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I so, much wish to see repaired in our universities. It now wants but a very few weeks ere I fhall have completed the twentieth year of my ministry, and notwithstanding all ntv labour, and all my ftudy, to accomplish what I have had to much at heart, the reading of our Liturgy with propriety and effect, I feel persuaded, that the advaniages to be reaped from the proposed infitution, would be greater than all I "have effected in this long period of time. Nothing can be more easy than to account for this. For want of being set in the right road at first, men of the first abilities very frequently get into many bad habits, and when their judgment ripens, they endeavour to correct their errors, though not without inconceivable labour and toil; and after all, may perhaps only exchange one bad habit for another, merely for want of a model which it would be safe and proper to imitate. Would not all these difficulties and errors be avoided by the proposed institution ? I am firmly persuaded they would. Let me hope then, Mr. Editor, that the heads of our universities will take this very important subject into their serious consideration, and that without delay.

It has been a continual theme of deelamation with the fectaries, and enemies of the established religion, that its offices are administered, and its Liturgy read in our churches, with a degree of listlessness and indifference which must necessarily create disgust, and contempt of thein, in those who hear them. Far be it from me, Sir, to join in thefe clamours aginst my brethren, which, in the sense intended to be put on thern by our adversaries, I am persuaded they by no means de. serve. Nevertheless, for the reason which I have just above ftated, it is doubtless very desirable that the present defi. ciency in the education of students intended for the Efta. blished Church should be done away as soon as poslible. The late Mr Garrick, that complete master of the science of elocution, is the only person, as far as my information carries me, that hath done any thing towards forwarding this desirable object, and he, I have been told, instructed privately a very few candidates for orders, in the proper reading of the church services, &c. &c. I have not, how. ever, ever heard that he printed or published any thing for the information of the public on this subject. It is much to be lamented that he, who was so capable of doing this, had not turned his mind to it in a regular and methodical manner, and afterwards given the result of his labours to the public. If your worthy correspondent should be unable to effect the establishment of his proposed Ritual Profeffor. Thip, which, for the honour of our Universities, I hope they will ere long institute, it would surely be a mode of employ. ing himself greatly to the advantage of the established religion, (which I think he has always very much at heart,) if he would offer such a valuable present as this to the world. ! : Wishing every possible success to your valuable Miscel.


· I am, Mr. Editor,
Your faithful, and obedient

humble Servant, is

THOMAS COMBER. , Creech St. Michael, March 18, 1808.

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THE circumstance of a Russian prince having been a be-

1 nificed clergyman in the English Church is so extraordinary, yet certain, that the following account, chiefly extracted from Walker, and the Biographia Britannica, will no doubt be acceptable to many of your readers. .. . .

Nikepher, or Nicephorus Alphery, was descended from a branch of the Imperial line of Russia, and with two of his brothers (who both died of the small pox at Oxford) was taken to England at the close of the sixteenth century, by Mr. John Bidell, a Russian merchant. The occasion of their removal hither, was the revolution which broke out in Russia on the death of the czar John Basilowitz, in consequence of which their lives were in danger. The subject of this sketch, as well as his brothers, was educated at Oxford, but whether he took any degrees there does not appear. It is most probable that he did, as he entered into priest's orders, and in 1618, was inducted to the small living of Wooley in Hùnt ingdonshire, the yalue of which is under ten pounds in the King's Book,


It is confidently said by Dr. Walker, and that upon suffi. cient authority, that he was twice solemnly invited to return to his own country to take the government upon him, which fplendid offers he rejected, and preferred a retired life in Eng. land to the magnificence of a powerful throne. About the year 1643, he was dispossessed of his vicarage by the Presbyterian fačtion, in the following manner ; “On a Lord's day, as he was preaching, a file of inusqueteers came and pulled him out of the pulpit, turned him out of thechurch, and his wife and eight children, with their goods, out of the parsonage house. The poor man, in this condition, found means to erect a hut, or booth, over against the vicarage, under the trees in the churchyard, and there he lived a week with his family. He had, just after he was ejected, procured some eggs, and gathered a bundle, of rotten sticks, and was about to make a fire in the church to : boil them; when his mean and merciless enemies came, broke his eggs, and kicked away the fire. Afterwards, Mr. Alphery made a small purchase, and built a house, in which, he and his family lived some years; and then he removed to Hammersmith, where he resided with his eldest son till the restoration, when he recovered his living. But being now very old and infirm, he returned again to Hammersmith, and died there full of years and honour, highly respected by his parishioners and all his connections. Mrs. Alphery, the Iaft descendant of this family, married one Mr. Johnson, a cutler at Huntingdon. She was living in 1764, and had eight children. By her, the above facts were confirmed to the late Lord Sandwich, who told Dr. Campbell that such was the respect paid this woman on accout of her illustrious descent, that no person would fit down in her presence, on the contrary, they always rose and remained fo, till she had taken her chair.

