Elmet Tour II
"A Thousand Miles In Wharfedale" by Edmund Bogg 1892
THE River Wharfe rises some two miles and a half above Cutershaw, under Cam Fell, amidst rich scenes of solitude and moorland grandeur,
1,273 feet above the level of the sea. From its source to its junction with the Skirfere, a distance of some 12 miles, its fall is upwards of
600 feet, hence the reason of the rapid rise of this river in stormy weather.
The first twenty miles of its course is through mighty hills of rock, imparting to it a character savage and wild. After passing beautiful Burnsall the river sweeps its winding way past the Tower and woods of Barden and thence flows through and combines to form scenes sweet, beautiful, and grand, unrivalled in river scenery, onwards in sweeping curves, passing the old Abbey and its graveyard, where lieth all that is left of the warrior, priest, and crusader of centuries past. Further onward the river passes the fairy towh of Ilkley, with its many mansions and rich associations, ever onwards the beautiful Wharfe now glides through broad and fertile meadows, past ancient Otley and Harewood to Wetherby. After passing through the limestone cliffs and woods which shade the stream near Boston, the river now flows more gently through fertile fields, meadow, and copse, blooming in spring and summer time with sweet-scented wild flowers. Near its brink, nestling in the bosom of large trees, is the dear and sacred ivy-mantled church of Kyme. Beyond Tadcaster, the Cabana of the Romans, the river is tidal, and consequently more sluggish, rolling its way slowly onward through deep sedgy banks which, when nearing the junction with the Ouse, are covered with over hanging willows. In the wet season this part of the river is perhaps uninteresting, but still there are many quiet nooks where the lover of the picturesque may wish to linger, and many a spot which the antiquarian and student of history are loth to leave.
Sweet glen of beauty, famed in song and story,
Fair Obley, like a slumbering child, still lies
For all that poets love and painters dream Safe in the embrace of its eternal hills;
Still are thy bills crowned with a lasting glory, Whilst Wharfe low murmurs lover-like replies
Still fall thy shadows where bright waters
gleam. To the glad music of a thousand rills.
On Chevins side the slanting sunbeams rest, Oft through the mist of sorrow-laden years
Danfield is violet-scented as of old Thy beauty rises to my mental eye,
In Farnleys woods the ringdove builds its nest, Fair, fresh, and sweet, as though earth knew no
And Detitons slopes are bathed in sunsets gold. And man himself had not been born to die.
To thousands yet unborn this glorious stream,
These flower-gemd valleys new delight shall hung,
Haunting the memory like a heavenly dream
Of Eden glory, in its first glad spring.
Mrs. C. M. ROSE.
The Wharfe joins the Oüse about half-a-mile above Cawood. On the south bank stands, shaded on one side by fine trees, a house, which formerly was an inn, but now fast falling into ruins. Musing here, we can scarcely believe this to be the same river that, away in the mountain and moorland, dashes through narrow glens and rocky gorges, instinct with sparkling beauty, increasing in volume as it hurries onward, past mountain heath and verdant mead, ever useful, until at length, tired with its long race from the hills of its birth, it slowly enters the Ouse and swells into importance that river, along whose bosom vessels glide, carrying produce to other shores.
Whilst thus musing, like a flash, round the bend shoots out a thing of life, a small steamer, and in an instant the monotony of the scene is awakened. Mount the bank and look around and you find historic ground. Ten minutes walk brings us to Cawood; one mile north, on the opposite bank of the Ouse, is Stillingfleet, with its large spreading green of nearly 20 acres, through the centre of which flows a small stream; near its margin the cottagers cattle graze, flocks of geese gabble, and the village children romp and play at pleasure. Around the skirts of the green red tiled and rustic thatched cots nestle in orchards and garden. The grey church tower, peeping from amongst fine trees, puts the last touch to this charming scene, in our opinion, a model English village.
Stillingfleet derived its name, we are told by an elderly native, from a Danish fleet, in the 9th century, staying in the Ouse opposite, hence the name of Stilling fleet, or the staying of the fleet, the Danes then devastating the country round with fire and sword.
The interior and exterior of the sacred edifice
abound with interest, but the grand old oaken door, on which, we were told by a villager,
mony an houde Dene skin ad been nailed, is perhaps tho most
interesting. how many generations have passed throngh this doorway it would be diflicult
to tell, but we should think it must date from the 10th century. On it are several crude
symbols, in ironwork, representing Adam and Eve, the Ark, the Trinity, and others which
are rusting away from sheer age.
In the Moreby Chapel is the effigy of Sir William
Acclom, knight crusader, who fought, like many a gallant hero of olden time, for the
recovery of Jerusalem from the infidel. In the same chapel is a marble monument to the
memory of two sons and two daughters of a 16th century Sir William Acclom, a lineal
descendant of Sir William the Crusader.
On the south side is the remaining parts of the lepers window, through which
the priest gave spiritual advice, the leper not being allowed to enter the precincts
of the church.
THIS village stands on banks of the Ouse, some few
hundred yards below
the mouth of the Wharfe, yet much of the parish lies in the basin of
the latter river.
Cawood, renowned in history as once sheltering in adversity that great and ambitious churchman, Wolsey, also as being the place where the
celebrated feast was given by Archbishop George Neville, the brother of Warwick, the king maker. It was also a Roman station of some note. The old Roman ford crossed the river opposite the church, and many relics of those people have been found.
About the year 935 after the celebrated victory obtained by Athelstone over the combined armies of Northumbrians, Danes, and Scots, known as the Battle of Brunanburgh, Cawood Castle was given by the warrior king to Wulstan, as a home for the Archbishop of York. A very fine specimen of ancient gateway and tower of the castle still remains, also portions of mullioned windows, which are still to be seen in the old farm buildings. The meadow in front is still called the Bishops Close. Around the meadow, distinctly to be seen, are the remains of the moat which joined the river near the present bridge, erected in 1872.
What a series of historic scenes arises before our mental gaze as we think over the past history of this castle. In imagination we see the country around one vast forest, full of fens and marshy wastes, the rude dwellings of our remote ancestors stood on the higher ground adjoining the river, around which some rude and strong enclosure would be built, to protect them from the wild beasts of the forest, which at that distant time were numerous. To this region came Cassibellanus, the British king, who, after having first routed Caesar's army, was finally conquered by the legions of Rome. Seven years after the conquest of Britain this prince died, and was buried at York.
As time rolled on, our fancy sees the war galleys of Imperial Rome passing
this spot. That richly gilt vessel probably contains Constantine, the Emperor of the World, passing along the bosom of the old Ouse to York, the beautiful city
of conquering Rome, and the home of her emperors 1,800 years ago.
Cawood was the Roman station, midway between Castleford and Eboracum,
and the military road passing between, crossed the river near the present church.
The making of those great military roads, which opened communication throughout Britain, to some extent broke up the forest. Great tracts of land that had only been waste and dreary places were reclaimed, and were seen smiling with waving corn. Merchants from the East sailed up the Ouse in their vessels, bringing merchandise from all parts of the earth. As generations passed, the Romans gradually but surely lost their power, and finally disappeared from Britain. From the opposite shores now came several piratical tribes of Gothic origin, being invited in the first instance to stem and drive back to their native wilds hordes of barbarous tribes who were scouring this country in quest of plunder. Quickly the Picts and Scots were driven back to their mountain homes, but the fair country the strangers had delivered was in future to become their home. From friends they became invaders. Vessels filled with Pagans continually arrived from old Saxony, men fierce in the battlefield and strangers to the arts of civilization.
For a century the country was torn asunder by the miseries of war. This town, standing on the bank of the river, shared in the general ruin. The noble old city of York, with its palaces, temples, and splendid baths, fell into their hands and again became the home of kings and princes. Gradually the S embraced Christianity, and light and civiisation spread around; but after a season of light, when the fame of Anglo-Britain reached its zenith, under the guidance of such men as Bede, Wilfred, Egbert, and Alcium, there swept across this country a fearful wave of invasion. For generations hordes of pirates from Denmark and Sweden had come up the river, in their war galleys, leaving ruin and devastation in their track. Then might be seen the wreck of monasteries on the river side, and the plundering of churches, and the glare of burning town and city.
Cawood, standing by the river and in the track of the Danes, received its full share of storm and oppression, but from the time of the first Wuistan the castle and town gradually rose to great importance. The last invasion of the Sea Kings was in 1066. Entering the Humber and thence passing on the bosom of the Ouse, they landed at Ricall, near Cawood, from which place they swept the country around, leaving such havoc and ruin that a century was needed to repair, and to this day the old people of this district can. tell us many a legend about their ancestors fighting the savage Dene.
From the 12th to the 15th century this castle was the home or sheltered many of the noblest in church and camp.
The 3rd Henry and his Queen rested here awhile
when journeying to Scotland to visit their daughter Margaret, wife of Alexander the III.
Here dwelt Marguerite of France, second wife of the 1st Edward. During the time this old
warrior was fighting the Scotch, and when the storm and noise of war was hushed, we can
fancy the old monarch hastening to Cawood, to the society of his beautiful young bride. It
was from this time that the Castle rose to its greatest height of feudal grandeur. Here
gathered around the gallant king were the crusading knights of many an ancient house, who
had with stood the shock of arms when fighting the Saracens on the plains of Palestine,
and shared in all the dangers of the last groat crusade, and who afterwards followed the
banner of Edward into the wilds of Scotland.
The old tower now looks desolate in company with farm buildings, but let the curtain of five centuries roll aside, and the Windsor of the north stands forth in all it majesty; the walls are thick, and, in time of war, strongly guarded, and he who comes, in peace or war, passes over a strong drawbridge and thence through the watch tower to the castle; men-at-arms guard the massive gate day and night, the deep moat, full of dark water, its traces still to be seen, embraced three sides of the castle or palace, the other side the brown waters of the Ouse formed a natural protection; within this area is ample space for the accommodation of king, archbishop, knight and squire, men-at-arms, retainers, cooks, scullions, and every attendant necessary to uphold the dignity of a castle in the days of feudalism. Here would be held many a brilliant tournament, when earl and baron, knight and squire assembled from all parts to join in the honours of the tilting ring. At other times the baying of hounds and the trampling of horses can be heard, for the king is chasing the deer in Bishopwood (the wood of the bishops), at that time a forest of great extent, in which roamed herds of wild deer and other animals. The evening of the chase, when the banquet room is lighted with large torches and the chosen guests of the king are assembled, jesters, clad in fantastic garments, and minstrels make the hail resound with song and story.
Edward the II. and his Queen made Cawood their home on several occasions. After the Scottish victory over the English at Bannockburn the victors burst over Yorkshire with the fury of a whirlwind, carrying war and retribution to the very gates of York.
In 1319 Queen Isabella was again the guest of the Archbishop at Cawood, when two renowned Scottish knights, Douglas and Randolph, with a chosen body of troops, all lightly armed, and mounted on small but active horses, by a swift march burst through Yorkshire, with the hopes of making the Queen their prisoner,
but by a fortunate accident a Scot fell into the
hands of the English, and from him they received warning of the attack on Cawood.
Hurriedly collecting all the force York could furnish, by a swift march the Queen was
apprised of her great danger and brought to York and thence sent to Nottingham for greater
security, to the great disappointment o the Black Douglas and Randolph.
Hush ye, hush ye, little pet ye,
Hush ye, hush ye, do not fret ye,
The Black Douglas shall not get ye.
In 1464, George Neville, brother of the great Earl of Warwick, last of the barons and king maker, was elevated to the See of York, and it being customary for every incoming prelate to give a feast, Neville gave at Cawood the most sumptuous feast ever recorded in history. In the preparation of this great feast nearly 2,000 people were employed. The contents of the bill of fare were as follows : 104 oxen, 1,000 sheep, over 500 stags, bucks, and does, 400 swans, 2,000 geese, 1,000 capons,
200 pheasants, 500 partridges, 400 woodcocks, 100 curlews, 400 plovers, 2,000 chickens, 4,000 mallards and teals, 4,000 pigeons, 1,500 hot pasties of venison, 4,000 cold ditto; 2,000 hot custards, 3,000 cold ditto, besides some hundreds of tuns of ale and wine, with spices and delicacies.
Some years afterwards Neville was stripped of all his estates, arrested, and
cast into prison.
It was at this castle that Wolsey, that most famous of churchmen and prince of cardinals, found a home in his adversity. The story of his rise to the highest honours and dignities in the state and his downfall is a most instructive lesson in English history. Having incurred the displeasure of the king, he was constrained to deliver up the great seal of his office, and was ordered to his arciiiepiscopal residence at Cawooct, where he arrived in the autumn of 1530, and was received by the people most enthusiastically. By his courtesy and kindness he soon became a great favourite in the neighbourhood. After the work of putting the palace into repair he began to make arrangements for his enthronement in the cathedral at York, a ceremony which had never been performed, from the fact of his previous living and ambitious projects about the court. From the summit of his palace he could see the shrine where he hoped to be enthroned, rising in stately splendour above the old city, when only three days previous to his installation he was suddenly arrested on a charge of high treason by the Earl of Northumberland, and was forced to set out for London. So great a favourite had he become that the servants and country people would willingly have defend.ed him, but resistance was useless, his end was nigh. He was taken from Cawood, which he had learned to love, and, falling sick by the way, his spirit took its flight amid the sacred cloisters of Leicester Abbey. A few hours before his death he addressed those ever memorable words to Sir William Kingston, If I had served God as diligently as I have done the King, He would not have given me over in my grey hairs; however, this is the just reward that I must receive for my worldly diligence and pains; that I may have to do him service only to satisfy his vain pleasure, not regarding my godly duty.
In 1628, George Montaign, the son of a farmer at Cawood, had the greatest
honours of the Church conferred upon him, being made Archbishop of York, and
dwelling in the castle of his native town.
During the Civil War, the town and castle and surrounding parts were the scene of many skirmishes. In 1644, the castle was captured by Lord Fairfax. In 1646, the House of Commons decreed that the Castle of Cawood should be made untenable, and no garrison in future maintained there. After gradually falling to decay, much of its timber and stones were used in the building of the Palace of Bishopthorpe, now the residence of the Archbishop of York. With the exception of the gateway tower, and the remnants of mallioned windows in the farm buildings, nothing now remains of the stately palace, the home of the Primate of the North in the days of feudalism. In this place, where have dwelt many kings and queens, the lowly cattle are now fed and stabled, and where in former times were held sumptuous feasts, amid rich scenes of magnificence, is now a place in which corn is garnered and threshed. Yet though the old baronial days may be rich in story and tradition, let us hope that the future of Cawood will be brighter than the past.
Where have ye gone, ye statesmen great
That have left your home so desolate?
Where have ye vanished, king and peer,
And left what ye livd for lying here
Sin can follow where gold may not,
Pictures and books the damp may rot
And creepers may hang frail lines of flowers,
Down the crevices of ancient towers;
But what bath passed from the soul of mortal, Be it thought or word of pride,
Hath gone with him through the dim low portal,
And waiteth by his side. F. W. FABER.
In 1872 a fine iron bridge was built across the Ouse, which has been a great boon to the inhabitants of this district. Previous to the erection of this bridge the following incident occurred: One night the carriers wagon from York to Cawood was crossing the river by the ferry at the latter place, the usual mode up to that time. The night being wild and stormy, and the wind blowing with great force on the cover of the wagon, caused the ferry boat to become unmanageable, forcing it down the river, when coming in contact with a barge, the wagon full of people was thrown into the river; fortunately only one life was lost, viz., the carrier, who by giving up his only chance of life saved his wifes. A boatman came to the rescue of two people struggling in the river near to each other, who proved to be the driver and his wife, Bessie. Leaning over the side of his boat he got hold of both of them, and being unable to save the two, and finding his strength giving way, he said, Ah can only save yan, which es it to be? Save Bessie, was the noble answer from the drowning carrier, as he fell from the grasp of the boatman into the dark waters of the river; which, if I mistake not, never gave back his body. Over 20 years have passed since this sad accident happened, and Bessie is still alive.
The village of Cawood, with its brick dwellings, red tiled roofs, old doorways, and panelled oak rooms, ancient hostelries with their sanded floors and quaint furniture; the crude hasps and hinges on some of these old doors harmonize well with the age of the village. In Wistowgate stands the Old. Grange, a 15th century building, with a curious porch and two panelled oak rooms; opposite ,in the meadows, is the remnants of Keysbury Hall, which belongs to the lady of the manor.
Here a Court Leet is held every three years, to collect the fines from all who hold copyhold property. The land on the south bank of the Wharfe, near Cawood, is suited for nearly every kind of vegetable produce, in the planting and gathering of which employment is given to the female working community. The bridge is the rendezvous for all able-bodied men in want of employment, who, with hands deep in trousers pocket, perambulate that quarter; now and again scanning the old river as if expecting some Danish war galley, or the stately barge of the Prelates of old, to sweep round the curve of the river; or perhaps hoping for some rich prize to fall to their lot without delving for it.
In conversation with one of these strollers on the bridge, an old native, he with a deep drawn sigh, which went far down the aisles of the past, said, Ai, they had monny rum doins doon at you castle. They allus made their feeasts last em for monny a day, and Ive heerd it tellt that ya dinner yance lasted out year. Ai, bud them wor rare times, ye could ea and drink as much as ivver ye liked for nowt. They mnun hae been rich folks, for when I wur a lad ave heerd cad men say, that heaps o gold and silver is buried on this river, and a can tak ye to a spot where a hide chuck full o gold is buries, if onnybody nh tak t trouble to dig fort.
The church, with its grey tower, stands as a sentinel of the past by the side
of the Ouse. In the olden days the ford over the river was near this place, and here
stood the old tithe barn, pulled down some
half-a-century ago. Some portions of the church no doubt date back to the 11th century ;
the arch of the east porch is Early Norman; and some of the pillars and arches in the
interior, which are very curious, belong to the 12th century. The chancel has been added
at a much later date.
This church has lately been restored, and many an old stone memorial of our ancestors was then demolished. In an old archway, walled up at the restoration of the church, is to be seen many portions of tombstones, hoary with age; the dead they once sheltered have long since crumbled to dust. In a large chest behind the organ lies the dismembered effigy of Archbishop George Montaign, one of the most remarkable men of Cawood. Leaving his native place a young man, he entered the church, in which he rose to the highest honour, and returned to his native town as the Archbishop of York, being elected June, 1628. His death took place on the 6th of November of the same year, being, as one writer says Scarcely warm in his church, ore he was cold in his coffin. Let us hope ere long his monument will be placed in its original position, as very dear are the old mutilated effigies to all who love the church; as we gaze upon them with feelings of veneration, and ponder on the time when they who sleep beneath trod those very aisles, or knelt in prayer at the altar. These old broken tombs and effigies are links that inseparably bind the past to the present.
Some 70 years ago, Cawood and the villages around were infested with hordes of gipsies, who owned for their king one Largee Young, a man of immense strength, who was a terror to the neighbourhood; and whose profession was poaching and thieving. So afraid were the inhabitants of offending him, that for several years he defied the laws with impunity. Being a practised horse thief, he was one night seen by a farmer leading a horse from his stable; the farmer followed and overtook him in the fields near Hebden farm. On the farmer demanding his horse, the gipsy with fearful oaths swore he would murder him, A terrible fight took place, which would probably have ended in the death of the farmer, but fortunately the noise of the strife brought farmer Hebden to the rescue, with a large hatchet. The two men proved more than a match for the gipsy king. oung was tried at the Castle, tribes of gipsies from far and near attended the trial ; every possible means were adopted by the wanderers to induce the farmers to withdraw from the prosecution, but in vain. Amongst other things offered, as a native quaintly told the writer, was, a quairt pot chuck up wi gold. The gipsy king was transported beyond the seas. The farmer who captured him was for his courage presented with a silver tankard, which was lately kept at an inn in those parts; and from which thirsty ones often drank, while the innkeeper related the story of the capture of the gipsy.
A few years ago an incident occurred just outside
this village, proving the devotion and attachment dumb animals have for each other. The
doctor of the place owned a favourite pony, which carried him on journeys when visiting
patients away from the village. Two dogs, a retriever and a greyhound, also owned by the
medical man, were the especial friends of the pony. The three were inseparable companions,
either on duty or when resting in the stable. One afternoon, as the doctor was returning
from his visits, and not far from the village, without any warning the pony dropped dead.
It was dragged into an adjoining field, but nothing could induce the dogs to quit the dead
pony through the long cold night, for, if I mistake not, it was late autumn, and they kept
faithful watch by its side. The following day the body was buried deep in the earth.
Still, strange to say, the faithful animals refused to leave the spot, scratching a bed in
the soil, and for two days and nights kept watch and ward over the grave. Mr. Warrington,
who saw the dogs early on the second mornings told the writer that the devoted animals
were shaking from intense cold.
At the Commercial, ye olde inn, the traveller will find good Yorkshire fare at reasonable rates, and old-fashioned corridors and bedrooms, where he can easily forget the present and dream of the past. Among other relics the worthy host has in his possession are the skull and horns of an Irish elk, found near the mouth of the Wharfe.
Leaving Cawood, with thoughts of its past history still in our minds, we can take the road to RYTHER, through the fiat lands, which will appear to some rather monotonous, yet there are to be seen a few nice views of a lowland river, winding in sweeping curves under overhanging willows. In the middle distance some red brick or whitewashed farm stands out to relieve the miles of flatness. In the far distance Church Fenton aiid other villages, with tower or spire, and tapering poplars, complete the scene.
NUN-APPLETON AND RYTHER.
Our first visit to Nun-Appleton was by river from Cawood. Entering the mouth of the Wharfe and rowing up the river some distance, making our boat fast to the willows, we passed through the woods near the mansion. The spring was in her first flush of freshness. Cowslip,
primrose, and bluebell nestled under grass and broken branch; old and gaunt frees spread out their great arms across the path, the branches of one large elm reaching upwards of 18 yards among the forest trees; hundreds of rabbits, old and young, scudded away to their burrows at the sound of our footsteps; nailed to the trees, as a warning to their comrades, are scores of animals and birds of the flesh-eating race. Through the trees glimpses of the old Wharfe were to be seen, rolling slowly onward, as if weary with its long journey from the hills and mountains of its birth, Across the meadows, nestling among the trees, is to be seen the modest tower of Rythers ancient church, iii whose aisles rest in peace mailed knight, crusader, and nun, their embellished tombs telling of warfare in the battlefield, or the more saintly fight of the just.
From a bend of the river, with rushes and willows in the foreground, the
finest view of Nun-Appleton is obtained.
Passing in front of the hall, which comprises a mixture of three centuries, the old east end being the most interesting, we admire the beautiful gardens and terrace, where the air is perfumed with delicious fragrance of choicest flowers, and where many noble specimens of grand trees abound,the aged yew, the slender poplar, the spreading cedar, the dark fir, the modest elm, and the graceful birch. In the midst is the silent little lake, like some gem, its waters reflecting in the sunlight the glorious tints which here abound. Around its shores still stand old arches and. muhions, statues and columns, and many other relics, around which clings the ivy in close embrace, telling us that on this spot the nuns, in the early Norman days, spent their time in holy communion and prayer. In imagination the home of the nuns stands before us, as of old; through the interlaced windows we catch uncertain glimpses of the nuns, and hear for certain, or is it a dream, the most delicious melody, as the various notes rise and swell into one universal chorus. Fancy, the fairy, flies; the music we hear is that of the woodland birds, rejoicing in,this their paradise.
how vastly the place hath changed since the sisters of the church trod its precincts. The monastery, with its dark cloisters, has passed away. Resting awhile, with the remnants of this venerable sanctuary around us, we can almost imagine the sweet music we hear to be the voices of the nuns chanting their morning prayer, but as the rich sounds rise louder the dream is dispelled.
The late master of this mansion loved the wild birds and protected them by every possible means, until the birds have chosen it for their home, and now make the spot resound with songs of thankfulness.
Apart from the associations of the monastery,
Nun-Appleton is interesting from having been the home of that great man Thomas Fairfax,
the brave soldier and parliamentary general, commonly called by the peasantry Black
Tom. At Nun- Appleton the happiest part of his life was spent. To this spot came his
charming bride, a daughter of the house of Vero de Vere.
Here, unconscious of the great future before him, the brave general, the gallant knight, a soul of chivalry, spent his time attending to the estates, beautifying park and garden. Being a profound scholar, much time would be spent in study; this was no doubt the happiest portion of his life, and we can easily fancy in after years, when the storm of war and sorrow had to some extent obscured the light, his mind would revert to the happy days spent at Appleton, in the society of his wife and dear daughter Moll.
In 1639 war was proclaimed by Charles against the
Scotch, on the refusal of that nation to renounce the Covenant. Bishop Burnett, in the
history of his own time, quaintly adds, The Scots marched with a very sorry
equipage, every soldier carried a weeks provision of oatmeal, and they had a
drove of cattel with them for food. They had also an invention of guns of white
iron, and done about with leather, and chorded so that they would serve for two or three
They were light and carried on horses, and when they came to Newbury, the
English army that defended the ford were surprised with a discharge of artillery. Some thought it magic, and all were put in such disorder that the whole army
did run with so great precipitation that Sir Thomas Fairfax, who had a command
in it, did not stick to own that till he had crossed the Tees, his legs trembled
Old Fairfax of Denton, in a letter to young Tom while in the north, says,
Avoid private quarrels as much as you can,
and show your valour. The first will but show your pride and bring you hatred The
second will give you honour and
reputation Sound advice, and no doubt put into practice by the future general For the part he took in this inglorious campaign, the honour of knighthood was
bestowed upon him, he returning to Nun Appleton as Sir Thomas Fairfax
In May, 1642, the ominous clouds of civil war, which had long appeared oi the horizon, began to deepen. The king in his headstrong folly still continued to act in violation of the law, and gradually drew around him the net the meshes of which were only severed by the axe of the headsman.
On June 3rd, a great meeting was held on Heyworth Moor, York, by the order of the king. In the middle of the day Charles, attended by a large body of carabiniers, two regiments of horse, and 800 foot, delivered a speech, which few could hear, amid the confused and discontented murmurs of the crowd. It was on this day that Sir Thomas Fairfax presented the petition which had been drawn up by his party, who were anxious that the king should reconsider his actions and reconcile himself to the people The Cavaliers, who divined his intentions, for a long time kept him at a distance, but Fairfax was not to be beaten, and by a great
effort at last managed to reach the king, and placed the petition so that he was obliged to receive it It is said Charles rudely pressed his horse forward and Fairfax narrowly escaped being thrown down
In the autumn of 1642 Sir Thomas Fairfax was chosen Commander of the Yorkshire forces. Knowing every inch of the country, and being quick to take advantage of every opportunity, many times he surprised the enemy when they thought him far away. His great courage and kindness to his troops, his generosity to friend and foe alike, well fitted him to be the leader in the great struggle for the preserving of the liberties of the land. From the Ainsty and the banks of the Wharfe the fighting men flocked to his standard, and from Craven and the large manufacturing centres came large numbers to join the cause of freedom and justice.
After some reverses in the first campaign, which only made him more resolute and confident, he rose superior to all obstacles and went on from victory to victory until the Royalists were utterly prostrated.
In 1650 Fairfax, having resigned his commission as commander-in-chief, again dwelt at Nun-Appleton. Here, surrounded by relations and friends, the victorious general, the hero of many a fight, spent most of his remaining years, like unto Horatius in the brave days of old.
Many a story can be recounted of his unbounded fame and of his great generosity and hospitality.
What an array of great men, in different spheres of life, visited Nun-Appleton at tflis time. Grizzly warriors, who had fought by his side at Marston Moor, and saved his life when, unhorsed and wounded, he was in the greatest danger. Some there would be who were with him when the famous charge was made through the streets of Selby, which scattered the Cavaliers like chaff. Some who had heard that great shout which was raised by the chivalry of England at the great fight of Naseby, when the legions of the king and Prince Rupert were scattered and broken before the Commonwealth of England. Others there would be who fought on the fatal field of Chalgrove, when the great patriot Hampden received his mortal wound. Comrades who perhaps were with him when the king so ungraciously received his petition at York; but five years after how changed was the scene, when the victorious general rode side by side with the king, a prisoner, into the old town of Nottingham.
We can easily imagine them recounting many a gallant fight, amongst others, that in which the peerless knight, Sir William Farefax, at Montgomery Castle, after his troops were several times beaten back, spurred his charger into the middle of the enemy, his sword flashing like magic amidst a sea of foes, and how, when the men of Wharfedale saw the danger of their gallant leader, with one great shout of rescue they threw themselves on the enemy, with a determination which
meant victory or death.
Such ranks as those the knight of Steeton led,
And with them fought, and with them bled,
On many a desperate field. RICHARD ABBAY, MA.
The fight was won, but the hero, the bravest soldier on the battlefield, fell, covered
ANDREW MARVELL, who in after years was proof against the bribery of the
kings ministers when Member of Parliament for his native town of Hull, spent
two years at Nun-Appleton, being engaged as tutor to the generals daughter.
In 1657 another visitor appeared at the generals hospitable mansion in the
person of George Villiers, the handsome and accomplished courtier and gay cavalier.
Connected with Nun-Appleton, during the early days of bluff King Hal, is a most romantic story of love and marriage. The hero and heroine of this romance were Sir William Farefax, of Steeton, and beautiful Isabel Thwaites, orphan daughter of Thomas Thwaites, of Denton. On the death of her father she was placed under the care of the Abbess of Nun-Appleton, whose sole ambition was to make her a sister of the nuns, and by so doing add riches to their institution. At first she was allowed the freedom of riding out and visiting her friends in the vicinity. In one of these excursions she met Sir William, who was struck with her remarkable beauty. Steeton being only some 3 miles away, the pair were often in each others society, and love became mutual. The story of their attachment soon reached the ears of the abbess, and she was very angry, confining the sweet girl within the nunnery, and her lover was forbidden evermore to approach the walls of
the place. But Sir William came of a race of men
famous, even at that distant date, for their prowess in love and war, and was not to be so
easily daunted. By persistent efforts he at last obtained an order for her release, but
the abbess still clung to. the fair novice, disregarding the order, until Farefax,
becoming desperate, entered the nunnery by force, and released the fair Isabel.
Amidst great rejoicing they were united, at the
church of Bolton Percy,in 1518. This was a most happy marriage, and fortunate was it for
the orphan heiress that she met the gallant knight, who was worthy of her love. With her
marriage came great wealth into the Fairfax family, the estates of Askwith and Denton and
much property in the old city of York.
The country people have several legends as well as a prophecy with regard to
this marriage. With all seriousness they will tell you that Fairfax shall regain
The glory that has fled,
When Steeton once again
Nun-Appleton shall wed.
It was a remarkable retribution that the nunnery where the fair Isabel had been so ill-used by the abbess should, at the Reformation, have been granted to the Fairfaxes, but so it came to pass that on a cold December day, 350 years ago, with a bitterness of spirit which we can easily imagine, did the same old abbess, with the weeping nuns about her, deliver up the keys of the nunnery to two sons, Thomas and Guy, of the same Isabel she once used so unfeelingly.
From the wreck of the nunneries they built the old hall, the predecessor of the
one built by Sir Thomas in the 17th century.
Built in the bridge which spans the stream near the hall is to be seen an old
stone, with the name of Guido Fairfax (son of Sir William and Isabel) carved
What is the meaning of that brilliant assemblage, gathered together in the halls of Nun-Appleton on that lovely autumn morn. The sun shines brightly, the branches of the old yews wave gently before the western wind, and the song birds carol and rejoice. In the distance can be heard the joyous notes of the ring dove; wafted on the bosom of the breeze is the sound of a merry peal of bells. That polished and stately courtier is the handsome George Villiers, the gay cavalier, who had been long an exile in foreign lands, but returning has for some time been a guest at Nun-Appleton, and has wooed and won the generals only daughter.
Glancing back down the vista of time, we can see the bridal procession passing down the avenue of noble trees to the stately church of Bolton Percy. it is the time of harvest, and in the adjacent fields the reapers are busy cutting and binding the golden grain; intermingled with the greens of the wayside are sweet wild flowers. Mary Fairfax is to be seen smiling in gladness, for she loves the gay and dashing cavalier at her side with all the depth of a first love. Merrily peal the bells, and sweet is the welcome of voices chanting the marriage song as the bridal party passes the portal of the sacred edifice, but aged men shake their heads with ominous forebodings of the future. Happy indeed would have been her life if the gay duke had been as true a knight as the good Sir William, who led the fair Isabel to the same altar a century-and-a-half before. Sad indeed would be the reflection of Fairfax, as Buckingham, in after years, threw himself into every kind of sin, wickedness, and debauchery, a boon companion of the Merry Monarch. Indulgence in every kind of vice was their chief study, even to the dishonour of their country.
Pope says : This lord is more famous for his vices than his misfortunes. Having been possessed of about £50,000 a year, and passed through many of the highest posts in the kingdom, died in the year 1687, in a remote inn in Yorkshire, reduced to the utmost misery. The above remarks are no doubt a little over drawn. He died in the house of one of his tenants, and the best that Kirbymoorside could boast of at that time.
Mary, his neglected wife, lived many years after his death, faithful to the end.
Her body reposes in the tomb of the Villiers, in Henry VII.s Chapel, Westminster.
It was from Nun-Appleton, in the depth of the winter of 1659, that Bryan Farefax undertook that perilous and adventurous ride into Scotland, to acquaint General Monk of Lord Farefaxs readiness to co-operate with him for the countrys welfare, which ended in the restoration of Charles II. to the throne of his father.
Lord Farefax died 12th November, 1671. Great was the sorrow and bitter the grief for old Black Tom, as he was lovingly called by the tenantry. He had always been a good landlord and kind master, and as the funeral cortege passed on to Bilbrough, with its long line of mourners, many of whom, who in early man hood, had fought like heroes beneath his standard, were now to be seen weeping, as silently they followed the corpse of the chivalrous warrior to its last resting place.
He sleeps by the side of his wife, beneath a marble tomb, on the south side of
Bilbrough church, near the chancel.
Some 200 yards across the opposite bank of the Wharfe is the ancient church of RYTHER, its unpretentious tower peeping modestly out from the surrounding trees. The interior, with its effigies and tombs, and the fields around, with the few remaining vestiges of a stronghold which once stood here, tell us of history a thousand years past. To the antiquarian this must be a very interesting spot. Some of the work in this church cannot be later than the 11th century. The ohancel arch is circular and of immense thickness. Along the entire length of the south aisle are the tombs and effigies of warriors and ladies, and although their history is entirely forgotten, they still rest on from century to century.
How hushed and solemn is the place as we look on
the monuments of the dead. The first tomb is of pure alabaster marble, on which reposes
the effigy of a knight in full armour, of the 14th century, supposed to be a member of the
Ryther family, who fought on the side of the Yorkists, and was probably slain at Towton
Field, near by.
The collar round the neck represents the sun in splendour; the work of this collar and indeed the whole tomb is a rich specimen of Italian or Venetian art. On the sides and ends are several figures, which have been very rudely handled by the spoilers, who have had no veneration for the past in doing this sacrilegious deed. The
second tomb, of Portland marble, is beautifully
decorated with tracery, representing bunches of grapes, the beautiful workmanship being
full of detail and finish. Resting under an Ogee arch in the church wall is the figure of
a lady in the costume of the latter part of the 13th century, her hands, resting on her
breast, clasp a heart, which she seems to be in the act of presenting to the Church.
At the extreme end of the aisle is the time-worn effigy of a crusader, his chain
armour and other accoutrements tell us that much of his time was spent on the battlefield, probably fighting with the lion king on the plains of Palestine, and may have stood in the ranks of those proud barons when they won the Magna Charta in the meadows of Runnimeade. By the side of the warrior rests his lady, with hands clasped in the attitude of prayer. History is silent respecting these tombs, but the last two probably represent a Sir W. Ryther and his wife, living during the latter part of the 12th century. An old stone near the altar reads : Here lies the body of Idonea de Gainsbro, a prioress of Nun-Appleton. She died 1334. In the fields near Bolton Percy a similar tombstone of another prioress was some time since found, which at the time of its discovery was doing duty as a cover for the head of a drain it has since been removed to Bolton Percy church. On the floor in the south aisle are several stones and brasses, adorned with armorial bearings, to the memory of John Robinson of Ilyther and several of his descendants.
Although the castle has long since disappeared, the remains of a deep moat are still to be seen, and the mounds in the cultivated fields fully attest that the castle of the old Saxon family which gave their name to the village stood here. The field west of the church is called to this day Hall Garth.
This old family must have been of some importance, even as far back as 800 years ago, for when the nunnery across the the river at Appleton was founded, in the early years of Stephen, a Ryther, of Ryther Castle, signed the deeds. Sir William de Aldburgh, of Harewood, dying without issue, the castle and lands came into possession of his two sisters. Elizabeth married one Sir Richard Redman, knight of Westmoreland; Sybill married Sir William Ryther, of Ryther Castle, and it is rather singular that these two families and their descendants inhabited the old castle of Harewood jointly for several generations, the last to inhabit the castle was a Sir Robert Ryther, towards the close of the 15th century, and he was interred in Ryther church. A Sir William Ryther, born 1405, married Isabella, daughter of Sir William Gascoyne of Gawthorpe, son of the renowned judge. Apart from its past history and the associations which are gathered round the church, there is nothing to make us linger in the village.
Midway between Ryther and Church Fenton in former times stood a house of some importance, encircled by a deep moat; part of the moat still remains, and when cleared out several years ago a great quantity of horns of the wild deer were found.
Crossing the river by the ferry we hasten on to BOLTON PERCY. This is a delightful walk ; the road-way for the first mile is bordered with pine trees. To our right lie the woods, and further on we pass into a wide avenue of large oaks. In a recess to the left will be noticed an aged tree of vast proportions, which had its birth before Saxon, Dane, or Northman trod these shores. Soon the stately towers and the red tiled roofs of Bolton Percy burst on our view. This is a pretty village, and still retains a few thatched and other primitive dwellings. A little stream which flows from the higher land of Ainsty ripples ifs way through orchards and gardens to the bosom of the mother Wharfe. On spring days, when the orchards are in blossom, this village has a most delightful appearance. Gentle swells and hollows, green lanes and fertile meadows, and old paths wind by quaint home-steads, garths, and enclosures, and
across a rustic bridge. The massive church tower, seen through the branches of stately trees, added to which is the picturesque rectory and the old time-worn tythe barn, make up a series of interesting pic tures. The church is a magni ficent structure, style Perpendicular, with massive tower and pinnacled battlements. The exterior of this edifice is rich in architecture, and will be found most interesting. The interior consists of nave and side aisles, and the large chancel is full of interest. The stalls, which are of oak and much marked, said to have been caused by Cromwells soldiers sharpening their swords. On the south
side of the chancel is a most perfect specimen of a sedilia, near to which is the piseina. The brasses from the sediia and the other parts of the church were removed by the rough hands of despoilers; tradition says during the Civil War. The windows, of stained glass representing bishops and saints, are much famed for their beauty. Inside the altar rails is the tomb of Henry Farefax, who was rector of this parish during the stormy times of the Cromwellian period. On the tomb is the following
HERE LYETH THE BODYES OF HENRY FARFAX, LATE
RECTOR OF THIS CHURCH, AND OF MARY, HIS WIFE.
HEE DYED APRIL YE 9. 1665, AGED 77; SHEE DYED DECEMBER YE 24, 1649, AGED 56.
