the superior wealth and refinement of the Kentish Saxons ; and
show how much they had profited by Roman art and artists.
The most novel feature in Mr. Gibbs's collection, and
to which I direct your especial attention, is the fine ornamented
plates, with rings and other appendages: they appear to have
decorated the harness of a sumptuously caparisoned horse, which
there is every reason to suppose was interred with the body of its
master, doubtless a thane of distinction. Before the ancient
Germans had been much influenced by intercourse with the Romans,
and when cremation was more generally practised, we find that
burning the war-horse was occasionally one of their funeral
ceremonies. Tacitus1 observes, " sua cuique arma,
quorundam igni et equus adjicitur;" and the practice was
continued down to a late period: traces of it indeed remain to the
present day. Of course only persons of wealth or eminence could
afford to make such a costly sacrifice.
The glass vessels comprise the more ordinary
varieties which are found in Saxon graves. Bare as they are now
become, they must have been in general use among the Saxons,
although, from the fragile nature of the material, they are seldom
preserved entire, except when graves are excavated intentionally
and with great care. It is said that in past times so many of
these cups were taken from graves at Wodensborough, near Sandwich,
that on one occasion they were used at a harvest-home in a
neighbouring farmhouse for beer-glasses. An example of the
exceedingly rare type, of which varieties are given in plate xlv.
of the 'Inventorium Sepulchrale,' for many years did duty upon the
tea-table of a Kentish lady as a sugar-basin. Although these
vessels, like most of the Saxon remains, are of so peculiar a
fabric and character that they cannot be mistaken for Roman, yet
it is easy
1 De Mor. Germ., cap. xxvii.