where old brass font-like tables still exist for the obsolete purpose of money -changing, in front of their new exchange, the very intent of which is indicated by its name. But we have direct evidence that the title of supreme magistrate of the City was taken from this stone. In the Rotuli Curiæ Regiæ, edited by Sir F. Palgrave (1835, vol. i. p. 12), some conspirators are made to say, "Come what will, in London we will never have another king except our mayor, Henry Fitzailwin, of London Stone." This would more satisfactorily account for one of Stowe's attempts at giving the origin of the monument, according to some opinions. His words are: "Some, again, have imagined the same to be set up by one John or Thomas Londonstone;" but the honest and acute chronicler very justly adds, "but more likely it is that *such men have mistaken the name of the stone, than the stone of them;" so that though very near the truth, he has not exactly ascertained it. He brings the facts of no person actually so named. The reasons he mentions are purely conjectures: he has mistaken evidently a consequence for a cause.

This may at present suffice for determining the oldest rites and purpose of the Kingstone in Surrey; and as the architect is often forced to collect from scattered relics of a building the form and outline of its various parts when perfect, so here, in ascertaining the ancient rites and ceremonies with which our fragment was connected, it was necessary to compare it, and the legends or memorials concerning it, with those of other countries and distant ages; and it does not seem too bold an assumption, that it was originally a sacred Morasteen, placed beside twelve others in a larger surrounding circle of various multiples of twelve; that it was peculiarly consecrated, and served as the inauguration-stone, or throne, at the election of a chief, perhaps an arch-Druid, or pontiff king, on which he was seated to receive the homage and acclamations of the multitude, at a period long previous to the invasion of Britain by the Roman arms, and which imagination may stretch to an era equivalent with the oldest of the Etruscan polities, perhaps as early as the very first immigrations of the aborigines who set their foot on the verdant isles of the West, migrating from the cradle of mankind, the plains of Shinaar, in the far East. The latest and most circumstantial account of this Morasteen is contained in Mr. W. Chambers's "Tracings of the North of Europe," contained in his own Edinburgh Journal, Feb. 6, 1850, p. 100. He says: "I left it [Upsala] on the ensuing* morning (Sept. 7), and at an early hour drove to a spot noted in the history of Sweden. In this country, it must be observed, the elective principle has always been, to some extent, maintained in connection with the monarchy. During the ages preceding Gustavus Vasa, kings and administrators were frequently appointed by popular assemblies. These assemblies usually took place at a certain spot a few miles from Upsala. There the king, or administrator, standing on a stone, swore to observe the law of his kingdom towards his people. In the course of time these stones, inscribed with their respective histories, accumulated to a considerable number; and at length, in 1770, Gustavus the Third built a small pavilion over them for their protection. To this pavilion, which bears the name of 'The Morastenar,' I was driven in less than an hour. It stands on the wayside, under a hill, in a country otherwise undistinguished. I found the stones, all of them much worn, ranged along the floor, while an inscription round the ceiling detailed the names of the personages elected, with the dates of their elections, from Steen Kit, in the year 1060, to Steen Sture, in 1512. It is curious, that both the kings of Scotland and the Lords of the Islands were, in ancient times, invested with sovereignty seated or standing upon a stone." The best view of them is an engraving in Dahlberg's "Suecia antiqua et hodierna," vol. i.—"Delineatio loci amœni et antiquitatis venerabilis, ubi veteres Sueci et Gothi reges suos eligebant, et in facti memoriam lapides incisos relinquebant, vulgo dicti Morasteen."

1. Bethulia, Βαιτυλια.—This word is not found either in the classic Grecian or Latin authors, and yet its use may be traced in the quotation of Damascius in Photius's Library, and in Hesychius, who deduces it from βαιτη, pellis, because he thinks it took the name from the stone which Saturn devoured instead of Jupiter being enveloped in a skin. A more simple and probable derivation is from the Hebrew בית a house, and אל the Lord, the literal interpretation of Jacob's stone pillow. In this Bochart, Scaliger, Selden, and Bompart concur; and it is not, therefore, to be wondered at that nations who boast the possession of such stones, claim them as the identical block which Jacob sanctified by pouring oil upon it, and giving its locality this designation. The Mahommedans, as one cause of their reverence of the Caaba, trace it back to this origin; and so do the Irish and Scotch, for the stone now under the coronation-chair in Westminster Abbey, it being brought by some of the regal family of Jerusalem, after the first destruction of that city, and lodged within Tara's princely halls, whence it migrated with the Scoti, who took possession of Scotland, to Scone, till it was taken as a trophy by Edward the First to his own capital.