Facing the Brocketts choir is a tablet to
the memory of Sir William Farefax, 1694, also in the east end of the south aisle is
another monument of great interest to the Farefax family, boing the resting place of
Ferdinando, Lord Farefax, the father of the General. On the north side of the west end is
a very ancient door known as the devils door. Opposite is the early
Norman font, with carved oaken
cover. It was supposed that the devil always tpok his flight through this door when a child was baptized and admitted into the Church of God, hence the name of the devils door. The church still retains its old dark oaken pews, which were added in the 16th century. Built in the wall of the south aisle is the holy water basin, a receptacle for the holy or hallowed water, a usage of the Bomish Church.
The mass priest shall hallow salt and water every Sunday before he masses, and sprinkle it all over the church and over the people, and keep that water if he would have it holy until he hallows more on another Sunday. The holy water basin was not placed at the entrance to the church in early Saxon days, but dates from the period when Rome gained complete ascendancy over the Anglo-British church. Many
were the miracles supposed to be performed by the
use of holy water, such as the curing of desperate diseases, the driving away of demons,
and the changing of human beings into animals, etc. One Sabbath morning found the writer
seated near this vessel of the ancient church, listening to the preaching of the Ven.
Archdeacon Crosthwaite. The stranger who knows the history of this place cannot but be
impressed by the hallowed associations of this venerable sanctuary. Here in the distant
past worshipped knights and their retainers, from the noble house of the Percies, who gave
their name to this village.
The Brocketts choir in the north aisle near the chancel still retains in its name the memory of a family who for generations were members of this church; although the castle at Appleton where they resided has long since disappeared. Members of the famed Vavasour race have also worshipped at this shrine and rest within its portals. Facing the Mimer pew is a monumental tomb to the memory of Ferdinando, 2nd Lord Farefax, a member of that famous house, many of whose sons and daughters were baptise and married in this church, knelt in prayer at the altar, and rest within or near its walls.
On the edge of the church yard still stands a relic of the past, the old tythe barn, where a tenth of the produce of the land was stored for the benefit of the church. Even in the early days of the church, according to Saxon history, objections were raised as to the paying of tythes. The laws of Ina, king of the West Saxons, are the earliest known, which were made for the assessment upon lands and houses for a provision of the church. Money being scarce, the payments were generally in grain
or seed, sometimes in cattle or poultry, hence the use of tythe barns. Defaulters were fined 40 shillings, and were made to pay the tythes twelve, fold.
Two miles north-west of Bolton Percy is the
scattered village of Appleton Roebuck. Here are several quaint cottages, built on strong
timber frames, which, to the lovers of the old picturesque, will be found most
interesting. This village presents some startling contrasts in architecture ; as the 15th
century cottage stands by the smart new brick dwelling of to-day. Thatched dwellings,
hoary with age, where generations of men have dwelt and passed away; opposite is the new
church, its newness jarring on the harmony of its surroundings. Facing the green is ye
olde village inn, with its staunch old veteran of a landlord.
Just on the outskirts of Appleton, by the side of the lane leading to Acaster, is a meadow, called by the village children The Daffy Field. On asking one of the lads why it was so called, he replied : Sike lots a daffies grow here. This meadow, seen from a distance, has the appearance of the high banks of some lowland river, but it is generally understood that on this spot once stood a stronghold of the Percies.
Here are to be seen the remains of a very
extensive moat, some places even yet being fully 15 feet deep and several yards across.
For depth and breadth, these are the most perfect remains of a moat to be found in the
basin of the Wharfe; by some it is considered to be the work of the Romans.
A stronghold of the Percy family formerly stood here, and it afterwards came
into the possession of the Brocketts, and was known as Brocketts Hall. The
history of this place is entirely forgotten.
A small stream, called the Fleet, which takes its rise in the lands between
Copmanthorpe and Bishopthorpe, drains the eastern
lands of Ainsty, lazily mean dering its way through Appleton village, and after running
parallel with the Ouse for several miles, empties into the Wharfe at Nun-Appleton.
Starting again from Bolton Percy we follow the path which leads to the ferry at Ulleskelf, near to which is the mansion known by the name of Bolton Lodge, once the home of that genial and well-known figure of the hunt, Captain Oliver, who, along with his servant, was renowned for his singular characteristics in the hunting field ; many droll stories might be told concerning them.
FROM THE HISTORY OF THE ANGLO-SAXON CHURCH.
The following is a tale of early British times, in which a lord refuses to pay tythe :-When Augustine, the Romish missionary, was preaching in Oxfordshire, a village priest addressed him thus : Father, the lord of this place refuses to pay tythes, and my threats of excommunication only make him more obstinate. Augustine then tried his powers of persuasion; but the lord said Did not I plough and sow, the tenth part belongs to him who owns the remaining nine. It was the time for mass ; Augustine turning to the altar said I command every excommunicated person to leave the church. Immediately a pallid corpse arose from beneath the door way, stalked amoss the church yard, and stood motionless beyond its boundary. The congregation gazing with horror and fright, called Augustines attention to the spectre. Having first concluded the service, he said Be not alarmed, with cross and holy water in hand we shall know the meaning of this. Stepping forward he thus addressed the ghastly stranger I enjoin thee, in the name of God, tell me whom thou art I The ghost replied, in British times I was lord of this place but no warnings of the priest could ever induce me to pay my tythes. At length he excommunicated me and my disembodied soul was thrust into hell. When you ordered the excommunicated to depart, your attendant angels drove me from my grave. The excommunicating priest was now raised from his grave. As the two spectres stood before him Augustine said know you this person The ghostly priest replied full well, and to my sorrow. The priest was then reminded of Gods great mercy, and of the departed lords long
torture in hell. A scourge was put into the hand of the priest, the excommunicated party knelt before him, received absolution and quietly returned to the grave. The clergyman soon followed to his resting place, although Augustine would fain have prayed for a renewed lease of life. The wily and subtle Roman knew that a demonstration of the super.natural would be the most effective way of working on the feelings of the people in those dark ages, and we can imagine that there would be n further difficulty in the gathering in of tythes in that district.
THE village of Ulleskelf does not present any particular attraction to the visitor. The old Hall, formerly the home of the Shillito family, who owned much land in this neighbourhood, has of late years been often tenantless, consequently an air of desertion hangs around it.
The village possesses two inns, where the fishermen who resort here from Leeds and other towns, can find refreshment. Instead of taking the road to Grimston, which is very inviting, with its leafy avenue and the undulating lands in front, well wooded with many varieties of fine trees, from which peep, now and again, mansion, church and tower; the other path might be taken, which leads across the fields, by the side of the river. From these meadows, in the eventide, Ulleskelf makes a charming picture. The village is seen through the intervening orchards, with the smoke rising, as it were, from amongst the trees ; seen thus all the jarring contrasts of colour are softened and subdued into rest and harmony. Passing two meadows, the path runs under the rail way bridge which spans the Wharfe.
After a miles walk by the side of the river,
Grimston Church will be noticed amongst the surrounding trees; as seen from the bank it is
indeed a most pleasant picture for the eye to rest upon. Standing on this spot when the
sun had drooped below the western sky, and just before night spread her mantle over the
light, the beauty of the scene was beyond description; sonic two miles away in the
distance the ancient town of Tadcaster appeared like some fairy city, in the luminous
light shed across the sky, by the after-glow of the sun, the waters of the Wharfe seem
dreary as they
near the end of their journey, flowing on in solitude, dark and silent; but on this night even the old river, shone resplendent from the rich glow of the evening sky. Turning from the river, we look across the meadows, where no sound is to be heard save that of sleek cattle cropping the dewy grass. We see the old church tower, with the small but pretty village of Kirby in front, behind, on the gentle undulating lands, is the noble park of Grimston, where gigantic trees fling their shade over many a grassy deJi. Above the park on this night spread a rift of purple cloud, along whose edge, and westward, trailed a rippling fleece of vapour, the beautiful harmony of whose colour required the brush of a Turner to delineate. Against this background, church tower, graceful poplar, and the more spreading tree, stood out clear and distinct, every leaf, twig, and branch shewing out their wondrous grace and beauty of form.
The church stands within the boundary of the park, shielded on the north-west by a bit of variegated woodland; on the opposite side the small, pretty village of Kirby; in front is the park; behind, meadow land and river. The interior has of late years undergone complete restoration. The chancel window is very fine: also the altar and cover, and the Squires pew adjoining contains some very beautiful and choice work. Tinder the tower are several tablets to the memory of the Londes borough and other great families. The church possesses two fontsthe early Norman and one of recent date. Apart from the old font, the most interesting re mains are fragments of two very curious crosses found under the floor of the church, on which are carved the crude representations of our first parents. Art was only in its infancy, or otherwise just awakening from its long slumber, when these stones were fashioned; it also points to the fact that a church has stood on this spot since British times. The country around was at that date one vast forest. In the meadows near enormous trees have been laid bare several feet below the surface when draining. The only open spaces would be where the village stood within its enclosure, and a few glades where the cattle were pastured. Wild animals roamed the forests, and the river at that time being stocked with an abundance of fish, hunting and fishing were the chief occupations of the natives.
Leaving the church, we follow the drive, which passes Grimston Housewhich is situated on the rising ground in the midst of a beautiful parkwhere many specimens of gigantic trees abound: formerly one of the seats of Lord Londes borough, now the home of J. Fielden, Esq. Half a mile from the mansion brings us to the gates of the park, into the London highway. A few hundred yards away in the vale below, the little river-cock winds its way through willow garths and is lost in the larger stream.
* The vale of the Wharfe possesses many relics of Saxon work in the shape of sculptured stones and crosses, etc.
I saw a little streamlet flow
Along a peaceful vale,
A thread of silver, soft and slow,
It wandered down the dale
Just to do good, it seemed to move,
Directed by the hand of love.
THIS first important tributary rises in the lands of Providence Farm, Whin Moor, and in its various turnings has a course of some 12 miles, joining the Wharfe opposite the Grange at Grimston. Near its margin was fought, in the year 655 and 1461, two of the most
fierce and bloody battles on record.
The great fight of Winwoed or Whinwood took place in 655, on Whinmoor high table land, about a mile above the village of Seacroft and near the source of the little river. The combatants were Oswell, king of Northumbria, and that grim old pagan, Penda, king of Mercia. Long before the conquest of Britain by the English, the old Celtic race had received Christianity; and a native church had risen through the length and breadth of the land The invaders being heathen, according to the custom of their country, worshipped images of wood and stone, and for a century after their first appearance Christianity slumbered, as slowly but surely the old Celtic race were conquered or driven step by step to the hills and vales of the north and west. The first prince of the Saxon race in the north to embrace the Christian religion was Edwine or Eadwina. His power was greater than any English prince who had preceded him. It was during the early years of his reign that the British kingdom of Elmete was crushed. The mound on the outskirts of Barwick is the place where stood the castle and home of the British king. Some few miles north east, yet to be distinctly traced, ran a line of earth works raised in the first instance by the Celts to stem the tide of Saxon advance.
Three centuries later the same earth works were used by the English, when repelling the furious invasion of the sea kings. On the west the boundary of this ancient kingdom was probably the river Aire at Leeds, and afterwards narrowed down to the small stream flowing into the river from the high lands at Roundhay.
On the east it reached to the banks of the Wharfe
and the Ouse. Within this boundary was a vast forest, and other natural means of
protection against invasion. From this small kingdom the Britons turned aside the fierce
wave of conquest, for upwards of a century, and it was only when Edwin became supreme in
Northumbria and Central Briton, that the power and resistance of Elmete was finally
Tradition says that this Edwine who conquered Elmete extended his dominions to the Firth of Forth, and built a city which received the name of its founder, Eadwinsbnrgh. This king took for his wife a Kentish princess who was a Christian, and with her to the court of Northumbria came Paulinus, a missionary of Rome. It appears that Edwin not only promised that his bride should be protected in the free exercise of her religion, but would himself embrace the same, if after careful enquiries it was found to be better than the gods they hitherto had worshipped. Many were the pleadings of his queen and the missionary before the heathen prejudices and customs of the king gave way. Paulinus being ever on the watch for favourable omens, proved more than a match for the semi-barbaric king. By some means he had become acquainted with a story of a vision which had appeared unto Edwin when an outlaw and a wanderer. To this vision he pledged himself that should he ever regain the throne of his fathers he would lead a better life.
Remember your pledge, were the words spoken by the vision as it disappeared. In after years, when he had regained his kingdom and returned triumphant from the conquest of Wessex, and the just punishment of its king, soon after that time, in conversation with Paulinus, was startled to hear the very words used by the vision Remember your pledge. Edwin trembled with emotion. The Italian said you remember a promise made years ago to the vision. All your hopes have been crowned with success, ncxw is the time to redeem your pledge, and the God who has led you through so many dangers to secure an earthly throne, will remain steadfast until you reach the glories of His own eternal Kingdom. After this appeal the king was powerless to resist, and felt anxious to redeem his promise.
Bede tells us that the wise men of Northumbria, with their king, met to deliberate on the new religion. Paulinus having pleaded in favour of Christianity, Coifi, a Druidic high priest, thus addressed the assembly and the king: It seems to me, 0 king, that our paternal gods are worthless, for no mans worship of them has been more devout than mine; yet my lot has been far less prosperous than
that of many others not half so pious! A chieftain then spoke: The life of man, 0 king, reminds me of a winter feast around your blazing fire, while the storm howls or the snow drives abroad. A distressed sparrow darts within the doorway: for a moment it is cheered by warmth and shelter from the blast; then, shooting through the other entrance, it is lost again. Such is man. lie comes we know not whence, hastily snatches a scanty share of wordly pleasure, then goes we know not whither. If this new doctrine, therefore, will give us any clearer insight into things of so much interest, my feeling is to follow it.
Before such arguments, resembling strikingly those
of Indian warriors in America, Northumbrian paganism fell. Coifi was foremost in making
war upon the superstition which had so severely baulked his hopes. His priestly character
obliged him to ride a mare, and forbade him to have a weapon. The people, therefore,
thought him mad when he appeared upon Edwins charger, and with lance in hand rode
furiously to the famous temple at Godmundham, pierced the idol through and through,
shattering it to pieces, and ordered the temple to be burnt. Soon afterwards, Paulinus
kept a most impressive Easter by holding a public baptism at York, in which Edwin, his
principal men, and multitudes of inferior people, were solemnly admitted into the
Christian Church. In 633 A.D., Penda, the fierce king of Mercia, joining his army with
Cadwallon, king of the Welsh, met the Northumbrian army at Heathfield, and in the fearful
fight the army of Edwin was defeated, and he was slain in the battle. Nine years later,
Oswald, king of Northumbria, whose great fame on the battlefield was only eclipsed by his
piety, was the next champion of the Cross who fell on the field of battle. Oswalds
great ambition was the conversion of all Britian, but like his predecessor he was slain by
the heathen, Penda, at Maserfeld. After this great victory, Penda, the champion of
heathenism, reigned supreme, ravaging the kingdom of Northumbria until the new faith
seemed doomed to be swept aside by the advancing wave of paganism.
Out of this confusion and anarchy there stood forth another champion of the Cross in the person of Oswin, brother of the brave Oswald. For half a century the now hoary-headed old heathen had been continually harassiiig the dominion of the Christian, carrying war and desolation through the beautiful vales of York. And generations after youths and maidens shuddered when sat around the blazing fire listening to their grandfathers recounting those dire scenes of misery and war, yet with all his fierce desire to annihilate the Christian, Bede tells us that Penda utterhy despised those who did not act up to the faith they professed. In the year 655, he gathered around his banners a mighty army, consisting of thirty legions of tried soldiers, commanded by generals who had led them to victory on many a battlefield. Once again he felt a desire to shatter the growing power of Northumbria and utterly destroy the Christian faith, which the pagan priests represented to him as tending to overthrow the sacred altars in the groves where he loved to worship along with his kingdom. Marching in a north-easterly direction towards the old kingdom of Elmet, crossing the river Aire near Leeds, and taking up his position on Winwoed field, now Whinmoor, awaited the coming of his foes. In vain Oswin tried by every means in his power to conciliate the Mercian king by the offer of gold and silver ornaments, and other costly gifts.
Oswin at length, growing impatient, cried If
the pagans will not accept our gifts let us offer them to one who will, vowing at
the same time that if successful he would dedicate his daughter to God and endow twelve
monasteries in his realm. The Northumbrian army was only small compared with the hosts of
the Mercians, but putting their trust in God, they boldly marched to battle. The dreadful
fight took place on the 15th November, 655. In vain the Mercians tried to penetrate the
ranks of Oswins army.
The power of heathendom was lost for ever when he, who for fifty years had been the cause of so much misery and bloodshed, lay with his generals and thousands of his army a ghastly and confused heap of slain, their blood changing the waters of the little rivulet to crimson. The wreck of the Mercian army fled south ward, and in their frantic rush from the field of battle many fell into the river Cock and were trampled underfoot until their bodies formed a bridge for their flying comrades, who in their turn were swept away and drowned when attempting to cross the swollen waters of the river Aire.
in Winwoed field was amply avenged the blood of Anna, the blood of the kings Egric, Oswald, and Edwin. Soon after his great victory Oswin sent his little daughter Ethelfieda to the monastery over which presided the sainted Hulda, whilst the lands and other, goods he gave were the means by which the noble abbey was built on the summit of the cliff overlooking Whitby.
Near to Whinmoor is a place known to this day as Hell Garth. Tradition
says that on this spot thousands of the slain were buried.
At the entrance to the village of Seaoroft, stands a fine old Elizabethan flail, built in the 16th century, now the residence of Dr. Poxon. Adjoining is the green, around which are scattered the homes of the toilers, and high above all tapers the spire of the village church. Kiddie Hall, anciently Kidd Hall, stands on the land rising to Whinmoor, close besides the Leeds and Tadcaster road, some six miles from the latter place and two from Barwick. It was built in the 12th century, and for many generations was the home of the Ellis family. Formerly it was more extensive, having a beautiful front towards Barwick. The interior yet possesses some fine oak work of the i6th century period.
During the civil war a skirmish took place on Whinmoor between the Cavaliers and the Roundheads, which ended in the complete rout of the latter. Fairfax was gradually retreating across Bramhain Moor, before a much superior force of Royalists. After crossing Potterton Beck and reaching the next high land, they were suddenly confronted by another body of Boyalists who had reached the moor from the north side of Bramham,
* Seacroft, the field of blood.
The enemy attacking both in front and rear, the
soldirs of the Parliament
threw down their arms and fled; many were slain or taken prisoners, whilst Fairfax
and the cavalry escaped with difficulty into Leeds.
During alterations a secret room was discovered, in which was found a coat of arms and other relies, supposed to have been hid during the Civil War. Tradition says the place is haunted by one, John Ellis, killed by the Parliamentarians previous to the skirmish on the moor, March, 1643; the Roundheads ransacking all the houses
in the vicinity for food and drink, possibly met
with opposition from the Ellises, they being staunch Royalists. To this day people tell us
the troubled spirit of the slain Ellis hovers around the old house. The peculiarly shaped
bay-window, added in the 15th century, is full of interest, and on which is the following
Orate pro ai-bus Thom Elys at Anna uxoris sue qui ostei fenestra Anno Dni M.C.C.C."
Above is a battlemented parapet, with pinnacles adorned with a trailing pattern of vine leaves and grapes, under which are many symbolic ornaments and devices.
ON the high ground, just above the little vale, is the mound where stood the stronghold and homes of the Kings of Elmet, encircled by two
trenches and earthworks, remains of which are yet to be seen. Although there are many indications in this village suggestive of bygone
generations, yet our imagination fails to conjure up the scene which it
would present in its days of stately dignity: standing on the verge of a vast
forest, which included in its length and breadth all the high range of lands between
the two rivers. A few memorials of that great forest still remain huge skeletons, the storms of centuries having riven off their giant limbs, which ages ago sheltered from the cold blast the children of the forest. Such was the kingdom of Elmet, rulming like a wedge between the land of the North Angles and Northumbriaa tiny kingdom, surrounded by foes; for a century and a half the Britons held
their ground against Saxon conquest.
From the high lands the Celts would eagerly scan
the invaders pushing along the vale of the Ouse, and slowly, but surely, win the waterway
of the Wharfe and the Aire; but the dense forest, as well as its brave defenders, held the
Saxon at bay; and not until the days of brave Edwin was the conquest of Elmet complete.
The village of Barwick still retains many old English customs. In the centre of the
village stands the market cross and Maypole, the latter being lowered, and amidst great
rejoicing replaced every third year. The church is large, with a massive tower built of
two kinds of stone, the light chalk, coming from Jackdaws Cragg, given by one of the Vavasours, 15th century. A figure in the tower
represents him in the act of presenting the stone. Although many traditions linger around
the spot, yet the interior of this church contains but one memorial of Saxon days, which
is an old stone, rudely carved, built in the wall of the south aisle, possibly a relic of
the ancient church which stood here.* The chancel dates from the 11th century, possessing
a very fine arch and ancient window, and walls of immense thickness.
Some two miles inward is the clean and well-built town of Aberford; across the centre flows the little rivulet, now spanned by a bridge, formerly a ford, from which the village received its name. The two miles walk from Barwick is very beautiful. After crossing the road the stream is joined by the Potterton Beck in many turnings, passing through a rich and fertile vale; on the farther side is the park and woods of Beckhey Grange, whilst the road passes through a most beautiful avenue of fine trees, whose umbrageous branches cast lovely shadows, affording pleasant relief on a warm summer day.
* History says Christianity was first introduced into West Britain by Zyrm the Blessed, father of Caractacus. He embraced the new faith during his seven years exile in Rome, along with his son; and to the hills and the kingdom of Elmet fled all believers from the invasion of the Pagans.
has of late years been rebuilt, and stands pleasantly on the high ground overlooking the village street. Just within the south wall rest the remains of Sammy Hick, the famous preacher. The churchyard of Barwick also contains the ashes of another well-known revivalist, Billy Dawson. In the churchyard a stone coffin, and part of another, were found under the foundations at the restoration, previous to which the church shewed many signs of great antiquity. In bygone years a good market was held here, also fairs, but both have grown less each succeeding year, and are now a thing of the past. This place is unique in appearance, possessing a character entirely different from any other village in the basin of the Wharfe. One striking feature is its cleanliness; another its well-built houses; a third its position on the rising ground on either side of the vale, added to which is its park-like surroundings and its pretty little river.
Thou ever joyous rivulet,
Dost dimple, leap, and prattle yet
And sporting with the sands that pave The windings of thy silver wave, And dancing to thy own wild chime,
Thou laughest at the lapse of time.
Some two miles down the vale is the little church
of Lead, or Lede, erected in the 13th century as a private chapel to Lead Hall, in bygone
days a place of some importance, and now deserted and falling to ruins. In its palmy days
this must indeed have been a lovely spot. In the midst of the fertile meadow land stands
the church; the ground on either side, rising more boldly, encloses the picturesque vale.
The eye that loves to rest on quiet scenes finds much to admire. The interior of this
chapel is very roughly furnished. On the floor are four tomb stones, the brasses from
which have been removed. The arms on the tombs are a fess
with three mallets; also the names of Margeria, Baldwinius, and Franconis members of
the ancient Teyes family. Margaret was the daughter of Roger le Teyes, and niece and
heiress to Walter le Teyes, Baron of Steingrieve, who also owned lands in Yorks.,
Bedfordshire, Essex, and Bucks. He was summoned as Baron, 6th February, 1298 and fought in
the Scotch campaign. He and Henry le Tyes were the two barons who affixed their seals to
the letter addressed to the Pope, from the Parliament held at Lincoln in 1301, protesting
against the Popes interference with the claims of Edward I. to the Crown of
Scotland. A Franco Tyays, of the county of York, was summoned to come, with horse and
arms, to Parliament, at Berwick. Walter le Teyes died in the 18th year of the second
Edward; Margaret, his niece and heiress, being about twenty-six years of age. A
representative of this old and important family remains in the person of the Rev. James
Tyas, the present Vicar of Padiham.
Chiefly by the efforts of the Vicar of Saxton, Lede Chapel has lately been put into a state of repair.
Rather more than a mile from Lede, the stream, which has hitherto run in an easterly direction, takes a sweeping curve northward, leaving village and hamlet, winding through a deep, silent vale, lonely, yet romantic. Here can be seen the solitary heron and other wild fowl. A thousand sights in animal and vegetable life arrest our attention. In the hedge row bloom the bramble and sweet wild rose, from which now anc again flits the sportive butterfly. The only sound is the gentle murmur of the rivulet passing over some obstruction, and the song of the lark as he rises higher and higher, and the soft cooing of the ring dove. What a contrast is this quiet spot to the noisy hum of our large towns? Here a deep and silent vale, through which the ever restless streamlet laves its course, the scene enclosed by woods and hills, above the glorious sky and fleecy clouds, and the bright sun smiling down on the peaceful vale beneath. Yet near this quiet spot a tragedy affecting a nation was enacted, the hills and dales resounding with the awful clang of arms, and strife of men in deadly combat. Just over the brow of yonder hill a fearful battle was fought between Englishmen, which, for the dreadful struggle and numbers engaged. mark it as one of the greatest fights ever witnessed on English soil.
For then the rival roses, worn by rival houses,
The poor distracted nation into rage and frenzy drove;
. * * * * * *
When the Percys, Veres, and Nevilles, left their castle-halls and revels, To rush like raging devils into the deadly fight.R.
BATTLE OF TOWTON FIELD.
This battle took place on the morning of Palm
Sunday, 1461, on the high land between Towton and Saxton. From Towton the land rises and
falls gently until it droops towards the village of Saxton. The Lancastrians occupied the
ridge nearest Towton, whilst the ground above the village of Saxton was chosen by the
The Sabbath had only just broken, which found the two armies, composed of the best and bravest of Englands sons, breathlessly awaiting the coming strife. Suddenly the heavens became overcast, and a blinding snowstorm fell full in the face of the Laneastrians. The Yorkists quickly taking advantage of the storm, sent many furious showers of arrows from their strong bows, full into the ranks of the enemy, causing fearful havoc; the arrows were shot from the rising ground, after which the archers retired a few paces into the next hollow. The snowstorm blowing in the faces of the Lancastrians prevented them from seeing this manoeuvre; in turn their arrows, flying fast and thick against a foe they could not see, fell harmless at the feet of their enemy, and several times Edwards archers advanced, and each time speeding their arrows full into the ranks of the enemy, caused great confusion. The Lancastrians, perceiving their disadvantage, charged the Yorkists on their own ground.
And so, during the whole of that Sabbath morn, the battle raged. With axe, pike, and sword, they fought like demons, a mass of struggling humanity. Many times during this fatal day did the fortune of war hang in balance, sometimes the White Rose trembling, then again the Red. At one critical moment for the house of York, when their side were losing ground the king-maker sprang from his charger, burying his sword to the hilt in its side, in a voice of thunder swore to win or die.
Again the battle surges, in the thickest fight is the grand form of Warwick,
a host in himself, his bloody sword proving fatal to many.
The tide of battle at last set against the house of Lancaster by the arrival of five thousand fresh troops. No quarter had been given at the battle of Wakefield, where the black-faced Clifford, in cold blood, slew the innocent Rutland; and now at Towton, Edward commanded that no quarter should be given, and only too well were his orders carried out, for at eventide 38,000 of the bravest and noblest of Englands sons lay dead and dying on the ghastly field.
The wreck of the vanquished army fled northwards; across their path ran the little river Cock, into whose waters many fell, never to rise again. Dire was the confusion at this place, until the ghastly bridge was formed by a mass of struggling humanity, over which fled the remnant of the Lancastrians. From the field of battle ran the blood of the slain, once again changing the waters of the rivulet to crimson; even the brown waters of the Ouse, it is said, were also tinged.
Let Towtons field but cease the dismal tale,
For much its horrors would the Muse appal,
in softer strains suffice it to bewail
The patriot castle or the heros fall.
The silver Wharfe, whose crystal sparkling
Eteflects the brilliance of his bleoming shore,
Still melancholy-musing seems to mourn;
On rolls confused the crimson wave no more.
A stranger passing over this ground would see nothing to indicate that on this spot was fought the most fierce and deadly battle of ancient or modern times. A few mounds and depressions probably mark the place where many of the bravest of our land lay in their last sleep. It is said the titled slain are interred in the churchyards of the surrounding district, but with, I believe, three exceptions, Lord Dacre, Earl Percy, and Neville, history is silent, where, although no monument marks the site of battle, yet there is one beautiful memorial on this spot, which the villagers tell us cannot be erased,above where the warrior sleeps, white and red roses bloom, emblems of the fatal feud; how they came thus is not known, but they refuse to grow on other soil than that on which was poured out old Englands noblest blood.
Oh, the red and white rose, upon Towbon Moor
And red and white it blows upon that swarthe for evermore, In memorial of the slaughter when the red blood ran like water, And the victors gave no quarter in the flight from Towton Moor.
When the banners gay were beaming, and the steel cuirasses gleaming, And the martial music streaming oer the wide and lonely heath;
And many a heart was beating that dreamed not of retreating, Which, ere the sun was setting, lay still and cold in death.
When the snow that fell at morning lay as a type and warning,
All stained and streaked with crimson, like the roses white and red, And filled each thirsty furrow with its token of the sorrow
That wailed for many a morrow through the mansions of the dead.
Now for twice two hundred years, when the month of March appears,
All unchecked by plough or shears spring the roses red and white;
Nor can the hand of mortal close the subterranean portal
That gives to life immortal theso emblems of the fight.
And as if they were enchanted, not a flower may be transplanted From those fatal precincts, haunted by the spirits of the slain;
For howeer the root you cherish, it shall fade away and perish, When removed beyond the marish of Towtons gory plain.
Nearly a mile south-west of the battlefield is the village of Saxton (anciently Saxalt). The old historic church, with its massive tower, stands on a gentle eminence at the entrance of the village ; though somewhat clouded in obscurity, its erection probably dates from the latter end of the 11th century. The chancel arch is early Norman; there are also two ancient windows. In the chancel are many memorials to the Hungate family; the last one reads
INTERRED THE BODY OF SIR CHARLES HUNGATE,
OF HUDLESTON HALL, Be,,
- THE LAST MALE HEIR
OF THAT ANTIENT FAMILY, Nov. 6TH, 1749, AGED 63.
Some fifteen years ago the church was restored, when many memorials were lost. Under the pulpit are the tombs of the Hammonds and Widdringtons, date 1671. Teresa Sempson, who died some thirty years ago, at a great age, was the last female who did penance in this church; with a white sheet thrown over her shoulders, she silently walked the aisle during part of the service, as a punishment for her misdeeds. N ear to the porch is a stone with the following quaint
inscription :- HERE LYETH THE BODY OF RICHARD
FLETCHER, WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE
YE 8TH OF APRIL, 1739, AGED 63 YRS.,
WHO LEFT THE USE OF TEN POUd TO YE WIDOWS OF SAXTON.
On the north side is a tomb to the memory of Lord Dacre, who fell on the adjoining battle field.* Along the whole length of the north side, some few feet below the surface, are immense quantities of bones, supposed to be part of the slain from the battlefield. The aged sexton told the writer that he had seen them when digging some years ago, several feet in thickness. It is now understood that this part of the burial ground remains undisturbed.
In the meadows east of the church are distinct traces of a Roman encampment, near to which, in the midst of a fine park, stood the mansion of the Hungates, surrounded by many noble
EDMUND BOGG. Lord Dacres Tomb.
* Local tradition says that Lord Dacre and his charger were interred in one grave, which may account for the skull of a horse being found when the tomb was restored a few years ago.
trees. Their crest is still to be seen over the
front of the manor house. In the adjoining field, west of this house, and near to the
village street, is an eminence, enclosed by a double trench; whether raised by Celt,
Saxon, or Dane we know not; but we should imagine, from the many signs left on the surface
of the earth, that a great struggle took place on this spot centuries before the fatal
fight on Towton Heath. Saxton, apart from its association with the great battlefield,
around which memory mournfully lingers, is a pleasant and rural village, where many signs
of Old England yet remain.
Situated on the London Road, some two and a half miles from Tadcaster, is the village of Towton, ever to be remembered from that famous battle which bears its name. Yet, strange to say, unlike its sister village, it contains little history in connection with the fight. Although a chapel was formerly raised here in honour
of the slain, it has totally disappeared, not a
trace remaining. Instead of following the high road to Tadcaster, which the tourist will
find a very pleasant walk, let the reader follow us across the opposite vale, to the home
of the famed Vavasours, formerly Vavasor or Valvasor, deriving this name from the fact of
their once being the kings Valvasor, an office of great honour in olden time. Since
the days of the Conquest this ancient and noble family have held the lands of Haslewood;
except for a short time in the reign of Henry III when it was in pawn to Aaron, a Jew at
York, for the sum of £350, who made a conveyance of his security to Queen Eleanor, in
discharge of a debt due to her, from whom John de Vavasor received it again on payment of
the money. Sir Mayner de Vavasor, the ancestor of the family,
won honour and renown on the battlefield of Hastings, and is mentioned in the Domesday
survey as holding lands and manors in Stutton Eselwood and Saxall, nnder the great Percy
family. The hall stands about midway between Stutton and Aberford, on the high ground,
facing a môst beautiful park. From the castle is a fine panoramic view of hill and dale
east, and north- east the eye roams with pleasure across the rich vales of Mowbray and
York, through which can be seen glimpses of the shining Ouse, passing village, church,
hamlet, and the stately towers of York. Far away over this fertile vale eastward loom the
outlines of the Wold hills ; northward the heather-clad moors blend their outlines sweetly
with the clouds. Standing in front of this castellated mansion, the spectator cannot but
be impressed by this imposing palace of ancient England. The whole place breathes of
mediaeval times, and yet not in the same way as tbe hoary ruin or the dismantled fortress
; for the place is as perfect as when the brave Vavasour knights, clad in chain armour,
led forth their retainers to the battlefield, or when the loud blast of the horn peopled
the park with a grand array of barons and their ladies, going forth to hunt over the wild
moor, or to chase the fleet deer through the wide forest. In imagination we hear the
trampling of horse and jingle of armour; round the bend in the park appear in sight the
soul of English chivalry, accoutred in all their vestments of war; above them floats the
symbol of the Crusade, under which, through a sea of foes, they fought and won the Holy
City from the Infidel. Such are the visions which sweep across our minds as we look on
this stately structure.
The scene changes! It is night: unbounded hospitality prevails. Through the latticed windows we can see a numerous throng; the banquet ball is brilliant with the glare of torches, and here and there can be seen servitors and retainers carrying huge savoury dishes. On the walls are a vast number of banners and other trophies of war; huge goblets of wine are quaffed to the health of the noble host and hostess. The scene grows brighter as some hero recites his adventures in the deathful career of storm and battle, and the harper sings those inspiring and romantic ballads of love and war, which had been handed down through generations of time.
Haslewood seems deserted now; the mansion is still there, and the parkas
of oldbeautiful, and the spacious courtyard and surrounding buildings are perfect,
yet, how lonely and silent the place seems.
Built up against the walls of the mansion, and under its fostering care, is a Gothic chapel, with classic altar, dedicated to St. Leonard, and built by Sir William de Vavasour in the 13th century. For 600 years services have been held without intermission in this sanctuary, and it was the only place of Roman Catholic faith not closed during the reign of Elizabeth ; so great, it is said, was her esteem for that renowned family. This venerable Gothic chapel contains many memorials of its patrons. Along the east wall are a group of statues representing a Vavasour family of the 16th century, all in a good state of preservation. In the same wall are two mural recesses, containing recumbent effigies, one of them probably representing Sir William, the founder of the church. Both have the appearance of 13th century work; their martial figures repose in complete armour, and tell us of siege and war. The north end is a rich work of Corinthian architecture. Besides other
tombs, &c., the chapel contains two painted windows and a beautiful painted altar piece. How quiet the pretty little graveyard seems, with its many tombstones, crumbling from time and exposure, all telling us to pray for the souls of those who sleep beneath.
Many incidents in song and story are related of this ancient family, all redounding to the esteem and honour in which they were held in bygone days. The aged labourer tells us with pride how this hospitable family gave refreshment equally to the poor as well as to the rich.
Passing along the road which leads to Tadcaster,
in many places covered with a leafy avenue, magnificent views of the vale country are seen
to our right. A two miles walk brings us to the village of Stutton, its rambling
orchards and willow garths spreading along the banks of the brook. Where the lane crosses
the stream stands the old water mill ; its rumbling music hath sounded across two
of time. During the last twenty years many of the
old houses have disappeared. Over the doorway of the old farmhouse, where for generations
dwelt the ileptonstalls, is the date :
After enjoying our repast at ye olde inne, we
cross the stream at the mill, where water hens glide along its surface, the road then
skirts the margin of the wood. A few minutes walk brings us into the London Road,
and a mile further we reach Tadcaster, the capital of the district.
* The bridge which spans the River Cock immediately above where that stream joins the Wliarfe, is a relic of Roman work.
TADCASTRE, the very sound of whose name conjures back the legions of
Imperial Rome, and whose historical associations carry us backward across the gulf of eighteen centuries, to the time when York, the Eboracum of the
Romans, was made her civil and military head quarters, and the home of
her emperors in Britain. Here two of her emperors died, and their ashes repose in magnificent tombs beneath the walls of the old city. Here, tradition tells, was born Constantine the Great, Romes brightest star, the glory of whose reign shed a brilliant lustre over the Roman world, before the lengthening shadows of coming night.
Tadcaster, the Calcaria of the Romans, was a principal station, and the key, as it were, of the Imperial City. In all probability their stronghold stood near to the site of the present church, and opposite the old ford, which crossed the river some two hundred yards above the bridge. Many coins of the emperors, and other relics of Roman ware, have been found here, also the remains of a beautiful villa, whose circular floor of coloured tiles,
are exquisite samples of workmanship. The great Roman road, or street, from the west, passed this station.
Streethouses received its name from the Roman
street, a road paved with stone; along this military way passed, and repassed, with
stately tramp, the invincible legions of proud Rome. From Calcaria,
rattling cars, laden with stone, lime, and timber, for which this station was noted,
passed along this street to the old city. Along this military road to Eboracum, where the
proud Caesars held their court, with all the splendour and dignity of Imperial Rome,
passed all classes of society, from the wealthy noble to the Romanized Celt.
The handsome bridge which spans the Wharfe was built in the early part of the 18th century, out of the remains of the castle, which formerly stood near, and replaced the old one, which had probably done duty for centuries. The old fabric received much damage during the civil wars, 1642, in the fight known as the battle of Tadcaster. The Roundbeads, under Fairfax, occupied an entrenched position at the foot of the bridge. The Royalists, led by Newcastle, held the rising ground to the east of the river, and for six hours, the old bridge, and. nine hundred of its gallant defenders, withstood the storm of shot and shell, sent from an army nine times more numerous. Many attempts were made by the regiments of foot to storm the position of the Fairfaxes, but the men of the west and their brave commander were not to be beaten. Reserving their fire until the last moment, it was then sent with such deadly effect, that the enemy each time were thrown back with confusion. Darkness found them in undisputed possession of the bridge, the Royalists army having retreated some two miles away. To the Fairfaxes this was both a victory and a defeat; their store of ammunition being finished, it was impossible for them to hold the bridge, so during the night the gallant men with drew to Selby, to watch and wait, gather strength, and finally triumph over the oppressors. The following day the Royalists took possession of Tadcaster, which they held until the siege of York.*
Dr. Eades, who passed through this town in the summer and autumn of 1610, seems to have seen it under striking contrasts. In the account of his journeying he says :
- The Muse in Tadcaster can find no theme,
But a most noble bridge, without a stream.
