BY THE REV. E. L. BARNWELL.
DURING the visit of the Association to the Isle of Man, in 1865, a visit was made to Malew Church, which the Rev. J. G. Cumming considers a good specimen of the older Manx churches. There is nothing very remarkable about the building, except a roof of the thirteenth century, and a small rude granite font of uncertain date. The church, however, possesses certain articles of church furniture of unusual interest, namely, a silver paten, a bronze crucifix, a portion of a staff covered with brass, and a curious bronze article, described in some of the guide-books as an extinguisher.
The paten is represented in the cut, from a careful drawing and a rubbing; for the latter of which the Association is indebted to Mr. Adcock of Birmingham. The face has a some what rude, archaic appearance, probably arising from a deficiency of artistic skill; but the other details clearly point to the early part of the fifteenth century. The legend is, SANCTE LUPE ORA PRO NOBIS; thus confirming, according to Mr. Cumming, the derivation of the name of the church (Malew) from "Ma", saint, and "Lupus"; as Marown, a neighbouring parish, is so called from "Ma-Rooney". St. Lupus was bishop of Troyes.
The second object is a bronze crucifix. On reference to the adjoining cut it will be seen that the lower part of the body is enveloped in a folded garment, secured at the hip by a ring or button. This garment has not the appearance of ordinary drapery. The upper portion of the body is covered with a vest with sleeves concealing the arms, perhaps no farther than the fracture, a little below the elbow; for,unfortunately, the figure has lost the extremities of the arms and legs. The vest is so short that the middle of the body lies exposed between the two vestments, an unusual arrangement. It is stated that, anterior to the eleventh century, the body of Christ was covered with a sleeved mantle; while during that and the following century, the lower part only of the body was concealed by a short jupon. The present example appears to have been a kind of combination of the two practices. The elongated head, of Byzantine character, the crown of twisted rope, and the position of the legs, which were not generally crossed until the thirteenth century, are all indications of the age of the crucifix, namely, the twelfth century. The peculiar, triangular form of the cross, ornamented with a kind of bead, and the four streams of blood descending down the forehead, should be noticed.
The portion of a staff covered with brass is called in some of the guide-books a candlestick, to which, however, it bears no resemblance. It may be the remains of the shaft of a processional cross; or, what is not unlikely, it may be connected with the very singular article (see cut) which has hitherto been called an extinguisher, although the small apertures clearly shew it was nothing of the kind, in spite of its tapering form. Some present during the visit conjectured it to have been the cover of a thurible of very unusual type; but the phlanges at the lower part shew that it had been permanently fastened. The conjecture of the Right Rev. Dr. Goss, however, no doubt solves the question satisfactorily, who thinks it must have been the top of a lantern suspended from a pole, and borne before the priests while conveying the host to sick parishioners. The shape, the holes, the phlanges, all combine to render this supposition very probable; and it is not impossible that the fragment of the staff just mentioned, may have been a portion of the pole to which the lantern was suspended. There is a certain similarity in the ornamentation of both articles, shewing that they are nearly of the same date, which may be as early as that of the fourteenth century; but the pattern is of that simple character which is not easily assignable to any particular period.
Mr. Cumming, in his excellent Guide, mentions an ancient chalice; which was not, however, exhibited at the time. It is described as being very small, little larger than what is used at present for private Communion. A legend, however, is connected with it, according to the marvel-loving Waldron, who tells us that the fairies once gave to a benighted traveller on barule, a cup, which the then parson of Malew persuaded the lucky traveller to hand over to his church; and which, according to Waldron, was used as the chalice in his time. But however this may be, the island is fortunate in possessing a very fine chalice, probably of the fourteenth century, which is here given. It belongs to Jurby Church, and is copied from a drawing kindly lent with the other drawings by the Rev. J. Simpson of Douglas. (See plate.)
It is very satisfactory to know that these various relics are properly valued, and carefully guarded, by the clergymen of the two parishes. Those of Malew Church were until lately kept in a box under the pulpit; but have since been properly removed to the house of the present incumbent, whose refusal to the members of the Association, on that occasion, to let them be removed for a night, for the purpose of being drawn, was as determined as commendable. However, the difficulty was met by the kindness of Mr. Simpson in lending the Association his own drawings, the accuracy of which will be at once recognised by those who examined the objects themselves on the occasion of the Meeting.