Some of these meteoric stones are met with of immense and almost incredible size. In the British Museum is a portion of one which fell at Otumbo, in Central America, estimated to have weighed fifteen tons, as described by Don Rubico de Cilis. This fragment weighs fourteen hundred pounds: but according to Southey, one fell at Durango which far surpassed even this enormous mass, as described by Gaspar de Villagra, in Historia de la Nueva Mejico. The common resource of ignorance and fear, to deem everything uncommon, supernatural, is found equally active in undiscovered America as in the East. The Aztec tradition fabled that a demon appeared to two brothers who were leading a horde of ancient Mexicans in search of a new country: she told them to separate, and threw down the block of iron which she carried on her head, to be a boundary betwixt them.

It is true, Humboldt's observations reduce this weight very considerably; but even his authentic data of nineteen hundred myriogrammes leave sufficient room for the wonder and worship of an ignorant people. The soldiers of Cortez found on the Pyramid of Cholula a meteorite divinely worshipped as an immediate gift of the Sun, much the same as Sanconiathon tells us in the passage of the text, the Βαιτυλια· λιθους εμψυχους επενοησε Θεος Ουρανος.

2. Caaba.—In Sale's Translation of the twenty-second chapter of the Koran (4to, London, 1734, p. 276) we find this expression:—"Call to mind when we gave the site of the house of the Kaaba for an abode to Abraham, saying, Do not associate anything with me, and cleanse my house from those who compass it, and who stand up and who bow down." The translator in a note seems to intimate that the future structure was shown to Abraham in a vision, though wilder legends make it a structure of Paradise taken up against the Deluge into heaven, and again let down in favour of the confiding patriarch.

Its principal sanctity would, however, be undoubtedly derived from the stone, whose blackness indicates its meteoric origin, though Moslem tradition ascribed its colour to a cause that would eminently contribute to the perverseness of the faithful, and the necessity of pilgrimage.—Ibid. p. 117.

"The celebrated black stone which is set in silver and fixed in the south-east corner of the Caaba, being that which looks towards Bafra, about 2⅓ cubits from the ground.—This stone is exceedingly respected by the Mahommedans, and is kissed by the pilgrims with great devotion. They fable that it is one of the precious stones of Paradise, and fell down to earth with Adam, and being taken up again, or otherwise preserved at the Deluge, the angel Gabriel brought it back to Abraham. It was at first whiter than milk, but grew black long since by the touches of so many wicked mortals; as the superficies only is black."

It is doubtful, however, whether this latter assertion rests upon any critical examination; and the conformity of legend betwixt the Caaba as a building, and the stone, leaves little doubt as to their identity, or an early veneration of the stone by the Sabean votaries of Arabia prior to Mahommed. This it was prudent to conceal under the authority and sanctity of Abraham; and the mighty Hobal (vide Sale's Koran, cap. 22, p. 276) was the presiding deity of the Pagan sanctuary, and the guardian of its worship.

This conjecture, that the stone, rather than the building, was the more especial object of sanctity, is proved by the testimony of Codinus (edit. Lambec, Paris, p. 29):—

"Thesaurum Deum Arabes maxime colunt cujus simulacrum est lapis quadrangulus non figuratus, quatuor pedum altitudinem, duarum latitudinem, et unum profunditatem habens. Collocatum vero est supra basim inauratam. Huic sacrificiunt, sanguinemque victimæ profundunt: hoc enim illis prolibamento est. Tota ædes ejusque parietes ex auro sunt, et plurima illic offeruntur donaria. Habet ejus simulacrum colitque Petræ Arabiæ civitas."

It is remarkable that in "Kosmos," Humboldt, whilst treating on meteoric stones, does not mention the Caaba.