On his return in the wet season, he added : The verse before on Tadcaster, was just,
But now great floods we see, and dirt for dust.
* In the above fight, fell one Captain Lister, of Thornton-in-Craven one of Lord Fairfaxs most gallant officers; he was shot in the head, by a bullet ball. In Thoresbys Ducatus Leod., there is a remarkable instance of filial affection, relating to that gentlemanHis son, passing through Tadcaster, many years after, had the curiosity to inquire where his father was buried; and finding the sexton digging in the choir, he showed him a skull, just dug up, which he averred to be his fathers. The skull, upon handling, was found to have a bullet in it; which testimony of the truth of the sextons words, so struck the son, that he sickened at the sight, and died soon after.
The above quaint description, we have no doubt was quite correct, as the writer well remembers, in the summer of 1870, the bed of the river being nearly empty, whilst in the month of October of the same year, the river overflowing its high banks, the ings and willow garths betwixt the river and Stutton was one vast lake; and the small tributary of the Cock arose into a mighty river. Hundreds of rabbits and other animals were washed out of their burrows, and were seen swimming for dear life. Even sly Messieurs Reynard were trapped by the flood, but, wiser than the small game, took to the branches of friendly trees, where they sat mournfully awaiting the lowering of the waters.
Tadcaster possesses a fine classical church, which of late years has undergone complete restoration. Renovations have swept away those large old boxed pews, where, as youths, some twenty-four years ago, we loved to hide; the individual of whom we stood most in awe was the old verger with his long wand. The old customs and memorials, along with many a relic, have been swept away, and death, the great leveller, has also taken away many a familiar figure from this place. In the church there are thirty memorial tablets, bearing the ages of the deceased, the united total of whose years amount to 2,037, or an average of 67 years and 10 months. In 1578, the register, which dates back to about the Reformation, mentions : Madam Vavasour, late wife of Sir William Vavasour, was buried ye 6th daye of Februarie,
1578, by the Vicar of Tadeaster. At her burial, Mr. Wetherell, Vicar of Bramham, did take upon him to be colet(that is acolyte, an attendant)and was commanded by Sir W. Vavasour to put off his surpless, and he gave the Vicar of Tadcaster LX.
No reason is stated why Sir William dispensed with the services of the acolyte of the Romish Church; and the proceeding seems strange, the Vavasours always hav ing clung to the doctrines of Rome. The Vicar of Tadcaster seems to have been well pleased with the preference, and has entered the circumstance specially.
The following are from the register
Thomas Nicholson and Alice Grange were married the 27th day of Januarie, 1591. It is
promised by Nicholson, before the marriage, that Alice, his wife, shall have half his farm during her
Between the feast of St. Michael the Archangel, in the year of our Lord God 1603, and the
feast of St. John the Baptist, in the year above-written, there died of the plague at Tadcaster, of men,
women, and children, the number of six score.
Inscription under the church tower : HERE LYETH THE BODY OF ARTHUR BYRTON,
LAIT OF TADCASTER, BVCHAR, WHO
DEPARTED OVT THIS LYFE TO THE MARCIE
OF GOD, THE THIRD DAY OF NOVEMBER, IN
THE FYFT YERE OF THE REIGNE OF OUR GRACIOUS SOVEREIGNE
KING JAMES, ANNO DOll, 1608.
The following may also prove interesting :
Elizabeth Marshall, of this town, died March 9th, l788, aged 83 years. She
excellence of parts ; when young she was beautiful, When young, did I say? She was so till she
was seventy-nine, and she was highly good.
The population of Tadcaster has greatly increased during the last twenty years, chiefly from the extension of its celebrated breweries and large corn mills. Five hundred years ago this town was renowned for its brown ales. In the 19th century, this trade has grown into colossal proportions: Tadcaster ales being celebrated far and wide. The Wharfe is navigable to Tadcaster, and also tidal; plenty of coarse fish
abound from the mouth to the above place, and is
much frequented by the bottom fishers from Leeds and neighbourhood. The salmon fishing
below Tadcaster belongs to the Fieldings of Grimstone; the catches of late years have been
very poor, the chief cause, the old fishermen tell us, being the pollution of the Ouse by
the murky waters of the Aire. Most astounding captures of this fish were made some thirty
years ago, according to the accounts of a native, who has been a fisher for upwards of
fifty years; from some cause, the large shoals of salmon which formerly visited this river, have now dwindled to a few solitary fish. In
the vicinity of Acaster and Cawood are still found the remains of the salmon garths which
formerly belonged to the Archbishops these old garths are often the cause of much trouble
to the fishermans net.
Before proceeding further along the banks of the river, we must cross the bridge into the Ainsty of York, the land lying between the old city and Tadeaster; its boundaries being the rivers Ouse, Wharfe, and Nidd. The centre of the bridge is the western limits of the ainsty, the greatest part of which lands are in the water bed of the Wharfe. Two small streams, which rise respectively on the high lands between Bilbrough, Healaugh, Wighill, and Walton, after a course of some three miles join into one stream called Catterton Beck, and flowing southwards for several miles, empties into the Wharfe at Bolton Percy. Situated some three miles east of Tadcaster, and a half-mile from the York road, is Steeton Hall, now doing duty as a farm house. The embattled residence was built by Sir Guy Fairfax, during the Wars of the Roses. He married one of the Rythers of Ryther Castle, and was grandfather of Sir William, of romantic marriage fame. The old chapel, which stood in front of the house, and was consecrated by Archbishop Rotheram, 1473, is entirely swept away; the ground it occupied is now a garden. The old house has been much altered, some parts being taken down. Just inside the hall is a stone table which belonged to the earlier Fairfaxes. Portions of the moat and walls still remain, and, I believe, the original gateway to the chapel. The writer was told that many skeletons have been found near the house: probably the chapel had a graveyard attached, or otherwise the place must have been the scene of some skirmish. The house was enlarged in 1595, and their coat of arms, carved in stone, was placed over the doorway. When the family removed to Newton Kyme, this stone was brought also, and built into the wall above the hall door; and I think the same stone has been removed to Bilbrough, and is now to be seen in front of the mansionthe residence of Guy Fairfax, Esq. Near to Steeton is Calton, whilst a mile away on the opposite side of the York and Tadcaster road is the village of Bilbrough; situated on the lughest land ins the Ainsty, and on the last elevation of the great mountain range, whose mighty summits uprear in grandeur where the river fills her urn,gradually losing their giant forms until the range is lost in the plains of York.
The village of Bilbrough stands about 150 feet above sea level, and is a land mark to the surrounding country. From the opposite sides of the village street can be seen the whole breadth of the lower vales of the Wharfe and Nidd, and the valley of the Ouse to the Humber: a rich and fertile vale. What a magnificent prospect the eye wanders over! Dotted with city and town, village and hamlet, and the silvery streaks of the ever-winding river flowing seawards. The village has a remarkably clean appearance. On the south side of the street nearest York road stands an ancient house, with mullioned windows, once the residence of Admiral Robert Fairfax. Carved on the stone over the doorway are the initials R. F.
Although the exterior of the little church at Biibrough may not impress the visitor
with the beauty of its architecture, yet under its
sacred portals is the tomb which con tains the ashes of one of Englands noblest
sons. The church of late years has under gone complete restoration, which makes it a more
worthy resting-place of the great warrior. The only interesting portion is Nortons
chapel, or choir, in the south wall near the chancel, which bears the stamp of age.
It was built in 1492, by John Norton, Lord of the Manor, and also marks his
resting-place. He left six marks towards the maintenance of Sir William
Drapers Charity, and his successors for ever: that he and they should sing and
occupy the service of God for the souls of the said John Norton and his family. This
sum is still paid to the rector. Fairfaxs tomb is covered by a black marble
slab, seven feet six inches long, and six inches thick, which bears the following
HERE LYE THE BODIES OF THE RIGHT HONBLE.
THOMAS, LOUD FAIRFAX, OF DENTON
BARON OF CAMERON,
WHO DYED NOVEMBER YE XII, 1671,
IN THE 60TH YEARE OF HIS AGE,
AND OF ANNE HIS WIFE, DAUGHTER AND CO-HEIR OF
HORATIO, LORD VERE,
BARON OF TILBURY.
THEY HAD ISSUE
MARY, DUCHESS OF BUCKINGHAM,
THE MEMORY OF THE JUST IS BLESSED.
At the west end is the coat of arms, with the
motto FARE FAC. On the
sides, which are of lighter stone, are shields and military trophies, &c.
_____ Before leaving the church we might say there is a tradition amongst the tenantry in this district that the church does not contain the remains of Fighting Tom, as they still lovingly call him.
Speaking to one of the farmers about my visit to the warriors tomb, he remarked: Bless ye, Black Tom isnt buried there. Then, said I, where is he buried? The reply was: Thats what we all want to know, but no one can tell us. From my conversation with the farmer I learnt that, during the restoration of the church, the tomb was opened, but no remains were found.
Another story is that the night following the interment his body was removed to Walton and secretly buried. There might have been some suspicion lurking in the minds of his friends that the heros resting place would not be held sacred, when we consider the devilish work of vengeance, carried beyond the bounds of all
decency, when the graves of the most distinguished statesmen and patriots, including Blake, the worlds greatest admiral, and even the graves of virtuous women, were desecrated. A more vile and despicable vengeance the world never saw, and it reflects the vilest odium on the most disgraceful court England ever knew. The rage of vengeance having passed when Fairfax died, the story of the removal of the body probably rests on mere tradition.
In a chat one day with a native of the district,
he remarked : It was a sad day for the family when Black Tom
was born When asked the reason why, he said: For fighting against his king and
country. I explained, in a few words, that instead of fighting against he fought for
his country, arid was, with Hampden and others, one of her greatest patriots. It would
have been well for Englands welfare had she possessed more noblemen of his calibre.
His reply was Ah niver knew Black Tom was a man ah that sort
Just on the edge of the churchyard is a dissenting place of worship, which certainly gives the idea of tolerance on religions matters.
A bow shot from the church stands Bilbrough Hall, the residence of Guy Fare fax, Esq., which contains many relics of this famous family, amongst others, the old chair, which was so constructed that the sitter could move about the room at his convenience, during the last years of his life, and when suffering from disease, the result of exposure on the battlefield, most of his time was spent in this chair. After his death it was removed from Nun-Appleton to Seeton, thence to Farnley, after wards to Newton Kyme, and is now to be seen in the dining room at Bilbrough.
The library contains a magnificent family bible and two prayer books, the covers being richly embossed with the royal arms. The entry on the first leaf is in the handwriting of Fordinando, to whom it was presented by Sir Thomas of Denton, in 1612, the occasion being the christening of his grandson, the future general, who was born at Denton, January 17th, and was christened in the family chapel adjoining, on the 25th.
Besides his war boots and much armour, the hall contains several fine portraits and many relics of the Cromwellian period.
A mile nearer Tadcaster is the village of Catterton, from which place, half-an- hours walk in the direction of Marston brings us to Helaugh (Helagh).
There is an old world sound in the name of this village, which stands pleasantly at the foot of the rising ground which divides the watershed of the Nidd and the Wharfe. The neat and well-built cottages, with their garden plots and orchards adjoining the village street, present a peaceful scene, and speak of the repose of rural life.
Just on the boundary of the village street, on the small eminence, is the village church, screened in front by many nobly timbered trees, whose grand forms and mighty arms have withstood many a storm and winters blast, and still add beauty to the scene. There is an undoubted antiquity around this spot; the mounds and earthworks on the north and east side of the church carry the mind backward to Saxon days. The De Bruses, ancestors of the Kings of Scotland, and that ancient Percy family, princes of the north, had a castle on this spot, which is mentioned by Leland as standing in -the time of Henry VIII.
Badges of the Percies and other symbols have been found here. In the grave-. yard was unearthed, some forty years ago, a stone with Runic characters inscribed on, one of which was the name of the Celtic priest, which strongly points to the fact that on this eminence stood an ancient British church, at the time when the standard of proud Rome floated from the ramparts ef Eboracum; and when the priestly Druids still offered up their human sacrifices on their rude altars, and worshipped in the mystic circle. The evidence of a British church existing here, previous to the 4th century, is the discovery of the fragment of a tombstone, when digging on the north side of the sacred edifice. It seems evidently to have been a memorial to a priest, with the rough outlines of the chalice and patens, and a few words in Runic characters, giving the word Modug (Celtic), on one side of the
cross HEV or HEIU, and also providing the name Helagh, the ancient dedication
of one church by St. Helen.
Provost Brown says: After the synod of Whitby, the Celtic priests were
deprived of their See, in 664, so that the memorial has evidently been raised
before this date.
This stone, which has been examined by two or three celebrated antiquarians, has mysteriously disappeared; no one seems to know where it went. It is said, in mediaeval times it was considered a meritorious act to steal relics modern antiquarians are not too scrupulous in this respect. A hole in the church door is said to have been caused by a bullet fired by one of Cromwells troopers. The
porch at the west end probably dates to the 11th century, and is very curious the chancel door way, south-east end, to the 13th century; the chancel is large and comprises a small church in-size. Reposing on a fine tomb of marble under the chancel arch, are the effigies of Lord Wharton and his two wives. Part of the inscription reads His family gave him his name, but my victorious right arm gave me my honours. The chancel also contains many tombstones inscribed to the memory of the Mortimer family. This church contains a beautiful lectern, the work of the vicar, the Rev. Cook. The church of Bolton Percy also contains another fine specimen of this gentle mans art work in brass. In the burial ground, amongst many others, is a tablet to the memory of the following
SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF JOHN FOSTER, OF THIS
CARPENTER, WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE 8TH DAY OF JUNE, 1796,
AGED 50 YEARS. HE HAD ISSUE BY MARTHA, HIS WIFE,
FOURTEEN SONS. __________ IN REMEMBRANCE OF WILLIAM, THE 7TH SON OF JOHN AND
MARTHA FOSTER, WHO DIED 26TH AUGUST, 1786. AGED 13 WEKS.
HENRY, THEIR 9TH SON, DIED 15TH JULY, 1790, AGED 7 WEKS.
MARK, THEIR 10TH SON, DIED 22ND FEBRUARY, 1795, AGED 2
YEARS AND 15 WEEKS, ALSO THEIR 11TH, 12TH, AND 13TH SONS, WHO DIED IN THEIR INFANCY.
- ERE SEN COULD BLAST OR FLOWER FADE, DEATH CAME WITH FRIENDLY CARE;
THE OPENING BUDS TO HEAVEN CONVEYED,
AND BADE THEM BLOSSOM THERE.
In front of the hall, near the church gate, is
still to be seen the remains of the market cross; this was in olden days the village green
where the fairs and markets were held.
Helaugh Priory, now doing duty as a farm house, stands midway between Helaugh and Tadcaster, by the side of the road. In 1203, Batram Hajet granted land to found a priory of the Order of St. Austin, and a church was built in honour of St. John the Evangelist.
In 1218, a convent of regular black canons was sent over from France, and established by Jordan de St. Maria. The arms of the De Pendens, benefactors of this priory in the 13th century, are to be seen in Helaugh Church, on the Whartons tomb. A coat of arms of this family, quartered with those of the Whartons, was lately found at Steeton, the old seat of the Fairfaxes; and probably points to the Whartons assuming the arms, on coming into the possession of the manor, hortly after the suppression of the monasteries. In 1425, the dean and chapter made declaration, that the vicar shall receive his victuals, clothing, &c., and this the vicar shall receive of the prior, £5 per annum at Pentecost and Matins, and shall have for habitation the house in Helagh, and half the garden on east side of the town; and that the priory and convent shall build their own house with six posts for kitchen and stables, and a well and way to it, and the vicar shall be content there with ; and not receive fruits, plants, or other emoluments appertaining to the church. The priory chapel is now entirely destroyed. Fragments, in form of early English cups and basis, are to be seen in the building of the west farm of the priory, built on some forty years ago. Some six years ago, as the vicar of Helaugh was looking over the remains of the priory, he discovered inside a cattle shed, a portion of the west wall of the south aisle, of the early English church of 1218; the remains of the kitchen and bakery departments are to be seen in the building used as a barn. The south farm was only built some fifty years ago; its appearance gives the idea of far greater age, caused by the use of the old materials from the priory. The door stone of this house was once a body stone in the floor of the priory chapel, and on it may still be seen the name of one of the De Pendens.
OVATE PRO ANIME.
One mile and a quarter north-west of the priory, is the ancient village of Wighill.
THE hill just outside the village, a stronghold or
place of defence in the early Saxon days, and the scene of an engagement between Angle and
Celt. On this commanding site stands the church of Wighill, a venerable structure, historic with the reminiscences of the Stapletons.
From the graveyard lovely views of the surrounding country are obtained. Vessels can be seen ascending the Ouse away beyond Selby town, whilst the undulating vale country spreads before us like a dream to the eastern wolds. Living near the close of the 19th century, we may with truth call this a church of olden time, with
its beautiful Norman porch and arches of the same period. The interior, with its uneven floor, rough and ancient oaken pews, mark it as the most primitive church along the vale of the Wharfe. Here prayers have been offered, and the gospel preached, since the days of the Angle kings. The north side of the tower end contains an effigy of a knight of the Stapleton family, 15th century period. In front of the menument is a Turks head, a badge of the Stapletons, assumed by them through some heroic action on the battlefield,
perhaps a remote ancestor of the family may have slain in single combat some mighty warrior of the infidel
hosts during the crusading wars.
Amongst many legends connecting this badge with the Stapletons, and the lands of
Wighill, is the following one quaintly told by the aged sexton :
Many hundred years ago, a terrible giant, Turk or Saracen, dwelt on an island near the coast of
England, causing fearful havoc far and wide, killing all who came in his path. A manor was offered
by the king to the man who would rid the country of this bloodthirsty ogre. After a long delay, a champion was found in the shape of another David, who went forth alone, armed only with a good sword. The hero crossed to the island, the stronghold of the foe ; after leaping ashore, young Stapleton sent his boat adrift. The mighty Saracen, who from his castle had seen the coming of Englands champion, came on the scene at this juncture, waxing wroth at the sight of his adversary. Inquiring why the boat was sent out to sea, Stapleton replied that he was determined to rid the country of such a monster or die in the attempt, and if victorious, should return in his, the giants boat. After a long fight, the young hero received a terrible blow which brought him to the ground; at the moment the giant was in the act of giving the final stroke, with arms uplifted, Stapleton, grasping his sword, with a desperate plunge struck him under the armpit and disabled him. Then commenced the final struggle for victory, which ended in the death of the Saracen, whose head was severed from his body,
and was brought along with the giants sword and boat to Britain as proofs of his victory. For this courageous deed the king did grant him the manor of Wighill, where the Stapletons dwelt for six centuries.
A brass plate at the chancel end of the church records In and about this north aisle, formerly the Chapel of the Virgin Mary, the eleven generations of
the family of Stapleton, who purchased this manor A.D., 1376, some of whose names are written below, derived from testamentary and other evidence :Sir William Stapleton, Knight, who restored and enlarged the church, and was buried in 1503, and his two wives Margaret and Joan; Sir Brian Stapleton, Knight, 1518, and his wife Joan; Christopher Stapleton, Esq., 1537, and his wife Alice; Sir Robert Stapleton, Knight, died 1557; Sir Robert Stapleton, Knight, died 1606 Bryan Stapleton of Myton, died 1658, brother of Henry Stapleton, of Wighill; Robert Stapleton, Esq., 1634, son of Henry and his sister Isabel; Sir Miles Stapleton, Knight, of Wighill and Armley, died 1668; Henry Stapleton, Esq., 1673; his cousin Henry Stapleton, Esq., 1723; Phillip Stapleton, 1729, and Margret his wife, 1743. All lords of this manor in succession. Henry Stapleton, son of Phillip, who died 1725, in the lifetime of his father, and Ann his wife, died 1761 ; Henry Stapleton, Esq., of Wighill, died 1764; Phillip Stapleton, Esq., died 1783; Henry Stapleton, Esq., Wighill, died 1770; Phillip Stapleton, Esq died 1768.
On the east side of the graveyard, on a small and obscure stone, is the following
brief memorial :-
The very simplicity of these words arrest our
attention more than the most elaborate epitaph. The village stands some three hundred
yards from the church, and consists. of one street; on one side yet remain a few old
cottages whose quaintness contrasts favourably, from an artists vision, with the
more just architectural proportions of the new. The manor house stands at the west end of
the village, which, having been restored, nothing of the old house remains, with the
exception of the porch.
To the north of Wighill is Sinningthwaite. On this site stood an old Cistercian Priory, founded in the 12th century, near to which, as its name testifies, is the old village of Bilton. The curious church formerly contained two bells: legend says a travelling tinker stole one. There is still the niche, minus the bell, awaiting some kind patron to replace.
Further north, just beyond the basin of the Wharfe, is the straggling village of Marston, on whose sedgy moorlands perished the cause of the Royalists. Returning from Wighill to Tadcaster by the road, we pass along the edge of Healaugh Park, whose shady slopes are adorned with noble trees, after passing which we drop by the footpath to the riverside, above the weir. This is a most lovely spot; here we have a commanding view of the river; where mighty trees, whose spreading branches are mirrored in its waters, and where glides the stately swan and the richly coloured pleasure boat. Crossing Tadcaster Bridge, we follow the path along the south side of the river, through park-like surroundings, here the river winds in many graceful turns to Healaughs Hail, whose front looks down from the opposite slope, facing the sunny south. Here at one time a foot-bridge spanned the river. Through the buttress the path leads us into a romantic length of rocky woodland. After crossing a small brook, which rises in the higher lands east of Bramham; a mile onward we gaze with admiration down the beautiful avenue of noble trees; at the opposite end stands the pleasant Corinthian mansion, once the seat of the Fairfaxes. Passing down the drive, we look with pleasure on the ivy-mantled church, which seems to hide its modest tower amongst the clustering trees: a sequestered and quiet spot, a place of repose, where the weary mind can find rest and be refreshed by the beauty and peace of its environment. Along the river bank, in garden, copse, and meadow, are studded the fragrant little gems that appeal to the mind of man and teach what is beautiful and chaste.
The church is dedicated to St. Andrew, and contains Norman work. Its
quaint interior, as well as its exterior, tells of age : the ivy has fastened with firm embrace on porch and tower, giving the sacred edifice a more venerable and time-honoured look.
The churchs side
With ivy tendrils was entwined,
As though the flight of time to hide
While on the breath of breezes borne,
The restless shoots in playful scorn,
In the mansion grounds are still to be seen the
remains of a castle, which speaks of high antiquityin feudal times the stronghold of
the Barons de Kyme.
Leaving Newton, we can either follow the road or keep by the banks of the
river. The road crosses the North-Eastern line at Newton Kyme Station, and one and a half miles onward brings us to Boston Spa. Near the latter place a stream
which drains the high lands around Bramham, flows into the Wharfe near Boston.
Bramham and Clifford moors were only enclosed some 140 years ago, previous to which date this was a wild and desolate moor: the resort of highwaymen, and the scene of many robberies. In the neighbourhood are still to be seen the remains or the old Roman road, called Watling Street, from which branch-roads crossed to the different Roman stations. In A.D. 1408, a battle was fought on Bramharn Moor. After the battle of Homildon, where the Percies overthrew the Scots under the great Douglas: the Earl of Northumberland had been at variance with the king, through the monarchs refusal to allow the Percies to receive ransom for their prisoners. At the battle of Shrewsbury, his gallant son, Hotspur, with the bulk of the rebel army, was left dead on the battlefield. Another revolt, which took
place in the spring of 1405, was equally unsuccessful; several of the rebel leaders.
being captured and executed. Earl Percy and Lord Bardolf fled into Scotland, and
afterwards into Wales.
In 1408, the old earl, who had long been a wanderer, made another
desperate attempt to regain his inheritance. Raising a rebel army amongst his tenantry in the north, he marched into Yorkshire, and crossing the Wharfe at. Wetherby, met the kings forces between Bramham and Haslewood. The fight ended in a complete victory for the king; Earl Percy being slain on the field of battle, and Lord Bardolf dying of his wounds soon after. Their bodies were cut into quarters aud exposed in the principal towns of the kingdom. In the rebel army was the Abbot of Hales and the Bishop of Bangor, the former being taken in complete armour was executed; the Bishop was spared for not appearing in the vestments of war. For this victory Sir Thomas Rokeby, the commander of the kings troops, received the manor of the Percies at Spofforth, with everything appertaining thereto during his life. In the early years of the present century, a ring and seal were found near to this battlefield, supposed to have belonged to one of those ecclesiastical warriors. Bramham Park, and nearly all the adjoining lands, is the property of George Lane Fox. The stately mansion, which has been unfortunately burnt, was built by Robert Benson, Esq., afterwards Lord Bingley, and the grounds, which are most beautiful, were laid out under his fostering care. The tall trees, which comprise the magnificent avenues here, are amongst the highest in this county; the delightful spots this park contains are too numerous to mention. Near to the Rosary is a monument erected by Lady Bingley, to the memory of her favourite dog, Jet, which died 1764, aged eighteen years. The kennels in the park contain the renowned pack, known far and wide as the Bramham Moor Hounds. The village of Bramham has a continental appearance, the red-tiled.
roofs of the older portion, and the grey church and spire, stand on the slope of the rising hill; the newer portions, with slated roofs, are built in the vale below. The contrast makes the old portion even more picturesque; although it has a continental look, yet verily it is an old English village. The yellow-washed inn speaks of story and tradition in the old coaching days. The church is substantial, with tower and spire combined, and the graveyard very large. One tombstone records the memory of : JOHN BOVIT, 81, AND DOROTHY, HIS WIFE, 89.
They lived in love and died in peace,
And now are both in happiness.
Another stone records :
He was the first person born in the hamlet of Boston. He was architect of Bolton Church, and gave the land. Died Sept. 19th, 1821, aged 68. He lived universally
respected, and died universally lamented.
The churchyard is enclosed by a wall, which has evidently been given in. sections by the different parishioners.
The aged people at the place tell us many old tales of 40 years past. There was one Anthony Gibbon, who liked an odd horn, but often replenished. One night the butler, for a joke, placed Anthony in front of a roaring hot fire in the hall with his favourite horn, and a jug of ale. Soon the fire began to take effect, Anthony being a stout man, the heat became intolerable. Just when on the point of moving, the butler whispered in his ear: For Gods sake, Anthony, dont move ; Miss Fox is coming and must not see you here. After poor Gibbon was half roasted in front of the fire, he grew desperate, and in spite of all the butlers ominous whispering of Miss Fox, Anthony rushed out of the hall, crying: Ah weant be bont ta deede for allt Foxes i Bramham.
At thatched house park lived old Jemmy and Nanny. One night, after retiring to rest, Jemmy said: Nanny, we nobbut ev two matches it hoose, ah think ahl try em afore ah goa to sleep, to see if they be reight uns. Jemmy struck them both, with the remark that they were all reight. Next morning Jemmy was surprised to find he had to walk to the village to procure a light.
From Tentler Hill, at Bramham
. The restless eye may rove,
From mead to mead, and grove to grove;
Now the village church it views,
Nested in its ancient pews
Fields with corn or pasture green,
And strips of barren heath between,
Villas, farms, and, glimmerings cool,
The glassy pond or rushy pool.
There is a magnificent sweep over a varied and
delightful country, underlating
vales and river, stretching away to the Hambleton hills. Discernable from this spot
is the lofty rock known as Whitestone Cliff, or the White Mares Cliff.
Tis a terrible cliff; een the stoutest grow pale,
As they stand on the brink and look down the vale.
* * * * *
And still the good folks of the valley below,
When a mist like a curtain hangs from the brow
Of the white steep, declare
That a terrified mare
Will leap from the cliff and melt into air.
Leaving Bramhamwith the sweet melody of the church bells sounding oer the vale, bringing to our minds many tender recollections of the past,one mile onward is Clifford (from ford and cliff the cliff near the ford), a large village, with many houses tenantless, giving it now a rather desolate appearance; some years ago a busy place, now its trade seems declining. Forty years ago a native described the place thus : Once a mere village, now a busy place;
"For on the rippling brook that floweth nigh,
To mingle with majestic Wharfe hard by
(A stream, where humbly stood, ere we were born,
A simple water-mill for grinding corn),
A busy factory now erects its head,
With vast, extensive works for making thread
And as you pass along the village street,
Where erst no sound your listeniug ear would greet,
In almost every shed or cottage now, I
The whirling spinning-wheel is heard to go.
It is, indeed, a vastly altered village,
Now famed for trade, though once for merely tillage;
So changed its habits and its rustic race,
Our sires (re-called) would scarcely know the place!"
The village possesses a Catholic church and nunnery, there being many of that persuasion in the neighbourhood; there is also a Protestant church. From Clifford, ten minutes walk brings us to the confines of Boston Spa, whose birth only dates back some one hundred and thirty years. The same writer says : A hundred years have scarcely passed away
Since its first mansions saw the light of day;
Ere then, the very site on which it stands,
Was merely tillage-fields and pasture lands ;
From Clifford village to the rivers brim,
Devoid of stately house or cottage trim.
Nay, more than this,the age was still so rude,
No arched bridge then crossed the rapid flood.
This famed health resort is pleasantly situated
near the banks of the Wharfe, whose waters glide peacefully, before reaching the bridge,
through a deep gorge of wondrous beauty; high overhead uprears the massive rock, and the
mazy woodland, with their glorious tints mirrored in its deep and silent waters, and along
whose surface skims the brilliantly - plumaged king fisher: tis a fairy spot,
enchanted ground, a whispering-place of love
Deepdale and Jackdaw Crag are favourite resorts, the old Wharfe at no other spot looks more beautiful, and those who love river
scenery will look unwearied on this delightful scene of woodland, gorge, and river. The path along the margin of the woods leads us under branches of spreading beech ; the music of waters rippling over the weir, the warbling of the feathered tribe, and many other sounds of nature, combined with the pastoral sweetness, all blend into one harmonious picture of sight and sound. The old mineral spring, the repute of whose waters caused the erection of this handsome village, was accidentally discovered in 1744, by John Shires, of Thorparch, while cutting wood near the banks of the river. The path which leads by the pump-room and baths, and onwards to
Newton Kyme, is pleasant in its varied charms of shady walk, winding river, and sylvan meadow-land, teeming with rustic loveliness and the rich perfume of wild flowers. For those who love to chase Master Reynard, such will find Boston a capital centre, there being about twenty rendezvous within a few miles of this spot.
The following anecdote is told respecting the
first inn opened during the time the bridge
between Boston and Thorparch was being erected, at which many workmen were of course employed. A traveller on horseback called and took up his quarters for the night. Seeing many workmen about, and being the first that had visited the house as a traveller, he determined to give them a treat. He accordingly ordered refreshments to be supplied, and they enjoyed themselves right gloriously. Elevated by the exhilarating spirit of Old John Barleycorn, they loaded their generous benefactor with thanks, and having quaifed their liquor, and puffed the fumes of the Old Virginian weed to their hearts content, they retired, or rather serpentined, each to his home for the night. Next morning, on the ostlers going to the stable to look after and dress the travellers horse, lo! to his great surprise and consternation, he found the stable door wide open and the horse gone! Going to the travellers bedroom, to ascertain if he was still there, and gently tapping, received no reply, he opened the door and found the bird was flown! Instead of paying his reckoning, the generous stranger had left on the dressing table a card, on which was written the following laconic epistle :- Dear Boniface,
Obliged by press of business to leave your delectable hospitium early this morning, I am sorry
I shall not be able at present to settle my small account ; but I hope ere long to have an opportunity
of doing so. Wishing you, in the meantime, uninterrupted health, and prosperity in your undertaking,
at which I thought it my duty, as a pioneering traveller, to be handsome last night,
I remain, dear Boniface,
P.SDont you wish you may get it, Master Boniface? Yours obediently, VIAT0R.
The landlord was wont to tell this story to his customers in the bar, for ears afterwards, as an excellent joke; and he always ended it with passing the remark by way of consolation: Never mind, lads! there was luck in the gentlemans epistle; for weve niver looked behind us sin that neet.
On the opposite side of the bridge is Thorparch, receiving its name from the Norman family of De Arches, or DArques, who fought under the Conquerors standard at Hastings, receiving much land around this place for his reward. Formerly it was named Ivet Thorpe, from Ivetta, wife of William De Arches, who gave to the nuns of Monkton some lands here, and a wood enclosed, that reached from hence to Wetherby.* Just previous to the conquest, Gamel, son of Orm, was in possession of Thorparch, and he was murdered by Earl Tosti, 1064.
Nothing more beautiful and truly English can be
imagined than a sunset scene, viewed from the bridge, when all the sharp outlines and raw
colours are softened and subdued into one harmonious blending, just at the hour that the
birds have ceased their carols, and when no sound save the music of the rippling waters
falling over the cascade is heard. Gently the shadows of night fall oer the scene,
the mist veil rises over the surface of the waters like a vision, and the silvery
glimmerings of the river only remain visible under the canopy of night. Thorparch yet
contains some of its primitive aspects; the church stands on the high ground some few
hundred yards away, presenting a beautiful feature in
the landscape. Half a mile onwards is Thorparch Station, which also does duty for Boston. A cross the line, one mile north-east, is Walton (Waletun), the home of the Celts. This old world village is yet replete with many old cots, whose rustic thatch and ancient interiors remind us of three centuries ago. In the wall of one old house is to be seen some stones newer than the other portion, caused by the removal of a shield containing the arms of the Fairfaxes. The old manor house stands in the midst of a meadow, just on the precincts of the village street.
This house was formerly of much larger
proportions, encircled with moat and wall, and
long the home of the earlier Fairfaxes. Fairfax is Saxon, and means fair hair,
either bright in colour or comely from the plenty thereof. At Walton the old line
of this famous family have resided since Saxon days, branches from whom have won honour and renown on many a hard fought field. At one time several mansions and many estates were owned by members of this family in the vale of the Wharfe. At the end of the village and completing the background of a delightful and rustic picture, is the dear old church with its ivy covering; the edifice has just undergone complete restoration. In the chancel are several mural tablets, but the one of most interest to the historian, is the old time-worn and mutilated effigy of Nicholas Fairfax. If this be the effigy of Sir Nicholas, its age cannot be more than three hundred and fifty years, although its appearance gives the impression of far greater age. Probably the effigy has suffered by those who do not venerate the
memory of our great ancestors. This Sir Nicholas was a renowned warrior, and won great honour in siege and battle. He belonged to that religious military order, the Knights of Malta, otherwise called Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem ; in 1310, becoming possessed of Rhodes, the order was then called the Knights of Rhodes.
In 1523, they were besieged in that city by the
Turks, and finally expelled; afterwards taking up their residence in Malta. It was during
this siege, when the soldiers of the Cross were encompassed by the mighty army of the
infidel Turks, that this valiant knight from the vale of the Wharfe, descended from a long
line of warriors, carved a path through the mighty host of the besiegers, and brought help
and food to his half-starved brethren.
THE small rivulet which joins the Wharfe at Collingham rises and drains the high lands between Shadwell and Harewood; the former place derives its name, we are told, from an old well in the village street being formerly overhung with branches: hence the name Shadywell, or Shadwell.
Behind Stock Hill, where stood the village stocks, was formerly a small
chapel dependent on the English Church; it has totally disappeared, and
the place where it stood is now a garth. It has evidently been a place of burial, skeletons having been found here. A Roman road from Adel to Pornpocalia Roman station, midway between Thorner and Rictonpassed near Shadwell.
Wike, a sleepy old hamlet some three miles from Harewood, stands near a small
stream, which takes its rise near Alwoodley and. runs through the first range of
moorland to the Wharfe. Many years ago, a hoard of gold and silver coins was discovered at this place, supposed to have been hid during the Scottish raids in the 13th century.
The land between Wyke, Shadwell, and Scarcroft contains many interesting features in its by-paths and quaint homesteads; but we cannot linger; so passing Beacon Hill, we drop down to Scarcroft. Near this place is a cottage encircled by a moat, still known as Moat House. Leaving the large and interesting village of Thorner, with its late Gothic church, well worthy of a visit, we follow the highway and approach the pleasant and rural village of Bardsey.
Bardsey, in ancient times, was the home of the Celtic bards. These venerable
and romantic lyrists produced a strain of most
pathetic poetry and song, long before the arrival of the Saxon on these shores. The
recital of these songs by the bards inspired valour and compassion, joy, sorrow, or
revenge, in the minds of our rude forefathers. From the 6th to the 9th centuries this
sublime and wild song was swept aside by the storm of plunder and war. With the exception
of a few such men as the Venerable Bede, Alfred, and Aldhem, who flashed their genius
across the gloom of surrounding night, poetry and song fled before the dreadful
devastations of Saxon and Northmen to the vales and mountains of the north and west. The
following is a sublime example of song produced by the greatest of Celtic bards
This is no time replied the bard, to hear the song of joy: when the mighty are to meet in battle, like the strength of the waves of Lego. Why art thou so dark, Slimora! with all thy silent woods? No star trembles on thy top; no moonbeam on thy side. But the meteors of death are there: the grey watry forms of ghosts. Why art thou dark, Slimora! with thy silent woods? He retired; in the sound of his song Carril joined his voice. The music was like the memory of joys that are past : pleasant and mournful to the soul. The ghosts of departed bards heard it on Slimoras side. Soft sounds spread along the (valley) wood. The silent valleys of night rejoice.Ossian.
Bardsey is, indeed, a lovely spot; here we can
wander along the sweet, old green lanes, whose margins are bedecked with many wild
flowers. The most interesting relic of a bygone age is the large mound known as
Castle Hill, probably a Celtic stronghold, which has evidently been divided
into two portions, joined by a bridge or causeway. Three sides of the stronghold have been
encircled by a strong wall or stockade; the other portion, adjoining the present grange,
being protected by water. Outside of this circle was a strong wall or ring-fence,
enclosing some two to three hundred acres. The circle of this fence is, in most parts,
still distinctly to be traced. Some years ago, a person digging in this mound, found ample
evidence of the fortress having been burnt. At the foot of Castle Hill
stands Bardsey Grange, the birthplace of William
Congreve, the fashionable 17th century bard, beau, poet, and dramatist. The church
register states that he was baptized February 10th, 1669. There appears to be some mystery
about his birth place; some writers say Stafford was the place, 1670. Previous to the
Reformation, this grange, or granary, belonged to the monks of Kirkstall, and was at that
time of much larger proportions. A beautiful lake, well stocked with fish, adorned the
vale below, on whose bosom glided the stately swan; and numerous wildfowl added charms to
this retired place. The church is Early Norman, with a quaint and lofty tower. The old
building, formerly the vicarage, and a portion of the tythe barn, stand on the high ground
south of the church. In the churchyard will be noticed a singular block of stone, weighing
about eight tons, placed on the graves of the Abbots, who for six generations lived on
Paradise Hill. Connected with the placing of this burial stone is a curious incident.
Although several very interesting and primitive
dwellings were some time ago destroyed, it is yet unequalled as a rural spot, presenting a
series of delightful little pictures, on which memory dwells with sweet recollection.
