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Title: On Some Ancient Battle-Fields in Lancashire - And Their Historical, Legendary, and Aesthetic Associations.
Author: Hardwick, Charles
Language: English
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    Every effort has been made to replicate this text as faithfully
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 Author of a "History of Preston and its Environs," "Traditions,
 Superstitions and Folk-Lore," "Manual for Patrons and Members of
 Friendly Societies," &c.









To the transactions of the Manchester Literary Club (1875-8) I
contributed four papers on "Some Ancient Battle-fields in Lancashire."
These essays form the _nuclei_ of the four chapters of the present
volume. Their original scope, however, has been much extended, and the
evidences there adduced largely augmented. I have likewise endeavoured
to still further fortify and illustrate my several positions, by
citations from well-known, and many recent, labourers in similar or
cognate fields of enquiry.

I am aware that the precise locality of any given battle-field is of
relatively little interest to the general historian, the causes of the
conflict and its political results demanding the largest share of his
attention. Consequently, doubtful topographical features are often
either completely ignored, or but slightly referred to. Such a course,
however, is not permissible to the local student. Scarcely anything
can be too trifling, in a certain sense, to be unworthy of some
investigation on his part. This is especially the case with respect to
legendary stories, and traditional beliefs. Their interest is
intensified, it is true, to the local reader or student, but the lessons
they teach, on patient enquiry, will often be found in harmony with
larger or more general truths, and of which truths they often form apt
illustrations. "Alas!" truly exclaimed "Verax," in one of his recent
letters in the _Manchester Weekly Times_, "it is hard to disengage
ourselves from inherited illusions. They become a part of our being, and
falsify the standard of comparison." Modern science may be able to
demonstrate that many of the conceptions respecting physical phenomena
dealt with in these legendary stories are utterly at variance with now
well-known facts. This may be perfectly true, but human nature is
influenced in its action, quite as much by its faiths, beliefs, and
superstitions, as by the more exact knowledge it may have acquired.
Subjective truths are as true, as mere facts or actualities, as
objective ones. Thomas Carlyle forcibly expresses this when he
asks--"Was Luther's picture of the devil _less a reality_, whether it
were formed within the bodily eye, or without it?" Mr. J. R. Green, in
his "Making of England," says--"Legend, if it distorts facts, preserves
accurately enough the _impressions_ of a vanished time." And these
impressions being emotionally true, whether scientifically correct or
not, have ever been, and will continue to be, powerful factors in the
formation of character, and in the progressive development of
humanity,--morally, socially, and politically. Our predecessors felt
their influence and acted accordingly, and many of the presumedly
exploded old superstitions survive amongst the mass of mankind to a much
greater degree than we often acknowledge or even suspect; although many
of their more repulsive forms may have undergone superficial
transformation amongst the more educated classes.

Referring to superstitious legendary reverence as a marked feature in
the religious characteristics of the seventeenth century, the author of
"John Inglesant, a Romance," places in the mouth of the rector of the
English College, at Rome, in the seventeenth century, the following
words:--"These things are true to each of us according as we see them;
they are, in fact, but shadows and likenesses of the absolute truth that
reveals itself to man in different ways, but always imperfectly, as in a

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records that, in the year 685, "it rained
blood in Britain, and milk and butter were turned into blood."
Of course, educated persons do not believe this _now_; but our
conventionally educated predecessors did, and their conduct was sensibly
influenced by such belief. The Chinese think themselves much superior
personages, in very many respects, to the "barbarian" European, yet the
following paragraph "went the round of the papers" during May, in the
present year:--"The Kaiping coal mines have been closed in deference to
the opinion expressed by the Censor, that the continued working of them
would release the earth dragon, disturb the manes of the empress, and
bring trouble upon the imperial family."

From the very nature of many of the subjects investigated, and the
character of the only available evidence, some of the inferences drawn
in the following pages can only be regarded as probabilities, and others
as merely possibilities, and they are put forth with no higher
pretensions. In such matters dogmatical insistence is out of place, and
I have studiously endeavoured to avoid it.

 C. H.

 72, Talbot Street, Moss Side, Manchester.
 August, 1882.


CHAPTER I.--Early Historical and Legendary Battles.

_The Arthur of History and Legend. King Arthur's presumed Victories on
the Douglas, near Wigan and Blackrod._

Historical works are chiefly records of battles, squabbles and intrigues
of diplomatists and politicians. More details now required as to the
domestic habits and conditions of the people, and the degree and kind of
intellectual and moral culture which obtained at any given period of
their history. Progress of man from the savage to a more civilized
condition. Records of many battles survive, the sites of which are
either unknown or involved in the greatest obscurity. Many genuine
historical events are inextricably interwoven with mythical and
traditionary legends. The Roman conquest of the Brigantes. Remains of
some of these conflicts in Lancashire. The narratives of Gildas,
Nennius, Geoffrey of Monmouth, and some others, combinations of historic
truths with a mass of tradition, superstition, and artistic fiction.
Wales the birthplace of much of European mediæval fiction. Views of Sig.
Panizzi, Professor Henry Morley, Mr. E. B. Tylor, and Mr. Fiske. The
Arthurian legends the "source of one of the purest streams of English
poetry." Notwithstanding untrustworthy strictly historical elements,
they enshrine much genuine legendary national faith as well as
superstition. The Rev. John Whitaker's belief in Arthur's historical
verity. Other advocates of this view: Mr. Haigh, Henry of Huntingdon and
Professor Fergusson. Arthur's traditionary tomb at Glastonbury, opened
A.D. 1189. Mr. Haigh's exposition of the fraud then practised. Welsh
traditions thereon. The Rev. R. W. Morgan's views. William of Newbury's
contempt for Geoffrey's fictions. Shakspere's almost total absence of
reference to Arthur. Sir Edward Strachey's comments on the erroneous
geography in Sir Thomas Malory's work. Mr. J. R. Green's views. Sir G.
W. Dasent, on the paucity of trustworthy historic record from about
A.D. 420 to A.D. 730. The deeds of other heroes, especially those of
Urien, of Rheged, assigned to Arthur by the mediæval romance writers.
Doubts as to the authenticity of the authorship and dates of the
composition of the works of Gildas and Nennius discussed. No mention of
Arthur by either Gildas or the Venerable Bede. Mr. Haigh's defence of
the old histories, and his conjectures as to the authors. Nennius says
the second, third, fourth, and fifth of Arthur's twelve great victories
were gained on the banks "of a river called Duglas, in the region
Linuis." The Rev. John Whitaker's contention that these battles were
fought on the Douglas, near Wigan and Blackrod. The archæological and
traditional details advanced in support thereof. Opening of the huge
barrow "Hasty Knoll," and excavations at Parson's Meadow and Pool
Bridge, in the last century, where remains were found, which Whitaker
and others regarded as conclusive evidence that some ancient battles had
been fought in the localities. Derivation of the word Wigan. Geoffrey's
single battle on the Douglas, in which Arthur defeated Colgrin. Mr.
Haigh's arguments respecting the dates of these conflicts. His advocacy
of the Wigan sites, and identification of another battle on "the river
Bassas," _i.e._, Bashall Brook, near Clitheroe. His hypothesis that Ince
is a corruption of Linuis. Probability of the exploits of Cadwallon or
Cadwalla, king of the Western Britons, being inextricably interwoven
with the legendary ones of the heroes of the Arthurian romances. Views
of Lappenberg. Mr. H. H. Howorth and Mr. Haigh on the appropriation by
the Britons and Danes of the deeds and heroes of their enemies or
neighbours. Hollingworth, in his "Mancuniensis," refers to the Roman
conquests in the district by Petilius Cerealis, and afterwards speaks of
Arthur's great victory near Wigan, and gives credence to the legends
about the giant Tarquin, his castle at Manchester, and his combats with
some of Arthur's knights. Bishop Percy on the historical truth
underlying legend in such ancient ballads as "Chevy Chase," and the
confusion of incidents and heroes. Professor Boyd Dawkins on "the date
of the conquest of South Lancashire by the English." Mr. J. R. Green's
views. During the seventh century many sanguinary battles were fought,
the sites of which are now unascertainable. Ethelfirth's great victory
at Bangor-Iscoed. Some of the struggles of this period may have been
absorbed by the romance writers into their stock of Arthurian legends.
The Rev. John Whitaker and Tarquin's castle at Manchester. Sir
"Launcelot du Lake." Martin Mere. Gradual growth of legendary heroic
fiction. Mr. Tylor's view. The Arthurian legends enshrine some of the
oldest Aryan myths, and are the source of some of our noblest poetry.
Sir George Ellis on the foundation of mythic legends. Mr. Fiske on
artistic legendary development. Mr. E. A. Freeman and Mr. Fiske on the
historical and legendary Charlemagne. Some of the deeds of Charlemagne,
probably absorbed into the latter Arthurian legends. Mr. H. H. Howorth
on Saxo-Grammaticus. Historical and legendary Cromwells, Alexanders, and
Taliesens. Mr. Kains-Jackson on Arthurian accretions. Mr. F. Metcalfe on
Alfred the Great and trial by jury. "The famous story of Theophilus."
The Rev. Sir G. W. Cox on the distribution of ancient Aryan mythic
heroes. Historical novels. Opinions thereon of Sir Francis Palgrave,
Dean Milman, Arminius Vámbéry, and Leslie Stephen. Historic and æsthetic
truth distinct but not antagonistic. The ideal and the real, or
subjective and objective truths. Shakspere's treatment in the character
of Macbeth. Artistic truths not necessarily individual or strictly
biographical or historical facts, but result from wider generalisation,
and possess an inherent or subjective vitality of their own. Views of
Thos. Carlyle, Gervinus, R. N. Wornum, Dr. Dickson White, M. Mallet, and
Tennyson. Nennius's tenth battle, said by some, but on very inconclusive
evidence, to have been fought on the Ribble.

CHAPTER II.--The Defeat and Death of King Oswald, of Northumbria, by the
Pagan Mercian King, Penda, at Maserfeld (A.D. 642.)

_The Legend of the Wild Boar, "the Monster in former ages which prowled
over the neighbourhood of Winwick, inflicting injury on Man and Beast."_

The Venerable Bede and the Saxon Chronicle's account of the battle. The
site disputed. Some suggest Winwick, in Lancashire, others Oswestry, in
Shropshire. Dean Howson's suggestion. Different orthographies and
etymologies of the name Maserfeld. The subject phonetically and
topographically considered. Views of Mr. Roberts and Mr. Howell W.
Lloyd. St. Oswald's Well, at Winwick. Its sanctity and legendary
connection with the death of St. Oswald. The inscription on the church
dedicated to St. Oswald. Hollingworth's view, in "Mancuniensis."
Geoffrey of Monmouth's statement that the battle was fought at a place
called Burne. Oswald's previous victory over Cadwalla at Heavenfield.
Bede's narrative, and his relation of the miracles performed by the
Saint's bones, and even the earth taken from the spot on which he fell.
Curious coincidence revealed during the excavations at "Castle Hill,"
Penworthan, in 1856. Penda, not Oswald, the aggressor, consequently the
site of the battle-field may be presumed to be within the Northumbrian
rather than the Mercian territory. Bryn, Brun, or Burne in the Fee of
Makerfield. The great barrow or tumulus called "Castle Hill," near
Newton. Nennius says the battle was fought at Cocboy. Cockedge.
Latchford. Probable etymology. Professor Dwight Whitney on the
difficulties inherent in topographical etymology. Winwick, a place of
victory. At "Winfield" Herman defeated Varus, A.D. 10. Present
appearance of the "Castle Hill." Mr. Baines and Dr. Kendrick's
descriptions. Opening of the tumulus in 1843. Description of its
contents by the Rev. Mr. Sibson and Dr. Kendrick. A burial mound haunted
by the ghost of a "White Lady." Traditionary burial-place of Alfred the
Great. Professor Fergusson and B. E. Hildebrand on the contents of Odin
and Frey's "howes," near Upsala, opened in 1846-7. Similarity to those
found at "Castle Hill." Dr. Robson's description of two burial mounds
opened at Arbury, in 1859-60. The contents consisted of burnt bones and
wood, rude pottery, a stone hammer-head, and a bronze dart. Etymology of
Arbury. The "Mote Hill," at Warrington, removed in 1852. Opinions
respecting the date of this tumulus of Pennant, Ormerod, W. T. Watkin,
and John Whitaker. The Rev. Mr. Sibson thought it a "tumulus or
burial-place, raised after the battle fought at Winwick." Dr. Kendrick's
description of its contents. Christian and Pagan modes of sepulture
contrasted. Description of the latter in "Beowulf," the oldest
Anglo-Saxon poem extant. Date of first erection of a church at Winwick
unknown. The date of the erection of the church at Oswestry. St.
Oswald's church, according to Domesday book held "two carucates of land
_exempt from all taxation_." In 1828, three large human skeletons found
eight or ten feet below the floor of the chancel, uncoffined, and
covered with a heap of large stones. St. Oswald's Well. Opinions of
Baines respecting the saint's wells at Winwick and Oswestry. "Cae Naef,"
or "Heaven's Field," site of Oswald's previous victory over Cadwalla.
Dennis-brook. Sharon-Turner, Camden and Dr. Smith's views of this site.
Some of the Oswestry traditions evidently have reference to Oswald's
previous victory. The dedication of the church to St. Oswald could not
have proceeded from the then British Christians. Contests between the
disciples of Augustine and Paulinus, and the earlier British Church. The
Welsh word "tre" means simply hamlet, homestead. Penda's defeat in the
following year near the river Vinwid. Mr. T. Baines's conjecture as to
the site being near Winwick. The evidence, however, conclusive as to
Winwidfield, near Leeds. Mr. J. R. Green on Oswald's and Penda's policy.
Cromwell's victory at "Red Bank," near Winwick, in 1648. Supposed crest
of Oswald. Rude sculpture of a "chained hog." Baines's legend of a
"monster in former ages, which prowled over the neighbourhood inflicting
injury on man and beast." Other demon-hogs. Mythical monsters,
"harvest-blasters," huge worms, serpents, dragons, and wild boars,
common in the North of England. Several instances cited. Mr. Haigh's
argument as to the site of the poem Beowulf being near Hartlepool,
Durham. Dr. Phene on Scandinavian and Pictish customs on the
Anglo-Scottish Border. Aryan myths of the lightning and the storm cloud.
Mr. Walter Kelly on ancient Aryan personifications of natural phenomena.
Stormy winds, howling dogs or wolves. The ravages of the whirlwind that
tore up the earth, the "_work of a wild boar_." Lancashire superstition
that pigs can "see the wind." Monstrous boar slain in the Greek legend
of the Kalydonian hunt. Origin of modern heraldry. Totems or beast
symbols amongst many ancient as well as modern nations or tribes.
Instances. Views of Mr. E. B. Tylor, the Rev. Isaac Taylor, and others.
The boar favourite helmet crest or totem amongst the Teutonic invaders.
Sacred to the goddess Freya. The "_boar of war_." Illustrations from the
Anglo-Saxon poems Beowulf, the Battle of Finsburgh, the Scandinavian
Edda, and the ancient British poem Gododin. The boar probably the crest
of Penda. St. Anthony's pig. Re-crystallisation of ancient myths around
relatively more modern nuclei. Illustrations from the works of
Keightley, Mackenzie, Wallace, Bishop Percy, Sir John Lubbock, Arminius
Vámbéry, John Fiske, and the Vedic hymns. Origin of modern surnames.
Many beast, bird, or flower symbols. Examples. Shakspere's reference to
the bear symbol of the Earl of Warwick and the boar of Richard III.
"Pitris," or ancestral spirits. Their supposed action in the storm and
the battle-field. Icelandic kindred customs and superstitions. Professor
Gervinus on the importance and conditions of such critical enquiry.
Views of Professor Tyndall and Mr. J. A. Farrar.

CHAPTER III.--Battles in the Valley of the Ribble near Whalley and

_Wada's Defeat by King Eardulph, at Billangahoh (Langho,) A.D. 798, and
Contemporary Prophetic Superstitions. The Victory of the Scots at
Edisford Bridge in 1138. Civil War Incidents during the struggle between
Charles I. and the English Parliament._

Wada's defeat recorded in the Saxon Chronicle and by Simeon of Durham.
The Murder of Ethelred (A.D. 794) by Wada and other conspirators. The
murderous and lawless characteristics of the age illustrated.
Sharon-Turner's summary of these characteristics. Superstitious
forewarnings: whirlwinds, lightnings, and fiery dragons. Ravages of
Danish pirates. Treasons and civil wars. The locality of Wada's defeat
undisputed. The names of places still retained, with only such phonetic
changes as philologists anticipate. A probable ancestor of Wada
mentioned in the "Traveller's Tale." The Legend of St. Christopher.
Other chieftains referred to in the same poem: "Hwala, once the best."
and Billing who "ruled the Wœrns." Watling-street. Wade and his boats.
Beautiful scenery in the Ribble valley around the battle-field. Tumuli.
One superficially opened by Dr. Whitaker, without result. When the mound
was entirely removed in 1836, the remains of a buried chieftain
(probably Alric son of Herbert) were discovered. Tradition concerning
the battle. Two other "lowes" or "mounds," apparently tumuli, on the
opposite bank of the river. Some confusion in the descriptive references
to these mounds. Observations of Dr. Whitaker, Canon Raines, Mr. Abram
and others. Second visit of the present writer to the locality in 1876.
Curious circular agger. Supposed ancient artificial grout at "Brockhole
Wood-end." Geological phenomena. Possibly the "lowes" outliers of the
partially denuded glacial "drift." Further excavations necessary.
Probable direction of the battle. Dr. Whitaker's argument as to the
southern boundary of the ancient kingdom of Northumbria discussed. Mr.
J. R. Green on Anglo-Saxon bishoprics. King Eardulph dethroned. Other
superstitious warnings attendant thereon. Patriotism and rebellion. The
fight at Edisford Bridge in 1138. The Bashall Brook the "Bassus"
according to Mr. Haigh. Bungerley "hyppingstones." Capture of Henry VI.,
after the battle of Hexham in 1464, by the Talbots of Bashall and
Salesbury. Civil war incidents during the struggle between Charles I.
and the English Parliament. Cromwellian traditions respecting the
destruction of Clitheroe and Bury castles. Captain John Hodgson's
details of Cromwell's march by Clitheroe and Stonyhurst to the great
battle at Preston.

CHAPTER IV.--Athelstan's great Victory at Brunanburh, A.D. 937, and its
connection with the great Anglo-Saxon and Danish Hoard, discovered at
Cuerdale in 1840.

Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian invasions of Britain. First arrival of the
Danes, A.D. 787. The Anglo-Saxons and Ancient British inhabitants
Christians, the Scandinavians Pagans. Savage warfare of the period.
Progress of the invasion. Ella, king of Northumbria and Ragnar Lodbrog.
The real and mythic Ragnar. Halfden's settlements in Northumbria.
Athelstan succeeds to the throne of Wessex and its dependencies.
Submission of the Welsh and Scots. Marriage of Editha, Athelstan's
sister, to Sihtric, king of Northumbria. Sihtric's relapse into paganism
and repudiation of his queen. Sudden death of Sihtric. Athelstan's
vengeance falls upon his sons by a former wife, Anlaf and Godefrid, the
former of whom fled to Ireland, and the latter sought refuge with
Constantine, king of the Scots. Athelstan dominant king of all Britain.
Revolt of the Scottish king and his defeat. Powerful combination of
Athelstan's enemies. Their defeat and rout at Brunanburh. Difficulty as
to the exact date of the battle. British Christian chiefs, as on
previous occasions, espoused the cause of the pagan invaders, and fought
against their hated rivals of the party of St. Augustine. Defeat of
Athelstan's two governors, Gudrekir and Alfgeirr. Athelstan's arrival at
Brunanburh. Anlaf's stratagem in the guise of a harper. Similar story
related of King Alfred. Improbability of both being historically true.
Mr. T. Metcalfe's doubts on the subject. Anlaf's midnight assault of
Athelstan's camp frustrated. Details of the great battle. Total rout of
Anlaf and his allies. Five "youthful kings" and seven of Anlaf's earls
slain. Flight of Anlaf to Dublin. Importance of the victory. The famous
Anglo-Saxon poem. Claims to the title of first king of England
discussed. The causes of the site of the battle being at the present day
merely conjectural. The influence of the battle after Danish and
Norman-French conquests. Suppression of evidence. Henry of Huntingdon's
views on the subject. Mr. D. Haigh on the destruction of ancient Runic
inscriptions by the disciples of Augustine and other Christian
missionaries. Archbishop Parker's labours in the saving of Anglo-Saxon
MSS. from destruction in the sixteenth century. John Bale's account in
1549 of the wholesale destruction of MSS. during his day. Thorpe, Dr.
Grundtvig, and J. M. Kemble's testimony to the ignorance of the
Anglo-Norman copyists. The great "Cuerdale find" in May, 1840. Mr.
Hawkins's description of the treasure. Its great value at the time of
its deposit. The latest coins minted a short time previously to the
great battle of Brunanburh. Dr. Worsaae's analysis of the "hoard."
Various places suggested as the probable site of the battle: Colecroft,
near Axminster, Devonshire; near Beverley, and at Aldborough, Yorkshire;
Ford, near Bromeridge, Northumberland; Banbury, Oxfordshire; Bourne,
Brumby, and the neighbourhood of Barton-on-Humber, Lincolnshire. A
Bambro', a Bambury, and some other places have likewise found advocates.
Their respective claims discussed. The present writer's position that
the Cuerdale hoard was buried owing to the disastrous defeat of the
allies under Anlaf near the "pass of the Ribble." The tradition
respecting its burial and non-disinterment. The three fords at the
"pass," at Cuerdale, Walton, and Penwortham, opposite Preston. Evidence
of the coins. Discovery of Roman remains at Walton, in 1855. Revival of
the tradition. The hoard at Cuerdale all silver. Finds of Roman hoards
not uncommon in the county. Other battles known to have been fought in
the neighbourhood. Two great Roman roads, and some vicinal ways pass
near the locality. From the positions of the belligerents, the "pass of
the Ribble" a very probable site of the conflict. The certainty of its
having taken place in the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria. Anlaf, the
Dane, ruling chief of Dublin, head of the Confederacy. The ports of
Ribble and Wyre suitable for the landing of his vessels, and for his
after escape to Dublin. From a topographical and military point of view,
"the pass of the Ribble" a very probable site of the conflict. The name
Brunanburh, in some presumedly corrupted form, very common. Examples.
Name of place of conflict variously written by the older historians.
Doomsday book defective in South Lancashire, in consequence of its
ravaged condition; still many corrupted names remain to furnish
important etymological evidence in favour of the author's position.
These evidences and readings in old maps and deeds discussed in detail.
Origin of the names Brindle (Brunhull, in Saxton's map); Bamber
(Brunber), Brownedge (Brunedge). Mr. Weddle's view that Weondune is a
mistake for Weordune. Origin of the names Wearden and Cuerden.
Etymological and philological evidence considered. Probable modern
remains of Ethrunnanwerch in Etherington and Rothelsworth. Other names
of places in Lancashire which require consideration. Proofs that the
battle was fought not far from the sea shore and not in the interior of
the country. Other evidence of Athelstan's connection with the district.
His grant of Amounderness to the Cathedral church at York, A.D. 930. The
Harleian MSS. "Mundana Mutabilia," of the early part of the seventeenth
century. Tumulus named "Pickering Castle," near Roman vicinal way.
Etymological origin of the word "Pickering" discussed. "Pickering
Castle," a probable corruption of "Bickering Castle," or the castle or
tumulus of the battle-field. Ancient stone coffin in Brindle
church-yard. Discovery of Ancient British burial urns at "Low Hill,"
near Over Darwen, in 1867. Ancient traditions respecting a battle in the
neighbourhood of Tockholes in Roddlesworth valley. Concluding remarks in
support of the view that the country south of the "Pass of the Ribble"
is the most probable site of Athelstan's great victory. More recent
battles in the neighbourhood. Bruce's foray in 1323, Cromwell's victory
in 1648, and Milton's sonnet thereon. The number of troops engaged.
Legends connected with the battle. The Siege of Preston under Wells and
Carpenter in 1715. March of the "Young Pretender," in 1745. Doggrel
ballad: "Long Preston Peggy to Proud Preston went."


The disposal of St. Oswald's remains. The dun bull, the badge of the
Nevilles. The Genesis of Myths. Anglo-Saxon Helmet.


On page 51, line 21, insert marks of quotation (") after--"_or without

Transpose the note on page 65, beginning--"_Bosworth, in his Anglo-Saxon
Dictionary_," to page 64, and place the * after "_massacre, etc._," at
the end of the sixth line from the bottom of the text.

Transpose the note commencing on page 64 to page 65.

For "_Downham_ IN _Yorkshire_" (page 143, fourteenth line from the
bottom), read "_Downham_ INTO _Yorkshire_."




It has often been remarked, and with some truth, that our standard
historical works, until very recent times at least, contained little
more than the details of battles, the squabbles and intrigues of
diplomatists and politicians, and the pedigrees of potentates, imperial
or otherwise. Now-a-days we seek to know more of the domestic habits and
conditions of the mass of the population, and the degree and kind of
intellectual and moral culture which obtained amongst a people at any
given period of their history. But man's advance from the savage to his
present relatively civilized condition has been one of fierce and
sanguinary strife, and the piratical and freebooting instincts which he
inherited, along with some of his nobler attributes and aspirations,
from his remote ancestors, are by no means extinguished at the present
time, although, in their practical exhibition, they may generally assume
a somewhat more decorous exterior. Still, courage and physical
endurance, however rude and uncouth in outward aspect, as well as
heroism of a higher mental or moral order, ever possessed, and ever will
possess, a strange and uncontrollable fascination; and the associations,
social, political, or religious, attendant upon the more prominent of
the bloody struggles of the past, excite, in a most powerful degree, the
emotional as well as the imaginative elements of our being. This is
notoriously the case when any special interest is superinduced, national
or provincial. "All men naturally feel more interested in the historical
associations of their own race than they do in those of any other
portion of mankind. The soil daily trodden by the foot of any reflecting
being,--the locality with whose present struggles, progress or decay, he
is practically acquainted,--whose traditions and folk-lore were first
fixed in his memory and his heart, long before more exact knowledge or
cultivated judgment enabled him to test their accuracy or correctly
weigh their value,--must possess historic reminiscences not only capable
of commanding his attention, by exciting in the imaginative faculty
agreeable and healthy sensations, but of teaching him valuable lessons
in profound practical wisdom."[1]

It might be said, without much exaggeration, that if the soil could be
endowed with vocal utterance, we might learn that the surface area of
the earth which has _not_ sustained the shock of battle at some period
of the world's history is not very much greater than that which has felt
the tread of armed men in deadly conflict. In the early historic and
pre-historic times, when clan or sept fought, as a matter of course,
against clan or sept, for the privilege of existence or the means to
secure it; or when baron or other chieftain "levied private war" against
his neighbour, from ambition, passion or greed, numberless fierce and
bloody struggles must have taken place of which no record has been

The _names_ of many important ancient battle-fields have been handed
down to the present time, the sites of which are either utterly unknown
or involved in great obscurity. Some genuine historical events have been
so inextricably interwoven with the mythical and traditionary legends of
our forefathers, that it is now impossible to detect with exactness the
residuum of historical truth therein contained. The battle-fields and
all authentic record of the battles themselves amongst the inhabitants
of Britain prior to the Roman conquest are, of course, utterly lost in
the gloom of the past. Nay, we know, with certainty, very few even of
the sites of the struggles of the Britons with the victorious Roman
legions. The locality we now denominate Lancashire was, at that time,
inhabited by the Volantii and the Sistuntii, Setantii, or Segantii, and
was included in the "country of the Brigantes," a numerous and warlike
tribe which frequently "measured blades" with the imperial troops. There
exists, however, no record to inform us where any specific conflict took
place, notwithstanding the numerous archæological remains which attest
the after-presence of the conquerors. Yet we know on the best authority
that the Brigantes espoused the cause of the Iceni, who inhabited the
Norfolk of the present day, and were defeated by Ostorius Scapula, in
the reign of Claudius. Soon after the death of Galba, an insurrection
broke out amongst them, headed by a chief named Venutius, who had
married the Brigantine queen, Cartismandua, a woman infamous in British
history as the betrayer of the brave but unfortunate Caractacus. This
royal lady likewise played false with her husband, but Fortune refused
to smile on her second perfidy. She escaped with difficulty to the
territory occupied by her Roman allies, and Venutius remained master of
the "country of the Brigantes," and for a considerable time successfully
resisted the progress of the imperial arms. Petilius Cerealis, however,
in the reign of Vespatian, after a sanguinary conflict, added the
greater portion of the Brigantine territory to the Roman province. The
final conquest was effected about the year 79, by Julius Agricola, in
the reign of Domitian. Remains of stations established by him are
numerous in Lancashire. On Extwistle Moor, about five miles to the east
of Burnley, and about the same distance south of Caster-cliff, a Roman
station, near Colne, are the remains of two Roman camps and three
tumuli. The sites are marked in the ordnance map. A few years ago, in
company with my friend, the late T. T. Wilkinson, I visited this
locality and inspected the remains. In the transactions of the Historic
Society of Lancashire, for 1865-6, I described and figured an ancient
British urn, taken from one of these tumuli. It was in the possession of
the late Mr. R. Townley Parker, of Cuerden, the owner of the estate. In
the same paper I have described and figured British remains, including
about ten cremated interments and a bronze spear-head, found in a mound
on the Whitehall estate, contiguous to Low Hill House, near Over Darwen,
the property of Mr. Ellis Shorrock. Similar tumuli have been opened in
several other places in the county, to which further reference will be
made. From these remains it is not improbable some of the struggles of
the Brigantes with the imperial legions took place in these localities,
or they may have been ordinary burial places of distinguished chieftains
and their relatives.

After the departure of the Roman legions and their attendant
auxiliaries, history becomes inextricably allied to, and interwoven
with, legend and romance. The marvellous narratives of the elder
"historians," such as Gildas, Nennius, and Geoffrey of Monmouth, may
have some substratum of fact underlying an immense mass of tradition,
superstition, and artistic fiction. In the endeavour to unravel this
complicated web, much ingenuity and valuable time have been expended,
with but relatively barren results, at least so far as the so-called
"strictly historical element" is concerned. Mr. E. B. Tylor, in his
"Researches into the Early History of Mankind and the Development of
Civilization," referring to the value of "Historical Traditions and
Myths of Observation" to the ethnologist, says--"His great difficulty in
dealing with them is to separate the fact and the fiction, which are
both so valuable in their different ways; and this difficulty is
aggravated by the circumstance that these two elements are often mixed
up in a most complex manner, myths presenting themselves in the dress
of historical narrative, and historical facts growing into the wildest
myths." The reputed deeds of Arthur and his "Knights of the Round Table"
have not only given birth to our most famous mediæval romances, but they
have furnished the laureate with themes for several of his more
delightful poetic effusions. Professor Henry Morley, in his "English
Writers," regards Geoffrey's work as "a natural issue of its time, and
the source of one of the purest streams of English poetry." Indeed, it
appears to be the opinion of many scholars, including Mr. J. D. Harding,
Rev. T. Price, and Sig. Panizzi, late chief librarian of the British
Museum, that the entire European cycle of romance "originated in Welsh
invention or tradition." The last named, in his "Essay on the Narrative
Poetry of the Italians," prefixed to his edition of Boiardo and Ariosto,
distinctly states that "all the chivalrous fictions since spread through
Europe appear to have had their birth in Wales." Mr. Fiske, of Harvard
University, in his "Myths and Myth-makers," referring to the Greek
tradition concerning the "Return of the Herakleids," says "it is
undoubtedly as unworthy of credit as the legend of Hengist and Horsa;
yet, like the latter, it doubtless embodies a historical occurrence."
Such may likewise be the case with some of the battles known from
tradition to the early story-tellers, poets, or romance writers, who
crystallized, as it were, all their floating warlike legends around the
names of Arthur and his knights. Our mediæval ancestors, with very few
isolated exceptions, innocently accepted Geoffrey's wild assertions as
sober historical facts, notwithstanding the gross ignorance and
falsehood patent in many passages, and the childish superstition and
credulity which characterise others. Indeed, only about a century ago,
the Rev. Jno. Whitaker, the historian of Manchester, placed so much
faith in the statements of Nennius and Geoffrey, that he regarded their
Arthur as a really historical personage, and he fixed the sites of
several of his presumed exploits in the county of Lancaster. There may
undoubtedly have existed, nay, there probably did exist, a British
chieftain who fought against Teutonic invaders during some portion of
the two or three centuries occupied in the Anglo-Saxon conquest, whose
name was Arthur, but his deeds, whatever may have been their extent or
character, have been so exaggerated and interwoven with far more ancient
mythical stories, and confounded with those of other warriors, that his
individuality or personality, in a truly _historical_ sense, is
apparently lost.

Indeed, Mr. Haigh expressly says--"There was another Arthur, a son of
Mouric, king of Glamorgan, mentioned in the register of Llandaff." In
his "History of the Conquest of Britain by the Saxons," by altering the
time of the "coming of the Angles" to A.D. 428, "in accordance with a
date supplied by the earliest authority," and of the accession of Arthur
to A.D. 467, "in accordance with a date given by other authorities," he
contends that "all anachronisms--involved in the system which is based
upon the dates in the Saxon Chronicle and the Annals of Cambria,--have
disappeared one after another; every successive event has fallen into
its proper place; the Saxon Chronicle and the Brut have been proved
accordant; and the result is a perfectly connected and consistent
history, such as has never yet been expected, vindicating the truth of
our early historians, and showing that authentic materials formed the
substance of their Chronicles." In another place he contends that, by
adapting his chronology, "a foundation of historic truth" is discovered
"in stories which have hitherto been looked upon as mere romances."[2]

Notwithstanding this conviction, Mr. Haigh does not assume that all the
legendary lore which has attached itself to the name of Arthur is of
this character. Referring to the traditionary tomb of the hero, he thus
fearlessly exposes the mediæval imposture which sought to demonstrate
the truth of the legend:--"An ancient sepulchre, intended by those who
were interested in the search to prove itself the sepulchre of Arthur,
was opened in A.D. 1189 (the last year of Henry II. and most probably
the first of Abbot Henry de Soilly, under whom the search was made), in
the cemetery at Glastonbury. There was on the one hand a superstition
that he was not dead, and on the other a tradition that he was buried at
Glastonbury; and it was the policy of Henry II. to establish the truth
of the latter; and a search was ordered to be made in a spot which was
sure to be crowned with success by the discovery of an interment. It was
recognized as a sepulchre; indeed, distinctly marked as such by the
pyramids (tapering pillar-stones), one at either end,--objects of
curious interest on account of their venerable antiquity; and William
of Malmsbury, thirty years before, (at a time when no suspicion that
Arthur was buried there existed at Glastonbury), had recorded his belief
that the bodies of those whose names were written on the monuments were
contained in stone coffins within. To prove that this was the sepulchre
of Arthur, nothing more was necessary than to forge an inscription,
which might impose upon the credulity of the twelfth century, but which
the archæological science of the nineteenth must condemn. The cross of
lead, which served to identify the remains of Arthur and his queen is
lost, but a representation of it has been preserved, sufficiently to
show that its form and character were precisely such as were usual in
the twelfth century, such as those discovered in the coffins of Prior
Aylmer (who died A.D. 1137), and of Archbishop Theobald (who died A.D.
1161), and in the cemetery of Bouteilles, near Dieppe, present. The
pyramids appear to have resembled the Bewcastle and Ruthwell monuments;
their age is determined by the names of King Centwine and Bishop
Hedde,[3] inscribed on the smaller one; to have been the close of the
seventh, or the beginning of the eighth century; and as the skeleton of
a man and a woman were found in coffins hollowed out of the trunks of
oak trees, it is probable that they were those of Wulfred and Eanfled,
whose names occur in the inscription on the larger one."

Welsh traditions and writers ignore the Glastonbury legend, and regard,
in some way or other, Arthur as a being exempt from ordinary mortality.
The Rev. R. W. Morgan, in his "Cambrian History," says,--"His farewell
words to his knights--'I go hence in God's time, and in God's time I
shall return,' created an invincible belief that God had removed him,
like Enoch and Elijah, to Paradise without passing through the gate of
death; and that he would at a certain period return, re-ascend the
British throne, and subdue the whole world to Christ. The effects of
this persuasion were as extraordinary as the persuasion itself,
sustaining his countrymen under all reverses, and ultimately enabling
them to realise its spirit by placing their own line of the Tudors on
the throne. As late as A.D. 1492, it pervaded both England and Wales.
'Of the death of Arthur, men yet have doubt,' writes Wynkyn de Worde, in
his chronicle, 'and shall have for evermore, for as men say none wot
whether he be alive or dead.' The aphanismus or disappearance of Arthur
is a cardinal event in British history. The pretended discovery of his
body and that of his queen Ginevra, at Glastonbury, was justly
ridiculed by the Kymri as a Norman invention. Arthur has left his name
to above six hundred localities in Britain."

Mr. Haigh, whilst maintaining the substantial historical veracity of
Arthur's invasion of France, nevertheless adds: "When we consider how
miserably the history of the Britons has been corrupted, in the several
editions through which it has passed, we cannot expect otherwise than
that the Brut should have suffered through the blunders of scribes, and
the occasional introduction of marginal notes, and even of extraneous
matter into the text, in the course of six centuries. Such an
interpolation, I believe, is the story of an adventure with a giant,
with which Arthur is said to have occupied his leisure, whilst waiting
for his allies at Barbefleur; and I think the reference to another
giant-story (not in the Brut), with which it concludes, marks it as
such. But I am convinced that the story of the Gallic campaign is a part
of the original Brut, and is substantially true."

Dr. James Fergusson, in his learned and elaborate work on the "Rude
Stone Monuments of all Countries," although stoutly contending for the
historical verity of the victories ascribed to Arthur by Nennius,
somewhat brusquely rejects the Lancashire sites, because, on his visit
to the localities indicated by Whitaker and others, he found no
megalithic remains to support his ingenious hypothesis respecting
battle-field memorials. He says "I am much more inclined to believe that
Linnuis is only a barbarous Latinization of Linn, which in Gaelic and
Irish means sea or lake. In Welsh it is Lyn, and in Anglo-Saxon Lin,
and if this is so, 'In regione Linnuis' may mean in the Lake Country."
However, he confesses he can find no river Duglas in that district, and
in another sentence he regards the nearness of the sea to Wigan as an
objectionable element on military grounds. I hold a contrary view. A
defeated commander near Wigan had the great Roman road for retreat
either to the north or south, besides the vicinal ways to Manchester and
Ribchester. The objection, moreover, is valueless, from the simple fact
that battles _have_ been fought in the localities, as is attested both
by historic records and discovered remains.

Henry of Huntingdon, who wrote in the earlier portion of the twelfth
century, regarded Arthur as a genuine historical character, and
attributed the then ignorance of precise localities of the twelve
battles described by Nennius to "the Providence of God having so ordered
it that popular applause and flattery, and transitory glory, might be of
no account."

William of Malmsbury, in the twelfth century, although evidently aware
of the legendary character of the mass of the Arthurian stories, seems,
however, to have had some confidence that a substratum of historic truth
underlying or permeating the mass, might, with skill and diligence,
eventually be extracted. Probably a few years before Geoffrey's work
appeared, he writes--"That Arthur, about whom the idle tales of the
Bretons (_nugæ Britonum_) craze to this day, one worthy not to have
misleading fables dreamed about him, but to be celebrated in true
history, since he sustained for a long time his tottering country, and
sharpened for war the broken spirit of his people."

It is a remarkable circumstance that Shakspere, who has availed himself
so profusely of the old historic and legendary records, as well as of
the popular superstitions, with two trivial exceptions, which merely
prove his acquaintance with the traditional hero, never refers to
Arthur. The exceptions are so slight and even casual that they seem
rather to confirm the probability that the great poet, in the main,
endorsed the opinion of William of Newbury as to Geoffrey's presumed
_historical_ verities. This critical monk, in the latter portion of the
twelfth century, indignantly exclaims: "Moreover, in his book, that he
calls the 'History of the Britons,' how saucily and how shamelessly he
lies almost throughout, no one, unless ignorant of the old histories,
when he falls upon that book can doubt. Therefore in all things we trust
Bede, whose wisdom and sincerity are beyond doubt, so that fabler with
his fables shall be straightway spat out by us all." The fact that the
story of "Lear" is given pretty fully in Geoffrey's work in no way
affects this conclusion, as Shakspere, in the construction of his plot,
has followed an older drama and a ballad rather than the _soi-disant_
Welsh historian. One allusion by Shakspere to Arthur is in the second
part of "Henry IV." (Act 3, Scene 2), where Justice Shallow says: "I
remember at Mile-end Green (when I lay at Clement's Inn, I was then Sir
Dagonet in Arthur's Show)," &c. The other is in Act 2, Scene 4, of the
second part of King Henry IV., when Falstaff enters the tavern in
Eastcheap singing a scrap of an old ballad, as follows: "'_When Arthur
first in court_'--Empty the jordan--'_And was a worthy king_'--[Exit
Drawer.]--How now, Mistress Doll?"

Sir Edward Strachey, in his introduction to the Globe edition of Sir
Thomas Malory's "Morte D'Arthur," confesses that it is impossible to
harmonise the geography of the work. This, however, is a very ordinary
condition in most legendary stories, literary or otherwise. Speaking of
the renowned Caerleon on Usk, he says--"It seems through this, as in
other romances, to be inter-changeable in the author's mind with
Carlisle, or (as written in its Anglo-Norman form) Cardoile, which
latter, in the History of Merlin, is said to be in Wales, whilst
elsewhere Wales and Cumberland are confounded in like manner. So of
Camelot, where Arthur chiefly held his court, Caxton in his preface
speaks as though it were in Wales, probably meaning Caerleon, where the
Roman amphitheatre is still called Arthur's Round Table." Other
geographical elements in the work are even more unsatisfactory. There
is, indeed, a Carlion and a Cærwent referred to in the Breton
lai d'Ywenec, and the latter is said to be "on the Doglas," and was the
capital city of Avoez, "lord of the surrounding country." Even, if the
scene of the Breton romance be presumed to be in the present
Monmouthshire, where we yet find the names Caerleon and Caerwint, still
we have a claimant in the Scottish Douglas, as well as in the Lancashire
river of that name.

Mr. J. R. Green, in his recently published work, "The Making of
England," says, "Mr. Skene, who has done much to elucidate these early
struggles, has identified the sites of" (Arthurian) "battles with spots
in the north (see his 'Celtic Scotland,' i. 153-154, and more at large
his 'Four Ancient Books of Wales,' i. 55-58); but as Dr. Guest has
equally identified them with districts in the south, the matter must
still be looked upon as somewhat doubtful." The doubt is increased by
the fact that Hollingworth, Mr. Haigh, the Rev. John Whitaker, and
others, as well as local tradition, with equal confidence have
identified some of the struggles with the Lancashire battle-fields now
under consideration.

Dr. Sir G. Webbe Dasent, in his review of Dr. Latham's Johnson's
Dictionary, referring to the struggles of the ancient Britons with their
Anglo-Saxon invaders, has the following very pertinent observations:--

"After the Roman legions left the Britons to themselves, there is
darkness over the face of the land from the fifth to the eighth century.
Those are really our dark ages. From 420, when it is supposed that
Honorius withdrew his troops, to 730, when Bede wrote his history, we
see nothing of British history. Afar off we hear the shock of arms, but
all is dim, as it were, when two mighty hosts do battle in the dead of
night. When the dawn comes and the black veil is lifted, we find that
Britain has passed away. The land is now England; the Britons
themselves, though still strong in many parts of the country, have been
generally worsted by their foes; they have lost that great battle which
has lasted through three centuries. Their Arthur has come and gone,
never again to turn the heady fight. Henceforth Britain has no hero, and
merely consoles herself with the hope that he will one day rise and
restore the fortunes of his race. But, though there were many battles in
that dreary time, and many Arthurs, it was rather in the every day
battle of life, in that long unceasing struggle which race wages with
race, not sword in hand alone, but by brain and will and feeling, that
the Saxons won the mastery of the land. Little by little, more by
stubbornness and energy than by bloodshed, they spread themselves over
the country, working towards a common unity, from every shore....
Certain it is that for a long time after the time of Bede, and therefore
undoubtedly before his day, the Celtic and Saxon kings in various parts
of the island lived together on terms of perfect equality, and gave and
took their respective sons and daughters to one another in marriage."