3. Heliogabalus.—See Gibbon, cap. vi.—"The Sun was worshipped at Emesa under the name of Elagabulus, and under the form of a black conical stone, which it was universally believed had fallen from heaven on that sacred place. In a solemn procession through the streets of Rome, the way was strewed with gold dust; the black stone, set in precious gems, was placed on a chariot drawn by six milk-white horses richly caparisoned. The pious emperor held the reins, and, supported by his ministers, moved slowly backwards, that he might perpetually enjoy the felicity of the divine presence. In a magnificent temple raised on the Palatine mount, the sacrifices of the god Elagabulus were celebrated with every circumstance of cost and solemnity. The richest wines, the most extraordinary victims, and the rarest aromatics, were profusely consumed on his altar. Around the altar a chorus of Syrian damsels performed their lascivious dances to the sound of barbarian music, whilst the gravest personages of the state and army, clothed in long Phœnician tunics, officiated in the meanest functions with affected zeal, and secret indignation.

"To the temple, as to the common centre of religious worship, the imperial fanatic attempted to remove the Ancilia, the Palladium, and all the sacred pledges of the faith of Numa. A crowd of inferior deities attended in various stations the majesty of the god of Emesa; but his court was imperfect till a female of distinguished rank was admitted to his bed. Pallas had been first chosen for his consort; but as it was dreaded her warlike terrors might affright the soft delicacy of the Syrian deity, the Moon, adored by the Africans under the name of Astarte, was deemed a more suitable companion for the Sun. Her image, with the rich offerings of her temple as a marriage-portion, was transported with solemn pomp from Carthage to Rome; and the day of these mystic nuptials was a general festival in the capital and throughout the empire."

4. This stone which I have set up for a pillar.—It must have been a very common practice amongst the Israelites to inaugurate their rulers at such stones. Their scanty annals give us some remarkable instances. Thus when Abimelech was made king (Judges ix. 6), it was "by the pillar which was in Sechem;" and of Josiah it is said (2 Kings xxiii. 3), "And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the Lord;" and of Joash, when proclaimed king by Jehoida (2 Chronicles xxiii. 11), "And Jehoida and his sons anointed him, and said, God save the king. Now when Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and praising the king, she came to the people into the house of the Lord, and she looked, and behold the king stood at his pillar at the entering in, and the princes and the trumpets by the king, and all the people of the land rejoiced."

It was a felicitous idea of Mr. J. H. Parker, F.A.S., of Oxford, in a paper read to the Architectural Society of that city in 1852, that Gilgal, Bethel, and Mizpeh were circles of stones for assembling the people at the regular circuits of the judges, similar to our assize-towns. He says the Hebrew word Gilgal (גִּלְגָּל) signifies literally a round stone, but in the opinion of Hebrew scholars may very well signify a circle of stones, and consequently be but the prototypes of Stonehenge, and the circle near Keswick, &c. The late periods to which assemblages were made within them in Britain and Brittany is also alluded to by Mr. Parker, referring to what Mr. Logan says of Crookem Tor, alias Parliament Arch, on Dartmoor, which has been used from time immemorial as a court of justice until quite recently; and seats are cut in the rock of the Tor for the judge and jury. At Pue Tor, near the village of Stamford Spunney, is a large square apartment hewn out of the rock, which seems to have been used for a similar purpose. Cambden, in mentioning the Swedish Morastone, says there is one at St. Buriens, in Cornwall, exactly similar.

In Ireland, stone-pillar worship was widely extended, and continued to a very recent date, on which Sir J. Emmerson Tennent has an express treatise; this I lament has not come under my notice. A very fine one, eight feet high, is called Olan's tomb, at Aghabullogue near Cork, and depicted in the "Dublin Penny Magazine" (vol. iii. p. 384), much venerated by the peasantry, but principally remarkable for an Ogham inscription at the junction of two sides, the angle serving as the branch line. This, if decipherable, might lead to important results. Others are mentioned in "Notes and Queries" (vol. viii. p. 413).—For England, the Devil's Arrows, at Boroughbridge, are well known; less is one in Holderness, nearly over-topping the church close to which it stands: it has given its name of Rudstone to a village in Holderness. One of the most curious will figure as a headpiece to a chapter of Mr. Hillier's valuable History of the Isle of Wight now in progress;—it is called the Long Stone Chest. The village of Mottistone, close to which it stands, proves its purposes and the antiquity of our ancient moot-halls, and of our language; evidently the centre of a præ-Romanic Wittenagemote.