Perched on the rocky angle of the cliff, overlooking the vale of Keswick, and some few
hundred yards from Bardsey, is Ricton, the ton on the ridge. Seen from the highroad, we
might imagine the place consisted of two or three houses only; this impression is
agreeably dispelled as we climb the rocky road, or street, and wander through this curious
and old-time village. Immense rocks in some places form the street ; curious nooks and
corners, old walls twisting round little green spots, enclosing rambling orchards and aged
farms, redolent with the memories of a Moreland. On this cliff are obtained the most noble
views of lower Wharfedale, from Wetherby to the moor- land fells of Craven.
Keswick from this spot seems most charmingly situated, resting in a rich vale of fertile land, whose fine sweeping appearance, seen from this point of vantage, is very impressive. Nearer Compton, east and north-east, can be seen the vales of the Ouse and Derwent; the wolds beyond York, and the moors above Seamer, to the North Sea. On this high land, some one and a half miles . Ricton, is the hamlet of Compton; our path extends across cultivated fields and along green lanes, and we pass into the old military road of the Roman. How delightful are those wide green lanes. Being weary with our tramp, we rest under the large hawthorn hedge, perfumed with honeysuckle and the bloom of the wild rose. Mingling amongst the feathery grass, and contrasting sweetly, are the modest daisy, buttercup, and wild pansy. For a moment we are impressed with the silence of nature; the song birds seem to be weary with their labours and resting from the heat of the day. Softly the hum of myriads of insects falls on our ears, rising and swelling like harmonious vibrations from a sweet-toned harp. Gradually other sounds increase; the skylark rises and sings his praise, the tee-a-tee of the goldfinch, and the song of the white-finch, mingle with the bleatings of ewes and lambs in the meadows; a brace of partridges creep through the hedge at our feet, are startled, and fly away with a
- burring sound. The harsh cry of the corncrake comes from the adjoining field, and in the distance is heard the yelping of a cur, and the confused bleating of a drove of
sheep the shepherd is driving from pasture to market.
The hamlet of Compton consists of two large farms, which stand about one hundred and fifty yards apart, divided by a small lake, richly adorned with large overhanging trees, which remind us of those old English scenes painted by Gainsborough, Constable, or Creswick; it is a rural and retired spot well worthy of a visit. On the land occupied by the Dalbys, was discovered some forty-five years ago, the remains of a large Roman villa, in which was a circular room with tesselated pavement, adorned with a wreath of coloured ivy leaves; also a large dining hall some fifty feet long; in an alcove was the fire-place, with the ashes of the last fire remaining, whose embers had probably expired some thirteen hundred years ago. Many coins and other relics of the Roman period were found, also querns or ancient British mills. Most of these remains are to be seen in York museum, the authorities of which, on the discovery of the villa, placed a watch day and night, until the relics were unearthed and safely removed. The remains were found during the felling and clearing of a wood, the place having being hid by dense undergrowth; the land is now arable. The stones from the villa were used in repairing and building on the farms at Compton.
Retracing our steps to Ricton, we drop down into the vale of Keswick (Saxon
Ceasawic ) ; the village stands at the foot of lands rising to the Wharfe. Half a mile off the main roads, sheltered from the north, yet finely situated for receiving all the advantage derived from the soft breezes of the sunny south, the village is approached by one of the sweetest of the old - green lanes for which this part is noted, where abundance of .
wild briar and flowery shrubs -.
adorn its margins. When sketching in this neighbourhood, friend R., who always wrapped his easel and sketching stool in dark oil cloth, was much taken down by a small boy about seven years old, who thus addressed him : Hi, mester, where ah ye gaing te? Mr. R.: Why may you want to know? Why, ah thout if ye were gaing te Ricton, mebbe yed call at ure house, as ar Sarah wants her umbrella mending. Exit
Keswick was at one time a stronghold of
Wesleyanism, and judging from the proportions of the neat sanctuary newly erected, the
sect must still number a considerable following. A century ago it was the abode of several
Quaker families. In a lane leading west from the centre of the village, is to be seen a
scarce specimen of a willow; the slip from which the tree grew, was procured froni the
willow which spreads its shades over Napoleons tomb at St. Helena. In olden
time, this village possessed a castellated mansion; the spot where it stood is still traceable with portions of the moat filled with water.* Tradition says it was once the residence of the celebrated Gascoigne family.
Leaving Keswick, and ascending the ground rising towards the Wharfe, a lovely view eastward unfolds before us. Onwards we pass into the Harewood Road. Near to the Travellers Rest, a rustic wayside inn, in a charming situation, over looking the vale of the Wharfe, a magnificent scene stretches away beyond Almes Cliff and the moors of Fewston, with the old river in the vale below, ever flowing through that delightful scene. A. few yards from the inn the road passes into a beautiful avenue of noble trees, interwoven many deep, and stretching away into one long sweeping vista to the gates of Harewooci Park. A walk under this canopy of innumerable boughs is most enjoyable. The dancing of light and shadow, and the mingled tints of chestnut, elm, mountain ash, and rugged oak, form a scene the mind remembers with pleasure.
After rest and refreshment at the old wayside inn, we retrace our steps towards Collingham, and drop down to the river at Wood Hall Bridge, .a popular meeting place of the Bramham Moor Hounds. Looking down the river from the bridge is a fine view of Wood Hall, situated on a rich plateau of flourishing woodland.
* The remains of the moat may now be seen in a meadow, south of the lane, running west from the village street. The old fortified mansion was demolished during thc latter part of the 17th century. and a farmhouse and outbuildings erected with the materials.
CROSSING the bridge, we pass up the north side of
the valley, and enter the road running along the ridge dividing the Wharfe and the Nidd.
It was in this road, about 1 1/2 miles nearer Wetherby, where the Scotch packman mysteriously disappeared
A few hundred yards along the road stands the inn known as Clap
Gates, the sign of which bears the following
THIS GATE HANGS WELL, AND HINDERS NONE
REFRESH, AND PAY, AND THEN PASS ON.
About three-quariers of a mile onward is Cliff Top, from which one of the most enchanting views in lower Wharfedale spreads before us. The perspective of this scene presents a varied composition, embracing grandeur and magnificence, added to which are its rich pastoral and fertile beauty, truthfully named the garden of England. In front of this scene let us rest and feast our eyes on its beauties, as the golden sunlight and dark shadows alternately chase each other across the vale. On the slope of the hill, half-a- mile to the north-west, stood, in pre-Norman days, Earl Morcars castle. Below sleeps the dreamy village of Netherby.
Miles away, the winding course of the old Wharfe can be seen like a streak of silver, flowing through a wealth of cornland and pasture, dotted with cattle and herds of sheep; hamlets most rural rest near the border of green lanes, abounding in the profusion of wild nature; fern and bramble intermingle with waving grass and sweet briar; pleasant villages, whose yellow and white-washed sides blend in sympathy with thatched roofs and moss-grown tiles. On the south side of the river stands defiant the rugged ruin of Harewood, backed by the glories of park and woodland; behind are the hills of Bramhope; further the old ragged sides of Otley Chevin, and the heights and moors above Ilkley.
On our right, overlooking the vale, stands the massive tower of Kirkby Church, and westward, Almscliffs giant rock uprears its riven form.
Further still, the sweetest vale through which the Washbourne merrily laves its course, near to which arises the smoke above the old town of Otley; whilst miles above and far beyoad, hill towers above hill, until the vision is lost in the far distance amid the rocks and fells of Craven.
Following the turn of the road at Cliff Top, some twenty minutes brisk walking brings us to Kirkby.
Kirkby Overblow is situated on the high ridge of land running eastwards from the moors, and forming the division of the two rivers. The church is perpendicular, with a grand embattled tower, and stands out in bold relief against the background of dark elm; adjoining is a.most picturesque rectory, adorned with clustering ivy.
* THE LOST PACKMAN.By HENRY CROSSLEY.
I have been asked to tell the story of the Lost Packman, who travelled from Scotland into the Yorkshire Moors, calling at the homesteads of the dalesmen. He entered Yorkshire in the neighbourhood of Richmond, passed into Wensleydale then across the moor to Swaledale. In going into Swaledale, he rested at a farm house which he had visited for years, and, for what I know, his father before him. He sometimes passed down the Swale as far as Ripon, where he would spread his harden-sheet upon the cobbles of the market-place, and exhibit his wares. The farmers wives flocked round the hardy Scotchman. He was thin-faced, but looked the picture of health, although advanced in years. I sometimes think I hear his sweet voice now, musical to an extreme; and once when he brought his son, their voices blended so harmoniously that I should think they would have delighted the ear of any listener. The old man would say Look, leedies, look at the guids ; this lad and his brothers and myself manufacture them in the winter ; and I'se warrant ye theyll wear well. From Ripon the packman would pass over to the Nidd, calling at the farmsteads on the way to Pateley Bridge, staying in the immediate neighbourhood all night. Next day he would cross the moors to the Otley district then his route took down time valley, via Kirkby Overblow, to Sicklinghall. Sometimes he diverged into the park, and by this way entered the village. his last call was Skerry Grange, where he abode for the night. This is an old farmstead. which has stood the storm of centuries. The good lady of the house was noted for her excellent management, always having the best butter, eggs, ducks, and chickens in the market. Here the packman looked over his stock, and completed his arrangements for next day. As on previous occasions he had supper there, and mine host and the traveller had a pleasant evening together. Having enjoyed the ham and eggs next morning, he commenced his journey to Wetherby, shook hands with the farmer and his plodding wife over the gate on the roadside, and travelled on. With the load he had to carry he had necessarily to walk at a slow pace, and was passed on the road at the top of the hill by a Park farmer and three friends, who drew up and said he was sorry he could not give him a lift. He afterwards was seen by another gentleman, who lived on a farm just outside Kirkby Overblow, and where he had been a frequent visitor, who likewise regretted his inability to give the packman a lift on account of the conveyance being so crowded. Nivir mind, mi friend; I shall get through, said he, and it is likely that those were the last few words he uttered this side of the grave, for somehow he mysteriously disappeared. Every effort was made to discover his whereabouts. Two of his sons came down from Glasgow with a detective, who traced his journey from the commencement to his disappearance without effect. The only thing ever elicited was that a gun-shot had been heard that morning in the vicinity where he disappeared. Long afterwards reports were repeatedly current that the .packman, or his ghost, had been suddenly seen for a moment or two near the place where he was last spoken to. Many years after the body of a man was discovered buried in a heap of soil, head downwards, in the corner of the field where the packman so mysteriously disappeared. The remains were interred in the neighbouring churchyard, after which the apparition was never seen.
From the high and massive tower wonderful
panoramic views into the vales of the Ouse, Derwent, Nidd, and Wharfe can be obtained. The
church and town of Selby, with Yorks stately minster, stand out clear and distinct;
Knaresboros hoary ruin and tapering spire, crumbling strongholds, massive towers,
village, hamlet, and farmstead, with shining river and glimmering pool. The view from the
churchyard, which is three hundred and seventy feet above sea level, and looks down on the
valley of the Wharfe, is finely interesting, but most beautiful in hush of eventide, when
the moon rides the heavens, flooding the vale with glorious light. On the tower is an
inscription in Latin, translated it reads thus Charles Cooper, rector of this
parish, took care that this falling tower should be restored, 1781. On the north
side, adjoining the tower, the walls are of undressed stone, and probably date back to the
9th century. The crude doorway, now walled up, and consisting of two rough uprights and
top-stone, bears the impress of the Saxon age. In Norman days this was known as the
excommunicating or devils door; any person receiving that dread sentence was turned
out of church by this door. The church has of late years undergone complete restoration,
and narrowly escaped destruction by fire some six mouths ago. In the north transept are
two 13th century windows in the middle pointed style, also an old piscina, and a memorial
MYLES DODSON, Esq., 68 YEARS OF AGE, A MAN
FEARING GOD, CHARITABLE TO THE POOR, A PEACE
MAKER AMONGST HIS NEIGHBOURS. HE DYED
THE 19TH SEPT., 1657, THE OWNER OF LOW
HALL, AND IS HERE INTERRED.
Amongst the mural tablets is one in memory of the
ancestors of Sir William Codrington, a Crimean hero. There is also a very old tombstone of
the Hammertons, on which are carved the hammer and cross, the crest of this family. The
register, commencing in the early days of Queen Bessa complete list of the rectors
of this church,has been printed by the rector, commencing with Dom Widell
Brettegate, 1243, and ending with the present rector, Rev. Jonathan James Toogood, M.A.
The churchyard contains the remains of a very old cross, the scene of gospel labours in
Celtic days. The tombstones contain many curious epitaphs, one to the memory of Elizabeth,
wife of James Swale, of Swindon, says
HERE EMBODIED IN THE DUST I LIE. READER.
MISTAKE ME NOT, IT IS NOT I, IT IS MY DUST
THAT IN THIS DUST REMAINS;
MY BETTER PART THE HEAVEN OF HEAVEN CONTAINS.
On the north side of the village is an old mansion of the Tudor period, now called Low Hall. Near the house are the remains of a lake and moat. The fine old gateway to the courtyard still remains. The front, with its massive oaken door
and mullioned windows, forms an interesting picture; this door, which is well studded with iron, weighs upwards of half a ton. The entrance-hall is of pannelled oak, and leads into a large room, also pannelled. In this room, some seventy years ago, the Wesleyans held their services, until a Mr. Slater provided the sect with a chapel. The west entrance and dininghall are of pannelled oak, also the staircase and bedrooms; around the east bedroom ran a beautiful carved frieze; which has been removed, along with other exquisite specimens of carved work, to Wood Hall, on the Wharfe. This house formerly belonged to William Lister Fenton Scott. What a peaceful seclusion pervades these oaken rooms! To a lover of the antique,
this old house would be a treasure; with its mullion and diamond-shaped windows, on which fancifully play the light and shadow from the orchard trees: from whence comes the happy sound of chirping birds, and the noise of the gobbling turkey as he proudly struts the ground with outstretched wings. Resting in the cool shade of this room, these sounds harmonize with our fancy and the surroundings.
The village is distanced from Harrogate five miles, Pannal two miles, Harewood
Bridge two and a half miles, and Wetherby six miles.
One mile south-east of Kirkby stands Barraby Grange, its interior, as well as its exterior, breathing of past days. Resting on the yard wall are some interesting, as well as connecting, links of the past, in the shape of two querns. On inquiring of the farmer if he had any objections to us taking a picture of the house, he replied, Hi, to be sure, ye may tak towd hoil for howt ah care, as fast as ye loike. Half-a-mile onwards, in the direction of Netherby, stood, in Saxon days, a stronghold of the Earls of Northumbria. The place is still known as Morkere Hill, situated at the foot of rising ground, swelling upwards to a circling bome; the position of this castle, from a military point of view, is admirable. The
antiquity of the place is undoubted, but of the fabric itself not a vestige remains. Adjoining this spot has evidently been a ring-fence and ditch, enclosing some thirty or forty acres; to careful observers there are many signs of the stronghold having stood on this spot; much land in Wharfedale, previous to the Conquest, belonged to the powerful Earls of Northumbria. During the last generation preceding the Conquest, three great Saxonized Danes, who have left their names on the roll of history as Earls of Northumbria, or Princes of the North, held this as one of their principal strongholds. The first and most powerful figure stands Siward, a mighty warrior and worthy descendant of a long line of sea-kings. It was this Jarl Siward who reinstated Prince Malcolm on the throne of his fathers, and conquered Macbeth in a great battle near Burnem Wood, from which each soldier in the Northumbrian army, in passing, cut down a branch, and carrying it in front, causing the sentinel at Macbeth Castle to inform that monarch that the wood of Burnem was approaching. This battle has been immortalized by the dramatic pen of Shakespeare. The earl died at York, in 1055 ; his great ambition was not to die like ordinary men, in bed, but amidst the storms and shouts of battle. In imagination, the war cry of his Viking ancestors sounded in his ears, and calling for his armour, he was equipped as for conflict, and in that position met the enemy of all mortalsdeath! He was buried with much splendour in the monastery, of Galmanho, near the walls of the old city of York.
Jarl Siwards Death.
Gird me my trusty armour on,
It is meet that I thus should die ;
Bring me the arms I loved to wield,
And shout the wild battle-cry.
Let me meet the silent conqueror now,
In a chieftains warlike pride,
With my trusted armour girded on,
And the good sword by my side.
On the death of Siward, the earldom came into the
possession of Tosti, son of the powerful Godwin, and brother of the brave and unfortunate
Harold. With the memory of the kind and noble earl still in their minds, the Northumbrians
could ill brook a ruler who violated their laws and customs; so, rising with
determination, he was expelled, and Morcar, or Mokere, a brother-in-law of Harold, was
appointed his successor. It was from this powerful earl that the castle, which stood near
the banks of the Wharfe at this spot, received its name, and in whose memory tradition
still lingers around this hill. After his banishment, Tosti, with thoughts of revenge
fiercely burning, set up the old Viking standard, around which soon gathered all turbulent
spirits, and the pirates of the ocean remnants of the old sea-kings With this motley
army he committed a series of
* One of the old Viking ships which may have
borne the sea rovers to harry the coast of Yorkshire, was discovered a few years ago at
Gokstad, near the mouth of the Christiana Fyord. Here she was probably hidden a thousand
years ago, the place having being named for centuries the kings mound.
depreciations on the coast line; afterwards
joining his forces with those of Hardrada the giant king of Norway, and the last and
greatest of those old sea warriors who, for the duration of three centuries, shook the
foundations of the kingdoms of the west, and infused that unquenchable thirst for
adventure and conquest which has been the chief cause of the British flag waving
triumphant in every clime. The combined forces of the banished earl and the Norwegian king
sailed up the Ouse landing at Riccall; being met by the forces of Northumbria and Mercia,
led by the brothers Edwin and Morcar. Danes Hill, some mile and a half cast of Riccall
marks the spot where the fight took place. After a fearful struggle Northumbrias
soldiers fled, and the standard of Hardrada, the land-ravager, floated victorious on the
field. Marching on York, the victors took possession of that city; but hearing that
Harold was advancing to the rescue, they took many hostages and retreated to their ships,
choosing their position at Stamford Bridge, on the Derwent. It was at this spot, on the
25th of September, 1066, that Harold, on whose prowess rested Saxon England, came in sight
of the invading hosts of Norway. Previous to the battle, Tosti sent an envoy to the camp
of his brother to enquire what terms he might expect if he choose to surrender. The answer
was A brothers pardon and many fair lands. And
what, said the messenger, shall be given to his faithful friend, Hardrada,
King of Norway? The historic reply of Harold was Seven feet of good
English soil, but, as men say Hardrada is a giant, he shall have eight. To the
credit of Tosti, he did not desert his ally. Both sides prepared for the combat; the
invaders being composed of adventurers from Norway and Sweden, whom the giant commander
had often led to victory, he being accounted the greatest warrior of his age. The Saxons
were led to battle by Harold, on whom their lives and future depended. Fierce and terrible
was the contest; both. sides doing deeds of undoubted valour. Around the bridge raged the
fury of the battle. A giant Swede long defended it with the power of his single arm, and
was at length slain by a spear thrust from the bridge beneath. After performing prodigies
of valour, the Norwegian king and Tosti were slain with ten thousand of their army; their
blood changing the waters of the old Derwent to crimson.
Many memorials of this famous battle have been found near this spot, swords battleaxes, pikes, and other armour. Although an important victory, it was disastrous to the Anglo-Saxons, as it gave the Norman William every advantage of landing a mighty army on the Sussex shores, composed of the mightiest warriors of southern Europe. The day following king Harolds victory at Stamford, news of the Norman invasion was brought him while resting his army at York. Rushing southwards, he met the Normans on the fatal field of Hastings, where, after nine hours of furious contest, victory decided in favour of the Norman.
The day is lost, the din of war is hushed on Senlac field
in triumph rolls the Norman car oer Englands trampled shield.
In front of the standard fell Harold and his two brothers, Gurth and Leofwin. After this battle, most fatal to the Anglo-Saxon, Earl Morcar retired to Northumbria, the strongholds of which became the rallying place of the Saxons who would not stoop to the slavery of the invader. After many skirmishes, and one or two important battles, and the capture of York by the Saxons, there came that terrible warning to the English and their chiefs, Waltheof, Morcar, Edwin, and Hereward. The ravages of the Danes were small in comparison with the fury which the Norman laid, waste this county with fire and sword.
It is more than probable that the strongholds on Mokeres Hill, Bardsey, and
several extinct villages, which stood in this vale in pre-Norman days, were
destroyed in this furious raid of devastation.
Situated on the north bank of the river, stands the small picturesque village of Netherby and Kearby. On the rising ground to the west, is the hamlet of Chapol Hill; these places seem fast falling to ruins. From the opposite shore the yellow washed sides, the rustic thatch and moss-grown tiles with clustering ivy, and the artistic grouping of the cottages, seen through orchard trees, form a very pleasing picture. The feast of Kearby in olden days was renowned, being the meeting place of the country people for miles around, and also noted for the pairing of the opposite sexes; an old saying was: If thee wants a wife, gang to Kearby feast.
Kearby feast is coming on, Therell be lasses plenty, Some ell hev kisses twa or three, - Others theyll hev twenty.
Behind the village of Netherby is the old ford across the river, quite safe in wading when the water is low, at other times dangerous, persons having been drowned in crossing. Rather less than a mile onward in the direction of Harewood, is Stockton; in reaching which we pass through meadows and fields of rich tinted clover. It is a warm July day with a delightful breeze, causing the corn and long grass to rise and swell like waves on the ocean, wafting on its bosom the fragrant perfume of the sweet scented clover. The skylarks song, and humming of honey bees, flitting from flower to flower, are heard, while enhancing the scene are the gorgeous tints of sportive butterflies. Wandering through those scenes of nature we approach the farms of Stockton. What an air of rest and repose seems to hover around this spot; a flock of geese are busily plucking grass in the meadows, a few goslings straggle away here and there from their guardians; on the sloping hill a group of cattle is resting, forming a worthy subject for the brush of a Cooper. At a glance this picture is mirrored on the mind; when, without a moments warning, the harmony is broken by the angry bark of the shepherd dog madly rushing towards us.
* From York to Durham, says William of Malmesbury, writing sixty years later, not an inhabited village remained. Fire, slaughter, and desolation, made it a vast wilderness, which it
continues to this day.
Anciently Stocketun. In the Confessors time there was land here for four ploughs taxed at twenty shillings; at the domesday survey, it was waste, which accounts for previous devastations by the Conqueror. It is thought the Romans had an encampment on this spot. In Saxon days it was a village of considerable size, as many interesting remains found at different times attest. During our visit two Celtic querns and other ancient relics were to be seen. The only remains of the village which once stood here, are the two small farms. Near to Stockton town is Gallows Hill, the place of death, on which stood the gibbet of Harewood; here many a poor criminal, and others not criminal,have ended their days. The laws of king Ina the Saxon, say that not only the thief was to be hanged, but if the family knew of the theft, they were made slaves. Leaving Gallows Hill, the sound of whose name does not conjure up pleasant associations, we pass into the well kept village of Harewood, bordering the noble park, and sheltered by many mighty timber trees.
Dr Whitaker says, derived its name from the
abundance of hares in this part, Hares Wood. In former times this
village was much larger,
and reached westward to the precincts of the church; since the days of
King John, to the last century, a market was held at this place. For
the beauty of its situation, the grandeur of its mansion, and its lovely park, for historic interest, centred in its ruined castle and stately church;
where repose the marble effigies of famous statesmen and warriors, attesting its
former greatness, Harewood stands unrivalled.
What fairer groves than Harewood knows More woodland walks, more fragrant gales,
More shadowy bowers, inviting soft repose,
More streams slow wandering, thro her winding vales.
Harewood has many claims to be the place where the final scene was enacted in connection with the fierce love for Elfrida by the King Edgar and Earl Ethelwold. It was this King Edgar who first reigned supreme from the Channel to the Tweed, and many kings and princes did him homage, to such an extent, that eight of those petty kings once rowed him in his barge down the river Dee. Elfrida was the daughter of Olgar, a noble Jarl of Devon; the fame of her beauty spread far and wide, and at length reached the ears of the king, whose curiosity being greatly excited, he employed Earl Ethelwold to visit Elfridas parents, and ascertain if the reports of her great beauty were true, if so, intending to make her his queen. But alas for the frailty of human nature, when the earl saw the lady was beautiful, he became enamoured, and fell a victim to the violence of his own love. Privately marrying her, he endeavoured to conceal the fraud by false reports, telling the king that many ladies about his own court were far more beautiful than Elfrida, at the same time remarking, that though the fame of her beauty was not equal to report, the nobility of her birth and her great riches would be a good match for himself, if the lady would consent to the marriage. The king not seeing his artifice, gave him every encouragement. Ethelwald now removed his beautiful bride to his estate at Werwelleye, near Harewood.
By the enemies of Ethelwald, reports of Elfridas great beauty were again whispered in the ears of the king. Being determined to see her himself, Edgar sent a message to inform Ethelwald that he was about holding a grand hunt in the forest of Harewood. It was not till then that she learnt from the Earls own lips the deception he had practised on the king. Elfrida, who now appears before us as
a woman of the world, on the approach of Edgar,
arrayed herself in choicest garments, leaving out nothing which would add lustre to her
charms, appearing before him an apparition of dazzling beauty. The king, who from the
first sight was smitten with her charms, kept silent. On the morrow, when chasing the deer
through a lonely part of Harewood forest, he rushed on Ethelwold with the fierce cry of
Traitor! and slew him with a javelin.
"Thus, parted from the rest,
The monarch piercd a darkling dell,
Which opened in a lawn, thick-set with elm around.
Suddenly he turnd his steed, and cryd
This place befits our purpose well !
Telling the earl to defend himself, in the words
of the poet, the king says
If thou fallst, thy parting breath
Must to my right resign Elfridas beauties.
At the word both drew, both fought, but Ethelwold,
With ill-played passion, aimd his falchion at the monarchs head,
Only to leave his own breast defenceless;
Aud, on the instant, Edgars rapid sword
Pierced my dear masters breast. *
History says that Elfrida soon gave her hand to the licentious monarch, the
murderer of her husband.
At the Conquest, three chieftains, whose names, Tor, Sprat, and Grim, tell us they were descendants of the Northmen, owned the Manor at and around Harewood, then valued at 40/-, a goodly sum in those days. After the Conquest, Harewood and the lands of Skipton, along with other great possessions, passed into the hands of Robert de Romelie. He belonged to an important family in Normandy, whose ancestors traced their descent from one Romel, a sea rover, who joined the fleet of that famous ocean-king, Rollo, who after a series of wild, adventures, became possessed of that beautiful country of Normandy, or the land of the Northmen.
From this family, it is said, the moorland above Ilkley was named Romellis (Rombalds) Moor; his only daughter, Cicely, marrying William des Meschines, Earl of Chester. It was this William and Cicely who founded the Priory at Embsay.
Early in the 13th century, Harewood was in the possession of William, Earl of Albemarle, a powerful Baron, who rebelled against the 2nd Henry. His only daughter, Aveline, was heiress to all his vast estates. Report says this lady was as remarkable for her great beauty as for her great wealth, and was amidst general rejoicing married to Edmund Crouchback, Earl of Lancaster, son of the 3rd Henry, in the presence of the Sovereigns and all the nobility.
Leaving no issue, Harewood came into the possession of Lord de Lisle, whose
only daughter, Elizabeth, married Sir William Aldburgh, of Aldburgh, Richmond-
Although a castle had stood here for upwards of two centuries, it was considerably enlarged and strengthened by this nobleman. Dying without issue, his two sisters became joint owners of the lands of Harewood. Sybil marrying Sir William Ryther, of Ryther Castle; and Elizabeth, Sir Richard Redman, of
* Higden, in his Polichronicon, which ends about the year 1342, says: The kynge had the erle with hym, for to hunt in the wode of Werwelley, that now is called Hoore Wode. There the kynge smote him through with a shafte Rapin says : Ethelwold was murdered in a wood in Northumbria. Yorkshire was the principal part of that ancient kingdom.
Redman, Westmoreland. The descendants of these two
families inhabited the castle jointly, for nearly three centuries.
Jones History says: Radman or Radnight was the name given to feudal vassals, who were attendant on horseback, to guard and wait upon the chief. They were a kind of cavalry body-guard, and. in Saxon days were called Radnights; in Norman times, Retainers.
The crest of this family are Pillows. The origin of this was: a member of this
family being challenged to combat -
by a stranger, appeared at the place
of battle too early. While waiting for his antagonist, he fell asleep, and awoke suddenly at the blare of trumpets sounding to battle seizing his lance and rushing furiously upon his adversary, he slew him.
In the 16th century, the renowned family of Gascoigne came into the possession of Harewood, from whom it passed, by the marriage of Margaret to Thomas Wentworth, grandfather of the unfortunate Earl of Stafford, who was executed on Tower Hill during the troublous time of Charles the First. Harewood was afterwards bought by Sir John Cutler, of penurious memory; he reduced the ancient castle to ruin for the, sake of its timber.
Pope says : Cutler saw tenants break and houses fall
For very want, he could not build a wall.
Sir John was too miserly to keep servants, an old woman, who passed daily to and from the village, performing his only household duties. After receiving a fright through a visit of Nevison, the. celebrated highwayman, he closed the mansion, and afterwards resided in the village. From Cutler, it passed to his relation, John Boulter, Esq., from whose family it was bought by Henry Lascelles, Esq., whose son Edwin, first Lord Harewood, was raised to the Peerage, June 19th, 1790.
In the province of Touraine is a village named
Lassele, from which it is supposed this family received their name. Amongst the retainers
or knights composing the train of Alan, Earl of Richmond, who commanded the rear-guard of
the army at the battle of Hastings, was one Picot de Lascells. For his share in the
Conquest, he afterwards received the Manor of Scruton, North Yorkshire.
Harewood House is a splendid structure of the Corinthian style. The foundations were laid 1759, the building occupying over a dozen years. Both the interior, with its magnificent rooms, artistic ceilings, unrivalled china and paintings by celebrated masters, and the exterior, with its beautiful grounds and wondrous gardens, though perhaps not the largest, are unrivalled in the kingdom. The lake is a fine sheet of water. From the opposite shore the mansion is seen to perfection. On the south side are choice bits of woodland. Near the head of the lake, and some four hundred yards from the present mansion, stood Gawthorpe, the cuckoo village. It came into the possession of the Gascoignes through the marriage of William Gascoigne with Maud de Gawkethorpe (1135).
One historian says that this family are descendants of Ailriehus the Saxon, who was banished by the Conqueror. Camden says they sprang from Gascoigney, in France; he also says: Neither is Gauthorpe to be concealed in silence, when that most ancient family of the Gascoignes hath made it famous, both with their virtues and their antiquities! + This spot is also of great interest to the historian, from being the birth-place of the celebrated Lord Chief Justice Gascoigne, the upright judge, famed for his integrity, immortalized by Shakespeare. It was this judge who was insulted in the Court by the Prince of Wales, afterwards King Henry V., for which insult he was ordered to prison. When the affair reached the ears of the king, he replied : Happy is the monarch who possesses a judge so resolute in the discharge of duty, and a son so willing to yield to the authority of the law.#
+ Gawthorpe Hall is thus quaintly described in all advertisement, 1656 :Gawthorp Hall, most part of the walles built with good stone and all the honses covered with slate, and a great part of that new building, four rooms in the onld building, all waynscotted, fyve large roomes in the new building all waynscotted, likewise and colored like wallnut tree, tile matereals of which house, if sould, would raise 500l at least. To this belongeth a park, in former tymes stored with deere a park-like place it is, and a brook running through the middle of it, which turnes 4 payer of millstones att 2 milles. The stank, or pond, at Gawthorp, is well stored with trout, roch, gudgeon, and eyles.
#One of the gay companions of the Prince being committed for felony, the Prince demanded his release ; but Sir William told him the only way of obtaining a release would be to get from the icing a free pardon. Prince Henry now tried to rescue the prisoner by force, when the judge ordered him out of court. In a towering fury, the Prince flew to the judgment seat, and all thought he was about to slay the Judge ; but Sir William said very firmly and quietly, Syr, remember yoorselfe, I kcpe here the place of the Kynge, your sovereigne lorde and father, to whom you owe double obedience; wherefore I charge you in his name to desyste of your wylfulnes . . . And nowe for your coutempte goo you to the prysoun of the Kynges Benche, whereunto I commytte you, and retnayne ye there prisoner
untyll the pleasure of the Kynge be further known. With which words, the Prince being
abashed, the noble prisoner departed, and went to the Kings Bench. SIR THOMAS ELYOT, the Governour (1531).
Harewood Church stands about half a mile west of
the village, and is a venerable structure, dedicated to the Holy Cross (in olden time the
Holy Rood), embowered on all sides by glorious woodland; seen from the park it forms a
picture whose charm of contrast and holy sweetness would require the pencil of a Claude
and the pen of a Ruskin to delineate. Graceful beech, whose umbrageous branches form a
shady bower across the woodland path, where joyous birds, hid under greenwood
shade, sing merry notes on every branch and bough. Whilst the tower, appearing under
a circle of sweeping trees, cannot fail to impress the beholder with its beauty and the
loveliness of its surroundings.
The present edifice dates from the 13th century. In the time of the 2nd Edward, the Scots penetrated into this neighbourhood, leaving ruin and devastation in their track. In this furious raid the churches of Harewood and Adel were greatly damaged. At the village of Pannal, the Scots encamped and burned the church to the ground. Of the original church, built soon after the Conquest, by William de Curci, nearly all traces have disappeared. The interior is most interesting to the antiquary, with its altar tombs of white marble, on which repose the recumbent effigies of former owners of Harewood.
First TombSir Richard Redman and his wife
Elizabeth. Second TombSir William Rytber and
Sybil his wife. Third Tomb-Sir John Neville and his
wife, 1482. Fourth Tomb, under the south archSir Richard Franks and his wife, of Alwoodly Hall. Fifth
TombSir Richard Redman and his wife Elizabeth,
Grandson of Sir Richard, whose tomb is numbered
1. Sixth TombSir William Gascoigne and his wife Elizabeth, of Gawthorpe Hall, the immortal Lord Chief Justice of England, in 1419.
Besides there are many other mural tablets, old grave-stones, &c., including an
elegant monument to Sir Thomas Dennison, and the Harewood vault.
During the restoration, 1793, a Latin inscription
was found carved on an old
oak beam, which, being translated, reads : We adore and praise thee, thou holy Jesus, because
Thou hast redeemed us by thy Holy Cross. Date 1116.
Tradition states that the sacred edifice contains the vault of the De Curcis,
founder of this church, the cover-stone of which was removed during alterations,
and placed in the churchyard. (See Jewells History.)
In the last century several Quakers resided in this village; one of the name of
Wright, owned a small freehold adjoining the park, which one of the Lascelles
wanted to purchase; but, replied Quaker Wright:
I do not want to sell; dost thou not know, that Harewood belongs to me and
Above the vale, high on a green,
Part of a castle yet is seen.
The ruins of Harewood Castle are situated on the slope of the hill overlooking the Wharfe, with a background of belted woodland. The grand portal on the east side is high enough for a man to enter on horseback. This entrance was defended by a large portcullis. Built in the western wall of the first room, and under what at one time has been a fine arch, is a tomb.# Tradition, which lingers long around old ruins, does not tell us to whose memory it was erected.
The importance of the castle when perfect, must have been great, judging from the extent of its boundary, still traceable. How gloomy, stern, and silent the old ruin seems in the fading light. No sound save that of our own footsteps and the rustling flight of dis turbed night birds. Where once feasted warriors and statesmen, is now become a dwelling place for bats and owls.
Yet, though thy halls are silent, though thy bowers
Re-echo back the travellers lonely tread,
Again imagination bids thee rise;
In all thy dread magnificence and strength;
Thy draw-bridge, foss, and frowning battlements,
Portcullis, barbican, and dungeon tower.
# This elaborate recess or tomb, for it
certainly has that appearance, has been a puzzle to the antiquarian. Dr. Whitaker says:
Who ever dreamed in those days of being interred in unconsecrated earth. Yet
circumstances may have caused what the living would never dream of, as to which history is
Although the park is famed for its beauty, yet we
shall never forget the glorious scene of natures loveliness viewed from its
outskirts. The vale is sweetly undulating and covered with rich pasture, the circling dome
of the opposite hills forms a splendid back ground, tracing their bold outline on the sky, and as the sun sweeps down the western hills,
diffusing rays of golden light and tips village church and spire with her magic wand; the
silvery meanderings of the old Wharfe flash and sparkle like a dream of beauty; the scene
at such a time presents a combination of natures loveliness scarcely equalled and
never excelled. Entering the road we drop down to the bridge, a massive structure of four
arches, built at different periods. A stone in the wall bears the following inscription
: THIS BRIDGE WAS BUILT BY THE COUNTY, 1729.
A mile and a half north is Swindonanciently the den of the wild boarthe woody valley. Alice de Romelli allowed the Nuns of Arthington to feed 40 hogs in her wood at Swindon during harvest time. A large and beautiful mansion once stood here surrounded by a moat, outside of which was an earthwork and trench. During the Civil Wars the Bethels dwelt at the mansion, who were known as strong supporters of the parliament. The Royalists who, at this period were garrisoned at Knaresboro, swooped down and totally destroyed the place.
The stream known as WEETON BECK which passes
through the village of that
riamea pleasant spot situated amidst flat meadow and cornlandenters the Wharfe
near Rougemont, where once stood the home of the De Lisles, a noted family who won renown for their doughty deeds on the battlefields of France. Since the time of
William dAldburgh, who beautified and enlarged the Castle of Harewood, this has
not been used as a place of residence.
Although nearly six centuries have passed, the outlines and earthworks can be
easily traced, having encompassed some four acres, in some places 18 feet wide.
On the south side of the river and nearly opposite is the hamlet of WEARDLY, the birthplace of John Nicholson, known as the Airedale poet, born November 29th, 1790. He came to an untimely end by falling into the Aire, April 13th, 1843. Had his powers been properly cultivated there can be no doubt he would have ranked high amongst British bards; scraps of his poetry will be found interspersed in this work. This place was formerly much larger, as the mounds and decayed walls prove; it has also been the scene of a Roman camp. Many people in this village have attained great ages. Four in the family of Crossfield averaging 87 years; one of them was ploughing at the age of 94, and Lord Harewood, crossing the field, - accosted him thus: What
age are you, Crossfield ?
Haum ninty-foure cum next bothday. Cum up, chummy. This Crossfield died at the age of 98. One of the Thackrays
died at the age of 96. -- .
The ancestors of the Baldwin and other families have
resided for hundreds of years at this place. In the villages around Harewood the
memory of Henry Lascelles seems to be revered, the aged people all speak of him
with the greatest affection.
At the Conquest, Gospatrick held the lands of Werwelley and Widetun, the Willow town, in the Confessors time valued at 25/-. At the Domesday Survey it was ruined by the raids of the Conqueror. On the west of the village is a large wood through which we cross, and drop into the road at Arthington Nunnery, some two miles from Harewood Bridge.
The front of the Hall is very picturesque with garden, orchard, diamond shaped windows, and climbing trees. The porch bears the date, T.B. 1585. The interior contains a most peculiar arch and an oak panelled room. This house has probably been built out of the ruins of the old Nunnery, which was reared about 1150 by Peter dArthington, who endowed it as a Priory of Cluniac Nuns, to the honour of the Virgin Mary. The site of the Priory is still seen between the present house and the river, opposite to where the Wharfe flows in a straight line south from Weeton Church. In this meadow is a well which still bears the name of the Nuns Well. It requires no stretch of imagination to understand the feelings of the nuns when called upon to surrender and depart from this sequestered vale.
