Saturday, 13 October 2012

Holsworthy Parish Church

Ecclesiastical  Curiosities
Edited William Andrews (1899)
Project Gutenburg
© Godric Godricson
In 1885, Holsworthy Parish Church was restored; during the work of restoration it was necessary to take down the south-west angle of the wall, and in this wall was found, embedded in the mortar and stone, a skeleton. The wall of this part of the church had settled, and from the account given by the masons it would seem there was no trace of a tomb, but on the contrary every indication that the victim had actually been buried alive—a mass of mortar covered the mouth, and the stones around the body seemed to have been hastily built. Some few years ago the Bridge Gate of the Bremen city walls was taken down, and the skeleton of a child was found embedded in the foundations.

The practice of our masons of putting the blood of oxen into mortar was no doubt in the first instance associated with the idea of a sacrifice; however this may be, the blood had no doubt a real effect in hardening the mortar, just the same as treacle, which has been known to be used in our days. The use of cement when any extra strength is needed has put aside the use of either blood or treacle in the mixing of mortar.

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