5. Ting-wald.—The most circumstantial account of this place, and the ceremonies connected with its judicature, is found in the Appendix to Douglas, Nenia Britannica, p. 172.
6. Scottish stone at Scone.—The legends connected with this famous stone are too numerous and contradictory to be either related or reconciled. It is certainly known to have been the stone on which the Scottish kings were inaugurated at Scone, near Perth, like the Palladium of Rome, of which Ovid (Fasti, lib. vi. 382) writes,—

"Imperium secum transferret ilia loci;"

and it was therefore but a measure of policy which induced Edward I. to transfer "it to his own capital, when he fancied he had reduced Scotland to a province of his English kingdom. Richard III. used it at his coronation, as it is no doubt meant in the extract which Mr. J. G. Nichols gives in his Life of Edward V. (Gent. Mag., March, 1855, p. 256). "Nor was Richard unsupported by others of the principal nobility. His brother-in-law, the Duke of Suffolk, supported his claim; and when he assumed the throne, by taking his seat upon the marble chair in Westminster,—a remarkable incident, recorded by the continuator of the Chronicle of Croyland,—he was supported by the Duke of Suffolk, as well as by the new Duke of Norfolk,—one on either hand." Here the being seated on this stone seems a necessary, possibly the most important, portion of the ceremony, as in Jack Cade's proceeding, noted in the text, and equivalent to what was generally considered in mediæval ages to attach to the possession of the regalia of each kingdom, or to the crown and mantle of St. Stephen in Hungary. Less fortuitous contingencies than this, on the accession of a Scottish prince to the English throne, have frequently had considerable effect on the temper of a people; and James I. may have owed much of his undisturbed succession after Elizabeth to this common belief. But whether the following verses existed in Scotland previously to his accession, or whether but a subsequent adaptation to the event, I have not been able to discover: they are—

"Ni fallat Fatum, Scoti hunc quocunque locatum,
Inveuient lapidem, regnare tenentur ibidem."

If Fates go right, where'er this stone is found,
The Scots shall monarchs of that realm be crown'd.

As her present most gracious Majesty can never divest herself, or her posterity, of her Scottish lineage through female descent, there can be therefore no doubt that the prophecy will never fail being accomplished.

7. The trial by twelve jurymen.—Nicholson, Preface to Wilkins's A.S. Laws, p. 10:—"D. H. Spelman ex adverso, duodecim virale judicium apud A. S. obtinuisse sat clarum putat; idque ex lege R. Ethelredi apud Venktingum lata; ut duodecim seniores Thani cum præposito prodeuntes supra sacra quae ipsis in manus traduntur, jurabant se neminem innocentem accusaturos, sonteni excusaturos."
8. Attested by tradition and history.—The historical documents which fix the locality for the crowning the Anglo-Saxon kings at Kingston, in Surrey, in preference to other places of the same name, are copious and convincing. In the Saxon Charters, edited by Mr. J. M. Kemble, it is mentioned, that in 838 a great council was held in the famous town of Kingston, in Surrey (No. 240). On a charter of King Edred (946) Kingstown is mentioned as the royal town where consecration is accustomed to be performed (No. 44); whilst a third charter, dated from "the royal town of Kingston," conveys numerous lands in Surrey (No. 363).

The number of kings crowned here, as recorded by Speed, is nine; two of which, however, are doubtful; and the committee, therefore, in the railing which surrounds the stone, have laudably restricted its claims to the seven royal personages who indisputably received their inauguration on it. They are—

 924 Athelstan, by Archbishop Aldhelm. 940 Edmund ${\displaystyle \scriptstyle {\left.{\begin{matrix}\ \\\\\ \ \end{matrix}}\right\}\,}}$by Archbishop Otto. 946 Edred,

All three sons of Edward the Elder.

 959 Edgar. 975 Edward the Martyr, his brother. 978 Ethelred II., brother of Edward. 1016 Edmund II.

The two monarchs less certain are—

 900 Edward the Elder, son of Alfred; and 955 Edwy, the son of Edmund.

But I see from a paragraph in the Surrey Standard, at the time the stone was placed in its present position, that this modest number was not generally satisfactory:—"We cannot but wish, as some historians mention nine kings as being crowned in this town, that the greater number had been adopted, particularly as no mention is made by any historian of the spot where the two discarded kings were crowned. But although their names do not appear on the block of stone, a monument will be erected to the memory of those two ill-treated monarchs by an old inhabitant of the town, who has espoused the cause of the old kings most warmly." The intention seems never to have been carried into effect.