Leaving the Nunnery, we follow the road to Pool. On our right is the beautiful timbered park of Arthington, through which can be seen that gigantic and many arched bridge which spans the Wharfe. Passing the village, with its new and handsome church, to the left is another historical mansion, Creskeld, around which still linger some remains of feudal days.
The Leeds and Otley highway runs along the high lands above Arthington, Bramhope, and Pool, from which lovely views of the middle valley and the moors beyond are obtained. The line from Leeds to Harrogate pierces the hilly range above Bramhope, which forms the division of the two rivers. After leaving the dark tunnel, the line cuts across the Wharfe valley.
It is almost impossible to imagine a greater contrast of scenes, one moment in the depths and gloom of
the earth, the next, the train glides out into light and beauty, and the
mind is entranced by the fairest scene in England. A lofty embankment and viaduct of 21 arches spans the river which at this place makes a sweeping curve; on the west bank and north of the river the traveller will have noticed deep down below a quaint old-world hamlet which, as the iron cars fly past, will seem, we think, to the care-worn man a place of rest. Dreamily this hamlet sleeps, a picture of olden days, which the shriek of the flying engine cannot arouse from its slumber of ages.
Castley Castra, a camp or fortified post of the Romans; that ancient family of
De Castleys received their name from this place. One mile north, and resting
under the shadow of Ormscliff, is the small village of Huby.
In the days of the Northmen, Hubba, a Dane, took possession, tradition of whom in its name still lingers. This neighbourhood is characteristic for the beauty and variety of its old winding lanes, the home of the wild rose and many other flowers which shed their delicious fragrance and beauty around.
Northward, on the extreme edge of the dale is that immense rock of gritstone, called Almes Cliff; al, a rock or cliff; mias, an altar. It is supposed that the mysterious Druids worshipped on these rocks. On the surface of the main group of rock are several basins or depressions, no doubt formed principally by nature, as we have seen many similar amongst the rooks of Upper Wharfedale. Some historians say these basins were formed by the Druids to receive water in its purest form as it fell from the clouds, and were used by them for lustration and purification, from which it is also supposed that the vessel for holy water anciently used in our churches was a relic of this Druidical rite.
An old custom of the country people was the dropping of a pin into these basins, they believing that good luck would follow this action. One of the basins is known as the Wart Well; any one being troubled with warts came here and pricked them until the blood flowed freely into the basin, and finished by dipping the hands into the water. If their faith was great enough, the warts were seen no more.
In the year 1776, a young woman at Rigton, having been disappointed by her lover, determined to commit suicide by leaping from the summit of the immense rocks, a distance of nearly 50 feet. A strong wind blowing from the west inflated her dress, and in her perilous descent she received very little harm. She never repeated the experiment, and lived many years after. The scene from the top of this rock is magnificent, the silver windings of the old Wharfe passing town, village, meadow, and woodland, whilst far beyond the dale, the country in many places can be seen for 50 miles.
Rigton in the forest stands on the north side of the Wharfe, near to Almes Cliff, and during the civil wars, in 1318, Rigton and Stainburn were much harassed by the Scots, and were the scene of much skirmishing, the villagers being cruelly treated by the Royalists.
Onwards, in the direction of Leathley, is Stainburn, the stoney-beck or burn. This is a very scattered village, the houses being thrown here and there, spreading over a large surface. The old Norman chapel is situated in the fields, in peaceful seclusion. The building is of the most primitive construction, and consists of nave and chancel; the separating arch is circular. The font is a piece of interesting work, said to be 700 years old. There are several tombs which bear 16th century dates.
On the night of Jan. 25th, 1846, a melancholy affair happened at this spot; a young man named John Brotherton, who had for some time kept company with a young woman in the service of a farmer, was chaffed on that night by his companion that he dare not go to the farm after the inmates had retired. He foolishly went, and instead of rousing his sweetheart, roused the farmer, who, thinking it to be robbers, seized his gun calling, Whos there? and receiving no answer, fired ; the shot struck the young man, who dragged himself into an adjoining field, where he was found dead the next morning.
ABOUT one mile from Stainburn is Leathley. We will
now take up the path at Pool village, where the tourist will find ample refreshment.
After which, crossing the bridge to the north side of tbe river, we
then follow the path which leads over the meadows into a lovely lane,
overhung with trees and hedges adorned with sweet briar; soon reaching
the rippling Washburn, one of the most important tributaries of the Wharfe, which rises in the high land near Greenhows Hill. A few miles onward, many small brooks leave the desolate moorland, which during the march of centuries the waters have formed into most picturesque ravines, whose sides are fringed with overhanging trees and large boulders. Many
romantic places are to be found in this wild region.* After receiving some half dozen brawling streamlets, the Washburn swells into importance before reaching Blubberhouses, near to which comes in sight the first of the large reservoirs which contain the water supply for Leeds.
* These moors some 50 years ago were the scene of a murder most foul ; the victim being a Mr. S. Carlisle. Many years after Ins disappearance, a person engaged in cutting turf discovered tho body of the mnrdered man, which was in a wonderful state of preservation. The finding of the body caused great excitement amongst the miners of Creenhow. The murderer was never discovered.
Blubberhouses was the place where Robert Collyer, the famous Yorkshire
blacksmith and preacher, spent the first 14 years of his life. Robert was born at Keighley. His father having some difference with his employer, left Blubberhouses for the above place, but his old master sending for him, he returned when Robert was only nine days old ; this was early in the year 1824. All the school education he received was at the adjoining village of Fewston, under Willie Hardie, who was not much of a scholar, and took to teaching, having lost the use of his legs. He left school at the age of eight. Roberts grandfather was a sailor, and fought and was slain with Nelson at Trafa1gar. One of the earliest reminiscences of Collyers father was that of standing along with his mother in a vast crowd in London, who were awaiting the arrival of the dead hero of Trafalgar. But the poor woman and lad were looking for a dearer face to them than even the brave and gallant Nelson, for there was in the fleet of the sea the husband and the father. But the bold sailor never came;
instead there came tidings that along with thousands of other British braves, he had found a grave in the depths of the ocean.
Who can picture the despair of that woman? Soon the mother died, and little Sam ( Collyers father was ever called little Sam) found his way to the workhouse,
where he was well cared for. Here the little orphan did work so cleverly that they did not wish to part with him. At the age of nine he left London for the north country, and was placed under a smith named Birch, a kind-hearted man, who always used to leave a bit and sup in his can for Little Sam, who became one of the handiest metal workers in Yorkshire.
At the age of 13, Robert Collyer left for Ilkley, to work as blacksmith with John Birch, better known in Ilkley at that day as Owd Jackie, the same person with whom his father had been apprenticed. At Ilkley, Collyer found a lifelong friend in honest John Dobson, whom he loved above all others. The pair spent many happy hours poring over the best English literature, John saying: Now, Bob, thee tak a turn, then Bob would say: Jack, its thy turn.
Dobson says Owd Jackie was very proud of his apprentice as a worker, but had no interest in his love of books. Once when fixing a stove in the Church, Owd Jackie spied Mr. Parson coming, Noo then, Bob, says he, lets be lifting an greaning as hard as iver we can as e cums in, then mebbe we ma happen get
summat aat o im to sup.
John Birch has long since passed away, and if I mistake not, John Dobson has also passed to his rest. It was in the Methodist Chapel at Ilkley, and under the preaching of the Rev. Flesher Bland, that the young blacksmith was converted. He was taken on probation, and put into Owd Jim Delves class. One class night Owd Jim Delves was absent, and up spoke Tom Smith from across the room, Naa, lad, addressing Collyer, thaa mun lead t class t neet; thaa can do it if ta tries, so he took hold and led. Soon after, he preached his first sermon at Addingham, at that time the head of the Ilkley circuit. After that first sermon, Collyers friends were very anxious to hear him at Ilkley. All the boys and girls and young people were there, and the young blacksmith thought he had made a great impression.
As he was going to his smiddy the next morning, the cobbler called out to him I say, lad, com here; I a summat ta say ta tha; I eard tha praich yester neet. Did you ? said the blacksmith, rather proudly; I did, an I think thal nivver mak a praicher as long as tha lives, Bob. Young Oollyer was somewhat stunned by this speech. The cobbler, evidently seeing he had hurt him, and being naturally kind hearted, added: Nah, doant mistak me, Bob, tha naws tha wants ta reason ta mich. Tha may mak a lecterer, but tha can nivver mak a praicher.
Over half a century ago, a gentleman drew up his horse near a smithy, in a Yorkshire village. On entering it, he failed to arrest the attention of a boy, who seemed to & absorbed in the work of blowing the bellows. Closer observation revealed the presence of a bookits pages kept open by two bits of ironplaced on a shelf near the lads head. Each time he brought down the bellows, or released it, he seemed to catch a sentence from the book. A generation passed,the little village had grown to be a brilliant town. Low thatched houses had made way before fine mansions, and the smithy, in which the above incident was observed, was drawing near to its day of disappearance. But before that day arrived, another gentleman appeared at the door, and inspected with some interest an anvil standing in the centre of the shop. How long has that anvil been here ? he asked of the blacksmith. Why, said the workman, it must have been here thirty or forty years. Well, said the gentleman, I will give you twice as much for that
anvil as will buy you a new one. Certainly, replied the puzzled smith; but I would like to know what you want with the anvil. I will tell you. There was formerly an apprentice in this shop who used to work on it. That boy has now become a great man. Thousands love and honour him as a friend and a teacher, and I wish to carry back this anvil as a memorial of the humble beginning of his life. The bargain was completed, and the anvil was removed to Chicago.
It was in the height of the old Fremont campaign, at a Republican meeting at Germantown, Pennsylvania, where a number of eminent persons were advertised to address the public. There was a senator, as I remember, and one or two famous speakers, and they drew together as many people as the room could hold. When the advertised speakers had said their say and received their measure of applause after some whispering on the platform and more calls, there arose a stalwart man, apparently fresh from the forge, and yet rather less sooty than his comrades, who began in a somewhat shy way to give his views of the political situation. The crowd evidently knew the value of their man, and listened breathlessly to his slow, strong, opening sentences. He spoke with a decided English accent, like a man accustomed to speak in public. The first thing noticeable in what he said, was that half-shrewd, half-child-like way of expression which one often finds in Scotchmen. His humour was from the first overflowing, breaking out on all sides; but at this day I remember still more the passages of tender feeling, the simple sympathetic touches with which he brought the life of the slave before us, and the great-hearted humanity which pervaded the whole speech. It seemed to me the senator and the famous speakers might as well have stayed at home on that evening. #
Further down the valley on the left, and some three-quarters of a mile from Fewston, beautifully surrounded by sycamore and ash, stands Cragg Hall. The vale in front, formerly rich in meadow, woodland, and rippling stream, is now one vast reservoir.
# Speaking of his early home, Dr. Collyer says, There was a row of cottages therein those days, standing on a terrace, where the folks lived who worked in the great factory; and the Gills lived in the best of these. But at one end of the row, the foreman, Thomas Scotson, had a house of some dignity, thickly clad with ivy, where the sparrows rested in great numbers and made a cheerful racket on summer mornings, which is still heard by one old man far away in time and space.
The Washburn slowly murmured on,
Mong rocks in leafy dell,
Then oer the bye-wash, neath the trees,
In silvery splashes fell ;
No sound but these disturbed the hush
Of evenings gentle sough,
Save from the Gill, or Lane Ends Wood,
Came cushats softest coo.
LAYS AND LEAVES OF THE FOREST.
Opposite, was the homestead where dwelt the
ancestors of Thackeray, the famous novelist. The hall still possesses many of its
mullions, but the greatest interest is centred on the front entrance porch, the door of
which is formed of heavy unplaned oak planks. placed double, and studded over with large
nails, Near one
of the hinges are a few delves in the wood, which accounts for the following tale
During the Civil wars, Cragg Hall was tenanted by a Roundhead, who swore rather disrespectfully of the Royalist garrisons at Knaresbro and Skipton. This excited their anger, and a party of horse was dispatched to
punish him for his disloyalty. Hearing of their approach, he hid his valuable stud of horses in
a copse of alders by the Washburn side. His servants and household goods were placed in out-lying places, and he betook himself to the
hall and bolted and barred the massive door, and hid himself in a secure place near the
roof. The front door was attacked but resisted all efforts to force it. The honourable scars then received it still bears. An entrance was, however, made elsewhere and the place sacked. Although the owner could not refrain from coughing, his hiding place was not found. As soon as the plunderers departed, out came the owner, horses, and servants, none having suffered the slightest harm.
Grainge says: The huge
grey crags which gave name
to the hail still peer out on
the steep hill-side, by the
road leading to Fewston.
Tradition also says, that near to once stood a Druidical altar, and a haunt of Barguest, 40 years ago.
The Busky-Dyke, the Busky-Dyke,
Ah! tread Its path with care;
With silent step haste through its shades,
For Bargest wanders there!
The milk-white cats, with eyes of fire,
Have guarded stile and gate;
And calves and dogs of wondrous shape,
Have met the travler late.
Long tales are told from sire to son,
In many a forest ingle,
Of rushing sounds and fearful sights, In Busky-Dykes dark dingle.
THIS village stands on the sloping hill to the north, overlooking the
vale of the Washburn. The cottages are thrown about at random, without any regard to
regularity. This confused mingling of site, shape, and architecture with the large lake-like reservoir below their doors, and the old church tower seen through massive trees, where noisy rooks are nesting, make up a scene very charming on this edge of wild moorland.
In many spots the land on which the village rests has moved towards the lake, twisting the houses and leaving great cracks in the walls. The Fewstonians need not be greatly surprised on awaking some morning to find that during their slumbers the village has slid to the vale beneath. The church stands very pleasantly on the hill overlooking the lake. The interior is of the plainest description; with the exception of the old font there is little to arrest our attention. All the tombs of historic personages and inscriptions of the past must have been swept away during the restoration or rebuilding, this being the third structure which has stood on this spot. The tower is the oldest part and may date from the 15th century. The region around Fewston was noted in the 16th and 17th centuries as a habitation of witches; amongst others bewitched were two daughters of Edward. Fairfax, the learned translator of Tassos Jerusalem Delivered. The story is told by Fairfax himself, and shows to what an extent the belief in witchcraft must have prevailed when men of his learning and judgment fully believed in this demonology.*
From the following descriptive sketch, we should imagine the poet Spenser
must have seen the abode of a reputed witch : There in a gloomy hollowe glen she found
A little cottage built of stickes and reedes,
In homely wise, and walld with sods around,
In which a witch did dwell, in loathly weeds,
And wilful want, all carelesse of her needes.
* A former Vicar of Fewston has been clearly identified as the Amos Barton of Scenes from Clerical Life, by George Eliot. Swinsty Hall, New Hall, and Timble are the scenes of the well-told story of Fairfax of Fuystone, by Mrs. Herbert Ward. The Rev. J. M. Ashley, Vicar of Fewstone, is a voluminous writer, and has also made his mark in local poetry.
THE GOLD MINE.
A STORY OF THE WASHBURN.
Nan Crossley was Yorkshire bred and born, and a
lover of the scenery of her native county. A farmers daughter, she had married Tom
Dearlove against her parents will. It was Toms misfortune to be poor, yet he
was ennobled with industry and thrift. The couple took a nice little holding. Tom had the
shooting of his own little take and his neighbours moorland. He told me his story
one night, how the heart of the old man had not relented, and how he and his wife had
struggled on through wet seasons, cattle disease, and other troubles. He said during the
year of their first struggle his wife discovered a gold mine, and he proceeded to tell me
how this came about. One morning, when things had begun to look gloomy, she said,
Tom, I sometimes wonder if there are any trout in the Washburn. In our happy
days, when we were children together, we used to fuddle the trout, and I
dont see why they should not come again. You sometimes make a few shillings by
taking a brace of birds to the market, why not try the trout? I am strong and willing to
aid you ; and why not commence today?
I pondered this over in my mind, said Tom, and concluded to make a net of a piece of old netting I had in the garden to keep the birds off the peas. It was a sultry September day. We went down to the beck together, as in days of yore. As we rambled down, the true and gentle soul said, Tom, you look downcast; take heart, it is honest, and will perhaps help us in our need. When we reached the Washburn, I placed the net in position, having cleared the cobbles out of the way, then my brave lass slipped into the stream, and held firm footing. I walked up the stream at sufficient distance not to frighten the fish. When about a hundred yards up, I stepped into the water and walked down the middle, prodding the side with a stick to drive the fish forward. I was not long before I came to the net, and saw by the smile on my wifes face that the speckled beauties had gone into the trap. I could not speak for joy. We lifted the net out of the water, and there they wriggled about on the grass. We were not long before we were returning home with our catch. We had tea, with a couple of fish, the sweetest I ever tasted in my life ; but sweeter still was the thought that my loving wife had suggested the idea of their capture.
Next morning, Tom stood the Knaresborough market, and sold his trout for l2s. This certainly made a great difference to Toms income, and thus it was he spoke of it as a gold mine. His wife next suggested that they should take into confidence their neighbour, who had given Tom the shooting of the moorland. This was done, and they drew the beck on the moor side, and from more to less they sometimes trespassed out of their own boundary. One evening they decided to draw the stream below the bridge on the Skipton road. They went on the evening in question to the Frankland Arms, situate close to the stream, and not far from the silk mill, which was then in its prosperity. At ten oclock they started out to the scene of action, and Tom walked down the beck, and his neighbour held the net. There being no tree roots in the beck in this locality, Tom drove the fish in easily, disturbing the stones as he went. The haul was immense, and the capacious pockets of both were filled. Tom crossed the beck to a gap on the other side, and got on the high road. His mate went up the stream side to the gate near the bridge, and by this means escaped the keepers, who were on the watch just below. Tom was not so fortunate. He was at once seized and taken across the moor from Blubberhouses to Darley, and thence to Hampsthwaite. Here he was locked up all night in a cottage with an old pensioner, who sat watching with an old gun, loaded. Tom might easily have thrown the pesisioner to the door, but he felt pretty safe, and resolved to wait events. During the night his wife brought him coffee and toast. He whispered to his wife that as he had come across the moor he kept the keepers in talk, and every now and then dropped a trout out of his pocket on to the grass, each drop making him freer to walk You can get the trout, he said, as you go home. The fish were easily discovered and gathered up by the side of the footpath. Starting off for Harrogate, then coming iuto high favour as a watering-place, Nan disposed of the spoil at a good price. Taking the road again, she went on to Ripley, to find that Tom had been remanded to Knaresborough on the Wednesday. Her next step was to engage a lawyer. In due time the case was heard. The lawyer said, I appear on behalf of the prisoner, a man who has never been in this or any other court before, and thinking to shorten the case, I ask your worships to allow me to ask the prosecutor a few questions. This was allowed, and the examination proceeded as follows : Where did you apprehend my client?
On the Skipton road, near Blubberhouses. Did you see him in the Washburn? No, but we heard him.
When you arrived at Hampsthwaite I suppose, you searched your prisoner?
Did you discover any fish or game upon him, or anything to catch the same? No.
lhen why did you lock my client up?
Because we heard him in the stream.
Then turning to the bench the lawyer said :Gentlemen, they have no right to apprehend my client, much less to lock him up. He was never seen in the stream, or on the land. He was on the highroad, the Queens highroad, where everyone has as much right on as the lord of the manor. The Court stated that as no fish had been found on the prisoner, they would dismiss the case. This was not enough for the lawyer, who applied for costs, which were granted. He said he should also instruct his client to commence an action for false imprisonment. Tom, however, could not be advised to do this. Knowing he had been in the wrong, he was glad enough to get off. Nan, his wife, rejoicing at Toms narrow escape, said that she would not go through the same experience for all the trout in England. She had imagined that there was no law on the subject. Now that she had found out her mistake, it was an easy matter for her to get Tom to give up the gold mine, as the two now called the Washburn. We can make an honest living, lad, she said, If we only earn a crust. The trial had another effect. Nans father, proud of the way in which his daughter stood by her husband, became reconciled to the pair, and there was comfort enough for both of them after that. One of their children now owns the farm through which runs the stretch of the Washburn in which Tom and Nan waded for troutH. CROSSLEY.
A little over a mile to the south-east of Fewston, and on the opposite side of the vale, stands Swinsty Hall, venerable yet majestic, overlooking the lake which bears its name. Grainge says: There stands the hall, the best, most substantial, and most majestic of the old halls which grace the valley of the Washburn, with its clustered chimneys and many gables, grey and grand amidst a solitude of woods and fields; yet a pile of mystery, its builders name and history alike forgotten. The most curious of all, there is no road leading to it from anywhere, not even a decent track. It is said that the materials of which it is built were brought to the place on the backs of pack-horses. The natives tells us that its builder visited London during the great plague, and amassed great riches by robbing the dead and pilfering the houses of the desolate. With his accumulation of gold and silver he returned to his native vale, depositing the treasure in a cottage, which still stands on the rising land near the hall, now doing duty as a farm, etc.
The fear of contagion from the foul disease, for some time kept the natives
aloof; but, in due course he purchased the land around his former dwelling, on
which he built the present hall of Swinsty. The doorway of the south porch is of massive oak, studded with iron, and barricaded formerly with a bar of thick oak, which still remains. The hall is a room some 21 feet square, the fireplace of which was originally some 15 feet wide. A few steps, with balustrade landing, and rails finely carved, lead to the oak room, a splendid specimen of a 16th century room, around which runs a frieze, also richly carved. The beautiful antique windows in this room bear date :
[ R. G., 1627.]
A massive stone stair way leads to the upper
rooms, from the windows of which a fine view of the valley eastwards is obtained.
Half a mile from Swinsty is Nether Timble, a small hamlet in the parish of Otley.
Onwards, on the opposite bank, surrounded by woodland, is Foley Hall; between this place and Dob Park is seen a lovely stretch of the Washburn, enclosed in a frame of hills and wood land ; this is, indeed, a region of beauty. A small
tributary leaps from the hills and rushes down its deep fissured track, singing
merrily as it hurries onwards past rock and spreading tree. Deep down and
far ahead, the Washburn is embraced by a bower of branches from under which the waters glisten in the sunlight like brilliant silver; onward, past honeysuckle, foxglove, fern, and wild rose, around which are flitting the honeybee and butterfly. Above, the ruins of Bob Park Castle peer down from their elevated position on vale. Enquiring of a native our path to the bridge, he replied: Go dune that cloise, and keept watter side. Crossing the Packhorse Bridge, at Dob Park, we soon reach the woods at Lindley, where once dwelt that ancient and honourable family, the Palmes of Lindley. The glory of the family of Palmes of Lindley has departed, their names are remembered in Wharfedale tradition, but the genealogist and biographer have not been busy with their deeds; their lands have passed into the hands of others, and the halls in which they so long dwelt, have gone to decay. The site, and part of the fabric, yet remain, and a more pleasant spot was never chosen by man on which to rear his dwelling. The writer has in his possession a rubbing, taken from a brass memorial in Otley church, which gives the ancestral lineage of this family for 16 generations, commencing with William de Palma in the 12th century, and ending with Francis, 1593. At the
foot of the memorial is the figure of a knight,
reposing with hands clasped, in the
attitude of prayer.
North of the Lindley, the shed of the Washburn extends north half a mile beyond Catch em Corner, and reaches within two miles of Birstwith and Hampsthwaite, etc. All this region was formerly known as Haverah Park, in the great forest of Knaresbro, which reached 20 miles east to west, and some 8 miles in width.
The family of Scrivens trace their descent from one Gamel, the kings forester,
and his descendants held that office for many generations.
In conversation with an old lady of some 80 summers, she enquired if I had hiver heerd ot towd Taverah. Not thinking she alluded to the cripple and the story of Haverah Park, I said that I had not. She replied, what, nivver heerd ot towd Taverah, wha ah thowt ivveryboddy ud a heerd aboot im. She then told me the old tale of how the cripple became possessed of the park which has been passed down by the dwellers in this forest from father to son for centuries. In the days of the Norman kings when John of Gaunt was lord of this forest, one day a cripple, borne on crutches, whose name was Haverah, begged of this lord a piece of land from which he might gain a subsistence. The request was granted in the following terms
I, John o Gaunt,
Do give and do grant,
To thee, Haverah,
As much of my ground
As thou canst hop round,
On a long summers day.
The cripple selected the longest day in the year for his task. Starting off just as the suns rays pierced the eastern sky, he kept hopping all day, and as the glorious orb was drooping behind the hills of Craven, Haverah had completed the circuit within a few paces, and over this he threw his crutches, and thus took possession of the land, which has ever since borne the name of Haverah Park.
The mighty forest was the abode of numerous wild beasts, some of which have long been extinct. Here the solitary bear made his den, and the wolf and wild boar haunted the dense thicket and matted undergrowth, while numerous herds of wild deer inhabited the sunnier portions; besides these there were several tribes of smaller animals and birds of prey.
Many a gallant hunt took place in this forest in the brave days of old. The Norman kings and their barons were mighty hunters, and loved to chase the wild boar and red deer over the great forest. We can easily imagine the gay scene on a golden autumn morn, as the branches gently rustled in the morning breeze, and the woods resounded with merriment; the curvetting of fiery steeds, the crackling of underwood, whilst ever and anon the shrill blast of the hunters horn mingled with the sounds of the baying hounds and the rush of hunters through the glades, were sights and sounds often seen and heard.
Further down the Washburn we come to Lindley Bridge, from which a lovely stretch of the rivulet flowing through a glorious profusion of woodland, in which the primrose and many other of natures flowers bloom in all their native beauty. Nearer Leathley the meadows and the wooded margins of the stream are adorned with a perfect wilderness of gay flowers, diffusing a delicious perfume around the woods ring out with music of the song-birds. If you care to rest awhile sights in the lesser creation of bird and quadruped, will arrest
A region of repose it seems,
A place of slumber and of dreams,
Remote among the wooded hills.
Two miles north-west of Lindley Bridge stood Brassn Castle, a hunting lodge belonging to John of Gaunt, near
to which, several years ago, was found a hoard of Roman coins.
Further down the vale, and near its junction with the Wharfe, stands the most rural of villages, LEATHLEY, formerly
This village is charmingly situated, in a sheltered position near the mouth of the Washburn. How peaceably it seems to rest, away from the noise and rush of the multitude, and just out of the beaten track of the 19th century; still retaining much of its pristine character, and probably it is ihe same to-day as it was a century and a half ago.
In the days of bluff king Hal, the Lindleys held possession ; from them it
passed to the hitches, thence to the Maudes, who sold it to the Fawkes family, in
whose hands it has remained for nearly two centuries.
The primitive church, built of rubble stones, brought from the bed of the Washburn, is dedicated to St. Oswald, and stands on rising ground specially prepared for its reception by nature. The interior contains much early Norman work, but evidently has been much altered and presents a some what mixed and jumbled appearance. There is a fine old oak doorway covered with wrought ironwork, built in the wall of the tower, and in the wall of the chancel is small piscina of 12th century work. The east window is made beautiful with stained glass, to the memory of the
Rev. Ayscough Fawkes, for 34 years rector of this church.
The registers date from 1628, but there are mural tablets much earlier than this date. In the graveyard many
stone coffins have been found, which with the remains of an old cross still seen, tell us the spot is ancient. Close
to the churchyard gate still remain the weatherworn stocks, a relic of the good old times when George the Third was king. It must have been in those days when a certain rich squire worshipped in this church, along with his domestics and retainers. One old servant had long come to the conclusion that the hard oaken seats were anything but comfortable; being a man of original ideas much in advance of his times, he one Sabbath day appeared at service with a cushion on which to rest. It is said that the squire was aghast at his daring impunity, and instead of placing him in the stocks as a warning to others who dared to sit cosily, he dismissed him from his service.
Descending from this peaceful spot, with its storm-swept firs, gaunt and rugged, standing sentinel-like from generation to generation, over the ashes of departed humanity; in the park to our left stands Leathley Hall.
The road now skirts a most picturesque part of the Washburn. No discordant noises have we here, the silence is only broken by the ceaseless murmur of the limpid stream, and the matchless music and the soul-inspiring melody of. the song-birds; the thrush, the robin, the blackbird and goldfinch, the woodlark, and from yonder copse the soft tones of the cooing dove comingle with the joyous notes of other wood land warblers, swelling the whole into one universal chorus. Whilst listening to the melody of birds, look around you,in the branches of the opposite tree a sportive squirrel plays hide and seek; as you saunter by the side of the sparkling rivulet, additional beauty is lent to the scene by the spendid array of wild flowers, and the brilliant plumage of the wagtail, kingfisher, and ousel which haunt its margins. The writer well remembers the pleasure this beautiful scene gave to an artist friend, in whose company he visited the spot when the blush of an early summer shed its beauty around. That friend has long since departed to his final rest, but the memory of that beautiful day and scene is still engraved on the writers memory.
As we pass onwards, we might say no more beautiful walk can be imagined than that taken from Bramhope to the Washburn, besides the glory of long ranges of vision across a valley whose beauty fears no rival. The pedestrian will find, the quiet nooks and sylvan spots of loveliness arresting his steps on every hand.
CROSSING the Washburn near its junction with the
Wharfe, we pass into Farnley Park; soon the road skirts the margin of the
wood which shelters Farnley Hall: an historic spot containing many
memorials of the great revolution, which, to the student of history, will
conjure up before his mental gaze a host of great men who fought on the
side of liberty in opposition to the unjust demands of the king in that
stern drama of Civil War.
The hall is also very interesting, from the
contains of other ancient homes in the district, whose glory was fast departing when Farnley was in its infancy. The quaint oriel windows looking across time flower gardeim came from the ancient home of the Palmes; the gateway to the garden, from Menston Hall. The stone table on the terrace, from which stern Cromwell dined soon after Marston battle, came also from the same place; the porch to the outer hall came from Newall Old Hall. The interior is rich in the collection of ancient furniture; one room contains a chimneypiece and overmantel of oak said to have been made from a bedstead on which our English Solomon slept. But its greatest glory in the 19th century, has been its accumulation of vast art treasures produced by the magic brush of the great Turner, which caused Ruskin to use the following memorable words: Farnley Hall is a unique place, there is nothing like it in the world ; a place where a great genius was loved and appreciated, who did all his best work for that place, and where it is treasured up like a monument in a shrine.
What a numerous assemblage of rich and fashionable
people, men of letters poets, and artists have been guests at this mansion. An elderly
native who remembered the place 60 years ago, told the writer that in those days, between
thirty and forty chaises were often seen in the yard at one time. A constant visitor in
his old age to Farnley and Caley Halls, was Thomas Lister Parker; this gentleman had held
the office of trumpeter to George the Third. His great delight when at Farnley was to take
long walks, accompanied. by the native above referred to, at that distant time a page-boy,
over that wide district of moorland then known as Knaresbro Forest. To the right of
the road leading to Otley, is Farnley Church, some forty years ago thoroughly restored;
very little of the old structure, built in 1250, remains. Still keeping along the sweetest
of country lanes, whose mossy banks and sweet scented hedgerows are besprinkled with many
flowers, we come to the bridge at Otley, a massive structure of seven arches. The building
of the bridge dates back to 1673. The church register book says, Sept.
11th, 1673: This summer is remarkable for the abundant and continual rain
therein. On the 11th of this month, there was a wonderful inundation of waters
in the northern parts. This river of Wharfe was never known to be so big,
within the memory of man, by a full yard in height, running up in a direct line
to Hall Hill Well. It overturned Kettlewell Bridge, Burnsey Bridge, Barden
Bridge, Bolton Bridge, Ilkley Bridge, and Otley Bridge. It also swept away
Pool Low Fulling mills, and carried them down whole, like a ship. It left
neither corn nor cattle on the coast thereof. There are many accounts in other
parishes of this amazing flood.
The scenery of the vale from the bridge is very fine, particularly at sunset,
when the lengthening shadows from the overhanging trees are mirrored in the
OTLEY, anciently Othelia, is an old town whose history goes back to the days
of the Romans. The first church is supposed to have been built in the time of
Paulinus, 627; its church history therefore extends over a period of 1,300 years.
The market of Otley has also been regularly held for nearly 1,000 years. Early in the present century, it was considered the best market, for the size of the town, in Yorkshire. Near the cemetery is a piece of rising ground, bearing the name of Gallows Hill, formerly a place of execution of malefactors. In Manor Square still stands the old Court House, behind which formerly stood the Arch bishops Castle, commanding the passage of the river and acting as a barrier against the incursions of the Scots. The remains of the castle were dug up on building the Manor House, a little over a 100 years ago.
Otley Church, an ancient structure, ivy clad, gray
and venerable with age, stands a few feet above the level of Kirkgate, the principal
street. The interior is large and devoid of much ornament, yet presenting a noble
appearance. Previous to 1870, all the pews were of the 15th century period, dark and
glossy. The church contains many memorials to the Fawkes and other families; but the tomb
which arrests our attention is one on which repose the effigies of Lord and Lady Fairfax,
grandfather and grandmother of the Parliamentary general. Lord Fairfax is
represented as a cuirassier, bareheaded and resting on his helmet as a pillow, with a
lion at his feet, emblematical of war.
The tomb of Lady Fairfax contains the following words :
Here Leahs fruitfulness, here Rachels beauty,
Here lyeth Rebeccas faith, here Sarahs duty.
On the opposite side of the Church, is a brass
memorial of the Lindleys and
the Palmes of Lindley, who trace their descent to the early part of the 13th
century. The foot of the plate contains the figure of a knight, with hands clasped,
under which are some Latin verses, telling us that : Within this church are many Lindleys laid:
Here exequies oer the last Palmes were said
Vain and uncertain was their fame; for when
Has ancestry alone ennobled men?
Yet virtue blooms like palm-trees branching wide, And gifted souls no sepulchre can hide.
Up to some 40 years ago, the silken standard used by the Roundheads at
Marston Moor was extended over the tombs of Fairfax; underneath, in Roman characters, was the following inscription: For we shall all have to appear before
the judgment of Christ to give an account of the things done in the body, whether
they be good or evil.
The chancel contains many mural tablets, also very handsome crocketted work. Ample evidences of the venerable age of this place are to be seen in the remains of ancient sepulchres, and in the fragments of Early Saxon crosses, whose exquisite carvings have been fashioned by the most skilled artists which that period (some 13 hundred years ago) could furnish.
Passing into the graveyard, with its harvest of dead, we cannot fail to notice
the monument erected to the memory of the navvies who were killed during the
making of Bramhope Tunnel. The monument bears the following inscription:
IN MEMORY OF
THE UNFORTUNATE MEN
WHO LOST THEIR LIVES WHILE ENGAGED IN THE
CONSTRUCTION OF THE BRAMHOPE TUNNEL OF THE
LEEDS AND THIRSK RAILWAY, FROM
1845 TO 1849. THIS TOMB IS
ERECTED AS A MEMORIAL, AT THE EXPENSE OF
JAMES BRAY, ESQ., THE CONTRACTOR, AND OF THE
AGENTS, SUB-CONTRACTORS, AND WORKMEN
I am a stranger and a sojourner with you; give me a possession of a burying place with you
that I may bury my dead out of my sight.
Of those eighteen upon whom the Tower in Siloam fell and slew them, think ye that they
were sinners above all the men in Jerusalem? I tell you, nay; and except ye repent, ye shall all
The bold and rugged ridge of land overlooking the vale at Otley is called the Chevin, from the Celtic Kefn, a ridge. From these rugged heights the view is most wonderful: east, west, and north a sweeping panoramic scene stretches out before our gaze. To the south the view extends down the valley of the Aire, in which are situated some of the greatest factories the world can boast of. Along the ridge, westward, stands the village of Menston, from whose halls was removed to Farnley , the stone table, rendered historic by the consultation held over it previous to
Marston fight, by Charles Farefax, Cromwell, and other Parliamentarians.
From Bramhope to Otley by the high road some splendid views of the vale are obtained, through which the Wharfe in serpentine form flows onward through a wealth of meadow and coruland, in which are situated many beautiful homes of England. The ancient mansion to our left is Caley Hall. Here some 60 years ago the beautiful grounds were stocked with red and fallow deer, goats, zebras, and other animals, in a state of semi-wildness; the last of the stags, a huge animal, was shot some 45 years ago. One of the ancient windows which adorn the front of this mansion is a relic brought from the home of the Lindleys, in Washburn Vale.
Otley is rich in old associations and records of the past, yet, from a progressive point of view, the outlook is healthy. Here the antiquarian and lover of the past will find those aged inns, with huge beams, overhanging eaves, and sanded floors, whose cool shades are the delight of pedestrians.
Passing out of Otley by the bridge, a few minutes brings us to the village of Newhall, which belongs to the heirs of Clifton Wilkinson, Esq. The most interesting building is the old Hall, a solitary-looking structure fast going to decay. A century ago it was a complete and noble mansion, with terrace and beautiful gardens to the south-west.
Following the road along the north side of the river, one mile brings us to Weston Lodge. Passing through the gates we enter the park, which is sweetly undulating; many large timbered trees droop their branches along the soft, green turf. The road winds through a beautiful avenue, and from slightly rising ground we gaze with admiration on this most picturesque of mansions in the vale of the Wharfe. Near the side of the pretty little lake, on whose bosom the water-hens glide, is a tree of immense size, whose gigantic branches form a most grateful shade, which seems most inviting on this warm July day; so we rest awhile and feast our eyes on the beauty of the scene, Instantly the lines of the poetess sweep across our minds : The stately homes of England,
How beautiful they stand,
Amidst their tall, ancestral trees,
Oer all the pleasant land;
The deer across the greensward bound,
I shade and sunny gleam,
And the swan glides past them with the sound
Of some rejoicing stream.
In the gardens still remains the old banquetting hall. The north wing of the
mansion is in shape a half circle, containing many windows, with endless squares, and oriental roof; this wing, from the basement to the highest pinnacle, is embraced with clinging ivy. The architecture of the central portion seems a century later, yet contrasts charmingly with the antique, ivy-clad wing. The Hall stands on the borders of a noble wood, which forms a fitting background to this interesting Tudor mansion.
WESTON CHURCH. Adjoining the mansion is an ancient towerless edifice of the 12th century. It is one of these curious old structures around which the ivy loves to cling, and whose whole aspect breathes of age.* The church is situated from the river the length of one meadow; four aged firs adorn the south; the east is bordered by massive elms; the west is sheltered by elm, beech, and ash; and
the north by mansion and park.
The churchyard contains many lichen-covered tombs, and an ancient sun-dial.
HERE LIETH THE
BODY of JOHN DALTON, THE SON
of JOHN DALTON,
WHO DEPARTED LIFE THE THIRTEEN OF MARCH
IN THE YEAR OF OUR
LORD GOD, 1631, HE
* Although the present structure only dates from
the 12th century, there are many signs which indicate that a church stood at the
West Tunin Saxon days.
The interior consists of nave, chancel, and north
transept. In Colonel Dawsons chapel, or transept, which has the appearance of a
drawing-room on a small scale, is an ancient tomb, in memory of and containing the remains
of Sir William Stopham, Knt., Lord of Weston, living A.D. 1312. This knight had two
children, a son and daughter; the former dying without issue; the daughter married John,
brother of Sir Malger le Vavasour, who came over with the Conqueror, and fought at
Hastings, ai became possessed of the beautiful lands of Hazlewood, previously mentioned.