The Arthur of romance is, in fact, the artistic creation of writers of a
later age, or, indeed, of later ages, than the conquest of Britain by
the Anglo-Saxons, and not of contemporary historians, bardic or
otherwise. The British chieftain who fought against Ida and his Angles
in the north of England, and whose territory, including that of
subordinate chieftains or allies, is believed at one time to have
extended from the Clyde to the Ribble, or even the Dee, with an
uncertain boundary on the east, is named Urien of Rheged, the district
north of the Solway estuary, including the modern Annandale. He is the
great hero of the Welsh bard Taliesin. Amongst his other qualities the
poet enumerates the following: "Protector of the land, usual with thee
is headlong activity and the drinking of ale, and ale for drinking, and
fair dwelling and beautiful raiment." Llywarch Hen, or the Old, another
Keltic poet, who lived between A.D. 550-640, incidentally mentions
Arthur as a chief of the Kymri of the South, thus, as Professor Henry
Morley puts it: "What Urien was in the north Arthur was in the south."
This may well account for the geographical discrepancies referred to by
Sir Edward Strachey. Llywarch Hen was present at the bloody battle in
which his lord, Geraint (one of the knights introduced into the
succeeding romances), and a whole host of British warriors perished. The
said bard likewise brought away the head of Urien in his mantle, after
his decapitation by the sword of an assassin. In the early English
metrical romance, "Merlin," a Urien, King of Scherham, father of the
celebrated Ywain, is mentioned as the husband of Igerna's third daughter
by her first husband, Hoel. Urien, of Rheged, is mentioned, however, in
the same romance as one of the competitors with Arthur for the crown of
Britain. In Sir Thomas Malory's "Morte D'Arthur," a "King Uriens of
Gore" is introduced. "Gore" is evidently the Peninsula of Gower, in
Glamorganshire, South Wales. These, however, are merely some of the
geographical discrepancies referred to by Sir Edward Strachey; but such
discrepancies, owing to the intermixture of several legends, under the
circumstances, are inevitable, and are in themselves evidences of the
lack of unity in the original sources from which the romance writers
drew their materials.

Nennius's "History of Britain" was written, according to some
authorities, at the end of the eighth century. Others ascribe it, in the
condition at least in which we have it at present, with more
probability, to the end of the tenth. Geoffrey of Monmouth's work was
published in the twelfth. He professes, indeed, to have, to some extent,
translated from an ancient manuscript, brought by "Walter, Archdeacon of
Oxford," out of Brittany. This, however, notwithstanding Geoffrey's
deliberate assertion, is doubted and even flatly denied by many
competent judges. Be this as it may, no such document is otherwise known
or indeed referred to by any reliable authority. If it ever existed,
from its inherent defects, it can to us possess little strictly
historical value, whatever amount of truthful legendary or traditional
matter it may have furnished to the author of the so-called "Historia
Britonum." Referring to the too common habit of regarding mere tradition
as reliable history, Mr. Fiske, in his review of Mr. Gladstone's
"Juventus Mundi," justly exclaims: "One begins to wonder how many more
times it will be necessary to prove that dates and events are of no
_historical_ value unless attested by nearly contemporary evidence."

Now, one of the most significant facts in connection with this
investigation is that neither Bede nor Gildas makes any mention of
Arthur. Mr. Stevenson, in the preface to his edition of Gildas's work,
in the original Latin, says, "We are unable to speak with certainty as
to his parentage, his country, or even his name, or of the works of
which he was the author." The title of the old English translation,
however, is as follows: "The Epistle of Gildas, the most ancient British
author: who flourished in the yeere of our Lord, 546. And who, by his
great erudition, sanctitie, and wisdome, acquired the name of
_Sapiens_." Bede was born in the year 673, and died in 735. The Rev. R.
W. Morgan (Cambrian History) says, "The genuine works of Aneurin--his
'British History,' and 'Life of Arthur,'--are lost; the work of Gildas,
which at one time passed for the former is a forgery by Aldhelm, the
Roman Catholic monk of Malmesbury." If ever Arthur lived in the flesh it
must have been in the fifth or sixth centuries, and yet, as I have
previously observed, these writers make no reference whatever to the
renowned king and warrior. So that, even if we grant the earlier assumed
date to the work of Nennius, about three centuries must have elapsed
between the performance of his deeds and their earliest known record! In
Geoffrey of Monmouth's case the interval is no less than seven hundred
years! Mr. John R. Green ("The Making of England") says: "The
genuineness of Gildas, which has been doubted, may now be looked upon as
established (see Stubbs and Haddan, 'Councils of Britain,' i. p. 44).
Skene ('Celtic Scotland,' i. 116, note) gives a critical account of the
various biographies of Gildas. He seems to have been born in 516,
probably in the north Welsh valley of the Clwyd; to have left Britain
for Armorica when thirty years old, or in 546; to have written his
history there about 556 or 560; to have crossed to Ireland between
566-569; and to have died there in 570.... Little, however, is to be
gleaned from the confused rhetoric of Gildas; and it is only here and
there that we can use the earlier facts which seem to be embedded among
the later legends of Nennius." Mr. Haigh, however, contends that an
"earlier S. Gildas" was a relative of Arthur, and was born about A.D.
425. He says--"He had written, so a British tradition preserved by
Giraldus Cambrensis" [twelfth century] "informs us, noble books about
the acts of Arthur and his race, but threw them into the sea when he
heard of his brother's death;" [at the hands of Arthur] "and this
tradition he says satisfactorily explains--what has been made the ground
of an argument against the genuineness of the works ascribed to him--his
studied silence with regard to Arthur." Mr. Haigh likewise conjectures
that "Nennius's History of the Britons" was written by St. Albinus, from
contemporary records which had been carried to Armorica (Brittany), and
subsequently lost. However, neither traditions first recorded seven
centuries after the events transpired, nor "lives" of early British
saints, are considered very trustworthy historical authorities. It
requires very little knowledge of the state of literature, either in
England or elsewhere, during these long periods of time, to remove any
lingering doubt as to the purely legendary character of much of the
contents of these books, even if we grant, as in the case of the
Venerable Bede, that the authors themselves honestly related that which
they honestly, however foolishly, believed to be true. Singularly
enough, according to Spurrell's dictionary, the modern Welsh word
_aruthr_ signifies "marvellous, wonderful, prodigious, strange, dire,"
which is not without significance.

Nennius says:--"A.D. 452. Then it was that the magnanimous Arthur, with
all the kings and military force of Britain, fought against the Saxons.
And though there were _many more noble than himself_, yet he was twelve
times chosen their commander, and was as often conqueror." He then
informs us that the second, third, fourth, and fifth of these battles
were fought on the banks of a "river by the Britons called Duglas, in
the region Linuis." Some copies give "Dubglas," which has been
identified with the little stream Dunglas, which formed the southern
boundary of Lothian. The Rev. John Whitaker, however, contends that the
Douglas, in Lancashire, is the stream referred to. He advances, amongst
much conjectural matter, the following archæological and traditional
details, in support of his position:--

"The name of the river concurs with the tradition, and three battles
prove the notice true.[4] On the traditionary scene of this engagement
remained till the year 1770 a considerable British barrow, popularly
denominated Hasty Knoll. It was originally a vast collection of small
stones taken from the bed of the Douglas, and great quantities had been
successively carried away by the neighbouring inhabitants. Many
fragments of iron had been also occasionally discovered in it, together
with the remains of those military weapons which the Britons interred
with their heroes at death. On finally levelling the barrow, there was
found a cavity in the hungry gravel, immediately under the stones, about
seven feet in length, the evident grave of the British officer, and all
filled with the loose and blackish earth of his perished remains. At
another place, near Wigan, was discovered about the year 1741 a large
collection of horse and human bones, and an amazing quantity of
horse-shoes, scattered over a large extent of ground--an evidence of
some important battle upon the spot. The very appellation of Wigan is a
standing memorial of more than one battle at that place.[5] According to
tradition, the first battle fought near Blackrode was uncommonly bloody,
and the Douglas was crimsoned with blood to Wigan. Tradition and remains
concur to evince the fact that a second battle was fought near Wigan
Lane, many years before the rencontre in the civil wars.... The defeated
Saxons appear to have crossed the hill of Wigan, where another
engagement or engagements ensued; and in forming the canal there about
the year 1735, the workmen discovered evident indications of a
considerable battle on the ground. All along the course of the channel,
from the termination of the dock to the point at Poolbridge, from forty
to fifty roods in length, and seven or eight yards in breadth, they
found the ground everywhere containing the remains of men and horses. In
making the excavations, a large old spur, carrying a stem four or five
inches in length, and a rowel as large as a half-crown, was dug up; and
five or six hundred weight of horse-shoes were collected. The point of
land on the south side of the Douglas, which lies immediately fronting
the scene of the last engagement, is now denominated the Parson's
Meadow; and tradition very loudly reports a battle to have been fought
in it."

The rev. historian of Manchester, referring to the statements in
Nennius, thus sums up his argument:--

"These four battles were fought upon the river Douglas, and in the
region Linuis. In this district was the whole course of the current from
its source to the conclusion, and the words, '_Super flumen quod vocatur
Duglas, quod est in Linuis_,' shows the stream to have been less known
than the region. This was therefore considerable; one of the cantreds or
great divisions of the Sistuntian kingdom, and comprised, perhaps, the
western half of South Lancashire. From its appellation of Linuis or the
Lake, it seems to have assumed the denomination from the Mere of
Marton," [Martin] "which was once the most considerable object in it."

The Rev. R. W. Morgan, in his "Cambrian History," locates the Arthurian
victories as follows:--"1st, at Gloster; 2nd, at Wigan (The Combats), 10
miles from the Mersey. The battle lasted through the night. In A.D.
1780, on cutting through the tunnel, three cart loads of horse-shoes
were found and removed; 3rd, at Blackrode; 4th, at Penrith, between the
Loder and Elmot, on the spot still called King Arthur's Castle; 5th, on
the Douglas, in Douglas Vale; 6th, at Lincoln; 7th, on the edge of the
Forest of Celidon (Ettrick Forest) at Melrose; 8th, at Cær Gwynion; 9th,
between Edinburgh and Leith; 10th, at Dumbarton; 11th, at Brixham,
Torbay; 12th, at Mont Baden, above Bath."

Geoffrey of Monmouth refers but to one battle on the banks of the
"Duglas." This he fixes at about the year 500. He tells us that "the
Saxons had invited over their countrymen from Germany, and, under the
command of Colgrin, were attempting to exterminate the whole British
race.... Hereupon, assembling the youth under his command, he marched
to" [towards] "York, of which when Colgrin had intelligence, he met him
with a very great army, composed of Saxons, Scots, and Picts, by the
river Duglas, where a battle happened, with the loss of the greater part
of both armies. Notwithstanding, the victory fell to Arthur, who pursued
Colgrin to York, and there besieged him."

Mr. Daniel H. Haigh, one of the latest advocates of the genuine
historical veracity which underlies much of the Arthurian traditions,
places, as we have previously observed, Arthur's coronation A.D. 467, or
about 32 years earlier than the usually received date. He says--"The
river Douglas, which falls into the estuary of the Ribble, is certainly
that which is indicated here;" [the second, third, fourth, and fifth
victories referred to by Nennius] "and although it was one of Arthur's
tactics to get round his adversaries, so as to be able to attack them
when least expected (which will account for the scene of this conflict
being considerably to the west of the direct line from London to York),
it is extremely improbable that he would have gone so far north as the
Douglas in Lothian, when his object was to attack Colgrin at York. The
reading which the Paris MS. and Henry of Huntington give is, I believe,
correct, and represents Ince, a name which is retained to this day by a
township near to this river, a little more than a mile to the south-west
of Wigan, and by another about fifteen miles to the west, and which may
possibly have belonged to a considerable tract of country.[6]... Neither
the Brut nor Boece mention more than one battle at this time; but the
latter says that Arthur 'pursued the Saxons, continually slaughtering
them, until they took refuge in York,' and that 'having had so frequent
victories he there besieged them;' and these expressions may well imply
the four victories, gained in one prolonged contest on the Douglas, and
another on the river Bassas, _i.e._, Bashall brook, which falls into the
Ribble near Clithero, in the direct line of Colgrin's flight to York."

If, therefore, the historical hypothesis be accepted, the Lancashire
sites for these battles would seem as probable as any of the many others

From the remains described by Whitaker, it appears certain that some
great battles in early times have been fought on the banks of the
Douglas, traditions concerning which may have served for the foundation
of the after statements of Nennius and others. There are some recorded
historical facts which countenance this view. The British warrior, king
of the Western Britons, Cadwallon or Cadwalla,[7] with his ally, Penda,
defeated and slew Edwin, King of Northumbria, uncle of St. Oswald, in
the year 633, at Heathfield.[8] Where Heathfield is we have no perfectly
satisfactory evidence.[9] The Brit-Welsh poet, Lywarch Hen, or the Old,
a prince of the Cumbrian Britons, celebrated his praises in song. He

    Fourteen great battles he fought,
    For Britain the most beautiful,
    And sixty skirmishes.

It is by no means improbable that some of Cadwalla's exploits, mythical
as well as real, have become inextricably interwoven with the legendary
ones of the heroes of the Arthurian romances. Singularly enough a
paragraph in Geoffrey of Monmouth's work would seem to countenance this.
In book 12, chapter 2, of his so-called "History of Britain," he refers
to negotiations being entered into and afterwards broken off, in the
year 630, by Cadwalla and Edwin, while their armies lay on the opposite
banks of _the river Douglas_, the scene of the presumed Arthurian
victory over Colgrin in the year 500, according to the same authority.
This circumstance is not without significance, as the legendary Arthur
has evidently absorbed no inconsiderable portion of the reputations, in
the North of England, of Urien of Rheged, and other veritable British
warriors. Indeed, Lappenberg says--"The Welsh historians adopted the
policy of _purloining from a successful enemy_, and skilfully
transferring to his British contemporaries, if not to _imaginary
personages_, the object and reward of his battles, the glory and
lastingness of his individuality in history;" and, as illustrations of
this practice, Mr. Daniel H. Haigh, in his "Conquest of Britain by the
Saxons," adds, "Thus, Cœdwealha, Ine, and Ivar are claimed by them as
Cadwaladyr, Inyr, and Ivor." Mr. Haigh, notwithstanding his faith in the
substantial accuracy of much of the contents of the works of doubtful
authority, says--"The peace which Ambrosius established was broken in
the following year, A.D. 444. The Brut says nothing of this affair; it
rarely records the defeats of the Britons." And, similarly, the Saxon
chronicle is equally reticent in the opposite direction!

Indeed, this weakness is not exclusively an attribute of either British
or Anglo-Saxon historians or romance writers. Mr. H. H. Howorth, in his
able essay on "The Early History of Sweden," in Vol. 9 of the
Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, lucidly expounds the
character of the contents of the professedly Danish History by
Saxo-Grammaticus. He says--"He had no scaffolding upon which to build
his narrative. He had to construct one for himself in the best way he
could, and to piece together the various fragments before him into a
continuous patchwork. His was not a critical age, and we are not
therefore surprised to find that his handiwork was exceedingly rude. A
piece of the history of the Lombards by Paul and Deacon, and another
taken from the Edda, are thrust in after narratives evidently relating
to the ninth century, when Ireland had been more or less conquered by
the Norsemen. Icelanders are introduced into the story a long time
before the discovery of Iceland. Christianity is professed by Danish
kings long before it had reached the borders of Denmark. The events
belonging to one Harald (Harald Blatand) are transferred to another
Harald who lived two or three centuries earlier, and the joints in the
patchwork narrative are filled up by the introduction of plausible
links." He afterwards adds--"The other important fact to remember is
that our author was patriotic enough to lay under contribution, not only
materials relating to Denmark, but to _transfer to Denmark the history
of other countries_. To appropriate not only the traditions of the
Anglo-Saxons, the Lombards, and the common Scandinavian heritage of the
Edda, but also the particular histories of Sweden and Norway, and that a
good deal of what passes for Danish history in his pages is not Danish
at all, but Swedish, and relates to the rulers of Upsala, and not to
those of Lethra; topographical boundaries being as lightly skipped over
by the patriotic old chronicler, whose home materials were so scanty, as
chronological ones." It is, under such circumstances, vain to expect
reliable historical evidence of the identity of locality or the names of
the real warrior chiefs who commanded in many of the presumed Arthurian
battles and adventures, some of them being evidently mythical or
artistic creations. Whitaker's "large old spur, carrying a stem four or
five inches in length, and a rowel as large as a half-crown," does not
seem to indicate so early a date as the Anglo-Saxon conquests in
Britain. Mr. Thomas Wright, in his "Celt, Roman and Saxon," referring to
spurs of the Roman, Saxon and Norman periods, says--"Amongst the
extensive Roman remains found in the camp at Hod Hill were several spurs
of iron, which resembled so closely the Norman prick-spurs, that they
might easily be mistaken for them. I suspect that many of the
prick-spurs which have been found on or near Roman sites, and hastily
judged to be Norman, are, especially when made of bronze, Roman. As far,
however, as comparison has yet been made, the _Roman and the Saxon spurs
are shorter in the stimulus_ than those of the Norman." Spurs with long
_stimuli_ or large rowels do not appear to have been in use until some
time after the Norman Conquest. This, however, does not necessarily
affect the antiquity of the whole of the remains referred to, which, of
course, may have been deposited at different periods.

Hollingworth, in his "Mancuniensis," written in the earlier portion of
the seventeenth century, seems to have been aware of the existence of a
tradition that referred to several bloody battles fought in Lancashire
in some portion of the mysterious "olden time." He, however, assigns
them to the period of the Roman conquest, to which I have previously
referred. If the incidents in the Arthurian "romances" are no more
historically tenable than those in the Iliad or the Odyssey, and as the
Roman invasions of the Brigantine territory are undoubted, the elder
Manchester historian's conjecture as to the time of the conflicts
indicated by the tradition and the remains found near Wigan and
Blackrod, may possibly be preferred to that of his successor, as the
more probable of the two. Indeed, as has been previously observed, the
romance writers and story-tellers have evidently absorbed and modified
the historical traditions of many antecedent periods. Hollingworth

"In Vespatian's time Petilius Carealic" (Petilius Cerealis) "strooke a
terror into the whole land by invading upon his first entry the
Brigantes, the most populous of the whole province, many battailes, and
bloody ones, were fought, and the greatest part of the Brigantes were
either conquered or wasted." Hollingworth, indeed, does afterwards refer
to a battle near Wigan, in which he says Arthur was victorious. His
words are--"It is certaine that about Anno Domini 520, there was such a
prince as King Arthur, and it is not incredible that hee or his knights
might contest about this castle (Manchester) when he was in this
country, and (as Nennius sayth) he put the Saxons to flight in a
memorable battell neere Wigan, about twelve miles off."

Bishop Percy, in his introduction to the ancient ballad of
"Chevy-Chase," says--"With regard to its subject, although it has no
countenance from history, there is room to think that it had some
foundation in fact.... There had long been a rivalship between the two
martial families of Percy and Douglas, which, heightened by the national
quarrel, must have produced frequent challenges and struggles for
superiority, petty invasions of their respective domains, and sharp
contests for the point of honour, which would not always be recorded in
history. Something of this kind we may suppose gave rise to the ancient
ballad of the HUNTING O' THE CHEVIAT." He afterwards adds "the tragical
circumstances recorded in the ballad are evidently borrowed from the
BATTLE OF OTTERBOURN, a very different event, _but which after times
would easily confound with it_.... Our poet has evidently jumbled the
two events together."

During the seventh century many sanguinary encounters must have taken
place in Lancashire, many of which are unrecorded, and the sites of
others utterly forgotten. Professor Boyd-Dawkins, in a paper, entitled
"On the Date of the Conquest of South Lancashire by the English," read
before the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society, referring to
the subjugation of what he aptly terms the "Brit-Welsh" of Strathclyde,
(or the north-western part of the present England and the western
portion of the lowlands of Scotland), by Ethelfrith, the powerful
Northumbrian monarch, says that Chester was "the principal seat" of
their power in that district. The whole of Lancashire, at this period,
it would appear, was unconquered by the Angles or English. Under the
date 607, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle says--"And this year Ethelfrith led
his army to Chester, and there slew numberless Welshmen: and so was
fulfilled the prophesy of Augustine, wherein he saith, 'If the Welsh
will not be at peace with us, they shall perish at the hands of the
Saxons.' There were also slain two hundred priests who came to pray for
the army of the Welsh." The death of these ecclesiastics, said to be
monks of Bangor-Iscoed, was celebrated in song by a native poet.
Florence of Worcester, referring to this battle, says Ethelfrith "first
slew _twelve hundred_ British priests, who had joined the army to offer
prayers on their behalf, and then exterminated the remainder of this
impious armament." This is evidently an antagonistic priestly
exaggeration, although other authorities state that the monastery at
Bangor, at one time, contained 2,400 monks. This powerful body of
Brit-Welsh Christians, according to Geoffrey of Monmouth, "disdained
subjection to Augustine, and despised his preaching." Hence the strong
clerical antipathy which characterised the conflict. Chester was utterly
ruined, and is said to have remained desolate for about two centuries.
Mr. Boyd Dawkins says--"In all probability South Lancashire was occupied
by the English at this time, and the nature of the occupation may be
gathered from the treatment of the city of Chester. A fire, to use the
metaphor of Gildas, went through the land, and the Brit-Welsh
inhabitants were either put to the sword or compelled to become the
bondsmen of the conquerors."

Mr. J. R. Green ("The Making of England") traces Ethelfrith's march
through Lancashire to his victory at Bangor-Iscoed. He says--"Though the
deep indent in the Yorkshire shire-line to the west proves how
vigorously the Deirans had pushed up the river valleys into the moors,
it shows that they had been arrested by the pass at the head of the
Ribblesdale; while further to the south the Roman road that crossed the
moors from York to Manchester was blocked by the unconquered fastnesses
of Elmet, which reached away to the yet more difficult fastnesses of the
Peak. But the line of defence was broken as the forces of Ethelfrith
pushed over the moors along the Ribblesdale into our southern
Lancashire. His march was upon Chester, the capital of Gwynedd, and
probably the refuge place of Edwine."

The more northern portion of the county was not subdued till about half
a century afterwards, when Cumberland and Westmoreland were absorbed
into the Northumbrian kingdom by Ecfrith (670-685). Mr. J. R. Green, in
the work referred to, says--"The Welsh states across the western moors
had owned, at least from Oswald's time, the Northumbrian supremacy, but
little actual advance had been made by the English in this quarter since
the victory of Chester, and northward of the Ribble the land between the
moors and the sea still formed a part of the British kingdom of
Cumbria. It was from this tract, from what we now know as northern
Lancashire and the Lake District, Ecgfrith's armies chased the Britons
in the early years of his reign."

Some severe struggles must have taken place during this period; and,
therefore, it is by no means improbable that a portion, at least, of the
remains on the banks of the Douglas, referred to by the Rev. John
Whitaker as evidence of Arthur's historical existence, may pertain to
the struggles of the Brit-Welsh and their Angle or English conquerors of
the seventh century. This confusion of names and dates is a common
feature in the folk-lore of all nations and periods, but in none is it
more strongly developed than in the Arthurian romances. The author of
the metrical "Morte D'Arthur," after describing the victory of the hero
over his rebellious nephew, Modred, at "Barren-down," near Canterbury,
tells us that the barrows raised on the burial of the slain were still
to be seen in his day. Barham Down is still covered with barrows, which
recent examination has demonstrated to be the remains of a Saxon
cemetery, and not a battle-field.

Bangor-Iscoed, the Bovium, and, at a later period, the Banchorium, of
the Romans, is situated on the river Dee, some fourteen miles south of
Chester. Sharon Turner laments the destruction of its magnificent
library at the sacking of the monastery, which he regarded as an
"irreparable loss to the ancient British antiquities." Gildas, the
quasi-historian, is said to have been one of its abbots. The Brit-Welsh
commander during this struggle was Brocmail, the friend of Taliesin,
who, in his poem on the disastrous battle, says--

    I saw the oppression of the tumult; the wrath and tribulation;
      The blades gleaming on the bright helmets;
    The battle against the lord of fame, in the dales of Hafren;
      Against Brocvail[10] of Powys, who loved my muse.

Sharon Turner says the precise date of this battle is uncertain. The
Anglo-Saxon chronicle says it was fought in the year 607, and the Annals
of Ulster in 612. Other authorities assign dates between the two.

The Rev, John Whitaker seems to have had not only a perfect faith in the
historical existence of Arthur, but also of his famous knights of the
"table round." Following tradition he locates at Castle-field,
Manchester, the legendary fortress of "Sir Tarquin," a gigantic hero, to
whose prowess several of Arthur's doughty knights had succumbed, before
he himself fell beneath the stalwart arm of "Sir Lancelot du Lake."
Whitaker regards Lancelot's patronymic, "du Lake," as referable to the
Linius which gave the name to the district, according to the hypothesis
previously advanced.

It is scarcely necessary to say that, notwithstanding all this
ingenuity, Sir Tarquin, Sir Lancelot, and their knightly compeers, are
as much creatures of the imagination as the heroes of any acknowledged
work of fiction, such as the "Iliad" and the "Odyssey" of Homer, or the
novels of Scott, Thackeray, Lord Lytton, and Dickens.

The _gradual growth_ of what are generally regarded as the _spontaneous_
products of the imagination, in the region of art, is well expressed in
Mr. Tylor's admirable work on "Primitive Culture." He says--"Amongst
those opinions which are produced by a little knowledge, to be dispelled
by a little more, is the belief in the almost boundless creative power
in the human imagination. The superficial student, mazed in a crowd of
seemingly wild and lawless fancies, which he thinks to have no reason in
nature nor pattern in the material world, at first concludes them to be
new births from the imagination of the poet, the tale-teller, and the
seer. But little by little, in what seemed the most spontaneous fiction,
a more comprehensive study of the source of poetry and romance begins to
disclose a cause for each fancy, an education that has led up to each
train of thought, a store of inherited materials from out of which each
province of the poet's land has been shaped and built over and peopled.
Backward from our own times, the course of mental history may be traced
through the changes wrought by modern schools of thought and fancy upon
an intellectual inheritance handed down to them from earlier
generations. And through remote periods, as we recede more nearly
towards primitive conditions of our race, the threads which connect new
thought with old do not always vanish from our sight. It is in large
measure possible to follow them as clues leading back to that actual
experience of nature and life which is the ultimate source of human

Perhaps no finer illustration, at least in English literature, of the
truthfulness of this position can be cited than the Arthurian
art-products with which I am dealing. In them we have embodied thoughts
and fancies of the earlier myth-makers of our common Aryan race, legends
and quasi-historical traditions of mediæval times, the more artistic
romances of a relatively recent and more highly-cultured period, and,
lastly, the lyrics of Morris and others, and the splendid capital which
worthily crowns this truly historic _literary_ column, in the
exquisitely felt and gracefully wrought "Idylls of the King," by the
laureate of the Victorian age, Alfred Tennyson. The last named says--

                        Lancelot spoke
    And answered him at full, as having been
    With Arthur in the fight which all day long
    Rang by the white mouth of the violent Glem:
    And in the four wild battles by the shore
    Of Douglas.

 (_Idylls, p. 162._)

Referring to the parentage of the Arthurian legends, in the essay
prefixed to his "Specimens of Early English Metrical Romances," Mr.
George Ellis says--"Although Geoffrey's 'British Chronicle' is justly
regarded as one of the corner-stones of romantic fiction, yet its
principal, if not sole effect, was to stamp the names of Arthur, Merlin,
Kay, and Gawain with the character of historical veracity; and thus to
authorise a collection of all the fables already current respecting
these fanciful heroes and their companions. For not one word is to be
found in that compilation concerning Sir Lancelot and his brothers; Sir
Tristram; Sir Ywain; Joseph of Arimathea and the Sangrael; the round
table with its perilous seat; and the various quests and adventures
which fill so many folio volumes. These were subsequent additions, but
additions _apparently derived from the same source_. The names, the
manners of the heroes, and the scenes of their adventures, were still
British; and, the taste for these strange traditions continuing to gain
ground for at least two centuries, the whole literature of Europe was
ultimately inundated by the nursery-tales of Wales and Armorica, as it
had formerly been by the mythology of Greece and Egypt."

Of course there sometimes _is_, and there oftener _is not_, recognisable
historical or biographical fact at the basis of so-called historical
novels, poems, or plays, but the difficulty of separating the one from
the other is generally insurmountable, and the labour bestowed thereon
often profitless. This is especially the case where quasi-history has
become inextricably interwoven with faded nature-myths and more modern
artistic inventions. Mr. Fiske, in the work previously quoted, has the
following very pertinent remarks on this subject:--

"I do not suppose that the struggle between light and darkness was
Homer's subject in the 'Iliad' any more than it was Shakespeare's
subject in 'Hamlet.' Homer's subject was the wrath of the Greek hero, as
Shakespeare's subject was the vengeance of the Danish prince.
Nevertheless, the story of 'Hamlet,' when traced back to its Norse
original, is unmistakably the quarrel between summer and winter; and the
moody prince is as much a solar hero as Odin himself. (See Simrock, Die
Quellen des Shakespeare, I., 127-133.) Of course Shakespeare knew
nothing of this, as Homer knew nothing of the origin of Achilleus. The
two stories are therefore not to be taken _as sun-myths in their present
form_. They are the offspring of other stories which were sun-myths.
They are stories which conform to the sun-myth type.... The sun and the
clouds, the light and the darkness, were once supposed to be actuated by
wills analagous to the human will; they were personified and worshipped
or propitiated by sacrifice; and their doings were described in language
which applied so well to the deeds of human or quasi-human beings, that
in course of time its primitive import faded from recollection. No
competent scholar now doubts that the myths of the Veda and the Edda
originated in this way, for philology itself shows that the names
employed in them are the names of the great phenomena of nature. And
when once a few striking stories had thus arisen--when once it had been
told how Indra smote the Panis, and how Sigurd rescued Brynhild, and how
Odysseus blinded the Kyklops--then certain mythic or dramatic types had
been called into existence; and to these types, preserved in the popular
imagination, future stories would inevitably conform.... In this view I
am upheld by a most sagacious and accurate scholar, Mr. E. A. Freeman,
who finds in Carlovingian romance an excellent illustration of the
problem before us."

The Carlovingian romance thus cited is, indeed, almost an exact
counterpart of the Arthurian one, with the certainly very important
exception that we can appeal to reliable history in the former case to
prove our position, while the mythical gloom of legend and tradition
obscures so much of the probable historical facts in connection with the
latter that our path is beset with difficulties which cannot be solved
otherwise than by analogical inference. History informs us of the acts
and deeds of Karl der Gross, a German by birth, name, race, and
language. This warrior, who conquered nearly the whole of Europe and
founded one of the most important dynastic houses in mediæval times, was
born about the year 742, in the castle of Silzburg, in Bavaria, and died
in 814 at Aachen, now called Aix-la-Chapelle. On the other hand, as Mr.
Fiske says, "the Charlemagne of romance is a mythical personage. He is
supposed to be a Frenchman at a time when neither the French nation nor
the French language can properly be said to have existed; and he is
represented as a doughty crusader, although crusading was not thought of
until long after the Karolingian era. He is a myth, and what is more he
is a solar myth--an _avatar_, or at least a representative of Odin in
his solar capacity. If in his case legend were not controlled by
history, he would be for us as unreal as Agamemnon.... To the historic
Karl corresponds in many particulars the mythical Charlemagne. The
legend has preserved the fact, which without the information supplied by
history we might perhaps set down as a fiction, that there was a time
when Germany, Gaul, Italy, and part of Spain formed a single empire. And
as Mr. Freeman has well observed, the mythical crusades of Charlemagne
are good evidence that there _were_ crusades, although the real Karl had
nothing whatever to do with one."

In the old ballad legend of Sir Guy, of Warwick, this chronological
confusion is equally apparent. One of the earlier stanzas says--

    Nine hundred twenty yeere and odde
      After our Saviour Christ his birth,
    When King Athelstone wore the crowne,
      I lived heere upon the earth.

And yet this same legendary hero slays Saracens and other "heathen
pagans" during the crusades some three centuries afterwards. The "Scop"
or Geeman's song, and others, exhibit similar instances of this
confusion of personages and dates.

Saxo Grammaticus, the Danish historian, has, like Geoffrey of Monmouth,
mingled so much legendary and irrelevant matter with his genuine
material, that it is often difficult and sometimes impossible to
distinguish one from the other. Mr. H. H. Howorth, in the work
previously quoted, referring to Harald Hildetand, "the most prominent
figure in Scandinavian history at the close of the heroic period,"
says--"Although Saxo's notice of him is long, it will be found to
contain scarcely anything about him. It is filled up with parenthetical
stories about other people, referring doubtless to other times
altogether, while the stories it contains about his exploits in
Aquitania, and Britain, and Northumbria, show very clearly, as Müller
has pointed out, that he has confused his doings with those of another,
and much later, Harald, probably Harald Blaatand (_Op. Cit._ 366, note
3). It is only when we come to the close of his reign that we have a
more detailed and valuable story. This is the account of the famous
fight at Bravalla, of which we have two recensions, one in Saxo and the
other in the Sogubrot, and which have preserved for us one of the most
romantic epical stories in the history of the north. The story was
recorded in verse by the famous champion Starkadr, whom Saxo quotes as
his authority, and whom he seems closely to follow. Dahlman has, I
think, argued very forcibly that the form and matter of this saga as
told by Saxo is more ancient, and preserves more of the local colour of
the original than that of the Sogubrot (Forsch, etc., 307-308). And yet
the story as it stands is very incongruous, and makes it impossible for
us to believe that it was written by a contemporary at all. How can we
understand Icelanders fighting in a battle a hundred years before
Iceland was discovered, and what are we to make of such champions as Orm
the Englishman, Brat the Hibernian, etc., among the followers of Harald?
It would seem that on such points the story has been somewhat
sophisticated, perhaps, as in the Roll of Battle Abbey, names have been
added to flatter later heroes."

It is a recognised element in popular tradition or folk-lore, that the
deeds of one historic or mythological hero are sure, when he is
forgotten, to be attributed to some other man of mark, who, for the time
being, fills the popular fancy. I am, therefore, inclined to think that
the imaginary victories of Arthur on the continent of Europe in the
sixth century, as recorded in Geoffrey's tenth book, owe their origin
mainly to the real ones of Karl der Gross in the ninth. Geoffrey, or his
Breton authority, had three centuries of tradition to fall back upon,
time amply sufficient for mediæval myth makers and romance writers to
torture them to their own purposes. Instances of this re-crystallisation
of several stories, mythical and otherwise, around the name of a single
hero, by the vulgar, may be found in relatively modern history. There
is, in the region of traditional lore, in various parts of England, a
mythical Cromwell, as well as the two well-known historical personages
of that name. In whatever part of the country stands a ruined castle or
abbey, or other ecclesiastical edifice, the nearest peasant, or even
farmer, will assure an inquirer that it was battered into ruin by Oliver
Cromwell! Here the Secretary Cromwell, of Henry the Eighth's reign, and
the renowned Protector, of the following century, are evidently
amalgamated. Indeed, the redoubted Oliver seems to have absorbed all the
castle and abbey-destroying heroes of the national history, old Time
himself included. There is a weather-worn statue on the triangular
bridge at Croyland, erected in honour of King Ethelbald, the founder of
the neighbouring abbey now in ruins, which is popularly supposed to be
an effigy of Cromwell, and by some the bridge is likewise named after
him. It is, however, more than probable that the neighbouring ruin is
alone responsible for this nomenclature. A similar fate has befallen
Alexander the Great in the East. Arminius Vámbéry, in his "Travels in
Central Asia," says--"The history of the great Macedonian is invested by
the Orientals with all the characteristics of a religious myth; and
although some of their writers are anxious to distinguish Iskender Zul
Karnein (the two-horned Alexander), the hero of their fable, from
Iskenderi Roumi (the Greek Alexander), I have yet everywhere found that
these two persons were regarded as one and the same." There is likewise
a mythical as well as an historical Taliesin (the Welsh poet), but they
are generally confounded by the populace.

Mr. C. P. Kains-Jackson, in "Our Ancient Monuments and the Land around
them," referring to the huge rock, named "Arthur's Quoit," Gower,
Llanridian, Glamorganshire, says--"The reason why the name of Arthur
should attach to the Titantic boulder represented in our engraving does
not readily appear. The name has probably come by that process of
accretion which has caused every witty cynicism to be attributed to
Talleyrand, or, in another way, every achievement of the Third Crusade
to Richard Cœur de Lion, and every contemporary woodland exploit to
Robin Hood. No name from Druidical times attaching to the monument, the
local tradition joined to the rock the name of the only man whose
legendary repute and fame at all admitted of a super-human feat of
strength being attributed to him."

Mr. Frederick Metcalfe, in his "Englishman and Scandinavian,"
says--"Then again our old institution, trial by jury, to our immortal
King Alfred, the people's darling, it has been assigned, along with
other tithings, hundreds, and a host of other inventions and
institutions, which, we are persuaded, he would have been the first to
repudiate. Indeed, he has become a sort of Odin to some antiquaries, on
whom everything bearing the stamp of remote antiquity was gathered, the
invention of names amongst the rest."

The same writer, referring to the "famous story of Theophilus,"
says--"The legend, as we have said, ran through Europe in various
shapes, and was fitted to all people imaginable. It is referred to in
one of Ælfric's homilies (_i._ 448), while in an Icelandic legend Anselm
and Theophilus are thus blended. Now we know that Eormenric, who died
370, Attila, 453, Gundicar of Burgundy, 436, and the Ostrogothic King
Theordoric or Dietrich, 536, become contemporaries and merge one into
another in heroic mythus. But one is hardly prepared to find Dietrich of
Bern and Theophilus of Sicily getting confused into one. But so it is.
Amongst the Wends it has become a popular story, and is told of Dietrich
(Theodoric of Verona), who among the peasantry is transmuted into the
Wild Huntsman."

Mr. W. St. Chad Boscawen, in his learned lecture on "A Chaldean
Heliopolis," at Manchester, in December, 1881, after referring to the
manner in which Berosus "had resort to an ingenious literary fiction to
preserve the continuity of the narrative in his history of Chaldea,
which he claimed to have based on documentary evidence, extending back
over fifteen myriads of years," says--"The daily recurring war of day
and night, which had belonged to the nomadic age, now became national
wars and combats of Samson, Shamgar, and Gideon, the solar heroes,
against the dark forces of the Philistine and Midianite. But in this
period of the heroic age--the 'once upon a time' of the Chaldean
story-teller, the nation was not one consolidated whole; it was the age
of polyarchy. The beginning of Nimrod's kingdom was not one capital
city, it was the tetrapolis of Babel, Akkad, Erech, and Calrech, and
each city was a little kingdom. So each city had its hero. The giant
Isdubar was the hero of Erech; Sargon the Moses of Chaldea--the hero of
Aganne; Etanne and Ner, of Babylon. In the labours and wars of these
heroes we saw the labours and wars and struggles of the city kingdom,
but lit with the lustre of divinity which shone forth from the age of
the gods and clothed with its brightness the characters in the heroic
age. But, in time, as the nation became consolidated, all became blended
and absorbed into the great national hero, Isdubar, the great king."

The Rev. Sir G. W. Cox, in his "Mythology of the Aryan Nations,"
successfully shows that the principal materials of the Arthurian legends
are identical with those which underlie the Hindoo, Grecian, Teutonic,
and other common Aryan myths. He contends that Arthur is a solar hero,
of the same type as Phoibus Chrysâôr, or Heracles, or Bellerophon, or
Perseus, or Achilleus, or Sigurd; and he illustrates this position by
the citation of numerous instances in which their common original is
clearly perceptible, notwithstanding the great modification, especially
in costume and morals, to which the original materials have been
subjected. A single instance of this uniformity, but an important one,
will suffice for the present purpose. The peculiar form as well as the
name of the supernatural weapon of Indra, the Vedic _lightning_ god,
has undergone many changes in its progress through the mythical lore of
the various Aryan nations, and yet its identity is rarely, if ever,
doubtful. It is the "Durandal" of Roland; it is Arthur's famous sword
"Excalibur," as well as the similar weapon which no one could draw from
the "iron anvil-sheaf embedded in stone" except himself. It is the sword
of the maiden drawn by Balin, after Arthur had failed in the attempt. It
is the "Macabuin," the weapon of the Manx hero, Olave of Norway; it is
Odin's sword "Gram," stuck in the roof-tree of Volsung's hall. It is the
sword of Chrysâôr; it is that of Theseus, and that of Sigurd. It is very
palpably the spear (Gûngnir) which Odin lent, in the form of a reed, to
King Erich, in order to ensure him the victory in a battle against
Styrbjörn. The reed in its flight is said to have assumed the form of a
spear and _struck with blindness_ the whole of the opposing army. It is
the arrow with which Apollo slew the Python; it is the lance of St.
George, the patron saint of England; it is the "sword of sharpness" of
"Jack-the-Giant-Killer;" nay, it is the relatively humble magic cudgel
of popular Norse story, which, like Thor's hammer, voluntarily returned
to the lad's hand on the completion of the rascally innkeeper's
well-merited castigation.

So fascinating are the so-called "historical novels" of such men as Sir
Walter Scott and the late Lord Lytton, such "historical plays" as
Shakspere's, and the popular ballads and other lyric narratives of great
historical events, that _some_ of the most permanent impressions on the
mind of the studious, and _many_ on that of the relatively non-studious
sections of mankind, have been derived therefrom. Indeed, there are
persons who roundly assert that "good historical novels" convey to the
ordinary reader a better idea of the manners and customs and general
aspect of society, as well as of the idiosyncrasies, or special
characteristics, of distinguished individuals, than historical works of
a more definite and presumedly more reliable character. Those who
entertain these views, however, as a rule, are not themselves historical
students in its higher or more legitimate sense, but merely dabblers in
history with an æsthetic object. Besides, if the hypothesis be a sound
one, these "historical novelists" must themselves be more fully and
accurately informed concerning all the hard elements of fact and
individual feeling with which they deal than their rivals (which,
unfortunately, they never or rarely are), or how could they, by any
human process, produce their presumedly more truthful artistic
"counterfeit presentments?" The late Lord Lytton, in the preface to the
third edition of his novel, "Harold, the last of the Saxon Kings,"
expressly says "It was indeed my aim to solve the problem how to produce
the greatest amount of _dramatic effect at the least expense of
historical truth_."

On the other hand, Sir Francis Palgrave denounces "historical novels" as
the "mortal enemies to history," and Leslie Stephen adds, "they are
mortal enemies to fiction" likewise. The latter writer contends, under
such conditions, one of two evils necessarily results, notwithstanding
the fact that perhaps an isolated exception or two might be cited in
opposition: "Either the novel becomes pure cram, a dictionary of
antiquities dissolved in a thin solution of romance, or, which is
generally more refreshing, it takes leave of accuracy altogether and
simply takes the plot and the costumes from history, but allows us to
feel that genuine moderns are masquerading in the dress of a bygone
century." Dean Milman, in his review of Ranke's work on the Papacy,
referring to the scene in the conclave on the elevation of Sixtus V. to
the Papal chair, which, he says, Gregoria Leti "has drawn with such
unscrupulous boldness," adds, "All the minute circumstances of his (the
Pope's) manner, speech, and gesture is like one of Scott's happiest
historical descriptions, but, we fear, of no better historical authority
than the picture of our great novelist."

The false impressions often formed of actual fact from implicit reliance
on artistic fiction, as authority in such matters, is admirably
illustrated in a passage in "Travels in Central Asia," by Arminius
Vámbéry. After journeying from Tabris to Teheran, he says--"It is a
distance of only fifteen, or perhaps we may rather say of only thirteen
caravan stations; still, it is fearfully fatiguing, when circumstances
compel one to toil slowly from station to station under a scorching sun,
mounted upon a laden mule, and condemned to see nothing but such drought
and barrenness as characterise almost the whole of Persia. How bitter
the disappointment to him who has studied Persia only in Saadi, Khakani,
and Hafiz; _or still worse_, who has received his dreamy impressions of
the East from the beautiful imaginings of Goethe's 'Ost-Westlicher
Divan,' or Victor Hugo's 'Orientales,' or the magnificent picturings of
Tom Moore."

