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article in a treaty of Peace, but, also, of a political Conference between Edward III, and David JI., King of Scotland.
For our knowledge of the first of these facts we are indebted to the industrious author of the Introduction to the “ Calendars of ancient Charters," who discovered a Writ of Privy Seal, dated at Bordesly, July the 1st, 1328 (being shortly after the treaty with Scotland was signed), and directed to the Abbot and Convent at Westminster, wherein the King, (Edward III.) after reciting that “ his Council had, in his Parliament held at Northampton, agreed that the Stone whereupon the Kings of Scotland used to sit at the time of their Coronation, and which was then in the keeping of that Abbot and Convent, should be sent to Scotland, and that he had ordered the Sheriffs of London to receive the same from them by indenture, and cause it to be delivered to the Queen mother," commands the Abbot and Convent “ to deliver up the said Stone tɔ those Sheriffs, as soon as they should come to them for that purpose."* Notwithstanding this command, it is clear that the Coronation Stone never was given up, although many ancient records, jewels, and muniments were actually delivered to the Scots, in pursuance of the Treaty.
The eleventh head of the Conference held at London between Edward III. and David, King of Scotland, in
* Ayloffe's Calendars," p. 58. Introduct. Ex autographo penez Decanum et Capitulum West.
the year 1363, is thus breifly detailed by Dalrymple: “ The King, after having been crowned King of England, to come regularly to the kingdom of Scotland, and to be crowned King, at Scone, in the Royal Chair, which is to be delivered up by the English. The ceremony of the coronation to be performed by persons whom the Court of Rome shall depute for that purpose.
»* Even this agreement remained equally unfulfilled with the former one, and the Stone was still permitted to retain its place in St. Edward's Chapel, and it has ever since continued there.
This venerable Stone is placed within the framework of the Chair, beneath the seat, and has at each end, a circular iron handle affixed to a staple let into the stone itself, so that it may be lifted up. It is of an oblong form, but irregular; measuring twenty-six inches in length, sixteen inches and three quarters in breadth, and ten inches and a half in thickness. As far as can be ascertained from inspecting it in its present inclosed situation, it bears much resemblance to the Dun-stones, such as are brought from Dundee in Scotland, and used for various purposes. It is a sandy, granular stone, a sort of debris of sienite, chiefly quartz, with light and reddish-coloured felspar and also light and dark mica, with probably some dark green hornblende, intermixed: some fragments of a reddish-grey clay slate, or schist, are likewise in
* Annals of Scotland, rol. ii. p. 155. VOL. II.
cluded in its composition.* -On the upper side, (but hidden by the seat of the Chair) there is also a dark brownish-red coloured flinty pebble, which, from its hardness, has not been cut through, though immediately crossed by the indent above-mentioned.
Tradition intimates, as we have seen, that this Stone was originally brought from Egypt, and it is a remarkable fact, when mineralogically considered, that the substances composing it accord, in the grains, with the sienite of Pliny, the same as Pompey's pillar at Alexandria, but the particles are much smaller. Geologists will perhaps determine how far this may agree with any formation succeeding the sienite in the Egyptian quarries.
It will be seen by the foregoing particulars with what little precision or correctness, in a descriptive point of view, our ancient historians have mentioned this Stone. Fordun calls it " a Marble Chair, carved with ancient art by skilful workmen;" and again,“ a Marble Stone, wrought like a chair.” Boece styles it
a Chair of Marble,” and “ the Fatal Marble ;" Hemingford, “a Stone made concave like a round Chair;" Knighton, a Stone whereon the Scotish Kings were wont to be placed at their coronations;" Walsingham,“a Stone used for a Throne;” Matthew of
* The writer was favoured with the above mineralogical description of the Stone, by the late Mr. Sowerby, who accompanied him to the Abbey Church, for the parpose of examining its composition.
Westminster, “a Tribunal, or Royal Seat;” Bishop
“ Leslie, “ a Marble Chair;" and Holinshed, "a Chair of Marble” and “a Marble Stone :” Buchanan alone, though he errs in calling it “ a Marble Stone,” has, with due propriety, attached the epithet “rude or unwrought." Among the moderus who have fallen into similar inaccuracies, is the laborious Carte, who styles it “ the famous Stone Chair,” and Dr. Henry, who calls it “ the Fatal Chair." It is obvious, however, that all the above writers refer to the same object, and what that really is, the preceding description will clearly testify.
The Coronation Chair is composed of oak, and is still firm and sound, though much disfigured by wanton mutilations and the effects of time. The mode of its construction so decidedly accords with the general character of the architecture of Edward the First's reign, that no hesitation could be felt by any one conversant with the subject, in ascribing it to that period, even were there no document extant to support the conjecture. Whatever may have become of the original chair in which Kenneth is reported to have had tlie Stone inclosed, and which does not appear ever to have been brought into England, it is certain that the present Chair was purposely made for the reception of this highly-prized relique of ancient customs and sovereign power. This fact is rendered evident by the 6 Wardrobe Accounts” of Edward's time, which have been published under the direction of the Society of Antiquaries. Among the entries of the year 1300.
. are the foilowing particulars relating to “a step"
which had been recently made "ad pedem nova Cathedra in qua Petra Scocie reponitur."
"To Master Walter, the painter, for the costs and expenses incurred by him about making one step at the foot of the new Chair (in which is the Stone from Scotland), set up near the altar before St. Edward's Shrine, in the Abbatial Church at Westminster, in pursuance of the order of the King in the month of March, and for the wages of the carpenter and painter for painting the said step, and for gold and divers colours bought for the painting of the same, together with the making of one case for covering the said Chair, as appears from the particulars in the Wardrobe Book, 17. 19s. 7d." ""*
The resemblance of this Chair to the mode of architecture prevalent in our first Edward's time, is particularly observable in the forms of the heads and turns of the pannelled arches which ornament the back and sides; and it was equally so in the shields which formerly surrounded the frame-work of the seat. It is a wide elbow Chair, with a flat seat, immediately under which is the " Prophetic Stone:" this rests on a kind
*It would appear from an official warrant copied into Walpole's "Anecdotes of the Arts," vol. i., that Master Walter, the painter, presumed to be the same artist who decorated the Chair, had been employed by Henry III. (Anno 1267), to paint the King's chamber in the palace at Westminster; and there can hardly be a reasonable doubt but that he was also employed on the decorative works then carrying on in the Abbey Church.