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In other parts of Derbyshire coins have been found in considerable numbers, sometimes in connection with interments, but more commonly without. Beads have also occasionally been found. The one here engraved was found near to a
deposit of burnt bones in a barrow at Harley or Harlow Hill. It is of blue glass, and is of the most usual form of Roman beads.
Of the pottery alone of the RomanoBritish period, sufficient interesting matter to fill a couple of goodly volumes might easily be written. It will, there
fore, be easily understood that in a paper like the one I am now drawing up, which is simply intended to be a descriptive sketch of the contents of Derbyshire gravemounds, any account of the different kinds of ware made by that people, and of the modes of manufacture which they adopted, would be not only unnecessary, but, to some extent, out of place. Those who desire general information upon the Samian ware, the Durobrivian pottery, and the pottery of the Upchurch marshes, cannot do better than refer to, and study, the three excellent articles on those wares which have already appeared in the pages of The INTELLECTUAL OBSERVER from the pen of my friend Mr. Thomas Wright, which will be found to give them all the information they can desire. The Roman cinerary urns found in Derbyshire are mostly of the usual globular form, and of a dark bluish-grey colour in fracture. They are somewhat coarse in texture, and are thrown on the wheel. Other varieties, both in form, in colour, and in material, however, occur, as will be seen from the following examples and descriptions. The first engraving exhibits one of
the hard bluish-grey vessels I have just now spoken of. When found, it was like the others I am about to notice, filled with burnt bones. The next engravings show two urns containing human remains, the smaller one of which was found at Little Chester. It is formed of a black clay, mixed with
of broken shells—a kind of pottery much used for sepulchral purposes.
The larger urn, from my own collection, is of a hard and compact clay, and is beautifully “thrown” on the wheel. These examples are entirely devoid of ornament. The next example, also from Little Chester, is of a totally different
character. It is of a fine reddish-brown clay, and is ornamented with “ slip” in unusual
manner. It measures 3} inches only in
height, and the same in diameter at the mouth. When found, it was filled with burnt bones, among which were some small fragments of
bronze ornaments, which had evidently been burned along with the body. Along with this engraving I give, for the purpose of comparison representations of two other urns from different localities, which will be seen to be of the same general form as the one I have described, although differing from it in ornamentation and in colour of clay.
In the regular cemeteries of the Romano-British period, the cinerary urns were usually surrounded by a group of vessels of various forms, sizes, and uses, which probably had orginally contained wine, unguents, aromatics, etc. Among these, vessels of various makes are found, and occasionally a Samianware cup, a patera, or a bowl. Although in Derbyshire no such regular cemetery has as yet been uncovered, vessels, and fragments of vessels have been found at Little Chester, and other places, along with cinerary urns, which leave no doubt that the usual arrangement obtained in that county, as well as elsewhere. Some of the pottery found appears to be of what is properly described as Romano-Salopian ware—a ware made in Shropshire from its native clays from the valley of the Severn. Examples of Samian ware, too, have been found, but this very seldom, and then only in fragments.
In, at all events, one or two instances of Derbyshire interments, examples of what used to be absurdly called Kimmeridge coal money, but which are, in fact, nothing more or less than the refuse pieces of shale from the lathe of the Roman turner, have been found. Fragments of personal ornaments of the same material have also been discovered.
Enough has now, perhaps, been said to give a general insight into the sepulchral remains of the Romano-British period, as found in Derbyshire. My next chapter will, therefore, be devoted to those of the Anglo-Saxon era.
(To be continued.)
SIR ISAAC NEWTON.
(With a Fac-simile of his Writing.)
BY JOSEPH NEWTON, H.M. MINT.
In introducing the name of the eminent man whose discoveries and deductions in reference to the law of gravitation have recently formed the theme of an exceedingly interesting, and warmly waged controversy, it is not intended to re-open the questions which were at issue between the several controversialists. The reputation, and the merits of Sir Isaac Newton have been ably and successfully defended from the assaults made upon them, and have emerged from the wordy conflict not only untarnished and undiminished, but heightened and enhanced. Were the results, indeed, otherwise, the writer of the present paper wouid still hesitate before taking part in a discussion which others are so much better qualified than he to sustain. Since, however, the claims of Sir Isaac, as a scientific discoverer have been conclusively established, it may be of interest to inquire into some of his actual works, to demonstrate the practical character of his mind, and to reproduce, as it were, his handwriting and signature, whilst occupying an important post in the State.