If, under circumstances so favourable as those attendant upon such a
"Dryasdust" historical student as Sir Walter Scott, historical truth is
violated or perverted as often as it is illustrated, it is painful to
reflect what must have resulted when solar and other myths, miraculous
legends and traditions of pagan times, have become interwoven with the
faith and morals of Christianity, and the pomp and pageantry of mediæval
chivalry! Leslie Stephens asserts that "'Ivanhoe,' and 'Kenilworth,'
and 'Quentin Durward,' and the rest are, of course, bare, blank
impossibilities." "No such people," he declares, "ever lived or talked
on this planet." He is willing to allow that some fragments of genuine
character may be embedded in what he terms "the plaster of Paris;" but
he insists that "there is no solidity or permanence in the workmanship."
If this be true, how has history fared at the hands of such craftsmen as
Geoffrey of Monmouth, Archdeacon Walter Map, Sir Thos. Malory, and a
whole host of mediæval romance writers, with their King Arthur, Sir
Lancelot, Sir Galahad, their magicians, sorcerers, giants, dragons, and
other monsters? History, in its highest, indeed its only legitimate,
sense, most unquestionably has suffered to a much greater extent than
can be conceived, except by those who have patiently plodded amongst the
details of a portion at least of its dim and dusty, and oft-times
doubtful, raw material. But, on the other hand, to the novelist or the
poet _historical_ truthfulness in the incidents of which his plot is
composed, or _biographical_ truthfulness in the characters delineated,
is simply surplusage, if it be nothing worse, _æsthetic_ or artistic
verities having no necessary foundation thereupon. It is this æsthetic
ideal, evolved from _general_ rather than _individual_ truths, this
poetic element, which lies at the root, and, indeed, furnishes the
_raison d'être_, the very life-giving blood, of such art products as
those under consideration. Hamlet, Lear, Imogen, Ophelia, Cordelia,
Oberon, Elaine, Sir Galahad, Achilleus, Arthur, _et hoc genus omne_,
possess an inherent subjective vitality and truthfulness of their own,
drawn from the universal and everlasting fountains of human emotion,
passion, and psychical aspiration, however little realistic, individual,
or strictly historic value the learned may place on the legends of Saxo
Grammaticus and Geoffrey of Monmouth, or the myths of our common Aryan
ancestors. Thos. Carlyle, in "Sartor Resartus," aptly asks--"Was
Luther's picture of the devil _less a reality_, whether it were formed
within the bodily eye, or without it?" Dean Milman, in his essay on
"Pagan and Christian Sepulchres," referring to the "two large mounds
popularly known as the tombs of the Horatii and the Curiatii," on the
Appian way, near Rome, says--"Let us leave the legend undisturbed, and
take no more notice of those wicked disenchanters of our old belief."
Yet he feelingly and truthfully adds--"They will leave us at least the
poetry, if they scatter our history into a mist." Truly the æsthetic
element, if in itself worthy, will ever survive the destruction of the
presumed historical verity with which it may have been for ages allied.
Who now believes in the historic truthfulness of the reputed deeds of
the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece and Rome? And yet the æsthetic
beauties of Homer, Æschylus, Virgil, and Ovid are none the less admired
and enjoyed. Mr. Philip Gilbert Hamerton, in his Life of J. M. W.
Turner, when commenting on the lack of "topographical," and other
realistic truthfulness, both in colour and details, in many of the great
landscape painter's finest productions, thus aptly deals with the
difference between æsthetic and literal truthfulness--"It is with these
drawings as with the romances of Sir Walter Scott: a time comes in the
life of every intelligent reader when he perceives that Scott was not,
and could not be, really true to the times he represented, except when
they approached very near his own; but a student of literature would be
much to be pitied who was unable to enjoy 'Ivanhoe' after this
discovery. So when we have found out the excessive freedom which Turner
allowed himself; when we have discovered that he is not to be trusted
for the representation of any object, however important--that his
chiaroscuro, though effective is arbitrary, and his colour though
brilliant is false; when we have quite satisfied ourselves, in a word,
that he is a poet, and not an architectural draughtsman, or an imitator
of nature, is that a reason why we should not enjoy the poems? There is
a wide difference, I grant, between the pleasure of real belief and the
pleasure of confessed imagination: the first belongs to imaginative
ignorance, and is only possible for the uncritical; the second belongs
to a state of knowledge, and is only possible for those in whom the
acquisition of knowledge has not deadened the imaginative faculties.
Show the 'Rivers of France' to a boy who has the natural faculties which
perceive beauty, but who is still innocent of criticism, he will believe
the drawings to be true, and think as he dreams over them that a day may
come when he will visit these enchanting scenes. Show them to a real
critic, and he will not accept for fact a single statement made by the
draughtsman from beginning to end, but he will say--'The poetic power is
here,' and then he will yield to its influence, and dream also in his
own way--not like the boy, in simple faith, but in the pleasant
make-belief faith which is all that the poet asks of us."

This æsthetic truthfulness, in contradistinction to literal historic
fact, is admirably expressed by Macaulay in an entry in his journal, in
August, 1851. He says--"I walked far into Herefordshire," (from Malvern)
"and read, while walking, the last five books of the 'Iliad,' with deep
interest and many tears. I was afraid to be seen crying by the parties
of walkers that met me as I came back; crying for Achilles cutting off
his hair; crying for Priam rolling on the ground in the court-yard of
his house; mere imaginary beings, creatures of an old ballad maker who
died near three thousand years ago."

Lord Byron wrote under the influence of the traditions of his youth or
of his classical college education, and not as the true poet, when he
said--"I stood upon the plain of Troy daily for more than a month, in
1810; and if anything diminished my pleasure it was that the blackguard
Bryant had impugned its veracity." On the contrary, I felt no such lack
of pleasurable emotion when I first gazed on the Thames at Datchet, or
on the withered trunk of "Herne's Oak," or on the Trossachs and Loch
Katrine, or on the Rialto or the Ducal palace at Venice, or on
the Colisseum or the adjacent ruins of the "lone mother of dead
empires," because the mere _historical_ verity of Jack Falstaff's
unwieldly carcase, or of Shakspere, Otway, Byron or Scott's ideal and
semi-historical personages, never once entered into my mind. It was
sufficient for me that the scenes before me were those which were
contemplated and portrayed by the great dramatists and the great
novelist and the great poet. For the time being, thanks to the law of
mental association, to my imagination their characters were as real
personages as was necessary for the fullest appreciation and enjoyment
of the ideal of their artistic creators, and anything more, _being
unnecessary_, might have been intrusive, or even _impertinent_, in the
original and non-metaphorical meaning of that somewhat abused word.
Byron spoke more to the purpose in the opening stanzas of the fourth
canto of "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage," when, after lamenting the fate of
Venice, and recalling the glories of her past history, he exclaims:--

        But unto us she hath a spell beyond
        Her name in story and her long array
        Of mighty shadows whose dim forms despond
        Above the dogeless city's vanish'd sway;
        Ours is a trophy which will not decay
        With the Rialto; Shylock and the Moor
        And Pierre can not be swept and worn away--
        The keystones of the arch! Though all were o'er,
    For us repeopled were the solitary shore.

He adds, with more significant meaning:--

        The beings of the mind are not of clay;
        Essentially immortal, they create
        And multiply in us a brighter ray
        And more beloved existence.

Dr. Gervinus says--"Shakspere's representations of the passionate, the
prodigal, the hypocrite, are not portraits of this or that individual,
but _examples of those passions elevated out of particular into general
truth_, of which, in real life, we may find a thousand diminished
copies, but never the original in the exact proportions given by the
poet." And so it is with the æsthetic truth embodied in artistic
creations of a plastic or pictorial character. No one acquainted with
art products of its class imagines that the colossal statue recently
erected in Germany to the memory of Hermann, or Arminius, the conqueror
of the Roman legions under Varus (A.D. 9), is an absolute every-day
portrait-likeness of that not very morally scrupulous "hero and
patriot;" or that the faces, figures, costumes, and other accessories,
in the "Last Supper" of Da Vinci, or the "Cartoons" of Raffaelle,
represent, _historically_ or _de facto_, the scenes as they actually
occurred. Though conventionally called "historical pictures," they
are emphatically creations of the imaginations of the artists,
notwithstanding their historic basis, and consequently the great truths
that pervade them, and for which they are justly admired, are of an
artistic or æsthetic, and not of a strictly historic, character.

Notwithstanding this general lack of historic truthfulness we,
nevertheless, do gain valuable knowledge of a psychological,
ethnological, and even of a strictly historical character from stories
of the mythical and legendary class; but much of that knowledge pertains
to the age and its mental associations in which the story-tellers or
other artistic exponents themselves lived. In the Arthurian romances we
find an immense amount of historic truthfulness with reference to the
habits of thought, costume, and religious sentiment, which obtained in
and about the twelfth century; but which truths are utterly untrue, as
applied by the writers, to the fifth and sixth, the era in which Arthur
and his Christian knights, magicians, and giants are presumed to have
been corporal existences. The same may be said of much of Bede's, and,
indeed, of most other early chronicles. Although we may refuse our
assent to the improbable and miraculous stories therein narrated, we
feel convinced, in Bede's instance especially, that the writer is
thoroughly in earnest, and honest in his work, and that he, at least,
correctly describes the manners, customs, faiths, superstitions, and
legendary history prevalent at the period in which he lived. This view
is now the one generally accepted by the best historians and
ethnological and psychological students. Mr. Ralph N. Wornum, in his
"Epochs of Painting Characterised," says--"Ancient opinions are of
themselves facts, and the history of any subject is indeed imperfect
when the ideas of early ages regarding it are altogether overlooked, for
the impressions and associations made or suggested by any intellectual
pursuit are, as one of its effects, a part of the subject itself." Mr.
Tylor, in the work already quoted, says--"The very myths that were
discarded as lying fables prove to be sources of history in ways that
their makers and transmitters little dreamed of. Their meaning has been
misunderstood, but they have a meaning. Every tale that was ever told
has a meaning for the times it belongs to. Even a lie, as the Spanish
proverb says, is a lady of birth. ('_La mentira es hija de algo._')
Thus, as evidence of the development of thought as records of long
passed belief and usage, even in some measure as materials for the
history of the nations owning them, the old myths have fairly taken
their place among historic facts; and with such the modern historian, so
able and so willing to pull down, is also able and willing to rebuild."

M. Mallet, in his "Northern Antiquities," referring to the
semi-historical romances of the Scandinavians, says--"It is needless to
observe that great light may be thrown on the character and sentiments
of a nation, by those very books, whence we can learn nothing exact or
connected of their history. The most credulous writer, he that has the
greatest passion for the marvellous, while he falsifies the history of
his contemporaries, paints their manners of life and modes of thinking
without perceiving it. His simplicity, his ignorance, are at once
pledges of the artless truth of his drawing, and a warning to distrust
that of his relations."

Dr. A. Dickson White, in his treatise on "The Warfare of Science,"
forcibly illustrates the absolute necessary harmony of all truth,
subjective and objective, although we may not always possess sufficient
insight to perceive it. He says--"God's truths must agree, whether
discovered by looking within upon the soul, or without upon the world. A
truth written upon the human heart to-day, in its full play of emotions
or passions, cannot be at any real variance even with a truth written
upon a fossil whose poor life ebbed forth millions of years ago."

Professor Gervinus, in his "Shakespeare Commentaries," has skilfully
analysed the distinction between historic and æsthetic truth. He
says--"Where the historian, bound by an oath to the severest truth in
every single statement, can, at the most, only permit us to divine the
causes of events and the motives of actions from the bare narration of
facts, the poet, who seeks to draw from these facts only a _general
moral truth, and not one of facts_, unites by poetic fiction the action
and actors in a distinct living relation of cause and effect. The more
freely and boldly he does this, as Shakespeare has done in 'Richard
III.,' the more poetically interesting will his treatment of the history
become, but the more will it lose its historical value; the more truly
and closely he adheres to reality, as in 'Richard II.,' the more will
his poetry gain in historic meaning and forfeit in poetic splendour."

Shakspere so thoroughly felt and understood this, that in the
construction of his plot, and even in the determination of the
specialities of the characters of Macbeth and his indomitable wife, he
has selected his incidents from more than one epoch in early Scottish
history. The famous murder scenes in the first and second acts, so far
as they are "historically" true, are drawn from the assassination of a
previous king, Duffe, in 971 or 972, by Donwald, captain of the castle
of Fores, whose wife is the "historic" original of the "æsthetic" Lady
Macbeth of the tragedy, and not the spouse (if he had one) of the
chieftain who, history simply says, "slew the king [Duncan] at
Inverness," in an ordinary battle in 1040.

Professor Gervinus adds--"It is a common pride on the part of the poets
of these historical plays, and a natural peculiarity belonging to this
branch of the art, that truth and poetry should go hand in hand. It is
more than probable that 'Henry VIII.' bore at first the title so
characteristic in this respect--'All is True.' But this truth is
throughout, as we have seen, not to be taken in the prosaic sense of the
historian, who seeks it in the historical material in every most minute
particular, and in its most different aspects; it is only a higher and
universal truth which is gathered by a poet from a series of historical
facts, yet which from the very circumstance that it springs from
historical, true and actual facts, and is supported and held by them,
acquires, it must be admitted, a double authority, that of poetry and
history combined. The historical drama, formed of these two component
parts, is therefore especially agreeable to the imaginative friend of
history and the realistic friend of poetry."

It will thus be seen that there is no necessary antagonism between
individual, or historic, and ideal, or æsthetic, truth. Their respective
lines of action may be divergent, but they are, when thoroughly
understood, both in harmony with the great central and "eternal verity"
which embodies all truth. The only danger to be guarded against by the
historic or æsthetic student arises from the too common habit of
confounding the one with the other.

Tennyson, in his "Queen Mary," says--

    The very Truth and very Word are one,
    But truth of story, which I glanced at, girl,
    Is like a word that comes from olden days,
    And passes thro' the peoples: every tongue
    Alters it passing, till it spells and speaks
    Quite other than at first.

Nennius speaks of a tenth battle fought and won by Arthur on the banks
of the river Trat Treuroit, or Ribroit. This has been identified by
commentators as the Brue, in Somersetshire, and the Ribble, in
Lancashire; but the evidence advanced is not very conclusive in favour
of either locality. Mr. Haigh prefers Trefdraeth, in the island of
Anglesea, as the place indicated.




(A.D. 642).


The Venerable Bede, in the ninth chapter of his "Ecclesiastical History
of the English Nation," says, in the year 642--"Oswald was killed in a
great battle, by the same Pagan nation and Pagan king of the Mercians
who had slain his predecessor, Edwin, at a place called in the English
tongue, Maserfelth, in the thirty-eighth year of his age, on the fifth
day of the month of August."

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, under the same date, says--"This year Oswald,
King of the Northumbrians, was slain by Penda and the South-humbrians at
Maserfeld, on the nones of August, and his body was buried at Bardney
(Lincolnshire). His sanctity and miracles were afterwards manifested in
various ways beyond this island, and his hands are at Bamborough"
(Northumberland), "uncorrupted."

The battle is likewise recorded by relatively more recent chroniclers,
yet its site, hitherto, has not been satisfactorily determined. Camden,
Capgrave, Pennant, Sharon Turner, and some others fix it at Oswestry, in
Shropshire; while Archbishop Usher, Alban Butler, Powell, Dr. Cowper,
Edward Baines, Thomas Baines, W. Beaumont, Dr. Kendrick, Mr. T. Littler,
and others prefer the neighbourhood of Winwick, in the "Fee of
Makerfield," Lancashire.[11]

Mr. Edward Baines says--"The district in which Winwick is seated
has, from a very distant period, been denominated Mackerfield or
Macerfield--a battle-field, with variations in the orthography usually
found in Norman and Anglo-Saxon writers." The late Rev. Edmund Simpson,
vicar of Ashton-in-Mackerfield, however, disputes this etymology, and
contends that "Mackerfield is Mag-er-feld, a great plain cultivated:
_mag_ and _er_ being Gaelic and _feld_ Saxon. Thus Maghull, near
Liverpool, is a hill on the plain: thus, also, Maghera-felt in Ireland."

The "Fee of Makerfield" was co-extensive with the Newton hundred of the
Domesday record, and included nineteen townships. It extended from Wigan
to Winwick, and was traversed in its entire length by the great Roman
road, which entered Northumbria from the south near Warrington.

Professor Dwight Whitney, in his "Life and Growth of Language" (p. 39),
says--"_Æcer_ meant in Anglo-Saxon a 'cultivated field,' as does the
German acker to the present day; and here, again, we have its very
ancient correlatives in Sanscrit _agra_, Greek ἀγρόϛ, Latin _ager_; the
restriction of the word to signify a field of certain fixed dimensions,
taken as a unit of measure for fields in general, is something quite
peculiar and recent. It is analagous with the like treatment of _rod_
and _foot_ and _grain_, and so on, except that in these cases we have
saved the old meaning while adding the new."

Field is from A.S., O.S., and Ger. _feld_, Danish _veld_, the open
_country_, cleared lawn (Collins's Dic. Der.) With respect to acre the
old meaning is still retained, in one instance at least. We still say
"God's acre," when speaking of a churchyard or burial ground.

The following are some of the principal variations in the writing of the
name: Bede calls it Maserfelth, King Alfred writes it Maserfeld, as in
one MS. of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Another copy, however, has it
Maresfeld. The latter is probably a clerical error resultant from the
accidental misplacement of the letters _r_ and _s_ by the copyist, or
it may be an ordinary example of what philologists call "metathesis," or
transliteration. Matthew of Westminster writes it Marelfeld, and John of
Brompton, Maxelfeld. Matthew and John, however, are relatively modern
authorities in comparison with Bede, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, and
Alfred. Their orthography, however, furnishes an apt illustration of the
mutation which has taken place in local nomenclature during the
transition of the language from Anglo-Saxon to modern English, and hence
the occasional difficulty of satisfactory identification at the present

The phonetic difficulty between Maserfeld, Macerfeld, and Makerfield is,
perhaps, not insurmountable. The letter _c_ in English is useless,
having either the sound of _k_ or _s_. Before _a_, _o_, and _u_, it
becomes _k_, as in cat, cot, cure; before _e_ and _i_ it becomes _s_, as
in century, certain, cinder, and city. Cer, likewise, by metathesis, or
the transposition of the _r_, becomes cre, as in lucre, massacre,
etc.[12] Thus it would appear the modern word "Makerfield" probably
accords both etymologically and topographically with the Anglo-Saxon
name of the site of the battle. As no other hamlet, township, or parish,
or other territorial designation (the nearest being Macclesfield), does
this, especially when taken in conjunction with the many corroborative
evidences, would appear to satisfactorily identify the locality.[13]
These corroborative evidences are by no means either scanty or

The parish church of Winwick is dedicated to St. Oswald, and Mr. Baines
says--"Little more than half a mile to the north, on the road to
Golborne and Wigan, is an ancient well, which has been known from time
immemorial by the name of 'St. Oswald's Well.'" This well is still in
existence, and a certain veneration at the present time hovers about it
in the minds of others than the superstitious peasantry. On the upper
portion of the south wall of the church is an inscription in Latin,
purporting to be a "renovation" of a previous one, by a person named
Sclater, in the year 1530, in the curacy of Henry Johnson. On a recent
visit, this inscription, as well as other portions of the edifice, I
found had undergone further renovation. Gough translates the first three
lines as follows:--

    This place of old did Oswald greatly love:
    Who the Northumbers ruled, now reigns above,
    And from Marcelde did to Heaven remove.

Mr. Beamont gives the translation of the inscription as follows:--

    This place of yore did Oswald greatly love,
    Northumbria's King, but now a saint above,
    Who in Marcelde's field did fighting fall,
    Hear us, oh blest one, when here to thee we call.

            (A line over the porch obliterated.)
    In fifteen hundred and just three times ten,
    Sclater restored and built this wall again,
    And Henry Johnson here was curate then.

This, and its repetition by Hollingworth in his "Mancuniensis," appears
to have alone constituted "the highest authority" relied upon by Edward
Baines for his statement that Winwick parish was the favourite residence
of King Oswald. The inscription does not, as some have assumed, state
the church is built in, on, or near Marcelde. It merely asserts that
Oswald died at a place so named, and which may have been Winwick, the
site of the church dedicated to St. Oswald, or any other locality,
Marcelde being evidently a corruption and a rythmical contraction of the
undoubted Anglo-Saxon name of the scene of Oswald's defeat and death.

Objection has been taken to the word "Marcelde," as a bad Latin
substitute for "Maserfeld." But the goodness or badness of mediæval
Latin substitutes for English names is of no consequence to the question
at issue, as the reference to the place of Oswald's death is undeniable.
It is but an apt illustration of the strange transformations local
nomenclature sometimes has undergone in transmission from past centuries
to the present time.

Geoffrey of Monmouth and the Welsh Bruts curiously confound the
incidents attendant upon this and a previous battle, in which Oswald was
engaged and was victorious. Geoffrey says that Cadwalla, a Brit-Welsh
king, one of the heroes of Lywrich Hen's poetic effusions, _hearing of
Oswald's victory over Penda(?)_ at "Heavenfield," "being inflamed with
rage, assembled his army and went in pursuit of the holy king, Oswald;
and in a battle which he had with him, at a place called Burne, broke in
upon him and killed him."

Geoffrey here, as noted by Sharon Turner, shows his irrational
partiality to the fame of the British chieftain, and his disregard of
historical truth when it did not minister to his prejudices or
presumed patriotism. Cadwalla was slain in the battle with Oswald at
"Heavenfield," in 635, seven years previously to the saintly
Northumbrian warrior's defeat and death; and, consequently, the British
hero was, in accordance with ordinary mortal notions, somewhat
incapacitated for the performance of the after-deeds of valour, ascribed
to him by his panegyrist--without miraculous intervention--which,
however, Geoffrey does not even suggest, notwithstanding its presumed
frequency on other momentous occasions.[14]

Referring to Oswald's death, Bede says--"It is also given out and become
a proverb, 'that he ended his life in prayer;' for when he was beset
with weapons and enemies, he perceived he must immediately be killed,
and prayed to God for the souls of his army, hence it is proverbially
said, 'Lord have mercy on their souls, said Oswald, as he fell on the
ground.' His bones, therefore, were translated to the monastery which we
mentioned (Bardsea), and buried therein; but the king that slew him
commanded his head, hands, and arms to be cut off from the body, and set
upon stakes. But the successor in the throne, Oswy, coming thither the
next year with his army, took them down, and buried his head in the
church of Lindisfarne, and the hands and arms in the royal city"

Bede relates many anecdotes, illustrative of the sanctity of Oswald, and
the miracles wrought by his bones, as well as by the earth which
received his blood on the battle-field. One instance I give entire, in
Dr. Giles's translation of the venerable historian's own words. In
chapter x., book iii., he says--

"About the same time, another person of the British nation, _as is
reported_, happened to travel by the same place, where the aforesaid
battle was fought, and observing one particular spot of ground, green
and more beautiful than any other part of the field, he judiciously
concluded with himself that there could be no other cause for that
unusual greenness but that some person of more holiness than any other
in the army had been killed there. He therefore took along with him some
of that earth, tying it up in a linen cloth, supposing it would some
time or other be of use for curing sick people, and proceeding on his
journey, he came at night to a certain village, and entered a house
where the neighbours were feasting at supper; being received by the
owners of the house, he sat down with them at the entertainment, hanging
the cloth in which he had brought the earth, on a post against the wall.
They sat long at supper and drank hard, with a great fire in the middle
of the room; it happened that the sparks flew up and caught the top of
the house, which being made of wattles and thatch, was presently in a
flame; the guests ran out in a fright, without being able to put a stop
to the fire. The house was consequently burnt down, only that post on
which the earth hung remained entire and untouched. On observing this,
they were all amazed, and inquiring into it diligently, understood that
the earth had been taken from the place where the blood of King Oswald
had been shed. These miracles being made known and reported abroad, many
began daily to frequent that place, and received health to themselves
and theirs."

In June, 1856, whilst I was engaged superintending the excavations at
"Castle Hill," Penwortham, near Preston, an incident occurred, which,
"in the olden time," would have been regarded as a conclusive proof not
only of the miraculous quality of the earth on which St. Oswald expired,
but of the site of the battle-field. We found, under the mound
excavated, the remains of an edifice which had been destroyed apparently
partly by fire, and on the ruins of which to the height of about 12 or
14 feet, the Anglo-Saxon tumulus had been piled. The hill, situated at
the nose of the promontory overlooking the upper portion of the Ribble
estuary, had evidently been occupied at one time as a _specula_, or
outpost, in connection with the Roman station at Walton-le-dale. The
wattle and thatch characteristics of the remains of the fallen roof of
the edifice were very apparent. But the most remarkable, nay,
inexplicable feature disclosed, was a single oak pillar, with wooden
peg-holes in it, standing erect near the centre of the mound, while the
remainder of the structure was scattered in confusion on a mass of
debris and vegetable litter, in which were found, together with several
articles in metal, etc., an enormous quantity of bones of animals,
evidently killed and eaten for food. To the persistent enquiries of
several somewhat bewildered persons, anxious to discover an _immediate_
explanation of so remarkable a fact, I at length yielded, and related,
in a serious, but not _authoritative_ manner, the statement of Bede, and
I feel confident several persons returned home with a conviction that
the story was probable enough, or at least there was something either
miraculous or "uncanny" about the whole affair. Without, of course,
assenting to the miraculous medicinal quality of the earth, it is highly
improbable that so conscientious, if credulous, a writer as Bede would
relate such a story, unless there had been some substratum of _prosaic
fact reported to him_, on which the miraculous element might easily have
been engrafted in those superstitious days. It is not improbable that
the accidental preservation of the pillar to which was hung the presumed
sacred earth on which the saintly monarch breathed his last, prevented
its destruction or removal, and hence its position near the centre of
the mound raised above the ruined edifice, and, doubtless, afterwards
used as a "mote hill," or out-of-door justice seat, or place of public
assembly. If Winwick be the site of the battle-field, the traveller
passing from thence northward by the great Roman road would arrive at
Penwortham in time for supper, presuming that his journey commenced
three or four hours previously.

All this may not be worth much more than some of the idle tales of the
old "historians" in support of the claims of the Lancashire site as the
locality of the great battle between the Christian and Pagan elements in
the population of the northern portion of England in the seventh
century.[15] Nevertheless, it presents, at least, one of those
remarkable coincidences that occasionally puzzle our reason and perplex
our faith. Deeper insight into the psychological aspect of the humanity
of any period may often be gained by a careful study of their legendary
lore and cherished superstitions than from the perusal of the more
orthodox historical chronicles. But there are other evidences respecting
the site of this important Anglo-Saxon conflict, more reliable than the
miracles of tradition, which demand our attention.

From the antecedents of the respective belligerents, and the statement
of Bede, it seems almost certain that the Pagan chieftain, Penda, was
the aggressor, and, anxious to avenge the death of Cadwalla, his
quasi-Christian ally, invaded the Northumbrian kingdom, on the frontier
of which he was successfully confronted by his Christian antagonist. The
tradition in Geoffrey's day, at least, distinctly states that Oswald's
conqueror was the aggressor. He says--"inflamed with rage, he went in
pursuit of the holy king." See Ante, p. 67.

Referring to the antecedents of the war under Oswy, which followed
Oswald's death, and in which Penda was slain near the river Winwid, Mr.
Green ("Making of England") says--"That Oswiu strove to avert the
conflict we see from the delivery of his youngest son, Ecgfrith, as a
hostage into Penda's hands. The sacrifice, however, proved useless.
Penda was _again the assailant_, and his attack was as vigorous as of
old." We, therefore, in the first instance, should naturally look for
the battle-field in Northumbria, rather than in North Wales,[16] or even
in Mercia.

Another important element with reference to the disputed site has not
hitherto, to my knowledge, received the attention it deserves. Geoffrey
of Monmouth, and the Welsh Bruts, notwithstanding their determination to
give all the honour to the defunct British chief, Cadwalla, could have
no motive for falsifying the site of the battle. Indeed, his reference
to it by name, as will be seen by the extract previously given, is of an
ordinary passing character.

Now, there is a locality, in the parish of Winwick, and in the "Fee of
Makerfield," to the north of the great barrow or tumulus, to which I
shall call further attention, that answers, on true phonetic laws, to
this nomenclature. Mr. Edward Baines says--"The original proprietors of
the township of Ashton" (which is the largest township in the old parish
of Winwick) "derived their name from Bryn Hall, the place of their
residence, or gave their name to that place, and Alan le Brun occurs in
the 'Testa de Nevill,' as holding by ancient tenure two bovates of land
for 6s. of Sir Henry de Le." It is here apparent that the present name
Bryn was originally Brun, and, as brun and burn are, by what
philologists term transliteration, but different renderings of the same
word, meaning a spring or brook, Geoffrey's varied reading of the name
of the locality--"at a place called _Burne_," strongly supports the
other evidence in favour of the Lancashire site. Edward Baines,
referring to the ancient Lancashire family, the Gerards of Bryn,
says--"This family have had four seats within the township of Ashton,"
(in Makerfield), "namely, Old Bryn, abandoned five centuries ago; New
Bryn, erected in the reign of Edward VI.; Garswood, taken down at the
beginning of the present century; and the new hall, the present
residence of the family."

Nennius says Penda slew Oswald at the "battle of Cocboy,"[17] and that
"he gained the victory by diabolical agency." No attempt, however,
within my knowledge, has been made to identify "Cocboy" with any
existing locality. There is, however, I understand, a place near the
ancient pass of the Mersey, or Latchford, and contiguous to the great
Roman road, named Cockedge. As Cocboy is unknown this may be a
corruption of it. Etymologists identify _coc_ with the British _gosh_ or
red. As the new red sandstone crops out in the neighbourhood, this
interpretation accords with the local condition.

Latchford, too, would be significant, if like _Lich_field, it had its
root in the Anglo-Saxon _lic_, but this is doubtful. Lichfield or
Litchfield, the "field of dead bodies," is said to have derived its name
from the circumstance that "many suffered martyrdom there in the time of
Dioclesian."[18] In Gibson's "Etymological Geography," _Win_-feld, where
Arminius, or Hermann, defeated the Roman legions under Varus, A.D. 10,
is said to signify the "field of victory." A similar etymology is
equally valid for _Win_wick, and hence its significance. Indeed, the
intransitive form of the Anglo-Saxon verb _winnan_, whence our _win_,
signifies "To gain the victory." A similar interpretation will equally
apply to Winwidfield, near Leeds, the scene of Penda's subsequent defeat
and death.

When dealing with the identification of modern with ancient names, it is
well to bear in mind the remarks of so erudite a philologist as
Professor Dwight Whitney. In his "Life and Growth of Language," he
says--"It must be carefully noted, indeed, that the reach of phonetics,
its power to penetrate to the heart of its facts and account for them,
is only limited. There is always one element in linguistic change which
refuses scientific treatment, namely, the action of the human will. The
work is all done by human beings, adapting means to ends, under the
impulse of motives and the guidance of habits which are the resultant of
causes so multifarious and obscure that they elude recognition and defy
estimate." Again, "Every period of linguistic life, with its constantly
progressive changes of form and meaning, wipes out a part of the
intermediates which connect a derived element with its original. There
are plenty of items of word-formation in even the modern Romanic
languages, which completely elude explanation. Mere absence of evidence,
then, will not in the least justify us in assuming the genesis of an
obscure form to be of a wholly different character from that which is
obvious or demonstrable in other forms. The presumption is wholly in
favour of the accordance of the one with the other; it can only be
repelled by direct and convincing evidence." And again, "As linguistics
is a historical science, so its evidences are historical, and its
methods of proof of the same character. There is no absolute
demonstration about it: _there is only probability_, in the same varying
degree as elsewhere in historical enquiry. There are no rules, the
strict application of which will lead to infallible results. Nothing
will make dispensable the wide gathering-in of evidence, the careful
sifting of it, so as to determine what bears upon the case in hand and
how directly, the judicial balancing of apparently conflicting
testimony, the refraining from pushing conclusions beyond what the
evidences warrant, the willingness to rest, when necessary, in a merely
negative conclusion, which should characterize the historical
investigator in all departments."

The most important ancient structure at present remaining in the parish
of Winwick is an immense tumulus called "Castle Hill." Mr. Edward Baines
says--"At the distance of half-a-mile from and to the north of Newton,
stands an ancient barrow, called _Castle Hill_. It is romantically
situated on elevated ground, at the junction of two streams, whose
united waters form the brook which flows past the lower part of the town
of Newton.[19] The sides and summit of the barrow are covered with
venerable oaks, which to all appearance have weathered the rude and
wintry blasts for centuries. It is a spot well adapted for the repose of
the ashes of the mighty dead."

Mr. W. Beamont, in a paper read before the Lancashire and Cheshire
Historic Society, on the "Fee of Makerfield," etc., in March, 1873,
says,--"On the west side of this rivulet" (the Golbourne brook), "where
the red rock rises above it, there is scooped out a rude alcove or cave,
which the country people assign to Robin Hood, the popular hero, who in
most of our northern counties divides with Arthur of the Round Table and
Alfred the Great the right to legendary fame. The Castle Hill, which
stands in a commanding position above the other bank of the stream, and
is boul-shaped, is 320 feet in circumference at the base, 226 feet in
circumference at the top, and it has an elevation of 17 feet above the
level of the field below."

On a recent visit I found the old oaks, like faithful veteran sentinels,
still guarding, in Mr. Baines's language, "the repose of the mighty
dead." One or two of them, however, exhibited unmistakeable evidence
that the rude blast of the storm-wind and fiery embrace of the
lightning-flash had shattered their aged limbs, while the benumbing
grasp of Time had chilled their heretofore invigorating sap. Yet,
although they are destined, in a relatively very short period, from
_their_ chronological standpoint, to succumb to the destiny of all
organic life, and finish their lengthened existence in ignominious
association with the faggot-shed, still their venerable forms,
notwithstanding the dilapidations which attest the force of years of
elemental conflict, in conjunction with the historic and legendary
memories with which they are associated, render them more suggestive
teachers in their decay than they were in the pride of their stalwart
and umbrageous prime.

Another change has likewise come over the scene since Mr. Beamont's
description was written. The stream near Newton has been blocked by an
earthen embankment, and the "Castle Hill" now overlooks a beautiful
artificial lake, with three branches. Robin Hood's cave, alas! had to be
sacrificed; four or five feet of water now placidly flows over the site
of its former entrance.

This tumulus, situated on the Gol-_bourne_ brook, in the Fee of
Mackerfield, was opened on the 8th of July, 1843. An account of this
excavation, by the Rev. E. Sibson, was published in the "Transactions of
the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society" at the time, from
which I gather the following important particulars. Mr. W. Beamont, who
was present during the excavations, likewise (in the paper previously
quoted) gives a detailed account of the mode of procedure adopted, and
of the remains discovered. The mound was found to be artificial, and
composed of earth, sand, and rock taken from a trench on the south and
west sides. This trench was then found to be about five feet deep and
forty feet wide. It appeared to have been originally seven feet deep,
two of which had been excavated out of the solid rock. A shaft six feet
wide was sunk in the centre of the tumulus, and an adit to meet it, from
the west side, on the level of the original soil. Mr. Beamont says--"At
the distance of about ten feet from the centre of the barrow, on the
south side of the shaft, a chamber was discovered. The base of this
chamber was two feet broad, and it was curved. Its length was twenty-one
feet, its height two feet, and the roof was a semi-circular arch. It
seemed to be constructed of masses of clay, about a foot in diameter,
rolled into form in a moist state, and closely compacted by pressure.
When the chamber was first opened the candles were extinguished, and
there was great difficulty in breathing. The sides and bottom of the
chamber were coated with impalpable powder, of smoke colour. The bottom
of the chamber was covered with a dark-coloured substance. The external
surface of this substance was like peat earth, being rough, uneven, and
of a black colour. The inside of it, when broken, was close and compact,
and somewhat similar to black sealing-wax, which, when examined by the
microscope, was found to be closely dotted with particles of lime. It
was thought to be a mixture of wood ashes, half burned animal matter,
and calcined bones. On this plate of animal matter, which had been
placed on the edge of the original green sward, was a covering of loose
earth, about two inches in thickness, which might have fallen from the
roof and sides of the chamber. Immediately below the plate of animal
matter a trench had been cut, about fifteen inches deep, and two tiers
of round oak timber had been placed in it. The first tier was notched
into the green sward, and the second tier was nine inches below it. The
horizontal distance of the several pieces was about eighteen inches, and
the pieces in the lower tier were placed exactly opposite to those in
the upper one. Several of the pieces were charred, and many of them had
entirely disappeared, leaving black marks in the sides of the trench,
where they had formerly been placed. These pieces of oak appeared to
have been three or four inches in diameter. In almost all the cases the
wood of these pieces had been absorbed; in some cases the bark on the
under side of these pieces was carbonised, and had nearly the appearance
of coal; and in other cases the bark on the under side of these pieces
retained its original form and colour. In one case, however, one of
these pieces, in contact with the animal matter, had the appearance of
dry decayed wood. The trench, below the plate of animal matter, was
filled with clay."

Mr. Beamont gives several other interesting details, and adds,--"It is
probable that this chamber contained the original deposit, and that it
had never been opened before. On the roof of the east side of the
chamber there was discovered a very distinct and remarkable impression
of a human body. There was the cavity formed by the back of the head,
and this cavity was coated with a very thin shell of carbonised matter.
The depression of the back of the neck, the projection of the shoulders,
the elevation of the spine, and the protuberance of the lower part of
the body, were distinctly visible. The body had been that of an adult,
and the head lay towards the west. The exact form and vertical position
of the circular chamber was indicated by a ridge on the crest of the
hill, which was one reason why the tunnel was driven from the bottom of
the shaft towards the south." The writer further informs us that the
"Castle Hill is said to be haunted by a white lady, who flits and
glides, but never walks. She is sometimes seen at midnight, but is never
heard to speak." The Rev. Mr. Sibson adds--"There is a tradition that
Alfred the Great was buried here, with a crown of gold, in a silver
coffin." He likewise says that in a "drift, on the east side of the
shaft, and near the centre of the hill, a broken whetstone was found. It
was of freestone of a fine grain, of a dull white colour, slightly
veined with red; and the surface was finely polished. It was about five
inches in length and three in breadth." He likewise figures a fragment
of an urn, apparently of Roman manufacture, from the presence of which
he inferred that "the Castle Hill had been a place of interment for
persons of distinction for a long period."

Dr. James Fergusson, in an appendix to his work on "Rude Stone Monuments
of All Countries," gives, at length, an account of the opening, in 1846,
of a huge tumulus, named "Oden's Howe," near Upsala, by Herr Hildebrand,
the royal antiquary of Sweden. The similarity of many of the remains
brought to light to those found in the "Castle Hill," seems to suggest
that these tumuli were erected by cognate people, and at no very distant
periods from each other. Herr Hildebrand says,--"During the diggings
were found unburnt animal bones, bits of dark wood, charcoal, bits of
burnt bones, etc. This was evidently a sepulchral mound. Diggings have
also been made in the smaller cairns near by, and, although they have
been opened before, burial urns have been found, burnt human bones,
bones of animals and birds, bits of iron and bronze, etc.... At the
middle of the howe, the grave-chamber is nine feet above the level of
the soil, 18 feet under the top of the howe. On the bed of the clay,
under the great stones, have been found an iron clinker three inches
long, remains of pine poles partly burnt, a lock of hair chestnut
coloured, etc. The numerous clusters of charcoal show that the dead had
been burned on the layer of clay, and the bones have been collected in
an urn not yet found. In one of the nearest small howes have been found
a quantity of burnt animal and human bones, two little-injured bronze
brooches, a fragment of a golden ornament, etc." After further
examination of the contents of the howe, Herr Hildebrand says, "June
29th, 1847,--The burial urn has been found in the grave-chamber, also
have turned up bones of men, horses, dogs, a golden ornament delicately
worked, a bone comb, bone buttons, etc." He afterwards writes to say
that the burial urn was found three inches under the soil, and was
covered with a thin slab. "It was seven inches high, nine inches in
diameter, filled with burnt bones, human and animal (horse, dog, etc.),
ashes, charcoal (of needle and leaf trees), nails, copper ornaments,
bone articles, a bird of bone, etc. In the mass of charcoal also were
found bones, broken ornaments, bits of two golden bracteates, etc. Coins
of King Oscar were then placed in the urn, and everything restored as
before. Frey's Howe was opened, and showed the same results."

"Dr. Fergusson, commenting on this, says--"With a little local industry,
I have very little doubt, not only that the date of these tombs could be
ascertained, but the names of the royal personages who were therein
buried, probably in the sixth or seventh century of our era."

In a paper read before the Lancashire and Cheshire Historic Society, in
March, 1860, the late Dr. Robson says--"In the Ordnance survey as first
published on the inch scale, about half a mile to the east of Winwick
church, we find a couple of tumuli, one on each side of a bye-lane; but
in the later and larger map, a single tumulus is marked, through the
centre of which the road seems to have been cut. The earlier survey
gives the more correct representation of the place, as there have
certainly been at least two barrows, one in the field on the east, the
other in that of the west side of the lane." The latter is on a farm
called "Highfields." As the land has long been under cultivation, the
tumulus was not very well defined, but it appeared to have been about
thirty yards in diameter. The summit is "distinct enough," says Dr.
Robson, and "is about six feet above the level of the lane." This mound
was dug into in November, 1859, and the Dr. records that "deposits of
burned bones were found at some distance from its centre, on the slopes
to the east and south. These bones were in small fragments, apparently
in distinct heaps, mixed with minute particles of burnt wood, and one or
two fragments of brown, thick, ill-burnt and rude pottery turned up,
not, however, appearing to have any connection with the bone
deposits--the only portion of which offering any recognisable character,
was the head of a thigh bone of a subject twelve or fourteen years old.
About six feet deep in the centre, the red sandstone rock was
reached.... Some labourers working in the field on the other side of the
lane, fifteen years ago, came upon an urn with bones in it, apparently
of a similar description. This tumulus was removed at the beginning of
the present year, and the men in their operations cutting into some soft
black stuff, struck a spade into an urn and broke it into pieces; it
seems to have been of large size, and has a feathered pattern scored on
the outside, in other respects agreeing with the fragments already
described. It contained bones in the same fragmentary state as those
found on the west side of the lane, and with them a stone hammer-head
and a bronze dart."

Near these tumuli, on the ordnance map, is a place named Arbury. This
name has evidently had originally some connection with these mounds. In
the "Imperial Gazetteer," Arbury, in Herts, on the Icknield-st., is
described as a "Roman camp," and so is Arbury or Harborough, near
Cambridge, as well as Arbury Banks, on the Watling-st., near Chipping
Norton, Northamptonshire. In Anglo-Saxon the prefix _ar_, according to
Bosworth's Dictionary, signifies "glory, honour, respect, reverence,"

Dr. Robson discusses at some length the presumed date of these
interments, and contends that such nomenclature as "stone and bronze
periods" only mislead. He says--"In some graves are coins which carry a
date with them, and in others Roman remains which belong to the first
four centuries of our era. But in tumuli such as those at Winwick, there
is nothing to show whether it was raised six centuries before or six
centuries after that period." From the drawings which accompany Dr.
Robson's paper, there appears nothing to vitiate the hypothesis that
these mounds were raised on the battle-field of 642. The stone hammer is
highly finished and polished. The form of the spear-head agrees with
some of the examples figured by Mr. Thomas Wright and Mr. L. Jewitt, as
pertaining to the earlier Anglo-Saxon period. It presents a kind of
transition from between the shorter Roman bronze and the more elongated
iron of the later Anglo-Saxon time. The "feathery pattern" scored on
the pottery resembles the rude "herring-bone," or zig-zag ornamentation
of late Roman and early Anglo-Saxon masonry.

Another and much larger tumulus until recently was situated opposite to
the parish church at Warrington, and contiguous to the ancient
Latchford, by which the British trackway and the great Roman road
crossed the Mersey. For some miles both on the east and west, in early
times, no other route was practicable; the mosses on the one hand and
the tidal estuary on the other presenting insuperable obstacles,
especially to heavy traffic. The tumulus at Warrington, named the "Mote
Hill," was entirely removed in 1852. Pennant had conjectured it to be
Roman; Ormerod, Norman; and John Whitaker, Saxon. In a paper read before
the Lancashire and Cheshire Historic Society, on November, 1852, Dr.
Kendrick gave a detailed account of the excavation, and exhibited the
discovered remains. Some of the pottery was rude (apparently
Romano-British), and cremated human remains were present, as well as an
immense quantity of the remains of animals. Referring to Whitaker's
conjecture of the Saxon origin of the mound, or of that race having
utilised it, Dr. Kendrick says--"to this opinion I think all the
appearances detailed this evening afford strong support." Mr. Sibson,
likewise, who was present at the examination of the hill in 1832, and
again in 1841, coincides in this view, and suggests that it originally
constituted a _tumulus_, or burial place, raised after the battle fought
at Winwick. Dr. Kendrick thought that as the church was dedicated to
St. Elphin, slain in 679, the mound might have covered his remains; but
the Pagan character of the interment or interments negatives this view.

Mr. W. T. Watkin, in a note to the present writer, says--"Dr. Kendrick's
account compared with that of Mr. Sibson evidently shows that the mound
was originally a Roman boundary mark, used afterwards in Saxon and
mediæval times for various purposes. The second excavation merely shows
the contents of the mound as they _were thrown in_ after the first
exploration, with the exception of the well and one or two smaller
details." He adds--"All these things are in accordance with the rules of
the Roman _agrimensores_." This view seems very probable.[20]

I am inclined to regard these tumuli, in the main, as monuments of the
site of some great battle or battles, and that amongst others, Maserfeld
may be, perhaps, the latest and most important fought in the
neighbourhood previous to the disuse of cremation and the general
adoption of the modern Christian mode of interment. The whole of these
large barrows were evidently erected by people who burned and buried
their dead on the spot where the memorial mound or monument was
afterwards erected. We know from the Venerable Bede's record, how the
body of King Oswald was disposed of. Besides the king being a pious
Christian, such a mode of sepulture would not have been adopted by his
followers. Penda, on the contrary, was a Pagan, and strongly attached to
the superstitions and customs of his Teutonic ancestors. We know that
the Pagan Anglo-Saxons in England practised both modes of interment, the
burial of the body entire and cremation. Mr. Thomas Wright says--(Celt,
Roman, and Saxon, p. 401) "The custom in this respect appears to have
varied with the different tribes who came into the island. In the
Anglo-Saxon cemeteries in Kent, cremation is the rare exception to the
general rule; while it seems to have been the _predominating practice_
among the Angles from Norfolk into the centre of Mercia." It is,
therefore, highly probable, if the battle of Maserfeld was fought in
this district, that these tumuli, or some portion of them, were raised
by the Pagan Mercian victors over the bodies of chieftains of their
party slain in the battle. Nennius says that in the conflict Penda's
brother Eawa was slain, and, consequently, he and the other Pagan
chieftains who fell in the battle would be interred in Pagan fashion by
the victorious survivors.

