There are, possibly, many bone-houses in England. I have seen two of considerable extent, one at Ripon Minster, the other at Rothwell Church, in Northamptonshire; and at both places skulls and thigh bones were piled up, in mural recesses, with as much regularity as bottles in the bins of a wine-cellar. At Rothwell there was (twenty years ago) a great number of these relics. The sexton spoke of there being 10,000 skulls, but this, no doubt, was an exaggeration; and he gave, as the local tradition, that they had been gathered from the neighbouring field of Naseby. A similar story prevails at Ripon, viz. that the death-heads and cross-bones, which are arranged in the crypt under the Minster, are the grisly gleanings of some battle-field.
Now, if these, and other like collections, were really made after battles which took place during any of the civil wars of England, some details would not be unworthy of the notice of the picturesque historian; e.g., was it the custom in those unhappy days to disinter, after a time, the slightly-buried corpses, and deposit the bones in the consecrated vault?—or was this the accidental work of some antiquarian sexton of the “Old Mortality” species?—or was the pious attention suggested by the ploughman’s later discoveries—
“Agricola, incurvo terram molitus aratro,” &c.?
Any report from the places where there happen to be bone-houses, together with the local tradition assigning their origin, would I think, throw light on an interesting and rather obscure subject.
Ecclesfield, Dec. 31. 1849.
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CONTRADICTIONS IN DON QUIXOTE; AND QUERY AS TO THE BUSCAPIE.
In answer to the question of “MELANION” (in No. 5 p. 73.), it may be sufficient to refer him to the Spanish editions with notes, viz. that of Pellicer in 1800; the 4th edition of the Spanish Academy in 1819; and that of D. Diego Clemencin in 1833, where he will find the discrepancies he mentions pointed out. In the first edition of 1605 there was another instance in the same chapter, which Cervantes corrected in the edition of 1608, but overlooked the other two. It was one of those lapses, quas incuria fudit, which great writers as well as small are subject to. Clemencin laughs at De los Rios for thinking it a chracteristic of great geniuses so to mistake; and at the enthusiasm of some one else, who said that he preferred the Don Quixote with the defects to the Don Quixote without them.
Having answered one query, I presume I may be permitted to propose one, in which I feel much interested.