For upwards of five centuries the Vavasours held possession of Weston, the last of whom
died early in the present century.
From the road near Weston fine views of the river, winding in silvery streaks through a wealth of meadows, are to be obtained. The tapering spire of Burley Church shows out from a scene of woodland; the Hall, or Manor House, stands on the south bank of the river, looking east over a beautiful prospect.
BURLEY CHURCH is a commanding structure, being rebuilt at a cost of £2,000 half-a-century ago; Dr. Black is the present vicar. In the vestry at the east end is to be seen some old oak which formed Charles Fairfaxs pew, who worshipped here in 1644. Previous to the present church, an old chapel stood on the same ground, dating from the 15th century, which replaced one of very ancient date belonging to the nunneries of Arthington. In the church porch is a mural tablet, to the memory of William Maude, ancestor of Thomas Maude, the poet. Under the Alm Tree, near the Malt Shovel, in former times the septennial feast of the Burley Great Pudding was celebrated; the last was made in 1787. About 30 stones of flour and the same quantity of fruit were used for this giant pudding. When cooked it was distributed from a platform under the great Alm, or Elm, to those who cared to partake of this huge dish of fruit and paste. The village is large, well-built, and cleanly, a few 16th century houses still remaining. In the back lane, south of the main street, are, two a century earlier. The occupant of one of those old cots (see picture in annexed engraving) having taken charge of a goat during the absence of its owner, was aroused by his housekeeper during the night
with the startling information that some person was trying to break in from the roof. On going to the door the man found it was Master Billy playing antics on the thatch; the goat could not by any fair means be induced to leave the roof. How ever, after being well soused with water, he leapt from the land of thatch to
For the present we leave the south side of the river, and pass along old 1ane until we arrive at the dreamy and pleasant village of ASKWITH, whose cottage homes stand modestly in orchard and garden. Across the village the brookiets babble and murmur lullingly as they flow.
By banks of velvet green, where oft the
That pilgrim, memory-guided, loves to roam;
For here are violets, the twin-born ; some
With flowers like foam upon a summer sea.
In this neighbourhood reside several families
whose fore-elders dwelt on the same spot six hundred years ago.
Passing the village the road twists and turns under a bower of branches. Soon
we arrive in the park of DENTON (the Denes-tun), through which the brown
waters of a streamlet meander to the river below, which is seen winding through rich pastures, where sleek cattle are grazing; some standing udder-deep in its waters, which, under overhanging branches, form a grateful shade from the suns rays: a scene truly English, similar to those depicted on canvas by famous English artists of half-a.century ago.
On a fine elevation fronting the Wharfe stands Denton Hall. Previous to the 16th century, Denton and the lands around were in the possession of the Thwaites, a family of Norman descent; passing to the Fairfaxes through the union of Sir William of Steeton to the beautiful Isabel Thwaites, of romantic marriage fame, orphan and heiress of Denton and other estates. From this match sprang all the great scholars and warriors which have made the iiame of Fairfax renowned in the history of our land. At Denton dwelt Lord Fairfax, father of Sir Ferdinando, and grandfather to young Tom, the future Parliamentary general. The old lord, who had been to some extent disappointed in the fighting qualities of his remaining sons, was wont to cry aloud to his grandson, Tom, Tom, mind thou the battle; thy father is a good man, but a mere coward at fighting. All the good I
expect is from thee. How amply were his expectations fulfilled when the Round-heads, led by Torn, smote the Royalists on Marston field.
On Marston Heath
Met front to front the ranks of death,
Flourished the trumpets fierce, and now
Fixed was each eye, and flushed each brow,
On either side loud clamours ring God save the cause! God save the king!
Right English all, they rushed to blows,
With all to win, or all to lose.
A few months before his death, the old lord expressing some fears about his grandson and the future of his house, made use of the following prophetical remarks to his son Charles: I am thinking what will become of my family when I am gone; I have added a title to the heir-male of my house, and shall leave a competent estate to support it. Ferdinando vill keep it, and le.we it to his son, but such is Toms pride, led much by his wife [ daughter of the Vere de 1 that he, not contented to live in our rank, will destroy the house. By the marriage of Mary Fairfax to the profligate Buekingham, the prophecy uttered by the old lord of Denton was fast approaching fulfilment.
At, or near Denton, still resides a family named Taylor, descendants of a man
of that name who acted as coachman to the first Lord Fairfax.
The pretty church of Denton stands on the north-west of the richly-timbered
park, hidden on the south and east by sheltering woodland; to the north is the
heather-clad moors. The interior arrangement and tone of this church, all seem
to blend into one beautiful harmony; the chancel
window is a fine specimen of decorative art. The churchyard contains a broken tombstone
inscribed to the memory of a lady of the house of Fairfax.
Leaving Denton Thou rural village, little known,
Thou once hadst warriors who could shake a throne.
We pass onwards to the decaying village of MIDDLETON, hoary with rustic thatch
and ancient homestead.
Their humble porch with honeyed flowers, The curling woodbines shade embowers, From the small gardens thymy mound, Their bees in busy swarms resound.
From appearances, this village at some time has
been of much more importance, to the artist and antiquarian it is still deserving of
notice, to the first for its picturesque cots and surroundings, to the latter for its
ancient beams and mouldering stones, and the associations connecting it with the ancestral
hall and family of the Middletons.
Chatting with an old lady of some 80 summers, about her reminiscences of Ilkley and district, she said: Ah remember Ilkley when it wur only a varry litte owd-fashioned place, and when Brearley began to build, we all thowt he was wrang in his heade. Ah remember owd Job Senior, poor owd Job, he said wert only man at could sing wi fower voices.
Another hermit was Immanuel Sheldon, who went to the feasts and fairs repeating long words which he called scripteral, and who prided himself as being the only person who could repeat them. The following is a sample: I nana-shelladona-dievisia ana. Many were the jokes played on Immanuel by the lads and lasses at the village feasts. It was this old lady who asked the writer if he had ivver heerd ov towd Taverah; ah nivver knew im meson, but a naw its all trew abaat towd Taverah. Speaking about one of the Middeltons being very kind, the old lady answered: Ah nivver knew owt bud good uns, an me an mi fore-elders have lived under em for hundreds o years. From Middleton the land gradually rises to the moors above the river Washburn. how pleasant it is to sit on these heather-clad moors and scan the vale below. Above the river are the magnificent woods of Middleton; near the moor little Bow Beck ripples and sparkles through Fairy Dell.
Down to the vale this water steers;
How merrily it goes
Twill murmur on a thousand years,
And flow as now it flows.
Below us, Ilkley is bathed in a golden gleam of light, with the fine sweep of moor- land above, where huge rocks rear their beetling brows, here are nooks and niches, sunny slopes and dells where dancing lights and shadows play, and where mosses, brackens, ferns, and the heather bell grow; across the old stile and through the
labyrinth of woods to Ilkley, is a charming walk.
But onward to the hail of the Middeltons, which
has stood sentinel over the vale for centuries. On our way we pass a crude milestone on
which is the following inscription : To RIPPON, 15 M. The private
grounds of the hall are most interesting, and contain many relics of the Danish, Saxon,
Roman, and Celtic ages. A Catholic chapel adjoins the hall, where the members of
the family worship. After viewing the lodge, we pass through an uncovered
place of worship; on either side are the twelve stations of the Cross, carved by a
young Ilkley artist. At the top of this sacred enclosure is a rough structure, being a representation of Mount Calvary, partly covered with moss and ivy; in side is a triptych, finely carved, representing the crucifixion. Unfortunately the figure of Saint Peter has been stolen by some over zealous visitor On the altar is the head of a Runic cross, also part of a Saxon tombstone.
Leaving the ancestral home of the Middeltons, a spot suggestive of much thought foi the antiquarian, we pass into the park and gaze on the expansive land scape which bursts on our view. Near us stands an aged oak, under which we rest while admiring the scene before us; on the slope of the opposite hill are the stately homes of the wealthy merchants from the metropolis of the west. In homely contrast stand out the old White Wells, whilst the rugged headlands interspersed with dark ravines spread east and west, terminating a scene of great beauty; whilst stately hydros., hotels, and convalescent homes stand out in bold relief like the mediaeval castles of old. From under the branches of this old oak are seen woods, fields, town, and swiftly flowing river, wide moors, deep valleys adorned with pretty dell and dingle Across the dome of heaven fleecy clouds are speeding, and the bright sun smiles down on this fairest of Natures scenes.
How pleasant for a little while to leave
The stifling atmosphere of crowded streets,
And breathe the air these lovely vales receive
From heath-clad moors with their ten thousand sweets.
Oh, how refreshing everything that greets
The jaded sightwhether of hills so bold
Or meadows broad, within whose dark retreats
Wharfe wends his way like Euphrates of old.
How grand on Ilkleys heights, mid crag and fern,
To mark the glorious orb of parting day
Wrap all in golden fire, as if to burn
All meanness from the earth and soul away.
Blest Nature, how divine are all thy moods!
Teach my fond heart thy truths in these grand solitudes
Following the path down the grassy slope which
leads us over the bridge, we
enter the pretty town of Ilkley.
THE Olicana of the Rornans ! A name derived, it is
said, from its rocky
situation. This was the midway station or resting-place for the tired
legions when marching from Mancunium (Manchester) to Isurium.
Many memorials of these people have been found here in the shape of coins, sculptural stones, fragments of glass and earthenware; also an altar dedicated to Verbia, the goddess of the Wharfe, by the prefect, Clodius Fronto, the commander of the 2nd Legion. In the yard of the Rose and Crown* is to be seen a gravestone, or more probably a memorial of some Roman warrior; it was found when digging, three feet below the surface, a few years ago (see sketch).
* Now to be seen in the Ilkley Museum.
The old hall and the church stand within the precincts of the Roman stronghold, and may have been erected from the materials taken from its walls. In the hall, which dates from the 15th century, this is particularly noticeable. The churchyard contains the remains of three Saxon crosses. The centre one is eight feet high ; the smaller ones are much defaced, having been used as gate posts for a number of years. All of them are richly carved with scroll work and
figures typical of the Early Saxon church. The church of All Saints contains in its south doorway a fine specimen of the semi-Norman style. The churchwardens pew at the tower end is a relic of bygone days, being composed of old oak, pannelled throughout, the upper frieze being in oblong panels, richly carved in the conventional style, and in good preservation, dated 1633. The chancel contains an old piscina, found during the alterations, arid several mural brasses in memory of the Heber family, from which the good Reginald, Bishop of Calcutta,
was descendedauthor of the well-known hymn
From Greenlands icy mountains,
From Indias coral strand, &c.
The south aisle was once the chapel of the Mydeltons, where the members of that ancient race worshipped, and were laid to rest beneath its walls. In a recess of the wall is the recumbent figure of Sir Adam de Mydelton, like a sentinel guarding the tombs of his family; he is in complete armour, and wears a hood and camail of chain-mail, his head resting on a. cushion supported by angels, and his feet on a lion couchant.
"In his link-mailed armour bright, Middelton, the warrior knight,
Some five hundred years ago,
Glittering rode to meet the foe.
Before leaving the churchyard let us examine the gates, which are said to have been fashioned by a smith who, in his youth, was famous for the shaping of iron Saxon Crosses. Fifty years have passed, and the blacksmith boy has become one of the greatest preachers and lecturers the New World can boast of, his name resounding across two continents. The Rev. Dr Collyer.
The following chapter on Rumbalds Moor is
contributed by Mr. T. J. Hayes.
ROMBALDS. Rambles, Rumles, Romelies, Rameley,
Romell, &c., which is it? A vexed question that antiquaries like to get about, but do
not clear up satisfactorily. The simple and unsophisticated native, of
child-like faith, will tell you in all sincerity Rombald was a giant who once upon a time dwelt on this extensive tract of moorland stretching between Airedale and Wharfedale, to substantiate which statement he will take you up to that fine block of millstone grit, the Cow, and triumphantly point out the giants footmark in the face of the rocknot on the summit,for did he not miss his foothold whilst stepping across the valley from Great Almes Cliff? Ocular demonstration of the fact not to be traduced that is the vulgar version. Next we have he poet. What does he say ? Maude, in his little book, Verbeia, or Wharfedale, a poem, imagines a Roman Consul at Olicana, named Romelius, is responsible. But this is not ancient enough for one of our Yorkshire antiquaries, who thinks the moor was christened previous to the founding of Rome by Romulus. Other wise and learned ones father the name upon William de Romille, the first Norman Lord of Skipton, which is dating it forward considerably from Roman times. The
question had better be left hereas it always will bean open one.
There are vexed questions on other topics connected with this now desolate tract of moorland, far more lonely now than it was ages ago, as evidenced by the traces of early occupation still to be seen. For the antiquaries wrangled and snarled over the rocks bearing curious devices shaped by human hands, cropping up out of the heather here and there; and fierce and wordy warfare has been waged in the weekly repositories of antiquarian lore over these lonely, silent witnesses. Little dreamt our ancestors, when sculpturing these peculiar cup and ring devices, that their rude notions of art would in future generations attract the critics of a refined age, and torment their discerning faculties to such a degree. No modern artist ever received such flattering attention. And what has been made of it all? The subject is deeply interesting and worthy of the most exhaustive research and patient investigation.
We look on with wonder and amazement at the
results of the labours of Egyptologists, at the wonderful discoveries which have rewarded
their noble efforts and the floods of light they have shed upon sacred history. How much
more, then, shall we appreciate labours which add to the knowledge of our own countrymen
in the remote ages? If the material be scant, the world is progressive, and what appears
to be altogether mysterious is continually proving not to be past finding out. Let me
digress a moment to cite what appears to me a wonderful instance of what has been done
with very scant material. On either side the entrance of the Arsenal at Venice stand the
statues of two famous lions brought (that is, stolen) from Athens in 1687, by Doge
Francesco Morosini. One is represented in a crouching attitude, the other in a sitting
posture. Around the shoulders of the latter, in serpentine folds, some strange charac ters
are inscribed. These strange characters were after a time recognised as Norwegian runes;
still with every effort they could not be deciphered. They had been much defaced and
flattened at the edges, in great part, it would seem, by the effect of musket balls, the
inscriptions having probably been used as targets for the soldiery firing practice in
Greece. For many years the origin of Norwegian runes in the Piraeus on Greek monuments was
discussed without profit, until in our own day an antiquarian, named Rafn, of Copenhagen,
solved the mystery. He tried in vain for some time at Venice, and went home in despair,
when one day, at a village in Zealand, a large stone was laid bare, which had on its
surface some ancient sculptures, or rather scratches, representing ships. M. Rafn tried to
decipher these scratches, but found them so nearly gone that no drawings could be made. He
withdrew at sunset with his friends, one of whom turned back for a farewell look and was
surprised to find that the lengthening shadows had brought into relief the slight
irregularities left on the surface, and enabled their outline to be correctly traced. Away went M. Rafn back to Venice, obtained two large
photos, at a favourable season, of the double inscription, and found to his delight that
many of the vanished letters, and some quite clearly, reappeared. Both inscriptions are in
serpentine folds, and are interpreted thus,that on the left shoulder runs thus
: Hakon, combined with Ulf, with Asmund, and with Orn, conquered this port
(the Piraeus). These men and Harold the Tall imposed large fines, on account of the revolt
of the Greek people. Dalk has been detained in distant lands. Egil was waging war,
together with Ragnar, in Roumania and Armenia. The inscription on the right shoulder
: Asmund engraved these Runes, in combination with Asgeir, Thorleif, Thord,
and Ivar, by desire of Harold the Tall, although the Greeks, on reflection, opposed
How this testimony fits into the career of Harold Hardrada is now a matter
of history which can go no further here. And now to go back to the cup and
ring marks; a great many theories have been advanced, and I have none to add.
Mr. J. Horsfall Turner contributes a very interesting and full chapter on the subject in Ilkley: Ancient and Modern, and to that book I would refer all readers interested in the subject. I notice, however, in reading the various theories propounded by the authorities he quotes, there is no mention of the Rev. William Greenwells researches in other parts of the county, and elsewhere; and I am struck, in reading the valuable work of the latter on British Barrows, with the similarity of the devices on the rooks he finds with those of Rumbalds Moor. Mr. Greenwell considers them symbolic representations, and in a large number of instances finds them connected with barrows, where the dead have been cremated, sometimes covering the deposit of bones, sometimes placed beneath it. Is it not possible that the markings on our moor indicate some adjacent place of sepulchre? Barrows have been opened containing remains of fire, bones, and ashes; but no mention is made of marked stones in connection with them, Let us hope that further light will be shed upon these mysteries.
The moor abounds with British remains, barrows, and ancient roads, and in this respect greatly resembles the position at Cawthorne, near Pickering, where British remains are abundant in the vicinity of the great Roman camps there. Whether attracted by the refinements of a superior civilization, or cowering near for protection, does not appear very clear. We turn with relief from conjecture to what is universally agreed upon, and that is, the delightful natural advantages of the moor. How exhilarating the air! We toil up from Ilkley to the highest point, 1,322 feet, but are amply repaid when we get to the summit, and breathe an ampler ether, a diviner air. A bright, clear day and Ingleborough and Whernside are visible west; northward, Brimham Rocks and How Hill; the great plain of York, and York Minster itself, east; south-east, Leeds way, which we do not care to look long at ; likewise Bradford, more south. Then we contract our vision and think of the blessed contrast, and feel inclined to make a dab at rhyme, and say
Away for a run on the wide Yorkshire moors, Where the heather is purpling the dark
Where the sense of deep solitude calmly assures The heart that is sick of the worlds weary
As we tread the soft turf with untiring feet, And drink in the beauties of earth and of sky,
We forget all our troubles, our joy is complete, The present suffices, the rest can go by.
The lark is a quivering speck in the blue, But hes flooding the heavens with rapturous song,
Whilst more near, swift circling, the startled curlew
Pipes his querulous cry, ever fearful of wrong.
Loving flowers toss their scents on the wings of
As he gently sweeps oer them with loving caress,
They whisper him speed some poor sick heart to find,
And fill it with healing and quiet happiness.
Then away, treasure-filled, from the homes of the flowers,
The glad messenger speeds on his errand of love,
Making trees sigh and whisper soft music in bowers,
Crisping clear streams that mirror the blue dome above.
With a rush and a sweep up the rough craggy hills,
To the land of his own free and vigorous might,
No longer impeded, he spreads and he fills
The wild moorland with health-giving power and delight.
Then away let us haste from the smoke-begirt
From the round of the dull and monotonous hours:
Away let us meet the pure breeze on the downs,
And drink in the glad message he brings from the flowers.
So we descend the gradual slope, and turning our
faces eastward, thread the narrow rocky valley where huge masses of millstone grit lie
about in most admired disorder and fantastic shapes; then still further
descending, tread in the footsteps of the multitude, and from the summit of the Cow feast
on the prospect below, this, the most popular resort of the vulgar crowd, who display no
vulgar taste in making this point the climax of their enjoyment. Immediately below nestles
the village of Wheatley, wrongly named Ben Rhydding, from that noble edifice immediately
on the right. From the dwellings clustered below the eye slowly travels up the opposite
slope, richly wooded, to the grand stretch of moorland on the north side of the valley,
broken into hollows and woody glens, and turning
westward, follows the slope to its highest point, Beamsley Beacon, and as fond memory recalls, in this dreary winter season, the happy days spent in these solitudes, one feels inclined to inflict more rhyme upon the patient reader and cry out
Come, spring, long delayed, after winters
With pure fresh delights, come, renew thy domain;
March raving and blustering, has worked his wild will,
With gentler emotions our longing hearts fill.
Blow, genial breezes ! from lands of the sun,
And whisper of warm summer work to be done!
Of buds and bird voices, and fresh springing flowers,
Of beauty expanding in soft April showers.
Ye bright sunny beams! dart in rifts qf the hills,
Turn these cold snowy remnants to fresh sparkling rills;
They lie in their shrouds, sad remains of defeat,
Chill, desolate fragments of winters retreat.
Round their still, spectral forms melting rays softly fling,
And rouse them to swell the rich voices of spring,
Make them leap from the ledges and foam down the steep,
And rave a loud requiem to winters long sleep.
Once more with glad hearts we will haunt the old ways,
And blend laughing voices with birds tuneful lays,
Drink deep draughts of health from the life-giving air,
- To the woods speed and greet old acquaintances there.
- Fond fancy anticipates Natures sweet store
As the coming events cast their shadow before.
From the depths of the forest where wildest flowers bloom,
The throstles note thrills through the deepening gloom.
There the bright crimson star of the campion burns,
As he bends blushing over the graceful young ferns
There delicate wind flowers expand in the shades,
And with the bluebells hide the green of the glades.
While clustering in groups near the verge of the brook,
And filling with beauty each quiet little nook,
The woodruff blooms, sweetest of shy flowers that grow,
With tiny white petals, like gems cut from snow.
The tall, slender stem, rimmed with circiets of green,
Crowned with pearly tiara, a true woodland queen.
Away up the slope of the breezy hill side,
The timorous lapwing is circling wide.
Reckless and rapid, with keen watchful eye,
She fills all the air with her querulous cry,
Fearful, poor bird, lest your footsteps should pass
Too near the dear home in the thin scanty grass.
The blackbird, disturbed from her snug place of rest,
With chatter discordant wings low from the nest;
While at intervals, warbling his sweet little strain,
The chaflinch pours out his familiar refrain.
Still ascending through lanes that inviting allure
The wanderers steps to the skirts of the
A fringe of dark firs half environ the green,
And frame charming pictnres of moorland between.
The cry of a sheep from a desolate part
Brings the feeling of loneliness nearer the heart
The whirr of a grouse with its guttural alarm;
And the curlews clear note serve to heighten the charm.
Tis the music of solitude, feeding the mind
With a store of sweet harmonies, closely entwined
Round the heart, and are heard when the darker days
Call in memorys aid to make cheerful lifes ways.
Here, at eve, when the fields in the valley below
Are wrapped in the mist from the sunset glow,
These lawns, sloping midway to moorland heights,
Are bathed in soft crimson and purple lights.
Till slowly the shadows steal up from the vale,
And the fast changing colours grow faint and pale,
Slow gathering the long pencilled lights in their train,
The glories trail upward, the shadows remain;
Trail upward to linger on Beamsleys broad height,
And kiss his bold brow in a blush of warm light;
Radiant he glows with the last rosy gleam,
Then gives to the night world the wavering beam.
The broad flat surface of the Cow is covered with
names and texts of scripture,
chiselled out by zealous pilgrims after their manner; the only means, one may
suppose, of transmitting their names to posterity.
Turning westward, below lies the Tarn., a. delightful resort in summer and a boon to skaters in winter; still further along the boundary line of the moor, picturesque villas climb up the slopes one above another, and we see the road winding up Weary Hill and branching off to Hebers Ghyll, where flows the famous spring said to impart an extra brilliancy to ladies complexions. Immediately below the Cow, three very fine trees welcome the cuckoo every springwe hear a strange drumming noise overhead, caused by the rapid gyrations of the snipe, the sneep of the moor tit, restlessly flitting from stone to stone, is ever in our ears, and larks are soaring everywhere, raining a flood of melody from the blue empyrean.
Clambering down the surrounding rocks, past the Calf (a huge block detached from the Cow and stranded on a lower platform), in five minutes we are on the road and wend our way eastward, skirting the moor and enjoying the grand prospect of Wharfedale east, Burley, Otley, beyond the viaducts at Arthington to the richly wooded slopes of Harewood, and after a walk of 1 1/2 miles or so, just before reaching the small hamlet of Burley Woodhead, we pass a small plantation on the left which is still known by the name of Jobs Corner.
Here beginneth the tale of a man, hight Job
Senior. He was the natural son of a man hight Hacksworth, and his mother dwelt at
Beckfoot, over by Olicana. In his earlier life he had worked on the steads, ploughed,
mowed, and reaped, and was
accounted of great strength, but afterwards fell into disorderly ways and was reckoned a man of no nccount; yet skilful in the building of walls, using great stones for that purpose. When getting ripe in years he came to Burley Woodhead and was employed by the farmers there; but his strength waned with the weight of years and he lived as he mightbut scantily, and was very poor and needy, until he took to himself for wife, Mary, daughter of a man hight Barrett. She was a woman of substance, and had from her first husband a goodly little stead (now called Jobs Corner). She was well advanced in years, but Job overlooked this, having an eye on the goods and chattels. The match, however, was not deemed a good one by
Marys kinsmen, and the story tells how, when the woman died, these kinsmen did busk themselves for valiant deeds, and harried Jobs stead during his absence, making great breaches in the wall of his
dwelling, so great as could not well be builded up again. Job was a man now getting ripe in years, and being alone and poor could not go to law for this great scathe, but took it much to heart, and made for himself a miserable dwelling place out of the ruins. There was a man hight Kolyr, he dwelt over at a place hight Whale-juice Steads. In his early days he had been a skilful worker in iron and wrought mightily with his hands, shaping many things in metals. He was very learned, read sagas, and became a mighty priest. He took ship to Vinland, and there grew great in speech, shaping many good thoughts for men thereby. Like Njal of old, he too suffered a great house burning, bnt still lives to write many sagas of Wharfe Vale. He tells that Job was a man of no spirit, that he was known as a hermit, meaning thereby a dweller in cavesremote, and further that he was a man not to be desired for companionship, and looked better afar off. Kolyr is now out of this story. There was a man named Holroyd, a scald, who made a song about Job, and this is the stave he sang :
On Moor a Hermit dwells, who is infirm and old;
His sod-built cot, so poor and mean, Will scarce keep out the cold.
He seems contented with his lot, Though scanty is his fare,
And health sits smiling on his check, Fanned by the mountain air.
He joins the lark in cheerful song, Which scales the mountains high,
And floats along the lonely plain, And echoes thro the sky.
From every quarter thousands came To visit where he dwells
Entranced they sit upon the turf, And list the tale he tells.
The moor-game linger on the broom, As if his voice
The peewits whistle round the spot, Likewise the wild curlew.
The plovers float around the place, And whirl in circles light,
The Hermit views them as they pass, And gazes with delight.
Hard was the fate of poor old Job, They pulled his cottage down:
I do not know the reason why, Perhaps it was some clown.
How hard and callous was that heart Of adamant or steel:
A bed of straw is now his lot;
And sad his scanty meal.
All ye that dwell in splendid halls, And rest on
beds of down,
Remember Job before too late, For he is quite forlorn.
Hes hastening fast unto his grave, For seventy years hes past
And when he leaves the moorland cot, And when he breathes his last,
May some kind angel guard him home, And waft him thro the sky,
To join the heavenly choir above, No longer here to sigh.
Kind friends and neighbours round this place Can read these verses oer,
And then remember poor old Job, The Hermit of the Moor.
When he is carried to his tomb, And storms roll round the spot,
Many will gaze, and then exclaim This was the Hermits cot.
But like the seed of Adams race, We all must pass away;
Those that live long, how short their time! And transient is their day!
After the destroying of his stead, Job cast a meal
sack on his shoulders, fastened his girdle upon his loins, and went long journeys, leaning
heavily upon two staves, one in each hand, calling at many steads, and singing many staves
at the drinkings, and was made much of; so that many men rode to Burley to see him, and so
he increased his substance ; hut was unlike other hermits, in that he chanted merry staves
aud drank much ale to his own hurt, which, indeed, in the end, proved the death of him, in
that when faring one day to Sheeptown, and feeling weary he drank ale in which men for a
trick upon him did mix mischievous potions which wrought him much ill; and his strength
departing, he was carried to a house of refuge at Otley, in Wharfedale, where he died,
aged 77, and was buried at Burley. His kinsmen took possession of the stead, and sold the
piece of land, which is now planted with trees, and the heritage of Job passed from his
house for ever. Now the rest of his mighty acts: how that he always drank his water and
buttermilk warm, and did eat the potatoes he grew, and never washed his body, of his four
voices and the wonders he wrought therewith, his apparel, and what a disreputable old
vagabond he must have been, are all told in the saga of S. Baring-Gould. Here endeth this
PASSING out of llkley by the bridge, we follow
either the footpath or winding road, both of which are pleasant. On the opposite
side of the
river stands Holling Hall, now a farm house, anciently the seat of the
Maudes, from the 14th to the 16th centuries, afterwards passing to the Heber family. Soon we reach the village of Nessfield. The Domesday survey says: In Nacefield, Gamelbar had three carucates of land to be taxed, where there may be two ploughs, which land is held by service of William de Percie. This Gamelbar was a wealthy Saxon, who owned vast possessions
both in Wharfedale and the vale of the Nidd, previous to the Conquest, most of whose lands being seized by William de Percie after 1066. This De Percie was descended from Manfred, one of the old sea kings who fought under Rollo, 912. From this William, who fought and fell in the first Crusade, descended a long line of statesmen and warriors, noble and chivalrous knights, pure in record, courageous on the battlefield; always leaning to the side of freedom and justice, their names stand forth amongst our great nobility without a rival. Nessfield is a charming little hillside
hamlet, a nest of clustering cottages resting on the slope of a wooded hill. Fairy Cottage is a most quaint old structure dating from the 15th century, in fact, the whole place is redolent with age. Below are babbling streams glinting in the sun light, above the trees the curling smoke of cottages ascends, impressing us with a sense of contentment and rest.
On the left of the road is a mound with an impregnable front, rising some
200 feet above the river, being the site of a Roman camp named Castleberg.
Old Castleberg, the torrent-wasted scars,
Uprears his head where Romans met in war.
Many coins and Roman ware have been found here.
From many evidences it is more than likely that a Saxon stronghold stood on the site of
this Roman camp. During the last century a large copper key, some two feet long, was
found, supposed to be the key of the castle gates. From a military point of view the
situation of this place is admirable, the west side with the river in front, which, after
throwing its waters against the Scar, makes a bold sweeping curve in shape of a bow,
completing a line of defence on the west and south; on the land side and joining the river
at each end, ran a deep trench and strong wall; traces of the former still remain.
Leaving Nessfield, the path leads us through woods
which slope upwards on our right to the moors of Beamsley. On the opposite side are farms,
meadows, and sparkling river. Along the west bank spreads a screen of noble trees, through
which can be seen the gables and church tower of ADDINGHAM. The scene is pleasing, and is
certainly the most artistic view of this village. The east or river side of this
straggling place is by far the brighter.
The road to Bolton is a very interesting walk, passing through lovely woodlands. Half a mile from Bolton
Bridge is a picturesque ravine. Here a tiny stream meanders its way past broken branch and rank vegetation. This glen was the late Duke of Devonshires favourite walk. Still following the narrow cartway, bordered by old stone walls and rustic fence, where in spring time wild anemones, primroses, and violets bloom; beside babbling streams and sparking rills, are grey lichen and ivy-covered trees; through such scenes we reach the old village of BEAMSLEY; in Norman days in the possession of the Mauleverers, from which it passed by marriage to the Claphams. History says that John de Clapham, who took part in the War of the Roses, struck off the head of Jasper, Earl of Pembroke, in the porch of Banbury Church, where he had taken sanctuary from the fury of his enemies. The bloodthirsty Clapham, soon after paid the penalty of this ferocious deed, he being beheaded at Southampton by the Earl
of Worcester, nicknamed the Butcher, whose head was also soon after severed by the headmans axe.
When on the noblest of the land
Fell the stern headsmans bloody hand.
BEAMSLEY, a delightful rural village where the memories of past generations still linger. A place where the weary man of business may recruit his health, and rest his tried brain, amidst the repose and beauty of its surroundings. High above,
towers the Beacon, in front, the brown waters of
the hurrying Wharfe. A quaint one-arched bridge spans the village stream. Resting near the
walls of fallen cottages, we listen to the thrush pouring forth his melodious song from
the branch of an adjoining tree, and the warbling music of the blackbird in the copse
beyond the meadow. From the rookery the noisy cawing of rooks is heard, down the peaceful
vale floats the murmuring hum of the millwheels song.
"Listen to the water-mill all the livelong day,
How the clicking of the wheel wears the hours away."
In the meadow lambs are full of frisk and gambol.
Swallows skim along the
surface of the stream. Near us, a little wren hops and chirps, not appearing in
the least afraid.
While from the hollow oak, whose naked roots
Oerhang a pensive rill, the busy bees
Hum drowsy lullabies.
Towering high above this sylvan spot, and the most prominent object in the landscape, is Howber Hill, better known as Beamsley Beacon. A tramp to the summit, where in olden days blazed the beacon, will more than repay the pedestrian. A stiff hours pull from Bolton Bridge brings us to the top, where a grand scene unfolds before our enraptured gaze.
Far up the vale, the Wharfe, like a silver winding serpent, flows between mountain, gorge, and rocky woodland, past hoary priory and ancient ferry, ever onwards it can be seen gracefully flowing past many a town and village, until its mazy course is lost beyond Otleys rugged Chevin.
On the slope of the adjoining moor, stands the picturesque town of Ilkley, the health-giving breeze wafted to its doors from the heather-clad hills. Further down can be seen Burley and Otley, and the smoke arising from the busy centres in the opposite vale. Eastward, the eye wanders over moor and crag, beyond Almesciffs giant rock, to the mighty minster and stately towers of York. North east, are seen the hills and moors of Pateley and Brimham; westward, amongst sheltering fells, is ancient Skipton; to the north-west, dimly loom the mountains of Cumberland and Westmoreland. Around this magnificent prospect may be seen beauteous vales, extensive moorland, rocky steeps, and pine-clad hills, winding roads, Tarn reservoir and river glinting in the sunlight, high above and over all hill rises above hill like dark waves on the ocean.
The following lines were written upon these moors in the month of January, and describe their aspect as seen at that season. If so pleasing and truthful a picture can be drawn at such a time of the year, how much more beautiful when seen in the budding freshness of spring, the full glory of summer, or in the deep flu of autumns Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.
Life-giving uplands, never loved I more
Your loneliness than now mid winter gloom,
For Phebus flings aside his sombre robes
On this one calm and peaceful Sabbath morn,
And pours into the lap of January
One sweet and perfect day of spring.
And so this calm and peaceful sabbath morn,
Bathed in the luxury of vernal airs,
Is made delicious to the grateful sense
Of weary, fretful, and impatient man.
The summit line of moorland heights, keen set
Against a narrow strip of blue serene,
Sharply defined, shines in the luminous light
Of rainwashed early morning, overhung,
Yet undisturbed by clustered group of clouds:
On the dark stretch of undulating slopes,
Sunshine and shadow play alternately.
And weave bright patterns in the tapestry
Of these old hills, wrought in resplendent hues
Of golden browns, pale greens, and amber tints.
Oer the broad vale adjacent, mighty spears
Of silver light stream from the great cloud gaps
To the deep glens below. The fleecy veil
Wide-spreading from cloud-chasms fills the void,
And lends a gentler aspect to the crags
That look on Wharfedale
from the southern
In the lone dells and hollows, merry rills
Prattle and sing of coming summer joys,
To the sad, leaning, patient, leafless trees.
Crowning the topmost ridge, yon tiny hut
Gleams like a sun-caught sail in darkling seas
When storms are brooding, lending just so much
Of human interest as both help to make
The charm of solitude more deep.
From the sides of the Beacon flow many sparkling
rills, forming deep,. sequestered vales, where nature is adorned in richest garments. Here
shielded from the biting blast the primrose blooms, and early flowers of spring first
burst their petals. In such dells are found many sweet bits of nature, having a soothing
effect on the mind of the traveller, hiding themselves, as it were, from the gaze of the
vulgar, and the noise and rush of the busy world.
Passing along such a dell, we arrive at the important tributary called Kex Beck, which rises on and drains the high moorlands between the Washburn and the Wharfe. Along the course of this stream there is a mixture of wild grandeur, charming woodland, and pastoral beauty. When first we traversed its banks, and passed through the woods of Dearstones, its varied charms much impressed us; the woods were then leafless, and the spring flowers were hiding their
petals from the cold blasts of April. In July the change is wondrous, the woods are a perfect labyrinth, forming intricate bowers over rippling stream and shimmering pool, where glides the speckled trout. It is the time of haying; the scent from new mown fields, and the perfume of the woodbine and wild rose are delicious; whilst fern and foxglove, and many other flowers, add to its charms. On the north of the woods, near the hamlet of Dearstones, is a large rock, whose weight cannot be less than one hundred tons; half of this rock has been cut asunder and removed for building purposes in this district. The late Duke, it is said, put a stop to its destruction. Passing into the road which leads from Skipton, by way of Bolton, to Blubberhouses, in former times a wild region, with Wharfes rich vale intervening. The following verses illustrate an incident which occurred on this road, extracted from Dr. Collyers story in rhyme, entitled Under the Snow.
UNDER THE SNOW.
It was Christmas Eve, in the year fourteen,
And, as ancient dalesmen used to tell,
The wildest winter they ever had seen,
With the snow lying deep on moor and fell.
But how did she find him, under the
They cried, with a laughter touched with tears
Nay, lads, he said softly, we never can know;
No, not if we live for a hundred years.
Some three-quarters of a mile beyond Bolton Bridge
stands Beamsley Hospital, a place where the aged sisters are cared for. The building is
circular, with a chapel in the centre, and the rooms radiating round it; other cottages
adjoin. The inscription over the entrance porch says : This almes-house was
founded by that excellent Lady Margret Russell, Countesse of Cumberland, wife of
George Clifford, third Earl of Cumberland, 1593, and was more perfectly finished by
her only child, the Lady Annie Clifford, Countesse-Dowager of Pembroke, Dorsett,
and Montgomery. Gods name be praised.
Obtaining rest and refreshment at the ancient hostelry, we pass the bridge at
Adjoining are several houses of ancient date; on
the opposite bank stands Ferry
House, once a chapel for the monks: also being the place of ferry previous to a bridge standing on this spot. Portions of the walls, which are in many places two yards thick, date back over four centuries. Previous to the house being restored it was divided by a thick oak partition, finely carved, all of which has been removed the original top beam still remains, which bears the following inscription, carved out of the solid oak : Thou that passes by this way,
One Ave Marie here thoult say.
The thickness of its walls and the strength of its
foundations have prevented disaster
to this house during the time of high fioods.+
In the pasture land by the river, known as Bridge or Town Field, the fiery
Prince Rupert encamped with his troops on his march to York, 1644, trampling
under foot a field of ripening corn.
Prince Rupert has come, and the fame of his speed
Has spread with the breeze twixt the Aire and the Nidd
Theres foam on their steeds, for they travel in haste,
Who ride with the Prince, if they will not be last
They climb the wild steeps of the dark Clitheroe,
They raced oer the moors on the track of the roe,
They feasted in Skipton till dawning was nigh,
Then dashed to the Wharfe like hounds in full cry.
Then give them gay welcome from rampart and keep,
Theyll sup in Knaresbro, in York they will sleepABBAY.
.Just below the bridge a stream empties into the Wharfe, taking its rise on Embsay Moor. Passing the village of Eastby, whibh from the meadows looks very pretty: only its silent mill and broken windows are a picture of desolation. To the right lies EMBSAY, where a Priory was founded by William de Meschines, 1121. The monks soon afterwards besought his daughter Alice to build them a Priory in the more secluded vale of Bolton, within sound of the murmuring Wharfe. At the foot of the fells stands a most picturesque mansion, known as Embsay Kirk.# Passing onwards many little rills swell the larger stream. On the right, perched on the siope of hills, is the hamlet of DRAUGHTON, its whitewashed walls blending with grey, sombre-toned roofs and the dense green of the woods. A few hundred yards from the Skipton road, on the left, stands HALTON EAST, an old-world hamlet, very picturesque, and plentifully adorned with graceful birch and other trees. One old cottage, although there are many which claim our attention, is particularly worthy of notice, with its antique porch, around and over which the ivy clings in close embrace; while in this porch are curious niches, all of which have had their use in the old days. it is the Sabbath, perfect peace prevails; with the exception of a few lazy dogs basking in the sunshine, and the sound of chirping birds, life and sound are absent.