The oldest Anglo-Saxon poem extant, "Beowulf," the scene of the events
of which Mr. D. Haigh, in his "Conquest of Britain by the Saxons,"
contends to be the neighbourhood of Hartlepool, in Durham,[21] has
preserved to us a description of such a ceremonial in detail. On
Beowulf's death, his warriors raised a funeral pile to burn the body. It

    hung round with helmets,
    with boards of war, [shields]
    and with bright byrnies, [coats of mail]
    as he had requested.
    Then the heroes, weeping,
    laid down in the midst
    the famous chieftain,
    their dear lord.
    Then began on the hill,
    the warriors to awake
    the mightiest of funeral fires;
    the wood-smoke rose aloft
    dark from the fire;
    noisily it went,
    mingled with weeping.

His faithful followers afterwards erected the barrow over his ashes:--

    a mound over the sea;
    it was high and broad,
    by the sailors over the waves
    the beacon of the war-renowned.
    They surrounded it with a wall
    in the most honourable manner
    that wise men
    could desire.
    They put into the mound
    rings and bright gems,
    all such ornaments
    as before from the hoard
    the fierce-minded men
    had taken.

The date of the erection of the first parish church at Winwick is not
known with certainty. Some contend that it was coeval with the
introduction of Christianity into the North of England by Paulinus.
Although this is incapable of absolute verification, it is generally
conceded that a church must have existed for some time antecedent to
the Norman conquest. The Domesday Survey, under the head of "Newton
Hundred," seems to confirm this. It says, "Under the reign of King
Edward" (the Confessor) "there were five hides in Newton: one of these
was held in demesne. The church of this manor had one carucate of land,
and St. Oswald, of this village, had two carucates, _exempt from all
taxation_." Mr. Baines says--"In 1828, while digging a vault in the
chancel of this church, there were found, at the depth of eight or ten
feet below the floor, three human skeletons of gigantic size, laid upon
each other, and over them a rude heap of cubical sandstone blocks of
irregular dimensions, varying from one to two feet. No remains of
coffins were found in the grave, and the history of the occupants of
this mysterious tomb remains undiscovered." It seems, however, not
improbable that these interments took place anterior to the building of
the church, that the skeletons were the remains of chieftains who
perished with Oswald, and that the sacred edifice, dedicated to the
warrior saint, was afterwards erected on the spot.

The first known record of the old church at Oswestry is thus referred to
by the Rev. D. R. Thomas (His: Diocese of St. Asaph):--"The Parish
Church of St. Oswald is first definitely mentioned in 1086 in the Grant
of Warin, Vicecomes ... to the abbot and monks of Shrewsbury Abbey,
dedit eis _Ecclesiam Sancti Oswaldi_ cum decima ville;" but there is a
belief that there was a still earlier one elsewhere than on the present
site, which may be due partly to the fact that the town was originally
built on some other site, partly to the circumstance that several of the
earlier mission stations are still indicated by such names as Maen
Tysilio, Croes-Wylan, Cae Croes, and Croes Oswaldt, or The Cross; and to
the tradition which Leyland records, "that at Llanforda was a church
now" (sixteenth century) "decaid. Sum say this was the paroche church of

I have previously referred to the ancient well, situated about
half-a-mile from Winwick Church, known from time immemorial as "St.
Oswald's Well." Mr. Edward Baines regards this sacred spring as having
been originally formed by the excavation of earth on the spot where
Oswald fell, and he fortifies his position by reference to Bede, who
says--"Whereupon many took up of the very dust of the place where his
body fell, and putting it into water, did much good with it to their
friends who were sick. This custom came so much into use, that the earth
being carried away by degrees, there remained a hole as deep as the
height of a man."

Perhaps the most important objection to the Oswestry site lies in the
fact that there is no satisfactory representative of the name of
Maserfeld to be found in its neighbourhood.[22] One writer says--"In the
vicinity of the town, at a place called by the Welsh 'Cae Naef'
(Heaven's Field) there is a remarkably fine spring of water, which bears
the name of Oswald's Well, and over which, as recently as the year 1770,
were the ruins of a very ancient chapel likewise dedicated to him."
Commenting on this, Mr. E. Baines says--"The well in that country is a
spring and not a fosse, as described by Bede, and is as the well at
Winwick," and he regards this feature as additional evidence in favour
of the presumed Lancashire site of the battle. The saint's _well_ is
not, however, of much value, as Bede makes no mention of any spring,
natural or otherwise, and wells dedicated to saints in the "olden time,"
are common all over the country. Indeed, there is a natural spring near
the main highway about a mile to the north of Winwick Church, which is
likewise called St. Oswald's well. From Bede's context it is evident
Oswald died on the ordinary dry earth, which, in consequence,
thenceforth produced greener grass than the surrounding land, and the
_soil_ was afterwards mixed with water and used medicinally. In England
there are at least five different places named after St. Oswald, and, in
addition, many ecclesiastical edifices have been dedicated to him.

There is something mysterious, or at least curiously coincident, about
this Welsh "Cae Naef," or "Heaven's Field," as this latter, according to
Bede, is the name of the site of the previous battle in 635, when Oswald
defeated and slew Cadwalla. The same authority likewise refers to it as
being fought "at a place called Denises-burn, that is Denis's-brook."
Dr. Giles says "Dilston is identified with the ancient Deniseburn, but
on no authority." Dilston is situated about two miles from Hexham.
Sharon Turner says--"Camden places this battle at Dilston, formerly
Devilston, on a small brook which empties into the Tyne." He adds,
"Smith, with greater probability, makes Errinburn as the rivulet on
which Cadwallon perished, and the fields either of Cockley, Hallington,
or Bingfield, as the scene of the conflict. The Angles called it
Hefenfield, which name, according to tradition, Bingfield bore." Dr.
Smith says that Hallington was anciently Heavenfelth, but adds that
probably the whole country from Hallington southward to the Roman wall
was originally included in the name. On the place where Oswald is said
to have raised a cross, as his standard during the battle, a church was
afterwards erected. Thus it would at first sight appear that Oswestry
might enter into competition with Bingfield for the site of the
Heavenfield struggle, rather than with Winwick for that of Maserfeld.
There is, however, one important fact which fatally militates against
this. Bede says, referring to the Heavenfield where Cadwalla met his
death, the "place is near the wall with which the Romans formerly
enclosed the island from sea to sea, to restrain the fury of the
barbarous nations, as has been said before." The greater probability is
as the two engagements are intertwined by the Welsh Bruts, and in the
Oswestry and Geoffrey traditions, that the place owes its designation
directly to neither the one nor the other; but that, like the sites I
have mentioned, the dedication of a church to the saint has been
sufficient to confer his name on the locality. That a neighbouring well,
under such circumstances, should receive a similar designation, is too
ordinary a matter to require special consideration.

It is not at all improbable that, as Geoffrey and the Welsh Bruts both
refer to the battle in which Oswald fell as fought at or near Burne, the
Oswestry traditions may have originally only had reference to the battle
of Denis-BURN or Denis-brook, in which the Welsh Christian hero,
Cadwalla, was slain by his hated rival, the Anglican Christian king
Oswald, of Northumbria. It is utterly improbable that the Welsh
Christians would dedicate a church to St. Oswald. The first Christian
king of Northumbria, Edwin, the friend of Paulinus and Augustine, was
slain by Cadwalla, "king of the Britons," or Brit-Welsh, in a battle at
Heathfield (Hadfield, in the West Riding of Yorkshire), A.D. 633, in
which he was aided by the pagan Penda. The Brit-Welsh Christians and the
disciples of Augustine and Paulinus hated each other with more than
ordinary sacerdotal intensity, and the former often entered into
alliances with the pagan Anglo-Saxons, in order to avenge themselves on
their detested rivals. One of the subjects of fierce contention between
them, as is well known, related to the time for the celebration of
Easter. Bede, referring to the defeat of Edwin at Heathfield and the
consequences attendant thereon, says--

"A great slaughter was made in the church or nation of the
Northumbrians; and the more so because one of the commanders by whom it
was made was a pagan, and the other a barbarian more cruel than a pagan;
for Penda, with all the nation of the Mercians, was an idolator and a
stranger to the name of Christ; but Cadwalla, although he bore the name
and professed himself a Christian, was so barbarous in his disposition
and behaviour, that he neither spared the female sex, nor the innocent
age of children, but with savage cruelty put them to tormenting deaths,
ravaging all their country for a long time, and resolving to cut off all
the race of the English within the borders of Britain. Nor did he pay
any respect to the _Christian religion which had newly taken root among
them_; it being to this day" (the 8th century) "the custom of Britons
not to pay any respect to the faith and religion of the English, nor to
correspond with them any more than with pagans."

Unquestionably no Christian church was dedicated to St. Oswald at
Oswestry until after the final subjection of the district by the
Anglican Christians. The probability therefore is that the locality was
merely named, as in the other instances referred to, from the fact that
it had become the location of a place of worship dedicated to him, and
that gradually the various traditions about the saint and his rivals
became inextricably confused. The last syllable "_tre_" is indicative of
British influence in the formation of the word Oswestry, as in Pentre,
Gladestry, Coventry (in Radnorshire), Tremadoc, Trewilan, Tredegar,
etc., which simply means, according to Spurrell's Welsh dictionary,
"resort, homestead, home, hamlet, town (used chiefly in composition)."
Indeed, Oswestry is more suggestive of Oswy's-tre, and may refer to a
successor who, some time after Oswald's death, built a church and
dedicated it to the saintly monarch.

The pagan Mercian king, Penda, was himself slain in the following year
by Oswy, the successor to St. Oswald. Bede says "the battle was fought
near the river Vinwed, which then with the great rains had not only
filled its channel, but overflowed its banks, so that many more were
drowned in the flight than destroyed by the sword." Most authorities
place this battle at Winwidfield, near Leeds. Mr. Thos. Baines, however
("Historical Notes on the Valley of the Mersey," His. Soc. Lan. and
Ches. Pro. session 5), claims for Winwick the scene of both engagements.
He says--"Penda and upwards of thirty of his principal officers were
drowned in their flight, having been driven into the river Winweyde, the
waters of which were at that time much swollen by heavy rains. There is
no stream in England which is more liable to be suddenly flooded than
the stream which joins the Mersey below Winwick[23], and there both the
resemblance of the names, and the probability of the fact, induce me to
think that Penda met with his death within two or three miles of the
place at which Oswald had fallen."

This seems, at first sight, plausible enough, but as Bede distinctly
states that "King Oswy concluded the aforesaid war in the country of
Loides" (Leeds), Winwidfield must unquestionably have preference over
the Lancashire site, as the scene of Penda's discomfiture and death.

It is generally accepted that Oswald died either at Oswestry or Winwick.
There are some, however, who accept neither, but contend that the true
site of the battle may yet, possibly, be found in a different locality.
This appears to be the opinion of Mr. John R. Green. In support of this
view he says ("Making of England")--"Though the conversion of Wessex had
prisoned it (Mercia) within the central districts of England, heathendom
fought desperately for life. Penda remained its rallying point; and the
long reign of the Mercian king was in fact one continuous battle with
the Cross. But so far as we can judge from his acts, Penda seemed to
have looked on the strife of religion in a purely political light. The
point of conflict, as before," [that is when Edwin was defeated and
slain at Hatfield] "seems to have been the dominion over East Anglia.
Its possession was vital to Mid-Britain as it was to Northumbria, which
needed it to link itself with its West-Saxon subjects in the south; and
Oswald must have felt that he was challenging his rival to a decisive
combat when he marched, in 642, to deliver the East Anglians from Penda.
But his doom was that of Eadwine; for he was overthrown and slain in a
battle called the battle of Maserfeld."

If this view be accepted, the claim of Oswestry must be at once
dismissed, while that of Winwick is rendered still more doubtful. But
Mr. Green does not state on what authority he relies when he states that
Oswald "marched in 642, to deliver the East-Anglians from Penda." In
consequence I am unable to test its value or probability. He certainly
would not march by either Oswestry or Winwick if such were his
destination. This statement, however, appears to be not exactly in
accordance with another by Mr. Green, previously quoted, in which he
says, referring to the antecedents of the war under Oswy, which
followed Oswald's death, and in which Penda was slain near the river
Winwid--"That Oswiu strove to avert the conflict we see from the
delivery of his youngest son Ecgfrith as a hostage into Penda's hands.
The sacrifice, however, proved useless. _Penda was again the assailant_,
and his attack was as vigorous as of old."

If Penda was the assailant, his assault must, in the first instance,
have been not on Oswald himself, but on his East-Anglian allies, or
Oswald would not have thought of marching in that direction for their
relief. But if Penda, having previously humbled the East-Anglians, had
become aware of such intention on the part of the Northumbrian monarch,
there is nothing improbable in a vigorous warrior of Penda's stamp, by a
rapid march, surprising him on the frontier of his own dominions,
defeating him, and thus warding off the threatened blow. Under such
circumstances Winwick might very probably have been the scene of the
conflict. The advocates of Oswestry do not deny the great probability
that Oswald had a favourite residence in the locality.

The neighbourhood of Winwick, however, is the undisputed site of a
battle in more recent times. After the Duke of Hamilton's defeat at
Preston, by Cromwell, in 1648, the former made a stand against his
pursuers at a place called "Red Bank," where he was totally routed by
the less numerous but highly disciplined army of his more skilful

A rude piece of sculpture built in the outer wall, evidently a relic
from an older edifice, was long supposed to be a representation of the
crest of St. Oswald; but this is disputed by Mr. Edward Baines. He
says--"The heralds assign to that monarch azure, a cross between four
lions rampant, or." He adds--"Superstition sees in the chained hog the
resemblance of a monster in former ages, which prowled over the
neighbourhood, inflicting injury on man and beast, and which could only
be restrained by the subduing force of the sacred edifice." This
sculpture he regards as not improbably a rude attempt to "represent the
crest of the Gerrards--a lion rampant, armed and langued, with a coronet
upon the head." This is certainly more probable than the heralds'
assignment of "azure, a cross between four lions rampant, or," to
Oswald, which is suggestive of mediæval Norman-French associations and
nomenclature, without the slightest Anglo-Saxon ingredient. The late Mr.
T. T. Wilkinson refers to a tradition which asserts that "the demon-pig
not only determined the site of St. Oswald's Church, at Winwick, but
gave a name to the parish." This attempt to solve the enigma by the
assistance of the squeak of a sucking pig, has evidently originated in
some rural jesting or lame attempt to divine the connection of the
animal with the church and neighbourhood.

This traditionary "monster in former ages, which prowled over the
neighbourhood, inflicting injury on man and beast," is worthy of a
little more serious attention than has hitherto been paid to it. The
legend is evidently but a northern form of the wide-spread Aryan myth
concerning Vritra, the dragon, or storm-fiend, who stole the light rain
clouds (the "herds of Indra," the Sanscrit "god of the clear heaven, and
of light, warmth, and fertilising rain"), and hid them in the cave of
the Panis (the dark storm-cloud). Indra, launching his lightning-spear
into the black thunder-cloud, (personified by the dragon, snake, or
monster whose poisonous breath parched the earth and destroyed the
harvest), released the confined waters and thus refertilised the land.
The Rev. Sir G. W. Cox, in his "Manual of Mythology," says--"In the
Indian tales Indra kills the dragon Vritra, and in the old Norse legend
Sigurd kills the great snake Fafnir." The myth survives in the exploits
of the patron saint of England, St. George, the slayer of the dragon.
In one Teutonic form Odin, or Wodin, hunted the wild boar, the
representative of the stormy wind-clouds. His tusk was a type of the
lightning. This mythical devouring monster is reproduced in Grendel, the
"great scather," in the old Anglo-Saxon poem "Beowulf," the scene of
which Mr. D. Haigh, in his "Conquest of the Britons by the Saxons,"
regards as the neighbourhood of Hartlepool, in Durham.

There exists a great diversity of opinion as to the genesis and original
habitat of the poem, Beowulf. Mr. Frederick Metcalfe, in his "Englishman
and Scandinavian," says--"There is, however, one Saxon work which tells
us of the northern mythology, 'Beowulf,' the oldest heroic, or, as
some will have it, mythic--perhaps it will be best to call it
mytho-heroic--poem in any German language, and which has been pronounced
to be older than Homer." In another place he says--"The date of its
composition has been much debated. By Conybeare it was thought, in its
present shape, to be the work of the bards about Canute's court. The
leading incidents of the plot are as follows:--Beowulf, the son of
Ecgtheow and prince in Scania (South Sweden), hearing how for twelve
years King Hrothgar and his people in North Jutland had been mightily
oppressed by a monster, Grendel, resolves to deliver him, and arrives at
Hart Hall, the Jutish palace, as an avenger."

Mr. Benjamin Thorpe, in the preface to his edition of the poem (1855)
says--"With respect to this the oldest heroic poem in any Germanic
tongue, my opinion is, that it is not an original production of the
Anglo-Saxon muse, but a metrical paraphrase of an heroic Saga composed
in the south-west of Sweden, in the old common language of the north,
and probably brought to this country during the sway of the Danish
dynasty. It is in this light only that I can view a work evincing a
knowledge of northern localities and persons, hardly to be acquired by a
native of England in those days of ignorance with regard to remote
foreign parts. And what interest could an Anglo-Saxon feel in the
valourous feats of his deadly foes, the northmen? in the encounter of a
Sweo-Gothic hero with a monster in Denmark? or with a fire-drake in his
own country? The answer, I think, is obvious--_none whatever_." In a
note Mr. Thorpe says--"Let us cherish the hope that the original Saga
may one day be discovered in some Swedish library." The only MS. of the
poem extant, (MS. Cott. Vitellius A. 15), he says--"I take to be of the
first half of the eleventh century."

With respect to the strictly historical character of this poem, Mr.
Thorpe says--"Preceding editors have regarded the poem of Beowulf as a
myth, and its heroes as beings of a divine order.[24] To my dull
perception these appear as real kings and chieftains of the North, some
of them as Hygelac and Offa, entering within the pale of authentic
history, while the names of others may have perished, either because the
records in which they were chronicled are no longer extant, or the
individuals themselves were not of sufficient importance to occupy a
place in them."

Mr. Haigh likewise contends for the historic value of the poem; but
attributes its locality to Britain. Some of the legends and traditions
of the North of England certainly suggest that the Scandinavian
population settled there were either acquainted with the poem or the
legendary elements which strongly characterise it, and upon which it is
evidently mainly constructed, whatever strictly historical matter, as in
the romances of Richard Cœur de Lion, Charlemagne, Arthur, and others,
may have become incorporated therewith.[25]

Mr. John R. Green ("The Making of England") says, "The song as we have
it now is a poem of the eighth century, the work it may be of some
English missionary of the days of Beda and Boniface, who gathered in the
homeland of his race the legend of its earlier prime."

After referring to the interpolations in which there "is a distinctly
Christian element, contrasting strongly with the general heathen current
of the whole," Mr. Sweet, in his "Sketch of the History of the
Anglo-Saxon Poetry," in Hazlitt's edition of Warton's "His. of English
Poetry," says--"Without these additions and alterations it is certain
that we have in Beowulf a poem composed before the Teutonic conquest of
Britain. The localities are purely continental; the scenery is laid
amongst the Goths of Sweden and the Danes; in the episodes the Swedes,
Frisians, and other continental tribes appear, while there is no mention
of England, or the adjoining countries and nations."

Mr. Jno. Fenton, in an able article on "Easter" in the _Antiquary_ for
April, 1882, says--"To us in western lands the equinox is the beginning
of spring and the new life of the year; but in the east it is the
beginning of summer, when the early harvest is also ripe, when the sun
is parching the grass and drying up the wells, when, as Egyptian
folk-lore has it, a serpent wanders over the earth, infecting the
atmosphere with its poisonous breath."[26]

These mythical huge worms, serpents, dragons, wild boars, and other
monsters, "harvest blasters," are still very common in the North of
England. The famous "Lambton worm," of huge dimensions and poisonous
breath, when coiled round a hill, was pacified with copious draughts of
milk, and his blood flowed freely when he was pierced by the spear-heads
attached to the armour of the returned Crusader. The Linton worm curled
itself round a hill, and by its poisonous breath destroyed the
neighbouring animal and vegetable life. The Pollard worm is described as
"a venomous serpent which did much harm to man and beast," while that at
Stockburn is designated as the "worm, dragon, or fiery flying serpent,
which destroyed man, woman, and child."

In the ancient romance in English verse, which celebrates the deeds of
the renowned Sir Guy, of Warwick, is the following quaint description
of a Northumberland dragon, slain by the hero:--

    A messenger came to the king.
    Syr king he sayd, lysten me now,
    For bad tydinges I bring you.
    In Northumberlande there is no man,
    But that they be slayne everychone;
    For there dare no man route,
    By twenty myle rounde aboute,
    For doubt of a fowle dragon,
    That sleath men and beastes downe.
    He is blacke as any cole,
    Ragged as a rough fole;
    His body from the navill upwards.
    No man may it pierce it is so harde;
    His neck is great as any summere;
    He renneth as swift as any distrere;
    Pawes he hath as a lyon;
    All that he toucheth he sleath dead downe,
    Great winges he hath to flight,
    That is no man that bare him might,
    There may no man fight him agayne,
    But that he sleath him certayne;
    For a fowler beast then is he,
    Ywis of none never heard ye.

The said Guy, amongst other marvellous exploits, killed at "Winsor,"

    A bore of passing might and strength,
    Whose like in England never was,
    For hugenesse both in breadth and length.

Mr. Barrett, a saddler, of Manchester, with antiquarian taste, in an
illuminated MS., now in the Chetham Library, refers to an old tradition
concerning a dragon whose den was amongst the red sandstone rocks in the
neighbourhood of Lymm, about five miles from Warrington. Geoffrey of
Monmouth, in Merlin's prophesy especially, often refers to these
mythical monsters; and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is equally expressive
in attributing disaster to their influences. In the latter work we read:
"A.D. 793. This year dire forewarnings came over the land of the
Northumbrians, and miserably terrified the people; these were excessive
whirlwinds and lightnings; and fiery dragons were seen flying in the
air. A great famine soon followed these tokens." Mr. Baring-Gould says,
as recently as the year 1600,--"A German writer would illustrate a
thunderstorm destroying a crop of corn by a picture of a dragon
devouring the produce of the field with his flaming tongue and iron

That this tradition at Winwick respecting a "monster in former ages,
which prowled over the neighbourhood, inflicting injury on man and
beast," is a legitimate descendant from our Aryan ancestors'
personification of natural phenomena, seems very apparent, and aptly
illustrates what Sir G. W. Dasent terms the "toughness of tradition,"
especially when interwoven with the marvellous or supernatural. Mr.
Walter K. Kelly, in his "Curiosities of Indo-European Tradition and
Folk-Lore," says--"These phenomena were noted and designated with a
watchfulness and a wealth of imagery which made them the principal
groundwork of all the Indo-European mythologies and superstitions. The
thunder was the bellowing of a mighty beast or the rolling of a wagon.
The lightning was a sinuous serpent, or a spear shot straight athwart
the sky, or a fish darting in zigzags through the waters of heaven. The
stormy winds were howling dogs or wolves; the ravages of the whirlwind
that tore up the earth _were the work of a wild boar_."[27] Mr. Fiske,
in his "Myths and Myth-makers," says that these mythical monsters "not
only steal the daylight, but they parch the earth and wither the fruits,
and they slay vegetation during the winter months."

These traditionary "Harvest Blasters," as they are sometimes styled,
have a wide range, and are not confined even to the various branches of
the Aryan race.

Most writers agree in assigning the origin of heraldry, in the modern
acceptation of the term, to the crusades. At least little is recorded
concerning the "science," or "art," as it is sometimes termed,
previously to the middle of the twelfth century. It was found necessary
during the religious wars in the east that the knights should wear some
device or distinguishing badge on the field of battle, on account of the
diversity of the languages spoken by the combatants, and hence the term
"cognizance" was often applied to these symbols. This, in the following
century, eventuated in the adoption of the warlike badges or "arms" of
the original bearers by their families. They afterwards became
hereditary characteristics, and hence the development of the _quasi_
science. These devices were figured on crest, banner, and shield. One
authority (Pen. Cyclop.) says--"The crest is said to have been carved on
light wood, or made of leather, _in the shape of some animal, real or
fictitious_, and fastened by a fillet of silk round the helmet, over
which was a large piece of fringed samit or taffeta, pointed with a
tassel at the end." The same writer adds--"The custom of conferring
crests as distinguishing marks seems to have originated with Edward
III., who, in 1333 (Rot. Pat., 9 Edward III.), granted one to William
Montacute, Earl of Salisbury, his 'tymbre,' as it is called, of the
eagle. By a further grant, in the thirteenth of the same king (Rot.
Vasc., 13 Edward III., m. 4), the grant of this crest was made
hereditary, and the manor of Wodeton given in addition to support its

I am inclined, notwithstanding, to regard heraldry in its more extended
significance, that is if the term can properly be applied to practices
anterior to the establishment of heralds, as of much greater antiquity
than the crusades. Herodotus tells us that the Carians first set the
Greeks the example of fastening crests upon their helmets, and of
putting devices upon their shields. The "totems," or beast symbols, of
our savage ancestors undoubtedly preceded the mediæval practice, and
influenced its incipient development. The "White Horse" of Hengist, the
"Raven" of the Scandinavian vikings, the "Golden Dragon" of the kings of
Wessex, as well as others, might be mentioned, which clearly demonstrate
this position. Uther, the father of Arthur, according to Geoffrey of
Monmouth, caused "two dragons to be made of gold, which was done with
wondrous nicety of workmanship." The quasi-historian adds--"He made a
present of one to the cathedral church of Winchester, but reserved the
other for himself to be carried along with him to his wars. From this
time, therefore, he was called Uther Pendragon, which in the British
tongue signifies the dragon's head." Indeed, amongst savage nations at
the present or relatively recent time, we find "totems" or symbols, such
as beaver, snake, hare, cornstalk, black hawk, dog, wolf, bear, beaver,
little bear, crazy horse, and sitting bull, not only used by the warrior
chiefs, but even the tribes sometimes take their names therefrom.

Mr. E. B. Tylor, in his "Early History of Mankind," says--"More than
twenty years ago, Sir George Grey called attention to the divisions of
the Australians into families, and distinguished by the name of some
animal or vegetable, which served as their crest or _kobong_." He
adds--"The Indian tribes" (of America) "are usually divided into clans,
each distinguished by a _totem_ (Algonquin _do-daim_, that is 'town
mark,') which is commonly some animal, as a bear, wolf, deer, etc.,
which may be compared on the one hand to a crest, and on the other to a

Indeed, until very recently, some of our own regiments had their "beast
totem" in the shape of a goat, a bear, or a tiger, which generally
marched at the head of the corps. The goat, I believe, yet survives, and
the men of one regiment are designated "tigers" to this day.

The crest is evidently one of the oldest, if not the oldest, forms in
which the beast symbol was displayed. The bronze Roman helmet, or rather
bust or head of Minerva, found at Ribchester, in 1796, had originally a
sphinx as a crest. This appendage, however, having become detached, has
since been lost. The gladiators' helmet decorations, in the pictures
found at Pompeii, are generally plumes or tufts of horsehair, but some
of their shields exhibit devices suggestive of those of more recent
date. The Roman historians, recording the events pertaining to the
great Cimbri-Teutonic invasion rather more than a century before the
Christian era, state that each of the fifteen thousand horsemen, which
formed the élite of the army of Bojorix, "bore upon his helmet the head
of some savage beast, with its mouth gaping wide."

Osman, the son of Ertoghrul, was the founder of the Turkish empire (A.D.
1288-1326). One writer (Pen. Cyc.) says--"The name Osman is of Arabic
origin (Othman), and signifies literally the bone-breaker; but it also
designates a species of large vulture, usually called the royal vulture,
and in this latter acceptation it was given to the son of Ertoghrul."

The Rev. Isaac Taylor, in his "Etruscan Researches," referring to the
origin of the tribal "totem" of the Asena horde, afterwards named Turks,
says--"It is not difficult to discover the genesis of the legend. It has
been already shown that the ancient Ugric word _sena_ meant a 'man.' The
analogy of a host of ancient tribe-names leaves little doubt that the
Asena simply called themselves 'the men.' This obvious etymology of the
name having in lapse of time become obscure by linguistic changes, the
word _schino_, a wolf, was assumed to be the true source of the national
appellation, and the myth came into existence as a means of accounting
for the name of the nation which proudly called itself the 'wolf-race,'
and bore the wolves' heads as its 'totem.'"

It is said the Kabyls tattoo figures of animals on their foreheads,
cheeks, nose, or temples, in order to distinguish their various tribes.
A similar practice obtains generally in central Africa and the Caroline

The plague, sent by Artemis to punish Æneus, who had neglected to offer
up to her a portion of a sacrifice, was a "monstrous boar," afterwards
slain by Meleagros, Atalanta, and others, in the famous Kalydonian hunt,
is evidently a Greek form of a mythical "monster, which in former ages
prowled over the neighbourhood, inflicting injury on man and beast."

The boar, or the boar's head, was a favourite helmet crest or "totem"
amongst our Teutonic ancestors, both Scandinavian and German. This
animal was sacred to the goddess Friga, or Freya, whom Tacitus, in his
"Germania," styles the "mother of the gods," and from whom our Friday is
named. She was propitiated by the warriors in order to secure her
protection in battle. This practice is often referred to in the sagas,
as well as in the earliest known example of Anglo-Saxon poetry extant,
"Beowulf." The following illustrations are from this remarkable poem:--

    When we in battle our mail hoods defended,
    When troops rushed together and boar-crests crashed.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Then commanded he to bring in
    The boar, an ornament to the head,
    The helmet lofty in war.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Surrounded with lordly chains,
    Even as in days of yore,
    The weapon-smith had wrought it,
    Had wondrously finished it,
    Had set it round with shapes of swine,
    That never afterwards brand or war-knife
    Might have power to bite it.
    They seemed a boar's form
    To bear over their cheeks;
    Twisted with gold,
    Variegated and hardened in the fire;
    This kept the guard of life.

       *       *       *       *       *

    At the pile was
    Easy to be seen
    The mail shirt covered with gore,
    The hog of gold,
    The boar hard as iron.

In the episode relating the events attendant on the battle of Finsburgh,
in the same poem, we find similar importance attached to the boar, as
the warrior's protector. We read--

    Of the martial Scyldings,
    The best of warriors,
    On the pile was ready;
    At the heap was
    Easy to be seen
    The blood-stained tunic,
    The swine all golden,
    The boar iron-hard, etc.

In the "Life of Merlin," Arthur and his kinsman, Hoel, are described as
"two lions," and "two moons." In the same poem, Hoel is styled the
"Armorican boar."

In the Welsh poem, "The Gododin," by Aneurin, are several allusions to
the boar and the bull, as warlike appellations:--

    It was like the tearing onset of the woodland boar;
    Bull of the army in the mangling fight.

       *       *       *       *       *

    The furze was kindled by the ardent spirit, the bull of conflict.

       *       *       *       *       *

    And those shields were shivered before the herd of the roaring

       *       *       *       *       *

    The boar proposed a compact in front of the course--the great plotter.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Adan, the son of Ervai, there did pierce,
    Adan pierced the haughty boar.

Mr. F. Metcalfe, in his "Englishman and Scandinavian," says--"Indeed
this porcine device was common to all the Northern nations who
worshipped Freya and Freyr. The helmet of the Norwegian king, Ali, was
called Hildigölltr, the boar of war, and was prized beyond measure by
his victors (Prose Edda, I., 394). But long before that Tacitus (Germ.,
45) had recorded that the Esthonians, east of the Baltic, wore
swine-shaped amulets, as a symbol of the mother of the gods.

Tacitus adds--"This" (the wild-boar symbol) "serves instead of weapons
or any other defence, and gives safety to the servant of the goddess,
even in the midst of the foe."

This connection of the boar with the religious ceremonies and warlike
exploits of our pagan ancestors is often referred to in the Edda. The
valiant Norseman believed that when he entered Walhalla he should join
the combats of the warriors each morning, and hack and hew away as in
earthly conflict, till the slain for the day had been "chosen," and
mealtime arrived, when the vanquished and victorious returned together
to feast on the "everlasting boar" (sœhrimnir), and carouse on mead and
ale with the Æsir. The boar's head, which figured so conspicuously in
the Christmas festivities of our ancestors, is evidently a relic, like
the mistletoe and the yule-log, of pagan times.

There is nothing, therefore, improbable in the proposition that the
standard, totem, or helmet-crest of some devastating Teutonic chieftain
like Penda, the ferocious pagan conqueror of Oswald, may have been of
this porcine character. The Christian adherents of the Northumbrian king
and saint would very easily confound him and the devastation attendant
upon his victorious march through their country, with the dethroned and
abhorred pagan deity whose emblem formed his crest or "totem," as well
as with the older wild boar storm-fiend, or "the monster who prowled
over the neighbourhood, inflicting injury on man and beast," and for the
subdual of which the sanctity of the edifice of the saintly monarch was
alone effectual. In the prophecy attributed to Merlin, King Arthur is
described as the wild boar of Cornwall, that would "devour" his enemies.
The mingling of ancient superstitious fears with the more modern
Christianity, especially with reference to such matters as charms,
prophylactics, etc., is of very common occurrence even at the present
day. Sir John Lubbock, in his "Origin of Civilisation and the Primitive
Condition of Man," says--"When man, either by natural progress or the
influence of a more advanced race, rises to a conception of a higher
religion, he still retains his old beliefs, which linger on side by side
with, and yet in utter opposition to, the higher creed. The new and more
powerful spirit is an addition to the old pantheon, and diminishes the
importance of the older deities; gradually the worship of the latter
sinks in the social scale, and becomes confined to the ignorant and
young. Thus a belief in witchcraft still flourishes amongst our
agricultural labourers and the lowest class in our great cities, and the
deities of our ancestors survive in the nursery tales of our children.
We must, therefore, expect to find in each race traces--nay, more than
traces--of lower religions."

Some parties regard the Winwick sculpture as "St. Anthony's pig," but
they acknowledge they know of no connection of that saint with the
parish. But, as I have shown in the previous chapter, "the deeds of one
mythical hero are sure, when he is forgotten, to be attributed to some
other man of mark, who for the time being fills the popular fancy."
Keightley, in his "Fairy Mythology," says--"Every extraordinary
appearance is found to have its extraordinary cause assigned, a cause
always connected with the _history_ or _religion, ancient or modern_, of
the country, and not unfrequently _varying with the change of faith_.
The mark on Adam's Peak, in Ceylon, is by the Buddhists ascribed to
Buddha; by the Mohammedans to Adam."

Mr. Mackenzie Wallace, in his "Russia," speaking of the Finns and their
Russian neighbours, says--"The friendly contact of two such races
naturally led to a curious blending of the two religions. The Russians
adopted many customs from the Finns, and the Finns adopted still more
from the Russians. When Yumala and the other Finnish deities did not do
as they were desired, their worshippers naturally applied for protection
or assistance to the Madonna and the 'Russian god.' If their own
traditional magic rites did not suffice to ward off evil influences,
they naturally tried the effect of crossing themselves as the Russians
do in moments of danger." In another place he says--"At the harvest
festivals, Tchuvash peasants have been known to pray first to their own
deities and then to St. Nicholas, the miracle-worker, who is the
favourite saint of the Russian peasantry. This dual worship is sometimes
recommended by the Yornzi--a class of men who correspond to the medicine
men among the Red Indians." He truly observes--"popular imagination
always uses heroic names as pegs on which to hang traditions."

Bishop Percy, in the preface to his translation of "Mallet's Northern
Antiquities," says--"Nothing is more contagious than superstition, and
therefore we must not wonder if, in ages of ignorance, one wild people
catch up from another, though of very different race, the most arbitrary
and groundless opinions, or endeavour to imitate them in such rites and
practices as they are told will recommend them to the gods, or avert
their anger."

Jacob Grimm says (Deutsche Mythologie)--"A people whose faith is falling
to pieces will save here and there a fragment of it, by fixing it on a
new and unpersecuted object of veneration."

It appears, therefore, that the Winwick monster, in this respect, is but
an apt illustration of ordinary mythological transference of attributes
or emblems, which in no way invalidates the more remote origin to which
I have ascribed it, or its connection with the totem or beast symbol of
the heathen warrior. The boar, indeed, has been a sacred symbol for ages
amongst the Aryan nations. Herodotus (b. 3, c. 59) says that the
Eginetæ, after defeating the Samians in a sea-fight, "cut off the prows
of their boats, which represented the figure of a boar, and dedicated
them in the temple of Minerva, in Egina."

The Rev. Sir G. W. Cox, in his "Introduction to Mythology and
Folk-Lore," referring to the Greek war god Arês, says--"In the Odyssey
his name is connected with Aphrodite, whose love he is said to have
obtained; but other traditions tell us that when she seemed to favour
Adonis, Arês changed himself into a boar, which slew the youth of whom
he was jealous."

The Mussulman's abhorrence of roast pork is well known. Amongst the
Turkomans of Central Asia (the ancient home of our Aryan ancestors) the
prowess of the living animal is likewise regarded with a strange
superstitious dread, evidently akin to some more ancient belief in the
supernatural attributes of the animal. Arminius Vámbéry, in his "Travels
in Central Asia" (having narrowly escaped serious injury from a wild
porcine assailant), informs us he was seriously assured by a Turkoman
friend that he might regard himself as very lucky, inasmuch as "death by
the wound of a wild boar would send even the most pious Mussulman nedgis
(unclean) into the next world, where a hundred years' burning in
purgatorial fire would not purge away his uncleanness."

Since the above was written I have perceived a passage in Mr. Fiske's
essay on "Werewolves," in his "Myths and Myth-makers," that seems not
only to strengthen the conjecture that the boar was the crest or "totem"
of the pagan Penda, but likewise the probability of the influence of the
older mythical story with which I have associated it. The boar, it must
be remembered, in all the Indo-European mythologies, is associated with
stormy wind and lightning. Mr. Fiske, referring to what he terms one of
the "more striking characteristics of primitive thinking," namely, "the
close community of nature which it assumes between man and brute,"
says--"The doctrine of metempsychosis, which is found in some shape or
other all over the world, implies a fundamental identity between the
two: the Hindu is taught to respect the flocks browsing in the meadow,
and will on no account lift his hand against a cow, for who knows but
that it may be his own grandmother? The recent researches of Mr. Lennan
and Mr. Herbert Spencer have served to connect this feeling with the
primeval worship of ancestors and with the savage customs of
totemism.... This kind of worship still maintains a languid existence as
the state religion of China, and it still exists as a portion of
Brahmanism; but in the Vedic religion it is to be seen in all its native
simplicity. According to the ancient Aryan, the Pitris, or 'Fathers'
(Lat. _Patres_) live in the sky along with Yama, the great original
Pitri of mankind.... Now if the storm-wind is a host of Pitris, or one
great Pitri, who appeared as a fearful giant, and is also a pack of
wolves or wish-hounds, or a single savage dog or wolf, the inference is
obvious to the mythopœic mind that men may become wolves, at least after
death. And to the uncivilised thinker this inference is strengthened, as
Mr. Spencer has shown by evidence registered on his own tribal 'totem'
or heraldic emblem. The bears and lions and leopards of heraldry are the
degenerate descendants of the 'totem' of savagery which designated a
tribe by a beast symbol. To the untutored mind there is everything
in a name; and the descendant of Brown Bear, or Yellow Tiger, or
Silver Hyæna, cannot be pronounced unfaithful to his own style of
philosophising if he regards _his ancestors, who career about his hut in
the darkness of the night_, as belonging to whatever order of beasts his
'totem' associations may suggest."

In the Volsung tale of the Northern mythology the "gods of the bright
heaven" had to make atonement to the sons of Reidmar, whose brother
they had slain. This brother was named "the otter."

Modern surnames have been derived from very varied sources, including
trades, locations, and individual characteristics. Many, identical with
birds, beasts, and fishes, may have originally been what are vulgarly
termed "nicknames," or they may be corrupt modern renderings of very
different ancient words, such as Haddock, from Haydock, a township in
Lancashire; Winter, from vintner; and Sumner from summoner, &c.
Nevertheless, the old tribal "totem" or heraldic device of a feudal
superior may have given rise to some of the following: Wolf, Lyon, Hog,
Bull, Bullock, Buck, Hart, Fox, Lamb, Hare, Poynter, Badger, Beaver,
Griffin, Raven, Hawk, Eagle, Stork, Crane, Woodcock, Gull, Nightingale,
Cock, Cockerell, Bantam, Crow, Dove, Pigeon, Lark, Swallow, Martin,
Wren, Teal, Finch, Jay, Sparrow, Partridge, Peacock, Goose, Gosling,
Bird, Fish, Salmon, Sturgeon, Gudgeon, Herring, Roach, Pike, Sprat, &c.
Some flowers and plants may likewise have formed badges or tribal or
family symbols or "quarterings," and thus given rise to surnames. We
have several of this class, such as Plantagenet (the broom), Rose, Lily,
Primrose, Heath, Broome, Hollyoak, Pine, Thorne, Hawthorne, Hawes,
Hyacinth, Crabbe, Crabtree, Crabstick, &c. The leek, the Welshman's
"totem," is not an uncommon name, though generally spelled Leak. I
never, however, heard of such names as Shamrock or Thistle. On the other
hand, many families have reversed the process and adopted a symbol or
crest from a real or fancied similarity of their names and those of the
selected objects. The figure of a dog is borne on the arms of the Talbot
family, whence, perhaps, the name. The talbot is a dog noted for his
quick scent and eager pursuit of game.

Jacob Grimm ("Deutsche Mythologie,") says:--"Even in the middle ages,
Landscado (scather of the land) was a name borne by noble families." He
further says:--"Swans, ravens, wolves, stags, bears, and lions, will
join the heroes, to render them assistance; and that is how animal
figures in the scutcheons and helmet insignia of heroes are in many
cases to be accounted for, though they may arise from other causes too,
_e.g._, the ability of certain heroes to transform themselves at will
into wolf or swan."

Mr. Charles Elton ("Origins of English History,") says--"The names of
several tribes, or the legends of their origin, show that an animal, or
some other real or imaginary object, was chosen as a crest or emblem,
and was probably regarded with a superstitious veneration. A powerful
family or tribe would feign to be descended from a swan or a
water-maiden, or a 'white lady,' who rose from the moon-beams on the
lake. The moon herself was claimed as the ancestress of certain
families. The legendary heroes are turned into 'swan-knights,' or fly
away in the form of wild-geese. The tribe of the 'Ui Duinn,' who claimed
St. Bridgit as their kinswoman, wore for their crest the figure of a
lizard, which appeared at the foot of the oak-tree above her shrine. We
hear of 'griffins' by the Shannon, of 'calves' in the country around
Belfast; the men of Ossory were called by a name which signifies the
wild red-deer! There are similar instances from Scotland in such names
as 'Clan Chattan,' or the Wild Cats, and in the animal crests which have
been borne from the most ancient times as the emblems or cognizances of
the chieftains. The early Welsh poems will furnish another set of
examples. The tribes who fought at Catraeth are distinguished by the
bard as wolves, bears, or ravens; the families which claim descent from
Caradock or Oswain take the boar or the raven for their crest. The
followers of 'Cian the Dog' are called the 'dogs of war,' and the
chieftain's house is described as the stone or castle of 'the white

The writer, in the Pen. Cyclop., of the memoir of Owen Glendwr,
says--"It was at this juncture that Glendwr revived the ancient prophecy
that Henry IV. should fall under the name of 'Moldwary,' or 'the cursed
of God's mouth'; and styling himself 'the Dragon,' assumed a badge
representing that monster with a star above, in imitation of Uther,
whose victories over the Saxons were foretold by the appearance of a
star with a dagger threatening beneath. Percy was denoted 'the Lion,'
from the crest of his family; and on Sir Edward Mortimer they bestowed
the title of 'the Wolf.'"

Hugh of Avranche, Earl of Chester, was called Hugh Lupus, from his
cognizance or favourite device of a wolf's head.

Shakspere has preserved to us at least two noteworthy instances in which
the "totem" or beast symbol of our savage ancestors survived, with its
original significance, until the period of the "Wars of the Roses." In
the Second Part of "King Henry VI." (Act 5, Scene 1), _Warwick_

    Now, by my father's badge, old Nevil's crest,
    The rampant bear chain'd to the ragged staff,
    This day I'll wear aloft my burgonet
    (As on a mountain top the cedar shows,
    That keeps his leaves in spite of any storm),
    Even to affright thee with the view thereof.

To which boast _Clifford_ replies:--

    And from thy burgonet I'll rend thy bear,
    And tread it underfoot with all contempt,
    Despite the bearward that protects the bear.

_Warwick_, in the following scene, amidst the carnage of battle,

    Clifford of Cumberland, 'tis Warwick calls!
    And if thou dost not hide thee from the bear,
    Now--when the angry trumpet sounds alarm,
    And _dead men's cries do fill the empty air_--
    Clifford, I say, come forth and fight with me!

