Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Darrington Church and foundations

Ecclesiastical  Curiosities
Edited William Andrews (1899) Project Gutenburg
© Godric Godricson

A foundation sacrifice is suggested by the following curious discovery, reported in the Yorkshire Herald of May 31st, 1895: “It was recently ascertained that the tower of Darrington Church, about four miles from Pontefract, had suffered some damage during the winter gales. The foundations were carefully examined, when it was found that under the west side of the tower, only about a foot from the surface, the body of a man had been placed in a sort of bed in the solid rock, and the west wall was actually resting upon his skull. The gentle vibration of the tower had opened the skull and caused in it a crack of about two-and-a-half inches long. The grave must have been prepared and the wall placed with deliberate intention upon the head of the person buried, and this was done with such care that all remained as placed for at least 600 years.”

The majority of the clergy in the early part of the Middle Ages doubtless would be very strongly imbued with all the superstitions of the people. The mediƦval priest, half believing in many of the old pagan customs, would allow them to continue, and it is both curious and interesting to notice how heathenism has for so long a period lingered on, mixed up with Christian ideas.

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