I am, &c. HISTORICUS. . .


[From Mr. Pennant's Tour into Wales.]

IN church, at the name of the Devil, an universal spitting 1 seized the congregation, as if in contempt of that evil spirit; and whenever Judás was mentioned, they 'expressed their abhorrence of him by smiting their breasts. .


Religious Ceremonies of the Welch in Former Times. 201

If there was a Fynnon Vair, the well of our Lady, or any other saint, the water for baptism was always brought from thence; and after the ceremony was over, old women were very fond of walhing their eyes in the water of the font..

Previous to a funeral, it was customary, when the corpse was brought out of the house and laid upon the bier, for the next of kin, were it widow, mother, sister, or daughter (for it must be a female) to give over the coffin, a quantity of white loaves in a great dish, and sometimes a cheese, with a piece of money stuck in it, to certain poor persons. After that, they presented, in the same manner, a cup of water, and required the person to drink a little of it immediately. When ihat was done, all present kneeled down; and the Miniter, if present, said the Lord's Prayer: after which, they proceeded with the corpse; and at every cross-way, between the house and the church, they laid down the bier, knelt, and again repeated the Lord's Prayer; and did the same when they first entered the church-yard. It was also customary, in many places, to sing psalms on the way; by which the still. ness of rural life was often broken into in a manner finely productive of religious reflections.

To this hour, the bier is carried by the next of kin; a custom considered as the highest respect that filial piety can pay to the deceased. This was an usage frequent among the Romans of highrank ; and it was thought a great continuance of the good fortune which had attended Metellus Macedonicus through his whole days, that when he had, in the fulness of years, passed out of life by a gentle decay, amidst the kisses and embraces of his nearest connections, he was carried to the funeral pile on the shoulders of his four fons; and let me add, that each of them had enjoyed the greatest offices of the Commonwealth.

Among the Welsh it was reckoned fortunate for the deceased, if it should rain while they were carrying him to the church, that his bier might be wet with the dew of heaven.

In some places it was customary for the friends of the dead to kneel, and say the Lord's Prayer over the grave, for several Sundays after the interment; and then to dress the grave with flowers.

It is still usual to stick, on the eve of St. John the Baptist, over the doors sprigs of St. John's Wort, or in lieu of it the common Mug-wort. The intent was to' purify the house from evil spirits ; in the same manner as the Druids were wont to do with Vervain, which fill bears with the VOL. XIV.


Welch Chm. Mag. March 1808.

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Welsh the significant titule of Cas gan Gythral, or the Dæmon's Aversion.

Upon Christmas-day, about three o'clock in the morning, most of the parishioners assernbled in church, and, after prayers and a sermon, continued there singing psalms and hymns with great devotion till broad day; and if, through age or infirmity, any were disabled from attending, they never failed having prayers at home, and carrols on our Saviour's nativity. The former part of the custom is still preserved; but too often perverted into intemperance. This act of devotion is called Plygan, or the Crowing of the Cock. It has been a general belief among the superfitious, that instantly

at his warning, Whether in sea or fire, in earth, or air, Th’extravagant and erring spirit hies

To his confine. But during the holy season, the cock was supposed to exert his power throughout the night; from which, undoubtedly, originated the Welsh word Plygan, as applied to this custom. Accordingly, Shakespeare finely describes this old opinion:

Some say, that ever 'gainst that season comes
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated,
The bird of dawning singeth all night long:
And then they say no spirit walks abroad :
The nights are wholesome: then no planets strike;
No fairy takes; no witch hath power to charm,
So hallow'd and so gracious is the time.

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