The expression "_dead_ men's cries do fill the empty air," I have
hitherto regarded, as doubtless most other readers of Shakspere have
done, as either a misprint or an obsolete form of expression, meaning,
in the more modern English, "_dying_ men's cries do fill the empty air."
Taken in connection, however, with the continual reference of Warwick to
the "rampant bear" as his ancestral "totem" or beast symbol, I am
inclined to think it is not improbable that Shakspere, who has made use
of such an enormous number of other superstitious fancies as poetic
images, as well as illustrations of character, may have had in his mind
the old belief that the souls of ancestors, "Pitris," or "Fathers,"
careered and howled amongst the storm-winds in the form indicated by
their beast symbol or tribal "totem." Poetically, the thought is
singularly appropriate to the storm and strife of the battlefield, and
especially to the frenzied agony engendered by the horrors too often
attendant upon "_domestic_ fury and fierce _civil_ strife." Referring
to, and quoting from, the "Exodus," a poem of the Cœdman school, Mr.
Green ("The Making of England") says--"The wolves sang their dread
evensong; the fowls of war, greedy of battle, dewy feathered, screamed
around the host of Pharaoh, as wolf howled and eagle screamed round the
host of Penda." Shakspere places in the mouth of _Calphurnia_, when
recounting the prodigies which preceded Cæsar's assassination, the
following remarkable words:--

    The graves have yawn'd and yielded up their dead:
    Fierce fiery warriors fight upon the clouds
    In ranks and squadrons and right form of war,
    Which drizzled blood upon the Capitol;
    The noise of battle hurtled in the air,
    Horses did neigh and dying men did groan,
    And ghosts did shriek and squeal about the streets.

       *       *       *       *       *

    When beggars die there are no comets seen:
    The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.

Again, in "Richard III." (Act 3, Scene 2), _Stanley's_ messenger informs
_Hastings_ that his master had commissioned him to say he had dreamt
that night "the boar (Richard) had raised off his helm." This, he adds,
his master regards as a warning to _Hastings_ and himself--

    To shun the danger that his soul divines.

The boar was the cognizance, crest, or "totem" of Richard. In the fourth
scene of the same act, _Hastings_, on hearing his death sentence,

    Woe! woe for England! not a whit for me;
    For I, too fond, might have prevented this:
    Stanley did dream the boar did raise his helm;
    But I disdain'd it, and did scorn to fly.

In Act 4, Scene 4, _Stanley_, addressing _Sir Christopher Urswick_,

    Sir Christopher, tell Richmond this from me:
    That in the sty of this most bloody boar,
    My son, George Stanley, is frank'd up in hold;
    If I revolt, off goes young George's head;
    The fear of that withholds my present aid.

In _Richmond's_ address to his army, in the second scene of the fifth
act, the Aryan personification of the destroying storm-wind and "harvest
blaster," as well as "the monster in former ages, which prowled over the
neighbourhood, inflicting injury on man and beast," is very distinctly
indicated, and adds another link to the chain of evidence by which I
have endeavoured to justify the hypothesis that the rude sculpture of
Winwick may represent the crest or "totem" of Penda, the ruthless pagan
victor in the disastrous fight at Maserfeld, in the year 642. _Richmond_

    The wretched, bloody, and usurping boar,
    _That spoiled your summer fields and fruitful vines_,
    Swills your warm blood like wash, and makes his trough
    In your embowell'd bosoms--this foul swine
    Lies now even in the centre of this isle,
    Near to the town of Leicester.

There is an old rhyming couplet, referring to the three personages who
were Richard's chief advisers or instruments, in his usurpation,
Ratcliffe, Catesby and Lovel, which throws additional light on this
beast symbolism:--

    The rat and the cat, and Lovel the dog,
    Do govern all England under the hog.

Amongst our Scandinavian predecessors the customs and superstitions now
under consideration seem to have been deeply rooted. Sir G. W. Dasent,
in the introduction to his translation of the Icelandic saga, the "Story
of Brunt Njal," says the Icelander believed in wraiths and patches and
guardian spirits, who followed particular persons, and belonged to
certain families--a belief which seems to have sprung from the habit of
regarding body and soul as two distinct beings, which at certain times
took each a separate bodily shape. Sometimes the guardian spirit or
Jylgja took a human shape, and at others its _form took that of some
animal to foreshadow the character of the man to whom it belonged_. Thus
it becomes a bear, a wolf, an ox, and even a fox, in men. The Jylgja of
women were fond of taking the shape of swans. To see one's own Jylgja
was unlucky, and often a sign that a man was 'fey,' or death-doomed. So,
when Thord Freedmanson tells Njal that he sees the goat wallowing in its
gore in the 'town' of Bergthirsknoll, the foresighted man tells him that
he has seen his own Jylgja, and that he must be doomed to die. Finer and
nobler natures often saw the guardian spirits of others.... From the
Jylgja of the individual it was easy to rise to the still more abstract
notion of the guardian spirits of a family, who sometimes, if a great
change in the house is about to begin, even show themselves as hurtful
to some member of the house. He believed also that some men had more
than one shape (voru eigi einhamir); that they could either take the
shapes of animals, as bears or wolves, and so work mischief; or that
without undergoing bodily change, an access of rage and strength came
over them, and more especially towards night, which made them more than
a match for ordinary men."

To those who may fancy that in this inquiry I have carried conjecture
and apparent analogy beyond the domain of legitimate critical inference,
I answer in the words of Professor Gervinus, in his comments on the
sonnets of Shakspere--"The caution of the critic does not require that
we should repudiate a supposition so extraordinarily probable; it
requires alone that we should not obstinately insist upon it and set it
up as an established certainty, but that we should lend a willing ear to
better and surer knowledge whenever it is offered." Professor Tyndall,
too, in his "Lectures on Light," referring to the genesis of all
scientific knowledge, says--"All our notions of nature, however exalted
or however grotesque, have some foundations in experience. The notion of
personal volition in nature had this basis. In the fury and the serenity
of natural phenomena the savage saw the transcript of his own varying
moods, and he accordingly ascribed these phenomena to beings of like
passions with himself, but vastly transcending him in power. Thus the
notion of _causality_--the assumption that natural things did not come
of themselves, but had unseen antecedents--lay at the root of even the
savage's interpretation of nature. Out of this bias of the human mind
to seek for the antecedents of phenomena, all science has sprung."

The value of "comparative folk-lore," in the elucidation of obscure
passages in the early history of mankind, especially with regard to
manners, customs, and superstitious faiths, is now pretty generally
acknowledged by archæological students. Since this chapter was first
written I find the subject has been ably treated by Mr. J. A. Farrer, in
the _Cornhill Magazine_ of January, 1875. He says--"The evidence that
the nations now highest in culture were once in the position of those
now the lowest is ever increasing, and the study of folk-lore
corroborates the conclusions long since arrived at by archæological
science. For, just as stone monuments, flint-knives, lake-piles, and
shell-mounds point to a time when Europeans resembled races where such
things are still part of actual life, so do the traces in our social
organism, of fetishism, totemism, and other low forms of thought,
connect our past with people where such forms of thought are still
predominant. The analogies with barbarism that still flourish in
civilised communities seem only explicable on the theory of a slow and
more or less uniform metamorphosis to higher types and modes of life,
and we are forced to believe that ere long it will appear a law of
development, as firmly established on the inconceivability of the
contrary, that civilization should emerge from barbarism as that
butterflies should first be caterpillars, or that ignorance should
precede knowledge. It is in this way that superstition itself may be
turned to the service of science."




The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, under the date 798, says--"This year there
was a great fight at Hwelleage (Whalley), in the land of the
Northumbrians, during Lent, on the 4th before the Nones of April, and
there Alric, the son of Herbert, was slain, and many others with him."

Simeon of Durham has the following reference to this battle:--"A.D. 798.
A conspiracy having been organised by the murderers of Ethelred, the
king, Wada, the chief of that conspiracy, commenced a war against
Eardulph, and fought a battle at a place called by the English
Billangahoh, near Walalega, and, after many had fallen on both sides,
Wada and his army were totally routed."

[Illustration: MAP 2.]

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle informs us that four years previously (794),
"Ethelred, king of the Northumbrians, was slain by his own people, on
the 13th before the Kalends of May." This Ethelred seems to have been a
very unfortunate or a very tyrannical ruler, even for those barbarous
times, for we find, on the same authority, he, in company with Herbert,
"slew three high reves, on the 11th before the Kalends of April," 778,
and that afterwards "Alfwold obtained the kingdom, and drove Ethelred
out of the country; and he (Alfwold) reigned ten years." This same
Alfwold was evidently regarded as a patriot and not as an usurper, for
the Chronicle tells us that he "was slain by Siga, on the 8th before the
Kalends of October; and a heavenly light was frequently seen at the
place where he was slain; and he was buried at Hexham within the
church." He was succeeded by his nephew, Osred, who, the Chronicle says,
afterwards "was betrayed and driven from the kingdom; and Ethelred, the
son of Ethelwald, again obtained the government." Two years later, from
the same authority, we learn that "Osred, who had been king of the
Northhumbrians, having come home from his exile, was seized and slain on
the 18th before the Kalends of October," (792).

These facts throw much light on the social and political state of the
country at the period, and demonstrate that Ethelred's murder was by no
means an exceptional occurrence. Indeed, the slaying of kings by their
own people appears to have been the rule rather than the exception
amongst our ancestors, especially in Northumbria, about this period.
Sharon Turner, in his "History of the Anglo-Saxons," referring to the
internecine conflicts which took place in the North of England for a
lengthened period, and especially about this time, says--"Of all the
Anglo-Saxon Governments the kingdom of Northumbria had been always the
most perturbed. Usurper murdering usurper is the prevailing incident. A
crowd of ghastly monarchs pass swiftly along the page of history as we
gaze, and scarcely was the sword of the assassin sheathed before it was
drawn against its master, and he was carried to the sepulchre which he
had just closed upon another. In this manner, during the last century
and a half, no fewer than seventeen sceptered chiefs hurled each other
from their joyless thrones, and the deaths of the greatest number were
accompanied by hecatombs of their friends."

The public mind, under such circumstances, must of necessity have been
deeply perturbed, and superstition associated the social and political
anarchy which prevailed with the "war of elements," and other attendant
mysterious physical phenomena. The trusty old chronicler, duly impressed
with the solemnity of his theme, informs us that during the year
preceding the murder of Ethelred "dire forewarnings came over the land
of the Northumbrians and miserably terrified the people; these were
excessive whirlwinds and lightnings, and fiery dragons were seen flying
in the air. A great famine soon followed these tokens; and a little
after that, in the same year, on the 6th before the Ides of January, the
ravaging of heathen men lamentably destroyed God's Church at Lindisfarne
through rapine and slaughter."

The "heathen men" here referred to were Danish rovers. These "Northmen,
out of Hæretha-land" (Denmark), had a few years previously (787), in
three ships, "first sought the land of the English nation," and, having
found it and pronounced it good, they ceased not their invasions until
they became masters of the entire kingdom, under Canute the Great. This
conquest of the Northmen mainly resulted from the fact that the English
monarchs of the Heptarchy were continually at war either with the
Britons or amongst themselves. "Domestic treason and fierce civil
strife" added additional strength to the foe, for both regal enemy and
rebellious subject eagerly sought the aid of the pirates, or selected
the occasion of their hostile visits to harass their opponents. Although
we have no record of Danish or other Northmen's ravages in Lancashire in
the reign of Ethelred or his successor, yet we get a very distinct view
of their doings on the eastern coast of Northumbria, and of the
internecine strife which rendered the kingdom a relatively easy prey to
the brave but brutal and remorseless heathen pirates.

The battles described in the previous chapters were more or less
conjectural in some of their aspects; at least the true character of the
presumed Arthurian victories on the Douglas, as well as the site of that
of Penda over St. Oswald, at Maserfield, have not been demonstrated with
such certainty as to obtain universal assent. Such, however, is not the
case with the minor struggle now under consideration. The site assigned
to it has never been doubted. The names recorded by the old chroniclers
are still extant in the locality, with such orthographic or phonetic
changes in their descent from the eighth to the nineteenth century as
philologists would anticipate. The _Hwelleage_ of the Anglo-Saxon
Chronicle, as well as the monk of Durham's mediæval Latin _Walalega_,
are identical with the present Whalley; while _Billangahoh_ is
represented by its descendants Billinge, Billington, and Langho.
Archæological remains have likewise contributed important evidence.
Three large tumuli for centuries have marked the scene of the struggle,
one of which, near to Langho, has been removed, and the remains of a
buried warrior exhumed. According to J. M. Kemble and other Anglo-Saxon
scholars, Billington signifies the homestead or settlement of the sept
or clan of the Billings, as Birmingham is that of the Beormings. This
rule likewise applies to many other localities where the local
nomenclature presents similar features. Consequently, from legitimate
analogy, we learn that Waddington, on the right bank of the Ribble
opposite Clitheroe, is the homestead, town, or settlement of Wadda and
his dependents; and Waddow, in its immediate neighbourhood, the how or
hill of Wadda.

In the fragment of the old Anglo-Saxon poem "The Traveller's Tale,"
mention is made of a Wada as a chief of the Hælsings. Mr. Haigh, in his
"Anglo-Saxon Sagas," regards him as "probably one of the companions of
the first Hencgest." Hence the probability of his being an ancestor of
the chief conspirator against King Eardulph. Mr. Kemble ("Saxons in
England,") says--"Among the heroes of heathen tradition are Wada,
Weland, and Eigil. All three so celebrated in the mythus and epos of
Scandinavia and Germany, have left traces in England. Of Wada, the
"Traveller's Song" declares that he ruled the Hælsings; and even later
times had to tell of Wade's _boat_, in which the exact allusion is
unknown to us: the Scandinavian story makes him wade across the
Groenasund, carrying his son across his shoulder. Perhaps our tradition
gives a different version of this story."

This story may have something to do with the genesis of the legend of
St. Christopher bearing the infant Christ on his shoulders over a broad
stream, a subject of one of the early mediæval pictures discovered some
time ago, on the removal of the whitewash from the walls of Gawsworth
Church, near Macclesfield. The historical anachronism in ascribing such
an action to him may have resulted from the mere transference of it from
the pagan hero to the Christian saint. The original story seems to have
been pretty familiar to the people as late as the fourteenth century.
Mr. Kemble says--"Chaucer once or twice refers to this (Wade's _boat_)
in such a way as to show that the expression was used in an obscene
sense. Old women, he says, 'connen so moche craft in Wade's boat.' Again
of Pandarus:

    'He song, he plaied, he told a tale of Wade.'

 _Troil. Cressid._

'In this there seems to be some allusion to what anatomists have termed
_fossa navicularis_, though what immediate connection there could be
with the mythical Wade, now escapes us.'"

The "Traveller's Tale" likewise refers to a chieftain named "Billing,"
who "ruled the Wærns," and who, in Mr. Haigh's opinion, was likewise a
"probable associate of Hencgest." Mr. Haigh likewise identifies Whaley
in Cheshire, Whalley in Northumberland, and Whalley in Lancashire, with
a chieftain described in the same poem as "Hwala once the best." Dr.
Whitaker, Mr. Baines, and others, however, derive Whalley from
_Walalega_, "Field of Wells."

Mr. Jno. R. Green ("Making of England,") says--"In the star-strown track
of the Milky Way, our fathers saw a road by which the hero-sons of
Waetla marched across the sky, and poetry only hardened into prose when
they transferred the name of Watling Street to the great trackway which
passed athwart the island they had won, from London to Chester. The
stones of Weyland's Smithy still recall the days when the new settlers
told one another, on the conquered ground, the wondrous tale they had
brought with them from their German home, the tale of the godlike smith
Weland, who forged the arms that none could blunt or break; just as they
told around Wadanbury and Wadanhlæw the strange tale of Wade and his
boats. When men christened mere and tree with Scyld's name, at
Scyldsmere and Styldstreow, they must have been familiar with the story
of the godlike child who came over the waters to found the royal line of
the Gwissas. So a name like Hnaef's-scylf was then a living part of
English mythology; and a name like Aylesbury may preserve the last trace
of the legend told of Weland's brother, the sun-archer Egil."

Although we possess but little information respecting the details of the
fight, or of the political complications out of which it arose, we are,
at least, perfectly certain of the locality of the struggle. In
addition, the magnificent scenery by which it is surrounded, in which
grandeur and beauty are seen in the most harmonious combination, the
interesting archæological remains, and the numerous other historic
associations of the neighbourhood, including those connected with
Whalley Abbey, Clitheroe Castle, Mytton, and Stonyhurst, give an
interest to the locality which is denied to the sites of many
battle-fields, the names of which have become "household words," not
merely with one nation or people, but with all the so-called civilised
section of mankind.

One of the tumuli to which I have referred was partially opened by Dr.
T. D. Whitaker, the historian of Whalley. But, as in his day Anglo-Saxon
antiquities were very little sought after and, consequently, very
imperfectly understood, his labours were productive of nothing but
negative results. Canon Raines, however, in a note to his edition of the
"Notitia Cestriensis," published by the Chetham Society, says--"In the
year 1836, as Thomas Hubbertsty, the farmer at Brockhall, was removing a
large mound of earth in Brockhall Eases, about five hundred yards from
the bank of the Ribble, on the left of the road leading from the house,
he discovered a Kist-vaen, formed of rude stones, containing some human
bones and the rusty remains of some spear-heads of iron. The whole
crumbled to dust on exposure to the air. Tradition has uniformly
recorded that a battle was fought about Langho, Elker and Buckfoot,
near the Ribble; and a tumulus was opened within two hundred yards of a
ford of the Ribble (now called Bullasey-ford), one of the very few
points for miles where that river could be crossed. The late Dr.
Whitaker repeatedly, but in vain, searched for remains of this battle,
as he appears to have erroneously concluded that the scene of it was
higher up the river, near Hacking Hall, at the junction of the Calder
and the Ribble."

Dr. Whitaker does not appear to have noticed all the tumuli in the
neighbourhood. In his "History of Whalley" he says--"Of this great
battle there are no remains, unless _a large tumulus_ near Hacking Hall,
and in the immediate vicinity of Langho, be supposed to cover the
remains of Alric, or some other chieftain among the slain." The site of
the tumulus, on the left bank, or south-east side of the Ribble, is
marked on the Ordnance map. It is scarcely three quarters of a mile from
Hacking Hall, and rather more than a mile from Langho chapel. No other
tumulus is noticed by the Ordnance surveyors on the south-east side of
the river.

Canon Raines states that the "large mound" removed by Thomas Hubbertsty,
in 1836, was situated "about five hundred yards from the bank of the
Ribble," and that the tumulus that had been previously opened was only
two hundred yards distant from that stream. The "large mound" of Canon
Raines, removed in 1836, in which remains were found, seems to have been
a smaller affair than the other tumuli. This is affirmed by Mr. Abram,
in a very able paper on the history of the township of Billington, in
the Lancashire and Cheshire Historical Society's Transactions, otherwise
he says, "the farmer would hardly have undertaken to level it." The
tumuli on the right bank or north-west side of the river are named
"lowes" on the six-inch Ordnance map, and "mounds" on the smaller one.
The former name is evidently the Anglo-Saxon _hlœw_, a conical hill or a
sepulchral mound, or tumulus, in the latter sense a synonym of _beorh_
or _bearw_, a barrow. Although these large tumuli are on the north-west
side of the river, the nearest is scarcely half a mile distant from the
site of the removed one near Bullasey-ford on the south-east.

There is some confusion in the various descriptions of these mounds. Mr.
Abram says, referring to the large tumulus called the "Lowe" on the
north-west side of the Ribble--"Into this mound Whitaker had some
excavation made about the year 1815, but he found the work heavy and
gave it up without reaching the centre of the tumulus, where the relics
of sepulture might be expected to be found." As Dr. Whitaker expressly
says, he saw no remains of the battle except "a large tumulus near
Hacking Hall," he must not only have been ignorant of the character of
its immediate neighbour, as well as of the one on the Langho side of the
river, near Bullasey-ford, if this "lowe" was the mound he but partially
disturbed. This can scarcely be the tumulus referred to by Canon Raines
if the distance (two hundred yards) from the river be correct. Neither
can the five hundred yards distance of Mr. Hubbertsty's mound
be reconciled with the site of the tumulus at Brockhall, near
Bullasey-ford. Perhaps his figures have been accidently transposed. I
had previously laboured under an impression that Hubbertsty had merely
completely cleared away the mound but imperfectly excavated by Dr.

Being anxious to arrive at some more definite knowledge respecting these
"lowes" or "mounds," on the ninth of Nov., 1876, I visited the locality,
and by the aid of Mr. Parkinson, the present tenant of Brockhall, I was
enabled to make a far more detailed inspection of the battle-field than
on a hurried visit about twenty years previously. Mr. Parkinson pointed
out the site of the tumulus removed by Mr. Hubbertsty in 1836. Nothing
of it, of course, now remains. He said that it was the only mound of the
kind he had ever heard of on the Langho side of the Ribble. He, however,
pointed out a curious circular agger, about five or six feet broad and a
couple of feet high, which enclosed a level area some sixteen or
seventeen yards in diameter. It is evidently an artificial work, but
without additional evidence it is impossible to say, with any reasonable
degree of probability, by whom it was constructed, or to what use it was
originally applied. On the steep promontory called "Brockhole Wood-end,"
Mr. Parkinson called my attention to curious masses of cemented sand and
pebble stones, which some persons regarded as artificial grout, that had
originally formed part of the massive masonry of an ancient building,
the foundations of which had been undermined by the falling in of the
earth in consequence of the erosive action of the flood water of
the Ribble at the base of the cliff. This, however, I found, on
examination, to be erroneous. The "grout" in question is a geological
phenomenon, a kind of conglomerate or breccia, formed by the percolation
of rain water, charged with carbonic acid and lime, through the mass of
glacial or boulder "till" and its sandy and pebbly contents. The "till"
contains limestones brought by ice from both the Ribble and the Hodder
valleys. The phenomenon is a common one to geologists, and the
"concrete" at "Brockhole Wood-end" is an excellent example of it. On
gazing across the river at the larger "lowe" of the six-inch Ordnance
map, Mr. Parkinson remarked that it appeared to him to be what is termed
by geologists an outlier of the boulder deposits on each side of the
valley, and therefore, not an artificial mound. He pointed out that the
flood waters of the Ribble, Hodder, and Calder met in the plain, and
when the "till" was excavated by a kind of circular motion of the
combined waters, which the present appearance of the valley indicates,
the land situated in the centre or vortex would the longer resist the
abrading action, and eventually, as the passage of the currents became
enlarged, remain a surviving outlier of the general mass of glacial
deposit. On passing the river in the ferry-boat, and, by the aid of a
pickaxe, exposing the material of which this mound is formed, I
confessed that I could detect no difference in its character or
structure from that of the neighbouring geological deposits. Still, as
the mound, if artificial, must have been constructed from the boulder
clay and its unstratified contents, this is not surprising. It is,
however, impossible to solve this problem without a much more searching
investigation. Even if a mound existed at the time the battle was
fought, nothing is more probable than that it would be utilised by the
victors in the interment of their honoured dead. The second and
smaller mound seems very like an artificial one; but this cannot be
satisfactorily affirmed without more complete investigation. Both mounds
have been partially opened near their summits, but with only negative
results, as might have been anticipated, as the Christian Anglo-Saxons
in such cases buried the body in the earth, and afterwards heaped the
tumulus or barrow above it, as a monument to the memory of the deceased
warrior or warriors. This mode of interment had been adopted in the
instance of the tumulus removed by Mr. Hubbertsty in 1836. Interesting
results, both to geologists and archæologists, may, therefore, be
anticipated from a thorough examination of the contents of these
remarkable "lowes" or "mounds;" but, as some expense would be attendant
thereupon, they may yet, for some time, remain an interesting puzzle,
both to the learned and the unlearned in such matters. They are situated
in the midst of the level alluvial plain. The largest is nearly twenty
feet high, and forms a prominent object.

When I first visited the locality I was much amused at the rough and
ready way in which some of the country people accounted for their
construction, or rather the object thereof. They had seen sheep, when
the Ribble valley was flooded, mount on the top of them for safety, and
they innocently concluded that these historic monuments, mementoes of
deadly civil strife during the eighth century, or of the glacial period
of geologists, had been erected by some benevolent or thrifty ancestor
of the owner of the soil for the especial accommodation of ovine
refugees during the deluges to which the low-lying land on the margin of
the river is occasionally subjected.

It is, of course, at the present time, impossible to define the extent
of ground covered by the contending armies during the conflict, or to
give even a satisfactory outline of the general features of the battle.
The Roman road, the seventh iter of Richard of Cirencester, which leads
from the Wyre (the Portus Setantiorum of Ptolemy), by Preston and
Ribchester to York, passed through the township of Billington, crossed
the Calder near the present "Potter's Ford," a little above its junction
with the Ribble, and proceeded a little south of Clitheroe and north of
Pendle-hill, by Standen Hall, and Worston, in Lancashire, and Downham,
into Yorkshire. Mr. Abram seems to think that the battle was most
probably fought on this line of road. He says--"Eardulf encountered the
insurgent army on the extreme verge of his kingdom (for it seems certain
that the country south of the Ribble was then a part, not of the Saxon
kingdom of Northumbria, but that of Mercia). Wada and his army had
probably been driven upon the neutral territory before the decisive
battle could be forced upon him."

This notion that the Ribble and not the Mersey was the southern boundary
of Northumbria in the earlier period of the Heptarchy, was first
propounded by Dr. Whitaker, but upon very slight evidence. It is
sufficient here to say that the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, under the date
923, expressly states that King Edward sent a force of Mercians to take
possession of "Mameceastre (Manchester), _in Northumbria_, and repair
and man it." Again, the same chronicle, when referring to this very
battle, A.D. 798, expressly states that it took place "at Whalley, _in
the land of the Northumbrians_." Against such evidence, Dr. Whitaker's
mistaken dialectal argument, as well as that based on the extent of the
episcopal see of Lichfield, at some period of the Heptarchy, is utterly
valueless. His authority is the ancient document entitled "De Statu
Blackborneshire," supposed to have been written in the fourteenth
century by John Lindeley, Abbot of Whalley. Some notion of the value of
this monkish compilation, with reference to the earlier history of the
district, may be gathered from the fact that the author makes Augustine,
and not Paulinus, the missionary who planted Christianity amongst the
Northumbrian Angles. Dr. Whitaker likewise contends that the Ribble is
the _dialectic_ boundary between the two kingdoms. My own observation,
however, leads me to a very different conclusion. To my ear the change
is by no means so distinctly marked on the north and south sides of the
Ribble as it is on the north and south banks of the Mersey. The swampy
country between the two rivers would rather seem to have been a kind of
"march" or "debateable ground," during the earlier portion of the
Anglo-Saxon and Danish periods, districts in it being sometimes governed
by tributary British chieftains under both Northumbrian and Mercian
kings as the fortune of war from time to time prevailed. Lancashire is
not referred to as a county till the middle of the twelfth century. The
name is never mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. As we find the
"Lands between the Ribble and the Mersey" are surveyed with those of
Cheshire, in the Domesday book, it seems highly probable that they
formed a part of Leofric's earldom of Mercia, at the time of the Norman
conquest. Consequently it is to the latter and not to the earlier
portion of the Anglo-Saxon period that the Ribble formed the southern
boundary of the _earldom_ of Northumbria, rather than of the earlier
independent _kingdom_.

Mr. J. R. Green ("Making of England,") says--"The first missionaries to
the Englishmen, strangers in a heathen land, attached themselves
necessarily to the courts of the kings, who were their earliest
converts, and whose conversion was generally followed by that of their
people. The English bishops were thus at first royal chaplains, and
their diocese was naturally nothing but the kingdom. The kingdom of Kent
became the diocese of Canterbury, and the kingdom of Northumbria became
the diocese of York. So absolutely was this the case that the diocese
grew or shrank with the growth or shrinking of the realm which it
spiritually represented, and a bishop of Wessex or of Mercia found the
limits of his see widened or cut short by the triumphs of Wolfhere or of
Ine. In this way two realms, which are all but forgotten, are
commemorated in the limits of existing sees. That of Rochester
represented, till of late, an obscure kingdom of West Kent, and the
frontier of the original kingdom of Mercia might be recovered by
following the map of the ancient bishopric of Lichfield."

After describing in detail some of the subdivisions made by Archbishop
Theodore (A.D. 669-672), he adds--"The see of Lichfield thus returned to
its original form of a see of the Mercians proper, though its bounds on
the westward now embraced much of the upper Severn valley, with Cheshire
and the lands northward to the Mersey."

Notwithstanding this error with regard to the southern boundary of
Northumbria at that period, the Roman road, in all probability, was
utilised by the contending forces, and some portion of the main battle
was, doubtless, fought in its immediate vicinity. On the other hand, it
is equally probable, as the two larger tumuli are situated on the
north-west bank of the Ribble, that the chief conflict occurred in their
neighbourhood. On this hypothesis, Wada and his allies, on leaving
Waddington, crossed the Hodder, at the ford nearest its mouth, met the
King's army on the banks of the Ribble, and the possession of
Bullasey-ford was the immediate object of the encounter in which the
rebellious chieftain was discomfited. Or the route may have been
reversed. Wada may have crossed the Ribble, at the Bungerley
"hyppyngstones," to the north-west of Clitheroe, or the Edisford, to the
south-west, and after penetrating the southern portion of the present
county, had to fall back before the advance of the King's army, and,
unable to retrace his steps he made for the nearer ford at Bullasey,
where he was defeated and pursued across the river. As the slaughter is
generally greater when a discomfited enemy is routed, perhaps the two
large tumuli, named "lowes," mark the spot where the greatest carnage
ensued. This, however, of course, is merely conjecture. Its value cannot
be tested unless a thorough investigation of the contents of these huge
mounds should throw additional light upon the subject.

The good fortune of King Eardulf deserted him on a future occasion. The
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle says--"A.D. 806. This year the moon was eclipsed
in the Kalends of September; and Eardulf, King of the Northhumbrians,
was driven from his kingdom.... Also in the same year, on the 2nd before
the Nones of June, a cross appeared in the moon on a Wednesday at dawn;
and afterwards in this year, on the 3rd before the Kalends of September,
a wonderful circle was seen about the sun." This is the last we hear of
the victor of Billangahoh, and the manner of his exit from the historic
stage would seem to indicate that his rule, like that of his
predecessor, had become so intolerable that further revolts ensued, and
that Wada's successors, whoever they may have been, being successful in
their contumacy, would be regarded, not as traitors, but as "saviours of
their country." Truly, in struggles of this character, in all ages,
successful "rebels," writing their own history, are ever lauded as
heroes or patriots, while discomfited rulers are, with equal verity,
denounced as tyrants and enemies of the common weal.

A little higher up the Ribble than its junction with the Hodder, and
about a mile below the venerable ruin of the keep of Clitheroe Castle,
the ancient stronghold of the De Lacies, is a handsome modern bridge,
named Edisford or Eadsford, to which I have previously referred. The
country people, however, call it "Itch-uth Bridge," pronouncing the
latter syllable as in Cuthburt.

Johannes, Prior of Hagulstald, records that in this neighbourhood, in
the year 1138, one William, the son of the bastard brother of David,
king of Scotland, when engaged on a foray into England, was gallantly
encountered by a small band, near Clitheroe, but, being overpowered by
numbers, the Lancashire men sustained a slight defeat, and the Scots
took a considerable number of prisoners. The monkish chronicler calls
the northern assailants "Picts and Scots," and adds that they with
difficulty held their own till the fight had lasted three hours.
Tradition has preserved both the memory and the site of this conflict.
Mr. Edward Baines says:--"Vestiges of this sanguinary engagement have
been found at Edisford Bridge, and along the banks of the Ribble, during
successive ages up to the present time."

The "Bashall-brook," after passing "Bashall Hall," enters the Ribble a
little above Edisford Bridge. This is the stream referred to by Mr.
Haigh,[29] as the "Bassus" of Nennius, and the site of one of the
Arthurian victories which attended Colgrin's flight to York, after his
defeat on the Douglas, near Wigan. I have, however, never heard of any
legend or tradition which referred to a battle in the neighbourhood,
except the one recorded by the Prior of Hagulstald.

Near the bridge above Clitheroe may yet be seen the ancient
"hyppyngstones" to which I have previously referred, and by means of
which the river was crossed before the erection of the present viaduct.
These "hyppyngstones" have at least one mournful historical association.
After the fatal battle of Hexham, in the year 1464, the unfortunate
Henry the Sixth, the defeated son of the renowned victor at Agincourt,
was for a time concealed at Bolton-in-Bolland and Waddington Halls. What
transpired is best told in the words of the old chronicler:--

"Also the same yere, Kinge Henry was taken byside a howse of religione
[_i.e._, Whalley Abbey] in Lancashyre, by the mene of a blacke monke of
Abyngtone, in a wode called Cletherwode, beside Bungerley hyppyngstones,
by Thomas Talbott, of Bashalle, and Jhon Talbott, his cosyne, of
Colebury [_i.e._, Salesbury, near Ribchester], with other moo; which
discryvide (him) beynge at his dynere at Waddington Hall; and [he was]
carryed to London on horsebacke, and his legges bound to the

Mr. J. G. Nichols (Notes and Queries, vol 2., p. 229), says--"Waddington
belonged to Sir John Tempest, of Bracewell, who was the father-in-law to
Thomas Talbot. Both Sir John Tempest and Sir James Harrington, of
Brierley, near Barnsley, were concerned in the king's capture, and each
received one hundred marks reward, but the fact of Sir Thomas Talbot
being the chief actor, is shown by his having received the large sum of
£100." In addition to his one hundred marks, Sir James Harrington
received from Edward IV. large grants of land, forfeited by Richard
Tunstell, and other "rebels," "for his services in taking prisoner, and
withholding as such, in diligence and valour, his enemy, Henry, lately
called Henry VI." Mr. Baines says Sir John Talbot likewise received, "as
a reward for his perfidy, a grant of twenty marks a year, from Edward
IV., confirmed by his successor, Richard III., and made payable out of
the revenues of the county palatine of Lancaster."

In his "History of Craven," Dr. Whitaker gives engravings of the
unfortunate monarch's boots, gloves, and a spoon, which were preserved
at Bolton Hall, in Bolland, Yorkshire, then the seat of Sir Ralph
Pudsey, who married a daughter of Sir Thomas Tunstell. I understand
these relics of the unfortunate king have been since removed to Hornby
Castle, Lancashire. The "Old Hall" at Waddington, which has been
converted into a farmhouse, yet presents some massive masonry, and a
field in the neighbourhood still retains the name of "King Henry's

The fate of the unhappy monarch is too well known to necessitate further
reference here.

The neighbourhood of Whalley was the scene of a relatively more recent
combat, of some local importance. During the civil war between Charles
I. and his Parliament, the Earl of Derby advanced, in 1643, from
Preston, to operate in the hundred of Blackburn. One of the "Civil War
Tracts," edited by Ormerod, and published by the Chetham Society,
says:--"The Earl of Derby, the Lord Molineux, Sir Gilbert Hoghton,
Colonel Tildesley, with all the other great papists in the county,
issued out of Preston, and on Wednesday now came to Ribchester, with
eleven troops of horse, 700 foot, and an infinite number of clubmen, in
all conceived to be 5,000." Colonels Ashton and Shuttleworth opposed
them with some regular troops, and a body of peasantry and militia,
hastily levied. A regular engagement, or rather a running fight, took
place between Whalley and Salesbury, in which the Earl was defeated and
pursued to Ribchester. This success appears to have been the precursor
of the subsequent declension of the Earl of Derby's military power in
the county. It was judged to be of so much importance at the time by the
"Roundheads," that a day of thanksgiving was set apart for the victory
by order of Parliament.

The ruin of Clitheroe Castle, on its well-wooded limestone eminence
overlooking the town, forms a picturesque object in the beautiful valley
of the Ribble. I remember well, in my early boyhood, being seriously
informed that the venerable feudal stronghold of the De Lacies was
battered into ruin by no less a personage than the redoubtable Oliver
Cromwell. The truth of this tradition was implicitly believed by me till
some slight study of Lancashire history, and a special visit to the
locality, threw serious doubt upon it. I have likewise a distinct
recollection of the consternation I caused amongst some aged friends,
after a careful inspection of the ruined keep, by my informing them that
if, as the tradition asserted, Cromwell had placed his cannon on "Salt
Hill," about a mile to the east of the fortress, the said ordnance must
have possessed some of the marvellous property ascribed to the Hibernian
weapon, which, on occasion, could "shoot round a corner," the wall of
the keep presenting the largest amount of superficial damage facing
directly west. This dilapidated aspect had, in my hearing, often been
attributed to the pounding the wall had received from Oliver's cannon. A
careful examination, however, satisfied me that the western face of the
structure was simply most weather-worn, on account of the lengthened
action of the prevailing south-westerly winds. Again, "Salt Hill" was
too far distant for the eight-pounder field pieces of the parliamentary
army to make any serious impression on the massive walls.[31] But
tradition is "tough" indeed, and especially if an element of
superstition or partizan zeal be embedded in it. Of course, my critics
had not the slightest objection to allow that there might possibly be
some mistake with regard to the site of his guns, but "everybody knew
that Cromwell did batter the castle into ruin," notwithstanding; and I
was frankly told that nobody thanked me for my _mischievous_ endeavour
to undermine people's faith in the well-known legend!

Cromwell must certainly have _seen_ Clitheroe Castle on his memorable
forced march from Gisburne to Stonyhurst Hall, on August 16th, 1648, the
day previous to his decisive victory over the Marquis of Langdale, on
Ribbleton Moor, and the Duke of Hamilton at Preston and the "Pass of the
Ribble." But there are two good and sufficient reasons why he did not
stay to expend his gunpowder on the fortress. In the first place, he had
not time, having important business on hand that demanded the utmost
expedition. In the second place, the castle was garrisoned by a portion
of the Lancashire Militia, who held the stronghold for the Parliament,
and Cromwell was not the man to amuse himself by bombarding his friends
on the eve of a great, and, as it proved, a decisive battle.

In point of fact, the castle remained intact, till the end of the civil
war, when the only recorded instance of its ever having been even
seriously threatened with a siege, occurred. An ordinance, disbanding
the militia generally throughout the country, did not, it seems, meet
with the approval of the Puritan warriors who held possession of the
Clitheroe fortress, and who, instigated, it was said, by clerical
advisers, "professed for the Covenant," and, in the first instance,
flatly refused to disband until their terms were accepted. After the
enforcement of the law, however, had been entrusted to Major-General
Lambert, these chivalrous champions of the Covenant thought, under such
circumstances, discretion was unquestionably the better part of valour,
and they surrendered the castle to the Parliamentary general without
further pressure. By an order of a Council of State, several of these
strongholds throughout the country were dismantled, with a view to
prevent their military occupation in case of a renewal of the war, and
amongst those so doomed were the castles of Clitheroe and Greenhaugh, in
the county of Lancaster. Thus ignominiously expires one element in the
presumed historic truth of Cromwell's numerous castle and abbey
battering exploits, referred to at length in the first chapter of this
work, and on which the most remarkable and wide-spread legend of
_modern_ and strictly historic times is based.

A still more astounding instance of the appropriation of popular legends
and famous names by localities that have no historical claims to them
whatever, is found in connection with the ancient castle at Bury,
Lancashire. Mr. Edward Baines says--"In the civil wars which raged in
Lancashire in 1644, Bury Castle was battered by the Parliamentary army
from an intrenchment called 'Castle-steads,' in the adjoining township
of Walmersley; and from that period the overthrow of this, as well as of
a large proportion of other castles of the kingdom, may be dated." Mr.
Baines gives no authority whatever for this astounding statement. He
evidently merely repeats a well-known local tradition. It would have
been worth the while of a local historian, one would think, to have made
some enquiry as to the history of the edifice at Bury during the century
which had elapsed between Leland's reference to it, and the redoubtable
exploit of the Parliamentary army in 1644. The earliest authentic record
of the castle is no older than the reign of Henry VIII., but from the
very nature of the record it must have been in existence for a long time
previously. Leland, the "king's antiquary," when travelling through the
country "in search of England's antiquities," _circa_ 1542-9, thus
writes about the place--"Byri-on-Irwell, 4 or V. miles from Manchestre,
but a poore market. There is a Ruine of a Castel by the paroch chirch yn
the Towne. It longgid with the Towne sumetime to the Pilkentons, now to
the Erles of Darby. Pilkenton had a place hard by Pilkenton Park, 3
miles from Manchestre." Leland's distances are, of course, merely
guesses. In this respect he is frequently in error. It is certain that
the de Bury family held land in the parish as recently as 1613, and we
find the manorial rights, at the time of the "Wars of the Roses," were
held by the Pilkington family. Sir Thomas Pilkington, a devoted adherent
to the fortunes of the House of York, obtained from Edward IV. a licence
to "kernel and embattle" his manor-home at Stand, in Pilkington. It is
not, therefore, improbable that the Bury castle at this time ceased to
be a manorial residence, and gradually fell into the ruinous condition
in which it was seen by Leland.

During the time I was inspecting the excavation by the local
commissioners of the site of Bury castle, in October, 1865, I was
courteously permitted by Mr. J. Shaw, of that town, to copy a MS.,
formerly the property of his late father, and, I understood, in that
gentleman's handwriting. It is, however, dated "Bury, April 13th, 1840,"
and signed "T. Crompton," or "Krompton," it is difficult to determine
which. As the document may be said to embody all the "traditional lore"
respecting the subject under consideration, I give it entire:--


"Bury Castle, supposed to be built in the reign of Richard II., in 1380.
The date when erected cannot be positively ascertained. The coin of the
Stuarts, etc., have been found in the foundations. The whole of the
castle was destroyed by the Parliamentary arms, in 1642-3, when the wars
between Charles I. and Cromwell deluged poor England in the blood of her
own children. Edward de Bury was attached to the unfortunate Charles's
cause. He fell, with many others, a prey to the party spirit then raging
so horribly in the land. The river Irwell passed by the north side of
the castle, and run by the north-east turret, the site of the castle,
which forms a parallelogram, was about 11 roods square, and from the
foundation [the walls] seem to have been about two yards thick, with
four round towers, about 60 feet high each. A large stone has been found
which belonged to the archway, with the arms of De Bury engraved
thereon. This drama [_sic_] is principally taken from a legendary tale
of Bury Castle. Cromwell's army (by Stanley) was placed on Bury Moor.
The cannon in an intrenchment at Castle Head [_sic_] on the Walmesley
side of the river. Lord Strange arrayed his army of 20,000 for the Royal
cause on Gallow's Hill, Tottington Side. The river opposite the Castle,
before the course was altered, was about 100 to 120 yards wide."

Traditionary lore, though on the whole generally founded on some
fact or facts, which have become distorted, owing to their frequent
oral transmission by persons utterly ignorant of their original
signification, is scarcely ever to be relied on so far as individuals or
dates are concerned. The stories do unquestionably attest the retention
in the popular mind of something of import that took place in that vague
period denominated the "olden time," but not always accurately what that
_something_ may have been. The Adam de Bury referred to in the document
quoted is either a myth, or the name has reference to some earlier
individual interested in the castle at Bury. Indeed the family appears
to have become extinct before the commencement of the civil wars
referred to. On this point the documentary evidence quoted by Mr. E.
Baines is very conclusive. There can have been no "Adam de Bury attached
to the unfortunate Charles's cause," or his name would have appeared
amongst the Lancashire "lords, knights, and gentlemen," who compounded
with the sequestration commissioners for their estates in 1646.

Cromwell's army could not have been placed on Bury Moor, by either
Stanley or anyone else, in 1642-3, as that general did not enter
Lancashire till 1648, and then his route lay by Stonyhurst, Preston,
Wigan, and Warrington. Lord Strange's "army" of 20,000 men is but
another form of expression for the public meeting held on Bury Moor, the
numbers stated as attending which are doubtless much exaggerated. A
similar meeting was held on Preston Moor, and, singularly enough,
as it was a numerous one, the same authority employs the same
terms--20,000--to express the fact. The placing of the cannon at Castle
Stead is another proof of the ignorance of some of the transmitters of
the tradition, the ordnance during Charles's time being useless at such
a distance.

The statement in Mr. Shaw's document that "coin of the Stuarts, etc.,
have been found in the foundations," is valueless, inasmuch as until the
excavations in 1865, the soil about the _foundations_ does not appear to
have been disturbed; and yet above the original surface, remains were
found of various relatively modern dates, as might have been

I have said there is generally some germ of truth at the bottom of this
class of legendary stories. In this case it is not only possible but
highly probable, that older traditions having reference to the "Wars of
the Roses," may have been confounded with more recent events. This is by
no means an uncommon occurrence, as I have previously contended.
Singularly enough, Mr. Baines laments the lack of historical documents
relating to Lancashire during this eventful period, and which he
attributes to the wilful destruction to which they were subjected by the
partizans of both the contending houses. The only historical event of
any public interest recorded in connection with the bloody struggle for
the crown of England between the Yorkists and the Lancastrians,
relates to the capture of the unfortunate Henry VI. at "Bungerley
hyppyngstones," previously referred to. It is therefore not improbable
that some local events, lost to history, may have survived in the
mutilated form in which tradition presents them at the present day,
although their strictly historical significance is lost, and, what is
worse, flagrant error has usurped its place in the popular mind.