For a long series of years the elucidator of the law of gravitation held high office in the Royal Mint of Great Britain, and it is matter of tradition that the establishment in question never had a more assiduous or energetic officer. He was appointed Warden of the money manufactory then existing within the Tower of London, in the year 1695, and in the reign of King William III. This happened to be a remarkable period in the annals of that establishment, for the whole of the monies current in England were then called in and re-coined. In order to defray the expense of the operations, and to cover the loss arising from an immense quantity of counterfeit coin being at the same time taken out of circulation, the device of a window-tax was first employed in this country. Mr. Newton was so successful in his conduct of the important task of remodelling the coinage, that the work was completely effected in the course of four years, and it was admitted that he had, by the introduction of improved mechanical appliances, and of other economical arrangements, saved the country, during that period, no less a sum than £80,000.
His services were duly recognized by the government, and in 1699 Mr. Isaac Newton was gazetted as Master and Worker of the Royal Mint. In the post of Warden his salary and fees amounted to £600 per annum, but as Master they were augmented to about £1,500. From this period forward to the year 1727, when his death took place, Newton continued to fulfil the duties of this latter office. Those duties were complicated to a very considerable extent by the existence of a body of men within the mint, known as the Corporation of Moneyers, and who assumed to themselves, and actually exercised the power, of controlling the executive department of the Mint, independently of the Master. This kind of imperium in imperio, as may be imagined, gave great trouble to the supreme governing authority of the establishment. It constituted a state within a state, and it made laws which frequently clashed with those framed by the Master. The Moneyers claimed to be descendants of the oldest officers on record in the Mint, namely, those of Ethelbert, first King of Kent, and who flourished A.D. 561. They stated that the first coin on which the name of a Moneyer appeared was that known as the sceatta of Egbert. They traced their pedigree, or their succession, through the Moneyers of the kings of the West Saxons, those of the monarchs of the East Angles, of the kingdom of Mercia, and so on, to the time of William the Conqueror. It was asserted by them that their progenitors were the sole persons mentioned as connected with the Mint, either in the Doomsday-book, or in any of the laws of the Anglo-Saxons. Further, they adduced evidence that the
custom of placing the name of the monarch on the one side of the coin, and that of the chief moneyer on the other, was continued up to the time of Edward I.
Without tracing at greater , length 'the history of this remarkable company,* it may be stated that in Newton's time it consisted of eight members, governed by a senior officer, dignified with the title of Provost, and sundry apprentices. These latter were, up to the year 1827, nominated by the Moneyers themselves, and were usually selected from their own family connexions.
Mr. Newton was a jealous protector of his own privileges, and gave his orders as to the management of the Mint with great decision and perspicuity. In order to convey an exact idea of the mode in which his wishes were forwarded to the Moneyers, and at the same time to furnish a veritable example of his caligraphy, a fac simile of an instruction given to the Provost of the period, Mr. John Braint, is annexed. The original is endorsed, by the hand of Mr. Braint, as an “ Order for Alterin ye edging ye money–1700.”
It will be observed that the Master of the Mint has written his order in the most explicit manner, and in that bold but peculiar hand which once seen is not likely to be mistaken. There is no doubt whatever of the genuineness of the document, of which the plate is a most truthful tran. script. The original was carefully preserved by the Corporation of Moneyers, until 1851, when their tenure of power, and their supposed prescriptive right to coin the monies of this realm ceased. It was then handed to the writer of the present notice, and in his possession it has remained until now.
It has been stated that Newton was promoted to the post of Master and Worker of the Mint, in 1699; and those who are curious about minute points in connection with such matters will note that the newly-made officer was very nearly
The pages of" Ruding's Annals of the British Coinage" are full of information on the point. The Company ceased to exist in 1851.
† Sir Isauc Newton, in the year 1713, attempted to alter this arrangement, and to obtain the power of nominating apprentices himself. He failed, however, in accomplishing that object, and was not even permitted by the then autocratic Corporation to interfere in their selection of apprentices in any way. An entry in the journal of the Company throws a light upon the subject, and illustrates the position of the Moneyers at this time. It runs as follows :-“Some conversation having taken place between Sir Isaac Newton (the Master of the Mint) and the Company of Moneyers, respecting their taking apprentices according to their usual and ancient custom, the following question was put at a full neeting held in their hall on the 4th November, 1713, Whether the Master and Worker be asked for permisting the Provost and Company of Moneyers to take apprentices ?' Resolved, nem. con., that the Master never had any authority as to the permitting the Provost and Fellows to take apprentices, and that it is not reasonable to ask the Master his consent in the affuir, which course might be of ill consequence in the future.” Mr. Tierney, Master of the Mint in 1827, first broke this rule, and nominated in that year an apprentice.