Canon F.E. Warren recently reported
to the Suffolk Institute
of Archaeology that while he was dining at a friend’s house he saw
two chalices on the table.
[Illustration: Fourteenth-century Coffer in Faversham Church, Kent From Old Oak Furniture, by Fred Roe]
[Illustration: Flanders Chest in East Dereham Church, Norfolk, temp. Henry VIII From Old Oak Furniture]
Another cause of mutilation and the vanishing of objects of interest and beauty is the iconoclasm of visitors, especially of American visitors, who love our English shrines so much that they like to chip off bits of statuary or wood-carving to preserve as mementoes of their visit. The fine monuments in our churches and cathedrals are especially convenient to them for prey. Not long ago the best portions of some fine carving were ruthlessly cut and hacked away by a party of American visitors. The verger explained that six of the party held him in conversation at one end of the building while the rest did their deadly and nefarious work at the other. One of the most beautiful monuments in the country, that of the tomb of Lady Maud FitzAlan at Chichester, has recently been cut and chipped by these unscrupulous visitors. It may be difficult to prevent them from damaging such works of art, but it is hoped that feelings of greater reverence may grow which would render such vandalism impossible. All civilized persons would be ashamed to mutilate the statues of Greece and Rome in our museums. Let them realize that these monuments in our cathedrals and churches are just as valuable, as they are the best of English art, and then no sacrilegious hand would dare to injure them or deface them by scratching names upon them or by carrying away broken chips as souvenirs. Playful boys in churchyards sometimes do much mischief. In Shrivenham churchyard there is an ancient full-sized effigy, and two village urchins were recently seen amusing themselves by sliding the whole length of the figure. This must be a common practice of the boys of the village, as the effigy is worn almost to an inclined plane. A tradition exists that the figure represents a man who was building the tower and fell and was killed. Both tower and effigy are of the same period—Early English—and it is quite possible that the figure may be that of the founder of the tower, but its head-dress seems to show that it represents a lady. Whipping-posts and stocks are too light a punishment for such vandalism.