It does not appear, on the authority of any trustworthy evidence, that
Cromwell ever visited Lancashire, at least in a military capacity,
except on the occasion of his great victory over Langdale and Hamilton
in 1648. Of his movements immediately preceding that event, we have his
own statement in a dispatch addressed to "The Honourable William
Lenthall, Esquire, Speaker of the House of Commons." He says--"Hearing
that the enemy was advanced with their army into Lancashire, we marched
the next day, being the 13th of this instant August, to Otley (_having
cast off our train_, and sent it to Knaresborough, because of the
difficulty of marching therewith through Craven, and to the end that we
might _with more expedition_ attend the enemy's motion): and on the 14th
to Skipton; the 15th to Gisburne; the 16th to Hodder Bridge,
over Ribble; where we held a council of war, at which we had in
consideration, whether we should march to Whalley that night, and so on,
to interpose between the enemy and his further progress into Lancashire,
and so southward,--which we had some advertisement the enemy intended,
and [we are] since confirmed that they intended for London itself: or
whether to march immediately over the said Bridge, there being no other
betwixt that and Preston, and there engage the enemy,--who we did
believe would stand his ground, because we had information that the
Irish forces under Munro lately come out of Ireland, which consisted of
twelve hundred horse and fifteen hundred foot, were on their march
towards Lancashire to join them. It was thought that to engage the enemy
to fight was our business; and the reason aforesaid giving us hopes that
our marching on the north side of Ribble would effect it, it was
resolved we should march over the bridge, which accordingly we did, and
that night quartered the whole army in the field by Stonyhurst Hall,
being Mr. Sherburn's house, a place nine miles distant from Preston.[32]
Very early the next morning we marched towards Preston, having
intelligence that the enemy was drawing together thereabouts from all
his out quarters."

At first sight it appears that Cromwell refers to some bridge which
spanned the river Ribble, and named Hodder Bridge. This, however, is not
the case. By the word "over" he means _beyond_, that is they passed over
the Ribble to a bridge spanning the Hodder. Stonyhurst can be approached
from the east by two bridges over this stream called the "upper" and the
"lower." Both have been superseded by new structures, but some
picturesque ruins of their predecessors yet remain. In a note at page
187, "History of Preston and its Environs," I say--"As Cromwell's army
advanced by way of Gisburn he would _necessarily_ pass through
Waddington to the higher bridge, over the river Hodder, on his route to
Stonyhurst." In this case he could ford the Ribble near Salley Abbey a
few miles above Clitheroe, or at the Bungerley "hyppyngstones," nearer
the town. From Cromwell's slight reference to Clitheroe, and his
uncertainty respecting the troops occupying the place, together with
Colonel Hodgson's reference to "Waddey," both of which will be again
referred to, this is the most probable route. But from Gisburn, he _may_
have come direct to Clitheroe, and, passing through the town, have
crossed the Ribble at Eddisford a little below, and proceeded from
thence to Stonyhurst by the "lower bridge of Hodder."

Further, in the evening after the battle, in a letter to the "Honourable
Committee of Lancashire, sitting at Manchester," dated "Preston, 17th
August, 1648," Cromwell expresses some uncertainty as to the forces
stationed at Clitheroe, which evidently shows he made no stay in the
immediate neighbourhood. He says--"We understand Colonel-General
Ashton's [forces] are at Whalley; we have seven troops of horse or
dragoons that we _believe_ lie at Clitheroe. This night I have sent
order to them expressly to march to Whalley, to join to these companies;
that so we may endeavour the ruin of the enemy."

Captain John Hodgson, of "Coalley," near Halifax, whom Thomas
Carlyle somewhat unceremoniously and unnecessarily describes as an
"honest-hearted, pudding-headed Yorkshire Puritan,"[33] left behind him
a kind of journal, in which the details of the campaign are described
with great clearness and minuteness. Hodgson, as his conduct shows, was
not only an honest, but a brave and skilful soldier. He says--"The next
day we marched to Clitheroe; and at Waddey [Waddow, between Clitheroe
and Waddington,] our forlorn of horse took Colonel Tempest and a party
of horse, for an earnest of what was behind. That night we pitched our
camp at Stanyares Hall, a Papist's house, one Sherburne; and the next
morning a forlorn was drawn out of horse and foot; and, at Langridge
Chapel, our horse gleaned up a considerable parcel of the enemy, and
fought them all the way until within a mile of Preston."

If any military action, of even trifling importance, had taken place at
Clitheroe it could not possibly have escaped the notice both of the
general and his detail-loving "commander of the forlorn of foot." After
describing the earlier portion of the struggle with Langdale's troops on
Ribbleton moor, he says--"My captain sees me mounted[34] and orders me
to ride up to my colonel, that was deeply engaged both in front and
flank: and I did so, and there was nothing but fire and smoke; and I met
Major-General Lambert coming off on foot, who had been with his brother
Bright, and coming to him, I told him where his danger lay, on his left
wing chiefly. He ordered me to fetch up the Lancashire regiment; and God
brought me off, both horse and myself. The bullets flew freely; then was
the heat of the battle that day. I came down to the muir, where I met
with Major Jackson, that belonged to Ashton's regiment, and about three
hundred men were come up; and I ordered him to march, but he said he
would not, till his men were come up. A serjeant, belonging to them,
asked me, where they should march? I shewed him the party he was to
fight; and he, like a true bred Englishman, marched, and I caused the
soldiers to follow him; which presently fell upon the enemy, and losing
that wing the whole army gave ground and fled. Such valiant acts were
done by contemptible instruments: The major had been called to a council
of war, but that he cried _peccavi_."

These Lancashire troops, under the command of "Colonel-General" Ashton,
appear to have been brave fellows enough; but, like militia-men in
general, they appear to have had only lax notions of discipline. If not
actually mutinous, they sometimes lacked the subordination essential to
military discipline. Their qualities Captain Hodgson sums up in the
following pithy sentences--"The Lancashire foot were as stout men as
were in the world, and as brave firemen. I have often told them, they
were as good fighters, and as great plunderers, as ever went to a




HAROLD--(On the morn of the battle of Senlac or Hastings)--Our guardsmen
have slept well since we came in?

 LEOFWIN.--    *    *    They are up again
           And chanting that old song of Brunanburg,
           Where England conquer'd.

 _Tennyson's Harold._

Upwards of three centuries had elapsed since the departure of the Roman
legions from Britain, and the presumedly first regularly organised
invasion of the island by the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes, when a new
enemy of the same Teutonic blood and language appeared upon her shores.
The country had been but partially conquered by the first Teutonic
invaders. Picts and Scots held their own in Ireland and that portion of
Great Britain to the north of the estuaries of the Clyde and the Forth.
The Britons were not only masters in old Cornwall and in a more extended
territory than is now included in the present principality of Wales,
but they remained dominant in Strathclyde and Cumberland, which
comprised the lands on the western side of the island between the Clyde
estuary and Morecambe Bay. Christianity had become the recognised
religious faith of both the Britons and the Teutons, but the newly
arrived kinsmen of the latter were still worshippers of Odin, and
marched to battle with his sacred "totem" or cognizance, the "swart
raven" emblazoned on their banners. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, under the
date 787, says--"This year king Bertric took to wife Eadburga, King
Offa's daughter; and in his days first came three ships of Northmen, out
of Hœretha-land [Denmark.] And then the reve rode to the place, and
would have driven them to the king's town, because he knew not who they
were: and they there slew him. These were the first ships of Danish men
which sought the land of the English nation." These three ships landed
in Dorsetshire, and the gerefa or reve, named Beaduheard, of Dorchester,
supposed them to be contraband traders rather than pirates. This mistake
cost him his life, as well as the lives of the whole of his retinue.

The conflicts which followed for many years afterwards between these
heathen pirates and their Christianised kinsmen were characterised by
deeds of remorseless atrocity as well as of indomitable valour. Truly,
every now relatively civilized nation has had to pass through what may
not be inaptly termed its Bashi-Bazouk stage of culture before from it
evolved its present more highly developed intellectual and moral human
features. Mr. Jno. R. Green ("Short History of the English People,")
sums up the more prominent characteristics of this internecine strife as

"The first sight of the Danes is as if the hand of the dial of history
had gone back three hundred years. The same Norwegian fiords, the same
Frisian sandbanks, pour forth their pirate fleets as in the days of
Hengest and Cerdic. There is the same wild panic as the black boats of
the invaders strike inland along the river reaches, or moor round the
river islets, the same sights of horror--firing of homesteads, slaughter
of men, women driven off to slavery or shame, children tossed on pikes
or sold in the market-place--as when the English invaders attacked
Britain. Christian priests were again slain at the altar by worshippers
of Woden, for the Danes were still heathen. Letters, arts, religion,
governments disappeared before these Northmen as before the Northmen of
old. But when the wild burst of the storm was over, land, people,
government reappeared unchanged. England still remained England; the
Danes sank quietly into the mass of those around them; and Woden yielded
without a struggle to Christ. The secret of this difference between the
two invasions was that the battle was no longer between men of different
races. It was no longer a fight between Briton and German, between
Englishmen and Welshmen. The Danes were the same people in blood and
speech with the people they attacked; and were in fact Englishmen
bringing back to an England that had forgotten its origins the barbaric
England of its pirate forefathers. Nowhere over Europe was the fight so
fierce, because nowhere else were the combatants men of one blood and
one speech. But just for this reason the fusion of the Northmen with
their foes was nowhere so peaceful and complete."

[Illustration: MAP 3.]

The chief Danish ravages for nearly a century were confined to the
southern coast and the coast of East Anglia. In 855, the Chronicle
says--"The heathen men for the first time remained over winter in
Sheppey." In 867, it records that "this year the Danish army went from
East Anglia over the mouth of the Humber to York, in North-humbria. And
there was much dissention among that people, and they had cast out their
king Osbert, and had taken to themselves a king, Ælla, not of royal
blood; but late in the year they resolved that they would fight against
the army, and therefore they gathered a large force, and fought the army
at the town of York, and stormed the town, and some of them got within
and there was an excessive slaughter made of the North-humbrians, some
within, some without, and the kings were both slain, and the remainder
made peace with the army."

Some writers say that Ælla was put to death with the most frightful
tortures in revenge for similar cruel treatment, on his part, of his
conquered foe, Ragnar Lodbrock, by the three sons of that somewhat
mythical hero, named Halfden, Ingwar, and Hubba, who commanded the
expedition. The story runs that Ragnar, being taken prisoner by Ælla,
was thrown into a dungeon, and bitten to death by vipers. This Ragnar,
however, has proved so troublesome to northern scholars, that many
regard him as a mythical personage, belonging to an earlier, or what
they term the "heroic period." Scandinavian reliable _history_ only
dates from about the middle of the ninth century. Ælla usurped the
Northumbrian throne in the year 862, and Mr. J. A. Blackwell, in his
edition of Mallett's "Northern Antiquities," says "Ragnar's death is
placed by Suhm, who has brought it down to the latest possible epoch, in
794, and by other writers at a much earlier period." Some of the deeds
attributed to this hero are unquestionably mythical. From the "Death
Song," said to have been written by him, but which Mr. Blackwell regards
as more probably the composition of a Skald of the ninth century, we
learn that Ragnar succeeded, like Indra, Perseus, St. George, and other
solar heroes, in conquering a monster serpent that held in captivity
Thora, the daughter of a chieftain of Gothland, and received the lady in
marriage, as the reward of his prowess. In order to protect himself
against the serpent's venom, it is said that Ragnar "put on shaggy
trousers, from which circumstance he was afterwards called Lodbrok
(_Shaggy-brogues_)." Be this as it may, Ingwar, his presumed son, on the
defeat of Ælla and Osbert, ascended the Northumbrian throne, and the
Danes remained masters of the situation, until the partition of the
kingdom between Godrun and Alfred the Great gave them peaceful
possession of the territory. In the year 876, Halfden, a famous Danish
viking, according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, "appropriated the lands
of Northumbria; and they thenceforth continued ploughing and tilling
them." Consequently, from this period, the great mass of the men of
Scandinavian blood in Northumbria must be regarded rather in the light
of emigrants or settlers than roving pirates, although, doubtless, with
them the sword was always ready to supersede the ploughshare whenever
the arrival of a fleet of their buccaneering relatives on the coast
afforded an opportunity for a successful foray on the lands of their
Anglo-Saxon neighbours.

On the death of Edward the Elder, in the year 925, the "right royal"
grandson of the Great Alfred, the "golden haired" Athelstan, succeeded
to the kingdom of Wessex and its dependencies, which included the whole
of England south of the Humber and the Mersey, with the exception of
Cornwall and East Anglia, and the "overlordship" of the whole of the
Anglo-Saxon and Danish rulers, as well as those of the Welsh and Scots,
whose kings rendered him homage and acknowledged him the legitimate
successor to his father Edward, whom they regarded as "their Father,
Lord, and Protector." Edward the Elder was, at the time of his highest
prosperity, unquestionably the most powerful "Bretwalda" or "overlord"
that had ruled in Britain since the departure of the Romans.

Soon after Athelstan's succession, however, the kings of the present
Principality, or North Wales, as the whole country from the Severn to
the Dee was then called, rebelled against the authority of the hated
fair-haired Sassenach. Athelstan instantly attacked Edwall Voel, king of
Gwynnedd, and wrested the entire sovereignty of his dominion from him.
He, however, on the submission of the other Welsh princes, and their
performance of homage to him at his court held at Hereford, generously
restored it to him. Afterwards the country between the Severn and the
Wye were added to Mercia, and a heavy tribute was imposed on all the
revolted Welsh monarchs. Twenty pounds weight of gold and three hundred
pounds of silver were to be yearly paid into the treasury, or, as it was
then styled, the "Hoard" of the "King of London." To this was to be
added an annual gift of twenty thousand beeves and the swiftest hounds
and hawks that the country possessed.

The Cornish Britons, or West Welsh, as they were then termed, were
afterwards subdued, and thus all Britain south of the Humber and the
Mersey again acknowledged Athelstan's supremacy or "overlordship."

In the year 925, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle informs us that Athelstan and
Sihtric (or Sigtryg), king of the North-humbrians, "came together at
Tamworth, on the 3rd before the Kalends of February; and Athelstan gave
him his sister." But this marriage failed to secure the proposed future
alliance between the Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon sovereigns. The Dane,
who had embraced Christianity, relapsed into the faith of his
forefathers and returned his wife to her former home. Sihtric's death,
however, intervened between the repudiation of Queen Editha, who
afterwards became Abbess of Tamworth, and the vengeance of Athelstan,
which fell upon Anlaf and Godefrid, sons of Sihtric by a former
marriage. Anlaf fled to Ireland, on the east coast of which the Danes
held the supreme authority, and his brother sought refuge with
Constantine, king of the Scots. Referring to these events the
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle says--"A. 926. This year fiery lights appeared in
the north part of the heavens. And Sihtric perished; and king Athelstan
obtained the kingdom of the North-humbrians. And he ruled all the kings
who were in the island; first, Howel, king of the West-Welsh; and
Constantine, king of the Scots; and Owen, king of the Monmouth people;
and Aldred, son of Ealdulf, of Bambrough: and they confirmed the peace
by pledge, and by oaths, at the place which is called Eamot, on the 4th
before the Ides of July; and they renounced all idolatry, and after that
submitted to him in peace."

But the peace was not of very long duration, for the king of the Scots
raised the standard of revolt, and the old Chronicler, or perhaps a
successor, tells us that in the year 933, "Athelstan went into Scotland,
as well with a land army as with a fleet, and ravaged a great part of
it." This defeat of the Scottish king for a time restored Athelstan's
dominion, but the peace which followed was, four years afterwards,
broken by a powerful combination of Athelstan's enemies, which shook the
"overlordship" of the English monarch to its foundation, and threatened
the safety of his inherited kingdoms. The Scots, the Cumbrian Britons,
the North and West Welsh, entered into a league with Anlaf of Dublin and
the Danish chiefs of Northumbria and their Scandinavian allies to lower
the prestige of the English monarch, and to seat the son of Sihtric on
the throne of his ancestors. This fierce conflict culminated in the
great battle of Brunanburh, in the year 937, in which, after a
desperate two days' struggle, the confederate forces of his enemies were
utterly routed, and Athelstan reigned supreme monarch to the end of his
kingly career.

There is some difficulty in determining the exact date of this
celebrated engagement. Sharon-Turner gives it as 934. Worsaae in his
"Danes and Norwegians in England," says 937. Ethelwerd's Chronicle says
939. Sharon-Turner refers to the fact that one MS. of the Anglo-Saxon
Chronicle gives the date 937, notwithstanding which he prefers 934. Dr.
Freeman in his "Old English History" adheres to 937, which seems to be
the most probable date.

We find that British Christians, as on previous occasions, espoused the
cause of the heathen Danes, rather than fraternize with their hated
Anglo-Saxon rivals, the disciples of Augustine and Paulinus. Thus many
elements combined to render this battle one of the bloodiest and most
destructive ever fought on British soil. The great struggle did not take
place immediately on the arrival of Anlaf and his allies. Athelstan's
two governors, Gudrekir and Alfgeirr first confronted the invaders. The
former was slain and the latter fled to his sovereign, with the news of
their discomfiture. Athelstan, with wise forethought, tried the effect
of diplomacy, if only for the purpose of gaining sufficient time for the
assembling of all his forces before staking his sovereignty upon the
issue of a single battle.

The authorities, contemporary or nearly so, for the details of this
decisive campaign, although meagre in comparison with those of more
recent struggles, are nevertheless fuller than usual for the period. We
have the poem in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, a notice in Ethelwerd's
Chronicle, and some Scandinavian accounts, notably Egil's Saga.
Sharon-Turner, however, regards the northern authorities as not entitled
to implicit reliance, as their great object was the laudation of Egil
and Thorolf, Scandinavian mercenaries in the pay of Athelstan, who, they
contend, mainly contributed to the victory by the annihilation of the
"disorderly Irish" contingent.

Athelstan, when his diplomatic _finesse_ had answered his purpose,
suddenly appeared at Brunanburh, and pitched his camp in front of the
enemy. It is related that Anlaf, taken by surprise, imitated Alfred's
stratagem, and entered the royal camp in the disguise of a harper. He
was admitted into the presence of Athelstan, who was ever liberal in his
patronage of poets and musicians, and the Danish king played, sang, and
danced before the assembled chieftains, at a banquet, in the enjoyment
of which he found them engaged previously to the holding of a council of
war. On his dismissal a purse, filled with silver groats, was given to
him as a reward for his services. Anlaf's observant military eye had
detected the weakest point in his adversary's position, and the exact
locality in which the royal tent was pitched, and he determined to
surprise the camp by a sudden night attack, and either slay or carry off
the king a prisoner. One false step, however, robbed him of the
advantage his daring had gained. On leaving the enemy's lines, he was
observed by a sentinel, who had formerly served under him, to bury the
king's gratuity, which he disdained to appropriate to other use, in a
hole in the earth. This aroused the soldier's suspicion, and Athelstan
was informed of the circumstance. The king, in the first instance, was
disposed to treat the man somewhat harshly, and demanded why the
information as to the identity of the pretended itinerant minstrel had
not been communicated to him before his departure. To this the faithful
soldier replied, "Nay, by the same oath of fealty which binds me to
thee, O king, was I once bound to Anlaf; and had I betrayed him, with
equal justice mightest thou have expected treachery from me. But hear my
counsel. Whilst awaiting further reinforcements, take away thy tent from
the spot upon which it now stands, and thus mayest thou ward off the
blow of thine enemy." This advice Athelstan followed, and shortly
afterwards the Bishop of Sherborne arrived with his contingent, and
pitched his tent in the locality vacated by his royal master, which
circumstance cost him his life during the night surprise which followed.
We have Alfred's harper story on the authority of Ingulf and William of
Malmesbury, the former of whom was born in 1030, and the latter in 1095
or 1096, so that they were recording events which had transpired between
one and two centuries before their own adult experience. The Anlaf tale
is too exact a counterpart of the one related about Alfred, not to
suggest doubt as to its veracity; or, if it be a veritable incident in
the life of the Scandinavian warrior, the doubt will have to be
transferred to the story related of his Saxon predecessor. It is not
very probable so transparent an artifice would succeed a second time,
especially when played upon such a clear-headed chieftain as Alfred's
grandson.[35] But, however Anlaf gained his information, the night the
attack took place, Adils, a Welsh prince, detected the strategy of
Athelstan. After the death of the Bishop of Sherborne, he and Hyngr (a
chieftain described in Egil's Saga as a Welshman, but whose name,
Sharon-Turner thinks, sounds very like a Danish one), led the attack on
the main body of the English army. But Athelstan was prepared, and
Thorolf and Alfgeirr's detachments were instantly opposed to them.
Alfgeirr was soon overpowered and fled, on perceiving which Thorolf
threw his shield behind him, and hewed his way with his heavy two-hand
sword through the opposing mass until he reached the standard of Hyngr.
A few moments decided the fate of that chieftain. Thorolf ordered Egil,
though weakened by the defeat and flight of Alfgeirr, to resist Adils,
but to be prepared to retreat to the cover of a neighbouring wood, if
necessary. Adils, mourning the death of his colleague, at length gave
way, and the preliminary nocturnal combat ended. After a day's rest,[36]
Egil led the van of the Anglo-Saxon army, and Thorolf opposed the
"irregular Irish," which formed part of Anlaf's own division, and
extended to the wood previously mentioned. Turketal, the English
chancellor, a man of stalwart proportions, who commanded the citizens of
London, and Singin of Worcestershire, were opposed to Constantine, king
of the Scots, while Athelstan, at the head of his West Saxons,
confronted Anlaf in person. Thorolf attempted to turn the enemies'
flank, when Adils rushed from his ambush in the wood, and countered the
movement. Egils saw with dismay Thorolf's banner retreating. He knew by
this that he must have fallen; and, rushing to the spot, he rallied the
scattered band, successfully renewed the attack, and, in Sharon-Turner's
words, "sacrificed Adils to the manes of Thorolf." The Councillor
pierced the enemy's centre, heedless of the arrows and spears which
fastened on his armour. Constantine and he met and fought hand to hand
for some time, and Singer slew the prince, his son, who fought valiantly
by his father's side. This vigorous and successful onslaught produced a
panic among the Scots, and correspondingly elated the English. In the
meanwhile Athelstan and his brother, Edmund, the Atheling, were engaged
with the main body of the enemy under Anlaf. The grandson of the Great
Alfred and the presumed grandson of Radnor Lodbrog contended both for
dominion and renown. In the midst of the fight Athelstan's sword-blade
snapped near the handle. Another was supplied to him, it was said, by
miraculous agency, which saved his life. At length the tremendous
struggle, which lasted throughout the day, was brought to a close by
Turketal chasing the Scots from the battle-field, and turning Anlaf's
flank. Immense slaughter ensued; the enemy's ranks began rapidly to
thin; the English shouted "victory!" and Athelstan, profiting by the
auspicious opportunity, ordered his banner to the front, and by a
determined and well-directed onslaught, broke the enemy's now enfeebled
ranks. They fled in various directions, and, according to Egil's saga,
"the plain was filled with their bodies." Anlaf and his immediate
followers narrowly escaped to their ships and embarked for Ireland.
Sharon-Turner says--

"Thus terminated this dangerous and important conflict. Its successful
issue was of such consequence, that it raised Athelstan in the eyes of
all Europe. The kings of the continent sought his friendship, and
England began to assume a majestic port amid the other nations of the
west. Amongst the Anglo-Saxons it excited such rejoicings that not only
their poets aspired to commemorate it, but the songs were so popular,
that one of them is inserted in the Saxon Chronicle as the best memorial
of the event."

The following is Dr. Giles's literal rendering of this remarkable poem
into modern English:--

    A. 937.--Here Athelstan, king,
    of earls the lord,
    of heroes the bracelet giver,
    and his brother eke,
    Edmund etheling,
    life-long glory
    in battle won
    with edges of swords
    near Brunanburh.
    The board-walls they clove,
    they hewed the war-lindens,

    Hamora lafan'
    offspring of Edward,
    such was their noble nature
    from their ancestors,
    that they in battle oft
    'gainst every foe
    the land defended,
    hoards and homes.
    The foe they crushed,
    the Scottish people
    and the shipmen
    fated fell.
    The field 'dæniede'
    with warriors' blood,
    since the sun up
    at morning tide--
    mighty planet--
    glided o'er grounds,
    God's candle bright,
    the eternal Lord's--
    till the noble creature
    sank to her settle.
    There lay many a warrior
    by javelins strewed;
    northern men
    over shield shot;
    so the Scots, eke,
    weary, war-sad.
    West Saxons onwards
    throughout the day,
    in bands,
    pursued the footsteps
    of the loathed nations.
    They hewed the fugitives
    behind, amain,
    with swords mill-sharp.
    Mercians refused not
    the hard hand-play
    to any heroes
    who, with Anlaf,
    over the ocean,
    in the ship's bosom,
    this land sought
    fated to the fight.
    Five lay
    on the battle-stead,
    youthful kings,
    by swords in slumber laid:
    so seven, eke,
    of Anlaf's earls;
    of the army countless,
    shipmen and Scots.
    There was made flee
    the North-men's chieftain,
    by need constrained,
    to the ship's prow
    with a little band.
    The bark drove afloat;
    the king departed,
    on the fallow flood
    his life preserved.
    So there, eke, the sage
    came by flight
    to his country north,
    hoary warrior.
    He had no cause to exult
    in the communion of swords.
    Here was his kindred band
    of friends o'erthrown
    on the folk-stead,
    in battle slain;
    and his son he left
    on the slaughter-place
    mangled with wounds,
    young in the fight.
    He had no cause to boast,
    hero grizzly haired,
    of the bill-clashing,
    the old deceiver;
    nor Anlaf the moor,
    with the remnant of their armies;
    they had no cause to laugh
    that they in war's works
    the better men were
    in the battle-stead,
    at the conflict of banners,
    meeting of spears,
    concourse of men,
    traffic of weapons,
    that they on the slaughter-field
    with Edward's
    offspring played.

    The North-men departed
    in their nailed barks--
    bloody relic of darts--
    on roaring ocean,
    o'er the deep water,
    Dublin to seek;
    again Ireland
    shamed in mind.

    So, too, the brothers,
    both together,
    king and etheling,
    their country sought,
    West-Saxons' land,
    in the war exulting.
    They left behind them,
    the corse to devour,
    the sallowy kite
    and the swarthy raven
    with horned nib,
    and the dusky 'pada,'
    erne white-tailed,
    the corse to enjoy,--
    greedy war-hawk,
    and the grey beast,
    wolf of the wood.

    Carnage greater has not been
    in this island
    ever yet
    of people slain,
    before this,
    by edges of swords,
    as the books say--
    old writers--
    since from the east hither
    Angles and Saxons
    came to land,--
    o'er the broad seas
    Britain sought,--
    mighty war-smiths
    the Welsh o'ercame;
    earls most bold
    this earth obtained.

Some of the MSS. of the Chronicle have the following additional
reference to the battle:--

"A. 937. This year King Athelstan and Edmund his brother led a force to
Brunanburh, and there fought against Anlaf; and Christ helping, had the
victory; and they there slew five kings and seven earls."

Simeon, of Durham, says one of these five monarchs was "Eligenius, an
under-king of Deira," or the eastern portion of the then kingdom of

Athelstan died in 940, and, in the following year, the Chronicle says
his successor "Edmund received king Anlaf at baptism." In 942, it
says--"This year King Anlaf died." There were, however, two other
chieftains of the same name, who flourished somewhat later.

Historians are scarcely, even at the present day, unanimous in their
views as to what monarch ought to be regarded as the first "king of
England." Some say Egbert; but his authority rarely if ever extended
over the whole of the country now so named, and a very large proportion
of it was merely a kind of nominal "over lordship," which carried with
it very little governing influence, and, such as it was, it was held on
a very precarious tenure. Others contend that the distinction belongs to
Alfred the Great. Yet Alfred, though beloved by all the English-speaking
people in the land, was compelled to share the territory with his Danish
rival, Gothrun. Sharon-Turner says--"The truth seems to be that Alfred
was the first monarch of the _Anglo-Saxons_, but Athelstan was the first
monarch of _England_." He adds--"After the battle of Brunanburh,
Athelstan had no competitor; he was the _immediate Sovereign of all
England_. He was even _nominal_ lord of Wales and Scotland." This seems
to be the true solution of the query.

It is a most remarkable circumstance that the site of this great
victory, notwithstanding the magnitude of the contending armies and the
importance of its political and social results, was, until recently, at
least, absolutely unknown, and it cannot yet be said that the true
locality has been demonstrated with sufficient clearness to entirely
remove all doubt. Many places have been suggested on the most frivolous
grounds. The question where is, or was, Brunanburh is still sounding in
the ear of the historical student, and echo merely answers "Where?" Yet
I think I have made the nearest approach to the solution of this
problem, in the "History of Preston and its Environs," that has yet been
attempted, and further investigation enables me to add considerably to
the evidence there adduced.

It is, perhaps, necessary that some attempt should be made to determine
the cause or causes why the site of so important a victory, celebrated
in the finest extant short poem in the Anglo-Saxon tongue, and so
important in its political results, should have become lost both to the
history and tradition of the English victors. At first sight there
appears something singularly exceptionable in the fact. But a closer
inspection of the details of what may be termed the Anglo-Saxon period
of conflict with their Scandinavian enemies, Danish, Norwegian, or
Norman-French, soon removes this impression, the sites of many other,
almost equally important struggles, and notoriously some of those in
which the Great Alfred was engaged, having been subjected to similar
doubt, if not oblivion.

In the first place it must not be forgotten that after the death of
Athelstan, the Danish invasions were renewed, and, after various
successes and defeats, the Scandinavian monarchs, Sweyn and Canute,
before the end of the tenth century, ruled despotically over all
England. Even the temporary restoration of the Anglo-Saxon dynastic
element, in the person of Edward the Confessor, in consequence of his
Norman-French connection and early education, did little to remove the
pressure of the foreign yoke, in the provinces at least; and what
influence it may have exerted was speedily eradicated by the decisive
victory of William the Norman, near Hastings, in the middle of the
following century. Conquest, in those days, meant subjugation to the
extent of a deprivation of all rights--at least all political
rights--and many social privileges, and absolute serfdom for the great
mass of the population. Consequently it was the policy of the conquerors
to ignore, and, as far as possible, enforce the ignorement of all past
glorious achievements of the ancestors of the subjugated peoples.
Doubtless, tradition would still, with its tenacious grasp, retain some
recollection of the great exploits of their forefathers, and, in secret,
the people would cherish their memory with a more intense love, on
account of the persecution to which its open expression would be
subjected. But in those days there were no printing presses, nor
journalism, local or metropolitan. The people could not read, and even
the nobles, in the main, like old King Cole, in the song, because he
could afford to salary a secretary, "scorned the fetters of the four and
twenty letters, and it saved them a vast deal of trouble." Now, these
secretaries were almost, if not entirely, ecclesiastics; and they were
likewise the only literary, or learned men, existing during the period
to which I refer. These ecclesiastics, in different monasteries, kept
records of the general events of the period in which they lived, of a
very meagre character, and devoted more time and space to matters
ecclesiastical, as might reasonably be anticipated. Again, when the
Danish and Norman warriors obtained the supreme power, it is easy to
understand that the ecclesiastical domination was speedily transferred
to their clerical _confreres_; and, of course, whatever obscurity rested
on the details of previous victories or glories of the subject race,
would be intensified rather than lessened, by any action of theirs, even
supposing (which is anything but probable), that they themselves
possessed much authentic information respecting such events. Subsequent
writers, of course, dealt largely in mere conjecture, on the flimsiest
of evidence; and, as they sometimes differ so widely from each other, or
as they are so obscure in their topographical definitions and
nomenclature, little is derivable from their labours of value to the
modern historian and antiquary. Consequently, although there are many
references to the great battle itself, both in the several chronicles,
the poem to which I have referred, and in some Scandinavian sagas,
written in honour of two of their warriors of the free-lance, or Dugal
Dalgetty class, who fought on the side of the English monarch, the site
of the great conflict has remained doubtful to the present time.

Henry of Huntingdon, who wrote in the earlier portion of the twelfth
century, referring to the twelve presumed victories of Arthur, accounts
for the then loss of their sites in the following characteristic
fashion--"These battles and battle-fields are described by Gildas,"
[Nennius,] "the historian, but in our times the places are unknown, the
Providence of God, we consider, having so ordered it that popular
applause and flattery, and transitory glory, might be of no account."

The clerical historian seems to have thoroughly understood the motives
of his predecessors in the destruction of the records of a heretical or
pagan race.

Mr. Daniel H. Haigh, in his "Conquest of Britain by the Saxons,"
referring to the absence of Runic inscriptions in the south of England,
and their partial preservation in the Northumbrian kingdom, has the
following pertinent observations:--

"The first missionaries, St. Augustine and his brethren, used all their
endeavours to destroy every monument of Runic antiquity, because runes
had been the means of pagan augury, and of preserving the memory of
pagan hymns and incantations; for, knowing how prone the common people
were to their ancient superstitions (of which even after the lapse of
twelve centuries many vestiges still remain), and how difficult it would
be to teach them to distinguish the use of a thing from its abuse, they
feared that their labours would be in vain so long as the monuments of
ancient superstition remained. So every Runic writing disappeared; and
we may well believe, that records which to us would be invaluable,
perished in the general destruction. In the first instance S. Gregory
had commanded that everything connected with paganism should be
destroyed; but afterwards, in a letter to S. Milletus, he recommended
that the symbols only of paganism should be done away with, but that the
sanctuaries should be consecrated and used as churches. These
instructions were in force when S. Paulinus evangelized Northumbria; and
we cannot doubt that the work of destruction would be effectively done
under the auspices of a prince whose police was so vigorous as we are
informed that Eadwine's was. But after his death, and the flight of S.
Paulinus, the restoration of Christianity in Northumbria was effected by
missionaries of the Irish school, whose fathers in Ireland had pursued
from the first a different policy, by allowing the memorials of
antiquity to remain, and contenting themselves with consecrating
the monuments of paganism, and marking them with the symbols of
Christianity. Under their auspices Runic writing was permitted, for we
can trace its use in Northumbria to the very times of S. Oswald, whilst
every vestige has disappeared of the Runic records of an earlier period.
Mercia received its Christianity from the Irish school of Lindisfarne,
and we have runes on the coins of the first Christian kings, Peada and

But for the zealous labour of Archbishop Parker, in the sixteenth
century, even few of the remaining Anglo-Saxon MSS. would have been
preserved to the present day. John Bale, writing in 1549, says--"A great
number of them that purchased the monasteries reserved the books of
those libraries; some to scour their candlesticks, some to rub their
boots, some they sold to grocers and soapsellers, some they sent over
sea to the book-binders, not in small numbers, but at times whole ships
full, to the wondering of foreign nations." Religious and political
rancour has too often consigned to destruction the archives and
monuments of hated rivals. Cardinal Ximines, somewhat earlier, committed
to the flames an immense mass of valuable Arabic MSS. and, not long
afterwards, Archbishop Zumarraga committed a similar act of insensate
vandalism on the picture-written national archives of Mexico. Our
mediæval historians, indeed, have themselves much to answer for in this
direction. Strype says that Polydore Vergil, having, by licence from
Henry VIII., when writing his history, procured many valuable books from
various libraries in England, on its conclusion, piled "those same books
together, and set them all on a light fire."

Mr. Frederick Metcalf ("Englishman and Scandinavian") waxed wrath as he
contemplated the irreparable loss sustained through the ignorance and
fanaticism of our forefathers. He exclaims--"Cart loads of Old English
mythical and heroic epics, finished histories in the vernacular, heaps
of pieces teeming with sprightly humour, with vivid portraiture, with
precious touches of nature, may or may not have been destroyed by the
Danes, by the Normans, in their contempt for everything Anglo-Saxon, by
insensate scribes in want of vellum--who scraped out things of beauty to
make room for their own doting effusions, or pasted the leaves of MSS.
together to make bindings--by the Reformers, by the Roundheads, by fire,
by crass folly."

Independently of wilful neglect or active destruction, the Anglo-Norman
transcripts of previous Anglo-Saxon MSS. now existing are not only
rarities, but wretchedly deficient, owing to both accidental damage, and
the carelessness, or ignorance, of their monkish transcribers. Thorpe,
referring to the only existing early MS. of the poem "Beowulf," in his
preface to his work on the "Anglo-Saxon Poems of Beowulf, the Scôp or
Gleeman's Tale, and the Fight at Finnesburg," says--"Unfortunately, as
of Cædmon and the Codex Exoniensis, there is only a single manuscript of
Beowulf extant, which I take to be of the first half of the eleventh
century (MS. Cott. Vitellius A. 15). All manuscripts of Anglo-Saxon
poetry are deplorably inaccurate, evincing, in almost every page, the
ignorance of an illiterate scribe, frequently (as was the monastic
custom) copying from dictation; but of all Anglo-Saxon manuscripts, that
of Beowulf may, I believe, be conscientiously pronounced the worst,
independently of its present lamentable condition, in consequence of the
fire at Cotton House, in 1731, whereby it was seriously injured, being
partially rendered as friable as touchwood. In perfect accordance with
this judgment of the manuscript and its writer is the testimony of Dr.
Grundtvig, who says--'The ancient scribe did not rightly understand what
he himself was writing; and, what was worse, the conflagration in 1731
had rendered a part wholly or almost illegible.' Mr. Kemble's words are
to the same effect--'The manuscript of Beowulf is unhappily among the
most corrupt of all the Anglo-Saxon manuscripts, and corrupt they all
are without exception.'"

My attention was first called to the probable site of Athelstan's great
victory at Brunanburh, when dealing with the "great Cuerdale Find," of
May, 1840. Mr. Hawkins, vice-president of the Numismatic Society, who
devoted much attention to the contents of this remarkable chest, says
"the hoard consisted of about 975 ounces of silver in ingots, ornaments,
etc., besides about 7,000 coins of various descriptions." From my own
knowledge many of the coins and some of the ornaments were never seen by
Mr. Hawkins. Referring to this subject, in the "History of Preston," I
say--"Many of the coins unquestionably found their way surreptitiously
into the hands of collectors; consequently there is some difficulty in
determining the precise number discovered. It is pretty generally
believed, however, that the chest originally contained about ten
thousand coins." These coins were all of silver. "Many of the silver
rings and smaller bars were, likewise, 'appropriated' before any record
of the 'find' was made."

The collection contained numismatic treasures both of English and
foreign mintage, and all were coined antecedent to the great battle,
although the most modern amongst them date within a very few years of
that event. Dr. Worsaae, the celebrated Danish antiquary, speaking of
this "find," says--"To judge from the coins, which, with few exceptions,
were minted between the years 815 and 930, the treasure must have been
buried in the first half of the tenth century, or about a hundred years
before the time of Canute the Great."

My position, therefore, is that this great treasure chest was buried
near the "pass of the Ribble," at Cuerdale, opposite Preston, during
this troubled period, and probably on the retreat of the confederated
Irish, Scotch, Welsh, Scandinavian, and Anglo-Danish armies, after their
disastrous defeat by the English under Athelstan, at the great battle of
Brunanburh, in 937, which may not inaptly be styled, on account of its
magnitude and important results, the Waterloo of the tenth century.

Various places have from time to time been suggested as the probable
locality of the conflict, but upon the very slenderest of evidence. Some
say Colecroft, near Axminster, Devonshire. One authority assigns the
following reason for this site--"Axminster is _supposed_ to have derived
its present name from a college of priests, founded here by Athelstan,
to pray for the souls of those who fell in the conflict, and who were
buried in the cemetery of Axminster; there were five kings and eight
earls amongst them." A claim has been advanced for Beverley in
Yorkshire, for a similar reason. But the founding of a monastery, or
other expression of thanksgiving for a victory, does not necessarily
indicate the locality of the conflict. William the Conqueror did
certainly found Battle Abbey on the site of his great victory; but such
a practice is by no means of ordinary occurrence, and without
corroborative evidence is valueless. Camden thought the battle was
fought at Ford, near Bromeridge, in Northumberland. Skene, in his
"Celtic Scotland," prefers Aldborough, on the Ouse, and regards the huge
monoliths, known as "the devil's arrows," as memorials of the victory.
Gibson and others suggest Bromborough, in Cheshire. The editor of the
"Imperial Gazetteer" assigns Broomridge, no doubt on Camden's authority,
and Brinkburn, in the Rothsay district, in Northumberland, or some
other, as probable sites of the battle. Brinkburn is said to be the
"true situation of Brunanburh," in "Beauties of England and Wales." The
name was written in 1154, by John of Hexham, Brincaburgh. Banbury, in
Oxfordshire, and Bourne, and the neighbourhood of Barton-on-Humber, in
Lincolnshire, and a Bambro', a Bambury, and some other places have
likewise found advocates.

Dr. Giles, in his annotation of Ethelwerd's Chronicle, fixes Brunanburh
at Brumby, in Lincolnshire, but he assigns no reasons for his
preference. Brunton, in Northumberland, and, I believe, some other
places, have been suggested. The mere identity of the name Brunanburh,
in some corrupted form, though important, is insufficient, without
corroborative evidence, simply because the names of so many places, in
various parts of the country, admit of such derivation. There are
several even in Lancashire, to which I shall afterwards call attention.
Localities on the east, the south, and the west coasts of England have
each found advocates, some, certainly, on very slight grounds. Mr.
Weddle, of Wargrove, near Warrington, in his essay on the site, in 1857,
pertinently reminds the investigator that the very "uncertainty of the
whereabouts of the battle-field" is a good reason why it should be
sought for "in some place half-forgotten." Such being the case, I may,
without much presumption, after studying the subject now for five and
twenty years, adhere to my previously suggested solution of this great
historical and topographical enigma.

The available evidence is very diversified in its character, and may be
dealt with under several distinct heads. In the first place I will
endeavour to show why I maintain that the discovery of the long buried
treasure at Cuerdale, in 1840, has furnished the key by which we may
probably unlock the mystery.

From its great value in the tenth century, the evidence of recent
mintage at the time of its deposition, and the vast number of rare and
foreign coins, many of which were struck by Scandinavian kings or jarls,
all lead to the conjecture that the treasure had not originally belonged
to some private individual or inferior chieftain. It must not be
forgotten that coin was first made "sterling" in the year 1216, before
which time Stowe says rents were mostly paid in "kind," and money was
found only in the coffers of the barons.

The great probability, therefore, appears to be that some powerful
monarch, or confederacy, owned the chest, and that its burial near one
of the three fords at the "pass of the Ribble" was caused by some signal
discomfiture or military defeat, in order to prevent its falling into
the hands of the enemy. Its non-recovery afterwards would naturally
result from the slaughter of the parties acquainted with the precise
locality of its deposit in the disastrous riot attendant upon so great
victory as that achieved by Athelstan at Brunanburh. Tradition had,
however, preserved the memory of its burial, but the exact site was
unknown. It was popularly thought, however, that it could be seen from
the hill on which the church of Walton-le-dale stands, and which
overlooks all the three fords which constituted the "famous pass of the
Ribble." The late Mr. Barton F. Allen, of Preston, remembered that in
his youth a farmer ploughed a field which had remained in pasture from
time immemorial, in hope of finding the treasure. At the time I came
upon the Roman remains, near the great central ford, 1855, I was
surprised to learn a rumour was abroad that we had "come on't goud" at
last. This resulted from the fact that the Anglo-Danish hoard consisted
entirely of silver, and the belief of the workmen that the Roman brass
coins, found at the time, from their colour, when polished, were golden
ones. I therefore contend that these facts (taken in conjunction with
the more important one, that the date of the deposit, as demonstrated by
the coins themselves, coincides with that of Athelstan's great victory),
indicate, in a very high degree, the probable connection of the two
events. The burial of treasure, in times of great disaster, was a very
ordinary occurrence during the Roman dominion in Britain, and was not
unusual with their successors, the Anglo-Saxons and Danes. Two hoards,
one found at Walmersley, to the north of Bury, and the other at Whittle,
near the present presumed site of Athelstan's victory, to the south of
the Ribble, from the date of the coins, coincide with the time of the
defeat of the usurpers Carausius and Allectus, commanders of the Roman
fleet stationed to protect the shores of Britain from the ravages of
Saxon pirates. Later the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle says--"A. 418, this year
the Romans collected all the treasures that were in Britain, and some
they hid in the earth, so that no one has since been able to find them;
and some they carried with them into Gaul." Ethelwerd's Chronicle
furnishes further details--"A. 418. In the ninth year also, after the
sacking of Rome by the Goths, those of Roman race who were left in
Britain, not bearing the manifold insults of the people, bury their
treasures in pits, thinking that hereafter they might have better
fortune, which never was the case; and, taking a portion, assembled on
the coasts, spread their canvass to the winds, and seek an exile on the
shores of Gaul."

The "pass of the Ribble" is marked on the old map, published by Dr.
Whitaker, with the crossed swords, indicative of a battle having been
fought there, but this, though not unimportant in most cases, is of
little value as evidence in favour of my hypothesis, inasmuch as, from
its geographical position, it has, of necessity, often been the site of
military conflicts, several of which are recorded in both local and
other historical works.