+ A certain worthy dame, who resides not more than a mile from Bolton Bridge, has a droll, or rather eccentric, way of extracting all information from strangers, somewhat in the following fashion What are ye after,making picters? When did ye oum? Wheer are ye frae, and wheer are ye stopping (are ye)? When are ye going back? I 1ev ye yer wife wi ye? Thats noah yer wife
Attempting a little chaff on our account, which the worthy dame soon settles with a Get haht o me way wi ye, Ive no time to bother talking to ye, I mun get on wi me wark, ah mun.
# When preparing the site of this house many relics and ancient foundations were discovered; and in Whitakers time a complete Saxon doorway was to be seen in one of the outhouses.
THERE is not to be found in England a tract of
land more beautiful than
the Vale of Bolton! Rich in furtile meadows, adorned with noble trees
and deep, retiring woodland, with long, long vistas of the brown river hastening through. The ruined Priory and Abbey Church, the ancient
gateway, with its array of giant firs, surrounded by an amphitheatre of hills
enclosing a scene beautiful beyond description, teeming with historic
interest; in the midst of a large forest, which stretched, in Celtic days, over hill
and dale for many miles, was a clearing of trees
where stood the dwelling of the chieftain, around which were the rude huts of his
dependents. Their wants were few and simple: a tract of corn was sown, but their food was
chiefly gained by hunting and fishing. Generations passed, the Romans came and went,
curtailing to some extent the forest-like appearance of the country; soon after their
departure the fair-haired Saxon took possession of this vale, and the sound of the
woodmans axe was heard again. The margin of the river, cleared of its timber,
cornfields and meadows succeeded its dense growth; where flocks of sheep and herds of
cattle were pastured. In time the Saxon lord of Skipton reared a hall on this spot,
afterwards known as Bodel-tun (Bolton). At the same time was built a Saxon church, with
rough walls and timbered roof. In those days herds of wild cattle and red deer roamed the
forest; in deepest recess lurked the solitary bear, the prowling wolf, and fierce wild
boar. The large eagle, and other birds of prey, swept woods and hills in search of food,
while the forest rang with sounds of smaller birds and animals. In the rippling river,
under the shade of the dark forest, flocks of herons stood, statue-like, ready to pounce
on the unwary fish. Often the forest glades would ring with the noise of baying hounds,
and woods echo with the blast of hunters horn and sounds of huntsmen in swift
pursuit of the wild denizens of the woods.
Centuries fled; the Normans appeared on the scene, and the lands of the Saxon Edwin were granted to Robert de Romille, a favourite of the Norman king. Afterwards, by the marriage of Willian de Mesehines, a descendant of the Saxon earl, to Cecilia, heiress of the Norman, the barony of Skipton reverted to the Saxon lineage; this couple had an only daughter, Alicia. In 1138, Fitz Duncan, a Scottish chieftain, with a large army of half-clad mountaineers, made several raids into England; in the district of Craven their violence and fury reached its climax:
young children were butchered in cold blood; husbands in sight of their wives, and wives in sight of their husbands. Matrons and maidens were stripped naked, and bound together with ropes, and thus goaded along with the point of the sword. Scenes far more revolting than this took place during those fearful raids. The hero of such cruelties became possessed of Skipton by his marriage with Alicia. By her a son was born, named Romilly, better known as the boy Egremond, who grew up a handsome youth, the joy and pride of his mothers heart. The woods around the Wharfe at Barden were ever a favourite hunting ground of the Skipton lords. Thitherwards, with huntsmen, young Romilly often went; in the midst of the woods is a rocky channel of the Wharfe, whose narrowed waters rush through this pent up channel with a furious roar. The narrow portion can easily be strid, from which it has received its name of The Strid.
This striding-place is called The Strid,
A name it took of yore;
A thousand years hath borne that name,
And it shall a thousand more.
Tradition says that Romille, returning from chase accompanied by a forester
was in the act of leaping over this fissure with greyhound in leash, a feat of daily
occurrence; the animal dragging back, the boy of Egremond fell, and was drowned in the seething waters. The forester saw his young master disappear in the chasm, hastening to the edge of the foaming flood in anguish scanned the swollen torrent; but all in vain. Further down the river the greyhound, the cause of the sad disaster, swam safely ashore. That night a fearful storm swept over the upper regions of the Wharfe, the floods rushed down, carrying the body of young Romilly seawards for ever. The forester broke the sad news to Lady Alicia in the following
words : What is good for a bootless
bene ? The mother, knowing instantly
some awful calamity had happened to her son, replied Endless sorrow.
What is good for a bootless bene?
With these dark words begin my tale;
And their meaning is Whence can comfort spring
When prayer is of no avail ?
As a monument and memorial of their sons death the bereaved parents gave to the monks of Embsay that beautiful situation at Bolton, around which the river
sweeps in graceful curve, and the rocky Scar rises high above, crowned with wood
and falling waters. No doubt the old monks would rejoice at the removal from the bleak moors of Einbsay to this earthly Paradise. Soon
The stately Priory was reared,
And Wharfe, as he moved along,
To vespers joined a mournful voice,
Nor failed at evensong.
Bolton Abbey is inseparably connected with that beautiful legend, The
White Doe of Rylston, the theme of many a song and story.
In the 16th century there were living at Rylston, Richard Norton and his
eight good sons, and his daughter Emily. The Nortons were an old family, and
long inherited the lands and dwelt in the halls of
Rylstone. Of their old home not a stone remains, but the ground on which it stood still
bears its imprints. On the summit of the gloomy fells overlooking Rylston there is still
standing, gaunt and spectre-like, the ruins of an old watch tower built by the Nortons,
which in our time, acts as a solitary memorial of that ancient family. In the rebellion,
called the Rising of the North, the Nortons took an active part, for which several of them
were executed at York. Francis escaped for a time, but was overtaken and slain
near his ancestral home by a troop of horse, who had been dispatched for that object. This Francis lies buried in Bolton Abbey; previous to his death he had presented Emily, who was devotedly attached to this brother, a white doe caught on the moors of Rylston. The orphan Emily, the last survivor of this family, came regularly to weep over the tomb of her brother, her only companion being the milk-white doe.
From Rylston to Bolton the distance is some eight or nine miles. An old
Norman track crosses Waterford Gill, then over the moors past Brayshaw Top, and over the Skipton road at Broad Park, then through Stank Pastures to the vale of Bolton.
It was over this wild moorland track the sainted Emily passed and repassed on her palfrey and followed by her attendant doe when making the weekly pilgrimages to her brothers grave.
Most to Boltons sacred pile,
On favouring nights she loved to go
There, ranged through cloister, court and aisle,
Attended by the soft-paced Doe
Nor did she fear in the still moonshine To look upon Saint Marys shrine,
Nor on the lonely turf that showed
Where Francis slept in his last abode.
Tradition says the exalted maiden never recovered from the bitterness of her grief, and after
long wanderings over moor and fell to Boltons stately church
At length, thus faintly, faintly tied
To earth, she was set free and died.
Thy soul, exalted Emily,
Maid of the blasted family,
Rose to the God from whom it came
In Rylstone church her mortal frame Was buried by her mothers side.
The poet tells that long after Emilys death the Doe was often to be seen rambling amongst the ruins. The one place she loved to linger most was the grave
her dear mistress once held sacred.
Besides the ridge of a grassy grave
In quietness she lays her clown;
Gently as a weary wave
Sinks, when the summer breeze hath died,
Against an anchored vessels side.
At the close of the service she is seen gliding like a ghost towards the towers of
Rylstone, and regularly returns on the sabbath
When the bells
Are heard among the moorland dells.
Resting near the cradle bridge which spans the babbling, ever restless stream, visions of the ancient priory sweep across our mental gaze. The abbey of olden time stands before us replete in its architectural beauty. The sighing of the wind amongst leaves and branches, and the noise of gurgling liver sound like the music of monks chanting their morning prayer. In imagination we see them pass along the sacred cloisters to their daily routine of appointed work. The black faced Clifford, the noble Percy, the Shepherd Lord, the Mauleverers, Romellis, and Nortons, with their retainers, pass in procession before us, some of whom have left their names and deeds, be they good or evil, emblazoned on the scroll of history.
The scene vanishes, the priory is roofless, its beautiful windows are gone; the hand of despoilers and time have done their work. The monks have vanished, leaving not a trace behind, save the hoary ruin as a monument of their work and as a funeral pile to their memory.
The old Wharfe still flows in graceful windings, soothing the mind with its melody. The restless little brooklet, never tired, ripples and sings past margins andoverhanging banks where the primrose quietly blooms, until it is lost in the. greater river.
In its age the hoary ruin is not desertedthousands annually visit its shrine and not one, we should imagine, can fail to be deeply impressed with the charms
and associations of this sacred and delightful spot.
FANNY, I know you love a cloudless sky,
Long days and longer walks, no matter
where; on high,
But most where moorlands rear their crags
Like solemn sentries oer the Wharfe and
You love sweet Boltonprecious relic rare
Of Eden, that delights the Pilgrims eye,
As on his way to Heaven he lifts his heart
You love all these, and so you know do I.
Yet Nature hath her moods: and now her shroud
Wraps everything in gloommoor, wood, and
Till, as at chaos, Light shall burst the cloud,
And Heaven and earth be reconciled again.
Sweet faith; this sickly gloom shall disappear,
And Heaven smile sunshine on the coming
GEORGE ACKROYD ESQ., J.P.
A DAY OF STORM AT BOLT0N.
Sauntering in the woods, one hot July day, the air being charged with a sultry oppression, suddenly there was a glare of lightning and the noise of rolling thunder rumbling and echoing far over the moorland fells. The rain fell in torrents, the light brown waters of the Wharfe soon changed to a darker hue, as storm after storm chased each other across the mountains brow. At the Strid there was a roar of rushing waters wildly dashing through the rocky chasm, boiling into foam with battling against boulders, spreading a vapoury mist over rock and shivering branch, giving the vale a most weird effect. On this night the sun departed with an almost southern splendour, his beams casting a purple light over the western hills. From river and wood rose a misty fleece of vapour. The grand old memorial trees, with their mighty arms and delicate tracery, were etched on the silver dome of heaven; beautiful clouds, like spirits from fairyland, drifted across the mountains brow. On such a night we passed by the waters of the Wharfe; leaves and branches were silent, not a breath disturbed the stillness of night.
The only sound came
from the soothing murmur of rippling waters, the bleating of some stray sheep, and melancholy owls wailing in the ruined priory.
Arriving within the precincts of the hoary ruin, where no life was to be seen save the whirling bats who nest in its walls, there is a mysterious stillness in the twilight, our thought and feelings harmonize with the scene we are viewing. The old priory, fast falling to ruins with the beautiful windows, mouldings, and rich tracery, seen through the sombre shades of night, has a natural tendency to produce on the mind scenes of the past. Visions of olden days steal oer us; the noble Abbey stands replete in all its grandeur. Slowly passing along its aisles are the dim figures of monks and choristers chanting in Latin the solemn litany. Glancing down the vista of the past, many processions of friars and churchmen pass in imagination before us. To worship at this shrine came chiefs from the noble houses of Percy, Romelli, Clifford, Clapham, and Mauleverers, etc., many of whom won honour and glory on the battlefields of Palestine and France, and on returning hung their emblazoned banners from the spacious roof. Some of those warriors gave gold and lands for building and upholding of the Abbey, and now rest beneath its walls. No marble tombs or silent effigies mark the spot where they sleep, but the Abbey is a sufficient memorial arid speaks far more eloquently, while songs of heavenly praise still resound through its hallowed walls. Bolton in olden time, a glorious pile,
Ancient and of architecture rare,
With turrets high, and fretted roof and aisle,
And wassail hall, and chapels raised for prayer;
Chambers with fair-wrought tapestry hung round,
And secret treasurerooms of gathered gold,
And lonely cells and dungeons underground,
Where peace was prayed for oft and penance told.
What a numerous train of great men in art and letters have visited Bolton during the present century! Turner, Landseer, Cox, Girtin, and a host of others have tried in vain to depict its varied charms, whilst many poets have sung of its present beauties and past associations. Near to the Abbey is the Hall, one of the many homes of the Duke of Devonshire, A few hundred yards away is a beautiful fountain, erected in memory of thc late lamented Lord Frederick Cavendish, whose brutal murder in Pheonix Park, Dublin, sent a thrill of horror through Britain. Overtopping, and adjacent to the Hall, are some majestic Scotch firs, their ruddy trunks glistening in the sunlight, or standing defiant against the wintry blast.
In the vicinity of the Priory are many noble trees, but the one most venerable
is to be seen by the road-side; for the associations of its youth memory must leap
the gulf of seven centuries.
Survivor sole, and hardly such, of all
That once lived here, thy brethren
A shatterd veteran, hollow trunkd,
And with excoriate forks deformed Relic of ages.
A ramble through the woods in springtime, when dells and banks are teeming with wild flowers, and the soft cerulean sky looks down on brooks sparkling with crystal waters, reminds us of the word Paradise. Sweet perfumes rise from the earth, luxurious with the brightest of emerald grass, garnished with every variety of wild flower. There is the cowslip, primrose, hyacinth, violet, and forget-me-nota garden in the woods, Natures own perfect work; rivulet and rivulet rushing from the hills pass luxurious glades and moss-grown stones.
The ever-gurgling river, passing between miniature isles, where trout are leaping, forms a veritable Eldorado to anglers. On the east of the river is
better known as the Valley of Desolation, receiving this name after a tremendous thunderstorm which burst over the vale and moors above, early in the present century. In its fury large oaks and other timbered trees were levelled to the ground, and the bridges swept away, hence the name of Desolation.
The stream which passes through this vale rises
some three miles away, at the
foot of Simons Seat.
Instead of desolation, the vale of beauty would be a more appropriate title. Storm-swept oaks form a pleasing contrast to waving branches of transparent green, and the dense undergrowth of the forest glade. Here the botanist and true lover of Nature may observe her in richest garments, and revel in charms of untold beauty.
On the opposite hill are to be seen the forked antlers of the wild deer which still
dwell on this romantic spot, being a remnant of those stately creatures which once
roamed over the vast forest spreading from Bolton to Longstrothdale, and whose
breadth reached from Skipton to Knaresborothe hunting ground of the illustrious chiefs of many a noble house. Still onwards, we arrive at the place where the first glimpse of Barden Tower is obtained, a magnificent vista of a sunlit river and forest glade, with the old grey castellated Tower looming amongst lofty fells and heathy forest. Soon we arrive at the deepest recess, where in flood-time the fury of rushing waters resembles chaos. Here the Boy of Egremond took his last leap.
He sprang in gleefor what cared he
That the river was strong, and the rocks were steep;
But the greyhound in the leash hung back, And checked him in his leap.
And many others, since that fatal day, have paid the penalty of their rashness.* We might, on looking through this wild scene of valley strewn with huge rocks, imagine it was only a fairy scene. The most brilliant description would not picture to the mind the rushing torrent gurgling and roaring through its pent-up channel, leaving marks of devastation and high floods, water-worn rocks and uprooted trees.
Still passing along woods, where many aged trunks give an appearance of a primitive forest, we might sum our description of this rich scene of woodland, through which the swift river journeys in shade and sunshine, now by rock and underwood where roses and honeysuckle, primrose and harebell, mingle their beauty with dense undergrowth, as a rich scene of forest and river grandeur unrivalled. This vale is beautiful at all seasonsin winter, when crystals and icicles droop from the trees, and hoar frost is besprinkled aroundthen the scene is enchantment. In spring and summer time these woods are famed for beauty; but, in autumn, with her golden tints, crisp brown leaves, and delightful views and varied contrasts, the vale of Bolton is fairyland.
Soon we arrive at the old grey ruins of
in ancient times the Den of the wild Boar.
Around this spot memories of olden days linger affectionately. This tower was used by the lords of Skipton as a hunting seat, and by the good Lord Clifford, or Shepherd Lord, as a place of residence. Around his boyhood hangs a halo of romance; it was the time of the great struggle between the houses of York and Lancaster, when the nation was torn asunder by the fury of civil strife.
This Henry, Lord Clifford, was the son of John, Lord Clifford, who, from his
ferocious and bloodthirsty deeds, received the name of the Blackfaced Clifford.
* There is an old story connected with the Strid, which says that, just previous to a person being drowned, a white horse is seen to rise from its waters.
The Cliffords were a family of very noble standing, being descended from Richard, fourth Duke of Normandy. Through union with the heiress of the De Viponts, the seat of the Cliffords became established at Skipton, in this picturesque district of Craven. It was at the battle of Wakefield that the Butcher Clifford slew in cold blood the young Earl of Rutland.
He, being caught near the field of battle, Clifford demanded his name; the youth being dismayed, fell on his knees, held up his hands, craviug for mercy and pardon. Skakespeares King Henry makes the cruel Butcher reply
Thy father slew mine; therefore die, Plantagenet. I come, Plantagenet, and this thy sons blood cleaving to my blade, shall rust upon my metal, till thy blood, congealed with his, do make me wipe off both Hall says Afterwards Clifford came to the place where the corpse of the Duke of York lay, and caused his head
to be struck off, and put on it a paper crown, bearing the following words
'This is he who would have been king. Fixing the ghastly trophy to the end of
a pole, he presented it to the Queen in great despite and much derision, saying,
Madam, your war is done ; here is your kings ransom. Soon after, his blood-thirsty career was ended at Dittondale, near Towton. In a skirmish with the Yorkists on the eve of the great fight, Cliffords troops were defeated and put to rout. In the flight towards Towton, Clifford took off his gorget to permit him taking a draught of water from the brook; whilst in the act of drinking, an arrow shot from a Yorkists bow struck him in the throat, and ended for ever the career of this cruel warrior.
The following day, the great fight on Towton Moor blasted the hopes of the Lancastrians, and the house of York became triumphant. When Lady Clifford received tidings of the great disaster and the death of her lord, she was thrown into great anguish, being fearful lest her children should fall into the clutches of the revengeful Edward, and their lives be sacrificed as an atonement for the cruelties committed by their father. Disguised as a farmers wife she fled from the halls of Skipton to her fathers house at Lonsborrow, where the young lord was given into the care of a faithful shepherd, under whose charge he remained till his fourteenth year. About this time there was a rumour whispered at court of young Clifford being alive and in hiding on the estate of his grandfather, Lord Vesey, at Lonsborrow.
His loving and anxious mother then sent him for safety, in company of shepherds, to the borders of Scotland, where in the capacity of a shepherd, he spent many years of his life; his home being a rough thatched cottage, hid amongst the wild and solitary moors, eating the same food, and wearing the same clothes, and taking part in all the labour and games of a borderer. Thus he lived until his thirty-second year; ignorant, says the historian, of being the rightful heir to the lands and castle of Skipton. At this time he could neither read nor write, for they durst not bring him up in any kind of learning, lest by it his birth should be discovered; afterwards he learnt to write his name only. The battle of Bosworth Field and the death of Richard the III. made way for the accession of Richmond as Henry VII.; and his politic marriage to the heiress of Yoik, united the rival roses after many fearful battles, and the extinction of half the nobility and most of the best and bravest of the British people.
The lowly shepherd was now called from his moorland home, to the honours of his family and the noble possessions of the Cliffords. Brought up to a rural life, the memory of which he seemed to have cherished, he deserted the baronial home of his fathers for the more secluded woods and moors of Barden, the walls of which lie considerably enlarged.
Love had he seen in huts where poor men
His daily teachers had been woods and
The silence that is in the starry sky,
The sleep that is among the lonely hills.
Glad were the vales, and every cottage
The shepherd Lord was honoured more and
And ages after he was laid in earth,
The good Lord Clifford was the name he
An old historian says: That after he came to
his estate he did exceedingly delight in astronomy, and the contemplation of the
course of the stars, lie built a great part of Barden Tower, and there he lived
much; which it is thought he did the rather because in that place he had furnished
himself with instruments for that study. He was a plain man, and came seldom either
to Court or to London; but when he was called thither to sit as a Peer of the Realm,
it is reported he behaved himself wisely and nobly, and like a good
During the Scottish war, 1513, then in his 60th year, he commanded the men
of Craven, and took part with them in the battle and strife of Flodden Field.
Of the stern strife and carnage drear
Of Floddens fatal field,
Where shivered was fair Scotland spear,
And broken was her shield.
We are told the men of Craven, under Cliffords banner, did good service for
their country in this furious battle, where Groom fought like noble, squire like knight,
As fearlessly and well.
Obstinate was the fight, and the carnage dreadful; the Scottish king was slain
in the thick of the battle, and the contest was not ended at nightfall.
Dispirited by the loss of their king, and under cover of darkness, the
remnant of the Scottish army, in gloomy despair, retreated with the royal banner,
torn and stained with the blood of their bravest king, whom they left on the fatal
field, amongst thousands of others.
Heaped and pent,
Rider and horse, friend and foe, in one red burial blent.
For many years there was kept in the archives of Skipton Castle the names of
the Craven men who fell on Flodden Field. The Lister family, at Barden, have
still in their possession a halberd used by an ancestor at this famous fight.
The Shepherd Lord died at the age of seventy, and lies buried in the choir of
He was greatly troubled during his last years by the wild, disgraceful conduct of his son Henrie, who gathered together a band of profligate characters, turned outlaw, Robin Hood style, and for some length of time proved a source of terror to the district, even robbing the Priors of Bolton and other houses of religion.
The lines of the poet represent such a scene:-
Now, Prior Moyne We must
To the greenwood, ere the break of day,
And thou with us shalt go!
The priest is loth, hut yield he must,
Or pay one hundred marks on trust,
With muckle wrath and woe,
The bag is brought, the coin is told,
And doubly.cursed the sinner bold
Who robbed the Church, and filchd her
However, young Clifford was a great favourite at
the Court of Henry VIII., and a personal friend of that monarch. He was the eleventh Lord
of Skipton, and by his marriage with the Lady Margaret Percy the possessions of the
Cliffords were much enlarged.
Barden Tower is but now a shell of its former self. A tablet on the south side
states that the tower was restored by Lady Annie Clifford, 1658.
"This Barden Tower was repayrd by the Ladie Anne Clifford, Countess Dowager of Pembrokee, Dorsett, and Montgomery, Baroness Clifford Westmerland and Descie, Lady of the Honor of Skipton in Craven, and High Sheriffesse by inheritance of the Countie of Westmerland, in the yeres 1658 and 1659, after it had layne ruinous ever since about 1589, when her mother then lay in itt and was great with child with her till now that it was repayrd by the said Lady. Is. Chapt. 58, v. 12 God's Name be Praised."
This extraordinary lady was a great repairer of
castles belonging to her house, and also repaired seven churches and founded two
hospitals. It was this lady who sent the following reply to one of the Secretaries of
State, who wrote to request her help for the Government candidate for the borough of
Appleby. Her reply was:
I have been bullied by a usurper, I have been neglected by a Court, but I will not be dictated to by a subject; your man shant stand.
History says she was a good and godly woman. Her pious actions, and her benevolent endowments, have given a sanctity and odour to her name which will last through all generations. Mr. Lister, the present tenant of Barden Tower house, well remembers his grandmother, who died about sixty years ago, at the age of ninety. In the days of her girlhood the Tower was complete and furnished. In the large hall a grand ball and supper was given every Christmas, to which the gentry and farmers of the district were annually invited, and Mrs. Betsy Lister, of the last century, was the hostess at these yearly gatherings. After the tower was unroofed and the furniture removed, this custom was continued at the adjoining farm. The farm has now disappeared. But the old festive gathering which had its birth in the Tower gradually grew less, until it died out some sixty years ago. Adjoining the tower is the old Chapel, and a farmhouse, the roof of which is supported by large oaken beams; its walls are of immense thickness, and date from the 13th century. The house was re-roofed some 25O years ago. The chapel and house form a most curious bit of architecture, and the tower of the chapel acts as front room and bedrooms for the farm. The porch has evidently been built with an idea of defence and refuge in time of war.
This place is unique, with its curious oaken beams and huge fireplace mullion and diamond-shaped panes, a picture of the past, perfumed with antiquity, reminding us of those old Flemish interiors painted by Gerard Dhow, Jan Steen, Adrian Van Ostade, etc. It requires no great stretch of imagination to conjure up before us scenes enacted on this spot centuries ago: the march to Flodden; the return of the Barden men, with the standard of the Cliffords proudly borne before. Tis the morning of the chase; the shrill blast of the horn calls forth a gallant party intent on pursuing the wolf and wild boar to their lair. The swift stag is fleeing through forest glade, hotly pursued by huntsmen.
The deep-mouthed hounds rush on in cry,
But fear to close around,
As right and left his antlers fly,
Till gore bestrews the ground.
But soon they end the mortal fray,
His frantic strength is fled
They seize,they tear,and win the day,
The noble beast is dead
From LAYS AND LEAVES OF THE FOREST."
The scene changes. It is the night of the hunt. From the adjoining tower can he seen a glare of torches; sweet strains of harp and song burst from its halls, with other sounds of feast and revelry. These are sights and sounds which are borne from the dim aisles of the past; the stag and wild boar have long been extinct at Barden, and the gallants who loved the fierce chase have also departed. There are no hunters at Barden now, but in the autumn men stalk the moors, dealing death and destruction among the timid grouse. There are several families now residing at Barden, who tell us their ancestors have dwelt here since Norman days. The Darnboroughs and De Maines took part in the Conquest, and the Listers have dwelt on the same spot for near 700 years.
rises on Thorpe Fells, and after a course of some four miles through solitary moors, passes under the Skipton road. From thence to the river the vale is a scene of great beauty.
The six miles from Barden to Skipton is a fine, invigorating walk, and will
give pleasure to all who love wild grandeur and heather clad moors.
This stream rises on Barden Fells, and passes through a rugged scene of wild moor- land. Onwards, the rivulet enters a wood land ravine of singular charm and interest. Near the roadway is a pretty cascade; grey and lichened rocks and large decayed trunks lay athwart the stream; the tall bracken, intermingled with dense undergrowth, droop their forms earthwards. From cleft and crag, venerable trees bend their gigantic limbs across the gorge, from which, driven by the wind, showers of crisp leaves are falling to replenish the earth; with the mournful chirp of birds, all tell the story of the departing year.
Nearly opposite to Barden is the lofty hill, known as SIMONs SEAT (1,592 feet), adorned with massive rock and heather beautiful in the time of bloom, and when
light and shadow alternately sweep to the
vale beneath and climb the opposite steeps, below us and far away the Wharfe glistens like crystal. Yonder she sweeps through the vale of Burnsall ; beyond is the modest CHURCH OF LINTON, and the green woods around Netherside. Miles upwards can be seen the basin of the Wharfe, its rocky side teeming with rills and streams, on whose banks rest secluded hamlets and rural cots. About a century ago there was found on Simons Seat, by a party of sportsmen, a child a few days old, nearly dead with cold and hunger. It is said they all joined in its maintenance, and this child was ever after knowii as Simon-Amang-us.
LEAVING Barden, we cross the bridge and follow the road on the east of the river. After some two miles, a path on our right leads us to Skyrholme, Percival Hall, Trollers Gill, and Stump Cross Cavern, etc.
Passing the hamlet of Skyrholrne, which gives us the impression of having seen days more prosperous(one of those places Dr. Whitaker des cribes as being contaminated by a cotton mill ; certainly to a lover of wild nature it does seem to somewhat mar the harmony of the surroundings), half-a-mile onwards we cross the stream which flows from Trollers Gill: the Gordale of Appletreewick; one of the most romantic spots in Wharfedale, in olden time the haunt of fairies and barguest. Sonic few hundred yards above the Gill stands
known locally as Parse or Parsable
Hall: the common way of expressing the name Percival in Yorkshire; although we are told the hall was once the residence of a certain Parson Heye, and from whom it received the name of Parsons Hall. It is Elizabethan in style, and full of interest from its curious position and old mullions, etc. The hall is also noted for having been the resting-place of Nevison, the highwayman.
After passing the small lake at the entrance to the Gill, we suddenly find ourselves in a basin shut in by lofty hills ; it is a place of wonder, away from the busy worlda bit of Swiss land thrown into Wharfedale,so striking is the contrast from the other parts of the dale.
Following the stream to where it rushes through
the gloomy ravine, whose precipitous sides of overhanging rock and crag measure nearly one
hundred feet, on bright days a dreary spot; in stormy weather, when the wind howls down
the chasm, and the waters rush in fury over huge blocks of limestone thrown in its pent up
course, the roar of waters and desolation are enough to overawe the stoutest heart.
There are many legends dwelling in this region. Although the spectre hounds and other evil spirits have taken their departure, no one will feel surprised at the belief of the peasantry, who have seen the spot under its most drear and ominous aspect. The last time we passed, night was fast approaching; a fleecy mist spread over hill and dale; above, dark patches of mountain loomed out mysterious and spectre-like, awaiting, as it were, to swoop down on the unwary traveller. The following tale is the origin of the ballad of Trollers Gill :
of barguests, spectre hounds, and other wild spirits,
THE LEGEND OF THE TROLLERS GILL.
Many years ago there dwelt at Skirethornes one, John Lambert, a sceptic, so far as barguest was concerned. One night, after drinking more than was good, he sallied forth with a stout stick, vowing to have a blow at a barguest. Lambert met one who was very properly walking on the right side of the road. John attacked the spectre, but only to receive so severe a crush as to bring on an illness, from which he died. Such is the origin of The Legend of the Trollers Gill.
From Burnsalls tower the midnight hour
Had tolled ; and all was still
Save the music sweet, to the tiny feet Of the elfin band, from fairy-land,
That tripped on the rounded hill.
On what intent is the Troller bent? And
where is the Troller bound?
To the horrid gill of the erie hill, To call on the Spectre Hound.
And before his eyes did the dark gill rise, No moon-ray piercd its gloom
And his steps around, did the waters sound, Like a voice from a haunted tomb.
And there as he stept, a shuddering crept Oer his frame scarce known to fear,
For once did he deem the sprite of the stream Had loudly called Forbear !
And a whirlwind swept by, and stormy grew
While the torrent louder roared;
And a lurid flame oer the Trollers stalwart frame
From each cleft of the gill was poured.
"And a fiendish glow flashd forth, I
trow, From the eyes of the Spectre Hound.
By shepherd men, where the horrid glen Doth its rugged jaws expand,
A corse was found, where a dark yew frownd, And marks were impresst on the dead mans But they seemed not by mortal hand.
In the evening calm, a funeral psalm
Slowly stole oer the woodland scene;
The hare-bells wave oer a new.made grave,
In Burnsalls churchyard green.
That funeral psalm, in the evening calm,
Which echod the dell around,
Was his dirge oer whose grave blue hare-bells wave, Who calld on the Spectre Hound.
A friend of the writers, whose home was near
Skyrebolme, was late one evening crossing from Dry Gill to the above-named place. There
was no beaten track, but he had often passed that way before, it being a near cut to his
home. On this occasion the night was dark, and he had not proceeded far over the moor
before a storm, which had long been brewing, suddenly burst overhead. Amid the roar of the
elements be was completely lost. In fear and trembling, hurrying onwards, not knowing
whither, two more steps and he would have dropped nearly a hundred feet into the boiling
torrent below. But, at that moment, as if to save him from destruction, a brilliant flash
of lightning illumined the scene sufficient to disclose the hideous chasm. Shuddering with
horror, he managed to drag himself a few feet from the brink, then falling to the ground,
he lay until the storm had spent its fury. In the grey dawn of a July morn, perished with
cold, he managed to drag himself to his home, glad to have escaped the fiery jaws of the
Following the course of the
stream we soon arrive at the Grouse Inn, where ample refreshments can be obtained before proceeding to the wonderful
CAVERNS OF STUMP CROSS,
some few hundred yards away, of which a description will be given later. The cave was discovered by the Newbalds some thirty years ago, and is adorned by an end less variety of stalactites, which, when lightly struck, emit sweet musical sounds. Several parts of the cave have received appropriate names, such as Fairy Foun tain, The Pillars, The Snow Drift, The Crystal Column and Church, etc.
GREENHOW HILL.(GREEN HILL)
Some 1,400 feet above sea level, the seat of an old lead mining industry. This village is scattered and irregular, by the sides of the highway leading from Skipton to Pateley Bridge. In times of the mining industry the place would, no doubt, present a busy appearance. Since the stoppage of the mines many of the houses are tenantless and fast falling to ruins, consequently present a forlorn appearance. The Church of St. Marys, erected 1857, is situated at a greater altitude than any other in England. On account of its exposed situation trees and vegetation are scant. At the upper end of the village, in olden times, stood the Craven Crosse, showing the division of lands of the houses of Mowbray and Clifford.
At this spot also stood the Toll Bar, demolished some 60 years ago; part of
the house still remains.
In the early part of the present century, coals were conveyed from Ingleton to Pateley and Ripon, &c., on the backs of ponies, called Jagger ponies; fifty of these animals being in charge of two men. On Greenhows fill the ponies were unloaded, and turned on the moor for the night. ln summer time, the drivers, wrapped in rugs, slept on the moorland heath. An aged inhabitant, who has passed some 85 years at Greenhow, tells many quaint stories of her young days, and recounts many traditions which only dwell in the memory of the agel. Speaking of her school-days and the present system, she said: All tell ye wat, Maister, ther wasnt siko deed aboot gaing tat schooil won ah wur a lass, an varry little all gat; I ad to be tlad for me fatther.
CRAVEN KELP, a small watercourse at this village, is the extremity of Wharfes valley in this direction. But, if the pedestrian has time and opportunity, he will be amply repaid for a visit to the old and quaint town of Pateley; near to which is Guyscliff, a place of bristling rock, and Ravensgill, a paradise of fern, wood, and stream. On the opposite vale is the ruined church, .picturesque in its ivy mantle. Further away are to be seen the grim gaunt rocks of Brimham, Up the vale are the beauties and wonders of Wath, Gouthwaite, Howstean, and Middlesmoor. Returning by the way of DRY GILL, where refreshment can be
obtained, the road passes through wild solitudes of moorland, which stretch away on
our right for a dozen miles, one vast expanse of heather-clad moor and shaggy fell.
About Nursa Knott and Apron-full of Stones, the old legend is: that the devil, for some reason, was anxious to fill up Dibb Gill, and was carrying these ponderous crags in his apron, when stumbling over Nursa Knott, the strings broke, and the crags fell. Legend also says, should the crags be removed, they will be carried by some invisible power back to their original position.
Hid among the moors is GRIMWITH, a settlement of Grim, or Grime, a Danish
Leaving the Hebden and Grassington road, we follow the highway to APPLETREEWICK, an interesting village, both as regards history and architecture. In 1086 the manor of APLETREYVIC was owned by the Saxon thanes Dolfin and Orine, but was soon after seized by the greedy hands of the Romilles. In the 14th century, the manor passed by purchase to the monks of Bolton. At the dissolution of monasteries it came into the possession of the Crown, and was granted by Henry VIII. to Sir Christopher Hales, who sold it to Sir John Yorke, Lord Mayor of London.
In the early part of the 17th century, a feud arose between Sir John Yorke and the Lord of Skipton, regarding the right of free warren and chase by Sir John in his lands of Appletreewick; the Lord of Skipton contending that the manor was within boundary of the ancient forest of Skipton, the right of chase solely belonging to the Cliffords, and that he and his ancestors had kept deer and keepers in that part of the forest from time immemorial, and that whenever Sir John had taken any of the Appletreewick deer, he had been guilty of stealing. In spite of all remonstrance, Sir John and his servants still continued to hunt and kill the plaintiffs stags. Soon after, a regular fracas ensued between the rival houses, in which the Skipton men were soundly thrashed by Sir John Yorkes servants, for which he was fined by the Star Chamber, £200, also two of his servants were heavily fined.
At the entrance to the village is a beautiful Elizabethan mansion, once the home of the Craven family. It is sheltered from the road by several massive- limbed elms, which certainly lend additional interest to the scene. The dining hall contains a balcony, in olden days used by minstrels when enlivening the scene and entertaining the noble host and his friends. The hall is a venerable structure, with its antique oaken door thickly studded with iron, and windows with innumerable diamond-shaped panes, one having 930 of these. We were told by an elderly native that no member of the Craven family had been seen at the hall or the village within memory of the oldest inhabitant, until 1891, when a visit was paid by Lady Craven.
A little further down the village street, stands a curious old building
(see sketch), once used as a chapel by the monks of Bolton, now doing duty as an
The Low Hall formerly belonged to the Prestons. One, Thomas Preston, whose initials were to be seen in a diamond form of plaster work in the south end wing of the hall, was a wild dissolute man; betting, swearing, and drinking to great excess. After his death the peasantry believed that his spirit was Doomd for a certain term to
walk the night,
And for the day, confined to
fast in fire
Till the foul crimes done in
his days of Nature
Were burnt, and purged
Unearthly sounds were often heard, and the old pewter in the oaken rack rattled most mysteriously, doors banged terribly, the rafters were often creaking with no apparent cause. On stormy nights, hollow groans proceeded from the roof. Things at length got to such a pass, that the affrighted inmates had to engage a person skilled in the ways of ghosts, and who managed to place the disturber in Dibb's Gill, ever since known as Prestons Well.
In olden days, Appletreewick fair was celebrated far and wide, and was held
on the land which lay between this village and the Wharfe.
It is said that a stranger, once enquiring of a native the way to Appletreewick, he replied: Whya, ther isnt sike a spot i awt daal. Awve been bred an born at Houill, an a nivver heerd on it afore; bud gang an ax t Ranter chapel-keeper, hell appen naw. Appen ye want Apteruck? If ye due, its ower till yonner.
The two miles forward to Burnsall, is a most delightful walk. On the right, is the last of several conical-shaped hills that stretch across the basin of the Wharfe, from Cracoe to Hartlington. This hill is called the KALE. On the top is a circular mound raised in time of war. To the left are many pleasant sights and charming views of wood, meadow, river, and rugged fell, and sweet sounds of hurrying waters are wafted on the breeze.
TO THE RIVER WHARFE.
Dear, gentle Wharfe, to ramble by thy side
Was my delight in days that now are fled,
With friends who long have joined the mighty
Or who are fast approaching deaths black tide.
Yet still thou flowest iti thy pristine pride,
Calm, fresh, and cool, over thy pebbly bed,
And windest not the tears thy watchers shed,
And listest not if one whos loved thee, died.
How glad thy ripples sounded in mine ear
In those dear, joyous, happy days of yore;
When I.knew not the words, distress and fear,
When I was careless as thy verdant shore.
Ah! now Im in the yellow leaf and sere,
And long for days that can return no more.
CHAS. F. Forshaw, LL. D.
By the road side is a barn bearing the following
CABIN THATCHED HOUSE.
NEXT FOR CATTLE
WAS TRANSLATED 1881.
Passing on our left the ancient hamlet of
which is now but a vestige of its former days, as the traces on the surface show. Within the present century many ruins have been carted away, and the foundation of several buildings laid bare. The Manor house, of Elizabethan architecture, with its many mullions, presents a beautiful picture, whilst just on the edge of the meadows the river ripples and dashes past a long stretch of woodland, in its eager haste to reach the beauties of the lower dale.
