button to main menu  Gents Mag 1865 part 1 p.28

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Gentleman's Magazine 1865 part 1 p.28

  Furness Abbey

Effigy of a Deacon, Furness Abbey

page 24:-
A paper by M. H. Bloxam, Esq., read at the Warwick meeting of the Archaeological Institute, July 26, 1864.
page 28:-
... ...
I only know of one other sepulchral effigy of a deacon in this country. That is a mutilated recumbent effigy in relief among the ruins of Furness Abbey, Lancashire. This is somewhat rudely, at least formally, sculptured in relief from a block of lias or limestone, and from the hardness of the material the artist has altogether failed to give anything like effect or breadth to the drapery. The head has been broken off, the body of the effigy is represented vested in an alb with close-fitting sleeves, the alb is represented in parallel puckered folds. In front of the alb near the skirt, in front of the feet, appears the parura, or apparel. The cuffs of the sleeves are also covered with parures or apparels, but these are quite plain. The alb is girt above the loins by a girdle, "cingulum, seu zona, seu baltheus," the tasselled extremities of which hang down to the apparel or skirt of the alb. This is the only instance I have met with in the sepulchral effigy of an ecclesiastic in which this vestment, the girdle, is apparent. From the wrist of the left arms hangs, in somewhat oblique position, the maniple; and crossing diagonally from the left shoulder to the right hip, and thence falling straight down by the right side, with both extremities hanging down, is worn the stole. In front of the body a book is held with both hands.
The slab out of which this effigy has been sculptured is coffin-shaped, wider at the upper part than the lower, and I should infer is of the fourteenth century.
This effigy at Furness Abbey is illustrative of that at Avon Dassett, for the mode of wearing the stole over the left shoulder, with the extremities hanging down on the right side, was peculiar to the office of deacon, and is alluded to by Durandus, who, in treating of this office, tells us that the stole was placed upon the left shoulder, "supra sinistrum humerum stola imponitur." The book represented is evidently that of the Gospels, for the same writer tells us that when the deacon was ordained there was delivered to him a stole, and the book of the Gospels: "Dyaconus cum ordinatum traditur sub certis verbis stola et codex Evangelii." In a Manuscript Pontifical in my possession of the latter part of the fifteenth or early part of the sixteenth century, but which does not, probably, materially differ from the Pontificals of an earlier age, the bishop at the ordination of a deacon is represented as putting the stole over the left shoulder of the deacon and adjusting it under his right arm: "Hic Episcopus sedens cum mitra ponit stolam supra humerum sinistrum, reducens eam sub alam dextram," &c. He, the bishop, is also represented as delivering to the deacon the book of the Gospels: "Hic tradit episcopus librum Evangeliorum."
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