The site now suggested agrees best, in a topographical sense, with the
various descriptions of the conflict, the primary object of the war, and
the necessary movements of the several combatants engaged. The great
Roman road from the north passed through the county, and entered
Cheshire at Latchford near Warrington. This road would serve both the
invading Scots and Athelstan, and his army of West Saxons, Mercians, and
other allies. A Roman road, from the Ribble and Wyre, called
"Watling-street," crossed the country to York and the eastern coast. We
have distinct information that Anlaf's great object was the re-conquest
of the kingdom of Northumbria, and that, in the first instance, success
crowned his efforts. Athelstan's two governors, Gudrekir and Alfgeirr,
were defeated, and the former slain. His colleague fled to his sovereign
with the tidings of their discomfiture. The grandson of the Great Alfred
immediately assembled his army and marched northward to confront in
person his successful rival and his powerful allies. It appears,
therefore, nearly absolutely certain that the struggle took place in
Northumbria, or on its border, and, consequently other localities
outside this region may almost be said to be "not in the hunt." Anlaf
was the ruling chief of Dublin, and the virtual organizer and head of
the confederacy. One wing of his army, according to Egil's saga, "was
very numerous, and consisted of the disorderly Irish." The coast of
Lancashire being part of the then Danish kingdom of Northumbria, was, in
every respect, adapted for the landing of this portion of the invading
army. Hoveden, Mailros, and Simeon of Durham certainly say that Anlaf
commenced the warfare by "entering the Humber with a fleet of 615
ships." This, however, may refer merely to the "_fleets of the warriors
from Norway and the Baltic_," who joined in the confederacy. If Anlaf
himself commanded this expedition in person, then he must have deputed
the leadership of his "disorderly Irish" to one of his lieutenants. From
an inspection of the map it will be found, after the defeat of Gudrekir
and Alfgeirr, that the "pass of the Ribble," from a military point of
view, was one of the most probable places at which the junction of the
allies would take place. The Cumbrian Britons and the North and West
Welsh could easily, by good Roman roads, join the Scottish monarch, as
well as Anlaf's Irish troops and the warriors from Norway and the
Baltic, at this spot, and dispute the passage of the fords with
Athelstan's forces from the south. The "pass of the Ribble," from a
topographical and military point of view, may therefore be assumed as
very probably the site of the conflict.

I have previously referred to the fact that the name Brunanburh, in any
corrupted form, is of little value in the present investigation without
very strong supporting evidence, simply because so many localities have
equal claim to it. The name itself is likewise variously written by the
older writers when referring to the battle. It is termed "Bellum Brune,"
or the "Battle of the Brune," in the _Brut y Tywysogion_, or the
"Chronicle of the Princes of Wales," and the "_Annales Cambria_." Henry
of Huntingdon calls the locality Brunesburh; and the name is variously
written by Geffrei Gaimar as Brunewerche, Brunewerce, and Brunewest.
Ethelwerd, a contemporary chronicler, calls the place Brunandune. The
author of Egil's saga calls the site Vinheid. Simeon of Durham says the
battle was fought near Weondune or Ethrunnanwerch, or Brunnan byrge.
William of Malmesbury gives the name Brunsford, and Ingulph says
Brunford in Northumbria. Notwithstanding the very important fact that
the southern portion of the county of Lancaster suffered so much in the
raids of Gilbert de Lacy and his soldiery after the Norman conquest, and
the consequent non-productive character of much of the territory at the
time of the Domesday survey, which caused very few names of places to be
recorded in that valuable historical document, still I think present
topographical nomenclature south of the "pass of the Ribble" sufficient
to identify the locality from etymological evidence equal or superior in
value to that yet advanced in favour of any other site. The word
_brunan_ means simply, in modern English, springs, and burh refers to
any work of military defence of an artificial character. _Brun_ has been
corrupted, according to the conjectures of the authorities which I have
previously cited, into _Burn_, _Brom_, _Brum_, _Broom_, _Bran_, _Ban_,
_Bourne_, _Brink_, and _Brin_.

The name of the parish of Brindle, to the south-east of the "pass of the
Ribble," has been written in various documents during the past few
centuries, Burnhull, Brinhill, Brandhill, and, after becoming Brandle
and Bryndhull, ends in its present Brindle. Now, burn and brun are
acknowledged to be identical, the metathesis, as philologists term it,
or transposition of the letter _r_ under such circumstances being very
common, especially in Lancashire. We say brid for bird, brun for burn,
brunt for burnt, brast for burst, thurst for thrust, and some others.
Birmingham is often called "Brummigem." Indeed, Taylor, the "Water
Poet," in his account of Old Parr, writes it "Brimicham." The short _u_
with us is ofttimes sounded nearly like _i_, as in burst, burn, etc.,
like the German _ü_ in Reüter, Müller, Prüssien, etc. Hence the
interchangeability of brin for brun, of which the following are
examples: The Icelandic Brynhildr, of the Eddaic poems, is the Brunhild
of the Nibelungenlied; Brinsley, in Nottinghamshire, is sometimes
written Brunsley; Burnside, near Kendal, was once Brynshead; Brynn, the
seat of Lord Gerrard, between Wigan and Newton-in-Mackerfield, was, as I
have shown in a previous chapter, anciently written Brun; and, in
addition, I have recently seen, in Herman Moll's atlas, published in
1723, this same Brindle, south of Ribble, written Brunall, and, what is
still further corroborative, in Christopher Saxton's much earlier map,
published in Camden's "Britannia," it is written Brundell, while Bryne
and Burnley are spelled as at present. _Bryn_ or _bron_ signifies a
little hill, or the slope of a hill. As _burh_ sometimes signifies a
hill or eminence, as well as a fortification, the interchange of the
British _bryn_ with its Teutonic neighbour is in no way remarkable, but
rather what might have been anticipated. Indeed, we find this phonetic
substitution in Bernicia (the northern portion of Northumbria), the
British equivalent being Bryneich. _Brunan_, as I have before said,
signifies springs. Brindle church is situated on the slope of a hill,
and the district, as a personal visit, or a glance at the six-inch
ordnance map, will show, is remarkable for its numerous "wells," from
which pure water issues from the surface of the ground. Dalton springs,
Denham springs, and the well-known Whittle springs are in the
neighbourhood, and one hamlet is named Manysprings.

In addition to Brindle we have Brinscall and Burnicroft, and Brownedge
or Brunedge within the district. Between what I will now term Brunhull
and Brunedge, we have the hamlet Bam_ber_, now termed Bamber Bridge.
Baumber, in Lincolnshire, is sometimes written Bamburgh. Bramber, in
Sussex, in Herman Moll's map (1723) is written Bamber, and in the
Domesday survey Branber. Bromley, sometimes written Bramley, in Kent, is
Brunlei, in the Domboc, and Bromborough, in Cheshire, is written
Brunburgh, in Herman Moll's map. Hence if _bam_ be likewise a corruption
of brun, we have Brunberg, with Brunhull and Brunedge in immediate
contiguity. The Rev. Jno. Whitaker and the Rev. E. Sibson say _bam_
signifies war. This is a very significant corruption, if a great battle
were fought in its neighbourhood. Other authorities say _bam_ means a
"beam, a tree, a wood." This might imply that a fortification or
stockade occupied the spot, or it might mean the fort in the wood, or in
the neighbourhood of the wood, like the Welsh Bettws-y-coed. In Egil's
saga "the wood" is often referred to in the detailed description of the
battle. We have yet Worden-wood, Whittle-le-woods, Clayton-le-woods, and
some others contiguous.

Kemble, in his (appendix) list of "patronymical names," which he regards
as "those of ancient Marks," has two references, from the "Codex
Diplomaticus," to "Bruningas," but he gives no conjecture as to the
locality of its modern representative.

Mr. C. A. Weddle, of Wargrove, near Warrington, in 1857, when advocating
the claims of Brunton, in Northumberland, after summing up the various
names mentioned by the old writers, and referring to their evident
corruption and variation, says--

"Two of them in particular, _Weardune and Wendune_, I have never seen
noticed by any modern writer, yet _Weardune appears to me the most
important name_, if Brunanburh be excepted, and EVEN THIS IS NOT MORE
SO. As to Wendune it is evidently a mistake in the transcribing for
Werdune, the Anglo-Saxon _r_ being merely _n_, with a long bottom stroke
on the left."

Mr. Weddle finds a Warden Hill, about two miles from the farm-house in
"Chollerford field," in the neighbourhood of Brunton. This he considers
as very conclusive evidence in favour of the locality being the
Brunanburh of which we are in search. If such be the case, the existence
of Wearden, or Worden, in the immediate neighbourhood of Brunhill,
Bamber, and Brunedge, must unquestionably be more so, and especially
when taken in connection with the large amount of corroborative evidence
with which it is surrounded. The term Weardune is sometimes written
Weondune, which, after the correction of the _n_, as suggested by Mr.
Weddle, is Weorden. The ancient seat of the Faringtons, of Leyland and
Farington, is variously written Werden, Worden, and Wearden, and it is
pronounced by the inhabitants of the neighbourhood Wearden at the
present day. It must have been a place of some importance in the time of
the Roman occupation. Many coins, and a heavy gold[37] signet ring,
bearing the letters S P Q R, have been found there. The place is
situated near the great Roman highway, and, if Anlaf's troops covered
the "pass of the Ribble" near Brunhull, Brunburh and Brunedge, Wearden
is precisely the neighbourhood where Athelstan's forces, coming from the
south, would encamp in front of them. Dr. Kuerden, upwards of two
centuries ago, describes the northern boundary of the township of
Euxton-burgh as the "Werden broke." Mr. Baines states that there is in
Leyland churchyard "a stone of the 14th century, covering all that
remains of the Weardens of Golden Hill." It is highly probable that the
present Cuerden is itself a corruption of Wearden. The prefix Cuer is
found in Cuerden, Cuerdale (where the great hoard was found), and
Cuerdley near Prescot, and in no other part of England. The names in the
locality, as I have previously said, are not recorded in the Domesday
survey, but the Norman-French generally represented the English sound
_w_ by _gu_. Philologists regard the consonants _c_, _q_, _ch_, and _g_,
as "identical" or "convertible," consequently, if I assume the initial
_C_ in Cuerden to be equivalent to _G_, we have a Norman-French method
of writing Wearden. That _cu_ was used to represent the sound of our
_w_, is demonstrated by a reference to the survey itself, for in the
Domesday record, Fishwick, now a portion of the borough of Preston, and
situated on the opposite bank of the Ribble to Cuerdale, is actually
written Fiscuic. Leland, too, in his Itinerary, spells the river Cocker
indifferently with the initials C, G, and K. The district in the parish
of Leyland, anciently styled _Cunnolvesmores_, is sometimes found
written _Gunoldsmores_.

Simeon of Durham says the battle was fought near Weondune, or
_Ethrunanwerch_, or Brunnan byrge. I have never seen any attempt to
identify this Ethrunanwerch with any modern locality in any part of the
country. There is no such name to be found now, nor anything suggestive
of it, in a gazetteer of England and Wales, and I therefore presume that
it has either entirely disappeared or become so altered as to be
unrecognizable. Consequently, if I fail in an attempt to identify it,
not much injury will result therefrom. The termination _werch_ presents
no difficulty. It is evidently _worth_, as in Saddleworth, Shuttleworth,
etc., and could easily give place to some other suffix indicating
residence or occupation, or even locality. The prefix Ethrunan is more
difficult to deal with, and I should perhaps not have attempted its
solution, if I had not seen on a map the name Rother applied to one of
the head waters which, uniting near Stockport, form the Mersey. This
stream is generally called the Etherow.[38] This is the nearest approach
to Ethrunan that I have been able to meet with. If _rother_, by a kind
of metathesis, is an equivalent to _ether_, perhaps I can detect two
distinct remains of the word Ethrunanwerch, in the neighbourhood of
Wearden. On the ordnance map we have, about a mile from Werden Hall,
Rotherham Top, and a stream, recently diverted for the purpose of the
Liverpool water supply, named the Roddlesworth. This word implies a
place on the bank of a stream, and as the _d_ and _th_ are phonetic
equivalents, it may be read Rothelsworth or Ethrunlesworth; indeed, Mr.
Baines expressly says, "Withnall, or Withnell, also a part of the
lordship of Gunoldsmores, containing Rothelsworth, a name derived from
Roddlesworth, or Mouldenwater, a rapid stream." On the one-inch to the
mile ordnance map there is a name which preserves the form of the first
part of the word without the transposition, or metathesis, to which I
have referred. Not far from Worden Hall is a small hamlet named
"Ethrington." The fact that these names exist in the neighbourhood
strengthens the probability that the etymology is not altogether
fanciful, and consequently lends support to the presumption that the
locality suggested may be the true site of Athelstan's great victory.

I have said that there are several places in Lancashire, even, which
answer to Brunan or Brun. The following are amongst the number: On the
Wyre, near the commencement of the Roman agger or "_Danes' Pad_,"
as it is locally termed, which led from the Portus Setantiorum
of Ptolemy to York, is a place named Bourne, written in the Domesday
survey Brune. Bourne Hall is situated upon a "dune" or hill, which
commands a relatively recently blocked up channel of the Wyre.
Therefore Brunnandune or Brunford would strictly apply to it.
Bryning-with-Kellamergh, near _Warton_, in the parish of Kirkham, is
described in a charter of the reign of John, as Brichscrach _Brun_ and
Kelmers_burgh_. In the time of Henry III. it is described as Brininge.
Not far from Rochdale is a spot named "Kildanes," near Bamford. The site
is not much more than two miles from a place named Burnedge or Brunedge.
There is a Burnage between Manchester and Stockport. Burnley is situated
on the river Burn, generally, however, called the Brun. This
demonstrates how utterly impossible it is to identify the locality by
the name Brunanburh. The Manchester, Rochdale, and Burnley sites are too
far from the seashore. The fine old poem, describing the battle, says
emphatically--"There were made flee the Northman's chieftain, By need
constrained, To the ship's prow, With a little band. The bark drove
afloat--The king departed--On the fallow flood his life he preserved."
And, again, the poem says--"The Northmen departed In their nailed barks;
Bloody relic of darts; On roaring ocean, O'er the deep water, DUBLIN to
seek; Again Ireland shamed in mind." And further--"West Saxons onwards
Throughout the day, In numerous bands, Pursued the footsteps of the
loathed nations." I therefore contend that, in this particular, as well
as those already disposed of, the "pass of the Ribble" answers to the
locality of the struggle, as described by contemporary authority. Where
this topographical feature is wanting, I hold it to be fatal. The ships
of Anlaf might be attending the army in the estuaries of the Ribble or
Wyre, and to them the defeated and routed forces would, of course,
repair with headlong speed, after crossing the fords, the defence of
which they had so gallantly, if unsuccessfully, attempted. During this
hasty retreat, I contend it is highly probable the great Cuerdale hoard
was deposited, and, owing to death, or other disaster, the precise
locality could not be determined in after times, although the tradition
of its deposition remained. There is plenty of analagous evidence in
support of such a conjecture, to some of which I have already referred.
In the seventh volume of "Collectania Antiqua," Mr. Charles Roach Smith,
referring to the then recent discovery near the Roman station,
"Procolitia," near the great Roman Wall, of an enormous mass (15,000) of
Roman coins, weighing about 400 pounds, says he regards the hoard as
part of the money set apart for the payment of the troops occupying the
adjoining castrum, which, _owing to some sudden panic in the reign of
Gratian_, was concealed in the well or fountain dedicated to a local
divinity, Conesstina. The Saxon Chronicle, as well as Ethelwerd, as I
have already stated, refer to the burying of treasure under similar
circumstances. The former says--"This year (A.D. 418) the Romans
collected all the treasures that were in Britain, and some they hid in
the earth, so that no one has since been able to find them, and some
they carried with them into Gaul."

Athelstan's connection with Preston and its neighbourhood, at the head
of his army, is attested by stronger evidence than mere tradition. In
the year 930 he granted the whole of the hundred of Amounderness to the
cathedral church at York. He is said to have "_purchased_" the territory
with his own money, a somewhat remarkable financial operation for a
conquering king in the tenth century, in Anglo-Saxon and Pagan Danish
times. But perhaps a previous grant to the church at Ripon influenced
him in this matter.

In the early part of the seventeenth century lived one William Elston,
who, in a MS. entitled, "Mundana Mutabilia, or Ethelestophylax," now in
the Harleian collection in the British Museum, placed upon record the
following interesting particulars relative to this monarch--"It was once
told me by Mr. Alexander Elston, who was uncle to my father and sonne to
Ralph Elston, my great grandfather, that the said Ralph Elston had a
deede or a copy of a deede in the Saxon tongue, wherein it did appear
that king _Ethelstan lying in camp in this county upon occacon of
warres_, gave the land of Ethelston vnto one to whom himself was
Belsyre." (godfather).

The township of Elston, in the parish of Preston, formerly written
Ethelstan, is situated on the north bank of the Ribble a little above
Cuerdale and Red Scar.

To the south of Brindle and the east of Worden, near Whittle Springs, is
a large tumulus, and the hill side on which it is situated has the
appearance of having been, at some time, disturbed by human agency. A
Roman vicinal way, from Wigan to Blackburn, or Mellor, where it joins
the main highway from Manchester to Ribchester, passes near it. Remains
of this road were discovered near Adlington not many years ago. Another
ancient road, probably of similar origin, leaves the main Roman military
way from Warrington to Lancaster at Bamberbridge, and running in the
direction of Manchester, crosses this in its neighbourhood. This tumulus
is named "Pickering Castle;" which has an important significance.
Tumuli are often termed "castles." We have the "Castle Hill" near
Newton-in-Mackerfield, and the "Castle Hill" at Penwortham, near
Preston. The tumulus near to "Whittle Springs" is very similar to these
in appearance, and may, on excavation, prove to be a sepulchral mound.
Pickering, according to the method of interpretation adopted by John
Mitchell Kemble, in his "Saxons in England," should indicate the "Mark"
of a sept or clan bearing that name, like the Faringas as at Farington,
Billingas as at Billington, and many others. But there is not the
slightest reference by any writer of such a name ever holding property
in the neighbourhood, and Mr. Kemble places the Pickering, in Yorkshire,
only among the probable instances, as he had never met with any account
of a Saxon family or mark answering to it. As the letters _P_ and _V_
are interchangeable sounds, "vikingring" has been suggested as the
original form of the word. Dr. Smith, in his annotations to Marsh's
"Lectures on the English Languages," speaks of the "Danes being led by
the vikings, the younger sons of their royal houses." As the old poem
says--"Five kings lay on the battle-stead. Youthful kings By swords in
slumber laid. So seven eke Of Anlaf's earls, Of the army countless."
This interpretation seems not improbable; yet it may be no more than an
accidental coincidence rather than a legitimate derivation. As _P_ and
_B_ are equally interchangeable consonants, I am inclined to think that
"Bickering Castle" may have been the original name of the tumulus.
_Bicra_, in the modern Welsh, means to fight, from whence our word
_bickering_. In this case, _ing_ meaning field, the interpretation would
be the "Castle of the Battle-Field." There is some good analogy in
support of this view. Mr. Thos. Baines, in his "Lancashire and Cheshire:
Past and Present," says--"The _Peck_forton Hills extend from Beeston
Castle to the Dee. On one of them _Bicker_ton Hill, 500 feet high, is a
strong camp with a double line of earthworks. One front overlooks the
plain of Cheshire. The earthwork is called the "Maiden Castle." Not far
from Bickerton Hill is Bickley, where, according to Ormerod, certain
brass tablets were recently discovered, recording a grant of the freedom
of the city of Rome to certain troops serving in Britain in the reign of
Trajan, A.D. 98-117, some of whom may have been stationed in the
neighbourhood where the tablets were found. We have in Lancashire the
township of Bickerstaffe, and an adjoining wood named Bickershaw.
Bickerstaffe was anciently written Bicker_stat_ and Bykyr_stath_. Stadt,
stad, or stead means a station or settlement. Thus we have battle-wood
and battle-stead. We have seen that the old poem says--"Five kings lay
on the _battle-stead_, youthful kings, by swords in slumber laid."
Besides, we find Bicker and Bickering in Lincolnshire, and Bickerton in
both Northumberland and the East Riding of Yorkshire. Whatever this may
be worth, it is most desirable that this tumulus should be dug into, for
remains might, and probably would, be found which could throw
additional light upon the subject of the present investigation.

In the yard of Brindle Parish Church, beneath the chancel window, is an
ancient stone coffin, with a circular hollow for the head of the corpse.
Nothing further is known respecting it, beyond that it was dug up
somewhere in the neighbourhood, and had been removed to its present
position with a view to its preservation.

In 1867 I examined the Ancient British burial mound and its contents,
then recently discovered in the park land attached to Whitehall, and
contiguous to that of Low Hill House, the residence of Mr. Ellis
Shorrock, at Over Darwen, and contributed a paper respecting it to the
Transactions of the Lancashire and Cheshire Historic Society. In that
paper I say--"I heard that there is a tradition, yet implicitly relied
on, which speaks of a battle fought in the olden time somewhere in the
neighbourhood of Tockholes in the Roddlesworth valley, and stories that
remains, including those of horses, have been found, which are believed
to confirm it. Respecting this I may have something to say in a future
paper." What I have to say is this: that if a severe struggle took place
near the tumulus to which I have referred, the routed army, following
the Roman vicinal way to Ribchester, would pass by the locality, which
is not far distant. This adds another link in the chain of evidence by
which I have sought to demonstrate that the _most probable_ site of
Athelstan's great victory at Brunanburh is that which I have indicated
near the famous "pass of the Ribble," to the south of Preston, and that
the great Cuerdale hoard of treasure was buried on the bank of the
stream, during the disastrous retreat of the routed confederate armies.

In the appendix to the "History of Preston and its Environs," published
in 1857, after discussing Mr. Weddle's objections to a Lancashire site,
I concluded with the following words--"These reasons, in conjunction
with those advanced in the second chapter of this work, induce the
author to prefer the locality, in the present state of the evidence, as
the _most probable_ site of the 'battle of the Brun.'"

Although the evidence advanced in its favour on the present occasion is
considerably in excess of that previously obtainable, I still merely
reassert my previous conviction, without dogmatism, that, on weighing
the whole of the evidence yet adduced, I am justified in maintaining
that the site I name is the _most probable_ which has yet been
suggested; indeed, there is very little reliable evidence in favour of
any other. But, in conclusion, I again reiterate what I wrote
twenty-five years ago, when dealing with the Roman topography of the
county, that "no permanent settlement of so difficult a question ought
to be insisted upon, until every means of investigation and all the
resources of logical inference have been fairly exhausted."

I have already said that the neighbourhood of Preston and "the pass of
the Ribble," as might have been expected from its topographical
position, and consequent strategical importance, has been the scene of
many known conflicts. Robert Bruce, in 1323, burned the town, but
ventured no further southward. Holinshed says he "entered into England,
by Carlisle, kept on his way through Cumberland, Westmoreland, and
Lancaster, to Preston, which town he burnt, as he had done others in the
counties he had passed through, and, after three weeks and three days,
he returned into Scotland without engaging."

Dr. Kuerden, writing shortly before the guild of 1682, laments the
destruction of documentary evidence relating to this famous Preston
festival during the turmoil of civil war. After enumerating the dates of
those still preserved, in his day, in the Corporation records, he
says--"These are such as doth appeare within the Records and Gild Books,
that yet remain extant and in being, though some I conceive to be
omitted, as one Gild in Henry 6th dayes occasion'd, as I conceive, in
those distractions and civil wars betwixt the Houses of Lancaster and
York; another Gild Merchant omitted to be kept in K. H. 8th dayes,
occasioned, as may be thought, by the Revolutions at that time in Church
affayres; the next that are wanting may be through the loss of Records
in K. Edw. 3rd dayes [_sic._] wheras the Scottish army burnt the
Burrough of Preston to the very ground." Kuerden is in error with
reference to the king's reign in which this disaster occurred; Bruce's
foray took place in the reign of Edward II.

In the "History of Preston and its Environs," p. 50, I say--"A tradition
still remains that Roman Ribchester was destroyed by an earthquake;
another that it was reduced to ashes in the early part of the
fourteenth century, during the great inroad of the Scots under Bruce.
Both are highly improbable. Had Roman Ribchester remained a place of any
importance till the period referred to, it could scarcely have failed to
have attracted the notice of some of the elder chroniclers or
topographers. True, the _Saxon village_ may have shared the fate of
Preston, in the celebrated foray of our northern neighbours, and hence
the tradition! An earthquake in England, of sufficient magnitude to bury
a Roman 'city,' (to use the elder Whitaker's emphatic style,) '_must_'
have found some one to record it. Other facts, however, demonstrate that
this tradition can have no better foundation than the vague conjecture
of ignorant peasants; who, on first discovering remains of ancient
buildings beneath the soil, naturally attributed their subterranean
location to the action of some earthquake, in that mysterious period
usually denominated the 'olden time.'" In Leland's day, the remains of
the Roman temple dedicated to Minerva were believed to have been
connected with Jewish religious rites and ceremonies, from the simple
fact that they knew of no other non-Christian sect with whom to
associate them.

At the commencement of the campaign in 1643 between Charles I. and the
Parliament, General Fairfax, from his head quarters at Manchester,
ordered an attack upon Preston, then garrisoned by the king's troops.
The town was at that time fortified by "inner and outer walls of brick,"
no vestige of which now remains, although it was recently not very
difficult to trace their site. The command was entrusted to General Sir
John Seaton. Captain Booth led the attack, and scaled the outer wall.
The garrison defended the inner wall with great valour, "with push of
pike," until Sir John Seaton, having stormed the defences on the eastern
side, entered the town by Church-street, when they were overpowered, and
the Parliamentary army obtained complete possession of the town, but not
before the mayor, Adam Morte, and his son, had fallen in the conflict.

Colonel Rosworm, the celebrated Parliamentary engineer, afterwards
refortified the town. Shortly afterwards Major-General Seaton and
Colonel Ashton marched from Preston, with the view to relieve Lancaster,
then besieged by the Earl of Derby. The earl drew off his troops on
their approach, and falling suddenly on Preston, in its then defenceless
state, stormed the works in three places. After an hour's severe
fighting the place surrendered. Lord Derby secured the magazine, and
destroyed the military works, fearing the place might again fall into
the enemy's hands.

In August, 1664, a smart little struggle took place at Ribble Bridge,
which Colonel Shuttleworth thus describes in his dispatch--"Right
Honourable,--Upon Thursday last, marching with three of my troops upon
Blackburn towards Preston, where the ennemie lay, I met eleven of their
colours at Ribble Bridge, within a mile of Preston, whereupon, after a
sharp fight, we took the Lord Ogleby, a Scotch Lord, Colonel Ennis, one
other colonel slaine, one major wounded, and divers officers and
soldiers to the number of forty in all taken, besides eight or nine
slaine, with the losse of twelve men taken prisoners, which afterwards
were released by Sir John Meldrum upon his coming to Preston the night
following, from whence the enemy fled."

Four years afterwards, Cromwell achieved his great victory over the Duke
of Hamilton and the Marquis of Langdale. Reference has been made, in the
previous chapter, to the rapid march of the Parliamentary forces from
Skipton, by Clitheroe, to Stonyhurst, where they encamped on the evening
of August 16th, 1648. Some difference respecting the then famous
"Covenant" prevented Langdale's forces from combining heartily with
those of the Duke. His English troops were encamped on Ribbleton Moor,
to the east of Preston. Hamilton's Scotch forces were widely scattered.
Some of his advanced horse lay at Wigan; his main army occupied Preston,
while his rear, under Monro, were in the neighbourhood of Garstang.
Short work was made, notwithstanding the great numerical superiority,
with such discipline and divided councils, by a soldier of Cromwell's
calibre. In the words of Thomas Carlyle, he "dashed in upon him, cut him
in two, drove him north _and_ south, into as miserable ruin as his worst
enemy could wish." "The bridge of Ribble" was fiercely contested. When
the Parliamentary troops, with "push of pike" (Cromwell's equivalent for
the modern phrase "at the point of the bayonet"), at length prevailed,
the duke's army retreated over the Darwen, which joins the Ribble in the
immediate neighbourhood. Night put an end to the conflict. Before
daylight the Royalist army decamped, but was hotly pursued, through
Chorley, Wigan, and Warrington, into the midland counties, and rapidly
destroyed. The Duke of Hamilton was taken prisoner at Uttoxeter, and a
similar fate befel Langdale at Nottingham.[39]

This victory is celebrated as one of Cromwell's greatest military
achievements, by Milton, in his famous sonnet:--


    Cromwell, our chief of men, who, through a cloud
    Not of war only, but detractions rude,
    Guided by faith and matchless fortitude,
    To peace and truth thy glorious way has plough'd,
    And on the neck of crowned Fortune proud
    Hast reared God's trophies and his work pursued,
    And Dunbar field resound thy praises loud,
    And Worcester's laureat wreath. Yet much remains
    To conquer still; Peace hath her victories
    No less renown'd than War; new foes arise
    Threat'ning to bind our souls with secular chains:
    Help us to save free conscience from the paw
    Of hireling wolves, whose gospel is their maw.

The number of the troops engaged in this short but brilliant campaign is
stated variously by different authorities. There is an entry in the
records of the Corporation of Preston which says "Decimo Septimo die
Augustie, 1648, 24 Car,--That Henry Blundell, gent., being mayor of this
town of Preston, the daie and yeare aforesaid, Oliver Cromwell,
lieutenant-general of the forces of the Parliament of England, with an
army of about 10,000 at the most, (whereof 1500 were Lancashire men,
under the command of Colonel Ralph Assheton, of Middleton), fought a
battail in and about Preston aforesaid, and over-threw Duke Hamilton,
general of the Scots, consisting of about 26,000, and of English, Sir
Marmaduke Langdale and his forces, joined with the Scots, about 4,000;
took all their ammunition, about 3,000 prisoners, killed many with very
small losse to the parliament army; and in their pursuit towards
Lancaster, Wigan, Warrington, and divers other places in Cheshire,
Staffordshire, and Nottinghamshire, took the said Duke and Langdale,
with many Scottish earls and lords, and about 10,000 prisoners more, all
being taken [or] slayne, few escaping, and all their treasure and
plunder taken. This performed in less than one week."

Captain Hodgson notices the plundering propensities of the enemy, but,
as we have seen in the previous chapter, he entertained no higher an
opinion of his Lancashire allies, with respect to their "looting"
proclivities. His estimate of the numbers of the army of the Parliament
is somewhat less than that in the Corporation record. He says--"The
Scots marched towards Kendal, we towards Rippon; where Oliver met us
with horse and foot. We were then betwixt eight and nine thousand; a
fine smart army, and fit for action. We marched up to Skipton; and the
forlorn of the enemy's horse was come to Gargrave, and took some men
away, and made others pay what money they pleased; having made havock in
the country, it seems intending never to come there again."

Cromwell, in his despatch "to the Honourable William Lenthall, Esquire,
Speaker of the House of Commons," dated "Warrington, 20th August,
1648," of course attributes all the honour and glory to the Almighty,
yet, modestly enough, he claims some credit as due to the Parliamentary
army, if it rested merely upon the disparity in the number of the
combatants. He says--"Thus you have a Narrative of the particulars of
the success which God hath given you; which I could hardly at this time
have done, considering the multiplicity of business, but truly, when I
was once engaged in it, I could hardly tell how to say less, there being
so much of God in it; and I am not willing to say more, lest there
should seem to be any of man. Only give me leave to add one word,
showing the disparity of forces on both sides, that you may see, and all
the world acknowledge, the great hand of God in this business. The Scots
army could not be less than twelve thousand effective foot, well armed,
and five thousand horse; Langdale not less than two thousand five
hundred foot, and fifteen hundred horse; in all Twenty-one-Thousand: and
truly very few of their foot but were as well armed if not better than
yours, and at divers disputes did fight two or three hours before they
would quit their ground. Yours were about two thousand five hundred
horse and dragoons of your old Army; about four thousand foot of your
old Army; also about sixteen hundred Lancashire foot, and about five
hundred Lancashire horse; in all about Eight thousand Six hundred. You
see by computation about two thousand of the Enemy slain; betwixt eight
and nine thousand prisoners; besides what are lurking in hedges and
private places, which the County daily bring in or destroy."

Notwithstanding the great social and political importance of this
victory, and the renown of the general by whom it was achieved, whose
very name is yet associated in the minds of some with every odious moral
feature, and, in the judgment of others, with the highest English
statesmanship, unselfish patriotism, and sincere religious conviction,
the amount of legendary story which it has left behind is singularly
limited. I have heard of several localities in Lancashire, and some
neighbouring counties, where tradition records that Oliver Cromwell once
visited the district and slept in some specified house or mansion,
although there exists not the slightest reliable evidence that Oliver
was ever in the neighbourhood. This, in some instances, I fancy, may be
accounted for by the fact that Cromwell's name has become a typical or
generic one, and has done duty for nearly a couple of centuries with the
public generally, for every commander, either generals or subordinate
officers, belonging to the Parliamentary armies.

One tradition, however, was well-known in my youthful days. The mound
planted with trees on "Walton Flats" was always regarded as "the grave
of the Scotch warriors." The place was rather a solitary one at night,
and some superstitious fear was often confessed by others than children,
when passing it after nightfall. It was in this mound, in 1855, whilst
looking for remains of the said "Scotch warriors," that I came upon
evidences of Roman occupation. Faith in the legend was attested when
one of the workmen informed me that he had found in the mound a
halfpenny with the figure of a Scotchman in the place of Britannia, on
the reverse. I found it to be a Roman second brass coin, the military
costume of a soldier suggesting to the labourer a kilted Highlander.
Although at various times relics of the fight have been picked up, they
are now extremely rare. The flood waters of the Ribble have occasionally
dislodged human bones, including skulls, from the banks, and these are
almost universally, if somewhat vaguely, associated with "Scotch
warriors," but without any definite notion as to the period or cause of
their presence in the neighbourhood. I remember, many years ago,
suggesting to a very old man employed on a rope-walk near the south bank
of the river, that, as a number of English, including some Lancashire
men, were slain in the great battle in 1648, it was possible a portion
of the bones might belong to them. He did not deny the _possibility_;
but simply remarked that he had never heard the remains attributed to
any but the aforesaid "Scotch warriors;" and he was evidently, from his
point of view, too "patriotic" to entertain, himself, the slightest
doubt on the subject.

A Protestant minister of Annandale, a Mr. Patten, who accompanied the
Stuart army, and published a "History of the Rebellion" in 1715,
condemns the Jacobite leaders for not defending the "Pass of the
Ribble." The approach to the old bridge down the steep incline from
Preston was by a lane, which was, he says, "very deep indeed." This lane
was situated about midway between the present road and the hollow, yet
visible, by which the Roman road passed to the north. He adds--"This is
that famous lane at the end of which Oliver Cromwell met with a stout
resistance from the King's forces, who from the height rolled down upon
him and his men (when they had entered the lane) huge large millstones;
and if Oliver himself had not forced his horse to jump into a quicksand,
he had luckily ended his days there." Commenting on this passage in the
"History of Preston," I say--"Notwithstanding Mr. Patten's political
conversion _afterwards_, and his horror of the 'licentious freedom' of
those who 'cry up the old doctrines of passive obedience, and give hints
and arguments to prove hereditary right,' he appears to have retained
all the antipathy of a Stuart partizan to the memory of Oliver Cromwell.
Yet the loyalty of 1648 became rebellion in 1715, when Mr. Patten's head
was in danger. Such is the mutation of human dogmatism."

Cromwell, in a letter to the Solicitor-General, "his worthy friend,
Oliver St. John, Esquire," shortly after the battle, relates an incident
which illustrates one of the phases of religious thought amongst our
Puritan ancestors, and which is by no means extinct at the present time.
He says--"I am informed from good hands, that a poor godly man died in
Preston, the day before the fight; and being sick, near the hour of his
death, he desired the woman that cooked to him, to fetch him a handful
of grass. She did so; and when he received it, he asked, whether it
would wither or not, now it was cut? The woman said 'yea.' He replied,
'So should this Army of the Scots do, and come to nothing, so soon as
ours did but appear,' or words to this effect, and so immediately died."

Thomas Carlyle's old Puritan blood is up, as he contemplates the
possibility of some adverse critic citing this story as evidence of
Cromwell's intellectual weakness, or, at least, of his proneness to
superstition. He almost fiercely exclaims--"Does the reader look with
any intelligence into that poor old prophetic, symbolic, Death-bed scene
at Preston? Any intelligence of Prophecy and Symbol, in general; of the
symbolic Man-child _Mahershalal-hashbaz_ at Jerusalem, or the handful of
Cut Grass at Preston--of the opening Portals of Eternity, and what
departing gleams there are in the Soul of the pure and the just?
Mahershalal-hashbaz ('Hasten-to-the-spoil,' so called), and the bundle
of Cut Grass are grown somewhat strange to us! Read; and having sneered

In August, 1651, Colonel Lilburne defeated the Earl of Derby at
Wigan-lane, in which engagement the gallant Major-general Sir Thomas
Tildesley fell. On the day previous to the battle, a skirmish took place
between the Royalists and the Parliamentary troops at the "pass of the
Ribble." In his letter to Cromwell, Lilburne says--"The next day, in the
afternoone, I having not foot with me, a party of the Enemies Horse fell
smartly amongst us where our Horses were grazing, and for some space put
us pretty hard to it; but at last it pleased the Lord to strengthen us
so as that we put them to flight, and pursued them to _Ribble-bridge_,
(this was something like our business at _Mussleburgh_), and kild and
tooke about 30 prisoners, most Officers and Gentlemen, with the loss of
two men that dyed next morning; but severall wounded, and divers of our
good Horses killed."

ANNO DOMINI 1715. "Time's whirligig" hath brought about strange changes.
A "Restoration" and a "Glorious Revolution" have passed across the
stage. The faithful followers of the dethroned Stuarts, the "royalists"
of the last century, have been transformed into the "rebels" of this.
The partizans of Prince James Francis Edward Stuart, styled the "Elder
Pretender," after a successful march from Scotland, arrived at Preston,
and took possession of the town.

The "Chevalier" was proclaimed king. Brigadier Macintosh was anxious to
defend the "pass" at Ribble-bridge, but, as the previous fortifications
of the town had been destroyed, it was determined instead to barricade
the entrance to the principal streets. The town was besieged for two
days by Generals Wills and Carpenter. After a brave defence,
notwithstanding the incompetency of "General" Forster, the partizans of
the Stuart were compelled to surrender at discretion.[40]

In 1745, Prince Charles Edward, or the "Young Pretender," as he was
styled, marched from Scotland on his way to Derby, through Preston; and
again, a little more expeditiously on his return therefrom.

Mr. Robert Chambers says--"The clansmen had a superstitious dread, in
consequence of the misfortunes of their party at Preston, in 1715, that
they would never get beyond this town; to dispel the illusion, Lord
George Murray crossed the Ribble, and quartered a number of men on the
other side." A single repulse could scarcely justify such foreboding.
The name of the Ribble had evidently become associated with previous
disasters, as well as with the relatively recent surrender of the Scotch
and English forces under Forster, Derwentwater, and Macintosh in 1715.

Considering the many exquisite poetical effusions which the misfortunes
of the Stuarts added to Scottish literature, it is surprising that
nothing, but some of the veriest doggrels in relation thereto, can be
met with on the southern side of the border. "Brigadier Macintosh's
Farewell to the Highlands" is beneath criticism, and "Long Preston Peggy
to Proud Preston went" is not much better. In May, 1847, a story
appeared in "New Tales of the Borders and the British Isles." It is
introduced by the first stanza of the ballad. The scene is laid at
Walton-le-dale and Preston, 1815. It is a sad jumble of fact and
fiction. It confounds with one another events in the campaigns of 1715
and 1745, and illustrates, to some extent, the confusion of history and
artistic fiction discussed in the preceding pages of this work. Peggy,
who, in her old age, after a somewhat profuse indulgence in ardent
spirits, had still some remains of a handsome face and fine person,
frequently sung the song of which she was the heroine, five and twenty
years after the occurrence of the events which gave rise to it.[41]



Mr. John Ingram, in his "Claimants to Royalty," referring to the defeat
of Don Sebastian, King of Portugal, in 1578, by the Moors, says--"After
the fight, a corse, recognised by one of the survivors as the king's,
was discovered by the victorious Moors, and forwarded by the Emperor of
Morocco as a present to his ally, Philip the Second of Spain. In 1583,
this monarch restored it to the Portuguese, by whom it was interred with
all due solemnity in the royal mausoleum in the church of Our Lady of
Belem." It thus seems that Dean Howson's conjecture, referred to at page
62, is, at least, not without precedent.


Mr. W. Brailsford, in "The Antiquary" (August, 1882), referring to the
marriage which united the properties of the Bulmers and the Nevilles, in
1190, says--"The dun bull, which is the badge of the Norman Nevilles,
was in reality derived from the Saxon Bulmers, though it has been
thought by some antiquarian searchers to have had its origin from the
wild cattle which, once on a time, like those still existing at
Chillingham, roamed in the park here, then and at a later date."


When the preceding pages were nearly all in type, I ordered a copy of
the then just published essay entitled "Myth and Science," by Signor
Tito Vignoli, in which the gradual development of mythic thought and
expression is expounded with great clearness and precision. He says, p.

"Doubtless it is difficult for us to picture for ourselves the psychical
conditions of primitive men, at a time when the objects of perception
and the apprehension of things were presented by an effort of memory to
the mind as if they were actual and living things, yet such conditions
are not hypothetical, but really existed, as any one may ascertain for
himself who is able to realise that primitive state of mind, and we have
said enough to show that such was its necessary condition.

"The fact becomes more intelligible when we consider man, and especially
the uneducated man, under the exciting influence of any passion, and how
at such times he will, even when alone, gesticulate, speak aloud, and
reply to internal questions which he imagines to be put to him by absent
persons, against whom he is at the moment infuriated; the images of
these persons and things are, as it were, present and in agitation
within him; and these images, in the fervour of emotion and under the
stimulus of excitement, appear to be actually alive, although only
presented to the inward psychical consciousness.

"In the natural man, in whom the intellectual powers were very slowly
developed, the animation and personification effected by his mind and
consciousness were threefold: first of the objects themselves as they
really existed, then of the idea or image corresponding to them in the
memory, and lastly of the specific types of these objects and images.
There was within him a vast and continuous drama, of which we are no
longer conscious, or only retain a faint and distant echo, but which is
partly revealed by a consideration of the primitive value of words and
their roots in all languages. The meaning of these, which is now for the
most part lost and unintelligible, always expressed a material and
concrete fact, or some gesture. This is true of classic tongues, and is
well known to all educated people, and it recurs in the speech of all
savage and barbarous races.

"_Ia Rau_ is used to express _all_ in the Marquesas Isles. _Rau_
signifies _leaves_, so that the term implies something as numerous as
the leaves of a tree. _Rau_ is also now used for _sound_, an expression
which includes in itself the conception of _all_, but which originally
signified a fact, a real and concrete phenomenon, and it was felt as
such in the ancient speech in which it was used in this sense. So again
in Tahiti _huru_, _ten_, originally signified _hairs_; _rima_, _five_,
was at first used for _hand_; _riri_, _anger_, literally means _he
shouts_. _Uku_ in the Marquesas Isles means _to lower the head_, and is
now used for _to enter a house_. _Kùku_, which had the same original
name in New Zealand, now expresses the act of diving. The Polynesian
word _toro_ at first indicated anything in the position of a hand with
extended fingers, whence comes the Tahitian term for ox, _puaátoro_,
_stretching pig_, in allusion to the way in which an ox carries his
head. _Toó_ (Marquesas), to put forward the hand, is now used for _to
take_. _Tongo_ (Marquesas), to grope with extended arms, leads to
_protongo tongo_, _darkness_. In New Zealand, _wairua_, in Tahiti
_varua_, signifies soul or spirit, from _vai_, to remain in a recumbent
position, and _rua_, two; that is _to be in two places_, since they
believed that in sickness or in dreams the soul left the body.[42]
Throughout Polynesia, _moe_ signifies a recumbent position or to sleep,
and in Tahiti _moe pipiti_ signifies a double sleep or dream, from
_moe_, to sleep, and _piti_, two. In New Zealand, _moenaku_ means to try
to grasp something during sleep; from _naku_, to take in the fingers.

"We can understand something of the mysterious exercise of human
intelligence in its earliest development from this habit of symbolizing
and presenting in an outward form an abstract conception, thus giving a
concrete meaning and material expression to the external fact. We see
how everything assumed a concrete, living form, and can better
understand the conditions we have established as necessary in the early
days of the development of human life. This attitude of the intelligence
had been often stated before, but in an incomplete way; the primitive
and subsequent myths have been confounded together;" [See ante, p.p. 44,
et seq., et 116.] "and it has been supposed that myth was of
exclusively human origin, whereas it has its roots lower down in the
vast animal kingdom.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Anthropomorphism, and the personification of the things and phenomena
of nature, and their images and specific types, were the great source
whence issued superstitions, mythologies, and religions, and, also, as
we shall presently see, the scientific errors to be found among all the
families of the human race.