A lovely village once it was,
which few in Wharfedale could surpass;
But now its walls are all gone down The place they stood on scarcely known.S.B.
Stands by the banks of the little river Dibb, and is one of the most ancient spots in the neighbourhood. Of its history prior to the Conquest nothing is known. In Domesday the name is written Herlinetone.
Soon after the Survey there was residing at this place one Ketle de Hertlintun, ancestor of a long line bearing the above name, the last of the male line dying in the latter part of the 15th century.
The Historian of Craven tells us that at
Hartlington once lived a man named Walters, who on a certain night was awoke out of his
sleep by a voice calling, Arise,
Walters, and save life ! He obeyed the call, took bow and quiver. Some secret impulse led him to a remote part of Appletreewick pastures, where he found a young lady, a
daughter of the Cliffords, struggling with ruffians. Walters sped his arrows so well that the ruffians fled, and left the lady uninjured. For this timely service the man received a small
estate which his descendants
THE DIBB is a beautiful mountain stream, having its source some five miles away amongst moorlands. After crossing the Pateley Road its course is through a romantic glen, bounded by
mighty hills, ever hastening and leaping over pretty cascades to where the old mill wheel still sings its busy lay, it hurries on under overhanging trees, which droop sweetly to kiss its murmuring waters, passing beneath the bridge at Hartlington, and soon joins with the Wharfe.
Standing on the above bridge in the early autumn, the writer was much impressed with the beauty of the scene. The tints were a mixture of green and golden. No wind disturbed the branches, which cast their shade over the stream; silently fell the crisp brown leaves into the bosom of the hurrying water, which danced and glistened in the sunlight. Through the branches spreads the curling smoke of cottages, adding an air of repose to this peaceful spot in nature, a subject worthy the attention of an artist.
Before entering the village of Burnsall let us follow the road which passes
Barden above the left bank of the river.
The pedestrian will find this a very enjoyable route. In the sweet vale below, and far away oer moors, hills and crags, spreads a picture of startling contrast. It is evening on the Burnsall road. The woods resound with the song of birds, the river winding through beauteous scenes reflects the golden gleam of the departing orb. Up the far hill side a desolate road turns and crosses the gloomy-looking moors; here and there giant crags and deep ravines lend a mystery to the scene; whilst the top of dark moorlands, and the crest of mighty hills, loom in the far distance; now we are passing the rich greens of the fir-wood, where birds are chanting their choral vespers.
From the villages in the vale rise the sounds of merry children; on the fells above plaintive bleating of sheep, and the harsh sound of the pheasant are heard, Soon we are arrested by the beauty of Burnsall, situated at the foot of sheltering hills, half-circled by the bright river, which lends additional charm to the loveliest village of the dale.
* A fearful accident happened to a Burnsall man at the old Saw Mill near this spot some twenty- six years ago, and the wonderful recovery from the same was told by the Rev. A. W. G. Moore, of Spalding, in a London contemporary, 1891. At the time of the accident the reverend gentleman was Curate of Burnsall, and for many nights watched by the bedside of the poor fellow whilst hovering on the verge of death. Yet how strange is life when the strongest are cut down without a moments warning. This man, whose life twenty-six years ago was held by the smallest spark, which the faintest breeze would have extinguished, still lives.
Anciently Brinshale, the hall by the sfteam.
Although the history of this village does not reach beyond the 11th century, when that
grasping favourite, Robert de Romille, took possession of the Saxons
birthright, yet the many relics and vestiges time has left remaining to
be seen in the beautiful Church of St. Wilfred, which prove beyond doubt the
antiquity of Burnsall.
In front of the Green, with its maypole, stands
the old yellow-washed inn. Entering for rest and refreshment, we listen to the chat of
peasantry, and hear fishermen relate their astounding captures of fish, and the savoury
odour of trout takes possession of our appetite.
How pleasant, after our meal, to sit in the cosy parlour, perfumed with the sweet-scented primrose and cowslip, fresh gathered from their native dells, and watch through the old mullions, screened with plants, the brown river eagerly scouring onward, soon to be abruptly turned by the shaggy fells across which the suns rays delightfully linger. After a walk through the village, where many quaint houses of the 16th century, with porch and mullions, still remain, we stroll through rich meadows by the river, on whose opposite bank spreads a screen of graceful trees. The beauty of the village from this place must be apparent to all lovers of rural scenes. At our feet is the bubbling stream glinting in the sunlight. Over the meadow cottages nestle, and the old church rears its massive tower, the whole scene impressing us with its content and rest, so much needed by the weary man of business.
Far from the madding crowds ignoble strife.
Still upwards we hear the loud noise of rushing waters. On our left is the old Grammar School and church, whose walls still bear inscriptions, recounting the
generosity and perpetuating th memory of a noble patron.
The wooded steeps on the opposite bank, where lovers often whisper, and
whistling sand pipers haunt, are named St. Wilfreds Scarr.
Through a sweet meadow dell we arrive at
A gigantic rock of limestone, through which the angry river has worn her track, and still battles defiantly with huge boulders, which in vain try to impede her progress. In flood time this place is a scene of wild grandeura roar of swirling waters lashed into foam through contact with overhanging cliffs, on the top of which, like ragged sentinels, are storm-swept trees looking down the abyss.
Rather more than a century has fled since Tom Lee chose this spot for the final hiding place of his victim. On two occasions since the foul murder had the body been secreted ; but, the murderer was still fearful lest its hiding-place should be discovered.
Just after midnight, when all at Grassington but
the guilty pair had retired to rest, Lee, accompanied by his wife and leading the pony,
glided out of the village. Dark and heavy storm-clouds swept across the moor, obscuring
the light of the moon. Arriving at the solitary grave, the murderer again unearthed his
ghastly victim, which he placed in a sack and threw across the ponys back, crossed
the moors above Hebden, and thence to the river at Burnsall, where the body attached
to large stones, was hurled into the river.
But retribution was on the murderers track. That night a young man from
Grassington, who had been visiting his lady love, and had lingered, as lovers often
do, was returning home by the banks of the river lost in a reverie of bliss.
Suddenly his attention was arrested by the sound
of a voice exclaiming, Tha thief, thall show his legs, cover em
up. Peering down from the opposite bank, he heard the splash of the falling body;
just at that moment the clouds parted and the moon shone full on the guilty pair. The
chain of vengeance was fast closing round the murderer, for as the young man journeyed to
Grassington, he thus soliloquized: Begow, but this liks me, it dew, a cud
amost sweer at it wur Tom Lee an is wife, an ahm sewer that wur is
galliway. Thus wondering, he journeyed on, little dreaming that the cause of the
heavy splash was the hiding of a foul crime.
Past Loup, or Leap Scar, the vale is embosomed with a belt of sweet woodland.
Here is a spring known by the name of
ST. HELENS WELL,
dedicated to Helena, mother of Constantine the Great. This pious lady was supposed by some to have been a daughter of the old Celtic race, and her name was held in great reverence by the early British church. She was really of obscure parentage, being the daughter of an innkeeper in Bithynia. It was this Helena. who founded the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem, and the Church of the Nativity at Bethlehem. Many wells in various parts of England, formerly held sacred, still bear her name.
Nearer the village is another spring or well dedicated to that pure and noble Saxon lady, Margaret, wife of Malcolm Canmore, King of Scotland. The history of her life shines out with a brilliant lustre from the gloomy scenes of desolation and war. She was born in 1046, and during her life endowed many religious houses. Being of Saxon lineage her memory was held in great reverence for centuries.
Onwards, is a lovely pastoral glade, a resting place between wood and river; all is peace, beauty, and luxuriance; here the honey bee lingers and butterflies flit from flower to flower; rich gleams of sunlight fall across the meadows where sleek cattle are browsing.
Leaving this pleasant spot, let us return to the village church, whose noble tower adds much interest to the vale, around whose walls and within sound of the murmuring river repose near the scene of their earthly labours all that is mortal in man. To all right thinking people an old village church and its burial ground have a sympathetic charm. We love to gaze on its venerable relics and examine, as it were, the crumbling dust of its walls, and so it should be, for besides containing the remains of our ancestors, they remind us of those early Christian times, and. are connecting links and teach us the history of the past.
Thinking thus, in the faint twilight the writer passed through the time-worn Lych-gate, with its old stones and worm-eaten joists, around which the ivy has firmly fastened, giving this now scarce relic a time-honoured appearance. Amongst grass-grown graves, and other frail memorials of the dead, we lingered; from newly covered graves came the perfume of fragile flowers, emblems of love placed by the hands of sorrowing friends. The scene and hour were impressive, yet beautiful. Not a sound was to be heard save the whispering of leaves and the faint murmur of the hurrying river.
Amidst such scenes we are forcibly reminded that man is mortal.
There is no armour against fate;
Death lays his icy hand on kings,
Sceptre and crown must tumble down,
And in the dust be equal made
With the poor crooked scythe and spade.
The parish of Burnsall includes Thorpe,
Hartlington, and Appletreewick.
The church is dedicated to St. Wilfred of Ripon. The career of this sainted prelate
was a stormy one.
Three times he was expelled from
his bishopric, and on each occasion he sought
Papal interference; but the spiritual power of
Rome was at that time unknown to the bold
Northumbrians, who laughed to scorn the Pope meddling; and the disgraced prelate was cast forth an exile and a wanderer. Though full of vanity and ambition, Wilfred ever shone under adversity spending his days of exile in evangelising the heathen. In his days of prosperity he was intractable, haughty, ambitious, and full of personal ostentation; caressed and flattered at Rome, and smitten by her refinement, he was totally unfitted to reign as a spiritual head over the half-wild Northumbrians. About the year 690, when his age was verging on seventy, a synod was held on the banks of the Nidd, probably at Pateley Bridge, when Elfleda, an abbess, pleaded his cause so well, that the young king, son of Brihtwald, restored Wilfred to the See of Hexham, and the abbey of upon, where he spent peaceably the remaining four years of his turbulent life.
The earliest parts of the church date from the 12th century, and later portions to the 14th, and consist of two aisles, nave and chancel.
Under the foundations many relics of ancient crosses have been found closely allied to Runic work; but the greatest treasure is the old Norse or Saxon font, with a rude representation of a sea-horse and other symbols of the old heathen mythology representing the transit period from heathenism to Christianity. The carvings on the font are typical of the long struggle between the old and the new faiths, which lasted through centuries of gradual awakening from darkness and superstition; but the time at length came when the Christian need no longer inscribe upon the fonts symbols of a faith he was trying to destroy.
The remnants of crosses are partly covered with red lead, one of the oldest colours known, and greatly used by the earlier inhabitants of Britain; made from the skimmings of lead, this colour has no doubt stood the test of 13 centuries.
There is also an effigy of most crude workmanship, representing an age long anterior to those of the Crusaders, which date from the 12th century.
Judging from the many Anglo-Saxon remains, we have no hesitation in saying that the present church, which dates from the 12th century, replaced one of Anglo Saxon origin, dating from the 8th century. During the restoration, there was found a very ancient piece of sculpture work in alabaster, representing the Adoration of the Magi. It is the work of an Italian artist, period 12th century, brought from Italy by some crusading warrior, when returning from the battle-fields of Palestine, and whose home stood by the banks of the Wharfe, presented as a gift offering to his native church. This rare piece of ancient sculpture is to be seen amongst other relics at the east end, adjoining the chancel. The list of rectors dates from the 13th century. A stone tablet records that This Church was Repaired and Butified at thonlie costes and charges of Sir Willm. Craven, Knight and Alderm of the Citie of London, and Late Lord Mayre of the same. Anno dm. 1612.
Burnsall, in past ages, must have held many sainted men, for we are told that in the early days of the British Church those who had lived a life of conspicuous piety were interred within its walls. Under the tower end, when digging some years ago, 27 skulls were found, which may account for this ancient custom.
* These venerable relics of an Anglo-Danish age, have often survived the rebuilding of two structures at least, and being genuine remains of the primitive church, should be religiously preserved.
In the churchyard, which slopes gently down
towards the river, is a stone pillar, surmounted by a dial. Here, in olden days, stood the
churchyard cross. It was from this cross that Billy Pickersgill, the parish
clerk, nicknamed Dabbish-it, from the habit of often using that ejaculation,
announced to the congregation, as they passed through the graveyard, the coming events of
Oyez! oyez! oyez! This is ta give all of ye notice that a vestry meeting will be held at Brigg end ta moan at neet, to appoint t owerseers ant surveyors, au examin t books. Old Billy was also a noted beliringer. and was named Captain of the belfry. in past days the Burnsall ringers were noted for their performances. One who has now passed over to the great majority, said I have often listened to their sweet music on clear, moonlight summer nights, when a gentle breeze wafted the silvery sounds up the dale, and myriad mountain echoes prolonged
the melody. Oh, merry are the village bells,
That sound with soothing chime,
From the dim old tower, grown grey
Neath the shadowy touch of time.
Some years after Billy Pickersgills death, a Peter Riley officiated as sexton and clerk, and was also famous on the double bass. In those days the choir at Burnsall was accompanied by a string band, which sent forth its strains from under the tower. On one occasion, when this band was about to perform that beautiful chorus, Lift up your heads, 0 ye gates, Peter became much excited, remarking to his fellow bandsman Ah say, Bill, lad, gie mi up some o that rosin, an ahll sooin show em wheer t king o glory lives! Once during a service, when the only persons present were the preacher and sexton, the clergyman began Dearly beloved brethren, but Peter cried out Nay, nay, ye moant say brethren, but ye mun say dearly beloved Pete!
Another remarkable character was Parson Alcock, of whom many droll stories are related. On one occasion, some mischievous student mixed the leaves of his sermon. After delivering two pages he came to a long pause, then, addressing the congregation, said Someone has mixed my sermon. However, I will read it as it is, and you can digest it when you get home.
There are still dwelling in the neighbourhood of Burnsall many families,
descendants of a long line of ancestry who have dwelt here for centures.
* The Rev. Patrick Stewart was once placed in the same awkward position. On opening his manuscript he found the first page or two had been eaten away. My brethren, he said, I find that the mice have made free with the beginning of my sermon, so that I cannot tell you where the text is to be found; but we will just begin where the mice have left off, and well find out the text as we go along.
In the churchyard will be noticed the village stocks, which are of stone. As the burial ground was enlarged some years ago, they may at some time have stood outside the boundary. Another memorial of past days is the lich gate (lich, meaning dead). Here, in pre-Reformation days, the corpse rested while certain rites were performed. Adjoining the churchyard is the old Grammar School, founded by Sir William Craven. William Craven was born at Appletreewiek, of poor parentage, and was apprenticed by the parish to a woolstapler. At the expiration of his term he went to London, and took a situation in a draper and silk mercers establishment; afterwards became a tradesman on his own account, and, fortune favouring him, his rise to wealth and dignity was very rapid. In 1611, the poor lad who had left his cottage home by the banks of the Wharfe was chosen for the highest of civic honours, being made Lord Mayor of London; afterwards obtaining the Order of Knighthood. A stone tablet on the walls of the Grammar School records that
Alderman of London
Founder of this Schoole
Anno dom 1602.
He was the first and last of the family who
engaged in trade, and became the founder of a family known as the Earls of Craven.
William, his eldest son, was a gallant soldier, and learnt the art of war under the banners of Gustavus Adolphus and William, Prince of Orange, the two greatest warriors of Christendom, and champions of Protestant Europe. Like a true knight of old, he fought for the beautiful Princess Elizabeth, daughter of James I., who was married to Count Palantine, afterwards elected King of Bohemia. Poor Frederick and Elizabeth !theirs was only a short-lived dignity; they saw only the phantom of royalty, for the strong hand of Austria was upon them, and they were driven from the throne of Bohemia, and became exiles and wanderers dependent on the generosity of strangers. Though the kingly father stretched not his hand to aid his daughters consort, yet many brave Englishmen fought and bled for the unfortunate king and his beautiful queen. Amongst those who fell
* The boke of the weddinge Christen and burialls with the names of the..... from the ffeast of the Nativitie of St. John Baptest in the yeare of our Lord god 1559 and in the first yeare of the .....souaigne laidye Elizabeth by the grace of god quene of England ffrance and Ireland defender of the faith etc. vnto the same 1560.
Commences with the weddinge of
Willm Blande and Jane Preston the xxviij day of Auguste.
gallantly fighting was young Fairfax, from Denton by the Whafe. So true a knight and protector did William Craven prove himself to this unfortunate lady, that, after her return in widowhood to her native land, it is said he was rewarded with the hand of this beautiful princess.
At Combe Abbey, the seat of the Earls of Craven, there was formerly a large
and fine collection of portraits of the Palantine family.
The following appeared in the Times some years ago, and speaks well for the
longevity of the inhabitants in this district :
Sir, was my privilege recently to join
my sister and my three elder brothers at our usual
yearly meeting. My sister was born Oct. 3rd, 1791, aged 92; first brother born Nov. 20th, 1793, aged 90; second brother born April 13th, 1797, aged 86 ; third brother born Oct. 29th, 1806, aged 77 ; myself born Dec. 10th, 1808, aged 75. One Stockdale family of five, whose united ages reach 42.0 years, or an average of 84 years each.
Hid amongst the hills midway between Burnsall and Linton is the quiet hamlet of THORPE, the road to which passes between the fells of Burnsall and the river, on whose opposite banks and high above a deep ravine stands Hebden village. A day can be profitably spentby the strong of limb in visiting this locality and the disused mines and moorlands beyond. Before turning aside let us look backward. On our right rise the rocky and precipitous sides of the moorlarid fells ; in front, and frowning on the vale beneath, is Simons Seat, covered with a mist-wreath of raining cloud, which seems to envelop it in one mass of circling gloom. Suddenly the heavens expand, and a marvellous gleam of glorious light, reflected from the golden clouds gilded by the sun, now sinking in the distant west, shed a halo of dazzling hues on its rugged slopes as transient as it was beautiful.
Crossing the river by a ricketty swing-bridge, near to where the stream from
the moorlands empties into the Wharfe, and past the flax mills, which are now
silent, we reach
(the Up dene, or high valley): a deep ravine, running from the bed of the Wharfe
upwards to the lofty moorland ridge, which separates Craven from Netherdale.
In the 13th century, the manor of Hebden was possessed by a William de
Hebden, a descendant of Uctred, a Saxon; in the 15th century passing to the
THRUSKELL, or Thorswell, takes its name from Thor, the god of war: a relic
of Norse days.
* When Prince Rupert passed down Wharfedale with his army (1644), he lodged at Denton, the home of the Fairfaxes, for the night, and found hung in the great parlour a portrait of John Fairfax, who had met his death at the seige of Frankenthal, when fighting for his mother. To the honour of Prince Rupert, the sight of that face saved the mansion of the Parliamentary leader from destruction.
The old Primitive School, which stood on the
village green, was only eclipsed by the Primitive teacher, in the person of Thomas Howsam,
who taught at Hebden some thirty-five or forty years ago. He was an old soldier, and had
been wounded in the wars. The school fee at the time was one halfpenny per week. In a
lower story, wider the eastern end of the building, was the ancient Kilnhorn.
In this miserable hovel, one Hannah Stackhouse, a wretched and depraved relative of the
great biblical scholar, the Rev. Thomas Stackhouse, died in great poverty.
The new church, dedicated to St. Peter, is delightfully situated on the high grounds, and looks down on the vale of the Wharfe. Although its walls contain no crumbling stone or sculptured effigy, and heraldic devices interwoven with historical lore, for the antiquary to muse over, yet the harmony of its interior and the romantic scenery, viewed from the exterior, amply amend for the newness of its walls.
Elbolton and Stebden, with a background of dark fells, looms out grandly. In
the opposite direction, the grey walls of Burnsall village, with the old river winding
past, soon to be lost amid a rocky gorge of woodland and mist-clad hills, form a
feast for the eyes of the beholder.
Lead mining, which formerly gave employment to many of the people, having
now become unprofitable, has been the cause of the decrease of the inhabitants hence the reason of the many tenantless houses in this village.
A few hundred yards beyond the village, the water falls over the limestone ridge, some twenty feet, forming a very pretty sight. Further upwards by the rivulet, is Hole Bottom Farm; here dwells Horatio Bowdin, born 1807, still hale and hearty; with the exception of three nights, this aged man has never slept away from his ancestral roof. The family were famous musicians, and still retain possession of the old fiddle used by the father 100 years ago ; it bears the name of Cahusac, No. 96, 1789. The seven brothers, Henry, Thomas, Dick, Orlando, Horatio, Augustine, and Daniel, with the father, were a band in themselves. The old homestead stands in a sweet meadow vale, adorned on one side by a gigantic ash, whose age is computed to be upwards of 400 years. On the opposite side, it is sheltered by a beech and sycamore, from whose spreading branches the birds carol many a lay.
Away upwards, we climb under the shadow of immense rock; the large mass which peers over the valley is named the Rocking Stone, and can be moved, the natives say, by a slight pressure. Upwards still, the mines are reached; curious old holes and shafts are to be seen near the torrent, which at this place flows over a shelf of rock. Still upwards, all signs of humanity are left behind, and we tread the wild, wild moorland; even the stone walls which spoil many a rugged landscape are left. The only sounds are the screech of the lapwing, the burr of startled grouse, and the roaring noise of the stream dashing over its rock-strewn course. Onwards still, passing the birthplace of the moorlaud rill, we stand on the bleak moorland ridge, dividing the watershed of the Nidd and Wharfe. How delightful are the breezes. We breathe the air of freedom and purity while resting on the heather which now in August is a glorious sea of purple, hills rising higher and higher, until the scene is terminated by the hoary head of Whernside looming amongst the clouds. There are many chasms and mine-holes where a person might
disappear and be lost for ever on this land of
mountain and of flood; some of these are a great depth. The most wonderful is one with a
stream course at the bottom, its waters rising and falling as a tidal river. The
lengthening shadows tell us evening approaches, so we turn our steps towards the dwellings
of humanity. As the glorious orb is gently sinking to the west a holy calm pervades the
wide moor land, the sky becomes more beautiful, and a flood of crimson and gold tinges all
objects with purple. The heather-bell, the golden furze gleam with sparkling light; the
short grass becomes a golden green, the fleeces of the sheep that are grazing on the
far-off hillsides look like spots of light. The horizon is now spread with cumulus clouds
in fantastic shape like temples, pinnacles, and battlements, reminding
us of the golden city. Then behind the firwood on the brow of yonder hill he lingers still, now only like a spark of living fire partly obscured by dense woodland around Netherside. A last look, and now the all life-giving planet has sunk behind the far-off crags to cast his beams on other lands, leaving us still reflections of departed glory, the after beams light the jagged edges of fleecy clouds now shading into soft grey tints. The golden green of the sky changes into purple, and all the vale is mantled in shady tints; the distant hills stand out boldly in dark blue, peace reigns; the only sound is that of belated bees humming their way homewards, and the chirping of insects, and a few bats whirling in search of food. The soft-eyed kine resting content, the distant sound of evening bells indicate the busy haunts of life. At this hour roans heart is softened, he feels the presence of his Creator, and Nature whispers to his doubting soul, you shall rise like the planet which passed, and then with an overwhelming force come back to memory the old Bible stories. At such moments Nature teaches us to become children of God. Thus musing and descending gently, I find myself on the banks of the Wharfe. Suddenly a splash arrests my attention; amongst all this peace in Nature there is war,a large otter, in the hush of the night, is chasing the speckled trout; another swift plunge and the greedy monster has seized his victim,only a few ripples on the surface remain to tell of capture and death. And so it is with all of us, we poor creatures; but must it be always thus? Shall the strongest always carry the victory? Who can say? But I am drifting. So, crossing the stepping stones, where the river curves gracefully, and through the meadows, towards the hamlet resting in its bosom of hills, where we find the farmers wife busy preparing supper. After enjoying the ample repast and a chat with the dame, we stroll through the village with the farmer, and then follow the path across the fields to the old church by the river, and rest on one of the old lichen-covered gravestones. How silent the place is, deserted by all but its harvest of dead, the only sound coming from the Wharfe, which washes the edge of Gods acre! On this sacred ground we ponder upon the short duration of life, death, eternity, and resurrection,like the past sunset, hoping to behold the rising of that glorious planet once more, through Gods love for all his creation.
LINTON CHURCH is dedicated to St. Michael, and stands on the south bank of the Wharfe, a little over half a mile from the town of Grassington. The parish includes Linton, Grassington, Threshfield, and Skyrethorns. The church consists of chancel, nave, aisles, and a turret containing one bell. It was thoroughly restored in 1861. The registers date from 1561. It is said that the churches dedicated to St. Michael are generally situated on the summit of some steep and isolated hill; in this instance, the church is isolated, but the hill is wanting, where in Pagan days the sacred fires were kindled and sacrifices offered in honour of the solar deity. The general interior of the church architecture is much more striking than the exterior. Two early Norman arches divide the north aisle from the nave (* These arches are evidently Saxon, and are said to resemble those in the west cloister of Fountains Abbey.) although the style of architecture is early English, the original building was late Saxon, or early Norman, and of much smaller dimensions. Apart from the circular arches several remains of the older building are to be seen. In the south aisle are two sepulchral recesses; but the effigies they once contained have disappeared At the east end of the south aisle, is the original stone altar on which are carved five crosses emblematic of the five wounds of Christ. Near this stone will be noticed a brass plate bearing the following inscription:-
HERE LYETH TIlE BODIE OF
MR. THOMAS HAMMOND,
OF THRESHFIELD HALL, WHO DYED THE
24TH DAY OF MARCH, ANNO DOMINI, 1685,
AND WAS BVRIED THE 27TH OF
THE SAID MARCH, ANNO DOMINI, 1685.
The vestry contains some Norman work, also an old oak chest with three locks of different construction, and
a key for each churchwarden, each having in olden times to be at his appointed place before the chest could be opened. At the west end, near the porch, is the fontearly Norman.
About the middle of the last century, the Rev. Benjamin Smith, nephew of the great Sir Isaac Newton, was the Rector of Linton. It appears that this living was not much to his liking, nor his flock to his taste. Regarding them with contempt, in a letter to his friend he says, I have been driven to herd with baptised brutes. Yet, to his credit, it is recorded that he was ever charitable, On one occasion, when a farmer pleaded poverty for the non-payment of tithes, he said, I believe you, poor fellow; take your own time. Another time, well knowing the poverty of the parties, he refused the marriage fee. He was ever a prominent figure among the dancing members of the Old Assembly Rooms, Leeds; a parson whose abilities lay, to a greaf extent, in his feet. He had devoted a great part of his life to the study of this art, and visited many countries on the continent to make himself conversant with the various styles. His great ambition was dancing, and at last he reached the reputation, not of the greatest thinker, like his uncle, but of being the most elegant dancer in England.( To keep himself in practice he daily exercised in his house to the music of a native fiddler, the dancer with his face to a mirror, the violinist looking in an opposite direction. Once the fiddler had the curiosity to look over his shoulder at the parsons steps, but the mirror gave notice of his daring impunity, and without time for apology he was kicked to the door.)
A stone within the altar rails points to the resting-place of this rev, gentleman.
In the churchyard, near the porch, stands the old sun-dial, surrounded by many crumbling memorials and rank vegetation. Eastward, the prospect is charming. On the north side the burial ground is confined by the Wharfe, which in flood times swells up to the graves. Entering this consecrated spot, on the evening of a day of storm, when the Wharfe, swollen with heavy rains, was roaring and dashing head long over its rocky bed, we observed on its surface, besides timber and other things swept away in its fury, great flakes of white froth like snow drifts.
From the interior of the sacred edifice, sweet and solemn music rose from the
pealing organ, in soothing contrast to the wild and angry roar of the howling waters
rushing tumultuously onwards.
Farther upwards, at Linton Mills, the river presented a most weird and savage appearance. Over huge rock and dark crag, which lay athwart the stream, the swollen torrent boils and roars with the fury of a mighty giant against the huge fragments of dark bristling rock, and, in a series of wild bounds, leaps with a deafening sound to the bed below. On a boisterous night, when the moon now and again flashes from behind the edges of jagged cloud on the falling waters, a sight more impressive, sublime, and magnificent in scenic effect, would be difficult to find.
A few hundred yards below the church, on the opposite side of the river, seen
through a belt of woodland, with battlemented front, stands LYTHE HOUSE, in a
romantic position high above the vale.
Crossing the river by the foot bridge at Linton Mills, a few minutes brings us to
This town is finely situated on the high ground above the Wharfe, and sheltered
by a range of lofty moors from the cold blasts of the north.
The place has a peculiarity entirely its own, differing greatly from the neighbouring villages on the river. No spreading green, with maypole, or stately church with hoary tower seen through spreading branches, meets the eye of the visitor, and yet one glance is sufficient to reveal to us that the capital of the upper dale, in quiet dignity, lies before us. Standing high and dry it is healthy and agreeable, receiving the balmy breezes from the sunny south, whilst the outlook across vale, river, village, farm, woods, and rocky steep, is most entrancing. Old dwellings of various descriptions are thrown into every conceivable form. The market-place, where in former days were held a weekly market and celebrated fairs, lends a charm and interest to the place. Grassington Feast a century ago was one of the most celebrated in Craven, and was kept up many days, whilst feasting and revelry ran riot. Clock dressings, so named from friends being invited to cum and dress tclock, &c., sack racing, bell racing, mummying, hasty pudding eaters, sword dancers, pace eggers, pole climbing, soaped pigs to catch. added to which were badger and bull-baiting, etc.
The Grassington Theatre, for which the town at that time was famous, gave on those occasions some of their most startling pieces, both in tragedy and comedy. The old barn, which did duty for the theatre, is still standing just off the village street.
To Gerston Feast always came Frank King, the
Skipton minstrel. Frank deplored the falling off of the feast, caused principally by the
stoppage of the mines, and a saying of his was that he should be in at its
death. Although few Kings who can combine minstrel and jester visit Grassington now,
yet it still contains a celebrated character in its gallant Admiral Blake. Frank King was
one of those characters you only meet with once in a time. He was nearly blind, and had a
peculiar stare, and was lame of a leg, his limp causing the remark that few Kings had more
ups and downs.
He had an aged mother to whom he was very much attached, she being a superior sort of person. From her he learnt the old world ballads which made him so popular. King had several fiddles, to each of which he gave a personal name, such as Fanny, Betsy, Peggy, and Sally. Betsy was used on rowdy occasions such as Grassington Feast; at such times, it is said, she often had her strings greased by the rough miners applying a tallow candle. It would probably be an occasion like that when the Grassingtonians carried him shoulder height round the town, to the cry of Francis the First, King of the Fiddlers. Fanny was used on more ordinary occasions, whilst Peggy was for a wedding and village dance. Sally was brought out on swell occasions and private dances at gentlemens houses. Dr. Dixon says We once encountered King at a village feast, and, fancying that he had a better fiddle than usual, we said, What fiddle
is that? its Peggy, said he ; Betsy has broken her back and gone to the doctor; Ive lent Fanny to the organist, and so I was obliged to bring Peggy. It is said there were two places the minstrel hated, one was Rylstone, the other the old city of York. His enmity against the first-named originated in his family having been ejected from a cottage there. In the old city he is said to have been flogged, which injury he never forgave nor forgot. His journeys often took him beyond the village of Rylstone, but by using a footpath crossing opposite Norton tower, and thence through the old green lane to Cracoe, he managed without entering the detested village. If by any means he was obliged to pass through, no sooner had he got clear of the houses than, as a mark of contempt for the hated place, he would throw the dust and dirt from his feet behind him, at the same time exclaiming ill allus dea itill nivver tak owt fra tcity o Troy. There is one thing it is said he did not object to tak, and that was a glass o rum an watter,
The minstrels death was a sad one. One evening, after leaving a festive
gathering near Gargrave, he mistook his path and fell into the canal and was
drowned. Poor Kings resting-place is to be seen in Gargrave churchyard.
The manager of the theatre above referred to was old Tom Airey, the Grassington and Skipton carrier; an original character in his way, whose great ambition was strutting the boards, crying A hoss, a hoss, whull hev me kindum fur a hoss ? or, at another time Ye damons o deeth, cum sattle mi swurd, or again, Wat pump, wat paggyantry is thare heer. Besides many local actors, such as Bill Cliff, the Skipton poet, Jack Soloman, the besom maker, Tim Coats, Frankland of Hetton, and the Lupton brothers from Hebden, etc, were two whose names afterwards became celebrated, namely, the famous tragedian, Edmund Kean, and a Miss Harriet Mellon, who afterwards was better known as the Duchess of St. Albans. There was also a Miss Rodwell, a native of Leeds, and other females.
In after years,. when Kean was in the height of his celebrity, walking the stage
at the Theatre Royal, Leeds, Tom Airey paid his old colleague a final visitthe pleasure was mutual. On parting, Kean said If the Grassington Theatre was open
now, I would give you a turn.
Many years after a splendid chariot drew up at the Devonshire Hotel Skipton, its occupant being the Duchess of St. Albans, who, as Miss Mellon, more than a quarter of a century previous, the enamoured of all hearts, had trod the rough boards of the Skipton and Grassington stage. When Miss Rodwell, her former partner on the boards, called upon her, the Duchess embraced and kissed her affectionately, at the same time remarking I am glad you have called to see me. Do tell me about the old theatre and the actors. What has become of Tom Airey and the others?
afterwards accompanying Miss Rodwell to the theatre in the Hole-in-the-Wall yard. She then left Skipton for the Lakes, and, in a parting shake, placed a £5 note in the hands of the dressmaker, and with a kindly God bless you, the two parted for ever.*
* THE SAILOR AND THE ACTRESS. When I was a poor girl, said the Duchess of St. Albans, working very hard for my thirty shillings a week, I went down to Liverpool during the holidays, where I was always well received. I was to perform in a new piece, something like those pretty little affecting dramas they get up now at our minor theatres; and In my character I represented a poor, friendless orphan girl, reduced to the most wretched poverty A heartless tradesman prosecutes the sad heroine for a heavy debt, and insists on putting her in prison, unless some one will be bail for her. The girl replies Then I have no hope; I have not a friend in the world. What, will no one be bail for you, to save you from going to prison? asks the stern creditor. I have told you I have not a. friend on earth, was my reply. But just as I was uttering the words, I saw a sailor in the upper gallery springing over the railing, letting himself down from one tier to another, until he bounded clear over the orchestra and footlights, and placed himself beside me in a moment. Yes, you shall have one friend at least, my poor young woman, said he, with the greatest expression in his honest sunburnt. countenance; I will go bail for you to any amount. And as for you, turning to the frightened actor, if you dont bear a hand and shift your moorings, you lubber, it will be worse for you when I come athwart your bows. Every creature in the house rose; the uproar was indescribablepeals of laughter, screams of terror, cheers from his tawny messmates in the gallery, preparatory scrapings of violins from the orchestra; and amidst the universal din there stood the unconscious cause of it, sheltering me, the poor distressed young woman, and breathing defiance and destruction against my mimic persecutor. He was only persuaded to relinquish his care of me, by the manager pretending to arrive and rescue me, with a profusion of theatrical bank notes.
It is said Tom Airey never forgot the drama, but often treated his friends to a
Shakespearian recital. He was many years postmaster of Grassington, and died
greatly respected. He lies buried by the sounding Wharfe, in Linton churchyard.
Although Grassington suffered greatly from the stoppage of the lead mines, it is now fast becoming popular as a health resort, and, as a native female quaintly remarked, Weve gotten t tellygraf; all at were shot on nah is t raelwey, an then appen wed keep ahr men at hoam.
There are four good inns, and a most comfortable home for visitors, namely, Grassington House; three places of worship, and a fine Mechanics Hall and reading room, etc. At the extreme north of Grassington is a very pretty cottage, formerly a mill, and known by the name of Beggar mi Neighbour.
Grassington Old Hall or Manor house lies to the west of the village street, and is a grand old Elizabethan structure. Members of the Plumpton family are supposed to have dwelt here. But the antiquity of this district is best proved by its earthworks and the remains of early Celtic days, which are to be seen just on the outskirts of the village to the north-west. These carry the mind back to a period when Druidical superstition prevailed in the forest, and the Roman eagle waved on the moorland.
The encampment was first discovered by the Rev. B. J. Harker. This gentle man has interested himself greatly for the welfare of his native town. As the writer and the above-named gentleman were passing over the encampment in 1891, a segment of a pillar, which is supposed to be Roman, was unearthed; since then, excavations have been made, and many prehistoric remains have been found, several fragments of urns, flint arrow heads,
bone pin, and human skeletons, etc. The encampment covers a great number of acres. At the south side is the Druids Circle (see above). Most of the rough stones which form the circle still remain.
The rivers course a thousand times has changed,
Since on its banks the ancient Druids ranged;
The fords, which once the Roman cohorts crossed, filled up with sand, are now for ever lost.
Between this camp and the Nidd the earth abounds with lead, and we know for a fact that the Romans worked, or perhaps we might say the Britons, compelled by the Romans, extracted the lead from the bowels of the earth. It was near Greenhows Hill, in 1731, that two pigs of lead were discovered, bearing the following inscription : Imp. Caes. DOMITIANO, Avg. cos: vii. BRIG, thus fixing the date of their smelting at about A.D. 81 or 82. One of these is at Ripley Castle, and. the other is in the British Museum. The ore was smelted in the wooded district, where fuel was plentiful; one of these smelting places was near to the camp at Grassington. Dr. Whitaker, who seems to have had a horror of great industries, says, when writing about the Grassington mines: Excepting, what must always be excepted, the introduction of manufactures, I do not know a greater calamity which can
befall a village than the discovery of a lead mine in its neighbourhood. To all who love wild mountain and rock, such will find an interesting walk across those sterile, yet grand, romantic heights, which rise between Grassington, Conistone, Kettlewell, etc.
Ten minutes walk in the opposite direction brings us to Grass Woods, which are lovely. The greater portion lies to the north of the highway, adjoining the moor, and is a perfect labyrinth of trees and undergrowth of bramble, fern, hazel, and many varieties of wild grasses. Here are rocky scars, dell, dingle, and glade. Amidst its recesses are the remains of a British fort, also discovered by the Rev. B. J. Harker. This fort would command the entrance to the higher valley, from its situation; no foe would be able to enter without being discovered, of which more will be said in a later chapter.
Whilst the higher parts of the Grass Woods offer a fine field for the botanist, historian, antiquarian, and geologist, and contain many treasures, some seen, others hidden, nothing can exceed the beauty of the lower or southern side. It has charms for all who love and can appreciate the romantic in nature.
For the artist and the poet here are treasures which their souls delight in.
Here the angler can ply his tempting bait, and at the same time feed his mind on
the beauties of this earthly paradise.
Know ye not that lovely river?
Know ye not that smiling river?
Whose gentle flood,
By cliff and wood,
With wildering sound goes winding ever.
Through the woodland the river flows over its pebbled bed most peaceful and broad. Dancing on its surface are rippling wavelets, like glistening amber, singing to the woods above an ever restless song; the breezes, sighing through the branches, join in the melody. Amidst the deepest foliage of the greenwood, and peering over the rippling river, a gem embowered, stands Netherside Hall, reposing in a paradise of fern and flower, its charming situation above the lovely river, and its surrounding tracery of leaf and branch, harmonize and blend sweetly with its architectural
To Be Continued
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