9. Rhense means Ben- or Bun-au, a perfect translation of Bun-mead or meadow: au signifying in German any moist pasture or ground.
10. John O'Groat's House.—No view of this curious building exists. The only account I have been able to collect on it is a ridiculous legend in the "Beauties of Scotland," vol. v. p. 83. The following notice of Rhense may, therefore, be more acceptable, as no doubt very similar in purpose, if not in appearance: —

The Königs Stuhl (King's chair, Thronus imperialis) was a stone building, about four English miles from Coblenz, close to the Rhine and the small town of Rhense, at which formerly the kings and emperors were proclaimed on their election. They next took the prescribed oath, and could then take their appointed seat, and confirm the privileges of the several states; and they exercised their new sovereignty in dubbing some favourites as knights. The building was surrounded and shadowed by thick walnut-trees, and erected of squared stone in a heptagon, with seven arches, and is supported on nine pillars, one of which upholds the centre. These seven arches form openings, by which the interior may be entirely inspected, and support a vaulted roof, and are raised sixteen steps above the level of the ground: two towers on each side are either for defence or molestation; and the entire circumference is about forty ells, its diameter about thirteen, and its height nine and a half. Within are seven stone seats, for the then seven electors; the situation being chosen for its contiguity to the territories and residences of the three spiritual and the Palatine elector. The municipality of Rhense had some privileges, renewed in 1521, for keeping the building in repair. Three emperors—Henry VII., 1308; Charles VI., 1340; Ruprecht von der Pfalz, 1400—owe their elevation, and the throne of Charlemagne, to an election on this spot; and here also Wenceslaus was, at the general cry of indignation and abhorrence through the country, solemnly and justly deposed. Its open walls have echoed to many a hot debate amongst the princely voters: the important Chur-Verein was here discussed and decreed; and of still greater progress in the cause of social security was it when here was put an end to all the intestine wars and feudal broils throughout Germany, by the Landfrieden. So late as the latest decennium of the fifteenth century, Maximilian I. was induced to respect and keep up the charter by dubbing a knight within the building after his election at Frankfort, on the road to his coronation at Aachen. But the transference of the former ceremony to that free city lost Rhense its respect and the maintenance due from the neighbouring towns; it had crumbled almost to a ruin when the armies of revolutionary France approached the Rhine: their enmity of everything regal caused them to root up even the foundations, and, as much as in them lay, to destroy every trace of its previous history and recollections. Luckily, representations and plans of the original building existed, with sufficient patriotism in the archæological body of a neighbouring town to collect funds to rebuild it in 1848, exactly according to the original plan; and it was thought a fortunate conjuncture at the period, that the erection was ready for inauguration on the 18th May, 1848, the day of the opening of what was then hailed as the first great Parliament "für ein freies vereimgtes Deutschland." The augury seems to have been bad, as thence date a more confirmed rule of autocracy, and a greater opposition of the different states than ever.

It is not generally known, however, even in Germany, that this site of the King's Chair is not the original one. In Annalen für nassauischen Alterthumskunde (zweiter Band, 11tes Heft, p. 89), a previous locality is claimed for Erbenheim, near Wiesbaden, and Bodman's Rheingauische Alterthümer, p. 95, are quoted; that it stood there in the open field in a very pertinently named King's hundred (Kuniges undra); and on and near it a celebrated diet of the empire was held in 1235. Rhense was built in the twelfth century, and after that the older locality fell into decay and was demolished, and the stones used to build a watchhouse.

11. Besides Kingston Bagpuze, the following English "Kingstons" deserve the study of the antiquary.
Kingston Blount, a liberty within four miles of Tetsworth.
Kingston Deverill, in the hundred of Mere.
Kingston Leste, hundred of Shoreham, Berks.
Kingston Seymour.
Kingston Wenterbourne, Dorset, and six villages of the same name.
Kingstone parish, seven miles W.S.W. of Hereford.
Kingstone, in the also suggestive hundred of Kingshamford, Kent.
Kingbury, formerly a royal mansion at Dunstable.

At Wilton, in Wilts, it is said, in a description of the place as the chief seat of the British prince Caer Cnlon, we find that the spot where the electors chose him is still marked by a large stone in the warren.

12. Athelstan.—It may be incidentally mentioned, that this perhaps common princely name amongst the Anglo-Saxons is itself highly suggestive of the holy stone on which they were inaugurated.
13. Vide "Shakespeare's Buck and his Folk'slore, illustrated from the Superstitions of all Nations, but more especially from the earliest Religion and Rites of Northern Europe and the Wends," printed for the Author.