"For the development of myth, which is in itself always a human
personification of natural objects and phenomena in some form or other,
the first and necessary foundation consists, as we have abundantly
shown, in the conscious and deliberate vivification of objects by the
perception and apprehension of animals. And since this is a condition of
animal perception, it is also the foundation of all human life, and of
the spontaneous and innate exercise of the intelligence. In fact, man,
by a two-fold process, raises above his animal nature a world of images,
ideas, and conceptions from the types he has formed of various
phenomena, and his attitude towards this internal world does not differ
from his attitude towards that which is external. He personifies the
images, ideas, and conceptions, by transforming them into living
subjects, just as he had originally personified cosmic objects and

       *       *       *       *       *

"This was the source of primitive, confused, and inorganic fetishism
among all peoples; namely, that they ascribed intentional and conscious
life to a host of natural objects and phenomena. Hence came the fears,
the adoration, the guardianship of, or abhorrence for, some given
species of stones, plants, animals, some strange forms or unusual
natural object. The subsequent adoration of idols and images, all sorts
of talismans, the virtue of relics, dreams, incantations and exorcisms,
had the same origin, and were all due to this primitive genesis of the
fetish. the internal duplication of the external animation and
personification of objects."


The remains of a very fine example of the Anglo-Saxon helmet referred to
in chapter ii., was found by the late Mr. Bateman, in 1848, at Benty
Grange, in Derbyshire. He says--"It was our good fortune to open a
barrow which afforded a more instructive collection of relics than has
ever been discovered in the country, and which are not surpassed in
interest by any remains hitherto recovered from any Anglo-Saxon burial
place in the kingdom." Amongst these remains was the head-piece referred
to. After describing the details of its structure, he adds--"On the
crown of the helmet is an elliptical bronze plate supporting the figure
of an animal carved in iron, with bronze eyes, now much corroded, but
perfectly distinct as the representation of a hog."



 Abram, 138, 143

 Achilleus, 39, 46, 53

 Acquitania, 41

 Adam's Peak, 117

 Adils, 175, et seq.

 Agamemnon, 40

 Agricola, Julius, 4

 Agrimensores, 87

 Aix-la-Chapelle, 40

 Albinus, St., 20

 Alexander, 43, 44

 Alfgeirr, 175 et seq. 194

 Allectus, 192

 Alfred the Great, 44, 63, 77, 81, 168, 173, 175, 194

 Ancient Monuments, 44

 Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, 7, 27, 32, 35, 61, 130, 131, 134, 143, 165, 167,
   170, 179, 204

 Aneurin, 19, 114

 Anlaf, 170, et seq.

 Annales Cambria, 195

 Anselm, 45

 Anthony, St., 116

 Arbury, 85

 Arminius or Herman, 75

 Armorica (Brittany), 18, 20, 38

 Artemis, 113

 Arthur, 6, et seq., 34, 35, 37, 42, 44, 46, 50, 56, 77, 103, 114, 116

 Arthur's Sepulchre at Glastonbury, 8

 Aruthur (Welsh word), 21

 Aryan Myths, 100

 Æsthetic Truth, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 58, 59

 Ashton, Col.-Gen., 161, et seq.

 Athelstan, King, 41, 164, et seq.

 Augustine, St., 32, 94, 184


 Baines, Edward, 62, 66, 73, 74, 77, 90, 92, 99, 136, 148, 153, 157

 Baines, Thomas, 62, 207

 Bale, John, 185

 Bamborough, 62

 Bamber Bridge, 198

 Bangor-Iscoed, 32, 33, 34

 Barbarism and Civilization, 129

 Bardney, Lincolnshire, 61, 68

 Barham-Down, 34

 Baring-Gould, Rev., 107

 Barrett, 107

 Battle Abbey, 42

 Beamont, W., 64, 66, 77, 78, 81

 Bede, the Venerable, 15, 18, 19, 56, 61, 68, 71, 87, 92, 95, 105

 Beowulf, 88, 101, 105, 113, 187

 Bickerton, 207

 Billangahoh, 130, et seq.

 Blackrod, 22, 30

 "Blackburnshire, De Statu,", 144

 Blackwell, J. A., 168

 Boar, or Hog, Wild, 61, 99, 100, 108, et seq.

 Boscowen, W. St. Chad, 45

 Bewcastle and Ruthwell monuments, 9

 Boece, 25

 Bojorix, 112

 Bolton Hall, Bolland, 150

 Bosworth, Rev. J., 65

 Bovium, 34

 Bramha, 120

 Bravalla, Fight at, 42

 Brigantes, 3, 5, 30

 Brindle, 196, 205, 208

 Brinhildr or Brunhild, 197

 Brit-Welsh, 34, 45, 67, 75

 British Urns, 4

 Brockhall, 137 et seq.

 Brocmail, 35

 Bruce, Robert, 210, 211

 Brunanburh, 164, et seq.

 Brut, 7, 11, 25, 27, 67, 73, 94

 Brut-y-Tywysogion, 195

 Bryn, Brun, and Burne, 73, 74, 97

 Brynhild, 39

 Budda, 117

 Bullasey-ford, 138, 139, 146

 Buried Treasure, 192, 193

 Bungerley hyppyngstones 146, 149, 158

 Burial Mound, Ancient British 208

 Bury, Adam de, 157

 Bury Castle, Traditionary Siege of, 154, et seq.

 Byron, Lord, 53


 Cadwalla, or Cadwallon, 26, 27, 63, 67, 72, 93, 94

 Caldean Heliopolis, 45

 Camden, 93, 189

 Cærwent, 14

 Cædmon, 125, 187

 Caerleon on Usk, 14

 Camelot, 14

 Cannon-balls, 152

 Canute, 181, 188

 Cardoile, Carlisle, 14

 Carausius, 192

 Cartismandua, 4

 Castle Field, Manchester, 35

 Caster-cliff, near Colne, 4

 Castle Hill, 70, 77, 78, 84, 206

 Castle Stead, near Bury, 157

 Carlyle, Thomas, 51, 161, 213, 219

 Catraeth, Fight at, 123

 Centwine, 9

 Chambers, Robert, 222

 Charlemagne, 39, 40, 42, 103

 Charles I., King, 150, et seq.

 Charles Edward Stuart, Prince, 221

 Chester, 32, 33, 34

 Chevy-Chase, 31

 Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, 54

 Chivalry, 6

 Christianity and Paganism, 165, 166, 172

 Christopher, St., Legend of, 135

 Chronicles of the Princes of Wales, 195

 Civilization, Origin of, 116

 Clitheroe Castle, 148, et seq.

 Clitheroe Castle, Traditional Siege of, 151, 153

 Clifford, Lord, 124

 Cocboy, 74

 Codoy, 65

 Coffins, Oak Tree, 10

 Coffin, Stone, at Brindle, 208

 Coins, Roman, 200, 204

 Colgrin, 24, 27, 148

 Conybeare, 101

 Constantine, King of the Scots, 171, 176

 Coote, H. C., 87

 Cox, Rev. Sir G. W., 46, 100, 118

 Cremation, 80, 82, 84, 87, 88

 Crests, or Totems, 109, seq.

 Crusades, 40

 Cromwell, 43, 99, 151 et seq., 213 et seq.

 Cromwell Legends, 217

 Croyland, 43

 Cuerdale Find, The Great 188, et seq.

 Cuerden, 200


 Danes' "Pad", 202

 Danish Invasions, 133, 165, et seq.

 Dasent, Dr. Sir G. W., 15, 108, 127

 Darwen, Over, 5, 208

 Dawkins, Prof. Boyd, 31, 32, 73

 Deira, 35

 Denisburn, 93

 Derby, Earl of, 150, 155, 212, 220

 Dialects, Provincial, 144

 Dickens, Charles, 35

 Dietrich, 45

 Documents, Destruction of, 182, 184, 185, 186

 Domesday Book, 89, 196

 Douglas, 7, 11, 12, 14, 21, 24, 26, 27, 34, 37, 133, 148

 Dragons, 101, 105, 107, 110, 123, 132

 Dublin, 203

 Durham, Simeon of, 201


 Eardulph, King, 130, et seq., 147

 Earwaker, Mr., 64

 Easter, 106

 Edda, 28, 39, 115

 Editha, Athelstan's Sister, 170

 Edisford, 146, 148, 161

 Edmund the Atheling, 176

 Edwall Voel, King of Gwynnedd, 169

 Edward the Confessor, 182

 Edward the Elder, King, 169

 Edwin, King of Northumbria, 26, 27, 61, 95, 185

 Ecgfrith, 34

 Egbert, King, 180

 Egil, 173, et seq.

 Ella, King, 166, 168

 Ellis, Mr. G., 37

 Elmet, 33

 Elphin, St., 87

 Elston, William, 205

 Elton, C., 122

 England, Making of, 15, 19, 21

 Erich, King, 47

 Ethelbald, King, 43

 Ethelfrith, King, 32, 33

 Ethelred, King, 130, 133

 Ethrunanwerch, 201

 Etymological, 62, et seq.

 Exoniensis Codex, 187

 Extwistle-moor, Remains on, 4


 Fafnir, 100

 Fairfax, Gen., 211

 Fairy Mythology, 116

 Falstaff, Sir John, 13

 Farrar, J. A., 129

 Fenton, J., 106

 Fergusson, Dr. J., 11, 82, 83

 Finns, The, 117

 Finnesburg, Fight of, 113, 187

 Fiske, Mr., 6, 18, 38, 108, 119

 Florence of Worcester, 32

 Folk-lore, 129

 Forster, Gen., 221

 Freeman, E. A., 39, 40, 172

 Freya, or Friga, 113, 114

 Frey's Howe, Upsala, 83


 Galahad, Sir, 50

 Gargrave, Skirmish near, 215

 Gawain, Sir, 37

 Gawsworth, 135

 Geoffrey of Monmouth, 5, 6, 7, 13, 18, 19, 24, 26, 32, 37, 41, 42

 Geological Phenomena, 141

 Geraint, 17

 Gerards of Bryn, 74

 Gervinus, Dr., 55, 58, 59, 128

 Giant Stories, 11

 Gilbert de Lacy, 196

 Gildas, 5, 18, 19, 20, 33, 34, 184

 Giles, Dr., 26, 190

 Giraldus Cambrensis, 20

 Gladstone, W. E., 18

 Glendwr, Owen, 123

 Gododin, The, 114

 Godrun, 168

 Golborne, 66, 77, 78

 Gothrun, the Dane, 180

 Green, J. R., 15, 19, 26, 33, 65, 73, 97, 104, 125, 136, 145, 166

 Gregory, St., 184

 Grendel, 101

 Grimm, J., 22, 118, 122

 Gudrekir, 194, 195

 Guest, Dr., 15

 Guilds, Preston, 210

 Ginevra, Queen, 11

 Guy of Warwick, Sir, 41, 106

 Gwynedd, 33


 Hacking Hall, 138

 Haigh, Mr. D. H., 7, 11, 15, 20, 24, 27, 60, 88, 101, 134, 136, 148,

 Hamilton, Duke of, 99, 153, et seq., 213, 214

 Hamlet, 38

 Hammerton, P. G., 52

 Harald Blatand, etc., 28, 41

 Harald Hildetand, 41

 Harrington, Sir J., 149, 150

 Harold, King, 48

 Hartlepool, 101

 Hartshorne, Mr., 72

 Harvest-Blasters, 109, 126

 Hasty Knoll, 21

 Hawkins, Mr., 188

 Hazlit, 105

 Heavenfield, 67, 68, 93

 Heathfield, 26, 95

 "Heathen-men" (Danes), 132

 Helmets, 111, 227

 Helmet, Anglo-Saxon, 227

 Hengist and Horsa, 6, 110

 Henry VI., King, 149, 158

 Henry of Huntingdon, 183

 Heraclids, 6

 Heraldry, 109, et seq.

 Herodotus, 110, 118

 Hildebrand, Herr, 82, 83

 Historia Britonum, 18

 Historical Documents, Destruction of, 158

 Historical Novels, 47, 48, 50, 52, 54, 57, 59

 Historical Pictures, 55

 Hodgson, Col., 161, et seq., 214

 Hoel, 17

 Hollingworth, 15, 30, 66

 Homer, 35, 38, 52

 Honorius, 15

 Horatii and Curiatii, Tombs of, 51

 Horse Shoes, Ancient, 23, 24

 Howorth, Mr. H. H., 27, 41

 Howson, Dean, 62, 68

 Hrothgar, 101

 Hubbertsty, T., 137, 138, 139, 140

 Huntington, Henry of, 12, 25, 195

 Hwiccas, or Gewissas, 65

 Hygelac, 102

 Hyngr, 175, et seq.


 Iceland, 28, 42

 Iceni, 3

 Ida, 16

 Idylls of the King, 57

 Igerna, 17

 Illiad, 35, 38

 Inaccuracy of Ancient MSS., 187

 Indra, 39, 46, 100

 Ingulph, 195

 Isdubar, Giant, 45


 Jack the Giant-Killer, 47

 Johannes, Prior of Hagulstald, 148

 Johnson, Rev. H., 66

 Joseph of Arimathea, 37

 Jylgja, Guardian Spirit, 127


 Kabyls, 112

 Kains-Jackson, C. P., 44

 Kalydonian Hunt, 113

 Kay, Sir, 37

 Keightley, 116

 Kelly, W. K., 108

 Kemble, J. M., 65, 135, 187, 198

 Kendrick, Dr., 62, 86, 87

 King of England, First, 180

 Kuerden, Dr., 200, 210

 Kyklops, 39


 Lake District, 34

 Lambert, Major-General, 153, 162

 Lancashire Civil War Troops, 153, 163

 Lancashire Dialect, 75

 Lancashire Militia, 216

 Landisfarne, 69

 Lancelot, Sir, 35, 37, 50

 Langdale, Marquis of, 153, et seq., 213, et seq.

 Language, Life and Growth of, 75

 Langho, 134, et seq.

 Lanscado, Scather of the Land, 122

 Lappenberg, 27

 Latchford, 74, 75, 86, 193

 Leofric, Earl, 145

 Lichfield, Bishopric of, 146

 Lilburne, Col., 220

 Lindeley, John, Abbot of Whalley, 144

 Linguistics, 75

 Linuis, 11, 21, 23, 35

 Littler, T., 62

 Lloyd, Howel W., 64

 Lombards, 28

 Loyalty and Rebellion, 219, 221

 Lubbock, Sir John, 116

 Luther's Picture of the Devil, 51

 Llywarch Hen, 17, 26

 Lytton, Lord, 35, 47, 48


 Macaulay, T. B., 53

 Magic Cudgel, 47

 Mallet, M., 57, 117

 Malory, Sir Thomas, 14, 50

 Malmesbury, William of, 9, 12, 175, 195

 Mameceastre, 144

 Manchester, 12, 30, 33

 Map, Walter, 18, 50

 Marcelde, 66, 67

 Martin Mere, 23

 Maserfeld, Macerfeld, Marcelde, Mackerfield, 61, 62, et seq.

 Meldrum, Sir John, 213

 Merchant, Guild, 210

 Merlin, 17, 37, 114

 Mesbury, 64, 72

 Metcalfe, Fred, 44, 101, 114, 175, 186

 Metempsychosis, 119

 Metrical Romances, 57

 Milman, Dean, 49, 51

 Milton, John, 214

 Missionaries, the first, 145

 Modred, 34

 Moll, Herman, 197

 Monsters, Mythical, 113, 115

 Morgan, The Rev. R. W., 10, 19, 24

 Morley, Prof. H., 6

 Morris, 37

 Morte, Adam, 212

 Morte, D'Arthur, 14, 34

 Mote-hill, Warrington, 86

 Müller, Max, 41

 Myths, 5, 6, 7, 37, 38, 39, 43, 46, 57

 Myths, Genesis of, 224


 Nennius, 5, 7, 11, 12, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23, 50, 51, 65, 67, 68, 72, 74,
   88, 92, 107, 110, 148, 184

 Newbury, William of, 13

 Nicholas, St., 117

 Nichols, J. G., 149

 Nimrod, 45

 Northumbria, Southern Boundary of, 143, 145

 Nursery Tales, 38


 Odin, 38, 44, 47, 101

 Odins' Howe, Upsala, 82

 Odyssey, 35, 39, 118

 Offa, 102

 Origins of English History, 122

 Ostorious Scapula, 4

 Oswald, St., 26, 33, 61, et seq., 133, 224

 Oswald's Well, St., 66, 69, 91

 Oswestry, 62, 65, 72, 90

 Oswy, 68, 73, 96


 Palgrave, Sir Francis, 48, 176

 Panis, 39

 Panizzi, Sig., 6

 Paulinus, 89, 94, 144, 185

 Pagan Symbols destroyed, 185

 Parker, Archbishop, 185

 Parkinson, Mr., 140, et seq.

 Patten, The Rev. Mr., 218

 Penda, 26, 61, 62, 67, 72, 73, 74, 92, 95, 115, 133

 Percy, Bishop, 31

 Petilius Cerealis, 4, 30

 Phene, Dr., 103

 Phonetic Laws, 75

 Pictish Customs, 103

 Pilkington, Sir T., 153

 Pitris, or Fathers, 120, 125

 Poem, Anglo-Saxon, on the Battle of Brunanburh, 178

 Potter's Ford, 143

 Prehistoric Battlefields, 3, 30

 Preston, Great Battle of, 213, et seq.

 Pretender, the Elder, 221

 Primitive Culture, 36

 Puritan prophetic superstition, 219


 Raines, Canon, 137, 138

 Ragnar Lodbrock, 166, 168

 Rebellion and Loyalty, 147

 Red Bank, near Winwick, 99

 Ribchester, 12, 151, 210, 211

 Ribble-bridge, Battle at, 221

 Ribbleton Moor, Fight on, 162

 Richard III., 125

 Richard Cœur de Lion, 44, 102, 103

 Richard of Cirencester, 143

 Richmond, Earl of, 126

 Roach-Smith, C., 204

 Roberts, Askew, 64, 91

 Robin Hood, 44, 77, 78

 Robson, Dr., 83, 85

 Roman Remains at Walton, 218

 Roman Wall, 204

 Round Table, The, 14, 77

 Rosworm, Col., 212

 Runes, 184

 Russians, 117


 Saga, 102, 127, 183

 St. George, 100

 Salt Hill, Clitheroe, 152

 Samson, 45

 Sangraal, 37

 Saracens, 41, 103

 Saxo-Grammaticus, 28, 41, 42, 51

 Saxton, C., 197

 Scandinavia, 57, 103

 Science, Genesis of, 128

 Scop, or Gleeman's Tale, 41, 187

 Scotch Warriors, Grave of, 217, 218

 Scott, Sir Walter, 35, 47, 49, 52

 Seaton, Sir John, 212

 Serpents, 104, 106

 Setantii, Sistuntii, or Segantii, 3, 23

 Shakspere, 13, 38, 47, 58, 123, 128

 Sharon-Turner, 34, 67, 73, 175, 176, 177, 180

 Sherburne, Bishop of, 174

 Shuttleworth, Col., 212

 Siege of Preston in 1715, 221

 Siege of Preston in 1643, 211

 Sigurd, 39, 46, 100

 Sihtric or Sigtryg, 170

 Simeon of Durham, 130, 179, 194, 195

 Sibson, Rev. E., 21, 62, 77, 78, 81, 87

 Skene, Mr., 15, 19, 68, 189

 Solar Myths, 39, 40, 45, 46

 Songs resultant from the Stuart Troubles, 222, 223

 Spear Heads, Ancient, 85

 Spencer, Herbert, 120

 Spurs, Ancient, 23, 29

 Stephen, Leslie, 48, 50

 Stevenson, Mr., 18

 Stone Hammers, 85

 Stonyhurst, 152, 157, 160

 Strachey, Sir Edward, 14, 16, 17

 Stubbs and Haddon (Councils of Britain), 19

 Superstitious explanations of Natural Phenomena, 147

 Surnames, 121

 Sweyn, King, 181

 Swords, Magic, 47


 Tacitus, 114

 Talbot, T. and J., 149, 150

 Taliesin, 17, 35, 44

 Talleyrand, 44

 Tarquin, Sir, 35

 Taylor, Rev. I., 112

 Tempest, Sir John, 149, 150, 162

 Tennyson, 37, 60

 Thackeray, 35

 Theodoric, 45

 Theophilus, Story of, 45

 Thor, 47

 Thorolf, 175, et seq.

 Thorpe, B., 101, 102

 Tildesley, Sir Thos., 220

 Totems, or Crests, 109, et seq.

 Traveller's Tale, Poem, 134, 136

 Tre, Welsh prefix, 96

 Treasure, Buried, 192, 193

 Tristan, Sir, 37

 Troy, 53

 Tumuli, Ancient, 83, 85, 86, 87, 137, et seq., 205, 208

 Turketal, the English Chancellor, 176, 177

 Turkomans, 118

 Turner, J. M. W., 52

 Tylor, E. B., 5, 36, 56, 111, 128


 Ulster, Annals of, 35

 Urien of Rheged, 16, 17, 27

 Urns, Ancient, 81, 83, 84

 Upsala, 29

 Uther Pendragon, 110, 123


 Vámbéry, Arminius, 43, 49, 119

 Vergil, Polydore, 186

 Venutius, 4

 Vicinal ways, Roman, 205, 208

 Volsung Tale, 120

 Vritra, 100


 Wada, 130, et seq.

 Wada, Weland and Egil, 134

 Wade's Boat, 135

 Walhalla, 115

 Wallace, Mackenzie, 117

 Wars of the Roses, 158, 210

 Warwick, Earl of, 124

 Watkin, W. T., 87

 Watling street, 136, 194

 Wearden, 199

 Weddle, C. A., 190, 199, 209

 Well, St. Oswald's, 91, 92

 Welsh Tribute, Heavy, 170

 Werewolves, 119, 122

 West Kent, kingdom of, 145

 Weyland's Smithy, 136

 Whitney, Professor D., 63, 75

 Whitaker, the Rev. Jno., 7, 11, 15, 21, 26, 34, 35, 86, 198

 Whitaker, Dr., 136, et seq., 193

 White, Dr. A. D., 57

 Whittle Springs, 197

 Wigan, 12, 22, 30

 Wigan Lane, battle of, 220

 Wild Huntsman, 45

 William, the Norman Conqueror, 182, 189

 Wilkinson, T. T., 4, 100

 Winwick, 61, et seq.

 Winwidfield, 97

 Wornum, R., 56

 Worsaae, Dr., 188

 Worde, Wynkyn de, 10

 Worms, Huge, 104, 106

 Wright, T., 29, 88


 Ximines, Cardinal, 186


 York, 33

 Yornzi, 117

 Ywain, Sir, 17, 37


 Zumarraga, Archbishop, 186



[1] His. Preston, viii.

[2] Mr. Haigh's ingenious hypothesis, however, is not accepted by
historical students generally.

[3] "It was twenty-six feet high, and had inscribed on it these names,
and two others, Bregored and Beorward. Centwine became King of the West
Saxons, and Hedde, Bishop of Winchester, in A.D. 676; the former became
a monk in A.D. 683, the latter died in A.D. 705. Bregored was an Abbot
of Glastonbury (but not in the times of the Britons, as William of
Malmsbury concluded from his name, for it is clearly Saxon), and
Beorward may be the Abbot Beornwald who attested a charter of Ine in
A.D. 704. The larger pyramid, twenty-eight feet high, which stood at the
head of the grave, is said to have been in a very ruinous condition, and
the only intelligible words in the inscription upon it (as given by
William of Malmsbury), are the names of Wulfred and Eanfled. The
discovery of these trunk coffins at Glastonbury has not been noticed by
Mr. Wright, in his account of the similar discoveries at Gristhorpe,
Beverley, Driffield, and Selby (_Gent. Mag._ 1857. vol. ii. p. 114), nor
by Mr. Wylie in his paper on the Oberflacht graves (_Archæologia_, vol.
xxxvi., p. 129), but deserves to be mentioned in connection with them."

[4] The Rev. E. Sibson says:--"A piece of high ground near the Scholes
is called King Arthur's camp."--_Man. Lit. and Phil. Soc. Transactions,
April_, 1845.

[5] Giving a man "wigan," in the present vernacular of the county, is
synonymous to giving him a good threshing.

Jacob Grimm, in his "Deutsche Mythologie," says the Old High German
_wig_, pugna, seems occasionally to denote the personal god of war.

The modern English word "vie," to contend, to fight, to strive for
superiority, is derived from the Anglo-Saxon _wigian_, _wiggan_, which
are cognate to the Gothic _veigan_ (Collins's Dic. Der.) _Wig_, war,
warfare, battle (Bosworth, A.S. Dic.)

[6] The district referred to is variously written _Linuis_, _Cinuis_,
and _Inniis_.

[7] Nennius calls him "Catgublaun, king of Guenedot," Gwynedd, North

[8] Anglo-Saxon Chron. and Bede.

[9] Dr. Giles, Mr. Green, and others, say--"Hatfield, in the West Riding
of Yorkshire, about seven miles to the north-east of Doncaster," and
this seems the most probable site.

[10] Variation, Brocmail.

[11] Dean Howson, in an address delivered at Chester, in 1873, in
reference to the disputed site of Oswald's death, said--"He was not
going to decide between the claims of the two places, but he was
inclined to think both views might be reconciled. Oswald had a palace at
Winwick, and there was a well there that bore his name, and an
inscription that recorded his attachment to the locality. Oswestry was
said to mean Oswald's tree. There was no reason why they should not
believe that he was killed at Winwick, and that his head and arms were
taken away and put on a stump of wood at Oswestry. The conflicting
statements would then be reconciled." Such an act would, in no way, be
inconsistent with the character of Penda. He might send the remains to
his Welsh allies as trophies of his victory over the vanquisher of their
great chief, Cadwalla.

[12] Bosworth, in his Anglo-Saxon dictionary, under the letter K, says,
"Though the A. S. generally used _c_, even before _e_, _i_, and _y_, yet
as _k_ is sometimes found," he gives a list of words commencing with
that consonant under such conditions. The Anglo-Saxon "Cymen's ora" is
now represented by Keynor. Kemble says the homes of the Elsingas
and Elcinghas, are now represented by Elsing and Elkington, in
Northamptonshire. Mr. Green speaks of "those Gewissas, the Hwiccas, as
they were called," and Peille says, "Indo-European _ky_ and _ty_ become
_ss_, as in 'prasso' for 'prack-yo' (root 'prack,' formative suffix

[13] The etymology on which Mr. Howel W. Lloyd, the recent able advocate
for the Shropshire site, and others, rely, (Earwaker's Local Gatherings
relating to Lancashire, vol. i., 1876, and the summary, by Mr.
Askew Roberts, in his "Contributions to Oswestry History,") is as
follows:--Referring to Mr. Lloyd's paper, Mr. Roberts states his
position thus:--"Mesbury (now Maesbury, called in Domesday Meresbury), a
hamlet in the parish of Oswestry, is now called 'Llysfeisir or Llys
feisydd.'" He adds--"Thus a basis is supplied for a correct inference as
to the order of nomenclature. 1. The Welsh Te-fesen, corrupted by the
Saxons into Mesafelth or Maserfelth, and then into Maserfield, the name
of the district in which is Oswestry, as Winwick is in Makerfield. 2.
The monastery founded on the spot in honour of St. Oswald, called Album
Monasterium, Candida Ecclesia Y Fonachlog Wen (by the Welsh according to
Davies), and Blancmonster and Blancminster by the Normans, all meaning
the same thing, viz.:--White Monastery, applied latterly also to the
town, which grew up around the monastery. 3. Mesbury, corrupted into
Maesbury, when the town in Trefesen, to which a Fitzalan granted a
charter, grew into a borough; and 4, Oswaldestree or Oswestry, from the
'tre' or district, or else possibly from the traditional tree, on which
the king's arm was recorded to have been hung. A further basis is
supplied for reconciling the statement of Nennius, that the battle was
fought at Codoy, with that of the Saxon historian that it was fought at
Maserfield. For just as Winwick is in Mackerfield, so may Codoy have
been in the larger locality of Maserfield; and Nennius, as a British
historian, representing, as his editors believe him to do, a much
earlier author, gives, as might naturally be expected, the precise
situation of the spot, the territorial appellation only for which
reached the foreign and more distant chroniclers. From all this it is
certain that Oswestry had its Maserfield as Winwick its Mackerfield, the
former, however, more nearly reflecting the ancient British name, as
well as character of the place, but both alike designating a district
rather than a town, that being the ancient meaning of the word 'tre.'
Maserfelth is, therefore, Oak-field, a translation of the original
British name of Trefesen (compare English 'mast,') and the arms
connected St. Oswald with the Oak."

[14] There is great difficulty in reconciling the various statements
respecting this Cadwalla. Mr. Skene ("Four Ancient Books of Wales")
thinks it not improbable that it was his father, Cadvan, who fell at
Heavenfield, and not himself. If Cadwalla fought at Maserfeld, Dean
Howson's conjecture is rendered more probable. See Ante, p. 62. Revenge
for his father's death might induce him to display his trophies of
victory over his previously successful rival before his Brit-Welsh
subjects at a locality afterwards named Oswestry.

[15] Mr. Hartshorne, however, refers to this story in connection with
his claim of "Maesbrook, a place in a direct line between Maesbury and
Coedway, and about five miles from Oswestry," as the site of Oswald's
defeat, and connects a local legend with it.

[16] For a long time after the death of Oswald, the present Shropshire
remained British, or as Professor Boyd Dawkins appropriately terms it,
"Brit-Welsh," territory.--See Mr. Green's maps.

[17] The Welsh authorities write this word "Codoy." The Rev. W. Gunn and
Dr. Giles, "Cocboy."

[18] The martyrdom is a very doubtful matter; indeed, it is more than
probable this name of the field, and its presumed etymology, gave birth
to the legend, or it may have been an ancient burial place. A Lancashire
peasant pronounces the word neither, nather and nother, at the present
day, while some clergymen pronounce it nigh-ther. The Lancashire
contraction for James is Jim not Jem, as in the South of England. I have
often heard China pronounced "Chaney" by Lancashire people. The number
of ancient burial tumuli to the north of the ford may possibly have
influenced the local nomenclature. In Webster's dictionary a third
meaning to the word "latch" is thus described: "3. [Fr. lécher, to lick,
pour. O. H. Ger. _lecchôn_. See LICK.] To smear [Obs.]"

[19] The Rev. E. Sibson says--"The streams which unite at this barrow
are the Dene and the Sankey." Mr. Beamont says the tumulus is situated
on the Golbourne brook.

[20] "Siculus Flaccus says that it was the practice of some
_agrimensores_ to place under _termini_ ashes, or charcoal, or pieces of
broken glass or pottery, or _asses_, or lime, or plaster (gypsum)....
The writer of a later treatise, or rather compilation, attributed to
Boëthius, speaking upon the same subject, enumerates as the objects to
be so placed, ashes, or charcoals, or potsherds, or bones, or glass,
or _assæ_ of iron, or brass, or lime, or plaster, or a fictile
vessel."--"_The Romans of Britain_," _by H. C. Coote F.S.A._

[21] This, of course, is disputed by other authorities. Mr. Thorpe
regards the only copy now extant as an Anglo-Saxon version of an older
Scandinavian poem.

[22] Mr. Askew Roberts, in his "Contributions to Oswestry History," has
the following:--"Is not all the alluvial tract of country which lies
between Buttington and Oswestry, called in the Welsh tongue 'Ystrad
Marchell.' = Strata Marcella, at one end of which stood the once famous
monastery of Ystrad Marchell or Strata Marcella? Is it not more likely
that Oswald should have been overwhelmed by a combined force
of Mercians, Welsh, and Angles somewhere in the large plain of
_Ystradmarchell_, which lies on the boundary of the Welsh and Mercian
territories, than at Winwick, in Lancashire, and does not the above line
prove that 'Oswald from Marchelldy [Marcelde the House or Monastery of
Marchell] did to Heaven remove.'--BONION, writing in _Bygones_, August
6, 1873." This would have more value had the inscription been on
Oswestry Church. It is not very probable the Cleric of Winwick would be
a Welsh scholar, or that he would translate the Welsh word into Latin in
preference to the English one by which the locality was well known. What
business had Oswald "somewhere in the large plain of _Ystradmarchell_,
which lies on the boundary of the Welsh and Mercian territory," if Penda
were the aggressor, as Geoffrey and others testify. Besides, as Mr.
Green's maps show, the district in question was, in the seventh century,
a long way from either the Mercian or Northumbrian boundary. To be in
the locality at all would constitute Oswald the attacking and not the
defending party, as Bede's expression, "_pro patria dimicans_," seems to

[23] This is a very daring assertion, and is by no means confirmed by a
visit to the locality.

[24] "Were there no other record of the existence of our own Richard I.
than the _Romaunt_ bearing his name, and composed within a century of
his death, he would unquestionably have been numbered by the Mythists
among their shadowy heroes; for among the superhuman feats performed by
that pious crusader, we read, in the above mentioned authority, that
having torn out the heart of a lion, he pressed out the blood, dipt it
in salt, and ate it without bread; that being sick, and longing after
pork (which in a land of Moslems and Jews was not to be had),

    "They took a Sarezyne young and fat

       *       *       *       *       *

    And soden full hastely,
    With powder and with spysory,
    And with saffron of good colour."

Of this Apician dish 'the kyng eet the flesh and gnew the bones.'
Richard afterwards feasts his infidel prisoners on a Saracen's head
each, every head having the name of its late owner attached to it on a
slip of parchment. Surely all this is as mythic as it is possible to be,
and yet Richard is a really historic earth-born personage."

Yes, there was a truly historical Richard, as there doubtless was an
Arthur, but the Richard and Arthur of romance, nevertheless, are not
historical characters, in the strict sense of the word, and ought not to
be confounded with them.

[25] At the meeting of the British Association, held at York, in 1861,
Dr. Phene, F.S.A., &c., read a paper on Scandinavian and Pictish customs
on the Anglo-Scottish Border. He spoke of the persistent retention of
curious customs, and the handing down from generation to generation of
the traditionary lore of ages long past, and then referred to some of
those which were corroborated by ancient monuments of an unusual kind
still famous on the Scottish border. These consisted of sculptured
stones, earth works, and actual ceremonies. Quoting from former writers,
from family pedigrees, and other documents, he showed that the estates
to which this traditionary lore pertained, had been held alternately by
those claiming under the respective nationalities, or more local powers,
and which from their natural defensive features must have been places of
border importance earlier than history records. The district was
occupied by the descendants--often still traceable--of Danes, Jutes,
Frisians, Picts, Scots, Angles, and Normans; and by a comparison of
several of the languages of these people, as well ancient as now
existing, and also of the Gothic, it was shown in relation to a
particular class of the most curious monuments, that the Norse "ormr,"
Anglo-Saxon "vyrm," old German "wurm," Gothic "vaúrms," pronounced like
our word worm; and the word "lint," or "lind," also German, and the
Norse "linni," are all equivalent, and mean serpent; and in some cases
the two words are united as in modern German "lindwurm," and the Danish
and Swedish "lindorm." On this apparently rested the names of some of
the places having these strange traditions, as Linton or serpent town,
Wormiston or worm's (ormr's) town, Lindisfarne, the Farne serpent
island, now Holy Island, &c., and also the various worm hills, or
serpent mounds of those localities. It was curious that the contests to
which the traditions referred (like that of St. George) were sometimes
with two dragons, as shown on a sculptured stone in Linton Church, and
on a similar stone at Lyngby, in Denmark, in the churchyard, where there
was a tradition that two dragons had their haunt near the church. From
these and other facts, the author concluded that the contests were
international, and in the case of two dragons, an allied foe, either
national, religious, or both, was overcome. He showed from the Scottish
seals that Scotland used the dragon as an emblem, apparently deriving it
from the Picts; that the Scandinavians also used it, and that these
nationalities were antagonistic to the Saxon. In the time of David the
First of Scotland, the first great centralisation of Saxon power took
place, and the powerful family of the Cumyns took, apparently by
conquest, at least two of the localities having these strange
traditions. And as the political object was to suppress the Celtic and
Scandinavian, or other local national feeling, there could be little
doubt that however they obtained them, the persons dispossessed were of
one or other of the Northern tribes. Hence probably the middle-age
tradition of the slaying of the serpent or dragon, or the serpent or
dragon bearer, on the Anglo-Scottish border. But he considered such
traditions would hardly have originated through such conquests, had not
previous marvellous stories existed of the prowess and conquest by the
dragon (bearers) of the lands they invaded, all the wonders of which
would be transferred to the conqueror's conqueror. Hence these stories
were not to be set aside with a sneer, as in them was a germ of history,
giving us, perhaps, the only insight we could obtain of the prehistoric
customs and mythology of some of the ancient tribes of Britain. Earthen
mounds, tumuli, standing stones, &c., still existed in some of these
localities, with all of which the dragon serpent or worm was associated
in the legends. The author described his personal experiences in the
still existing dragon ceremonies in the south of France and Spain, which
were always either on the present national or former less important
provincial frontiers, and which still formed the subjects of great
ecclesiastical ceremonies. One of the high ecclesiastical dignitaries of
the north of England--the Bishop of Durham--is in the position of having
to take part in such a ceremony. Whenever a bishop of that diocese
enters the manor of Sockburn for the first time, the Lord of the Manor,
who holds under the see of Durham, subject to the following tenure, has
to present the Bishop, "_in the middle of the river Tees_, if the river
is fordable, with the falchion wherewith the champion Conyers destroyed
the _worm_, _dragon_, or _fiery flying serpent_ which destroyed man,
woman, and child" in that district, and an ancient altar called
"_Greystone_" still marks where the dragon was buried.--_Manchester

[26] "Klunzinger: Upper Egypt, 184."

[27] "There exists yet a traditionary superstition very prevalent in
Lancashire and its neighbourhood to the effect that pigs can '_see the
wind_.' I accidentally heard the observation made, not long ago, in the
city of Manchester, in what is termed 'respectable society,' and no one
present audibly dissented. One or two individuals, indeed, remarked that
they had often heard such was the case, and seemed to regard the
phenomenon as related to the strong scent and other instincts peculiar
to animals of the chase. Indeed, Dr. Kuhn says that in Westphalia this
phase of the superstition is the prevalent one. There pigs are said to
smell the wind."--_Traditions, Superstitions, and Folk-Lore, p. 69._

[28] The Rev. Jno. Williams, in a note to his translation of "The
Gododin," says:--"Beli, son of Benlli, a famous warrior in North Wales."

[29] See Chapter I., page 25.

[30] Warksworth Chronicle.

[31] Several cannon balls, fired during Cromwell's military operations
in this short but decisive campaign, have been found in the
neighbourhood of Ribbleton, Ashton, and Walton-le-dale. They are about
eight pounds weight each. One of them is in my possession at the present

[32] This is an error, excusable under the circumstances. Stonyhurst is
about twelve miles from Preston.

[33] So savage a critic as Joseph Ritson seems to have entertained a
much higher opinion of Captain Hodgson's literary qualities than the
"seer of Chelsea." In his preface to the memoir he says--"Without
meaning to dispute the merit of Defoe, in his peculiarly happy manner of
telling a story, or, in other words, in the art of book-making, it will
probably be found, that, truth or falsehood being out of the question,
in point of importance, interest, and even pleasantry, Captain Hodgson's
narrative is infinitely superior to the 'Memoirs of a Cavalier.'"

[34] He had overcome a cavalry officer, and "appropriated" his horse.

[35] Mr. F. Metcalfe, in his "Englishman and Scandinavian," says,--"It
is this same historian (William of Malmesbury), and not Asser, who
relates the story of Alfred masquerading as a minstrel, and so gaining
free access to the Danish camp, meanwhile learning their plans. It is
not mentioned in the most ancient Saxon accounts. Indeed, it sounds more
like a Scandinavian than a Saxon story, an echo of which has reached us
in the tale of King Estmere, who adopted a similar disguise. A story was
current of Olaf Cuaran entering Athelstan's camp disguised as a harper
two days before the battle of Brunanburh."

[36] Some writers say two days intervened, and Sir Francis Palgrave says
the main battle was but a continuation of the night attack, and was
therefore fought on the following day.

[37] Mr. Thompson Watkins, His. Soc. Trans., says the metal is bronze.

[38] In Herman Moll's map, the Etherow, before its junction with the
Goyt and Tame, is written Mersey.

[39] For details of this battle see "History of Preston and its

[40] For details respecting this siege, see His. Preston, c. v.

[41] Mr. J. P. Morris, in _Notes and Queries_, says--"Many collectors
have endeavoured, but in vain, to find more of this old Lancashire
ballad than the two verses given by Dr. Dixon, in his 'Songs and Ballads
of the English Peasantry,' and by Mr. Harland, in his 'Ballads and Songs
of Lancashire.' I have much pleasure in forwarding to _Notes and
Queries_ the following version, which is much more complete than any yet

    "Long Preston Peggy to Proud Preston went,
    To view the Scotch Rebels it was her intent;
    A noble Scotch lord, as he passed by,
    On this Yorkshire damsel did soon cast an eye.

    He called to his servant, who on him did wait--
    'Go down to yon maiden who stands in the gate,
    That sings with a voice so soft and so sweet,
    And in my name do her lovingly greet.'

    So down from his master away he did hie,
    For to do his bidding, and bear her reply;
    But ere to this beauteous virgin he came,
    He moved his bonnet, not knowing her name.

    'It's, oh! Mistress Madame, your beauty's adored,
    By no other person than by a Scotch lord,
    And if with his wishes you will comply,
    All night in his chamber with him you shall lie.'"

[42] "See Gaussin's _Langue Polynésienne_."

    Transcriber's notes:

    The following is a list of changes made to the original.
    The first line is the original line, the second the corrected one.

    Dean Milman, Arminius Vámbêry, and Leslie Stephen.
    Dean Milman, Arminius Vámbéry, and Leslie Stephen.

    Sir John Lubbock, Arminius Vámbêry, John Fiske,
    Sir John Lubbock, Arminius Vámbéry, John Fiske,

    The names of places still retained, with only sueh phonetic
    The names of places still retained, with only such phonetic

    Talbots of Bashall and Salebury. Civil war incidents
    Talbots of Bashall and Salesbury. Civil war incidents

    influence of the after Danish and Norman-French conquests.
    influence of the battle after Danish and Norman-French conquests.

    "For "_Downham_ IN _Yorkshire_"
    For "_Downham_ IN _Yorkshire_"

    "Return of the Heraklieds," says "it is undoubtedly as
    "Return of the Herakleids," says "it is undoubtedly as

    similar discoveries at Gristhorpe, Beverley, Driffield. and
    similar discoveries at Gristhorpe, Beverley, Driffield, and

    laid'Ywenec, and the latter is said to be "on the Doglas,"
    lai d'Ywenec, and the latter is said to be "on the Doglas,"

    mentioned as the husband of Igerna's third danghter by
    mentioned as the husband of Igerna's third daughter by

    not one capital city, it was the tetrapolis of Babel
    not one capital city, it was the tetrapolis of Babel,

    we, nevertheless, do gain valuable knowlege of a
    we, nevertheless, do gain valuable knowledge of a

    ancient correlatives in Sanscrit _agra_, Greek ἀγρὁϛ, Latin
    ancient correlatives in Sanscrit _agra_, Greek ἀγρόϛ, Latin

    probably accordsboth etymologically and topographically
    probably accords both etymologically and topographically

    tranformations local nomenclature sometimes has undergone
    transformations local nomenclature sometimes has undergone

    England)" says--"That Oswiu strove to avert the
    England") says--"That Oswiu strove to avert the

    called _Burne_, strongly supports the other evidence in
    called _Burne_," strongly supports the other evidence in

    burial place, raised after the battle fought at Winwick."
    burial place, raised after the battle fought at Winwick.

    Newton: one of these was held in desmene. The
    Newton: one of these was held in demesne. The

    cum decima ville;' but there is a belief that there was a
    cum decima ville;" but there is a belief that there was a

    and to the tradition which Leyland records, 'that at
    and to the tradition which Leyland records, "that at

    Sum say this was the paroche church of Oswestre.'"
    Sum say this was the paroche church of Oswestre."

    Bingfield for the site of the Heavenfeld struggle, rather
    Bingfield for the site of the Heavenfield struggle, rather

    Jacob Grimm says (Deutsche Myhologie)--"A people
    Jacob Grimm says (Deutsche Mythologie)--"A people

    in power. Thus the notion of _casualty_--the assumption
    in power. Thus the notion of _causality_--the assumption

    twenty marks a year, from Edward IV,, confirmed by
    twenty marks a year, from Edward IV., confirmed by

    relatively more recent combat, of some local importance,
    relatively more recent combat, of some local importance.

    Preston, to operate in the hundred of Blackburn, One
    Preston, to operate in the hundred of Blackburn. One

    inhabitants of the neigbourhood Wearden at the present
    inhabitants of the neighbourhood Wearden at the present

    crosses this in its neighbonrhood. This tumulus is
    crosses this in its neighbourhood. This tumulus is

    the "battle of the Brun."
    the 'battle of the Brun.'"

    the 'olden time.' In Leland's day, the remains of the
    the 'olden time.'" In Leland's day, the remains of the

    Colonel Rosworn, the celebrated Parliamentary engineer,
    Colonel Rosworm, the celebrated Parliamentary engineer,

    sculls, from the banks, and these are almost universally,
    skulls, from the banks, and these are almost universally,

    of "General" Forster, the partisans of the Stuart were
    of "General" Forster, the partizans of the Stuart were

    myths have been confounded together;" [See ante, p.p. 44, et seg.,
    myths have been confounded together;" [See ante, p.p. 44, et seq.,

    "For the devolpment of myth, which is in itself always a human
    "For the development of myth, which is in itself always a human

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